Posted by: L | July 24, 2007

The Race Thing: Derbyshire on McDonald

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I went back and looked for the Derbyshire review of Kevin McDonald. That’s the piece the Jewcy interview I referred to in my previous post started from.Derbyshire’s criticism of it seems right to me. Which is why I think that tabooing discussions like that doesn’t do any good. A bad argument can usually be shown up for being bad.

Besides that, JD’s own criticism isn’t free from a couple of errors: for one thing, that reference to the 1924 immigration restrictions as being non-racist but only raciaLIST.

(And I will need to go back and research it a bit more).

But I recall it had a color component in it, not just a fear of the destabilizing effects, as D says.

Read the Thind decision, based on color (1923).

Anyway, here’s D in his usual blunt words:

 
The American Conservative
March 10th, 2003
 
[Couple of notes here. (1) The review title, like most titles of pieces, was not mine. It was thought up by the editors of The American Conservative. For the record, I submitted this review under the suggested title “The Jew Thing.” (2) This review generated a lot of to-ing and fro-ing with readers and commentators. I have put some of this, with my own responses to it, in my “Notes” pages.]
 
The Marx of the Anti-Semites


The Culture of Critique
By Kevin MacDonald
1stBooks; 466 pp. $9.00

One evening early on in my career as an opinion journalist in the U.S.A., I found myself in a roomful of mainstream conservative types, standing around in groups and gossiping. Because I was new to the scene, a lot of the names they were tossing about were unknown to me, so I could not take much part in the conversation. Then I caught one name that I recognized. I had just recently read and admired a piece published in Chronicles under that name. I gathered from the conversation that the owner of the name had once been a regular contributor to much more widely read conservative publications, the kind that have salaried congressional correspondents and full-service LexisNexis accounts, but that he was welcome at those august portals no longer. In all innocence, I asked why this was so. “Oh,” explained one of my companions, “he got the Jew thing.” The others in our group all nodded their understanding. Apparently no further explanation was required. The Jew thing. It was said in the kind of tone you might use of an automobile with a cracked engine block, or a house with subsiding foundations. Nothing to be done with him, poor fellow. No use to anybody now. Got the Jew thing. They shoot horses, don’t they?

Plainly, getting the Jew thing was a sort of occupational hazard of conservative journalism in the United States, an exceptionally lethal one, which the career-wise writer should strive to avoid. I resolved that I would do my best, so far as personal integrity allowed, not to get the Jew thing. I had better make it clear to the reader that at the time of writing, I have not yet got the Jew thing — that I am in fact a philosemite and a well-wisher of Israel, for reasons I have explained in various places, none of them difficult for the nimble web surfer to find.

If, however, you have got the Jew thing, or if, for reasons unfathomable to me, you would like to get it, Kevin MacDonald is your man. MacDonald is a tenured professor of psychology at California State University in Long Beach.. He is best known for his three books about the Jews, developing the idea that Judaism has for 2,000 years or so been a “group evolutionary strategy.” The subject of this review is a re-issue, in soft cover, of the third and most controversial of those books, The Culture of Critique, first published in 1998. Its subtitle is: “An evolutionary analysis of Jewish involvement in twentieth-century intellectual and political movements.” The re-issue differs from the original mainly by the addition of a 66-page preface, which covers some more recent developments in the field, and offers responses to some of the criticisms that appeared when the book was first published. The number of footnotes has also been increased, from 135 to 181, and they have all been moved from the chapter-ends to the back of the book. A small amount of extra material has been added to the text. So far as I could tell from a cursory comparison of the two editions, nothing has been subtracted.

The main thrust of this book’s argument is that Jewish or Jewish-dominated organizations and movements engaged in a deliberate campaign to de-legitimize the Gentile culture of their host nations — most particularly the U.S.A. — through the twentieth century, and that this campaign is one aspect of a long-term survival strategy for the Jews as an ethny. In MacDonald’s own words: “[T]he rise of Jewish power and the disestablishment of the specifically European nature of the U.S. are the real topics of CofC.” He illustrates his thesis by a close analysis of six distinct intellectual and political phenomena: the anti-Darwinian movement in the social sciences (most particularly the no-such-thing-as-race school of anthropology associated with Franz Boas), the prominence of Jews in left-wing politics, the psychoanalytic movement, the Frankfurt School of social science (which sought to explain social problems in terms of individual psychopathology), the “New York intellectuals” centered on Partisan Review during the 1940s and 1950s, and Jewish involvement in shaping U.S. immigration policy.

MacDonald writes from the point of view of evolutionary psychology — a term that many writers would put in quotes, as the epistemological status of this field is still a subject of debate. I have a few doubts of my own on this score, and sometimes wonder whether evolutionary psychology may eventually turn out to be one of those odd fads that the human sciences, especially in the U.S.A., are susceptible to. The twentieth century saw quite a menagerie of these fads: Behaviorism, Sheldonian personality-typing by body shape (ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph), the parapsychological reseaches of Dr. J.B. Rhine, the sexology of Alfred Kinsey, and so on. I think that the evolutionary psychologists are probably on to something, but some of their more extreme claims seem to me to be improbable and unpleasantly nihilistic. Here, for example, is Kevin MacDonald in a previous book: “The human mind was not designed to seek truth but rather to attain evolutionary goals.” This trembles on the edge of deconstructionist words-have-no-meaning relativism, of the kind that philosopher David Stove called “puppetry theory,” and that MacDonald himself debunks very forcefully in Chapter 5 of The Culture of Critique. After all, if it is so, should we not suppose that evolutionary psychologists are pursuing their own “group evolutionary strategy”? And that, in criticizing them, I am pursuing mine? And that there is, therefore, no point at all in my writing, or your reading, any further?

To be fair to Kevin MacDonald, not all of his writing is as silly as that. The Culture of Critique includes many good things. There is a spirited defense of scientific method, for example. One of the sub-themes of the book is that Jews are awfully good at creating pseudosciences — elaborate, plausible, and intellectually very challenging systems that do not, in fact, have any truth content — and that this peculiar talent must be connected somehow with the custom, persisted in through long pre-Enlightenment centuries, of immersing young men in the study of a vast body of argumentative writing, with status in the community — and marriage options, and breeding opportunities — awarded to those who have best mastered this mass of meaningless esoterica. (This is not an original observation, and the author does not claim it as such. In fact he quotes historian Paul Johnson to the same effect, and earlier comments along these lines were made by Koestler and Popper.) MacDonald is very scathing about these circular and self-referential thought-systems, especially in the case of psychoanalysis and the “pathologization of Gentile culture” promoted by the Frankfurt School. Here he was precisely on my wavelength, and I found myself cheering him on. Whatever you may think of MacDonald and his theories, there is no doubt he believes himself to be doing careful objective science. The same could, of course, be said of Sheldon, Rhine, Kinsey et al.

It is good to be reminded, too, with forceful supporting data, that the 1924 restrictions on immigration to the U.S. were not driven by any belief on the part of the restrictionists in their own racial superiority, but by a desire to stabilize the nation’s ethnic balance, which is by no means the same thing. (In fact, as MacDonald points out, one of the worries of the restrictionists was that more clever and energetic races like the Japanese would, if allowed to enter, have negative effects on social harmony.) MacDonald’s chapter on “Jewish involvement in shaping U.S. immigration policy” is a detailed survey of a topic I have not seen discussed elsewhere. If the Jews learned anything from the twentieth century, it was surely the peril inherent in being the only identifiable minority in a society that is otherwise ethnically homogeneous. That thoughtful Jewish-Americans should seek to avoid this fate is understandable. That their agitation was the main determinant of postwar U.S. immigration policy seems to me more doubtful. And if it is true, we must believe that 97 per cent of the U.S. population ended up dancing to the tune of the other 3 per cent. If that is true, the only thing to say is the one Shakespeare’s Bianca would have said: “The more fool they.”

Similarly with MacDonald’s discussion of Jewish involvement in the Bolshevik takeover of the Russian Empire and the many horrors that ensued. This was until recently another taboo topic, though the aged Alexander Solzhenitsyn, presumably feeling he has nothing much to lose, has recently taken a crack at it. I believe MacDonald was driven by necessity here. Having posited that Jews are out to “destroy” (this is his own word) Gentile society, he was open to the riposte that if, after 2,000 years of trying, the Jews had failed to accomplish this objective in even one instance, Gentiles don’t actually have much to worry about. So: the Jews destroyed Russia. Though MacDonald’s discussion of this topic is interesting and illuminating, it left me unconvinced. As he says: “The issue of the Jewish identification of Bolsheviks who were Jews by birth is complex.” Paul Johnson gives only 15-20 percent of the delegates at early Party congresses as Jewish. If the other 80-85 per cent were permitting themselves to be manipulated by such a small minority, then we are back with Bianca.

Since the notion of “group evolutionary strategy” is central to MacDonald’s case, I wish he had been better able to convince me of its validity. For instance: I happen to be fairly well acquainted with the culture and history of China, a nation which, like the diaspora Jews, awarded high social status and enhanced mating opportunities to young men who had shown mastery of great masses of content-free written material. Anyone who has read stories from the premodern period of China’s history knows that the guy who gets the girl — who ends up, in fact, with a bevy of “secondary wives” who are thereby denied to less intellectual males — is the one who has aced the Imperial examinations and been rewarded with a District Magistrate position. This went on for two thousand years. Today’s Chinese even, like Ashkenazi Jews, display an average intelligence higher by several points than the white-Gentile mean. So: was Confucianism a “group evolutionary strategy”? If so, then plainly the Chinese of China were, in MacDonald’s jargon, the “ingroup”. But then… what was the “outgroup”?

The more I think about the term “group evolutionary strategy,” in fact, the more I wonder if it is not complete nonsense. From an evolutionary point of view, would not the optimum strategy for almost any European Jew at almost any point from A.D. 79 to A.D. 1800 or so have been conversion to Christianity? Rather than learning to argue fine points of theology, wouldn’t a better strategy have been to learn, say, fencing, or Latin? Sure, the Jews held together as a group across 2,000 years. The gypsies held together pretty well, too, across many centuries; yet their “group evolutionary strategy” was the opposite of the Jews’ at almost every point. And the Jewish over-representation in important power centers of Gentile host societies became possible only after Jewish emancipation — which, like abolition of the slave trade, was an entirely white-Gentile project! Did the genes of 12th-century Jews “know” emancipation was going to happen 700 years on? How? If they didn’t, what was the point of their “evolutionary strategy”? There is a whiff of teleology about this whole business.

Kevin MacDonald is working in an important field. There is no disputing the fact that we need to understand much more than we currently do about how common-ancestry groups react with each other. Group conflicts are a key problem for multiracial and multicultural societies. Up till about 1960, the U.S. coped with these problems by a frank assertion of white-Gentile ethnic dominance, very much as Israel copes with them today by asserting Jewish ethnic dominance. This proved to be quite a stable arrangement, as social arrangements go. It was obviously objectionable to some American Jews, and it is not surprising that they played an enthusiastic part in undermining it; but they were not the sole, nor even the prime, movers in its downfall. It was replaced, from the 1960s on, by a different arrangement, characterized by racial guilt, shame, apology, and recompense, accompanied by heroic efforts at social engineering (“affirmative action”). This system, I think it is becoming clear, has proved less stable than what went before, and has probably now reached the point where it cannot be sustained much longer. What will replace it? What will the new arrangement be?

At times of flux like this, there are naturally people whose preference is for a return to the older dispensation. It is obvious that Kevin MacDonald is one of these people. If this is not so, he has some heavy explaining to do about phrases like: “the ethnic interests of white Americans to develop an ethnically and culturally homogeneous society.” Personally, I think he’s dreaming. The older dispensation wasn’t as bad as liberal commentators and story-tellers would have us believe, but it is gone for ever, and will not return. For America, the toothpaste is out of the tube.

And on the point of Israel having something very much like the old American dispensation, I am unimpressed by MacDonald’s oft-repeated argument — it is a favorite with both Israelophobes and antisemites — that it is hypocritical for Jews to promote multiculturalism in the U.S. while wishing to maintain Jewish ethnic dominance in Israel. Unless you think that ethnic dominance, under appropriate restraining laws, is immoral per se — and I don’t, and Kevin MacDonald plainly doesn’t, either — it can be the foundation of a stable and successful nation. A nation that can establish it and maintain it would be wise to do so. The U.S.A. was not able to maintain it, because too many Americans — far more than 3 per cent — came to think it violated Constitutional principles. Israel, however, was founded on different principles, and there seems to be no large popular feeling in that country for dismantling Jewish-ethnic dominance, as there was in Lyndon Johnson’s America for dismantling European dominance. The Israelis, most of them, are happy with Jewish-ethnic dominance, and intend to keep it going. Good luck to them.

The aspect of Macdonald’s thesis that I find least digestible is his underlying assumption that group conflict is a zero-sum game, rooted in an evolutionary tussle over finite resources. This is not even true on an international scale, as the growing wealth of the whole world during this past few decades has shown. On the scale of a single nation, it is absurd. These Jewish-inspired pseudoscientific phenomena that The Culture of Critique is concerned with — Boasian anthropology, psychoanalysis, the Frankfurt School and so on — were they a net negative for America? Yes, I agree with MacDonald, they were. Now conduct the following thought experiment. Suppose the great post-1881 immigration of Ashkenazi Jews had never occurred. Suppose the Jewish population of the U.S. in 2003 were not the two to four per cent (depending on your definitions) that it is, but the 0.3 per cent it was at the start of the Civil War. Would anything have been lost? Would America be richer, or poorer? Would our cultural and intellectual life be busier, or duller?

It seems incontrovertible to me that a great deal would have been lost: entrepreneurs, jurists, philanthropists, entertainers, publishers, and legions upon legions of scholars: not mere psychoanalysts and “critical theorists,” but physicists, mathematicians, medical researchers, historians, economists — even, as MacDonald notes honestly in his new preface, evolutionary psychologists! The first American song whose words I knew was “White Christmas,” written by a first-generation Ashkenazi Jewish immigrant. The first boss I ever had in this country was a Jew who had served honorably in the U.S. Marine Corps. Perhaps it is true, as MacDonald claims, that “most of those prosecuted for spying for the Soviet Union [i.e. in the 1940s and 1950s] were Jews.” It is also true, however, that much of the secret research they betrayed to their country’s enemies was the work of Jewish scientists. The Rosenbergs sold the Bomb to the Soviets; but without Jewish physicists, there would have been no Bomb to sell. Last spring I attended a conference of mathematicians attempting to crack a particularly intractable problem in analytic number theory. A high proportion of the 200-odd attendees were Jews, including at least two from Israel. Sowers of discord there have certainly been, but on balance, I cannot see how anyone could deny that this country is enormously better off for the contributions of Jews. Similarly for every other nation that has liberated the energies and intelligence of Jewish citizens. Was Hungary better off, or worse off, after the 1867 Ausgleich? Was Spain better off, or worse off, before the 1492 expulsions? “To ask the question is to answer it.”

Now, Kevin MacDonald might argue that he, as a social scientist, is not obliged to provide any such balance in his works, any more than a clinical pathologist writing about disease should be expected to include an acknowledgment that most of his readers will be healthy for most of their lives. I agree. A scientist, even a social scientist, need not present any facts other than those he has uncovered by diligent inquiry in his particular narrow field. He is under no obligation, as a scientist, to soothe the feelings of those whose sensibilities might be offended by his discoveries. Given the highly combustible nature of MacDonald’s material, however, it wouldn’t have hurt to point out the huge, indisputably net-positive, contributions of Jews to America, right at the beginning of his book, and again at the end. MacDonald has in any case been fairly free in CofC with his own opinions on such matters as U.S. support for Israel, immigration policy, and so on. He is entitled to those opinions: but having included them in this book, his claim to dwell only in the aery realm of cold scientific objectivity does not sound very convincing.

This is, after all, in the dictionary definition of the term, an antisemitic book. Its entire argument is that the Jews, collectively, are up to no good. This may of course be true, and MacDonald is entitled to say that the issue of whether his results are antisemitic is nugatory, from a social-science point of view, by comparison with the issue of their truth content. I agree with that, too: but given the well-known history of this topic, it seems singularly obtuse of MacDonald not to keep a jar of oil close at hand to spread on the troubled waters his work is bound to stir up. From my own indirect, and rather scanty, knowledge of the man, I would put this down to a personality combination of prickliness and unworldliness, but I am not sure I could persuade less charitable souls that my interpretation is the correct one, and that there is not malice lurking behind MacDonald’s elaborate sociological jargon.

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Responses

  1. How is MacDonald’s argument unsound? As Derbyshire himself admitted, in his exchange with JK at Jewcy, he is intimidated by the reality of Jewish power in this country. So are most other conservative journalists. The editors of The American Conservative forced him to change the title of his piece to “The Marx of the Anti-Semites” because they were afraid of the Jews. They dance around on eggshells about this topic. Why? If the “anti-semites” are utterly wrong, why would they do that? That’s not a refutation of MacDonald at all. It is a confirmation of this thesis, at least in part.

    Let’s leave aside for the moment the question of whether this is a “group evolutionary strategy” pursued by Jews which is rooted ultimately in their genetics. I’m not sure if I buy into that myself, but I have spent years investigating the matter on my own and have come to similar conclusions, long before I ever heard of Kevin MacDonald.

    The only thing that interests me is this: did the American Jewish community play a decisive role in the demonization of racialism in the mid-twentieth century; to what extent does the American Jewish community influence our culture and foreign policy? Let us take a snapshot of the American elite. Jews account for:

    1.) 56% of those who work in the social sciences.
    2.) 61% of those who work in the humanities.
    3.) 75% of America’s most influential intellectuals.

    Those numbers come from Yuri Slezkine’s The Jewish Century, page 368, a Jewish source. Can we continue?

    4.) 40% of the wealthiest Americans.
    5.) 40% of the leading partners at New York and Washington, DC law firms.

    Those numbers come from David Hollinger’s Cosmopolitanism and Solidarity, page 144, not an anti-semitic source.

    6.) In 1983, 30% of American billionaires.
    7.) In 1986, 50% of the most influential Wall Street investment bankers, money managers, arbitagers, buyout specialists, speculators, commodities traders, and brokers.

    That was over twenty years ago. The source is Edward Shapiro’s A Time for Healing: American Jewry Since World War II, a Jewish source.

    8.) In 1980, 14% of the media elite were Jews and 23% were raised in a Jewish household. 50% were “atheists.” Care to guess the ethnic background of those?

    Those numbers come from S. Robert Lichter’s The Media Elite: America’s New Powerbrokers, page 22, a Jewish source. That was also 27 years ago.

    9.) In 1969, 17% of the tenure and tenure-track faculty in America’s most elite universities.
    10.) This included: 26% of physicists, 28% of economists, 20% of philosophers, 22% of historians, 34% of sociologists, and 36% of professors of law.

    Those numbers are 38 years out of date. They also come from Hollinger’s Cosmopolitanism and Solidarity, page 144, not an anti-semitic source.

    I would say that is data sufficient to establish that Jews have a massive and overwhelming distorting effect upon American culture, in particular, what passes for discourse about race relations in this country. I didn’t even bother to cite figures re: to major Hollywood studies. Jews are more influential in the entertainment media than they are anywhere else.

    But let us continue. How involved were Jews in the American Civil Rights Movement and other radical causes during the 1960s and 1970s?

    The Jewish participation in the radical student movements of the 1960s and early 1970s was comparable to the Jewish participation in Eastern European socialism and prewar American Communism. In the first half of the 1960s, Jews (5 percent of all American students) made up between 30 and 50 percent of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) membership and more than 60 percent of its leadership; six out of eleven Steering Community members of the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley; one-third of the Weathermen arrested by the police; 50 percent of the membership of California’s Peace and Freedom Party; two-thirds of the white Freedom Riders who went to the South in 1961 to fight racial segregation; one-third to one-half of the “Mississippi Summer” volunteers of 1964 (and two of the three murdered martyrs); 45 percent of those who protested the release of students’ grades to draft boards at the University of Chicago; and 90 percent of the sample of radical activists studied by Joseph Adelson at the University of Michigan. In 1970, in the wake of the invasion of Cambodia and the killing of four students at Kent State (three of whom were Jewish), 90 percent of the Jewish students attending schools at which there were demonstrations claimed to have participated. In a 1970 nationwide poll, 23 percent of all Jewish college students identified themseles as “far left” (compared to 4 percent of Protestants and 2 percent of Catholics); and a small group of radical activists studied at the University of California was found to be 83 percent Jewish. A large study of student radicalism conducted by the American Council of Education in the late 1960s found that a Jewish background was the single most important predictor of participation in protest activities.

    When, in 1971-73, Stanley Rothman and S. Robert Lichter surveyed 1,051 students at Boston University, Harvard University, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and the University of Michigan, they discovered that “53% of the radicals were of Jewish background, as were 63% of those who engaged in seven or more protests, 54% of those who led three or more protests, and 52% of those who formed three or more protest groups.” Most important, they found that “the dichotomy between Jews and non-Jews provided the most parsimonious means of accounting for the many other social and psychological aspects of New Left radicalism . . . After examining our results, we concluded that there was little point in dividing our non-Jewish category into several ethnic or denominational components, because these subgroups differed only slightly in their adherence to radical ideas. Jews, by contrast, were substantially more radical than any of the non-Jewish religions or ethnic subgroups.”

    Slezkine, 348-349

    Do Jews have a particular bent for far left politics in the United States?

    The Jewish contribution to the Left in the United States during the twentieth century ranks the highest of any immigrant or ethnic group. From the early 1900s until the present, American Jewry has provided socialist organizations and movements with a disproportionate number — at times approaching or surpassing a majority — of their leaders, activists, and supporters. This was the situation in the case of the Socialist Labor party at the turn of the century and in the case of the New Left in the 1960s as well.

    Liebman, Jews and the Left, 1

    I would say that they do. Where, pray tell, could racialists have ever gotten the idea that Jews particularly hostile to racialism? The ADL and AJC are amongst our biggest fans! Always have been, ever since the days of Madison Grant and Conquest of a Continent. Franz Boas, Otto Klineberg, Ashley Montagu, Tim Wise, Stanley Levinson, Stephen J. Gould, Richard Lewontin – the leading lights of American anti-racism – it reads like a Who’s Who List of American Jews.

    No, the reason that racialists get hung up on the “Jew thing” is because it is simply impossible to ignore. You can’t understand the transformation of America from the WASP country it was in the 1920s to the universalist cosmopolitan country it was by the 1970s without running into the iceberg of what some have termed the “Jewish Question.”

    You don’t have to be David Duke or Kevin MacDonald to realize that. Eric P. Kaufmann arrives at a similar, if not identical conclusion in The Rise and Fall of Anglo America. I have it right here beside my desk. In fact, virtually everything I know about the matter has come from reading Jewish sources.

    This is not even really denied. In fact, there are many accounts by Jews that celebrate this aspect of Jewish history, most recently the Slezkine book. It is just that when inquisitive Gentiles piece together the puzzle and begin to draw the opposite values based conclusion – maybe our demographic displacement in our own country isn’t such a great thing – from the same facts that this is denounced with the chant of “anti-semitism.”

  2. […] response to the thread about this on Lila’s […]

  3. On my way out, so let me just say – I didn’t dispute the influence of Jews on American culture — not that I have studied those figures closely.

    I am suggesting that how you argue from that to an intentional ‘Jewish’ strategy may be a logical minefield. I think that’s Derbyshire’s point.

    Is the paucity of, say, women in leading hard science faculties in the US necessarily and only a result of active discrimination against them? (I believe Larry Summers got himself into trouble trying to negotiate that one).

    Conversely could Jewish preponderance in many intellectual fields not necessarily be the result of discrimination in their favor….or, to reach further, of an active evolutionary strategy — apart from whether such a reading of evolutionary theory is viable and to what extent..

    As to an earlier point – if Einstein came up with the theory of relativity, does that make the Th of R a “Jewish” theory..

    You notice my refutation did not need any ad hominem cry of antisemitism, as you imply…

    Not at all. I just think, as I said before, it’s not a very sound argument as an argument.

  4. It seems incontrovertible to me that a great deal would have been lost: entrepreneurs, jurists, philanthropists, entertainers, publishers, and legions upon legions of scholars: not mere psychoanalysts and “critical theorists,” but physicists, mathematicians, medical researchers, historians, economists — even, as MacDonald notes honestly in his new preface, evolutionary psychologists!

    Derbyshire is being intentionally mendacious here. I have been reading him for many years now. This strikes me more as a calculated attempt to publicize MacDonald’s work than anything else. I’m not convinced that he truly believes what he says here: oh, Jewish intellectuals may have Pavloved the very foundations of our civilization, and MacDonald is right on that point, but there are so many great Jewish entertainers and comedians (think of Woody Allen), so overall they have been a net plus for America! How many cultural conservatives – his target audience – would agree with that? No, I think Derbyshire is playing with memes here.

  5. I see. If one ignores Kevin McDonald, one is censoring him. If one denounces him, one is unable to do intellectual battle. If one writes him up and shows where he is intellectually lacking, then one is actually giving him publicity but doing so under cover of disagreeing.

    A bit circuitous I think..

    And now I must vanish.

    My evolutionary strategy demands that I go and work or my racial group may fail in due course to undermine the nation…

  6. I am suggesting that how you argue from that to an intentional ‘Jewish’ strategy may be a logical minefield. I think that’s Derbyshire’s point.

    How so? Do Jews organize themselves politically to advance their interests in this country as as Jews? Absolutely. I have worked in Washington and before that I worked in government in North Carolina. I have had to personally respond to letters – all the time – from constituents about this or that policy being “bad for the Jews.”

    What is the American Jewish Committee? What is AIPAC? What is the ADL? What is the American Jewish Congress? What is the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society? What is the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations? Certainly not phantasms that only “collectivists” and “anti-semites” are hallucinating. No, in terms of the ethnic lobbies on Capitol Hill, the pro-Jewish Lobby (and that is exactly what it is) is without rival.

    The logical difficulty actually lies with libertarians. Libertarians, for purely ideological reasons, are uncomfortable with the idea that individuals have group allegiances and group identities in addition to personal ones. Reality as it exists is otherwise. It is not taboo in the slightest in America for Jews to argue about whether this or that policy is “good for the Jews” or “bad for the Jews.”

    The ADL, AJC, AIPAC and so forth strategize constantly in this respect all the time and also with their counterparts in Israel. That’s not a conspiracy. It is actually done quite openly; plainly, for anyone to see.

    Check this out. It is Eugene Volokh of The Volokh Conspiracy writing in the WSJ Opinion Journal:

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/federation/feature/?id=110010172

    ^^ Here you have a frank recent discussion in the mainstream press about exactly what is the appropriate level of anti-semitism that is “good for the Jews.” Volokh takes the position that some anti-semitism is “good for the Jews” because it discourages assimilation and helps maintain Jewish group solidarity.

    Is the paucity of, say, women in leading hard science faculties in the US necessarily and only a result of active discrimination against them?

    I would share my opinion on the matter, but I suspect you might censor it, so I will pass on this question. For some reason we are expected to believe that all individuals – and by extension all groups – are equally intelligent and talented.

    Conversely could Jewish preponderance in many intellectual fields not necessarily be the result of an active evolutionary strategy — apart from whether such a reading of evolutionary theory is viable and to what extent..

    Why are there so many Jews in academia today? Answer: because the anti-semitic quotas that were imposed on them at Ivy League universities during the 1920s were dismantled. And why was that? Because the organized Jewish community – with the backing of American Jews in general – crusaded to have them removed. Such things were “bad for the Jews,” were problematic for that reason, and had to be removed.

    As to an earlier point – if Einstein came up with the theory of relativity, does that make the Th of R a “Jewish” theory..

    No, it doesn’t. In my view, all the Einsteins in the world don’t compensate for the Adornos, Derridas, Sontags (“the white race is the cancer of human history”) and Levi Stausses that have led the assault against the foundations of Western civilization.

    You notice my refutation did not need any ad hominem cry of antisemitism, as you imply…

    I didn’t have you in mind above. Specifically, I was thinking of the Jews who crack the whip of “anti-semitism” whenever they hear Gentiles say something about their culture that they dislike.

  7. Those antisemitic quotas were not racist or ethically abhorrent in anyway, were they now?

    And people did not come to see that because they were ethically or logically persuaded in anyway — they were simply being puppeteered by Jewish groups?

    Yes – pro-Israeli political groups are active and very successful. No one stops other groups from acting equally effectively – at least, not so far as I know.

    But between discussing the political power of lobbyists and finding a genetic predisposition in a racial group is a leap of logic too far. One needs to have an agenda already and a predisposition…

    I will discuss this in relation to conflations of racism, Christianity and imperialism in my next post ….

    And now, firmly, goodbye.

  8. I see. If one ignores Kevin McDonald, one is censoring him. If one denounces him, one is unable to do intellectual battle. If one writes him up and shows where he is intellectually lacking, then one is actually giving him publicity but doing so under cover of disagreeing.

    A bit circuitous I think..

    I think you are looking at one article that Derbyshire has written and drawing the wrong conclusion. You have to look at everything he has written over the years as a conservative journalist – the sum of his output – to understand his position on the matter. John Derbyshire, unlike anonymous electrons like me, swims within the waters of “respectable” DC-NY political opinion. He is an establishment figure who has to write under his own name. In order to maintain his status, he has to avoid running afoul of certain taboos. He has to avoid pissing off powerful groups who are always looking for a reason to Imus him. Buchanan does the exact same thing. So does Peter Brimelow.

    Why on earth would Derbyshire write an article about Kevin MacDonald – an obscure academic that few people have ever heard of – in the first place? See, Derbyshire is a gatekeeper, but unlike most other mainstream commentators, he is a conflicted one. He is entirely aware of the reality of Jewish power in this country. His true views on race are far closer to mine than the status quo. He shares our concerns about non-European immigration into North America and Europe.

    What Derbyshire has done here is this: look, here is this guy Kevin MacDonald, he believes that the Jews are incredibly powerful and have undermined the foundations of our culture (which should concern you as a cultural conservative), in many respects he is absolutely right, but I disagree with him because I happen to like several Jewish entertainers and scientists.

    He has raised a subject that would not otherwise have been raised. He has drawn the attention of conservatives to Kevin MacDonald. He has planted the meme. In other words, as a mainstream conservative, he has done absolutely everything in his power he can to promote Kevin MacDonald while remaining mainstream.

  9. But between discussing the political power of lobbyists and finding a genetic predisposition in a racial group is a leap of logic too far. One needs to have an agenda already and a predisposition…

    One last thing: from the standpoint of EGI, it makes sense for Indians to build a 2,500 mile wall around Bangladesh and to deport millions of illegal aliens from Bangladesh while cynically browbeating Americans for their failure to pass “comprehensive immigration reform” on “human rights” grounds. That’s obviously “good for the Indians.”

    It makes sense for Israel to build its Great Wall along the West Bank, worry endlessly about “the demographic problem” in Israel, and insist that the rights of Jews abroad be inviolably respected by their host Gentile societies. I don’t blame the Jews for looking out for the welfare of their own people. That’s only “good for the Jews.”

    What amuses me though is this “good for thee, not for me” sort of thinking: the ADL, for instance, opposing the “right of return” of Palestinians in Israel on demographic groups while browbeating all the “haters” and “bigots” and “racists” and “xenophobes” who stirred up opposition to “comprehensive immigration reform” in the United States.

    And take our beloved neighbor Mexico. What are we to make of Mexico, which ruthlessly enforces its border with Guatemala, and yet attacks Americans for their lack of commitment to “human rights” on immigration? Oh wait. That’s “good for the Mexicans.” It explains everything.

  10. You obviously do not know the ethnic composition or the history of modern India. Nor do you know my position on immigration. Nor have you lived in both places. But be that as it may, you didnot address any of my logical points.

    Re Derbyshire – no, I haven’t spent any great time on him to know if he is this or that. And don’t care one way or other. But I agree with his criticism of McDonald. If he is doing it disingenuously, that does not alter the validity of his critique. I am not a mindreader.

    And actually, I disagree with Singer but respect what I know of him personally. But utilitarianism is a pretty powerful theory, especially if you are given to state centric actions affecting a wide variety of people. Which is why I think we should avoid state centric action affecting a wide variety of people.

    The immigration issue is intimately tied to why the state has been successful at propagandizing on the Iraq war. It plays on cultural and ethnic grievances so generously on display among my gentle interlocuters.

    Respectfully, if we want to receive a fair hearing from others, we need to give them a fair hearing too.

    But yes, I think all this is diversionary….or could be used that way.

    Either we really want to move to better answers…or questions…. or we want to stay in the same place….

  11. What point are you referring to?

    That people think of themselves as only sovereign autonomous individuals? That’s one formulation.

    My response: that is simply not true. It is not true to say that, for example, the status of “being an American” is not important to the overwhelming majority of Americans. It is not true to say that the condition of being Jewish is not important to Israelis. Or the status of being Mexican to Mexicans. Or the status of being French to the French. Or that such considerations do not figure into the actions of the Israelis, Mexicans, French, Americans, and so forth.

    It is simple not true that “groups interests” and “group strategies” do not exist. In America, we are currently having a passionate discussion about what’s the best policy for America with respect to the ongoing War in Iraq. The Japanese argue endlessly about what is the best fiscal policy for Japan to pursue. Every nation in the world has such debates. Every family has debates about what is in the best interests of the household.

    Re: India. Does India have an immigration policy that even remotely resembles that of America? How would Indians feel about the prospect of open borders and two billion Chinese taking up residence in their subcontinent? They wouldn’t stand for it for a second, and you know it.

    In fact, India is building an enormous 2,500 mile wall around Bangladesh:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article782933.ece

    This is the same India which criticizes the United States for “human rights” violations and wants us to adopt a more permissive immigration policy that will benefit Indians. Do you see the irony?

    What is Derbyshire’s criticism of MacDonald? That it is “impossible” for America, as opposed to Israel, to adopt ethnically conscious domestic and immigration policies. That is an incredibly weak criticism of MacDonald and Derbyshire must certainly know this.

    The American South, for example, has never been ethnically homogeneous, but we practiced a combination of slavery and Jim Crow for three hundred years. For three centuries, American naturalization law was based on the criterion of “whiteness,” even if there were American Indians and blacks in the United States.

    Adopting race-conscious public policies in the United States would be far easier than creating a nation from scratch like the Israelis and fighting several wars to maintain their independence against vast coalitions of enemies. What’s more, Israel itself is not homogeneous either. Israel has a large Arab minority that Lieberman and so forth are always fretting about. What about the secession of the Republic of Ireland from the British Empire? Again, Derbyshire is transparently unpersuasive.

    He flatly asserts that America went from being a WASP nation in the 1920s to a cosmopolitan universalist nation in the 1970s and that Jews did not play the leading role in this. In support of this argument, he adduces no evidence, as opposed to MacDonald or Kaufmann who treat the matter in exhaustive detail. If just Kevin MacDonald were saying this, then maybe Derbyshire would have a point, but much of what MacDonald says is often noted by other historians, not a few of whom are Jewish themselves.

    Derbyshire fails to say that MacDonald – the “anti-semite” – relied almost exclusively upon Jewish sources in CoCC. I didn’t believe him myself when I first read the book. Then, I went through his sources, and to my surprise virtually everything he was saying was from Jewish sources. That’s really all CoCC is: a collection of bookmarks seen through the lens of evolutionary psychology.

  12. I deleted the post at OCD. I wasn’t suggesting at all that you “endorsed” my position. In fact, as you can see, I link to all the sites where I post at in the same fashion, for anyone browsing my site can see the other side of the debate.

  13. Thanks.

    And if you think I’m a fan of Indian governments, you’re mistaken.

    Nor do I support unrestricted immigration here at all. Quite the contrary.

    But the financializing of the world economy, so that the working world, here or abroad, gets to bear the burden while financial elites drain off wealth and then propagandize their interests as national or racial interests (not arguing that sometimes those might not coincide, but often they clash) is an issue that can’t be separated from the immigration issue. For that, you need to know the specific history of each country, the political play out, the claims on either side, the historical record of justice or injustice…you cannot compare situations across the world without a grasp of the realities under like- sounding terms.

    Otherwise you’d never understand why Iraq has a hold on the consciousness of the world…to a much bigger degree than Darfur while that’s reversed here in the US.

    It isn’t anti-Americanism (though I won’t deny that there are also other axes being ground – historical grievances and even anti-American bigotry) —

    Focus on the actions of this one state doesn’t mean I deny that other states mightn’t be – in their smaller spheres – doing reprehensible things to their people or other people…but the reality of power is that India doesn’t dominate the entire world in the way that the US does…so its actions have much more extensive consequences…

    I’m sure you know just how small the entire gdp of some third world nations is compared to big multinationals and even some rich individuals in the US, and even in India?

    The smaller states are looted by their elites, as well as western elites in cahoots. Those elites then get racial and religious fights going to keep everyone distracted…

    We need to see reality on the ground. Not labels.

  14. With respect to utilitarianism, or Marxism, or libertarianism, or any other pseudo-theology imagined up by philosophers, I would argue that none of these theoretical castles in the air can be taken all that seriously. There is a simple reason for this: our sense of morality is rooted in our emotions which ultimately have a genetic basis, not in airy abstractions, and certainly not in nature or the supernatural. Kevin MacDonald is absolutely right to argue that our minds have been shaped by evolution which in turn determines much of our behavior.

    Consider mating rituals in the United States. Think of all the money that we spend trying to impress the opposite sex: on nice clothes, plastic surgery, membership at the gym, cosmetics, sports cars, expensive dinners, etc. Why? It is utterly irrational, but it only makes sense when you understand the evolutionary logic at work behind it. The only thing evolution cares about is that we reproduce our genes. It will select for phenotypes accordingly. Thus, the utilitarian who maximizes his/her utility by deferring, say, marriage and family will simply be eliminated from the gene pool and replaced by the bimbo who gets knocked up instead.

    And what of libertarianism? You may have the “right” to exclude people from your home and/or propery, but libertarianism can’t explain why you would do so. Why not let two dozen strangers move in? Why act this way as opposed to that way?

  15. Please go and live in India a bit and take a look at the degree of crowding. Read about the flooding of refugees into the country after the war with China in thr 60s or with West Pakistan in the 70s and what the circumstances of the original partition was, the mess intentionally created in the NW — which is a very strategically important area to several countries, and who supported terrorism along borders on the west and east and maybe even south…

    That the thirdworld has corrupt self seeking elites isn’t in question. Nor that they are promoted by the US government as it suits it. Or that people are played off each other to distract naive people everywhere…

    Not that I object if either India or the US build walls on their border if they need to. That’s a better way to protect your population than preemptive war on foreign soil which destroys a couple of million people in a decade. But I wonder whether it will end up just another government boondoggle.

    By all means stop all immigration at once if you want. Do you think American multinationals would let that happen?

    But then don’t interfere in capital markets across the world, strong arm trade agreements, bribe and threaten in so called international fora…

    The strength or greatnesses of American cultural achievements and my admiration of them doesn’t stand in the way of my understanding what an imperial state and its rentier class has been upto over the past decades. I can — and most people can — differentiate pretty well between culture, society and state. It’s only propaganda that confuses them.

  16. You are setting up a false dichotomy between mind and body again. And one can see where some one is coming from philosophically without adhering to any grand theory…yes the emotions determine much of our reactions…

    That’s actually the topic of my new book on mobs…

    Now, case closed on this thread.

  17. 1.) I wasn’t suggesting you personally approve of the actions of the Indian government or American immigration policy. The point I was making is that the phenomena of group interests is entirely real and informs public policy. In India, this takes the form of building a 2,500 mile border fence around Bangladesh and urging the U.S. to adopt “comprehensive immigration reform” for more Indians will be able to acquire H1-B visas. This is “good for the Indians” which is why Indians support it, but instead they call it “human rights” or “matching willing workers with willing employers.”

    I’m not criticizing Indians at all for this “good for thee, not for me” policy. I am not expressing “ethnic resentments” against them either. Personally, I don’t blame Indians for coming to America, or for acting in the way that they do. No, I can completely understand their position, and sympathize with it.

    2.) I’m entirely aware of the linkages between Iraq, globalization, and American immigration policy. The SPP (a prototype for the North American Union) would be another example of this. Keep in mind that I have a master’s degree in IR from Duke.

    3.) I fully understand how America exercises its influence abroad and how it cynically dresses self-interested policies up in the clothes of freedom/democracy/equality/human rights.

    4.) Re: U.S. immigration policy. The U.S. is no longer an ethnostate like Israel or Finland. The American political elite, which is ethnically heterogeneous, was solidly behind “comprehensive immigration reform.” It was the public that was furious about it, that rose up and trashed the bill.

    The seeds of ethnic and class conflict in that debate were unmistakably clear. This is just the beginning. In the years to come, it will grow much worse. It happens to be one of the major reasons why Ron Paul’s presidential campaign is doing so well. More and more Americans are dropping out of the political mainstream. I might not be willing to support Ron Paul, but the James Bowerys of the world do.

    5.) Re: the corporate/imperial state. I completely agree with you that it is the enemy. We saw that in the recent immigration debate. As I said above, I don’t hate Indians or other immigrants for coming here. Why shouldn’t they try to improve their lives? That only makes sense.

    No, “hate” is a feeling that I reserve for people like George W. Bush, for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for Bill Gates and so forth. If it were not for people of this sort, there would be no Iraq, or comprehensive immigration reform, or billions of dollars of every year for Israel, or SPP/NAU, or “Transforming the Realm,” or NATO, or WTO, or World Bank, etc. They are the ones who have sold out their own people and who must pay the price.

    What I can’t understand is why this would make anyone a libertarian. If you resent the rising corporte world-state, why on earth would you shackle the hands of government and the people who would use the law to do something about this?

  18. Because again..who will guard the guardians? I don’t believe in revolutions in the world unless they start with internal ones..otherwise they only leave behind the slime of bureaucracy.

    The day we believe we don’t need the state is the day we won’t need it.

    If we have masters, it is because we are slaves.


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