As everyone reading this presumably knows, MacDonald claims that Judaism is a “group evolutionary strategy.” In The Culture of Critique (CofC) he argues that several major political and intellectual movements in the twentieth century were designed by Jews pursuing this strategy. In his words: “Jewish-dominated intellectual movements were a critical factor (necessary condition) for the triumph of the intellectual left in late twentieth-century Western societies….[I]ndividuals who strongly identified as Jews have been the main motivating force behind several highly influential intellectual movements that have simultaneously subjected gentile culture to radical criticism and allowed for the continuity of Jewish identification” (CofC, pp. 17, 213).
I reject MacDonald’s theory and propose the “default hypothesis” to explain Jewish overrepresentation in liberal movements: “Because of Jewish intelligence and geography—particularly intelligence—Jews are likely to be overrepresented in any intellectual movement or activity that is not overtly anti-Semitic.” According to the default hypothesis, Jews are overrepresented in liberal movements for essentially the same reason they are overrepresented in all not overtly anti-Semitic intellectual activities such as physics, chess, chemistry, and the leadership of intellectual movements that violently oppose the movements discussed in CofC.
JF’s critique is based on what he calls the “metaphor of the bees and the flowers” (6:59). According to the metaphor, a scientist proposes a theory about the evolutionary relationship between bees and flowers. The theory is that bees gather honey from flowers. In his words:
Imagine a beehive with bees. And the bees are going to the flowers, they get some sugar, and they come back to the beehive, and they do this again and again and again. And by doing this they are carrying the seeds of the flowers, thus allowing these flowers who cannot walk, who cannot displace themselves and cannot really throw their seeds to the other flowers. The bees by going from flower to flower they are getting sugar that allows them to reproduce as bees which favors further bees that are further attracted by flowers. But the flowers have an interest in this system, and it is that the bees carry their seed for them—the pollen. (7:17)
The bees are [a] reproductive entity, they are acting in their own interest, and they get sugar from this whole thing and it’s good for them. And the flowers are evolving essentially to manipulate the bees, and they are evolving to show all of these colors which allows the bees to reach them and they even evolve to produce the sugar….The flower is essentially evolving to give sugar to the bees in exchange for a service. (8:31)
My theory is this is an evolutionary system, there is a pairing, and these bees are evolving for their own interest, the flowers are evolving for their own interest, and it leads to a cooperative or combined relationship. (9:47)
In the metaphor the bees are Jews, the flowers gentiles. MacDonald is the one who claims that bees collect honey. I (Cofnas) am a critic with six “bad arguments” (described below) against the theory.
The “metaphor of the bees” is so astonishingly not analogous to MacDonald’s theory of Judaism that I wonder whether JF has much of a grasp of the logic of MacDonald’s theory at all. It’s possible that he has imposed some of his own views about evolution onto MacDonald. In any case, it is inevitable that an analysis emanating from this confused metaphor will miss the mark.
How is the metaphor of the bees not analogous to MacDonald’s theory? Bees and flowers have evolved a mutualistic relationship—that is, a relationship in which both species benefit from their interactions, or even require each other for their survival. Flowers rely on bees for their reproduction, and to this end they evolved to produce sugar (nectar) to reward bees for their pollination services. Bees, on the other hand, rely on the flower’s payment (the nectar) for their food. But in MacDonald’s theory the relationship between Jews and gentiles is nothing like this. Gentiles do not rely on Jews for reproduction or anything essential to their survival, nor have gentiles evolved anything analogous to nectar—a reward that they bestow on Jews to induce Jews to behave in ways that benefit them. The behavior that MacDonald attributes to Jews in CofC is decidedly parasitic, not mutualistic: Jews harm gentiles for their own evolutionary benefit.
In other words, in MacDonald’s theory there are two populations: one has evolved to take advantage of the other in certain ways, while the other has evolved certain defenses (“anti-Semitism”). If you want to use a bee metaphor, you could say that there are two populations of bees. You might have a theory that one bee population behaves in a systematically different way from the other one because of a group evolutionary strategy. The critic says that they behavior differently for a simpler reason such as the bee populations differ in size or flying speed. However, making a bee metaphor that’s truly analogous to MacDonald’s theory wouldn’t be very helpful because it’s easier to just describe MacDonald’s theory and determine whether the evidence favors it or the alternative (the default hypothesis).
As noted above, JF lists six “bad arguments” that the critic might use to attack the theory that bees collect honey from flowers. Here they are:
1 – I found a bee that’s doing other stuff than pollinizing flowers.
2 – The bees are actually attracted to flowers because of a network of neurons that makes them good at extracting sugar from the flowers.
3 – You’ve not shown with positive evidence that the bees are attracted to flowers because they are bees.
4 – Sometimes, I found bees that were bringing back uneatable food from the flowers, and even stuff that could be poisonous to the bee hive.
5 – I found some bees that are passing through an intermediary to collect the sugar from the flowers.
6 – It’s not the bees
that are responsible for this system, it’s the flowers!
JF is right that these are all bad arguments against the theory that bees collect honey. But because MacDonald’s theory is not analogous to the bees-collect-honey theory, arguments that are bad in the case of the bee theory won’t (in their analogous form) necessarily be bad—or bad for the same reasons—when applied to MacDonald’s theory. If I try to explain why each of JF’s arguments against the bee theory is different from my arguments against MacDonald’s theory I’m worried that I will add another layer of confusion onto the confusion that has already been produced by JF’s flawed metaphor. To make this comprehensible, I’ll try to translate the six “bad arguments” into arguments you could make against MacDonald’s theory in CofC:
1 – I found a Jew who isn’t participating in a Jewish intellectual movement.
2 – The reason Jews participate in Jewish intellectual movements is because they have certain psychological traits.
3 – You didn’t prove that Jews are evolutionarily unique.
4 – Sometimes Jews attempt to promote their ethnic interests but fail due to a miscalculation.
5 – I found a Jew who advances a Jewish intellectual movement by manipulating gentile intellectuals to advance the movement.
6 – These movements were created by gentiles, not Jews.
It turns out that some of these arguments might actually be good arguments—or at least they could be part of a package of good arguments against MacDonald.
Leaving aside JF’s confusing bee metaphor, let’s think about this using common sense. We have two competing theories: (a) the default hypothesis and (b) MacDonald’s group-evolutionary-strategy hypothesis. We have observable data that everyone agrees on: Jews are overrepresented in virtually all (not overtly anti-Semitic) intellectual activities, including liberal intellectual movements. MacDonald himself accepts something like the default hypothesis to explain Jewish overrepresentation in cognitively demanding activities that have no relevance for Jewish group interests (chess, physics, etc.). As I pointed out in another paper, the default hypothesis is objectively more parsimonious than MacDonald’s theory because it is included in MacDonald’s theory. MacDonald wants to supplement the default hypothesis with a complicated theory about Jews being genetically and culturally adapted to benefit themselves by undermining gentile society.
Of course, the fact that MacDonald’s theory is more complicated than the default hypothesis doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Sometimes complicated, less parsimonious theories are true. But MacDonald needs to provide evidence that his group-evolutionary-strategy theory explains some phenomena that can’t be explained by the simpler alternative. He needs to show that Jewish behavior deviates systematically from what would be expected given their higher average IQ and the fact that, because of anti-Semitism, Jews are discouraged or even barred from participating in certain activities.
Suppose we examine the movements discussed in CofC and we find (a) many of them were created by gentiles, (b) there was significant gentile participation, and (c) Jews were equally overrepresented among the leadership of opposing movements. These kinds of discoveries would count heavily against MacDonald’s theory and in favor of the default hypothesis. And this is what I document in my paper. But when I criticize MacDonald by pointing out (a), (b), and (c), JF says that I am making “bad arguments” #6, #5, and #4, respectively. But it is JF who is making a mistake based on his bad metaphor.
I point out that in CofC “the same behavior is interpreted differently when exhibited by Jews or gentiles.” For example, Jews are said to participate in liberal movements because they are pursuing a group evolutionary strategy, but if gentiles who participate in the same movements it is because (in MacDonald’s words) “once Jews have attained intellectual predominance, it is not surprising that gentiles would be attracted to Jewish intellectuals as members of a socially dominant and prestigious group and as dispensers of valued resources” (CofC, p. 3). Interestingly, JF accepts that MacDonald interprets the same behavior differently depending on whether it’s performed by a Jew or a gentile. JF says:
So here Nathan is committing the bad argument #6, “It’s not the bees that are responsible for this system, it’s the flowers!” Or, as he frames it, you’re not treating the bees and the flowers equally in your analysis. Your interpretation of stuff when you take it from the perspective of the flower differs from that of the bee. Because the bee, you talk about its wings and the fact that it’s interested in sugar, and when you look at the flower you are interested in whether it grows, whether it shows color, like yellow colors to attract the bee. Why are you treating the bees and the flowers differently? The answer is this book is not about the internal dynamics of gentile society and of their political evolution. This book is about understanding the role of the Jews in the evolutionary system that gentile societies are. That’s it. And in that scenario, yes, the Jews’ contribution to a political act would be assessed differently whether the action and the idea comes from the Jews pushing the idea, or whether there is an idea that is being pushed onto a gentile intellectual and the gentile intellectual takes it forward. It requires a sense in the analysis because we’re analyzing a system with two components, and we’re really interested in one of the components, and whether it can be stated that they have an evolutionary strategy. So the argument here is invalid. (54:22)
To try to stick with JF’s confusing metaphor, it would be like if we observed flowers flying into beehives to retrieve honey. Then JF would say that you shouldn’t talk about that because we’re focused on bees and as long as we observe bees gathering honey then the original story about the symbiotic relationship between bees and flowers is supported. Well, I guess we shouldn’t tie ourselves in knots trying to stick with the bees-and-the-flowers metaphor. So let’s just use common sense: If you see Jews and gentiles acting in the same ways, you can’t just ignore the gentiles and say that the behavior of the Jews supports the theory that Jews behave in special ways.
I write the following: “MacDonald says that ‘there is broad Jewish consensus [in the US] on such issues as Israel’ (CofC, p. 305). Nowhere in the book does he acknowledge that a great deal of Jewish involvement in politics across time and place has been decidedly opposed to narrow Jewish interests, including Israel.” I point out that many leading anti-Israel activists are Jews. JF read this passage and commented as follows:
There is nothing in Culture of Critique that affirms that all Jews will support Israel, or that it is systematically expected that a Jew would side with Israel. To the contrary, this book presents potentially the diaspora of Jews as having separate evolutionary histories from those in Israel. And so you cannot necessarily expect ethnocentricity to extend across borders. (58.16)
JF is contradicting the passage that he himself read out loud. As quoted above, MacDonald says in CofC that “there is broad Jewish consensus [in the US] on such issues as Israel.” Of course he doesn’t say that “all Jews will support Israel,” but clearly he thinks that there is some sort of systematic support for Israel, which is part of the group evolutionary strategy. JF’s claim that CofC “presents potentially the diaspora of Jews as having separate evolutionary histories from those in Israel” is made up and has nothing to do with anything that MacDonald has ever said.
I write: “MacDonald paints a picture of Jews as hypocrites who impose liberalism on gentiles and adopt nationalism for themselves, but he ignores the fact that many of the most influential Jews seem to promote liberalism and multiculturalism for both gentiles and Jews.” JF says:
Here we have two types of bad arguments. First, Nathan Cofnas is saying, look I found Jews that seem to be having ideas that are contradictory to Jewish interests….Nathan’s argument is of the form #1, “I found a bee that’s doing other stuff than pollinizing flowers.” Finding a Jew that does not do the same thing as other Jews is just a proof of diversity within the Jewish population. It doesn’t change the fact that the observed contribution of the original Jew is observed—that it was a Jew who started psychoanalysis, and it was Jews that have then pushed psychoanalysis throughout academia. That is the only statement of Kevin MacDonald and therefore it is an invalid argument. (59.36)
And he also mentions some Jews who could have been adopting positions that are contrary to their people’s interests….This argument is of the form #4, “Sometimes, I found bees that were bringing back uneatable food from the flowers, and even stuff that could be poisonous to the bee hive.” Yes, you could have found a bee that has committed an error—an evolutionary error. But it doesn’t change that the system between the beehive and the flowers exists. The other bees are not committing this error. They are effectively working and gathering the sugar….So the argument by Cofnas is invalid. (1:01:30)
JF is missing the point. A central argument in my paper is that MacDonald’s own examples of Jews who support his thesis are actually counterexamples. Let’s remind ourselves of what MacDonald’s thesis is: “[I]ndividuals who strongly identified as Jews have been the main motivating force behind several highly influential intellectual movements that have simultaneously subjected gentile culture to radical criticism and allowed for the continuity of Jewish identification” (CofC, p. 213). In my paper, I look at the alleged examples of “strongly identified” Jews who “simultaneously subjected gentile culture to radical criticism [but] allowed for the continuity of Jewish identification.” I find that, in virtually all cases, these Jews hold Jews and gentiles to the same standards. In other words, there is no evidence that they are attempting to undermine gentile culture while promoting Jewish separatism and group continuity. The liberal Jews that feature in CofC who promoted liberalism and multiculturalism promoted exactly the same things in the Jewish community and in Israel. (In a later paper I document how liberal and reform Jews aggressively promote and celebrate interracial marriage within the Jewish community.)
I note that when Jews fail to support overtly anti-Semitic movements, MacDonald interprets this as evidence of extreme Jewish ethnocentrism. JF says:
This argument is of the form [#6], “It’s not the bees that are responsible for this system, it’s the flowers!” Nathan Cofnas is saying, it’s not the Jews that didn’t join nationalist movements, it’s the nationalist movements that have expelled the Jews by being anti-Semitic. The thing is, it doesn’t matter. It’s a system, it evolves, and the bee is there, the flower is there. The nationalist movement is there, the Jews are there and they’re not entering the movement. (1:03:38)
MacDonald’s theory is that Judaism is a group evolutionary strategy. It is a theory about how Jewish behavior reflects that strategy. In cases where Jewish behavior is determined by an outside force, this tells us nothing about whether Judaism is a group evolutionary strategy.
I observe that MacDonald never acknowledges evidence that counts against his theory. I wrote the following passage, which JF read out loud: “For example, [MacDonald] claims several times that Jews are opposed to affirmative action because it is against their ethnic interests (CofC, pp. 101, 105, n. 16, 308, 313, 315; see also pp. 240–241). He says that affirmative action policies ‘would clearly preclude free competition between Jews and gentiles’ (p. 101) and, elsewhere, that they ‘would necessarily discriminate against Jews’ (p. 315). In a parenthetical, he notes that when an anti-affirmative action measure was put on the ballot in California, Jews voted for it ‘in markedly lower percentages’ than other white groups (p. 311). That is, Jews voted to support affirmative action. His explanation for this is that ‘because of their competitive advantage’ among whites, ‘Jews may perceive themselves as benefiting from policies designed to dilute the power of the European-derived group as a whole on the assumption that they would not suffer any appreciable effect.’ Again, he shows a facile tendency to spin an apparent disconfirmation of his theory as actually a verification of it.” JF responds:
To affirm that there are facts that refute his hypothesis you need to have characterized his hypothesis correctly, and you haven’t. And if you understand Kevin MacDonald’s hypothesis properly, or if you were honest—I don’t know if he [Cofnas] doesn’t understand it or if he’s dishonest about it—but in any case if you were to know how to represent properly his hypothesis you would understand that the fact that any individual would behave differently or even that an entire group of Jews would be led to affirmative action or not affirmative action is not important. What matters is what happens. And so the argument in this case is of the form [#1] “I found a bee that’s doing other stuff than pollinizing flowers.” Well the question is, are there still bees that are pollinizing flowers?—then my evolutionary theory is true. And the question about Jews is, are there Jews contributing to these intellectual and political movements? Doesn’t matter if there are other Jews doing other things. The question is, have they acted in line with some of these political movements? That’s all you need really to demonstrate a Jewish involvement in some action. (1:18:32)
MacDonald includes “opposition to quotas and affirmative action” in a list of “specifically Jewish group interests.” When it turns out that the majority of Jews support affirmative action, MacDonald doesn’t give JF’s answer that it is “not important.” Rather, MacDonald says that Jews support affirmative action as part of the group evolutionary strategy. This seems to support my original statement that MacDonald “shows a facile tendency to spin an apparent disconfirmation of his theory as actually a verification of it.”
In my paper I point out that MacDonald ignores centuries of gentile radicalism, making it seem like radicalism is a Jewish phenomenon. JF says:
Absolutely invalid argument: I can find radical and critical gentiles and they’ve been ignored. That is an argument of the form [#6] “It’s not the bees that are responsible for this system, it’s the flowers!” This book is not about gentiles. I’m sure Kevin MacDonald has his own views about gentile dynamics in politics, and I’m sure there is lots of richness and we could write 15 books about it. But that is a book about Jewish involvement in politics and intellectual movements, it’s not a book about gentile involvement as long as it doesn’t include the contribution of Jews. It’s a book about Jewish involvement. (1:21:55)
But if we refuse to notice that gentiles are prone to developing exactly the same sort of radical movements as Jews, then we are refusing to notice evidence that supports the default hypothesis. Jewish behavior does not reflect a special group evolutionary strategy. Rather, both Jewish and gentiles engage in similar behaviors.
In the second chapter of CofC, MacDonald goes on at length about how Boasian anthropologists promoted “romantic primitivism.” According to this idea, “primitive” cultures were “free of negatively perceived traits that were attributed to Western culture” (CofC, pp. 28–29). As I noted, MacDonald’s discussion implies that the Boasians were the first people to romanticize primitive cultures as “idyllic.” The reality, I said, is that “by Boas’s time this had been a major theme among many gentile intellectuals for more than 150 years.” It was Jean-Jacques Rousseau who popularized the romantic image of “savages” in the eighteenth century, and those ideas played an important role in the French Revolution and subsequent Western thought. So when MacDonald blames Boas (a Jew) for promoting romantic primitivism without mentioning the history of this idea among gentiles he is giving us a distorted picture of history. JF responds:
Here’s what Cofnas is attempting to do here. He makes a straw man of Kevin MacDonald when he [Cofnas] says, “This passage and others throughout the chapter suggest that Boasians were the first to romanticize primitive cultures as ‘idyllic.’” There is not a part of this chapter where I have the perception that Kevin MacDonald was claiming that Boas was the first to claim that the past was great….I did not see a single sentence that leads me to believe this. This is a straw man. And then even if it wasn’t a straw man it is an argument of the form #6, “It’s not the bees that are responsible for this system, it’s the flowers!” It doesn’t matter if there were intellectual precedents to Boas. The question is if Boas exists, and if he has made the contribution that he has made. If Boas introduced some ideas in Western civilization, even if he was not the original introducer the mere fact that he pushed them forward is enough to justify calling his intellectual movement a movement that has been significantly influenced by Jews. That’s all you need. (1:25:26)
To JF, it “doesn’t matter” that Jewish intellectuals promote the same ideology as gentile intellectuals. But this is what the default hypothesis would lead us to expect.
According to CofC, “Freud conceptualized himself as a leader in a war on gentile culture” (p. 117). The so-called “New York Intellectuals” supposedly used Freudianism to attack the philosophical and institutional foundations of Western culture.
To illustrate Freud’s influence via the New York Intellectuals, MacDonald notes that of the top 21 American intellectuals according to peer ratings in the 1970s, 15 were Jewish (and most were New York Intellectuals). 11 of these 15, he says, were “significantly influenced by Freudian theory at some point in their careers,” and 10 of those 11 held “liberal or radical political beliefs at some period of their career” (CofC, p. 141).
So it is MacDonald himself who calls attention to these Jews as examples to support his theory. In his own words: “Of these [15 Jewish intellectuals], only Noam Chomsky could possibly be regarded as someone whose writings were not highly influenced by his Jewish identity and specifically Jewish interests. The findings taken together indicate that the American intellectual scene has been significantly dominated by specifically Jewish interests and that psychoanalysis has been an important tool in advancing these interests” (CofC, p. 154, n. 15).
I provide a detailed analysis of these Jews in my paper, but here is my conclusion: “Even if it is true that 11/15 of these intellectuals were influenced by Freud ‘at some point in their careers,’ virtually none of them comes close to conforming to MacDonald’s paradigm of a Jewish radical. Only one—Podhoretz—could be accused of hypocritically advocating different immigration policies for the US and Israel, though he was/is not a liberal and Freudianism played no meaningful role in his thinking. On the other hand, we clearly find that several people on the list—a list cited by MacDonald himself to support his thesis—are serious counterexamples to the theory of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy. We find on this list possibly the world’s leading critic of Israel (Chomsky), a liberal who advocates the same immigration policies for the US and Israel (Marcuse), a leading advocate of traditional Western values (Bellow), and several others who, to varying degrees, were opposed or indifferent to Israel and Jewish interests.”
That is an absolute straw-man attack. Cofnas is not answering to the actual criteria that was actually quoted. The question is “were they significantly influenced by Freudian theory” and “were they liberal or radical in their political beliefs at some period of their career.” You just described to me they were all liberal. That’s why they take the cause of the Palestinians at heart. Kevin MacDonald never said that this is a list of Israel-supporting individuals. He said they were liberal or radical and they were significantly influenced by Freud. So we are still in the argument of the form [#1], “I found a bee that’s doing other stuff than polinizing flowers.”…But also we are in an argument of the form [#4], “Sometimes, I found bees that were bringing back uneatable food from the flowers, and even stuff that could be poisonous to the bee hive.”…Sometimes animals can be wrong in evolution. (1:34:39)
JF is forgetting what MacDonald himself said. MacDonald’s point wasn’t just that these Jews were influenced by Freud and were liberal at some point in their careers. He said that, of the 15 Jewish intellectuals, “only Noam Chomsky could possibly be regarded as someone whose writings were not highly influenced by his Jewish identity and specifically Jewish interests. The findings taken together indicate that the American intellectual scene has been significantly dominated by specifically Jewish interests.” MacDonald wants to draw the conclusion that all but one of these Jewish intellectuals was motivated by Jewish interests and therefore the whole “American intellectual scene has been significantly dominated by specifically Jewish interests.” To justify this claim it is not enough to show that they were influenced by Freud or were liberal at some point in their career.
In my paper I quote the claim in CofC that Freud’s book, Moses and Monotheism, “contains several assertions that anti-Semitism is fundamentally a pathological gentile reaction to Jewish ethnical superiority” (CofC, p. 120). I say that there is no such assertions on the pages of Moses and Monotheism that MacDonald cited. JF read the passage in Moses and Monotheism where Freud writes: “I venture to assert that the jealousy which the Jews evoked in other peoples by maintaining that they were the first-born, favourite child of God and the Father has not yet been overcome by those others, just as if the latter had given credence to the assumption.” JF responds:
I reject this paragraph [in Cofnas’s paper] because I find evidence in Moses and Monotheism that Freud believed that the Jewish people was chosen and was the first child of God. (1:54:48)
This is an insane interpretation of Freud by JF. Clearly, Freud is not endorsing the idea of Jewish superiority, but saying that the Jews’ claim about their own superiority or specialness triggered a negative reaction in gentiles.
MacDonald says that “the agenda of the Frankfurt School” was to facilitate “radical individualism…among gentiles while retaining a powerful sense of group cohesion among Jews (CofC, p. 215). “[T]he central agenda of The Authoritarian Personality“—a book written by Frankfurt School theorists—”is to pathologize gentile group strategies while nevertheless leaving open the possibility of Judaism as a minority group strategy” (CofC, p. 172). I wrote: “The main problem with MacDonald’s argument is that he interprets criticism of nationalism in gentile groups to indicate approval of Jewish nationalism as long as the latter is not explicitly condemned. He never cites positive evidence that representatives of the Frankfurt School approved of Jewish nationalism, and he ignores evidence that they in fact disapproved of it.” JF says:
[MacDonald isn’t] saying that people contradict themselves, that Jews contradict themselves when they talk of gentile nationalism versus Jewish nationalism. He’s saying they’re pathologizing gentile nationalism and they’re ignoring Israel nationalism. So that’s a very different threshold for demonstration. (1:56:25)
JF doesn’t bother reading the evidence I provide that MacDonald “ignores evidence” that representatives of the Frankfurt School disapproved of Jewish nationalism. Leaving that aside, MacDonald makes very strong claims. He says: “the agenda of the Frankfurt School” was to facilitate “radical individualism…among gentiles while retaining a powerful sense of group cohesion among Jews.” “[T]he central agenda of The Authoritarian Personality is to pathologize gentile group strategies while nevertheless leaving open the possibility of Judaism as a minority group strategy.” In order for these claims to be credible, MacDonald should be able to provide at least a single statement—or a single piece of any sort of evidence. But there is no evidence. And again, JF ignores the evidence I provide that Frankfurt School theorists disapproved of Jewish nationalism and were not concerned with Jewish interests.
I point out that MacDonald atrociously misinterprets a passage in The Authoritarian Personality to illustrate how the book is anti-gentile. (Incidentally, the author of the passage was a gentile.) I won’t quote the text in question and the explanation of how it’s misinterpreted, but this is all spelled out on page 147 of my paper. In short, MacDonald falsely makes it sound like the passage is characterizing Christianity in a negative way, when it is exactly the opposite. The passage even explicitly identifies the values promoted by the Frankfurt School with Christianity. JF comments:
This was a segment in which Kevin MacDonald makes an interpretation of the book. And his interpretation is that this segment affects Christian societies more. Cofnas says on the other hand no I think that he’s talking about both Christians and Jews, and essentially the statement was an entire authoritarian statement. I will say I don’t have a strong position on this—[it] changes nothing. Whether the authors of the book are undermining authority within the Christian world or if they’re doing it across the Christian and the Jewish world would be an argument of the form [#4], “Sometimes, I found bees that were bringing back uneatable food from the flowers, and even stuff that could be poisonous to the bee hive.” (2:06:12)
JF seems to have just misread everything here.
I write: “According to MacDonald (CofC, p. 54), Marx held that ‘Judaism, freed from the principle of greed, would continue to exist in the transformed society after the revolution (Katz 1986, p. 113).’ However, page 113 of Katz (1986) makes no reference or allusion of any kind to Marx or his ideas. In regard to Marx’s views on Jewish peoplehood, Katz (1986, p. 122) cites only his view that (in Katz’s words) ‘Jews qua Jews would become liberated from their Judaism to take up their place as human beings in the socialist society of the future.’” JF says:
Cofnas complains that he cannot find this quote but maybe it’s on another page, but I will trust Kevin MacDonald to have properly cited Katz. Maybe you have a different edition of the book. You know, you need to do some research before claiming—it’s like, I cannot find it on page 113, well, have you looked in the back of the page? Have you read the entire book to make sure that it wasn’t there? It sounds intellectually cheap when you’re down to this, when you’re down to: Kevin MacDonald said that it was on page 113. I’ve looked at page 113 and it’s not there. It’s like, can you consider the possibility that you may have a different fucking edition of the book. If you want to come out with this and be credible you have to tell me, I’ve gone through the entire book and I’ve purchased 5 different editions of the book and in no place did I find this. It’s like, come on, give me something Nathan. (2:09:15)
To begin, MacDonald himself has admitted that he got this wrong. In his first reply to me, MacDonald writes: “I admit the citation to Jacob Katz is screwed up and am investigating.” JF’s rant about my scholarly practices is extremely sloppy. If he read the passage in my paper more carefully, he would notice that I did “do some research.” I located the place in Katz’s book where he talks about Marx’s views on Jewish peoplehood—and it says exactly the opposite of the quote that MacDonald falsely attributes to him. Also, in the sentence in my paper that immediately precedes my discussion of the Katz quote, I provide a direct quote from Marx about how being Jewish would become “impossible” if the “possibility of huckstering” were taken away in a socialist society. It seems that JF is guilty of the sloppiness that he attributes to me. (It’s also curious that JF, despite his academic background, doesn’t know that I was able to check the same edition of the book that MacDonald referred to, since this information is supplied in CofC‘s bibliography.)
JF refers to
the claim of more ethnocentricity in Jews [which is] very well supported. (2:35:17)
He cites survey data purporting to show that Jews—who have the highest intermarriage rate of any religious group in the US—are particularly committed to marrying within their group. The studies supposedly showing high levels of ethnocentrism among Jews are complete bunk, as I have explained in another paper.
Luke Ford has collected numerous examples of JF talking out of his ass in this video. Consider one especially ridiculous example. JF says:
[MacDonald’s] first goal is not to mention hypocrisy of the Jewish people. I control F’ed it and I don’t find statements related to hypocrisy and I read it too and I don’t know what [Cofnas] is talking about.
Luke Ford lists eight quotes from CofC describing Jewish hypocrisy. One of these quotes even appears in my paper!: “The irony (hypocrisy?) is that Fromm and the other members of the Frankfurt School, as individuals who strongly identified with a highly collectivist group (Judaism), advocated radical individualism for the society as a whole” (CofC, p. 142).