Seiyo sees MacDonald for what he is
(Note: Be sure to see Boris S.’s criticism of Seiyo’s article and my reply.)
An excellent article by Takuan Seiyo about Kevin MacDonald and the Jewish problem. It’s the best take-down of MacDonald and one of the best treatments of the Jewish question that I remember reading. The main horror Seiyo points out about MacDonald type anti-Semitism, apart from its intrinsic falsity and evil, is that by absurdly seeing the Jews as a uniquely predatory, red-in-tooth-and-claw force seeking to destroy European civilization, rather than as what they are, a liberal, suicidal force typical of the entire modern suicidal Western civilization as a whole, the anti-Semites assure that they, the anti-Semites, can do nothing to help defend the West. Their distortion of reality, driven by a lunatic ideology and a sickeningly evil will, is absolute. At the same time, Seiyo speaks bluntly and truthfully about the actual harmful behaviors of organized Jewry in our time.
I must say that Takuan and I se things iyo to iyo.
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Boris S. writes:
Reading Seiyo’s article reminded me of a piece by Peter Hitchens in the American Conservative, an article nominally in defense of Zionism, but which bought into nearly every claim of Arab propaganda and was subsequently worse than many anti-Israel pieces in the New York Times.
Seiyo’s article is far from excellent. Since MacDonald and his followers will not be swayed by any appeal to reason, it appears that the purpose of writing the piece was to assuage the author’s own doubts and fears regarding neo-Nazi indictments, of which MacDonald merely happens to be the most articulate contemporary exponent.
Seiyo writes, “Anyone who in the pursuit of truth chooses to become a prime target of lefto-lunatic money scammers like Southern Poverty Law Center has my respect.” Really? What about James von Brunn? It is precisely MacDonald and his ilk—real racists and Nazis—who would be targets of SPLC were it a legitimate anti-racist organization. What is the source of Seiyo’s exaggerated hatred of SPLC, to the point where any demented thug who becomes SPLC’s enemy instantly earns Seiyo’s respect? [LA replies: Agreed. All variations of “An enemy of my enemy is my friend” are relativistic and wrong. And of course such relativistic reasoning is dominant in the paleoconservative movement.]
Seiyo’s point-by-point exposure of MacDonald’s half-truths is for the most part adequate, but is marred by unnecessary, disparaging remarks toward Jews, such as his personal observation that Jewish social scientists are “disgusting.” This is just a slur which can’t be confirmed or rebutted, and which doesn’t add anything to his argument. One wonders why he felt the need to include it.
Seiyo writes: “Prof. MacDonald is correct in linking the rise of multiculturalism and massive non-white immigration to the activism of organized Jewry.” I’m sorry, but repeating the accusation that Jews are primarily to blame for multiculturalism and mass non-white immigration, over and over, does not make it more believable. It is not enough to establish that Jewish organizations have been pro-mass-immigration and pro-multiculturalism. One must show that Jews were able to force the majority culture, the overwhelmingly more powerful party, to do things against its will. Blaming Jews for the policies of the ruling majority is akin to blaming the child for the actions of an overindulgent parent. [LA replies: Your argument is weak here. First, The Seiyo line you quote does not say, as you characterize it, that “Jews are primarily to blame for multiculturalism and mass non-white immigration.” Seiyo writes that “MacDonald is correct in linking the rise of multiculturalism and massive non-white immigration to the activism of organized Jewry.” Are you seriously going to argue that they are not linked? Second, it’s not a matter of Jews as a minority forcing the majority culture to do something against its will; Jewish intellectual and cultural figures are leading parts of the majority—or at least the dominant—culture, and have been at least since the Sixties.]
Seiyo writes: “Reading demographic dissolutionist Jewish statements like HIAS’s Progress by Pesach—and there is something in that category every week from ADL, AJC, HIAS and from crypto-Jewish organizations like ACLU and SLPC—is a revolting experience.” If the ACLU and the SPLC are crypto-Jewish organizations, then so are the departments of mathematics and physics in most American universities. I would say that both propositions are rather silly (the former is, considering the context, also somewhat sinister). [LA replies: This is a trivial point. It wouldn’t be my word choice to describe ACLU and SPLC as crypto Jewish, since “crypto” implied hidden, and I don’t think their Jewish nature is hidden. However, the term is correct insofar as they are organizations overwhelmingly led and staffed by left-wing Jews, and conveying a left-wing Jewish hatred of America’s majority Christian and white population, but are not formally Jewish organizations.]
Seiyo accepts at face value MacDonald’s assertion that “Jews emerged from the ghetto with hostility toward the culture around them.” This is simply false; there is not an ounce of evidence to support this claim. On the contrary, Jews in Western Europe took tremendous steps toward self-reform and assimilation. The hatred for Jews in the gentile society rose in proportion to how successfully the Jews had assimilated. Thus, MacDonald does not merely “falsely highlight the unwarranted nature of Jewish hostility,” as Seiyo would have it. [LA replies: Of course, there was a tremendous Jewish effort and success at assimilation. In fact the Jews were the most successful at assimilation of all the “white ethnics.” But if you’re going to deny any existence at all to Jewish anti-majority animus, then you and I really not going to be on the same page at all. How about reading John Murray Cuddihy’s The Ordeal of Civility, a high-level, scholarly study written in the 1970s of major Jewish intellectuals and the role that resentment against Gentile manners drove their attempts to subvert the majority culture. And are you really going to say that the movies and TV of the last 30 or 40 years, produced and written mainly by Jews, does not express the same subversive and subverting drive against our historic culture?]
Seiyo also admits that “In “Stalin’s Willing Executioners’ … [MacDonald] recounts truthfully many of the blood-chilling actions of the Jewish Bolshevik nomenklatura.” The article by MacDonald to which Seiyo links and refers, is so full of distortions, half-truths, and outright falsehoods, that a complete rebuttal could comprise a full-fledged monograph. His argument (which is not actually his, but is and always has been a common anti-Semitic accusation) is, essentially, that the pre-war Soviet Union was a state run by the Jews for the Jews, and that Jews must answer for all kinds of crimes that took place within Soviet borders since the revolution and through the 1930s. As someone of mixed Russian, Belarusian, and Jewish heritage, with an interest in the history and the culture of these respective nations, I’ll state the obvious: MacDonald’s affected sympathy for oppressed non-Jewish peoples under the Soviet regime is exactly like the Israel-haters’ pretend sympathy for Palestinian Arabs. In both cases, there is a willful failure to learn the facts, and an embrace of a sickeningly tendentious, self-serving narrative. (The foremost reaction evoked by MacDonald’s article is one of bewilderment, of not quite knowing how to deal with such a formidable weight of sheer nonsense.) [LA replies: I can’t answer in specifics, but I did think that Seiyo overstated the “Jewish” character of these Communists, as though they were Jews acting as Jews in behalf of Jews and against non-Jews; that is not true. What is true is that they were people of Jewish origin who had wholly rejected Jewish religion and identity and sought to destroy all identities in a Communist state. Seiyo’s description of the Jewish Bolsheviks (or the “non-Jewish Jewish” Bolsheviks, as Paul Johnson would call them) needed to be more nuanced than it was.]
While Seiyo ably recounts the variety of reasons for Jewish hatred of the Tsarist regime (not Jewish hatred of Russians as such, which is an anti-Semitic invention and inversion of reality), he unfortunately buys into the claim of Nazi and far-right propaganda that Bolshevik atrocities against the peasantry were “retaliatory,” when in fact they were motivated by abstract Marxist/Leninist/Stalinist theories on economics and power. Unfortunately, Seiyo endorses the myth of a murderous Judeo-Bolshevik ruling elite, seeking revenge against gentiles for past acts of anti-Semitic violence. [LA replies: I agree with your criticism of Seiyo’s use of “retaliatory.”]
Seiyo also accepts the familiar hypocrisy charge of “Jewish ethnic chauvinism in Israel” and … lack of Jewish ethnic chauvinism (i.e. Jewish liberalism) in the United States. The charge might make sense if the predicament of Israel and that of the U.S. were at all comparable. [You missed the important point that Seiyo defended Israel. The hypocrisy he correctly criticized is that of American Jews, not of Israelis.]
Unfortunately, there are many more such problems with Seiyo’s piece. Despite Seiyo, hatred of the Jews is not justified by the observation that “most Jews have politics that are different from mine.”
MacDonald is nothing but a Nazi propagandist and his writings are completely worthless for an understanding of Jewish liberalism and Jewish politics in general. For someone who is truly interested in why Jews often behave the way they do, the single best book is Kenneth Levin’s “The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege,” a book which, contrary to its title, is about much more than the Oslo peace process. Levin’s argument is summarized in this article.
Your comment has been useful in making me focus on flaws in Seiyo’s article I did not respond to adequately in my first reading of it last night. But I think you go way too far in basically seeking to deny that there is any Jewish destructive agenda against the majority culture.
Boris S. writes
I can see that our disagreement on the extent of negative Jewish influence on American culture is deep. But regardless of one’s view on this, there is no reason why antisemitism can’t be criticized without the “evenhandedness” of invoking supposed Jewish misdeeds in the same breath. I believe the two issues should be discussed separately. Antisemitism is simply wrong, period. Indeed, linking the two issues creates the impression, fair or not, that the real purpose of Seiyo’s and similar arguments is to protect Jews from antisemitism by persuading them to change their behavior. This is misguided, since antisemitism is fundamentally an irrational phenomenon that has existed, and will almost certainly go on for a long time, regardless of actual Jewish behavior.
“there is no reason why antisemitism can’t be criticized without the ‘evenhandedness’ of invoking supposed Jewish misdeeds in the same breath”
That is very well put. I think you have got something. And perhaps that is a legitimate criticism of Seiyo’s article, though I’d have to read it again to make sure.
I’d like to find out what you think about some of my writings on the Jewish issue. Please start with my 2004 article at FrontPage Magazine, Why Jews Welcome Moslems. I will be very much interested to see if you think the criticisms of Jews in this article go over the line and are objectionable. I will also be interested to know whether you will agree with me that there is legitimate, rational criticism of Jews which is distinct from anti-Semitism, and, if so, where you think that line is drawn.
Felicie C. writes:
I guess I have a problem with the term “criticize” as refers to Jews, in general. To me, the word “criticize” (and it could be the second language thing) is broader than “finding fault with.” It has a social dimension in that it presupposes some notion of agency—an addressee to whom your criticism is directed in the hope that it will be taken to heart. The addressee could be a real person or a juridical person standing for some kind of collective agency. This is where my problem with criticizing Jews comes in. What is this Jewish agency? If you criticize a Jewish organization to which I belong for one of their official pronouncements or actions—that’s one thing. If you criticize an ideology to which I subscribe, I would be a valid target for your criticism. But criticizing Jews in general is like imputing to them a collective burden of responsibility and shared agency. It’s like criticizing all blue-eyed or fat people. If you criticize Jews, it means you also criticize me, because I am Jewish. Why should I be criticized for something Noam Chomsky did or said?
I am just quibbling with the word “criticize” as a term that implies group responsibility. It would be quite a different thing to note that a lot of Jews lean toward the left and ask why. It would also be valid to say that you don’t like the Jews because, as a group, they espouse liberalism. Not liking the Jews because of some of their group attributes is a valid (I mean emotionally justified and not necessarily irrational) response to Jews as a group. But it’s not the same as imputing to all Jews the notion of collective agency and group responsibility.
By the way, former Soviet Jews, as a group, are very conservative and anti-PC, which flies in the face of the hypothesis that there is a biological or constitutional basis for Jewish liberalism. (Ask Boris S.—I assume he is one of us).
The last thing I want to add is that I completely agree with your assessment that
“Seiyo overstated the “Jewish” character of these Communists, as though they were Jews acting as Jews in behalf of Jews and against non-Jews; that is not true. What is true is that they were people of Jewish origin who had wholly rejected Jewish religion and identity and sought to destroy all identities in a Communist state.”
Succinct and to the point. Yes, these were ethnic Jews who precisely didn’t act as Jews on behalf of Jews and against the non-Jews, but acted as internationalists in the name of a utopia. Goes back to the whole issue of Jews having to apologize for Communism, which, to me, is absurd. But that communists (including Jews) may be asked to apologize for Communism is a different story, in my opinion.
Felicie says it’s not ok to criticize Jews but it’s ok to say that one doesn’t like Jews. Maybe I’m not at my sharpest today, but I’m having a little trouble getting that.
But criticizing Jews in general is like imputing to them a collective burden of responsibility and shared agency. It’s like criticizing all blue-eyed or fat people. If you criticize Jews, it means you also criticize me, because I am Jewish. Why should I be criticized for something Noam Chomsky did or said?
I have repeatedly said that when Jews state that as Jews they are obligated to believe and do certain things in the political sphere, then they can be criticized for that position as Jews, and not just as liberals who happen to be Jewish. Furthermore, when Jewish organizations that purport to speak for Jews affirm and do certain objectionable things, then other people can rightfully criticize them as Jews and call on Jews in general to dissociate from that objectionable thing. Aren’t we doing this with Muslims all the time? Aren’t we always saying, “The moderate Muslims must step forth in order to show that radical Islam does not represent Islam”?
Jon S. writes:
Boris G. writes that “there is no reason why anti-Semitism can’t be criticized without the “evenhandedness” of invoking supposed Jewish misdeeds in the same breath,” and that “linking the two issues creates the impression, fair or not, that the real purpose of Seiyo’s and similar arguments is to protect Jews from anti-Semitism by persuading them to change their behavior.”
Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 13, 2009 01:41 AM | Send
This assumes that anti-Semitism is always and everywhere irrational behavior, and suggests that it is inexcusable to broach the idea that Jewish behavior is even partly to blame for hostility towards Jews.
This notion is absurd. That somebody is hostile to, say, whites, or blacks, or Christians, tells us nothing about the validity of their complaint. If Boris G. applied his principle consistently he’d have to call you an anti-black racist for making the complaints you do about blacks.
Some anti-Semites are the real deal—kooky neo-Nazis or Muslim extremists for who Jews very existence is the problem. But a lot of criticism of Jews which I see on line coming from the right is specifically about Jewish behavior—their near lockstep adherence to left-liberalism and its destructive impact on all of us, Jews included. Jews should be persuaded to change their behavior, in many instances. Saying so is no more anti-Semitism than saying that white liberals need to change their behavior is anti-white hate.