Steve King, Conservatism and American Exceptionalism

Jonathan S. Tobin of Commentary has written an article for National Review that condemns Steve King on the basis of “American exceptionalism”:

“What is at stake in the long-running battle over illegal immigration? The answer from the overwhelming majority of Americans who worry about it is “the defense of the rule of law.” Others speak of the economic impact of unskilled workers on employment and wages. But for a minority, there is something else at issue. They think that the influx of Hispanics from Mexico and Central America or immigrants from the Middle East — whether they arrive legally or illegally — is a threat to the fabric of American culture and values. …

One can think that current vetting procedures for legal immigrants and refugees are not as rigorous as they should be and still accept the idea that the United States is — in contrast to the nations of Europe — a nation of immigrants. …

While the United States began its life as a nation of white Protestants whose forebears came from the British Isles, the national identity the Founders forged was not based, at least in principle, on race, ethnicity, or religion. That is why an American culture rooted in ideas about liberty, democracy, and the rule of law not only survived but flourished as the population of the nation was eventually transformed from a WASP majority into one in which the descendants of the Scotch Irish and English settlers became a minority. …

He might claim he was talking about culture, but the mention of “babies” is a not-so-subtle attempt to say that the survival of Western values requires white children to outnumber those who are not white. …

By asserting that preserving “our civilization” cannot be accomplished by “other people’s babies,” King is promoting a view of American identity that is at odds with the country’s basic principles. To believe that Hispanic or Muslim immigrants — or those of any other ethnicity or faith — can’t fully accept the values about liberty that King claims to cherish is to ignore two centuries of U.S. history and ideas. “Other people’s babies” have been fighting and dying to defend American values since before Iowa was a state. …

The country thrived because those values were not the preserve of a specific ethnic or religious group but could be embraced by anyone regardless of his background or faith. It is not naïve to assert that this hasn’t changed even while the skin color of immigrants is darker today than it was in the past. That is the essence of American exceptionalism. To think that only white babies can preserve this legacy is a betrayal of conservative principles that are rooted in faith in the law rather than race. …”

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the historically illiterate nonsense that calls itself “conservatism” in the United States.

Consider what we learned here yesterday: “racism” became a secular sin after 1960, “sexism” followed suit in 1965 and “Islamophobia” became a secular sin in the 1990s. The so-called “mainstream” which we all must conform our lives to didn’t exist until 1960. We weren’t a “Nation of Immigrants” until 1960. “Diversity is our strength” is something we were taught in the 1980s.

As for this alleged betrayal of American values, American citizenship was based on whiteness from the Naturalization Act of 1790 until the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952. We continued to exclude immigrants from Third World countries in Asia and Africa until the Immigration Act of 1965. The explicit purpose of excluding these people and keeping their babies out of the United States through the National Origins Act was to preserve America’s traditional demographic makeup.

Doesn’t that undermine “American exceptionalism” though?

The term “American exceptionalism” was first popularized by Joseph Stalin in the late 1920s. It wasn’t used much until the 1950s and only starts to take off in the mid-1970s. Like everything else we discussed above, “American exceptionalism” is actually a belief that characterizes a peculiar epoch of American history that begins after the Second World War.

Contrast Jonathan S. Tobin’s belief in “American exceptionalism” with John C. Calhoun on incorporating Mexicans into the United States in antebellum America:

Calhoun says “Ours is the Government of the white man.” In his Disquisition on Government, he explained why the preservation and perpetuation of our race is more important than “liberty.”

In 1912, Texas restricted the right to own land to “members of the white race.” New Mexico wasn’t admitted to the Union until 1912 because of concerns about its large non-White population. In fact, Indians couldn’t vote New Mexico and Arizona until 1948. Hawaii, which also had a large non-White population, was the last state admitted to the Union in 1959.

The “country’s basic principles” that Jonathan S. Tobin appeals to here have a history. As we saw with the Statue of Liberty, it is a cosmopolitan tradition that has its origins in the 1930s. From the 1930s to the 1960s, we can see this cosmopolitan version of Americanism challenging and displacing an older tradition that was once reflected in our identity, laws and customs.

This system had a good run of about 70 years. It can be compared to the system we had from the War Between the States to the Great Depression. The postwar order is collapsing now and giving way to its successor.

Hunter Wallace
the authorHunter Wallace
Hunter Wallace is the founder and editor of

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10 Comments on "Steve King, Conservatism and American Exceptionalism"

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The MSM right now is like an echo chamber. One media personality after another chasing their tails chasing the next bait click and social media trend. No mention or coverage of President Trump’s substantive policy positions articulated during The Rallies: It’s unbelievable. Sixty-three million votes. 63,000,000 and still no coverage why?! It’s unbelievable. No coverage during the campaign about the grass roots movement and now it’s witch hunt after witch hunt. This was always going to be a grass roots long-game. Folks talk to your neighbors, talk to your co-workers, talk to church members. The vote was just the… Read more »
Albionic American

Frankly we need to replace the “nation of immigrants” fantasizing with “nation of limits” realism. Just from the perspective of physical life support, how many more human bodies can this nation sustain with its current resources? I can remember back in the 1970’s that environmentalists actually worried about this problem. Their concerns have gone completely by the wayside now, compared with the elites’ current project of dispossessing the nation’s white population with the world’s diversity trash.

Sir Richard of Wales

who here would lick laura ingraham’s butthole? i bet sean hannity would.


I sure would.


(((Jonathan S. Tobin)))

Every. Fucking. Time.

Hipster Racist
And if the fact the term was popularized by freaking STALIN didn’t give it away, “American exceptionalism” has always been a CRITIQUE – it was synonymous with American “arrogance” or American “imperialism.” Now let’s take a look at that wiki article: right off the bat: “In this view, American exceptionalism stems from the American Revolution, becoming what political scientist Seymour Martin Lipset called “the first new nation” (((Seymour Martin Lipset))) – ’nuff said. Tocqueville description of America as “exceptional” has literally nothing at all to do with how the term is being used by the likes of Tobin, but instead… Read more »
Hipster Racist
“the national identity the Founders forged was not based, at least in principle, on race, ethnicity, or religion.” This is, of course, a bald-faced lie and anyone with a 9th grade education in American history knows it. All of the Founding Fathers were White Nationalists. All of the Founding Fathers were – at the least, the lowest common denominator – White Supremacists who believed in a Christian-Lite Deism. Most were far stricter than that, many traditional Anglicans who wanted an Anglo country. Hell, Ben Franklin didn’t even want Germans coming here. So there is no point in engaging with bald-faced… Read more »
Gerald Martin

Well said, Hunter. You’ve been kicking ass & taking names for years, but recently you’ve upped your game to Alt-right Death Star.

Alex Harris
“To believe that Hispanic or Muslim immigrants — or those of any other ethnicity or faith — can’t fully accept the values about liberty that King claims to cherish is to ignore two centuries of U.S. history and ideas.” And to believe that Hispanic or Muslim immigrants — or those of any other ethnicity or faith — CAN fully accept the values about liberty that King claims to cherish is to ignore several decades of recent U.S. history, up to and including current events. (Hispanic socialist voting patterns, criminality and lack of assimilation, and Muslim terrorism, desire for sharia law,… Read more »
tbh at this point it would be more subtle of National Review’s writers to post literal cuckold porn than these articles. I started rolling my eyes at “nation of immigrants” and stopped reading at “national identity the Founders forged was not based, at least in principle, on race”. The first fucking sentence of the constitution itself explicitly states that the country was established exclusively for the founders’ posterity, not for the posterity of other men. It’s in the first sentence! I know it’s kind of an archaic word and our state education system is shit, but we have Google search… Read more »