Nothing New Under The Grievance Sun
Category: OtherBy: john-russell • 2 months ago • 12 comments
excerpt from the book Anti-Intellectualism In American Life by Richard Hofstadter
...One can hear in the anguished cries of the 1920’s a clear awareness that the older American type was passé, and the accusation that it was the intelligentsia who were trying to kill it. In 1926 Hiram W. Evans, the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, wrote a moving essay on the Klan’s purposes, in which he portrayed the major issue of the time as a struggle between “the great mass of Americans of the old pioneer stock” and the “intellectually mongrelized Liberals.’”
All the moral and religious values of the “Nordic Americans,” he complained, were being undermined by the ethnic groups that had invaded the country, and were being openly laughed at by the liberal intellectuals.
“We are a movement of the plain people, very weak in the matter of culture, intellectual support, and trained leadership. We are demanding, and we expect to win, a return of power into the hands of the everyday, not highly cultured, not overly intellectualized, but entirely unspoiled and not de-Americanized, average citizen of the old stock. Our members and leaders are all of this class—the opposition of the intellectuals and liberals who hold the leadership, betrayed Americanism, and from whom we expect to wrest control, is almost automatic. This is undoubtedly a weakness. It lays us open to the charge of being “hicks” and “rubes” and “drivers of second-hand Fords.” We admit it. Far worse, it makes it hard for us to state our case and advocate our crusade in the most effective way, for most of us lack skill in language … .