Letter To The Antisemites
Letter To The Antisemites
[411 Note: Man, I love people who don’t coddle to the sensitive – and speak directly. Which is why we feature the Zman frequently on this site. And this recent post about Jewish people and “anti-semitism” is spot on. While he does leave out or skim-over issues that might play a role in the demographically disparate areas (like in the movie, entertainment, news, finance, pornography, political, holy crap I could go on) industries – this is still an amazing piece of honest and straightforward talk you just rarely find these days. Props to the thinkers and writers of today!]
From time to time, I am approached by an anti-Semite hoping to convince me to join their thing. Most people, of course, think antisemitism is a bad thing, the worst thing, but anti-Semites think otherwise. Recently, a person calling himself Lawrence has showed up in the comment section of my YouTube channel and here on the blog, inviting me to join the world of antisemitism. Given some posts related to this topic are in the queue, I thought it was a good time to respond to this generous invitation to become an anti-Semite.
First off, and this cannot be stressed enough, I don’t think antisemitism is a great sin. I once worked for a guy who hated Greeks. Anything wrong in the world, according to him, was the fault of the Greeks. He was a bigot, of course, but as far as I knew he never caused anyone harm, not even Greeks. He was just a weirdly eccentric person, who had unusual opinions about the world. In the grand scheme of things, there are many worse vices a man can have, than a bias toward another group or a race of people.
Here is my favorite way of explaining this to people puzzled by my indifference to the great crimes of antisemitism and racism. Imagine someone moving house across the street. You find out that the new neighbor is an anti-Semite. Now, imagine a second neighbor moves in and you learn he is a methamphetamine dealer. Which neighbor troubles you more? Only a nut would say the anti-Semite is the bigger worry. The point is there is a very long list of things that are worse than holding negative opinions.
Now, as far as my opinion on antisemitism, I must admit I have a negative view of it, just as I have a negative view of racism. The mistake people like Lawrence make is in thinking that race realism is the same as racism. If I were a racist, I would not live among black people. I can be quite realistic about the nature of blacks, without holding black people in contempt. In fact, I have a great deal of sympathy for black people. The reason for that is I am well aware of the biological reality that underlies the plight of blacks in America.
Similarly, I am a realist, with regards to Jews in America. I’ve written quite a bit on Jewish exceptionalism. I did a long podcast episode examining the alt-right’s arguments on the JQ. I’ve written critiques of Jewish social customs. I’ve had debates in the comments sections here with Jews about Jewish issues. Hell, I stood in a room full of Jews once, explaining and defending the humor of Andrew Anglin. The point is that you can discuss, even as a non-Jew, all the issues involved in the JQ, without being an anti-Semite.
Now, many anti-Semites have encouraged me to “take the red pill” on the JQ so then I would come to appreciate what antisemitism brings to the party. The claim is that once you accept the biological reality of Jewish subversiveness, then antisemitism fits like a glove. I generally assume to this to mean the theories of Kevin McDonald, the retired professor of psychology, who wrote the book Culture of Critique. John Derbyshire called him the Karl Marx of antisemitism, which is turning out to be prophetic.
Well, I have read Kevin McDonald. I think he makes an excellent case against Boasian anthropology, Freudian psychoanalysis, and Frankfurt School critical theory. In fact, his arguments against these intellectual movements should be required reading for anyone trying to understand how things went so terribly wrong in the West. Further, there is no disputing his observation that these movements were dominated by Jews. In fact, all of the monstrous ideologies of the last era had an over representation of Jews.
The truth is though, Jews are over represented in everything that requires a high level of math and verbal skill. Every intellectual movement since Jewish emancipation, that was not explicitly anti-Semitic, saw an over representation of Jews. Intellectual movements tend to attract intellectuals. They also tend to be located in urban areas, especially urban capitals in Europe, where Jews have always lived. Therefore, no one should be surprised that Jews are over represented in left-wing political and cultural movements.
The main argument of McDonald is that Judaism is a “group evolutionary strategy” engineered to promote Jewish interests at the expense of the host society. He argues that Judaism promoted eugenic practices favoring high intelligence, conscientiousness, and ethnocentrism, so Jews reached the late Middle Ages with these qualities in extraordinary surplus. Once Jews were allowed to participate in Western society, they were uniquely equipped to dominate intellectual movements, turning them to Jewish advantage.
While admitting that is perfectly plausible, it has always struck me as a bit like intelligent design. This unique tool kit for undermining Western society evolved for the purpose of undermining a Western society, that only came into existence recently. In fact, this group evolutionary strategy came pretty close to getting all European Jews killed half a century ago. Jewish dominance today is entirely due to America opening up the country to Eastern European Jews at the start of the last century. Apparently, Jews really plan ahead.
The bottom line, with regards to Kevin McDonald and the general idea of Jews being a hostile and subversive people, is that it could be true. It could also be true that Jews have followed the pattern of all minority populations and gravitated to the people in charge, seeing them as protectors. In America, that means Yankee Progressives, who have, in one form or another, dominated the country since Gettysburg. Jewish intelligence and high verbal dexterity means they have come excel in left-wing movements.
As you can see, I’m well acquainted with the arguments and I’m not instinctively hostile to most of them. Like everyone with some knowledge of human evolution, I’m a bit skeptical of group evolutionary strategy. It could be a real thing or it could be nonsense. There was a time when people thought phrenology was a real thing. Within my lifetime smart people were sure you could be talked out of insanity. There have been a lot of nutty fads in human sciences, so skepticism is a prudent position until more data comes in.
Obviously, my resistance to antisemitism is not based in ignorance of the material or fear of the morality police. The real issue for me is is that anti-Semites taste Jews in their sandwich. They are like a man who has only mastered how to use a hammer. He sees every problem as a nail. In the case of anti-Semites, everything is blamed on the Jews to the point of absurdity. It seems to me that in order to be an anti-Semite, one has to commit their life to it, like joining the priesthood or a religious cult. It must define one’s life.
While I bear no ill will to those of you who have become anti-Semites, I just don’t think it is the place for me. My group evolutionary strategy, as it were, is to enjoy the fullness of life, even the parts that are not so good. Obsessing over Jews all the time seems like a waste of time. If there comes a time when I have to obsess over Jews all the time, then I’ll do what I must, but for now, I have lots of other things that interest me. No hard feelings and I wish you luck in your business, as long as it does not interfere with my business.
Update: Answering the critics
FYI – before you get your panties in a bunch – Zman followed up afterward, in response to the truckload of hatemail he got:
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.