Douglas Murray at the Daily Mail tells us that there is already some misunderstanding as a new administration establishes its position vis-a-vis post-Brexit Britain. Murray notes that the American media are apparently being both unrealistic about the lack of understanding between a post-Brexit UK and American ‘ruling elites’.
There is misunderstanding regarding past history with this country, specifically about the Irish question, and let’s be honest; some people want the issue kept alive even now, 900 or so years later, and even though many of them have been in the U.S. or the UK or Australia or New Zealand for generations.
The fact that one of our ‘elected representatives’ has been taking sides in matters of the Irish issue cannot help but add to misunderstandings. Politicians taking sides can appear as meddling and interference.
Wasn’t there some kind of kerfuffle, say, a dozen or so years ago, about some president returning a bust of Winston Churchill to Britain? Over the years the general opinion of the English on the part of the ‘Average American’ has become less friendly — which I find sad. Oddly it seems that as time passes, the British have become less like themselves and more like us. We, too, are less like our more authentic selves. I think all of us in the West have been the objects of an effort to de-racinate and to sever us from our past and our traditions and our true natures.
Take a look at the new Candour Magazine website, including the ‘Links’ page. And don’t miss the essay at the Traditional Britain Group on ‘The Meaning of British Nationhood.’ The latter essay is, I think, inspiring. It’s good to see that there is a real effort there to create a viable movement for preserving British heritage.
From that essay:
“We have carved our history into the hills and the music of Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Delius sings of it. We have written our legacy into the soil and even if we are on the threshold of losing our ownership of it, the beauty of Britain remains captured forever in the work of Turner, Stubbs, and Constable. This island is, indisputably, our family estate and it must not be lost. To disinherit generations of Britons yet to be born would be a crime and posterity would never forgive us.”Stuart Millson, Traditional Britain Group, The Meaning of British Nationhood
See the rest at the link.
I’ve written about the historical differences between Normans and Saxons, and also about North and South in the United States. So some of it will seem familiar, but this is another elaboration of that topic. I hope you’ll humor me in writing about this again. I’ve been reading about it again.
There is a popular idea, seemingly established as true among people familiar with English history, that the English colonists who came from East Anglia were a distinct people, even a distinct ‘race’ from the Cavalier or ‘Planter’ stock people who settled Virginia.
Presumably the ”Cavalier” stock were mostly descendants of Norman descent. The Normans are something of a vanishing people themselves today, or at least they appear to be. But such a large group of people could hardly just disappear from the face of the earth. The Normans still exist, many of them in the United States and Canada as well as other Anglosphere countries. Certainly people with Norman surnames are not rare in those countries, including the United States. Yet few people identify themselves as being of Norman ancestry. Why is this?
It can’t be because Normans are often shown as villainous people, in popular literature. movies, and so on. I remember as a child watching ‘historical’ TV shows wherein the villains were Normans. In ‘historical’ TV or movies about later eras, the English people in general were usually villainous and foppish, representing the evil upper classes. Even in recent movies like The Patriot with Mel Gibson, the British officers in the Revolutionary War were — villainous and foppish. A complete stereotype. It’s no wonder that this is a popular perception.
Actually one of the few people I’ve encountered who admitted (with no apologies) that he was mostly of Norman descent was Anglo-Irish, by which I mean of the ‘Protestant Ascendancy’.
So if the Normans seem to have fewer descendants alive these days, it’s probably because it is not desirable for most people — who often have a ‘class warfare’ mentality — to identify as Norman-descended.
Then there is the problem of English-descended Americans identifying as ‘just American’, part of the ‘invisible’ nationality. Many people just want to be part of something more exotic or unusual, or to be whatever is considered ‘cool’. I remember seeing a clip of some TV show in which an actress who believed she was Hispanic or ‘native American’ learned she was only European. She cried because she was so let down by the truth — that she was not anything exotic or ‘cool.’ Not many people want to be Norman or even Anglo-Saxon. Most Americans don’t know what a Norman is, anyway.
Some of the problem is that there is the rampant class-war mentality even though America claims to be egalitarian; we have no ‘class system’ here, officially, though it exists, mostly based on material considerations. Ancestry is relatively insignificant; it’s how much money one’s family has, or where you go to school or where you live, who you mingle with. People aspire to be wealthy but they downplay the importance of family connections. Women, especially, idolize royalty or pseudo-royalty (Hollywood celebrities, political royalty like the Kennedys or their extended clan). Men mostly seem to despise aristocracy or royalty, usually on the basis that “our ancestors fought to kick the Kings and Queens out”, even though that was not what ”we” fought for.
Our Founding Fathers, including Jefferson, were not egalitarians believing that we are all congenitally equal. Jefferson believed in a ‘natural elite’ or an elite based on character. That would be my ideal, but most Americans would probably disagree with the idea.
And as far as the ‘Norman vs Anglo-Saxon’ question, today’s Southrons have adopted the idea that the Norman ‘Cavaliers’ were a different people than the Northerners, especially the Anglo-Saxon ‘Yankees.’
According to this article, the Southern Literary Messenger had published articles as early as the 1830s, outlining the ‘racial differences’ between the ‘Cavaliers’ and the Yankees. The two groups, according to the theory, were biologically not of the same breed, and therefore the two sides which were then heading for an internecine war, had irreconcilable differences.
‘[A]nother anonymous writer in The Messenger wrote, “We, too, of the South, and especially we of Virginia, are descendants, for the most part, of the old cavaliers — the enemies and persecutors of those old puritans — and entertain, perhaps, unwittingly something of an hereditary and historical antipathy against the children, for the fathers’ sake.”Christopher Hanlon, NY Times Opinionator, 24 Jan 2013
There is a lot of truth in that statement. If you have an interest in this aspect of American history, it’s a worth your time.
It’s interesting that the British upper classes, representing the ‘remnant’ of the Normans, I suppose, also receive the same negative stereotyping as their counterparts in the Old South. As the article I link says, the original Jamestown settlers were, many of them, members of ‘Elizabeth’s and James’ courts’, thus they were part of the Norman aristocracy.
As to the reason why Americans often have a dislike for British royalty, (which is also present in the UK among those who would prefer a ‘republic) it is odd that Americans don’t show a similar antipathy for royalty of other countries.
It would seem that these centuries-long grudges and lingering resentments have survived, having been continuations of the original differences between the ‘despotic’ Normans and the good-guy Saxons, later adopting the guise of hereditary differences which made warfare inevitable. Are we in the same situation now? To what extent are political differences (which constitute a deep rift as of now) manifesting as regional differences?
If there can be such divisions even between two groups of very similar origins, then what chance is there for disparate groups to coexist?
At his blog Bruce Charlton raises the question of King Arthur, and the legend or folk-belief that Arthur will re-appear in some future time of England’s need, and ‘rescue’ the people of England. Dr. Charlton notes that England is in dire straits now, having lost its culture, and being under existential threat.
So, can King Arthur possibly be able and willing to re-appear and save the people?
I am not certain of how many people truly believe that King Arthur can come to the rescue; I think the majority of people not only doubt that he will come back; I think most modern people and post-modern people disbelieve, so they won’t be looking for Arthur’s re-appearance. There might be a few who are real believers in the folk-legend.
Dr. Charlton, however, posits that in order for King Arthur to make his grand re-appearance, he must be invoked or invited. And he doesn’t see this happening. Arthur must be ‘called’ by the people; he can’t show up uninvited.
Dr. Charlton is a Christian, but there are marked differences between the varieties of Christianity. Biblically, we’re told that we must accept and acknowledge Christ as our Savior, and lacking that connection and commitment on the part of the believer, we can’t expect a one-sided relationship, with us passively waiting for help or blessings from God, unless we are serious followers of his, not halfhearted. So, much as I like the legends of great men of the past coming to England’s aid (Sir Francis Drake, for example, as well as Arthur) my faith does not center on them.
I do believe that ‘Those feet in ancient time [did] walk upon England’s mountains green…”
I think (based on what I’ve read and learned) that Christianity arrived in England earlier than formerly believed. It was a Christian country earlier than some history books assert.
And I do believe that God waits for us to turn to him, repent and call on him, then he will heal our land. But so far neither we nor England (nor any other Christian or former Christian country) have done this, hence we are teetering on the brink, on the edge of the precipice. And we’ll continue that way, with things worsening until we can humble ourselves and turn back to our Fathers’ God.
And I am truly tired of those who harp on the one string: the idea that Christianity has caused our ruin. The very opposite is true; we were strong and secure when Christian; our ancestors defeated the Moors more than once. The feats of Christian warriors have never been matched by post-Christian Europeans. Ever. Nor ever will, as things are now.
Cynical unbelief and nihilism are the things that weakened us, and continue to do so.
Maybe Arthur and our past champions and heroes will reappear when the time is right, that is, if they do return with the ‘ten thousands of Saints.’ Then maybe we will meet them one day.
The name “Jesus” means to ‘rescue, deliver, or save.’ That’s where our real hope lies.
More on King Arthur:
This is just an impromptu post, after reading some comments on an English blog, regarding our troubles here in America.
This blog is generally concerned with emphasizing our English roots, and our kinship to those in the British Isles, specifically our English cousins. It does seem sometimes as though we are the red-headed stepchildren with whom they don’t wish to be associated. It’s disheartening, especially when we’re undergoing some serious changes over here.
It’s understandable in a way, that people outside this country, particularly those who have never been here have an unpleasant idea of us, of Americans as a people. We’re told that we’re not a people, but ‘mutts’ because we’re supposed to be just an unidentifiable mix of peoples. But in my own experience, many of the English people claim mixed backgrounds, often partly Irish or Scots — fair enough; those are closely related peoples. But I’ve met English people who claim to be partly Romany Gypsy, French, Hindu, and now with mass immigration, many from more exotic places are now called ‘British’ or even English, though they lack any Anglo-Saxon genes. So it seems England is also populated (though to a lesser extent) by people of mixed ancestries. But somehow it’s only we Americans (‘Yanks’) who are the ‘mutts’.
And it seems we are thought responsible for the political troubles we’re having. A little empathy for your cousins would be welcome, much as you may disapprove of us.
As far as I can see, England is in trouble in many ways, too.; we’re not the only ones. Now, I may never have an opportunity to go to England again but if I do, it would improve the experience a great deal to know that I might be welcome not just as a ‘tourist’ or visitor, but as a guest and as kindred. I am always glad to meet kinsmen and – women when I encounter them here, or wherever.
I think a big part of the problem is the ugly image Hollywood paints of Americans — and other peoples, too — in their movies; people elsewhere take it as real and accurate. Hollywood corrupts and uglifies almost everything it touches. No wonder there is such antipathy between people. Our country, our culture, is not just as Hollywood (and all the other ‘entertainment’ media) depicts it. Above all, the people are not necessarily like the media illusions that the rest of the world sees.
I wish our English cousins well, regardless of their misperceptions of us and our country. At this point we need friends and well-wishers, as we are in a time of unprecedented change.
Some regions of America have held onto traditions from the British Isles. The traditions are a little complicated to explain, especially in regard to what is called Old Christmas. Suffice it to say that Old Christmas more or less coincides with the Catholic calendar’s ‘Epiphany.’
‘Old Christmas’ as it is called in the Appalachian region is commemorated in a number of traditional fiddle tunes. Erynn Marshall offers excellent renditions of ‘Old Christmas Morning’ and ‘Glory in the Meeting House’ in the video.
Wassailing as I am sure most of you know is an ancient English tradition associated with Twelfth Night festivities. Twelfth Night this year falls on January 5. The participants in this video take part in the traditional driving out of evil spirits, and quaffing the traditional Wassail, as well as Morris dancing and singing.