Replacement Theory and The Future of America’s Identity Crisis
In response to last month’s massacre in Buffalo, the Democrats have put forth legislation to condemn the Great Replacement Theory, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer is demanding that Fox News cancel Tucker Carlson for promoting the theory, and Neocon Never Trumper, Jenifer Rubin, called on Joe Biden to attack the White Grievance Industry. The Great Replacement theory was coined by French identitarian intellectual, Renaud Camus, and Wikipedia describes the theory as those believing “that, with the complicity or cooperation of "replacist" elites, white European populations are being demographically and culturally replaced with non-white peoples—especially from Muslim-majority countries—through mass migration, demographic growth and a drop in the birth rate of white Europeans.” There were previous pushes to censor talk about the Great Replacement after the massacres in Christchurch, New Zealand and in El Paso.
There are various takes on replacement theory ranging form antisemitic conspiracy theories to the more garden variety conservative tropes that Democrats are engineering demographic change to secure permanent electoral hegemony. America’s demographic transformation is clear, but the question is whether there are intentional motives or not. There is truth to the theory but it is not so much a secretive conspiracy but rather an assortment of special interests with various partisan, ideological and economic motives, many of which may be cloaked in genuinely held moral sentiments about human rights and being welcoming. Certainly capitalism plays a major role, as far as corporations wanting to undercut labor costs.
Many prominent figures on the left and establishment have cheered on demographic replacement. For instance when the 2020 census data was released, Jimmy Fallon’s audience cheered the announcement that the number of White people went down, and Jenifer Rubin proclaimed that “a more diverse, more inclusive society. this is fabulous news. now we need to prevent minority White rule.” Other examples include, the New York Times’ Michelle Goldberg, proclaiming that Yes We Can Replacement Them, anti-racist advocate Tim Wise stating that “Because you’re on the endangered list. And unlike, say, the bald eagle or some exotic species of muskrat, you are not worth saving. In 40 years or so, maybe fewer, there won’t be any more white people around who actually remember that Leave It to Beaver. It’s OK. Because in about 40 years, half the country will be black or brown. And there is nothing you can do about it.” Even Joe Biden echoed similar sentiment as Vice President, stating that “Fewer than 50% of the people in America from then and on will be white European stock….that’s not a bad thing, that’s a source of our strength."
There is open discussion of abolishing Whiteness, with genocidal overtones, on the left. For instance the late author, Noel Ignatiev writing in an excerpt for Harvard Magazine, that "the goal of abolishing the white race is on its face so desirable that some may find it hard to believe that it could incur any opposition other than from committed white supremacists." Similar examples include, former New Yorker factchecker, Talia Lavine, proclaiming “raising a glass of farm fresh cultured buttermilk to the inevitability of white genocide,” and former Springfield NAACP President Talbert Swan, calling Whiteness “an unrelenting, demonic force of evil.”
As for the left alleging that conservatives are promoting replacement theory, mainstream conservatives have recently adopted rhetoric that would have been viewed as Alt-Right just 5 years ago. For instance, Charlie Kirk, who in the past proclaimed that America is an idea….a placeholder for timeless “liberal” ideals, and stated that we can take in dramatically higher levels of immigration if we scrap the welfare state, recently declared that There is an undeniable War on White People in The West, and called to "Deputize a citizen force, put them on the border" in order to protect "white demographics in America." Steven Crowder stated that "I also don't think there's anything wrong with White Americans wanting their neighborhood to look similar to how it looked with their dad and their grandparents." As recently as 2019, House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy stripped former Congressman, Steve King, of his committee assignments for making statements in line with Replacement theory. Now, Elise Stefanik, the third ranking House Republican who is considered a moderate, has promoted versions of the theory in her rhetoric.
New polling from the Southern Poverty Law Center shows that these ideas are permeating among the rank and file GOP, with about two thirds of Republicans believing in Replacement Theory. A CBS News poll found that almost half of Republicans don’t think it is important to condemn White Nationalism. However, a CATO institute poll from last year, showed that 73% of Republicans, in contrast with 47% of Democrats, would support increasing legal immigration, under the condition that immigrants are barred from welfare. The poll also showed that only 8% of Republicans, compared with 7% of Democrats, considered it crucial that immigrants be of European descent. A recent Pew research poll found that 73% of Republicans considered diversity to be neither good nor bad for America, with only 21% of Republicans viewing diversity as harmful. This polling signifies that, despite growing nationalist sentiment, there are still strong remnants of Reaganism in the GOP.
Tucker Carlson, who has been accused of promoting replacement theory, represents a shift on the right, away from Reaganism, towards nationalism and populism. Tucker Carlson has stated that “The Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate of the voters now casting ballots with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World.” However, Tucker’s take on replacement theory is that, while the Democrats want to displace Legacy Americans for political gain, they are actually the real racists and that it is conservatives who are colorblind. Tucker makes it clear that he admires MLK. David Cole, writing in Takimag, sums it up in that “The Tucker types who come close to broaching race—they dip their foot in the pool, then run away giggling “tee hee hee” like a schoolgirl—do so in part to avoid alienating the right-leaning whites who become uncomfortable when things get too racial.” Despite this, Tucker Carlson is an overall force for good, in part because the bar for TV News pundits is so low. He is willing to talk about demographics and calls out attacks on Whiteness, which was not the case with conservatives 10 years ago. Also to his credit, he did not apologize, nor back down from his message, after the left blamed him for inciting violence.
While Tucker claims the mantel of colorblindness, he often makes the point that woke politics will backfire and inevitably lead to White racial consciousness. Thus the left is partially correct to view him as a gateway to White identity politics. There are signs of rising White grievance culture mirroring intersectional grievance culture, “if you can’t beat them, join them.” While the nation as a whole is in crisis, there are serious issues that face White Americans disproportionately. For instance discrimination in jobs and higher education, deaths of despair, social atomization, and a sense of decline in both demographics and their sense of importance in America. Take the downward mobility among many Whites plus the demonization of Whiteness and gaslighting about White privilege, and one cannot be surprised by the rise in White grievance culture.
The left’s narrative that replacement theory and White grievances lead to violence is dishonest, taking into account how dysfunctional American society is at large and the overall rise in violent crime. Mass shootings have accelerated during the 2nd half of the 2010s, and overall gun deaths have increased dramatically over the last few years. As far as the left’s narrative about aggrieved Whites and the right being responsible for violence, interracial violent crime committed by Whites is very rare compared to Black on White violent crime and the new SPLC poll shows that 44% of young Democrat men view political assassinations as morally justified against those that they view as posing a “threat to democracy.”
Conservatives also blame the left’s rhetoric for inciting violence, such as the leftist who was charged for the attempted murder of Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh. Conservatives will point out Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s tweet “To my friends in the LGBTQ+ community—the Supreme Court is coming for us next. This moment has to be a call to arms.” Regardless of the politicized narratives, lone wolf shooters don’t fit one particular political or ethnic profile but tend to be alienated young men.
Political and identity grievances have been used to justify heinous acts, but that does not mean that the grievances themself are always illegitimate. People who are harmed by a political policy or social trend can have visceral psychological reactions that could set them off in rage. A conflict can’t be de-escalated if one side is singled out as having illegitimate grievances while the other side claims the moral high ground. Conflicts are resolved by either reconciliation or one side successfully asserting power over the other, but not endless gaslighting.
The worst hate speech and racism is from the left and the establishment. However, the degree of blame that conservatives deserve for potentially stoking political violence, is not for calling out the Great Replacement but rather how the GOP exploits White grievances as a wedge issue for votes, rather than seriously addressing them. This is not entirely new but rather is a strategy dating back to controversial GOP strategist Lee Atwater, and Nixon’s Southern strategy. The objective is not to keep America White but to ensure that Whites keep voting GOP. What ends up happening is the grievances are not addressed by policy solutions and the democrats are provoked to more aggressively oppose Whiteness. Thus a large demographic of Whites are left feeling targeted, disenfranchised, and resentful.
While the left is clear that they want to transform America via a cultural revolution, conservatives lack any coherent vision for America’s future. Modern conservativism is a convoluted ideological mishmash ranging from paperwork patriotism (such as Americanism as an ideology), capitalism, flirting with White identity politics, building a multi-racial working class coalition, pandering to minorities and virtue signaling with talk of Democrats as the real racists. The GOP is having short term electoral and culture war victories due to how awful the other side is but lack any sustainable long term strategies. The GOP is also dishonest to their voters about taking back America, especially with implicitly White overtones. This is because America is past the point of no return, as far as being salvaged as one cohesive nation. Tucker Carlson blames race politics on potentially leading to ethnic sectarian conflicts but the best way to avoid that kind of scenario is to be honest about the reality that America is an inward facing multi-ethnic empire that can’t be unified by ideology.
There is a sense of psychological trauma from the sense of loss for White Americans. The problem is not just the message from the GOP feeding White Americans copes, to cling onto Americanism, to secure votes. Engaging in the ethnic spoils system is such a radically alien concept for Whites. White Americans are in a state of limbo between having a strong sense that America is theirs while not yet starting to embrace the mindset of a minority or diaspora. Obsessing about Whites becoming a minority is demoralizing and counter-productive but White identity politics needs to be normalized.
America is in an identity crisis with no shared values that unite the nation nor idea of what it means to be an American. Americanism has long been implicitly linked to Whiteness, but that is not viable long term as diversity is inevitable. Either Americanism exists in some new form of civic nationalism that is decoupled from Whiteness or Whiteness is maintained but under multiculturalism. The best case scenario for White Americans is a version of multi-culturalism where they can successfully play the game too with their own enclaves and patronage networks. The political system of the future will be many tribes competing and lobbying for their group’s interest and forming alliances under a multi-polar system.