On Spencer’s Herzlianism for the Current Year

If not Jew and White, then which?

It is a curious fact that in the Current Year, the Alt Right understands the Jews better than the Jews understand themselves. While legions of ersatz Larry Davids and Brooklyn-accented Californian soccer moms gather in the hallways of the ADL to issue hollow, self-abnegating proclamations that what it is to be a Jew is to be a refugee (1,2),it is only the purported anti-Semites who share the common sense of Herzl in recognizing that the Jews are “a people – one people” (3).

Richard Spencer took this point for granted when, at a recent press conference, he suggested that it would be an insult to call a Jew a European, for to call him a European would be to deny him his heritage (4). To call a Jew a European, on Spencer’s view, is to cut him off from his people, and to suggest that Jews will form a part of a future pan-European ethnostate is do an injustice to the destiny and struggle of the Jews as much as to the struggle and destiny of the Europeans.

Spencer’s view presupposes, of course, that Jewish identity cannot be an instance of European identity in the same way that French identity, for example, is. If this is right, then it must be the case that Jewish identity and European identity are in fact incompatible in such a way that to identify as a Jew is to link oneself to an entirely different people and history than the people and history to which one links oneself in identifying as a European.

There is good reason to think that Spencer is right on this count. To identify oneself as a Jew is to think of oneself as an historical heir to the kingdoms of David and Solomon; it is to think of oneself as kin to Judah Maccabeus, and as having a share in that same historical struggle for independence for which he is remembered; to identify as a Jew is to make the Six-Day War both one’s Thermopylae and one’s Gaugamela. To identify as a Jew is not, however, to think of oneself as kin to Charlemagne and Richard the Lionheart, nor is it to think of oneself as the heir to the dominions of Caesar and Pericles. To attempt to identify oneself both as a Jew and yet also with these hallmarks of European identity would be to identify with such a scattered and confused history that one’s own identity would indeed become incoherent.

Hence, Spencer is right to suggest that Jewish identity and European identity cannot simultaneously be held. In this respect, his position is not unlike that of many of the great figures of Zionism, who recognized early on that no assimilation into European society would be possible in which Jews still maintained their identity as Jews. Indeed, Herzl took this position implicitly himself: when reminded that many European Jews considered themselves assimilated Frenchman, Germans, Austrians and so forth, and on that basis would not leave their adoptive homelands for the land of Israel, Herzl admonished those Jews to mind their own business – “this is a private affair,” he wrote, “for the Jews alone” (5). The implicature is clear: one is either a Jew and a Jew alone, or not a Jew at all.

But the conclusion warranted by this sort of reasoning is no more than the one stated above: that no individual who identifies simultaneously as a Jew and a European can maintain a coherent racial identity. Ironically, this very fact may indeed bring the Jews closer than they would otherwise be to their European neighbors, the overwhelming majority of whom no longer wish to have a coherent racial identity. So it stands, at least, in the Current Year. But in the Coming Year, as Jew (6) and gentile (7) alike have noted, we shall all face the dire need to adopt a coherent racial identity. And Spencer’s Herzlian conclusion is silent on the matter of which identity the Jews may adopt.

For while no individual Jew may adopt both a Jewish and a European identity, and it is clear that he is entitled to adopt a Jewish one, it is not clear that he is not entitled to adopt a European one instead, should he so chose. Two millennia of cohabitation in Europe have linked the Ashkenazi Jews of the West to their European neighbors in remarkably close ways. The Ashkenazim are, in terms of genetic similarity, as close to many Italians as they are to their Jewish compatriots from the East (8), and recent genetic studies suggest that nearly half of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry is European in origin. Their traditional cuisine, dress, language and music are those of Eastern Europe, and the history and mythology of Europe are ingrained into their culture as well as any other. Their contributions to European arts, science, and letters are innumerable: the best music written in the Protestant American spirit is that of (((Aaron Copland))); in the past century, the most influential philosopher in the Greco-Roman tradition was none other than (((Ludwig Wittgenstein))); the existence of serious psychological study of the hereditary determinants of IQ, that darling of the Alt Right, is owed in large part to (((Noam Chomsky))).

Pace Spencer, then, to call a Western Jew a European is not to insult him, for his genetic, cultural, and intellectual heritage are so closely and intricately linked to those of Europeans as to be nearly inextricable. It is, at worst, an honest mistake. For while Jews can accept the validity of Spencer’s Herzlian claim, this will not prevent them from feeling a deep affinity with the European people and their history and identity. Jews in the West have inherited a tortured, confused, and two-sided heritage, and it is the tortured burden of each Jew to decide which one side of this inheritance he is to claim. But any Jew who earnestly chooses to identify himself as a European, and no longer as a Jew, should not face any obstacle in doing so. As for us Jews, who must content ourselves to partake in European civilization from the sideline, we will say the kaddish on his behalf.


[1] See http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/A-call-to-open-doors-for-refugees-468013; see also http://www.jpost.com/US-Elections/Donald-Trump/Pride-and-affirmative-prejudice-The-complex-history-of-Donald-Trump-and-the-Jews-468120.
[3] Herzl, The Jewish State
[4] See http://www.timesofisrael.com/the-alt-right-emerges-joyous-into-the-light-and-argues-about-jews/ for discussion in the Jewish press.
[5] Herzl, The Jewish State
[6] http://forward.com/scribe/348466/im-a-jew-and-im-a-member-of-the-alt-right/
[7] http://www.radixjournal.com/altright-archive/altright-archive/main/blogs/untimely-observations/an-alliance-with-the-jews
[8] See, e.g., http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2016/07/10/063099.
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7 thoughts on “On Spencer’s Herzlianism for the Current Year

  1. I’ve never met a Jew yet who would even think of surrendering his ethnicity, any more than I, a Scotsman, would ever surrender mine. I suspect you’ve met even fewer than that. The point is therefore moot.

    If any Jew seriously loves European/Western culture, then let him infiltrate the places of cultural influence (politics, finance, academia, , media) where his fellow tribesmen exert so much time, money and energy to destroying it, and expose and sabotage their treacherous efforts.

    For the majority, who can’t think about white people without thinking about boxcars and pogroms, I would ask them to seriously consider what’ll happen to them the day after the Notzrim are no longer running the world. I suppose the Haredim will expect the Moshiach to appear to save them, but they’re hardly representative.

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    1. History is replete with Jews who have decided to disown their Jewish birthright in favor of conversion, intermarriage and assimilation. People like Mendelssohn, for example (and, for that matter, half of the German Haskalah). I view these as sad cases of Jews, unwilling to face the problems of their own people, gone astray, but one can understand why they want to do this.

      The Haredim and the ADL-types are both, in many ways, still living in the late 19th century. I don’t think they’ve ever seriously begun to consider what a post- White-hegemonic world would look like.

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  2. Hi, nice blog. I’m Jewish and interested in (though not super convinced by) the alt-right; I knew some fellow travelers had to be out there somewhere.

    Given the Ashkenazi genetic and cultural proximity to Europeans that you mention, whence your specifically *Jewish* nationalism? Why not Ashkenazi nationalism? This is always a question I’ve wanted to ask someone. Realistically, of course, it’s probably way too late for such a thing to ever exist, but it seems like a perfectly coherent (if unexplored) position in the space of right-wing Jewish ideologies.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words.

      Yeah, your question is a really good one. We’ve got a different culture and identity from that of the Mizrahim, and I’m not interested in losing it in the name of pan-Judaism, as much as I still consider the Mizrahim fellow Jews and coracialists. So maybe it’s worth holding in our heads the ideal of a racial Jewish empire in which Ashkenazim and Mizrahim have their own ethnostates, like the British and French in a pan-European empire.

      But the reason that I’m not too concerned with this demographic problem is that the Ashkenazim still make up about 80% of world Jewry; should there be a mass liquidation of the diaspora to Israel, the Ashkenazim will overwhelm the Mizrahi population. So we’ll still end up with a White, high-IQ society with lots of Pinchas Zuckermans and the like.

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      1. We may make up a majority of world Jewry, but we’re out-marrying at basically unparalleled rates everywhere. Outside of Israel, this means that Jewish identity of any sort will simply stop being much of a thing except in vestigial ways. Inside Israel, it means (if you buy into standard HBD stuff) that we stand to lose our much-vaunted cognitive superiority – something it’s really, really important not to do when your country is surrounded on all sides by hundreds of millions of people who hate you. This is why I would be concerned, were I a hypothetical Ashkenazi nationalist.

        Of course, the exception would be the Haredi, who are highly endogamous and breed like rabbits. Sadly, it’s not so clear that they’re up to the job of contributing positively overall to a healthy industrial civilization. (But if someone could convince them to become scientists and engineers en masse, our success would pretty much be assured. Is, uh, anyone trying to do this?)

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      2. This is all basically right, and concerning, but here are few things of note that might make the assessment less bleak:

        1) In Israel, the Hareidim will probably very soon be pushed into institutions that are likely to secularize them en masse. Namely, it won’t be long before they’re forced to do mandatory military service and to attend schools that offer strong secular education. One hopes that the end result will be a very large increase in the number of Ashkenazi modern Orthodox in Israel, who combine education and productive employment with high birthrates.

        2) Any event or events that force Ashkenazim in the diaspora to move to Israel will force assimilated, weakly-identified Jews to act indistinguishably from strongly identified Jews. Whether you view being Jewish as a matter of enjoying Seinfeld or as a matter of membership in a race that traces its origins to the ancient Israelites is not going to be relevant when there are pogroms on the horizon. You’re going to move.

        3) Even those Jews who do intermarry in the diaspora are overwhelmingly intermarrying with gentile Whites. Moreover, for obvious reasons, they’re overwhelmingly intermarrying with successful, high-IQ Whites. So if these Jews and their families are forced to move to Israel, as I suspect they will, they’ll at least be bringing along non-Jews of good genetic stock.

        Now, if nothing happens to force mass Aliyah within the next 50-60 years, then you’re quite right that we risk disappearing into our gentile host populations, and squandering our genetic potential to save Israel from demographic and cognitive decline. But my bet is on things happening before then.

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      3. I get the sense from your comments that you think a mass Jewish exodus to Israel from the US is somewhat likely? That could be an interesting subject for a future post if so.

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