The Great-Granddaddy of White Nationalism

Make America First sign at the Republican National Convention, July 20, 2016, by Kevin Dietsch, UPI/Alamy Stock Photo.

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The Great-Granddaddy of White Nationalism

by Diane Roberts
Southern Cultures, Vol. 25, No. 3: Left/Right

"You see Dixon's handiwork in the breathless roundup of atrocities allegedly committed by people of color against white people in Brietbart News's 'Black Crime' section; and in the attacks on individuals such as Philandro Castile, Trayvon Martin, and Tamir Rice."

Mark Twain hated Sir Walter Scott. He blamed Scott for the Civil War, accusing him of infecting the South with the “Sir Walter disease,” brought on by the “sham grandeurs, sham gauds, and sham chivalries of a brainless and worthless long-vanished society.” Before the war and beyond the South’s defeat into the heyday of the Lost Cause, Twain despised the way white southerners clung to a spurious version of their own history, refusing to acknowledge that it was built on the vicious and inhumane system of slave labor. Twain diagnosed the South with a pathological dislike of progress that manifested itself in what he called “the jejune romanticism of an absurd past that is dead, and out of charity ought to be buried.” Perhaps thinking of the 750,000 who died on battlefields from Gettysburg to Vicksburg, in prisons and in hospitals, Twain accused Scott of “measureless harm; more real and lasting harm, perhaps, than any other individual that ever wrote.”