In The Culture of Critique, Kevin MacDonald advances a carefully researched but extremely controversial thesis: that certain 20th century intellectual movements – largely established and led by Jews – have changed European societies in fundamental ways and destroyed the confidence of Western man. He claims that these movements were designed, consciously or unconsciously, to advance Jewish interests even though they were presented to non-Jews as universalistic and even utopian. He concludes that the increasing dominance of these ideas has had profound political and social consequences that benefited Jews but caused great harm to gentile societies. This analysis, which he makes with considerable force, is an unusual indictment of a people generally thought to be more sinned against than sinning.
The Culture of Critique is the final title in Prof. MacDonald's massive, three-volume study of Jews and their role in history. The two previous volumes are A People That Shall Dwell Alone and Separation and its Discontents, published by Praeger in 1994 and 1998. The series is written from a sociobiological perspective that views Judaism as a unique survival strategy that helps Jews compete with other ethnic groups. Prof. MacDonald, who is a psychologist at the University of California at Long Beach, explains this perspective in the first volume, which describes Jews as having a very powerful sense of uniqueness that has kept them socially and genetically separate from other peoples. The second volume traces the history of Jewish-gentile relations, and finds the causes of anti-Semitism primarily in the almost invariable commercial and intellectual dominance of gentile societies by Jews and in their refusal to assimilate. The Culture of Critique brings his analysis into the present century, with an account of the Jewish role in the radical critique of traditional culture.
The intellectual movements Prof. MacDonald discusses in this volume are Marxism, Freudian psychoanalysis, the Frankfurt school of sociology, and Boasian anthropology. Perhaps most relevant from a racial perspective, he also traces the role of Jews in promoting multi-culturalism and Third World immigration. Throughout his analysis Prof. MacDonald reiterates his view that Jews have promoted these movements as Jews and in the interests of Jews, though they have often tried to give the impression that they had no distinctive interests of their own. Therefore Prof. MacDonald's most profound charge against Jews is not ethnocentrism but dishonesty – that while claiming to be working for the good of mankind they have often worked for their own good and to the detriment of others. While attempting to promote the brotherhood of man by dissolving the ethnic identification of gentiles, Jews have maintained precisely the kind of intense group solidarity they decry as immoral in others. Celebrating Diversity
Prof. MacDonald claims that one of the most consistent ways in which Jews have advanced their interests has been to promote pluralism and diversity – but only for others. Ever since the 19th century, they have led movements that tried to discredit the traditional foundations of gentile society: patriotism, racial loyalty, the Christian basis for morality, social homogeneity, and sexual restraint. At the same time, within their own communities, and with regard to the state of Israel, they have often supported the very institutions they attack in gentile society.
Why is this in the interests of Jews? Because the parochial group loyalty characteristic of Jews attracts far less attention in a society that does not have a cohesive racial and cultural core. The Jewish determination not to assimilate fully, which accounts for their survival as a people for thousands for years – even without a country – has invariably attracted unpleasant and even murderous scrutiny in nations with well -defined national identities. In Prof. MacDonald's view it is therefore in the interest of Jews to dilute and weaken the identity of any people among whom they live. Jewish identity can flower in safety only when gentile identity is weak.
Prof. MacDonald quotes a remarkable passage from Charles Silberman: "American Jews are committed to cultural tolerance because of their belief – one firmly rooted in history – that Jews are safe only in a society acceptant of a wide range of attitudes and behaviors, as well as a diversity of religious and ethnic groups. It is this belief, for example, not approval of homosexuality, that leads an overwhelming majority of American Jews to endorse 'gay rights' and to take a liberal stance on most other so-called 'social' issues."
He is saying, in effect, that when Jews make the diversity-is-our-strength argument it is in support of their real goal of diluting a society's homogeneity so that Jews will feel safe. They are couching a Jewish agenda in terms they think gentiles will accept. Likewise, as the second part of the Silberman quotation suggests, Jews may support deviant movements, not because they think it is good for the country but because it is good for the Jews.
Prof. Silberman also provides an illuminating quote from a Jewish economist who thought that republicans had more sensible economic policies but who voted for the Democratic presidential candidate anyway. His reason? "I'd rather live in a country governed by the faces I saw at the Democratic convention than those I saw at the Republican convention." This man apparently distrusts white gentiles and voted for a racially mixed party even if its economic policies were wrong. What is good for Jews appears to come before what is good for the country.
Earl Raab, former president of heavily Jewish Brandeis University makes the diversity argument in a slightly different way. Expressing his satisfaction with the prediction that by the middle of the next century whites will become a minority, he writes, "We have tipped beyond the point where a Nazi-Caucasian party will be able to prevail in this country." He is apparently prepared to displace the people and culture of the founding stock in order to prevent the theoretical rise of an anti-Jewish regime. Prof. Raab appears to see whites mainly as potential Nazis, and is willing to sacrifice their culture and national continuity in order to defuse an imagined threat to Jews. This passage takes for granted the continued future existence of Jews as a distinct community even as gentile whites decline in numbers and influence.
In the same passage, Prof. Raab continues by noting that, "We [Jews] have been nourishing the American climate of opposition to bigotry for about half a century. That climate has not yet been perfected, but the heterogeneous nature of our population tends to make it irreversible..." – just as it tends to make the ultimate displacement of European culture also irreversible.
Prof. MacDonald traces the development of this diversity strategy to several sources. It is widely recognized that the German-Jewish immigrant Franz Boas (1858-1942) almost single-handedly established the current contours of anthropology, ridding it of all biological explanations for differences in human culture or behavior. Prof. MacDonald reports that he and his followers – with the notable exceptions of Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict – were all Jews with strong Jewish identities: "Jewish identification and the pursuit of perceived Jewish interests, particularly in advocating an ideology of cultural pluralism as a model for Western societies, has been the 'invisible subject' of American anthropology."
By 1915, Boas and his students controlled the American Anthropological Association and by 1926 they headed every major American university anthropology department. From this position of dominance they promoted the idea that race and biology are trivial matters, and that environment counts for everything. They completely recast anthropology so as to provide intellectual support for open immigration, integration, and miscegenation. They also laid the foundation for the idea that because all races have the same potential, the failures of non-whites must be blamed exclusively on white oppression. The ultimate conclusion of Boasian anthropology was that since environment accounts for all human differences, every inequality in achievement can be eliminated by changing the environment. This has been the justification for enormous and wasteful government intervention programs.
The entire "civil rights" movement can be seen as a natural consequence of the triumph of Boasian thinking. Since all races were equivalent, separation was immoral. The color line also sharpened white self-consciousness in ways that might make whites more aware of Jewish parochialism. Thus it was, according to Prof. MacDonald, that Jews almost single-handedly launched the desegregation movement. Without the leadership of Jews, the NAACP might never have been established, and until 1975 every one of its presidents was a Jew. Prof. MacDonald reports that in 1917, when the black separatist Marcus Garvey visited NAACP headquarters, he saw so many white faces that he stormed out, complaining that it was a white organization.
Prof. MacDonald concludes that the efforts of Jews were crucial to the "civil rights" transformation of America. He quotes a lawyer for the American Jewish Congress who claims that "many of these [civil rights] laws were actually written in the offices of Jewish agencies by Jewish staff people, introduced by Jewish legislators and pressured into being by Jewish voters."
While the Boas school was promoting integration and racial equivalence, it was also critical of, in Prof. MacDonald's words, "American culture as overly homogeneous, hypocritical, emotionally and aesthetically repressive (especially with regard to sexuality). Central to this program was creating ethnographies of idyllic [Third-World] cultures that were free of the negatively perceived traits that were attributed to Western culture."
The role of the anthropologist became one of criticizing everything about Western society while glorifying everything primitive. Prof. MacDonald notes that Boasian portrayals of non-Western peoples deliberately ignored barbarism and cruelty or simply attributed it to contamination from the West. He sees this as a deliberate attempt to undermine the confidence of Western societies and to make them permeable to Third World influences and people. Today, this view is enshrined in the dogma that America must remain open to immigration because immigrants bring spirit and energy that natives somehow lack. Authoritarian Personalities
In order to open European-derived societies to the immigration that would transform them, it was necessary to discredit racial solidarity and commitment to tradition. Prof. MacDonald argues that this was the basic purpose of a group of intellectuals known as the Frankfurt School. What is properly known as the Institute of Social Research was founded in Frankfurt, Germany, during the Weimar period by a Jewish millionaire but was closed down by the Nazis shortly after they took power. Most of its staff emigrated to the United States and the institute reconstituted itself at UC Berkeley. The organization was headed by Max Horkheimer, and its most influential members were T.W. Adorno, Erich Fromm, and Herbert Marcuse, all of whom had strong Jewish identities. Horkheimer made no secret of the partisan nature of the institute's activities: "Research would be able here to transform itself directly into propaganda," he wrote. (Italics in the original.)
Prof. MacDonald devotes many pages to an analysis of The Authoritarian Personality, which was written by Adorno and appeared in 1950. It was part of a series called Studies in Prejudice, produced by the Frankfurt school, which included titles like Anti-Semitism and Emotional Disorder. The Authoritarian Personality was particularly influential because, according to Prof. MacDonald, the American Jewish Committee heavily funded its promotion and because Jewish academics took up its message so enthusiastically.
The book's purpose is to make every group affiliation sound as if it were a sign of mental disorder. Everything from patriotism to religion to family – and race – loyalty are signs of a dangerous and defective "authoritarian personality." Because drawing distinctions between different groups is illegitimate, all group loyalties – even close family ties! – are "prejudice." As Christopher Lasch has written, the book leads to the conclusion that prejudice "could be eradicated only by subjecting the American people to what amounted to collective psychotherapy – by treating them as inmates of an insane asylum."
But according to Prof. MacDonald it is precisely the kind of group loyalty, respect for tradition, and consciousness of differences central to Jewish identity that Horkheimer and Adorno described as mental illness in gentiles. These writers adopted what eventually became a favorite Soviet tactic against dissidents: Anyone whose political views were different from theirs was insane. As Prof. MacDonald explains, the Frankfurt school never criticized or even described Jewish group identity – only that of gentiles: "behavior that is critical to Judaism as a successful group evolutionary strategy is conceptualized as pathological in gentiles."
For these Jewish intellectuals, anti-Semitism was also a sign of mental illness: They concluded that Christian self-denial and especially sexual repression caused hatred of Jews. The Frankfurt school was enthusiastic about psycho-analysis, according to which "Oedipal ambivalence toward the father and anal-sadistic relations in early childhood are the anti-Semite's irrevocable inheritance."
In addition to ridiculing patriotism and racial identity, the Frankfurt school glorified promiscuity and Bohemian poverty. Prof. MacDonald sees the school as a seminal influence: "Certainly many of the central attitudes of the largely successful 1960s countercultural revolution find expression in The Authoritarian Personality, including idealizing rebellion against parents, low-investment sexual relationships, and scorn for upward social mobility, social status, family pride, the Christian religion, and patriotism."
Of the interest here, however, is the movement's success in branding ancient loyalties to nation and race as mental illnesses. Although he came later, the French-Jewish "deconstructionist" Jacques Derrida was in the same tradition when he wrote:
"The idea behind deconstruction is to deconstruct the workings of strong nation-states with powerful immigration policies, to deconstruct the rhetoric of nationalism, the politics of place, the metaphysics of native land and native tongue... The idea is to disarm the bombs... of identity that nation-states build to defend themselves against the stranger, against Jews and Arabs and immigrants..."
As Prof. MacDonald puts it, "Viewed at its most abstract level, a fundamental agenda is thus to influence the European-derived peoples of the United States to view concern about their own demographic and cultural eclipse as irrational and as an indication of psychopathology." Needless to say, this project has been successful; anyone opposed to the displacement of whites is routinely treated as a mentally unhinged "hate-monger," and whenever whites defend their group interests they are described as psychologically inadequate. The irony has not escaped Prof. MacDonald: "The ideology that ethnocentrism was a form of psychopathology was promulgated by a group that over its long history had arguably been the most ethnocentric group among all the cultures of the world." Immigration
Prof. MacDonald argues that it is entirely natural for Jews to promote open immigration. It brings about the "diversity" Jews find comforting and it keeps America open to persecuted co-religionists throughout the world. He says Jews are the only group that has always fought for mass immigration; a few European ethnic organizations have made sporadic efforts to make it easier for their own people to come, but only Jews have consistently promoted open borders for all comers. Moreover, whatever disagreements they may have had on other issues, Jews of every political persuasion have favored high immigration.
This, too, goes back many years, and Prof. MacDonald traces in considerable detail the sustained Jewish pro-immigration effort. Israel Zangwill, author of the eponymous 1908 play The Melting Pot, was of the view that "there is only one way to World Peace, and that is the absolute abolition of passports, visas, frontiers, custom houses..." He was nevertheless an ardent Zionist and disapproved of Jewish intermarriage.
Although the statue of liberty, properly known as Liberty Enlightening the World, was a gift to the United States from France as a tribute to American political traditions, the sonnet by the Jewish Emma Lazarus helped change it into a symbol of immigration. Affixed to the base of the statue several decades after its construction, the poem welcomes to America "huddled masses yearning to breath free/The wretched refuse of your teeming shore."
Prof. MacDonald has discovered that implausible arguments about diversity being a quintessentially American strength have been made by Jews for a long time. He reports that in 1948 the American Jewish Committee was urging Congress to believe that "Americanism is the spirit behind the welcome that America has traditionally extended to people of all races, all religions, all nationalities." Of course, there had never been such a tradition. In 1952, the American Jewish Congress argued in hearings on immigration that "our national experience has confirmed beyond a doubt that our very strength lies in the diversity of our peoples." This, too, was at a time when U.S. immigration law was still explicitly designed to maintain a white majority.
It is often said that when the old immigration policy was scrapped in 1965, scarcely anyone knew, and no one predicted, that the new law would change the racial makeup of the country. Prof. MacDonald disputes this, arguing that this had been the objective of Jewish groups from the beginning.
Prof. MacDonald finds that Jews have been the foremost advocates of immigration in England, France, and Canada, and that Jewish groups were the most vocal opponents of independence for Quebec. Australian Jews led the effort to dismantle the "white Australia" policy, one reason for which was cited in an editorial in the Australian Jewish Democrat: "The strengthening of multi-cultural or diverse Australia is also our most effective insurance policy against anti-Semitism. The day Australia has a Chinese Australian Governor General I would feel more confident of my freedom to live as a Jewish Australian." Like Earl Raab writing about the United States, this Australian Jew is prepared to sacrifice the traditional culture, people, and identity of Australia to specifically Jewish interests. It would not be surprising if such an openly expressed objective did not have the opposite effect from the intended, and increase anti-Jewish sentiment.