The New Dark Age, Part Two

In the short run, European Americans have been the losers, and government--not blacks or women--has been the big winner in the minority privilege sweepstakes. This will be true, even if the concept of reparations is, as seems inevitable, accepted as the logical conclusion, which it is, of the civil rights movement. If you are looking for someone to blame for the riots that destroy American cities, you might start with President Eisenhower, and his cadre of smug Republicans, who were willing to violate constitutional law and common sense in order to promote policies that made them proud of themselves. Without their high-minded social reforms, the concept of reparations would be laughed out of court and off the continent.

There is, of course, no valid “legal” claim to historical reparations, in the sense of Anglo-American or Roman law. The Promises made after the War by Union officials were, in effect, so much meat dangled before the noses of hungry creatures. General Sherman, who actually wanted to own slaves after the war, had no legal or constitutional right to promise ex-slaves either land or mules, and his illegal acts were overturned (as he knew they would be) after the war. He was no more competent to make a guarantee of reparations than I would be today.

The historical and legal claims against corporations that benefited (whether in fantasy or reality) from slavery are no better, but it is a wonderful sign of the times that guiltless people can be held responsible for the presumed crimes of their ancestors and predecessors. The fathers have drunk sour wine, and the teeth of the sons have been set on edge. As a moral and ethical principle, this saying was rejected by the prophets and by Christ. As a fact of life, it cannot be entirely eliminated. Men and women who swap mates or take drugs have children who will pay the price for the parents' sins. And there was a time, even in America, when the children of robber barons and gangsters could not pay their way into decent society.

Consider the hypothetical case of a crooked Chicago lawyer who begins his career by doing business for the Capone mob, goes on to use his connections to get his hooks into the Teamsters pension funds, and then invests his low-interest loans into legitimate business activities. His children inherit, let us say, a business empire based on resort properties, but the money reeks of blood and crime, no matter how many times it is laundered. Donations to the Chicago Symphony or the Art Institute would not alter the case. To be moral human beings, the children would have to give at least some of their money to the children of the cheated teamsters.

In modern America, such a moral concept sounds absurd, precisely because we are incapable of any moral reasoning that does not reduce all ethical and political questions to individuals and the state. Neither Marxists nor Misesians can consider the moral significance of families and kin-groups. We have “liberated” married women from their husbands and children from their parents, and we wonder why the institution of the family is crumbling. We even liberate retired people from their children and grandchildren by sending them the social security checks that enable them to move to a dreary trailer park where the sun shines bright, even in January, deep in the heart of Texas, Arizona, or Florida. The children owe nothing to the parents who put them on this earth, and the parents are free to squander their children's inheritance. If we can owe nothing o earlier generations of our own family, how can we owe something to the descendants of masters and slaves who have no connection with us?

The only conservative response to the collapse of “family values” has been to propose tax remedies to strengthen the nuclear family. The proposals, some of which may be good in themselves, do not address the problem. The nuclear family is an artificial and hypothetical construct based on the very concept of the individual that has destroyed family life. A family, according to the ideology of conservative individualists, consists of the more or less permanent bond between man and wife, parents and children. Grandparents, aunts, and uncles are welcome additions to a family gathering, but they are not included in the essential definition. If the family of 3 and one half individuals gets into trouble, either because the children run wild or because some government busybody disapproves of spanking or homeschooling, the only recourse is to hire a lawyer or call upon a pro-family organization to take up the case. A grandfather or uncle who attempted to lend a hand, would quickly find himself in serious difficulties.

The nuclear family is a highly fragile social construction. Parents who wish to bring up Christian children in an anti-Christian world soon realize that the odds are against them. The anti-Christian American regime can mobilize all the vast forces of schooling (public and private), the media, and popular culture--to say nothing of the law and the police--in service of its ideology. Parents faced with a child running bad, once upon a time, might have sent him out to granddaddy’s farm to work off his energy or locked him in his room at night or, failing all else, give up the foolish project of sparing the rod. Any of these strategies, if applied today, could land the parents in jail.

A husband and wife, even if they are heroic parents who have kicked in their television set and moved to the country, and even if they spend their available time teaching their children Latin at home and dragging them to church twice a week, begin to realize that, if they rely strictly on their own resources, they are going to lose a certain number of their kids, if only temporarily, to the mass culture. So they form home-schooling groups or even start a school in conjunction with their church. These are excellent things to do, but I have watched with my own eyes as well brought-up teenage girls, although their parents have deeply involved them wholesome and instructive activities, who begin painting their faces and hitching up their skirts to show off their legs. Before long they are meeting 30 year old men on the internet and, still worse, asserting their rights to privacy and the delusion that, in rebelling against who and what they are, they are becoming their "own person."

A couple of dozen grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins might be able to surround such a child with the affection, ridicule, and discipline that will preserve her from harm until she reaches the age of reason, which in America these days is some time after 30, though that figure may be an impossible dream..

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Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

12 Responses

  1. Clyde Wilson says:

    Up until the time when Southern society was destroyed by invasion, African Americans were net gainers, not losers from that society.

  2. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Even today, when vast amounts of wealth and medical technology are poured into West Africa, the inhabitants have a life expectancy of ten years lower than African Americans in the US.

  3. Sam Dickson says:

    I want an ethnostate. If the zionists are entitled to an ethnostate in the Middle East, I believe that “equality” gives White Europeans an equal moral claim to a state of our own.

    So I am primarily concerned with what is good for my own people more so than what is good for other peoples. (Robert E. Lee expressed this same idea in a letter to one of his sons as the War was coming down. He said he was against slavery…because it was bad for White people and especially for White working people. As a Christian he was sympathetic to Blacks but his own people came first. ) As the old saying goes, “Charity begins at home.” There’s nothing wrong with loving your own son more than your neighbor’s son or some unknown person’s son in Haiti. And there’s nothing wrong with reasonably favoring your own race and ethnic group over groups genetically farther away from you.

    That said, I have grist for the Wilson-Fleming mill, to-wit:

    Zora Neale Hurston, acclaimed as the first big-time African American novelista, is the subject of a ceaseless series of books that get spotlighted by favorable reviews every 6 months or so in The NY Times.

    Hurston is not only a major figure in the Black pantheon, she’s double-loaded. She qualifies as a woman too. This double ranking puts her very high up in the Liberal Food Chain.

    Ms. Hurston said at least 2 inexcusably “racist” things of which I am aware. (She probably said more but I don’t know them.)

    1. Ms. Hurston on slavery: “Slavery was the price we paid for civilization.”

    2. Ms. Hurston also opposed the Brown vs. Topeka Board decision that launched the 2nd Noble Experiment, desegregation.

    Unlike Prohibition, the 1st “Noble Experiment” (Herbert Hoover’s kind label for Prohibition as its failures became more and more painfully evident) there is no scientific evidence to support the theory behind desegregation (subsequent repackaged as “integration”, “multi-culturalism”, “diversity” as each label became successively tainted with failures).

    The theory was that if you mixed White and Black children in the schools, the academic performance gap would close. Blacks would come to get equal scores with White kids because, after all, the races supposedly had been proven by “scientific evidence” (actually just a politically motivated statement by a collection of left-wing scientists 1/3 of whom were behind the Iron Curtain) to be absolutely equal in average intellectual capacity.

    Mixing the races as the solution for unequal achievement was intended kindly by most (not all) of those who promoted it and sold it to the Supreme Court and to the people at large.

    Unfortunately, the promised results have not come in.

    No legitimate studies exist that have shown that mixing the races ever raised Blacks IQ scores, SAT scores or scores on other objective tests.

    We have poured hundreds of billions and perhaps trillions of dollars into the 2nd Noble Experiment with a determined blindness toward the data.

    If anyone doubts that what I say is true, ask yourself:

    If studies existed showing, for instance, that 5 years after the most comprehensive busing plan in the entire country was forced onto the school systems in Charlotte, N.C., and its environs, Black students had closed the gaps by a significant %, wouldn’t the System have ballyhooed the results? Surely Dan Rather would have had a feature on the good news on his 60 Minutes. The NY Times would have given center stage to such results in its Sunday magazine section.

    But neither Rather nor The Times did so…for the simple reason that there is no such data.

    Zora Neale Hurston was right.

    She was right about slavery.

    She was right about Brown vs. Topeka.

    If she were alive today – especially if she were not Black – the flesh would be stripped from her bones with white hot tongs for making such blasphemous statements that sin against the secular religion.

  4. Andrew G Van Sant says:

    Social Entropy overcoming Social Darwinism?

  5. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    On the strength of reading much of what ZNH wrote, I would suggest that it is not entirely fair to “instrumentalist” a dead writer by putting together a few statements. She was a curious women, driven more by affections and loyalties than by politics of race. She once rejected anti-white rhetoric by saying most of the good that had come her way had been favors from white people. She also rebuffed people who said she should not degrade herself by doing maid work for white women. In her eyes, work was worthy.

    ZNH grew up in an all-black town where her father was mayor. She took an intense interest in all sorts of cultural expressions of Africans in the New Wold. She writes with great affection about her people and shakes her head sadly about their shortcomings and self-destructive attitudes, “My people,” she would say, “my people.” When I contemplate the pettiness, cowardice, willful ignorance of my fellow Euro-Americans, I find myself quoting the good lady, “My people, my people.”

    Except of course there is no people. Skin color and other inherited traits are hardly sufficient to keep French and German Europeans along the Rhine from murdering each other several times a century or prevent Catholics and Protestants from treating each other like brute beasts beneath contempt. I feel no fellowship with the late RBG or the Bushes or the fans of Brad Pitt or the degraded subhuman specimens who continue to give the NFL their money.

    The Byzantine Empire had a variety of subjects and languages: Greeks and Italians, Armenians, Persians, Syrians, and Slavs. What unity they managed to achieve was rooted in the Greek language and cultural traditions, Roman law, and the Orthodox Church. Since we have destroyed all our own commonalities–of religion, literature and music, moral assumptions, and even the English tongue–twith nothing but mass culture to tie us together, we are unified only in the structures of late capitalism and find fellowship only in our common degeneracy. To imagine there is such a thing as a community of American whites is not the worst imaginable dream but it is many times more improbable than the aspirations summed up in the cry, “The South Shall Rise Again.”

  6. Clyde Wilson says:

    And Hurston was a very fine writer–a contributor to the Southern literature which was the height of cultural achievement in 20th century America. And she had courage, unlike almost all the “culture” leaders today.

  7. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Very true. I think a good deal of her achievement stems from her exuberant openness and capacity for appreciation.

  8. Robert Reavis says:

    Your observation about the extended family is so true and obvious as to seem obscure today but the dungeons that have grown up around the secular state’s child welfare system is almost a Dickensian opposite. A placement outside the home with a relative of a minor child whose parents have been murdered, or because parents abandoned the child for drugs, money or incarceration should always be preferred to the secular state’s willingness to take charge. But truth be told after your generation of grandparents die and are no more the alternatives will be fewer and fewer.

    ” A couple of dozen grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins might be able to surround such a child with the affection, ridicule, and discipline that will preserve her from harm until she reaches the age of reason, which in America these days is some time after 30, though that figure may be an impossible dream..

  9. Vince Cornell says:

    Many of the aunts, uncles, and grandparents today are committed entirely to hedonism as the only way of life. Instead of helping a family trying to raise decent children, they can often be part of the problem. “You take that religion stuff too seriously!” “Just let boys be boys.” “There’s nothing wrong with a girl trying to get a boys attention.” . . . etc. The only real values that many extended family members seem to want to ensure gets passed down is a proper passion for sports (college or professional) and the understanding that taking the Lord’s Name in vain isn’t a very big deal.

    It’s very much a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation for parents with very little to call upon to help them try to raise sane, moral children. Parents have to be more than heroes. They really have to strive to be saints. Saints, that is, with the cunning of the serpent mixed in with the innocence of the dove – not Hallmark niceties crowned with Thomas Kinkade halos.

  10. Andrew G Van Sant says:

    It is hard to maintain family ties when everyone wants to move to someplace that they think provides better opportunities. It seems to be an American passion established by colonists and immigrants. We all come from people who were looking for something better.

  11. Ben says:

    To S.D. : That eth-no-state stuff is a bunch of baloney. Mr.Heiner is the fine result of, I don’t even like to say it, let’s say human fusion. I’ll go to American unRenaissance if I wanted that nonsense, please.

    There’s only one utopia and that’s from where about which nobody ever seems to come back to complain… isn’t that why they say Rest In Peace?? And who is this They?!