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The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements

jan peczkis|Tuesday, November 22, 2016

By way of introduction, I am an independent thinker, and my review is unlikely to please either the fans or the foes of this book. My position is Judeorealist. This avoids the extremes of anti-Semitism (“Jews are bad people”) and philosemitism (“Jews are just victims, and Jews can do no wrong”).


This book is jam-packed with information. Whether one agrees with author Kevin MacDonald or not, one can be impressed with the depth of scholarship in this, and his earlier, books. It can serve as a reference book for further study.


The title of this book stems from the fact that, in MacDonald’s view, Jews have assumed the role of critics and transformers of gentile cultures. (p. 110). For example, in assessing the roles of Jews in the Boasian school of anthropology, in various leftist movements, in psychoanalysis, and in the Frankfurt School, MacDonald comments, “The material in the previous four chapters indicates that individuals who strongly identified as Jews have been the main motivating force behind several highly influential intellectual movements that have simultaneously subjected gentile culture to radical criticism and allowed for the continuity of Jewish identification…Collectively, these movements have called into question the fundamental moral, political, and economic foundations of Western society…A palpable sense of intellectual and moral superiority of those participating in these movements is another characteristic feature…Regarding moral superiority, the central pose of post-Enlightenment Jewish intellectuals is a sense that Judaism represents a moral beacon to the rest of humanity…” (p. 213, 214).

[For more on Jewish elitism, old and new, see the first Comment under this review. Then click on, and read, my detailed review of the items linked.]


The author provides much historical information. For instance, Sigmund Freud strongly identified with his Jewishness (though not religion), disdained the Catholic Church, and he verbalized hope that psychoanalysis would subvert gentile culture. (p. 114). He chose Jung as part of his movement because he needed a high-profile gentile to broaden the appeal of psychoanalysis. (p. 114). At other times and in other contexts, influential Jews have attracted like-minded gentiles, in part in order to lessen the Jewish visibility of Jewish-initiated or Jewish-led movements. (e. g., p. 225, 240). [This can be seen even today in Holocaust-related attacks on Poland. (e. g, the inconclusive—probably German and not Polish--massacre of Jews at Jedwabne). That is why Jews can say that “Polish scholars” now support Polish guilt for Jedwabne. For another example, see the end of this review]

MacDonald elaborates on the Jewish-dominated Frankfurt School and on the highly-regarded THE AUTHORITARIAN PERSONALITY. Both attempted to throw religion, conventional sexual morality, and fascism into the same smelly bag. The author provides a series of studies that have now refuted the connection of fascism, religion, and sexual morality. (p. 189).


Much of what Kevin MacDonald writes is straightforward. Jews are a minority group, and they feel safer in a pluralistic society which has many distinctive groups, and where different kinds of behaviors are tolerated. For this reason, Jews work for the waning of dominant culture as their influence increases.

So how does weakening the dominant culture work? One way is through the atheization of societies under the guise of “separation of church and state”—as has been going on for well over a century. (pp. 244-245, 325). MacDonald believes that Jews, owing to their cohesiveness, do not need traditional cultural and religious supports for high-investment parenting. (p. 148). For this reason alone, any GOYISH decline of culture and religion is of net benefit to the Jews. (p. 148).

MacDonald adds that, “Jewish interests are also served by facilitating radical individualism (social atomization) among gentiles while retaining a powerful sense of group cohesion among Jews—the agenda of the Frankfurt School.” (p. 215). It is for this reason that Jews push for ethnic and religious pluralism, for multiculturalism, for the emergence of alternative lifestyles, etc. (pp. 244-247, 311, etc.). One legacy of the Frankfurt School is postmodernism, which includes a rejection of the possibility of shared values or any sense of national culture. (p. 198).

On the international scene, Jews push for internationalism (nowadays called globalism), and for unrestricted immigration, notably into previously ethnically-homogenous nations (e. g, Poland). This is consistent with the destruction of the nation-state and the weakening the ethnic homogeneity of traditional societies. (p. 317).


The author fails to develop his ideas in a broader context. For instance, in thinking in terms of evolutionary reproductive success in accordance with MacDonald’s reasoning, should we suspect that the strong Jewish support for feminism and for so-called reproductive rights stems from a Jewish desire to weaken gentile society by fragmenting the gentile family, and for holding down the gentile population relative to that of the Jews?

Kevin MacDonald hardly ever mentions the pre-eminence of the Holocaust in American media and the educational system. What purposes would the dominance of the Shoah serve according to his paradigm of Jewish-gentile evolutionary competition? Is it, in part, to shame gentiles into compliance with Jewish demands, and to chill gentile dissent to Jewish actions? Is the directed forgetting of the genocides of non-Jews itself a form of Jewish elitism, and an everyday reminder to the GOYIM that Jews are at the top of the pecking order in American society? MacDonald should pursue this.

Now consider Jewish Polonophobia, especially when related to the German-made Holocaust. How would it fit-in with MacDonald’s reasoning? One clue is provided by his analysis of the legacy of the Frankfurt School and of postmodernism: “…there is also an implicit double standard in which cohesive groups formed by majorities are viewed as pathological and subject to radical criticism.” (p. 199). Could we think of a Jewish ingroup dynamic that needs an outgroup to attack and scapegoat (in replacement of the now-esteemed Germans)—with Poles as the ideal outgroup because they lack the political power to bite back effectively? For a Jewish affirmation of the foregoing premise, please click on, and read my detailed review (September 21, 2006), of The Seventh Million: The Israelis and the Holocaust.


One overall problem with MacDonald’s thinking is that many minority groups, including successful ones, have never felt the need to weaken the cohesiveness of majority cultures in order to ensure their safety or to enhance their successes. [For example, the Armenians in Poland, though mostly non-Catholic and with their own distinctive culture, and notwithstanding their high intelligence and many achievements, never tried to undermine Roman Catholicism or the Polish nation—to the contrary.] So, clearly, the fact that Jews are a minority group does not, by itself, explain why they tend towards conduct that weakens majority cultures. Something else must be the cause.

To his credit, the author repudiates Jewish conspiracy theories, such as the PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION (p. 1). His treatment of Jews and gentiles, as players in evolutionary competition with each other, does not partake of the Nazi view that Jews are racially (biologically) programmed to be a corrupt, harmful race. In addition, as noted earlier, he does not make value judgments as to conduct: He only sees Jews and gentiles in evolutionary competition with each other. However, MacDonald’s views coincide with those of the Nazis insofar as biological determinism is invoked: Jews (and gentiles) are treated as unitary entities that are driven by faceless biologically-determined goals.

All this is as unnecessary as it is potentially harmful, and it is unfair to the Jews. It is sufficient to consider minority groups as having different approaches to outgroups, based not on some mysterious evolutionary drives, but on their particular cultural development. Furthermore, this occurs in a Jew-on-Jew setting, where competition with gentiles cannot be an issue. As an example, 19th century Ashkenazi Jewish newcomers to Eretz Israel began, using MacDonald’s terms, to engage in a “culture of critique” of the native Palestinian Sephardic Jews. This was understandably resented by the latter. Please click on, and read my review (December 23, 2014) of Real Jews: Secular Versus Ultra- Orthodox: The Struggle For Jewish Identity In Israel.


MacDonald's perceptive theme--about Jews recruiting non-Jews in order to lessen the visibility of Jews in Jewish-led initiatives--is clearly shown by the following: Instead of yet another Catholic-bashing book by a Jewish author, how much better to recruit a Catholic priest to do the job! This book, written by a Catholic priest, had been financed by Hebrew University [click on it, and see my review]: The Catholic Church and Antisemitism.
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