The Neo-Darwinian/Neo-Nazi Synthesis
In the entry
, “The anti-Semites and me,” I noted how writers at the Majority Rights
website charge that my real aim is not to defend the threatened white West, but to undermine it and elevate the Jews over it. The Australian traditionalist blogger Mark Richardson, who used to post at Majority Rights
and knows the site well, has a clarifying insight into the material-determinist, anti-Semitic outlook of many of the participants there, and why they see me the way they do. I then point out that the Darwinian anti-Semites’ own belief system precludes the possibility that their belief system is true. I also explain why I think it’s worthwhile to write about them.
Mark Richardson writes:
I think you’re right to identify as a major problem at Majority Rights the “hardening of atheist materialism” leading on to “extreme racial and material reductionism”.
The general trend at the site is to take genetics and group competition for genetic reproduction as the real drivers, which means that political beliefs and ideals and the morality deriving from them are not to be taken at face value but represent a kind of coded aspect of the underlying genetic reality of things.
Anyway, the thought occurs to me that given this approach they are taking the only attitude to you that’s possible for them as concerns you. They are locked into it. It would disprove their theory if you were not in a coded way acting for specifically Jewish genetic interests.
So I doubt there is much that you could say, do or write in defence of the West to change their minds.
The MR approach seems to appeal to some, but I don’t think they’ll catch any significant future wave with it.
Thanks for this perspective. As I said in the earlier entry, I’ve just realized that I need to gain a better grasp of what this new (if it is new) ideological synthesis consists of. It is a combination of Darwinism, anti-Semitism, atheism, and a kind of brutal, extreme tribalism. Whether it’s widely influential or not, it exists, it is a continuing presence in the precincts of the conservative Web, it has a penumbra around it that will affect a certain number of people who don’t formally subscribe to it, and people are going to keep encountering it, so it needs to be understood. Your comment that they “take genetics and group competition for genetic reproduction as the real drivers, which means that political beliefs and ideals and the morality deriving from them are not to be taken at face value but represent a kind of coded aspect of the underlying genetic reality of things,” goes a long way toward making sense of it.
An obvious problem for these people is that, according to their worldview, their entire thought process is driven and determined by group competition for genetic reproduction, just as is that of their evolutionary nemesis the Jews. Socio-biology, the application of the Darwinian model to human society and behavior, says that the only reason that a Darwinian anti-Semite, or anyone, can have a belief in anything is that the same belief, entertained by his ancestors, was correlated with behaviors that resulted in the ancestors having more offspring than other people, resulting in that behavior and the correlated belief being passed down to the anti-Semite himself. Thus, according to their own Darwinian beliefs, the Darwinian anti-Semites do not believe in Darwinian anti-Semitism because they’ve thought about it and decided that it is true; they believe in it because their genetic (or perhaps socio-biological) inheritance compels them to believe in it, in the same way that a lion’s genetic inheritance compels it to chase and kill its prey. Since truth means the experienced correspondence between our thoughts and objective reality, and since the Darwinian anti-Semites’ own views are not based on their best understanding of the truth, truth being a meaningless and impossible concept to them, why should anyone else take their views seriously?
Their own view of reality tells them that their opinions are not opinions, but mechanical reflexes programmed into them by the past natural selection of random genetic mutations or behavior modifications in their ancestors. They are thus machines. How can a machine have opinions? And what right does a machine have to hold forth on its opinions and expect other machines to listen?
Just like the deconstructionists, who say there is no truth, but only narratives motivated by group interest, serious Darwinists/determinists render their own stated views about the “truth” instantly dismissible.
I’ve got a name for their ideology: the Neo-Darwinian/Neo-Nazi Synthesis.
- end of initial entry -
“So I doubt there is much that you could say, do or write in defence of the West to change their minds.”
You’re the second person in the last day to assume that in writing about these anti-Semites I’m trying to communicate with them and change their minds. Someone said to me last evening, “Why would you waste your time trying to persuade these people?” I said, “I’m not writing for them, I’m writing for the people reading me. And I’m writing for myself, trying to gain an understanding of what they’re about.”
I have this same type of interchange constantly. I’ll get into a debate with someone, and people will say to me, “This is a waste of time, you can’t reach him,” and I explain that the exchange is not for the purpose of persuading my interlocutor, but for the purpose of persuading and informing the people who are reading the exchange.
Sage McLaughlin writes:
You write that, “Their own view of reality tells them that their opinions are not opinions, but mechanical reflexes programmed into them by the past natural selection of random genetic mutations or behavior modifications in their ancestors.” The social sciences are absolutely rife with this contradiction. Some other examples which might help illustrate your point:
- If what Karl Marx wrote was true, and the triumph of socialism is literally a scientifically-discernible certainty, brought on by the irresistible Laws of History, then it is also an iron-clad inevitability that Karl Marx should be born, and write Das Kapital. This was certain at the moment of the Big Bang, and the grinding mechanical operation of the material universe. A nebulous cloud of dust (the universe) just spontaneously produced Karl Marx and the book he wrote, which in turn produced the revolutions that would (again, inevitably) follow from it. But does anyone really believe this, or act as if he does? It just seems like an argument for doing nothing, actually.
- If Sigmund Freud is correct, and our thoughts and personalities are ultimately just effusions from the subconcious or id, then how fortunate we are that at a particular place and time, the id of a particular Austrian psychiatrist spontaneously effused the truth about human psychology! But of course, psychoanalysts do not claim to be studying the effusions of Freud’s id, nor do they devote much time to discovering how his id produced his theory, do they? They just behave as though they have some reason for holding it to be true.
- What, exactly, “conditions” behavioral psychologists to believe that the assumptions of behavior psychology are true? How are they “conditioned” to attempt to condition lab mice?
You can go on and on in this vein. The real point is, if any of these theories are true, then there is no reason their advocates should actually spend any time articulating them. If the Neo-Darwinians are correct, then the competition between species will simply proceed as it must, no matter what anybody says or believes about it. Trying to convince us won’t make things better, or worse. Nature will simply select whatever it selects for, end of story, and wasting your time by trying to act on that assumption is self-referential and even self-contradictory. Trying to direct the course of evolution by describing it seems awfully daft.
Yes, of course, to your overall point. However, a couple of qualifications.
First, I don’t think that Marxian historical inevitability says that the total content of human history, including the birth of any particular individual, is necessary (though perhaps you were engaging in a bit of playful hyperbole on that point); the inevitability refers to the overall shape and direction of the historical dialectic. Second, I don’t think that Freudianism is deterministic. The pragmatic center of Freudianism is the need for the ego to work out an acceptable modus vivendi for itself between the Id and the Super-ego. So, while Freud’s view of man is terribly grim and reductionist (for example, he reduces sex to nothing but the release of a tension), he is not a determinist. He does believe in man’s freedom, hemmed in between the Id and the Super-ego though he may be, to understand himself, to make choices, to resist and sublimate his negative impulses, and to improve himself.
The first post on Majority Rights you referenced is murky as to exactly what they are purveying, so I dug around a little and found this.
As you and Mark Richardson indicate, theirs is a reductive, deterministic world view. Not explicitly or consistently atheistic or anti-religion that I can see, but clearly Darwinist in the anti-human sense. If Europeans are the pinnacle of human evolution, or evolution altogether, and they deserve the best because they are the best in terms of genetics and in the brilliant light of their own history, why the need to promote and defend this capable race so vigorously? That is the most obvious flaw I see in their argumentation—the superior man, if he is truly superior, does not need to iterate the fact. It is self-evident and self-sustaining. Facing challenges successfully and honorably makes him stronger.
Somewhere in their annals of anti-Semitism was a remark that Jews are ethnically (and otherwise) foreign to Europe because of their geographic origins, but no parallel argument was offered to reject Christianity and the Christian heritage of the West. Talk about being caught up in a philosophic gyre!
Aside from the intention of this type of group, and the content and meaning of their offerings, there is something to be said of the attitude they present as well. In general it is hyena-like and vulgar and one cannot read more than a few consecutive comments without encountering sniping rejoinders and foul language. What happened to white superiority?
They have no regard for what makes civilization civilized. Had their views prevailed during the previous centuries Europe would look like Yemen—fascinating to be sure but ultimately ruled by a few violent tribes and clans.
Hannon’s last paragraph says it all.
Ben W. writes:
LA: “Just like the deconstructionists, who say there is no truth, but only narratives motivated by group interest.”
I’ve noticed how popular the word “narrative” has become in the media. For example, one heard quite frequently during the election campaign that “Obama had a much better narrative than McCain.” Or currently that Israel cannot spin a better “narrative” than Hamas. Truth has become the comparison of narratives, who is telling the more compelling story.
There are two different but not unrelated meanings of “narrative” here.
One is the postmodern meaning, in which every cultural/racial/gender group has its own “narrative,” which other groups, or at least whites, are obligated to defer to and respect.
The other meaning is “personal story,” as in, “He has a compelling personal story.”
What the two meanings of “narrative” have in common is that both are replacements for objective truth and value, and both require our non-critical embrace. A candidate’s possession of a “compelling personal story” is presented as one of the foremost reasons for supporting him, at least equal in importance to his character, abilities, record, philosophy, and political positions, as you suggest. However, “narrative” in the personal-story sense does not appear to be as morally harmful as “narrative” in the cultural-group sense. The latter literally replaces truth. The former pushes truth aside, but doesn’t completely replace it. Though I suppose that Obama’s compelling personal story was used to banish the damning moral reality of his 20 years as an eager acolyte of Jeremiah Wright.
Bill Carpenter writes:
It is sometimes worthwhile to argue with anti-Semites. Some are retrievable. Some are only responding to the same issues relating to Jews that you respond to, but they lack the language and thought to channel their reactions into well-articulated positions without a skilled writer giving voice to such positions for them. In some cases, they may have just grabbed anti-Semitism off the shelf because of the failure of American conservative leaders to directly address issues of nationality and culture as they relate to Jews. So by engaging them, you may bring some of them to sounder views. More importantly, there are spectators on blogs that may be persuaded by reasonable arguments.
My old Jewish teacher says he has made headway with some anti-Semites because he shares their heartland values and their aggravation with liberal, “renegade” Jews. Abuse and condescension will not do the trick, even if those are the stock in trade of anti-Semitic writers. In short, appealing to common values and identifying fundamental errors will work with some, though not all, and is therefore useful, if you have the time.
Mark Richardson writes:
First, I must have phrased poorly the sentence about you changing the minds of people at MR. My point wasn’t that you were seeking to communicate with them and somehow convert them, but that their attitude to you as someone working in a coded way for Jewish interests wouldn’t change regardless of the quality of your work for the larger Western civilisation.
Second, I think you’re right to use the word “synthesis” in regard to MR. I believe that Guessedworker had a much larger synthesis in mind when he started the site. He wanted to draw together a traditionalist critique of liberalism with the kind of biological/Darwinian ideas you’ve been discussing. Guessedworker himself wrote some very impressive posts criticising political liberalism and he seemed to appreciate the ones that I wrote—and to be disappointed when I left. But I myself couldn’t see how the synthesis could work—and nor it seems could the biological/Darwinists at the site who generally reacted in a negative, bridling way to what I wrote.
Later today I’ll send you an email outlining some of the ideas of the biological/Darwinists which convinced me not to remain writing at MR.
Mark A. writes:
A lot of this line of thinking comes from biology and it is very seductive. I learned of Howard Bloom’s “The Lucifer Principle” from Steve Sailer’s website. (Sailer even has him as a link.) Bloom, who is Jewish, believes that we are biologically driven to kill each other based on genes. Bloom believes that there is nothing more to the Holocaust than biology. German genes wanted to kill Jewish genes. (Never mind that Germany is a federation of numerous tribes, that’s too complicated. Also never mind that the Ashkenazi may have originated near the Danube.) I highly recommend reading “The Lucifer Principle” if you have not already. Sailer believes this guy. Big time. I don’t know if Kevin MacDonald cites Bloom or not, but I’d place a big bet that MacDonald has read Bloom. And I’m sure many at MR have read it too.
Biological reductionists is the best term I can think of to describe these people. You’ll notice that Derbyshire keeps talking about the “biology revolution,” saying that it just over the horizon. These guys are fascinated by it. It is a religion for them. The Bible didn’t give them the answers they wanted and now they’re expecting to get it from DNA. Just as the revolution in physics and engineering combined with atheism brought civilization untold horror in the 20th century, I can only imagine what the revolution in biology combined with atheism will bring civilization in the 21st.
Are you recommending Bloom because it will give me insights into the neo-Darwinian/neo-Nazi Synthesis and the thinking of that crowd?
Mark A. replies:
I find Bloom misguided yet fascinating. You can probably pick up his theory from his website without reading the entire book though. (He posts snippets on the site.) He has an answer for everything and the answers are very neat and precise. I recommend him only because I think you have the ability to refute it intelligently on a public forum. It seems this biological reductionism is gaining ground around the web.
Here are some blurbs from Bloom’s website on his book, GLOBAL BRAIN: The Evolution of Mass Mind From the Big Bang To the 21st Century:
“Howard Bloom may just be the new Stephen Hawking, only he’s not interested in science alone; he’s interested in the soul.” Aaron Hicklin—Gear
And a description of the book:
“A soaring song of songs about the amorous origins of the world, and its almost medieval urge to copulate.” Kevin Kelly, Editor-at-Large,
“I have met God, and he lives in Brooklyn. …Howard Bloom is next in a lineage of seminal thinkers that includes Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Freud, and Buckminster Fuller…he is going to change the way we see ourselves and everything around us.” Richard Metzger, creative director, The Disinformation Company, host of Channel4 TV Britain’s Disinfo Nation
Howard Bloom’s first book, The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into The Forces of History, was a shock to those who believe that the greed of genes turns us into selfish loners. But Bloom’s second volume, Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century, will come as an even bigger surprise. Says Elizabeth Loftus, past president of the American Psychological Society: “Howard Bloom’s Global Brain is filled with scientific firsts. It is the first book to make a strong, solidly backed, and theoretically original case that we do not live the lonely lives of selfish beings driven by selfish genes, but are parts of a larger whole. It is the first to propose that sociality was implicit in the start of the universe—the Big Bang. Global Brain is the first book to present strong evidence that evolutionary, biological, perceptual, and emotional mechanisms have made us parts of a social learning machine—a mass mind which includes all species of life, not just humankind. It is the first to take this idea out of the realm of mysticism and into the sphere of hard-nosed, data-derived reality. And it is one of the few books which carry off such grand visions with energy, excitement, and keen insight.” So, it sounds as though Bloom, recognizing that material reductionism leads to a false and wholly inadequate picture of the universe lacking in the qualities of interconnectivity, wholeness, and meaning that the universe so obviously presents, is seeking to save material reductionism by deriving interconnectivity, wholeness, and meaning from material reductionism.
Global Brain says that a world-wide web has been with us since the first moments of life, and that global connectivity isn’t a product of our technology, it’s built into our biology. It’s in our cells, our bodies, and our brains.
Sound familiar? Think of the poetic final passage of The Origin of Species, where Darwin attributes qualities of meaning, wholeness, and beauty to a natural world that, according to Darwin’s own theory, must utterly lack those qualities. Think of my essays on how Darwinians keep insensibly injecting attributes of purpose and intelligence into evolution in order to make it sensible to themselves. Of course I haven’t read Bloom, but on first glance what he’s up to sounds like a super-effort in the same direction.
If I hadn’t read Mark A. comment that Bloom is a radical material reductionist before reading the comments at Blooom’s site, I wouldn’t think he was a material reductionist at all. I would think he was a holistic thinker who is going beyond material reductionism by finding qualities of intelligence and purpose inherent in nature itself.
More on this later.
To continue the point I was making in the previous paragraph, here, from Bloom’s site, is Publisher’s Weekly describing Bloom’s thesis in Global Brain:
Bloom understands the development of life on Earth as a series of achievements in collective information processing. He stands up for ‘group selection’ (a minority view among evolutionists) and traces cooperation among organisms-and competition between groups-throughout the history of evolution. ‘Creative webs’ of early microorganisms teamed up to go after food sources: modern colonies of E. coli bacteria seem to program themselves for useful, nonrandom mutations. Octopi ‘teach’ one another to avoid aversive stimuli. Ancient Sparta killed its weakest infants; Athens educated them. Each of these is a social learning system. And each such system relies on several functions. ‘Conformity enforcers’ keep most group members doing the same things; ‘diversity generators’ seek out new things; ‘resource shifters’ help the system alter itself to favor new things that work. In Bloom’s model, bowling leagues, bacteria, bees, Belgium and brains all behave in similar ways.
If it is true that Bloom is a radical material reductionist (and I don’t know that that’s true, I’m taking Mark A.’s word for it), then he is trying to get people to believe that non-material order, non-random purpose, and interconnectivity derive from matter. An alternative possibility is that he is not a material reductionist, but is pretending to be one, so as to lead his materialist readers in the direction of non-material thinking by introducing them to purposeful, non-randomly evolved, interconnected behavior in biological species and telling them that these things are explained materially. The latter point gets them to accept the reality of the non-material phenomena which normally they would reject, and eventually they will give up the materialist explanation.
Mark Richardson writes:
I promised a follow-up email regarding Majority Rights. I’m not sure that I’ve much new to add that hasn’t already been covered in your own post and comments, but I’ve thought about the issue as follows.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 12, 2009 11:16 AM | Send
First, I think you’re right that we need to understand what’s happening at sites like MR. It’s likely that people will abandon political liberalism more easily than they will give up a philosophic naturalism. So we’re likely to see all kinds of efforts in the years ahead to combine a traditionalist politics with, say, a Darwinist or scientistic philosophy.
Majority Rights was perhaps an early attempt to fashion some kind of synthesis between a political critique of liberalism and a Darwinist and scientistic white nationalism. It didn’t work because there was no attempt to fit the two strands together intellectually and because the scientistic side was too radically reductionist.
There were posts at MR, even in the early days, which reduced politics to biological terms. There were frequent references to hosts, parasites and pathogens. There were also frequent references to memes, a term coined by Richard Dawkins in the 1970s and intended to explain ideas and culture in terms of evolution (i.e. ideas and culture are held to evolve through natural selection).
I noticed a recent post at MR in which the abolition of politics by biology was mooted: “The purpose of the paper is to anchor political science to biology … There remains undecidable the question as to whether this anchoring will merely provide a biological foundation for political science, or whether political science will become superfluous as an autonomous discipline, its major processes being explained, and its major mechanisms being described, by theoretical biology.”
Anyway, the traditionalist writers gradually departed the site, and the synthesis you described, namely of Darwinism, atheism, anti-Semitism and tribalism became more prominent. Why the anti-semitism? If you think that what is really real is group competition for genetic reproduction, then if your own group is doing poorly it must be due to a genetically superior group competing more successfully. It can’t be explained in terms of an in-group social, cultural or intellectual decline. [LA replies: How horrible! Their theory precludes the very possibility of a people or society examining its own flaws.] But if the problem is both external and fixed, what can be done about it? I remember one writer at MR suggesting that people move to live on sea platforms or even outer space.
The worst anti-Semitism I’ve seen at the site is the item posted today.
As for the tribalism, the MR writers can’t readily posit different degrees and different kinds of relatedness amongst Westerners. It’s not easy for them to recognise that Russians are different from Swedes in certain respects but connected in others. For them, groups are engaged in reproductive competition, so how you define the initial group is critical, as those outside it become hostile competitors. Hence the seemingly endless, repetitive arguments at MR about where to draw the line in terms of who is white.