said: “There is something wrongrnwith my toothbrush. It didn’t foamrnthis morning.” It was then establishedrnthat he was travelHng withoutrnhis valet who always put therntoothpaste on the brush for him. Itrnseems that he was unaware thatrnthis is what caused the foam in hisrnmouth.rnI rest my case. I do not think there’srnanybody in England—including the oldestrnretainers in the grandest countryrnhouses in the remotest counties whorncame up to London for the Coronationrnand have not been back there since —rnthat still talks, acts, and thinks like ourrnTuscan laundress. And for this reason,rneven if the aristocracy should legally remainrna vital agent of the body politic inrnEngland, its eminence is and will alwaysrnbe illusory.rnHere it is real, which is why spiritualrnparasites of every description, fromrnAmerican housewives and homosexualrndecorators to Chiantishire colonists andrnitinerant idlers, will chuckle and blabrnand preen for as long as Lucia’s generationrnis alive. She is what makes thernprincess a princess, and Italy—Italy.rnAndrei Navrozov is Chronicles’ Europeanrncorrespondent.rnLetter FromrnInner Israelrnby Jacob NeusnerrnThe Vacuity ofrnJewish SecularismrnFor nearly the whole of its history, “Israel”rndefined itself as a religious community,rnthe community of Judaism. To bernan Israelite meant to know God throughrnthe Torah and to accept the dominion ofrnGod’s laws set forth therein. No one hadrnproblems defining who is a Jew or what itrnmeans to be a Jew. But in the age of thernEnlightenment and beyond, Jews experimentedrnwith the possibility of giving uprnJudaism but remaining “Jewish” in anrnethnic and cultural sense. A wide rangernof choices presented themselves, but thernmain ones in Europe and the UnitedrnStates have involved a Jewish nationalityrn—the Jews are a people, one people,rnand should form a state, with Hebrew asrnits secular language —in the form ofrnZionism; and a Jewish political culture,rnwhereby the Jews form a component ofrninternational socialism, conducting theirrnfront of the cosmopolitan class strugglernin the Yiddish language. People whomrnJohn Updike calls “post-Jews” workedrnout a neutral, non-sectarian, secularrnbourgeois culture, involving devotion tornliterature, music, and left-wing politicsrn(radical chic in its extreme form), principallyrnrealized by post-Jews among otherrnpost-Jews.rnZionism achieved all of its goals, makingrnit the most successful political movementrnin modern times. In Europe, Jewishrnsocialism joined to Yiddishismrnperished in the Soviet Union’s totalitarianrnculture, which wrote its own epitaphrnby murdering the great Yiddish poets in arnsingle night in Stalin’s last great atrocity.rnIn the other countries of Eastern Europe,rnthe Jewish socialists died along with everyonernelse in the holocaust. But whatrnbecame of Jewish secularism in the UnitedrnStates?rnThe story of socialism as the post-Jewishrnmedium is embodied in the life ofrnone man, Irving Howe, a Trotskyite, a literaryrncritic of considerable standing, andrna major voice in the description of thernculture and literature of the Yiddishrnlanguage. His story, and the story of thernex-Jewish Jews who practiced socialism,rnin all of its convolutions —Howe was arnpowerful opponent of American involvementrnin World War II so long as the Sovietsrnhad their pact with the Germans —rncaptures an entire generation in itsrnexodus from Judaism.rnIn a gem of a book, Edward Alexanderrntells the story. His Irving Howe: Socialist,rnCritic, jew (1998) conducts a dialoguernbetween the living and the future, andrnthe dead and the past: between Zionismrnand affirmative Jewishness and socialismrnand disdain for the ongoing life of eternalrnIsrael. Alexander finds in Howe muchrnworth remembering and emulating, butrnplenty worthy of contempt on the part ofrnself-respecting Jews. That is not to suggestrnthis is a polemic or a mere politicalrnrant—far from it. It is a masterpiece ofrnacademic learning in the service ofrnhigh culture, a book to be read andrnappreciated.rnIrving Howe exemplifies the NewrnYork Jewish intellectuals of the secondrngeneration beyond immigration, but becausernof his personal gifts, he not only exemplifiesrnhis age but also defines it for usrnand sets the standard by which others ofrnhis time are to be assessed. And in thisrndefinitive account of a consequentialrnJew of a certain time, Alexander hasrnshown how the life of a significant intellectualrnshould be written. He identifiesrnwhat counts, and describes and analyzesrnthat. But Alexander also says what hernthinks about the man in his context—rnand in ours. He underscores the lessonsrnthat Howe has left for us, both positivernand negative.rnAlexander’s subtitle bears his message:rnsocialist, critic, Jew. The son of immigrants,rnIrving Horenstein redefined himselfrnseveral times. Like many other Jewsrnwho became socialists (also communistsrnand New Deal Democrats), he de-judaizedrnhimself by changing his name.rnLike many of his exceptional intelligence,rnHowe was first a socialist and thenrna critic. But in the end, he turned out tornbe a Jew of a certain kind. As a socialist,rnhe took an intensely hostile position onrnthe “special pleading” of the Jews, followingrnthe Communist Party line requiringrnthe party faithful to endorse Stalin’srnalliance with Hitier against “capitalism.”rnHowe’s far-left isolationism led him torndismiss or to ignore the German warrnagainst the Jews, long after the worldrnknew better. He trivialized and ignoredrnthe earlier reports of the holocaust, thenrnwell under way, recalling the impatiencernof other ex-Jews with “your petty Jewishrnsuffering.” Had his life ended with thernwar, Horenstein/Howe would have deservedrnoblivion.rnBut two further chapters were yet to bernwritten. In the second, he made himselfrna premier literary critic of his day. Herernhe attained the heights of moral authority.rnIn Alexander’s words.rnDespite his Marxist beginnings, hernwas contemptuous of schemes forrnreducing literature and ideas torntheir supposed determinants inrngender, class, and race. Instead, hernrelentlessly called us back to whatrnCynthia Ozick has called the greatrnJudaic concerns of Dickens andrnTolstoy and George Eliot: the naturernand consequences of conduct,rnthe forces and attitudes that givernlife meaning and direction, thernstruggle to make something humanrnof our lives even in the midstrnFEBRUARY 1999/39rnrnrn