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Waking Up From the American Dream 
The Culture, the Creed, & the Dream

1,410 words

Jon McNaughton, "One Nation Under Socialism," detail

Jon McNaughton, “One Nation Under Socialism,” detail

Part 2 of 5

One of the more tragic figures of the recent past was Samuel Huntington, perhaps the most significant political scientist this country produced in the last century. Anyone who has gone to graduate school will study his books in several courses simultaneously, on subjects as diverse as democratization in Latin America to civil-military relations. 

And yet, he’ll be remembered in the media, insofar as he will be remembered at all, for his analysis of the so-called Clash of Civilizations, a challenge to the End of History. He’ll also be outright demonized for his final book, Who Are We?: The Challenges to America’s National Identity, which attempted to answer the elusive question of what constitutes the American identity.

Huntington identified an American Creed as central to what defined the country. However, the American culture was also present, and while it contributed to the development of the Creed, it was distinct from it. The American Creed of limited government, suspicion of royal authority, and all the rest of the classical liberal boilerplate we are used to was identified with the dissenting Protestantism brought to the United States by English settlers. However, Huntington stated that while the American Creed and the American identity is elastic, it is not infinitely so: “America cannot become the world and still be America.”

The book was reviewed in a few places, but it made no real impact on the culture. The only politician of any note who actually talked about it was Tom Tancredo. He named his radio show after it and gave a few speeches about it, of course peppered with the usual denials that this had anything to do with race. The Southern Poverty Law Center responded by calling his speeches White Nationalist screeds which claimed only White Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture was American.

On the Left there was outright hatred. When Huntington, the most distinguished scholar of his generation, a dean of Harvard school of government and New Deal liberal, came to speak at a school in Texas, he was protested by Hispanics calling him a racist and a Nazi. He died not long afterward. This should serve as a warning about relying on “credentials” to generate a rational response.

What may be surprising to some is that the American Right called him un-American – because he was not optimistic enough. The Claremont Institute declared he didn’t show enough respect for “that optimism [which] sets us apart from much of the world, fuels our entrepreneurial spirit, encourages immigrants seeking a better life, and inspires us to encourage democracy around the globe.” It called for faith.

Both the American Right and the American Left believe in the American Creed, at least rhetorically. But both also dismiss that there actually is anything that can be called a distinct American culture. Indeed, even while the American Right relies on the defense of American culture to give it its emotional impetus, it either cannot define it or refuses to acknowledge that it could possibly exclude anyone else on earth. If this seems odd, simply recall how the overwhelmingly white American conservative movement furiously attacks anyone who dares broach the subject of white identity – and furthermore, habitually attacks the Left as being white supremacist and racist.

Instead of the Culture, we have the American Creed. And once the Creed becomes a civic religion, we have the American Dream – the prosperity gospel of a nation. The American Dream of material prosperity is linked to the idea of constitutionalism, limited government, freedom, and “liberty.” This Dream is so powerful that the strongest right-leaning critique of the existing system comes from the libertarians, who believe that the United States of America doesn’t talk enough about material prosperity and limited government.

A popular Internet film from libertarians is actually entitled The American Dream. It centers on the Rothschilds, the Federal Reserve, the inflation tax, and the other themes familiar to the libertarian Right, especially those that flirt with critiques of Jewish power. It’s well-made, funny, and its multiple postings combined boast well over three million views. But of course, the premise is that a stupid, ignorant, weak, blue-eyed white guy must be educated and informed by a charismatic and masculine black guy.

Libertarians, the rising force in the American Right, are in some ways even worse than the Beltway Right that exists today. While mainstream conservatism and even neoconservatism depends on a kind of perverted reading of American nationhood, libertarianism denies it altogether. The genocide of the Indians, slavery, the racist Drug War, and southern segregation are all part of the tapestry of evil woven by statism. Whereas much of American libertarianism may have been grounded in implicit whiteness, and movement is still implicitly white, it is gradually growing more explicitly anti-white than even the kind of conservatism advocated by The Weekly Standard.

Thus, throughout the entire spectrum of American political thought, there is fundamental agreement about the desirability of the American Dream of material prosperity and classical liberalism. To be sure, Left and Right have two slightly different ways of looking at it.

The Left sneers at it as hypocrisy, but doesn’t ultimately question the end game. Ultimately, America is about making sure that everyone gets to be equally prosperous and define their own existence from the comfort of their Tumblr account. The more moderate Left might say that America’s glory is that it pronounced a creed of equality for all. We always make progress (as we take power away from the hated white males is left unsaid) but “there is always more to be done.” America is defined by the progression towards equality.

The Right responds with an ever more frantic attachment to the idea of freedom, liberty, and limited government, coupled with an insistence on equal opportunity rather than equality of outcome. The conservatives will say America already is free, the libertarians will say it should be free, but is bound by statism. But both will say the ideal is a proposition nation where every individual can try to create as much prosperity as possible. America is defined by the progression towards ever greater economic growth.

These ideas are symbiotic and complementary. Both the American Left and Right contribute arguments towards breaking apart the historic American nation, either as an obstacle to equality or an obstacle to growth. Both urge the replacement of the actually existing nation and culture in pursuit of an abstract ideal. And both, ultimately, define the ideal in terms of liberation from the old – either from regressive social norms or state limitations on economic activity. America may have been, in the words of Robert Kagan, one of its neoconservative defenders, “born to die.”

In its own way, the American Dream is the most aggressively egalitarian concept in history, far more devastating in its effects than any doctrine dreamed of by Marx or Lenin. It utterly liquidates any consideration of community ties, religious obligations, or traditional ideals in favor an unrestrained individualism grounded in absolute equality. This ideological egalitarianism, paradoxically, enables increasing economic inequality and entrenchment of the financial system. We are told we are all created equal – which leads to the unrestrained reign of wealth, unhindered by community responsibility, ethnic solidarity, or even noblesse oblige.

The doctrine of equality of race, gender, culture, and human quality enables the permanent entrenchment of a power structure elite that denies its own elitism. We have a ruling class that is secure precisely because it denies any hierarchical basis to its lordship. Its power is unchallenged because it denies it has power. It rules because it flatters its serfs that they rule themselves – in fact, telling them that no one rules them at all. And unlike the high cultures of the past, the cultural products produced by our elite are far more degenerate, disgusting, and ugly than that which exists among working communities.

Thus, America’s transformation into a culture that would have disgusted the patriots of the past is not a departure from the American ideal. In many ways, it is a fulfillment of that ideal. While the pendulum of political power may occasionally swing back and forth from the Republicans to the Democrats, the core ideal of wealth acquisition through the unlimited pursuit of freedom, liberty, and the abolition of privilege is never challenged at a fundamental level.

What happened to the American Dream? In the words of The Comedian in Watchmen, “It came true. You’re looking at it.”

 

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6 Comments

  1. R_Moreland
    Posted April 2, 2014 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Here is what I would like to see done…take a mainstream conservative, sit him down, and ask:

    “We have people calling for the ‘abolition’ of the white race, from Leninists such as Noel Ignatiev to the professionals running ‘diversity’ indoctrination sessions in academia and the workplace. And they are not only talking, but putting it into practice via open borders, affirmative action, importing black Africans into the Homeland, etc.,–not to mention ethnically cleansing white people from cities their ancestors built via rioting, attacks on white culture, and some really grisly torture murders. Why, then, is none of this on the conservative agenda?”

    And…

    “Conservatives claim to be against ‘big government,’ so why not when in power abolish affirmative action, minorities-only contracts, ‘diversity’ indoctrination, black studies departments, and the rest of the boondoggles. Not only would this cut the size of government, but it would also undercut much of the Democratic voting base by getting rid of government fronts for liberal indoctrination and organization. So when are these programs going to be slashed?

    Paul Kersey over at Stuff Black People Don’t Like hammers home the point that the primary factor which determines whether a city will succeed or fail is the race of its dominant people. White cities, regardless if liberal or conservative, will thrive. Black cities tend towards massive crime increases, economic decline, disintegration of infrastructure, and general reversion to third world standards (Detroit, Johannesburg, etc.). Which brings in the next question…

    “Given this, what makes conservatives believe that ‘outreach’ to blacks in, say, Detroit, is going to make a difference? Even if they vote Republican then lower taxes, cut regulations, or whatever–will this restore Detroit to its former glories?”

    Of course, to answer these questions honestly, conservatives would have to face the race issue. But racial thinking is the doubleplusungood thoughtcrime in Oceania these decadent days (at least among whites). As a result, politics are taking on an increasingly unreal aspect, smoke and mirrors, The Matrix…

  2. Harry in PA
    Posted April 2, 2014 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    “…the cultural products produced by our elite, are far more degenerate, disgusting, and ugly than that which exists among working communities.”

    I doubt you can show me a more muscular, masculine writer in the world- of-the-web than Gregory Hood. His pitch is electric and his missles are laser-guided.

    Is it not breath-takingly impressive how the tribe transformed themselves into the scribal/political entity we today broadly identify as neo-con since WWII? Though much ground-work had already been laid (there are no truly “over-night” ‘180’s’) – in my mid-“boomer” lifetime, I recall an America of thorough white-hegemony, foundational Christianity and its pervasive – indeed – universal prescriptions of right-and-wrong. This would exclude, of course, the said transformers which as also said “flipped” the whole descriptive I have just asserted in a seeming fort-night.

    How many of us have been essentially “startled” (and probably recently or nearly so) by a sense of a minatory leadership – no doubt first in academia, then government, and even among the relgious elite? As an evagelical myself, I have fairly recently begun to perceive this within my own religious precincts.

    I’ll give a personal example of the rapidity of such radical awakening. Several years ago, I heard on talk-radio a quote by the infamous Bill Ayers that went something like, “When I think of America, it makes me want to puke.” My first reaction was that I would have liked right then to have had my hands around his neck, but in the very next moment I realized that that was how I FELT ABOUT AMERICA. As I say, I was startled by my own emotional reflex. Of course, our reasons for such contempt were perfect opposites. The entity (America) wasn’t vile and wicked enough for him; for me it had transmogrified from my perceived “the good” to too much the culturally and morally loathesome. It seemed in a moment I moved at light speed from a fierce patriot to fiercely contemptuous. And so it goes. And so then where do I go – and more importantly, where do my many grandchildren go? Stay tuned – as they say.

    • AngloAmerikan
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 1:23 am | Permalink

      Your comment describes my own experience. Also it recalls something I read at James O’Meara’s blog:

      Mishima has just had a “debate” with a group of “ultra Left wing students at his old university.” Although having a moment of paranoia as he walked in, imagining the students had lured him there to murder him, he found they “showed a remarkable interest in the subject of the Emperor.” After a debate that succeeded “as entertainment” he comments:

      I found we had much in common — a rigorous ideology and a taste for violence. Both they and I represent new species in Japan today. I felt a friendship for them. We are friends between whom there is a barbed wire fence. We smile at one another but we can’t kiss.
      What the students and I stand for is almost identical. We have the same cards on the table, but I have a joker — the Emperor.

  3. Gunnar Tyrsson
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    What’s really sad is the prospect of the America that might have been: the America of men like Jack London, Pound, and Yockey.

    • R_Moreland
      Posted April 2, 2014 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      What’s really sad is the prospect of the America that might have been: the America of men like Jack London, Pound, and Yockey.

      Indeed.

      Might also add in there George Wallace. His inauguration speech as governor of Alabama shows a real appreciation of the national issue.

  4. Gary Baker
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    The guy on that American Dream video is not black.

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    […] “Whereas much of American libertarianism may have been grounded in implicit whiteness, and movement is still implicitly white, it is gradually growing more explicitly anti-white than even the kind of conservatism advocated by The Weekly Standard.” ~ Gregory Hood […]

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