Somewhere between the enlightenment and yesterday, the wheels fell off the bus.
Not having been educated in the field of history (as a major) it is not clear to me exactly when this occurred. That is an endeavor for others to figure out. But I do know enough, and have lived enough years to have a pretty clear picture of what has happened to far. Therefore, extrapolating possible future outcomes is reasonable.
To begin this exploration, it occurs to me that the many approaches currently on the table that are in some measure different from the left-right paradigm (“alt-right,” “neoreactionary,” “nu-traditionalism,” etc) while separated by quite a bit of variance on some issues have identified at least one thing correctly. “America” (and by proxy most of the so-called “west”) is no longer a “nation” by any previous definition. In fact, this is is best way to tell if you (or someone else) are still clinging to the left-right paradigm in the first place. Ask someone tough questions like “how is it that a 46 year old, Christian, married, Serbo-Anglo father of 4, army officer living on his small mini-farm in Texas and a black, Wiccan, lesbian, professor of gender studies, living with her life partner in Palo Alto and their three ‘furbabies’ both considered ‘American’? Upon what dimensions are they the same ‘nationality?”
The responses you get will most likely help you work through your own definition of ‘nationality’ while giving you an idea of how much daylight there is between the traditional form of it and today–wherein America is a federation and economic entity with a physical border, a currency and military. This does not the stuff of national identity, collective history and values make.
It is from that point that the reader must proceed in order to make sense of the rest of this document. If you are still living in a world where America and her western ancestral nations are alive and well–and producing a coherent worldview and future for their children to count on, then by all means continue living that way.
Because if we agree on this basic starting point, it is not necessary, for example to explain the total failure of “conservatism” to conserve anything. You have already come that far.
For everyone else, let’s proceed with some further exploration, now that the basic diagnosis has been agreed upon.
Stated bluntly–Marxisms two basic premises have prevailed. This is true for “conservatives,” “liberals,” and “libertarians.” And the humanistic “classical-liberal” has also convinced the world of their basic premise.
Here they are, starting with Marx:
- The most pressing struggle within humanity is one between classes (not race, sex, religion etc). All other struggles are incidental to this basic idiom.
- The modern nation-state only confounds the efforts of this struggle and should ultimately be abolished. This is true of both the pre and post capitalist version of the nation-state. Anyone operating in an official government capacity should see his primary role as administratively solving problem number one.
And from the heirs of the enlightenment, the classical liberal:
- [Individual] man and his dreams, his goals, his desires and his “freedom” should be the primary concern of any law, regulation or policy.
It doesn’t matter what you call yourself on the left-right political spectrum. If you are in that mainstream, you assent to these basic concepts and the only differences are ones of degree, not kind.
The Christo-Rational-Consensus approach.
Here I will introduce the basic framework for what I dub the “Christo-Rational-Consensus” approach (unless someone else beat me to it). I looked and could only find “rational-consensus” as a construct, so I hope at least the label is novel.
Pay attention, Orthodox Christians because this is what we have in common with all the inheritance of the former Christendom. The remnants of both Rome (Catholics and Protestants) and Byzantium (Orthodox) have built civilizations upon this model and fully one half of the worlds population is currently living under what remains.
And it has decayed to a point of probable no return without a massive re-commitment to the “Christo” pillar of this model.
Here are the essentials:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. Proverbs 9:10
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Romans 1:18-27
Christians take for granted certain universal transcendent truths and regardless of the form a government takes, it can only comply or not comply with these. The “Christo” portion of this model necessarily means that these truths will be codified and no war of rhetoric or violence will be mounted against them–even the ones we find to be difficult to accept. From the Christian perspective there is literally no excuse for atheism, agnosticism or apathy regarding these things. All are ultimately the fruits of rebellion against Truth.
Attempts to work around these Truths through the ages have resulted in great suffering and pain. There is a God. He created the universe and everything in it. He has placed expectations upon His creation. He loves this creation and has sacrificed Himself to prove it. In particular, He created man in his own image. And so on.
What Christianity has done for the world is this: it reconciled mans infinite smallness with God’s infinite love for him. No other worldview has accomplished this in recorded history.
After accepting the Truths that can never be changed, and within that context, God has never required any individual or nation to suspend his natural ability to reason. This includes all of the permutations and methods for learning about the natural order of things. The scientific method is by definition a rational process.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel. Proverbs 12:15
No matter which Christian faith tradition you adhere to, consensus is preferred over singular, unilateral decision making. Even a monarchy can meet the demands of this principle. No one man can micro-manage the affairs of his people. (Well, he could, but he would be a fool for trying).
But on matters of wild subjectivity (like what percentage of taxes is “correct” or how much “health care” should be provided and how) a tremendous amount of discretion should be allotted while these things are worked out.
When the three principles are out of balance
If any one of these three principles is over-indulged, chaos and instability is what follows. And as of this moment, “rational” and “consensus” prevail over “Christo” on an order of magnitude all across the “Christian” nations that may be beyond repair. All shades along the political spectrum suffer from this, even the so-called “conservatives,” so I’ll give an example from them first.
Professional Sports. In the mind of the modern Christian, there is no moral or soul-polluting problem with consuming this product. This is because the rational argument prevails with no regard for the unmovable “Christo” overarching principle. So what that all the major sports contain crybaby psychopathic murderer rapist millionaires that we all scream and spit at through our TVs every weekend? I AM NOT PERSONALLY endorsing their off the field behavior. I mention this as a “conservative” example because most of my republican friends love to watch this stuff and make constant excuses for the enormous amount of money they spend on it each year. The modern Christian sees himself as a totally atomized individual, free from any nodes of connection between what he consumes, looks at, does, associates with and his eternal soul–if he really believes he has one at all. In practice, he is no different from the secular nonbeliever.
And most of them are protestants. Protestantism is plagued, to a degree, by an unfortunate tendency to get caught up in trends. Like “WWJD” of a decade or so ago. So many of my friends had this on their T-shirts and bumper stickers and it comes from a place of deep goodness in their intentions. But would Jesus spend thousands of dollars on debauchery? Did he attend gladiator events in his day? Would he argue “hey, I don’t control the salaries of these monsters. I just think its fun to watch?”
WWJD is the protestants way of grasping at the ancient tradition of Theosis. We have it in common with them. Does every rank and file Orthodox Christian fully understand Theosis? Nope. But they have at their fingertips a phone and a priest who they could call and ask about it tomorrow.
It is also rational for the Supreme Court to declare that is right and good for priests, bakers and florists who do not render services for same sex “weddings” to be fined and go to jail. In fact, libertarians and liberals agree on this point. But their principle of non-violence fails to render a just verdict because “Christo” has been overwhelmed by “rational.”
It is rational to watch Game of Thrones, because it is just entertainment.
Birth control, no fault divorce and abortion are all perfectly rational policies and decisions.
Likewise, while it is good to seek consensus on a great many things, when that consensus goes against the immutable Truths found in the first principle, it will result in an unsustainable fight against reality. Therefore “democratic” forms of government that devolve into basically controlled mob rule will inevitably be reduced to Babel.
What of nations?
I mentioned that there are threads of commonality that run through both the progeny of Rome and Byzantium. Observe, the Catechism of the Catholic Church on nations and immigration:
2241 The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.
Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens. (Baltimore Catechism)
and, the most recent similar statement from the Orthodox:
…the Church unites in herself the universal with the national… Orthodox Christians, aware of being citizens of the heavenly homeland, should not forget about their earthly homeland… Christian patriotism may be expressed at the same time with regard to a nation as an ethnic community and as a community of its citizens. The Orthodox Christian is called to love his fatherland, which has a territorial dimension, and his brothers by blood who live everywhere in the world. This love is one of the ways of fulfilling God’s commandment of love to one’s neighbor which includes love to one’s family, fellow-tribesmen and fellow-citizens. (From the Russian Orthodox Churches most recent authoritative declaration.)
The second example is from the Russians. But all of the autocephalous churches have similar sentiments in their catechisms and other publications.
Protestants, as a result of one of their central tenants–denominationalism–have a more difficult time codifying this kind of thinking because of a lack of central authority, but I bet on the principle of consensus, you would find its basic precepts to be acceptable to most of their leaders.
Returning to Marx and the Enlightenment
When contemplating point number one above (about class struggle) it is important to conceptualize all of the other fabricated struggles (against “white privilege” or “sexism” or “homophobia” etc) as nothing but a means to an end. That end is to divide the entire world amongst the classes. Each of those groups is classified as oppressed or “have nots” and the oppressors as the “haves.” It is pure envy. An envy that can only take hold in a society that pretends to be faithful but has no faith. When you believe that there is no world after this, then the physical world–and possessions/disparity–is ALL THAT MATTERS.
And this is a degradation and distortion of the wholly Christian teaching that we receive from the story of the good Samaritan:
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. Luke 10:25-37
Nowhere in this narrative does one find a commandment to abolish all distinctions between clergy or nationalities. It just tells us to take care of people in need, regardless of their status/ethnicity. But that is the message heard by the masses, who have internalized Marx’ message wholeheartedly. Distinctions along lines that they have predetermined to have no meaning (from this story) are troubling to them. They constantly complain about the phenomenon of “othering” while relentlessly “othering” those who supposedly unfairly benefit from “white privilege.”
Then, they extrapolate:
Without nations, there would be no wars.
This is, on the one hand true. And they truly believe that the end of wars is tied to the abolishing of nations. But I think it falls into the same category as an argument like “without planes, there would be no plane crashes.” Which is also true, however, all those people would probably travel by car, and we all know how safe that is.
But substitute “Samaritan” for “social justice warrior” and you begin to see that there are really only two sides to this. You can either be on the “right side of history” or not. Race, gender, etc are incidental to the ultimate struggle between classes. The “right” has now accepted this language, and therefore ceded all moral territory. They will continue to retreat until they are forced to jump off the cliff to their backs.
Once you add into the mix the idea that the individual and his needs/wants are at the center of the universe and you have all the ingredients for peak subjectivity to implode in on itself.
The end of nation-states as we know them may very well come to pass. But most who endorse this as a goal cannot articulate or describe a path to it that does not contain massive resettlement, redistribution, reeducation, and violence to get there.
Further confounding all this is the overwhelming amount of data coming from the hard sciences about the heritability of traits. Which, if engaged through the lens of the Christo-rational-consensus approach would lead to this: It is OK for me to be grateful for the advantages my ancestors insured for me before I was born. Now I must treat everyone with respect, dignity and love and hold them all to the same standards of behavior that are socially normative in my nation. Should those norms become immoral, I may re-evaluate.
Above all, if you are reading this you are probably sitting in a climate controlled room on one of the most powerful devices ever created by man. There are people whizzing by overhead in airplanes, and outside in cars. You are not being extorted by an African warlord who rapes your wife so you can have fresh clean water. You can complain about whatever you don’t like.
But most people–whether they live in America, Canada, Australia, Russia, Poland, or whatever have no idea that the Christo-Rational-Consensus approach is how they got there. Therefore, they have no idea how to defend it.