Thinking About Small Minorities
Here in NE Portugal at Belmonte the Jews managed to survive the Reconquista and the Inquisition. Well, a small community of them did. There is a Jewish museum in Belmonte celebrating their survival.
How did they do it?
In part by conforming to the demand to become “New Christians.” But, in secret, they still maintained Jewish religious observance. And central to their cultural survival was that their Christian neighbors did not denounce them to the authorities.
But that makes me think.
How does a group under persecution survive the assault of the rulers?
The rulers may be persecuting them because it's afraid of them as a potential enemy within the gates. Or it may just be that the rulers need an enemy for political purposes to unite the nation against an enemy.
One strategy is to hide, keeping the religion and culture going in secret.
The other strategy is the “intransigent small minority” proposed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, where the small minority demands respect. The Jews are good at that too.
Taleb says that the intransigent small minority wins because the larger society finds that it is easier to conform to, e.g., small minority dietary rules, than not.
But I rather think that this policy of submitting to the preferences of a small minority applies to our present ruling class because it celebrates its tolerance for minorities. If we apply the Schmitt notion of the political as the distinction between friend and enemy, we see that in the current era the rulers count small minorities as their friends and the larger middle class as the enemy.
The other policy towards the small minority is the Hitler strategy, to make the small minority into the enemy. And I would say that when the rulers feel embattled — as experienced in all the modern purges from the Spanish Inquisition to the French Reign of Terror to the Soviet and Maoist purges to the current Woke Purge — targeting a small minority is actually good strategy, because the purge doesn’t involve civil war.
For instance, I would say that the US regime’s J6 policy is based on defining a small minority of “armed insurrectionists” as the enemy. This has two benefits for the rulers. It makes the larger conservative community afraid to get caught in the coils of the STASI criminal justice system, and it provides Democratic voters with an enemy to unite against.
After the Reconquista Jews in Portugal either left or they hid. After World War II Jews in the US became intransigent and accused anyone disagreeing with them of anti-semitism. I’d say that each strategy was appropriate. The Jews after the Reconqista had to hide; they really were helpless victims. Jews in educated-class America could play the victim and win.
Conservative students and faculty in US universities need to hide. I wonder if that could change, and what it would take to achieve that.
Now that I have set forth this notion, I wonder if it works. Stay tuned.