In other Chapters and essays, we have touched upon some of the significant patterns of group identification--whether racial, ethnic, family, religious, community, class, occupational, social or whatever--that form an influential part of the personality of most humans. But this matter is sufficiently important to an understanding, both of political patterns and alliances, and of how to most effectively frame some of the arguments suggested in other Chapters, that a short memorandum confined to this subject is in order. It is also a key to understanding why the forces on the Left (Communist, Nazi and Modern "Liberal," i.e. Fabian Socialist) employ the tactics that they do.
In a modern complex society--modern, in this sense, including ancient Greece from before the Trojan War, Egypt from the time of the first Pyramids, the Near East from the time of Abraham, and China for probably at least 5,000 years--most individuals are subject to a multitude of practical classifications. That there is a need or tendency for people in such a society to seek personal identification in more defining subsets than membership in an undifferentiated humanity, is obvious from the course of human history. It is manifest in the ways that school children divide into their own circles of preferred acquaintanceship; manifest, as well, in the current politics of virtually every advanced nation. Certainly anyone, who values the quality of existence over the mere fact of existence, need look no further than within the confines of his or her own awareness for additional confirmation.
The Bible offers elaborate classifications of peoples in a far simpler era. We learn in the very first Chapter of the New Testament, that by the time of Joseph of Nazareth, people not only identified with their Nation, tribe and faith, but with a very extended family--in Joseph's case, the House of David--as well as with the always present recognitions of sex, age, wealth, etc.. Thus he was identified within the larger general population of Judea by an elite lineage, as well as by his community outside Judea and occupation. Of these, the greater emphasis by far was on the elite lineage.
In American politics, patterns of personal identification have always been a major factor in determining how people vote. Thus, we know that for a long time--even in years where the parties switched relative positions in the political spectrum, as in 1896 and after 1932--most German Americans voted Republican and most Irish Americans voted Democratic. For decades after the Democratic Party moved sharply to the Left at the Federal level, after the 1932 election, many Southern Conservatives retained a strong personal identification with the Democratic Party--as the party of their fathers, not as the party of the New Deal or the later assault on Southern culture.
Patterns of personal identification are also important in the interaction between different groups and in determining social values, which can lead in turn to political alignments. Thus the justly celebrated Negro educator, Booker T. Washington, in his classic address to the great Atlanta Exposition of 1895, cited the loyalty of the Southern Negro to a common Southern heritage as a compelling argument for Caucasian cooperation in his plan for his people's progress through personal responsibility.
That Washington spoke truth as to a common identification with that civilization, which had embraced both races, is easily demonstrated. In 1860, there were a great many Counties in the Gulf States where Negroes constituted an overwhelming majority of the residents. When the able bodied Whites went off to war in 1861, they left the aged, the women and children dependent upon Negro loyalty. In what did not happen then, as in the later demonstrated willingness of many Negroes to serve in the war itself, as in the widely observed phenomenon, remarked by Washington in the same address, of weeping Negroes following the caskets of former masters and mistresses to the grave; we have a mountain of circumstantial but irrefutable evidence of a common sense of shared heritage. This is further confirmed in the Southern cultural forms of ceremony and social discourse, still evident even among educated American Negroes who have long since rejected the old values.
We have noted, elsewhere, how the Left plays with racial and ethnic identity by changing accustomed nomenclature, usually to trivialize race and heritage: Thus the NAACP used the term "Colored" rather than "Negro" in its name, with the implication, at least, that race is just a matter of skin pigment. In the late 1950s, "Black" suddenly became the politically correct term. Finally, about a decade ago, the organized Left, their allies in Academia and in the Media, all seemingly spontaneously adopted the grossly misleading geographic term, "African American." May we conclude that the Left does not want the American Negro to discover or rediscover a true pride in his racial inheritance, a focused sense of whom he is, or an identity which might make him less desirous of being seen either as a "victim" or the perpetual client of a Socialist bureaucracy?
This might explain, also, why the NAACP and other "leaders" on the Left, always rush to the side of the Negro criminal rather than the Negro crime victim, the Negro malefactor rather than the Negro property owner, whenever there is controversy involving a crime ravished neighborhood and the Police. From the standpoint of any traditional value system, they seem ever to put their worst foot forward. Is it an accident? Or does this strange pattern of identification reflect an agenda that is other than a pursuit of the true interests of those they claim to represent?
Thus American Indians, in all their varied tribes and cultures, in their varied history of struggle and warfare, are all clientized today, under the patronizing umbrella as "Native Americans"; a usage perhaps equally insulting to both Indians and those of pre-1776 American stock.
Thus the pretentious "New Frontier," in 1961, attacked the racial and ethnic pride of the varied but generally rugged individualists in the eastern mountains of the United States. Including pockets of culture more akin to regional cultures of the British Isles in the 16th Century than to people who might have lived over the next mountain in the same local range, it lumped all together, from Maine to Georgia, into a new client class for an expanding Government: Victims of something not very well defined, to be known henceforth as "Appalachians"; as though those mountains, more even than their parents or their parents' forebears, had given them their individual character and diverse natures.
A similar use of the term "Hispanic," as a demeaning, clientizing term for all now in America coming from Spanish speaking backgrounds, might be studied. At the very least, this usage involves a question begging assumption in the Nature vs. Nurture debate, that culture molds the human type, rather than the far more likely, that the human type molds culture. The single trait, that most distinguishes Man from Beast, is that Man controls his social environment--his culture (see Chapter 5, below). Lumping the Castilian rancher, Mestizo wetback, the island Mulatto and the various Latin American Indians, who now speak Spanish, into one ethnic group, makes no sense at all; not if the aim is to further understanding between peoples. But if your intention is to convert as many people as possible into clients for the services of Big Government, that is quite another matter.
They won't get the Castilian rancher, who can and will trace his proud heritage back to a pre-Columbian world, but the rest of the contrived conglomerate may more easily be induced to see themselves as part of a Socialist clientele. (And yet, many in that loose mix have elements of heritage which, properly explored, could give them the sort of pride that would cause them to opt out of being "saved" by our current crop of Socialists. Many of them have strong racial pride; strong religious faith; strong family values.) It all depends upon the approach, whose classifications are accepted.
In understanding this "game" one may find the reason why there has been such a studied effort to downplay identification with the racial and ethnic threads of the Founding Fathers; why organizations such as the Daughters of The American Revolution--and to a lesser extent, the Sons of The American Revolution--have been smeared as "racist'; why the Bob Jones University policy against inter-racial dating suddenly became not only controversial, but something that had to be denounced by aspiring candidates for high office, if they did not want to be instantly smeared; why the Founding Fathers' views on race and ethnology have to be treated as products of benighted times--despite the fact that the general writings of those men show that they had a much broader perspective on human history, and the factors that effect the rise and fall of nations or are conducive to or destructive of human liberty, than anyone in public office in America today.
The thrust is two fold: Undermine all patterns of identification that strengthen the forces of tradition, the will to resist the Left; and, where possible, create a sense of guilt among those who have succeeded too well to ever be seen as "victims."
But the manipulation of personal patterns of group identification, for political purposes, is not limited to efforts to take away a racial or ethnic pride in one's blood-lines and ancestry. When the Left first captured the Democratic Party, in the New Deal days, there was a concerted effort to reorganize perceptions of personal identification in terms of economic class and special interest. While much of this was premised upon the rhetoric of "victimization" and resentment, envy, jealousy and guilt; there were also serious foundations for socially destructive, long-term, class conflicts being laid. As the New Deal sought a greater role in the day to day life of Americans, it aggressively recruited new clients.
Thus the National Labor Relations Act (the Wagner Act), by which the Federal Government assumed a far more intrusive role in Labor/Management relations than ever before, made it an "unfair labor practice" for Management and Labor to be too cooperative. Henceforth, Government decreed, Labor and Management, even in the same company, were always to be in adversarial positions. This may not have contributed to economic stability in America, but it sure did help the Democratic "Liberals" lock in more of the "Blue Collar Vote."
One of the many things overlooked, however, was that "Labor" and "Management" are really just different levels of the same thing, the employed. With the rise of Corporations as the major employers, a more realistic conception of the function of the labor market would be to understand the relationship between those who own the entity, and those who work for the entity; between entrepreneurs and shareholders, on the one hand, and employees; the latter including both management and labor, on the other. But the major purpose of the Wagner Act was not to reflect economic or philosophic reality. It was to drive a wedge between those employees who were deemed to represent the interests of the property owners, and those employees who could be treated as a special client class for the "Liberal" Statist politicians framing the Law: Those who could be induced to look to Government, not to protect the fruits of their labor, but to adjust those fruits in the direction of a more egalitarian (i.e. Socialist) society.
The graduated income tax, authorized by the Sixteenth Amendment, has also offered the Left a fertile field for devising more negative--victim implying--patterns of personal identification. Note that Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution specifically forbade any direct tax on the people unless in Proportion to the Census. The Founding Fathers specifically tried to avoid taxation becoming a class issue. But in a Left leaning Twentieth Century frenzy to build bigger Government, and to find ways to fund bigger Government, their wisdom came to be overlooked. The result offered a true parlay of opportunity for the Left. For generations, every debate on taxes has seen a flood of Leftist vituperation, intended solely to make different categories of tax payers abandon past patterns of individual and social identification, to identify with those who have the same selfish interest in shifting more of the tax burden to others.
Perhaps the most socially destructive "game" has been the Left's effort to encourage sexual resentment as a means of disrupting the normal bonds of men and women within the family unit; with the traditional semi-autonomous Western family. In place of people recognizing a common family centered interest; in place of men and women seeing their family as perhaps their single most defining form of personal identification, there has been a studied effort to persuade us that men, women and even children, are distinct interest groups--often with hostile intent and conflicting values. Since the principle sustaining motivation, not only for most Conservatives but for most normal people, is very closely connected with family values, with a sense of family purpose, with passing on a growing cultural and material heritage, generation by generation; the struggle between family identification and the competing assault becomes a struggle between social and psychological order and social anarchy.
No one with both understanding and benign intentions would seek to reduce traditional society to chaos. Yet what do you have when a father identifies, not with his wife and children, but with some sort of generic functional category, because his wife has been induced by Feminists to no longer identify herself primarily as his wife and the mother of their children, but rather as some sort of competing ego system. Nothing could be more inducive to a breakdown in values, in general; nothing more likely to undermine any positive direction in youth, in particular, than the deliberate trashing of the patterns of personal identification that relate to familial roles.
While the Feminist rampage against reason (see Chapter Eight, below) has been the most serious factor in this attack on normal patterns of identification, it has not been the only front in the effort to diminish the importance of family cohesion and continuity in America. The public school system has played a significant part; often demeaning familial values in its own pursuit of a non-academic role in the lives of its young clients, often under the guise of helping with life adjustment. This has been aggravated by an almost forced hostility to traditional religious values, imposed by a series of Court decrees (see Chapter Three, below), and by a fear of offending militant feminists, militant minorities and militant asexuals. The perceived need of School administrators to discourage any sense of exclusivity, to impose a more "Democratic" value system, and to prepare children for living in a more collective world, in part because of a common Socialistic belief system but also to appease those same militants, have all contributed. So has the removal of much of the stigma in unwed motherhood, if in a slightly less direct way.
Most parents are not even aware of the extent of this damage to normal patterns of positive identification. They may protest some small part of the academic agenda that particularly offends them, but few seem to realize that the whole concept that it is proper for a public institution to try to change ancient values, is flawed: The idea of school teachers passing judgment on family values and the rationale of family cohesion is improper. We have allowed those who are supposed to be instilling the "3 Rs" to do what no Government for a free people should ever have been allowed to do.
Some of the techniques used by the Left in undermining positive personal identifications are more subtle. An excellent example, that goes almost unperceived as an attack upon positive group identification, is the sudden emphasis on "Holocaust Studies," supposedly as a form of Jewish group expression. While a few bold souls, such as the strong defenders of American Second Amendment Rights at the JPFO Website, draw a rational conclusion from the chronicles of Socialist murders during World War II, the emphasis generally seems either on keeping American Jews in a state of perpetual fear, in which they are supposed to trust the Far Left for their protection, or on what we might call the Jesse Jackson/Sarah Brady approach: Using the status of a well advertised victimization to silence opposition to outrageous proposals.
But, while many groups on the Left make regular use of the "Jesse Jackson/Sarah Brady approach," the fear mongering emphasis is ultimately the more destructive. Here is a religion, whose leader three millennia ago sang in tribute to a living God (now worshipped also by all of Christendom and Islam):
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
In pursuing an almost fanatical obsession with the intricacies of victimization during World War II--with the body count of a Socialist enemy's success--while virtually ignoring the fact that the Nazis were literally carrying out a Century old Marxist suggestion; the Jewish Left has undermined reliance and trust in an over three thousand year old religious tradition that sustained the people, now being betrayed to a different facet of the same enemy, through every adversity; betraying them for purely Socialist ends. When we see the likes of Jesse Jackson thrusting himself forward as the spokesman for "Holocaust" victims, we realize the full enormity of the gambit. We also begin to perceive how the Left succeeds in getting prominent Jewish "Liberals" to contribute to Fabian Socialist organizations that make a Cause Celibre` out of keeping the Ten Commandments out of American Schools!
The basic truth is this: Those to whom personal identifications are a source of pride, the source of a positive self evaluation and purpose--with a heritage worth preserving in an ongoing progression of the generations--think and vote Conservative. And those who have been made to see themselves as "victims," or as dependent "clients" of an almighty Collective, a bureaucracy making the less adequate, adequate; as those who have been made to feel ashamed or guilty in their personal identifications; think and vote as the Left intends.
Conservatives--whether of the American or any other variety-- should never apologize for heritage; not in a debate, not in conversation, not within the confines of their own thoughts. There are many reasons, including:
1. It is inappropriate for the same reason that flouting the Fifth Commandment is inappropriate. (No one can pick his forebears; but if unable to praise them, it is more fitting to remain silent than to defame them.)
2. Even where the actions of one's forebears were truly flawed, the effects were almost never what the Left has charged. The subjects of such "guilt-seeking" discussions are almost always "red herrings," intended to divert focus from real problems of the present time.
3. No one can ever fully grasp the context of any action or issue from a time in which he has not lived. While historic debate may be both entertaining and instructive, it is the height of presumption for one to feel a need to pass moral judgments on what one may not really understand. This is truly a case of "judge not, that ye be not judged."
4. It is a well known intellectual trap. It was by getting students from wealthy families to feel that they needed to apologize for some aspects of the economic and social history of their families that the Fabian faculty, at various prestige American Universities and Colleges, first succeeded in instilling the guilt complexes that gave us so many of those since known as "Limousine Liberals" and "Parlor Pinks." It is the "Liberal's" key to undermining the patterns of personal identification--to undermining the morale--among those they cannot reach in any other way.
One further note: Conservatism is a defense of what is deemed valid from the past experiences of a people. It is a matter of principle, not cant; personal conviction, not compulsion. No one should feel constrained to defend everything that WAS simply because it was. Indeed, to feel constrained to defend what one feels to have been wrong, is as inappropriate as to feel constrained to apologize for the past--and for many of the same reasons. If nothing else, it will undermine one's enthusiasm for the defense of what really matters. But nothing in that realization is any reason at all not to honor whom you are or whence you sprang.
How trashing traditional patterns of positive identification contributes to senseless violence in America's Schools.
Suicidal Rage vs. "Something of Value"
Days Of Shame
Politics 2001--Lessons 2000
Civil War, Reconstruction & Creating Hate In America Today
Cult Of "The Holocaust"--Golden Calf Of The 20th Century