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Norman Podhoretz on Jewish Liberals

Editor’s note: This review is from 2010, originally posted at Altright.com, and it appeared in Radix. However, it seems to have disappeared from the internet. And in any case it raises important issues, particularly Jewish perceptions of their own history, that bear repetition. We Westerners have a sense of our history — a traditional pride in accomplishment that has now been propagandized into guilt for past sins. Jewish conceptions of Jewish history are much different. Jews are proud of the many Jews who have achieved wealth and other markers of success, but they tend to be virtually obsessed with what they see as their persecution of blameless Jews, especially in Western societies. This has major effects on Jewish activism in the contemporary world. And given the power and influence that Jews now have throughout the West, its importance cannot be overstated. Andrew Joyce’s work on historical anti-Semitism, much of it posted on TOO, as well as my book Separation and Its Discontents and the work of several other mainstream historians (e.g., John Klier and Albert Lindeman), are attempts to provide a more balanced perspective. But, not surprisingly, they have fallen on deaf ears within the mainstream Jewish community.

Some aspects of this review require an update. Podhoretz makes a major point that the right is more sympathetic to Israel than the left. Whereas some on the right, such as Pat Buchanan, are critical of Israel, they tend to emphasize the disastrous influence of the Israel Lobby on U.S. foreign policy, while the left emphasizes Israel’s brutal treatment of the Palestinians. I argued against Podhoretz’s position, but since 2010, the left has become increasingly anti-Israel, particularly in the U.K. where the Labour Party is routinely labeled “anti-Semitic” and the great majority of Jews no longer support it. In the U.S., only around half of Democrats support Israel, and the 2018 election brought in radical leftists, such as Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib, who have been vociferous opponents of Israel.

Nevertheless, it is far from obvious that the anti-Israel component of the left will actually gain power, either in the U.K. or the U.S. Although Jews have indeed stopped being major funders of the Labour Party, they remain a backbone of the Democrats, and this is not likely to change any time soon. Among likely presidential candidates, only Tulsi Gabbard has deviated from standard Israel Lobby positions in the Middle East, opposing U.S. military interventions and “forever wars.” 

Norman Podhoretz
Why Are Jews Liberals?
Vintage, 2010

Norman Podhoretz is something of an anomaly in the American Jewish community. His entire life is centered around his Jewishness, but he sees himself as an outsider in the mainstream Jewish community. He shares a great many of the attitudes typical of that community, but draws different conclusions about how to navigate the contemporary American political landscape in a way that’s “good for the Jews.”

Podhoretz’s Lachrymose View of Jewish History

One area where Podhoretz is absolutely mainstream among American Jews is his sense of history. The first half of the book lays out his version of the “lachrymose” theory of Jewish history in Europe and America in which the Diaspora has been one long vale of tears since the beginnings of Christianity. Whether or not this view of history is correct (and quite a few of his claims are simply wrong), the important point is that this is how the great majority of Diaspora Jews see themselves and their history. (My view is that our evolved ingroup/outgroup psychology and real conflicts of interest are by far the most important contributors to the main historical outbreaks of anti-Jewish feeling.)

This lachrymose view has major implications for understanding contemporary Jewish political behavior in the Diaspora. It proposes that, beginning with an unfortunate theological belief (that Jews killed God), Jews have been passive, innocent victims of marauding non-Jews.

The lesson that Jews learned from the Middle Ages carries down to today: The Jews “emerged from the Middle Ages knowing for a certainty that — individual exceptions duly noted — the worst enemy they had in the world was Christianity: the churches in which it was embodied — whether Roman Catholic or Russian Orthodox or Protestant — and the people who prayed in and were shaped by them. It was a knowledge that Jewish experience in the ages to come would do very little, if indeed anything at all, to help future generations to forget” (p. 29). Read more

Darwin on the Rise and Fall of Human Races, Part 2 of 2

Go to Part 1.

On the Human Races

According to Darwin, human races have emerged as a natural consequence of their spreading across the globe, leading to their separate evolution in relative reproductive isolation. As a result of their prolonged separation in different environmental and socio-cultural conditions, humans show differences on a variety of traits; these differences were also shaped through the constant culling of individuals and societies in perpetual tribal warfare. It follows that races are expected to differ. Darwin took the heredity of mental traits and mental differences between races as inseparably entailing one another: “Except through the principle of the transmission of moral tendencies, we cannot understand the differences believed to exist in this respect between the various races of mankind” (148).

In The Descent of Man, Darwin is primarily dedicated to proving that human beings are descended from lower, animal forms of life: “It is only our natural prejudice, and that arrogance which made our forefathers declare that they were descended from demi-gods, which leads us to demur to this conclusion” (43). Darwin is only quite secondarily interested in discussing the differences between human races. He nonetheless endorsed the racial science of his day, observing that “the differences between the several races” was “an enormous subject which has been fully discussed in many valuable works” (18).

Darwin takes for granted the existence of physical and psychological differences between both men and women and between human races: “Man differs from woman in size, bodily strength, hairiness, &c., as well as in mind, in the same manner as do the two sexes of many mammals” (25). Darwin lists numerous areas in which human races differ. The “civilised races” have an inferior sense of smell, inferior eyesight, and smaller wisdom teeth than do “dark races” and “savages” (35, 37, 52). Human races differ in the presence of earlobes (32), hairiness (36), skull length (44), and prognathism (58).

There is . . . no doubt that the various races, when carefully compared and measured, differ much from each other, — as in the texture of the hair, the relative proportions of all parts of the body, the capacity of the lungs, the form and capacity of the skull, and even in the convolutions of the brain.[1] But it would be an endless task to specify the numerous points of difference. The races differ also in constitutions, in acclimatisation and in liability to certain diseases. Their mental characteristics are likewise very distinct; chiefly as it would appear in their emotional, but partly in their intellectual faculties. Every one who has had the opportunity of comparison, must have been struck with the contrast between the taciturn, even morose, aborigines of S. America and the light-hearted, talkative negroes. There is a nearly similar contrast between the Malays and the Papuans, who live under these same physical conditions, and are separated from each other only by a narrow space of sea. (196)

Darwin praises “the old Greeks” in particular as an exceptionally gifted people “which stood some grades higher in intellect than any race that has ever existed” (166). Read more

Darwin on the Rise and Fall of Human Races, Part 1 of 2

Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (London: Penguin, 2004 [reprint of second edition, London: John Murray, 1879]).

Western intellectual life today is characterized by a marked schizophrenia. On the one hand, virtually everyone accepts the scientific theory of Charles Darwin concerning the emergence and evolution of the various species in the world, including humanity, through the process natural selection. The only exceptions to this rule are a few Creationist hold-outs. On the other hand, our culture denies the biological reality of race and the relevance of hereditarian thinking to human societies. Our egalitarian culture rejects heredity’s implications in toto — both the descriptive (in-born human differences between individuals and races) and prescriptive (e.g. eugenics). Given how taboo racialist thinking still is, it is then useful — in order to think freely — to go back to the roots of evolutionary thinking by looking at what Darwin himself had to say about human evolution and racial differences.

The concept of race or lineage is central to Darwin’s evolutionary thinking. His classic The Origin of Species is indeed subtitled By Means of Natural Selection of the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. In one place, Darwin defines a race as the “successive generations” of a particular population (102). Darwin’s model for evolutionary change is simple and powerful: every species will tend to bear too many offspring, leading to overpopulation, a huge percentage of these will die before reaching maturity or in competition with others (whether of the same species or not), those who survive this struggle will be those with the traits best suited for their particular environment. The constant generation and culling of “races,” that is to say new of populations with different traits, is then central to his system, which also applies to human evolution.

The foundation of Darwin’s entire system is the reality of heredity — that the offspring of plants, animals, and humans tend to inherit the physical and/or mental characteristics of their parents. Concerning humans, Darwin follows the observations of the ancient philosophers in asserting that man’s specificity is in being both a social and rational creature.[1] This, along with his free hands, have enabled humanity’s remarkable conquest of the Earth: our intelligence and dexterity allowed our prehistoric forbears to fashion tools, our social instincts enabled us to work together to bring down much larger animals, and the combination gave us a unique ability to adapt to the most varied environments. Darwin says concerning intelligence and sociability: “The supreme importance of these characters has been proved by the final arbitrament of the battle for life” (68). Our hands and brains were incidentally developed at considerable cost: we are awkward bipeds and the tension between enormous heads and narrow hips means that childbirth is quite dangerous to our women. Read more

M. R. James and Saki: Two Literary Greats and their Anti-Semitism

Megalomaniacs dream of ruling the world. Philosophers dream of understanding it — ideally from an armchair. Armchair-understanding is what I’m going to attempt in this article. After all, armchairs are good places for reading. I want to take two short stories by famous English writers and use them to address an important question: Do Jews seek to control gentile societies for their own ends?

Serpents and Waspes

This is also a dangerous question. Any Westerner who answers it in the affirmative will certainly lose his reputation and might lose his income and liberty too. These negative consequences prove the wickedness of the proposition, of course, and not its truth. Or do they? The writers M.R. James (1862–1936) and Saki, born Hector Hugh Munro (1870–1916), might have said otherwise. Each of them was responsible for poisoning the well of English literature with doses of anti-Semitism, which is sometimes called the Longest Hatred.

Painting by Burne-Jones for “The Prioress’s Tale”

It’s called that with good reason: the well had already been poisoned for centuries when those two writers were born. Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1342–1400) is known as the “Father of English Literature” and was the author of The Canterbury Tales, which dates from about 1380. He wrote in “The Prioress’s Tale” of a pious Christian child ritually murdered by Jews at the instigation of “the serpent Sathanas,/That hath in Jewes herte his waspes nest … .” (see modern version) In the tale, a miracle reveals the crime to the grieving mother and the Jews responsible are hanged. Chaucer concludes his hate-narrative with a prayer to “yonge Hugh of Lyncoln, slayn also/With cursed Jewes.” Read more

Fighting the Juggernaut

“In those dark hours [for the French in World War I], that vision of France as a generous nation, of France as a project, of France promoting universal values, was the exact opposite of the egotism of a people who look after only their interests, because patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism:  nationalism is a betrayal of it.” —    President Macron of France, flatulating on Armistice Day, November 11, 2018

“The beginning of any society is never charming or gentle.” — Franca Bettoia, as Ruth Collins, in The Last Man on Earth, 1964

The Last Man on Earth was a Vincent Price movie made in 1964.  The year before the beginning of the end.  In 1965, all of our restrictive immigration laws were dismantled, in accordance with ushering in a new era of civil rights, and, in many ways, I personally date all subsequent historical events using that milestone.  Even in 1965, as a child, I understood that this was a watershed moment, and one ominous in its implications.

Few others had the same forebodings.  America, people reasoned, was strong, invincible, and confident.  With promises from politicians that the demographics and politics of the U.S. would remain unaltered, our nation’s gates were flung open to the world.

They lied, as the evidence of our own eyes verifies, and, forty years later, I entered the lobby of a local library and encountered an ancient woman diligently yanking down public notices from a bulletin board.  When I asked what she was doing, she smiled, and said, in accented English, “These notices are written in ten different languages, translations paid for with my tax dollars.  If someone had the right to put them up on a public board, I have the same right to pull them down.  Let them learn English, as I did.”  As I pondered the woman’s response, she trundled out the door and down the street, away from the scene of her mischief. Read more

A Very Worthy Cause: Support Glen Allen’s Lawsuit against the SPLC

Mark Potok, defendant

Glen Allen, an attorney from Baltimore, is doing what I wish I had been able to do a long time ago: sue the SPLC. His case is much stronger and much more sympathy-inducing than mine would have been. Basically, the SPLC got Allen fired from his job with the city of Baltimore where he was in charge of writing appeals in cases where Baltimore lost in the lower courts (“Lawsuit Claims SPLC Abetted Theft, Spread Lies to Destroy Lawyer for ‘Thought Crime’”). All it took was a simple phone call alleging that he has ideas that are unacceptable to the powers that be. In particular, he is accused of having supported William Pierce’s National Alliance in the past. As the notorious Heidi Beirich (a defendant in the case) stated in an interview, she “watched Allen ‘like a hawk’ because he had ‘the worst ideas ever created.'”

Presumably this refers to ideas like identifying with your racial or ethnic group and doing what one can to further its interests, as well as calling attention to groups that are antithetical to ideas of White identity and White interests. It goes without saying that such ideas are perfectly acceptable for every other racial and ethnic group in the U.S except Whites.

Allen’s complaint (here) is a brilliant, exhaustive account of the facts relevant to the case. I strongly recommend delving into it — it’s user friendly, even for a non-attorney. At the outset is a ringing defense of free speech and the First Amendment:

Providence has endowed humanity with the ability to grow and change. Indeed, we have a moral obligation to grow and change as we learn new aspects of reality. At the pinnacle of the means by which we grow and change should be robust dialogue, open debate, an aversion to taboos, and genuine conversation. This is the theory of our remarkable American traditions of free expression, as embodied, among other ways, in the First Amendment. But there are also other approaches to inevitable human discord. One is to draw lines of political or cultural orthodoxy, develop massive surveillance networks and extensive dossiers, and severely punish perceived transgressors who cross those lines, seem to cross them, or even seem to think about crossing them.

Beirich, Potok, and the SPLC, defendants in this case, have chosen this latter approach. Motivated by lucrative fundraising aims and employing fundraising techniques decried across the political spectrum as deceptive, the SPLC’s avowed goal, under the leadership of Beirich, Potok, and others, is to destroy, through public shaming, loss of employment, loss of reputation, and other severe harms, groups and persons the SPLC broadly defines as its political enemies.

Glen Allen, plaintiff in this case, is one of Beirich’s, Potok’s, and the SPLC’s victims. The cause of free expression itself is another, for the SPLC has become one of the most effective forces in the country for stifling honest and robust debate on controversial issues. Beirich, Potok, and the SPLC are entitled to espouse their outlook forcefully. They are not entitled, however, to the following actions, all alleged and supported in this complaint: to receive, pay for, and use stolen documents, including confidential documents and  documents protected by attorney client privilege, to tortiously interfere with Allen’s prospective advantage in employment; to defame him by publishing false statements that he was “infiltrating” the City of Baltimore’s Law Department; or to masquerade as a 501c3 public interest law firm dedicated to a tax exempt educational mission, when in reality the SPLC fails the basic requirements for this favored status because of its illegal actions (including numerous instances of mail and wire fraud), multiple violations of canons of professional ethics (including improper disclosure of confidential and privileged documents and failure to train its nonlawyer employees), orchestration of violations of the constitutional rights of the organizations and individuals it targets, and sensationalist supermarket tabloid style one-sided depictions of its victims.

The reality is that Beirich, Potok, and the SPLC have perfected what the scholar Laird Wilcox, speaking of the SPLC, called “ritual defamation”: “a way of harming and isolating people by denying their humanity and trying to convert them into something that deserves to be hated and eliminated. They accuse others of this but utilize their enormous resources to practice it on a mass scale themselves.”

Beirich, Potok, et al. don’t even pretend to engage in honest debate and the free flow of ideas. Atty. Allen quotes Potok: “We see this [as a] political struggle, right? … I mean, we’re not trying to change anybody’s mind. We’re trying to wreck the groups, and we are very clear in our head, … we are trying to destroy them.” And in this case, the attempt to destroy Allen goes far beyond ethical and legal norms — not surprising given the SPLC’a sordid history of using smear tactics and hypocrisy (Section 31) as well as their dedication to fund-raising far beyond what they actually use to further their causes (Section 27)

Of course the attempt “to destroy” people and groups with ideas they don’t like has now spread far beyond the SPLC, including financial firms refusing credit card services, de-platforming on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and banning from crowd-funding sites like Patreon. As noted here several times, TOQ and TOO have been subjected to these forms of de-platforming.

At present there is an ever-escalating war against the dissident right. This war is not based on developing clearly articulated arguments designed to persuade reasonable, intelligent people. Instead, our new elite rely on wall-to-wall propaganda spread throughout the media and educational system — propaganda designed to make the traditional White majority accept its fate as a declining, soon-to-be impotent minority. Our new elite is terrified that White people be exposed to these ideas. Terrified that they will stop being ashamed to proudly identify as White and do what they can to prevent a the impending disaster to White America. They are terrified because they realize that, beneath all the propaganda raining down from the media and the educational system, the emperor has no clothes — pseudoscience like: there is no biological basis for racial classifications, no biologically based race differences, and no intellectual basis for Whites having legitimate interests in creating a safe and prosperous future for themselves and their progeny. Read more

Efface the Facts: White Supremacism in the Jewish Community

Who remembers Isaiah Young-Sam? His family and friends certainly do, but Britain’s liberal elite certainly don’t. That’s puzzling, because he was a young Black man murdered at the age of 23 in a particularly shocking way: “stabbed through the heart as he fled a baying gang wielding chains, baseball bats and knives, who hunted him down simply because he was black.”

Savages still at large

Isaiah Young-Sam was a devout Christian, a gentle, law-abiding young man who worked for Birmingham City Council in the English Midlands. And he was brutally murdered “simply because he was black.” Why have the liberal elite forgotten him? And why are the liberal elite not outraged that his racist killers are still at large? Since his murder in 2005, the authorities have tried and failed to bring those racists to justice. Three men were jailed in 2006, but their convictions were overturned on appeal and Isaiah Young-Sam’s family still don’t have what liberals call “closure.”

Worse still, his family live in fear of the racists: when an uncle discussed the case in 2012, the uncle “asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals.” Given all this, you would expect Isaiah Young-Sam to have a martyr-cult like the one that surrounds Stephen Lawrence, the young man murdered in London in 1993 “simply for being black.” A Jewish “anti-racist” called Dr Richard Stone has been the High Priest in the Lawrence martyr-cult, supplying the high intelligence and ease with officialdom lacked by the martyr’s mother Doreen Lawrence. But Dr Stone and other Jewish activists have shown no such interest in Isaiah Young-Sam. This is puzzling when you consider that the two racist murders were very similar, except that Isaiah Young-Sam’s murder was worse. Stephen Lawrence was stabbed in a chance encounter and might easily have survived. Isaiah Young-Sam was “hunted down” by a “baying gang” who were fully intent on killing any Black they could catch.

The wrong kind of racist

But Britain’s liberal elite forgot Isaiah Young-Sam long ago. They’ve never added his name to their Big Book of Minority Martyrs and, unlike Stephen Lawrence, he hasn’t been the subject of an endless stream of books, articles, TV programmes and radio broadcasts. Why so? It’s simple. Isaiah Young-Sam has not been turned into a minority martyr because he was murdered by the wrong kind of racist. His killers were brown-skinned Pakistani Muslims. Therefore his murder is useless to the liberal elite. It can’t be used for promoting the lie that ordinary Whites are an ominous and ever-present threat to the lives and well-being of gentle, vulnerable non-Whites.

Isaiah Young-Sam, a victim of hate ignored by the liberal elite

In other words, the liberal elite don’t really care about “racism” or about the welfare of non-Whites. They care about attacking Whites in order to expand and strengthen their own power. That’s why they efface the facts whenever the facts contradict their lies. And so Stephen Lawrence has an official martyr-cult and Isaiah Young-Sam has nothing. You can see the same agenda at work in British towns and cities like Rotherham, where the philo-Semitic Labour MP Denis MacShane worked tirelessly for Jewish interests but did nothing to help the “at least 1,400” White girls who were being raped, prostituted, beaten and sometimes murdered by brown-skinned Pakistani Muslims. Read more