Saturday, October 31, 2009

"When I was a child, I spake as a child..."

“Keep the imagination sane,-- that is one of the truest conditions of communion with heaven.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

When still young and new to the right-wing European movement, I formed a rather uncritical admiration for the old guard intellectuals of that movement. The poets of Europe had brought me to the foot of the cross, but it was to the old guardsmen I turned for an articulation of the Christian faith. When I explained the faith to others, I parroted the old guard. This is quite natural for a young whippersnapper, but as one becomes a man one must make sure he believes what he parrots. In my case, I realized I differed with the old guard on two important points, both relating to Europe.

1. I differed with them on the issue of race. The old guardsmen were fond of saying that a defense of Western culture had nothing to do with a defense of the white race. (Only men who spent their lives in academia could every say anything so stupid.)

A defense of the West cannot be done without a defense of the white race. Whites are not superior because the evolutionary process made them so (as the neo-pagans maintain), but because they made the one true religion their own. And just as original sin was passed on through the blood, so the European peoples’ free will choice of Christ over Satan was passed on through the blood. Just as one can counter the bad effects of original sin by clinging to Christ, so can one counter the good effects of the white man’s acceptance of Christ by rejecting Him. And the vast majority of whites have rejected Christ. That makes it all the more urgent that we support the faithful white remnant. To praise European culture without praising and defending the white man is Gnostic nonsense.

2. The old guard failed to appreciate how distinct the European tradition was from the classical tradition. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Botticelli, and countless other European writers and artists choose Greco-Roman themes for their works, but what they did with them was something very different from the Greco-Romans’ renditions. Everything is deeper when the Christian poets and artists deal with the pagan themes. In Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, Theseus becomes a Christian king, highlighting charity as the greatest virtue:

I will hear that play;
For never anything can be amiss,
When simpleness and duty tender it.
Go, bring them in; and take your places, ladies.
In Chaucer’s The Knight’s Tale, Jove becomes a symbol for the Christian God. And in Botticelli’s painting of The Birth of Venus, the goddess of illicit love becomes a virginal Christian maiden.

The excessive reliance on the classical tradition was, in my judgment, the major reason for the collapse of the Protestant and Catholic churches. And the traditionalists think we need a classical revival! We need a European revival, not a classical one. The classical temptation, which would make Christianity into a philosophical system, is potentially more dangerous than the atheistic temptation. I have noticed there has been a score of books published in the last 10 years, such as Who Killed Homer? by Hanson and Heath, This Will Hurt: The Restoration of Virtue by Digby Anderson, and Plagues of the Mind by Bruce Thornton, in which the authors suggest we rebuild civilization on the classical tradition and bypass the European Christian tradition. This might appeal to those who like the simplicity of the classical era, but there is no going back. The choice is either 'be Christian, or perish.'

The old guard did not understand Europe. If they had, they would not have abandoned the white man’s burden or slept so contently with Aristotle and Plato.

When I reflect on the weaknesses of the old guard (those men of the World War II generation) I realize that they were the last of the Christian rationalists, who still believed that the dying flame of the European fire could be reignited by the cool waters of rationalism. They were doctors who completely misdiagnosed their patient. The patient needed more warmth, and they sat him out on the veranda in sub-zero weather.

Christ set Europe on fire with a poetic drama which He authored and starred in, a passion play meant to appeal to the heart and the head. He did not intend that His life, death, and resurrection should be treated as the literary critics treat a Shakespearean drama, poking, probing, and dissecting the play with only their minds, leaving their hearts outside. But if the poet writes with his heart and mind, how can the literary critic understand him if he doesn’t respond to the play with the same fire that the author used to write the play? And how can we respond to Christ’s passion play if we have no passion?

Plato banned poets from his Republic because he thought the passionate, poetic side of man was dangerous. The old guard followed the wisdom of Plato, but the passionate, imaginative, poetic heart of man, when joined with the heart of the Divine Poet, is the only force capable of reigniting the European fire.

I once read a book by one of the conservative education ‘experts’; he felt that the problem with modern liberal education was that it was not value-free. He recommended a ‘just the facts’ program of education that sounded much like the program recommended by Thomas Gradgrind in Dicken’s Hard Times:

Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, sir!
The conservative education expert was wrong. The problem with liberals is not that they teach values in school -- values should be taught in school -- the problem is that they teach liberal values. And likewise the old guard; the problem is not with the poetic and imaginative side of the European’s nature; the problem is that the European has ceased to view Christianity as a faith that inspires and stirs the imagination. The European has come to believe what the old guard told him about Christianity: “It is charts, diagrams, syllogisms, and not much else.” But man will have the poetic. If he is denied a Christian poetic, he will adopt a satanic one. Obama is the new Messiah, because the old guard thought a remote, bloodless, philosophical God was good enough for the rational, modern man of Europe. Such a God is not good enough. The real Hero-God (He was not invented), who inspired the ancient Europeans is more than good enough, and it is to Him that we should look if we want to see Christendom restored and liberaldom destroyed.

Labels: , ,