Lately, I have become more interested in 20th century history, which is a subject that I have long avoided out of sheer hatred. It was in the 20th century though, specifically the era that began after World War II when the Allies unfurled the liberal world order after their triumph over the Axis powers, that our civilization began its long descent into the night.
If you could go back in a time machine to the United States of Woodrow Wilson in 1919, you would find that political correctness, multiculturalism, feminism, anti-racism and various other leftwing social revolutions were not yet culturally ascendant. “Judeo-Christianity” was not yet ascendant. Progressivism was actually entertaining ideas like eugenics and segregation. The Communist Party USA was founded in 1919 and throughout the 1920s it was only the communist fringe which was agitating for ideas like racial equality and integration.
Multiculturalism and political correctness were two of the most toxic leftwing social revolutions that triumphed in the late 20th century. They were gradually absorbed into mainstream conservatism which leads it to pathologize and deracinate its White base. This is why Charlie Kirk in on Twitter appealing to identity politics for every racial group but White people.
“Every year I teach a freshman seminar on American society at the little liberal arts university where I am employed. And every year, we spend time discussing the 9/11 attacks. Many of these students were not yet born on September 11, 2001. They know few facts about that day’s events. But they know some other things. When I ask students in the class to describe the single most important lesson learned from 9/11, invariably someone will suggest that it has to do with the extremity of anti-Muslim bias in America. That student will allude to the appalling frequency of hate crimes against American Muslims in the aftermath of the attack. At least some other students will agree, and none of them ever challenges the claim. …
By mid-century it had become de rigueur in anthropology to assert that there was no human nature and that culture was the unique cause of human behavior. Everything man is “he has learned, acquired, from his culture,” wrote the anthropologist Ashley Montagu in 1973.
The basic idea that emerged from this intellectual transformation of anthropology was that human cultures are both infinitely varied and equally viable. It is no small matter that neither of these claims is true. Human culture does vary significantly, but there are a wide range of features that all human cultures share. The anthropologist Donald Brown compiled a 10-page list of such universal features in 1991. They include, for example, the admiration of generosity, male domination of the political realm, and a preference for one’s own children and close kin. …”
It has been a while since I have read about our old friend Franz Boas who we last encountered in Kevin MacDonald’s The Culture of Critique.
“The path from Sumner’s usage to the contemporary goes directly through the work of another early 20th-century social scientist, Franz Boas. In contrast to Sumner’s conservative laboring class origins, Boas was born in Westphalia in 1858 to secular Jewish parents who typified the well-educated European liberal of the mid-19th century. They had shed the religion of their ancestors entirely (“broken through the shackles of dogma,” in his words) and Boas wrote of growing up in a “German home in which the ideals of the Revolution of 1848 were a living force.”
Identity politics grew out of the Civil Rights Movement in the late 1960s when MLK began criticizing the Vietnam War and when both the radicals within the movement like Stokely Carmichael and the black masses became dissatisfied with the gains of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The triumph of identity politics among blacks led to other groups – Hispanics, American Indians, Asians, homosexuals – to embrace identity politics. This was all given a blessing by the American liberal establishment as multiculturalism.
As we have observed, the role of progressive liberalism in our system is to push up against the limits of freedom, equality, tolerance, rights and so forth, and the role of conservative liberalism is to digest these social revolutions into mainstream conservatism. True Conservatism is now classical liberalism + all these social revolutions with the most recent one being the LGBTQ social revolution of the Obama era.