Almost forty years ago, I had a conversation with a former classmate at
Yale, who was praising the greater tolerance in the historical
profession that had resulted from “the increasing presence of Jews,
women and minorities”. I retorted that this improvement was entirely
lost on me. Even then, I had noticed that whatever limited professional
opportunities had been open to me as a Jewish conservative came through
the assistance of Northern European Protestants or Italian Catholics.
Every obstacle to my professional advancement, as far as I could tell,
was caused by recognizably Jewish opposition.
This led me to reflect on my friend’s observation about how “closed
things were” before the new order took over. I eventually arrived at
the conclusion that the Jewish takeover of the humanities in higher
education may be the academic equivalent of black majority rule in
Thus I was interested to see Peter Brimelow’s comment in January about
the liberal lynch mob that gathered after the shooting of Rep.
Gabrielle Giffords, reluctantly dispersing only after every last effort
to link the shooter to the political Right had failed:
repression? The reason is equally plain: American politics now is
profoundly unstable. In effect, the Obama Administration is (to put it
brutally) a Minority Occupation Government. At all costs, the Left must
keep the historic American nation from uniting—which it nevertheless
began to do (no thanks to the GOP leadership) in the 2010 election.
This comes naturally, because the Politically Incorrect fact is that
neither the Left’s black, Hispanic or Jewish components have any real
tradition of free speech. The question is whether they can cow the
historic American nation into accepting its subjugation.”
Since neither blacks nor Hispanics have been a major intellectual force
in the US, it might be useful to focus on the last of the three ethnic
groups mentioned in Peter’s gloomy question. After all, Jews are not
the same as most other groups in terms of prominence. They are
represented at a ratio of at least 10 to 1 in proportion to their
percentage of the total population in the media and higher education.
Jews are also a more cohesive group than WASPs—who may be the least
unified and most atomized ethnicity on earth. A diatribe against WASPs
will not hurt its author and may even bring him or her admiring
recognition. By contrast, adverse comments about Jews, or about
the“Holocaust Industry” in the case of Norman Finkelstein, who (despite
being Jewish himself) lost his job at Depaul University after Alan
Dershowitz weighed in against him, can be professionally fatal.
The late Joe Sobran once observed that denying that Jews are powerless
can bring swift retribution. That is precisely because the Jewish
community is anything but powerless. The professionally conscious
intellectual is also expected to stress the supposed agonies of the
American Jewish experience—for example, the virulently anti-Semitic
past for which American Christians are considered responsible.
This unpleasantness is, of course, much exaggerated. American Jews
suffered far less prejudice in the US than most other immigrant groups,
including ethnic Catholics. Before the arrival at the beginning of the
twentieth century of masses of Eastern European Jews, who struck even
the very tolerant historian Frederick Jackson Turner as “hard to
assimilate”, the German and Sephardic Jews who were already here
encountered mostly good will from Christians. Were it not for the
Jewish newcomers, this older Jewish minority would have totally melted
away through intermarriage with upper-class Protestants.
The problem was those Eastern European Jews, who tended to come from
unemancipated shtetls in much less modernized societies, generally
didn’t like the bourgeois Christian society they encountered. They
found it to be alien, threatening or just disagreeable. And, as Kevin
MacDonaldaccurately shows in The Culture of Critique, these Jews have
played a decisive role in subverting once-established culture.
MacDonald may overstate the continuity of the role Jews have occupied
as the grave-diggers of non-Jewish cultures, and the negative response
to the host country exhibited by earlier Jewish settlers in the New
World. But his treatment of the relentless crusade waged by Jewish
intellectuals against bourgeois decencies since the early twentieth
century is certainly on the mark.
No matter where one looks at this war against the Gentile
heritage—whether it is being fought in the name of gay marriage,
feminism, militant secularism, or Open Borders—Jews are invariably in
the vanguard. And MacDonald is spot-on when he observes that, when the
American Right was taken over by Jewish journalists, the effect was to
push “conservatism” toward the left.
The one apparent exception to this tendency: the successful
identification of the transformed American Right with Jewish
nationalism. Thus the “conservative” media happily treats Connecticut’s
socially liberal Senator Joe Lieberman as an honorary man of the Right,
apparently because he is working to advance “democracy” in the Middle
East—by which is meant that he is good on Israel and on encouraging war
against Israel’s presumed enemies.
Note that I am not saying that all Jews always behave in the way I’m
describing. There are Jews who clearly do not. For example, Jewish
libertarians Murray Rothbard, Robert Weissberg, Ilana Mercer, Michael
Levin, Byron Roth and Alan Kors have equaled any Christian in their
support of traditional freedoms.
I could also add to this admirable group some Jewish Marxists or
quasi-Marxists like Noam Chomsky, who to my knowledge have never
refused to debate those holding opposing views.
And we should also note that, occasionally, Jewish journalist tussle
with overly zealous Jewish custodians of PC. Thus, in Canada, Ezra
Levanttook the opposite side from the largest representative Jewish
organization, the Canadian Jewish Congress, in opposing Canada’s“Human
Rights Commissions” and their imposition of “hate-speech” sanctions.
These laws currently allow the Canadian government, in clear violation
of its own Charter, to monitor the internet and to haunt message boards
order to apprehend the speakers of hate speech directed against gays
But, despite these admirable exceptions, Jews in public life pose a
special problem in the US and in other Western democracies to the
extent that they overwhelmingly follow a certain behavioral and
attitudinal pattern. The problem is not only that these Jews work
collectively to discredit any traditional gentile way of life. They
also work reduce the possibility of debate about what they condemn,
because they associate (and get others to associate) open discourse
with bigotry and anti-Semitism.
For confirmation one need only check the websites of quintessentially
Jewish organizations as the Anti-Defamation League and the Canadian
Jewish Congress, or such predominantly Jewish organizations as
theSouthern Poverty Law Center ($PLC to VDARE.com. There one learns
that only bigots and anti-Semites would oppose gay marriage. The CJC
has repeatedly used its weight to make sure that anyone who criticizes
the desired social innovation will be prosecuted in court for “hate
We also learn that anyone who balks at the idea of amnestying illegals
should be condemned for bigotry. Indeed such ideas, we are told, are
linked to the mindset that produced anti-Semitism with all its evil
consequences. (See Immigrants Targeted: Extremist Rhetoric Moves into
the Mainstream;Brenda Walker and Dan Amato Inject Anti-Immigrant Fervor
into the Blogosphere and ADL's Immigration Page.)
Equally evil, according to some Jewish organizations, is any complaint
about how the Israelis treat the Palestinians or any sharp expression
of disagreement with recognizably Jewish public positions.
One wonders how a new initiative on this war on dissent will turn out
now that Kenneth Marcus, [Email him]a civil rights lawyer, has created
a national forum for combatting anti-Semitism under the 1964 Civil
Rights Act. Through his much-publicized, Washington-based
“Anti-Semitism Initiative” organized through the Institute for Jewish
and Community Research, Marcus, a former Civil rights Commissioner
(under Republican G.W. Bush) believes it possible to prosecute those
making unfriendly remarks about Jews or Jewish causes as violators of a
congressional act prohibiting discrimination against blacks and women.(
Civil rights ace now seeks to trump anti-Semitism, www.jweekly.com June
Moreover, almost all non-Orthodox Jewish organizations have been raging
for decades against the Religious Right. In 1994 (see The Religious
Right: The Assault on Tolerance and Pluralism in America) the ADL
hurled the charge that the apparently philosemitic Religious Right was
actually a hotbed of anti-Semitic and fascistoid tendencies. It would
seem that Biblically-based Christianity clashes with Jewish values, to
whatever extent it interferes with a government-imposed leftist social
Moreover, predominantly Jewish organizations supposedly designed to
defend freedom of expression, like the American Civil Liberties Union,
are often disguised vehicles for other purposes.
As William Donohue’s study, The Politics of the American Civil
Liberties Union (1985) documents, the ACLU was created after the First
World War as a Communist front. Back then, no less than during the
anti-Communist 1950s, leftists, particularly pro-Soviet ones, felt
obliged to defend the ideal of open discussion out of self-interest.
The same tactic was pursued during the “free speech movement” on
American campuses in the 1960s.
But once the Left took over our universities, the free speech industry
on campuses was closed down. Today PC speech codes and ideologically
uniform faculties prevail, particularly in the social sciences and
liberal arts, thanks to the victory of these bogus freedom-fighters.
It is obvious to anyone with a knowledge of recent history that those
responsible for these changes were predominantly Jewish. The New Left
in the US was the basically the work of Jews (as Stanley Rothman easily
shows in Roots of Radicalism: Jews, Christians, and the Left). One
would have to work overtime and very creatively to hide this palpable
But that work is being done. One attempt to divert attention came from
the late Allan Bloom, the best-selling cultural critic. In The Closing
of the American Mind (1987), Bloom ascribed student radicalism in the
1960s to the “German connection”. It was not Jewish kids from the
suburbs but hippies high on Nietzsche and Heidegger who were wreaking
havoc on American campuses.
I lived through this period. And I do not recall meeting any of the
Teutonized radicals so irately described by Bloom. The leftists of my
acquaintance were all Jews from New York, in whose minds traditional
America and anti-Semitism were inextricably linked.
This brings me to the heart of my Politically Incorrect argument. Jews
in public life and in academe have trouble living in an intellectually
open society, because it would allow those whom they fear and/or loathe
to be heard in open forums. This is something that Jewish organizations
and Jewish intellectuals seek to avoid at all costs, through “Hate
Speech” laws, academic speech codes, and associating dissent with the
Holocaust or anti-Semitism.
During forty years in “higher education”, I never ceased to be amazed
by how allergic most of my Jewish colleagues were to open discussion.
Never did they wish to see opened a question that they collectively
decided to close, allegedly for the sake of combatting prejudice and
discrimination. (It goes without saying that everything featured on
VDARE.com would qualify as off-limits.)
But this war on forbidden thoughts does not end with what VDARE.com
dares to discuss. My Jewish colleagues and the ones I read in academic
journals never tire of invoking certain guilt-infused taboos, reminding
their subjects about how little they had done to atone for racism,
sexism, and other currently condemned attitudes.
Watching this spectacle, I am reminded of Nietzsche’s observation
inGenealogy of Morals that the “Jewish priestly class” infects others
with slave morality but somehow survives its own teachings. Reading the
American Jewish historian Eric Foner, I was struck by how vividly in
Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, Foner personalizes the
evils of racism, depicting white Southern Christians as being almost
uniformly despicable. Another unmistakably Jewish historian, Stanley
Elkins, in Slavery (1963) pushes the same guilt trip even further,
offering an extensive comparison between the journey of black slaves to
the New World and the trauma of Jews being dragged to Auschwitz. Absent
from these tendentious comparisons are the necessary qualifications
that the slaves had been sold by their fellow-blacks; and that their
white owners were not intending to exterminate them.
In the work of Italian-American Marxist Gene Genovese by contrast, one
finds a very different narrative: an institutional analysis of slavery
that does not reflect revulsion for white Christians nor glorify the
black slave race as Christ-like heroes, and that does not impute
Holocaust-style guilton white Christian Americans.
Cultural differences may be critical for understanding these divergent
perspectives. Although Foner and Genovese were both Marxist historians,
the latter was also a Christian, who identified to some extent with the
planter class and with other Southern whites. Foner’s antipathy, and
Elkins’s evocation of Holocaust-analogies even before black activists
brought them up, reflect very different sensibilities. They are the
very unfriendly ones that I’ve encountered among Jewish intellectuals
looking at bourgeois Christian society.
Not insignificantly, gentile audiences, including Republicans, digest
this stuff with gusto, as I stress in my Multiculturalism and the
Politics of Guilt. Jewish malice and gentile masochism are well suited
to each other. Gentile intellectuals I have known would be flagellating
themselves and their ancestors for alleged social iniquities even if
Jews were not around to assist them. I have just learned that the
Amish, among whom I live in Pennsylvania, have apologized to Orthodox
Jews in Israel for their“silence” during the Holocaust. One now sees
devout Christians begging forgiveness from Jews for crimes they in no
conceivable way were complicit in. [Amish group travels to Israel to
ask forgiveness of Jews, November 30, 2010]
I believe two converging circumstances help explain this disintegration
of a traditional Western bourgeois identity.
This agglomeration has no real sense
of the past (as I learned first-hand from teaching Western Civilization
in college) but they have memorized the prescribed tags about prejudice
and the need to celebrate diversity. The intellectuals who instruct
these cultural illiterates have even less interest in the Western past,
except as a fever swamp of prejudice that we are expected to dredge as
an “unfinished revolution”.
- Firstly, the emergence of a
post-communal and largely post-Christian collection of consumers, who
receive their view of reality from the Main Stream Media, the
entertainment industry, and public education.
Not all these consumers/ ignoramuses feel really guilty about what is
alleged to have happened in the past. But they simply repeat, even if
they don’t internalize, what they pick up from prepackaged news
reporting, entertainers, and public educators.
Authorized“conservatives” do not entirely break from this official
version but they mix references to a prejudiced past with tributes to
the US as a global democracy that wages wars for “human rights”. Here
national (really post-national) identity is seen to flow from universal
abstractions and from being a showcase “pluralist” society that is
slowly surmounting the burden of its past.
The predominantly Eastern European
Jews who settled in the US the firstGreat Wave of immigration
(1880-1920) have never abandoned this missionary urge. They came with
recent, bitter memories of persecution in Christian societies and were
cognitively gifted and skillful at networking. But, far more than
German Jews who had arrived earlier, they distrusted the culture of the
European-American Christians who formed the majority of the New World
as well as of the Old.
- Secondly, these problems are
complicated by the Jewish intelligentsia and mediacrats, who try to
sensitize the Gentile population to an alternative reality in which the
sensitizers feel safe from Gentile prejudice.
At first, the American Jewish strategy for coping with the outsiders
was to neutralize their culture, by relegating it to some private
realm. Thus the older pluralist view, embraced by Jewish newcomers, was
to tolerate traditional lifestyles at home (for Christians as well as
for Jews) but to make sure the public square was kept religiously
neutral. This seemed the appropriate strategy to pursue when
traditional Christian views still prevailed and when many Jews were
still wedded to what today is called“family morality”.
But the erosion of both these conditions, and the rise of a Jewish
organizational ideology focusing on Christianity as the cause of the
Holocaust, nurtured the more radical anti-Christian and anti-Western
position that is today characteristic of Jewish organizations and
Jewish publicists and intellectuals. This is not the same as the call
for denominational neutrality or even the forced, antiseptic
“separation of church and state”. In the new offensive, the war must be
waged against any attempt to resist radical social transformation
carried out in the name of “anti-discrimination”.
This tendency is not likely to stop on its own. There is no reason to
hope that, once some future threshold measure is passed—perhaps
punishing discrimination against interspecies marriage partners?—these
alienated, embattled Jews will cease their efforts to radicalize
society even further. There is only way that this process can be ended,
and freedom (in the traditional sense—as opposed to forced celebration
of what is weird or alien) restored: the majority population, while it
is still the majority, must say “no” to coercive social radicalizers.
It may also be necessary for non-Jews to call attention to the problem
of Jewish alienation and to the disruption it continues to cause.
The current guilt trip that liberal and neoconservative Jews have
disproportionately encouraged must be undone in the name of freedom.
The social engineering and forced ideological instruction that American
Jews in the public sphere have pushed for decades is incompatible with
true liberal ideals of intellectual inquiry and freedom of association.
One cannot have both a free society and one controlled by the current
crew of Jewish intellectuals and journalists. There is a contradiction
here and one that will only be resolved once the teachings and taboos
of this priestly class are emphatically rejected.
Of course, this article will cause me to be denounced as a “self-hating
Jew”. I could respond with Murray Rothbard's quip: "I don't hate
myself". For the record, I have never taken anti-Israeli positions. My
son-in-law was an Israeli military officer; I speak (a by now
deteriorating) Hebrew and have spent considerable time in Israel. Even
my Jewish opponents have never accused me of being an opponent of the
But Jewish intelligence should express itself in open debate—not in an
America that the ADL, the $PLC and other kindred organizations struggle
Paul Gottfried is a retired as
Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College, PA. He is the author
of "After Liberalism, Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt" and
"The Strange Death of Marxism". His memoir, "Encounters: My Life With,
Nixon, Marcuse, and Other Friends and Teachers" was reviewed by Steve