Thursday, August 02, 2007

Kevin MacDonald: Old Whine in New Bottles

Holocaust denial is always seeking a veneer of scholarship, but whenever a ‘revisionist’ academic appears on the scene, it quickly becomes apparent that his work is a list of familiar antisemitic canards dressed in scholarly garb. Kevin MacDonald is one of the most notorious members of this fraternity, and shares at least three core beliefs with hardcore Holocaust deniers. Firstly, MacDonald and the deniers believe that gentiles have been apologizing to Jews for too long, and the Holocaust perpetuates this unfair culture of apology. Secondly, they believe that there are scientific grounds on which anti-Jewish statements can sometimes be defended; there may often be cases where ‘ad hominem’ attacks on Jews are not only defensible but necessary for cultural protection. Thirdly, MacDonald shares the deniers’ Manichean reading of Jewish-gentile historical conflict. The Jew in MacDonald’s universe is the pollutant of the Body Politic. Jews are therefore partially, and sometimes even fully, responsible for the violence and discrimination they have suffered down the centuries.

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The subtext of Holocaust denial can be expressed in one command: the white man must stop apologizing to the Jews. Holocaust deniers are not merely seeking to whitewash the Fuehrer and portray Jews as liars; their aim is to reverse what they see as a culture of apology. Irving served the libel writ on Lipstadt for this very reason: to force Lipstadt to become the apologizer, to reverse the psychological pain felt by antisemites every time they have to apologize to a Jew. MacDonald’s witness statement to the Lipstadt libel trial makes clear his unconscious understanding of this motive and his sympathy for Irving’s agenda. The original statement, which is still posted on Irving’s website, is less than twenty paragraphs in length, yet makes eight references to Jewish strategies that involve Jews writing “apologia” or forcing their opponents to make apologies. The theme is stretched over wide frames of time and space to give the impression that the strategies derive from an inherent Jewish trait:
Separation and Its Discontents discusses a great many of these strategies, including a very long history of apologia dating to the ancient world. In the last century there have been a great many intellectual activities, most notably many examples of Jewish historiography which present Jews and Judaism in a positive light and their enemies in a negative light, often with little regard for historical accuracy...

Moreover, his statement condemns Jews for protesting against early forms of German ‘scientific’ antisemitism, which were the precursors of Nazi racial theory:
For example, Jews engaged in a very wide range of activities to combat anti-Semitism in Germany in the period from 1870 to 1914, including the formation of self-defense committees, lobbying the government, utilizing and influencing the legal system (e.g., taking advantage of libel and slander laws to force anti-Jewish organizations into bankruptcy), writing apologias and tracts for distribution to the masses of gentile Germans, and funding organizations opposed to anti-Semitism composed mainly of sympathetic gentiles. Jewish organizations commissioned writings in opposition to "scientific anti-Semitism," as exemplified by academically respectable publications that portrayed Judaism in negative terms. Academic works were monitored for such material, and Jewish organizations sometimes succeeded in banning offending books and getting publishers to alter offensive passages. The result was to render such ideas academically and intellectually disreputable...
MacDonald therefore, by implication, places himself on the side of the antisemites whose ideas led to Nazism, and whose intellectual mantle is now carried by Holocaust deniers. MacDonald’s statement then applies this theme to the current British and American cultural scene by expressing outrage that the British journalist, William Cash, had to apologize for antisemitic remarks written in 1994:
A theme of anti-Jewish writing in the contemporary U. S. has been that Jewish organizations have used their power to make the discussion of Jewish interests off limits. Individuals who have made remarks critical of Jews have been forced to make public apologies and suffered professional difficulties as a result. Quite often the opinions in question are quite reasonable-statements that are empirically verifiable and the sort of thing that might be said about other groups or members of other groups. For example, media critic William Cash (1994), writing for the British magazine The Spectator, described the Jewish media elite as "culturally nihilist," suggesting that he believed Jewish media influence reflects Jewish lack of concern for traditional cultural values.
The second way in which MacDonald travels alongside Holocaust deniers is in his desire to make “ad hominem” statements respectable. Since 1945, liberals in Western democracies have persuaded moderate conservatives to accept the moral and logical truth that it is irrational to make assumptions about entire groups based purely on their supposed biological origins. In a statement given to H-Net on February 28th, 2000, MacDonald opposes this consensus and explicitly defends “ad hominem” attacks:
…whether anti-Semitism is irrational is always a difficult empirical question. In the stereotyping sense, some general statements about Jews may be true and thus constitute rational anti-Jewish attitudes among groups that have very different interests…[There] are also virtues in defining anti-Semitism along the lines of disliking Jews more than is rationally warranted. In this definition, anti-Semitism is always irrational, but of course there may be rational reasons to dislike Jews. In any case, I am proposing that rational anti-Jewish attitudes involve reasonable perceptions that one's interests conflict with those of influential and important Jewishly motivated groups or the Jewish community in general.

In this regard, MacDonald shares a fallacy espoused by Scientific Racists such as Charles Murray, the co-author of The Bell Curve, which holds that principled opposition to racism is unscientific. In the view of MacDonald and Murray, there are no intrinsic rational reasons why antisemitism and racism must always be opposed. Moreover, there may be occasions when these attitudes are necessary in order to protect society as a whole from the low IQ’s of blacks or the group conspiracies of Jews.

MacDonald’s links with Scientific Racism are not only theoretical. In 1995, his book A People that Shall Dwell Alone was reviewed favourably by Hans Eysenck, who had gained notoriety in the early 1970’s for his support of Arthur Jensen and as the author of Race, Intelligence And Education, a neo-eugenicist forerunner of The Bell Curve. Eysenck's links to Scientific Racism are discussed here:

Eysenck's review appeared here:

In 2003, writing in the white nationalist journal, The Occidental Quarterly, MacDonald returned the favour:
Hans Eysenck, renowned for his research on personality, claims that Jews are indeed rated more aggressive by people who know them well.

In 2000, MacDonald spoke approvingly of the work of Arthur Jensen:
From what we know about the heritability of IQ it seems very likely that whatever cultural pushes there have been for IQ, there is also a strong genetic component. Arthur Jensen estimates a maximum of 10 IQ points for environmental manipulations like adoption.

However, antisemitism brings other ingredients to the party that are not always found in Scientific Racism. It is important to recognize that MacDonald’s work also contains these elements. He is not simply riding on the coat-tails of the Bell Curve racists but is also tapping into a repertoire of libels that depict Jews as a pollutant, a spoiler race, and a conspiratorial menace. Whereas racists such as Jensen frame their discussions around the supposed ‘passivity and low IQ’ of blacks, MacDonald accuses Jews of the opposite offences: over-activity and hyper-intelligence.This therefore leads to the third, and most virulent, connection to Holocaust denial: a reading of history that ultimately holds that, in many cases, the Jews deserved their rough treatment. For MacDonald, it was Jewish activism, not a corrupt bunch of medieval clerics, which was responsible for the torture and murder of Jews during the Inquisition:
Jews who had nominally converted to Christianity but maintained their ethnic ties in marriage and commerce were the focus of the 250-year Inquisition in Spain, Portugal, and the Spanish colonies in the New World. Fundamentally, the Inquisition should be seen as a defensive reaction to the economic and political domination of these “New Christians."

Although MacDonald has (to date) avoided an explicit application of this principle to the Holocaust, the above statement does seem to be inviting the reader to infer, “If Jews can be blamed for a crime as heinous as the Inquisition, why not the Holocaust?” MacDonald’s argument is simply a more nuanced version of the claim made by Irving to an Australian television presenter:
'Cover Story' (Australian television) Sunday 4 March 1997, (p. 7).
PRESENTER: At times in your speech to these groups you speak at, you ask if the Jews have ever looked at themselves.
PRESENTER: To find a reason for the pogroms and the presentation and the extermination. In other words you're asking "did they bring it on themselves?"
PRESENTER: Thereby excusing the Germans, the Nazis.
IRVING: Why... well, let us ask that simple question, why does it always happen to the Jews?
PRESENTER: But isn't that an ugly, racist sentiment?
IRVING: It is an ugly, of course it's an ugly, racist sentiment, of course it is, you're absolutely right but we can't just say therefore lets not discuss it, therefore lets not open that can of worms in case we find something inside there which we're not going to like looking at.

In conclusion, therefore, it was not a desire to defend academic freedom that brought MacDonald into Irving’s orbit. The two men had a similar view of Jews and their place in history. They wanted to force a Jew to make a public apology on behalf of all the Jews, living and dead, that occupy their antisemitic obsessions.


  1. Maybe your life won't be a comfortable waste like that of so many others. MacDonald is a giant standing on the shoulder of other giants. Perhaps you have potential. He has achieved his potential. I hope you don't waste your life as a fashionable copy, a memetic worm and parrot. Try to understand; try to see past your modern indoctrination. Maybe your life won't be a comfortable waste.

  2. Although I certainly am no Denier, I DO find it interesting that we focus so much on Hitler and the Holocaust, and no one seems to ever mention the MILLIONS of Christians killed by STALIN (our ally during the war) or by the Bolshevics (many of these were Jewish) like Trotsky (Bronstein) during the Red Terror, or the murder of millions of Ukrainian Kulaks during the "collectivization" period of Soviet history. Of course, the most feared man in the Cheka was the butcher Lazar Kaganovich (Jewish), and I believe it was Ilya Ehrenberg (Jewish) who encouraged the mass rape and murder of German women after the war, during the Soviet occupation.

    Is $pielberg ever going to make an Oscar winner based on any of this?

    And should we forget Luxembourg, Liebknicht, Emma Goldman, Marx, and the rest of the Jewish folks that brought us the Communist monster, signed, sealed, and delivered, a philosophy that has led to the murder of 100 MILLION people in the last century?

    Of course, we could also talk about Deir Yatsin, Sabra and Shatila, the bombing of Beirut, the Gaza Ghetto, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, the dispossession of an entire people from the lands on which they had lived for generations and generations (sound familiar?), the Israeli soldiers that shoot Arab children and then stand around and laugh about it, the Caterpillar bulldozer that rolled over Rachel Corrie...

    Wow. I guess Jews DON'T have any kind of corner on the suffering or genocide market. Maybe there is just a wee little hint of hypocrisy here.

    Maybe that is what really bothers people, after all, since they are force-fed Holocaust materials 24/7 in school, on television, in the media, ad infinitum, and in some countries they are force-fed it BY LAW.

    (Does the Truth need a LAW to protect it?)


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