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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pat Buchanan is impolite

Mr. Buchanan lays out an uncomfortable hypothesis in his column today.

New Tribe Rising?
“Is white the new black?”

So asks Kelefa Sanneh in the subtitle of Beyond the Pale, his New Yorker review of several books on white America, wherein he concludes we may be witnessing “the slow birth of a people.”

Sanneh is onto something. For after a year of battering as “un-American,” “evil-doers” and racists, and praise from talk-show hosts and Sarah Palin as “the real Americans,” Tea Party America seems to be taking on a new and separate identity.

Ethnonationalism—the recognition of an embryonic people that they are different from their neighbors, and the concomitant drive to live apart—is, as Arthur Schlesinger Jr. wrote 20 years ago, a more powerful force than any ideology, be it communism, fascism or democracy.

Ethnonationalism is the preeminent force of the age we have entered, the creator and destroyer of empires and nations. Even as Schlesinger was writing his “Disuniting of America,” Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union were disintegrating into 22 new nations, along the lines of ethnicity. In Dagestan, Ingushetia, Chechnya, Ossetia and Abkhazia, the process proceeds apace.

It has happened before—and here.

In the American colonies, the evil institution of slavery, followed by a century of segregation, created out of the children of captured Africans who had little in common other than color a new people, the African-Americans, who went out and voted 24-to-one for Barack Obama.

In 1754, the 13 colonies consisted of South Carolinians, New Yorkers, Pennsylvanians and Virginians, all loyal subjects of the king.

But after the contemptuous treatment of colonial soldiers in the French and Indian War, the Stamp Act, the Townshend duties, the Boston Massacre, the Tea Party, the Quartering Act and the Quebec Act, by 1775 a new people had been born: the Americans.

“While Tea Partiers are anti-Obama, they are also anti-Pelosi, anti-Martha Coakley and anti-Charlie Christ. The coming conflict is not so much racial as it is cultural, political and tribal.”

In 1770, New York colonists had erected a statue of George III in Bowling Green in grateful tribute for his repeal of the Townshend taxes. In July 1776, they pulled it down and melted it for lead bullets after Washington read his soldiers the Declaration of Independence portraying George III as another Ivan the Terrible.

“There is no such thing as a Palestinian people,” said Golda Meir. When she said it, she may have been right. But as generations have grown up under the occupation and two intifadas and a Gaza War, the Palestinians are a people today.

Adversity and abuse increase the awareness of separate identity and accelerate the secession of peoples from each other...[Continued at link]


The Left, with its refrain of collective white guilt may yet see some unintended consequences of their agenda. As Buchanan implies, 'white American' is not a distinctive ethnicity. But so far as I know, when it comes to affirmative action and Title VII no distinctions are being drawn for the Irish, Greeks, Italians, Slavs and others who have come to the US, prospered and assimilated (the polite term for ethnic out-marriage). Canada further subdivides its citizens with the epithet of visible minority. All of this is to say that, if there wasn't a logically coherent and distinct group known as 'white America' before, there will be shortly.

When one ethnic group insists that another ethnic group owes them for ancestral grievances, then doubtless some or most members of the target group will object, and conclude that, as individuals, they don't stand a chance against the collective assault. A predictable response is for them to embrace a group interest against the forcible transfer of their wealth.

These are the awful social forces that are unleashed when the government dabbles in social engineering and redistributive justice. A society with a 'night watchman' government, that is, a government limited solely to the protection of property rights, would not have these kinds of problems. People would intermingle or not as they wished. The democratic State's heavy handed regulations take away the safe harbors that make a multicultural society possible.

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