It is the eve of the Theophany on the old calendar. May you have a blessed feast.
Last week, I saw South Pacific at the Kennedy Center. I had never seen it before, but I recognized two of the songs: “Bali Ha’i” and “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right outta My Hair.” I really liked “Bali Ha’i;” lyrics that get “elemental” always move me. Overall, I enjoyed the show.
As I watched, however, I thought about the subversive Leftism of the musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein, yet another example of why American paleoconservatives lack much charity for the Jewish creators of popular culture. For a theme in the post-war musical (A.D. 1949) is interracial sexual love and the injustice that damns such lovers to social ostracism. In case the audience does not get the point, the show features “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught” (to hate). Naturally, we are sympathetic to the handsome and Princeton educated officer Joseph Cable and his cute, simple Tonkinese girl, Liat. We feel sorry for the Frenchman Emile de Becque, when the Arkansas naval nurse Nellie Forbush spurns his love once she discovers that his previous wife was Tonkinese. Love is more important than social convention, prejudice, and hate, right? The lesson is a species of Romeo and Juliet . . . if only all sides would wake up to the superiority of love over all.
What such literary preaching overlooks is the importance (and necessity) of larger social units, such as the family and nation. Before the miscegenating indoctrination of the last few generations, it was standard for everyone, including Western nations, to acknowledge the goodness of their group’s continued existence. Throughout history, most people have practiced some form of endogamy, whether due to law, custom, or geographic necessity, to maintain group continuity. That certain tribes practice exogamy does not contradict this point. Incest laws are a form of exogamy. The boundaries are what matters. If one American Indian tribe’s men must mate with a neighboring tribe’s women, that does not mean that they would mate with anyone. Given the relative isolation of such groups, I wonder how they would have responded to an influx of alien people, miscegenation with whom would have destroyed the identity of their tribe. Such was the case with American Indians when the Europeans invaded their lands. We know of Pocahontas at the beginning, but how often did such matches occur once the American Indians realized the demographic threat? Afterwards, intermarriage occurred not between equals but between the conquerors and the conquered. This exception to endogamy involves men in conquest, and such times often see the rise of intricate ethnic hierarchies, as came to exist in Spanish America and in Dutch Africa.
Until recently, it was also widely understood that the cultural differences that correspond to different groups lead to incompatibilities when it comes to marriage. A family is a small culture inside a larger one, with its own rules and customs of how things are done. Most people are not very good at making a whole new civil code; things work better when people follow well worn paths and traditions. In mixed marriages, though, everything is up in the air. In South Pacific, we hear lamentations that such things never work out well because everyone makes sure that they do not work out well. That is not correct. Mixed marriages involve additional strains and stresses without normal supports because they are a new society, and they are thus an anarchy without creative and wise legislating. However, such does not occur when one spouse, usually the wife, adopts the culture of the husband. This is the character of conquistador marriage. The wife agrees to convert to the ways of her husband’s tribe in the exogamic way. That works, of course, but our liberal, egalitarian culture, which gives rise to South Pacific and its many, many partners in social reprogramming, demands equality in marriage. It unwittingly demands chaos and civil war in the nation and in the family.
For this is the way of liberalism, which refuses to acknowledge the human realities above the individual. Liberals think that political units owe their value and reality to the willful dedication of individuals to these cooperative endeavors, which liberals thus call social contracts. As such, liberals are social atomists, and a good deal of their confusion and bad policies originate in their misunderstanding of human nature. There is a real, natural integrity to the family, the tribe, the city, and the nation. Human beings organize themselves by nature; we are political animals. As such, we do not have to be carefully taught to find miscegenation problematic, as the song goes. Rather, the condemnation of individual actions that lead to social dissolution comes naturally to people who have not been brainwashed to see the survival of their people as, at best, a fact to which they are indifferent and, at worst, an evil that ethnic dispossession will resolve. Contra Rodgers and Hammerstein, you have to be carefully, repeatedly, endlessly, and tirelessly taught that the self is all that matters in the world, and that there is no higher reality than the passing desires of the self.