Friday, October 26, 2018
RISE & FALL OF THE USA???
THE RISE AND FALL OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
(Litchfield, CT.: VDARE.com Books, 2018)
by MICHAEL H. HART
Rev. by Hugh Murray
This book is an over-view, a barely filled in outline. Yet, one can learn from it, especially in areas where one is unfamiliar. Thus, in his section on America's Golden Age, he lists the many inventions by Americans, and when some items were not invented here – such as the automobile, the production process of the assembly line was streamlined by Henry Ford so that the auto became cheaper and more accessible to many more people in America than elsewhere. Many of us are old enough to recall the names of Edison, McCormick, the Wright Brothers, but text books in modern public schools tend to skip over such important contributors by Americans to mankind. I wonder if these inventors are even taught in many public schools today. The reason their accomplishments are de-emphasized and their names possibly omitted is because they were mostly white men, and the educational establishment, infused with multiculturalism and political correctness, seeks to spotlight the inventions of minorities and women, even if they be far less consequential.
In a short summary work, inevitably there will be omissions and differences of what is important. I will include some of the statements I found questionable. Hart utterly fails to evaluate the implications of the Louisiana Purchase.(pp. 57 & 63) To examine this properly he would have to discuss some ramifications of the French Revolution, especially the Jacobins, the Rights of Man, and the push of the French anti-Christian radicals to abolish slavery in the colony of Haiti, then one of the richest areas of the New World. With the guillotining of Robespierre, the Jacobin “Reign of Terror” sliced to a close in France, but in Haiti the Jacobin ideals had already spread and soon a slave uprising was upon the island.
When Napoleon rose to become Emperor of France, he dreamt of an empire in the New World, based in Louisiana (since the conclusion of the 7 Years War, a Spanish colony, but Napoleon had placed one of his brothers upon the Spanish throne and could easily demand the return of the large New World territory). However, before such a project could begin, Napoleon would have to reconquer Haiti from the slaves. An army of 13,000 French troops was dispatched to the island, but between warring with the Black slaves, yellow fever and other tropical diseases, the French Army disintegrated; and it failed to wrest the island from the slaves.
Thus, if France could not reconquer an island, how could it establish an empire in the center of North America? So Napoleon, to prevent Louisiana from falling to his English rivals in another war, - Napoleon was willing to sell the whole vast territory to the new American nation.
The US bought all of Louisiana; Spain transferred it to the French, who presented it to the Americans. Hart utterly fails to note another most salient aspect of this transfer – the US promised not to mistreat the French colonials. It should be stressed that in 1803, there was not a single, legal Protestant church in the whole Louisiana Territory, from New Orleans to Montana, to Minnesota. No synagogues either. By contrast, the new American states were overwhelmingly Protestant (even Maryland, originally established for Catholics, had passed legislation restricting them). At the time of the purchase, many Americans began moving across the Appalachian Mountains, and found it necessary to sell their produce down the rivers, down the Ohio to the Mississippi, and thence to New Orleans. There, they sold their goods and enjoyed some of the delights of a different culture. Making matters even more complex, there was a huge influx of immigrants to New Orleans and Louisiana , but not what one expected. About a fourth of the New Orleans population was suddenly composed of refugees, Black and white, from Haiti.
Because this point is taken for granted, it should be stressed all the more – at a time when in the Western world there was little to no religious toleration, America was embarking on a great experiment. Religious wars had decimated Europe following Luther's nailing his 95 theses to the church door in 1517. In Europe, nations, provinces, free towns, cantons, were either Roman Catholic or Protestant. Those who dissented faced discrimination, or they had to be very discreet, or in some places, they would be exiled or killed. The Netherlands and a few other areas were more tolerant, but they were much the exception; the rule was legal intolerance against religious minorities. This was true, too, of South and Central America. Even during the French and Indian War (7 Years War) French colonists from Acadia (today's Maritime Provinces of Canada) were ethnically cleansed in the 1750s and distributed among the 13 English colonies. The French Catholics, treated as a subversive element, disliked this, and many soon departed for Louisiana (where they became Cajuns). So even as late as the 1750s, an attempt to have Catholics and Protestants live together in the soon-to-be American states did not fare well.
The Louisiana Purchase nearly doubled the size of the US, and though the European population of Louisiana was much smaller than that of the US, it was all Catholic. How would this work out? Once Louisiana was American territory, Americans came to settle too; Protestants and even a wealthy Jewish businessman, Judah Touro. So began the experiment – unusual for that era – of trying to have Protestants and Catholics (and others) live in relative harmony.
Of course, there was natural friction among many different groups, and elsewhere the religious differences had caused injury, death, and wars. Even in 1950s New Orleans, I recall being teased by other neighborhood kids because I attended public rather than Catholic school. In that same era, in most of the South, the Bible Belt, Catholics endured a suspicious, minority status. But the thrust of American history was to overcome religious prejudice. Staunch Protestant Andrew Jackson asked for the help of all New Orleanians in winter 1814-15, as the British prepared to capture the city, and Jackson received the help, even from the Ursuline nuns. A few decades later, as President of the US, Jackson appointed the first Roman Catholic to his Cabinet, and later appointed Catholic Roger Taney to be Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. A short time after, the State of Louisiana elected Judah Benjamin, the first practicing Jew, to the US Senate. In the early 1860s Benjamin would serve several positions in the Cabinet of Pres. Jefferson Davis of the CSA. The Irish fleeing the famine of the 1840s came to the US, but they tended to be poorer, remained in cities rather than purchasing lands to farm, and quickly became known for drinking. In the North, they tended to support the Democrats, and some Irish perceived the possibility of abolition of slavery as a threat to their status and jobs. Some partook in the NYC anti-draft (and anti-Black) riots during the Civil War. In time, the Irish generally assimilated; to be followed by other immigrants – many of whom were Catholic. The Italian immigrants were often poor too, from Sicily and southern Italy. There were accusations about a “Black Hand” secret society (probably Mafia) that roused such hostility that in New Orleans 7 Italians were lynched in the 1890s. However, by the mid-20th century, entertainers Bing Crosby (Irish) might sing White Christmas compoased by Irving Berlin (Jewish), while Frank Sinatra (Italian) and Louis Armstrong (Black) waited to appear next on stage. All were popular. Surely, in having 2 very powerful religious groups live in relative peace for so long over a continent is a great accomplishment of the United States.
Hart raises a point not usually considered – in most of the Spanish colonies, gradual emancipation of the slaves allowed them to achieve full freedom with less bloodshed and before Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.(64) But what Hart asserts about the Spanish, was also achieved in America's North. Originally, all the English colonies permitted slavery. With the American Revolution, and passage of the Northwest Ordinance, and then some states enacted immediate or gradual abolition, and by 1860, slavery, without bloodshed, had been abolished in the North. However, 80% of the Blacks resided in the South, and most were slaves; abolition was not debatable in the South. Indeed, many Southerners sought to expand slavery, not only to the North, but to Cuba and possibly parts of Central America. Lincoln completely rejected those Southern demands, and bloodshed on a massive scale did ensue. So did Northern victory and Emancipation. Portuguese Brazil did not free its slaves until some 2 decades after Lincoln.
In a short paragraph Hart presents a good defense of Pres. Buchanan who was a lame-duck Commander-in-Chief when some southern states began to secede.(50-51) His assessment of Lincoln is also concise and accurate.(77-78)
Hart summarizes the achievement of the US during its Golden Age: “During that interval the United States stood out for its wealth, for its military might, and for its unprecedented set of practical inventions and scientific discoveries. We became a beacon of freedom ... In addition, we defeated or outlasted two of the most powerful menacing tyrannies in history...
“Our skyscrapers and superhighways impressed even our adversaries, and they were widely copied. Our music and our motion pictures were wildly popular: not just locally, but in many foreign countries as well. Sports that had originated in the United States – such as basketball, volleyball, and baseball - spread to many other countries. Never in history has a single country so dominated the world on so many different levels.”(82) Incredibly, when Hart discusses culture in American, he neglects to mention jazz!
Why was the US so inventive? Hart posits: patent laws favored inventors, free market economy, low taxes, few regulations, and a large territory and large population in a single custom union.(94)
Hart contends that FDR won his 4th term in office in 1944 because his doctor “deliberately lied to the press and public concerning Roosevelt's poor health.”(129) But is this not what personal physicians of politicians are expected to do? Did JFK's doctor tell the public about the young senator's many infirmaries and the “pain killers” he was taking? Or did Bill Clinton's private physician reveal any previous STDs of the young candidate for the presidency? We know what happened when Democratic Party nominee for president in 1972, George McGovern's running mate, Missouri Sen. Thomas Eagleton, revealed he had undergone electric shock treatment for depression. McGovern initially backed Eagleton 1,000% when the Missourian's medical history came to light, but the media and opponents joked about a nut occupying the White House, and McGovern quickly replaced his vice-presidential running mate. Dropping Eagleton from the ticket did not help McGovern, for he lost 49 of the 50 states to Republican Richard Nixon.
Hart writes that JFK strongly supported civil rights legislation “at that time.”(147) The phrase is ambiguous – Kennedy did little for such legislation during his first 2 years in office, and even during the March on Washington in 1963, he would not have pressed for legislation as far-reaching as that eventually passed after his assassination. Indeed, some contend it was Kennedy's assassination that finally assured passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Hart follows the official line in identifying Lee Harvey Oswald as Kennedy's assassin,(174) though, even with the US intelligence agencies' continued determination to prevent release of files on the murder after all these years, I think enough has been revealed so that we can conclude that a plot resulted in the assassination of JFK in Dallas.
Hart's most controversial statement, and one which infuses his work is “By 1972 all legal restriction on blacks had been eliminated. But average black income and wealth was still low, and has remained much lower than whites. Liberals usually assert that this is entirely due to white racism; but it seems far more probable that it is due in significant part to the many lower average natural intelligence of blacks.”(149) Scientifically, this may, or may not be the case. However, since the mid-1960s the media have encouraged Blacks to act and be “angry.” Who would want to interview a Black nerd – or a white one, for that matter? Erkel was good for laughs, but not to be imitated. Black Panthers with their weapons, Leroy Jones, Angela Davis, H. Rap Brown, et al,…, showed the model for the New Blacks, angry, violent if necessary, and defenders always found it necessary. For the leaders, it may have been posturing, theater, but for many, violence was not merely verbal. Even before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King was mocked by the militant Blacks, with the support of white radicals and the media. Malcolm X, who had been assassinated by Black Muslims in 1965, was hoisted as the new model. The pictures of Martin Luther King, with his advocacy of non-violence, had almost faded to white when his murder resurrected his reputation as martyr. The riots throughout American cities in the wake of King's killing shattered the American image round the world. LBJ chose not to run for re-election; the Democrats lost nearly 10 million votes to segregationist candidate Alabama's George Wallace. Nixon's law and order campaign squeaked through over Hubert Humphrey's waffling over Vietnam, race, and most issues. Four years later Nixon carried 49 of 50 states.
Hart provides evidence of America's decline: we don't win wars any more (207), the end of free speech (208), rejection of the presumption of innocent until proven guilty (210), quotas, diversity, and presidential over-reach (212). And the most important causes of the decline – racial antagonism (221) and our loss of price and confidence (236).
In his last chapters Hart outlines possible (often improbable) ways in which America can fall – military defeat, division on racial lines, ethnic lines, political lines, absorption into larger units – North America, an Anglo-sphere, world government, etc. Few people predicted the collapse of the USSR and its east European satellite states. Of course, Communist Parties continue to rule in China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, and there are wannabe “socialist” states like Venezuela and some African nations. Yet, the most Stalinist of all these, North Korea is now engaged Ina strange dance with Donald Trump's America.
And the latter is a major factor not considered by Hart. The people of Rome, slowly, changed their empire, denying their gods, spurning their sports, rejecting their traditions to adopt an alien religion from the Middle East that elevated a convicted criminal to godhood. In the decisive military battle of that Roman civil war between tradition and the new, the defender of the new religion defeated the old, and rather quickly, the Roman Empire emerged as a Christian Empire. Constantine's empire resembled the old Roman one less and less. Part of the “Roman” Empire in the West would disintegrate in a century, but the eastern part would endure as a Christian empire for a millennium until 1453 AD.
The people of America still have a say in whether our nation lives or dies or morphs into something detached from our history. There are forces today that seek to destroy our traditional past, like the Red Guard of China's Cultural Revolution, statues of Robert E. Lee and P. T. G. Beauregard are removed, but founders of this nation Thomas Jefferson and George Washington are also under attack, and the man who most made this enterprise possible, Christopher Columbus, is often denounced. Many do want to rip America from its wonderful history. This is why the election of Donald Trump was so crucial, especially with his slogans – America First (a phrase repellent to liberals), Make America Great Again, build a wall (to prevent further invasion). The “deplorables” still have a voice and may be able to restore faith and pride in America, and end racial, ethnic, and sexual quotas, destroy diversity (anti-white discrimination), and treat all citizens equally, hiring and promoting the best qualified candidates to make America more inventive, more productive, more powerful; in sum, to make America great again. America can climb up from our fall, 1965-2016, ready to rise and soar again.