Verdict: Suicide—Eric Kaufmann Replies To Kevin MacDonald

August 12, 2009


Eric P. Kaufmann

Kevin MacDonald has
written an interesting review of my book,

The Rise and Fall of
While we agree that the United States had an
Anglo-Protestant ethnic core, we disagree about why this
dominant ethnic group lost power. My argument is that
liberal Anglo-Protestant elites, in conjunction with
pro-immigration business interests, undermined Anglo
hegemony. For Professor MacDonald, Jews played a key
role in unseating WASP power. 

Interestingly, I have
also had this critique leveled at me from left-wing
writers who complain that my account reduces ethnics to
passive subjects rather than active players in reshaping
the country.

Yet I am unpersuaded
that Jews or any other non-WASP group had much influence
in WASP decline—for the same reason I believe that black
Americans had very little impact on ending

. Of course minorities will advance their interests
where they can. But in the case of blacks or Jews in the
early 20th century, they had little power to do so.

The reality is that
WASPs largely controlled American society until the
1960s, serving as the country`s presidents, legislators,
writers and educators, and providing religious and
commercial leadership. If WASPs had stuck together as an
ethnic group—as they did momentarily in the 1840s-50s
and in the 1890-1925 period—they could have maintained
immigration quotas and assimilated immigrants into the
WASP ethnic group. (Here I refer to full ethnic
assimilation of the kind that absorbed the Scotch-Irish,
Huguenots and Knickerbockers, not mere
“civic” assimilation in which hyphenated identities persist)

The truth is that WASPs
were usually divided. Business interests relentlessly
pushed for more immigrants, as they do today, while the
American Federation of Labor, led by Samuel Gompers, a
Jew, clamored for restriction. Protestant clergymen and
businessmen pushed for the admission of Chinese contract
labor in the 1860s, 70s and 80s, fighting a losing
battle against the Labor-driven

Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882
. In the words of one,
“The Chinese shall populate the Pacific Slope, and why not?”.
Another was blunter:
“I don`t care
where I get my labor from, a white man or a chinaman, a
mule or a horse”
. The same is true today, where
surveys find that unionized workers are most opposed
to immigration while the wealthy most likely to support

Among some American
WASP intellectuals, there was a restrictionist movement
which was influenced in part by eugenics. But the
eugenics movement was actually quite inclusive: Irish
and German Catholics were now
“Nordics” on the same level as WASPs because they were viewed as
racially similar. Most American Anglo-Protestant
nationalists were not so quick to accept Catholics: the
6-million member, predominantly northern and
anti-Catholic Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s expressed the
sentiment of far more Anglo-Protestants than the elite
eugenicists of the Immigration Restriction League.
Prohibition in 1920 succeeded as a largely an
anti-Catholic movement.

And when it came time to
enact the 1924 National Origins quota act,
Anglo-Protestants, who dominated Congress because of malapportioned
congressional districts favoring rural areas,

battled Irish, German and Scandinavian groups who wanted
to base the quotas on the immigrant population rather
than the native one. In the end, the WASPs won out over
their fellow

Did the Jews play much
of a role in this? I would argue that they were too
small and powerless to have much effect. Certainly they
were foursquare against restriction, but so were other
southern and eastern European ethnic groups.

Jewish intellectuals did
have some effect. The Frankfurt School and
psychoanalysis were not influential in the immigration
debate, but

Franz Boas

was: in anthropology, he
challenged the idea that immigrant groups had smaller
skulls in the 1910s and 20s—not enough to make a
difference but a voice nonetheless. Felix Adler had some
effect on John Dewey`s Liberal Progressivism in the
1900s and

Horace Kallen
influenced WASP radicals like Randolph Bourne in the 1910s. The New York
Intellectuals in the 30s, 40s and 50s were more
influential, but again, only to the extent that their
more prominent WASP fellow travelers (i.e. C. Wright
Mills, Harry S Truman, Wendell Willkie) agreed. 

In the end, it was up to
the liberal WASPs, the John Deweys, Randolph Bournes and
Jane Addamses of this world, to take or leave the ideas
of Jews. In most cases, liberal WASPs generated their
own cosmopolitan ideas, influenced mainly by ecumenical
Protestantism of the Pauline “there is neither Jew nor Greek” variety. In many cases, the
WASP liberals actually influenced the Jews, as with the
movement which many Jews joined. WASP
liberals could also draw upon the universalist
utterances of American Founders. who sometimes gushed
about serving as a sanctuary for all of Europe`s
oppressed (though many forget that at other times the
same Founders spoke of being the true Anglo-Saxons).

Jews and some Catholics
did rise to prominence in Hollywood by the 1920s and
30s. But for the most part they simply reproduced the
WASP image of America, with WASPs (or WASPified others
like Rita Hayworth or Kirk Douglas) serving as lead
characters while ethnics remained sidekicks. Frank Capra
the Sicilian elevated

“Mr. Smith”
of the provinces as the
clean face of the nation.

Only when liberal WASPs
pushed the nation toward being universalist, then
multiculturalist, could Jews, Catholics and blacks
exercise some power. This happened in the 1960s with
congressional redistricting and the Voting Rights Act.

In the 1970s and after,
minorities begin to play a much bigger role. But I still
believe that, without the approval of white
racial liberals, ethnic minorities would be relatively

You might even see Jews,
who are almost all white, throwing their lot in with the
majority. Orthodox Jews, for example, tend to vote
Republican and conflict with their nonwhite neighbors in
Brooklyn and the Bronx.

Let`s also not forget
that race theorists often betrayed WASP America because
their view was more inclusive of Catholics and they
viewed anti-Catholicism as bigotry while eugenics was
considered rational and Enlightened.

If WASP America was to
have been saved, the small band of eugenicists like

Madison Grant

Lothrop Stoddard
could not play a key
role. The push would have to be sustained by the mass
anti-Catholicism of the Klan, Masons, American
Protective Association and preachers like Billy Sunday,
who had an audience of millions. Elites of colonial
stock who were proud of their WASP ancestry—Teddy
Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge and the D.A.R.—would have
had to prevail over German, Irish and Scandinavian
lobbies and Anglo business interests.

Scientific racists and
Social Darwinists who preached a more inclusive message
of Nordic unity actually undermined the idea of a
Protestant nation descended from Anglo-Saxon Protestant
settlers and pioneers. 

So in writing the
autopsy report for WASP America, I would pronounce the
case one of suicide, not murder.

Eric P. Kaufmann (
email him) is Reader in Politics, Birkbeck College, University of
London. He is the author of The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America

and The
Orange Order: A Contemporary Northern Irish History

Informational links added by VDARE.COM.

I Still Think It Was Murder!

I appreciate Eric Kaufmann`s comment on

my review
of his
The Rise and Fall
of Anglo-America

As I noted in the review, and especially in the

longer version

posted on my

Occidental Observer

, I acknowledge that

pre-existing traits
of WASPs—all reducible to
individualism—were a component in the fall of
Anglo-America. However, I place more emphasis on Jewish
influence as a necessary (not a sufficient) condition
for the collapse of Anglo-America.

Kaufmann implies that Jews would have indeed attempted to institute
the collapse of Anglo-America,
“but in the case
of blacks or Jews in the early 20th century, they had
little power to do so.”
This may have been true
early in the 20th century (but see below).
But in the case of Jews, it was certainly not true in
the post-World War II era, which is when by all accounts
WASP America collapsed.

Jewish power increased dramatically after World War II—as shown,
for example, by Truman`s recognition of

over WASP opposition in the Departments of State and Defense after
intense lobbying from Jewish groups. Consider also Lucy

, quoted in
Aviva Weingarten`s Jewish Organizations` Response to Communism and Senator McCarthy,
hat in the early 1950s
“for anyone in
public life
is the sign of Cain. So overwhelming is the disrepute of
anti-Semitism that an unrestrained demagogue like


has studiously avoided the Communist
provocation and has, as a matter of fact, tried to
establish himself as a philo-Semite.”

It is doubtless true that Jewish organizations did not
have enough power early in the 20th century
to bring down Anglo-America. For example, the organized
Jewish community was indeed on the losing side of the

immigration battles

of the 1920s. Nevertheless, they had substantial power
even during this period—not only in the area of
immigration policy, but for example in the

abrogation of the Russian trade agreement

against the policy of the Taft Administration because of
Russia`s treatment of Jews.

Kaufmann stresses the role of the business community in
influencing anti-restrictionist immigration policy. But
he ignores the key role of the organized Jewish

in delaying

restrictionist legislation at least 20 years after the
public favored it. In doing so, he relies on statements
of individual businessmen eager to import labor rather
than historical studies of how immigration law was
hammered out in Congress (see, e.g.,
Naomi Cohen,
1972: Not Free to Desist: A History of the American Jewish Committee 1906–1966;

Sheldon Neuringer,  American Jewry and United States Immigration Policy, 1881–1953). In fact, the organized Jewish community
was more important in opposition to immigration
restriction than business interests in the entire period
until the passage of the

1965 immigration law.

In my review, I quoted

Edward A. Ross

writing in 1914 to the effect that Jewish forces were by
far the most important and effective
anti-restrictionists. Ross`s comment fits well with the
historical research cited above. Jewish leadership of
the anti-restrictionist effort is quite apparent in
getting Presidents Taft and Wilson to veto
restrictionist legislation. This material is elaborated
in my

Culture of
chapter on immigration

This certainly doesn`t mean that all Jews were opposed
to immigration restriction. Samuel

was indeed

a restrictionist
. But it does mean that the organized Jewish community, Jews in
Congress, and Jewish financial support, were critical in
preventing immigration restriction long before 1924.

Similarly, there is little doubt that the organized
Jewish community was the main organizing force in
producing the 1965 law.  My
views on the importance of Jewish groups in the 1965 law
have been supported by

Vanderbilt University historian

Hugh Davis Graham

The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America
emphasizes the importance of elite institutions. 
He states that the fall of Anglo-America was a
top-down revolution, not a revolution from below. He
particularly highlights the role of the New York

I certainly agree that it was a top-down movement. However, in his
reply to me, Kaufmann minimizes the importance of the
WASP Darwinian intellectual elite who were powerful
through the 1920s, noting that the latter did not have
the allegiance of the Protestant masses.

He can`t have it both ways: He can`t propose a top-down model for
the demise of Anglo-America and at the same time dismiss
the importance of the collapse of the WASP intellectual

As Kaufmann wrote:

“Whenever the northeastern `WASP` elite make common
cause with their less prestigious but more numerous
provincial kin, Anglo-Protestant ethnic nationalism

(p. 26). It really didn`t matter if the Protestant
masses didn`t believe in Darwin or evolution

Again, my view is that the eclipse of

left the ethnic defense of Anglo-America to religious and popular
movements, and that these were unable to dominate elite
intellectual discourse, the academic world, or the
media. This left a huge opening for the triumph of the
New York Intellectuals and other—
anti-WASP—movements of the left.

If Darwinism had won the war for the intellectual high ground, the
New York Intellectuals and the Frankfurt School`s
implicit ideological message that WASPs had a moral
imperative to give up hegemony would have been a
non-starter. That`s why I (along with scholars like

George Stocking

Carl Degler
) emphasize

—his triumph in academic anthropology sealed the fate of Darwinism.

Contrary to Kaufmann`s implication, Darwinism in the social
sciences is much broader than the eugenics
movement—including, relevant to this discussion,
theories of the importance of

racial defense

reiterates his view that
“it was up to the
liberal WASPs … to take or leave the ideas of Jews.”

This is the most difficult point to argue for either
side of this debate. My view, especially as elaborated

this section
of the longer version of my review, is
that Jewish intellectuals were in the driver`s seat by
the 1940s, that they dominated the New York
Intellectuals, and that they promoted people like

who advanced ideas that were compatible with theirs.

what`s missing from Kaufmann`s analysis is a detailed
examination of the relative importance of Jews and WASPs
among the New York Intellectuals and exactly how they
influenced each other. For example, David Hollinger
writes in Science, Jews, and Secular Culture:

If lapsed
Congregationalists like Dewey did not need immigrants to
inspire them to press against the boundaries of even the
most liberal of Protestant sensibilities, Dewey`s kind
were resoundingly encouraged in that direction by the
Jewish intellectuals they encountered in urban academic
and literary communities”.

Exactly, but this certainly gives major influence to
Jews among the New York Intellectuals. Dewey, whose
“lack of presence
as a writer, speaker, or personality makes his popular
appeal something of a mystery”
(Sandel, M. J.
(1996). Dewey rides again, New York Review of Books May 9, p. 35), thus
represented the public face of a movement dominated by
Jewish intellectuals.

As documented in my
Culture of
chapter, my view of the New York
Intellectuals as a Jewish movement is accepted by other
scholars. And I reiterate my other reasons for supposing
that Kaufmann underestimates Jewish influence, none of
which Kaufmann disputes in his letter: the strong Jewish
identity of Jewish New York Intellectuals and the

lack of ethnocentrism
on the part of non-Jewish New York
Intellectuals; the close connections between the New
York Intellectuals and other Jewish intellectual
movements, particularly the Frankfurt School and
psychoanalysis; the very intensive role of the organized
Jewish community in financing the New York

and the Frankfurt School and in promoting these

cosmopolitan ideas

in the media and the educational system; similar

tendencies by Jewish intellectuals
in other societies.

This last is of special importance here, because
Kaufmann suggests that the Jewish New York Intellectuals
were influenced by their WASP counterparts. But all the
evidence is that Jewish intellectuals did not need WASPs
to push them in this direction.

Anti-nationalist tendencies

have been common among Jewish intellectuals throughout
the 20th century, most notably in Eastern and
Central Europe prior to WWII. In all these societies the
Jews became an anti-national intellectual elite, but
they recruited and promoted sympathetic non-Jews as
well—much like in later decades the predominantly

Jewish neoconservatives recruited non-Jews

who accepted their views on Israel and other Jewish
issues. The fact that the New York Intellectuals started
out as Trotskyites—the quintessential
internationalists—long before they absorbed WASPs like
Dewey also points in this direction.

I stress Jewish
influence on the media as a gap in Kaufmann`s analysis.
Kaufmann counters that
“for the most part they simply reproduced the WASP image of America.”
But ignoring Jewish influence entirely seems unwarranted
given that Jews already owned more elite media than
WASPs by the 1930s. This trend was exacerbated after
World War II, when Jews controlled the three major
television networks. In his book, Kaufmann stresses the
point that, because of the rise of television, the
exposure of Americans
“to the values
and outlook of the New York/Washington/Hollywood elite
thereby took on great significance”


Lichter et al.

). However,
that same study showed that

14 percent of the news media elite were religiously
affiliated Jews and 23 percent were raised in a Jewish
household, indicating that people of Jewish background
were overrepresented approximately by a factor of 10
among elite journalists. Indeed, Kaufmann himself,
relying on Lerner et al. (
American Elites,
1996) shows that Jews outnumbered Anglo-Saxons 58–21
among elites in television.

In my

I show that the


by Jews in the media are influenced by their Jewish
identity and reflect the liberal/left/cosmopolitan
attitudes of the wider Jewish community. I also show
that the media has very positive images of Jews and
promotes specifically Jewish issues, such as the
Holocaust. As Jonathon and Judith Pearl

have noted
portrays Jewish issues “with respect, relative depth,
affection and good intentions, and the Jewish characters
who appear in these shows have, without any doubt, been
Jewish—often depicted as deeply involved in their

In the
movies, a common theme is Jews coming to the rescue of
non-Jews, as in Ordinary People, where a Jewish
psychiatrist who rescues an emotionally repressed WASP
family. Kathryn Bernheimer

162) notes that “in many films, the Jew is the moral
exemplar who uplifts and edifies a gentile, serving as a
humanizing influence by embodying culturally ingrained
WASPS, on the other hand, are

as emotionally and sexually repressed snobs who have no ethical scruples
in competing with Jews or other outgroups.

Minimally, Kaufmann should discuss the relative
influence of Jews and WASPs on the media at different
points in history.

To conclude, there is a strong case to be made that Jews were

in the fall of Anglo-America. As

Yuri Slezkine
among others has shown, Jews became an elite throughout Eastern
and Western Europe beginning in the late 19th
century. The rise of Jews to elite status in the United
States is no different, and it should not be surprising
that they were an important factor in the decline of the
previous elite. In order to make his argument for WASP
suicide, Kaufman at least needs to consider the
available evidence on Jewish influence.

My verdict remains: Murder.