If readers haven’t had enough of the Jewish question, they may peruse this thread at Age of Treason, wherein M. Traven, Jewish Atheist, and I form an informal Jew Force and take on the Kevin MacDonald contingent.
(I find an excellent test for these people is asking them to explain the Altalena affair. Please post your responses to the thread above – not here. There really is such a thing as too much.)
I’m fascinated by the mind of the modern anti-Semite. While the story of the 20th century as a Jewish conspiracy is basically crazy, it is no crazier than many present-day beliefs that are considered normal and even fashionable. To be exact, the MacDonaldists attribute exactly the same pattern of behavior to Jews that folks like Jack O’Connell attribute to whites. The likes of Tanstaafl, NeoNietzsche, and Colin Laney certainly feel – quite genuinely, I’m sure – that they are having a “courageous conversation” about Jewish privilege.
The problem with the Jack McConnell theory of the world is that if there is anywhere in the US where white people feel it is socially acceptable to suggest that white people should cooperate on the basis of their shared whiteness, it is certainly not in the circles of power and privilege. Unless cell block D at San Quentin counts as such. And the same is true for Jews: while there are ethnocentric Jewish communities in the US, these are not exactly the people who run the New York Times. To say the least!
So to talk about modern, American white or Jewish ethnocentrism, without giving anyone the impression that you live on a different planet from the rest of us, you have to resort to the language of conspiracy theory. The motives of your enemies are either concealed, unconscious, or both. The more white people deny that they are racist, the more likely they are to be racist. And so on.
Not that I have read his entire oeuvre. But Kevin MacDonald strikes me as no more interested in actual Jews and what they actually think, than Jack O’Connell is in actual white people and what they actually think. Instead, both these factions invest a vast quantity of effort in constructing historical or anecdotal narratives which are not inconsistent with the premise of widespread white racism or Jewish ethnocentrism. They take it for granted that whites or Jews aren’t just telling us what they actually think.
Whereas I know that black nationalism is quite common in the US, because you see it all over the place, even among the most influential African-Americans. Afrocentrism is quite fashionable. And not just among black people. If this were to change – if I were to see black Americans everywhere condemning Afrocentrism, denying they had ever even heard of Kwanzaa, giving their children names like “Ethan” and “Catherine” and “James,” etc, etc, I would conclude that black nationalism was indeed on the wane.
Rather than having gone underground and morphed into a more sinister and devious form. Because secrets just don’t scale. And as for the Jungian racial collective unconscious, it simply does not exist – enchanted as I am by the sheer breathtaking weirdness of race memory.
So I’m not at all surprised to find that the MacDonaldists are Noam Chomsky fans. It may seem incongruous, but there is a genuine shared perspective there. If only we could get them in the same room together.
The real tragedy is that anti-Semitism is not only a misinterpretation of history and reality, but (unlike black nationalism) a profoundly unfashionable one. Reviled, in fact, in all polite society.
If we cared what polite society thought, we would not be here at UR. I hold no brief at all for fashionable opinion. The problem with adopting unfashionable opinions, however, is that you really do need to be damn sure you’re right.
When your opinions are both unfashionable and inaccurate – and when they hold no real promise of serving as a rallying point for a mob – they are unlikely to get you anywhere. Worse, adopting a worldview like anti-Semitism is such a drastic and terrible step, it is so socially and intellectually isolating, that stepping back out of it is almost impossible. If anything, it demands even more courage and conviction than getting in in the first place.
Anyway, I promised other links.
Frequent UR commenter George Weinberg, whose style of thinking is remarkably similar to mine, has a new blog. Please visit it and comment.
The great Carter van Carter, proprietor of Across Difficult Country, which may well be the funniest site on the Internet, has a new political blog, Craptocracy. Carter makes me look polite and respectful.
And if you are not amused by this post by Macro Man, or by his devastatingly hilarious Arthur Conan Doyle takeoff (part 1, part 2), or by Cassandra‘s inflationary almanack, you have either no sense of humor, or no interest in finance. And if the latter, bear in mind that – to paraphrase Trotsky – finance may still be interested in you.