Category Archives: America

A Toast To Thomas Jefferson—And The Anglo-Saxon Tradition That Sired And Inspired Him

America, Classical Liberalism, History, Human Accomplishment, IMMIGRATION, Nationhood, Natural Law, Political Philosophy

“Let us … toast Thomas Jefferson—and the Anglo-Saxon tradition that sired and inspired him.”ILANA MERCER, July 4, 2019

The Declaration of Independence—whose proclamation, on July 4, 1776, we celebrate—has been mocked out of meaning.

To be fair to the liberal Establishment, ordinary Americans are not entirely blameless. For most, Independence Day means firecrackers and cookouts. The Declaration doesn’t feature. In fact, contemporary Americans are less likely to read it now that it is easily available on the Internet, than when it relied on horseback riders for its distribution.

Back in 1776, gallopers carried the Declaration through the country. Printer John Dunlap had worked “through the night” to set the full text on “a handsome folio sheet,” recounts historian David Hackett Fischer in Liberty And Freedom. And President (of the Continental Congress) John Hancock urged that the “people be universally informed.”

Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration, called it “an expression of the American Mind.” An examination of Jefferson‘s constitutional thought makes plain that he would no longer consider the mind of the collective mentality of the D.C. establishment “American” in any meaningful way. For the Jeffersonian mind was that of an avowed Whig—an American Whig whose roots were in the English Whig political philosophy of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

By “all men are created equal,” Jefferson, who also wrote in praise of a “Natural Aristocracy,” did not imply that all men were similarly endowed. Or that they were entitled to healthcare, education, amnesty, and a decent wage, à la Obama.

Rather, Jefferson was affirming the natural right of “all men” to be secure in their enjoyment of their “life, liberty and possessions.”

This is the very philosophy Hillary Clinton explicitly disavowed during one of the mindless presidential debates of 2007. Asked by a YouTubester to define “liberal,” Hillary revealed she knew full-well that the word originally denoted the classical liberalism of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. But she then settled on “progressive” as the appropriate label for her Fabian socialist plank.

Contra Clinton, as David N. Mayer explains in The Constitutional Thought of Thomas Jefferson, colonial Americans were steeped in the writings of English Whigs—John Locke, Algernon Sidney, Paul Rapin, Thomas Gordon and others. The essence of this “pattern of ideas and attitudes,” almost completely lost today, was a view of government as an inherent threat to liberty and the necessity for eternal vigilance.

Jefferson, in particular, was adamant about the imperative “to be watchful of those in power,” a watchfulness another Whig philosopher explained thus: “Considering what sort of Creature Man is, it is scarce possible to put him under too many Restraints, when he is possessed of great Power.”

“As Jefferson saw it,” expounds Mayer, “the Whig, zealously guarding liberty, was suspicious of the use of government power,” and assumed “not only that government power was inherently dangerous to individual liberty but also that, as Jefferson put it, ‘the natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.’”

For this reason, the philosophy of government that Jefferson articulated in the Declaration radically shifted sovereignty from parliament to the people.

But Jefferson‘s muse for the “American Mind” is even older.

The Whig tradition is undeniably Anglo-Saxon. Our founding fathers’ political philosophy originated with their Saxon forefathers, and the ancient rights guaranteed by the Saxon constitution. With the Declaration, Jefferson told Henry Lee in 1825, he was also protesting England‘s violation of her own ancient tradition of natural rights. As Jefferson saw it, the Colonies were upholding a tradition the Crown had abrogated.

Philosophical purist that he was, moreover, Jefferson considered the Norman Conquest to have tainted this English tradition with the taint of feudalism. “To the Whig historian,” writes Mayer, “the whole of English constitutional history since the Conquest was the story of a perpetual claim kept up by the English nation for a restoration of Saxon laws and the ancient rights guaranteed by those laws.”

If Jefferson begrudged the malign influence of the Normans on the natural law he cherished, imagine how he’d view our contemporary cultural conquistadors from the South, whose customs preclude natural rights and natural reason!

Naturally, Jefferson never entertained the folly that he was of immigrant stock. He considered the English settlers of America courageous conquerors, much like his Saxon forebears, to whom he compared them. To Jefferson, early Americans were the contemporary carriers of the Anglo-Saxon project.

The settlers spilt their own blood “in acquiring lands for their settlement,” he wrote with pride in A Summary View of the Rights of British America. “For themselves they fought, for themselves they conquered, and for themselves alone they have right to hold.” Thus they were “entitled to govern those lands and themselves.”

And, notwithstanding the claims of the multicultural noise machine, the Declaration was as mono-cultural as its author.

Let us, then, toast Thomas Jefferson—and the Anglo-Saxon tradition that sired and inspired him.

©2019 ILANA MERCER
WND.com
July 4, 2019

SEE: “A July Fourth Toast To Thomas Jefferson—And The Declaration,” by Ilana Mercer, July 4, 2019

NEW COLUMN: H.L. Mencken: Misfit In 21st-Century America

America, Celebrity, Critique, Human Accomplishment, Intelligence, Journalism, Literature

NEW COLUMN IS “H.L. Mencken: Misfit In 21st-Century America.” It first appeared in American Greatness (which is shaping up to be the most courageous webzine on the intellectually honest, hard Right).

The column is now on WND.COM and the Unz Review.

An excerpt:

…  Written at a considerable level of abstraction, for a prosaic people that, by Mencken’s estimation, “cannot grasp an abstraction,” a Mencken essay is certain to furrow the brow of the above-average American reader, writer and editor nowadays. Unlike the tracts disgorged by Conservatism, Inc., the least complicated of Mencken’s editorial writings would place excessive demands on the unsupple minds of young activists, who are busy striking a selfie on social media or running to CPUKE conferences.

Indeed, ideas are in retreat; and the incremental and steady “closing of the American mind” is on the march. By virtue of the unsettling, bracing originality of his ideas, Mencken is rendered as inaccessible to the American reader as an alien from deep space.

While Mencken’s libertarian acolytes and admirers focus on his disdain for The State as the leitmotif of his writings—Mencken’s war on the “dishonest, insane, intolerable and tyrannical” U.S. government was, arguably, the least controversial thread in his voluminous oeuvre.

Mencken’s grasp of government as a predatory, “regimenting” force that fleeces the citizen without flinching; that could and does “safely strip [the individual] to his hide”; a “gang well-nigh immune to punishment”—these, nowadays, are the most acceptable of Mencken’s thoughts.

What would make Mencken an outcast to the turgid minds dominating the current marketplace of ideas is his disdain for the “intellectually underprivileged” American electorate, whom he called the “boobs.” As Mencken saw it, Boobus Americanus, so easily and reliably “impressed and enchanted” by the political scoundrels, was largely to blame for why nowhere in the world was government more secure than in the United States. Americans were simply the “most timorous, sniveling, poltroonsish, ignominious mob of serfs and goose-steppers ever gathered under one flag …”

“A glorious commonwealth of morons,” Mencken called America. “The American moron’s mind”—this “mob-man’s” mentality—is that of a “violent nationalist and patriot,” to whom ideas are a menace, and who would always opt “to keep his Ford, even at the cost of losing the Bill of Rights.”

These are all Mencken’s words, not mine.

It was Mencken against America, then, to paraphrase the scholar Thomas W. Hazlett. And it would be Mencken against America today.

More so than his anti-statism and strong, spare prose—so different from today’s insipid, anemic, meandering commentary—Mencken shattered every conceivable totem and taboo of American life. It is this so-called anti-Americanism that would make Mencken unpalatable and unemployable in our times.

In a word, being a man of ideas is what would render Mencken a misfit among his countrymen. For, as Mencken saw them, Americans were congenitally and “implacably hostile to” the very things that made him tick: “novel ideas and points of view.” “Everything American,” mocked Mencken, is characterized by “a great distrust of ideas” … and “a harsh fidelity to a few fixed beliefs,” most of which Mencken derided.

Let me count the ways. …

… REMEMBER: THIS IS MENCKEN Unadorned:

READ “H.L. Mencken: Misfit In 21st-Century America,” on American Greatness , WND.COM, and the Unz Review.

Andrew Sullivan Forgets How He ALSO Once Policed Uniformity. Iraq, Andrew?

America, Argument, Bush, Conflict, Constitution, Free Speech, Iraq

What Andrew Sullivan, a fine essayist, says in this one paragraph of his latest piece, “Is There Still Room For Debate?,” is profound. It concerns the manner in which adherence to ideology is policed in America (and it is):

In America, of course, with the First Amendment, this is impossible. But perhaps for that very reason, Americans have always been good at policing uniformity by and among themselves. The puritanical streak of shaming and stigmatizing and threatening runs deep. This is the country of extraordinary political and cultural freedom, but it is also the country of religious fanaticism, moral panics, and crusades against vice. It’s the country of The Scarlet Letter and Prohibition and the Hollywood blacklist and the Lavender Scare. The kind of stifling, suffocating, and nerve-racking atmosphere that Havel evokes is chillingly recognizable in American history and increasingly in the American present.

The new orthodoxy — what the writer Wesley Yang has described as the “successor ideology” to liberalism — seems to be rooted in what journalist Wesley Lowery calls “moral clarity.” He told Times media columnist Ben Smith this week that journalism needs to be rebuilt around that moral clarity, which means ending its attempt to see all sides of a story, when there is only one, and dropping even an attempt at objectivity (however unattainable that ideal might be). And what is the foundational belief of such moral clarity? That America is systemically racist, and a white-supremacist project from the start,

Funny thing, however: I well remember, early in the 2000s, how Mr. Sullivan, together with the likes of David Frum (see my “Frum’s Flim-Flam” ), scolded and almost silenced those who objected to the invasion of Iraq. Well, I was certainly exiled from polite political company, around about then.

From my “PUNDITS, HEAL THYSELVES!” (May 29, 2004):

Thomas Friedman, Christopher Hitchens (undeniably a writer of considerable flair and originality), George Will and Tucker Carlson (both of whom seem to have conveniently recanted at the eleventh hour), Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, Mark Steyn, Max Boot, John Podhoretz, Andrew Sullivan – they all grabbed the administration’s bluff and ran with it. Like the good Trotskyites many of them were, once they tasted blood, they writhed like sharks. Compounding their scent-impaired bloodhound act was their utter ignorance of geopolitical realities – they insisted our soldiers would be greeted with blooms and bonbons and that an Iraqi democracy would rise from the torrid sands of Mesopotamia.
Their innumerable errors and flagrant hubris did not prevent the neoconservatives from managing to marginalize their competitors on the Right: the intrepid Pat Buchanan and his American Conservative; the quixotic Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. of LewRockwell.com, and Antiwar.com. (Plus this column, of course). Unfortunately for America, there hasn’t been a horror in Iraq that these prescients did not foretell well in advance.

Confess, Clinton; Say You’re Sorry, Sullivan” (2007):

Senator Hillary Clinton and neoconservative blogger Andrew Sullivan share more than a belief that “Jesus, Mohamed, and Socrates are part of the same search for truth.” They’re both Christians who won’t confess to their sins.

Both were enthusiastic supporters of Bush’s invasion of Iraq, turned scathing and sanctimonious critics of the war. Neither has quite come clean. Both ought to prostrate themselves before those they’ve bamboozled, those they’ve helped indirectly kill, and whichever deity they worship. (The Jesus-Mohamed-and-Socrates profanity, incidentally, was imparted by Sullivan, during a remarkably rude interview he gave Hugh Hewitt. The gay activist-cum-philosopher king was insolent; Hewitt took it .)

I won’t bore you with the hackneyed war hoaxes Sullivan once spewed, only to say that there was not an occurrence he didn’t trace back to Iraq: anthrax, September 11, and too few gays in the military—you name it; Iraq was behind it. Without minimizing the role of politicians like Clinton, who signed the marching orders, neoconservative pundits like Sullivan provided the intellectual edifice for the war, also inspiring impressionable young men and women to sacrifice their lives and limbs to the insatiable Iraq Moloch.

The latest policed orthodoxy Sullivan expounds on and wishes to be able to debate openly is, “That America is systemically racist, and a white-supremacist project from the start, that, as Lowery put it in The Atlantic, ‘the justice system — in fact, the entire American experiment — was from its inception designed to perpetuate racial inequality.”

Obviously incorrect.

Another of those Big Lies guarded across the spectrum, left and right, are the lies about America’s mandate around the world, borne of its exceptionalism: The Big Lies undergirding the destruction of Iraq (supported by Republicans like Sullivan) and Libya (brought about by Democrats like Hillary Clinton).

These are typical American truisms which need shattering, too. Mr. Sullivan, in his defense, did apologize for his role in the destruction of Iraq (after the fact).

* Image courtesy John @John89325183

NEW COLUMN: Private Property And COVID: Choice, Not Force, Part 2

America, Argument, COVID-19, Etiquette, IMMIGRATION, Private Property

NEW COLUMN IS “Private Property And COVID: Choice, Not Force, Part 2.” It’s now on WND.COM and The Unz Review.

An excerpt:

The managerial elites find themselves in a pickle. The coronavirus pandemic is a serious event. Members of a serious society treat it as such; they look out for one another—and they don’t flee into conspiracy and denial in order to cope with the incongruity of it all.

Alas, courtesy of its globalist elites, America is no longer a society; much less a serious one. In the absence of solidarity between citizens, social capital—”goodwill, fellowship, sympathy”—is scarce. Hence the struggle to mount a coherent response to the pandemic.

Centrally Planned Diversity Begets Disunity

Coherence is certainly not a thing immigration policy has supplied. If anything, policy makers have cheapened citizenship.

The populations from which chosen, future citizens are drawn come to America not in search of constitution and community. Rather, the corporate state’s preferred immigrants bring their own community with them and hyphenate its members.

On arrival, immigrants are encouraged to cling to a militant distinctiveness. The only tacit agreement shared by a majority of Americans, native and newcomer, is that America’s exceptionalism obligates it to both control the world through military and moral crusades and welcome it to America.

The extent to which Americans have, nevertheless, managed to galvanize logistically against COVID-19 is a testament to just how energetic a people we are.

Still, the credentialed, cognitive elites who’ve turned the country into this multicultural, money-focused, built-on-sand Tower of Babel, now find that many Americans—united by commerce, not creed—don’t want to go the extra mile for the strangers who make up their country.

Contrast the U.S., vis-à-vis COVID, with a more homogeneous nation like Japan (or Singapore, or Taiwan or South Korea).

Thirteen minutes and 35 seconds into this interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Fox News’ Martha MacCallum quizzes him about Japan.

The country, 127-million strong, has had only 846 COVID deaths, and has, according to Ms. MacCallum, not implemented the social mitigation strategies seen in the U.S. and Europe.

Adjusted for population size, this is as though the U.S had suffered only 2,198 COVID deaths! For Japan to “live up” to America’s COVID cull-rate, 38,484 Japanese would have to have perished from the coronavirus.

Other than that its people sport a culture of fastidious cleanliness and have long-since adopted the etiquette of masking—you and I sense what else is afoot in Japan.

So does Dr. Fauci. Certain counties, conceded the good doctor, have “different sizes and different borders, and different infusions from outside.”

Differently put, Japan is almost completely homogeneous, with little immigration, and, consequently, a strong sense of unity. Citizens are more inclined to pull together in common purpose when there is a fellow feeling to bind them.

“The measures that most successfully contain the virus … all depend on how engaged and invested the population is,” explains Ed Young, a science reporter. All the testing, tracing and isolating are for naught if there is an “antagonistic relationship” with and between the people involved in the effort.

And America, it’s fair to say, is no longer a people in any meaningful way; it is a Walmart with missiles, where the fusillades we direct at one another. …

… READ THE REST… NEW COLUMN IS “Private Property And COVID: Choice, Not Force, Part 2.” It’s now on WND.COM and The Unz Review.