Part of this article is taken from my recent book, Kevin MacDonald’s Metaphysical Failure: A Philosophical, Historical, and Moral Critique of Evolutionary Psychology, Sociobiology, and Identity Politics.
By the end of 2019, I had to lay aside the research I was doing on Japan and concentrate on Kevin MacDonald’s fundamental substratum and address its main problems. I was also frustrated with people like Steven Pinker and more recently Nathan Cofnas because they were incapable of dealing with the very issues that MacDonald raises in his books.
For example, Cofnas perpetually argues that “Jewish intellectual accomplishment is consistent with higher mean intelligence” and that “Because of Jewish intelligence and geography—particularly intelligence—Jews are likely to be over-represented in any intellectual movement or activity that is not overtly anti-Semitic.”[i]
Cofnas accuses MacDonald of misrepresenting his sources and cherry-picking facts, but here Cofnas has to skip a large body of historical scholarship in order to make a point. He is implicitly or indirectly arguing here that Jews are persecuted for what they are—in this instance “higher mean intelligence”—and not for what they actually do. Elsewhere, Cofnas quotes Mark Twain to support his claim that Jews are persecuted for what they are:
“Mark Twain’s explanation for Jewish intellectual prominence was that ‘Jews have the best average brain of any people in the world.’ Though they make up far less than one percent of the world’s population, Jews have comprised more than half of all world chess champions, about a quarter of Fields medalists in mathematics, and more than a fifth of all Nobel Prize winners. Social scientists have found that Ashkenazi Jews score, on average, around 110-112 on IQ tests (compared to a mean of 100).”[ii]
For the sake of argument, let’s grant the premise that “Jews have the best average brain of any people in the world.” Does Cofnas really believe that this is why there have been so many anti-Jewish reactions in the past millennia? Cofnas doesn’t present any evidence to this effect. Let’s just use one famous counterexample here. During the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century—most specifically during 1870 and 1914—a number of German intellectuals such as Heinrich von Treitschke developed the idea that Jews had to either be assimilated or leave the country.
Treitschke saw Jewish separation as a threat to the German culture and as an atomic bomb in the cultural war. “Even the liberal intellectual Theodor Mommsen, while a critic of von Treitschke and generally opposed to anti-Semitism, remained concerned that continued Jewish separatism would prevent national unification.”[iii]
What moved Treitschke to an even more defensive position was his observation that many German Jewish intellectuals and historians viewed themselves as superior to the Germans, such as Heinrich Graetz and Moses Hess. “Graetz had written much that was stunningly offensive to the German sensibilities of the time and that would have offended even more self-confident peoples.”[iv]
When Graetz wrote a letter to his friend Moses Hess, saying Christianity is a “religion of death,” Hess responded by saying that people like himself need to find pleasure in “scourging Germans.”[v] In the same letter, Graetz likewise declared, “I am looking forward with pleasure to flogging the Germans and their leaders—Schleiermacher, Fichte, and the whole wretched Romantic school.”[vi] Both Graetz and Hess demonstrated throughout their writings a sense of Jewish racial superiority, and both were cognizant that this Jewish racial superiority was in conflict with German culture and tradition.
It was inevitable, therefore, that Graetz’s and Hess’s racial worldviews would conflict with German intellectuals like Treitschke. Even Lindemann concedes that not only was Treitschke’s anger against people like Graetz drawn from the notion that Jewish intellectuals saw themselves as superior to the Germans, but that they despised and sometimes ridiculed German and European traditions.[vii] Some, like Theodor Mommsen, saw that Graetz’s work was of Talmudic extraction; for this reason Graetz’s work was also attacked by Jewish historians.[viii]
Albert S. Lindemann of the University of California notes that “there is little question that the sense of Jewish superiority [is] expressed” in Graetz’s works, works that were being read by German-Jewish individuals.[ix] Treitschke presents the history of Germany “as generous in spirit, especially in its treatment of the relationships of Jews and non-Jews, their relative merits and defects.”[x] It was inevitable, therefore, that Treitschke and Graetz would find themselves in a struggle for the soul of German history and tradition. Graetz believed that European civilization suffered from a “morally and physically sick” identity, which angered Treitschke and others.[xi]
What is important here is that Treitschke saw that if one of the most Jewish representatives was presenting German history in a negative light, then there were at least some differences between Jewish history and mores and German/European history. What probably pushed Treitschke to the edge was that Graetz despised Jewish assimilation and in the process “rejected Reform Judaism, which Treitschke favored.”[xii] Treitschke, while not a Christian, thought that Christianity was not a threat to European culture; Graetz sought to “shatter” it.[xiii]
Lindeman therefore noted that “there was some substance to Treitschke’s charges” against Graetz.[xiv] Moreover, while many Jews saw that Treitschke made some solid points, “They repeatedly expressed concern as to just how much more of their sense of Jewishness would have to be abandoned to satisfy people like Treitshke.”[xv]
This has been a perennial issue since the beginning of time, that Jews have morally and intellectually ridiculed and even denigrated the very ethnic culture which gladly accepted them as pilgrims. Yet instead of producing evidence to support the unarticulated and unconvincing thesis that Jews have essentially been persecuted for what they are and not for what they do, Cofnas and his co-author move on to say:
Persecution of Jews began for religious reasons in the Middle Ages and morphed into political persecution as Jews began to climb the social ladder, and political leaders saw them as a useful out-group to use as a scapegoat for people’s economic and social woes. For example, when Italian traders inadvertently brought the Black Plague from Asia to Europe, thousands of Jews were murdered in retaliation when Christian peasants decided that the Jews had deliberately infected them.[xvi]
Perhaps Cofnas needs to plow through E. Michael Jones’ magnum opus, The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and Its Impact on World History. The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit is much more historically and metaphysically focused than MacDonald’s The Culture of Critique because it goes to the heart of the issue: a metaphysical rejection of Logos by the Jews.
This metaphysical rejection has moral, philosophical, political, and social implications, and it has underscored the historical and traditional debate until German writer Wilhelm Marr (1819-1904) published his famous tract The Victory of Jewry over the Germans: Viewed from a Non-Religious Point of View in which he argued that Germans and Jews were locked in perpetual combat because they were racially different.
Marr’s life was quite interesting because three of his first four wives were Jewish women, and to the end of his days he spoke tenderly of his love for his second wife, who died tragically in childbirth. He had intimate Jewish friends, business partners, and political allies; in the 1840s he was closely associated with a number of Jewish radicals and was attacked for his supposed philo-Semitism. He was a lifelong admirer of the Jewish artists and writers Heinrich Heine and Ludwig Boerne.
In the final decade of his life, in the 1890s, he broke with the anti-Semitic movement of the day, describing the anti-Semites as worse than the Jews and requesting pardon of the Jews for what he had earlier written. He declared that it was in reality problems of industrialization and modernization that had provoked him, not the Jews as such.[xvii]
Whether Marr was sincere when he wrote the tract or after his repentance is hard to examine. But one fact is for certain: wherever his tract is in circulation, it is seldom, if ever mentioned, that Marr apologized for it toward the end of his life.
Marr’s cardinal error was not that he was not a good observer or writer. In fact, he observed somewhat accurately that the Jewish network abhorred “real work” and had the inclination to, in the words of Albert S. Lindemann, “exploit the labor of others.”[xviii] This is not a stereotype, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn found the same thing in Russia.[xix]
But Marr, as an atheist, deliberately ignored the theological causes in examining the Jewish question and clung to race as the basis for his ideology. It is like examining Muslims or Christians without a serious examination of their religions or what their founders actually taught and practiced—a highly implausible, dubious, and daunting task. Many modern writers like MacDonald, as we shall see, are essentially making similar mistakes, largely because they have been intellectually crippled by the Darwinian ideology, which is littered with inherent contradictions and philosophically dubious premises.
What we are saying here is that with the arrival of both Darwinism and Marr’s famous tract, the West has fallen into the fallacy that Jewish behavior is based on some kind of bad DNA. If a person like Nicholas Donin had some kind of wicked DNA, how did he overcome it? If he did not, how can one adjudicate good vs bad DNA? What are the parameters? Do we now differentiate good DNA vs. bad DNA by people’s actions? Do people like Brother Nathanael Kapner and Gilad Atzmon and Norman Finkelstein have good DNA or bad DNA?
The genetic theorists have never even made any serious attempt to answer those questions. As we will argue at the end of this book, it is because they are building their ideology on a philosophically irrational as well as morally repugnant foundation.
In any event, the fact that some have changed the nature of the debate—from the rejection of Logos to Jewish DNA—does not mean that the fundamental idea has completely been vanquished. The equation is very simple. As Jones puts it, “When the Jews rejected Christ, they rejected Logos, and when they rejected Logos, which includes within itself the principles of the social order, they became revolutionaries.”[xx] Jones moves on to say elsewhere in the book:
“By rejecting Logos, which was simultaneously the person of Christ and the order in the universe, including the moral order, which sprang from the divine mind, the ‘Jew’ found himself drawn inexorably to revolution.”[xxi]
Does that mean every single Jew is a revolutionary? Does that mean that St. Paul, Mortimer Adler, Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne, Edith Stein, among others, were revolutionaries?
Of course not. Those who embrace Logos or become docile to the moral order cannot be revolutionaries. In other words, accepting Logos is a matter of exercising the will—which every single person possesses and which has been completely obliterated by the advent of Darwinism or Neo-Darwinism—and not a matter of having good or bad DNA. In that sense, both Cofnas and MacDonald find themselves in the same matrix because they both adhere to the Darwinian ideology, the operating system which, as we shall see in later chapters, philosophically undermines free will and the ontological foundation of morality—the very things that make moral responsibility, duty, and accountability possible.
We all know that an action is free only if the person doing the action could have done otherwise. If the person couldn’t possibly have acted differently, or if the person could never have done anything other than what he or she did, then moral responsibility or accountability is in jeopardy. Or, as philosopher Peter van Inwagen puts it, “A person is morally responsible for failing to perform a given act only if he could have performed that act.”[xxii]
As a corollary, “A person is morally responsible for a certain event-particular only if he could have prevented it.”[xxiii] And the very fact that some readers will disagree with this essential point inevitably strengthens it. For those who object, were they determined to disagree with the idea of free will? Or did they do it out of their own free will, an idea which has never been disproved by science[xxiv]? If they were determined, then why should we pay attention to anything they have to say?
In short, those who set themselves up to deconstruct the nature of free will always end up copying it in a perverse way. Philosopher John Searle himself has said that even if a person is convinced that free is an illusion, that same person has to act on the presupposition of free will. Searle writes in Rationality in Action:
In order to engage in rational decision making we have to presuppose free will…We have to presuppose free will in any rational activity whatever. We cannot avoid the presupposition. Because even a refusal to engage in rational decision making is only intelligible to us as a refusal if we take it as an exercise of freedom. To see this, consider an example. Suppose you go into a restaurant, and the waiter brings you the menu. You have a choice between, let’s say, veal chops and spaghetti; you cannot say, “Look, I’m a determinist, che sara, sara. I will just wait and see what I order! I will wait to see what my beliefs and desires cause.” This refusal to exercise your freedom is itself only intelligible to you as an exercise of freedom.[xxv]
Searle adds that “Kant pointed this out a long time ago: There is no way to think away your own freedom in the process of voluntary action because the process of deliberation itself can only proceed on the presupposition of freedom, on the presupposition that there is a gap between the causes in the form of your beliefs, desires, and other reasons, and the actual decision that you make.”[xxvi] In fact, Kant would have called this an inescapable postulate of practical reason, which he says is “the fulfillment of the moral law.”[xxvii]
For Kant, practical reason and will are generally interchangeable.[xxviii] Kant also shows that if a maxim happens to be internally or inherently contradictory, then it cannot be intellectually viable.[xxix] People like Steven Pinker completely ignore this long history of metaphysical discussion going all the way from Augustine to Kant and then assert, “If behavior were chosen by an utterly free will, then we really couldn’t hold people responsible for their actions.”[xxx] I will again expand on some of these notions in later chapters, particularly in chapter 11. I will also show in later chapters that Darwinism is irrational, involving metaphysical or fundamental contradiction.
CATEGORICAL ERRORS IN THE MACDONALD/COFNAS DEBATE
Nathan Cofnas is right in saying that “Whether morality is used to promote egalitarianism or despotism, it binds people into a collective decision-making body that cannot be legitimately atomized, as in cultural evolutionary models.”[xxxi] The fundamental question we will propose in subsequent chapters is simply this: Is there such a thing as ontological morality?
Here we are not talking about moral epistemology or even the cultural evolution of morality, which people like Cofnas and Richard Joyce love to write about.[xxxii] We are talking about objective morality and what Immanuel Kant calls the categorical imperative, which is completely different from what is now called “moral progress,” “moral change,” or even “the evolution of morality.” According to Darwinism, there is no such thing as objective moral values.
After I read Cofnas’ paper entitled “Power in Cultural Evolution and the Spread of Prosocial Norms,” I contacted him and asked him: “I have recently read your paper on cultural evolution, and found it fascinating. You did not discuss the ontological foundation of morality. Do you believe in ontological morality? By ontological morality, I mean there are certain moral principles that are objective irrespective of whether we believe in them or not.” He responded:
“I do not believe in objective, mind-independent values, and agree with the view that John Mackie defends in his book, Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong. In short, I think our moral beliefs are the product of naturalistic evolutionary and cultural processes. Objective values are explanatorily superfluous. I defend this position [in ‘A Debunking Explanation for Moral Progress], where I give a naturalistic explanation for the apparent cross-cultural convergence on certain moral values.”
Cofnas is getting his Ph.D. in philosophy at Oxford, where Mackie taught for years. Mackie, who wanted Richard Dawkins’ arguments in The Selfish Gene to be applicable in moral philosophy,[xxxiii] begins his Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong by saying: “There are no objective values.”[xxxiv]
According to the logical conclusion of this premise, ethical decisions and values must be invented, not discovered. Mackie realizes that if ethical values exist and that they are objective, then they would inevitably make God’s existence rational. As he puts it in The Miracle of Theism, if there are “objective values,” then “they make the existence of a God more probable than it would have been without them. Thus, we have a defensible argument from morality to the existence of a God.”[xxxv]
Mackie concludes that objective moral values do not exist, for “It is easy to explain this moral sense as a natural product of biological and social evolution…”[xxxvi] Quoting Michael Ruse and E. O. Wilson to buttress his point, Cofnas states that “evolutionary [or other naturalistic] explanation makes objective morality redundant.”[xxxvii]
We will again delve into these metaphysical issues later, but suffice to say here that Cofnas’ appeal to biological and social evolution to explain away the objectivity of morality is counterproductive precisely because Cofnas obviously believes that there is such a thing called anti-Semitism. For example, he writes that “Trilling may have been a nominal Marxist in the 1930s, though he evinced little interest in Jewish causes and his ethnic awareness seemed to be triggered mainly when he faced anti-Semitism.”[xxxviii] Well, if Cofnas’ entire project is true, then could it be that anti-Semitism is simply a natural product of biological and social evolution which has no objective meaning or value whatsoever?
There is certainly a much deeper issue here, one that Cofnas does not even make an attempt to address, largely because he locks himself in an ideological matrix which provides no exit. For example, if this anti-Semitism has no objective meaning or value, why is Cofnas inexorably or desperately trying to impose the term upon us all? Why should we accept it? Why did he write an entire paper attempting to refute Kevin MacDonald’s views and trying to persuade readers that he is therefore right? Isn’t he implicitly appealing to some kind of objectivity?
If not, then isn’t it presumptuous of him to attempt to impose his idiosyncratic views on MacDonald—or trying to persuade MacDonald to see his point and then accept it? What objective reason have we to even listen to him? Once again, Cofnas accuses MacDonald of cherry-picking his sources and facts, but Cofnas doesn’t realize that he is implicitly saying that MacDonald ought not to cherry-pick facts, an idea which implies an objective standard.
What we are seeing here is that Cofnas (and later MacDonald) is intellectually handcuffed and therefore crippled by the irrationality of Darwinism. And it goes from bad to worse, as Cofnas moves on to incoherently argue:
The argument from disagreement is, as Sauer (2018, p. 99) notes, “arguably the most common challenge to metaethical moral realism.” Cultures—and to some extent individuals within cultures—seem to disagree about fundamental moral principles. Antirealists often claim that we would not expect such disagreement if everyone had the potential ability to perceive objective moral truth… The argument from disagreement is essentially empirical—in light of an observation (moral disagreement) we should reject realism.[xxxix]
Here again Cofnas was simply heralding his own intellectual demise and was essentially thinking himself into oblivion. He invariably replicates the Darwinian paradigm, while staying away from its logical conclusions and implications. Cofnas disagrees with MacDonald on Anti-Semitism; Jonas E. Alexis disagrees with Cofnas on anti-Semitism; people in the world disagree on anti-Semitism; therefore, an objective way of examining anti-Semitism does not exist? In other words, the presence of disagreements about anti-Semitism is an indication that objectivity about anti-Semitism does not exist? Is that a logical and rational argument?
Once again, why did Cofnas have to plow through MacDonald’s entire body of work and respond to them? Why couldn’t he just say, “Well, this is his interpretation, and since objectivity does not exist, there is no need to make an attempt to persuade him, for there is no objective standard to adjudicate competing explanations”? Why did he write articles such as “Kevin MacDonald won’t accept evidence supporting alternative theories about Jewish influence,” lamenting that MacDonald “will refuse to accept evidence that supports the obvious alternative to his theory”[xl]? Why did he conclude the article by saying that “The practice of reinterpreting obvious counterexamples to a theory as supporting evidence is the essence of pseudoscience”?[xli] Doesn’t that imply an objective way of adjudicating “science” from “pseudoscience”?[xlii]
Moreover, didn’t Cofnas write that “millions of anonymous Jews were murdered in the Holocaust”?[xliii] Does he not believe that murdering those people was objectively and categorically wrong? If he doesn’t, then doesn’t that imply that he has no right to judge what Hitler did in Nazi Germany? In addition, doesn’t Cofnas’ fundamental assumption here logically undermine the entire Holocaust establishment? Steven Spielberg for example believes that the Holocaust “should be part of the social science, social studies curriculum in every public high school in this country.”[xliv] Perhaps Cofnas needs to tell Spielberg that there is no objective way to determine whether what Hitler did was wrong, so one opinion is just as valid as another.
The simple fact is that Cofnas believes that
Nazi ideology was not based on scientific discoveries. The Nazis were flagrant pseudoscientists whose research in biology and psychology was permeated with ideology. Contrary to a popular myth, both the Nazis and their ideological predecessors (such as Joseph Arthur Comte de Gobineau and Houston Stewart Chamberlain) rejected Darwinism… In Nazi Germany, ‘science’ followed from ideology, not the other way around. Some contemporary neo-Nazis claim to find support for their Nazi-inspired views in Darwinism and IQ research, but their ideology tends to dictate their interpretation of the science – which is usually grossly uninformed.[xlv]
Cofnas also believes that the alt-right movement is littered with anti-Semites.[xlvi] Perhaps he should have addressed what Steven Pinker said back in 2008 in the New York Times:
The scientific outlook has taught us that some parts of our subjective experience are products of our biological makeup and have no objective counterpart in the world. The qualitative difference between red and green, the tastiness of fruit and foulness of carrion, the scariness of heights and prettiness of flowers are design features of our common nervous system, and if our species had evolved in a different ecosystem or if we were missing a few genes, our reactions could go the other way. Now, if the distinction between right and wrong is also a product of brain wiring, why should we believe it is any more real than the distinction between red and green? And if it is just a collective hallucination, how could we argue that evils like genocide and slavery are wrong for everyone, rather than just distasteful to us?[xlvii]
Well, from a rationally consistent standpoint, you can’t. But Pinker and others have no other choice because, as Pinker himself believes, “our behavior is the product of physical processes in the brain.”[xlviii] As we shall see later, MacDonald believes something very similar. The Israeli historian and popularizer Yuval Noah Harari writes in Sapiens that “from a biological perspective, nothing is unnatural. Whatever is possible is by definition also natural. A truly unnatural behavior, one that goes against the laws of nature, simply cannot exist, so it would need no prohibition.”[xlix] A truly unnatural behavior cannot exist, but Hitler’s unnatural behavior was wrong! Complete nonsense.
Cofnas’ arguments are proofs that the atheist philosopher Louise Antony was right: “Any argument against the objective reality of moral values will be based on premises that are less obvious than the existence of objective moral values themselves.”[l] It makes no sense for Cofnas to talk about “oppressed” and “victimized” people,[li] to raise questions such as “Are students at elite colleges good people?”[lii], to believe that “truth is (to some degree) valuable independent of its felicific consequences,” that we have to accept that “truth is intrinsically valuable,” that there is “a long-standing tradition that truth has some intrinsic value, and that comprehending the truth and acting in conformity with it are worthwhile goals,” “that the intrinsic value of truth should at least be part of our moral calculation,”[liii] and then turn around and declare that “objective, mind-independent values” do not exist.
This is certainly intellectual mumbo jumbo. Cofnas again writes: “If you tell students that, to get into college, they need to appear to demonstrate (in documentable form) their morality, what stops them from doing good deeds for selfish motives — not because they are virtuous, but because they want to get into college?”[liv] Cofnas is trying to have his cake and eat it too.
Cofnas reminds me of Ivan Karamazov, a character in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s classic novel The Brothers Karamazov. Ivan, an atheist, simply was not ready to follow his premise to its logical conclusion. Ivan, throughout his life, articulated the idea that there is no fundamental virtue. Dimitri and Alyosha are Ivan’s two brothers, and Smerdyakov is an adopted servant. In order to understand Ivan’s atheist position quite clearly, Dimitri asked: “Permit me, just in order to make sure my ears did not deceive me.
The argument is as follows: ‘Evil-doing must not only be lawful, but even recognized as being the most necessary and most intelligent way out of the situation in which every atheist finds himself’! Is that so, or is it not?” Ivan responded by saying, “Yes…Without immortality [or God] there can be no virtue.”[lv] Dmitry seems to be shocked, and then declared: “I shall remember that.”[lvi]
Towards the end of the novel, Smerdyakov followed Ivan’s logical argument by killing Fyodor Karamazov, the father, and this drove Ivan mad. In a fit of rage, Ivan even calls Smerdyakov a “reptile” and “a madman.”[lvii] To which Smerdyakov responds:
You did the murder, you are the principal murderer, and I was only your minion, your faithful servant…and fulfilled that task in compliance with your instructions…I did it with you alone, sir; you and I together murdered him, sir… You were ever the bold one, sir, “all things are lawful”, you used to say, and now look at a-feared you are! Would you not like some lemonade, I shall order it not, sir.[lviii]
In case Ivan misses the message that he was previously and relentlessly perpetuating, Smerdyakov again articulates it for him: “It was true what you taught me, sir, for you told me a lot about that then: for if there is no infinite God, then there is no virtue, and there is no need of it whatever. That was true, what you said. And that was how I thought, too.”[lix] Ivan seems to concede that he is partly responsible for the death of their father. “You are not stupid,” he says to Smerdyakov. “I used to think that you were stupid.”[lx]
Writers like Jean Paul Sartre, Friedrich Nietzche, Albert Camus, and even Bertrand Russell would have agreed with Smerdyakov here, that if there is no ultimate reality, that if God does not exist, then virtue is simply a relic of the past, that anything is permitted. These people understood that once morality is rooted out of its metaphysical matrix, then claiming that something is right or wrong is just flimflam.[lxi] Sartre in particular declared that once morality is out of the equation, finding moral “values in an intelligible heaven” is simply preposterous. Man, therefore, is a “useless passion.”[lxii]
Sartre, who bragged about having been “in whorehouses all over the world,”[lxiii] added that “Nowhere is it written that good exists, that we must be honest or must not lie, since we are on a plane shared only by men.”[lxiv] If God is “an outdated hypothesis which will peacefully die off by itself,” argues Sartre in Existentialism and Human Emotion, then “man is forlorn, because neither within him nor without does he find anything to cling to. He can’t start making excuses for himself.”[lxv] If God does not exist, then “all possibility of finding values in a heaven of ideas disappears along with Him; there can no longer be an a priori Good, since there is no infinite and perfect consciousness to think it.”[lxvi] Sartre adds: “When we speak of forlornness, a term Heidegger was fond of, we mean only that God does not exist and that we have to face all the consequences of this.”[lxvii]
- K. Chesterton would later write a devastating critique of atheists like Ivan Karamazov, who are too quick to posit authoritative statements but are not so hasty in following their own statements to their logical conclusions. Chesterton wrote in Orthodoxy:
The new rebel is a Skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty…and the fact that he doubts everything really gets in his way when he wants to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it…As a politician, he will cry out that war is a waste of life, and then, as a philosopher, that all life is a waste of time. A Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant, and then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself.
A man denounces marriage as a lie, and then denounces aristocratic profligates for treating it as a lie. He calls a flag a bauble, and then blames the oppressors of Poland or Ireland because they take away that bauble. The man of this school goes first to a political meeting, where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts; then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes to a scientific meeting, where he proves that they practically are beasts. In short, the modern revolutionist, being an infinite skeptic, is always engaged in undermining his own mines.
In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men. Therefore the modern man in revolt has become practically useless for all purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything, he has lost his right to rebel against anything.[lxviii]
First published in May 2022.
- [i] Nathan Cofnas, “Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy: A Critical Analysis of Kevin MacDonald’s Theory,” Human Nature, volume 29, pp. 134–156: 2018.
- [ii] Jonathan Anomaly and Nathan Cofnas, “What the Alt-Right Gets Wrong About Jews,” Quellete.com, March 15, 2018.
- [iii] Kevin MacDonald, Separation and Its Discontents (Lincoln, NE: 1st Book Library, 2004), 73-74.
- [iv] Albert S. Lindemann, Esau’s Tears: Modern Anti-Semitism and the Rise of the Jews (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 141
- [v] MacDonald, Separation, 190.
- [vi] Lindemann, Esau’s Tears, 141.
- [vii] Ibid., 141-143
- [viii] Ibid., 140.
- [ix] Ibid., 139-140.
- [x] Ibid.
- [xi] Ibid.
- [xii] Ibid.
- [xiii] Ibid., 141.
- [xiv] Ibid.
- [xv] Ibid., 142.
- [xvi] Anomaly and Cofnas, “What the Alt-Right Gets Wrong About Jews.”
- [xvii] Lindemann, Esau’s Tears, 127. See also (though I do not agree with some of his conclusions), Moshe Zimmerman, Wilhelm Marr: The Patriarch of Anti-Semitism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986).
- [xviii] Lindemann, Esau’s Tears, 128.
- [xix] Jones, Jewish Revolutionary Spirit, 571-577.
- [xx] E. Michael Jones, The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and Its Impact on World History (South Bend: Fidelity Press, 2008), 15.
- [xxi] Ibid., 41.
- [xxii] Peter van Inwagen, An Essay on Free Will (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983), 165.
- [xxiii] Ibid., 167.
- [xxiv] See for example Alfred R. Mele, Free: Why Science Hasn’t Disproved Free Will (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014).
- [xxv] John R. Searle, Rationality in Action (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001 and 2003), 13-14.
- [xxvi] Ibid., 14.
- [xxvii] Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Practical Reason (New York: Hackett Publishing, 2002), 122.
- [xxviii] For further studies on this, see Lewis White Beck, A Commentary on Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1960).
- [xxix] See Paul Guyer, Kant (New York: Routledge, 2006 and 2014).
- [xxx] Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate (New York: Penguin, 2002 and 2016), 177.
- [xxxi] Nathan Cofnas, “Power in Cultural Evolution and the Spread of Prosocial Norms,” The Quarterly Review of Biology, University of Chicago, Vol. 93, NO 4, December 2018.
- [xxxii] Richard Joyce, The Evolution of Morality (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2007).
- [xxxiii] J. L. Mackie, “The Law of the Jungle: Moral Alternatives and Principles of Evolution,” Philosophy (Cambridge University Press), Volume 53, Issue 206, October 1978: 455 – 464.
- [xxxiv] J. L. Mackie, Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong (New York: Penguin, 1977 and 1990), 15.
- [xxxv] J. L. Mackie, The Miracle of Theism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982), 115-16.
- [xxxvi] Ibid., 117-118.
- [xxxvii] Nathan Cofnas, “A Debunking Explanation for Moral Progress,” Philosophical Studies, 177, 3171–3191 (2020): https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-019-01365-2.
- [xxxviii] Cofnas, “Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy.”
- [xxxix] Cofnas, “A Debunking Explanation for Moral Progress.”
- [xl] Nathan Cofnas, “Kevin MacDonald won’t accept evidence supporting alternative theories about Jewish influence,” Genetic Literacy Project, May 2, 2018.
- [xli] Ibid.
- [xlii] To read MacDonald’s second response to Cofnas, see Kevin MacDonald, “Kevin MacDonald responds to criticism of his theory of Jewish ethnocentrism and influence,” Genetic Literary Project, May 2, 2018.
- [xliii] Nathan Cofnas, “When Accusations Lose Their Bite,” Quillette.com, May 22, 2017.
- [xliv] “Steven Spielberg urges mandatory Holocaust education,” Jerusalem Post, April 29, 2018.
- [xlv] Cofnas, “A Debunking Explanation for Moral Progress.”
- [xlvi] Jonathan Anomaly and Nathan Cofnas, “What the Alt-Right Gets Wrong About Jews,” Quillette.com, March 15, 2018.
- [xlvii] Steven Pinker, “The Moral Instinct,” NY Times, January 13, 2008. Pinker conceived that “Putting God in charge of morality is one way to solve the problem, of course…”
- [xlviii] “Steven Pinker’s Free Will Speech Explains Whether We Have a Choice,” https://www.trendhunter.com/keynote/free-will-speech; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQxJi0COTBo&feature=emb_logo.
- [xlix] Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind (New York: Harper Perennial, 2018), 147. For a full analysis of Harari’s Sapiens, see E. Michael Jones, Logos Rising: A History of Ultimate Reality (South Bend: Fidelity Press, 2020), chapter 1.
- [l] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6WnliSKrR4.
- [li] Cofnas, “A Debunking Explanation for Moral Progress.”
- [lii] Nathan Cofnas, “Are College Admissions Officers Equipped to Judge Who Is Ethical?,” National Review, June 28, 2016.
- [liii] Nathan Cofnas, “Research on group differences in intelligence: A defense of free inquiry,” Philosophical Psychology, Vol. 33, Issue 1, 2020.
- [liv] Cofnas, “Are College Admissions Officers Equipped to Judge Who Is Ethical?”
- [lv] Ibid.
- [lvi] Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (New York: Penguin, 1993 and 2003), 95.
- [lvii] Ibid., 796.
- [lviii] Ibid., 796, 798.
- [lix]Ibid., 808.
- [lx] Ibid.
- [lxi] For Nietzsche, see for example Friedrich Nietzsche, The Portable Nietzsche (New York: Penguin Books, 1976), 515–516.
- [lxii] Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness (New York: Philosophical Library, 1956), 615.
- [lxiii] See Paul Johnson, Intellectuals: From Marx and Tolstoy to Sartre and Chomsky (New York: HarperCollins, 1987), chapter 9.
- [lxiv] Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism and Human Emotion (New York: Kensington Publishing, 1957 and 1985), 22.
- [lxv] Ibid.
- [lxvi] Ibid.
- [lxvii] Ibid., 21.
- [lxviii] G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1996), 52-53.
Jonas E. Alexis has degrees in mathematics and philosophy. He studied education at the graduate level. His main interests include U.S. foreign policy, the history of the Israel/Palestine conflict, and the history of ideas. He is the author of the new book, Kevin MacDonald’s Metaphysical Failure: A Philosophical, Historical, and Moral Critique of Evolutionary Psychology, Sociobiology, and Identity Politics. He teaches mathematics in South Korea.