I don’t believe I’m exaggerating when I say that Kevin MacDonald’s Culture of Critique is one of the most important books of our age. Despite this fact, it has garnered remarkably little attention in traditional spheres, particularly academic circles. Of course, the reasons for this are obvious — the book is critical of Jewish behavior, it helps Gentiles understand how Jews are working against Gentile interests, and it shows that Jews control much of the content of academic and media discussion.
At the same time, MacDonald and his works have garnered immense attention from those who are often harmed by Jewish behavior or are excluded from areas of cultural construction, including many in the loosely-defined “Alt-Right.” Further, Prof. MacDonald has been indefatigable in his efforts to spread his views, appearing on countless podcasts and other Internet shows, speaking at conferences, etc. In my estimation, MacDonald is the hands-down intellectual leader of resistance to Jewish attacks on the White race, and in our circles he is honored as such.
Recently, a young man in the academic arena chose to address MacDonald’s work, which has given MacDonald a chance to once again defend his various theses on Jews. The academic is Nathan Cofnas, a graduate student working toward his doctorate in the philosophy of biology at the University of Oxford. (He is not a professor yet, though as a potential graduate of Oxford with a Ph.D. — and as a Jew who has published an attack on MacDonald — his chances of gaining a good tenured teaching position are almost guaranteed.)
This leaves me free to bring back a similar older debate among MacDonald, John Derbyshire, and Joey Kurtzman. Though these debates deserve a revisit based on their own merits, the fact that Cofnas has now revived similar discussions makes previous discussions all the more relevant.
I first wrote about Derbyshire’s opinions of KMAC’s work way back in 2008, then again in 2012. For the purposes of this current piece, I will crib liberally from those original two essays, though the links within have often not survived well.
Derbyshire’s first major piece on MacDonald appeared in the March 10, 2003 issue of The American Conservative under the title “The Marx of the Anti-Semites.” (Editors chose the title, not Derbyshire.)There Derb’s take on the book was mixed, beginning with “The Culture of Critique includes many good things. . . . Kevin MacDonald is working in an important field.” He even validates an important point of MacDonald’s work: “These Jewish-inspired pseudoscientific phenomena that The Culture of Critique is concerned with — Boasian anthropology, psychoanalysis, the Frankfurt School, and so on — were they a net negative for America? Yes, I agree with MacDonald, they were.”
Derbyshire, however, then concludes that “This is, after all, in the dictionary definition of the term, an anti-Semitic book.” What? That’s odd. I suspect I’m not the only reader sensing an unexplained contradiction here. (See MacDonald’s reply.)
To be fair, Derbyshire is a writer caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. While he aims to write honestly — wherever the chips may fall, as he implies — he’s also exquisitely aware of the risks a non-Jew takes when writing in a forthright manner about things Jewish. Worse, as a self-described minor name in American journalism, he fears that any criticism of Jews may well spell career destruction.
Derbyshire made an excellent case for this risk in a remarkable exchange with Joey Kurtzman, the Jewish editor of the website Jewcy.com, asserting:
So far as the consequences of ticking off Jews are concerned: First, I was making particular reference to respectable rightwing journalism, most especially in the U.S. I can absolutely assure you that anyone who made general, mildly negative, remarks about Jews would NOT — not ever again — be published in the Wall Street Journal opinion pages, The Weekly Standard, National Review, The New York Sun, The New York Post, or The Washington Times. I know the actual people, the editors, involved here, and I can assert this confidently.
Yes, he was confident. After all, one of Derbyshire’s exchanges was titled “Be Nice, or We’ll Crush You: Criticizing Jews is professional suicide.” Despite this conscious awareness of why he wouldn’t give MacDonald’s work the praise it deserves, Derbyshire still feels qualified to act as an honest interpreter of MacDonald’s works and intentions. As I say, odd.
Then we’re back to Derbyshire admitting that he finds the parts about the “partly malign influence of Jews on modern American culture very persuasive.” And then it’s back to snark, referring to MacDonald’s work as “some rather abstruse socio-historical theories cooked up by a cranky small-college faculty member.” This last crack, of course, recalls Judith Shulevitz’s nasty comment in her 2000 Slate article: “A man in his 50s, MacDonald is still an associate professor of psychology at a third-rate school, California State University in Long Beach.” (She was wrong; MacDonald was a full professor, though he’s now retired.)
Derbyshire continued to be schizophrenic on issues involving Jews, praising, for instance Yuri Slezkine’s exposé, The Jewish Century. (See MacDonald’s review of Slezkine.) While Derbyshire wrote that, after reading Slezkine’s book, he finally understood the importance of the assertions about the Jewish role in the Bolshevik revolution, he still thinks Jews have been A-OK on the whole. I guess as long as you’re breaking goyische eggs to make that utopian omelette, it’s acceptable.
But let’s review what Slezkine wrote about Jews in the USSR: “Anyone who had the misfortune to fall into the hands of the Cheka stood a very good chance of finding himself confronted with and possibly shot by a Jewish investigator.” Estimates are that up to twenty million non-Jews died during this “rise of the Jews,” prompting Slezkine to call such Jews “Stalin’s willing executioners.”
Elsewhere in the world, however, Derbyshire felt that Spain suffered greatly for expelling its Jews, and America without its great wave of Jewish immigrants indisputably “would have been worse off.” One wonders about such claims. Frankly, I’m more inclined to agree with the conclusions MacDonald so often reaches when it comes to the impact of Jewish behavior on White populations, particularly with respect to America.
For instance, are the vulgar performances of Sarah Silverman part of the “wonderful vitality” Derbyshire attributes to American Jews? Harvey Weinstein? Jewish pornography? Wall Street corruption and fraud in amounts Gentiles can barely imagine? As MacDonald argues in the preface to the paperback edition of The Culture of Critique, as American culture has become progressively more influenced by Jews, it has become far less healthy, at least for majority Whites.
Again, when Derbyshire writes that “it’s a scandal that Kevin’s books are not more widely reviewed and read” and that shutting them out from the public forum is “absurd and unfair,” I applaud him. But I wish he had more consistency and courage when it comes to this issue.
Some years later, Derbyshire entered into a dialogue with Joey Kurtzman, a Jewish editor of the website Jewcy.com. Surprisingly, Kurtzman comes across as the greater booster of MacDonald’s work, writing that:
MacDonald has presented us with a fascinating and genuinely novel examination of the history and internal workings of the Jewish world. His trilogy is a hell of a read. To any Jewcy readers tired of pious, ‘hooray-for-us!’ Jewish historiography, or just interested in seeing traditional Jewish history through a kaleidoscope, I happily recommend it.
The Derbyshire-Kurtzman exchange is excellent, and links seem to remain intact, so I recommend reading each post, then finding the next link at the end of each post.
In contrast, old VDARE links are often poor, and I can’t find Derbyshire’s meditations on Jon Entine’s thoughts on Kevin MacDonald. My notes from my 2008 essay state that Derbyshire commented on a column on VDARE in which Entine, author of Abraham’s Children: Race, Identity, and the DNA of the Chosen People, alleged that MacDonald said, “I’m a scientific racist” and likened MacDonald’s work to “The Protocols of Zion.” Entine then summed up MacDonald’s work as making the argument that “Jews have an almost diabolical, biologically programmed plan of dominance.”
Not surprisingly, MacDonald vehemently disagreed, stating, “I never wrote anything like ‘the devious nature of Jews.’ Such a statement would be an outrageous overgeneralization. Rather, I simply stated that Jewish identification and interests among the Boasians were unstated in their public writings and that the movement was couched in the language of science and universalism.”
For some reason, however, Derbyshire concluded that “Entine’s account seems fair to me.”
I’ve read so much of what Derbyshire has written about MacDonald yet I simply can’t square Derb’s conclusion about MacDonald’s work. Again, this draws me back to Derb’s exchanges with Kurtzman, where in one of them we read : “The first thing you hear when you go into opinion journalism is ‘don’t f*ck with the Jews.’”
Fair enough — and again, I’m trying to be understanding of Derbyshire’s position as a relatively weak Gentile facing off against the Goliath of Jewish institutional power. Still, I’m a little disgruntled at how far Derbyshire is willing to go on some things, but not the JQ. After all, he is not afraid of breaking many taboos, having written VDARE columns such as “Gypped By Gypsies In Canada” and “Orientalia: ‘Chineseman’, ‘Chinaman’ And PC.” Yet he remains, in his words, careful not to “f*ck with the Jews.”
OK, let’s acknowledge that he was fired by National Review for writing too frankly about Black criminality in his Taki Magazine essay “The Talk: Nonblack Version.” The gist of “The Talk” to his young children was that they should “Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally” and “Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.” Well, we know that Jewish influence at The National Review has always been strong, especially now, and we have ample evidence that Jews have been using Black Americans in their war against Whites for a long time now. In that sense, Derb was still “f*cking with Jews.”
Needless to say, Derbyshire is hardly alone in being sidelined, try as he might not to antagonize the Jews. In the last year alone we’ve seen any number of open critics of Jewish behavior punished in one way or other, either through de-platforming, doxxing, demonitization, jailing, physical assault, lawfare or a combination of the above.
Despite that, individuals on the Alt Right continue to push for White interests, as we’ve seen with The Right Stuff crew, Andrew Anglin and Chris Cantwell. (Unfortunately, there now seems to be some bad blood among them.) David Duke soldiers on, directly addressing the JQ almost daily, and lovers of fiction can still get Harold Covington’s quintet of Northwest Novels (scroll down to individually select the five novels). Also, one can read Catholic traditionalist E. Michael Jones, whom I’ve reviewed numerous times (here, here, here, and here).
Former TOO contributor Lasha Darkmoon and her writers also continue to address the JQ, and if you’re interested in views from the extreme Left, one could do worse than read essays and short books from Prof. James Petras. Counter-Currents still addresses the JQ, but it’s here at TOO that readers can consistently find new and provocative fare about this critical topic.
In any case, I can understand why Derbyshire was torn about all this, and had he continued to write things some Jews might not like, he’d be paying a price similar to what Richard Spencer and others are paying now. In that sense, Derb’s a practical man, though he’s still paid a price that is not negligible. On the whole, I guess I’m thankful that he did that long exchange with Joey Kurtzman, which I hope readers will go back and copy before it, too, disappears.
And I’m thankful that Kevin MacDonald responded to Nathan Cofnas, keeping the JQ in play despite robust attempts to shut discussion down. Stay tuned for more TOO essays on this topic.