White Fear, Part I
We all have dual loyalties — to this world and to the next.
I’ve written here before that I dread the prospect that white Americans might embrace identity politics. The Woke left is doing its best to provoke such a tribalist white backlash. It’s a very bad outcome, as I’ll explain, for a number of Christian and civic reasons.
Let’s start with the theological ones. As much as possible in our fallen world, our eyes should be Above. In the realm of final realities, my first Christian ancestors — Croat or Irish — shared more with the foreign missionaries who baptized them than their very own pagan parents. I share more with a freshly christened baby in Papua New Guinea than I do with the English-speaking Croat apostate Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago. We must keep such a supernatural perspective always in our minds, preferably in front.
Kinship and Fellow Citizenship Impose Some Claim
On the other hand, we live in the world, and have certain duties and natural sympathies that come along with that. You owe a loyalty to your fallen-away biological son or daughter that you don’t to some pious Christian convert in Kazakhstan. Likewise, in a very real civic sense, you have certain obligations to your fellow Americans who happen to be Jewish or Buddhist, by virtue of common citizenship. They are your “neighbors,” as the Samaritan was neighbor to the robbery victim in the Gospels.
The America we know was settled, founded, and for a long time mostly inhabited by white Europeans, with a population still 90 percent white as of 1960. That’s just a fact. It’s nothing whatsoever that should shame us, as the Woke fanatics wish. (Should Chinese beat their breasts about Han dominance? Should the Xhosa of South Africa hate their ancestors for displacing the Hottentots? No? Then we shouldn’t either.)
America Got Bigger and Better
Nor does such a simple demographic fact license white racial tribalism. The great political scientist Samuel Huntington wrote in his classic Who Are We? that America’s core identity expanded after the Second World War and the Civil Rights Movement.
At the very moment our nation became a global power, defeated the Nazis, and resolved to outlast the Communists, it also refined itself morally. Even as it waxed great, it embraced more of what’s Good, what’s implied by the universal ethics of Christianity.
America’s civic identity expanded to include native-born and legal immigrant non-whites as part of our nation — with one proviso. To be truly part of the American nation, you must embrace the defining culture that made the Declaration thinkable and the Constitution usable: Tolerant Anglo-Protestant civic and political culture.
A Civic Creed, Not a Bloodline
You must practice religious tolerance, renounce theocratic fantasies, and embrace a rather minimalist view of the role of government, with a strong respect for individual rights. By that “cultural” definition, Muslims who seek sharia, Catholic Integralists, and those who call for Marxist or white racialist revolution have all seceded from the Union. They’ve chosen to be Un-American. And we ought to shun them, both politically and personally. They are not of Us. They are … Them.
Such a culturally-cohesive nation is something of an artifice and an achievement. But so is liberal democracy, which doesn’t come to man naturally. (Check any history book of any nation save England or Switzerland for proof.) That means we have to work at it. At least, if we don’t want to end up like other failed multicultural polities, such as Napoleon’s Empire, the Habsburg monarchy, the Soviet Union, or Yugoslavia. Each of those political units shattered along starkly ethnic lines. That seems to be the default setting for fallen mankind.
And in most cases where such polyglot empires cracked apart, the death knell really came when the historic majority stopped being loyal to the regime, but began looking out for itself. German-speaking Austrians who’d once stood alongside Slavs and Jews saluting Kaiser Franz Josef later lined up to Heil! Hitler as he rolled into Vienna.
Not Justice But Envy and Vengeance
The frenzied hatred the left is goading Americans to feel for our genetic or civic ancestors does nothing to further our country’s cohesion. In fact, it just feels like revenge, of the kind some Irish Catholics practiced after that land became independent, when harassment and discrimination drove most Irish Protestants from the Republic.
Is it evil, sinful, or paranoid for white Americans to worry about “displacement,” becoming just one minority out of many in the country their ancestors founded?
Before you answer that, remember that you’re not allowed to indulge in double standards. Whatever you say here must also apply to Japanese in Japan, Bolivians in Bolivia, and Hindus in India. Indeed, it needs to apply retrospectively to Native Americans — was it wrong for them to be worried?
Where America’s No Exception
America’s no exception to mankind’s fallen nature, and white people weren’t put here as a piñata for other races to beat till the goodies come out. As I’ve written here before, some left-wing whites have a Christ-complex; they aim to be “suffering saviors,” because on some level they really think of themselves as gods.
Or else they think whites are too noble to indulge in the grubby tribalism practiced naturally by every ethnic group on the planet. They reject white solidarity calls not for moral reasons, but because it seems tacky, the kind of cringe-worthy behavior elite Americans indulge among … minorities. Such an elitist “white savior” complex may indeed be what’s really driving Woke, wealthy whites to nail their ancestors and neighbors to the cross. But this cross isn’t Christ’s. It belongs to the thieves.
John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He is co-author with Jason Jones of “God, Guns, & the Government.”