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A Time to Smell the Roses

1,067 words

I have lived in this middle-class, predominantly white, aging metropolitan subdivision for nearly 15 years. Despite the palpable demographic changes in the local community, I feel safe and comfortable here. Tall oak trees provide ample shade to regularly spaced homes, each possessing an aesthetically unique facade, in no small part due to the broad 1970s-2000s variability in taste and style.

In that time I have experienced a marriage, the birth of a child, the agony of a divorce, endured quite a few tragic local events, and weathered some regional catastrophes, but nothing thus far compares to COVID-19, not even the flood a few years back. Not so much in terms of the damage it has wrought, but rather in terms of the social and cultural decay that it has exposed. We all see it, even if some of us do not recognize it for what it is.

Because of social distancing and the economic shutdown, in the last 2 weeks, I’ve seen more of my neighbors outdoors engaging in family activities than I can recall occurring previously in an entire warm season. Just this Saturday, I saw a mother strolling with her teenage children. I observed a greying middle-aged father jogging with his college-aged daughter. I chatted with an older couple walking their dog as a single file gang of boys rode by on their bicycles. If I didn’t know better I might believe I’d been transported into a 1950s parallel universe of high-trust Americana.

To be fair, these activities aren’t a rarity in my neighborhood. I’ve seen that college-aged girl out for a jog before. I’ve just never seen her with her dad. I’ve seen that mother out for a walk, I just don’t recall seeing the teenagers with her. Of the 6 or 7 boys riding their bikes, I’ve seen all of them independently, or perhaps with one other companion, but never what appears to be all the young boys on my street riding together. And certainly not all of this within the window of an hour!

My ten-year-old son and I regularly ride our bikes in the spring and summer. We pulled them out for the first time this spring since the rain slacked off. As we rode through the neighborhood, we saw a dad playing a basketball game of “HORSE” with his son, a backyard party a little further down the street, and multiple older couples working on their landscaping. Not only has the neighborhood activity been orders of magnitude higher, but my neighbors have also been noticeably friendlier. People waving and stopping to chat (even while maintaining their social distancing). Everything has the feel of “we’re all in this together.” However, unlike the panic of a flood, the urgency of a hurricane, or the confusion of a prolonged power outage, there is a relaxed, carefree, almost jovial atmosphere in my community.

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Something troubling, perhaps even sinister, occurred to me as I took mental note of this uptick in neighborliness. I juxtaposed the lack of racial solidarity that modern Europeans and white Americans are plagued by with the stereotypical culture of black neighborhoods. Given the higher crime rates, illicit drug use, promiscuity, poverty, and other ills that blacks face in their communities, I, as a middle-class white man, have always looked down upon the more active nature of black neighborhoods with a sense of disdain. Boys on bicycles aimlessly riding around? Nothing but trouble! A mother walking with some teenagers? I bet their father(s) are in jail. A game of pickup in the driveway? Future Basketball-Americans training for the NBA. Young men drinking “Fowties” on a front porch. You can see all of these things, and more, any time of day and any day of the year in black neighborhoods.

To be certain, I’m not saying that “we’re all just the same.” There’s a difference between that backyard party in my neighborhood vs the black men on the porch drinking their malt liquor. The folks in my neighborhood don’t normally party at noon on a Wednesday because they’re at work or in school. White folks tend to party in a little less public, “open house,” kind of way. Furthermore, you won’t typically see young white men gathered together making catcalls at females walking down the street. We’re just different. Still, why are white neighborhoods so much less sociable than our black counterparts in the “hood”?

I propose a simple, obvious answer to this question. One that COVID-19 has laid bare. White people are too obsessed with work, career advancement, material comfort, and status. We rightly complain that fertile black females are coddled and allowed to be government handout whores and entitlements leeches, while neoliberal feminism pressures childless white women into corporate boardrooms. Black children may often be fatherless, but white children all too commonly have vacant fathers whose absence is due to overtime and deadlines rather than abandonment. Increasing competition and academic pressures often keep white children glued to a textbook or laptop while black teenagers are free to roam on a Wednesday afternoon.

I’m not proposing that white America needs to abandon our work ethic. Indeed, work ethic is one of the significant characteristics that sets us apart! Instead, I suggest that COVID-19 is a “smell the roses” moment in our collective experience.

Would it be such a bad thing if that restaurant around the corner shut down for good? Many of us over the age of 40, and certainly over 60, can recall an America that didn’t have 500 fast food options to choose from within 10 miles of our homes. Somehow we managed (and were significantly less obese)!

Having two or more late-model cars in the driveway used to be considered a luxury for only the richest families in town, while in 2020 COVID-19 America, young status-driven couples get “married” to a hefty mortgage and two obscenely high car notes before they turn 25, often delaying their motivation to start a family until their mid-30s, if divorce doesn’t get them first.

COVID-19 has exposed the social rot and decay that consumerism and postwar neoliberalism has created. COVID-19 has opened a window into white alienation and disunity. We can only hope that this unprecedented time spurs more white people to seek answers outside of the mainstream for the obvious questions they will ask. It is up to us in the Dissident Right to offer an alternate vision for the future.


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  1. HamburgerToday
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful essay.

    Is ‘work ethic’ what makes Whites different from non-Whites? Maybe. But I doubt it. Whites are living in the afterglow of having been the dominant racial group in the US until about 1985. We didn’t need to be nearly as work-holic until the 1970’s when the Powers That Be engineered a decline in wages and drove women into the workforce under the guise of ‘equality’ and ‘opportunity for all’.

    As long as you or someone you care about are not the terminal victims of the WuFlu, this virus is providential. A lot of people will be in a very different mindset after this virus has been suppressed in the West.

    Hopefully, White people will remember what it means to be happy and leisurely and familial again, instead of just feeling like a member of a ‘work-and-consume’ unit.

  2. Jud Jackson
    Posted April 2, 2020 at 3:41 am | Permalink

    Interesting comment.

    However, I remember reading an article in Chronicles Magazine about the Dirty Little Secret of the Reagan administration. The point was that while real household income was up in absolute dollars over the Carter years, a big reason for that wasn’t just the supply side Tax Cut but also the fact that it was the first decade where married women began to leave the house and go to work in large numbers. So you say it was the 70’s and Chronicles said it was the 80’s. I don’t know what to think.

  3. Victor Henderson
    Posted April 2, 2020 at 3:51 am | Permalink

    There needs to be more nuance and realism. As the later mentioned i dont think its ”work ethic” that sets us apart. I have travelled across the states and abroad. And many other groups have strong work ethics as well like Indians, Ghanaians, Nigerians, Japanese, Chinese just to mention a few in the UK but groups who are also very successful in the US. It more bound to culture and civilization then race in this regard.

    The comparison of white neighbourhoods and black neighbourhoods is quite imbalanced. I think you are speaking of middle class white neighbourhoods comparing them low income working class black neighbourhoods who have historically always been poor which results into more crime, weak family structures, occupying the day with parties to deal with the harsh reality of socio-economic poverty. However, experiencing middle class black neighbourhoods many of the elements of obsessing with work, career advancement, material comfort, and status is witnessed as well among them especially what i have seen when working in places like Atlanta, Seattle a.o

    In numbers there are more middle class White neighbourhoods then middle class Black neighbourhoods, while low working class black neighbourhoods are more prominent in the media with the added pseudo stereotypes which a lot of cases are not true in reality based on what I have seen. The main difference one can spot is that White Americans are very rooted in individualism and isolation between themself as you have mentioned. This is also due to the fact whites being of different ethnic groups and never having a real unity just the fact of being white. Western society in general is very individualistic we can see this Europe, where even Germany was not willing to help Italy with whole COVID-19 pandemic.

  4. SR
    Posted April 2, 2020 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    Sometimes the *point* of an essay gets lost on the reader.

    Indeed, the socioeconomic difference between the middle class white neighborhood vs the black ghetto is a relevant factor. But that’s kinda the point. When blacks became more enfranchised into white society after desegregation, the “talented 10th” moved into the middle and even upper middle and eventually upper classes. Many of them did indeed “adopt” a white-friendly work ethic and became just as status driven as white folks. This is where the term “white presenting” comes from.

    The difference is, blacks tend to maintain a “never forget where you came from” mindset, and when their socioeconomic piers become their “betters” and move up the ladder, they will shame them and remind them of their background. Even wealthy blacks must maintain a level of “credibility” among other blacks by never giving up their “victim card”. If a black person totally loses touch with the ghetto community he is accused of being an “Uncle Tom” and is thus no different from white men in the eyes of blacks.

    To make a long story short, this totally proves the point of the article rather than contradicting it. Becoming a status driven workahaulic who pines for material wealth and comfort (through honest and legal, white friendly means) will ALIENATE a black from their sense of community and sense of blackness. If this bothers them morally, they will do their best to maintain a connectedness to the ghetto. Look at rich black rappers like Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg. They couldn’t be more economically removed from the ghetto if they tried, but their whole schtick is to appeal to the ghetto community through their music, so they work extra hard at their credibility. Many successful rappers will still deal drugs and commit crimes just to maintain their street cred!

    It’s all about “taking the time to smell the roses” and never forget what really matters. The difference here is how “what really matters” manifests itself in different communities. For blacks, what really matters is still “being black”, no matter how much wealth and status they have. This isn’t true of whites. Literally for the reason the article points out.

  5. SR
    Posted April 2, 2020 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Also, I would argue that white Americans tend to have a higher degree of alienation BECAUSE we are MORE ethnically self aware than blacks rather than because we are less so. Most blacks literally have NO IDEA of their ethnic ancestry. Be they from Ethiopian blood, the Congo, Nigerian, or some pigmy tribe. White people still maintain some ethnic quarrels among ourselves because we can more easily trace our ancestry. Sometimes it manifests in religious differentiation, such as catholic vs Protestant. But often it is deeply rooted in old ethnic grudges. One could even argue that antisemitism is the most visible ethnic quarrel of all, if you allow for Jews being a “white” ethnicity.

    Blacks can only stratify their own race by the lightness or darkness of their skin color, which is sometimes due to intermixing with whites, but is also due to broad African ethnic differences. So they can sense the vestiges of their own ethnic differences, even if they can’t trace them specifically.

  6. DelAware
    Posted April 2, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    The point is not that whites are “workaholic.”

    The point is that we no longer labor for ourselves, our families, our communities, and our people…but for fiat currency digits in faraway computers that can erase at any time everything we have labored to create.

    We didn’t create that. We struggle to survive in an economic environment that was created for us, to exploit us via our very strengths.

    The point is that we are expected to labor as tax mules for an increasing cadre of parasites and layabouts imported and bred precisely to keep us enslaved to pay their welfare benefits–which are actually benefits to global corporations who get that money after it’s been laundered through the Huddled Masses (TM). Meanwhile impoverishing and replacing our own offspring. If we can afford any.

    Our work has been stolen. THAT is why “fathers are absent” from white families–precisely because white fathers have been enslaved to the FIRE/rentier/serfdom economy, so that they cannot be sure from one week to the next where they will be working, or for whom, in what capacity, if at all, in what community/area/region/nation.

    No wonder people buy, and hoard, possessions: portable things.

    Our sacred labor has been magicked into the most demonic serfdom.

    Rootless cosmopolitanism has made over our industry, our forward thinking, and our capacity for effort and enjoyment of robust struggle into a Sisyphean boulder that will always roll backwards onto us on the slopes of Mt. Globo.

    Remember also that the main reason women went to work in the 1970s and 1980s wasn’t some mythos or philosophy (like Dastardly Feminism). THE INDUSTRIAL JOBS WENT AWAY. Coherent productive communities, and the families they fostered, WENT AWAY. They were systematically chainsawed, “right sized” (erased), offshored, automated, and then the people ridiculed, drugged, and abandoned.

    And then as the menfolk couldn’t find jobs, in many families it was the wives and daughters who entered the extremely feminized institutions of college/university, got training in THE NEW ECONOMY (extremely feminized service and institutional BS positions), and struggled to support, or start, families.

    And then you wonder why some turned to degenerate sex? That’s portable. Family and roots not only are not portable, they aren’t affordable and they aren’t allowed–because white people are SPECIFICALLY targeted for not having those.

    Once again, a Counter-Currents writer is shooting right into the heart of white men while posing as pro-white. “What really matters” doesn’t matter a whit if all you have to transact in this economy is your time (your mortality) and your effort (your body while it lasts)…and the absolute cock and balls and marrow and crux of this economy is SYSTEMATIC DEVALUATION OF LABOR. Which is to say systematic devaluation of white men’s mortality and white men’s bodies.

    Look at this chart…and then blame women for getting jobs and blame white men for Not Knowing What Really Matters.

  7. Steven
    Posted April 3, 2020 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    @Chance Brungus

    “it’s their ticket out of multi-cult urban America”

    Precisely what drove me after I graduated.

  8. Gregor Müller
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    It’s not antiwhite to point out flaws in whites if done to better our welfare. Like all people, we mess up. Imagine Whites from 1500 A.D. not improving anymore bc listening to critics and then changing to the better would be “antiwhite”…

    That said, the different White nations suffer, but they don’t always suffer from the same illness.

    Most Germans for example don’t feel a shred of guilt about POCsies (as I like to call them for being used in a proxy war against us) or their colonial adventures. They also don’t chase the mighty dollar that much, which is highlighted by the grim fate of Walmart Germany and the simultaneous absence of flyover-country-decay: Walmart thought they were the tiger in the jungle, but the German retailers beat the crap out of them. And yet: German supermarkets have NOT devastated the German heartland, bc Germans are way slower at jumping from one profit-opportunity to the next.

    They rather stay in their town than being 20% up on the social ladder in a different town. And bc they want to stay where they live, they will not sell out the place for a quick buck to then have to hear the complaints from all neighbors and relatives for the next decades. THAT part of German mentality shields them from this kind of decay. However Germans have their own stupid weaknesses and ailments. And it’s not antiwhite to point them out and admonish Germans to improve.

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