The ‘American Heritage’

The American Heritage, as seen from A.D. 1955, was the focus of a group called ‘The Newcomen Society’ in Vermont. Their goal was, as best I can understand it, to preserve the ‘American Heritage’ by promoting interest in it and preserving tangible remains of the past.

In 1955 the Newcomen Society hosted a luncheon in Shelburne, Vermont. The following are some brief excerpts from the address given.

“As we forge ahead…in our marathon of Progress to provide the common man with automobiles, television sets and automatic garbage disposals, the gap yearly widens between our civilization and that of the uncommon men who settled the Atlantic Seaboard and the far prairies.

[…]It is true that the average man in this Country is living better from the standpoint of material possessions than he ever has in the history of the world, and I suppose we owe it to the assembly lines. But I am sure that if Henry Thoreau were alive today, he would be gloomier than ever, and Emerson would be moved to expand his essay on Compensation. We have admittedly gained much, but have we not at the same time lost a great deal? We are so frantically busy building a new environment that may not necessarily be any better, or in some ways as good, as the one we have been living in, that I am sure we have all frequently wondered if we are not indeed going too far.

Psychological requirements, of course, do not change. People still seek to put roots down and to express themselves. Yet the gadget civilization of today tends to frustrate these needs. We cannot put roots down while gales of change are buffeting us about.

We cannot mechanize and standardize everything without blunting individuality and self-expression. The Constitution of Vermont reminds us “that frequent recurrence to fundamental principles and a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, industry and frugality are absolutely necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty and keep government free.”

The men who wrote these words found in their environment many values that we cannot share in a society that has become so commercial, so mobile and so highly organized. But the conditions of the Twentieth Century do not prevent us from seeking these values, and there is no better way of seeking them than to cultivate a sense of the past. For years we have tended to be disdainful of the old. We have chided the British for their poor plumbing and emphasis on tradition. However I am sure that many Americans, straining to keep up with the ever-increasing tempo of life, have from time to time suspected that our English cousins may have something there.

Fortunately the pendulum always swings the other way. During the past few years there have been symptoms of a tremendously renewed interest in the American Heritage. This may be because we are now old enough as a Nation to look back at our beginnings with real perspective and appreciation, yet I think there is a deeper reason, a psychological one. If we do not know where we are going today, it is at least reassuring to know where we have come from. It is comforting to sense our kinship with the pioneers, whose burdens were far heavier than ours, but who nevertheless seemed to know where they were going.”

The Newcomen Address was delivered on 28 September, 1955, at the Vermont Luncheon of the Newcomen Society, at Shelburne Harbour Inn, Shelburne, VT

In 1955 there seemed to be an air of optimism about what the writer of the speech saw as a renewed interest in American Heritage on the part of these New Englanders. Sad to say, it seems as if there is little of that interest today, but then in our own defense it may be that most of us recognize that we are in a dire situation, and our immediate fate concerns us more at the moment than does our past, our historic heritage.

Can we learn useful lessons from our Pilgrim or Puritan forebears? They were hardy and resilient people. I am not sure how true that is of us, their descendants. But maybe we can take some inspiration from them and perhaps we might learn something. There is so much doomsaying and black-pilling these days on the Internet but I don’t think we can afford to give in to that spirit.

And as the writer refers to the ‘gales of change’ that were buffetting the people of that era; we are being buffetted ourselves, in our day. Some of that can-do spirit is essential.

Traditional dances

I was just reading an interesting thread at another blog, in which the topic was ‘modernism’ and within that context, dancing in different eras. The discussion on the thread was about the degree to which modern-style dancing contributed to the deterioration of our culture. But traditional music is a different story.

Someone posted links to ‘New England dances’, and though I couldn’t access the ones that were posted there, I did find this video of a dance from the 1960s. In a way that’s better because New England was more, well, English then than now, I think — depending on where or when (late 1960s in this case). Where it was filmed I don’t know, but it’s enjoyable to watch.

The dancing is much like any square dance from whatever part of the U.S., though in the South the music might not be as sedate as the music in the video; Southern music as played for square-dances was pretty lively, but otherwise the dances aren’t much different in differing regions.

And having been in the UK and Ireland, they have similar traditional dances.

I really enjoy writing or talking about culture, about folkways, music, and so on than about the politics. I don’t know about those of you who are reading this. What say you?

Apology

I feel as though I’ve been neglecting this blog; it seems I’ve been experiencing some writers’ block, though I’ve managed to crank out a few posts at the other blog. But mostly my scarce output is due to other issues. Chronic illness is not fun.

I hope to post more regularly and I hope those of you who are still there will check in and continue visiting. I appreciate my readers, however many or few you are.

The two sides of snobbery

You’re nobody in today’s world until you possess some victimhood cred. It’s just a fact, it seems, and once somebody has victimized you by having a ‘toxic attitude’ toward you, or by or calling attention to your regional accent, then you officially exist. According to some of the news in the UK’s consistently left-wing media, mocking someone’s ‘regional accent’ is toxic.

I’ve noticed, over the years that the UK media became so hopelessly ‘woke’ that the BBC and other such outlets hired only newsreaders and “reporters” with strong regional accents or ‘working class’ accents. Very few were those who had what is now called a ‘Received Pronunciation’ kind of accent; nobody wants to hear “posh people” speak because “posh people” have a snooty way of speaking that the others who are not of the ‘posh’ class feel’triggered’ by, apparently.

Has it not ever occurred to people that this kind of thing is just another form of snobbery? I’m talking about resenting the ‘privileged’ people just because they were born into a certain class, through no fault of their own.

I realize I am going against the grain; we have this Jacobin-inspired resentment of the privileged or the wealthy here on this side the Atlantic, too. I find it to be a very deep resentment and envy especially in countries which preach ”equality” as one of the principles on which our countries are founded. Yet equality in nature is not fact; it doesn’t occur in nature. Equality can never be realized because we all have differing abilities, talents, and potentialities. Even identical twins are not equal, because even they differ in temperament, personality, and ability.

Britain, in its present leftist incarnation, obsesses too much about attaining equality, mainly through suppressing the superior abilities of some, and artificially elevating, or trying vainly to lift up the low achievers. There will never be any equality, or ‘equity’ to use the favored word of today. Equality can’t be created or faked, and the appearance of equality can be attained only by coercion, by forcing square pegs into round holes or vice versa. Those in power in the educational system have invented various ways to create a poor illusion of ‘equality’ via “positive discrimination” and by artificially placing someone in a position to fill a quota, or to show off how much ‘diversity’ is present in an institution but that does not prove anything about the relative abilities of individuals.

The United States is also obsessed, because of our supposed founding principles, with the idea of ‘equality’, plus ‘liberty and justice for all.’ That’s all well and good; we all value justice and liberty but we will never level society so that all are absolute equals. We’d be much better served to accept that people differ and that among differing people(s) in a ‘diverse’ country we can’t wish away or ignore human differences. Yet this is what we do, here in the U.S. as well as in the UK, hence someone always has grievances and complaints and accusations: someone has ‘discriminated’ against me, or made me feel bad; someone is ”keeping me down” for various reasons. And this will forever be the case as long as some people ‘feel’ discriminated against or imagine that the ‘privileged people’ are out to make their lives miserable, to keep them from succeeding.

In thinking this way they are only convincing themselves that any problems they have, any failures, are the fault of the powerful ‘privileged’ people, and that it is no fault of their own.

One of the marks of the mature person is taking responsibility. We are seeing less and less of that in adult people these days. I wonder why?

The left-wing media of the UK crank out this sort of article now and then to further their narrative of how society is divided between the Oppressed and the Oppressors. We all know how those groups are identified..

If divisiveness is based on regional origin and social class, as it supposedly in the UK, it seems the snobbery is simply reversed; it appears to me that the ‘RP’ or ‘posh’ accent is the one that is most derided and mocked in the UK; I’ve seen it made the target of ridicule and jokes, more so than the other accents. Even Princess Diana used to sound less upper-class, using glottal stops in her speech in interviews, etc. It seemed she was trying to overcome her ‘posh’ speech and to sound more demotic.

There is really no equivalent in this country to the RP accent, though it is true that the Southern accent is often looked down upon. I’ve had people tell me that Southern accents ‘make people sound dumb’, and that they always consider Southrons with an accent to actually have lower IQs. Still, those accents are being lost as people mimic the English speech they hear on newscasts, movies, and TV, so we all sound very much the same.

But it takes much more than an accent to know someone’s character, intelligence, or personality; any thinking person knows that.

I would wish that those who have a smoldering resentment of ‘privileged’ people might get over that envy and resentment and simply judge by the ‘fruits’, the words and character of the individual. After all none of us has any control over the class to which we belong by birth. And here in America we are supposed to keep pretending there are no classes in our country.

Placing the blame

At Unz.com, there is a piece by Andrew Joyce in response to a short essay from the year 2007, by Curtis Yarvin. Yarvin is better known to many as erstwhile blogger ‘Mencius Moldbug’, who had a considerable following as the sort of guru to the Neoreactionary set of that time.

Joyce’s piece is lengthy and thorough; I recommend reading it if you are interested in the subject matter that is being examined in it, namely who is most responsible for the multiculturalism which is swallowing up Western civilization at the current hour.

If one reads the comments section on blogs which discuss that topic and related ones, you will soon become weary of reading comments blaming ‘WASPs’ and their Christianity for the impending death of Western civilization and those who created it. I will say I am more interested in the allegations of ‘WASP’ complicity in this crime; it may be that WASPs were too trusting and too subdued to try to avoid the loss of their identity and the loss of their primacy on this continent. But it is not true, in my opinion, that Anglo-Saxons conspired or acted in concert with ‘Zionists’ as some say, to bring about a multicultural America.

I’ve read some of Moldbug’s ideas about who was to blame in this situation, and as with Paul Gottfried, I find an effort to shift blame onto old-stock Anglo-Saxon Americans. One argument Moldbug/Yarvin makes is that his people, that is, Jewish-Americans, merely tried to assimilate to WASP norms. More blame-shifting.

“There is little question that Jews were keen to obtain the outward signs of social climbing in America — by, for example, entering certain professions or joining fashionable golf clubs. But underlying many of these economic advances was an outright hostility to the culture, politics, and behavior of the Protestant Brahmin class. In this regard, Yarvin’s definition of “assimilation” needs to be problematised. As I’ve argued elsewhere, and developed further in my forthcoming book, it is highly doubtful whether genuine Jewish group assimilation has ever occurred in any nation at any time. In the United States, Jewish “assimilation” has involved the academic deconstruction of WASP cultural heroes (e.g., T.S. Eliot, Richard Wagner), the pathologization of the WASP family (Freud, the Frankfurt School, and their intellectual followers), and the weaponisation of WASP children during the 1960s “New Left” revolution…”

The last part of the paragraph above, which alludes to the ‘weaponisation of WASP children’ during the ’60s New Left revolution is right on the money. The idea that WASPs were complicit in their own displacement and ultimately our loss of identity and diminution of power just makes no sense.

But for self-serving reasons, having to do with nepotism, or the promotion of mass immigration from third-world countries as a ‘survival strategy’ it appears that it’s in the interests of some to promote the replacement of the long-standing inhabitants of what was once Christendom.

Flag emblems

Gadsden flag

According to the book I’ve been reading, the English colonists preferred the above flag to the other options.

“The emblem which was most favored by the colonists seems to have been the rattle-snake, which was commended for its vigilance, for its character in never beginning an attack and never surrendering, and for generosity in giving notice with her rattle, and warning her enemies against treading on her.”

Pennsylvania Journal, 27 December, 1775, quoted by Preble, op.cit., 214

I always wondered why the rattlesnake was the emblem, not just on this flag but on the other flags which used similar symbols, for example, the ‘Join or Die’ flag, though the message conveyed on that one was self-evident.

It seems the Gadsden flag is under fire for not being politically correct somehow; whoever sits on high and tells us that something is bigoted or that it must be banned, it always looks 100 percent arbitrary to me; no rhyme or reason.

The book I’ve been reading, English influence on the United States, is a short read but interesting. I will probably blog about it later. It has to do not only with culture, etc., but with architecture, town planning, and so on. The writer appears to be focusing on New England rather than the South and its Anglo-Saxon origins and colonies but he does touch on those things.

National characteristics

From  “Heads, Faces, Types, Races” (1910) by Dr. Rocine

Obviously the above is from a book which is more than a century old; it may seem archaic. Much of what the author says about “National characteristics of the English people” may no longer be true, just as his comments about Americans above may not be accurate as a description of Americans in 2020.

I find ‘human biodiversity’ fascinating as there really are differences among the many ethnicities and races on this planet, all the while we are being told that people are ”all the same”, with skin color alone (so they say) being a distinguishing mark. No; there are differences physiologically and anatomically, though it is politically incorrect to notice these things.

And outward difference like the color or shade of one’s skin is not as important as the differences in ‘national characteristics’, ways of thinking, and culture and any number of factors.

Not long ago I posed a question on this blog, asking whether peoples can change over time, or be changed — say, by means of demographic changes to a country, or by propaganda, or any other means. I am still not sure if people can be changed to something different to what they originally were. It would seem we Americans are not exactly the same people who fought WWII or conquered the wilderness as our ancestors did, in fact.

Another question I’ve pondered is: are we and our English cousins becoming more disparate in our national character, so that we feel more estranged, on both sides?

How closely do we fit the descriptions in the pages of the book above?

Justice?

The Public Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland recently announced that no soldiers would face prosecution relating to the events on ‘Bloody Sunday’ in 1972. On January 30 of that year, 13 civilians were shot and killed, as a clash broke out between marchers and British soldiers who were there to maintain order.

The Daily Mail article about this incident indicates that the soldiers opened fire before projectiles were thrown at them. The scenario is a little reminiscent of the Kent State, Ohio incident in which National Guardsmen opened fire on students, four of whom died. But it may be more complicated than it appears.

Just an aside here, but these protests by the Northern Ireland Catholics were directly inspired by the activism of the Civil Rights revolutionaries in the U.S. The leadership of the activist groups openly said they emulated MLK et al.

The central story is, unfortunately, an example of how disparities within a population or a society seem inevitably to bring conflict and in worst cases, bloodshed. ‘Diversity’ is not a strength unless one thinks internal dissension and misunderstanding are desirable.

A common belief about the Northern Ireland problem is that it’s religious in nature. It is, but only partially. Religion is only one of the points of difference between the two longstanding populations, the Ulster folk, Ulster Scots, the people Americans like to call ‘Scotch-Irish’ and often misidentify as being one and the same as those we call just Irish. But besides the differing religions there is a different culture and history and mindset. As ever, people are not interchangeable.

And just to confuse things more, many of the ‘Scots-Irish’ are neither Scots (by blood) nor Irish; their ancestors, who were brought to Ulster in the 17th century, were from the English border counties, and were English. Some Southern Americans who claim ‘Scotch-Irish’ ancestry are in fact English, as DNA tests show, in the cases of some American celebrities I’ve read of.

The two peoples, the Catholic Irish and the Protestant Ulster folk differ on their religious beliefs, but if Northern Ireland is anything like the rest of former Christendom, religion is not as important as it once was. Ethnic identity used to be a strong motivator, and the Ulster Protestants identify as British. This is the part that many Americans don’t understand. This is why Northern Ireland felt so strongly at one time, that they not be merged into Catholic Ireland, living under liberal laws and rules, as Ireland has gone very left, being itself greatly weakened by a forced dose of diversity and socialism.

It’s a complicated situation, but it looks as though, if the self-styled elites have their way, there will be no more nations/states, just a monolithic world regime, so the whole national question would in theory be moot.

But back to the central issue here: is it right that the men who shot and killed the protesters should be exempt from prosecution? First I am sure that the Prosecutors in Northern Ireland have all the information, and we get just dribs and drabs from our sometimes incompetent, always dishonest media. I don’t feel qualified to judge here, as to what ideally should have happened.

To put this on more of a human basis, I have met (through friends on the other side of the pond) men who served as very young soldiers in Northern Ireland. Not all those who served there were battle-hardened soldiers. Some were quite green and they were often threatened by civilians there. That may have been a factor.

And of course show business had to exploit the deaths. Something like 11 years afterward, the Irish rock band U2 recorded the song, “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” though they said the song was not political, not taking sides. Interestingly, the Kent State shootings in the 70s also were the subject of a rock song, ‘Ohio.’

And finally here is one more take on this story via AltNewsMedia.

Free speech in England

The resentment of Norman ‘invaders’ is still, apparently, alive and well in parts of England. I do get the impression from what I have read and heard from English folk that it is not uncommon.

I actually used to believe that the Irish grudge against the Anglo-Normans took the prize for its persistence. Now I am wondering: the Norman Conquest began in 1066 (it will be a full thousand years ago this century) and the Anglo-Normans invaded Ireland in 1169 through 1171. Obviously the Norman conquest of England took place in a longer-ago time.

How can a group of people still be labeled “invaders” or considered alien when they have been in a country for almost a millennium? It’s not as though they are still speaking a foreign language, separating themselves from those of only Anglo-Saxon blood, or going back and forwards to their ‘native country’ as so many of the immigrants to modern Western countries do.

The Normans were not so genetically different from the Saxons. I don’t think the DNA testing now can differentiate precisely between the different ethnicities of Britain, not even as much as between Anglo-Saxons and Scots, or Anglo-Saxons and Welsh, or Dutch.

So why are those of Norman descent spoken of at times as being outsiders, not belonging on the island of Britain?

I can understand why being conquered would have a certain ‘sting’ to it, just as with Americans who might rightfully feel that we have not just been colonized, but thanks to the machinations of the Leftist infiltrators and subversives, we are not in control of our country any longer. It does wound the pride.

But here is an article by Peter Hitchens which I happened across; ithas some interesting thoughts about the changes in the UK and about the state of Free Speech and other liberties, along class and regional lines. He also writes about the Norman-Anglo-Saxon divisions. Interesting subject matter.