Newport and the Decline of American WASPdom

The November 28th issue of the American Conservative carried an ominous feature article discussing the myth of meritocratic admissions in elite American Universities. Written by publisher Ron Unz, it effectively […]

The November 28th issue of the American Conservative carried an ominous feature article discussing the myth of meritocratic admissions in elite American Universities. Written by publisher Ron Unz, it effectively demonstrated the anti-WASP and pro-Jewish admissions biases of the Ivy League. If true, this constitutes a sociological seismic shift and bodes ill for America’s future. The history of the North Americna WASP is a complicated narrative, which runs like a thread through the past several decades of this nation’s history. Following it leads to new discoveries and a greater awareness of where the decay first began within this country’s former ruling class.

As an observer, I can offer a unique perspective on this issue. I was born and raised in Newport, Rhode Island, which was the playground of America’s Gilded Age capitalists. As an energetic ten year old, I rode my Schwinn down streets crowded with reproduction Italianate and XVIIIe Siècle chateaus. Raised an Episcopalian, I received First Communion and Confirmation at Trinity Church, which was the ‘society’ parish and flaunted gaudy stained glass windows dedicated to various Vanderbilt family members. I became quickly familiar with sartorial choices such as pink trousers and madras jackets considered eccentric by most Americans, (although I was sensible enough not to wear them). Many of my childhood playmates boasted names readily found in the Social Register and gained access to trust funds when they reached twenty-one. Yet, I personally was not of them. I came from a solidly middle-class family and lived in a respectable neighborhood but one removed from Bellevue Avenue’s grandeur. To put it simply, I lived in Newport but was not of it. This allowed me a chance to observe American Old Money society for years and reflect on its attributes and limitations.

Firstly, I can agree with Mr. Knickerbocker’s assessment of American WASPdom and attest to its accuracy. The first aspect one notices in the utter lack of energy on the part of so many within this subculture. After spending an evening with them, one comes away thinking, “These are the descendants of the men who built America into a world power?!” They lack initiative and seemingly spend much of their waking lives in a state of languid ennui. Armed with a gin and tonic and the Wall Street Journal, many doze away their afternoons at exclusive clubs such as the Newport Reading Room and the Spouting Rock Beach Association. This is also a distinctly geriatric crowd and their progeny do not surpass them.

With the rise of a Judeo-liberal New Class and its prejudices, WASP children no longer attend Ivy League schools. For example, Unz’s article demonstrates that White Gentile enrollment dropped sixty-four percent at Brown University between 1980 and 2011. What was once a Baptist school for Rhode Island’s old families, (Williams, Goulds, Metcalfs, Chafees) is now a leftist camp. This reverse discrimination effectively means that true ability among young WASPS is often underdeveloped. In response to Ivy League admissions discrimination, WASP children often matriculate at overpriced liberal arts colleges known more for their affected Anglophilic traditions, squash teams and easy access to high-quality cocaine. Trinity College, Lake Forest, and Rollins all compete for their tuition dollars by promising a fun campus life and accommodating professors. WASPs have begun to believe the myth of Jewish superior intelligence and abandoned their own institutions. A culture which once valued education and striving ability now looks upon these qualities as optional accoutrements. This ennui and lethargy is a cancer within America’s former ruling class. Nowadays intellectualism is frowned upon within these circles—that’s for Jews and nerds. It’s certainly good to be intelligent but one must never be a bore. Tellingly, the private library in Newport (Redwood Library) boasts several prominent society doyennes on its board and a beautiful interior filled with busts of Classical poets and rare books. However, nobody really reads these holdings. You’re not supposed to; the books are there to look good.

As another example, I was recently at a fundraising party held at the former estate of Walter Hoving. Hoving served as CEO of Tiffany’s in the Fifties and his contentious son Thomas led the Metropolitan Museum of Art for ten difficult years. Decorated by Ogden Codman in Louis XVI style, it looked the perfect setting for an Edith Wharton novel. Glancing at the bookcases in the study, I noticed a complete first edition of Thomas Carlyle’s collected works on their shelves. Surreptitiously inspecting them, it was obvious they hadn’t been read in years, if at all. I think that is a revealing illustration of WASPdom’s decline. Appearances are kept up but there is little substance behind it. There are multiple hypotheses for this trend but I will attempt to explain my personal explanations for it.

Firstly, many WASPs actually do believe in the rhetoric of American meritocracy and regard their ancestors’ prejudices with embarrassment. Those from the Baby Boom generation will justify their listing in the Social Register as ‘something that keeps my mother happy’. Likewise, membership in exclusive clubs and fraternal associations such as the Sons of Cincinnatus are maintained as a family tradition but do not dominate their lives. They will exclude newcomers from these clubs unless they are judged to be acceptable. However, they will sell properties to them. This has led to Bellevue Avenue and Ocean Drive possessing a schizophrenic quality. Some houses are inhabited by very old families and European nobility while others are owned by New York City nouveau riche types. In my early twenties, I became friendly with a lovely girl who is the descendent of an admiral in the Sun King’s navy. Wearing blue jeans and fond of electronica tracks, she currently spends much of her college years dancing in Paris clubs. Her sense of family pride is as clear as her signet ring, yet she would never be condescending or rude to anyone of my background. She lives about half a mile away from a seaside mansion owned by the Israeli publisher of NEXT magazine, (a Chelsea gay lifestyle periodical). On this point, it must be noted that WASP’s are perhaps the most accepting of homosexuality out of all American ethnic groups.

In keeping with this trend, civility is highly prized and WASP matrons place a high value on politeness to their staff. If one used the ‘N-word’ around them, they would be genuinely offended. Anti-Semitism is allowed because Jews are seen as pushy arrivistes but only expressed among trusted friends and acquaintances. Often, once the speaker expresses the remark, it is qualified in order to lessen its import. At a dinner party I attended, the mildly inebriated host remarked that ‘Jews’ run the art world and produce decadent works. One of the women guests replied that if they do create dreadful paintings, it must be as a psychological response to the Holocaust. This kind of conversational thrust and parry demonstrates their impotence. They will catch an interesting topic but then release it in order to avoid controversy. Life is to be enjoyed and seriousness detracts from tennis and polo matches.

It is the lack of seriousness which also accounts for WASPdom’s degeneration. Their great-grandfathers were a hard-shelled, pig-eyed lot who took no prisoners and asked for no quarter. Bridge and Canasta were reserved for the rare moments they had as leisure time. The Newport summer season was largely for their wives and some arch-capitalists as Edward Julius Berwind only infrequently came up from Manhattan on August weekends. After all, he had Berwind Coal Company to run and miners’ unions to crush! These days, their descendants live lives of leisure because they simply can afford to. E. Digby Baltzell noted this trend as far back as 1964 in his work The Protestant Establishment: Aristocracy and Caste in America. Originally coining the term ‘WASP’, he astutely observed that WASPdom was rapidly transforming from a class to a caste. Retreating from political power, they fell back into their decaying mansions, the Episcopal Church and quiet causes such as historic preservation and environmentalism. If engaging in politics, it is typically only as donors. They usually will not run for political office and rarely win on the occasions when they do. Cool, slim and well-dressed, they departed the field of battle because others were harder and hungrier for power.

Conclusively, my father offered the best commentary on WASPdom’s decline. Recently discussing this phenomenon with him, he offered the following maxim, “The first generation makes it, the second generation spends it, the third generation drinks it.” Demonstrating Spengler’s belief that civilizations are organic with life cycles, we are now in WASPdom’s Winter. Both Juvenal and Ammianus Marcellinus noted the same abrogation of authority by Roman patrician families in the Empire’s waning days. If the loss of the foundational ruling class’s power foreshadows social ruin, then America may very well be on the road to destruction.The next few decades will see the Republic change into Brazil-North and we will all have to live with the consequences of WASPdom’s decline.

Peter Sayles
Bangor Maine, 2012

About Peter Sayles

Peter Sayles ist eine junge rechtsextremistischem und glühender New Englander