Why the Apathy?

Dr. Brent Nelson

The America that European Americans founded and sustained for over two hundred years will, given no change in current trends, be swept into oblivion in another generation. Given the same trends for two generations, America will find itself closer to Third World status than to the European way of life. Already, in the last decade of the twentieth century, this oncoming doom of European America has become glaringly apparent in many different areas of the country.

Despite a growing awareness of a coming national demise, the masses of European Americans seem to be unconcerned. We are often told that "things must get much worse before people wake up." Yet all the evidence is that people are awake, but preoccupied with other interests. Their unconcern about the decline of European America is so deep-seated, so pervasive, that it obviously arises from something more than a lack of knowledge.

Why the apathy?

To attempt to answer this question, which must be done before we can hope to formulate a strategy to dispel the apathy, we must take an unflinching look at certain fundamental changes which have taken place in the lives of the average European American during the past hundred years.

Looking at this reality will not be a pleasant experience, but looking away from it and denying it can only lead to a final defeat.

The American Dream once included not simply a vision of a life of reasonable comfort, but also a life of maximum freedom. European Americans sought economic independence for themselves even before they won political independence for their nation. Against royal decrees, they moved into the lands west of the coastal colonies, seeking to carve out from the wilderness a life for themselves. At least half the colonists knew servitude as indentured servants and wanted no more of it. The land was before them, seemingly limitless. In the following decades, they were joined by millions of immigrants from Europe, who were also fleeing serfdom in the Old World. By the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the overwhelming majority of Americans were self-employed as farmers, craftsmen and tradesmen. No matter how poor their standards of consumption might have been or how backbreaking their work might have been, it was theirs, theirs alone, not dependent on the dictates of a "master" (as in eighteenth century England) or a "boss" (as in early industrial America) or a "supervisor" (as in today's post-industrial America.)

Today, of course, 90 percent of European Americans (leaving out their dependents and those who are retired) know no such freedom because they are simply someone else's employee. The loss of freedom has been gradual and insidious, but it has been all the more real and is now almost beyond the memories of all living today. The new serfdom is an internalized sense of servility which arises from the unending need of every employee to obey the will of a supervisor if he is to keep his job. The employee's habituation to acting only upon the instructions of a supervisor develops within him or her a passivity which is all the stronger for its being almost subconscious. The resulting apathy about public affairs among most of the working people of America suggests that Jefferson may have known something when he warned that "Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition."

Today most European Americans belong to a great middle mass -- caught between a ruling elite and what is often called an "underclass." The most important fact for this middle American is that he or she is dependent on employment paying a wage or a salary. He or she holds a job which is dependent on factors beyond the employee's control. The factors can be as immediate as a supervisor's whim or as distant (and irresistible) as "market forces" that economists talk about the way people once talked about Providence or Fate.

Alienated from their work, which is work in a place they do not own and under the direction of others, these middle Americans jealously guard their "free time" as if time spent in productive activity were time spent in slavery. The average man, who resents the time he spends working under the supervision of someone else, is almost ferociously determined to spend his "free time" in play, much the way a child, weary of adult tutelage, runs amuck on the playground as soon as the school lets out. Practically all time not spent on the job is expended in recreation, in personal concerns. It is as if being deprived of the most important kind of private property -- the property which enables a man to earn his own livelihood with his own possessions in self-respect and dignity -- makes the proletarianized American all the more determined to privatize the small sphere of his life that does belong to him.

Most civic activity arises from the ranks of the upper middle class and upper class European American. The upper middle class, which comprises the self-employed (mostly independent professionals and small business owners) generates many political and civic leaders, and cannot be said to be apathetic in the commonly accepted sense of the term. Although less than 10 per cent of the population, this group produces the overwhelming majority of civic leaders on a local and state level.

While not apathetic, the European American upper middle class has rather narrow interests. For these successful people, political interests are largely limited to concerns about taxes and government regulation of their businesses. The doom of European America means little to them. Usually living far from the areas which feel the impact of the Third World underclass, the upper middle class entrepeneur is only anxious to ignore any issue having racial overtones.

Increasingly, the upper middle class American is not of European origin. This is even more true of the small but very powerful upper class or ruling elite, the one percent of the population which owns most of the means of production and distribution. Moreover, the ruling elite, whether or not it is of European origin, greatly fears civil disorder. Threats of disorder from the Third World underclass generally result in compromise, if not total capitulation. Any evidence of militancy on the part of European Americans generates an extreme overreaction from the ruling elite. The elite will mobilize literally thousands of police and military to subdue a mere half-dozen supposed "White supremacists" in Idaho or Montana or Arizona.

It is likely that most members of the ruling elite recognize the real meaning behind Multicultural America as well as its formal meaning. The real meaning of Multicultural America is that (1) it is a makeshift to sustain liberal democracy by maintaining inter-ethnic peace, and (2) a means of enhancing profit margins by flooding the labor market with cheap immigrant labor. The resulting brake on wages and salaries is probably essential to the survival of not simply single industries, but of the profit system as a whole.

It is also likely that the ruling elite recognizes that the apathy of the European American middle mass is simply a mask for a much deeper layer of alienation or estrangement from the system. Beneath this alienation lurks, or so the elite fears, a seething mix of fear and anger. Conflict management and control -- both among the visibly distinct racial groups and within the mass mind of the European American working class -- is essential to the continued existence of the system. Could racial conflict be the primer to set off a critical mass of working class alienation? The elite does not wish to learn the answer to this question.

European American change agents can come from all strata of the population. Exceptional individuals at the outset, it is their task to increase their ranks until they grow into a movement while simultaneously stripping away the layering of mass apathy through the building of a sense of community among European Americans. No opinion will be offered here as to the chances for their success, for the American situation is one which is historically unique. Whatever may come of it, there has never been any nation comparable with the synthetic composite nation that is America.


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