Subject: Race and Culture|
Continuing from the race and culture discussion on VFR, Mr, Kalb wrote:
"It seems that the basic question is what will make for the best life for people here going forward. One possiblity is that America retains its historically dominant culture as such."
That is certainly one possibility and, ISTM, a legitimate goal of traditionalist conservatives.
"If there are problems with the Anglo-American way of doing things--and there are--then they have to get addressed by the Anglo-Americans, mostly in accordance with their experience and understanding of things as it develops."
This is an unneccessary limitation that would have the effect of turning a good political and cultural movement into an exclusively "white" movement. Bad idea. Many non-Anglos participate enough in traditional American culture to have something worthwhile to say about it. Conversely, many Anglos are so out of touch with their own history that their contributions should not be solicited.
"Another possibility is that it gets replaced by some other culture, maybe because of massive immigration from some single source."
I don't see this as a realistic possibility at all. Whatever culture emerges as dominant in America will have significant Anglo-American influence.
"Another is that the dominant culture and all others are destroyed by multiculturalism and replaced the therapeutic PC welfare state."
May Heaven forbid it.
"Still another is that some new culture be constructed by someone on some principle."
Rather, a new culture may emerge as the natural consequence of people living together in the same land for a long period of time.
"To my way of thinking the first possibility offers the best shot at what seems the best practical goal, which is not direct rule by the unmixed truth that is equally available to everyone everywhere but something much more limited, a reasonably free and reasonably self-governing society that is ordered ultimately toward at least generally Christian goods."
OK, I'm with you.
"That possibility depends on inculturation of the truth in the habits and attitudes of some actual people ..."
Let us start, then, with actual people who are actually here now.
" ... so it seems inconsistent with the belief that humanity and religion demand the utter extirpation of any social distinction that has any racial aspect at all."
No one has suggested this. What we legitimately call race, everyone here agrees, results from people living together for long periods of time. Therefore let the American people, from every racial stock, live here together in peace for a long period of time, and perhaps something like a biological race will come of it.
But the point is that America, home to many races, is not the place for racial engineering or for grand schemes of racial dominance. That is a recipe for disaster.
Geography, language, and religion build cultures and races if you will, and so the only long term solution is that we give these -- along with a revival of the Western cultural heritage -- time to work their magic.
| RE: Race and Culture|
Just to clarify one point:
Although it may indeed happen, I don't think it is necessary or inevitable that a new American biological *race* emerge from our present inhabitants. But I do think it is necessary that a decent and coherent *culture* emerge from those regions of America where many incongruous cultures now exist. This can happen with or without large-scale intermarriage.
The United States is so vast that today I think I would rather see several regional cultures (under a Catholic umbrella) emerge than a single national culture.
| RE: Race and Culture|
A few comments:
1. "[T]he belief that humanity and religion demand the utter extirpation of any social distinction that has any racial aspect at all" is not my invention. It is the current public orthodoxy in America and throughout the West. What raised the issue of race and culture on VFR was Mr. Auster's criticism of those conservatives who embrace that orthodoxy.
2. I don't see how saying Anglos have to deal with Anglo deficiencies in a mostly Anglo way limits anything. The comment wasn't intended as a comprehensive statement of my whole view of the world. (The particular deficiency in question was an apparent tendency toward acultural secular individualism.)
3. I agree that regionalism, localism, decentralization etc. are a necessary part of any tolerable way of dealing with American diversity. Those things are good for other reasons too of course.
4. As to new cultures and races evolving over long periods of living together, that's quite distant and doesn't have much to do with current issues except perhaps underscoring the need to limit immigration so that more cultural coherence and stable mutual accommodations among cultural groups can grow up.
5. I don't see how "racial engineering or grand schemes of racial dominance" have been part of the discussion. I think the point, mostly implicit, has been that free government requires common habits, understandings, loyalties and history, that those things also define ethnic culture, and that ethnic culture is associated with descent and therefore race. It seems to me those propositions are simply true as a matter of fact.
6. What I think legitimately follows from those propositions is not some engineered scheme of racial dominance but rather rejection of the current attempt to make race utterly irrelevant. To the extent Anglo numerical dominance, their historical influence in making American institutions what they are, and the brute necessity of having some common set of beliefs, understandings etc. for government to proceed at all makes Anglos factually dominant--most influential people are Anglos, the standards and presumptions of public life are basically Anglo, etc.--that's not a crime against humanity. Someone has to be factually dominant, and the obvious alternative to letting the majority ethnic group that historically created the society remain factually dominant is letting some small group rule by ideology, spurious claims of expertise, or brute force.
7. On VFR you commented that "Perhaps the unfriendly reception of Mr. Auster's comments at the Weyrich-sponsored meeting has to do with a well-founded suspicion of his motives." I can't help but feel that suspicion of motives is behind your comments on issues of race and culture generally. If I am right you will, I suppose, have to make up your own mind whether suspicion is justified. My only comment is that it makes discussion much more difficult--if one party thinks that when he says X the other really means discreditable Y the two will have trouble joining issue. You should consider whether it is worth while carrying on a discussion under such circumstances.
| RE: Race and Culture|
Time constrains me, but a brief reply to comments here and on VFR:
1. I agree with all the criticism of America as a purely "propsitional nation". The disagreement comes as to what American national substance is today, and what American national substance should become.
2. I have no problem with "letting" Anglos be Anglos or whatever. The Anglo cultural inheritance is precious and in most discussions I am alone as its staunch defender. (I post here out of a fascination with being outflanked on the Right ...)
3. You choose your words very carefully; Mr. Auster less so. But what I am reading between the lines is an overly static view of ethnicity, and a confusion as to the relationship between race and culture.
4. If I am overly suspicious of motives, it is because in my experience the purveyors of racial politics do, in fact, have bad motives.
5. Catholic orthodoxy is comprehensive of all human life and relationships, a synthesis of natural and revealed truths. But only the orthodox Catholic can rightly order his affections and prioritize his loyalties. And ISTM that this entire discussion concerns how to best order one's affections and prioritize one's loyalties.
| RE: Race and Culture|
I'm not sure what to say. Some people speak carefully about inflammatory topics because they think it's the best way to sort out the issues. Others are less careful and open themselves to misinterpretation by those with an ax to grind. None of it matters with people who know it's all disingenuous anyway because anyone who says certain sorts of things is a purveyor of racial politics and purveyors of racial politics are all the same.
Based on what you say I'm not sure a discussion is possible. Discussion requires at least hypothetical acceptance of the other's good faith.