I learned about Meir Kahane early into my exploration of Judaism when the rabbi was assassinated in 1990. I was shocked that a rabbi who wanted to push non-Jews out of Israel would have so much support in Jewish life.
Then as I learned more Torah, I learned that everything Rabbi Kahane pushed in this respect was backed up by Torah law. Hmm, I thought, maybe Judaism does not reconcile so neatly with modern norms of democracy and human rights.
I grew up a Seventh-Day Adventist and I didn’t learn to think tribally. I learned to think theologically. The big question was — are you saved? I never heard an Adventist express the view that it was fine to cheat and steal from non-Adventists.
I did not go to public school until tenth grade and then I was exposed to tribal thinking. When my school, overwhelmingly white, would play sports at a black school, often the black kids would come over and try to pick fights with us solely because we were white. That reminded me of other incidents I had in Washington D.C. in 1980 with black kids outside of the church who would try to pick fights with me because I was white.
When I got to UCLA in 1988, I noticed more tribalism. Black and latino students, who almost always had dramatically lower test scores but got into the university through affirmative action, largely kept to themselves and took easy majors. The Asian students also largely kept to themselves. White students made up a minority of the population. I noticed the Orthodox Jewish students largely kept to themselves.
I saw all these tribes around me. I saw groups of people united by ethnicity not afraid to assert their group interests. This was completely contrary to the way I was raised. I can’t think of anybody I grew up with who talked about whites asserting their group interest.
In 1993, I converted to Judaism through a Reform rabbi and joined the tribe. As the years went by, I increasingly identified more with the Orthodox version of the religion than with any other wing (eventually completing my Orthodox conversion in 2009). I became more comfortable with tribal thinking.
In 2000, I encountered the weekly column of white nationalist William Pierce, who wanted an America free of blacks, latinos and Jews. I recognized in Dr. Pierce the mirror image of Meir Kahane and the exclusive Jewish nationalism of nearly half the Orthodox Jews I knew.
I started thinking, if it is cool for blacks, latinos, Jews and homosexuals to organize for their group interests, why is it wrong for whites to do so? If whites want to create a white nation, why is that any worse than Jews who want an exclusively Jewish Israel? White nationalism no longer seemed any more scary or distressing to me than black nationalism or Jewish nationalism. I don’t identify with white nationalism, but I am no longer appalled by those who do so long as they use peaceful means. Yet, Meir Kahane was not interested in restricting himself to peaceful means to make Israel exclusively Jewish so I had to see Dr. Pierce’s schemes in the same light.
In a 2006 lecture, Tom Wolfe said: “Each individual adopts a set of values which, if truly absolute in the world – so ordained by some almighty force – would make not that individual but his group…the best of all possible groups, the best of all inner circles.”
That’s a great insight. A Steve Sailer reader emailed him:
Maybe each particular group must feel that they have a theoretical chance to dominate or else there will be a psychological schism too large to bridge without overt domination of one group over another.
A diverse society therefore has two options: living a lie that every group is equal in ability (eventually backed by force as it fails) or a caste system backed by force.
This would seem to argue against neoconservative color blind society that ignores group differences.
A Sailer reader emailed: “If a critical mass of blacks decides to abide by the White egocosmos, it will damage the credibility of its black counterpart, and thus compell (eventually) blacks to accept being in second place in the dominant paradigm. Thus where going by the book might be the better individual strategy, the preservation of group vanity requires the instillment of an alternative paradigm reflecting the endowments of African-Americans, where they come in first and whites in second.”