I recently wrote about Christopher Caldwell’s thesis that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 introduced a parallel and superior unwritten constitution that has been used to erode the rights of white Americans in the name of enforcing equity of outcome between racial groups. As Caldwell says, it was not designed to disenfranchise white men per se, merely that it added extra rights to everyone else, which has the same effect.
Steve Sailer wondered about that, and so he asked Google if whites have civil rights. The search engine indicated that this was a novel question that nobody had ever asked before. Just like the word “diversity,” the phrase “civil rights” is merely a euphemism to indicate special rights for minorities, so the idea of whites having civil rights is essentially a contradiction in terms.
Sailer has some suggestions for how to remedy this problem, assuming that our judges and Supreme Court still recognize our original Constitution. He is perhaps more optimistic than I am, but the essay is worth reading in full. The greatness of our Constitution is in its protections for individual liberties, but the fatal flaw is that few in our government care anymore.
Many conservatives who believe that the 2020 election will be inevitably overturned and Trump returned to office explicitly or implicitly refer to this post. You might hear them saying “fraud vitiates everything” as if it were a magical incantation. I was curious about the foundation of this argument, so I examined the case in question.
In 1878, Justice Samuel Miller wrote the majority opinion in the case of United States v. Throckmorton. Apparently a certain man, W. A. Richardson, had petitioned for a land deed in California, and in doing so had presented documentation from a Mexican bureaucrat who had administered California prior to the Mexican-American War. It was later discovered that these documents were not authentic, rather they had been created after Mr. Richardson had applied for the US title.
In his opinion, Justice Miller refers to several other cases where fraud was alleged after a judgment. He is very careful to not overstep the doctrine of rex adjudicata which says that a judgment once made should not be re-litigated. This is the civil version of the double jeopardy rule in criminal cases – once a defendant is exonerated, the government cannot charge him again for the same crime. The purpose of rex adjudicata is to prevent people from wasting the court’s time by suing and counter-suing the same issue over and over again.
Justice Miller cites a “Mr. Wells” who wrote on the subject of rex adjudicata. In the citation he quotes this Mr. Wells writing:
“Fraud vitiates every thing, and a judgment equally with a contract; that is, a judgment obtained directly by fraud, and not merely a judgment founded on a fraudulent instrument; for, in general, the court will not go again into the merits of an action for the purpose of detecting and annulling the fraud.’ . . . ‘Likewise, there are few exceptions to the rule that equity will not go behind the judgment to interpose in the cause itself, but only when there was some hindrance besides the negligence of the defendant, in presenting the defence in the legal action. There is an old case in South Carolina to the effect that fraud in obtaining a bill of sale would justify equitable interference as to the judgment obtained thereon. But I judge it stands almost or quite alone, and has no weight as a precedent.”
United States v. Throckmorton, Paragraph 16
Let us take a moment to define our terms. According to Merriam-Webster, the word “vitiate” means to make faulty or defective, to debase in a moral or aesthetic sense, or to make ineffective. The legal usage of the words seems to be the third definition, to make ineffective. Therefore according to Wells, fraud (once proven, of course) in a contract or a judgment renders the whole thing moot. However, in that same citation, Wells says that only a specific kind of fraud will invalidate a contract or judgment – if the judgment was simply “founded on a fraudulent instrument” then the courts would not reopen the case.
Later in his judgment, Justice Miller refers to a Massachusetts court decision regarding a divorce case that involved fraudulent testimony. He quotes Massachusetts Chief Justice Shaw who wrote:
The maxim that fraud vitiates every proceeding must be taken, like other general maxims, to apply to cases where proof of fraud is admissible. But where the same matter has been actually tried, or so in issue that it might have been tried, it is not again admissible; the party is estopped to set up such fraud, because the judgment is the highest evidence, and cannot be contradicted.”
United States v. Throckmorton, Paragraph 22
Do you see yet what is going on here? The blogger at State of the Nation quoted Throckmorton and claimed that the SCOTUS “categorically” asserted that “fraud vitiates every thing.” However, the case itself shows these words to be quotations by Justice Miller of previous cases whose outcomes were contrary to what the State of the Nation author is suggesting. Both the Wells and Shaw citations are essentially saying “fraud vitiates everything, but…”
Indeed, the Shaw citation works against the claim that United States v. Throckmorton means that Trump will be reinstated. In that case, Chief Justice Shaw specifically wrote that the fraud in question was not admissible because the decision had already been made. He did not allow the divorce case to be re-litigated. Throckmorton itself was dismissed by Justice Miller for lack of jurisdiction. What does that mean for Donald Trump in 2020?
First, in Throckmorton Justice Miller is only dealing with contracts and judgments. The case had zero to do with elections. This is a basic category error made by the bloggers at State of the Nation, and perpetuated by people sharing the screenshot or repeating the phrase. (I suspect that most people do not bother going back to the source.) The blogger at State of the Nation attempts to fit a square peg into a round hole:
“The same U.S. Supreme Court ruling also determined that fraud vitiates contracts. An election is essentially a binding contract between the electorate and the elected. This indispensable social contract is irreparably broken through voter fraud and election cyber-crimes as the public trust is profoundly violated.”
Ironically, just two years prior to Throckmorton there was an actual disputed presidential election. Democrat Samuel Tilden of New York apparently defeated Republican Rutherford Hayes of Ohio, but three southern states remained up in the air months after the election. Allegations of fraud were made on both sides. In the end, a congressional committee came to a compromise wherein Hayes would receive the disputed electoral votes, but he would then as president withdraw federal troops from the South and end the era of Reconstruction. This election provided the template for a suggested commission that might have been created had the 2020 election not been so successfully stolen.
While not going as far as these conservative activists want, Throckmorton seems to allow for re-litigation in some cases, while not setting any hard precedents. However, electoral law is its own beast. The office of President of the United States is established in Article II of the US Constitution, and the method for electing the president is laid out in Section 1:
“Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.”
US Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 2
Election Day is also established by the Constitution:
“The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.”
US Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 4
This is one place where the unilateral changes made to election law by governors and state bureaucrats should be reasonably challenged. The Constitution says that the Electors shall be chosen on “a day” not “multiple days”. Early voting is clearly unconstitutional.
The method for electing the president is that each state chooses Electors, who then convene in December to cast their votes. Those votes are counted and certified by a Joint Session of the new Congress the following January. The winning candidate is then sworn in on January 20th. There is nothing in the US Constitution that compels states to choose their Electors in any specific fashion. In the early days of the Republic, state legislatures simply selected Electors. Today, all fifty states and the District of Columbia choose their electors with popular elections. (Remember, when you vote for president, you are not really voting for the president directly, but for the Electors who will cast their votes on your behalf.) Two states – Maine and Nebraska – split their electors somewhat proportionally, while the others are winner-take-all.
Unfortunately for those who are hanging on to hope of Donald Trump being reinstated after audits prove electoral fraud, there is no constitutional mechanism for this. No matter what fraud or illegal activities took place in the lead-up to the 2020 election, constitutional mandates were followed. Every state certified their own presidential elections, and the Joint Session certified the Electoral College votes. I am not aware of a time when Electors have been “recalled” after the fact. Even if a state such as Arizona voted to recall their Electors, I do not believe it would have any practical effect.
The time for investigating and dealing with the fraud was in November and December of 2020, before certification took place in the state legislatures and the Joint Session of Congress. Yes, those legislators, congressmen, and senators who certified those votes knowing that fraud had taken place were spineless. The January 6th protest was used as an excuse to ignore the fraud entirely. The Republican Party should have fought harder, but they rubber stamped this thing because they were afraid of what would happen if they took a controversial stand.
As for the audits themselves, even the “general doctrine” that “fraud vitiates everything” requires proof of that fraud. I am afraid that we will never get the proof we want. Too much time has passed, and the ballots and voting machines have been touched by too many hands. As they say on TV, the crime scene has been hopelessly contaminated. We will likely see a lot of evidence of fraud, but outright proof? I doubt it. Besides, there is nothing will convince CNN and the left that this was anything less than the most secure election in history. We are beyond the point where truth and facts matter.
President Trump will not be reinstated next month, or at any other time before Inauguration Day 2025. Anyone saying so is either misinformed or selling hopium to desperate conservatives. We should definitely push for more secure elections, but I believe the most positive outcome of the audits is to convince rank-and-file conservatives how broken the system really is. Our elections have been fraudulent for many years, as both sides utilize underhanded tricks to get their guy across the finish line. Recall that the 1960 presidential election between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon was decided by a few probably-fraudulent votes in a handful of corrupt counties in Texas and Illinois. The votes we cast have little relation to the numbers that appear on the screen at the end of the day, and these audits are only going to confirm that sad fact.
America will not be saved by putting Donald Trump back into office. Magic words and incantations do not change the fact that we are living in an occupied country. We must fearlessly face the truth at all times. The way forward is to build local communities of like-minded people who will weather the storm to come. Whether it is totalitarianism, secession, or civil war, having a tribe of men at your back is the only way to preserve and defend the remnants of Western Civilization.
As protests erupt this month in Cuba, many Americans are wondering how we should respond. Should we intervene, oust the Communists, and restore democratic rule? Or should we leave them alone? How should the America First movement deal with Communist Cuba?
In this Thursday afternoon livestream I talk about my latest podcast and essay, why I do not focus on the minute details of politics, Malcolm X and nationalism, Christopher Caldwell’s essay on the Pilgrim Fathers, the tragedy of the American Indians, and all the chaos that is going on in the world today.
Watch here, listen here, or subscribe in your favorite podcast player.
Our founding fathers recognized their moment in history. After nearly two centuries of growth and development as English colonies, the settlers of the New World had developed into their own unique nations. After throwing off their allegiance to the British crown, they had a unique opportunity to create a new government from scratch. These men – John Adams, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, and more – understood the gravity of the choices they would make. They carefully crafted a constitution that balanced the necessity of a strong central government with the desires of the states for sovereignty. The Bill of Rights codified protections against many of the infringements and injuries that governments had engaged in for all of human history.
For more than two centuries the Constitution has been the supreme law of this land, and it remains a source of pride for patriotic Americans. It was fit, as John Adams said, for the “moral and religious people” that our ancestors were.
The purpose of this Constitution, beyond simply the creation of a government, was to ensure that the liberties our Founding Fathers had fought and died for would endure. The Preamble to the Constitution explains it clearly:
“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The Constitution of the United States of America
Has the Constitution held up as a guarantor of our freedoms? Has it protected the liberties of the posterity of our Founding Fathers? Governments, courts, and even private companies have been slowly chipping away at the freedoms we once took for granted. America today is a multi-ethnic empire, home to many different groups of people, many of whom have no loyalty to our founders or their ideals.
Despite our Constitution, despite our laws, the historic American nation is losing its country.
The decline of the United States of America has been a slow process. At times it is so gradual that we do not realize it is happening at all. We become comfortable with the status quo, and we only notice the most recent outrage. Most Americans still believe in the Constitution. Conservatives trust it to protect us from the worst progressive indulgences. Even Marxist progressives pay lip service to the Constitution despite seeking to undermine it in service of their evil vision. However, I do not believe that the Constitution is the true supreme law of the land.
Author and journalist Christopher Caldwell argues persuasively in his book Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties that the civil cights acts of the 1960s inadvertently created a new constitution that is at odds with, and even supersedes our original Constitution. These laws gave the government a mandate to fix inequities in society, even if at the cost of our constitutional rights. Caldwell writes:
“The changes of the 1960s, with civil rights at their core, were not just a major new element in the Constitution. They were a rival constitution, with which the original one was frequently incompatible—and the incompatibility would worsen as the civil rights regime was built out.”
Christopher Caldwell, Age of Entitlement
The reason that Caldwell calls civil rights a “rival constitution” is because any time there is a conflict between our constitutional rights and racial equity, courts rule in favor of equity. Whereas equality means that all people are treated the same before the law, equity means that all people must achieve the same outcome. This is, of course, nonsense. While we are indeed all equal before God and the laws of men, we are not equal in all ways. There are physical, mental, and emotional differences between all people. Furthermore, racial groups – being extended families writ large, as Steve Sailer puts it – have certain characteristic strengths and weaknesses as well. Yet the dogma of equity assumes that any difference of outcome between the races is prima facie evidence of racism and discrimination.
The word “racism” once meant prejudice against individuals based upon their ethnic background or skin color. It meant using the force of law to discriminate based on race. Today that definition has been expanded to mean any disparity between racial groups, or even so-called “microaggressions”. The charge of “racism” today does not even require ill intent. Critical Race Theory teaches that racism is systemic; that is, it is integrated into the very structure of Western Civilization and is all around us like water is to fish. There is no rational defense against this charge of racism, so there is no point in trying to argue.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 set in motion a chain of events that dramatically altered our country. Whereas the New Deal established that the government had a duty to take care of its citizens’ basic needs, Civil Rights gave the government a mandate to create equity between racial groups by any means necessary.
Conservative parents are making headway this year in the fight against the Marxist ideology of Critical Race Theory in public schools. Christopher Rufo has done great work exposing how schools and teachers’ unions are using this evil, racist, anti-white, anti-American ideology to indoctrinate millions of students. A common refrain from conservative activists is that CRT betrays the vision of Martin Luther King Jr. and the original Civil Rights Act. Caldwell argues, however, that CRT is merely the logical result of Civil Rights, and that the well was poisoned from the start.
I understand that for many conservatives, especially those who were around in the 1960s, criticizing civil rights is like criticizing America – it is beyond the pale. Only racists would have a problem with civil rights, no? Yet look at what civil rights have wrought – anger, strife, and more racial division than ever before. Polls consistently show that black Americans are more pessimistic about civil rights today than they were fifty years ago. Conservatives will try to square this circle by portraying affirmative action, CRT, and the so-called “racial awakening” of recent years as a betrayal of civil rights, but I believe this is just avoiding an unpleasant truth.
The iconoclast webcomic Stonetoss recently published a picture of a workman diligently breaking a small edifice labeled Critical Race Theory while ignoring the giant structure behind him labeled affirmative action. The implication is spot on, but the artist could have gone even further, showing a massive city-sized monument labeled civil rights.
“Republicans and others who may have been uneasy that the constitutional baby had been thrown out with the segregationist bathwater consoled themselves with a myth: The “good” civil rights movement that the martyred Martin Luther King, Jr., had pursued in the 1960s had, they said, been “hijacked” in the 1970s by a “radical” one of affirmative action, with its quotas and diktats. Once the country came to its senses and rejected this optional, radical regime, it could have the good civil rights regime back. None of that was true. Affirmative action and political correctness were the twin pillars of the second constitution. They were what civil rights was. They were not temporary.”
Christopher Caldwell, Age of Entitlement
Mr. Caldwell’s book is worth reading in its entirety, but I will summarize some of his arguments here. Before I read the book myself, I had not considered the way in which civil rights superseded our Constitution. It was an epiphany that explains so much of what is going on in our country.
In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas that segregation of public schools was unconstitutional. This decision overrode a previous Supreme Court decision, Plessy v. Ferguson of 1896, in which the Court had ruled that segregation was not necessarily a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment so long as facilities were generally the same.
While we can generously assume that the Supreme Court had good intentions with Brown – segregated facilities for black students were often subpar – they opened a can of worms that is still vexing us today. The Court’s decision did not contain any suggestion as to how to rectify segregation, only that it must be fixed. Once the order for desegregation was applied to private facilities as well as public, there would be no limits on the power of government to fix any inequity, no matter how small. Caldwell writes:
“But in constitutional terms, the decision was arbitrary and open-ended. Brown granted the government the authority to put certain public bodies under surveillance for racism. Since the damage it aimed to mend consisted of “intangible considerations,” there was no obvious limit to this surveillance. And once the Civil Rights Act introduced into the private sector this assumption that all separation was prima facie evidence of inequality, desegregation implied a revocation of the old freedom of association altogether.”
Christopher Caldwell, Age of Entitlement
As Caldwell explains it, the Civil Rights Act was designed to rectify certain injustices in a specific part of the country, but it instead opened the floodgates to various interest groups and communities who saw a way to bypass the Constitution. At first it was all about achieving racial equity between blacks and whites, then feminist groups began using the same process, then homosexuals, and now every group except white males has found in the language of civil rights a requirement for government action. The result is that the entire mechanism of government has been turned against white men, the very descendants of the people who created this country in the first place.
There are many who claim that it is racist to say that white men built America. After all, we are a “nation of immigrants,” right? I maintain that it is not racist to honor one’s own heritage. Nobody should be ashamed of their people, whether they are descended from Europeans, Africans, Asians, or Native Americans. Everyone should be proud of who they are. The people who are derided today as “white” are descended from England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, Russia, Poland, Norway, Bohemia, and a hundred more places. The people who founded the United States of America were of mostly English descent, who happen to have light-colored skin. While that is controversial today, it remains the truth.
Recall that even before the American War for Independence, the North and South developed very differently. The nascent Industrial Revolution took hold in the diverse North, while the South quickly grew prosperous due to a handful of cash crops, especially cotton. Spanish colonists in the 16th century had intended to use Native American Indians as forced labor, but humanitarian efforts by priests such as Bartholomew de las Casas convinced them to spare the natives this indignity. Unfortunately, plantation owners, still in need of labor, turned east, to Africa.
Slavery has been a part of the human condition since the dawn of time. When Roman legions conquered barbarian tribes, those they did not slaughter were brought back to Rome and sold in massive slave markets. African tribes would enslave their neighbors, and the Islamic empires of northern Africa enslaved native Africans. Slave traders looking to supply the New World with forced labor did not go to Africa because they hated dark-skinned people, rather it was because that was where slaves were for sale. The sadistic white slave hunters of Alex Haley’s Roots, who captured entire tribes of black men and boys, surely existed, but usually traders simply bought slaves at the existing markets.
Slave labor has always been a short-term solution to a long-term problem. While it certainly makes rich plantation owners richer, since they have no need to pay competitive wages, it depresses the prospects for poor whites in the same area. The antebellum south had no middle class to speak of. This is the same problem that broke the economy of the Roman Empire, and it is the same problem we see today as corporations prefer to import a servant class of migrant workers from south of the border rather than pay competitive wages to Americans.
With slavery becoming the backbone of the southern economy, but never taking hold in the industrial north, battle lines were naturally drawn according to geography. The Mason-Dixon Line became a metaphor for the social and political division between the North and the South. The American Revolution was an alliance between the industrial, Puritan, abolitionist north and the agrarian, rural, slave-owning south. The division between these peoples had existed prior to the migration to the New World. The ancestors of the northern Puritans had been on one side of the English Civil War in the mid-17th century, while the ancestors of the southern Anglicans had been on the other.
This alliance between North and South created a unique American nation, separate from the mother country of Great Britain, and the breakdown of that alliance resulted in the Civil War. The core of America, what we call the historic American nation, is descended from one side or the other, or both. My own ancestry is from both – I have ancestors on one side who fought to preserve the Union, ancestors on the other who fought for Southern independence, and many on both sides fought for America in 1776.
The issue of slavery was always contentious. Despite what children are being taught in public schools today, even southern slaveowners like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were troubled by the institution. In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson writes:
“…in a warm climate, no man will labour for himself who can make another labour for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labor. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever.”
Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia
Modern historians and students have struggled to make sense of the inherent contradiction of a slaveowner declaring that slavery was evil. Most just wave it away by saying that Jefferson was a hypocrite, and that he should be unequivocally condemned in hindsight. But let us look at it rationally: Slavery existed, and one man was never going to end it singlehandedly. Thomas Jefferson owned a plantation, a plantation that needed labor to survive. Should he have freed all his slaves and hired workmen to replace them? Slavery was so embedded in southern culture that few white men would have been willing to do “Negro work”, and the costs would have put the plantation at a significant disadvantage. The same would have been the case if he had paid his slaves a living wage. In this situation, is not the most humanitarian course to treat your own slaves as well as possible, while laying the foundation for future abolition?
In any case, Jefferson so hated the institution of slavery that his original draft of the Declaration of Independence blamed King George III for its import into America. It was removed before the final version, so as not to antagonize the southern colonies. Yet the specter of slavery haunted the new nation. The slave trade itself was abolished in 1807, by which time about four million Africans were laboring in the American south. The question of what to do with this situation was one of the primary concerns of politicians and statesmen in the first half of the 19th century. Should slavery remain legal? Should new territories and states in the west be allowed to have slaves? What about slaves who escaped into the abolitionist North?
Finding compromises between the North and South was the chief aim of the early statesmen of the Republic. Men such as Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, and Stephen Douglas made their names in the debates over slavery. Despite numerous political compromises over the expansion of slavery into the territories and the status of fugitive slaves, the two sides only grew more polarized. Abolitionists, convinced of their own moral superiority, refused any compromise over what they considered a black and white issue, while the hardcore southern fire eaters drew a staunch line regarding their “peculiar institution” and refused to budge as well.
Great Britain had also abolished the slave trade in 1807 and had even tasked the Royal Navy with patrolling the west African coast to enforce that ban. In 1833 they abolished slavery entirely, mostly due to the efforts of Englishmen such as John Newton and William Wilberforce. There are several reasons why abolition was simpler in Britain than in the United States. For one, the British economy was not as dependent upon slave labor as the American South. Also, Britain paid slaveowners for their confiscated property. Whether slaves should be morally considered “property” is beside the point – for them it was a capital investment that was wiped out with the stroke of a pen. American abolitionists refused to countenance such a compromise, however, since they considered slavery a moral question, not an economic one. The fact that abolition would surely financially ruin the South was of no concern to the northern abolitionists.
It is ironic, considering how obsessed with race we are today, that American discourse in the first half of the 19th century was obsessed with the question of slavery. It was race that made American slavery so pernicious. As I have said, slavery has been a part of the human condition forever, but in America we associated forced labor with a certain race of people. The debate in America was not simply about the morality of slavery itself, but the standing of the African people. Were they human beings, entitled to the same rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution to white people? The peculiar institution of slavery brought an entire population to our shores, creating a permanent underclass in American society – of course there was going to be conflict. To a certain degree, I do not take issue with the idea of black solidarity today. I believe that the descendants of slaves here in America have a stake in this country. As Malcolm X said, “We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us.” The question is, can we have unity today? Is it possible for the descendants of slaves to share this nation with the descendants of the Founding Fathers?
Tribalism is the history of the world. Human beings have always felt a closer bond with kin than with strangers, and so we naturally form families, clans, tribes, and nations. The word “nation” comes from the Latin word natio which means “birth”. At its most basic level, a nation is really an extended family of people who are bound together by blood, by shared history, by shared beliefs, and by similar desires about how to organize society. This world is full of nations, and each one is unique, which is why it makes sense for each nation to have its own state. We call the belief that each nation should be allowed to rule itself “nationalism”.
The original form of nationalism from the 19th century was a belief that people of the same ethnicity, culture, and language should unite to rule themselves. In those days, Germans, French, and Italians were spread throughout various kingdoms and empires, but the nationalist movements of the mid-1800s inspired them to form nation-states, throwing off kings and emperors in a wave of revolution. Today, nationalism is about not wanting to be part of a multi-ethnic empire like the United States.
It is a conceit of both left and right that America is different from other nation-states in that it was based upon an idea, rather than a specific people group. Under this formulation, an immigrant who becomes a naturalized citizen is just as American as a descendant of 17th century pioneers, and it is racist to say otherwise.
We assumed that, in the inexorably march of history, tribalism had been replaced by universalism. The values that developed in Western Civilization had become so successful that we forget how unique they really were. We assumed that every culture, ever nation, every tribe desired the same sorts of lives that we had come to cherish. Yet one only must read the news to see how that is not the case.
Many of the values we consider to be universal are being derided by the woke Marxist left. The Museum of African American History and Culture, a division of the Smithsonian Institution, recently published an infographic describing the supposed ideas and habits that make up so-called “whiteness”. Among these pernicious things are rugged individualism, the nuclear family, an interest in history, a belief in hard work, a commitment to being on time, an appreciation for beauty, and a sense of justice. We make a grave mistake when we believe that our values are shared by every nation and people group on earth.
Practically speaking, it is obvious that America is home to many different nations today. Olympic finalist Gwen Berry made headlines last month when she pouted like a child on the podium while the national anthem was playing. She complained that she felt slighted, because our national anthem was racist toward “her people”. When an activist like Berry speaks of “her people,” she does not mean all American citizens, rather, she means black Americans. To the ears of white conservatives, with their universalist viewpoint, this sounds strange, even offensive. The modern media establishment encourages ethnic pride in every modern group, except for one. The historic American nation is not allowed to take any pride in our heritage lest we be slandered as white supremacists. Even though we are all labeled as “white,” we are supposed to keep pretending in universalism even as every tribe and nation around us are not ashamed to work for their own interests.
White America and black America are parallel nations within the same state. No matter how much we flagellate ourselves for the sins of slavery and racism, no matter how much we preach universal values, it does not change the facts. We are different peoples, with different beliefs, different cultures, and different ways of running a society.
Our forefathers did not see a future where black and white America lived together in harmony. In his autobiography, Thomas Jefferson wrote:
“Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free. Nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government. Nature, habit, opinion has drawn indelible lines of distinction between them.”
Thomas Jefferson, The Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson
Well, you might say, that sort of thinking is old-fashioned. We are more enlightened now. After all, many conservatives will say, America is unlike any other country on earth because it was founded upon an idea, not upon any particular race or culture. As long as you believe in the words of our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, then you are just as American as anyone. Even if that were true, it requires that we all buy in to those words. What happens if that changes? What is America without the Constitution?
Christopher Caldwell tackles that very question in Age of Entitlement:
“Where a shared heritage is absent or unrecognized, as it is in the contemporary United States, all the eggs of national cohesion are placed in the basket of the constitution. Hence a paradox: With the dawn of the civil rights era, the U.S. Constitution—the very thing that made it possible for an ethnically varied nation to live together—came under stress.”
Christopher Caldwell, The Age of Entitlement
Civil rights were designed to heal the divide in our country and allow men and women of all races to achieve the American dream, but they deepened our divisions instead.
The Civil War brought an end to slavery, and threatened the unique culture of the American South. Radical Republicans such as Congressman Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania wanted to crush the defeated Confederacy, remaking it into a multiracial state. President Abraham Lincoln disagreed, wanting rather to bring the rebellious states back into the union as quickly and peacefully as possible. After Lincoln’s assassination, the Radical Republicans tried to bend President Andrew Johnson to their will, even impeaching him, but they were unsuccessful.
Nevertheless, Reconstruction was a time of great change in Dixie. The South had been destroyed by four years of war, and northern carpetbaggers were coming in to buy up land at bargain prices. The 13th Amendment abolished slavery, which was good, but those four million ex-slaves now needed to find work and places to live. General William T. Sherman had famously promised former slaves “forty acres and a mule” to call their own, but this promise was disregarded by the federal government.
The 14th and 15th Amendments gave citizenship and the vote to freed slaves, and President Ulysses Grant used the power of government to enforce these new rights. Many areas in the South elected Republican for the first time ever as grateful African Americans cast votes for their benefactors. The former leaders of the Confederacy chafed under this new arrangement and conspired to regain power. The original Ku Klux Klan was formed at this time and fought both the freedmen and northern carpetbaggers. Many former Confederate soldiers continued fighting a guerrilla war against the north – Jesse James’ outlaw gang was one famous case.
The disputed election of 1876 ended in a compromise wherein Republican candidate Rutherford Hayes carried the South in exchange for ending Reconstruction and withdrawing federal troops. Once done, the new South quickly returned to the status quo. Former Confederate officials regained political office, and they set about crafting laws to maintain their own power. Freed black slaves had been guaranteed citizenship and the right to vote, so the southern leaders came up with workarounds such as the grandfather clause and poll taxes to prevent them from exercising those rights. Segregation was enforced by government fiat, from hotels and restaurants to schools and even train cars. These laws were collectively known as “Jim Crow”.
It was this two-tiered society that Civil Rights was supposed to repair. The rest of America looked at the apartheid system in the South and said it had to go. Southerners resisted – Governor George Wallace of Alabama proclaimed, “Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!” – but the ball was rolling. Brown v. Board of Education ordered the desegregation of public schools, but enforcing that decision was another matter. In 1957, Governor Orval Faubus of Arkansas ordered his National Guard to block admittance of black students at Central High School in Little Rock, but President Dwight Eisenhower responded by federalizing the Guard and allowing the students to enter the school.
According to Christopher Caldwell, there were two perspectives on the fight for civil rights in the 1950s and 60s. These perspectives were classified by sociologist Alan David Freeman as those of outsiders and insiders, or perpetrators and victims. To the white majority – the perpetrators – civil rights meant removing barriers to success for blacks and other minorities. To the black minority – the victims – the promise of civil rights was not equality under the law but equity – they wanted the government to use the full force of its power to make them as rich, prosperous, powerful, and satisfied as everyone else. If the former perspective was correct, then it was done, accomplished with the stroke of a pen. The latter, however, required ever-increasing government involvement in our daily lives, and the abrogation of many of our constitutional rights. Caldwell writes:
“The legislation of the mid-1960s made legal equality a fact of American life. To the surprise of much of the country, though, legal equality was now deemed insufficient by both civil rights leaders and the government. Once its ostensible demands had been met, the civil rights movement did not disband. It grew. It turned into a lobby or political bloc seeking to remedy the problem according to what Freeman would call the victims’ view: “lack of jobs, lack of money, lack of housing.” The federal government made it a central part of its mission to procure those things for blacks. The results were disappointing on almost every front—naturally, since the country had never signed up for such a wide-ranging project.”
Christopher Caldwell, Age of Entitlement
Natural rights such as the freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, property rights, and freedom of association have long been recognized by liberal statesmen as inalienable, protected – implicitly and explicitly – by the Bill of Rights. In our new society, however, the desire for racial equity trumps any of these rights. We can speak freely, so long as it is not so-called “hate speech”. We have the right to our own property, but we cannot deny services based upon race or other protected characteristics. We have the right to associate with whomever we choose, so long as there is no appearance of racial disparity. Do you see how this works? As Christopher Caldwell said, “The problem is that rights cannot simply be “added” to a social contract without changing it. To establish new liberties is to extinguish others.”
The problem with the Civil Rights Act and subsequent laws was that they were incredibly open-ended and vague. In 1971, the Supreme Court ruled in Griggs v. Duke Power Company that private businesses were prohibited from using aptitude tests on potential employees because they resulted in disparate outcomes between whites and blacks. Even though the Civil Rights Act itself had specifically allowed for aptitude tests, Chief Justice Warren Burger ruled that any disparity of outcome meant that they ran afoul of the government’s new mandate to enforce racial equity. Caldwell writes:
“Government could now disrupt and steer interactions that had been considered the private affairs of private citizens—their roles as businessmen or landlords or members of college admissions boards. It could interfere in matters of personal discretion. Yes, this was for a special purpose—to fight racism—but the Griggs decision made clear that the government was now authorized to act against racism even if there was no evidence of any racist intent. This was an opening to arbitrary power. And once arbitrary power is conferred, it matters little what it was conferred for.”
Christopher Caldwell, Age of Entitlement
Civil rights opened the door to all sorts of rent-seeking by various interest groups. The fact that civil rights came about at the very time that our government opened our borders to the world with the 1965 Immigration Act led to many unforeseen consequences. Laws designed to rectify past wrongs were seized upon by people who had no connection to slavery or Jim Crow. Caldwell says, “Reforms conceived for a country that was provincial, dutiful, and 4 percent immigrant are not necessarily well suited to a country that is cosmopolitan, hedonistic, and 15 percent immigrant.”
Today, every possible intersectional group uses that door to extract resources from the American government, at the expense of the historic American nation. Yet it is still in the area of race relations that we see the greatest changes occurring in our society. Everything is viewed through an intersectional lens. If Rip Van Winkle had gone to sleep in 1921 and awoken today, a quick glance at news headlines would have him wondering why 21st century America is so obsessed with race in general, and the black race in particular.
It is true: Events and ideas are all viewed through a racial lens. Last summer, Time Magazine published their infamous cover story on the Great Reset, as several writers laid out their vision for a post-covid world. Several of the essays were about how the new world would better serve the interests of “diversity” and “people of color”. Even coverage of the covid pandemic itself has a racial component – every time I open YouTube, I am prompted to watch a video about how covid has affected so-called “communities of color”. The Democratic Party recently introduced a bill to enforce health equity, claiming that systemic racism has left minorities in a more vulnerable position regarding their health than white citizens. The text of that bill, House Resolution 666, is straight out of Critical Race Theory handbooks. Its introduction refers to the Museum of African American History’s description of so-called structural racism. You will recall that this museum’s publications said that everything we take for granted in a civilized society, such as a good work ethic and the nuclear family, are representative of “whiteness” and therefore racist.
A few years ago, conservative media had fun with a story that asked if peanut butter and jam sandwiches were racist. Today that kind of thinking is normal in media. Nothing is allowed to exist without questioning its relationship with racism and the black community, even outside the borders of the United States. These attacks on the historic American nation are just a part of a worldwide assault on Western Civilization itself. In Britain, the BBC recently tweeted, “Rural racism in Dorset: Why is our countryside 98% white?” to which Steve Sailer innocently replied, “Because whites are indigenous to rural Dorsetshire and nonwhites are not?” The article attached to the BBC’s tweet quotes several minority residents in Dorset who complain about “subtle racism” such as people looking at them while they are out and about. Sailer continues, “The project of the 21st Century is to dispossess whites of the very nice countries they have built, so the fact that whites are indigenous to rural England seems like a racist conspiracy to the dispossessors. The slightest resistance, such as staring, must be crushed.” This “dispossessionist mindset”, as Sailer calls it, is the reason why the historic American nation is being driven out of the country our fathers created. Marxists view society as a zero-sum game – for black Americans to succeed, white Americans must be forcibly diminished.
This obsession with race has created a class of black journalists and activists who believe the world revolves around them. Gwen Berry’s over the top tantrum upon hearing The Star-Spangled Banner on an Olympic podium, as if she had just been told that the ice cream machine at McDonalds was broken, is just the beginning. The New York Times editorial staff is filled with black female writers who complain in the paper of record that someone asked to touch their hair twenty years ago. Not to be outdone, Asian writers complain about being stereotyped in elementary school. The fact that Asians actually have higher average wealth and income than white people makes their chase for victim clout all the more pathetic.
One would be forgiven for believing that the demographics of America were similar to South Africa, where black Africans are a large majority. The constant focus by media on black issues has certainly skewed our perspectives – recent polls show that the average American believes that our country is 33% black, while a sixth of Americans believe that blacks are an outright majority. The truth is that only 12-13% of Americans are black.
Nevertheless, nothing is safe from the demands by black activists to make it all about them. Even though the NFL is 70% black, activists complain that there are not enough black coaches. The NFL has long had something called the “Rooney Rule” that says that teams are required to interview a black coach for any available vacancy. For a while in the late 90s and early 2000s, Minnesota Vikings assistant coach Leslie Frazier was the token minority interview.
Movies, music, and even advertising are overwhelmingly focused on African Americans. If you can stand to watch commercials, try to count the number of white men – there are not many. Couples are often mixed-race, if not entirely black. Any time a black actor is snubbed for an Oscar nomination, activists complain on social media, accusing the Academy of being racist. This year, everyone expected the late Chadwick Boseman to win Best Actor, so much so that the Academy rearranged the schedule of events to put that category last, so they could end the program on a tribute to the Black Panther actor. Journalists were shocked and surprised when Anthony Hopkins won the award instead, and the program ended awkwardly.
Perhaps the biggest area of black egocentrism is the insertion of Africans into every area of history and culture. On the fringes of the internet, you will find websites claiming that Cleopatra was black, or that Beethoven was actually black. In more respected publications you will hear that America was entirely built by African slaves. Besides being patently false, this claim erases the work of millions of American pioneers. Sure, slavery was the foundation of the southern economy, but what of northern industrialism? What of the railroads, roads, and bridges that crisscrossed the continent? What of the brave families who packed everything they owned into a Conestoga wagon and crossed the wide prairies for Oregon and California? What of the men who fought and died in the War of Independence, and every American conflict since then? What of the more than six hundred thousand men – mostly white – who died to free black Americans from slavery itself? This libel is a deliberate erasure of the historic American nation, more dispossession in the name of racial equity.
The recent establishment of Juneteenth as a federal holiday is another nail in the coffin of white America. While its proponents claim that it is a “long overdue” recognition of the abolition of slavery, and that it will not detract from other American holidays, both premises are false. The purpose of elevating Juneteenth – an obscure holiday celebrated in a small region of Texas – is to keep the idea of slavery and racism at the fore of public consciousness. It is yet another reminder to white Americans that we are irredeemably racist, and that we must sacrifice our property, our money, and our heritage as penance. Both Scott Greer and Tim Pool, from two different perspectives, have argued that the rise of Juneteenth will necessarily diminish July 4th, our true Independence Day. If a municipality has scarce resources, for example, will they put them toward a citywide celebration of Independence Day, thus incurring the wrath of woke activists, or will they give the squeaky wheel grease by celebrating Juneteenth instead? This is not just academic – the city of Evanston, Illinois recently canceled their 4th of July parade (citing covid) but sponsored a pride parade and a Juneteenth parade last month.
Remember that modern discourse sees everything through the lens of race. What is Independence Day but a celebration of hypocritical white slaveowners? Indeed, just last week the New York Times and other mainstream media outlets spent the holiday weekend trashing the idea of Independence Day, specifically the American flag itself, claiming that it represented whiteness and conservatism rather than America as a whole. I would not be surprised to see serious calls from influential people in the next few years to do away with both the flag and the 4th of July altogether.
In fact, we are already seeing the first signs of this disavowal of old-fashioned patriotism. Mara Gay, a black woman who writes for the New York Times, spoke about how “uncomfortable” she felt seeing trucks flying the American flag. The New York Times itself followed up those statements with a long article about how the flag is becoming identified with white people, and that patriotism makes minorities (aka the New York Times editorial staff) feel unwelcome. The American people have loved their country for centuries, but now that pride is demonized by ivory tower journalists because it hurts the feelings of a few nonwhite people. The Marxist left is much more comfortable with the various rainbow flags of homosexuality and transgenderism, or of the “Black Lives Matter” flag. The woke commissars who run our State Department even sent out a memo recently allowing embassies to fly the BLM flag. Is that not a fitting display of the conquest of this country and the dispossession of the historic American nation?
An obsession with race, and with African Americans specifically, is also evident in news coverage. Not only does every story have a racial component, but all of the major news outlets decided last year to start capitalizing “black”. They claim this is because “black” refers to a specific culture, a specific group of people. Obviously, they are not capitalizing “white” as that would be racist. There is a song going around that is being called the “black national anthem,” and it has even been played at NFL games in tandem with The Star-Spangled Banner. Would it be fair to call the latter the “white” national anthem? Of course not, that too would be racist. You see, however, how the black community is recognized as its own nation within the borders of the United States of America. This is encouraged by our elites, while any unity of white Americans is discouraged, or even criminalized. In our Orwellian times, black nationalism is good but white nationalism is bad. As I said, I have no problem with black nationalism – more power to them – I simply believe that all ethnic groups, including white people, should have the same right of association.
Education is another area that has been completely taken over by black egoism. In the 1960s, violent black supremacists occupied college offices and demanded more money for black student unions and for black studies curricula. Today, public schools, colleges, and universities have entire departments dedicated to so-called “diversity” and spend millions of dollars on diversity endeavors. Ethnic studies, as well as feminist studies, queer studies, and other classes devoted to intersectional interest groups, are more common than STEM. James Lindsay recently acquired a complete list of books used in the social studies program at Albuquerque Public Schools, and every single title is about race or other intersectional identities. I am heartened that the public is waking up to the pervasive spread of Critical Race Theory in public schools, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. Christopher Caldwell points out that this has been the case for a long time. He writes:
“It was fair to say that ethnic studies had taken over not just college curricula but even primary and secondary school history teaching. In 2008, education professors from Stanford and the University of Maryland asked 2,000 eleventh and twelfth graders to name the ten most significant Americans who had never been president. Three standbys of Black History Month—Martin Luther King, the anti-segregationist protester Rosa Parks, and the escaped slave Harriet Tubman—ranked 1, 2, and 3.”
“Diversity” has become the code word for black representation – I recall news media claiming that the nearly all black cast of Marvel’s Black Panther was “diverse”. Every institution in America is required to bend the knee to this new god. Caldwell writes:
“’Chief diversity officers’ and ‘diversity compliance officers,’ working inside companies, carried out functions that resembled those of twentieth-century commissars. They would be consulted about whether a board meeting or a company picnic was sufficiently diverse.”
Christopher Caldwell, Age of Entitlement
Once you see how race-obsessed our modern discourse has become it is impossible to un-see. Diversity has indeed become a new god in American secular religion. Caldwell again writes:
“After the Army medic and self-taught Muslim fanatic Nidal Hasan killed 13 people at Fort Hood in Obama’s first year in office, Army chief of staff Gen. George W. Casey, Jr., said, ‘Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.’ For Casey, to be accused of racism was literally a fate worse than death.”
Christopher Caldwell, Age of Entitlement
The status of our national capital is an ongoing and controversial issue, and of course race plays a part. According to the Constitution, an area was to be set aside, distinct from any particular state, as the site for the capital. The New Deal and World War II massively expanded the federal bureaucracy, and those bureaucrats had to live somewhere. Many moved in to the swampy land of the District of Columbia, and soon those people clamored for the same voting rights as state residents. Congress and the states passed the 23rd Amendment in 1961 which gave residents of DC the right to vote in presidential elections. Congress also devolved their own constitutional authority over the District to an elected mayor.
Right now, the Democratic Party is demanding statehood for DC, which would reallocate at least three representatives and add two more senators to our Congress. The District, home to nearly a million people, is approximately 48% black and 45% white, and has voted overwhelmingly Democrat in every presidential election since the passage of the 23rd Amendment. We all know which party stands to gain from DC statehood. Yet the Constitution stands in the way of simply declaring it so by an act of Congress… or does it? I would not be surprised to see an activist judge, ruling according to our new constitution of civil rights, declare that DC must be granted statehood because to withhold it would be racist to a place with large black population.
Sometimes courts still forget that our Constitution has been superseded by civil rights. The New York Times recently complained that the Constitution stands in the way of the Biden regime’s plan to award covid relief money exclusively to people of color. The article quotes Syovata Edari, who owns a chocolate shop in Wisconsin, complaining that she did not get the $50,000 from the government that she expected. She said, “It doesn’t surprise me that once again these laws that we fought and died for, that were intended to benefit us — to even the playing field a bit more — are being used against us.” Steve Sailer facetiously replied, “I mean, sure, the 14th Amendment sounds like the part about “the equal protection of the laws” applies to everybody, but we all know that it’s good for the government to discriminate against whites.”
Where to begin? Ms. Edari claims that “her people” fought and died for rights that were intended to benefit them. Who died to free the slaves? The historic American nation made a massive sacrifice of its own blood to free Ms. Edari’s people from servitude, but there is no gratitude for that today. While she made sure to mention that the 14th amendment was meant to “level the playing field,” the rest of her quote shows that she thinks the purpose of the amendment was really to give special privileges to blacks.
The fact that some judges are following the “old” Constitution by writing injunctions against the regime’s plan to increase “equity” by showering money on minorities is considered a problem by our elite media. What does this portend for the most coveted racial prize of them all: reparations?
Black activists have been increasing their demands for reparations for slavery, even as the actual time of slavery recedes further and further into the past. Black intellectual Ta-Nehisi Coates famously called for reparations several years ago, and many leftists have jumped on the train behind him. The website Vice published an article a few weeks ago with the headline “America’s First Black Billionaire Wants His Reparations Check, Now.” Yet if you ask any of these people how much they are owed, how much to consider the supposed debt paid, you will not get an answer. They will always demand “more”. It will never end. In their eyes, the blood of six hundred thousand American soldiers was not enough to pay this debt. More than fifty years of welfare and affirmative action was not enough either. Not even the higher standard of living for the descendants of American slaves compared to their free cousins in Africa is considered a worthwhile recompense. No amount of money will stop the demands for more, more, more.
The Vice article claims that $14 trillion would be enough to “close the black / white wealth gap,” but this is short sighted. Despite what Marxists believe, wealth is not distributed from the top down, but created from the bottom up. The millionaire next door has wealth because he worked for it, making sacrifices and wise investments for many years, not because he was given a check from the American taxpayer. You could shower $14 trillion on black America and in ten years most of that money would be gone, and then what? We would hear yet more demands for reparations and affirmative action.
In the name of racial equity, we have essentially repealed our Constitution, spent trillions upon trillions of dollars, and now we are in the process of erasing our very history because it offends the sensibilities of black Americans. One of the unspoken conditions of reconciliation after the Civil War was that the South could honor their heroes. Charles Francis Adams Jr., scion of the great Adams family of American mythos, wrote after the war that, “…The essential and distinctive feature of the American Civil War, as contrasted with all previous struggles of a similar character, was the acceptance of results by the defeated party at its close.” The South, for the most part, gave up their dreams of independence, and in exchange, the North allowed the South to retain their heroes and unique culture.
The Battle Flag was incorporated into the designs of many southern state flags. Statues of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and many other Confederate leaders were erected throughout the South. Southern writers wrote glowingly of the so-called “lost cause” and romanticized antebellum Dixie. For one hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War, this was accepted as a reasonable expression of southern pride.
But this pride cannot continue to exist in a world where everything revolves around black sensibilities. Rather than being a symbol of rebellion and southern pride, the Battle Flag has been recast as a deliberate racist insult toward black Americans. Reframing it in this way caused many Republicans to feel like they had to join in calls for its removal. Nikki Haley, then Governor of South Carolina, ordered it taken down from the State House in Columbia. The fact that Haley, a second-generation immigrant who had no stake in the heritage of the state she led, was the one to remove the flag was especially galling to many proud southerners. A fear of taking a controversial stand was another rotten fruit of civil rights. Christopher Caldwell said:
“Plainly the civil rights acts had wrought a change in the country’s constitutional culture. The innovations of the 1960s had given progressives control over the most important levers of government, control that would endure for as long as the public was afraid of being called racist.”
Christopher Caldwell, Age of Entitlement
All the media and political establishment must do to get Republicans to obey is to threaten to call them racist. The GOP gave in on the Battle Flag because they were afraid of the association it now had with racism, slavery, and Jim Crow. Save for a few brave people on the fringes, most of us are still afraid of being called racist. Those on the fringes who are not afraid are tarred as white supremacist by both the left and the right, are banned from social media, fired from their jobs, and essentially exiled from polite society. The rest of us go along with absurdities, lies, and the erasure of our heritage in exchange for being allowed to make a living and support our families.
Few Republicans were willing to defend either the Battle Flag or Confederate statues. At the time of this writing, the House of Representatives has just passed a bill that would remove not only Confederate statues from federal offices in Washington, DC, but also those of antebellum leaders such as Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, who supported slavery and secession. Military bases which carry the names of Confederate generals are in the process of being renamed, as the GOP joined Democrats to override President Trump’s lame duck veto late last year.
Throughout the country, memorials to Confederate heroes are being torn down, often with municipal support. The cities that raised these monuments in the first place have come under the control of Marxist whites as well as radical black activists. In Memphis last month, the body of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest was literally dug out of the ground to be moved to an obscure museum hundreds of miles away. One might have thought that digging up the bones of your enemies was something that went out of style hundreds of years ago. Apparently not.
The case of Robert E. Lee is emblematic of this destruction of the past. Once considered the epitome of the southern gentlemen by South and North alike, Lee has now become the symbol of evil white men. Both Franklin Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower considered Lee to be one of the greatest Americans in history, but that is not enough for the woke iconoclasts. Hundreds of schools, roads, and parks have been renamed in the past few years in the quest to erase the name of Lee from history. Christopher Caldwell recently wrote an essay for the Claremont Review of Books on the ongoing reevaluation of Robert E. Lee, which you can read here. In that essay he writes:
“…as the present generation has radicalized around race ideologies, opinion on Lee has become more frenzied and passionate than it has been since the height of the Civil War. He has suddenly become an object of hatred. The reputation for decency and honor that has clung to Lee since his death, even among the historians most critical toward the Confederacy, has not softened this new hatred but stoked it—as if the reputation itself were an insult launched across the centuries.”
Christopher Caldwell, “There Goes Robert E. Lee”
Robert Edward Lee was the quintessential southern gentleman. Far from being antithetical to the American spirit, he was in the very heart of it. His home in Arlington, Virginia overlooked the Potomac River, about thirty miles upstream from George Washington’s Mount Vernon plantation. The two families were linked in several ways, actually. Lee’s father, “Light Horse Harry” Lee, was a Revolutionary War hero, and had been the man who famously eulogized Washington as “First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.” Robert E. Lee himself married Mary Custis, the granddaughter of George Washington’s stepson. When Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse in 1865, he carried George Washington’s sword at his side. After the war, Lee served as president of Washington University in Lexington, Virginia, which was renamed Washington and Lee University after his death.
Modern historiography of the Civil War paints the Confederates as rebels, of course, but we must remember that they saw themselves as the true successors to the Revolution and the Spirit of 1776. Four of the first six presidents were Virginians, and men such as Robert E. Lee saw themselves as the successors to those great heroes. Had the Confederacy won independence, it would have looked to the same Declaration of Independence as its own heritage.
Even as late as the 1970s, already in the age of civil rights, Robert E. Lee remained a figure of reverence in American discourse. In 1975, Congress voted to posthumously restore Lee’s citizenship; only ten representatives voted against the measure. It was really in the last ten years, during the so-called “racial reckoning,” that Lee has been cast as evil. Because race is now the primary concern for media figures and historians alike, the very fact that Lee owned slaves has become the only thing worth knowing about the man. The details about Lee’s life and his relationship with the institution of slavery are not important to modern eyes. Yet like Thomas Jefferson, Lee had a complex relationship with the peculiar institution. There are stories about how he taught his slaves to read and write, and about how he took the Eucharist side by side with a black man. Like Jefferson, Lee seemed to find slavery itself distasteful, and treated his own slaves as well as he could. He fought for the Confederacy not because he supported slavery, or even secession, but because he believed it was his duty as a Virginian.
Christopher Caldwell points out in his essay that the museum at Appomattox Courthouse downplays Lee and Grant in favor of a narrative that is once again all about race. “Appomattox is about Grant and Lee,” he writes. “Lee cannot be offered a different role in the story of the Civil War without altering the meaning of what Grant did, what Appomattox meant, what the Civil War settled, and what the United States stands for. If Lee is a racist scoundrel, then Grant is either a gullible man or an accomplice.” Yet this is exactly what the woke mobs believe. They have declared that we must not only erase Lee, Jackson, Davis, and Forrest, but also Grant, Lincoln, and even Theodore Roosevelt. I do not doubt that we will soon see serious calls to blast away the faces of our American heroes on Mt. Rushmore.
Contrary to what people such as the 1619 Project’s Nicole Hannah-Jones believes, there has never been a time in American history when slavery was not controversial. It has been an institution that Americans have struggled with since the very first African slaves stepped foot in the New World. Yet as Christopher Caldwell notes, whereas our fathers struggled with slavery as a matter of liberty, today we only look at it through the lens of race. The abolition of slavery was once considered the moral imperative for the historic American nation who had founded their country in the name of freedom and equality before God, but today it is considered the achievement of black Americans despite the obstacles of white supremacy and racism. The role of white Christians in abolishing slavery has been erased, because it is inconvenient to a narrative that says whites are irredeemably evil.
A few months ago, Haitian documentary filmmaker Raoul Peck published a four-hour miniseries on HBO called Exterminate All the Brutes with the premise that white Europeans are uniquely responsible for the very concept of genocide. Amidst overly dramatic reenactments of evil white men torturing poor blacks and American Indians, Peck weaves a story of brutal men who conquered the world, exterminating darker-skinned peoples wherever they were found. Not mentioned once in the documentary were the names Lincoln, Wilberforce, or Ulysses Grant. It is one thing to discuss a peoples’ sins, but it is quite another to do so while ignoring their virtues.
The reason why race has been injected into American discourse in this manner is nothing less than to erase the historic American nation. Our fathers built the greatest country in the history of the world – the shining city on a hill – and the fact that we, their posterity, are still here is unacceptable to the dozens of other ethnic and interest groups who want a piece of the pie. Civil rights remade our Constitution, reorienting our government away from protecting our natural rights and toward rectifying every possible complaint by ethnic minorities. The Democratic Party has become a coalition of all these groups, each of whom seeks to lay claim to the United States of America, and each one united in their hated of white people. While the Republican Party is resisting the pull to become explicitly identified with white Americans, that is their inevitable destiny. Christopher Caldwell writes:
“American politics had re-sorted itself around that question—which came down to the question of whether one had benefited from or lost by the transfers of rights, goods, and privileges carried out under the new constitutional dispensation that began in 1964. The Democrats were the party of those who benefited: not just racial minorities but sexual minorities, immigrants, women, government employees, lawyers—and all people sophisticated enough to be in a position to design, run, or analyze new systems. This collection of minorities could, with discipline, be bundled into an electoral majority, but that was not, strictly speaking, necessary. The hierarchies of government, the judiciary, and the corporate world were Democratic in their orientations. Sympathetic regulators, judges, and attorneys took up the task of transferring as many prerogatives as possible from the majority to various minorities. Republicans were the party, as we have noted, of yesteryear’s entire political spectrum, of New Deal supporters and New Deal foes, of the people who would have voted for Richard Nixon in 1960 and the people who would have voted for John F. Kennedy. The lost world of that period seemed an idyll to many Americans. The parties represented two different constitutions, two different eras of history, even two different technological platforms. And increasingly, two different racial groups.”
Christopher Caldwell, Age of Entitlement
The divide between Democrats and Republicans has been growing starker every year. Today, the gulf between the two parties is greater than at any time since the secession winter of 1860. While there have always been disagreements between the parties, until recently one could admit that both sides believed in America. Today, the Democratic Party is a coalition of nations who are united in their desire to tear down the United States as well as Western Civilization as a whole. The Republicans, for all their spinelessness, for all their fecklessness, are the only major party standing up for the historic American nation. Again, Caldwell writes:
“Those who lost most from the new rights-based politics were white men. The laws of the 1960s may not have been designed explicitly to harm them, but they were gradually altered to help everyone but them, which is the same thing. Whites suffered because they occupied this uniquely disadvantaged status under the civil rights laws, because their strongest asset in the constitutional system—their overwhelming preponderance in the electorate—was slowly shrinking, because their electoral victories could be overruled in courtrooms and by regulatory boards where necessary, and because the moral narrative of civil rights required that they be cast as the villains of their country’s history. They fell asleep thinking of themselves as the people who had built this country and woke up to find themselves occupying the bottom rung of an official hierarchy of races.”
Christopher Caldwell, Age of Entitlement
Caldwell goes on to say that by recasting America as an idea, rather than the inheritance of its founders, we dispossess ourselves. The right believes that the “idea” of America consists of liberty and equality, but the left has redefined those terms to mean welfare and equity, at the expense of America’s white majority.
I am afraid that civil rights were a mistake. Perhaps it was necessary at the time to find some way of rectifying the racial issues in the Jim Crow South, but the Civil Rights Act opened Pandora’s Box, leading to many of the issues that plague this country today. Until we on the right admit this, we will never fix the problem. Unfortunately, it is difficult to speak any form of truth these days. At the end of his book, Caldwell correctly notes that the establishment of civil rights as a superior constitution necessitates extreme censorship. If we were allowed to openly speak the truth about what has been going on for the past fifty years, then we might have a chance of undoing it. Our ruling regime cannot take that chance. The Bill of Rights says we have freedom of speech, but that freedom does not extend to criticizing the new constitution built upon civil rights, nor the interest groups that benefit from it. Everything from anti-black racial slurs to factual FBI crime statistics are entirely verboten under our woke censors. We mock the Chinese government for cracking down on people who make fun of Premier Xi Jinping but try making fun of George Floyd over here in the land of the free. Caldwell writes, finally:
“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was, as we have noted, a legislative repeal of the First Amendment’s implied right to freedom of association. Over decades it polarized the political parties and turned them into something like secret societies, each of them loyal to a different constitutional understanding. Democrats, loyal to the post-1964 constitution, could not acknowledge (or even see) that they owed their ascendancy to a rollback of the basic constitutional freedoms Americans cherished most. Republicans, loyal to the pre-1964 constitution, could not acknowledge (or even see) that the only way back to the free country of their ideals was through the repeal of the civil rights laws. The combination was a terrible one—rising tensions along with a society-wide inability to talk or think straight about anything.”
Christopher Caldwell, Age of Entitlement
It is not racist to desire a homeland for your people. Our ancestors fled Europe for many reasons – religious liberty, escape from the constraints of a strict class structure, a chance to become wealthy, or even just a desire for adventure in the New World. We should not be ashamed of our forefathers, but celebrate them, warts and all. We are their heritage; we are the posterity for whom they wrote the Constitution in the first place.
The dispossession of America began with the best of intentions in the 1960s. The fruits of civil rights are not only the loss of our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, but also the extreme censorship necessary to maintain that dispossession. Everything I have written in this essay is enough to make me persona non grata in polite society. I am already banned from Twitter, and I cannot be fired from my job, but there are millions of Americans who are not in such a fortunate position. They are forced to keep their mouths shut, to silently acquiesce to the loss of their own country. This is a tragedy.
The nation is not the state; the nation is the people. It is time for our people to take back our country. Stop apologizing for historical wrongs. Stop compromising on things like Juneteenth, hoping that it will buy you some good will. Stop hoping for an easy return to the America you once knew. We have an opportunity to build a new homeland out of the ashes of the old, to fulfill our Founding Fathers’ promise to protect the blessings of liberty for their posterity.
The only way through this time of crisis is forward. The historic American nation – the last and greatest outpost of Western Civilization – must survive. As long as you and I are still here, raising families, teaching our children our history, our stories, and our faith, then, by the grace of God, it will.
Nearly two hundred and fifty years ago, the Founding Fathers of the United States created a Constitution to protect the hard-won freedoms for themselves and their posterity. Today, that posterity finds themselves being pushed out of the country their forefathers bequeathed to them. What can we do to reclaim and protect our homeland?
America is supposed to be a republic, ruled by the people. But our elected leaders and cultural elites look for ways to push us toward the choices they think best. How can we reclaim our sovereignty in this totalitarian age?