“The Great Replacement” of whites is a myth or a conspiracy theory if you oppose it. If you think it’s a good thing, then it’s real and something to be celebrated. Whether it’s real or not apparently depends on what you believe, not the facts. There are many examples of this double standard. However, it’s rare to see a single writer play this verbal game in a single article.
Roger Cohen’s “Trump’s Last Stand for White America” is practically bait for white advocates. Mr. Cohen begins by invoking Unite the Right 2017. He sees “hate-filled faces, those of the white nationalists in Charlottesville chanting, ‘Jews will not replace us.’” It’s hard to take this seriously. State and local officials allowed and arguably encouraged violence in Charlottesville. The violence, property destruction, and threats that we’re seeing across the country dwarfs what happened in 2017. If “white nationalists” were responsible for the ongoing violence, I suspect we’d already be under martial law. Instead, Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli is complaining about political violence on Twitter as if he had no power to do anything about it.
Open season on conservatives? https://t.co/T2AKTLrjHH
— Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli (@HomelandKen) October 18, 2020
Mr. Cohen says President Trump “has been all about the fear of replacement,” adding, “His has been the stand — I am tempted to say the last stand — of whites against nonwhites.” Mr. Cohen cites Renaud Camus by name. “You have one people,” Mr. Camus said about the Great Replacement, “and in the space of a generation, you have a different people.” This is “grotesque,” Mr. Cohen says. However, soon afterward, Mr. Cohen says replacement “is a good definition of America.” The Great Replacement is happening, the column implies, but it’s bad to protest it because one people being replaced by another is how America is defined.
Mr. Cohen claims that President Trump wants to “freeze a white America,” (if only) but then insists white America is “imaginary,” a “strange blend of Norman Rockwell and ‘Mad Men.’” However, there’s apparently a real political movement built upon this mirage: “Behind ‘America First’ lurks a very un-American credo.”
But just one sentence later we’re out of this verbal hall of mirrors and back in the real world. Mr. Cohen says, “change can be frightening,” and provides examples: “Power has migrated to Asia. America’s recent wars have been unwon. By midcentury, non-Hispanic whites will constitute less than 50 percent of the population. It is frightening to see an industry disappear, like coal in Kentucky.” It seems white America wasn’t imaginary after all, but a real nation that is weakening militarily, economically, and culturally. Are we supposed to celebrate that?
Mr. Cohen doesn’t exactly say we should. Instead, he suggests it is inevitable. We can “opt for the future or burrow self-destructively into some warped fantasy of the past.” Mr. Cohen then appeals to American liberalism’s most enduring “warped fantasy of the past,” the boogeyman Joe McCarthy, and compares President Trump to McCarthy. “American freedom is in decline,” he writes “The freedom to think, because thought depends on truth.”
I agree with Mr. Cohen, but for different reasons. Republican politicians running for re-election may pay a price for criticizing President Trump, but few others do. Taking advantage of familial or professional relationships to smear the president is practically a guarantee of book sales and media coverage. President Trump can’t be much of an autocrat if people get attacked on the streets or lose their jobs for supporting him.
Mr. Cohen is right that our freedom is under attack, but he’s one of the attackers. The New York Times itself is a threat to freedom of speech, regularly running articles undermining the First Amendment and celebrating crackdowns on “disinformation” and “hate speech.”
- “Facebook and Twitter Dodge a 2016 Repeat, and Ignite a 2020 Firestorm,” October 15, 2020
- “The First Amendment in the age of disinformation,” October 13, 2020
- “Reddit’s C.E.O. on Why He Banned ‘TheDonald’ Subreddit,” June 30, 2020
- “Free Speech Is Killing Us,” October 4, 2019
Mr. Cohen says that he “hold[s] sacred” the “freedom inextricable from the American idea.” He values it with “an unreasonable ardor.” However, didn’t he begin his column by saying that America was defined by change? How can it also be defined by “freedom inextricable from” an idea? Mr. Cohen, a “naturalized citizen,” may have a place to escape to once America is fully engulfed by the Third Word. For him, this may be an intellectual exercise. For most white Americans, this is the only home we have and the stakes are much higher.
Having begun his column by mocking fears of replacement, Mr. Cohen ends with his own version of it. “Time for Americans to look in the mirror,” he says, “and realize their America is irreplaceable if it is lost.” Which America is irreplaceable? America was founded by whites. Whites continue to sustain it. Mr. Cohen’s entire premise is that whites fear losing this America. However, at the conclusion, he invokes an imaginary “America” that will be gone if President Trump is re-elected. This abstract “America” seems to exist within Mr. Cohen’s head and nowhere else.
Of course, Mr. Cohen is again right for the wrong reasons. Our country is irreplaceable if lost. That’s because a nation isn’t an idea, but a people. A nation can recover from pandemics, recessions, and military defeat but it cannot survive racial death. The only real America that has ever existed is “white America.” If we lose that, we lose the country.
Mr. Cohen may be taunting us about white America’s “last stand.” However, I suspect what he’s really afraid of is that this isn’t the end, but the beginning. White America is becoming racially aware and more willing to fight back. This isn’t our last stand, but the first step towards what Sam Francis called the “reconquest of the United States.” That will continue whether President Trump is re-elected or not.