Fromm and Weber Speak on America's Past
and Today's Crisis at Spirited Meeting
News from the Institute for Historical Review
At one of the most spirited and successful IHR meetings in many months, Paul Fromm and Mark Weber delivered informed, well-received talks about social-political decline in America and Canada, and the factors behind this trend.
About 40 men and women, including a good showing of younger people and local activists, gathered on Saturday evening, March 12, 2011, for this upbeat meeting in Orange County, southern California. One young couple brought their infant son. Donations by several attendees to help support the IHR and its work totaled more than $400.
Paul Fromm and Mark Weber at the March 2011 IHR Meeting
A businessman who had brought along some younger friends wrote afterwards to the Institute's director: "We must continue to build a future for the IHR and bring a new generation into the fold. I will continue to do just that. Your speech was fantastic. The three 18-year-olds had never heard anything like it. Your voice is one that they heard clearly, and I appreciate you very much my friend. We are just beginning, Mark!"
In his opening remarks, the IHR director announced that the "our landlord has notified us that he's not be renewing our lease, which means that we'll have to move out of our offices by the end of June." While it's not clear just what's behind the decision, Weber noted that "anti-fascist" and Zionist groups such as the "Jewish Defense Organization" have been targeting the Institute's landlord, and publicizing his name, address and telephone number.
Finding a new location, moving furniture, books and equipment, and setting up everything again in a new location, will be a costly, time-consuming and laborious task, Weber said. Several attendees responded by volunteering to help with the move, and others offered to help look for a suitable new office-warehouse property.
Paul Fromm, the meeting's featured guest speaker, provided a penetrating look at the crisis of identity and purpose that's gripped America, Canada and the western world. Over the years this veteran activist, who is director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression (CAFE), has addressed numerous IHR meetings.
Canada is undergoing rapid and profound ethnic-cultural transformation, Fromm said. Parallel to what's also happening in the US, non-whites are replacing Canada's traditional, European-origin population. In Canadian schools, people of European origin and European culture are portrayed negatively. Whites are allegedly guilty of a range of terrible sins, including genocide and environmental destruction. Increasingly, said Fromm, "we don't know who we are."
Most Canadians have responded to all this with passivity or resignation. Although some say that white people are a superior race, he added, "I've seen no evidence to support that view."
An important factor in determining the level of prosperity, order and progress in a society, said Fromm, is the intelligence of its people. A third world population can't maintain a "first world" society.
In his address, Mark Weber spoke about how America has changed drastically over the past 60 years, as reflected in the country's high school history textbooks. In the US, as elsewhere, history textbooks both mirror and help to shape the people's outlook and thinking, as well as reflect and strengthen the country's "national narrative" of its past.
American high school textbooks are semi-official publications, because they are selected for classroom use by school boards, state commissions or other governmental agencies. In every society, how history is presented is an expression of the outlook and agenda of those who hold power.
For about half a century -- and especially during the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s and 1950s -- by far the most popular and influential American high school history textbook was the one written by David S. Muzzey. Continually updated, it remained in print for 65 years. During this period, a high percentage -- perhaps even a majority -- of American schoolchildren learned US history from Muzzey.
Weber held up and quoted from a 1953 edition, entitled A History of Our Country, which portrays a very different America than the one that's now regarded as normal. It presents the US as a white country with a European culture, one in which blacks and other minorities play no active or formative role in society.
This book's purpose, writes Muzzey in an introductory "Letter" to his young readers, is "above all, to increase your patriotism by inspiring in each of you the desire and determination to do your part to make your 'patria' a fatherland more and more worthy of the reverence and love of its generations of sons and daughters to come."
Weber read from the textbook's description of the Ku Klux Klan in the aftermath of the Civil War: "Deprived of any legal means of defense against such iniquitous government, the South naturally resorted to intimidation. Secret organizations, chief of which was the Ku Klux Klan, took advantage of the Negroes' superstition and fear to force them back into a position of social and political obscurity ... Exaggerated reports of these deeds of violence were spread through the North and used by the radical politicians to justify the tightening of military rule in the South."
In a passage about Puerto Rico, also quoted by Weber, the textbook explained that "it was impossible to give statehood or even a territorial status to a people containing but 17 per cent of literates, alien in blood and speech and without any experience in self-government."
The national debate during the 1920s about immigration is treated by Muzzey with these words: "American labor leaders were disturbed over the influx of foreigners who were accustomed to work for low wages, and patriotic citizens were alarmed at the numbers of newcomers who had no knowledge of American institutions or ideals. If we were not to become what Theodore Roosevelt called 'an international boarding-house,' some step must be taken to limit the unrestricted immigration of the prewar days ... The net result of these [1920s] immigration laws has been to put a stop to the steady flow of aliens to our shores."
In the textbook's section about World War II, Weber noted, there is no mention of "the Holocaust," persecution of Jews in Europe, or even that Hitler and his government was anti-Jewish. Reflecting the prevailing outlook and values of the time, the misfortunes of Europe's Jews were regarded as irrelevant.
America's self-image as a white, European nation was methodically discarded during the 1960s as part of what Weber called a "cultural revolution." History textbooks were drastically rewritten in a systematic campaign of "historical revisionism." New, revised texts embraced a bold vision of the US as a universalist multicultural, multiracial society.
In this regard, Weber cited America Revised, an informative, well-written work by acclaimed writer Frances Fitzgerald. "Only in the nineteen-sixties did the textbooks finally end their rear-guard action on behalf of a Northern European America," she writes. "The texts of the sixties contain the most dramatic rewriting of history ever to take place in American school books."
"The mid-sixties," says Fitzgerald, "must have been a bewildering period for the textbook companies. In the space of a year or two, the political wind veered a hundred and eighty degrees ... To read all the editions of the sixties texts is thus a bewildering experience. What changes is nothing less than the character of the United States."
In today's obligatorily multicultural history textbooks, said Weber (quoting Fitzgerald) "the non-white minorities seem to have hero figures and 'leaders,' which the European groups do not."
A lively question and answer period, with trenchant remarks by Weber, Fromm and attendees, followed the main talks.
If the history of the twentieth century teaches anything, said Weber, it's that ethnic cohesion and unity are characteristic features of stable, orderly and prosperous societies. The notion that "diversity is our strength," he went on, a view that's embraced by our politicians and repeated endlessly in our schools, is a lie.
In that regard Weber noted that the behavior of the intelligent and ethnically cohesive Japanese in the wake of the recent flooding and destruction of their homeland has been orderly and law-abiding. This is in striking contrast to the orgy of looting, pillage and crime in New Orleans in the aftermath of the Katrina hurricane of 2005, and the chaos and widespread rape in Haiti following the earthquake of January 2010.
In a healthy society, said Weber, quality is more important than quantity. Nothing more strikingly underscores the decline of America and its place in the world , he went on, than the fact that no one outside the US looks to American cities such as Los Angeles, Detroit or Houston as models for their own countries.
President Obama, said Weber, is a daily reminder that the culture and society that Americans once took for granted is gone -- gone forever. Many critics of Obama denounce him as a aberrant radical, a "socialist" or even a "fascist," who is pushing new and dangerous policies. But what's remarkable about the Obama administration, Weber said, is how little things have changed.
Given the cultural premises and ideological principles of the US during the past half century, and the prevailing social, cultural and political trends, the policies of the Obama administration are entirely logical and even inevitable.