Viewpoint: Kevin MacDonald won’t accept evidence supporting alternative theories about Jewish influence

| May 2, 2018

Kevin MacDonald now says that his “central goal has been to describe intellectual and political movements that were influential. The participation of individual Jews, such as the Jewish speakers at American Renaissance…, does not make AmRen a Jewish movement, nor does it make it influential.” He says he is only “concerned about where the power lies.”

Editor’s note: Nathan Cofnas is writing about the essay Kevin MacDonald responds to criticism of his theory of Jewish ethnocentrism and influence. Cofnas’s original piece was Analyzing Kevin MacDonald’s ‘Culture of Critique’ and the alt-right’s embrace of anti-Jewish ideology.

Notice the implication: Even if Jews are vastly overrepresented in leadership positions in anti-liberal, anti-multicultural movements (which they are), it won’t matter for MacDonald because these movements haven’t been “influential” and the “power” doesn’t lie with them. This effectively means that he will refuse to accept evidence that supports the obvious alternative to his theory, namely the “default hypothesis”: Because of their above average intelligence and concentration in influential urban areas, Jews will be overrepresented in all intellectual movements and activities that are not overtly anti-Semitic.

The case of American Renaissance is a good example of how Jews are overrepresented among the whole range of (non anti-Semitic) political movements. AmRen is the only major white nationalist organization that is not anti-Semitic. Jewish involvement in AmRen has gone far beyond the “participation of individual Jews.” Jews were 40% of the invited speakers at its first conference, and many of the most prominent people who have been associated with AmRen have been Jews. There are currently eleven books and pamphlets for sale on AmRen’s website (including three by founder Jared Taylor). Two of these are by Jews: Why Race Matters by Michael Levin, former professor of philosophy at City University of New York, and “The Color of Crime”—probably the most influential AmRen publication—by Edwin S. Rubenstein. (Ironically, Jewish involvement in AmRen seems to have dropped off in recent years in large part due to the increasing influence of MacDonald’s work, which has turned many educated white nationalists anti-Semitic.)

MacDonald says that he “can’t think of any prominent populist Jewish intellectuals.” It’s not clear what he means by “populist” or “intellectual.” Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump were both described as “populists,” but I assume MacDonald is referring to a white nationalist populism. If that’s what he means, it’s not clear that there are any prominent populist intellectuals in America today, Jew or gentile.

Related article:  How anti-Semitism shaped the genes of Jewish people

MacDonald says that “there is a sprinkling of Jews among paleoconservatives.” This is misleading. The term “paleoconservative” was coined by a Jew, Paul Gottfried (whom alt-right leader Richard Spencer described as a “mentor”). As I wrote in my first rejoinder to MacDonald, according to the “Prominent people” section of the Wikipedia entry for “Paleoconservatism,” 1/6 prominent paleoconservative politicians, 1/9 philosophers and scholars, and 1/5 journalists is Jewish. This makes Jews vastly overrepresented among prominent paleoconservatives despite the fact that many self-identified paleoconservatives are (at least implicitly) hostile to Jews. Once again, we find the pattern predicted by the default hypothesis and not predicted by MacDonald.

One final point. MacDonald keeps repeating that the Jews he discusses are “strongly identified Jews.” I have pointed out in both my paper and my rejoinder that, in almost all cases, he has no evidence for this other than the fact that these people were Jewish and (in some cases) spoke out against anti-Semitism, which does not actually prove that someone is a “strongly identified” Jew. For MacDonald, however, it seems that the only reasons to oppose anti-Semitism are that one is a strongly identified Jew, under the control of Jews, or alienated from society because of physical unattractiveness. (He recently offered the following explanation for why Jean-Paul Sartre fought against anti-Semitism: “Sartre was ugly by all accounts and 5-feet tall. No surprise growing up he felt rejected & had low social status. He turns this resentment into philosemitism (Jews are also rejected outsiders), hatred of traditional institutions, & into [the] theory [that] anti-Semitism is psychopathology.”)

In his reply, MacDonald claims that the figures he mentions, who espoused universalism and rejected Jewish nationalism, “often had complex and even self-deceptive Jewish identities.” This is a roundabout way of admitting that these figures never gave any indication that they cared about being Jews. Nevertheless, MacDonald concludes that their apparent apathy was “self-deceptive” because unconsciously they were strongly committed Jews. The practice of reinterpreting obvious counterexamples to a theory as supporting evidence is the essence of pseudoscience.

Nathan Cofnas is a graduate student in the philosophy of biology at the University of Oxford. Follow him on Twitter @nathancofnas

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.

15 thoughts on “Viewpoint: Kevin MacDonald won’t accept evidence supporting alternative theories about Jewish influence”

  1. Ironically, Jewish involvement in AmRen seems to have dropped off in recent years in large part due to the increasing influence of MacDonald’s work, which has turned many educated white nationalists anti-Semitic.

    This is false. The roster of speakers has changed in an effort to mix things up and get some new blood. There are plenty of younger Jews at AmRen, just not in speaking roles.

    Stick to the facts you know.

    • You can’t deny that people have gone out of their way to make Jews feel unwelcome at AmRem, since it’s on video: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RELmEPUy6lQ&t=16s).

      It’s not exactly unreasonable to suggest that some Jews who would otherwise be interested in getting involved do not do so because they have a fear, justified or otherwise, that they will be the object of abuse and claims they are a fifth column etc. While I can’t claim knowledge of AmRem, I know that there are blogs that I ceased commenting on, even ones with fairly philosemitic authors, because one just gets tired of reading endless comments attacking your co-ethnics as uniquely evil people when you are trying to talk about education policy or 19th century history or whatever. It’s really remarkable that any Jews turn up at all and would seem to support Cofnas’ argument: Jews are smart and like talking about ideas.

        • It’s not just about David Duke ‘making an ass of himself’ it’s about a longstanding Jewish contributor to AmRem leaving the room to a chorus of boos, David Duke being widely cheered and Jared Taylor smiling on stage like nothing untoward happened (and, for what it’s worth, it was 12 years ago). Lawrence Auster wrote about what a total disaster the whole thing was here: http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/005449.html

          As I said in my comment it’s hardly unreasonable to imagine that some Jews who might otherwise wish to contribute feel that it’s not worth the bother. More broadly, there’s not one word in my comment, or any other comment I have made, to indicate bigotry (or at least not against whites). I’ll be charitable and assume you just didn’t read beyond the video.

          • Typical of a bigot like you. I’m sure you and all your white neighbors in your all white neighborhood love clucking about diversity, while making sure to never get near it.

            You fool no one, bigot.

          • Once last time. It is totally obvious that Jews are less likely to participate in pro-white advocacy if by doing so they believe that they are likely to be in the company of anti-semites. People feel uncomfortable in a room if they suspect that many people in the room don’t like them. Duh. It is not unreasonable to suppose that some Jews who might otherwise be in interested in AmRen do not pursue that interest for that reason, especially since we actually know that certain Jews dropped out of the movement on exactly those grounds and publicly said as much.

            No rational person who read both my comments could possibly conclude that your responses were pertinent, let alone proportionate. The only possibilities are that you respond without first reading the comment you respond to, you are under the influence of some substance, or you suffer from some sort of mental disorder. Whatever the case, you are likely just to double down further with paranoia and irrelevant abuse, so there’s not much point in continuing. Shame, since you have a good blog that I read on a monthly basis.

          • You are fooling no one. You’re just trying to smear AmRen and Taylor. No rational person will be fooled by your act.

            Concern troll is not working for you. try another gag.

          • No-one is smearing Jared Taylor. His position is perfectly clear. Jews are welcome at AmRen and anti-Semites are welcome at AmRen on the proviso that they refrain from harassing Jewish participants. Plainly empathetic imagination is not your strong point, but perhaps you can understand that Jews are, ceteris paribus, less likely to want to attend a conference if they believe that 20% of the participants are hostile to their presence and 5% or so actually support their physical elimination. Nor do we even need to speculate since after the David Duke incident a number of Jews stopped participating and stated that this was there reason for doing so.

            Concern trolling has nothing to with it. The question is whether Cofnas’ example supports his overall argument as to the reason for Jewish over representation in Leftist intellectual movements. Maybe Jared Taylor is correct to have a big tent for anti-semites at the expense of dropping Jewish support, maybe not, but that’s not the issue. Try to remember the whole is/ought thing.

          • I find the whole argument regarding the participation (or not) of Jews in right wing movements maliciously circular. Rightists start movements that include antisemites and antisemitism – Jews understandably don’t want to join them – Jews are excoriated for not supporting right wing movements – therefore rightists were ‘correct’ about Jews all along and have their bias confirmed.

  2. If you need to look for a movement that is “Jewish” in the MacDonald sense and has been profoundly influential on the right and in fact has been a springboard into the movement for many who currently love Culture of Critique look no further than “right” libertarianism. Even ignoring those like Ayn Rand (who doesn’t quite fit this mold) the thread starts with von Mises and ends with Rothbard who was a racialist, a defender of the Confederacy, and hero to many on the far-right. Doesn’t this count as both Jewish dominated, as well as influential area both in the large in the 20th century US and with the far-right currently?

    • No, it does not count as a Jewish movement. Rothbard was only Jewish in ancestry, he did not in the least identify with Jewry as an ethnic group or Judaism as a religion. In fact, Rothbard was probably at least moderately AntiJewish, he opposed Israel and he supported White Nationalism. I know of a lot of AntiSemites who admire him such as Mark Weber and BlackAcidLizzard of BitChute and YouTube, Ive never met or read a strongly identified proud Jew who liked him.

      • But that misses the point. It is a fact that a disproportionate number of ethnic Jews comprised the early leadership of right libertarianism, just as for Bolshevism. In neither case did those involved necessarily identify with Jewry (indeed this was true of nearly all Bolsheviks). Indeed Rothbard supported White nationalism-but isn’t that the point? He never disavowed being a Jew; Indeed if we take MacDonald at face value he strongly suggests that Jews genetically engage in a group evolutionary strategy to destabilize Western Christian culture. Then should it matter if those involved identify proudly as Jews or not? If they need to, isn’t this tautological in the sense that of course no “proud Jew” is going to start an anti-Jewish movement? One can’t run the argument both ways in any logical manner.

        • Indeed if we take MacDonald at face value he strongly suggests that Jews genetically engage in a group evolutionary strategy to destabilize Western Christian culture. Then should it matter if those involved identify proudly as Jews or not? If they need to, isn’t this tautological in the sense that of course no “proud Jew” is going to start an anti-Jewish movement? One can’t run the argument both ways in any logical manner. End of quote from Dave I’m replying to. I’m not Kevin MacDonald, MacDonald knows who I am and he hates me, I’m not in agreement with his conspiracy theories about Jewry or his weird obsession with race and genetics, I’m not a a White Nationalist. Refuting MacDonalds crackpot ideas in no way refuted my point. My point was that Murray Rothbard was AntiJewish, regardless of his Jewish ancestry, and nothing he or most other Jews on the right who are not either neoconservatives or Jewish Nationalists/Zionists have done could be considered a Jewish movement or an act in the interest of Jewry. I would imagine you are a Jew on the right trying to make a dishonest argument for there being a lot of Jews on the right. It’s dishonest. There are probably more Negro African geniuses than Jews on the right. The Jewish Bolsheviks, by contrast, had a Jewish agenda to overthrow the Christian Germanic regime in Russia that they had a historic ethnic grudge. Jewish Bolsheviks like Trotsky and Lazar Kaganovich and perhaps even under there influence Stalin were influenced by historical ethnic grudges against the Germanic peoples. Rothbard was not influenced by any Jewish identity politics, indeed he seems to have seen himself more as a White than a Jew. There are not many Jews on the right, and those who are on the wrong tend to not be strongly identified Jews.

  3. I agree with Nathan Cofnas that Kevin MacDonald is a crackpot and a tin foil wearing conspiracy theorist and that MacDonald has an unhealthy obsession with his hatred of Jews, but the arguments in this article against MacDonald’s views are very disingenuous at best. And some of MacDonald’s views are correct. MacDonald is correct that Jews were disproportionately involved in Communism, even if we grant that he exaggerates there involvement in it. The Russian Social Democratic Party had a right-wing wing, the Menshevik party, that was almost entirely composed of Jews, and a left-wing, the Bolshevik Party, that was mostly composed of Jews. Trotsky and many of the original Communist revolutionaries in Russia such as Lazar Kaganovich, Adolf Yoffe and others were Jews, Lenin was of partly Jewish ancestry and admired Jewish culture, and Stalin possibly had some Jewish ancestry, he had Jewish features on his face such as a thin upper and thick lower lip, hair that looked frizzy or woolly and an acquiline nose, Stalin’s mistresses were mostly Jews, and these included Rosa Kaganoivch, the sister of Lazar Kaganovich, a Jew who was one of Stalin’s top officials, and despite Jewish claims appears also to have had a pro-Jewish attitude. Jews were vastly overrepresented in Lenin’s administration, and even in Stalin’s government they were still vastly overrepresented, although probably not as much as under Lenin. MacDonald is also correct that the far left in general had a great Jewish role in it, there were Non-Communist Jews involved in the far left like Rosa Luxemborg and Emma Goldman. MacDonald is also correct that one of the main forces pushing for open borders in the USA has been America’s Jewish Lobby, and in Europe the Jewish Lobbies have played a big role in pushing for open borders also. I don’t agree with MacDonald that Jewish Lobbies are the only forces pushing for open borders, big business and international capitalism also like open borders so they can get cheap labor, that’s why supposedly conservative political families like the Bush family favor open borders, but it would be willful ignorance to deny the role Jewish Lobbies play in promoting open borders. For Cofnas to argue there’s no merit to MacDonald’s statements that there are Jewish political movements that have promoted Communism, other far left politics, and open borders immigration policy is willful ignorance on Cofnas’s part because he doesn’t want to admit to himself that a group he identifies with on average promotes bad things. Cofnas is also making an extremely stupid argument here, he says that Jews who support American Renaissance having a disproportionate presence there must mean American Renaissance is a Jewish influenced movement if we accept that Communism and open borders have been Jewish influenced movements. That is a bizarre non sequitur and its also a dumb one because it gives tin foil wearing Anti-Jewish conspiracy theorists an argument to act as if American Renaissance were controlled opposition run by Jews, which of course is nonsense but some White Nationalist tin foil wearing crackpots believe. The Jews who participate in American Renaissance tend to be Jews who are less pro-Jewish or shall we say identify less with Jewry than the average Jew. Paul Gottfried, who Cofnas tries to use as an example of a Jew who is a White Nationalist or is at least sympathetic to White Nationalism, is only Jewish in an ethnic or racial sense, he does not in the least culturally or politically identify with Jewry. In fact, in his writings he is often very scathing in his criticism of Jews and scorning them for there promotion of left-wing causes, open borders and inordinate support for Israel, he often in his writings seems to dislike Jews more than Kevin MacDonald does. Thinking that Paul Gottfried supporting American Renaissance is evidence of Jews supporting White Nationalism for Jewish reasons would be as absurd as thinking Nathan Kapner’s support of MacDonald is done with a Jewish agenda of being pro-White Nationalism. Its a dumb theory and people who take it seriously will start believing tin foil nonsense about American Renaissance being controlled opposition controlled by Jewry, which is dumb. Actually, MacDonald is in a way to generous to Cofnas’s view, because he acts in his writings as if the Jewish movement called neoconservatives controlled the Republican Party, which is a dumb thesis, 80% of Jewish Americans vote Democratic, there are not that many Jews who are Republicans in the first place, so the idea Jews control the Republican Party is stupid. The only issues any significant amount of Jews identify with Republicans on is Republicans wanting to invade Muslim countries and supporting Israel, that’s it, in every other respect Jewish interests align more with the Democratic Party, for MacDonald there was a bigger or even equal Jewish influence within the Republican Party to the Jewish influence within the Democratic Party is dumb. And Cofnas thinking an equivalent amount of Jews support American Renaissance to ones who promote open borders is even dumber. MacDonald’s theory that this Jewish behavior is motivated by Jewish genetics is also dumb though, in this respect I would somewhat agree with Cofnas. Jewish political/ideological agendas are planned not in service to some evolutionary goal but just to make there group more powerful and to achieve the left-wing ideological agenda of the group, its not particularly related to genetics, if it were then it would be impossible to explain how so many Non-Jews such as Hillary Clinton are allied with the Jewish Lobby, while many ethnic Jews such as Paul Gottfried, Gilad Atzmon, Nathan Kapner and others have had Anti-Jewish views that put them in conflict with Jewry. The Romanov royal family of Russia had Jewish ancestry and they were quite Anti-Jewish, Hitler had some Jewish ancestry and held AntiJewish views, I have Jewish ancestry on my mother’s side but have generally been hostile to Jewry, while my father has no Jewish ancestry and is a philo-Semite. Jewish ideological and political movements are in service to cultural, not genetic goals. So there I would disagree with MacDonald. Jews are not genetically unique enough to truly be a race, Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews look more or less indistinguishable from Italians and other southern Europeans, and approximately half of Ashkenazi Jews have blonde hair and blue eyes, Oriental Jews look more or less indistinguishable from Arabs. Jews are not unique enough genetically to be a race, a fact even Hitler admitted, so they don’t have unique enough genetic interests that could serve to explain these movements promoting bad things they promote. So Jewish movements are promoting cultural, not biological or genetic objectives. Evidence for that proposition is in Gilad Atzmon’s The Wondering Who A Study of Jewish Identity Politics Atzmon stated that the original Jewish Nationalists/Zionists who founded Israel actually wanted to assimilate the Palestinians into Jewry and convert them to the religion of Judaism, that’s not conclusive proof that I’m correct that Jewish identity politics is more about culture than genetics, but it is supporting evidence. This is on pages 143-144 of the book. MacDonald is also mistaken to view these Jewish movements as conspiracies, for the most part they were open movements and there was nothing secretive or illegal about them with the exception of Communism, so they were not conspiracies excepting Communism prior to and during the revolution. MacDonald also engages in tin foil conspiracy theorizing, for example he has said he believes Israel was involved in JFKs murder, which is dumb. MacDonald also says dumb things, like his suggest Jean Paul Sartre developed a Jewish ideological because he was ugly. That’s a bizarre non sequitur.

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