Audio version here
As a European, I was taught to dislike Americans from a young age. In school, and through cultural osmosis, a young European is taught to look down on these cultureless, backwards savages with their guns, their Christian dogmatism, their unrefined tastes, their consumerism, their obesity, and their racism. Indeed, the far-Left bias in European schools is undeniable: They inculcate a sense of dislike for Americans that verges on the irrational. As a result, generally speaking Europeans end up feeling a sense of snobbery and superiority toward Americans.
Today, years after having finished school and having become a Traditionalist and a nationalist, I have learned to hone this irrational feeling into a finely tuned anti-American religious fervor, for various reasons that are both the same as well as different from why Leftists hate America. Thus, I will explain why Americans are generally disliked by both European Leftists and nationalists, and how I think America can change this impression.
Before I launch on a tirade against all things American, however, I would like to say that there is a side of America that doesn’t receive much attention in discussions about American culture, nor does this side of America have much influence on the culture and politics of the country. This would be the “salt of the earth” Midwesterners and Southerners. These are the “real Americans,” as they would call themselves, and they typically have as much disdain for the coastal elites who rule them and shape their culture as I do. European Leftists, naturally, sympathize with these same coastal elites.
In several of his lectures (specifically the ones on H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Robinson Jeffers), Jonathan Bowden refers to another America that could have been, but was lost. This was the America of the old WASP elites – the America of Southern belles, of Jack London’s harsh wilderness, Hemingway’s fishing trips, of ruthless capitalism, and of the frontiersman and the cowboy, where Protestant fervor gave rise to new cults all the time. It was an America of entrepreneurs and inventors who tried, failed, and tried again; an isolationist America that looked inwards, defined by its Anglo-Dutch identity. This America was mostly destroyed by the Progressive movement of the 1890s through the 1920s, as well as Woodrow Wilson’s intervention in the First World War. Franklin Roosevelt smashed its lingering remnants by bringing America into the Second World War, followed by its subsequent shaping of the globalist system of the post-war order, in which economically, socially, culturally, and financially, America took center stage. In Bowden’s opinion, Patrick Buchanan’s presidential run was the dying breath of this America.
But as Bowden himself often said, nothing can ever be truly destroyed. The core demographic and, in a weakened form, the lifestyle of this other America still exist, far away from the coastal urban centers. This includes the Evangelicals, the Mormons, and so on. And I imagine that when I make my accusations against American global imperialism, these people would reject what I say, because that is not the America they experience in their everyday lives. The cultural imperialism of New York and California is less influential on them than it is on me, living in urbanized Europe. Another group that would probably reject my criticism are those “my country, right or wrong” patriots, who might admit America is flawed in some respects to other Americans, but view any criticism of America by a foreigner as an attack on their national pride that must be defended. This is admirable in a way, as no nation can survive if it doubts itself. But this America is not the America that the world experiences, or which has influence on the world stage. That America is the America of the coasts.
When I was a Leftist teenager, it was this “other America” I was taught to hate. But it is the America of the coasts that I despise now, as a nationalist.
So let me begin: America, j’accuse!
Both Left and Right in Europe dislike the mass consumer culture of America: the fast food chains, the giant shopping malls, and the idea of packaging everything into a “product” and selling it, whether it is music, travel, art, or dining. An “experience” is for sale. Everything is a product, and America exports this culture and its fast-food chains all over the world. You can frequent a Burger King or Starbucks from Moscow to Lisbon, and from Reykjavik to Rome. Dutch pop culture in the 1970s remarked on this introduction of American fast food, joking about home cooking being worse than a trip to a burger joint. It was still considered a social faux pas of the worst kind not to dine at home in the 1970s. But since 2000, in most Dutch households it has become common to eat out or order in several times per week. Only the upper middle class steadfastly cooks at home and eats with the family. An American might exclaim in response: but the convenience, the economic growth! The rationale behind this is that if a consumer doesn’t want to eat fast food, he would not order it. No one forces him to do that. But what of the family rituals? What of warmth and appreciation for each other at home? What of maintaining the culinary traditions of a culture? Economic rationality can be poisonous for social cohesion. And cultural attitudes taught from a young age can be an inoculation to such materialistic thinking. The upper middle class looks down on fast food as plebeian. There are things more valuable than money and cheap prices. Elitist as this may seem, elitism is little more than educated discernment in this case.
It’s the same with the environment. Any sane nationalist knows that there is not much point in preserving one’s people, only to leave them an overheated ball of sterile dirt as their inheritance. An ethnonationalist must also be an environmentalist. And there he agrees with the Left again, regarding Americans, who are by far the biggest consumers on Earth per capita, and by far the most wasteful. Besides which they promote a mass consumerist culture which inculcates an attitude of disposability. Did some household item break? Don’t bother fixing it, just throw it out and buy a new one. Buy your kids plastic toys that will break within a year. Giving them wooden toys that they can bequeath to their own children one day is too plebeian. And so on. Cheap, mass-consumer goods are terrible for the environment and accustom people to luxury. People come to see things as nothing more than mere objects to use and discard. A century ago, a typical home was furnished with sets of linen and silver that were passed down the family line, mother to daughter. Utensils lasted a whole lifetime and were cherished. Mass production might be easier and cheaper, but it is also wasteful and materialistic, not to mention bad for one’s mentality.
The economic rationale that it is “cheaper” to ship oil halfway across the world, transform it into plastic, and then make toys out of it, which are then shipped by plane, train, or truck from factory to store, rather than simply chopping down a single birch tree near your home and carving a toy out of it, is utterly insane. And this is the consequence of American economic rationalism. I firmly believe in distributism, which argues that capitalism only works when there are a lot of capitalists. Local businesses should always supersede megacorporations.
Another issue we have with America is its interventionist foreign policy. America drags Europe along into all of its military adventures. Dutch soldiers served in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and are now serving in Mali. Dutch blood and treasure is being expended for what, exactly? Not that the common American receives much benefit from these adventures (with the possible exception of cheaper gas), either. The British have it the worst of all, having become America’s lapdog extraordinaire. Britain has lost over eight hundred servicemen in American wars since 1995. An American might object and say that, as we are all part of of NATO, we all profit from this alliance with the United States, which bears more than its fair share of the costs. I personally don’t think so. The fact that all European militaries are a joke, and that we rely on the US for defense, is an unhealthy situation in many ways, firstly because the military is a source of pride for any nation, and secondly because it instills its soldiers with discipline and a sense of nationalism. The army is always a stronghold of nationalist sentiment – something that is profoundly lacking in young European men today. In Germany, only fifteen percent of young men say they are willing to fight for their country. Thirdly, NATO leaves us entangled in a mess of international alliances which are often not to our benefit. The Netherlands has no cause for conflict with Russia, for example. We do, however, have cause for conflict with Turkey over its ever-expanding fifth column in our nation – but Turkey is a NATO ally. NATO is a Cold War relic that only benefits the global elites, and we would be far better off with friendly relations with Russia. It has been costing our agricultural sector six hundred fifty million euros per year to embargo Russia at the behest of the Americans – money we could potentially use to expand our military and become truly independent. Furthermore, the military weakness of the European nations is an argument the European Union continually uses for a new army under EU auspices, under the motto “strength through unity.”
But the worst aspect of American imperialism and its attendant global empire, however, is its cultural influence. And again, the British are the worst affected by this. As an outside observer, the UK looks to me like a far-Left police state that enforces all of America’s Cultural Marxist agenda through a brutal system of repression. If it wasn’t for the ability to project cultural power globally that the post-war US acquired, these ideas would have remained there. European cinemas show Hollywood movies almost exclusively. To find something non-Hollywood, one has to go looking for an arthouse cinema. Only the French and Germans have maintained their own film industries, a result of their cultural chauvinism and a deliberately-enforced language barrier – but even this is slowly disappearing among today’s youth in those places. Santa Claus is taking the place of our native European traditions (Sinterklaas, Krampus, Yule), and this year, big retailers even tried introducing Black Friday to the Dutch, despite the fact that this is a wholly unknown phenomenon in The Netherlands. Our folk music is dead, having been replaced by rock and rap. Local music festivals have nearly been wiped out and replaced by famous international bands on tour. And architecturally, American-style skyscrapers now dominate the skyline of every major city in the world. All cities are becoming homogenized and take on ugly grid patterns made up of blocks of glass, concrete, and steel. The integrated European-style city, with its own unique shops, squares, schools, and so on, is being replaced by the same sorts of suburban, shopping, and business districts akin to those found in the New World.
On top of this, our media caste is utterly Americanized. They all have the exact same sensibilities as a New York liberal, and adopt the same language and talking points. All things political are reframed in an American historical narrative. A baffled Irishman might find an article in his local paper telling him that he is to blame for slavery, in a piece written by some journalist who forgot she lives in Dublin and not Los Angeles. The Dutch are told each year that Zwarte Piet is an example of blackface, with all its racial connotations, that we are guilty of slavery (which, to be fair, we did practice, but to nowhere near the same extent as the United States), and that we thus owe reparations to recent arrivals from Africa. Even our language is becoming polluted with Anglicisms. Things are no longer gaaf, they are “cool.” Things no longer have invloed, they have “impact.” And so on, and so on. Large parts of the European population have become completely rootless cosmopolitans with no ties to European culture and history at all. Their sensibilities and attitudes are fully Americanized. To them, it’s at best incidental that they were born of Dutch blood and live in The Netherlands.
Poison. American culture today is utter poison. A Finnish friend of mine used to say, “America is the means by which the Devil enters the world,” and I can hardly disagree. So what do I have to say to an American nationalist who might be inclined toward changing these things? Well, I would say, acquaint yourself with the culture of the America that was lost – the culture from when it was truly a white nation. Read Jack London, read Nathaniel Hawthorne, read Robinson Jeffers. Learn your folk tales, like “Johnny Appleseed.” Culture is not learned or understood through political tracts like The Federalist Papers or the Constitution. It is understood and manifested through art. So read great American fiction like Herman Melville, Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft, and Edgar Allan Poe.
An American nationalist movement should understand its roots first; it should reconnect with the frontiersman spirit and the sensibilities of the WASP elite that once shaped its culture. America is (or was) European, and yet was never quite fully European. It has the rebelliousness of youth about it, whereas Europe is at the very least middle-aged and wearier, if not elderly. A frontiersman is what Americans should be. Bold, self-reliant, but always respectful of nature, something modern Americans truly lack. An American nationalist ought to look inward, to your piles of debt, to the obesity crisis, to the utter lack of genuine culture on all levels (in architecture, literature, music, and so on). The United States cannot maintain its role of global hegemon much longer. It will either collapse or will have to start changing course, and fast. Bring your armies and fleets home, and let the world return to a multipolar system.
American isolationism served it well during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, which were in many ways its glory period. America today may have more power, but it is a decadent empire that is spiritually dead and running on financial wizardry alone. In the nineteenth century, there was such a thing as actual American culture, and even American high culture. That America still exists somewhere within its soul, but this current has few cultural representatives today. It certainly has no cultural capital or power. The Anglo-Dutch elements in American culture are becoming extinct, with only some reliquary street names to remind us of them.
For something like a nationalist movement to succeed in America, I think it should appeal to the core of the country, in the Midwest and the South, and utterly reject the coastal mentality and basically everything that developed in America from at least 1920 onward; perhaps it’s better to go all the way back to 1890. Perhaps such Americans should even withdraw from the coasts in a geographic sense, too, and focus on the interior – culturally, socially, and politically. Don’t bother with activism on the coasts. There is little to gain there.
America holds the world in its claws, and only an American renaissance or collapse can liberate us and cast the die of history yet again.
America, iacta alea.
This article was reprinted and reedited from Top Der Duinen.
Why & How to Build Dissident High Culture
Charles Brockden Brown: American Gothick with a K
Are You Tired of Losing Yet?
The 2019 IJzerwake:
“Flanders Flemish, Europe European!”
Can We Have Our Own BDS?
What Can We Learn from the BDS Movement?
Rembrandt’s The Night Watch
Breaking the Tyrant Spell:
An Interview with Darkest Sky