Untimely Observations

No Great Awakening


This is the first in a series of articles on the question, raised most publicly by Patrick Buchanan, whether the Tea Party movement nurtures white consciousness and unity and will become the political basis for whites as a people.

Unlike Pat Buchanan, I do not think the Tea Party movement marks the emergence of a new, white ethnonationalism. At the end of his recent article on the subject, Buchanan himself backs away from this prediction, conceding that the conflict that gave rise to the movement “is not so much racial as it is cultural, political and tribal.” The politicians Tea Partiers admire most are Sarah Palin, who has the racial consciousness of a fried egg, and Ron Paul, who flirted with heterodoxy years ago, but now claims to have put all that behind him.

The racial significance of attending a Tea Party is not much different from going to the opera or a Renaissance festival: Virtually everyone there is white, and most like it that way but would never admit it -- not even to themselves. Tea parties, just like opera companies, fret over their whiteness and claim to want to cure it.

Other more promising movements have come and gone without giving rise to ethno-nationalism. The militias and the Minuteman border patrols were far more likely than Tea Parties to attract racial free thinkers, but they never talked about race. Their leaders threw out anyone who did.

The Left detects “racism” whenever whites gather and for whatever reason: Tea Partiers, Daughters of the American Revolution, Republicans, suburbanites, country clubbers, NASCAR fans, etc. Some people even complain that Star Trek conventions are too white. What the Left is detecting is only its own propaganda; there is no racial consciousness in these groups. They are not a sign of ethnonationalism, nor will they be until their organizers and participants are prepared to say, “Yes, we’re white, and we like it that way.”

Buchanan compares the Tea Party movement to the breakup of the Soviet Union along ethnic lines. Until Tea Partiers are prepared to echo the motto of the Vlams Belang Flemish-identity political party in Belgium -- Eigen volk eerst! (Our people first!) -- that comparison is fantasy. The motto of the Tea Party Patriots, “fiscal responsibility, limited government, and free markets,” is hardly a celebration of ethnic identity.

For racial consciousness to have political consequences, it must be as explicit and unapologetic as that of the Congressional Black Caucus and the National Council of La Raza. That is what it will take for whites to survive as a distinct people with a distinct culture, but tea partiers do not have even the vocabulary to think in those terms, much less the backbone to act on them.

Whites are schizophrenic about race. When it matters to them personally, they can be shockingly illiberal. They clear out when the neighborhood turns Mexican or the public school turns black, and they do this whatever their politics. As Joe Sobran has noted, in their mating and migratory habits, liberals are no different from members of the Klan. But virtually no whites admit race has anything to do with this, and they claim not to care if the whole country goes black and Mexican.

Immigration and high non-white birthrates are turning ever-larger parts of the America into those very places where whites refuse to live, but once they have escaped from the joys of diversity, and found a little patch of homogeneity, whites forget why they moved. This deluded state of mind is now at least 50 years old, and is only slowly crumbling. Don’t expect a speaker at a Tea Party rally to point out the contradiction between wanting “good” schools, “safe” neighborhoods, and “diversity.”

I applaud the tea partiers’ opposition to big government and to Obama’s leftist politics. The country will need them if Obama is to be stopped after a single term. But they will not be an incipient ethno-nationalist movement until they dump Sarah Palin and make Patrick Buchanan their champion.