Southern Poverty Law Center, Heidi Beirich,
Kevin B. MacDonald, critical thoughts I

this page is at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/t/2009-10-31.htm
G. S.  <george.salzman@umb.edu>

      This posting and the follow-up, 'critical thoughts II', are based on a paper nearly three years old. [1] I think the issues involved are at least as important now as they were then. A recent article by Israel Shamir brought them to attention again. He wrote critically, for the first time so far as I know, of one of the views of Kevin B. MacDonld, a man whose integrity and courage Shamir respects. [2] Shamir's paper, The Poverty of Racialist Thought, begins with a topical news item,


Racial theorist Prof Kevin MacDonald has written a piece about film director Roman Polansky's recent arrest: http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/articles/MacDonald-Polanski.html#KM. As you might expect, KMD has discovered that Polansky is not condemned by Hollywood because he is a Jew, and Jews protect their own. They also like Polansky because his films and his actions have undermined the Whites' morals and values. Life is simple for Prof MacDonald.

      Shamir, no plodding academic, knows how to grab someone's interest. And he loves to argue. Kevin B. MacDonald is an academic, but by no means a plodding one. According to a Wikipedia entry, [3] "Kevin B. MacDonald, (born January 24, 1944) is a professor of psychology at California State University, Long Beach, best known for his use of evolutionary psychology to inform his study of Judaism as being a 'group evolutionary strategy'." [He claims that Jewish genetic traits], "including higher-than-average verbal intelligence and ethnocentricism, have ... evolved to enhance the ability of Jews to out-compete non-Jews for resources while undermining the power and self-confidence of the white majorities in Europe and America."
      As you can easily imagine, among the bulk of ordinary Americans, practically all non-Jewish, who are being badly hurt by the collapse of the true American economy, many among them see it largely as the handiwork of "the Jews". And there can be no doubt that the influence of "Jewish money" on the entire political process in the U.S. is completely inordinate compared to the tiny percentage of Americans who are identifiably Jewish. One hardly needs to be a right-wing fanatic, a nativist, a hater of Jews to see the disastrous results of the U.S.-Israeli drive for conquest and empire. Whether it is a matter of the dog wagging the tail (the U.S. controlling Israel) as those aligned with Noam Chomsky maintain, or the tail wagging the dog (Israel controlling the U.S.) as James Petras argues, is of little concern for most people. And as Univ of Chicago Professor of History Peter Novick, himself an American Jew, says, speaking of American Jewry in the 1980s and 1990s, [4]


American Jews were by far the wealthiest, best-educated, most influential, in-every-way-most-successful group in American society — a group that, compared to most other identifiable minority groups, suffered no measurable discrimination and no disadvantages on account of that minority status.


      You don't have to be a professor at an elite American university to share that opinion — Yeah, the Jews got it good. Too good! That's my opinion also, except that I would say, "Too good for their own good!" I think it is a widely shared perception that American Jews as a group are materially among the more privileged Americans. Naturally those Americans whose resources for living are being pillaged are outraged to be victimized, and if they think "the Jews" have a big hand in it, they will be filled with hatred. If you think I am mistaken you might try listening to the weekly internet radio program from Columbus, Ohio that Susie Purtee hosts, The Patriot Dames Radio Show. After she first contacted me, we corresponded intermittently prior to her live interview of me on 20 August 2009. Susie is an unpretentious midwesterner who has lived all of her sixty-two years in Columbus. [5] From my perspective she seems to be woefully brainwashed into believing that the United States was founded for the highest human purposes and preserved that pristine commitment until 1968 when drugs, miniskirts, Woodstock (that was in '69) and promiscuity became dominant and everything went to hell. In spite of her conservatism, she seems to be sincerely interested in providing a platform where a variety of views can be presented.

Internment of German Americans during World War II
      One of the things I'd never have known about if not for Susie's program is the punishing mistreatment of innocent civilians of German origin during World War II, simply on the basis of their ethnicity and their classification as "enemy aliens", similar to the internment of civilians of Japanese ethnicity. Eberhard Fuhr was the guest Susie interviewed on Nov 22, 2009. He, along with his two brothers, one younger and one older, and his parents were arrested in 1942, when he was 17. He had grown up in Cincinnati, where he went to elementary and high school until F.B.I. agents came to his school and arrested him there. His parents and younger brother were interned in Texas for five years. Eberhard stressed that their treatment was not unique; about 15 thousand other so-called "aliens" of German ethnicity shared similar mistreatment. [6]

Sympathy and compassion for "white aliens", like Germans — that's
good. None for "Indians", "Blacks" or "Latino aliens" — why not?
      On Susie's program, and in my substantial written and telephone interactions with her she comes across as being very friendly on a personal level, but at the same time harboring harsh abstract opinions. For example, she wrote me on 17 Aug 2009, "I just read your paper on Voters. [7] I can see where we disagree and it should make for an interesting interview ... I will raise more questions that concern your idealism, communism, atheism and anarchy than other guests I have had ... I believe in the 'you earn it' system. I do not believe those that do not deserve housing, education or food should have it without working for it ... The 'us' versus 'them' has been around since the Industrial Age, heck, perhaps long before and it has to do with politics and rank. You think it has to do with ethnicity? I thought you said ethnicity was the problem." The emotional thrust of Susie's program is towards generating sympathy for "white Germans", which her interview with Eberhard Fuhr did quite effectively. That's fine. An innocent young man should not be mistreated, and in a decent world he would not be.
      Another experience I had was associated with Susie's program on 2009-10-08, when she interviewed Mark Weber, director of the Institute for Historical Review (IHR). Susie generously gave me an opportunity to question Mark on the air during the second half-hour. The entire exchange is recorded. [8] The next day I received an e-mail from someone unknown to me, which read:
            Subject: Do you know who Mark Weber is?
            Date: Fri, 9 Oct 2009 18:26:35 -0400
            http://www.holocaust-history.org/questions/ihr.shtml
            Get a clue.
At the moment, I'm uncertain about this uninvited interjection and the followup comments. Susie gave it short shrift, writing
Date: Sat, 10 Oct 2009 18:39:50 +0000
      I am not replying to this ... guy. He seems like a big-time trouble maker.
— and, a few minutes later she added —
Date: Sat, 10 Oct 2009 18:47:38 +0000
      Personally, I would say do not reply ... Spam this guy and forget about him. He sounds creepy.
— Susie may be a lot more internet streetwise than I am —
      Mark Weber came across in the interview as a well informed, alert person. Whether he is, as the unknown interjector subsequently claimed, a Jew-hating Nazi, I am unable to either verify or deny. But that he is intelligent and thoughtful is clearly not in doubt. And that his criticisms of "the Jews" find resonant acceptance among a swath of virulent Jew-haters is beyond question. They flock to him, it appears, even more than to Kevin B. MacDonald. The shortcoming of both Mark Weber and Kevin MacDonald is encapsulated in the title of Israel Shamir's essay, "The Poverty of Racialist Thought". Shamir insightfully says, "As you might expect, KMD [Kevin MacDonald] has discovered that Polansky is not condemned by Hollywood because he is a Jew, and Jews protect their own. They also like Polansky because his films and his actions have undermined the Whites' morals and values. Life is simple for Prof MacDonald." In precisely the same way, 'Life is simple' for Mark Weber. Both men accept the 'simple but false' notion that ethnic social behavioral differences between identifiable groups of people are ultimately tied, through evolution, to differing genetic makeup.

It ain't the genes, it's the culture that causes different social behavior
      Shamir speakes of the poverty of 'racialist' thought. The term 'racialist' was, I suppose, introduced to distinguish it from racist, which signifies contempt, etc. for people of other 'races'. Racialist supposedly signifies differences between 'us' and 'them', but without implying contempt for 'them'. To me the supposed distinction is a can of worms. Just for the hell of it I looked up racialism in my ancient dictionary. The entry there [9] supports my belief that the supposed distinction between racist and racialist reflects a misguided contemporary passion for 'politically correct' language. Shamir, I think correctly, does not see Kevin B. MacDonald as a hater of Jews. The difference, whether real and substantive or illusory, between whether MacDonald is a racist or a racialist is of no interest to Heidi Beirich, who directs the Southern Poverty Law Center's so-called Intelligence Report. She is a smear artist ready to label anyone who is critical of the Zionist attack on the Palestinians an anti-Semite, as she has characterized MacDonald and me.
      There ought to be no doubt about the importance of the ideology that purports to explain social behavior of so-called ethnic groups. The two ideologies in question are:
      1. Genetic determination. The social behavior of an ethnic group is determined by the genetic makeup of the group. It has evolved over time with the genetic structure, and is therefore an invariable characteristic of the group.
      2. Cultural determination. The social behavior of an ethnic group is determined by the culture of the group as it evolved historically, is not genetically determined, and is therefore a variable characteristic of the group.
      An iconic example of belief in the ideology of purely genetic determination is Adolph Hitler, who regarded Jews as without question belonging to a different "race", a sub-human group. At the opposite extreme, I have for years held the fort in favor of the ideology of purely cultural determination. There's no way to 'prove' that either ideology is necessarily correct, i.e. is a true representation of this aspect of reality. Logically either view can be assumed correct, and a world view formulated that is consistent with that premise. Nevertheless I believe I have constructed a solid, convincing argument to show that the concept of ethnicity based on genetics as a means for separating human beings into distinct groups is essentially vacuous in so far as significant social behavior is determined. [10]
      In the camp of believers in purely genetic determination are, with Hitler, apparently a fair number of the people attracted to Susie Purtee's "The Patriot Dames Radio Show". People with such beliefs are prone to think that the only real solution to what they see as "the world's problems" is to exterminate the "racially distinct" sub-human group. For Hitler and Susie's "crazies" that means "the Jews". On her 22 Oct 2009 program when she interviewed Eberhard Fuhr, one of the listeners who identifies himself as Michael (Mike) Bailey posted incessantly on the message board crude statements: Kill the Jews, and similar demands. Another participant on the message exchange board, who uses the nom de guerre 'jewologist', makes comments of similar eloquence. Along with the "kill the Jews" group another fanatical group that wants to (and does) kill members of an identifiable ethnic group is made up of Zionist settlers in the occupied areas of Palestine, aided by a host of Jewish (and non-Jewish) Zionists who provide the murderers with immunity. Here of course it is the Palestinians who are targetted for slaughter.
      Distinct from the rabid killers and would-be killers are individuals who do not advocate direct physical violence, but whose intellectual work lends support to the genetic determination ideology. Kevin B. MacDonald is a leading theoretician in this group. [11] There are other intellectual specialists such as Alan Hart, the British journalist and ardent pro-Palestinian activist, whose belief is that Jews are the Western intellectual elite, Palestinians the Middle-East intellectual elite, and that these intellectual heights are at least partly evolved genetically. Despite his utterly humanitarian orientation, I think it is important to dispel such notions of genetic evolution of "superior" intelligence, as I have tried to argue peruasively in the paper linked to in endnote [10]. In critical thoughts II, the sequel to this note, I will consider some of the reasons why I think Kevin MacDonald is fundmentally in error, and why the error is potentially dangerous.

NOTES

[1] The original version, which is titled "Some critical correspondence about the Southern Poverty Law Center", is at
http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/S2/2007-12-18.rtf.

[2] Israel Shamir's recent paper that reawakened my interest in Kevin MacDonald and Heidi Beirich's role in the Southern Poverty Law Center, is at
http://www.israelshamir.net/English/Poverty.htm.

[3] Wikipedia entry for Prof. Kevin B. MacDonald
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_B._MacDonald.

[4] Prof. Peter Novick, The Holocaust in American Life, Houghton Mifflin (1999), p.9.

[5] The Patriot Dames Radio Show, hosted by Susie Purtee on the internet at
http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/talkCast.jsp?masterId=20064&cmd=tc. An account of my motivation to participate in the program is in the article at
http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/t/2009-08-30.htm.

[6] Internment of German American civilian "aliens" in the U.S. during World War II. The recorded interview of Eberhard Fuhr by Susie Purtee (Episode 60 on her program) is at
http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/talkCast.jsp?masterId=20064&pageNumber=2&pageSize=15.

[7] The paper on Voters refers to the essay, "How many voters does it take to change a light bulb? None. Because voters can't change anything" at
http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/t/2009-08-07.htm.

[8] Mark Weber is the director of the Institute for Historical Review. Its site is at
http://www.ihr.org. Susie's interview of Mark is mainly in the first half of the program, available at
http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-20064/TS-266797.mp3. Following the break Susie invited me to question Mark, and a somewhat extended interchange ensued among the three of us.

[9] Racialist. The Funk & Wagnalls Standard College Dictionary, Text Edition, published by Harcourt, Brace & World (1963) has the entry: racialism n. Racism. — racialist n.

[10] On the basic humanity of all people. The most recent effort to argue this position is in the essay "Changing History, 1" at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/t/2009-09-05.htm.

[11] Kevin B. MacDonald, an academic intellectual who's unafraid to say what he believes is true. His most recent posting, titled "Review of Thomas Wheatland's The Frankfurt School in Exile, Part I: Authoritarianism and the Family", was posted at http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/articles/MacDonald-WheatlandI.html. It's on the website of The Occidental Observer, which he edits. It is well worth a careful reading. Much of what MacDonald asserts is in my opinion undoubtedy correct. He writes scathingly of the Frankfort School and the group of Jewish intellectuals in New York who actively promoted the ideology of the Frankfort School. One of them, Erich Fromm, gets special scorn in MacDonald's review where he says, "Ah yes, Erich Fromm — ever the dedicated, impartial empirical scientist. Since such findings have never been confirmed by the research of actual psychologists — indeed, they would be laughed at as the height of ridiculousness, one would think that Wheatland would at least suggest that perhaps Fromm was reading his a priori theories into the interview results — a common enough practice among psychoanalysts."
      I believe the most significant part of MacDonald's article (for Jewish Americans) is his exposure of the widely pervasive refusal of that ethnic group to recognize its own role in the generation of anti-Semitism among non-Jewish Americans. Susie Purtee wrote me on 2009-09-13 "Back in 1998 while attending college . . . I ... read Dark . . . I wrote in the critique of Dark that it was a depressing story of a son's hate for his father for not getting the family out of Germany in time. I also wrote, Why don't the Jews figure out what it is they do that ticks other people off?" (emphasis added) I think Susie got it exactly right.
      That perceptive question, if suitably generalized, can open a world of understanding. The generalization, which applies universally, is Why don't the privileged people figure out what it is they do that ticks other people off? The "ticking off" of the poor people, the pillaged, who develop hatreds towards their pillagers, is inevitable once they understand what is happening, and why.


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