|February 12th, 2011||#22|
Gods & Generals: The Neocons Suddenly Discover Post-Modernism
There is no doubt that Joseph Farah’s WorldNetDaily has played a major role in the attempt to secure an audience for director Ron Maxwell’s film Gods and Generals. As early as December 2001, positive commentary about the four-hour epic began appearing on the site. Farah himself charged all Americans who desire intelligent and morally sound entertainment and/or a return to America’s foundational principles to see the film. Les Kinsolving observed the hostile reviews – some contemptuously dismissive and others rabidly aggressive – from all the standard leftist sources that screech for tolerance via extermination of any literature or entertainment failing the leftist litmus tests. Though I instinctively mock the ‘open letter to’ style of article writing, I acknowledge that Michael Medved’s review of Gods and Generals in the form of a thank you letter to major financial backer Ted Turner is perhaps the best apologia for the epic thus penned.
More recently, Art Moore expanded upon Kinsolving’s earlier work revealing the outright fury with which the Left has greeted this movie. Moore stresses that Maxwell “believes his ‘unorthodox’ portrayal of the South and of unapologetic Christianity were not palatable to the majority of movie critics, who essentially ‘suppressed’ the film with politically motivated reviews.”
For that to have happened, there does not have to have existed a formal conspiracy. Using the metaphor of a hive, Tom Bethell and Joe Sobran have explained how various leftists seem instinctively to know which specific political positions and journalistic, scholarly, and cultural productions from the non-Left are to be hounded mercilessly as ‘racist,’ etc. and then dubbed too ‘unfounded,’ ‘controversial,’ or ‘regressive’ to be acknowledged much less considered (regarding American cultural wars, the most important of recent years is the Celtic-Southern thesis expounded by Grady McWhiney and Forrest McDonald). Likewise, they know which are to be tolerated as at worst (from the leftist perspective) minimally harmful in the short run while aiding leftism in a general sense at some point in the future (virtually everything that neocons passionately support in the cultural/social arena). The Hive instinct guaranteed that leftists would froth at the mouth to murder Gods and Generals at the box office.
Any good leftist would do so, for the leftist, who Quaker-like is imbued with and defined by the Inner Light of Truth that is free from logic or reason or common-sense or facts and certainly from Tradition, is compelled to change the world to save it. And if that requires not merely fiction presented as fact but also that which is spurious and even outright contra-factual sworn as the Gospel, then so be it. Morality is determined by service to The Cause. Ends justify means, no matter how much mendacity and backstabbing and character assassination are required to win: no matter the body count.
Leftists certainly could respond by pointing to our current crop of professed conservative war-hawks and say, “Ditto.” And the leftists would be correct, and not merely about this current war against Iraq. Without countless lies (both the little white type and the blackest of the black type) and backstabbing and character assassination (mostly of the “all those opposed to me are anti-Semitic racists” variety), all justified as necessary to doing a greater good and most being swallowed by the masses, neocons would wield little power in America.
And that is my point, one I have made many times before, one that until acknowledged and addressed guarantees the continuing advance of anti-Western Civilization leftism: that Imperial Conservatives (which is what neocons are) and leftists each require the same things in order to get what they most want; therefore, they each most hate paleoconservatives and are willing to ally to destroy paleoconservative proponents and values. Both Imperial Conservatives and leftists demand Big Government in order to do-good. The former defines governmental-do-gooding as expanding military might and using it ever farther from the nation, often with the express purpose to enrich the Empire-pretending-to-be-a-Republic (Romans played the same charade) as well as to “spread freedom to other people,” while the latter defines it as spreading the wealth and guaranteeing “equality” and eradicating “oppressive” traditions, etc.
Both Imperial Conservatives and leftists require ever more tightly centralized government, without which they cannot effect those things they assert are necessary in order to save or enrich or equalize “us.” Allegiance to entities other than the centralized government will tug people from blindly supporting its policies; therefore, both Imperial Conservatives and leftists must destroy any such allegiances (save perhaps those that, at least for the moment, appear to be necessary to achieving a long term goal). American paleoconservatives are, like almost all America’s Founding Fathers, focused on the need for limiting government and making it as local as possible. They are States’ Rights people, and within states they are “county rights” people. Limited, local government is an antonym of big, centralized government, whether that centralized government is primarily for socialism in the nation or for world dominance.
And that brings us back to the South and Gods and Generals. For different reasons that eventually come to twine, both Imperial Conservatives and leftists must hate the South and desire the death of Southern culture and Southern identity, for Southern culture, the most conservative in America, the most focused on local identity and local traditions, the most fearful of the Federal Government as aggressor against states and their citizens, is likewise the only part of these United States with a history that warns all Americans with eyes to see and ears to hear about the tyranny inherent in centralized big government. That is important to Ron Maxwell’s film because a person who understood all that would know that it would not merely be leftists who would want to kill Gods and Generals at the box office. Neocons, contemporary American Imperial Conservatives, likewise would hate the movie precisely because it skillfully, accurately presents the complex truth regarding secession and the Confederacy and the traditional Southern respect for and love of God, family, land, and honor. And these are necessary to any form of Western cultural conservatism. Without them, or with them in diluted form made ancillary to military might and/or wealth and guided by a ‘proposition,’ one may have a type of Imperial Conservatism. But one cannot have true conservatism sans prominence of traditional respect for and love of God, family, land, and honor.
As the cultural Southerner always has known, there is no such thing as patriotism for, or to, or because of, a proposition (such as “all men are created equal”), for patriotism is bound inextricably with the Fathers (ancestors) and their land and its local history and culture and the piety that binds them on this earth. Men will slaughter men and wreak destruction upon cultures (others and even their own) for propositions (those espoused by Cromwell, Robespierre, Lincoln, and Marx for example, which have defenders still prattling about how their heroes promoted greater equality), but they can have no patriotism based on those propositions. In fact, those propositions replace traditional patriotism, making it much easier for both leftists and Imperial Conservatives to woo the masses into their camps and then keep them serving centralized Big Government, mindlessly at first and then fearfully.
All of which means that WorldNetDaily writers who genuinely are focused on real conservatism should realize not merely how and why leftists hate Gods and Generals but also why neocons have ranged from silence on the film to damning it as unfounded pro-Southern propaganda. The reason is simple: Neocons are for American Empire, and that is not possible if Lincoln is not lionized and the Union war effort seen as the apex of justice. Quite simply, if people today can escape the standard view, inculcated in popular culture and education, that Southerners, however personally noble, were 95-100 per cent wrong (which requires perennial condemnations of Southern culture), they might also come to see that the government centralizing that resulted from Lincoln’s war was bad. And that realization could lead to increased demands for decentralization, which would nix plans for an even larger Empire using its weapons of mass destruction to bring the blessings of liberty to more peoples.
Consummate Imperial Conservative Mackubin Thomas Owens, writing for National Review Online, provides a perfect example. Aware that today’s culturally illiterate college-educated masses get their senses of history and morality primarily from movies and television and fearful that they will embrace pro-Southern sensibilities from watching Gods and Generals (for virulent anti-Southern views were reenergized with 1960s television and movies), Owens makes a case dear to the hearts of deconstructionists and cultural relativists: factual accuracy and artistic accomplishment are far less important than “the greater truth.” And exactly like a deconstructionist or any other postmodernist leftist academic, Neocon Owens sees that “greater truth” in whatever is sided with race-based egalitarianism.
There are still countless naïve Southerners, including a number who are active in Southern heritage groups, who believe that if only Yankees and blacks and liberals understood the South and Southern culture rightly, then they all would stop hating Southern culture and the Southerners who refuse to damn it. While many of the most vociferous spokesman for hatred of all things Southern believe so many falsehoods that they rightly can be labeled ignorant, most Yankees and blacks and liberals who hate and/or fear Southern culture do so precisely because they know it and know that it is an affront to them, as well as something that if healthy could stop them from social-engineering the world right into Multicultural Socialist Paradise.
Owens, for example, understands Gods and Generals thoroughly:
The deeper truth of Gods and Generals seems to be that the war was the south's "second war of independence," as Robert Duvall's Robert E. Lee describes the forthcoming conflict as he accepts command of Virginia's forces in 1861. Both Lee and Stephen Lang's "Stonewall" Jackson give voice to certain clear views: that the cause of the war was not slavery but the oppressive power of the central government, which wished to tyrannize over the southern states; that the south only wished to exercise its constitutional right to secede, but was thwarted by a power-hungry Lincoln; that southern patriots were the true heirs of the American Revolutionary generation, who embodied the true "Spirit of '76" in their attempt to vindicate their rights against northern aggression; and that the Confederate cause was noble.
No more than a Marxist or Afrocentrist or Queer Theorist can a contemporary Yankee Imperial Conservative allow people to consider that such views could be valid. In portraying this truth–that Southerners, no more than fifteen percent of whom owned slaves, fought primarily for these reasons–which is historically accurate, director Maxwell will surely encourage people to see those views as possibly correct, making Lincoln and his war what Thomas DiLorenzo says they were. And if people believe that, they will no longer blindly follow the myth of Honest Abe and the selfless Yankee moral paragons who combated the Devil’s own “racists” as God’s elected right hand.
As I and other paleoconservatives have noted, neocons routinely misuse the Classics to make their case seem dispassionately grounded in the wisdom of the ages. It is, therefore, expected that Owens concludes with a quote from postmodernist Roland Barthes (best known for assuring us of the Death of the Author) that allows him to declare that “myth should never be confused with history. The Civil War was a moral drama.”
Greek tragedy was moral drama, and with the exception of Aeschylus’s Persians, all that survives was based on myth, on legend retold and shaped and believed to be “historical.” Greek tragedy was a series of attempts to understand what Faulkner called eternal verities through examinations of the basic plots of received myth. Anyone who believes that Greek myths present “a world which is without contradiction, because it is without depth” is far too ignorant of the subject to comment on it. As Faulkner, as well as Homer and Sophocles, understood, the eternal verities (Plato’s Ideas) are unchanging, but the human heart in conflict with itself guarantees that the world is filled with contradiction and hard choices and scars and the few who stand for the right being misunderstood and often terribly battered. And so is Maxwell’s film.
More important, Owens, like postmodern Leftists, contradicts himself, or at least plays a double standard against his opponents. He instructs us that the view of history in Gods and Generals is myth and therefore false and therefore something we must dismiss, while simultaneously accepting as true the “emancipationist” view of the War Between the States without explaining how that approach is not myth. Beyond that, if we accept Owens’ view, which is also that of the Left (with the caveat that the Left is furious to assert that more Southerners should have been killed and impoverished during War and Reconstruction and Southern culture virtually exterminated), what we are left with is a “conservative” pro-Lincoln, pro-Unionist position – America’s original Imperial Conservative position – that apes the modern Left in making permanent social “progress” in uplifting non-whites the proof of freedom and justice: the sole moral standard.
Leftists often accuse everyone else of not acknowledging complexities and mindlessly swallowing myths in order to unsettle the views of non-leftists, after which the leftists demand that a cut and dried leftist formula be adopted. Owens, in true neocon fashion, follows suit. He warns against accepting Maxwell’s presentation for it is, Owens posits, myth that presents a world of “’blissful clarity’” that is thus false because it denies complexity. In the very next paragraph, Owens instructs that the War was one of absolute virtue versus absolute wrong. Any movie that fails to preach the Yankee Imperial Conservative party line is false to the “greater truth,” and no amount of historical accuracy can alter that.
Karl Marx, who passionately followed the Civil War and supported Lincoln and the Union as progressive allies, would have heartily agreed. Until Americans who consider themselves non-leftist understand that and correctly act on it, the Left will remain in charge of our rotting culture.
|February 12th, 2011||#23|
Southern Perspective: James Kibler's Our Father's Fields
Yet again I am too late, but I must declare that a perfect Father’s Day gift (as well as perfect for birthday or Christmas or graduation or retirement or anniversary or old-fashioned instruction), especially for those with an interest in Southern culture and history and/or the Federal Leviathan’s growing threats to family, local community, farming (as opposed to agri-business), and traditional conservative values and heritage, is James Kibler’s Our Father’s Fields. The winner of the Fellowship of Southern Writers Award for Nonfiction in 1999 when published by the University of South Carolina Press, Our Father’s Fields is now available from Pelican Publishing. As I find it disgusting to give money to any entity associated with “educational” institutions that today specialize in despising and working to exterminate Southern culture and identity (for postmodern diversity requires genocide of certain cultures), I had never purchased Kibler’s history of the land and house he bought to restore. Because Pelican is a publishing house owned by good Southern folk who are neither afraid nor ashamed to promote writing from traditional Southern perspectives, I wholeheartedly encourage people to buy Pelican products.
And the book is not for men only. While its emphases and its language will appeal more to men than to women, Our Father’s Fields, ostensibly concerning the remodeling of an old house, can be used to slide women into awareness of the reality (which is close to 180 degrees from the liberal American stereotypes that for the past 40-50 years have reigned with all the fury of Absolutist Monarchy and Cromwellian ‘reform’ rolled into one) of the antebellum Southern planter class and the Reconstruction and early-twentieth century eras in the South. Thinking they are merely reading a detailed version of a Bob Villa fix-it-up, they will encounter astute cultural and political analyses that will, if they are not brain-deadened and/or conscience-deadened from our popular and educrat and political cultures, at least ease them toward seeing traditional conservative Southern views as reasonable and well-informed.
Though neoconservatives, often worshipers of both Mammon and concrete, have painted all environmentalists as utterly irrational socialists and Luddites, the reality is that even after years of being hounded by Wall Street-obsessed Yankee Imperial Conservatives and welcomed by most parts of the cultural-political Left, many, perhaps most, environmentalists retain cultural views that are much closer to paleoconservative and, especially, to paleolibertarian than to the purely mechanized, socialistic, and urban-focused NAACP-NOW-NARAL-La Raza-ADL-GLAAD axis that both controls the Democratic party and wields powerful influence on the social-cultural views of silver-spoon liberal northern Republicans and neocons: who both invariably either hate and fear Southern culture or dismiss it contemptuously. Our Father’s Fields, like the work of Wendell Berry and during the 1930s I’ll Take My Stand, can help bring some of those environmentalists to see that their most natural ally is the old-style conservative Southern farmer-hunter-fisherman. The environmentalist who joins with the leftist coalition to make cultural war on the South achieves only the long term weakening of his own cause.
Kibler makes that case most forcefully with a perfect passage on pages 108-09 and another on pages134-35. He drives it home near the book’s conclusion: “Modern popular ‘forest management’ techniques whose aims are to maximize profits in the short term are even more guilty of causing precious topsoil loss and soil depletion than any of the most improvident of uninformed farm techniques in the past” (358). The libertarian as well as the environmentalist should grasp the point and see the connection: the kulturkampf against the South has resulted in both a loss of liberties for all Americans and unnecessary destruction of increasing parts of our natural environment.
One of the most important sections in Kibler’s work is his list of the 1860 rankings of per capita wealth of free citizens by state. Because the list gives the lie to much Yankee nonsense repeated ad nauseam, I will reproduce the top 12: (1) MS (2) SC (3) LA (4) AL (5) VA (6) GA (7) TX (8) FL (9) TN (10) NC (11) KY (12) AR. Connecticut at #13 is the highest ranking non-culturally-Southern state. The remaining culturally Southern states, all of which had slavery, are: (16) MD (17) DE and (24) MO. Massachusetts, the epicenter of both Abolitionism and hatred of Southern culture and Southerners, is ranked #18, while Kansas, the epicenter of violence against Southerners before Lincoln’s war and populated heavily with descendants of New England Puritans, is ranked dead last: #35 (195).
Because the false myth is that slaves in the South were the poorest of the poor in at least the Western World, which made white Southerners far richer than they otherwise could have been and falsely elevated the rankings of Southern states in per capita comparisons, the 1860 list of per capita wealth of total population is even more important and cliché-destroying: (1) MS (2) LA (3) SC (4) AL (5) CT (6) TN (7) TX (8) VA (9) NJ (10) OR (11) DE (12) KY (13) GA (14) MA (15) MD (16) AR (17) NY (18) RI (19) FL. The lowest ranked Confederate state is NC at # 23, and the lowest ranked culturally Southern state is MO at #24. Kansas, the home of the most rabidly violent Abolitionist and Republican Party haters of Southerners and Southern culture, remains dead last.
Taken together and compared to such lists from the 1870s on, these two lists suggest that, as many Southerners charged before PC meant that such would end your career, the War Between the States was very much a conflict about regional envy-born hatred empowered with centralized governmental tyranny that achieved a massive redistribution of wealth, which afterwards was defended with continuing culture war, including not merely the teaching of lies but also governmental policies to maintain poverty in the raped South (see also page 361). Cromwellians, French Revolutionaries, Marxists, German National Socialists, Yankee Unionists: all self-righteous and self-justified in their ethnic-cultural-religious hatreds and murderous fury and all driven by utter covetousness, worship of raw power, and maniacal rage against everything that by its very existence revealed the truth and the preferable.
Kibler rightly notes that after the War, lasting until roughly the World War II era (after which the South once again began to produce wealth and comfortable living), the South was treated as a colony to be exploited for the benefit of the conquering: “”it [the Tyger River valley] and the South were to become a colonial producer of raw materials for northern mills, which paid low prices for the cotton and received tariff-protected premium prices for their manufacturers from the very black and white men and women who grew the cotton and were struggling merely to eat” (312). As the South’s coal, timber, oil, and natural gas, as well as its livestock and food crops, were similarly exploited to create northern wealth and bleed cash-poor Southern consumers, only the ignorant or the politically-culturally biased can deny that the South suffered through colonial rule.
That means, among other things, that Southern literature is a pristine colonial and post-colonial literature. Of course, to make that assertion is to guarantee that you will be called a racist, for both leftists and Yankee Imperial Conservatives have pontificated both that only non-whites have been victims of colonialism and that Southerners are always guilty and never have been wronged.
Those who have read much of my work know that I do not see the War and the continuing kulturkampf as based on region and/or economics: I see the source as ethnic/cultural (including religion), with true Yankees, the pure Anglo-Saxons of New England, having come to dominate northern states culturally and intellectually while culturally Celtic peoples determined most of Southern culture. That means that I see the War and our ongoing fight against cultural genocide at the hands of “diversity”-loving promoters of “tolerance” as being merely the contemporary phase of a struggle by culturally Celtic peoples to survive that began no later than with the waves of Germanic barbarians landing in Celtic Britain and salivating at the thought of razing ‘Camelot’ after stealing all its wealth and usurping its superior culture. Yankee hatred of the South, of Southern culture and Southerners, proceeds from Anglo-Saxon ethnic hatred of and desire to exterminate Celtic cultures, if not necessarily to exterminate all people who are predominantly Celtic in bloodline.
And that is the very reason that virtually all leftists and Anglophilic Imperial Conservatives hate and fear the Celtic-Southern thesis and will do almost anything to keep it from being aired widely. If we Southerners know the basis of this theater of the kulturkampf and know who we are culturally, we will be better able to defend ourselves and to survive. If other Americans realize that the genesis of the hatred of Southern culture is an ethnic malice rooted in centuries of Anglo-Saxon imperial aggression to exterminate Celtic cultures, then at least some of those Americans will see beyond Yankee mendacity and propaganda to recognize the justness of our cause, our right to exist.
In some ways, Kibler’s book presents a continuation of the New England WASP Puritan versus Cavalier view of American culture. That view, which I have treated, is far more correct than the later ‘white Americans before the massive Great Famine era influx of Irish Catholics were all descended from basically the same Englishmen and thus were the same culturally and ethnically except for Southern sinfulness, especially in owning slaves’ nonsense that is all the rage in PC circles. Kibler notes of the Hardys, the family whose ancestral house he restored, “Theirs was not the New England Puritan ideal of John Winthrop’s City on a Hill, but instead the Southern dream of a fertile, pleasant valley” (7).
As the Hardy name is Norman and the family holds a pedigree stretching back to the Magna Carta, it is natural to associate them and Our Father’s Fields with the WASP Puritan versus Cavalier thesis: the Hardys were epitomes of the Norman Cavalier South besieged by reforming Puritan fanatics. But even Kibler, who clearly respects the Hardy ancestry, makes the understated case that the Celtic-Southern thesis explains far more about the South. First, he notes that, as McWhiney and others have documented indisputably for the entire non-coastal South, the Norman surnamed Hardys were a distinct minority in Upcountry South Carolina to the majority of Celtic, mostly Scots-Irish, ancestry (14). Kibler also notes that almost all the other families of distinction in the area, with whom the Hardys socialized, worshiped, and intermarried, were from Celtic lands: Eppes, Caldwell, Maybin, Rogers, Douglas, Beard, Renwick. Nor should anyone assume that these families were either ignorant of or hostile to their Celtic ancestry: “Although both John Rogers Sr. and Jr. were said to have ‘loved the virgin beauty and freedom of the hills of Carolina, yet their hearts yearned for ole Ireland’” (211). Ignorance of and hostility to Celtic ancestry grew in the South beginning with Reconstruction and mushrooming in the early 20th century, as Southern children were indoctrinated with anti-Celtic, pro-Puritan WASP propaganda in government schools. The result, seen today in even many genuinely conservative pro-Southern Presbyterians and Baptists who at least romanticize and defend Puritans as long as they murdered and stole and raped traditional conservative cultures while still devout Calvinists, is that most Southerners of Scots-Irish and Welsh ancestry came to see themselves as Anglo-Saxon if only because they had been trained to equate Protestant with WASP.
Kibler’s book helps show how the Puritan versus Cavalier thesis is at best partial. His list of Anglo-Norman traits that defined the Hardy family (14-15) is worlds apart from the traits that both McWhiney and David Hackett Fischer have seen as defining the ethnically pure Anglo-Saxons of southeastern and east central England. If the traits that define the Anglo-Normans of western and northern England are often diametrically opposed to the traits that define the ethnically pure Anglo-Saxons, then the cultural traits that define those English Normans cannot be truly Anglo-Saxon; their “Englishness” must be culturally something that is far from pure Anglo-Saxon. As those traits sound rather French, the natural assumption would be that what makes Normans from the west and north of England culturally different from pure Anglo-Saxons is the French heritage. That is reasonable, especially as most Norman families in England spoke French as their first language to at least the beginning of the fifteenth century.
That, though, merely begs the question, for we then must consider why French traits are often diametrically opposite those of ethnically pure Anglo-Saxons (and all northern Germans). The answer is Gaul. Though the Germanic Franks conquered and politically unified and gave their name to the language and the nation, and Normans were also Germanic, Gaulish Celtic cultural traits remained predominant in France. That is the reason that Vercingetorix is the archetypal French hero and that Charlemagne filled his court with Irish scholars and came to realize that as long as they remained culturally Germanic, the Germanic tribes he ruled would not rest until they destroyed French culture. That also is the reason that, while Kibler’s list of Hardy family Norman traits clashes with cultural traits of the pure Anglo-Saxons (as well with Prussians and Hessians), it fits smoothly and naturally with both French and Irish/Scottish traits.
The main division in Western European culture is between Celtic and Germanic ways and identities (recall that Celtic and Latinate are so closely related linguistically that they are best seen as one group). England’s Puritans, who were Calvinist versions of pristine Anglo-Saxon culture just as Ralph Waldo Emerson was a pristine version of Unitarian Anglo-Saxon culture and John Dewey was a pristine version of Social Gospeler-become-atheist-humanist version of Anglo-Saxon culture, hated and wished to exterminate the Norman houses in the west and north of England primarily because those Anglo-Normans, like their kin who had become more Irish than the Irish, had adopted much, perhaps most, of the Celtic cultural worldview and its outward characteristics. It is the same reason that virtually all Anglo-Norman families fit easily and naturally into parts of the South in which peoples of Celtic ancestry were the vast majority. It is the same reason that English Puritans saw Scottish and Irish Calvinists as fit only for being cannon fodder against Catholics and Stuart adherents (Calvinists who still would be required to purify by losing all Celtic cultural traits and identity and to reform by becoming culturally Anglo-Saxon—or be destroyed by righteous, progressive WASP Puritans) and New England Puritans despised Scots-Irish Presbyterians as inherently inferior by ethnicity. As Clyde Wilson has phrased it, it is a Yankee problem, and Yankee culture is Anglo-Saxon culture in America: the pure culture of the ethnically pure WASP.
Kibler is aware of these implications and, to his great credit, does not flinch from them. He writes of the Hardy family livestock practices, “These facts place the Hardys within the Celtic tradition of herdsmen as explained by historian Grady McWhiney. Although they were Anglo-Norman rather than Scots-Irish, their manner of homesteading was analogous to the Celtic” (114). As he eases into his conclusion, Kibler suggests, “Maybe it is a Celtic thing with us, after all, the mythic and archetypal knowledge that sees us through” (392). Leftists and Anglophilic Imperial Conservatives alike are terrified more of us will come to that realization.
Our Father’s Fields should be in every public and college library. And it needs to be given as a gift innumerable times.
|February 12th, 2011||#25|
Blank Slate: Modern Conservatism's Inherent Weakness
Some time ago, I had two exchanges with different people on the same subject, though neither likely would see the connection because one was focused on the Constitution of these United States and the other on Scripture. Each of my correspondents claimed that if only people would read said document in question, tossing aside all other works and the extraneous agendas they spawn (the one focused on Scripture actually asserted that philosophy and other “vain” literature must be excised from the psyche in order to understand Scripture), then we all could agree on its clear meaning and correct implementation, which certainly would be on the side of cultural and moral conservatism.
A Gnostic heresy retooled for modern times as tabula rasa.
That, I am certain, neither of these correspondents would recognize that the other’s argument was identical to his (after all, the books in question are not the same) is yet another sign of the prepotency of modern educational techniques and emphases: which work to dull the intellect, at best filling the mind with various facts (memorized Bible verses or articles of and amendments to the Constitution, as well as facts required for jobs) and at worst producing intellectual zombies incapable of following all but the most simple, perhaps asinine, discussions (increasing numbers of whom swear fealty to the most contra-factual Politically Correct clichés).
As I have explained previously in reference to both Herodotus and Akhilleus, that which is one man’s hybris, his overweening arrogance and pride, is another man’s duty. The distinction is due to ability and station and need for someone fully qualified to lead rightly, especially in crisis time. The man who finds the language and plot of To Kill a Mockingbird hard to follow is most certainly guilty of hybris should he pontificate on what college, high school, and even junior high school students either must read or have no need to read. Likewise, just as it would have been a dereliction of duty for Akhilleus to fail to stand for the right (even when no one understood why he did what he did), it is a dereliction of duty for a man today who knows better (because he knows the high culture of Western Civilization from Homer through Faulkner) to remain silent in the face of dumbing-down and resulting perversions of education, government, and church.
I repeat all that because the false myth of modern mass democracy declares that everyone is exactly alike and everybody’s opinion is as good as anybody else’s. The false myth of modern mass democracy is the handmaiden of socialism, with all its warring to achieve a dull sameness: a leveling and thus a cultural and intellectual dumbing-down, which leads inevitably to a moral dumbing-down and centralized governmental tyranny to manage the chaos. That means among other things that as long as an institution or a culture has proper leaders (its elite) who know all they should know and possess the character to lead through the hard battles, then it is not required that even a large number of its members be deep-thinkers, for human beings are, as Homer hinted as surely as the New Testament declares, very much like sheep: stupid, blind followers of their leaders, even over cliffs or into a wolf pack’s home base. Bad leaders, either those intellectually incapable of recognizing all that they should or those whose intellectual abilities are used to promote that which is wrong (today’s neoconservatives, for example), will drive their flocks right to destruction.
Thus, the key is the leaders of an institution or culture. And modern mass democracy ruins that in persuading us that we all have equally valid desires and beliefs and judgments. Worse, modern mass democracy has emboldened the average, common man, who falls almost one hundred percent into one of the two educational product categories listed above, into believing that anyone who dares suggest his knowledge is limited is guilty of excessive pride and needs to be taken down a notch or two. He will band with others of his ilk (Jonathan Swift’s confederacy of dunces) to assault the man whose knowledge offends him. Modern mass democratic man is an inveterate leveler. He, usually, will allow you to believe that Vivaldi is superior to Perry Como, Shakespeare to Neil Simon, Dostoevsky to the Left Behind series, Aquinas to Billy Graham, but the moment you start to make those discriminations central to worldview, including education, he will rise to strike down what he sees as your arrogance. And thus modern mass democratic man, who routinely argues from ignorance (he does not know and thus concludes the knowledge is of no merit), is guilty of hybris to a degree so high that few in Antiquity could have dreamed it possible.
Though each professed himself a ‘conservative,’ both the Scripture-focused correspondent and the Constitution-focused correspondent were standing with feet squarely plopped in the philosophical camp of modern mass democracy. Each argued for a ‘conservative’ view of his central text that he asserted was self-evident to all, revealed by common sense, and thus was the natural view that would be evidenced in the masses. Each believed that ‘elitism’ was responsible for modern liberal paradigm shifts, and thus a return to respect for the views of the ‘common man’ would save and restore (this nation to the one and Christianity to the other).
Such ignorance of the perversion of modern culture is itself an unimpeachable testament to the effectiveness of modern mass democratic theory and educational techniques and emphases. For my two correspondents have it backwards. The modern liberalism that each rightly despises as false and culturally suicidal took full root and then began to uproot traditional values, ways, and identities only with the spreading of modern mass democratic ideas and the resulting remaking of education to train the future loyal, unquestioning citizens of a modern mass democracy with absolute egalitarianism as its goal. The elitists said democracy could work if education continued to focus on excellence, including teaching the Classics in traditional ways as the foundation of all learning, but the mass man, the common man, wanted education to serve his belly, and Sophocles and Augustine not only fail to do that because they are not pecuniary, but they require too much effort. Also, they naturally weed out, the opposite of leveling. The common man demanded that education in modern mass democracy fit with what the common man felt should be taught: he demanded dumbed-down curricula in the name of democracy and in opposition to the pride of elitism. Some type of leftist multiculturalism is an inevitable step once education is dumbed-down to what Joe Average thinks it should be. Yes, the active, knowledgeable leftist wanted education altered, with the Classics and the Medievals replaced by works written from Modern perspectives, and they knew such was required for the success of the Leftist Revolution, but leftists could not have succeeded without the conservative values common man also demanding that education be altered to gut the Classics and focus on modern matters.
In his ignorance, genuinely conservative values common man inadvertently supported the leftist revolution that will not rest until it has gutted Western Christian civilization and made the common white man a slave tax-payer to a multicultural empire.
Possessing a good heart does not prevent making stupid decisions that could be averted with right knowledge. Those who fail to grasp the philosophical implications of their positions and words are prone to acting against the long-term interests of the positions they support. To illustrate this point, I will use a story I have heard several times, including recently from a man who could pass any lie detector by answering yes after the interrogator asks if he is a conservative.
One of seven children in a poor family decides he does not like the food his mother prepares. He begins to refuse to eat it, asking her to make something he likes. Both because she has no time for such and because the family is poor, she refuses. The child is left hungry all night, and the next morning, after going out to do chores without eating, nearly faints. Desperate for food, he eats scraps from the breakfast he spurned. At dinner, he eats everything put on his plate, and his mother tells him, “We are one family, and we all eat what’s prepared. If you don’t like it, you go hungry.”
People with a conservative bent naturally love such a story, for it supports parental authority and the need for family unity. Taken beyond the actual family, it says that people must respect their leaders and follow them, and that surely is a conservative characteristic. Right?
I, however, say the story plants the seed for subsequent liberalism. Should all children mindlessly eat what their mothers prepare for them? To answer affirmatively surely includes the assumption that all mothers will prepare healthy foods, and such an assumption is false. I know from a family member who has been a nurse going to homes to help families that there are many mothers who feed their children little more than potato chips and soft drinks. There are many families in which children learn far more about drugs than about proper nutrition. Should the children of such parents simply swallow whatever Mom and Dad place before them?
The man from whom I most recently heard the story told it for religious reasons: he was asserting that the flock must accept whatever spiritual nourishment its leaders provide. Again, the assertion begs the question: is what is provided correct? There are self-proclaimed Christian leaders who deny the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, Hell, sin, traditional Christian moral values, the male-exclusive Pastor-Presbyter-Priest role, the necessity of baptism and communion, and almost anything else. Am I to instruct the flock of such a one that they are to ingest everything the appointed leaders provide for their spiritual nourishment?
He who becomes (it matters not whether of his own informed choice or because that’s what his mama/Pastor placed before him and he ate dutifully) intellectually and spiritually coprophagous will soon support as the good that which is evil.
The answer to my questionings from conservatives will be that once we get things righted, then because the leaders will be conservative, that must be the attitude impressed on everyone: eat what is served by your parents/shepherds. Such an answer presupposes that the right interpretations and practices will last forever if an unthinking, automatically swallowing flock is trained in obedience to its leaders first, last, always. I say that such guarantees perversion, for the opposition to Truth, which is multifaceted, never rests but searches for holes through which to slip inside the flock to take over. And when that happens (and it always will eventually), the unquestioningly obedient flock is much more likely to swallow falsehood and perversion from leaders who are unfit than is a flock defined by questioning that which its leaders offer as spiritual and intellectual nourishment.
That is the reason I declared above that the attitude expressed in the story leads to cultural liberalism. Not only will the flock be more likely to fall for anything if they are thus trained, but even more harmful is that the leaders of such flocks also tend to become complacent, rendering them much less likely to recognize emerging deviations and dangers.
There is no magic pill, and it is far easier, requiring much less time, to destroy something that is good than it is to build something that is worth having. If we wish to undo the cesspool we have created as our egalitarian/diverse/tolerant prison, rebuilding properly, we will be required to work. Memorizing Bible verses or articles of the Constitution will not do the trick. Those texts are not self-explicating, most assuredly not to the average recent college educated American who reads on no more than a seventh grade level and has swallowed most of the leftist clichés and lies fed him by educrats. The nineteenth-century version is how we got Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Scientists, Christian socialists (such as Francis Bellamy, author of The Pledge of Allegiance), and worse, which drove us right into the PC heart of darkness.
The intellectual base to which we must return in order to comprehend why and how so much we have accepted is wrong and then to rebuild rightly is Greek, especially Plato. C. S. Lewis apparently understood that, for in The Last Battle, the concluding volume in The Chronicles of Narnia, as the saved characters enter the Narnian Heaven, which is described as more real than Narnia, Digory, the epitome of good teacher, explains excitedly, “’It’s all in Plato, all in Plato: bless me, what do they teach them at these [Modern era] schools.” Lewis says in this children’s fictional series allegorizing the Christian account of the world, from Creation to Final Judgment, that Plato is the necessary intellectual standard from which to comprehend it all. The Narnian Dwarfs, who are philosophically anti-Plato, fail both to resist the Calormenes and to recognize the Narnian Heaven that is, like the Platonic Idea compared to its earthly manifestation, more real than the physical Narnia.
Plato fought a two-front intellectual war. One opponent was the Sophists, who are best understood as like our Postmodernists and leftwing Modernists (such as Marxists and Welfare State Liberals). Denial of the meaning of words, denial of absolute right and wrong, denial of the reality of the physical world, denial of everything that could not be experienced empirically, promotion of all things and peoples exotic and apparently novel, denigration of all Greek and European things deemed old and unprogressive, and promotion of cultural, moral, and religious relativity – all were staples of Sophist thought and activity. It should come as no surprise to anyone not seduced by the false god of democracy that the Sophist teachers specialized in training people to be “successes” in Athenian democracy, including by being able to argue both sides of positions equally well (making it easy to sell services to the highest bidder and, more important philosophically, reinforcing belief that language has no definite meaning and moral values are relative). That many Sophist leaders were less than fully Greek genetically and most came from the edges of the Greek world where they imbibed various cultural, moral, and religious beliefs, many of which were antithetical to the best of historic Greek culture, should warn all non-leftists about mass immigration.
The anti-intellectual conservatives are best known from the brilliant comic playwright Aristophanes. Though Socrates was an avowed enemy and merciless critic of the Sophists, Aristophanes makes him the dramatic epitome of Sophism in The Clouds. The logic behind such is similar to that of today’s neoconservatives declaring that paleoconservatives are actually liberals because we reject the State as the holder and author of all rights. In the face of Sophist cultural onslaught through education and the workings of Athenian democracy, the ‘aristocratic conservatives’ of Athens could produce only outrage best expressed in Aristophanes’s bawdy comedies. That failing was due to the fact that they were largely uncritical, anti-philosophical conservatives who, focused on superficial matters (Socrates dressed poorly and seemed odd and therefore must be a Sophist) perhaps never grasped the meaning of the Culture War through which they lived. They certainly proved incapable of producing an intellectual counter-revolution.
Plato shows what is wrong with each camp and how to train the minds of future leaders. As expressed in Raphael’s painting The School of Athens, Plato points to Heaven, for his theory of Ideas proclaims that absolutes exist and though it is difficult for man to grasp them, his duty is to acknowledge their existence and search for them and call men to live according to them. Until we produce a significant number of potential leaders who have mastered the best of Western culture, especially the kind of morals-focused long-range analytical logic that Plato demands of his readers, we will flounder under short-sighted direction as the Left continues to suck the blood from our civilization.
|February 12th, 2011||#26|
In my first semester as a graduate student, I was exposed to the name Antonio Gramsci by an ink-barely-dried-on-diploma Ph.D.; he intoned the name rather reverently. He explained that Gramsci’s genius was revealed in his analysis that “progressive politics” (the young professor did not mention Marxism) could not come to dominate Western nations as previous theorists had suggested. Gramsci, he said, understood that progressive causes would become hegemonic in the West only after its advocates made the long march through the institutions.
He then explained what the long march through the institutions entailed. He said weaving was the best way to grasp the picture. A weaver uses a loom to spin threads that crisscross and thus connect and tighten the entire cloth. The weaver who makes a mistake may unweave, may slowly back out his weaving, in order to correct, after which he will weave toward completion. The young professor informed us that Gramsci’s long march through the institutions was cultural weaving. The progressive cultural warrior against traditional values (which, we were assured, are backwardly racist and sexist – homophobic was yet to become the third part of the Cultural Marxist creed of nebulously defined philosophies/theologies/attitudes to hate in the names of Tolerance and Diversity) was to weave into existing institutions, slowly exposing their members to progressive ideas and language. When the more repressive members (for all those who fail to accept progressive views are by leftist definition repressive) catch on and cause a ruckus, the progressive cultural warrior should deny, preferably without lying outright, and slowly weave back to make peace. When the storm dies down, the progressive cultural warrior is to begin the weaving process again. Eventually, the weaving in and out, with each re-weaving going deeper into the whole cloth, will mean that progressives will be so deeply entrenched in institutions that even if they announce their intentions to use those institutions to remake society totally, they could be removed from the cloth only by ripping it and leaving it incapable of being repaired.
And, the young progressive Ph.D. almost squealed, what Gramsci knew is that most people are so devoted to institutions with which they are familiar that they desperately will want to try to save them even when they are teaching and doing diametrically opposite what they taught and did originally. Therefore, even many of the most conservative people will act to prevent the cloth from being rent in order to expel the progressives who successfully have woven into it, thereby securing the victory of progressives.
At the time I was incredulous. Surely, I felt, the average conservative values person is not so stupid as to fight to keep alive and respected and in charge of education or theology or politics the very institutions that have been infiltrated and now are run by leftists dead-set on exterminating cultural and religious conservatism.
Take a look at churches. Progressives promoting various heresies (women pastors/presbyters/priests, divorce-remarriage at will, the moral neutrality of abortion and homosexual practice, Universalism under the guise of tolerance, the Social Gospel [which germinates socialism], turning worship services into pop culture entertainment and/or pop psychology feel-good sessions, Dispensational Pre-Millennialism and the concomitant Zionism [the modern aspect of the Judaizing heresy], etc.) were hard at work weaving in virtually all denominations by the 1960s and have been eminently successful in moving churches hard left in short order. And many of those change agents in churches used, and continue to use, the language of weaving to describe their work and to train their followers.
Yes, the average conservative values American over the past 50-75 years, or more, has been stupid enough to allow Cultural Marxists and their fellow-travelers, the bleeding-heart liberals, to weave into and take over the vast majority of cultural and educational institutions, and today the vast majority of those conservative-values Americans will fight to the death to protect the very institutions co-opted by Gramscian weavers that currently are leftist strongholds in the Culture War to eviscerate and emasculate Western Christian Civilization and the people who would defend it.
That is a detailed explanation for why so many people who are truly conservative in basic values and attitudes (which exempts the neoconservatives who fled the Democratic Party and are merely anti-USSR, pro-Israel cultural liberals—most of the majority Jews among them of Trotskyite Marxist legacy—who wove to preeminence in the Republican Party and its apologetics organs) instinctively denounce unapologetic Paleoconservatives as “extremists” or even as “racist” and “sexist” and unpatriotic. These easily bamboozled simpleminded good people are acting as Gramsci knew they would: using the language and emphases and standards of the Left to protect and promote institutions that long since became arms of Leftist Culture War, all the while calling their work conservatism.
In addition to the fact that I have witnessed recently a large amount of both Gramscian weaving and simpleminded conservative adoption of leftist language and standards in Southern heritage groups, I have become interested in this process again because of reading an article by Chris Floyd: “Global Eye – Last Rites.” Floyd’s focus is the 2000 Presidential election, which he sees as having been stolen by the Bush camp, but the important revelation in the article is the discussion of a 1968 pamphlet by Pentagon advisor Edward Luttwak Coup d’Etat: A Practical Handbook. Quoting Luttwak, Floyd writes:
Drawing on the extensive experience of the CIA in such pranks, Luttwak says that "a coup consists of the infiltration of a small but critical segment of the state apparatus, which is then used to displace the government from its control of the remainder." True coupsters "want to seize power within the present system" [his italics], then use the existing lines of authority and habits of obedience inherent in legitimate government to advance their own illegitimate aims.
By 1968, long before Jewish Trotskyites disillusioned with Marxism because the USSR did not bow to Israel and Jewish interests fled the Democratic Party and began weaving to make the Yankee WASP Republican Party theirs, American military ‘conservatives’ advocating a type of American Empire, replete with assassinations and coups sponsored by Uncle Sam (for the greater good, naturally), counseled in such a way as to prove the correctness of the silent weaving technique: small groups infiltrate and silently take over from within without having made clear their goals; then the successful weavers use the “existing lines of authority and habits of obedience inherent in legitimate government” to keep the masses in line and certain they are being conservative and law abiding. Those masses will soon be set to attacking the non-duped conservatives as at best hopelessly behind the times and harmful to the cause of attracting young people to conservatism and at worst as traitors. Floyd writes, “Luttwak explains, opponents of the coup must be painted as isolated cranks, "a few misguided or dangerous individuals," unable to "move on" and accept the wonderful new reality,” which reminds me of a string of denunciations I have read of Catholic Traditionalists by Catholic ‘conservatives’ defending Vatican II and the string of novelties spawned from it, of Episcopalians opposed to women, and now openly homosexual, priests by self-proclaimed Episcopalian moderates, and of Paleoconservatives by Neocons advocating love of the socialist Martin Luther King and ‘gay rights’ and mass immigration of non-whites and non-Christians to make their dreams of Empire inclusive.
If like Marxists, National Socialists, self-righteous social reformers (such as Abolitionists or ‘Civil Rights’ egalitarians), old-fashioned proponents of empire, or neoconservatives you do believe that the ends you desire justify any means you must use to secure them, then you eventually will stumble into this system, which was not original with Gramsci but has been practiced for thousands of years. If you have honor, you will never use such a system of deception; you will proclaim and fight openly as befits a Christian knight. You will do so even when you know that subterfuge might win you the victory and that honesty might be enough to lose you most battles because your opponents are underhanded, back-stabbing masters of deception who are proven adept at manipulating the simpleminded conservative-values masses to support people and causes that are their actual enemies.
“Be wise as serpents but harmless as doves.” Know the tactics of the enemy, but do not adopt them. If you are not aware of what he does, he will take you by subterfuge, and your innocent ignorance will protect no one. If you use his tactics, your win becomes his greater win.
We have a long, hard row to hoe.
|February 12th, 2011||#27|
Moderation: That Middling Morass
Not so long ago, I heard another in the long line of well-meaning, good-intentioned, Pledge of Allegiance-swearing simpletons who dominate “conservative” groups and churches assert that while it is clear that we (meaning not merely Christians but all non-Leftists) must say NO to the “Gay Rights” movement, we also must not be extremists.
As I have said endlessly, the moment conservative-values people begin to worry about being seen as non-extremists who are essentially middle-of-the-road is the moment the Left begins winning while having to do little or no actual fighting, for then we are in a game in which we shift, at least in rhetoric and emphases, to the Left to avoid the label “Right-wing extremist.”
The great mark of a society that is culturally decadent to its core is that in it what last week was recognized by virtually all people as liberal or even radically leftist, today is seen as moderate, and next week will be seen as conservative, and then next month will be denounced as extreme right-wing that must be stamped out in the name of tolerance. Views ever farther to the Left take their place in that ever-moving line, shifting the entire culture leftward into utter perversion. And that is America and the entire Western world over the past fifty to one hundred years, when the liberal philosophies planted in the first three centuries of the Modern Age (the sixteen to the eighteenth centuries) began to flower fully.
The Sexual Revolution lies at the very heart of our cultural decline, and so it must be opposed 100 percent. Compromise with it has led to our high levels of VD and related cancers, illegitimate birth, infertility, marital infidelity, divorce, abortion, romanticizing of blacks (for they long have been seen by Leftists as vanguard warriors for the death of Christian “sexual repression”), homosexual activity, pedophilia, and the prevailing thanatos syndrome: death wish. My assessment is that the values of the Modern Sexual Revolution are the very same philosophies and moralities that produced the child-sacrifice Fertility Cult nations of the ancient Levant. The Semitic nations were up to their hairlines in the bloody filth, and the Old Testament makes it clear that masses of the Children of Israel, though they were the odd-ball Semitic tribe called out from that world, were ever ready to embrace the Fertility Cult religion at the first opportunity. Thus it is no mistake that the intellectual Father of the Sexual Revolution was atheist, socialist German Jew Wilhelm Reich, who believed that the “tolerant” secular (meaning un-Christian becoming anti-Christian and anti-white Gentile) socialist society could be ushered in only through a sexual revolution.
Tolerant Yankee WASP-directed America provided a home for Reich, who fled the Nazis. Reich’s works then became the Bible of a new type of socialist thought in America, one that had emerged in nascent form during the Roaring Twenties with the Harlem Renaissance, when avant garde Yankee WASPs and Jews became very cuddly with blacks, seeing them as tools for a Culture War to secularize America and make it egalitarian and sexually uninhibited.
As dupes remain who fail to understand that they are living through the Culture War, one in which the other side is fighting a total war for cultural extermination, and many of those dupes preach that if only we conservatives were nicer and used more gentle language and seemed more willing to compromise and be non-dogmatic, then we could make progress toward stopping the slide into left-wing decadence and totalitarian egalitarianism, I draw attention to an article on the Fox News site. Because of all the decades of “conservative” leaders being asleep at the wheel (some focusing on foreign affairs, some on economics, some on compassion and “inclusion” to prove they are neither racist nor anti-Semitic, and some on memorizing Bible verses) and compromising (including accepting and then embracing the Martin Luther King “Civil Rights” movement that was fully allied with Sexual Revolution leaders and goals: which is the reason that today all major pro-black “Civil Rights” leaders and groups and icons, including Coretta Scott King, support abortion on demand for teenagers and “Gay Rights”), we find ourselves in a time in which large numbers of people can openly call for Culture War to be waged against the very foundations of society: marriage and resulting traditional family. Journalist Steve Brown informs, “A group of legal scholars and gay advocacy groups are calling for marriage to be de-legalized in order to make the distribution of benefits more fair for people who aren’t married, including gay couples.”
When your enemy is unrelentingly aggressive and openly declares his aims to destroy the basis of your existence, you are at best a naïve fool to ever grant him any quarter. But thanks to the bleeding-heart, novelty-adoring, anti-Traditional, non-wealthy white despising, pro-non-white values that became enshrined in America with the Unionist victory in the War for Yankee WASP Empire, we not only face such assaults; we also have very few recognized leaders who will fight the Culture War as if they truly believe that Western Christian Civilization is worth defending.
|February 12th, 2011||#28|
As the Hans Christian Andersen tale “The Emperor’s New Clothes” suggests, most people, without imagining any need to question, will accept as true whatever is repeated endlessly, especially when those doing the talking are seen as experts holding positions of authority. The most horrible example may be the swallowing of the “facts” regarding human sexuality regurgitated by quintessential Modern Yankee WASP Professor Alfred Kinsey (perfervid to “reform,” “progressive,” trampling down acceptance of traditional views in order to free, etc.) and his circle, which just happened to provide one hundred percent support for the Sexual Revolution philosophy of atheist, socialist, Jew Wilhelm Reich.
Another of the things that virtually all people over age fifty or sixty “know” as a result of such ceaseless proclaiming is that American culture is in origin purely Anglo-Saxon; therefore, they accept claims that New England Puritans epitomize the genesis (which requires denying Jamestown, Virginia and the South, which is the primary necessity of Modern American Liberalism) and the heart and the best of American culture. The various leftists have modified that view, convincing multitudes, especially under age forty, through repetition highlighted with taunts of racist tossed at doubters, that black culture is at least equal to Anglo-Saxon in the formation of America, particularly in the areas of justice, equality (which the Left equates with democracy, particularly that which redistributes wealth and power from whites to non-whites), folklore/popular culture, and spirituality. Because of that leftist claim, which has kept stretching to include Jews, AmerIndians, ‘Hispanic’ mestizos, and East Asians (to some degree, every group of people in America not white and Christian) while becoming more strident in damning virtually all white Christian culture, many white people who are not leftists have seen defense and promotion of the New England Puritans and their Yankee WASP descendants as the Thermopylae of the Culture War. And they could not be more wrong.
Cultural assimilation of immigrants into the north meant that eventually virtually all American Caucasians lacking ties to the South or to Southern colonies in the West would adopt most of Yankee culture, including its senses of history and morality. Irish or Polish Catholics, for example, could enter America’s elite Pale and partake of all the wealth and power only by embracing the WASP ethos. They could maintain their surnames and church affiliations, but they would need to begin thinking and acting like standard WASPs; they would need to become cultural WASPs who were neither ethnically Anglo-Saxon nor religiously Protestant (though my assessment is that when Catholics become culturally WASPed, soon their Catholicism becomes little different from standard liberal Episcopalianism in belief and practice and may even embrace aspects of Pentecostalism and certainly will exhibit Judaizing tendencies). Likewise, cultural assimilation of Southerners, which began in earnest with the Spanish-American War and World War I and hit a sprinter’s pace with World War II (culminating in today’s attempts to eradicate all Southern sensibility and symbols, especially the Christian St. Andrew’s Cross Confederate Battle Flag), guaranteed that even most old Southerners (those with ancestries back before the War Between the States and preferably to the colonial days) would come to see themselves first and foremost not as the descendants of their actual forefathers (who were a mixture of Cavalier British Norman – not Anglo-Saxon and not Puritan – and Celt) but as the cultural fruit of New England’s Anglo-Saxon Puritans.
Ethnically-pure Yankee WASPs are descendants of the English Puritans, who came preponderantly from the ethnically-pure Germanic southeastern and east central sections of England; they were, when given the opportunity, violently anti-tradition and keen on novelties and talk of equality and the need to reform and make perfect according to their inner lights. In addition to their love of purloining the property of and killing others as proof of their Elect status, they were, as also befits Judaizers, proto-Bleeding Heart Liberals if not necessarily embryonic socialists. They were self-righteous regicides who allied with Jews and all manner of Christian heretics in order to “purify” through destruction what they saw as the backwardness, as the insufferable sinfulness, of two groups, one religious and one ethnic/cultural, which overlapped greatly in the seventeenth century: “Catholics” (which group included all Anglican Episcopalians deemed primarily Catholic and insufficiently Protestant in spirit and attitude) and Celtic peoples (including the Calvinists among them), whom the true WASPs instinctively knew possessed a set of folkways and an identity inherently conservative and thus antithetical to WASP values and goals. The Anglo-Saxon Puritans of the seventeenth century grasped what their Yankee WASP descendants in Antebellum America understood: if you wish to create and spread the Anglo-Saxon Protestant Empire, that which is culturally Celtic must be enslaved and preferably exterminated (with individual survivors forced to assimilate to WASPdom), and that which is theologically “Catholic” must be exterminated or at least rendered culturally, morally, and politically impotent, which will allow it to be absorbed and assimilated also.
At least by the end of the War of 1812, America’s Yankee WASPs – who had spread from New England across upstate New York, though the northern third Ohio, and were beginning to move up into Michigan and across the northern thirds of Indiana and Illinois - were led culturally and religiously by ultra-liberals (as with their East Anglia Puritan forebears, many of them threatening use of force to ‘purify’ and ‘make equal’) who called for all kinds of social, political, moral, and spiritual revolutions. The fruits of their efforts flowered in the myriad Antebellum Yankee groups proclaiming that man could perfect himself and/or bring the Second Coming, groups organized to minimize and then to deny historic Christian doctrines, usually in the name of finding the ‘spirit’ of the Bible; to promote Protestant inter-denominational fellowship, for all English-speaking Protestants who taught that America was founded by Anglo-Saxon Puritans to be God’s Chosen City on the Hill to save the world were godly; to uplift and perhaps save man through diet and/or health routines; to promote feminism, including in churches; to free black slaves (white Christian slaves held in the Ottoman Empire seem not to have concerned them); to free man from lust and covetousness through socialism and/or free love; to save man in the only way that mattered to materialistic Anglo-Saxons: social reform and welfare; to use government schooling to cram increasingly secularized Social Gospel Protestantism down the gullets of Catholic children (the specific reason the National Education Association was founded), etc. These groups and their anti-tradition revolutionary teachings won control of America’s cultural, intellectual, and religious future with the Union victory in the War Between the States. Only the then deep-seated cultural conservatism of Southerners and northern Catholics and the political alliance of Southerners and northern Catholics in the Democratic Party prevented total cultural perversion being foisted on the masses from top down, but that very process eventually kicked into gear: in direct proportion to northern Catholic and Southern political, educational, and religious leaders becoming assimilated to Yankee WASP culture and nudging their peoples toward ‘Modernity’ and ‘Progress.’
Naturally, I argue that embracing and lionizing the New England Puritans and their Yankee WASP descendants – as well as the Union side during the War Between the States and attacks on Southern heritage, identity, and symbols today - only reinforces the Left in the Culture War. True Conservatism (cultural, social, political, and religious) in Antebellum America was epitomized in the two peoples the Yankee WASPs most heartily despised, in fact saw as inherently inferior intellectually, culturally, and morally: Southerners (who, I submit, were preponderantly Celtic culturally) and Irish Catholics.
There are a few people who recognize the validity of my point regarding the Antebellum Yankee WASPs as the necessary foundation for twentieth century American leftism who continue to argue that English culture is actually conservative, meaning the Antebellum, Reconstruction era, Gilded Age, and twentieth-century Yankee WASPs are anomalies rather than the Anglo-Saxon epitomes I claim they are.
Those who acknowledge the strong liberalizing tendencies of Yankee WASP culture (and among putative conservatives that is a small group due to the successes of assimilation to the WASP worldview) while insisting on the inherent conservative good of Anglo-Saxon culture as a whole tend to ignore the defining anti-traditional revolutionary spirit of the original Anglo-Saxon Puritans (whose Revolution I say is the Anglo-Saxon Calvinist necessary precursor of the French Revolution). Invariably such philo-WASPs cite the British Empire as proof of English cultural and moral conservatism. They, some with what amounts to a deep faith that they refuse to examine, believe that the British Empire tirelessly promoted Western Christian Civilization - and the white Christians who created it. One such person (a Southerner who says he honors his ancestors but that it was better that the Yankees won their gun-point Union and made all Americans “free” and who hates the Celtic-Southern thesis that I assert is true and trumpets every imaginable anti-Irish, anti-Celtic, and anti-Catholic bigotry, apparently while humming “Rule Britannia”) has informed me that if the British Empire had not faltered, we never would have come to face the current assaults on Western Christian Civilization; thus, in his view, as the British Empire began to crumble because of the partial success of the Irish Republican Army war for national independence (1918-21), the Irish, and to a slightly lesser degree Catholics, are chiefly responsible for the cultural war against Western Civilization.
The argument is pristine Anglophilic Imperial Conservatism: those who support the British Empire, even when it acts to massacre European peoples and deny them national self-determination and to destroy European cultures and languages, support both Western Civilization and conservatism, while those Caucasians who fight to free themselves from being the British Empire’s national and ethnic slaves, focusing much of their fight on preserving, on conserving, non-English European folk cultures and languages, obviously triggered multiculturalism and the death of Western Civilization. In this schema, the Anglophile who allies with Jews to secularize his nation and to destroy Celtic languages and identity and to culturally eviscerate the Catholic Church, attacking especially its teachings on sexual morality and marriage, is a defender of Western Christian Civilization, while the Irish Catholic fighting for national independence and the survival of northern Europe’s oldest written vernacular is a terrorist destroying Western Christian Civilization.
The logic – which is the “conservative” half of the cultural philosophy sprung from the Yankee schoolmarm - should be as horrifying as that offering the massacres of Julius Caesar as bringing peace and freedom to Gaul, thereby rendering Vercingetorix an anti-Western Civilization ‘terrorist’ whose violence to repel Roman invasion and spear-point rule justifies all Roman violence to establish Roman rule and to maintain it, including selling millions of Gauls into slavery.
If that logic were true, particularly as applied by Anglophilic Imperial Conservatives to Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, then America’s Founding Fathers, though they all spoke English (many, perhaps most, of the Southern ones had significant Celtic ancestry), also would be the fathers of Leftist hatred of Western Christian Civilization, for they, not the Irish, were the first to free themselves from the British Empire.
Because I had comparatively little knowledge of the worldwide British Empire and I know that world history proves that empires inevitably promote cultural liberalism and usually cultural syncretism, ending in cultural and moral decadence (Rome is the most obvious example), I argued from general knowledge that the British Empire most likely promoted something we today would call multiculturalism: all religion would be secularized in service to the Empire and all ethnic groups and races that accepted imperial WASP rule would find their cultural values and secularized religions tolerated, even promoted - at least locally - and sons of their elite sent to England for education and admission into the Empire’s official upper crust. Nationalities such as the Irish that continued to struggle and pray for national independence and to maintain conservative, non-secularized theology would be treated as inferior, as inherently ignorant, criminal, uncivilized, and thus unworthy of the bounties of Empire, yet far too dangerous to the ‘freedoms’ and glories of Empire to be allowed freedom from Empire.
I also suggested that because the British Empire was defined through its leadership and its socially mandarin population by culturally Germanic Anglo-Saxon values and attitudes, it would have been most ruthless toward the Christian Celts it had conquered, and it would have been most lenient, perhaps foolishly indulgent, toward non-whites and non-Christians. In short, without a mass of facts at my disposal but with a theory based on knowledge of empires at work and general Germanic cultural proclivities and the specifics of Cromwellian era WASP desire to drive Irish Catholics to Hell or Connacht and Yankee WASP cultural liberalism and the attitudes of various non-white spawns of the British Empire, I argued that the British Empire accomplished in cultural terms very much the antithesis of what the Southern-born Anglophilic Imperial Conservative argued it must have accomplished because it featured white men who were at least nominally Christian wielding military superiority around the globe. I argued that the original WASP Empire (the USA is now the second) promoted a nascent multiculturalism among the non-whites and non-Christians it ruled and that when a sufficiently large crop of wealthy and well-trained leaders (including trained to know that the WASP elites would side with any non-whites and non-Christians against non-wealthy whites, especially Celts and Catholics) were produced would rise with a vengeance to destroy the very WASP world that had raised them to be near social equals to their imperial overlords.
English historian David Cannadine proves my case in Ornamentalism: How the British Saw Their Empire. I have read nothing else by Cannadine, but I have heard him mentioned as one of the few ‘conservative’ historians in Britain. Ornamentalism is definitive imperial conservative scholarship, the kind that will tickle the fancies of virtually all American Neoconservatives, and if it emphasized the rise of Jews and the cultural WASPing of Catholicism in the Empire would be lauded as a great work that proves “conservatism” to be the best thing for Jews and blacks. I expect that it already has been proffered by Neocon academics and pundits as proof of the need for an ever-expanding American Empire (run by an alliance of WASPs and Jews, with major bones and increasing amounts of flesh tossed to blacks) compassionately determined to inflict endless good for all the downtrodden peoples of the world.
Cannadine makes the case that the British Empire was not racist, which is the standard Leftist condemnation of it, because it promoted a type of class system that elevated a certain percentage of non-whites as the nobles of their groups while also erecting social barriers to prevent the economic and political rise of the masses of British “poor white trash.” In other words, Cannadine makes a strong case that the British Empire created and administered a type of Affirmative Action, one focused on both race/ethnicity and religion, that saw all poorer whites from the British Isles (especially Celts and Catholics) as inherently inferior and requiring systems to keep them down in their place and also sought to find the elite among all the non-white peoples in the Empire, who were to be elevated - by the benevolent largesse of imperial Government - educationally, economically, and politically above the “poor white trash,” who comprised the definite majority of peoples in the British Isles.
Cannadine asserts, “many British settlers overseas sought to create a full-scale replica of the elaborately graded social hierarchy they had left behind at home” (14). If the reader has any doubt what constitutes that social hierarchy, Cannadine soon clears the air: “All these colonial settlers – determined to replicate what they believed to be the British social order – shared what Geoffrey Bolton has called ‘an Anglican and hierarchical view of society’” (31). As it is unlikely that Irish Catholic or Scottish Highland or Welsh-speaking settlers in, say Australia, desired to replicate a social system in which they were deemed almost subhuman (to be fair, that social system had eased greatly by the mid-nineteenth century, which served to help seduce Celts and Catholics into cultural WASPdom), we must assume that what Cannadine means is that English Protestant settlers and their colonial officials desired for the colonies a replication of the Modern, post-Henry VIII British social structure, in which Celts and Catholics were to be herded into the lower depths.
And from the perspective of protecting the revolutions of Henry VIII and the Puritans against traditional Western Christian Civilization, that was necessary (just as the Gulag was necessary to protect the Bolshevik Revolution). Cannadine notes that the Empire contained two very different parts. One part was defined by large numbers of settlers from England and the Celtic lands, and the other had few such colonists, the vast majority of its British residents being temporarily domiciled as soldiers or civil servants administering masses of aboriginals. Writing about the tendencies of the former to experience groundswells for local rule, Cannadine declares,
And when the overseas British were Irish, who were Catholic rather than Anglican [note he does not say Protestant, for many Celtic Dissenting Protestants caused similar troubles for the Empire, as did a few Celtic Anglicans], and Home Rulers rather than imperialists, they were even less likely to accept the imperial hierarchy, preferring (as in parts of Australia) to apply their domestic grievances to colonial agitation (137).
If the British Empire, the empire of and for WASP cultural liberalism, were to continue, Celts and Catholics must remain subordinate: “… James Morris rightly noted, ‘an Ireland run from Dublin’ was ‘an affront to the hierarchy of Empire’” (156).
And Southern states that freed themselves from a centralizing Federal Government run by and for Yankee WASP culture likewise would be an affront to Uncle Sam: the secularized Puritan dead-set on forging his reforming empire. Not only might their independence influence citizens of the Yankee WASP Union to think and act discordantly (according to WASP cultural imperatives), but, at least as importantly, all those Southern Scots-Irish hillbillies and rednecks would no longer be the tax-slaves to and cannon-fodder for the Yankee WASP Empire. And as the case of the Northern Ireland statelet proves (and it is important to know that Ulster Protestants are close cousins of Southerners), a liberal WASP Empire requires culturally Celtic Protestants to work against their best interests culturally – and religiously – by allying with Anglo-Saxon Protestants whose telos is Social Gospel secularist multiculturalism in which Celtic Protestants are far more serviceable than Celtic Catholics but despised almost as deeply. Because the number of ethnic WASPs is small, a WASP Empire requires that large numbers of culturally Celtic peoples (and Protestants have usually done so in order to protect their sense of Protestantism) and large numbers of Catholics (who have done so rapidly over the past fifty years) sell their birthrights for a mess of secularized imperial pottage.
In his preface, Cannadine marks the utter WASP liberalism of the “save the brown and black brothers” mode that defined the British Empire at its zenith as surely as it defines the current UK, USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. He asserts that there were three roughly equal reasons for the existence of the Empire, one of which is “dutiful and religious: the desire to improve the lot of disadvantaged peoples, and to bring the good news of the Christian Gospel” (xii). Note the order that marks both Social Gospel and race-based socialism: make non-white peoples wealthier, healthier, and better educated, and then make them dusky-hued versions of Modern Liberal WASP “Christians.” According to Cannadine, the British Empire “…was in large part about the domestication of the exotic – the comprehending and the reordering of the foreign in parallel, analogous, equivalent, resemblant terms” (xix). In other words, all kinds of non-whites and non-Christians were to be made over into darker pigmented versions of secularized WASPs who would take their roles in imperial versions of social and political structures designed to reproduce the UK as run by and for Anglo-Saxon Protestants; thus, various non-European peoples would be drafted to serve in the WASP war against Celtic culture and heritage and against Catholic theology and worldview. And in so doing, these non-whites and non-Christians would prove their equality, one which called for their elites to be granted special status and boons denied to all the hordes of British “poor white trash.”
But that is not the extent the British Empire waged cultural war; ultimately it was directed at the whole of Western Christian Civilization and not exclusively Celts and Catholics. The great truth that Cannadine highlights is that the empire for and by WASPs was erected upon a simultaneous loathing for not merely non-British whites, nor even for Celtic and/or Catholic whites, but also for the masses of non-wealthy English Protestants and a romanticizing of the various non-white and non-Christian peoples under WASP rule. He notes that a key reason that many upper crust Britons in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries came to see aboriginals throughout the Empire as inferior is that those natives “were seen as the overseas equivalent of the ‘undeserving poor’ in Britain” (6). Those non-white natives were not seen as inferior because most lived in Stone Age conditions and many lived in or near human sacrifice/cannibalism zones; rather, they were seen as inferior because the WASP elite associated them with Celts, Catholics, and poor English Protestants. What Cannadine finds most laudable about the British Empire is that such views did not persist among the British wealthy and powerful. They certainly maintained their utter contempt for Celts, Catholics, and the English Protestant poor, but they soon came to view the various darker skinned peoples they ruled as pristine primitive nobles, as noble savages (Celts, Catholics, and poor English Protestants were to them perpetual ignoble savages):
… when the British contemplated and imagined their far-flung empire, and thought about and visualized those many diverse races who inhabited it, they were at least as likely to look down on whites as they were to look up to those with darker skins, to disparage those who resembled themselves, but to acclaim those who belonged to other races (124).
The British ruling class developed a “relationship of equivalence and similarity: princes in one society were analogous to princes in another, and so on and so on, all the way down these two parallel social ladders” (8). This is the origin of Affirmative Action and ‘race-norming.’ The British elite decided that each racial/ethnic/national group in its empire (but it did not apply to Irish Catholics) had its own elite that was comparable to the British elite. If that is true, then the various non-white and non-Christian elites must be so acknowledged and promoted, otherwise the British elite might not be acknowledged and promoted. Cannadine uses a discussion of Paul Scott’s fiction to demonstrate where such views led:
So in the Raj Quartet, Major Ronald Merrick, whose social background was relatively lowly, believed that ‘the English were superior to all other races, especially the black [this is the English use of black for race, which means not merely black Africans but also peoples from the Indian subcontinent and others with dark pigments: my note].’ But the Cambridge-educated Guy Perron feels a greater affinity with the Indian Hari Kumar, who went to the same public school [which is not an English equivalent of an America public school but is an exclusive boarding school] as he did, than he does with Merrick, who is very much his social inferior (9).
Cannadine also quotes this revealing comment, which he asserts is typical, from the wife of Arthur Gordon Hamilton, the Governor of Fiji, on Fiji’s nobility:
‘Their manners … are so perfectly easy and well bred… Nurse can’t understand it all, she looks down on them as an inferior race. I don’t like to tell her that these ladies are my equals, which she is not’ (59).
The nobility of Fiji, its “best” (wealthiest and/or most powerful), is equal to the best of the WASP elite, and both are superior to the masses of whites from the British Isles. And it is the duty of the WASP-determined hierarchy to enforce those social distinctions, which invariably promotes multiculturalism through the simultaneous elevating of non-whites and non-Christians and denigrating of the majority of white Christians.
The upper crust WASPs early on concluded that the masses of British citizens who became settlers in the Empire were incapable of succeeding in Britain, were inferior:
They [and we should note the inordinately high percentage who were from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and the Celtic fringes of northern and western England, many of whom were Catholic: my note] were the poor whites or the white trash of the time. By contrast, the native princes, ruling chiefs, lordly emirs and exotic sheikhs seemed very much more like black gold: better people, at the apex of a better world, which was ordered, traditional, settled, time-honoured, face-to-face, decent, wholesome and uncorrupt (125).
The British Empire was based on a type of racism, but it was the Modern racism that has become sacrosanct in education, journalism, pop-culture entertainment, and democratic politics: the racism that romanticizes virtually all non-whites and non-Christians and demonizes all white Christians save wealthier WASPs and their closest cultural and political allies (for example, Germans in nineteenth-century America). The British Empire thus waged unrelenting war against Western Christian Civilization and prepared the way fully for the past four decades during which the white democratic elites have preached that their charges must do eternal penance for all the wrongs of world history while embracing cultural attitudes from around the globe. Before a Jew like Harvard’s Noel Ignatiev could proclaim that white Christians must commit cultural and racial hara-kiri, the WASP elite had to have promoted a secular philosophy that demonized the masses of whites it ruled while romanticizing the non-whites and non-Christians it ruled.
Cannadine provides a perfect example of how that system trained whites to punish whites for not kowtowing to the imperial mandated uplifting of non-whites at their own expense and ultimate disenfranchisement. He notes that South Africa was forced to leave the Commonwealth in 1961 “because of objections from among the new member nations [ruled by non-whites: my note] to the racist policy of apartheid”. In response, his mother “promptly stopped buying its produce” (189, 186). Cannadine then informs that he found Enoch Powell’s speeches warning against immigration of non-whites into Britain “…outrageous. Beyond that, all I can now recall is that it seemed to me strange that the British had never minded having dark-skinned people living in their empire, but they did not want them living in Britain” (197). The British Empire promoted multi-racial and multi-religious acceptance – for all were working for the supreme good of the Empire - that necessarily bloomed in the minds of masses of well-educated “conservative” Englishmen this way: making them see race superficially, as being only about dark skin pigmentation.
The WASP kulturkampf, which is the inherent fruit of the revolutions of Henry VIII and the Puritans, led inevitably to the total secularizing of Anglophonic Protestantism, and from thence to making the Empire itself the sacred, the object of veneration, of worship, with the monarch, the very symbol of the British Empire, seen as virtual God. Cannadine writes of Empire Day, the most important holiday – Holy day – in the Empire: “There were processions and parades, hymns were sung, and speeches made … in which the ordered unity of the empire [with Celts and Catholics at the bottom: my note] was extolled, and the sovereign was presented as ‘all-knowing and all-caring’ “(106).
A “conservatism” spawned or promoted or saved by such a perverse entity would be analogous to the “conservatism” spawned or promoted or saved by Napoleon: it would not be as awful as total Jacobinism or Bolshevism, but it, nevertheless, would serve the Left in the Culture War. Likewise, honoring, praising, and emulating that heritage – not merely the British Empire but also the Anglo-Saxon Puritans and their Revolution and their American Yankee WASP and ‘Civil War’ counterparts - serves the Left in the Culture War.
|February 15th, 2011||#29|
Review of Cantrell's book
Cantrell's book begins with an observation shared by almost anyone who has made the difficult decision to pursue Celtic Studies: the Anglophilic prejudices in American culture have neglected, if not negated, an awareness of the role and contributions of Celtic immigrants in the history of North America. Cantrell echoes many generations of people who deplore "the dearth of knowledge about basic matters of Celtic heritage even among many of the post-graduate educated and the often automatic acceptance of the silliest negative stereotypes of Celtic peoples" (10). Unfortunately, most of the rest of Cantrell's tirade about the American South being the sole reservoir of Celtic culture is erroneous and at times even meanders into the ridiculous, as when he suggests that scholars have ignored "the importance of Celtic immigrants and their descendents to Southern culture" because American élites are prejudiced against "rednecks" (20, 25). The difficulties encumbering Celtic Studies in the United States are deeply rooted and are quite independent of the American South, despite Cantrell's circular reasoning.
This book is indicative of the Celts' newfound respectability in America and attempts by some writers claiming academic credentials to yoke Celtic identity to the Southern cause.1 The apparent unwillingness of the American academy to foster the development of Celtic Studies - despite popular interest among students - makes it even more vulnerable for takeover by demagogues and racists. This review essay can only respond briefly to this growing trend, which calls for a book-length treatment. Cantrell complains that scholars who have attacked the groundswell of fanfare for the "Celtic-Southern" hypothesis have done so merely because the idea is dangerous and fractious to national unity. Even if such a motivation could be proven (a questionable proposition), the underlying hypothesis is in fact inherently unsound.
|May 25th, 2011||#31|
Join Date: Jul 2009
Thanks Alex. This is great stuff. Cantrell, despite his shortcomings, fills a void left open by both boilerplate conservative patriotards and nose in the air, soi-disant "hard" Rightists preoccupied with table manners. I look forward to more essays in the future.