Monday, January 22, 2007

Jimmy Carter: The Poor Man's Gandhi

Powerline refers to Steve Hayward's book The Real Jimmy Carter, which mentions that Jimmy Carter kept a small statue of Gandhi. To get a better idea of the real Gandhi, Powerline recommends The Gandhi Nobody Knows by Richard Grenier, which appeared in Commentary Magazine in March 1983:
I feel all Jews sitting emotionally at the movie 'Gandhi' should be apprised of the advice that the Mahatma offered their coreligionists when faced with the Nazi peril: they should commit collective suicide. If only the Jews of Germany had the good sense to offer their throats willingly to the Nazi butchers' knives and throw themselves into the sea from cliffs they would arouse world public opinion, Gandhi was convinced, and their moral triumph would be remembered for "ages to come." If they would only pray for Hitler (as their throats were cut, presumably), they
would leave a "rich heritage to mankind." Although Gandhi had known Jews from
his earliest days in South Africa--where his three staunchest white supporters
were Jews, every one--he disapproved of how rarely they loved their enemies. And
he never repented of his recommendation of collective suicide. Even after the
war, when the full extent of the Holocaust was revealed, Gandhi told Louis
Fischer, one of his biographers, that the Jews died anyway, didn't they? They
might as well have died significantly.
Of course, Carter is no Gandhi--I don't know of anyone who claims that Mahatma "Hitler is not a bad man" Gandhi accepted millions of dollars in funding.

What they do have in common appears to be a distinct dissatisfaction with Jews and their history of not settling for 'moral triumphs' or obediently fading away from the world stage. Gandhi's error was to see dying 'significantly' as a victory when the real challenge is to live significantly--a goal Carter aspired to, but which is quickly escaping his grasp.

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