Famed Mathematician John Nash Dies in Car Crash with Wife
Were Nash’s criticisms of Jews really all delusional? Or did his “beautiful mind” grasp essential truths even in its wildest flights? Why did the biographical film’s Jewish screenwriter fictionalize Nash’s life to attack anti-Communism — and totally leave out the “anti-Semitism”?
JOHN F. NASH JR. (pictured), a mathematician whose work on the nature of strategy and negotiation changed modern economics and whose personal struggles with mental illness touched millions, died Saturday in a car crash together with his wife, Alicia.
Their combined struggles with his mental illness was documented in the book, A Beautiful Mind, which was later transformed into an award-winning movie starring Russell Crowe.
The death of the couple together, friends related, was a sad and poignant epitaph to a unique modern love story.
The famed Nobel-prize winner and Princeton University scholar and his wife were killed when a taxi carrying them slammed into a guardrail on the New Jersey Turnpike, ejecting and killing both. He was 86 and she was 82.
Mr. Nash was the father of what is known in economics as the “Nash Equilibrium,” a state where rivals in a game, a negotiation or a competition can’t advance their gains by changing their positions and thus reach a steady state.
Emerging in the late 1940s — an era when the Cold War and growing nuclear arms race between the U.S. and Soviet Union put high stakes on negotiating strategy — his ideas enlivened the field and reached far beyond the cold and obscure calculus of advanced mathematics. Economists applied the ideas further to industrial organization and trade negotiations.
“I once said that if John got a dollar for every time someone talked of or used ‘Nash equilibrium,’ he would be a very rich man,” Avinash Dixit, an economics professor emeritus at Princeton University and friend of Mr. Nash for more than two decades, said in an email exchange Sunday shortly after hearing about the couple’s death.
Mr. Nash suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, which sidetracked his career and marriage for long stretches after he wrote his groundbreaking 32-page Princeton thesis on game theory at the age of 21. He earned his doctorate at Princeton at the age of 22 in 1950.
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Producers of the film based on Nash’s life, A Beautiful Mind, quietly left out all references to John Nash’s anti-Jewish views.
When the film was nominated for an Academy Award, some Academy members discovered passages deeply critical of Jews in the book on which the movie was based.
“Why am I voting for this Jew hater?” a long-term Jewish Academy member said just before voting took place: “I am a Jew! I feel sick to my stomach.”
Scenes found in the book A Beautiful Mind: The Life of the Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash that indicated Nash was aware of Jewish power and negative influence on society were completely scrubbed from the film, directed by Ron Howard and starring Russell Crowe.
“The root of all evil, as far as my personal life is concerned (life history) are Jews,” John Nash wrote in a letter in 1967. [Noted on page 326 of the book.] Later, working at Princeton, Nash claimed that he was not “anti-Semitic” and that the letter was a product of “delusional thinking.” During the 1960s, Nash’s writing was fanciful, dreamlike, and metaphorical in the extreme — almost psychedelic. But, as Jewish author Liah Greenfeld said in her book Mind, Modernity, and Madness, Nash’s “mad” ideas had a central core linked firmly to the real, which was “familiarly phrased in terms of the Jewish patriarchal history — of the diabolical Jewry insouciantly triumphing over those who have every right to triumph, while pretending to be a persecuted and discriminated-against tiny minority. A revolution against these illegitimate rulers of the world is fully justified…. The paranoid schizophrenic delusions of John Nash were not so bizarre, after all, and at least the psycho-logic behind them was as clear and conventional as that behind Rosenberg’s racial theory or the sympathy for the Palestinian cause on the campuses of the Ivy League universities.”
Author Sylvia Nasar’s repeated references to Nash’s feeling towards Jews were deliberately left off the screen.
“We didn’t want to go there,” a production source said. “This is a love story.”
The film’s screenwriter, Akiva Goldman, tries to portray John Nash as going mad because of the “paranoia” of anti-Communism, McCarthyism, etc. — a part, says Dr. Kevin MacDonald, “of the ongoing propaganda about that period from Jews attempting to consolidate the cultural revolution.”
Steve Sailer wrote of the film: “At age 21, Nash wrote up his Nobel idea about game theory. He formally showed how, even without a government to set rules, a small number of business rivals could reach a stable solution that would benefit each. This didn’t refute the free-market economics of Adam Smith, as the movie claims, but extended them.
“Cold War military planners instantly appreciated Nash’s contribution. Although often derided as Dr. Strangelove, the RAND Corporation’s nuclear strategists saw in the ‘Nash equilibrium’ hope that there could be a stable middle ground between nuclear war and surrendering to Stalin.
“After a decade of brilliance, Nash suddenly broke down in 1959.
“Goldman throws out most of these facts in order to force feed us the anti-anti-communist propaganda so popular among modern screenwriters obsessed with Hollywood’s blacklisting of their Stalinist predecessors….
“In Goldman’s hallucination, it is McCarthy-era paranoia that drives Nash mad. There’s no mention of the extraterrestrial and religious delusions that primarily troubled the real Nash. Instead, Goldman’s Nash goes bonkers worrying about Soviet spies. Since Nash was quite sane until 1959, long after Senator McCarthy’s demise, Goldman moves Nash’s breakdown up to McCarthy’s heyday in 1953.”
The indefatigable commentator Giuseppe Furioso said of Nash’s denial of his earlier position on Jews:
“Shades of Galileo! John Nash apologized for his ‘anti-Semitic’ comments while speaking to Mike Wallace on Sixty Minutes. They were described as a part of his ‘dark side’ that was ignored by the film. His ‘apology’ was that he was nuts at the time and suffered from many paranoid delusions and this was simply one of them. The interview did not even hint at what he may have said about Jews — which prevented the viewers from judging for themselves whether or not these comments about Jews were indeed paranoid delusions.
“This reminds me not only of Galileo’s apology, but of that pathetic old fool Billy Graham’s apology. Graham, as we all know, insists he does not remember making any ‘anti-Semitic’ comments although he is clearly heard on the Nixon tapes saying, ‘The Jewish stranglehold has got to be broken or this country is going down the drain’ and ‘They’re the ones putting out all this pornographic stuff.’ These are his words yet in his apology he says, ‘I was wrong for not disagreeing with the president…’ implying that his role in the conversation was more passive than the transcripts indicate.”
The Jewish reaction to Nash’s “anti-Semitism” — and their utter censorship of it in the film, despite the fact that they could have portrayed it as part of his schizophrenia — indicates that Nash’s awareness of the malevolent influence of Jews may have been more closely grounded to his rational genius than to his whispering voices.
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