In 1964 Ronald Reagan gave what used to be a famous speech on behalf of Barry Goldwater. It came to be called A Time for Choosing. If you watch it today, it is quite jarring for a couple of reasons. One is the aggressive, almost angry style Reagan used while delivering it. The other is the clarity of it. There was no dancing around the topic or soft-selling the arguments. Reagan was making the point that the nation was at a crossroads and the decision would determine the nature of America forever.
Whatever you might think about Reagan, he was right about many things. At the time he was giving that speech, the nation truly was at a crossroads. It is not unreasonable to argue that the decisions made in that period sent America careening down the path that led us to the current crisis. It is remarkable just how horrible the 1960’s were for America and the West. The dawn of the Baby Boomer era of America started awful and just got worse every decade since, but the general direction was set in the late 1960’s.
An interesting aspect is that there have been chances to retrace our steps and fix the mistakes of the past. Reagan is the obvious example. If in 1964 the presidential election had been a narrow run thing for the Democrats, that may have been enough for Republicans to fight them in the kulturkampf that followed. Maybe it would have made little difference, but a major reason the Buckley Right has been so cowardly and pathetic over the last fifty years is they got their brains beat in during the 1960’s culture war.
A dozen years later, the Right had a chance to make up for it and nominate Reagan in 1976, but those old cucks from the previous decade prevented it. Still, they were overwhelmed in 1980 and Reagan went on to beat Carter. The GOP and conservatives had a great opportunity to rollback much of the damage done to the nation in the 1960’s, but they chose to fight the Cold War instead. Maybe that was the right thing, but imagine if Reagan had rolled back the welfare state, instead of modernizing the military.
The end of the Cold War set off a set of reactions by the political class that have shaped and defined the current crisis. Imagine if Reagan’s populism was more like Trump’s and instead of an amnesty and open borders policy, with a generous welfare state, we got a closed borders policy and greatly reduced welfare state. If the Soviets had staggered on for another generation unchallenged, the West would probably be poorer now, but it would be immensely whiter, more chauvinistic and better prepared for what’s coming.
In fairness to the men making these decisions in the 1980’s, they did not know what we know today. Reagan certainly had a sense of it with regards to immigration. He later called the immigration deal the biggest mistake of his presidency. Still, with regards to prioritizing the Cold War over all else, no one could know that the neocons were curdling into an ethnocentric suicide cult and the end of the Cold War would free them to indulge in all of their fantasies, at the expense of the nation. No one can see around corners.
The point of all this is every age faces a series of crossroads that have something in common. That is what defines the age. Our current age is a series of decisions about demographics. It is why so many of us on the Dissident Right no longer have patience with civic nationalists. That’s a debate of the past. Demographics, race, ethnicity and identity are the debates of the now. The choices people are making will define this era and define the choices for the next era, barring an unexpected collapse of civilization.
You can see the little choices forming up. The loathing of bad whites by Yankeedom has now curdled into a bizarre hatred of whites in general by Progressive whites. Nancy Pelosi spent eight hours speaking on the House floor, about how the future belongs to the swarthy others over the horizon. One of the stunning developments in my lifetime has been the lurch into naked, gleeful hatred of white people by the Left. It turns out that Obama was not just about Progressive spite. It was a warning about what comes next.
On the other side of this are those sensible white people who are now waking up to the demographic reality facing them. Some voted for Trump based on economics. Some voted for him because of habit. They just vote Republican. Still others voted for him because they oppose evil and that meant voting against Clinton. There are a million reasons Trump won, but the result was a re-framing of the choices facing white Americans. It’s no longer about liberal and conservative. It is about Team White versus Team Brown.
A lot of us see the choices shaping up and lament that it has come to this. “If only the Republicans had blocked immigration reform in the 80’s!” John Derbyshire once said that future generations will dig up the bones of the people who opened the borders and smash them to bits. There is some temporary solace in pondering what if and cursing the mistakes of the past, but that does not change the present. We are headed to the majority-minority world faster than our acceptance of it can keep pace.
The choice now is accept this reality, or continue to live in the past.