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A Window on the Warping of Whites: The Swarthmore College Alumni Magazine

As a lonely state-school grad in a family of smarties, I get to read alumni magazines from more prestigious places:  Stanford, Columbia, Northwestern, Swarthmore.  High-powered and hard-left is the typical formula, but the October 2009 edition of Swarthmore’s was such a jaw-dropper, I must share.

The cover, as you can see, is an artsy photographic depiction of a Jewish 2005 alum named Mark Hanis who, the magazine tells us, “stands up to genocide around the world.”  He’s motivated, of course, by the memory of the Holocaust, and finds himself compelled to make noise about the ethnic killings in Darfur and the crimes committed by Charles Taylor in the civil wars in Liberia. The article oozes with adulation for the brave and selfless Hanis, who has “I refuse to be a bystander to genocide” marked on his hands for some super-sexy Annie Liebowitz-style shots.  Tres chic!

Mark Hanis, Swarthmore ’05

Naturally, Hanis won’t be found addressing the genocide of the Palestinians, so “genocide around the world” isn’t quite accurate. But if that weren’t enough, Swarthmore grads are treated to a silly article in the back of the magazine by a Jewish professor named Malka Kramer Schaps about the joys of conversion to Orthodox Judaism, life in Israel and her wonderful Jewish self generally.  It includes still more mentions of the Holocaust, the virtuosity of the Jews, and her search for intellectual honesty.

The Palestinians?  Not a part of the search, apparently.

Elsewhere in the magazine:

* A white 2007 graduate named Katie Chamblee heads to Ecuador to, as with a million other upper-class white women before her, help the little brown people.  Or, as she puts it, “create a new fluidity and class mobility.”  Good luck with that, Katie.  It seemed to go well for Amy Biehl.

Katie Chamblee with her Ecuadorian charges

* A 1932 graduate named Bertram Schaffner is lauded for his homosexuality.

* Meet the Class of 2013:  A Definition of Diversity.  A graphic in the magazine tells us that 40% of the student body is a “person of color” and 7% are international students.  Whites are the only group that is underrepresented based on their percentage of the population.

* Sarah Posey, 2004, “wanted to teach in an urban school where kids needed her attention.”  Shouldn’t there be a limit of one of these per alumni magazine?

The altruistic Ms. Posey

* Evolution Evolves:  brief article on professor Scott Gilbert, who’s big into Darwin.  Wonder if Gilbert’s ever read Steve Sailer’s withering writing on this topic?  Probably not (a good liberal believes in evolution — but that it stopped cold 50,000 years ago.)

* Graduates Wilson Hall, 1995, and Krister Johnson, 1995, are celebrated for a comedy career that openly mocks Christianity (they dress in goofy colors, play the guitar and wear “Virginity Rocks” T-shirts).  Imagine friendly coverage of a comedy duo that mocked Jews.

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What’s so amazing to me about Swarthmore, as reflected in its alumni magazine, is the totality of intellectual takeover:  not an inch of idea territory is left unoccupied by its central tenets:  the superiority of the Jews, the absurdity of Christianity, the virtuosity of the Third World, the hipness of homosexuality, the irrelevance of whites.  Almost every single article is directed toward these explicitly political goals… I don’t even see where anyone’s working on plain old academic stuff like star distances.

Talk about totalitarianism.  Nobody can get a word in edgewise.

I’m left to wonder if some of the presumably intelligent people of Swarthmore get this?  Isn’t there a rebel streak somewhere?  Can it possibly be good for a purported haven for intellectuality to be so thoroughly cleansed of errant thoughts?  Is that even good strategy for the multiculturalists?

The bigger problem for Whites is the high levels of power concentrated at a place like Swarthmore, along with the other prestige colleges of America.  This is where the best and brightest go, and its graduates populate the power positions of our society.  They make the decisions that affect our lives.  So for a place like Swarthmore to be so manifestly anti-white is a big problem for us.

Whites are only valued, they’re taught at Swarthmore, as helpers of other racial groups — certainly never their own.  Katie Chamblee and Sarah Posey have absorbed their lessons well.  This is positively destructive of the white race.

We as whites need to recognize this problem and think of ways to address it or get around it.  Because right now, Swarthmore grads aren’t “standing up to genocide.”  They’re causing it.

Christopher Donovan is the pen name of an attorney and former journalist. Email him.

The Malicious Smearing of a Psychological Pioneer

Review of The Cattell Controversy: Race, Science and Ideology, by William H. Tucker; University of Illinois Press, 2009.

During his twilight years of retirement, Raymond Bernard Cattell had achieved what few social scientists could ever dream of attaining. The American Psychological Association (APA) nominated the highly respected psychologist, author, and co-author of 500 research papers and 56 books, to receive the Gold Medal Lifetime Achievement Award — the pinnacle of top honors in the profession — during the APA’s annual convention in August 1997. In nominating Cattell to receive this prestigious award, the APA summarized his legacy in the APA’s flagship journal The American Psychologist:

In a remarkable 70-year career, Raymond B. Cattell has made prodigious, landmark contributions to psychology, including factor analytic mapping of the domains of personality, motivation, and abilities; exploration of three different medias of assessment; separation of fluid and crystallized intelligence; and numerous methodological innovations. Thus, Cattell became recognized in numerous substantive areas, providing a model of the complete psychologist in an age of specialization. It may be said that Cattell stands without peer in his creation of a unified theory of individual differences integrating intellectual, temperamental, and dynamic domains of personality in the context of environmental and hereditary influences. (American Psychologist, 1997, 797).

Although Cattell received numerous tributes over the years for his multifaceted work in psychology, the APA’s decision to recognize Cattell’s lifetime work firmly anchored his place as a pioneer in the field. After decades of tireless energy and unrivaled persistence in pursuing new frontiers in personality and intelligence research, Cattell finally had earned proper recognition as a distinguished authority from the leading organization of American psychologists.  As a trail-blazing researcher, Cattell’s work spawned a productive stream of empirical findings and theoretical breakthroughs that led to several innovative advances in the study of personality. His theoretical and empirical contributions helped anchor the field of personality and intelligence research on firm scientific principles. Many consider Cattell the father of personality trait measurement.

Cattell at age 15

In 2002, a survey of 1,725 psychologists ranked Cattell 16th among the most eminent psychologists (top 100) of the twentieth century. Cattell edged out Behaviorist John B. Watson who placed 17th and followed just below Hans Eysenck (13) and William James (14). He was the eleventh most-cited psychologist according to the 1975 Social Science Citation Index.

Cattell co-founded the Institute for Personality and Ability Testing (IPAT) with his wife Karen Cattell in 1949. IPAT continues to provide testing tools for private firms to assist in occupational consulting, human resource management (employee screening, selection, and placement), and clinical guidance. In 1960, Cattell founded the Society for Multivariate Experimental Psychology (SMEP) and launched its journal Multivariate Behavioral Research.

After his retirement from the University of Illinois, Cattell took up residence in Hawaii after briefly moving to Colorado and continued work on unfinished research projects. Upon his retirement, the University of Illinois presented Cattell with a leather-bound set of his published books.

In the two weeks prior to the APA’s convention in Chicago, Cattell’s work came under intense scrutiny. As the focus of a last-minute smear campaign, Cattell’s critics — extreme far-left ideologues — waged an intense media blitz of distortions, rumor, and innuendo. These axe-grinding ideological adversaries worked vigorously behind the scenes to undermine the APA’s presentation of the Gold Medal Award. They accused Cattell of “racism” and “anti-Semitism.” The APA decided to postpone the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award and investigate the matter with a “blue-ribbon” panel of experts. The New York Times and other news organizations sensationalized the “controversy” that ensued. Cattell denied the allegations, responded to his critics, and pulled his name as a nominee of the Gold Medal Award, and, at age 92, died a few months later in February 1998.

This sordid ordeal is the subject of William H. Tucker’s The Cattell Controversy: Race, Science, and Ideology published by the University of Illinois Press. Tucker, the author of The Science and Politics of Racial Research and The Funding of Scientific Racism, has carved out a niche as a muckraker of epic proportions. His modus operandi is to discredit scientists who research racial differences in intelligence and personality (anthropologists, geneticists, and evolutionary psychologists). He misleadingly links scholars, no matter how remote, to a rogue’s gallery of sinister culprits. If one recognizes biological race differences or the plausible advances that eugenics offers mankind, Tucker concludes that one is therefore complicit in genocidal mass murder.  The author fundamentally sees the world through a Marxist prism of oppressed and oppressors; for Tucker the realm of human existence consists of radical egalitarians, such as himself, or goose-stepping fascists hell-bent on racial genocide. His career pursuit, put forth in three books published by the University of Illinois Press, focuses on exposing race-realist scholars as “extremists” affiliated with sordid political operatives in the fever swamps of the far right.

To his credit, Tucker recognizes the importance of Cattell’s main body of research in personality, intelligence, and factor analysis. Much of his description of Cattell’s scientific work is largely favorable.

Nevertheless, Cattell is deservingly regarded as one of the most productive research psychologists in the history of the discipline. A true generalist in a field known for the extent of its fragmentation, he was one of the very few social scientists to put forth a comprehensive theory of human behavior, relating abilities, attitudes, motivations (drives), and personality traits to each other, thus bringing together in a dynamic system the classic tripartite categorization of mental activity into cognition, affection, and conation. Perhaps unique among psychologists, he also made contributions to theory, research, measurement, test development, and methodology; it is difficult to think of anyone else with this breadth of accomplishment.

The real rub for Tucker is Cattell’s philosophical views set forth in two complementary volumes, A New Morality from Science: Beyondism (1972) andBeyondism: Religion from Science (1987), and his outlook early in his professional career, set forth in Psychology and Social Progress (1933), The Fight For Our National Intelligence (1937), and Psychology and the Religious Quest (1938).

Most of Cattell’s academic research centers on the application of objective criteria (factor analysis) to identifying core personality and mental traits. Another half-dozen books explore his ideas on forging scientific-derived values from Darwinian natural selection, a systematic approach of applying objective evolutionary principles to ethical and social problems (evolutionary-based ethics) as well as articulating eugenic perspectives on society, differential birthrates, culture, civilization, and national trends. Cattell’s blunt assessments of the role of science in solving societal problems —his scientific-based ethics of “Beyondism” — generated much of the opposition to his receiving APA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Cattell’s first few books reflect the thinking of the young scientist at an early stage in his professional career. These writings also reflect the milieu of the times for an academic traveling in progressive intellectual circles in the early 1900s, namely an enthusiastic interest in Darwinian evolution, eugenics and the scientific study of human behavior and social problems. The ranks of the eugenics movement in England and the United States attracted a wide range of prominent authors, statisticians, biologists, and social scientists across the political spectrum — progressives and conservatives alike.

Cattell at age 30

One of his major concerns (along with Sir Ronald Fisher, William McDougall, Leonard Darwin and other leading eugenicists) was the dysgenic generational decline of intelligence. In The Fight for Our National Intelligence, Cattell investigated the relationship between differential birthrates and falling IQ levels. His analysis of this trend was based upon test results from selected English communities. Cattell warned of the misplaced priorities of middle- to upper-class professionals in substituting materialistic luxuries in place of childrearing. He viewed the problem of differential birthrates — impoverished low IQ individuals having large, unsustainable families at the expense of society just as high IQ professionals were forgoing children — as undermining societal stability.

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His critique of the cultural impact of the mass media, from his chapter “False Beacons of Social Progress” in Psychology and Social Progress, reveals an insightful grasp of journalists’ self-aggrandizing role as the ultimate arbiters of “truth” in modern democracies. It reflects a thoughtful critique of the mass media that remains just as valid nearly eight decades later.

On the face of things, the press is at once the most confident and the most unsuitable claimant to the leadership of social thought. Beginning as a system of news retailing, it has become a parvenu politician and social philosopher with intellectual manners and powers, the pinchbeck qualities of which are obvious at some time or other to the meanest reader.

To say that the press merely reflects public opinion is the greatest humbug. It does to a considerable extent reflect the popular intelligence, the popular taste for slipshod methods of reasoning and unembarrassed ignorance, but through these contacts it endeavors to shape public opinion ruthlessly into forms which are rarely sympathetic to the potential sentiments and will present in the public. …

[A]nything in print appears to have the seal of mass approval behind it and carries with it all the powerful herd suggestion which is infinitely stronger than reasoned argument. For this reason the press renders a thousand times more strong the crude herd opinion already present and so holds in vice-like tentacles all attempts at enlightened action necessarily differing from the average viewpoint….

The average newspaper editor feels himself at liberty to contradict an authority in any field whatsoever. In a few minutes he will write a leading article refuting a book representing the work of a lifetime. But he is equal to even more than that. He will venture to put thousands of our democratic rulers — our electorate — hopelessly astray in any subject which he fancies himself at the moment to be an authority.

Cattell’s early work reflects the insights of an astute observer of national and cultural trends, one who can easily bore through the fog of pseudo-intellectual discourse. An objective reading of his early work indicates that the young psychologist could cut to the quick of any fallacy, slipshod argument, or popular fad.

A significant aspect of Tucker’s critique is Cattell’s alleged affiliations with so-called unsavory individuals on the “far-right.” He describes Dr. Roger Pearson, an editor and publisher of academic journals and monographs and author of several books, including an entry-level college textbook, Introduction to Anthropology(Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1974), as an “extremist.” Marginal individuals, however remotely affiliated with Cattell, feature in Tucker’s muckraking narrative as sinister rogues one goose-step removed from Josef Mengele. It is a classic guilt-by-association tactic used by contemporary leftists to discredit the ideas of any prominent scholar who rejects their egalitarian multiracialism. (This guilt-by-association tactic, casting aspersions on one individual vis-à-vis the character of others, no matter how distant the affiliations or acquaintances, was vociferously denounced and labeled as “McCarthyism” when directed at leftists.) Cattell’s intellectual company of Pearson, classicist scholar Revilo Oliver, and airline executive, author, and segregationist Carleton Putnam, according to Tucker, “provided additional reason for concern.”

Much of Tucker’s opposition to Cattell’s eugenic perspectives rests on popular fallacies of eugenics. Implicit in Tucker’s critique is the notion that eugenics is grounded on “ideology” and “politics” (hence the ultimate aim of eugenics is the elimination of oppressed racial minorities) rather than firm scientific principles. Left-wing critics of eugenics often argue that it is scientifically baseless. Richard Lynn’s monumental Eugenics: A Reassessment demolishes this argument outright. Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins rejects this implicit assertion in his recent book, The Greatest Show on Earth:

Political opposition to eugenic breeding of humans sometimes spills over into the almost certainly false assertion that it is impossible. Not only is it immoral, you may hear it said, it wouldn’t work. Unfortunately, to say something is morally wrong, or politically undesirable, is not to say it wouldn’t work. I have no doubt that, if you set your mind to it and had enough time and political power, you could breed a race of superior body-builders, or high-jumpers, or shot-putters; pearl fishers, sumo wrestlers, or sprinters; or (I suspect, although now with less confidence because there are no animal precedents) superior musicians, poets, mathematicians or wine-tasters. The reason I am confident about selective breeding for athletic prowess is that the qualities needed are so similar to those that demonstrably work in the breeding of racehorses and carthorses, of greyhounds and sledge dogs. The reason I am still pretty confident about the practical feasibility (though not the moral or political desirability) of selective breeding for mental or otherwise uniquely human traits is that there are so few examples where an attempt at selective breeding in animals has ever failed, even for traits that might have been thought surprising.

In an interview for The Eugenics Bulletin, published in 1984, Cattell offered his views on eugenics, social problems, progress in social science research, welfare policies, religious and cultural diversity in the U.S., “Beyondism,” IQ, and a variety of other issues. He was specifically asked about the matter of race from the eugenicists’ perspective,

TEB: Many eugenicists feel it’s best to be noncommittal on the race question, since it’s not our major concern. What do you think?

CATTELL: I agree that the only reasonable thing is to be noncommittal on the race question — that’s not the central issue, and it would be a great mistake to be sidetracked into all the emotional upsets that go on in discussions of racial differences. We should be quite careful to dissociate eugenics from it — eugenics’ real concern should be with individual differences.

Any fair consideration of Cattell’s writings would reveal very little on the subject of race. The subject is rarely indexed in his core scientific books, if mentioned at all. In his books on philosophy, ethics, religion, and social problems, where Cattell mentions race, his views are far from “extreme.” One rare exception of expanded reflection on the subject is his chapter on “Nation and Race: Their Significance” in Psychology and Social Progress. Even here Cattell’s writing largely echoes the scientific milieu of its day. He recognizes race and racial differences as biological realities, but also goes out of his way to stress that any discussion of race should not be based on “a question of superiority and inferiority of races.” For a book published in 1933, one ironically could classify Psychology and Social Progress as projecting progressive ideas of the early twentieth century: religious skepticism, eugenics, birth control and the problem of dysgenic birth-rates, cultural decline, war and peace, nationalism, education, class divisions of rich and poor, etc.

Tucker repeatedly portrays Cattell as some racially consumed fascist ideologue, noting

In fact, despite his personal charm, Cattell’s ideological thought — from his evolutionary ethics in the 1930s to its refinements as Beyondism four decades later —was essentially an intellectual justification for the form of fascism adopted by Nazi Germany and most pricelessly encapsulated by the phrase “totalitarian tribalism.”

This is simply Tucker’s way of projecting his own distorted views when describing what Cattell really believed, as if the psychologist was telegraphing his true sentiments in code to his fellow racialist comrades! It is the mindset of conspiracy mongers and “true believers” of multiracialism.

What Cattell actually stated about race, based on a passage in his first “Beyondism” volume, not only contradicts Tucker’s selective and distorted interpretation but frames egalitarian ethical assumptions of “racism” in perspective,

In accordance with good dictionary practice we may define a racist as one who asserts the superiority of his own race or people, without perception of the inherent impossibility, in our ignorance, of making such a value assertion. But both contra-suggestibility and the departures from objectivity due to the pleasure principle have developed a sect equally prejudiced in the opposite direction. These bigoted individuals may be called ignoracists because in recent years they have totally refused to consider the scientific possibility that races may show statistically significant differences. An open and enquiring mind must accept the possibility that observed differences of culturo-racial groups could be as significant in inherited components of, for example, mental capacity and temperament as in the historically acquired cultural features. Both racism and ignoracism are extreme and dangerous fallacies equally unable to lead to happy and realistic solutions of our problems. Beyondism calls for a more mature attitude than exists in either. It demands as a first act of respect the reality principle that human beings recognize equally the cultural and genetic origins of individual and group differences, and build an ethics of progress on that basis. [emphasis in original]

In a Chicago Tribune article on the decision to postpone the Lifetime Achievement Award, when asked about his self-described “Beyondism” perspective, Cattell said that “important policy decisions should be based on scientific information and knowledge rather than prejudice, superstition or political pressure.”

John Horn summarizes Cattell’s Beyondist views in his obituary published in The American Psychologist,

Cattell’s writings on [Beyondism] are particularly revealing of his drive and character. In these works, as in his books of the 1930s, Cattell argued that morality should be based on science. Beyondism symbolized the idea that humans cannot know what will be required for continuance of their species in the future. Therefore, they should strive to live in accordance with evolutionary principles that maximize the chances of a survival of a species. They should encourage great variety —individual differences — among themselves, so that environmental stresses that might wipe out a homogeneous group would eliminate only some individuals, not all. To this Darwinian principle of survival of individuals, Cattell added the idea of survival of societies: Survival will accrue to societies that can adapt under changing conditions. There should be great variety in societies. Diverse groups should be left alone to pursue their own programs for building the “best” society. No group should dictate to any other, but with that proviso, no group need aid the survival of any other group.

As to the point about pressure to conform to the group, psychology professor and IQ author Robert Sternberg defended the work of prominent psychologists whom he often disagreed with, such as Arthur Jensen and Raymond Cattell, for defying conformity and pursuing productive independent careers. As an open-minded liberal, Sternberg argued that society has benefited from innovations of maverick geniuses. For Tucker and his ideological ilk (Barry Mehler, Abe Foxman, Andrew Winston, Mark Potok, Heidi Beirich, and others) maverick intellects who go against the grain of multiracial egalitarianism should not be recognized for an otherwise productive career as a respected pioneer.

Tucker and other Marxists pseudo-intellectuals have taken it upon themselves to serve as ideological filters — establishing subjective standards for deciphering which individuals are worth honoring and which are worth shunning. His denunciation of Cattell’s work, on the grounds that an “antisocial” and “destructive” ideology influenced his views, is chutzpah with a capital “C”. Ideology, not scientific inquiry nor integrity, fuels Tucker’s anti-Cattellian screed. The difference is that Tucker’s fundamental ideology when extended to logical extremes (totalitarian Bolshevism) is ultimately more deadly than the evolutionary ethics of Cattell’s “Beyondism.”

For a thorough refutation of Tucker’s previous writings on Cattell, visit John Gillis’s website.

Wikipedia offers a more balanced description of Cattell’s career.

The full interview with Cattell in the Eugenics Bulletin is here.

The Cattell family maintains a website in his honor that includes documents on the APA Lifetime Achievement Award, Cattell’s respoonse, etc. See here.

The Indiana University psychology website on Cattell's contribution to IQ research is reasonably balanced.

Kevin Lamb (email him), a freelance writer, is a former library assistant forNewsweek, managing editor of Human Events, and assistant editor of theEvans-Novak Political Report. He is the managing editor of The Social Contract.

Hermann and the Death of German Studies

In the U.S., German scholars are constrained to teach only the works of Germans of Jewish background, their courses dwelling on persecution and genocide. Indeed, it is not too far fetched to suppose that German culture as a culture of Germans has disappeared entirely, replaced by the culture of the Holocaust. The Holocaust has not only become a quasi religion capable of eradicating the remnants of German culture, Jews have become sanctified as a people. (Kevin MacDonald, Preface to the paperback edition, The Culture of Critique).

The city of New Ulm, Minnesota, founded in 1854 by a group of German immigrants, is home to an imposing statue of the Germanic chieftain, Hermann. In the year 9AD, a coalition of Germanic tribes under Hermann for the first time in the history of the Germanic tribes ambushed and defeated three invading Roman legions commanded by Quinctilius Varus. The defeat, in the Teutoburger Forest, caused Caesar Augustus and his successors to forego conquering north central Europe. A new imperial policy changed European history for the people of central Europe, who developed independently of Roman rule.

In 1897, the Sons of Hermann, an American national fraternal organization of German Americans, proud of its heritage and desiring to keep it alive for future generations, commissioned a monumental statue of Hermann to be erected in a New Ulm city park. The Hermann Monument is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. On September 24, 2009, a two thousand year ethnic celebration commemorating the victory of Hermann the German against foreign aggression took place in New Ulm, MN.

The Hermann Monument, New Ulm, Minnesota

The Hermann celebration was an isolated example of German ethnic identification in this country, even though Germans represent the largest ancestry group in the US. California and Texas have the largest populations of German origin, while the states of the Midwest, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota have the most concentrated German populations.

In spite of their numbers, however, the study of the language and literature of the German people has dropped drastically nationwide. In 2006, only 6% of students learning a foreign language nationwide were enrolled in German. Many schools no longer offer German as a subject of study. Some colleges have eliminated whole departments of German and replaced them with departments of non-European languages. The University of Southern California, for example, after dropping its doctoral program about a decade ago, recently eliminated its entire German department. Spanish, of course, continues to grow, though most of its speakers on this Continent are of non-European descent. The languages that are experiencing tremendous growth nationwide in numbers of learners include Mandarin, Japanese, Urdu, and Arabic.

What does this mean for people of European descent? Unfortunately, it means a serious loss of connection to their European heritage and culture. Language is intrinsically connected to ethnic identity and allegiance to the group with which one shares ancestral links. Even where modern day ethnic groups can claim no country of their own, as in the case of the Welsh, the Basques, and the Kurds, retaining their language has enabled these groups to remain viable.

The elimination of German from the curriculum is occurring even in those areas of the country which have a majority German-American population. Notwithstanding Garrison Keillor’s stereotype of Minnesota as majority Lutheran-Norwegian, Minnesota is actually home to 36.7% people of German ancestry. Those of Norwegian background total 17.3%, Irish 11.2%, Swedish 9.9%, and English 6.3% (US Census Bureau Report June, 2004).  A significant number of mestizos have taken residence in Minnesota since the last census, and the Federal Government has placed large numbers of Hmong, a South-east Asian people, and  Somalian Negroes into the Twin City area, no doubt altering the proportions somewhat. The largest faith group is Catholic. Jews comprise .9% of the population.

Suppressed during the two World Wars, German re-established its place as one of the two most popular languages after each War. Until recently, many of the students in German language courses were “heritage learners,” students who wanted to remain connected to the language of their forefathers. In addition, German, along with French, has always been considered a language of research and cultural refinement. Now, however, English has become the language of research, cultural refinement is passé, and economic interests have displaced cultural connections for Whites. Perhaps school districts are receiving directives to remove German. Possibly also the continuing revilement against Germans caused by the unceasing barrage of venomous anti-German Holocaust memoirs, films, and television programs has contributed to the decline in German language learning.

For whatever reasons, the result is that German has all but disappeared from public high schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Currently, of the seven public high schools in Minneapolis, all offer Spanish (multiple classes at each level), 6 offer French, 3 Mandarin, 2 Japanese, 1 Arabic, 1 Latin, 1 Ojibwe, (a Native American language), and 1 German. (See here.) The situation is similar in St. Paul. (See here.)

Like the public schools of the Twin Cities, the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, is a tax-supported institution and many of its 51,000 students are residents of the State.  UM does not appear on the Hillel list of the 60 colleges and universities with the largest Jewish student enrollments. In the past, significant numbers of high school German teachers were trained at this campus. Students who obtained their Ph.D. were frequently offered positions on the faculties of smaller Midwest colleges.

As mentioned earlier, a number of colleges in the country have eliminated their German departments entirely. Others have rescued them from extinction by changing their concentration away from the traditional study of language and literature to the vocational study of “Business German.” UM retains a foreign language requirement and the University’s German Department (German, Scandinavian and Dutch) continues to offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in language and literature.

The focus of its teaching and research has shifted, however, from analyzing literary merit to promulgating politically correct social causes. The following is a comment not only on the state of German studies, but an excellent case study of what university departments in the humanities have become — bastions of the left influenced deeply by Jewish concerns and by Jewish intellectual movements, particularly the Frankfurt School. The following dissertation titles, course descriptions, and faculty publications all reflect the change in direction which the study of German literature has taken.

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Some recent representative dissertation titles include:

Toward a Multiculturalism for the 21st Century: German and Scandinavian Literary Perspectives, 1990–2005

Projecting Deviance/Seeing Queerly: Homosexual Representation and Queer Spectatorship in 1950’s Germany

Reading and Revising the Topography of German culture: Christina Reining on Gender and Sexuality

Representing the Afro-German in Early West German Cinema

The Space of Words: Diaspora and Exile in the Works of Nelly Sachs

Off the Road: Remapping the Shoah Representation from the Perspectives of Ordinary Jewish Women

Negotiating the German-Jewish: the Uncomfortable Writing of Karl Emil Franzos

Writing against Objectification: German Jewish Identity in the Works of Grete Weil and Ruth Klueger

Represented here are the favorite topics of “cultural criticism”: sexism, racism, homophobia, diversity, immigration, multiculturalism, and Jewish victimization. No work from the rich canon of German literature is the subject of a dissertation. Sadly, the literary criticism that grew out of the Frankfurt School and has monopolized the interpretation of literature in English and foreign language literature departments for the last thirty years will no doubt continue. Complacent non-Jewish graduate students are being recruited and trained to enshrine the politically correct ideology permanently into the American University system.

Banner for the University of Minnesota Department of German, Scandinavian, and Dutch, with Star of David

Below is a quick overview of some key faculty members — all graduates of elite Eastern universities, who publish, teach graduate courses, and advise grad students on dissertations. They also recommend students for grants and fellowships and future employment. Quotations are from the annual magazine of the German Department.

Professor Ruth-Ellen Joeres, Department of German

“She has a vision about how to open up the canon of German Literature and a determination to rewrite history to include women….In Nov. 2006 an interdisciplinary conference titled, ‘Gender, Genre, and Political Transformation’was held in her honor… (on teaching Goethe’s Faust) she has the students read through the lens of their choice: Bakhtian, Freud, gender theory, or queer theory’…. I don’t believe in objectivity.”

Courses include:

Women Writers in German Literature: Writings and Films of Minority Women“In this course the contributions of ‘German’ women of ethnic heritage such as Afro-German, Turkish-German, Japanese-German women are studied. What does it mean to be called, ‘German”?

Topics in Literature and Diversity: Diversity Troubles. One of the required texts for this course is the novel, Der Vorleser, by the contemporary German novelist, essayist, and judge, Bernard Schlink. Published in English in 2008, as The Reader, it was recently made into an American film. The novel deals with the guilt of an illiterate German woman for her actions in a German concentration camp. In 2005, while filming The Reader, Kate Winslet, its star, stated“I don’t think we need another film about the Holocaust, do we? … No, I’m doing it because I’ve noticed that if you do a film about the Holocaust (you’re) guaranteed an Oscar.” (She was right!)

Incidentally, in one of his essays, the author, Bernhard Schlink, son of a Protestant minister, makes the theologically astonishing claim that German guilt for the Holocaust is hereditary and will be carried by subsequent generations of Germans (Vergangenheitsschuld, Diogenes, Zürich, 2007). This inverts a fundamental teaching of Christianity. Christianity teaches that the Crucifixion and the Resurrection are the central events of history and that the Jews are forever responsible for the unforgivable crime of deicide. Schlink, however, suggests that Germans are and will be responsible for the Holocaust for all time, thus ostensibly substituting the Holocaust for the Crucifixion as history’s greatest crime and central event.

Professors Rembert Hueser and Richard McCormick, Department of German

These professors of German Film Studies specialize in feminism, Nazi Cinema, Weimar culture, and gender studies. Recent publications include, “Gender and Sexuality in Weimar Modernity.

Courses include:

German Cinema of the Weimar Republic: Aesthetics and Politics, Gender, and Sexuality, Modernism and Modernity. “Of importance is the question of Weimar sexual ‘decadence;’ was it … something that facilitated the rise of the Nazis? Or was it about the emancipation from rigid gender and sexual identities, something that threatened the Nazis and their sympathizers? Something ‘postmodern’ — or even ‘queer’ in a positive sense?”

In addition to courses in the German Department, students of German are strongly encouraged to participate in classes of affiliated departments. Recommended faculty of affiliated departments include:

Prof. Gary C. Thomas, Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature

Specialties include: 17th– and 18th-century German literature, gender/sexuality studies, and cultural musicology

Publications include: Queering the Pitch: the New Gay and Lesbian Musicology

Courses include: Queer Theory

Professor Richard Leppert, Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature

Publications include: Theodor Adorno – Essays in Music

Courses include: Adorno/Aesthetic Theory

It is indeed puzzling why so many non-Jewish faculty members have adopted the teachings of the Frankfurt School, promoting its agenda to degrade Western culture by glorifying deviancy, multiculturalism and Jewish victimization. One wonders whether they are actually adherents of a position totally inimical to their own White racial interests, or have chosen to be academic Uncle Toms for the sake of tenure and the dependable pay check. Some are clearly part of the homosexual-left culture that is so prominent at the university these days. Their identity as a homosexual victim of cultural oppression is far more important to them — and far more lucrative professionally — than identifying as a White person and having a sense of White interests.

Incidentally, the glorification of Jewish victimization has achieved official academic legitimacy in the rather new discipline of Jewish Studies. Begun only about thirty years ago at colleges with majority Jewish faculties and student bodies, Jewish Studies has quickly grown. The Association of Jewish Studies is now a large network of 1800 members with independent departments on most campuses across the country.

Two influential German Department professors specialize in Jewish Studies and are exceptional in the large number of works they have published, in the number of grants and fellowships they have been awarded, and in the range of affiliated departments to which they belong. Unlike the previously mentioned non-Jewish professors, who corrupt their own ethnic Western interests by adopting the tenets of the cultural revolution, these Jewish faculty members overtly and militantly employ the Frankfurt School’s ideology and methods to promote their specifically Jewish interests. The promotion of specifically Jewish interests was not shared by Jewish professors of the former generation. Until they were replaced by the individuals described below, three German-born Jewish professors, because of their vast knowledge and love of their subject, were highly regarded members of the German faculty. More German than Jewish they promoted German, not Jewish, culture.

Professor Jack Zipes, Department of German (recently retired)

At the present time Amazon is briskly selling an amazing 21 of Jack Zipes’ books about fairy tales, including several pricey compendia. Pertinent to the discussion here are two types of his works about fairy tales: the theoretical, dealing with Frankfurt School deconstruction of fairy tales, and the practical, the use of fairy tales in the public schools.

In Breaking the Spell: Radical Theories of Folk and Fairy Tales, Zipes provides a Marxist interpretation of folk and fairy tales through the filter of Frankfurt School criticism. His aim is to interpret the socio-historical forces that shaped the tales and to deconstruct and/or reconstruct them to influence and help form the society of the future.

An early chapter in The Utopian Function of Art and Literature is devoted to a discussion between Ernst Bloch and Theodor Adorno about the Marxist utopian function of the fairy tale.

With the manual, Creative Storytelling: Building Community, Changing Lives, Zipes suggests practical ways to encourage children to deconstruct traditional tales. Co-founder of the theatrical method named, “The Neighborhood Bridges Project,” Zipes has introduced a technique of re-interpreting fairy tales. Used by Minneapolis Public Schools since 1997 it seeks to expose the sexism, racism, and classism in the traditional value system of the fairy tales and of society. For his outstanding contributions to the field of Children’s Literature, Zipes has won several significant awards plus an honorary degree from the University of Bologna!

Prof. Zipes specialties include: Critical Theory (i.e., Frankfurt School theory); Fairy Tales (or rather their deconstruction); Jewish Studies

Publications include

Political Plays for Children

Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion

Don’t bet on the Prince: Contemporary Feminist Fairy Tales

Down with Heidi, Down with Struwelpeter: Three Cheers for the Revolution:

Towards A New Socialist Children’s Literature in West Germany

The Potential of Liberating Fairy Tales for Children

Don’t Bet on the Prince: Feminist Fairy Tales

Walter Benjamin and Children’s Literature, in The Germanic Review

Marx as Moralist

Negating History and Male Fantasies through Psychoanalytic Criticism

Adorno May Still be Right

Marx and Engels Without Frills

Unlikely History: The Changing German-Jewish Symbiosis 1945-2000 (with Leslie Morris, below)

The Yale Companion of Jewish Writing and Thought in German Culture

Germans and Jews since the Holocaust

The Operated Jew: Two Tales of Antisemitism

Disparate Jewish Voices and the Dialectic of the “Shoah Business” in Germany

Holocaust Survivor as Literary Pope in Germany

Jewish Life as Stigma, in: Simon Wiesenthal Center Report

Germans and Jews since the Holocaust

Lessons of the Holocaust, in: New German Critique

The Operated German as Operated Jew, in New German Critique

The Negative German-Jewish Symbiosis

Contested Jews: The Image of Jewishness in Contemporary German Literature

The Holocaust and the Vicissitudes of Jewish Identity in New German Critique

Professor Leslie Morris, Department of German

While Prof. Morris holds a tenured position in German, she is also a member of four affiliated centers. Two of these affiliations are especially noteworthy. She is a member of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and a member of the Center for Jewish Studies, of which she was director from 2002–2009

Prof. Morris specializes in 20th and 21st (sic) German/Austrian Literature and in Jewish Studies.

According to her biography in the German Department Magazine“She is interested in issues of exile and Diaspora that are central to the experience of Jews, especially since the 1930’s… to gain a deeper understanding of what ‘Jewishness’ means. (The name) Morris morphed out of Moskowitz.”

Publications include:

Unlikely History: The Changing German-Jewish Symbiosis, 1945–2000 (with German Prof. Jack Zipes)

Berlin Elegies: Absence, Postmemory and Art after Auschwitz

How Jewish is it? The Question of Contemporary German-Jewish Writing

Der modifizierte Jude als Stigmatext

In her book, Unlikely History, the Changing German Jewish Symbiosis, Prof. Morris addresses the topic of holocaust memoirs. She has two concerns. Not only is there a problem with future supply since the last holocaust survivors are succumbing to old age, but Prof. Morris finds many of the memoirs to be intrinsically dull and of limited literary value. She compares the authentic memoirs to the many fraudulent “memoirs,” originally marketed as first person accounts, but later found to be fakes, much to the embarrassment of their publishers. She judges these fake “memoirs” to be more imaginative, moving, and of greater literary value than the genuine accounts. Disregarding standards of academic ethics she suggests that the fraudulent accounts ought to be redeemed and accepted into the body of holocaust literature as genuine memoirs. Not only are the fakes better than the genuine accounts, but their production is unlimited!

Courses include:

Approaches to Analysis: Required readings — “Archive Fever”: Derrida, “History of Sexuality: Foucault, “Moses and Monotheism”: Freud, “Three Case Histories”: Freud

Seminar in 20th Century German Literature and Culture: Listening to German Anxiety — “We will think about the specificity of German anxiety — anxiety about modernity, anxiety about the Jews…”

~Required readings — “We will start with Freud’s, ‘Problem with Anxiety,’ and move to works by Benjamin, Adorno, Derrida, Schoenberg…”

So close is the German Department to the Center for Jewish Studies, with which Prof. Morris is affiliated, that the two Departments recently jointly sponsored a University of Minnesota tour titled, “Jewish Life in Berlin and Prague.” The informational meeting for the trip was held at a community center in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. Affectionately known as “St. Jewish Park,” by both Jews and gentiles, this modern day Jewish ghetto has been the home of many successful Jews. These include Thomas Friedman, New York Times journalist, Al Franken, the junior senator from Minnesota, and the Coen Brothers, film makers. In fact, the newest Coen Brothers film, “The Serious Man,” is set in the St. Louis Park of the 60’s. Ari Hoptman, UM German instructor, plays a department head.

The nine day University of Minnesota tour to Berlin and Prague was jointly led by German Department, Prof. Leslie Morris and History Department, Prof. Gary Cohen. Prof. Cohen is also Director of the Center for Austrian Studies, and a faculty member of the Center for Jewish Studies. The UM-sponsored tour included visits with the chief rabbis of both Berlin and Prague, with members of the Israeli Council in Berlin, and Shabbat services and Shabbat dinner with Berlin congregations. Lunch was planned at kosher restaurants.

A Center for Catholic or Christian Studies does not exist at the University of Minnesota. Therefore, there will be no University-sponsored trip titled, “Christian Life in Europe,” with Mass at the Cologne Cathedral and an audience with the Pope.

The most recent issue of German Quarterly, from summer, 2009, explores the possible reciprocal effects of German and Jewish Studies. Responding to the title of this issue, “How Jewish is German Studies? How German is Jewish Studies?” Prof. Morris states in the introduction:

VERY….What I hoped to do with this special issue was to move the discussion about Germans and Jews beyond merely establishing affinities between historical expression and cultural expression. Part of the ‘thought experiment’ behind this special issue was to see what might happen if we were to slip within the hyphen separating ‘the German’ and ‘the Jewish’ and begin a ‘queering’ of German-Jewish Studies that would rupture the intact diacritical mark of the hyphen and destabilize the markers of ‘German’ and ‘Jew.’

Rethinking the links and the ruptures contained within the ‘German Jew’ also necessitates a new conceptualizing of Jewish and ‘queer’ identity; to pull apart the hyphen that sutures the ‘German Jew’ is at the same time to expand ‘queerness’ beyond sexual practice and ‘experience’ and to disrupt what R. block has termed a ‘geographic transversal’ that links Germany and Zion. My calling for a ‘queering’ of German Jewish Studies is a strategy to move us away from ‘constructions of the Jew or the German as either positive or negative, stereotyped or ‘authentic,’ and to consider an approach to German Jewish text that will push the very boundaries of the German and the Jewish. I propose instead that we consider German Jewish writing as inhabiting a new space of a trans-, or a newly imagined community that exists in a border zone of textual and historical memory, projection and fantasy, pathology and desire, and that will always exceed the geographic, linguistic, and ethnic/national markers in which they are enacted.

The next activity jointly sponsored by the University of Minnesota German Department and the Center for Jewish Studies is scheduled in the spring. On April, 13, 2010, Prof. Leslie Morris will present a public lecture titled, “Why Germany Loves the Jews.” The lecture will be delivered at Mount Zion Temple in St. Paul.


Trudie Pert is the pen name of a teacher.  Email her.

Unless otherwise noted all material is from the official University of Minnesota website.

In the Matter of Leo Frank

In 1913 Mary Phagan, a 13-year old girl, was murdered. The absolutely barebones account of the fascinating story behind this event and all that followed is that Leo Frank, a Jewish businessman who managed the factory in Atlanta where Mary worked, was convicted of the murder and sentenced to death by hanging. His sentence was later commuted to life in prison by the governor of Georgia after several rounds of legal appeals failed to change the judgment of the trial court. While in prison, Frank’s throat was slit by another prisoner, and soon thereafter a group of Georgians broke into the prison and lynched Frank.

Leo Frank at his trial, 1913

The Leo Frank case is important if only because it continues to be the focus of Jewish activism. Recently a film on the events, The People vs. Leo Frank, was released, to much fanfare by the ADL, including special screenings and teacher guide books for use in classrooms. Leo Frank, therefore, has become an icon of all that was wrong with the old America and a morality tale with important lessons for the present— a miniature version of the Holocaust. Like the Holocaust, it is used as an indictment of the entire culture in which the events occurred — the trailer for the film begins ominously: “Set against the backdrop of an American South struggling to shed its legacy of bigotry and xenophobia …” More on that later.

In this series of articles, I review and discuss some of the writing about the Leo Frank affair, including especially Steve Oney’s very balanced and exhaustive account, And the Dead Shall Rise: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank.

However, before embarking on that adventure, I should say that my first exposure to the Leo Frank affair was in reading Albert Lindemann’s important 1991 book,The Jew Accused: Three Anti-Semitic Incidents. Lindemann’s writings on Jewish history and anti-Semitism, most notably Esau’s Tears, are by far the most balanced and nuanced available from academic historians. In The Jew Accused, he takes the view that Jewish accounts of the Frank affair have virtually assumed anti-Jewish conspiracies: “People then and later have in some sense wanted to find anti-Semitism. They have not been entirely disappointed in their search, but they have also been inclined to dramatize inappropriately or exaggerate what they found of it” (p. 236).


Whereas much of the writing on Mary Phagan’s murder makes it into a Jewish morality tale emphasizing Southern racism, bigotry and xenophobia — not to mention Jewish victimhood, Lindemann notes that Jews were better received in the South than in the rest of the country. There were relatively few Jews in the South, and those who did live there did not act as a “dissenting minority” (p. 224) — that is, they were not engaged in constructing a high profile culture of critique that has been the hallmark of Jewish intellectual activity since the Enlightenment. Jews participated in Southern culture like other Whites. Before the Civil War, they bought and sold slaves and they owned them. Southern attitudes toward Jews “tended toward philo-Semitism” (p. 227).

In Atlanta in 1910, Jews comprised around 2.5% of the population. Jewish businessmen “were respected, and Jewish enterprise was generally welcome.” The one fly in the ointment was the influx of a number of Russian Jews — often described as “barbaric and ignorant” by the established German Jewish community. These Jews often owned saloons and were accused of selling liquor to Blacks, thus contributing to public disorder. After the race riot of 1906, the liquor licenses of several Jewish-owned saloons were revoked.

Nevertheless, Jews had become well-integrated into the elite of Atlanta — far better than was the case in most areas of the North at this time. (Frank was part of the elite of Atlanta’s Jewish community — president of the local B’nai B’rith.) Although the Populist leader and newspaper publisher Tom Watson eventually blamed northern Jewish media and financial interests for the controversies following Frank’s trial and publically advocated Frank’s lynching, Watson eschewed the Jewish angle during the period leading up to the trial, even defending Jewish revolutionary anarchist Emma Goldman, and despite the fact that Jewish business interests in Georgia and elsewhere were opposed to Populism and its issues, such as ending child labor — an issue near and dear to Tom Watson’s heart.

Given this background (and the reputation of Jews as not involved in violent crime), “Frank’s Jewishness weighed at least as much in his favor as against him” (p. 236). Indeed, “Frank’s lawyers and his other defenders, in order to strengthen their case, overstated the role of anti-Semitic prejudice in his arrest” (p. 237), thereby setting up later exaggerations of the role of anti-Jewish attitudes. The defense also appealed to anti-Black attitudes in their attempt to pin the crime on a Black man, describing the prime Black suspect (Jim Conley) as a “dirty, filthy, black, drunken, lying nigger” (p. 245).

Lindemann points out that the evidence at the time of Frank’s arrest was “of far greater substance and persuasiveness than that presented against [Alfred] Dreyfus” (p. 239), the French Jew accused of treason whose case became a cause célèbre for the forces combating anti-Jewish attitudes. In particular, Frank was one of very few people at the factory when the murder occurred. Several female employees testified at a Grand Jury hearing that he had made improper advances toward them and a male acquaintance of Mary testified that she had complained about Frank’s advances. Other stories alleging that Frank had engaged in perverse sexual behavior at local bordellos and had often used the factory as a place for sexual liaisons appeared in the newspapers. Lindemann writes that later this evidence was “demonstrably false or of uncertain validity” (p. 243), stating, for example, that at least some of the women’s evidence was “unreliable” (p. 243). (Based on Oney’s account to follow, the accusations of Frank’s history of sexual impropriety toward his employees are well-founded.) 

Lindemann also notes that Frank’s statements to the police (that he didn’t know Mary Phagan) conflicted with testimony of employees (that he often called her by name). He also gave “seriously conflicting” accounts of what happened when Mary came to his office to pick up her pay. That he seemed very nervous during questioning and had already hired a lawyer and a private investigator before he was arrested were also seen as pointing to his guilt. The “most incriminating evidence” was that Frank had stated that he was in his office for an hour after giving Mary her pay, but this account conflicted with the testimony of another employee who came to his office at this time. This employee, Monteen Stover,

was not suspected of harboring grudges against him; she testified that he was a kind man and in fact well liked by the women employees. Frank could not satisfactorily explain this episode except to speculate that he may have gone to the bathroom when Monteen came to his office. Frank, furthermore, was never able to provide a widely persuasive account of what he was doing during the hour … when it was believed, according to autopsy evidence, that Mary was murdered. In the evening following the murder he repeatedly called the factory, finally reaching the nightwatchman, Newt Lee, and asked if everything was all right (this was before Lee had found the body). Frank’s explanations for making these calls, that the nightwatchman was fairly new and that he was worried about a recently fired employee, were judged inadequate by many, especially since Frank had never made such calls before this. (p. 246)

Lindemann notes that one of these inconsistencies was noted by Governor John M. Slaton in his statement of commutation. He noted that Frank had made an engagement on Friday to go to the Base Ball Game on Saturday afternoon with his brother-in-law, but broke the engagement, as he said in his statement, because of the financial statement he had to make up, while before the Coroner’s Jury, he said he broke the engagement because of the threatening weather.”

Lindemann also rejects the theory that Hugh Dorsey, the prosecutor, was “a ruthlessly ambitious man, one who harbored anti-Semitic beliefs and knew perfectly well that Frank was not guilty” (p. 250). This “morality tale”(p. 250) is contradicted by the lack of any indication of animosity toward Jews prior to the trial, his moderate views on Blacks, his Jewish law partner, his Jewish roommate in college, and his support from Jews in running for his office. His concluding summation at the trial included philo-Semitic statements.

Lindemann suggests that the best explanation of Dorsey’s actions is that he genuinely did believe in Frank’s guilt, “as did other astute observers” (p. 252).“In particular Dorsey seems to have been firmly persuaded of Frank’s bad moral character, of his perverse sexual escapades, about which he claimed to have an overwhelming mass of evidence, most of which he did not introduce at the trial” (p. 252).

Nevertheless, Lindemann asserts that “the best evidence now available indicates that the real murderer of Mary Phagan was Jim Conley” (p. 254), a person employed by Frank. Frank, “in spite of some strong evidence against him, was not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, especially in light of the evidence that later emerged” (p. 254).

One gets the feeling, however, that Lindemann himself is far from convinced that Frank was innocent. What was this evidence that supposedly exonerated Frank? Rather than present any obviously exonerating facts, Lindemann instead continues to point to things that support the prosecution case. He notes that Conley’s testimony was “extraordinarily rich in details, sometimes of the most minute and graphic sort” (p. 255). “Many observers simply could not believe that a southern Black, a man with Conley’s supposedly limited mental powers, could make up such an intricate story or even repeat a story in which he had been coached by Dorsey, without tangling himself in contradictions” (p. 255), especially considering that he was cross-examined for 16 hours by lawyers who were “some of the most experienced and sharpest legal minds in the South” (p. 255).

Lindemann also notes that Dorsey would have been foolish to coach Conley on a false story: “It seems … unbelievable that … the prosecution could have been so reckless as to thus risk a humiliating collapse of their case against Frank” (p. 256). Indeed, the careers of the prosecutors would be in jeopardy if Conley had broken down in court and implicated the prosecution in coaching fraudulent testimony. Add to that the fact that before the trial Frank refused an offer to confront Conley. And, even more damningly, Frank refused to implicate two other Black employees, never mentioning Conley to the police, “as if he feared to have Conley interrogated.” Finally, Frank “knew perfectly well that Conley could write (a key point because of the notes left at the scene of the murder) but remained silent when Conley initially denied that he could” (p. 256).

Moreover, Lindemann accepts the idea that whether or not Frank murdered Phagan, there was a great deal of support for the claim that Frank was a sexual pervert. Besides the claims of the prosecution for a mass of evidence that hadn’t been introduced at the trial, the defense at times acknowledged that Frank “had not been perfect in the past” (p. 257). Indeed, Dorsey later stated that he would have brought charges against Frank for sexual perversion and criminal assault if he had been freed of murder charges.

Lindemann also questions the claim that the jury was intimidated by the crowd — the focus of an appeal that was rejected by the US Supreme Court. Such intimidation was not reported by any newspaper, the jury denied that they felt intimidated, and the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that pressure from the crowd “did not have a decisive impact on the jurors” (p. 258). Nevertheless, despite his own marshaling of facts on crowd influence and never citing even one source for the claim of undue influence, Lindemann writes that “these denials [of  pressure from the crowd] are puzzling and finally difficult to believe” (p. 258).

Lindemann pays special attention to the role of Tom Watson in inflaming passions after the trial. But even then, Watson the populist seemed much more motivated by his perception that a rich person was throwing around money in an effort to overturn a just verdict for a heinous crime against a poor southern girl —“that rich men escaped scot-free for doing things that brought down harsh punishment upon the poor” (p. 263). He warned about a “gigantic conspiracy of big money” aimed at undermining the judicial system to free a“rich Sodomite” (p. 263).

“Watson repeatedly observed that a non-Jewish convicted murderer, no matter how flagrantly unjust his trial, would never have benefited from such a massive infusion of money, nor would a non-Jew have benefited from such a network of men who had privileged access to those who formed public opinion in the United States” (p. 266), including especially Adolf Ochs, publisher of the New York Times.

Eventually the Atlanta newspapers got in line in asking for a new trial. Frank petitioned for a new trial some thirteen times, twice going all the way to the US Supreme Court, but failed each time. As Georgia governor John M. Slaton stated in his justification for commuting Frank’s sentence, A court must have something more than an atmosphere with which to deal, and especially when that atmosphere has been created through the processes of evidence in disclosing a horrible crime” (a reference to the allegations of Frank’s sexual behavior that came up during the trial and in the newspapers).

Lindemann labels Governor Slaton a “heroic figure” for risking his reputation in commuting Frank’s sentence. Nevertheless, he also notes that Frank’s lead defense attorney was Slaton’s law partner and that Slaton had had a Jewish partner in the 1880s. In running for governor in 1916, prosecutor Dorsey alsopointed out that immediately after commuting Frank’s sentence, Slaton had met with Louis Marshall, Frank’s attorney before the US Supreme Court and doubtless the most prominent and visible leader of the American Jewish community at the time. Slaton controlled a very large “slush fund” — doubtless contributed by wealthy Jews — aimed at defeating Dorsey in his campaign for governor of Georgia. (Oney also describes the very warm reception Slaton received on his trip to New York after the commutation.) Dorsey won the election and Slaton never ran for office again in Georgia.

Lindemann points to a number of “minor inconsistencies” brought out by Slaton in his commutation order or at the trial, but none that in his judgment warranted discrediting Conley’s testimony. Rather, Lindemann places the entire weight of his judgment that Frank should not have been convicted on Slaton’s justification for his decision to commute Frank’s sentence. In particular, Slaton noted that during the trial Conley had testified that on the morning of the day of the murder he had deposited a pile of excrement where the elevator landed when it went to the basement (what became known as the “shit in the shaft” issue). He also testified that he and Frank had ridden the elevator to the basement to dispose of Mary’s body. However, the detectives testified that when they climbed down the elevator shaft to search the basement, the pile of excrement had not been crushed as it would have been if the elevator had been used by Conley and Frank to dispose of the body, as per Conley’s testimony. (Oney provides an explanation compatible with Frank’s guilt.)

In the end, Lindemann’s account of the Leo Frank affair is tantalizing, if not definitive. It certainly is a far cry from the account that continues to be disseminated by the ADL. Lindemann’s work is courageous given the previous mainstream scholarship and the continuing campaign by Jewish activist organizations to distort the events into a morality play of evil non-Jews martyring a heroic and upright Jew. Its strong suit is the foregrounding of the murder and trial, showing that anti-Jewish attitudes were not rampant before the trial. As discussed in the following articles in this series, the fact anti-Jewish attitudes developed in the course of the trial is hardly surprising given the course of events.

Kevin MacDonald is editor of The Occidental Observer and a professor of psychology at California State University–Long Beach. Email him.

Race & Religion: Awkward Friends of the White Man, Part II

A non-White immigrant residing in Europe or America must be bewildered, bedeviled and bemused by the spectacle offered by his White hosts. On the one hand he must be scared to death of those unpredictable, self-assured, conceited White males and their attractive White women who are capable of walking on the moon and curing plague in his jungle or his desert. On the other, he gleefully rejoices when he hears stories of endless religious and ideological conflicts amidst his White hosts. The pristine, pastoral and puerile picture of the White race, so dearly longed for by modern White nationalists, is daily belied by permanent religious bickering, jealousy and character smearing within the White rank and file. Add to that murderous intra-White wars that have rocked Europe and America for centuries, one wonders whether the proverbial and much vaunted Aryan, Promethean, and Faustian man, is worthy of a better future.

For the Greater Glory of God

Surely, the White man saved Greco-Roman Europe from the Levantine Hannibal’s incursion, which nearly resulted in a catastrophe in 216 b.c. at Cannae, in southern Italy. The White man also stopped Attila’s Hunic hordes on the Catalaunian Fields in France in 451 a.d. The grandfather of Charlemagne, Charles Martel, defeated Arab predators near Tours, in France in 732. One thousand years later in 1717, a short and slim Italo-French Catholic hero, Prince Eugene of Savoy, finally removed the Islamic threat from the Balkans.

But the unparalleled White will to power, couched later on in Christian millenarianism, had also prompted large crusades against “infidels.” Their commander in chief, the pious Godfrey de Bouillon, did not have pangs of consciousness after his knights had put to the sword thousands of Muslim civilians in captured Jerusalem, in 1099 a.d.  All was well meant for the greater glory of Yahweh!

The power of the newly discovered universal religion and the expectancy of the “end of history,” later to be followed by bizarre beliefs in “global democracy,” often eclipsed racial awareness among Whites. As a rule, when White princes ran out of Muslim or Jewish infidels — they began whacking each other in the name of their Semitic deities or latter day democracies. The  6’4” tall Charlemagne, in the name of his anticipated Christian bliss, went on the killing spree against his fellow pagan Germans. In 782 a.d. he decapitated several thousand of the finest crop of Nordic Saxons, thereby earning himself a saintly name of the “butcher of the Saxons” (Sachsenschlächter).

And on and on the story goes with true Christian or true democracy believers. No Jews, no Arabs, no communists have done so much damage to the White gene pool as Whites themselves. The Thirty Years War (1617–1647) fought amidst European Christians with utmost savagery, wiped out two thirds of the finest German racial stock, over 6 million people. The crazed papist Croatian mercenaries, under Wallenstein’s command, considered it a Royal and Catholic duty to kill off Lutherans, a dark period so well described by the great German poet and dramatist Friedrich Schiller. Even today in Europe the words “Croat years” (“Kroatenjahre”) are associated with the years of hunger and pestilence.

Nor did Oliver Cromwell’s troops — his Ironsides — during the English civil war, fare much better. Surely, as brave Puritans they did not drink, they did not whore, they did not gamble — they only specialized in skinning Irish Catholic peasants alive.  Not only did their chief, the Nordic looking fanatic Cromwell consider himself more Jewish than the Jews — he actually brought them back from continental Europe, with far-reaching consequence both for England andAmerica.

A slim, intelligent, Nordic looking, yet emotionally unstable manic depressive, William Sherman, burnt down Atlanta in 1864 — probably in the hopes of fostering a better brand of democracy for the South. We may also probe some day into the paleocortex of the Nordic skull of an airborne Midwest Christian ex-choir boy, who joyfully dropped fire bombs on German civilians during WWII. The results may not be too difficult to detect considering that the same Biblical mindset was reenacted in 2002 in Iraq by G. W. Bush and his advisors enraptured by Talmudic tales of “weapons of mass destruction.”  Biblical or liberal-democratic crimes, when couched in political choseness and theological messianism are perfect tools for a perfectly good consciousness.

Many European White nationalists are dazed at good looking Nordic men and women from the Bible Belt raving, ranting and dancing on TV in trance to Christian-Zionist tunes. Equally stunned are American White nationalists when they observe blood-stained victimhood quarrels pitting Irish against English nationalists, Serb against Croat nationalists, Ukrainian against Russian nationalists, Walloon against Flemish nationalists, Polish against German nationalists, and so on and on.

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The Faith or the Sacred?

No subject is so dangerous to address among White nationalists as the Christian religion. It is commendable to lambast Muslims, who are on the respectable hit-parade of the Axis of Evil. Jews also come in handy in a wholesale package of evil, which needs to be expiated — at least occasionally. But any critical examination of Judeo-Christian intolerance is viewed with suspicion and usually attributed to distinct groups of White people, such as agnostics or modern day self-proclaimed pagans.

Why did the White man accept the Semitic spiritual baggage of Christianity even though it did not quite fit with his racial-spiritual endowments? The unavoidable racialist thinker Hans Günther — a man of staggering erudition and knowledgeable not only of the laws of heredity, but also of comparative religions — reminds us that the submissive and slavish relation of man to God is especially characteristic of Semitic peoples. In his important little book, The Religious Attitudes of the Indo-Europeans, he teaches us about the main aspects of racial psychology of old Europeans.  We also learn that Yahweh is a merciless totalitarian god who must be revered — and feared.

Ancient Europeans did not believe in any kind of salvation. They believed in inexorable destiny. Gods were their friends and enemies, as seen in ancientGreece and Rome. Among old Europeans the notion of polarity between Heaven and Earth, between soul and body, i.e., dualism of any kind, was nonexistent. Man was part of an organic whole, embedded in his tribe and race, and tolerant of others’ religious ideas:

Mutual tolerance of religious forms is a distinctive feature of the Indo-European. The memorial stones in the Roman-Teutonic frontier region reveal through their inscriptions that the Roman frontier troops and settlers not only honoured their own Gods, but also respected the local deity of the Teutons, the genius huius loci. (p.36)

The messianic, chiliastic, or “communistic” mindset was unknown among ancient Europeans. They could not care less which gods other races, other tribes or other peoples believed in. Wars that they fought against the adversary were bloody, but they did not have the goal of converting the adversary and imposing on him the beliefs contrary to his racial heritage. Homer’s epic the Iliad is the best example. The self-serving, yet truly racist liberal-communistic endeavour, to wage “final and just war” in order to “make the world safe for democracy,” was something inconceivable for ancient Europeans.

Zeal to convert and intolerance have always remained alien to every aspect of Indo-European religiosity. In this is revealed the Nordic sense of distance between one man and another, modesty which proscribes intrusion upon the spiritual domains of other men. One cannot imagine a true Hellene preaching his religious ideas to a non-Hellene. (p.36)

A German-British racialist author of the early 20th century, Houston Stewart Chamberlain in his The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century writes that“a final judgment shows the intellectual renaissance to be the work of Race in opposition to the universal Church which knows no Race (p. 326). Unlike Christianity, which preaches individual salvation, for ancient Europeans life can only have a meaning within the in-group — their tribe, theirpolis, or their civitas. Outside those social structures, life means nothing.

In the 1st century, words of far-reaching consequence for all Whites were pronounced by a Jewish heretic, the Apostle St. Paul, to the people of Galatia, an area in Asia Minor once populated by the Gauls (i.e., Celts). Galatia was then well underway to become a case study of multicultural debauchery — similar to today’s Los Angeles:  “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28).

Christianity became thus a Universalist religion with a special mission to transform the Other into the Same. The seeds of egalitarianism — albeit on the religious, not yet on the secular level — were sown. The pagan notion of the mystical sacred was gradually being displaced by the dogmatic notion of one omnipotent faith:

Yahweh in the Bible is not just the only and unique god who wields power. He is only and unique in the sense of his Absolute Otherness. He is only and unique in his own kind — that is to say he is the Absolute Other away from this world. The essence of biblical monotheism is its constitutive dualism …. Where paganism establishes bridges and links, the monotheism of the Bible creates fractures, ruptures, and forbids anybody to span them. Yahweh forbids mixtures between Heaven and Earth, between Man and the Divine, between humans and other living beings, between Israel and the “nations.” (Alain de Benoist, “Sacré païen et désacralisation judéo-chrétienne” in Quelle religion pour l’Europe?[Which Religion for Europe?]1990, pp 30-31, my trans.)

Although Christian Churches never publicly endorsed racial miscegenation, they did not endorse racial segregation either. This was true for the Catholic Church and its flock, as observed by the early French sociologist and racialist Gustave Le Bon. Consequently, Catholic Spaniards of White racial stock in Latin America could not halt decadence and debauchery in their new homelands as WASPs in North America did — at least prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Naturally, it is not only in politics that decadence of the Latin race, which inhabits the south of America, manifests itself. It is in all elements of its civilization. If they were reduced to themselves, these unhappy republics would return to barbarism. All industry, all commerce is in the hands of foreigners, English, Americans and Germans. Valparaiso has become an English town. Nothing would remain of Chile if its foreigners were removed. (p. 86). Gustave Le Bon,  Lois psychologiques de l’évolution des peuples, 1895, my trans.).

Later, in 1938, in light of eugenic and racial laws adopted not only in Germanyand Italy, but also in other European countries and many states in America, Pope Pius IX made his famous statement: “It is forgotten that mankind is one large and overwhelming Catholic race.” This statement was to become part of his planned encyclical under the name “The unity of the human race.”

“The unity of the human race”, as noble as these words may sound, is a highly abstract concept. On a secular level communist and liberal intellectuals constantly toy with it — in order to suppress real tribes, real nations, real peoples and their real racial uniqueness.  Even if this white race, constantly defamed as “wicked”, “racist” , “bigoted” and “fascist,” disappeared from the face of the earth, non-White immigrants know that they would soon have to climb back onto their native tree or return to their despotic cave.

To be continued.

Tom Sunic (http://www.tomsunic.info; http://doctorsunic.netfirms.com) is author, translator, former US professor in political science and a former Croatian diplomat. He is the author of Homo americanus: Child of the Postmodern Age (2007). His new book of essays, Postmortem Report: Cultural Examinations from Postmodernity, prefaced by Kevin MacDonald, will soon be released. Email him.

Jews and immigration policy — Again

A friend sent along Steve Sailer’s review of historian Otis L. Graham’s  Immigration Reform and America’s Unchosen Future. Misleading title. American immigration policy was chosen. It just wasn’t chosen by the vast majority of the American people, and this is Graham’s point. As I have tried to show, it was chosen by the organized Jewish community and put into action as a result of Jewish political pressure and financial wherewithal. Graham notes that the successful immigration restriction of 1924 was seen by historians as one of the reforms of the Progressive Era’s campaign against the excesses of capitalism, since immigration lowered wages.

It’s fair to say, however, that Jews never saw it that way and there’s at least a fair amount of truth in the idea that the 1924 law was enacted to achieve an ethnic status quo that Jews saw as unfair to them. (Jewish immigrants were correctly seen by restrictionists as disproportionately involved in political radicalism, and it was generally a period of ethnic defense of White America.)

As Sailer’s review shows, Jews have not ceased seeing the 1924 law as exclusion of Jews. Graham points out that Jews live in the past when it comes to thinking about immigration: “the “filiopietistic” urge (“of or relating to an often excessive veneration of ancestors …”) is particularly strong among Jewish media figures. Italian-Americans, in contrast, tend to approach the immigration policy question by thinking about the future rather than by obsessing over the past. This anti-rational emotional reflex about immigration contributes to the kitschy quality of MSM discourse on the topic.”

In other words, Jews see the 1924 immigration law as part of their lachrymose history among Europeans, It’s just another example of irrational anti-Semitism — an example that warrants the evil nature of  the people and culture who created it. Since, as Sailer notes, Jews constitute half of the most influential media figures, and since the other half are rigorously vetted to exclude anyone who opposes what amounts to the Jewish consensus on immigration, there really isn’t much real debate in the above-ground media.

Of course, there is a lot of self-censorship. Graham recounts the example of Theodore White, then the most influential journalist in America (and a Jew), refusing to publish his views on immigration. “‘My New York friends would never forgive me. No, you guys are right [on immigration], but I can’t go public on this.’ ” Sailer quotes Graham:

Hearing White’s agitated response, I had my first glimpse of the especially intense emotional Jewish version of that taboo [against immigration skepticism]. His whole heritage, and his standing with all his Jewish friends, was imperiled (he was certain) if he went public with his worries about the state of immigration. …

I did not suspect it then, but this would become an important subtheme of our experience as immigration reformers. American Jews were exceptionally irrational about immigration for well-known reasons. They were also formidable opponents, or allies, in any issue of public policy in America.

In a nutshell, that’s the problem with Jews: They get what they want and what they want is not necessarily what others want (leading to conflicts of interest) or what is good for the country as a whole. It really wouldn’t matter if the only group that wanted open borders was African Americans. But it matters greatly that Jews do.

Incidentally, Otis Graham’s brother Hugh Davis Graham, agrees with me on the forces behind the 1965 law. He wrote in his 2002 book Collision Course (pp. 56-57):

Most important for the content of immigration reform [i.e., loosening], the driving force at the core of the movement, reaching back to the 1920s, were Jewish organizations long active in opposing racial and ethnic quotas. These included the American Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, and the American Federation of Jews from Eastern Europe. Jewish members of the Congress, particularly representatives from New York and Chicago, had maintained steady but largely ineffective pressure against the national origins quotas since the 1920s…. Following the shock of the Holocaust, Jewish leaders had been especially active in Washington in furthering immigration reform. To the public, the most visible evidence of the immigration reform drive was played by Jewish legislative leaders, such as Representative Celler and Senator Jacob Javits of New York. Less visible, but equally important, were the efforts of key advisers on presidential and agency staffs. These included senior policy advisers such as Julius Edelson and Harry Rosenfield in the Truman administration, Maxwell Rabb in the Eisenhower White House, and presidential aide Myer Feldman, assistant secretary of state Abba Schwartz, and deputy attorney general Norbert Schlei in the Kennedy-Johnson administration.

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Goyland: Where the Wild Things Are

“Living so long in exile and so often in danger, we have cultivated a defensive and apologetic account, a censored story, of Jewish religion and culture.”

Michael Walzer, quoted in Kevin MacDonald. Separation and Its Discontents, p. 217

The $100 million-dollar film Where the Wild Things Are was released last October. Older readers might remember the 1963 children’s book on which the film is based. The original book was penned by Jewish American writer Maurice Sendak, who grew up in Brooklyn. Today I will consider whether or not the writer’s Jewish background played a role in the book’s creation.

Many accounts of the book (and film) ignore the Jewish angle. For example, right around the time of the release of the film, The New York Times carried Bruce Handy’s review of the book. No mention at all was made of Jewishness.

Just to bring the reader up to speed, let me share Handy’s summary of the story:

Max, a young boy in a wolf costume, makes mischief of one kind and another, is called “wild thing” by his unseen mother, and is sent to bed without supper. As he stews, his room transforms into a jungle. He finds a boat and sets sail across the sea to discover a land full of real wild things — big monsters with “terrible teeth” and “terrible roars.” Max tames them, plays with them, sends them to bed without their suppers and then returns home, where he finds dinner waiting for him. “And it was still hot,” the book concludes — a lovely and reassuring grace note.

Handy relates how he only came to appreciate the book upon rereading it as an adult, perhaps because Sendak himself was revealing his adult anxieties in the book. As Sendak said in 1966, “It’s only after the act of writing the book that, as an adult, I can see what has happened, and talk about fantasy as catharsis, about Max acting out his anger as he fights to grow. . . . For me, the book was a personal exorcism. It went deeper into my own childhood than anything I’ve done before.”

I suspect Sendak is being honest when he says it goes deep into his childhood. But one angle I think he is describing is his urban Jewish view of the non-Jews around him. And his book — which he also illustrated — likely represents his view of the world outside the Polish shtetl of his parents and relatives. That unknown world, malevolent and dangerous, was, in Sendak’s mind, full of lurking creatures. Brandeis professor Stephen J. Whitfield, a specialist in American Studies, realizes the extent to which Jewishness animates Sendak’s work. Sendak, Whitfield notes, “wrote out of personal obsessions rather than formulas.”

To be sure, we all have various aspects to our personalities, so Sendak may indeed be mixing various memories and such. For instance, according to his Wikipedia bio, he admitted in an interview that he is homosexual, which may or may not influence his individual stories. (In the Night Kitchen is a 1970 story about a naked boy — roughly three years old — who is almost baked into a cake. Sendak’s drawings depict the boy’s penis and testicles, which caused many parents to object to libraries stocking the book.)

To further challenge my thesis that Jewishness played a role in Where the Wild Things Are, we must also consider this: “The monsters in the book were actually based on [Sendak’s] relatives who would come to weekly dinners. Because of their broken English and odd mannerisms, they were the perfect basis for the monsters in Sendak’s book.”

I believe his relatives may have provided a rough frame on which to hang the fleshed-out monsters, but I still think Sendak’s primary inspiration for the book was his conscious and unconscious views of the wider non-Jewish world. I think this because it jibes so well with other accounts by contemporary Jewish Americans, thus revealing a shared Jewish mindset.

Let me start with this account of what West Coast Jews think of their non-Jewish fellow countrymen, as related by social scientists Martin Lipset and Earl Raab:

In 1985 about a third of those affiliated with the Jewish community in the San Francisco area said, in response to a questionnaire, that Jewish candidates could not be elected to Congress from San Francisco. Yet three out of the four congressional representatives from that area — as well as the two state senators and the mayor of San Francisco — were, in fact, well-identified Jews at the time the poll was conducted. And they had been elected by a population that was about 95 percent non-Jewish.

In 1981 nine out of ten respondents in the same regional Jewish population said that they felt “comfortable” in America. But seven out of eight also believed that anti-Semitism is a serious problem in this country. Nationally, about eight out of ten affiliated Jews voiced serious concerns in 1990 about anti-Semitism, while the same overwhelming proportion replied that they felt “close” or “very close” to the American people.

Clearly, many American Jews are battling with cognitive dissonance when it comes to assessing their safety and welfare in America. Objectively, there is very, very little that has threatened American Jews financially, socially or physically. Yet deeper inside their psyches, there is something telling them that all non-Jews are potentially dangerous and unfriendly anti-Semites. (As the old saw goes, “Scratch a goy, find an anti-Semite.”)

This fear and defensiveness may stem from what Professor Salo Baron, a prominent Jewish historian, has called the “lachrymose view of Jewish history.” Or, as Barbara Fuerlicht writes, “The diaspora is often presented as 2,000 years of uninterrupted martyrdom.” Again, however, we find that paradox spawned by the incongruity between reality and perception. Consider, for example, that one scholar wrote, “Most medieval Jews in most places in most years were not the targets of pogroms. Most lived lives that, protected by geniz charters [i.e., charters specifying Jewish rights] and privileges, were far more secure and prosperous than the overwhelming percentage of non-Jews around them.”

For example, this charter for the Duchy of Austria from 1244 is summarized as follows:

This document is important because it was soon adopted, with some changes, by most East European countries to which the masses of Jews finally drifted: Hungary, Bohemia, Poland, Silesia, and Lithuania. This charter — a very favorable one — was issued to encourage money-lending among the Austrian Jews and probably also to attract moneyed Jews to migrate to this outlying German state which was in need of ready credit. Every effort is therefore made in this Latin constitution to grant the Jews ample opportunity to sell their wares and, above all, to lend money. They were given adequate protection: they were subject to the direct jurisdiction of the Duke who guaranteed them safety of life and limb. The right of the Jews to govern themselves in communal and religious matters was not specified by the Duke, but this was taken for granted. We may assume, indeed, that the Jews of Austria enjoyed extensive political autonomy under this pact.

In any serious study of Jewish history, one is surprised to see how true this is for accounts of many different times and places. As we’ve seen, however, this sense of defensiveness continues to haunt Jews in America, as social historian David Gerber details in his insightful 1997 essay “Ill at Ease: The Insecurities of American Jewry”:

The almost universal feeling of anxiety American Jews have about intergroup relations raises many complex questions. Do Jews feel threatened because they really are threatened? Does objective evidence indicate a resurgence of the anti-Semitism that is widely acknowledged to have declined in the decades immediately following World War II? Or, is it the case that little objective evidence is needed to make a people whose conditions of life have historically been so insecure feel threatened, even in the apparently benign American diaspora? [p.95]

Philip Weiss, writing in New York magazine (January 29, 1996), suggests psychological reasons for this defensiveness:

Jews cherish feelings of exclusion not just because there is wisdom in foreboding but because these feelings are useful. They preserve our position as outsiders, a status that has certain moral and practical advantages. As an outsider, you have motivation: to get in. And you get to be demanding without any particular sense of reciprocity . . . Perhaps most important, these feelings solidify Jewish identity.

A personal account that got my attention was one by New Yorker Karen Brodkin, who spent summers in Vermont with her friends and family in a bungalow colony of Jewish families:

Late one summer night, a group of us tied up all the rowboats that belonged to our group of families out in the middle of the lake. We looked forward to parental surprise when they woke up, but we weren’t prepared for their genuine alarm: This could only be an anti-Semitic act by angry Yankees. What did it portend for our group? We were surprised on two counts: that the adults didn’t assume we had done it, since we were always playing practical jokes, and that they thought our Jewishness mattered to Vermont Yankees.

There is no shortage of similar accounts. For instance, American Israeli journalist Ze’ev Chafets relates how his maternal grandmother, born in Sterling, Illinois, maintained a mental map of Jewish and non-Jewish America:

Pontiac [Michigan] never had enough Jews for a Jewish neighborhood, but from the time I was a small boy I was aware that it had a special Jewish geography, and my grandmother was its da Gama. She would point out an unremarkable brick home on a leafy street and confide, “That’s a Jewish house.” Downtown she would pause near a certain store and say, “This is a Jewish business.” Occasionally, when we passed a parking lot, she would point out a Chevrolet or Plymouth and say, “There’s a Jewish car.” None of these cars, shops, or houses impressed me as being especially Jewish, but I was prepared to take her word for it.

At first I thought that mastering Pontiac’s Jewish geography was some sort of Sunday school lesson, like memorizing the Hebrew alphabet or the kings of Judea. But as I grew older, I realized that my grandmother mapped out the town reflexively, more for her benefit than mine. Jewish houses, stores, and offices were safe havens, places she could count on if, for example, she needed to use a bathroom, or was being chased through the streets by a sex-crazed Cossack rapist.

Jewish historian Peter Novick describes the “the fortress-like mentality” of many American Jews, where the institutional imperative was to promote “a wary suspicion of gentiles.” Consider three examples he provides from three “otherwise apparently sensible American Jews” to show how they had internalized these Jewish “collective memories — memories that suffuse group consciousness.” First, a university teacher writes, “When I move to a new town, I give great thought to whom, among my gentile friends, I might entrust my children, should that ever become necessary.” Next, a prominent Jewish feminist shares this thought: “Every conscious Jew longs to ask her or his non-Jewish friends, ‘Would you hide me?’ — and suppresses the question for fear of hearing sounds of silence.” Finally, a professor of psychology reports:

Many Jews report that the unspoken question they ask themselves when interacting with a non-Jew is, “Would she or he have saved me from the Nazis?” I have asked myself this question innumerable times: sometimes I surprise myself by answering, “I don’t know,” when asking this question of a non-Jewish friend I had otherwise assumed was close to me. The answer is the ultimate standard by which to measure trust in a non-Jewish person.

Honestly, do you want to live with such irrationally suspicious people? Worse, do you want to live under such “fellow” Americans now that so many of them dominate the controlling heights of this country?

Take Harvard, for instance. A leading law professorship there is a powerful position. And that’s precisely what Orthodox Jew Alan Dershowitz has held for years. Never mind that this fourth-generation American can write: “It was at Yale that I met and befriended my first Wasps, blacks, and even non-Orthodox Jews.” Are we really living in the same universe?

Dershowitz admits he is so highly invested in the “Holocaust mentality” that the world in which he sometimes lives borders on the horrifically imaginary. Witness his feelings as he sat watching the accused concentration camp guard Ivan Demjanjuk on trial in Israel:

I kept looking at Demjanjuk for another reason. I imagined him as my killer. At the time he was murdering babies, I was five years old. . . . I could have been one of the thousands of nameless and faceless babies he grabbed out of the hands of screaming mothers and shoved into gas chambers. I imagine him laughing with sadistic joy as he killed entire families, ending their seed forever, after taunting and torturing them gratuitously.

This vicarious sense of suffering is intense for Dershowitz and haunts not only his future but the future of Jewish children: “Every time I attend a gathering of Jewish children — at a family event, at a Bar Mitzvah, at Simchath Torah — I imagine SS guards lining up these children for the gas chambers.” Isn’t this evidence enough that Dershowitz needs, at a minimum, counseling?

How might such a mentality be constructed in a place where daily life never offers the chance to experience real persecution? Try this: Jewish American journalist Marjorie Miller relates a childhood story regarding her religious school. In addition to learning the Hebrew alphabet, she also learned about the Holocaust. One Sunday her teacher, “in a scared voice,” called the students to attention and told them to listen carefully: “Had we heard the radio? The government was telling the Jews that we had to convert or leave the country.” This, the teacher explained, “was the first step . . . maybe the beginning of another Holocaust.” Not surprisingly, “Many children in the class began to cry.”

This mentality is reminiscent of interviews done in the 1970s with noted Jewish men, where the question “Do you think it could happen here?” never needed “it” defined.  Nearly unanimously, the reply was 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” [quoted in MacDonald, The Culture of Critique, p.245].

Reader, think about it: If you’re an average American, you quietly pay your federal taxes, likely knowing that some goes to aid Israel. (On top of that, many of you Christian Zionists support Israel further through donations and political support.) Further, it’s highly improbable that you’ve ever committed a crime against a Jew, let alone actually harmed one. The thought has probably never even crossed your mind.

Yet a good percentage of American-born Jews still consider you a lethal threat simply because you are not a Jew. At this stage in history, is there any excuse for that? Worse, such Jews are often able to translate their fantasy-based fears about goyim into cultural products such as films and TV shows—and books like Where the Wild Things Are. Through the activism of groups like the ADL, they are also able to affect legislation such as the new Hate Crimes Law that may well target people like you for potentially thinking the wrong thing. This is not good.

In any case, it will be interesting to see how the film has been adapted from Sendak’s book. My guess is that the live action animation will not have a theme about dangerous non-Jews, but I should wait until I see it before saying more. Still, it’s got the typical Jewish background of a Hollywood production. For instance, Spike Jonze, born Adam Spiegel in 1969, is the film’s director, replacing earlier director Eric Goldberg. Let’s just hope Jonze is not one of those paranoid Jewish Americans always wondering if “it” could happen here.

Edmund Connelly (email him) is a freelance writer, academic, and expert on the cinema arts. He has previously written for The Occidental Quarterly.