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Darwinism, Jews, and White Nationalists

A right-wing Polish member of parliament, Janusz Korwin-Mikke, recently made waves with the astonishing claim that pogroms have been good for the Jewish people, allegedly because they acted as what biologists call “selective pressure” in the Darwinian struggle for existence. In common parlance, this means the pogroms weeded out the weak Jews, leaving the strong and robust ones to survive and reproduce.

The context for his remarks, incidentally, was a discussion of the coronavirus, which Korwin-Mikke also sees as a good thing, because he thinks it will help promote evolutionary progress by killing off the weak, leaving the superior specimens to propagate the species.

All of this may sound bizarre, but recently I have been learning that it is common today for white nationalists to rely on such Darwinian explanations to promote their racist, anti-Semitic perspective. In the past few months I have been working on a chapter (in a book on Darwinian Racism in the Nazi Worldview) on the Darwinian racism of white nationalists. Korwin-Mikke’s comments are unfortunately not uncommon in those circles.

Ben Stein and Expelled

Indeed the evolutionary psychologist Kevin MacDonald, an emeritus professor at California State University, Long Beach, has published a trilogy of scholarly books that purportedly explains the behavior of Jews and anti-Semites as evolutionary strategies in the Darwinian struggle for existence. MacDonald is a member of the white nationalist or alt-right movement, and he is widely cited by other white nationalists. Darwinian racism and evolutionary psychology are both de rigueur among white nationalists today.

MacDonald is so committed to Darwinian explanations for human behavior, in fact, that he has popularized (at least among fellow white nationalists) the claim that opposition to Darwinism is a Jewish plot to subvert the white race. When the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed came out over a decade ago, MacDonald explained that Ben Stein participated in order to further the interests of the Jews. Of course, just like most conspiracy theorists, MacDonald ignores many inconvenient facts, such as that most anti-Darwinists in the world are not Jews, and most Jews, especially secular Jews, accept Darwinism with alacrity.

Photo: Janusz Korwin-Mikke, by Adrian Grycuk / CC BY-SA 3.0 PL.