Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Return to Europe

‘Tis still a dream, or else such stuff as madmen
Tongue and brain not; either both or nothing;
Or senseless speaking, or a speaking such
As sense cannot untie. Be what it is,
The action of my life is like it, which
I’ll keep, if but for sympathy.

-- Cymbeline by William Shakespeare

Once, when forced to sub for a civics teacher, I had to preside over a class studying the American Constitution. Though not a great admirer of our Constitution I refrained from any editorial comments as the class and I read through the Constitution and the civics book. Then (out of the mouth of babes), a young female student claimed, “This doesn’t work. The founders said the legislative branch was first in power, the executive second, and the judicial third and last. But nowadays it is exactly the reverse. Nobody follows the Constitution any more.” Of course, the young woman was right: “Nobody follows the Constitution any more.” And even if you are one of those people who think the Constitution is a wonderfully written document, you must concede that neither the letter nor the spirit of the U. S. Constitution is being followed. And my question to the conservative constitutionalist is, “What is your recourse?”

Year after year the pro-lifers put out books and pamphlets arguing that there is no constitutional right to abortion, and year after year the liberals say, “Yes, there is a constitutional right to abortion.” What is the pro-life response to the liberals? They keep writing more pamphlets and exercising their right to protest, democratically of course. In other words, the “pro-lifers” – or more appropriately, the constitutionalists – concede that there is nothing they can do to stop legalized abortion, because every year they make their constitutional points and then run and hide when the liberals say, “Abortion is a constitutional right.”

We should put the same question to the immigration restrictionists in Arizona and Hazelton, Pennsylvania: “Now that the courts have said you can’t restrict Aztecs from invading your town and your state, what is your recourse?”

The Southern secessionists suffered through the same process that the constitutionalist pro-lifers and the constitutionalist immigration restrictionists are now suffering through. Any fair-minded person then and now would concede that the U.S. Constitution provided for secession from the Union, but a constitutional right is just a paper-and-ink abstraction if it is not backed up by a people and a tradition. The Northern, Unitarian, utopian tradition was more powerful than the Southern, Christian tradition. And in politics the powerful, not the constitutionally or morally correct, rule.

These are not little issues, the murder of the innocents and the invasion of the barbarians, which an honorable man can pacifistically ignore. Europeans used to fight wars to stop the murder of innocents and the invasion of their countries. Is murder and invasion any less conscionable if it is sanctioned by a state tribunal? We are faced with the tragic spectacle of conservative groups endlessly citing the Constitution to correct evils, while the liberal hierarchy ignores the Constitution and works to maintain and expand what really matters to them – their power. When a people no longer have a common religious faith they become a collection of lawyers poring over documents. The governing body of a people without a faith seeks to fill the moral void in the nation with documents. The more immoral a regime, the more documents that regime produces. Whittaker Chambers in his book Witness tells of the endless documentation the Soviet leaders put out in order to prove their legitimacy. If Khrushchev and Gorbachev had not undermined the documentation of their precursors it is quite probable that the Soviet Union would still be standing today.

Documentation works. Charlie Brown is not deceived by Lucy’s promise to hold the football steady while he kicks it, until she shows him a signed document in which she pledges not to remove the football while he is attempting a kick. We know how that turns out: “This document was never notarized.”

Butterfield in his The Englishman and His History states that the Magna Charta only became important to the English people many, many years after its signing. It wasn’t important till Englishmen began to lose faith in their traditions. Then they sought to replace their loss of faith with a document. The United States started out with a document instead of a traditional faith, because the founding fathers had no faith in the traditions of their British ancestors. It was the rank and file European Americans who carried the real European traditions, the Christian traditions, over to this country. When the docu-men at the top destroyed those Christian traditions, the reign of Satan began.

We owe nothing, as a Christian people, to the United States Constitution. There is no reason to acquiesce to the rule of Satan simply because the liberals wave a document in our face that they take out of the closet when it suits their purpose and throw back into the closet when it doesn’t suit their purpose. What we owe allegiance to is traditional Europe, the Europe created by the union of Christ and the European. When a nation enters the democratic era of its existence it has entered the final phase of its existence. When a people are spiritually healthy, they are a hero-and-story-book nation. When they tell of their history, they tell of the heroes of their race. They tell the story of Alfred the Great, of William Tell, of The Cid; they do not talk about their new and improved democratic government unless they have become a non-people, having replaced a belief in the heroes of their race and the Hero-God of their race with a belief in a non-personal, Universalist system of government.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that the age of democracy and the scientific age have happened simultaneously. The urge to democratize and the urge to scientize come from the same sick desire – the desire to escape the pain that comes with the human condition by divorcing oneself from it. In a democracy there are no painful duties, no responsibilities; there are only ‘rights.’ Painful duties were part of the non-democratic era; they have no place in the democratic age.

The anti-human, democratic man simply demands the right to be part of generic humanity and to have all his rights, including the right to a pain-free life that science can provide, guaranteed to him by an official document.

The halfway-house Christians always equate Christianity with modern democracy. But are the two really compatible? It would seem they are not. Democratic regimes produce legalized abortion, Tower-of-Babel race-mixing, feminism, war without the mitigating code of chivalry, and an economic war of all against all. Can the halfway-house Christian blithely ignore such evil consequences of democratic government just so he can keep up his delusion of a Pelagian paradise right here on earth? Yes, he can, and he does.

If the young woman in my class who was not exceptionally perceptive saw that democracy did not work, why can’t the powers that be of the democratic West see that it doesn’t work? Is it because something obstructs their vision? Or is it because they do not want to see clearly? I think it is the latter. The rulers of liberaldom do not want to see reality because to look at reality without faith is tantamount to looking at the face of Medusa. It turns a man to stone. Existence is paradoxical. A man can’t look at reality without faith, but he can’t have faith unless he sees something at the core of reality that inspires faith. All paradoxes are mazes without exits if we consult only the theologians and the philosophers. It is in poetry we meet and defeat the fire-breathing, paradoxical dragon of existence. The hero of song and story draws us to him because he sets our hearts on fire. How can we not trust him? The hero-gods of the pagan Europeans prepared the way for The Hero-God. We followed Him as they, the first Christian Europeans, followed Him. Whenever we let go of the poetic of existence we let go of Christ. The democratic system of the European is the endgame depicted by Samuel Beckett. If the modern European turns away from the democratic, constitutional scrolls and toward the instinctual, poetic life of the antique Europeans, he will see with blinding sight and become something infinitely better than an Übermensch or a noble savage; he will be a European. +

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