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America: Still The Post-Modern White Man's Burden?

By       Message Herbert Calhoun       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   2 comments

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View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H3 10/28/11

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Mr. Buchanan is the only one of the "professional" politicians remaining who has made a cottage industry out of advancing the theme of one of Rudyard Kipling's most famous poems, "The White Man's Burden." The reader may recall that it called for the U.S. to take up the mantel of racial imperialism as the white man's natural duty. There is however an interesting twist in this author's rendition of Kipling's idea: Now that the U.S. has already exercised its imperialist racial rights for the better part of two centuries and has failed miserably at it, Mr. Buchanan is now desperately in search of an appropriate scapegoat to pin that failure on. Thus, no one who has been reading Mr. Buchanan's books as I have, should be the least bit surprised that he has chosen as his preferred scapegoat America's colored peoples. Or put yet more accurately, no one should be surprised that this rendition of this his "one-trick pony racial theme," again excuses the American white man for all of his sins of racial empire building.
Here the author's thesis about the reasons for America's collapse is summarized in three rather facile, anecdotally plausible, yet untested premises: That (1) due to the way demographics are going against whites ("the creators and rulers of the American Empire"); (2) and due to the lost of Christianity; (3) America has lost its moral, social and cultural center and soul and is now finally collapsing (due to no cause of the white man). That is the end of the story of this and all of Mr. Buchanan's books, and both the beginning and end of Mr. Buchanan's white man's lament.
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The rest of the book is just a matter of filling in (with Mr. Buchanan's self-styled neo-racist logic), the inessential details.  These details in fact do little more than form corollaries to the premises he has already posited. Because of the premises, like the night follows the day, the corollaries, which are all fudged to fit the premises, are all but self-evident. His basic corollary is that America has been transformed into a multiracial, multicultural, multilingual, multiethnic "stew of a nation" that has no precedent in world history. Yet, before he gets out of the introduction, he has already found at least two such precedents, the collapse of Russia -- another white ruled country that (according to Mr. Buchanan's interpretation of Russian history) and Great Britain, to whom Kipling's poem was also indirectly addressed.
Inconsistencies and hypocrisy be-damned, in this treatise any concept that has the prefix "multi" or "diversity" attached to is, according to Mr. Buchanan's analysis, automatically a "four-letter" word. That is, unless it involves white people only -- as in the case of the much fabled and imaginary "American melting pot" -- then, and only then is use of "multi" and "diversity" (curiously) okay. However it is not just the inconsistencies that makes the reader gasp at Mr. Buchanan's gall in advancing in the year 2011 such a facile and dangerous set of racist propositions, it is the sheer hypocrisy in his doing so that really causes one to pause and think that Mr. Buchanan has finally gone completely off his rockers. Because of his racial blind spots, his attempt to exonerate whites from all responsibility, his hypocrisy and his inconsistencies, his analysis simply does not add up. 
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For instance, he claims that it is our diversity that is tearing us a part because there is a failure of the colored immigrants to assimilate. Instead, according to the author, only they form Balkanized revetments that eschew assimilation into the American mainstream. Yet, he praised the most Balkanized era in American history, the century of racial segregation as the era of America's melting pot? He also conveniently "disremembered" that even today, due to white resistance to assimilating with non-white skin color, most colored minorities do not have a choice but to fallback on their own cultures. And what is more, he also fails to remember that a great deal of the Balkanization in America is due to conservative whites exercising with their feet the right to move away from the non-whites who they claim do not want to assimilate? The "so-called culture war is nothing if not a conservative white backlash. Thus, it is mostly conservative whites who are making America hostile territory for non-whites.  Also, the fact that Blacks, Native Americans and Puerto Ricans were left out of the historical survey and references Mr. Buchanan made to Nathaniel Glazer andDaniel P. Moynihan, seem not to have mattered the least to the author.
His strongest and most specious claim however is that because the newer colored immigrants reject "our Christian God," America is losing its soul, and its character in a way that this is fundamentally changing the nation, as we know it. Yet, in the same breathe, he admits that 11:00AM Sunday morning (when all Christians go to Church) is the most segregated hour of the week? Couple that with his own admission of the moral devastation that the Catholic pedophilia scandals have caused, and his criticism of the pay-to-play Christian mega churches, and it would not be an unfair alternative hypothesis to suggest that maybe the lost of the American soul is at least in part due to conservative white moral hypocrisy; that is to say due to those Catholic, fundamentalist and evangelical Christians who have not lived up to the moral teachings of their own Christian faith? 
I could go on and on, but the reader will get the point even before he is out of the introduction of the book. Allow me to summarize by giving a few thoughts on Mr. Buchanan himself. 
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Many of us have long recognized Mr. Buchanan for what he is. First, (like Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney), he is a "professional politician," who (we suppose unlike Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney) is also a most sophisticated and carefully calibrated "white supremacist." To say this another way, if we were to strip Mr. Buchanan of the various professional disguises that render him a more or less respectable pundit, no one would be the least bit surprised to discover underneath that he actually is little more than just another "garden variety white American racist," riding past the American graveyard on his one-trick pony as he dog whistles Dixie all the way. In fact this could well be the epithet etched on his gravestone: "Here Lies Mr. Patrick Buchanan: he rode a one-trick pony as he dog whistled Dixie right past the American graveyard." 
Yet, we would be remiss and it would be the height of folly to dismiss him out of hand, or not to take his various coded racist appeals seriously. If nothing else, his two runs at the U.S. presidency, and the fact that he served as council to three different presidents, proves one thing: that disguised or not, dog whistling Dixie or not, there exists a firm latent element within the American body politic who listens carefully to, and believes deeply in Mr. Buchanan's poisonous racist messages. They "get" Mr. Buchanan's coded dog whistled racist messages. In fact, it would not be too much of an exaggeration to suggest that these elements, which include a spectrum that span the most vicious racist hate groups, to the more normal everyday "passive-aggressive white racists," share Mr. Buchanan's goal: forever prowling for an opportunity to turn the clock back to what Mr. Buchanan's friend Trent Lott argued (at Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party) was a better and more harmonious racial time.  Four Stars


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Retired Foreign Service Officer and past Manager of Political and Military Affairs at the US Department of State. For a brief time an Assistant Professor of International Relations at the University of Denver and the University of Washington at (more...)

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