The most reputable White Nationalist organisation in America today is undoubtedly American Renaissance, a professional and well-funded outfit, led by a well-spoken southerner named Jared Taylor, and with contributors including the alt-right leader Richard Spencer.
On the banner at the top of its website Amren (as it is abbreviated) displays a quote by the founding father, Thomas Jefferson – “There is a not truth existing that I would not wish known to the whole world”. (The ‘truth’ Amren uses this quote to refer to, incidentally, is the existence of racial differences; in particular, the realities of white superiority over Africans).
It is revealing that Jefferson is the figure this group chooses to quote as a foretaste of its agenda. Though commonly held by the dull masses to be an icon of progressivism and liberal civilisation, Jefferson was in reality a quite demonic figure, a slave-owning sexual predator who lived a life of Caligulan luxury at the expense of hundreds of innocent captives.
Jefferson was fundamentally a bigot. His recorded opinions on race are so explicitly unpleasant in fact that even Amren would probably deem it incautious to quote them today without qualification. They prefer to imply, with a wink and nudge, that he is on their side. He is their man. And they’re right. He is.
Benjamin Franklin was also a racist, perhaps an even more fanatical example than Jefferson. Washington and Hamilton, too, thought it entirely acceptable to create a country tolerant of widespread slavery, rape, ethnic cleansing and disciplinary mutilation. These were not, to put it mildly, good people. And this is why when morally gruesome white nationalists parade in American cities demanding that ‘their’ country be returned to the vision of its founders, they are displaying historical literacy, not ignorance. America as it has become, a multiracial, internationally-minded, cosmopolitan paella, is not what the founders wanted or envisioned. Indeed, they would be shocked by it were they reanimated to witness it today.
The America of the founders, that of the slave-owners’ constitution – we will call it Jeffersonian America – was designed to be an Anglo-Saxon republic based on extreme moral flexibility, pompous hypocrisy and rigid racial hierarchy. It was not the humanitarian, internationalist America of Emma Lazarus. Indeed, it is its antithesis. And it is the conflict between these two visions that is boiling over as I write.
Jeffersonian America cannot coexist with Lazarusian America. One must prevail over the other, or else they must split into two different entities.
On the last 4th of July, a larger number of African-Americans than ever before publically objected to the celebration, noting that this date meant nothing to them, since their ancestors were still enslaved when independence was won. Before this, a school founded by Thomas Jefferson himself found itself embroiled in controversy when a public address by the school’s principal quoted the founding father approvingly. Students, many but not all of them African-American, described it as being in bad taste to quote Sally Hemings’ rapist, and the oppressor of hundreds of others, in such a positive voice. In the aftermath of the violence in Charlottesville, President Donald Trump quite reasonably defended the existence of confederate monuments on the grounds that Thomas Jefferson and George Washington are still widely venerated. And at an earlier press conference about Trump’s proposed change in US immigration policy, a White House spokesman intimated, after Emma Lazarus’s poem was explicitly referenced by a pro-immigration journalist, that this poem is a relatively recent addition to the American worldview. These rumblings, and there have been many others, are symptomatic of a growing realisation in the American psyche that the Jeffersonian and the Lazarusian are increasingly in conflict with one another.
Lazarusian America is the America of New York liberalism, of Bill Maher, MSNBC and Hollywood; of America as an idea, a refuge for the oppressed minorities of the world, free of the savage eccentricities and antiquated bigotries of history.
Jeffersonian America is the America of Jared Taylor, Sean Hannity, Samuel Huntingdon and Pat Buchanan; of white supremacy, paternalistic oppression of non-whites, suspicion of Jews and suppression of the energies and potential of women.
On the incompatibility between the two, ideological liberals remain unquestionably the most deluded. It is easy to find liberals willing to overlook or make light of the evils of the founding fathers. In fact, a majority of liberals are willing to do this. But as recent events have shown, they cannot do this indefinitely. The clash must happen. It is going to happen. And it is going to be catastrophic in its fallout.
It is, of course, understandable that people on the left prefer to overlook the realities of America’s founding intentions and personalities. Liberals naturally feel that acknowledging that Jefferson and Franklin were bad people would lend credibility to the other side. It would be to concede that Lazarusian America is a recent invention, a betrayal of the original design. But truth is truth. And truth will always find a way to reassert itself.
Sally Hemings is not going away any time soon. The hundreds of penetrations she was forced to endure by the ‘author of America’ will never be wiped from history. The cleansing of the Indians will never be forgotten, either, nor will the branding irons and slave breeding farms.
If Lazarusian America is to triumph then liberals must first acknowledge that the original characteristics of America, together with the scoundrels who embodied or excused them, are not to be celebrated but transcended.
A good America is possible. But the evils of its birth and infancy must be decisively rejected. If they are not, then Sally Hemings, and all the other unerasable skeletons in its closet, will return in spirit to rip the fraud to pieces.
(Please share my writing. It would mean a lot.)