In his recent article, Pat Buchanan sees the Tea Party movement as an emerging tribe. He's buying the hype of the left that these protesters are anti-black racialists. As I showed in an earlier post, almost as many Hispanics support the Tea Party as whites. Are they white nationalists too? I suspect Buchanan wants liberals to be right because tribalism generates much more political power that individualism.
Buchanan's piece was inspired by an article written in the New Yorker titled, "Beyond the Pale: Is White the New Black?" The author, Kalefa Sanneh, reviews a couple "whiteness studies" books and concludes that whiteness is emerging as a positive identity (historically it has meant "not non-white" and the consequences have been pernicious), and it might end up being relatively benign.
I don't see it, but I've been trying to answer a question from the article that was posed to Glenn Beck by Katie Couric: "What is white culture?" Beck had said earlier on his show that, "This President, I think, has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture." Beck didn't give an answer, but, having some idea how he thinks, he probably meant that limited, constitutional government is a white American phenomenon, and Obama is a black liberationist.
But the question got me wondering. If Buchanan and Sanneh are right, and people like me are turning into white folks, what is my culture? Your ideas would be helpful, but you'll admit it's a tough question. It's like pinning down a cloud.
My first stab at it would be to focus on the highest aspects of culture, and to personify them with the best culture creators. Charles Murray does this systematically in Human Accomplishment. It would not have been a gross exaggeration to title the book White Accomplishment. (This is what you're going to get from us if you turn us into white people). Anyway, the short list would include Euler, Newton, Galileo, Einstein, Lavoisier, Darwin, Aristotle, Plato, Beethoven, Mozart, Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Watt, and Edison. Although some would disagree with me, I would add at least Jesus and St. Paul. (We needed to beef up the Jewish contribution to the list).
For the highest of white American culture, we could just pick the leading Americans from Murray's lists--Whitman and Edison, for example.
Of course, these are the cultural leaders. Cultural followers come in all colors, so "white culture" like any culture is a limited concept.
Skeptics might argue that there is very little in common between, say, Jesus and Edison; "white" is an artificial social construction. I would answer yes and no. I would answer that it is being constructed by liberals every day. "The white race is the cancer of human history" is a classic example. As Sanneh wrote, "The history of human culture is the history of forgeries that become genuine, categories that people make and cannot simply unmake."
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