America Is Not An Idea
By Darrell Dow
The hard left drift of Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden, the increasing violence and iconoclasm of Black Lives Matter and Antifa, and the remarks of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about Father Damien should tell us that America is not a credal nation, as the Left and their neoconservative cousins claim, and if it ever was, well, AOC and the ruling class elites are trying to rewrite the creed to write real Americans out of it.
Rampaging mobs loot and burn major cities.
Vandals desecrate and deface statues and symbols of America’s imperfect but remarkable past.
Pro-sports leagues have adopted BLM’s false narrative that we live in an irredeemably racist nation.
But beyond that, the Left is and has been using immigration to replace real Americans, black and white alike, to complete the demographic transformation unleashed by Ted Kennedy, Emanuel Celler and Lyndon Johnson with the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.
In an interview with UnidosUS, Biden promised that his administration will offer legislation that includes a “road map to citizenship” for millions of “undocumented” aliens that “make us so strong.” The ongoing displacement of legacy Americans, which Biden aims to finish, has no historic parallel or precedent.
Yet that transformation grows directly from the idea that we do indeed live in a “credal nation,” that believing the “creed” is all one needs to be an American, and that anyone anywhere can assent to it.
Diversity Is Not Our Strength
Thus has it become increasingly fashionable to assert that America’s greatness stems from her diversity, an amendment to the “creed” to which legacy Americans never agreed. A corollary is that the more diverse America becomes the stronger and better a country she becomes. “We want to become a multiracial, multiethnic society,” Bill Clinton said in 1997. “This will arguably be the third great revolution …. to prove that we literally can live without … having a dominant European culture.”
Actually “we” don’t want that. The mindless mantra that “diversity is our strength” begins with a faulty conception of nationhood. Rather than viewing nations as ethno-cultural entities with identities rooted in common ancestry, shared history and language and a culture based on a common religion, tradition, customs and institutions, the American Left and its neoconservative wing on the “right,” preach that nations are defined ideologically.
In this alternative version of reality, America was built on universal principles of human rights, equality, democracy and open borders. By definition it has an unlimited capacity to absorb culturally and racially diverse peoples. Raising concerns about the effects of immigration on our culture and institutions is therefore “un-American.” All “good” Americans disdain and dismiss it. The end result is the reduction of American nationality to a series of slogans— “Melting Pot,” “The First Universal Nation,” or, again, a “Nation of Immigrants.”
Yet whether the boosters of this idea are hard leftists who hate America or the neocons who claim to love it, all are bent on redefining America and its history. That is particularly true of the neocons, whose ideological ancestry lies in Trotsky and party allegiance was Democrat until it went off the rails in the late 1960s. By the 1980s, these boat people of the McGovern revolution, as Pat Buchanan called them, had paddled over to the Reagan Administration. Their writings litter prominent outlets of the American media pantheon.
Writing in the pages of Commentary in 1993, Francis Fukuyama defined the American nation in universalist terms. “In contrast to other West European democracies, or Japan,” wrote Fukuyama, “The American national identity has never been directly linked to ethnicity or religion. Nationality has been based instead on universal concepts like freedom and equality that are in theory open to all people.”
Stripped of its historic and material character, American identity was being redefined into ethereal abstractions and ideological propositions and a devotion to the “market,” meaning cheap consumer imports from China.
“To be an American,” continued Fukuyama, “has meant to be committed to a certain set of ideas, and not to be descended from an original tribe of ur-Americans. Those elements of a common American culture visible today–belief in the Constitution and the individualist-egalitarian principles underlying it, plus modern American pop and consumer culture–are universally accessible and appealing, making the United States, in Ben Wattenberg’s phrase, the first ‘universal nation.’”Inevitably, much of the immigrtation “debate” has moved toward one side, the open-borders side, preferring the foriegn and the alien over against the native born. The ruling class detests its own people and seeks their displacement and replacement. To paraphrase the German playwright Bertolt Brecht, the elite seeks to replace the people and elect another through the process of mass immigration.
Joe Sobran identified this ideology in a seminal essay for National Review in 1985, coining the term “alienism,” a prejudice in favor of the alien, the marginal, the dispossessed, the eccentric, reaching an extreme in the attempt to ‘build a new society’ by destroying the basic institutions of the native.”
Taking pleasure in the dispossession of one’s own ethnic group is a pathology, a disease of the heart and a very possible the violation of the commandment, “thou shalt not murder” because it is, in a sense, suicide. Few “conservatives,” exceptions such as David French and Kevin Williamson notwithstanding, would openly endorse the destruction of white communities. Instead they evangelize with the fervor of Pentecostal ministers about the virtues of immigrants; i.e., removal by gradual replacement.
“It would also seem a priori likely that Third-World immigrants should have stronger family values than white, middle-class, suburban Americans, while their work ethic and willingness to defer to traditional sources of authority should be greater as well,” wrote Fukuyama.
Immigrants are “a booster shot of traditional morality injected into the body politic,” wrote David Brooks in the New York Times. They “work hard. They build community groups. They have traditional ideas about family structure, and they work heroically to make them a reality.”
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens claimed that the American way, “disavows traditional concepts of nationalism in favor of a broader ideal of citizenship — identity defined primarily by participation and aspiration, not ancestry.” America, he claims, is “built on a different premise.”
Elsewhere, Stephens wrote “satirically,” calling for the mass deportation of natives and their replacement by high achieving foreigners — you know, like Bret Stephens.”Because I’m the child of immigrants and grew up abroad, I have always thought of the United States as a country that belongs first to its newcomers.”
Blood, Faith, And Place
It’s nice that he always thought that but he’s wrong. Nations are not the product of ideas. They are made by men who share a common sense of destiny grounded in blood, faith and an attachment to place.
In Federalist No. 2, John Jay emphasized ethnic and religious unity as the source of American strength rather than adherence to ill-defined and ever changing principles or the slavish devotion to “diversity.” He gave thanks that, “Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people, a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, without which a common and free government would be impossible.”
Nations cannot survive without an ethno-cultural core that gives it expression.
“Can Western civilization survive the passing of the European peoples whose ancestors created it and their replacement by Third World immigrants?” Buchanan asked. “Probably not, for the new arrivals seem uninterested in preserving the old culture they have found.”
The culture and promise of America did not spring full-born from the head of the gods or drop like manna from heaven. A certain people, in a certain time and place, created this country.
Replacing them will destroy it.
This is Darrell Dow’s first contribution to American Remnant. He has also written for Chronicles, A Magazine of American Culture.