HENRY GALLAGHER FIELDS -- Anti-Semitism, truth, and skepticism


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To Mr. Purdy's letter to the editor.
To Mr. Fields's original article.


Anti-Semitism, truth,
and skepticism

A reply to a reader



I am happy to receive some civil and fairly rational, if erroneous, criticism from Mr. Purdy after wading through the asininity of Mr. Kent's tirades. It is a blessing that Mr. Kent has decided to cease his screeds and retreat to his prescribed quarters or to the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance, as the case may be. (Since Mr. Kent has raised the issue of shoestrings, I note that the latter temple of instruction may be expected to be the more tolerant of those dangerous items, and of belts and neckties, too.)

Now to Mr. Purdy and his call for The Last Ditch to profess its opposition to "anti-Semitism." Since "anti-Semitism" is the most slippery, protean, and far-reaching indictment that is in vogue today, surpassing even "racism" and "homophobism," one would like to see a full definition of it and try to get it to stay in one place, so to speak, before professing anything about it, pro or con. Speaking for myself, I have always held that Jews should be treated by the same standard as any other group. And that Israel should be treated the same as any other country. It is apparent that this is not the rule in contemporary mainstream academic and media circles, which are obviously biased in favor of Jews and Israel. Worse: in some currents of what is laughably called the "mainstream" these days, my approach may well be indicted as ... how you say? ... anti-Semitic.

To his credit, Mr. Purdy does offer us some idea of what he means by "anti-Semitic," and for that matter his argument that "ascribing pernicious motivations to entire peoples is not libertarian thinking" is perfectly true as it stands, insofar as modern libertarianism proceeds from individualist premises. However, I am disappointed that he did not provide some context, acknowledging that a similarly biased approach is the modus operandi for the many prominent Jewish intellectuals and organizations that cavalierly attribute various heinous attributes to Palestinians, Germans, Poles, Russians, Christians, and so on. (Think of the record established by the current luminary Daniel Jonah Goldhagen.) Since Mr. Purdy seems to be cautioning TLD about the perils of criticizing group tendencies, I hope that, as a fair-minded man, he has leveled a similar complaint against the infinitely more influential pro-Jewish individuals and entities — Commentary magazine, the Wiesenthal Center, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and so forth — some of which receive tax revenue.

Naturally, libertarians shouldn't stoop to ethnic and religious slanders paralleling those that regularly emanate from mainstream Jews. Unfortunately, there is a natural tendency among some people to respond in kind, though, again, TLD does not engage in such blanket attacks. "More than a couple" of the letters to the editor posted in response to my original piece disturb Mr. Purdy, but letters do not represent the thinking of TLD or its writers. As far as I can make out (not being the head honcho here), TLD tries to air a variety of reader viewpoints so long as they do not promote violence, rely on obscenity, involve actionable libel, or, in general, exceed a generous allowance of frothing at the mouth. I might add that I have seen nothing in the letters to the editor criticizing Jews that surpasses the insults leveled against me.

Mr. Purdy cites Jewish individuals whom he regards as "iconic figures in the struggle for liberty" to illustrate the fact that Jews have made positive contributions to Western society. Since a cursory check of TLD articles (including my own) reveals numerous citations of the work of individual Jews — Mises, Rothbard, Chodorov, Rand, and so on — it is apparent that TLD is not guilty of neglecting Jewish contributions to the cause of freedom and civilization.

While libertarians should not use the broad brush to tar an entire group of people (except for groups such as rapists, murderers, and politicians), they also should not hide from the truth. Just as it would be untruthful to deny that Nazi leaders were predominantly German or that most white Southerners of the 1940s supported laws requiring racial segregation, it would likewise be untruthful to deny that the Soviet Communist leadership in the 1920s and 1930s was disproportionately Jewish or that Soviet atomic spies in the United States during World War II were disproportionately Jewish. And it is untruthful to deny that the neoconservatives who currently dominate American foreign policy are also disproportionately Jewish and pursue Israeli interests.

Such truths are conventionally labeled "anti-Semitic" by the Jewish establishment, and people who utter them suffer various forms of punishment, including being blacklisted by the libertarian/conservative media — for example, Joe Sobran. So that my statements are not (deliberately?) misinterpreted, I emphasize I am not implying that all Jews are now or ever were Soviet Communists, pro-Soviet atomic spies, neoconservatives, or, for that matter, pioneers in composing atonal music.

Mr. Purdy claims that "Judaism invented the idea that those outside the tribe are to be treated as those inside." I am no more convinced that Judaism invented that idea than that the Russians invented "beisbol." The old rabbis included much in the Talmud that certainly seems to be tribe-obsessed and hostile to gentiles; and that fact has been brought out by such Jewish writers as Israel Shahak, Israel Shamir, and Norman Cantor. There is, naturally, much more that could be written on this subject, and one writer who has actually written it is the fearless goy Kevin MacDonald, in his three books on the Jews: A People That Shall Dwell Alone, Separation and Its Discontents, and The Culture of Critique. [Editor's note: Dr. Stephen Sniegoski's review-essay from 1997 on the first of the three books, A People That Shall Dwell Alone, has been posted to the TLD site.]

On the Holocaust, Mr. Purdy adheres to the official story that Jews suffered 6 million deaths in World War II, though he doesn't address the gas chamber/mass-killing scenario. As TLD senior editor Ronn Neff has pointed out, Murray Rothbard, whom Mr. Purdy regards as one of those libertarian "iconic figures," himself questioned the official Holocaust story. But whether "iconic figures" affirm or question the official accounts is actually beside the point. The fundamental fact of the matter is that absent freedom of inquiry (where no one is punished for his views) it is impossible to rationally study any issue. The official Holocaust story enjoys a status in the West parallel to that of Lysenkoist biology in Stalinist Russia, where public disagreement with its radical-environmentalist presumptions meant a trip to a forced labor camp, and the only biology one was allowed to study was Lysenkoist. Obviously, then, everything a loyal biology student read would confirm Lysenkoist biology, just as everything produced in mainstream circles today confirms the official Holocaust story.

In the current climate of intellectual suppression regarding the Holocaust, any halfway intelligent man who has a nodding acquaintance with objective methods of inquiry should be brimming with skepticism. Is there actual physical proof for the claims of millions of deaths? Why is there a need to suppress criticism and analysis by nonbelievers? One would expect to see Mr. Purdy, as a Holocaust believer, hastening to caution Holocaust aficionados who suppress free inquiry, because by engaging in such suppression they make it appear that there is something to hide. One would expect to learn that Mr. Purdy, as an intelligent, fair-minded man, had already made strenuous efforts to open up the entire Holocaust issue to free inquiry. Once such freedom of inquiry came about, and extensive scientific investigations were undertaken, perhaps no evidence would be found to militate against the official Holocaust story, and physical evidence would finally turn up to confirm the alleged millions of deaths in the various death camps.

Until that time, however, individuals motivated by a search for the truth can only treat Holocaust orthodoxy with a high degree of skepticism. And that is the case whether or not the people in charge of us nowadays decide that skepticism is "anti-Semitic."

September 19, 2003

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