Very often I find reading Fichte annoying because his rhetorical strategies are often somewhat obnoxious (see Science of Knowledge, for one, but on the upshot it’s often amusing at the same time). This morning I came across this comment by Fichte in his essay “A State within a State:”
…the Jewish nation excluded itself…from the German nation by the most binding element of mankind—religion…It (the Jewish nation) separates itself from all others in its duties and rights, from here until eternity.
Here comes the part that caused me to raise my eyebrows slightly, but very dramatically:
I see absolutely no way of giving them [the Jews] civic rights, except perhaps if one chops of all of their heads and replaces them with new ones, in which there would not be one single Jewish idea.
While I think it’s fairly well known that Fichte denied that Judaism had any moral value and for the most part, harbored a traditional, run of the mill antisemitic attitude, I think this is a pretty nice straw man: portray Jewish religion as fundamentally inflexible in order to pave the way for political forms of antisemitism. Enter Wagner?