I’ve already explained why I disagree with the anti-Christian White Nationalists and the antiracist Christians. We live in a time that is uniquely dominated by the cult of “antiracism” and this has clouded the views of both of those groups. We are living through a distinct phase of Western history. This malaise and self hatred and rejection of tradition by our elites came out of the World Wars.
There is another misguided belief that I want to address. This is the belief that having the perfect ideology or the perfect religion would have saved us. Everything that went wrong with America is the fault of the Founders. The problem with this worldview is that it ignores everything that has happened between our time and their time. It also ignores the fact that America has never been isolated from the world.
The truth is that America has always been closely plugged into the rest of the Western world. The rise of evangelical Christianity in the Great Awakening had parallels in Britain and Germany. The Whig ideology which became so popular in the colonies and inspired the American Revolution came straight from the Commonwealthmen. The Founders were influenced by the Enlightenment. The process only continued in the Early Republic and antebellum era when Americans were influenced by Romanticism. We’ve already seen how George Bancroft came up with the idea that it was America’s destiny to perfect liberalism and spread it across the world because he sat in Hegel’s classroom.
The United States was a cultural satellite of Britain through the Victorian era down to the early 20th century. We followed Britain’s lead in literature and the abolitionist movement. We followed Britain’s lead in embracing liberalism and laissez-faire capitalism. We followed Britain’s lead in white supremacy, racialism and eugenics. We followed Britain’s lead when we created our own blue water navy and our own insular American Empire in the Pacific, Central America and the Caribbean. The United States gained formal independence from Britain during the American Revolution, but didn’t gain effective economic independence from Britain until the Confederacy lost the Civil War.
The United States followed Britain and the rest of the West in being disrupted by all the intellectual trends and fads of the late 19th century. We were also something of a laggard in this respect. Christianity, for example, certainly held out for much longer here than it did elsewhere. America eventually developed a secularized professional elite, but not as fast as Western Europe. Americans were also introduced to Marxism, socialism and anarchism, but all of these movements fell on less fertile soil here. America also had its reckoning with the ideas of Darwin, Nietzsche and Freud, but somewhat later than other Western countries. Nietzsche and Freud were popularized in America in the 1910s and 1920s.
In a curious exchange of ideas, Franz Boas brought the German school of cultural anthropology to the United States. America helped to export Nordicism and eugenics to Germany. America followed the rest of Western culture off the cliff into modernism in the early 20th century. This intellectual and cultural movement has its origins in late 19th century France. It spread across Europe before it arrived here in the 1910s and became dominant in the 1920s. It was also France that largely developed postmodernism and spread it across Europe before it also crossed the Atlantic and took root in American universities. The “counter culture” of the 1960s was nothing but modernism reaching a critical mass here. It had been percolating down from our cultural elites since the 1920s. Feminism was also developed in Western Europe before it was exported here. The “New Woman” was a creation of modernism.
Even though the United States was largely unscathed by the World Wars, it also absorbed and internalized the trauma that came out of that conflict, which sent European culture into its present malaise. Americans didn’t develop “antiracism” or “anti-fascism” or anti-nationalism. The triumph of these ideas had everything to do with the context of the unprecedented catastrophe that was the World Wars. The biggest mistake that Americans made was internalizing the assumption that we were culturally backward and needed to develop world class universities which is why the Rockefeller Foundation was so eager to bankroll and import the Frankfurt School and other groups of European intellectuals who were fleeing from fascism. When the CIA embraced modernism, it did so to court Western European elites.
In sum, there is no perfect ideology or perfect religion which could have saved us. The United States has always been immersed in the larger Western culture. American elites have always uncritically swallowed and digested the latest and most fashionable European intellectual trends. This country has always moved in sync with the rest of the West. Every generation has been plugged into what is going on abroad in Europe like when the Doughboys brought back the blowjob from France or when some of the most influential writers of the Lost Generation spent the 1920s in Paris and the south of France.
Cultural historians divide American history into two large epochs. There was the Victorian era when we were a cultural satellite of Great Britain which lasted down until World War I. Since the 1920s, American culture has “reunified” with Western European culture, which is our current epoch. Insofar as this country has ever had its own ideas (the White Republic is a uniquely American idea), it has largely tended to abandon them to emulate fashionable intellectual trends coming out of Europe.
Americans once had a stable and coherent identity around the year 1900. The same was true of all Western nations. The mess that has been made our identity since then has also happened in all Western countries and is the product of the World Wars and all the terrible ideas of the late 19th and early 20th century.