On January 1 of this year my paper “The Default Hypothesis Fails to Explain Jewish Influence” was published in the peer-reviewed Israel-based academic journal Philosophia. As I noted at the time:
This is the first time I have attempted to publish an article on Jewish influence in the mainstream academic literature since The Culture of Critique was published in 1998 by Praeger, so it is something of a milestone. I have updated quite a bit of the material, particularly the scholarly writing on Jewish involvement in influencing U.S. immigration policy—Chapter 7 of The Culture of Critique. I have always felt that Chapter 7 was the most important chapter in the book. …
Besides updating some critical aspects of The Culture of Critique, the paper emphasizes the point that the enactment of the 1965 immigration law did not occur in a vacuum and cannot be understood apart from the wider context of the rise of a new Jewish elite with influence in a wide range of areas. As I note in the article, the rise of this new elite “implies that vital issues of public policy, including immigration, the civil rights of African-Americans, women’s rights, religion in the public square (Hollinger’s “secularization of American society”), the legitimacy of white racial identity and interests, cosmopolitanism [identifying a “citizen of the world”], foreign policy in the Middle East, and many others will be affected by the attitudes and interests of this new elite.” The post-World War II era saw the emergence of a new, substantially Jewish elite in America.
Publication resulted almost immediately in hostile comments from Jewish academic activists, calls for retraction, and condemnation of the journal’s editor for allowing such horrifying breach of academic sensibilities to happen. On January 4th, the publisher, Springer Nature, posted the following statement with the article.
04 January 2022 Editor’s Note: The Editor-in-Chief and publisher are aware of concerns raised with the content of this article and are investigating. Editorial action will be taken as appropriate once investigation of the concerns is complete and all parties have been given an opportunity to respond in full.
The editor or whoever was in charge then sent the paper out for three more reviews. The reviews arrived toward the end of February and I sent in my reply in early March. My reply ran to around 9000 words and responded to each of the issues raised (one of the reviewers was simply blowing off steam, so there really wasn’t anything to respond to). I prefaced my reply with the following summary statement:
Far too often the reviewers fail to make an argument or specific criticisms of my work but seem to think that simply providing an invidious summary of my views is sufficient to rebut them. Most surprising to me is that none of the reviewers mention even one objection to the long section on immigration—by far the most critical and longest section in the article (amounting to 13 pages and 6500 words); nor is there any discussion of the rise of the intimately related topic of the rise of a new, substantially Jewish elite in the post-World War II era in the U.S., particularly since the 1960s. This is important because my paper addresses the three “core issues” raised by Cofnas, but the Jewish role in immigration policy is, as I note, “The only claim that, if true, would seriously endanger an important aspect of what Cofnas labels ‘the anti-Jewish narrative.’” The other issues discussed are interesting and important in a general discussion of Jewish issues, but they pale in comparison to the material on immigration policy. And, as noted in the paper, some of the most discussed issues, such as intermarriage and the issue of Jewish hypocrisy—two of Cofnas’s three core issues (not to mention Karl Marx’s Jewish identity), are completely irrelevant to central work Cofnas describes as being part of “the anti-Jewish narrative,” most notably The Culture of Critique (hereafter, CofC), which is what Cofnas is supposedly criticizing. Moreover, none of the reviews critique my analysis for why higher average Jewish IQ by itself fails to explain Jewish influence (i.e., Cofnas’s “default hypothesis”).
But all was for naught. I was informed in mid-May that the paper would be retracted and (amazingly) asking me if I agreed with this decision but notifying me that any objection that I had to the retraction would not be included along with the retraction statement. I of course objected and wrote yet another reply, this time to their retraction statement. This is their retraction statement, including specific statements of my scholarly malfeasance:
The Editor-in-Chief has retracted this article. After publication concerns were raised regarding the content in this article and the validity of its arguments. Post-publication peer review concluded that the article does not establish a consistent methodology or document its claims with well-established sources. The article also makes several comparative claims without providing appropriate comparison data. Kevin MacDonald does not agree to this retraction. The online version of this article contains the full text of the retracted article as supplementary information.
Springer Nature formally retracted the paper sometime in early July—the title and the retraction notice are all that remain on the article’s main page, but the article can still be accessed on their site as “Supplementary Information,” with “RETRACTED ARTICLE” emblazoned diagonally on every page. However, anticipating this, I had enough sense to save a local copy, so it still lives on on my website as it originally appeared in Philosophia.
I disagree with the retraction of my article “The Default Hypothesis Fails to Explain Jewish Influence.” The editors of Philosophia should be ashamed of themselves for retracting this article for such obviously spurious reasons. I am quite aware of the reality that academia has become intensely politicized and that Jews in particular are very sensitive about any discussions of Jewish influence. But I really didn’t think that my article would be retracted without any detailed response to my ~9000-word rebuttal to the post-publication reviews—a response that meticulously responded to every claim made by the reviewers. One expects a reasoned give-and-take in an academic venue, but this retraction is simply an assertion of authoritarian control. And to make matters worse, this response to the retraction statement will not be posted by the publisher.
The astonishing thing is that the retraction statement includes the following as the only reasons for the retraction:
Post-publication peer review concluded that the article does not establish a consistent methodology or document its claims with well-established sources. The article also makes several comparative claims without providing appropriate comparison data.
But none of the three post-publication reviews ever mentioned that I had failed to provide a consistent methodology, so obviously I felt no need to discuss this point in my response. And only one reviewer complained about sources, noting that I had cited evolutionary psychologist Edward Dutton. The complaint about citing Dutton is simply ad hominem rather than an honest attempt to dispute what Dutton wrote on Jewish intermarriage—a topic that is, in any case, of only marginal relevance to the main points of my paper. As I noted in my reply, “my practice is that citations should be to information that I consider reasonable and reliable, not what the political affiliations of the authors are.” I cite many authors who have political beliefs that I do not subscribe to, and in fact, the vast majority of my sources come from Jewish authors.
Regarding the issue that the paper contains “several comparative claims without providing appropriate comparison data,” I responded to each proposed instance in my reply to the reviews. But the retraction statement fails to make an argument for why my rebuttal fails.
All of my responses to this issue made the point that I was not arguing—and it was not necessary for me to argue—that Jews are more ethnocentric than any particular group, only that Jews are indeed ethnocentric. For example, in my reply to one of the post-publication reviews, I noted:
The reviewer quotes me: “… Jews under discussion were ethnocentric as indicated by ethnic networking” and comments “Does that mean that blacks are ethnocentric because of their ethnic networking? Or Catholics? Or fundamentalist Christians? This is gibberish because he is making statements about Jews as a group and arguing that they are different from gentiles but he presents no comparison data regarding relative ethnocentrism.”
[My response:] Notice that I do not make a point that Jews are more ethnocentric than any particular group either in the paper under review or in The Culture of Critique—apart from the 2002 Preface to the First Paperback Edition of The Culture of Critique (pp. xviii–xxxi) contrasting Western European and Jewish cultural forms on a variety of traits. The material in the 2002 preface is a preliminary version of the ideas in my book Individualism and the Western Liberal Tradition (2019) and is in no way essential to the argument in Culture of Critique as published in 1998, where the only relevant claim I make is that Jews are ethnocentric—a claim that I document exhaustively. However, for completeness, my view is that Jews are in general more ethnocentric than Western European groups (I make no other comparisons), particularly northwestern European groups—the thesis of my Individualism and the Western Liberal Tradition (2019). My emphasis on the uniqueness of Western individualism is entirely congruent with Joseph Henrich’s The WEIRDest People in the World (2020) … . When Henrich uses the superlative ‘WEIRDest’ (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic) in the title, he is emphasizing the uniqueness of the Western peoples; individualism is the polar opposite of collectivism and its associated ethnocentrism endemic to Jewish groups.
Thus there is no rebuttal to my argument that between-group comparisons are irrelevant to the argument presented in The Culture of Critique where the only point was that in fact Jews are in fact ethnocentric as indicated by Jewish ethnic networking, not that they are more ethnocentric than any other group. And in my later writing I did provide comparative data based on Western individualism—data that are irrelevant to the argument in The Culture of Critique; these data show that the individualism of the West is unique among world cultures but such data are not relevant for the argument in The Culture of Critique. None of this is considered in the retraction statement.
This retraction is a disgrace to the academic profession. At the very least, this statement should be included along with the retraction statement so that readers can judge for themselves the legitimacy of retracting it.
To his credit, Nathan Cofnas, my adversary in all this, publicly objected to the retraction, posting this on Twitter:
.@TOOEdit‘s reply to me just got retracted from Philosophia. As far as I know this is the 1st time a paper has been retracted from a philosophy journal for political reasons. I emailed Jonathan Haidt & HxA several months ago about the threat to KM’s paper but they never replied. pic.twitter.com/yKH8FwwTHD
— Nathan Cofnas (@nathancofnas) July 3, 2022
Two important points. The retraction is unprecedented: It’s “the 1st time a paper has been retracted from a philosophy journal for political reasons.” And more importantly, his email notifying Jonathan Haidt, one of the founders of Heterodox Academy, that the paper was retracted got no response. Heterodox Academy represents itself as follows:
Heterodox Academy is a nonpartisan collaborative of 5,000+ professors, educators, administrators, staff, and students who are committed to enhancing the quality of research and education by promoting open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in institutions of higher learning.
And they note:
All our members have embraced the following statement:
“I support open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in research and education.”
But apparently some viewpoints are not allowed, and there can be no disagreement on certain issues. Their commitment to open inquiry is a farce.
Jonathan Haidt is well known to me because of his work criticizing the groupthink that is so prevalent in the academic world; I cite him several times in my book Individualism and the Western Liberal Tradition in Chapter 8 where I discuss the academic world as one of the pillars of elite power in the West (“the academic world can accurately be characterized as a moral community of the left in the sense of Jonathan Haidt”). He is Jewish, and one is tempted to conclude that Heterodox Academy is simply another example of controlled opposition in the service of safeguarding Jewish interests in restricting the boundaries of academic debate on Jewish issues.
Jonathan Haidt, “Post-partisan Social Psychology.” Presentation at the meetings of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, San Antonio, TX., January 27, 2011.