David Brooks: The Telos Crisis

H/T Rod Dreher

David Brooks has a new opinion column in The New York Times on the collapse of American identity:

“One of the things we’ve lost in this country is our story. It is the narrative that unites us around a common multigenerational project, that gives an overarching sense of meaning and purpose to our history.

For most of the past 400 years, Americans did have an overarching story. It was the Exodus story. The Puritans came to this continent and felt they were escaping the bondage of their Egypt and building a new Jerusalem. …

We have a lot of crises in this country, but maybe the foundational one is the Telos Crisis, a crisis of purpose. Many people don’t know what this country is here for, and what we are here for. If you don’t know what your goal is, then every setback sends you into cynicism and selfishness.

It should be possible to revive the Exodus template, to see Americans as a single people trekking through a landscape of broken institutions. What’s needed is an act of imagination, somebody who can tell us what our goal is, and offer an ideal vision of what the country and the world should be.”

I can’t help but laugh reading this.

Around the mid-20th century, the Eastern Anglo-American elite was overthrown in the United States and was replaced by a new cosmopolitan elite dominated by David Brooks’ people. After their arrival in power in our elite universities which was a product of the switch to the meritocratic system, they have spent the last 65 years or so destroying any sense of a common American identity. Now that they have destroyed it, they’re like what are we going to do now?

“Today’s students get steeped in American tales of genocide, slavery, oppression and segregation. American history is taught less as a progressively realized grand narrative and more as a series of power conflicts between oppressor and oppressed. …”

David Brooks throws an idea against the wall after reading Philip Gorski’s new book American Covenant: maybe we can all unite around a Puritan inspired Exodus story?

Even back then, Puritan New England was its own place with its own peculiar regional culture. Professor Clyde Wilson describes these people in his new book The Yankee Problem: An American Dilemma. Whereas New England was settled by a religious sect with a troubled history that came to America to build a “a shining City upon a Hill,” the South was founded by mainstream settlers from the British Isles who saw their region as a promising “garden” to be cultivated:

“One can understand a great deal of American history by remembering a simple fact about the founding. New England Puritans came to America to get away from a world of sinners and to construct “a shining City upon a Hill” which would be an example for all mankind of a superior commonwealth. The Yankee elite kept all of their over-developed and self-centered righteousness after they lost their Christianity and replaced it with the imported German philosophy of Transcendentalism. By contrast, people who came to settle the South saw America as a promising garden to be cultivated, a place where land could be had and personal honour and independence be established by younger sons and common folk in ways that were no longer possible in the Mother Country. …”

The Southern colonists didn’t see their subtropical region with its benign climate and rich soils as “a waste and howling wilderness” like the New England Puritans:

“The garden has endured as an evocative metaphor for the American South. With its European discovery, the region became the latest locus in Western culture’s quest for ‘the garden of the world.’ Puritans may have regarded the New England landscape as ‘a waste and howling wilderness,’ as Michael Wigglesworth alluded to it in 1662, but settlers of the Southern colonies most often described their natural surroundings in benign, even pastoral terms. The contrasting perceptions of the American landscape are, in part, explained geographically. The long harsh winters and stony soils of New England did not encourage benevolent attitudes toward nature; whereas the Inilder winter climate, richer soils and longer growing season of the South have always allowed gardens, and the garden metaphor, to flourish. …”

The Garden Myth of a Southern Arcadia is explored by Lewis P. Simpson in The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Volume 4: Myth, Manners, and Memory. He wrote a book about it in the 1980s called The Dispossessed Garden: Pastoral and History in Southern Literature.

Anyway, I just went outside to check the mail and I noticed that our flowers are blooming. Spring has arrived in the South. We barely had anything that could be described as a winter this year. I live in a warm and sunny land where we get excited when less than an inch of snow falls on the ground. The scene outside in my front yard is more Swallow Barn than Walden.

David Brooks is right that we lack a national Telos. In the 20th century, the common experience of the Great Depression and World War I and World War II had a great homogenizing effect on American culture. The same is true of the creation of the consolidated, vertically delivered mass media which for a time papered over enduring regional and cultural divisions. The Immigration Act of 1924 ended mass immigration from Europe which never returned. The Cold War allowed Americans to maintain a weak sense of national identity based on ideological opposition to the Soviet Union.

By the 1960s, the American elite was able to take the unity of the country for granted. America was 85 percent White. We shared the English language. We had a strong Christian culture. We had an economy that was the envy of the world. We had a common popular culture. The media was trusted. Virtually all national institutions still had a strong sense of legitimacy which has evaporated in our own times. The federal government could embark on projects like declaring a War on Poverty whereas today the simple act of passing a national budget has become a legislative ordeal.

Personally, I believe the damage inflicted on the country by our cosmopolitan elite is so severe that it will prove to be terminal. We are in the earliest stages of a national collapse. Consider the fact that the American elite is ideologically committed to multiplying and exacerbating our existing divisions because “diversity is our strength” and “we are a nation of immigrants” according to the dominant narrative. Even if they wanted to do so, they are incapable of reversing course without betraying their sense of identity. We’re going over the falls and nothing can stop our dramatic unraveling.

About Hunter Wallace 12380 Articles
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  1. Well, if America insists on dumping White Supremacy, then that just about does it for America. Best to hope for now is a coalescing of strong Whites when it all Balkanizes.

  2. Jews like Brooks have been busy for the past 50 years or more destroying our American identity. Now it can be replaced with an Exodus, aka Jewish, identity. Self serving anti-White bastards.

    • They’re just upset about how it all backfired on them. The alt-right wasn’t supposed to happen. White people were all supposed to become good liberal goyim, only caring about consumerism.

      I mean how could they have possibly seen it coming? After all, Jewish meddling in nations around the world has never gone badly for Jews.

        • It’s early days. Right now antisemitism only exists online. Granted, there’s waaaayy more of it online now than even 4 years ago. But like I said, it’s early days. The internet is still relatively new so it remains to be seen if the online world can affect the real world. It’s possible the internet will always be a place for escapism.

          • How so? The media talking about us doesn’t count as affecting the real world, a lot of that happens online anyway. I guess you mean Trump. He’s not alt-right. The fact that his views are called alt-right is really just a testament to how alienated the elites are from the common, White people. His positions are, and always have been, popular amongst right wing White people who still refer to themselves as conservatives and still subscribe to civic nationalism. The closest thing to affecting the real world that the alt-right has done is increase the autistic screeching of the left. It’s entertaining yeah, but how much does it really matter?

          • I mean it allowed us to network, to get organized. Trump may not be one of us, we can still use him to advance many of our goals.

            We are poised to break the cultural Marxists and cucks as their are no Gate Keepers or self policing controlled opposition like Cuckly shuttling down those we value winning more then being “respectable”.

            Now is the time to strike.

          • As one example how it impacts the ‘real world’: regular normie whites now know about the ‘white genocide’ meme. Now they may not understand the causes and who’s behind it, but they can’t deny the basic fact that white birthrates are low and immigrant rates are high. Rep. King tested the waters with his tweet to see what response he got, and in my opinion it went fairly well for him. This is how our ideas get traction in the mainstream.

  3. Skimmed the Dreher mewlings, mentioned his friend’s high school boy as being far right. Well boys thems the wages of cuckoldry

  4. More D & C from Southern “pro-whites.” The South was the multi-racial state, ergo it was in the wrong. Get over it.


  5. “Whereas New England was settled by a religious sect with a troubled history that came to America to build a “a shining City upon a Hill,”

    Not unlike the Jews, which they resemble in behaviour, and with whom they have became entwined and ultimately subordinate to.

  6. So-called “American” Jews have the luxury of treating the United States as a throwaway because they know in the back of their minds that Israel will always take them in if things go to hell in this country.

    By contrast, we Old Stock Americans view this country as an inheritance and an asset that needs careful management to maintain its value. We don’t have bugout countries to flee to if we fuck things up here.

  7. The Gorski tome apparently revolves about providing a Jew “narrative” to “explain” (((America))). OK. They are exterminating Whitey. They are
    providing a Jewish Mythos. Cuz they’ve taken over.

  8. The Pilgrims were originally headed for Virginia when they were (providentially?) blown off course and wound up in Massachusetts instead.

    • The original Trek features two Jewish actors, one of them trying to pass as a regular white guy from Iowa, and the other as a human/alien hybrid to show the wonders of race-mixing and diversity.

      • Yep. However, I never payed any attention to the ideology. I liked the technology and weaponry. I liked seeing people and things disintegrated by phasers, and the the space battles. I had some of the fleet battle games on the PC. I built the models and I liked the FASA miniatures back in the 80’s.

        • I’ve gone through a round of medical imaging lately for a possible heart problem – false alarm, apparently. Yet today’s medical imaging can do things like Dr. McCoy’s imaginary sick bay in the late 1960’s.

        • We’ll never see those technologies as real things (assuming physical feasibility) if the white race declines, and the East Asians don’t take up the slack.

  9. While reading Albion’s Seed, I found the Puritans weird and off-putting; and the Quakers just dorky, like stereotypes about today’s Mormons, but not particularly appealing.

    By contrast, I found the Cavaliers easier to relate to because the ones with wealth and status pursued secular values and enjoyed the finer things in life they could manage in their frontier conditions, a long way from England.

    I also understood the Border people because as near as I can tell, I have partially descended from that wave of setters. The language attributed to the Border people reminds me of the way my maternal grandmother spoke; like using the word “sparking” for “courting,” and talking about “hainted” places, and so forth.

    I guess that explains why white Southerners in general just seem more recognizable to me as fellow Americans than other white tribes in this country.

    • You must be a Celt. The Puritans and the Quakers hated fun, and refused to enjoy being alive. The Cavaliers loved being alive, the beauty of Nature, and Fun!
      Alas – we are all being exterminated by the Hebes. Spawn of Satan.

      • That’s not a complete (and therefore, a true) picture about the Puritans. There is a book called ‘Puritans and music,’ in which he points out that the Puritans were the first people to bring harpsichords and viols over to the New World. They enjoyed fine music, they just didn’t play it on Sundays. The later Puritans (who became Unitarians) are the ones that caused the caricature of the New Englander as curmudgeon to form.

  10. “We’re going over the falls and nothing can stop our dramatic unraveling.”

    As much as I wish Trump & the “civic-nationalists” (or so they present themselves), to “succeed” (or at least create a semi-stable patch we can use to prepare for other things), I feel you are right. The die is cast.

  11. Today is the first day of spring, and for the first time in my life (now that I’m living in the South) it truly means something! I saw my first Robin today!! Whereas, in the frigid Midwest, spring doesn’t usually come until sometime mid-May, when the lilacs bloom.

    The difference is almost unspeakable between the two climes.

  12. So all those Mexicans, Africans, Indians, Chinese, etc, replacing whites in America are going to start believing they are part of some exodus. Idiotic.

  13. “Whereas New England was settled by a religious sect with a troubled
    history that came to America to build a “a shining City upon a Hill,”

    The notion that the Puritans were religious refugees is really just false. Puritanism was pretty mainstream in England in the early 17th century, although they may not have been fond of the House of Stuart and were leery of them reintroducing Catholicism. Many of Queen Elizabeth’s ministers were Purtians. Puritans, led by Cromwell (who himself contemplated going to America), even conquered England and ran the place for a time.

  14. Don’t you get it? Junius was onto something with his fulminations about the New England government. Now, because he’s a Southern Tarheel, his leanings go towards The South Was Right, Succession, etc. But what Junius didn’t get is that, just because the South continued to be the sporadic whipping boy of the right, the New Elite were also undermining the New England government. Or were you sleeping off the effects of the turkey not to notice the yearly bitching where Thanksgiving is equated with the American Indian Genocide by evil Puritans?

    Whether Junius likes it or not, Plymouth Rock, the Puritans, and Thanksgiving were considered the Founding Mythos of the United States and when you destroy the ideological foundation of a country that leaves a vacuum that inevitably is filled by another one that is filled with its own sense of righteousness, moral certitude, heritage and cultural pride. Now, it’s not like the people of the Midwest and the West and even parts of New England looked at your region and said, “Hey, look at all those stubborn, stiff-necked Southerners shamelessly strutting around without apology down there,” but it is merely coincidence that all the sudden, all over the country, people in different states had secession movements?

    And did any of you notice that in every one of those secession movements, someone was hoisting the Stars and Bars, your Confederate flag as a symbol of resistance? Even in Yankee states like Pennsylvania? It is any coincidence that FEDGOV used Dylann Roof’s shooting of a church full of Black people to force Southern states to strike the Stars and Bars and pack up their Confederate War memorabilia?

    Have you noticed the articles bemoaning the number of people in the Trump administration who have Confederate sympathies? I saw one article accusing Confederate of taking over the government! Google Trump and Confederate. Check this out this small sampling:





    I notice (but can’t seem to find) an article that outright accuses the Trump administration of being taken over by Southern/Confederate sympathizers. But more importantly, I believe that Southern IDEOLOGY filled the vacuum of that left behind by the Puritanical New England government and a proud, stubborn, independent people chock full of resistance is the LAST thing the the good people like David Brooks want to replace cucked New Englanders with. Which is why his is taking a Tikkum Olam approach to resurrecting the New England Puritans with a few self-serving improvements, of course.

    • Oh, and Hunter, it may be THIS reason why Disqus is shutting you down. I suspect your humble little blog may not have made you a boatload of cash, but it was very effective in spreading Southern ideology.

      They are scared shitless that Americans are going to remember that, before there was this Constitution that our politicians keep using as toilet paper, there were the Articles of the CONFEDERACY and that long before there WAS a formal Confederacy, EVERY single state in the Union was a CONFEDERATE, hahaha.

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