by Jared Taylor
Lost in Justin Raimondo’s torrent of mistaken assumptions and wild accusations is one useful question: What do “white nationalists” want? By putting the term in quotation marks, Mr. Raimondo has stumbled onto an important truth, namely, that there is no accepted term for contemporary Americans who still hold some of the views about race that were taken for granted by virtually all Americans until about the 1950s.
Until then, most people believed race was an important aspect of individual and group identity. They believed that the races differed in temperament and ability, and whites preferred the societies built by whites to those built by non-whites. They wanted the United States to be peopled by Europeans because they believed only people of European stock would maintain the civilization they valued. These views were so wide-spread, so taken for granted, so indisputable that there was no term for them. Just as there was no name for people who expected the sun to rise in the East, there was no name for people whose views are today sometimes given the clumsy term “white nationalism.”
The national-origins immigration policy that lasted until 1965 embodied this basic understanding of race. As one of the supporters of that policy, Congressman William Vaile of Colorado explained in 1924, “[the United States] is a good country. It suits us. And what we assert is that we are not going to surrender it to somebody else or allow other people, no matter what their merits, to make it something different.” I might add that even if this sentiment shocks Americans today, it is exactly the view of their own country held by virtually every Japanese, Israeli, or Mexican.
What perhaps most succinctly characterizes those whom Mr. Raimondo calls “white nationalists” is the conviction that it was a terrible mistake to abandon national-origins quotas and throw the United States open to immigration from everywhere. As Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina wondered at the time: “What is wrong with the national origins of the American people? What is wrong with maintaining them? What is wrong with preferring as immigrants one’s own kinsmen?” There were no good answers to those questions then and there is none today.
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