A mere generation ago, the victory of the West in the Cold War with the Soviet Union and the “scientific socialism” it purported to embody provoked a revival of optimistic secular apocalypticism, on which Francis Fukuyama pasted the label “the end of history.” With a semi-naïve confidence in this Hegelian slogan as updated by Alexandre Kojève, Fukuyama sketched a futurist idyll, suggesting that although humanity would continue to exist, henceforth we would have to content ourselves with tweaking petty details in the knowledge that the “final conflict” predicted by the Internationale was now behind us.

To the extent that the minimal formulation of Generative Anthropology’s originary hypothesis is analogous in its own terms to an “end of (pre)history,”  the minimality of the hypothesis must be prolonged indefinitely, which is to say that it must be understood as affirming the impossibility of defining a priori any parameters that might limit the future development of our species—including of course that its survival cannot be definitively assured. The absurdity of the very idea of an “end of history” as a benign steady state from which all excesses have by nature been excluded makes vain any attempt to speculate on its details.

But antisemitism…?

When in 2015 Adam Katz and I published The First Shall Be The Last: Rethinking Antisemitism (Brill), this was far from a hot topic. No doubt there has been a constant flow of studies concerned with Jew-hatred, focused rather less on its underlying reasons than on its specific manifestations. But the parallel between the “taboo” on GA’s originary hypothesis and that on seeking the explanation for antisemitism not as an arbitrary “scapegoating” phenomenon but rather, as we put it, the impossible Western rejection of the “firstness” of the Jews/Hebrews as those who defined the historical roots of the sacred in the West and thereby, in a fashion that has no obvious parallel in Asian cultures, made it impossible for the Christians and Muslims who became the West’s dominant religious populations simply to ignore as “transcended” the originary role of the Jews.

In 2015, these parallel taboos, if noted at all, could be dismissed as a curious coincidence. Antisemitism, although it had never disappeared, no longer seemed a dominant concern in Western nations, and Israel’s role in the Middle East seemed to be gradually reaching a tacit modus vivendi with the surrounding Muslim population.

On October 7, 2023, the situation radically changed. However shocking were the depravities not merely carried out but proudly affirmed by the members of Hamas and their hangers-on among the Gazan population, the global reaction—in retrospect wholly predictable, but highly surprising at the moment—was not one of horror and disbelief at the barbarity of these acts, but on the contrary, a largely favorable outpouring of support for the “oppressed” Palestinians, the very excesses of whose actions were felt to excuse them as giving proof by their violence of the horror of their oppression by the Israelis.

With the result that suddenly, nearly 80 years after the end of WWII, antisemitism had become a “controversial” subject. And as I pointed out in Chronicle 786, the New York Times plastered on its front page on October 18, 2023 the photograph of a ruined building purported to be the image of a hospital destroyed by an Israeli bomb, save that (1) the image was of another building, since the hospital was only superficially damaged, and (2) the damage was caused not by an Israeli missile but by a misfired rocket launched by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The really horrible images that the Palestinians were showing off to their supporters were nowhere in sight, but the Times felt obliged to fabricate a false image on the unverified reception of a false report that Israel had bombed a Gaza hospital.

Which is to say that there is something more to antisemitism than an “irrational hatred of Jews.” Ever since last October 7, the Palestinians, who carried out this savage and unprovoked act of mayhem and slaughter, have been all but universally accorded the status of a martyr-people whose crimes, like those of street criminals in the world of Soros-financed district attorneys, are wholly excusable due to their oppression—oppression of which the crimes themselves are taken as the most obvious demonstration. If shoplifting or even armed robbery is scarcely comparable to raping and torturing to death innocent human beings, the horror of the latter behaviors is understood as all the more a demonstration of the inhuman oppression under which their perpetrators had presumably been suffering.

It is easy enough to understand why I cannot let go of the feeling that the coincidence between the quasi-finalization of the originary hypothesis and the return in force of antisemitism holds an important historical lesson for humanity, in conjunction with the discovery that Sartre’s néant and the “nothingness” of Buddhist thought as represented by Nishida Kitaro should both be seen as visions of the new freedom inherent in the scene of human communication. And we must note that, whatever its problems and/or limitations, Eastern thought does not share the history-denying obsession ingrained in the second-tier Abrahamic religions that currently inspires the crude apocalypticism of the “red-green” Left-Islamic alliance.

The most likely version of the conflict provoked by the Judeo-Christian West’s decadence would be a battle for supremacy between, on the one hand, militant Islam, having outlasted the West by dint of its fanatical religious faith, which so far seems to persist in its preference for death over life (as the Islamists put it) in defiance of the temptations of the modern world, making use of the latter’s technology as a source of weaponry but not succumbing to its seductions; and on the other, the Chinese version of Marxism, which adapts its national-egocentric vision of “the Middle Empire” to an ideology that, unlike Islam, takes seriously the promises of modern technology—and would seem the obvious favorite to come out on top.

The Western Achilles’ Heel, patched over but not healed by the defeat of Nazism, is its addiction to the epistemology of resentment and its privileged manifestation in the death-wish for the Jews, which, while lending fanatical energy to the Islamists, hardly makes them competent to deal with modern technology as other than external exploiters. The high point of Islamic military creativity so far was the 9/11/2001 attacks whose near-total success so undermined the morale of the Judeo-Christian West; but learning to fly planes into buildings hardly offers a model for military victory in a full-scale conflict with the latest materiel.

Are such speculations of any real use? Only if the West can awaken from its self-destructive torpor and find anew in its Judeo-Christian principles a genuine source of self-affirmation. Indeed, the surprising ease with which in the wake of 10/7/23 the discontented of Christian societies have found the response to their self-resentful Wokeness in Islamist terrorism suggests that the entire edifice of Western moral values will have to be rebuilt from the ground up. Yet there is little reason to believe this reconstruction possible in the face of well-armed enemies hungry for conquest rather than anxious to maintain the pleasant life-styles to which Western societies, far more than theirs, have become addicted.

One point seems clear: for so long as the West tolerates, let alone encourages as at present the Woke philosophy of oikophobic resentment, it is preparing itself for annihilation. The success of the pseudo-Christian value-system embodied in DEI is all too clearly incompatible with the maintenance of Western power. In this respect, the looming failure of Ukraine, supported by NATO, to defeat the Russian military is an ominous sign.

Let us hope that we can avoid the far more ominous consequences that would follow Israel’s failure to defeat the Iranian proxies that surround it in the face of the near-worldwide hostility that its efforts at self-defense have provoked. When pressed, the West, now as ever, still prefers to hate the Jews as the alternative to reforming itself.

The human scene is never neutral toward the content of the messages that traverse it. One need not be a connoisseur of paradox to appreciate the self-negating element that preserves for the moment this present writing. Although ostensibly public and available to all, what permits these words to exist is their quasi-invisibility. How much longer this paradox will retain its force is something that cannot be known in advance.

In a word, as with all the “discoveries” of what I have been calling generative anthropology, their presence on the intellectual scene is premised on their inconsequentiality. Which makes them at the same time a highly privileged and an extremely fragile mode of communication.

So that to the extent that these warnings have a purpose, it is dependent on their near-total inefficacy, save in an undecidable margin where some at first small effect may be launched toward success despite the anticipation of its probable future annihilation.

Or as they say, a word to the wise is sufficient.