Kevin MacDonald, an anti-Semitic professor of evolutionary psychology at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), promotes his anti-Semitic ideas on his blog, in a new book, and in articles written for racist publications and Web sites. In 2008, his work on Jews began to receive considerable attention from his colleagues at CSULB.
Criticism from colleagues
In early October 2008, CSULB’s Academic Senate voted to “firmly and unequivocally disassociate itself from the anti-Semitic and white ethnocentric views” of MacDonald. The measure passed by the Senate cited MacDonald’sarguments that Jews seek to undermine morality and white ethnic identity, his association with The Occidental Quarterly, a racist publication, and the use of his work by extremists, among other issues. MacDonald was invited to discuss his views with the Senate as part of their deliberations but he did not respond to their request, and the measure was passed near unanimously.
The previous month, in September, F. King Alexander, the president of CSULB, released a statement saying he considered MacDonald’s views “deplorable and reprehensible” and that they were in no way endorsed by CSULB. This followed statements by the psychology, history, linguistics, and anthropology departments and the Jewish studies programs disassociating themselves from MacDonald’s views, as well. The psychology department specifically cited concerns about his research methods, the publication of his work in journals that are not peer-reviewed, and extremists’ use of his work to justify their own ideology. The department faculty also expressed concern that MacDonald may have violated the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct.
The history department asserted that his work is “professionally irresponsible and morally untenable” and said “academic freedom” should not be used to “advance racism, bigotry, or other forms of intolerance.” The department also criticized MacDonald’s abilities as a historian, saying he has “a lack of training or understanding of historical methodology” and that his “misuse of historical methodology would be unacceptable in an undergraduate history paper.” In particular, the history department criticized MacDonald’s reading of European history and the 1965 U.S. Immigration Act.
The Jewish studies program’s statement argued that MacDonald’s writings “bear a close resemblance to aspects of Nazi racial theory” and was accompanied by a lengthy “appendix” describing the anti-Semitic character of MacDonald’s views. The anthropology department noted its “grave concern” with MacDonald’s use of race, social evolution, population genetics and other concepts to “promote intolerance.” The linguistics department criticized the way in which MacDonald’s work is used to “legitimate the discriminatory agendas of a variety of hate groups who have associated themselves with his name.”
The Academic Senate, President Alexander, and all of the departments and programs also upheld both MacDonald’s “academic freedom” to research topics of his choosing and his general freedom of speech. Many also noted their own freedom of speech to speak out against him.
MacDonald has responded to these challenges in much the same way he responded to other criticism in the past: by claiming that his “academic freedom” was being threatened, that his critics had not responded to the substance of his arguments, and by threatening legal action. One member of his department at CSULB publicly stated in 2007 that this threat ended criticism of MacDonald’s views by members of the department at the time.
In December 2006, the CSULB psychology department released three statements on “academic freedom,” “diversity,” and “misuse of psychologists’ work.” While none of the statements mentioned MacDonald by name, they were clearly in response to publicity MacDonald had recently received. The statements upheld the “right” of professors to research whatever they choose, but said that “faculty whose views are controversial” are expected “to state that their views may not represent those of the Department;” that it hoped “all members of the Department will come to value human differences;” and that it regarded as “deeply unethical” any faculty member who “knowingly allows his/her work to be used to support groups that disseminate views of racial/ethnic superiority and/or racial/ethnic hatred.” The department also said that it expected “faculty to take all reasonable steps to prevent the misuse or misrepresentation of their work.”
Blog entries and articles
Since July 2007, MacDonald has also posted regularly to his blog, which has become one of the primary outlets for his anti-Semitic writings. Extremists have picked up on the blog, disseminating its entries on a wide variety of racist and anti-Semitic Websites.
In summer 2008, he used his blog to promote two articles he wrote for a recent issue of The Occidental Quarterly. One was a positive review of Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer’s book The Israel Lobby, in which they argue that Israel’s supporters in the U.S. stifle criticism of Israel and strong-arm U.S. policymakers into acting in Israel’s favor. The other, entitled, “Why We Write,” was a defense of his association with The Occidental Quarterly. He argued that the “greatest danger to the cultural establishment is the existence of intelligent, well-written, well-documented, and fundamentally honest articles arguing for the importance of white identity and white interests,” which made it important for people like himself continue producing material for these journals.
In an April 2008 post to his blog, he announced the release of a new book entitled Cultural Insurrections, a collection of his previous writings. The book is published by The Occidental Press, a publishing house linked to the racist scholarly publication The Occidental Quarterly, on whose editorial advisory board MacDonald sits. Cultural Insurrections includes an introduction by well-known racist Virginia Abernathy and sections on “Jewish Influence” (including an essay describing Jews as “Stalin’s willing executioners”), “Anti-Semitism,” and “Western Civilization.” The Occidental Press calls the book “essential reading… for anyone concerned to understand… the dominant trends of Western civilization.”
In March 2008, VDare, a racist Web site, published MacDonald’s article entitled “The Utter Normality of Ethnonationalism – Except for Whites.” (MacDonald has written seven articles for the Web site, dating back to 2003, which maintains an archive of his writings.) In the article, MacDonald argued that he had personally experienced “hostility and moral disdain” for pointing out “unfashionable facts” regarding ethnic nationalism. He then rehashed his oft-stated argument that “Jewish opposition to the ethnonationalism of Europeans and European-derived peoples” was responsible for changing American immigration policy in the 1960s and that Jews exhibit a double-standard by advocating for multiculturalism in America and ethnonationalism in Israel. He wrote that Jewish groups and other organizations seek “draconian penalties” against Europeans who express ethnocentrism, while allowing other groups, including Jews and racial minorities, to freely do so. He also wrote that “democracy, representative government, and freedom” will likely be “casualties” of the drive to enforce “political correctness” in America.
MacDonald has also increasingly used his blog as an outlet for attacking Jews and Judaism. As with MacDonald’s other published writings, many of these posts parrot anti-Semitic arguments from the late 19th and early 20th centuries that accuse Jews of operating secret cabals from which they control society, of undermining traditional Western morality for their own selfish interests, and of controlling powerful non-Jewish governments in order to have them act on behalf of Jews. In a January 2008 post entitled “The Neocons as a Hostile Conservative (!) Elite” [sic], MacDonald called neoconservative “cabals” a form of “Jewish ethnic networking” and wrote, “Neoconservative cabals have been largely successful in controlling or at least heavily influencing elite institutions in academia, the government, think tanks, and the media.” In a December 2007 post entitled “The Naked Emperor,” he wrote, “[A] political crisis over Jewish influence is exactly what the United States needs.” And in a November 2007 post entitled “The Fantacism of Ruth Wisse,” he wrote that Israel “has the world’s one remaining military superpower completely at its bidding.” In his blog he has also argued that “Bratz” dolls and the movie based on them represent a Jewish effort to make white people into “bad guys” pitted against “multi-race good guys,” and that Zionists see Israel as a way to maintain Jewish “ethnic purity.” He has also commented that in his “ideal world” the work of at least certain Jewish journalists and political advisors would be “accompanied by a disclaimer” advertising their “deep psychological and ethnic commitment to Israel and Judaism.”
In January 2006, MacDonald contributed an article to the Web site of the National Policy Institute (NPI), a racist “think tank.” The article urged readers to take an “implicit association test” to see if they “unconsciously, and involuntarily, react differently to different races.” MacDonald was a member of the advisory committee of NPI as recently as September 2005.