February 28, 2010

Samuel Eliot Morison

Here's the opening of my new VDARE.com column:
As I've been rereading Professor Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison's three-volume Oxford History of the American People from 1964, I've been thinking about the old Protestant Establishment.

Morison (1887-1976) was himself a leading member of the Protestant Establishment (liberal Boston Brahmin wing). His extraordinary career as a Pulitzer Prize-winning Harvard historian (for his biography Columbus, Admiral of the Ocean Sea, for which he had organized a research expedition by sailing ship from Spain to the New World) turned middle-aged fighting naval officer exemplifies how an old-fashioned Establishment that self-confidently viewed itself as holding its country in trust for its posterity felt it ought to behave.

Of course, you aren’t supposed to think like that anymore. Hence, the top people now treat America like a short-term transaction rather than a long-term investment.

I was reminded of Morison when I read neoconservative David Brooks’s thoughtful February 18th New York Times column, The Power Elite, about the historic shift in clout from what he calls the “inbred” Protestant Establishment to what he somewhat euphemistically designates as the new “meritocratic” elite:
“Sixty years ago, the upper echelons were dominated by what E. Digby Baltzell called The Protestant Establishment and C. Wright Mills called The Power Elite. … Since then, we have opened up opportunities for women, African-Americans, Jews, Italians, Poles, Hispanics and members of many other groups.”
More here.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

74 comments:

Average Joe said...

To Morison, American liberalism was invented by his ancestors, the descendants of the Puritans. As he made clear in his Oxford History, rudimentary versions of most American progressive movements, including civil rights for blacks, feminism, and the rudiments of the ideology of environmentalism (Thoreau's Walden), were up and running in the greater Boston area by the 1840s.

So it was the WASPs who came up with many of the dumb ideas that are destroying this country.

Anonymous said...

The Good Shepard is actually based on James Jesus Angleton. He's half Mexican.

mnuez said...

Interesting article.

Tangentially, is there any easy way to find information on the heirs of "old money"? I mean, what percentage of Americans were born into money and who are they? I imagine that a percentage or two of the country were born into enough money - sometimes money that was in their family for generations - that they could easily live off of the interest of that money and thus were able to choose careers or pursuits out of interest rather than necessity, like the Eliots. Are there any public statistics on these folks or articles written about them as a class? Their story is less sexy than someone who comes out of nowhere to be a mega-billionaire, but in terms of the wholly different sort of life they lead than the rest of us and the multigenerational power they hold, at least as worthy of being told.

robert61 said...

It is fascinating how liberalism has evolved from a vision of how to husband the metaphysical well-being of a people to a narrative about the irredeemable perfidy of the same people. Is the intellectual and cultural preeminence of Jews part of the reason?

The people whose well-being I'm talking about are the intellectual heirs of the Roundheads - probably the preeminent intellectual strand in American life, notwithstanding the well motivated claims of other important groups, such as the Quakers and Cavaliers. Because American Jews are well assimilated, they belong to this group, too. Yet unlike WASPS, Jews have a parallel family tradition as part of the diaspora, alienated in some respect from the hegemonic population.

Pinning the tale of perfidy on the WASP donkey helps advance the interests of intelligent non-WASP sub-populations (I mentioned Jews at the outset because they represent such a well established, high-impact tranche of the contemporary establishment and its commentariat; however, these benefits accrue to other non-WASPs, too).

Essentially, we're attributing original sin to the WASPS. Having abandoned Christianity, our liberals hang on to original sin, now as a self-accusation rather than a spur to humility. It flatters them to think they're so bad, and that they might yet be able to redeem themselves. Non-WASPs feel the sting of sin, too, but can use the allegedly deeper guilt of the WASPS to advance their interests.

acilius said...

You've buried the lede. Surely you should have opened with "a country doesn’t particularly need ethnic diversity to have ideological diversity. Indeed, ethnic diversity often short-circuits disinterested intellectual diversity." That seem to be, not only the kernel of this column, but the archetypal iSteve thought.

Big bill said...

Certainly multicturalism. King Philip's War, was a war of extermination of the English, who had driven Massasoit's son Philip crazy because of the English assimilation of the Indians in New England, particularly their adoption of English dress, religion and settlement in English-style villages.

It was the first major war in New England and resulted in the destruction or abandonment of half the settlements. It was the last serious attempt by pagans/wiccans to genocide Christians in New England.

It was also a shock for many Christians. Particularly since they set up Harvard just a few years before to educate "Indians and English" (in that order) in one of the first Affirmative Action programs in American History.

Mercer said...

What I found interesting in your account of Morison is that he twice left the academy to enter a war. Contrast that with todays war hawks like Kristol, Cheney, Goldberg and the Kagans who never serve in the military.

ExtraMedium said...

Steve, I'm glad you wrote this. Because I have an on-topic HBD/Race Realism question. If you support a meritocracy, then you'll get diversity, but according to Race Realism diversity is over-rated. So if you reduce diversity, you get less meritocracy. But according to HBD that's bad because the best people make the best decisions (so lots of Jews, Asians, women, Non-European Caucasians, and Obama/Holder types will tell Euro descended people what to do)...So what's the optimal level of meritocracy vs. diversity from a white's POV (btw, I'm black)?

Anonymous said...

Steve, get with the program. The meme among many of your readers is that these liberal ideas were introduced by a certain tribe that came to our nation's shores through Ellis Island

You will shock them by showing that the ideas were invented by their beloved anglo / wasp / nordics

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the build your own family dynasty theory in some christian circles. Obviously world domination via high fertility isn't a new idea, but some are coming back to this idea:


The Blessed Family by Matt Bullen who is descended from Puritans and has his own five kids

http://www.amazon.com/Blessed-Family-Matthew-Bullen/dp/0595371213


The 200 Year Plan: A Practicum on Multi-Generational Faithfulness (12 CDs)

http://www.visionforum.com/booksandmedia/productdetail.aspx?productid=43872&categoryid=192


Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham

http://www.voddiebaucham.org/vbm/home.html


and of course the Quiverfull folks

http://www.quiverfull.com/

stari_momak said...

Except the big one, open borders. As Steve points out, Morse was against 'em, and I believe some of the major juice behind the first restriction movement came from Cabot-Lodge.

Kylie said...

Steve said: "In other words, American liberalism was invented by the oldest and most socially respectable hereditary elite in the country's least ethnically diverse region, and imposed from the top down."

Which is why there is no one I distrust more than someone who is well-connected and high-minded. Such persons are too often too willing to share not only their own wealth and privilege but that of others. And just as often they look upon the underclasses and conflate the latter's being desirous of wealth with being deserving of it.

Average Joe said: "So it was the WASPs who came up with many of the dumb ideas that are destroying this country."

Yes, it's all been downhill for the last two hundred years (since the change from an agrarian to an industrial culture) though some purists trace the beginning of the end back to the Enlightenment. The greater leisure time afforded to so many by mechanization resulted in a much greater quantity of thought without any accompanying increase of quality. In short, with machines to do the work, men--and women--have had far more time in which to think up really bad ideas.

Jim Bowery said...

The thing that is "amusing" to watch is the mechanisms set up by the corrupt protestant elites being turned, not only against them by Jews, but now against Jews by blacks, Muslims and Hindus. Each new "elite" is selected from among the world's great diversity of potential parasites, exploiting these same structural weaknesses by using them to defect in a prisoner's dilemma against the old elite.

Bottom line, "diversity" is a corruption of the Enlightenment value of experimentation. It is one thing for a thoughtful elite to make room for voluntary formation of controlled human ecologies to test theories in the humanities -- it is quite another for a corrupt elite to have its property rights protected by a government funded by economic activity to proclaim that "diversity" consists of little more than a 10 year old being turned loose in a chemistry lab.

OhioStater said...

Well it seems the issue here is assimilation. Yes, Rockefeller is considered WASP, but is ethnically German. If you train your focus to the English descendants of the Puritans, you will find a sober and prudent people, but this is an ironic example to follow. Why work hard to mix with frugal people?

These "Mayflower" WASPs don't live in the biggest house in town, nor do they drive the fastest cars. This is odd, but these people don't have anything to prove or anyone to impress. These people drive Volvos, are insular and accordingly organize social groups and "clubs" suited to the narrow interests of a few.

The newcomers are blackballed, and their response is to build the biggest house in town, and live ornately to establish a parallel social elite. This is the experience of the Dutch Vanderbilts, who unable to enter Manhattan society, built palatial houses in an effort to overshadow the establishment.

Try this. The next time you hear the biggest house in town is for sale, look who built it: was it a funny sounding name like Schweppes, or an name like Putnam? Most of the time it's the former.

If you are Jewish or Irish, you honestly want to join the English establishment, but you lack the restraint and reserve of the old guard. There are a million Jews, but I alone am worthy of their consideration. Yet if I stand out I'm vulgar, and if I don't stand out I'm part of the filthy multitude.

As this process continues over several centuries, newcomers don't see the nuances at the top and choose the wide road not the narrow road. I can establish myself over 3 generations, or build a country, but that is hard, or I can do it quick.

Maybe its an issue of morality, and one team is humble and the other team pursues vanity and greed. Yet rather than assimilation we have ruinous multiculturalism. The wind blows hard, and the lighthouse beacon is dark, yet our ship has no captain.

Mr. Anon said...

Damned yankees. That messianic streak in our national character, which they bequeathed to us, will be our undoing. Perhaps it requires a the lack of belief in the possibility for progress for a people to survive.

Anonymous said...

From "the most important figure in its history" link to Charles William Eliot:

...The son of a prominent Bostonian businessman, Charles Eliot entered Harvard in 1849. After graduating second in his class, Eliot became a tutor and was then promoted to assistant professor of mathematics and chemistry. When Harvard did not renew Eliot's appointment in 1863, he traveled to Europe to study. He returned home to accept a professorship at the new Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1869 Eliot published a two-part essay in the Atlantic Monthly entitled "The New Education," which solidified his position as an educational reformer and helped him secure a nomination for the presidency of Harvard...

In other words - in modern terms - he failed to get tenure as a professor of mathematics or chemistry.

As we say nowadays: Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.

Or, as in this case, they go into administration.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

[That's a little frog lingo for all y'all HBDers & paleocons at iSteve.]

BTW, it looks like Charles William Eliot despised Charles Sanders Peirce:

One of his Harvard instructors, Charles William Eliot, formed an unfavorable opinion of Peirce. This opinion proved fateful, because Eliot, while President of Harvard 1869–1909 - a period encompassing nearly all of Peirce's working life - repeatedly vetoed having Harvard employ Peirce in any capacity.

That's sufficient evidence for me to vote that we disinter Eliot's bones, hang them on a chain, cast them in a pit, and mount his severed head on a pole.

My layman's guess would be that Eliot was denied tenure in 1863 by Peirce père, and that he spent the remainder of his life exacting revenge on Peirce fils, with that venomous, hate-driven, smoldering nihilistic rage that we all know only too well in the modern academy.

[I am DOCTOR Amy Bishop!!!]

Anonymous said...

Okay, this is weird: I just googled, and it looks like Charles William Eliot was a pall-bearer at Benjamin Peirce's funeral.

That musta been a helluvan awkward ceremony.

Or else maybe there was some other really weird family dynamic going on - maybe something related to Charles Sanders Peirce's conversion to trinitarianism and the subsequent ostracism from his family?

I gotta look into this.

TGGP said...

You had a blog post here before on Brooks' column that disappeared. What was the deal with that?

n/a of race/history/evolution notes is one of the few defenders of the old WASP elite. He's dislikable in many ways but has a lot of information on his blog.

Steiner said...

Calling any group "inbred" is a blood libel. I can think of one or two of those that have been directed at Brooks' tribe, and I can imagine the reaction if a mainstream columnist published one in 2010.

The pathetic thing is that Brooks means well, and his column is actually sympathetic to America's historic establishment. It's just that the insult, which has been levelled before, is so reflexive, so automatic, and so confident of the lack of any response. Has any group of people ever achieved so much and yet had so few defenders as the WASPs of the U.S.A?

Dutch Boy said...

The WASP elite validate James Burnham's thesis that liberalism is the ideology of suicide.

teacher.paris said...

The Sun online on January 14th, reported that the British government has published guidelines for the media calling for certain words to be dropped and the suppression of stories about non-white crime. Words to be suppressed: “immigrant,” “illegal immigrant,” “illegal asylum seeker,” “bogus asylum seeker,” “non-white,” “non-Christian,” “mixed race,” “half-caste,” “mulatto.”

Further, people must not be identified by race or religion.

Anonymous said...

The country Morison knew is gone forever. Destroyed, but not from any external conquest.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

So it was the WASPs who came up with many of the dumb ideas that are destroying this country.

Well, there's a lot of ruin in this or any other nation. Northeastern Yankee WASPs take some credit; and Southern WASPs, who brought millions of African slaves into this country, take some more. But the project really got underway with the rise of various populations with a grudge against the British, like the Irish (think Ted Kennedy) and the Jews (think Emanuel Celler). The Irish appear to have mostly gotten over the grudge - at least outside of the "progressive" Northeast.

One has to pay attention to realize that the longstanding assault on the WASP elite - when was the last time a WASP blueblood played the good guy?; when was the last time a Jew played the bad guy? - is really no more than subtle bigotry at pretty much every Northern European population, poor or rich, that settled this country prior to the arrival of you-know-who. Saving Private Ryan is one good example, where the movie's chief coward is an Ivy League student named Upham, where Field Marshal Montgomery is derided, and where the Italian and Jewish characters fight bravely. The Southerner Jackson fights bravely, too, but he's also an idiot who's barely literate.

The actual WASP elite are often quite complicit in the expansion of the welfare state, affirmative action quotas, and open borders - think of the Bush's, or of the Mormon WASPs who run Utah, one of the most illegal immigrant friendly states in the country.

What's ironic is the way that Hollywood depicts differently the same behavior in the different groups. If Jews and Asians obsess about getting their kids into the best schools - or are controlling in any way - it's about competitiveness, love of learning, and wanting what's best for the kids. If WASPs do it, it's about arrogance or racism. Needless to say, Hollywood has been on a crusade to bring down WASPs of all classes for for a very long time.

These attitudes have sunk deeply into our culture. They play on natural class resentments to selectively attack only certain groups - rich WASPs, but not rich Jews. It's so deeply ingrained that I wasn't at all surprised at reading this sentence in Harpending's The 10,000 Year Explosion, a book that subtly attacks political correctness at most every point:

As it happens, the Ashkenazi Jews were genetically isolated during the Middle Ages: not because of the Pacific Ocean, as happened with Pingelp, but owing to social reasons - internal rules against intermarrage combined with external prejudce. - pg 219

Got that? When Jews refuse to marry non-Jews, it's because of the "rules." When non-Jews refuse to marry Jews, it's because of prejudice. Either Harpending didn't have the balls to admit that it was prejudice on both sides, or else he was so immersed in the PC-doctrine that even he didn't question the assumption.

Oh and by the way, Eric Roth, the presumably Jewish writer of The Good Shepherd, got his financial clock cleaned by one Bernie Madoff. Perhaps a Jew will be the villain in his next screenplay.

Chief Seattle said...

Thank you Steve for calling out David Brooks on the real change in elites over the last 50 years. I read it as a propaganda piece - hey, my tribe may have screwed up big time, your jobs may be in China and India, and your house may be worth less than your mortgage and your retirement may have disappeared - but at least you don't have to live under the iron fist of the bad old protestant establishment.

Capt. Obvious said...

"So it was the WASPs who came up with many of the dumb ideas that are destroying this country."


Yeah, but it is the Jewish elites who are currently implemeting these dumb ideas nationwide.

Anonymous said...

OT but the Steve-o-Sphere is gonna love this:

"College credit for 9th-grade ethnic studies"
"San Francisco high school students, just months out of middle school, can start earning SF State college credit this fall through a ninth-grade ethnic studies course."
(SF Chronicle)

The whole article is packed with delightful sound-bites from Topsy-Turvy Land. My favorite is

"We're not really looking for the 4.4 (grade point average) students," [the dean of the SFSU School of Education] said. "We're looking for the 2.1 or 2.2 students." ... "Kids will come out of there with the kind of information that a freshman here taking an ethnic studies course will have."

What I want to know is, if "the [ninth grade] courses ... are reviewed by CSU faculty to ensure that they're equal to any offered at the university," then who needs the $295M/year university?

-San Fran Man

Whiskey said...

But lets be clear. There is a huge distinction between say, Jacksonian guys who might be White, and Protestant, but often of Celtic extraction, and Boston Brahmins.

For example, Jackson forthrightly expelled the Cherokee. Why? Because they were about half terrorists, killing White settlers who were HIS bunch. No worrying about morality there (about half the Cherokee were NOT terrorists, but how to tell them apart?)

Liberalism is a function of wealth. You'll notice none of these guys when their families were struggling to make embraced that stuff. It was only when the money was in and secure that they embraced this liberalism.

The Jacksonian Whites, mostly (but not all) Scotch-Irish, being lower class and more of the Palin group, have always had to struggle, and that informs their views.

America belongs to this group, of which I am one, just as much if NOT MORE than the Boston WASP establishment. For example, on my father's side I have ancestors who fought in the Mexican-American, and Civil War (Union side). On my mother's, WWII and Korea and Vietnam.

Anonymous said...

Back on-topic, thank you Steve for bringing up this remarkable character. The Eliot family is an impressive source of talent spanning centuries.

Re the irony of Brahmins inventing liberalism, I actually don't find it that ironic. For centuries, every idea in this country -- bad, good, or in between -- came from a WASP. There was no significant non-WASP intelligentsia until the 20C.

Who else could have "rudimentary versions of most American progressive movements ... up and running ... by the 1840s"? Italians? Jews? There weren't any. Even the Irish Catholics were not present in vast numbers until a few years later, and they were no intellectuals.

Sure, it saddens me that our ancestors sowed the seeds of our current misery, but they sowed the seeds of everything. If anything, the blame falls on us for not doing a better job of weeding the garden.

-San Fran Man

Anonymous said...

I wonder, as "Mad Men" seeps into the public consciousness, whether we may see some sort of re-evaluation of old-line WASPs.

Watching the show, millions of SWPLs may find themselves entertaining forbidden thoughts: Sure, they're racist and sexist Neanderthals, but damn if they aren't having a great time. And it's so good to see somebody in charge. And DAMN they look sharp.

-San Fran Man

Anonymous said...

In other words, American liberalism was invented by the oldest and most socially respectable hereditary elite in the country's least ethnically diverse region, and imposed from the top down.
--

Great. Thanks.

Tanstaafl said...

From Edmund Connelly's Reel Bad WASPs:

David Gelernter pointed out in a wonderful essay that "the old elite used to get on fairly well with the country it was set over. Members of the old social upper-crust elite were richer and better educated than the public at large, but approached life on basically the same terms." The new, heavily Jewish elite is not only different from the non-Jewish masses, in Gelernter words, "it loathes the nation it rules."

Anonymous said...

"Yet would we say that banks are performing more ably than they were a half-century ago?”

Umm, yes. We would say that.

"Now people respond to ever-faster performance criteria—daily stock prices or tracking polls.”

That was the complaint back in the day, as well. Most of the folks doing the complaining were socialists. They promised long term thinking. We know how that worked out.

Anonymous said...

I had assumed this for quite sometime. WASPs were definitely the progenitors of modern "progressive" values in America. They've had a history of looking down on other whites ( Irish/Polish Catholics, Southern/Eastern Europeans, Scots-Irish southern evangelicals...etc) in order to maintain their status in the hierarchy as the most enlightened and pseudo- aristocratic group. They use most minorities as leverage in these status games. They don't want to be associated with "regular america" for the most part so they hold reactionary viewpoints against the mainstream to the point that it's comical and contradictory. All just status games whether they realize it or not...

ATBOTL said...

"So it was the WASPs who came up with many of the dumb ideas that are destroying this country."

Not exactly. The WASP progressives never hated their own people or sought to disposses them. Even most abolitionists accepted racial difference and believed whites, especially "Anglo-Saxons," to be a superior race. The WASP establishment actually became more racialist and pro-white after the Civil War. That's when interest in race and eugenics was at it's peak. Things stayed that way until the 1930's. During that period, the only force in the WASP establishment that acted against their own people's interests were capitalists seeking cheap labor through immigration and migration of blacks to Northern cities.

Modern anti-white pseudo-liberalism was developed by German Jewish intellectuals like Felix Adler Horace Kallen in America and of course Marx and Freud in Europe. The former originated the idea that America should be a "pluralist," later changed to "multiculturalist," society with no dominate people or culture. The later saw Western society as inherently wicked and needing to be destroyed. Take those two ideas, and you get modern "liberalism." Belief that slavery is wrong and that society should help the weak does not automatically lead to the idea that white people are the root of all evil and cannot be allowed to have their own nations. Those ideas have a very specific genesis and it's not Thoreau.

BTW, the "Scots Irish" element in the South is vastly overblown. People in the South are overwhelmingly English. The so called "Scots-Irish" were largely ethnically English too. They should be called the "English Scots." The recent push to emphasize "Scots-Irish" identity is an attempt to claim victim group status and disassociate from the deposed former elite.

Also, the concept of "Evangelicals" as a quasi-ethnic group is a recent one. Evangelical sects spread from the Puritan's descendants to the south during the mid 19th Century through a well organized Yankee missionary campaign. Until that time, the South was the less religious part of the country.

Anonymous said...

The VDare piece is very interesting, and you're right to emphasize that the group called WASPs is much more varied than that term implies. David Hackett Fischer's "Albion's Seed" gives a fine introduction to the varied British folkways among those who formed WASP culture, and it's more than just North vs. South. Religion is also important, as the differences between New England Puritans, Mid-Atlantic Quakers, Chesapeake Anglicans, and Backcountry Presbyterians shows. James Kurth wrote an interesting essay on "The Protestant Deformation and American Foreign Policy" showing where the Puritan heritage leads when divorced from scriptural Christianity which provides a break to an otherwise anti-hierarchial outlook.

Anonymous said...

Steve, did you catch this recent article in the Business Insider: "Are PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain) In Trouble Because They Don't Have A Lot Of Jews?"

Anonymous said...

David Goldman aka "Spengler" on Ron Paul and the recent CPAC straw poll:

"Attendees at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference chose Ron Paul (R.-Texas) as their favorite candidate in the CPAC straw poll. That’s not a vote: it’s a tantrum. Ron Paul is an idiot, on a good day."

TCO said...

A lot of what Brooks is talking about was mentioned in The Bell Curve in terms of the segregation of the cognitive elite. In-group marriage and also an increase in sheerly white collar jobs (like law and finance) rather than manufacturing leadership.

James Kabala said...

Whiskey, I think you're confusing Jackson's 1830s expulsion of the Cherokee with his 1810s war against the Creek. By the 1830s the Cherokees were Christian farmers with a newspaper. Your general point stands, however.

OhioStater said...

He practically wrote the same article 7 years ago.

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/13/opinion/13BROO.html?pagewanted=1

Recycling material: is that all you have to do to be a top columnist?

Anonymous said...

But according to HBD that's bad because the best people make the best decisions (so lots of Jews, Asians, women, Non-European Caucasians, and Obama/Holder types will tell Euro descended people what to do)

Which leads us to the enduring mystery....Just how did those hopeless Euros manage to organise themselves without all these super duper elite types from outside to help them? And furthermore build countries that these elites prefer to live in rather than their own places of origin.

Anonymous said...

4 pundits blog now leads to a truck ad

Dahlia said...

Steve,
I loved your piece, especially the emphasis on the variation amongst WASPs.

I'll go further than Morison, liberalism was invented by some of the Puritans themselves. Roger Williams (1603-1683), the founder or co-founder of the Baptist sect was an extremely "sentimental" or liberal man. He began life in the Church of England, became a Puritan, then Baptist, and then left his own creation declaring, "God is too large to be housed under one roof." Roger Williams is also famous for his views on Indians believing amongst many things that his fellow Englishmen should live amongst and trade with them.

A particular drum I always beat is to persuade people to study their ancestry. Among its benefits is that knowing from whom one comes makes history come alive by piqueing curiosity and forcing one to learn about their lives and draw lessons. Another lesson, especially if one goes back to at least 300-400 years, is one will be much more informed and less susceptible to erroneous "folk history lessons" often beginning with lines like, "Well back in the glory days of yore it was common for x to be the case..."

When doing mine and my husband's genealogy, and we both have Puritan ancestry, I was very fascinated by the question of, "Why did their descendants, at least all the ones in our lines, change in the ways that they did?". Further, why did our ancestors ultimately leave Protestantism, a pertinent question as it has been in decline in the nation as a whole.

All the stories are interesting and varied, but ultimately they became stories about the bad effects of liberalism: breaking the Catholic taboo and experimenting with first-cousin marriage for two centuries (degeneracy), opening up immigration to other peoples and then other faiths, declining Christian faith and embrace of hedonism/materialism (spiritually impoverished and often broken families with fewer, but desperate, children).

Soon, it is expected that Protestants will become a minority in America. In 2008, they were only 52% of the populace according to the US Religious Landscape Survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Anonymous said...

"...the "Scots Irish" element in the South is vastly overblown. People in the South are overwhelmingly English. The so called "Scots-Irish" were largely ethnically English too. They should be called the "English Scots." The recent push to emphasize "Scots-Irish" identity is an attempt to claim victim group status and disassociate from the deposed former elite.

It's really standing American history on its head to say the Jacksonians -- wherever they may have originated -- were part of the elite.

The Bear said...

In other words, American liberalism was invented by the oldest and most socially respectable hereditary elite in the country's least ethnically diverse region, and imposed from the top down.

Excellent summation.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

An even better question.

Yumbly said...

Chou En-lai was being facetious about the French Revolution. Indeed, the answer was obvious from day one and is the same today. It was both good and bad. The legacy of the French Revolution will never be totally bad nor totally good.

Same goes for the Anglo-American dominance in the 19th century and the rise of liberalism. There was much that was pro-reform, conscientious, and good. On the other hand, social brahmins dealt more with high-minded ideas and were divorced from REAL reality.

It all depends on what we do with this heritage. We can use the legacy of people like Eliot intelligently or stupidly.
Look at Christianity. It was blamed for the fall of the Roman Empire. It was credited with the rise of New Europe. So, was it good or bad? It was both and will always be both. Ideas are what they are. It depends on how we and our successors use them in creative ways according to new challenges.

John Seiler said...

You can trace the decline of the WASP elite from George H.W. Bush, who after Pearl Harbor became a Naval aviator at age 18 and was shot down in the war Morison so eloquently described, to George W. Bush, who avoided serving in Nam by joining the Texas Air National Guard, protecting Galveston from a V.C. invasion.

Anonymous said...

Interesting tidbit: the (presumably Jewish) screenwriter of "The Good Shepherd," Eric Roth, lost virtually every penny to that evil WASP investor, Benrie Madoff.

So many Hollywood types got burned by that man that one has to think a movie is inevitable. Well, maybe not...

Conrad Jarretts said...

So many Hollywood types got burned by that man that one has to think a movie is inevitable. Well, maybe not...

Maybe not a movie, but the FX TV serious "Damages" this season is about a Wall Street kingpin who swindled billions from a vast network of elites.

greenrivervalleyman said...

This topic reminds me of the HBO miniseries John Adams (what, no movie review on Taki's yet, Steve?) It is pretty excellent by any standard but especially so by today's abysmally low politically-correct ones. No paralyzing contrition over the fate of the Indians, no Ken Burns-style shoe-horning of the black experience into every goddamn inch of celluloid (John and Abigail comment over the bitter irony of slaves building the capitol of a "nation conceived in liberty", yet that is only 10 minutes out of a 600+ minute show).

Anyway, when you talk about WASP elites they don't get any more blue-blooded than the Adamses (the Bushes have also produced a 1-2/father-son Presidential combo, of course, but compared to W. even the somewhat nepotistically-enhanced John Quincy looks like Churchill). Yet it does not seem that this family had much of a legacy after the Civil War and in the series you see how quickly the vigor of the father dissipates in the sons. While John Quincy proves a worthy scion of a distinguished father, Charles turns out to be an irresponsible spendthrift who drinks himself to death in a New York City flophouse.

What really struck me, however, was the iron refusal of our Founding Fathers to exploit their positions to advance the interests of their family and friends. Adams refuses to rescue his worthless son or use his position as President to snag a plum assignment for his son-in-law. And of course Washington and Jefferson die with so much debt over their heads that their estates are on the auction block even before their bodies assume room temperature. How different, how much more noble, than our current elites, who pad their purses by hawking (ghost-written) memoirs on Oprah or accept the King Faisal Award for Dhimmi Excellence from the oil sheikhs, etc.

Anonymous said...

Are PIIGS In Trouble Because They Don't Have A Lot Of Jews?
John Carney
Feb. 9, 2010, 2:57 PM
businessinsider.com

...But the most provocative explantion has been offered, half seriously, by Ira Stoll - who says the problem might be that the PIGS lack Jews...

Damned if they don't, damned if they do:

Goldman Sachs Shorted Greek Debt After It Arranged Those Shady Swaps
John Carney
Feb. 15, 2010, 9:40 AM
businessinsider.com

Anonymous said...

Well I spent a [discouragingly] large amount of time yesterday researching Charles William Eliot.

It looks like he was a real piece of work, who may have done more to destroy the American university system than any other man in the 19th Century.

BTW, another 19th-Century pie-in-the-sky unicorns-and-rainbows utopian fool was Johns Hopkins - apparently his contemporaries got so sick of his do-gooder-isms that they were ready to lynch the guy.

Anonymous said...

BTW, another 19th-Century pie-in-the-sky unicorns-and-rainbows utopian fool was Johns Hopkins - apparently his contemporaries got so sick of his do-gooder-isms that they were ready to lynch the guy.

I'm sure having the "s" attached to his first name didn't win him any friends either. He was probably the kind of guy who always insisted on being properly called "Johns", fastidiously correcting everybody who would understandably make the mistake of thinking his first name was "John" and calling him "John." Everybody probably thought he was an annoying dick.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

Are PIIGS In Trouble Because They Don't Have A Lot Of Jews?

I'm half offended by that Ira Stoll post, half jumping for joy. Offended because he suggests that European countries would suck without Jews. Tell that to Germany and Norway. I'm juping for joy because it opens for discussion the, uh, "possibility" that not all ethnic & racial groups are equal. Or is it only Jews who are allowed to be superior?

Maybe not a movie, but the FX TV serious "Damages" this season is about a Wall Street kingpin who swindled billions from a vast network of elites.

Thanks! Tivoed. Now, is it any good?

Anonymous said...

"Damned yankees. That messianic streak in our national character, which they bequeathed to us, will be our undoing."

Yeah, but it's the South that has always most enthusiastically embraced the messianic wars that the "damned yankees" (and others) dream up. Without the South, most of the wounds of liberalism would be self-inflicted, but thanks to Southern enthusiasm for war (any war), the damage is global.

Seriously, there is no war that the USA could fight that is so stupid and so unnecessary that you won't still find a large majority of Southerners supporting it, on general principle. Questioning a war isn't just unpatriotic, it's unmanly and unchristian and unamerican and unbaseball and unapplepie, and you will go to hell, etc....great bunch of fighters, Southerners; wish they would think more too.

The problem is a combination of Northern messianic liberal interventionism and Southern messianic conservative militarism. If we were just the one or just the other there would be less of a problem; the problem is that we are both. This results in the ludicrous situation with conservative Southerners supporting an endless series of wars to impose Northern liberalism on the rest of the world.

Anonymous said...

"BTW, the "Scots Irish" element in the South is vastly overblown. People in the South are overwhelmingly English. The so called "Scots-Irish" were largely ethnically English too. They should be called the "English Scots." The recent push to emphasize "Scots-Irish" identity is an attempt to claim victim group status and disassociate from the deposed former elite."
Have you checked out the last names of people in the inland South? An awful lot of non Anglo-Saxon ones, mostly either Scottish/Irish or German sounding...And I'd wager the majority of the English element was lower class anyways so it's not like they can claim some "elite" status like the Yankee wasps. For instance there are a fair amount of Welsh too....many Jones, Davies, Jenkins, Lloyds, Watkins, etc...Although I will say the southern coastal and lowland areas were settled primarily by people of English descent. There is also a significant French element in the South; the obvious one is along the Gulf coast and the not-so-obvious one is the Huguenots who first settled mainly in South Carolina then dispersed elsewhere and assimilated. And there were also Irish Catholics who settled on the gulf coast and southern Atlantic (especially New Orleans Mobile, and Savannah) that most people forget about too.

Anonymous said...

"The problem is a combination of Northern messianic liberal interventionism and Southern messianic conservative militarism. If we were just the one or just the other there would be less of a problem; the problem is that we are both."

So, in other words, the problem is the Union. And you blame the South for that?

Anonymous said...

Here we are busy blaming WASPs, Jews, Catholics, Scotch-Irish, blacks, whites, Hispanics, Jews, Arabs, Armenians, Jews, northerners, and southerners.

While this goes on, the merry marching moron society cynically manipulates democracy for its own ends. Or perhaps not. All they need to do is breed like rabbits, milk as much sympathy as possible from the elites, while at the same time (b)eat their own young to prove they are so tough and brave.

Maybe race is relevant here. In the good old days, it was white marching morons with their hard hats, flags, crosses, and GI bill entitlements. Now, the black and brown marching morons have outbred them, waving welfare checks from mosque minarets.

Average Joe said...

"Are PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain) In Trouble Because They Don't Have A Lot Of Jews?"

The mainstream media (MSM) also says that we need more Hispanic immigrants if we want to keep the U.S. economy growing. The MSM will print any garbage as long as it is pro-diversity.

Anonymous said...

Having abandoned Christianity, our liberals hang on to original sin, now as a self-accusation rather than a spur to humility.

Have they really abandoned Christianity? Or have they just abandoned the good parts and kept the bad?

There was a time when liberals prattled endlessly about the wisdom of the East (Asia). Perhaps it's timme they took their own advice and honestly tried to emulate a society that values intelligence and productivity without a trace of "original sin".

Anonymous said...

Mnuez, you might try Nelson Aldrich's book "Old Money: The Mythology of Wealth in America." Another interesting, if anecdotal, source is a publication called "The Social Register Observer." Issue 1 appeared in Summer 1994. It continued for a while as a freestanding publication of the Social Register Association but has for some time been bound together with the regular summer and winter books. And of course there are the classic works of Digby Baltzell.

Anonymous of 3/2/2010, the supposed militarism and hyperpatriotism of Southerners is, if anything, a very recent phenomenon. The South was not the center of agitation for the U.S. to get into World War I; that lay in the Anglophile Northeast. See Richard Gamble's "The War for Righteousness: Progressive Christianity, the Great War, and the Rise of the Messianic Nation."

After Pearl Harbor, support for war against the Japanese was widespread, but prior to that attack, enthusiasm for getting involved was, again, largely found in the Northeast. The South and Midwest were isolationist. Carroll Quigley's "The Anglo-American Establishment" gives good details on the close coordination before, during, and after WWII, between Chatham House (the Royal Institute for International Affairs) and that archetypal Northeastern internationalist purlieu, the Council on Foreign Relations.

If the South is seen as more full of patriotic bluster, that, too, is fairly recent. In many parts of the South, the Fourth of July wasn't even celebrated until after World War II. Fireworks were shot not on the Fourth but on Christmas. There was little enthusiasm about the Union or its flag for many decades after Appomattox.

I suspect that if any series of events marks a change, it was that in the '60s, in the wake of the Vietnam war, the urban Northeast and the West Coast ceased to be as militaristic and unashamedly patriotic as they once had been; while the South, seeing the alliance between the anti-war left and the black left, wrapped itself in the Stars & Stripes by way of reaction.

Of course, now the enemy was different. World War I was to "make the world safe for democracy." In World War II, the Soviet Union was an ally and Stalin was "good old Uncle Joe." These were causes the left could support, in the latter case at least after the rupture of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. In contrast, Vietnam was against a communist enemy; the American left, consequently, opposed it; and white Southerners, seeing the black left in alliance with domestic communists and leftists (an alliance going back to the 1930s) embraced the Vietnam war with the same quasi-religious fervor that the congregants of Riverside Church in Manhattan had embraced American entry into World War I.

Finally, on the nominal subject of these comments, I have always enjoyed George Starbuck's verse (from his "Desperate Measures"):

"Monarch of the Sea"

'Jiminy whillikers
Admiral Samuel
Eliot Morison,
where is your ship?'

'I am the HMS
Historiography's
Disciplinarian.
Button your lip.'

DAJ said...

The problem is a combination of Northern messianic liberal interventionism and Southern messianic conservative militarism...This results in the ludicrous situation with conservative Southerners supporting an endless series of wars to impose Northern liberalism on the rest of the world.

Well put!

Anonymous said...

Adams refuses to rescue his worthless son or use his position as President to snag a plum assignment for his son-in-law.

The HBO miniseries "John Adams" was exceptional by today's standards, but where it errored, it did so on PC grounds.

Two such errors were raised in your post. One is that Adams Sr. did use his influence to help his apparently capable son-in-law - the opposite of what is depicted in the film.

The other error was showing all black slaves with one white taskmaster building the original Whitehouse. Most of the laborers were white skilled tradesmen and artisans - many European immigrants. Only relatively recently were some pay slips discovered that showed a few black slaves also worked on the Whitehouse - largely in unskilled work like excavating.

It was a frustrating misrepresentation because it was completely unnecessary to make the point. They could've just showed actual black slaves of Washington or Jefferson (although both seemed to be as good as a slave owner could be given the times).

Conrad Jarretts said...

Maybe not a movie, but the FX TV serious "Damages" this season is about a Wall Street kingpin who swindled billions from a vast network of elites.

It's a contrived in a slick soap opera way, but it has its moments of suspense and surprise. They do a cartoon version law, finance and the New York elite in what could have been an interesting aspects of the story. It's character and relationship-driven for the ladies.

I'd give it a "2.5 dimensional" rating which is pretty good for broadcast TV. It falls at the bottom range of my ability to tolerate the idiot box, slightly below Mad Men (which makes better use of advertising, New York and the period to add interest to the story).

Anonymous said...

I'm juping for joy because it opens for discussion the, uh, "possibility" that not all ethnic & racial groups are equal. Or is it only Jews who are allowed to be superior?




It's only Jews who are allowed to be superior. You know that already, didn't you?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but it's the South that has always most enthusiastically embraced the messianic wars that the "damned yankees" (and others) dream up. Without the South, most of the wounds of liberalism would be self-inflicted, but thanks to Southern enthusiasm for war (any war), the damage is global




Garbage. The wars this country has waged are minor flesh wounds compared to the damage liberalism has inflicted.

ATBOTL said...

Jackson himself sure as hell was part of the elite, he was the damn president for crying out loud.

It still stands that most Southerners are English, not Scottish or Irish. Americans who are actually of regular Scottish ancestry are very different culturally from the misnamed "Scots-Irish."

Anonymous said...

It still stands that most Southerners are English, not Scottish or Irish. Americans who are actually of regular Scottish ancestry are very different culturally from the misnamed "Scots-Irish."

Then how exactly do you account for the preponderance of [very old] Presbyterian churches throughout Appalachia?

Granted, the modern-day national "Presybterian" church has been utterly corrupted [just like all of the established churches], but in Appalachia [starting on both sides, in the foothills, or "Piedmont", and heading all the way up to the tops of the mountains], there's an old [if not ancient] Presbyterian church around every corner.

Waspy sting said...

Just as there was Hellenic culture(strictly ethnically Greek) and Hellenistic culture(non-ethnic-Greeks adopting Greek culture, as with the Macedonians), we should make a distinction between WASP and WASPY. Wasps would be ethnic wasps whereas waspies would be other whites--even some non-whites--who have been more or less waspized.

To the extent that most American whites--even from Italy, Poland, Greece, Romania, Russia, France, etc--have been waspized, WASP-istic power always remained strong. Italian-Americans speak English. Though some retain some of their old Italian-ness, many are well-mannered and act like wasps in companies and bureaucracies. Same can be said for Poles. Unless you notice that his last name is Dumbpolackovsky, you might mistake him for an Anglo.

Almost all white Americans--even non-ethnic wasps--speak ingles, respect the constitution, and know more about Anglo-American history than any other kind. Thus, rest assured that the fall of the ethnic wasps didn't necessarily mean the fall of waspic power. Though Jews have challenged the power of the wasps, many of them--even liberal and leftist--ones became deeply influenced by wasp culture too. Americanized Jews were less radical than, say, German or Russian Jews.

Also, though we tend to associate WASP power with the genteel and somewhat righteous and prudish Eastern Establishment, there was also wild and boorish wasp culture of Western saloons where people like John Wayne and other colorful characters drank hard, cussed hard, and fought hard. They were crazier than Italians--sometimes anyway.

Anonymous said...

After Pearl Harbor, support for war against the Japanese was widespread, but prior to that attack, enthusiasm for getting involved was, again, largely found in the Northeast. The South and Midwest were isolationist.

Oh horse hockey. The Midwest was isolationist in the period 1939-1941, but the South was more interventionist than any other part of the country, the northeast included.

The Southern military tradition and its Anglophilia were still going strong, and Dixie is always good for a scrap.

Exhibit A (and there are lots more to choose from) - the vote on the 1941 draft extension by region and party:

Dem Rep
Y N Y N

New England 8 7 7 8
MidAtlantic 28 23 9 31
South 115 4 0 4
Midwest 18 25 1 83
West 13 7 4 10

(Note: 3 Midwestern Progressive Party NOs counted as Republicans and 1 MidAtlantic American Labor Party NO counted as a Dem)

Ronduck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Americans who are actually of regular Scottish ancestry are very different culturally from the misnamed "Scots-Irish."



Can you be more specific, or should we just take your word for it?

Anonymous said...

Then how exactly do you account for the preponderance of [very old] Presbyterian churches throughout Appalachia?


Good question. The Presbyterian Scots were encouraged to settle in northern Ireland in the 17th century, partly in hopes that they'd be less troublesome than the native Irish and partly because they were not wanted on the British mainland, being opposed to the national Anglican church.

They proved to be a handful when settled in Ireland themselves, and were encouraged to move to America in the 18th century along with the other Dissenters. Some of them were of English ancestry, others were French or Flemish, but the bulk of them were Scots.

(One "Scots-Irishman" was Davy Crockett, whose French Calvinist ancestors lived in Ulster for a spell.)

The notable thing about the Scots-Irish was their religion rather than their ethnicity. They were a persecuted minority in their mother country(s) and brought a mentality of hostility towards government power with them to America along with a yearning for "freedom of religion".

Anonymous said...

the South was more interventionist than any other part of the country, the northeast included.

The northeast Wasps were just as interventionist as the south and even more Anglophile. It was the presence of millions of non-Wasps like the Irish that made the northeast less interventionist.