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Slavoj Žižek on Kevin MacDonald's "Culture of Critique"

Slavoj Žižek is perhaps the highest-grossing Marxist continental philosopher.

Slavoj with the lucky 4th(?) Mrs. Žižek *

But there’s always been the suspicion that the purported Communist is a bit of a prankster and put-on artist.

Here’s the Slovenian critical theorist pointing and sputtering at Kevin MacDonald’s book The Culture of Critique. Still, a reader inclined toward deconstructionism might note that Žižek summarizes MacDonald’s controversial argument quite lucidly. In fact, the superstar professor achieves a higher degree of clarity while expounding MacDonald’s message than in any other passage I’ve read by Žižek:

The main academic proponent of this new barbarism is Kevin MacDonald who, in The Culture of Critique, argues that certain 20th century intellectual movements led by Jews have changed European societies in fundamental ways and destroyed the confidence of Western man; these movements were designed, consciously or unconsciously, to advance Jewish interests even though they were presented to non-Jews as universalistic and even utopian. [2] One of the most consistent ways in which Jews have advanced their interests has been to promote pluralism and diversity—but only for others. Ever since the 19th century, they have led movements that tried to discredit the traditional foundations of gentile society: patriotism, racial loyalty, the Christian basis for morality, social homogeneity, and sexual restraint. MacDonald devotes many pages to The Authoritarian Personality (1950), a collective project coordinated by Adorno, the purpose of which was, for MacDonald, to make every group affiliation sound as if it were a sign of mental disorder: everything, from patriotism to religion to family—and race—loyalty, is disqualified as a sign of a dangerous and defective “authoritarian personality.” Because drawing distinctions between different groups is illegitimate, all group loyalties—even close family ties—are “prejudice.” MacDonald quotes here approvingly Christopher Lasch’s remark that The Authoritarian Personality leads to the conclusion that prejudice “could be eradicated only by subjecting the American people to what amounted to collective psychotherapy – by treating them as inmates of an insane asylum.” However, it is precisely the kind of group loyalty, respect for tradition, and consciousness of differences central to Jewish identity that Horkheimer and Adorno described as mental illness in gentiles. These writers adopted what eventually became a favorite Soviet tactic against dissidents: anyone whose political views were different from theirs was insane. For these Jewish intellectuals, anti-Semitism was also a sign of mental illness: Christian self-denial and especially sexual repression caused hatred of Jews. The Frankfurt school was enthusiastic about psychoanalysis, according to which “Oedipal ambivalence toward the father and anal-sadistic relations in early childhood are the anti-Semite’s irrevocable inheritance.” In addition to ridiculing patriotism and racial identity, the Frankfurt school glorified promiscuity and Bohemian poverty: “Certainly many of the central attitudes of the largely successful 1960s countercultural revolution find expression in The Authoritarian Personality, including idealizing rebellion against parents, low-investment sexual relationships, and scorn for upward social mobility, social status, family pride, the Christian religion, and patriotism.” Although he came later, the “French-Jewish deconstructionist Jacques Derrida” followed the same tradition when he wrote: “The idea behind deconstruction is to deconstruct the workings of strong nation-states with powerful immigration policies, to deconstruct the rhetoric of nationalism, the politics of place, the metaphysics of native land and native tongue… The idea is to disarm the bombs… of identity that nation-states build to defend themselves against the stranger, against Jews and Arabs and immigrants…” As MacDonald puts it, “Viewed at its most abstract level, a fundamental agenda is thus to influence the European-derived peoples of the United States to view concern about their own demographic and cultural eclipse as irrational and as an indication of psychopathology.” This project has been successful: anyone opposed to the displacement of whites is routinely treated as a mentally unhinged “hate-monger,” and whenever whites defend their group interests they are described as psychologically inadequate – with, of course, the silent exception of the Jews themselves: “the ideology that ethnocentrism was a form of psychopathology was promulgated by a group that over its long history had arguably been the most ethnocentric group among all the cultures of the world.” We should have no illusions here: measured by the standards of the great Enlightenment tradition, we are effectively dealing with something for which the best designation is the old orthodox Marxist term for “bourgeois irrationalists”: the self-destruction of Reason. The only thing to bear in mind is that this new barbarism is a strictly post-modern phenomenon, the obverse of the highly reflexive self-ironical attitude—no wonder that, reading authors like MacDonald, one often cannot decide if one is reading a satire or a “serious” line of argumentation.

I’m guessing that the last two sentences are Žižek’s denunciation of the preceding argument he quite ably recounted. But it’s striking how much more opaque Žižek’s prose suddenly becomes when he switches to elucidating what are, presumably, his own ideas, such as they are.

———

* Update, 7/11/14: Other sources suggest this wedding picture is of the second of the now three Mrs. Žižeks.

 
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280 Comments to "Slavoj Žižek on Kevin MacDonald's "Culture of Critique""

  1. @Jason

    Maternal gene flow is more important than paternal gene flow.

    As medical geneticists have long suspected, you get your intelligence predominantly from your mother, not your father—especially if you are male. It has been pointed out, for example, that Charles Darwin inherited X chromosome genes from his maternal grandfather, Josiah Wedgewood, which probably explain his gifts better than the Y chromosome he got from his paternal grandfather, Erasmus Darwin.

    Anyway, the only evidence I’ve seen on Jewish men and Jewish women marrying Gentiles is that the gap closed in the 60s and 70s when cultural attitudes toward marriage relaxed. That’s consistent with that many of the most prominent Jewish women in Hollywood today marry Gentile men:

    Jennifer Connelly: Half-Jewish, married Paul Bettany.
    Gwenyth Paltrow: Half-Jewish, married Chris Martin.
    Natalie Portman: Married Benjamin Millepied.
    Rachel Weisz: Married Daniel Craig.
    Scarlett Johansson: Half-Jewish, married Ryan Reynolds.
    Mila Kunis: Married Ashton Kutcher.

    In my case of having both Christian and Jewish ancestry, my positions are the same as those of mainstream Christians, liberals, and capitalists: criticize people for their actions instead of their ancestry. The only difference between myself and most Christians, liberals, and capitalists is that they don’t agree with these sites enough to come here. I think causes we care about benefit from having Jews like Arthur Jensen and Larry Auster as allies, and Jews in science and technology like Feynman and Einstein benefit everybody.

  2. @Southfarthing

    Maternal gene flow is more important than paternal gene flow.

    As medical geneticists have long suspected, you get your intelligence predominantly from your mother, not your father—especially if you are male. It has been pointed out, for example, that Charles Darwin inherited X chromosome genes from his maternal grandfather, Josiah Wedgewood, which probably explain his gifts better than the Y chromosome he got from his paternal grandfather, Erasmus Darwin.

    Can you suggest a mechanism or is it just another old-wives tale?

  3. It does seem that Psychology Today article I linked to probably isn’t very useful, and chance probably plays a larger role:

    1. Argument in favor of (slightly) larger maternal genetic influence:

    If the father contributes an X chromosome, and the couple has a baby girl, the mother has contributed about .0006% more DNA than the father, owing to the mitochondrial DNA. If the father contributes a Y chromosome, and the couple has a boy, the mother has contributed about 101 million bases, or about 3.5% more genetic information than the father, due mostly to the difference in size between the X and Y chromosomes, and just a tiny bit due to the mitochondrial DNA.

    2. Arguments against larger maternal genetic influence:
    - We have higher odds of inheriting fewer blocks from maternal ancestors than paternal ancestors. (Source.)
    -Is that due to the greater recombination that occurs in the mother?

    Now let’s consider the X and Y chromosomes. When the body produces gametes (eggs or sperm) through a process called meiosis, the chromosomes go through a process called recombination, or crossing over. Simply put, this is where the two copies of a chromosome line up and swap genetic code. We have two copies each of chromosomes 1-22. During meiosis, the two copies of chromosome 1 line up
    and swap code, as do chromosomes 2-22. In females, the two X chromosomes can also do this. As a result, the X chromosome that is contributed to the offspring is essentially a mix of the mother’s two X chromosomes. Therefore, each egg has a slightly different X chromosome.

    In men, there is only one X chromosome, and only 1 Y chromosome, so neither has a partner for recombination. Each sperm produced by the man should have either an X or a Y chromosome. Since there is very little recombination involving the X or Y chromosomes, there is essentially no variation in the X or Y chromosomes carried by the sperm.

    So, same sex siblings that have the same father have exactly the same Y chromosome (if they are male) or almost exactly the same X chromosome from their father. If they have the same mother, the X chromosome that each has from the mother will be slightly different.

  4. @Southfarthing

    That’s all well and good, but the important thing is genes, not base pairs.

    Now, On the genetic architecture of intelligence and other quantitative traits estimates that there are some 10,000 genes involved in intelligence (IQ) (as I recall).

    In addition, the Wikipedia pages on the X Chromosome estimates that there are some 2,000 genes on the X chromosome.

    While it points out that an additional X chromosome in a male (44XXY) reduces IQ by about 15 points and in a female (44XXX) reduces IQ by some 10 points (from the average in both cases, it may be different for groups with a lower average IQ) which might make you think that something like 15% of IQ derives from the X chromosome. However, in my opinion that would be a mistake. Just think of what Trisomy 21 does to the IQ of those afflicted with it. The extra chromosome is more likely doing such general damage that we cannot infer how many genes are in the X chromosome from such damage.

    However, there are 26 pairs of chromosomes, but they are not all the same size. So, maybe 5 % of genes involved in IQ are on the X chromosome, or 500.

    Of course, these arguments about getting characteristic Q from your mother are not very useful because as mammals we have a male dominant sex determination system. That is, XY sex determination, and the Y chromosome has been reduced because it mostly is related to sex determination. However, had be been female dominant, or ZW sex determination, we would be arguing about whether or not IQ comes from your father.

    It’s not very useful, but sure, if you want to claim that the most important 5% of my IQ comes from my mother, feel free.

  5. @Fourth doorman of the apocalypse

    However, there are 26 pairs of chromosomes, but they are not all the same size. So, maybe 5 % of genes involved in IQ are on the X chromosome, or 500.

    I think you mean 23 pairs of chromosomes.

    However, there seems to be one recorded case of a man in China who is a karyotype of 42XY.

  6. Sebastian says:

    That’s consistent with that many of the most prominent Jewish women in Hollywood today marry Gentile men

    I notice that many of your “prominent Jewish women in Hollywood” are half Jewish. At most. The way these things work, the offspring of Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany will still be half-Jewish. Unless they chose to identify as Jewish, in which case they’ll be full Jewish.

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