The Jewish Question in the United States has existed for years, but until now in silence and suspicion. Everyone knew that there was such a Question; the Jew himself knew best of all; but very few possessed the courage to open the Question to the sanitary influences of sunlight and speech. The mention of courage in this connection is needful to explain the silence. A few men of insight have attempted publicly to define the Question in the United States, and they have been so effectually dealt with by an invisible power of which the public could have no knowledge, that Free Speech on the Jewish Question naturally became unpopular. The fact, it is true, reflects far more seriously on non-Jews than on Jews. But it is a fact nevertheless. He who undertakes to speak truth on this question must expect far more opposition than he could ever withstand were he not speaking the truth.
One fact that militated against Free Speech on the Jewish Question was the condition into which our American people have been trained, of expecting applause and approval to follow every act and word. There was a time in American history, and it was the most glorious period of out past, when opposition was considered an often desirable attitude. A man’s weight was accounted equal, whether computed by the number of his enemies or his friends. But a softening change has come over us. We have grown to like applause. Hisses used to stir our fathers; hisses cow their sons. Public speech has thus grown flabby; the Press has thus become neutral; we have grown pudgy and futile in our program of “helping the weak,” so pudgy and futile that we no longer have gristle to attack the strong who have brought weakness upon the others.
As a people, we have passed the “bunk” around so habitually; we have enervated our judgement and moral