A week or so ago I critiqued an on-line article about finding common ground with leftists who were upset about being attacked by their even crazier neighbors in the “woke” community. In my analysis I rejected the value of accepting them as allies and as an alternative proposed a dialog with the Dissident Right. I said:
“So, in answer to the title of Mr. Klavan’s article, yes conservatism can be conserved but not by accepting non-conservative ideas and the people who live by them. Let the progressives, the liberals, the moral relativists, the feminists and the alphabet people battle with their even crazier “woke” brethren (or whatever gender bent category they prefer) on their own. We have nothing in common with them and nothing to gain by engaging with them. I would much prefer to engage with the fringe groups to the right of us and see if we can find some common ground with them. Their ideas are more extreme than ours but they at least do not reject the values that we embrace. In many cases I think they have let pessimism radicalize their thinking and pushed them to conclude that only radical solutions to our problems exist. I think the last few years have shown that progress can be made if the right people get involved. If actual conservatives have a part in running the country better outcomes are possible.”
Recently I have read several articles by the Dissident Right that seem to echo the idea that there is room for constructive engagement between the so-called “Civic Nationalists” and the so-called “Dissident Right” (wow, that a lot scare quotes!). Of course, from their point of view this merely means they are interested in proselytizing us over to their cause. And, fair to say, I’m interested in changing their minds about some of the darkest pessimism they have concerning America’s future.
To be perfectly candid, the biggest difference between realistic civic nationalists and the dissidents is their conclusions about racial identity. They are convinced that a minority majority America cannot maintain the essential characteristics that the country had when 85% of the population was of European descent. Now this is a very sensitive subject and even acknowledging that it could be an issue has been enough to get all kinds of people banished to the gulag of the de-platformed. Racial and ethnic topics are taboo for all but the anti-white cheerleaders of the left and their only object is to vilify everyone from Christopher Columbus to Kate Smith for not having read the playbook of the 21st Century Witch Hunters. But considerations of race and identity are important and should be able to be discussed rationally and constructively.
The descendants of the English who founded this country have a right to be proud of what their forefathers created. The United States is one of the most remarkable human inventions that can be pointed to. Along with the British, Roman and Athenian systems it evolved from, it has blossomed into a model that has impacted to a greater or lesser extent, the whole of the human world. Without a doubt, there was something about the people and the circumstances that surrounded the founding of this country that should be revered by its descendants and anyone who chooses to live in it.
The charges of guilt against America for conquering the country from the Native Americans and for slavery before the Civil War are absurdly hypocritical. War and slavery have been a part of every human culture including the Native Americans and Sub-Saharan Africans from the very beginning and to the extent that the United States and Britain have worked to eliminate slavery and embrace the idea of all humans being a family, they should be recognized as having made a quantum leap beyond the long depressing history of nations and empires murdering and enslaving each other to stay alive.
And this hypocrisy about America’s supposed guilt is, I believe, a big part of why the Dissident Right believes that a non-European majority in the Unites States will destroy the things that have made it unique. All of the hooting and hollering about Jefferson and Washington being slave owners and whatever the latest atrocities the Antifa idiots commit compounds the sense of unfairness that people feel when they are confronted with the ongoing discrimination that affirmative action represents. Anyone who has seen what corporate management has become knows that choosing a woman or a minority or an LGBTQ candidate is the only way to avoid being subject to the dreaded “diversity and inclusion” police. Your judgement will be questioned and your “unconscious bias” will be referenced by your upper management and the advocacy groups that have sprung up like poison mushrooms in every school, college, corporation and non-profit organization.
So, I’m cognizant of the outrages being perpetrated on the legacy population of the United States by, mostly, their fellow European Americans ostensibly for the benefit of these various minorities but I disagree with the dissidents on the conclusion that this has to inescapably change the country into something unrecognizable to those who loved it. And as a rationale I am reminded of the southern European immigrants of the 1890s and early 20th century. These people were equally considered unacceptably alien and a threat to the American nation. And indeed, when they flooded the country in their millions, they did create chaos and an explosion of crime. But by their desire to emulate the prosperity of their neighbors they instilled in their children the desire to be Americans in every sense and they did become Americans and they probably loved this country as much (if not more) than those Mayflower descendants who currently bad-mouth the United States for all the supposed sins that their woke brethren enumerate. This former wave of immigrants leads me to believe that we can absorb some reasonable amount of immigration. Obviously unlimited and illegal immigration is a danger to our system and needs to be stopped in order to allow the already large number of legal immigrants to assimilate.
But the current climate of “blame America” is the real danger I see. Whatever numbers of immigrants are deemed harmless to the country, they still must be inculcated with a sense of gratitude for their membership in it and toward the people and culture that built it. And to accomplish that our government must not be put in the hands of America-haters like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or any of the other Democrats who want to divide and conquer us.
As far as the dissidents’ opinions on HBD, I can’t confirm or deny whether there are such large differences between populations of humans as they claim. But if they do exist, I still do not see the relevance. There is plenty of variance in intelligence and other characteristics within populations and these ranges of variance act in hierarchical fashion to steer individuals to occupations and groupings that suit them more or less. The important thing is that people feel that everyone is at least given the same chance to try to succeed. A ditch digger who earns his money honestly doing the task he is qualified to perform is more honorable than the Ivy League legacy student who gets his spot in school and industry while more qualified candidates are rejected because their families didn’t vacation on Martha’s Vineyard.
My hope is that if honest reformers like Donald Trump can begin to roll back the harmful policies that the social justice programs of the 1960s and 1970s then maybe the dissidents will come around to our way of thinking and support reasonable reform of an admittedly dysfunctional system. But for now, I think it’s reasonable to begin a dialog with the Dissident Right. They were among the first who diagnosed the conscious malpractice of the Establishment Republicans and their clandestine collusion with the Left in marching this country over a cliff. They are just as legitimate a part of the nation as some of the radical groups that the Left has welcomed into its camp. Ostracizing them just to prove our purity is stupid and self-defeating.
So that’s what I think. That was long because it is difficult to talk about these things without being very clear about what I mean. But I thought it was worth saying. Leave your opinions, if you’d like, in the comments.