Whitewashing Ethnicity in the Ancient World: Erich S. Gruen’s Ethnicity in the Ancient World — Did It Matter?


Ethnicity in the Ancient World — Did It Matter?
Erich S. Gruen
Walter de Gruyter GmbH, 2020

Erich S. Gruen is a Vienna-born Jewish classics professor who taught at Berkeley for more than 40 years.  He is 88 years old.

As a demonstration of the persistence of the Jewish project — comparable to George Soros cranking away at 92 — his late-in-life recent work is a collection of essays aiming to deny the importance of ethnicity in the ancient world.  Without saying so, he seems to be attempting to answer the White advocacy interest in classics — and the race realist interest in how inherent racial characteristics drive human events.

Ethnicity in the Ancient World — Did it Matter? surveys Western history from early Greece through Rome.  Considerable attention is paid to Jews as portrayed in the Old Testament, ancient Jewish writers like Philo of Alexandria, and Christianity.

In the introduction, Gruen rejects inherent racial characteristics.

“The idea of an immutable character determining the nature of a people or an ethnic group finds few takers today,” he tells us.  Never mind, of course, that to be a “taker” of this view is to be exiled from modern academia, which might explain why there are “few.”

Gruen says his purpose is to demonstrate that “ancient societies generally shunned the sense of ethnicity as an undeviating marker of distinctiveness stemming from descent, and that they were therefore open to change, adaptation, intermingling, and incorporation.  In our contemporary age when ethnic identity has become increasingly fraught and divisive, those characteristics can offer a salutary corrective.”

In other words, the ancients were woke.

But to style them as such, Gruen sets the bar where he needs it set to validate this thesis:   an ancient must have openly and repeatedly declared a belief in inherited — i.e., group genetic — inferiority.  And must have made this a central principle.  For ethnicity to “matter,” apparently, the only sufficient proof would be the frequent deployment of a centuries-old and heretofore unknown racial slur.

Of course, the ancients weren’t like this.

But even with this sleight of hand, Gruen struggles to overcome what’s apparent even to someone new to study of the ancient world:  ethnicity did matter.

In a chapter titled “Were Barbarians Barbaric?,” Gruen discusses Aristotle’s assertion that “barbarians” (non-Greeks, so called because their languages sounded like “bar-bar-bar” to Hellenic ears) are synonymous with slaves, and are the proper object of Greek rule.  He also references Plato’s account of Socrates saying something similar:  Greek states should not enslave each other, but to enslave barbarians is the ancient prerogative of warfare.

None of this mattered, in Gruen’s view, because they didn’t declare barbarians to be inherently inferior — simply the enemy, or the outsider.

Yet the grand triumvirate of Greek philosophy demonstrate in these passages not only recognition of the importance of nationality, but race — and how the latter is more important than the former.  They make a distinction that your average American Republican can’t seem to wrap his head around:  a Black American is less a brother than a White European.

In one speech quoted in the book, Herodotus has an Athenian spokesman declare that Greekness “rests on common blood, common language, shared shrines and sacrifices, and similar ways of life — which they would not betray”.

Could there be a more powerful affirmation of racial-national solidarity?  Gruen says no.  First, he says, Herodotus made the speech up.  Perhaps, though Herodotus was a man of his time and must have had strong basis for the speech.  Second, he says, the speech is more about inspiring Greek vengeance on Persia than an assertion of racial pride.

Incredibly, Gruen says, “it can hardly carry the weight of a serious and sweeping expression of Hellenic identity.”

Read the quote again and see if you agree.

Herodotus, sometimes known as the “father of history,” is often described as the world’s first ethnographer.  Indeed, his writings are replete with his observations — sometimes first-hand, other times heard from others — about the races and ethnicities of the world.

And, as Guillaume Durocher notes:

Herodotus’ world certainly featured peaceful commerce, cultural exchange, and ethnic intermarriage among these peoples — the historian is quite broad-minded and free of chauvinism in this respect. But, as Herodotus makes clear, this was also a world of extreme ethnocentrism and brutal wars. as Herodotus makes clear, this was also a world of extreme ethnocentrism and brutal wars.

This view is expanded in Durocher’s The Ancient Ethnostate: Biopolitical Thought in Ancient Greece.

Gruen tells us, in a pattern that repeats itself throughout the book, “Herodotus mentions black men of smaller than normal stature in Libya, presumably pygmies, but only in passing and makes nothing of it.”  In fact, Herodotus’ ethnic discussions aren’t “only in passing” — they’re a mainstay of his work.

Elsewhere, Gruen employs the technique of setting up a quote that damns his thesis, only to blithely follow up by saying this particular ancient only said that once.  Therefore, we should discount it.

God, in Genesis, said “let there be light” only once, though that doesn’t mean it wasn’t important.

To thoroughly refute Gruen’s conclusion that “ethnicity didn’t matter” in the ancient world might take years of reading the texts.  Or, you could just read the first few lines of a given work.

Take Tacitus’ The Agricola and the Germania.  The Roman writer’s tract on the German tribes bordered by the Rhine and the Danube jumps right in with a detailed description of ethnicity:

“I think it probable that they are indigenous and that very little foreign blood has been introduced either by invasions or friendly dealings with neighboring peoples… For myself, I accept the view that the peoples of Germany have never contaminated themselves by intermarriage with foreigners but remain of pure blood, distinct and unlike any other nations.  One result of this is that their physical characteristics, in so far as one can generalize about a large population, are always the same:  fierce-looking blue eyes, reddish hair, and big frames — which, however, can exert their strength only by means of violent effort.  They are less able to endure toil or fatiguing tasks and cannot bear thirst or heat, though their climate has inured them to cold spells and the poverty of their soil to hunger.”

I ask:  does talk of “contamination” of the blood square with a view that “ethnicity didn’t matter”?

Gruen mentions The Agricola and the Germania, but doesn’t quote the passage above.  Yet in an entire essay on these Germans, it’s the first thing Tacitus writes.  That indicates to me that ethnicity was important to him.

It should go without saying that for ancient Jews, ethnicity was crucial, just as it is for them today.  Gruen, perhaps to his credit, lays out some of the more pungent examples of this, but manages to be just as dismissive of their interest as he is of Greeks and Romans.

Gruen recounts the episode in the Book of Numbers where Phinehas, a grandson of Aaron, Moses’ brother, is so outraged by a Jewish man and Midianite woman having sex that he runs his spear through the two of them mid-act, like a miscegenation shish-kebob.  To top it off, God blesses the act.

It would be hard to imagine a more “racist” act, but Gruen goes on to insist that the only reason for disapproving race-mixing is that non-Jewish women will tempt Jewish men into worshipping foreign idols.  It was about religious purity, not racial purity.

Yet one can question which came first — was racial purity needed to keep religious purity, or was religious purity leading racial purity?  Gruen also seems to ignore the fact that many mixed marriages by Jewish Old Testament males were more a sign of conquering another people and absorbing them inward than a free-spirited exogamy.

The Book of Tobit, likely written during the Second Temple period, is a Jewish work sometimes deemed part of the Apocrypha (i.e., for most denominations, not included in the Bible).  Its central theme is the need for Jews to marry other Jews.

Gruen at least acknowledges this, but goes so far as to use examples of over-emphasis on racial kinship to prove his point.  The repeated use of the terms “brother” and “sister” for Jews leads him to say, “The Book of Tobit reads less like advocacy for the idea of Jewish identity as a descent group than like a parody of that idea.”

Of course, it was no such thing, and Gruen’s unscholarly observation seems almost desperate.

Gruen’s discussion of how prominent Romans viewed Jews trots out some zingers:  To Cicero, they were superstitious barbarians; for Seneca, “a most pernicious race.”  Tacitus called them “a race of men hated by the gods, with base and wicked practices, sordid and ridiculous rites, xenophobic, despised, and the vilest of nations.”

But these disparagements, Gruen assures us, were mere rhetorical heat.

There are several impediments to Gruen’s theory that ethnicity didn’t matter in the ancient world.

The first is that the peoples of the ancient Mediterranean were likely closer to each other genetically than, say, American Whites and sub-Saharan Black Africans.

The scholarship on the actual race of ancient Greeks and Romans is mostly unknown to me, but the sculptures and busts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, combined with Homer’s references to Athena’s gray eyes, Achilles’ blond hair and Menelaus’ red hair, leave me satisfied that prominent ancients looked pretty close to modern Whites.

Would the Greeks at the Battle of Thermopylae have looked slightly whiter than their Persian enemies?  I don’t know.  It is difficult to imagine that Athenians and Spartans looked markedly different as they squared off during the Peloponnesian War.  If ancients were discounting ethnicity, they had more reason to do so than a White Englishman being told that a black African from Zimbabwe is his equal.

In addition to closer genetics, the scientific insights about genetics — as well as intelligence and behavior — did not arise until some two thousand years later.  So ancients would not have had the opportunity to ponder, or dwell upon, how these differences might affect social policy.

The second impediment to Gruen’s theory is that the politics were different.  Mass immigration by one racial group to the welfare-state apparatus of another wasn’t something happening in the ancient world.  Movements of people happened by conquest or exploration, and the driver was likely simple power:  the Romans were either able to conquer Gaul, or not.

A conquering race had little reason to spend time thinking about whether it was “superior,” because it just proved it.

Relatedly, the concept of “equality” was a political one that only arose centuries on.  It was only when the insistence that all human beings are “equal” was presented in the West that anyone needed to refute it.  Natural differences in strength, beauty or intelligence were simply accepted.

The third impediment is that the evidence that ethnicity mattered still overwhelms the evidence that it didn’t.  Much of Gruen’s book, in fact, is simply the laying out of just such examples — which he proceeds to downplay.

Gruen clearly has the modern West marked as his enemy.  His comparison point is presumably the White nation-states that, through colonization and slavery on the one hand, and mass immigration and affirmative action on the other, have a racial dynamic unlike any other in the world.

In other words, we are (or were) head-caliper obsessed Nazis, while the ancients were mellow.

Gruen says that “the ancients were not absorbed in examining, analyzing, or agonizing over the concept.”  I personally may not have, either, but I was born into a society in which I am told that I cannot have a job because I am White.  Therefore, I will spend some time “agonizing” over the concept.

So, is the book of any value to White advocates?  The discussions do discuss actual writings of ancients, so for what’s that’s worth, yes.  His bibliography could serve as a model.

I suppose that Gruen has spent his life poring over these texts from the classical world.  I am humbled to realize that I have not, but am making up for lost ground later in life by setting up my own classical library at home.  I think all White advocates should do the same, and see to it that their children learn classical history, too.

Christopher Donovan has been a White advocate for at least 20 years, and believes Whites have no choice but to be positive about our prospects even in an obviously declining United States and Europe.  He is a practicing lawyer.

Lance Welton on Jewish ethnocentrism: Fairness, Paranoia, and Self-Deception

Lance Welton’s article on VDARE is a nice summary of research on Jewish ethnocentrism and its consequences: “Did the ADL Think It Could Get Away with  Hypocrisy on Replacement in U.S. vs. Israel? Answer: It Probably Didn’t Think At All.” As noted below, some of his presentation touches on my Individualism and the Western Liberal Tradition as well as my books on Judaism.


“Fairness,” as I noted in my article on blacks, is “impartial and just treatment or behavior without favoritism or discrimination.” This is a high-order value which demands that you put aside nepotism, ethnocentrism, and even personal gain, in favor of this abstract goal. So, on this basis, would we expect Jews to be as high in “fairness” as Whites?

No. Firstly, there is abundant evidence that Jews are more ethnocentric than whites; meaning they cooperate strongly with their own people and are hostile to other peoples. Jews have been stereotyped as being highly ethnocentric throughout their history, as Kevin MacDonald showed in his 1994 book A People That Shall Dwell Alone [Chap 8, 228ff]. There is overwhelming evidence that racial stereotypes, like all stereotypes, tend to be true; that’s why they develop [Social Perception and Social RealityBy Lee Jussim, 2012].

This goes very deep. Jewish babies react with far greater horror to strangers of a different ethnic group than do German babies [Security of Infant-Mother, -Father, and -Metapelet Attachments Among Kibbutz-Reared Israeli Children, by Abraham Sagi et al., Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 1985].

Data from the University of Wisconsin’s MIDUS survey of middle-aged Americans demonstrated that among Whites there is a positive correlation between how religious you are and how group-oriented you are. However, the same study found that Jews are the most ethnocentric—group-oriented religious group—even though they were the least religious group of those surveyed. When factors such as intelligence (which tends to make people less ethnocentric) and religiousness level were controlled for, Jews were still way more ethnocentric than the gentile White groups. (This is discussed in Religiosity as a Predictor of In-Group Favoritism Within and Between Religious Groups, by Curtis Dunkel & Edward Dutton, Personality and Individual Differences, 2016).

If you take into account the number of Jews in a population compared to the number of Whites, then the extent to which Jews “marry out” is far lower. Jews are about 49 times less likely to marry someone of a different faith than Protestants are, for example. [See Andrew Joyce’s “The Cofnas Problem.“]. The most obvious explanation for this, in the context of the other research: ethnocentrism. Jews seem to be evolved to be higher in ethnocentrism [see “A Genetic Perspective on Individualism/Collectivism,” A People That Shall Dwell Alone, Ch. 8: p. 236ff], something that would be heightened by their small gene pool; with people tending to be more ethnocentric when the gene pool is small [Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence, By Gregory Cochran et al., Journal of Biosocial Science, 2006]. This higher ethnocentrism would make them less able to suppress ethnocentric instincts in favor of creating fairness than are gentile Whites.

Fairness is one of the traits that is higher in Western societies based on individualism versus the kinship-based societies of the rest of the world. Joseph Henrich and colleagues reviewed research showing differences between subjects from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic (WEIRD) nations and subjects in a wide range of other cultures, finding important differences in fairness and moral reasoning. This is reviewed in Individualism and the Western Liberal Tradition: 

In non-Western societies based on extended kinship, morality is defined in terms of whether an action satisfies obligations within the family or kinship group, whereas in individualist societies, morality is thought of as satisfying abstract notions of justice such as Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative: Act according to the maxim that you could wish all other rational people to follow, as if it were a universal law. … The differences between individualist and collectivist cultures—whether in fairness and altruistic punishment, moral reasoning, cognition, or perception—are all “of a piece;” they all fit into a consistent pattern in which Westerners detach themselves from social, cognitive, and perceptual contexts, whereas non-Westerners see the world in a deeply embedded manner. This pattern is highly consistent with Western peoples being more prone to scientific reasoning (p. 110).

On the other hand, collectivist cultures—my view is that Judaism is a paradigmatic collectivist culture—see the world from the standpoint of group interests, so that even scientific reasoning in the social sciences is performed through the lens of group interests. Hence, The Culture of Critique.

The Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic (WEIRD) people discussed in Chapter 3 developed scientific and scholarly associations in the post-medieval West which assume groups are permeable and highly subject to defection—that there is a marketplace of ideas in which individuals may defect from current scientific views when they believe that the data support alternate perspectives. On the other hand, collectivist cultures create group-oriented intellectual movements based on dogmatic assertions, fealty to group leaders, ethnic networking, and expulsion of dissenters [i.e., the thesis of The Culture of Critique]. …

Moreover, … WEIRD people tend more toward analytical reasoning (detaching objects from context, attending to characteristics of the object and developing rules for explaining and predicting phenomena) as opposed to holistic reasoning (attending to relationships between objects and surrounding field). Westerners tend to categorize objects on the basis of rules that are independent of function and hence more abstract whereas non-Westerners are more likely to categorize on the basis of function and contextual relationship. Science is fundamentally concerned with creating abstract rules independent of context and developing explanations and predictions of phenomena in the empirical world. Such traits, which can be seen even in the ancient Greco-Roman world of antiquity, clearly predispose to scientific thinking. …

For collectivists, moral reasoning involves taking account of the social context, which is fundamentally centered on fitting into and strengthening a kinship group. For individualists, the social world involves a greater need to interact with strangers and to consider their reputation for respecting impersonal rules. …

Individuals are evaluated as individuals on traits—e.g., honesty, intelligence, military talent, and the logic and usefulness of their arguments—in abstraction from their (relatively weak) kinship connections. Moral situations are evaluated in terms of abstract concepts of justice that apply to all individuals rather than being vitally concerned with social obligations to particular people enmeshed in a particular extended kinship network. When confronting the natural world, individualists more easily abstract from social context and personal experience, seeking out and applying universally applicable laws of nature.

Back to Welton:

In addition, there is evidence that Jews are perfectly happy for a situation to be unfair. One study compared religious groups in the US—Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Jews, and Atheists/Agnostics—and asked people what they thought was most important to live a “good life.” Jews, in contrast to all the other groups, highlighted “extra money” [“For Tomorrow We Die”? Testing the Accuracy of Stereotypes about Atheists and Agnostics, by Edward Dutton & Curtis Dunkel, Mankind Quarterly, 2019]. They see it as important to be richer than other people in a way that the whites do not, which implies that they are less concerned about a possibly unfair situation as long as they benefit. And, being more intelligent than gentile Whites on average (as Richard Lynn has shown in his book The Chosen People) they will better be able to rationalize achieving such an advantage, as intelligent people are typically better at finding ways of rationalizing their biases [Why smart people aren’t better at transcending their biased views, by Tauriq Mousa, The Big Think, June 13, 2012].

Finally, Jews are less mentally stable than Whites. Ashkenazi Jews have significantly elevated levels of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, both of which can make people paranoid [Genome-Wide Association Study of Schizophrenia in Ashkenazi Jews, by Fernando Goes et al., American Journal of Medical Genetics, 2015]. When people are paranoid, they are less interested in what is “fair”—they are interested simply in surviving and doing so may involve being very “unfair.” People with paranoid personalities tend to be hypocritical and self-seeking [Understanding Paranoia, by Martin Kantor, 2004, p.71].

Because Jews are better at finding ways of rationalizing away their bias and hypocrisy, they may well not believe that they are being “unfair” at all [a kind of self-deception one expects to find among highly ethnocentric people—Ch. 8 of Separation and Its Discontents  and elaborated by Andrew Joyce here]. In this sense, it can be said that intelligent yet paranoid people do not “know themselves”—meaning that they live in a fantasy world in which there is nothing wrong with them; only with others.

This personality type will see the world as packed full of hostile persecutors who want to destroy them, meaning that an obviously Mostly Peaceful protest at the Capitol becomes an “insurrection” in which people could have been killed.

This personality type will also engage in “paranoid projection,” whereby they purport to find an aspect of themselves they dislike in others, causing them to despise these people. “I hate them” becomes “They hate me,” based on finding some minor evidence of this. Hence the Leftist obsession with how “hateful” their opponents are [8 Key Traits of Paranoid Thinkersby Shahram Heshmat, Psychology TodayFebruary 24, 2016].

It’s interesting in this regard that paranoia about the surrounding world is a very central aspect of Jewish culture—analyzed as what behavior geneticists label genotype-environment correlation (e.g., paranoid parents with genetic predispositions to paranoia would socialize their children (who share their genes for paranoia) in a manner that would reinforce a worldview that the outside world is dangerous). From A People That Shall Dwell Alone, Ch. 7:

A permanent sense of imminent threat appears to be common among Jews. Writing on the clinical profile of Jewish families, Herz and Rosen (1982) note that for Jewish families a “sense of persecution (or its imminence) is part of a cultural heritage and is usually assumed with pride. Suffering is even a form of sharing with one’s fellow-Jews. It binds Jews with their heritage—with the suffering of Jews throughout history.” Zborowski and Herzog (1952, 153) note that the homes of wealthy Jews in traditional Eastern European shtetl communities sometimes had secret passages for use in times of anti-Semitic pogroms, and that their existence was “part of the imagery of the children who played around them, just as the half-effaced memory was part of every Jew’s mental equipment.”

This evolved response to external threat is often manipulated by Jewish authorities attempting to inculcate a stronger sense of group identification. Hartung (1992) provides anecdotal data on the emphasis on Jewish suffering and its exaggeration as aspects of modern synagogue service. Such practices have a long history. Roth (1978, 62) notes that Jewish “martyrologists” maintained lists of Jewish martyrs for commemoration during synagogue services during the Middle Ages, and Jordan (1989, 20) refers to the “forbidding martyrocentric self-image” during this period.

Woocher (1986) shows that Jewish survival in a threatening world is a theme of Judaism as a civil religion in contemporary America. Within this world view, the gentile world is viewed as fundamentally hostile, with Jewish life always on the verge of ceasing to exist entirely. “Like many other generations of Jews who have felt similarly, the leaders of the polity who fear that the end may be near have transformed this concern into a survivalist weapon” (Woocher 1986, 73). Woocher (1986) notes that there has been a major effort since the 1960s to have American Jews visit Israel in an effort to strengthen Jewish identification, with a prominent aspect of the visit being a trip to a border outpost “where the ongoing threat to Israel’s security is palpable” (p. 150).

Or, as Elliott Abrams (Faith or Fear, 190) wrote, “the American Jewish community clings to what is at bottom a dark vision of America, as a land permeated with anti-Semitism and always on the verge of anti-Semitic outbursts.”

Hence the Jewish motivation for diversifying America, the theme of Chapter 7 of The Culture of Critique (corroborated by Otis Graham (Unguarded Gates [2004]: 80), who notes that the Jewish lobby on immigration “was aimed not just at open doors for Jews, but also for a diversification of the immigration stream sufficient to eliminate the majority status of western Europeans so that a fascist regime in America would be more unlikely.” The motivating role of fear and insecurity on the part of the activist Jewish community thus differed from other groups and individuals promoting an end to the national origins provisions of the 1924 and 1952 laws.

Writing in the 1970s, Isaacs (1974: 14ff) describes the pervasive insecurity of American Jews and their hypersensitivity to anything that might be deemed anti-Semitic. Interviewing “noted public men” on the subject of anti-Semitism in the early 1970s, Isaacs asked, “Do you think it could happen here?” “Never was it necessary to define ‘it.’ In almost every case, the reply was approximately the same: ‘If you know history at all, you have to presume not that it could happen, but that it probably will,’ or ‘It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when.’ ” (p. 15).

Writing long after the passage of the 1965 law, prominent Jewish social scientist and ethnic activist Earl Raab remarked very positively on the success of American immigration policy in altering the ethnic composition of the United States. Writing for a Jewish publication, Raab noted that the Jewish community had taken a leadership role in changing the northwestern European bias of American immigration policy (Raab, 1993a, 17), and he also maintained that one factor inhibiting anti-Semitism in the contemporary United States is that “an increasing ethnic heterogeneity, as a result of immigration, has made it even more difficult for a political party or mass movement of bigotry to develop” (Raab, 1995b, 91). (Culture of Critique, Ch. 7).

Welton concludes:

The self-centeredness and implicit unfairness of the ADL operatives’ fantasy world means they indeed might very well not have thought at all about what to any outside observer appears to be the utter hypocrisy of their position on the Great Replacement [via immigration] in the U.S. as opposed to Israel.

For such people, objective truth is “defamation”—but their “defamation” of others is objective truth.

Any objective observer would indeed have to agree that the ADL is utterly hypocritical in its stance toward immigration in Israel versus the United States. But activist Jews like Jonathan Greenblatt may not even be aware of it due to their powerful tendencies toward ethnocentrism and its corollary of self-deception. And now these people are firmly ensconced in the hostile elite that is running the United States. A dire situation indeed for the traditional White population of America.

Populist-Socialism: The Economy of the White Ethno-State

Little consideration is given to the economic foundations of a White ethno-state. While many in the Alt-Right know conceptually what an ethno-state should be like in the abstract sense of demographics, the minutia of public and economic policy to obtain or maintain such a state is lost. While not exhaustive, the following paper is intended to steer conversations into more concrete terms addressing the economy of a White ethno-state. That is, an anti-materialist economy that serves the nation, versus the nation serving the economy in materialistic capitalism and socialist-communism. A Third Position meshing of populist and socialism is proposed.

The demagogues on the left and right both use the terms populist and socialist to malign their political opponents. Populism has become synonymous with right-wing authoritarianism to the left. The same argument is used by conservatives to associate socialism with communism. Indeed, the populist primacy of the people and the socialist primacy of the class are seen as contradictory ideals. In reality, elements of populism and socialism can be complementary to one another in a dynamic economy. Socialism’s securing the welfare of the people and populism’s emphasis on the common man’s economic growth and interests are not antagonistic to one another, but complimentary.

To many, the concept of socialism is distinctly leftist. Historically, Socialism has been associated with Marxism and “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” This Marxist Socialism aims at the elimination of all hierarchy which is natural to man. Communism aimed at the flattening out of wages and elimination of class distinctions altogether. Read more

Edward Dutton on The Culture of Critique: The importance of Jewish ethnocentrism

Edward Dutton, who is affiliated with Richard Lynn’s Ulster Institute for Social Research, has written an article supporting the main contention of my book, The Culture of Critique in an academic journal, Evolutionary Psychological Science: “MacDonald’s model is the more plausible hypothesis due to evidence that people tend to act in their ethnic group interest and that group selectedness among Jews is particularly strong, meaning that they are particularly likely to do so.” This is a most welcome development, and I agree with Dutton’s comments. Here I note some elaborations and a possible anomaly.

Dutton defends the multi-level selection model. The argument that group selection applies to Judaism is contained in the first book, A People That Shall Dwell Alone: Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy (APTSDA). The argument there really has two parts—a cultural group selection model described in Chapter 1, and the idea that Jews are high on ethnocentrism, discussed in Chapter 8. Both aspects are important in thinking about how group selection applies to traditional Jewish groups. Read more

Ethnocentrism is normal and rational

The most often heard accusation by liberals against white nationalists and critics of mass immigration is that they are bedevilled by “irrational fears”.  White nationalists are parochial and unsophisticated, outside the standards of morality, lacking in sympathy and compassion for others and for “humanity” itself.

But none of this is true. Science is now educating us that White nationalists are normal humans beings who happen to exhibit a healthy and “positive” evaluation of their own ethnic group consistent with evolutionary theory. This is the argument white nationalists can opportunely take from a scientific paper published in Psychological and Cognitive Sciences (January 2011), with the fitting title: “Oxytocin promotes human ethnocentrism”.

It is not an argument liberals wanted to hear. Written by a research team at the University of Amsterdam, directed by Dr. Carsten de Dreu, this article shows that oxytocin is a molecule associated with in-group favoritism and out-group derogation. Through a series of experiments in which participants were administered doses of oxytocin,   the researchers learned that “a key mechanism facilitating in-group cooperation is ethnocentrism, the tendency to view one’s group as centrally important and as superior to other groups” at the expense of an out-group. Read more

Menachem Mendel Schneerson: The Expedient Messiah, Part 4


Criticism of Schneerson, limited among non-Jews mainly to his supremacist views, has been more varied among Jews. Some have questioned his mental competency and his veracity, criticized his professional manners and condemned his theology. Perhaps because they did not believe in the authenticity of Schneerson’s mid-life born again experience, many senior non-Lubavitch Chassidim opposed or took a neutral stance toward him throughout his reign. In an interview conducted on Israeli television shortly before Schneerson suffered a debilitating stroke, two years before his death, an important Orthodox Israeli philosopher, Yeshayahu Leibowitz, was asked what he thought of the Rebbe’s messianism. Leibowitz’s response was characteristically sarcastic: “There is only one thing that I cannot figure out about this man[Schneerson], and that is whether he is a psychopath or a charlatan. This is the only thing I just cannot decide—this kind of degeneracy, of phony prophets and false messiahs, is as ancient as Israel itself.”

A tenet in the shared code of professional behavior among Reform and Conservative rabbis and congregations includes the principle that one does not solicit members of each other’s congregations, regardless of synagogues or affiliation. Chabad, however, ignored this tenet. Indignant that Chabad was apparently proselytizing members of their congregations, the associated clergy of Pittsburgh congregations stated in a righteously indignant declaration:

We believe that people have a right to belong to the religious institutions that they desire without being called, visited or solicited to leave and support other places of worship and learning. Sadly, it has been the experience of several Reform congregations in the Pittsburgh area that the connections between congregants and rabbi are not always honored by those who speak on Chabad’s behalf. This has led to disruptions in congregational life, to ill feeling and needless strife. (See here)

The general Jewish community has been amused or indifferent to the proclamation by Lubavitch that Jewish belief requires belief in the messiahship or even the divinity of the Rebbe. Soon after his death members of Chabad-Lubavitch in fact were divided into two categories: the “Elokists” who believe that Schneerson is God and the “Mishichists” who hold that he is the messiah. Needless to say, some Jewish professors of theology interpreted this belief to be heretical and idolatrous and were thus in a quandary. They admitted that Schneerson’s success could not be denied: after all, he established a worldwide empire of followers, spread Orthodoxy to places where it had never been known, and established a most effective fund raising organization. To criticize him would be interpreted as an attack on his achievements.

Many Jews who are not Orthodox and maybe not even very observant praise Chabad and continue to fund its activities. They admire Chabad’s institution building, the devotion and selflessness of its emissaries, and its bold representation of Judaism in the public square. In addition, they carry with them nostalgia for their east European past and a sense that Lubavitch is the most authentic version of historical Judaism still extant. Finally, though perhaps not devout themselves, they hold the conviction that Orthodoxy is the firmest guarantor of a Jewish future.[33]

Though finding fault with Schneerson might be construed as an assault on his reputation and accomplishments, many non-Orthodox Jewish theologians, nevertheless, have been concerned about the similarities of Chabad messianic theology to Christology which they fear causes it to be heretical and even apostatical. To claim the messiahship of the Rebbe undermines the first line of defense against Christian missionizing, which has been that Judaism cannot accept a messiah who dies in the midst of his redemptive mission. Lubavitch texts after Schneerson’s death contain references to essence, omniscience, and omnipotence—all Christian concepts. With the decline of a pervasive Christian threat, familiarity with messianic texts and sensitivity to messianic deviationism has waned to the vanishing point even among learned Jews. Read more

Menachem Mendel Schneerson: The Expedient Messiah, Part 1

It is the committed core — made up now especially of the highly influential Orthodox and Conservative  movements- which has always been the critical force for channeling Jewish behavior in the direction of genetic and cultural separatism. … It is the radicals who have reconstituted the Jewish community and have eventually won the day.

Kevin MacDonald, Separation and its Discontents[1]

Now that sixty years have passed since Menachem Mendel Schneerson assumed leadership of the fundamentalist Lubavitch Hasidic movement of Orthodox Judaism and seventeen years since his death, it is well worth giving the Rebbe and Lubavitch Hasidism a closer look. For years bumper stickers and billboards asserting that the coming of the Moschiach (messiah) is imminent, were exhibited everywhere. These are the people responsible for the huge models of Hanukkah menorahs that are still loudly displayed in the public square. Schneerson’s influence during his lifetime extended beyond his Hasidic sect; his legacy may hold broad implications for the future of Judaism.

The Hasidim or “pious ones” in Hebrew are a Jewish sect possessing an extremely ingrained sense of Jewish identity and practicing total ethnic separatism. Hasidism was at its height in the first half of the nineteenth century, and claimed the allegiance of millions in Eastern and Central Europe—perhaps a majority of East European Jews.[2) The present estimate for Orthodox Jews in North America is estimated to be 550–650 thousand. Many of the approximately 165,000 American Hasidim in New York City, the largest concentration, belong to three courts, the Satmar in Williamsburg, the Bobover in Boro Park, and the Lubavitchers in Crown Heights.[3] Many Hasidim distrust all lists and simply ignore the census forms because they consider it bad luck to count people. At the same time, secular Jews underestimate their numbers, because they don’t want the group to appear too influential. The Orthodox converse in Yiddish, and they preserve many of the traditions of pre-war styles of clothing and the religious traditions of Eastern European Jewry. Highly cohesive, collectivist, and authoritarian, they comprise an endogamous, genetically segregated kinship group and generally have very large families. A majority of American Jews are the descendants of East European Hasidim.

Chabad and Lubavitch are now used interchangeably to refer to the Hasidic dynasty   (founded in 1796 in the Russian town of Lubavitch) of which Schneerson became rebbe. Chabad is an acronym for the Hebrew words “Wisdom, Understanding, and Knowledge,” while Lyubavichi is the name of the Russian town where the sect was first located at the end of the 18th century. The idea of racial superiority, which has been an underlying constant in Jewish narration, appears early in the history of the seven generation dynasty of Schneerson (also spelled Schneersohn) rebbes. Since Chabad philosophy incorporates the teachings of the Kabbalah, the Tanakh, the Talmud and the Tanya (see below), messianic thought and belief in racial superiority are intrinsic to the sect’s dogma.

(A note about the difference between rabbi and rebbe: while a rabbi is hired or appointed by his community, a rebbe’s commission is by acclamation and his position powerful and lofty. He is considered to be an intermediary between the divine and his community; his position accords him an unprecedented role in his followers’ lives and his word about all matters is final.) Read more