Polite Kid

Polite Kid

0 comment Wednesday, October 22, 2014 |
The mood of heaviness that seemed noticeable on the heels of the president's speech seems to be lifting, as a few sane voices are heard over the usual MSM noise and blather.
Diana West, a reliable voice of sanity at the Washington Times, writes a piece called 'Too little, too late'.
I wonder how many Americans, listening to President Bush bringing his too-little, too-late immigration address to a close, felt like he ran out of track when he concluded: "We honor the heritage of all who come here...because we trust in our country's genius for making us all Americans, one nation under God," end of speech. Every allegiance-pledging American, of course, on hearing the phrase, "one nation under God," automatically adds "indivisible," not to mention "with liberty and justice for all." The president did not. It's likely that Mr. Bush simply didn't wish to sign off with the final words of the Pledge of Allegiance, which would have been out of place. Still, he invoked the pledge, and ended up omitting "indivisible." Purposeful or not, the omission is apt. We -- if I may say "we" to indicate the United States of America -- are anything but "indivisible" at this sorry point in history, and, as a perilous result, we think and we act less and less like a "nation."
A nation has borders and defends them. "We" do not. Otherwise, building a fence against an unprecedented invasion by Mexico wouldn't be considered a harsh and radical position in the political mainstream. A nation has laws and upholds them. "We" do not.'
'...A nation defines itself as a nation. "We" certainly do not. We are, as we are endlessly told, a Nation of Immigrants, a concept that blows to smithereens the unique nature of the "nation" to which immigrants have traditionally assimilated: the European-derived, mainly Anglo-Saxon polity, born of the Enlightenment and extraordinarily blessed by Providence, which the current president is now rapidly phasing out. '
'I have this terrible feeling I finally understand what a "compassionate conservative" is: an emotional train wreck. It's time to get a grip and build a fence -- a pledge, possibly, to become indivisible again. '
Amen to that.
And the stalwart Dimitri Vassilaros at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes a lighter piece 'Dubya's Mexican disconnect'. He makes the sensible though implausible proposal that Bush threaten a punitive tax on remittances to Mexico unless Vicente Fox acts to stop the flood of illegals. I think Vassilaros description of the Bush-Fox duo is hilarious though accurate:
'Bush seems so comfortable playing Johnny, the surreal thumb and index finger hand puppet, to Fox's Senor Wences.'
Funny, but sad at the same time. But sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.
(The allusion to Wences, who was a Spanish ventriloquist with a very strange though funny act, might be lost on the younger generation, though.)
Finally, Ann Coulter's wry comment, 'Read my lips: no new amnesty' also displays some humor as well as a no-nonsense approach to the amnesty question. I like this bit:
Instead of a moratorium on new immigration, I'd settle for a moratorium on the use of the expression "We're a nation of immigrants." Throw in a ban on "Diversity is our strength" and you've got my vote for life.'
Although Ann injects some needed comic relief into this distressing subject, she obviously means business. When one reads Mark Steyn, for example, on the immigration issue, one gets the impression that he is completely detached; his tone is flippant and cavalier. There is no indication of real passion there, and no hint that Steyn has any partisan feeling on the fate of the West. Coulter has only lately started to address the immigration issue, but she at least seems to be emotionally engaged, unlike the elusive Steyn.
As long as we have a few sound-thinking and lucid people to argue our case, as long as there is still the old-fashioned American spirit as displayed in these articles, maybe we Americans still have a chance.

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Over at Intergalactic Source of Truth, the Colonel linked to this piece from One Cosmos, entitled 'The Pathetic Last Children of Nietzsche's Pitiable Last Men.' Blogger Gagdad Bob writes a very cogent analysis tying together the present degenerated state of party politics in America and the breakdown of the family and male/female polarities. Some of you may have read this post when it first appeared way back in January 2006, but I missed it, and it's a great read, touching on some themes that I have dealt with here at times.
In this piece, Bob also mentions an article entitled Wimps and Barbarians, by Terrence O. Moore, which you may read in its entirety here. Moore's article discusses the lack in our modern society of manly virtues such as what the Greeks called Thumos, which is
...the part of the soul that contains the assertive passions: pugnacity, enterprise, ambition, anger. Thumos compels a man to defend proximate goods: himself, his honor, his lady, his country; as well as universal goods: truth, beauty, goodness, justice. Without thumotic men to combat the cruel, the malevolent, and the unjust, goodness and honor hardly have a chance in our precarious world. But two conditions must be present for thumos to fulfill its mission. First, the soul must be properly ordered. Besides thumos, symbolized by the chest, the soul is composed of reason and appetites, symbolized by the head on the one hand and the stomach and loins on the other. Reason has the capacity to discern right from wrong, but it lacks the strength to act. Appetites, while necessary to keep the body healthy, pull the individual toward pleasures of a lower order. In the well-ordered soul, as C.S. Lewis put it, "the head rules the belly through the chest." In the souls of today's barbarians, clearly thumos has allied itself with the unbridled appetites, and reason has been thrown out the window.
The second condition that must be present is a sufficient level of thumos to enable the man to rise to the defense of honor or goodness when required. Modern education and culture, however, have conspired to turn modern males into what C. S. Lewis called "men without chests," that is, wimps. The chest of the wimp has atrophied from want of early training. The wimp is therefore unable to live up to his duties as a man:
'We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.''
Please read the discussion thread following Bob's essay on One Cosmos. The discussion covers, among other things, the role of anger in our society, and the tendency of some religious traditions to censure anger, notably Christianity (or some interpretations of it) and Buddhism.
Bob says
To the extent that a tradition tries to eliminate anger, it is a false or partial teaching. Righteous anger is needed, but only in service of what is good or moral. Again, these traditions apparently noticed that anger was a problem in human affairs, and thought that they should just jettison the whole thing instead of doing the much harder work of diferentiating between healthy and pathological anger or moral and immoral violence.
[...]We know so much more today about psychology than they did then, about the roots of pathological anger in childhood trauma. The key is not to split off or repress anger, but to integrate it harmoniously within the psyche.
With regard to Christ's teaching, if in saying that we should always be passive in the face of violence, he wouldn't be a very wise man, would he? He certainly wouldn't be worthy of worship. After all, if I am more moral than the God I worship, what kind of God is that?''
Evidently Bob is not a Christian, although unfortunately there are many nominal Christians who interpret Jesus' words in the same negative way. I would judge the dominance of psychology and the therapeutic culture, which Bob seems to be very conversant with, to be a huge part of the breakdown of our society and to be a contributing factor to the number of 'men without chests.' All the navel-gazing that is at the heart of modern man's self-focus, all the hand-wringing and ambivalence, and all the psychobabble about not being 'negative' or not 'judging' others, contributes to the loss of the manly qualities. Think of neurotic urban postmodern culture, embodied in Woody Allen movies and Dr. Phil, and secular liberal culture in which the least manly 'men' reside, the men who think hunting is barbaric, firearms are for redneck crazies, and war and self-defense are regressive ideas.
These people do not get their lack of manliness from Christianity and traditional Western culture.
A commenter, Kelly, on the discussion thread, makes some insightful comments about women and the loss of the male virtues; she says that women, too, suffer from the lack of courage and commitment. This seems true; the attitudes of many of today's ultraliberal women would not have been of much use on the frontier or back in the early days of the colonies. Women, too, are affected by the breakdown of our culture's values.
Moore's article says, in describing our culture's emasculating effects:
A close look at the culture in which boys are raised reveals not only that they are no longer encouraged to become vigorous and responsible men, but also that practically every factor affecting their development is profoundly hostile to the ideals and practices of traditional manhood and the painstaking steps necessary to attain it. The demanding regime of physical and moral instruction that used to turn boys into men and the larger cultural forces that supported that instruction have been systematically dismantled by a culture that ostensibly enables all individuals but in reality disables men. "It's too easy!" complained John the Savage of the overly efficient, overly sexual, overly youthful, overly fun Brave New World. That dehumanizing tyranny of pleasure, described by Aldous Huxley, resembles the world of easy effort and easy virtue that entices adolescent males today to indulge in their appetites at the expense of their nobler longings and passions.''
Moore also describes the debilitating effects of fatherless families, deficient discipline in schools, and the lack of male rites of passage in guiding boys to healthy manhood.
The essay and the blog discussion are stimulating reading.
I think the discussion of the role of anger, specifically, is one of the more important ones for us today, given that our society is under threat by some formidable forces -- demographic assault, and an invasion marked by sporadic violence, to which we seem unable or unwilling to offer the necessary resistance. Are we ourselves lacking in the courage and conviction, or is it only our rulers? Or do we get the government we deserve, as Joseph de Maistre said, and as I have quoted him? Why do we seem to choose the 'wimps' as rulers? Is this all we have to work with these days? Are there no 'men with chests' to lead? This also ties in with our discussion of the lack of leaders in our time.
And what's the solution? In our political scene, we seem to be locked into this struggle between the 'mommy party' Democrats, and the 'daddy party' Republicans. Or are the Republicans becoming another mommy party, with their 'compassionate conservatism', their political correctness, and the 'welcoming nation' policies? Do we need a real 'daddy party' to represent the masculine virtues which are so essential? Maybe this is part of the reason why a new party, a real conservative party is needed; the male virtues are not really represented in the two-party system we now have.
Personally I think we desperately need the male virtues in this day and age; the female approach, accommodation and peacemaking, are useless against merciless and aggressive enemies and rivals.

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It seems it's open season on Christianity at many blogs, including AmRen.
I'm willing to acknowledge that there are grounds for criticism, and it's fully understandable that many people on our side are disgusted with these multiculturalists in religious guise who are trailing two steps behind the secular multicultists. These 'Christians' are so eager to be in step with the current multicult madness that they can no longer see that they are emulating the world system, eager to be accepted by it and part of it. Christians should remember what our Bible says about 'friendship with the world.'
Lately I suddenly noticed that AmRen had been blessedly free of many of the anti-Christian comments that once plagued it, mainly the work of one particular poster who blamed Christianity for everything. Then I noticed that the comment policy had been revised, and now contains a warning about criticism of 'traditional Western religions.' Aha, that was why. But now it appears everybody is coming out of the woodwork with the usual ''Christianity is a slave morality'' nonsense via Nietzsche, et al. So back to square one. Christianity is to blame again, but notice the mods' statement on closing of this thread:
'' It is being closed before a certain conversation about a certain topic gets out of hand. Thank you for your consideration.''
I wonder what that unnamed topic could be?
We know it isn't Christianity which is the topic that must not be talked about. That conversation will continue unabated, and the criticism will continue -- deservedly so, to some extent. Thanks to those 'Christians' who have left their churches wide open to criticism by their misguided actions.

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0 comment Tuesday, October 21, 2014 |
From what I have seen in the video here, there is hardly a dime's worth of difference between these young people and the ones who storm the stage to harass and silence politically incorrect speakers on campuses. The only difference might be that these people are better-groomed and better-dressed, but still knee-deep in PC.
At the link there is a lengthy discussion going on around the video from CPAC, with the young ''conservatives'' rebuffing Jamie Kelso, and displaying an incredible level of ignorance in their 'arguments' against him.
There seems to be a consensus among many pro-White Americans that the Republican Party, and what is roughly called the 'conservative movement' is either useless or is in effect on the opposing side, along with their Democrat soul mates in political correctness.
However there is still a persistent idea that we can use the GOP as a vehicle for advancing our interests. I think everybody who has read this blog for any length of time knows where I stand. I started out as a more-or-less mainstream 'conservative' or Republican, although I had lost the veneer of political correctness long ago. My 'old American' realist upbringing kicked in and I began to wonder how and why American Whites seemed to have so little in common with our near ancestors. Even my parents generation, and maybe yours, dear readers, held what we now call 'racial realist' attitudes. So why did the 'conservatives' stop conserving, and start mimicking the liberal left, whom they claim to reject wholeheartedly?
Conservatives who don't want to conserve their own people, their own ethnicity, and don't consider their progeny or the future, are no conservatives by any definition I understand.
The Republican Party seems to want to preserve the material goods of life only, and all the hue and cry about 'smaller government' is only to that end. American conservatism has long since lost its soul, or sold its soul.
The 'Tea Party' candidates have proven to be as easily compromised as any other Republican, despite their pandering to the populist sentiments that have surfaced recently.
Personally I think the GOP is impervious to any efforts of White citizens to influence it away from its present policies.
Right now the party is busy recruiting 'diversity', and enlarging the 'big tent' so that one and all may be included, regardless.
Come one, come all, and bring your political correctness and ethnic grievances along.
Some say that this CPAC gathering was not representative of the party as a whole. Some social conservatives in the GOP objected to the pro-gay slant, but in general this seems to be the direction the party is going. Social conservatives are being marginalized, and seem to be fewer in number every year, as the older generations die.
But if you spend enough time on Republican forums on the internet you will see how very politically correct most 'mainstream' Republicans and conservatives have become, especially on racial issues. Most of the FReepers cling to the idea that 'legal immigration: good' while only illegal immigration is bad. Why? Because to state that all immigration should be halted, if only temporarily, is to invite a charge of racism. Some of those on these Republican forums and blogs will become like a pack of baying hounds when they scent anything that resembles 'racism' or anti-Semitism.
We see the behavior of these young people, who are likely from fairly prosperous backgrounds; they have been conditioned to attack when certain taboos are violated. Carleton Putnam in his 'Race and Reality' referred to 'hypnotism' in this connection, and watching some of these PC-saturated people in action makes one think they are under some kind of post-hypnotic suggestion, so quickly do they react to certain triggers. In any case, these are not thinking young people, but knee-jerk liberals, despite their Republican patter.
I don't believe it's an either/or situation, where we must choose between working with these indoctrinated liberal Republicans or simply accepting our demise. Those are not the only two choices.
And if we are in such a dire state that we are forced to try to work with people to whom we are anathema, then we are in such a desperate state that it's far too late for the gradual approach. And in fact I think we really don't have the leisure to use the gradual subtle approach, from within.
This is a subject that has come up before, and I will say the same thing I said to my readers of an earlier time: the point that must be understood is that we don't need to 'win over the masses' or attain a majority of people who agree with us. No great movement of history was ever driven by a majority. It has always been a relatively small group of people, highly-motivated, that has been behind the great movements and causes.
Unfortunately we seem to have a very highly-motivated group of people opposing us, and most unfortunate is the fact that they have enormous amounts of money and the media on their side, as their lackeys. It is hard for a few people to go up against this group of mostly unknown elites and the masses who follow their lead. But numbers don't always guarantee a win; there are any number of times in history in which the few have prevailed over a formidable many.
And again, this politically correct multicultural tower of Babel is an edifice that is built on lies, and is buttressed by lies upon lies. It is in conflict with human nature; it requires constant effort to keep it from collapsing of its own weight.
It takes the expenditure of a lot of energy to keep it standing. It apparently takes a lot of conditioning via the media and via peer pressure to maintain it. The fact that these people who are the power behind the scenes seem to feel the need to double down on the propaganda may mean that they are feeling uncertain of their success.
One more thing: this multicult monstrosity is very costly in terms of money; imagine how much has been spent and is being spent to construct it and to keep up the false façade.
To think that we have to hitch our wagon to the Republican Party is folly; as if that party is not decaying and crumbling along with the system of which it is a part.
I have hopes for the A3P, but we will see where that goes. And before somebody pipes up to tell us that 'no third party will ever succeed' -- I say that is the kind of thing that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy if it is accepted as some kind of certainty. The future is not known; there is a first time for everything. And again, the Republican Party (the party of Reconstruction, by the way) began as an upstart third party.
And those of us who are Christian know that there is one other factor to be taken into consideration when pondering the future: God. Atheists and 'halfway-house Christians' as CWNY calls them may scoff, but God is not dead 'nor doth he sleep', as Longfellow wrote. He will have something to say about all this before it is over. In fact, Christians know that we have a glimpse of the direction of the future, and we know what the ultimate outcome will be. It's hubris to imagine that we hold everything in our hands.
Still, we are not to be passive observers, but active doers of what is right, and speakers of the truth.

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The 'broken windows theory' of social disorder holds that when a window in a building is broken and left unrepaired, this invites further decay and destruction. Vandals and criminals are emboldened by the appearance that there is no authority to 'fix' things, and destruction escalates. Soon, the entire neighborhood is in a state of decay; crime increases, decent people flee, and lawlessness is entrenched.
We can see this process at work in our inner cities, where the will to forestall disorder is lacking. And we see it in our nation, when our non-existent borders lure invaders by the millions to enter our country. The whole world seems to be getting the signal that we are a weak, decadent country, lacking the will or means to protect our country, and everyone is moving in to take advantage of this carelessness and sloth.
Tellingly, at one of the pro-illegal marches recently, a protester (who apparently didn't get the memo about avoiding confrontational signs and foreign flags) carried a placard reading 'Abre la puerta o rompere la ventana.' In English, this means 'Open the door or I'll break the window.'
Maybe this is just typical bluster and bravado from the Latina protester. Politically incorrect it may be to say so, but the Mexican culture is very big on bluster and swagger. But the brazen behaviors displayed by so many of the illegals makes me take them at their word.
Still, our politicians seem eager to open all the doors for them, and the illegals continue to break the windows of our increasingly decrepit society. Open doors, broken windows, welcome to the Third World.

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The picture on the left shows a follower of the Religion of Peace, holding his holy book, which, according to Tony Blair, is 'progressive', 'reforming', 'practical' . How can we have been so wrong, Tony, as to believe otherwise?
According to Blair:
To me, the most remarkable thing about the Koran is how progressive it is. I write with great humility as a member of another faith. As an outsider, the Koran strikes me as a reforming book, trying to return Judaism and Christianity to their origins, much as reformers attempted to do with the Christian church centuries later. The Koran is inclusive. It extols science and knowledge and abhors superstition. It is practical and far ahead of its time in attitudes toward marriage, women, and governance.'
Does this even require comment?
Not a couple of weeks ago, Blair made a speech in which he appeared to be repudiating multiculturalism, and denounced 'extremism' and 'fundamentalism', in an ambiguous turn of phrase, which could be interpreted as a warning to the 'extremists' (so-called) of the BNP, or the 'Islamists', those apocryphal bad guys who have 'hijacked' the religion of peace.
So much for Blair's supposed Damascene conversion away from multiculturalism. Well, maybe he's not really a multiculti anymore, but a full-blown Dhimmi. Only the unwary and the naive, I think, really bought the speech of a couple of weeks ago.
The other thing that has me shaking my head is that Blair is reputedly a Christian. I know that as a Christian, I am supposedly not to judge someone's spiritual state, but I have serious doubts as to whether a real believing Christian could believe the things he purports to believe. Christian belief does not leave room for submitting to Islam.
I can hardly believe that there are still 'conservatives' who think Blair is the modern-day Churchill, and our great ally. They tend to forget he is a leftist, his participation in the Iraq adventure notwithstanding. I suppose the fact that he is a leftist, through and through, explains it all.
And lest we get too complacent and think that only the Brits are succumbing to the dhimmi impulse, consider this story, in which
The American Transportation Security Administration has instructed airport security guards to be sensitive to more than 15,000 Muslims traveling to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj Muslim holiday.''
It seems that they guards have been subjected to 'sensitivity' courses teaching them that 'suspicious' Moslem passengers may simply be praying. What, like the Flying Imams?
And speaking of the 'Hajj' or the Mohammedan pilgrimage to Mecca, many Americans were blissfully unaware of what it was not so long ago; of course the multicultists think we were too insular and provincial and ethnocentric back then, and we have to be 'educated' about things like the Hajj, Jihad, suicide bombing, and all those enriching spiritual practices. So we get articles like this in our media.
Apparently our government means business about being 'sensitive' to Mohammedans, as this story indicates:
Strip-Searched Muslim Woman Gets Apology
-- from the Homeland Security Department.
And not to be outdone in 'sensitivity' by DHS and the Transportation 'Security' Administration, the Pentagon and our Armed Forces are doing their bit:
As US troops battle Islamic extremists abroad, the Pentagon and the armed forces are reaching out to Muslims at home.
An underlying goal is to interest more Muslims in the military, which needs officers and troops who can speak Arabic and other relevant languages and understand the culture of places like Iraq and Afghanistan. The effort is also part of a larger outreach. Pentagon officials say they are striving for mutual understanding with Muslims at home and abroad and to win their support for US war aims. Among the efforts to attract and retain Muslim cadets:
� West Point and the other service academies have opened Muslim prayer rooms, as have military installations.
� Imams serve full- and part-time as chaplains at the academies and some bases.
� Top non-Muslim officers and Pentagon officials have taken to celebrating religious events with Muslims overseas and here in the US.
"There is a message here, and that is that Muslims and the Islamic religion are totally compatible with Western values," says Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England in an interview.
All of this is very encouraging -- if you're a Mohammedan or a stone leftist who hates the West, and wants to see Christendom destroyed, by gradual means or by force.
It seems as if Tony Blair is not the only dhimmi in the West.

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For a change, I am going to write a little about a couple of subjects that I really enjoy writing about: Cajuns. And history.
Part of my childhood, a very happy part, was spent in South Louisiana. And one of the best things about 1950s South Louisiana was the people there, who were mostly Cajun.
I have a special fondness for Cajuns and their way of life. Who wouldn't like Cajuns? They are known for their joie de vivre, their joy of living, and for their easy-going, open ways, their down-to-earth attitude, their sense of humor, and their wonderful food. And their music.
But despite all this, they are a group of people with rather a sad history.
Cajuns are a group of people of mostly French descent, whose ancestors settled in Canada, and who were displaced in a tragic event referred to as Le Grand Dérangement.
Le Grand Dérangement ("The Great Disturbance") is the name given to the Acadians� 1755 mass expulsion from their homeland by the British military. An illegal action undertaken during peacetime without approval of the British government in London, the expulsion was devised by Major Charles Lawrence, a professional British soldier who in 1754 took command of the colony as its lieutenant governor.
Later appointed full governor, Lawrence feared that the Acadians, despite their claims of neutrality, would become fifth columnists in the event of another war with France. The Acadians� numerical advantage over their British overseers magnified his fear. In addition, Lawrence desired the Acadians� fertile farmlands for loyal Anglo-Protestant settlers. Failing to acquire from the Acadians an ironclad oath of allegiance to the British crown, Lawrence summoned Acadian males to fortified posts under false pretenses and arrested them while soldiers burned homes and boats and rounded up women and children. Herded into ports, Lawrence divided the Acadians into groups according to age and sex, loaded them onto overcrowded vessels, and scattered them across thousands of miles in a deliberate attempt to wipe out the Acadian identity. (Numbering some 12,000 to 18,000 total, only 6,000 to 7,000 Acadians were actually expelled on British ships, the remainder fleeing to neighboring regions.) According to some estimates, about half the pre-expulsion Acadian population died from disease, exposure, and starvation brought about directly by the British operation (which by modern standards arguably constituted an incident of genocide or "ethnic cleansing"). ''
As usual, in these historical accounts of 18th century colonial North America, the British are cast as the bad guys. I will overlook that for now. It certainly does seem as though the Cajuns suffered some real ill-treatment in this event. But Canada's loss was eventually Louisiana's gain.
From the Wikipedia entry on Cajuns:
Cajuns are an ethnic group mainly living in Louisiana, consisting of the descendants of Acadian exiles and peoples of other ethnicities with whom the Acadians eventually intermarried on the semitropical frontier. Today, the Cajuns make up a significant portion of south Louisiana's population, and have exerted an enormous impact on the state's culture.
[...]
The Cajuns retain a unique dialect of the French language and numerous other cultural traits that distinguish them as an ethnic group. Cajuns were officially recognized by the U.S. government as a national ethnic group in 1980 per a discrimination lawsuit filed in federal district court. Presided over by Judge Edwin Hunter, the case, known as Roach v. Dresser Industries Valve and Instrument Division (494 F.Supp. 215, D.C. La., 1980), hinged on the issue of the Cajuns' ethnicity. Significantly, Judge Hunter held in his ruling that:
"We conclude that plaintiff is protected by Title VII's ban on national origin discrimination. The Louisiana Acadian (Cajun) is alive and well. He is "up front" and "main stream." He is not asking for any special treatment. By affording coverage under the "national origin" clause of Title VII he is afforded no special privilege. He is given only the same protection as those with English, Spanish, French, Iranian, Portuguese, Mexican, Italian, Irish, et al., ancestors."
From the Encyclopedia of Cajun Culture:
Dictionaries generally define Cajun as "a Louisianian who descends from French-speaking Acadians." However, many common Cajun surnames � for instance, Soileau, Romero, Huval, Fontenot � are not Acadian in origin, but rather are Spanish, German or French Creole. Some are even of Anglo or Scotch-Irish origin, as in the case of famed Cajun musicians Lawrence Walker and Dennis McGee.
For this reason, contemporary scholars of Cajun history and culture tend to offer a more complex, comprehensive view, attributing the traits of modern-day Cajuns to a dynamic, unending process of ethnic interaction. Although modern Cajuns are largely homogenous, their ancestry consists of a mixture of many ethnic groups.
Most early Acadians originated in the Centre-Ouest region of France, but others came from families of Spanish, Irish, Scottish, English, Basque, and, in a few instances, American Indian heritage. After their 1755 expulsion from Nova Scotia, Acadians seeking refuge in South Louisiana again intermixed with other ethnic groups, particularly with French, Spanish, German, and, later, Anglo-American settlers, as well as Indians (albeit to a lesser extent). Historian Carl A. Brasseaux has shown, for example, that after the Civil War over fifty percent of brides and grooms with Acadian surnames were marrying persons with non-Acadian surnames.''
From another source:
In July 1632 three hundred French settlers arrived in Acadia to carve out frontier homes near the community of Port Royal. Fifty-five percent of these Acadian "first families" hailed from the Centre-Ouest region of France (Poitou, Aunis, Angoumois, and Saintonge); of these, eighty-five percent came from the La Chausée area of Poitou. These families included Doucet, Bourgeois, Boudrot (Boudreaux), Terriault (Theriot), Richard, LeBlanc, Thibodeaux, Comeau(x), Cormier, Hébert, Brault (Breaux), Granger, and Girouard.
Most of these and later Acadian settlers derived from Old World peasant stock, shared similar cultural traits, and on the frontier developed a common Acadian identity.
According to historian Carl A. Brasseaux, the Acadian pioneers were characterized by individualism, adaptability, pragmatism, industriousness, egalitarian principles, and an ability to pull together when threatened. They also possessed extended families, and distinctive language and speech patterns. The Acadians were also typically non-materialistic, seeking only economic independence and a decent standard of living through an agrarian way of life. Some ethnic diversity did exist among the Acadians, however: a few were of English, Scottish, Irish, Spanish, Basque, and even American Indian origin.
Those of French origin, however, dominated the cultural landscape, and as intermarriage occurred the Acadian population quickly became homogenized. Studies indicate that between 1654 and 1755 the Acadian population grew from 300-350 colonists to about 12,000-15,000 (despite a fifty-percent child mortality rate). Sources: Ancelet et al., Cajun Country; Brasseaux, Acadian to Cajun; Brasseaux, "Scattered to the Wind"; Domengeaux, "Native-Born Acadians"; Dormon, People Called Cajuns.''
[Emphasis mine]
So despite their fewness in number and the centuries that have passed since their arrival in North America, the Cajuns have maintained their identity as a distinct group of people. For the first century or so of their life in America, they lived side by side with various other settler groups in Louisiana, but kept their distinctivness as a people. It was not until the upheavals of the War Between the States and Reconstruction that their identity was somewhat threatened by social change.
Of that era, Julie Elizabeth Hebert says:
Several stereotypes which still accompany the idea of "a true Cajun" developed in these eras: lazy, ignorant, illiterate, and simple. Able to remain unassimilated for the most part, Cajuns continued to act in the ways they had before the war. Like all good Southerners, they still loved card games, parties, and communal get togethers, but unlike the Americans, Cajuns continued to work at their own pace, a work ethic which stood in complete contrast to the American idea of progress. James Dorman, in his work on the ethnicity of the Cajun culture, quotes several journalists of the day who described the Cajuns as follows: "a Utopian dreamer and idler...�one who sits on the skirts of progress," "the Acadian who overworks is indeed a rara avis [rare bird]," and "most of them are mere squatters on the Prairies." Southerners, in general, thought little of the Cajuns and their culture because their values negated the closely held American values of material wealth, the Protestant work ethic, and progress. Cajuns, themselves, thought little of American standards including those regarding education, and Cajun folk wisdom summed up the Cajun opinion on education: "My son is rascal enough without an education." Cajuns reveled in their illiteracy, and this attitude concerning education served as another reason why the Americans looked down upon the "poor," "stupid" Cajuns of south Louisiana.
Despite these qualities which fostered a negative stereotype of Cajuns, observers of Cajun communities repeatedly remarked upon two distinct Cajun ethnic qualities in a positive light: hospitality and family ties. Travelers in the South during the post-Civil War era commented upon the friendliness with which the Cajun family welcomed strangers into their home and their willingness to share what little they had with those in need. Motivated, not by a conscious sense of charity, but rather by an inherited trait of hospitality, Cajuns opened their homes to all who graced their doorsteps. Continuation of the strong family ties among the Cajun communities, the second positive quality of Cajun culture, survived through the institution of marriage. Cajun youth often married among their own kind. Women of Cajun descent usually married men of similar heritage; however, if a young Cajun woman decided to marry a German or Creole, the family ties, although slightly altered, still remained strong within her own family. According to most historians of this culture, the Cajun culture continued to flourish mainly because of the female population and the roles mothers played in childrearing and in the preserving of family customs and traditions. Cajun women reared their children while the men worked, and if the woman was Cajun, she reared her children to appreciate and respect their Cajun traditions and heritage.
Hebert describes how the expansion of railroads reduced the isolation of the Cajuns, and increased the trend toward cultural homogenization. However, those Cajuns who did not choose the urban lifestyle became the keepers of Cajun culture in their rural small communities.
Huey P. Long, the governor of Louisiana from 1928-1932 (and later Senator), also did his part in discouraging the isolation of the Cajuns by means of his road improvements.
Those influenced by these improvements most likely did not realize the extent to which these improvements functioned as infiltrators of their isolationism and their ethnic culture. Despite all the necessary changes brought by the Long administration, one piece of legislation issued a substantial blow to the Cajun ethnic identity: the Louisiana Constitution of 1921. Through this document, the legislature denied public schools the right to instruct children in both French and English. Most Cajun rural folk and children were monolingual and able to speak very few words of English. Louisiana legislators through this law in essence denied Cajun children the right to education in their primary language forcing them either to learn English or remain illiterate.[...]
As the ethnic ties of the community as a whole continued to unravel, the negative stereotype in regards to French speakers remained a constant on the Louisiana social landscape. Through all of this, rural Cajun culture survived almost untouched, and observers of these decades described the rural Cajuns in much the same way as others had described them in previous decades:
"Their homes are always spotless, and there is always a welcome and a cup of black coffee for any caller, even though he be a stranger," a typical Cajun "lives in his own home, usually with several relatives, besides his immediate family. He keeps a cow, some chickens, and raises a few vegetables which he sometimes sells. Sometimes he helps keep a store in the nearby village," and "an unsophisticated agrarian people who have clung tenaciously to their old customs and traditions."
Because of their "geographic, occupation, and language isolation," the rural Cajuns achieved a social isolationism "greater than that of any other American ethnic group." People in the 1920s and 1930s identified this Cajun ethnicity and began to describe the Cajun culture based on its ethnic qualities. While the urban Cajun assimilated, the rural Cajun in his isolation preserved his cultural traditions.
Later on, World War II, which took many young Cajun men far from home and heritage, further encouraged their assimilation into the larger society. Following the war, the Rural Electrification Administration brought the 'modern world' into rural Acadiana, and the spread of television in the 1950s was a further blow to traditional Cajun ways.
Other modernizing trends took their toll:
With the advent of supermarkets, the need for boucheries deteriorated, and the variety of foods available in these markets expanded the Cajun palate which undermined the traditional cuisine. The bals de maisons found their replacements in the radio, the television set, and the movie theater. Cajun music came under attack, as well, and in the 1950s others called this music "Chanky-Chank" music "suggesting the simplicity of instrumentation and rhythm as well as the characteristically reiterative harmonic line." Modernization resulted in a definite decline in the rural Cajun ethnic culture.''
And then came the 1960s, which was the beginning of a wholesale tearing-down of traditional mores in general, including those of Cajun country. But one benefit of the 1960s and 70s was a new interest in ethnicity and roots. 'Folk music' enjoyed a wave of popularity. At first, most of the 'folk music' craze was a dilettantish dabbling by academics and college students looking for something quaint and different and 'authentic'. The result was manufactured 'folk music' like that of the Kingston Trio and the college 'Hootenanny' craze. However, it did eventually lead many people to explore genuine roots music and honest-to-goodness traditional music from many sources. Cajuns benefited from this, as Cajun music became respectable and respected again, rather than being disparaged as 'chanky-chank' music. And not only Cajun music, but Cajun history, culture, and the Cajun dialect of French gained new attention.
With all this, however, the Cajun people are unmistakably part of America. There is something quintessentially American about their character along with their distinctiveness as a people. They, to my mind, are an example of a healthy ethnic group which is nonetheless part of America. There is none of the chip-on-the-shoulder, outsider victimhood mentality among Cajuns, in my experience. There may be some individuals with such attitudes but I have not encountered them.
Do I contradict myself? I now and then rail about unassimilable ethnic groups who have a stand-offish, us-vs.-them attitude towards the rest of us. I remember a discussion at Free Republic a few years ago involving Cajuns and their language, and somebody made a snarky comparison between Cajuns and Mexican immigrants who speak Spanish. The comparison incensed me; the attitudes of Cajuns and Mexicans are not comparable. At all. Cajuns love Louisiana, and they love America. Cajuns carry no residual allegiance to France or to Canada, their original home in the New World. This country, specifically Louisiana, is their home. They have no centuries-old grudge against Anglo-Americans as have Latinos. I remember no hostility in school between kids of Cajun descent and those of Anglo or other descent. Everybody got along famously; the Cajun kids were the most accepting and agreeable of all the classmates I had during my school years, despite my 'Texan' origin. There was a kind of jocular rivalry with Texans at that time, but no animosity. (And maybe it helped that I had a surname that, despite its non-French origin, was a surname borne by some Cajun families in the area.)
And somehow, along with their distinctiveness, Cajuns seem to be very much a part of the South. Their ways, although identifiably 'Cajun' are also part and parcel of the South. There is a compatibility there. There is no sense of disharmony or cultural clash between south Louisiana and, say, Texas. They differ, but there are commonalities. They are part of a larger whole: America, and the South specifically.
But the thought that crosses my mind most often these days in connection with the Cajuns is that they represent a group of people who might have disappeared centuries ago, but who have survived, despite being a small and rather vulnerable group of people, who were displaced and harried by historical events. Yet they have maintained their identity while still becoming part of the United States of America. It proves to me that if the sense of belonging to a group, and a pride in that group, is strong enough, the people and their culture can survive even if greatly outnumbered. That may be a lesson we will have to take from the Cajuns, we or our children and grandchildren, as they become an outnumbered and displaced group of people in the new 'America' or whatever takes its place.
From the website of the wonderful Cajun band, Balfa Toujours, this passage seems apposite:
Today the Cajun people are standing tall. After 400 years of almost constant pressure to conform to the larger cultures surrounding them, they have proven that their identity is too strong to be eradicated. This challenge has been increased greatly by the developments of this century, which have taken their toll on many subcultures. It appears that these challenges have largely been met in Louisiana, with many young people now taking pride in their heritage. A clear example of this is with the language. In the 1950's and 1960's, many people were punished in school for speaking French. Today, there are French immersion schools in which all classes are taught in a language that was considered shameful only a few decades ago.
This cultural revival has brought the Cajun people a lot of attention. While this is good for the Cajuns, certainly, it is perhaps not enough. It was Dewey Balfa's sincere hope that the further effect of his work would be to inspire other cultures as well. He hoped that others would see his pride and begin to feel it more strongly about their own heritage. If the story of the Cajuns can help to accomplish this, it will truly have done something marvelous.''
We who are the sons and daughters of Anglo-America can learn from the Cajuns a pride in their heritage, their people, and culture. If we can regain that, we will have half-won the battle.
However, one advantage the Cajuns had which is denied us in our 21st century America is isolation and freedom of association. They were able to have their own little area of South Louisiana in which their culture could persist and thrive, and they had the strength of community and kinship ties to sustain their culture. Our mass Tower of Babel culture does not afford us this luxury, as our communities are being purposely broken up.
Can we Americans survive as a distinct people, possibly even a minority people, in the face of the forcible multiculturalizing of our country, and despite the attempt to discredit our history and our culture? I think it will be an uphill journey unless we return to a more manageable, decentralized way of life with local control, and regain our freedom of association. Think small'; think local. Remember how destructive the mass media can be, and re-create a genuine way of life apart from the pernicious effects of television and mass pop culture.
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