“Nation of Ideas” is a crock

There is a common saying in America that the U.S. is a nation founded on ideas, not the people ruling it. This is a typical piece expressing this take, and everyone I know, both on the far left and far right, is bashing it, for good reason. Firstly, it is intellectually dishonest to refer to Coolidge’s statements about religion without referring to his remarks on race:

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 success fully. With other races, the outcome shows deterioration on both sides. Quality of mind and body suggests that observance of ethnic law is as great necessity to a nation as immigration law.

(hat tip:@tcjfs).

The founders were clear on freedom of worship and practice within the country for all types of religion (including Islam) compatible with a Federal government not discriminating among them, but there is no implication in their writings that the government of the country would be anything other than of, by, and for people of the White race. Naturalization was originally limited only to free White persons of good moral character. As soon as there was a major influx of non-White immigration into the country (from China), the party here most favorable to Irish, French, and German immigration (at the time, the Democratic) turned swiftly to that most disfavorable to Chinese immigration. Now, I think that was, though wisely conservative, not the most advisable course of action, given that the Chinese presently here are generally reasonably patriotic, hard-working, intelligent, etc. But it was the traditional view of things, and the writings of the founders were by no means contrary to it.

In any case, ideas do not enforce themselves. The Constitution is not law in America; the decrees of judges, presidents, and Congress are. Any cursory examination of American history will serve to swiftly confirm this. Appointing or electing the right people to make those decrees is the foundation of proper government in America. And for that, the propriety of the electorate and the appointers must be assured.

Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

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