What Do You Mean, `We'?
by Anton Chaitkin
Who Are We?—The Challenges to America's National Identity
by Samuel P. Huntington
New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004
428 pages, Hardbound, $27.00
The latest book from Samuel Huntington attempts to open a new front in the fear-driven perpetual-war scenario of Vice President Dick Cheney, Attorney General John Ashcroft and their faction. The author acknowledges that the Smith Richardson Foundation and other far-right funding sources have paid to produce this book, the same sources which back the Cheneyites, and sponsor Huntington's Harvard University professorship.
Huntington's 1996 The Clash of Civilizations sought to derange the public mind to accept war between the West and Islam as inevitable. With this sequel, Who Are We?, he promotes a "white nativist movement," to be herded with panic and hatred against the proposed new enemy image: Hispanics, particularly Mexican immigrants.
Doubting that the spectre of Osama bin Laden—"if we do not experience renewed attacks"—will keep Americans in line behind the Cheney agenda, Huntington announces that a supposed "Anglo-Protestant culture" is the country's historic national identity. This wholly concocted identity is then said to be mortally threatened by Catholic Mexican hordes coming across the border. Here is the geometry for a new theater of the Cheney-Rumsfeld war, throughout the Western Hemisphere.
The title asks, "Who Are We?" The author presents the viewpoint of the Tory enemies of the American Revolution, the Anglophile-"blueblood" plantation slaveowners, Boston Brahmins and Wall Street bankers—Huntington's own British imperial faction—and calls this America's national identity!
The book's argument for this travesty has so many obvious fabrications, and such shallow and tortured misuses of historical material, that the most notable feature of its publication is the polite, if "critical," response from the political and academic mucketymucks.
This book must be viewed in the sequence of Huntington's pro-fascist productions, from his 1957 The Soldier and the State, which complained that the World War II aim of victory over Axis Germany and Japan hindered the anti-Russian "balance-of-power" objective; to the 1970s Trilateral Commission study, "The Crisis of Democracy," where he demanded Hitler-Schacht austerity instead of the Constitutional republic ("A government ... committed to substantial domestic programs will have little ability, short of cataclysmic crisis, to impose on its people the sacrifices which may be necessary to deal with foreign policy problems and defense... We have come to recognize that there are potentially desirable limits to economic growth. There are also potentially desirable limits to the indefinite extension of political democracy"); to his later racist provocations against Muslims, and now Hispanics.
But it is the crude, unblushing falsification which is most shocking in the present volume.
Those gentlemanly reviewers who debate this and that nicety of nuance with Samuel Huntington may be awed by his status as national-security advisor to the fanatics and miscreants who, for the moment, run America's government. But they might recover their scruples by recalling that in 1986 and 1987, Huntington was repeatedly rejected for membership in the National Academy of Sciences, when he was exposed as a cheap pseudoscientist.
Yale mathematics professor Serge Lang challenged Huntington's book, Political Order In Changing Societies, in which, among other nonsense, South Africa under racial apartheid was classified as a "satisfied society," with a purported social-science study of the matter as a reference. A heated controversy ensued. Huntington was quoted in the New Republic responding that "satisfaction" described "the fact that the people for some reason are not protesting [the regime]. When this study ... was made in the early sixties, there had been no major riots, strikes or disturbances in [South Africa]." Lang assembled a 50-page list of clashes in South Africa—such as the famous Sharpeville Massacre of March 21, 1960—and sent copies of his meticulous indictment of the netted liar to each of the Academy's hundreds of members, who twice rejected Huntington's nomination in secret balloting.
Lying As a Way of Life
In Who Are We?, Huntington portrays America as a traditionally racist society, supposedly always allied to British imperialism; he thus seeks to make the bestial Bush-Cheney-Blair axis appear natural rather than a usurpation.
To buttress this fraud, he drops the names of many past U.S. leaders, with brief comments or paraphrases designed to misrepresent the named individual as having views exactly contrary to his real beliefs, but in line with Huntington's own ravings.
For example, referring to the case in which Georgia slaveowners demanded the murderous removal of Indians from ancestral land guaranteed to them by U.S. treaty, Huntington writes (page 54): "In connection with the Indian removals, the Supreme Court, in an opinion by Chief Justice John Marshall, held that ... individual Indians were not eligible for American citizenship unless they explicitly detached themselves from the tribe and integrated themselves into American society." These words are taken from Marshall's decision in the 1831 case, Cherokee Nation vs the State of Georgia. This was in its day very famous. But apparently Huntington hopes people today are so ignorant they will not know what Marshall decided—that under U.S. law the Indians' rights must be protected. By not telling the reader about this, he can try to make it appear that John Marshall was in Huntington's racist faction. In fact, people in Marshall's day were outraged that the Supreme Court's honorable decision was openly disobeyed by President Andrew Jackson, who ordered the army to forcibly remove the Indians from Georgia, killing thousands on the "Trail of Tears."
Lying on religion, Huntington declares (page 76) that the American "Revolution ... was grounded in the Great Awakening" [the 1730s-1740s religious-revival irrationalist frenzy] and greatly shaped by it.... The Awakening's charismatic evangelist, Whitfield ... was the first truly American public figure.... It was the first unifying experience for Americans ...." He then (page 77) viciously misuses John Adams (President 1797-1801): " 'The Revolution,' John Adams observed in 1818, 'was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations.' " But Adams, in the cited letter, says nothing remotely connected to religious revivals; he is describing how the American public went from praying for the King and his government, when they deserved it, to the opposite, "when they found [England] a cruel bedlam, willing like Lady Macbeth, to 'dash their brains out.' " Throughout the book, Huntington similarly tries to equate the pro-human Christianity of the American Founding Fathers with the views of today's loonies, Christian Zionist Armageddonists, etc.
Nationalism Is Not Fascism
In all of Huntington's outpourings, he debases man according to the philosophy of English writer Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679): Men are naturally such beasts that only an imperial dictator or one-world government will keep them from tearing each other apart. In The Soldier and the State, Huntington invokes Hobbes to argue against the U.S. Constitution and in favor of a Roman Empire-style military. In Who Are We?, he depicts an evil state of mind that he calls American nationalism, completely at odds with the actual nationalist views and policies of American's greatest historical leaders, who represent a school of thought in the most profound war against the imperial faction for which Huntington writes.
Plato taught that when men hurt others they err against the Good which is their nature and the spirit of the Creator's universe. Huntington claims that national identity requires an enemy image to hate; that people "prefer to be worse off absolutely but better off compared to someone they see as a rival...". He drags Plato into this Hobbesian madness (page 25): "Individuals need ... what Plato, as Francis Fukuyama reminded us, designated thymos and Adam Smith termed vanity." This is the book's only reference to Plato!
Whig party leader Henry Clay (1777-1852) shaped the economic and political thinking of Abraham Lincoln and several generations of anti-British-empire nationalists. Clay fought for the protective tariffs, national banking and government-sponsored railroads and canals, which successfully changed America (and other countries that followed our lead in rejecting Free Trade) from a backward agrarian society, dominated by bankers and plantation owners, to a modern, high-wage agro-industrial republic. Huntington blacks out this American nationalism. He demeans Henry Clay, characterizing him only as a supposed apostle for the "American Protestant belief in ... the concept of the self-made man....Henry Clay first using the phrase [self-made man] in a Senate debate in 1832."
What, then, is Samuel Huntington's "nationalism"?
As it appears in the section entitled "White Nativism" (pages 309-316), it is his incitement to race war and religious war, as a way of making Americans stupid enough to stick with the regime of his sponsors. He writes, "The large and continuing influx of Hispanics threatens the pre-eminence of white Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture and the place of English as the only national language. White nativist movements are a possible and plausible response to these trends, and in situations of serious economic downturn and hardship they could be highly probable.... The ... loss in power, status and numbers by any social, ethnic, racial, or economic group almost always leads to efforts by that group to stop or reverse those losses."
Of course, such losses hit the American and the German people in the 1930s Depression. At that juncture, America went with Franklin Roosevelt for economic recovery. Anglo-American bankers promoted Hitler's Nazis through ethnic/religious strife and Jewish scapegoats, as now with Huntington's Muslims and Hispanics.
Lest you worry, Huntington assures us (pages 311-312) that his "new breed of white racial advocate" is "[c]ultured, intelligent, and often possessing impressive degrees from some of America's premier colleges and universities."
Yes, there is a terrible wrong; millions of Mexicans and Central Americans, impoverished by cheap labor policies and the North American Free Trade Agreement, are driven northward, desperate to make a living. But Huntington gives this explanation: "economic growth, low unemployment, and a labor shortage in the late 1990s created even greater need for immigrant labor." To him, the post-industrial takedown of U.S. factories and farms is a miracle, the rotting U.S. society a paradise. Low wages? Well, lazy Catholics lack the "Protestant work ethic." Wal-Mart clerking, for the poor, and Enron thievery, for the rich, should equally be a source of pride, if one works hard. He claims (page 314) that "Industrialization in the late 19th Century produced losses for American farmers and led to the formation of numerous agrarian protest groups.... Comparable organizations promoting white interest could emerge in the coming years." This is insane; industrialization made farming successful; usurers, including railroad and grain monopolists, made farmers bankrupt.
The movement he promotes (page 310) "would be both racially and culturally inspired, and could be anti-Hispanic, anti-black, and anti-immigration." He continues—now beginning to let his readers in on the personal secret of who the "we" in the book's title refers to: "They would be the heir to the many comparable exclusive racial and anti-foreign movements that helped define American identity [sic] in the past."
What past movements? He says (page 57), "Immigration restrictions were furthered by the ideology of 'Anglo-Saxonism' articulated by writers and social scientists such as Edward Ross, Madison Grant, Josiah Strong, and Lothrop Stoddard."
These men he names are "social scientists" only in the same horrifying sense that Huntington himself is given that courtesy by today's fawning or cowed academics.
They are the spawn of Huntington's own self-chosen "heritage": the tradition of the anti-nationalist Bostonians, the pro-Free Trade importers and partners of Britain in Asian opium trafficking. They and their slaveowner friends pushed war against Mexico, over the protests of America's patriots. They insisted that the Declaration of Independence was a mistake, that "Anglo-Saxons"—English-speakers—must unite trans-Atlantically. They formed the Harvard-based Immigration Restriction League, and the Eugenics Society, and the fascist movement of the 1920s and 1930s.
Madison Grant, a top leader of the eugenics movement which bridged the United States and Nazi Germany, wrote "the New England manufacturer imported the Irish ... the immigrant laborers are now breeding out their masters... Associated with this advance of democracy and the transfer of power from the higher to the lower races, we find the ... recrudescence of obsolete religious forms [i.e. Catholics]." And, "Indiscriminant efforts to preserve babies among the lower classes often results in serious injury to the race.... Mistaken regard for what are believed to be divine laws and sentimental belief in the sanctity of human life tend to prevent both the elimination of defective infants and the sterilization of such adults as are themselves of no value to the community."
Lothrop Stoddard's book The Rising Tide of Color Against White-Supremacy got him invited to audiences with his beloved Hitler and Himmler, and he sat in as an honorary judge on a Nazi Eugenics court deciding whether the "unfit" should be sterilized.
These men's works, and Huntington's, are now sold by neo-Nazis, and they promote today's unified anti-immigrant movement, including vigilantes on the border.
The American identity, which Huntington despises, has been mostly lost to the present generation of Boomers. It was, especially, the passion for improvement: that under self-government, man's dominion over nature could be constantly increased by new inventions and revolutionary scientific advances. Thus social problems (poverty) and intellectual problems (ignorance) could be solved together. This nationalism was never against other nations, but was spread to other countries (Ireland, India, Russia, Japan, Germany, Peru) to gain the cooperation of brother sovereign nations advancing together against the European imperialists.
Huntington, however, speaks for the other side. Who his "we" is, should be no riddle or secret. He echoes Adolf Hitler, who wrote in Mein Kampf, "When man attempts to rebel against the iron logic of Nature, he comes into struggle with the principles to which he himself owes his existence as a man.... Here ... we encounter the objection of the modern pacifist, as truly Jewish in its effrontery as it is stupid! 'Man's role is to overcome Nature!' Millions thoughtlessly parrot this Jewish nonsense and end up really imagining that they themselves represent a kind of conqueror of Nature.... But ... man ... at most has caught hold of and tried to lift one or another corner of her immense gigantic veil of eternal riddles and secrets."