Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Poetic Core of Western Civilization

“The shift from a fairy-tale appreciation of the Faith as a concrete, personal, earth-shattering experience, to a derivative, philosophical system is subtle and slow but devastating in its effects when it takes hold.”

Arnold Lunn thought it was the truth and the way; Alan Tate thought it was a curse and a blessing; and my college religion professor thought that, love it or hate it, it was the Western tradition. All three men were referring to rationalism.

I concede that rationalism is part of the Western tradition, but I would dispute that it is at the core of the Western tradition. Philosophical speculation has ever been with us, but it is only the philosophical speculators who tell us their speculations are the Western tradition.

Excluding the philosophical speculators who put their speculations into poetic form, such as Dante and Dryden, I would claim that it is the poets who represent the core of the Western tradition. As Walter Scott says: “The marvels and miracles, which the poet blends with his song, do not exceed in number or extravagance the figments of the historians of the same period of society; and, indeed, the difference betwixt poetry and prose as the vehicles of historical truth is always of late introduction. Poets under various denominations of Bards, Scalds, Chroniclers, and so forth, are the first historians of all nations.”

All civilizations start with a poetic core. In the ancient Greek civilization, for instance, the spirit and ethos of their civilization was articulated by Homer. Gradually, over time, philosophical speculators such as Socrates and Plato chipped away at that poetic core until the core was no longer at the center of Greek civilization. The poetic core was pushed to the periphery, and philosophical speculation moved to the core.

When speculative philosophy or rationalism is at the center of your civilization, your civilization has ceased to be a civilization. Many of the external forms might remain, but at heart your society has died. Sexual excess replaces pietas, and an obsession with legalese or bureaucratic minutia replaces gen-uine concern for truth and justice. In short, you have “a ghastly mess,” and your civilization is ready to be absorbed by a civilization that does have a poetic core. Such was the case with Greece when it was absorbed by Rome, and such was the case with Rome when it was absorbed by the Europeans. Which brings us to the people and the civilization that was (and is) the subject of these wars.

The modern right-wingers, such as Kevin Strom and Charles Maurras, err when they seek to return to the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome. Those civilizations were sick with rationalism at the time of their demise. It is the integral, full-blooded Christianity of the early Europeans that needs to be restored. It seems that rationalism works like cancer cells. A healthy body always has a few, but so long as they are few in number, they don’t destroy the body. When the cancer cells start to multiple, and the body treats them as normal and the non-cancerous cells as outcasts, the body dies.

The fairy tales of our civilization always include evil wizards and witches who seek to interact with demons and bend the natural world to their will in order to compete on an equal level with God. These men and women were seen, in the old fairy tales, for what they were: evil men and women. Such is not the case today. We are a whole society of wizards and witches. The integral European, be he king, yeoman, or peasant, would react with horror at the thought of a kingdom dominated by witches and wizards. But now the witches and demons rule, and none dare call them evil.

It matters not whether they profess to be born again or to be members of the Roman Catholic Church; if they smile at or participate in the anti-European invasion, they are not Christians. In the novel, Count Robert of Paris, which is set in Greece, Walter Scott depicts a Greek philosopher who desires to subvert the Christian Byzantine empire and reestablish it under sounder philosophical principles. Midway through the novel, Agelastes, the philosopher, gives his apologia for the primacy of philosophy over religious superstition. He derides the Greek gods as childish and unrefined and the Christian God as barbaric and juvenile. Pure, unadulterated reason is the only antidote, he maintains, for such blatant lies and superstitions. And Agelaste’s beliefs, put less bluntly now but essentially the same, are the beliefs of modern Europeans. They treat the ancient Christian faith as a childish fairy tale and expound a newer, philosophical Christianity that suites the improved rational man of today.

Both Lunn and Chesterton speak lovingly of the rationalist revolution ushered in by St. Thomas Aquinas. Why? We should be happy because we are now allowed to replace the God-man with rational discourse and demonology? At the poetic core of old Europe was Christ. At the core of the new civilization is Satan, for he always takes center stage when rationalism reigns.

It is no coincidence that black and Aztec civilizations are now highly esteemed by the West and older white civilizations are despised. Since the West has become demonic, it worships other demon civilizations and hates its Christian past. Satan never had to worry about controlling Aztec and voodoo cultures; they were always his; it was the European culture that scared him. Now he has conquered that one, not by a direct frontal attack, but through the old slight of hand game called philosophical speculation.

In keeping with their new satanic religion, the European people have opened their countries up to the devilish cultures of color. It’s as if they couldn’t quite manage the demolition job alone and needed the help of some sturdy, stout lads of color. And that type of help will always be available. Of course, there might be some weeping when the men and women of the West find out that the material comforts they have enjoyed cannot be indefinitely sustained when the culture that produced those comforts is destroyed.

There is very little Christianity left in the Europeans. We can accurately gauge just how little is left by finding out how individual Europeans feel about the wholesale destruction of the old European culture. If they are completely in favor of the new multiracial world order, then they have no Christianity left in them. It matters not whether they profess to be born again or to be members of the Roman Catholic Church; if they smile at or participate in the anti-European invasion, they are not Christians. For Christianity is a religion of pietas and of depth; it is not a religion for the superficial, “give the world a Coke” crowd.

Satan always comes as the philosophical speculator, the great dialectician. “Why not eat the apple – you won’t die. That’s just silly, superstitious nonsense.” But Satan never penetrated to the core of Christendom until St. Thomas provided him with an entrance pass. Then, starting on the periphery, he wormed his way to the very center.

I think the most overt signs that Satan was gradually gaining ascendancy over Christendom showed up in the nineteenth century. It was in that century that capitalism, Darwinism, Freudianism, and Marxism, all logical outgrowths of the Thomistic revolution, became something more than just fringe movements. But it must also be said that the Christians of that century fought back heroically, interiorizing and deepening the Christian faith as in no other century. It wasn’t until the latter half of the 20th century that the Christian counterattack ceased.

All the countries of Europe have been and are currently participating in the great betrayal of sacred Europe. But the United States is the beacon light of the antichrist:

Send me your Aztecs and your blacks,
Your hate-filled masses yearning to murder and destroy,
We’ll shine our light upon the Wal-Mart cluttered shores,
And spew hatred upon all that once was held so dear.

There is one sentiment that the blood-gutted pagan cultures have never known and the philosophical speculating Satanic culture now disdains, and that is the emotion, which only a Christian of blood feels, that rises up in a soul when he sees his child being threatened. It is a sentiment that includes the desire to protect one’s own, but it goes deeper still. It is a heavenly fury.

And it is the Christ Child Himself who is now threatened. He lies helpless in the manger with ravenous wolves all around him. Yes, He is the Lord, but that part of his divinity that depends on our humanity is in mortal danger. The incarnate Christ Child is being ripped to shreds every time the culture of the Christian hearth and the Christian manger are assaulted. That emotion, the feeling of pietas, but yet deeper than pietas, is the emotion at the poetic core of Europe. It is something on which we can build.

Could every time-worn Heart but see Thee once again,
A happy human child, among the homes of men,
The age of doubt would pass,--the vision of Thy face
Would silently restore the childhood of the race.

--Henry Van Dyke

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