May 8, 2008
The professor the anti-Semites love
Kevin MacDonald, Cal State Long Beach, and the downside of academic freedom
(Page 2 - Previous Page)"Despite the fact that I personally disagree and even find deplorable some beliefs and opinions expressed by a few individuals on our campus, particularly those ideas that are hurtful of certain groups, I believe as Thomas Jefferson stated, that 'errors of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it,'" Alexander, who declined to be interviewed, said in a written statement.
"Universities should always ensure that good ideas always outweigh bad ideas," he continued. "Universities should also be firmly committed, even at times when it is against popular opinion, to freedom of thought, and when we act to restrict opinion from the far right or the far left, then it will not be long before we can no longer call ourselves a university."
But the pressure from the academic community to condemn MacDonald continues. During the past six weeks, the anthropology and history departments, as well as the Jewish studies program, all have issued statements denouncing MacDonald's work as "professionally irresponsible and morally untenable"; the psychology department voted to disassociate from his writings because of their popularity with "extremist groups."
"His approach to historical investigation is antithetical to our discipline in that he selects only those materials that support his preconceived thesis, while ignoring all evidence to the contrary," the history faculty's statement said. "MacDonald's misuse of historical methodology would be unacceptable in an undergraduate history paper; how much more disturbing, therefore, is the fact that in these writings he is identified as a professor at CSULB."
MacDonald's intellectual pursuits began innocently. In 1990, he'd been at Cal State Long Beach five years, teaching and researching child psychological development, when he read an article in the Los Angeles Times about the tight-knit 19th century Jewish community of Cheyenne, Wyo.
"They came with a distinct culture, community activities and forms of cooperation, and they practiced their religious rituals even in the most isolated conditions," the Times reported. "One child tells how before there was a rabbi in Cheyenne, his father dressed meat in the kosher tradition in the back of his furniture store."
The article made MacDonald think of animals.
He had graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1966 with a degree in philosophy and dreams of being a jazz musician. When reality sank in, MacDonald entered graduate school at the University of Connecticut in the mid-'70s, earning a master's in biology and then, four years later, a doctorate in biobehavorial science.
His research focused on the personalities of wolves, and by the time he left UConn in 1981 to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois, MacDonald was convinced that, like the lab wolves he'd studied, human behavioral tendencies also led back to specific genetic blueprints. And that is where his mind wandered when he read about Cheyenne's Jews.
"My adviser, Benson Ginsburg, wrote an article saying that wolves would be a better model for human behavior than chimpanzees, because of social bonds and their acting like a family," MacDonald said. "They have to police the boundaries and police in-group behavior; you can't have freeloaders. My earliest research on the behavior of Jews focused on that, and you see wolf packs do that."
MacDonald began to think of Judaism as the vehicle through which an evolutionary strategy was mechanized. He decided to read Paul M. Johnston's "A History of the Jews" and the Tanakh, or as MacDonald knew it, the Old Testament, and within short order, he was mentally outlining "A People that Shall Dwell Alone."
The book became the first in his series, "The Culture of Critique." "A People that Shall Dwell Alone" lays the foundation for MacDonald's theory of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy and briefly discusses other groups that he believes employ similar strategies: Gypsies, the Amish, Chinese living abroad.
Jews, he pointed out, are taught they are different -- God's chosen -- and they are encouraged to live lives that benefit other Jews. They also marry within the Tribe, and more often their neighbors within their extended family, MacDonald wrote. Focusing on the Ashkenazim of Central and Eastern Europe, he argued that competition for resources benefited Jews who chose niche businesses, like trading and banking. And in one of his most controversial claims, MacDonald wrote that, over time Jews have grown increasingly successful because of a eugenics program built into the religion -- Talmud study, which helped determine which men got the prettiest wives, the best business opportunities and the most children.
"These documents contain a vast amount of material for which there are no practical functions at all," MacDonald wrote. "The incredible elaboration of Jewish religious law in these writings suggests that this mass of material is the result of intense intellectual competition within the Jewish community and that the resulting Torah then provided an arena for intellectual competition within the Jewish community."
The second volume, "Separation and its Discontents," offers an evolutionary explanation for anti-Semitism, from the late Roman Empire to modern Diaspora life, and discusses Jewish strategies for combating discrimination. The most controversial portion of this book, Chapter 5, compares Nazism to Judaism.
"The National Socialist movement in Germany from 1933-1945 is a departure from Western tendencies toward universalism and muted individualism in the direction of racial nationalism and cohesive collectivism.... It may be usefully conceptualized as a group evolutionary strategy that was characterized by several key features that mirrored Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy."
MacDonald concluded that Nazi ideology "may well have been caused or at least greatly facilitated by the presence of Judaism as a very salient and successful racially exclusive antithetical group strategy within German society."
His final volume in the series, "The Culture of Critique," focuses on Judaism as a culture of belittling non-Jews and makes broad claims about Jewish dominance in media and the social sciences, identification with radical leftist politics and influence over immigration laws. He argues in the preface to the paperback edition (2002) that Jewish intellectuals and influentials have discovered, and are committed to, the best strategy for "destroying Europeans": convincing them of their own moral bankruptcy. "And thus," he wrote, "the intense effort among Jewish intellectuals to continue the ideology of the moral superiority of Judaism and its role as undeserving historical victim while at the same time continuing the onslaught on the moral legitimacy of the West."
MacDonald's newest addition to this library, "Cultural Insurrections," was published last month by Occidental Press. The book is a compilation of his essays from the past few years, with topics ranging from "Stalin's Willing Executioners" to "What Makes Western Culture Unique." In the book's final essay -- "Can the Jewish Model Help the West Survive?" -- MacDonald embraces Jewish "hyper-ethnocentrism" as a strategy to fight the "onslaught" of immigration that he believes has increased ethnic competition for resources and threatens white European American culture.