Richard Cohen of the SPLC is having a fit about the failure of President Donald Trump to condemn the Alt-Right free speech rally at the Lincoln Memorial:
“The Lincoln Memorial, the scene of some of the most riveting and consequential moments in the history of our country’s civil right movement, will on Sunday be the site of a decidedly different sort of event.
The white nationalists who will hold a rally there will not be striving to “form a more perfect Union,” as was Abraham Lincoln, but rather to break it part.
They will not be demolishing racial barriers, as was Marian Anderson when she sang to thousands in 1939, but rather erecting them.
They will not be dreaming about ending racism, as was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he spoke in 1963, but rather defending it.
It seems almost sacrilegious that white nationalists will be using the Lincoln Memorial as a backdrop for what they are billing as a “Freedom of Speech Rally.” …”
Strangely enough, Cohen seems to believe there is a contradiction between “free speech” and White identity politics. It would have confounded the Founding Fathers who restricted American citizenship to Whites in the Naturalization Act of 1790. The US Constitution was written and signed exclusively by White males and includes the 3/5ths and Fugitive Slave Clauses. The same men who ratified the First Amendment also provided for the capture of their runaway slaves.
President Thomas Jefferson would have understood the fear that unless “drastic action is taken” that the grandchildren of white people in America will “live in a country that is alien and hostile.” In the aftermath of the Haitian Revolution, Jefferson wrote “But if something is not done, and soon done, we shall be the murderers of our own children.” He later wrote, “Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free. Nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government. Nature, habit, opinion has drawn indelible lines of distinction between them.” Jefferson advocated peaceful ethnic cleansing, “It is still in our power to direct the process of emancipation and deportation peaceably and in such slow degree as that the evil will wear off insensibly, and their place be pari passu filled up by free white laborers.”
When President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, he was entertaining the possibility that some black Union war veterans in Louisiana could be extended voting rights. In Lincoln’s America, non-Whites were excluded from American citizenship by the Dred Scott decision, which is why the 14th Amendment was necessary to establish black citizenship. Lincoln told Frederick Douglass that the black race was the cause of the War Between the States and advocated racial separation, “See our present condition—the country engaged in war!—our white men cutting one another’s throats, none knowing how far it will extend; and then consider what we know to be the truth. But for your race among us there could not be war, although many men engaged on either side do not care for you one way or the other. Nevertheless, I repeat, without the institution of Slavery and the colored race as a basis, the war could not have an existence. It is better for us both, therefore, to be separated.” During the war, Lincoln attempted to colonize free blacks in Haiti and Panama.
Slavery wasn’t abolished in the District of Columbia until 1862. In the 19th century, White Americans didn’t believe that “racism” was a sin. They didn’t believe that “xenophobia” or “hate speech” were a bad thing either. Even in the 20th century, Congress was banning the “feebleminded” and “anarchists” from American shores and extending the China ban – the Chinese Exclusion Act – to include immigration from all of Asia and Africa. In the Roaring Twenties, President Calvin Coolidge was able to say, “There are racial considerations too grave to be brushed aside for any sentimental reasons. Biological laws tell us that certain divergent people will not mix or blend. The Nordics propagate themselves successfully. With other races, the outcome shows deterioration on both sides. Quality of mind and body suggests that observance of ethnic law is as great a necessity to a nation as immigration law.” The Supreme Court upheld eugenics in the Buck v. Bell decision in 1927.
There’s nothing unusual about Richard Spencer’s politics. The Founding Fathers would have been perplexed by the need for “free speech rallies” though. They would have been astonished by the idea that their descendants would be denied employment for engaging in “White identity politics” since that was the only type of politics in their day. No one else had a credible claim to America in their time. It was MLK who captured the imagination of White Americans about “ending racism” in the 1960s. The present day immigration and federal civil rights laws only date back to that period.
Americans have had many such moral panics throughout history – the temperance movement, which culminated in Prohibition in the 18th Amendment, is one such example. The crusade to stamp out the evil of “racism” is driven by the same utopian spirit that once tried to stamp out alcohol. This wasn’t a part of our culture until a generation ago and we can move beyond this failed experiment.