The View From 1776

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Thursday, May 27, 2004

Who Are We?  -  Additional Comments

The United States was founded upon the English and Protestant (WASP) culture brought to North America in the early 1600s.  That culture was the unwritten constitution of the United States until the mid-20th century. 

The term WASP, as a symbol for the original unwritten constitution, has now become one of derision or aspersion.  Understanding why is the central theme of THE VIEW FROM 1776.

?Who Are We?? The Challenges to America?s National Identity,? by Samuel P. Huntington was recommended reading in the most recent posting.  It presents a very useful history of the development of America’s consciousness of itself as a single nation.  It reminds us that originally colonies, then states, were the primary identity of most people, that until after the Civil War, people spoke of “these” United States, rather than “the” United States.

Professor Huntington, with startling political incorrectness, states the simple fact that everything about the nation’s understanding of itself arose from its unified heritage as an English, Protestant, i.e., WASP, society.  Stating it boldly is a social gaffe today.  But anyone reading the literature of the past would find it the common understanding at the time, from the 1780s observations of French immigrant Hector St. John de Crevecoeur to the 1831 report by Alexis de Tocqueville in “Democracy in America.”

Among the most important elements of our unwritten constitution were: a government of laws, not men, represented by universal application of English common law; insistence upon a government of limited powers, subordinated to the legislature; and natural law, which viewed human nature and political societies as subject to God-given qualities and structures, all of which implied that the greatest happiness of a political society is found in individualistic pursuit of moral conduct as revealed in Protestant Christianity.  A further, and essential, implication of natural law is that every individual has an inalienable right to pursue life, liberty, and the private property essential to maintenance of his life and liberty.

While individual colonies excluded non-Protestants such as Quakers and Catholics in early decades, rapid growth of immigration and expansion of commerce and settlement of western territories soon made Jews, Quakers, and Catholics accepted members of the community, PROVIDED that they adhered to the other basic principles of the unwritten constitution.

Why has that understanding changed?  And why has the term WASP become a pejorative or a subject of ridicule?

Professor Huntington recounts the changes as if they “just happened” in a sort of Darwinian evolutionary fashion, that is, as the result of purely random and materialistic factors.  The perspective underlying everything in THE VIEW FROM 1776 is somewhat different.

Our unwritten constitution, from the 1600s until the 20th century, saw humans as part of the cosmological structure created by God.  Humans’ duty is to try to understand the Will of God, which dictates individual morality, and a very definite belief that some things are right and some things are sinful.  The Old Testament prophets calling the Israelites back to the law of God seemed to be living members of the early American community.  Hebrew first names were very common; towns frequently had Biblical names.  People sought Salvation by looking upward to God for guidance.

What Professor Huntington does not emphasize among the factors he cites for disintegration of our national identity is the advent of the secular religion of socialism.  Equally with Islam, socialism is completely opposed to our original unwritten constitution.  And American liberals, both Republicans and Democrats, are members of the American congregation of the Socialist International.

Islam commands its believers to regard all non-Moslems as enemies who must be subjected to the sword and converted, killed, or sold into slavery.  This is the active practice today throughout Africa and the Middle East, where Arab Muslims still run a thriving business in slavery and butcher Christians in the Sudan and elsewhere.  In a Muslim society, there is no differentiation between political and religious law.  Both are governed by the Koran, which is what gives the Mullahs their extraordinary powers.  And, as the Koran is regarded as the literal and absolute word of god, Muslim society must forever remain mired in the conditions and the outlook of 622 AD.

Socialism is based on a simple-minded theory that humans are inherently good and benevolent in societies that have no private property rights.  Give people equal claim on all of society’s goods and services, regardless of whether they have contributed equally to the production of those goods and services, and they will be sweet and gentle.  Permit some people to have more than others simply because they contributed more than others to the production of those goods and services, and you force people to become aggressive and nasty. 

Hence, in the religious perspective of liberal-socialism, crime and wars are caused by people like President Bush for the benefit of Halliburton Company.  Criminals are the victims of a society permitting private property ownership, and the great and heroic exemplars of social justice, like Senator Ted Kennedy, must use the power of government to tax “the rich” and redistribute their ill-got gains to “the people.” 

One comforting aspect of the religion of liberal-socialism is that it makes no demands upon individual conduct.  It matters not that Senator Kennedy was thrown out of Harvard for cheating on exams, that he two-timed his wife with a young lady whom he let drown in an attempt to protect his political reputation, that he drove his first wife into depression and drugs, that he was catting about with his young nephew in recent years in an incident in which young ladies alleged attempted rape.  Nor does it matter that Senator Kerry, the putative nominee of the Democratic party, has never worked a day in his life, living the plutocratic life of a rich “enemy of society” by marrying very rich women.  Nor does it matter that Senator Kerry built his political career on perjury under oath before a Congressional committee, when he told blatant lies about the conduct of American soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen in Vietnam.

The disintegration of our national identity and worship of “diversity,” under liberal-socialism’s multi-cultural education and speech-and-behavior codes, along with Federal programs to support special-interest groups and to give aliens legal rights not available to native-born citizens, is not a matter than can be worked out by political compromise.  This is clear, for example, from Democrats’ blocking all judicial and departmental nominees who do not meet their tests of fidelity to socialism.

We are confronting an unavoidable civil war.  The only question is whether it will be a bloody, armed conflict, or whether our original unwritten constitution can be reasserted in our educational system and in Congress. 

Historical experience shows that societies riven by internal dissension between diametrically opposed camps either settle the issue by civil war, or they fall victim to a despot who will settle the dispute by force.  That is what happened in Germany of the 1930s, as the socialist Weimar Republic sank into a cesspool of hedonism that shocked even the degenerates of Paris.  Hitler’s National Socialism stepped into the breech, promising to restore traditional German social values and, in standard socialist fashion, to harness the landed aristocracy and big business for the benefit of the Deutsche Volk.

Lawrence Auster (View From The Right) states it with stark accuracy:

“The confrontation with Islam shows the absolute limits of liberalism.? Liberalism says we’re all alike and it seeks to reconstruct society on that basis.? But Islam shows definitively that we’re not all alike.? So liberalism is now being challenged as it never has before.? As I’ve been saying since 9/11, we’re in the apocalypse of liberalism:? either liberalism dies, and the West has a chance to live, or liberalism does not die, and the West dies too, and then liberalism will die with it.”