TAC: The Intellectual Assault On Our National Identity

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-intellectual-assault-on-our-national-identity/

Robert Merry makes the useful point that during its founding period, and for several generations thereafter, the United States was never a “melting pot” nation. The point is useful because it demonstrates that demographic change necessarily displaces national identity or, literally, nationhood.

13 thoughts on “TAC: The Intellectual Assault On Our National Identity

  1. Historians and anthropologists know this for a fact. Science does not support the view that cultural diversity is a strength. To be fair, science also does not support the view that cultural uniformity is necessarily a strength, either.

    But there is no magical middle ground. If a nation must choose between demographic change and demographic permanence, permanence is less risky.

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    1. “Science” has not studied the question of whether cultural diversity is “a strength” so your first sentence is a non-sequitur. What do the know “for a fact?”

      This article and your comments show a very strange obsession among White Nationalists. There is no tension between cultural uniformity and cultural diversity. Normal healthy people never give this “question” a thought.

      We are DEMONSTRABLY a “nation of immigrants” but these people pretend that we are not. Believe it or not, the people landing a Plymouth Rock were immigrants. And as for some nostalgic belief in a time of “cultural uniformity” that was never true. The first immigrants from Europe and from Africa were from very different cultures and within those two major groups there were very different sub-cultures. We have ALWAYS been a melting pot. Culturally and physiologically.

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      1. _RE: “‘Science’ has not studied the question of whether cultural diversity is ‘a strength’ so your first sentence is a non-sequitur.”

        My first sentence follows quite logically from the last statement in my post: “demographic change necessarily displaces national identity or, literally, nationhood.”

        This, in fact, is a much-studied observation among historians and anthropologists. The final collapse of the Roman Empire as it assimilated “barbarians” into its various institutions is the classic example.

        Since I have no interest in white nationalism, and expressed none, the rest of your comment is off topic.

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        1. No interest in White Nationalism? Who do you think you are fooling Mr. Roberts? You have and long history in these public forums which speaks for itself. Plus,this particular article and your silly observations make it very clear that you do have plenty of interest.

          That you take it to be self-evidently true that “demographic change necessarily displaces national identity or, literally, nationhood” shows that you confuse national identity with racial and or cultural identity. What all White Nationalists do not understand is the uniqueness of American national identity which is NOT based on race or culture but on shared ideals. The REAL threat to our national identity is not Muslims or Mexicans or Asia immigrants. It is the people who are assaulting our shared ideals – people like Mr. Trump and his followers.

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          1. RE” “That you take it to be self-evidently true that ‘demographic change necessarily displaces national identity or, literally, nationhood’ shows that you confuse national identity with racial and or cultural identity.”

            I don’t see how, but more to the point I obviously don’t find the statement you quote to be self-evidently true, since I posted a link to the article that supports the concept with evidence and also refered you to the well-studied history of the Roman Empire for more evidence.

            It is true, on the other hand, that I do not regard America’s national identitity as deriving solely from “shared ideals,” as you call them. A nation is not a philosophical concept, except, in my experience, to those who find humnanity itself deficient.

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  2. This site traces the current ancestry origins and a chart puts Germans, African-Americans and Mexicans at 40% of our population. Irish, American and English make up the next 25%.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_ethnicity_in_the_United_States

    The author notes the predominance of English in the 18th century. But even that dissipated considerably by the Civil War.

    So we are well beyond any purity in origin or culture and have been for 150 years.

    It seems the author’s lament is that the historian was not giving sufficient weight to the 18th century and its relatively homogeneous roots. And this does not even take into account the heavy influence of Mexican culture that was already here in the Southwest but not part of the US yet.

    As far as your contention that a nation must choose, the question is why?

    Introducing new and different cultures and intellects is how we are succeeding economically and technologically. India, Asia and Africa, among others, have sending their best and brightest here to learn and most are staying: doctors, physicists, engineers, technology experts, entrepreneurs, etc.. Some of those countries are worried about brain drain and we are the beneficiaries.

    Do you think the aging population of unemployed coal miners and assembly line workers are going to fill in if we close our borders?

    You are asking for stagnation, not permanence. Are there any issues of new cultures arriving that are hurting us in the broad, national sense after a period of assimilation?

    I suggest we put the welcome mat back out with a sign that says “We Are Hiring”. “And bring your food, art, music, religion, too. You’ll be safe and prosperous as well as teaching us what you know in return.”

    Diversity is the winner and the nation that knows how to handle it is the champion. And we have more experience than any other nation in the world.

    IMHO

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: “The author notes the predominance of English in the 18th century. But even that dissipated considerably by the Civil War.”

      I am unable to find any data in your sources to support this claim.

      _RE: “So we are well beyond any purity in origin or culture and have been for 150 years.”

      I am unable to find any support for this claim, either. But it is an irrelevant observation in any case, except to the extent that it supports the view that demographic change displaces nationhood.

      RE: “As far as your contention that a nation must choose, the question is why?”

      That was not my contention. Instead, I contend that a nation has no choice but to disappear in direct proportion to the amount of demographic change it allows.

      RE: “Introducing new and different cultures and intellects is how we are succeeding economically and technologically.”

      That’s debatable. In fact, I wish more people would stop believing such shallow and unprovable things.

      RE: “Are there any issues of new cultures arriving that are hurting us in the broad, national sense after a period of assimilation?”

      Yes. We are culturally balkanized already to such an extent that it is almost impossible to discuss basic political issues with one another rationally. There’s not enough commonality of language and philosophy to find common ground in matters of mutual interest.

      This very conversation is a case in point. It should matter that science and scholarship take one view of demographic change, whereas popular and political culture take others. But we can’t even agree that science and scholarship are to be taken seriously.

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      1. Honestly you have lost me completely.

        Either you are talking political goobledegook or I am obtuse.

        The divisions we have are not due to immigration. The are due to a concerted effort by the right to divide the country and it started with Newt Gingrich giving his night time speeches on the record that no one was listening to.

        Democrats have their problems, no doubt. But the Republicans are trying so hard to divide us for votes that they are destroying the country.

        You brought up civil war. Others of your thinking have said the right has 3 Trillion bullets.

        Who is trying to destroy the nation to create an autocracy.

        Clue: It ain’t the left.

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        1. RE: “Honestly you have lost me completely.”

          Sorry. I had hoped to highlight an example of revisionist history, not become embroiled in political controversy.

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          1. You said revisionist history.

            According to your first comment the US was never a melting pot from the founding and for several generations. Well, that would bring us to the Civil War, more or less. And even by then the English were a smaller percentage than a century earlier.

            The next 150 years brought in waves of immigration from all over the world.

            What does it take to say we are a nation of immigrants?

            American exceptionalism is the description of what we have accomplished and still have such a diverse population.

            I think the revisionist is your author.

            The divide we are experiencing is the concerted effort by nationalists to deny what we are and to revert to an 18th century model that was temporary. Kind of like kindling needed to start a good fire.

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          2. Why do you persist in making assumptions that are not supported by data? My original link contains this statement:

            “[I]n 1700, America was 83 percent British in origin, with other Northern European peoples encompassing another 6 percent (this excludes American Indians, who were not allowed to play any role in building the civic structures of the Colonies). By 1755, after an influx of German and Dutch settlers, the continent was still 68 percent British, with another 12 percent other Northern Europeans who blended easily into the majority Anglo-Saxon modality. The other 20 percent were Africans, mostly slaves.”

            Where is your data to show that the demographic characteristics of the Colonial and Founding generations were obliterated by “melting pot” processes by 1860?

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          3. I didn’t say obliterated.Just not the sole ancestry.

            Even you data says it was 68% British by 1755.

            That means 2/5ths of the population were other than English.

            That is hardly a single nationality.

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          4. RE: “That is hardly a single nationality.”

            No one has made that claim. At issue is whether the national identity from which the U.S. emerged was displaced by other national identities. A reduction from 86% British in the original national identity to 68% British by 1755 clearly shows some displacement, but not enough to support any “melting pot” theories.

            More to the point, however, is that a discernible national identity did in reality exist at the time the U.S. formed such that one cannot say we have always been a “melting pot,” or that our national identity has always reflected a mixture of ancestries.

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