As We Begin a New Year….

New Year’s celebrations this year certainly took on a muted tone, at least in the mass media. In a piece I heard on NPR shortly after midnight of January 1, the commentator seemed unable to think of anything positive to say. Ostensibly, the reason for the gloom is our economic crisis. In reality, it comes from a growing sense that we have no control over how to face whatever crises the future brings. Even white liberals, whom one would expect to be thrilled at the election of Obama, do not seem genuinely excited. The sentiment I hear most often is that people “hope” things will get better under Obama. Hope. Funnily enough, people seem to be directing that hope, mainly, toward the possibility that racial tensions will be reduced once our non-white president is in office. With major threats to our economy and national security, with the systematic dysfunction of education and health care, we pin our hopes on black people finally coming to like us. And you know, I think maybe white Americans really want that more than anything.

Still, even if January 1 is no more than an arbitrary point on a calendar, I like the fresh feeling of starting a new year. In deepest winter, it is a time for looking ahead. As the John Wayne quote, apparently genuine,  reminds us, “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.” I also value the opportunity to make New Year’s resolutions, and have made a couple of personal ones. As for this weblog, I intend to keep it working at its intended task: in however small a way, promoting love of country for Americans and love of Western civilization for Westerners. My regular readers will know exactly what I mean by this, something for which I am deeply thankful. But I hope this year will also see many new visitors and ultimately, new friends and allies.

An interesting historical phenomenon associated with the New Year in America is the paper carrier’s address. When I delivered papers as a boy, the “Christmas tip” was always something to look forward to. But in earlier times, paper carriers would actually go to the homes of their customers on the new year and recite poems which combined some thoughts about the preceding year with exhortations for a new year’s “bonus.” Interestingly, the very first such poem I happened upon at in the linked collection has Uncle Sam, in 1852, bewailing the destruction being wrought by mass immigration – of Catholic Irish and Germans, no less. I quote the pertinent verse, not because it is great poetry or on the mark about those ethnic groups, but only because it shows a refreshing kind of popular resistance:

Turn we to home – to see what mighty strides
We here are making, over lands and tides;
Through the broad world our booming engines go,
Where dell and mountain sweep or billows flow.
Yet reap we not the fruits our labors win –
Scarce to secure our liberties begin –
While wandering Celts and squalit Swabians pour
Their whelming masses on our cumbered shore;
To curb our pride, to claim our dear-bought rights,
And filch the bread from hard-press’d laboring wights.
Hence Natives shake the slumbering lion’s mane,
And call upon their brethren – not in vain –
To quell the curse thus o’er the franchise spread,
And rob our toiling millions of their bread –

(The final line seems not to fit grammatically; if any reader is able to parse these lines to make sense of them, I would welcome hearing from him!)

While this weblog is not about me personally, it may be worth making a few comments about its intended meaning and how my own background relates to that meaning. Its focus is the promotion of historic American nationhood. The most immediate motivation for its creation comes from alarm over the destructive effects of mass immigration. But focusing on national identity is really one of an unlimited number of approaches one could take in response to this problem. Other writers focus specifically on the threat of Islam, or on racial differences, or on religious matters. I myself feel that the common cause we have with other Westerners trying to preserve their civilization may be more important, in a sense, than nation-based patriotism. Nevertheless, to be a Westerner is to be a Westerner of a particular nationality, and my own is not only indispensable to me, but something I want passed on to future generations.

Common to all traditionalist conservatives is the understanding that race is an essential part of one’s identity, and that the taboo in our society against acknowledging this is the single biggest obstacle to our ability to actively stand up and fight for our civilization. This weblog begins with the understanding that American civilization is essentially the creation of people of white, European descent. It acknowledges the important role, past and present, played by those of other races, and especially black Americans, and it holds no ill will toward any individual “minority” who respects the historic American civilization and supports its preservation. But its author is one who has understood clearly that you can’t have white civilization without white people, and that for a historically white nation to redefine itself as a space for all the other peoples of the world to colonize is not an act of generosity and broad-mindedness, but of national suicide. If this seems an odious notion to the new reader who may have casually stumbled upon this site, I only hope he will give a hearing to the arguments made here and elsewhere, and see if they don’t contain some truth.

Regarding the nature of that “white” identity, in the interests of full disclosure, I probably should admit that despite the very “Anglo-Saxon” theme of this site, I myself do not come from “founding” American stock, but am largely a mixture of post-1880 immigrants which includes quite a bit of Celtic as well as some Jewish background. I do not regard myself as at all Jewish and indeed do not know enough about Judaism to fake it if I wanted to, but obviously I include myself in the category of people I aim to reach in these writings, the “heritage Americans.” This is not to say that I aim to recklessly celebrate the “melting pot” and the indiscriminate mixing of peoples and races that is now the official ideal of our country. A certain amount of variety and new blood undoubtedly stimulates a nation, but even in the 1850s, and certainly in the Ellis Island years, mass immigration had severe costs. If anything, I agree with one of my online friends who remarked that if the population of America could come to resemble its founding population more, that would be a good thing and not a bad thing. But not being in any position to promote mass English immigration to this country, I have to content myself with paying tribute to my nation’s founders and promoting the creation of a civilization that they would recognize as a rightful descendent to theirs. That is, perhaps, my ongoing and final “assimilation” to America – and maybe yours too. What we make of our heritage is up to us.

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7 Responses to As We Begin a New Year….

  1. Hannon says:

    Happy New Year and thanks for your 2009 starter entry. We are up against quite a tide in terms of embracing or even recognizing the basic civilizational concept of America you present here. Not an organized bulwark in my view, but more like a floating jumble of stumps and branches– perhaps over 200 million souls who cannot begin to fathom your entreaty. And every information source in their lives points away from these truths.

    What you wrote reminded me of what a friend said recently, that if, in 50 or 100 years the United States is overwhelmingly Hispanic, that’s OK by him. Who cares about race or ethnicity, it would still be the USA with the same Constitution and laws wouldn’t it? How do you reason through this type of thinking? He is a very intelligent fellow but like many he puts on a mantle, perhaps subconsciously, of impenetrability when it comes to the real world consideration of race, ethnicity and culture. Going from subconscious to conscious is where it gets difficult.

    It is wrong that it should be a risk nowadays to say out loud “Whites (or Europeans) are the architects and principal builders of this country by far” without being seen as a racist. In those rare instances when I have such conversations I find it does help to cite as an analogy the idea that China is by, of and for Chinese, and the same applies to Turks, Tanzanians, etc. But somehow this melting pot metaphor is now in our genetic make-up and the average citizen, thinking himself color-blind, cannot conceive of America as anything but a grand opportunity for the rainbow mass of humanity. In other words, there are no “real Americans” in a racial sense except the nearly extirpated pre-American natives, but everyone seems to go along with the idea of real Swedes, real Thais and real Yemenis.

    It is a curious nation we live in.

  2. stephenhopewell says:

    Hannon,

    A belated Happy New Year to you. Your comment is beautifully put. “200 million souls who cannot begin to fathom” the entreaty.

    Yes, it is a most peculiar situation we are in, where people literally have been trained not to see certain things, and not primarily through compulsion and deceit but by a largely unconscious process.

    For me it has always been a matter of wanting to preserve my civilization, with race being merely a necessary but not sufficient component of it, as I believe Larry Auster has said. I wish people could understand that it has nothing to do with “disliking” certain ethnic groups.

    I guess we have to see the mystery as offering grounds for hope – if something so strange and improbable as our current situation could come to pass, maybe it’s possible for us to find a way out.

  3. Hannon says:

    Thank you for your reply. I like the optimism in your last paragraph. Indeed, finding ourselves a way out (or in such a process if we are not young) that is “strange and improbable” suggests to me hope for a transition that can occur without the violent revolution or fracturing feared by many. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

  4. Stephen:

    I wish people could understand that it has nothing to do with “disliking” certain ethnic groups.

    It seems to me that what it has to do with is that merely “liking” certain ethnic groups simply does not avail to assimilate them to our civilization. Consider: by the logic of Political Correctness, that my dog will not eat hay or pull a cart is supposed to prove irrefutably that I did not like my dog as well as I like my horse—for, surely, as Political Correctness would have us believe, if I really did like my dog then its diet and work habits would not long remain defective! The simple notion that a dog is a dog and a horse, a horse, is barred from the Politically Correct mind.

    Which brings me to Hannon’s point.

    Hannon:

    Your metaphor is lovely and, if you did not object, I would like to borrow it for my own use. However, I wonder if you do not mistake the flow of the tide. It seems to me that the high tide of Political Correctness is past. The tide is still at flood level, but begins quietly to recede even as we speak.

    Howard

  5. stephenhopewell says:

    Howard,

    Perfectly stated. And thank you for the link to that inspiring essay of yours.

    Every culture and ethnic group has its merits. I suppose I could even appreciate a trip to Somalia under certain circumstances (unlikely to ever occur). The problem is inviting them to join your fully developed society in large numbers as permanent, equal members of the family. It creates, inherently, a kind of warfare where the host group is diminished, even under the most congenial circumstances.

    I appreciate Hannon’s commentary too. It seems to me he might effectively expand some of his thoughts into full-length articles.

  6. Hannon says:

    Howard,

    Thank you for your kind words. You may make use my metaphor; I am very good at coming up with them, but only about one in 100 bears repeating. As to tide vs. flood, I would defend “tide” in the sense that we are talking about a more or less predictable occurrence through history that comes and goes in different strengths. But come and go it does with disquieting regularity. We should, collectively, expect both the ingress and egress of these events but seldom do; few would be expected to anticipate a flood.

    I enjoyed your linked essay also and found it forceful yet surprisingly optimistic. I hope you are right about the crumbling underpinnings of the left-liberal establishment. At least generationally they are starting to reach the stage of senescence and impotence. I especially liked your idea of taking on any willing white South Africans. They are excellent stock whether of Dutch or British ancestry and have built a fine country. I think you could have used the South African example to buttress your argument that aging liberal faith in liberal ideas has gone “Splat!” on the windshield of modern SA reality.

    Stephen– Thank you also for your words of encouragement. It’s funny how I tell myself that I don’t have time to produce a blog, yet I spend a frightful number of hours reading and commenting hither and yon. Experience for some future endeavor perhaps. But like so many (I suspect) I feel I really need grounding in the classics, actual book reading, before more serious pontificating. Works that somehow never appeared in the classroom. Auster has produced an excellent reading list that remains undented. I’ve been politically dormant for about two decades and have only started to delve into these subjects again in the past few years. The famous Chinese refrain, “May you live in interesting times” could be changed to “May you be awake and aware in interesting times”.

    You are quite right that a trip to Somalia would be dangerous. I’ve heard of people being stripped of *everything* in the middle of nowhere, but no real atrocities. The key is to have a guide who enjoys the good graces of local warlords. Sorry, local tribal leaders. The north, which is attempting a move for autonomy and calls itself Somaliland, is much more peaceful and interesting than the barbaric south of the country. But why on earth travel there in the first place you ask? Besides tranquil– and I mean tranquil– beaches, Somalia boasts some of the most exciting natural heritage of any semi-arid tropical country. Its topography is enriched by limestone scarps that rise to 5000+ feet in the north (replete with junipers) and this has allowed a great wealth of animals and plants to develop. Even the flatter coastal southern areas have interesting endemics. No I have not been but it is high on my list of destinations to get to someday.

  7. stephenhopewell says:

    Hannon –

    Interesting comments about Somalia; I actually only meant it as the most egregious example of a country whose people should not be allowed to immigrate here, my point being that if one went there as a visitor (with the necessary guide etc.) one could find beauty even in a culture with deeply objectionable qualities. But yes, it would be great to go to Africa under the right circumstances, though nowadays I’m yearning mostly for Europe….

    As for the need to be grounded in reading before blogging, I myself have spent most of the last couple decades NOT thinking about America, American history, etc. Very sad, but then that’s part of what got us to this terrible place, right? So what you see here is being made up as I go along. I try to start with some idea that feels “authentic,” grounded in childhood or some deep feeling or something I read/heard long ago, and then read something I think will help flesh out the issue.

    Feel free to email the address on the home page if you want to talk more about blogging, organization, etc. more.

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