Saturday, December 1, 2012
Contrary to our discussion yesterday, I believe that Voltaire was specifically satirizing the Dutch. It cannot be a coincidence that Voltaire consecutively makes three Dutchmen look greedy: the ship's captain, the judge, and in a way Martin all appear to be greedy. All three are obsessed with money, and the common belief at the time was that the Dutch were indeed greedy. The Netherlands is one of the birthplaces of capitalism though, so it would make since that their revolutionary economy be perceived as fostering greed. It wouldn't be beneath Voltaire to aim such blows towards specific groups of people. He was, as we already know, an openly anti-Semitic and anti-Jesuit man.