‘The Return of David Hackett Fischer ‘ might be more apt for this piece, a piece for which I had high hopes, considering its title and the name of its author, ‘Hengest.’ Not to be too hard on the writer, it’s just that I had hoped that the article would offer a fresh take on the issue of America and her British Isles origins. I suppose I can’t fault the writer for essentially following the predominant school of thought, which enshrines the work of Fischer, Woodward, and others who hold the work of the latter two in the highest regard.
Is it to be the fate of this blog perpetually to try, if not to refute, then at least to provoke healthy questioning of the work of Fischer, Colin Woodward, and of others like McWhiney who promote the Celtic South idea? I had hoped to go beyond that but it seems these popular writers are now considered unimpeachable sources. And who am I? I am a mere anonymous blogger. However I don’t claim authority on my own account (though I am credentialed in history and have considerable experience in genealogy), asking only that those with open minds at least consult older sources, and weigh those against the more recent popular writers of history. I personally believe that history as it is at present practiced is not as rigorous as it once was, and that political correctness, including post-modernism, taints much of what passes as history and ethnology nowadays.
Back to the linked piece by Hengest at Faith and Heritage. I am a regular reader of Faith and Heritage, and I find the articles there to be worthy for the most part, often well-written and thought-provoking. The writer, Hengest, seems to be using the term ‘Anglo-Saxon’ in a rather inclusive way, to describe British Isles people generally, a practice which I see is now becoming more widespread. However as I like to point out, most British people of Celtic origin (Welsh, Scots, and Irish), emphatically state they are not of English/Anglo-Saxon origin, so it seems dubious to use ‘Anglo-Saxon’ in such an inclusive way. There is such a thing as an English nationalist, and if you encountered one, he would also tell you that he is not ‘British’ by ethnicity, but English, or Anglo-Saxon. I like to use the terms precisely rather than as vaguely interchangeable.
In the United States, however, the term ‘Anglo-Saxon’ or just ‘Anglo’, is often used rather carelessly to mean anybody whose first language is English, who has (maybe) an English surname or who is otherwise a sort of nondescript, generic White American. The sloppy usage of the term ‘Anglo’ in America is akin to the usage of the semi-slur term ‘WASP’, meaning ‘White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.’ Many people of mixed Northwest European ancestry think of themselves as more or less WASP as they grew up English-speaking and Protestant, and maybe even grew up in the older American culture which was heavily English-derived. Still, such people may not really be English-Americans, nor identify much with English history and culture, or most importantly, the English people who now live in England. So the terms are very imprecisely used. In that respect, ‘Hengest’ is only following imprecise American practice, I suppose, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt.
By the way, the term ‘WASP’ was apparently originated as a kind of slur, and here in a piece from way back in 1988, Edward Hoagland defends WASPs. Now when was the last time you read any kind of defense of WASPs in a major newspaper, especially the New York Times? You likely won’t see it anytime soon, and there are even precious few blogs which advocate for Anglo-Americans, Anglo-Saxons, or English nationalism. (By the way, if anyone knows of any such blogs, please send me links. There are too few people taking up this cause.)
As to whether those who follow Fischer, Woodward, et al are right and I am wrong, as I’ve said, I am merely asking that people who sincerely want to know the truth read as many older sources as possible. Confining our sources of knowledge only to those of our own generation and time is the worst possible temporal provincialism and narrowness. Hear all sides of the issue, including voices of other times — and consider that the people who lived farther back in time may have been closer to having the truth than those of us who are removed from it by many generations.