Friday, January 05, 2007

John Derbyshire and Steve Sailer on the Pessimistic Future of the American Republic

Two paleoconservatives have negative views on the survival of the American Republic. I am bit surprised by the negativity of all conservatives of late. When haven't we been in crisis? How did the Republic look in 1862, 1930, 1942 and 1980? Both assume a lack of adaptation by the citizens. I'd say the travails we are in now are minor compared to those dates in American history.

Both I believe are not religious but recognize the importance of Christianity in America. Tom Wolfe is in the same camp. I heard Wolfe say once in a C-span interview that he isn't a Christian but loved to see it in other people. A camp I was in until a few years ago.

Fragmented Future by Steve Sailer.

  • In a column headlined "Harvard study paints bleak picture of ethnic diversity," Lloyd summarized the results of the largest study ever of "civic engagement," a survey of 26,200 people in 40 American communities: "When the data were adjusted for class, income and other factors, they showed that the more people of different races lived in the same community, the greater the loss of trust. 'They don't trust the local mayor, they don't trust the local paper, they don't trust other people and they don't trust institutions,' said Prof Putnam. 'The only thing there's more of is protest marches and TV watching.'"
Later he has this:
  • The problems caused by diversity can be partly ameliorated, but the handful of techniques that actually work generally appall liberal intellectuals, so we hear about them only when they come under attack. ...
  • Another untold story is the beneficial effect on race relations of the growth of Christian fundamentalism. Among soldiers and college football players, for instance, co-operation between the races is up due to an increased emphasis on a common transracial identity as Christians.
  • According to military correspondent Robert D. Kaplan of The Atlantic, "The rise of Christian evangelicalism had helped stop the indiscipline of the Vietnam-era Army." And that has helped build bridges among the races. Military sociologists Charles C. Moskos and John Sibley Butler wrote in All That We Can Be: Black Leadership and Racial Integration the Army Way, "Perhaps the most vivid example of the 'blackening' of enlisted culture is seen in religion. Black Pentecostal congregations have also begun to influence the style of worship in mainstream Protestant services in post chapels. Sunday worship in the Army finds both the congregation and the spirit of the service racially integrated."
  • Similarly, it's now common to see college football coaches leading their teams in prayer. Fisher DeBerry, the outstanding coach of the Air Force Academy, who has led players with no hope of making the NFL to a record of 169-108-1, hung a banner in the locker room bearing the Fellowship of Christian Athletes' Competitor's Creed, which begins, "I am a Christian first and last." When the administration found out, he was asked to take it down.

John Derbyshire an immigrant from the UK always has interesting observations about his adopted home country.

In this post he speculates on the downfall of the USA by 2022. One of the many reasons is spiritual failure (see below). Derbyshire himself is an agnostic. He has good points but his pessimism is a bit overboard. The weaknesses in the Republic are there, but my guess is we will still be standing tall in 2022.

On the other hand, he has strong points on the lack of intellectual vibrancy in American higher education.
  • "There has, however, here as in other spheres, been a separating-out by class and IQ. It is this sorting, this separating-out, that is important for the future of our country. You read a lot about American exceptionalism in the matter of religion. Well, yes; but let me tell you, as a foreigner who came to this country as an adult and saw it with foreign eyes, there are two very striking things about religion in America. One is the number of intensely religious people; the other is the number of intensely, angrily irreligious people. American religiosity has generated its Hegelian opposite: a huge corps of fierce God-haters.
  • There was always some of that, of course. Mark Twain, born in 1835, was irreligious, but he was polite and careful about it, at least in public. H.L. Mencken, born 45 years later, was louder and ruder about his atheism, but he was still an oddity in the America of the 1920s. Now we have an entire class, wealthy and influential, who are Godless and proud of it, and are angry and contemptuous of believers. The old dispensation, in which most unbelievers maintained a polite respect for the believing majority, was a kind of unity. Now we are snarling at each other across a gulf of spiritual disjunction."

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