Tim Cavanaugh, the administrator of the Times’ Opinion L.A. blog who I mentioned in my profile of Luke Ford, complimented the tone of my article about Kevin MacDonald (“perfectly dry”) and from it made a familiar observation of Cal State Long Beach’s infamous academic:
MacDonald himself, who blends creepiness, crackpottery and a surprising forthrightness into a weird form of amiability that I can sort of respect. I hate to use such a hoary cliché, but he’s a quintessentially American type of oddball, the kind you don’t want to listen to because he occasionally makes you say “Hm, he’s got a point.”
In case you don’t recall, MacDonald’s point is that Jews are too smart and far too well organized for his people’s good.
I agree with Cavanaugh to a point; as I wrote in the article, MacDonald’s “affable” and “seems every bit a slice of Midwest Americana.” And some of his arguments are uncontroversial.
Yes, Jews have been encouraged to marry within the faith, to promote their own culture and to support Jewish causes and charities. There’s probably some value in his theory that Judaism serves a “group evolutionary” purpose.
But the Nazis were a mirror image of Jewry that punished the Other for their success in science and the arts and business? And the Talmud was not for religious purposes but instead to weed out the dim witted? Hmm ... I don’t think he has a point.
Martin Fiebert—a fellow psych professor at The Beach who warned MacDonald in 1993 that his first book may find a “treasured place in the bookcases of neo-Nazis along with ‘Mein Kampf’ and the ‘Protocols of Zion’”—told me that he at first found MacDonald’s writings on Jews to be an “intellectual excercise.” He disagreed with MacDonald’s argument but not so much with his desire to make it.
That changed for Fiebert when MacDonald decided to serve as an expert witness for Holocaust denier David Irving in a lawsuit against Jewish historian Deborah Lipstadt.