There are a wide range of reviews of Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance, but some difficult implications are downplayed.
1. With few exceptions (e.g., Jared Taylor, “Nicholas Wade takes on the regime” and Bo and Ben Winegard, “Darwin’s dual with Descartes“), a common tactic is to acknowledge that race exists but then claim that evidence for a genetic basis for race differences is completely speculative. Despite the central importance of race differences, Wade deemphasizes IQ research where most of the research has centered.
A good example of this tendency is evolutionary biologist Jerry Coynewho agrees with Wade that races do exist and claims that “except for politically motivated denialists,”we have known that for a long time. (Actually, the idea that race is real is big news to pretty much the entire faculty in the social sciences and the humanities these days, but of course it is not at all far-fetched to label them “politically motivated denialists.”)
So, if for no other reason, Wade’s book is most welcome. However the next move is to claim that there is absolutely no evidence for genetic differences between races. Coyne:
Wade’s main thesis, and where the book goes wrong, is to insist that differences between human societies, including differences that arose in the last few centuries, are based on genetic differences—produced by natural selection— in the behavior of individuals within those societies. In other words, societal differences largely reflect their differential evolution.
For this Wade offers virtually no evidence, because there is none. We know virtually nothing about the genetic differences (if there are any) in cognition and behavior between human populations.
This is simply false. J. Philippe Rushton and Arthur Jensen list ten categories of evidence based on their previous reviews of the literature:
The worldwide distribution of test scores; the g factor of mental ability; heritability differences; brain size differences; trans-racial adoption studies; racial admixture studies; regression-to-the-mean effects; related life-history traits; human origins research; and the poverty of predictions from culture-only explanations. The preponderance of evidence demonstrates that in intelligence, brain size, and other life-history variables, East Asians average a higher IQ and larger brain than Europeans who average a higher IQ and larger brain than Africans [a recent study indicates average African IQ of 75]. Further, these group differences are 50–80% heritable. These are facts, not opinions and science must be governed by data. There is no place for the ‘‘moralistic fallacy’’ that reality must conform to our social, political, or ethical desires. (“James Watson’s most inconvenient truth: Race realism and the moralistic fallacy“)
These data cannot be wished away any more than one can wish away the data showing the existence of race. Read more »
Some good news: distinguished writer Kerry Bolton is writing a new biography of Francis Parker Yockey, from a pro-Yockey perspective, which will delve into issues of political philosophy and race.
A new Yockey biography is needed. While Coogan’s Dreamer of the Dayhas some good points, it is a book written by someone essentially hostile to Yockey’s worldview (albeit Coogan is reasonably objective), and has too little about Yockey’s philosophy and especially about his book Imperium and its influence in the “movement.” In addition, Coogan wastes too many pages on arcane “movement” groups and leaders from the past, and has too much effort wasted on speculation on a “post-war fascist international.” Coogan’s book is, I believe, more about the bizarre world of “international fascism” in the decades after WWII than it is about Yockey himself. We need better.
As a long-term admirer of Yockey, I am looking forward to Bolton’s work. True enough, I’m a critical supporter of Yockey, similar to those described by Bolton thus:
There were even some important individuals in the “Right” who, while disagreeing with Yockey’s views on the USSR and on “race,” nonetheless never lost sight of the brilliance of Yockey and his seminal writings on “Cultural Vitalism.” Two of the most important were Professor Revilo P Oliver and Willis Carto. Although the two fell out quite bitterly, neither ever renounced their admiration for Yockey.
My disagreements with Yockey center around three issues: (1) biological race and science, (2) Spenglerian Pessimism, and (3) Eastern Europe as being outside the West. This post is not the place for a comprehensively detailed analyses of these disagreements, but some comments will, for now, suffice. Read more »
All you really need to know is that in a recent Wall Street Journal op-edon the Tom Perkins controversy, she describes Robert Wistrich as “today’s leading historian of anti-Semitism”:
The parallel that Tom Perkins drew in his letter was especially irksome to his respondents on the left, many of whom are supporters of President Obama’s sallies against Wall Street and the “one percent.” These critics might profitably consult Robert Wistrich, today’s leading historian of anti-Semitism. His “From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews, and Israel” (2012) documents the often profound anti-Semitism that has affected socialists and leftists from Karl Marx to today’s anti-Israel movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions. It was Marx who said, “The bill of exchange is the Jew’s actual god,” putting a Jewish face on capitalism and accusing both Judaism and capitalism of converting man and nature into “alienable and saleable objects.”
Robert Wistrich is an exemplar of the ethnocentric blinders of Jewish historians. So much so that he is the focus of Andrew Joyce’s brilliant series on Jewish self-deception (see Part 2 and Part 3of “Reflections on Some Aspects of Jewish Self-Deception”).
The Fanaticism of Ruth Wisse
November 6, 2007
Ruth Wisse, a professor of Yiddish at Harvard, first got on my radar screen with her 1982 Commentary article “The Delegitimation of Israel,” described by historian Mark Gerson as “perhaps the best expression” of the neoconservative view that Israel “was a just, democratic state constantly threatened by vicious and aggressive neighbors.” I commented as follows:
The article stands out for its cartoonish view that the history of anti-Jewish attitudes can be explained with broad generalizations according to which the behavior and attitudes of Jews are completely irrelevant for understanding the history of anti-Semitism. The message of the article is that Jews as innocent victims of the irrational hatred of Europeans have a claim for “a respite” from history that Arabs are bound to honor by allowing the dispossession of the Palestinians. The article is also a testimony to the sea change among American Jews in their support for the Likud Party and its expansionist policies in Israel. Since Wisse’s article appeared…, the positive attitudes toward the Likud Party characteristic of the neoconservatives have become the mainstream view of the organized American Jewish community, and the liberal Jewish critics attacked by Wisse have been relegated to the fringe of the American Jewish community.
Things haven’t changed at all for Wisse. In a Washington Post op-edpromoting her recent book, Jews are again portrayed as history’s powerless victims. Wisse summarizes the history of Jewish economic behavior as altruistically providing goods and services to non-Jews at the price of being politically vulnerable. Such a viewignores competition between Jews and non-Jews over the middleman economic niche, and it ignores the common role of Jews in traditional societies as willing agents of oppressive alien elites. It also ignores the emergence of Jews as a hostile elite in European societies and in America beginning in the late 19th century: Yuri Slezkine’s aptly named The Jewish Centurycould not possibly be remotely factual if Jews were nothing more than politically vulnerable victims. Indeed, an increasingly important theme in my thinking about Jews, and particularly the Ostjuden (Jews deriving from Eastern Europe), has been aggressiveness. (See also “The SY’s and the Ostjuden.”)
Wisse’s view of Jews as altruistic middlemen even applies to Israel: “Israel still lived by strategies of accommodation, trying to supply its neighborhood with useful services and goods such as medical, agricultural and technological know-how.”
This is a grotesque gloss on the reality of Israeliaggression against the Palestinians and against its neighbors since the founding of Israel. Since Mearsheimefromr and Walt are bêtes noires for Wisse, it is worth pointing to some of the examplesthey provide: Israel is an expansionist state whose leaders were not satisfied with the original partition of 1948—a time when Jews comprised 35% of the population of Palestine and controlled 7% of the land. Israelis “continued to impose terrible violence and discrimination against the Palestinians for decades” after the founding of the state, including ethnic cleansing after the 1967 war and, according to Israeli historian Benny Morris, an occupation based on “brute force, repression and fear, collaboration and treachery, beatings and torture chambers, and daily intimidation, humiliation, and manipulation” (p. 100). Mearsheimer and Walt also point out the horrors of the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the wanton destruction of the bombing of Lebanon in the summer of 2006. They also show how Israel has aggressively promoted regime change throughout the region, using the power of the United States harnessed by the Israel lobby.
Wisse not only sees Israel as too timid, she argues that the Israel lobby in America is also weak. Her basis for this is that Edward Said, a Palestinian critic of Israel, held a position at Columbia University, and his right to speak out on Middle East issues was supported by some Jewish academics. Apparently for Wisse, the existence of even a few marginalized, powerless critics is a sign of the weakness of the lobby — never mind its stranglehold over Congress and presidents.
Despite bewailing the impotence of the lobby, she does see hope because of the intersection of Jewish and American interests: “The Arab war against Israel and radical Islam’s war against the United States are in almost perfect alignment, which means that resistance to one supports resistance to the other.” That seems reasonable — except for the fact that, as Mearsheimer and Walt note, “the United States has a terrorism problem in good part because it has long been so supportive of Israel” (p. 64).
Wisse concludes as follows:
It is seductive to hope that by accommodating our enemies, we will be allowed to live in peace. But the strategy of accommodation that historically turned Jews into a no-fail target is the course least likely to stop ongoing acts of aggression against them. Indeed, anti-Jewish politics will end only when those who practice it accept the democratic values of religious pluralism and political choice — or are forced to pay a high enough price for flouting them.
What is most poisonous about this is that Wisse is completely blind to Jewish aggression, both on the part of Israel and on the part of the lobby. (Harnessing the power of the United States to effect regime change of governments that Israel doesn’t like is nothing if not aggressive — even recklessly so give the long history of charges of Jewish disloyalty.) In her view, Jews are surrounded by enemies who desire their destruction simply because of the morally superior qualities of Jews: Jews “function as a lodestar of religious and political freedom: The Jews’ attackers oppose such liberties, and their defenders promote them.” She sees Jews as altruistic martyrs throughout history who will once again suffer martyrdom unless they eschew their altruism and become aggressive. Accommodation simply leads to more martyrdom, and this rationalizes even more aggression toward their enemies.
If there is anything beyond ethnocentric delusion in all of this, I think that behind Wisse’s aggressive stance is the belief that they can win, where winning is defined as removing the Palestinians from most of the West Bank, enclosing the Palestinians in walled-off Bantustans where conditions are so horrible that many will eventually emigrate, and establishing hegemony in the entire area.
It is hardly ridiculous for Israelis and their American supporters to think this way. After all, Israel is by far the preeminent military power in the region and can easily act to preempt the development of WMD by its enemies, including Iran. And as a nuclear power, it could inflict huge costs on any enemy who even contemplated destroying it. It also has the world’s one remaining military superpower completely at its bidding, so that it’s difficult to envision a worst case scenario in which Israel is decisively defeated.
Why should the Israelis give up anything when victory is in sight? And why give up anything given that the water has been so poisoned by 60 years of aggression and hostility that any concession at all, much less an impossible return to the 1967 borders, will be seen, as Wisse notes, as little more than weakness.
Of course, continuing its aggressive, expansionist policies means that Israel will remain an international pariah. But Israel is quite accustomed to that role, and the lobby has a long and successful track record in dealing with the fallout from charges such as “Zionism is racism,” at least in the West (which is all that really matters).
Unfortunately, Wisse’s fanaticism and moral blinders are not at all atypical among the more extreme elements of Israeli opinion and among their supporters in the Lobby. The extremists are in charge and have been so at least since the 1967 war. Any attempt to make a meaningful withdrawal from the West Bank and Jerusalem and to allow a viable Palestinian state would produce a civil war among Israelis and likely provoke a strong response by the Lobby on the side of the non-accommodationists like Wisse. The fate of the Oslo peace process, the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the collapse of the 2013–2014 peace talks due to Israeli intransigence, and the support by the lobby of the most radical elements within Israel certainly argue that there is little chance of a successful move in this direction.
People like Wisse may not be entirely representative of the Jewish community either in Israel or in America. But their numbers are large, and they have created facts on the ground that make any kind of reasonable settlement impossible.
In Yiddish, a goyishe kop, or “gentile head,” is someone with a “dull mind” or “someone who thinks like a non-Jew.” I freely admit that I’m a goyishe kop in both senses of the phrase. That’s why I’m baffled by the behaviour of the ADL, or Anti-Defamation League, America’s premier Jewish organization fighting anti-Semitism, racism and bigotry of all other kinds. The ADL has just released the shocking details of a survey it recently conducted:
One in four people worldwide holds antisemitic views, study finds
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a Jewish nongovernmental organisation, surveyed over 50,000 adults from 102 countries and territories to produce the ADL Global 100 report. … The West Bank and Gaza was judged to be the most antisemitic territory in the world with 93% of people there judged to have negative views towards Jewish people. All the countries in the top 10 most antisemitic locations were in the Middle East or north Africa region. …
By quite a significant margin, the least antisemitic place in the world was judged to be the south east Asian country of Laos. Just 0.2% of people there agreed with the majority of the stereotypes. The UK (8%) is also judged to be among the least antisemitic places worldwide, just ahead of the US (9%). …
Overall, the study estimated that around a quarter of humanity can be classified as “anti-Semitic” (1.09 billion) As noted here, this is an underestimate because being classified as an anti-Semite required that the subject agree with at least 6 of 11 statements about Jews (e.g., “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to [this country/the countries they live in]” or “People hate Jews because of the way Jews behave.”). This means that people who agreed with only 5 of the statements were not classified as anti-Semites.
One wonders if the ADL wants to suppress the data for the percentages of people who agreed with statements that have a strong empirical basis (e.g., “Jews have too much control over the United States government” [think Israel Lobby]; “Jews have too much control over the global media” [here]; “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to [this country/the countries they live in" [here]).
49% of Muslims who took part were judged to have antisemitic attitudes. However, this was somewhat skewed by the views of those in the MENA regions. To break this down, Muslims were less likely to hold those views in Asia (37%), western Europe (29%), eastern Europe (20%) and sub-Saharan Africa (18%). (One in four people worldwide holds antisemitic views, study finds, The Guardian, 14th May 2014)Read more »