Last year, I published a paper in the Israeli philosophy journal Philosophia arguing that both the woke and the far-Right narratives are wrong and rooted in similar errors. I focus on the work of Cal State Long Beach psychologist Kevin MacDonald. MacDonald argues that Judaism is a “group evolutionary strategy,” and that Jews were a necessary condition for the triumph of liberalism, which he sees as bad for white gentiles. His approach is similar to that of MSNBC anchors who cherry-pick (real or imagined) examples of racism and then spin fanciful stories about how these isolated cases illustrate a “system” of “white supremacy.” MacDonald points to examples of prominent Jews promoting liberalism, ignores prominent liberal gentiles, and claims to find evidence that Jewish liberals are secretly motivated to undermine gentile society for the benefit of their co-ethnics.Cofnas goes on to complain about Jews who want to censor any discussion of the issues. See also this criticism of Cofnas.
In my paper I address three specific false claims made by MacDonald and other advocates of the anti-Jewish narrative: Jews (a) are highly ethnocentric, (b) hypocritically promote liberal multiculturalism for gentiles/Western countries but not for Jews/Israel, and (c) were responsible for liberalism and mass immigration to the US.
Why bother refuting MacDonald? Why not just dismiss him as an antisemite? There are at least three reasons to engage with him. First, some respected scholars have (publicly or privately) endorsed his ideas. Second, Jewish influence is a legitimate topic for scientific investigation, and his theory cannot be dismissed a priori. Third, he has been enormously influential on the far-Right, and many of his readers interpreted the lack of a refutation as proof that there are no good arguments against his views. So both scholarly and political considerations dictate that he should be given a fair hearing.
On January 1st, MacDonald’s reply to me, “The ‘Default Hypothesis’ Fails to Explain Jewish Influence,” appeared online in Philosophia.
I haven't studied this, and I am sure that there is truth to both sides. That is, in some ways Jews are very ethnocentric, and in some ways not.
Consider a simple statement like "Jews are left-wingers." If that were true, then you were expect the most Jewish people, the Orthodox Jews, to be the most left-wing. But that is not true at all. The most left-wing Jews are secular Jews who do not seem to be particularly Jewish at all.
And yet it is undeniably true that Jews are left-wingers, as polls consistently show Jews voting 70-80% Democrat.
Here are some extreme examples of ethnocentric Jewish laws:
If a Jew has coitus with a Gentile woman, whether she be a child of three or an adult, whether married or unmarried, and even if she is a minor aged only nine years and one day—because he had willful coitus with her, she must be killed, as is the case with a beast, because through her a Jew got in trouble.I don't know of any other ethnic group with laws like this.
Gentiles are forbidden to bear testimony in rabbinical courts, since all gentiles are presumed liars.
Jews must not offer gifts to gentiles.
Jews must exact interest when lending money to gentiles.
Jews must never return items lost by a gentile.
Jews shall not deceive other Jews in business, but may practice “indirect deception” when doing business with a gentile.
Does any other ethnic group have this?
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