June 01, 2009
Lost in Justin Raimondo‘s torrent of mistaken assumptions and wild accusations is one useful question: What do “white nationalists” want? By putting the term in quotation marks, Mr. Raimondo has stumbled onto an important truth, namely, that there is no accepted term for contemporary Americans who still hold some of the views about race that were taken for granted by virtually all Americans until about the 1950s.
Until then, most people believed race was an important aspect of individual and group identity. They believed that the races differed in temperament and ability, and whites preferred the societies built by whites to those built by non-whites. They wanted the United States to be peopled by Europeans because they believed only people of European stock would maintain the civilization they valued. These views were so wide-spread, so taken for granted, so indisputable that there was no term for them. Just as there was no name for people who expected the sun to rise in the East, there was no name for people whose views are today sometimes given the clumsy term “white nationalism.”
The national-origins immigration policy that lasted until 1965 embodied this basic understanding of race. As one of the supporters of that policy, Congressman William Vaile of Colorado explained in 1924, “[the United States] is a good country. It suits us. And what we assert is that we are not going to surrender it to somebody else or allow other people, no matter what their merits, to make it something different.” I might add that even if this sentiment shocks Americans today, it is exactly the view of their own country held by virtually every Japanese, Israeli, or Mexican.
What perhaps most succinctly characterizes those whom Mr. Raimondo calls “white nationalists” is the conviction that it was a terrible mistake to abandon national-origins quotas and throw the United States open to immigration from everywhere. As Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina wondered at the time: “What is wrong with the national origins of the American people? What is wrong with maintaining them? What is wrong with preferring as immigrants one’s own kinsmen?” There were no good answers to those questions then and there is none today.
I believe Sam Ervin”and Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt”shared my desire for a country in which our ancestors were respected as pioneers and statesmen, not reviled as murderers and thieves. I believe they wanted a country in which their children’s children would walk in the ways of their forebears, sing the same songs, worship the same God, revere the same heroes, and proudly carry forward the civilization and culture of the West. I am certain they believed this would be possible only in a nation whose majority people were the biological heirs to the creators of that culture and civilization.
My hopes for the land in which my descendants will live are no different from those of virtually every person who has ever lived anywhere. The idea that nothing will be lost if a founding population is replaced with aliens is a new disease that strikes only whites. Our Mexican neighbors would scoff at the notion that “diversity” is a strength or that millions of English-speaking, white-skinned immigrants were a form of “cultural enrichment.” They would be astonished at the idea of elevating to a position of power a gringa who claimed white women made better decisions than Mexican men. In all these things they could not be more natural, normal, or healthy. It is we who have betrayed the ideals of our ancestors and diced with our children’s future by opening the doors to dispossession.
Is dispossession too strong a word? Just visit Detroit or Miami or parts of Los Angeles. You will not find the civilization Jefferson or Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt thought they were building for their children. There are great swathes of America in which Spanish”or even Chinese”is the lingua franca, and where English-speakers are out of place. At the college down the road there are footbaths in the student union so Muslim immigrants can clean their feet before salaaming in the worship area they demanded be set aside for them. Washington’s and Jefferson’s names are being pulled down from public schools to be replaced with Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King.
I am not certain it is possible to salvage from the chaos immigration is bringing to this country a nation of which my grandchildren can even feel a part, much less be proud. But unless whites wake up from their stupor, unless they”like the white firemen of New Haven”realize they have legitimate rights as a group and are prepared to fight for them, they will be shoved aside by Africans, Asians, Mexicans, Haitians, and Muslims who have, in addition to very sharp elbows, a keen sense of their own interests.
It is certainly true that there are many group identifications besides race. Our deepest ties are to our families, and our loyalties expand in concentric and overlapping circles: clubs, friends, work groups, nationalities, even cities and states. But the largest group to which most people feel a natural loyalty is race. That is because race marks the limit of our extended families, and defines the group to which we are genetically closer than to any other.
Loyalties of this kind are not rational but they are no less powerful for this reason. I love my own children more than I love the children of strangers, not because they are objectively superior but because they are mine. No one disputes my right to this irrational loyalty”nor should they dispute my right to an equally irrational, equally deep and genetic loyalty to my extended family.
At the same time, though I make sacrifices for my own children that I would never make for the children of others, this implies no ill feeling for other children. I can even have great affection for other children but mine come first. It should not require pointing out that, in like manner, loyalty to a race or nation need imply no ill feeling for any other. I can admire and like the Chinese or the Watusi without wanting my own country or my own descendants to become Chinese or Watusi. They, in turn, have no desire to fill their countries with Europeans.
Mr. Raimondo seems to think only a Nazi could oppose miscegenation or care about the racial/ethnic composition of his country. I”m sure we can count on him to explain to Israelis who want a Jewish state, and to the many Jews and blacks who oppose inter-marriage that they are actually Nazis. And, of course, the many Americans who opposed what they called “amalgamation” and even passed laws to forbid it were all Nazis long before Nazism. The Japanese, who would rather invent clever robots than encourage immigrants, and the Mexicans who do not let non-citizens own property are no doubt Nazis, too. This is the sort of silliness that comes from thinking in clichÃ©s, from swallowing the mantras of liberal egalitarianism.
Mr. Raimondo seems to insist on looking at everything from a libertarian perspective so let us adopt one. Mr. Raimondo does not appear to understand that I am not proposing a state-enforced caste system; I want to dismantle the one we have, the one that turned the New Haven firemen into untouchables. Likewise, I have always stood for completely free association, and if someone wants to associate across racial lines that is his business. In 1843, Massachusetts repealed its anti-miscegenation laws for the same reason I oppose them: healthy societies don”t need them.
Many doctrinaire libertarians think there should not even be immigration control. They argue that in an ideal world of private property each property owner could set his own immigration policy. Until that day comes, I am certainly not proposing an expansion of state power; merely a policy that preserves our heritage rather than devour it.
And what if, like Mr. Raimondo, we are to put libertarianism before the preservation of race or heritage? Perhaps he has not noticed that it is only whites who have even imagined an individualism as pure as libertarianism. How many non-white allies has he found in his battle against the state? Does he really think Mexicans and Africans will help him dismantle state power rather than seize it for their own purposes? By ignoring race Mr. Raimondo is ensuring the failure of what I take to be his most cherished project.
Where Mr. Raimondo and I most clearly part company is that I am in earnest about the survival of my people and their civilization. For that I apologize to no one. If Mr. Raimondo does not see the crisis, he has every right to enjoy his ignorance, but he joins forces with the very multi-culturalists he claims to oppose when he denies to whites an awareness of their group interests without which they are doomed to oblivion.