Monthly Archives: August 2016

‘British American identity’ — an urgent cause?

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Amen to the above comment.

I think this is along the same lines as my main message here. Too few Americans of English or British descent are willing to identify as such, and the common terms to describe this group (‘WASPs,’ or ‘Anglos’, for example) are used in such varied ways that the names seem to have different definitions depending on who is using them.

For some people, for example here, the term ‘WASP’ is applied more broadly, seeming to include anyone of Northern/Western European ancestry and Protestant origins. I’ve seen or heard the term used in this way here and there. My problem with it is that in applying it to include people not of English or British (Anglo-Saxon) origin, it leaves that specific group of peoples (those of British Isles origin) without their own distinctive identifier.

The way it is used in the blog piece linked in the previous paragraph also would include some ethnicities who often show animus towards actual people of Anglo-Saxon or English/British descent. This includes not only many German-Americans, some of whom still bear grudges over past grievances but also Scottish people, for example, a certain number of whom will emphatically tell us that they are not British but Scots, and most definitely not English.

Having a definite name which is unique to people of English or Anglo-Saxon descent would certainly be a good start in addressing the ‘identity crisis’ that faces us. The constant confusion regarding the real distinction between ‘British’ and ‘English’ has already clouded things, even for those who live in the UK.

The South’s attractions for our British kin

From the Condé Nast Traveler blog: ‘The British Are Coming — to the Deep South.’

“There’s been a real spike in demand in the last 18 months for the Deep South,” Alex Bentley, Audley’s head of North America, tells Condé Nast Traveler.[…] “There’s great growth in that part of the country—it’s now our third most-popular region after California and New England. There’s something there that really resonates with our clients.”

As to why this part of the country  is becoming more popular among tourists from Britain, Alex Bentley of the Audley travel agency says:

“In part, this renewed curiosity is rooted in a search for an authentically American experience—and an interest in our country’s culture and history, says Bentley.”

It could be that some British people know that many of their existing closest kin in the U.S. are found in the South. But most people in today’s South, no matter how Anglo-Saxon their names are, don’t realize or acknowledge that they are of English descent. Still, most tourists travel to find something outside their normal experience, while ironically, in this world of enforced ‘diversity’ one doesn’t have to travel outside one’s neighborhood to find the exotic and the foreign.

The article mentions that attractions like The Grand Ole Opry and Graceland bring some British tourists to the South. In other words, they are attracted by parts of the Southern heritage with which they are very familiar, and which resonate with them.

From my own experience, I know that many British people are country music fans, and also rockabilly fans. The South is the home of those musical styles and their respective subcultures. Some years ago, liberal Irish rocker Bono participated in a documentary about American music, especially country, blues, and rock, focusing on American music’s  supposed roots in Ireland. This seems to be mere Irish chauvinism. The fact is that American ‘roots music’ owes a great deal to British Isles traditions generally, but particularly to English traditional music and folk styles. This is only logical given that the great majority of the early settlers of Jamestown and the South generally, (as well as New England) were English. The pioneering work of Cecil Sharp, the English folk-song collector who documented the English origins of many of the old ballads still extant among the common folk of the South.

In 1915 Cecil Sharp, an important collector of traditional English ballads, was informed that many Appalachian singers were singing old English songs. Between 1916 and 1918 he toured western North Carolina and other Appalachian states, recording over 500 ballads with English roots. His most valuable source was Jane Hicks Gentry from Hot Springs, North Carolina. Gentry was a member of North Carolina’s renowned storytelling and singing family, the Harmons. She shared over 70 of her songs with Sharp. In 1917 Sharp published his collection of songs in a book entitled English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians. The book is the most important source of traditional Appalachian songs. In 2000, the movie Songcatcher portrayed Sharp’s experience collecting ballads in Appalachia.”

So in some way, perhaps, English people find that our musical traditions (including the more modern variants) resonate with them on some level. I am a believer in the idea of ‘race-memory’, though some scoff, and I think that in some way we can’t understand with the rational mind, those of us of common stock find some kind of subtle connection with our blood kin, regardless of whether we were reared in the same country.

If that’s too esoteric for some, then this British attraction to the South may just be that the South is much more distinctive in its culture and its heritage than is the North. The South has its own musical forms (which actually encompasses most distinctively ‘American’ musical genres), its own dialect(s), customs, history, social mores, humor, and cuisine(s).

Not to disrespect the other regional cultures of this country; other regions have their charms. It’s a sad fact that all regional distinctions are being erased by the ‘diversity’ mandate, and by the nomadic lifestyles of many Americans, with few people staying in their birthplaces these days. All our regional and local distinctions are disappearing, whether quickly (as in the South, since the 1970s or so) or more slowly. So the tourists who are drawn to the unique regional cultures should come and see them before they are gone forever.

‘Albion Awakening’

Bruce Charlton has a new blog, Albion Awakening.  There are two other contributors, John Fitzgerald and William Wildblood. I am adding it to my blogroll.

The first post is titled ‘The destiny of England‘, and it is very much of interest to me and relevant to the theme of this blog.

The English people have a destiny – that much seems clear; and the English diaspora in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa presumably inherit it.

England has been recognized as a favoured nation since at least the Roman era – this fact is extensively recorded. But why? Presumably because of that destiny – which became manifest with the industrial revolution, beginning to wind-up from around the middle of the 1700s and leading to the biggest change in the human condition since the invention of agriculture which is lost in pre-history.”

Read the rest there.

I’ve read Bruce Charlton’s other blogs over the years, and though his viewpoints don’t always coincide with mine, I find his writings thought-provoking and stimulating. And his theme at the new blog is an important one to anyone who cares about England and about, in Charlton’s words, the English diaspora.

 

 

Lovecraft on Anglo-Saxon roots

Some of the writings of H.P. Lovecraft have been making the rounds of the alt-right or ethnonationalist blogs, specifically some of his comments on America’s Anglo-Saxon origins. Lovecraft, of course, came of old colonial stock on both sides of his family, and he was very much an Anglo-Saxonist, which was not at all unusual in his time, at least for people of English colonial stock. Nowadays, of course, that attitude is viewed by a lot of people as archaic and out of touch with today’s diverse and inclusive America, the America wherein English heritage is scarcely acknowledged except to be disparaged. Lovecraft was also very racially conscious and held opinions which, though widespread among White people in his time, are taboo and forbidden in  polite discourse today. Hence, Lovecraft’s image was recently expunged from the World Fantasy Awards. Lovecraft is highly controversial in this politically correct world.

Lovecraft was a prolific writer, not only in the sense of writing short stories and the occasional novella, but he was also an avid letter-writer, often writing voluminous letters to his circle of correspondents. Many of his letters have been preserved and some published in book format. They make for fascinating reading, at least for Lovecraft fans or anyone who wishes a view into a very different world.

The Isegoria blog quotes from Lovecraft on the subject of ‘Americanism’, a topic which is of ongoing interest on ethnonationalist and alt-right blogs these days. Although it is often claimed that most White Americans do not have colonial roots, much less exclusively English colonial roots, a case can be made that yes, Americanism at its root is an Anglo-Saxon thing.

“It is the spirit of England, transplanted to a soil of vast extent and diversity, and nourished for a time under pioneer conditions calculated to increase its democratic aspects without impairing its fundamental virtues. It is the spirit of truth, honour, justice, morality, moderation, individualism, conservative liberty, magnanimity, toleration, enterprise, industriousness, and progress—which is England—plus the element of equality and opportunity caused by pioneer settlement. It is the expression of the world’s highest race under the most favourable social, political, and geographical conditions. Those who endeavour to belittle the importance of our British ancestry, are invited to consider the other nations of this continent. All these are equally “American” in every particular, differing only in race-stock and heritage; yet of them all, none save British Canada will even bear comparison with us. We are great because we are a part of the great Anglo-Saxon cultural sphere; a section detached only after a century and a half of heavy colonisation and English rule, which gave to our land the ineradicable stamp of British civilisation.

Most dangerous and fallacious of the several misconceptions of Americanism is that of the so-called “melting-pot” of races and traditions. It is true that this country has received a vast influx of non-English immigrants who come hither to enjoy without hardship the liberties which our British ancestors carved out in toil and bloodshed. It is also true that such of them as belong to the Teutonic and Celtic races are capable of assimilation to our English type and of becoming valuable acquisitions to the population. But, from this it does not follow that a mixture of really alien blood or ideas has accomplished or can accomplish anything but harm.”

Read more at the link.

Though Lovecraft’s words may seem ‘extreme’ to those who have been weaned on multiculturalism and the ‘Melting Pot’, Emma Lazarus school of ‘Americanism’, they were very much like what was taught in history and civics classes not that many decades ago, though the melting pot sentimentality began to grow especially during the years between the world wars. Now, the role of England and her unique concepts of liberty is downplayed to the point of nearly expunging England from our history.

The increase of ethnocentrism amongst other White ethnic groups who have historical grudges against England has contributed to this kind of disparaging attitude. For example the trendy ‘Celtic’ identity adopted by many Americans of at least partial Anglo-Saxon descent (I am referring primarily to Southern Americans) and then of course those of German descent. It is just not ”in” to be Anglo-Saxon or English these days — even in England, sad to say.

And it seems self-evident to me that the infusion of so many different types of people has not improved this country. Every immigrant-descended group wants to claim that America would not be America (or would not be great) if their ancestors had been excluded. But apart from English-descended Americans, no other group can plausibly claim to have formed the basis of the American culture and ethos, and no other group can claim to be the very core of this country at its inception.