John Derbyshire Says: Actually, America IS “Anglo-Saxon”—We Just Can’t Say So
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Hwæt! Mitt Romney is visiting London this week and is in full racial cringe mode for all he's worth (which is a very great deal).

A member of his advance party, a Romney "adviser" whose name and exact title are not known to us, told the London Daily Telegraph that:

We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and [Romney] feels that the Special Relationship is special … The White House didn't fully appreciate the shared history we have. Mitt Romney would restore 'Anglo-Saxon' relations between Britain and America, By Jon Swaine, July 24, 2012

This adviser and another, equally anonymous, further told the Daily Telegraph that:

Romney would seek to reinstate the Churchill bust displayed in the Oval Office by George W. Bush but returned to British diplomats by Mr. Obama when he took office in 2009. One said Mr. Romney viewed the move as "symbolically important" while the other said it was "just for starters," adding: "He is naturally more Atlanticist."

Needless to say, Romney has repudiated the offending adviser's remarks. And needless to say, the Left wants more.

All of which is definitely worth a "Hwæt!" — the interjection that Anglo-Saxon writers employed to get their readers' attention, meaning something like "Lo!" or "Listen up!"

Being of Anglo-Saxon heritage myself, I naturally know this stuff.

The Daily Telegraph reporter who was passing this on to us allowed that the adviser's remarks "may prompt accusations of racial insensitivity," suggesting as they do that "Mr. Romney was better placed to understand the depth of ties between the two countries than Mr. Obama, whose father was from Africa."

Just a few points here. First, it takes a great deal less than this to "prompt accusations of racial insensitivity" nowadays. Just being a white candidate standing against a black one will do it. [Va. state senator blames racism for Romney gains, By Laura Vozzella, July 24, 2012]

And then, while Barack Obama, Sr. was indeed from Africa, the son's acquaintance with the father was very slight. Barack, Sr. abandoned his wife and child when Barack, Jr. was little more than one year old. Our President was raised mainly by middle-class white Americans. He himself is a middle-class American, quite a typical one of his generation.

"The Negro is an American. We know nothing of Africa." Martin Luther King's aphorism applies quite precisely to Barack Obama.

It is true that the President has made brief trips to Kenya, but as Steve Sailer has described in America's Half-Blood Prince, he misunderstood everything he saw and heard there. The President's warm feelings towards Africa are based on ignorance and sentimentality—just as is the case for many middle-class white Americans.

Barack Obama's low appreciation of "the depth of ties between" the U.S.A. and Britain has very little to do with his father's having been African, far more to do with his mother's having been a leftist kook who despised her own race and nation.

What about that "Anglo-Saxon heritage"? You can pick nits here about just how Anglo-Saxon the British and Americans are. Here's some ceorl ("a low person, a peasant") called Max Fisher [Email him]picking like crazy at the Atlantic blog:

The idea that Anglo-Saxon invaders defined or even significantly influenced British genetics has been "widely discredited," according to National Geographic, … It seems that Anglo-Saxons represented an elite minority, not the country in its entirety, and one that did not rule permanently … In the 2000 U.S. census, only 8.7 percent of Americans identify their ancestry as English, which is ranked fourth behind German, Irish, and African-American.

Hmm. Taking a half-full approach, you could rephrase that to say that of the three commonest white ancestry groups in the U.S.A., two are from the British Isles and the third is from the nation of which Anglia and Saxony are both regions. That's a total 34.7 percent on the 2000 Census figures (page 3 here).

Why stop there? You can add in the 7.2 percent of census respondents who gave their ancestry as "American," since doing so is a trait restricted almost entirely to the Scotch-Irish. Add in those who actually did respond with "Scotch-Irish" (1.5 percent) or "Scottish" (1.7 percent), and we're up to 45.1 percent.

And heck, since we've included the Germans, let's throw in the Swedes (1.4 percent), Norwegians, and Dutch (1.6 percent each). That gets us to 49.7 percent. I have no numbers for Danes, Austrians, and Swiss-Germans, but together they must easily exceed 0.3 percent. Grand total for British (Anglo-Saxon-Celtic) and their Germanic cousins: somewhat more than half the U.S. population.

Maybe there is something to this "heritage" business.

And of course there is. I have lived in several different countries, but none that I felt as quickly at home in as the U.S.A. Language is a part of it, of course: but they speak English in Trinidad and Fiji, too, and I am pretty sure I should not settle so easily in either place.

Quibble all you like about "Anglo-Saxon," but "heritage" is real. Shared history? George Washington's ancestral manor in England is a mere fifteen miles from my own childhood home.

With all that said, I'll register some mild counter-points.

When a presidential candidate goes visiting foreign countries, he of course wants to offer his hosts some pleasantries to smooth his path.

Nobody should mind this; it's part of the routine cant of politics, like kissing babies. There is, though, a great deal more to be said about the "Special Relationship" than that it's special.

For example: In common with a great many British people, I wish Tony Blair had not been quite so eager, in the name of that "Special Relationship," to reinforce George W. Bush's foreign-policy follies.

Birds of a feather flock together, I understand, and so do sanctimonious humbugs: but it would have been better for both countries if Blair had reminded Bush that in respect of Afghanistan, for example, Britain had been there and done that.

And then, Obama's returning that bust of Winston Churchill. Now, I think Obama's mind is provincial and ill-informed. Most probably the return of the bust was motivated by vague leftist resentments about British imperialism.

It is, though, just barely possible that Barack Obama read the April 9, 1994 issue of the London Spectator, which included Andrew Roberts' article on "Churchill's life-long antipathy to colored people." (See here and here.) Sample:

In My African Journey, the account of his 1907 visit to East Africa whilst Under-Secretary at the Colonial Office, Churchill stated that the British officer class was, "in all that constitutes fitness to direct, as superior to the Buganda as Mr. Wells’ Martians would have been to us." … Churchill thought the Kenyan Kikuyu "light-hearted, tractable if brutish children … capable of being instructed."

The Kikuyu was not Barack Obama Senior's tribe—he was a member of the rival Luo—but I think that our president could be forgiven for taking umbrage at Churchill's observations, on the slight chance that he read about them. A man owes some loyalty to his ancestors, and to the near ethnic kin thereof.

Of course, that applies to any man: to Mitt Romney, for example, though Romney would rather pluck out his eyes than publicly agree.

Hey, the guy wants to get elected. If Romney showed any pride in his ancestry, the Main Stream Media would crucify him. Pride in ancestry is not permitted to white people.

Time for another "Hwæt!" How about this, from King Alfred's translation of Boethius:

Hwæt! þu wast þæt me næfre seo gitsung ond seo gemægð þisses eorðlican anwealdes forwel ne licode.

("Lo! thou knowest that avarice and ambition for this earthly power were never pleasing to me.")

Not a thing you should expect to hear from a presidential candidate, Anglo-Saxon or otherwise.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimismand several other books. His writings are archived

Readers who wish to donate (tax deductible) funds specifically earmarked for John Derbyshire's writings at can do so here.

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