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The Culture of Critique
An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements
By Kevin MacDonald
Department of Psychology
California State University, Long Beach
© 1998, 2002 by Kevin MacDonald
Preface to the First Paperback Edition
Chapter 1: Jews and the Radical Critique of Gentile Culture: Introduction and Theory
Chapter 2: The Boasian School of Anthropology and the Decline of Darwinism in the Social Sciences
Chapter 3: Jews and the Left
Chapter 4: Jewish Involvement in the Psychoanalytic Movement
Chapter 5: The Frankfurt School of Social Research and the Pathologization of Gentile Group Allegiances
Chapter 6: The Jewish Criticism of Gentile Culture: A Reprise
Chapter 7: Jewish Involvement in Shaping U.S. Immigration Policy
Conclusion: Whither Judaism and the West?
Preface to the First Paperback Edition
The Culture of Critique (hereafter, CofC) was originally published in 1998 by Praeger Publishers, an imprint of Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc. The thesis of the book is a difficult one indeed, not only because it is difficult to establish, but also because it challenges many fundamental assumptions about our contemporary intellectual and political existence.
CofC describes how Jewish intellectuals initiated and advanced a number of important intellectual and political movements during the 20th century. I argue that these movements are attempts to alter Western societies in a manner that would neutralize or end anti-Semitism and enhance the prospects for Jewish group continuity either in an overt or in a semi-cryptic manner. Several of these Jewish movements (e.g., the shift in immigration policy favoring non-European peoples) have attempted to weaken the power of their perceived competitors—the European peoples who early in the 20th century had assumed a dominant position not only in their traditional homelands in Europe, but also in the United States, Canada, and Australia. At a theoretical level, these movements are viewed as the outcome of conflicts of interest between Jews and non-Jews in the construction of culture and in various public policy issues. Ultimately, these movements are viewed as the expression of a group evolutionary strategy by Jews in their competition for social, political and cultural dominance with non-Jews.
Here I attempt to answer some typical criticisms that have been leveled against CofC. (See also my website: www.csulb.edu/~kmacd). I also discuss issues raised by several books that have appeared since the publication of CofC.
There have been complaints that I am viewing Judaism in a monolithic manner. This is definitely not the case. Rather, in each movement that I discuss, my methodology has been:
(1.) Find influential movements dominated by Jews, with no implication that all or most Jews are involved in these movements and no restrictions on what the movements are. For example, I touch on Jewish neo-conservatism which is a departure in some ways from the other movements I discuss. In general, relatively few Jews were involved in most of these movements and significant numbers of Jews may have been unaware of their existence. Even Jewish leftist radicalism—surely the most widespread and influential Jewish subculture of the 20th century—may have been a minority movement within Jewish communities in the United States and other Western societies for most periods. As a result, when I criticize these movements I am not necessarily criticizing most Jews. Nevertheless, these movements were influential and they were Jewishly motivated.
(2.) Determine whether the Jewish participants in those movements identified as Jews AND thought of their involvement in the movement as advancing specific Jewish interests. Involvement may be unconscious or involve self-deception, but for the most part it was quite easy and straightforward to find evidence for these propositions. If I thought that self-deception was important (as in the case of many Jewish radicals), I provided evidence that in fact they did identify as Jews and were deeply concerned about Jewish issues despite surface appearances to the contrary. (See also Ch. 1 of CofC.)
(3.) Try to gauge the influence of these movements on non-Jewish society. Keep in mind that the influence of an intellectual or political movement dominated by Jews is independent of the percentage of the Jewish community that is involved in the movement or supports the movement.
(4.) Try to show how non-Jews responded to these movements—for example, were they a source of anti-Semitism?
Several of the movements I discuss have been very influential in the social sciences. However, I do not argue that there are no Jews who do good social science, and in fact I provide a list of prominent Jewish social scientists who in my opinion do not meet the conditions outlined under (2) above (see Ch. 2 of CofC). If there was evidence that these social scientists identified as Jews and had a Jewish agenda in doing social science (definitely not in the case of most of those listed, but possibly true in the case of Richard Herrnstein—see below), then they would have been candidates for inclusion in the book. The people I cite as contributing to evolutionary/biological perspectives are indeed ethnically Jewish, but for most of them I have no idea whether they either identity as Jews or if they have a Jewish agenda in pursuing their research simply because there is no evidence to be found in their work or elsewhere. If there is evidence that a prominent evolutionary biologist identifies as a Jew and views his work in sociobiology or evolutionary psychology as advancing Jewish agendas, then he or she should have been in CofC as an example of the phenomenon under study rather than as simply a scientist working in the area of evolutionary studies.
Interestingly, in the case of one of those I mention, Richard J. Herrnstein, Alan Ryan (1994, 11) writes, “Herrnstein essentially wants the world in which clever Jewish kids or their equivalent make their way out of their humble backgrounds and end up running Goldman Sachs or the Harvard physics department.” This is a stance that is typical, I suppose, of neo-conservatism, a Jewish movement I discuss in several places, and it is the sort of thing that, if true, would suggest that Herrnstein did perceive the issues discussed in The Bell Curve as affecting Jewish interests in a way that Charles Murray, his co-author, did not. (Ryan contrasts Murray’s and Herrnstein’s world views: “Murray wants the Midwest in which he grew up—a world in which the local mechanic didn’t care two cents whether he was or wasn’t brighter than the local math teacher.”) Similarly, 20th-century theoretical physics does not qualify as a Jewish intellectual movement precisely because it was good science and there are no signs of ethnic involvement in its creation: Jewish identification and pursuit of Jewish interests were not important to the content of the theories or to the conduct of the intellectual movement. Yet Jews have been heavily overrepresented among the ranks of theoretical physicists.
This conclusion remains true even though Einstein, the leading figure among Jewish physicists, was a strongly motivated Zionist (Fölsing 1997, 494-505), opposed assimilation as a contemptible form of “mimicry” (p. 490), preferred to mix with other Jews whom he referred to as his “tribal companions” (p. 489), embraced the uncritical support for the Bolshevik regime in Russia typical of so many Jews during the 1920s and 1930s, including persistent apology for the Moscow show trials in the 1930s (pp. 644-5), and switched from a high-minded pacifism during World War I, when Jewish interests were not at stake, to advocating the building of atomic bombs to defeat Hitler. From his teenage years he disliked the Germans and in later life criticized Jewish colleagues for converting to Christianity and acting like Prussians. He especially disliked Prussians, who were the elite ethnic group in Germany. Reviewing his life at age 73, Einstein declared his ethnic affiliation in no uncertain terms: “My relationship with Jewry had become my strongest human tie once I achieved complete clarity about our precarious position among the nations” (in Fölsing 1997, 488). According to Fölsing, Einstein had begun developing this clarity from an early age, but did not acknowledge it until much later, a form of self-deception: “As a young man with bourgeois-liberal views and a belief in enlightenment, he had refused to acknowledge [his Jewish identity]” (in Fölsing 1997, 488).
In other words, the issues of the ethnic identification and even ethnic activism on the part of people like Einstein are entirely separate from the issue of whether such people viewed the content of the theories themselves as furthering ethnic interests, and, in the case of Einstein, there is no evidence that he did so. The same cannot be said for Freud, the New York Intellectuals, the Boasians, and the Frankfurt School, in which “scientific” theories were fashioned and deployed to advance ethnic group interests. This ideological purpose becomes clear when the unscientific nature of these movements is understood. Much of the discussion in CofC documented the intellectual dishonesty, the lack of empirical rigor, the obvious political and ethnic motivation, the expulsion of dissenters, the collusion among co-ethnics to dominate intellectual discourse, and the general lack of scientific spirit that pervaded them. In my view, the scientific weakness of these movements is evidence of their group-strategic function.
CofC was not reviewed widely. Indeed, only three reviews have appeared in mainstream publications, including a brief review by Kevin Hannan (2000) in Nationalities Papers. Hannan’s review mostly describes the book, but he summarizes his impressions by noting, “[MacDonald’s] iconoclastic evaluation of psychoanalysis, Marxism, multiculturalism, and certain schools of thought in the social sciences will not generate great enthusiasm for his work in academe, yet this book is well written and has much to offer the reader interested in ethnicity and ethnic conflict.”
The other reviews have raised several important issues that bear discussion. Frank Salter’s (2000) review in Human Ethology Bulletin discussed some of the controversy surrounding my work, particularly an acrimonious session at the 2000 conference of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society where I was accused of anti-Semitism by several participants. For me the only issue is whether I have been honest in my treatment of sources and whether my conclusions meet the usual standards of scholarly research in the social sciences. Salter notes that I based my research on mainstream sources and that the assertions that have infuriated some colleagues
are not only true but truisms to those acquainted with the diverse literatures involved. Apart from the political sensitivity of the subject, much of the problem facing MacDonald is that his knowledge is often too far ahead of his detractors to allow easy communication; there are not enough shared premises for constructive dialog. Unfortunately the knowledge gap is closing slowly because some of his most hostile critics, including colleagues who make serious ad hominem accusations, have not bothered to read MacDonald’s books.
Salter also notes that those, such as John Tooby and Steven Pinker, who have denigrated my competence as a researcher in the media, have failed to provide anything approaching a scholarly critique or refutation of my work. Sadly, this continues. While there have been a number of ringing denunciations of my work in public forums, there have been no serious scholarly reviews by these critics, although they have not retracted their scathing denunciations of my work.
Paul Gottfried (2000) raised several interesting issues in his review in Chronicles, the paleo-conservative intellectual journal. (I replied to Gottfried’s review and Gottfried penned a rejoinder; see Chronicles, September, 2000, pp. 4-5). Gottfried questions my views on the role of Jewish organizations and intellectuals with strong Jewish identifications as agents of change in the cultural transformations that have occurred in Western societies over the last 50 years. In general, my position is that Jewish intellectual and political movements were a necessary condition for these changes, not a sufficient condition, as Gottfried supposes. In the case of the reversal in U.S. immigration policy, there simply were no other pressure groups that were pushing for liberalized, multi-racial immigration during the period under consideration (up to the enactment of the watershed immigration bill of 1965). Nor were there any other groups or intellectual movements besides the ones mentioned in CofC that were developing images of the U.S. as a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society rather than a European civilization. Gottfried attributes the sea change in immigration to “a general cultural change that beset Western societies and was pushed by the managerial state.” I agree that multi-ethnic immigration resulted from a general cultural shift, but we still must develop theories for the origin of this shift.
A revealing development regarding Jewish attitudes toward immigration is an article by Stephen Steinlight (2001), former Director of National Affairs (domestic policy) at the American Jewish Committee (AJCommittee) and presently a Senior Fellow with the AJCommittee. Steinlight recommends altering “the traditional policy line [of the organized Jewish community] affirming generous—really, unlimited—immigration and open borders,” even though for “many decent, progressive Jewish folk merely asking such fundamental questions is tantamount to heresy, and meddling with them is to conjure the devil.”
Steinlight believes that present immigration policy no longer serves Jewish interests because the new immigrants are less likely to be sympathetic to Israel and because they are more likely to view Jews as the wealthiest and most powerful group in the U.S.—and thus a potential enemy—rather than as victims of the Holocaust. He is particularly worried about the consequences of Islamic fundamentalism among Muslim immigrants, especially for Israel, and he condemns the “savage hatred for America and American values” among the fundamentalists. Steinlight is implicitly agreeing with an important thesis of my trilogy on Judaism: Throughout history Jews have tended to prosper in individualistic European societies and have suffered in non-Western societies, most notably in Muslim cultures where there are strong ingroup-outgroup sensibilities (e.g., MacDonald 1998a, Ch. 2; the only exceptions to this generalization have been when Jews have constituted an intermediary group between an alien elite and oppressed native populations in Muslim societies.) Steinlight’s fears of the effects of a Balkanized America on Judaism are indeed well-grounded.
Steinlight is exclusively concerned with Jewish interests an example of Jewish moral particularism which is a general feature of Jewish culture (see below). Indeed, his animosity toward the restrictionism of 1924-1965 shines through clearly. This “pause” in immigration is perceived as a moral catastrophe. He describes it as “evil, xenophobic, anti-Semitic,” “vilely discriminatory,” a “vast moral failure,” a “monstrous policy.” Jewish interests are his only consideration, while the vast majority of pre-1965 Americans are described as a “thoughtless mob” because they advocate a complete moratorium on immigration.
It seems fair to state that there is a communal Jewish memory about the period of immigration restriction as the high point of American anti-Jewish attitudes. Non-Jews have a difficult time fathoming Jewish communal memory. For strongly identified Jews, the “vilely discriminatory” actions of immigration restrictionists are part of the lachrymose history of the Jewish people. Immigration restriction from 1924-1965 is in the same category as the Roman destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D., the marauding Crusaders of the Middle Ages, the horrors of the Inquisition, the evil of the Russian Czar, and the rationally incomprehensible calamity of Nazism. These events are not just images drawn from the dustbin of history. They are deeply felt images and potent motivators of contemporary behavior. As Michael Walzer (1994, 4) noted, “I was taught Jewish history as a long tale of exile and persecution—Holocaust history read backwards.” From this perspective, the immigration restriction of 1924-1965 is an important part of the Holocaust because it prevented the emigration of Jews who ultimately died in the Holocaust—a point that Steinlight dwells on at length.
And as Walter Benjamin (1968, 262) notes, “Hatred and [the] spirit of sacrifice ... are nourished by the image of enslaved ancestors rather than that of liberated grandchildren.” This is important because whatever one’s attitudes about the costs and benefits of immigration, a principal motivation for encouraging massive non-European immigration on the part of the organized Jewish community has involved a deeply felt animosity toward the people and culture responsible for the immigration restriction of 1924-1965. (As indicated in Ch. 7, another motivation has been to lessen the power of the European-derived majority of the U.S. in order to prevent the development of an ethnically homogenous anti-Jewish movement.) This deeply held animosity exists despite the fact that the liberated grandchildren have been extraordinarily prosperous in the country whose recent past is the focus of such venom. The welfare of the United States and certainly the welfare of European-Americans have not been a relevant consideration for Jewish attitudes on immigration. Indeed, as indicated in Chapter 7, it’s easy to find statements of Jewish activists deploring the very idea that immigration should serve the interests of the United States. That is why the organized Jewish community did not settle for a token victory by merely eliminating the ethnically based quotas that resulted in an ethnic status quo in which Europeans retained their ethnic and cultural predominance. As indicated in Chapter 7, immediately after the passage of the 1965 law, activists strove mightily to increase dramatically the numbers of non-European immigrants, a pattern that continues to the present.
And, finally, that is why support for open immigration spans the Jewish political spectrum, from the far left to the neo-conservative right. Scott McConnell, former editorial page editor and columnist for the New York Post, commented on the intense commitment to open immigration among Jewish neo-conservatives (see also Ch. 7):1
Read some of Norman Podhoretz’s writing, particularly his recent book—the only polemics against anyone right of center are directed against immigration restrictionists. Several years ago I was at a party talking to Norman, and Abe Rosenthal came over, and Norman introduced us with the words “Scott is very solid on all the issues, except immigration.” The very first words out of his mouth. This was when we were ostensibly on very good terms, and I held a job which required important people to talk to me. There is a complicated history between the neo-cons and National Review [NR], which John O’Sullivan could tell better than I, but it involved neo-con attacks on NR using language that equated modern day immigration restrictionism with the effort to send Jews back to Nazi death camps, a tone so vicious that [it] was really strange among ostensible Reaganite allies in 1995.... The Forward, a neo-connish Jewish weekly, used to run articles trying to link FAIR [Federation for American Immigration Reform], an immigration restriction group headed by former [Colorado governor] Richard Lamm, with neo-nazism, using ... crude smear techniques .... None of my neo-con friends (at a time when all my friends were Jewish neo-cons) thought there was anything wrong with this.... Read the Weekly Standard, read Ben Wattenberg. Read the [Podhoretzes]. Or don’t. But if you were engaged on the issue, you couldn’t help but being struck by this, particularly because it came as such a shock. One doesn’t like to name names, because no one on the right wants to get on the bad side of the neo-cons, but I can think of one young scholar, who writes very temperately on immigration-related issues and who trained under a leading neo-con academic. He told me he was just amazed at the neo-cons’ attachment to high immigration—it seemed to go against every principle of valuing balance and order in a society, and being aware of social vulnerabilities, that they seemed to advocate. Perhaps it’s worth some time, writing a lengthy article on all this, on how the American right lost its way after the Cold War. [Emphasis in text]
THE DECLINE OF ETHNIC CONSCIOUSNESS AMONG
EUROPEAN-DERIVED PEOPLE IN THE UNITED STATES
Fundamental to the transformation of the United States as a result of massive non-European immigration was the decline of ethnic consciousness among European peoples. It is fascinating to contrast the immigration debates of the 1920s with those of the 1950s and 1960s. The restrictionists of the 1920s unabashedly asserted the right of European-derived peoples to the land they had conquered and settled. There were many assertions of ethnic interest—that the people who colonized and created the political and economic culture of the country had a right to maintain it as their possession. This sort of morally self-assured nativism (even the word itself now has a pathological ring to it) can be seen in the statement of Representative William N. Vaile of Colorado, a prominent restrictionist, quoted in Chapter 7 of CofC.
By the 1940s and certainly by the 1960s it was impossible to make such assertions without being deemed not only a racist but an intellectual Neanderthal. Indeed, Bendersky (2000) shows that such rhetoric was increasingly impossible in the 1930s. One can see the shift in the career of racial theorist Lothrop Stoddard, author of books such as The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy and numerous articles for the popular media, such as Collier’s, Forum, and The Saturday Evening Post. Stoddard viewed Jews as highly intelligent and as racially different from Europeans. He also believed that Jews were critical to the success of Bolshevism. However, he stopped referring to Jews completely in his lectures to the Army War College in the late 1930s. The Boasian revolution in anthropology had triumphed, and theorists who believed that race was important for explaining human behavior became fringe figures. Stoddard himself went from being a popular and influential writer to being viewed as a security risk as the Roosevelt administration prepared the country for war with National Socialist Germany.
Another marker of the change in attitude toward Jews was the response to Charles Lindbergh’s remarks in Des Moines, Iowa on the eve of U.S. entry into World War II. Lindbergh’s advocacy of non-intervention was shaped not only by his horror at the destructiveness of modern warfare—what he viewed as the suicide of European culture, but also by his belief that a second European war would be suicidal for the White race. In an article published in the popular media in 1939 shortly after the outbreak of World War II, he stated that it was a war “among a dominant people for power, blind, insatiable, suicidal. Western nations are again at war, a war likely to be more prostrating than any in the past, a war in which the White race is bound to lose, and the others bound to gain, a war which may easily lead our civilization through more Dark Ages if it survives at all” (Lindbergh 1939, 65).
In order to maintain their dominance over other races, Lindbergh believed that whites should join together to fend off the teeming legions of non-whites who were the real long-term threat. Lindbergh was not a Nordicist. He took a long-term view that Russia would be a white bulwark against the Chinese in the East. He advocated a racial alliance among Whites based “on a Western Wall of race and arms which can hold back either a Genghis Khan or the infiltration of inferior blood; on an English fleet, a German air force, a French army, [and] an American nation” (p. 66). However, the Soviet Union under Communism was abhorrent: “I tell you that I would a hundred times rather see my country ally herself with England, or even with Germany with all of her faults, than with the cruelty, the godlessness, and the barbarism that exist in Soviet Russia. An alliance between the United States and Russia should be opposed by every American, by every Christian, and by every humanitarian in this country” (in Berg 1999, 422). Lindbergh clearly viewed the atrocities perpetrated by the Soviet Union to be worse than those of Nazi Germany.
Lindbergh’s famous speech of September 11, 1941 stated that Jews were one of the principal forces attempting to lead the U.S. into the war, along with the Roosevelt administration and the British. Lindbergh noted that Jewish reaction to Nazi Germany was understandable given persecution “sufficient to make bitter enemies of any race.” He stated that the Jews’ “greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our Government.” And, most controversially, he stated, “I am saying that the leaders of both the British and Jewish races, for reasons which are understandable from their viewpoint as they are inadvisable from ours, for reasons which are not American, wish to involve us in the war” (in Berg 1999, 427).
America First Information:
Lindbergh’s speech was greeted with a torrent of abuse and hatred unparalleled for a mainstream public figure in American history. Overnight Lindbergh went from cultural hero to moral pariah. Jewish influence on the media and government would be difficult to measure then as it is now, but it was certainly considerable and a common concern of anti-Jewish sentiment of the time. In a booklet published in 1936, the editors of Fortune magazine concluded that the main sources of Jewish influence on the media were their control of the two major radio networks and the Hollywood movie studios (Editors of Fortune 1936). They suggested that “at the very most, half the opinion-making and taste-influencing paraphernalia in America is in Jewish hands” (p. 62)—a rather remarkable figure considering that Jews constituted approximately 2-3% of the population and most of the Jewish population were first or second generation immigrants. A short list of Jewish ownership or management of the major media during this period would include the New York Times (the most influential newspaper, owned by the Sulzberger family), the New York Post (George Backer), the Washington Post (Eugene Meyer), Philadelphia Inquirer (M. L. Annenberg), Philadelphia Record and Camden Courier-Post (J. David Stern), Newark Star-Ledger (S. I. Newhouse), Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Paul Block), CBS (the dominant radio network, owned by William Paley), NBC (headed by David Sarnoff), all of the major Hollywood movie studios, Random House (the most important book publisher, owned by Bennett Cerf), and a dominant position in popular music.2 Walter Winchell, who had an audience of tens of millions and was tied with Bob Hope for the highest rated program on radio, believed that opposition to intervention “was unconscionable, a form of treason” (Gabler 1995, 294). Winchell, “the standard bearer for interventionism,” was Jewish. He had close ties during this period to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) which provided him with information on the activities of isolationists and Nazi sympathizers which he used in his broadcasts and newspaper columns (Gabler 1995, 294-298)
There is no question that the movie industry did indeed propagandize against Germany and in favor of intervention. In May, 1940, the Warner Brothers studio wired Roosevelt that “personally we would like to do all in our power within the motion picture industry and by use of the talking screen to show the American people the worthiness of the cause for which the free peoples of Europe are making such tremendous sacrifices” (in Gabler 1988, 343). Later in 1940 Joseph P. Kennedy lectured the Hollywood movie elite that they should stop promoting the war and stop making anti-Nazi movies or risk a rise in anti-Semitism. Immediately prior to Lindbergh’s Des Moines speech, Senator Gerald Nye asserted that foreign-born owners of the Hollywood studies had “violent animosities toward certain causes abroad” (Gabler 1988, 344-345). Representatives of the movie industry, realizing that they had the support of the Roosevelt administration, aggressively defended making “America conscious of the national peril.”3
Harvard historian William Langer stated in a lecture to the U.S. Army War College that the rising dislike of Nazi Germany in the U.S. was due to “Jewish influence” in the media:
You have to face the fact that some of our most important American newspapers are Jewish-controlled, and I suppose if I were a Jew I would feel about Nazi Germany as most Jews feel and it would be most inevitable that the coloring of the news takes on that tinge. As I read the New York Times, for example, it is perfectly clear that every little upset that occurs (and after all, many upsets occur in a country of 70 million people) is given a great deal of prominence. The other part of it is soft-pedaled or put off with a sneer. So that in a rather subtle way, the picture you get is that there is no good in the Germans whatever. (In Bendersky 2000, 273)
It is also interesting that the Chicago Tribune was “circumspect on the Jewish question” despite the personal sentiments of Robert McCormick, the Tribune’s non-Jewish publisher, that Jews were an important reason behind America’s anti-German policy (Bendersky 2000, 284). This suggests that concern with Jewish power—quite possibly concern about negative influences on advertising revenue (see Editors of Fortune 1936, 57), was an issue for McCormick. On balance, it would seem reasonable to agree with Lindbergh that Jewish influence in the media was significant during this period. Of course, this is not to say that Jews dominated the media at this time or that other influences were not important.
It is also noteworthy that U.S. military officers often worried that Roosevelt was influenced to be anti-German by his Jewish advisors, Samuel I. Rosenman, Felix Frankfurter, and Henry Morgenthau, Jr. (Bendersky 2000, 274), and they worried that Jewish interests and the British would push the U.S. into a war with Germany. Both Frankfurter and Morgenthau were strongly identified Jews and effective advocates of Jewish interests within the Roosevelt Administration. Morgenthau actively promoted Zionism and the welfare of Jewish refugees (e.g., Bendersky 2000, 333ff, 354ff). Both supported U.S. involvement in the war against Germany, and Morgenthau became well-known as an advocate of extremely harsh treatment of the Germans during and after World War II.
Moreover, there is no question that Jews were able to have a great deal of influence on specific issues during this period. For example, Zionist organizations exerted enormous pressure on the government (e.g., Bendersky 2000, 325). During World War II they engaged in “loud diplomacy” (p. 326), organizing thousands of rallies, dinners with celebrity speakers (including prominent roles for sympathetic non-Jews), letter campaigns, meetings, lobbying, threats to newspapers for publishing unfavorable items, insertion of propaganda as news items in newspapers, giving money to politicians and non-Jewish celebrities like Will Rogers in return for their support. By 1944, “thousands of non-Jewish associations would pass pro-Zionist resolutions” (p. 326). In 1944 both Republican and Democratic platforms included strong pro-Zionist planks even though the creation of a Jewish state was strongly opposed by the Departments of State and War (p. 328).
Nevertheless, whatever the level of Jewish influence on the media during this period, commentators generally focused on denouncing the seeming implication in Lindbergh’s speech that Jewish interests were “not American.” I suppose that Lindbergh’s statement could have been amended by a public-relations minded editor without distorting Lindbergh’s intentions to read something like, “Jewish interests are not the same as the interests of most other Americans,” or “Jewish interests are not the same as those of the country as a whole.” However, I rather doubt that this alteration would have assuaged the outpouring of hatred that ensued. The simple facts that the vast majority of U.S. Jews were indeed in favor of intervention and that Jews did have a significant effect on public attitudes and public policy had become irrelevant. As Lindbergh himself said, the choice was “whether or not you are going to let your country go into a completely disastrous war for lack of courage to name the groups leading that country to war—at the risk of being called ‘anti-Semitic’ simply by naming them” (as paraphrased by Anne Morrow Lindbergh 1980, 224; italics in text). America had entered into an era when it had become morally unacceptable to discuss Jewish interests at all. We are still in that era.4
It is instructive to review in some detail the “Niagara of invective” experienced by Lindbergh (Berg 1999, 428). He was denounced by virtually all the leading media, by Democrats and Republicans, Protestants and Catholics, and, of course, Jewish groups. Many accused him of being a Nazi, including the Presidential Secretary who compared Lindbergh’s speech to Nazi rhetoric. Reinhold Niebuhr, the prominent Protestant leader (see below), called on Lindbergh’s organization, America First, to “divorce itself from the stand taken by Lindbergh and clean its ranks of those who would incite to racial and religious strife in this country” (in Berg 1999, 428). America First released a statement that neither Lindbergh nor the organization were anti-Semitic.
The reaction of Lindbergh’s wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, is particularly interesting because it illustrates the power of moral revulsion combined with hypocrisy that had enveloped any public discussion of Jewish interests.
September 11, 1941:
Then [he gave] his speech—throwing me into black gloom. He names the “war agitators”—chiefly the British, the Jews, and the Administration. He does it truthfully, moderately, and with no bitterness or rancor—but I hate to have him touch the Jews at all. For I dread the reaction on him. No one else mentions this subject out loud (though many seethe bitterly and intolerantly underneath). C. [Charles], as usual, must bear the brunt of being frank and open. What he is saying in public is not intolerant or inciting or bitter and it is just what he says in private, while the other soft-spoken cautious people who say terrible things in private would never dare be as frank in public as he. They do not want to pay the price. And the price will be terrible. Headlines will flame “Lindbergh attacks Jews.” He will be branded anti-Semitic, Nazi, Führer-seeking, etc. I can hardly bear it. For he is a moderate ....
September 13, 1941:
He is attacked on all sides—Administration, pressure groups, and Jews, as now openly a Nazi, following Nazi doctrine.
September 14, 1941:
I cannot explain my revulsion of feeling by logic. Is it my lack of courage to face the problem? Is it my lack of vision and seeing the thing through? Or is my intuition founded on something profound and valid?
I do not know and am only very disturbed, which is upsetting for him. I have the greatest faith in him as a person—in his integrity, his courage, and his essential goodness, fairness, and kindness—his nobility really .... How then explain my profound feeling of grief about what he is doing? If what he said is the truth (and I am inclined to think it is), why was it wrong to state it? He was naming the groups that were pro-war. No one minds his naming the British or the Administration. But to name “Jew” is un-American—even if it is done without hate or even criticism. Why?
Because it is segregating them as a group, setting the ground for anti-Semitism....
I say that I would prefer to see this country at war than shaken by violent anti-Semitism. (Because it seems to me that the kind of person the human being is turned into when the instinct of Jew-baiting is let loose is worse than the kind of person he becomes on the battlefield.)
September 15, 1941:
The storm is beginning to blow up hard. America First is in a turmoil.... He is universally condemned by all moderates.... The Jews demand a retraction.... I sense that this is the beginning of a fight and consequent loneliness and isolation that we have not known before.... For I am really much more attached to the worldly things than he is, mind more giving up friends, popularity, etc., mind much more criticism and coldness and loneliness.
September 18, 1941:
Will I be able to shop in New York at all now? I am always stared at—but now to be stared at with hate, to walk through aisles of hate! 5 (A. M. Lindbergh 1980, 220-230; italics in text)
Several issues stand out in these comments. Anne Morrow Lindbergh is horrified at having to walk through “aisles of hate,” horrified at having to give up her friends, horrified at being a pariah where once she was idolized as the wife of the most popular man in the country. While she accepts the truth of what her husband said and its good intentions, she thinks it better left unsaid and does not dwell on the unfairness of the charges against her husband, in particular with calling him a Nazi. Truth is no defense if it leads to morally unacceptable actions, and slander and smear tactics are warranted and understandable if the goals are morally praiseworthy. She supposes that even a disastrous war that might kill hundreds of thousands of Americans (and, as her husband believed, might result in the destruction of European culture and the white race) is preferable to the possibility of an outbreak of violent anti-Semitism. The moral demeanor of Americans is more important than their survival as a nation or people. And all of this because Lindbergh simply stated that Jews had interests as a group that differed from those of other Americans. Their lesson learned, American politicians presumably realized that even rational, intelligent, and humane discussions of Jewish interests were beyond the boundaries of appropriate discussion. Jews had no interests as Jews that could be said to conflict with the interests of any other group of Americans.
By the time of Lindbergh’s speech, Jews not only had a prominent position in the U.S. media, they had seized the intellectual and moral high ground via their control of the intellectual and political movements discussed in CofC. Not only were Jewish interests beyond the bounds of civilized political discussion, assertions of European ethnic interest became impermissible as well. Such assertions conflicted with the Boasian dogma that genetic differences between peoples were trivial and irrelevant; they conflicted with the Marxist belief in the equality of all peoples and the Marxist belief that nationalism and assertions of ethnic interests were reactionary; such assertions were deemed a sure sign of psychopathology within the frameworks of psychoanalysis and the Frankfurt School; and they would soon be regarded as the babblings of country bumpkins by the New York Intellectuals and by the neo-conservatives who spouted variants of all of these ideologies from the most prestigious academic and media institutions in the society. There may indeed have been other forces that relegated a nativist mindset to the political and intellectual fringe—Gottfried (2000) points a finger at liberal Protestantism and the rise of the managerial state, but it is impossible to understand the effectiveness of either of these influences in the absence of the Jewish movements I describe.
The rise of a de-ethnicized non-Jewish managerial elite that rejects traditional cultural institutions—as exemplified by former President Bill Clinton and now Senator Hillary Clinton—and interwoven with a critical mass of ethnically conscious Jews and other ethnic minorities is an enormously important fact of our current political life. My claim that Jewish intellectual and political activities were a necessary condition for the rise of such an elite, while obviously difficult to verify conclusively (as any other causal hypothesis would be) is also compatible with the work of others, most notably D. A. Hollinger’s (1996) Science, Jews, and Secular Culture: Studies in Mid-20th-Century American Intellectual History and Carl Degler’s (1991) In Search of Human Nature: The Decline and Revival of Darwinism in American Social Thought.
The rise of such a de-ethnicized elite is hardly an inevitable consequence of modernization or any other force of which I am aware. Such de-ethnicized managerial elites are unique to European and European-derived societies. Such elites are not found elsewhere in the world, including highly developed nations such as Japan and Israel or the undeveloped nations of Africa and elsewhere. Moreover, the cultural shifts under consideration have also occurred in traditionally Catholic countries like France and Italy, where Protestantism has not been a factor. France in particular has been very open to non-European immigration and its intellectual life has been deeply influenced by the movements discussed in CofC. Conversely, there are many examples where Protestantism has peacefully co-existed with or even rationalized nationalism and ethnocentrism.
Developing theories of why Western cultures provide such fertile ground for the theories and movements discussed in CofC is a very useful area for research. It is instructive to look at the way Europeans in the U.S. saw themselves a century ago.6 Americans of European descent thought of themselves as part of a cultural and ethnic heritage extending backward in time to the founding of the country. The Anglo-Saxon heritage of the British Isles was at the center of this self-conception, but Americans of German and Scandinavian descent also viewed themselves as part of this ethnic and cultural heritage. They had a great deal of pride in their accomplishments. They had conquered a vast territory and had achieved a high degree of economic progress. They saw themselves as having created a civilization with a strong moral fabric—a country of farmers and small businessmen who had developed into a world economic power. They believed that their civilization was a product of their own unique ingenuity and skills, and they believed that it would not survive if other peoples were allowed to play too large a role in it. They saw themselves as exhibiting positive personality traits such as courage in the face of adversity, self-reliance, inventiveness, originality, and fair play—the very virtues that allowed them to conquer the wilderness and turn it into an advanced civilization.
Americans at the turn of the 19th century looked out on the world and saw their own society as superior to others. They saw themselves and other European societies as reaping the rewards of political and economic freedom while the rest of the world suffered as it had from time immemorial—the despotism of Asia, the barbarity and primitivism of Africa, and the economic and political backwardness of Russia and Eastern Europe.
- ... never an intellectual elite. Stray (1998) in his account of classics education in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries ... in a 1965 issue of The Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics475. The processes involved in analysing the structure and ...
- ... never an intellectual elite. Stray (1998) in his account of classics education in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries ... in a 1965 issue of The Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics451. The processes involved in analysing the structure and ...
- ... never an intellectual elite. Stray (1998) in his account of classics education in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries ... in a 1965 issue of The Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics475. The processes involved in analysing the structure and ...
- ... never an intellectual elite. Stray (1998) in his account of classics education in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries ... in a 1965 issue of The Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics478. The processes involved in analysing the structure and ...
- ... never an intellectual elite. Stray (1998) in his account of classics education in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries ... in a 1965 issue of The Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics464. The processes involved in analysing the structure and ...