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The nation we've lost

Twilight of Middle America


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As soon as the news networks projected that Barack Obama had won, the media and political elites wasted little time in proclaiming the election as "transformational." Obama's election as the 44th president of the United States is no doubt historic. Since election night, the Fourth Estate has told us that Obama's win signals the nation's eagerness to overcome a "legacy" of racial injustice.

The Washington Post explained that the Republicans "appear at the moment to be marginalized, hanging on to a coalition that may shrink with time — older, working-class and rural white voters, increasingly concentrated in the Deep South, the Great Plains, and Appalachia." Translation: The future of the Republic will be in Technicolor.

Journalists and commentators are redefining the "political middle" as urban, progressive, cosmopolitan, and multiracial. The GOP's reliance on a largely white constituency is a relic of history. The message is that white Americans should abandon their political interests as a constituency group, essentially the only racial group in American politics that is discouraged and punished for advancing its own interests.

Groping for the right cliché, Tom Brokaw noted that "when this family takes up residence in the White House and he puts his hand on the Bible and becomes the president of the United States, it's going to be a cultural change in America and a political change in America. And I'm not sure that we fully understand how sweeping it is going to be."

I wonder how many Americans — particularly the 43 percent of whites who voted for Obama — thoroughly understand just how sweeping the consequences of the election are for their own nation's future. It seems that a large percentage of Middle America will forever remain clueless about the future their descendants will have to confront in a nation that their own ancestors would not recognize.

One thing is certain: Our nation has changed. The country that many of us remember — those Mayberry RFD enclaves — is fading fast. Many Americans' ability to conceptualize change is imperceptible — most notably, conceptualizing how the past differs from the present.

A friend has astutely observed that "we are living in the age that Madison Grant warned against" in The Passing of the Great Race. The conditions that prevail in many communities were unimaginable a few decades ago. One thinks of bullet-proof security glass that isolates bank tellers and merchants from their customers; multilingual selections for ATM machines and other business services; cameras peering down at the street (so-called red-light or speed cameras as well as anti-crime cameras recording violent assault and theft); "random violence" in shopping malls; the establishment of anti-gang "task forces" to end "gang violence"; metal-detector scans and full-body searches at some places of employment, and invasive "airport security"; and entire neighborhoods that are deemed uninhabitable or off-limits for travel.

As an adolescent in southern Indiana, I heard my grandparents occasionally reflect on the not-too-distant past when very few of their own neighbors felt compelled to lock their doors at night. It was a neighborhood that had rich and poor, blue-collar folks and white-collar executives, young families and senior citizens, but was 98 percent white.

Now, even in many affluent communities, police officers and security guards are assigned to schools. The major difference between the America of today and the one of yesterday is largely a result of diversity. The major difference is primarily demographic, namely the changes that have occurred as a result of differential birthrates and increased immigration levels. In his 2007 study, Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam noted, "The more ethnically diverse the people we live around, the less we trust them."

When government-enforced "civil rights" and equality replace the "social virtues" (honesty, reliability, trust, cooperativeness, and a sense of civic duty) of more homogeneous societies, the right of free association and other liberties vanish. Rest assured that the Left will impose further restrictions on free association by placing social sanctions on those who are deemed dissidents "beyond the pale." Loss of employment, disruption of families and friendships, and social alienation are the price that we pay for the intrusive "social justice" agenda of civil-rights enforcement.

My grandparents resisted the changes that the civil-rights era of the 1960s ushered forth, not out of any desire to see others oppressed or because they lacked compassion or justice. They knew that over time this sweeping societal change would adversely affect their lives and the lives of their children and grandchildren. My grandparents — respected members of their community — were unwilling to sacrifice their future posterity for change, which among other things would foster declining standards in the guise of social justice.

One impediment for Middle America is its failure to recognize how the cultural, ethnic, and social undercurrents of the nation's political life-stream affect the changes that take place in American society. Demographic displacement as well as the taboo of Middle American whites' exhibiting any explicit ethnic or racial identity are reinforced by the influence of managerial elites (mass media, government, and corporate entities).

The nation's political direction reflects the cultural milieu of the times, and that trend exhibits a steadily leftward drift over the past half-century. The term "racism" — a lexicon political weapon of the Left — is an example of what Murray Rothbard warned of when he wrote that leftists pushed their agenda by claiming "to have morality, justice, and 'idealism' on their side." As Rothbard noted, conservative opposition "has largely been confined to the 'impracticality' of its [the Left's] ideals." That accurately captures the GOP and McCain campaign's flimsy examination of President-elect Obama's ideological core beliefs, political affiliations, and "activist" associations throughout his political career. Avoiding the political charge of "racism" undoubtedly factored in to the Republicans' kid-gloves treatment of Obama's background.

In his essay Egalitarianism as a Revolt against Nature, Rothbard concluded, "The conservative opposition, having staked its all on the seemingly firm ground of the 'practical' (that is the status quo) is doomed to lose as the status quo moves further in the left direction." That sums up the strategy of the post-World War II Right and why "conservative political gains" remain largely hollow victories.

All of that seems to be lost on the GOP and the conservative movement. The conservative establishment and the Republican Party, which Sam Francis rightly called the "stupid party," disregard the fact that their botched policies, unprincipled leadership, neoconservative leftward drift, and inability to represent the interests of its own constituency — white Middle Americans — will cost them future elections.

Neoconservatives such as William Kristol and David Brooks claim that conservatives should maintain centrist positions and avoid straying to the right of the political spectrum. That is precisely why the conservative establishment's ongoing drift to the left will ultimately fail. The only way grassroots Middle America will gain political representation is by standing up independently for its own interests and finally divorcing itself from the conservative establishment and the GOP. Neither McCain nor Obama represents that constituency. The sooner Middle Americans realize that, and unplug from Oprah, "The View," and a steady diet of electronic rubbish, the better off they will be.

Another political leader who campaigned on the necessity of change once said, "In the future, however, change may be necessary, but not change for the sake of change, only change which will contribute to the policies of the Government and essentially to the betterment of the welfare of the masses of our independent nation. Any such change will obviously only be made after careful consideration and full consultation...." Robert Mugabe spoke those words shortly after taking the reins of government in Zimbabwe, the newly "transformed" nation that was once Rhodesia.

White Rhodesians, with the assistance of both the Carter administration and Lord Carrington, handed their country over to what they naively thought would be a promising, fair-minded black president. The price they paid was the loss of their nation — a promising country that achieved independence only to pass the political baton to a tyrannical Marxist regime that has transformed it into ruins. The euphoria that many exhibit over President-elect Obama suggests it's a lesson that is forever lost.

Kevin Lamb, a graduate of Indiana University with degrees in journalism and political science, is managing editor of The Social Contract. He served as managing editor of Human Events (2002-2005) and as a library assistant for Newsweek (1989-2002). He is the author of The Open Borders Network (2007) and editor of Race, Genetics and Society: Glayde Whitney on the Scientific and Social Policy Implications of Racial Differences (2002).

He assisted Sam Francis in assembling and marshalling to press a seminal collection of essays, Race and the American Prospect: Essays on the Racial Realities of Our Nation and Our Time, published in 2006.

Mr. Lamb was the founding editor of The Occidental Quarterly (2001-2007). In September 2007, he resigned as editor of TOQ in the wake of a purge of the editorial staff. His writings have appeared in The Asian Wall Street Journal, National Review, Chronicles, Society, Human Events, Mankind Quarterly, Middle American News, Conservative Review, The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies, VDARE.com, Right Now!, and The Social Contract.

November 26, 2008

© 2008 Kevin Lamb; this page © 2008 WTM Enterprises. All rights reserved.

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