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Return of the Nativist?
So Jonah Goldberg thinks
Paul Gottfried is a "nativist." Horrors!
Nativism (click here
for a definition) gets a bad rap in North America.
(When it doesn't come from Native
that is.) Outside of North America, we hear a lot of
good things about national self-determination,
indigenous peoples, self-government, and throwing off
the shackles of colonialism.
In fact, when U. S. troops were
fighting communism, we used to even hear about how we
should respect the sovereignty of communist countries,
and their right to engage in communism. (Click here
for an example).
But nativism in
the U. S. is considered by Goldbergists to be an
absolute evil, just a step above Nazism. In fact, they
seem to have the two confused. Both words start with
the same two letters, don't they? What more evidence
do you need?
The term "nativism" actually
derives from the 1850s. According to the conventional
wisdom (history is written by victors - immigration
history is written by immigration enthusiasts), this
was a dark period when Protestants formed Nativist
secret societies to fight against those harmless
Irish Catholic immigrants.
"The City of Brotherly Love had seen religious rioting between Protestants and Catholics for several months. Irish Catholics living in the Third Ward of Philadelphia, Kensington, disrupted American Republican Association meetings in Kensington. Members of the Association were enraged that could not meet in Kensington because they felt it was their constitutional right to do so. In one attempt to meet in Kensington, shots were fired, and a 19-year-old, supporting the flag on the speaker's platform to keep it from falling to the ground, was killed. George Schiffler became a martyr for the Association and his picture appears on Native American ribbons. In retaliation, more than a quarter of a million dollars in property damage and violence against Catholics left the Protestants with blood on their hands also."
With that kind of opposition, the
nativists may have felt safer meeting in secret, and
professing to "know nothing" of such matters.
What's often forgotten about
these early nativist crusaders is that they were
liberals – part of the "Protestant Crusade" that
later fuelled abolitionism and Prohibition. They were
dubious about the Roman Catholic Church because it was
not liberal. And they were right. The Roman Catholic
Church, as a social organization, was not particularly
liberal. It's not meant
to be liberal.
In the nineteenth century, Pope Pius The Ninth issued the famous "Syllabus of Errors", condemning (according to this modern Protestant website) "all the principles of modern civilization. " Later, priests were asked to sign an oath that they were neither liberals nor Modernists.
Neither was Europe very liberal
in the nineteenth century. Lyman Beecher,
(abolitionist father of Harriet Beecher Stowe and
Henry Ward Beecher) in his anti-immigration book
of the 1830's, asked.
Are not the continental powers alarmed at the march
of liberal opinions, and associated to put them down?
and are they not, with the sickness of hope deferred,
waiting for our downfall? It is the light of our
republican prosperity, gleaming in upon their dark
prison house, which is inspiring hope, and converting
chains into arms.
Beecher's idea is the exact
opposite of the modern Proposition Nation idea. The
idea is that you export the Proposition, rather
than importing the
Importing the people means
prejudices as well. This is a problem that modern
liberals find difficult to understand. They say
"Let's overcome our prejudices and let in all
these people from China."
Then the people from China
turn out to have prejudices of their own.
Remember that nativism has
another meaning, though. In anthropology, it means a
"social movement that proclaims the return to power
of the natives of a colonized area and the resurgence
of native culture, along with the decline of the
Who would the colonizers be these
days? Well, if you've been reading VDARE for any
length of time, you might have heard the word reconquista.
The Southwest is particularly vulnerable, although
during Presidente Fox's recent visit, I was
surprised to read
that there are more than a million Mexicans living in
the Chicago area.
Some of them have started acting like colonizers, too.
The Democrats seem to like this,
for electoral reasons.
They liked it in the nineteenth century too, when, as
the Columbia Encyclopedia puts it, "Roman Catholic
immigrants … were welcomed by the Democrats",
particularly in the "Eastern cities" where they
"especially had concentrated."
I want to repeat, for the benefit
of anyone who came in late, that the reason for
reading history is that no one ever does anything in
politics for the first time. Just about everything
that can be done has been done before.
And guess what; if you let them,
they'll do it again.
But you can turn back the clock;
the last century seems to be largely the story of
colonialists being overthrown, by people like Mandela
and Gandhi and even by Violetta
who threw out the Russian-backed Sandinistas.
That's an American tradition,
too. Thomas Paine was agitating against
dependence" in 1776.
He didn't think that a state that was "cramped and
fettered in its legislative powers", (by the United
Kingdom, but check out what the United Nations is up
to) would continue to prosper.
Independence is something I mentioned on July 4th. Perhaps we need anti-colonialism as well.
July 18, 2001