The 4th of July was a blissful day for a small American boy. Brought by his parents to Main Street, he would watch the parade with its assemblage of local groups – school bands, the Little League teams, the Mayor, a few men in Revolutionary costume…. What it meant he could not have said, but there was a warm feeling in the sound of words like “revolution” and “liberty,” a thrill recalling heroic deeds mixed with the languid, lazy feeling of a summer holiday. The most inconsequential amusements – hot dogs, sparklers – were precious. The older boys, who set off firecrackers, swore, and tore down political posters, were objects more of fascination than of fear. Then in the evening, there were the fireworks! When the boy remarked that the loud booming ones were “scary,” his father explained that they were sounds of joy. Then, knowing what he was supposed to feel, he felt it.
He loved the National Anthem at baseball games, knew you were supposed to stand, hat off, with your hand over your heart, and once hit another boy who didn’t stand – a story told later, with amusement by his mother. He pored over the beautiful reprint of the Declaration of Independence purchased at some historic site. His possessions included Lincoln Logs, toy rifles and bows and arrows, coonskin caps, tricorn hats, Confederate flags, Indian gear; his heroes George Washington, Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone. In their front yard was a flagpole surrounded by a ring of daffodils. His father flew the flag on national holidays.
On July 4, we Americans celebrate Independence Day. Happy Fourth of July to all!
Stirrings of Life
On the birthday of our nation, those of us who have awoken to the real nature of our national crisis may find the occasion more demoralizing than cheering. On one recent July 4, my city’s newspaper rubbed the changing demographics in our face by featuring photos of various local residents along with a quote from each on what America means to them. Hispanic, Filipino, Somali, and black American faces crowded the page to tell us how America, for them, means an opportunity for a better life. The whites were represented by a lone female student and an aged World War II veteran. For white Americans, what could better symbolize the loss of our nationhood, of our identity as a people?
National life in America since September 11, 2001 can look like one manifestation after another of our national decline. We can almost see the parts falling off the clunky vehicle of our nation as she continues to rattle along. To name just a few of the horrors, we have witnessed: the dramatic growth in Muslim power and numbers; the visible infiltration of the entire country by Hispanics; and the transformation of the Iraq project into the systematic sacrifice of American interests and lives to alien and hostile peoples. And now, of course, we have an impossibly absurd presidential contest between an anti-American candidate and one who is not American at all in any traditional sense.
Despite the evils we face, though, there is one wonderful thing to give us all hope. And that is the growth of a new national consciousness among white Americans. Completely unnoticed by the mainstream media, writers publishing on the Internet are beginning to articulate an alternative vision not only to the mainstream liberal madness but also to the insipid, shallow “conservatism” found in publications like National Review. We may be politically powerless at present, but we also know as an absolute certainty that our movement is based on truth and love of the good and will not crumble when opposed, as do most of our hollowed-out people and institutions today.
Who Are Heritage Americans?
This blog is entitled The Heritage American. The expression occurred to me a couple of years ago as I was trying to think of a term to distinguish those who are truly and unambiguously “American” from those who, although they might be U.S.-born or citizens, are ethnically or otherwise different from the mainstream, historic American people. I have since seen it used by another writer in a letter written to VDare, but not in the specific sense I had in mind.
I once saw a routine by Stephen Colbert, in his “dumb right-wing TV personality” act, that captured the problem. Asked by a black female politician what his ethnicity was. Colbert drew himself up in mock offended dignity, and said, “American.” He then claimed to be unconscious of either his or his interlocutor’s race. The humor, of course, came from Colbert’s unconscious assumption that “white = American” and his obliviousness to his privileged status as a white male.
And yet we know exactly what Colbert meant. He is a white man born and raised in the United States. He is American. His ancestry connects him with one or more European countries but he could not become a “native” of one of those countries even if he tried. Such a person is a “heritage American.” It is not so much that he “deserves” the privileges of being American as it is that he is most truly a child of the traditional American nation. Sons and heirs may be deserving or undeserving, but their membership in the family is not in question. This is not true of any adult immigrant to America, even an Englishman. Black Americans, American Indians, and some of the newer non-European groups certainly are perhaps equally attached to this land, but they cannot be regarded as the same “people” as white Americans. As for the new third-world immigrants, nothing more need be said.
Why the importance of making race explicit in our definition of who is American? Until a few years ago, I believed in a “race-blind,” libertarian society which it seemed to me would bring about the greatest prosperity and happiness. However, and I know I am not alone in this, in the post-September 11 I came gradually to see that the qualities I and other Americans value, like “freedom” and “prosperity,” only can be realized by a historically particular people, namely white, English-speaking, Christian Europeans. Replace these people, and our nation dies. Various thinkers led me to this understanding, but Lawrence Auster stands out for his articulated vision of America and the West as composed of peoples and nations, his unique analysis of the nature of modern liberalism, and his honest discussion of racial differences and other issues key to our civilizational crisis.
“Heritage Americans” are the core population of the American nation, and the intended readership of this blog. They are white Americans of Judeo-Christian heritage (the Christian part being primary). They are the only Americans who can fully and without conflict identify with the founding population of the United States. They are direct victims of post-1960s “multicultural” America and are logically headed for extinction if they continue to allow mass third-world immigration and the replacement of traditional social entities with liberal institutions enforcing “equality” and “non-discrimination.” But they are also the group with the power to change the course of this country and to turn America once again into a great nation.
In my view there is no strict “ethnic test” for being an American by heritage. What is required is not actually being descended from the founding population, but the complete assimilation to the existing nation. I have a friend, born in America, who tells people “my parents are German.” It doesn’t occur to him that he could be anything other than American, and rightly so.
Our Challenge: Recreating a Traditional Society
But what is this “heritage” that unites us? Our heritage does not bring us “privilege,” despite the propaganda: we may be materially well off, but we are spiritually ill, voiceless, cut off from each other and our past, and lacking any vision for the future. Nor can we feel much “pride” in our nihilistic, hedonistic culture. True, there are the great achievements of our past. But few of us can take any credit for those achievements as individuals. What, then, do we have to work with in (re)building our nation?
Many answers can be suggested. In this blog I would like to focus on the idea of an imaginative re-creation of American culture, occurring in conjunction with the development of an actual, living community of Americans who participate in the culture.
A national life requires a shared culture. Unfortunately, our present culture is now so dominated by radical liberalism, nihilistic hedonism, and the ethnic and cultural destruction of white America that it has become next to impossible to “work within the system” to improve the situation. We therefore have to create a new culture. Paradoxically, this new culture must be rooted in the past, both in the traditions of America and of the larger Western civilization.
On a cultural level, we must look to American and Western history, literature, music, art, film, and folklore for materials we can use today in our own context.
On the personal level, we can support each other in developing physical and spiritual health, financial skills, self-defense skills, and other qualities useful to survive and prosper.
On the level of social life, there are numerous aspects of national life for us to discuss and to begin to establish shared understandings for. What standards should we set for relations between the sexes, childrearing, language use, manners, dress, work practices?
At the national level, we must continue to analyze political, social, and economic trends. When is mainstream political activity called for? What are the weaknesses in the liberal “system”?
Our “heritage” as Americans, then, is not something we are born with that makes us better than others. It is something given to us, to use well or to squander. Such is the challenge we face today.