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Peter Beinart, former editor of Marty Peretz’s New Republic, is puzzled by a new poll of Jewish voters:

They’re a lot less enthusiastic about immigration. A slight plurality opposes “the U.S. government making it possible for illegal immigrants to become U.S. citizens.” On immigration, in fact, American Jews are slightly to the American Jewish leadership’s right. I think Steven M. Cohen, who conducted the poll with Samuel Abrams, has noticed this waning Jewish support for immigration before. It’s intriguing, and depressing, given that many Jews still valorize their Ellis Island roots. 

Not quite sure what explains this. I’d suspect that anti-immigrant sentiment is highest near the border and among the Anglo working class, since such populations most often compete with immigrants for services and jobs. But Jews aren’t well represented in either cohort. If you can crack the mystery of Jewish nativism, email us at, and we’ll post your answer.

My wacko nutjob guess is that American Jews tend to be fairly patriotic, certainly more so than Jewish media figures and leaders of Jewish organizations. Thus, average Jews are more likely to ask “But is it good for the Americans?” instead of only concerning themselves with “Is it good for the Jews?” as their spokesmen assume they should. In particular, Ellis Island Kitsch, while still going strong in the press, has to be getting a little old in real life.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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This 2010 article from The Jewish Week isn’t new, but it’s important.

Curve Ball For Jewish Leaders On Immigration 

In recent AJC poll, 52 percent of Jews favored Arizona’s tough immigration law, which focuses on an enforcement-only policy. 

Some wonder if American Jewry’s traditional empathy for all newcomers could be waning. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 

Doug Chandler Special To The Jewish Week 

One of the rare issues on which nearly all mainstream Jewish organizations agree — and on which they’ve always believed they had the backing of most American Jews — involves how the United States should treat immigrants, including those who are undocumented. 

More than a dozen national agencies, including the congregational arms of all four major branches of Judaism, have publicly announced their support for comprehensive immigration reform, which would go beyond an enforcement-only policy to offer unauthorized residents “a path to citizenship.” 

But this week some Jewish leaders are beginning to wonder if American Jewry’s traditional empathy for all newcomers is now waning. 

Their concern follows the Oct. 12 release of a survey by the American Jewish Committee that asked respondents if they supported or opposed Arizona’s controversial new law on illegal immigration. Fifty-two percent of the 800 respondents said they supported the law, while 46 percent opposed the measure and 2 percent said they weren’t sure. 

“It’s a reminder that Jews are part of America and are influenced by some of the same currents that influence other Americans,” said Jonathan Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University. At the same time, he noted that the 52-percent figure remains lower than the 65 percent of Americans, overall, who’ve told pollsters they favor the law. 

The query was among 29 questions in a survey that focused largely on the Obama administration, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the upcoming midterm elections. But it touched on a subject that has a special resonance for American Jews, confusing and dismaying some Jewish leaders because of the result. 

“That one took us by surprise,” said David Harris, AJC’s executive director. 

Noting that the result seems “to defy conventional wisdom” about the Jewish commitment to progressive social policy, Harris said he couldn’t explain, but could only guess, why respondents answered as they did.  

“When Americans, including Jews, see the words ‘illegal immigration,’ that helps define their answer,” he said, referring to a term used in the question. “But we don’t have enough data to tease that out, and we didn’t expect it.” 

Another AJC leader close to the issue also seemed taken aback by the result. 

“When I first heard about this, my first thought was, ‘Why this question?’” said Ann Schaffer, director of the organization’s Belfer Center for American Pluralism, who wasn’t alone among her colleagues in wondering why the question was asked. 

“I don’t know if we know what to make of this,” Schaffer said. 

As Harris suggested, one explanation for the result may rest with how the question is worded: “A new law in Arizona gives police the power to ask people they’ve stopped to verify their residency status,” it begins, simply enough. “Supporters say this will help crack down on illegal immigration. Opponents say it could violate civil rights and lead to racial profiling. On balance, do you support or oppose this law?” 

“‘Racial profiling’ is not a term that people understand, but they do know that something illegal is wrong,” said Sammie Moshenberg, director of Washington operations for the National Council of Jewish Women.

In other words, according to professional Jewish Leaders, the people they claim to lead are complete morons who can’t understand simple questions and are manipulated by wily media experts who use inflammatory terms like “illegal immigration.” (Of course, the rest of the question is loaded with the hot button phrases “racial profiling” and the holy of holies of righteous indignation-generation: “violate civil rights.”)
Are American Jews as dumb as their paid leaders insist they must be for engaging in crimethink on immigration? Razib recently went through the General Social Survey’s 10 question vocabulary quiz for various groups. On most graphs, you get most groups having bell curves centering around getting six out of ten words right, with rapid falloffs above that. The religion graph, however, really stood out:
Granted, the Jewish advantage wouldn’t be quite as huge if the other religions were restricted to just their white members, but still …
So, the data suggests that average American Jews are relatively good at reading the newspaper. 
And their views on immigration are closer to those of their fellow citizens than to the groupthink of their self-proclaimed leaders. 

All that is nonsense to Stephen Steinlight, the lone figure who has advocated an anti-immigration stance in talks to Jewish groups and in the op-ed pages of Jewish newspapers. 

“What we’ve found is a gigantic gulf between the pulpit and the pew [on the issue], and this is true of every religion in America, including Jews,” said Steinlight, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies and a former staff member at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and AJC. “Not only is it a slam dunk that Americans don’t support illegal immigration or amnesty, but Jews are no different.” 

Steinlight’s contention is that illegal immigrants are taking jobs away from Americans during tough economic times, and their presence only benefits large companies looking for cheap labor. 

“When Jews talk about tikkun olam [repairing the world], they have to ask themselves a question: Tikkun olam for whom? The illegal immigrant who entered the country last night or their struggling neighbor?”

Ken Jacobson of the Anti-Defamation League responds:

“If you want to talk in terms of being overwhelmed demographically, Jews are already overwhelmed demographically,” Jacobson continued. “We’re something like 2 percent of the population.”

Obviously, Ken Jacobson makes his living by goading Jews to feel “overwhelmed demographically” by white gentiles. But the reality is that typical American Jews don’t feel all that overwhelmed.
Their view tends to be that America has been very, very good to them and that they’ve been good to America. They tend to identify with their neighbors, their fellow American citizens, their fellow whites, their fellow “historic Americans,” white and black (e.g., Willie Mays is a hero to a lot of older Jewish guys), and so forth and so on. But, this healthy state of affairs is bad for the balance sheets of a few powerful organizations.
All this suggests that that fundamentalist frenzy of Ellis Island kitsch ethnocentrism that currently dominates acceptable thought about immigration has less to do with average Jewish-American citizens than it has to do with the déformation professionnelle of the leaders of explicitly Jewish organizations, of organizations such as the SPLC that are implicitly Jewish because, as Willie Sutton said about why he robbed banks, that’s where the money is; and the media types who interact with them.

Hence, the key to understanding many of the reigning irrationalities in American thought is to understand that déformation professionnelle. Since those interest groups have declared themselves off-limits to critical analysis (literally, in the very name of the ADL), however, don’t expect anybody to learn anything.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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From my column, which reviews the new book by the Israeli-American think tank known as the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute:

As a long-time admirer of Israel, I’ve come to envy especially the freedom of discussion that Israeli culture permits on fundamental questions of demographics.

Consider, for example, the new book 2030: Alternative Futures for the Jewish People [5 megabyte  PDF], which makes for eye-opening reading for anyone lulled by the pabulum of the American press. … An intellectually serious effort, 2030 can serve as a template for all those thinking about improving the demographic prospects of their own peoples or parties.

For example, GOP leaders could read it and consider how its framework of analysis and its policy recommendations could be adapted to the task of growing more Republicans.

Founded in 2002, the Jerusalem-based Jewish People Policy Planning Institute has always been chaired by prominent Jewish-American diplomats. Its 2030 report was begun under Dennis Ross, chief U.S. negotiator at Bill Clinton’s failed Camp David 2 peace talks in 2000 between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Ross left JPPPI in 2009 to run the Obama Administration’s Iran policy. …

Despite this American participation, the JPPPI is an offshoot of the Israeli government’s immigration arm, the Jewish Agency for Israel. (The  JPPPI’s #2 man is a former boss of Israeli military intelligence). It makes an annual presentation to the Israeli cabinet. And, because the JPPPI’s publications are not intended for non-Jewish audiences—this book has not, so far as I know, previously been reviewed in America outside the Jewish press—it suffers less from the timidity that emasculates intellectual discourse in America.

For example, the JPPPI’s 2030 observes:

“World Jewry today is at a historical zenith of absolute wealth creation. … one can say that Jewish wealth is higher than almost any other ethnic group worldwide.”

That’s not the kind of thing you read in the U.S. press every day…

It’s also informative to discover that the JPPPI views anti-Semitism at present “as a moral problem and an irritant, but not having any serious consequences.” …

The 2030 project strives to identify the middle ground between the ephemeral and the permanent.

The JPPPI methodology is to boil the future down to merely A) internal factors (what it calls “Jewish Momentum” — “quantity, quality, power, structures and leadership”) and B) external factors: “the well-worn notion of ‘good for the Jews or bad for the Jews.’”

This generates four alternative futures: “Thriving,” “Drifting,” “Defending,” and “Nightmare.” The think tank doesn’t try to predict which one will happen, but it does outline the various mechanisms pushing the global Jewish People in each direction.

If in 2030, Jews are self-confidently ethnocentric (have high Jewish Momentum) and the rest of the world loves them, then, according to the JPPPI, the Jewish People will be “Thriving”.

The opposite quadrant is called “Nightmare”—where Jews are both unpopular with outsiders and highly assimilated. Currently, Iran is the best (or worst) example of this.

The JPPPI classifies the American Jewish community as currently “Thriving” due to an extremely positive external climate for Jews in America and moderately high internal Jewish Momentum.

It worries, though, that Jews are so popular with other Americans that Jewish cohesiveness will be sapped over the next 20 years. A high rate of intermarriage could drive the American Jewish community into the Drifting quadrant, where “Demographic shifts including accelerated assimilation of the Jewish community in the US, and its decline relative to other groups in the US leads to decline in its political power.” …

The opposite of “Drifting” is “Defending”—where Jews are besieged by anti-Semites, yet internally strong as a community. The JPPPI cites France, where Muslim immigration has led to pogrom-like incidents, as currently the closest to this alternative future.

The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute seems to prefer “Defending” to “Drifting”:

“While the Drifting future might be very pleasant and positive for Jews as individuals, it reflects an overall decline of the Jewish People as a whole. … a Defending alternative future demonstrates that even under strenuous external conditions, the Jewish People could become stronger.”

My review goes on to consider the demographic policy proposals of the JPPPI, which are analogous to my own for Republicans. Read the whole thing there and comment upon it below. 

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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From my new column:

The Cuban Compromise—A Sustainable Model for The Jewish Lobby

Steve Sailer

Two quotable quotes:

neoconservatives—people like Joe Lieberman and the crowd over at Commentary—plumped for this war, and now for an e ven more foolish assault on Iran, raised the question of divided loyalties: using U.S. military power, U.S. lives and money, to make the world safe for Israel.”

Joe Klein, Time, June 24, 2008

“Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. … Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite [foreign nation]

—George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

(Links helpfully added by VDARE.COM).

As survivors of one of the great historical crimes of the mid-20th Century, this American ethnic group has gained a veto power over American foreign policy toward their historical homeland—with seriously detrimental impact on America’s reputation in that important part of the world.

Moreover, out of concern for their co-ethnics abroad, they have obtained strong influence over America’s immigration and refugee policy.

I’m talking, of course, about … Cuban-Americans!

Who’d you think I was talking about?

The best thing about Cuban political power in America is that you’re free to talk about it. (Well, at least outside of Miami.) Heck, Cubans want you to talk about how much clout they have. It makes them seem stronger than they may actually be.

Moreover, they are upfront about their motivations. If you say, duh.”

Do Cuban-Americans display

Well, first, let’s toss in all the caveats about the diversity within any ethnic group.

That said, the answer is, more or less: Sure.

(Cuban-Americans are seldom loyal to the present government of Cuba, of course. Instead, they tend to be loyal to their vision of the future government of Cuba.)

Is this pattern of Cubans promoting Cuban ethnic interests through our political system good for America as a whole? Probably not. But it has been so narrowly focused that it hasn’t been a disaster for the country.

American policy toward Cuba has been knuckleheaded, but less so than Castro’s policy toward Cuba. Only this year, for example, Fidel’s brother Raul finally allowed microwave ovens to be sold in Cuba—three decades after they went on sale in the free world!

The relevant point: any single foreign country, even one as nearby as Cuba, isn’t all that important to America’s national interest.

What is important is that our political and intellectual life not be sapped by a single ethnic group’s determination to promote its interests at any cost. The Cuban-Americans have played by the rules, at least on the national stage (as opposed to in Miami, where they’ve intimidated local critics). They’ve won on the trade embargo through reasonably open and transparent activism because they just care more about it than anybody else does.

Most importantly, Cubans don’t inflict on the national debate their intellectual paranoia about slippery slopes. Lenin said: must say B.” By this logic, nobody can be allowed to say A. Fortunately, Cubans aren’t obsessive or powerful enough to impose this kind of reasoning on the rest of the country.

For example, you can write subprime mortgage meltdown shows the need for more government regulation of the financial industry,” without fear of being shouted out of the Main Stream Media by all the Cubans in important positions in the business who worry that if anybody is allowed to say that in public, it will inevitably lead to the government expropriating the sugar plantations and banning the sale of microwave ovens.

Perhaps some anti-Castro Cubans would like to ban all criticism, no matter how tangential. But they don’t have the mojo to impose their taboos on the rest of American society.

Similarly, on immigration, Cuban-American political muscle has mostly been exerted to get special treatment for Cubans, rather than to open our borders in general.


By the way, if you want to be able to keep reading articles on like this that you can’t many other places, please help VDARE’s summer fundraising drive.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Ron Rosenbaum writes in Slate:

In Praise of Liberal Guilt: It’s not wrong to favor Obama because of race.

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t much believe in the existence of white liberal guilt. I haven’t met many white liberals who sincerely feel personally guilty about 19th Century whites’ treatment of blacks and Indians. What I do I see all around me, however, is white liberal status-striving. As Rosenbaum boasts:

“Guilt means you have a conscience. You have self-awareness, you have—in the case of America’s history of racism—historical awareness.”

Well, aren’t you special!

He goes on to say that what we really need is more, lots more, “white conservative guilt.”

As C. Van Carter summarizes white liberal guilt:

I feel terrible about what those other people did! About what I do, not so much.

C.S. Lewis described this as indulging “in the popular vice of detraction without restraint” while feeling “all the time that you are practicing contrition”.

Ron Rosenbaum wants you to know that if he had any ancestors who were mean to slaves or Indians, he’d feel just awful, and you should too.

One of the unmentionable ironies of this whole topic is that the most fervent proponents of white Americans feeling guilty about their ancestors owning slaves and fighting Indians tend to be white Americans whose ancestors didn’t own slaves or fight Indians.

More generally, it’s interesting to compare “white guilt” to “Catholic guilt” to “Jewish guilt.”

White guilt is, at least nominally, about whites feeling bad about whites in the past being racist.

Catholic guilt is more personal. Typically, Catholics and lapsed Catholics complain about being made to feel guilty by the Church about their urges and behavior, particularly sexual. (Catholic guilt has a certain ethnocentric angle to it in mixed religion America — stop fooling around, get married and have kids! — but, in general, The Church, with its universal ambitions, doesn’t do ethnocentrism well, for obvious reasons.)

Jewish guilt, on the other hand, is infinitely joked about, but its essence is almost never spelled out in such a way that non-Jews grasp what “Jewish guilt” means.

Clearly, there is a form of Jewish guilt much like Catholic guilt that focuses on personal ethical lapses (for example, my father got a call on Yom Kippur once from a former colleague asking forgiveness for wronging him on the job), but that’s not what Americans typically mean by “Jewish guilt.”

What is typically meant is something almost exactly the opposite of what is theoretically meant by “white guilt.”

Joshua Halberstam wrote in The Forward in 2005 in “The Myth of Jewish Guilt:

There is no credible empirical evidence — I’ve looked hard and carefully — that Jews feel more unwarranted guilt than others. The hypothesis is of course too amorphous to confirm or disconfirm with reliability; interestingly, however, when it comes to testable mental states such as psychosis, the data suggests that Jews suffer less than average. To be sure, sensitive, reflective individuals are discomforted when they disturb the traditions, the communities and the families to whom they feel attachments. This is true of Jews… and everyone else. …

How, then, did this bromide about Jewish guilt attain its status as a distinctive Jewish disposition? Unlike jokes about kishke, which Jews actually ate (and eat), and such slurs such as the Jews’ association with money — originally propounded by non-Jews — the Jewish guilt syndrome is a Jewish creation, the invention of the previous generation of assimilated American Jews (see Portnoy, Alexander).

I recently reread Philip Roth’s very funny 1969 novel Portnoy’s Complaint about a Jewish bachelor lawyer with a high profile do-gooder job in the liberal Lindsay administration in New York City. Despite his being interviewed on Public TV, his parents don’t consider him a success. They constantly nag him to stop chasing blonde shiksas, find a nice Jewish girl, get married, and move back to New Jersey and give them some grandkids. After he breaks up with his latest shiksa girlfriend, a semi-literate West Virginia hillbilly lingerie model (because she demands he marry her — but she’s not smart enough to mix her genes with his), he flees to Israel. But he finds he doesn’t like Israel or Israeli women and returns to Manhattan At the end, he’s on Dr. Spielvogel’s couch, in a state of extreme frustration with his life, narrating his 309 page Complaint.

In other words, in the classic example of Jewish guilt, Portnoy’s Complaint, Jewish guilt is the opposite of white guilt: Portnoy’s feelings of Jewish guilt stem not from his ancestors being too ethnocentric (as in “white guilt”) but from himself not being ethnocentric enough to please his ancestors. His parents make him feel guilty because he’s individualistically ignoring his racial duty to settle down and propagate the Jewish race.

Halberstam goes on to give similar examples of what Jewish guilt means to modern Jewish Americans (he, himself, seems to side with Portnoy’s parents):

A recently published book, “The Modern Jewish Girl’s Guide to Guilt” (Penguin Group USA), exemplifies the breadth of this presumption. Unlike the sophomoric parade of Jewish-mother books that, incredibly, still makes its way to the humor shelves of Barnes & Noble, this anthology features well-written contributions by significant, contemporary Jewish women writers. But while each entry describes some episode of guilt, crucial differences among them should be emphasized. Some are heartfelt accounts of their authors’ struggles, often ongoing, with the demands of Jewish tradition and the pressures of their Jewish subcommunities. The excerpt reprinted in this newspaper by the invariably brazen Daphne Merkin is representative of these conflicts. These are worthy investigations, as are the explorations of Jewish women experiencing guilt about their Christmas trees, non-Jewish romances or trading their expected domestic lives for careers. [In other words, Jewish women with, respectively, gentile husbands, gentile boyfriends, or careers instead of children.] They are of particular interest to us because they are In other words, “Jewish guilt” in modern America is, more than anything else, about not being racialist enough.

Similarly, an NPR article about this Modern Jewish Girl’s Guide to Guilt book sums up Jewish guilt:

“At the center of the book is the battle between obligation to one’s community, with its dictates and traditions, and the obligation to one’s individual interests and needs. It’s that tension that produces guilt.”

Thus, Jewish guilt is the opposite of “white guilt,” which is (theoretically, at least) about a white person’s disobligation toward one’s community, with its sins and crimes, and the obligation to boost other communities’ interests and needs at the white community’s expense.

Of course, in reality, “white guilt” turns out to be all about the individual white person’s interests and needs to preen morally in order to demonstrate his superior social status over other white people. After all, when it comes to social-climbing, other white people are the competition.

Thus, it’s not surprising that, while there is certainly demand among some American Jews for works that will help them feel guilty about what Israel is doing to the Palestinians (see The Nation magazine), there is zero market in America for the Jewish equivalent of “white guilt” about what some Jews did in the past.

Indeed, the most obvious analog to slavery and taking America from the Indians, the disproportionate role of Jews in inflicting Communism upon humanity (as documented in UC Berkeley historian Yuri Slezkine’s book 2004 The Jewish Century), has almost completely been crammed down the global Memory Hole.

For example, the world’s most famous living author published almost a decade ago a two volume history of the relationship between Russians and Jews. He called for mutual remembrance, contrition, apology, and forgiveness. Here’s an excerpt from the only excerpt yet published in the United States:

Alas, mutual grievances have accumulated in both our people’s memories, but if we repress the past, how can we heal them? Until the collective psyche of a people finds its clear outlet in the written word, it can rumble indistinctly or, worse, menacingly…

I have never conceded to anyone the right to conceal that which was. Equally, I cannot call for an understanding based on an unjust portrayal of the past. Instead, I call both sides — the Russian and the Jewish — to patient mutual comprehension, to the avowal of their own share of the blame…

I conceived of my ultimate aim as discerning, to the best of my ability, mutually agreeable and fruitful pathways for the future development of Russian-Jewish relations. …

Indeed, there are many explanations as to why Jews joined the Bolsheviks (and the Civil War produced yet more weighty reasons [e.g., the mass pogroms detailed in Volume II, Chapter 16]. Nevertheless, if Russian Jews’ memory of this period continues seeking primarily to justify this involvement, then the level of Jewish self-awareness will be lowered, even lost.

Using this line of reasoning, Germans could just as easily find excuses for the Hitler period: “Those were not real Germans, but scum”; “they never asked us.” Yet every people must answer morally for all of its past — including that past which is shameful. Answer by what means? By attempting to comprehend: How could such a thing have been allowed? Where in all this is our error? And could it happen again?

It is in that spirit, specifically, that it would behoove the Jewish people to answer, both for the revolutionary cutthroats and the ranks willing to serve them. Not to answer before other peoples, but to oneself, to one’s consciousness, and before God. Just as we Russians must answer — for the pogroms, for those merciless arsonist peasants, for those crazed revolutionary soldiers, for those savage sailors. …

To answer, just as we would answer for members of our family.

For if we release ourselves from any responsibility for the actions of our national kin, the very concept of a people loses any real meaning.

Not surprisingly, the world’s most famous living author can’t get these two books published in New York City. Don’t call us, Alexander, we’ll call you.

Moreover, almost nobody in the American media has found it at all worth mentioning that Solzhenitsyn can’t get published in New York City.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Jewish Intellectuals 
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In Slate, William Saletan has a tussle with what he calls “Jewgenics:”

Are Jews a race? Is Jewish intelligence genetic?

If these notions make you cringe, you’re not alone. Many non-Jews find them offensive. Actually, scratch that. I have no idea whether non-Jews find them offensive. But I imagine that they do, which is why Jews like me wince at any suggestion of Jewish genetic superiority. We don’t even want to talk about it.

Actually, a bunch of us did talk about it, three days ago at a forum at the American Enterprise Institute. The main speaker was Jon Entine, an AEI fellow and author of a new book, Abraham’s Children: Race, Identity, and the DNA of the Chosen People. He was joined by fellow AEI scholar Charles Murray and by Laurie Zoloth, a bioethicist at Northwestern University. Entine and Zoloth are Jewish. Murray isn’t but talks as though he wishes he were. “One of my thesis advisers at MIT was a Sephardic Jew,” he announced proudly, turning the old “some of my best friends” cliché upside down.

Saletan’s assertion that Jews don’t mention that they are a race out of politeness — because gentiles would find the idea of Jews being a race offensive and Jews never want to cause offense — is pretty funny. In reality, of course, gentiles seldom mention that Jews are, more or less, a hereditary racial group because they don’t want to be denounced for it by hotly offended, verbally facile, high IQ, argumentatively tireless Jewish intellectuals.

My pet theory has long been that one important reason that Ashkenazi Jews are so suited to triumphing via argument in the modern world is because they developed for centuries in a largely unarmed shtetl culture where to argue aggressively didn’t put your life at risk. Heinlein famously asserted that “An armed society is a polite society,” but the inverse would seem also to be true: “An unarmed society is an argumentative society.”

In contrast, gentlemen in England wore swords until some point in the 18th Century (and England was a fairly low violence society compared to the rest of Europe). Alexander Hamilton was removed from the gene pool in a duel in 1804, and a U.S. Senator was killed in a duel in San Francisco as late as 1859.

Argument is a two edged sword. Without arguing, you can’t make as much progress as fast in understanding the world (as the enormous number of hard science Nobel Prizes won by Jews attests). But, you can also use your ardor for verbal combat to browbeat others who lack your love of endless argument into either acquiescence or silence, as shown by the long history of bad ideas such as Freudianism that Jewish advocates have verbally badgered much of the rest of the world into at least temporarily conceding.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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AEI hosted a forum last Monday, with a guest appearances by Charles Murray and Sally Satel, to announce the publication of Jon Entine’s long-awaited book Abraham’s Children: Race, DNA, and the Identity of the Chosen People. (Here’s my 2003 interview of Jon.)

In the Washington Post, the ever-shallow Dana Milbank, who seems to be be auditioning for the role of the male Maureen Dowd, snarked incoherently in a column entitled “Nature or Nurture? Well, Smart Guy?”

Philip Weiss comments, “Yes, Jews Are Smarter, But We’re Undergoing an IQ Drop by the Minute.”

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: IQ, Jewish Intellectuals 
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Attempts to come up with a Darwinian explanation for the high average IQ of European Jews go back at least to Norbert Weiner’s 1953 autobiography, in which he argued that arranged marriages between the shetl’s brightest young rabbi and the richest merchant’s daughter would lead to large numbers of smart children having enough money to survive. In 2005, Greg Cochran, Henry Harpending, and Jason Hardy put forward a sophisticated theory pointing to selection for the mental demands of traditional Ashkenazi occupations such as moneylender. In Commentary, Charles Murray recently suggested the Babylonian Captivity could have played a role.

For a number of years, anthropologist Peter Frost has been privately advocating a fourth theory. Frost is the author of the 2005 book Fair Women, Dark Men: The Forgotten Roots of Color Prejudice, which I reviewed in On Wednesday, Frost posted in the comments to Mahalanobis’ item on economist Greg Clark’s new book showing that the prosperous had many more surviving children than the poor in medieval and early modern England. The comment summarizes Frost’s theory of the evolution of Ashkenazi intelligence:

The same process was going on in other European nations, but to varying extents. I commented on this point in the following letter to Commentary (which was never published):

In “Jewish Genius” [April] Charles Murray states that selection for intelligence has historically been stronger in some occupations than in others, being notably stronger in sales, finance, and trade than in farming. Insofar as he is right, the reason lies not in the occupation itself but in its relations of production.

In the Middle Ages and earlier, farmers had little scope for economic achievement—and just as little for the intelligence that contributes to achievement. Most farmers were peasants who produced enough for themselves, plus a surplus for the landowner. A peasant could produce a larger surplus, but what then? Sell it on the local market? The possibilities there were slim because most people grew their own food. Sell it on several markets both near and far? That would mean dealing with a lot of surly highwaymen. And what would stop the landowner from seizing the entire surplus? After all, it was his land and his peasant.

The situation changes with farmers who own their land and sell their produce over a wide geographical area. Consider the “Yankee” farmers who spread westward out of New England in the 18th and 19th centuries. They contributed very disproportionately to American inventiveness, literature, education, and philanthropy. Although they lived primarily from farming, they did not at all have the characteristics we associate with the word “peasant.”

Conversely, trade and finance have not always been synonymous with high achievement. In the Middle Ages, the slow growth economy allowed little room for expanding a business within one’s immediate locality, and expansion further afield was hindered by brigandage and bad roads. Furthermore, the static economic environment created few novel situations that required true intelligence. How strong is selection for intelligence among people who deal with the same clients, perform the same transactions, and charge the same prices year in and year out?

This point has a bearing on the reported IQ differences between Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews. Charles Murray, like others, believes that the Ashkenazim were more strongly selected for intelligence because they were more concentrated than the Sephardim in sales, finance, and trade, especially during the Middle Ages. Now, we have no good data on the occupations of medieval Ashkenazim and Sephardim. But the earliest censuses (18th century for Polish Jews and 19th century for Algerian Jews) show little difference, with the bulk of both groups working in crafts.

There was, however, one major demographic difference. While the Sephardim grew slowly in numbers up to the 20th century, the Ashkenazim increased from about 500,000 in 1650 to 10 million in 1900. The same period saw strong population growth among Europeans in general. This boom used to be attributed to falling death rates alone, but demographers now recognize that rising birth rates were also responsible, in some countries more so. In England, the rise in fertility contributed two and a half times as much to the increase in growth rates as did the fall in mortality, largely through a decline in the age of first marriage.

This trend toward early marriage coincided with growing use of roads, canals and, later, railways to distribute goods over a much larger geographical area. The baby boom was particularly concentrated among semi-rural artisans who produced on contract for urban merchants and who could ably exploit these larger, more elastic markets. “They were not specialized craftsmen in life-trades with skills developed through long years of apprenticeship; they were semi-skilled family labour teams which set up in a line of business very quickly, adapting to shifts in market demand” (Seccombe 1992. A Millennium of Family Change. p. 182). Their workforce was their household. In more successful households, the workers would marry earlier and have as many children as possible. In less successful ones, they would postpone marriage, or never marry.

In Western Europe, these cottage industries were concentrated in areas like Ulster, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Brittany, Flanders, Alsace, Westphalia, Saxony, the Zurich uplands, the Piedmont, and Lombardy. In Eastern Europe, they were concentrated among Ashkenazi Jews. Selection for intelligence among the Ashkenazim may thus have been part of a larger European-wide selection for intelligence among cottage industry workers. These entrepreneurial artisans had optimal conditions for selection: 1) a tight linkage between success on an intelligence-demanding task and economic achievement; 2) considerable scope for economic achievement; 3) a tight linkage between economic achievement and reproductive success; and 4) considerable scope for reproductive success. Such artisans were a minority in Western Europe. Among the Ashkenazim, they appear to have been the majority.

In the late 19th century, cottage industries gave way to factories and the tight linkage between economic achievement and reproductive success came undone. Entrepreneurs could now expand production by hiring more workers. Henry Ford, for instance, produced millions of his famous Model T but had only one child.

In conclusion, Charles Murray errs in thinking that selection for intelligence is driven by the type of occupation. The relations of production seem to be more important, in particular whether the worker owns the means of production, whether there is scope for economic achievement, and whether increases in production are driven by increases in family size.

By the way, it’s quite sad how anthropologists have gone from glamour boys and girls in the 1950s to being almost ignored in the 2000s. Cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead, for example, was the Steve Levitt of the post-war era, an omniscient seer consulted on every topic imaginable. (For example, a fictionalized version of her named “Margaret Mader” has a sizable role as a space-traveling anthropologist in Robert A. Heinlein’s 1957 sci-fi classic Citizen of the Galaxy. She explains to the young hero the complex family structure of the Free Traders’ spaceship.)

But the rival school of physical anthropologists led by the two-fisted Carleton Coon could also generate celebrities. Coon, for instance, was a regular panelist on a high-brow TV gameshow called “What in the World?” that ran from 1951-1964. On it, Coon and a couple of other anthropologists would be shown some random object from a museum collection and then try to guess whether it was a Neanderthal’s sternum or whatever.

Coon’s specialty was “The Wilder Whites:” Berbers, Albanians, and other tough mountain peoples who found the macho Coon to be their kind of man. During WWII, Coon served in the OSS and his chief assignment was to prepare to be “Lawrence of Morocco” — if Franco ever let Hitler’s armies have right of passage through Spain, they could land on the North African coast behind the Anglo-American forces fighting Rommel’s army in Libya and roll them up. If that happened, Coon would disappear into the Rif Mountains and rally the wild Berber tribes to fight a guerilla war against the German occupiers.

My guess is that what went wrong was that the Franz Boas / Margaret Mead school of cultural anthropology succeeded in demonizing their enemies like Coon. Without rivals anymore to keep them on their game, the cultural anthropologists got complacent and politically correct, and thus boring. The subject is still fascinating, but you’d only find that out these days from a handful of anthropologists, such as Frost, Harpending, Stanley Kurtz, and Peter Wood.

That’s too bad because anthropology ought to be the foundational social science, what physics is to the hard sciences.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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One encouraging sign is seeing highly ethnocentric Jewish intellectuals such as Charles Krauthammer, Paul Krugman, and Stanley Kurtz losing their traditional etnic nostalgic commitment to open borders over the last year or so. There have long been Jewish writers who have been immigration skeptics, such as the late Theodore White (of “Making of the President”) and, more recently, Mickey Kaus and Robert Samuelson, but they’ve tended to be the less ethnocentric, more citizenist. So, something new may be happening.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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