Twenty years ago my friend W___, a Westerner and a conservative, talked to me about the growing resentments of his fellow Western conservatives. He foresaw them going off the deep-end and putting their considerable armories to work to change the course of our nation’s politics and culture. This was in the early years of President Clinton’s administration, and the very fact of him was provocative enough to these people, not to mention the recent attack on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco. “They’re angry,” W___ told me. “They’re going to explode.”
Sure, why not. Twenty years ago, despite our recent victory-without-nuclear-winter in the long Cold War, apocalypse was the meme of the day. Harold Camping said the Rapture would be in 1994, nerds put software-driven armageddon six years later, and Terence McKenna and the Mayan Calendar pointed to 2012. What had once been Yugoslavia had collapsed into “ethnic cleansing,” and Rwanda would soon follow suit. The Handmaid’s Tale was a bestseller. We weren’t so interconnected then, multiculturalism was a suspect and derided concept, and “militias” were getting ready for guerrilla acts against the government.
Then came the Oklahoma City bombing. I am tempted to write, luckily. McVeigh and Nichols turned the public perception of militias from self-reliant homesteaders to domestic terrorists. It got tough to be part of a militia, and good thing too. I think the Oklahoma City dead saved their fellow Americans from greater bloodshed, as unwittingly and profoundly as the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved their fellow Japanese.
But anger is a cicada, happy to nurse itself underground. Another center-left president, this one even more black than “the first black president,” presides over an America that looks more and more like what many Western and Southern communities — many that are home to at least former members of these self-styled “militias” — most fear.
I think it’s time to worry about whites.
By whites — for I myself am white, and while I have issues with European-American culture I can’t say I haven’t profited from my accidental membership — I really mean people who are invested in European-American social dominance. They are not racists, but they know they have an inside track when it comes to respect and prestige, and it’s easier to castigate outsiders than leave the inside track, than give up that extra profit, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, that accrued effortlessly just by being white.
Whites are losing power. Whites are losing influence. Whites are less and less present, though they started from omnipresence in American culture.
I think it’s time to worry about this. It happened once before. I think people need to pay attention to American discontent, and specifically white discontent, and work through it. I have no idea how. I’m a little leery even bringing it up.
end part 1