Is Europe healthier (conservatively speaking) than the U.S.?
(Note, March 8, 12:46 p.m.: the debate has continued
today, with several commenters responding strongly to Karen’s denunciations of the U.S., and Karen coming back even stronger than before.)
(Note, March 6: the discussion continues, with Karen expanding on the hopeless inadequacy—conservatively speaking—of everything American, and James P. replies.)
(Note: James P. takes strong exception to Karen’s view that Britain—with its Royal Family, its aristocracy, its established Church, its military regimental structure, and its national system of law—has a conservative strength that the United States lacks.)
Karen writes from England
Regarding your entry, “Against the burka,” I have always thought your pessimism about Europe was misplaced and your optimism about the USA overexuberant. [LA replies: I don’t think it’s correct to say that I have expressed optimism about the U.S. Rather, I’ve said that the U.S. is relatively better off than Europe, that it has more life in it than Europe, that it is not as far advanced in leftism as Europe, and that it has significant conservative elements in its mainstream politics, while Europe seems to have none.] Europe still has its original ethnic identities and traditions. These may have been assaulted by the multiculturalists and politicians, but scratch under the surface and they are still very much there. The electoral wins of Geert Wilders demonstrate that the liberal and tolerant Dutch are not quite as liberal as people had assumed they were and they are leading the way in electing an anti Islamic and anti immigration politician with a back bone. Where is the Geert Wilders of the USA? Where is the Dewinter? Where is the Nationalist party of the USA? There is nothing. The “Conservative” movement in the USA is a collection of liberals with a single “conservative” issue and a veneer of superficial Christianity in which God is a simple cosmic cuddly toy, moulded into whatever form is required to make them feel good.
- end of initial entry -
I don’t think Europe will die out. The fightback has begun. The Euro superstate will collapse and there may be economic and social chaos in the aftermath, but the ethnic core of the individual European states is still intact and the Third World immigrants are largely excluded from that identity. The USA has a more serious problem. The white peoples are too diverse and evidently lack serious intent and unity to reclaim their country and the Americanization of the immigrants and blacks has made the exercise more difficult. Added to these difficulties is the fact that the country has no Royal Family, no aristocracy, no national religion or established Church, no national army or regimental structure and no national system of law. The USA is a country without a back bone.
Karl D. writes:
Wow. That is one heck of a tirade. While I am thrilled with Geert Wilders’s recent accomplishments, one Wilders does not a revitalized Europe make. I think Karen is riding high on Wilders’s recent success (as we all are) and has let her emotions get the better of her. As for the USA? Whatever criticisms one cares to make about conservatism in America one cannot simply brush off the Tea Party movement. A nationwide movement that sprang up within one year of Obama’s ascent to the throne and which now holds significant power. A movement with no equivalent anywhere in Europe. This after more then a decade of the EU, New Labour’s systematic destruction of the UK, and now an astounding admission that they were purposely trying to replace the indigenous peoples of Great Britain with mass immigration. One would think there would be heads on pikes at the entrance of London Bridge at this point. But the status quo goes on unfettered.
I think these trans-Atlantic tit for tats are useless. The point is that for the first time ever, it seems that the people are beginning to awaken from their stupor on both sides of the pond.
Stephen T. writes:
The U.S. phenomenon that is totally missing in Europe is the misty-eyed, quavering-voice romanticizing of immigrants—especially those that have arrived illegally. I just don’t see it there. It is, however, rampant here, usually among upper-class American Anglos who have extremely idyllic views of Mexican culture (“They’re better people we are”), along with lofty notions of the saintliness of hard manual labor (which they’ve never done a lick of, but feel their manhood enhanced by imagining that they could). Silver-spoon-fed George W. Bush and the pale, pudgy Karl Rove are poster boys of that attitude. I have spent time in France and Sweden, the latter with relatives, and I can report that there is no tradition of rhapsodizing over immigrants, nor is there the concept that menial, low-paying labor confers some sort of moral superiority when performed by foreigners … but not when by natives. Zero. The absence of this is a healthy sign and, indeed, I’ve always thought might be Europe’s saving grace.
Sadly, Karen’s comments are accurate and profound. The glue that held this diverse population together was the WASPM (M for male) founded on the traditional/conservative Judeo-Christian heritage. Now that we have abandoned and condemned this heritage, there is nothing to hold us together. I think of how few people are capable of grasping the disaster that is coming once the Hispanicization of the U.S. is complete. Our society has no heritage that they love and want to preserve-and now aliens within who want to destroy it.
On another note:
Diana West got me thinking. I think we can be described as anti-Islamizationists.
A. Zarkov writes:
Overall, Americans revere their Constitution. It’s a short, simple plan for a democratic republic with limited powers. While the Europeans have the EU Constitution, they hate both it and the superstate it creates. As a written document, the EU Constitution is a monstrosity, something like the Obamacare bill—it does everything but specify the number of threads per centimeter on your house pipes. Of course the PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain) like the EU because it has the potential to provide them subsidies; look at what’s happening in Greece. But Germany does not want to pay for the largesse of the Greek government, and that’s opening up fissures in the EU. Look for some serious pushback by the EU central authority, like the indictment of Geert Wilders.
Now the situation in the U.S. looks grim, with a bunch of neutered men running both our government and industry. But “the times they are a changing.” Some of my normally very liberal friends have turned on Obama. A few days ago one told me he thinks the Obama administration is full of “nitwit” women. A lot of people are jumping off the Obama ship which is taking on water. So I see hope and a lot of it.
The Obama radicals know they must succeed now in their attempt to transform American because the window of opportunity is closing, and they are getting both desperate and mean. For example, the panic-mongering crackpot professor at Stanford University, Paul Ehrlich, announced yesterday (in reference to climate change), “Most of our colleagues don’t seem to grasp that we’re not in a gentlepersons’ debate, we’re in a street fight against well-funded, merciless enemies who play by entirely different rules.” Yes, this is the very same Ehrlich who predicted that hundreds of millions of people would starve to death by the 1980s including millions of Americans. Obama, too, is getting desperate, and the real fight is about to begin. America still has fight left in it, so don’t despair.
The USA has a more serious problem. The white peoples are too diverse and evidently lack serious intent and unity to reclaim their country and the Americanization of the immigrants and blacks has made the exercise more difficult.
That’s a legitimate concern, but it misses a key fact about America, that at the height of American well being and influence in the mid 20th century, America’s white majority was ethnically diverse. Notwithstanding their significant diversity, white Americans were a people, not just a collection of ethnicities. This is something missed by Brits and Europeans who cannot conceive of a national peoplehood that is not ethnically unitary. Well, America, prior to the cultural disintegration that began in the Sixties and Seventies, were a people, and they experienced themselves as a people.
What is needed for a basically racially homogeneous but ethnically diverse population to experience itself as a people? A shared culture and identity that transcends the ethnic differences. What that culture and identity have consisted of in the American case I discuss at length in chapter two of The Path to National Suicide, and also in Erasing America.
If Karen’s view that America’s white majority is too diverse to be a people, then the American people circa 1960 would not have existed. The America that rescued Europe in the 1940s would not have existed. But it did exist. It took a wrong turn, as our whole culture took a wrong turn. But the mistake, which is mainly a mistake in thought, not in substance, can be undone.
I am not talking about going back to the past. I am talking about undoing the specific mistakes in thought and attitude that made Americans lose the sense that they are a people, to the extent that they have lost it. That process will have to occur in the radically changed circumstances of the present, responding to radical challenges that never existed before.
Philip M. writes from England:
I cannot agree with Karen that the rise of Geert Wilders demonstrates a conservative revival in Europe. Geert Wilders has hardly attacked Islam from a conservative, traditionalist perspective. He has (wisely, perhaps) attacked Islam for not being sufficiently liberal and tolerant. He has compared the Koran to Mein Kampf—a line of attack usually associated with the left. He has criticised Islam for its sexism, for being theocratic, intolerant, mediaeval, and other such adjectives that are designed to appeal to liberals, or at least make it harder for them to condemn him. He is in fact playing them at their own game. In this regard he is following on from Pim Fortuyn, the homosexual Dutch politician who was the first openly to voice concerns that the indifference to immorality and sexual licence that for Dutch/European people has become synonymous with freedom, was being threatened by the growth of Islam. [LA replies: But Wilders does not defend homosexuality as such, sexual license as such. What he says is that Islam threatens to kill homosexuals, and that the Netherlands cannot tolerate such a belief system. Further, as I pointed out earlier, Wilder himself does not call himself a conservative (he calls himself a democrat), yet he makes more conservative arguments vis a vis Islam than any other mainstream figure.]
[Furthermore, he is saying that Islam as such—meaning sharia Islam, which is Islam—is bad in itself and incompatible with our civilization. He is saying that Islam is a substantively different thing from Western civilization. That is not a liberal argument. It is a traditionalist argument.]
“Far-right” politicians such as Griffin and Wilders will often say something along the lines of “Islam threatens our culture, traditions and freedom.” But what does this mean? To a conservative this may speak of a threat to our Christian heritage, historical identity, and other VFR concerns, but to someone of a more liberal persuasion who has grown up in the modern West, the only “culture” and “freedom” they know is of the permissive, liberal kind. Like all politicians they are trying to cast their net as widely as possible and get as much support from different quarters as possible, and rightly so. But such sentiments should not in themselves be seen as “traditionalist,” except possibly in a Machiavellian hiding-their-true-agenda way. [LA replies: As I have pointed out many times, Wilders consistently speaks of defending Western freedom, AND Western civilization. He defends the West both in a liberal and in a conservative sense. And that is the right thing for him to do. Do you expect him to defend the West only in a trad sense?]
I do not know enough about Wilders to know if he is a true liberal himself, or if he is a conservative who is having to fight under the cloak of liberalism in order to gain media and public acceptance, in the hope that when in power he would be able to end the left/liberal stranglehold on the media, and then present his arguments in a different way. But the fact that he is criticising Islam in a way that is as non-confrontational to liberal thinking as he can possibly make it is hardly proof of a “conservative” revival in Europe. If Geert Wilders were truly arguing as a conservative, he would also be attacking Dutch culture, with its open acceptance of prostitution, homosexuality, and other vices, as starting the weakening of the cultural immune system that has lead to Islam gaining a foothold in Holland in the first place. If he has done this, I am not aware of it, and would love to see it. [LA replies: No, he has not done that.] He would also be attacking all third-world and non-white immigration as incompatible with Dutch society, whereas in fact he has condemned Nick Griffin for mentioning race. [LA replies: any criticisms of Griffin he has made have been very mild. He has not played one of those games of, “that guy over there is a racist, but I’m not a racist.”] It is only Islam that he openly condemns. As I say, this may make tactical sense, but to see it as proof that European nations are openly backing traditionalism is overstating the case.
That said, I agree with Karen that European national identities are more robust than is the case in America, having older and deeper roots, and this is a point strongly in our favour.
But probably the biggest factor in our favour is that things over here are so much worse, with so much less room for escape. If America were twenty times smaller, and all the Mexicans and blacks were Muslims, I imagine America would have a pretty popular nationalist party too. The fact that we have left it so late in the day to start just to acknowledge the problem is nothing to be proud about.
James P. writes:
“Added to these difficulties is the fact that the country has no Royal Family, no aristocracy, no national religion or established Church, no national army or regimental structure and no national system of law.”
Has Karen noticed that except for the British Army, these institutions are actively working against English national and ethnic identity? The British elite is at war with the English people just as our elite is at war with the American people, and elite institutions reflect this fact.
The Royal Family: Prince Charles is a liberal buffoon who worships Gaia if he worships anything. He dabbles in New Age nonsense like Kabbalah and alternative medicine. He wants to be called Defender of Faith or Defender of the Faiths (plural) “to reflect Britain’s multi-cultural society” rather than Defender of the Faith. An Oxford professor says that after Charles’ coronation, it is plausible that a second service will be held for other denominations and faiths, such as the Muslims and Hindus: “It would be a way of the new King showing their importance in the country.” In 2005, Charles begged President Bush to moderate his “intolerance of Islam”, and said, “I find the language and rhetoric coming from America too confrontational.” Charles made a speech in 2004, which was “acclaimed throughout the Arab world,” in which he urged the West to overcome its “unthinkable prejudices” about Islam and its customs and laws. He spoke warmly of the West’s debt to the culture of Islam and distanced moderate Muslims from misguided militants: “Extremism is no more the monopoly of Islam than it is the monopoly of other religions, including Christianity.”
The Aristocracy: Tony Blair gutted the House of Lords, cutting its size in half and making it primarily an appointed body. This means that the hereditary aristocracy can no longer keep the liberal excesses of the House of Commons in check. The House of Lords now consists of Life Peers (i.e. political appointees) like the repulsive Lady Scotland and Baron Ahmed. Meanwhile, the hereditary aristocracy is completely demoralized. A leading Duke says: “The aristocracy is not dying—it’s dead. Coffin’s nailed down, it’s in the ground. It doesn’t exist, except that people have titles.” Can Karen name a single aristocrat who has spoken out against the death of Britain?
The Established Church: The despicable Archbishop of Canterbury thinks Sharia Law is inevitable and justified. He thinks terrorism can have “serious moral goals” and al Qaeda should not be called evil. Senior Anglican bishops want gay weddings in their churches. Another Bishop says any call for limits on immigration to Britain would “play into the hands of racists”. Stick a fork in the C of E, it is done.
The Legal System: The failure to enforce criminal laws, the failure to enforce any immigration restrictions, the enforcement of laws against “hate,” the expansion of Big Brother surveillance and Nanny State laws, the erosion of British legal sovereignty to Brussels … they all speak for themselves.
Are these the institutions that are going to lead the charge for a restoration of English national and ethnic traditionalism? They have spent decades sounding retreat and surrender. They are the enemies of England, not its savior.
I hope Karen is right that Europe has the will to fight back, but I am skeptical. Whenever I mention anything about the need to preserve the English nation or people to my friends and relatives in England, they cringe in horror. They are afraid to fly a Union Jack outside their homes because they don’t want to be viewed as BNP members, which I think is downright pathetic. Larry Auster is, unfortunately, correct to call Britain the Dead Island.
In my view, the principal difference between the USA and Europe is that there is still an authentic tradition of conservatism in this country that has genuine political force. In continental Europe, conservatism was killed in 1945, and never revived. Conservatism lingered a while longer in Britain, but at this time there is no meaningful conservative political party, only the sham “conservative” party that exists only to delude the people and divert attention and energy that might otherwise be channeled into something like the BNP.
The responses to the post are interesting because they demonstrate 5 things (predictable)
American peoples’ delusion that there is an “authentic conservative tradition” in their country.
We can see how the “conservative movement” throws up endless movements like Amren and the celebrated Tea Party Movement which focus on one or two issues, create a lot of noise and then die out. The Tea Party movement has been infiltrated by the establishment political animals who will ensure it makes plenty of waves but achieves none of its political objectives. The movement lacks recognised leaders and cohesive themes and is beset by a tug of war between those who want to focus on economic issues and those who want to focus on social issues. The “conservative movements” in the USA are like giving dummies to a child. They keep the masses quiet and occupied and distracted from the real activities of the true political actors elsewhere. They are like hamsters running on their wheels, plenty of movement but no forward action.
American people’s romanticisation of the past and belief that a return to the previous glorious state will resolve their problems
American peoples’ inability to face up to the fact that the USA is a failed state whose massive indebtedness makes any return to the past a practical impossibility
Due to the above factors coupled with most Americans’ naivety and lack of exposure to international travel and their consequent ignorance of other cultures, they cannot form a realistic perception of their current situation and create effective solutions to its resolution.
The cultural insularity of the USA and the nature of its higher education which essentially trains people how to manage systems, means that when the systems are broken, most Americans have no idea how to fix them.
There is no serious conservative movement in the USA which has recognised leaders, clearly defined political objectives and independence from the established political parties. I am not saying that there is a conservative revival in Europe. What I am saying is that there are political leaders and parties which have specific and recognised political goals and are independent of the mainstream parties. They exist and they advance. They are making progress with their agendas. They have resisted suppression by the establishment and they are gaining more support at the expense of the major parties. The Conservative parties and politicians in Europe are a reality and they have made gains and show potential. There is no equivalent in the USA. James P writes there is ” still an authentic tradition of conservatism in this country that has genuine political force”. What is this force, what is the name of the party and who are its leaders?
but it misses a key fact about America, that at the height of American well being and influence in the mid 20th century, America’s white majority was ethnically diverse. Notwithstanding their significant diversity, white Americans were a people, not just a collection of ethnicities. This is something missed by Brits and Europeans who cannot conceive of a national peoplehood that is not ethnically unitary. Well, America, prior to the cultural disintegration that began in the Sixties and Seventies, were a people, and they experienced themselves as a people.
The USA emerged as a power by default and not by virtue of its abilities after the European colonial powers destroyed themselves and Russia, India and China oppressed themselves with communism. At that time in the mid 20th century, the whites of America were predominantly WASPS and that was the culture to which the non WASPS adhered. The shared culture and identity was the WASP one and that was destroyed by the excessive immigration of non WASPS. It has not been possible to create a shared identity and culture in white Christian Europe because the ethnic differences between Europeans, north and south, east and west are too great. The cultures, traditions and institutions formed by these different ethnicities within Europe preclude the emergence of a shared and unitary culture. The Protestant north has democratic institutions and strong economies. The Catholic South until relatively recently had military dictators and weak economies. If a shared culture cannot be achieved by whites in Europe, why do you believe that it can be achieved by heterogeneous whites in the USA?
What is needed for a basically racially homogeneous but ethnically diverse population to experience itself as a people? A shared culture and identity that transcends the ethnic differences.
The amount of energy it would take to respond to all of your points is too much, especially when you mischaracterize my and others’ positions. No one was romanticizing the past or saying we can return to a previous glorious state. I specifically said that that was not what I was talking about.
As far as the absence of a serious conservative movement in the U.S., I’ve been saying the same almost as long as I’ve been writing about politics. Rather, I spoke of healthy conservative elements in mainstream America, which European politics seems to lack, since all the major parties there are leftist, and that this gives Americans an ability to resist leftism which Britain and Europe don’t seem to have. That’s not the same as saying that there is a serious conservative movement in America.
And when you start going into a grab bag of all of Americans’ inadequacies, such as their cultural insularity and lack of foreign travel, such as whether America emerged as a power by its own virtues or by the default of others, that’s really going far afield into a general griping about America which is not at all useful in this discussion.
Van Wijk writes:
“Added to these difficulties is the fact that the country has no Royal Family, no aristocracy, no national religion or established Church, no national army or regimental structure and no national system of law. The USA is a country without a back bone.”
America also lacked these things during its meteoric rise to prominence. Yet we were somehow able to wrest the land from the savages and create the finest republic the planet has ever seen. And all without a backbone, apparently.
It’s also worth noting that the existential crises that currently plague both the U.S. and Europe are only a few decades old. When they began the U.S. was already a mighty country with a firm Western foundation and an overwhelming Caucasian majority.
Needless to say I believe we have far more life in us than our cousins in Europe, but I won’t list the myriad reasons here. There is, however, one fundamental question the answer to which immediately separates the citizen from the subject: are the people armed?
Are the British people armed, Karen? Yes or no?
We possess the means to defend our lives and property from both violent criminals and a tyrannical government. Europeans do not.
P.S. Remember the Alamo and Goliad!
Daniel O. writes:
In the topic “Is Europe healthier (conservatively speaking) than the U.S.?” you wrote:
“But Wilders does not defend homosexuality as such, sexual license as such. What he says is that Islam threatens to kill homosexuals, and that the Netherlands cannot tolerate such a belief system. Further, as I pointed out earlier, Wilder himself does not call himself a conservative (he calls himself a democrat), yet he makes more conservative arguments vis a vis Islam than any other mainstream figure.”
One year ago, the Dutch Secretary of Defence, who is a member of a small Christian party, said in an interview that he regards same-sex marriage as “the dissolving of family law.” Many political pundits and gay activists were angered by his statement. Being appalled by these comments on gay marriage, the PVV moved a motion in the Dutch House of Representatives (The so-called “Second-Chamber”) requesting the Dutch government to allow homosexual soldiers to visit the Amsterdam Gay Pride in their military uniforms. A majority in the House supported this PVV initiative.
The motion can be found here and here. (Both pages are in Dutch).
I don’t know what the Amsterdam Gay Pride is, and also I’m not sure what this has to do with the issue of homosexual “marriage.”
In any case, this shows some degree of positive support by Wilders for public and state recognition and welcoming of homosexuality, not just opposition to the Islamic oppression of homosexuals. Of course I’m completely opposed to that. But we don’t have to get into every issue in the Netherlands. Anti-Islamization people supported Pim Fortuyn, though he was an flamboyant homosexual. As I said at the start, Wilders is not a conservative and does not call himself one; I am not promoting Wilders to be the leader of Traditionalists International. Yet his thinking and positions on the main issues where we’re interested in him—Islam, the EU, hate speech laws—are conservative.
James P. writes:
Karen speaks of
March 8, 12:15 a.m.
… American people’s delusion that there is an “authentic conservative tradition” in their country.
There clearly is—otherwise our political elites would not spend so much effort trying to control it and divert its attention to unimportant issues. What Karen later says about Amren and the Tea Party demonstrates that while there is an authentic conservative tradition in America, conservatives have great difficulty creating and sustaining a conservative political movement because the liberal elites do their best, very successfully, to ensure (as she said) that such movements “make plenty of waves but achieve none of their political objectives.” Can anyone, even Karen, doubt that the establishment would devote so much effort if an authentic conservative tradition did not exist and would not threaten their interests if left unchecked? Does Karen truly believe that the liberal elites in Europe are not going to do the same to the nascent conservative parties in Europe? Does she really believe that the European liberal elites will not succeed in coopting the conservative parties, when liberalism is far stronger in Europe than in America and conservatism is far more discredited than in America?
Karen speaks of “American people’s romanticisation of the past and belief that a return to the previous glorious state will resolve their problems.”
We should celebrate our past. How can one be a conservative traditionalist if one does not believe that there are national, cultural, political, and social traditions that are worth conserving? Our liberal elites clearly believe our past, and these traditions, are a threat to them, or they would spend so much time propagandizing our children to hate our history and our traditions. It is critically important for us to advance a clear—if not necessarily romanticized—view of the past so that people can understand what “progressives” have done and what they want to do. If we leave the historical playing field to the progressives, then their efforts to represent what they have done and want to do go unchecked, as do their efforts to represent the society they have created today as superior to the racist, imperialist, unjust society we had in the past. As Orwell said, he who controls the present controls the past, and he who controls the past controls the future. We must challenge liberal control of the past or they will control the future.
If Karen does not believe Britain can and should return to some previous glorious state, what does she envision happening after the EU superstate collapses? She contends that the British have a sounder basis for reclaiming their country than the Americans because the British can rely on the ethnic core group, the Royal family, the aristocracy, the Church, the Army, and the system of law. Excuse me, but isn’t she thus proposing that Britain return to its previous glorious state, with Britain controlled by the white ethnic group with the enthusiastic support of its previously glorious pro-white-British institutions (Royalty, aristocracy, Church, Army, law)? Is she not romanticizing the British past and the role of these institutions? What good will it do to rely on these institutions if in the future if they were not glorious in the past?
“American peoples’ inability to face up to the fact that the USA is a failed state whose massive indebtedness makes any return to the past a practical impossibility.”
If massive debt implies failure and the impossibility of a return to the past, then Japan, Italy, France, and Germany, among others, are even more failed and doomed than the U.S., for their debts are higher than the U.S. as a percentage of GDP. Britain’s debt is not a lot lower than the U.S. Writ large, the EU public debt is 61.5 percent of GDP compared to 60.8 percent for the U.S. If the U.S. is going down, then the EU is going down as well for the same reasons. Britain will not escape the economic consequences of a crash in Europe or in the USA. The fact is that Britain, and Europe, are much farther down the socialist dead end than is the U.S., and for that reason, Britain and the EU are even less likely to return to a conservative past than the U.S. What does Karen think all the minorities and white proles in Britain who depend on public handouts are going to do when the gravy train is shut off?
“Due to the above factors coupled with most Americans’ naivety and lack of exposure to international travel and their consequent ignorance of other cultures, they cannot form a realistic perception of their current situation and create effective solutions to its resolution.”
American liberals pride themselves on their sophistication, international travel, and exposure to other cultures. Yet American liberals are insane, and thus they contrive “solutions” that make all our problems worse, not better. They are far more incapable of perceiving reality and solving problems than are the naive, ignorant American proles Karen despises. Therefore, naive ignorance is hardly the cause of our problems, and the “sophistication and intelligence” of our liberals is hardly likely to produce effective solutions. Personally I’d bet on the pragmatism and can-do enterprise of an American prole before I’d bet on the brilliant problem solving skills of an American liberal. Look at our Liberal In Chief—everything he touches turns to excrement!
“There is no serious conservative movement in the USA which has recognised leaders, clearly defined political objectives and independence from the established political parties.”
Here I agree with Karen. This is a serious problem, not least because the liberal establishment vehemently opposes the emergence of such a political movement. The possible exception is Ron Paul.
“I am not saying that there is a conservative revival in Europe. What I am saying is that there are political leaders and parties which have specific and recognised political goals and are independent of the mainstream parties. They exist and they advance. They are making progress with their agendas. They have resisted suppression by the establishment and they are gaining more support at the expense of the major parties.”
I think this greatly overstates the impact and significance of the “conservative revival in Europe.” Have any of these leaders and parties achieved more than, say, Ron Paul and Tom Tancredo have in the U.S.?
“James P writes there is ” still an authentic tradition of conservatism in this country that has genuine political force.” What is this force, what is the name of the party and who are its leaders?”
Again, we must differentiate between the tradition and the expression of that tradition in a political movement. The liberal establishment always seeks to hijack those traditions and ensure they never find expression in a successful political movement, but that does not mean these traditions do not exist. The same hijacking process will occur in Europe for the same reason. I remain unconvinced that the European “conservatives” are authentically conservative and contain the seeds for future political effectiveness. I hope I’m wrong, but I am not optimistic, because, as I said, liberalism is far stronger in Europe than in America and conservatism is far more discredited than in America.
“The USA emerged as a power by default and not by virtue of its abilities after the European colonial powers destroyed themselves and Russia, India and China oppressed themselves with communism.”
I couldn’t diagree more, but I don’t have time for a historical treatise. Suffice it to say that no country can emerge as the richest and most powerful country on Earth by default or by accident and without a positive strategy to achieve that end state.
Richard P. writes:
The comments by Karen are not surprising to me. I’ve heard similar comments many times in Europe and Asia, and always from people who have never actually been here. She says that American “white peoples are too diverse” and therefore can never have a true unity. She seems to be unable to conceptualize what has actually happened in America—the creation of a new people.
My father’s family came to Jamestown from England in the early 17th century. I have many friends whose families came from Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In all substantive matters of language and culture, we are no different. We all identify ourselves as Americans. I no more consider myself English-American than my wife considers herself Hungarian-American. The memories of those old identities are long dead to us. We are products of the New World.
The European ethnic identities are not all they appear to be either. Hardly any people there can claim an unchanging identity back through the mists of time. Take Karen’s England. At what point did the Saxon and Norman invaders begin to think of themselves as English? Didn’t these invaders become part of a new people?
For that matter, were there any Bavarians or Prussians before Bismarck who considered themselves German? What of the creation of the Kingdom of Italy? There were white European settlers creating a society in America for nearly two centuries before a unified German or Italian people came to be. Are these the ancient ethnic ties on which she hopes for a European revival?
We have far too many divisions among Americans, but ethnic divisions amongst white Americans are a fiction. Most white Americans have such varied ancestry that they wouldn’t even begin to know how to create such divisions.
Well said. :-)
Richard W. writes:
Karen makes a bunch of claims, which are mostly are simply incorrect. She seems to have very little real knowledge of America, for all her opinions.
“Added to these difficulties is the fact that the country has no Royal Family, no aristocracy, no national religion or established Church, no national army or regimental structure and no national system of law. The USA is a country without a back bone.”
No national Army? What does she think the U.S. Army is? In fact we have five separate national forces: Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. West Point was established to train officers in 1802, and provided general officers for both sides of the Civil War. These are not State militias, though we have those too.
We do have a regimental structure, complete with multi-generational family loyalty to particular units. The 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions are among the most famous. The First Infantry Division, known as “The Big Red One” has been in continuous service since 1917, and is the oldest.
And speaking of our enfeebled nation, we still manage to do most of the fighting, killing and dying in the various wars of dubious merit that “the West” chooses to fight. The rest of Europe combined only manages to send a few small units, or sends units who are not permitted in “conflict zones,” or are emasculated in other ways.
There may not be a formal aristocracy in the U.S., but certainly there are families that have been our equivalent of an aristocracy for several generations. George W. Bush was not only the son of a President, but the grandson of a famous Senator.
Elite educational institutions boast 3rd, 4th and 5th generation students. And not just at University level, but secondary (prep) schools as well. Obviously the author hasn’t spent much time at Andover, Yale or Princeton.
Our aristocracy is based on inherited wealth, and includes the Ford, Rockefeller, Roosevelt, Carnegie, DuPont, Olin, and other notable families. They do not however, get automatic seats in the Senate, they have to win elections against the likes of Joe the Plumber, or at least Joe Biden.
While we may not have a national religion, but Christianity is the religion of the overwhelming majority of our citizens. Many of them take their religion, regardless of their particular denomination, quite a bit more seriously than citizens of Europe. While Germany may have a national church, the vast majority of Germans are functional agnostics, at best.
I’ve been all over Europe and the churches are empty monuments, museums to lost faith. Our churches are packed. In my typical suburban city the police have to direct traffic to facilitate the crowds at the two largest ones every Sunday. In Europe this only happens for football games.
I might also mention that Jews have been a part of the American fabric since our Founding. Unlike most of Europe there is very little underlying anti-Semitism in the USA (or wasn’t until the Muslims arrived in large numbers). This is a good example of our culture’s successful integration of different groups, that is perhaps impossible for a Europeans to understand.
Finally the most absurd claim of all. “No national system of law.” I would expect even the most ignorant European to be familiar with the U.S. Constitution, which has been the highest law of the land since ratification in 1788. The essential structure of national government has continued to function based on that blueprint since that time. Compare with France, Italy, or Germany which have all had multiple (often violent) changes in political organizations in that period. France’s current “Fifth Republic” dates to 1958.
In short Karen doesn’t know what in heck she is talking about.
I’d be willing to bet most American readers of VFR know a lot more about Europe than Karen does about the USA. Remind us again please, we are all provincial know-nothings?
Jake Jacobsen writes:
To add to the ” two Richards’ ” excellent postings, let us not forget that Hitler was convinced that America’s “mongrel” peoples could never mount a serious challenge to the Reich. One presumes Karen understands that she speaks English today because that view was mistaken?
In fact as long as there has been an America some European somewhere stands convinced that we are a mass of squabbling nationalities when the reality is that White Americans are a pretty cohesive bunch (and I’ve lived and worked in 11 states so have some data points for comparison.)
Truth is I don’t think the various flavors of Americans are any more or less diverse than the average say Londoner vs. a Yorkshireman. In fact I think the Americans might be ever so slightly more cohesive!
Curiously, the one other person I know who has expressed to me a view identical to Karen’s on this point is also a Brit (Scot actually) by birth who immigrated to the U.S. with his family when he was nine.
I was not intending to mischaracterise yours and other’s positions. What I meant is that there is a tendency in “conservative” blogs and writers to imagine that a reversal of some leftist ideologies will miraculously return them to a previous imagined golden era. You hinted at this when you described the unitary identity of the ethnically diverse American people in the pre-1960 era. At this time the reality was the WASPs were the dominant culture and the ethnic minorities were too statistically insignificant to allow them to challenge the WASP identity. That changed in the 1960s as their numbers increased. [LA replies: the “ethnic consciousness” movement and the disastrous loss of WASP cultural authority starting in the Sixties was not due to increasing relative numbers of non-Anglo whites, since the large scale immigration of non-Anglo whites had ceased forty years earlier, thanks to the temporary national quota act of 1921 and the permanent national quota act of 1924. It had to do with the Sixties cultural revolution.]
The insularity of American culture is not just a gripe and the fact that you dismiss it as that means that you have not thought through the reasons why the USA has collapsed and why it is unlikely that it can recover. It is the insularity of the American mind which is largely responsible for the failure of the project of the creation of an American Empire. The attempt to imitate the European powers failed even before it achieved any major victories. In the history of Empires, the American one is the shortest, controlling less of the world’s territory than the Portuguese at the height of their powers. The USA is the only white nation to have bankrupted itself in trying to create an Empire before it has extracted any of the benefits of that Empire. The European nations bankrupted themselves by defending their empires from each other. The test of the back bone of country is not in its rise to power but in its tenacity to hold on to power. And the USA has shown no ability to do that. Like a meteor it has risen and fallen. [LA replies: while the term American “empire” is frequently used, it’s more a metaphor than a fact. Empire has a specific meaning: a nation having political sovereign control over foreign territories. Apart from the Philippines (which we never intended to hold onto permanently) and a couple of tiny territories in or bordering on the Pacific, there was never an American empire, nor an attempt to create one. There was and is very far reaching American influence.]
The collapse of the American Empire is the greatest squandering of assets in the history of mankind. It will be much mused over by future historians (probably Chinese). And the cause? Well uncontrolled greed is a factor but naivete is the greatest one. The collective wisdom built up over generations of families who have military, diplomatic and administrative experience does not exist in the USA. The dash for empire [LA replies: “dash for empire”? This is absurd. You’re mixing up the worldwide power and influence that America gained as a result of World War II with the actual, famous Dash for Empire of the European powers in the late 19th century when they were gobbling up Africa.] was not supported by the implicit knowledge of how to do it but by naïve ideas of imposing democracy and American culture on people who don’t want it. [LA replies: America throughout its history has sought to spread and impose its notions of democracy and liberalism on other countries, often with very regrettable results from a traditionalist perspective. Certainly we helped push Europe toward liberalism after WWII, and then the Europeans took it even further. But this is an entirely different problem from the problem of creating an empire and then lacking the knowledge and brass to hold onto it, which is the substance of your indictment of America.] This is typical of people who get into positions for which they have only the technical qualifications but not the breeding. (Obama and his bows being an example of that). [But the British (1) had the breeding for empire, (2) had a REAL empire, not a metaphorical one like America’s; and (3) precipitately abandoned it. So it sounds to me as if it’s your own country at which you should be directing this diatribe. (And I’m not using “diatribe” in a derogatory sense, but descriptively.)] The same insularity of Americans makes most of them unable to get to grips with their situation and find realistic solutions. Instead there is a lot of noise and repetitive action with no result.
Sage McLaughlin writes:
Since Karen from England seems to have stirred up a bit of trans-Atlantic wrath, and since I never miss an opportunity to join in that particular fray, I’d like to add some thoughts.
First, Karen is right to have an optimistic attitude about Europe, even while cosmopolitan North American jokesters like Mark Steyn cash in on predictions of Europe’s final annihilation. Maybe what she doesn’t realize is that Americans are more frustrated with Great Britain than anything—frustrated because we seem to care far more deeply about its survival than the British do. Whatever the case, it’s good and proper that Karen takes encouragement from the small embers of life that are beginning to glow among the European peoples.
Second, Karen is obviously more than a little irritated at the beating her country regularly receives at VFR and other traditionalist American websites, but it’s causing her to swing wild. Her remarks concerning American religiosity do apply, with dismal precision, to the national conservative elite in America—their outward expression of Christian belief is a combination of cynical window-dressing and, to the extent that it’s at all sincere, soppy pseudo-Christian sentimentalism. What she’s missing, because her views seem to have been formed by watching television and observing U.S. national figures like Mike Huckabee and George W. Bush, is that American religiosity is deeper, more heartfelt, more genuine, more rigorous, and more widespread than an Englishman could ever dream of.
However nasty European caricatures about the American religious right might be, they are founded in an important truth—Americans go to church, they refuse to elect avowed atheists to national office, they still have powerful fundamentalist and traditionalist factions, and those factions are by far the best-attended on Sunday. Protestant “megachurches” are completely unknown in England, and the English people would on the whole be horrified if they were ever to start springing up there. Even though Ameirca is basically Protestant in origin and character, traditionalist Catholicism is stronger in the United States than anywhere in the world, even Latin America. When I asked a traditionalist Catholic priest whether there were any plans to begin planting some parishes in the UK, he literally laughed in my face. So when Karen paints America’s religious character as all happy-buddy-Jesus talk, she’s really working from an incomplete palette.
Third, it’s likely true that Americans overstate the limpness of the European nations, because all we see are their elites and their media masters in action. I have spoken to people who were astounded to land in Europe only to find that robust ethnic and cultural identities still existed there, and of course we’ve all read stories about Europeans who land in America only to find that most of what they thought they knew about the place was completely wrong. Neither side of the Atlantic is particularly well-served by our most visible figures and our shapers of opinion.
As for where the American Geert Wilders is hiding? Well, doesn’t she read VFR? :-) In all seriousness, though, I think the situation in the Netherlands is somewhat different for a number of reasons, not least the fact that in terms of the immediate and medium-term threat to their existence, the Dutch are pretty far gone compared to the United States. And let’s not forget that Wilders is unique even in Europe, and that Karen’s own supposedly stalwart United Kingdom won’t even permit him entry without ostentatious official harassment and delay. He’s much more welcome in America than he is anywhere in Europe, so I’m not sure how bringing him up helps her case.
Anyway, I love the English and I hope that her assessment is right and that the peoples of Europe are waking up. Americans, for all our talk, can never be the guardian and caretaker of Western Civilization, which is essentially European. So let’s not dance on its grave just yet, and let’s not begrudge hold-outs like Karen that vital Christian virtue: hope.
Timothy A. writes:
As an American who lived in Europe for many years, I always find these conversations in which a European criticizes some aspect of American society (or vice versa, an American criticizes Europe) to be unenlightening. The problem is that the European has a view of America which is, at best, superficial (once again, the same is true if we exchange the roles). As soon as the critic enters into a detailed criticism of the other society, he makes numerous factual mistakes which are easily rebutted, thereby discrediting the whole criticism.
Americans often avoid this trap since they are more humble about their (lack of) knowledge of Europe. A well-read European, on the other hand, will often consider himself to be an expert on America. Especially if he has taken a ten day vacation in NYC and Disney World.
Regarding the current topic of discussion, I would note that ethnically homogeneous Europe has installed a French first couple in which the President is the son of a Hungarian father and a French Catholic and Ottoman-Sephardic Jewish mother, while the first lady is Italian (and Sarkozy’s previous wife was the daughter of Moldovan and Spanish-Belgian parents). They appear to have assimilated reasonably well to the dominant French culture. In the same way, ethnically heterogeneous European Americans have assimilated to the dominant American culture. As to what the culture is, “Albion’s Seed” does a good job of describing it.
If Sarkozy has assimilated to French culture, the culture to which he has assimimlated is the culture that believes in a race-mixed, Islamized France. The occasional cosmetic steps he makes against Islamization should not conceal his main drift toward Islamization.
In reality, Sarkozy is not a fully assimilated Frenchman. He is aware of his ethnic distinctiveness, and he has made various statements indicating resentment against the French majority culture, and his ethnic distinctiveness is evidently part of the source of his aggressive promotion of a future, race-mixed Europe to be created by racial intermarriage. Also he grew up in marginal circumstances as a semi outsider that seemed to have planted a certain resentment in him and desire to get back at the French.
James P. writes:
“It is the insularity of the American mind which is largely responsible for the failure of the project of the creation of an American Empire. The attempt to imitate the European powers failed even before it achieved any major victories. In the history of Empires, the American one is the shortest, controlling less of the world’s territory than the Portuguese at the height of their powers. The USA is the only white nation to have bankrupted itself in trying to create an Empire before it has extracted any of the benefits of that Empire. The European nations bankrupted themselves by defending their empires from each other. The test of the back bone of country is not in its rise to power but in its tenacity to hold on to power. And the USA has shown no ability to do that. Like a meteor it has risen and fallen.”
Karen entirely misunderstands the American “imperial project.” Personally I reject the term “empire” or “imperial” as having no application to the USA. Normally only leftist America-bashers use the terms to describe America and its foreign policy simply because the terms are now considered opprobrious, i.e. empires and imperialism are “bad things.” In particular, use of the term “empire” leads to confusion, as Karen exemplifies here, because the American “empire” after 1945 was never about “controlling territory” in the manner of the 15th to early 20th century colonial empires. Thus one cannot properly conclude that “attempt to imitate the European powers failed”—because America wasn’t trying to imitate European colonialists—nor can one properly say that America “failed to control more territory than the Portuguese”—because America wasn’t trying to control territory in that fashion.
The purpose of American “empire” after 1945 was to prevent Soviet Communism from dominating Eurasia, and particularly to prevent the Soviets from dominating the advanced industrial nations of Western Europe and Japan. That is why, for most of the Cold War, the vast majority of U.S. military power was stationed in Europe and Japan. This fact alone should tell you that America’s purpose was not to create a colonial empire from which to “extract benefits”; after all, the Germans and the Japanese were hardly primitive native peoples who could be put to work harvesting rubber. It was always America’s purpose to create a stable structure in Eurasia, such that Europe and Japan would be strong enough to defend themselves, and American forces could leave. From this standpoint, American foreign policy did not “fail” during the Cold War, but succeeded spectacularly.
I hope it is sufficiently obvious that America is not trying to create a colonial empire in Iraq or Afghanistan, either. In some ways we’d be a lot better off if we were. What we are trying to do is going to fail expensively, but let’s at least diagnose America’s stupidity correctly.
She then says,
“The collapse of the American Empire is the greatest squandering of assets in the history of mankind. It will be much mused over by future historians (probably Chinese). And the cause? Well uncontrolled greed is a factor but naivete is the greatest one. The collective wisdom built up over generations of families who have military, diplomatic and administrative experience does not exist in the USA.”
In my view the greatest squandering of assets in the history of mankind was when Britain fought Germany from 1914 to 1945. And who brought about that squandering? Oh, those British families with generations of imperial experience. Their collective wisdom led them into two global bloodbaths in short succession, both of which were entirely avoidable given far-sighted, courageous leadership. So much for good breeding!
I also wonder in what sense the U.S. “empire” can be said to have “collapsed” if the U.S. withdraws its forces from overseas and does not indulge in any more idiotic nation-building projects in the Third World. How will America be worse off? In a lot of ways we will be better off, since our economic competitors will have to deal with a lot of the military problems that we now deal with, and we will be able to focus on restoring our economy. Our national power and our national territory will be entirely intact, we just won’t be throwing our blood and treasure down Middle Eastern toilets. Britain and France were severely crippled as global powers by the loss of their overseas empires; they were reduced to minor powers on the European periphery. America will not be crippled when she withdraws her military from overseas; she will remain a mighty continent.
I detect more than a hint of Schadenfreude in Karen’s remarks. I have heard this from English friends and relatives before—“oh you naive Americans, you never knew what you were doing, you’re bound to come a cropper eventually.” I simply smile to myself with the quiet knowledge that America repeatedly outmaneuvered the British over the past century, and after 1945, Britain danced to America’s tune (evidently to the abiding fury of the British).
From reading Karen’s below comment, I now realize that an underlying part of her case against America is that it broke away from England.
“the creation of a new people”
This is not a traditional conservative position. It is a liberal one and in its creation of this new people, the USA is following the same trajectory as the Soviet Union. A new people bound by a leftist ideology and abstract ideas in a New World wanted to find freedom but like the Soviets have found themselves in a state descending into totalitarianism and ruled by oligarchs. The culture of the USA in which these various ethnicities are blended into the new people, is superficial and shallow. Without an aristocracy and social hierarchy defined by ancestry, the USA has an unsteady and fluctuating social foundation of social status determined by wealth. Historically such societies have not withstood adversity. The “aristocracy” of wealthy families in the USA have not shown much staying power. Less than 20 percent have maintained their position for more than 150 years. For most it is shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations. The Ford family business is on state support, the family unable to provide the $5 billion needed to save it.
It is easy to unite people under in a shallow culture in times of prosperity and peace but the challenge is to sustain in adversity. Christianity alone cannot sustain a culture and if ethnicity is not important why is it necessary to have so many churches in the USA all catering to different ethnic groups? There is no evidence that the white population of the USA has the resilience or coherence to withstand the major shocks that it will have to face in the future. It is most likely that it will fragment in a similar fashion to the South African white ruling class which was multiethnic but abruptly collapsed on the transition to black rule with the rich fleeing the country or living in barricaded homes whilst the poor were left to face the brunt of the social disaster and crime which resulted. In contrast cultures which are built on ethnic homogeneity with a social structure defined by ancestry have tremendous resilience and can withstand severe battering. The Japanese and Germans were razed to the ground in World War II but emerged rapidly, their social structures and cultures intact. The Maharajas of India saw off the Mughals, the British and Indira Ghandi and they are still there. Finally and most significantly, a white people who believe in themselves would never have elected a black president. That is a symbolic sign of a lack of confidence. I doubt we will ever see a mulato in 10 Downing Street or the Elysee Palace.
the “ethnic consciousness” movement and the disastrous loss of WASP cultural authority starting in the Sixties was not due to increasing relative numbers of non-Anglo whites, since the large scale immigration of non-Anglo whites had ceased forty years earlier, thanks to the temporary national quota act of 1921 and the permanent national quota act of 1924. It had to do with the Sixties cultural revolution.]
It takes about 40-100 years for immigration to have a serious impact on the population of a country and the fact that immigration was stopped in 1924 does not alter the fact that many non WASPS were allowed into the country in the 19th century and their cultural impact was not felt until the mid 20th century.
while the term American “empire” is frequently used, it’s more a metaphor than a fact. Empire has a specific meaning: a nation having political sovereign control over foreign territories. Apart from the Philippines (which we never intended to hold onto permanently) and a couple of tiny territories in or bordering on the Pacific, there was never an American empire, nor an attempt to create one. There was and is very far reaching American influence.]
There was an attempt to create an American Empire by the use of proxies to achieve political control of nations. The theory supporting it was that the political control would render redundant the need to physically occupy the country and administer it. The end result is the same and some of your major historians refer to it as an Empire.
America throughout its history has sought to spread and impose its notions of democracy and liberalism on other countries, often with very regrettable results from a traditionalist perspective. Certainly we helped push Europe toward liberalism after WWII, and then the Europeans took it even further. But this is an entirely different problem from the problem of creating an empire and then lacking the knowledge and brass to hold onto it, which is the substance of your indictment of America
America has used the spread of ideology as a pretext for control of other countries resources. America has no more interest in creating a democracy abroad than it has at home. American “democracy” is a sham. The political process and its major actors are subservient to the interests of their backers and office holders. The individual American is an irrelevance.
You missed my point, the USA has bankrupted itself in the process of creating an Empire (or influence as you would say). Due to its current financial dependency on the Chinese, Japanese and Saudis it has little prospects of completing the project. The project has crashed before it ever got off the ground. This is what I mean by the greatest squandering of assets in the history of mankind. The European powers created their Empires, benefitted from them and eventually, after a long period of time, lost them. They did not go blundering around the world racking up debts and achieving nothing.
[This entry has reached maximum size. The thread continues here
Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 05, 2010 01:47 PM | Send