Bret Stephens accidentally stumbles upon an important subject, but refuses to discuss America without resorting to meaningless trivialities.
In case anyone was still under the impression that the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal espouse rival editorial viewpoints, Bret Stephens (Ehrlich) recently penned an editorial with an edgy headline and one paragraph of “agreeing with Trump for all the wrong reasons” rhetorical misdirection. Stephens tries to play immigration restrictionists for fools by spouting a few nativist talking points and then oh-so-deftly applying them to the angry white Americans themselves.
The U.S. has too many people who don’t work hard, don’t believe in God, don’t contribute much to society and don’t appreciate the greatness of the American system.
They need to return whence they came.
I speak of Americans whose families have been in this country for a few generations. Complacent, entitled and often shockingly ignorant on basic American law and history, they are the stagnant pool in which our national prospects risk drowning.
I can just see the respectable, bespectacled Times reader’s brow furrowing slightly as he scans the headline, his lips pursing as he skims the first paragraph, and his countenance relaxing with a nervous chuckle as he realizes his beloved opinion generator is not advocating deportation of brown people. Being a lifelong devotee of fake news, the Times reader will not bother to think about what he has just read; if he did he might realize that Stephens is actually writing about him. Luckily the godless, complacent Times reader has never been a fundamentalist in the interpretation of his news, and he rests secure in the knowledge that whatever the literal meaning of Stephens’s words, he really means Trump voters should be deported.
A coastal elite neoconservative who despises xenophobic whites; so far, so banal. One of the few noteworthy things about Stephens’s article is the extent to which mainstream publications are letting the mask slip regarding their ultimate goals and incentives. I have written previously about Bill Kristol’s inadvertent truth telling, and perhaps I am giving the New York Times too much credit, but their standards are a bit more restrictive than Kristol’s Twitter account. And yet they allow Stephens to describe the America of his dreams, the America of nameless, faceless interchangeable cogs whose value is determined by their conformity to a statistical ideal of economic productivity and social passivity.
So-called real Americans are screwing up America. Maybe they should leave, so that we can replace them with new and better ones: newcomers who are more appreciative of what the United States has to offer, more ambitious for themselves and their children, and more willing to sacrifice for the future.
This is at least an honest description of what the ruling class cares about; a country with a profitable balance sheet and citizens who do not get uppity. It is not even worth the time to refute the conflations and distortions in Stephens’s handling of statistics about the economy, crime, bastardy, or religiosity because all modern statistics are meaningless unless disaggregated by race. Go recheck all of Stephens’s stats for white, European non-immigrants and you will be instantly amazed by how much smarter, healthier, wealthier, and more peaceful the USA looks on paper. Of course, the next instant you will be horribly depressed by how much non-white non-immigrants punch above their weight when it comes to dragging down the averages for every civilizational good.
None of that matters to the Times because the form of society rather than its human content animates globalist policies. The Right by contrast is focused on the actual content of society; we care about whose traditions, languages, and families make up the nation. One side wants a future that closely resembles the demographic and cultural traditions of America’s past, while the other side wants to uproot tradition and disregard established familial ties. The cultural gatekeepers of society will tell you that the former is evil and the latter is inevitable.
I have always thought of the United States as a country that belongs first to its newcomers — the people who strain hardest to become a part of it because they realize that it’s precious, and who do the most to remake it so that our ideas may stay fresh.
Notice that Stephens’s sentence has no actual content but is the intellectual equivalent of rebranding french fries as Freedom Fries during the War on Terror. I defy anyone to tell me what Stephens is talking about. He describes the United States of his own imagining, which is filled with abstract ‘people’ who try to become part of ‘it’. Whatever ‘it’ may be, it is precious, but not too precious to be remade. Apparently the USA is composed of unspecified ‘ideas’ that will go stale unless we get new people to constantly remake the ideas. It does not matter who the people are, what the ideas are, or how they are remade. In this Stephens is not unique, but merely exhibits the Jewish alienation from European culture described by Hilaire Belloc nearly a century ago.
The Jew has neither that political instinct [the European sense of property and patriotism] in his national tradition nor a religious doctrine supporting and expressing such an instinct. The same thing in him which makes him a speculator and a nomad blinds him to, and makes him actually contemptuous of, the European sense of property…The process of thought in the patriotic citizen largely unconscious but none the less efficacious is somewhat as follows:
“I cannot function save as a citizen of my nation, and, what is more, that nation made me what I am. It is my creator in a sense and so has authority over me. I must even give up my life in its defence if necessary, because but for its existence I and those like me could not be. My happiness, my freedom of individual action, my self-expression are all bound up with the existence of the civic unit of which I am a part. If something which appears to me good in the abstract, or which apparently will procure for me a material good, involves danger to that civic unit, I must forego the good, regarding the continued existence and strength of my people as a greater good to which the lesser should be sacrificed.”
That, I say roughly, is the expression of the patriotic instinct in the European man. That is what he has felt for many and many a great State in the past and for every polity to which he has ever belonged; that is what he feels to-day for his country. The Jew has the same feeling, of course, for his Israel, but since that nation is not a collection of human beings, inhabiting one place and living by traditions rooted in its soil, since it has not a strong, visible, external form, his patriotism is necessarily of a different complexion. It has different connotations and our patriotism seems negligible to him.
Hilaire Belloc The Jews p 174
America has a peculiar trick of becoming all things to all men. Somehow everyone in the world feels entitled to say exactly what America should be. Unlike the annoying rhetoric Stephens deploys for cheap laughs at the expense of half the country, the indefinable nature of America that his article unintentionally hints at is the true source of political division. If Bret Stephens had a bit of self-awareness and any fellow feeling for the blood and soil of America, he could have explored that peculiarity rather than merely being one ethnic example of it. The unrealized potentiality inherent in America is a problem for every part of the political spectrum, and one the Right should be particularly aware of since Make America Great Again is currently such a tempting but imprecise slogan.
The essential features of America are extensions of European civilization, and one proof of this is the universal loathing Republicans and Democrats exhibit toward European people and their culture. Leftist historical revisionism attempts to obscure the European-American achievement by fabricating non-white achievements supposedly critical to the development of the USA. Black slaves built America, you know. And American agriculture and constitutionalism were adapted from the native tribes that discovered the “New World” long before white men. Conservatives likewise define American Greatness as all that is anti-European. America broke away from the medieval traditions of monarchy and ethno-nationalism to pursue the abstract ideals of the Enlightenment.
Liberals loathe European peoples above all and will mock blue collar whites for knowing more about NASCAR than about the high culture of their own ancestors, while conservatives despise European ideas and promote hollow, anti-intellectual consumerism so long as it is draped in an American flag. Consider the standard responses to Western films; America’s sole unique contribution to Western culture. Westerns are downright Shakespearean. They pour archetypal heroes and epics into a new medium while creating idioms and appealing to the artistic sentiments of highbrow and lowbrow audiences.
Classic Westerns tell the story of Europeans conquering civilizational rivals to establish and expand a white nation in virgin territory. The Left considers the whole story evil because whites defeat non-whites, and conservatives only love the conquest of the West because it established a country that now accepts people of every race, color, and creed. Apaches are the real xenophobes! No mainstream voice can praise America for being what it is: a monument to the displacement of non-whites by Europeans. This tension of having a culture derived from Europe and an anti-European national mythos was discernible in American literature early in our history.
Those Pilgrim Fathers and their successors never came here for freedom of worship. What did they set up when they got here…They came largely to get away – that most simple of motives. To get away. Away from what? In the long run, away from themselves. Away from everything. That’s why most people have come to America, and still do come. To get away from everything they are and have been.
‘Henceforth be masterless.’…
Which is all very well, but it isn’t freedom. Rather the reverse. A hopeless sort of constraint. It is never freedom till you find something you really positively want to be. And people in America have always been shouting about the things they are not. Unless, of course, they are millionaires, made or in the making…
It seems as if at times man had a frenzy for getting away from any control of any sort. In Europe the old Christianity was the real master. The Church and the true aristocracy bore the responsibility for the working out of the Christian ideals: a little irregularly, maybe, but responsible nevertheless. Mastery, kingship, fatherhood had their power destroyed at the time of the Renaissance. And it was precisely at this moment that the great drift over the Atlantic started. What were men drifting away from? The old authority of Europe? Were they breaking the bonds of authority, and escaping to a new more absolute unrestrainedness…
Liberty is all very well, but men cannot live without masters. There is always a master. And men either live in glad obedience to the master they believe in, or they live in a frictional opposition to the master they wish to undermine. In America this frictional opposition has been the vital factor. It has given the Yankee his kick. Only the continual influx of more servile Europeans has provided America with an obedient labouring class. The true obedience never outlasting the first generation…
America has never been easy, and is not easy today. Americans have always been at a certain tension. Their liberty is a thing of sheer will, sheer tension: a liberty of THOU SHALT NOT. And it has been so from the first. The land of THOU SHALT NOT. Only the first commandment is: THOU SHALT NOT PRESUME TO BE A MASTER. Hence democracy.
D.H. Lawrence Studies in Classic American Literature Ch 1: The Spirit of Place
It is not too much to say that every good thing in America springs from European culture or the European gene pool, and Americans in general do not like that fact. To the extent that anything is uniquely American, in either the conservative or liberal sense of the term, that thing is certainly worse than advertised and probably downright pernicious, but most Americans will still prefer it. This obstinate tendency to mistrust the very cultural tradition that underpins our nation is the American problem for the Right. It is visible in the thousands of whites nodding in agreement with Bret Stephens’s column even as they enjoy the cumulative fruits of millennia of European history and civilization. But Stephens is not entirely wrong to advocate for constant evolution as the defining feature of America. The Constitution, the supposed bedrock of our government, contains within itself the means to legally transform America into whatever the people can be convinced to accept. Remember that alcohol was once constitutionally prohibited and that the Bill of Rights originally did not limit state governments that chose to restrict free speech or the right to bear arms.
American subversives like La Raza or the New York Times editorial board are aware that they no longer have to go through the legal steps to amend the Constitution so long as they can present their vision of America in terms of the exceptionalism of a proposition nation. Should America subsidize the non-white demographic tidal wave and champion every sort of sexual deviancy? Should we embrace sharia as part of our values? Should we act as one giant branch of the Israeli Defense Force? We have to if we are going to remake the USA to keep our ideas fresh.
I am grateful for Bret Stephens’s article because it will help push conservatives to the Right. White Americans need to discard the optimistic, cooperative view of politics as a game between friendly rivals. There is no common ground to share with an opponent who wants to destroy you, your descendants, and the very memory of your ancestors. If the Right attracts enough Americans in the coming decade we may produce a resilient national culture and avoid the fate prophesied by D.H. Lawrence between the World Wars, but the self-destructive American under-consciousness is known and exploited by our enemies every day.
The deliberate consciousness of Americans so fair and smooth-spoken, and the under-consciousness so devilish. Destroy! destroy! destroy! hums the under-consciousness. Love and produce! Love and produce! cackles the upper consciousness. And the world hears only the Love-and-produce cackle. Refuses to hear the hum of destruction underneath. Until such time as it will have to hear.
The American has got to destroy. It is his destiny. It is his destiny to destroy the whole corpus of the white psyche, the white consciousness. And he’s got to do it secretly. As the growing of a dragon-fly inside a chrysalis or cocoon destroys the larva grub, secretly. Though many a dragon-fly never gets out of the chrysalis case: dies inside. As America might.
D.H. Lawrence Studies in Classic American Literature Ch 7: Nathaniel Hawthorne