I agree with everything in Christopher Donovan’s blog on Bradlaugh’s take on the AmRen cancellation. But a couple of things Bradlaugh wrote stick in my craw. It used to be that Jews complained about genteel anti-Semites. Now we have people like Bradlaugh who spout genteel philo-Semitism: He complains about “the antisemitism of the AR followers, which rubs me the wrong way. I fall in line with the long tradition of British philosemitism (Cromwell, Victoria, Lloyd George, Maggie Thatcher), and just have no patience with the other thing.” He could have included Winston Churchill who was philo-Semitic to the point of corruption.
It seems to me that anyone writing on politics has a responsibility to write honestly about the various forces that influence public policy. For Bradlaugh, it’s simply not genteel to discuss embarrassing things like Jewish power. I suppose Mearshimer and Walt rub him the wrong way as well. I had this to say about John Derbyshire, Bradlaugh’s alter ego:
Derbyshire is, apart from some minor irritations, quite uncritical about Jewish motives and influence, even when they conflict with the interests of people like himself. He implies that non-Jews should understand Jewish motivation to break down the ethnic homogeneity of their own societies while advancing the interests of Israel as an ethnostate. … Derbyshire lives in a sort of childlike world in which Jewish interests are legitimate and where Jewish attempts to pursue their interests, though they may occasionally be irritating, are not really a cause for concern much less malice. It doesn’t require an evolutionary theory to realize that good, reasonable people can have conflicts of interest, and that the results of conflicts of interest can be devastating to the side that loses.
I think that Bradlaugh’s problem is that he sees himself as genteel and that being genteel is a very good thing. (Definition: 1. Refined in manner; well-bred and polite. 2. Free from vulgarity or rudeness. 3. Elegantly stylish: genteel manners and appearance. 4. a. Striving to convey a manner or appearance of refinement and respectability. See Synonyms at polite. b. Marked by affected and somewhat prudish refinement.)
He seems very impressed with good manners, a well-rounded education, and being polite. Genteel people simply don’t discuss Jewish power and influence for fear of offending the Jews. In the same way, genteel people would not want to offend others by calling attention to their garish clothes. To do so would make one impolite and vulgar and therefore consign one to a lower order of society.
His gentility is probably also why he doesn’t resonate with AmRen’s “ethos of the South, which I don’t really … get. I wonder if a foreigner ever can get it. It’s as odd and particular, in its own way, as Tibetan Buddhism.”
The reality is that White Southerners are by far the largest identifiable group of White Americans who have held onto their culture and identity in the face of the onslaughts of the last 50 years. The White vote for Obama was nearly in the single digits in three southern states, and lopsidedly Republican in the others. White Southerners understand, at least implicitly, that it’s about racial and ethnic conflict. As the racialization of American politics continues, all Whites will tend even more in this direction. (The recent election in Massachusetts certainly supports this). Conservatives who think they can take back the country without Southern Whites are seriously deluded.
Bradlaugh’s gentility also leads him to entirely avoid framing the issue in ethnic or racial terms at all:
My own strong preference, as I argued in that debate with Jared, would be for everybody to shut up with the race business. There doesn’t seem to be much prospect of this happening, though, so it’s not hard to see the AR-ers point of view. In any case, I say again, whatever you think of that point of view, it’s a point of view. It shouldn’t be shut out of the public square; and if it is so shut out, by goons phoning in death threats to hotel employees, there ought to be a fuss made. Well, here I am on Secular Right, making a fuss as best I can. Freedom of speech! Freedom of assembly! Liberty! Liberty!
This is “proposition conservatism” at its finest. If only people would stop talking about racial and ethnic conflict, then we could frame everything in terms of principles like free speech without soiling ourselves like the AR crowd. For people like Bradlaugh, massive immigration would presumably be fine if the immigrants were all principled people like himself.
The reality, of course, is that whether or not we talk about it, racial and ethnic conflict will continue. There is no other possible outcome given that 100 million more non-Whites are to be added to the population of the US in the next few decades.
The bottom line is that no one has come up with a formula to get rid of ethnicity as a form of identity and as a vehicle of expressing interests. None seems on the horizon. And in the process of losing the ethnic battle, the society will be less and less committed to Bradlaugh’s cherished principles because, in the end, the principles of free speech, individual liberty, and the rest of the corpus of Western individualism are ethnic creations.
But people like Bradlaugh are more willing to lose the ethnic battle than to become anything less than genteel by mentioning the ethnic conflict that is at the heart of the political divisions in the US. It just wouldn’t seem proper.