I am a huge fan of Laura Wood’s work over at The Thinking Housewife. She is a defender of the West who writes under her own name and presents controversial topics with a poise and grace that does much to win over skeptics. That’s why I am disappointed with a recent post of hers disclaiming her former endorsement of the Faith and Heritage website project, particularly when my recent movie review of The Social Network was cited as an example of supposed anti-Semitism. A brief response:
1. Mrs. Wood takes issue with my citing of Kevin MacDonald’s work on Jewish influence.
I actually share her and many others’ disgust with obsessive Jew-baiters, those who focus on “the Jews” as the cause of every one of the West’s problems. This is self-evidently false, because as of 1850 or so all of the essential elements of Christ-denying multiculturalism and Western suicide were in place ideologically among the extreme abolitionists. These Yankee Puritans gone to seed were the original progenitors of these destructive ideas. Jews were not prominent among the abolitionists (I can recall no individual Jew ever cited in any of the antebellum histories I have studied) and had virtually no political influence at the time. As I alluded to in a previous post, New Orleans, a southern city, was the American center of Jewry in 1860 and the general consensus is that Jews were actually more likely to own slaves because of their wealth and were in fact loyal citizens of the Confederacy, including one, Judah P. Benjamin, who served in the Confederate Cabinet.
Nevertheless, anyone who pays attention to politics can’t help but notice the over-representation of Jewish names among prominent Leftists. Some try to pin this to general Jewish talents, but when you compile the list of intellectual Rightists, you are mostly left with Gentiles: Richard Weaver, Russell Kirk, James Burnham, and the young William F. Buckley. Among living paleoconservatives, there is only one prominent Jewish voice, that of Paul Gottfried; he is an honorable man who genuinely defends Western Civilization. We could also add Murray Rothbard to the list of genuine Jewish conservatives. There are plenty of Jewish neoconservatives of course, but they are the exception that proves the rule, with their emphasis on foreign policy in Israel’s interests and derision of both social conservatives and anyone to the right of FDR on fiscal issues.
So this concentration of Jewish people among the Left is not an artifact of Jewish talent. It is real and demands an explanation. The conspiracy nuts of course have their explanations, but the work of Kevin MacDonald can actually help us unlock the riddle.
By the end of Ulysses S. Grant’s administration, the abolitionists were marginalized as bitter, corrupt extremists while the country reunited through the deep bonds of a shared heritage. Another key ally would be necessary before liberal hegemony could rise again.
MacDonald documents the hostility of the later Eastern European Jewish immigrants to American Gentile culture, and how they hijacked for their own purposes pre-existing liberal elements of WASP culture. MacDonald admits that most Jews, like any group of people, were and are largely apolitical. However, his research shows that individual Jews, who expressed their hostility to the West as Jews, did in fact play a necessary but not sufficient role in many of the key aspects of the West’s decline.
The formula seems to be:
(Yankee Puritan liberalism) + (Eastern European Jewish talent, psychological intensity, intelligence and hostility) = Decline of the West
The difference between Western European Jews (such as those who inhabited the Confederacy) and Eastern European Jews lies largely in their differential levels of psychological intensity and hostility. I think this hostility is mostly a cultural phenomenon, but an awfully deep-rooted one.
Before dismissing MacDonald, I would challenge Mrs. Wood to read one of his shorter works documenting the role of Jewish organizations in the passage of the 1965 Immigration Act, the single piece of legislation most responsible for our current predicament:
This paper was published in a peer-reviewed journal and is the antithesis of the mindless anti-Semitism that Mrs. Wood (and I) dislike. Further reading of MacDonald’s The Culture of Critique extensively documents the academic fraud of Freud, Boas and the Frankfurt School (especially the “authoritarian personality” studies). All of these movements were led by Jews who expressly saw their work as an attack on the West, particularly Christianity, on behalf of Jews. MacDonald goes through pains to document this with their own words, that they were not Leftists who “happen to be” Jews, but rather Leftists who saw their Jewish identity as an integral motivation and justification for their work.
There is a more polemical tone in some of MacDonald’s more recent works, but this is understandable given the persecution he has faced professionally for daring to study this privileged group of people. Had MacDonald, for example, focused on the role of the Irish in Boston politics (despite the fact that most individual Boston Irish are largely apolitical), using the same type of analysis, he would not be persecuted, and I doubt Mrs. Wood would object.
Similarly, if I had cautioned Christians from doing business with Muslims, I doubt anyone on the paleoconservative right would object. The same analysis applies: only a small dedicated minority of Muslims are an actual threat to the West, and there are many law-abiding, intelligent Muslims who make positive economic contributions to our society. Yet, any sane policy must not only preclude doing business with them but also exclude them almost entirely from living in Western nations. I’m not saying such a policy is necessary in the case of Jews, as Jews don’t pose a demographic threat (Jewish birthrates and intermarriage rates are at suicidal levels). But the difference in reaction to even mild cautionary remarks about Jews is illustrative.
2. Mrs. Wood objects to my warning about intimate business connections with Jews.
I think Mrs. Wood has interpreted my remarks to mean that Christians should have no business dealings at all with Jews. This is not the case from context and would be impossible anyway; I am guilty of overstatement if this can be concluded from my review. I will admit that some of the rhetoric in the review was probably more strident than it needed to be, and certainly this is a sensitive issue where overstatement can cause disproportionate problems.
Christians have always traded with non-Christians in transactional relationships. These relationships can be mutually rewarding because of a shared interest in a successful transaction. When one of my children required surgery, my research showed that a Jewish doctor was the most qualified to deal with my daughter’s condition. I did not hesitate because this was a mere transaction, a very important transaction but a transaction nevertheless.
The particular type of business connections with Jews that I warn about was that engaged in by the Winkelvoss twins: business partnerships. Ask any financial adviser and you will hear business partnerships compared to marriage, because of the intimate covenant and mutual fiduciary duty owed between business partners. Surely Mrs. Wood would not object to my counseling Christians not to marry unconverted Jews, so why object to nearly as intimate a connection in a business context?
The closer the connection, the more caution is warranted, and the more one should prefer a fellow believer, all other things being equal. If we truly believe the Holy Spirit regenerates us, and that only Christians possess the Holy Spirit, why would we not prefer our most intimate business dealings, those of business partners, accountants, employees* and legal counsel to share our common faith and culture, especially when that faith is evidenced by fruit in the life of that believer?
Though not appropriate for the context of the movie review, this preference would equally apply to Muslims, Hindus and others who believe false faiths; less caution might be warranted with Hindus and Buddhists, groups not particularly hostile to Christians, than with hostile groups like Jews or Muslims. Hostility tends to make people think in terms of zero sum, which further incentivizes bad behavior in an economic context.
I have personally experienced a business lawsuit with a Jewish competitor who attempted to gain sympathy for himself by talking about his Jewish origins with my attorneys and likely would have before the court. This competitor had sued others in the past and now pursued my business with a frivolous claim. While I as a Gentile WASP absolutely detested the whole experience of the lawsuit, this Jewish guy seemed like a fish in water. He was high from it, the chance for a big jury verdict, the big legal bills, the depositions, the court filings swearing to this or that. We only won when we stopped acting like goys and countersued him in two additional jurisdictions until he couldn’t afford any more lawyers (it’s always good to have more money than your enemy), at which point he settled for nothing. So Mrs. Wood, I speak from experience, $200,000 worth of legal fees in experience! My advice is not mean-spirited, just an attempt to save some other poor Christian sap from being skinned by the lawyers and the Pharisees.
Perhaps Mrs. Wood wonders where all this leads, this sort of thinking. Given the pathological exterminationist rhetoric of many Jew-obsessives, this is a genuine concern that I will not fault Mrs. Wood for entertaining. My vision is fanciful given the realities of Jewish wealth and power, but quite conservative, and would simply be a return to the social practice of 130 years ago, as reflected by Dickens in Oliver Twist and Trollope (in documenting the triumph of crass money over traditional class and taste) in The Way We Live Now. Jews should of course have their legitimate, lawfully earned civil and legal rights respected, as they were in Victorian England. Nevertheless, respectable Christians should not treat them as social equals nor have intimate connections with them, or any other group that denies the Divinity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
*Some may object to my listing of employees as an “intimate” relationship to be avoided, and that it would be illegal to discriminate anyway. First, note that religious or any other kind of discrimination is perfectly legal for any business with fewer than 15 employees. Additional businesses can be formed to stay under the statutory limit, or you can use mostly contractors, and you can also choose not to advertise your open positions as an employer, and recruit from your personal network; without a help wanted ad, a pool of applicants and a job description, the case is difficult to make. Most discrimination claims come from individuals already employed by a company (when passed over for promotions, terminated, etc), so by legally finding ways to not hire people from privileged classes (non-whites, non-Christians, non-heterosexuals) you actually minimize your risk. Second, employment is an intimate relationship. Most non-business-owners are unfamiliar with the legal concept of agency. If you employ someone, you are legally responsible and liable for anything an employee does as part of their job, as if you yourself committed the act, even if they do so in violation of your explicit instruction. In civil court, employment is every bit as intimate from a liability standpoint as marriage. Our laws force employers to hire incompetent or unethical people to avoid discrimination, and then hold them liable when the incompetents screw something up.