I am now involved in yet another Twitter war with @nathancofnas. He wrote another diatribe against me in an academic journal that won’t let me reply. One of the threads started with Cofnas claiming I was an ethnic activist (see Twitter feed here). I responded as follows, somewhat edited:
As I said many times, I became an activist AFTER reading the literature on Jewish history, particularly Jewish involvement in promoting non-White immigration to Western countries—facts on the ground—as a defensive strategy. I realized that Jews really are not our friends; they are not on our side, the side of White people of European descent. Before that I was a Reagan-type Republican, mainstream conservative.
By “friends” I mean I came to realize that the the organized Jewish community—the power, the media, and the money—has been directed at promoting an end to the Western European demographic and cultural dominance of the U.S. I have relied on very well documented research by others, including Jewish scholars.
I decided to elaborate on this in what is now my pinned Tweet. It’s an important issue.
I should recount how all this came about. In 1988 I published Social and Personality Development: An Evolutionary Synthesis (NY: Plenum). The last chapter was on the Spartans as a group strategy—highly militarized, high level of top-down discipline, boys socialized to be soldiers, etc. I had the idea that humans, because of our cognitive abilities, could create groups that could be vehicles of selection because cheaters could be punished—think of a military platoon. This was the start of the cultural group selection model—altruistic genes not required. This was very controversial at the time, because of the total dominance of individual selection models. I recall many reacting with scorn and rolling of the eyeballs if there was any mention of group selection. But cultural group selection is now standard thinking for many in the field—including Joseph Henrich in his The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous (2020), although he doesn’t label it as such.
At the time I was in close contact with David S. Wilson, the premier group selection theorist, and he encouraged me in this direction. So as a follow-up to the Spartans, I settled on Judaism because Jewish history is so well documented, beginning with Paul Johnson’s A History of the Jews and deciding that such an approach could work, then the Old Testament, etc., resulting in A People That Shall Dwell Alone: Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy (Praeger, 1994), which was well-reviewed. But in doing this reading I was exposed to the history of anti-Semitism and decided to use the group approach on anti-Semitism, resulting in Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism (Praeger, 1998). The theoretical basis of this book was social identity theory, argued (in Chapter 1) to be an evolved adaptation for group conflict (see also here). Humans easily identify with groups and have positive evaluations of their ingroups, negative evaluations of outgroups. This naturally includes anti-Jewish attitudes and anti-gentile attitudes on the part of Jews, but also exaggerations and distortions of group-relevant phenomena (e.g., Jewish interpretations of anti-Semitism).
The manuscript for SAID was originally submitted in 1994, but Praeger sat on it for four years (!!). By the time they approved it, it had expanded into two books, with the last chapter of the original manuscript now expanded to the 8 chapters of The Culture of Critique. Both were published in 1998.
In reading the history of anti-Semitism I became aware of the long history of apologia by Jewish writers—Jewish intellectuals as activists for their people (reviewed in Ch. 7 of SAID). This is essentially the approach used in The Culture of Critique.
And along the way, I became much more aware that I had group interests as a White person of European descent—at first a very strange idea for me as a child of the 1960s and former leftist who became gradually more conservative over the years but remaining a mainstream Reagan-type conservative until I began delving into Jewish issues. CofC was ignored by almost all academics for 20 years until Cofnas took several stabs at it from 2018–2023. However, White advocates started contacting me about my ideas after 1998, and I developed links to these activists. So I became something of an activist, long after the project began.
So what started out as a theoretical project aimed at showing the reality of cultural group selection ended up where I am now. All innocent enough to begin with. I have written 4 extensive replies to Cofnas. Apparently he thinks the 5th time is the charm. I rather doubt it. My replies are here: kevinmacdonald.net.