p 744 Where did the Norman-Cavalier masters of the South get the audacious idea that they possessed the hereditary right to the fruit of the labor of other races?
Present at a meeting of the English court in May 1157 was Richard de Lucy, ‘one of the most powerful barons of the kingdom’. He told King Henry that Battle Abbey, built on the ground upon which Hastings was fought, should be revered by himself and all Normans. It was “your chapel and the emblem of your royal crown” for it stood on the very ground upon which the renowned King William, by the will of God and with the aid and counsel of our kinsmen, overcame his foes, who sought to deprive him of the realm and crown of England.
There he acquired the realm and crown for himself and for his successors. All the people of this realm rejoice that through closeness of consanguinity to him and by hereditary right you now reign on his throne, while we possess abundant possessions and riches through the benefices which he conferred, and by succession to our kinsmen.510
Call it the gentle mafia. A Norman gentleman understood that it is not polite to talk publicly about the Norman Conquest. That would only aggravate “class” tensions in ways that are counterproductive to their own “class” interests. In the candid quote above, the “veil of propriety” slipped enough to glimpse the kin selective assumptions behind the Conquest. A polite, unspoken social rule of avoiding direct, and especially public, talk about the Conquest was deceptively clever because it worked through absence; it leaves no empirical, historical trace of evidence. If this is correct, then any scientific investigation of the Norman Conquest could be skewed by the Machiavellian function of such social rules.
This raises the further question of the nature of the connection between the medieval Norman aristocracy and the branch that became the Cavaliers of the American South. How conscious was this connection? Was there a “Normanism ideology”? Would such an ideology have been necessary for the connection to exist and persist? While an overt and intense consciousness of a distinctive aristocratic, Norman-Cavalier-“Southron” identity emerged below the Mason-Dixon Line only around 1850, an“ideological” kinship or ethnic self-consciousness itself is not a requisite for engaging in kin selective behavior. This is a key point, for while I will occasionally use the term “Normanism” to loosely describe a general, nepotistic, Norman-aristocratic way of life, there is no need to assume that Normans themselves explicitly raised such a principle themselves. There is no reason to think that Normans or any other people require any explicit or conscious
intellectualization of the kinship principles that underlies their actual behavior.