Thursday, May 10, 2018

Stefan Molyneux Is Holocaust Denier-Adjacent

You probably missed, but there was a bit of a dust-up a couple of days ago on Twitter. What happened was that, about a month ago, New Atheist Sam Harris hosted Christian Picciolini on his podcast. Picciolini is a former leader of the Hammerskins skinhead group who reformed several years ago and now does the lecture circuit talking about how to prevent/undo the damage done by such groups. During the Q&A section of the podcast, Picciolini stated his belief that Stefan Molyneux, the very popular Irish-Canadian YouTube personality (on who much more here), is a Holocaust denier. Now, weeks later, Harris announced that he had expunged all mention of Molyneux from his podcast, apparently because Molyneux lodged a complaint with him. For his own part, Picciolini took to Twitter to complain and offered some evidence.

So what's the deal here? Is Stefan Molyneux a Holocaust denier?

No, but he is Holocaust denier-adjacent.

This is a blog about Holocaust denial, so I won't bore you here by providing you with some definition of denial and showing you that Molyneux doesn’t exactly fit the bill. But what is this adjacency of which I speak? It boils down to a few key points.

1) Molyneux frequently engages in anti-Semitic rhetoric that, at the very least, seeks to "explain" anti-Semitism by identifying Jews behaving badly. For instance, while I certainly have issues with some of the content from its editor, this video provides some good examples. Among other topics, Molyneux details how communism generally and Bolshevism specifically were really Jewish movements. To be clear, it's true that the number of Jews among the Bolsheviks was larger than their proportion in the general population. It's also true that, by WWII, most of them were gone -- Kaganovich and Livtnov* being the notable exceptions. It's moreover true that other political parties in revolutionary Russia and had far higher proportions of Jewish members: specifically the Mensheviks, the General Jewish Workers' Association (the Bund), and the Zionist parties. The latter two were, in fact, entirely Jewish. Why so many Jews in left-wing parties? The answer is a pretty simple one. Left-wing politics seek to disturb pre-existing hierarchies. Jews were near the bottom of the Tsarist hierarchy. Do the math.

2) Molyneux has hosted Holocaust deniers on his show. In particular, Molyneux has hosted Chuck Johnson (discussed by our own Sergey Romanov here) and "Styxhexenhammer666," on whom see this RationalWiki article. Maybe Molyneux hosted these guys before they became deniers? One of Sergey's archived links is from January 2017; Molyneux last hosted Johnson one month earlier. But Molyneux also tweeted out a statement supportive of Johnson six months after that. With Styxhexenhammer, Molyneux has hosted him more than once since his denial statements.

3) He seems to buy every other Jewish conspiracy theory. OK, not the really dumb ones like blood libels, but he's constantly bleating about "cultural Marxism," and there's a good case to be made that this is really just an anti-Semitic dog whistle. Is it possible that Molyneux doesn't realize that it is? Sure, it's possible -- it's just not likely.

All of that makes him denier-adjacent, in my opinion. Others might call aspects of Molyneux's shtick "soft denial." That works too.

But is he a racist? Oh, you betcha.

* Litvinov gets an asterisk in this case due to his removal from office by Stalin, purportedly because he was Jewish and therefore an inappropriate representative of the Soviet foreign ministry and signing a non-aggression pact with the Nazis. He eventually returned to the foreign ministry. Yes, Lenin was apparently one-quarter Jewish by ancestry; no, he did not identify as Jewish, nor was he raised Jewish. No, Stalin was not Jewish. Nor was Beria.

1 comment:

  1. Stalin actually mulled over idea of getting rid of Litvinov in a "car accident" (cf. Mikhoels).


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