Tha Crìosd air èiridh!
The Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal has a short piece from Kirk that is included in The Politics of Prudence: “Ten Conservative Principles.” They are worth reading and embracing. For the most part, the principles are timeless reminders of what constitutes a healthy political community, though the wording appears somewhat dated. The tenth principle, “the thinking conservative understands that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society,” is and will always be just as true as when Kirk first penned it, but the argument is somewhat more defensively labored than what would be necessary today. The enemies of civilization—of the enduring moral order—have won battle after battle for the last century. Yet, their success has revealed to the perspicacious the emptiness of progress.
Perhaps I am wrong, but I think that the postmodern twits have a point when they claim that contemporary man has lost his faith in the wisdom of experts to construct a progressive utopia. A few generations ago, almost all educated people disagreed with Kirk. The future would open up for us the gates of a pleasure paradise, natural science would answer all questions, and technology would resolve all problems. Who believes such now? For they seem like ridiculous fairy tales from a more naïve age. The success of the New Man has made dystopia far more believable. Who would have guessed our current state in A.D. 1960? We have personal computers, the internet, and cellular phones, and they are remarkable, but we are not anywhere close to the projected “advanced” state of which futurists dreamed. Even our current crop of starry eyed fideists of the future have lost patience with mankind. These “transhumanists” appear to be closest in spirit to the ambitious masters of nature before the West committed suicide, but their Zion is one without man, at least in his current form. Where has the full bodied, optimistic futurist gone? The far sighted no longer dream but live in anticipation of waking nightmares.
How difficult it is for us to learn necessary lessons. It seems that man must be continually reminded that the wages of sin is death.
Christus is opgestaan!
Last week, I alluded to John Derbyshire’s firing by The National Review over “The Talk: Nonblack Version” in Taki’s Magazine. In it, Derbyshire notes the post-Trayvon media coverage of “The Talk” that black parents give their sons, which mainly consists of telling them to beware of the Man who is keeping them down. Derbyshire then shares “The Talk” that whites—or at least the ones not ridden by the Left’s spiritual maladies—give to their children. Derbyshire counsels his children to follow statistical common sense:
(10) Thus, while always attentive to the particular qualities of individuals, on the many occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences, use statistical common sense:
(10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.
(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.
(10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date (neglect of that one got me the closest I have ever gotten to death by gunshot).
(10d) Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.
(10e) If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible.
(10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.
(10g) Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white.
(10h) Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.
(10i) If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.
Regular readers and listeners of Derbyshire would not have found the piece odd; Derbyshire has always been frank in his commentary. He makes no secret that he is what the underground Right terms a “race realist”—political dogma does not blind his empirical faculties. Indeed, I have often been surprised by how lenient the political wussies at The National Review were with Derbyshire. I had the faint hope that beneath the craven qualifications of their “conservative” positions, the editors actually held rightwing sympathies and allowed Derbyshire to write honestly about matters that they were too timid to address openly. Unfortunately—no. Even the resident conservative at the magazine, Andrew McCarthy, shows himself to be an inconsistent liberal. McCarthy comments on “The Corner”:
I would prefer not to comment on NR’s cutting ties with Derb, but alas …
Long before I had anything to do with National Review, I was envious of Derb’s talent as a writer and thinker. Over the last few years, I’ve gotten to know him a bit. He is charming, fiercely witty company. All that said, racialism is noxious regardless of who practices it. It is wrong that what is a day at the office for the Left’s racialists becomes a hanging offense in Derb’s case. But that is a summons to disgust over the former, not a defense of the latter.
We believe in the equal dignity and presumption of equal decency toward every person — no matter what race, no matter what science tells us about comparative intelligence, and no matter what is to be gleaned from crime statistics. It is important that research be done, that conclusions not be rigged, and that we are at liberty to speak frankly about what it tells us. But that is not an argument for a priori conclusions about how individual persons ought to be treated in various situations — or for calculating fear or friendship based on race alone. To hold or teach otherwise is to prescribe the disintegration of a pluralistic society, to undermine the aspiration of E Pluribus Unum.
Yes, NR is a journal of opinion, and that entails vigorous disagreement about countless things. But that has never meant all opinions are equally entitled to exploit this platform — or, in Derb’s case, his connection to this platform. He is not being silenced: NR is not the government, I don’t believe the magazine is responding to any sort of government pressure, and what has happened here has nothing to do with the First Amendment. Derb remains free to express his views and he’ll surely find a market for them. But NR is equally free to say: Not here.
I am sorry to see it happen, but I don’t think NR can be blamed for emphatically distancing itself from opinions people here find more harmful than illuminating.
I have much respect for McCarthy, but his words sadden me. As the most conservative, thoughtful writer remaining at America’s “flagship” conservative magazine, I expected more of him. McCarthy has uncritically digested the standard leftist slop—from their revisionism of what E Pluribus Unum means to his acceptance of the ever decreasing range of “acceptable discourse” that the leftist tyranny of perennial offense entails, as fellow National Review writer Mark Steyn notes. At least, McCarthy formulates an argument for why he thinks that Derbyshire is wrong. The typical reaction has been apoplectic spasms that do not address the facts or arguments that Derbyshire offers. In this, McCarthy shows that he remains a man—a wrong man, but still a man.
When I first read McCarthy’s statement, I immediately wondered how he could reject treating strangers according to general knowledge about the groups to which they belong. McCarthy has spent the last decade as America’s Cassandra regarding Mohammedan terrorism, and yet he fails to see his inconsistency. Most Mohammedans who visit and live in America are peaceful. Most of them (or a large minority) probably disagree with terrorism as a means to promote Mohammedan ends. Yet, the percentage of Mohammedans who participate in or support terrorism is much higher than that of the general American population. Hence, it is reasonable to focus on Mohammedans in counter-terrorism efforts. Such employs statistical practical reason. It is what we do every day when we notice patterns and make decisions based on those patterns. Liberals call this prejudice. Indeed, when I notice that metal glows red, like burners on a stove, even a stove that I have never before seen, I prejudge that the metal is hot. When I see a strange dog’s snarling, I prejudge that it might bite me. Scientists employ the same method in a more exacting manner. When nutritionists advise people to consume certain foods or to avoid others, in more or less amounts, they are using statistical reasoning. When physicians state that cigarette smoking contributes to cancer and lung disease, they do not thereby claim that all or even most smokers have or will get cancer or lung disease. Yet, the evidence shows that smoking significantly increases those risks. McCarthy and the millions of well intended liberals like him must be able to understand this principle, and yet they fail to apply it in certain cases where they have been brainwashed to cease the rational exercise of their minds.
When I looked at Auster’s coverage, I saw that my thoughts were shared by at least some conservatives. I especially recommend “Derbyshire’s accomplishment” at View from the Right. In addition to the statistical reasoning that Derbyshire invokes, commentator James P. mentions group dynamics, which McCarthy refuses to acknowledge:
Andrew McCarthy stated at National Review:
We believe in the equal dignity and presumption of equal decency toward every person—no matter what race, no matter what science tells us about comparative intelligence, and no matter what is to be gleaned from crime statistics. It is important that research be done, that conclusions not be rigged, and that we are at liberty to speak frankly about what it tells us. But that is not an argument for a priori conclusions about how individual persons ought to be treated in various situations—or for calculating fear or friendship based on race alone. To hold or teach otherwise is to prescribe the disintegration of a pluralistic society, to undermine the aspiration of E Pluribus Unum.
The assumption behind his conclusion is that group or national behavior is simply the sum total of all the individual behaviors. This is clearly untrue. Humans behave differently as groups (or as nations) than they do as individuals—that is why the field of “group dynamics” exists. For example, in Western countries, individual Westerners generally treat individual Muslims with dignity and decency, and many individual Muslims are of course decent and well-behaved. Nevertheless, the immigration of large groups of Muslims (as well as other alien groups) has created undeniable problems in many Western countries despite this decent, dignified behavior on the individual level. The unfortunate fact is that the prescription that “individuals should treat individuals with dignity and decency” is not scalable to the national level. The sum total result of millions of alien immigrants, most of whom deserve, receive, and reciprocate decent treatment, is not a harmonious, pluralistic society. Instead, the result is significant social stress, racial and ethnic tension, and the formation of competing, self-segregated groups—this is observable in every country that permits large-scale immigration! Far from promoting E pluribus unum, the precept that we have to treat groups the same way that we treat individuals is actively leading to the very disintegration of pluralistic society that McCarthy fears, not least because this precept inhibits honest assessment of the impact of immigration and domestic policies such as education.
James’s point is one of the most important that can be made, yet it is also one that is still not understood at all. The opposite falsehood to James’s truth is still what is universally believed in the West today. Well-meaning Western people such as Andrew McCarthy instinctively recoil from any generalized negative statements about groups, because they see that as a violation of the moral imperative to treat all human beings as individuals. They are looking at reality through a wrong model. When a society considers allowing a mass immigration from another culture, the proper question ceases to be, “How shall I as an individual treat another individual who happens to be of a different racial/cultural background from myself?”, and becomes, “What is going to be the effect on our society of this culturally and racially different group”? But Western society never asks itself this question, because it still sees the situation through the filter of relationships between individuals.
In the same way, when a white person in today’s society finds himself in a black environment, such as the white man standing on a Baltimore street recently, the pertinent question is not, “How shall I deal with individuals?”, but “How are blacks as a group likely to treat a white man who has naively wandered into their neighborhood and is standing there on the sidewalk with a distracted expression on his face?” What is likely to happen to a such a white man in a black neighborhood is radically different from what is likely to happen to him in a white neighborhood or a Japanese neighborhood.
McCarthy’s mid-20th century, Eleanor Roosevelt-style liberal idealism leaves him totally unequipped to grapple with such questions, or even to see the palpable facts of black group and individual behavior. Presumably he reads the news media and has come across the constant news stories of black savage behavior (though of course the word “black” is almost never used in such stories). But he hasn’t taken it in, because it doesn’t fit his liberal model of a world of individuals whose race doesn’t matter. He therefore recoils from and condemns Derbyshire’s highly relevant warnings.
Commentator James N. adds:
This is one of the most important, and difficult, discussions I’ve read on VFR. The distinction between judging (or pre-judging) an individual as an individual, versus reacting to him as a member of a group, seems simple at first, but for Americans born after WW II it is actually quite difficult. I think this is because we grew up in a world where group identification produced particular, visible injustices to certain individuals, whose stories became well-known.
The result has been, through a kind of mental judo, that minorities can now CHOOSE when and by whom that want to be judged as individuals, and when as members of a group. Obviously, most choose whatever mode is advantageous at any particular point in time.
“Celebrate diversity” is a conscious appeal to group identities. It is precisely group characteristics we are called on to “celebrate” (tolerate). But woe betide if our “celebration” touches an individual in a disagreeable way. THAT is forbidden.
Derbyshire responds to his critics in “Talking Back” in Taki’s Magazine. He addresses the most prominent criticism of his article:
Be a bad Samaritan! Setting aside the hordes of lunatics who descended on the piece, among thoughtful and largely sympathetic commentators—the only ones I give a fig about—the item of advice most often objected to was:
(10h) Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.
Christians thought this un-Christian, but even people commenting from no religious position thought it was unkind and constituted poor citizenship.
I’m going to do a bit of “on-the-one-hand, on-the-other” havering here. You ready to wobble?
On one hand, I wish I had elaborated some on that, to the effect that in view of not-uncommon outcomes such as the one to which I linked, you just need to be a whole lot more wary about acting the Good Samaritan when the distressed traveler is black (even if you yourself are black). One can think of cases where you should act anyway, but in most situations, I’d still recommend double caution.
On the other hand, the context here is advice to kids. Deciding which situation says, “Stay out of this!” and which says, “Help the guy” requires an act of judgment. Kids don’t have very good judgment; so a blanket “Stay out of this!” is not bad advice in context.
Auster writes that his initial response to Derbyshire’s controversial advice was, “Of course.” Such was my response, too. However, my family and I have at times not taken this advice, but we certainly were wary. The unwary end up robbed, raped, mutilated, and/or dead.
Derbyshire also mentions our prejudice toward the weather, which occurred to me, as well, when I thought about McCarthy’s comment:
I don’t know why people have so much difficulty thinking statistically, as we behave statistically all the time. The sky is overcast; I have to go out to an event where I’ll be in the open; I take an umbrella. If, after all, it does not rain, do I feel like an idiot for having taken the umbrella? Of course not. I yielded to my inner statistician. I went with the percentages. We all do it a dozen times a day. It’s statistical common sense. The trouble-free black neighborhood is the rain-free overcast day: It happens a lot, but take that umbrella.
And that is why liberals are all wet!
Seriously, liberalism makes one blind, stupid, incoherent, careless, and vulnerable. It is a fitting cult for a suicidal nation.
60 Minutes ran an informative and timely story about the Christian exodus from the Holy Land earlier in the week: “Christians of the Holy Land.”
You may also wish to watch the “overtime” addition: “The last Christian village in the Holy Land.”
On George Michalopulos’ site, there has been a lively discussion about the program, with links to Christians United for Israel and to a letter in the Wall Street Journal, “Israel Really Isn’t All That Friendly to Its Christians.” Having much interest in the issue, I shared the following comments:
Thank you for the link. The segment was certainly not a “hit piece,” and Fr. John’s criticism is not “anti-semitic.” I thought that the news segment was balanced and that it interviewed very insightful people. The Palestinian problem is a classic lose-lose, everyone-is-screwed microcosm of the human condition. Our melodramatic media overuse the term, but here it is quite appropriate — the situation is a tragedy.
Most Israelis want to live in peace, but they are surrounded by a much larger hostile population.
Most Palestinians want to live in peace, but the occupied status of the West Bank leaves them in a perpetual political limbo.
Palestinian Christians leave principally for economic reasons, yes, but the occupation is the main cause of poor economic conditions. Trade is difficult through walls and across militarized borders.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, Christians suffer Mohammedan persecution. In the West Bank, this doesn’t seem to be a major problem. Perhaps the kinship between Palestinian Mohammedans and Christians minimizes that hostility, or perhaps they have gotten along because they see the Israelis as a larger threat. An outside force makes friendship easy — from Sparta and Athens to Mao and Chiang Kai-shek — just as all human beings would lay aside our squabbles instantly if hostile aliens ever visited our planet.
When I visited the West Bank last year, I only experienced anti-Christian sentiment once. As I was leaving the monastery on the Mount of Temptation with my mother and three Russian ladies, some teenagers threw rocks at us from above. The steward explained that local youths often hurl stones at pilgrims. Besides that, people were extraordinarily cordial (I cannot exaggerate how welcoming) in Jericho. We also visited Bethlehem, Ramallah, and Hebron. Everywhere we went, the locals were happy to see us, knowing that we were Christians and Americans. On several occasions, folks told us, non-sequitur, that Palestinians are not terrorists and that Moslems don’t hate Americans, even though that is what we (Americans) hear on our television. That was awkward, but interesting.
Similarly, we were treated well by Israeli Arabs and Jews in Israel proper. Even in the middle of the mess, most folks are decent and hospitable to strangers. Maybe the divisions in Israeli society lead them to be so welcoming to outsiders. It was clear that everyone wanted to “represent” well in front of us as Americans. Indeed, the only rude Mohammedans whom we met were the pushy cleric in the Hebron mosque and the patriarch’s shriner-looking henchman in the Church of the Resurrection.
My favorite political graffiti from the separation wall was a slogan that I saw in Ramallah: “One Wall, Two Prisons.” It captures the truth well.
What to do about it?
People criticize the Israelis for being like Afrikaaner run South Africa, but I wish that they would follow a road not taken by the South Africans. First, there should be a joint call for repentance and forgiveness. Then, I think that a one state solution would be best — make the occupied territories part of Israel and make the Palestinians Israeli citizens. The Palestinians were conquered. That’s history. Now, let’s move on. If a Palestinian does not want Israeli citizenship, then he may sell his property and emigrate to Jordan or wherever. Only such a solution would allow the Israelis to maintain order while also allowing for human cultural and economic flourishing in the West Bank — without walls.
Both the Jews and the Palestinians would have to give up their dream of their own exclusive ethnostates. More power would have to devolve to localities. On the national level is where the proposed but not implemented South African model comes in. Israel would remain a Jewish hegemony . . . a Jewish homeland was and will always be Israel’s main purpose. The principle of one man, one vote threatens that identity, and it is the main reason that Israelis oppose the true annexation of the occupied territories. If we chucked dogmatic liberalism, though, a stable multiethnic, religiously diverse state that respected Jewish hegemony would become possible. There could be a constitutional order that represented all groups in various ways. For instance, a certain percentage of the Knesset could be reserved for Jews and another for Arabs. Maybe, minority ethnic and religious groups like Christians, Druze, Bedouins, and others could have some special representation. The president and prime minister would have to be Jews.
Israel should also actively welcome Arab Christians from the West and from Arab states where they suffer persecution to settle as a buffer population. If the Israelis got rid of liberal electoral principles, such immigration would not be a demographic threat. The Christians’ arrival would also lessen resentment toward Jewish immigrants (“settlers”) who are reclaiming the desert.
Finally, the secular Israelis need to face religious reality. The future of their state is a religious one; the atheistic socialists will die out. There should be some formal state sanctioned meeting of Jewish, Christian, and Mohammedan religious leaders wherein they promote peace and justice in Israel in the name of God rather than war, strife, and hatred.
Later, Mr. Michalopulos suggested that we should have left the Ottomans in control, a historical road not taken to which I replied:
I am shocked! Have you been belittling your tribe for so long that you overlook the best scenario — the resurrection of the Christian Empire? Now that the Omogenia is having such a difficult time, we could give them all cushy bureaucratic jobs paid for by the Levant’s black gold. This fantasy would solve so many problems:
* Defection of Orthodox states from the godless E.U.
* Return of the Greek Orthodox Church to Constantinople so the E.P. would be a real Church, again.
* Guaranteed religious freedom (within reason, of course) and holy sites access throughout the Middle East for Christians, rabbinical Jews, and Mohammedans.
* Forced peace between Jews and Arabs.
* End of Christian persecution and emigration.
* Aggressive campaign for Christian Arabs, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Armenians, and such to return from the West, where their families quickly assimilate into the hedonistic lifestyle and their daughters dress like tacky whores. Possible slogan: “Move back; keep Anastasia, Sophia, and Eftihia from becoming sluts.”
* Return of economic vitality to the cradle of civilization, fueled by natural resources (rather than having them wasted by silver car driving despots and their Gucci wearing harems).
* Killing the millet mentality and seeing the end of ethnocentric ecclesial politics in our Churches in the area (Greeks will get their power trips in the bureaucracy, leaving the Church for real churchmen).
* Finally getting some important conciliar work done.
* Freeing Antioch from their dhimmi Stockholm Syndrome.
* Rebuilding the Nea in grand fashion. The Church of the Resurrection would be restored to its former glory.
* Finally, the Temple Mount would be open to all Abrahamic faiths for use on a shared basis. If the Church of the Resurrection can be shared, so can the Dome of the Rock. If the Mohammedans behave themselves, they may keep Al-Aqsa. If not, why not bring back an ecumenical version of the Templars . . .
Of course, it is far fetched. So would have the Paschal celebrations in Christ the Savior Cathedral seemed just forty years ago. History is a quirky and surprising thing.
If I had the emperor’s ear, I would suggest more controversial measures, as well:
* I would demand that the Latin and Armenian patriarchs pack their bags or agree to demote themselves to vicariate bishops with responsibilities for the Latin and Armenian populaces. Of course, we are not in communion, but we can take steps . . .
* The Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre would be given chief use of the Church of the Resurrection and other jointly administered sites in the Holy Land with the understanding that they are to share them with Rome and the non-Chalcedonians.
* I would sponsor the development of a “Mosaic rite” for Christian Jews who want to retain their Hebraic identity and practices. Imagine Messianic Judaism without Protestant heresy. They would get a nice temple in the Jewish Quarter—maybe the rebuilt Nea. They would be the primary instrument to show the rabbinical Jews that Christians do not aim for their destruction. See “Ann and the Jews” for some additional thoughts about rabbinical antipathy toward the gospel.
If missionary activity were allowed, not to mention encouraged, in the Middle East, I imagine that many Mohammedans would convert to Christianity. Lack of exposure to the gospel and fear of death for apostasy keep them in the dark. How the Crescent will peacefully fall in the Holy Land when competition with the Cross is allowed. Consider negroid Africa as a precedent (well, perhaps not peacefully . . .) So, too, would the desert go—and return to Christendom after a very long night.
Сегодня Радоница. Enjoy the feast.
My publishing platform records “referrers” so that I can see which pages link to mine or which search terms people use to find my site. Thus, I see that on (Orthodox) Holy Friday, someone performed a Google search with the terms “coming of age boy movies with nude frontals.” The linked page that welcomed the pederastic visitor was “Boy Movies,” which I posted in honor of my nephew’s fourteenth birthday. Whenever I find such referrals, I search for the terms in the post. There is no “nude,” but Google has a clever system. I wrote of Lord of the Flies:
I’ll include the two film adaptations of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies by Peter Brook and Harry Hook because boyhood is not a romanticized Norman Rockwell experience. Men are largely wicked, and children are even more irrational and appetite-driven than men. They may not be as depraved as human beings who have, with more time, sunk ever deeper into vicious mire, but their innocence has more to do with the lack of power and opportunity than with inherent virtue. Both films depict this disturbing trait in mankind with their “boy as naked man” idea wherein human beings, when stripped of tradition, culture, law, and the inherited rules of society, act like beasts. I appreciate the full frontal attack on Rousseauian stupidity.
I wonder if the Googler was disappointed or enlightened.
Most perverted referrals link to one of the Marian posts in my Music domain. My guess is that “Virgin” fits the search engine’s goal.
I did an I.P. search and found that my visitor was not from San Fran’s Castro District but from Grand Prairie, Texas. Texas! I looked up the town near Dallas and found that its percentage of whites has decreased to half of what it was in the previous census—from 62% in A.D. 2000 to 29% in A.D. 2010. Maybe, hebephilia and online porn are not good recipes for population sustainability.
I would like to wish my Orthodox readers a good feast for Palm Sunday and my western readers a joyous Pascha over the weekend.
If you still have not yet read Pamela Druckerman’s “Why French Parents Are Superior” in The Wall Street Journal, I highly recommend it. Having lived with a French family as a teenager and having studied in Paris in college, I readily attest to Druckerman’s observations of French superiority. The French criticize Anglo-Saxon parenting by remarking that among us, l’enfant est roi.
I find the “child centered” lifestyle of most Americans quite horrifying. I know that the mothers and fathers who indulge their little demon spawn do so from love, but they are mistaken. Such parenting produces ugly, self centered, and weak souls in their children, and I suspect that it has negative consequences for the parents themselves. Belittling oneself continuously by always submitting to one’s inferior must deface and pervert the soul. Moreover, I wonder if the misery of being a slave to one’s children contributes to the low fertility rates of Anglophone societies. Of course, such social suicide is related to feminism’s ascendency, but perhaps there is a connection to doting, servile parenting, too. Maybe, working mothers feel guilty about neglect and attempt to compensate by letting little Johnny get his way. Perhaps, emasculated fathers no longer feel confident in establishing and enforcing the proper order of authority in their households. One might argue that the French have embraced the same feminism, as well, but such is not quite true. Women’s “liberation” differs considerably in France, as does French egalitarianism. The Channel really does separate worlds.