Review by Caryl Johnston
The Sword in the Mouth
March 27, 2005
Commentaries on Literature About the Jews(3)
Kevin MacDonald:The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements, Published by Praeger in 1994; reissued by 1st books in 2002.
Kevin MacDonald contends that "intellectual activity in the service of evolutionary goals has been a characteristic of Judaism dating from the ancient world," and the third volume of his trilogy on the Jews argues the case by examining several intellectual movements in which Jews played a dominant role: Anthropology as developed by Franz Boas and his school; Psychoanalysis developed by Sigmund Freud; and the Frankfurt School of Social Research (also known as the Congress for Cultural Freedom) developed by Theodore Adorno, and Max Horkeimer, with Erich Fromm, Hannah Arendt, and others.
Framing these social and intellectual movements is the larger question of the Jewish critique of gentile culture and the enormous investment of Jewish lobbying groups and influence of public opinion to favor large-scale immigration of non-European groups into the USA and other Western societies.
Concerning the general "culture of critique," the embrace of Marxism by large numbers of Jews and the over-representation of Jews in Russian Bolshevism is examined.
This topic has been more recently taken up by Yuri Slezkine in his recent book, The Jewish Century [Princeton, 2004]
An article in today's Philadelphia Inquirer reminds us that the question of Jewish ethnicity remains of vital importance to many Jews. Describing the adoption by many Jewish couples of Asian infants - mostly girls, and mostly Chinese - the article mentions that, for many Jews, the practice forces them to confront 'what a Jewish kid looks like.' The author of a book on the widepread practice of Asian adoptions remarked that such children may face prejudice within the Jewish community itself -- "We should expect it," he said, "It would be foolish of us not to acknowledge that race is an issue in our culture."
Kevin MacDonald is an evolutionary psychologist at the University of California, Long Beach, and he became interested in Judaism as a "collective evolutionary strategy" that merited study.
His first book, A People That Shall Dwell Alone: Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy was an evolutionary study of Judaism, and the second, Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism presented an evolutionary theory of anti-Semitism.
The third and final volume under review here presents the several 20th century intellectual movements, spearheaded by people who strongly identified themselves as Jews, as another variant of the evolutionary strategy, as many of them, either overtly or covertly, saw these movements as serving Jewish interests.
Their intellectual advocacy was couched in a language of moral universalism that disguised moral particularism -- i.e., a way to serve particular interests of Jews.
Thus the study of such movements becomes inevitably involved with issues of deception or self-deception.
The Culture of Critique is a portent of what I suspect will become a passionate debate in the next phase of intellectual history -- that of coming to grips with "how the Western world has become Judaized."
Knowledge of this fact is certainly nothing new, although any expressions that this development may not be altogether positive are considered de trop. Paul Johnson's History of the Jews, a book entirely favorable to its subject, speaks of this "Judaization" in the realm of finance.
Johnson remarks that:
"It was the unconscious collective instinct of the Jews to depersonalize finance and to rationalize the general economic process... The Jews could do this because while intensely conservative (as a rule) within their own narrow and isolated world, they had no share in or emotional commitment to society as a whole, and so could watch its old traditions, methods and institutions being demolished without a pang -- could, indeed, play a leading role in the process of destruction. They were thus natural capitalist entrepreneurs." (Italics mine.)
Kevin MacDonald picks up the note, but plays a less complimentary tune. Where Paul Johnson sees anti-Semitism as the perverse habit of Christianity, MacDonald sees it as arising primarily from conflicts of interest and loyalty. He points to the inevitable double standard of Jewish rationalism, when it condemned racial bias in gentile society while overlooking its own.
In Weimar Germany anti-Semitism was fueled by the perception that Jews attempted to undermine gentile social cohesion while remaining highly committed to a cohesive group themselves. To acknowledge this social tension is not to jutify the Nazi persecution of the Jews. It is only to begin to take a step towards understanding it.
Leftist ideologies, couched in the language of moral universalism, appealed to Jews because it was a way of minimizing Jew-gentile differences while allowing the Jews to preserve their group identity.
Thus radical movements became a form of "crypto-Judaism" -- For "Jews can remain Jews because being a Jew is no longer important." The Jewish dominance of the Left, especially the Old Left, may have been a factor in causing it to be less effective in the recruitment of the gentile working class. In any case, the Left in the USA appears to be a scattered and a spent force, and the Jewish Old Left has metamorphosed - metastatized - into the neoconservative New Right.
The spent force of progressivist thought in the US has continued to sink deeper into the mire of atomism that caused it to be rejected by many Americans. Abortion, same sex marriage, and feminism are all destructive of the social bonds of gentile society.
"Radical individualism among gentiles," as MacDonald comments, "is an excellent prescription for the continuation of Judaism as a cohesive group."
That is because the high-investment parenting and strong group cohesion of Jews are relatively unaffected by such atomizing and disintegrating forces that are tearing America apart.
It is no wonder that "white America" pulled back in revulsion, no wonder they voted for George Bush, even against their interests. But "white America" rejected such an atomized leftism only to embrace a fundamentalist and Zionized Christianity. Truly, this was a diabolic exchange!
The Culture of Critique is written in the sober language of social science. But it is perhaps a harbinger of things to come. The Holocaust Cult prevents the open discussion of Jewish ethnocentrism while it memorializes the failed ideology of German racialism. Sooner or later people will demand that these monuments to Hitler be pulled down, and that Jews likewise repudiate the racialist element in their own faith.
A "culture of critique" analysis needs to be done of feminism, that daughter of Marxism -- "recycled class war adjusted for gender," as Henry Makow puts it.
In its sheer destructive power, feminism has been more effective in American society even than ideologies of class or race war.
Doublethink, deception and double standards have characterized the modern feminist movement ever since Betty Friedan compared the lot of the American housewife to that of a concentration camp victim.
I don't know if anyone has ever done a study of the proportion of Jewish women in the feminist movement, especially its leaders.
That study might prove to be very revealing. In my view feminism is mainly a masked critique of the patriarchalist and anti-womanist disposition of Judaism.
For Jewish women to have criticized it would have been too threatening - and even, with the strong tendency of Jews to close ranks and eschew ethnic self-criticism -- it would have been unthinkable. Hence the critique of the "patriarchy" was displaced to gentile society.
In any case, feminism has led to the 'economization' of womanhood -- that is, to the subjugation of the feminine to impersonal economic forces.
This has resulted in a marked decline of mothering and parenting skills and commitments in gentile society, as well as a spiritual loss of womanhood as a potential reservoir of moral influence.
American society is no less "male- dominated" than it was in 1950. If anything it is more so, even though many women have achieved high incomes and professional standing. Had those tendencies been allowed to develop naturally, which in the pre-radical feminist age they showed every sign of doing, women might have been less inclined to reject the inner dignity and reticence which so often inspired the moral power of their female forebears.