[Crossposted from American Renaissance]
German governments have used two strategies to crush dissent in the last century. The Third Reich used Gleichschaltung, or “coordination,” with the state pushing public and private organizations into line with National Socialism. Communist East Germany used Zersetzung, “decomposition,” with its Stasi secret police wrecking the personal lives, careers, and reputations of dissidents. White advocates face both tactics today.
However, there’s a third example from Germany. It’s arguably worse than the other two because its goal isn’t just to force obedience. It’s to instill shame.
It’s Vergangenheitsaufarbeitung, “working off the past.” It means re-interpreting your history as something shameful. It’s what Germany’s rulers have forced on their people, and it’s what the Washington Post wants to do to us.
Working for American Renaissance is sometimes hard because we must report bad news, and the news from Germany is almost always bad. Germany is not free. The state arrests citizens for saying the wrong things. The ironically named “Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution” spies on the nationalist Alternative for Germany party. A politician from the governing “conservative” party openly told her constituents that they shouldn’t worry about being a minority in their own country. Few Germans think they can speak openly.
Michele Norris (right) at the Washington Post thinks this is a model for us. She argues America should pursue Vergangenheitsaufarbeitung, which she calls a “decades-long exercise, beginning in the 1960s, to examine, analyze, and ultimately learn to live with an evil chapter through monuments, teachings, art, architecture and public policy.”
Germany, she says approvingly, “looks at its Nazi past by consistently, almost obsessively, memorializing the victims of that murderous era, so much that it is now a central feature of the nation’s cultural landscape.” Students learn about the “horrible and shameful [Nazi] chapter in the nation’s past,” any “symbol of the Nazi era” is illegal, Holocaust denial is illegal, and police officers spend years of training that includes Holocaust history. Perhaps this focus is why German police seem unable to stop crime disproportionately committed by Muslims.
Imagine traveling through an American state and coming upon small, embedded memorials that listed key facts about the lives of the enslaved. Their names. Their fates. Their birth dates. The number of times they were sold. The ways they were separated from their families. The conditions of their toil. Imagine how that might shape the way we comprehend the peculiar institution of slavery, its legacy and its normalized trauma.
Imagine if there were similar embedded memorials for Indigenous peoples, who were forced from their land, relegated to reservations far from their normal ranges and regions. Imagine stopping to fill up the tank at a roadside gas station and noticing the reflection off a gleaming brass marker that bears the names of the tribal elders who once lived where you are standing.
Germany faced its horrible past. Can we do the same? by Michele L. Norris, June 3, 2021
We should pay attention to what she’s saying. It’s not enough that statues to our heroes are torn down and that even the dead are dug up. Instead, presumably every part of America will have little monuments meant to disgrace white Americans.
Opinion: For too long, we've ignored our real history. We must face where truth can take us. https://t.co/Y9WPN3xPpw— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) June 7, 2021
Michele Norris also approvingly cites the way German leaders apologize for their country’s history. She writes that President Biden’s speech about the Tulsa race riot (what I call the Tulsa libel) is just a beginning. “Biden should keep his foot on that pedal and launch an official inquiry about uncomfortable historical truths,” she writes, “and do it in a way that ensures that it will extend over years, if not decades.”
Tulsa would thus become the beginning of an endless quest, and the reparations program being discussed in that city could be repeated wherever some scholar “discovers” an atrocity. Needless to say, the only malefactors in history would be whites; non-whites would always and everywhere be unoffending victims. A years-long “official inquiry” would be a de-facto treasure hunt for academics and journalists looking for a headline and an easy paycheck.
Still, one potential problem with this sweeping program is that there’s no single version of history that a regime can impose on a diverse population. Sometimes there are not fights between “right” and “wrong” but battles between groups with different interests. Confederate soldiers didn’t fight only to defend slavery, and the Union would have lost the war if all the slave-holding states had joined the Confederacy.
There was no single conflict between American Indians and European-Americans, but hundreds of mini-wars between pioneers and separate Indian nations, many of which were eager to ally with whites against tribal enemies. How would we commemorate the last Confederate general to surrender in the Civil War, Brig. General and Cherokee Indian Stand Watie? He surrendered more than two months after Appomattox.
Brig. Gen. Stand Watie
Michele Norris has a far simpler view: “We’ve built monuments to traitors and raised large sums of money to place the names of generals who fought against their own country all over highways and civic buildings,” she writes. By this standard, George Washington was a “traitor,” too, and will have to go.
Most Confederates sided with their state and their community. They would have been “traitors” to their own neighbors if they had sided with the federal government. Until recently, we understood that. There were joint Union-Confederate veteran ceremonies as early as the 1870s. The men who actually tried to kill each other showed more compassion and understanding for each other than today’s journalists do.
Union and Confederate veterans shake hands on the Gettysburg battlefield to mark the 50-year anniversary of the battle.
Why should Americans embark on this endless crusade against our own country? Why must Germans stick with it? Incredibly, Michele Norris says it has made Germany stronger. She quotes an American Jew who spent most of her life in Germany and wrote the book, Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil. Susan Neiman says:
They got right the idea that a nation has to face its criminal past in order to become whole and strong and not riven by unsaid guilt, unsaid resentment. They got right the idea that there is a process that one can go through that takes time, but that you come out better in the end. And they got right the idea that it has to happen on several fronts.
Leaving aside the question of why a foreigner gets to explain what Germany “has to” do, is Germany “whole and strong?” Michele Norris admits this torturous process has not been able “fully [to] extinguish the forces of racial and ethnic hatred inside Germany,” however she defines it. Germany’s politically correct “unity” is maintained by repression. Even referring to crimes committed by migrants can be dangerous. There are more than 5.5 million Muslims in Germany, about 7 percent of the population, and many live in what is essentially a parallel society. They don’t share the blood guilt imposed on actual Germans.
The point of confession is to unburden the soul. Eternal confession wouldn’t be a relief or a purge; it would be torture. That seems to be what’s in store for Germans. Just a few days ago, Germany said it committed “genocide” in Namibia more than a century ago. The government will now pay reparations. No doubt there are other lucrative atrocities waiting to be discovered.
The same pattern could be expected in America. During his speech in Tulsa last week, President Biden said “great nations. . . come to terms with their dark sides.” What precisely does “come to terms” mean and who gets to decide what is “dark?” More importantly, great nations are defined by pride and confidence in themselves, not self-loathing. China is striding towards superpower status with no apologies. Russia is immensely proud of its past. It recently built a breathtaking cathedral to honor its heroes. America’s public art is humiliation.
The “Rumors of War” statue outside the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Sculpted by black artist Kehinde Wiley, it’s a satire of the equestrian portraiture that’s often used to memorialize Confederate generals. The rider is a black man with dreadlocks in a ponytail, ripped jeans, and Nike
Germany endures humiliation because it was a defeated, conquered nation. The German government does not endlessly brood over the firebombing of Dresden, the Soviet occupation of the east, the expulsion of millions of Germans from Silesia and Pomerania, and the mass killings of Germans in Prussia. It doesn’t demand reparations for war crimes the Soviet Army committed as it raped its way to Berlin. Instead, a monument to the Red conquerors stands in the German capital, part of a complex of monuments to homosexuals, gypsies, and the larger Holocaust Memorial. Germany endures all this because it was occupied and, to some degree, still is.
The Soviet War Memorial in Berlin, Germany. (Credit Image: Ethan Doyle White via Wikimedia)
It’s very hard to believe that anyone seriously thinks this makes Germany stronger. If current trends continue, in a few decades, Germans will be a minority in their own country. That may be a triumph for some people, but not for Germans. Why must America, which ostensibly “won” the war, suffer the same treatment?
There is an even larger point. World War II wasn’t just another conflict. It established the founding myth of the postwar period. R. R. Reno accurately stated in Return of the Strong Gods that the West created an anti-racist, anti-imperialist, and anti-nationalist moral order in response to the Axis challenge. However, this new morality then turned on the Western “victors.” Thus, even Winston Churchill’s statue is not safe in London, and the Confederate battle flag that American Southerners carried proudly even in the Second World War is a “hate symbol.”
The true war is an eternal war against our own inner racist. Now, we can expect a deliberate program of national disgrace imposed through official monuments, school curricula, and reparations. However, this won’t be a burden for everyone. Michele Norris, who is black, reveals her true intent when she writes:
On a personal level, this false narrative about America is another act of cruelty, even a kind of larceny. I view the real story, the genuine history —ugly as it is —as part of my people’s wealth. You built this country on the backs of African Americans’ ancestors.
Astonishingly, she writes that we’ve never really had a “conversation” about race. Let’s have that conversation.
America was built by whites. The fanciful notion that we are rich because of blacks is easily debunked. Others contributed and can contribute, but not by tearing down what we created. Even Abraham Lincoln noted that any wealth created by black slaves was almost entirely destroyed by the war. The Great Migration, the riots of the 1960s, and the crime wave we are living through now continue to destroy cities that whites built. The Tulsa riots do not compare to what we endure today.
Michele Norris says we don’t have conversations about race in this country because people might be “really rattled by what they might hear.” She, herself, might be rattled.
Blacks are a massive liability for this country. They commit a vastly disproportionate amount of crime and use a disproportionate amount of welfare. Much of the black middle class is an artificial creation of direct income transfers from whites to blacks via affirmative action, “diversity” programs, and subsidies from well-funded Non-Government Organizations. If whites police black citizens, we must endure constant protests; if white police back away, black neighborhoods explode in crime —and we are blamed for neglect. The driving force in American life determining where people live, work, and send their children to school is the desire to escape diversity. If diversity were a tax, its cost would be incalculable. Reparations —unjustifiable and absurd —would just be one more line item on the bill.
If we must have little monuments to the victims of American history, we shouldn’t forget Cannon Hinnant, Brittney Watts, Channon Christian, Christopher Newsom, the victims of the Zebra Killings, and the thousands of other whites whom blacks have killed. We can’t forget the whites butchered by those whom Thomas Jefferson called the “merciless Indian savages.” If we’re seriously going to discuss reparations, we should start with the millions of whites who had to flee the cities. Desegregation and black degeneracy made once-thriving American communities unlivable.
Michele Norris argues that “our future as a united country of people ever more divided depends on” the kind of historical “reckoning” she wants. How would that make America more united? If Americans of all races must live together, then the solution is to find a common purpose and have legal equality. If we are going to be civic nationalists, then we should abolish race-based preferences, limit immigration in order to take care of our own workers (of every race), and try to build an inclusive national story. President Trump’s 1776 Commission, though filled with silly tributes to Martin Luther King, Jr. and other tripe, was at least an attempt.
Michelle Norris is not even offering us this compromise. She is ordering us to submit. We can see what’s happening in South Africa today, and in Germany and America tomorrow. Every day, I see hate directed against my people, hate that nothing we can do will ever quench. It’s in your face. At some point, whites have a choice. We can stand together as whites or we can grovel. Michele Norris wants us to subsidize her racial fantasies. I refuse. Her article is full of things she says whites “must” do. What we “must” do is fight back. We can start by being honest about who built this country, who sustains it, and who needs whom.
Michele Norris is the founder of “The Race Card Project.” It asks people to put their views about race in six words. I encourage white advocates to participate if they can without doxing themselves, or if they simply no longer care. After reading her article—only the last in an endless series of libels, smears, and threats against us —I have my six words for her: “Whites are better off without you.”