Real Americans

In the early 1920s, when my father became pastor of an Armenian church in Detroit, we left by train for that city. As a youngster, it was for me a great adventure as well as a major dislocation. On board the train, I was immediately interested in the man who seemed to me to be the most important man running the train, and the strongest, the Pullman porter. He was also the first black man I had ever seen. I followed him around, to his tolerant amusement, and I began to ask questions. As a boy in Kingsburg, I knew that there all of us identified people in terms of their country of origin: “What country does your family come from?” Accordingly, I asked him the same question, and, “What language did they speak?” The answers were surprising: he came from Chicago, and his family from Alabama. His grandparents? Alabama. His great-grandparents, his great-great-grandparents? He was amused: “As far back as I know, Alabama,” and all spoke English. I then knew that I had met my second “real American.”

Looking back years later, I realized how right I was. Apart from the Indians, most of us are immigrant stock of relatively recent origin. Two groups have a long history here, the English and the Negroes, and both have English names and deep roots in the United States. These two groups best qualify as “old-line Americans” and “real Americans,” because their lives, culture, and outlook are most formed by an American tradition. The United States is their county in a deeper sense.

— R. J. Rushdoony, Old-Line Americans

I have little doubt that, as a white man of his time, Rushdoony was about as racist as could be expected. However, there is more to him than that: actual human beings, especially those who have contributed greatly to humanity, deserve better than a highly biased and one-dimensional dismissal.

I might as well dismiss everything Martin Luther King did and said, because he was a wanton adulterer (And thus a spiritual hypocrite) and a plagiarist (and thus a thief).

“But you see, King is backed by the Establishment, and Rushdoony isn’t.”

“Well, Karl Marx was quite the racist himself, wasn’t he? A lot more hard-core than Rushdoony…”

“Certain truths are to be stuffed down the memory hole.”

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