Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism

Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism

Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism

Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism

Synopsis

MacDonald develops a theory of anti-Semitism based on an evolutionary interpretation of social identity theory. Historical examples of anti-Semitism are analyzed as scientifically comprehensible gentile responses to a distinctive, segregated group. Anti-Semitism has historically been exacerbated by resource competition between Jews and gentiles. Jews have engaged in a wide range of strategies to try to combat it. These strategies include: crypsis, political activity, writing religious and intellectual apologia directed at both ingroup and outgroup members, and engaging in self-deception regarding both the nature of Judaism and gentile responses to Judaism.

Excerpt

This book builds upon my previous work, A People That Shall Dwell Alone: Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy (MacDonald 1994; hereafter ptsda). While ptsda focused on developing a theory of Judaism within an evolutionary framework, the present volume focuses on the phenomenon of anti-Semitism. Judaism and anti-Semitism fairly cry out for an evolutionary interpretation. Anti-Semitism has been a very robust tendency over a very long period of human history and in a wide range of societies with different forms of government, different economic systems, and different dominant religious ideologies. Many anti-Semitic episodes, such as the Iberian inquisitions and the Nazi holocaust, have been characterized by extraordinary intra-societal violence. Moreover, anti-Semitism has sometimes been characterized by a very overt, self-conscious racialism -- a phenomenon that immediately suggests the relevance of evolutionary theory.

A principle concern of this work is therefore with ethnic conflict. There is at present an incredible urgency for coming to a scientific understanding of ethnic conflict. As I write this, "ethnic cleansing" and the creation of ethnostates have torn apart Yugoslavia, and there are deep-rooted ethnic conflicts in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Opposition to liberal asylum laws has given rise to violence in Germany, and, closer to home, Los Angeles was recently shaken by large-scale urban violence in which ethnic conflict was a prominent feature.

The basic thesis of this book can be summarized by the proposition that Judaism must be conceptualized as a group strategy characterized by cultural and genetic segregation from gentile societies combined with resource competition and conflicts of interest with segments of gentile societies. This cultural and genetic separatism combined with resource competition and other conflicts of interest tend to result in division and hatred within the society.

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