A recent opinion piece by Andrew Klavan in the Los Angeles Times ("Why God Chose the Jews") suggests that perhaps there's one good thing about anti-Semitism: it identifies the world's truly evil forces (think Hitler, Stalin), thus serving as a "Villainy Early Detection System for everyone else."

Here's how Klavan, a best-selling novelist, said it in the LA Times:

"...All bigotry is wrong, of course, but there's something about this particular form of prejudice that is weirdly reliable as a sign of deeper wickedness. Perhaps it's because the Jews contributed so much to humanity's moral code that to hate them as a race is to despise the restraints of morality itself... We still see apparently intelligent people appeasing, making excuses for and even embracing the sorts of stinkers who ought to set off the Big Alarm.

"That's why I think the system could use more bells and whistles -- a loud honking noise perhaps, or even closed captioning for the morally impaired. Thus, when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the Holocaust is a "myth" or that Israel "must be wiped off the map," you would hear a loud honk and words would appear in the air below his face: "Hello. I am an evil madman. Please stop negotiating with me now and proceed to cripple my nuclear capability by any means necessary..."

"If it were only a matter of hating Jews, we could say: 'Feel free, hate everyone, knock yourself out.' The trouble is the suffering, the slaughter of innocents, and indeed the destruction of entire nations that seems inevitably to follow when anti-Semitism is allowed to spread...

"When the ills of the world are loaded onto less than 1% of its population, I begin to become suspicious."

"So here's a plan. The next time you express an opinion on what's wrong with the world, take a look around to see who's nodding in agreement. If it's some clown who thinks the Jewish state should be pushed into the sea, or that the Jews killed Christ or are conspiring to subvert the world economy or the government or the media, I beg you to consider that you might be wrong. There is no shame in changing your opinion. Falling into step with wicked fools -- that's shameful, and it's dangerous too. God gave you an early detection system. Use it."

It's said that the Jewish people are the miner's canaries of the world. Miners take canaries down to mines because canaries are more susceptible to noxious fumes than humans. If the miner sees the canary is dead, he knows he has to fight the fumes or he'll die, too.

In some ways, that's a role the Jews serve. When there is evil, Jews often die first. So when Jews get killed, it's not solely a Jewish problem anymore. When evil first attacks the Jews, it becomes humanity's problem. Jews are the moral litmus test.