Saturday, July 01, 2006

All about 'Americanism'

The immigration debate, as I recently noted, has provided an opening for all kinds of hoary old white-supremacist appeals to "traditional values." Howie Klein notes that one of the hoariest comes transmitted to us from the likes of Arizona Republican congressman J.D. Hayworth, whose new anti-immigration tome, Whatever It Takes, includes the following enconium to none other than Henry Ford, and his campaign for "Americanism" in the 1920s:
Henry Ford, a leader in [the Americanization] movement, said, "These men of many nations must be taught American ways, the English language, and the right way to live." Talk like that today and our liberal elites will brand you a cultural imperialist, or worse. But if you ask me, Ford had a better idea. Sadly, Americanization has given way to an insidious multiculturalism, the noxious idea that all cultures are equally valid and worthy... Henry Ford must be spinning in his grave.

And this:
Over three decades ago, Nathan Glazer and Daniel Patrick Moynihan asked, "To what does one assimilate in modern America?" In Henry Ford's day, we had a great big list of things. But if multiculturalism and diversity are valued above all else, the answer is you can assimilate however you want, or not at all.

Of course, as we've pointed out previously, multiculturalism arose as a direct reaction against white supremacism and eventually overthrew it as the dominant American worldview. Most critics are coy about what they would replace it with, but not Hayworth: He wants us to return to the "Americanism" practiced in the 1920s.

Klein directs us to Ford's own definition of the term:
To "Americanize" means, in our ordinary speech, to bring into sympathy with the traditions and institutions of the United States, but the Jews do not mean only the United States when they say "America." They mean also South and Central America-- where so many revolutions have occurred. There are large numbers of Jews in Argentina, and many are found in other countries. It would probably give a wrong slant to the fact to say that the Jewish leaders are wholly anti-America, but it is true to say that they are against the "Americanization" of the Jewish immigrant stream. That is, that the trend of "Americanism" is so different from the trend of "Judaism" that the two are in conflict. This does not indicate treason toward American nationalisms perhaps, so much as it indicates loyalty toward Jewish nationalism.

Indeed, as we've explained earlier:
Maybe they have simply bought the timeworn image of Ford as the clever industrialist who brought the automobile to the masses.

Maybe they simply have forgotten -- or were never aware of -- the rest of the Henry Ford story.

That would be the Henry Ford who in 1920 began publishing The International Jew -- one of the most infamous anti-Semitic screeds in history. This text first raised to national prominence the notorious Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion hoax -- and indeed may have been responsible for its subsequent wide distribution in Hitler's Germany as well.

Speaking of Hitler, here's what he had to say about the speculation in 1923 that Ford might run for president:

I wish I could send some of my shock troops to Chicago and other big American cities to help in the elections ... We look to Heinrich Ford as the leader of the growing fascist movement in America ... We have just had his anti-Jewish articles translated and published. The book is being circulated in millions throughout Germany."

As the ADL notes:

Though Ford apologized for The International Jew and closed the Dearborn Independent, he later accepted the Grand Cross of the German Eagle from Hitler's Nazi government in July, 1938.

This award, incidentally, is the highest honor Germany can offer to a non-German.

Ford also probably did more than any American to help build the Nazi war machine in the 1930s.

Ford's version was obviously a serious distortion of Theodore Roosevelt's original call for "Americanism," which explicitly eschewed racism, though perhaps it was also its logical outcome. Certainly, the attitudes he promoted also wound up playing a large role in the subsequent anti-Japanese immigration campaigns.

But Ford wasn't the only one out there thumping the drum for "Americanism." Indeed, as I've detailed previously, one of the main slogans of the Ku Klux Klan then (and later) was that its program was all about "pure Americanism" or "100 percent Americanism." (The same was true of William Dudley Pelley's openly fascist Silver Shirts organization.) One of its best-known pamphlets was entitled "The Klan's Fight for Americanism," which
... makes no apologies for its members' attempts to impose their views upon "liberals," immigrants, Catholics, Jews, or peoples of color. Instead it sounds a clarion call for the Klan's "progressive conservatism" and celebrates its influence in American public life.

Yes, the Klan saw themselves as "progressive conservatives" of the time.

Want to bet J.D. Hayworth calls himself a "compassionate conservative" too?

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