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Asperger's -- The Jewish Syndrome?

June 19, 2012

Is an egoism bordering
on autism a racial characteristic?
 Is it a kind of genius?
Playwright David Mamet (left)
  an Ashkenazi Jew, suggests
 it accounts for the many famous
 Jewish film producers & directors.

Between .2 and .6 per cent of Americans suffer from it. 

Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger's syndrome or Asperger disorder, is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development. Although not required for diagnosis, physical clumsiness and atypical use of language are frequently reported.[1][2]

The syndrome is named after the Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger who, in 1944, studied and described children in his practice who lacked nonverbal communication skills, demonstrated limited empathy with their peers, and were physically clumsy.

by David Mamet
(from his book Bambi Vs Godzilla, 2007)

I think it is not impossible that Asperger's syndrome helped make the movies.

The symptoms of this developmental disorder include early precocity, a great ability to maintain masses of information, a lack of ability to mix with groups in age-appropriate ways, ignorance of or indifference to social norms, high intelligence and difficulty with transitions, married to a preternatural ability to concentrate on the minutiae of the task at hand.

This sounds to me like a job description for a movie director. Let me also note that Asperger's syndrome has its highest prevalence among Ashkenazi Jews and their descendants. For those who have not been paying attention, this group constitutes, and has constituted since its earliest days, the bulk of America's movie directors and studio heads.

Neal Gabler, in his An Empire of Their Own points out that the men who made the movies - Goldwyn, Mayer, Schenck, Laemmle, Fox, - all came from a circle with Warsaw at its center, its radius a mere two hundred miles. (I will here proudly insert that my four grandparents came from that circle).

Widening our circle to all of Eastern European Jewry (the Ashkenazim), we find a list of directors beginning with Joe Sternberg's class and continuing strong through Steven Spielberg's and the youth of today.

There was a lot of moosh written in the last two decades about the "blank slate", the idea that since each child is theoretically equal under the eyes of the law, each must, by extension be equal in all things and that such a possibility could not obtain unless each child was, from birth, equally capable - environmental influences aside - of succeeding in all things.

This is a magnificent and majestic theory and would be borne by all save those who had ever had, observed, or seriously thought about children.

Races, as Steven Pinker wrote in his refutational The Blank Slate, are just rather large families; families share genes and thus, genetic disposition.

Such may influence the gene holders (or individuals) much, some, or not at all. The possibility exists, however, that a family passing down the gene for great hand-eye coordination is likely to turn out more athletes than without.

The family possessing the genes for visual acuity will likely produce good hunters, whose skill will provide nourishment. The families of the good hunters will prosper and intermarry, thus strengthening the genetic disposition in visual acuity.

Among the sons of Ashkenazi families nothing was more prized than genius at study and explication.

Prodigious students were identified early and nurtured - the gifted child of the poor was adopted by a rich family, which thus gained status and served the community, the religion, and the race.

The boys grew and regularly married into the family or extended family of the wealthy. The precocious ate better and thus lived longer, and so were more likely to mate and pass on their genes.

These students grew into acclaimed rabbis and Hassidic masters, and founded generations of rabbis; the progeny of these rabbinic courts intermarried, as does any royalty, and that is my amateur Mendelian explication of the prevalence of Asperger's syndrome in the Ashkenazi.

What were the traits indicating the nascent prodigy? Ability to retain and correlate vast amounts of information, a lack of desire (or ability) for normal social interaction, idiosyncrasy, preternatural ability for immersion in minutiae; ecco, six hundred years of Polish rabbis and one hundred of their genetic descendants, American film directors.

Thanks to  Stephen Hsu

Related - Asperger's & Jewish Social Ostracism

First Comment from Stephen Coleman:

Asperger's often goes undiagnosed. One child I worked with was in therapy since he was 4 years old, he was 12 the first time I saw him. He was very intelligent and complained of everybody picking on him.  I thought I would take the time and observe him in a classroom setting.  The other kids were verbally vicious towards him and his defenses were as a 4 year old.  He has Asperger's. He was in therapy for 8 years with many therapists and not one caught it. 

Asperger's runs in families, no doubt.  It usually affects males in the paternal line.  Asperger's children truly suffer from constant harassment from their peers, siblings and parents.  The boy's father was very abusive trying to force the boy to act normal, this lead to the end of the marriage as his mother was more understanding.  Most Asperger's have PTSD  and dissociation compounding the issue.

Though I don't work with autism, several of my colleagues are having good results. It is an epigenetic issue and David Mamet actually is somewhat describing epigenetics whether he realizes it or not.

Case study by a colleague:  12 year old Jewish boy, a virtual living vegetable.  He would only sit under a table. He was very still in his movements, quiet and strangely breathed slowly through his mouth as if breathing through a tube.

His parents were asked many questions about their family tree. The boys paternal grandfather was asked many questions. This grandfather had escaped from a Nazi concentration camp; the guards saw him and gave chase. Terrified he hid among reeds in a river. He submerged himself using a hollow reed to breathe through.

Guards were stationed only feet from him for 2 days. He could not move or he would be shot. The grandfather never spoke of this to anybody.  His autistic grandson snapped out of it the moment he heard the story. 

He was endlessly reliving the terror of his grandfather.

This boy then was able to describe his experience.  He said it was as if he were a stellar black hole, where information could come in, but not go out. He understood everything even though he appeared comatose.

I have heard that he has completely recovered and is doing well in school.

Scruples - the game of moral dillemas

Comments for "Asperger's -- The Jewish Syndrome? "

Jim said (June 23, 2012):

I am confident that my younger brother and possibly my father have Asperger's Syndrome. A few years ago I had an "Ah Ha!" moment when I first read about Asperger's because it seemed to describe my brother accurately.

Although he doesn't have all of the outward symptoms of Asperger's, he is socially awkward and is very loud and verbose when he speaks; especially when it's about a subject with which he is familiar.

If during a group type conversation the subject switches to another topic, he will return to the previous topic especially if it is something he knows about.

He seems to think that whatever his is interested in that everyone else should be just as interested. Then when they're not he acts rejected.

He often interrupts his children whenever they are talking about something which interests them and will finish their story for them.

While growing up he wanted to always be around me, which on its surface may not be so strange but he had difficulty making friends of his own so he tried to adopt mine. I would also catch him at school wearing my clothes.

He had difficulty in school. I remember my mother taking him to remedial education classes and to a speech therapist.

He tends to overwhelm people and intrude into their world and always seems to be seeking acceptance.

It is difficult for me to be around him for any length of time because of his loudness and domination of a conversation.

Whenever I've had all I can take of him and when his attention has turned onto someone else I will quietly leave the room. However, I know that when I resort to this tactic to save my own sanity, his feelings are terribly hurt and I can see that he feels a deep rejection...which in turn makes me feel bad. But what am I to do?

Interestingly, both my brother and my father are left handed. And both tend to freeze and are stupefied during crisis moments.

In spite of all his challenges, he joined the Air Force and became an aircraft environmental systems (heating, cooling and pressurization) expert.

This article focuses on the Jewish aspect of Asperger's syndrome but we are Caucasian and primarily of Irish decent so I'm not sure what to make of that.

Greg said (June 21, 2012):

My take on Aspergers is its Definition in the mid 1940's after centuries of disease observance. Autism was also defined by a guy called Kanner in a very similar time-frame. A common denominator at that time was a more vigorous pertussis(whooping cough) vaccine campaign and the emergence of the DPT vaccine. In those days the vaccine was only affordable to the wealthy and the up and coming middle class and that is where we saw those early cases.

The condition spread throughout the general population in line with federal and state vaccine promotion. The argument about vaccines and Autistic Spectrum disorders is still very much on the boil. The big question that never gets past the umpire is how many totally unvaccinated children get ASD?

The Amish community has been noted for very few ASD cases.
That some genetic groups may produce a more unique set of reactions to vaccine ingredients is possible. I suspect eugenicists have been working on this for some time.

Serena said (June 20, 2012):

As all 'mental' conditions are the invention of Big Pharma (big farmer) to cover up the results of their poisons, wars and tormented, demented psychopathology, it would be more accurate to state that all known ills emanate from this Khazarian, Ashkanazian tribe of rejects and retards. I tend towards Thomas Szaz's evaluation of mental illness and psychiatry. Yet, it is a fact that all injections, medications and radiations damage the brain, central nervous system and immunity. But then, I've evidently caught 'ODD' - Oppositional Defiance Disorder!

Dick said (June 20, 2012):

This is a pretty interesting theory, but I have a few concerns.

1. Where does Mamet get the idea that Asperger's has its highest
prevalence among Ashkenazi Jews? Is this just generally accepted?

Perhaps it's culturally caused, or Jews may just be more likely to
seek diagnosis.

2. From my personal experience and what I've read, I don't know if egoism (or maybe even autism) is a fair description. It's more like experiencing such intense sensory and emotional input that you have to tune it out and focus on some pursuit to cope. Gary McKinnon (the guy who hacked UFO secrets out of Pentagon computers) seems to me a classic case. Stanley Kubrick (Jewish) might be another in Mamet's mold.

I can imagine someone with Asperger's being a great, obsessive
artist like Kubrick. I can't imagine them being a great producer,
businessperson, etc. Too much ambition required, and the goal
(power) is detached from the activity. As someone with borderline, undiagnosed Asperger's, I have intense interests and artistic talents, but very little ambition, organizational skills, interest in social relationships, etc. I can't imagine people like Goldwyn and Mayer had these problems.

I don't doubt that there's truth to what Mamet is suggesting, but I
think it's incongruous with certain negative Jewish stereotypes
like tribal attachment, ambition, dishonesty, manipulativeness,
etc., which fit more into the mold of something like narcissistic
personality disorder.

Do you have any thoughts about whether a typical Jewish
acculturation might produce symptoms of Asperger's (introversion, social problems, high intelligence, obsessiveness, etc.), rather than them being genetically caused?

RL said (June 20, 2012):

Re Stephen Coleman's comment, wherein a "case study" is quoted:

"This grandfather had escaped from a Nazi concentration camp; the guards saw him and gave chase. Terrified he hid among reeds in a river. He submerged himself using a hollow reed to breathe through.
Guards were stationed only feet from him for 2 days. He could not move or he would be shot. The grandfather never spoke of this to anybody. His autistic grandson snapped out of it the moment he heard the story."

As with so many so-called "personal accounts" of Nazi camps and ovens and mass gassing shower rooms etc, this item is likewise either highly problematical or an outright lie or invention. As the discussion in the following link indicates, people who have attempted to duplicate the movie-fiction "breathing through a reed" have almost instantly discovered the impossibility of sustaining more than a few breaths, even with the head just below the surface, where the "guards" who were "only feet from him" would have surely noticed. Moreover, unless the typically quite cold German rivers happened to be running warmer than a tropical equatorial river that day, the man would like have perished of hypothermia within hours.

Although only of peripheral interest to the main point of the article, it nevertheless illustrates how easy it is to be led astray via false information, which leads to false argument and conlusion.

Anon said (June 20, 2012):

My youngest was diagnosed with Aspergers. He is only 1/4 Jewish. He learned to read by himself when he was 2, could turn on the computer and access the Internet by 2 and a half, could write in Portuguese and English by 3.

He suffered from severe food allergies from birth, and could only feed on an amino-acid formula. Later he developed respiratory allergies. Now that he is almost 5, he overcame it all and can eat anything.

It really seems that allergies had something to do with his withdrawal and fixed attention, especially at the computer, which he loves. But maybe the fact that he was the "sick baby" of the family was also a factor. Who knows? Anyway, I also stopped any kind of vaccination when he was 2. My suspicion is that babies with allergies react badly to vaccines, as they do with any foreign molecule. The exaggerated reaction from the immune system probably causes some kind of brain disorder.

He started to get better when he became 3 and started kindergarten. In just one year, he is interacting with everybody, enjoys physical contact and is even starting conversations with strangers in the elevator. A real miracle. He is also very affectionate, not cold or egotistic at all. But he still loves the computer and video games and is a little genius when compared to his school pals. Is this a disease or just a personality trait ?

Anyway, I also started to write when I was 3, and I am not Jewish, as far as I know.

I am writing this just to show that the subject is very complex and nobody really understands it completely.

Tony said (June 20, 2012):

puh-lease...mamet is ignorant of or left out the fact that success shows up after satanic bankers decide that ashkenazim will make great dupes/slaves in the new world order...mamet portrays symptoms of a classic atheist/satanist/humanist...i.e. way too full of his own self declared importance.

limitless fiat money can make the desert bloom....look at dubai...or make a hack one of the biggest movers in hollywood...when i rewatch spielberg movies, i am amazed at how badly they fare the test of time...

Adam said (June 19, 2012):

That is curious. I have a son with Asperger's and both my wife and I have Ashkenazi lineage. I had never heard of this theory of origin and as such I will look into it further.

In response to Martin: the condition is very real and has caused real hardships for my son as he has been teased and harassed by school mates and even some adults we have known. It's quite sad really as he is a particularly well mannered and well behaved (especially by comparison to his peer group); and yet, he is bullied because the little indicators of having Asperger's.

Furthermore, even though we have Ashkenazi grandparents we are equally European (My wife Ashkenazi (a Roth), Dutch and German and I with equal parts Norwegian and English with Ashkenazi from the German side) I find no reason to blame or denigrate all Ashkenazi for the acts of a few -- the same as with any other race. In my lifetime I have seen many unbelievable atrocities committed by the "good" people in our Midwestern communities.

Another point that I like to make (though it may be difficult to establish the validity). Israel, originally, was comprised of 12 tribes. Eleven of them had vanished and it is reasonable to believe they were dispersed among some the the nations of the known world -- like Europeans as well as East and South of Israel. So, though it is impossible to know, many people alive today could have ancestral lineage to ancient Israel...just something to consider.

Martin said (June 19, 2012):

You can include scientists/technologists in "AshkenaziJews with Asopergers" as well as Bankers, as well bureaucrats like the Global Dictatorship of Bureaucrats in the Communist one world Government.

Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at