A recent visit to St. Augustine, a stronghold of the good old days, made me ponder the Amerikaner. Amerikaners, also known as Core Americans, Traditional Americans, or Non-Hyphenated Americans, are the self-explanatory component of the American demos. In negative terms, these are Americans not belonging to the corrosive elites and their aspiring imitators, but also not to the twerking underclasses.
In positive terms, these are Americans mostly of European origins, mostly with a multi-generational presence in the country, and mostly with an existence independent of the Great Prestige Hierarchies of collegiate placement, corporate careers, and class-reinforcing ideologies such as BLM and LGBTQIA+.
Almost all Americans used to be Amerikaners. Post-civil war and during the great integration under Teddy Roosevelt and later on in the 1950s, the “Leave it to Beaver” American had reigned supreme. Even if you weren’t such an American yourself, just as many HR ladies today are not really members of the elites they admire, everybody would aspire to be one. Hence, the Amerikaner was both the spirit of America and its absolute demographic majority.
But there has always been the anti-Amerikaner as well. As Angelo Codevilla, and Michael Anton explain, an American elite hostile to the folkways of the demos is at least as old as the Progressive Movement of the late 19th century and early 20th century. That hostile elite’s creed was something we could easily identify today: core Americans are too stupid, silly, commercially driven, and religious to be taken seriously or to be relied upon in government. Hence various experts are required to fill the gap between America’s elected institutions, voted into existence by rubes and imbeciles, and the management of the country.
Such ideas, under Wilson and then more so under JFK, gave birth to our now omnipresent landscape of three-lettered agencies regulating the nation’s life through the directorship of permanent “experts.”
Back to demographics, the numerical relationships between the elite and the lowly rubes have somewhat changed. Whereas previously the anti-Amerikaner elite was a tiny, yet powerful, fraction of the population, today the elites, their secondary aspirant sycophants (the HR ladies), and their twerking minions command something close to 50% of American society.
The Amerikaners in turn, once close to 90% of the country’s population, have dwindled down to something close to the other 50%. Very crudely – whites minus woke whites plus a few minority allies.
This demographic reversal should be a good opportunity as ever to re-examine our conceptual assumptions regarding both elites and Amerikaners. Are elites urbane and sophisticated? Are core Americans indeed stupid, silly, uneducated, and so forth?
Well, back in the 1920s, one could perhaps argue that the Progressive elite was indeed much more sophisticated, well-educated, worldly, and urbane than the average Amerikaner. The Amerikaner was by no means stupid but certainly occupied by the hustle and bustle of life in a continent exploding with industry and growth. Definitely more street smart (or farm smart), than book smart. More ma and pa than Henry Adams.
The elite, by contrast, were often true aristocrats – the products of inherited wealth and the greater leisure and education that come with it. If we take the sort of Henry Adams as a case in point, your late 19th-century and early 20th-century member of the elite was indeed fluent in ancient and foreign languages, well-versed in history, aware of the latest developments in the sciences, and the product of very fine schools.
Fast forward to JFK’s age, and that was still more or less the same. There was indeed much brain in JFK’s Brain Trust. Less blue blood, but even more intellectual merit.
And what about today? Can our elites and their lesser sycophants claim similar superiority? They have surely inherited the mindset of the elites of yesteryear. Hillary Clinton, in an uttering of supreme honesty, defined all outside her orbit as “deplorables.” Barack Obama, perhaps with greater pity, defined his detractors as “angry,” relying on their guns and bibles for their self-esteem (Strength and Spirit are bad!).
So our present elites claim the prestige of the old elites and treat the rest of the country with much of the same condescending avarice. But do they deserve the same prestige?
No, not anymore.
Whereas JFK’s elites were indeed better trained and educated, more urbane and more learned, our elites now are as dumb as a bag of old avocado toasts. Yes, some graduates of Stanford and Harvard, especially in the sciences, are very smart, but talk to your average “college-educated” member of the aspiring upper classes, and nothing but infinite stupidity, fortified by hubris, speaks back to you.
If you move in elite circles, you know these types – can any of them quote Shakespeare, has any idea who Tennyson was, give you an outline of the French Revolution, say anything meaningful about the Gothic Kingdoms, about Cicero, Aristotle, Plato? Can any of them, say, whistle anything by Bach, by Purcell, by Monteverdi? No.
If you do not move in elite circles, just take my word for it – these people are phony to the bony.
And what about the Amerikaner? Has the intellectual weight of that group decreased as well? Sure, the elite has become very silly, but has the Amerikaner become even sillier?
I don’t think so. As ever, the Amerikaner is practical, skilled with handy work, and buttressed by the common sense of the generations. But if college education still has any value, 42% of Amerikaners actually possess college degrees. And the Amerikaner’s degree is less likely to involve gender studies or idiotic grievance-based disciplines such as “ethnic studies” or “women’s studies.”
So the optimistic bottom line for the new year is that while the hostile elites have gained demographic ground they have also self-mutilated through stupidity; and the Amerikaner, though lower in numbers, is as noble as ever, and even more so.
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