Posted by: Lister | December 15, 2008

An Anglo-Saxon Protestant State

A point made by Uri Avnery:

IT SOUNDS like an invented story. And indeed it is.

In this tale, an American politician gets up and declares: The United States was founded by British Protestants who were persecuted in Europe for their Puritan beliefs. Therefore, the United States is an Anglo-Saxon Protestant state.

And he goes on: the United States is also a democratic state. Therefore, people with another background – such as Native Americans, Africans, Latinos, Asians and Jews – enjoy full equality. But they must know that the United States is an Anglo-Saxon nation-state, while they belong to other nation-states.

Sounds far-fetched? Indeed it is. No American politician would dream of uttering such a statement, even if he might feel it in his heart.

Here in Israel one can say such a thing, and nobody gets excited.

[…] Actually, the national idea crystallized only in the 18th century. More and more thinkers adopted the view that a society with a common origin, a common cultural identity, a common language (mostly), a common territory and (usually) a common religion should be united in a state of its own, which should belong to them alone, and enjoy national independence.

The timing was not accidental. All over Europe, mass education systems sprang up and all the peoples developed a national consciousness. Slovaks and Slovenes began to wonder why they should be subject to the Austrian crown, Lithuanians and Latvians no longer found it natural that they should be oppressed by the Russian Czar. At the same time, economic and technological advances demanded states big enough to sustain a modern economy and a large enough army to defend its citizens (and perhaps to attack neighboring countries).

The classic nation-state was France. It developed a French nation with a nationalist world-view and a national pride, and that imposed its language and culture on the peoples that became part of France either by agreement or by force – Alsatians in the East, Corsicans in the South, Basques in the West, Bretons in the North. British nationalism absorbed the Scots, the Welsh and some of the Irish.

[…] It seems that Tzipi Livni takes such a nation-state as her ideal. But developments have long since left that stage behind. The nation-state has not died, but it has changed almost beyond recognition.

THE UNITED STATES, too, is a nation-state. But that nation is very different from the one Tzipi Livni is dreaming about.

The American nation is composed of all the citizens of the United States. Lithuanians, Argentinians and Vietnamese become members of the American nation the moment they receive their citizenship. The heritage of Washington and Lincoln is conferred on them together with their passport. They are not required to change their religion or skin-color.

[…] The American flag and the American constitution unite this modern nation. The President does not swear loyalty to the Fatherland, but to the constitution.

[…] The term WASP – White Anglo-Saxon Protestant – has long since been reduced to a half-jocular appellation. Demographic experts predict that in not so many years, the Whites of European origin will be a minority in the American nation-state. But it seems that this piece of news did not arouse a storm of alarm and anger.

Everybody understands that the future and robustness of the US-American nation do not depend on the religion and race of the American people. Therefore, there is no “demographic problem? in America. Neurotic demographers like our Arnon Sofer would be considered cranks over there.

[…] The new nation-state will be open and cosmopolitan, respectful of minorities, a state of all its citizens, integrated in a regional partnership, a part of the global economy, a partner in the joint struggle for the preservation of this little planet.

That may be the future. And when does the future begin if not today?



  1. 6PNodUwkCcZMS

  2. I’ve no idea what that means, Orlando. But thanks for taking the time to comment.

  3. It only a matter of time before ,your usa , becomes the dis usa, you have allowed into your mids the mohamadites, they will devide you and impose impose apone you tyrants, Feel good bull shit will not change this reality, as well wasps of the UK would say, you will be distroyed by the very freedoms you believe in.
    you will with in 100 years find out how the real world works

  4. Actually, I’m British.
    And I think the Tea Party will do more to dis-unite the USA. Just as Wilders, the BNP, etc in Europe.

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