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

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

  • ISBN-13: 9781410792617
  • $30.84

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This book builds upon my previous work, A People That Shall Dwell Alone: Judaism asa Group Evolutionary Strategy (MacDonald 1994/2002; hereafter PTSDA). While PTSDA focused on developing a theory of Judaism within anevolutionary framework, the present volume focuses on the phenomenon ofanti-Semitism. Judaism and anti-Semitism fairly cry out for an evolutionaryinterpretation. Anti-Semitism has been a very robust tendency over a very longperiod of human history and in a wide range of societies with different formsof government, different economic systems, and different dominant religiousideologies. Many anti-Semitic episodes, such as the Iberian inquisitions andthe 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 relevanceof evolutionary theory. The basic thesis of this book can be summarized bythe proposition that Judaism must be conceptualized as a group strategycharacterized by cultural and genetic segregation from gentile societiescombined with resource competition and conflicts of interest with segments ofgentile societies. This cultural and genetic separatism combined with resourcecompetition and other conflicts of interest tend to result in division andhatred within the society.Nevertheless, as Leslie White (1966, 3) wrote manyyears ago in his discussion of the Boasian school of anthropology as apolitically inspired cult, "One who follows procedures such as these incurs therisk of being accused of indulging in non-scholarly, personal attacks upon whomhe discusses. Such a charge is, in fact, expectable and completely in keepingwith the thesis of this essay. We wish to state that no personal attacks areintended." No personal or ethnic attacks are intended here,either. Nevertheless, the charge that this is an anti-Semitic book is, to useWhite's phrase, expectable and completely in keeping wit

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