Sunday, March 07, 2010

MacDonald’s slow awakening

I have read the Preface to the 2002 paperback edition of The Culture of Critique [CofC]: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements, where Kevin MacDonald attempts to answer some criticisms that have been leveled against CofC. What strikes me is that MacDonald had a slow awakening experience with regard to the Jewish Question. Here I include a few paragraphs of the long Preface (no ellipsis added between unquoted sentences):

I think there is a noticeable shift in my tone from the first book to the third simply because (I’d like to think) I knew a lot more and had read a lot more. People often say after reading the first book that they think I really admire Jews, but they are unlikely to say that about the last two and especially about CofC. That is because by the time I wrote CofC I had changed greatly from the person who wrote the first book.

The first book is really only a documentation of theoretically interesting aspects of group evolutionary strategies using Judaism as a case study (how Jews solved the free-rider problem, how they managed to erect and enforce barriers between themselves and other peoples, the genetic cohesion of Judaism, how some groups of Jews came to have such high IQ’s, how Judaism developed in antiquity). Resource competition and other conflicts of interest with other groups are more or less an afterthought, but these issues move to the foreground in Separation and Its Discontents, and in CofC I look exclusively at the 20th century in the West.

Jews have indeed made positive contributions to Western culture in the last 200 years. But whatever one might think are the unique and irreplaceable Jewish contributions to the post-Enlightenment world, it is naïve to suppose they were intended for the purpose of benefiting humanity solely or even primarily. In any case I am hard pressed to think of any area of modern Western government and social organization (certainly) and business, science, and technology (very probably) that would not have developed without Jewish input, although in some cases perhaps not quite as quickly. In general, positive impacts of Jews have been quantitative rather than qualitative. They have accelerated some developments, for example in finance and some areas of science, rather than made them possible.

On the other hand, I am persuaded that Jews have also had some important negative influences. I am morally certain that Jewish involvement in the radical left in the early to middle part of the last century was a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for many of the horrific events in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. (About this, of course, one can disagree. I am simply saying that I find the evidence compelling.) But the main point is that I came to see Jewish groups as competitors with the European majority of the U.S., as powerful facilitators of the enormous changes that have been unleashed in this country, particularly via the successful advocacy of massive non-European immigration into the U.S.

I found that I was being transformed in this process from a semi-conservative academic who had little or no identification with his own people into an ethnically conscious person—exactly as predicted by the theory of social identity processes that forms the basis of my theory of anti-Semitism (see MacDonald 1998a). In fact, if one wants to date when I dared cross the line into what some see as proof that I am an “anti-Semite,” the best guess would probably be when I started reading on the involvement of all the powerful Jewish organizations in advocating massive non-European immigration. My awareness began with my reading a short section in a standard history of American Jews well after the first book was published. The other influences that I attributed to Jewish activities were either benign (psychoanalysis?) or reversible—even radical leftism, so they didn’t much bother me. I could perhaps even ignore the towering hypocrisy of Jewish ethnocentrism coinciding as it does with Jewish activism against the ethnocentrism of non-Jewish Europeans. But the long-term effects of immigration will be essentially irreversible barring some enormous cataclysm.

I started to realize that my interests are quite different from prototypical Jewish interests. There need to be legitimate ways of talking about people who oppose policies recommended by the various Jewish establishments without simply being tarred as “anti-Semites”. Immigration is only one example where there are legitimate conflicts of interest. As I write this (November, 2001), we are bogged down in a war with no realizable endgame.
* * *

It is perhaps true that by the time I finished CofC I should have stated my attitudes in the first chapter. Instead, they are placed in the last chapter of CofC—rather forthrightly I think. In a sense putting them at the end was appropriate because my attitudes about Jewish issues marked a cumulative, gradual change from a very different world view.

The point of CofC that really galls people is the idea that we should simply acknowledge this bias in (some) Jewish researchers as we do in others. There are a great many books on how Darwin and Galton were influenced by the general atmosphere of Victorian England, but writing of a Jewish bias immediately results in charges of “anti-Semitism.”
* * *

[Frank] Salter also notes that those, such as John Tooby and Steven Pinker, who have denigrated my competence as a researcher in the media, have failed to provide anything approaching a scholarly critique or refutation of my work. Sadly, this continues. While there have been a number of ringing denunciations of my work in public forums, there have been no serious scholarly reviews by these critics, although they have not retracted their scathing denunciations of my work.

In the case of the reversal in U.S. immigration policy, [besides the Jews] there simply were no other pressure groups that were pushing for liberalized, multi-racial immigration during the period under consideration (up to the enactment of the watershed immigration bill of 1965). Nor were there any other groups or intellectual movements besides the ones mentioned in CofC that were developing images of the U.S. as a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society rather than a European civilization.

* * *

What is remarkable is that a wealthy, powerful, and highly talented ethnic group was able to pursue its interests without those interests ever being the subject of open political discussion by mainstream political figures, for at least the last 60 years—since Lindbergh’s ill-fated Des Moines speech of 1941.

The downgrading of the ethnic aspect of Judaism essentially allowed Jews to win the ethnic war without anyone even being able to acknowledge that it was an ethnic war. For example, during the immigration debates of the 1940s-1960s Jews were described by themselves and others as “people of the Jewish faith.” They were simply another religion in an officially pluralistic religious society, and part of Jewish posturing was a claim to a unique universalistic moral-religious vision that could only be achieved by enacting legislation that in fact furthered their particularist ethnic aims.

* * *

The Soviet government killed over 20 million of its own citizens, the vast majority in the first 25 years of its existence during the height of Jewish power. It was a “state against its people”. Stalin, Beria, and Ordzhonikidze were Georgians; Dzerzhinsky, the ruthless head of the Checka (Secret Police) during the 1920s, was a Pole with strong pro-Jewish attitudes. The Bolshevik revolution therefore had a pronounced ethnic angle: To a very great extent, Jews and other non-Russians ruled over the Russian people, with disastrous consequences for the Russians.


CofC is really an attempt to understand the 20th century as a Jewish century—a century in which Jews and Jewish organizations were deeply involved in all the pivotal events. From the Jewish viewpoint it has been a period of great progress, though punctuated by one of its darkest tragedies. In the late 19th century the great bulk of the Jewish population lived in Eastern Europe, with many Jews mired in poverty and all surrounded by hostile populations and unsympathetic governments. A century later, Israel is firmly established in the Middle East, and Jews have become the wealthiest and most powerful group in the United States and have achieved elite status in other Western countries. The critical Jewish role in radical leftism has been sanitized, while Jewish victimization by the Nazis has achieved the status of a moral touchstone.

The Judaization of the West is nowhere more obvious than in the veneration of the Holocaust as the central moral icon of the entire civilization. These developments constitute a profound transformation from the tradition of critical and scientific individualism that had formed the Western tradition since the Enlightenment. More importantly, because of the deep-seated Jewish hostility toward traditional Western culture, the Judaization of the West means that the peoples who created the culture and traditions of the West have been made to feel deeply ashamed of their own history—surely the prelude to their demise as a culture and as a people.

The present Judaized cultural imperium in the West is maintained by a pervasive thought control propagated by the mass media and extending to self-censorship by academics, politicians, and others well aware of the dire personal and professional consequences of crossing the boundaries of acceptable thought and speech about Jews and Jewish issues. It is maintained by zealously promulgated, self-serving, and essentially false theories of the nature and history of Judaism and the nature and causes of anti-Semitism.

None of this should be surprising. Jewish populations have always had enormous effects on the societies where they reside because of two qualities that are central to Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy: High intelligence (including the usefulness of intelligence in attaining wealth) and the ability to cooperate in highly organized, cohesive groups (MacDonald 1994). This has led repeatedly to Jews becoming an elite and powerful group in societies where they reside in sufficient numbers—as much in the 20th-century United States and the Soviet Union as in 15th-century Spain or Alexandria in the ancient world. Although Jews make up less than 3 percent of the population, they constitute more than a quarter of the people on the Forbes magazine list of the richest four hundred Americans. A remarkable 87 percent of college-age Jews are currently enrolled in institutions of higher education, as compared with 40 percent for the population as a whole (Thernstrom & Thernstrom 1997). Jews are indeed an elite group in American society (see also Chapter 8).

My perception is that the Jewish community in the U.S. is moving aggressively ahead, ignoring the huge disruptions Jewish organizations have caused in the West.



A Contents Page for the full preface to MacDonald’s Culture of Critique (you can skip my little intro if you wish) is available in this blog: here.


EileenOCnnr said...

"[Frank] Salter also notes that those, such as John Tooby and Steven Pinker, who have denigrated my competence as a researcher in the media, have failed to provide anything approaching a scholarly critique or refutation of my work."

Don't know about Tooby, but Pinker should definitely be ashamed of his position against MacDonald's work. I remember him saying that he wouldn't even read any of MacDonald's writings because it wasn't scientific. How does he know it's not scientific if he doesn't read it, eh?

I otherwise admire Pinker, but am embarassed on his behalf in this case. I guess he is a "scientist" until the research hits too close to home. :-/

Chechar said...

@ “I remember him saying that he wouldn't even read any of MacDonald's writings because it wasn't scientific. How does he know it's not scientific if he doesn't read it, eh?”

Takuan Seiyo wrote recently at GoV: “...not of a single published page in English, and that includes the output of Kevin MacDonald”. But last year he wrote at GoV that he had “not read his books”.

There are four important MacDonald books out there, three of them academic. How does Seiyo knows that “not of a single published page in English, and that includes the output of Kevin MacDonald” is reliable “in discussing the Jewish negatives”? Either since the last year Seiyo read every published page by MacDonald, thereby becoming a MacDonald expert, or he is a wizard who knows the content without reading it!

Incidentally, when I still admired Seiyo I didn’t know what to say about something that MacDonald himself wrote in his rebuttal of the Seiyo GoV article. MacDonald noted that Seiyo had surreptitiously added a word in his GoV article when quoting him (“here Seiyo added the word ‘threat’ to what I wrote, presumably to darken up the passage a bit”).

Chechar said...

>How does Seiyo knows

(above) should read:

>How does Seiyo know

How I wish having been educated in an English-speaking country!

EileenOCnnr said...

Chechar said [well, quoted MacDonald]: "here Seiyo added the word ‘threat’ to what I wrote, presumably to darken up the passage a bit."

I saw that, too. That's bizarre. I'd like to think Seiyo made a mistake ('cause I generally like to think the best of people), but it's an interesting "mistake" to make, isn't it?

Either it was a genuine mistake or a "Fruedian slip" on Seiyo's part, or he changed the passage on purpose, which is a pretty low thing to do. :-/

Chechar said...


Your posts in the previous threads have been so illuminating that I invoked the spirit of what you wrote in my latest entry on “an Auster quote”.


danielj said...

How I wish having been educated in an English-speaking country!

You sorta said this in an incorrect fashion.

Was it on purpose? If it was, it is funny. Although, it was funny and ironic if it wasn't.

Chechar said...

This Thursday (here) Conservative Swede posted this comment at GoV:

Yes, it's like in The Body Snatchers. We are surrounded by them everywhere, among our friends etc. But it is even worse than in the movie, since unlike in the movie there are false friends, who will even warn against the body snatchers, but still burst out with "antisemite!" or "Nazi!", in the same manner.

"The Body Snatchers" is Taksei’s main metaphor of his magnus opus From Meccania to Atlantis (see, e.g., this).