Aid or Comfort?

Nearly four years ago now, I started experimenting with creating my own blog, which I inaugurated on July 4, 2008, after a couple of earlier “test” postings. I did so after a long period of reading and commenting at others’ blogs, some of which have since become defunct, others of which you see on the blogroll on the right. During the past year, my output has been low, mainly due to personal commitments which took away my time to write, but also, I suppose, because I ran into a certain feeling that it was getting harder to say something new, and hard to meet my assignment to myself to produce high-quality weekly essays backed by reading and research. Still, the Heritage American lives! As one of my blogging colleagues wrote quite some time ago, “I Will Never Stop Blogging.” (He appears not to have posted anything since then – but I hope he keeps his promise to return!) Or as I once put it: if I ever stop blogging, it will be because I’ve found a better gig than this space here – and I don’t intend to leave my readers uninformed of the fact.

This blog (I still hate the word, but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that what I have here is, indeed, a blog) was based on a fairly specific, clear concept: rather than writing about current events and politics directly, I would delve into the American past through literature and history, and try to apply something I found (or imagined I found) to some aspect of the current situation. On one level, I take a stance of traditional, pre-1960s American patriotism, and I often try to read works published before our 1960s Cultural Revolution for my research, since they narrate our past so much more clearly and with a goodwill absent in many contemporary sources. You might glance at my subjects and conclude I’m just an old-fashioned “history buff.” It’s almost the opposite, in fact; I’m relatively ignorant of American history, and my writings represent an effort to learn the basics. What I do have more than most younger Americans (and I myself am well into middle age) is a sense of traditional patriotism, which I picked up in childhood through family and other influences.

But this blog was never really about going back to the past – the past America gave birth to the present America, so merely going back would mean repeating our terrible errors. Nor, in fact, was it meant to be exclusively about America or for Americans, much less to trumpet American superiority or exceptionalism. In the larger sense, what must be defended is the West as a whole, and though America represents in some ways the high point of Western civilization, in other ways we never quite reached European levels of cultural achievement, and our greatest achievement – in spreading and promoting liberalism throughout the world – may turn out to be our greatest sin. No, the main reason I visit America’s past is to find better answers to the question of who we are. The nation is not the totality of personal identity; we belong to families and smaller communities first, and at the highest level answer to God, not to country. Still, the nation is indispensible; where can we ever be at home if we have no nation? I’m convinced that most of us have truly lost that instinctive sense of identity that separates us from other nationalities. And in the end, isn’t it this loss that makes it possible for us to accept the catastrophic non-Western mass immigration that threatens now to destroy everything we have and are?

One area of tension in writing these pieces has been between two possible purposes: that of changing someone’s mind, and that of speaking to those who already share my core beliefs. If I could reach people like my liberal relatives and colleagues, and convince them that their belief in equality, tolerance, and diversity is exactly what’s leading to the destruction of our society, that would be a wonderful thing. (Not that I pretend to have the wisdom or eloquence to do this, when so many truly great writers and thinkers have been able to.) On the other hand, the reality might be that most of my readers are already convinced of the same general truths that motivate my writing. In this case, blogging becomes more a form of comfort and inspiration – sharing ideas with like-minded people, offering thoughts that might be of small but real value, and receiving the same.

I’ve come to think that for the most part blogs like this one are really doing the second thing most of the time. The cultural divide is truly enormous, and no one in our society turns easily to traditionalism, race realism, or other anti-liberal positions. In this case, it follows that conservative or traditionalist blogging is done primarily for friendship, comfort, and personal satisfaction, rather than to argue with and win over others to one’s cause. And I suppose that’s fine. These are precious things in themselves.

I can say that in the past few months I’ve received a handful of hostile comments by people claiming to be offended by things I’ve said about “Davy” Crockett or George Armstrong Custer. How these individuals came upon this blog I have no idea, but I am flattered by their responses, in a way. They make me feel I’ve reached the mainstream. To friends of this blog, old and new, I encourage you to visit (or resume visiting) once a week or so. The normal date of posting will be Mondays. And comments are most welcome!

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