Monday, March 29, 2021


I have to confess that I'm not particularly horrified by Claremont Institute "scholar" Glenn Ellmers's essay in which he proclaims that
most people living in the United States today—certainly more than half—are not Americans in any meaningful sense of the term.
This is hardly a new attack; as I regularly remind you, a Ronald Reagan Cabinet secretary, James Watt, said four decades ago, "I never use the words Democrats and Republicans. It's liberals and Americans." Every box they try to put us in -- "liberal," "socialist," "cultural Marxist" -- is an effort to other us and define us as undeserving of citizenship. Why do you think they don't want any of us voting? Obviously, we loathe them, but we acknowledge that they're our fellow citizens, and we know that in a democracy we have to either sway them (which appears to be impossible) or outvote them. But they won't even concede that we should participate in the electoral process. They believe that all our votes are fraudulent.

What I find most striking about the Ellmers essay is how little effort he makes to conceal the projection at its core. Here are the enemies, as he defines us:
I’m really referring to the many native-born people—some of whose families have been here since the Mayflower—who may technically be citizens of the United States but are no longer (if they ever were) Americans. They do not believe in, live by, or even like the principles, traditions, and ideals that until recently defined America as a nation and as a people. It is not obvious what we should call these citizen-aliens, these non-American Americans; but they are something else.
So what, in his view, would make us Americans? What does he regard as the core principle of American-ness?
... when the American founders rebelled against a divinely anointed king and established republican government on the basis of the natural equal rights of all human beings, they inaugurated a truly radical idea.

The rule of the majority in America would be limited in principle to doing what could only rightly be done by all the people. That is, the majority acting in and through the Constitution, could not infringe the rights of the minority. The government derived its authority from consent of all the American people....

The great difficulty is that this idea only works if everyone agrees—that is, if everyone “gets it” and acknowledges that we are all fellow citizens (friends, ultimately) and that any temporary majority in power must represent the rights and interests of all.
So after telling us that more than half the American population isn't American, Ellmers asserts that what's truly American is ... being willing to accommodate the portion of the American population that you don't agree with. And he appears to be completely unaware of how he contradicts himself.

Ellmers quotes the founder of the Claremont Institute, Professor Henry Jaffa, to explain "why a majority of people living in the United States today can no longer be considered fellow citizens":
... the citizens of a free society, while becoming partisans (and even “factions”) with respect to the interests that divide them, will be able to transcend these distinctions, when these threaten the genuine interests they share as fellow citizens. It will teach them, above all, as members of a majority, not to permit the endangering of those rights of the minority, which ought to be their common care.
So here's what Ellmers is arguing, in plain words:
America isn't America unless all citizens respect the rights of those they disagree with. And since the evil libs don't do that, we have the right to disrespect their asses and kick them the hell out of America.
And he doesn't even see that he's doing this. This isn't Mitch McConnell saying, "Yes, I held Merrick Garland's nomination for nearly a year and then rammed through Amy Coney Barrett. So I'm a hypocrite. What are you going to do about it, tough guy?" Ellmers thinks this is solid intellectual work. He believes it's Truth with a capital T. He hopes to persuade.

But people like Ellmers have treated us as others for so long that I don't believe he even realizes that his denial of our American-ness is exactly the kind of exclusion he claims to abhor. Sure, there's the majority and the minority, and they have to work together -- but then there are those freaks, the libs. Nobody can work with them. That's what he believes.

No comments: