Moreover, the belief in a Messiah, in the intervention of a higher power to bring about our political resurrection, and the religious assumption that we must bear patiently divine punishment, caused us to abandon every thought of our national liberation, unity and independence. Consequently, we have renounced the idea of a nationhood and did so the more readily since we were preoccupied with our immediate needs. Thus we sank lower and lower. The people without a country forgot their country. Is it not high time to perceive the disgrace of it all?
...The human race, including ourselves, has hardly reached the first stage of the interminable road to perfection in human conduct, providing the goal is to be reached at all. We must, therefore, abandon the delusion that we are fulfilling by our dispersion a Providential mission, a mission in which no one believes, an honorable post which we, to speak frankly, would gladly resign, if the odious epithet "Jew" could only be blotted out of the memory of man. (Auto-Emancipation, published 1882)