My Letter to the Anti-Semites got a lot of action and more than a few complaints. In fact, there were so many comments, e-mails and replies on social media, I started to lose track. I did promise to address some of them and there is a theme to most of the push back, so this post should cover most of the territory. The longest response was from someone calling himself Spencer Quinn, posted at Greg Johnson’s site, in the form of a letter. Since it covers the bulk of the complaints, I’ll start with it first.
Let’s start with the first assertion. I did not describe antisemitism “as racism against Jews, but also as contempt for them.” Racism is a dislike for people of another race, usually blacks. Antisemitism is a dislike for Jews. I don’t think of either in moral terms, anymore than I would think of a dislike for ice cream in moral terms. I pointed out at the start that I once knew a guy who hated Greeks. I never understood his reason, nor did I care. There is no accounting for taste and a like or dislike of groups of people is a matter of taste.
Further, I never set out to argue for or against antisemitism. I simply stated why I was not interested in becoming an anti-Semite. My main reason is that anti-Semites never stop talking about Jews. It is an obsession that appears to consume their life, at the expense of everything else. So much so that anti-Semites are baffled as to why anyone would not want to be anti-Semite. They are sure that the only reason someone is not an anti-Semite is they are not up to speed on the latest theories and require additional proselytizing.
That may seem like a quibble, but it is vitally important. In common usage, racism and Antisemitism are about morality. The prevailing orthodoxy says it is immoral, a sin against nature, to prefer your own race or not like another ethnic group. I think that’s nonsense and reject it completely. In fact, a rejection of the prevailing orthodoxy’s moral framework is what animates this blog. Morality has no role in me not being a racist. I’m not a racist for the same reason I’m not into anime. I don’t find it interesting or useful.
Quinn asks, “What if you missed something in MacDonald’s analysis that would shake your skepticism a little bit?” Well, when the facts change, my opinions change. He then asks, “Is it possible to be completely swayed by all of MacDonald’s arguments and still not be an anti-Semite as you describe it?” Everything remains in the set of possible until proven to be impossible. Even then, there are black swans. McDonald makes some useful observations, but I’m not persuaded by his theory explaining them.
As I and many others have pointed out over the years, biology, geography and clannishness better explain Jewish exceptionalism in modern America. The case is far from closed, but it is a testable theory that does a better job of explaining observable reality than McDonald. The counter to this from the anti-Semites, one Quinn includes in his letter, is that Jews are never over-represented in right-wing intellectual movements. “Where is the right-wing Marx? Where is the Jewish Madison” they ask.
The easy answer is libertarianism. There would be no libertarian movement without Ludwig von Mises. There certainly would not have been an Austrian school of economics without Jews. Milton Friedman was probably the most influential economist on earth in the 20th century and he was no one’s idea of a leftist. Modern libertarianism is a sad joke, but their critique of socialist economics was monumentally important in the fight against communism last century. Again, that’s an obvious example that never gets mentioned.
McDonald, of course, would argue that head counting of this sort is pointless, because libertarians have no power or influence. He makes this point in this video interview the other day. Since no right-wing intellectual movement has ever had any success, this means that the Jews he cares to count, can only be in left-wing intellectual movements. This sort of deck stacking is why I don’t find his theory very persuasive. It’s just a tautology decorated with appropriated scientific jargon and speculative theories.
That brings me to this bit from the Quinn letter:
I think you might have anticipated this question since you included the caveat “not explicitly anti-Semitic,” as in, “Every intellectual movement since Jewish emancipation,that was not explicitly anti-Semitic, saw an over representation of Jews.” Ah, but this kind of puts the cart before the horse, doesn’t it? This implies that anti-Semitism came out of nowhere, as if in the late nineteenth-century Jews flooded all academic and professional fields except for the one that was dominated by people who were already anti-Semites. This ignores the possibility that the so-called anti-Semite got that way in large part after being exposed to the unswerving Leftism of the Jews.
Not to be rude, but this is nonsense on stilts. Western hostility toward Jews dates to at least the Romans. As Greg Cochran pointed out in his book, The 10,000 Year Explosion, we have zero evidence pointing to Jewish exceptionalism until well into the Middle Ages. In fact, Jewish exceptionalism very well may have been the result of extreme persecution of Jews at a certain point in the Middle Ages. The surviving population possessed a high IQ and the verbal dexterity we have come to associate with the Ashkenazim.
A common criticism, one you see all over Quinn’s letter, is best expressed as, “Why are all things I don’t like full of Jews?” I call this Magic Jew Theory. The anti-Semite is forever playing “Where’s Shlomo?” in an effort to pin his sorrows on the Jews. They root around until they find a Jew, shout “Eureka!” and then proceed to explain how it is all the fault of the Jews. When Kevin McDonald speaks of Jewish influence, he uses the same language Progressives use when describing structural racism. It’s a form of the post hoc fallacy.
All of this gets to the core of my critique of Progressivism and the Conservative response to it over the last half century. Progressives cast everything in moral terms. An idea or fact is either moral or immoral. They also demand that all opinions be connected with a moral authority on the subject. If you like something, you better have a reason. The result is an immoderate culture in which one is either all good, or all bad. There is never a middle ground. The world is divided into those inside the walls and those outside the walls.
Modern anti-Semites have embraced the same framework. The morality is turned on its head, with regards to Jews, but the JQ is entirely a moral issue for them. Similarly, it is not enough to just not like Jews. They have to have an authority dispense the correct opinions on all aspects of the issue. Kevin McDonald is not the Karl Marx of antisemitism. He is the L. Ron Hubbard. As we see with the American Left, the anti-Semite has a binary view of the world. You’re either on his pro-white team or you are a shabbos goy.
My argument, with regards to identity politics in the age of demographics, is that the winners will have developed a positive, independent identity around which to rally their people. The losers will be those who rely on exogenous forces to define them. Can antisemitism be useful in developing a positive white identity? Maybe, but not in its current form and certainly not by embracing crank science. That’s why I have no use for it. It’s not because it is immoral, but because it does nothing to further the cause of white people.