The WASP, then and now

Recently, with the death of Antonin Scalia, there has been some discussion of the fact that there is only one Anglo-Saxon Protestant  on the Supreme Court. That this is the case shows how things have changed, given that this country was founded by Anglo-Saxon Protestant males. It should give the lie to the occasionally-made statement that there is some kind of ”WASP elite” controlling things. Such has not been the case for many years; we are only just noticing.

But still there is a vociferous minority of Internet commenters who insist that the WASP elite (sometimes said to be acting in collusion with Jews) is behind everything.

I can only say that if this were true, the country would not look as it does now. We need only compare “America” of 2016 with the America that was a generation or so ago.

Even reading this article, which was written just under two decades ago, in 1997, brings home how different things were then. The tone of the article, the relative frankness with which now-touchy subjects like ethnicity were discussed, remind us how political correctness and the hideous cant of our day have made us less able to freely speak or write about certain things.

The article is titled A Look Back at a Gentleman and His Ideals. The ‘gentleman’ of the title was Edward Digby Baltzell, who represented an era that is now gone and is in fact very alien to us, in our post-American America.

Baltzell, who grew up in the Northeast, was the quintessential ‘gentleman and scholar.’ He wrote a number of books, and coincidentally was credited (or blamed, depending on your point of view) with coining the very term ‘WASP’ in one of his books.

From the 1997 article linked above:

“For him, being a gentleman was not just about politeness, courtesy, good manners, and knowing which fork to use.

It was a word that encapsulated a whole constellation of character traits: honor, integrity, civility, self-control, modesty, dignity, sincerity and duty, to name a few. These were qualities once cultivated and evinced by the WASP leadership class in America, transmitted by breeding, ancestral rite and family example, reinforced at New England prep and boarding schools, displayed in sterling deeds on the playing field and the battlefield, and exercised in the corporate boardroom and in public and national service.

Being a gentleman was the essence of WASP majesty and the wellspring of WASP authority, Baltzell believed, and that authority, so crucial to a stable, civilized society, was a privilege and a responsibility, entailing the obligation to lead, to set (and live up to) high moral standards, to make a contribution to the common weal, and to live and work for something above and beyond money, material comfort and self-indulgence.

Baltzell practiced what he preached.”

Nowadays, it’s unthinkable, given the PC hierarchy of victimhood and oppressor, to speak favorably of the WASP elite, or even of ordinary everyday White Anglo-Saxon Protestants.

“He revered WASP values, traditions and contributions, but Baltzell was contemptuous of the upper class for losing its self-confidence, abdicating its responsibility to lead, squandering its moral capital, and violating its Christian principles by indulging in anti-Semitism, racism and mindless snobbery. “They built a great civilization. They built this country,” he said. “But they aren’t doing it now.”

Unfortunately, as we can see in retrospect, Baltzell himself was falling prey to the very mindset that he is deploring in his statements about the Anglo-Saxon Protestant upper class losing self-confidence. I understand what motivated some of this kind of introspection (about ‘racism’, anti-Semitism, ‘snobbery’). It is the excessively ‘nice’ mentality where one hopes that being self-deprecating, trying to meet one’s critics or foes halfway to show generosity of spirit, noblesse oblige, and all that. People like Mr. Baltzell and his present-day counterparts are too short-sighted to realize the long-term consequences of trying to be a gentleman and concede ground in hopes of fending off further criticism, or winning the goodwill of one’s opponent or enemy. The enemy, unless he too is a real gentleman (and ours are not) see our attempt at meeting them halfway only as weakness and foolishness. And they are right. It was all well and good to indulge in that kind of behavior among one’s own kind, as with the WASP aristocracy. It works elsewhere if the opposition has scruples equal to yours and will not take unfair advantage. I wonder if Baltzell and his peers would realize that had they lived to see this day. Baltzell said

“A crisis in moral authority has developed in modern America,” he wrote in his 1964 book, The Protestant Establishment, “largely because of the White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant establishment’s unwillingness, or inability, to share and improve upper-class traditions by continuously absorbing talented and distinguished members of minority groups into its privileged ranks. . . . Any vital tradition, Biblical warnings to the contrary, requires the continuous pourings of new wine into old bottles.”

The gentlemen of Baltzell’s day and earlier were admirable in many ways but once they allowed the society which they established to be undermined — and by the very ”new wine” which Baltzell stated was essential — then the WASP as he was then was to be a dying breed. And as with American culture in general, it can only be perpetuated and carried on by White Americans. Not proposition nationalists, not diversity from the four corners of the globe. A culture and the people who embody it are interdependent; one cannot survive intact without the other.

And as the WASP goes, so goes America. Lots of people cheer the idea of the Anglo-Saxon Protestant Male being deposed from his position of power and influence. Just as so many others worldwide applaud the approaching minority status of Whites.

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