Sunday, March 30, 2014

A temporary change

I'd just like to let regular readers know that I'll be away from any certain internet access for a couple of weeks. I will try to post in this period of time, but bear with me if it's not as frequent as usual (or if I'm unable to moderate comments or respond to emails). I promise to resume with gusto in two weeks.

Past, present, future

A good observation from Mark Moncrieff:
What is More Important, the Past, the Present or the Future?

Liberals would say without question that the future is the most important of the three as the past is over, the present is here but the future is where all potential lies. But Liberals are confused because they really believe that the present is the most important. They pillage both the past and the future to create the present. We can see this in Liberal economic policy and in Liberal social policy. Short term thinking is preferred to any long range plans or visions.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Isn't what Aly is saying a type of vilification?

There is a law in Australia which means you can be prosecuted for insulting or offending someone on the basis of their race. A prominent journalist, Andrew Bolt, was found guilty under this law merely for questioning why a light-skinned Aborigine would identify with only one part of her heritage.

The Liberal Government wishes to change the law to prevent a repeat of such incidents. The new standard will be not insulting or offending, but inciting hatred or causing fear of physical harm.

Waleed Aly has written a column for The Age denouncing the changes as racist. Aly has not exactly been hard done by in Australia. He married an attractive Anglo woman; was made a lecturer in politics; and has a radio show and a newspaper column. He belongs to the privileged 1%.

But there isn't much gratitude on display in his newspaper column; nor any recognition of his privileged status. In fact, Aly runs the line that he is part of an oppressed minority, and that white Australians are a bunch of nasty racists - and that therefore the law should grant a higher moral status to people like himself.

It seems that it's OK now in the mainstream Australian media to vilify white Australians when discussing anti-vilification laws.

It's important to remember how we got to such a political situation. The problem is that we have not escaped a political framework that first emerged about a century ago.

So on one side of the debate we have the right-liberal assimilationists. These people believe in mass immigration, albeit legal migration, and that migrants should then assimilate to right-liberal political values (race blindness / free market / individualism etc.).

Waleed Aly doesn't like the right-liberal position:
...this lawyer, qualified engineer and academic reveals some illogical statements and mistaken beliefs from people like John Howard, Tony Abbott, Kevin Andrews or Nick Minchin. “The conservative would certainly not run immigration at record levels (as the Howard government did) and then lecture its migrant population on what their values should be...”

Aly is right: it makes little sense for someone like John Howard to ramp up immigration to record levels and then expect a group of white, right-liberals to insist that everyone assimilate to their values. If you open the borders, you are giving up on the right to do this.

Aly is pushing instead for the left-liberal position, the one that emerged fully with Randolph Bourne in 1916. In the left-liberal view, the majority is guilty of trying to dominate and should instead encourage immigrants to maintain their own "vibrant' cultures whilst at the same time giving up on their own culture as being parochial and limiting.

It's a twisted view of things, as it requires a form of double-think: the white majority has no culture and should disband itself, but should at the same time celebrate and enjoy everybody else's cultures which are enriching.

Neither of these positions is a worthy one, but people do still tend to fall into them. When liberals controlled the media absolutely the limits of the debate could be enforced; that's a little less possible today when people can participate in various kinds of social media. Even so, things won't change unless there are intelligent voices in this media criticising the older views. The pattern of "idea formation" needs to be disrupted by a questioning of the older ideas and a suggesting of new ones. This just isn't happening to a sufficient degree yet, but it needs to develop over the coming decade.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Australian intellectual 1953

I'm reading the diary of Tim Burstall which begins in November 1953. Burstall was part of the Melbourne literati, which 60 years ago had its headquarters here in Eltham.

I was curious to read the diary, having written some posts recently on Randolph Bourne, an American writer who, in 1916, emerged as the prototype of a modern, leftist intellectual. Was Burstall something like Bourne?

I haven't finished the diary yet, but the answer seems to be decisively no. Burstall wasn't really the same as the Bourne-like Australian intellectuals of the 1980s onwards.

What kind of picture emerges of Burstall from the diaries? There are a few positive things I can say about Burstall and his associates. They weren't effeminate. They set about building their own houses; some of them laboured for decades constructing the impressive buildings of Montsalvat, the Eltham artists' colony.

Some of the buildings at Montsalvat, Eltham

Tim Burstall himself took a decision to start making films in Australia and helped to launch the modern Australian film industry. Nor were Burstall and his friends the supplicating types when it came to women; they were decidedly prefeminist in how they pursued women (radical feminists would have a heart attack reading some of the seduction scenes described by Burstall).

Burstall in 1953 was a member of the Communist Party. There was a very small branch of the party in Eltham (with about seven active members). What's interesting, though, is that Burstall seems out of place in the party (he resigned in the mid-50s). Burstall's political views were a type of left-libertarianism or anarchism, much more suited to the politics of the Sydney Push.

Why doesn't Burstall come across as a Bourne type intellectual? Burstall had the individualism and hedonism of the Greenwich Village types, but he didn't have as strong a "humanist" religion. I noted in the Bourne series, that there was a trend amongst American progressives early in the 1900s toward serving "humanity" as an ideal, and this meant sacrificing one's own closer identities and attachments in favour of a universal cosmopolitanism. The literati were thought to be the misunderstood, heroic avant-garde in achieving this aim.

There's a little bit of this in Burstall. He did believe that he had a duty to shift ideas in society and he supported open border positions. But it just doesn't seem to have been his religion. He records discussions with his friends in which some took a more nationalistic position and it doesn't seem to have bothered him that much (the main preoccupation still seems to have been life in Australia versus life in England). Nor did he take a view of himself and his literati friends as being the moral vanguard - he was honest in admitting his baser motives in life and he thought many of his associates were cut off from life.

He had a "flatter" view of things than Bourne. He had a terrific job which only required him to work a few hours a day; he would then catch up with his art friends for a long liquid lunch; he enjoyed discussing art and literature and the personalities of friends; apart from that, he dedicated some part of his life to his pursuit of mistresses.

It comes across as barren. The deeper experiences of life which inspire people have gone missing. His wife cheated on him early in his marriage; they subsequently decided to have an open marriage and he was good at attracting women. But it means that there is very little expression of love for his wife; nor does fatherhood seem to mean much to him. Even his liaisons with women seem devoid of emotional passion.

So far in the diaries there has been no expression  of a love of nature, despite the semi-rural setting of his home life and his artistic leanings. There is no obvious love of his national tradition; as mentioned above, he took an internationalist view politically. He obviously enjoyed reading, but again there is little sense of a passionate connection to art. He was an atheist, so there was no connection to a church or to an experience of the transcendent.

He was masculine, but not to the point that he had a patriarchal sense of wanting to lead or to help order a family or community. It was expressed instead more coarsely in drinking and bedding women (and, more impressively, in leading the revival of the film industry, though his own films often featured men who drank beer and bedded women).

Overall, he was perhaps part of an inbetween generation of intellectuals - those who had lost an older faith, but who had not yet committed to the newer one suggested by Bourne.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Another win in France

Some more good news from France. The National Front performed well in municipal elections held across France. The party won an outright victory in Henin-Beaumont, a small town to the north of Paris, and also led the vote in the eastern town of Forbach and the southern towns of Avignon, Perpignan and Beziers.

A more detailed report from Tiberge at Gallia Watch here.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Can we not have intergenerational loyalty?

An item from the American VDARE website interested me. It concerns opposition to an affirmative action scheme in California. These schemes are designed to favour students from ethnic minorities (e.g. blacks, Hispanics) when it comes to university admissions. The proposal to operate such a scheme hit a stumbling block when Asian-American Democratic representatives moved against it.
Over the last several weeks, the three senators who have had second thoughts about the referendum -- Leland Yee, D-San Francisco; Ted Lieu, D-Torrance; and Carol Liu, D- La Cañada/Flintridge -- said they have received thousands of calls and emails from fearful constituents who believe that any move to favor other ethnic groups could hurt Asian-Americans, who attend many of the state's best schools in large numbers. A petition to kill the referendum now has more than 100,000 signatures, and email listservs for Chinese-American parents have been flooded with angry posts

Three days ago, the senators sent a formal letter to Assembly Speaker John Perez urging him to stop the bill from advancing any further. "As lifelong advocates for the Asian American and other communities, we would never support a policy that we believed would negatively impact our children," the letter states.

Remember, these are left-wing Democrat politicians, who might normally be expected to support affirmative action schemes. They are refusing, though, to act against the interests of their own children.

Compare this to white American politicians. Would they enact legislation that harmed the prospects of white children? Yes, they have and they would.

There are two angles to this issue. On the one hand, the Asian politicians are clearly more virtuous in having a stronger sense of fidelity to their own children and community. Parents are not supposed to abandon their own children; this relationship is a primary one, based on intergenerational loyalty and support. If it dissolves, then it can't be expected that much will remain of our sense of duty and service to others.

It is currently a major corruption within white culture that the sense of fidelity from one generation to the next is so thin. White parents are relatively good at working hard and responsibly to give their own children a decent upbringing; the failure comes at a public level - that is where the interests of young white people are abandoned.

This is true at various levels, such as the failure to uphold distinctively white communities or a culture of relationships, marriage and family. I'm starting to see it even in a lack of concern for the economic conditions young white people are experiencing. I know young people who are being left with massive student debt (partly because they are forced now to complete their studies to an MA standard), who then have to find work in a highly competitive job market and who are then priced out of the housing market (out of control here in Melbourne). There doesn't seem to be much sympathy for them from older generations who, in general, had an easier launch into adult life.

And the second angle from which to see this issue? Supposedly, Asian culture can be too limited to fidelity at the level of family - something which fosters an attitude of nepotism. It's a good thing about Western culture that there developed a sense of public service as well - service to the larger community and not just to one's family.

To fix things up we need to hold onto our strength (a commitment to public service) but overcome our weakness (a lack of fidelity at a public level to our children and community). Read again the words of the three Asian-American Democrats: "We would never support a policy that we believed would negatively impact our children." That should also exist in the conscience of our own representatives.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Why did we get Bourne?

I've been posting a bit lately on an American intellectual by the name of Randolph Bourne. He is "special" in the sense that he was the prototype (as far back as 1916) of the artsy left-liberal so familiar to us today.

The writer at Happy Acres put it well in a post of his own, that in Bourne's writings:
It’s already there: boundless resentment, alienation, the loathing of Old America, valorization of The Exotic Other, etc.

I was curious to find out more about this man. I've been able to read a few chapters of a book about Bourne, and here are a few things to note.

First, Bourne was influenced by a variety of thinkers:
Add to his praise of Dewey and Dreiser, his earlier and sustained passion for Tolstoy, Nietzsche, William and Henry James, Shaw and Wells and one sees the making of a modern mind.

Bourne seems to have had the view that an older bourgeois moral sentimentalism should give way to the deliberate restructuring of society along more scientific lines. He was a "presentist" in the sense that he wanted to break with the past to do this; a "pragmatist" in the sense that he wanted to justify this reform according to what could be held to be useful; a vitalist nihilist in seeking out vibrant life experiences; and someone who thought of the pagan in positive terms.

This makes it sound as if he had a plan, but the truth is that he felt cut adrift. He had that intellectual personality which feels estranged from ordinary society. For instance, he could hardly abide by the people of his hometown or his own family:
I am constantly confounded there by the immeasurable gulf between my outlook and theirs and I feel a constant criticism of my futile high-browism and Godless pursuit of strange philosophers. My young sister is almost a passionate vulgarian and takes with really virtuous indignation any deviation from the norm of popular music, the movies, Chamber's novels, Billy Sunday, musical comedy, tennis, anti-suffragism, and the rest of the combination that makes up the healthy, hearty, happy young normal person of the well-brought up family of the day of the middle-middle-class. I find her an index to current America, but we scarcely get along.

That's hardly an uncommon experience for intellectual types. The problem is that Bourne didn't connect with an alternative. Early in WWI he complained that he lacked "a stable and satisfying way of living."

It's possible, I think, that the older liberalism might be partly to blame here. The older liberalism preached a kind of neutrality, according to which we either cannot know the good or that it is impossible to obtain agreement as to the good, and that therefore the guiding principle should be a willingness to allow the good to be individually self-defined and to respect each person's right to do the same.

You can see the predicament that this left Bourne's generation of intellectuals in. If a society doesn't have a sense of a higher truth that it takes to be objectively grounded in reality, then it becomes more likely that social values will be dismissed as private, individual and sentimental ones, rather than objective and profound, and it becomes difficult to uphold a higher tradition in which the intellectual class can obtain its moorings.

What was left to Bourne? He was still open to the idea of the importance of national cultures and identity for other peoples, but not for his own - so that was not there to sustain him. He had rejected his own religious tradition in favour of a vitalist paganism (prefiguring D.H. Lawrence). He did yearn for a woman who combined "high seriousness about personal relations" with "the sensuous" but he found it difficult to meet such a woman. In part, this was because of his own physical disfigurement, but also because the progressive women he mixed with in Greenwich Village had become by 1910 radically feminist and hostile to men. He himself supported feminism as a "vital idea" but he wrote articles criticising the women he knew who saw all men, including feminist men like himself, as the enemy.

The anchor that men like Bourne found was to think of themselves as members of a special caste in society, an avant-garde destined to be unappreciated in their own times, but harbingers of the future, reformed social order.

So how does a society avoid the Bourne mentality from catching on, as it has in the West?

First, a John Stuart Mill, define-your-own-good system isn't adequate. Intellectuals can't find the good in everyday life (as Bourne's young sister was able to do). Nor can they be expected to raise a serious tradition from scratch individually as adolescents and young men. There needs to be a serious tradition within which the higher values of society are transmitted from generation to generation.

Second, it is important that these goods are thought of as great and expansive, rather than narrow, stagnant and limiting. Intellectuals have a sense of the creative spirit in life, in which there is a creative unfolding of personality and a shaping of the social environment. Intellectuals are inclined to worry that if there is a communal identity it will be so closely defined that rather than inspiring the personality to higher loves and commitments, that it will close off avenues for development. Similarly, they worry that a masculine essence might only be expressed in one rudimentary fashion, rather than representing a questing spirit that raises and challenges the character and the ambitions of individual men.

It is up to each generation to so impart these goods that they retain a sense of greatness, and so inspire a sense of connection to an ongoing tradition.

A society should therefore take care with those institutions charged with transmitting such a higher culture: the schools, the universities and the churches, as well as the various branches of the arts.

Finally, it is normal for class or caste identities to arise in society, but these should be subsets of a larger communal identity that joins classes or castes together, rather than being set in opposition to, or as a substitute for, such a larger identity.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Bourne Identity 1916

In 1916 an Anglo-Saxon American by the name of Randolph Bourne wrote an essay titled Trans-national America.

In his essay Bourne criticises an older liberalism which combined open borders with an expectation that migrants would assimilate to an established Anglo-Saxonism. Bourne criticised the primacy of the Anglo-Saxonism by claiming that:
We are all foreign-born or the descendants of foreign-born

So here we already have the argument that we are all immigrants - which in one stroke denies the existence of an established national identity.

Bourne then dismisses the older Anglo-America as merely derivative:
They invented no new social framework. Rather they brought over bodily the old ways to which they had been accustomed. Tightly concentrated on a hostile frontier, they were conservative beyond belief...In their folkways, in their social and political institutions, they were, like every colonial people, slavishly imitative of the mother country...

It is just this English-American conservatism that has been our chief obstacle to social advance.

The immigrant has the superior qualities:
We have needed the new peoples—the order of the German and Scandinavian, the turbulence of the Slav and Hun—to save us from our own stagnation.

Bourne, an Anglo-American himself, claims that America up to 1900 simply had no culture:
The Anglo-Saxon was merely the first immigrant, the first to found a colony. He has never really ceased to be the descendant of immigrants, nor has he ever succeeded in transforming that colony into a real nation, with a tenacious, richly woven fabric of native culture. Colonials from the other nations have come and settled down beside him. They found no definite native culture which should startle them out of their colonialism

Haven't we heard that over and over from Western intellectuals from Sydney to Stockholm - a denial that a national culture even exists to be defended?

Bourne goes on and on attacking Anglo-America, attacking the South, for instance, as being a cultural backwater. But what happens next is quite revealing. His aim is to praise the immigrant cultures and so he argues that it is better for these cultures to stay strong:
It is not the Jew who sticks proudly to the faith of his fathers and boasts of that venerable culture of his who is dangerous to America, but the Jew who has lost the Jewish fire... Just so surely as we tend to disintegrate these nuclei of nationalistic culture do we tend to create hordes of men and women without a spiritual country, cultural outlaws, without taste, without standards...The influences at the centre of the nuclei are centripetal. They make for the intelligence and the social values which mean an enhancement of life.

OK, but surely this argument can be turned against Bourne himself. Where is his Anglo fire? Where is his boasting of his venerable culture? Where is his spiritual country? He has cast it all aside, denied its existence, identified it as a source of stagnation....

We have the beginnings here of that double standard, in which the leftist argues for pluralism (the vibrancy and enrichment of cultural diversity) whilst at the same time attacking and denying his own culture.

So what then is the role for an Anglo-Saxon American? According to Bourne, it is not to enjoy his own national tradition, but a newer cosmopolitan one. Bourne begins on this general note:
It is for the American of the younger generation to accept this cosmopolitanism, and carry it along with selfconscious and fruitful purpose. In his colleges, he is already getting...the privilege of a cosmopolitan outlook...If he is still a colonial, he is no longer the colonial of one partial culture, but of many. He is a colonial of the world. Colonialism has grown into cosmopolitanism, and his mother land is no one nation, but all who have anything life-enhancing to offer to the spirit...If the American is parochial, it is in sheer wantonness or cowardice. His provincialism is the measure of his fear of bogies or the defect of his imagination.

The Anglo-Saxon American is to liberate himself from his own repressed and stagnant provincial culture through a cosmopolitan intermixing with the vibrant immigrant cultures:
Indeed, it is not uncommon for the eager Anglo-Saxon who goes to a vivid American university today to find his true friends not among his own race but among the acclimatized German or Austrian, the acclimatized Jew, the acclimatized Scandinavian or Italian. In them he finds the cosmopolitan note. In these youths, foreign-born or the children of foreign-born parents, he is likely to find many of his old inbred morbid problems washed away. These friends are oblivious to the repressions of that tight little society in which he so provincially grew up. He has a pleasurable sense of liberation from the stale and familiar attitudes of those whose ingrowing culture has scarcely created anything vital for his America of today. He breathes a larger air.

Dual citizenship is necessary, thinks Bourne, because it would be unreasonable to expect someone to give up the identity they were born to:
Dual citizenship we may have to recognize as the rudimentary form of that international citizenship to which, if our words mean anything, we aspire...Once a citizen, always a citizen, no matter how many new citizenships he may embrace. And such a dual citizenship seems to us sound and right. For it recognizes that, although the Frenchman may accept the formal institutional framework of his new country and indeed become intensely loyal to it, yet his Frenchness he will never lose. What makes up the fabric of his soul will always be of this Frenchness, so that unless he becomes utterly degenerate he will always to some degree dwell still in his native environment.

Again, Bourne thinks it would be "utterly degenerate" for a Frenchman to lose the Frenchness that "makes up the fabric of his soul". But what about his own Anglo-Saxon identity? Why is it not utterly degenerate for him to deny it and to denigrate it in favour of cosmopolitanism?

Apart from the ethnic double standard that emerges in Bourne's essay, there are two other features worth noting. The first is Bourne's emphasis on creative spirit, which I believe is one aspect of human nature that liberals tend to prioritise. The second is the "magic thinking" that runs through his essay, by which I mean his willingness to hold contradictory, inconsistent or mutually defeating positions at the same time. For instance, he wants America to be at the same time diverse but also unified and integrated; a land with a cosmopolitan outlook but in which different groups retain their distinct, historic national traditions; a land, in his words, whose "colonies live here inextricably mingled, yet not homogeneous. They merge but they do not fuse." He wants America to be trans-national and yet at the same time a nation.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Identifying the Adam of the American left

One of the most useful books I've read in recent years is The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America by Eric Kaufmann. You can buy it from Amazon here.

If you recall, the sixth chapter was about the shift in the Protestant church establishment (particularly the FCC) toward cosmopolitanism which took place between 1905 and 1913.

I'm now reading the seventh chapter, which is another very illuminating part of the book. It traces the rise of the modernist view amongst the intellectuals and artists of Chicago and New York in the period just prior to and during WWI. It also names the first American intellectual who truly had the leftist attitude to national identity that we are so familiar with today - but I'll get to him shortly.

Kaufmann begins his story in Chicago. There existed in Chicago a group of Liberal Progressives, such as John Dewey and Jane Addams who had "developed the first variant of American cosmopolitanism". However, what Kaufmann is interested in is the uptake of this outlook as a cultural and lifestyle movement amongst the literati (intellectuals/artists).

There was a group of such people, dubbed the Chicago Poets, including figures such as Floyd Dell and Sherwood Anderson, who by 1912 had their own magazine, Poetry. They were influenced by European thinkers such as Nietzsche, Bergson and Wells. They saw Anglo-Saxon culture in negative terms as being associated with a puritanical morality.

This foreshadowed what was to take place in New York. In the late 1800s, New York cultural life was still dominated by the "genteel tradition" with its "stress on Anglo-Saxonism, New Englandism, and cultural nationalism". This tradition was represented in the magazine Century which by the 1880s had a circulation of 250,000, and it was entrenched at Columbia University and in the Academy of Arts and Letters.

The critical era was just before and during WWI. The Academy was formed in 1904 and was relatively conservative (compared to what was about to come). However, in the 1890s, a man called James Gibbons Huneker began to introduce modernist European intellectuals, such as Ibsen, Shaw and Strindberg, to the New York bohemian scene; and from 1907 there was a bohemian migration to Greenwich Village. This migration reached a critical mass during 1910 to 1912, unleashing the "Village Renaissance" of 1912 to 1917.

The literati involved in this Renaissance were mostly Protestant Anglo-Americans such as Floyd Dell and Randolph Bourne, though there were Jewish figures involved as well. The beliefs of this group of people were based on "an ethic of inner nature, which corresponded to the irrationalist vitalism of Henri Bergson, Friedrich Nietzsche and Expressivists like Friedrich Schiller and Friedrich Hölderlin."

The movement looked more to paganism that to Christianity - therefore, it seems that the Protestant church establishment had moved toward cosmopolitanism a little earlier, and for different reasons, than the New York literati did in the period just prior to and during WWI.

Avant-garde left modernism

The older American liberalism had seen Anglo-Saxonism as a positive force, destined to bring liberal democracy to the continent. This older liberalism was in favour of assimilation to Anglo-Saxon values; it favoured the idea of new immigrants being culturally absorbed into a melting-pot.

In 1915, Horace Kallen, a Jewish intellectual, criticised this ideal of Anglo-Saxon dominance and of a melting pot. He argued instead for a pluralistic or multiethnic vision of American identity, in which America would be a "democracy of nationalities".

This was not exactly the modern leftist view, though, as Kallen thought that the Anglo-Saxons should continue to be part of this pluralistic identity. However, in 1916 the first statement of the modern leftist view was put by an intellectual of Anglo-Saxon background, Randolph Bourne. Understanding Randolph Bourne is important, as he represents the emergence of the modern leftist mind.

Bourne established that frustrating double standard, in which other ethnic traditions were considered to be authentic and vibrant, but the Anglo-Saxon was exceptional in being inauthentic, derivative and pallid. Therefore, the role of the Anglo-Saxon was that of the consumer of other cultures, rather than living through one's own culture.

It's worth finishing with Kaufmann's description of Bourne's position:
...the Anglo-Saxon was implicitly excluded from Kallen's "federation of nationalities" and placed in a special position: that of cultural consumer. Hence whereas Kallen held a Herderian, organicist view of ethnicity that included the Anglo-Saxons, Bourne considered ethnicity a cultural good to be experienced by a modernist cultural consumer. He bestowed this role upon young Anglo-Saxons....

...In effect, where ethnic minorities are given a traditional role, Anglo-Saxons are implored to be cosmopolitan. Thus, Bourne simultaneously lauds the traditions of the Jew "who sticks proundly to the faith of his fathers and boasts of the venerable culture of his," while imploring young Anglo-Saxon Americans to "Breathe a larger air...."

...In Bourne's writing, the freedom for individual creativity and the quest for cultural experience demanded by modernism are satisfied by the seemingly paradoxical coupling of Anglo-Saxon ethnic destruction with minority ethnic revival.

Bourne is very important in understanding how the modernist leftist view came about. I'm going to return to him in a future post.

For the time being, though, I'll point out once again that all this is happening just prior to and during WWI, mostly amongst Protestant Anglo-Saxon intellectual figures, though with Jewish intellectuals in the mix, with the main influences being figures like Nietzsche, James and Bergson rather than Marx.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The decline of Anglo-America: the role of the FCC

OK, back to Eric Kaufmann's book The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America. I've just read the sixth chapter, which is about the role of the Protestant elite. It's a very interesting account.

Up to the early 1900s, the Protestant elite followed the older ideas about dominant Anglo-Saxon ethnicity. For instance, Kaufmann relates that although Josiah Strong in 1885 thought that,
no race should literally displace the other, he also spoke eloquently of the providential destiny of the Anglo-Saxon race to Christianize and Anglo-Saxonize the world.

According to Lyman Abbott,
it is the function of the Anglo-Saxon race to confer these gifts of civilization, through law, commerce and education...

Whatever we think of such beliefs, it is clearly the case that the idea was for people to assimilate to a dominant Anglo-Saxonism.

This changed between 1905 and 1913. The Protestant churches became more ecumenical in their outlook, based on an ethical universalism. In 1908, this ecumenical movement led to the creation of the Federal Council of Churches (FCC), an organisation involving 32 Protestant denominations. The period was to see the emergence of an interfaith movement, a Goodwill movement, support for internationalism, and for a pluralist concept of the nation in which no single group was dominant. Those who took this new line agitated for open borders.

There was also a spirit of "humanitarianism," based not so much on a rejection of God but on the idea that we should serve humanity rather than particular nations. Summarising the views of Everett Clinchy (1934), Kaufmann writes,
...America could call upon a liberal tradition. Drawing on this tradition, its proper mission should be to lead the world toward a higher stage of liberal evolution, culminating in a cosmopolitan world view.

Another ecumenical commentator wrote in 1936:
There can be no fully civilized world until the arrogant independence of political sovereignty can be subordinated to the welfare of human life as a whole. We are far from that now, but everywhere the most civilized minds are thinking in the new patterns of world relationships.

It's a humanitarianism that overrides and endangers particular identities and attachments.

It is important to note, though, that the FCC represented most of all a Protestant bureaucratic, establishment elite view, rather than a rank and file outlook. Its point of view was not generally accepted by rural clergymen, nor by the laity in general. Furthermore, prior to World War II its efforts to bring about open borders were successfully opposed by patriotic groups. For instance, here is Kaufmann on the passage of immigration restriction laws in 1924:
The Protestant establishment also vehemently opposed the National Origins Quota immigration act of 1924, which was subsequently passed. The opposition of the Protestant establishment to the new law was so extensive, and pervaded all of the denominations so completely, that Robert Moats Miller exclaimed: "A list of the men who publicly opposed the exclusion measure would read like an honor roll of American Protestantism. Much the same could be said of the religious press."

In 1942, an FCC conference,
advocated an American foreign policy that would end "the sovereign power of the nation state" and lay the basis for a world political order.

In the early 1950s the FCC (now the NCC) once again lobbied for non-discriminatory mass immigration.

So, the basic conclusion is that one of the roots of the movement toward open borders and multiculturalism was the Protestant establishment from about 1905 onwards. This means that it cannot just be cultural Marxism which is to blame for the current direction of American society. It was not just foreign intellectuals from the 1920s onwards, but changes within the Protestant elite from the very early 1900s, which helped to establish the current template.

Monday, March 10, 2014

I'd forgotten about Raewyn!

Yesterday I posted an item about Judith Butler. She is an American academic and is considered the leading proponent of "gender theory" - a belief that masculinity and femininity are social constructs and that gender is therefore nothing more than a mere "performance".

The French Government tried to impose Butler's gender theory on French schools but was met with mass demonstrations from the French public. I posted this photo of Judith Butler to demonstrate just how much of an outlier she is when it comes to matters of sexual development:

A reader (thanks Titus) reminded me of the person who had previously been the world's leading expert on gender, namely Professor Bob Connell of the University of Sydney. His work on masculinity was taken up by the United Nations.

Bob Connell was not exactly sympathetic to traditional masculinity. He believed that an old, unjust social order was built around masculinity; therefore, to usher in the new, just, liberal world order there needed to be a process of degendering society. If only the personalities and the bodies of men could be de-masculinised, social reform would follow:
If the problem is basically about masculinity, structural change should follow from a remaking of personality.

...It follows that a degendering strategy, an attempt to dismantle hegemonic masculinity, is unavoidable.

The degendering strategy applies not only at the level of culture and institutions, but also at the level of the body - the ground chosen by defenders of patriarchy, where the fear of men being turned into women is most poignant.

What we are moving towards is indeed "something rich & strange"; and therefore, necessarily, a source of fear as well as desire.

What does this have to do with Judith Butler? Well, some years after writing this, Bob Connell made a major change in his life. He re-emerged as a transsexual woman called Raewyn Connell:

So, again, we have an extreme outlier being put in charge of government policies on gender and, once again, we have a denial that sex distinctions represent anything natural or desirable.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

This is the woman teaching French children about gender?

Last month I reported on a victory for traditionalists in France. Large demonstrations forced the government to backtrack on its programme of introducing "gender theory" into French society.

The Boston Globe has published an unsympathetic report on these demonstrations:
The spark that rekindled the movement was, of all things, a grade school program called the “ABC of equality.” This experimental project, launched by the government in late 2013 in a handful of grade schools, encouraged children to consider that though some biological differences between the sexes exist, other differences are “constructed” by society, a product as much of stereotypes as of physical differences. According to its critics, the lesson plan was inspired in part by the work of American gender theorists like Butler.

....Enough people had become horrified by the new impact of “gender studies” that, in February, they turned out in droves. Nearly overnight, “la théorie du genre” was on everyone’s lips. Gender theory was the “obsession” of the Socialist government, one conservative news magazine declared. Activists contacted public libraries to demand that they pull texts tainted by American gender theory from the shelves.

As a result of all this, Butler suddenly found herself massively famous in France.

The report plays down how radical gender theory is. Here is Judith Butler denying the reality of sex distinctions:
... gender is a performance ... Because there is neither an “essence” that gender expresses or externalizes nor an objective ideal to which gender aspires; because gender is not a fact, the various acts of gender create the idea of gender, and without those acts, there would be no gender at all. Gender is, thus, a construction ...

This is almost the exact opposite of the traditionalist view on sex distinctions (we would concede that understandings of sex distinctions are influenced by society; however, at the same time we would hold that there does exist a masculine and feminine essence and that there is an objective ideal which our masculinity and femininity aspires to.)

So who is this Judith Butler who has been put in charge of the sex identities of French children? Well, here is a recent photo:

Yes, she is a lesbian, feminist academic. That is who the modern French state believes is the best person, the expert, to guide young French girls and boys along the path of development toward manhood and womanhood.

The problem with the photo is not how pretty or otherwise Judith Butler is. You don't have to be good-looking to be a good philosopher. I just think it reveals starkly how much at the cutting edge of unfeminine Judith Butler is. She is an outlier, who clearly has never experienced much of the feminine, who is nonetheless being pushed forward as the authority on gender for French girls.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Pope Francis on globalisation

In a recent interview Pope Francis made the following criticism of globalisation:
The globalization that the Church thinks of does not look like a sphere in which every point is equidistant from the center and in which, therefore, the particularity of peoples is lost. It is, rather, a polyhedron, with its different facets, in which each nation keeps its own culture, language, religion, identity. The present “spherical” economic globalization, especially the financial, produces one thought, a weak thought. And the human person is no longer at its center but only money.

That's a welcome defence of the importance of particular relationships. The challenge for the Church is to follow through with this principle, by supporting the right of nations to apply border controls in order to maintain their own distinct existence.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

The problem with humanism

Mark Moncrieff has an interesting post up titled Man is God and Other Acts of Rebellion. He begins with this bold assertion:
The more I look at different political philosophies the more I am coming to think that there are only two. One that proclaims man as God and the Other that denies that man is God.

Mark is identifying as critical to modern thought a "humanism" which replaces God with man. He criticises this humanism on the basis that it leads to a belief that we are freely self-authoring and that we not only can, but should, use this self-authoring power to create a heaven on earth:
If man is really God that means that there is no external influence upon man, we are free to choose our own destiny. We not only can create heaven on Earth, but in a sense we must, as there is no other heaven.

I find that interesting not only as it is a reasonable way to explain the emphasis liberal moderns place on human autonomy (and on a creative recasting of society), but also because I've also been thinking lately about the effect of humanism on the modern West.

I've been reading Eric Kaufmann's The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America. In the fifth chapter, Kaufmann describes the emergence of a group of Protestant and Jewish intellectuals in the late 1800s who believed that all ethnic and religious groups should contribute equally to the new melting-pot, universal culture, each one dying out in the process. Kaufmann writes:
the Liberal Progressives were believers in individual-centered Americanization (defined purely in terms of humanism) and, following University of Chicago sociologist W.I. Thomas, posited that ethnic particularity would vanish in three generations. Hull House was thus an institution of human, cosmopolitan assimilation...

Regarding two influential intellectuals representing this view, William James and Felix Adler, Kaufmann writes the following:
Cultural evolution, James noted, was an accidental process, and moral progress was a value that outweighed group survival. This reaffirmed Felix Adler's cardinal dictum that particular ethnic groups had a duty to sacrifice their corporate existence for the progress of humankind. In the case of the United States, the dominant Anglo-Saxon group had no case for preservation but instead needed to devote itself to bringing forth the new cosmopolitan humanity.

I think that one way of understanding all this is that if you replace a belief in God with a belief in Humanity, then progress will come to mean a movement away from "parochial" attachments and identities to a global, cosmopolitan "human" one. It is, after all, now "humanity" which is to be served.

How then can particular attachments be defended? To avoid the slip into "humanism" (cosmopolitanism) that I described above, you could, first, remain orthodox in your theism, so that you continued to worship God rather than Humanity (though this doesn't guarantee that a Christian won't become a universalist).

There is another possible bulwark against the slide into universalism (not one that I favour, but it needs to be stated). You could remain "prejudiced" in the sense that you held your own particular tradition in higher esteem, or as having a higher value, than other traditions. You wouldn't then, be as likely to favour pluralism; you would be more likely to favour the preservation of your own particular identity.

What's interesting is that Anglo-Saxon Protestants were "prejudiced" in this sense for much of their history. For instance, there was considerable anti-Catholic sentiment within the Anglo-Saxon Protestant tradition, not just because Catholicism was foreign, but because it was held to be an authoritarian, anti-liberal creed. But this "prejudice" did not serve as much of a bulwark against cosmopolitanism in the long run, as the liberalism of American Anglo-Saxons meant that it could not be translated into public preferences (e.g. immigration restriction); it could only be held as a kind of moral persuasion (which perhaps meant that it had to be more forcefully asserted rather than less so).

It also forced Anglo-Saxon Protestants into the kind of "double consciousness" that Kaufmann writes about, in which opposing views had to be held (wanting to retain an identity but not being able to hold it as public good), which led to certain kinds of "magical thinking" (e.g. thinking "optimistically" that demographic change would not occur despite open borders).

I don't think that "prejudice" in this sense is really what is likely to create an effective bulwark against universalism - but more on that later. You can see, though, why contemporary liberals like to think of themselves as a force for tolerant pluralism against discrimination and prejudice; there was a moment of time in which a bulwark of "prejudice" did give way to a liberal vision of a tolerant pluralism - albeit a pluralism based on the dying out of longstanding, particular traditions.

Nor is it a surprise that this liberal humanism emerged amongst those radically secularising Protestant and Jewish congregations which had developed to the stage of rejecting an orthodox theism and embracing a pluralism in which each world religion was to be drawn on for its religious truths. These congregations had reached a point in which there was nothing to halt a slide into a universalistic, liberal humanism.

What might be an alternative bulwark to "prejudice"? One possibility is to defend particular identities, such as ethnic ones, on the basis that they provide a closer sense of belonging, and a deeper sense of identity, than the more abstracted humanistic one. Another is to see it as part of our nature and the natural law to identify with those we are closely related to as part of an ethnic tradition. We could also see the good embedded within the distinct cultures and character of particular ethnic groups and see this as part of an enriching diversity of human expression.

In general, what is needed though is to avoid setting up humanity itself as a replacement for God, as it is this step which then makes it moral to serve a single, global entity of "humanity" rather than the real human communities we have inherited. It is in this sense that we have to avoid humanism, as it gives us a damaging account of how we are to measure morality and progress.

Finally, it is possible that this humanism also partly explains the current of misanthropy that exists among some people today. If you set up Humanity as your god, then what happens when this god fails? What happens when it turns out that people are capable of cruelty? It is possible, that disillusion will then set in, a disillusion that would not occur to those brought up in the alternative view of man being made in the divine image but also having a fallen nature.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Universalising oneself out of existence: Adler

I am reading The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America by Eric Kaufmann. Kaufmann describes the emergence in America in the late 1800s of intellectuals who believed that it was moral and progressive for particular traditions to universalise themselves out of existence.

The liberal, secularising wings of both Protestantism and Judaism were drawn to this position. Felix Adler was a prominent Jewish proponent of the idea, writing in 1878 that Jews had a special role in pushing along a process of universalisation until the point was reached in which their own "distinctiveness will fade. And eventually, the Jewish race will die."

Not all liberal Jews accepted Adler's position. Mordecai Kaplan argued,
that Jews did not need to be justified as the people chosen by God for the sake of a unique monotheistic mission. Every nation and culture had the right to perpetuate itself, albeit without harming others.

Kaplan was not a conservative, but his position is the one held by traditionalists. On reading the early chapters of Kaufmann's book, I was struck by how "overloaded" the idea of Anglo-Saxonism was in the U.S. It was as if Anglo-Saxonism was valued not in itself, but in its "mission" or "destiny" in bringing a liberal order to a new continent.

An ethnic tradition should be valued, amongst other things, for its unique character and culture; for its contributions to the arts and sciences; and for its significance to the identity and sense of belonging of the individual. It doesn't need to be exceptional in its global mission.

I've had a quick look at Adler's beliefs. A few things stand out. Adler drew from a range of intellectual traditions: he was raised within Reform Judaism but was rejected as a rabbi for his lack of orthodoxy; he drew also from the philosophy of Kant and the transcendentalism of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Emerson seems to have been particularly important:
While morality had been an oppressive element in the Christian tradition...for Emerson our moral sense makes us free. Moral sensitivity enables us to become the architects and sculptors of an autonomous personhood. It was this thought that ethics can be creative and reconstructive that entranced the young Felix Adler and set him on the path that led to the development of Ethical Culture.

We still have here a core belief in "freedom as autonomy," alongside a focus on the "creative spirit" aspect of human nature - a drive to "reconstruct" the self and the society we inhabit.

Adler himself wrote:
And this is the prerogative of man, that he need not blindly follow the law of his being, but that he is himself the author of the moral law, and creates it even in acting it out.

This, at the very least, sounds like the modern liberal idea that it is autonomy (self-authorship) that gives man his dignity. Adler went on to write:
We are all soldiers in the great army of mankind, battling in the cause of moral freedom.

Battling not for moral goodness but for moral freedom? To author and to create our own moral law?

I would need to study Adler's writings in greater depth to make a more certain comment here, but from what I've read Adler went through a crisis of faith that struck many intellectuals at the time and he seems to have responded by setting up "Humanity" as a new god - in this literal sense he was a liberal humanist.

It makes sense if this is the entity you seek to serve that you might then become a globalist or cosmopolitan. If you are serving a larger humanity, as a replacement for God, then you won't want people to look to their own particular communities - you will think it to be progress if people give up "parochial" identities in favour of a single global one of a common "Humanity".

(Another thought occurs to me: if you are aiming at "moral freedom" then you might find renouncing particular allegiances an appealing move, as a duty to humanity in general is much more open and non-specific that the particular duties we have to family, tribe, church and nation.)

Traditionalists do not think it moral to renounce particular communities and identities in favour of a single global one. Our closer relationships and identities do have an important claim on us and it is moral for us to discharge our duties to each one, beginning with self and family, and running on to community, ethny and nation, and then finally to a common humanity.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

When did the American left become cosmopolitan?

The fifth chapter of Eric Kaufmann's The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America was once again very informative. The chapter traces the rise of cosmopolitan thinking on the left in the U.S.

Let me give a very brief summary of the book so far. First, up to the 1880s the U.S. was dominated politically by a "double consciousness". On the one hand, Anglo-Americans identified positively with their own dominant ethnicity. On the other hand, they were committed to values which led them to support open borders which undermined this ethnicity.

This changed in the later 1800s. The Protestant churches began to support the idea of helping to improve the social conditions of the working-classes. A progressive movement also emerged at this time, the dominant wing of which was in favour of patriotic immigration restriction. The worker's movement also sought to contain immigration in order to improve workers' conditions. For a period of time, this coalition was ascendant and was able to have new laws on immigration passed in the 1920s.

However, in this same period (1870s to 1920s) a cosmopolitan group of left-wing progressives also emerged who would eventually become dominant.

In the late 1860s a group was formed called the Free Religious Association. It promoted a new "religion of humanity" rather than Christian orthodoxy. It was cosmopolitan in the sense that it was accepting of non-Christian religions, although its leaders still identified positively with Anglo-Saxonism. However, it pushed the frontiers of thought closer to the idea of a future pluralistic, cosmopolitan nation.

Another step toward cosmopolitanism was the foundation of the Ethical Culture Society by Felix Adler. Adler was a leader within the Reform Judaism movement. This movement was anti-Zionist, teaching that the Jews were elected not to return to Israel but to spread the word of a universal faith that would unite the world's peoples in monotheism. For Adler, this meant that the Jews would universalise themselves out of existence as part of this process.

In other words, Jews were not to assimilate to an Anglo-Saxon ideal; rather, they were to help lead a movement in which all traditions would universalise and die out.

Adler's ideals cross-fertilised with those of radical Protestantism in the 1870s. A member of the Free Religious Association commented in the 1870s that: between the most advanced Jews and the most progressive portion of Christendom there is scarcely a shade of difference in theological belief.
Adler became president of the Free Religious Association in 1878; Kaufmann notes that,
This act inaugurated the Protestant-Jewish secular alliance that was to prove so potent an intellectual force in the twentieth century.

I want to pause here for a moment to make two brief points. First, it's important to recognise that prior to the 1870s, the Anglo elite had supported open borders. It's not likely that the older classical liberal/libertarian ideals would have supported a national existence in the longer run.

Second, this is all happening in the 1870s, a long time before the influence of Marxism can be said to really kick in. Although I don't doubt that the Frankfurt school had a major impact later in the 1900s, I don't think it can be seen as the origin of leftist cosmopolitanism.

Kaufmann next goes on to point out that the rise of progressivism, even though it was initially not a cosmopolitan movement, did open up more intellectual space for a "left progressivism" or "left-liberalism" to develop.

The next development was the emergence of the Settlement Movement in the 1890s. This movement placed well-educated young Anglo-Americans (mostly liberal Protestants) in the poorer parts of the cities in order to bring a higher culture to them. The Settlement Movements in Chicago and New York, in particular, developed toward a cosmopolitan view:
First, immigrants' culture was to be encouraged; it would be treated as a "gift" to the American amalgam. Second, the American nation would be implored to shed its Anglo-Saxon ethnic core and develop a culture of cosmopolitan humanism, a harbinger of impending global solidarity.

I'm going to stop here, even though some of the most extraordinary quotes are just coming up (you'll have to wait for these). Suffice it to say that by the early 1900s, there were Anglo-American intellectuals who believed it to be morally right for their own tradition to pass out of existence. Instead of thinking that it was through Anglo-Saxonism that the world would be brought to its liberal destiny, it came to be thought that it was through its decline that the new liberal world order would be brought into existence.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Chinese buy-ups & the progressive left

A reader sent a link to a story in the leftist Guardian newspaper about the impact of Chinese buyers on property prices in Australia.

The Chinese buyers can often outbid local Australians for properties:
Real estate agents report that Chinese buyers often buy several apartments in a new development as a family group. Joseph Ngo, an agent for LJ Hooker in Glen Waverly, that paying $100,000 to $200,000 over the market price “is not a problem for these buyers”. The same is happening in Melbourne, if not quite at Sydney’s intensity.

That's good for those with investment houses to sell, but terrible for those Australians looking to buy a family home.

The writer of the piece, Clive Hamilton, is someone who is definitely on the progressive left in Australia. However, he has opted in this case to sympathise with the local Australians forced out of their own communities:
Couples planning families can no longer afford to buy in the suburbs where they grew up, where they have built friendship networks or where they work. Forced further and further west and south, they are progressively cut off from their old neighbourhoods.

There was an era (roughly 1880s to 1920s) when the progressive left mostly did opt to support local populations against the negative effects of an unconstrained market. However, eventually the logic of the commitment to "equal freedom" led the progressive left to move toward an internationalist position (if what matters is my freedom to self-determine, then there needs to be a system in which we guarantee individuals the right to self-determine, which means not discriminating on criteria that the individual cannot self-determine such as race, ethny, sexuality, gender etc - that's the logic by which a liberal egalitarianism pushes toward non-discrimination and cosmopolitanism).

As you might expect, Hamilton's post received a mixed response at the leftist Guardian site. Some were sympathetic in his criticism of an unconstrained market, but others thought that showing fidelity to locals over international buyers was racist and discriminatory. The paper itself inserted a long, hand-wringing editor's note trying to wade through the conundrum.

The comments section is particularly interesting as you can see the Guardian readers battling it out. The internationalists seem to have the numbers, but there are a fair few who speak up for the conditions of locals.

It's possible that if a serious traditionalist movement were to continue to develop and to become an influence on politics that it might encourage one wing of the progressives to take more of a stand in favour of local communities, as occurred a century ago. We already have examples of progressives who seem willing to do this, such as Paul Kingsnorth.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Excellent chapter: The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America

I've now completed the fourth chapter of Eric Kaufmann's The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America. I have to say it was a tremendously interesting chapter of the book.

If you recall, the first few chapters made the case that up to the 1880s the American elite had a double consciousness. On the one hand they saw themselves in positive terms as a dominant Anglo-Saxon ethny. On the other hand, they were committed to a policy of open borders that changed the demographics away from the Anglo-Saxon founding stock.

The fourth chapter looks more specifically at attitudes toward immigration in the 1800s. Up to the 1880s, immigration was opposed by various working men's organisations, as it was thought to erode workers' conditions and also from a patriotic consciousness. It was favoured, though, by the Republican business elite, as well as the media and religious elites.

Some of the employers were very blunt in their reasoning:
"All I want in my business is muscle," declared a large employer of labor in California in the 1870s. "I don't care whether it be obtained from a Chinaman or a white man - from a mule or a horse!"

...a New York merchant boasted that machinery and immigration made the American capitalist as independent of American workingmen "as the imported slaves made Roman patricians independent of Roman laborers"

There were also political reasons for supporting mass immigration:
Generally speaking, radical liberals in the northeastern United States prior to 1900 affirmed two basic principles: individual liberty and equal opportunity. This meant a repudiation of legislated immigration restriction.

The Protestant elite, at this time, also favoured open borders. One of the reasons for this was the prevailing climate of laissez-faire in which it was thought that leaving things to work out for themselves would bring the right outcomes. For some people, this meant leaving things to the market; for others it meant a Darwinian survival of the fittest; and for some Protestants it meant leaving things to Divine Providence. For this reason, some of the Protestant elite did not want to interfere with the free movement of peoples:
Commentators of the day were just as tenacious in arguing that it was wrong to interfere with the providential hand of God which had served America so well: "Why have we to make a better plan for the Almighty than He has made for Himself," complained George Seward. "Can we not be just above things and leave consequences for themselves?" Popular preacher and Protestant intellectual Henry Ward Beecher concurred with Seward and Williams, provoking fury in the San Francisco press by insisting that the white residents of California should refrain from trying to impede the will of God and the evolution of nature.

So there were major similarities and major differences with the situation today. A similarity is that the Republican Party elite was connected to big business interests which wanted open borders as a source of cheap labour. The church elite was also in favour of open borders, just as it is today.

One difference is that organised labour was at this time committed to patriotism and to restrictions on immigration. Another difference is that the American elite, in spite of their commitment to open borders, still looked on themselves in positive terms as a dominant Anglo-Saxon ethny.

How did the elite try to reconcile their support for open borders with their desire to identify as Anglo-Saxons? Some tried to convince themselves that open borders would not lead to massive population transfers. S. Wells Williams, for instance, claimed that the Chinese were not as numerous as some thought them to be and that they would probably return home. Anyway, Williams was sure that it was part of America's destiny to remain a Protestant Nation:
"To my own mind, there is no fear of a great or irresistible immigration....Thirty years have passed since the providence of God placed this region [California] under the control of a Protestant nation."

As for George Seward (quoted above) he believed that you could have mass immigration from China and keep the races socially separated (he said there was no obligation to offer your daughters in marriage to the newcomers).

I'm not sure that this dual consciousness is not a more general part of the liberal mind. It's not uncommon for liberals, when embarking on policies that will radically reshape society, to dismiss claims that the policies will destroy older institutions. And here is what a former Australian PM, John Howard, said around the time that he was greatly increasing Asian immigration into Australia:
It's perfectly possible for an Anglo-Celtic Australian who sort of has a lot of reverence to the traditional institutions of the country, and the traditional characteristics of Australia, and to want to hang on to those, to be completely tolerant and colour-blind and so on.
It's possible that the less nihilistic of liberals have to have a kind of double consciousness. They are politically committed to policies such as open borders (because of ideas about non-discrimination or neutrality in public policy), but still value the older traditions and identities. And so they are forced to cling "optimistically" to certain beliefs about how things might still work out alright in the end, for instance, by claiming that open borders won't attract a transforming migration, or that private preferences might keep a tradition going even if public policies aren't allowed to do so.

In the 1880s, the intellectual climate began to change. A social gospel movement emerged in the churches which rejected the idea of laissez-faire and which therefore allowed itself to support a deliberate policy of restricting immigration in order to improve working-class living standards.

Sections of the Anglo elite also began to lose confidence, faced with the demographic reality then emerging in the larger cities, that America would always be dominated by an Anglo-Saxon yeomanry (independent, rural farmers). Furthermore, a progressive intellectual movement emerged which, at this time, remained patriotic rather than cosmopolitan. Finally, the workers' movement also continued to push for immigration restriction as a means of protecting living conditions.

This changing of the political outlook (the creation of an alliance between churches, labour organisations, progressive intellectuals and elite Anglo-Saxons) was sufficient to bring in immigration reform in the 1920s, which was designed to limit any further demographic transformation of the United States.

I will be very interested to read Eric Kaufmann's explanation of how this coalition was eventually defeated. I'm expecting, similar to what happened in Australia, that part of the explanation is the shift amongst progressives to a cosmopolitan view - but we'll see what Kaufmann has to say.

Kaufmann's book has been a very informative read so far; it can be purchased via Amazon here.