Custodians of Culture

This was America in 1912.

It was the year the RMS Titanic sank.

The following excerpt comes from Henry F. May’s book The End of American Innocence, 1912-1917:

“The third article of the standard American credo, the belief in culture, was weaker than the other two. We can think of the three as a triptych, an altarpiece made of three pictures, framed in gold and hinged together. In the center, of course, is moralism, painted in the bold and sure colors used by Roosevelt or Lyman Abbott. On the left, joined to the center by a rivet that keeps coming apart, is progress. On the right, a little smaller and dimmer if one looks closely, is culture. In the revolution we are talking about, when the mob broke in it smashed the right-hand panel most thoroughly. The others did not look the same without it.

Culture, to most Americans in 1912, did not mean what it was beginning to mean to anthropologists, the sum of a particular area’s customs and institutions. It was not so much a way of describing how people behaved as an idea of how they ought to behave and did not. More specifically, culture in America meant a particular part of the heritage from the European past, including polite manners, respect for traditional learning, appreciation of the arts, and above all an informed and devoted love of standard literature. Standard usually meant British: culture might imply a vague knowledge of the classical and Renaissance traditions, but for the most part it was something that had come via England. This was part of the trouble; Americans for a long time had wanted to construct their own tradition, yet the European and English past was the only past that was available.”

May is describing the Victorian mainstream: the American trinity of moralism, the belief in progress and culture. It is this third part of the national credo that was smashed beyond recognition.

“The hardiness of tradition in much high-school education is suggested by John Franklin Brown’s The American High School, a well-known conservative account published in 1909. Constant attention and respect for authority were fundamental; all subjects must be studied in terms of rules and principles. Literature, art, history, and science must all be taught with a view to inculcating the higher ideals of the race:

“In no case should either the course of study or the spirit of work in the high school be such as to subordinate the culture ideal to any other.”

And as for manners:

“The rule of the school is “Be a gentleman, a lady …”

This was the world of the old WASP elite.

“Yet the view of American history as the transmission of Protestant ideals and Anglo-Saxon culture still had its militant defenders. In 1907 Albert Bushnell Hart gave to the final volume of The American Nation, the most ambitious survey yet attempted, the revealing title National Ideals Historically Traced. The text made clear whose ideals were meant: “The Puritans have furnished ‘the little leaven that leavens the whole lump.’

“Hart’s whole book argued the question whether this leaven could survive the immigrant flood, the disappointing failure of the Negro to justify his liberators, and the mounting corruption of public life. On the whole, Hart was optimistic; despite these problems, there were reasons for hope, among them the survival of an ethical religion and a sturdy public opinion.”

How strange.

In Rod Dreher’s world, Christianity has been eternal antagonist of whiteness and racism. Frankly, this is a view that would have sounded BIZARRE to anyone walking in the streets below.

About Hunter Wallace 9518 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent

6 Comments

  1. This view (articulated in the column above) is, more or less, what I was raised with: my mother was born in this era, and my father somewhat later. I was a child (once could say) ‘born out of time,’ in that my parents were not necessarily post-war [WWII] ‘typical’ parents (Spock’s precepts on child-rearing, conspicuous consumption, suburbia, and the good life) but rather, was the mindset of those who had been raised by Victorian parents, themselves – who saw in America a continuation of Anglo-Saxon culture (even as we were Catholic) and both personal (Parochial school) and civic (Singing of hymns and reading of Scripture in Public School- until 1961 and Murray-O’Hair’s lawsuit) morality. For me (I realized much later) all of it culminated in the last gasps of those two cultural icons, via two of Julie Andrews’ early films: Mary Poppins (everything that was good about British patriarchal, structured society) and Sound of Music (the last vision of a Catholic Church, eternal and morally pure, before Vatican Eww and the sodomite takeover of the seminaries) which occurred @ 1964/66.

    Because, by 1970, we had movies such as ‘Hair,’ ‘Guess who’s coming to Dinner,’ ‘Cabaret’, the dismantling of the Hays Code, the removal of Bishop Sheen from TV, and the substitution of “All in the Family” for Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Petticoat Junction, etc. We also had Kennedy’s death, Judy Garland’s death (Dorothy in Wizard of Oz as avatar of Midwestern innate goodness) RFK’s death (see the column below) the rise of the godless ‘rock’ culture (anathema) orchestrated by the Children of the CIA, [Look up Laurel Canyon] and all the rest.

    This sea change is largely due to the Emancipation of the Jew, (which must be overturned) and their illegally seizing the reins of power; aiding and abetting the change in our Immigration Law (Celler-Hart), spurious legitimization of the N-word (Kennedy’s and Johnson’s ‘Civil Wrongs Acts’) and the takeover (above all) of the Vatican- all of which can be documented in full, today. [ Because the Vatican’s collapse started the Episcopal Church’s race to apostasy, teh formation of the ELCA among the Lutherans, the merger of the older Methodists into the UMC, etc.) Here’s just one article as corroboration of the Tribe’s irredeemable nature, and their mandated removal from these shores, for starters.

    https://www.unz.com/article/did-israel-kill-the-kennedies/

    “The purpose of bread and circuses is, as Neil Postman said in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death, to distract, to divert emotional energy towards the absurd and the trivial and the spectacle while you are ruthlessly stripped of power.” – Chris Hedges

    “Theology—not philosophy, literature, geography, economics, politics, law, art, music, or science—was and is the mainspring of our culture and history.  It is that which set it in motion, and maintained its cohesion and harmonious movement.   When the theological unity of Europe was fractured in that original break of 1054, the movement became disjointed, with the Two Europes tied together like racers in a three-legged race, tied together in the leg of a common history, but now with two “minds” and two different sets of historical time operating.  “ – A. Flood on ‘G, H, & D’
    http://www.anthonyflood.com/farrellghdprolegomena.htm

    “But, as shown by DNA studies, we could also interbreed with the Neanderthals; many of European extraction have a very small amount of Neanderthal DNA. Does this mean interbreeding is good? Certainly not! What is good and precious in each race is lost through miscegenation. We are no different from, say, horses in this respect. If you cross a Thoroughbred with a Clydesdale, you will end up with something that cannot run like a Thoroughbred nor pull like a Clydesdale. So, the lesson to be learned is this: if we want to celebrate diversity, we must be committed to protecting it.”- http://faithandheritage.com/2018/07/racial-distinctions-in-an-unfallen-world/#comment-9456

    “There are three things I cannot take in: nondogmatic faith, nonecclesiological Christianity and nonascetic Christianity. These three – the church, dogma, and asceticism – constitute one single life for me.” — Elder Sophrony, Letter to D. Balfour, August 21, 1945.

    “We must slam down the brakes on the happiness-mongering fiends who are destroying society and culture” –Fr. John S. Romanides

    “Truth is its own justification” –J.P. Farrell, Ph.D.

  2. Because of it’s corporate nature, and because of the restlessness of the adulterous lovematch between Urban Jewry and the insatiably forward-looking nature of the New England Culture, it has long been that America is ‘at the cusp of a revolution’.

    It would be even more so, if not for the Sleepy Hollow nature of both the Smalltown South and it’s similar cousins in The Midwest.

    But, alas, it appears that the ability of the former party to accelerate into theoretical insanity has far outgrown the ability of the brakes to be applied by the latter.

  3. If you had to boil down to one or two sentences what is wrong with the modern world, it’s that most people can’t think of anyone or anything but themselves. They have been taught that what pleases them, is everything. And if anything stands in the way of their petty self gratification, it’s evil. That’s why religion is resented, it puts on break on what the individual might want. It’s unhealthy and it’s stupid, but that’s where society is at.

    I consider atheists to be basically devil worshippers, this is the text book definition of satanism, worship of self, I am more important than God. I am the only thing that matters. I believe that much of society believes this, they won’t come right out and say it, but that’s how they feel, it’s obvious by the way they act.

  4. an equally significant and proximate date:

    24 December, 1913. When the charter for the Third Rothschild National Bank, alias “Federal Reserve”, was snaked through an eager-to-adjourn US Congress.

    in a vast cohencidence, the 20th Century World War broke out a few months later, culminating in Judeo-communists astride half the planet and Judeo-zionists hijacking Palestine and then the entire Anglosphere.

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