Friday, July 4, 2014

Sam Francis on the "Propositional Nation"

Recently I had a post with a Sam Francis quibcag, and Countenance commented with a link to more Sam Francis material that I hadn't seen. This is from quite a few years back, in the age of Jack Kemp and Bill Bennett, but it is a nice beginning point for Sam Francis to explain just what is wrong with this nonsense about a "propositional nation" that we keep hearing. This is from Countenance blog, and the whole original post is HERE.

Of course, not all whites supported [California Proposition] 187, and most prominent among those who actually attacked it were presidential perennial Jack Kemp and Bill “Mr. Virtue” Bennett himself. The two neo-conservatives hastened to California to harangue the masses with their insight that “the American national identity is not based on ethnicity, or race, or national origin, or religion. The American national identity is based on a creed, on a set of principles and ideas.” Of course, that is a common view of the American identity, one that has been repeatedly expressed throughout our history, though there are at least two problems with it. In the first place it happens to be untrue. In the second place it happens to be a dangerous and even suicidal claim.

It is untrue because the major fact about American national identity is that it is an identity created by British settlers and later European immigrants and therefore is almost exclusively the achievement of whites. Whatever wise pleasantries of universalism may turn up in the patriotic oratory and public documents of American history, no one can claim that the American identity is really the kind of watery abstraction the Kemp-Bennett statement purports it to be. Behind and beneath those pleasantries lie the concrete identity, experience, and aspirations of a homogeneous people “of a common blood,” as Jefferson put it in his draft of the Declaration of Independence, and to reduce that essentially racial as well as cultural heritage to the bloodless “principles and ideals” that Mr. Kemp and Mr. Bennett busy themselves tooting is not only a confession of the most dismal ignorance but also a trumpeting of the most brazen betrayal.

Moreover, the Kemp-Bennett claim is dangerous because it fundamentally misunderstands the nature of a nation or of any collective political identity other than a debating society. If indeed being an American were “based on a creed, on a set of principles and ideas,” then any person in the world who adhered to that creed would be an American. That might be fine with the open borders crowd whom the Kemp-Bennett statement was designed to please, but it also means that any person who does not adhere to the creed is not an American, and in asserting the credal identity of the United States, the Kemp-Bennett statement comes close to formulating the grounds of a new totalitarianism. The Soviet Union was “based on a creed,” and Russians who dissented from the creed were punished severely. How else indeed could a state defining itself through a creed cohere? So far from opening the national gates to anyone who wants to come here, defining American national identity in terms of a creed actually guarantees a closed and perhaps brutally repressive regime and implies nothing whatsoever about what kind of welcome we might give to immigrants.

In the first place, if you believe in the Creed, you can be a perfectly good American in the slums of Buenos Aires or the jungles of Rwanda, just as you can be a perfectly good Christian or a perfectly good libertarian or a perfectly good communist, and there’s no reason at all for you to come here or go anywhere. In the second place, if adhering to the Creed is what makes you an American, then why not give creed tests to all immigrants, or indeed to native Americans, and if they don’t subscribe to the Gospel according to Jack and Bill, round ‘em up and send ‘em back.

No one knows what any of the immigrants to this country, legal or illegal, past or present, believe or have believed, and there is no reason for anyone to be examined or tested as to what they believe before being admitted. The credal basis of national identity that Mr. Kemp and Mr. Bennett blather about may sound both high-minded and broad-minded, but upon any but the most superficial examination, it (like so much else of what they have to say) turns out to be transparently false and, if it were taken any more seriously than most of the slogans and bumper-stickers that pass for high political theory among neo-conservatives, could serve as the basis of a far more restrictive regime than any nativist has ever conceived.
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Now, elsewhere, Sam Francis wrote more on the same subject, this time with reference to Jean Raspail. This is from VDare:

When The State Is The Enemy Of The Nation


1 comment:

  1. http://madmonarchist.blogspot.com/2014/07/july-4-reflections-on-revolution.html

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