23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Innovative view of judaism and anti-semitism,
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This review is from: The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements (Paperback)
This fascinating book applies the author's ground-breaking 'evolutionary' analysis of Judaism and Anti-Semitism to twentieth century intellectual history, with a particular focus on the public life of America. I found it best explored in conjunction with the two previous books in the series that develop the presuppositions on consciousness of ethnic interests deployed in this book. These are: A People That Shall Dwell Alone (on Judaism) and Separation and Its Discontents (which develops a challenging and original, reactive theory of 'anti-semitism' on the basis of social identity theory and evolutionary psychology). There is certainly a danger of naively uncritical readings of this book by those who read it in isolation.
MacDonald is a philosophy graduate and can talk with quiet authority about the Jewish intellectual movements he criticises. These are: 'social anthropology'; psychoanalysis and the 'Frankfurt school' of 'critical theory'. The book ends with an attack on the support these theories give to the open door immigration policy of the USA since 1965 that the author considers disastrous for the America he knows and loves. He perhaps does not address enough the factors in 'gentile' society that facilitated the transition from the 1950s to the 1960s' 'culture of critique'. If so, he then overrates the Jewish contribution and responsibility, though this was certainly considerable. To my mind, his nostalgia for the 1950s is overdone.
Many of the authors contentions are beyond the pale of much contemporary academic discourse and he has shown an admirable personal courage in advocating his views in the face of ill-informed dismissal and personal denigration. His opposition to non-European immigration is principled, but he has some way to go to establishing a viable political platform on the basis of his Darwinist ideas. He should certainly be read by all interested in American academia and modernity in general, but with a critical eye.