Russells view of immigrants & Germans

by doubtfull1799 5 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • doubtfull1799

    I was inspired by @lastmanstanding to check out the Jan 15 1892 Watchtower and came across this little gem from the same article covering Russell's trip to Europe. I think this will be particularly interesting to the Aussies here considering our ongoing debate about the treatment of immigrants and refugees.

    The people are generally intelligent, industrious, busy and
    comfortably clothed and fed—far beyond our previous suppo
    sitions. \Ve could not help wondering whence come some of
    the worst specimens of all races to this country as emigrants.
    Evidently the people of the United States are performing a
    service of inestimable value to the whole world in receiving
    their scum of ignorance and their dregs of degradation
    their scum of ignorance and their dregs of degradation—both
    due more to evils of the past than to those of the present,
    and chiefly chargeable to priestcraft, superstition and igno
    rance fostered for centuries by that old “Mother of Harlots,”
    which falsely claims to be the church-system founded by our
    Lord and his apostles

    And then there was also this bit of repugnant racial stereotyping (even if it was not their idea, repeating it and somewhat endorsing it is just as bad in my view)

    The effect of this general education may be imagined: the people are awake to an appreciation of their rights in a way and to a degree that no one would have suspected but a short time ago, when the German brain was generally credited with being rather slow and sluggish. No other nation on earth is so fully awake now.
  • slimboyfat

    Is he basically saying that the Germans he encountered in America, who arrived as immigrants, were in his opinion ignorant and degraded people. So that when he travelled to Germany, he was surprised to find that the German people in their own country were intelligent, industrious and well presented? So he concludes that Germany must have sent their worst to the United States and kept the best in Germany.

    If that's what he meant to say, then I guess it's a somewhat obnoxious point of observation to make. But it's hardly Earth shatteringly racist, especially for its time. Early Watchtower literature is absolutely full of national and racial stereotypes, as was entirely typical for the period. I'm sure there are lots of worse examples, about Germans and others.

  • TD

    If that's what he meant to say, then I guess it's a somewhat obnoxious point of observation to make.

    There seems to be a lot of confusion in the U.S. even today when it comes to the various German speaking countries and peoples. I doubt if it was any better in Russell's time, so it's tough to know who or what his source was even talking about.

  • doubtfull1799

    @slimboyfat - yes, that's exactly how I'm reading it and what I think he is meaning to say.

    As to whether that was typical of the time, I can't really comment as I obviously wasn't around then, and I haven't read much other literature from that time aside from Watchtower stuff.... but you may be right, perhaps it is quite typical. However, I would expect that there would be a higher standard in "God's true organisation"

  • waton

    At one time there were more wt adherents in Germany than in the USA, which confirms his observations that they are slow to discover what goes on.

    America was asking for the tired and huddled masses, so what did they expect to get? , not to mention Australia's past.

    Emigration is actually like evaporation, only the most energetic particles part first.

  • stuckinarut2

    Good thread !

    Yes, it is simply mind blowing to see that we are far more advanced as humans nowadays, and yet the Society would have us believe things are getting worse each year prior to the big day of Armageddon!

    Why do we rightly find such racist outbursts as offensive now? If the idea is that the world is more degraded, then our views should be getting worse right?

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