Backcountry Futurism, or the Albion Seed Theory of American Cultural Determinism, part 1
by Blake Hood
WHAT DOES Backcountry Futurism mean?
Backcountry futurism is an idea I have been playing around with in my head for the last year or so. It grew out of my conviction that Albion’s Seed is not only a penetrating look into American’s past, but it may actually predict our future as well. As I reread and fully absorbed Fisher’s thesis, it occurred to me that the four English folkways that made up early America had periods of ascension, dominance and decline — like all other cultures in history. And that this pattern seemed to follow their order of arrival in the New World.
Let’s take them one by one.
First you have the Cavalier folkway, which begins its story in the Americas during the 16th century, planting first in Virginia and the Carribean (in the mid 17th century there were more English settlers in Barbados than in New England and Virginia combined). This folkway would claim heritage from the Normans, and whether or not that is accurate, it can’t be denied that this culture had a distinctly Latin feel to it. To be brief, I see its accension in the 17th and 18th centuries, with a peak right after the American War of Independence, a fall from power in the aftermath of the Civil War, and a decline through the rest of the 19th century. It is interesting that this somewhat mirrors the rise and fall of France on the world stage. Suffice to say that in 21st century America this folkway is completely dead. There is not even a trace of it left, as there is for the Puritan folkway. This is what jumped out to me most when I read about the Cavaliers for the first time.
The story of the Puritan folkway in America begins shortly after the Cavaliers, with most of them arriving in the 1620s and 30s. Their period of cultural richness occurred in the late 18th century and early 19th century. This folkway takes full power after winning the Civil War, then begin to lose it around WWII. Look at the men who controlled all major American institutions in the early 20th century, and then check those same posts 80 years later. Gone are the Learned Hands and the Calvin Coolidges. Of course the Jews kept them around in the minds of Americans throughout the 20th century as the “rich WASP”, partly as a sop to their own crimes and partly as a boogeyman ghost. Again the rise and fall of this most English of the American folkways mirrors the rise and fall of Britain on the world stage.
The third folkway, the Quakers, are a bit more complicated. These primitive Christians arrive in Pennsylvania in the early 18th century followed closely by German Pietists and Anabaptists. But interestingly, the original Quakers lost political power in Pennsylvania in less than a hundred years after their arrival. I would call this folkway “Liberal” German, as they differ in many ways from the modern popular conception of the European Germans. Indeed, they received reinforcements during the mass migration of liberal and socialist Germans who fled Europe for the Midwest in the mid-19th century.
Because this folkway was the most committed to “multiculturalism”, “anti-racism”, “democracy”, and “equality” they did not sustain a ruling oligarchy the way the Puritans and the Cavaliers did during their period of dominance. Instead, what dominated was their morality and ethos. Their peculiar folkway allowed other non-Anglo immigrant peoples to assume power in what would have been the Quaker cultures period of rulership. Most notable of course are the Jews, who have deftly used Quakerism as a face mask to grab total power. This is our present dominant culture and what “America” currently means to the world. To sketch a brief timeline, we see a rising the 19th century, an assumption of power post-WWII and a decline phase will be occurring very soon. Paradoxically this mirrors both the rise and fall of the Germans and the Jews in the modern era.
So where are we now, and what about the fourth American Folkway identified by Fisher–the Backcountry Scots-Irish? We will look at them next in our examination of Backcountry Futurism.
* * *