Review: K. MacDonald’s “Culture of Critique”

The far right is sharply divided on Kevin MacDonald; some think he’s brillant, others that he’s an obsessive nut.  I’ve just finished reading The Culture of Critique, and I lean toward the position that he’s brilliant (with a touch of obsessiveness).  He’s the only author I’ve encountered who more-or-less shares my principles of thinking about Christian-Jewish beliefs, namely

  1. Jews and Christians are separate groups and sometimes have incompatible interests.  This, rather than some inherent evil in Christianity, is the reason why they sometimes fight.
  2. Jews are in widespread agreement about what their interests are (massive immigration, the sexual revolution, marginalization of Christianity), and they are very aggressive in using their considerable influence to promote these interests.

Today, most everyone accepts the double standard–group identity for Jews, individualism for white gentiles–so that it seems like the most natural thing in the world.  Jews can be proud of their heritage, but Christians should be ashamed of their past; Jews demand that gentile countries, but not Israel, open their borders; they promote and preserve their own ethnicity while accusing whites of “racism” for doing the same.  And, of course, they congratulate themselves on their great moral courage when they tell their ethnic enemies to commit suicide.

MacDonald’s main argument in The Culture of Critique is that this double standard is the result of Jewish intellectuals, like Boas, Freud, Adorno, and Horkheimer, who consciously saw their theories as weapons to discourage gentile group solidarity and prevent antisemitism.  The chapters are of uneven quality, so I will focus on what I think are MacDonald’s strongest examples:  psychoanalysis and the Frankfurt School’s study of “authoritarianism”.  Although posing as science, neither meets scientific standards of clarity and empirical falsifiability.  Both operated from the beginning more like cults than open-minded investigations, with predetermined ethno-political prejudices determining how the “data” was to be manipulated. 

MacDonald’s critique of The Authoritarian Personality is absolutely devastating, worth the price of the book in itself.  Not only did the double standards abound–group cohesion is a sign of a warped psyche when gentiles and right-wingers do it, but not Jews or communists–but in crucial places the book asserts the exact opposite of what its evidence shows!  The authors claim to have proven that filial piety and in-group identification (“ethnocentrism”) are the products of psyches wounded by authoritarian parenting.  Not surprisingly, their interviews seem to indicate otherwise, the “ethnocentric” subjects, having stern but loving parents, tended to be happier and more successful by any measure.  But in the upside-down world of psychoanalysis, everything is the opposite of what it seems.  Expressions of affection and gratitude toward parents mean that the subject is consumed by hidden fear and resentment.  Stories of neglect, abuse, and estrangement are a sign of a fundamentally healthy parent-child relationship, because the subject is confident enough to be honest.  And so on.  MacDonald quotes perhaps a dozen jaw-dropping examples of this sort of reasoning.  Overall, it would seem one could more easily cite this data as evidence that low enthnocentrism is an artifact  of teenage rebellion resulting from bad parenting.  Except that the American Jewish Committee wouldn’t have sponsored a study with that conclusion.

MacDonald’s background in evolutionary sociobiology gives him an interesting perspective here.  He claims that psychoanalysis and the sexual revolution both have the effect of discouraging adaptive behavior that would help gentiles in their competition with Jews for resources.  In particular, sexual libertarianism undermines monogomy and high-investment parenting by gentiles, leaving them a mess of broken families and poorly-raised children.  Of course, Jews too will be affected this way, but MacDonald speculates that their higher IQ means they don’t need as much social pressure/support to avoid self or child-destructive behavior.  Note MacDonald doesn’t say that Jewish intellectuals deliberately set out to destroy gentile families.  Their behavior has been guided by normal out-group negative stereotyping of majorities.  (Indeed, MacDonald quotes a number of prominent Jewish intellectuals on the genetic and ethical superiority of Judaism which are so outrageously prejudiced against gentiles that they are inadvertently comic.)

In the conclusion, MacDonald speculates on the long-term consequences of high-IQ ethnic minorities (Jews and East Asians) for Western civilization.  Jews comprise some 20% of the American elite, and control a corresponding fraction of the economy, but they donate several times as much money to ethnic-related activism than gentiles, meaning that Jewish support is the dominant influence on issues of high Jewish interest, such as immigration and abortion.  In a meritocratic, individualistic society, the ambitious and intelligent Jews and Asians will rise to the top; white gentiles will form a powerless lower class, riven by family breakdown, ruled over by an ethnically alien elite that despises them.  MacDonald does not think that white gentiles will embrace this fate willingly, so he predicts an ugly ethnic balkanization of Western countries.

The book is not without flaws.  MacDonald is given to the sort of reductionism common among evolutionary psychologists.  He sometimes seems to think that because Leftist radicalism has served Jewish interests, it is essentially nothing but Jewish self-seeking.  In fact, I think things like multiculturalism and Freudo-Marxism, whatever their origins, have by now taken on a life of their own.  Also, MacDonald seems to accept in his discussions of Boasian cultural relativism and American immigration reform that loyalty to an ethnic group requires one to believe in significant phenotype differences between races.  In fact, this is no more true for an ethnicity than it is for a family.  MacDonald himself seems to have some attachment to Western caucasians, even though we are, by his admission, genetically inferior to the Jews in just about every way that matters.  Critics of MacDonald say that he tends to reduce everything he doesn’t like to Jewish machinations.  There may be something to that, but it isn’t a problem here, when he’s writing a book about Jewish intellectual activism.

To sum up:  Christians should not resent Jews for being loyal to their own kind and pursuing what they see as their interests.  This is what we should expect them to do.  We should, however, start showing some concern for our own interests.

12 Responses

  1. Wow, bonald. I like most of what you write, but this is totally wrong. I am ethnically Jewish, so let me explain.

    The difference between Jews and Gentiles is that Jews are more stubborn and more outspoken than Gentiles. That is the only real difference. Jew break down into liberal and conservative factions, just like non-Jews do. The liberal Jews have the same beliefs that any other liberals have, but the Jews are more outspoken about it and more stubborn in pursuing it. So like in every area that Jews enter, Jews tend to have big impact. Conservative Jews are really conservative and they have enough intelligence to understand that their best hope is to withdraw from mainstream liberal culture. So conservative (actually Orthodox) do just that. You don’t hear from these Jews because they have nothing to say to you. They hate liberalism just as much as you do. But unlike you, they are actually doing something effective against liberalism by forming strong independent communities with high birth rates.

    The idea that liberal Judaism is designed to harm Christians is absurd because it harms Judaism just as much as it harms Christianity. Because of liberal Judaism, most Jews (including me) intermarry and this greatly reduces the number of Jews. Liberal Jews are liberal for the same reason anyone else is liberal, because they have been persuaded by liberal intellectuals to abandon tradition, but they don’t have the intelligence to figure out what behavior makes sense without the guidance of tradition.

    Within Israel there are huge debates about immigration. Israel has the same issues that other countries do, with a large and growing Muslim population who are full citizens.

    There is one fair criticism of Judaism. This is that Judaism is basically a racist religion because it is quite hard for someone who isn’t ethnically Jewish to join. But for whatever reason, this criticism is never mentioned. Instead, non-Jews just complain about how Jews are successful and how Jews are so active in harmful movements like liberalism. The reason that Jews are successful is because, instead of just complaining, Jews are more likely to take action and work hard to improve their situation. And Jews are just as active in useful areas like science and medicine, as they are in harmful movements. Jews are just generally more active everywhere.

    Your conclusion, bonald, is to imitate the one negative of Judaism while ignoring all the positive traits. Christ’s contribution was to make a non-racist variant of Judaism, and that is huge improvement. Instead of imitating the negative Jewish idea of forming closed racist groups, consider the positive Christian idea of open groups that accept anyone as long as they follow the guiding principles of the group. And then combine that with the positive aspects of Judaism which include the strong Orthodox Jewish sense of community and raising children to take practical action instead of just endlessly complaining. Then you have a winner.

  2. fschmidt’s response in brief:
    “We’re just better than you, and you should shut up.”

    Thanks, fschmidt, for working so hard to refute the “hostile, long-winded, condescending Jew” stereotype!

  3. LOL, Justin! Actually, fschmidt actually admits there is “one fair criticism of Judaism.” See how balanced and even handed he’s being? Of course, I’m sure he finds there are any number of fair criticisms of Christianity, while its only good (that he sees fit to mention) is a “non-racist variant of Judaism.” That Jews think their purported, intrinsic intellectual and thus moral superiority entitles them to remake the world, Christ taught us to focus on our individual souls. Huge difference which is utterly lost on the average Jew, who knows nothing about true Christianity.

  4. Hello fschmidt,

    You make lots of good points. To be fair, MacDonald makes some of them too, namely that it’s not just raw intelligence but activism and ambition that give Jews their high visibility. On the other hand, while there are certainly both liberal and conservative Jews, they don’t occur in anything like the same proportions as in the gentile communities. Western Jews are overwhelmingly in favor of abortion and the sexual revolution, for example. Also, in MacDonald’s telling, Christian sexual morality was an attempt to emulate one of the keys to Jewish success–high-investment parenting–in a way more suited for our low IQs.

    There is one big difference between you and MacDonald, however. He basically thinks that Jews use liberalism just to smash gentile groups, while you point out that liberalism has turned against Judaism itself through intermarriage etc. MacDonald, being an evolutionary reductionist, can’t believe that any ethnic group will ultimately choose its own extinction. (Even white gentiles, he thinks, will eventually wake up.) Therefore, he concentrates on the growth of orthodox communities, movements to discourage Jewish-gentile intermarriage, and other such trends that fit his expectations. I guess he believes the future of Judaism is the Joe Lieberman type–orthodox and Zionist while fanatically devoted to abortion and sodomy. As for myself, I lean towards your view; liberalism has a life of its own, and it always works to destroy its host.

    Given my support for particular loyalties, I look more kindly on Jewish ethnocentrism than you do. I don’t begrudge them for putting their own kind first. The only thing that troubles me about Jewish ethnocentrism is that it refuses to allow the existence of other cohesive groups, which it always equates with “anti-semitism”. We Christians, given our lower intelligence and cohesiveness, have found it very hard to defend against these attacks, but we must find a way.

  5. Thanks bonald, it seems now like we are very close to agreement. This topic is important because reactionary movements have often had a lot of racists, so it is important to clearly separate the positive traditional ideals of reactionary thought (which I support) from racism (which I oppose).

    Your comment that Jews are proportionally more liberal is fair. I will explain why this is. My parents are liberals. This is basically a reaction to Nazism. The liberals were the most outspoken critics of Nazism/racism, so Jews who want to avoid anything like Nazism from happening again tend to become liberals. The irony of this is that this strategy is exactly wrong. The Weimar Republic was a very liberal society which failed due to its own liberalism. Nazism was a reaction to the failure of the liberal Weimar Republic. America will fail for just the same reasons that Weimar Germany failed, and it is very unclear what the reaction will be, but something like Nazism is certainly a possibility. Liberal Jews don’t understand this, just as most people don’t understand the consequences of their political ideals. I would add that liberal Judaism is in rapid decline while Orthodox (conservative/reactionary) Judaism is growing rapidly. So it won’t be long before Jews are proportionally more conservative than the general population.

    Joe Lieberman is one of the most disgusting human beings alive today. He is certainly not truly Orthodox, he doesn’t even wear a yarmulke (Jewish cap for males). The future is Judaism is apolitical Orthodox Jews who you will not see in politics or on TV in general. These Orthodox, unlike liberals, have absolutely no problem with other cohesive groups forming. (If you don’t believe me, just go to an Orthodox Jewish forum and ask.) The opposition to cohesive groups comes from Liberalism, not Judaism.

    I really dislike ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism was behind Nazism which killed most of my family. Jewish ethnocentrism means that my wife and kids can’t belong to Judaism. In my view, the idea of judging people based on ethnicity/race is shallow and immoral, and that applies just as much to Nazis as to Jews. I believe in culture-centrism. What really matters about a person is his culture and values, not his race.

    IQ and race is unfortunately taboo and so not discussed in any rational way. My view on this is based on evolution and is certainly not mainstream. I believe that evolutionary forces in a monogamous culture tend to increase IQ, while evolutionary forces in a promiscuous culture tend to decrease IQ. So if you took the dumbest, most primitive tribe in the world and you enforced monogamy on this tribe, then in a few generation the IQ would rise above norm and they would become major contributors to intellectual fields like science. The most monogamous cultures in recent times were the English and
    Ashkenazi Jews, so it is no surprise that these two groups have made the most significant intellectual contributions in these times. But both of these groups have become promiscuous recently (except Orthodox Jews) and so they are in rapid decline. If reactionaries did succeed in forming a reactionary subculture that was strictly monogamous, then the IQ of this group would gradually rise over the generations. Explaining the exact mechanism for this would require a longer post.

  6. Jews (that is, the Jews that haven’t become Christians) have always resisted the Holy Spirit. Which of the prophets have they not killed?

  7. Racism, in practice, equates to racial self-preference – that is, an absence of suicidal impulses.

    ” racism (which I oppose)”

    Says it all, really

  8. This criticism deserves an answer. True self-reference means preferring those who are like oneself, and this makes evolutionary sense since this means preferring one’s own genes even when carried by others. And it’s true that members of one’s race tend have more genetic similarity than members of other races. In fact this is the basis of racism which seems somewhat instinctual.

    But there is a better genetic strategy than racism. This is preferring cultures where people with similar genes will tend to prosper. This is even better than racism because this means supporting conditions where people like oneself will increase over time. Let me give myself as a specific example. I could be racist and support Jews over others. But while Jews share my genes, modern Jewish culture will eventually destroy people like me. The liberal Jews support promiscuity and my genes will not prosper in a promiscuous environment. Orthodox Jews are too closed minded for people like me (which is why no one in my family was Orthodox) so my genes don’t fit there either. In fact there is no culture in the world today where my genes would do well. My only option is to try to find like-minded people to create such a culture, and it makes little difference what their race is.

    The cultural strategy makes the most sense for intelligent people who can figure out what cultures are best for their kind. For stupid people, racism actually makes sense, and I find that rather scary. It is up to intelligent people to try to dissuade stupid people from acting on racism. Racism inevitably leads to violence between races and a rather unpleasant world.

  9. I also don’t really give a hoot about ethnicity. (I don’t even care too much about culture. My main motivation is to preserve my religion.) The thing is that a culturist position is also threatened by anti-racism activists. When a group of people live in common and intermarry for a long time, they naturally tend to form a distinct ethnic as well as cultural group. Ethnicities and cultures tend to line up over time, so government programs to smash ethnic enclaves will generally also be smashing cultural enclaves. I think the best policy would be to not care about racial “purity”: don’t pursue it, but don’t object when it naturally tends to happen.

  10. fschmidt, how easily you fling around the standard trope that ethnonationalists are “racists” and automatically “stupid.” Again, you are overrating purported “intelligence” and its value to society. I can play the whole ticket-punch game, and my various achievements and qualifications will meet or beat most others – and they’re MEANINGLESS. My 19 year old has figured this out far earlier than I – which is why he’s not particularly interested in college, despite his off-the-charts IQ – and would much rather be doing something that is productive, that matters, and that can help him grow into a better man.

    bonald – I care very much about my religion (Christianity), and I care very much about my people and historical nation (White Christian America). The government is not at all concerned with smashing ethnic enclaves with the exception of White ones. I’m not certain precisely what you mean by “racial purity,” but I’ve learned over the years, through painful experience, that even when expressing theoretically similar “cultural” values, members of other racial and religious groups always revert to their own. That so many Christians and purported conservatives are in such haste to embrace the latest “magic negro” – Michael Williams in Texas, Bobby Jindal or Nikki Haley (Indians in LA and ?), or Herman Cain nationally – is merely more evidence of deliberate color blindness in the face of others’ excessive racial pride and self-identity. fschmidt may claim that he has no place among today’s liberal or orthodox Jews, but in searching for the “culture” that’s best for his “kind,” he is quick to denounce traditional Christian doctrine (Jesus is the Way) and any link between White, Christian culture and the founding of this nation – which to him is undoubtedly merely a “proposition” that all like-minded (to him – intelligent) people can support.

  11. Perhaps there is a slight misinterpretation of MacDonald in here. Under, “Gentiles” MacDonald primarily think about European-Americans a.k.a “Whites”, not Christians. As a matter of fact, he is mostly concerned about people of north-European origin, mainly Anglo-Saxons. His conceptual apparatus is mainly materialistic and tribal-based.

    Many Gentiles are not Christians, while many Christians are not white, nor of European origin.
    On other hand, many whites today are not Christian.
    Latinos are gentiles and mostly very Christian, but I doubt that MacDonald had them in mind when he talked about preservation of Gentiles. Actually, MacDonald consider Christan Latinos and their immigration as main threat to “white-american” identity, and he claim that Jewish influence is cause of that. MacDonald explained this Gentile/White v.s Jewish dichotomy in contemporary America, and in many cases his insights are quite correct, specially about hypocrisy and non-scientific nature of “Frankfurt school”.

    However there are certain problems with his theories:

    1. He created elaborate sociological-tribal theories about reasons of disproportional influence of Jewish elites and Jewish culture in US. However lets see counterexample. POLAND, before WW2 had significant number of Jews, who were almost majority in some bigger Polish cities. Poles are white, European gentiles like their equivalents in US. However, although quite numerous and organized, Jews had almost zero influence on Polish state, its culture and value system. Poland was ultra-Catholic and ultra-conservative state, with strong Polish nationalism – and with very large Jewish population, many of whom were also quite self-aware as Jews. I would say that influence of radical protestantism in New World and it’s obsession with old testament opened the door for disproportionate Jewish influence in US.

    2. He talked about “whites” and “gentiles” like they are some cohesive group with tribal identity. Christians, Muslims, Hindu and even Atheists are all “gentiles” according to Jewish perspective. What they have in common? That they are not Jews? If we base gentile identity simply as opposition to Jews, then we actually agree with Jewish rabbis about Jewish identity, thus playing their game in making Jews unique and superior to others. What if we base identity of “whiteness”? What does “white” mean? Perhaps in America, term “white” have some meaning but NOT IN EUROPE. Germans, French, Poles, Russians etc. are all white, but they also have different ethnic and group loyalties. MacDonald, under “white” seems that mostly means about north-Europeans of Germanic ancestry. So his appeals to “white” or “gentile” identity are quite problematic.

    3. When we talk about “Jews”,what “Jews” do we mean? Most Jews in the world, and specially in the US are Ashkenazi and followers of RABBINICAL Judaism, which originate in Pharisees-one of many Jewish sects in old days. What we mostly associate with Jews, Jewish mentality, customs and culture is connected with rabbinical Judaism, to the point that for many people Judaism=Rabbinical Judaism. This is not correct.
    Rabbinical Judaism sect imposed it’s will to most Jews over the centuries, but it was not the only form of Judaism around. Lots of Jews in past belonged to KARAITE Judaism, while there are some who are still Karaites. Karaites were not so much in conflict with Gentiles, as Rabbinical Jews, since they have different laws then Rabbinical ones. They don’t accept Talmud, and recognize patrilineal descent, not matrilinear like Rabbinical ones do. They don’t recognize Rabbinical authorities. These two groups are far for being friendly. Not to mention non – Jewish Israelite groups like Samaritans. Most in-group cohesion of Jews that come from rabbinical tradition is based either on their faith, or from respect to tradition and laws based on that faith. This lead us to main critique of MacDonald…

    What he offered as “salvation” of “Gentiles” is actually imitation of Jews and Judaic “tribalism”. In order to Gentiles (whatever that means) preserve their identity and group cohesion, they have to become spiritual Jews, or Judaics for that matter.
    Mac Donald approach is basically based on same (secularized) protestant mentality that lead to Jewish spiritual dominion in America in first place. His thought is secular, materialist and mostly atheistic.

    What MacDonald don’t realize is that this secularization, materialism and atheization lead to destruction of faith in western man, and de-sacralized him. Such spiritually crippled man is vulnerable and inferior to more self-confident religious-cultural communities, like Jews. Jewish cultural influence and moral domination in west is consequence of spiritual self-destruction of western man and sectarianism within Christianity (radical protestantism), and it’s not the cause of that. Just see example of pre WW2 Poland as illustration.

    French revolution, dechristianization of France, murdering of priests, desacralizations of Churches, destruction of traditions were all done by gentiles. Jews at that time had almost zero influence on these events. Some Enlightenment thinkers had quite negative attitudes towards Jews.

    And when we speak particular “interests” about Christainity, let’s not forget that word “Catholic”- Katolikos, means “universal”.

  12. fschmidt would deny others the opportunity to freely assemble with their own extended families for self-preservation, especially Europeans. He would do this based on his own personal preferences and experiences, not on any natural principle. He thinks culture and people are infinitely plastic, that one’s heritage is incidental and unimportant in the creation of culture. He employs the lexicon of the liberal Left, calling anyone who loves his own people a racist and a murderer. In short, he is the typical, radical liberal.

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