Jewish Involvement in Shaping U.S. Immigration Policy – Pt. 2

From Ch. 7 (“Jewish Involvement in Shaping US Immigration Policy”) of Kevin MacDonald’s The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements.

Pp. 245-6:

It should be noted as a general point that the effectiveness of Jewish organizations in influencing U.S. immigration policy has been facilitated by certain characteristics  of  American  Jewry  that  are  directly  linked  with  Judaism  as  a group evolutionary strategy, and particularly an IQ that is at least one standard deviation  above  the  Caucasian  mean  (PTSDA,  Ch.  7).  High  IQ  is  associated with success in a broad range of activities in contemporary societies, including especially wealth and social status (Herrnstein & Murray 1994). As Neuringer (1971,  87)  notes,  Jewish  influence  on  immigration  policy  was  facilitated  by Jewish  wealth,  education,  and  social  status.  Reflecting  its  general  disproportionate representation in markers of economic success and political influence, Jewish  organizations  have  been  able  to  have  a  vastly  disproportionate  effect on  U.S.  immigration  policy  because  Jews  as  a  group  are  highly  organized, highly intelligent and politically astute, and they were able to command a high level of financial, political, and intellectual resources in pursuing their political aims. Similarly, Hollinger (1996, 19) notes that Jews were more influential in  the  decline  of  a  homogeneous  Protestant  Christian  culture  in  the  United States  than  Catholics  because  of  their  greater  wealth,  social  standing,  and technical skill in the intellectual arena. In the area of immigration policy, the main   Jewish   activist   organization   influencing   immigration   policy,   the AJCommittee,  was  characterized  by  “strong  leadership  [particularly  Louis Marshall],  internal  cohesion,  well-funded  programs,  sophisticated  lobbying techniques, well-chosen non-Jewish allies, and good timing” (Goldstein 1990, 333).  Goldberg  (1996,  38–39)  notes  that  presently  there  are  approximately 300 national Jewish organizations in the United States with a combined budget estimated in the range of $6 billion—a sum, Goldberg notes, greater than the gross national product of half the members of the United Nations.

P. 249:

…Although  playing  virtually  no  role  in  the restrictionist  position  in  the  congressional  debates  on  immigration  (which focused  mainly  on  the  fairness  of  maintaining  the  ethnic  status  quo;  see below), a component of the intellectual zeitgeist of the 1920s was the prevalence of evolutionary theories of race and ethnicity (Singerman 1986), particularly the theories of Madison Grant. In The Passing of the Great Race Grant (1921)  argued  that  the  American  colonial  stock  was  derived  from  superior Nordic  racial  elements  and  that  immigration  of  other  races  would  lower  the competence level of the society as a whole as well as threaten democratic and republican institutions. Grant’s ideas were popularized in the media at the time of the immigration debates (see Divine 1957, 12ff) and often provoked negative  comments  in  Jewish  publications  such  as  The  American  Hebrew  (e.g., March 21, 1924, 554, 625).

Grant’s  letter  to  the  House  Committee  on  Immigration  and  Naturalization emphasized the principle argument of the restrictionists, that is, that the use of the 1890 census of the foreign born as the basis of the immigration law was fair to all ethnic groups currently in the country, and that the use of the 1910 census  discriminated against the “native Americans whose ancestors were in this country before its independence.” He also argued in favor of quotas from Western  Hemisphere  nations  because  these  countries  “in  some  cases  furnish very undesirable immigrants. The Mexicans who come into the United States are  overwhelmingly  of  Indian  blood,  and  the  recent  intelligence  tests  have shown  their  very  low  intellectual  status.  We  have  already  got  too  many  of them  in  our  Southwestern  States,  and  a  check  should  be  put  on  their  increase.” Grant  was  also  concerned  about  the  unassimilability  of  recent immigrants. He included with his letter a Chicago Tribune editorial commenting on a situation in Hamtramck, Michigan, in which recent immigrants were described as demanding “Polish rule,” the expulsion of non-Poles, and use of only  the  Polish  language  by  federal  officials.  Grant  also  argued  that  differences in reproductive rate would result in displacement of groups that delayed marriage and had fewer children—a comment that reflects ethnic differences in life history strategy (Rushton 1995) and clearly indicating a concern that as a result of immigration his ethnic group would be displaced by ethnic groups with  a  higher  rate  of  natural  increase.

Pp. 250-1:

In Chapter 2 I showed that Stephen Jay Gould and Leon Kamin have presented  a  highly  exaggerated  and  largely  false  account  of  the  role  of  the  IQ debates  of  the  1920s  in  passing  immigration  restriction  legislation.  It  is  also very easy to overemphasize the importance of theories of Nordic superiority as an ingredient of popular and congressional restrictionist sentiment. As Singerman (1986, 118–119) points out, “racial anti-Semitism” was employed by only “a handful of writers;” and “the Jewish ‘problem’ . . . was a minor preoccupation  even  among  such  widely-published  authors  as  Madison  Grant  or  T. Lothrop  Stoddard  and  none  of  the  individuals  examined  [in  Singerman’s review] could be regarded as professional Jew-baiters or full-time propagandists  against  Jews,  domestic  or  foreign.”  As  indicated  below,  arguments related to Nordic superiority, including supposed Nordic intellectual superiority, played remarkably little role in Congressional debates over immigration in the 1920s, the common argument of the restrictionists being that immigration policy should reflect equally the interests of all ethnic groups currently in the country. There is even evidence that the Nordic superiority argument had little favor with the public: A member of the Immigration Restriction League stated in 1924 that “the country is somewhat fed up on high brow Nordic superiority stuff ” (in Samelson 1979, 136).

Nevertheless, it is probable that the decline in evolutionary and biological theories of race and ethnicity facilitated the sea change in immigration policy brought about by the 1965 law. As Higham (1984) notes, by the time of the final victory in 1965, which removed national origins and racial ancestry from immigration  policy  and  opened  up  immigration  to  all  human  groups,  the Boasian  perspective  of  cultural  determinism  and  anti-biologism  had  become standard  academic  wisdom.  The  result  was  that  “it  became  intellectually fashionable to discount the very existence of persistent ethnic differences. The whole  reaction  deprived  popular  race  feelings  of  a  powerful  ideological weapon” (Higham 1984, 58–59).

Jewish  intellectuals  were  prominently  involved  in  the  movement  to  eradicate the racialist ideas of Grant and others (Degler 1991, 200). Indeed, even during  the  earlier  debates  leading  up  to  the  immigration  bills  of  1921  and 1924,  restrictionists  perceived  themselves  to  be  under  attack  from  Jewish intellectuals. In 1918 Prescott F. Hall, secretary of the Immigration Restriction League, wrote to Grant, “What I wanted . . . was the names of a few anthropologists of note who have declared in favor of the inequality of the races. . . . I  am  up  against  the  Jews  all  the  time  in  the  equality  argument  and  thought perhaps you might be able offhand to name a few (besides [Henry Fairfield] Osborn) whom I could quote in support” (in Samelson 1975, 467).

Grant also believed that Jews were engaged in a campaign to discredit racial  research.  In  the  introduction  to  the  1921  edition  of  The  Passing  of  the Great Race, Grant complained that “it is well-nigh impossible to publish in the American newspapers any reflection upon certain religions or races which are hysterically  sensitive  even  when  mentioned  by  name.  The  underlying  idea seems  to  be  that  if  publication  can  be  suppressed  the  facts  themselves  will ultimately  disappear.  Abroad,  conditions  are  fully  as  bad,  and  we  have  the authority of one of the most eminent anthropologists in France that the collection  of  anthropological  measurements  and  data  among  French  recruits  at  the outbreak of the Great War was prevented by Jewish influence, which aimed to suppress any suggestion of racial differentiation in France” (pp. xxxii–xxxiii).

This entry was posted in Immigration, Jewish. Bookmark the permalink.