The Conservatism of Fools: A Response to John Derbyshire1
By Kevin MacDonald2
Derbyshire lives in a sort of childlike world in which Jewish interests are legitimate and where Jewish attempts to pursue their interests, though they may occasionally be irritating, are not really a cause for concern much less malice. It doesn't require an evolutionary theory to realize that good, reasonable people can have conflicts of interest, and that the results of conflicts of interest can be devastating to the side that loses. My view is that modern evolutionary theory gives us a powerful way of understanding why this must be so. Anti-Semites have often portrayed Jews as the embodiment of evil.
Despite Derbyshire's claim, it is simply not the case that Jews have only been successful since "emancipation." Jews have very frequently achieved powerful positions: ancient Alexandria and the late Roman Empire; parts of Western Europe during the Middle Ages prior to the expulsions of Jews from most of Western Europe; the Turkish Empire after the fall of the Byzantine Christians and many other places where Jews served alien ruling elites, especially in the Muslim world (e.g., Spain after the Muslim conquest); Christian Spain beginning at least by the late 14th century and extending well into the period of the Inquisition; Poland and other areas of Eastern Europe beginning in the early modern period and extending into the 20th century.10 Perhaps most notably, the elite status of Jews in the Soviet Union had little or nothing to do with the opportunities made available by the Enlightenment, since the Enlightenment had little impact on the Russian Empire.
Derbyshire rejects my argument that without Jewish involvement, the Bolshevik Revolution and its horrific aftermath would not have happened. The percentage of Jews in early Bolshevik Party congresses is irrelevant to this issue. The questions I ask are: Would the Revolution have occurred without the key involvement of a relatively small number of very talented Jews like Trotsky, Kamenev, Zinoviev, and Uritsky who played such prominent roles in the Bolshevik Revolution and the early Soviet government? (In the same way, one can reasonably ask whether the neo-conservative revolution in U.S. foreign policy would have happened without the critical contributions of Richard Perle, William Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Elliott Abrams, and David Wurmser, to name only some of the most prominent Jews involved. Small numbers of highly talented, closely cooperating people can have enormous influence.) Would the Revolution have been sustainable in its early stages without the involvement of large sections of the Jewish community who came to staff the Soviet bureaucracy, most notably the Secret Police? Were the most powerful non-Jews accurately described as philo-Semites â€” "Jewified non-Jews," to use Albert S. Lindemann's term?11 Were Jews an elite group in the Soviet Union at least until anti-Jewish attitudes began to be government policy after World War II? Did Jewish Communists and other leftists in the Soviet Union and elsewhere identify as Jews? I see no reason to change my views on these issues as a result of Derbyshire's comments.
Similarly, Derbyshire states that Jews "were not the sole, nor even the prime, movers in [the] downfall" of European dominance in the U.S. without providing a concrete alternative. I have never stated that Jewish intellectual movements and interest groups were the sole force, but I do indeed maintain that they were by far the most important. On the critical topic of immigration, there simply was no other force that energetically pursued the goal of multi-ethnic immigration in the period prior to 1965 apart from Jewish organizations or organizations composed partly of non-Jews that were funded, organized and staffed by Jews.12 I am scarcely alone in this opinion. Consider these comments of Vanderbilt University historian Hugh Davis Graham:
Most important for the content of immigration reform [i.e., loosening], the driving force at the core of the movement, reaching back to the 1920s, were Jewish organizations long active in opposing racial and ethnic quotas. These included the American Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, and the American Federation of Jews from Eastern Europe. Jewish members of the Congress, particularly representatives from New York and Chicago, had maintained steady but largely ineffective pressure against the national origins quotas since the 1920s.... Following the shock of the Holocaust, Jewish leaders had been especially active in Washington in furthering immigration reform. To the public, the most visible evidence of the immigration reform drive was played by Jewish legislative leaders, such as Representative Celler and Senator Jacob Javits of New York. Less visible, but equally important, were the efforts of key advisers on presidential and agency staffs. These included senior policy advisers such as Julius Edelson and Harry Rosenfield in the Truman administration, Maxwell Rabb in the Eisenhower White House, and presidential aide Myer Feldman, assistant secretary of state Abba Schwartz, and deputy attorney general Norbert Schlei in the Kennedy-Johnson administration.
And beyond the transformations being wrought by the sea change in immigration policy, I think it inconceivable that the current regime of what Derbyshire terms "racial guilt, shame, apology, and recompense, accompanied by heroic efforts at social engineering ('affirmative action')" could have been built without the influence of the intellectual and political movements described in The Culture of Critique. As Derbyshire notes, this regime is inherently far less stable than what went before, and one can only shudder at what the future holds throughout the Western world.
Derbyshire does not think it hypocritical for Jews to promote multiculturalism in the U.S. while wishing to maintain Jewish ethnic dominance in Israel. The hypocrisy comes from the fact that, as I note in Chapter 8 of The Culture of Critique, the Jewish advocacy of Israel as a Jewish ethnostate coincided with a major effort by Jewish organizations and Jewish-dominated intellectual and political movements to supplant the prevailing view of the United States as a European Christian civilization with a European ethnic base. Especially hypocritical is that the disestablishment of the European basis of American identity was performed with appeal to universalist Enlightenment ideals of justice and individual rights, while it pathologized the ethnocultural basis of American civilization that had become an important foundation of American identity by the early decades of the 20th century. Although it is common for defenders of Israel to describe Israel as a democracy based on Western political ideals, I have yet to see any important Jewish organization or intellectual movement pathologize the ethnic basis of Israeli society or challenge the many ways in which Jewish ethnic interests are officially recognized in Israeli law and custom (e.g., the Law of Return). Indeed, the American Jewish community has been complicit in the ongoing ethnic warfare in the Middle East that has resulted in the dispossession, degradation, and large-scale murder of the Palestinians.
Derbyshire accuses me of being one of those who would prefer "a return to the older dispensation" â€” the older cultural and ethnic mix characteristic of the United States until the changes inaugurated in the last 35 years. I plead guilty to this charge. That regime was stable and it was good for people like me (and Derbyshire), and even for the American Jewish community who saw the modest, low-profile, non-violent character of anti-Jewish attitudes that were fairly common prior to World War II dwindle to irrelevance in the postwar period. Nothing wrong with that.
The dispossession of Europeans is the ultimate defeat â€” an evolutionary event of catastrophic proportions for people of European descent. Whatever the contributions of Jewish "entrepreneurs, jurists, philanthropists, entertainers, publishers, and legions upon legions of scholars," they could never make up for this cataclysmic loss and for the political instability and chronic ethnic tensions that have been unleashed by the Jewish intellectual and political movements discussed in The Culture of Critique. Further, as The Culture of Critique attempts to document, a very high percentage of the Jewish contribution to culture has been used to advance Jewish ethnic interests. The only exceptions are advances in technology and basic science, but does anyone seriously suppose that technological advances like the atomic bomb mentioned by Derbyshire would never have been discovered without Jews? (Germany, certainly, was very close.) It may be that these advances would have taken longer, but there is no question that they would have happened without Jews. After all, with a mean IQ of 100 and far larger numbers, European populations undoubtedly have far more individuals of the requisite IQ to make the stupendous contributions to culture that have occurred in recent centuries.
Western cultures have produced a long list of ethnically European geniuses in every field of science and art, from Plato and Aristotle down to the present. Pity the poor English who expelled the Jews in the Middle Ages and were thus restricted to the meager cultural contributions of Chaucer, Milton, Shakespeare, Newton, and Darwin even as they vastly expanded their numbers and the territory controlled by their people. Can anyone seriously suppose that the West would be unable to produce a brilliant high culture without Jews or that the Jewish contribution is of irreplaceable value?
-----The best way to defend ethnic interests is to defend a territory against immigration from other ethnic groups. The big story of immigration since World War II is of course that wealthy Western societies with economic opportunities and a high level of public goods, such as medical care and education, are magnets for immigration from around the world. We should never forget and should be immensely proud of the fact that Western societies act as magnets precisely because of the spectacular success of the peoples of European descent in creating the science and technology that is the basis for the incredible explosion of wealth and the breakthroughs in medicine and public health.
And it goes without saying that we should also be immensely proud of the extraordinary flowering of European high culture that has repeatedly produced geniuses like Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, and Shakespeare. Jewish pride in their own culture is of course a very important part of the Jewish tradition, and it certainly bears emulation. Sadly, a primary effect of the culture of critique has been to produce immense guilt among so many Europeans about their own culture, their own history, and their own people.
However, because Western societies act as very powerful magnets for immigration and because we have not acted to defend ourselves against this onslaught, the result will be displacement of the founding populations, not only in the United States, but also in Australia, Canada, and throughout the European Union. If present trends in the United States continue, the founding European-derived population is set to become a minority by the middle of this century; in the British Isles the submergence date is just two generations later.
European populations that are allowing themselves to be displaced are playing a very dangerous gameâ€”dangerous because the long history of ethnic strife provides them no guarantees about the future. Throughout history there has been a tendency for majority ethnic groups to oppress minorities. A glance at Jewish history is sufficient to make one realize the dangers faced by an ethnic group not having a state and political apparatus to protect its interests. The organized Jewish community in the United States is well aware of this and has adopted a two-pronged strategy: territorial defense and expansion of Israel as an ethnic homeland, and promoting the displacement and disempowerment of European populations in the Western world. Both of these projects have had a considerable degree of success.
It does not take an overactive imagination to see that coalitions of minority groups could compromise the interests of formerly dominant European groups. We already see numerous examples in which coalitions of minority groups attempt to influence public policy, including immigration policy, against the interests of the European majority. And we must realize that placing ourselves in a position of vulnerability would be extremely risky, given the deep sense of historical grievance harbored by many ethnic activists toward Europeans.
The best way to preserve ethnic interests is to defend an ethnostateâ€”a nation that is explicitly intended to preserve the ethnic interests of its citizens. From an ethnic point of view, a major problem with massive immigration is that there is likely to be an increase in ethnic competition. Multicultural societies sanction ethnic mobilization because they inevitably become a cauldron of competing ethnic interests.
In this very dangerous game of ethnic competition, some ethnic groups are better prepared than others. Ethnic groups differ in intelligence and the ability to develop and control economic resources. They differ in their degree of ethnocentrism, in the extent to which they are mobilized to achieve group interests, and in how aggressively they behave toward other groups. They differ in their numbers, fertility, and the extent to which they encourage responsible parenting. And they differ in the amount of land and other resources held at any point in time and in their political power.
Given these differences, itâ€™s difficult at best to ensure peaceful relations among ethnic groups. Even maintaining a status quo in territory and resource control is very difficult, as can be seen by the ill-fated attempts of Americans to achieve an ethnic status quo with the 1924 immigration law.18 And accepting a status quo would not be in the interests of groups that have recently lost land or numbers; nor is it likely to be acceptable to groups with relatively low numbers and control of resources; nor would a status quo be likely to be acceptable to groups prone to high fertility. Yet the alternativeâ€”that all humans renounce their ethnic group loyaltiesâ€”seems utopian to say the least.
And given that some ethnic groupsâ€”especially ones with high levels of ethnocentrism and mobilizationâ€”will undoubtedly continue to function as groups far into the foreseeable future, unilateral renunciation of ethnic loyalties by some groups means only their surrender and defeatâ€”the Darwinian dead end of extinction. The future, then, like the past, will inevitably be a Darwinian competition in which ethnicity plays a very large role.
The alternative faced by Europeans throughout the Western world is to place themselves in a position of enormous vulnerability in which their destinies will be determined by other peoples, many of whom hold deep historically conditioned hatreds toward them. Europeansâ€™ promotion of their own displacement is the ultimate foolishnessâ€”an historical mistake of catastrophic proportions.