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Kevin MacDonald
The Culture of Critique
An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements
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This book is the third and final volume developing an evolutionary perspective on Judaism. The first book, A People That Shall Dwell Alone: Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy (MacDonald 1994; hereafter PTSDA) presented a theory of Judaism within an evolutionary framework, and the second book, Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism (MacDonald 1998a; hereafter SAID) presented an evolutionary theory of anti-Semitism. Ethnic conflict is a recurrent theme throughout the first two volumes, and that theme again takes center stage in this work. However, whereas in the previous works ethnic conflict consisted mainly of recounting the oftentimes bloody dynamics of Jewish-gentile conflict over the broad expanse of historical time, the focus here is much more narrow. The emphasis shifts to a single century and to several very influential intellectual and political movements that have been spearheaded by people who strongly identified as Jews and who viewed their involvement in these movements as serving Jewish interests. Particular attention will be paid to the Boasian school of anthropology, psychoanalysis, leftist political ideology and behavior, the Frankfurt School of Social Research, and the New York Intellectuals. In addition, I will describe Jewish efforts to shape U.S. Immigration policy in opposition to the interests of the peoples of non-Jewish European descent, particularly the peoples of Northern and Western Europe.

An important thesis is that all of these movements may be seen as attempts to alter Western societies in a manner that would end anti-Semitism and provide for Jewish group continuity either in an overt or in a semi-cryptic manner. At a theoretical level, these movements are viewed as the outcome of the fact that Jews and gentiles have different interests in the construction of culture and in various public policy issues (e.g., immigration policy).

This project has obviously been quite wide-ranging and I have profited a great deal from the comments of a number of scholars in the areas of evolutionary biology, psychology, and history, including Hiram Caton, Paul Gottfried, John Hartung, Ralph Raico, J. Philippe Rushton, Frank Salter, Glayde Whitney, and David Sloan Wilson. Regrettably, there are others who have made helpful comments but whose names cannot appear here. I would also like to give special thanks to Seymour W. Itzkoff, the editor of this series, for his helpful comments on earlier versions of the manuscript and for his role in the publication of this volume. And finally, I thank James Sabin, Director, Academic Research and Development at Greenwood Publishing, who has seen this very difficult project through to its conclusion.

The Culture of Critique (hereafter, CofC) was originally published in 1998 by Praeger Publishers, an imprint of Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc. The thesis of the book is a difficult one indeed—difficult not only because it is difficult to establish, but also because it challenges many fundamental assumptions about our contemporary intellectual and political existence.

CofC describes how Jewish intellectuals initiated and advanced anumber of important intellectual and political movements during the 20th century. I argue that these movements are attempts to alter Western societies in a manner that would neutralize or end anti-Semitism and enhance the prospects for Jewish group continuity either in an overt or in a semi-cryptic manner. Several of these Jewish movements (e.g., the shift in immigration policy favoring non-European peoples) have attempted to weaken the power of their perceived competitors—the European peoples who early in the 20th century had assumed a dominant position not only in their traditional homelands in Europe, but also in the United States, Canada, and Australia. At a theoretical level, these movements are viewed as the outcome of conflicts of interest between Jews and non-Jews in the construction of culture and in various public policy issues. Ultimately, these movements are viewed as the expression of a group evolutionary strategy by Jews in their competition for social, political and cultural dominance with non-Jews.

Here I attempt to answer some typical criticisms that have been leveled against CofC. (See also my website ( I also discuss issues raised by several books that have appeared since the publication of CofC.

There have been complaints that I am viewing Judaism in a monolithic manner. This is definitely not the case. Rather, in each movement that I discuss, my methodology has been:

(1.) Find influential movements dominated by Jews, with no implication that all or most Jews are involved in these movements and no restrictions on what the movements are. For example, I touch on Jewish neo-conservatism which is a departure in some ways from the other movements I discuss. In general, relatively few Jews were involved in most of these movements and significant numbers of Jews may have been unaware of their existence. Even Jewish leftist radicalism—surely the most widespread and influential Jewish sub-culture of the 20th century—may have been a minority movement within Jewish communities in the United States and other Western societies for most periods. As a result, when I criticize these movements I am not necessarily criticizing most Jews. Nevertheless, these movements were influential and they were Jewishly motivated.

(2.) Determine whether the Jewish participants in those movements identified as Jews AND thought of their involvement in the movement as advancing specific Jewish interests. Involvement may be unconscious or involve self-deception, but for the most part it was quite easy and straightforward to find evidence for these propositions. If I thought that self-deception was important (as in the case of many Jewish radicals), I provided evidence that in fact they did identify as Jews and were deeply concerned about Jewish issues despite surface appearances to the contrary. (See also pp. 1–3 of CofC.)

(3.) Try to gauge the influence of these movements on gentile society. Keep in mind that the influence of an intellectual or political movement dominated by Jews is independent of the percentage of the Jewish community that is involved in the movement or supports the movement.

(4.) Try to show how non-Jews responded to these movements—for example, were they a source of anti-Semitism?

Several of the movements I discuss have been very influential in the social sciences. However,I do not argue that there are no Jews who do good social science, and in fact I provide a list of prominent Jewish social scientists who in my opinion do not meet the conditions outlined under (2) above (see p. 19 of CofC). If there was evidence that these social scientists identified as Jews and had a Jewish agenda in doing social science (definitely not in the case of most of those listed, but possibly true in the case of Richard Herrnstein—see below), then they would have been candidates for inclusion in the book. The people I cite as contributing to evolutionary/biological perspectives are indeed ethnically Jewish, but for most of them I have no idea whether they either identity as Jews or if they have a Jewish agenda in pursuing their research simply because there is no evidence to be found in their work or elsewhere. If there is evidence that a prominent evolutionary biologist identifies as a Jew and views his work in sociobiology or evolutionary psychology as advancing Jewish agendas, then he or she should have been in CofC as an example of the phenomenon under study rather than as simply a scientist working in the area of evolutionary studies.

Interestingly, in the case of one of those I mention, Richard J. Herrnstein, Alan Ryan (1994, 11) writes, “Herrnstein essentially wants the world in which clever Jewish kids or their equivalent make their way out of their humble backgrounds and end up running Goldman Sachs or the Harvard physics department.” This is a stance that is typical, I suppose, of neo-conservatives, a Jewish movement I discuss in several places, and it is the sort of thing that, if true, would suggest that Herrnstein did perceive the issues discussed in The Bell Curve as affecting Jewish interests in a way that Charles Murray, his co-author, did not. (Ryan contrasts Murray’s and Herrnstein’s world views: “Murray wants the Midwest in which he grew up—a world in which the local mechanic didn’t care two cents whether he was or wasn’t brighter than the local math teacher.”) Similarly, 20th-century theoretical physics does not qualify as a Jewish intellectual movement precisely because it was good science and there are no signs of ethnic involvement in its creation: Jewish identification and pursuit of Jewish interests were not important to the content of the theories or to the conduct of the intellectual movement. Yet Jews have been heavily overrepresented among the ranks of theoretical physicists.

This conclusion remains true even though Einstein, the leading figure among Jewish physicists, was a strongly motivated Zionist (Fölsing 1997, 494–505), opposed assimilation as a contemptible form of “mimicry” (p. 490), preferred to mix with other Jews whom he referred to as his “tribal companions” (p. 489), embraced the uncritical support for the Bolshevik regime in Russia so typical of Jews during the 1920s and 1930s, including persistent apology for the Moscow show trials in the 1930s (pp. 644–5), and switched from a high-minded pacifism during World War I, when Jewish interests were not at stake, to advocating the building of atomic bombs to defeat Hitler. From his teenage years he disliked the Germans and in later life criticized Jewish colleagues for converting to Christianity and acting like Prussians. He especially disliked Prussians, who were the elite ethnic group in Germany. Reviewing his life at age 73, Einstein declared his ethnic affiliation in no uncertain terms: “My relationship with Jewry had become my strongest human tie once I achieved complete clarity about our precarious position among the nations” (in Fölsing 1997, 488). According to Fölsing, Einstein had begun developing this clarity from an early age, but did not acknowledge it until much later, a form of self-deception: “As a young man with bourgeois-liberal views and a belief in enlightenment, he had refused to acknowledge [his Jewish identity]” (in Fölsing 1997, 488).

In other words, the issues of the ethnic identification and even ethnic activism on the part of people like Einstein are entirely separate from the issue of whether such people viewed the content of the theories themselves as furthering ethnic interests, and, in the case of Einstein, there is no evidence that he did so. The same cannot be said for Freud, the New York Intellectuals, the Boasians, and the Frankfurt School, in which “scientific” theories were fashioned and deployed to advance ethnic group interests. This ideological purpose becomes clear when the unscientific nature of these movements is understood. Much of the discussion in CofC documented the intellectual dishonesty, the lack of empirical rigor, the obvious political and ethnic motivation, the expulsion of dissenters, the collusion among co-ethnics to dominate intellectual and academic discourse, and the general lack of scientific spirit that pervaded them. In my view, the scientific weakness of these movements is evidence of their group-strategic function.

CofC was not reviewed widely. Indeed, only three reviews have appeared in mainstream publications, including a brief review by Kevin Hannan (2000) in Nationalities Papers. Hannan’s review mostly describes the book, but he summarizes his impressions by noting, “[MacDonald’s] iconoclastic evaluation of psychoanalysis, Marxism, multiculturalism, and certain schools of thought in the social sciences will not generate great enthusiasm for his work in academe, yet this book is well written and has much to offer the reader interested in ethnicity and ethnic conflict.”

The other reviews have raised several important issues that bear discussion. Frank Salter’s (2000) review in Human Ethology Bulletin discussed some of the controversy surrounding my work, particularly an acrimonious session at the 2000 conference of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society where I was accused of anti-Semitism by several participants. For me the only issue is whether I have been honest in my treatment of sources and whether my conclusions meet the usual standards of scholarly research in the social sciences. Salter notes that I based my research on mainstream sources and that the assertions that have infuriated some colleagues

are not only true but truisms to those acquainted with the diverse literatures involved. Apart from the political sensitivity of the subject, much of the problem facing MacDonald is that his knowledge is often too far ahead of his detractors to allow easy communication; there are not enough shared premises for constructive dialog. Unfortunately the knowledge gap is closing slowly because some of his most hostile critics, including*g colleagues who make serious ad hominem accusations, have not bothered to read MacDonald’s books.

Salter also notes that those, such as John Tooby and Steven Pinker, who have denigrated my competence as a researcher in the media, have failed to provide anything approaching a scholarly critique or refutation of my work. Sadly, this continues. While there have been a number of ringing denunciations of my work in public forums, there have been no serious scholarly reviews by these critics, although they have not retracted their scathing denunciations of my work.

Paul Gottfried (2000) raised several interesting issues in his review in Chronicles, the paleo-conservative intellectual journal. (I replied to Gottfried’s review and Gottfried penned a rejoinder; see Chronicles, September, 2000, pp. 4–5). Gottfried questions my views on the role of Jewish organizations and intellectuals with strong Jewish identifications as agents of change in the cultural transformations that have occurred in Western societies over the last 50 years. In general, my position is that Jewish intellectual and political movements were a necessary condition for these changes, not a sufficient condition, as Gottfried supposes. In the case of the reversal in U.S. immigration policy, there simply were no other pressure groups that were pushing for liberalized, multi-racial immigration during the period under consideration (up to the enactment of the watershed immigration bill of 1965). Nor were there any other groups or intellectual movements besides the ones mentioned in CofC that were developing images of the U.S. as a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society rather than a European civilization. Gottfried attributes the sea change in immigration to “a general cultural change that beset Western societies and was pushed by the managerial state.” I agree that multi-ethnic immigration resulted from a general cultural shift, but we still must develop theories for the origin of this shift.

Change and Continuity: The Decline of Ethnic Consciousness Among European-Derived People in the United States and the Continuity of Ethnocentrism Among Jews • 9,000 Words

Fundamental to this transformation was the decline of ethnic consciousness among European peoples. It is fascinating to contrast the immigration debates of the 1920s with those of the 1950s and 1960s. The restrictionists of the 1920s unabashedly asserted the right of European-derived peoples to the land they had conquered and settled. There were many assertions of ethnic interest—that the people who colonized and created the political and economic culture of the country had a right to maintain it as their possession. This sort of morally self-assured nativism (even the word itself now has a pathological ring to it) can be seen in the statement of Representative William N. Vaile of Colorado, a prominent restrictionist, quoted on p. 270 of CofC.

By the 1940s and certainly by the 1960s it was impossible to make such assertions without being deemed not only a racist but an intellectual Neanderthal. Indeed, Bendersky (2000) shows that such rhetoric was increasingly impossible in the 1930s. One can see the shift in the career of racial theorist Lothrop Stoddard, author of books such as The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy and numerous articles for the popular media, such as Collier’s, Forum, and The Saturday Evening Post. Stoddard viewed Jews as highly intelligent and as racially different from Europeans. He also believed that Jews were critical to the success of Bolshevism. However, he stopped referring to Jews completely in his lectures to the Army War College in the late 1930s. The Boasian revolution in anthropology had triumphed, and theorists who believed that race was important for explaining human behavior became fringe figures. Stoddard himself went from being a popular and influential writer to being viewed as a security risk as the Roosevelt administration prepared the country for war with National Socialist Germany.

Another marker of the change in attitude toward Jews was the response to Charles Lindbergh’s remarks in Des Moines, Iowa on the eve of U.S. entry into World War II. Lindbergh’s advocacy of non-intervention was shaped not only by his horror at the destructiveness of modern warfare—what he viewed as the suicide of European culture, but also by his belief that a second European war would be suicidal for the White race. In an article published in the popular media in 1939 shortly after the outbreak of World War II, he stated that it was a war “among a dominant people for power, blind, insatiable, suicidal. Western nations are again at war, a war likely to be more prostrating than any in the past, a war in which the White race is bound to lose, and the others bound to gain, a war which may easily lead our civilization through more Dark Ages if it survives at all” (Lindbergh 1939, 65). In order to maintain their dominance over other races, Lindbergh believed that whites should join together to fend off the teeming legions of non-whites who were the real long-term threat. Lindbergh was not a Nordicist. He took a long-term view that Russia would be a white bulwark against the Chinese in the East. He advocated a racial alliance among Whites based “on a Western Wall of race and arms which can hold back either a Genghis Khan or the infiltration of inferior blood; on an English fleet, a German air force, a French army, [and] an American nation” (p. 66). However, the Soviet Union under Communism was abhorrent: “I tell you that I would a hundred times rather see my country ally herself with England, or even with Germany with all of her faults, than with the cruelty, the godlessness, and the barbarism that exist in Soviet Russia. An alliance between the United States and Russia should be opposed by every American, by every Christian, and by every humanitarian in this country” (in Berg 1999, 422). Lindbergh clearly viewed the atrocities perpetrated by the Soviet Union to be worse than those of Nazi Germany.

Lindbergh’s famous speech of September 11, 1941 stated that Jews were one of the principal forces attempting to lead the U.S. into the war, along with the Roosevelt administration and the British. Lindbergh noted that Jewish reaction to Nazi Germany was understandable given persecution “sufficient to make bitter enemies of any race.” He stated that the Jews’ “greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our Government.” And, most controversially, he stated, “I am saying that the leaders of both the British and Jewish races, for reasons which are understandable from their viewpoint as they are inadvisable from ours, for reasons which are not American, wish to involve us in the war” (in Berg 1999, 427).

Lindbergh’s speech was greeted with a torrent of abuse and hatred unparalleled for a mainstream public figure in American history. Overnight Lindbergh went from cultural hero to moral pariah. Jewish influence on the media and government would be difficult to measure then as it is now, but it was certainly considerable and a common concern of anti-Jewish sentiment of the time. In a booklet published in 1936, the editors of Fortune magazine concluded that the main sources of Jewish influence on the media were their control of the two major radio networks and the Hollywood movie studios (Editors of Fortune 1936). They suggested that “at the very most, half the opinion-making and taste-influencing paraphernalia in America is in Jewish hands” (p. 62)—a rather remarkable figure considering that Jews constituted approximately 2–3% of the population and most of the Jewish population were first or second generation immigrants. A short list of Jewish ownership or management of the major media during this period would include the New York Times (the most influential newspaper, owned by the Sulzberger family), the New York Post (George Backer), the Washington Post (Eugene Meyer), Philadelphia Inquirer (M. L. Annenberg), Philadelphia Record and Camden Courier-Post (J. David Stern), Newark Star-Ledger (S. I. Newhouse), Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Paul Block), CBS (the dominant radio network, owned by William Paley), NBC (headed by David Sarnoff), all of the major Hollywood movie studios, Random House (the most important book publisher, owned by Bennett Cerf), and a dominant position in popular music.[3]This listing is based on several sources: Editors of Fortune (1936); To Bigotry No Sanction. A Documented Analysis of Anti-Semitic Propaganda. Prepared by the Philadelphia Anti-Defamation Council and the American Jewish Committee. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Anti-Defamation Council (1941); Gabler 1988; Kantor 1982; . Walter Winchell, who had an audience of tens of millions and was tied with Bob Hope for the highest rated program on radio, believed that is opposition to intervention “was unconscionable, a form of treason” (Gabler 1995, 294). Winchell, “the standard bearer for interventionism,” was Jewish. He had close ties during this period to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) which provided him with information on the activities of isolationists and Nazi sympathizers which he used in his broadcasts and newspaper columns (Gabler 1995, 294–298).

There is no question that the movie industry did indeed propagandize against the Nazis and in favor of intervention. In May 1940, the Warner Brothers studio wired Roosevelt that “personally we would like to do all in our power within the motion picture industry and by use of the talking screen to show the American people the worthiness of the cause for which the free peoples of Europe are making such tremendous sacrifices” (in Gabler 1988, 343). Later in 1940 Joseph P. Kennedy lectured the Hollywood movie elite that they should stop promoting the war and stop making anti-Nazi movies or risk a rise in anti-Semitism. Immediately prior to Lindbergh’s Des Moines speech, Senator Gerald Nye asserted that foreign-born owners of the Hollywood studies had “violent animosities toward certain causes abroad” (Gabler 1988, 344–345). Representatives of the movie industry, realizing that they had the support of the Roosevelt administration, aggressively defended making “America conscious of the national peril.”[4]Ben Hecht, who was a prominent Hollywood screenwriter and staunch Zionist, included pro-interventionist ideas in movies at this time (Authors’ Calendar, ). For example, in Angels over Broadway (1940), Hecht has the Douglas Fairbanks Jr. character ask, “What happened to the Poles, the Finns, the Dutch? They’re little guys. They didn’t win. . . .” Rita Hayworth replies, “They will, some day.” Hecht also made some uncredited additions to Alfred Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent (1940). When Hitchcock was asked about the anti-Nazi and pro-Britain message of the film, he said that it was all the doing of Walter Wanger and Ben Hecht. (Wanger was also Jewish; his birth name was Walter Feuchtwanger.) In the film a character says, “Keep those lights burning, cover them with steel, build them in with guns, build a canopy of battleships and bombing planes around them and, hello, America, hang on to your lights, they’re the only lights in the world.”

Harvard historian William Langer stated in a lecture to the U.S. Army War College that the rising dislike of Nazi Germany in the U.S. was due to “Jewish influence” in the media:

You have to face the fact that some of our most important American newspapers are Jewish-controlled, and I suppose if I were a Jew I would feel about Nazi Germany as most Jews feel and it would be most inevitable that the coloring of the news takes on that tinge. As I read the New York Times, for example, it is perfectly clear that every little upset that occurs (and after all many upsets occur in a country of 70 million people) is given a great deal of prominence. The other part of it is soft-pedaled or put off with a sneer. So that in a rather subtle way, the picture you get is that there is no good in the Germans whatever. (In Bendersky 2000, 273)

It is also interesting that the Chicago Tribune was “circumspect on the Jewish question” despite the personal sentiments of Robert McCormick, the Tribune’s non-Jewish publisher, that Jews were an important reason behind America’s anti-German policy (Bendersky 2000, 284). This suggests that concern with Jewish power—quite possibly concern about negative influences on advertising revenue (see Editors of Fortune 1936, 57), was an issue for McCormick. On balance, it would seem reasonable to agree with Lindbergh that Jewish influence in the media was significant during this period. Of course, this is not to say that Jews dominated the media at this time or that no other influences were important.

It is also noteworthy that U.S. military officers often worried that Roosevelt was influenced to be anti-German by his Jewish advisors, Samuel I. Rosenman, Felix Frankfurter, and Henry Morgenthau, Jr. (Bendersky 2000, 274), and they worried that Jewish interests and the British would push the U.S. into a war with Germany. Both Frankfurter and Morgenthau were strongly identified Jews and effective advocates of Jewish interests. Morgenthau actively promoted Zionism and the welfare of Jewish refugees (e.g., Bendersky 2000, 333ff, 354ff). Both supported U.S. involvement in the war against Germany, and Morgenthau became well-known as an advocate of extremely harsh treatment of the Germans during and after World War II.

Moreover, there is no question that Jews were able to have a great deal of influence on specific issues during this period. For example, Zionist organizations exerted enormous pressure on the government (e.g., Bendersky 2000, 325). During World War II they engaged in “loud diplomacy” (p. 326), organizing thousands of rallies, dinners with celebrity speakers (including prominent roles for sympathetic non-Jews), letter campaigns, meetings, lobbying, threats to newspapers for publishing unfavorable items, insertion of propaganda as news items in newspapers, giving money to politicians and non-Jewish celebrities like Will Rogers in return for their support. By 1944, “thousands of non-Jewish associations would pass pro-Zionist resolutions” (p. 326). In 1944 both Republican and Democratic platforms included strong pro-Zionist planks even though the creation of a Jewish state was strongly opposed by the Departments of State and War (p. 328).

Nevertheless, whatever the level of Jewish influence on the media during this period, commentators generally focused on denouncing the seeming implication in Lindbergh’s speech that Jewish interests were “not American.” I suppose that Lindbergh’s statement could have been amended by a public-relations minded editor without distorting Lindbergh’s intentions to read something like, “Jewish interests are not the same as the interests of other Americans,” or “Jewish interests are not the same as those of the country as a whole.” However, I rather doubt that this alteration would have assuaged the outpouring of hatred that ensued. The simple facts that the vast majority of U.S. Jews were indeed in favor of intervention and that Jews did have a significant effect on public attitudes and public policy had become irrelevant. As Lindbergh himself said, the choice was “whether or not you are going to let your country go into a completely disastrous war for lack of courage to name the groups leading that country to war—at the risk of being called ‘anti-Semitic’ simply by naming them” (as paraphrased by Anne Morrow Lindbergh 1980, 224; italics in text). America had entered into an era when it had become morally unacceptable to discuss Jewish interests at all. We are still in that era.[5]The only exception in recent years—albeit relatively minor—was Pat Buchanan’s 1990 column in which he referred to Israel’s “Amen Corner” in the United States advocating war with Iraq. (Indeed, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee had been lobbying Congress behind the scenes to declare war on Iraq [Sobran 1999]). Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Norman Podhoretz, former editor of Commentary, promptly labeled Buchanan an “anti-Semite” without feeling the need to address the question of whether or not American Jews were indeed pressing for war with Iraq in order to benefit Israel. As in the case of Lindbergh’s remarks a half century earlier, truth was irrelevant. While this incident has not altered the taboo on discussing Jewish interests in the same way that it is common to discuss the interests of other ethnic groups, it has resulted in a long-term problem for Buchanan’s political career. When Buchanan ran for president in 2000, a hostile columnist writing in a prominent Jewish publication stated, “Out of the slime of the sewers and into the filth of the gutter a desperate Patrick J. Buchanan, the neo-Nazi, has crawled into the political arena using anti-Semitism as his principal device to secure a future for himself” (Adelson 1999). The columnist went on to claim that Buchanan “always was a neo-Nazi” and that he “reveals the shallow quality of his tortured, sick, defective mind.” Not to be outdone, Alan Dershowitz (1999) wrote, “Let there be no mistake about it. Pat Buchanan is a classic anti-Semite with fascist leanings who hates Israel and loves Nazi war criminals.” The example illustrates that Jews continue to exert immense pressure, including smear tactics, to keep Jewish interests off limits in American political discussion. As with Lindbergh in an earlier generation, Buchanan’s experience is a grim reminder to politicians who dare raise the issue of Jewish interests in public debate. Buchanan became completely marginalized within the Republican Party and eventually left it for a spectacularly unsuccessful run as the Reform Party presidential candidate in 2000.

It is instructive to review in some detail the “Niagara of invective” experienced by Lindbergh (Berg 1999, 428). He was denounced by virtually all the leading media, by Democrats and Republicans, Protestants and Catholics, and, of course, Jewish groups. Many accused him of being a Nazi, including the Presidential Secretary who compared Lindbergh’s speech to Nazi rhetoric. Reinhold Niebuhr, the prominent Protestant leader (see below), called on Lindbergh’s organization, America First, to “divorce itself from the stand taken by Lindbergh and clean its ranks of those who would incite to racial and religious strife in this country” (in Berg 1999, 428). America First released a statement that neither Lindbergh nor the organization were anti-Semitic.

The reaction of Lindbergh’s wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, is particularly interesting because it illustrates the power of moral revulsion combined with hypocrisy that had enveloped any public discussion of Jewish interests.

September 11, 1941:

Then [he gave] his speech—throwing me into black gloom. He names the ‘war agitators’—chiefly the British, the Jews, and the Administration. He does it truthfully, moderately, and with no bitterness or rancor—but I hate to have him touch the Jews at all. For I dread the reaction on him. No one else mentions this subject out loud (though many seethe bitterly and intolerantly underneath). C. [Charles], as usual, must bear the brunt of being frank and open. What he is saying in public is not intolerant or inciting or bitter and it is just what he says in private, while the other soft-spoken cautious people who say terrible things in private would never dare be as frank in public as he. They do not want to pay the price. And the price will be terrible. Headlines will flame “Lindbergh attacks Jews.” He will be branded anti-Semitic, Nazi, Führer-seeking, etc. I can hardly bear it. For he is a moderate. . . .

September 13, 1941:

He is attacked on all sides—Administration, pressure groups, and Jews, as now openly a Nazi, following Nazi doctrine.

September 14, 1941:

I cannot explain my revulsion of feeling by logic. Is it my lack of courage to face the problem? Is it my lack of vision and seeing the thing through? Or is my intuition founded on something profound and valid?

I do not know and am only very disturbed, which is upsetting for him. I have the greatest faith in him as a person—in his integrity, his courage, and his essential goodness, fairness, and kindness—his nobility really. . . . How then explain my profound feeling of grief about what he is doing? If what he said is the truth (and I am inclined to think it is), why was it wrong to state it? He was naming the groups that were pro-war. No one minds his naming the British or the Administration. But to name “Jew” is un-American—even if it is done without hate or even criticism. Why?

Because it is segregating them as a group, setting the ground for anti-Semitism. . . .

I say that I would prefer to see this country at war than shaken by violent anti-Semitism. (Because it seems to me that the kind of person the human being is turned into when the instinct of Jew-baiting is let loose is worse than the kind of person he becomes on the battlefield.)

September 15, 1941:

The storm is beginning to blow up hard. America First is in a turmoil. . . . He is universally condemned by all moderates. . . . The Jews demand a retraction. . . . I sense that this is the beginning of a fight and consequent loneliness and isolation that we have not known before. . . . For I am really much more attached to the worldly things than he is, mind more giving up friends, popularity, etc., mind much more criticism and coldness and loneliness.

September 18, 1941:

Will I be able to shop in New York at all now? I am always stared at—but now to be stared at with hate, to walk through aisles of hate![6]In a conversation with his wife on November 24, 1941, Charles Lindbergh was pessimistic about establishing a Jewish state:

C. and I get into an argument á propos of an article in the paper, a speech of a rabbi at a Jewish conference in which he said that the first thing that would have to be done at the peace table after the war was that a large indemnity would have to be paid to the Jews for their sufferings. Also speaks about having a piece of land of their own—which I am sympathetic with. . . . [C.] says it isn’t as simple as all that. Whose land are you going to take? . . . He is very pessimistic of its being solved without great suffering. (A. M. Lindbergh 1980, 239)
(A. M. Lindbergh 1980, 220–230; italics in text)

Several issues stand out in these comments. Anne Morrow Lindbergh is horrified at having to walk through “aisles of hate,” horrified at having to give up her friends, horrified at being a pariah where once she was idolized as the wife of the most popular man in the country. While she accepts the truth of what her husband said and its good intentions, she thinks it better left unsaid and does not dwell on the unfairness of the charges against her husband, in particular with calling him a Nazi. Truth is no defense if it leads to morally unacceptable actions, and slander and smear tactics are warranted and understandable if the goals are morally praiseworthy. She supposes that even a disastrous war that might kill hundreds of thousands of Americans (and, as her husband believed, might result in the destruction of European culture and the white race) is preferable to the possibility of an outbreak of violent anti-Semitism. The moral demeanor of Americans is more important than their survival as a nation or people. And all of this because Lindbergh simply stated that Jews had interests as a group that differed from those of other Americans. Their lesson learned, American politicians presumably realized that even rational, intelligent, and humane discussions of Jewish interests were beyond the boundaries of appropriate discussion. Jews had no interests as Jews that could be said to conflict with the interests of any other group of Americans.

By the time of Lindbergh’s speech, Jews not only had a prominent position in the U.S. media, they had seized the intellectual and moral high ground via their control of the intellectual and political movements discussed in CofC. Not only were Jewish interests beyond the bounds of civilized political discussion, assertions of European ethnic interest became impermissible as well. Such assertions conflicted with the Boasian dogma that genetic differences between peoples were trivial and irrelevant; they conflicted with the Marxist belief in the equality of all peoples and the Marxist belief that nationalism and assertions of ethnic interests were reactionary; such assertions were deemed a sure sign of psychopathology within the frameworks of psychoanalysis and the Frankfurt School; and they would soon be regarded as the babblings of country bumpkins by the New York Intellectuals and by the neo-conservatives who spouted variants of all of these ideologies from the most prestigious academic and media institutions in the society. There may indeed have been other forces that relegated a nativist mindset to the political and intellectual fringe—Gottfried (2000) points a finger at liberal Protestantism and the rise of the managerial state, but it is impossible to understand the effectiveness of either of these influences in the absence of the Jewish movements I describe.

The rise of a de-ethnicized non-Jewish managerial elite that rejects traditional cultural institutions—as exemplified by President Bill Clinton and now Senator Hillary Clinton—and interwoven with a critical mass of ethnically conscious Jews and other ethnic minorities is an enormously important fact of our current political life. My claim that Jewish intellectual and political activities were a necessary condition for the rise of such an elite, while obviously difficult to verify conclusively (as any other causal hypothesis would be) is also compatible with the work of others, most notably D. A. Hollinger’s (1996) Science, Jews, and Secular Culture: Studies in Mid-20th-Century American Intellectual History and Carl Degler’s (1991) In Search of Human Nature: The Decline and Revival of Darwinism in American Social Thought.

The rise of such a de-ethnicized elite is hardly an inevitable consequence of modernization or any other force of which I am aware. Such de-ethnicized managerial elites are unique to European and European-derived societies. Such elites are not found elsewhere in the world, including highly developed nations such as Japan and Israel or the undeveloped nations of Africa and elsewhere. Moreover, the cultural shifts under consideration have also occurred in traditionally Catholic countries like France and Italy, where Protestantism has not been a factor. France in particular has been very open to non-European immigration and its intellectual life has been deeply influenced by the movements discussed in CofC. Conversely, there are many examples where Protestantism has peacefully co-existed with or even rationalized nationalism and ethnocentrism.

Developing theories of why Western cultures provide such fertile ground for the theories and movements discussed in CofC is a very useful area for research. It is instructive to look at the way Europeans in the U.S. saw themselves a century ago.[7]The following is based on Bendersky’s (2000, 2–46) study of U.S. military officers but is representative of commonly held attitudes in the early 20th century. Americans of European descent thought of themselves as part of a cultural and ethnic heritage extending backward in time to the founding of the country. The Anglo-Saxon heritage of the British Isles was at the center of this self-conception, but Americans of German and Scandinavian descent also viewed themselves as part of this ethnic and cultural heritage. They had a great deal of pride in their accomplishments. They had conquered a vast territory and had achieved a high degree of economic progress. They saw themselves as having created a civilization with a strong moral fabric—a country of farmers and small businessmen who had developed into a world economic power. They believed that their civilization was a product of their own unique ingenuity and skills, and they believed that it would not survive if other peoples were allowed to play too large a role in it. They saw themselves as exhibiting positive personality traits such as courage in the face of adversity, self-reliance, inventiveness, originality, and fair play—the very virtues that allowed them to conquer the wilderness and turn it into an advanced civilization.

Americans at the turn of the 19th century looked out on the world and saw their own society as superior to others. They saw themselves and other European societies as reaping the rewards of political and economic freedom while the rest of the world suffered as it had from time immemorial—the despotism of Asia, the barbarity and primitivism of Africa, and the economic and political backwardness of Russia and Eastern Europe.

They saw themselves as Christian, and they thought of Christianity as an essential part of the social fabric and their way of life. Christianity was seen as basic to the moral foundations of the society, and any threat to Christianity was seen as a threat to the society as a whole. When these people looked back on their own childhood, they saw “a simple, secure world of commonly accepted values and behavior” (Bendersky 2000, 6)—a world of cultural and ethnic homogeneity. They had a strong sense of family pride and regional identification: They had deep roots in the areas in which they grew up. They did not think of the U.S. as a Marxist hell of war between the social classes. Instead they thought of it as a world of harmony between the social classes in which people at the top of society earned their positions but felt a certain sense of social obligation to the lower social classes.

The early part of the 20th century was also the high-water mark of Darwinism in the social sciences. It was common at that time to think that there were important differences between the races—that races differed in intelligence and in moral qualities. Not only did races differ, but they were in competition with each other for supremacy. As described in Separation and Its Discontents (MacDonald 1998a), such ideas were part of the furniture of intellectual life—commonplace among Jews as well as non-Jews.

That world has vanished. The rise of Jewish power and the disestablishment of the specifically European nature of the U.S. are the real topics of CofC. The war to disestablish the specifically European nature of the U.S. was fought on several fronts. The main thrusts of Jewish activism against European ethnic and cultural hegemony have focused on three critical power centers in the United States: The academic world of information in the social sciences and humanities, the political world where public policy on immigration and other ethnic issues is decided, and the mass media where “ways of seeing” are presented to the public. The first two are the focus of CofC.

At the intellectual level, Jewish intellectuals led the battle against the idea that races even exist and against the idea that there are differences in intelligence or cultural level between the races that are rooted in biology. At the level of politics, Jewish organizations spearheaded the drive to open up immigration to all of the peoples of the world. Jewish organizations also played a key role in furthering the interests of other racial and ethnic minorities, and they led the legal and legislative effort to remove Christianity from public places.

The first bastion of the old American culture to fall was elite academic institutions and especially the Ivy League universities. The transformation of the faculty in the social sciences and humanities was well underway in the 1950s, and by the early 1960s it was largely complete. The new elite was very different from the old elite it displaced. The difference was that the old Protestant elite was not at war with the country it dominated. The old Protestant elite was wealthier and better educated than the public at large, but they approached life on basically the same terms. They saw themselves as Christians and as Europeans, and they didn’t see the need for radically changing the society.

Things are very different now. Since the 1960s a hostile, adversary elite has emerged to dominate intellectual and political debate. It is an elite that almost instinctively loathes the traditional institutions of European-American culture: its religion, its customs, its manners, and its sexual attitudes. In the words of one commentator, “today’s elite loathes the nation it rules” (Gerlernter 1997). A good example is Joseph Bendersky’s The “Jewish Threat”, published by Basic Books (2000). Bendersky paints a vanished world of proud and confident Europeans self-consciously intent on retaining control of the U.S. The author’s sense of intellectual and moral superiority and his contempt for his northern European subjects ooze from every page. The book is a triumphalist history written by a member of a group that won the intellectual and political wars of the 20th century.

This “hostile elite” is fundamentally a Jewish-dominated elite whose origins and main lines of influence are described in CofC. The emergence of this hostile elite is an aspect of ethnic competition between Jews and non-Jews and its effect will be a long-term decline in the hegemony of European peoples in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.

Although there is much evidence that Europeans presented a spirited defense of their cultural and ethnic hegemony in the early- to mid-20th century, their rapid decline raises the question: What cultural or ethnic characteristics of Europeans made them susceptible to the intellectual and political movements described in CofC?Gottfried (2000) suggests that Protestant culture—particularly its emphasis on social guilt—provides a uniquely fertile ground for the types of intellectual and political movements discussed in CofC. The discussion in CofC focused mainly on a proposed nexus of individualism, relative lack of ethnocentrism, and concomitant moral universalism—all features that are entirely foreign to Judaism. In several places in all three of my books on Judaism I develop the view that Europeans are relatively less ethnocentric than other peoples and relatively more prone to individualistic as opposed to the ethnocentric collectivist social structures historically far more characteristic of other human groups, including—relevant to this discussion—Jewish groups. This perspective is based on the research of Harry C. Triandis (e.g., Triandis 1995).

Historically Judaism has been far more ethnocentric and collectivist than typical Western societies. I make this argument in Separation and Its Discontents (MacDonald 1998a; Chap. 1) and especially in A People That Shall Dwell Alone (MacDonald 1994; Chap. 8), where I suggest thatover the course of their recent evolution, Europeans were less subjected to between-group natural selection than Jews and other Middle Eastern populations. This was originally proposed by Fritz Lenz (1931, 657) who suggested that, because of the harsh environment of the Ice Age, the Nordic peoples evolved in small groups and have a tendency toward social isolation. Such a perspective would not imply that Northern Europeans lack collectivist mechanisms for group competition, but only that these mechanisms are relatively less elaborated and/or require a higher level of group conflict to trigger their expression.

This perspective is consistent with ecological theory. Under ecologically adverse circumstances, adaptations are directed more at coping with the adverse physical environment than at competing with other groups (Southwood 1977, 1981), and in such an environment, there would be less pressure for selection for extended kinship networks and highly collectivist groups. Evolutionary conceptualizations of ethnocentrism emphasize the utility of ethnocentrism in group competition. Ethnocentrism would thus be of no importance at all in combating the physical environment, and such an environment would not support large groups.

This scenario implies that Northern European peoples are more prone to individualism. Individualist cultures show little emotional attachment to ingroups. Personal goals are paramount, and socialization emphasizes the importance of selfreliance, independence, individual responsibility, and “finding yourself” (Triandis 1991, 82). Individualists have more positive attitudes toward strangers and outgroup members and are more likely to behave in a prosocial, altruistic manner to strangers. People in individualist cultures are less aware of ingroup/outgroup boundaries and thus do not have highly negative attitudes toward outgroup members. They often disagree with ingroup policy, show little emotional commitment or loyalty to ingroups, and do not have a sense of common fate with other ingroup members. Opposition to outgroups occurs in individualist societies, but the opposition is more “rational” in the sense that there is less of a tendency to suppose that all of the outgroup members are culpable. Individualists form mild attachments to many groups, while collectivists have an intense attachment and identification to a few ingroups (Triandis 1990, 61).

The historical evidence shows that Europeans, and especially Northwest Europeans, were relatively quick to abandon extended kinship networks and collectivist social structures when their interests were protected with the rise of strong centralized governments. There is indeed a general tendency throughout the world for a decline in extended kinship networks with the rise of central authority (Alexander 1979; Goldschmidt & Kunkel 1971; Stone 1977). But in the case of Northwest Europe this tendency quickly gave rise long before the industrial revolution to the unique Western European “simple household” type. The simple household type is based on a single married couple and their children. It contrasts with the joint family structure typical of the rest of Eurasia in which the household consists of two or more related couples, typically brothers and their wives and other members of the extended family (Hajnal 1983). Before the industrial revolution, the simple household system was characterized by methods of keeping unmarried young people occupied as servants. It was not just the children of the poor and landless who became servants, but even large, successful farmers sent their children to be servants elsewhere. In the 17th and 18th centuries individuals often took in servants early in their marriage, before their own children could help out, and then passed their children to others when the children were older and there was more than enough help (Stone 1977).

This suggests a deeply ingrained cultural practice which resulted in a high level of non-kinship-based reciprocity. The practice also bespeaks a relative lack of ethnocentrism because people are taking in non-relatives as household members. Simply put, genetic relatedness was less important in the Nordic areas of Europe. The unique feature of the simple household system was the high percentage of non-relatives. Unlike the rest of Eurasia, the pre-industrial societies of northwestern Europe were not organized around extended kinship relationships, and it is easy to see that they are pre-adapted to the industrial revolution and modern world generally.[8]Laslett (1983) further elaborates this basic difference to include four variants ranging from West, West/central or middle, Mediterranean, to East.

This simple household system is a fundamental feature of individualist culture. The individualist family was able to pursue its interests freed from the obligations and constraints of extended kinship relationships and free of the suffocating collectivism of the social structures typical of the rest of the world. Marriage based on individual consent and conjugal affection quickly replaced marriage based on kinship and family strategizing.

This relatively greater proneness to forming a simple household type may well be ethnically based. During the pre-industrial era, this household system was found only within Nordic Europe: The simple household type is based on a single married couple and their children and characterized Scandinavia (except Finland), British Isles, Low Countries, German-speaking areas, and northern France. Within France, the simple household occurred in areas inhabited by the Germanic peoples who lived northeast of “the eternal line” which connects Saint Malo and Geneva and the rest of France (Ladurie 1986). This area developed large scale agriculture capable of feeding the growing towns and cities, and they did so prior to the agricultural revolution of the 18th century. It was supported by a large array of skilled craftsmen in the towns, and a large class of medium-sized ploughmen who “owned horses, copper bowls, glass goblets and often shoes; their children had fat cheeks and broad shoulders, and their babies wore tiny shoes. None of these children had the swollen bellies of the rachitics of the Third World” (Ladurie 1986, 340). The northeast became the center of French industrialization and world trade.

The northeast also differed from the southwest in literacy rates. In the early 19th century, while literacy rates for France as a whole were approximately 50%, the rate in the northeast was close to 100%, and differences occurred at least from the 17th century. Moreover, there was a pronounced difference in stature, with the northeasterners being taller by almost 2 centimeters in an 18th century sample of military recruits. Ladurie notes that the difference in the entire population was probably larger because the army would not accept many of the shorter men from the south-west. In addition, Laslett (1983) and other family historians have noted that the trend toward the economically independent nuclear family was more prominent in the north, while there was a tendency toward joint families as one moves to the south.

These findings are compatible with the interpretation that ethnic differences are a contributing factor to the geographical variation in family forms within Europe. The findings suggest that the Germanic peoples had a somewhat greater biological tendency toward individualism—a greater tendency toward the simple household family structure because of selection occurring in a prolonged resource-limited period of their evolution in the north of Europe. Similar tendencies toward exogamy, individualism, and relative de-emphasis on the extended family were characteristic of Roman civilization (MacDonald 1990). Current data indicate that around 80% of European genes come from people who settled in Europe 30–40,000 years ago and therefore persisted through the Ice Ages (Sykes 2001). This is sufficient time to develop the unique tendency toward a relative de-emphasis on extended kinship relationships. These northwestern European groups were less attracted to extended kinship groups, so that when the context altered with the rise of powerful central governments able to guarantee individual interests, the simple household structure became dominant. This simple family structure was adopted relatively easily because this group already had relatively powerful psychological predispositions toward the simple family resulting from its unique evolutionary history.

The establishment of the simple household freed from enmeshment in the wider kinship community was then followed in short order by all the other markers of Western modernization: limited governments in which individuals have rights against the state, capitalist economic enterprise based on individual economic rights, moral universalism, and science as individualist truth seeking. As I note in Chapter 6 of CofC, individualist societies develop republican political institutions and institutions of scientific inquiry that assume that groups are maximally permeable and highly subject to defection when individual needs are not met. As noted several times in my books on Judaism, individualist societies are an ideal environment for Judaism as a highly collectivist, group-oriented entity. Jews benefit from open, individualistic societies in which barriers to upward mobility are removed, in which people are viewed as individuals rather than as members of groups, and in which intellectual discourse is not prescribed by gentile-dominated institutions like the Catholic Church. This is also why, apart from periods in which Jews served as middlemen between alien elites and native populations, Middle Eastern societies were much more efficient than Western individualistic societies at keeping Jews in a powerless position where they do not pose a competitive threat (see MacDonald 1998a, Chap. 2).

Although these differences within the Western European system are important, they do not belie the general difference between Western Europe and the rest of Eurasia. Although the trends toward simple households and the demographic transition occurred first in the northwest of Europe, they spread relatively quickly among all the Western European countries.

On the other hand, Middle Eastern societies are characterized by anthropologists as “segmentary societies” organized into relatively impermeable, kinship based groups (e.g., Coon 1958, 153; Eickelman 1981, 157–174). Whereas individualist cultures are biased toward separation from the wider group, individuals in collectivist societies have a strong sense of group identity and group boundaries based on genetic relatedness, often reinforced through external markers such as hair style or clothing, and different groups settle in different areas where they retain their homogeneity alongside other homogeneous groups. Consider Carleton Coon’s (1958) description of Middle Eastern society:

There the ideal was to emphasize not the uniformity of the citizens of a country as a whole but a uniformity within each special segment, and the greatest possible contrast between segments. The members of each ethnic unit feel the need to identify themselves by some configuration of symbols. If by virtue of their history they possess some racial peculiarity, this they will enhance by special haircuts and the like; in any case they will wear distinctive garments and behave in a distinctive fashion. (Coon 1958, 153)

Between-group conflict often lurked just beneath the surface of these societies. For example, Dumont (1982, 223) describes the increase in anti-Semitism in Turkey in the late 19th century consequent to increased resource competition. In many towns, Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived in a sort of superficial harmony, and even lived in the same areas, “but the slightest spark sufficed to ignite the fuse” (p. 222).

Jews are at the extreme of this Middle Eastern tendency toward hyper-collectivism and hyper-ethnocentrism—a phenomenon that goes a long way toward explaining the chronic hostilities in the area. Indeed, traditional Jewish groups were basically extended families with high levels of consanguineous marriage, including uncle-niece marriage which is sanctioned in the Old Testament—exactly the opposite of Western European tendencies toward exogamy. I give many examples of Jewish hyper-ethnocentrism in my trilogy, but recently I have been much impressed with the theme of Jewish ethnocentrism in the writings of Israel Shahak, most notably his co-authored Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel (Shahak & Mezvinsky 1999). In their examination of current Jewish fundamentalists and their influence in Israel, Shahak and Mezvinsky argue that present-day fundamentalists attempt to re-create the life of Jewish communities before the Enlightenment (i.e., prior to about 1750). During this period the great majority of Jews believed in Cabbala—Jewish mysticism. Influential Jewish scholars like Gershom Scholem ignored the obvious racialist, exclusivist material in the Cabbala by using words like “men”, “human beings”, and “cosmic” to suggest the Cabbala has a universalist message. The actual text says salvation is only for Jews, while non-Jews have “Satanic souls” (p. 58).

The ethnocentrism apparent in such statements was not only the norm in traditional Jewish society, but remains a powerful current of contemporary Jewish fundamentalism, with important implications for Israeli politics. For example, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, describing the difference between Jews and non-Jews:

We do not have a case of profound change in which a person is merely on a superior level. Rather we have a case of . . . a totally different species. . . . The body of a Jewish person is of a totally different quality from the body of [members] of all nations of the world . . . The difference of the inner quality [of the body], . . . is so great that the bodies would be considered as completely different species. This is the reason why the Talmud states that there is an halachic[9]A halachic difference refers to a distinction based on Jewish religious law. difference in attitude about the bodies of non-Jews [as opposed to the bodies of Jews] ‘their bodies are in vain’. . . . An even greater difference exists in regard to the soul. Two contrary types of soul exist, a non-Jewish soul comes from three satanic spheres, while the Jewish soul stems from holiness. (In Shahak & Mezvinsky 1999, 59–60)

This claim of Jewish uniqueness echoes Holocaust activist Elie Wiesel’s (1985, 153) claim that “everything about us is different.” Jews are “ontologically” exceptional.

The Gush Emunim and other Jewish fundamentalist sects described by Shahak and Mezvinsky are thus part of a long Jewish tradition which considers Jews and non-Jews as completely different species, with Jews absolutely superior to non-Jews and subject to a radically different moral code. Moral universalism is thus antithetical to the Jewish tradition.

Within Israel, these Jewish fundamentalist groups are not tiny fringe groups. They are widely respected by the Israeli public and by many Jews in the Diaspora. They have a great deal of influence on the government, especially the Likud governments and the recent government of national unity headed by Ariel Sharon. The members of Gush Emunim constitute a significant percentage of the elite units of the Israeli army, and, as expected on the hypothesis that they are extremely ethnocentric, they are much more willing to treat the Palestinians in a savage and brutal manner than are other Israeli soldiers. All together, the religious parties make up about 25% of the Israeli electorate (Shahak & Mezvinsky 1999, 8)—a percentage that is sure to increase because of their high fertility and because intensified troubles with the Palestinians tend to make other Israelis more sympathetic to their cause. Given the fractionated state of Israeli politics and the increasing numbers of the religious groups, it is unlikely that future governments can be formed without their participation. Peace in the Middle East therefore appears unlikely absent the complete capitulation of the Palestinians.

The point here is not so much about the fundamentalists in contemporary Israel but that traditional Jewish communities were intensely ethnocentric and collectivist—a major theme of all three of my books on Judaism. A thread throughout CofC is that the Jewish intellectuals and political activists discussed therein strongly identified as Jews and saw their work as furthering specific Jewish agendas.

Given that ethnocentrism continues to be pervasive in all segments of the Jewish community, the advocacy of the de-ethnicization of Europeans—a common sentiment in the movements I discuss in CofC—is best seen as a strategic move against peoples regarded as historical enemies. In Chapter 8 of CofC, I called attention to a long list of similar double standards, especially with regard to the policies pursued by Israel versus the policies Jewish organizations have pursued in the U.S., including issues of church-state separation, attitudes toward multi-culturalism and immigration policies favoring the dominant ethnic groups. This double standard is fairly pervasive.[10]The following comment illustrates well the different mindset Jews have toward America versus Israel:

While walking through the streets of Jerusalem, I feel Jewish identity is first and foremost about self-determination and, by extension, the security and power that comes with having a state. I am quite comfortable in Israel with the sight of soldiers standing with machine guns and the knowledge that even a fair number of the civilians around me are probably packing heat. The seminal event in my Zionist consciousness, despite my being born after 1967 and having serious misgivings about Israel’s control over the territories, is still the dramatic victory of a Jewish army in the Six-Day War. Put me in New York, however, and suddenly the National Rifle Association symbolizes this country’s darkest side. It’s as if my subconscious knows instinctively that the moment we land at JFK Airport, it becomes time to stash away those images of Israeli soldiers taking control of Jerusalem’s Old City, of Moshe Dayan standing at the Western Wall, and to replace them with the familiar photograph of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marching by the side of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (A. Eden, “Liberalism in Diaspora.” The Forward, Sept. 21, 2001)

A principal theme of CofC is that Jewish organizations played a decisive role in opposing the idea that the United States ought to be a European nation. Nevertheless, these organizations have been strong supporters of Israel as a nation of the Jewish people. Consider, for example, a press release of May 28, 1999 by the ADL:

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today lauded the passage of sweeping changes in Germany’s immigration law, saying the easing of the nation’s once rigorous naturalization requirements “will provide a climate for diversity and acceptance. It is encouraging to see pluralism taking root in a society that, despite its strong democracy, had for decades maintained an unyielding policy of citizenship by blood or descent only,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “The easing of immigration requirements is especially significant in light of Germany’s history of the Holocaust and persecution of Jews and other minority groups. The new law will provide a climate for diversity and acceptance in a nation with an onerous legacy of xenophobia, where the concept of ‘us versus them’ will be replaced by a principle of citizenship for all.”[11]

There is no mention of analogous laws in place in Israel restricting immigration to Jews and the long-standing policy of rejecting the possibility of repatriation for Palestinian refugees wishing to return to Israel or the occupied territories. The prospective change in the “us versus them” attitude alleged to be characteristic of Germany is applauded, while the “us versus them” attitude characteristic of Israel and Jewish culture throughout history is unmentioned. Recently, the Israeli Ministry of Interior ruled that new immigrants who have converted to Judaism will no longer be able to bring non-Jewish family members into the country. The decision is expected to cut by half the number of eligible immigrants to Israel.[12]Jerusalem Post, March 5, 2001. Jewish organizations continue to be strong proponents of multi-ethnic immigration to the United States.[13]See, e.g., the ADL Policy Report on the prospects of immigration legislation in the George W. Bush administration and the 107th Congress:

My view is that Judaism must be conceived primarily as an ethnic rather than a religious group. Recent statements by prominent Jewish figures show that an ethnic conceptualization of Judaism fits with the self-images of many Jews. Speaking to a largely Jewish audience, Benjamin Netanyahu, prominent Likud Party member and until recently prime minister of Israel, stated, “If Israel had not come into existence after World War II then I am certain the Jewish race wouldn’t have survived. . . . I stand before you and say you must strengthen your commitment to Israel. You must become leaders and stand up as Jews. We must be proud of our past to be confident of our future.”[14]Daily Pilot, Newport Beach/ Costa Mesa, California, Feb. 28, 2000, Charles Bronfman, a main sponsor of the $210 million “Birthright Israel” project which attempts to deepen the commitment of American Jews, expresses a similar sentiment: “You can live a perfectly decent life not being Jewish, but I think you’re losing a lot—losing the kind of feeling you have when you know [that] throughout the world there are people who somehow or other have the same kind of DNA that you have.”[15]“Project Reminds Young Jews of Heritage.” The Washington Post, Jan. 17, 2000, p. A19. (Bronfman is co-chairman of the Seagram company and brother of Edgar Bronfman, Sr., president of the World Jewish Congress.) Such sentiments would be unthinkable coming from European-American leaders. European-Americans making such assertions of racial pride would quickly be labeled haters and extremists.

Assertions of Jewish ethnicity are well-founded. Scientific studies supporting the genetic cohesiveness of Jewish groups continue to appear, most notably Hammer et al. (2000). Based on Y-chromosome data, Hammer et al. conclude that 1 in 200 matings within Jewish communities were with non-Jews over a 2000-year period.

In general, the contemporary organized Jewish community is characterized by high levels of Jewish identification and ethnocentrism. Jewish activist organizations like the ADL are not creations of the fundamentalist and Orthodox, but represent the broad Jewish community, including non-religious Jews and Reform Jews. In general, the more actively people are involved in the Jewish community, the more committed they are to preventing intermarriage and retaining Jewish ethnic cohesion. And despite a considerable level of intermarriage among less committed Jews, the leadership of the Jewish community in the U.S. is not now made up of the offspring of intermarried people to any significant extent.

Jewish ethnocentrism is ultimately simple traditional human ethnocentrism, although it is certainly among the more extreme varieties of seen among humans. But what is so fascinating is the cloak of intellectual support for Jewish ethnocentrism, the complexity and intellectual sophistication of the rationalizations for it—some of which are reviewed in Separation and Its Discontents (MacDonald 1998a, Chaps. 7 and 8), and the rather awesome hypocrisy of it, given Jewish opposition to ethnocentrism among Europeans.

Although European peoples appear to be less prone to ethnocentrism and more prone to moral universalism and individualism, they did not surrender their impending cultural and demographic eclipse without a fight. There is no evidence for internal WASP self-destruction, but a great deal of evidence that their active resistance was overcome by the movements I discuss in CofC. For example, Bendersky’s (2000) recent The “Jewish Threat” shows strong resistance to the decline of European hegemony among U.S. Army officers in the period from World War I to well into the Cold War era and shows that similar attitudes were widespread among the public at that time. But their resistance was nullified by the decline of the intellectual basis of European ethnic hegemony and by political events, such as the immigration law of 1965, which they were unable to control. In the end, the 1965 law passed because it was advertised as nothing more than a moral gesture that would have no long-term impact on the ethnic balance of the U.S. However, to its activist supporters, including the Jewish organizations who were critical to its passage, immigration reform was what it had always been: a mechanism to alter the ethnic balance of the United States (see Chap. 7).

Finally, it is surely of critical importance that the Jewish intellectuals and political operatives described in CofC did not lose their national/ethnic loyalties. The broad trends toward de-ethnicization somehow occurred among the WASPs but spared the Jews who by all accounts continue to strongly support their ethnic homeland, Israel, and continue to have a strong sense of peoplehood—propped up now by high-profile programs encouraging Jews to marry other Jews. My account would benefit from discussing the acceptance of Jews by the Protestant establishment after World War II. However, what I have seen thus far suggests Jewish involvement in the dramatic changes in Protestant sensibilities as well. Recently I have become aware of John Murray Cuddihy’s (1978) book, No Offense: Civil Religion and Protestant Taste. The chapter on Reinhold Niebuhr is particularly interesting in thinking about how to account for the acceptance of Jews and Judaism by the WASP establishment after W.W.II. Cuddihy focuses on the elevation of Judaism to the status of one of the “big three” U.S. religions, to the point that a rabbi officiates at the presidential inauguration even though Jews constitute approximately 2–3% of the population. Cuddihy argues that this religious surface served as a protective coloring and led to a sort of crypto-Judaism in which Jewish ethnic identities were submerged in order to make them appear civilized to the goyim. As part of this contract, Niebuhr acknowledged “the stubborn will of the Jews to live as a peculiar people”—an acknowledgement by an important Protestant leader that the Jews could remain a people with a surface veneer of religion.

Both sides gave up something in this bargain. The Jews’ posturing as a religion left them open to large-scale defection via intermarriage to the extent that they took seriously the idea that Judaism was akin to Protestantism, and to some extent this did occur. But recently, Jews have been mending the fences. There is an upsurge in more traditional forms of Judaism and an open rejection of intermarriage even among the most liberal wings of Judaism. Recent guidelines for Reform Judaism emphasize traditional practices of conversion, such as circumcision, that are likely to minimize converts, and proselytism is explicitly rejected.[16]“Reform Judaism Nears a Guide to Conversion.” New York Times, June 27, 2001. It would appear that Conservative religious forms of Judaism will be the rule in the Diaspora and there will be a self-conscious ethnic aspect to Jewish religiosity.

What the Protestants gave up was far more important because I think it has been a contributing factor in the more or less irreversible ethnic changes in the U.S. and elsewhere in the Western world. Judaism became unconditionally accepted as a modern religion even while retaining a commitment to its ethnic core. It conformed outwardly to the religious norms of the U.S., but it also continued to energetically pursue its ethnic interests, especially with regard to issues where there is a substantial consensus among Jews: support for Israel and the welfare of other foreign Jewries, immigration and refugee policy, church-state separation, abortion rights, and civil liberties (Goldberg 1996, 5). What is remarkable is that a wealthy, powerful, and highly talented ethnic group was able to pursue its interests without those interests ever being the subject of open political discussion by mainstream political figures, for at least the last 60 years—since Lindbergh’s ill-fated Des Moines speech of 1941.

I suppose that Niebuhr thought that he was only giving up the prospect of converting Jews, but the implicit downgrading of the ethnic character of Judaism provided an invaluable tool in furthering Jewish ethnic aims in the U.S. The downgrading of the ethnic aspect of Judaism essentially allowed Jews to win the ethnic war without anyone even being able to acknowledge that it was an ethnic war. For example, during the immigration debates of the 1940s–1960s Jews were described by themselves and others as “people of the Jewish faith”. They were simply another religion in an officially pluralistic religious society, and part of Jewish posturing was a claim to a unique universalistic moral-religious vision that could only be achieved by enacting legislation that in fact furthered their particularist ethnic aims. The universalistic moral-religious vision promoted by Jewish activists really amounted to taking the Protestants at their own word—by insisting that every last shred of ethnic identity among Protestants be given up while Jews were implicitly allowed to keep theirs if they only promised to behave civilly.

The evidence provided by Cuddihy suggests that Niebuhr was socialized by the Jewish milieu of New York into taking the positions that he did—that his position as a major Protestant spokesperson was facilitated by alliances he formed with Jews and because his writings fit well with the Jewish milieu of New York intellectual circles. Niebuhr’s behavior is therefore more an indication of Jewish power and the ability of Jews to recruit gentiles sympathetic to their causes than an indication of Protestant self-destruction. One cannot underestimate the importance of Jewish power in intellectual circles in New York at the time of Niebuhr’s pronouncements (see CofC, passim). For example, Leslie Fiedler (1948, 873) noted that “the writer drawn to New York from the provinces feels . . . the Rube, attempts to conform; and the almost parody of Jewishness achieved by the gentile writer in New York is a strange and crucial testimony of our time.”[17]Jewish pressure for altering traditional Roman Catholic attitudes on Jewish responsibility for deicide are recounted in Lacouture (1995, 440–458) and Roddy (1966). Pope John XXIII deleted the “perfidious Jews” reference from the Holy Week liturgy (Lacouture 1995, 448). He then solicited the opinions of the world’s 2,594 bishops on the Church’s relations with the Jews. Virtually all of the respondents wished to maintain the status quo. The Pope was “bitterly disappointed by the response of the episcopate” (p. 449).

Jewish Involvement in Communism • 4,500 Words

Beat them, Red Fighters, clobber them to death, if it is the last thing you do! Right away! This minute! Now! . . . Slaughter them, Red Army Fighters, Stamp harder on the rising lids of their rancid coffins! (Isaac Babal, described by Cynthia Ozick (2001, 3) as “an acutely conscious Jew,” propagandizing for the Bolshevik Revolution; in Ozick 2001, 4)

Another recent development related to the issues raised in CofC was the publication of The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression(Curtois et al. 1999). Reading this book has caused me to expand on some of the ideas in Chapter 3 of CofC. I didn’t emphasize enough the truly horrific nature of the Soviet regime, nor did I place sufficient emphasis on the consequences of Jewish involvement in the rise and maintenance of Communism.

The Soviet government murdered over 20 million of its own citizens, the vast majority in the first 25 years of its existence during the height of Jewish power. It was a “state against its people” (Werth 1999), mounting murderous campaigns of collective punishment (usually involving deportation or forced starvation) against a great many ethnic groups, including Great Russian peasants, Ukrainians, Cossacks, Chechens, Crimean Tatars, Volga Germans, Moldavians, Kalmyks, Karachai, Balkars, Ingush, Greeks, Bulgars, Crimean Armenians, Meskhetian Turks, Kurds, and Khemshins as groups (Curtois 1999, 10; Werth 1999, 219ff). Although individual Jews were caught up in the Bolshevik violence, there was never any violence directed at Jews as a group.[18]In the early 1950s Stalin appears to have planned to deport Jews to a Jewish area in Western Siberia, but he died before this project was begun. During their occupation of Poland in 1940, the Soviets deported Jews who were refugees from Nazi-occupied Western Poland. However, this action was not anti-Jewish as such because it did not involve either Jews from the Soviet Union or from Eastern Poland. This deportation is more likely to have resulted from Stalin’s fear of anyone or any group exposed to Western influence.

In CofC (p. 94ff), I noted that Jews were prominently involved in the Bolshevik Revolution and formed an elite group in the Soviet Union well into the post-World War II-era. It is interesting that a great many of the non-Jewish Bolsheviks were members of non-Russian ethnic groups or, as noted in CofC, were married to Jewish women. It was a common perception during the early stages of the Soviet Union that the government was dominated by “a small knot of foreigners” (Szajkowski 1977, 55). Stalin, Beria, and Ordzhonikidze were Georgians; Dzerzhinsky, the ruthless head of the Checka during the 1920s, was a Pole with strong pro-Jewish attitudes. The original Cheka was made up largely of non-Russians, and the Russians in the Cheka tended to be sadistic psychopaths and criminals (Werth 1999, 62; Wolin & Slusser 1957, 6)—people who are unlikely to have any allegiance to or identification with their people. The Bolshevik revolution therefore had a pronounced ethnic angle: To a very great extent, Jews and other non-Russians ruled over the Russian people, with disastrous consequences for the Russians and other ethnic groups that were not able to become part of the power structure. For example, when Stalin decided to deport the Chechens, he placed an Ossetian—a group from which he himself was partly derived and an historic enemy of the Chechens—in charge of the deportation. Ossetians and Georgians, Stalin’s own ancestral groups, were allowed to expand at the expense of other ethnic groups.

While Stalin favored the Georgians, Jews had their own ethnic scores to settle. It seems likely that at least some of the Bolshevik mass murder and terror was motivated by revenge against peoples that had historically been anti-Jewish. Several historians have suggested that Jews were motivated to join the security forces to get revenge for their treatment under the Czar (Rapoport 1990, 31; Baron 1975, 170). For example, the Cossacks served the Czar as a military police force, and they used their power against Jewish communities during the conflicts between the Czar and the Jews. After the Revolution, the Cossacks were deported to Siberia for refusing to join the collective farms. The person in charge of the deportations was an ethnic Jew, Lazar Kaganovich, nicknamed the “wolf of the Kremlin” because of his penchant for violence. In his drive against the peasants, Kaganovich took “an almost perverse joy in being able to dictate to the Cossacks. He recalled too vividly what he and his family had experienced at the hands of these people. . . . Now they would all pay—men, women, children. It didn’t matter who. They became one and the same. That was the key to [Kaganovich’s] being. He would never forgive and he would never forget” (Kahan 1987, 164). Similarly, Jews were placed in charge of security in the Ukraine, which had a long history of anti-Semitism (Lindemann 1997, 443) and became a scene of mass murder in the 1930s.

In Cof C (p. 80),I noted that Jews were very prominently involved in the Soviet secret police and that they played similar roles in Communist Poland and Hungary. In addition to many lower ranking security personnel, prominent Jews included Matvei Berman and Naftali Frenkel, who developed the slave labor system which resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths. (The construction of a canal between the Baltic and the White Sea claimed many thousands of lives. The six overseers of the project were Jews: Firin, Berman, Frenkel, Kogan, Rappoport, Zhuk.) Other Jews who were prominent in carrying out the Red Terror included Genrik Yagoda (head of the secret police), Aron Soltz, Lev Inzhir (chief accountant of the Gulag Archipelago), M. I. Gay (head of a special secret police department), A.A. Slutsky and his deputy Boris Berman (in charge of terror abroad), K.V. Pauker (secret police Chief of Operations), and Lazar Kaganovich (most powerful government official behind Stalin during the 1930s and prominently involved in the mass murders that took place during that period) (Rapoport 1990, 44–50). In general, Jews were not only prominent in the leadership of the Bolsheviks, but they “abounded at the lower levels of the party machinery—especially, in the Cheka, and its successors the GPU, the OGPU and the NKVD” (Schapiro 1961, 165). The special role of Jews in the Bolshevik government was not lost on Russians: “For the most prominent and colourful figure after Lenin was Trotsky, in Petrograd the dominant and hated figure was Zinoviev, while 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” (Schapiro 1961, 165). Beginning in 1917 it was common for Russians to associate Jews with the revolution (Werth 1999, 86). Even after the German invasion in 1941, it was common for many Russians to hope for German victory to rid the country of “Jews and Bolsheviks”—until the brutality of the invaders became apparent (Werth 1999, 215).

A major theme of Chapter 3 of CofC is that in general Jewish leftists, including supporters of Bolshevism, continued to identify as Jews and that Jewish support for these causes waxed or waned depending on their congruence with specific Jewish issues. However, I should have emphasized more just how much specifically Jewish issues mattered. The horrific consequences of Bolshevism for millions of non-Jewish Soviet citizens do not seem to have been an issue for Jewish leftists. During the 1930s, when millions of Soviet citizens were being murdered by the Soviet government, the Communist Party USA took great pains to appeal to specific Jewish interests, including opposing anti-Semitism, supporting Zionism, and advocating the importance of maintaining Jewish cultural traditions. During this period, “the American radical movement glorified the development of Jewish life in the Soviet Union. . . . The Soviet Union was living proof that under socialism the Jewish question could be solved” (Kann 1981, 152–153). Communism was perceived as “good for Jews.” Radical Jews—a substantial percentage of the entire Jewish community at that time—saw the world through Jewish lenses.

A fascinating example of an American Jewish radical who extolled the virtues of the Soviet Union is Joe Rapoport (Kann 1981, 20–42, 109–125)— mentioned briefly in CofC, but his example bears a deeper examination. Rapoport joined a Jewish detachment of the Red Army that was fighting the Ukrainian nationalists in the civil war that followed the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. Like many other Jews, he chose the Red Army because it opposed the anti-Jewish actions of the Ukrainian nationalists. Like the vast majority of Russian Jews, he greeted the revolution because it improved the lives of the Jews.

After emigrating to the U.S., Rapoport visited the Ukraine in November of 1934, less then one year after the famine created by Soviet government actions that killed 4 million Ukrainian peasants (Werth 1999, 159ff). The peasants had resisted being forced to join collective farms and were aided by local Ukrainian authorities. The response of the central government was to arrest farmers and confiscate all grain, including reserves to be used for next year’s harvest. Since they had no food, the peasants attempted to leave for the cities but were prevented from doing so by the government. The peasants starved by the millions. Parents abandoned starving children before starving themselves; cannibalism was rampant; remaining workers were tortured to force them to hand over any remaining food. Methods of torture included “the ‘cold’ method where the victim was stripped bare and left out in the cold, stark naked. Sometimes whole brigades of collective workers were treated in this fashion. In the ‘hot’ method, the feet and the bottom of the skirt of female workers were doused with gasoline and then set alight. The flames were put out, and the process was repeated (Werth 1999, 166). During the period when the famine claimed a total of 6 million lives throughout the country, the government exported eighteen million hundredweight of grain in order to obtain money for industrialization.

These horrors are unmentioned by Rapoport in his account of his 1934 visit. Instead, he paints a very positive portrait of life in the Ukraine under the Soviets. Life is good for the Jews. He is pleased that Yiddish culture is accepted not only by Jews but by non-Jews as well. (For example, he recounts an incident in which a Ukrainian worker read a story in Yiddish to the other workers, Jews and non-Jews alike.) Young Jews were taking advantage of new opportunities not only in Yiddish culture but “in the economy, in the government, in participation in the general life of the country” (Kann 1981, 120). Older Jews complained that the government was anti-religious, and young Jews complained that Leon Trotsky, “the national pride of the Jewish people,” had been removed. But the message to American radicals was upbeat: “It was sufficient to learn that the Jewish young people were in higher positions and embraced the Soviet system” (Kann 1981, 122). Rapoport sees the world through Jewish-only eyes. The massive suffering in which a total of nearly 20 million Soviet citizens had already died because of government actions is irrelevant. When he looks back on his life as an American Jewish radical, his only ambivalence and regrets are about supporting Soviet actions he saw as not in the Jewish interest, such as the non-aggression pact with Germany and failure to consistently support Israel. Rapoport was thus an exemplar of the many defenders of Communism in the U.S. media and intellectual circles (see below and CofC, p. 75).

Peter Novick’s recent book, The Holocaust in American Life, contributes to scholarship on the involvement of Jews in the radical left during the 20th century. He shows that Jewish organizations in the U.S. were well aware of Jewish involvement in Communism, but they argued that only a minority of Jews were involved and downplayed the fact that a majority of Communists were Jews, that an even greater majority of Communist leaders were Jews, that the great majority of those called up by the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1940s and 1950s were Jews, and that most of those prosecuted for spying for the Soviet Union were Jews (see also Chapter 3 of CofC and MacDonald 1998a, 200–201). Indeed, the proposal that leftist radicalism represented a minority of the American Jewish community between 1920–1950 is far from obvious. Leftist sympathies were widespread in the American Jewish Congress—by far the largest organization of American Jews during this period, and Communist-oriented groups were affiliated with the American Jewish Congress until being reluctantly purged during the McCarthy era (Svonkin 1997, 132, 166). Novick notes that Jewish organizations made sure that Hollywood movies did not show any Communist characters with Jewish names. Newspapers and magazines such as Time and Life, which were at that time controlled by non-Jews, agreed not to publish letters on the Jewishness of American Communists at the behest of a staff member of the American Jewish Committee (Novick 1999, 95).

Novick also notes that Jewish Communists often used the Holocaust as a rhetorical device at a time when mainstream Jewish organizations were trying to keep a low profile. This fits well with the material in CofC indicating a strong Jewish identification among the vast majority of Jewish Communists. Invocations of the Holocaust “became the dominant argument, at least in Jewish circles, for opposition to Cold War mobilization” (Novick 1999, 93). Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, convicted of spying for the Soviet Union, often invoked the Holocaust in rationalizing their actions. Julius testified that the USSR “contributed a major share in destroying the Hitler beast who killed 6,000,000 of my co-religionists” (p. 94). Public demonstrations of support for the Rosenbergs often invoked the Holocaust.

Although Bendersky (2000) presents an apologetic account in which Jewish involvement in radical leftism is seen as nothing more than the paranoia of racist military officers, he shows that U.S. military intelligence had confirmation of the linkage from multiple independent sources, including information on financial support of revolutionary activity provided by wealthy Jews like Jacob Schiff and the Warburg family. These sources included not only its own agents, but also the British government and the U.S. State Department Division of Russian Affairs. These sources asserted that Jews dominated the Bolshevik governments of the Soviet Union and Hungary and that Jews in other countries were sympathetic to Bolshevism. Similarly, Szajkowski (1977) shows that the view that Jews dominated the Bolshevik government was very widespread among Russians and foreigners in the Soviet Union, including American and British military and diplomatic personnel and administrators of relief agencies. He also shows that sympathy for the Bolshevik government was the norm within the Eastern European immigrant Jewish community in the U.S. in the period from 1918–1920, but that the older German-Jewish establishment (whose numbers were dwarfed by the more recent immigrants from Eastern Europe) opposed Bolshevism during this period.

The discussion of Jewish power in the Soviet Union in CofC notes that in stark contrast to the campaigns of mass murder against other peoples, Stalin’s efforts against a relative handful of high-ranking Jewish Communists during the purges of the 1930s were very cautious and involved a great deal of deception intended to downplay the Jewish identity of the victims. Jewish power during this period is also indicated by the fact that the Soviet government established a Jewish autonomous region (Birobidzhan) in 1934, at least partly to curry favor with foreign Jewish organizations (Gitelman 1981). During the 1920s and throughout the 1930s the Soviet Union accepted aid for Soviet Jews from foreign Jewish organizations, especially the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee which was funded by wealthy American Jews (Warburg, Schiff, Kuhn, Loeb, Lehman, Marshall). Another revealing incident occurred when Stalin ordered the murder of two Jewish leaders of the international socialist movement, Henryk Ehrlich and Victor Alter. These murders created an international incident, and there were protests by leftists around the world (Rapoport 1990, 68). The furor did not die down until the Soviets established a Jewish organization, the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee (JAC), dedicated to winning the favor of American Jews. American Jewish leaders, such as Nahum Goldmann of the World Jewish Congress and Rabbi Stephen S. Wise of the American Jewish Congress, helped quell the uproar over the incident and shore up positive views of the Soviet Union among American Jews. They, along with a wide range of American Jewish radicals, warmly greeted JAC representatives in New York during World War II.

Again, the contrast is striking. The Soviet government killed millions of Ukrainian and Russian peasants during the 1920s and 1930s, executed hundreds of thousands of people who were purged from their positions in the party and throughout the economy, imprisoned hundreds of thousands of people in appalling conditions that produced incredibly high mortality and without any meaningful due process, drafted hundreds of thousands of people into forced labor with enormous loss of life, and ordered the collective punishment and deportation of Cossacks and other ethnic groups, resulting in mass murder of these groups. At the same time, actions against a handful of Jewish Communists were taken cautiously and performed with reassurances that the government still had very positive views of Jews and Judaism.

While the Jewish Holocaust has become a moral touchstone and premier cultural icon in Western societies, this blind spot about the horrors of Bolshevism continues into the present time. Jewish media figures who were blacklisted because of Communist affiliations in the 1940s are now heroes, honored by the film industry, praised in newspapers, their work exhibited in museums.[19]Hamilton, D. (2000). “Keeper of the Flame: A Blacklist Survivor.” Los Angeles. Times, October 3. For example, an event commemorating the blacklist was held at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in October 1997. Organized by the four guilds—the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), Directors Guild of America (DGA), Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Writers Guild of America, west (WGAw), the event honored the lives and careers of the blacklisted writers and condemned the guilds’ lack of response fifty years earlier.[20]See At the same time, the Writers Guild of America has been restoring dozens of credits to movies written by screenwriters who wrote under pseudonyms or used fronts while blacklisted. Movies on the topic paint a picture of innocent Jewish idealists hounded by a ruthless, oppressive government, and critics like Bernheimer (1998, 163–166) clearly approve this assessment. In the same vein, the 1983 movie Daniel, based on a novel by E. L. Doctorow and directed by Sydney Lumet, portrayed the conviction of the Rosenbergs as “a matter of political expediency. The persecution is presented as a nightmarish vision of Jewish victimization, senseless and brutal” (Bernheimer 1998, 178).

A nostalgic and exculpatory attitude toward the Jewish Old Left is apparent in recent accounts of the children of “red diaper babies,” including those who have come to reject their leftist commitments. For example, Ronald Radosh’s (2001a) Commies describes the all-encompassing world of Jewish radicalism of his youth. His father belonged to a classic Communist Party front organization called the Trade Union Unity League. Radosh was a dutiful son, throwing himself fervently into every cause that bore the party’s stamp of approval, attending a party-inspired summer camp and a New York City red-diaper high school (known as “the Little Red Schoolhouse for little Reds”), and participating in youth festivals modeled on Soviet extravaganzas. It says a lot about the Jewish milieu of the Party that a common joke was: “What Jewish holidays do you celebrate?” “Paul Robeson’s birthday and May Day.” Radosh only questioned the leftist faith when he was rejected and blackballed by his leftist comrades for publishing a book that established the guilt of Julius Rosenberg. Radosh shows that academic departments of history remain a bastion of apologia for the far left. Many academic historians shunned Radosh because of his findings, including Eric Foner, another Red Diaper Baby, who was a president of the American Historical Association. Radosh writes of the“reflexive hatred of the American system” that pervades the left. It was indeed a “reflexive hatred”—a hatred that, as discussed in CofC, was due far more to their strong Jewish identifications than to anything objectively wrong with American society. Nevertheless, despite his reservations about the leftism of his past, he presents the motivations of Jewish communists as idealistic even as they provided “the ideological arguments meant to rationalize Soviet crimes and gain the support by Americans for Soviet foreign policy” (Radosh 2001b).

Despite the massive evidence for a very large Jewish involvement in these movements, there are no apologies from Jewish organizations and very few mea culpas from Jewish intellectuals. If anything, the opposite is true, given the idealization of blacklisted writers and the continuing tendency to portray U.S. Communists as idealists who were crushed by repressive McCarthyism. Because many Communist societies eventually developed anti-Jewish movements, Jewish organizations portray Jews as victims of Communism, not as critical to its rise to power, as deeply involved in the murderous reign of terror unleashed by these regimes, and as apologists for the Soviet Union in the West. Forgotten in this history are the millions of deaths, the forced labor, the quieting of all dissent that occurred during the height of Jewish power in the Soviet Union. Remembered are the anti-Jewish trends of late Communism.

The 20th century in Europe and the Western world, like the 15th century in Spain, was a Jewish century because Jews and Jewish organizations were intimately and decisively involved in all of the important events. If I am correct in asserting that Jewish participation was a necessary condition for the Bolshevik Revolution and its murderous aftermath, one could also argue that Jews thereby had a massive influence on later events. The following is an “alternative history”; i.e., a history of what might have happened if certain events had not happened. For example, alternative historian Niall Ferguson’s The Pity of War makes a plausible case that if England had not entered World War I, Germany would have defeated France and Russia and would have become the dominant power in Europe. The Czar’s government may well have collapsed, but the changes would have led to a constitutional government instead of the Bolshevik regime. Hitler would not have come to power because Germans would have already achieved their national aspirations. World War II would not have happened, and there would have been no Cold War.

But of course, these things did happen. In the same way, one can then also ask what might have happened in the absence of Jewish involvement in the Bolshevik Revolution. The argument would go as follows:

(1) Given that World War I did occur and that the Czar’s government was drastically weakened, it seems reasonable that there would have been major changes in Russia. However, without Jewish involvement, the changes in Russia would have resulted in a constitutional monarchy, a representative republic, or even a nationalist military junta that enjoyed broad popular support among the Great Russian majority instead of a dictatorship dominated by ethnic outsiders, especially Jews and “jewified non-Jews,” to use Lindemann’s (1997) term. It would not have been an explicitly Marxist revolution, and therefore it would not have had a blueprint for a society that sanctioned war against its own people and their traditional culture. The ideology of the Bolshevik revolution sanctioned the elimination of whole classes of people, and indeed mass murder has been a characteristic of communism wherever it has come to power (Curtois et al. 1999). These massacres were made all the easier because the Revolution was led by ethnic outsiders with little or no sympathy for the Russians or other peoples who suffered the most.

(2) Conservatives throughout Europe and the United States believed that Jews were responsible for Communism and the Bolshevik Revolution (Bendersky 2000; Mayer 1988; Nolte 1965). The Jewish role in leftist political movements was a common source of anti-Jewish attitudes among the National Socialists in Germany as well as among a great many non-Jewish intellectuals. Writing in 1920, Winston Churchill typified the perception that Jews were behind what he termed a “world-wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization.” The role of Jews in the Bolshevik Revolution “is certainly a very great one; it probably outweighs all others.” Churchill noted the predominance of Jews among Bolshevik leaders (Trotsky, Zinoviev, Litvinoff, Krassin, Radek) and among those responsible for “the system of [state] terrorism.” Churchill also noted that Jews were prominent in revolutionary movements in Hungary, in Germany, and in the United States. The identification of Jews with revolutionary radicalism became a major concern of the military and political leaders throughout Western Europe and the United States (Bendersky 2000).

(3) In Germany, the identification of Jews and Bolshevism was common in the middle classes and was a critical part of the National Socialist view of the world. For middle-class Germans, “the experience of the Bolshevik revolution in Germany was so immediate, so close to home, and so disquieting, and statistics seemed to prove the overwhelming participation of Jewish ringleaders so irrefutably,” that even many liberals believed in Jewish responsibility (Nolte 1965, 331). Hitler was also well aware of the predominance of Jews in the short-lived revolutions in Hungary and in the German province of Bavaria in 1919. He had experienced the Jewish involvement in the Bavarian revolution personally, and this may well have been a decisive moment in the development of his anti-Jewish ideas (Lindemann 2000, 90).

Jewish involvement in the horrors of Communism was therefore an important ingredient in Hitler’s desire to destroy the USSR and in the anti-Jewish actions of the German National Socialist government. Ernst Nolte and several other historians have argued that the Jewish role in the Bolshevik Revolution was an important cause of the Holocaust. Hitler and the National Socialists certainly believed that Jews were critical to the success of the Bolshevik Revolution. They compared the Soviet Union to a man with a Slavic body and a Jewish-Bolshevik brain (Nolte 1965, 357–358). They attributed the mass murders of Communism—”the most radical form of Jewish genocide ever known”—to the Jewish-Bolshevik brain (Nolte 1965, 393). The National Socialists were well aware that the Soviet government committed mass murder against its enemies and that it was intent on promoting a world revolution in which many more millions of people would be murdered. As early as 1918 a prominent Jewish Bolshevik, Grigory Zinoviev, spoke publicly about the need to eliminate ten million Russians—an underestimate by half, as it turned out. Seizing upon this background, Hitler wrote,

Now begins the last great revolution. By wrestling political power for himself, the Jew casts off the few remaining shreds of disguise he still wears. The democratic plebeian Jew turns into the blood Jew and the tyrant of peoples. In a few years he will try to exterminate the national pillars of intelligence and, by robbing the peoples of their natural spiritual leadership, will make them ripe for the slavish lot of a permanent subjugation. The most terrible example of this is Russia. (In Nolte 1965, 406)

This line of reasoning does not imply that there were no other critical factors. If World War I had not occurred and if the Czar hadn’t entered that war, then the Czar could have stayed in power much longer. Russia might have been transformed gradually into a modern Western state rather than be subjected to the horrors of Communism. In the same way, Hitler may not have come to power if there had been no Great Depression or if Germany had won World War I. Such events also would have altered things enormously.

(4) The victory over National Socialism then set the stage for the tremendous increase in Jewish power in the post-World War II Western world. This new-found power facilitated the establishment of Israel, the transformation of the United States and other Western nations in the direction of multi-racial, multi-cultural societies via large-scale non-white immigration, and the consequent decline in European demographic and cultural pre-eminence. The critical details of these and other consequences of Jewish rise to international elite status and power are described in CofC.

From the Culture of Critique to the Culture of the Holocaust • 2,100 Words

While CofC describes the “culture of critique” dominated by Jewish intellectual and political movements, perhaps insufficient attention was given to the critical elements of the new culture that has replaced the traditional European cultural forms that dominated a century ago. Central to the new culture is the elevation of Jewish experiences of suffering during World War II, collectively referred to as “the Holocaust” to the level of the pivotal historico-cultural icon in Western societies. Since the publication of CofC, two books have appeared on the political and cultural functions of the Holocaust in contemporary life—Peter Novick’s The Holocaust in American Life, and Norman Finkelstein’s The Holocaust Industry. Novick’s book, themore scholarly of thetwo, notes that the Holocaust has assumed a preeminent status as a symbol of the consequences of ethnic conflict. He argues that the importance of the Holocaust is not a spontaneous phenomenon but stems from highly focused, well-funded efforts of Jewish organizations and individual Jews with access to the major media:

We are not just “the people of the book,” but the people of the Hollywood film and the television miniseries, of the magazine article and the newspaper column, of the comic book and the academic symposium. When a high level of concern with the Holocaust became widespread in American Jewry, it was, given the important role that Jews play in American media and opinion-making elites, not only natural, but virtually inevitable that it would spread throughout the culture at large.(Novick 1999, 12)

The Holocaust was originally promoted to rally support for Israel following the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars: “Jewish organizations . . . [portrayed] Israel’s difficulties as stemming from the world’s having forgotten the Holocaust. The Holocaust framework allowed one to put aside as irrelevant any legitimate ground for criticizing Israel, to avoid even considering the possibility that the rights and wrongs were complex” (Novick 1999, 155). As the threat to Israel subsided, the Holocaust was promoted as the main source of Jewish identity and in the effort to combat assimilation and intermarriage among Jews. During this period, the Holocaust was also promoted among gentiles as an antidote to anti-Semitism. In recent years this has involved a large scale educational effort (including mandated courses in the public schools of several states) spearheaded by Jewish organizations and staffed by thousands of Holocaust professionals aimed at conveying the lesson that “tolerance and diversity [are] good; hate [is] bad, the overall rubric [being] ‘man’s inhumanity to man’ “ (pp. 258–259). The Holocaust has thus become an instrument of Jewish ethnic interests not only as a symbol intended to create moral revulsion at violence directed at minority ethnic groups—prototypically the Jews—but also as an instrument to silence opponents of high levels of multi-ethnic immigration into Western societies. As described in CofC, promoting high levels of multi-ethnic immigration has been a goal of Jewish groups since the late 19th century.

Jewish Holocaust activists insisted on the “incomprehensibility and inexplicability of the Holocaust” (Novick 1999, 178)—an attempt to remove all rational discussion of its causes and to prevent comparisons to numerous other examples of ethnic violence. “Even many observant Jews are often willing to discuss the founding myths of Judaism naturalistically—subject them to rational, scholarly analysis. But they’re unwilling to adopt this mode of thought when it comes to the ‘inexplicable mystery’ of the Holocaust, where rational analysis is seen as inappropriate or sacrilegious” (p. 200). Holocaust activist Elie Wiesel “sees the Holocaust as ‘equal to the revelation at Sinai’ in its religious significance; attempts to ‘desanctify’ or ‘demystify’ the Holocaust are, he says, a subtle form of anti-Semitism” (p. 201). Because the Holocaust is regarded as a unique, unknowable event, Jewish organizations and Israeli diplomats cooperated to block the U.S. Congress from commemorating the Armenian genocide. “Since Jews recognized the Holocaust’s uniqueness—that it was ‘incomparable,’ beyond any analogy—they had no occasion to compete with others; there could be no contest over the incontestable” (p. 195). Abe Foxman, head of the ADL, noted that the Holocaust is “not simply one example of genocide but a near successful attempt on the life of God’s chosen children and, thus, on God himself” (p. 199)—a comment that illustrates well the intimate connection between Holocaust promotion and the more extreme forms of Jewish ethnocentrism.

A result was that American Jews were able to define themselves “as the quintessential victim” (Novick 1999, 194). As an expression of this tendency, Holocaust activist Simon Wiesenthal compiled a calendar showing when, where and by whom Jews were persecuted on every day of the year. Holocaust consciousness was the ultimate expression of a victim mentality. The Holocaust came to symbolize the natural and inevitable terminus of anti-Semitism. “There is no such thing as overreaction to an anti-Semitic incident, no such thing as exaggerating the omnipresent danger. Anyone who scoffed at the idea that there were dangerous portents in American society hadn’t learned ‘the lesson of the Holocaust’ “ (p. 178).

While Jews are portrayed as the quintessential victim in Holocaust iconography, the vast majority of non-Jews are portrayed as potential or actual anti-Semites. “Righteous Gentiles” are acknowledged, but the criteria are strict. They must have risked their lives, and often the lives of the members of their families as well, to save a Jew. “Righteous Gentiles”must display “self-sacrificing heroism of the highest and rarest order” (Novick 1999, 180). Such people are extremely rare, and any Jew who discusses “Righteous Gentiles” for any other reason comes under heavy criticism. The point is to shore up the fortress mentality of Jews—”promoting a wary suspicion of gentiles” (p. 180). A prominent Jewish feminist exemplifies this attitude: “Every conscious Jew longs to ask her or his non-Jewish friends, ‘would you hide me?’—and suppresses the question for fear of hearing the sounds of silence” (p. 181).

Consciousness of the Holocaust is very high among Jews. A 1998 survey found that“remembrance of the Holocaust” was listed as “extremely important” or “very important” to Jewish identity—far more often than anything else, such as synagogue attendance and travel to Israel. Indeed, Jewish identity is far more important than American identity for many American Jews: “In recent years it has become not just permissible but in some circles laudable for American Jews to assert the primacy of Jewish over American loyalty” (Novick 1999, 34).

However, consciousness of the Holocaust is not confined to Jews but has become institutionalized as an American cultural icon. Besides the many Holocaust memorial museums that dot the country and the mushrooming of mandated courses about the Holocaust in public schools, a growing number of colleges and universities now have endowed chairs in Holocaust Studies. “Considering all the Holocaust institutions of one kind or another in the United States, there are by now thousands of full-time Holocaust professionals dedicated to keeping its memory alive” (Novick 1999, 277).

This effort has been very successful. In a 1990 survey, a substantial majority agreed that the Holocaust “was the worst tragedy in history” (Novick 1999, 232; italics in text). Recently, the main thrust of the Holocaust as cultural icon is the ratification of multiculturalism. Between 80 and 90 percent of those surveyed agreed that the need to protect the rights of minorities, and not “going along with everybody else” were lessons to be drawn from the Holocaust. Respondents agreed in similar proportions that “it is important that people keep hearing about the Holocaust so that it will not happen again.”

The effort has perhaps been even more effective in Germany where “critical discussion of Jews . . . is virtually impossible. Whether conservative or liberal, a contemporary German intellectual who says anything outside a narrowly defined spectrum of codified pieties about Jews, the Holocaust, and its postwar effects on German society runs the risk of professional and social suicide” (Anderson 2001). Discussions of the work of Jewish intellectuals have come to dominate German intellectual life to the almost complete exclusion of non-Jewish Germans. Many of these intellectuals are the subjects of CofC, including Walter Benjamin, Theodore Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Hannah Arendt, Paul Celan, and Sigmund Freud. “Shoah business” “has become a staple of contemporary German cultural and political life. Germans thrive on debates about the Holocaust and their ongoing responsibility to preserve its memory, campaigning to erect a gigantic memorial to the Jewish dead in the historic center of Berlin, or flocking to hear the American scholar Daniel Goldhagen’s crude and unhistorical diatribes against the German national character.” Scholars have lost all sense of normal standards of intellectual criticism and have come to identify more or less completely with the Jewish victims of Nazism.

For example, Holocaust poet Paul Celan has become a central cultural figure, superceding all other 20th-century poets. His works are now beyond rational criticism, to the point that they have become enveloped in a sort of stultifying mysticism: “Frankly, I find troubling the sacred, untouchable aura that surrounds Celan’s name in Germany; troubling also the way in which his name functions like a trump card in intellectual discussions, closing off debate and excluding other subjects.” Jewish writers like Kafka are seen as intellectual giants who are above criticism; discussions of Kafka’s work focus on his Jewish identity and are imbued by consciousness of the Holocaust despite the fact that he died in 1924. Even minor Jewish writers are elevated to the highest levels of the literary canon while Germans like Thomas Mann are discussed mainly because they held views on Jews that have become unacceptable in polite society. In the U.S., German scholars are constrained to teach only the works of Germans of Jewish background, their courses dwelling on persecution, and genocide. Indeed, it is not too far fetched to suppose that German culture as the culture of Germans has disappeared entirely, replaced by the culture of the Holocaust.

Like Novick, Finkelstein (2000) takes a functionalist view of “the Holocaust Industry,” arguing that it serves as a vehicle for obtaining money for Jewish organizations from European governments and corporations, and for justifying the policies of Israel and U.S. support for Israeli policy (p. 8). Finkelstein also argues that embracing the Holocaust allows the wealthiest and most powerful group in the U.S. to claim victim status. The ideology of the Holocaust states that it is unique and inexplicable—as also noted by Novick. But Finkelstein also emphasizes how the Holocaust Industry promotes the idea that anti-Jewish attitudes and behavior stem completely from irrational loathing by non-Jews and have nothing to do with conflicts of interest. For example, Elie Wiesel: “For two thousand years . . . we were always threatened. . . . For what? For no reason” (in Finkelstein 2000, 53). (By contrast, the basic premise of my book, Separation and Its Discontents [MacDonald 1998a] is precisely that anti-Jewish attitudes and behavior throughout history are firmly rooted in conflicts of interest). Finkelstein quotes Boas Evron, an Israeli writer, approvingly: “Holocaust awareness” is “an official, propagandistic indoctrination, a churning out of slogans and a false view of the world, the real aim of which is not at all an understanding of the past, but a manipulation of the present” (p. 41).

Finkelstein notes the role of the media in supporting the Holocaust Industry, quoting Elie Wiesel, “When I want to feel better, I turn to the Israeli items in The New York Times” (p. 8). The New York Times, which is owned by the Sulzberger family (see below), “serves as the main promotional vehicle of the Holocaust Industry. It is primarily responsible for advancing the careers of Jerzy Kosinski, Daniel Goldhagen, and Elie Wiesel. For frequency of coverage, the Holocaust places a close second to the daily weather report. Typically, The New York Times Index 1999 listed fully 273 entries for the Holocaust. By comparison, the whole of Africa rated 32 entries” (Finkelstein 2001). Besides a receptive media, the Holocaust Industry takes advantage of its power over the U.S. government to apply pressure to foreign governments, particularly the governments of Eastern Europe (pp. 133ff).

In a poignant allusion to the pervasive double standard of contemporary Jewish ethical attitudes (and reflecting a similar ethical double standard that pervades Jewish religious writing throughout history), Finkelstein describes a January 2000 Holocaust education conference attended by representatives of 50 countries, including Prime Minister Ehud Barak of Israel. The conference declared that the international community had a “solemn responsibility” to oppose genocide, ethnic cleansing, racism, and xenophobia. A reporter afterward asked Barak about the Palestinian refugees. “On principle, Barak replied, he was against even one refugee coming to Israel: ‘We cannot accept moral, legal, or other responsibility for refugees’ “ (p. 137).

Jews and the Media: Shaping “ways of Seeing” • 4,200 Words

I noted above that the Jewish attack on European domination of the U.S. focused on three critical areas of power: The academic world of information in the social sciences and humanities, the political world where public policy on immigration and other ethnic issues are decided, and the mass media where “ways of seeing” are presented to the public. CofCfocused on the first two of these sources of power, but little attention was given to the mass media except where it served to promote Jewish intellectual or political movements, as in the case of psychoanalysis. This lack of attention to the cultural influence of the mass media is a major gap. The following represents only a partial and preliminary discussion.

By all accounts, ethnic Jews have a powerful influence in the American media—far larger than any other identifiable group. The extent of Jewish ownership and influence on the popular media in the United States is remarkable given the relatively small proportion of the population that is Jewish.[21]Discussions of Jewish ownership of the media include: Ginsberg 1993, 1; Kotkin 1993, 61; Silberman 1985, 147. In a survey performed in the 1980s, 60 percent of a representative sample of the movie elite were of Jewish background (Powers et al. 1996, 79n13). Michael Medved (1996, 37) notes that “it makes no sense at all to try to deny the reality of Jewish power and prominence in popular culture. Any list of the most influential production executives at each of the major movie studios will produce a heavy majority of recognizably Jewish names. This prominent Jewish role is obvious to anyone who follows news reports from Tinsel Town or even bothers to read the credits on major movies or television shows.”

Media ownership is always in flux, but the following is a reasonably accurate portrait of current media ownership in the United States by ethnic Jews:

The largest media company in the world was recently formed by the merger of America On Line and Time Warner. Gerald M. Levin, formerly the head of Time Warner, is the Chief Executive Officer of the new corporation. AOL-Time Warner has holdings in television (e.g., Home Box Office), music (Warner Music), movies (Warner Brothers Studio, Castle Rock Entertainment, and New Line Cinema), and publishing (Time, Sports Illustrated, People, Fortune).

The second largest media company is the Walt Disney Company, headed by Michael Eisner. Disney has holdings in movies (Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group, under Walt Disney Studios, includes Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Caravan Pictures, Miramax Films); television (Capital Cities/ABC [owner of the ABC television network], Walt Disney Television, Touchstone Television, Buena Vista Television, ESPN, Lifetime, A&E Television networks) and cable networks with more than 100 million subscribers; radio (ABC Radio Network with over 3,400 affiliates and ownership of 26 stations in major cities); publishing (seven daily newspapers, Fairchild Publications [Women’s Wear Daily], and the Diversified Publishing Group).

The third largest media company is Viacom, Inc., headed by Sumner Redstone, who is also Jewish. Viacom has holdings in movies (Paramount Pictures); television (the CBS TV network; MTV [a particular focus of criticism by cultural conservatives]), Nickelodeon, Showtime; 13 television stations; programming for the three television networks); publishing (Simon & Schuster, Scribner, The Free Press, and Pocket Books), video rentals (Blockbuster); it is also involved in satellite broadcasting, theme parks, and video games.

Another major media player is Edgar Bronfman, Jr., the son of Edgar Bronfman, Sr., president of the World Jewish Congress and heir to the Seagram distillery fortune. Until its merger with Vivendi, a French Company, in December 2000, Bronfman headed Universal Studios, a major movie production company, and the Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company (including Polygram, Interscope Records, Island/Def Jam, Motown, Geffen/DGC Records). After the merger, Bronfman became the Executive Vice-Chairman of the new company, Vivendi Universal, and the Bronfman family and related entities became the largest shareholders in the company.[22]http:/ Edgar Bronfman, Sr. is on the Board of Directors of the new company.

Other major television companies owned by Jews include New World Entertainment (owned by Ronald Perelman who also owns Revlon cosmetics), and DreamWorks SKG (owned by film director Steven Spielberg, former Disney Pictures chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, and recording industry mogul David Geffen). DreamWorks SKG produces movies, animated films, television programs, and recorded music. Spielberg is also a Jewish ethnic activist. After making Schindler’s List, Spielberg established Survivors of the Shoah Foundation with the aid of a grant from the U.S. Congress. He also helped fund Professor Deborah Lipstadt’s defense against a libel suit brought by British military historian and Holocaust revisionist David Irving.

In the world of print media, the Newhouse media empire owns 26 daily newspapers, including several large and important ones, such as the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Newark Star-Ledger, and the New Orleans Times-Picayune; Newhouse Broadcasting, consisting of 12 television broadcasting stations and 87 cable-TV systems, including some of the country’s largest cable networks; the Sunday supplement Parade, with a circulation of more than 22 million copies per week; some two dozen major magazines, including the New Yorker, Vogue, Mademoiselle, Glamour, Vanity Fair, Bride’s, Gentlemen’s Quarterly, Self, House & Garden, and all the other magazines of the wholly owned Conde Nast group.

The newsmagazine, U.S. News & World Report, with a weekly circulation of 2.3 million, is owned and published by Mortimer B. Zuckerman. Zuckerman also owns New York’s tabloid newspaper, the Daily News, the sixth-largest paper in the country, and is the former owner of the Atlantic Monthly. Zuckerman is a Jewish ethnic activist. Recently he was named head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, an umbrella organization for major Jewish organizations in the U.S.[23]The Forward, April 27, 2001, pp. 1, 9. Zuckerman uses his column in U.S. News and World Report to defend Israel and has helped to rejuvenate the America-Israeli Friendship League, of which he is president.[24]The Forward, November 14, 1997, p. 14.

Another Jewish activist with a prominent position in the U.S. media is Martin Peretz, owner of The New Republic (TNR) since 1974. Throughout his career Peretz has been devoted to Jewish causes, particularly Israel. During the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, he told Henry Kissinger that his “dovishness stopped at the delicatessen door,” and many among his staff feared that all issues would be decided on the basis of what was “good for the Jews” (Alterman 1992, 185, 186). Indeed, one editor was instructed to obtain material from the Israeli embassy for use in TNR editorials. “It is not enough to say that TNR’s owner is merely obsessed with Israel; he says so himself. But more importantly, Peretz is obsessed with Israel’s critics, Israel’s would-be critics, and people who never heard of Israel, but might one day know someone who might someday become a critic” (Alterman 1992, 195).

The Wall Street Journal is the largest-circulation daily newspaper in the U.S. It is owned by Dow Jones & Company, Inc., a New York corporation that also publishes 24 other daily newspapers and the weekly financial paper Barron’s. The chairman and CEO of Dow Jones is Peter R. Kann. Kann also holds the posts of chairman and publisher of the Wall Street Journal.

The Sulzberger family owns the New York Times Co., which owns 33 other newspapers, including the Boston Globe. It also owns twelve magazines (including McCall’s and Family Circle, each with a circulation of more than 5 million), seven radio and TV broadcasting stations; a cable-TV system; and three book publishing companies. The New York Times News Service transmits news stories, features, and photographs from the New York Times by wire to 506 other newspapers, news agencies, and magazines.

Jewish ownership of the New York Times is particularly interesting because it has been the most influential newspaper in the U.S. since the start of the 20th century. As noted in a recent book on the Sulzberger family (Tifft & Jones 1999), even at that time, there were several Jewish-owned newspapers, including the New York World (controlled by Joseph Pulitzer), the Chicago Times-Herald and Evening Post (controlled by H. H. Kohlsaat), and the New York Post (controlled by the family of Jacob Schiff). In 1896 Adolph Ochs purchased the New York Times with the critical backing of several Jewish businessmen, including Isidor Straus (co-owner of Macy’s department stores) and Jacob Schiff (a successful investment banker who was also a Jewish ethnic activist). “Schiff and other prominent Jews like . . . Straus had made it clear they wanted Adolph to succeed because they believed he ‘could be of great service to the Jews generally’ “ (Tifft & Jones 1999, 37–38). Ochs’s father-in-law was the influential Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress and the founder of Reform Judaism in the United States.

There are some exceptions to this pattern of media ownership, but even in such cases ethnic Jews have a major managerial role.[25]A partial exception is the Washington Post Co. Until her recent death, the Washington Post was run by Katherine Meyer Graham, daughter of Eugene Meyer, who purchased the paper in the 1930s. Ms. Graham had a Jewish father and a Christian mother and was raised as an Episcopalian. Katherine’s husband, the former publisher of the Post, Phil Graham, was not Jewish. The Post’s publisher, since 1991, is Donald Graham, the son of Katherine and Phil Graham. This influential publishing group is thus less ethnically Jewish than the others mentioned here. The Washington Post Co. has a number of other media holdings in newspapers (The Gazette Newspapers, including 11 military publications), television stations, and magazines, most notably the nation’s number-two weekly newsmagazine, Newsweek. The Washington Post Co.’s various television ventures reach a total of about 7 million homes, and its cable TV service, Cable One, has 635,000 subscribers. In a joint venture with the New York Times, the Post publishes the International Herald Tribune, the most widely distributed English language daily in the world. For example, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation owns Fox Television Network, 20th Century Fox Films, and Fox 2000. However, Peter Chernin is president and CEO of Fox Group, which includes all of News Corporation’s film, television, and publishing operations in the United States. Murdoch is deeply philosemitic. He is the publisher of The Weekly Standard, the premier neo-conservative magazine edited by William Kristol. “Most of Murdoch’s closest friends and business advisers were wealthy, influential New York Jews intensely active in pro-Israel causes. And he himself still retained a strong independent sympathy for Israel, a personal identification with the Jewish state that went back to his Oxford days” (Kiernan 2001). Similarly, NBC is owned by General Electric, but the President of NBC is Andrew Lack and the President of NBC News is Neal Shapiro, both of whom are Jewish. Another exception is the Bertelsmann publishing group, a group based in Germany that is the largest publisher of trade books in the world and also owns magazines, newspapers, and music. Most of Bertelsmann’s influence is outside the United States, although it recently purchased the Random House Publishing Company.

Even granting the exceptions, it is clear that Jews enjoy a very powerful position in U.S. media, a position that is far more powerful than any other racial/ethnic group. The phenomenal concentration of media power in Jewish hands becomes all the more extraordinary when one notes that Jews constitute approximately 2.5% of the U.S. population. If the Jewish percentage of the American media elite is estimated at 59%, (Lichter et al. 1983, 55), the degree of disproportionate representation may be calculated as greater than 2000%. The likelihood that such an extraordinary disparity could arise by chance is virtually nil. Ben Stein, noting that about 60% of the top positions in Hollywood are held by Jews, says “Do Jews run Hollywood? You bet they do—and what of it?”[26] Does Jewish ownership and control of the media have any effect on the product? Here I attempt to show that the attitudes and opinions favored by the media are those generally held by the wider Jewish community, and that the media tends to provide positive images of Jews and negative images of traditional American and Christian culture.

As many academics have pointed out, the media have become more and more important in creating culture (e.g., Powers et al. 1996, 2). Before the 20th century, the main creators of culture were the religious, military, and business institutions. In the course of the 20th century these institutions became less important while the media have increased in importance (for an account of this transformation in the military, see Bendersky 2000). And there is little doubt that the media attempt to shape the attitudes and opinions of the audience (Powers et al. 1996, 2–3). Part of the continuing culture of critique is that the media elite tend to be very critical of Western culture. Western civilization is portrayed as a failing, dying culture, but at worst it is presented as sick and evil compared to other cultures (Powers et al. 1996, 211). These views were common in Hollywood long before the cultural revolution of the 1960s, but they were not often expressed in the media because of the influence of non-Jewish cultural conservatives.

Perhaps the most important issue Jews and Jewish organizations have championed is cultural pluralism—the idea that the United States ought not to be ethnically and culturally homogeneous. As described in CofC, Jewish organizations and Jewish intellectual movements have championed cultural pluralism in many ways, especially as powerful and effective advocates of an open immigration policy. The media have supported this perspective by portraying cultural pluralism almost exclusively in positive terms—that cultural pluralism is easily achieved and is morally superior to a homogeneous Christian culture made up mainly of white non-Jews. Characters who oppose cultural pluralism are portrayed as stupid and bigoted (Lichter et al. 1994, 251), the classic being the Archie Bunker character in Norman Lear’s All in the Family television series. Departures from racial and ethnic harmony are portrayed as entirely the result of white racism (Powers et al. 1996, 173).

Since Jews have a decisive influence on television and movies, it is not surprising that Jews are portrayed positively in the movies. There have been a great many explicitly Jewish movies and television shows with recognizable Jewish themes. Hollywood has an important role in promoting “the Holocaust Industry,” withmovies like Spielberg’s Schindler’s List (1993) and the four-part television miniseries Holocaust (1978), written by Gerald Green, directed by Marvin Chomsky, and produced by Herbert Brodkin and Robert Berger. Both of these films were lavishly promoted by Jewish groups. The promotion for Holocaust in 1978 was remarkable (Novick 1999, 210). The ADL distributed ten million copies of its sixteen-page tabloid The Record for this purpose. Jewish organizations pressured major newspapers to serialize a novel based on the script and to publish special inserts on the Holocaust. The Chicago Sun-Times distributed hundreds of thousands of copies of its insert to local schools. The American Jewish Committee, in cooperation with NBC, distributed millions of copies of a study guide for viewers; teachers’ magazines carried other teaching material tied to the program so that teachers could easily discuss the program in class. Jewish organizations worked with the National Council of Churches to prepare other promotional and educational materials, and they organized advance viewings for religious leaders. The day the series began was designated “Holocaust Sunday”; various activities were scheduled in cities across the country; the National Conference of Christians and Jews distributed yellow stars to be worn on that day. Study guides for Jewish children depicted the Holocaust as the result of Christian anti-Semitism. The material given to Jewish children also condemned Jews who did not have a strong Jewish identity. This massive promotion succeeded in many of its goals. These included the introduction of Holocaust education programs in many states and municipalities, beginning the process that led to the National Holocaust Memorial Museum, and a major upsurge of support for Israel.

In general, television portrays Jewish issues “with respect, relative depth, affection and good intentions, and the Jewish characters who appear in these shows have, without any doubt, been Jewish—often depicted as deeply involved in their Judaism” (Pearl & Pearl 1999, 5). For example, All in the Family (and its sequel, Archie Bunker’s Place) not only managed to portray working class Europeans as stupid and bigoted, it portrayed Jewish themes very positively. By the end of its 12-year run, even archenemy Archie Bunker had raised a Jewish child in his home, befriended a black Jew (implication: Judaism has no ethnic connotations), gone into business with a Jewish partner, enrolled as a member of a synagogue, praised his close friend at a Jewish funeral, hosted a Sabbath dinner, participated in a bat mitzvah ceremony, and joined a group to fight synagogue vandalism. These shows, produced by liberal political activist Norman Lear, thus exemplify the general trend for television to portray non-Jews as participating in Jewish ritual, and “respecting, enjoying, and learning from it. Their frequent presence and active involvement underscores the message that these things are a normal part of American life” (Pearl & Pearl 1999, 16). Jewish rituals are portrayed as “pleasant and ennobling, and they bestow strength, harmony, fulfillment, and sense of identity upon those who observe them” (p. 62).

Television presents images of Jewish issues that conform to the views of mainstream Jewish organizations. Television “invariably depicts anti-Semitism as an ugly, abhorrent trait that must be fought at every turn” (p. 103). There is never any rational explanation for anti-Semitism; anti-Semitism is portrayed as an absolute, irrational evil. Positive, well-liked, non-Jewish characters, such as Mary Tyler Moore, often lead the fight against anti-Semitism—a pattern reminiscent of that noted in CofC in which non-Jews become high-profile spokespersons for Jewish dominated movements. There is also the implication that anti-Semitism is a proper concern of the entire community.

Regarding Israel, “on the whole, popular TV has conveyed the fact that Israel is the Jewish homeland with a strong emotional pull upon Diaspora Jews, that it lives in perpetual danger surrounded by foes, and that as a result of the constant and vital fight for its survival, it often takes extraordinary (sometimes rogue) measures in the fields of security and intelligence” (Pearl & Pearl 1999, 173). Non-Jews are portrayed as having deep admiration and respect for Israel, its heroism and achievements. Israel is seen as a haven for Holocaust survivors, and Christians are sometimes portrayed as having an obligation to Israel because of the Holocaust.

In the movies, a common theme is Jews coming to the rescue of non-Jews, as in Independence Day, where Jeff Goldblum plays a “brainy Jew” who rescues the world, and in Ordinary People, where Judd Hirsch plays a Jewish psychiatrist who rescues an uptight WASP family (Bernheimer 1998, 125–126). The movie Addams Family Values, discussed in CofC (Chap. 1, Note 4) is another example of this genre. Bernheimer (1998, 162) notes that “in many films, the Jew is the moral exemplar who uplifts and edifies a gentile, serving as a humanizing influence by embodying culturally ingrained values.” As discussed in CofC, this “Jews to the Rescue” theme also characterizes psychoanalysis and Jewish leftist radicalism: Psychoanalytic Jews save non-Jews from their neuroses, and radical Jews save the world from the evils of capitalism.

On the other hand, Christianity is typically portrayed as evil and Christians as psychopaths. Michael Medved describes Hollywood’s cumulative attacks in recent years on the traditional family, patriotism, and traditional sexual mores—the Hollywood version of the culture of critique. But the most obvious focus of attack is on the Christian religion:

In the ongoing war on traditional values, the assault on organized faith represents the front to which the entertainment industry has most clearly committed itself.On no other issue do the perspectives of the show business elites and those of the public at large differ more dramatically. Time and again, the producers have gone out of their way to affront the religious sensibilities of ordinary Americans. (Medved 1992/1993, 50)[27]Cones (1997) provides a similar analysis:

This analysis of Hollywood films with religious themes or characters reveals that in the last four decades Hollywood has portrayed Christians as sexually rigid, devil worshipping cultists, talking to God, disturbed, hypocritical, fanatical, psychotic, dishonest, murder suspects, Bible quoting Nazis, slick hucksters, fake spiritualists, Bible pushers, deranged preachers, obsessed, Catholic schoolboys running amok, Adam & Eve as pawns in a game between God and Satan, an unbalanced nun accused of killing her newborn infant, dumb, manipulative, phony, outlaws, neurotic, mentally unbalanced, unscrupulous, destructive, foul mouthed, fraudulent and as miracle fabricators. Few, if any, positive portrayals of Christians were found in Hollywood films released in the last four decades.

Medved fails to find even one film made since the mid-1970s where Christianity is portrayed positively apart from a few films where it is portrayed as an historical relic—a museum piece. Examples where Christianity is portrayed negatively abound. For example, in the film Monsignor (1982), a Catholic priest commits every imaginable sin, including the seduction of a glamorous nun and then is involved in her death. In Agnes of God (1985), a disturbed young nun gives birth in a convent, murders her baby, and then flushes the tiny, bloody corpse down the toilet. There are also many subtle anti-Christian scenes in Hollywood films, such as when the director Rob Reiner repeatedly focuses on the tiny gold crosses worn by Kathy Bates, the sadistic villain in Misery.

Another media tendency is to portray small towns as filled with bigots and anti-Semites. Media commentator Ben Stein records the hostility of the media toward rural America:

The typical Hollywood writer . . . is of an ethnic background from a large Eastern city—usually from Brooklyn [i.e., they have a Jewish background]. He grew up being taught that people in small towns hated him, were different from him, and were out to get him [i.e., small town people are anti-Semites]. As a result, when he gets the chance, he attacks the small town on television or the movies. . . .

The television shows and movies are not telling it “like it is”; instead they are giving us the point of view of a small and extremely powerful section of the American intellectual community—those who write for the mass visual media. . . . What is happening, as a consequence, is something unusual and remarkable. A national culture is making war upon a way of life that is still powerfully attractive and widely practiced in the same country. . . . Feelings of affection for small towns run deep in America, and small-town life is treasured by millions of people. But in the mass culture of the country, a hatred for the small town is spewed out on television screens and movie screens every day. . . . Television and the movies are America’s folk culture, and they have nothing but contempt for the way of life of a very large part of the folk. . . . People are told that their culture is, at its root, sick, violent, and depraved, and this message gives them little confidence in the future of that culture. It also leads them to feel ashamed of their country and to believe that if their society is in decline, it deserves to be. (Stein 1976, 22)

This is a good example of social identity processes so important in both Jewish attitudes toward non-Jews and non-Jewish attitudes toward Jews: Outgroups are portrayed negatively and ingroups are portrayed positively (see CofC passim and MacDonald 1998a, Chap. 1).

Influence on the media undoubtedly has a major influence on how Israel is portrayed—a major theme of Finkelstein’s (2000) The Holocaust Industry. Ari Shavit, an Israeli columnist, described his feelings on the killings of a hundred civilians in a military skirmish in southern Lebanon in 1996, “We killed them out of a certain naive hubris. Believing with absolute certitude that now, with the White House, the Senate, and much of the American media in our hands, the lives of others do not count as much as our own.”[28]Reprinted in the New York Times May 27, 1996. The election of Ariel Sharon as Prime Minister of Israel provides another study in contrast. There was a huge difference in the media reaction to Sharon and the response to the situation in Austria when Jörg Haider’s Freedom Party won enough seats in parliament to have a role in the Austrian government. Several countries, including Israel, recalled their ambassadors in response to the election of Haider. Politicians around the world condemned Austria and announced that they would not tolerate Haider’s participation in any Austrian government. Trade embargoes against Austria were threatened. The cause of these actions was that Haider had said that there had been many decent people fighting on the German side during World War II, including some in the SS. He had also said that some of Hitler’s economic policies in the 1930s had made good sense. And he had called for a cutoff of immigration into Austria. Haider apologized for these statements, but the electoral success of his party resulted in the ostracism of Austria and a continuous barrage of alarmist media attacks against him personally.

Contrast this with the treatment of Ariel Sharon’s election as prime minister of Israel in 2001. As Israel’s Minister of Defense in September 1982, Sharon was in command during the slaughter of 700–2000 Palestinians, including women and children in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps just outside Beirut, Lebanon. New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman saw “groups of young men in their twenties and thirties who had been lined up against walls, tied by their hands and feet, and then mowed down gangland style.”[29]James Ron, “Is Ariel Sharon Israel’s Milosevic?” Los Angeles Times, February 5, 2001. Radio communications among Israeli military commanders were monitored in which they talked about carrying out “purging operations” in the refugee camps. While the actual killing was done by Lebanese Christians supported by Israel, the Israeli army kept the camps sealed for two days while the slaughter went on. The Kahan Commission, an Israeli commission formed to investigate the incident, concluded that Sharon was indirectly responsible for the massacre, and it went on to say that Sharon bears personal responsibility.[30]From the Kahan Commission Report (

We shall remark here that it is ostensibly puzzling that the Defense Minister did not in any way make the Prime Minister privy to the decision on having the Phalangists enter the camps.

It is our view that responsibility is to be imputed to the Minister of Defense for having disregarded the danger of acts of vengeance and bloodshed by the Phalangists against the population of the refugee camps, and having failed to take this danger into account when he decided to have the Phalangists enter the camps. In addition, responsibility is to be imputed to the Minister of Defense for not ordering appropriate measures for preventing or reducing the danger of massacre as a condition for the Phalangists’ entry into the camps. These blunders constitute the non-fulfillment of a duty with which the Defense Minister was charged.

The reaction to the election of Sharon in the U.S. media has been subdued to say the least. No trade embargoes were threatened, no ambassadors were recalled. The Los Angeles Times dutifully printed a column in which Sharon was portrayed as having “learned from his mistakes.”[31]Yossi Klein Halevi, “Sharon has learned from his mistakes.” Los Angeles Times, February 7, 2001. In June, 2001, Sharon was indicted as a war criminal in Belgium on the basis of affidavits provided by survivors of the slaughter. It is also noteworthy that Rehavam Zeevi, a close associate of Sharon and Israel’s Minister of Tourism as well as a member of the powerful Security Cabinet until his assassination in October, 2001, described Palestinians as “lice” and advocated the expulsion of Palestinians from Israeli controlled areas. Zeevi said Palestinians were living illegally in Israel and “We should get rid of the ones who are not Israeli citizens the same way you get rid of lice. We have to stop this cancer from spreading within us.”[32]Washington Post, July 3, 2001; Los Angeles Times, October 18, 2001.

Jewish Organizations and Censorship of the Internet • 1,100 Words

In CofC (Chap. 8) I wrote, “one may expect that as ethnic conflict continues to escalate in the United States, increasingly desperate attempts will be made to prop up the ideology of multiculturalism . . . with the erection of police state controls on nonconforming thought and behavior.” As noted above, there has been a shift from “the culture of critique” to what one might term “the culture of the Holocaust” as Jews have moved from outsiders to the consummate insiders in American life. Coinciding with their status as an established elite, Jewish organizations are now in the forefront of movements to censor thought crimes.[33]Jewish organizations have also been strong advocates of “hate crime” legislation. For example, in 1997 the ADL published Hate Crimes: ADL Blueprint for Action, which provides recommendations on prevention and response strategies to crimes of ethnic violence, such as penalty enhancement laws, training for law enforcement and the military, security for community institutions, and community anti-bias awareness initiatives. In June 2001 the ADL announced a program designed to assist law enforcement in the battle against “extremists and hate groups.” A major component of the Law Enforcement Initiative is the development of specialized hate crime, extremism, and anti-bias curricula for training programs designed for law enforcement.

The Internet is a major gap in control of the major media, but Jewish organizations have taken the lead in attempting to censor the Internet. The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) distributes a compact disc titled “Digital Hate 2001” that lists over 3000 “hate sites on the Internet.” Both the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the ADL have attempted to pressure Internet service providers (ISP’s) like AOL and popular websites like Yahoo into restricting subscriber access to disapproved websites. Recently Yahoo removed 39 Internet clubs originally identified as “hate sites” by the SWC.[34]SWC Press Information, July 15, 1999; Internet auction sites have been subjected to protests for selling Nazi memorabilia.[35]E.g., SWC Press Information, November 29, 1999; January 26, 2001; and have come under fire for selling Hitler’s Mein Kampf. The ADL also published a report, Poisoning the Web: Hatred Online, and has urged the U.S. Congress to initiate a “comprehensive study of the magnitude and impact of hate on the Internet.”[36]ADL Press Release, September, 14, 1999;

Online services in the U.S. are also under pressure from foreign governments, including France, Germany, Austria, and Canada, where there are no constitutional guarantees of free speech. For example, a judge in France ruled that Yahoo was violating French law by delivering Nazi material to people in France via the company’s online auctions, even though the service is based in the United States. Yahoo was acting illegally, the judge said, even though the company has created a separate French site that, unlike the broader Yahoo service, follows French law. The company was ordered to use filtering technology to block politically sensitive material from appearing on computers in France or face fines equivalent to $13,000 a day. A Germany court found that German law applies even to foreigners who post content on the Web in other countries—so long as that content can be accessed by people inside Germany. In this case, the court ruled that an Australian citizen who posted Holocaust revisionist material on his Australian website could be jailed in Germany. Theoretically it would be possible for Germany to demand that this person be extradited from Australia so that he could stand trial for his crime.[37]AFP Worldwide News Agency, April 4, 2001;

Jewish organizations have been strong advocates of laws in European countries that criminalize the distribution of anti-Jewish material. For example, the ADL pressured the German government to arrest a U.S. citizen who distributed anti-Jewish materials. Gary Lauck was arrested in Denmark and extradited to Germany on the warrant of a Hamburg prosecutor. He was sentenced to four years in jail, served his sentence, and was deported.[38]ADL Press Release, August 22, 1996;

This sort of government-imposed censorship is effective in countries like France and Germany, but is not likely to succeed in the United States with its strong tradition of constitutionally protected free speech. As a result, the major focus of the Jewish effort to censor the Internet in the United States has been to pressure private companies like AOL and Yahoo to use software that blocks access to sites that are disapproved by Jewish organizations. The ADL developed voluntary filter software (ADL HateFilter) that allows users to screen out certain websites. However, while AOL—the largest ISP by far—has proved to be compliant in setting standards in line with ADL guidelines, the ADL notes that other ISP’s, such as Earthlink, have not cooperated with the ADL, and independent web hosting sites have sprung up to serve websites rejected by AOL.[39]C. Wolf. Racists, Bigots and the Law on the Internet.

The ADL and the SWC have an uphill road because the Internet has long been touted as a haven for free speech by the high-tech community. One senses a certain frustration in the conclusion of a recent ADL report on the Internet:

Combating online extremism presents enormous technological and legal difficulties . . . . Even if it were electronically feasible to keep sites off the Internet, the international nature of the medium makes legal regulation virtually impossible. And in the United States, the First Amendment guarantees the right of freedom of speech regardless of what form that speech takes. As a result, governments, corporations and people of goodwill continue to look for alternative ways to address the problem.[40]C. Wolf. Racists, Bigots and the Law on the Internet.

Clearly Jewish organizations are making every effort to censor anti-Jewish writing on the Internet. They are far from reaching their goal of removing anti-Jewish material from the Internet, but in the long run the very high political stakes involved ensure that great effort will be expended. I suspect that in the U.S., if pressuring existing ISP’s by organizations like the ADL and the SWC fails, these companies may become targets of buyouts by Jewish-owned media companies who will then quietly remove access to anti-Jewish websites. AOL has just recently merged with Time Warner, a Jewish-controlled media company, and it had already merged with Compuserve, a large, nation-wide ISP. As indicated above, AOL-Time Warner has complied with pressures exerted by Jewish activist organizations to restrict expressions of political opinion on the Internet.

I suppose that the only option for prohibited websites will be to develop their own Internet service providers. These providers—perhaps subsidized or relatively expensive—would then fill the niche of serving people who are already committed to ethnic activism among non-Jewish Europeans and other forms of politically incorrect expression. The situation would be similar to the current situation in the broadcast and print media. All of the mainstream media are effectively censored, but small publications, such as American Renaissance (a white racially conscious newsletter published by Jared Taylor), can exist if not flourish.

But such publications reach a miniscule percentage of the population. They are basically ignored by the mainstream media, and they mainly preach to the choir. The same will likely happen to the Internet: The sites will still be there, but they will be out of sight and out of mind for the vast majority of Internet users. The effective censorship of the Internet by large corporations does not violate the First Amendment because the government is not involved and any policy can be justified as a business decision not to offend existing or potential customers.

The Question of Bias • 1,600 Words

I have several times been called an “anti-Semite” for the tone of some of my writings, both in CofC and on various Internet discussion lists. To be perfectly frank, I did not have a general animus for organized Jewry when I got into this project. I was a sort of ex-radical turned moderate Republican fan of George Will. Before even looking at Judaism I applied the same evolutionary perspective to the ancient Spartans and then to the imposition of monogamy by the Catholic Church during the middle ages (see MacDonald 1988a, 1995b). There are quite a few statements in my books that attempt to soften the tone and deflect charges of anti-Jewish bias. My first book on Judaism, A People that Shall Dwell Alone (MacDonald 1994), has a statement on the first page stating that the traits I ascribe to Judaism (self-interest, ethnocentrism, and competition for resources and reproductive success) are by no means restricted to Jews. I also write about the extraordinary Jewish IQ and about Jewish accomplishments (e.g., Nobel prizes) in that book. In the second book, Separation and Its Discontents (MacDonald 1998a), I discuss the tendency for anti-Semites to exaggerate their complaints, to develop fantastic and unverifiable theories of Jewish behavior, to exaggerate the extent of Jewish cohesion and unanimity, to claim that all Jews share stereotypically Jewish traits or attitudes, especially in cases where in fact Jews are over-represented among people having certain attitudes (e.g., political radicalism during most of the 20th century). And I describe the tendency of some anti-Semites to develop grand conspiracy theories in which all historical events of major or imagined importance, from the French Revolution to the Tri-lateral Commission are linked together in one grand plot and blamed on the Jews. All of this is hardly surprising on the basis of what we know about the psychology of ethnic conflict. But it doesn’t detract in the least from supposing that real conflicts of interest are at the heart of all of the important historical examples of anti-Semitism. Most of this is in the first chapter of Separation and Its Discontents—front and center as it were, just as my other disclaimers are in the first chapter of A People that Shall Dwell Alone.

It must be kept in mind that group evolutionary strategies are not benign, at least in general and especially in the case of Judaism, which has often been very powerful and has had such extraordinary effects on the history of the West. I think there is a noticeable shift in my tone from the first book to the last simply because (I’d like to think) I knew a lot more and had read a lot more. People often say after reading the first book that they think I really admire Jews, but they are unlikely to say that about the last two and especially about CofC. That is because by the time I wrote CofC I had changed greatly from the person who wrote the first book. The first book is really only a documentation of theoretically interesting aspects of Judaism (how Jews solved the free-rider problem, how they managed to erect and enforce barriers between themselves and other peoples, the genetic cohesion of Judaism, how some groups of Jews came to have such high IQ’s, how Judaism developed in antiquity). Resource competition and other conflicts of interest with other groups are more or less an afterthought, but these issues move to the foreground in Separation and Its Discontents, and in CofC I look exclusively at the 20th century in the West. Jews have indeed made important contributions to Western culture in the last 200 years. But whatever one might think are the unique and irreplaceable Jewish contributions to the post-Enlightenment world, it is naïve to suppose they were intended for the purpose of benefiting humanity, and in any case I am hard pressed to think of any area of modern Western government and social organization (certainly) and business, science, and technology (very probably) that would not have developed without Jewish input, although in some cases perhaps not quite as quickly. In general, positive impacts of Jews have been quantitative rather than qualitative. They have accelerated some developments, for example in finance and some areas of science, rather than made them possible.

On the other hand, I am persuaded that Jews have had some important negative influences. I am morally certain that Jewish involvement in the radical left in the early to middle part of the last century was a necessary though but not sufficient condition for many of the horrific events in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. (About this, of course, one can disagree. I am simply saying that I find the evidence compelling.) But the main point is that I came to see Jewish groups as competitors with the European majority of the U.S., as powerful facilitators of the enormous changes that have been unleashed in this country, particularly via the successful advocacy of massive non-European immigration into the U.S. I found that I was being transformed in this process from a semi-conservative who has little or no identification with his own people into an ethnically conscious actor—exactly as predicted by the theory of social identity processes that forms the basis of my theory of anti-Semitism (see MacDonald 1998a). In fact, if one wants to date when I dared cross the line into what some see as proof that I am an “anti-Semite,” the best guess would probably be when I started reading on the involvement of all the powerful Jewish organizations in advocating massive non-European immigration. My awareness began with my reading a short section in a standard history of American Jews well after the first book was published. The other influences that I attributed to Jewish activities were either benign (psychoanalysis?) or reversible—even radical leftism, so they didn’t much bother me. I could perhaps even ignore the towering hypocrisy of Jewish ethnocentrism coinciding as it does with Jewish activism against the ethnocentrism of non-Jewish Europeans. But immigration is essentially irreversible barring some enormous cataclysm.

I started to realize that my interests are quite different from prototypical Jewish interests. We need ways of talking about people who oppose policies recommended by the various Jewish establishments without simply being tarred as “anti-Semites”. Immigration is only one example where there are legitimate conflicts of interest. As I write this (November, 2001), we are bogged down in a war with no realizable endgame largely because of influence of the Jewish community over one area of our foreign policy and because of how effectively any mention of the role of Israel in creating friction between the U.S. and the Arab world is muzzled simply by the cry of anti-Semitism. And at home we have entered into an incalculably dangerous experiment in creating a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society in which the intellectual elite has developed the idea that the formerly dominant European majority has a moral obligation to allow itself to be eclipsed demographically and culturally—the result, at least at its inception and to a considerable degree thereafter, of the influence of Jewish interest groups on immigration policy and the influence of Jewish intellectual movements on our intellectual and cultural life generally.[41]Scott McConnell, former columnist for the New York Post, commented on the intense commitment to open immigration among Jewish neo-conservatives on an email discussion list (September 30, 2001). Responding to someone who doubted the neo-conservative commitment on this issue, McConnell notes,

Read some of Norman Podhoretz’s writing, particularly his recent book—the only polemics against anyone right of center are directed against immigration restrictionists. Several years ago I was at a party talking to Norman, and Abe Rosenthal came over, and Norman introduced us with the words “Scott is very solid on the all issues, except immigration.” The very first words out of his mouth. This was when we were ostensibly on very good terms, and I held a job which required important people to talk to me. There is a complicated history between the neo-cons and National Review [NR], which John O’Sullivan could tell better than I, but it involved neo-con attacks on NR using language that equated modern day immigration restrictionism with the effort to send Jews back to Nazi death camps, a tone so vicious that [it] was really strange among ostensible Reaganite allies in 1995. . . . The Forward, a neo-connish Jewish weekly, used to run articles trying to link FAIR, an immigration restriction group headed by former [Colorado governor] Richard Lamm, with neo-nazism, using the kind of crude smear techniques many on this list are aware of. None of my neo-con friends (at a time when all my friends were Jewish neo-cons) thought there was anything wrong with this. . . . Read the Weekly Standard, read Ben Wattenberg. Read the [Podhoretzes]. Or don’t. But if you were engaged on the issue, you couldn’t help but being struck by this, particularly because it came as such a shock. One doesn’t like to name names, because no one on the right wants to get on the bad side of the neo-cons, but I can think of one young scholar, who writes very temperately on immigration related issues who trained at Harvard under a leading neo-con sociologist told me he was just amazed at the neo-cons attachment to high immigration—it seemed to go against every principle of valuing balance and order in a society, and being aware of social vulnerabilities, that they seemed to advocate. Perhaps it’s worth some time, writing a lengthy article on all this, on how the American right lost its way after the Cold War. (Italics in text)
As noted above, the rise of Jewish power and the disestablishment of the specifically European nature of the U.S. are the real topics of CofC.

I agree that there is bias in the social sciences and I certainly don’t exempt myself from this tendency. It is perhaps true that by the time I finished CofC I should have stated my attitudes in the first chapter. Instead, they are placed in the last chapter of CofC—rather forthrightly I think. In a sense putting them at the end was appropriate because my attitudes about Jewish issues marked a cumulative, gradual change from a very different world view.

It is annoying that such disclaimers never appear in writing by strongly identified Jews even when they see their work as advancing Jewish interests. A major theme of the CofC is that Jewish social scientists with a strong Jewish identity have seen their work as advancing Jewish interests. It is always amazing to me that media figures like the Kristols and Podhoretzes and foreign policy experts like Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle do not feel an obligation to precede their remarks on issues affected by their solicitude for Israel by saying, “you should be wary of what I say because I have a vested ethnic interest in advancing the interests of Israel.” But the same thing goes for vast areas of anthropology (the Boasian school and racial differences research), history (e.g., blatantly apologetic accounts of the history and causes of anti-Semitism or the role of Jews in the establishment of Bolshevism), psychology (the Frankfurt School, psychoanalysis), and contemporary issues (immigration, church-state relations). The point of CofC that really galls people is the idea that we should simply acknowledge this bias in (some) Jewish researchers as we do in others. There are a great many books on how Darwin and Galton were influenced by the general atmosphere of Victorian England, but writing of a Jewish bias immediately results in charges of “anti-Semitism.”

But the deeper point is that, whatever my motivations and biases, I would like to suppose that my work on Judaism at least meets the criteria of good social science, even if I have come to the point of seeing my subjects in a less than flattering light. In the end, does it really matter if my motivation at this point is less than pristine? Isn’t the only question whether I am right?

Conclusion • 600 Words

CofC is really an attempt to understand the 20th century as a Jewish century—a century in which Jews and Jewish organizations were deeply involved in all the pivotal events. From the Jewish viewpoint it has been a period of great progress. In the late 19th century the great bulk of the Jewish population lived in Eastern Europe, with many Jews mired in poverty and all surrounded by hostile populations and unsympathetic governments. A century later, Israel is firmly established in the Middle East, and Jews have become the wealthiest and most powerful group in the United States and have achieved elite status in other Western countries. The critical Jewish role in radical leftism has been sanitized, while Jewish victimization by the Nazis has achieved the status of a moral touchstone and is a prime weapon in the push for large-scale non-white immigration, multi-culturalism and advancing other Jewish causes. Opponents have been relegated to the fringe of intellectual and political discourse and there are powerful movements afoot that would silence them entirely.

None of this should be surprising. Jewish populations have always had enormous effects on the societies where they reside because of two qualities that are central to Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy: High intelligence (including the usefulness of intelligence in attaining wealth) and the ability to cooperate in highly organized, cohesive groups (MacDonald 1994). This has led repeatedly to Jews becoming an elite and powerful group in societies where they reside in sufficient numbers—as much in the 20th-century United States and the Soviet Union as in 15th-century Spain or Alexandria in the ancient world. History often repeats itself after all. Indeed, recent data indicate that Jewish per capita income is almost double that of non-Jews, a bigger difference than the black-white income gap. Although Jews make up less than 3 percent of the population, they constitute more than a quarter of the people on the Forbes magazine list of the richest four hundred Americans. A remarkable 87 percent of college-age Jews are currently enrolled in institutions of higher education, as compared with 40 percent for the population as a whole (Thernstrom & Thernstrom 1997). Jews are indeed an elite group in American society (see also CofC, Chap. 8).

My perception is that the Jewish community in the U.S. is moving aggressively ahead, ignoring the huge disruptions Jewish organizations have caused in the West (now mainly via successful advocacy of massive non-European immigration) and in the Islamic world (via the treatment of Palestinians by Israel). Whatever the justification for such beliefs, U.S. support for Israel is by all accounts an emotionally compelling issue in the Arab world. A true test of Jewish power in the United States will be whether support for Israel is maintained even in the face of the enormous costs that have already been paid by the U.S. in terms of loss of life, economic disruption, hatred and distrust throughout the Muslim world, and loss of civil liberties at home. As of this writing, while Jewish organizations are bracing for a backlash against Jews in the U.S. and while there is considerable concern among Jews about the Bush Administration’s pressure on Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians in order to placate the Muslim world (e.g., Rosenblatt 2001), all signs point to no basic changes in the political culture of the United States vis-à-vis Israel as a result of the events of 9-11-01.

Chapter 1 • Jews and the Radical Critique of Gentile Culture: Introduction and Theory • 7,800 Words

For 1,500 years Jewish society had been designed to produce intellectuals. . . . Jewish society was geared to support them. . . . Rich merchants married sages’ daughters; . . . Quite suddenly, around the year 1800, this ancient and highly efficient social machine for the production of intellectuals began to shift its output. Instead of pouring all its products into the closed circuit of rabbinical studies, . . . it unleashed a significant and ever-growing proportion of them into secular life. This was an event of shattering importance in world history. (A History of the Jews,Paul Johnson 1988, 340–341)

An important theme of Separation and Its Discontents (hereafter SAID) was the manipulation of ideology in the service of rationalizing specific forms of Judaism, interpreting history, and combating anti-Semitism. The present volume is in many ways an extension of these phenomena. However, the intellectual movements and political activity discussed in this volume have typically occurred in the wider intellectual and political world and have not been designed to rationalize specific forms of Judaism. Rather, they may be characterized in the broadest sense as efforts at cultural criticism and at times as attempts to influence the wider culture of the society in a manner that conforms to specific Jewish interests.

There is no implication here of a unified Jewish “conspiracy” to undermine gentile culture, as portrayed in the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Since the Enlightenment, Judaism has never been a unified, monolithic movement, and there has clearly been a great deal of disagreement among Jews as to how to protect themselves and attain their interests during this period. The movements discussed in this volume (Boasian anthropology, political radicalism, psychoanalysis, the Frankfurt School of Social Research, and the New York Intellectuals) were advanced by relatively few individuals whose views may not have been known or understood by the majority of the Jewish community. The argument is that Jews dominated these intellectual movements, that a strong sense of Jewish identity was characteristic of the great majority of these individuals, and that these individuals were pursuing a Jewish agenda in establishing and participating in these movements.

Thus there is no implication that Judaism constitutes a unified movement or that all segments of the Jewish community participated in these movements. Jews may constitute a predominant or necessary element in radical political movements or movements in the social sciences, and Jewish identification may be highly compatible with or even facilitate these movements without most Jews being involved in these movements. As a result, the question of the overall effects of Jewish influences on gentile culture is independent of the question of whether most or all Jews supported the movements to alter gentile culture.

This distinction is important because on the one hand anti-Semites have often implicitly or explicitly assumed that Jewish involvement in radical political movements was part of an overarching Jewish strategy that also included wealthy Jewish capitalists, as well as Jewish involvement in the media, the academy, and other areas of public life. On the other hand, Jews attempting to defuse the anti-Semitism resulting from the fact that Jews have played a predominant role in many radical political movements have often pointed to the fact that only a minority of Jews are involved and that gentiles are also involved in the movements. Thus, for example, the standard response of the American Jewish Committee (hereafter AJCommittee) during the 1930s and 1940s to the predominance of Jews in radical political movements was to emphasize that most Jews were not radicals. Nevertheless, during this same period the AJCommittee undertook efforts to combat radicalism in the Jewish community (e.g., Cohen 1972).[42]As indicated in SAID (p. 261), the AJCommittee’s endeavor to portray Jews as not overrepresented in radical movements involved deception and perhaps self-deception. The AJCommittee engaged in intensive efforts to change opinion within the Jewish community to attempt to show that Jewish interests were more compatible with advocating American democracy than Soviet communism (e.g., emphasizing Soviet anti-Semitism and Soviet support of nations opposed to Israel in the period after World War II) (Cohen 1972, 347ff). The AJCommittee was implicitly recognizing that statements that only a minority of Jews are radicals may indeed have been true but were irrelevant to whether (1) Jewish identification is compatible with or facilitates involvement in radical political movements, (2) Jews constitute a predominant or necessary element in radical political movements, or (3) influences on gentile society resulting from Jewish predominance in radical movements (or the other Jewish intellectual movements reviewed in this volume) may be conceptualized as a consequence of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy.

Similarly, the fact that most Jews prior to the 1930s were not Zionists, at least overtly, surely does not imply that Jewish identification was irrelevant to Zionism, or that Jews did not in fact constitute a predominant influence on Zionism, or that Zionism did not have effects on gentile societies, or that some gentiles did not become ardent Zionists. Political radicalism has been one choice among many available to Jews in the post-Enlightenment world, and there is no implication here that Judaism constitutes a monolithic unified group in the post-Enlightenment world. That Jews have been more likely than gentiles to choose radical political alternatives and that Jews have been a predominant influence in some radical political movements are therefore facts highly relevant to the present project.

That some gentiles were involved in these movements is not surprising either. At a theoretical level, my thinking is based once again on an evolutionary interpretation of social identity theory (see SAID, Ch. 1). Gentiles may be attracted to the political and intellectual movements that attract Jews and for many of the same reasons, that is, reasons related to social identification and ingroup-outgroup competition. For example, African American intellectuals have often been attracted to leftist intellectual movements and environmentalist explanations of racial group differences in IQ at least partly as a reaction to their perceptions of white animosity and the consequent implications of genetic inferiority. In the same way, I argue that anti-Semitism has been a motivating force for many Jewish intellectuals. Recall the motivating role of self-esteem as a theoretical primitive in social identity theory. A great many people who, for whatever reason, feel victimized by a particular sociopolitical system are attracted to movements that criticize the system, blame others for their problems, and generally vindicate their own positive perceptions of themselves and their ingroup as well as their negative perceptions of outgroups. In each of the intellectual and political movements I review, Jewish identification and a concern to combat anti-Semitism were clearly involved.

Moreover, once Jews have attained intellectual predominance, it is not surprising that gentiles would be attracted to Jewish intellectuals as members of a socially dominant and prestigious group and as dispensers of valued resources. Such a perspective fits well with an evolutionary perspective on group dynamics: Gentiles negotiating the intellectual status hierarchy would be attracted to the characteristics of the most dominant members of the hierarchy, especially if they viewed the hierarchy as permeable. Writer William Barrett, a gentile editor of Partisan Review, describes his “awe and admiration” of the New York Intellectuals (a group of predominantly Jewish intellectuals discussed in Chapter 6) early in his career. “They were beings invested in my eyes with a strange and mysterious glamour” (in Cooney 1986, 227). Partisan Review was a flagship journal of this very influential intellectual movement and had a decisive influence on success or failure in the literary world. Leslie Fiedler (1948, 872, 873), himself a New York Intellectual, described a whole generation of American Jewish writers (including Delmore Schwartz, Alfred Kazin, Karl Shapiro, Isaac Rosenfeld, Paul Goodman, Saul Bellow, and H. J. Kaplan) as “typically urban, second-generation Jews.” The works of these writers appeared regularly in Partisan Review, andFiedler goes on to say that “the writer drawn to New York from the provinces feels . . . the Rube, attempts to conform; and the almost parody of Jewishness achieved by the gentile writer in New York is a strange and crucial testimony of our time.”

Almost one-half of Kadushin’s (1974, 23) sample of elite post–World War II American intellectuals was Jewish. The sample was based on the most frequent contributors to leading intellectual journals, followed by interviews in which the intellectuals “voted” for another intellectual they considered most influential in their thinking. Over 40 percent of the Jews in the sample received six or more votes as being most influential, compared to only 15 percent of non-Jews (p. 32). It is therefore not surprising that Joseph Epstein (1997) finds that during the 1950s and early 1960s being Jewish was “honorific” among intellectuals generally. Gentile intellectuals “scoured their genealog[ies] for Jewish ancestors” (Epstein 1997, 7). By 1968 Walter Kerr could write, “what has happened since World War II is that the American sensibility has become part Jewish, perhaps as much Jewish as it is anything else. . . . The literate American mind has come in some measure to think Jewishly. It has been taught to, and it was ready to. After the entertainers and novelists came the Jewish critics, politicians, theologians. Critics and politicians and theologians are by profession molders; they form ways of seeing.” In my personal experience, this honorific status of Jewish intellectuals remains common among my colleagues and is apparent, for example, in Hollinger’s (1996, 4) recent work on the “transformation of the ethnoreligious demography of American academic life by Jews” in the period from the 1930s to the 1960s.[43]A similar phenomenon is apparent in the American movie industry, where anecdotal evidence indicates that gentiles sometimes attempt to present themselves as Jews in order to advance their careers in a Jewish-dominated environment (see Cash 1994).

Finally, a major theme is that gentiles have often been actively recruited to the movements discussed here and given highly visible roles within these movements in order to lessen the appearance that the movements are indeed Jewish-dominated or aimed only at narrow Jewish sectarian interests. From the standpoint of social identity theory, such a strategy aims at making gentiles perceive the intellectual or political movement as permeable to non-Jews and as satisfying gentile interests. As indicated in SAID (Chs. 5, 6), the rhetoric of universalism and the recruitment of gentiles as advocates of Jewish interests have been recurrent themes in combating anti-Semitism in both the ancient and modern world.

It is also important to keep in mind that the effectiveness and historical importance of Jewish involvement in the movements discussed in this volume were undoubtedly far out of proportion to the actual number of Jews involved. For example, even though in particular historical eras Jews may have been only a numerical minority within radical political or intellectual movements, they may well have been a necessary condition for the effectiveness and historical importance of these movements. Jews who became radicals retained their high IQ, their ambitiousness, their persistence, their work ethic, and their ability to organize and participate in cohesive, highly committed groups (see PTSDA, Ch. 7). As Lindemann (1997, 429) notes about Jewish Bolsheviks, “citing the absolute numbers of Jews, or their percentage of the whole, fails to recognize certain key if intangible factors: the assertiveness and often dazzling verbal skills of Jewish Bolsheviks, their energy, and their strength of conviction.” Jews tend to be far above average on these traits, and these traits have been central to Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy throughout history.

Writing of American Jewish radicals, Sorin (1985, 121–122) notes particularly their hard work and dedication, their desire to make a mark on the world, and their desire to rise in the world, engage in personal promotion, and achieve public acclaim—all traits that lead to upward mobility in any walk of life. These activists therefore became a more powerful, effective force than similarly proletarianized groups of gentiles. “A Jewish proletariat, conscious of its class interest and its cultural identity, grew, and with it grew activism and organization” (Sorin 1985, 35). Sorin (1985, 28) accepts the claim that half the revolutionaries in Russia in 1903 were Jews and notes that Jewish labor militancy as calculated by number of strikes and lost work time was three times that of any other working class in Europe between 1895 and 1904 (p. 35). Within leftist circles, Jews were viewed as the vanguard of the movement. Once this critical mass of Jews had become radicalized, it is not surprising that there would be important repercussions throughout Europe and North America. In addition to being radicals, these Jews were a very talented, intelligent and committed group of people. Similarly, Hollinger (1996, 19) notes that Jews were more influential in the decline of a homogeneous Protestant Christian culture in the United States than Catholics because of their greater wealth, social standing, and technical skill in the intellectual arena.

A major theme, therefore, is that the Jews who originated and dominated the movements considered in this volume were characterized by intelligence, persistence, and the ability to be part of cohesive, cooperative, and highly focused groups. These groups may therefore be conceptualized as secular versions of historical Jewish groups not only because of the high levels of Jewish identity characteristic of group members, but also because these groups retained the essential characteristics of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy. Because of these characteristics, these groups were extraordinarily effective in achieving their aims. Collectively, the case studies discussed here provide yet another indication that highly disciplined, cooperative groups are able to outcompete individualist strategies. Indeed, an important thread in the following chapters is that Jewish intellectuals have formed highly cohesive groups whose influence to a great extent derives from the solidarity and cohesiveness of the group. Intellectual activity is like any other human endeavor: Cohesive groups outcompete individualist strategies. The fundamental truth of this axiom has been central to the success of Judaism throughout its history whether in business alliances and trading monopolies or in the intellectual and political movements discussed here (see especially PTSDA, Ch. 5).

Another major theme of this volume is that Jewish intellectuals have developed intellectual movements that have subjected the institutions of gentile society to radical forms of criticism. The converse of this is that gentile-dominated societies have often developed hegemonic ideologies intended to explain and rationalize the current institutions of society. This presumably has been the case for the major religions of the world, and more recently, ideologies such as communism, fascism, and liberal democracy appear to perform a similar function. Judaism, because of its position as a minority group strategy committed to its own worldview, has tended to adopt ideologies in which the institutions and ideologies of the surrounding society are viewed negatively.

Such a result follows directly from social identity theory. Particularly striking are the negative views of gentiles apparent in Jewish religious writings. The Law of Cleanness regards gentiles and their land as intrinsically unclean. Gentiles are typically likened to beasts capable of the worst debaucheries, as in the writings of Maimonides where heathen women are suspected of whoredom and heathen men of bestiality(The Code of Maimonides, Book V: The Book of Holiness, XXII, 142). Jews conceptualize themselves as descendants of Jacob, represented in Genesis as smooth-skinned, delicate, and contemplative. Gentiles are represented by Esau, Jacob’s twin brother, the opposite of Jacob—hirsute, coarse, and brutal. Whereas Esau lives as a hunter and warrior, Jacob lives by intelligence and guile and is the proper master of Esau who has been commanded by God to serve Jacob. Lindemann (1997, 5) shows that these stereotypes remain salient to Jews in contemporary times.

Judaism may come to be viewed as subversive when Jews attempt to inculcate negative perceptions of gentile culture among gentiles. The association of Judaism with subversive ideologies has a long history. Noting the association between Jews and subversive ideas in Muslim countries, Lewis (1984, 104) states that the theme of Jewish subversion is also familiar in “other times and places.” Johnson (1988, 214–215) finds that beginning in the Middle Ages converted Jews, especially those forced to convert, were “a critical, questing, disturbing element within the intelligentsia. . . . [Thus] the claim that they were intellectually subversive had an element of truth.” The title of a recent book on Jewish art in the Middle Ages expresses this theme well: Dreams of Subversion in Medieval Jewish Art and Literature (M. M. Epstein 1997). Epstein comments that “One can sense the anger Jews of the late Middle Ages must have felt when they called for the destruction of Christendom” (p. 115).

In the ancient world through the Middle Ages negative views of gentile institutions were relatively confined to internal consumption within the Jewish community. However, beginning with the Converso turmoil in fifteenth-century Spain these negative views often appeared in the most prestigious intellectual circles and in the mass media. These views generally subjected the institutions of gentile society to radical criticism or they led to the development of intellectual structures that rationalized Jewish identification in a postreligious intellectual environment.

Faur (1992, 31ff) shows that Conversos in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Spain were vastly overrepresented among the humanist thinkers who opposed the corporate nature of Spanish society centered around Christianity. In describing the general thrust of these writers, Faur (1992, 31) notes that “Although the strategy varied—from the creation of highly sophisticated literary works to the writing of scholarly and philosophical compositions—the goal was one: to present ideas and methodologies that would displace the values and institutions of the ‘old Christian.’. . . The urgency of reviewing the values and institutions of Christian Spain became more evident with the first massacre of conversos perpetrated by the old Christians in Toledo, in 1449.” Similarly, Castro (1954, 557–558) notes that works of “violent social criticism” and “antisocial rancor,” including especially social satire, were originated during the fifteenth century by Converso writers.

A prime example is The Celestina (first edition dating from 1499) by Fernando de Rojas, who wrote “with all the anguish, pessimism, and nihilism of a converso who has lost the religion of his fathers but has been unable to integrate himself within the compass of Christian belief. Rojas subjected the Castilian society of his time to “a corrosive analysis, destroying with a spirit that has been called ‘destructive’ all the traditional values and mental schemes of the new intolerant system. Beginning with literature and proceeding to religion, passing through all the ‘values’ of institutionalized caste-ism—honor, valor, love—everything is perversely pulverized” (Rodríguez-Puértolas 1976, 127).

This association of Jews with subversive ideologies continued during and after the Enlightenment as Jews were able to participate in public intellectual debate in Western Europe. Paul Johnson (1988, 291–292), writing of Baruch Spinoza, terms him “the first major example of the sheer destructive power of Jewish rationalism once it escaped the restraints of the traditional community.” Similarly, Heinrich Heine is “both the prototype and the archetype of a new figure in European literature: the Jewish radical man of letters, using his skill, reputation and popularity to undermine the intellectual confidence of the established order” (Johnson 1988, 345).

This “sheer destructive power” of the Jewish intellect was an important aspect of the pre-National Socialist era in Germany. As indicated in SAID (Chs. 2, 5), a prominent feature of anti-Semitism among the Social Conservatives and racial anti-Semites in Germany from 1870 to 1933 was their belief that Jews were instrumental in developing ideas that subverted traditional German attitudes and beliefs. Jews were vastly overrepresented as editors and writers during the 1920s in Germany, and “a more general cause of increased anti-Semitism was the very strong and unfortunate propensity of dissident Jews to attack national institutions and customs in both socialist and non-socialist publications” (Gordon 1984, 51).[44]As anti-Semitism increased during the Weimar period, Jewish-owned liberal newspapers began to suffer economic hardship because of public hostility to the ethnic composition of the editorial boards and staffs (Mosse 1987, 371). The response of Hans Lachman-Mosse was to “depoliticize” his newspapers by firing large numbers of Jewish editors and correspondents. Eksteins (1975, 229) suggests that the response was an attempt to deflect right-wing categorizations of his newspapers as part of the Judenpresse. This “media violence” directed at German culture by Jewish writers such as Kurt Tucholsky—who “wore his subversive heart on his sleeve” (Pulzer 1979, 97)—was publicized widely by the anti-Semitic press (Johnson 1988, 476–477).

Jews were not simply overrepresented among radical journalists, intellectuals, and “producers of culture” in Weimar Germany, they essentially created these movements. “They violently attacked everything about German society. They despised the military, the judiciary, and the middle class in general” (Rothman & Lichter 1982, 85). Massing (1949, 84) notes the perception of the anti-Semite Adolf Stoecker of Jewish “lack of reverence for the Christian-conservative world.”

Anti-Semitism among university professors during the Weimar period was partially fueled by the perception that “the Jew represented the critical or ‘negative’ aspects of modern thought, the acids of analysis and skepticism that helped to dissolve the moral certainties, patriotic commitment, and social cohesion of modern states” (Ringer 1983, 7). Reflecting this perception, National Socialist propaganda during the period claimed that Jews attempted to undermine the social cohesion of gentile society while remaining committed to a highly cohesive group themselves—an intellectual double standard in which the basis of social cohesion among gentiles was subjected to intense criticism while the Jews “would retain their international cohesiveness, blood ties, and spiritual unity” (Aschheim 1985, 239). Viewed from this perspective, an important goal of Jewish intellectual effort may be understood as attempting to undermine cohesive gentile group strategies while continuing to engage in their own highly cohesive group strategy. This issue reemerges in the discussion of Jewish involvement in radical political movements and the Frankfurt School of Social Research in Chapters 3 and 5.

This phenomenon was not restricted to Germany. Gilson (1962, 31–32), in discussing his Jewish professors at the turn of the century in France, states:

The doctrines of these university professors were really quite different from one another. Even the personal philosophy of Levy-Bruhl did not coincide exactly with that of Durkheim, while Frederic Rauh was going his own way. . . . The only element common to their doctrines is a negative one, but nonetheless real and very active in its own order. One might describe it as a radical defiance of all that which is social conceived as a constraint from which to be liberated. Spinoza and Brunschvieg achieved this liberation through metaphysics. Durkheim and Levy-Bruhl through science and sociology, Bergson through intuition.

Jews have also been at the forefront of the adversarial culture in the United States, England, and France since the mid-1960s, especially as defenders of the adversary culture in the media and the academic world (Ginsberg 1993, 125ff; Rothman & Isenberg 1974a, 66–67).[45]A recent, perhaps trivial, example of this type of intellectual ethnic warfare is the popular movie Addams Family Values (released in November 1993), produced by Scott Rudin, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, and written by Paul Rudnick. The bad guys in the movie are virtually anyone with blond hair (the exception being an overweight child), and the good guys include two Jewish children wearing yarmulkes. (Indeed, having blond hair is viewed as a pathology, so that when the dark-haired Addams baby temporarily becomes blond, there is a family crisis.) The featured Jewish child has dark hair, wears glasses, and is physically frail and nonathletic. He often makes precociously intelligent comments, and he is severely punished by the blond-haired counselors for reading a highly intellectual book. The evil gentile children are the opposite: blond, athletic, and unintellectual. Together with other assorted dark-haired children from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and white gentile children rejected by their peers (for being overweight, etc.), the Jewish boy and the Addams family children lead a very violent movement that succeeds in destroying the blond enemy. The movie is a parable illustrating the general thrust of Jewish intellectual and political activity relating to immigration and multi-culturalism in Western societies (see Ch. 7). It is also consistent with the general thrust of Hollywood movies. SAID (Ch. 2) reviews data indicating Jewish domination of the entertainment industry in the United States. Powers, Rothman and Rothman (1996, 207) characterize television as promoting liberal, cosmopolitan values, and Lichter, Lichter and Rothman (1994, 251) find that television portrays cultural pluralism in positive terms and as easily achieved apart from the activities of a few ignorant or bigoted miscreants. Stein (1979, 28; see also Lichter et al. 1994; Powers et al. 1996) shows that his sample of predominantly Jewish writers and producers of television shows in the 1970s had very negative attitudes toward what they viewed as a gentile-dominated cultural establishment, although their most negative comments were elicited in informal conversation rather than during formal interviews. Television portrayals of gentile establishment figures in business and the military tended to be very negative. For example, “the writers clearly thought of military men as clean-shaven, blond, and of completely WASP background. In the minds of a few of the people I interviewed, these blond officers were always a hair’s breadth away from becoming National Socialists. They were thought of as part of an Aryan ruling class that actually or potentially repressed those of different ethnic backgrounds” (pp. 55–56).

Indeed, Glazer and Moynihan (1963/1970) credit the emergence of the adversary culture in the United States as a triumph of the New York Jewish cultural-political perspective. Jewish writers and visual artists (including E. L. Doctorow, Norman Mailer, Joseph Heller,[46]Heller combines social criticism with a strong Jewish identity. In a talk described in The Economist (March 18, 1995, p. 92), Heller is quoted as saying that “being Jewish informs everything I do. My books are getting more and more Jewish.” Frederick Wiseman, and Norman Lear) were disproportionately involved in attempts to portray American society as “sick” (Rothman & Lichter 1982, 120). A common technique of cultural subversion “involves an attack upon genuine inequities or irrationalities. Since all societies abound in both, there is never an absence of targets. However, the attack is generally not directed at the particular inequity or irrationality per se. Rather, such inequities or irrationalities are used as a means for achieving a larger purpose: the general weakening of the social order itself” (Rothman & Lichter 1982, 120).

In this volume I will concentrate on Jewish involvement in movements opposed to evolutionary, biological, and genetic findings in the social sciences, radical political ideology, psychoanalysis, the Frankfurt School of Social Research, and the New York Intellectuals. These movements are not specifically Jewish in the sense that they are not intended to rationalize specific aspects of Judaism such as cultural and genetic separatism. A major point will be that Jews were vastly overrepresented in these movements, that a strong sense of Jewish identity characterized the great majority of these individuals, and that all involved alienation from and rejection of gentile culture.

The discussion therefore reflects Sorkin’s (1985, 102) description of nineteenth-century German-Jewish intellectuals as constituting an “invisible community of acculturating German Jews who perpetuated distinct cultural forms within the majority culture.” The Jewish cultural contribution to the wider gentile culture was therefore accomplished from a highly particularistic perspective in which Jewish group identity continued to be of paramount importance despite its “invisibility.” Even Berthold Auerbach (b. 1812), the exemplar of the assimilated Jewish intellectual, “manipulate[d] elements of the majority culture in a way peculiar to the German-Jewish minority” (Sorkin 1985, 107). Auerbach became a model, for secular Jewish intellectuals, of the assimilated Jew who did not renounce his Judaism. For the most part, these secular Jewish intellectuals socialized exclusively with other secular Jews and viewed their contribution to German culture as a secular form of Judaism—thus the “invisible community” of strongly identified Jewish intellectuals. This cultural manipulation in the service of group interests was a common theme of anti-Semitic writings. Thus, Heinrich Heine’s critique of German culture was viewed as directed at the pursuit of power for his group at the expense of the cohesiveness of gentile society (see Mosse 1970, 52).

In several of the movements discussed in the following chapters it is of considerable importance that their propagators have attempted to clothe their rhetoric in the garb of science—the modern arbiter of truth and intellectual respectability. As White (1966, 2) notes with respect to the Boasian school of anthropology, the aura of science is deceptive: “They would make it appear and would have everyone believe that their choice of premises and goals has been determined by scientific considerations. This is definitely not the case. . . . They are obviously sincere. Their sincerity and group loyalty tend, however, to persuade and consequently to deceive.”

The comment is an excellent illustration of Robert Trivers’s (1985) evolutionary theory of self-deception: The best deceivers are those who are self-deceived. At times the deception becomes conscious. Charles Liebman (1973, 213) describes his unselfconscious acceptance of universalist ideologies (behaviorism and liberalism) in his work as a social scientist and suggests that he was engaged in self-deception regarding the role of Jewish identification in his beliefs: “As a behaviorist (and a liberal) I can testify to having been quite unselfconscious about my academic methodology, but I suspect that this would have to be the case. Otherwise I would be defeating the very universalism I espouse.”

Conceptualizing the Jewish radical criticism of gentile society • 3,500 Words

The foregoing has documented a general tendency for Jewish intellectuals in a variety of periods to be involved with social criticism, and I have hinted at an analysis in terms of social identity theory. More formally, two quite different types of reasons explain why Jews might be expected to advocate ideologies and political movements aimed at undermining the existing gentile social order.

First, such ideologies and movements may be directed at benefiting Jews economically or socially. Clearly one of the themes of post-Enlightenment Judaism has been the rapid upward mobility of Jews and attempts by gentile power structures to limit Jewish access to power and social status. Given this rather conspicuous reality, practical reasons of economic and political self-interest would result in Jews being attracted to movements that criticized the gentile power structure or even advocated overthrowing it entirely.

Thus the czarist government of Russia enforced restrictions on Jews mainly out of fear that Jews would overwhelm gentile Russians in free economic competition (Lindemann 1991; SAID, Ch. 2). These czarist restrictions on Jews were a prominent rallying point for Jews around the world, and it is not at all unreasonable to suppose that Jewish participation in radical movements in Russia was motivated by perceived Jewish interest in overthrowing the czarist regime. Indeed, Arthur Liebman (1979, 29ff) notes that Jewish political radicalism in czarist Russia must be understood as resulting from economic restrictions on Jews that were enforced by the government in the context of considerable Jewish poverty and a very rapid Jewish demographic increase. Similarly, well into the 1930s the Jewish socialist labor movement in the United States aimed at bettering the working conditions of its predominantly Jewish membership (Liebman 1979, 267).

Another practical goal of Jewish political and intellectual movements has been to combat anti-Semitism. For example, Jewish attraction to socialism in many countries in the 1930s was motivated partly by communist opposition to fascism and anti-Semitism (Lipset 1988, 383; Marcus 1983). The general association between anti-Semitism and conservative political views has often been advanced as an explanation for Jewish involvement with the left, including the leftist tendencies of many wealthy Jews (e.g., Lipset 1988, 375ff). Combating anti-Semitism also became a prime goal of Jewish radicals in the United States after Jews had predominantly moved into the middle class (Levin 1977, 211). Rising anti-Semitism and consequent restrictions on Jewish upward mobility during the 1930s also resulted in an attraction of Jews to the left (Liebman 1979, 420ff, 507).

It will be apparent in Chapter 2 that the cultural determinism of the Boasian school of anthropology functioned to combat anti-Semitism by combating racialist thinking and eugenic programs advocated mainly by gentiles. Psychoanalysis (Ch. 4) and the Frankfurt School (Ch. 5) have also been instrumental in developing and propagating theories of anti-Semitism which attribute anti-Semitism to irrational projections of gentiles. In the case of the Frankfurt School, the theory also functioned to pathologize gentile group allegiances as a symptom of a psychiatric disorder while ignoring Jewish group cohesion.

Second, Jewish involvement in social criticism may be influenced by social identity processes independent of any practical goal such as ending anti-Semitism. Research in social identity processes finds a tendency for displacement of ingroup views away from outgroup norms (Hogg & Abrams 1988). In the case of Jewish-gentile contact, these outgroup norms would paradigmatically represent the consensus views of the gentile society. Moreover, individuals who identify themselves as Jews would be expected to develop negative attributions regarding the outgroup, and for Jews the most salient outgroup is the gentile power structure and indeed the gentile-dominated social structure generally.

Jewish ingroup status vis-à-vis the gentile world as an outgroup would be expected to lead to a generalized negative conceptualization of the gentile outgroup and a tendency to overemphasize the negative aspects of gentile society and social structure. From the social identity perspective, the Jewish tendency to subvert the social order is thus expected to extend beyond developing ideologies and social programs that satisfy specific Jewish economic and social interests and extend to a general devaluation and critique of gentile culture—”the sheer destructive power of Jewish rationalism once it escaped the restraints of the traditional community” (Johnson 1988, 291–292).

The social identity perspective also predicts that such negative attributions are especially likely if the gentile power structure is anti-Semitic or perceived to be anti-Semitic. A basic finding of social identity research is that groups attempt to subvert negative social categorizations imposed by another group (Hogg & Abrams 1988). Social identity processes would therefore be intensified by Jewish perceptions that gentile culture was hostile to Jews and that Jews had often been persecuted by gentiles. Thus Feldman (1993, 43) finds very robust tendencies toward heightened Jewish identification and rejection of gentile culture consequent to anti-Semitism at the very beginnings of Judaism in the ancient world and throughout Jewish history. In Lord George Bentnick: A Political Biography (1852, 489), the nineteenth-century racial theorist Benjamin Disraeli, who had a very strong Jewish identity despite being a baptized Christian, stated that “persecution . . . although unjust may have reduced the modern Jews to a state almost justifying malignant vengeance. They may have become so odious and so hostile to mankind as to merit for their present conduct, no matter how occasioned, the obloquy and ill-treatment of the communities in which they dwell and with which they are scarcely permitted to mingle.” The result, according to Disraeli, is that Jews would perceive gentile society in extremely negative terms and may attempt to overthrow the existing social order:

But existing society has chosen to persecute this race which should furnish its choice allies, and what have been the consequences?

They may be traced in the last outbreak of the destructive principle in Europe. An insurrection takes place against tradition and aristocracy, against religion and property. . . .[47]The ellipsis is as follows: “Destruction of the Semitic principle, extirpation of the Jewish religion, whether in the Mosaic or in the Christian form, the natural equality of man and the abrogation of property, are proclaimed by the secret societies who form provisional governments, and men of Jewish race are found at the head of every one of them.” Rather (1986) notes that anti-Semites who believed in Jewish conspiracies often cited this passage as well as the Protocols in support of their theories. He also points out, citing Roberts (1972), that Disraeli’s view that events were controlled by vast international conspiracies was commonplace in the nineteenth century. Rather links these beliefs with the secret society at the center of the psychoanalytic movement (see Ch. 4) as well as with a secret society named “the sons of Moshe” organized by the Zionist Ahad Ha’am (Asher Ginsberg) whose work is discussed in SAID (Ch. 5). The people of God co-operate with atheists; the most skillful accumulators of property ally themselves with communists; the peculiar and chosen race touch the hand of all the scum and low castes of Europe! And all this because they wish to destroy that ungrateful Christendom which owes to them even its name, and whose tyranny they can no longer endure. (Disraeli 1852, 498–499)[48]This passage was invoked by Lucien Wolf, secretary of the Conjoint Foreign Committee of the Board of Deputies and the Anglo-Jewish Association, to rationalize Jewish support for Russian revolutionary movements (see Szajkowski 1967, 9).

Indeed, Theodore Herzl espoused socialism in the 1890s as a Jewish response to continuing anti-Semitism, not because of its political goal of economic leveling, but because it would destroy the anti-Semitic gentile power structure: “From outcasts of society they [Jews] will become enemies of society. Ah, they are not protected in their civic honor, they are permitted to be insulted, scorned and on occasion also a bit plundered and maimed—what prevents them from going over to the side of anarchy?” Jews “no longer have a stake in the state. They will join the revolutionary parties, supplying or sharpening their weapons. They want to turn the Jews over to the mob—good, they themselves will go over to the people. Beware, they are at their limit; do not go too far” (in Kornberg 1993, 122).

Similarly, Sammons (1979, 263) describes the basis of the mutual attraction between Heinrich Heine and Karl Marx by noting that “they were not reformers, but haters, and this was very likely their most fundamental bond with one another.” The suggestion, consistent with social identity theory, is that a fundamental motivation of Jewish intellectuals involved in social criticism has simply been hatred of the gentile-dominated power structure perceived as anti-Semitic. This deep antipathy toward the non-Jewish world can also be seen in sociologist and New York Intellectual Michael Walzer’s (1994, 6–7) comment on the “pathologies of Jewish life,” particularly “the sense that ‘all the world is against us,’ the resulting fear, resentment, and hatred of the goy, the secret dreams of reversal and triumph.” Such “secret dreams of reversal and triumph” are a theme of the treatment of Jewish radicals in Chapter 3 and Freud and the psychoanalytic movement discussed in Chapter 4.

Indeed, intense hatred of perceived enemies appears to be an important psychological characteristic of Jews. It is remarkable that Schatz (1991, 113) finds that while all Polish communists in the interwar period hated their enemies, Jewish communists had more perceived enemies and hated them more intensely. As described more fully in Chapter 3, these communist groups were actually highly cohesive ingroups entirely analogous to traditional Jewish groups in their structure and psychological orientation. The proposal that Jewish communists had more intensely negative feelings toward their enemies is highly compatible with the material in PTSDA (Ch. 8) and SAID (Ch. 1) indicating that Jews may be viewed as having hypertrophied social identity systems and an exaggerated proneness toward collectivist social structures. The greater intensity of Jewish hatred toward outgroups and perceived enemies may be simply an affective manifestation of these tendencies. Indeed, in PTSDA (Ch. 7) I reviewed evidence indicating that Jews were highly compartmentalized in their emotional lives—prone to alterations between positive social interactions (paradigmatically directed toward members of a perceived ingroup) and intense interpersonal hostility (paradigmatically directed toward members of a perceived outgroup).

Social identity theory also predicts that Jewish intellectual activity will be directed at developing ideologies that affirm their own social identity in the face of the social categories developed by anti-Semites. Historically this has been a common theme in Jewish religious apologia (see SAID, Ch. 7), but it also occurs among Jewish secular writers.Castro (1954, 558) describes attempts by New Christian intellectuals to “defend the Hebrew lineage” from anti-Semitic slurs during the period of the Inquisition. The Converso bishop of Burgos stated, “Do not think you can insult me by calling my forefathers Jews. They are, to be sure, and I am glad that it is so; for if great age is nobility, who can go back so far?” The Jew, descended from the Maccabees and the Levites, is “noble by birth.” Castro (1954, 559) also notes that a theme of the New Christian literature of the period was that of “esteem for socially inferior man marginally situated in society.” The category in which Jews see themselves is regarded in a positive light.

Interestingly, the Converso humanist ideology stressed individual merit in opposition to the corporate nature of gentile Christian society (Faur 1992, 35).[49]The New Christian ideology implies that members of a highly cohesive, economically successful group are seeking to be judged as individuals rather than as members of a group by the surrounding society. It is of interest that the moral imperative of judging on the basis of individual merit was also a theme in the work of nineteenth-century Jewish writer Michael Beer (see Kahn 1985, 122) and is a major theme of the contemporary neoconservative movement of Jewish intellectuals. Beer was forced to disguise the identity of his protagonist (as a lower-caste Hindu) because his audience was unlikely to view an explicitly Jewish protagonist positively. Reflecting the salience of Jewish-gentile group conflict during the period, Old Christians viewed individual merit as deriving from religious affiliation (i.e., group identity) rather than from individual effort: “In the sixteenth century the scale of values became ever more unbalanced, resulting in the concept that it was more important to establish who the person was rather than evaluate his capacity for work or thought” (Castro 1971, 581; italics in text). The ideology of individual merit as the basis of value promoted by the Converso intellectuals may thus be seen as an instance of combating categories of social identity in which one is devalued.[50]Castro’s thesis is that economic and intellectual backwardness was the heavy price Spain paid for its successful resistance to the ideology of individual merit. As noted in SAID (Ch. 1), maladaptive ideologies can develop in the context of group conflict because they provide a positive social identity in opposition to an outgroup. Thus Spain was unlikely to move toward an individualist, post-Enlightenment society when the advocates of individualism were viewed as covertly having allegiance to a highly cohesive group.

The other side of the coin is that Jews have often reacted quite negatively to Jewish writers who portray Jewish characters as having negative or disapproved traits. For example, Philip Roth has been extensively criticized by Jews and Jewish organizations for portraying such characters, or at least for portraying such characters in America, where his work could be read by anti-Semites (see Roth 1963). While the ostensible reason for this concern was the possibility that such portrayals might lead to anti-Semitism, Roth (1963, 452) suggests also that “what is really objected to, what is immediately painful . . . is its direct effect upon certain Jews. ‘You have hurt a lot of people’s feelings because you have revealed something they are ashamed of.’ “ The implication of Roth’s critics is that the ingroup should be portrayed in positive terms; and indeed, the most common type of Jewish literary activity has portrayed Jews as having positive traits (Alter 1965, 72). The quote also reflects the discussion of Jewish self-deception in SAID (Ch. 8): The shame resulting from awareness of actual Jewish behavior is only half-conscious, and any challenge to this self-deception results in a great deal of psychological conflict.

The importance of social identity processes in Jewish intellectual activity was recognized some time ago by Thorstein Veblen (1934). Veblen described the preeminence of Jewish scholars and scientists in Europe and noted their tendency to be iconoclasts. He noted that the Enlightenment had destroyed the ability of Jewish intellectuals to find comfort in the identity provided by religion, but they do not therefore simply accept uncritically the intellectual structures of gentile society. By engaging in iconoclasm, Veblen suggests, Jews are in fact subjecting to criticism the basic social categorization system of the gentile world—a categorization system with which the gentile, but not the Jew, is comfortable. The Jew “is not . . . invested with the gentile’s peculiar heritage of conventional preconceptions which have stood over, by inertia of habit, out of the gentile past, which go, on the one hand, to make the safe and sane gentile conservative and complacent, and which conduce also, on the other hand, to blur the safe and sane gentile’s intellectual vision, and to leave him intellectually sessile” (Veblen 1934, 229).[51]Paul Johnson (1988, 408) takes the view that Jewish iconoclasm simply speeded up “changes that were coming anyway. The Jews were natural iconoclasts. Like the prophets, they set about smiting and overturning all the idols of the conventional modes with skill and ferocious glee.” Because it essentially trivializes the ultimate effects of Jewish intellectual efforts, such a view is inconsistent with Johnson’s claim that the emergence of Jews into the mainstream of Western intellectual discourse was “an event of shattering importance to world history” (pp. 340–341). Johnson offers no evidence for his view that the changes advocated by Jewish intellectuals were inevitable. Surely traditional Judaism did not encourage iconoclasm within the Jewish community (witness Spinoza’s fate and the generally authoritarian nature of community controls in traditional Jewish society [PTSDA, Ch. 8]). Nor did traditional Jewish scholarship encourage iconoclasm. Although Talmudic studies definitely encouraged argumentation (pilpul; see PTSDA, Ch. 7), these discussions were performed within a very narrowly prescribed range in which the basic assumptions were not questioned. In the post-Enlightenment world, Jewish iconoclasm has clearly been much more directed at gentile culture than at Judaism, and evidence provided here and in the following chapters indicates that the iconoclasm was often motivated by hostility toward gentile culture. By Johnson’s own account, both Marxism and psychoanalysis are unlikely to have arisen from gentiles, since they both contain strong overtones of Jewish religious thinking, and I would argue that psychoanalysis especially is unlikely to have arisen except as a tool in the war on gentile culture. The results are much more plausibly due to the generally higher verbal IQ among Jews and their ability to form cohesive groups now directed at critiquing gentile culture rather than at comprehending the Torah and thereby achieving status within the Jewish community.

Indeed, Jewish social scientists have at least sometimes been aware of these linkages: Peter Gay (1987, 137) quotes the following from a 1926 letter written by Sigmund Freud, whose antipathy to Western culture is described in Chapter 4: “Because I was a Jew, I found myself free from many prejudices which limited others in the employment of their intellects, and as a Jew I was prepared to go into opposition and to do without the agreement of the ‘compact majority.’ “ In a later letter, Freud stated that to accept psychoanalysis “called for a certain measure of readiness to accept a situation of solitary opposition—a situation with which nobody is more familiar than a Jew” (in Gay 1987, 146).[52]The comment referring to “solitary opposition” is disingenuous, since psychoanalysis from its origins was characterized by a strong group consciousness emanating from a committed core of members. Psychoanalysis itself energetically cultivated the image of Freud as a solitary hero-scientist battling for truth against a biased intellectual establishment. See Chapter 4.

There is a sense of alienation vis-à-vis the surrounding society. The Jewish intellectual, in the words of New York Intellectual and political radical Irving Howe, tends “to feel at some distance from society; to assume, almost as a birthright, a critical stance toward received dogmas, to recognize oneself as not quite at home in the world” (1978, 106).

From Solomon Maimon to Normon Podhoretz, from Rachel Varnhagen to Cynthia Ozick, from Marx and Lassalle to Erving Goffman and Harold Garfinkel, from Herzl and Freud to Harold Laski and Lionel Trilling, from Moses Mendelssohn to J. Robert Oppenheimer and Ayn Rand, Gertrude Stein, and Reich I and II (Wilhelm and Charles), one dominating structure of an identical predicament and a shared fate imposes itself upon the consciousness and behavior of the Jewish intellectual in Galut [exile]: with the advent of Jewish Emancipation, when ghetto walls crumble and the shtetlach [small Jewish towns] begin to dissolve, Jewry—like some wide-eyed anthropologist—enters upon a strange world, to explore a strange people observing a strange halakah (code). They examine this world in dismay, with wonder, anger, and punitive objectivity. This wonder, this anger, and the vindictive objectivity of the marginal nonmember are recidivist; they continue unabated into our own time because Jewish Emancipation continues into our own time. (Cuddihy 1974, 68)

Although intellectual criticism resulting from social identity processes need not be functional in attaining any concrete goal of Judaism, this body of theory is highly compatible with supposing that Jewish intellectual activity may be directed at influencing social categorization processes in a manner that benefits Jews. Evidence will be provided in later chapters that Jewish intellectual movements have advocated universalist ideologies for the entire society in which the Jew-gentile social category is reduced in salience and is of no theoretical importance. Thus, for example, within a Marxist analysis social conflict is theorized to result solely from economically based conflict between social classes in which resource competition between ethnic groups is irrelevant. Social identity research predicts that the acceptance of such a theory would lessen anti-Semitism because within the universalist ideology the Jew-gentile social categorization is not salient.

Finally, there is good reason to suppose that minority perspectives are able to have a strong influence on the attitudes of the majority (e.g., Pérez & Mugny 1990). Social identity research indicates that a minority viewpoint, especially when possessing a high degree of internal consistency, is able to have an impact

because it introduces the possibility of an alternative to the taken-for-granted, unquestioned, consensual majority perspective. Suddenly people can discern cracks in the façade of majority consensus. New issues, problems, and questions arise which demand attention. The status quo is no longer passively accepted as an immutable and stable entity which is the sole legitimate arbiter of the nature of things. People are free to change their beliefs, views, customs, and so forth. And where do they turn? One direction is to the active minority. It (by definition and design) furnishes a conceptually coherent and elegantly simple resolution of the very issues which, due to its activities, now plague the public consciousness. In the language of ‘ideology’ . . . , active minorities seek to replace the dominant ideology with a new one. (Hogg & Abrams 1988, 181)

A critical component of minority group influence is intellectual consistency (Moscovici 1976), and an important theme in the following will be that Jewish-dominated intellectual movements have had a high degree of internal group cohesion and have often been typified by high levels of ingroup-outgroup thinking—a traditional aspect of Judaism. However, because these movements were intended to appeal to gentiles, they were forced to minimize any overt indication that Jewish group identity or Jewish group interests were important to the participants.

Such a result is also highly compatible with social identity theory: The extent to which individuals are willing to be influenced depends on their willingness to accept the social category from which the divergent opinion derives. For Jews intent on influencing the wider society, overt Jewish group identity and overtly stated Jewish interests could only detract from the ability of these movements to influence their intended targets. As a result, Jewish involvement in these movements was often actively concealed, and the intellectual structures themselves were phrased in universalist terms to minimize the importance of the social category of Jew-gentile.

Moreover, since one’s willingness to accept influence depends on one’s willingness to identify with the stereotypical qualities of an ingroup, the movements not only were conceptualized in universalist terms, rather than Jewish particularist terms; they were also depicted as motivated only by the highest moral and ethical standards. As Cuddihy (1974, 66n) notes, Jewish intellectuals developed a sense that Judaism had a “mission to the West” in which corrupt Western civilization would be confronted by a specifically Jewish sense of morality. To a considerable extent these movements constitute concrete examples of the ancient and recurrent Jewish self-conceptualization as a “light of the nations,” reviewed extensively in SAID (Ch. 7). This rhetoric of moral condemnation of the outgroup thus represents a secular version of the central pose of post-Enlightenment Jewish intellectuals that Judaism represents a moral beacon to the rest of humanity. But to exert their influence, they were forced to deny the importance of specifically Jewish identity and interests at the heart of the movement.

The high degree of internal group cohesion characteristic of the movements considered in this volume was accompanied by the development of theories that not only possessed a great deal of internal intellectual consistency but also, as in the case of psychoanalysis and radical political theory, could take the form of hermeneutic systems able to accommodate any and all events into their interpretive schemas. And although these movements sought the veneer of science, they inevitably controverted the fundamental principles of science as an individualistic inquiry into the nature of reality (see Ch. 6). Although the extent to which these intellectual and political movements influenced gentile society cannot be assessed with certainty, the material presented in the following chapters is highly compatible with supposing that Jewish-dominated intellectual movements were a critical factor (necessary condition) for the triumph of the intellectual left in late twentieth-century Western societies.

No evolutionist should be surprised at the implicit theory in all this, namely, that intellectual activities of all types may at bottom involve ethnic warfare, any more than one should be surprised at the fact that political and religious ideologies typically reflect the interests of those holding them. The truly doubtful proposition for an evolutionist is whether real social science as a disinterested attempt to understand human behavior is at all possible.

This does not imply that all strongly identified Jewish social scientists participated in the movements discussed in the following chapters. It implies only that Jewish identification and perceived Jewish interests were a powerful motivating force among those who led these movements and among many of their followers. These scientist-activists had very strong Jewish identities. They were very concerned with anti-Semitism and self-consciously developed theories aimed at showing that Jewish behavior was irrelevant to anti-Semitism while at same time (in the case of psychoanalysis and the Frankfurt School) showing that gentile ethnocentrism and participation in cohesive anti-Semitic movements were indications of psychopathology.

Collectively, these movements have called into question the fundamental moral, political, cultural, and economic foundations of Western society. It will be apparent that these movements have also served various Jewish interests quite well. It will also become apparent, however, that these movements have often conflicted with the cultural and ultimately genetic interests of important sectors of the non-Jewish, European-derived peoples of late-twentieth-century European and North American societies.

Chapter 2 • The Boasian School of Anthropology and the Decline of Darwinism in the Social Sciences • 12,800 Words

If . . . we were to treat Margaret Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa as utopia, not as ethnography, then we would understand it better and save a lot of pointless debate. (Robin Fox 1989, 3)

Several writers have commented on the “radical changes” that occurred in the goals and methods of the social sciences consequent to the entry of Jews to these fields (Liebman 1973, 213; see also Degler 1991; Hollinger 1996; Horowitz 1993, 75; Rothman & Lichter 1982). Degler (1991, 188ff) notes that the shift away from Darwinism as the fundamental paradigm of the social sciences resulted from an ideological shift rather than from the emergence of any new empirical data. He also notes that Jewish intellectuals have been instrumental in the decline of Darwinism and other biological perspectives in American social science since the 1930s (p. 200). The opposition of Jewish intellectuals to Darwinism has long been noticed (Lenz 1931, 674; see also comments of John Maynard Smith in Lewin [1992, 43]).[53]Lenz (1931, 675) notes the historical association between Jewish intellectuals and Lamarckianism in Germany and its political overtones. Lenz cites an “extremely characteristic” statement of a Jewish intellectual that “The denial of the racial importance of acquired characters favours race hatred.” The obvious interpretation of such sentiments is that Jewish intellectuals opposed natural selection because of possible negative political implications. The suggestion is that these intellectuals were well aware of ethnic differences between Jews and Germans but wished to deny their importance for political reasons—an example of deception as an aspect of Judaism as an evolutionary strategy (SAID, Chs. 6–8). Indeed, Lenz notes that the Lamarckian Paul Kammerer, who was a Jew, committed suicide when exposed as a scientific fraud in an article in the prestigious British journal Nature. (The black spots on frogs, which were supposed to prove the theory of Lamarckianism, were in fact the result of injections of ink.) Lenz states that many of his Jewish acquaintances accept Lamarckianism because they wish to believe that they could become “transformed into genuine Teutons.” Such a belief may be an example of deception, since it fosters the idea that Jews can become “genuine Teutons” simply by “writing books about Geothe,” in the words of one commentator, despite retaining their genetic separatism. In a note (Lenz 1931, 674n), Lenz chides both the anti-Semites and the Jews of his day, the former for not accepting a greater influence of Judaism on modern civilization, and the latter for condemning any discussion of Judaism in terms of race. Lenz states that the Jewish opposition to discussion of race “inevitably arouses the impression that they must have some reason for fighting shy of any exposition of racial questions.” Lenz notes that Lamarckian sentiments became less common among Jews when the theory was completely discredited. Nevertheless, two very prominent and influential Jewish intellectuals, Franz Boas (Freeman 1983, 28) and Sigmund Freud (see Ch. 4), continued to accept Lamarckianism long after it became completely discredited.

In sociology, the advent of Jewish intellectuals in the pre–World War II period resulted in “a level of politicization unknown to sociology’s founding fathers. It is not only that the names of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim replaced those of Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer, but also that the sense of America as a consensual experience gave way to a sense of America as a series of conflicting definitions” (Horowitz 1993, 75). In the post–World War II period, sociology “became populated by Jews to such a degree that jokes abounded: one did not need the synagogue, the minyan [i.e., the minimum number of Jews required for a communal religious service] was to be found in sociology departments; or, one did not need a sociology of Jewish life, since the two had become synonymous” (Horowitz 1993, 77). Indeed, the ethnic conflict within American sociology parallels to a remarkable degree the ethnic conflict in American anthropology that is a theme of this chapter. Here the conflict was played out between leftist Jewish social scientists and an old-line, empirically oriented Protestant establishment that was eventually eclipsed:

American sociology has struggled with the contrary claims of those afflicted with physics envy and researchers . . . more engaged in the dilemmas of society. In that struggle, midwestern Protestant mandarins of positivist science often came into conflict with East Coast Jews who in turn wrestled with their own Marxist commitments; great quantitative researchers from abroad, like Paul Lazarsfeld at Columbia, sought to disrupt the complacency of native bean counters. (Sennett 1995, 43)

This chapter will emphasize the ethnopolitical agenda of Franz Boas, but it is worth mentioning the work of Franco-Jewish structuralist anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss because he appears to be similarly motivated, although the French structuralist movement as a whole cannot be viewed as a Jewish intellectual movement. Lévi-Strauss interacted extensively with Boas and acknowledged his influence (Dosse 1997 I, 15, 16). In turn, Lévi-Strauss was very influential in France, Dosse (1997 I, xxi) describing him as “the common father” of Michel Foucault, Louis Althusser, Roland Barthes, and Jacques Lacan. He had a strong Jewish identity and a deep concern with anti-Semitism (Cuddihy 1974, 151ff). In response to an assertion that he was “the very picture of a Jewish intellectual,” Lévi-Strauss stated,

[C]ertain mental attitudes are perhaps more common among Jews than elsewhere. . . . Attitudes that come from the profound feeling of belonging to a national community, all the while knowing that in the midst of this community there are people—fewer and fewer of them I admit—who reject you. One keeps one’s sensitivity attuned, accompanied by the irrational feeling that in all circumstances one has to do a bit more than other people to disarm potential critics. (Lévi-Strauss & Eribon 1991, 155–156)

Like many Jewish intellectuals discussed here, Lévi-Strauss’s writings were aimed at enshrining cultural differences and subverting the universalism of the West, a position that validates the position of Judaism as a non-assimilating group. Like Boas, Lévi-Strauss rejected biological and evolutionary theories. He theorized that cultures, like languages, were arbitrary collections of symbols with no natural relationships to their referents. Lévi-Strauss rejected Western modernization theory in favor of the idea that there were no superior societies. The role of the anthropologist was to be a “natural subversive or convinced opponent of traditional usage” (in Cuddihy 1974, 155) in Western societies, while respecting and even romanticizing the virtues of non-Western societies (see Dosse 1997 II, 30). Western universalism and ideas of human rights were viewed as masks for ethnocentrism, colonialism, and genocide:

Levi-Strauss’s most significant works were all published during the breakup of the French colonial empire and contributed enormously to the way it was understood by intellectuals. . . . [H]is elegant writings worked an aesthetic transformation on his readers, who were subtly made to feel ashamed to be Europeans. . . . [H]e evoked the beauty, dignity, and irreducible strangeness of Third World cultures that were simply trying to preserve their difference. . . . [H]is writings would soon feed the suspicion among the new left . . . that all the universal ideas to which Europe claimed allegiance—reason, science, progress, liberal democracy—were culturally specific weapons fashioned to rob the non-European Other of his difference. (Lilla 1998, 37)

Degler (1991, 61) emphasizes the role of Franz Boas in the anti-Darwinian transformation of American social science: “Boas’ influence upon American social scientists in matters of race can hardly be exaggerated.” Boas engaged in a “life-long assault on the idea that race was a primary source of the differences to be found in the mental or social capabilities of human groups. He accomplished his mission largely through his ceaseless, almost relentless articulation of the concept of culture” (p. 61). “Boas, almost single-handedly, developed in America the concept of culture, which, like a powerful solvent, would in time expunge race from the literature of social science” (p. 71).

Boas did not arrive at the position from a disinterested, scientific inquiry into a vexed if controversial question. . . . There is no doubt that he had a deep interest in collecting evidence and designing arguments that would rebut or refute an ideological outlook—racism—which he considered restrictive upon individuals and undesirable for society. . . . there is a persistent interest in pressing his social values upon the profession and the public. (Degler 1991, 82–83)

As Frank (1997, 731) points out, “The preponderance of Jewish intellectuals in the early years of Boasian anthropology and the Jewish identities of anthropologists in subsequent generations has been downplayed in standard histories of the discipline.” Jewish identifications and the pursuit of perceived Jewish interests, particularly in advocating an ideology of cultural pluralism as a model for Western societies, has been the “invisible subject” of American anthropology—invisible because the ethnic identifications and ethnic interests of its advocates have been masked by a language of science in which such identifications and interests were publicly illegitimate.

Boas was reared in a “Jewish-liberal” family in which the revolutionary ideals of 1848 remained influential.[54]I wish to thank Hiram Caton for his comments and help in the following discussion of the Boasian school of anthropology. He developed a “left-liberal posture which . . . is at once scientific and political” (Stocking 1968, 149). Boas married within his ethnic group (Frank 1997, 733) and was intensely concerned with anti-Semitism from an early period in his life (White 1966, 16). Alfred Kroeber (1943, 8) recounted a story “which [Boas] is said to have revealed confidentially but which cannot be vouched for, . . . that on hearing an anti-Semitic insult in a public cafe, he threw the speaker out of doors, and was challenged. Next morning his adversary offered to apologize; but Boas insisted that the duel be gone through with. Apocryphal or not, the tale absolutely fits the character of the man as we know him in America.” In a comment that says much about Boas’s Jewish identification as well as his view of gentiles, Boas stated in response to a question regarding how he could have professional dealings with anti-Semites such as Charles Davenport, “If we Jews had to choose to work only with Gentiles certified to be a hundred percent free of anti-Semitism, who could we ever really work with?” (in Sorin 1997, 632n9). Moreover, as has been common among Jewish intellectuals in several historical eras, Boas was deeply alienated from and hostile toward gentile culture, particularly the cultural ideal of the Prussian aristocracy (Degler 1991, 200; Stocking 1968, 150). When Margaret Mead wanted to persuade Boas to let her pursue her research in the South Sea islands, “She hit upon a sure way of getting him to change his mind. ‘I knew there was one thing that mattered more to Boas than the direction taken by anthropological research. This was that he should behave like a liberal, democratic, modern man, not like a Prussian autocrat.’ The ploy worked because she had indeed uncovered the heart of his personal values” (Degler 1991, 73).

I conclude that Boas had a strong Jewish identification and that he was deeply concerned about anti-Semitism. On the basis of the following, it is reasonable to suppose that his concern with anti-Semitism was a major influence in the development of American anthropology.

Indeed, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that ethnic conflict played a major role in the development of American anthropology. Boas’s views conflicted with the then prevalent idea that cultures had evolved in a series of developmental stages labeled savagery, barbarism, and civilization. The stages were associated with racial differences, and modern European culture (and most especially, I suppose, the hated Prussian aristocracy) was at the highest level of this gradation. Wolf (1990, 168) describes the attack of the Boasians as calling into question “the moral and political monopoly of a [gentile] elite which had justified its rule with the claim that their superior virtue was the outcome of the evolutionary process.” Boas’s theories were also meant to counter the racialist theories of Houston Stewart Chamberlain (see SAID, Ch. 5) and American eugenicists like Madison Grant, whose book, The Passing of the Great Race (1921, 17), was highly critical of Boas’s research on environmental influences on skull size. The result was that “in message and purpose, [Boas’s anthropology] was an explicitly antiracist science” (Frank 1997, 741).

Grant characterized Jewish immigrants as ruthlessly self-interested whereas American Nordics were committing racial suicide and allowing themselves to be “elbowed out” of their own land (1921, 16, 91). Grant also believed Jews were engaged in a campaign to discredit racial research:

It is well-nigh impossible to publish in the American newspapers any reflection upon certain religions or races which are hysterically sensitive even when mentioned by name. . . . Abroad, conditions are fully as bad, and we have the authority of one of the most eminent anthropologists in France that the collection of anthropological measurements and data among French recruits at the outbreak of the Great War was prevented by Jewish influence, which aimed to suppress any suggestion of racial differentiation in France. (1921, xxxi–xxxii)

An important technique of the Boasian school was to cast doubt on general theories of human evolution, such as those implying developmental sequences, by emphasizing the vast diversity and chaotic minutiae of human behavior, as well as the relativism of standards of cultural evaluation. The Boasians argued that general theories of cultural evolution must await a detailed cataloguing of cultural diversity, but in fact no general theories emerged from this body of research in the ensuing half century of its dominance of the profession (Stocking 1968, 210). Because of its rejection of fundamental scientific activities such as generalization and classification, Boasian anthropology may thus be characterized more as an anti-theory than a theory of human culture (White 1966, 15). Boas also opposed research on human genetics—what Derek Freeman (1991, 198) terms his “obscurantist antipathy to genetics.”

Boas and his students were intensely concerned with pushing an ideological agenda within the American anthropological profession (Degler 1991; Freeman 1991; Torrey 1992). Boas and his associates had a sense of group identity, a commitment to a common viewpoint, and an agenda to dominate the institutional structure of anthropology (Stocking 1968, 279–280). They were a compact group with a clear intellectual and political agenda rather than individualist seekers of disinterested truth. The defeat of the Darwinians “had not happened without considerable exhortation of ‘every mother’s son’ standing for the ‘Right.’ Nor had it been accomplished without some rather strong pressure applied both to staunch friends and to the ‘weaker brethren’—often by the sheer force of Boas’s personality” (Stocking 1968, 286).

By 1915 the Boasians controlled the American Anthropological Association and held a two-thirds majority on its Executive Board (Stocking 1968, 285). In 1919 Boas could state that “most of the anthropological work done at the present time in the United States” was done by his students at Columbia (in Stocking 1968, 296). By 1926 every major department of anthropology was headed by Boas’s students, the majority of whom were Jewish. His protégé Melville Herskovits (1953, 23) noted that

the four decades of the tenure of [Boas’s] professorship at Columbia gave a continuity to his teaching that permitted him to develop students who eventually made up the greater part of the significant professional core of American anthropologists, and who came to man and direct most of the major departments of anthropology in the United States. In their turn, they trained the students who . . . have continued the tradition in which their teachers were trained.

According to Leslie White (1966, 26), Boas’s most influential students were Ruth Benedict, Alexander Goldenweiser, Melville Herskovits, Alfred Kroeber, Robert Lowie, Margaret Mead, Paul Radin, Edward Sapir, and Leslie Spier. All of this “small, compact group of scholars . . . gathered about their leader” (White 1966, 26) were Jews with the exception of Kroeber, Benedict, and Mead. Frank (1997, 732) also mentions several other prominent first-generation Jewish students of Boas (Alexander Lesser, Ruth Bunzel, Gene [Regina] Weltfish, Esther Schiff Goldfrank, and Ruth Landes). Sapir’s family fled the pogroms in Russia for New York, where Yiddish was his first language. Although not religious, he took an increasing interest in Jewish topics early in his career and later became engaged in Jewish activism, particularly in establishing a prominent center for Jewish learning in Lithuania (Frank 1997, 735). Ruth Landes’s background also shows the ethnic nexus of the Boasian movement. Her family was prominent in the Jewish leftist subculture of Brooklyn, and she was introduced to Boas by Alexander Goldenweiser, a close friend of her father and another of Boas’s prominent students.

In contrast to the ideological and political basis of Boas’s motivation, Kroeber’s militant environmentalism and defense of the culture concept was “entirely theoretical and professional” (Degler 1991, 90). Neither his private nor his public writings reflect the attention to public policy questions regarding blacks or the general question of race in American life that are so conspicuous in Boas’s professional correspondence and publications. Kroeber rejected race as an analytical category as forthrightly and thoroughly as Boas, but he reached that position primarily through theory rather than ideology. Kroeber argued that “our business is to promote anthropology rather than to wage battles on behalf of tolerance in other fields” (in Stocking 1968, 286).[55]Although Kroeber did not have a self-conscious political agenda, his education in a leftist-Jewish environment may have had a lasting influence. Frank (1997, 734) notes that Kroeber was educated in schools linked to the Ethical Culture movement, “an offshoot of Reform Judaism” linked with leftist educational programs and characterized by an ideology of a humanistic faith that embraced all humanity.

Ashley Montagu was another influential student of Boas (see Shipman 1994, 159ff). Montagu, whose original name was Israel Ehrenberg, was a highly visible crusader in the battle against the idea of racial differences in mental capacities. He was also highly conscious of being Jewish, stating on one occasion that “if you are brought up a Jew, you know that all non-Jews are anti-Semitic. . . . I think it is a good working hypothesis” (in Shipman, 1994, 166). Montagu asserted that race is a socially constructed myth. Humans are innately cooperative (but not innately aggressive) and there is a universal brotherhood among humans—a highly problematic idea for many in the wake of World War II. Mention also should be made of Otto Klineberg, a professor of psychology at Columbia. Klineberg was “tireless” and “ingenious” in his arguments against the reality of racial differences. He came under the influence of Boas at Columbia and dedicated his 1935 book Race Differences to him. Klineberg “made it his business to do for psychology what his friend and colleague at Columbia [Boas] had done for anthropology: to rid his discipline of racial explanations for human social differences” (Degler 1991, 179).

It is interesting in this regard that the members of the Boasian school who achieved the greatest public renown were two gentiles, Benedict and Mead.[56]Torrey (1992, 60ff) argues cogently that the cultural criticism of Benedict and Mead and their commitment to cultural determinism were motivated by their attempts to develop self-esteem as lesbians. As indicated in Chapter 1, any number of reasons explain why gentile intellectuals may be attracted to intellectual movements dominated by Jews, including the identity politics of other ethnic groups or, in this case, sexual nonconformists. As in several other prominent historical cases (see Chs. 3, 4; SAID, Ch. 6), gentiles became the publicly visible spokespersons for a movement dominated by Jews. Indeed, like Freud, Boas recruited gentiles into his movement out of concern “that his Jewishness would make his science appear partisan and thus compromised” (Efron 1994, 180).

Boas devised Margaret Mead’s classic study on adolescence in Samoa with an eye to its usefulness in the nature-nurture debate raging at the time (Freeman 1983, 60–61, 75). The result of this research was Coming of Age in Samoa—a book that revolutionized American anthropology in the direction of radical environmentalism. Its success stemmed ultimately from its promotion by Boas’s students in departments of anthropology at prominent American universities (Freeman 1991). This work and Ruth Benedict’s Patterns of Culture were also widely influential among other social scientists, psychiatrists, and the public at large, so that “by the middle of the twentieth century, it was a commonplace for educated Americans to refer to human differences in cultural terms, and to say that ‘modern science has shown that all human races are equal’ “ (Stocking 1968, 306).

Boas rarely cited works of people outside his group except to disparage them, whereas, as with Mead’s and Benedict’s work, he strenuously promoted and cited the work of people within the ingroup. The Boasian school of anthropology thus came to resemble in a microcosm key features of Judaism as a highly collectivist group evolutionary strategy: a high level of ingroup identification, exclusionary policies, and cohesiveness in pursuit of common interests.

Boasian anthropology, at least during Boas’s lifetime, also resembled traditional Judaism in another critical manner: It was highly authoritarian and intolerant of dissent. As in the case of Freud (see Ch. 4), Boas was a patriarchal father figure, strongly supporting those who agreed with him and excluding those who did not: Alfred Kroeber regarded Boas as “a true patriarch” who “functioned as a powerful father figure, cherishing and supporting those with whom he identified in the degree that he felt they were genuinely identifying with him, but, as regards others, aloof and probably fundamentally indifferent, coldly hostile if the occasion demanded it” (in Stocking 1968, 305–306). “Boas has all the attributes of the head of a cult, a revered charismatic teacher and master, ‘literally worshipped’ by disciples whose ‘permanent loyalty’ has been ‘effectively established’ “ (White 1966, 25–26).

As in the case of Freud, in the eyes of his disciples virtually everything Boas did was of monumental importance and justified placing him among the intellectual giants of all time. Like Freud, Boas did not tolerate theoretical or ideological differences with his students. Individuals who disagreed with the leader or had personality clashes with him, such as Clark Wissler and Ralph Linton, were simply excluded from the movement. White (1966, 26–27) represents the exclusion of Wissler and Linton as having ethnic overtones. Both were gentiles. White (1966, 26–27) also suggests that George A. Dorsey’s status as a gentile was relevant to his exclusion from the Boas group despite Dorsey’s intensive efforts to be a member. Kroeber (1956, 26) describes how George A. Dorsey, “an American-born gentile and a Ph.D. from Harvard, tried to gain admittance to the select group but failed.” As an aspect of this authoritarianism, Boas was instrumental in completely suppressing evolutionary theory in anthropology (Freeman 1990, 197).

Boas was the quintessential skeptic and an ardent defender of methodological rigor when it came to theories of cultural evolution and genetic influences on individual differences, yet “the burden of proof rested lightly upon Boas’s own shoulders” (White 1966, 12). Although Boas (like Freud; see Ch. 4) made his conjectures in a very dogmatic manner, his “historical reconstructions are inferences, guesses, and unsupported assertions [ranging] from the possible to the preposterous. Almost none is verifiable” (White 1966, 13). An unrelenting foe of generalization and theory construction, Boas nevertheless completely accepted the “absolute generalization at which [Margaret] Mead had arrived after probing for a few months into adolescent behavior on Samoa,” even though Mead’s results were contrary to previous research in the area (Freeman 1983, 291). Moreover, Boas uncritically allowed Ruth Benedict to distort his own data on the Kwakiutl (see Torrey 1992, 83).

The entire enterprise may thus be characterized as a highly authoritarian political movement centered around a charismatic leader. The results were extraordinarily successful: “The profession as a whole was united within a single national organization of academically oriented anthropologists. By and large, they shared a common understanding of the fundamental significance of the historically conditioned variety of human cultures in the determination of human behavior” (Stocking 1968, 296). Research on racial differences ceased, and the profession completely excluded eugenicists and racial theorists like Madison Grant and Charles Davenport.

By the mid-1930s the Boasian view of the cultural determination of human behavior had a strong influence on social scientists generally (Stocking 1968, 300). The followers of Boas also eventually became some of the most influential academic supporters of psychoanalysis (Harris 1968, 431). Marvin Harris (1968, 431) notes that psychoanalysis was adopted by the Boasian school because of its utility as a critique of Euro-American culture, and, indeed, as we shall see in later chapters, psychoanalysis is an ideal vehicle of cultural critique. In the hands of the Boasian school, psychoanalysis was completely stripped of its evolutionary associations and there was a much greater accommodation to the importance of cultural variables (Harris 1968, 433).[57]Although Freud is often viewed as a “biologist of the mind” (Sulloway 1979a), and although he was clearly influenced by Darwin and proposed a universal human nature, psychoanalysis is highly compatible with environmental influences and the cultural relativism championed by the Boasian school. Freud viewed mental disorder as the result of environmental influences, particularly the repression of sexuality so apparent in the Western culture of his day. For Freud, the biological was universal, whereas individual differences were the result of environmental influences. Gay (1988, 122–124) notes that until Freud, psychiatry was dominated by a biological model in which mental disorder had direct physical (e.g., genetic) causes.

Cultural critique was also an important aspect of the Boasian school. Stocking (1989, 215–216) shows that several prominent Boasians, including Robert Lowie and Edward Sapir, were involved in the cultural criticism of the 1920s which centered around the perception of American culture as overly homogeneous, hypocritical, and emotionally and esthetically repressive (especially with regard to sexuality). Central to this program was creating ethnographies of idyllic cultures that were free of the negatively perceived traits that were attributed to Western culture. Among these Boasians, cultural criticism crystallized as an ideology of “romantic primitivism” in which certain non-Western cultures epitomized the approved characteristics Western societies should emulate.

Cultural criticism was a central feature of the two most prominent Boasian ethnographies, Coming of Age in Samoa and Patterns of Culture. These works are not only erroneous but systematically misrepresent key issues related to evolutionary perspectives on human behavior. For example, Benedict’s Zuni were described as being free of war, homicide, and concern with accumulation of wealth. Children were not disciplined. Sex was casual, with little concern for virginity, sexual possessiveness, or paternity confidence. Contemporary Western societies are, of course, the opposite of these idyllic paradises, and Benedict suggests that we should study such cultures in order “to pass judgment on the dominant traits of our own civilization” (Benedict 1934, 249). Mead’s similar portrayal of the Samoans ignored her own evidence contrary to her thesis (Orans 1996, 155). Negatively perceived behaviors of Mead’s Samoans, such as rape and concern for virginity, were attributed to Western influence (Stocking 1989, 245).

Both of these ethnographic accounts have been subjected to devastating criticisms. The picture of these societies that has emerged is far more compatible with evolutionary expectations than the societies depicted by Benedict and Mead (see Caton 1990; Freeman 1983; Orans 1996; Stocking 1989). In the controversy surrounding Mead’s work, some defenders of Mead have pointed to possible negative political implications of the demythologization of her work (see, e.g., the summary in Caton 1990, 226–227). The highly politicized context of the questions raised by this research thus continues unabated.

Indeed, one consequence of the triumph of the Boasians was that there was almost no research on warfare and violence among the peoples studied by anthropologists (Keegan 1993, 90–94). Warfare and warriors were ignored, and cultures were conceived as consisting of myth-makers and gift-givers. (Orans [1996, 120] shows that Mead systematically ignored cases of rape, violence, revolution, and competition in her account of Samoa.) Only five articles on the anthropology of war appeared during the 1950s. Revealingly, when Harry Turney-High published his volume Primitive Warfare in 1949 documenting the universality of warfare and its oftentimes awesome savagery, the book was completely ignored by the anthropological profession—another example of the exclusionary tactics used against dissenters among the Boasians and characteristic of the other intellectual movements reviewed in this volume as well. Turney-High’s massive data on non-Western peoples conflicted with the image of them favored by a highly politicized profession whose members simply excluded these data entirely from intellectual discourse. The result was a “pacified past” (Keeley 1996, 163ff) and an “attitude of self-reproach” (p. 179) in which the behavior of primitive peoples was bowdlerized while the behavior of European peoples was not only excoriated as uniquely evil but also as responsible for all extant examples of warfare among primitive peoples. From this perspective, it is only the fundamental inadequacy of European culture that prevents an idyllic world free from between-group conflict.

The reality, of course, is far different. Warfare was and remains a recurrent phenomenon among prestate societies. Surveys indicate over 90 percent of societies engage in warfare, the great majority engaging in military activities at least once per year (Keeley 1996, 27–32). Moreover, “whenever modern humans appear on the scene, definitive evidence of homicidal violence becomes more common, given a sufficient number of burials (Keeley 1996, 37). Because of its frequency and the seriousness of its consequences, primitive warfare was more deadly than civilized warfare. Most adult males in primitive and prehistoric societies engaged in warfare and “saw combat repeatedly in a lifetime” (Keeley, 1996, 174).

Beyond Boas: Recent Examples of Jewish Political Agendas Influencing Social Science Research • 7,400 Words

Jewish influence on the social sciences has extended far beyond Boas and the American Anthropological Association. Hollinger (1996, 4) notes “the transformation of the ethnoreligious demography of American academic life by Jews” in the period from the 1930s to the 1960s, as well as the Jewish influence on trends toward the secularization of American society and in advancing an ideal of cosmopolitanism (p. 11). As early as the early 1940s, this transformation resulted in “a secular, increasingly Jewish, decidedly left-of-center intelligentsia based largely but not exclusively in the disciplinary communities of philosophy and the social sciences” (Hollinger 1996, 160). By 1968, Jews constituted 20 percent of the faculty of elite American colleges and universities and constituted 30 percent of the “most liberal” faculty. At this time, Jews, representing less than 3 percent of the population, constituted 25 percent of the social science faculty at elite universities and 40 percent of liberal faculty who published most (see Rothman & Lichter 1982, 103). Jewish academics were also far more likely to support “progressive” or communist parties from the 1930s to the 1950s. In 1948 30 percent of Jewish faculty voted for the Progressive Party, compared to less than 5 percent for gentile faculty (Rothman & Lichter 1982, 103).

Boas, who was a socialist, is a good example of the leftist bent of Jewish social scientists, and many of his followers were political radicals (Torrey 1992, 57).[58]Stocking (1968, 273ff) recounts Boas’s declaration of war on a group of anthropologists who had contributed to the war effort in World War I. Boas’s letter, printed in the leftist periodical The Nation, referred to President Wilson as a hypocrite and to American democracy as a sham. The group responded with “outraged patriotism” (Stocking 1968, 275), although the conflict reflected also the deep schism between the Boasian school and the rest of the profession. Similar associations are apparent in the psychoanalytic movement and the Frankfurt School of Social Research (see Chs. 4, 5) as well as among several critics of sociobiology mentioned in this chapter (e.g., Jerry Hirsch, R. C. Lewontin, and Steven Rose). The attraction of Jewish intellectuals to the left is a general phenomenon and has typically co-occurred with a strong Jewish identity and sense of pursuing specifically Jewish interests (see Ch. 3).

Stephen Jay Gould and Leon Kamin are good examples of these trends. Gould’s (1992) perspective on social influences on evolutionary theory was mentioned in SAID (p. 146), and Gould himself would appear to be a prime example of this conflation of personal and ethnopolitical interests in the construction of science. Gould has been an ardent, highly publicized opponent of evolutionary approaches to human behavior. Like many of the other prominent critics of sociobiology (e.g., J. Hirsch, L. Kamin, R. C. Lewontin, and S. Rose; see Myers 1990), Gould is Jewish, and Michael Ruse (1989, 203) notes that a very prominent theme of Gould’s (1981/1996a) The Mismeasure of Man was how hereditarian views on intelligence had been used by “Teutonic supremacists” to discriminate against Jews early in the century. Gould’s views on the IQ debates of the 1920s and their link to the immigration issue and eventually the Holocaust bear scrutiny. They illustrate how skill as a propagandist and ethnic activist can be combined with a highly visible and prestigious academic position to have a major influence on public attitudes in an area of research with great implications for public policy.

Ruse points out that Gould’s book was very passionately written and was “widely criticized” by historians of psychology, suggesting that Gould had allowed his feelings about anti-Semitism to color his scientific writings on genetic influences on individual differences in intelligence.

Ruse goes on as follows:

It does not seem to me entirely implausible to suggest that Gould’s passion against human sociobiology was linked to the fear that it was yet another tool which could be used for anti-semitic purposes. I did ask Gould about this once. . . . He did not entirely repudiate the idea, but inclined to think that the opposition stemmed more from Marxism, and as it so contingently happens, most American Marxists are from Eastern European Jewish families. Perhaps both factors were involved. (Ruse 1989, 203)

Gould’s comments highlight the fact that the role of Jewish academics in opposing Darwinian approaches to human behavior has often co-occurred with a strong commitment to a leftist political agenda. Indeed, Gould has acknowledged that his theory of evolution as punctuated equilibria was attractive to him as a Marxist because it posited periodic revolutionary upheavals in evolution rather than conservative, gradualist change. Gould learned his Marxism “at his Daddy’s knee” (see Gould 1996a, 39), indicating that he grew up as part of the Jewish-Marxist subculture discussed in Chapter 3. In a recent article Gould (1996c) reminisces fondly about the Forward, a politically radical but also ethnically conscious Yiddish newspaper (see Ch. 3), stating that he recalls that many of his relatives bought the newspaper daily. As Arthur Hertzberg (1989, 211–212) notes, “Those who read the Forward knew that the commitment of Jews to remain Jewish was beyond question and discussion.”

Although Gould’s family did not practice Jewish religious rituals, his family “embraced Jewish culture” (Mahler 1996). A common ingredient in Jewish culture is a sense of the historical prevalence of anti-Semitism (see SAID, Ch. 6), and Gould’s sense of the historical oppression of Jews comes out in his recent review of The Bell Curve (Gould, 1994b), where he rejects Herrnstein and Murray’s (1994) vision of a socially cohesive society where everyone has a valued role to play: “They [Herrnstein and Murray] have forgotten about the town Jew and the dwellers on the other side of the tracks in many of these idyllic villages.” Clearly Gould is blaming historical Western societies for failing to include Jews in their social structures of hierarchic harmony and social cohesiveness. In Chapter 8, I will return to the issue of the incompatibility of Judaism with this quintessential Western form of social structure.

Kamin and Gould have quite similar backgrounds in the leftist Jewish subculture described more fully in Chapter 3, and they share with many American Jews a strong personal animosity to the immigration legislation of the 1920s (see Ch. 7). Kamin, the son of an immigrant rabbi from Poland, acknowledges that “the experience of growing up Jewish in a small and predominantly Christian town strongly sensitized him to the power of the social environment in shaping personality” (Fancher 1985, 201)—a comment that also suggests that Kamin grew up with a strong Jewish identity. While at Harvard, Kamin joined the Communist Party and became the New England editor of the party’s newspaper. After resigning from the party, he became a target of Joseph McCarthy’s Senate Subcommittee Hearings in 1953. Kamin was charged and acquitted on technical grounds of charges of criminal contempt of Congress for failing to answer all the questions of the subcommittee. Fancher describes Kamin’s work on IQ as having “little pretense to ‘objectivity’ “ (p. 212), and suggests a link between Kamin’s background and his position on IQ: “No doubt reflecting that his own middle-European family [and, I suppose, other Jews] could have been excluded by the restrictive immigration laws, Kamin concluded that an arrogant and unfounded assumption of IQ heritability had helped produce an unjust social policy in the 1920s” (p. 208).

Kamin (1974a,b) and Gould (1981/1996a) have been in the forefront of spreading disinformation about the role of IQ testing in the immigration debates of the 1920s. Snyderman and Herrnstein (1983; see also Samelson 1982) show that Kamin and Gould misrepresented H. H. Goddard’s (1917) study of the IQ of Jewish immigrants as indicating that “83 percent of the Jews, 80 percent of the Hungarians, 79 percent of the Italians, and 87 percent of the Russians were ‘feeble-minded’ “ (Kamin 1974, 16). As Snyderman and Herrnstein (1983, 987) note, “The ‘fact’ that is most often cited as evidence of IQ’s nativistic bias was not based on IQ scores, not taken even by its discoverer as accurately representative of immigrants or as a clean measure of inherited abilities, and it used a test that was known at the time to exaggerate feeblemindedness in adult populations of all sorts.” Indeed, Goddard (1917, 270) noted that “we have no data on this point, but indirectly we may argue that it is far more probable that their condition is due to environment than it is due to heredity,” and he cited his own work indicating that immigrants accounted for only 4.5 percent of inmates in institutions for the feebleminded.

Degler (1991, 39) finds that Gould engaged in a “single minded pursuit” of Goddard (p. 40), presenting a false picture of Goddard as a “rigid hereditarian or elitist.” Gould ignored Goddard’s doubts and qualifications as well as his statements on the importance of the environment. There can be little doubt that Gould was engaging in scholarly fraud in this endeavor: Degler (1991, 354n16) notes that Gould quoted Goddard just prior to the following passage and was thus aware that Goddard was far from rigid in his beliefs on the nature of feeblemindedness: “Even now we are far from believing the case [on whether feeblemindedness is a unitary character] settled. The problem is too deep to be thus easily disposed of.” Nevertheless, Gould chose to ignore the passage. Gould also ignored Degler’s comments in his 1996 revision of The Mismeasure of Man described more fully below.

Moreover, Kamin and Gould present a highly exaggerated and largely false account of the general attitudes of the testing community on the subject of ethnic group differences in intelligence as well as the role of IQ testing in the congressional debates of the period (Degler 1991, 52; Samelson 1975, 473; Snyderman & Herrnstein 1983)—the latter point confirmed in my own reading of the debates. Indeed, IQ testing was never mentioned in either the House Majority Report or the Minority Report. (The Minority Report was written and signed by the two Jewish congressmen, Representatives Dickstein and Sabath, who led the battle against restrictionism.) Contrary to Gould’s (1981, 232) claim that “Congressional debates leading to passage of the Immigration Restriction Act of 1924 continually invoke the army [IQ] test data,” Snyderman and Herrnstein (1983, 994) note that “there is no mention of intelligence testing in the Act; test results on immigrants appear only briefly in the committee hearings and are then largely ignored or criticized, and they are brought up only once in over 600 pages of congressional floor debate, where they are subjected to further criticism without rejoinder. None of the major contemporary figures in testing . . . were called to testify, nor were their writings inserted into the legislative record” (Snyderman & Herrnstein 1983, 994). Also, as Samelson (1975) points out, the drive to restrict immigration originated long before IQ testing came into existence, and restriction was favored by a variety of groups, including organized labor, for reasons other than those related to race and IQ, including especially the fairness of maintaining the ethnic status quo in the United States (see Ch. 7).

Samelson (1975) describes several other areas of Kamin’s scholarly malfeasance, most notably his defamatory discussions of Goddard,[59]See also Gelb (1986) for a revealing discussion of H. H. Goddard’s involvement in testing immigrants. Lewis M. Terman, and Robert M. Yerkes in which these pioneers of mental testing are portrayed as allowing political beliefs to color their data. Terman, for example, found that Asians were not inferior to Caucasians, results he reasonably interpreted as indicating the inadequacy of cultural explanations; these findings are compatible with contemporary data (Lynn 1987; Rushton 1995). Jews were also overrepresented in Terman’s study of gifted children, a result that was trumpeted in the Jewish press at the time (e.g., The American Hebrew, July 13, 1923, p. 177) and is compatible with contemporary data (PTSDA, Ch. 7). Both findings are contrary to the theory of Nordic superiority.

Kamin (1974a, 27) also concluded that “the use of the 1890 census had only one purpose, acknowledged by the bill’s supporters. The ‘New Immigration’ had begun after 1890, and the law was designed to exclude the biologically inferior . . . peoples of southeastern Europe.” This is a very tendentious interpretation of the motives of the restrictionists. As discussed in Chapter 7, the 1890 census of the foreign born was used because the percentages of foreign born ethnic groups in 1890 approximated the proportions of these groups in the general population as of 1920. The principle argument of the restrictionists was that use of the 1890 census was fair to all ethnic groups.

This false picture of the 1920s debates was then used by Gould, Kamin, and others to argue that the “overtly racist immigration act” of 1924 (Kamin 1982, 98) was passed because of racist bias emanating from the IQ-testing community and that this law was a primary cause of the death of Jews in the Holocaust. Thus Kamin (1974, 27) concluded that “the law, for which the science of mental testing may claim substantial credit, resulted in the deaths of literally hundreds of thousands of victims of the Nazi biological theorists. The victims were denied admission to the United States because the ‘German quota’ was filled.” Kamin’s portrayal of early-twentieth-century intelligence testing became received wisdom, appearing repeatedly in newspapers, popular magazines, court decisions, and occasionally even scholarly publications. My own introduction to Kamin’s ideas came from reading a popular textbook on developmental psychology I was using in my teaching.

Similarly, Gould proposes a link between hereditarian views on IQ and the 1924 U.S. immigration law that restricted immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe and biased immigration in favor of the peoples of Northwestern Europe. The 1924 immigration law is then linked to the Holocaust:

The quotas . . . slowed immigration from southern and eastern Europe to a trickle. Throughout the 1930s, Jewish refugees, anticipating the holocaust, sought to emigrate, but were not admitted. The legal quotas, and continuing eugenical propaganda, barred them even in years when inflated quotas for western and northern European nations were not filled. Chase (1977) has estimated that the quotas barred up to 6 million southern, central, and eastern Europeans between 1924 and the outbreak of World War II (assuming that immigration had continued at its pre-1924 rate). We know what happened to many who wished to leave but had nowhere to go. The paths to destruction are often indirect, but ideas can be agents as sure as guns and bombs. (Gould 1981, 233; see also Gould 1998)

Indeed, although there is no evidence that IQ testing or eugenic theories had anything more than a trivial influence on the 1924 immigration law, there is evidence that the law was perceived by Jews as directed against them (see Ch. 7). Moreover, concerns about Jews and their ultimate effect on American society may well have been a motive of some of the gentiles favoring immigration restriction, including, among the intellectuals, Madison Grant and Charles Davenport.

Because of his desire to counteract the publicity given to The Bell Curve (see Gould 1996a, 31),Gould reissued The Mismeasure of Man in 1996 with a new introduction in which he states, “May I end up next to Judas Iscariot, Brutus, and Cassius in the devil’s mouth at the center of hell if I ever fail to present my most honest assessment and best judgment of the evidence for empirical truth” (p. 39). Despite this (rather self-consciously defensive) pledge of scholarly objectivity, Gould took no steps to deal with the objections of his critics—exactly the type of behavior one expects in a propagandist rather than a scholar (see Rushton 1997). The Snyderman and Herrnstein article, Samelson’s work, and Degler’s (1991) book are not cited at all, and Gould does not retract his statement that IQ testing was a prominent feature of the congressional immigration debates of the 1920s.

Perhaps most egregiously of all, Gould makes the amazing argument that he will continue to ignore all recent scholarship on IQ in favor of the older “classical” research because of the “transient and ephemeral” nature of contemporary scholarship (1996a, 22). The argument is that there is no progress in IQ research but only a recurrence of the same bad arguments—a comment that I doubt Gould would apply to any other area of science. Thus Gould continues to denigrate studies linking brain size with IQ despite a great deal of contrary research both prior to and especially since his 1981 edition (see summary below). Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging to get a more accurate measure of brain size, modern research thus vindicates the discoveries of nineteenth-century pioneers like Paul Broca, Francis Galton, and Samuel George Morton who are systematically defamed by Gould. However, as Rushton (1997) notes, Gould’s revised edition apparently omitted his 1981 discussion of Arthur Jensen’s research on the brain size/IQ correlation because of his realization that the contemporary data are unequivocal in their support of a moderate (r > .40) association. Instead, in the 1996 edition Gould reprints his approval of a 1971 review of the literature that concluded that there was no relationship. Gould’s revision thus ignores 25 years of research, including Van Valen’s (1974) paper on which Jensen’s ideas were based.

In his revision, Gould also does not discuss an article by J. S. Michael (1988) that shows that, contrary to Gould’s claim, Samuel George Morton did not fudge his data on race differences in skull size, intentionally or otherwise. Moreover, although Morton’s research “was conducted with integrity” (Michael 1988, 253), it included an error that actually favored a non-Caucasian group—an error that Gould failed to mention while at the same time Gould himself made systematic errors and used arbitrarily chosen procedures in his calculations. And Gould did so in a manner that favored his own hypothesis that there are no racial differences in cranial capacity.

Gould also failed to revise his defamation of H. H. Goddard in which he claimed that Goddard had doctored photographs of the famous Kallikak family to make them look mentally retarded and menacing. (In his study, Goddard had compared the Kallikaks, who were the descendants of a tavern maid and an upstanding citizen, with the descendants of the same man and his wife.) A subsequent study by Glenn and Ellis (1988) appearing well before the revised edition concluded, however, that these photographs are judged as appearing “kind.” To put it charitably, Gould’s presuppositions about the malicious intentions of IQ researchers result in his overattributing bias to others.

Finally, in the 1996 revision Gould failed to rebut arguments against his claim that g (i.e., general intelligence) was nothing more than a statistical artifact (see, e.g., Carroll 1995; Hunt 1995; Jensen & Weng 1994). This is noteworthy because in his introduction to the 1996 edition, Gould is clearly apologetic about his lack of expertise as a historian of science or as a psychologist, but he does claim to be an expert in factor analysis. His failure to mount a defense against his scholarly critics is therefore another example of his intellectual dishonesty in the service of his ethnopolitical agenda. As the review of the 1996 edition by Rushton (1997) indicates, a great many other errors of commission and omission abound in Mismeasure of Man, all having to do with politically sensitive issues involving racial differences and sex differences in cognitive abilities .

Gould has also strongly opposed the idea that there is progress in evolution, quite possibly because of his belief that such ideas among German evolutionists contributed to the rise of National Socialism (See Robert Richards’s comments in Lewin 1992, 143). As recounted by Lewin (1992, 144), Gould acknowledges an ideological influence on his beliefs but reiterates his belief that the trends toward greater intelligence and larger brain size are not important in the overall scheme of evolution. (The idea that advances in complexity are important to evolution continues to draw a great deal of support [Bonner 1988; Russell 1983, 1989; E. O. Wilson {see Miele 1998, 83}]). However, Gould acknowledges that there is a deeper issue at stake than whether all animal groups show this tendency. At the basis of this perspective is Gould’s assertion that human consciousness, intelligence, and the general trend toward larger brain size in human evolution are mere accidents and did not contribute to Darwinian fitness or to the solution of adaptive problems in ancestral environments (see Lewin 1992, 145–146).[60]More recently, Gould (1997) accepts the idea that the human brain became large as a result of natural selection. Nevertheless, he states that most of our mental abilities and potentials may be spandrels. This is presumably an example of one of Alcock’s (1997) principles of Gouldian rhetoric, specifically that of protecting his own position by making illusory concessions to give the appearance of fair-mindedness in the attempt to restrict debate. Here Gould concedes that the brain must have evolved as a set of adaptations but concludes, without any evidence, that the result is mostly a collection of spandrels. Gould never lists even one example of a human mental or behavioral adaptation, even going so far as describing as “guesswork” the proposal that the human preference for sweets is innate. There is in fact an enormous body of research on many mammals showing that preference for sweets is innate (prenatal rats and sheep will increase their rate of swallowing shortly after the mother is injected with sweets; human neonates are attracted to sweet-tasting solutions). In addition, brain modules and chromosomal loci related to preference for sweets have been located. His perspective is thus meant to be a skirmish in the nature-nurture debate over intelligence.[61]As indicated below, a substantial body of research links brain size with IQ. Within Gould’s perspective, one could accept this research but still deny that intelligence has been an important aspect of human adaptation. It is interesting to note that Gould’s proposal is incompatible with a basic thesis of this project: that a fundamental aspect of the Jewish group evolutionary strategy has been a conscious effort to engage in eugenic practices directed at producing a highly intelligent elite and raising the mean intelligence of the Jewish population above the levels of gentile populations; and that intelligence has been a major aspect of Jewish adaptation throughout its history (see PTSDA, Ch. 7). Gould’s views on the importance of intelligence for human adaptation thus clearly conflict with the views and practices of his ancestors—views clearly articulated in the Talmud and in practices that were carried out for centuries. These practices are undoubtedly directly implicated in Gould’s success as an articulate, highly productive professor at Harvard.

In addition, Dennett’s (1993, 1995) devastating analysis of the rhetorical devices used by Gould in his war against adaptationism leaves little doubt regarding the fundamental intellectual dishonesty of Gould’s writings. Dennett implies that a non-scientific agenda motivates Gould but stops short of attempting to analyze the reasons for this agenda. Gould (1993, 317) himself recounts an incident in which the British biologist Arthur Cain, referring to Gould and Lewontin’s (1979) famous anti-adaptationist paper “The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian paradigm: A critique of the adaptationist programme,” accused him of having “betrayed the norms of science and intellectual decency by denying something that we knew to be true (adaptationism) because he so disliked the political implications of an argument (sociobiology) based upon it.”

The verdict must be that Gould has indeed forfeited his membership in the “ancient and universal company of scholars” and will spend his afterlife in the devil’s mouth at the center of hell. However, it is noteworthy that despite the widespread belief that Gould has a highly politicized agenda and is dishonest and self-serving as a scholar, the prominent evolutionary biologist John Maynard Smith (1995, 46) notes that “he has come to be seen by non-biologists as the pre-eminent evolutionary theorist. In contrast, the evolutionary biologists with whom I have discussed his work tend to see him as a man whose ideas are so confused as to be hardly worth bothering with. . . . All this would not matter were it not that he is giving non-biologists a largely false picture of the state of evolutionary theory.” Similarly, Steven Pinker (1997), a prominent linguist and a major figure in the evolutionary psychology movement, labels Gould’s ideas on adaptationism “misguided” and “uninformed.” He also takes Gould to task for failing to properly cite the widely known work of G. C. Williams and Donald Symons in which these authors have proposed non-adaptive explanations for some human behaviors while nevertheless adopting an adaptationist perspective on human behavior generally. Gould has thus dishonestly taken credit for others’ ideas while utilizing them in a wholly inappropriate manner to discredit the adaptationist program generally.

In an article entitled “Homo deceptus: Never trust Stephen Jay Gould,” journalist Robert Wright (1996), author of The Moral Animal (Basic Books, 1994), makes the same charge in a debate over a flagrantly dishonest interpretation by Gould (1996b) of the evolutionary psychology of sex differences. Wright notes that Gould “has convinced the public he is not merely a great writer, but a great theorist of evolution. Yet among top-flight evolutionary biologists, Gould is considered a pest—not just a lightweight but an actively muddled man who has warped the public’s understanding of Darwinism.” A false picture perhaps, but one that is not without its usefulness in satisfying political and, I suppose, ethnic agendas.

Another prominent biologist, John Alcock (1997), provides an extended and, I think, accurate analysis of several aspects of Gould’s rhetorical style: demonstrations of erudition—foreign phrases, poetry—irrelevant to the intellectual arguments but widely regarded even by his critics; branding the opposition with denigrating labels, such as “pop science,” “pop psychology,” “cardboard Darwinism,” or “fundamentalist Darwinians” (similarly, Pinker [1997, 55] decries Gould’s hyperbolic rhetoric, including his description of the ideas of evolutionary psychology as “ ‘fatuous,’ ‘pathetic,’ and ‘egregiously simplistic’ and his use of some twenty-five synonyms for ‘fanatical’ “); oversimplifying his opponents’ positions in order to set up straw-man arguments, the classic being labeling his opponents as “genetic determinists”; protecting his own position by making illusory concessions to give the appearance of fair-mindedness in the attempt to restrict debate; claiming the moral high ground; ignoring relevant data known to all in the scientific community; proposing nonadaptationist alternatives without attempting to test them and ignoring data supporting adaptationist interpretations; arguing that proximate explanations (i.e., explanations of how a trait works at the neurophysiological level) render ultimate explanations (i.e., the adaptive function of the trait) unnecessary.

The comments of Maynard Smith, Wright, and Alcock highlight the important issue that despite the scholarly community’s widespread recognition of Gould’s intellectual dishonesty, Gould has been highly publicized as a public spokesperson on issues related to evolution and intelligence. As Alcock (1997) notes, Gould, as a widely published Harvard professor, makes it respectable to be an anti-adaptationist, and I have noticed this effect not only among the educated public but also among many academics outside the biological sciences. He has had access to highly prestigious intellectual forums, including a regular column in Natural History and, along with Richard C. Lewontin (another scholar-activist whose works are discussed here), he is often featured as a book reviewer in the New York Review of Books (NYRB). The NYRB has long been a bastion of the intellectual left. In Chapter 4, I discuss the role of the NYRB in promulgating psychoanalysis, and in Chapter 6 the NYRB is listed among the journals of the New York Intellectuals, a predominantly Jewish coterie that dominated intellectual discourse in the post–World War II era. The point here is that Gould’s career of intellectual dishonesty has not existed in a vacuum but has been part and parcel of a wide-ranging movement that has dominated the most prestigious intellectual arenas in the United States and the West—a movement that is here conceptualized as a facet of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy.

On a more personal level, I clearly recall that one of my first noteworthy experiences in graduate school in the behavioral sciences was being exposed to the great “instinct” debate between the German ethologists Konrad Lorenz and Iranäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt versus several predominantly Jewish American developmental psychobiologists (D. S. Lehrman, J. S. Rosenblatt, T. C. Schnierla, H. Moltz, G. Gottleib, and E. Tobach). Lorenz’s connections to National Socialism (see Lerner 1992, 59ff) were a barely concealed aspect of this debate, and I remember feeling that I was witnessing some sort of ethnic warfare rather than a dispassionate scientific debate of the evidence. Indeed, the intense, extra-scientific passions these issues raised in some participants were openly admitted toward the end of this extraordinary conflict. In his 1970 contribution, Lehrman stated:

I should not point out irrational, emotion-laden elements in Lorenz’s reaction to criticism without acknowledging that, when I look over my 1953 critique of his theory, I perceive elements of hostility to which my target would have been bound to react. My critique does not now read to me like an analysis of a scientific problem, with an evaluation of the contribution of a particular point of view, but rather like an assault upon a theoretical point of view, the writer of which assault was not interested in pointing out what positive contributions that point of view had made.

More recently, as the debate has shifted away from opposing human ethology toward attacks on human sociobiology, several of these developmental psychobiologists have also become prominent critics of sociobiology (see Myers 1990, 225).

This is not, of course, to deny the very important contributions of these developmental psychobiologists and their emphasis on the role of the environment in behavioral development—a tradition that remains influential within developmental psychology in the writings of several theorists, including Alan Fogel, Richard Lerner, Arnold Sameroff, and Esther Thelen. Moreover, it must be recognized that several Jews have been important contributors to evolutionary thinking as it applies to humans as well as human behavioral genetics, including Daniel G. Freedman, Richard Herrnstein, Seymour Itzkoff, Irwin Silverman, Nancy Segal, Lionel Tiger, and Glenn Weisfeld. Of course, non-Jews have been counted among the critics of evolutionary-biological thinking. Nevertheless, the entire episode clearly indicates that there are often important human interests that involve Jewish identity and that influence scientific debate. The suggestion here is that one consequence of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy has been to skew these debates in a manner that has impeded progress in the biological and social sciences.

Richard Lerner (1992) in his Final Solutions: Biology, Prejudice, and Genocide is perhaps the most egregious example of a scientist motivated to discredit evolutionary-biological thinking because of putative links with anti-Semitism. (Barry Mehler, a protégé of Jerry Hirsch, is also explicit in making these linkages, but he is far less prominent academically and functions mainly as a publicist for these views in leftist intellectual media. See Mehler [1984a,b]. Mehler graduated from Yeshiva University and organized a program, “The Jewish Experience in America 1880 to 1975,” at Washington University in St. Louis, suggesting a strong Jewish identification.) Lerner is a prominent developmental psychologist, and his volume indicates an intense personal involvement directed at combating anti-Semitism by influencing theory in the behavioral sciences. Prior to discussing the explicit links between Lerner’s theoretical perspective and his attempt to combat anti-Semitism, I will describe his theory and illustrate the type of strained thinking with which he has attempted to discredit the application of evolutionary thinking to human behavior.

Central to this program is Lerner’s rejection of biological determinism in favor of a dynamic, contextualist approach to human development. Lerner also rejects environmental determinism, but there is little discussion of the latter view because environmental determinism is “perhaps less often socially pernicious” (p. xx). In this regard, Lerner is surely wrong. A theory that there is no human nature would imply that humans could easily be programmed to accept all manner of exploitation, including slavery. From a radical environmentalist perspective, it should not matter how societies are constructed, since people should be able to learn to accept any type of social structure. Women could easily be programmed to accept rape, and ethnic groups could be programmed to accept their own domination by other ethnic groups. The view that radical environmentalism is not socially pernicious also ignores the fact that the communist government of the Soviet Union murdered millions of its citizens and later engaged in officially sponsored anti-Semitism while committed to an ideology of radical environmentalism.[62]After noting the tens of millions of deaths resulting from Soviet communism, Richard Pipes (1993, 511) states, “Communism failed because it proceeded from the erroneous doctrine of the Enlightenment, perhaps the most pernicious idea in the history of thought, that man is merely a material compound, devoid of either soul or innate ideas, and as such a passive product of an infinitely malleable social environment.” Although there is much to disagree with in this statement, it captures the idea that radical environmentalism is eminently capable of serving as an ideology underlying political regimes that carry out mass murder.

Lerner’s dynamic contextualism pays lip service to biological influences while actually rendering them inconsequential and unanalyzable. This theory has strong roots in the developmental psychobiological tradition described above, and there are numerous references to these writers. The dynamic contextualist perspective conceptualizes development as a dialectical interaction between organism and environment. Biological influences are viewed as a reality, but they are ultimately unanalyzable, since they are viewed as being inextricably fused with environmental influences. The most notable conclusion is that any attempt to study genetic variation as an independently analyzable influence on individual differences (the program of the science of quantitative behavior genetics) is rejected. Many of the critics of sociobiology have also been strong opponents of behavior genetic research (e.g., S. J. Gould, J. Hirsch, L. Kamin, R. C. Lewontin, and S. Rose). For a particularly egregious example embodying practically every possible misunderstanding of basic behavior genetic concepts, see Gould (1998).

It bears mentioning that dynamic contextualism and its emphasis on the dialectical interaction between organism and environment bear more than a passing resemblance to Marxism. The foreword of Lerner’s book was written by R. C. Lewontin, the Harvard population biologist who has engaged in a high-profile attempt to fuse science, leftist politics, and opposition to evolutionary and biological theorizing about human behavior (e.g., Levins & Lewontin 1985; see Wilson 1994). Lewontin (with Steven Rose and Leon Kamin) was the first author of Not in Our Genes (1984)—a book that begins with a statement of the authors’ commitment to socialism (p. ix) and, among a great many other intellectual sins, continues the disinformation regarding the role of IQ testing in the immigration debates of the 1920s and its putative links to the Holocaust (p. 27). Indeed, E. O. Wilson (1994, 344), whose synthetic volume Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (Wilson 1975) inaugurated the field of sociobiology, notes that “without Lewontin, the [sociobiology] controversy would not have been so intense or attracted such widespread attention.”

In his foreword to Lerner’s book, Lewontin states that developmental contextualism is “the alternative to biological and cultural determinism. It is the statement of the developmental contextual view that is the important central point of Final Solutions, and it is the full elaboration of that point of view that is a pressing program for social theory. Nowhere has this world view been put more succinctly than in Marx’s third Thesis on Feurbach” (p. ix). Lewontin goes on to quote a passage from Marx that does indeed express something like the fundamental idea of developmental contextualism. Gould (1987, 153) has also endorsed a Marxist dialectical perspective in the social sciences.

Lerner devotes much of his book to showing that dynamic contextualism, because of its emphasis on plasticity, provides a politically acceptable perspective on racial and sexual differences, as well as promising a hope for ending anti-Semitism. This type of messianic, redemptionist attempt to develop a universalist theoretical framework within which Jewish-gentile group differences are submerged in importance is a common feature of other predominantly Jewish movements in the twentieth century, including radical political theories and psychoanalysis (see Chs. 3, 4). The common theme is that these ideologies have been consistently promoted by individuals who, like Lerner, are self-consciously pursuing a Jewish ethnic and political agenda. (Recall also Gould’s tendency to seize the moral high ground.) However, the ideologies are advocated because of their universalist promise to lead humanity to a higher level of morality—a level of morality in which there is continuity of Jewish group identity but an eradication of anti-Semitism. As such, dynamic contextualism can be seen as one of many post-Enlightenment attempts to reconcile Judaism with the modern world.

There is no question that Lerner strongly believes in the moral imperative of his position, but his moral crusade has led him well beyond science in his attempts to discredit biological theories in the interests of combating anti-Semitism.[63]I should note that I have had considerable professional contact with Lerner and at one time he was a major influence on my thinking. Early in my career Richard Lerner wrote letters of recommendation for me, both when I was applying for academic positions and during the tenure review process after I was employed. The rejection of biological determinism is clearly central to the theoretical basis of my work in this volume and has been characteristic of my writing in the area of developmental psychology as well. Indeed, I have gone out of my way to cite Lerner’s work on developmental plasticity in my writings, and he cited some of my work on developmental plasticity in his On the Nature of Human Plasticity. I have also contributed to two books coedited by Lerner (Biological and Psycho-social Interactions in Early Adolescence and Encyclopedia of Adolescence).

Moreover, I have also been strongly influenced by the contextualist perspective in developmental psychology associated with Urie Bronfenbrenner and Richard Lerner and have several times cited Lerner in this regard (see my Social and Personality Development: An Evolutionary Synthesis [MacDonald 1988a, Ch. 9, and Sociobiological Perspectives in Human Development [MacDonald 1988b]). As a result of this influence, I made a major effort to reconcile contextualism with an evolutionary approach. Within this perspective, social structure is underdetermined by evolutionary theory, with the result that human development is also underdetermined by biological influences. (Indeed, in Chapter 9 of Social and Personality Development: An Evolutionary Synthesis, I show how National Socialism affected the socialization of German children, including indoctrination with anti-Semitism.) This theoretical perspective remains central to my world view and is described in some detail in PTSDA (Ch. 1).
Lerner coauthored an article in the journal Human Development (Lerner & von Eye 1992) directed at combating the influence of biological thinking in research on human development. My edited volume (Sociobiological Perspectives on Human Development,MacDonald 1988b) is prominently cited as an example of an evolutionary approach deriving from E. O. Wilson’s work and as a point of view that has “found support and application” (p. 13). As their example of how this point of view has been supported and applied, Lerner and von Eye cite the work of J. Philippe Rushton on racial differences in r/K reproductive styles. The implication would appear to be that my edited volume was somehow a basis of Rushton’s work. This is inaccurate, since (1) the volume never mentioned Negroid-Caucasian differences in intelligence or any other phenotype, and (2) the book was published after Rushton had already published his work on the r/K theory of racial differences. However, the association between this book and Rushton is highly effective in producing a negative evaluation of the book because of Rushton’s current persona non grata status as a theorist of racial differences (see Gross 1990).

The next section of the Lerner and von Eye article is entitled “Genetic Determinism as Sociobiology’s Key to Interdisciplinary Integration.” Implicit in this juxtaposition is the implication that the authors in my edited volume accept the thesis of genetic determinism, and indeed, at the end of the section Lerner and von Eye lump my edited volume together with the work of a number of other sociobiological writers who are said to believe that anatomy is destiny, that environmental influences are fictional, and that “the social world does not interact with humans’ genes” (p. 18).

Scholars connected to evolutionary perspectives on human behavior or behavior genetics have commonly been branded genetic determinists in this highly politicized literature. Such accusations are a staple of Gouldian rhetoric and are a major theme of Lewontin et al.’s (1984) overtly political Not in Our Genes. I rather doubt that any of the writers discussed in this section of Lerner and von Eye’s paper can accurately be described as genetic determinists (see the reply to Lerner & von Eye’s article by Burgess & Molenaar [1993]). Indeed, Degler (1991, 310) accurately summarizes recent evolutionary thinking in the social sciences as characterized by “a full recognition of the power and influence of environment on culture.” However, I would like to stress here that this is a completely inaccurate characterization of my writings and it is difficult to suppose that Lerner was unaware of this. Two of my contributions to the edited volume are greatly concerned with environmental and cultural influences on behavior and the underdetermination of behavior by the genes. In particular, my theoretical perspective, as described in Chapter 1 of the edited volume (MacDonald 1988b), takes a strong position supporting the importance of developmental plasticity and affirming the importance of contextual influences on human development. And in both of these sections of my paper I cite Richard Lerner’s work. However, Lerner and von Eye are seemingly careful to avoid actually describing what I have written. Instead, their strategy is that of innuendo and guilt by association: By placing my edited book at the end of a section devoted to writers who are supposedly genetic determinists, they manage to imply that all of the writers in the volume are genetic determinists. Unfortunately, such innuendo is typical in attacks on evolutionary perspectives on human behavior.

The point here is that there is every reason to suppose that a major impetus for these attacks is an attempt to combat anti-Semitism. Lerner begins his preface to Final Solutions: Biology, Prejudice, and Genocide with an emotionally wrenching portrait of his childhood surrounded by stories of Nazi atrocities. “As a Jewish boy growing up in Brooklyn in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s I could not escape Hitler. He, Nazis, the Gestapo, Auschwitz were everywhere” (p. xv). Lerner re-creates a conversation with his grandmother describing the fate of some of his relatives at the hands of the Nazis. He asks why the Nazis hated the Jews, and his grandmother responds by saying, “Just because.” Lerner states, “In the time that has passed since that afternoon in my grandmother’s apartment I have learned—and increasingly so as the years go by—how deeply I was affected by these early lessons about Nazi genocide. I now understand that much of my life has been shaped by my attempts to go beyond the answer of ‘Just because’ “ (p. xvii).

Lerner states that he chose to study developmental psychology because the nature-nurture issue is central to this field and therefore central to his attempt to combat anti-Semitism. Lerner thus apparently actually chose his career in an effort to advance Jewish interests in the social sciences. In the preface, Lerner cites as intellectual influences virtually the entire list of predominantly Jewish developmental psychobiologists and anti-sociobiologists mentioned above, including Gottleib, Gould, Kamin, Lewontin, Rose, Schneirla (who was not Jewish), and Tobach. As is common among Jewish historians (see SAID, Ch. 7), Lerner dedicates the book to his family, “To all my relatives. . . . Your lives will not be forgotten” (p. xxii). Clearly there is no pretense that this book is a dispassionate scientific endeavor to develop a theory of behavioral development or to come to grips with ethnically based social conflict.

The central message of Lerner’s book is that there is a possible causal chain linking Darwinism to an ideology of genetic determinism, to the legitimization of the status quo as a biological imperative, to negatively evaluating individuals with “inferior” genotypes, to eugenics, and finally to destruction of those with inferior genes. This story line is said to have been played out in several historical instances, including the massacres of Native Americans and the Ottoman genocide of Armenians, and most particularly in the Holocaust. It is nowhere mentioned that an ideology of genetic determinism is hardly a necessary condition for genocide, since there are a great many historical examples of genocide in societies where Darwin was unknown, including the annihilation of the Amorites and Midianites by the Israelites described in the Tanakh (see PTSDA, Ch. 3)—examples that are ignored by Lerner. Nor is there evidence that, for example, the Ottoman Turks were acquainted with Darwin or had views, scientific or otherwise, about the genetic determination of behavior.

Lerner’s agenda is to discredit evolutionary thinking because of its association with Nazism. The logic is as follows (Lerner 1992, 17–19): Although Lerner acknowledges that genetic determinists need not be “racists” and that they may even have “enlightened” political views, he states that genetic determinism is an ideology that can be used to give scientific credence to their viewpoint: “The doctrine of biological determinism exists ready for co-optation by proponents of such a political movement” (p. 17). Sociobiology, as the most recent incarnation of the scientific justification of genetic determinism, must be intellectually discredited: “Contemporary sociobiologists are certainly not neo-Nazis. They do not in any way advocate genocide and may not even espouse conservative political views. Nevertheless, the correspondence between their ideas (especially regarding women) and those of the Nazi theorists is more than striking” (p. 20).

Lerner correctly describes Nazi ideology as essentially an ideology of group impermeability, “the belief that the world . . . may be divided unequivocally into two major groups: an ingroup comprising those possessing the best features of human existence, and an outgroup comprising the worst features of human existence. There can be no crossing-over between these groups, because blood, or genes, divides them” (p. 17). Similarly, Lewontin, in his foreword to Lerner’s book, states that “whatever the generating forces that keep nationalism alive . . . they must, in the end, assert the unchanging and unchangeable nature of social identity. . . . Exploiters and exploited alike share in the consciousness of a cultural and biological heritage that marks out indelible group boundaries that transcend human historical development” (p. viii).

Lerner and Lewontin condemn sociobiology because they suppose that sociobiology could be used to justify such a result. However, the evolutionary theory of social identity processes developed in SAID (Ch. 1) as the basis of the theory of anti-Semitism implies just the opposite: Although humans appear to be biologically predisposed toward ingroup-outgroup conflict, there is no reason whatever to suppose that group membership or group permeability itself is genetically determined; that is, there is no reason to suppose that there is a genetic imperative that societies must be organized around impermeable groups, and indeed, prototypical Western societies have not been organized in this manner. Social identity research indicates that hostility toward outgroups occurs even in randomly composed groups and even in the absence of between-group competition. The outstanding feature of Judaism has been that it has steadfastly raised barriers between Jews as an ingroup and the surrounding society as an outgroup. But, though it is reasonable to suppose that Jews are genetically more prone to ethnocentrism than Western peoples (see PTSDA,Ch. 8; SAID,Ch. 1), the erection of cultural barriers between Jews and gentiles is a critical aspect of Judaism as a culture.

Moreover, a salient point here is that there is no appreciation in either Lerner or Lewontin of the great extent to which Jews have themselves created impermeable groups in which genetic blood lines were of the highest importance, in which there were hierarchies of racial purity, and in which genetic and cultural assimilation were viewed as anathema (see PTSDA, passim). Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy has resulted in societies torn apart by internal conflict between impermeable, competing ethnic groups (see SAID, Chs. 2–5). Nevertheless, Jewish cultural practices are at least a necessary condition for the group impermeability that has been so central to Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy. It is thus a supreme irony that Lewontin and Lerner should be attempting to combat anti-Semitism by saying that ethnic identification and the permeability of groups are not genetically determined.

There are good reasons to suppose that group permeability is not genetically determined, and the evidence reviewed in PTSDA indicates that Jews have been exquisitely aware of this since the origins of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy. At times Jewish groups have endeavored to foster an illusion of group permeability in order to minimize anti-Semitism (see SAID, Ch. 6). Although Jews may well be genetically predisposed to form impermeable ethnic groups and resist genetic and cultural assimilation, there is little reason to suppose that this is genetically determined. Indeed, the evidence reviewed in PTSDA (Chs. 7, 8) indicates the central importance of several cultural and environmental factors for the success of Judaism as a relatively impermeable group evolutionary strategy: intensive socialization for a Jewish ingroup identity and group allegiance, the great variety of mechanisms of separation (clothes, language, hair styles, etc.), and the cultural invention of the hereditary priestly and levitical classes. Moreover, the removal of intensive cultural separatism characteristic of Judaism in traditional societies has resulted in a long term decline of Diaspora Judaism. As a result, in the contemporary Western world Jewish groups often go to great lengths to discourage intermarriage and to develop greater Jewish consciousness and commitment among Jews. This attempt to reestablish the cultural supports for Jewish identification and non-assmilation often involves the suggestion of a return to Jewish religious belief and ritual as the only way to stave off the long-term assimilative pressures of contemporary Western societies (see SAID,Ch. 9).

Conclusion • 1,200 Words

A common thread of this chapter has been that scientific skepticism and what one might term “scientific obscurantism” have been useful tools in combating scientific theories one dislikes for deeper reasons. Thus, the Boasian demand for the highest standards of proof for generalizations about culture and for establishing a role for genetic variation in the development of individual differences coincided with the acceptance of an “anti-theory” of culture that was fundamentally in opposition to attempts to develop classifications and generalizations in the field.[64]Anti-theoretical perspectives are far from dead in anthropology. For example, the very influential Clifford Geertz (1973) has carried on the Boasian particularist tradition in anthropology in his rejection of attempts to find generalizations or laws of human culture in favor of interpretive, hermeneutic inquiries into the subjective, symbolic meaning systems unique to each culture. Applied to the present project, such a theoretical perspective would, for example, probe the subjective religious meanings to Jews of the Pentateuchal commandment to be fruitful and multiply and their fear of exogamy rather than attempt to describe the effects of fulfilling these commands on group and individual fitness, the genetic structure of Jewish populations, anti-Semitism, and so on. Similarly, the dynamic-contextualist theoretical perspective, though rejecting behavioral genetics and evolutionary theorizing about human development as failing to meet scientific standards of proof, has proposed a theory of development in which the relation between genes and environment is an extremely complex and ultimately unanalyzable fusion. Moreover, a major theme of Chapter 5 is that the radical skepticism of the Frankfurt School of Social Research was self-consciously directed at deconstructing universalist, assimilatory theories of society as a homogeneous, harmonious whole.

Scientific skepticism regarding politically sensitive issues has also been a powerful trend in the writings of S. J. Gould (see, e.g., Gould 1987, passim; Gould 1991, 13). Carl Degler (1991, 322) says of Gould that “an opponent of sociobiology like Gould does indeed emphasize that interaction [between biology and environment], but at the same time, he persistently resists investigations of the role of each of the interacting elements.” Jensen (1982, 124) states of Gould’s work on intelligence testing, “I believe that he has succeeded brilliantly in obfuscating all the important open questions that actually concern today’s scientists.” This type of intellectual work is aimed at precluding the development of general theories of human behavior in which genetic variation plays an independently analyzable causative role in producing adaptive behavior.

We have seen how R. C. Lewontin has linked theories of behavioral development with Marxist political ideology. As do Lerner and Gould, Lewontin advocates theories proposing that nature consists of extremely complex dialectical interactions between organism and environment. Lewontin rejects reductionistic scientific methods, such as quantitative behavioral genetics or the use of analysis of variance procedures, because they inevitably oversimplify real processes in their use of averages (Segersträle 1986, 2000). The result is a hyper-purism that settles for nothing less than absolute certainty and absolutely correct methodology, epistemology, and ontology. In developmental psychology such a program would ultimately lead to rejection of all generalizations, including those relating to the average effects of environments. Because each individual has a unique set of genes and is constantly developing in a unique and constantly changing environment, God himself would probably have difficulty providing a deterministic account of individual development, and in any case such an account must necessarily, like a Boasian theory of culture, be deferred long into the future.

By adopting this philosophy of science, Lewontin is able to discredit attempts by scientists to develop theories and generalizations and thus, in the name of scientific rigor, avoid the possibility of any politically unacceptable scientific findings. Segersträle notes that, while using this theory as a weapon against biological views in the social sciences, Lewontin’s own empirical research in population biology has remained firmly within the reductionistic tradition.

Gould and Lewontin’s (1979) critique of adaptationism may also be viewed as an exemplar of the skeptical thrust of Jewish intellectual activity. Acknowledging the existence of adaptations, the argument effectively problematizes the status of any putative adaptation. Gould (e.g., 1994a) then goes from the possibility that any putative adaptation may simply be a “spandrel” that, like the architectural form from which its name derives, results from structural constraints imposed by true adaptations, to the remarkable suggestion that the human mind be viewed as a collection of such nonfunctional spandrels. As noted above, Gould’s larger agenda is to convince his audience that the human brain has not evolved to solve adaptive problems—a view anthropologist Vincent Sarich (1995) has termed “behavioral creationism.” (For mainstream views on adaptationism, see Boyd & Richerson 1985, 282; Dennett 1995; Hull 1988, 424–426; Williams 1985.) Indeed, fascination with the slippery rhetoric of the Gould and Lewontin “spandrels” article has resulted in an entire volume of essays dedicated to dissecting the writing style of this essay (Selzer 1993; see especially Fahnestock 1993; see also Joseph Carroll’s [1995, 449ff] comments on the deceptiveness of Lewontin’s rhetorical style).

Scientific skepticism is a powerful approach, since a very basic feature of science is an openness to criticism and a requirement that arguments be supported with evidence. As E. O. Wilson (1994, 345) notes, “By adopting a narrow criterion of publishable research, Lewontin freed himself to pursue a political agenda unencumbered by science. He adopted the relativist view that accepted truth, unless based on ineluctable fact, is no more than a reflection of dominant ideology and political power.”[65]It is interesting in this regard that the proto-Nazi racial theorist Houston Stewart Chamberlain mounted an attempt to discredit science because of its perceived incompatibility with his political and cultural aims. In a move that long antedated the anti-science ideology of the Frankfurt School and contemporary postmodernism (see Ch. 5), Chamberlain argued that science was a social construction and the scientist was like an artist who was engaged in developing a symbolic representation of reality. “So strong was his insistence upon the mythical nature of scientific theory that he removed any real possibility of choosing between one concept and another, thus opening the door wide to subjective arbitrariness” (Field 1981, 296). In what I believe is a mirror-image of the motivations of many in the current anti-science movement, Chamberlain’s subjectivism was motivated by his belief that recent scientific investigations did not support his racialist theories of human differences. When science conflicts with political agendas, the best move is to discredit science. As noted in SAID (Ch. 5), Chamberlain was also very hostile toward evolutionary theory for political reasons. Amazingly, Chamberlain developed anti-selectionist arguments in opposition to Darwinism that predate similar arguments of modern critics of adaptationism such as Richard Lewontin and Stephen Jay Gould reviewed in this chapter: Chamberlain viewed Darwin’s emphasis on competition and natural selection as aspects of the evolutionary process as simply an anthropocentric version of the nineteenth-century “dogma of progress and perfectibility adapted to biology” (Field 1981, 298). Similar themes with similar motivations characterize the ideologies of the Frankfurt School and postmodernism discussed in Chapter 5.

Nevertheless, Lewontin (1994a, 34) portrays his ideologically inspired efforts as deriving from a concern for scientific rigor: “We demand certain canons of evidence and argument that are formal and without reference to empirical content . . . the logic of statistical inference; the power of replicating experiments; the distinction between observations and causal claims.” The result is a thoroughgoing skepticism; for example, all theories of the origins of the sexual division of labor are said to be “speculative” (Lewontin 1994a, 34). Similarly, Gould rejects all accounts of the empirical data in the area of intelligence testing but provides no alternatives. As Jensen (1982, 131) notes, “Gould offers no alternative ideas to account for all of these well-established observations. His mission in this area appears entirely nihilistic.” Similarly, Buss et al. (1998) note that whereas the adaptationist perspective in psychology has resulted in a rich body of theoretical predictions and in numerous confirmatory empirical studies, Gould’s ideas of spandrels and exaptations (a term variously used by Gould, but perhaps most often referring to mechanisms that have new biological functions that are not the ones that caused the original selection of the mechanism) has resulted in no theoretical predictions and no empirical research. Again, the mission seems to be what one might term nihilistic anti-science.

As with Boas, Lewontin holds biologically oriented research on humans to an extremely rigorous standard but is remarkably lenient in the standards required to prove biology has very little influence. Lewontin claims, for example, that “nearly all the biology of gender is bad science” (Lewontin 1994a, 34), but on the following page he states as an obvious truth that “the human being is the nexus of a large number of weakly acting causes.” And Lewontin states without argument or reference that “no one has ever found a correlation between cognitive ability and brain size” (p. 34). At this writing there have been at least 26 published studies on 39 independent samples showing a correlation of approximately 0.20 between head circumference and IQ (see Wickett et al. 1994); there have also been at least 6 published studies showing a correlation of approximately 0.40 between brain size and IQ using the more accurate technique of magnetic resonance imaging to directly scan the brain (Andreasen et al. 1993; Egan et al. 1994; Harvey et al. 1994; Raz et al. 1993; Wickett et al. 1994; Willerman et al. 1991). Given this body of findings, it is at least misleading to make such a statement, although Lewontin (see Lewontin 1994b) would presumably argue that none of these studies reach acceptable levels of scientific proof.

Franz Boas would be proud.

Chapter 3 • Jews and the Left • 23,100 Words

I could never understand what Judaism had to do with Marxism, and why questioning the latter was tantamount to being disloyal to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Ralph de Toledano [1996, 50] discussing his experiences with Eastern European Jewish intellectuals)

Socialism, for many immigrant Jews, was not merely politics or an idea, it was an encompassing culture, a style of perceiving and judging through which to structure their lives. (Irving Howe 1982, 9)

The association between Jews and the political left has been widely noticed and commented on beginning in the nineteenth century. “Whatever their situation . . . in almost every country about which we have information, a segment of the Jewish community played a very vital role in movements designed to undermine the existing order” (Rothman & Lichter 1982, 110).

On the surface at least, Jewish involvement in radical political activity may seem surprising. Marxism, at least as envisaged by Marx, is the very antithesis of Judaism. Marxism is an exemplar of a universalist ideology in which ethnic and nationalist barriers within the society and indeed between societies are eventually removed in the interests of social harmony and a sense of communal interest. Moreover, Marx himself, though born of two ethnically Jewish parents, has been viewed by many as an anti-Semite.[66]The issue of Marx’s Jewishness has been a continuing controversy (see Carlebach 1978, 310ff). Marx associated with both practicing Jews and individuals of Jewish ancestry throughout his life. Moreover, he was considered by others as Jewish and was continually reminded of his Jewishness by his opponents (see also Meyer 1989, 36). As indicated below, such externally imposed Jewish identity may have been common among Jewish radicals and surely implies that Marx remained conscious of being Jewish. Like many other Jewish intellectuals reviewed here, Marx had an antipathy toward gentile society. Sammons (1979, 263) describes the basis of the mutual attraction between Heinrich Heine and Karl Marx by noting that “they were not reformers, but haters, and this was very likely their most fundamental bond with one another.” Deception may also be involved: Carlebach (1978, 357) suggests that Marx may have viewed his Jewishness as a liability, and Otto Rühle (1929, 377) suggests that Marx (like Freud; see Ch. 4) went to elaborate lengths to deny his Jewishness in order to prevent criticism of his writings. Many writers have emphasized Marx’s Jewishness and professed to find Jewish elements (e.g., messianism, social justice) in his writing. A theme of anti-Semitic writing (most notably, perhaps, in Hitler’s writings) has been to propose that Marx had a specifically Jewish agenda in advocating a world society dominated by Jews in which gentile nationalism, gentile ethnic consciousness, and traditional gentile elites would be eliminated (see review in Carlebach 1978, 318ff). His critique of Judaism (On the Jewish Question [Marx 1843/1975]) conceptualized Judaism as fundamentally concerned with egoistic money seeking; it had achieved world domination by making both man and nature into salable objects. Marx viewed Judaism as an abstract principle of human greed that would end in the communist society of the future.

Whatever Marx’s views on the subject, a critical question in the following is whether acceptance of radical, universalist ideologies and participation in radical, universalist movements are compatible with Jewish identification. Does the adoption of such an ideology essentially remove one from the Jewish community and its traditional commitment to separatism and Jewish nationhood? Or, to rephrase this question in terms of my perspective, could the advocacy of radical, universalist ideologies and actions be compatible with continued participation in Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy?

Notice that this question is different from the question of whether Jews as a group can be adequately characterized as advocating radical political solutions for gentile societies. There is no implication that Judaism constitutes a unified movement or that all segments of the Jewish community have the same beliefs or attitudes toward the gentile community (see Ch. 1). Jews may constitute a predominant or necessary element in radical political movements and Jewish identification may be highly compatible with or even facilitate involvement in radical political movements without most Jews being involved in these movements and even if Jews are a numerical minority within the movement.

Radicalism and Jewish identification • 3,100 Words

The hypothesis that Jewish radicalism is compatible with Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy implies that radical Jews continue to identify as Jews. There is little doubt that the vast majority of the Jews who advocated leftist causes beginning in the late nineteenth century were strongly self-identified as Jews and saw no conflict between Judaism and radicalism (Marcus 1983, 280ff; Levin 1977, 65, 1988, I, 4–5; Mishkinsky 1968, 290, 291; Rothman & Lichter 1982, 92–93; Sorin 1985, passim). Indeed, the largest Jewish radical movements in both Russia and Poland were the Jewish Bunds which had an exclusively Jewish membership and a very clear program of pursuing specifically Jewish interests. The proletarianism of the Polish Bund was really part of an attempt to preserve their national identity as Jews (Marcus 1983, 282). Fraternity with the non-Jewish working class was intended to facilitate their specifically Jewish aims, and a similar statement can be made for the Russian Jewish Bund (Liebman 1979, 111ff). Since the Bunds comprised by far the majority of the Jewish radical movement in these areas, the vast majority of Jews participating in radical movements in this period were strongly identified as Jews.

Moreover, many Jewish members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union appear to have been intent on establishing a form of secular Judaism rather than ending Jewish group continuity. The postrevolutionary Soviet government and the Jewish socialist movements struggled over the issue of the preservation of national identity (Levin 1988; Pinkus 1988). Despite an official ideology in which nationalism and ethnic separatism were viewed as reactionary, the Soviet government was forced to come to grips with the reality of very strong ethnic and national identifications within the Soviet Union. As a result, a Jewish Section of the Communist Party (Evsektsiya) was created. This section “fought hard against the Zionist-Socialist Parties, against democratic Jewish communities, against the Jewish faith and against Hebrew culture. It had, however, succeeded in shaping a secular life pattern based on Yiddish as the recognized national language of the Jewish nationality; in fighting for Jewish national survival in the 1920s; and in working in the 1930s to slow down the assimilatory process of the Sovietization of Jewish language and culture” (Pinkus 1988, 62).[67]Similarly, Levin (1988, 280) notes that some Evsektsiya activists clearly envisaged themselves as promoting Jewish nationalism compatible with existence within the Soviet Union. “It can even be argued that the Evsektsiya prolonged Jewish activity and certain levels of Jewish consciousness by their very efforts to wrench a new concept of a badly battered and traumatized Jewry . . . though at incalculable cost.”

The result of these efforts was the development of a state-sponsored separatist Yiddish subculture, including Yiddish schools and even Yiddish soviets. This separatist culture was very aggressively sponsored by the Evsektsiya. Reluctant Jewish parents were forced “by terror” to send their children to these culturally separatist schools rather than schools where the children would not have to relearn their subjects in the Russian language in order to pass entrance examinations (Gitelman 1991, 12). The themes of the prominent and officially honored Soviet Jewish writers in the 1930s also bespeak the importance of ethnic identity: “The thrust of their prose, poetry and drama boiled down to one idea—the limitations on their rights under tsarism and the flowering of once-oppressed Jews under the sun of the Lenin-Stalin constitution” (Vaksberg 1994, 115).

Further, beginning in 1942 and extending into the post-war period, the government-sponsored Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee (JAC) served to promote Jewish cultural and political interests (including an attempt to establish a Jewish republic in the Crimea) until it was dissolved by the government amid charges of Jewish nationalism, resistance to assimilation, and Zionist sympathies in 1948 (Kostyrchenko 1995, 30ff; Vaksberg 1994, 112ff). The leaders of the JAC strongly identified as Jews. The following comments of JAC leader Itsik Fefer on his attitudes during the war indicate a powerful sense of Jewish peoplehood extending backward in historical time:

I spoke that I love my people. But who doesn’t love one’s own people? . . . My interests in regard to the Crimea and Birobidzhan [an area of the Soviet Union designated for Jewish settlement] had been dictated by this. It seemed to me that only Stalin could rectify that historical injustice which had been created by the Roman emperors. It seemed to me that only the Soviet government could rectify this injustice, by creating a Jewish nation. (In Kostyrchenko 1995, 39)

Despite their complete lack of identification with Judaism as a religion and despite their battles against some of the more salient signs of Jewish group separatism, membership in the Soviet Communist Party by these Jewish activists was not incompatible with developing mechanisms designed to ensure Jewish group continuity as a secular entity. In the event, apart from the offspring of interethnic marriages, very few Jews lost their Jewish identity during the entire Soviet era (Gitelman 1991, 5),[68]A secret survey published in 1981 (New York Times, Feb. 20) on data from 1977 indicated that 78 percent of Soviet Jews said they would have “an aversion to a close relative marrying a non-Jew,” and 85 percent “wanted their children or grandchildren to learn Yiddish or Hebrew.” Other results indicate a continuing strong desire for Jewish culture in the Soviet Union: 86 percent of Jews wanted their children to go to Jewish schools, and 82 percent advocated establishing a Russian language periodical on Jewish subjects. and the post–World War II years saw a powerful strengthening of Jewish culture and Zionism in the Soviet Union. Beginning with the dissolution of the JAC, the Soviet government initiated a campaign of repression against all manifestations of Jewish nationalism and Jewish culture, including closing Jewish theaters and museums and disbanding Jewish writers unions.

The issue of the Jewish identification of Bolsheviks who were Jews by birth is complex. Pipes (1993, 102–104) asserts that Bolsheviks of Jewish background in the czarist period did not identify as Jews, although they were perceived by gentiles as acting on behalf of Jewish interests and were subjected to anti-Semitism. For example, Leon Trotsky, the second most important Bolshevik behind Lenin, took great pains to avoid the appearance that he had any Jewish identity or that he had any interest in Jewish issues at all.[69]It should also be noted that in 1903 Trotsky declared at a conference of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (the major unifying organization for socialism in Russia at the time, including the Bolsheviks), that he and other Jewish representatives “regard ourselves as representatives of the Jewish proletariat” (in Frankel 1981, 242). This suggests that either he had altered his personal identity or that his later behavior was motivated by concerns to avoid anti-Semitism. Trotsky was also part of the ethnic nexus of psychoanalysis and Bolshevism in the Soviet Union. Trotsky was an ardent enthusiast of psychoanalysis, and, as indicated in Chapter 4, psychoanalysis must be considered a Jewish ethnic intellectual movement. The apex of the association between Marxism and psychoanalysis came in the 1920s in the Soviet Union, where all the top psychoanalysts were Bolsheviks, Trotsky supporters, and among the most powerful political figures in the country (see Chamberlain 1995). In work that is considered by Jewish organizations to be anti-Semitic (see note 22), Igor Shafarevich (1989) notes that Trotsky had a Jewish deputy and that Jewish writers have tended to idolize him. He cites a biography of Trotsky as saying: “From every indication, the rationalistic approach to the Jewish question that the Marxism he professed demanded of him in no way expressed his genuine feelings. It even seems that he was in his own way ‘obsessed’ with that question; he wrote about it almost more than did any other revolutionary.” Shafarevich also describes several other examples of Jewish Communists and leftists who had very pronounced tendencies toward Jewish nationalism. For example, Charles Rappoport, later a leader of the French Communist Party, is quoted as declaring that “The Jewish people [are] the bearer of all the great ideas of unity and human community in history. . . . The disappearance of the Jewish people would signify the death of humankind, the final transformation of man into a wild beast” (p. 34).

It is difficult to believe that these radicals were wholly without a Jewish identity, given that they were regarded as Jews by others and were the target of anti-Semites. In general, anti-Semitism increases Jewish identification (SAID, 178–181). However, it is possible that in these cases Jewish identity was largely externally imposed. For example, the conflict in the 1920s between Stalin and the Left Opposition, led by Trotsky, Grigory Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev, and Grigory Solkolnikov (all of whom were ethnic Jews), had strong overtones of a Jewish-gentile group conflict: “The obvious ‘alienness’ allegedly uniting an entire bloc of candidates was a glaring circumstance” (Vaksberg 1994, 19; see also Ginsberg 1993, 53; Lindemann 1997, 452; Pinkus 1988, 85–86; Rapoport 1990, 38; Rothman & Lichter 1982, 94). For all of the participants, the Jewish or gentile backgrounds of their adversaries was highly salient, and indeed Sidney Hook (1949, 464) notes that non-Jewish Stalinists used anti-Semitic arguments against the Trotskyists. Vaksberg quotes Vyacheslav Molotov (Minister of Foreign Affairs and the second most prominent Soviet leader) as saying that Stalin passed over Kamenev because he wanted a non-Jew to head the government. Moreover, the internationalism of the Jewish bloc compared to the nationalism implicit in the Stalinist position (Lindemann 1997, 450) is more congruent with Jewish interests and certainly reflects a common theme of Jewish attitudes in post-Enlightenment societies generally. Throughout this period into the 1930s “for the Kremlin and the Lubyanka [the Russian secret police] it was not religion but blood that determined Jewishness” (Vaksberg 1994, 64). Indeed, the secret police used ethnic outsiders (e.g., Jews in the traditionally anti-Semitic Ukraine) as agents because they would have less sympathy with the natives (Lindemann 1997, 443)—a policy that makes excellent evolutionary sense.

Jewish ethnic background was thus important not only to gentiles but was subjectively important to Jews as well. When the secret police wanted to investigate a Jewish agent, they recruited a “pure Jewish maiden” to develop an intimate relationship with him—implicitly assuming that the operation would work better if the relationship was intraethnic (Vaksberg 1994, 44n). Similarly, there has been a pronounced tendency for leftist Jews to idolize other Jews such as Trotsky and Rosa Luxemburg rather than leftist gentiles, as in Poland (Schatz 1991, 62, 89), even though some scholars have serious doubts about the Jewish identifications of these two revolutionaries. Indeed, Hook (1949, 465) finds a perception among leftists that there was an ethnic basis for the attraction of Jewish intellectuals to Trotsky. In the words of one, “It is not by accident that three quarters of the Trotskyist leaders are Jews.”

There is, then, considerable evidence that Jewish Bolsheviks generally retained at least a residual Jewish identity. In some cases this Jewish identity may indeed have been “reactive” (i.e., resulting from others’ perceptions). For example, Rosa Luxemburg may have had a reactive Jewish identity, since she was perceived as a Jew despite the fact that she “was the most critical of her own people, descending at times to merciless abuse of other Jews” (Shepherd 1993, 118). Nevertheless, Luxemburg’s only important sexual relationship was with a Jew, and she continued to maintain ties to her family. Lindemann (1997, 178) comments that the conflict between Luxemburg’s revolutionary left and the social-democratic reformists in Germany had overtones of German-Jewish ethnic conflict, given the large percentage and high visibility of Jews among the former. By World War I “Luxemburg’s dwindling friendships within the party had become more exclusively Jewish, whereas her contempt for the (mostly non-Jewish) leaders of the party became more open and vitriolic. Her references to the leadership were often laced with characteristically Jewish phrases: The leaders of the Party were ‘shabbesgoyim of the bourgeoisie.’ For many right-wing Germans, Luxemburg became the most detested of all revolutionaries, the personification of the destructive Jewish alien” (p. 402). Given these findings, the possibilities that Luxemburg was in fact a crypto-Jew or that she was engaged in self-deception regarding her Jewish identity—the latter a common enough occurrence among Jewish radicals (see below)—seem to be at least as likely as supposing that she did not identify as a Jew at all.

In terms of social identity theory, anti-Semitism would make it difficult to adopt the identity of the surrounding culture. Traditional Jewish separatist practices combined with economic competition tend to result in anti-Semitism, but anti-Semitism in turn makes Jewish assimilation more difficult because it becomes more difficult for Jews to accept a non-Jewish identity. Thus in the interwar period in Poland Jewish cultural assimilation increased substantially; by 1939 one half of Jewish high school students called Polish their native language. However, the continuation of traditional Jewish culture among a substantial proportion of Jews and its correlative anti-Semitism resulted in a barrier for Jews in adopting a Polish identification (Schatz 1991, 34–35).

From the standpoint of gentiles, however, anti-Semitic reactions to individuals like Luxemburg and other outwardly assimilating Jews may be viewed as resulting from an attempt to prevent deception by erring on the side of exaggerating the extent to which people who are ethnically Jews identify as Jews and are consciously attempting to advance specifically Jewish interests (see SAID, pp. 11–15). Such perceptions of secular Jews and Jews who converted to Christianity have been a common feature of anti-Semitism in the post-Enlightenment world, and indeed, such Jews often maintained informal social and business networks that resulted in marriages with other baptized Jews and Jewish families who had not changed their surface religion (see SAID,Chs. 5, 6).[70]Similar comments continue as a theme of writing about Jews in the contemporary United States. Joseph Sobran (1995, 5) describes Jews who

maintain their borders furtively and deal disingenuously with gentiles. Raymond Chandler once observed of them that they want to be Jews among themselves but resent being seen as Jews by gentiles. They want to pursue their own distinct interests while pretending that they have no such interests, using the charge of “anti-Semitism” as sword and shield. As Chandler put it, they are like a man who refuses to give his real name and address but insists on being invited to all the best parties. Unfortunately, it’s this [type of Jew] who wields most of the power and skews the rules for gentiles.

I suggest that it is not possible to conclusively establish the Jewish identification or lack of it of ethnically Jewish Bolsheviks prior to the Revolution and in the postrevolutionary period when ethnic Jews had a great deal of power in the Soviet Union. Several factors favor our supposing that Jewish identification occurred in a substantial percentage of ethnic Jews: (1) People were classified as Jews depending on their ethnic background at least partly because of residual anti-Semitism; this would tend to impose a Jewish identity on these individuals and make it difficult to assume an exclusive identity as a member of a larger, more inclusive political group. (2) Many Jewish Bolsheviks, such as those in Evsektsiya and the JAC, aggressively sought to establish a secular Jewish subculture. (3) Very few Jews on the left envisioned a postrevolutionary society without a continuation of Judaism as a group; indeed, the predominant ideology among Jewish leftists was that postrevolutionary society would end anti-Semitism because it would end class conflict and the peculiar Jewish occupational profile. (4) The behavior of American communists shows that Jewish identity and the primacy of Jewish interests over communist interests were commonplace among individuals who were ethnically Jewish communists (see below). (5) The existence of Jewish crypsis in other times and places combined with the possibility that self-deception, identificatory flexibility, and identificatory ambivalence are important components of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy (see SAID,Ch. 8).

This last possibility is particularly interesting and will be elaborated below. The best evidence that individuals have really ceased to have a Jewish identity is if they choose a political option that they perceive as clearly not in the interests of Jews as a group. In the absence of a clearly perceived conflict with Jewish interests, it remains possible that different political choices among ethnic Jews are only differences in tactics for how best to achieve Jewish interests. In the case of the Jewish members of the American Communist Party (CPUSA) reviewed below, the best evidence that ethnically Jewish members continued to have a Jewish identity is that in general their support for the CPUSA waxed and waned depending on whether Soviet policies were perceived as violating specific Jewish interests, such as support for Israel or opposition to Nazi Germany.

Jewish identification is a complex area where surface declarations may be deceptive. Indeed, Jews may not consciously know how strongly they identify with Judaism. Silberman (1985, 184), for example, notes that around the time of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, many Jews could identify with the statement of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel that “I had not known how Jewish I was” (in Silberman 1985, 184; emphasis in text). Silberman comments: “This was the response, not of some newcomer to Judaism or casual devotee but of the man whom many, myself included, consider the greatest Jewish spiritual leader of our time.” Many others made the same surprising discovery about themselves: Arthur Hertzberg (1979, 210) wrote, “The immediate reaction of American Jewry to the crisis was far more intense and widespread than anyone could have foreseen. Many Jews would never have believed that grave danger to Israel could dominate their thoughts and emotions to the exclusion of everything else.”

Consider the case of Polina Zhemchuzhina, the wife of Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov (Premier of the USSR during the 1930s) and a prominent revolutionary who joined the Communist Party in 1918. (Among other accomplishments, she was a member of the Party Central Committee.) When Golda Meir visited the Soviet Union in 1948, Zhemchuzhina repeatedly uttered the phrase “Ich bin a Yiddishe tochter” (I am a daughter of the Jewish people) when Meir asked how she spoke Yiddish so well (Rubenstein 1996, 262). “She parted from the [Israeli delegation] with tears in her eyes, saying ‘I wish all will go well for you there and then it will be good for all the Jews’ “ (Rubenstein 1996, 262). Vaksberg (1994, 192) describes her as “an iron Stalinist, but her fanaticism did not keep her from being a “good Jewish daughter.”

Consider also the case of Ilya Ehrenburg, the prominent Soviet journalist and anti-fascist propagandist for the Soviet Union whose life is described in a book whose title, Tangled Loyalties (Rubenstein 1996), illustrates the complexities of Jewish identity in the Soviet Union. Ehrenburg was a loyal Stalinist, supporting the Soviet line on Zionism and refusing to condemn Soviet anti-Jewish actions (Rubenstein 1996). Nevertheless, Ehrenburg held Zionist views, maintained Jewish associational patterns, believed in the uniqueness of the Jewish people, and was deeply concerned about anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. Ehrenburg was an organizing member of the JAC, which advocated Jewish cultural revival and greater contact with Jews abroad. A writer friend described him as “first of all a Jew. . . . Ehrenburg had rejected his origins with all his being, disguised himself in the West, smoking Dutch tobacco and making his travel plans at Cook’s. . . . But he did not erase the Jew” (p. 204). “Ehrenburg never denied his Jewish origins and near the end of his life often repeated the defiant conviction that he would consider himself a Jew ‘as long as there was a single anti-Semite left on earth’ “ (Rubenstein 1996, 13). In a famous article, he cited a statement that “blood exists in two forms; the blood that flows inside the veins and the blood that flows out of the veins. . . . Why do I say, ‘We Jews?’ Because of blood” (p. 259). Indeed, his intense loyalty to Stalin’s regime and his silence about Soviet brutalities involving the murder of millions of its citizens during the 1930s may have been motivated largely by his view that the Soviet Union was a bulwark against fascism (pp. 143–145). “No transgression angered him more than anti-Semitism” (p. 313).

A powerful residual Jewish identity in a prominent Bolshevik can also be seen in the following comment on the reaction of ethnic Jews to the emergence of Israel:

It seemed that all Jews, regardless of age, profession, or social status, felt responsible for the distant little state that had become a symbol of national revival. Even the Soviet Jews who had seemed irrevocably assimilated were now under the spell of the Middle Eastern miracle. Yekaterina Davidovna (Golda Gorbman) was a fanatic Bolshevik and internationalist and wife of Marshal Kliment Voroshilov, and in her youth she had been excommunicated as an unbeliever; but now she struck her relatives dumb by saying, “Now at last we have our motherland, too.” (Kostyrchenko 1995, 102)

The point is that the Jewish identity of even a highly assimilated Jew, and even one who has subjectively rejected a Jewish identity, may surface at times of crisis to the group or when Jewish identification conflicts with any other identity that a Jew might have, including identification as a political radical. As expected on the basis of social identity theory, Elazar (1980) notes that in times of perceived threat to Judaism, there is a great increase in group identification among even “very marginal” Jews, as during the Yom Kippur War. As a result, assertions regarding Jewish identification that fail to take account of perceived threats to Judaism may seriously underestimate the extent of Jewish commitment. Surface declarations of a lack of Jewish identity may be highly misleading.[71]Consider the following comment on Heinrich Heine, who was baptized but remained strongly identified as a Jew: “Whenever Jews were threatened—whether in Hamburg during the Hep-Hep riots or in Damascus at the time of the ritual murder accusation—Heine at once felt solidarity with his people” (Prawer 1983, 762). And as we shall see, there is good evidence for widespread self-deception about Jewish identity among Jewish radicals.

Moreover, there is good evidence that both in the czarist period and in the postrevolutionary period, Jewish Bolsheviks perceived their activities as entirely congruent with Jewish interests. The revolution ended the officially anti-Semitic czarist government and although popular anti-Semitism continued in the postrevolutionary period, the government officially outlawed anti-Semitism. Jews were highly overrepresented in positions of economic and political power as well as cultural influence at least into the 1940s. It was also a government that aggressively attempted to destroy all vestiges of Christianity as a socially unifying force within the Soviet Union while at the same time it established a secular Jewish subculture so that Judaism would not lose its group continuity or its unifying mechanisms such as the Yiddish language.

It is doubtful, therefore, that Soviet Jewish Bolsheviks ever had to choose between a Jewish identity and a Bolshevik identity, at least in the prerevolutionary period and into the 1930s. Given this congruence of what one might term “identificatory self-interest,” it is quite possible that individual Jewish Bolsheviks would deny or ignore their Jewish identities—perhaps aided by mechanisms of self-deception—while they nevertheless may well have retained a Jewish identity that would have surfaced only if a clear conflict between Jewish interests and communist policies occurred.

Communism and Jewish Identification in Poland • 3,900 Words

Schatz’s (1991) work on the group of Jewish communists who came to power in Poland after World War II (termed by Schatz “the generation”) is important because it sheds light on the identificatory processes of an entire generation of communist Jews in Eastern Europe. Unlike the situation in the Soviet Union where the predominantly Jewish faction led by Trotsky was defeated, it is possible to trace the activities and identifications of a Jewish communist elite who actually obtained political power and held it for a significant period.

The great majority of this group were socialized in very traditional Jewish families

whose inner life, customs and folklore, religious traditions, leisure time, contacts between generations, and ways of socializing were, despite variations, essentially permeated by traditional Jewish values and norms of conduct. . . . The core of cultural heritage was handed down to them through formal religious education and practice, through holiday celebrations, tales, and songs, through the stories told by parents and grandparents, through listening to discussions among their elders. . . . The result was a deep core of their identity, values, norms, and attitudes with which they entered the rebellious period of their youth and adulthood. This core was to be transformed in the processes of acculturation, secularization, and radicalization sometimes even to the point of explicit denial. However, it was through this deep layer that all later perceptions were filtered. (Schatz 1991, 37–38; my emphasis)

Note the implication that self-deceptive processes were at work here: Members of the generation denied the effects of a pervasive socialization experience that colored all of their subsequent perceptions, so that in a very real sense, they did not know how Jewish they were. Most of these individuals spoke Yiddish in their daily lives and had only a poor command of Polish even after joining the party (p. 54). They socialized entirely with other Jews whom they met in the Jewish world of work, neighborhood, and Jewish social and political organizations. After they became communists, they dated and married among themselves and their social gatherings were conducted in Yiddish (p. 116). As is the case for all of the Jewish intellectual and political movements discussed in this volume, their mentors and principle influences were other ethnic Jews, including especially Luxemburg and Trotsky (pp. 62, 89), and when they recalled personal heroes, they were mostly Jews whose exploits achieved semi-mythical proportions (p. 112).

Jews who joined the communist movement did not first reject their ethnic identity, and there were many who “cherished Jewish culture . . . [and] dreamed of a society in which Jews would be equal as Jews” (p. 48). Indeed, it was common for individuals to combine a strong Jewish identity with Marxism as well as various combinations of Zionism and Bundism. Moreover, the attraction of Polish Jews to communism was greatly facilitated by their knowledge that Jews had attained high-level positions of power and influence in the Soviet Union and that the Soviet government had established a system of Jewish education and culture (p. 60). In both the Soviet Union and Poland, communism was seen as opposing anti-Semitism. In marked contrast, during the 1930s the Polish government developed policies in which Jews were excluded from public-sector employment, quotas were placed on Jewish representation in universities and the professions, and government-organized boycotts of Jewish businesses and artisans were staged (Hagen 1996). Clearly, Jews perceived communism as good for Jews: It was a movement that did not threaten Jewish group continuity, and it held the promise of power and influence for Jews and the end of state-sponsored anti-Semitism.

At one end of the spectrum of Jewish identification were communists who began their career in the Bund or in Zionist organizations, spoke Yiddish, and worked entirely within a Jewish milieu. Jewish and communist identities were completely sincere, without ambivalence or perceived conflict between these two sources of identity. At the other end of the spectrum of Jewish identification, some Jewish communists may have intended to establish a de-ethnicized state without Jewish group continuity, although the evidence for this is less than compelling. In the prewar period even the most “de-ethnicized” Jews only outwardly assimilated by dressing like gentiles, taking gentile-sounding names (suggesting deception), and learning their languages. They attempted to recruit gentiles into the movement but did not assimilate or attempt to assimilate into Polish culture; they retained traditional Jewish “disdainful and supercilious attitudes” toward what, as Marxists, they viewed as a “retarded” Polish peasant culture (p. 119). Even the most highly assimilated Jewish communists working in urban areas with non-Jews were upset by the Soviet-German nonaggression pact but were relieved when the German-Soviet war finally broke out (p. 121)—a clear indication that Jewish personal identity remained quite close to the surface. The Communist Party of Poland (KPP) also retained a sense of promoting specifically Jewish interests rather than blind allegiance to the Soviet Union. Indeed, Schatz (p. 102) suggests that Stalin dissolved the KPP in 1938 because of the presence of Trotskyists within the KPP and because the Soviet leadership expected the KPP to be opposed to the alliance with Nazi Germany.

In SAID (Ch. 8) it was noted that identificatory ambivalence has been a consistent feature of Judaism since the Enlightenment. It is interesting that Polish Jewish activists showed a great deal of identificatory ambivalence stemming ultimately from the contradiction between “the belief in some kind of Jewish collective existence and, at the same time, a rejection of such an ethnic communion, as it was thought incompatible with class divisions and harmful to the general political struggle; striving to maintain a specific kind of Jewish culture and, at the same time, a view of this as a mere ethnic form of the communist message, instrumental in incorporating Jews into the Polish Socialist community; and maintaining separate Jewish institutions while at the same time desiring to eliminate Jewish separateness as such” (p. 234). It will be apparent in the following that the Jews, including Jewish communists at the highest levels of the government, continued as a cohesive, identifiable group. However, although they themselves appear not to have noticed the Jewish collective nature of their experience (p. 240), it was observable to others—a clear example of self-deception also evident in the case of American Jewish leftists, as noted below.

These Jewish communists were also engaged in elaborate rationalizations and self-deceptions related to the role of the communist movement in Poland, so that one cannot take the lack of evidence for overt Jewish ethnic identity as strong evidence of a lack of a Jewish identity. “Cognitive and emotional anomalies—unfree, mutilated, and distorted thoughts and emotions—became the price for retaining their beliefs unchanged. . . . Adjusting their experiences to their beliefs was achieved through mechanisms of interpreting, suppressing, justifying, or explaining away” (p. 191). “As much as they were able to skillfully apply their critical thinking to penetrative analyses of the sociopolitical system they rejected, as much were they blocked when it came to applying the same rules of critical analysis to the system they regarded as the future of all mankind” (p. 192).

This combination of self-deceptive rationalization as well as considerable evidence of a Jewish identity can be seen in the comments of Jacub Berman, one of the most prominent leaders of the postwar era. (Two of the three communist leaders who dominated Poland between 1948 and 1956, Berman and Hilary Minc, were Jews, the third being Boleslaw Bierut.) Regarding the purges and murders of thousands of communists, including many Jews, in the Soviet Union in the 1930s, Berman states:

I tried as best I could to explain what was happening; to clarify the background, the situations full of conflict and internal contradictions in which Stalin had probably found himself and which forced him to act as he did; and to exaggerate the mistakes of the opposition, which assumed grotesque proportions in the subsequent charges against them and were further blown up by Soviet propaganda. You had to have a great deal of endurance and dedication to the cause then in order to accept what was happening despite all the distortions, injuries and torments. (In Toranska 1987, 207)

As to his Jewish identity, Berman responded as follows when asked about his plans after the war:

I didn’t have any particular plans. But I was aware of the fact that as a Jew I either shouldn’t or wouldn’t be able to fill any of the highest posts. Besides, I didn’t mind not being in the front ranks: not because I’m particularly humble by nature, but because it’s not at all the case that you have to project yourself into a position of prominence in order to wield real power. The important thing to me was to exert my influence, leave my stamp on the complicated government formation, which was being created, but without projecting myself. Naturally, this required a certain agility. (In Toranska 1987, 237)

Clearly Berman identifies himself as a Jew and is well aware that others perceive him as a Jew and that therefore he must deceptively lower his public profile. Berman also notes that he was under suspicion as a Jew during the Soviet anti-”Cosmopolite” campaign beginning in the late 1940s. His brother, an activist in the Central Committee of Polish Jews (the organization for establishing a secular Jewish culture in communist Poland), emigrated to Israel in 1950 to avoid the consequences of the Soviet-inspired anti-Semitic policies in Poland. Berman comments that he did not follow his brother to Israel even though his brother strongly urged him to do so: “I was, of course, interested in what was going on in Israel, especially since I was quite familiar with the people there” (in Toranska 1987, 322). Obviously, Berman’s brother viewed Berman not as a non-Jew but, rather, as a Jew who should emigrate to Israel because of incipient anti-Semitism. The close ties of family and friendship between a very high official in the Polish communist government and an activist in the organization promoting Jewish secular culture in Poland also strongly suggest that there was no perceived incompatibility with identifications as a Jew and as a communist even among the most assimilated Polish communists of the period.

While Jewish members saw the KPP as beneficial to Jewish interests, the party was perceived by gentile Poles even before the war as “pro-Soviet, anti-patriotic, and ethnically ‘not truly Polish’ “ (Schatz 1991, 82). This perception of lack of patriotism was the main source of popular hostility to the KPP (Schatz 1991, 91).

On the one hand, for much of its existence the KPP had been at war not only with the Polish State, but with its entire body politic, including the legal opposition parties of the Left. On the other hand, in the eyes of the great majority of Poles, the KPP was a foreign, subversive agency of Moscow, bent on the destruction of Poland’s hard-won independence and the incorporation of Poland into the Soviet Union. Labeled a “Soviet agency” or the “Jew-Commune,” it was viewed as a dangerous and fundamentally un-Polish conspiracy dedicated to undermining national sovereignty and restoring, in a new guise, Russian domination. (Coutouvidis & Reynolds 1986, 115)

The KPP backed the Soviet Union in the Polish-Soviet war of 1919–1920 and in the Soviet invasion of 1939. It also accepted the 1939 border with the USSR and was relatively unconcerned with the Soviet massacre of Polish prisoners of war during World War II, whereas the Polish government in exile in London held nationalist views of these matters. The Soviet army and its Polish allies “led by cold-blooded political calculation, military necessities, or both” allowed the uprising of the Home Army, faithful to the noncommunist Polish government-in-exile, to be defeated by the Germans resulting in 200,000 dead, thus wiping out “the cream of the anti- and noncommunist activist elite” (Schatz 1991, 188). The Soviets also arrested surviving non-communist resistance leaders immediately after the war.

Moreover, as was the case with the CPUSA, actual Jewish leadership and involvement in Polish Communism was much greater than surface appearances; ethnic Poles were recruited and promoted to high positions in order to lessen the perception that the KPP was a Jewish movement (Schatz 1991, 97). This attempt to deceptively lower the Jewish profile of the communist movement was also apparent in the ZPP. (The ZPP refers to the Union of Polish Patriots—an Orwellian-named communist front organization created by the Soviet Union to occupy Poland after the war.) Apart from members of the generation whose political loyalties could be counted on and who formed the leadership core of the group, Jews were often discouraged from joining the movement out of fear that the movement would appear too Jewish. However, Jews who could physically pass as Poles were allowed to join and were encouraged to state they were ethnic Poles and to change their names to Polish-sounding names. “Not everyone was approached [to engage in deception], and some were spared such proposals because nothing could be done with them: they just looked too Jewish” (Schatz 1991, 185).

When this group came to power after the war, they advanced Soviet political, economic, and cultural interests in Poland while aggressively pursuing specifically Jewish interests, including the destruction of the nationalist political opposition whose openly expressed anti-Semitism derived at least partly from the fact that Jews were perceived as favoring Soviet domination.[72]The cultural changes included the suppression of science to political interests and the canonization of the works of Lysenko and Pavlov. Whereas Pavlov’s scientific work remains interesting, an evolutionist, of course, is struck by the elevation of Lysenkoism to the status of dogma. Lysenkoism is a politically inspired Lamarckianism useful to communism because of the implication that people could be biologically changed by changing the environment. As indicated in Chapter 2 (see note 1), Jewish intellectuals were strongly attracted to Lamarckianism because of its political usefulness. The purge of Wladyslaw Gomulka’s group shortly after the war resulted in the promotion of Jews and the complete banning of anti-Semitism. Moreover, the general opposition between the Jewish-dominated Polish communist government supported by the Soviets and the nationalist, anti-Semitic underground helped forge the allegiance of the great majority of the Jewish population to the communist government while the great majority of non-Jewish Poles favored the anti-Soviet parties (Schatz 1991, 204–205). The result was widespread anti-Semitism: By the summer of 1947, approximately 1,500 Jews had been killed in incidents at 155 localities. In the words of Cardinal Hlond in 1946 commenting on an incident in which 41 Jews were killed, the pogrom was “due to the Jews who today occupy leading positions in Poland’s government and endeavor to introduce a governmental structure that the majority of the Poles do not wish to have” (in Schatz 1991, 107).

The Jewish-dominated communist government actively sought to revive and perpetuate Jewish life in Poland (Schatz 1991, 208) so that, as in the case of the Soviet Union, there was no expectation that Judaism would wither away under a communist regime. Jewish activists had an “ethnopolitical vision” in which Jewish secular culture would continue in Poland with the cooperation and approval of the government (Schatz 1991, 230). Thus while the government campaigned actively against the political and cultural power of the Catholic Church, collective Jewish life flourished in the postwar period. Yiddish and Hebrew language schools and publications were established, as well as a great variety of cultural and social welfare organizations for Jews. A substantial percentage of the Jewish population was employed in Jewish economic cooperatives.

Moreover, the Jewish-dominated government regarded the Jewish population, many of whom had not previously been communists, as “a reservoir that could be trusted and enlisted in its efforts to rebuild the country. Although not old, ‘tested’ comrades, they were not rooted in the social networks of the anti-communist society, they were outsiders with regard to its historically shaped traditions, without connections to the Catholic Church, and hated by those who hated the regime.[73]The “tested” comrades constituted an underground Jewish communist group in prewar Poland. When they came to power following the war, they allied themselves with other Jews who had not been communists prior to the war. Thus they could be depended on and used to fill the required positions” (Schatz 1991, 212–213).

Jewish ethnic background was particularly important in recruiting for the internal security service: The generation of Jewish communists realized that their power derived entirely from the Soviet Union and that they would have to resort to coercion in order to control a fundamentally hostile noncommunist society (p. 262). The core members of the security service came from the Jewish communists who had been communists before the establishment of the Polish communist government, but these were joined by other Jews sympathetic to the government and alienated from the wider society. This in turn reinforced the popular image of Jews as servants of foreign interests and enemies of ethnic Poles (Schatz 1991, 225).

Jewish members of the internal security force often appear to have been motivated by personal rage and a desire for revenge related to their Jewish identity:

Their families had been murdered and the anti-Communist underground was, in their perception, a continuation of essentially the same anti-Semitic and anti-Communist tradition. They hated those who had collaborated with the Nazis and those who opposed the new order with almost the same intensity and knew that as Communists, or as both Communists and Jews, they were hated at least in the same way. In their eyes, the enemy was essentially the same. The old evil deeds had to be punished and new ones prevented and a merciless struggle was necessary before a better world could be built. (Schatz 1991, 226)

As in the case of post–World War II Hungary (see below), Poland became polarized between a predominantly Jewish ruling and administrative class supported by the rest of the Jewish population and by Soviet military power, arrayed against the great majority of the native gentile population. The situation was exactly analogous to the many instances in traditional societies where Jews formed a middle layer between an alien ruling elite, in this case the Soviets, and the gentile native population (see PTSDA, Ch. 5). However, this intermediary role made the former outsiders into an elite group in Poland, and the former champions of social justice went to great lengths to protect their own personal prerogatives, including a great deal of rationalization and self-deception (p. 261). Indeed, when a defector’s accounts of the elite’s lavish lifestyle (e.g., Boleslaw Bierut had four villas and the use of five others [Toranska 1987, 28]), their corruption, as well as their role as Soviet agents became known in 1954, there were shock waves throughout the lower levels of the party (p. 266). Clearly, the sense of moral superiority and the altruistic motivations of this group were entirely in their own self-deceptions.

Although attempts were made to place a Polish face on what was in reality a Jewish-dominated government, such attempts were limited by the lack of trustworthy Poles able to fill positions in the Communist Party, government administration, the military and the internal security forces. Jews who had severed formal ties with the Jewish community, or who had changed their names to Polish-sounding names, or who could pass as Poles because of their physical appearance or lack of a Jewish accent were favored in promotions (p. 214). Whatever the subjective personal identities of the individuals recruited into these government positions, the recruiters were clearly acting on the perceived ethnic background of the individual as a cue to dependability, and the result was that the situation resembled the many instances in traditional societies where Jews and crypto-Jews developed economic and political networks of coreligionists: “Besides a group of influential politicians, too small to be called a category, there were the soldiers; the apparatchiks and the administrators; the intellectuals and ideologists; the policemen; the diplomats; and finally, the activists in the Jewish sector. There also existed the mass of common people—clerks, craftsmen, and workers—whose common denominator with the others was a shared ideological vision, a past history, and the essentially similar mode of ethnic aspiration” (p. 226).

It is revealing that when Jewish economic and political domination gradually decreased in the mid- to late-1950s, many of these individuals began working in the Jewish economic cooperatives, and Jews purged from the internal security service were aided by Jewish organizations funded ultimately by American Jews. There can be little doubt of their continuing Jewish identity and the continuation of Jewish economic and cultural separatism. Indeed, after the collapse of the communist regime in Poland, “numerous Jews, some of them children and grandchildren of former communists, came ‘out of the closet’ “ (Anti-Semitism Worldwide 1994, 115), openly adopting a Jewish identity and reinforcing the idea that many Jewish communists were in fact crypto-Jews.

When the anti-Zionist–anti-Semitic movement in the Soviet Union filtered down to Poland following the Soviet policy change toward Israel in the late 1940s, there was another crisis of identity resulting from the belief that anti-Semitism and communism were incompatible. One response was to engage in “ethnic self-abnegation” by making statements denying the existence of a Jewish identity; another advised Jews to adopt a low profile. Because of the very strong identification with the system among Jews, the general tendency was to rationalize even their own persecution during the period when Jews were gradually being purged from important positions: “Even when the methods grew surprisingly painful and harsh, when the goal of forcing one to admit uncommitted crimes and to frame others became clear, and when the perception of being unjustly treated by methods that contradicted communist ethos came forth, the basic ideological convictions stayed untouched. Thus the holy madness triumphed, even in the prison cells” (p. 260). In the end, an important ingredient in the anti-Jewish campaign of the 1960s was the assertion that the communist Jews of the generation opposed the Soviet Union’s Mideast policy favoring the Arabs.

As with Jewish groups throughout the ages (see PTSDA, Ch. 3), the anti-Jewish purges did not result in their abandoning their group commitment even when it resulted in unjust persecutions. Instead, it resulted in increased commitment, “unswerving ideological discipline, and obedience to the point of self-deception. . . . They regarded the party as the collective personification of the progressive forces of history and, regarding themselves as its servants, expressed a specific kind of teleological-deductive dogmatism, revolutionary haughtiness, and moral ambiguity” (pp. 260–261). Indeed, there is some indication that group cohesiveness increased as the fortunes of the generation declined (p. 301). As their position was gradually eroded by a nascent anti-Semitic Polish nationalism, they became ever more conscious of their “groupness.” After their final defeat they quickly lost any Polish identity they might have had and quickly assumed overtly Jewish identities, especially in Israel, the destination of most Polish Jews. They came to see their former anti-Zionism as a mistake and became now strong supporters of Israel (p. 314).

In conclusion, Schatz’s treatment shows that the generation of Jewish communists and their ethnically Jewish supporters must be considered as an historic Jewish group. The evidence indicates that this group pursued specifically Jewish interests, including especially their interest in securing Jewish group continuity in Poland while at the same time attempting to destroy institutions like the Catholic Church and other manifestations of Polish nationalism that promoted social cohesion among Poles. The communist government also combated anti-Semitism, and it promoted Jewish economic and political interests. While the extent of subjective Jewish identity among this group undoubtedly varied, the evidence indicates submerged and self-deceptive levels of Jewish identity even among the most assimilated of them. The entire episode illustrates the complexity of Jewish identification, and it exemplifies the importance of self-deception and rationalization as central aspects of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy (see SAID, Chs. 7, 8). There was massive self-deception and rationalization regarding the role of the Jewish-dominated government and its Jewish supporters in eliminating gentile nationalist elites, of its role in opposing Polish national culture and the Catholic Church while building up a secular Jewish culture, of its role as the agent of Soviet domination of Poland, and of its own economic success while administering an economy that harnessed the economy of Poland to meet Soviet interests and demanded hardship and sacrifices from the rest of the people.

Radicalism and Jewish Identification in the United States and England • 5,100 Words

From the origins of the movement in the late nineteenth century, a strong sense of Jewish identification also characterized American Jewish radicals (e.g., the Union of Hebrew Trades and the Jewish Socialist Federation; see Levin 1977; Liebman 1979). In Sorin’s (1985) study of Jewish radicals who immigrated to the United States early in the twentieth century, only 7 percent were hostile to any form of Jewish separatism. Over 70 percent “were imbued with positive Jewish consciousness. The great majority were significantly caught up in a web of overlapping institutions, affiliations, and Jewish social formations” (p. 119). Moreover, “at the very most” 26 of 95 radicals were in Sorin’s “hostile, ambivalent, or assimilationist” categories, but “in some if not all of the cases, these were persons struggling, often creatively, to synthesize new identities” (p. 115). A major theme of this chapter is that a great many avowedly “de-racinated” Jewish radicals had self-deceptive images of their lack of Jewish identification.

The following comment about a very prominent American Jewish radical, Emma Goldman, illustrates the general trend:

The pages of the magazine Mother Earth that Emma Goldman edited from 1906 to 1917 are filled with Yiddish stories, tales from the Talmud, and translations of Morris Rosenfeld’s poetry. Moreover, her commitment to anarchism did not divert her from speaking and writing, openly and frequently, about the particular burdens Jews faced in a world in which antisemitism was a living enemy. Apparently, Emma Goldman’s faith in anarchism, with its emphasis on universalism, did not result from and was not dependent on a casting off of Jewish identity. (Sorin 1985, 8; italics in text)

Twentieth-century American Jewish radicalism was a specifically Jewish subculture, or “contraculture” to use Arthur Liebman’s (1979, 37) term. The American Jewish left never removed itself from the wider Jewish community, and, indeed, membership of Jews in the movement fluctuated depending on whether these movements clashed with specifically Jewish interests.[74]Similarly in England, the short-lived Hebrew Socialist Union was established in London in 1876 as a specifically Jewish association. Alderman (1992, 171) comments that this society “threw into sharp relief the problem that was to face all succeeding Jewish socialist organs and all subsequent Jewish trade unions: whether their task was simply to act as a channel through which Jewish workers would enter the English working-class movements—the Anglicization of the Anglo-Jewish proletariat—or whether there was a specifically Jewish (and Anglo-Jewish) form of labour organization and of socialist philosophy that demanded a separate and autonomous articulation.” Eventually a Yiddish-speaking Jewish trade union movement was established, and in cases where Jews joined previously existing unions, they formed specifically Jewish sub-groups within the unions.

Fundamentally, the Jewish Old Left, including the unions, the leftist press, and the leftist fraternal orders (which were often associated with a synagogue [Liebman 1979, 284]), were part of the wider Jewish community, and when the Jewish working class declined, specifically Jewish concerns and identity gained increasing prominence as the importance of radical political beliefs declined. This tendency for Jewish members of leftist organizations to concern themselves with specifically Jewish affairs increased after 1930 primarily because of recurring gaps between specific Jewish interests and universalist leftist causes at that time. This phenomenon occurred within the entire spectrum of leftist organizations, including organizations such as the Communist Party and the Socialist Party, whose membership also included gentiles (Liebman 1979, 267ff).

Jewish separatism in leftist movements was facilitated by a very traditional aspect of Jewish separatism—the use of an ingroup language. Yiddish eventually became highly valued for its unifying effect on the Jewish labor movement and its ability to cement ties to the wider Jewish community (Levin 1977, 210; Liebman 1979, 259–260). “The landsmanshaften [Jewish social clubs], the Yiddish press and theatre, East Side socialist cafés, literary societies and fereyns, which were so much a part of Jewish socialist culture, created an unmistakable Jewish milieu, which the shop, union, or Socialist party could not possibly duplicate. Even the class enemy—the Jewish employer—spoke Yiddish” (Levin 1977, 210).

Indeed, the socialist educational program of the Workman’s Circle (the largest Jewish labor fraternal order in the early twentieth century) failed at first (prior to 1916) because of the absence of Yiddish and Jewish content: “Even radical Jewish parents wanted their children to learn Yiddish and know something about their people” (Liebman 1979, 292). These schools succeeded when they began including a Jewish curriculum with a stress on Jewish peoplehood. They persisted through the 1940s as Jewish schools with a socialist ideology which stressed the idea that a concern for social justice was the key to Jewish survival in the modern world. Clearly, socialism and liberal politics had become a form of secular Judaism. The organization had been transformed over its history “from a radical labor fraternal order with Jewish members into a Jewish fraternal order with liberal sentiments and a socialist heritage” (Liebman 1979, 295).

Similarly, the communist-oriented Jewish subculture, including organizations such as the International Workers Order (IWO), included Yiddish-speaking sections. One such section, the Jewish Peoples Fraternal Order (JPFO), was an affiliate of the American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) and was listed as a subversive organization by the U.S. Attorney General. The JPFO had 50,000 members and was the financial and organizational “bulwark” of the CPUSA after World War II; it also provided critical funding for the Daily Worker and the Morning Freiheit (Svonkin 1997, 166). Consistent with the present emphasis on the compatibility of communism-radicalism and Jewish identity, it funded children’s educational programs that promulgated a strong relationship between Jewish identity and radical concerns. The IWO Yiddish schools and summer camps, which continued into the 1960s, stressed Jewish culture and even reinterpreted Marxism not as a theory of class struggle but as a theory of struggle for Jewish freedom from oppression. Although the AJCongress eventually severed its ties with the JPFO during the cold war period and stated that communism was a threat, it was “at best a reluctant and unenthusiastic participant” (Svonkin 1997, 132) in the Jewish effort to develop a public image of anti-communism—a position reflecting the sympathies of many among its predominantly second- and third-generation Eastern European immigrant membership.

David Horowitz (1997, 42) describes the world of his parents who had joined a “shul” run by the CPUSA in which Jewish holidays were given a political interpretation. Psychologically these people might as well have been in eighteenth-century Poland:

What my parents had done in joining the Communist Party and moving to Sunnyside was to return to the ghetto. There was the same shared private language, the same hermetically sealed universe, the same dual posturing revealing one face to the outer world and another to the tribe. More importantly, there was the same conviction of being marked for persecution and specially ordained, the sense of moral superiority toward the stronger and more numerous goyim outside. And there was the same fear of expulsion for heretical thoughts, which was the fear that riveted the chosen to the faith.

A strong sense of Jewish peoplehood was also characteristic of the leftist Yiddish press. Thus a letter writer to the radical Jewish Daily Forward complained that his nonreligious parents were upset because he wanted to marry a non-Jew. “He wrote to the Forward on the presumption that he would find sympathy, only to discover that the socialist and freethinking editors of the paper insisted . . . that it was imperative that he marry a Jew and that he continue to identify with the Jewish community. . . . [T]hose who read the Forward knew that the commitment of Jews to remain Jewish was beyond question and discussion” (Hertzberg 1989, 211–212). The Forward had the largest circulation of any Jewish periodical in the world into the 1930s and maintained close ties to the Socialist Party.

Werner Cohn (1958, 621) describes the general milieu of the immigrant Jewish community from 1886 to 1920 as “one big radical debating society”:

By 1886 the Jewish community in New York had become conspicuous for its support of the third-party (United Labor) candidacy of Henry George, the theoretician of the Single Tax. From then on Jewish districts in New York and elsewhere were famous for their radical voting habits. The Lower East Side repeatedly picked as its congressman Meyer London, the only New York Socialist ever to be elected to Congress. And many Socialists went to the State Assembly in Albany from Jewish districts. In the 1917 mayoralty campaign in New York City, the Socialist and anti-war candidacy of Morris Hillquit was supported by the most authoritative voices of the Jewish Lower East Side: The United Hebrew Trades, the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, and most importantly, the very popular Yiddish Daily Forward. This was the period in which extreme radicals—like Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman—were giants in the Jewish community, and when almost all the Jewish giants—among them Abraham Cahan, Morris Hillquit, and the young Morris R. Cohen—were radicals. Even Samuel Gompers, when speaking before Jewish audiences, felt it necessary to use radical phrases.

In addition, The Freiheit, which was an unofficial organ of the Communist Party from the 1920s to the 1950s, “stood at the center of Yiddish proletarian institutions and subculture . . . [which offered] identity, meaning, friendship, and understanding” (Liebman 1979, 349–350). The newspaper lost considerable support in the Jewish community in 1929 when it took the Communist Party position in opposition to Zionism, and by the 1950s it essentially had to choose between satisfying its Jewish soul or its status as a communist organ. Choosing the former, by the late 1960s it was justifying not returning the Israeli-occupied territories in opposition to the line of the CPUSA.

The relationship of Jews and the CPUSA is particularly interesting because the party often adopted anti-Jewish positions, especially because of its close association with the Soviet Union. Beginning in the late 1920s Jews played a very prominent role in the CPUSA (Klehr 1978, 37ff). Merely citing percentages of Jewish leaders does not adequately indicate the extent of Jewish influence, however, because it fails to take account of the personal characteristics of Jewish radicals as a talented, educated and ambitious group (see pp. 5, 95–96), but also because efforts were made to recruit gentiles as “window dressing” to conceal the extent of Jewish dominance (Klehr 1978, 40; Rothman & Lichter 1982, 99). Lyons (1982, 81) quotes a gentile Communist who said that many working-class gentiles felt that they were recruited in order to “diversify the Party’s ethnic composition.” The informant recounts his experience as a gentile representative at a communist-sponsored youth conference:

It became increasingly apparent to most participants that virtually all of the speakers were Jewish New Yorkers. Speakers with thick New York accents would identify themselves as “the delegate from the Lower East Side” or “the comrade from Brownsville.” Finally the national leadership called a recess to discuss what was becoming an embarrassment. How could a supposedly national student organization be so totally dominated by New York Jews? Finally, they resolved to intervene and remedy the situation by asking the New York caucus to give “out-of-towners” a chance to speak. The convention was held in Wisconsin.

Klehr (1978, 40) estimates that from 1921 to 1961, Jews constituted 33.5 percent of the Central Committee members, and the representation of Jews was often above 40 percent (Klehr 1978, 46). Jews were the only native-born ethnic group from which the party was able to recruit. Glazer (1969, 129) states that at least half of the CPUSA membership of around 50,000 were Jews into the 1950s and that the rate of turnover was very high; thus perhaps ten times that number of individuals were involved in the party and there were “an equal or larger number who were Socialists of one kind or another.” Writing of the 1920s, Buhle (1980, 89) notes that “most of those favorable to the party and the Freiheit simply did not join—no more than a few thousand out of a following of a hundred times that large.”

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, who were convicted of spying for the Soviet Union, exemplify the powerful sense of Jewish identification among many Jews on the left. Svonkin (1997, 158) shows that they viewed themselves as Jewish martyrs. Like many other Jewish leftists, they perceived a strong link between Judaism and their communist sympathies. Their prison correspondence, in the words of one reviewer, was filled with a “continual display of Judaism and Jewishness,” including the comment that “in a couple of days, the Passover celebration of our people’s search for freedom will be here. This cultural heritage has an added meaning for us, who are imprisoned away from each other and our loved ones by the modern Pharaohs” (pp. 158–159). (Embarrassed by the self-perceptions of the Rosenbergs as Jewish martyrs, the Anti-Defamation League [ADL] interpreted Julius Rosenberg’s professions of Jewishness as an attempt to obtain “every possible shred of advantage from the faith that he had repudiated” [Svonkin 1997, 159]—another example of the many revisionist attempts, some recounted in this chapter, to render incompatible Jewish identification and political radicalism and thus completely obscure an important chapter of Jewish history.)

As in the case of the Soviet Union in the early years, the CPUSA had separate sections for different ethnic groups, including a Yiddish-speaking Jewish Federation.[75]The following discussion is based on Liebman (1979, 492ff). When these were abolished in 1925 in the interests of developing a party that would appeal to native Americans (who tended to have a low level of ethnic consciousness), there was a mass exodus of Jews from the party, and many of those who remained continued to participate in an unofficial Yiddish subculture within the party.

In the following years Jewish support for the CPUSA rose and fell depending on party support for specific Jewish issues. During the 1930s the CPUSA changed its position and took great pains to appeal to specific Jewish interests, including a primary focus against anti-Semitism, supporting Zionism and eventually Israel, and advocating the importance of maintaining Jewish cultural traditions. As in Poland during this period, “The American radical movement glorified the development of Jewish life in the Soviet Union. . . . The Soviet Union was living proof that under socialism the Jewish question could be solved” (Kann 1981, 152–153). Communism was thus perceived as “good for Jews.” Despite temporary problems caused by the Soviet-German nonaggression pact of 1939, the result was an end to the CPUSA’s isolation from the Jewish community during World War II and the immediate postwar years.

Interestingly, the Jews who remained within the party during the period of the nonaggression pact faced a difficult conflict between divided loyalties, indicating that Jewish identity was still important to these individuals. The nonaggression pact provoked a great deal of rationalization on the part of Jewish CPUSA members, often involving an attempt to interpret the Soviet Union’s actions as actually benefiting Jewish interests—clearly an indication that these individuals had not given up their Jewish identities.[76]A good example is Joe Rapoport, an American Jewish radical, whose autobiography (Kann 1981) shows the tendency for American Jewish radicals to perceive the Soviet Union almost exclusively in terms of whether it was good for Jews. Rapoport had a very strong Jewish identity and supported the Soviet Union because on balance he believed it was good for Jews. On his trip to the Ukraine in the early 1930s he emphasizes the Jewish enthusiasm for the regime but not the forced starvation of the Ukrainian peasants. Later he had a great deal of ambivalence and regret about supporting Soviet actions that were not in the Jewish interest. Similarly, Jews in the Hollywood Communist Party of screenwriters had strong Jewish identifications and were, privately at least, far more concerned about anti-Semitism than class warfare issues (Gabler 1988, 338). Others continued to be members but silently opposed the party’s line because of their Jewish loyalties. Of great concern for all of these individuals was that the nonaggression pact was destroying their relationship with the wider Jewish community.

At the time of the creation of Israel in 1948, part of the CPUSA’s appeal to Jews was due to its support for Israel at a time when Truman was waffling on the issue. In 1946 the CPUSA even adopted a resolution advocating the continuation of the Jewish people as an ethnic entity within socialist societies. Arthur Liebman describes CPUSA members during the period as being elated because of the congruity of their Jewish interests and membership in the party. Feelings of commonality with the wider Jewish community were expressed, and there was an enhanced feeling of Jewishness resulting from interactions with other Jews within the CPUSA: During the postwar period “Communist Jews were expected and encouraged to be Jews, to relate to Jews, and to think of the Jewish people and the Jewish culture in a positive light. At the same time, non-Communist Jews, with some notable exceptions [in the non-communist Jewish left] . . . accepted their Jewish credentials and agreed to work with them in an all-Jewish context” (Liebman 1979, 514). As has happened so often in Jewish history, this upsurge in Jewish self-identity was facilitated by the persecution of Jews, in this case the Holocaust.

This period of easy compatibility of Jewish interests with CPUSA interests evaporated after 1948, especially because of the altered Soviet position on Israel and revelations of state-sponsored anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Many Jews abandoned the CPUSA as a result. Once again, those who remained in the CPUSA tended to rationalize Soviet anti-Semitism in a way that allowed them to maintain their Jewish identification. Some viewed the persecutions as an aberration and the result of individual pathology rather than the fault of the communist system itself. Or the West was blamed as being indirectly responsible. Moreover, the reasons for remaining in the CPUSA appear to have typically involved a desire to remain in the self-contained Yiddish communist subculture. Liebman (1979, 522) describes an individual who finally resigned when the evidence on Soviet anti-Semitism became overwhelming: “In 1958, after more than 25 years with the Communist party, this leader resigned and developed a strong Jewish identity which encompassed a fierce loyalty to Israel.” Alternatively, Jewish CPUSA members simply failed to adopt the Soviet party line, as occurred on the issue of support for Israel during the 1967 and 1973 wars. Eventually, there was virtually a complete severing of Jews from the CPUSA.

Lyons’s (1982, 180) description of a Jewish-Communist club in Philadelphia reveals the ambivalence and self-deception that occurred when Jewish interests clashed with communist sympathies:

The club . . . faced rising tension over Jewishness, especially as it related to Israel. In the mid-sixties conflict erupted over the club’s decision to criticize Soviet treatment of Jews. Some orthodox pro-Soviet club members resigned; others disagreed but stayed. Meanwhile the club continued to change, becoming less Marxist and more Zionist. During the 1967 Middle East War, “we got dogmatic, for one week,” as Ben Green, a club leader, puts it. They allowed no discussion on the merits of supporting Israel, but simply raised funds to show their full support. Nevertheless, several members insist that the club is not Zionist and engages in “critical support” of Israel.

As in the case of Poland, there is every reason to suppose that American Jewish Communists regarded the USSR as generally satisfying Jewish interests at least until well into the post–World War II era. Beginning in the 1920s the CPUSA was financially supported by the Soviet Union, adhered closely to its positions, and engaged in a successful espionage effort against the United States on behalf of the Soviet Union, including stealing atomic secrets (Klehr, Haynes & Firsov 1995).[77]The American businessman Armand Hammer had very close ties with the Soviet Union and served as a courier bringing money from the USSR for the support of communist espionage in the United States. Hammer is illustrative of the complexities of the Jewish identifications of communists and communist sympathizers. For most of his life he denied his Jewish background, but when near death he returned to Judaism and scheduled an elaborate Bar Mitzvah (Epstein 1996). Were his surface denials of his Jewish heritage to be taken at face value at the time they were made? (Hammer also portrayed himself as a Unitarian in dealing with Muslims.) Or was Hammer a crypto-Jew his entire life until openly embracing Judaism at the end? In the 1930s Jews “constituted a substantial majority of known members of the Soviet underground in the United States” and almost half of the individuals prosecuted under the Smith Act of 1947 (Rothman & Lichter 1982, 100).

Although all party functionaries may not have known the details of the special relationship with the Soviet Union, ‘special work’ [i.e., espionage] was part and parcel of the Communist mission in the United States, and this was well known and discussed openly in the CPUSA’s Political Bureau. . . . [I]t was these ordinary Communists whose lives demonstrate that some rank-and-file members were willing to serve the USSR by spying on their own country. There but for the grace of not being asked went other American Communists. The CPUSA showered hosannas on the USSR as the promised land. In Communist propaganda the survival of the Soviet Union as the one bright, shining star of humankind was a constant refrain, as in the 1934 American Communist poem that described the Soviet Union as “a heaven . . . brought to earth in Russia.” (Klehr et al. 1995, 324)

Klehr et al. (1995, 325) suggest that the CPUSA had important effects on U.S. history. Without excusing the excesses of the anti-communist movement, they note that “the peculiar and particular edge to American anticommunism cannot be severed from the CPUSA’s allegiance to the Soviet Union; the belief that American communists were disloyal is what made the communist issue so powerful and at times poisonous.”

Communists lied to and deceived the New Dealers with whom they were allied. Those liberals who believed the denials then denounced as mudslingers those anti-Communists who complained of concealed Communist activity. Furious at denials of what they knew to be true, anti-Communists then suspected that those who denied the Communist presence were themselves dishonest. The Communists’ duplicity poisoned normal political relationships and contributed to the harshness of the anti-Communist reaction of the late 1940s and 1950s. (Klehr et al. 1995, 106)

The liberal defense of communism during the Cold War era also raises issues related to this volume. Nicholas von Hoffman (1996) notes the role of the liberal defenders of communism during this period, such as the editors of The New Republic and Harvard historian Richard Hofstadter (1965) who attributed the contemporary concern with communist infiltration of the U.S. government to the “paranoid style of American politics.” (Rothman and Lichter [1982, 105] include The New Republic as among a group of liberal and radical publications with a large presence of Jewish writers and editors.) The official liberal version was that American Communists were sui generis and unconnected to the Soviet Union, so there was no domestic communist threat. The liberals had seized the intellectual and moral high ground during this period. Supporters of McCarthy were viewed as intellectual and cultural primitives: “In the ongoing kulturkampf dividing the society, the elites of Hollywood, Cambridge and liberal thank-tankery had little sympathy for bow-legged men with their American Legion caps and their fat wives, their yapping about Yalta and the Katyn Forest. Catholic and kitsch, looking out of their picture windows at their flock of pink plastic flamingos, the lower middles and their foreign policy anguish were too infra dig to be taken seriously” (von Hoffman 1996, C2).

However, besides poisoning the atmosphere of domestic politics, communist espionage had effects on foreign policy as well:

It is difficult to overstate the importance of Soviet atomic espionage in shaping the history of the Cold War. World War II had ended with Americans confident that the atomic bomb gave them a monopoly on the ultimate weapon, a monopoly expected to last ten to twenty years. The Soviet explosion of a nuclear bomb in 1949 destroyed this sense of physical security. America had fought in two world wars without suffering serious civilian deaths or destruction. Now it faced an enemy led by a ruthless dictator who could wipe out any American city with a single bomb.

Had the American nuclear monopoly lasted longer, Stalin might have refused to allow North Korean Communists to launch the Korean War, or the Chinese Communists might have hesitated to intervene in the war. Had the American nuclear monopoly lasted until Stalin’s death, the restraint on Soviet aggressiveness might have alleviated the most dangerous years of the Cold War. (Klehr et al. 1995, 106)

The Jewish “contraculture” continued to sustain a radical, specifically Jewish subculture into the 1950s—long after the great majority of Jews were no longer in the working class (Liebman 1979, 206, 289ff). The fundamentally Jewish institutions and families that constituted the Old Left then fed into the New Left (Liebman 1979, 536ff). The original impetus of the 1960s student protest movement “almost necessarily began with the scions of the relatively well-to-do, liberal-to-left, disproportionately Jewish intelligentsia—the largest pool of those ideologically disposed to sympathize with radical student action in the population” (Lipset 1971, 83; see also Glazer 1969). Flacks (1967, 64) found that 45 percent of students involved in a protest at the University of Chicago were Jewish, but his original sample was “ ‘adjusted’ to obtain better balance” (Rothman & Lichter 1982, 82). Jews constituted 80 percent of the students signing a petition to end ROTC at Harvard and 30–50 percent of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)—the central organization of student radicals. Adelson (1972) found that 90 percent of his sample of radical students at the University of Michigan were Jewish, and it would appear that a similar rate of participation is likely to have occurred at other schools, such as Wisconsin and Minnesota.[78]As a personal note from when I was a graduate student in philosophy at the University of Wisconsin in the 1960s, the overrepresentation of Jews in the New Left, especially during the early stages of protest to the Vietnam War, was rather obvious to everyone, so much so that during a “Teach-in” on the war held during the 1960s, I was recruited to give a talk in which I was to explain how an ex-Catholic from a small town in Wisconsin had come to be converted to the cause. The geographical (East Coast) and family origins (Jewish) of the vast majority of the movement were apparently a source of concern. The practice of having gentile spokespersons for movements dominated by Jews is noted in several sections of this volume and is also a common tactic against anti-Semitism (SAID, Ch. 6). Rothman and Lichter (1982, 81) quote another observer of the New Left scene at the University of Wisconsin as follows: “I am struck by the lack of Wisconsin born people and the massive preponderance of New York Jews. The situation at the University of Minnesota is similar.” His correspondent replied: “As you perceived, the Madison left is built on New York Jews.”

My personal experience at Wisconsin during the 1960s was that the student protest movement was originated and dominated by Jews and that a great many of them were “red diaper babies” whose parents had been radicals. The intellectual atmosphere of the movement closely resembled the atmosphere in the Polish Communist movement described by Schatz (1991, 117)—intensely verbal pilpul-like discussions in which one’s reputation as a leftist was related to one’s ability in Marxist intellectual analysis and familiarity with Marxist scholarship, both of which required a great deal of study. There was also a great deal of hostility to Western cultural institutions as politically and sexually oppressive combined with an ever-present sense of danger and imminent destruction by the forces of repression—an ingroup bunker mentality that I now believe is a fundamental characteristic of Jewish social forms. There was an attitude of moral and intellectual superiority and even contempt toward traditional American culture, particularly rural America and most particularly the South—attitudes that are hallmarks of several of the intellectual movements reviewed here (e.g., the attitudes of Polish-Jewish communists toward traditional Polish culture; see also Chs. 5 and 6). There was also a strong desire for bloody, apocalyptic revenge against the entire social structure viewed as having victimized not only Jews but non-elite gentiles as well.

These students had very positive attitudes toward Judaism as well as negative attitudes toward Christianity, but perhaps surprisingly, the most salient contrast between Judaism and Christianity in their minds was in attitudes toward sexuality. In line with the very large Freudian influence of the period, the general tendency was to contrast a putative sexual permissiveness of Judaism with the sexual repression and prudery of Christianity, and this contrast was then linked with psychoanalytic analyses that attributed various forms of psychopathology and even capitalism, racism, and other forms of political oppression to Christian sexual attitudes. (See Chs. 4 and 5 for a discussion of the wider context of this type of analysis.) The powerful Jewish identification of these anti–Vietnam War radicals was clearly highlighted by their intense concern and eventual euphoria surrounding Israel’s Six-Day War of 1967.

It is also noteworthy that at Wisconsin the student movement idolized certain Jewish professors, particularly the charismatic social historian Harvey Goldberg, whose lectures presenting his Marxist view of European social history enthralled a very large following in the largest lecture hall on campus, as well as other Jewish leftists, including especially Leon Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg, and Herbert Marcuse. (The tendency for Jewish intellectual movements to become centered around highly charismatic Jewish figures is apparent in this chapter and is summarized as a general phenomenon in Chapter 6.) They adopted an attitude of condescension toward another well-known historian, George Mosse. Mosse’s Jewishness was quite salient to them, but he was viewed as insufficiently radical.
Braungart (1979) found that 43 percent of the SDS membership in his sample of ten universities had at least one Jewish parent and an additional 20 percent had no religious affiliation. The latter are most likely to be predominantly Jewish: Rothman and Lichter (1982, 82) found that the “overwhelming majority” of the radical students who claimed that their parents were atheists had Jewish backgrounds.

Jews also tended to be the most publicized leaders of campus protests (Sachar 1992, 804). Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, and Rennie Davis achieved national fame as members of the “Chicago Seven” group convicted of crossing state lines with intent to incite a riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Cuddihy (1974, 193ff) notes the overtly ethnic subplot of the trial, particularly the infighting between defendant Abbie Hoffman and Judge Julius Hoffman, the former representing the children of the Eastern European immigrant generation that tended toward political radicalism,and the latter representing the older, more assimilated German-Jewish establishment. During the trial Abbie Hoffman ridiculed Judge Hoffman in Yiddish as “Shande fur de Goyim” (disgrace for the gentiles)—translated by Abbie Hoffman as “Front man for the WASP power elite.” Clearly Hoffman and Rubin (who spent time on a Kibbutz in Israel) had strong Jewish identifications and antipathy to the white Protestant establishment. Cuddihy (1974, 191–192) also credits the origins of the Yippie movement to the activities of the underground journalist Paul Krassner (publisher of The Realist, a “daring, scatological, curiously apolitical” journal of “irreverent satire and impolite reportage”) and the countercultural sensibility of comedian Lenny Bruce.

As a group, radical students came from relatively well-to-do families, whereas conservative students tended to come from less affluent families (Gottfried 1993, 53).[79]Paul Gottfried (1996, 9–10), a Jewish conservative, has this to say about his graduate student days at Yale in the 1960s: “All my Jewish colleagues in graduate school, noisy anti-anti-Communists, opposed American capitalist imperialism, but then became enthusiastic warmongers during the Arab-Israeli War in 1967. One Jewish Marxist acquaintance went into a rage that the Israelis did not demand the entire Mideast at the end of that war. Another, though a feminist, lamented that the Israeli soldiers did not rape more Arab women. It would be no exaggeration to say that my graduate school days resounded with Jewish hysterics at an institution where Wasps seemed to count only for decoration.” The movement was therefore initiated and led by an elite, but it was not aimed at advancing the interests of the unionized lower middle class. Indeed, the New Left regarded the working class as “fat, contented, and conservative, and their trade unions reflected them” (Glazer 1969, 123).

Moreover, although mild forms of Jewish anti-Semitism and rebellion against parental hypocrisy did occur among Jewish New Left radicals, the predominant pattern was a continuity with parental ideology (Flacks 1967; Glazer 1969, 12; Lipset 1988, 393; Rothman & Lichter 1982, 82). (Similarly, during the Weimar period the Frankfurt School radicals rejected their parents’ commercial values but did not personally reject their family. Indeed, their families tended to provide moral and financial support for them in their radical political activities [Cuddihy 1974, 154].) Many of these “red diaper babies” came from “families which around the breakfast table, day after day, in Scarsdale, Newton, Great Neck, and Beverly Hills have discussed what an awful, corrupt, immoral, undemocratic, racist society the United States is. Many Jewish parents live in the lily-white suburbs, go to Miami Beach in the winter, belong to expensive country clubs, arrange Bar Mitzvahs costing thousands of dollars—all the while espousing a left-liberal ideology” (Lipset 1988, 393). As indicated above, Glazer (1969) estimates that approximately 1 million Jews were members of the CPUSA or were socialists prior to 1950. The result was that among Jews there was “a substantial reservoir of present-day parents for whose children to be radical is not something shocking and strange but may well be seen as a means of fulfilling the best drives of their parents” (Glazer 1969, 129).

Moreover, the “American Jewish establishment never really distanced itself from these young Jews” (Hertzberg 1989, 369). Indeed, establishment Jewish organizations, including the AJCongress, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (a lay Reform group), and the Synagogue Council of America (Winston 1978), were prominent early opponents of the war in Vietnam. The anti-war attitudes of official Jewish organizations may have resulted in some anti-Semitism. President Lyndon Johnson was reported to be “disturbed by the lack of support for the Vietnam war in the American Jewish community at a time when he is taking new steps to aid Israel” (in Winston 1978, 198), and the ADL took steps to deal with an anti-Jewish backlash they expected to occur as a result of Jews tending to be hawks on military matters related to Israel and doves on military matters related to Vietnam (Winston 1978).

As with the Old Left, many of the Jewish New Left strongly identified as Jews (Liebman 1979, 536ff). Chanukah services were held and the “Hatikvah” (the Israeli national anthem) was sung during an important sit-in at Berkeley (Rothman & Lichter 1982, 81). The New Left lost Jewish members when it advocated positions incompatible with specific Jewish interests (especially regarding Israel) and attracted members when its positions coincided with these interests (Liebman 1979, 527ff). Leaders often spent time at Kibbutzim in Israel, and there is some indication that New Leftists consciously attempted to minimize the more overt signs of Jewish identity and to minimize discussion of issues on which Jewish and non-Jewish New Leftists would disagree, particularly Israel. Eventually the incompatibility of Jewish interests and the New Left resulted in most Jews abandoning the New Left, with many going to Israel to join kibbutzim, becoming involved in more traditional Jewish religious observances, or becoming involved in leftist organizations with a specifically Jewish identity. After the 1967 Six-Day War, the most important issue for the Jewish New Left was Israel, but the movement also worked on behalf of Soviet Jews and demanded Jewish studies programs at universities (Shapiro 1992, 225). As SDS activist, Jay Rosenberg, wrote, “From this point on I shall join no movement that does not accept and support my people’s struggle. If I must choose between the Jewish cause and a ‘progressive’ anti-Israel SDS, I shall choose the Jewish cause. If barricades are erected, I will fight as a Jew” (in Sachar 1992, 808).

Jews were also a critical component of the public acceptance of the New Left. Jews were overrepresented among radicals and their supporters in the media, the university, and the wider intellectual community, and Jewish leftist social scientists were instrumental in conducting research that portrayed student radicalism in a positive light (Rothman & Lichter 1982, 104). However, in their recent review of the literature on the New Left, Rothman and Lichter (1996, ix, xiii) note a continuing tendency to ignore the role of Jews in the movement and that when the Jewish role is mentioned, it is attributed to Jewish idealism or other positively valued traits. Cuddihy (1974, 194n) notes that the media almost completely ignored the Jewish infighting that occurred during the Chicago Seven trial. He also describes several evaluations of the trial written by Jews in the media (New York Times, New York Post, Village Voice) that excused the behavior of the defendants and praised their radical Jewish lawyer, William Kunstler.

Finally, a similar ebb and flow of Jewish attraction to communism depending on its convergence with specifically Jewish interests occurred also in England. During the 1930s the Communist Party appealed to Jews partly because it was the only political movement that was stridently anti-fascist. There was no conflict at all between a strong Jewish ethnic identity and being a member of the Communist Party: “Communist sympathy among Jews of that generation had about it some of the qualities of a group identification, a means, perhaps, of ethnic self-assertion” (Alderman 1992, 317–318). In the post–World War II period, virtually all the successful communist political candidates represented Jewish wards. However, Jewish support for communism declined with the revelation of Stalin’s anti-Semitism, and many Jews left the Communist Party after the Middle East crisis of 1967 when the USSR broke off diplomatic relations with Israel (Alderman 1983, 162).

The conclusion must be that Jewish identity was generally perceived to be highly compatible with radical politics. When radical politics came in conflict with specific Jewish interests, Jews eventually ceased being radical, although there were often instances of ambivalence and rationalization.

Social identity Processes, Perceived Jewish Group Interests, and Jewish Radicalism • 7,100 Words

One view of Jewish radicalism emphasizes the moral basis of Judaism. This is yet another example of the attempt to portray Judaism as a universalist, morally superior movement—the “light of the nations” theme that has repeatedly emerged as an aspect of Jewish self-identity since antiquity and especially since the Enlightenment (SAID,Ch. 7). Thus Fuchs (1956, 190–191) suggests that the Jewish involvement in liberal causes stems from the unique moral nature of Judaism in inculcating charity towards the poor and needy. Involvement in these causes is viewed as simply an extension of traditional Jewish religious practices. Similarly, Hertzberg (1985, 22) writes of “the echo of a unique moral sensibility, a willingness to act in disregard of economic interest when the cause seems just.”

As indicated in PTSDA (Chs. 5, 6), there is every indication that traditional Jewish concern for the poor and needy was confined within Jewish groups, and in fact Jews have often served oppressive ruling elites in traditional societies and in post–World War II Eastern Europe.[80]See also Arthur Liebman’s (1979, 5–11), Charles Liebman’s (1973, 140), and Rothman and Lichter’s (1982, 112) critiques of Fuchs. Ginsberg (1993, 140) describes these putative humanistic motivations as “a bit fanciful,” and notes that in different contexts (notably in the postrevolutionary Soviet Union) Jews have organized “ruthless agencies of coercion and terror,” including especially a very prominent involvement in the Soviet secret police from the postrevolutionary period into the 1930s (see also Baron 1975, 170; Lincoln 1989; Rapoport 1990, 30–31). Similarly, we have seen that Jews were very prominent in the domestic security forces in Poland (see Schatz 1991, 223–228) and Hungary (Rothman & Lichter 1982, 89).

Pipes (1993, 112) theorizes that although it is “undeniable” that Jews were overrepresented in the Bolshevik party and the early Soviet government as well as communist revolutionary activities in Hungary, Germany, and Austria in the period from 1918 to 1923, Jews were also overrepresented in a variety of other areas, including business, art, literature, and science. As a result, Pipes argues that their disproportionate representation in communist political movements should not be an issue. Pipes couples this argument with the assertion that Jewish Bolsheviks did not identify as Jews—an issue that, as we have seen, is questionable at best.

However, even assuming that these ethnically Jewish communists did not identify as Jews, such an argument fails to explain why such “de-ethnicized” Jews (as well as Jewish businessmen, artists, writers and scientists) should have typically been overrepresented in leftist movements and underrepresented in nationalist, populist, and other types of rightist political movements:[81]American neoconservatism is a specifically Jewish conservative political movement but is not relevant to Pipes’s argument as it applies to the Bolsheviks because its proponents have an overt Jewish identity and the movement is directed at achieving perceived Jewish interests, for example, with regard to Israel, affirmative action and immigration policy. Even if nationalist movements are anti-Semitic, as has often been the case, anti-Semitism should be irrelevant if these individuals are indeed completely deethnicized as Pipes proposes. Jewish prominence in occupations requiring high intelligence is no argument for understanding their very prominent role in communist and other leftist movements and their relative underrepresentation in nationalist movements.

Social identity theory provides a quite different perspective on Jewish radicalism. It stresses that perceived Jewish group interests are fundamental to Jewish political behavior, and that these perceived group interests are importantly influenced by social identity processes. If indeed radical politics resulted in a strong sense of identification with a Jewish ingroup, then Jewish involvement in these movements would be associated with very negative and exaggerated conceptions of the wider gentile society, and particularly the most powerful elements of that society, as an outgroup. In conformity with this expectation, Liebman (1979, 26) uses the term “contraculture” to describe the American Jewish left because “conflict with or antagonism toward society is a central feature of this subculture and . . . many of its values and cultural patterns are contradictions of those existing in the surrounding society.” For example, the New Left was fundamentally involved in radical social criticism in which all elements that contributed to the cohesive social fabric of mid-century America were regarded as oppressive and in need of radical alteration.

The emphasis here on social identity processes is compatible with Jewish radicalism serving particular perceived Jewish group interests. Anti-Semitism and Jewish economic interests were undoubtedly important motivating factors for Jewish leftism in czarist Russia. Jewish leaders in Western societies, many of whom were wealthy capitalists, proudly acknowledged Jewish overrepresentation in the Russian revolutionary movement; they also provided financial and political support for these movements by, for example, attempting to influence U.S. foreign policy (Szajkowski 1967). Representative of this attitude is financier Jacob Schiff’s statement that “the claim that among the ranks of those who in Russia are seeking to undermine governmental authority there are a considerable number of Jews may perhaps be true. In fact, it would be rather surprising if some of those so terribly afflicted by persecution and exceptional laws should not at last have turned against their merciless oppressors” (in Szajkowski 1967, 10).

Indeed, at the risk of oversimplification, one might note that anti-Semitism and economic adversity combined with the Jewish demographic explosion in Eastern Europe were of critical importance for producing the sheer numbers of disaffected Jewish radicals and therefore the ultimate influence of Jewish radicalism in Europe and its spillover into the United States. Jewish populations in Eastern Europe had the highest rate of natural increase of any European population in the nineteenth century, with a natural increase of 120,000 per year in the 1880s and an overall increase within the Russian Empire from 1 to 6 million in the course of the nineteenth century (Alderman 1992, 112; Frankel 1981, 103; Lindemann 1991, 28–29, 133–135). Despite the emigration of close to 2 million Jews to the United States and elsewhere, many Eastern European Jews were impoverished at least in part because of czarist anti-Jewish policies that prevented Jewish upward mobility.

As a result, a great many Jews were attracted to radical political solutions that would transform the economic and political basis of society and would also be consistent with the continuity of Judaism. Within Russian Jewish communities, the acceptance of radical political ideology often coexisted with messianic forms of Zionism as well as intense commitment to Jewish nationalism and religious and cultural separatism, and many individuals held various and often rapidly changing combinations of these ideas (see Frankel 1981).

Religious fanaticism and messianic expectations have been a typical Jewish response to anti-Semitic persecutions throughout history (e.g., Scholem 1971; PTSDA,Ch. 3). Indeed, one might propose that messianic forms of political radicalism may be viewed as secular forms of this Jewish response to persecution, different from traditional forms only in that they also promise a utopian future for gentiles as well. The overall picture is reminiscent of the situation in the late Ottoman Empire, where by the mid-eighteenth century until the intervention of the European powers in the twentieth century there was “an unmistakable picture of grinding poverty, ignorance, and insecurity” (Lewis 1984, 164) in the context of high levels of anti-Semitism that effectively prevented Jewish upward mobility. These phenomena were accompanied by the prevalence of mysticism and a high-fertility, low-investment parenting style among Jews. In the long run the community became too poor to provide for the education of most children, with the result that most were illiterate and pursued occupations requiring only limited intelligence and training.

However, when presented with opportunities for upward social mobility, the strategy quickly changes to a low-fertility, high-investment reproductive strategy. In nineteenth-century Germany, for example, the Jews were the first group to enter the demographic transition and take advantage of opportunities for upward social mobility by having fewer children (e.g., Goldstein 1981; Knode 1974). At the same time, poor Jews in Eastern Europe with no hope of upward mobility married earlier than their Western European counterparts, who delayed marriage in order to be financially better prepared (Efron 1994, 77). And the resurgence of Ottoman Jews in the nineteenth century resulting from patronage and protection from Western European Jews brought with it a flowering of a highly literate culture, including secular schools based on Western models (see Shaw 1991, 143ff, 175–176). Similarly, when the oppressed Eastern European Jews emigrated to the United States, they developed a high-investment, low-fertility culture that took advantage of opportunities for upward mobility. The suggestion is that the overall pattern of the Jewish response to lack of opportunity for upward mobility and anti-Semitism is to facultatively adopt a low-investment, high-fertility style of reproduction combined at the ideological level with various forms of messianism, including, in the modern era, radical political ideology.

Ultimately this population explosion in the context of poverty and politically imposed restrictions on Jews was responsible for the generally destabilizing effects of Jewish radicalism on Russia up to the revolution. These conditions also had spill-over effects in Germany, where the negative attitudes toward the immigrant Ostjuden contributed to the anti-Semitism of the period (Aschheim 1982). In the United States, the point of this chapter is that a high level of inertia characterized the radical political beliefs held by a great many Jewish immigrants and their descendants in the sense that radical political beliefs persisted even in the absence of oppressive economic and political conditions. In Sorin’s (1985, 46) study of immigrant Jewish radical activists in America, over half had been involved in radical politics in Europe before emigrating, and for those immigrating after 1900, the percentage rose to 69 percent. Glazer (1961, 21) notes that the biographies of almost all radical leaders show that they first came in contact with radical political ideas in Europe. The persistence of these beliefs influenced the general political sensibility of the Jewish community and had a destabilizing effect on American society, ranging from the paranoia of the McCarthy era to the triumph of the 1960s countercultural revolution.

The immigration of Eastern European Jews into England after 1880 had a similarly transformative effect on the political attitudes of British Jewry in the direction of socialism, trade-unionism, and Zionism, often combined with religious orthodoxy and devotion to a highly separatist traditional lifestyle (Alderman 1983, 47ff). “Far more significant than the handful of publicity-seeking Jewish socialists, both in Russia and England, who organized ham-sandwich picnics on the fast of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, were the mass of working-class Jews who experienced no inner conflict when they repaired to the synagogue for religious services three times each day, and then used the same premises to discuss socialist principles and organize industrial stoppages” (Alderman 1983, 54).[82]Religious orthodoxy was also compatible with attraction to anarchism: Alderman (1983, 64) quotes a contemporary writer to the effect that “the anarchists had achieved such popularity that they became almost respectable. A sympathizer could lay on his tefillin (phylacteries) on the morning of an Anarchist-sponsored strike, bless Rocker [a gentile anarchist leader], and still go off to evening service as an orthodox Jew.” As in the United States, the immigrant Eastern European Jews demographically swamped the previously existing Jewish community, and the older community reacted to this influx with considerable trepidation because of the possibility of increased anti-Semitism. And as in the United States, attempts were made by the established Jewish community to misrepresent the prevalence of radical political ideas among the immigrants (Alderman 1983, 60; SAID,Ch. 8).

Nevertheless, economic interests are not the whole story. While the origin of widespread political radicalism among Jews can be characterized as a typical Jewish response to the political and economic adversity of late-nineteenth-century Eastern Europe, radical political ideology became dissociated from the usual demographic variables not long after arrival in the United States, and it is this phenomenon that requires another type of explanation. For the most part, American Jews had far less reason than other ethnic groups to wish for an overthrow of capitalism because they tended to be relatively economically privileged. Surveys from the 1960s and 1970s indicated that middle-class Jews were more radical than working-class Jews—a pattern opposite to that of non-Jewish radical students (Rothman & Lichter 1982, 117, 219;[83]In Rothman and Lichter’s (1982, 217) study, radicalism among American Jews was inversely related to religious orthodoxy. Moreover, there was a major gap between the fairly homogeneous set of mean radicalism scores of students from homes affiliated with a Jewish religious denomination (Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform) compared to the higher radicalism scores of those from homes without Jewish religious affiliation. These results again suggest that radicalism functioned as a form of secular Judaism among this latter group. Levey 1996, 375[84]Levey (1996), in his review of the literature on the attraction of American Jews to liberalism, rejects Medding’s (1977) theory that Jewish political behavior is a function of perceived “Jewish micro-political interests.” I was not persuaded by Levey’s argument. For example, Levey argues that the threat of anti-Semitism cannot explain the percentage of Jews that vote Democratic because the percentage of Jews who viewed the Republican Party as anti-Semitic was much lower than the percentage who voted for the Democratic Party, and some Jews voted Democrat even though they perceived anti-Semitism within the Democratic Party. However, perceived anti-Semitism may be only one reason why Jews vote against the Republicans. As stressed here, another perceived Jewish interest is to promote cultural and ethnic pluralism, and, as indicated from the quotes from Silberman (1985) presented on p. 84, the Democratic Party is much more associated with pluralism in the minds of Jews (and, I suppose, everyone else) than the Republican Party. Moreover, it seems difficult to deny that Jewish neoconservatives are pursuing their perception of specifically Jewish political interests, particularly support for Israel and the promotion of cultural and ethnic pluralism, within the Republican Party. Given this, it seems odd at best to suppose that Jewish Democrats are not similarly pursuing their perceived ethnic interests within the Democratic Party.). Lower percentages of Jews than members of other religions believed that supporting a Democratic candidate would further their economic interests, but Jews nevertheless tended overwhelmingly to vote Democratic (Liebman 1973, 136–137).

The gap between economic interests and political ideology dates at least from the 1920s (Liebman 1979, 290ff). Indeed, for the entire period from 1921 to 1961, Jews on the Central Committee of the CPUSA were much more likely to have middle-class, professional backgrounds and tended to have more education than their gentile colleagues (Klehr 1978, 42ff). They were also much more likely to have joined prior to the economic difficulties of the Great Depression. Further, as indicated above, New Left radical students came disproportionately from highly educated and affluent families (see also Liebman 1973, 210).

Even successful Jewish capitalists have tended to adopt political beliefs to the left of the beliefs of their gentile counterparts. For example, German-Jewish capitalists in the nineteenth century “tended to take up positions distinctly to the ‘left’ of their Gentile peers and thus to place themselves in isolation from them” (Mosse 1989, 225). Although as a group they tended to be to the right of the Jewish population as a whole, a few even supported the Social Democratic Party and its socialist program. Among the plausible reasons for this state of affairs suggested by Mosse is that anti-Semitism tended to be associated with the German Right. Consistent with social identity theory, Jewish capitalists did not identify with groups that perceived them negatively and identified with groups that opposed an outgroup perceived as hostile. Social identity processes and their influence on perception of ethnic (group) interests rather than economic self-interest appears to be paramount here.

The association between Jews and liberal political attitudes is therefore independent of the usual demographic associations. In a passage that shows that Jewish cultural and ethnic estrangement supersedes economic interests in explaining Jewish political behavior, Silberman (1985, 347–348) comments on the attraction of Jews to “the Democratic party . . . with its traditional hospitality to non-WASP ethnic groups. . . . A distinguished economist who strongly disagreed with [presidential candidate Walter] Mondale’s economic policies voted for him nonetheless. ‘I watched the conventions on television,’ he explained, ‘and the Republicans did not look like my kind of people.’ That same reaction led many Jews to vote for Carter in 1980 despite their dislike of him; ‘I’d rather live in a country governed by the faces I saw at the Democratic convention than by those I saw at the Republican convention,’ a well-known author told me.”

The suggestion is that in general Jewish political motivation is influenced by non-economic issues related to perceived Jewish group interests, the latter influenced by social identity processes. Similarly in the politically charged area of cultural attitudes, Silberman (1985, 350) notes “American Jews are committed to cultural tolerance because of their belief—one firmly rooted in history—that Jews are safe only in a society acceptant of a wide range of attitudes and behaviors, as well as a diversity of religious and ethnic groups. It is this belief, for example, not approval of homosexuality, that leads an overwhelming majority of American Jews to endorse ‘gay rights’ and to take a liberal stance on most other so-called ‘social’ issues.” A perceived Jewish group interest in cultural pluralism transcends negative personal attitudes regarding the behavior in question.

Silberman’s comment that Jewish attitudes are “firmly rooted in history” is particularly relevant: A consistent tendency has been for Jews to be persecuted as a minority group within a culturally or ethnically homogeneous society. A discussion of the political, religious, and cultural pluralism as a very rational motivation for American Jews will be highlighted in Chapter 7, which discusses Jewish involvement in shaping U.S. immigration policy. The point here is that the perceived Jewish group interest in developing a pluralistic society is of far more importance than mere economic self-interest in determining Jewish political behavior. Similarly Earl Raab (1996, 44) explains Jewish political behavior in terms of security issues related in part to a long memory of the Republican Party as linked to Christian fundamentalism and its history of being “resolutely nativist and anti-immigrant.” The pattern of supporting the Democratic Party is therefore an aspect of ethnic conflict between Jews and sectors of the European-derived Caucasian population in the United States, not economic issues. Indeed, economic issues appear to have no relevance at all, since support for the Democratic Party among Jews does not differ by social status (Raab 1996, 45).

Nevertheless, there is evidence that recent Jewish voting behavior increasingly separates the traditional economic left-liberalism from issues related to cultural pluralism, immigration, and church-state separation. Recent polls and data on Jewish voting patterns indicate that Jews continue to view the right wing of the Republican Party as “a threat to American cosmopolitanism” because it is perceived as advocating a homogeneous Christian culture and is opposed to immigration (Beinart 1997, 25). However, Jewish voters were more supportive of conservative fiscal policies and less supportive of government attempts to redistribute wealth than either African Americans or other white Americans. Recent Jewish political behavior is thus self-interested both economically and in its opposition to the ethnic interests of white Americans to develop an ethnically and culturally homogeneous society.

In addition to the pursuit of specific group interests, however, social identity processes appear to make an independent contribution to explaining Jewish political behavior. Social identity processes appear to be necessary for explaining why the Jewish labor movement was far more radical than the rest of the American labor movement. In a passage that indicates Jewish radicals’ profound sense of Jewish identity and separatism as well as complete antipathy to the entire gentile social order, Levin (1977, 213) notes that “their socialist ideas . . . created a gulf between themselves and other American workers who were not interested in radical changes in the social order. Although Jewish trade unions joined the AFL, they never felt ideologically at home there, for the AFL did not seek a radical transformation of society, nor was it internationalist in outlook.” We have also noted that the New Left completely abandoned the aims and interests of the lower middle working class once that group had essentially achieved its social aims with the success of the trade union movement.

Again, there is the strong suggestion that social criticism and feelings of cultural estrangement among Jews have deep psychological roots that reach far beyond particular economic or political interests. As indicated in Chapter 1, one critical psychological component appears to involve a very deep antipathy to the entire gentile-dominated social order, which is viewed as anti-Semitic—the desire for “malignant vengeance” that Disraeli asserted made many Jews “odious and so hostile to mankind.” Recall Lipset’s (1988, 393) description of the many Jewish “families which around the breakfast table, day after day, in Scarsdale, Newton, Great Neck, and Beverly Hills have discussed what an awful, corrupt, immoral, undemocratic, racist society the United States is.” These families clearly perceive themselves as separate from the wider culture of the United States; they also view conservative forces as attempting to maintain this malignant culture. As in the case of traditional Judaism vis-à-vis gentile society, the traditional culture of the United States—and particularly the political basis of cultural conservatism that has historically been associated with anti-Semitism—is perceived as a manifestation of a negatively evaluated outgroup.

This antipathy toward gentile-dominated society was often accompanied by a powerful desire to avenge the evils of the old social order. For many Jewish New Leftists “the revolution promises to avenge the sufferings and to right the wrongs which have, for so long, been inflicted on Jews with the permission or encouragement, or even at the command of, the authorities in prerevolutionary societies” (Cohen 1980, 208). Interviews with New Left Jewish radicals revealed that many had destructive fantasies in which the revolution would result in “humiliation, dispossession, imprisonment or execution of the oppressors” (Cohen 1980, 208) combined with the belief in their own omnipotence and their ability to create a nonoppressive social order—findings that are reminiscent of the motivating role of revenge for anti-Semitism among the Jewish-dominated security forces in communist Poland discussed above. These findings are also entirely consistent with my experience among Jewish New Left activists at the University of Wisconsin in the 1960s (see note 13).

The social identity perspective predicts that generalized negative attributions of the outgroup would be accompanied by positive attributions regarding the Jewish ingroup. Both Jewish communists in Poland and Jewish New Left radicals had a powerful feeling of cultural superiority that was continuous with traditional Jewish conceptions of the superiority of their ingroup (Cohen 1980, 212; Schatz 1991, 119). Jewish self-conceptualizations of their activity in developing an adversarial culture in the United States tended to emphasize either the Jew as the historical victim of gentile anti-Semitism or the Jew as moral hero, but “in both cases the portrait is the obverse of that of the anti-Semite. Jews lack warts. Their motives are pure, their idealism genuine” (Rothman & Lichter 1982, 112). Studies of Jewish radicals by Jewish social scientists have tended to gratuitously attribute Jewish radicalism to a “free choice of a gifted minority” (Rothman & Lichter 1982, 118) when economic explanations failed—yet another example where Jewish group status appears to affect social science research in a manner that serves Jewish group interests.

Moreover, a universalist utopian ideology such as Marxism is an ideal vehicle for serving Jewish attempts to develop a positive self-identity while still retaining their positive identity as Jews and their negative evaluation of gentile power structures. First, the utopian nature of radical ideology in contrast to existing gentile-dominated social systems (which are inevitably less than perfect) facilitates development of a positive identity for the ingroup. Radical ideology thus facilitates positive group identity and a sense of moral rectitude because of its advocacy of universalist ethical principles. Psychologists have found that a sense of moral rectitude is an important component of self-esteem (e.g., Harter 1983), and self-esteem has been proposed as a motivating factor in social identity processes (SAID,Ch. 1).

As was also true of psychoanalysis, leftist political movements developed redemptive-messianic overtones highly conducive to ingroup pride and loyalty. Members of the Russian Jewish Bund and their progeny in the United States had intense personal pride and a powerful sense that they were “part of a moral and political vanguard for great historical change. They had a mission that inspired them and people who believed in them” (Liebman 1979, 133).

This sense of ingroup pride and messianic fervor is undoubtedly a critical ingredient of Judaism in all historical eras. As Schatz (1991, 105) notes in his description of the underground Jewish communist revolutionaries in Poland during the interwar period, “The movement was . . . part of a worldwide, international struggle for nothing less than the fundamental change of the very foundations of human society. The joint effect of this situation was a specific sense of revolutionary loneliness and mission, an intense cohesion, a feeling of brotherhood, and a readiness for personal sacrifice on the altar of struggle.” What distinguished Jewish communists from other communists was not only their desire for a postrevolutionary world without anti-Semitism, but also their “distinct [emotional] intensity with roots in messianic longings” (Schatz 1991, 140). As one respondent said, “I believed in Stalin and in the party as my father believed in the Messiah” (in Schatz 1991, 140).

Reflecting traditional Jewish social structure, these Jewish radical groups were hierarchical and highly authoritarian, and they developed their own private language (Schatz 1991, 109–112). As in traditional Judaism, continuing study and self-education were viewed as very important features of the movement: “To study was a point of honor and an obligation” (p. 117). The discussions replicated the traditional methods of Torah study: memorization of long passages of text combined with analysis and interpretation carried out in an atmosphere of intense intellectual competition quite analogous to the traditional pilpul. In the words of a novice to these discussions, “We behaved like yeshiva bukhers [students] and they [the more experienced intellectual mentors] like rabbis” (p. 139).

As expected on the basis of social identity theory, there was also a high level of ingroup-outgroup thinking characterized by a lofty sense of moral rectitude among the ingroup combined with an implacable hostility and rejection of the outgroup. In the period after World War II, for example, the Polish-Jewish communists viewed the new economic plan “in truly mystical terms. [It was] a scientifically conceived, infallible scheme that would totally restructure societal relations and prepare the country for socialism” (Schatz 1991, 249). The economic difficulties that befell the population merely resulted in transferring their hopes to the future, while at the same time they developed “an uncompromising attitude toward those who might not be willing to accept the hardships of the present and a merciless hostility toward those perceived as the enemy. Thus the burning will to produce general harmony and happiness was married to distrust and suspiciousness regarding its objects and a hatred toward its actual, potential, or imagined opponents” (p. 250).

Clearly, to be a communist revolutionary was to develop an intense commitment to a cohesive authoritarian group that valued intellectual accomplishments and exhibited intense hatred against enemies and outgroups while having very positive feelings toward an ingroup viewed as morally and intellectually superior. These groups operated as embattled minorities that viewed the surrounding society as hostile and threatening. Being a member of such a group required a great deal of personal sacrifice and even altruism. All these attributes can be found as defining features of more traditional Jewish groups.

Further evidence of the importance of social identity processes may be found in Charles Liebman’s (1973, 153ff) suggestion that leftist universalist ideology allows Jews to subvert traditional social categorizations in which Jews are viewed in negative terms. The adoption of such ideologies by Jews is an attempt to overcome Jewish feelings of alienation “from the roots and the traditions of [gentile] society” (p. 153). “The Jew continues his search for an ethic or ethos which is not only universal or capable of universality, but which provides a cutting edge against the older traditions of the society, a search whose intensity is compounded and reinforced by the Gentile’s treatment of the Jew” (Liebman 1973, 157). Such attempts at subverting negative social categorizations imposed by an outgroup are a central aspect of social identity theory (Hogg & Abrams 1988; see SAID, Ch. 1).

The universalist ideology thus functions as a secular form of Judaism. Sectarian forms of Judaism are rejected as “a survival strategy” (Liebman 1973, 157) because of their tendency to produce anti-Semitism, their lack of intellectual appeal in the post-Enlightenment world, and their ineffectiveness in appealing to gentiles and thereby altering the gentile social world in a manner that furthers Jewish group interests. Indeed, while the universalist ideology is formally congruent with Enlightenment ideals, the retention of traditional Jewish separatism and patterns of association among those espousing the ideology suggest an element of deception or self-deception:

Jews prefer to get together with other Jews to promote ostensibly non-Jewish enterprises (which assist Jewish acceptance), and then to pretend the whole matter has nothing to do with being Jewish. But this type of activity is most prevalent among Jews who are the most estranged from their own traditions and hence most concerned with finding a value that supports Jewish acceptance without overtly destroying Jewish group ties. (Liebman 1973, 159)

The universalist ideology therefore allows Jews to escape their alienation or estrangement from gentile society while nevertheless allowing for the retention of a strong Jewish identity. Institutions that promote group ties among gentiles (such as nationalism and traditional gentile religious associations) are actively opposed and subverted, while the structural integrity of Jewish separatism is maintained. A consistent thread of radical theorizing since Marx has been a fear that nationalism could serve as a social cement that would result in a compromise between the social classes and result in a highly unified social order based on hierarchical but harmonious relationships between existing social classes. This is only this type of highly cohesive gentile social organization that is fundamentally at odds with Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy (see Chs. 5, 7, 8). Both the Old Left and the New Left, as noted, actively attempted to subvert the cohesiveness of gentile social structure, including especially the modus vivendi achieved between business and labor by the 1960s. And we have seen that the Jewish-dominated Polish communist government campaigned actively against Polish nationalism, and they campaigned against the political and cultural power of the Catholic Church, the main force of social cohesion in traditional Polish society.

Finally, as emphasized by Rothman and Lichter (1982, 119), Marxism is particularly attractive as the basis for an ideology that subverts the negative social categorizations of the gentile outgroup because within such an ideology the Jewish-gentile categorization becomes less salient while Jewish group cohesion and separatism may nevertheless persist: “By adopting variants of Marxist ideology, Jews deny the reality of cultural or religious differences between Jews and Christians. These differences become ‘epiphenomenal,’ compared to the more fundamental opposition of workers and capitalists. Thus Jews and non-Jews are really brothers under the skin. Even when not adopting a Marxist position, many Jews have tended toward radical environmentalist positions which serve a similar function” (p. 119).[85]Similarly, as indicated in Chapters 4 and 5, both psychoanalysis and the ideology of the Frankfurt School downplay the importance of ethnic and cultural differences, engage in radical criticism of gentile culture, and simultaneously allow for the continuity of Jewish identification. Rothman and Isenberg (1974a, 75) note that the theme of combining hostility to gentile culture with accepting a universalist culture can be seen in Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint. “Portnoy considers himself something of a radical and despises his parents for their parochial Jewishness and their hatred of Christians. He supposedly identifies with the poor and the downtrodden, but his tirade to his analyst makes it clear that this identification is based partly on his own feelings of inferiority and partly on his desire to ‘screw’ the ‘goyim’.”

Such a strategy makes excellent sense from the standpoint of social identity theory: A consistent finding in research on intergroup contact is that making the social categories that define groups less salient would lessen intergroup differentiation and would facilitate positive social interactions between members from different groups (Brewer & Miller 1984; Doise & Sinclair 1973; Miller, Brewer & Edwards 1985). At the extreme, acceptance of a universalist ideology by gentiles would result in gentiles not perceiving Jews as in a different social category at all, while nonetheless Jews would be able to maintain a strong personal identity as Jews.

These features of Jewish radicalism together constitute a very compelling analysis of the role of social identity processes in this phenomenon. The last mechanism is particularly interesting as an analysis of both the tendency for Jewish political overrepresentation in radical causes and the Jewish tendency to adopt radical environmentalist ideologies noted as a common characteristic of Jewish social scientists in Chapter 2. The analysis implies that the Jews involved in these intellectual movements are engaged in a subtle process of deception of gentiles (and, perhaps, self-deception), and that these movements essentially function as a form of crypto-Judaism.

In the language of social identity theory, an ideology is created in which the social categorization of Jew-gentile is minimized in importance, and there are no negative attributions regarding Jewish group membership. The importance of ethnic group membership is minimized as a social category, and, because of its lack of importance, ethnic self-interest among gentiles is analyzed as fundamentally misguided because it does not recognize the priority of class conflict among gentiles. Jews can remain Jews because being a Jew is no longer important. At the same time, traditional institutions of social cohesiveness within gentile society are subverted and gentile society itself is viewed as permeated by conflicts of interest between social classes rather than by commonalities of interest and feelings of social solidarity among different social classes.

Rothman and Lichter (p. 119ff) support their argument by noting that the adoption of universalist ideologies is a common technique among minority groups in a wide range of cultures around the world. Despite the veneer of universalism, these movements are most definitely not assimilationist, and in fact Rothman and Lichter view assimilation, defined as complete absorption and loss of minority group identity, as an alternative to the adoption of universalist political movements. Universalist ideologies may be smoke screens that actually facilitate the continued existence of group strategies while promoting the denial of their importance by ingroup and outgroup members alike. Judaism as a cohesive, ethnically based group strategy is able to continue to exist but in a cryptic or semi-cryptic state.

Corroborating this perspective, Levin (1977, 105) states, “Marx’s analysis [of Judaism as a caste] gave socialist thinkers an easy way out—to ignore or minimize the Jewish problem.” In Poland, the Jewish-dominated Communist Party decried worker and peasant participation in anti-Semitic pogroms during the 1930s because such individuals were not acting on behalf of their class interests (Schatz 1991, 99), an interpretation in which ethnic conflicts result from capitalism and will end after the communist revolution. One reason little anti-Semitism existed within the Social Democratic movement in late-nineteenth-century Germany was that Marxist theory explained all social phenomena; Social Democrats “did not need anti-Semitism, another all-embracing theory, to explain the events of their lives” (Dawidowicz 1975, 42). The Social Democrats (and Marx) never analyzed Judaism as a nation or as an ethnic group but as a religious and economic community (Pulzer 1964, 269).

In theory, therefore, anti-Semitism and other ethnic conflicts would disappear with the advent of a socialist society. It is possible that such an interpretation actually served to lower anti-Semitism in some cases. Levy (1975, 190) suggests that anti-Semitism was minimized among the gentile working-class constituency of the German Social Democrats by the activities of party leaders and socialist theoreticians who framed the political and economic problems of this group in terms of class conflict rather than Jewish-gentile conflict and actively opposed any cooperation with anti-Semitic parties.

Trotsky and other Jews in the Russian Socialist Democratic Labor Party considered themselves as representing the Jewish proletariat within the wider socialist movement (see note 4), but they were opposed to the separatist, nationalist program of the Russian Jewish Bund. Arthur Liebman (1979, 122–123) suggests that these assimilationist socialists consciously conceptualized a postrevolutionary society in which Judaism would exist, but with a lessened social salience: “For them, the ultimate solution of the Jewish problem would be an internationalist socialist society that paid no heed to distinctions between Jews and non-Jews. To hasten the establishment of such a society, it became necessary, in the view of these assimilationist socialists, for Jews to consider ethnic and religious distinctions between them and non-Jews as irrelevant.”

Similarly, after the revolution, “Having abandoned their own origins and identity, yet not finding, or sharing, or being fully admitted to Russian life (except in the world of the party), the Jewish Bolsheviks found their ideological home in revolutionary universalism. They dreamt of a classless and stateless society supported by Marxist faith and doctrine that transcended the particularities and burdens of Jewish existence” (Levin 1988, 49). These individuals, along with many highly nationalist ex-Bundists, ended up administrating programs related to Jewish national life in the Soviet Union. Apparently, although they rejected the radical Jewish separatism of either the Bundists or the Zionists, they envisioned the continuity of secular Jewish national life in the Soviet Union (e.g., Levin 1988, 52).

This belief in the invisibility of Judaism in a socialist society can also be found among American Jewish radicals. American Jewish socialists of the 1890s, for example, envisioned a society in which race played no part (Rogoff 1930, 115), apparently a proposal in which Jews and non-Jews would remain in their separate spheres in a class-based workers movement. In the event, even this level of assimilation was not attained; these organizers worked in a completely Jewish milieu and retained strong ties with the Jewish community. “Their actions continued to be at variance with their ideology. The more deeply they moved into the field of organizing Jewish workers, the more loudly they insisted on their socialist universalism” (Liebman 1979, 256–257).

The gap between rhetoric and reality strongly suggests the importance of deception and self-deception in these phenomena. Indeed, these socialist labor organizers never abandoned their universalistic rhetoric, but actively resisted incorporating their unions into the wider American labor movement even after the decline of Yiddish among their members left them without any excuses for failing to do so. Within the unions they engaged in ethnic politics aimed at keeping their own ethnic group in power (Liebman 1979, 270ff), actions obviously at odds with socialist rhetoric. In the end, the attachment of many of these individuals to socialism declined and was replaced by a strong sense of Jewish ethnicity and peoplehood (Liebman 1979, 270).

The result was that the veneer of universalism covered up a continued separatism of radical Jewish intellectuals and political organizers:

[Gentile intellectuals] really are not totally accepted into even the secularist humanist liberal company of their quondam Jewish friends. Jews continue to insist in indirect and often inexplicable ways on their own uniqueness. Jewish universalism in relations between Jews and non-Jews has an empty ring. . . . Still, we have the anomaly of Jewish secularists and atheists writing their own prayer books. We find Jewish political reformers breaking with their local parties which stress an ethnic style of politics, and ostensibly pressing for universal political goals—while organizing their own political clubs which are so Jewish in style and manner that non-Jews often feel unwelcome. (Liebman 1973, 158)

Universalism may thus be viewed as a mechanism for Jewish continuity via crypsis or semi-crypsis. The Jewish radical is invisible to the gentile as a Jew and thereby avoids anti-Semitism while at the same time covertly retains his or her Jewish identity. Lyons (1982, 73) finds that “most Jewish Communists wear their Jewishness very casually but experience it deeply. It is not a religious or even an institutional Jewishness for most; nevertheless, it is rooted in a subculture of identity, style, language, and social network. . . . In fact, this second-generation Jewishness was antiethnic and yet the height of ethnicity. The emperor believed that he was clothed in transethnic, American garb, but Gentiles saw the nuances and details of his naked ethnicity.”

These remarks indicate an element of crypsis—a self-deceptive disjunction between private and public personas—”a dual posturing revealing one face to the outer world and another to the tribe” (Horowitz 1997, 42). But this pose has a cost. As Albert Memmi (1966, 236), notes, “The Jew-of-the-Left must pay for this protection by his modesty and anonymity, his apparent lack of concern for all that relates to his own people. . . . Like the poor man who enters a middle-class family, they demand that he at least have the good taste to make himself invisible.” Because of the nature of their own ideology, Jews on the left were forced to deemphasize specifically Jewish issues, such as the Holocaust and Israel, despite their strong identification as Jews (Wisse 1987). It is precisely this feature of the Jewish leftist intellectual movements that are most repellent to ethnically committed Jews (see, e.g., Wisse 1987).

Ethnic identification was often unconscious, suggesting self-deception. Lyons (1982, 74) finds that among his sample of Jewish American communists,

evidence of the importance of ethnicity in general and Jewishness in particular permeates the available record. Many Communists, for example, state that they could never have married a spouse who was not a leftist. When Jews were asked if they could have married Gentiles, many hesitated, surprised by the question, and found it difficult to answer. Upon reflection, many concluded that they had always taken marriage to someone Jewish for granted. The alternative was never really considered, particularly among Jewish men.

Moreover, there were conscious attempts at deception directed at making Jewish involvement in radical political movements invisible by placing an American face on what was in reality largely a Jewish movement (Liebman 1979, 527ff). Both the Socialist Party and the CPUSA took pains to have gentiles prominently displayed as leaders, and the CPUSA actively encouraged Jewish members to take gentile-sounding names. (This phenomenon also occurred in Poland [see above] and the Soviet Union [see p. 97].) Despite representing over half the membership in both the Socialist Party and the CPUSA during some periods, neither party ever had Jews as presidential candidates and no Jew held the top position in the CPUSA after 1929. Gentiles were brought from long distances and given highly visible staff positions in Jewish-dominated socialist organizations in New York. Jewish domination of these organizations not uncommonly led gentiles to leave when they realized their role as window dressing in a fundamentally Jewish organization.

Liebman (1979, 561) notes that New Left radicals often took pains to ignore Jewish issues entirely. The New Left deemphasized ethnicity and religion in its ideology while emphasizing social categories and political issues such as the Vietnam War and discrimination against blacks which were very divisive for white gentiles but for which Jewish identity was irrelevant; moreover, these issues did not threaten Jewish middle-class interests, especially Zionism. Jewish identity, though salient to the participants, was publicly submerged. And as noted above, when the New Left began adopting positions incompatible with Jewish interests, Jews tended to sever their ties with the movement.

In a remarkable illustration of the perceived invisibility of the group dynamics of Jewish involvement in radical political movements, Liebman (1979, 167) describes 1960s student activists as completely unaware that their actions could lead to anti-Semitism because Jews were overrepresented among the activists. (Liebman shows that in fact other Jews were concerned that their actions would lead to anti-Semitism.) From their own perspective, they were successfully engaging in crypsis: They supposed that their Jewishness was completely invisible to the outside world while at the same time it retained a great deal of subjective salience to themselves. At a theoretical level, this is a classic case of self-deception, considered in SAID (Ch. 8) as an essential feature of Jewish religious ideology and reactions to anti-Semitism.

In the event, the deception appears to have generally failed, if not for the New Left, at least for the Old Left. There was a general lack of rapport between Jewish radical intellectuals and non-Jewish intellectuals within Old Left radical organizations (C. Liebman 1973, 158–159). Some gentile intellectuals found the movement attractive because of its Jewish dominance, but for the most part the essentially Jewish milieu was a barrier (Liebman 1979, 530ff). The Jewish commitment of these radicals, their desire to remain within a Jewish milieu, and their negative attitudes toward Christian gentile culture prevented them from being effective recruiters among the gentile working class. As David Horowitz’s communist father wrote while on a trip through Colorado in the 1930s, “I have feelings . . . that I’m in a foreign land. And it strikes me that unless we learn the people of this country so thoroughly so that we won’t feel that way, we won’t get anywhere. I’m afraid that most of us aren’t really ‘patriotic,’ I mean at bottom deeply fond of the country and people.” Similarly, former communist Sidney Hook (1987, 188) noted, “it was as if they had no roots in, or knowledge of, the American society they wanted to transform.” A similar situation occurred in Poland, where the efforts of even the most “de-ethnicized” Jewish communists were inhibited by the traditional Jewish attitudes of superiority toward and estrangement from traditional Polish culture (Schatz 1991, 119).

And once in the party, many non-Jews were repelled by its highly intellectual atmosphere and dropped out. As expected on the basis of social identity theory on the hypothesis that radicalism was fundamentally a form of secular Judaism, there are indications of an anti-gentile atmosphere within these organizations: “There was also present among Jewish intellectuals and leftists a mixture of hostility and superiority toward Gentiles” (Liebman 1979, 534). There was also an ethnic divide between Jewish and black Communist Party workers resulting at least partly from “a missionary and patronizing attitude” of the Jewish organizers (Lyons 1982, 80).

Encounters between Blacks and Jews always seemed to involve Jews reaching out and “helping” Blacks, “teaching” them, “guiding” them. Many Black intellectuals ended their flirtation with the Communist Party bitter not only at the communists but at Jews they felt had treated them condescendingly. “How can the average public school Negro be expected to understand the exigencies of the capitalist system as it applies to both Jew and Gentile in America . . . since both groups act strangely like Hitlerian Aryans . . . when it comes to colored folks?” asked Langston Hughes, bitter after a feud with Jewish communists. (Kaufman 1997, 110)

This sense of condescending superiority of Jewish radicals in the civil rights movement has been identified as a source of the current upsurge of anti-Semitism among African Americans.

Conclusion • 3,500 Words

It is of some interest to attempt to understand the ultimate fate of Judaism in situations where society became organized according to a politically radical universalist ideology. In the Soviet Union, individual Jews “played an important and sometimes decisive part in the leadership of the three main socialist parties,” including the Bolsheviks (Pinkus 1988, 42; see also Rothman & Lichter 1982; Shapiro 1961). Jews “dominated” Lenin’s first Politburo (Rapoport 1990, 30). (Lenin himself had a Jewish maternal grandfather [Volkogonov 1995] and is reported to have said that “an intelligent Russian is almost always a Jew or someone with Jewish blood in his veins” [in Pipes 1990, 352].) Jews made up a greater percentage of other Russian revolutionary parties than they did the Bolsheviks (Lindemann 1997, 425ff). Indeed, there is some evidence for a Jewish-gentile schism between the Bolsheviks and the more internationally minded Mensheviks, whose ranks included a much larger percentage of Jews. (Recall also the internationalism of the Jewish Bolsheviks; see above.) Nevertheless, Jews were prominently represented as leaders of the Bolsheviks and within the Bolshevik movement “citing the absolute numbers of Jews, or their percentage of the whole, fails to recognize certain key if intangible factors: the assertiveness and often dazzling verbal skills of Jewish Bolsheviks, their energy, and their strength of conviction” (p. 429). Jewish Bolsheviks were also more highly educated than non-Jewish Bolsheviks and more likely to be polylingual. (As noted in Chapter 1, American Jewish radicals were highly intelligent, hard working, dedicated and upwardly mobile—traits that undoubtedly contributed to the success of their organizations.) Four of the top seven leaders were ethnic Jews (not counting Lenin, who, as Lindemann notes, was one-fourth Jewish and therefore Jewish enough to have come under suspicion in Nazi Germany; Lenin was widely regarded as a Jew), as were approximately one-third of the top fifty.

Moreover, Lindemann points out that several of the top gentiles in the Bolshevik movement, including Lenin, might be termed “jewified non-Jews”—”a term, freed of its ugly connotations, [that] might be used to underline an often overlooked point: Even in Russia there were some non-Jews, whether Bolsheviks or not, who respected Jews, praised them abundantly, imitated them, cared about their welfare, and established intimate friendships or romantic liaisons with them” (p. 433). For example, Lenin “openly and repeatedly praised the role of the Jews in the revolutionary movement; he was one of the most adamant and consistent in the party in his denunciations of pogroms and anti-Semitism more generally. After the revolution, he backed away from his earlier resistance to Jewish nationalism, accepting that under Soviet rule Jewish nationality might be legitimate. On his death bed, Lenin spoke fondly of the Jewish Menshevik Julius Martov, for whom he had always retained a special personal affection in spite of their fierce ideological differences.”

Citing Paul Johnson’s (1988) important work, Lindemann notes Trotsky’s “paramount” role in planning and leading the Bolshevik uprising and his role as a “brilliant military leader” in establishing the Red Army as a military force (p. 448). Moreover, many of Trotsky’s personality traits are stereotypically Jewish:

If one accepts that anti-Semitism was most potently driven by anxiety and fear, as distinguished from contempt, then the extent to which Trotsky became a source of preoccupation with anti-Semites is significant. Here, too, Johnson’s words are suggestive: He writes of Trotsky’s “demonic power”—the same term, revealingly, used repeatedly by others in referring to Zinoviev’s oratory or Uritsky’s ruthlessness.[86]Known for his skill as an orator and his brutality toward counterrevolutionaries, Lev Zinoviev was a close associate of Lenin and a holder of a number of highly visible posts in the Soviet government. Moisei Solomonovich Uritsky was the notoriously brutal Cheka chief for Petrograd. Trotsky’s boundless self-confidence, his notorious arrogance, and sense of superiority were other traits often associated with Jews. Fantasies there were about Trotsky and other Bolsheviks, but there were also realities around which the fantasies grew. (p. 448)

Vaksberg (1994) has a particularly interesting presentation. He notes, for example, that in a photomontage of the Bolshevik leaders taken in 1920, 22 of the 61 leaders were Jews, “and the picture did not include Kaganovich, Pyatniksky, Goloshchekin, and many others who were part of the ruling circle, and whose presence on that album page would have raised the percentage of Jews even higher” (p. 20). In addition to the very large overrepresentation of Jews at these levels, there were “a plethora of Jewish wives” among the non-Jewish leaders (p. 49), which must have heightened the Jewish atmosphere of the top levels of the government, given that everyone, especially Stalin, appears to have been quite conscious of ethnicity. (Stalin himself went to great lengths to discourage the marriage of his daughter to a Jew and disapproved of other Jewish-gentile marriages [Vaksberg 1994, 139].) For their part, anti-Semites accused Jews of having “implanted those of their own category as wives and husbands for influential figures and officials” (in Kostyrchenko 1995, 272; italics in text). This point fits well with Lindemann’s description of gentile Bolsheviks as “jewified non-Jews.”

Among gentile Russians there was a widespread perception that “whereas everybody else had lost from the Revolution, the Jews, and they alone, had benefited from it” (Pipes 1993, 101), as indicated, for example, by official Soviet government efforts against anti-Semitism. As in the case of post–World War II Poland, Jews were considered trustworthy supporters of the regime because of the very great change in their status brought about by the revolution (Vaksberg 1994, 60). As a result, the immediate postrevolutionary period was characterized by intense anti-Semitism, including the numerous pogroms carried out by the White Army. However, Stalin “decided to destroy the ‘myth’ of the decisive role of the Jews in the planning, organization, and realization of the revolution” and to emphasize the role of Russians (Vaksberg 1994, 82). Just as do contemporary Jewish apologists, Stalin had an interest in deemphasizing the role of Jews in the revolution, but for different reasons.

Jews were highly overrepresented among the political and cultural elite in the Soviet Union throughout the 1920s (Ginsberg 1993, 53; Horowitz 1993, 83; Pipes 1993, 112) and, indeed, into the 1950s era of the purges of Jews from the economic and cultural elite (Kostyrchenko 1995).[87]Jewish overrepresentation in the Bolshevik revolution has been a potent source of anti-Semitism ever since the revolution and was prominent in Nazi writing about Jews (e.g., Mein Kampf). In the aftermath of the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union there has been a polemical controversy regarding the extent and importance of the role of Jews in establishing and maintaining the revolution, often with strong overtones of anti-Semitism. In his 1982 book Russophobia, Igor Shafarevich, a mathematician and member of the prestigious U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS), argued that Jews were hostile to Russian culture and bore responsibility for the Russian Revolution (see Science 257, 1992, 743; The Scientist 6(19), 1992, 1). The NAS asked Shafarevich to resign his position in the academy, but he refused. See also Norman Podhoretz’s (1985) comments on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s latent anti-Semitism. I interpret Vaksberg’s (1994) thesis regarding Stalin as implying that Stalin was an anti-Semite from very early on, but that because of the powerful presence of Jews at the top reaches of the government and other areas of Soviet society as well as the need to appeal to Western governments, his efforts to remove Jews from top levels of government developed only slowly, and he was forced to engage in considerable deception. Thus Stalin mixed his measures against Jews with overt expressions of philo-Semitism and often included a few non-Jews to mask the anti-Jewish intent. For example, just prior to a series of trials in which 11 of the 16 defendants were Jewish, there was a widely publicized trial of two non-Jews on charges of anti-Semitism (p. 77). In the trials of the Jews, no mention was made of Jewish ethnic background and, with one exception, the defendants were referred to only by their (non-Jewish sounding) party pseudonyms rather than their Jewish names. Stalin continued to give honors and awards to Jewish artists during the 1930s even while he was removing the top Jewish political leaders and replacing them with gentiles (see also Rubenstein 1996, 272).

The campaign to remove Jews from administrative positions in the cultural establishment began as early as 1942, again accompanied by prizes and awards to prominent Jewish scientists and artists to deflect charges of anti-Semitism. Full-blown state-sponsored anti-Semitism emerged in the post–World War II era, complete with quotas on Jewish admission to universities that were harsher than in czarist times. However, it was not merely Stalin’s personal anti-Semitism that was involved; rather, anti-Semitism was motivated by very traditional concerns about Jews relating to economic and cultural domination and loyalty. Kostyrchenko (1995) shows that ethnic Russians seeking to dislodge Jews from dominant positions among the Soviet elite were an important source of pressure on Stalin. Purges of disproportionately Jewish elites were made in the areas of journalism, the arts, academic departments of history, pedagogy, philosophy, economics, medicine and psychiatry, and scientific research institutes in all areas of the natural sciences. There were also widespread purges of Jews at the top levels of management and engineering throughout the economy. Jewish intellectuals were characterized as “rootless cosmopolitans” who lacked sympathy with Russian national culture, and they were regarded as disloyal because of their open enthusiasm for Israel and their close ties to American Jews.

Jews were also highly overrepresented as leaders among the other communist governments in Eastern Europe as well as in communist revolutionary movements in Germany and Austria from 1918 to 1923. In the short-lived communist government in Hungary in 1919, 95 percent of the leading figures of Bela Kun’s government were Jews (Pipes 1993, 112). This government energetically liquidated predominantly gentile counterrevolutionaries and the ensuing struggle led by Admiral Horthy eventuated in the execution of most of the Jewish leadership of the communist government—a struggle with clear anti-Semitic overtones. Moreover, Jewish agents in the service of the Soviet Union featured prominently in Western communist parties: “Even within the various and often violently contending factions of the nascent communist parties of the West, ‘foreign Jews, taking orders from Moscow’ became a hot issue. It remained mostly taboo in socialist ranks to refer openly to Moscow’s agents as Jewish, but the implication was often that such foreign Jews were destroying western socialism” (Lindemann 1997, 435–436).

Jews thus achieved leading positions in these societies in the early stages, but in the long run, anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union and other Eastern European communist societies became a well-known phenomenon and an important political cause among American Jews (Sachar 1992; Woocher 1986). As we have seen, Stalin gradually diminished the power of Jews in the Soviet Union, and anti-Semitism was an important factor in the decline of Jews in leadership positions in Eastern European communist governments.

The cases of Hungary and Poland are particularly interesting. Given the role of Jewish communists in postwar Poland, it is not surprising that an anti-Semitic movement developed and eventually toppled the generation from power (see Schatz 1991, 264ff). After Nikita Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization speech of 1956 the party split into a Jewish and anti-Jewish section, with the anti-Jewish section complaining of too many Jews in top positions. In the words of a leader of the anti-Jewish faction, the preponderance of Jews “makes people hate Jews and mistrust the party. The Jews estrange people from the party and from the Soviet Union; national feelings have been offended, and it is the duty of the party to adjust to the demands so that Poles, not Jews, hold the top positions in Poland” (in Schatz 1991, 268). Khrushchev himself supported a new policy with his remark that “you have already too many Abramoviches” (in Schatz 1991, 272). Even this first stage in the anti-Jewish purges was accompanied by anti-Semitic incidents among the public at large, as well as demands that Jewish communists who had changed their names to lower their profile in the party reveal themselves. As a result of these changes over half of Polish Jews responded by emigrating to Israel between 1956 and 1959.

Anti-Semitism increased dramatically toward the end of the 1960s. Jews were gradually downgraded in status and Jewish communists were blamed for Poland’s misfortunes. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion circulated widely among party activists, students, and army personnel. The security force, which had been dominated by Jews and directed toward suppressing Polish nationalism, was now dominated by Poles who viewed Jews “as a group in need of close and constant surveillance” (p. 290). Jews were removed from important positions in the government, the military, and the media. Elaborate files were maintained on Jews, including the crypto-Jews who had changed their names and adopted non-Jewish external identities. As the Jews had done earlier, the anti-Jewish group developed networks that promoted their own people throughout the government and the media. Jews now became dissidents and defectors where before they had dominated the state forces of Orthodoxy.

The “earthquake” finally erupted in 1968 with an anti-Semitic campaign consequent to outpourings of joy among Jews over Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War. Israel’s victory occurred despite Soviet bloc support of the Arabs, and President Gomulka condemned the Jewish “fifth column” in the country. Extensive purges of Jews swept the country and secular Jewish life (e.g., Yiddish magazines and Jewish schools and day camps) was essentially dissolved. This hatred toward Jews clearly resulted from the role Jews played in postwar Poland. As one intellectual described it, Poland’s problems resulted essentially from ethnic conflict between Poles and Jews in which the Jews were supported by the Russians. The problems were due to “the arrival in our country . . . of certain politicians dressed in officer’s uniforms, who later presumed that only they—the Zambrowskis, the Radkiewiczes, the Bermans—had the right to leadership, a monopoly over deciding what was right for the Polish nation.” The solution would come when the “abnormal ethnic composition” of society was corrected (in Schatz 1991, 306, 307). The remaining Jews “both as a collective and as individuals . . . were singled out, slandered, ostracized, degraded, threatened, and intimidated with breathtaking intensity and . . . malignance” (p. 308). Most left Poland for Israel, and all were forced to renounce their Polish citizenship. They left behind only a few thousand mostly aged Jews.

The case of Hungary is entirely analogous to Poland both in the origins of the triumph of communist Jews and in their eventual defeat by an anti-Semitic movement. Despite evidence that Stalin was an anti-Semite, he installed Jewish communists as leaders of his effort to dominate Hungary after World War II. The government was “completely dominated” by Jews (Rothman and Lichter 1982, 89), a common perception among the Hungarian people (see Irving 1981, 47ff). “The wags of Budapest explained the presence of a lone gentile in the party leadership on the grounds that a ‘goy’ was needed to turn on the lights on Saturday” (Rothman & Lichter 1982, 89). The Hungarian Communist Party, with the backing of the Red Army, tortured, imprisoned, and executed opposition political leaders and other dissidents and effectively harnessed Hungary’s economy in the service of the Soviet Union. They thus created a situation similar to that in Poland: Jews were installed by their Russian masters as the ideal middle stratum between an exploitative alien ruling elite and a subject native population. Jews were seen as having engineered the communist revolution and as having benefited most from the revolution. Jews constituted nearly all of the party’s elite, held the top positions in the security police, and dominated managerial positions throughout the economy. Not only were Jewish Communist Party functionaries and economic managers economically dominant, they also appear to have had fairly unrestricted access to gentile females working under them—partly as a result of the poverty to which the vast majority of the population had descended, and partly because of specific government policies designed to undermine traditional sexual mores by, for example, paying women to have illegitimate children (see Irving 1981, 111). The domination of the Hungarian communist Jewish bureaucracy thus appears to have had overtones of sexual and reproductive domination of gentiles in which Jewish males were able to have disproportionate sexual access to gentile females.

As an indication of the gulf between ruler and ruled in Hungary, a student commented: “Take Hungary: Who was the enemy? For Rákosi [the Jewish leader of the Hungarian Communist Party] and his gang the enemy was us, the Hungarian people. They believed that Hungarians were innately fascist. This was the attitude of the Jewish communists, the Moscow group. They had nothing but contempt for the people” (in Irving 1981, 146). The comment illustrates a theme of the loyalty issue discussed in SAID (Ch. 2): Jewish disloyalty to the people among whom they have lived is often exacerbated by anti-Semitism, which itself is linked to the other common sources of anti-Semitism. Moreover, ethnicity continued to be a prominent factor in the post-revolutionary period despite its theoretical unimportance. When Jewish functionaries wanted to penalize a farmer who failed to meet his quota, gypsies were sent to strip the farmer’s property because other townspeople would not cooperate in the destruction of one of their own (Irving 1981, 132). Here the party functionaries were taking advantage of the same principle Stalin and other alien rulers have recognized when they used Jews as an exploitative stratum between themselves and a subject native population: Foreign ethnics are relatively willing to exploit other groups. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Hungarian uprising of 1956 included elements of a traditional anti-Semitic pogrom, as indicated by anti-Jewish attitudes among the refugees of the period. In this regard, the uprising was not unlike many anti-Semitic pogroms that occurred in traditional societies when the power of the alien ruling elite who supported the Jews diminished (see SAID,Ch. 2; PTSDA, Ch. 5).

As with all experiments in living, leftist universalist ideology and political structure may not achieve the results desired by their Jewish proponents.[88]Similarly, Himmelstrand (1967) notes that the Ibo in Nigeria were the strongest supporters of a nationalist government constituting all tribes. However, when they were disproportionately successful in this new, nontribal form of social organization, there was a violent backlash against them, and they then attempted to abandon the national government in favor of establishing their own tribal homeland. On the basis of the data presented here, the eventual failure of political radicalism to guarantee Jewish interests has been a prime factor in Jews’ abandoning radical movements or attempting to combine radicalism with an overt Jewish identity and commitment to Jewish interests. In the long run, it would appear that ideologies of universalism in the presence of continued group cohesion and identity may not be an effective mechanism for combating anti-Semitism.

In retrospect, Jewish advocacy of highly collectivist social structure represented by socialism and communism has been a poor strategy for Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy. Judaism and bureaucratic, statist socialism are not obviously incompatible, and we have seen that Jews were able to develop a predominant political and cultural position in socialist societies, as they have in more individualistic societies. However, the highly authoritarian, collectivist structure of these societies also results in the highly efficient institutionalization of anti-Semitism in the event that Jewish predominance within the society, despite a great deal of crypsis, comes to be viewed negatively.

Moreover, the tendency for such societies to develop a political monoculture implies that Judaism can survive only by engaging in semi-crypsis. As Horowitz (1993, 86) notes, “Jewish life is diminished when the creative opposition of the sacred and the secular, or the church and the state, are seen as having to yield to a higher set of political values. Jews suffer, their numbers decline, and immigration becomes a survival solution when the state demands integration into a national mainstream, a religious universal defined by a state religion or a near-state religion.” In the long run, radical individualism among gentiles and the fragmentation of gentile culture offer a superior environment for Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy, and this is indeed an important direction of current Jewish intellectual and political activity (see Chs. 5–7).

In this regard it is interesting that many neoconservative Jewish intellectuals in the contemporary United States have rejected corporate, statist ideologies as a direct consequence of the recognition that these ideologies have resulted in corporate, state-sponsored anti-Semitism. Indeed, the beginnings of the neoconservative movement can be traced to the Moscow Trials of the 1930s in which many of the old Jewish Bolsheviks, including Trotsky, were convicted of treason. The result was the development of the New York Intellectuals as an anti-Stalinist leftist movement, parts of which gradually evolved into neoconservatism (see Ch. 6). The neoconservative movement has been fervently anti-communist and has opposed ethnic quotas and affirmative action policies in the United States—policies that would clearly preclude free competition between Jews and gentiles. Part of the attraction neoconservatism held for Jewish intellectuals was its compatibility with support for Israel at a time when Third World countries supported by most American leftists were strongly anti-Zionist (Rothman & Lichter 1982, 105). Many neoconservative intellectuals had previously been ardent leftists, and the split between these previous allies resulted in an intense internecine feud.

Similarly, there was a trend towards a libertarian and individualist perspective by Converso intellectuals consequent to corporate, state-sponsored anti-Semitism during the period of the Inquisition. Castro (1971, 327ff) emphasizes the libertarian, anarchist, individualistic, and anti-corporate strand of Converso thought, and attributes it to the fact that the Conversos were being oppressed by an anti-libertarian, corporate state. These intellectuals, oppressed by the purity of blood laws and the Inquisition itself, argued that “God did not distinguish between one Christian and another” (Castro 1971, 333).

When an experiment in ideology and political structure fails, another experiment is launched. Since the Enlightenment, Judaism has not been a unified, monolithic movement. Judaism is a series of experiments in living, and since the Enlightenment there have been a variety of Jewish experiments in living. There has clearly been a great deal of disagreement among Jews as how best to attain their interests during this period, and certainly the interests of Jewish radicals conflicted at times with the interests of wealthy Jews (often their Jewish employers [Levin 1977, 210]). The voluntary nature of Jewish association since the Enlightenment has resulted in relative fractionation of Judaism, with individual Jews drawn to different “experiments in Jewish living.” In this sense, Jewish radicalism must be viewed as one of several solutions to the problem of developing a viable Judaism in the post-Enlightenment period, along with Zionism, neo-Orthodoxy, Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism, neoconservatism, and Judaism as a civil religion. In the following chapter we shall see that psychoanalysis has played a similar role among a large number of Jewish intellectuals.

A persistent theme among critics of Jews—particularly those on the pre-World War II right—has been that the Bolshevik revolution was a Jewish revolution and that the Soviet Union was dominated by Jews. This theme appears in a wide range of writings, from Henry Ford’s The International Jew, to published statements by a long list of British, French, and American political figures in the 1920s (Winston Churchill, Woodrow Wilson, and David Lloyd George), and, in its most extreme form, by Adolf Hitler, who wrote:

Now begins the last great revolution. By wresting political power for himself, the Jew casts off the few remaining shreds of disguise he still wears. The democratic plebeian Jew turns into the blood Jew and the tyrant of peoples. In a few years he will try to exterminate the national pillars of intelligence and, by robbing the peoples of their natural spiritual leadership, will make them ripe for the slavish lot of a permanent subjugation. The most terrible example of this is Russia.[90]In Nolte 1965, 406. See Kellogg (2005) for an account of the interactions and influence of White Russian émigrés on the National Socialist Movement in Germany.

This long tradition stands in sharp contradiction to the official view, promulgated by Jewish organizations and almost all contemporary historians, that Jews played no special role in Bolshevism and indeed were specifically victimized by it. Yuri Slezkine’s The Jewish Century[91]Yuri Slezkine, The Jewish Century (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004). provides a much-needed resolution to these opposing perspectives. It is an intellectual tour de force, alternately muddled and brilliant, courageous and apologetic.

Apollonians and Mercurians • 3,200 Words

One of the muddled elements, apparent at the beginning and present throughout The Jewish Century, is Slezkine’s claim that the peoples of the world can be classified into two groups. The successful peoples of the modern world, termed Mercurians, are urban, mobile, literate, articulate, and intellectually sophisticated. Distinguished by their ability to manipulate symbols, they pursue “wealth for the sake of learning, learning for the sake of wealth, and both wealth and learning for their own sake” (p. 1). Since Slezkine sees Jews as the quintessential Mercurians, he regards modernization as essentially a process of everyone becoming Jewish. His second group, which he calls Apollonians, is rooted in the land and in traditional agrarian cultures, and prizes physical strength and warrior values.

Slezkine conceptualizes Mercurianism as a worldview, and therefore a matter of psychological choice, rather than as a set of psychological mechanisms, the most important of which is general intelligence. As a result of this false premise, he exaggerates the similarity among Mercurians, underestimates the power of ethnocentrism as a unifying factor in Jewish history, and fails to understand the roots of Western social and economic institutions.

Slezkine views Jews as one of many Mercurian cultures—peoples that dwell alone in Diasporas, living among strangers and often acting as economic middlemen: the Overseas Chinese, Indians, and Lebanese, and the Gypsies and Irish Travelers. Their common denominator, in Slezkine’s view (and mine[92]A People that Shall Dwell Alone, Separation and its Discontents.), is their status as strangers to the people they live among—sojourners who, above all else, do not intermarry or socialize with the locals. Their interactions with the local Apollonians involve “mutual hostility, suspicion and contempt” (p. 20) and a sense of superiority. Moreover, a “common host stereotype of the Mercurians is that they are devious, acquisitive, greedy, crafty, pushy, and crude” (p. 23). The Mercurians possess greater kin solidarity and internal cohesion than the people they live among; they are characterized by extended families and patriarchal social organization.

So far, so good, although I would stress that the family organization of such groups derives more from the long-term adaptation to the culture areas they originate from than from an adaptation to the nomadic, middleman niche.[93]See A People that Shall Dwell Alone, Preface to the first paperback edition. But Slezkine maintains that Mercurians are above all smarter than the people they live among: They are said to possess “cunning intelligence,” but it is surely a mistake to consider such disparate groups as Jews (or the Overseas Chinese) and Gypsies (or the Irish Travelers) as having in common a particular set of intellectual traits. After all, the Jews, as Slezkine shows, have repeatedly become an academic, intellectual, cultural, and economic elite in Western societies, while Gypsies have tended toward illiteracy and are at best an economically marginal group.

Slezkine imagines that the Gypsies and literate middleman groups like the Jews or Overseas Chinese differ not in intelligence but only in whether they express their intelligence through literacy or an oral culture: “Businessmen, diplomats, doctors, and psychotherapists are literate peddlers, heralds, healers, and fortune-tellers” (p. 29)—a formulation that will not stand the test of current psychometric data. In fact, the general patterns of Gypsies are the opposite of Jews: a low-investment, low-IQ reproductive style characterized by higher fertility, earlier onset of sexual behavior and reproduction, more unstable pair bonds, higher rate of single parenting, shorter interval of birth spacing, higher infant mortality rate, and higher rate of survival of low birth weight infants.[94]Bereczkei 1993; Cvorovic 2004. Intelligence, for Slezkine, is a lifestyle choice, rather than a set of brain processes underlying information processing and strongly influenced by genetic variation. As we shall see, this formulation is very useful to Slezkine as he constructs his argument later in the book.

In his attempt to paint with a very broad brush, Slezkine also ignores other real differences among the Mercurians, most notably, I would argue, the aggressiveness of the Jews compared to the relative passivity of the Overseas Chinese. Both the Jews and the Overseas Chinese are highly intelligent and entrepreneurial, but the Overseas Chinese have not formed a hostile cultural elite in Southeast Asian countries, where they have chiefly settled, and have not been concentrated in media ownership or in the construction of culture. We do not read of Chinese cultural movements disseminated in the major universities and media outlets that subject the traditional culture of Southeast Asians and anti-Chinese sentiment to radical critique, or of Chinese organizations campaigning for the removal of native cultural and religious symbols from public places.[95]See discussion in A People that Shall Dwell Alone, Preface to the first paperback edition. Slezkine paints Jews as deeply involved in the construction of culture and in the politics of the host societies, but the role of the Chinese was quite different. The following passage describing the political attitudes of the Overseas Chinese in Thailand could never have applied to Jews in Western societies since the Enlightenment:

But few seem to know or indeed to care about the restrictions on citizenship, nationality rights, and political activities in general, nor are these restrictions given much publicity in the Chinese press. This merely points up the fact, recognized by all observers, that the overseas Chinese are primarily concerned with making a living, or amassing a fortune, and thus take only a passive interest in the formal political life of the country in which they live.[96]Coughlin 1960, 169.

Moreover, Slezkine pictures the middlemen as specializing in “certain dangerous, marvelous, and distasteful” (p. 9), but nevertheless indispensable, pursuits (p. 36)—a formulation that carries a grain of truth, as in places where natives were prohibited from loaning money at interest. However, he ignores, or at least fails to spell out, the extent to which Jews have been willing agents of exploitative elites, not only in Western societies, but in the Muslim world as well.[97]A People that Shall Dwell Alone. This is the overarching generalization that one can make about Jewish economic behavior over the ages. Their role went far beyond performing tasks deemed inappropriate for the natives for religious reasons; rather they were often tasks at which natives would be relatively less ruthless in exploiting their fellows. This was especially the case in Eastern Europe, where economic arrangements such as tax farming, estate management, and monopolies on retail liquor distribution lasted far longer than in the West:

In this way, the Jewish arendator became the master of life and death over the population of entire districts, and having nothing but a short-term and purely financial interest in the relationship, was faced with the irresistible temptation to pare his temporary subjects to the bone. On the noble estates he tended to put his relatives and co-religionists in charge of the flour-mill, the brewery, and in particular of the lord’s taverns where by custom the peasants were obliged to drink. On the church estates, he became the collector of all ecclesiastical dues, standing by the church door for his payment from tithe-payers, baptized infants, newly-weds, and mourners. On the [royal] estates…, he became in effect the Crown Agent, farming out the tolls, taxes, and courts, and adorning his oppressions with all the dignity of royal authority.[98]Davies 1981, 444; see also Subtelny 1988, 124.

Jewish involvement in the Communist elite of the USSR can be seen as a variation on an ancient theme in Jewish culture rather than a new one sprung from the special circumstances of the Bolshevik Revolution. Rather than being the willing agents of exploitative non-Jewish elites who were clearly separated from both the Jews and the people they ruled, Jews became an entrenched part of an exploitative and oppressive elite in which group boundaries were blurred. This blurring of boundaries was aided by four processes, all covered by Slezkine: shedding overt Jewish identities in favor of a veneer of international socialism in which Jewish identity and ethnic networking were relatively invisible; seeking lower-profile positions in order to de-emphasize Jewish preeminence (e.g., Trotsky); adopting Slavic names; and engaging in a limited amount of intermarriage with non-Jewish elites.[99]This was also noted by Lindemann 1997. Indeed, the “plethora of Jewish wives” among non-Jewish leaders[100]Vaksberg 1994, 49. doubtless heightened the Jewish atmosphere of the top levels of the Soviet government, given that everyone, especially Stalin, appears to have been quite conscious of ethnicity.[101]See discussion in The Culture of Critique, ch. 3. For their part, anti-Semites have accused Jews of having “implanted those of their own category as wives and husbands for influential figures and officials.[102]In Kostyrchenko 1995, 272; italics in text.

By emphasizing the necessity and distastefulness of traditional Jewish occupations, Slezkine also ignores the extent to which Jewish competition suppressed the formation of a native middle class in Eastern Europe. (This has also occurred throughout Southeast Asia, because of competition from the Overseas Chinese.) Instead, Slezkine sees Eastern Europeans through stereotypic lenses as quintessential Apollonians, some of whom became Mercurian modernists when forced to by circumstances, rather than as containing elements that would have naturally aspired to and competently performed the economic and cultural functions that instead came to be performed by Jews because of their ability to create ethnic monopolies in goods and services. When Jews won the economic competition in early modern Poland, the result was that the great majority of Poles were reduced to the status of agricultural laborers supervised by Jewish estate managers in an economy in which trade, manufacturing, and artisanry were in large part controlled by Jews.[103]A People that Shall Dwell Alone, ch. 5; Separation and its Discontents, Introduction to the first paperback edition. On the other hand, in most of Western Europe Jews had been expelled in the Middle Ages. As a result, when modernization occurred, it was accomplished with an indigenous middle class. If, as in Eastern Europe, Jews had won the economic competition in most of these professions, there would not have been a non-Jewish middle class in England. Whatever one imagines might have been the fortunes and character of England with predominantly Jewish artisans, merchants, and manufacturers, it seems reasonable to suppose that the Christian taxpayers of England made a good investment in their own future when they agreed to pay King Edward I a massive tax of £116,346 in return for expelling two thousand Jews in 1290.[104]Mundill 1998, 249ff.

While Slezkine’s treatment overemphasizes middlemen as a societal necessity rather than as ethnic outsiders competing for scarce resources, he does note that the rise of the Jews in the USSR came at the expense of the Germans as a Mercurian minority in Russia prior to the Revolution. (Jews were excluded from traditional Russia apart from the Pale of Settlement, which included Ukraine, Lithuania, Byelorussia, Crimea, and part of Poland.) Germans manned the imperial bureaucracy, formed a large percentage of professionals, entrepreneurs, and artisans, were more literate than the Russians, and had a sense of cultural superiority and ethnic solidarity:

And so they were, mutatis mutandis, head to the Russian heart, mind to the Russian soul, consciousness to Russian spontaneity. They stood for calculation, efficiency, and discipline; cleanliness, fastidiousness, and sobriety; pushiness, tactlessness, and energy; sentimentality, love of family, and unmanliness (or absurdly exaggerated manliness)…. Perhaps paradoxically, in light of what would happen in the twentieth century, Germans were, occupationally and conceptually, the Jews of ethnic Russia (as well as much of Eastern Europe). Or rather, the Russian Germans were to Russia what the German Jews were to Germany—only much more so. So fundamental were the German Mercurians to Russia’s view of itself that both their existence and their complete and abrupt disappearance have been routinely taken for granted. (pp. 113–14)

Although the replacement of Germans by Jews was well under way by the time of the Bolshevik Revolution, a key consequence of the Revolution was the substitution of one Mercurian group, the Germans, by another, the Jews. The difference between the Jews and the Germans was that the Jews had a longstanding visceral antipathy, out of past historical grievances, both real and imagined, toward the people and culture they came to administer. Indeed, Russians on the nationalist right admired the Germans, at least up to World War I. For example, a statute of one nationalist organization, Michael the Archangel Russian People’s Union, expressed “particular trust in the German population of the Empire,”[105]In Kellogg 2005, 41. while its leader, Vladimir Purishkevich, accused the Jews of “irreconcilable hatred of Russia and everything Russian.”[106]In Kellogg 2005, 37. Jews disliked the Christian religion of the vast majority of Russians because of the antagonistic relationship between Judaism and Christianity over the ages; Jews distrusted the peasants, who “fell from grace” (p. 140) with the intelligentsia after the numerous anti-Jewish pogroms, especially after 1880; and Jews blamed the Tsar for not doing enough to keep the peasants in check and for imposing the various quotas on Jewish advancement that went into place, also beginning in the 1880s—quotas that slowed down but by no means halted Jewish overrepresentation in the universities and the professions. In this respect, the Germans were far more like the Overseas Chinese, in that they became an elite without having an aggressively hostile attitude toward the people and culture they administered and dominated economically. Thus when Jews achieved power in Russia, it was as a hostile elite with a deep sense of historic grievance. As a result, they became willing executioners of both the people and cultures they came to rule, including the Germans.

After the Revolution, not only were the Germans replaced, but there was active suppression of any remnants of the older order and their descendants. Jews have always shown a tendency to rise because their natural proclivities (e.g., high intelligence) and powerful ethnic networking, but here they also benefited from “antibourgeois” quotas in educational institutions and other forms of discrimination against the middle class and aristocratic elements of the old regime that would have provided more competition with Jews. In a letter intercepted by the secret police, the father of a student wrote that his son and their friends were about to be purged from the university because of their class origins. “It is clear that only the Jerusalem academics and the Communist Party members generally are going to stay” (p. 243). The bourgeois elements from the previous regime, including the ethnic Germans, would have no future. Thus the mass murder of peasants and nationalists was combined with the systematic exclusion of the previously existing non-Jewish middle class. The wife of a Leningrad University professor noted, “in all the institutions, only workers and Israelites are admitted; the life of the intelligentsia is very hard” (p. 243). Even at the end of the 1930s, prior to the Russification that accompanied World War II, “the Russian Federation…was still doing penance for its imperial past while also serving as an example of an ethnicity-free society” (p. 276). While all other nationalities, including Jews, were allowed and encouraged to keep their ethnic identities, the revolution remained an anti-majoritarian movement.

Slezkine is aware of the biological reality of kinship and ethnicity, but he steadfastly pursues a cultural determinist model. He argues that biological models of ethnic nepotism are inappropriate because some nomadic groups are not kin groups but rather “quasi-families” like the Sicilian mafia (p. 35). But this is a distinction without a difference: Why are “natural” kinship groups significantly different from groups composed of families that band together? Each is characterized by internal cohesion and external strangeness, the traits Slezkine deems essential, but there are also kinship connections and a genetic divide between themselves and surrounding peoples. Cultural badges of group membership and a culturally generated ideology of kin-group membership are age-old ways of cementing kinship groups and setting up barriers that mark real biological differences—the evolved psychology described by modern research in social identity theory.[107]Separation and its Discontents. And in any case, the demonstrable genetic differences between Slezkine’s prototypical Mercurians—the Jews, Gypsies, and Overseas Chinese—and the surrounding peoples cry out for a biological analysis.

Moreover, Slezkine underestimates the power of ethnocentrism as a unifying factor in Jewish history. This is most apparent in his discussion of Israel, which he describes as a radical departure from the Jewish tradition, because Israel is a quintessentially Apollonian society. Long after Western societies had rejected ethnic nationalism:

Israel continued to live in the European 1930s: only Israel still belonged to the eternally young, worshiped athleticism and inarticulateness, celebrated combat and secret police, promoted hiking and scouting, despised doubt and introspection, embodied the seamless unity of the chosen, and rejected most traits traditionally associated with Jewishness…. After two thousand years of living as Mercurians among Apollonians, Jews turned into the only Apollonians in a world of Mercurians (or rather, the only civilized Apollonians in a world of Mercurians and barbarians). (pp. 327, 328)

But Israelis certainly did not reject traditional Jewish ethnocentrism and sense of peoplehood. Slezkine portrays Israelis as simply choosing to be ethnocentric nationalists, but ethnocentrism (like intelligence) is a biological system, not a lifestyle choice, and traditional Diaspora Jews were certainly deeply and intensely ethnocentric above all else.[108]A People that Shall Dwell Alone; Separation and its Discontents. As I discuss in some detail in Chapter x , there can be little question that Israel and Zionism have been and are promoted and spearheaded by the most ethnocentric elements of the Jewish community.

For Slezkine, as for so many Jews, the moral debt owed to Jews by Western societies justifies the most extreme expressions of Jewish racialism: “The rhetoric of ethnic homogeneity and ethnic deportations, tabooed elsewhere in the West, is a routine element of Israeli political life…. It is true that no other European nation is in a condition of permanent war; it is also true that no other European state can have as strong a claim on the West’s moral imagination” (pp. 364–65). Slezkine sees the moral taboo on European ethnocentrism, the creation of National Socialism as the epitome of absolute evil, and the consecration of Jews as “the Chosen people of the postwar Western world” (p. 366) as simply the inevitable results of the events of World War II (pp. 365–66). In fact, however, the creation and maintenance of the culture of the Holocaust and the special moral claims of Jews and Israel are the result of Jewish ethnic activism. These claims have a specific historical trajectory, they are fueled by specific key events, and they are sustained by specific forces.[109]Novick 1999; see summary in The Culture of Critique, Preface to the first paperback edition. For example, the Holocaust was not emphasized as a cultural icon until the late 1960s and early 1970s, when images of the Holocaust were deployed on a large scale in popular culture by Jewish activists specifically to rally support for Israel in the context of its wars of 1967 and 1973.

Similarly, Slezkine sees the United States as a Jewish promised land precisely because it is not defined tribally and “has no state-bearing natives” (p. 369). But the recasting of the United States as a “proposition nation” was importantly influenced by the triumph of several Jewish intellectual and political movements more than it was a natural and inevitable culmination of American history.[110]The Culture of Critique. These movements collectively delegitimized cultural currents of the early twentieth century whereby many Americans thought of themselves as members of a very successful ethnic group. For example, the immigration restrictionists of the 1920s unabashedly asserted the right of European-derived peoples to the land they had conquered and settled. Americans of northern European descent in the United States thought of themselves as part of a cultural and ethnic heritage extending backward in time to the founding of the country, and writers like Madison Grant (The Passing of the Great Race) and Lothrop Stoddard (The Rising Tide of Color against White World Supremacy) had a large public following. At that time both academia and mainstream culture believed in the reality of race; that there were important differences between the races, including in intelligence and moral character; and that races naturally competed for land and other resources.[111]See Bendersky 2000.

Jewish Superiority • 1,500 Words

The assertion that Israel is the only civilized Apollonian society, despite its acknowledged racialism and open discussion of ethnic deportations, reveals Slezkine’s belief in Jewish moral and intellectual superiority. Indeed, Slezkine regards both European individualism and the European nation-state as imitations of preexisting Jewish accomplishments: “Europeans imitated Jews not only in being modern [by becoming individualists interacting with strangers], but also in being ancient” [i.e., by developing ethnically based nation-states] (p. 44). So we read condescending passages such as “among the most successful [of the European Mercurians] were Max Weber’s Protestants, who discovered a humorless, dignified way to be Jewish” (p. 41). This act of intellectual gymnastics depends on the following analogy: Jews act as an ethnically based tribe within societies, seeing non-Jews as strangers; Europeans establish tribal nation-states while behaving as individualists within their societies (seeing other Europeans as strangers). The sweeping conclusion: Jews are the progenitors therefore of both aspects of modernity: economic individualism and the ethnically based nation-state. The Holocaust then occurred because the European nation-state, although an imitation of Judaism, failed somehow to be sufficiently Jewish: “In the hands of heavily armed, thoroughly bureaucratized, and imperfectly Judaized Apollonians, Mercurian exclusivity and fastidiousness became relentlessly expansive. In the hands of messianically inclined Apollonians, it turned lethal—especially to the Mercurians. The Holocaust had as much to do with tradition as it did with modernity” (p. 46).

But it is a huge stretch to argue from an analogy—and a loose one at that—to actual imitation and influence. (And one just doesn’t know what to say about his claim that Europeans perpetrated the Holocaust because they had become imperfect Jews.) Slezkine fails to provide any evidence that there is anything but a hazy and forced logical connection between European individualism and the Jewish role as a Diaspora people living among strangers. The reality is that by becoming individualists, Western Europeans returned to distinctive roots buried in their primeval past,[112]See ch. 10 below on “What Makes Western Culture Unique?” whereas Judaism, because of its deep-seated tribalism, was widely regarded by Enlightenment intellectuals as an outmoded relic. Indeed, several Jewish commentators have noted that the post-Enlightenment forms of Judaism have essentially been responses to the corrosive effects of European civilization, with its emphasis on individualism and ethnic assimilation, on the Jews as an ethnically based collectivist group—what early Zionist Arthur Ruppin described as “the destructive influence of European civilization” on the Jewish community because of its tendency to break down group barriers and lead eventually to assimilation and intermarriage.[113]Ruppin 1973, 339. Moreover, as Slezkine notes, Jews are not really individualists at all. Even in the modern world, the tribal approach of the Jews in economic enterprises employs ethnic kinship as a central component, whereas the individualistic approach of the Europeans sees this as illegitimate (p. 43). The bottom line is that it is ridiculous to claim that Jews are individualists because they treat outsiders as individuals while acknowledging that they retain a powerful ingroup consciousness and are masters of ethnic networking.

It is no stretch at all, however, to show that Jews have achieved a preeminent position in Europe and America, and Slezkine provides us with statistics of Jewish domination only dimly hinted at in the following examples from Europe in the late nineteenth century to the rise of National Socialism. Austria: All but one bank in fin de siècle Vienna was administered by Jews, and Jews constituted seventy percent of the stock exchange council; Hungary: between fifty and ninety percent of all industry was controlled by Jewish banking families, and 71 percent of the most wealthy taxpayers were Jews; Germany: Jews were overrepresented among the economic elite by a factor of 33. Similar massive overrepresentation was also to be found in educational attainment and among professionals (e.g., Jews constituted 62 percent of the lawyers in Vienna in 1900, 25 percent in Prussia in 1925, 34 percent in Poland, and 51 percent in Hungary). Indeed, “the universities, ‘free’ professions, salons, coffeehouses, concert halls, and art galleries in Berlin, Vienna, and Budapest became so heavily Jewish that liberalism and Jewishness became almost indistinguishable” (p. 63).

Slezkine documents the well-known fact that, as Moritz Goldstein famously noted in 1912, “We Jews administer the spiritual possessions of Germany.” However, he regards Jewish cultural dominance, not only in Germany but throughout Eastern Europe and Austria, as completely benign: “The secular Jews’ love of Goethe, Schiller, and the other Pushkins—as well as the various northern forests they represented—was sincere and tender” (p. 68). Their only sin was that their love of cultural icons transcended national and ethnic boundaries in an age of popular nationalism—for example, their promotion of German culture among the Czechs, Latvians, and Romanians. But this is far from the whole story. Jews were not simply lovers of Pushkin and Goethe. A major theme of anti-Jewish attitudes was that Jews were deeply involved in creating a “culture of critique”—that Jewish cultural influence was entirely negative and shattered the social bonds of the peoples among whom they lived. Slezkine cites Heinrich Heine as a prime example of a Jewish intellectual with sincere and tender love for German culture, but the Germans, from Wagner to von Treitschke to Chamberlain and Hitler, didn’t see it that way. For example, Heinrich von Treitschke, a prominent nineteenth-century German intellectual, complained of Heine’s “mocking German humiliation and disgrace following the Napoleonic wars” and Heine’s having “no sense of shame, loyalty, truthfulness, or reverence.”[114]Mosse 1970, 52–53. Nor does he mention von Treitschke’s comment that “what Jewish journalists write in mockery and satirical remarks against Christianity is downright revolting”; “about the shortcomings of the Germans [or] French, everybody could freely say the worst things; but if somebody dared to speak in just and moderate terms about some undeniable weakness of the Jewish character, he was immediately branded as a barbarian and religious persecutor by nearly all of the newspapers.”[115]In Lindemann 1997, 138–39. Similar complaints were common in Austria (op cit., 193). Such attitudes were prominent among anti-Jewish writers and activists, reaching a crescendo with the National Socialists in Germany.

Yet for Slezkine, if Jews did battle against various national cultures—and in the end, he acknowledges that they did—it was only because they realized that their Mercurian worldview was superior: “Did they really want to transform themselves into thick-skulled peasants now that the actual peasants had, for all practical purposes, admitted the error of their ways?” (p. 74). Jews were not recognized as legitimate curators of the national culture, but their lack of acceptance means only that they are truly modern: “Deprived of the comforts of their tribe and not allowed into the new ones created by their Apollonian neighbors, they became the only true moderns” (p. 75)—a statement that accepts at face value the idea that the secular Jews who had become the custodians and main producers of culture had ceased to have a Jewish identification Slezkine fails to provide any evidence at all for this claim, and in fact there is overwhelming evidence that it is false.[116]The Culture of Critique, passim.

The main weapons Jews used against national cultures were two quintessentially modern ideologies, Marxism and Freudianism, “both [of which] countered nationalism’s quaint tribalism with a modern (scientific) path to wholeness” (p. 80). Slezkine correctly views both of these as Jewish ideologies functioning as organized religions, with sacred texts promising deliverance from earthly travail. While most of his book recounts the emergence of a Jewish elite under the banner of Marxism in the Soviet Union, his comments on psychoanalysis bear mentioning. Psychoanalysis “moved to the United States to reinforce democratic citizenship with a much-needed new prop…. In America, where nationwide tribal metaphors could not rely on theories of biological descent, Freudianism came in very handy indeed” by erecting the “Explicitly Therapeutic State” (pp. 79–80). As I argue at greater length in Chapter 5 of The Culture of Critique, the establishment of the Explicitly Therapeutic State was much aided by yet another Jewish intellectual movement, the Frankfurt School, which combined psychoanalysis and Marxism. The result was a culture of critique which fundamentally aimed not only at de-legitimizing the older American culture, but even attempted to alter or obliterate human nature itself: “The statistical connection between ‘the Jewish question’ and the hope for a new species of mankind seems fairly strong” (p. 90).

And when people don’t cooperate in becoming a new species, there’s always murder. Slezkine describes Walter Benjamin, an icon of the Frankfurt School and darling of the current crop of postmodern intellectuals, “with glasses on his nose, autumn in his soul and vicarious murder in his heart” (p. 216), a comment that illustrates the fine line between murder and cultural criticism, especially when engaged in by ethnic outsiders. Indeed, on another occasion, Benjamin stated, “Hatred and [the] spirit of sacrifice…are nourished by the image of enslaved ancestors rather than that of liberated grandchildren.”[117]Benjamin 1968, 262. Although Slezkine downplays this aspect of Jewish motivation, Jews’ lachrymose perceptions of their history—their images of enslaved ancestors—were potent motivators of the hatred unleashed by the upheavals of the twentieth century.

Slezkine is entirely correct that Marxism, psychoanalysis, and the Frankfurt School were fundamentally Jewish intellectual movements. However, he fails to provide anything like a detailed account of how these ideologies served specifically Jewish interests, most generally in combating anti-Semitism and subverting ethnic identification among Europeans.[118]See The Culture of Critique for discussion of these issues. Indeed, a major premise of his treatment is that Jewish radicals were not Jews at all.

Were Jewish Radicals Jews? • 3,500 Words

Slezkine recounts the vast overrepresentation of Jews in the radical left in Europe and America. His attempts to explain this cover some familiar ground: Jewish intellectual opposition to the status quo resulting from their marginal social status (Thorsten Veblen); Jewish leftism as a secular, universalized form of traditional Jewish messianism and rationalism in which Jewish leftists are descendents of the Old Testament prophets calling for social justice (Lev Shternberg, dean of Soviet anthropologists); Jewish Communists as recreating traditional Jewish culture forms—especially scriptural interpretation and intense teacher-student relationships—in a Communist setting (historian Jaff Schatz). Slezkine’s own contribution is to argue that Jewish radicals were in revolt against their families, “rejecting the world of their fathers because it seemed to embody the connection between Judaism and antisocialism (understood as commercialism, tribalism, and patriarchy)…the real reason for their common revulsion was the feeling that capitalism and Jewishness were one and the same thing” (pp. 96, 98). “Most Jewish rebels did not fight the state in order to become free Jews; they fought the state in order to become free of Jewishness—and thus Free” (p. 152).

This is a very useful theory, of course—useful because it denies that Jewish radicals were Jews at all, that in fact they were anti-Jews (if not anti-Semites—and there’s the rub). When Slezkine then goes on to recount the Jewish role as an elite in the most murderous regime in European history, we are led to believe that the only connection of those Jews with Jewishness is genealogical: Russian Jewish radicals, lovers of Pushkin and Tolstoy (as their counterparts in Poland, Hungary, and Germany loved Adam Mickiewicz, Sandór Petőfi, and Goethe), idealistically and selflessly set out to fashion a secular utopia of social justice by overcoming Apollonian backwardness even as they rejected their Jewish origins and all things Jewish.

His evidence for this is rather thin, but even in the examples Slezkine uses to illustrate his point it is clear that these Jewish radicals hated everything about their national cultures except for one or two literary figures. The rest would have to go. As Exhibit A, Slezkine presents Georg Lukács, the son of a prominent Jewish capitalist, who describes his profound discontent with his father’s way of life. But Lukács also expresses his hatred for “the whole of official Hungary”—how he extended his unhappiness with his father to “cover the whole of Magyar life, Magyar history, and Magyar literature indiscriminately (save for Petőfi)” (p. 97). Ah, yes. Save for Petőfi. All else—the people and the culture—would have to go, by mass murder if necessary. (Lazar Kaganovich, the most prolific Jewish mass murderer of the Stalinist era, is pictured at the end of his life reading Pushkin, Tolstoy, and Turgenev [pp. 97–98].) But rather than see this as an aspect of traditional Jewish hatred for non-Jews and their culture, souped up and rationalized with a veneer of Marxism, Slezkine explains these radicals as enlightened Mercurians who wished to destroy the old culture except for a few classics of modern literature. We may give thanks to know that Shakespeare would have survived the revolution.

Another of Slezkine’s examples is Lev Kopelev, a Soviet writer who witnessed and rationalized the Ukrainian famine as “historical necessity” (p. 230). Slezkine states categorically that Kopelev did not identify as a Jew, but his own material indicates the complexity of the matter. Kopelev identified himself on Soviet documents as “Jewish” but claimed that was only because he did not want to be seen as a “‘cowardly apostate,’ and—after World War II—because he did not want to renounce those who had been murdered for being Jewish” (p. 241). To the external world, Kopelev is a proud Jew, but to his close associates—in his “heart of hearts”—he is only a Communist and Soviet patriot. But of course many of his close associates were ethnic Jews, and he shed no tears for the Ukrainian and Russian peasants and nationalists who were murdered in the name of international socialism even as he mourned the loss of Jews murdered because they were Jews. By World War II he had become a “leading ideologue of Russian patriotism” (p. 279), developing “an acute sense of hurt and injustice on behalf of Russia, Russian history, and the Russian word” (p. 280) as he attempted to rally the Russians to do battle with the Germans. Russian patriotism had suddenly become useful—much as, I would argue, harnessing the patriotism and high regard for military service among Americans has been useful for Jewish neoconservatives eager to rearrange the politics of the Middle East in the interests of Israel. Patriotism is a wonderfully effective instrument in the service of self-deception (or deception).

Probably more typical of the Jewish identity of the Bolsheviks is the account of Vitaly Rubin, a prominent philosopher and an ethnic Jew, who recounted his career at a top Moscow school in the 1930s where over half the students were Jewish:

Understandably, the Jewish question did not arise there. Not only did it not arise in the form of anti-Semitism, it did not arise at all. All the Jews knew themselves to be Jews but considered everything to do with Jewishness a thing of the past. I remember thinking of my father’s stories about his childhood, heder [Jewish elementary school], and traditional Jewish upbringing as something consigned to oblivion. None of that had anything to do with me. There was no active desire to renounce one’s Jewishness. The problem simply did not exist. (pp. 253–54)

These Jews clearly have a Jewish identity but they have been removed from traditional Jewish religious cultural forms. In such a predominantly Jewish milieu, there was no need to renounce their Jewish identity and no need to push aggressively for Jewish interests because they had achieved elite status. And yet, just prior to World War II, as Russians started replacing Jews among the political elite and National Socialism emerged as an officially anti-Jewish ideology, overt Jewish identity reemerged. Following World War II, Israel began exerting its gravitational pull on Jews, much to the chagrin of a suspicious Stalin. The visit of Golda Meir in 1948 and the outpouring of Jewish support for Zionism that it aroused was a watershed event for Soviet Jewry. Stalin reacted to it by initiating a campaign against public Jews and Yiddish culture.

It is interesting in this regard that the leading Soviet spokesmen on anti-Semitism were both ethnic Jews with non-Jewish sounding names, Emilian Yaroslavsky (Gubelman) and Yuri Larin (Lurie). Both refer to Jews in the third person (p. 245), as if they themselves were not Jews. But when Larin tried to explain the embarrassing fact that Jews were “preeminent, overabundant, dominant, and so on” (p. 251) among the elite in the Soviet Union, he mentioned the “unusually strong sense of solidarity and a predisposition toward mutual help and support” (p. 252)—ethnic networking by any other name. Obviously, “mutual help and support” require that Jews recognize each other as Jews. Jewish identity may not have been much discussed, but it operated nonetheless, even if subconsciously, in the rarefied circles at the top of Soviet society. An example not presented by Slezkine is recounted in a report of 1950 to the central committee on Jewish activities at an aircraft production facility:

In a number of extremely important departments of the Central Aero-Hydrodynamic Institute there are workers due to be substituted for political reasons. They gather around themselves people of the same nationality, impose the habit of praising one another (while making others erroneously believe that they are indispensable), and force their protégés through to high posts.[119]In Kostyrchenko 1995, 237.

Indeed, there is no other way to explain the extraordinary percentages of Jews throughout elite institutions, which became apparent when the purges began in the late 1940s (see below). High IQ and achievement motivation can only go so far, and cannot explain why, for example, in the late 1940s Jews made up eighty percent of the Soviet Academy of Science Institute of Literature (Pushkin House) (p. 302), 42 percent of the directors of Moscow theaters, over half of Soviet circus directors (p. 301), or eight of the top ten directors of the Bolshoi Theater.[120]The composition of the board of the Bolshoi is given in Kostyrchenko 1995, 15.In the case of Pushkin House, the opponents of the dominant clique stated that it had been forged “by long-lasting relationships of families and friends, mutual protection, homogeneous (Jewish) national composition, and anti-patriotic (anti-Russian) tendencies.”[121]In Kostyrchenko 1995, 171.

The reality is that Jewish identity always becomes more salient when Jews feel threatened or feel that their interests as Jews are at stake, but Jewish identity becomes submerged when Jewish interests coincide with other interests and identities.[122]Separation and its Discontents, ch. 9; The Culture of Critique, ch. 3. (This is a human universal and presumably accounts for the fact that the American Founding Fathers felt no need to carefully define the cultural and ethnic parameters of their creation; they assumed the racial and cultural homogeneity of the Republic[123]Weyl and Marina 1971. For example, “The American Negro was deemed [by a national consensus of opinion from George Washington to the end of World War I] an alien presence in American society who could not be assimilated without destroying or largely impairing the homogeneity and national cohesion of the Republic” (377). and perceived no threat to its control by themselves and their descendants.) The relative submergence of Jewish identity within the Jewish milieu in elite circles of the Soviet Union during the 1920s and 1930s is a poor indicator of whether or not these people identified as Jews or would do so when in later years Jewish and Soviet identities began to diverge, when National Socialism reemphasized Jewish identity, or when Israel emerged as a beacon for Jewish identity and loyalty.

As I discuss at some length in Chapters 5 and 6 of this volume, a similar stance may be observed among present-day Jewish neoconservatives, who argue that the United States has a deep interest in democratizing the Middle East. The confluence of their interests as Jews in promoting the policies of the Israeli right wing and their construction of American interests allows them to submerge or even deny the relevance of their Jewish identity while posing as American patriots. But if Israeli and American policy began to diverge significantly, Jewish interests would almost certainly control their attitudes and behavior. Indeed, since neoconservative Zionism of the Likud Party variety is well known for promoting a confrontation between the US and the entire Muslim world, their policy recommendations best fit a pattern of loyalty to their ethnic group, not to America.

In The Culture of Critique, I advanced several reasons for supposing that Jews continued to identify as Jews in the USSR, none of which is challenged by Slezkine’s treatment: (1) Persons were classified as Jews depending on their ethnic background, at least partly because of residual anti-Jewish attitudes; this would tend to impose a Jewish identity on these individuals and make it difficult to assume an exclusive identity as a member of a larger, more inclusive political group. (2) Many Jewish Bolsheviks, such as those in Evsektsiya (the Jewish section of the Communist Party) and the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, aggressively sought to establish a secular Jewish subculture; these phenomena are virtually ignored by Slezkine. (3) Very few Jews on the left envisioned a post-revolutionary society without a continuation of the Jewish community; indeed, the predominant ideology among Jewish leftists was that post-revolutionary society would end anti-Semitism because it would end class conflict and the peculiar Jewish occupational profile. (4) The behavior of American Communists shows that Jewish identity and the primacy of Jewish interests over Communist interests were commonplace among individuals who were ethnically Jewish Communists. (5) The existence of Jewish crypsis in other times and places was combined with the possibility that self-deception, identificatory flexibility, and identificatory ambivalence are important components of the Jewish group evolutionary strategy.[124]The Culture of Critique, ch. 3.

And in the end, despite the rationalizations of many Soviet Jews and Slezkine on Jewish identity, it was blood that mattered. By the time of World War II, most Jews, “knew that they were, in some sense, Jews. They may never have been to a synagogue, seen a menorah, heard Yiddish or Hebrew, tasted gefilte fish or indeed met their grandparents. But they knew they were Jews in the Soviet sense, which was also—in essence—the Nazi sense. They were Jews by blood” (p. 286).

They reemerged as Jews to fight the Nazis and to solicit the support of American Jews to pressure their government to enter the war and provide aid to the Soviet Union. Jewish spokesmen visited New York proclaiming that “the Jewish people—’ethnic’ or religious, Communist, Zionist, or traditionalist—were one family” (p. 290).

Moreover, Slezkine leaves out an enormous amount of evidence that conflicts with his Jewish radicalism-as-patricide thesis, evidence indicating that in general Jewish radicals did identify as Jews and acted to promote specific Jewish interests. Certainly Jewish radicals often rejected their fathers’ religion and their way of life, but all the evidence points to their identifying in different ways as Jews, not losing their Jewish identity to become de-ethnicized moral crusaders against capitalism. Slezkine uses Franz Boas to illustrate his patricide theory, because Boas was a radical Jew who recognized “the shackles of tradition” (p. 98). But he fails to note that Boas was hardly in rebellion against his own family. Boas was reared in a “Jewish-liberal” family in which the revolutionary ideals of 1848 remained influential,[125]Stocking 1968, 149. and there is ample evidence of his strong Jewish identification and concern with anti-Semitism.[126]The Culture of Critique, ch. 2.

Besides a few individual cases like Lukács and Boas, the only general evidence that Slezkine provides for the patricide thesis comes from Jaff Schatz’s study of the generation of Jewish Communists who dominated the Communist movement in Poland beginning in the 1930s. But he provides a mangled account of Schatz’s work.[127]The Culture of Critique, ch. 3. These Jews did indeed reject their parents’ religion, but the result of their Yiddish upbringing was “a deep core of their identity, values, norms, and attitudes with which they entered the rebellious period of their youth and adulthood. This core was to be transformed in the processes of acculturation, secularization, and radicalization sometimes even to the point of explicit denial. However, it was through this deep layer that all later perceptions were filtered.”[128]Schatz 1991, 37–38. Most of these individuals spoke Yiddish in their daily lives and had only a poor command of Polish even after joining the party. They socialized entirely with other Jews whom they met in the Jewish world of work, neighborhood, and Jewish social and political organizations. After they became Communists, they dated and married among themselves, and their social gatherings were conducted in Yiddish. Their mentors and principal influences were other ethnic Jews, including especially Luxemburg and Trotsky, and when they recalled personal heroes, they were mostly Jews whose exploits achieved semi-mythical proportions.

In general, Jews who joined the Communist movement did not first reject their ethnic identity, and there were many who “cherished Jewish culture…[and] dreamed of a society in which Jews would be equal as Jews.”[129]Schatz 1991, 48. It was common for individuals to combine a strong Jewish identity with Marxism as well as various combinations of Zionism and Bundism (a movement of Jewish socialists). Moreover, the attraction of Polish Jews to Communism was greatly facilitated by their knowledge that Jews had attained high-level positions of power and influence in the Soviet Union and that the Soviet government had established a system of Jewish education and culture. In both the Soviet Union and Poland, Communism was seen as opposing anti-Semitism. In marked contrast, during the 1930s the Polish government enacted policies which excluded Jews from public-sector employment, established quotas on Jewish representation in universities and the professions, and organized boycotts of Jewish businesses and artisans.[130]Hagen 1996. Clearly, Jews perceived Communism as good for Jews, and indeed a major contribution of Slezkine’s book is to document that Communism was good for Jews: It was a movement that never threatened Jewish group continuity, and it held the promise of Jewish power and influence and the end of state-sponsored anti-Semitism. And when this group achieved power in Poland after World War II, they liquidated the Polish nationalist movement, outlawed anti-Semitism, and established Jewish cultural and economic institutions.

Slezkine also fails to note that in the United States a strong Jewish identification was typical of Jewish radicals and that Jewish support for the left typically waxed and waned depending on specifically Jewish issues, particularly those related to anti-Semitism and support for Israel.[131]The Culture of Critique, ch. 3. The Jewish Old Left was a recognized part of the Jewish community, and American Jewish leftists during the 1960s were the only leftists who didn’t reject their parents—they really were “red diaper babies.”

It is also remarkable that the revolutionary movement in Tsarist Russia ceased being anti-Jewish when Jews attained highly visible and prominent positions in the movement, even though workers and peasants participated in anti-Jewish pogroms from 1880 to 1905 and continued to harbor anti-Jewish attitudes. As Slezkine himself notes, Jews were the only group that was not criticized by the revolutionary movement (p. 157), even though most Russians, and especially the lower classes whose cause they were supposedly championing, had very negative attitudes toward Jews.[132]See also Separation and its Discontents, ch. 2, note 23. When, in 1915, Maxim Gorky, a strong philosemite, published a survey of Russian attitudes toward Jews, the most common response was typified by the comment that “the congenital, cruel, and consistent egoism of the Jews is everywhere victorious over the good-natured, uncultured, trusting Russian peasant or merchant” (p. 159). There were concerns that all of Russia would pass into Jewish hands and that Russians would become slaves of the Jews. In the end, as Slezkine shows, as a result of the Revolution this prediction was not far off the mark. But in any case, one would think that if radical Jews had ceased being Jews, they would have been severely critical of the Jewish role in the pre-Soviet economy.

The other huge lacuna in Slezkine’s presentation is that he portrays Jewish radicals as typically the offspring of successful Jewish capitalists—like Georg Lukács—who scorn their fathers and wish for nothing more than to destroy Judaism in order to achieve personal freedom and make the world safe for humanity: “Marxism attributed [Jewish patricide] to the proletariat and urged the killing (more or less metaphorical) of the bad fathers, so as to emancipate the world from Judaism and make sure that no sons would have to kill their fathers ever again” (p. 100).

Because he wishes to portray Jews as quintessentially modern Mercurians, Slezkine repeatedly shows how Jews dominated the economy, the universities, and the culture of Eastern Europe—indeed, his book is probably the best, most up-to-date account of Jewish economic and cultural preeminence in Europe (and America) that we have. But that is far from the whole story. A prime force resulting in Jewish radicalism was the grinding poverty of most Jews in Eastern Europe. Jews had overshot their economic niche: The economy was unable to support the burgeoning Jewish population in the sorts of positions that Jews had traditionally filled, with the result that a large percentage of the Jewish population became mired in poverty (along with much higher percentages of the non-Jewish population). The result was a cauldron of ethnic hostility, with governmental restrictions on Jewish economic activity and representation in educational institutions, rampant anti-Jewish attitudes, and increasing Jewish desperation.[133]See ch. 4 below on “Zionism and the Internal Dynamics of the Jewish Community.”

The main Jewish response to this situation was an upsurge of fundamentalist extremism that coalesced in the Hasidic movement and, later in the nineteenth century, in political radicalism and Zionism as solutions to Jewish problems. Slezkine devotes one line to the fact that Jewish populations in Eastern Europe had the highest rate of natural increase of any European population in the nineteenth century (p. 115), but this was an extremely important part of Eastern Europe’s “Jewish problem.” Anti-Semitism and the exploding Jewish population, combined with economic adversity, were of critical importance for producing the great numbers of disaffected Jews who dreamed of deliverance in various messianic movements—the ethnocentric mysticism of the Kabbala and Hasidism, Zionism, or the dream of a Marxist political revolution. Jews emigrated in droves from Eastern Europe but the problems remained. And in the case of the Marxists, the main deliverance was to be achieved not by killing Judaism, as Slezkine suggests, but by the destruction of the traditional societies of Eastern Europe as a panacea for Jewish poverty and for anti-Semitism.

In fact, the vast majority of Jews in Eastern Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were hardly the modern Mercurians that Slezkine portrays them as being. Slezkine does note that well into the twentieth century the vast majority of Eastern European Jews could not speak the languages of the non-Jews living around them, and he does a good job of showing their intense ingroup feeling and their attitudes that non-Jews were less than human.[134]See also Vital 1975, 46. But he ignores their medieval outlook on life, their obsession with the Kabbala (the Jewish mystical tradition), their superstition and anti-rationalism, and their belief in “magical remedies, amulets, exorcisms, demonic possession (dybbuks), ghosts, devils, and teasing, mischievous genies.”[135]Mahler 1985, 16. These supposedly modern Mercurians had an attitude of absolute faith in the person of the tzadik, their rebbe, who was a charismatic figure seen by his followers literally as the personification of God in the world. (Attraction to charismatic leaders is a fundamental feature of Jewish social organization—apparent as much among religious fundamentalists as among Jewish political radicals or elite Jewish intellectuals.)[136]The Culture of Critique.

Bolshevism as a Jewish Movement • 2,000 Words

Slezkine’s main contribution is to summarize previously available data and to extend our understanding of Jewish dominance of the revolutionary movements before 1917 and of Soviet society thereafter. (Oddly, he makes only a passing reference to Albert Lindemann’s important Esau’s Tears, which makes many of the same points.[137]Lindemann 1997.) Not only were Jews vastly overrepresented among revolutionaries, they “were particularly well represented at the top, among theoreticians, journalists, and leaders” (p. 155). Radical Jews, like other Jews, were very talented, highly intelligent, hardworking, and in addition dedicated to creating effective ethnic networks.[138]See ch. 2 above on “Background Traits for Jewish Activism”; see also The Culture of Critique, chs. 1 and 3. These traits propelled them to the top of radical organizations and made the organizations themselves more effective.

But if Jews dominated radical and revolutionary organizations, they were immeasurably aided by philosemites like Gorky who, in Albert Lindemann’s term, were “jewified non-Jews”—”a term, freed of its ugly connotations, [that] might be used to underline an often overlooked point: Even in Russia there were some non-Jews, whether Bolsheviks or not, who respected Jews, praised them abundantly, imitated them, cared about their welfare, and established intimate friendships or romantic liaisons with them.”[139]Lindemann 1997, 433. (As noted above, many of the non-Jewish elite in the USSR had Jewish wives.)

What united the Jews and philosemites was their hatred for what Lenin (who had a Jewish grandfather) called “the thick-skulled, boorish, inert, and bearishly savage Russian or Ukrainian peasant”—the same peasant Gorky described as “savage, somnolent, and glued to his pile of manure” (p. 163). It was attitudes like these that created the climate that justified the slaughter of many millions of peasants under the new regime.

Philosemites continued to be common among the non-Jewish elite in the USSR, even in the 1950s, when Jews began to be targeted as Jews. One such philosemite was Pavel Sudoplatov, a Slav married to a Jew and with many Jewish friends, who was a high-ranking secret police official with a great deal of blood on his hands. The only murder he unequivocally condemned in his memoirs was that of Paul Mikhoels, a Jewish ethnic activist associated with the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee.

Figures like Gorky and Sudoplatov were critical to the success of Jews in the Soviet Union. This is a general principle of Jewish political activity in a Diaspora situation: Because Jews tend to constitute a tiny percentage of a society, they need to make alliances with non-Jews whose perceived interests dovetail with theirs. Non-Jews have a variety of reasons for being associated with Jewish interests, including career advancement, close personal relationships with or admiration for individual Jews, and deeply held personal convictions.[140]See ch. 5 below on “Neoconservatism as a Jewish Movement.”

Gorky’s love for the Jews—what Slezkine terms “the bitter, ardent, and hopeless love of self-described Apollonians for beautiful Mercurians” (p. 165)—was boundless. Gorky saw Jews as possessors of “heroic” idealism, “all-probing, all-scrutinizing”; “this idealism, which expresses itself in their tireless striving to remake the world according to new principles of equality and justice, is the main, and possibly the only, reason for the hostility toward Jews” (quoted on p. 164).

Despite the important role of Jews among the Bolsheviks, most Jews were not Bolsheviks before the revolution. However, Jews were prominent among the Bolsheviks, and once the revolution was under way, the vast majority of Russian Jews became sympathizers and active participants. Jews were particularly visible in the cities and as leaders in the army and in the revolutionary councils and committees. For example, there were 23 Jews among the 62 Bolsheviks in the All-Russian Central Executive Committee elected at the Second Congress of Soviets in October, 1917.

Jews were the leaders of the movement, and to a great extent they were its public face. Slezkine quotes historian Mikhail Beizer who notes, commenting on the situation in Leningrad, that “Jewish names were constantly popping up in newspapers. Jews spoke relatively more often than others at rallies, conferences, and meetings of all kinds.”[141]Mikhail Beizer, quoted in Slezkine (p. 176). In general, Jews were deployed in supervisory positions rather than positions that placed them in physical danger. In a Politburo meeting of April 18, 1919, Trotsky urged that Jews be redeployed because there were relatively few Jews in frontline combat units, while Jews constituted a “vast percentage” of the Cheka at the front and in the Executive Committees at the front and at the rear. This pattern had caused “chauvinist agitation” in the Red Army (p. 187).

Jewish representation at the top levels of the Cheka and OGPU (the acronyms by which the secret police was known in different periods) has often been the focus of those stressing Jewish involvement in the revolution and its aftermath. Slezkine provides statistics on Jewish overrepresentation in these organizations, especially in supervisory roles, and agrees with Leonard Schapiro’s comment that “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” (p. 177). During the 1930s the secret police, then known as the NKVD, “was one of the most Jewish of all Soviet institutions” (p. 254), with 42 of its 111 top officials being Jewish. At this time twelve of the twenty NKVD directorates were headed by ethnic Jews, including those in charge of state security, police, labor camps, and resettlement (i.e., deportation). The Gulag was headed by ethnic Jews from its beginning in 1930 until the end of 1938, a period that encompasses the worst excesses of the Great Terror. One might label them “Stalin’s willing executioners.”

The Bolsheviks continued to apologize for Jewish overrepresentation until the topic became taboo in the 1930s. And it was not until the late 1930s that there was a rise in visibility and assertiveness of “anti-Semites, ethnic nationalists, and advocates of proportional representation” (p. 188). By this time the worst of the slaughters in the Gulag, the purges, and the contrived famines had been completed.

The prominence of Jews in the Revolution and its aftermath was not lost on participants on both sides, including influential figures such as Winston Churchill, who wrote that the role of Jews in the revolution “is certainly a very great one; it probably outweighs all others.”[142]Churchill 1920. Slezkine highlights similar comments in a book published in 1927 by V. V. Shulgin, a Russian nationalist, who experienced firsthand the murderous acts of the Bolsheviks in his native Kiev in 1919: “We do not like the fact that this whole terrible thing was done on the Russian back and that it has cost us unutterable losses. We do not like the fact that you, Jews, a relatively small group within the Russian population, participated in this vile deed out of all proportion to your numbers” (p. 181; italics in original). Slezkine does not disagree with this assessment, but argues that Jews were hardly the only revolutionaries (p. 180). This is certainly true, but does not affect my argument that Jewish involvement was a necessary condition, not merely a sufficient condition, for the success of the Bolshevik Revolution and its aftermath.[143]The Culture of Critique, Preface to the first paperback edition and ch. 3. Slezkine’s argument clearly supports the Jews-as-necessary-condition claim, especially because of his emphasis on the leadership role of Jews.

However, the claim that Jewish involvement was a necessary condition is itself an understatement because, as Shulgin noted, the effectiveness of Jewish revolutionaries was far out of proportion to the number of Jews. A claim that a group constituting a large proportion of the population was necessary to the success of a movement would be unexceptional. But the critical importance of Jews occurred even though Jews constituted less than five percent of the Russian population around the time of the Revolution, and they were much less represented in the major urban areas of Moscow and Leningrad prior to the Revolution because they were prevented from living there by the Pale of Settlement laws.[144]The Jewish Encyclopedia estimates that Jews constituted 3.29 percent of the population of the Russian Empire circa 1900 (, and Slezkine (p. 217) provides data on the Jewish population of Soviet cities before and after the Revolution. Ediev (2001, 294) estimates the population of Russia at around ninety million around the time of the Bolshevik Revolution. Slezkine is correct that Jews were not the only revolutionaries, but his point only underscores the importance of philosemitism and other alliances Jews typically must make in Diaspora situations in order to advance their perceived interests.

In 1923, several Jewish intellectuals published a collection of essays admitting the “bitter sin” of Jewish complicity in the crimes of the Revolution. In the words of a contributor, I. L. Bikerman, “it goes without saying that not all Jews are Bolsheviks and not all Bolsheviks are Jews, but what is equally obvious is that disproportionate and immeasurably fervent Jewish participation in the torment of half-dead Russia by the Bolsheviks” (p. 183). Many of the commentators on Jewish Bolsheviks noted the “transformation” of Jews: In the words of another Jewish commentator, G. A. Landau, “cruelty, sadism, and violence had seemed alien to a nation so far removed from physical activity.” And another Jewish commentator, Ia. A. Bromberg, noted that:

the formerly oppressed lover of liberty had turned into a tyrant of ‘unheard-of-despotic arbitrariness’…. The convinced and unconditional opponent of the death penalty not just for political crimes but for the most heinous offenses, who could not, as it were, watch a chicken being killed, has been transformed outwardly into a leather-clad person with a revolver and, in fact, lost all human likeness. (pp. 183–84)

This psychological “transformation” of Russian Jews was probably not all that surprising to the Russians themselves, given Gorky’s finding that Russians prior to the Revolution saw Jews as possessed of “cruel egoism” and that they were concerned about becoming slaves of the Jews. Gorky himself remained a philosemite to the end, despite the prominent Jewish role in the murder of approximately twenty million of his ethnic kin,[145]The estimate of the number of deaths caused by Communism in the USSR is from Cortois 1999, 4. but after the Revolution he commented that “the reason for the current anti-Semitism in Russia is the tactlessness of the Jewish Bolsheviks. The Jewish Bolsheviks, not all of them but some irresponsible boys, are taking part in the defiling of the holy sites of the Russian people. They have turned churches into movie theaters and reading rooms without considering the feelings of the Russian people.” However, Gorky did not blame the Jews for this: “The fact that the Bolsheviks sent the Jews, the helpless and irresponsible Jewish youths, to do these things, does smack of provocation, of course. But the Jews should have refrained” (p. 186).

Those who carried out the mass murder and dispossession of the Russian peasants saw themselves, at least in their public pronouncements, as doing what was necessary in pursuit of the greater good. This was the official view not only of the Soviet Union, where Jews formed a dominant elite, but also was the “more or less official view” among Jewish intellectuals in the United States (p. 215) and elsewhere. (It is still far more common for leftist intellectuals to bemoan McCarthyism than the horrors of the USSR.[146]The Culture of Critique, Preface to the first paperback edition.)

It is for the sake of creating a perfect human being—Apollonian in body and Mercurian in mind—that Levinson steels himself for doing what is “necessary,” including the requisitioning of a weeping farmer’s last pig and the killing of a wounded comrade too weak to be evacuated…. [T]he greater the personal responsibility for acts ordinarily considered evil, the more visible the signs of election and the inner strength they bespoke. Demonic as well as Promethean, Bolshevik commissars ‘carried within them’ the pain of historical necessity.” (p. 194)

Levinson, a character in A. Fedeev’s The Rout (1926), a prominent example of socialist realism in the early Soviet period, is not ideologically Jewish, “but there is little doubt that for reasons of both aesthetic and sociological verisimilitude, canonical Jewishness seemed an appropriate expression of the Bolshevik vision of disembodied consciousness triumphing over [peasant] inertia” (p. 193). So it is not surprising that Gorky’s mild rebuke of Jewish anti-Christian zealotry was too much for Esther Frumkina, a leader of the Party’s Jewish section. Frumkina accused Gorky of attacking “Jewish Communists for their selfless struggle against darkness and fanaticism” (p. 187). In their self-perceptions, Jews are selflessly altruistic even when acting out ancient hatreds.

The Three Great Jewish Migrations of the Twentieth Century • 1,200 Words

Slezkine’s last and longest chapter describes the three great Jewish migrations of the twentieth century—to Israel, to the United States, and to the urban centers of the Soviet Union. Slezkine perceives all three through the lens of heroic Jewish self-perception. He sees the United States as a Jewish utopia precisely because it had only a “vestigial establishment tribalism” (p. 209) that could not long inhibit Jewish ascendancy: “The United States stood for unabashed Mercurianism, nontribal statehood, and the supreme sovereignty of capitalism and professionalism. It was—rhetorically—a collection if hominess rationalistici artificiales, a nation of strangers held together by a common celebration of separateness (individualism) and rootlessness (immigration)” (p. 207). “It was the only modern state…in which a Jew could be an equal citizen and a Jew at the same time. ‘America’ offered full membership without complete assimilation. Indeed, it seemed to require an affiliation with a subnational community as a condition of full membership in the political nation” (p. 207).

Slezkine sees post-World War II America as a Jewish utopia but seems only dimly aware that Jews to a great extent created their own utopia in the US by undermining nativist sentiments that were common at least until after World War II. Slezkine emphasizes the Jewish role in institutionalizing the therapeutic state, but sees it as completely benign, rather than an aspect of the “culture of critique” that undermined the ethnic identities of white Americans: “By bringing Freudianism to America and by adopting it, briefly, as a salvation religion, [Jews] made themselves more American while making America more therapeutic” (p. 319). There is little discussion of the main anti-nativist intellectual movements, all of which were dominated by ethnically conscious Jews: Boasian anthropology, Horace Kallen and the development of the theory of America as a “proposition nation,” and the Frankfurt School which combined psychoanalysis and Marxism into a devastating weapon against the ethnic consciousness of white Americans. Nor does he discuss the role of Jewish activist organizations in altering the ethnic balance of the United States by promoting large-scale immigration from around the world.

Slezkine also views the Jewish migration to Israel as heroic:

In both Jewish Palestine (the Yishuv) and Soviet Russia, brotherhood stood for the full identity of all true believers (always the few against the many) and their complete identification with the cause (ardently desired and genuinely felt by most young Jews in both places). Eventually, both revolutions evolved in the direction of greater hierarchy, institutionalized militarism, intense anxiety about aliens, and the cult of generals, boy soldiers, and elite forces, but between 1917 and the mid-1930s they were overflowing with youthful energy and the spirit of fraternal effort, and self-sacrifice. (p. 212)

The passage is remarkable both for its pinpointing the ingroup/outgroup nature of the psychology of traditional Jewish groups, freed now of the Torah and the synagogue, and for its description of the ingroup psychology of mass murder (in the USSR) and ethnic cleansing (in the Middle East) as involving valiant self-sacrifice and pride in accomplishment.

But Slezkine spends most of his energy by far in providing a fascinating chronicle of the Jewish rise to elite status in all areas of Soviet society—culture, the universities, professional occupations, the media, and government. In all cases, Jewish overrepresentation was most apparent at the pinnacles of success and influence. To take just the area of culture, Jews were highly visible as avant-garde artists, formalist theorists, polemicists, moviemakers, and poets. They were “among the most exuberant crusaders against ‘bourgeois’ habits during the Great Transformation; the most disciplined advocates of socialist realism during the ‘Great Retreat’ (from revolutionary internationalism); and the most passionate prophets of faith, hope, and combat during the Great Patriotic War against the Nazis” (p. 225). And, as their critics noticed, Jews were involved in anti-Christian propaganda. Mikhail Bulgakov, a Russian writer, noticed that the publishers of Godless magazine were Jews; he was “stunned” to find that Christ was portrayed as “a scoundrel and a cheat. It is not hard to see whose work it is. This crime is immeasurable” (p. 244).

Some of the juxtapositions are striking and seemingly intentional. On p. 230, Lev Kopelev is quoted on the need for firmness in confiscating the property of the Ukrainian peasants. Kopelev, who witnessed the famine that killed seven to ten million peasants, stated, “You mustn’t give in to debilitating pity. We are the agents of historical necessity. We are fulfilling our revolutionary duty. We are procuring grain for our socialist Fatherland. For the Five-Year Plan.” Slezkine describes the NKVD as “one of the most Jewish of all Soviet institutions” and recounts the Jewish leadership of the Great Terror of the 1930s (pp. 254 and 255). On p. 256, he writes that in 1937 the prototypical Jew who moved from the Pale of Settlement to Moscow to man elite positions in the Soviet state “probably would have been living in elite housing in downtown Moscow…with access to special stores, a house in the country (dacha), and a live-in peasant nanny or maid.…At least once a year, she would have traveled to a Black Sea sanatorium or a mineral spa in the Caucasus” (p. 256). Slezkine writes long and lovingly detailed sketches of life at the dachas of the elite—the “open verandas overlooking small gardens enclosed by picket fences or wildly overgrown yards” (p. 256), but the reader is left to his own imagination to visualize the horrors of the Ukrainian famine and the liquidation of the Kulaks.

As Slezkine notes, most of the Soviet elite were not Jews, but Jews were far overrepresented among the elite (and Russians far underrepresented as a percentage of the population). Moreover, the Jews formed a far more cohesive core than the rest of the elite because of their common social and cultural background (p. 236). The common understanding that the new elite had a very large Jewish representation resulted in pervasive anti-Jewish attitudes. In 1926, an Agitprop report noted “The sense that the Soviet regime patronizes the Jews, that it is ‘the Jewish government,’ that the Jews cause unemployment, housing shortages, college admissions problems, price rises, and commercial speculation—this sense is instilled in the workers by all the hostile elements.… If it does not encounter resistance, the wave of anti-Semitism threatens to become, in the very near future, a serious political question” (p. 244).

Such widespread public perceptions about the role of Jews in the new government led to aggressive surveillance and repression of anti-Jewish attitudes and behavior, including the execution of Russian nationalists who expressed anti-Jewish attitudes. These public perceptions also motivated Jews to adopt a lower profile in the regime, as with Trotsky, who refused the post of commissar of internal affairs because it might lend further ammunition to the anti-Jewish arguments. From 1927 to 1932 Stalin established an ambitious public campaign to combat anti-Semitism that included fifty-six books published by the government and an onslaught of speeches, mass rallies, newspaper articles, and show trials “aimed at eradicating the evil” (p. 249).

The Decline of the Jews in the Soviet Union • 1,200 Words

Jews were able to maintain themselves as an elite until the end of the Soviet regime in 1991—this despite an official push for affirmative action–style programs to open up opportunities for the children of peasants and workers in the 1930s and to blunt the anti-Jewish feelings simmering at the lower levels of Soviet society. Jewish elite status persisted despite the Great Terror of the late 1930s, which disproportionately affected the political elite. On the whole, Jews were underrepresented as victims of the Great Terror. And although the Jewish percentage of the political elite did decline after the purges of the late 1930s and the promotion of former peasants and working class Russians, this did not affect Jewish predominance as a professional, cultural, and managerial elite. Jews also retained their elite status despite Stalin’s campaign in the late 1940s against Jewish ethnic and cultural institutions and their spokesmen. Jewish elite status remained even after the purge was expanded to all sectors of the Soviet elite, due at least partly to “the widespread sense [among Russians] that the great victory [in World War II] entitled them to a greater role in decision making” (p. 306). Slezkine shows the very high percentages of Jews in various institutions in the late 1940s, including the universities, the media, the foreign service, and the secret police. For example, the deans of philosophers, historians, and legal scholars were ethnic Jews, and, as already noted, Jews constituted eighty percent of the Soviet Academy of Science Institute of Literature. As for the Jewish role as “vanguard of the working class,” Jews still made up 23 percent of the staff at the Trade Union Council’s publication Trud even after a purge that cut their numbers in half.

The campaign against the Jews began only after the apogee of mass murder and deportations in the USSR, and was much less lethal than those mounted against a long list of other ethnic groups, whose typical fate was deportation under the most brutal of circumstances (Cossacks, Chechens, Crimean Tatars, Volga Germans, Moldavians, Kalmyks, Karachai, Balkars, Ingush, Greeks, Bulgars, Crimean Armenians, Meskhetian Turks, Kurds, and Khemshins). The campaign against the Jews was also much less consistent and effective than the Soviet campaigns against the children of the former elite—the factory owners, the Cossack officers, and the middle classes and intelligentsia—had been (p. 308).

Unlike the purges of the 1930s that sometimes targeted Jews as member of the elite (albeit at far less than their percentage of the elite), the anti-Jewish actions of the late 1940s and early 1950s were targeted at Jews because of their ethnicity. Similar purges were performed throughout Soviet-controlled Eastern Europe (pp. 313–14). “All three regimes [Poland, Romania, Hungary] resembled the Soviet Union of the 1920s insofar as they combined the ruling core of the old Communist underground, which was heavily Jewish, with a large pool of upwardly mobile Jewish professionals, who were, on average, the most trustworthy among the educated and the most educated among the trustworthy” (p. 314). Speaking of the situation in Poland, Khrushchev supported the anti-Jewish purge with his remark that “you have already too many Abramoviches.”[147]In Schatz 1991, 272.

Whereas in the 1920s and 1930s children of the pillars of the old order were discriminated against, now Jews were not only being purged because of their vast overrepresentation among the elite, but were being discriminated against in university admissions. Jews, the formerly loyal members of the elite and willing executioners of the bloodiest regime in history, now “found themselves among the aliens” (p. 310). Rather than rationalize their persecution as resulting from the iron laws of history, some Jews began to feel guilt for their former role. A Jewish woman writes that after her husband was arrested, her maid told her, “You are crying now, but you did not mind when my father was being dekulakized, martyred for no reason at all, and my whole family thrown out in the street” (p. 311).

And so began the exodus of Jews. Stalin died and the anti-Jewish campaign fizzled, but the Jewish trajectory was definitely downhill. Jews retained their elite status and occupational profile until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, but “the special relationship between the Jews and the Soviet state had come to an end—or rather, the unique symbiosis in pursuit of world revolution had given way to a unique antagonism over two competing and incommensurate nationalisms” (p. 330). A response of the Russians was “massive affirmative action” (p. 333) aimed at giving greater representation to underrepresented ethnic groups. Jews were targets of suspicion because of their ethnic status, barred from some elite institutions, and limited in their opportunities for advancement.

The Russians were taking back their country, and it wasn’t long before Jews became leaders of the dissident movement and began to seek to emigrate in droves to the United States, Western Europe, and Israel. Despite still possessing elite social status and far fewer disabilities than many groups (e.g., the overwhelming majority of the Soviet population was not allowed to live in cities and some Christian sects were banned), Jews perceived their situation as “unrelieved humiliation” (p. 339). Overt anti-Semitism was encouraged by the more covert official variety apparent in the limits on Jewish advancement. Under these circumstances, Jews became “in many ways, the core of the antiregime intelligentsia” (p. 340). Jewish dissidents whose parents had run the Gulags, the deportations, and the state-sponsored famines, now led the “urgent call for social justice” (p. 342). Jewish academics with “cult followings” (p. 342)—a familiar Jewish pattern[148]The Culture of Critique.—and close ties to Western Jewish intellectuals became the intellectual vanguard and iconoclasts of the new culture of critique in the Soviet Union.

Applications to leave the USSR increased dramatically after Israel’s Six-Day War of 1967, which, as in the United States and Eastern Europe, resulted in an upsurge of Jewish identification and ethnic pride. The floodgates were eventually opened by Gorbachev in the late 1980s, and by 1994, 1.2 million Soviet Jews had emigrated—43 percent of the total. By 2002, there were only 230,000 Jews left in the Russian Federation, 0.16 percent of the population. These remaining Jews nevertheless exhibit the typical Ashkenazi pattern of high achievement and overrepresentation among the elite, including six of the seven oligarchs who emerged in control of the Soviet economy and media in the period of de-nationalization (p. 362).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this dénouement did not result in any sense of collective guilt among Soviet Jews (p. 345) or among their American apologists. Indeed, American Jewish media figures who were blacklisted because of Communist affiliations in the 1940s are now heroes, honored by the film industry, praised in newspapers, their work exhibited in museums.[149]See discussion in The Culture of Critique, Preface to the first paperback edition. At the same time, the cause of Soviet Jews and their ability to emigrate became a critical rallying point for American Jewish activist organizations and a defining feature of neoconservatism as a Jewish intellectual and political movement. (For example, Richard Perle, a key neoconservative, was Senator Henry Jackson’s most important security advisor from 1969 to 1979 and organized Congressional support for the Jackson-Vanik Amendment linking US-Soviet trade to the ability of Jews to emigrate from the Soviet Union. The bill was passed over strenuous opposition from the Nixon administration.) Jewish activist organizations and many Jewish historians portray the Soviet Jewish experience as a sojourn in the land of the “Red Pharaohs” (p. 360). The historical legacy is that Jews were the passive, uncomprehending victims of the White armies, the Nazis, the Ukrainian nationalists, and the postwar Soviet state, nothing more.

The Issue of Jewish Culpability • 2,400 Words

Alexander Solzhenitsyn calls on Jews to accept moral responsibility for the Jews who “took part in the iron Bolshevik leadership and, even more so, in the ideological guidance of a huge country down a false path.…[and for the Jewish role in the] Cheka executions, the drowning of the barges with the condemned in the White and Caspian Seas, collectivization, the Ukrainian famine—in all the vile acts of the Soviet regime” (quoted on p. 360). But according to Slezkine, there can be no collective guilt because Soviet violence, unlike the Nazi persecution of the Jews, was not tribal violence. Violence of the Soviet sort has “no legitimate heirs—for either the victims or the perpetrators” (p. 345). Slezkine acknowledges that Jews were “the most enthusiastic ethnically defined supporters of the Soviet state” but he essentially argues that Jews were not really Jews when they were Communists, at least until World War II caused them to be conscious of their Jewish identities. After all, the legacy of Communism “was almost as strongly committed to cosmopolitanism as it was to mass violence” (p. 346).

Again we see the importance of Slezkine’s claims that Jewish Communists lacked a Jewish identity. However, as demonstrated above, there can be little doubt that Soviet Jews thought of themselves as Jews (although they certainly were not religious Jews) and that they worked together on the basis of shared Jewish ethnic identity. Nevertheless, the critical issue for collective guilt is whether the Jewish enthusiasm for the Soviet state and the enthusiastic participation of Jews in the violence against what Slezkine terms “rural backwardness and religion” (p. 346) had something to do with their Jewish identity.

This is a more difficult claim to establish, but the outlines of the argument are quite clear. Even granting the possibility that the revolutionary vanguard composed of Jews like Trotsky that spearheaded the Bolshevik Revolution was far more influenced by a universalist utopian vision than by their upbringing in traditional Judaism, it does not follow that this was the case for the millions of Jews who left the shtetl towns of the Pale of Settlement to migrate to Moscow and the urban centers of the new state. The migration of the Jews to the urban centers of the USSR is a critical aspect of Slezkine’s presentation, but it strains credulity to suppose that these migrants threw off, completely and immediately, all remnants of the Eastern European shtetl culture which, Slezkine acknowledges, had a deep sense of estrangement from non-Jewish culture, and in particular a fear and hatred of peasants resulting from the traditional economic relations between Jews and peasants and exacerbated by the long and recent history of anti-Jewish pogroms carried out by peasants. Traditional Jewish shtetl culture also had a very negative attitude toward Christianity, not only as the central cultural icon of the outgroup but as associated in their minds with a long history of anti-Jewish persecution. The same situation doubtless occurred in Poland, where the efforts of even the most “de-ethnicized” Jewish Communists to recruit Poles were inhibited by traditional Jewish attitudes of superiority toward and estrangement from traditional Polish culture.[150]Schatz 1991, 119.

In other words, the war against “rural backwardness and religion” was exactly the sort of war that a traditional Jew would have supported wholeheartedly, because it was a war against everything they hated and thought of as oppressing them. Of course traditional shtetl Jews also hated the Tsar and his government due to restrictions on Jews and because they did not think that the government did enough to rein in anti-Jewish violence. There can be little doubt that Lenin’s contempt for “the thick-skulled, boorish, inert, and bearishly savage Russian or Ukrainian peasant” was shared by the vast majority of shtetl Jews prior to the Revolution and after it. Those Jews who defiled the holy places of traditional Russian culture and published anti-Christian periodicals doubtless reveled in their tasks for entirely Jewish reasons, and, as Gorky worried, their activities not unreasonably stoked the anti-Semitism of the period. Given the anti-Christian attitudes of traditional shtetl Jews, it is very difficult to believe that the Jews engaged in campaigns against Christianity did not have a sense of revenge against the old culture that they held in such contempt.

Indeed, Slezkine reviews some of the works of early Soviet Jewish writers that illustrate the revenge theme. The amorous advances of the Jewish protagonist of Eduard Bagritsky’s poem “February” are rebuffed by a Russian girl, but their positions are changed after the Revolution when he becomes a deputy commissar. Seeing the girl in a brothel, he has sex with her without taking off his boots, his gun, or his trench coat—an act of aggression and revenge:

I am taking you because so timid
Have I always been, and to take vengeance
For the shame of my exiled forefathers
And the twitter of an unknown fledgling!
I am taking you to wreak my vengeance
On the world I could not get away from!

Slezkine seems comfortable with revenge as a Jewish motive, but he does not consider traditional Jewish culture itself to be a contributor to Jewish attitudes toward traditional Russia, even though he notes that a very traditional part of Jewish culture was to despise the Russians and their culture. (Even the Jewish literati despised all of traditional Russian culture, apart from Pushkin and a few literary icons.) Indeed, one wonders what would motivate the Jewish commissars to revenge apart from motives related to their Jewish identity. Traditional hostility toward non-Jews and their culture forms a central theme in the writings of Israel Shahak and many mainstream Jewish historians, including Slezkine, and I have presented summaries of this material in Chapter 2 [where?].[151]Mahler 1985; Shahak 1994; Shahak and Mezvinsky 1999.

An important aspect of Slezkine’s general theoretical approach is that relationships between Mercurians and Apollonians involve mutual hostility, suspicion and contempt, and a sense of superiority (p. 20). These traditional attitudes were exacerbated by the increase in tensions between Jews and non-Jews beginning with the pogroms of 1881 and extending, with fits and starts, into the period of the Bolshevik Revolution. Slezkine’s argument that Jews were critically involved in destroying traditional Russian institutions, liquidating Russian nationalists, murdering the Tsar and his family, dispossessing and murdering the kulaks, and destroying the Orthodox Church has been made by many other writers over the years, including Igor Shafarevich, a mathematician and member of the prestigious U. S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Shafarevich’s review of Jewish literary works during the Soviet and post-Soviet period agrees with Slezkine in showing Jewish hatred mixed with a powerful desire for revenge toward pre-revolutionary Russia and its culture.[152]Shafarevich 1989. The NAS asked Shafarevich to resign his position in the academy but he refused (see Science 257 [1992]: 743). But Shafarevich also suggests that the Jewish “Russophobia” that prompted the mass murder is not a unique phenomenon, but results from traditional Jewish hostility toward the non-Jewish world, considered tref (unclean), and toward non-Jews themselves, considered sub-human and as worthy of destruction. Both Shafarevich and Slezkine review the traditional animosity of Jews toward Russia, but Slezkine attempts to get his readers to believe that shtetl Jews were magically transformed in the instant of Revolution; although they did carry out the destruction of traditional Russia and approximately twenty million of its people, they did so only out of the highest humanitarian motives and the dream of utopian socialism, only to return to an overt Jewish identity because of the pressures of World War II, the rise of Israel as a source of Jewish identity and pride, and anti-Jewish policies and attitudes in the USSR. This is simply not plausible.

The situation prompts reflection on what might have happened in the United States had American Communists and their sympathizers assumed power. The “red diaper babies” came from Jewish families which “around the breakfast table, day after day, in Scarsdale, Newton, Great Neck, and Beverly Hills have discussed what an awful, corrupt, immoral, undemocratic, racist society the United States is.”[153]Lipset 1988, 393. Indeed, hatred toward the peoples and cultures of non-Jews and the image of enslaved ancestors as victims of anti-Semitism have been the Jewish norm throughout history—much commented on, from Tacitus to the present.[154]See ch. 2 above, “Background Traits for Jewish Activism”; see also Separation and its Discontents, ch. 2; The Culture of Critique, ch. 1 and Preface to the first paperback edition; Soloveichik 2003.

It is easy to imagine which sectors of American society would have been deemed overly backward and religious and therefore worthy of mass murder by the American counterparts of the Jewish elite in the Soviet Union—the ones who journeyed to Ellis Island instead of Moscow. The descendants of these overly backward and religious people now loom large among the “red state” voters who have been so important in recent national elections. Jewish animosity toward the Christian culture that is so deeply ingrained in much of America is legendary. As Joel Kotkin points out, “for generations, [American] Jews have viewed religious conservatives with a combination of fear and disdain.”[155]Kotkin 2002. And as Elliott Abrams notes, the American Jewish community “clings to what is at bottom a dark vision of America, as a land permeated with anti-Semitism and always on the verge of anti-Semitic outbursts.”[156]Abrams 1997, 188. These attitudes are well captured in Steven Steinlight’s charge that the Americans who approved the immigration restriction legislation of the 1920s—the vast majority of the population—were a “thoughtless mob” and that the legislation itself was “evil, xenophobic, anti-Semitic,” “vilely discriminatory,” a “vast moral failure,” a “monstrous policy.”[157]Steinlight 2001. In the end, the dark view of traditional Slavs and their culture that facilitated the participation of so many Eastern European shtetl Jews in becoming willing executioners in the name of international socialism is not very different from the views of contemporary American Jews about a majority of their fellow countrymen.

There is a certain enormity in all this. The twentieth century was indeed the Jewish century because Jews and Jewish organizations were intimately and decisively involved in its most important events. Slezkine’s greatest accomplishment is to set the historical record straight on the importance of Jews in the Bolshevik Revolution and its aftermath, but he doesn’t focus on the huge repercussions of the Revolution, repercussions that continue to shape the world of the twenty-first century. In fact, for long after the Revolution, conservatives throughout Europe and the United States believed that Jews were responsible for Communism and for the Bolshevik Revolution.[158]Bendersky 2000; Mayer 1988; Nolte 1965; Szajkowski 1974. The Jewish role in leftist political movements was a common source of anti-Jewish attitudes among a great many intellectuals and political figures. In Germany, the identification of Jews and Bolshevism was widespread in the middle classes and was a critical part of the National Socialist view of the world. As historian Ernst Nolte has noted, for middle-class Germans, “the experience of the Bolshevik revolution in Germany was so immediate, so close to home, and so disquieting, and statistics seemed to prove the overwhelming participation of Jewish ringleaders so irrefutably,” that even many liberals believed in Jewish responsibility.[159]Nolte 1965, 331. Jewish involvement in the horrors of Communism was also an important sentiment in Hitler’s desire to destroy the USSR and in the anti-Jewish actions of the German National Socialist government. Jews and Jewish organizations were also important forces in inducing the Western democracies to side with Stalin rather than Hitler in World War II.

The victory over National Socialism set the stage for the tremendous increase in Jewish power in the post-World War II Western world, in the end more than compensating for the decline of Jews in the Soviet Union. As Slezkine shows, the children of Jewish immigrants assumed an elite position in the United States, just as they had in the Soviet Union and throughout Eastern Europe and Germany prior to World War II. This new-found power facilitated the establishment of Israel, the transformation of the United States and other Western nations in the direction of multiracial, multicultural societies via large-scale non-white immigration, and the consequent decline in European demographic and cultural preeminence.[160]The detailed version of this argument is in The Culture of Critique, Preface to the first paperback edition. The critical Jewish role in Communism has been sanitized, while Jewish victimization by the Nazis has achieved the status of a moral touchstone and is a prime weapon in the push for massive non-European immigration, multiculturalism, and advancing other Jewish causes.

The Jewish involvement in Bolshevism has therefore had an enormous effect on recent European and American history. It is certainly true that Jews would have attained elite status in the United States with or without their prominence in the Soviet Union. However, without the Soviet Union as a shining beacon of a land freed of official anti-Semitism where Jews had attained elite status in a stunningly short period, the history of the United States would have been very different. The persistence of Jewish radicalism influenced the general political sensibility of the Jewish community and had a destabilizing effect on American society, ranging from the paranoia of the McCarthy era, to the triumph of the 1960s countercultural revolution, to the conflicts over immigration and multiculturalism that are so much a part of the contemporary political landscape.[161]The Culture of Critique.

It is Slezkine’s chief contention that the history of the twentieth century was a history of the rise of the Jews in the West, in the Middle East, and in Russia, and ultimately their decline in Russia. I think he is absolutely right about this. If there is any lesson to be learned, it is that Jews not only became an elite in all these areas, they became a hostile elite—hostile to traditional peoples and cultures of all three areas they came to dominate. Until now, the greatest human tragedies have occurred in the Soviet Union, but Israel’s record as an oppressive and expansive occupying power in the Middle East has made it a pariah among the vast majority of the governments of the world. And Jewish hostility toward the European-derived people and culture of the United States has been a consistent feature of Jewish political behavior and attitudes throughout the twentieth century. In the present, this normative Jewish hostility toward the traditional population and culture of the United States remains a potent motivator of Jewish involvement in the transformation of the US into a non-European society.[162]The Culture of Critique.

Given this record of Jews as a hostile but very successful elite, I doubt that the continued demographic and cultural dominance of Western European peoples will be retained either in Europe or the United States and other Western societies without a decline in Jewish influence. (Perhaps more obviously, the same might be said vis-à-vis the Palestinians and other Arab peoples in the Middle East.) The lesson of the Soviet Union (and Spain from the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries) is that Jewish influence does wax and wane. Contrary to the utopian ideologies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there is no end to history.

Chapter 4 • Jewish Involvement in the Psychoanalytic Movement • 19,900 Words

The familiar caricature of the bearded and monocled Freudian analyst probing his reclining patient for memories of toilet training gone awry and parentally directed lust is now an anachronism, as is the professional practice of that mostly empty and confabulatory art. How such an elaborate theory could have become so widely accepted—on the basis of no systematic evidence or critical experiments, and in the face of chronic failures of therapeutic intervention in all of the major classes of mental illness (schizophrenia, mania and depression)—is something that sociologists of science and popular culture have yet to fully explain. (Paul Churchland 1995, 181)

The thesis of this chapter is that it is impossible to understand psychoanalysis as a “science,” or more properly as a political movement, without taking into account the role of Judaism. Sigmund Freud is a prime example of a Jewish social scientist whose writings were influenced by his Jewish identity and his negative attributions regarding gentile culture as the source of anti-Semitism.

The discussion of Jewish involvement in the psychoanalytic movement was until recently, “as though by tacit agreement, beyond the pale” (Yerushalmi 1991, 98). Nevertheless, the Jewish involvement in psychoanalysis—the “Jewish science”—has been apparent to those inside and outside the movement since its inception:

History made psychoanalysis a “Jewish science.” It continued to be attacked as such. It was destroyed in Germany, Italy, and Austria and exiled to the four winds, as such. It continues even now to be perceived as such by enemies and friends alike. Of course there are by now distinguished analysts who are not Jews. . . . But the vanguard of the movement over the last fifty years has remained predominantly Jewish as it was from the beginning. (Yerushalmi 1991, 98)

In addition to constituting the core of the leadership and the intellectual vanguard of the movement, Jews have also constituted the majority of the movement’s members. In 1906 all 17 members of the movement were Jewish, and they strongly identified as Jews (Klein 1981). In a 1971 study, Henry, Sims and Spray found that 62.1 percent of their sample of American psychoanalysts identified themselves as having a Jewish cultural affinity, compared with only 16.7 percent indicating a Protestant affinity and 2.6 percent a Catholic affinity. An additional 18.6 percent indicated no cultural affinity, a percentage considerably higher than the other categories of mental health professional and suggesting that the percentage of psychoanalysts with a Jewish background was even higher than 62 percent (Henry, Sims & Spray 1971, 27).[163]The ethnic composition of the editorial board of the Psychoanalytic Quarterly is overwhelmingly Jewish, indicating that psychoanalysis remains fundamentally an ethnic movement. The editor, six of seven associate editors, and 20 of 27 editorial board members of the 1997 volume have Jewish surnames.

We have seen that a common component of Jewish intellectual activity since the Enlightenment has been to criticize gentile culture. Freud’s ideas have often been labeled as subversive. Indeed, “[Freud] was convinced that it was in the very nature of psychoanalytic doctrine to appear shocking and subversive. On board ship to America he did not feel that he was bringing that country a new panacea. With his typically dry wit he told his traveling companions, ‘We are bringing them the plague’ “ (Mannoni 1971, 168).

Peter Gay labels Freud’s work generally as “subversive” (1987, 140), his sexual ideology in particular as “deeply subversive for his time” (p. 148), and he describes his Totem and Taboo as containing “subversive conjectures” (p. 327) in its analysis of culture. “While the implications of Darwin’s views were threatening and unsettling, they were not quite so directly abrasive, not quite so unrespectable, as Freud’s views on infantile sexuality, the ubiquity of perversions, and the dynamic power of unconscious urges” (Gay 1987, 144).

There was a general perception among many anti-Semites that Jewish intellectuals were subverting German culture in the period prior to 1933 (SAID, Ch. 2), and psychoanalysis was one aspect of this concern. A great deal of hostility to psychoanalysis centered around the perceived threat of psychoanalysis to Christian sexual ethics, including the acceptance of masturbation and premarital sex (Kurzweil 1989, 18). Psychoanalysis became a target of gentiles decrying the Jewish subversion of culture—”the decadent influence of Judaism,” as one writer termed it (see Klein 1981, 144). In 1928 Carl Christian Clemen, a professor of ethnology at the University of Bonn, reacted strongly to The Future of an Illusion, Freud’s analysis of religious belief in terms of infantile needs. Clemen decried the psychoanalytic tendency to find sex everywhere, a tendency he attributed to the Jewish composition of the movement: “One could explain this by the particular circles from which its advocates and perhaps, too, the patients it treats, principally hail” (in Gay 1988, 537). Freud’s books were burned in the May 1933 book burnings in Germany, and when the Nazis entered Vienna in 1938, they ordered Freud to leave and abolished the Internationaler Psychoanalytischer Verlag.

In the United States, by the second decade of the twentieth century Freud was firmly associated with the movement for sexual freedom and social reform, and had become the target of social conservatives (Torrey 1992, 16ff).[164]The continuing role of psychoanalysis in the movement toward sexual liberation can be seen in a recent debate over teenage sexuality. An article in the Los Angeles Times (Feb. 15, 1994, A1, A16) noted the opposition of the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood to a school program that advocated teenage celibacy. Sheldon Zablow, a psychiatrist and spokesperson for this perspective, stated “Repeated studies show that if you try to repress sexual feelings, they may come out later in far more dangerous ways—sexual abuse, rape” (p. A16). This psychoanalytic fantasy was compounded by Zablow’s claim that sexual abstinence has never worked in all of human history—a claim that indicates his unawareness of historical data on sexual behavior in the West (including Jewish sexual behavior), at least from the Middle Ages until the twentieth century (e.g., Ladurie 1986). I am not aware of any stratified traditional human society (and certainly not Muslim societies) that has taken the view that it is impossible and undesirable to prevent teenage sexual activity, especially by girls. As Goldberg (1996, 46) notes, “within the world of liberal organizations like the ACLU, . . . Jewish influence is so profound that non-Jews sometimes blur the distinction between them and the formal Jewish community.” As late as 1956 a psychiatrist writing in the American Journal of Psychiatry complained, “Is it possible that we are developing the equivalent of a secular church, supported by government monies, staffed by a genital-level apostolate unwittingly dispensing a broth of existential atheism, hedonism, and other dubious religio-philosophical ingredients?” (Johnson 1956, 40).

Although he rejected religion, Freud himself had a very strong Jewish identity. In a 1931 letter he described himself as “a fanatical Jew,” and on another occasion he wrote that he found “the attraction of Judaism and of Jews so irresistible, many dark emotional powers, all the mightier the less they let themselves be grasped in words, as well as the clear consciousness of inner identity, the secrecy of the same mental construction” (in Gay 1988, 601). On another occasion he wrote of “strange secret longings” related to his Jewish identity (in Gay 1988, 601). At least by 1930 Freud also became strongly sympathetic with Zionism. His son Ernest was also a Zionist, and none of Freud’s children converted to Christianity or married gentiles.

As expected by social identity theory, Freud’s strong sense of Jewish identity involved a deep estrangement from gentiles. Yerushalmi (1991, 39) notes “We find in Freud a sense of otherness vis-à-vis non-Jews which cannot be explained merely as a reaction to anti-Semitism. Though anti-Semitism would periodically reinforce or modify it, this feeling seems to have been primal, inherited from his family and early milieu, and it remained with him throughout his life.”

In a revealing comment, Freud stated “I have often felt as though I inherited all the obstinacy and all the passions of our ancestors when they defended their temple, as though I could throw away my life with joy for a great moment” (in Gay 1988, 604). His identity as a Jew was thus associated with a self-concept in which he selflessly does battle with the enemies of the group, dying in an act of heroic altruism defending group interests—a mirror-image Jewish version of the grand finale of Wagner’s Nibelungenlied that was an ingredient in Nazi ideology (see SAID, Ch. 5). In terms of social identity theory, Freud thus had a very powerful sense of group membership and a sense of duty to work altruistically for the interests of the group.

Gay (1988, 601) interprets Freud as having the belief that his identity as a Jew was the result of his phylogenetic heritage. As Yerushalmi (1991, 30) notes, his psycho-Lamarckianism was “neither casual nor circumstantial.” Freud grasped what Yerushalmi (1991, 31) terms the “subjective dimension” of Larmarckianism, that is, the feeling of a powerful tie to the Jewish past as shaped by Jewish culture, the feeling that one can not escape being a Jew, and “that often what one feels most deeply and obscurely is a trilling wire in the blood.” In the following passage from Moses and Monotheism,the Jews are proposed to have fashioned themselves to become a morally and intellectually superior people:

The preference which through two thousand years the Jews have given to spiritual endeavour has, of course, had its effect; it has helped to build a dike against brutality and the inclination to violence which are usually found where athletic development becomes the ideal of the people. The harmonious development of spiritual and bodily activity, as achieved by the Greeks, was denied to the Jews. In this conflict their decision was at least made in favour of what is culturally the more important. (Freud 1939, 147)

Freud’s sense of Jewish superiority can also be seen in a diary entry by Joseph Wortis based on an interview with Freud in 1935: Freud commented that he viewed gentiles as prone to “ruthless egoism,” whereas Jews had a superior family and intellectual life. Wortis then asked Freud if he viewed Jews as a superior people. Freud replied: “I think nowadays they are. . . . When one thinks that 10 or 12 of the Nobel winners are Jews, and when one thinks of their other great achievements in the sciences and in the arts, one has every reason to think them superior” (in Cuddihy 1974, 36).

Further, Freud viewed these differences as unchangeable. In a 1933 letter Freud decried the upsurge in anti-Semitism: “My judgment of human nature, especially the Christian-Aryan variety, has had little reason to change” (in Yerushalmi 1991, 48). Nor, in Freud’s opinion, would the Jewish character change. In Moses and Monotheism, Freud (1939, 51n), referring to the concern with racial purity apparent in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah (see PTSDA,Ch. 2), stated, “It is historically certain that the Jewish type was finally fixed as a result of the reforms of Ezra and Nehemiah in the fifth century before Christ.” “Freud was thoroughly convinced that once the Jewish character was created in ancient times it had remained constant, immutable, its quintessential qualities indelible” (Yerushalmi 1991, 52).

The obvious racialism and the clear statement of Jewish ethical, spiritual, and intellectual superiority contained in Freud’s last work, Moses and Monotheism, must be seen not as an aberration of Freud’s thinking but as central to his attitudes, if not his published work, dating from a much earlier period. In SAID (Ch. 5) I noted that prior to the rise of Nazism an important set of Jewish intellectuals had a strong racial sense of Jewish peoplehood and felt racial estrangement from gentiles; they also made statements that can only be interpreted as indicating a sense of Jewish racial superiority. The psychoanalytic movement was an important example of these tendencies. It was characterized by ideas of Jewish intellectual superiority, racial consciousness, national pride, and Jewish solidarity (see Klein 1981, 143). Freud and his colleagues felt a sense of “racial kinship” with their Jewish colleagues and a “racial strangeness” to others (Klein 1981, 142; see also Gilman 1993, 12ff). Commenting on Ernest Jones, one of his disciples, Freud wrote “The racial mixture in our band is very interesting to me. He [Jones] is a Celt and hence not quite accessible to us, the Teuton [C. G. Jung] and the Mediterranean man [himself as a Jew]” (in Gay 1988, 186).

Freud and other early psychoanalysts frequently distinguished themselves as Jews on the basis of race and referred to non-Jews as Aryans, instead of as Germans or Christians (Klein 1981, 142). He wrote to C. G. Jung that Ernest Jones gave him a feeling of “racial strangeness” (Klein 1981, 142). During the 1920s Jones was viewed as a gentile outsider even by the other members of the secret Committee of Freud’s loyalists and even though he had married a Jewish woman. “In the eyes of all of [the Jewish members of the committee], Jones was a Gentile. . . . [T]he others always seized every opportunity to make him aware that he could never belong. His fantasy of penetrating the inner circle by creating the Committee was an illusion, because he would forever be an unattractive little man with his ferret face pressed imploringly against the glass” (Grosskurth 1991, 137).

Early in their relationship Freud also had suspicions about Jung, the result of “worries about Jung’s inherited Christian and even anti-Jewish biases, indeed his very ability as a non-Jew to fully understand and accept psychoanalysis itself” (Yerushalmi 1991, 42). Before their rupture, Freud described Jung as a “strong independent personality, as a Teuton” (in Gay 1988, 201). After Jung was made head of the International Psychoanalytic Association, a colleague of Freud’s was concerned because “taken as a race,” Jung and his gentile colleagues were “completely different from us Viennese” (in Gay 1988, 219). In 1908 Freud wrote a letter to the psychoanalyst Karl Abraham in which Abraham is described as keen while Jung is described as having a great deal of élan—a description that, as Yerushalmi (1991, 43) notes, indicates a tendency to stereotype individuals on the basis of group membership (the intellectually sharp Jew and the energetic Aryan). Whereas Jung was inherently suspect because of his genetic background, Abraham, was not. Freud, after delicately inquiring about whether Abraham was a Jew, wrote that it was easier for Abraham to understand psychoanalysis because he had a racial kinship [Rassenverwandschaft] to Freud (Yerushalmi 1991, 42).

Freud’s powerful racial sense of ingroup-outgroup barriers between Jews and gentiles may also be seen in the personal dynamics of the psychoanalytic movement. We have seen that Jews were numerically dominant within psychoanalysis, especially in the early stages when all the members were Jews. “The fact that these were Jews was certainly not accidental. I also think that in a profound though unacknowledged sense Freud wanted it that way” (Yerushalmi 1991, 41). As in other forms of Judaism, there was a sense of being an ingroup within a specifically Jewish milieu. “Whatever the reasons—historical, sociological—group bonds did provide a warm shelter from the outside world. In social relations with other Jews, informality and familiarity formed a kind of inner security, a ‘we-feeling,’ illustrated even by the selection of jokes and stories recounted within the group” (Grollman 1965, 41). Also adding to the Jewish milieu of the movement was the fact that Freud was idolized by Jews generally. Freud himself noted in his letters that “from all sides and places, the Jews have enthusiastically seized me for themselves.” “He was embarrassed by the way they treated him as if he were ‘a God-fearing Chief Rabbi,’ or ‘a national hero,’ “ and by the way they viewed his work as “genuinely Jewish” (in Klein 1981, 85; see also Gay 1988, 599).

As in the case of several Jewish movements and political activities reviewed in Chapters 2 and 3 (see also SAID,Ch. 6), Freud took great pains to ensure that a gentile, Jung, would be the head of his psychoanalytic movement—a move that infuriated his Jewish colleagues in Vienna, but one that was clearly intended to deemphasize the very large overrepresentation of Jews in the movement during this period. To persuade his Jewish colleagues of the need for Jung to head the society, he argued, “Most of you are Jews, and therefore you are incompetent to win friends for the new teaching. Jews must be content with the modest role of preparing the ground. It is absolutely essential that I should form ties in the world of science” (in Gay 1988, 218). As Yerushalmi (1991, 41) notes, “To put it very crudely, Freud needed a goy, and not just any goy but one of genuine intellectual stature and influence.” Later, when the movement was reconstituted after World War I, another gentile, the sycophantic and submissive Ernest Jones, became president of the International Psychoanalytic Association.

Interestingly, although recent scholarship is unanimous that Freud had an intense Jewish identity, Freud took pains to conceal this identity from others because of a concern that his psychoanalytic movement would be viewed as a specifically Jewish movement and thus be the focus of anti-Semitism. Whereas his private correspondence is filled with a strong sense of Jewish ethnic identity, his public statements and writings exhibited a “generally guarded, distanced tone” (Yerushalmi 1991, 42), indicating an effort at deception. Freud also attempted to downplay in public the extent to which Judaism pervaded his family environment while growing up, his religious education, and his knowledge of Hebrew, Yiddish, and Jewish religious traditions (Goodnick 1993; Rice 1990; Yerushalmi 1991, 61ff).[165]Also suggesting deception is that two of the Jewish members of Freud’s secret committee (Otto Rank and Sandor Ferenczi) had altered their names to appear non-Jewish (Grosskurth 1991, 17).

Deception is also indicated by the evidence that Freud felt that one reason psychoanalysis needed highly visible gentiles was because he viewed psychoanalysis as subverting gentile culture. After publishing Little Hans in 1908, he wrote to Karl Abraham that the book would create an uproar: “German ideals threatened again! Our Aryan comrades are really completely indispensable to us, otherwise psychoanalysis would succumb to anti-Semitism” (in Yerushalmi 1991, 43).

Social identity theory emphasizes the importance of positive attributions regarding the ingroup and negative attributions regarding the outgroup. Freud’s strong sense of Jewish identity was accompanied by feelings of intellectual superiority to gentiles (Klein 1981, 61). In an early letter to his future wife, Freud stated “In the future, for the remainder of my apprenticeship in the hospital, I think I shall try to live more like the gentiles—modestly, learning and practicing the usual things and not striving after discoveries or delving too deep” (in Yerushalmi 1991, 39). Freud used the word goyim to refer to gentiles in this passage, and Yerushalmi comments, “The hand is the hand of Sigmund; the voice is the voice of Jakob [Freud’s religiously observant father]” (p. 39). It is the voice of separation and estrangement.

An attitude of Jewish superiority to gentiles not only characterized Freud but pervaded the entire movement. Ernest Jones (1959, 211) mentioned “the Jewish belief, which they often impose on other people too, concerning the superiority of their intellectual powers.” As in the case of radical intellectual circles dominated by Jews (see Ch. 3), “The feeling of Jewish superiority alienated many non-Jews within the movement and encouraged many outside the movement to dismiss as hypocritical the humanitarian claims of the psychoanalysts” (Klein 1981, 143)—a comment suggesting self-deception among psychoanalysts regarding their motives.

Freud’s estrangement from gentiles also involved positive views of Judaism and negative views of gentile culture, the latter viewed as something to be conquered in the interest of leading humanity to a higher moral level and ending anti-Semitism. Freud had a sense of “Jewish moral superiority to the injustices of an intolerant, inhumane—indeed, anti-Semitic—society” (Klein 1981, 86). Freud “supported those in the Jewish society [B’nai B’rith] who urged Jews to regard themselves as mankind’s champions of democratic and fraternal ideals” (Klein 1981, 86). He wrote of his messianic hope to achieve the “integration of Jews and anti-Semites on the soil of [psychoanalysis]” (in Gay 1988, 231), a quote clearly indicating that psychoanalysis was viewed by its founder as a mechanism for ending anti-Semitism.

[Freud] was proud of his enemies—the persecuting Roman Catholic Church, the hypocritical bourgeoisie, the obtuse psychiatric establishment, the materialistic Americans—so proud, indeed, that they grew in his mind into potent specters far more malevolent and far less divided than they were in reality. He likened himself to Hannibal, to Ahasuerus, to Joseph, to Moses, all men with historic missions, potent adversaries, and difficult fates. (Gay 1988, 604)

This comment is an excellent example of the consequences of a strong sense of social identity: Freud’s powerful sense of Jewish group identity resulted in negative stereotypical thinking regarding the gentile outgroup. Gentile society, and particularly the most salient institutions of gentile culture, were viewed stereotypically as evil. These institutions were not only viewed negatively, but the accentuation effect (see SAID, Ch. 1) came into play and resulted in a general attribution of homogeneity to the outgroup, so that these institutions are seen as much less divided than they actually were.

Consider also Sulloway’s (1979b) description of the genesis of Freud’s self-concept as a hero dating from his childhood and inculcated by his family. Attesting to the intensity of Freud’s Jewish identification and his self-concept as a Jewish hero, all of Freud’s childhood heroes were related to Judaism: Hannibal, the Semitic combatant against Rome; Cromwell, who allowed the Jews to enter England; and Napoleon, who gave Jews civil rights. Early on he described himself as a “conquistador” rather than as a man of science.

This type of messianic thought was common in fin de siècle Vienna among Jewish intellectuals who were attempting to bring about a “supranational, supraethnic world” (Klein 1981, 29), a characterization that, as seen in Chapter 3, would also apply to Jewish involvement in radical political movements. These intellectuals “frequently expressed their humanitarianism in terms of their renewed Jewish self-conception. . . . [They had] a shared belief that Jews were responsible for the fate of humanity in the twentieth century” (p. 31).

Many early proponents viewed psychoanalysis as a redemptive messianic movement that would end anti-Semitism by freeing the world of neuroses produced by sexually repressive Western civilization. Klein shows that some of Freud’s closest associates had a very clearly articulated conception of psychoanalysis as a Jewish mission to the gentiles—what one might view as a uniquely modern version of the ancient “light of the nations” theme of Jewish religious thought very common among intellectual apologists of Reform Judaism during the same period.

Thus for Otto Rank, who developed a close father-son relationship with Freud, Jews were uniquely qualified to cure neurosis and act as the healers of humanity (Klein 1981, 129). Developing a variant of the perspective Freud used in Totem and Taboo and Civilization and Its Discontents, Rank argued that whereas other human cultures had repressed their primitive sexuality in the ascent to civilization, “Jews possessed special creative powers since they had been able to maintain a direct relation to ‘nature,’ to primitive sexuality” (Klein 1981, 129).[166]Rank had a very strong Jewish identity, viewing the pressures of assimilation emanating from German society during this period in very negative terms—as “morally and spiritually destructive” (Klein 1981, 130). Rank also had a positive attitude toward anti-Semitism and pressures to assimilate because they promoted the development of Jewish redemptive movements such as psychoanalysis: “Rank believed that the reaction of Jews to the threats of external and internal repression prompted them to preserve their relationship with nature and, in the process, to gain consciousness of this special relationship” (Klein 1981, 131). Rank, whose original name was Rosenfeld, appears to have been a crypto-Jew during part of his life. He adopted a non-Jewish name and converted to Catholicism in 1908 when entering the University of Vienna. In 1918, he reconverted to Judaism in order to enter into a Jewish marriage. Within this perspective, anti-Semitism results from the denial of sexuality, and the role of the Jewish mission of psychoanalysis was to end anti-Semitism by freeing humanity of its sexual repressions. A theoretical basis for this perspective was provided by Freud’s Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, in which aggression was linked with the frustration of drives.

Klein shows that this conceptualization of psychoanalysis as a redemptive “light of the nations” was common among other Jewish intimates of Freud. Thus Fritz Wittels advocated complete freedom of sexual expression and wrote “Some of us believed that psychoanalysis would change the surface of the earth . . . [and introduce] a golden age in which there would be no room for neuroses any more. We felt like great men. . . . Some people have a mission in life” (in Klein 1981, 138–139). Jews were viewed as having the responsibility to lead the gentiles toward truth and nobility of behavior. “The tendency to place the Jew and the non-Jew in a relationship of fundamental opposition imbued even the expressions of redemption with an adversary quality” (Klein 1981, 142). Gentile culture was something to be conquered in battle by the morally superior, redemptive Jew: “The spirit of the Jews will conquer the world” (Wittels; in Klein 1981, 142). Coincident with Wittels’s belief in the mission of psychoanalysis was a positive Jewish self-identity; he described the convert Jew as characterized by the “psychological disability of hypocrisy” (Klein 1981, 139).

The cure for the aggression characteristic of anti-Semitism was therefore believed to lie in freeing gentiles from their sexual repressions. Although Freud himself eventually developed the idea of a death instinct to explain aggression, a consistent theme of the Freudian critique of Western culture, as exemplified for example by Norman O. Brown, Herbert Marcuse, and Wilhelm Reich, has been that the liberation of sexual repressions would lead to lowered aggression and usher in an era of universal love.

It is therefore of interest that when Jung and Alfred Adler were expelled from the movement for heresy, the issue that appears to have been most important to Freud was their rejection of the interrelated ideas of the sexual etiology of neurosis, the Oedipal complex, and childhood sexuality.[167]Adler “openly questioned Freud’s fundamental thesis that early sexual development is decisive for the making of character” (Gay 1988, 216–217) and neglected the Oedipal complex, infantile sexuality, the unconscious, and the sexual etiology of neuroses. Instead, Adler developed his ideas on “organ inferiority” and the hereditary etiology of “anal” character traits. Adler was an avid Marxist and actively attempted to create a theoretical synthesis in which psychological theory served utopian social goals (Kurzweil 1989, 84). Nevertheless, Freud termed Adler’s views “reactionary and retrograde” (Gay 1988, 222), presumably because from Freud’s view, the social revolution envisioned by psychoanalysis depended on these constructs. Freud’s actions regarding Adler are entirely comprehensible on the supposition that his acceptance of Adler’s “watered down” version of psychoanalysis would destroy Freud’s version of psychoanalysis as a radical critique of Western culture.

Similarly, Jung was expelled from the movement when he developed ideas that denigrated the centrality of sexual repression in Freud’s theory. “Jung’s most besetting disagreement with Freud, which runs through the whole sequence of his letters like an ominous subtext, involved what he once gently called [Jung’s] inability to define libido—which meant, translated, that he was unwilling to accept Freud’s term, to make it stand not just for the sexual drives, but for a general mental energy” (Gay 1988, 226; see also Gross 1991, 43). Like Adler, Jung rejected the sexual etiology of neuroses, childhood sexuality, and the Oedipal complex; and like Adler’s ideas and unlike these fundamental Freudian doctrines, the idea of libido as restricted to sexual desire is of little use in developing a radical critique of Western culture, because Freud’s theory, as indicated here, depends on the conflation of sexual desire and love.

However, in addition, Jung developed a view that religious experience was a vital component of mental health: Freud, in contrast, remained hostile to religious belief (indeed, Gay [1988, 331] writes of Freud’s “pugilistic atheism”). As indicated elsewhere in this chapter, central to what one might term Freud’s pathologization of Christianity is his view that religious belief is nothing more than a reaction formation to avoid guilt feelings consequent to a primeval Oedipal event or, as developed in The Future of an Illusion, merely childish feelings of helplessness. Thus a central function of Totem and Taboo appears to have been to combat “everything that is Aryan-religious” (in Gay 1988, 331), a comment that at once illustrates Freud’s agenda of discrediting not just religion but gentile religion in particular and reveals the extent to which he viewed his work as an aspect of competition between ethnic groups.
(Rank had a very strong Jewish identity, viewing the pressures of assimilation emanating from German society during this period in very negative terms—as “morally and spiritually destructive” (Klein 1981, 130). Rank also had a positive attitude toward anti-Semitism and pressures to assimilate because they promoted the development of Jewish redemptive movements such as psychoanalysis: “Rank believed that the reaction of Jews to the threats of external and internal repression prompted them to preserve their relationship with nature and, in the process, to gain consciousness of this special relationship” (Klein 1981, 131). Rank, whose original name was Rosenfeld, appears to have been a crypto-Jew during part of his life. He adopted a non-Jewish name and converted to Catholicism in 1908 when entering the University of Vienna. In 1918, he reconverted to Judaism in order to enter into a Jewish marriage.)
Sexual repression in Western societies during this period was highly salient and undeniable. Freud’s theory may thus be viewed as an invention whose utility in the assault on Western culture derived from the intuitive plausibility of supposing that the liberation of sexual urges would result in major changes in behavior that could possibly have psychotherapeutic effects. Moreover, the Oedipal complex idea proved to be critical to Freud’s thesis for the centrality of sexual repression in Totem and Taboo—what Gay (1988, 329) terms some of Freud’s “most subversive conjectures” and discussed in more detail below.

This belief in the curative powers of sexual freedom coincided with a leftist political agenda common to the vast majority of Jewish intellectuals of the period and reviewed throughout this book. This leftist political agenda proved to be a recurrent theme throughout the history of psychoanalysis. Support of radical and Marxist ideals was common among Freud’s early followers, and leftist attitudes were common in later years among psychoanalysts (Hale 1995, 31; Kurzweil 1989, 36, 46–47, 284; Torrey 1992, 33, 93ff, 122–123), as well as in Freudian inspired offshoots such as Erich Fromm, Wilhelm Reich (see below) and Alfred Adler. (Kurzweil [1989, 287] terms Adler the leader of “far left” psychoanalysis, noting that Adler wanted to immediately politicize teachers as radicals rather than wait for the perfection of psychoanalysis to do so.) The apex of the association between Marxism and psychoanalysis came in the 1920s in the Soviet Union, where all the top psychoanalysts were Bolsheviks, Trotsky supporters, and among the most powerful political figures in the country (see Chamberlain 1995). (Trotsky himself was an ardent enthusiast of psychoanalysis.) This group organized a government-sponsored State Psychoanalytical Institute and developed a program of “pedology” aimed at producing the “new Soviet man” on the basis of psychoanalytic principles applied to the education of children. The program, which encouraged sexual precocity in children, was put into practice in state-run schools.

There is also evidence that Freud conceptualized himself as a leader in a war on gentile culture. We have seen that Freud had a great deal of hostility to Western culture, especially the Catholic Church and its ally, the Austrian Habsburg monarchy (Gay 1988; McGrath 1974; Rothman & Isenberg 1974a).[168]It is noteworthy that an early member of the psychoanalytic movement, Ludwig Braun, believed that Freud was “genuinely Jewish,” and that to be Jewish meant, among other things, that one had “a courageous determination to combat or oppose the rest of society, his enemy” (Klein 1981, 85). In a remarkable passage from the Interpretation of Dreams, Freud, in attempting to understand why he has been unable to set foot in Rome, proposes that he has been retracing the footsteps of Hannibal, the Semitic leader of Carthage against Rome during the Punic wars.

Hannibal . . . had been the favourite hero of my later school days. . . . And when in the higher classes I began to understand for the first time what it meant to belong to an alien race . . . the figure of the semitic general rose still higher in my esteem. To my youthful mind Hannibal and Rome symbolized the conflict between the tenacity of Jewry and the organisation of the Catholic Church. (Freud, Interpretation of Dreams; in Rothman & Isenberg 1974a, 64)

The passage clearly indicates that Freud was self-identified as a member of “an alien race” at war with Rome and its daughter institution, the Catholic Church, a central institution of Western culture. Gay (1988, 132) states, “A charged and ambivalent symbol, Rome stood for Freud’s most potent concealed erotic, and only slightly less concealed aggressive wishes.”[169]As a psychoanalyst himself, Gay imagines an erotic message underlying the surface meaning of aggression and hostility toward Western culture. Rome was “a supreme prize and incomprehensible menace” (Gay 1988, 132). Freud himself described this “Hannibal fantasy” as “one of the driving forces of [my] mental life” (in McGrath 1974, 35).

A strong connection exists between anti-Semitism and Freud’s hostility to Rome. Freud’s conscious identification with Hannibal occurred following an anti-Semitic incident involving his father in which his father behaved passively. Freud’s response to the incident was to visualize “the scene in which Hannibal’s father, Hamilcar Barca, made his boy swear before the household altar to take vengeance on the Romans. Ever since that time Hannibal had . . . a place in my phantasies” (in McGrath 1974, 35). “Rome was the center of Christian civilization. To conquer Rome would certainly be to avenge his father and his people” (Rothman & Isenberg 1974a, 62). Cuddihy (1974, 54) makes the same point: “Like Hamilcar’s son Hannibal, he will storm Rome seeking vengeance. He will control his anger, as his father had done, but he will use it to probe relentlessly beneath the beautiful surface of the diaspora to the murderous rage and lust coiled beneath its so-called civilities.”

Rothman and Isenberg (1974) convincingly argue that Freud actually viewed the Interpretation of Dreams as a victory against the Catholic Church and that he viewed Totem and Taboo as a successful attempt to analyze the Christian religion in terms of defense mechanisms and primitive drives. Regarding Totem and Taboo, Freud told a colleague that it would “serve to make a sharp division between us and all Aryan religiosity” (in Rothman & Isenberg 1974, 63; see also Gay 1988, 326). They also suggest that Freud consciously attempted to conceal his subversive motivation: A central aspect of Freud’s theory of dreams is that rebellion against a powerful authority must often be carried on with deception: “According to the strength . . . of the censorship, [the authority-defying individual] finds himself compelled . . . to speak in allusions . . . or he must conceal his objection beneath some apparently innocent disguise” (Freud, Interpretation of Dreams; in Rothman & Isenberg 1974a, 64).

The bizarre argument of Freud’s (1939) Moses and Monotheism is quite clearly an attempt to show the moral superiority of Judaism compared to Christianity. Freud’s hostility to the Catholic Church is apparent in this work: “The Catholic Church, which so far has been the implacable enemy of all freedom of thought and has resolutely opposed any idea of this world being governed by advance towards the recognition of truth!” (p. 67). Freud also reiterates his conviction that religion is nothing more than neurotic symptomatology—a view first developed in his Totem and Taboo (1912).

All religions may be symptoms of neurosis, but Freud clearly believed that Judaism is an ethically and intellectually superior form of neurosis: According to Freud, the Jewish religion “formed their [the Jews’] character for good through the disdaining of magic and mysticism and encouraging them to progress in spirituality and sublimations. The people, happy in their conviction of possessing the truth, overcome by the consciousness of being the chosen, came to value highly all intellectual and ethical achievements” (Freud 1939, 109). In contrast, “The Christian religion did not keep to the lofty heights of spirituality to which the Jewish religion had soared” (Freud 1939, 112). Freud argues that in Judaism the repressed memory of killing the Mosaic father figure lifts Judaism to a very high ethical level, whereas in Christianity the unrepressed memory of killing a father figure eventually results in a reversion to Egyptian paganism. Indeed, Freud’s formulation of Judaism might even be termed reactionary, since it retains the traditional idea of Jews as a chosen people (Yerushalmi 1991, 34).

Freud’s psychoanalytic reinterpretation may be viewed as an attempt to reinterpret Judaism in a “scientific” manner: the creation of a secular, “scientific” Jewish theology. The only substantial difference from the traditional account is that Moses replaces God as the central figure of Jewish history. In this regard, it is interesting that from an early period Freud strongly identified with Moses (Klein 1981, 94; Rice 1990, 123ff), suggesting an identification in which he viewed himself as a leader who would guide his people through a dangerous time. Given Freud’s intense identification with Moses, the following passage from Moses and Monotheism, ostensibly referring to the ancient prophets who followed Moses, may be taken to apply to Freud himself: “Monotheism had failed to take root in Egypt. The same thing might have happened in Israel after the people had thrown off the inconvenient and pretentious religion imposed on them. From the mass of the Jewish people, however, there arose again and again men who lent new colour to the fading tradition, renewed the admonishments and demands of Moses, and did not rest until the lost cause was once more regained” (pp. 141–142). Moses and Monotheism also links monotheism with the superiority of Jewish ethics, but nowhere does Freud make clear how an ideology of monotheism could possibly result in a higher sense of ethics. As indicated in PTSDA (Chapter 3), Jewish monotheism is closely linked to ethnocentrism and fear of exogamy. Also, as indicated in PTSDA (Ch. 6), Jewish ethics is fundamentally a tribalistic ethics in which there are major differences in how individuals are treated depending on whether or not they are Jews.

As I have noted, perceived anti-Semitism would be expected to exacerbate the tendency to subject gentile culture to radical criticism. There is excellent evidence that Freud was intensely concerned with anti-Semitism, perhaps dating from the anti-Semitic incident involving his father (e.g., Rice 1990; Rothman & Isenberg 1974a,b; Yerushalmi 1991). Indeed, as expected on the basis of social identity theory, Gay (1987, 138) notes that Freud’s Jewish identity was most intense “when times were hardest for Jews.”

Freud’s theory of anti-Semitism in Moses and Monotheism (Freud 1939, 114–117)contains several assertions that anti-Semitism is fundamentally a pathological gentile reaction to Jewish ethical superiority. Freud dismisses several surface causes of anti-Semitism, although he gives some credence to the view that anti-Semitism is caused by Jewish defiance of oppression (obviously a cause in which Judaism is portrayed in a positive light).

But Moses and Monotheism traces the deeper causes of anti-Semitism to the unconscious: “The jealousy which the Jews evoked in other peoples by maintaining that they were the first-born, favourite child of God the Father has not yet been overcome by those others, just as if the latter had given credence to the assumption” (p. 116). Further, the Jewish ceremony of circumcision is said to remind gentiles of “the dreaded castration idea and of things in their primeval past which they would fain forget” (p. 116). And finally, anti-Semitism is said to result from the fact that many Christians have become Christians only recently as the result of forced conversion from even more barbarically polytheistic folk religions than Christianity itself is. Because of the violence of their forced conversions, these barbarians “have not yet overcome their grudge against the new religion which was forced upon them, and they have projected it on to the source from which Christianity came to them [i.e., the Jews]” (p. 117).

A more self-serving, far-fetched theory of anti-Semitism is difficult to imagine.[170]Other psychoanalytic interpretations of anti-Semitism as a pathological gentile reaction to Jewish superiority occurred during the period. In 1938 Jacob Meitlis, a psychoanalyst of the Yiddish Institute of Science (YIVO), stated: “We Jews have always known how to respect spiritual values. We preserved our unity through ideas, and because of them we survived to this day. Once again our people is faced with dark times requiring us to gather all our strength to preserve unharmed all culture and science during the present harsh storms” (in Yerushalmi 1991, 52). Anti-Semitism is here conceptualized as the price to be paid by Jews for bearing the burden of being the originators and defenders of science and culture. (Several other psychoanalytic theories of anti-Semitism are discussed below and in Ch. 5.) The general scholarly community has tended to regard Moses and Monotheism as “recklessly fanciful” (McGrath 1991, 27), but this is certainly not the case for Freud’s other works. In this regard, it is interesting to note that Freud’s highly influential (and equally speculative) Totem and Taboo and Civilization and Its Discontents present the view that the repression of sex, so apparent as an aspect of Western culture during Freud’s life, is the source of art, love, and even civilization itself. However, neurosis and unhappiness are the price to be paid for these traits because neurosis and unhappiness are the inevitable result of repressing sexual urges.

As Herbert Marcuse (1974, 17) writes concerning this aspect of Freud’s thought: “The notion that a non-repressive civilization is impossible is a cornerstone of Freudian theory. However, his theory contains elements that break through this rationalization; they shatter the predominant tradition of Western thought and even suggest its reversal. His work is characterized by an uncompromising insistence on showing the repressive content of the highest values and achievements of culture.”

Western culture has been placed on the couch, and the role of psychoanalysis is to help the patient adjust somewhat to a sick, psychopathology-inducing society: “While psychoanalytic theory recognizes that the sickness of the individual is ultimately caused and sustained by the sickness of his civilization, psychoanalytic therapy aims at curing the individual so that he can continue to function as part of a sick civilization without surrendering to it altogether” (Marcuse 1974, 245).

As was the case with some of Freud’s close associates described above, Freud viewed himself as a sexual reformer against this most Western of cultural practices, the suppression of sexuality. Freud wrote in 1915: “Sexual morality—as society, in its extreme form, the American, defines it—seems to me very contemptible. I advocate an incomparably freer sexual life” (in Gay 1988, 143). As Gay (1988, 149) notes, it was an ideology which “was deeply subversive for his time.”

The Scientific Status of Psychoanalysis • 2,700 Words

He [Nathan of Gaza] was an outstanding example of a highly imaginative and dangerous Jewish archetype which was to become of world importance when the Jewish intellect became secularized.[171]Nathan of Gaza provided the intellectual foundation for the ill-fated Shabbetean messianic movement in the seventeenth century. He could construct a system of explanations and predictions of phenomena which was both highly plausible and at the same time sufficiently imprecise and flexible to accommodate new—and often highly inconvenient—events when they occurred. And he had the gift of presenting his protean-type theory . . . with tremendous conviction and aplomb. Marx and Freud were to exploit a similar capacity. (A History of the Jews,Paul Johnson 1988, 267–268)

There is a long history of well-argued claims that psychoanalysis is a pseudoscience. Even ignoring the long-standing objections of experimentally inclined researchers in mainstream psychology, there is a distinguished pedigree of highly critical accounts of psychoanalysis that began appearing in the 1970s by scholars such as Henri Ellenberger (1970), Frank Sulloway (1979a), Adolph Grünbaum(1984), Frank Cioffi (1969, 1970, 1972), Hans Eysenck (1990), Malcolm Macmillan (1991), E. Fuller Torrey (1992), and perhaps most famously, Frederick Crews (1993; Crews et al. 1995). The following passages sums up this tradition of scholarship:

Should we therefore conclude that psychoanalysis is a science? My evaluation shows that at none of the different stages through which it evolved was Freud’s theory one from which adequate explanations could be generated. From the beginning, much of what passed as theory was found to be description, and poor description at that. . . . In every one of the later key developmental theses, Freud assumed what had to be explained. . . .

None of his followers, including his revisionist critics who are themselves psychoanalysts, have probed any deeper than did Freud into the assumptions underlying their practise, particularly the assumptions underlying “the basic method”—free association. None question whether those assumptions hold in the therapeutic situation; none has attempted to break out of the circle. (Macmillan 1991, 610–612)

What passes today for Freud bashing is simply the long-postponed exposure of Freudian ideas to the same standards of noncontradiction, clarity, testability, cogency, and parsimonious explanatory power that prevail in empirical discourse at large. Step by step, we are learning that Freud has been the most overrated figure in the entire history of science and medicine—one who wrought immense harm through the propagation of false etiologies, mistaken diagnoses, and fruitless lines of inquiry. Still the legend dies hard, and those who challenge it continue to be greeted like rabid dogs. (Crews et al. 1995, 298–299)

Even those within the psychoanalytic camp have often noted the lack of scientific rigor of the early psychoanalysts, and indeed, lack of scientific rigor is a continuing concern even in psychoanalytic circles (e.g., Cooper 1990; Michaels 1988; Orgel 1990; Reiser 1989). Gay (1988, 235), who clearly regards psychoanalysis as a science, states of the first-generation psychoanalysts that they “fearlessly interpreted one another’s dreams; fell on the others’ slips of the tongue or pen; freely, much too freely, employed diagnostic terms like ‘paranoid’ and ‘homosexual’ to characterize their associates and indeed themselves. They all practiced in their circle the kind of wild analysis they decried in outsiders as tactless, unscientific, and counterproductive.”

Gay (1988, 543) calls Civilization and Its Discontents “one of [Freud’s] most influential writings.” It now seems apparent that the theory Freud developed in Civilization and Its Discontents and his earlier work, Totem and Taboo, rests on a number of extremely naive, prescientific conceptualizations of human sexual behavior and its relation to culture. It is noteworthy that in arriving at his views Freud was forced to summarily reject Edward Westermarck’s theory of incest, which is the basis of modern scientific theories of incest (see MacDonald 1986).

However, by means of these speculative leaps, Freud managed to diagnose Western culture as essentially neurotic while apparently, on the basis of the argument in Moses and Monotheism, holding the view that Judaism represents the epitome of mental health and moral and intellectual superiority. Freud appears to have been well aware that his highly subversive conjectures in Totem and Taboo were entirely speculative. When the book was called a “just so” story by a British anthropologist in 1920, Freud was “amused” and stated only that his critic “was deficient in phantasy” (Gay 1988, 327), apparently a concession that the work was fanciful. Freud stated, “It would be nonsensical to strive for exactitude with this material, as it would be unreasonable to demand certainty” (in Gay 1988, 330). Similarly, Freud described Civilization and Its Discontents as “an essentially dilettantish foundation” on which “rises a thinly tapered analytic investigation” (in Gay 1988, 543).

Peter Gay terms Freud’s proposal of the Lamarckian inheritance of guilt, which runs through these works, as “sheer extravagance, piled upon the earlier extravagance of the claim that the primal murder had been an historic event.” However, even this assessment fails to get at the incredible rejection of the scientific spirit apparent in these writings. It was more than extravagance. Freud was accepting a genetic theory, the inheritance of acquired characteristics, which had, at least by the time Civilization and Its Discontents reaffirmed the doctrine, been completely rejected by the scientific community. This was a self-consciously speculative theory, but Freud’s speculations clearly had an agenda. Rather than provide speculations that reaffirmed the moral and intellectual basis of the culture of his day, his speculations were an integral part of his war on gentile culture—so much so thathe viewed Totem and Taboo as a victory over Rome and the Catholic Church.

Similarly, Freud’s Future of an Illusion is a strong attack on religion in the name of science. Freud himself acknowledged that the scientific content was weak, stating, “the analytic content of the work is very thin” (in Gay 1988, 524). Gay (1988, 537) finds that it “fell short of his self-imposed standards,” which, as we have already seen, were hardly averse to speculation in the service of a political agenda. Again, however, Freud engages in scientific speculation in the service of an agenda of subverting the institutions of gentile society. This type of posturing was typical of Freud. For example, Crews (1993, 57) notes that Freud advanced his theory that Dostoevsky was not an epileptic but a hysteric suffering from having witnessed a primal scene “with a typically guileful show of tentativeness; but then, just as typically, he goes on to treat it as firmly settled.” Dostoevsky was in fact an epileptic.

The theory of the Oedipal complex, childhood sexuality, and the sexual etiology of the neuroses—the three central doctrines that underlie Freud’s radical critique of gentile culture—play absolutely no role in contemporary mainstream developmental psychology. From the standpoint of evolutionary theory, the idea that children would have a specifically sexual attraction to their opposite sex parent is highly implausible, since such an incestuous relationship would result in inbreeding depression and be more likely to result in disorders caused by recessive genes (see MacDonald 1986). The proposal that boys desire to kill their fathers conflicts with the general importance of paternal provisioning of resources in understanding the evolution of the family (MacDonald 1988a; 1992): Boys who had succeeded in killing their fathers and having sex with their mothers would not only be left with genetically inferior offspring, but also be deprived of paternal support and protection. Modern developmental studies indicate that many fathers and sons have very close, reciprocated affectional relationships beginning in infancy, and the normative pattern is for mothers and sons to have very intimate and affectionate, but decidedly nonsexual, relationships.

The continued life of these concepts in psychoanalytic circles is testimony to the continuing unscientific nature of the entire enterprise. Indeed, Kurzweil (1989, 89) notes “In the beginning, the Freudians tried to ‘prove’ the universality of the Oedipus complex; later on, they took it for granted. Ultimately, they no longer spelled out the reasons for the pervasiveness of childhood sexuality and its consequences in the cultural monographs: they all accepted it.”[172]Similarly, in the French psychoanalytic movement of the mid-1960s, “The propositions of ‘linguistic’ psychoanalysis became assumptions. Soon, no one any longer questioned whether a self-assured disposition really could hide a vulnerable unconscious structure . . . : most French intellectuals accepted that both conscious and unconscious thought were organized in accordance with linguistic structures” (Kurzweil 1989, 245). What started out as a speculation in need of empirical support ended up as a fundamental a priori assumption.

Research inspired by these basic Freudian tenets ceased long ago and in a sense never started: Fundamentally, psychoanalysis has not inspired any significant research on these three basic Freudian constructs. Interestingly, there is evidence that Freud fraudulently portrayed the data underlying these concepts. Esterson (1992, 25ff; see also Crews 1994) convincingly argues that Freud’s patients did not volunteer any information on seduction or primal scenes at all. The seduction stories that provide the empirical basis of the Oedipal complex were a construction by Freud, who then interpreted his patients’ distress on hearing his constructions as proof of the theory. Freud then engaged in deception to obscure the fact that his patients’ stories were reconstructions and interpretations based on an a priori theory. Freud also retroactively changed the identity of the fancied seducers from nonfamily members (such as servants) because the Oedipal story required fathers. Esterson provides numerous other examples of deception (and self-deception) and notes that they were typically couched in Freud’s brilliant and highly convincing rhetorical style. Both Esterson (1992) and Lakoff and Coyne (1993, 83–86) show that Freud’s famous analysis of the teenage Dora (in which her rejection of the pedophilic sexual advances of an older married man is attributed to hysteria and sexual repression) was based entirely on preconceived ideas and circular reasoning in which the patient’s negative emotional response to the psychoanalytic hypothesis is construed as evidence for the hypothesis. Freud engaged in similar deceptive reconstructions in an earlier phase of his theory construction when he believed that seductions had actually occurred (Powell & Boer 1994). It was a methodology that could produce any desired result.

A particularly egregious tendency is to interpret patient resistance and distress as an indication of the truth of psychoanalytic claims. Of course, patients were not the only ones who resisted psychoanalysis, and all other forms of resistance were similarly an indication of the truth of psychoanalysis. As Freud himself noted, “I am met with hostility and live in such isolation that one must suppose I had discovered the greatest truths” (in Bonaparte, Freud & Kris 1957, 163). As we shall see, resistance to psychoanalytic “truth” on the part of patients, deviating psychoanalysts, and even entire cultures was viewed as a sure sign of the truth of psychoanalysis and the pathology of those who resisted.

Because of this reconstructive, interpretive manner of theory construction, the authority of the psychoanalyst became the only criterion of the truth of psychoanalytic claims—a situation that leads quite naturally to the expectation that the movement, in order to be successful, would necessarily be highly authoritarian. As indicated below, the movement was authoritarian from the beginning and has remained so throughout its history.

Notice that the interpretive, hermeneutic basis of theory construction in psychoanalysis is formally identical to the procedures of Talmudic and Midrashic commentaries on scripture (Hartung 1995; see PTSDA, Ch. 7). Psychoanalysts have tended to suppose that consistency with observable facts is an adequate criterion for a scientifically acceptable causal explanation. Psychoanalysts “inhabit a kind of scientific preschool in which no one divulges the grown-up secret that successful causal explanation must be differential, establishing the superiority of a given hypothesis to all of its extant rivals” (Crews 1994, 40; italics in text). As indicated in Chapter 6, the development of consensual theories consistent with observable reality but without any scientific content is a hallmark of twentieth-century Jewish intellectual movements.

Any theorist on the contemporary scientific scene who proposed that children are normally sexually attracted to their opposite sex parent would be ostracized for providing a psychological basis for supposing that children would seek such contact. A glaring mistake that persists throughout Freud’s writings is the systematic conflation of sexual desire and love (see MacDonald 1986): “From the very first, in psychoanalysis, it has seemed better to speak of these love impulses as sexual impulses” (in Wittels 1924, 141)—a comment that suggests the self-conscious nature of this conflation as well as indicates the casual manner in which psychoanalysts have framed their hypotheses. Indeed, Freud conflated all types of pleasure as fundamentally different manifestations of an underlying and unitary but infinitely transformable sexual pleasure, including the oral gratification resulting from breast feeding, anal gratification resulting from defecation, sexual gratification, and love. Contemporary researchers have often proposed that affectional ties between parents and children are developmentally important and that children actively seek these ties. However, modern theory and data, and certainly an evolutionary approach, provide absolutely no support for identifying affectional ties with sexual desire or with supposing that affectional ties are sublimated or redirected sexual desire. Modern approaches support instead a discrete systems perspective in which sexual desire and affection (and other sources of pleasure) involve quite separate, independent systems. From an evolutionary perspective, the powerful affectional (love) relationships between spouses and between parents and children function as a source of social cohesiveness whose ultimate purpose is to provide a high level of support for children (see MacDonald 1992).

This conflation between sexual desire and love is also apparent in many of Freud’s psychoanalytic successors, including Norman O. Brown, Wilhelm Reich, and Herbert Marcuse, whose works are reviewed below. The common thread of these writings is that if society could somehow rid itself of sexual repressions, human relations could be based on love and affection. This is an extremely naive and socially destructive viewpoint, given the current research in the field. Psychoanalytic assertions to the contrary were never any more than speculations in the service of waging a war on gentile culture.

In his insightful ruminations on Freud, Cuddihy (1974, 71) traces Freud’s views in this matter to the fact that for Jews, marriage was completely utilitarian (see PTSDA, Ch. 7). A disciple of Freud, Theodore Reik stated that the older generation of Jews held the conviction that “love is to be found only in novels and plays.” “Love or romance had no place in the Judengasse [Jewish quarter].” Love was therefore viewed by Freud as an invention of the alien gentile culture and thus morally suspect. Its true hypocritical nature as a veneer for and really only a sublimation of the sexual instinct would be unmasked by psychoanalysis. As described more fully below, it was a devastating analysis—an analysis with important consequences for the social fabric of Western societies in the late twentieth century.

Finally, another general mistake, and one that illustrates the political nature of Freud’s entire agenda, is that sexual urges are viewed as having a powerful biological basis (the id), while traits such as responsibility, dependability, orderliness, guilt, and delay of gratification (i.e., the conscientiousness system of personality theory) are imposed by a repressive, pathology-inducing society. In a comment indicating the usefulness of these psychoanalytic notions in the war on gentile culture, James Q. Wilson (1993a, 104) correctly states that the belief that conscience “is the result of repression is a useful thing to believe if you would like to free yourself of the constraints of conscience—conscience becomes a ‘hang-up’ that prevents you from ‘realizing yourself.’ “ It fact, conscientiousness is a critical biological system which has been under intensive eugenic selection within the Jewish community (see PTSDA, Ch. 7). An evolutionary perspective implies, rather, that both systems have a powerful biological basis and both serve critical adaptive functions (MacDonald 1995a, 1998c). No animal and certainly no human has ever been able to be devoted entirely to self-gratification, and there is no reason whatever to suppose that our biology would solely be directed toward obtaining immediate gratification and pleasure. In the real world, achieving evolutionary goals demands that attention be paid to details, careful plans be made, and gratification be deferred.

The continued life of these notions within the psychoanalytic community testifies to the vitality of psychoanalysis as a political movement. The continued self-imposed separation of psychoanalysis from the mainstream science of developmental psychology, as indicated by separate organizations, separate journals, and a largely nonoverlapping membership, is a further indication that the fundamental structure of psychoanalysis as a closed intellectual movement continues into the present era. Indeed, the self-segregation of psychoanalysis conforms well to the traditional structure of Judaism vis-à-vis gentile society: There is the development of parallel universes of discourse on human psychology—two incompatible worldviews quite analogous to the differences in religious discourse that have separated Jews from their gentile neighbors over the ages.

Psychoanalysis as a Political Movement • 4,000 Words

While Darwin was satisfied with revising his work after further reflection and absorbing palpable hits by rational critics, while he trusted the passage of time and the weight of his argumentation, Freud orchestrated his wooing of the public mind through a loyal cadre of adherents, founded periodicals and wrote popularizations that would spread the authorized word, dominated international congresses of analysis until he felt too frail to attend them and after that through surrogates like his daughter Anna. (Gay 1987, 145)

Scholars have recognized that this self-consciously oppositional, subversive stance characteristic of psychoanalysis was maintained by methods that are completely contrary to the scientific spirit. The really incredible thing about the history of psychoanalysis is that Freud should be the object of such intense adulatory emotions 60 years after his death and 100 years after the birth of psychoanalysis—another indication that the entire subject must carry us well beyond science into the realm of politics and religion. What Grosskurth (1991, 219) says about herself is the only important scientific question: “I am fascinated by the fact that thousands of people continue to idealize and defend [Freud] without really knowing anything about him as a person.” It is the continuation of this movement and the veneration of its founder, not the pseudoscientific content of the theory, that are of interest.

I have already noted the self-consciously speculative nature of these subversive doctrines, but another important aspect of this phenomenon is the structure of the movement and the manner in which dissent was handled within the movement. Psychoanalysis “conducted itself less like a scientific-medical enterprise than like a politburo bent on snuffing out deviationism” (Crews 1994, 38). It is not surprising, therefore, that observers such as Sulloway (1979b) have described the “cultlike” aura of religion that has permeated psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis has often been compared to a religion by outsiders as well as by insiders. Gay (1988, 175) notes the “persistent charge that Freud had founded a secular religion.” Although Gay disputes the charge, he also uses words such as “movement” (p. 180 and passim), “conversion” (p. 184), and “the Cause” (p. 201) in describing psychoanalysis; and he uses “strayed disciple” (p. 485) to describe a defector (Otto Rank) and “recruit” (p. 540) to describe Princess Marie Bonaparte. Similarly, Yerushalmi (1991, 41) speaks of Freud as bestowing on Jung “the mantle of apostolic succession.” And I can’t help noting that the staunch Freud disciple Fritz Wittels (1924, 138) reports that during the period when Freud and Jung were close, Freud often said of Jung, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.”

Wittels (1924) also decried the “suppression of free criticism within the Society. . . . Freud is treated as a demigod, or even as a god. No criticism of his utterances is permitted.” Wittels tells us that Freud’s Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie is “the psychoanalyst’s Bible. This is no mere figure of speech. The faithful disciples regard one another’s books as of no account. They recognize no authority but Freud’s; they rarely read or quote one another. When they quote it is from the Master, that they may give the pure milk of the word” (pp. 142–143). Freud “had little desire that [his] associates should be persons of strong individuality, and that they should be critical and ambitious collaborators. The realm of psychoanalysis was his idea and his will, and he welcomed anyone who accepted his views” (p. 134).

The authoritarianism of the movement repelled some. The influential Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler left the movement in 1911, telling Freud that “this ‘who is not for us is against us,’ this ‘all or nothing,’ is necessary for religious communities and useful for political parties. I can therefore understand the principle as such, but for science I consider it harmful” (in Gay 1987, 144–145).

Other independent thinkers were simply expelled. There were emotionally charged, highly politicized scenes when Adler and Jung were expelled from the movement. As indicated above, both individuals had developed perspectives that clashed with those aspects of psychoanalytic orthodoxy that were crucial to developing a radical critique of Western culture, and the result was a bitter schism. In the case of Adler, some members in the movement and Adler himself made attempts to minimize the differences with Freudian orthodoxy by, for example, viewing Adler’s ideas as extensions of Freud rather than as contradictions, “But Freud was not interested in such forced compromises” (Gay 1988, 222). Indeed, Jung stated in 1925 that Freud’s attitude toward him was “the bitterness of the person who is entirely misunderstood, and his manners always seemed to say: ‘If they do not understand, they must be stamped into hell’ “ (in Ellenberger 1970, 462). After Jung’s schism with Freud, Jung stated: “I criticize in Freudian psychology a certain narrowness and bias and, in ‘Freudians,’ a certain unfree, sectarian spirit of intolerance and fanaticism” (in Gay 1988, 238).

The defections-expulsions of Jung and Adler were an early indication of the inability to tolerate any form of dissent from fundamental doctrines. Otto Rank defected in the mid-1920s, and again the problem was disagreement with the importance of a fundamental Freudian doctrine, the Oedipal complex. This defection was accompanied by a great deal of character assassination, often consisting of attempts to show that Rank’s behavior was an indication of psychopathology.

Most recently Jeffrey Masson has been expelled from the movement because he questioned the Freudian doctrine that patients’ reports of sexual abuse were fantasies. As with the other dissenters, such a view entails a radical critique of Freud, since it entails the rejection of the Oedipal complex. As with Talmudic discussions, one could question Freud, but the questioning had to be done “within a certain framework and within the guild. Stepping outside of the framework, being willing to question the very foundations of psychoanalysis, is unthinkable for most analysts” (Masson 1990, 211). Masson’s expulsion was characterized not by scientific debate about the accuracy of his claims but by a Stalinist show trial complete with character assassination.

In the history of psychoanalysis, character assassination typically involves analyzing scientific disagreement as an indication of neurosis. Freud himself “never tired of repeating the now notorious contention that the opposition to psychoanalysis stemmed from ‘resistances’ “ arising from emotional sources (Esterson 1992, 216). For example, Freud attributed Jung’s defection to “strong neurotic and egotistic motives” (in Gay 1988, 481).[173]The imputation of egotistic motives is particularly interesting. As discussed in Chapter 6, all of the Jewish intellectual movements reviewed in this volume are fundamentally collectivist movements that demand authoritarian submission to hierarchical authority. Egotistic motives are therefore incompatible with these movements: such movements thrive on the submergence of self-interest to the goals of the group. In Chapter 6 I argue that science is inherently an individualistic enterprise in which there is minimal loyalty to an ingroup. Gay (1988, 481) comments, “These ventures into character assassination are instances of the kind of aggressive analysis that psychoanalysts, Freud in the vanguard, at once deplored and practiced. This . . . was the way that analysts thought about others, and about themselves.” The practice was “endemic among analysts, a common professional deformation” (Gay 1988, 481). One might also note the similarity of these phenomena to the Soviet practice of committing dissenters to mental hospitals. This tradition lives on. Frederick Crews’s (1993, 293) recent critique of psychoanalysis has been portrayed by psychoanalysts as “composed in a state of bitter anger by a malcontent with a vicious disposition.” Crews’s behavior was explained in terms of botched transferences and Oedipal complexes gone awry.

Perhaps the most astonishing case is Otto Rank’s letter of 1924 in which he attributes his heretical actions to his own neurotic unconscious conflicts, promises to see things “more objectively after the removal of my affective resistance,” and notes that Freud “found my explanations satisfactory and has forgiven me personally” (Grosskurth 1991, 166). In this matter “Freud seems to have acted as the Grand Inquisitor, and Rank’s groveling ‘confession’ could have served as a model for the Russian show trials of the 1930s” (Grosskurth 1991, 167). Freud viewed the entire episode as a success; Rank had been cured of his neurosis “just as if he had gone through a proper analysis” (in Grosskurth 1991, 168). Clearly, we are dealing with no ordinary science here, but rather with a religious-political movement in which psychoanalysis is a form of thought control and an instrument of domination and interpersonal aggression.

The apex of this authoritarian aspect of the movement was the creation of “a tight, small organization of loyalists” whose main task was to prevent departures from orthodoxy (Gay 1988, 229–230). Freud accepted the idea with enthusiasm. “What took hold of my imagination immediately, is your [Ernest Jones’s] idea of a secret council composed of the best and most trustworthy among our men to take care of the further development of [psychoanalysis] and defend the cause against personalities and accidents when I am no more. . . . [The committee would] make living and dying easier for me. . . . [T]his committee had to be strictly secret” (Freud, in Gay 1988, 230; italics in text).[174]Fritz Wittels dates the desire for a “strict organization” to discussions among Freud, Ferenczi, and Jung that occurred during the 1909 voyage to the United States. “I think there is good reason to suppose that they discussed the need for a strict organization of the psychoanalytical movement. Henceforward, Freud no longer treated psychoanalysis as a branch of pure science. The politics of psychoanalysis had begun. The three travelers took vows of mutual fidelity, agreeing to join forces in the defense of the doctrine against all danger” (1924, 137).

The workings of the Committee have been extensively documented by Grosskurth (1991, 15; italics in text) who notes that “By insisting the Committee must be absolutely secret, Freud enshrined the principle of confidentiality. The various psychoanalytic societies that emerged from the Committee were like Communist cells, in which the members vowed eternal obedience to their leader. Psychoanalysis became institutionalized by the founding of journals and the training of candidates; in short an extraordinarily effective political entity.”

There were repeated admonitions for the Committee to present a “united front” against all opposition, for “maintaining control over the whole organization,” for “keeping the troops in line,” and for “reporting to the commander” (Grosskurth 1991, 97). This is not the workings of a scientific organization, but rather of an authoritarian religious-political and quasi-military movement—something resembling the Spanish Inquisition or Stalinism far more than anything resembling what we usually think of as science.

The authoritarian nature of the psychoanalytic movement is exemplified by the personalities of the members of the Committee, all of whom appear to have had extremely submissive personalities and absolute devotion to Freud. Indeed, the members appear to have self-consciously viewed themselves as loyal sons to Freud the father figure (complete with sibling rivalry as the “brothers” jockeyed for position as the “father’s” favorite), while Freud viewed his close followers as his children, with power to interfere in their personal lives (Grosskurth 1991, 123; Hale 1995, 29). To the loyalists, the truth of psychoanalysis was far less important than their psychological need to be appreciated by Freud (Deutsch 1940).

These relationships went far beyond mere loyalty, however. “[Ernest] Jones had grasped the fact that to be a friend of Freud’s meant being a sycophant. It meant opening oneself completely to him, to be willing to pour out all one’s confidences to him” (Grosskurth 1991, 48). “Jones believed that to disagree with Freud (the father) was tantamount to patricide (father murder),” so that when Sandor Ferenczi disagreed with Freud on the reality of childhood sexual abuse, Jones called him a “homicidal maniac” (Masson 1990, 152).

Regarding Ferenczi, Grosskurth (1991) notes, “The thought of a disagreement with Freud was unbearable” (p. 141), “There were occasions when he [Ferenczi] rebelled against his dependency, but always he returned repentant and submissive” (pp. 54–55). The situation was similar for Kurt Eissler, the closest confidant of Anna Freud’s inner circle in the 1960s: “What he felt for Freud seemed to border on worship” (Masson 1990, 121). “He held one thing sacred, and hence beyond criticism: Freud” (Masson 1990, 122). It was common among the disciples to imitate Freud’s personal mannerisms, and even among analysts who did not know Freud personally there were “intense feelings, fantasies, transferences, identifications” (Hale 1995, 30).

This authoritarian aspect of the movement continued long after the dissolution of the secret Committee and long after Freud’s death. Anna Freud received a ring from her father and kept a “special group” around her whose existence was not public knowledge (Masson 1990, 113). “Psychoanalysis always was, from the moment Freud found disciples, a semisecret society. This secrecy has never disappeared” (Masson 1990, 209).

The tendency to stifle dissent has continued in psychoanalysis long after the well-documented tendencies of the founding father and his disciples (Orgel 1990). “Psychoanalysis demanded loyalty that could not be questioned, the blind acceptance of unexamined ‘wisdom.’ “ “Success as a psychoanalyst meant being a team player and not questioning the work of other analysts on one’s team” (Masson 1990, 209, 70). Intellectual dissent was stifled with statements by superiors that doubters had a further need for analysis or simply by removing dissenters from training programs.

Further evidence for the essentially political character of psychoanalysis is the unique role of disciples able to trace themselves back to Freud in a direct line of descent. “The idea of being a chosen disciple, privileged to have direct contact with the master, has survived and is continued in the procedures of many of the training programs of the institutes” (Arlow & Brenner 1988, 5; see also Masson 1990, 55, 123). “The intensely filial relationships to Freud of the first generation were gradually replaced by highly emotional relationships to a fantasied Freud, still the primal founder, but also to organizations, to peers, to superiors in the institute hierarchy—above all—to the training analyst, the training analyst’s analyst, and, if possible, back to Freud and his circle became a determinant of psychoanalytic prestige” (Hale 1995, 32).

Unlike in a real science, in psychoanalysis there is a continuing role for what one might term the sacred texts of the movement, Freud’s writings, both in teaching and in the current psychoanalytic literature. Studies of Hysteria and The Interpretation of Dreams are almost 100 years old but remain standard texts in psychoanalytic training programs. There is a “recurrent appearance in the analytic literature of articles redoing, extending, deepening, and modifying Freud’s early case histories” (Arlow & Brenner 1988, 5). Indeed, it is remarkable to simply scan psychoanalytic journal articles and find that a large number of references are to Freud’s work performed well over 60 years ago. The 1997 volume of Psychoanalytic Quarterly had 77 references to Freud in 24 articles. Only five articles had no references to Freud, and of these, one had no references at all. (In keeping with psychoanalytic tradition, there were no empirical studies.) There thus appears to be a continuing tendency noted by Wittels (1924, 143) long ago: “The faithful disciples regard one another’s books as of no account. They recognize no authority but Freud’s; they rarely read or quote one another. When they quote it is from the Master, that they may give the pure milk of the word.”

The continued use of Freud’s texts in instruction and the continuing references to Freud’s work are simply not conceivable in a real science. In this regard, although Darwin is venerated for his scientific work as the founder of the modern science of evolutionary biology, studies in evolutionary biology only infrequently refer to Darwin’s writings because the field has moved so far beyond his work. On the Origin of Species and Darwin’s other worksare important texts in the history of science, but they are not used for current instruction. Moreover, central features of Darwin’s account, such as his views on inheritance, have been completely rejected by modern workers. With Freud, however, there is continuing fealty to the master, at least within an important subset of the movement.

One rationalization for the authoritarian character of the movement was that it was necessary because of the irrational hostility psychoanalysis aroused in the scientific and lay communities (e.g., Gay 1987). However, Sulloway (1979a, 448; see also Ellenberger 1970, 418–420; Esterson 1992, 172–173; Kiell 1988) finds the supposedly hostile reception of Freud’s theories to be “one of the most well-entrenched legends” of psychoanalytic history. More-over, one might note that Darwin’s theory also provoked intense hostility during Darwin’s life, and recently there has been a great deal of public hostility directed at recent elaborations of Darwin’s theory as it pertains to human behavior. Nevertheless, these theoretical perspectives have not developed the authoritarian, separatist traits of psychoanalysis. Indeed, evolutionists and behavioral geneticists have attempted to influence mainstream research in anthropology, psychology, sociology, and other fields by publishing data in mainstream journals and often by using mainstream methodologies. Controversy and hostility by itself need not lead to orthodoxy or to separation from the university. In the world of science, controversy leads to experimentation and rational argumentation. In the world of psychoanalysis, it leads to expulsion of the nonorthodox and to splendid isolation from scientific psychology.

Indeed, in works such as Grosskurth’s (1991) The Secret Ring and Peter Gay’s biography of Freud, much comment is made on the authoritarian nature of the movement, but discussions of the need for authoritarianism as resulting from external pressures on psychoanalysis are extremely vague and almost completely absent. Instead, the drive for orthodoxy comes from within the movement as the direct result of the personalities of a small group of loyalists and their absolute commitment to their master’s cause.

Reflecting the utility of psychoanalysis as an instrument of psychological domination and thought control, Freud himself refused to be analyzed. Freud’s refusal resulted in difficulties with Jung (Jung 1961) and, much later, with Ferenczi, who commented that the refusal was an example of Freud’s arrogance (Grosskurth 1991, 210-211). In contrast, Freud used psychoanalysis to sexually humiliate two of his most fervent disciples, Ferenczi and Jones. Freud’s analysis of the women involved in relationships with Ferenczi and Jones resulted in the women leaving the men but remaining on friendly terms with Freud (see Grosskurth 1991, 65). Grosskurth suggests that Freud’s actions were a test of his disciples’ loyalty, and the fact that Jones continued in the movement after this humiliation indicates the extent to which Freud’s followers showed unquestioned obedience to their master.

An ethologist observing these events would conclude that Freud had behaved like the quintessential dominant male, which Freud mythologized in Totem and Taboo, but only symbolically, since Freud did not apparently have a sexual relationship with the women (although he was “captivated” by Jones’s gentile female friend [Grosskurth 1991, 65]). To have refrained from killing the father under these circumstances was to have successfully passed through the Oedipal situation—an acknowledgment of fealty to Freud the father figure.

Besides controlling his male underlings, Freud used psychoanalysis to path-ologize female resistance to male sexual advances. This is apparent in the famous analysis of the teenage Dora, who rejected the advances of an older married man. Dora’s father sent her to Freud because he wanted her to accede to the man’s advances as an appeasement gesture because the father was having an affair with the man’s wife. Freud obligingly attributed Dora’s rejection to repressing amorous desires toward the man. The message is that 14-year-old girls who reject the sexual advances of older married men are behaving hysterically. An evolutionist would interpret her behavior as an understandable (and adaptive) consequence of her evolved psychology. Reflecting the generally positive accounts of Freud in the popular media of the 1950s, Donald Kaplan (1967), a lay analyst writing in Harper’s, wrote that Freud had “exercised his finest ingenuity” in the case of Dora: “Three months with Freud may have been the only experience with unimpeachable integrity in her long, unhappy life.” Lakoff and Coyne (1993) conclude their discussion of Dora by arguing that in general psychoanalysis was characterized by thought control, manipulation, and debasement of the analysand. Crews (1993, 56) also describes a “scarcely believable” case in which Freud manipulated Horace Frink, president of the New York Psychoanalytic Society, into a disastrous divorce and remarriage to an heiress, the latter event to be accompanied by a sizable financial contribution to the psychoanalytic movement. Frink’s second wife later divorced him. Both divorces were accompanied by episodes of manic depression.

An important corollary of these findings is that psychoanalysis has many features in common with brainwashing (Bailey 1960, 1965; Salter 1998).[175]Wittels (1924, 143–144) recounts an interpretation of a recurrent dream of Monroe Meyer, a student of psychoanalysis, in which Meyer feels in danger of choking after eating a large piece of beefsteak. The interpretation favored by Wittels is that of Stekel, who noted: “It seems to me that the beefsteak represents the indigestible analysis. My unfortunate colleague is compelled six times every week to swallow a wisdom which threatens to stifle him. The dream is the way in which his internal resistance to the analysis secures expression.” Whatever one might think of this interpretation, Wittel’s comments indicate that even during the 1920s, devoted disciples within the psychoanalytic community realized the danger that psychoanalysis could easily become a form of brainwashing. During training sessions, any objection by the future psychoanalyst is viewed as a resistance to be overcome (Sulloway 1979b). Many contemporary analysands feel that their analysts behaved aggressively toward them, turning them into devoted and passive followers of their highly idealized analyst, a role facilitated by the “unquestioned authority” of the analyst (Orgel 1990, 14). Masson (1990, 86) describes his training analysis as “like growing up with a despotic parent,” since the qualities it requires in the prospective analysts are meekness and abject obedience.

I suggest that the inculcation of passive and devoted followers via the aggression and thought control represented by psychoanalysis has always been an important aspect of the entire project. At a deep level, the fundamentally pseudoscientific structure of psychoanalysis implies that disputes cannot be resolved in a scientific manner, with the result that, as Kerr (1992) notes, the only means of resolving disputes involves the exercise of personal power. The result was that the movement was doomed to develop into a mainstream orthodoxy punctuated by numerous sectarian deviations originated by individuals who were expelled from the movement. These offshoots then replicated the fundamental structure of all psychoanalysis-inspired movements: “Each major disagreement over theory or therapy seemed to require a new validating social group, a psychoanalytic tradition that recent splits within Freudian institutes seem only to confirm” (Hale 1995, 26). Whereas real science is individualistic at its core, psychoanalysis in all its manifestations is fundamentally a set of cohesive, authoritarian groups centered around a charismatic leader.

Despite the complete lack of support by a body of scientific research and the authoritarian, highly politicized atmosphere of the movement, psychoanalysis has at least until recently “maintained a considerable place of honor within residency and medical student curricula and teaching.” The American Psychiatric Association (APA) “over many years has been led primarily by medical psychoanalysts, both as medical director in the person of Dr. Melvin Sabshin and through a succession of psychoanalyst presidents” (Cooper 1990, 182). The APA has supported the American Psychoanalytic Society in many ways directly and indirectly. The intellectual credibility of psychoanalysis within the wider psychiatric community and a considerable portion of its financial resources have therefore been achieved not by developing a body of scientific research or even being open to alternative perspectives, but by political influence within the APA.

Another source of financial support for psychoanalysis derived from its acceptance within the Jewish community. Jews have been vastly overrepresented as patients seeking psychoanalytic treatments, accounting for 60 percent of the applicants to psychoanalytic clinics in the 1960s (Kadushin 1969). Indeed, Glazer and Moynihan (1963, 163) describe a Jewish subculture in New York in mid-twentieth-century America in which psychoanalysis was a central cultural institution that filled some of the same functions as traditional religious affiliation: “Psychoanalysis in America is a peculiarly Jewish product. . . . [Psychoanalysis] was a scientific form of soul-rebuilding to make them whole and hardy, and it was divorced, at least on the surface, from mysticism, will, religion, and all those other romantic and obscure trends that their rational minds rejected” (p. 175). Patients and analysts alike were participating in a secular movement that retained the critical psychological features of traditional Judaism as a separatist, authoritarian, and collectivist cultlike movement.

Finally, it is reasonable to conclude that Freud’s real analysand was gentile culture, and that psychoanalysis was fundamentally an act of aggression toward that culture. The methodology and institutional structure of psychoanalysis may be viewed as attempts to brainwash gentile culture into passively accepting the radical criticism of gentile culture entailed by the fundamental postulates of psychoanalysis. Draped in scientific jargon, the authority of the analyst depended ultimately on a highly authoritarian movement in which dissent resulted in expulsion and elaborate rationalizations in which such behavior was pathologized.

Indeed, the following passage, written to Karl Abraham, shows that Freud thought that in order to accept psychoanalysis, gentiles had to overcome “inner resistances” resulting from their racial origins. Comparing Abraham to Jung, Freud wrote, “You are closer to my intellectual constitution because of racial kinship [Rassenverwandschaft], while he as a Christian and a pastor’s son finds his way to me only against great inner resistances” (in Yerushalmi 1991, 42).

Gentiles’ acceptance of psychoanalysis would thus, in a sense, represent the Jews’ conquering the “innate” tendencies of the Christians—the victory of the Semitic general against his hated adversary, gentile culture. Indeed, Kurzweil (1989) shows that the tendency to pathologize disagreement not only occurred within the movement and in reference to defectors but also was often applied to whole countries where psychoanalysis failed to take root. Thus the early lack of a positive reception for psychoanalysis in France was ascribed to “irrational defenses” (p. 30), and a similar situation in Austria was attributed to a “general resistance” to psychoanalysis (p. 245), where “resistance” is used with psychoanalytic connotations.

Psychoanalysis as a Tool in the Radical Criticism of Western Culture: The Wider Cultural Influence of Freud’s Theory • 1,900 Words

Because Freud’s ideology was self-consciously subversive and, in particular, because it tended to undermine Western institutions surrounding sex and marriage, it is of some interest to consider the effects of these practices from an evolutionary perspective. Western marriage has long been monogamous and exogamous, and these features contrast strongly with features of other stratified societies, especially societies from the Near East, such as ancient Israel (MacDonald 1995b,c; PTSDA, Ch. 8).

Freud’s views in Totem and Taboo and Civilization and Its Discontents represent a failure to grasp the uniqueness of Roman and later Christian institutions of marriage and the role of Christian religious practices in producing the uniquely egalitarian mating systems characteristic of Western Europe.[176]This failure to comprehend the egalitarian nature of Western sexual customs was also apparent in Heinrich Heine’s vigorous opposition to the bourgeois sexual morality of the nineteenth century. As did Freud, Heine viewed sexual emancipation as a matter of liberation from the constraints imposed by an oppressive and overly spiritual Western culture. Sammons (1979, 199) notes, however, that “in the middle class public, sexual license had long been regarded as a characteristic vice of the aristocracy, while sexual discipline and respect for feminine virtue were associated with bourgeois virtue. In driving so roughly across the grain of these tabus, Heine was running his familiar risk of being perceived, not as an emancipator, but as temperamentally an aristocrat, and the resistance he generated was by no means restricted to the conservative public.” Indeed, lower- and middle-status males’ concern with controlling aristocratic sexual behavior was a prominent feature of nineteenth-century discourse about sex (see MacDonald 1995b,c). Wealthy individuals stand to benefit far more than their inferiors from the relaxation of traditional Western sexual mores. In Western Europe the repression of sexual behavior has fundamentally served to support socially imposed monogamy, a mating system in which differences in male wealth are much less associated with access to females and reproductive success than in traditional non-Western civilizations where polygyny has been the norm. As elaborated also in PTSDA (Ch. 8), polygyny implies sexual competition among males, with wealthy males having access to vastly disproportionate numbers of women and lower-status men often being unable to mate at all. This type of marriage system is very common among the traditional stratified human societies of the world, such as classical China, India, the Muslim societies, and ancient Israel (Betzig 1986; Dickemann 1979). While poor males cannot find a mate in such a system, women are reduced to chattel and are typically purchased as concubines by wealthy males. Socially imposed monogamy thus represents a relatively egalitarian mating system for men.

Moreover, because of higher levels of sexual competition among males, the status of women in non-Western societies is immeasurably lower than in Western societies where monogamy has developed (MacDonald 1988a, 227–228; J. Q. Wilson 1993a). It is no accident that the recent movement toward women’s rights developed in Western societies rather than in the other stratified societies of the world. The massive confusion characteristic of psychoanalysis is also apparent in Freud’s close colleague, Fritz Wittels. Wittels expected an era of liberation and sexual freedom to be ushered in by a group of Jewish psychoanalytic messianists, but his expectation was based on a profound misunderstanding of sex and human psychology. Wittels condemned “our contemporary goddamned culture” for forcing women into “the cage of monogamy” (in Gay 1988, 512), a comment that completely misunderstands the effects of inter-male sexual competition as represented by polygyny.

There are sound reasons for supposing that monogamy was a necessary condition for the peculiarly European “low-pressure” demographic profile described by Wrigley and Schofield (1981). This demographic profile results from late marriage and celibacy of large percentages of females during times of economic scarcity. The theoretical connection with monogamy is that monogamous marriage results in a situation where the poor of both sexes are unable to mate, whereas in polygynous systems an excess of poor females merely lowers the price of concubines for wealthy males. Thus, for example, at the end of the seventeenth century approximately 23 percent of individuals ofboth sexes remained unmarried between ages 40 to 44, but, as a result of altered economic opportunities, this percentage dropped at the beginning of the eighteenth century to 9 percent, and there was a corresponding decline in age of marriage (Wrigley & Schofield 1981). Like monogamy, this pattern was unique among the stratified societies of Eurasia (Hajnal 1965, 1983; MacFarlane 1986; R. Wall 1983; Wrigley & Schofield, 1981).

In turn, the low pressure demographic profile appears to have had economic consequences. Not only was marriage rate the main damper on population growth, but, especially in England, this response had a tendency to lag well behind favorable economic changes so that there was a tendency for capital accumulation during good times rather than a constant pressure of population on food supply:

The fact that the rolling adjustment between economic and demographic fluctuations took place in such a leisurely fashion, tending to produce large if gradual swings in real wages, represented an opportunity to break clear from the low-level income trap which is sometimes supposed to have inhibited all pre-industrial nations. A long period of rising real wages, by changing the structure of demand, will tend to give a disproportionately strong boost to demand for commodities other than the basic necessities of life, and so to sectors of the economy whose growth is especially important if an industrial revolution is to occur. (Wrigley & Schofield 1981, 439; see also Hajnal 1965; MacFarlane 1986)

There is thus some reason to suppose that monogamy, by resulting in a low pressure demographic profile, was a necessary condition for industrialization. This argument suggests that socially imposed monogamy—embedded in the religious and cultural framework of Western societies—may indeed be a central aspect of the architecture of Western modernization.

Another important effect of Western institutions of sex and marriage was to facilitate high-investment parenting. As already indicated, perhaps the most basic mistake Freud made was the systematic conflation of sex and love. This was also his most subversive mistake, and one cannot overemphasize the absolutely disastrous consequences of accepting the Freudian view that sexual liberation would have salutary effects on society.

Contrary to the psychoanalytic perspective, evolutionary theory is compatible with a discrete systems perspective in which there are at least two independent systems influencing reproductive behavior (MacDonald 1988a, 1992, 1995a): One system is a pair bonding system that facilitates stable pair bonds and high-investment parenting. This system essentially brings the father into the family as a provider of resources for children by providing a basis for close affectional ties (romantic love) between men and women. There is good evidence for such a system both in attachment research and personality psychology.

The second system may be characterized as a sexual attraction-mating system that facilitates mating and short-term sexual relationships. This system is psychometrically associated with extraversion, sensation seeking, aggression, and other appetitive systems. Psychological research supports the hypothesis that individuals who are high on these systems tend to have more sexual partners and relatively disinhibited sexual behavior. Highest in young-adult males, this system underlies a low-investment style of mating behavior in which the male’s role is simply to inseminate females rather than provide continuing investment in the children. Many human societies have been characterized by intense sexual competition among males to control large numbers of females (e.g., Betzig 1986; Dickemann 1979; MacDonald 1983). This male pursuit of large numbers of mates and sexual relationships has nothing to do with love. It is the defining characteristic of Western culture to have significantly inhibited this male tendency while at the same time providing cultural supports for pair bonding and companionate marriage. The result has been a relatively egalitarian, high-investment mating system.

The psychoanalytic emphasis on legitimizing sexuality and premarital sex is therefore fundamentally a program that promotes low-investment parenting styles. Low-investment parenting is associated with precocious sexuality, early reproduction, lack of impulse control, and unstable pair bonds (Belsky, Steinberg & Draper 1991). Ecologically, high-investment parenting is associated with the need to produce competitive offspring, and we have seen that one aspect of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy has been a strong emphasis on high-investment parenting (PTSDA, Ch. 7). Applied to gentile culture, the subversive program of psychoanalysis would have the expected effect of resulting in less-competitive children; in the long term, gentile culture would be increasingly characterized by low-investment parenting, and, as indicated below, there is evidence that the sexual revolution inaugurated, or at least greatly facilitated, by psychoanalysis has indeed had this effect.

In this regard, it is interesting to note that an important aspect of the social imposition of monogamy in Western Europe has been the development of companionate marriage. One of the peculiar features of Western marriage is that there has been a trend toward companionate marriage based on affection and consent between partners (e.g., Brundage 1987; Hanawalt 1986; MacFarlane 1986; Stone 1977, 1990; Westermarck 1922). Although dating this affective revolution in the various social strata remains controversial (Phillips 1988), several historians have noted the prevalence and psychological importance of affectionate parent-child and husband-wife relations in Western Europe since the Middle Ages (Hanawalt 1986; MacFarlane 1986; Pollack 1983), or at least since the seventeenth century (e.g., Phillips 1988; Stone 1977, 1990). Stone (1990) notes that by the end of the eighteenth century “even in great aristocratic households mutual affection was regarded as the essential prerequisite for matrimony” (p. 60).

In view of Freud’s animosity toward Western culture and the Catholic Church in particular, it is interesting that the Church’s policy on marriage included a largely successful attempt to emphasize consent and affection between partners as normative features of marriage (Brundage 1975, 1987; Duby 1983; Hanawalt 1986; Herlihy 1985; MacFarlane 1986; Noonan 1967, 1973; Quaife 1979; Rouche 1987; Sheehan 1978). Anti-hedonism and the idealization of romantic love as the basis of monogamous marriage have also periodically characterized Western secular intellectual movements (Brundage 1987), such as the Stoics of late antiquity (e.g., P. Brown 1987; Veyne 1987) and nineteenth-century Romanticism (e.g., Corbin 1990; Porter 1982).

From an evolutionary perspective, consent frees individuals to pursue their own interests in marriage, among which may be compatibility and conjugal affection. Although affection can certainly occur in the context of arranged marriages (and this has been emphasized by some historians of Republican Rome [e.g., Dixon 1985]), all things being equal, free consent to marriage is more likely to result in affection being one criterion of importance.

Indeed, one sees in these findings a fundamental difference between Judaism as a collectivist group strategy, in which individual decisions are submerged to the interests of the group, versus Western institutions based on individualism. Recall the material reviewed in PTSDA (Ch. 7) indicating that until after World War I arranged marriages were the rule among Jews because the economic basis of marriage was too important to leave to the vagaries of romantic love (Hyman 1989). Although high-investment parenting was an important aspect of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy, conjugal affection was not viewed as central to marriage with the result that, as Cuddihy (1974) notes, a long line of Jewish intellectuals regarded it as a highly suspect product of an alien culture. Jews also continued to practice consanguineous marriages—a practice that highlights the fundamentally biological agenda of Judaism (see PTSDA, Ch. 8)—well into the twentieth century whereas, as we have seen, the Church successfully countered consanguinity as a basis of marriage beginning in the Middle Ages. Judaism thus continued to emphasize the collectivist mechanism of the social control of individual behavior in conformity to family and group interests centuries after the control of marriage in the West passed from family and clan to individuals. In contrast to Jewish emphasis on group mechanisms, Western culture has thus uniquely emphasized individualist mechanisms of personal attraction and free consent (see PTSDA, Ch. 8).

I conclude that Western religious and secular institutions have resulted in a highly egalitarian mating system that is associated with high-investment parenting. These institutions provided a central role for pair bonding, conjugality, and companionship as the basis of marriage. However, when these institutions were subjected to the radical critique presented by psychoanalysis, they came to be seen as engendering neurosis, and Western society itself was viewed as pathogenic. Freud’s writings on this issue (see Kurzweil 1989, 85 and passim) are replete with assertions on the need for greater sexual freedom to overcome debilitating neurosis. As we shall see, later psychoanalytic critiques of gentile culture pointed to the repression of sexuality as leading to anti-Semitism and a host of other modern ills.

Psychoanalysis and the Criticism of Western Culture • 2,600 Words

Psychoanalysis has proved to be a veritable treasure trove of ideas for those intent on developing radical critiques of Western culture. Psychoanalysis influenced thought in a wide range of areas, including sociology, child rearing, criminology, anthropology, literary criticism, art, literature, and the popular media. Kurzweil (1989, 102) notes that “something like a culture of psychoanalysis was being established.” Torrey (1992) describes in some detail the spread of the movement in the United States, originally through the actions of a small group of predominantly Jewish activists with access to the popular media, the academic world, and the arts, to a pervasive influence in the 1950s: “It is a long road from a beachhead among New York intellectuals to a widespread influence in almost every phase of American life” (p. 37)—what Torrey terms an “assault on American culture” (p. 127).

And as Shapiro (1989, 292) points out, the vast majority of the New York Intellectuals not only had Jewish backgrounds but also strongly identified as Jews: “The surprising thing about the Jewish intellectuals is not that their expressions of Jewish identity were so pale but that they rejected the easy path of assimilation. That supposedly ‘cosmopolitan’ intellectuals should concern themselves with such a parochial matter as Jewish identity reveals the hold which Jewishness has had on even the most acculturated.” As indicated in Chapter 6, the New York Intellectuals were politically radical and deeply alienated from American political and cultural institutions.

Psychoanalysis was a major component of the Weltanschauung of these intellectuals. Torrey’s (1992) study indicates a strong overlap among psychoanalysis, liberal-radical politics, and Jewish identification among the American intellectual elite since the 1930s. Torrey (1992, 95) describes Dwight Macdonald as “one of the few goyim among the New York intelligentsia” involved in this movement which was centered around the journal Partisan Review (see Ch. 6). Given this association of psychoanalysis and the left, it is not surprising that Frederick Crews’s (1993; Crews et al. 1995) critique of psychoanalysis has been analyzed as an attack on the left: Writing in Tikhun, a publication that combines liberal-radical politics with Jewish activism and is regarded as a journal of the New York Intellectuals (see Ch. 6), Eli Zaretsky (1994, 67) noted that attacks like that of Crews “are continuous with the attack on the Left that began with the election of Richard Nixon in 1968. . . . They continue the repudiation of the revolutionary and utopian possibilities glimpsed in the 1960s.” Psychoanalysis was an integral component of the countercultural movement of the 1960s; attacks on it are tantamount to attacking a cornerstone of liberal-radical political culture.

Moreover, the material reviewed by Torrey indicates that the preponderance of psychoanalytically inclined Jews among the intellectual elite continued in the post–World War II era. Torrey studied 21 elite American intellectuals identified originally by Kadushin (1974) on the basis of peer ratings as being the most influential. Of the 21, 15 were Jewish, and questionnaires and analysis of the writings of these 15 indicated that 11 had been “significantly influenced by Freudian theory at some point in their careers” (p. 185). (This includes three cases in which the writings of Wilhelm Reich, the leader of the Freudian left, were more influential than those of Freud: Saul Bellow, Paul Goodman, and Norman Mailer.) In addition, 10 of these 11 (Saul Bellow excepted) were identified as having liberal or radical political beliefs at some period of their career.[177]The four elite Jewish intellectuals in this study who were apparently not influenced by Freud were Hannah Arendt, Noam Chomsky, Richard Hofstadter, and Irving Kristol. Of these, only Noam Chomsky could possibly be regarded as someone whose writings were not highly influenced by his Jewish identity and specifically Jewish interests. The findings taken together indicate that the American intellectual scene has been significantly dominated by specifically Jewish interests and that psychoanalysis has been an important tool in advancing these interests.

The link between psychoanalysis and the political left, as well as the critical role of Jewish-controlled media in the propagation of psychoanalysis, can be seen in the recent uproar of Frederick Crews’s critiques of the culture of psychoanalysis. The original articles were published in the New York Review of Books—a journal that, along with Partisan Review and Commentary,is associated with the New York Intellectuals (see Ch. 6). Publication in the NYRB, as Crews notes, is “almost like pet owners who had negligently or maliciously consigned their parakeet to the mercies of an ever-lurking cat” (Crews et al. 1995, 288). The implication is that publications like the NYRB and the other journals associated with the New York Intellectuals have been instrumental in propagating psychoanalytic and similar doctrines as scientifically and intellectually reputable for decades, and it also suggests that had Crews published his articles in a less visible and less-politicized medium, they could have been safely ignored, as has commonly been the practice over the long history of psychoanalysis.

Several prominent Freudian critiques of culture remained fairly true to Freud’s original premises.[178]For example, Norman O. Brown’s influential Life against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History (1985; originally published in 1959) completely accepts Freud’s analysis of culture as delineated in Civilization and Its Discontents. Brown finds the most important Freudian doctrine to be the repression of human nature, particularly the repression of pleasure seeking. This repression-caused neurosis is a universal characteristic of humans, but Brown claims that the intellectual history of repression originated in Western philosophy and Western religion. In terms highly reminiscent of some of Freud’s early associates, Brown points to a utopian future in which there is a “resurrection of the body” and a complete freeing of the human spirit. Herbert Marcuse, a countercultural guru of the 1960s, was a member of the first generation of the Frankfurt School whose activities are discussed extensively in Chapter 5. In Eros and Civilization Marcuse accepts Freud’s theory that Western culture is pathogenic as a result of the repression of sexual urges, paying homage to Freud, who “recognized the work of repression in the highest values of Western civilization—which presuppose and perpetuate unfreedom and suffering” (p. 240). Marcuse cites Wilhelm Reich’s early work approvingly as an exemplar of the “leftist” wing of Freud’s legacy. Reich “emphasized the extent to which sexual repression is enforced by the interests of domination and exploitation, and the extent to which these interests are in turn reinforced and reproduced by sexual repression” (p. 239). Like Freud, Marcuse points the way to a nonexploitative utopian civilization that would result from the complete end of sexual repression, but Marcuse goes beyond Freud’s ideas in Civilization and Its Discontents only in his even greater optimism regarding the beneficial effects of ending sexual repression.

Indeed, Marcuse ends the book with a ringing defense of the fundamental importance of sexual repression in opposition to several “neo-Freudian revisionist” theorists such as Erich Fromm, Karen Horney, and Henry Stack Sullivan. Interestingly, Marcuse proposes that neo-Freudianism arose because of the belief that orthodox Freudian sexual repression theory would suggest that socialism was unattainable (pp. 238–239). These neo-Freudian revisionists must thus be seen as continuing the psychoanalytic critique of culture, but in a manner that deemphasizes the exclusive concern with sexual repression. These theorists—and particularly Erich Fromm, who had a very strong Jewish identity (Marcus & Tar 1986, 348–350; Wiggershaus 1994, 52ff) and very self-consciously attempted to use psychoanalysis to further a radical political agenda—can be viewed as optimistic-utopian.

Like Marcuse, Fromm was a member of the first generation of the Frankfurt School. A cornerstone of this approach is to view contemporary society as pathogenic and the development of socialism as ushering in a new era of loving human relationships. These writers were highly influential: For example, “A whole generation of college-educated Americans was deeply influenced by Erich Fromm’s argument, in Escape From Freedom, that National Socialism was the natural outcome of the interplay between a Protestant sensibility and the contradictions inherent in capitalism” (Rothman & Lichter 1982, 87). Fromm (1941) essentially viewed authoritarianism as resulting from an unconscious fear of freedom and a consequent need to seek certainty by joining fascist movements—an example of the tendency among Jewish intellectuals to develop theories in which anti-Semitism is fundamentally the result of the individual or social pathology of gentiles. Fromm, like the other Frankfurt School theorists reviewed in Chapter 5, developed a view in which psychological health was epitomized by individualists who achieved their potentials without relying on membership in collectivist groups: “Progress for democracy lies in enhancing the actual freedom, initiative, and spontaneity of the individual, not only in certain private and spiritual matters, but above all in the activity fundamental to every man’s existence, his work” (Fromm 1941, 272). As indicated in Chapter 5, radical individualism among gentiles is an excellent prescription for the continuation of Judaism as a cohesive group. The irony (hypocrisy?) is that Fromm and the other members of the Frankfurt School, as individuals who strongly identified with a highly collectivist group (Judaism), advocated radical individualism for the society as a whole.

John Murray Cuddihy emphasizes that a common theme of psychoanalytic critiques of Western culture is to suppose that surface Western civility is a thin veneer overlying anti-Semitism and other forms of psychopathology. Wilhelm Reich is an exemplar of this trend—”the violent encounter of the ‘tribal’ society of the shtetl with the ‘civil’ society of the West” (Cuddihy 1974, 111). In his book The Function of the Orgasm: Sex-Economic Problems of Biological Energy,Reich (1961, 206–207; italics in text) wrote, “the forces which had been kept in check for so long by the superficial veneer of good breeding and artificial self-control now borne by the very multitudes that were striving for freedom, broke through into action: In concentration camps, in the persecution of the Jews. . . . In Fascism, the psychic mass disease revealed itself in an undisguised form.”

For Reich, the character armor that results ultimately from repressing sexual orgasms begins in civil discourse and ends at Auschwitz. Cuddihy notes Reich’s very wide influence from the 1940s into the 1970s, ranging from anarchist Paul Goodman, the poet Karl Shapiro, novelists Stanley Elkin, Isaac Rosenfeld, and Saul Bellow, and psychotherapists “Fritz” Perls of the Esalen Institute and Arthur Janov (author of Primal Scream). Goodman (1960), who along with Rosenfeld and Bellow are grouped among the New York Intellectuals discussed Chapter 6, wrote Growing Up Absurd: Problems of Youth in the Organized Society, a highly influential indictment of society as thwarting instinctual urges by its insistence on conformity and repression. Here the utopian society was to be ushered in by the revolutionary vanguard of students, and indeed a 1965 survey of the leaders of the radical Students for a Democratic Society found that over half had read Goodman and Marcuse, a much higher percentage than had read Marx, Lenin, or Trotsky (Sale 1973, 205). In an article published in Commentary—itself an indication of the extent to which psychoanalytic social criticism had penetrated Jewish intellectual circles, Goodman (1961, 203) asks “What if the censorship itself, part of a general repressive anti-sexuality, causes the evil, creates the need for sadistic pornography sold at a criminal profit?” (italics in text). Without adducing any evidence whatever that sadistic urges result from repressing sexuality, Goodman manages to suggest in typical psychoanalytic style that if only society would cease attempting to control sexuality, all would be well.

The disastrous conflation of sex and love in the writings of Freud and his disciples is also apparent in the literary world. Using the example of Leslie Fiedler, Cuddihy (1974, 71) emphasizes the fascination of Jewish intellectuals with cultural criticism emanating from Freud and Marx—whichever one seemed to work best for a particular author at a particular time. Courtly love was unmasked as sublimation—a ritualized attempt to avoid the coarseness of sexual intercourse with a female. And Dickstein (1977, 52) notes regarding Norman Mailer, “Gradually, like the rest of America, he shifted from a Marxian to a Freudian terrain. Like other fifties radicals he was most effective, and most prophetic in the psychosexual sphere rather than in the old political one. . . . Where repression was, let liberation be: this was the message not only of Mailer but of a whole new line of Freudian (or Reichian) radicalism, which did so much to undermine the intellectual consensus of the cold war period.”

Although the works of Marcuse, Goodman, Fiedler, and Mailer are illustrative of the deeply subversive cultural critiques emanating from psychoanalysis, these works are only one aspect of an incredibly broad program. Kurzweil (1989) has provided a comprehensive overview of the influence of psychoanalysis on cultural criticism in all Western societies.[179]Interestingly, Kurzweil (1989) notes that psychoanalysis was central to cultural criticism in both the United States and France, but the role of Marxism in critical analysis differed in the two countries. In the United States, where Marxism was anathema, the critics combined Marx and Freud, whereas in France, where Marxism was much more entrenched, psychoanalysis was combined with structural linguistics. The result was that “in both countries the radical claims for psychoanalysis were based on the opposition to familiar and accepted theoretical discourses and to existing biases” (p. 244). A consistent thread in this literature is a concern for developing theories that entail radical critiques of society. The followers of Jaques Lacan, the French literary critic, for example, rejected a biological interpretation of drive theory but were nevertheless “as eager as their German colleagues to restore the radical stance of psychoanalysis” (Kurzweil 1989, 78). As expected in a nonscience, psychoanalytic influence has resulted in a veritable tower of Babel of theories in the area of literary studies: “In America, not even the contributors could agree on what their activities ultimately were proving or what they amounted to; they all had their own prejudices” (Kurzweil 1989, 195). Lacan’s movement splintered into numerous groups after his death, each group claiming legitimate descent from the master. Lacanian psychoanalysis continued be a tool in the radical cultural critiques of the Marxist Louis Althusser, as well as the highly influential Michel Foucault and Roland Barthes. All of these intellectuals, including Lacan, were disciples of Claude Lévi-Strauss (see p. 22), who in turn was influenced by Freud (and Marx) (Dosse 1997 I, 14, 112–113).

The central role of psychoanalysis as cultural criticism can also be seen in its role in Germany after World War II. T. W. Adorno, an author of The Authoritarian Personality, is an excellent example of a social scientist who utilized the language of social science in the service of combating anti-Semitism, pathologizing gentile culture, and rationalizing Jewish separatism (see Ch. 5). Returning to Germany after World War II, Adorno expressed his fears that psychoanalysis would become “a beauty no longer able to disturb the sleep of humanity” (in Kurzweil 1989, 253). Eventually psychoanalysis became state supported in Germany, with every German citizen eligible for up to 300 hours of psychoanalysis (more in severe cases). In 1983 the government of Hesse sought empirical data on the success of psychoanalysis in return for funding a psychoanalytic institute. The response of the offended analysts is a revealing reminder of two central aspects of the psychoanalytic agenda, the pathologization of enemies and the centrality of social criticism: “They rose to the defense of psychoanalysis as a social critique. . . . [They attacked the] unconscious lies of (unnamed but recognizable) psychoanalysts, their unhappy relationship to power, and their frequent neglect of the countertransference.” The result was a reinvigorization of psychoanalysis as a social critique and the production of a book that “enlarged their critiques to every political topic” (Kurzweil 1989, 315). Psychoanalysis can be justified solely by its usefulness in cultural criticism independent of data on its effectiveness in therapy.[180]As another example, Kurzweil describes a project in which a full-time staff of 20 psychoanalysts failed to alter the antisocial tendencies of ten hardened criminals through a permissive rehabilitation program. The failure of the program was attributed to the difficulty of reversing the effect of early experiences, and there were calls for preventive psychoanalysis for all German children.

The most influential psychoanalyst in post–World War II Germany was the leftist Alexander Mitscherlich, who viewed psychoanalysis as necessary to humanize Germans and “defend against the inhumanities of civilization” (in Kurzweil 1989, 234). Regarding the necessity to transform Germans in the wake of the Nazi era, Mitscherlich believed that only psychoanalysis held out the hope of redemption for the German people: “Each German had to face this past individually via a more or less ‘pragmatic’ Freudian analysis” (p. 275). His journal Psyche adopted a generally adversarial stance toward German culture, combining Marxist and psychoanalytic perspectives in an attempt to further “antifascist thinking” (p. 236). The “Bernfeld Circle” of leftist psychoanalysts emphasizing the “social-critical elements of psychoanalysis” was also active in Germany during this period (p. 234).

As is typical of the field generally, these psychoanalysts also produced a plethora of theories of anti-Semitism with no way to decide among them. In 1962 Mitscherlich organized a conference entitled “The Psychological and Social Assumptions of Anti-Semitism: Analysis of the Psychodynamics of a Prejudice,” which offered several highly imaginative psychoanalytic theories in which anti-Semitism was analyzed as essentially a social and individual pathology of gentiles. For example, in his contribution Mitscherlich proposed that children developed hostility when required to obey teachers, and that this then led to identification with the aggressor and ultimately to a glorification of war. Mitscherlich believed that German anti-Semitism was “just one more manifestation of German infantile authoritarianism” (p. 296). Béla Grunberger concluded that “oedipal ambivalence toward the father and anal-sadistic relations in early childhood are the anti-Semite’s irrevocable inheritance” (p. 296). Martin Wangh, analyzed Nazi anti-Semitism as resulting from enhanced Oedipal complexes resulting from father absence during World War I: “Longing for the father . . . had strengthened childish homosexual wishes which later projected onto the Jews” (p. 297).

Conclusion • 2,900 Words

We begin to grasp that the deviser of psychoanalysis was at bottom a visionary but endlessly calculating artist, engaged in casting himself as the hero of a multivolume fictional opus that is part epic, part detective story, and part satire on human self-interestedess and animality. This scientifically deflating realization . . . is what the Freudian community needs to challenge if it can. (Crews et al. 1995, 12–13)

I conclude that psychoanalysis has fundamentally been a political movement that has been dominated throughout its history by individuals who strongly identified as Jews. A consistent theme has been that psychoanalysis has been characterized by intense personal involvement. The intense level of emotional commitment to psychoanalytic doctrines and the intense personal identification with Freud himself as well as with others in the direct line of descent from Freud suggest that for many of its practitioners, participation in the psychoanalytic movement satisfied deep psychological needs related to being a member of a highly cohesive, authoritarian movement.

It is also not surprising, given the clear sense of Jewish intellectual, moral, and, indeed, racial superiority to gentiles that pervaded the early phases of the movement, that outsiders have proposed that psychoanalysis not only had powerful religious overtones but also was directed at achieving specific Jewish interests (Klein 1981, 146). The view that psychoanalysis is a “special interest” movement has continued into the contemporary era (Klein 1981, 150).

I have noted that Jewish intellectual activity involving the radical criticism of gentile culture need not be conceptualized as directed at attaining specific economic or social goals of Judaism. From this perspective, the psychoanalytic subversion of the moral and intellectual basis of Western culture may simply result from social identity processes in which the culture of the outgroup is negatively valued. This does not appear to be the whole story, however.

One way in which psychoanalysis has served specific Jewish interests is the development of theories of anti-Semitism that bear the mantle of science but deemphasize the importance of conflicts of interest between Jews and gentiles. Although these theories vary greatly in detail—and, as typical of psychoanalytic theories generally, there is no way to empirically decide among them—within this body of theory anti-Semitism is viewed as a form of gentile psychopathology resulting from projections, repressions, and reaction formations stemming ultimately from a pathology-inducing society. The psychoanalysts who emigrated from Europe to the United States during the Nazi era expected to make psychoanalysis “into the ultimate weapon against fascism, anti-Semitism, and every other antiliberal bias” (Kurzweil 1989, 294). The most influential such attempts, deriving from the Studies in Prejudice series, will be discussed in the following chapter, but such theories continue to appear (e.g., Bergmann 1995; Ostow 1995; Young-Bruehl 1996). Katz (1983, 40), in discussing two examples of this genre, notes that “this sort of theory is as irrefutable as it is undemonstrable”—a description that has, as we have seen, always been a hallmark of psychoanalytic theorizing whatever the subject matter. In both cases there is no link whatever between the historical narrative of anti-Semitism and psychoanalytic theory, and Katz concludes that “the fact that such analogies [between anti-Semitism and certain clinical case histories of obsessive behavior] are far-fetched does not seem to disturb those who interpret all human affairs in psychoanalytic terms” (p. 41).

However, beyond this overt agenda in pathologizing anti-Semitism, it is noteworthy that within psychoanalytic theory, Jewish identity is irrelevant to understanding human behavior. As in the case of radical political ideology, psychoanalysis is a messianic universalist ideology that attempts to subvert traditional gentile social categories as well as the Jewish-gentile distinction itself, yet it allows for the possibility of a continuation of Jewish group cohesion, though in a cryptic or semi-cryptic state. As with radical political ideology, the Jew-gentile social categorization is of diminished salience and of no theoretical significance. As in the case of psychoanalytic theories of anti-Semitism, to the extent that psychoanalysis becomes part of the worldview of gentiles, social identity theory predicts that anti-Semitism would be minimized.

Gilman (1993, 115, 122, 124) suggests that Freud, as well as several other Jewish scientists of the period, developed theories of hysteria as a reaction to the view that Jews as a “race” were biologically predisposed to hysteria. In contrast to this racially based argument, Freud proposed a universal human nature—”the common basis of human life” (Klein 1981, 71) and then theorized that all individual differences resulted from environmental influences emanating ultimately from a repressive, inhumane society. Thus although Freud himself believed that Jewish intellectual and moral superiority resulted from Lamarckian inheritance and were thus genetically based, psychoanalysis officially denied the importance of biologically based ethnic differences or indeed the theoretical primacy of ethnic differences or ethnic conflict of any kind. Ethnic conflict came to be viewed within psychoanalytic theory as a secondary phenomenon resulting from irrational repressions, projections, and reaction formations and as an indication of gentile pathology rather than as a reflection of actual Jewish behavior.

I have noted that there was often an overlap between psychoanalysis and radical political beliefs among Jews. This is not at all surprising. Both phenomena are essentially Jewish responses to the Enlightenment and its denigrating effect on religious ideology as the basis for developing an intellectually legitimate sense of group or individual identity. Both movements are compatible with a strong personal sense of Jewish identity and with some form of group continuity of Judaism; indeed, Yerushalmi (1991, 81ff) argues persuasively that Freud saw himself as a leader of the Jewish people and that his “science” provided a secular interpretation of fundamental Jewish religious themes.

The similarities between these movements is far deeper, however. Both psychoanalysis and radical political ideology present critiques in which the traditional institutions and socio-religious categorizations of gentile society are negatively evaluated. Both movements, and especially psychoanalysis, present their intellectual critiques in the language of science and rationality, the lingua franca of post-Enlightenment intellectual discourse. However, both movements have a pronounced political atmosphere despite the scientific veneer. Such a result is perhaps scarcely surprising in the case of Marxist political ideology, although even Marxism has often been touted by its proponents as “scientific” socialism. Psychoanalysis has from the beginning been burdened in its quest for scientific respectability by the clear overtones of its being a sectarian political movement masquerading as science.

Both psychoanalysis and radical political ideology often resulted in a sense of a personal messianic mission to gentile society promising a utopian world free of class struggle, ethnic conflict, and debilitating neuroses. Both movements characteristically developed conceptions of Jewish group identity as leading gentiles to a utopian society of the future, the familiar “light of the nations” concept represented here in completely secular and “scientific” terms. The social categorizations advocated by these movements completely obliterated the social categorization of Jew-gentile, and both movements developed ideologies in which anti-Semitism was fundamentally the result of factors entirely extraneous to Jewish identity, Jewish group continuity, and Jewish-gentile resource competition. In the promised utopian societies of the future, the category of Jew-gentile would be of no theoretical importance, but Jews could continue to identify as Jews and there could be continuation of Jewish group identity while at the same time a principle source of gentile identity—religion and its concomitant supports for high-investment parenting—would be conceptualized as an infantile aberration. The universalist ideologies of Marxism and psychoanalysis thus were highly compatible with the continuation of Jewish particularism.

Besides these functions, the cultural influence of psychoanalysis may actually have benefited Judaism by increasing Jewish-gentile differences in resource competition ability, although there is no reason to suppose that this was consciously intended by the leaders of the movement. Given the very large mean differences between Jews and gentiles in intelligence and tendencies toward high-investment parenting, there is every reason to suppose that Jews and gentiles have very different interests in the construction of culture. Jews suffer to a lesser extent than gentiles from the erosion of cultural supports for high-investment parenting, and Jews benefit by the decline in religious belief among gentiles. As Podhoretz (1995, 30) notes, it is in fact the case that Jewish intellectuals, Jewish organizations like the AJCongress, and Jewish-dominated organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (see note 2) have ridiculed Christian religious beliefs, attempted to undermine the public strength of Christianity, and have led the fight for unrestricted pornography. The evidence of this chapter indicates that psychoanalysis as a Jewish-dominated intellectual movement is a central component of this war on gentile cultural supports for high-investment parenting.

It is interesting in this regard that Freud held the view that Judaism as a religion was no longer necessary because it had already performed its function of creating the intellectually, spiritually, and morally superior Jewish character: “Having forged the character of the Jews, Judaism as a religion had performed its vital task and could now be dispensed with” (Yerushalmi 1991, 52). The data summarized in this chapter indicate that Freud viewed Jewish ethical, spiritual, and intellectual superiority as genetically determined and that gentiles were genetically prone to being slaves of their senses and prone to brutality. The superior Jewish character was genetically determined via Lamarckian inheritance acting for generations as a result of the unique Jewish experience. The data reviewed in PTSDA (Ch. 7) indicate that there is indeed very good evidence for the view that there is a genetic basis for Jewish-gentile differences in IQ and high-investment parenting brought about ultimately by Jewish religious practices over historical time (but via eugenic practices, not via Lamarckian inheritance).

Given that the differences between Jews and gentiles are genetically mediated, Jews would not be as dependent on the preservation of cultural supports for high-investment parenting as would be the case among gentiles. Freud’s war on gentile culture through facilitation of the pursuit of sexual gratification, low-investment parenting, and elimination of social controls on sexual behavior may therefore be expected to affect Jews and gentiles differently, with the result that the competitive difference between Jews and gentiles, already significant on the basis of the material reviewed in PTSDA (Chs. 5, 7), would be exacerbated. There is evidence, for example, that more intelligent, affluent, and educated adolescents mature sexually at a relatively slow rate (Belsky et al. 1991; Rushton 1995). Such adolescents are more likely to abstain from sexual intercourse, so that sexual freedom and the legitimization of nonmarital sex are less likely to result in early marriage, single-parenting, and other types of low-investment parenting in this group. Greater intelligence is also associated with later age of marriage, lower levels of illegitimacy, and lower levels of divorce (Herrnstein & Murray 1994). Hyman (1989) notes that Jewish families in contemporary America have a lower divorce rate (see also Cohen 1986; Waxman 1989), later age of first marriage, and greater investment in education than non-Jewish families. Recent findings indicate that the age of first sexual intercourse for Jewish adolescents is higher and the rate of unwed teenage pregnancy lower than for any other ethnic or religious group in the United States. Moreover, since Jews are disproportionately economically affluent, the negative effects of divorce and single-parenting on children are undoubtedly much attenuated among Jews because of the economic stresses typically accompanying divorce and single-parenting are much lessened (McLanahan & Booth 1989; Wallerstein & Kelly 1980).

These data indicate that Jews have been relatively insulated from the trends toward low-investment parenting characteristic of American society generally since the counter-cultural revolution of the 1960s. This finding is compatible with data reviewed by Herrnstein and Murray (1994) indicating overwhelming evidence that the negative effects of the shifts that have taken place in Western practices related to sex and marriage in the last 30 years have been disproportionately felt at the bottom of the IQ and socioeconomic class distributions and have therefore included relatively few Jews. For example, only 2 percent of the white women in Herrnstein and Murray’s top category of cognitive ability (IQ minimum of 125) and 4 percent of the white women in the second category of cognitive ability (IQ between 110 and 125) gave birth to illegitimate children, compared to 23 percent in the 4th class of cognitive ability (IQ between 75 and 90) and 42 percent in the fifth class of cognitive ability (IQ less than 75). Even controlling for poverty fails to remove the influence of IQ: High-IQ women living in poverty are seven times less likely to give birth to an illegitimate child than are low-IQ women living in poverty. Moreover, in the period from 1960 to 1991, illegitimacy among blacks rose from 24 percent to 68 percent, while illegitimacy among whites rose from 2 percent to 18 percent. Since the mean Jewish IQ in the United States is approximately 117 and verbal IQ even higher (see PTSDA, Ch. 7), this finding is compatible with supposing that only a very small percentage of Jewish women are giving birth to illegitimate babies, and those who do are undoubtedly much more likely to be wealthy, intelligent, and nurturing than the typical single mother from the lower cognitive classes.

The sexual revolution has thus had little effect on parental investment among people in the highest categories of cognitive ability. These results are highly compatible with the findings of Dunne et al. (1997) that the heritability of age of first sexual intercourse has increased since the 1960s. In their younger cohort (born between 1952 and 1965) genetic factors accounted for 49 percent of the variance among females and 72 percent of the variance among males, and there were no shared environmental influences. In the older cohort (born between 1922 and 1952) genetic influences accounted for 32 percent of the variance for females and none of the variance among males, and there was a significant shared environmental component for both sexes. These data indicate that the erosion of traditional Western controls on sexuality have had far more effect on those who are genetically inclined toward precocious sexuality and, in conjunction with the data presented above, indicate gentiles have been far more affected by these changes than have Jews.

Although other factors are undoubtedly involved, it is remarkable that the increasing trend toward low-investment parenting in the United States largely coincides with the triumph of the psychoanalytic and radical critiques of American culture represented by the political and cultural success of the counter-cultural movement of the 1960s. Since 1970 the rate of single-parenting has increased from one in ten families to one in three families (Norton & Miller 1992), and there have been dramatic increases in teenage sexual activity and teenage childbearing without marriage (Furstenberg 1991). There is excellent evidence for an association among teenage single-parenting, poverty, lack of education, and poor developmental outcomes for children (e.g., Dornbusch & Gray 1988; Furstenberg & Brooks-Gunn 1989; McLanahan & Booth 1989; J. Q. Wilson 1993b).

Indeed, all the negative trends related to the family show very large increases that developed in the mid-1960s (Herrnstein & Murray 1994, 168ff; see also Bennett 1994; Kaus 1995; Magnet 1993), including increases in trends toward lower levels of marriage, “cataclysmic” increases in divorce rates (p. 172), and rates of illegitimacy. In the case of divorce and illegitimacy rates, the data indicate a major shift upward during the 1960s from previously existing trend lines, with the upward trend lines established during that period continuing into the present. The 1960s was thus a watershed period in American cultural history, a view that is compatible with Rothman and Lichter’s (1996, xviiiff) interpretation of the shift during the 1960s in the direction of “expressive individualism” among cultural elites and the decline of external controls on behavior that had been the cornerstone of the formerly dominant Protestant culture. They note the influence of the New Left in producing these changes, and I have emphasized here the close connections between psychoanalysis and the New Left. Both movements were led and dominated by Jews.

The sexual revolution is “the most obvious culprit” underlying the decline in the importance of marriage (Herrnstein & Murray 1994, 544) and its concomitant increase in low-investment parenting:

What is striking about the 1960s “sexual revolution,” as it has properly been called, is how revolutionary it was, in sensibility as well as reality. In 1965, 69 percent of American women and 65 percent of men under the age of thirty said that premarital sex was always or almost always wrong; by 1972, these figures had plummeted to 24 percent and 21 percent. . . . In 1990, only 6 percent of British men and women under the age of thirty-four believed that it was always or almost always wrong. (Himmelfarb 1995, 236)

Although there is little reason to suppose that the battle for sexual freedom so central to psychoanalysis had the intention of benefiting the average resource competition ability of Jews vis-à-vis gentiles, the psychoanalytic intellectual war on gentile culture may indeed have resulted in an increased competitive advantage for Jews beyond merely lessening the theoretical importance of the Jew-gentile distinction and providing a “scientific” rationale for pathologizing anti-Semitism. It is also a war that has resulted in a society increasingly split between a disproportionately Jewish “cognitive elite” and a growing mass of individuals who are intellectually incompetent, irresponsible as parents, prone to requiring public assistance, and prone to criminal behavior, psychiatric disorders, and substance abuse.

Although psychoanalysis is in decline now, especially in the United States, the historical record suggests that other ideological structures will attempt to accomplish some of the same goals psychoanalysis attempted to achieve. As it has done throughout its history, Judaism continues to show extraordinary ideological flexibility in achieving the goal of legitimizing the continuation of Jewish group identity and genetic separatism. As indicated in Chapter 2, many Jewish social scientists continue to fashion a social science that serves the interests of Judaism and to develop powerful critiques of theories perceived as antithetical to those interests. The incipient demise of psychoanalysis as a weapon in these battles will be of little long-term importance in this effort.

Chapter 5 • The Frankfurt School of Social Research and the Pathologization of Gentile Group Allegiances • 23,200 Words
The Political Agenda of the Frankfurt School of Social Research • 6,100 Words

Hatred and [the] spirit of sacrifice . . . are nourished by the image of enslaved ancestors rather than that of liberated grandchildren. (Illuminations, Walter Benjamin 1968, 262)

To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric. (T. W. Adorno 1967, 34)

Chapters 2–4 reviewed several strands of theory and research by Jewish social scientists that appear to have been influenced by specifically Jewish political interests. This theme is continued in the present chapter with a review of The Authoritarian Personality. This classic work in social psychology was sponsored by the Department of Scientific Research of the American Jewish Committee (hereafter, AJCommittee) in a series entitled Studies in Prejudice. Studies in Prejudice was closely connected with the so-called Frankfurt School of predominantly Jewish intellectuals associated with the Institute for Social Research originating during the Weimar period in Germany. The first generation of the Frankfurt School were all Jews by ethnic background and the Institute of Social Research itself was funded by a Jewish millionaire, Felix Weil (Wiggershaus 1994, 13). Weil’s efforts as a “patron of the left” were extraordinarily successful: By the early 1930s the University of Frankfurt had became a bastion of the academic left and “the place where all the thinking of interest in the area of social theory was concentrated” (Wiggershaus 1994, 112).During this period sociology was referred to as a “Jewish science,” and the Nazis came to view Frankfurt itself as a “New Jerusalem on the Franconian Jordan” (Wiggershaus 1994, 112–113).

The Nazis perceived the Institute of Social Research as a communist organization and closed it within six weeks of Hitler’s ascent to power because it had “encouraged activities hostile to the state” (in Wiggershaus 1994, 128). Even after the emigration of the Institute to the United States, it was widely perceived as a communist front organization with a dogmatic and biased Marxist perspective, and there was a constant balancing act to attempt not to betray the left “while simultaneously defending themselves against corresponding suspicions” (Wiggershaus 1994, 251; see also p. 255).[181]Part of this balancing act was a conscious practice of self-censorship in an effort to remove Marxist language from their publications, so that, for example, “Marxism” was replaced with “socialism,” and “means of production” was replaced by “industrial apparatus” (Wiggershaus 1994, 366). The Marxist substance remained, but by means of this deception the Institute could attempt to defuse accusations of political dogmatism.

Gershom Scholem, the Israeli theologian and religious historian, termed the Frankfurt School a “Jewish sect,” and there is good evidence for very strong Jewish identifications of many members of the school (Marcus & Tar 1986, 344). Studies in Prejudice was under the general editorship of Max Horkheimer, a director of the Institute. Horkheimer was a highly charismatic “‘managerial scholar’ who constantly reminded his associates of the fact that they belonged to a chosen few in whose hands the further development of ‘Theory’ lay” (Wiggershaus 1994, 2). Horkheimer had a strong Jewish identity that became increasingly apparent in his later writings (Tar 1977, 6; Jay 1980). However, Horkheimer’s commitment to Judaism, as evidenced by the presence of specifically Jewish religious themes, was apparent even in his writings as an adolescent and as a young adult (Maier 1984, 51). At the end of his life Horkheimer completely accepted his Jewish identification and achieved a grand synthesis between Judaism and Critical Theory (Carlebach 1978, 254–257). (Critical Theory is the name applied to the theoretical perspective of the Frankfurt School.) As an indication of his profound sense of Jewish identity, Horkheimer (1947, 161) stated that the goal of philosophy must to be vindicate Jewish history: “The anonymous martyrs of the concentration camps are the symbols of humanity that is striving to be born. The task of philosophy is to translate what they have done into language that will be heard, even though their finite voices have been silenced by tyranny.”

Tar (1977, 60) describes Horkheimer’s inspiration as deriving from his attempt to leave behind Judaism while nevertheless remaining tied to the faith of his fathers. Not surprisingly, there is an alienation and estrangement from German culture:

Had I just arrived from my homeland of Palestine, and in an amazingly short time mastered the rudiments of writing in German, this essay could not have been more difficult to write. The style here does not bear the mark of a facile genius. I tried to communicate with the help of what I read and heard, subconsciously assembling fragments of a language that springs from a strange mentality. What else can a stranger do? But my strong will prevailed because my message deserves to be said regardless of its stylistic shortcomings. (Horkheimer, My Political Confession; in Tar 1977, 60)

T. W. Adorno, first author of the famous Berkeley studies of authoritarian personality reviewed here, was also a director of the Institute, and he had a very close professional relationship with Horkheimer to the point that Horkheimer wrote of their work, “It would be difficult to say which of the ideas originated in his mind and which in my own; our philosophy is one” (Horkheimer 1947, vii). Jewish themes became increasingly prominent in Adorno’s writings beginning in 1940 as a reaction to Nazi anti-Semitism. Indeed, much of Adorno’s later work may be viewed as a reaction to the Holocaust, as typified by his famous comment that “to write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric” (Adorno 1967, 34) and his question “whether after Auschwitz you can go on living—especially whether one who escaped by accident, one who by rights should have been killed” (Adorno 1973, 363). Tar (1977, 158) notes that the point of the former comment is that “no study of sociology could be possible without reflecting on Auschwitz and without concerning oneself with preventing new Auschwitzes.” “The experience of Auschwitz was turned into an absolute historical and sociological category” (Tar 1977, 165). Clearly there was an intense Jewish consciousness and commitment to Judaism among those most responsible for these studies.

In Chapter 1 it was noted that since the Enlightenment many Jewish intellectuals have participated in the radical criticism of gentile culture. Horkheimer very self-consciously perceived an intimate link between Jewish assimilation and the criticism of gentile society, stating on one occasion that “assimilation and criticism are but two moments in the same process of emancipation” (Horkheimer 1974, 108). A consistent theme of Horkheimer and Adorno’s Critical Theory was the transformation of society according to moral principles (Tar 1977). From the beginning there was a rejection of value-free social science research (“the fetishism of facts”) in favor of the fundamental priority of a moral perspective in which present societies, including capitalist, fascist, and eventually Stalinist societies, were to be transformed into utopias of cultural pluralism.

Indeed, long before Studies in Prejudice Critical Theory developed the idea that positivistic (i.e., empirically oriented) social science was an aspect of domination and oppression. Horkheimer wrote in 1937 that “if science as a whole follows the lead of empiricism and the intellect renounces its insistent and confident probing of the tangled brush of observations in order to unearth more about the world than even our well-meaning daily press, it will be participating passively in the maintenance of universal injustice” (in Wiggershaus 1994, 184). The social scientist must therefore be a critic of culture and adopt an attitude of resistance toward contemporary societies.

The unscientific nature of the enterprise can also be seen in its handling of dissent within the ranks of the Institute. Writing approvingly of Walter Benjamin’s work, Adorno stated, “I have come to be convinced that his work will contain nothing which could not be defended from the point of view of dialectical materialism” (in Wiggershaus 1994, 161; italics in text). Erich Fromm was excised from the movement in the 1930s because his leftist humanism (which indicted the authoritarian nature of the psychoanalyst-patient relationship) was not compatible with the leftist authoritarianism that was an integral part of the current Horkheimer-Adorno line: “[Fromm] takes the easy way out with the concept of authority, without which, after all, neither Lenin’s avant-garde nor dictatorship can be conceived of. I would strongly advise him to read Lenin. . . . I must tell you that I see a real threat in this article to the line which the journal takes” (Adorno, in Wiggershaus 1994, 266).

Fromm was excised from the Institute despite the fact that his position was among the most radically leftist to emerge from the psychoanalytic camp. Throughout his career, Fromm remained the embodiment of the psychoanalytic left and its view that bourgeois-capitalist society and fascism resulted from (and reliably reproduced) gross distortions of human nature (see Ch. 4). Similarly, Herbert Marcuse was excluded when his orthodox Marxist views began to diverge from the evolving ideology of Adorno and Horkheimer (see Wiggershaus 1994, 391–392).[182]Marcuse remained an ardent Communist after Adorno and Horkheimer abandoned communism. In an internal document of the Institute from 1947, Marcuse wrote, “The Communist Parties are, and will remain, the sole anti-fascist power. Denunciation of them must be purely theoretical. Such denunciation is conscious of the fact that the realization of the theory is only possible through the Communist Parties” (in Wiggershaus 1994, 391). In the same document Marcuse advocated anarchy as a mechanism for achieving the revolution. Yet, Marcuse and Horkheimer never ceased contact, and Horkheimer was an admirer of Marcuse’s Eros and Civilization (Wiggershaus 1994, 470) as reflecting the Institute’s view that sexual repression resulted in domination over nature and that ending sexual repression would weaken destructive tendencies.

These exclusionary trends are also apparent in the aborted plans to reinstitute the Institute’s journal in the 1950s. It was decided that there were too few contributors with the Horkheimer-Adorno line to support a journal and the plans foundered (Wiggershaus 1994, 471). Throughout its history, to be a member of the Institute was to adopt a certain view and to submit to heavy editing and even censorship of one’s works to ensure conformity to a clearly articulated ideological position.

As might be expected from a highly authoritarian political movement, the result was a speculative, philosophical body of work that ultimately had no influence on empirically oriented sociology, although, as indicated below, it has had a profound influence on theory in the humanities. (The Authoritarian Personality is not included in this statement; it was very influential but had an empirical basis of sorts.) This body of work does not qualify as science because of its rejection of experimentation, quantification, and verification, and because of the priority of moral and political concerns over the investigation of the nature of human social psychology.

The priority of the moral and political agenda of Critical Theory is essential to understanding the Frankfurt School and its influence. Horkheimer and Adorno eventually rejected the classical Marxist perspective on the importance of class struggle for the development of fascism in favor of a perspective in which both fascism and capitalism were fundamentally conceptualized as involving domination and authoritarianism. Further, they developed the theory that disturbed parent-child relations involving the suppression of human nature were a necessary condition for domination and authoritarianism.

Obviously, this is a perspective that is highly compatible with psychoanalytic theory, and indeed psychoanalysis was a basic influence on their thinking. Virtually from the beginning, psychoanalysis had a respected position within the Institute for Social Research, particularly under the influence of Erich Fromm. Fromm held positions at the Frankfurt Psychoanalytic Institute as well as at the Institute for Social Research, and along with other “left-Freudians” such as Wilhelm Reich and eventually Marcuse, he developed theories that incorporated both Marxism and psychoanalysis essentially by developing a theoretical link between the repression of instincts in the context of family relationships (or, as in the case of Fromm, the development of sado-masochistic and anal personality traits within the family) and the development of oppressive social and economic structures.

It is interesting that although the Horkheimer group developed a very strong hostility to empirical science and the positivistic philosophy of science, they felt no need to abandon psychoanalysis. Indeed, psychoanalysis was “a central factor in giving Horkheimer and the most important of his fellow theoreticians the sense that important insights could also be achieved—or even better achieved—by skipping over the specialized disciplines” (Wiggershaus 1994, 186). We shall see that psychoanalysis as a nonempirically based hermeneutic structure (which nevertheless masqueraded as a science) turned out to be an infinitely plastic tool in the hands of those constructing a theory aimed at achieving purely political objectives.

For Horkheimer and Adorno, the fundamental shift from the sociological to the psychological level that occurred during the 1940s was motivated by the fact that in Germany the proletariat had succumbed to fascism and in the Soviet Union socialism had not prevented the development of an authoritarian government that failed to guarantee individual autonomy or Jewish group interests (Tar 1977, 80; Wiggershaus 1994, 137ff, 391ff). Within the new perspective, authoritarianism was viewed as the fundamental problem, its origin traceable to family interactions and ultimately to the suppression of human nature (Tar 1977, 87–88). Nevertheless, the formal outline of the theory can be seen in philosophical form in the earlier work Studies on Authority and the Family of 1936, a work that presented Fromm’s psychoanalytic theory of authoritarian “sado-masochistic” family relationships and their putative linkages with bourgeois capitalism and fascism.

This philosophical-speculative approach to anti-Semitism was refined in the chapter on anti-Semitism in Horkheimer and Adorno’s (1944/1990) Dialectic of Enlightenment.[183]The general thesis of Dialectic of Enlightenment is that the Enlightenment reflected the Western attempt to dominate nature and suppress human nature. Fascism was then viewed as the ultimate embodiment of the Enlightenment, since it represented the apotheosis of domination and the use of science as an instrument of oppression. In this perspective fascist collectivism is the logical outgrowth of Western individualism—a perspective that is fanciful to say the least. As discussed in PTSDA (Ch. 8), the collectivist nature of fascism has not been characteristic of Western political organizations. To a much greater extent than any other world cultural group, Western cultures have instead tended toward individualism beginning with the Greco-Roman world of antiquity; Judaism, in contrast, is a paradigm of a collectivist, group-oriented culture. As Charles Liebman (1973, 157) points out, it was the Jews who “sought the options of the Enlightenment but rejected its consequences,” by (in my terms) retaining a strong sense of group identity in a society nominally committed to individualism. And as argued in SAID (Chs. 3–5), there is good reason to suppose that the presence of Jews as a highly salient and successful group evolutionary strategy was a necessary condition for the development of prominent Western examples of collectivism. In addition to being highly abstract and written in what might be termed a Hegelian manner, the style of writing is assertional: Statements about anti-Semitism are simply asserted with no attempt to provide any empirical justification.[184]Adorno’s philosophical style is virtually impenetrable. See Karl Popper’s (1984) humorous (and valid) dissection of the vacuity and pretentiousness of Adorno’s language. Piccone (1993) proposes that Adorno’s difficult prose was necessary to camouflage his revolutionary intent. As Jacob Katz (1983, 40) notes, the Frankfurt School has “not been notable for the accuracy of its evaluation of the Jewish situation either before the advent of Nazism or afterward.” However, many of the ideas simply asserted there in a philosophical, speculative manner are identical to the theories of anti-Semitism contained in The Authoritarian Personality. Indeed, the authors viewed the chapter on anti-Semitism as a theoretical study for their anticipated empirical study of anti-Semitism (Wiggershaus 1994, 324). The Authoritarian Personality may thus be viewed as an attempt to provide these philosophical theories of anti-Semitism with empirical support, but the theory itself was fundamentally an a priori philosophical theory and was not viewed by its authors as subject to either verification or falsification:

Horkheimer seemed to consider the dialectics project and the anti-Semitism project as two distinct items relating to one another in the way that an abstract theory relates to its application to a concrete topic, or in the way that Hegel’s logic relates to the Hegelian philosophies of history, law or aesthetics. Was this not turning a distinction within the theoretical and empirical research process into a distinction which silently gave the theory the dignity of speculation and made it independent of the empiricism appropriate to science? And was empirical research not thus being denied its status as a dimension of reflected experience, and degraded into a means of illustrating the theory? . . . A further open question was whether their enthusiasm for the theory, and their contemptuous remarks about research in specific scientific disciplines, in fact represented more than mere evidence of personal values and moods; whether these did not have an influence on the way in which their scholarly work was carried out and on its results—particularly when external influences were forcing them to take both dimensions seriously. (Wiggershaus 1994, 320; see also Jay 1973, 240, 251)

The non-empirical nature of the theory of anti-Semitism was quite clear to Adorno as well: “[W]e never regarded the theory simply as a set of hypotheses but as in some sense standing on its own feet, and therefore did not intend to prove or disprove the theory through our findings but only to derive from it concrete questions for investigation, which must then be judged on their own merit and demonstrate certain prevalent socio-psychological structures” (Adorno 1969a, 363). The findings do indeed have to be judged on their own merit, and as indicated below, there is reason to suppose that the procedures used to verify the theory went well beyond the bounds of normal scientific practice.

Fundamentally The Authoritarian Personality studies resulted from a felt need to develop an empirical program of research that would support a politically and intellectually satisfying a priori theory of anti-Semitism in order to influence an American academic audience. As Horkheimer stated in 1943, “When we became aware that a few of our American friends expected of an Institute of Social Sciences that it engage in studies on pertinent social problems, fieldwork, and other empirical investigations, we tried to satisfy these demands as well as we could, but our heart was set on individual studies in the sense of Geisteswissenschaften [i.e., the humanities] and the philosophical analysis of culture” (in Wiggershaus 1994, 252).

Indeed, the goal of producing political propaganda by using the methods of social science was self-consciously articulated by Horkheimer. Thus Horkheimer reacted with enthusiasm to the idea of including criminals in the study: “Research would be able here to transform itself directly into propaganda, i.e., if it could be reliably established that a particularly high percentage of criminals were extreme anti-Semites, the result would as such already be propaganda. I would also like to try to examine psychopaths in mental hospitals” (in Wiggershaus 1994, 375; italics in text). Both groups were eventually included in the study.

A general theme in Dialectic of Enlightenment is that anti-Semitism is the result of “the will to destroy born of a false social order” (p. 168). The ideology that Jews possess a variety of negative traits is simply a projection resulting in a self-portrait of the anti-Semite: Anti-Semites accuse the Jews of wanting power, but in reality the anti-Semites “long for total possession and unlimited power, at any price. They transfer their guilt for this to the Jews” (p. 169).

There is a recognition that anti-Semitism is associated with gentile movements for national cohesiveness (pp. 169–170). The anti-Semitism arising along with such movements is interpreted as resulting from the “urge to destroy” carried out by “covetous mobs” that are ultimately manipulated by ruling gentile elites to conceal their own economic domination. Anti-Semitism is without function except to serve as a means of discharging the anger of those who are frustrated economically and sexually (p. 171).

Horkheimer and Adorno propose that modern fascism is basically the same as traditional Christianity because both involve opposition to and subjugation of nature. While Judaism remained a “natural religion” concerned with national life and self-preservation, Christianity turned toward domination and a rejection of all that is natural. In an argument reminiscent of Freud’s argument in Moses and Monotheism (see Ch. 4), religious anti-Semitism then arises because of hatred of those “who did not make the dull sacrifice of reason. . . . The adherents of the religion of the Father are hated by those who support the religion of the Son—hated as those who know better” (p. 179).

This tendency to interpret anti-Semitism as fundamentally deriving from suppressing nature is central to Studies in Prejudice, and particularly The Authoritarian Personality.[185]The theme that all modern ills, including National Socialism, collectivism, adolescent rebellion, mental illness, and criminality are due to the suppression of nature, including human nature, is also prominent in Horkheimer’s (1947, 92ff) Eclipse of Reason. In a passage that directly conforms to the psychoanalytic perspectives discussed in Chapter 4, the suppression of nature characteristic of civilization is said to begin at birth:

Each human being experiences the domineering aspect of civilization from his birth. To the child, the father’s power seems overwhelming, supernatural in the literal sense of the word. The father’s command is reason exempt from nature, an inexorable spiritual force. The child suffers in submitting to this force. It is almost impossible for an adult to remember all the pangs he experienced as a child in heeding innumerable parental admonitions not to stick his tongue out, not to mimic others, not to be untidy or forget to wash behind his ears. In these demands, the child is confronted by the fundamental postulates of civilization. He is forced to resist the immediate pressure of his urges, to differentiate between himself and the environment, to be efficient—in short, to borrow Freud’s terminology, to adopt a superego embodying all the so-called principles that his father and other father-like figures hold up to him. (pp. 109–110)
Suppression of nature results in projection of qualities of self onto the environment and particularly onto the Jews. “Impulses which the subject will not admit as his own even though they are most assuredly so, are attributed to the object—the prospective victim” (p. 187). Particularly important for this projection process are sexual impulses: “The same sexual impulses which the human species suppressed have survived and prevailed—in individuals and in nations—by way of the mental conversion of the ambient world into a diabolical system” (p. 187). Christian self-denial and, in particular, the suppression of sex result in evil and anti-Semitism via projection.[186]In a comment that predates the thesis of The Authoritarian Personality that anti-Semites are not introspective, Horkheimer and Adorno state that anti-Semitism is not simply projection, but projection in the absence of reflection. Anti-Semites have no inner life and therefore tend to project their hatreds, desires, and inadequacies onto the environment: “It invests the outer world with its own content” (p. 190).

Psychoanalytic theory is invoked as an explanation of this process in a manner that, in its emphasis on suppressed hatred for the father, also anticipates the theory utilized in The Authoritarian Personality. Aggressive urges originating in the id are projected onto the external world by actions of the superego. “The forbidden action which is converted into aggression is generally homosexual in nature. Through fear of castration, obedience to the father is taken to the extreme of an anticipation of castration in conscious emotional approximation to the nature of a small girl, and actual hatred to the father is suppressed” (p. 192).

Forbidden actions underlain by powerful instincts are thus turned into aggression, which is then projected onto victims in the external world, with the result that “he attacks other individuals in envy or persecution just as the repressed bestialist hunts or torments an animal” (p. 192). A later passage decries the “suppression of animal nature into scientific methods of controlling nature” (p. 193). Domination of nature, viewed as central to Christianity and fascism, thus derives ultimately from suppressing our animal nature.

Horkheimer and Adorno then attempt to explain the role of conformity in fascism. They argue that cohesive gentile group strategies are fundamentally based on a distortion of human nature—a central theme of The Authoritarian Personality. They posit a natural, nonconforming, reflective self in opposition to society that has been corrupted by capitalism or fascism. The development of large industrial interests and the culture industry of late capitalism have destroyed in most people the inner-directed, reflective power that can produce “self-comprehending guilt” (p. 198), which could oppose the forces leading to anti-Semitism. This inner directed reflection was “emancipated” from society and even directed against society (p. 198), but under the above-mentioned forces, it conforms blindly to the values of the external society.

Thus humans are portrayed as naturally opposed to the conformity demanded by a highly cohesive society. As indicated below, a consistent theme of The Authoritarian Personality is the idea that gentile participation in cohesive groups with high levels of social conformity is pathological, whereas similar behavior of Jews with respect to the group cohesiveness characteristic of Judaism is ignored: Indeed, we have seen that Judaism is portrayed in The Dialectic of Enlightenment as morally superior to Christianity.

The gentile elite is then said to take advantage of the situation by directing the projected hostility of the masses into anti-Semitism. Jews are an ideal target for this projected hostility because they represent all that is antithetical to totalitarianism: “Happiness without power, wages without work, a home without frontiers, religion without myth. These characteristics are hated by the rulers because the ruled secretly long to possess them. The rulers are only safe as long as the people they rule turn their longed-for goals into hated forms of evil” (p. 199).

The conclusion is that if the rulers in fact allowed the ruled to be like the Jews, there would be a fundamental turning point of history:

By overcoming that sickness of the mind which thrives on the ground of self-assertion untainted by reflective thought, mankind would develop from a set of opposing races to the species which, even in nature, is more than mere nature. Individual and social emancipation from domination is the countermovement to false projection, and no Jew would then resemble the senseless evil visited upon him as upon all persecuted beings, be they animals or men. (p. 200)

The end of anti-Semitism is thus viewed as a precondition for the development of a utopian society and the liberation of humanity—perhaps the closest that the Frankfurt School ever came to defining utopia.[187]As an indication of the self-conscious Jewish identifications of the Frankfurt School, Horkheimer attributed the refusal of Frankfurt theorists to “name the other” to their following the traditional Jewish taboo on naming God or describing paradise (see Jay 1980, 139). The envisioned utopian society is one in which Judaism can continue as a cohesive group but in which cohesive, nationalistic, corporate gentile groups based on conformity to group norms have been abolished as manifestations of psychopathology.

Horkheimer and Adorno developed the view that the unique role of Judaism in world history was to vindicate the concept of difference against the homogenizing forces thought to represent the essence of Western civilization: “The Jews became the metaphoric equivalent of that remnant of society preserving negation and the non-identical” (Jay 1980, 148). Judaism thus represents the antithesis of Western universalism. The continuation and acceptance of Jewish particularism becomes a precondition for the development of a utopian society of the future.

Within this perspective, the roots of anti-Semitism are therefore to be sought in individual psychopathology, not in the behavior of Jews. Nevertheless, there is some acknowledgment that the actual characteristics of Jews may be involved in historical anti-Semitism, but Horkheimer and Adorno theorize that the Jewish characteristics that have led to anti-Semitism were forced on Jews. Jews are said to have incurred the wrath of the lower classes because Jews were the originators of capitalism: “For the sake of economic progress which is now proving their downfall, the Jews were always a thorn in the side of the craftsmen and peasants who were declassed by capitalism. They are now experiencing to their own cost the exclusive, particularist character of capitalism” (p. 175). However, this Jewish role is viewed as forced on the Jews who were completely dependent on gentile elites for their rights even into the nineteenth century. Under these circumstances, “Commerce is not their vocation, it is their fate” (p. 175). The success of the Jews then constituted a trauma to the gentile bourgeoisie, “who had to pretend to be creative” (p. 175); their anti-Semitism is thus “self-hatred, the bad conscience of the parasite” (p. 176).

There are indications that the original anti-Semitism project envisioned a more elaborate discussion of “Jewish character traits” that led to anti-Semitism along with suggested methods for overcoming them. However, “The topic never became part of the Institute’s programme, perhaps partly out of consideration for the sensitivity of most Jews towards this topic, and partly to avoid exposing the Institute to the accusation that it was turning the problem of anti-Semitism into a Jewish problem” (Wiggershaus 1994, 366). Indeed, the Institute was well aware of a 1945 Jewish Labor Committee survey of working-class Americans in which the latter complained of Jewish behaviors related to the types of actual dealings working-class individuals would be likely to have with Jews (see SAID,p. 50). Adorno appears to have believed that these attitudes were “less irrational” than the anti-Semitism of other classes (see Wiggershaus 1994, 369).

I have noted that a powerful tendency in both radical politics and psychoanalysis has been a thoroughgoing critique of gentile society. An important theme here is that Studies in Prejudice and, especially, The Authoritarian Personality attempt to show that gentile group affiliations, and particularly membership in Christian religious sects, gentile nationalism, and close family relationships, are an indication of psychiatric disorder. At a deep level the work of the Frankfurt School is addressed to altering Western societies in an attempt to make them resistant to anti-Semitism by pathologizing gentile group affiliations. And because this effort ultimately eschews the leftist solutions that have attracted so many twentieth-century Jewish intellectuals, it is an effort that remains highly relevant to the current post-Communist intellectual and political context.

The opposition of Jewish intellectuals to cohesive gentile groups and a homogeneous gentile culture has perhaps not been sufficiently emphasized. I have noted in Chapter 1 that the Conversos were vastly overrepresented among the humanist thinkers in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Spain who opposed the corporate nature of Spanish society centered around the Christian religion. I have also noted that a central thrust of Freud’s work was to continue to strongly identify as a Jew while at the same time developing a theory of Christian religious affiliation in which the latter is conceptualized as fulfilling infantile needs.

Similarly, another way of conceptualizing the Jewish advocacy of radical political movements consistent with the material in Chapter 3 is that these political movements may be understood as simultaneously undermining gentile intrasocietal group affiliations, such as Christianity and nationalism, at the same time allowing for the continuation of Jewish identification. For example, Jewish Communists consistently opposed Polish nationalist aspirations, and after they came to power in the post–World War II era they liquidated Polish nationalists and undermined the role of the Catholic Church while simultaneously establishing secular Jewish economic and social structures.

It is of some historical interest to note that an important feature of the rhetoric of German anti-Semites (e.g., Paul Lagarde [see Stern 1961, 60, 65]) throughout the nineteenth century into the Weimar period was that Jews advocated political forms such as liberalism, which opposed structuring society as a highly cohesive group, at the same time they themselves retained an extraordinary group cohesiveness that enabled them to dominate Germans. During the Weimar period the Nazi propagandist Alfred Rosenberg complained that Jews advocated a completely atomized society while at the same time exempting themselves from this process. Whereas the rest of society was to be prevented from participating in highly cohesive groups, the Jews “would retain their international cohesiveness, blood ties, and spiritual unity” (Aschheim 1985, 239). In Mein Kampf, Hitler clearly believed that Jewish advocacy of liberal attitudes was a deception overlaying a commitment to racialism and a highly cohesive group strategy: “While he [the Jew] seems to overflow with ‘enlightenment,’ ‘progress,’ ‘freedom,’ ‘humanity,’ etc., he himself practices the severest segregation of his race” (p. 315). The conflict between Jewish advocacy of Enlightenment ideals and actual Jewish behavior was noted by Klein (1981, 146): “Annoyed by the parochial attachments of other people, and unreceptive to the idea of a pluralistic state, many non-Jews interpreted the Jewish assertion of pride as a subversion of the ‘enlightened’ or egalitarian state. The Jewish stress on national or racial pride reinforced the non-Jewish perception of the Jew as a disruptive social force.”

Ringer (1983, 7) also notes that a common component of anti-Semitism among academics during the Weimar period was a perception that Jews attempted to undermine patriotic commitment and social cohesion of society. Indeed, the perception that Jewish critical analysis of gentile society was aimed at dissolving the bonds of cohesiveness within the society was common among educated gentile Germans, including university professors (Ringer 1983, 7). One academic referred to the Jews as “the classic party of national decomposition” (in Ringer 1983, 7).

In the event, National Socialism developed as a cohesive gentile group strategy in opposition to Judaism, a strategy that completely rejected the Enlightenment ideal of an atomized society based on individual rights in opposition to the state. As I have argued in SAID (Ch. 5), in this regard National Socialism was very much like Judaism, which has been throughout its history fundamentally a group phenomenon in which the rights of the individual have been submerged in the interests of the group.

As evident in the material reviewed here and in the previous chapters, at least some influential Jewish social scientists and intellectuals have attempted to undermine gentile group strategies while leaving open the possibility that Judaism continue as a highly cohesive group strategy. This theme is highly compatible with the Frankfurt School’s consistent rejection of all forms of nationalism (Tar 1977, 20). The result is that in the end the ideology of the Frankfurt School may be described as a form of radical individualism that nevertheless despised capitalism—an individualism in which all forms of gentile collectivism are condemned as an indication of social or individual pathology.[188]The Frankfurt theorists inherited a strong opposition to capitalism from their previously-held radical beliefs. Irving Louis Horowitz (1987, 118) notes that the Critical Theorists were “caught between the Charybdis of capitalism—which they despised as a system of exploitation (whose fruits they nonetheless enjoyed), and the Scylla of communism—which they despised as a system of worse exploitation (whose bitter fruits they often escaped, unlike their Russian-Jewish counterparts).” Thus in Horkheimer’s essay on German Jews (see Horkheimer 1974), the true enemy of the Jews is gentile collectivities of any kind, and especially nationalism. Although no mention is made of the collectivist nature of Judaism, Zionism, or Israeli nationalism, the collectivist tendencies of modern gentile society are deplored, especially fascism and communism. The prescription for gentile society is radical individualism and the acceptance of pluralism. People have an inherent right to be different from others and to be accepted by others as different. Indeed, to become differentiated from others is to achieve the highest level of humanity. The result is that “no party and no movement, neither the Old Left nor the New, indeed no collectivity of any sort was on the side of truth. . . . [T]he residue of the forces of true change was located in the critical individual alone” (Maier 1984, 45).

As a corollary of this thesis, Adorno adopted the idea that the basic role of philosophy is the negative role of resisting attempts to endow the world with any “universality,” “objectivity,” or “totality,” that is, with a single organizing principle for society that would homogenize society because it applied to all humans (see especially Adorno’s Negative Dialectics [Adorno 1973]; see also the review of Adorno’s ideas on this concept in Jay [1984, 241–275]). In Negative Dialectics the main example attacked by Adorno is Hegel’s idea of universal history (also a stalking horse for Jacques Derrida; see below), but a similar argument applies to any ideology, such as nationalism that results in a sense of national or pan-human universality. For example, the principle of exchange characteristic of capitalism is rejected because through it all humans become commensurable and thus lose their unique particularity. Science too is condemned because of its tendency to seek universal principles of reality (including human nature) and its tendency to look for quantitative, commensurable differences between humans rather than qualitative differences. Each object “should be respected in its ungeneralized historical uniqueness” (Landmann 1984, 123). Or, as Adorno (1974, 17) himself noted in Minima Moralia: “In the face of the totalitarian unison with which the eradication of difference is proclaimed as a purpose in itself, even part of the social force of liberation may have temporarily withdrawn to the individual sphere.” In the end, the only criterion for a better society was that it be one in which “one can be different without fear” (p. 131). The former communist had become an advocate of radical individualism, at least for the gentiles. As discussed in Chapter 4, Erich Fromm (1941), another member of the Frankfurt School until he was excluded, also recognized the utility of individualism as a prescription for gentile society while nevertheless remaining strongly identified as a Jew.

Congruent with this stress on individualism and the glorification of difference, Adorno embraced a radical form of philosophical skepticism which is completely incompatible with the entire social science enterprise of The Authoritarian Personality. Indeed, Adorno rejected even the possibility of ontology (“reification”) because he viewed the contrary positions as ultimately supporting totalitarianism. Given Adorno’s preoccupation with Jewish issues and strong Jewish identity, it is reasonable to suppose that these ideological structures are intended to serve as a justification of Jewish particularism. In this view, Judaism, like any other historically particular entity, must remain beyond the reach of science, forever incomprehensible in its uniqueness and ever in opposition to all attempts to develop homogeneous social structures in the society as a whole. However, its continued existence is guaranteed as an a priori moral imperative.

The prescription that gentile society adopt a social organization based on radical individualism would indeed be an excellent strategy for the continuation of Judaism as a cohesive, collectivist group strategy. Research summarized by Triandis (1990, 1991) on cross-cultural differences in individualism and collectivism indicates that anti-Semitism would be lowest in individualist societies rather than societies that are collectivist and homogeneous apart from Jews. A theme of PTSDA (Ch. 8) is that European societies (with the notable exceptions of the National Socialist era in Germany and the medieval period of Christian religious hegemony—both periods of intense anti-Semitism) have been unique among the economically advanced traditional and modern cultures of the world in their commitment to individualism. As I have argued in SAID (Chs. 3–5), the presence of Judaism as a highly successful and salient group strategy provokes anti-individualist responses from gentile societies.

Collectivist cultures (and Triandis [1990, 57] explicitly includes Judaism in this category) place a much greater emphasis on the goals and needs of the ingroup rather than on individual rights and interests. Collectivist cultures develop an “unquestioned attachment” to the ingroup, including “the perception that ingroup norms are universally valid (a form of ethnocentrism), automatic obedience to ingroup authorities, and willingness to fight and die for the ingroup. These characteristics are usually associated with distrust of and unwillingness to cooperate with outgroups” (p. 55). In collectivist cultures morality is conceptualized as that which benefits the group, and aggression and exploitation of outgroups are acceptable (Triandis 1990, 90).

People in individualist cultures, in contrast, show little emotional attachment to ingroups. Personal goals are paramount, and socialization emphasizes the importance of self-reliance, independence, individual responsibility, and “finding yourself” (Triandis 1991, 82). Individualists have more positive attitudes toward strangers and outgroup members and are more likely to behave in a prosocial, altruistic manner to strangers. Because they are less aware of ingroup-outgroup boundaries, people in individualist cultures are less likely to have negative attitudes toward outgroup members (1991, 80). They often disagree with ingroup policy, show little emotional commitment or loyalty to ingroups, and do not have a sense of common fate with other ingroup members. Opposition to outgroups occurs in individualist societies, but the opposition is more “rational” in the sense that there is less of a tendency to suppose that all of the outgroup members are culpable for the misdeeds of a few. Individualists form mild attachments to many groups, whereas collectivists have an intense attachment and identification to a few ingroups (1990, 61).

The expectation is that individualists will tend to be less predisposed to anti-Semitism and more likely to blame any offensive Jewish behavior as resulting from transgressions by individual Jews rather than stereotypically true of all Jews. However Jews, as members of a collectivist subculture living in an individualistic society, are themselves more likely to view the Jewish-gentile distinction as extremely salient and to develop stereotypically negative views about gentiles.

In Triandis’s terms, then, the fundamental intellectual difficulty presented by The Authoritarian Personality is that Judaism itself is a highly collectivist subculture in which authoritarianism and obedience to ingroup norms and the suppression of individual interests for the common good have been of vital importance throughout its history (PTSDA,Chs. 6, 8). Such attributes in gentiles tend to result in anti-Semitism because of social identity processes. Jews may, as a result, perceive themselves to have a vital interest in advocating a highly individualist, atomized gentile culture while simultaneously maintaining their own highly elaborated collectivist subculture. This is the perspective developed by the Frankfurt School and apparent throughout Studies in Prejudice.

However, we shall see that The Authoritarian Personality extends beyond the attempt to pathologize cohesive gentile groups to pathologize adaptive gentile behavior in general. The principal intellectual difficulty is that behavior that is critical to Judaism as a successful group evolutionary strategy is conceptualized as pathological in gentiles.

Review of The Authoritarian Personality • 8,500 Words

The Authoritarian Personality (Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswik, Levinson & Sanford 1950) is a true classic of research in social psychology. It has generated thousands of studies, and references continue to appear in textbooks, although in recent years there has been increasing criticism and rejection of the personality approach to intergroup prejudice and hostility. Nathan Glazer (1954, 290) noted, “No volume published since the war in the field of social psychology has had a greater impact on the direction of the actual empirical work being carried on in the universities today.” Despite its influence, from the beginning it has been common to point out technical problems with the construction of the scales and the conduct and interpretation of the interviews (see Altemeyer 1981, 33–51; 1988, 52–54; Billings, Guastello & Rieke 1993; R. Brown 1965, 509ff; Collier, Minton & Reynolds 1991, 196; Hyman & Sheatsley 1954). The result is that The Authoritarian Personality has become something of a textbook on how not to do social science research.

Nevertheless, despite technical problems with the original scale construction, there is no question that there is such a thing as psychological authoritarianism, in the sense that it is possible to construct a reliable psychometric scale that measures such a construct. Whereas the F-scale from the original Authoritarian Personality studies is plagued with an acquiescent response set bias, more recent versions of the scale have managed to avoid this difficulty while retaining substantially the same correlates with other scales. However, the validity of the scale in measuring actual authoritarian behavior, as opposed to having a high score on an authoritarianism scale, continues to be controversial (see Billings et al. 1993).

In any case, my treatment will emphasize two aspects of The Authoritarian Personality that are central to the political program of the Frankfurt School: (1) I will emphasize the double standard in which gentile behavior inferred from high scores on the F-scale or the Ethnocentrism Scales is viewed as an indication of psychopathology, whereas precisely the same behavior is central to Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy; (2) I will also criticize the psychodynamic mechanisms involving disturbed parent-child relationships proposed to underlie authoritarianism. These proposed psychodynamic mechanisms are responsible for the highly subversive nature of the book considered as political propaganda; not coincidentally, it is this strand of the project that has often struck commentators as highly questionable. Thus Altemeyer (1988, 53) notes that despite the “unconvincing” nature of the scientific evidence supporting it, the basic idea that anti-Semitism is the result of disturbed parent-child relationships has “spread so widely through our culture that it has become a stereotype.” Moreover, much of the incredible success of the Authoritarian Personality studies occurred because of the book’s widespread acceptance among Jewish social scientists, who by the 1950s had assumed a prominent role in the American academic community and were very concerned with anti-Semitism (Higham 1984, 154; see also below).

The politicized nature of The Authoritarian Personality has long been apparent to mainstream psychologists. Roger Brown noted, “The study called The Authoritarian Personality has affected American life: the theory of prejudice it propounded has become a part of popular culture and a force against racial discrimination. Is it also true? You must be the judge. . . . The Berkeley study of authoritarian personality does not leave many people indifferent. Cool objectivity has not been the hallmark of this tradition. Most of those who have participated have cared deeply about the social issues involved” (Brown 1965, 479, 544). The last part of Brown’s comment reflects the feeling one has in reading the book, namely, that the beliefs of the authors were important in conceptualizing and interpreting the research.

A good example of such a reader is Christopher Lasch (1991, 445ff), who noted “The purpose and design of Studies in Prejudice dictated the conclusion that prejudice, a psychological disorder rooted in ‘authoritarian’ personality structure, could be eradicated only by subjecting the American people to what amounted to collective psychotherapy—by treating them as inmates of an insane asylum.” From the beginning, this was social science with a political agenda: “By identifying the ‘liberal personality’ as the antithesis of the authoritarian personality, they equated mental health with an approved political position. They defended liberalism . . . on the grounds that other positions had their roots in personal pathology” (Lasch 1991, 453).

The Authoritarian Personality begins by acknowledging Freud as a general influence, and especially his role in making the intellectual world “more aware of the suppression of children (both within the home and outside) and society’s usually naive ignorance of the psychological dynamics of the life of the child and the adult alike” (p. x). In congruence with this general perspective, Adorno and his colleagues “in common with most social scientists, hold the view that anti-Semitism is based more largely upon factors in the subject and in his total situation than upon actual characteristics of Jews” (p. 2). The roots of anti-Semitism are therefore to be sought in individual psychopathology—”the deep-lying needs of the personality” (p. 9)—and not in the behavior of Jews.

Chapter II (by R. Nevitt Sanford) consists of interview material from two individuals, one high on anti-Semitism (Mack), the other low on anti-Semitism (Larry). Mack is quite ethnocentric and tends to see people in terms of ingroup-outgroup relationships in which the outgroup is characterized in a stereotypically negative manner. As predicted for such a person on the basis of social identity theory (Hogg & Abrams 1987), his own group, the Irish, has approved traits, and outgroups are seen as homogeneous and threatening. Whereas Mack is strongly conscious of groups as a unit of social categorization, Larry does not think in terms of groups at all.

Although Mack’s ethnocentrism is clearly viewed as pathological, there is no thought given to the possibility that Jews also have analogously ethnocentric thought processes as a result of the extreme salience of ingroup-outgroup relationships as an aspect of Jewish socialization. Indeed, in SAID (Ch. 1) I noted that Jews would be more likely than gentiles to have negative stereotypes about outgroups and to view the world as composed fundamentally of homogeneous, competing, threatening, and negatively stereotyped outgroups. Moreover, there is excellent evidence, summarized throughout this volume, that Jews have often held negative views of gentile (i.e., outgroup) culture. Nevertheless, as we shall see, the agenda of The Authoritarian Personality is that similar ethnocentric attitudes among gentiles are traceable to pathological early influences on personality.

Further, a consistent theme in Chapters 2–4 is that a major thrust of Jewish intellectual movements since the nineteenth century has been to devise theories that minimize the importance of the social category Jew-gentile while allowing for the continuation of a very strong sense of Jewish identity. Larry’s tendency not to see the social environment in terms of groups is linked with an absence of anti-Semitism, whereas Mack’s anti-Semitism is necessarily linked to the importance of groups as a social category.

These themes and their influence on scale construction can be seen in Chapters III and IV (by Daniel J. Levinson). Levinson notes that anti-Semites tend to see Jews as members of groups rather than as individuals, and he suggests that the effectiveness of individual experience with Jews “would seem to depend in large part on the individual’s capacity for individuated experiences” (p. 95; italics in text).[189]An interesting feature of the material in this section of The Authoritarian Personality is an attempt to demonstrate the irrationality of anti-Semitism by showing that anti-Semites have contradictory beliefs about Jews. As noted in SAID (Ch. 1), anti-Semitic beliefs are not expected to necessarily true or, I suppose, even logically consistent. However, The Authoritarian Personality exaggerates the self-contradictory nature of anti-Semitic beliefs in the service of emphasizing the irrational, projective nature of anti-Semitism. Thus Levinson states that it is contradictory for individuals to believe that Jews are clannish and aloof as well as to believe that Jews should be segregated and restricted (p. 76). Similarly in another volume of the Studies in Prejudice series, Ackerman and Jahoda (1950, 58) propose that anti-Semitic attitudes that Jews are clannish and intrusive are contradictory.

Agreement with such items is not self-contradictory. Such attitudes are probably a common component of the reactive processes discussed in SAID (Chs. 3–5). Jews are viewed by these anti-Semites as members of a strongly cohesive group who attempt to penetrate gentile circles of power and high social status, perhaps even undermining the cohesiveness of these gentile groups, while retaining their own separatism and clannishness. The belief that Jews should be restricted is certainly consistent with this attitude. Moreover, contradictory negative stereotypes of Jews, such as their being capitalist and communist (Ackerman & Jahoda 1950, 58), may be applied by anti-Semites to different groups of Jews, and these stereotyping processes may have a significant degree of truth: Jews may be overrepresented among successful capitalists and among radical political leaders. As noted in SAID (Ch. 2), there was indeed some truth to the idea that Jews were disproportionately likely to be political radicals and successful capitalists. “From emancipation onwards, the Jews were blamed both for seeking to ingratiate themselves with established society, enter in and dominate it; and, at the same time, for trying to destroy it utterly. Both charges had an element of truth” (Johnson 1988, 345).

Levinson also notes that the “Seclusive” scale includes statements such as “Jewish millionaires may do a certain amount to help their own people, but little of their money goes into worthwhile American causes,” whereas the “Intrusive” scale includes contradictory items such as “When Jews create large funds for educational or scientific research (Rosenwald, Heller, etc.), it is mainly due to a desire for fame and public notice rather than a really sincere scientific interest.” Again, one could easily affirm the first statement as a general rule and consistently believe that the exceptions result from Jewish self-interest. Nevertheless, Levinson concludes, “One major characteristic of anti-Semites is a relatively blind hostility which is reflected in the stereotypy, self-contradiction, and destructiveness of their thinking about Jews” (p. 76).

Anti-Semites are also said to oppose Jewish clannishness and Jewish assimilation. They demand that Jews “liquidate themselves, that they lose entirely their cultural identity and adhere instead to the prevailing cultural ways”; at the same time, “Jews who attempt to assimilate are apparently even more suspect than the others. Accusations of ‘prying,’ ‘power-seeking,’ and ‘imitation’ are made, and seemingly generous acts by Jews are attributed to hidden selfish motives. . . . There is no logical basis for urging on the one hand that Jews become like everyone else, and on the other hand, that Jews be limited and excluded in the most important areas of social life” (p. 97).

This is a strange interpretation of the data. One could easily advocate that an outgroup assimilate but at the same time have negative attitudes regarding the present clannish, power-seeking behavior of outgroup members. Again, social identity research and evolutionary theory do not predict that individuals will hold true or self-consistent beliefs about an outgroup such as the Jews. Levinson, however, is clearly going far beyond the data in an attempt to portray anti-Semitism as entirely irrational.
Levinson also notes that individuals who themselves belong to groups with a strong ingroup ideology, such as sororities, are more likely to be anti-Semitic (p. 104). Again, the implication is that strong ingroup ideologies should be reserved for Jews and are dangerous in others. These findings fit well with the discussion of individualist versus collectivist societies at the beginning of this chapter: Jews, as a highly cohesive group, have an interest in advocating a completely atomistic, individualistic society in which ingroup-outgroup distinctions are not salient to gentiles.

The Ethnocentrism Scale has three subscales, one involving attitudes toward African Americans, one involving attitudes toward minorities in general, and one involving patriotism. Although the presentation of the Ethnocentrism Scale leads one to believe that the researchers are studying ethnocentrism in general, in fact the scale items are exclusively concerned with ethnocentrism among the Caucasian Christian population. Those high in ethnocentrism according to this scale have negative attitudes toward African Americans and Jews and positive attitudes toward white, Christian dominance. For example, one item on the Ethnocentrism Scale is “In view of the present national emergency [World War II], it is highly important to limit responsible government jobs to native, white, Christian Americans.” The result of including such items is that a strongly identified Jew, for whom the ingroup-outgroup distinction is salient, would have a low score on Levinson’s ethnocentrism scale.

Items on the Anti-Semitism Scale appear to imply that an aspect of anti-Semitism is the gentile view that Jews constitute a distinctive group. For example, one of the items is “The trouble with letting Jews into a nice neighborhood is that they gradually give it a typical Jewish atmosphere.” Brown (1965, 483) comments, “How could it be otherwise? Surely Jews will produce a Jewish atmosphere. They will at any rate do so if one thinks of Jews as ‘categorically different from non-Jews.’ However, it is just this saliency of ‘Jewishness’ which the authors consider the beginning of anti-Semitism.” Here the implicit assumption is that the salience of the Jewish-gentile social categorization signals anti-Semitism in gentiles and therefore indicates disturbed parent-child relations. Nevertheless, among Jews such a social categorization process is critical for the continuation of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy.

Similarly ironic as an aspect of the Anti-Semitism Scale is the inclusion of the items “I can hardly imagine myself marrying a Jew” and “It is wrong for Jews and Gentiles to intermarry.” Such attitudes apparently result from disturbed parent-child relationships among gentiles and the suppression of human nature, yet the rejection of intermarriage has been common among Jews. Indeed, the “threat” of intermarriage has recently produced a crisis within the Jewish community and has resulted in intensive efforts to persuade Jews to marry other Jews (see SAID, Ch. 8).

Other items reflecting aspects of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy in fact have substantial empirical support. For example, several items are concerned with perceptions of Jewish clannishness and its effect on residential patterns and business practices.[190]See also the discussion in SAID (Ch. 6) of ADL strategies to combat anti-Semitism by making true statements about Jews into exemplars of anti-Semitic attitudes. Mayer (1979, 84) notes that Orthodox Jews are highly concerned about living in an area which has a sufficiently high concentration of Jews, and Lowenstein (1983) shows that Jews continued to live in concentrated areas in Germany after emancipation. See also Glazer and Moynihan (1970) for similar data for American Jews. Other items are concerned with perceptions that Jews engage in cultural separatism and with perceptions that Jews have power, money and influence out of proportion to their numbers in the population. There is an item that reflects the overrepresentation of Jews in leftist and radical political causes: “There seems to be some revolutionary streak in the Jewish make-up as shown by the fact that there are so many Jewish Communists and agitators.” However, data reviewed in this volume, SAID, and PTSDA indicate that in fact there is considerable truth in all these generalizations. Being high on the Anti-Semitism Scale may therefore simply mean that one has access to more information rather than a sign of a disturbed childhood.

Particularly interesting is the patriotism scale, designed to tap attitudes involving “blind attachment to certain national cultural values, uncritical conformity with the prevailing group ways, and rejection of other nations as outgroups” (p. 107). Again, strong attachment to group interests among the majority group is considered pathology, whereas no mention is made of analogous group attachments among Jews. An advocacy of strong discipline and conformity within the majority group is an important indicator of this pathology: One scale item reads, “Minor forms of military training, obedience, and discipline, such as drill, marching, and simple commands, should be made a part of the elementary school educational program.” However, no mention is made of discipline, conformity, and the socialization of group cohesiveness as important ideals within minority group strategies. As indicated in PTSDA (Ch. 7), traditional Jewish socialization practices have placed strong emphasis on discipline within the group and psychological acceptance of group goals (i.e., conformity).

These results are of interest because an important aspect of this entire effort is to pathologize positive attitudes toward creating a highly cohesive, well-disciplined group strategy among gentiles, but nevertheless failing to censure such attitudes among Jews. Individuals high on the Ethnocentrism Scale as well as the Anti-Semitism Scale are undoubtedly people who are very group-conscious. They see themselves as members of cohesive groups, including, in some cases, their own ethnic group and, at the highest level, the nation; and they view negatively outgroup individuals and individuals who deviate from group goals and group norms. In Chapter III Levinson states that anti-Semites want power for their own groups and value clannishness in their own groups while condemning similar Jewish behavior (p. 97). Conversely, the data reviewed in this volume are highly compatible with the proposition that many Jews want power for their own group and value clannishness in their own group but condemn such behavior in gentiles. Indeed, the discussion at the beginning of this chapter indicates that this is precisely the ideology of the Frankfurt School responsible for these studies.

From the standpoint of the authors of The Authoritarian Personality, group consciousness in the majority is viewed as pathological because it tends necessarily to be opposed to Jews as a cohesive, unassimilated, and unassimilable minority group. Viewed from this perspective, the central agenda of The Authoritarian Personality is to pathologize gentile group strategies while nevertheless leaving open the possibility of Judaism as a minority group strategy.

In his discussion, Levinson views ethnocentrism as fundamentally concerned with ingroup-outgroup perceptions, a perspective that is congruent with social identity theory that I have proposed as the best candidate for developing a theory of anti-Semitism. Levinson concludes, “Ethnocentrism is based on a pervasive and rigid ingroup-outgroup distinction; it involves stereotyped negative imagery and hostile attitudes regarding outgroups, stereotyped positive imagery and submissive attitudes regarding ingroups, and a hierarchical, authoritarian view of group interaction in which ingroups are rightly dominant, outgroups subordinate”(p. 150; italics in text).

Further, Levinson notes “The ethnocentric ‘need for an outgroup’ prevents that identification with humanity as a whole which is found in anti-ethnocentrism” (p. 148). Levinson clearly believes that ethnocentrism is a sign of psychiatric disorder and that identification with humanity is the epitome of mental health, but he never draws the obvious inference that Jews themselves are unlikely to identify with humanity, given the importance of ingroup-outgroup distinctions so central to Judaism. Moreover, Levinson describes the anti-Semite Mack’s demand that Jews assimilate as a demand that Jews “liquidate themselves, that they lose entirely their cultural identity and adhere instead to the prevailing cultural ways” (p. 97). Levinson sees the demand that Jews assimilate, and thus abandon rigid ingroup-outgroup social categorization processes, as an aspect of Mack’s anti-Semitic psychopathology; at the same time Levinson is perfectly willing to advocate that the anti-Semite identify with humanity and abandon ingroup-outgroup social categorization processes. Clearly ethnocentrism and its concomitant salience of ingroup-outgroup social categorization is to be reserved for Jews and pathologized as an aspect of gentile behavior.

The material reviewed throughout this volume indicates that a major thrust of Jewish intellectual activity has been to promote liberal-radical political beliefs in gentiles. Here Levinson links ethnocentrism with conservative economic and political views, with the implication that these attitudes are part of a pervasive social pathology stemming ultimately from disturbed parent-child relationships. Levinson finds an association among political conservatism, economic conservatism (support of prevailing politicoeconomic ideology and authority), and ethnocentrism (stigmatization of outgroups).[191]Political conservatism and ethnocentrism are said to be difficult to separate, as indicated by the following item from the Political and Economic Conservatism Scale (PEC): “America may not be perfect, but the American Way has brought us about as close as human beings can get to a perfect society.” Levinson comments, “To support this idea is, it would seem, to express politico-economic conservatism and the ingroup idealization so characteristic of ethnocentrism” (p. 181). Here, as in the case of the discussion of the Ethnocentrism Scale itself, individuals who identify strongly with a dominant majority group and its interests are viewed as pathological. In fact the PEC scale was not as highly correlated with the F-Scale as was the Ethnocentrism Scale (E-Scale), a finding that Adorno tendentiously interpreted not as indicating that these concepts were not highly related but as indicating that “we are living in potentially fascist times” (p. 656)! As indicated in the conclusion of this chapter, the high correlation between the F-Scale and the E-Scale was a matter of design rather than an empirical finding. However, “The further development of liberal-radical views is ordinarily based on imagery and attitudes identical to those underlying anti-ethnocentric ideology: opposition to hierarchy and to dominance-submission, removal of class and group barriers, emphasis on equalitarian interaction, and so on” (p. 181).

Here the ethical superiority of the removal of group barriers is advocated in an official publication of the AJCommittee, an organization dedicated to a way of life in which de factogroup barriers and the discouraging of intermarriage have been and continue to be critical and the subject of intense feelings among Jewish activists.[192]The authors of The Authoritarian Personality take a strong moral position against ethnocentrism and political conservatism. Levinson notes, for example, that “The National Maritime Union . . . can take pride in having the lowest [means on the Ethnocentrism Scale]” (p. 196). Given the overwhelming evidence that Jews support leftist-liberal political programs and continue to have a strong Jewish identification (see Ch. 3), one can only conclude that the results are another confirmation of the analysis presented there: Leftism among Jews has functioned as a means of de-emphasizing the importance of the Jewish-gentile distinction among gentiles while nevertheless allowing for its continuation among Jews.

Levinson then proceeds to a section of the analysis with large repercussions. Levinson provides data showing that individuals with different political party preferences than their fathers have lower ethnocentrism scores. He then proposes that rebelling against the father is an important predictor of lack of ethnocentrism: “Ethnocentrists tend to be submissive to ingroup authority, anti-ethnocentrists to be critical and rebellious, and . . . the family is the first and prototypic ingroup” (p. 192).

Levinson asks the reader to consider a two-generation situation in which the first generation tends to be relatively high on ethnocentrism and political conservatism; that is, they identify with their ethnic group and its perceived economic and political interests. Prediction of whether children will similarly identify with their ethnic group and its perceived interests depends on whether children rebel against their fathers. The conclusion of this syllogism, given the values implicit in the study, is that rebelling against parental values is psychologically healthy because it results in lower ethnocentrism scores. Conversely, lack of rebellion against the parent is implicitly viewed as pathological. These ideas are expanded in later sections of The Authoritarian Personality and indeed constitute a central aspect of the entire project.

One wonders if these social scientists would similarly advocate that Jewish children should reject their families as the prototypical ingroup. The transmission of Judaism over the generations has required that children accept parental values. In Chapter 3 it was noted that during the 1960s radical Jewish students, but not radical gentile students, identified strongly with their parents and with Judaism. I have also discussed extensive socialization practices whereby Jewish children were socialized to accept community interests over individual interests. These practices function to produce strong ingroup loyalty among Jews (see PTSDA, Chs. 7, 8). Again, there is an implicit double standard: Rebellion against parents and the complete abandonment of all ingroup designations is the epitome of mental health for gentiles, whereas Jews are implicitly allowed to continue with a strong sense of ingroup identity and follow in their parents’ footsteps.

Similarly with regard to religious affiliation, R. Nevitt Sanford (Chapter VI) finds that affiliation with various Christian religious sects is associated with ethnocentrism, and that individuals who have rebelled against their parents and adopted another religion or no religion are lower on ethnocentrism. These relationships are explained as due to the fact that acceptance of a Christian religion is associated with “conformity, conventionalism, authoritarian submission, determination by external pressures, thinking in ingroup-outgroup terms and the like vs. nonconformity, independence, internalization of values, and so forth” (p. 220). Again, individuals identifying strongly with the ideology of a majority group are viewed as suffering from psychopathology, yet Judaism as a viable religion would necessarily be associated with these same psychological processes. Indeed, Sirkin and Grellong (1988) found that rebellion and negative parent-child relationships during adolescence were associated with Jewish young people’s abandoning Judaism to join religious cults. Negative parent-child relationships predict lack of acceptance of parents’ religious group membership, whatever the religion involved.

Part II of The Authoritarian Personality consists of five chapters by Else Frenkel-Brunswik presenting interview data from a subset of the subjects studied in Part I. Although there are pervasive methodological difficulties with these data, they provide a fairly consistent, theoretically intelligible contrast in the family relationships between high scorers and low scorers on the Ethnocentrism Scale.[193]Frenkel-Brunswik’s interview data have been shown to suffer from serious methodological difficulties “from beginning to end” (Altemeyer 1981, 37; see also R. Brown 1965, 514ff). There are problems of generalization since fully 40 percent of the high-scoring male interviewees (8 out of 20) were inmates at San Quentin prison and 2 were patients at a psychiatric hospital at the time of the interviews. (Three of the 20 low scorers were from San Quentin, and 2 were from the psychiatric clinic.) As Altemeyer (1981, 37) notes, this type of sample obviously presents problems of generalization even granting the possibility that high scorers are more likely to be in prison. This problem is much less apparent in the interviews from the women, however, where the high scorers were mainly students and health workers, although 3 of the 25 were psychiatric patients.

Nevertheless, Altemeyer (1988, 37) notes that the San Quentin interviewees were “the backbone” of the statistically significant results separating the high and low scorers. Besides this method of inflating the level of statistical significance by including highly unrepresentative subjects, there was also a strong tendency to discuss results as if they were based on statistically significant differences when in fact the differences were not significant (Altemeyer 1988, 38).

It has also been shown that scores on the Ethnocentrism Scale are negatively associated with IQ, education, and socio-economic status to a much greater extent than found by the Berkeley group (Hyman & Sheatsley 1954). Lower socioeconomic status and its correlative lower IQ and education may result in ethnocentrism because such individuals have not been socialized in a university environment and because economic pressures (i.e., resource competition) are more likely to result in group identifications within the lower social classes. The latter perspective fits well with social identity research and with the general findings of another volume in the Studies in Prejudice series, Prophets of Deceit (Lowenthal & Guterman 1970).
However, the picture presented is quite different from that which the authors of The Authoritarian Personality intend to convey. In conjunction with the material from the projective questions in Chapter XV, the data strongly suggest that high scorers on the Ethnocentrism Scale tend to come from very functional, adaptive, competent, and concerned families. These individuals identify with their families as a prototypical ingroup and appear intent on replicating that family structure in their own lives. Low scorers appear to have ambivalent, rebellious relationships with their families and identify minimally with their family as an ingroup.

Frenkel-Brunswik first discusses differences in attitudes toward parents and conceptions of the family. Prejudiced individuals “glorify” their parents and view their family as an ingroup.[194]Excerpts indicate that these individuals had very positive attitudes about their parents. A high-scoring female describes her mother as follows: “Mother—she amazes me—millions of activities—had two maids in ——— years ago, but never since—such calmness—never sick, never—beautiful women she really is” (p. 340; italics in text). Another (F24) describes her father as follows: “Father—he is wonderful; couldn’t make him better. He is always willing to do anything for you. He is about ——— years old, six feet tall, has dark brown hair, slim build, young-looking face, good-looking, dark green eyes” (p. 342). Low-scoring individuals, in contrast, are said to have an “objective” view of their parents combined with genuine affection. To make these claims plausible, Frenkel-Brunswik must show that the very positive attitudes shown by high scorers are not genuine affection but are simply masks for repressed hostility. However, as Altemeyer (1981, 43) notes, “It is at least possible . . . that [the parents of the high scorers] really were a little better than most, and that the small relationships found have a perfectly factual, nonpsychodynamic explanation.” I would go further than Altemeyer and claim that the parents and families of the high scorers were almost certainly quite a bit “better” than the parents and families of the low scorers.

Frenkel-Brunswik’s only example of genuine affection on the part of a low scorer involves a female subject who recounted her despair at being abandoned by her father. (It would appear from data discussed below that abandonment and ambivalence are generally more common among the low scorers.) This subject, F63, makes the following comment: “But I remember when my father left, [my mother] came to my room and said ‘You’ll never see your Daddy again.’ Those were her exact words. I was crazy with grief and felt it was her fault. I threw things, emptied drawers out of the window, pulled the spreads off the bed, then threw things at the wall” (p. 346). The example does indeed show a strong attachment between father and daughter, but the point clearly is that the relationship is one of abandonment, not affection. Moreover, Frenkel-Brunswik mentions that some of the low scorers appear to have “blocked affect” regarding their parents; that is, the low scorers have no emotional response at all toward them. One wonders, then, in what sense the low scorers can be said to have genuinely positive emotional relationships with their parents. As we shall see, the data as a whole indicate very high levels of hostility and ambivalence among the low scorers.

In contrast, high scoring women are said to perceive themselves as “victimized” by their parents. The word “victimized” has negative connotations, and my own reading of the published interview material suggests that the subjects are expressing negative feelings toward parental discipline or unfairness within the context of an overall positive relationship. Parent-child relationships, like any relationship, may be viewed as consisting of positive and negative attributes from the standpoint of the child—much like an account ledger. Relationships in general are not likely to be perfect from the standpoint of all parties because people’s interests conflict. The result is that a perfect relationship from one person’s standpoint may seem like exploitation to the other person in the relationship. So it is in parent-child relationships (MacDonald 1988a, 166–169). A perfect relationship from the standpoint of the child would be unbalanced and would undoubtedly be highly unbalanced against the parent—what is usually termed a permissive or indulgent parent-child relationship.

My interpretation of the research on parent-child interaction (and this is a mainstream point of view) is that children will accept high levels of parental control if the relationship with the parents is positive overall (MacDonald 1988a, 1992a, 1997). Developmental psychologists use the term “authoritative parenting” to refer to parenting in which the child accepts parental control within the context of a generally positive relationship (Baumrind 1971; Maccoby & Martin 1983). Although children of authoritative parents undoubtedly may not always enjoy parental discipline and restrictions, this style of parenting is associated with well-adjusted children.

A child may therefore resent some activities of the parent within the context of an overall positive relationship, and there is no psychological difficulty with supposing that the child could accept having to perform unpleasant work or even being discriminated against as a female while nevertheless having a very positive overall view of the parent-child relationship. Frenkel-Brunswik’s examples of girls who have very positive views of their parents but also complain about situations in which they were made to do housework or were treated less well than their brothers need not be interpreted as indicating suppressed hostility.

Frenkel-Brunswik states that these resentments are not “ego-accepted” by the girls, a comment I interpret as indicating that the girls did not view the resentment as completely compromising the relationship. Her example of such non-ego-accepted resentment is as follows: F39: Mother was “terribly strict with me about learning to keep house. . . . I am glad now, but I resented it then.” It is only by accepting a psychodynamic interpretation in which normal resentments about being required to work are a sign of powerful suppressed hostilities and rigid defense mechanisms that we can view these women as in any sense pathological.[195]Other examples of proposed resentment against parents by high-scoring subjects clearly suggest a parent who has strict rules and enforces them within the context of a relationship that is viewed positively overall. Thus a high-scoring subject says about her father, “I can’t say I don’t like him, . . . but he wouldn’t let me date at 16. I had to stay home” (p. 348). The interview material of a high-scoring female (F78) shows that “[h]er parents definitely approve of the engagement. Subject wouldn’t even go with anyone if they didn’t like him” (p. 351). Again, these subjects are labeled as victimized by their parents. The supposition seems to be that any parental strictures on children’s behavior, no matter how reasonable, are bound to result in enormously high levels of suppressed hostility and aggression in children. It is ultimately the proposed repressed hostility engendered by parental discipline that results in anti-Semitism: “The displacement of a repressed antagonism toward authority may be one of the sources, and perhaps the principal source, of . . . antagonism toward outgroups” (p. 482).

Whereas the negative feelings high scorers had toward their parents tend to derive from parental efforts to discipline the child or get the child to do household chores, the negative feelings of the low scorers are the result of feelings of desertion and loss of affection (p. 349). However, in the case of the low scorers, Frenkel-Brunswik emphasizes that the desertions and loss of love are frankly accepted, and this acceptance, in her view, precludes psychopathology. I have already discussed F63, whose father abandoned her; another low scoring subject, M55, states, “For example, he would take a delicacy like candy, pretend to offer us some and then eat it himself and laugh uproariously. . . . Makes him seem sort of a monster, though he’s not really” (p. 350). It is not surprising that such egregious examples of parental insensitivity are vividly recalled by the subject. However, in the upside-down world of The Authoritarian Personality, their being recalled is viewed as a sign of mental health in the subjects, whereas the overtly positive relationships of the high scorers are a sign of deep, unconscious layers of psychopathology.

Contemporary developmental research on authoritative parenting and parent-child warmth also indicates that authoritative parents are more successful in transmitting cultural values to their children (e.g., MacDonald 1988a, 1992, 1997a). In reading the interview material, one is struck by the fact that low scorers have rather negative views of their parents, whereas high scorers have quite positive views. It is reasonable to suppose that the low scorers would be more rebelliousness against parental values, and this indeed occurs.

Part of the deception of The Authoritarian Personality, however, is that low scorers’ resentment directed toward their parents is interpreted as a sign that parental discipline is not overpowering. “Since typical low scorers do not really see their parents as any too overpowering or frightening, they can afford to express their feelings of resentment more readily” (p. 346). The meager signs of affection in the children of low scorers and the obvious signs of resentment are thus interpreted by Frenkel-Brunswik as genuine affection, whereas the very positive perceptions of their parents held by the high scorers are viewed as the result of extreme parental authoritarianism resulting in repressions and denial of parental faults.

These results are an excellent example of the ideological biases characteristic of this entire project. A developmental psychologist looking at these data is impressed by the fact that the parents of the high scorers manage to inculcate a very positive perception of family life in their children while managing to discipline them nonetheless. As indicated above, contemporary researchers label this type of parent as authoritative, and the research supports the general proposal that children of such parents will accept adult values. Children from such families have close relationships with their parents, and they accept parental values and group identifications. Thus if the parents accept religious identifications, the child from such a family is more likely to accept them as well. And if parents hold up education as a value, the children are also likely to accept the importance of doing well in school. These authoritative parents set standards for their children’s behavior and monitor compliance with these standards. The warmth of the parent-child relationship motivates the child to conform to these standards and to monitor his or her behavior in a manner that avoids violating ingroup (i.e., family) norms of behavior.

The deeply subversive agenda of The Authoritarian Personality is to pathologize this type of family among gentiles. However, since parental affection is viewed positively according to the theory, evidence for parental affection among the high scorers must be interpreted as a mask for parental hostility; and the low scorers had to be interpreted as having affectionate parents despite surface appearances to the contrary. Rebellion against parents by the low scorers is then conceptualized as the normal outcome of affectionate child rearing—a ridiculous view at best.[196]This idea that rebellion against parental values and authority is a sign of mental health can also be seen in the theory of the psychoanalyst Erik Homberg Erikson (1968). Erikson proposed that the most important developmental issue of adolescence was the identity crisis and that going through an identity crisis was a necessary prerequisite for healthy adult psychological functioning. The evidence indicates, however, that adolescence is not normatively a time of rebellion against parents, but rebellion against parents is associated with hostile, rejecting family relationships.

The interesting point here is that research on identity processes during adolescence does not support the idea that adolescents who accept adult values show signs of psychopathology. The subjects who most resemble those viewed as pathological in The Authoritarian Personality are termed “foreclosure” subjects by Marcia (1966, 1967). These subjects have not experienced an identity crisis but have made commitments which they have accepted from other individuals, usually parents, without question. The families of foreclosure subjects tend to be child-centered and conformist (Adams, Gullotta, & Markstrom-Adams 1994). Matteson (1974) found that foreclosures participated in a “love affair” with their families, and Muuss (1988) summarizes evidence indicating that foreclosures are very close to and feel highly valued by their parents. Degree of control is intermediate, neither too harsh nor too limited, and such individuals perceive parents as accepting and supportive. The parent-child relationships of these individuals appear to be the authoritative parent-child relationships commonly viewed by developmental psychologists as producing optimal child development. Marcia and Friedman (1970) found that foreclosure women had high self-esteem and were low in anxiety, and Marcia (1980) summarizes several studies showing that the foreclosure females are well adjusted. There is thus no reason to suppose that adolescents who accept parental values are in any sense suffering from psychopathology.

On the contrary, individuals who have very poor parent-child relationships tend to be in the “identity diffused” category, namely individuals who completely fail to develop an identity. Very negative parent-child relationships are characteristic of such identity-diffused subjects (Adams, Gullotta, & Markstrom 1994), and they appear to lead to minimal identification with the values and ideologies of the parents. Parents of such individuals are described as “distant, detached, uninvolved and unconcerned” (Muuss l982; see also Marcia l980) and such individuals appear not to accept the values of their parents. There is even evidence that identity-diffused individuals are at risk for psychopathology.

Fundamentally, then, the political agenda of The Authoritarian Personality is to undercut gentile family structure, but the ultimate aim is to subvert the entire social categorization scheme underlying gentile society. The authors of The Authoritarian Personality are studying a society in which variation in families can be seen as ranging from families that essentially replicate current social structure to families that produce rebellion and change in social structure. The former families are highly cohesive, and children within these families have a strong sense of ingroup feeling toward their families. The children also fundamentally accept the social categorization structure of their parents as the social categories expand to include church, community, and nation.

This relatively strong sense of ingroup thinking then tends, as expected by social identity research, to result in negative attitudes to individuals from different religions, communities, and nations. From the standpoint of the authors of The Authoritarian Personality, this type of family must be established as pathological, despite the fact that this is exactly the type of family necessary for the continuation of a strong sense of Jewish identity: Jewish children must accept the social categorization system of their parents. They must view their families as ingroups and ultimately accept the ingroup represented by Judaism. Again, the fundamental intellectual difficulty that runs throughout the entire book is that its agenda must inevitably pathologize in gentiles what is critical to the maintenance of Judaism.

The success of the families of high scorers in transmitting parental values is illustrated by the fact that children of the high scorers feel a sense of obligation and duty toward their parents. Note particularly the response of F78, about whom it was said, “Her parents definitely approve of the engagement. Subject wouldn’t even go with anyone if they didn’t like him” (p. 351). Here a woman who intends to marry someone approved by her parents and who takes account of the views of her parents in dating is viewed as having a psychiatric disorder. One wonders if Frenkel-Brunswik would similarly analyze such a response in a Jewish subject.

Another indication of the overwhelmingly positive family experiences of the high scorers is that they often comment that their parents were very solicitous toward them. Within Frenkel-Brunswik’s worldview, this is another sign of pathology among the high scorers that is variously labeled “ego alien dependence” (p. 353) and “blatant opportunism” (p. 354).

Consider, for example, the following response from a high scorer, F79: “I always say my mother is still taking care of me. You should see my closets—stacked with fruits, jams, pickles. . . . She just loves to do things for people” (p. 354).[197]Other examples: F71: “Right now, I’m [father’s] favorite. . . . [H]e’ll do anything for me—takes me to school and calls for me” (p. 354); M47: “Well I guess her [mother] being so good and friendly to everybody, especially me. (For example?) Well, always trying to do everything for me. Very seldom go uptown without bringing something back for me” (p. 354); M13: “Mostly [father’s] attention to us kids was very admirable. He’s very honest, so much so that he won’t condone charge accounts. He’s known throughout the country as a man whose word is as good as his bond. His greatest contribution was denying himself pleasure to take care of us kids” (p. 354).

In the section “Image of the Mother: Sacrifice, Moralism, Restrictiveness,” mothers of high scorers are individuals who are highly self-sacrificing on behalf of their children and also have a strong sense of appropriate behavior which they attempt to inculcate in their children. M57: “She was a hard working lady, took care of us kids; she never did mistreat us in any way.” M13: “Mother was sick in bed a great deal of the time. She devoted her last strength to us kids.” M47: “She always taught me the difference between right and wrong, the things I should do and shouldn’t.”
To categorize such an expression of parental solicitude as part of a pathological syndrome is truly astonishing. Similarly, Frenkel-Brunswik terms the following comment by a high-scoring woman as illustrative of the blatant opportunism characteristic of high scorers: “Father was extremely devoted to family—will work his fingers to the bone for them—never has done any drinking” (p. 365). Another high scorer (F24), in describing how “wonderful” her father is, says, “He is always willing to do anything for you” (p. 365).

An evolutionist would interpret these comments as indicating that the parents of high scorers invest greatly in their families and make the welfare of their families their first priority. They insist on appropriate behavior from their children and are not reticent about using physical punishment to control children’s behavior. Data summarized in PTSDA (Ch. 7) indicate that this is exactly the type of parenting characteristic of Jews in traditional Eastern European shtetl societies. In these societies high-investment parenting and conformity to parental practices, especially religious belief, were very important. Jewish mothers in these communities are said to be characterized by an “unremitting solicitude” regarding their children (Zborowski & Herzog 1952, 193). They engage in “boundless suffering and sacrifice. Parents ‘kill themselves’ for the sake of their children” (p. 294). At the same time there is a strong sense of parental control over children, including anger directed at the child and considerable use of physical punishment performed in anger (pp. 336–337). Patterns of highly intrusive, solicitous, dependency-producing, and authoritarian parenting continue among contemporary Hasidic Jews (Mintz 1992, 176ff).

This style of high-investment parenting in which high levels of solicitude are combined with powerful controls over children’s behavior is effective in getting children to identify with parental values in traditional Jewish societies. Supreme among these values is accepting parents’ religion and the necessity of choosing a marriage partner suitable to the parents and especially to avoid marrying a gentile. To have a child marry a gentile is a horrifying, catastrophic event that indicates that “something must be wrong with the parents” (Zborowski & Herzog 1952, 231). For Frenkel-Brunswik, however, parental solicitude, accepting parental values, and parental influence on marriage decisions are a sign of pathology—a forerunner of fascism. For gentiles, but apparently not for Jews, rebellion against parental values is the epitome of mental health.

The interview data on the family as an ingroup are particularly interesting in this regard. High-scoring subjects are proud of their families, their accomplishments, and their traditions. With typical rhetorical chutzpah, Frenkel-Brunswik calls these expressions of family pride “a setting off of a homogeneous totalitarian family against the rest of the world” (p. 356). For example, a high scorer, F68, states of her father, “His folks were pioneers—gold settlers and quite wealthy. Everyone knows the ———’s of ——— County up that way” (p. 357). Pride in oneself and one’s family is an indicator of psychiatric disorder.

Further evidence that the family relationships of high scorers are more positive comes from the data on parental conflict. The following comment is described as typical by the high-scoring men as a response to being asked how their parents got along together. M41: “Fine, never did hear no quarreling.”[198]Other typical comments of high scorers are as follows: M58: “If there were any conflicts between mother and father, I didn’t know.” F24: “Parents get along swell—never quarrel—hardly ever. Just over nonsense if they do. They quarrelled once after drinking wine over who got the last. Silly stuff like that”; F31: “My parents get along very well with each other, so far—knock on wood. They have their arguments, but they’re never serious because of my mother’s easy-going personality.” In contrast, rather severe parental conflict is quite apparent in the records of the low scorers. M59: “Well, just the usual family quarrels. Maybe raise her voice a bit. (What bones of contention?) Well, the fact that in the first ten years of my mother’s married life, my dad used to get drunk quite often and he would beat her physically and later on, as the children were growing up, she resented my father’s influence, though he contributed to our support. . . . He used to come about twice a week, sometimes oftener” (p. 369).[199]Other typical comments of the low scorers are as follows: M15: “Mother accuses father of ‘keeping her down.’ She talks about her ambitions too much. Mother thinks of herself first. She doesn’t want to settle down in any church. Keeps suspecting father lets another singer get ahead of her. There are many quarrels between them, which upset me. Father sometimes threatened to leave”; M50: “Father was temperamental and father and mother had considerable domestic strife”; M55: “Mother went along with him on all the moralizing, though not as harsh as he was, not really a very good marriage. Mother should have married someone a lot more human and she probably would have been a lot better off . . . well, it’s hard to imagine him with anyone with whom he would get along.”

This picture of conflict in the families of low scorers receives the following interpretation by Frenkel-Brunswik: “The foregoing records illustrate the frankness and the greater insight into the marital conflicts of the parents” (p. 369). The assumption seems to be that all families are characterized by alcoholism, desertion, physical abuse, quarreling, and narcissistic preoccupation with one’s own pleasures rather than family needs. Mental health in the low scorers is indicated by their being aware of familial psychopathology, whereas the pathological high scorers simply fail to recognize these phenomena in their families and persist in their delusions that their parents are self-sacrificing, loving disciplinarians.

This is a good example of the usefulness of psychodynamic theory in creating a politically effective “reality.” Behavior that conflicts with one’s theory can be ascribed to repression of deep conflicts, and truly pathological behavior becomes the essence of sanity because the subject recognizes it as such. Frenkel-Brunswik invents the term “denial of conflict” as a description of the “pathology” of the high-scoring families (p. 369), a term that is reminiscent of “ego–alien dependence” and “victimization” mentioned earlier. My reading of these protocols would lead me to label the relationships as “lack of conflict,” but in the upside-down world of The Authoritarian Personality, lack of apparent conflict is a sure sign of the denial of extremely severe conflict.[200]Similarly, when a subject reports no aggression against his father on the Thematic Apperception Test, the results are interpreted as indicating suppressed aggression against the father because the only aggression in the stories is done by characters the subject rejects. Aggressive imagery unrelated to the father is evidence for suppressed aggression against the father.

The same picture is presented in sibling relationships. Sibling relationships described in very positive terms by high-scoring subjects are pathologized as “conventional idealization” or “glorification,” whereas the very negative relationships of low scorers are described as “objective appraisal.” The following description of a brother from a high scorer illustrates how Frenkel-Brunswik manages to pathologize highly cohesive, self-sacrificing family life among gentiles: M52: “Well, he’s a wonderful kid. . . . Has been wonderful to my parents. . . . Now 21. Always lived at home. . . . Gives most of his earnings to my parents” (p. 378). The assumption seems to be that this description could not conceivably be accurate and is therefore an example of pathological “glorification of siblings.”

Frenkel-Brunswik also attempts to pathologize gentile concern with social class and upward social mobility. High scorers are portrayed as “status concerned” and therefore pathological for such statements as the following: M57, on being asked why his parents disciplined him, replies, “Well, they didn’t want me to run with some kind of people—slummy women—always wanted me to associate with the higher class of people” (p. 383).[201]Another example of concern for social status among high scorers is the following from F79, who comes from a wealthy family that owns a lumber mill, a logging camp, and other business interests: “It’s a medium sized mill but I have no idea of his [father’s] income. Of course, we children have always been to private schools and lived in exclusive residential section. In ——— we had tennis courts and horses. We had more or less to start over again when we came to this country. We lived in a nice house but really couldn’t afford it. It was quite an effort to get into social circles. In ——— we felt secure and fitted in. Back here, we have lived at the same level but with anxiety about it. Mother and daddy have climbed socially . . . and I don’t care so much” (p. 384). Since the subject seems not so concerned about social status, one might wonder why the protocol was scored as it was.

A concern with social status is thus viewed as pathological. An evolutionary perspective, in contrast to Frenkel-Brunswik’s view, emphasizes the adaptive significance of social class status. An evolutionist would find the behavior of the parents to be quite adaptive, since they want their son to be concerned about upward social mobility and want a respectable woman for a daughter-in-law. The parents are concerned about social status, and an evolutionist would note that such a concern has been of critical evolutionary importance in stratified societies over historical time (See PTSDA, Ch. 7).

The other example of concern with social status presented by Frenkel-Brunswik is an individual who is concerned with having biological heirs. A high scorer says, “I want a home and I want to get married, not because I want a wife, but because I