Who is the Yankee? In his book The Yankee Problem: An American Dilemma (Columbia, South Carolina: Shotwell Publishing LLC, 2016), Dr. Clyde Wilson gives an excellent description of the Yankee. (Pages numbers in parentheses reference Wilson’s book.)
The Yankee is a descendant of New England Puritans and their latter allies, the radicals and revolutionaries, many of whom were Jews, who fled Europe after their failed Revolution of 1848. He is easily recognized by his “arrogance, hypocrisy, greed, lack of congeniality, and penchant for ordering other people around” (p. 1). Also, he is “self-righteous, ruthless, and self-aggrandizing” (p. 2). The guiding principle of the Yankee is that he is compelled to meddle in everyone else's business, both home and abroad. He cannot just leave people alone. Moreover, he has an uncontrollable desideratum to remake the world in his own image.
Furthermore, the Yankee is “contemptuous of good manners, boastful, ever ready to cast away traditions for the newest idea, and see making money as the chief object of life. Equality and majority rule for them should determine everything — in society and culture as well as before the law” (p. 20). (An example of the “‘out with the old’” and “‘in with the new’” is the condemnation and overt destruction of traditional man-woman marriages while promoting same-sex “marriage.” Heterosexuals are now abnormal while homosexuals and transgenders are now normal.) He is never satisfied unless he is making changes.
The Yankee reveals himself as “the greedy rent-seekers through government and the moralistic reformers. . .” (p. 24). Greedy-rent-seeking-through-government results in protective tariff and import quotas, subsidies for agriculture and businesses, centralized banking, and internal improvements (subsidies for building roads, canals, harbors, and airports and for urban renewal) — in short, the Hamiltonian government-business partnership made permanently by Lincoln. Moralistic reform results in abolitionism, prohibition of alcohol and tobacco, the war on drugs, the war on poverty, the civil rights movement, homosexual and transgender rights, the drive to make every religion acceptable except Christianity, which must be eradicated, etc. Furthermore, the Yankee is the “builder of the all-powerful ‘multicultural’ therapeutic state (with himself giving the orders and collecting the rewards) which is the perfection of history. . .” (pp 8-9).
As Wilson notes, “Yankees have no civilization — only money and ideology. Without us [other Americans especially Southerners] to abuse and claim to feel superior to, they would not exist” (p. 15). Thus, Yankees are the real supremacists. Nevertheless, hypocrites that they are, they are always condemning supremacists — white and racial supremacists, male and sexual supremacists, civilization and cultural supremacists, the wealthy, etc. Moreover, continues Wilson, “The identification of God with America and the United States with infallible righteousness is Yankee stuff through and through. It is exactly the type of ‘religion’ that was used to deify Lincoln and justify the conquest of the South in 1861-1865” (p. 15). Such underlaid Bush in his war with Iraq and Afghanistan and Obama’s continuation and expansions of wars in the Middle East and Africa.
The Yankee places great value on education and was a pioneer in public schools, government churches. However, the education that he promotes is superficial. He wants people to be educated enough to read and be swayed by a demagogue, but not learned enough to analyze what he has read. To the Yankee, the purpose of education is to train obedient servants and workers; it is not to enlighten and teach people to think and be creative.
In the nineteenth century, Yankees were the abolitionists, prohibitionists, and promoters of protective tariffs, centralize banking, and internal improvements. John Quincy Adams, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Horace Greeley, William Cullen Bryant, Thaddeus Stevens, John Brown, and Horace Mann are notable nineteenth-century examples. Today, notable examples are Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and both George Bush the elder and the younger. Other examples are Teddy Roosevelt, Timothy McVeigh, and John Dewey. On the religious side, Yankeeism appears in Charles G. Finney, Joseph Smith (founder of the Mormons), William Miller (founder of the Seventh Day Adventists), and Billy Sunday. Besides birthing Mormonism, Seventh Day Adventism, abolitionism, prohibition, Yankeeism has also birthed vegetarianism, feminism, progressive education, and all sorts of social experiments. (Abolitionism had almost nothing to do with the plight of Black slaves and a great deal to do with hatred of Southerners.) Over the last two centuries, the Yankee has seized control of the American educational system, American history, American literature, the media, and just about every other aspect of American life. In the United States today, the domain of the Yankee is easily recognized. It is the blue states — the northeast, the upper Midwest, and the Pacific coast.
If one wishes to learn more about these peculiar people, Yankees, he should read Dr. Wilson’s The Yankee Problem.
Copyright © 2016 by Thomas Coley Allen.
Articles on Southern Issues.