Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Another Desperate Attempt to Redefine Democracy

This time the basis is terror. The difficulty seems to be with attempting to adjust Reality to democracy. I will go with Thomas Carlyle on this and define the French Revolution as a potentially good event which lost the potential (early on) to properly define, contain, discipline, and achieve itself. It was a primal eruption which interpreted itself in terms of hate, rather than the opportunity to effect a primal Revolution, or "last Revolution":

Ernst Jünger has characterised this peculiar connection in his book Der Weltstaat (1960): “The anarchist in his purest form is he, whose memory goes back the farthest: to pre-historical, even pre-mythical times; and who believes, that man at that time fulfilled his true purpose . . . In this sense the anarchist is the Ur-conservative, who traces the health and the disease of society back to the root.” Jünger later called this kind of “Prussian” . . . or “conservative anarchist” the “Anarch,” and referred his own “désinvolture” as agreeing therewith: an extreme aloofness, which nourishes itself and risks itself in the borderline situations, but only stands in an observational relationship to the world, as all instances of true order are dissolving and an “organic construction” is not yet, or no longer, possible."

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Parzifal again....

Evola wrote a work on the Grail.
Here is some theme music.
To go beyond, not merely Titanism (Nietzsche) and Luciferianism (Science) but also the lunar religious remnants (Christianity as it is today)...

It is a literally damn shame that a pagan has to sound the trumpet of alarm.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Radiant Indra

"Fair cheeks hath Indra, Maghavan, the Victor, Lord of a great host, Stormer, strong in action..."

If the male principle of the universe is such that it constitutes the "center that is everywhere and nowhere", and is in fact the principle without which all the other principles descend to chaos, then modern Christianity is indeed far from its roots.

When King David stormed into the Holy of Holies and ate the shewbread, he should (by all rights) have perished, if not at God's hands directly, then by the Levites. Yet he did not. The warrior-king-priest is pre-eminent over the lesser priestly caste. "I the Lord, am a man of war..." says Jehovah.

Priest-King Melchizedek, likewise, was a greater even than Abraham, father of the faithful by faith.

The holy city of Salem (long before the Israelite incursion into Canaan) represent a high place or Olympus which was a city of peace and solar spirituality that had triumphed over the feminine and degraded religions of the lesser peoples in the land.

Jesus, cleansing the temple with a whip, and appearing in Revelation with a sword coming out of his mouth, is likewise not "meek & mild".

Christianity is the victim of its own unfaithfulness.

What we need now is...something greater than Christianity is now.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Another take on America

Evola again on America.
The Americans are the living refutation of the Cartesian axiom, "I think, therefore I am": Americans do not think, yet they are. The American 'mind', puerile and primitive, lacks characteristic form and is therefore open to every kind of standardisation.

This reminds me very much of Ortega y Gasset's primal fear that America, far from representing "what was best in Europe" or being another focal point of civilization in a varied mode, actually was a barbarian superpower lacquered over with a thin veneer of technological apparatus.

America is not immune to history.

Raised Up and Cast Down
Archilochus, fragment 130 (tr. M.L. West):

It all depends upon the gods. Often enough, when men
are prostrate on the ground with woe, they set them up again;
and often enough, when men are standing proud and all seems bright,
they tip them over on their backs, and then they're in a plight—
a man goes wandering, short of bread, out of his mind with fright.

The same, tr. Guy Davenport:

Attribute all to the gods.
They pick a man up,
Stretched on the black loam,
And set him on his two feet,
Firm, and then again
Shake solid men until
They fall backward
Into the worst of luck,
Wandering hungry,
Wild of mind.

The text is uncertain. The following is from M.L. West, Iambi et Elegi Graeci, Vol. I, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971; rpt. 1998), p. 51, with his critical apparatus:

τοῖς θεοῖς †τ' εἰθεῖάπαντα· πολλάκις μὲν ἐκ κακῶν
ἄνδρας ὀρθοῦσιν μελαίνηι κειμένους ἐπὶ χθονί,
πολλάκις δ᾽ ἀνατρέπουσι καὶ μάλ᾽ εὖ βεβηκότας
ὑπτίους, κείνοις <δ'> ἔπειτα πολλὰ γίνεται κακά,
καὶ βίου χρήμηι πλανᾶται καὶ νόου παρήορος.

1 ita cod. S (hic unicus): ἰθεῖα (sc. δίκη) Hoffmann: τοι ῥεῖα Schneidewin invito metro: τέλεια Hommel (Gymn. 58, 1951, 219): alii alia: possis πείθοι' ἅπαντα

4 κείνοις Blaydes: κίνουσ᾽ S: κλίνουσ᾽ Valckenaer (postea interpungens) δ' addidi post h.v. lacunam stat. Meineke

5 χρήμη S: χρῄζων C. Gesnerus gravem suspicionem movet quod statim in secundo versu proximi excerpti (= Theodect. fr. 16) stant verba minime corrupta φήμη πλανᾶται

Economic Imperialism

It is long since that I realized that Walmart, Home Depot, and the like are the avatars of the “soft fascism” of which you speak. Somehow I have developed the impression that Rand was never quite as exercised over government-corporate collusion as she was over the bogeyman of “collectivism,” which is the brush with which social atomists tar every institution that transcends the individual -being precisely what public corporations do. Indeed, the law that gives to corporations the rights and prerogatives of individuals is one of the chief means by which the same have siezed the reins of the economy. In Rand’s magnum opus Atlas Shrugged, the enterprises which are to stand as exemplars of the operation of her economic principles are all privately-held companies (if I remember correctly) headed up by her erstwhile ubermenschen -including the very mannish, pants-wearing Dagney Taggart. Their amoral power religion is economic nihilism in action, despite the scent of “natural law” she wishes to impart such patent Darwinism. I’ve often remarked that Rand is nothing if not watered-down Nietzsche, sans the literary talent. Her books are low melodrama, and she was obviously stylistically influenced by television’s crudity and the mass-hypnotic cinema. In fact, she began her American career as an unsuccessful screenwriter.

Of course, even in Rand’s time, her portrayal of the corporation was disingenuous, and did not reflect the chief forces of the marketplace at work -forces which were engineered to undermine the operation of true market principles. Inter-corporate and public-private collusion literally defines the economic system of the United States in modern times. The social-economic insensitivity of the publicly-owned corporation is defining: the free play of economism, that is, the exclusion of all considerations other than profit maximization in economic activity, and the prioritization of economic values above all other values in society. This characteristic of corporations is practically guaranteed by public ownership. The drive for passive income (wealth without production or work) is at the heart of this historical anomaly.

We are deracinated in a way that disconnects us from our progeny. If we think of the future at all, we think of it either in private terms, or through the medium of that abstraction called “the people.” Oddly enough, the population of Europe tends to remain more fiscally conservative on a personal level than does that of North America, yet we think of Europe as “socialist.” Americans carry far more personal and household debt than do Europeans, and money is more cheaply gotten here than it is there. In Europe, there is something very shameful, still, about being deeply in debt. Thus we see that there are genuine psychological differences. The Americanization of Europe is eating away at these personal values. The “socialism” or “social democracy” of Europe is the result of the institutionalization of a kind of high sentimentalism that is but the degraded modern form of noblesse oblige. In America it is called “fairness,” a more egalitarian, classless term to be sure. Thus, America is headed down the path of a deeper and more profound economic fascism, while at the same time retaining none of the essential personal conservatism of the common European. It is a deadly combination. We are seeing the outworking of debt-based consumerism in our own generation. We no longer need speculate about its effects. Now the prevalent error among the intelligentsia is two-fold. One form of the error is progressivist: the expectation that public outlays from the printing presses can effect their utopia of “fairness.” The second and related error is to expect that putting in place certain controls short of a complete overturning of the “money powers” will avert the approaching catastrophe. Certain forms of Christianity contribute to this misapprehension through their post-millennial and ahistorical optimism. History has ended in this view, and man can only expect gradual improvement of conditions (economic and social) until we arrive at the Church’s millennium. Such thinking represents a profound misunderstanding of the biblical passages on which this eschatology is based. Super-added to this belief in “controls” (also referred to as fiscal conservatism) is the belief that the effects of our historical deviation from sanity will express themselves in a linear fashion as extrapolated from currently observed phenomema, whereas the hard reality is that a geometric or even exponential worsening of conditions is now almost certainly unavoidable -resulting from our abandonment of God’s laws, and our abandonment of restraints upon the money powers. God will not be mocked, and our fraudulent money economy will soon be seen for what it is -if it is not already. Domestically there still seems to be the continued belief in the nostrums offered by political charlatans. Overseas there is more realism.

You are correct to think of colonialism as nothing but trans-racial imperialism. Quigley has shown that it is no more than liberalism at work on a global scale, and was never animated by a sense of racial superiority, but rather by a sense of cultural-civilizational obligation. Rhodes and his circle were not race supremacists. They were “enlightened liberal globalists,” as you correctly point out. The program of “uplift” was intended to make of the African and Indian an equal within the white in the imperial project -which was a precursor to Lincoln’s notion of a “proposition nation” -that is, to be English is a matter of belief and not birth. All imperialists think this way of necessity. Imperialism is nothing more than the embassy of, the foreign policy of economism. Rudyard Kipling left us a literary record of this thinking in the “White Man’s Burden.”

Anonymous Correspondent

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Schuon has written an entire book on Christianity, which looks helpful. Schuon was not specifically Christian, although he remained a Christian (if you want that explained, leave a note). The argument that he and other traditionalists would make with dogmatic Christianity is that it is bifurcated, historically and from its earliest days, into dualism and subsequent "regressions" which lead progressively to the decay of our day, in which the inner meaning and intellectual content of the most sacred rituals are despised on the one hand, and lost on the other.

We have to recover this. And Christianity in its present form will not help.

Meanwhile, the Chinese have developed an interest in classical education, Leo Strauss, and Carl Schmitt. As well as Calvin. This does not bode well for the ultra-liberal West.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Friday, December 17, 2010

Religious Renaissance

This should be old news, but just a reminder from Alexander Nagel's review of Jörg Traeger's Renaissance und Religion: Die Kunst des Glaubens im Zeitalter Raphaels:
Richard Trexler said it three decades ago: "The pagan Renaissance is no more." One hundred years of scholarship since Burckhardt had made it clear, Trexler declared, that "Renaissance man remained a Christian, even a pious one."' Since then sociohistorical and anthropological approaches to the Renaissance have only confirmed the pervasive presence of religious traditions and institutions in the life of the period. Historians have argued that traditional piety was vital and functional right up until the Reformation, revising the traditional view of a corrupt and disintegrating Christian culture begging to be cleared away.

[H]istorians of Renaissance art no longer chronicle the progress of art away from religion. Instead they show, over and over again-in studies of family chapels and confraternities, of political self-representation and civic ritual-the various ways in which art was embedded in the elaborate structures that joined religious, social, and political life.
Got that?
"When the Way [the immediate connection to the spiritual] has been lost, virtue [in the sense of manliness and honor] remains. When virtue is lost, ethics remain; when ethics are lost, moralism remains. Moralism is the exteriorization of ethics and defines the principle of decline."
-from the Tao

Eh, it's simplistic. "Immediate connection to the spiritual", when it (allegedly) existed, got itself far too easily attached the prerogatives of any old authoritarian ruler. "The Way" is simply too close to "the way things are", which is, of course, "the way those who wield force have made things" (not to mention "the way those who serve those who wield force have claimed is the way things ought to be.") No matter. Everything will be taken apart and put back together (or
not) according to new structuring principles.
What principles?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sur le symbolisme Guénon est imbattable

"It must be admitted that the progressivists are not entirely wrong in thinking that there is something in religion which no longer works; in fact the individualistic and sentimental argumentation with which traditional piety operates has lost almost all its power to pierce consciences, and the reason for this is not merely that modern man is irreligious but also that the usual religious arguments, through not probing sufficiently to the depth of things and not having had previously any need to do so, are psychologically somewhat outworn and fail to satisfy certain needs of causality. If human societies degenerate on the one hand with the passage of time, they accumulate on the other hand experiences in virtue of old age, however intermingled with errors their experience may be; this paradox is something that any pastoral teaching should take into account, not by drawing new directives from the general error but on the contrary by using arguments of a higher order, intellectual rather than sentimental; as a result some at least would be saved -- a greater number than one might be tempted to suppose -- whereas the demagogic scientistic pastoralist saves no one."

The likes of Kurzweil are opposed to Tradition.

Guenon on St. Bernard.


Dulce et Decorum Est

What do they who honor sneer, of honor know?
Ask the dead. Or their brothers.

Reading the Brussels Journal on Guenon.

A good introduction for Protestants, although they will find much to disturb and alarm them.

Anyone familiar with Eric Voegelin’s usage of the same term will, however, recognize that Guénon frequently addresses the identical phenomenon of antinomian rebellion, motivated by libido dominandi and expressing itself in apocalyptic language, as addressed by Voegelin. Such self-aggrandizing rebellion, which would impose itself on the whole world, attempts to disguise its libidinousness under the banner of sweeping moral imperatives. Crusading slogans of this type make an appeal to the compensatory self-righteousness of the frustrated and resentful...Guénon even anticipates Voegelin in his assertion that radical preaching, whether for the advancement of socialism or for the disestablishment of authority, invariably employs “a sentimental and ‘consoling’ moralism,” just as in modern liberal oratory, with its parade of alleged victims of iniquity. Such “moralism” finds fertile ground in the varieties of Protestantism, especially in its Puritan offshoots, like Unitarianism. “The modernist mentality and the Protestant mentality,” Guénon writes, “differ only in nuance,” both being directed at an ancien régime, or religious establishment, denounced as intolerable; both being moralistic; and both being politically messianic.... In this way, by recruiting a large exoteric enrollment, the actual ruling minority provides itself with an instrument of willing drones and propagandists. Idealism finds its locus in the movement in the large following. The inner circle, by contrast, aware of its own manipulative character and jealous of its privileges, quickly becomes cynical if it were not so from the beginning; it extracts money from the membership and delegates to volunteers the workaday and unsavory tasks that it prefers not to undertake directly on its own. Gothic Christianity represents for Guénon a temporary positive “readjustment” to tradition. The so-called Renaissance, which follows the Middle Ages “was in reality not a rebirth but the death of many things,” so much so that in respect of the medieval mind modernity is “unable to understand its intellectuality.” Together the Renaissance and the Reformation correspond with “the disruption of Christendom” and they therefore together mark “the starting-point of the modern crisis” in a “definitive rupture with the traditional spirit. Guénon denounces “the pseudo-principle of… ‘equality,’” which as he says, “almost all of our contemporaries blindly accept.” Along with pseudo-principles there are “pseudo-ideas” such as “progress” and “democracy,” which have “nothing in common with the intellectual order.” These “false ideas” are, properly speaking, “suggestions,” rooted in sentiment, whose “contagious” character endows them with propagandistic effectiveness; these “verbalisms” are the “idols” of the contemporary masses. As for democracy, “The higher cannot proceed from the lower, because the greater cannot proceed from the lesser.” “The modern mentality… cannot bear any secret or even any reserve,” but “such things appear [to it] only as ‘privileges.’” The modern mentality again despises “any kind of superiority” of intellect or mastery because the fact that these things require preparation, capacity, and attunement “is just what ‘egalitarianism’ so obstinately denies.”


What is remarkable about Guenon (and other traditionalists) is that they seem to have an uncanny spiritual insight into the roots of the disorderly cancer that is devouring us alive, and hence, offer the possibility of at least understanding our fate in the latter "Days of Iron". It is important to note, here, that the heart of their critique is a positive and reactionary perception of Order which hinges on a truth that (in Davila's words) "will not die". Modern Christians, steeped in Jewish anti-intellectualism, would do well to turn on their minds in order that they can again think.


The music will lead where thought cannot find, but follow.

(thanks to J. Dietz)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Girard Again & Free Markets

Hayek write that in a free market the individual is recognized as “the ultimate judge of his ends,” and this means that cooperative actions among individuals arise from “coincidence of individual ends.” Social ends are “merely identical ends of many individuals – or ends to the achievement of which individuals are willing to contribute in return for the assistance they receive in the satisfaction of their own desires.”

This claim assumes, obviously enough, that we have desires that can be identified as “our own.” If Girard is right about the mimetic nature of desire, however, then desire is social. And if that’s true, then we can’t simply characterize social ends as a collection of individual ends, and we cannot characterize the individual’s contribution to social ends simply in terms of “satisfaction of [one's] own desire.” Hayek assumes, more fundamentally, that the individual is the basic unit of analysis, but if Girard is right, then the individual is always already infused with the social.

I’m sure there are economists out there working out the economic implications of Girardian anthropology.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dawn Treader Review

You read the best review here first.

Faust upon the Wold

Daniel P Goldman contemplates, one more time, what the meaning of Germany is, through the lens of Judaism. Germany & the fate of the Jews are intertwined. What the meaning of that fate is, the greatest thinkers and seers are yet powerless to completely fathom. Perhaps because there is a Jew in each German, and a German in every Jew, now more than ever, and not merely ethnically, the two must eventually make a peace, over the embers of the world. So much of the modern world flows from this quarrel & friendship that one is left to wonder what else there is to say. And yet, because of the nature of the quarrel, there must be more. And because of the nature of that quarrel in particular, there will always be more. Man will forever reclaim the infinite, and the infinite lays claim to him. It is time to bury the dead, or better, let them bury themselves. We seek not just an eternal God, but an eternal home & people & an eternal self. Or, should I say, it is I who seek all things, and all things which answer me. Surely nothing but a god put this wound into the breast of man.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sol Invictus

There is something that has not been told of Rome. People re-imagine it every day, it is quite popular now. Why is it that heroes like Robin Hood, and dreams of Empire, such as Rome, are popular in the mass culture? I don't mean popular on MTV, but popular in a persistent & unique way.

Ernest Renan believed that had Christianity not swept over the Empire, Mithra's Cult would have become the dominant religion of Rome.

It was especially popular among the Legions, where Christianity was also popular. The soldiers were under no illusions about the future of civilization without something "higher" to stabilize it.

One wonders if what Christianity needs desperately today is a revival of Mithric influence (what might have been) in initiatic & aristocratic or militaristic forms, upon the rotting corpse of Christ's Church.

Some are beginning to think the same.

The Ghosts of the Past circle us like the shadows of gloom, which will master us, or we them.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dead Leaves

Why must the past be remembered to be understood, let alone loved? Probably because man is a creature of the ages, of eternity, as Koheleth teaches (3:14-15). It is why Finkelkraut attempted to summon up the ghost of Benda, for instance. It is interesting that man cannot dismiss the past. Even when it is dismissed, it looms. Modern man is defensive about the past. Criminally so.

The past comes floating up to my still, green pool, unfettered by the death of ages. The refuse of our glittering age, such dead leaves speak to me still, of what was, and is, and might have been. One such volume which pick through is a commentary on Tennyson picked up for $2 at a library book sale. It is pre-World War I, and its author was mocked by the new teachers at Oxford like FR Leavis (who would ever study under someone named Leavis?). After Leavis came the Interregnum, and then women, and then those who hate England, such as Achebe, with his xenotic-racist and uncomprehending lectures on Conrad. Death comes not with Death, but with those who would cheat it. Those mocked by the new scholars will endure, and the scraps of faded leaves from the past will (one day) overturn the tower of Babel. Even such a tiny link in the chain as Bradley.

Santayana is worth quoting:

Imaginative Reconstruction

George Santayana, "Moral Symbols in the Bible," in The Idler and his Works, and Other Essays, ed. Daniel Cory (1957; rpt. Freeport: Books for Libraries Press, 1969), pp. 152-178 (at 153-154):
If you open any ancient book, even the oldest in existence, you are at once confronted by a finished language, a multitude of assumed persons and things, a full-fledged pantheon, and a current morality. Thus history begins by plunging, like the approved epic, in medias res. We have no means of going further back; and in order to understand the background of the earliest records our one resource is to read on. Gradually the uses of words will reveal their acceptation: the persons named, by their attributions and conduct, will disclose their character; and we shall come to know the world we read of as we have in a measure unraveled the world in which we live, by gradual acquaintance and shrewd hypothesis. Every feature in an ancient document and in the life it describes is a symbol which we must endeavor to interpret. It is an expression the significance of which we have to reconstruct, a result the causes and meaning of which we have to discover.

In the Bible we find many such symbols standing for things easily recognized and familiar to every age: words for sun, moon, horse, bread, water. Yet even here much imaginative reconstruction is needed if we wish to render back to those names the full resonance they had in antiquity. Who but a poet could ever say what the moon was to the shepherds of Asia, or the horse or the well to men who lived in the desert?
Unless all the poets are dead forever, we shall know what they meant in the ancient books.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


An argument against "nostalgia" for the past.

"There is an element of cultural and religious slumming involved, one that has its origins in petit-bourgeois malaise concerning the monotony of modern life. We have tricked ourselves into thinking that our daily life is so boring, so full of tedium, that something needs to step in to provide us with a means to escape it. Most people alleviate this by spending or buying something. Look only to the structure of television commercials: you can eat/drink/acquire this and you will be both satiated and healthy, indulging and responsible, etc. Those of more exotic tastes (the market is always pleased to indulge any taste as long as you have the money) will delve into other opportunities for personal fulfillment. These include exercises in medieval piety, Eastern monasticism, meditation, Gregorian chant, monarchist politics and other less popular boutique items. Instead of going to the pound and finding a dog or a cat for a pet, some people go to the zoo or a llama farm. Some people want a chinchilla; some want a goat. The mechanism is the same: find yourself in something that you can acquire outside of yourself in order to continue to blissfully ignore the social relations that actually govern your life. These are not exercises in wisdom but rather in self-deception through self-absorption."

I agree with this critique, yet "nostalgia" must always be part of the arsenal of the good life, for it lies buried in the present, and to what else can one appeal to exercise the lost art of memory?

"Man has to love the past in order to remember it." ~ Valentin Tomberg

Christopher Lasch points out in the magisterial Once & Future Heaven (A History of Progress) that "nostalgia" is the only category for the past which "moderns" are capable of conceiving. That is, they simply cannot imagine a people or person or nation or entity with more than a sentimental connection to the past (which was not morally wrong or even evil). Anything else is "fascism". This (of course) virtually abnegates the entire corpus of Western canonical literature (eg., Wordsworth, Samuel Johnson, Samuel Coleridge, Bossuett, etc. to pick a few notable examples). I would argue that (from any "realistic" standpoint) man has to be able to connect past and future and present. If he is unable or unwilling to do so, spiritual death results.

William Watson, Home-Rootedness:
I cannot boast myself cosmopolite;
I own to "insularity," although
'Tis fall'n from fashion, as full well I know.
For somehow, being a plain and simple wight,
I am skin-deep a child of the new light,
But chiefly am mere Englishman below,
Of island-fostering; and can hate a foe,
And trust my kin before the Muscovite.
Whom shall I trust if not my kin? And whom
Account so near in natural bonds as these
Born of my mother England's mighty womb,
Nursed on my mother England's mighty knees,
And lull'd as I was lull'd in glory and gloom
With cradle-song of her protecting seas?