Saturday, October 29, 2011

Is Pat Buchanan a Bitter Old Man ?
pat buchanan

I haven't read Pat Buchanan's new book, Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? but I have heard him hawking it on TV & the intertubes. As he bemoans the decline of white Christian America, he will, no doubt, be peppered with accusations of racism, but he fairly clearly is no thinking that way. He is pointing out that white Christians are becoming a minority & losing their clout socially & politically. He has always been in that winning majority and coupled with his advancing age, I think he is just feeling weak and is just kinda scared.

While I can go along with a lot of his assertions, he seems to be cherry picking and I'm not sure how accurate his historical timeline is. Buchanan, a Catholic, cites the role of Christianity in holding Americans together from the start. However early Americans were profoundly anti-Catholic & as late as the 1960s were somewhat prejudiced against a Catholic president. He cites the role of Christianity in building a great Europe but for the bulk of Europe's Christendom, Europe was pretty much a pit.
His belief in the
melting pot" of the early U.S. is also off base. First & second immigrants were very tribal about their nationalities but after a few generations who could tell a person of Polish origin from a person of French origin? Recognizing people of different continents is easy, tho. Thus, the tribalism remains, the stew fails & the salad wins.
In describing conservatism, he cites Russell Kirk:
A conservative’s task in society is "to preserve a particular people, living in a particular place during a particular time."
While this might work in a class based society, the U.S. is generally classless. We have no noble families or a ruling class. Here & there is a dynasty like the Bush family or the Kennedys but there's no core strain of nobility to maintain. The American politician was supposed to follow more of a Cincinnatus model. Add to that the building of the country on immigration, the original WASP foundation was bound to be replaced, eventually.
I believe the founding fathers expected the country to evolve into something different. Dunno if this i what they expected. Doubt it. But I think Pat is just pining for "the good old days" as seen through his rose tinted glasses.
Maybe I'll read it, dunno.

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