One of the things that has always been true about America is that you never question someone’s patriotism unless you have strong evidence. Part of this is due to the immigrant back story of most Americans, but a bigger part is the fragmented nature of the country. Patriotism is the glue that holds the American Nations together. Different groups from different regions stick together because of a common national creed. This also works across class lines. The rich, the middle and the poor are equally patriotic.
One result of this has been a desire by leaders to not look like fops. Politicians, businessmen, even generals, have always done the every-man act in order to seem like one of the folks. We do not have a hereditary class, but we do have rich people. Rather than a rigid class system, the rich make sure to let the lower classes know they have the same duty to the country as everyone else. This soul and soil nationalism, rather than blood and soil, is what binds the social classes and the regional cultures together. At least it used too.
That is certainly not the way things are now. Our cultural and political leaders go out of their way to signal their hostility to the lower classes. In fact, it has become so common for our betters to sneer at us, they are competing with one another to prove just how much they hate Americans. Of course, they mean white Americans. The swarthy recent imports are the best, but the old stock, well, they are the worst, according to the people claiming to represent us. It really is remarkable just how much they detest us.
A commenter on Steve Sailer’s blog asked, in response to this David Brooks column, “Has there ever been another time in American history when American elites felt this comfortable expressing such open contempt and hatred for their fellow citizens?” It is a good question. Certainly, elites from some sections have hated the people of other sections. Virginia gentry, prior to the Civil War, thought the goobers from West Virginia were worst than Indians. New Englanders hate the South. Everyone hates Cleveland.
What we are seeing today is different. It is a public hatred directed at the fundamental nature of America, and by extension, Americans. Here is an example from Bill Kristol in response to an immigration segment on Fox News. What Kristol is arguing is that Americans, as in current citizens, have no right to discuss immigration policy. It is immoral for us to say anything about it. On the other hand, non-Americans, people not currently citizens, have a moral duty to cross the border and settle in your neighborhood.
Kristol is hardly alone. It is not strictly a Jewish thing either. Lyndsey Graham is not Jewish, as far as anyone knows. He no longer thinks America should exist. He denies that the current citizens have any right to exist whatsoever. Granted, he is a shrieking hysteric, prone to hyperbole, but there is only one way to interpret what he is saying. Being an American is no longer permissible. In fact, the underlying rationale of the open borders side is that the current Americans are just no good and need to be replaced.
Now, this turn in elite opinion has been a long time coming. In the Clinton years, suddenly comfortable Boomers started buying McMansions and pretending they were too good for the hoi polloi in flyover country. Progressive politics moved away from the bread and butter economic issues and onto esoteric identity politics. This snootiness was most apparent when the Left went to war on Walmart. Once Progressives stopped pretending to like normal Americans, the so-called Conservatives joined them.
Elites have always had a disdain for the lower classes. This has been true at all times and all places. Elites have also always had a duty to look out for the interests of the lower classes. The ruling class may not have liked the people over whom they ruled, but they were duty bound to look out for them and keep their opinions to themselves. What is happening in modern America is the ruling class is rejecting their duty to their fellow citizen, because they have contempt for the very notion that we are their fellow citizens.
There really is no example from history where the ruling class revolted and declared war on its subjects. That is where we are today in America. When Trump gave his State of the Union, most of the people in the building hated him because he holds onto the old fashioned belief that the American government should serve the American people. As far as they are concerned, he’s not just a class traitor, he is insane. After all, why would anyone think the people in charge have any responsibility to the rabble?
It used to be that “un-American” meant counter to the American system and the American creed. The people charged with policing that were the people in charge. Today, being un-American is a badge of honor for the people in charge. A US Congressman actually fled the building when the crowd started in with a patriotic chant during Trump’s address to Congress. You can be sure he was the toast of the city, a hero to his coevals in the political class. Bizarre as it sounds, America is a country now ruled by un-Americans.