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A People That Shall Dwell Alone: Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy, with Diaspora Peoples [Paperback]

Kevin B. MacDonald
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Jun 2002
This book attempts to understand an ancient people in terms of modern evolutionary biology. A basic idea is that Judaism is a group evolutionary strategy-what one might term an evolutionarily significant way for a group of people to get on in the world. The book documents several theoretically interesting aspects of group evolutionary strategies using Judaism as a case study. These topics include the theory of group evolutionary strategies, the genetic cohesion of Judaism, how Jews managed to erect and enforce barriers to gene flow between themselves and other peoples, resource competition between Jews and non-Jews, how Jews managed to have a high level of charity within their communities and at the same time prevented free-riding, how some groups of Jews came to have such high IQ's, and how Judaism developed in antiquity. This book was originally published in 1994 by Praeger Publishers. The Writers Club edition contains a new preface, Diaspora Peoples, describing several interesting group evolutionary strategies: The Gypsies, the Hutterites and Amish, the Calvinists and Puritans, and the Overseas Chinese.

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A People That Shall Dwell Alone: Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy, with Diaspora Peoples + The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements + Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism
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Product details

  • Paperback: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Writers Club Press (6 Jun 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595228380
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595228386
  • Product Dimensions: 3.6 x 14.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 475,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Kevin MacDonald received his Ph.D. in Biobehavioral Sciences at the University of Connecticut and is Professor of Psychology at California State University?Long Beach. His research focuses on evolutionary psychology and on ethnicity and ethnic group conflict. His other books include Social and Personality Development: An Evolutionary Synthesis (New York: Plenum, 1988), Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998), and The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998/2002).

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Darwinist philosophy of history 12 May 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the first of Professor Kevin Macdonald's trilogy interpreting Judaism and Anti-Semitism. The real page turner is the third volume, The Culture of Critique (1998), but this and the second volume, Separation and its Discontents (1994), give his background assumptions in physical anthropology and an only slightly softened social darwinism. As Macdonald says, this latter is not a 'feel good theory'.

Macdonald first explains the theories of recent physical anthropology involving inheritance of specific and general mental characteristics and of groups as instruments of evolution by which genes are shepherded through the generations.

He then interprets The Old Testament, with its genealogies, family histories and laws from a social darwinist standpoint. He next argues against the view of Judaism as a failed universal religion competing with early Christianity for converts, claiming that there are no recorded Jewish missionaries or missionary texts. Christianity draws from Jewish tradition, but its insistence on monogamy and exogamous marriage he attributes to European ethnic characteristics. He claims that Judaism is not internally egalitarian, hence a tendency for those on the lower rungs to defect to out-groups where their identity is more valued. Lastly, he outlines Jewish responses to the 'Enlightenment' which validate Jewish continuance as an ethnic group even independently of religious commitment, e.g. Reform and Orthodox Judaism and Zionism.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read This Book And Learn 16 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When an acquaintance saw me reading this volume by Kevin MacDonald, he expressed surprise that I should read such an anti-semitic book. I asked if he had read it, which he had not, so I asked how he could judge it as "anti-semitic" if he had not read it. It appears that "They" had told him it is !

It seems this book has developed a reputation which is thoroughly undeserved. Far from being an anti-semitic book, it in fact celebrates how the Jewish people have survived centuries of persecution by maintaining the concepts of the Jewish family and culture. The book also celebrates the superior intellect of the Jewish people in general, and the methods used by Jewish culture to achieve this. Eugenic practices, concentration on pure blood lines, the discouraging of converts to Judaism, strong cultural reinforcement, powerful ingroup identification and a staying apart from the outgroup culture.

The great message of this book is - "Look at how Jews have survived as a race - and learn !" Unless other cultures adopt similar strategies in the future all out cultures will end up in the multiculturalist melting pot and be lost, All the separate races of the world - all equally important and the precious jewellery of the human race - will be lost. The Jewish people and their survival are a beacon to the rest of us showing us how we can avoid this future.

Read this book and learn !
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
133 of 153 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Remarkable Work of Scholarship 16 Oct 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an academic study of the historical group conflict between Jews and Gentiles. Being academic in tone; it is not written necessarily to entertain, but readers with a keen interest in the subject will find it a revelation.
Is the author anti-Semitic? His research findings did not reveal a flattering portrait of the Jews as he examined 700 mainly Jewish sources about Jew/Gentile conflict. People who are against Jewish interests could certainly use McDonald's information to explain and justify their own ideologies. However, McDonald does not consider himself an anti-Semite and he says that he merely examines the conflict, hoping that his examination will help resolve the group conflict in the future. He does not elaborate how this could happen though. McDonald takes a cool, unemotional approach to his study that does not really advocate anything politically; but his findings have political implications.
McDonald's main concept is that of the Jews' group evolutionary strategy. It is one in which the group historically has strictly ensured that it did not genetically or culturally assimilate with the host population. (McDonald is uncertain of the modern data that says that Jews are assimulating more than in the past and he does not say that their strategy has changed.) Their relationship with the host population is merely "instrumental" while the group keeps focused on what is only good for the group. They have been excluded by the host population but they themselves have also been excluding. Their religion is a "this-worldly religion" that re-enforces the worldly goals of the group: to be fruitful and multiply, to keep their bloodlines pure (especially priestly ones), and to prosper as a group within the host population. The most chilling part of the book was McDonald's statement that if gentiles of European descent can be convinced by Jewish polemics that their Western civilization is morally bankrupt; they can make the European society self-destruct since European morality is individualistic and universal and will not hesitate to condemn their own people, if they are convinced that they are morally bankrupt.
In a nutshell, most of the historical criticisms voiced against Jews are justified by the research in this book. McDonald considers their group evolutionary strategy to have been extremely sucessful even though there has been from time to time violent gentile reaction against it. Of course, there will be accusations that McDonald is lying or distorting things; it is up to the reader to decide.
There is also a short introduction into group evolutionary strategies of other groups such as Gypsies, Mennonites, Overseas Chinese and Puritans which is interesting as well.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great scholarship on a sensitive subject from an unexpected quarter - a "good old boy" 9 Oct 2011
By Graham H. Seibert - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
MacDonald opens his second edition with a description of several other Diaspora peoples: the Gypsies or Roma, the overseas Chinese, Calvinists and Puritans, Anabaptists, Amish and Hutterites. He describes the mechanisms by which they maintain or maintained a unique identity within a larger society, the social niches that each of them fill, the in group - outgroup mentality that each of the maintain, and the mutual support mechanisms they have evolved whereby the members of the in group take care of one another and often exploit or parasitize the outgroup. This is a valuable background for an analysis of the Jews. It establishes some commonalities among human evolutionary groups, and also leads to some conclusions about the uniqueness of the Jews.

The Gypsies have a reproductive strategy that includes large families and low investment in education. They prize the highly extroverted, aggressive temperament which is useful in gulling the gadje, the host society. They actively discourage intermarriage and even socialization with the gadje.

The Puritans and Calvinists no longer exist as evolutionary units. They thrived for a while couple of centuries ago, but their distinct identity dissolved as their religious convictions became diluted and they intermarried with the surrounding society. Today, Presbyterians and Methodists are no different than anybody else in society.

The Amish and Hutterites maintain their own identities in their own communities. Physical separation and endogamy have maintained them as separate evolutionary entities. They have benign relations with their host societies. They want to be left alone. To that end they go out of their way to be good neighbors to those of the host society who live close to them, but they generally minimize trade and other connections and avoid going into commerce. Their strategy is self-sufficiency.

The overseas Chinese marry among themselves when they can, but have not been reluctant to intermarry with local peoples. Unlike the Jews, they have generally kept a very low profile in host nation politics. Again unlike the Jews, they have been quite ready to abandon Chinese language publications and names in their attempt to blend in with their host societies. Their situation has been different than that of the Jews in that China as an ancestral motherland has existed throughout the duration of their Diaspora.

McDonald says that Jews are unique in that they have been a separate evolutionary group for perhaps three millennia, since their sojourn in Egypt, far longer than any of the above-mentioned. MacDonald's thesis is that the Jews' evolutionary strategy involves eugenic considerations - arranged marriages that enhance the likelihood of highly intelligent offspring, and a society which shuns members who do not enthusiastically support the collective mission. They invest highly in their children's education.

A hard question which has confronted society throughout history is whether Jews are a tribe or race, or merely a religion. Mac Donald quite conclusively demonstrates that they are a genetic entity, an evolutionary unit. Throughout their history they have practiced endogamous and even consanguineous marriages. That is to say that the Rothschilds, the Goldmans and the Sachs married each other's nieces and cousins at an astoundingly high rate. Moreover, the Jews are keenly attuned to ancestry and have very often refused consideration of marriage partners who don't have a totally Jewish pedigree. Also, Jews almost never proselytize. They make it difficult to join the religion and converts to Judaism, as well as many generations of their descendents, have often been kept on its periphery. The result is that Jewish DNA is demonstrably different from that of all of the host peoples among whom they dwell, and in general Jews from any part of the world are more closely related to one another than they are to their gentile neighbors.

McDonald's thesis flies in the face of a standard part of the groupthink on a modern college campus, the Standard Social Science Model. It is the theory first articulated by doctors Skinner and Watson at Harvard in the 1930s that all humans are born with the same potential; only our environment and upbringing differentiates us from one another. The corollaries of this hypothesis are that there are no group differences in ability or temperament.

Jewish scholars have been at the forefront of advocating such theory. Franz Boaz and the American anthropological Association state as much on their website. MacDonald documents the ways in which this stand, although it is incompatible with almost all scientific research, serves the interests of the Jews. It deflects attention away from the Jews' uniqueness as a people, and the intelligence and tribal loyalties which make them such formidable competitors against their gentile hosts. It provides the intellectual foundation for the Jews' championing the rights of other minorities, such as blacks and Hispanics, at the expense of the white Gentile majority. If one assumes that there are no genetic differences among populations, then prejudice and discrimination offers the only explanation for blacks' and Hispanics' failure to achieve rates of success equivalent to those of the white majority. McDonald observes that Jews have been at the forefront of movements making this claim. The effect has been to dilute white power and to make it impossible for the gentile population to use commonsense defenses to justify disproportionate representation in organizations such as teaching staffs and fire departments.

The "old boys network" is one of the canards often thrown at white people, frequently in the same breath as the "oh poor us, victims of anti-Semitism"complaint. MacDonald's career is a perfect illustration of the power of the old boy network. None whatsoever! He came up from a working-class neighborhood in the Midwest and attended state universities in the Midwest. He published rather extensively at second tier universities such as the University of Connecticut and Urbana-Champaign, after which he moved to California State University at Long Beach where he became a full professor after 10 years. In short, he came up by his bootstraps. Meanwhile, others who benefited by tribal affiliation quickly rose to the heights in Ivy League institutions, from which they now scornfully pour down contempt and abuse.

To put it briefly, the supposed old boy network did him no good whatsoever. His professional associations with that lonely band who attempt to perform scholarly work in forbidden fields (read about his associations on Wikipedia) lead to contempt and derision from organizations such as the Southern poverty Law Center which hold themselves out as being far holier than a guy like MacDonald but which in fact are highly biased and politicized. He is not alone; any white gentile who questions why our group is singled out to bear the blame for all of humanity's incivility likewise comes under withering scorn.

Congratulations to Mister MacDonald for having the courage to pursue such an unpopular course of study. I am sure that further research will refine his opinions, and may well reverse some of them. The important thing is the validity of the inquiry itself. He has established the legitimacy of asking questions about what makes Jews unique.
56 of 69 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Important Part of Half of the Dialogue 20 Aug 2005
By seekerotruth - Published on Amazon.com
I also don't feel qualified to evaluate the author's thesis. However, I think most of us "Gentiles" have had encounters with Jews where an honest discussion of the relationship between Jews and non-Jews has been absolutely clearly made out of bounds by the other party. Why can't we have an honest discussion? Isn't it in everyone's real interest?

First I must say that I think many, many Jews have contributed a great deal to our society and civilization, and are terrific, extraordinary, gifted people. Be that as it is, stifling conversation that relates to race, ethnicity, etc., tends to be something many Jews seem to feel is a solemn duty. Unfortunately, there is a double standard at play with many individuals from this group. On the one hand, Jews must have a right to their identity and homeland. Western Europeans have no such right however, in these individuals' view. We Europeans (and presumably all non-Jews) have the right only to assimilate into the raceless world-man and go extinct. Anything less is racism which is Nazism which is genocide, the absurb shibboleth goes. Clearly many of us of European descent have internalized this suicidal belief.

A Jewish professor at one of the midwest universities gave a very revealing talk at an American Renaissance conference a few years ago, wherein in he stated that ever since the Holocaust, Jews have considered Whites the number one threat to their survival - because the Jews HAD assimilated in Germany and STILL the Holocaust happened. Fortunately, this professor was not an off-kilter apologist for Hitlerism or some other nut. He was just trying to explain why Jews have worked against White interests so assiduously for more than half a century. The big obstacle to the "Gentile"- Jewish dialogue, he said, has been that both groups carry an awful lot of baggage, and it's going to take time to get over that.

Well, why should Jews engage in this dialogue? Quite simply their and our survival may depend upon it. The one world dream is probably a pipe dream, and, if not, is that the kind of world people really want to live in? No distinct cultures, one language, lost identity on a global scale. I'll pass . We should instead be working for the survival of nations and peoples, rather than their steady obliteration. We now seem poised on the precipice of a tremendous cataclysm. How better to avoid it? To protect our sovereignty, borders, traditions, or to go the other way? The former, I think, is the answer.
11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'GREAT BALLS OF FIRE!' 16 Jun 2007
By Michael Santomauro - Published on Amazon.com
What can I say...this psychologist has 'GREAT BALLS OF FIRE!' I wish he was my shrink!
4.0 out of 5 stars Technical, Academic, Peer Review Focused 12 Sep 2013
By Carl Robinson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A People That Shall Dwell Alone is the first in Professor Kevin MacDonald's series on the Jews.

Professor MacDonald is an Evolutionary Psychologist-a person who studies how evolutionary processes effect the mind of individuals and groups. In this book, he lays out how he views Jewish behavior as evolutionary in nature. Judaism, the religion as well as the secular, ethnic folkways is a strategy whereby Jews can gain resources and increase their numbers.

The book is highly technical, highly academic and written with a peer review in mind. As such, it is not easy to read. It is neutral in tone throughout.
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