The mindless indifference of many Americans to the well-being and future of our society

Paul Nachman writes:

In a recent VFR entry Aditya B. writes in part:

Some on the dissident right argue that these changes have been foisted on an unwilling public. I submit that the public is fully complicit in this tyranny.

I agree with Aditya about the public’s complicity.

I was on the phone recently with a fellow Ph.D physicist, a very close friend from my grad school days at the University of Chicago. He would sympathize with many of the themes at VFR if he ever read them, but it would be hopeless for me to try to get him to read them and become engaged. As he told me once, he’s just one of hundreds of millions of Americans, and whatever he would do could have no effect. So he just does the things he enjoys in life.

The friend is 62 and has a couple of daughters in their late twenties, both still single. I’ve never heard him express any concern for what their futures will be like in the developing rubble of this republic (Nor have I ever heard him state a desire to have grandchildren, for whom the future would loom even more disastrous. And I’ve never thought to ask if he has such a desire.)

During our two-hour conversation several days ago, the presidential election was a topic. Somewhat to my surprise, he told me that he’d voted for Obama in 2008 because he was annoyed with McCain. This time, he’s more annoyed with Obama than with Romney, so he’ll vote for Romney. (He lives in what’s generally considered to be a swing state.)

He also expressed general annoyance with social issues being part of the political conversation, homosexual “marriage” being an example. He simply doesn’t care about it.

I asked, Not even that it topples one of the foundations of Western civilization? Nope. Further, he resents it when the state legislature wastes time on subjects like homosexual “marriage.” He doesn’t want any tax money spent on such deliberations.

I replied: No matter how you feel about homosexual “marriage,” county clerks, going by law and tradition, aren’t going to issue marriage licenses when a pair of men or a pair of women shows up to apply for one. It takes actual legislative action to levy a new responsibility like that on those clerks.

My friend’s response: He doesn’t care, he doesn’t want to hear about it, the legislature shouldn’t be wasting time and money on such subjects. [LA replies: The man is mindless. Anything that he personally is not interested in, he just wants to go away. He doesn’t care about, and takes no responsibility for, the actual operations of society, yet he expects those operations and that society to continue. He doesn’t deserve to be a citizen.]

Speaking of waste, I know better than to bend any effort trying to persuade this friend to look at things differently. He’d be obdurate. This aspect of him strikes me as hyper-foolish—I feel desperate about the country’s future, even though I don’t have children, much less grandchildren, while he, with much more at stake in the future than I, simply can’t be bothered. (During that phone conversation, he went on at some length about his disgust at the illegal alien “invasion.”) But I value him as a friend because we have many interests in common, and he’s a terrific raconteur, with many experiences of his own to “racont” about.

And this reminds me of another close friend, but one from whom I’ve been estranged for over ten years. This ex-friend, now 51, has three kids, and he would often agree with me about the disasters in plain sight ahead. But he wasn’t going to worry about the implications for his children: “They’ll have to solve the problems of their own time,” he once said to me. I forget if I ever tried to point out to him the difference in context: That we who grew up in post-WWII America were bequeathed a working system and society, unique in human history, but our complacent, self-absorbed cohort is bequeathing to his kids’ and subsequent generations a dystopia like the “bad” future in the movie Back to the Future.

You, Larry, some time in recent months, made a brief remark at VFR about what an exceptional thing in human history the American republic has been—that there could be a decent society, against all the odds that result from human nature. (That’s not a good rendition of your actual words. But maybe you can find the entry and link it here.)

So, yes, I think Aditya’s disgust with the bulk of our fellow citizens is fully warranted.

- end of initial entry -

Tricia A. writes:

When I read the letter from the man who has apathetic friends, who care nothing much about current issues except the ‘invasion’ by aliens, I thought: White Americans will become more and more apathetic the more we read and are told that we will soon be a minority and that a country to our south, that we don’t respect, will make up a majority.

If we are practically powerless now to keep corruption out of our political and social systems, how can we hope for things ever to get better when we will be too few to matter? Our major problem, I believe, is the shrinkage of our numbers and our knowledge of it. The only hope would be a movement to increase white births and stop immigration, but…. do you see that happening?

Otherwise, what hope do European Americans have?

LA replies:

The number of whites is not shrinking in absolute terms (or, if it is, only slightly). The percentage of the white population relative to the ever-expanding nonwhite immigrant population is shrinking very rapidly. Unless that process is stopped and reversed, there is no hope for European America, except perhaps in some different form which we cannot conceive right now.

And I agree with your very insightful remark that the constant message sent to whites that they are nothing, that they are irrelevant, makes them apathetic. What investment can whites have in America, when they are constantly being told that their America is being dissolved and replaced by other peoples?

See my article, “What is European America?”, which deals with this question.

Also, this passage from chapter II of The Path to National Suicide is relevant to your point growing apathy and demoralization:

In the years and decades to come, as the present American people and their descendants begin to understand what is happening to their country; as they see their civilization disappearing piece by piece, city by city, state by state, from before their eyes, and that nothing can be done to stop it, they will suffer the same collapse of spirit that occurs to any people when its way of life, its historical identity, is taken away from it. Beneath all the hopeful names they will try to find for these changes—diversity, world-nation, global oneness—there will be the repressed knowledge that America is becoming an utterly different country from what it has been, and that this means the end of their world. But the pain will not last for long. As the clerics of diversity indoctrinate new generations into the Orwellian official history, even the memory of what America once was will be lost.

LA continues:

See also my anecdote about my one and only in-person conversation with Norman Podhoretz, from a 2008 VFR thread:

So, six year ago, [Peggy] Noonan denigrated the normal human identification with a particular place and country, a particular homeland, as a love of “mud,” because we’re only supposed to love universal ideals, not an actual place. And now she complains about modern, rootless Americans—and rootless humans generally in the ever-spreading globalized culture in which we live—who lack any sense of place!

Has it ever once occurred to Noonan that she herself through her neoconservative universalism has promoted that same rootlessness? Yes, she has recoiled from the most extreme expressions of that universalism, such as President Bush’s 2005 inaugural address. But she has never criticized the neoconservative ideology as such.

I am reminded again of my exchange with Norman Podhoretz, at a small luncheon/discussion group in the mid 1990s where he was the speaker. He spoke sadly of the fact that Americans “have lost their voice,” meaning their will and ability to defend their culture from multiculturalism. I said to him, how do you expect people to have any voice, to be able to defend their culture, when they are continually being told that the only truth is a universal truth, and that to believe in and seek to preserve one’s particular culture is evil?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 30, 2012 02:41 PM | Send

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