The Prophet of the Old Dominion

blue-ridge.jpg

Some are made obscure by the course of history and its keepers. The story of Robert Lewis Dabney is one few Americans have heard. He rests among the greatest Southern intellectuals, leaving the defense of his reputation to posterity. If the South is to move forward, Dabney must be reexamined. Our ambition, therefore, is the perpetuation of his legacy. He was a giant of the 19th century, described by Princeton Seminary leader Archibald Hodge as the “best teacher of theology in the U.S. if not the world.”  A living example of Calvinism working itself out in the Southern context, he embodied the richness, depth and rigor of the Southern Presbyterian tradition. His religion had its foundation in sola scripture, the crying call of the Reformation. He gave supreme authority to the word of God, it colored how he viewed all of life. Ruthlessly logical, he followed things to their inevitable end. As a result, he is considered by admirers to be one of the most prescient men of the 19th century. So much of what is lamentable about modern America was predicted by Dabney. He was a lover of his country and the American system as the Virginian founders envisioned it. He was a constitutionalist, but not a universalist. Dabney loved his people and as a proud Southerner believed in the superiority of Southern man and the Southern way of life. As passion demands, he was both a lover and a hater. He hated the enemies of Christ and Southern civilization intensely, but he loved his God and his country equally so. Hurt by the South’s loss more than most, its subjugation was unbearable for him. He saw pre-war Dixie for what it was, the last bastion of European Christendom. Virginia was a holy land blessed by God.

A believer in the constitution and state sovereignty, Dabney was a Jeffersonian of sorts. His idea of republicanism, he made clear though, could only work among a morally righteous and uniform people.  Other forms like monarchy were legitimate and appropriate in other contexts, but he believed in the greatness of the American system. He contrasted that system (as he understood it) with democracy, for which he had nothing but contempt. He referred to it as “mobocracy.” The flaws he pointed out are similar to those noticed by Plato and Aristotle. He wrote extensively on the evils of Jacobinism, making a clear distinction between the French and American revolutions. In his estimation, the two were worlds apart. Contrary to certain libertarian notions of constitutionalism, agrarian society was for Dabney, fundamental to the American system. General equality (in the practical sense) was also necessary to that condition. Such an equality existed when the nation was made of free White yeoman. The founders vision could never be realized in an industrial society because of the lopsided power centralized capital wields and the inequality in wealth it creates. He touches upon this in, The New South, a commencement speech delivered at Hampden Sidney College in 1882:

“Conditions of social organization are again produced, fully parallel to the worst results of feudalism, in the incompatibility with republican institutions.  From these changes have resulted the extreme inequality of fortune, expenditures and luxury which now deform American society. When our late constitution was enacted, American citizens enjoyed a general equality of fortune and comfort, which made a real, republican equality of rights practicable. The only aristocracy recognized was that of intelligence and merit. The richest citizen was only a farmer, somewhat more abounding than his neighbor, in the breadth of his fields.”

And again, in another portion of the speech:

 “Such was the form of government instituted for themselves by our free forefathers; and well fitted to their genius and circumstances, as communities of farmers, inhabiting their own homes, approaching an equality of condition, and having upon the whole continent no one city of controlling magnitude or wealth. But this century has seen all this reversed and conditions of human society have grown up, which make the system o four free forefathers obviously impracticable in the future. And this is so, not because the old forms were not good enough for this day, but because they were too good for it.”

His interpretation of the clause from the Declaration of Independence “all men are created equal” differs from the modern one. Equality before the law does not imply an equality in ability, rights or station. Each class has its own respective set of rights that grow out of differences in sex, virtue, intelligence, and civilization. Liberty is the liberty to which God and nature has given an individual the moral right:

“Those wise men did indeed believe in a certain equality of all men; but it was that which the British constitution (whose principles they inherited) was not wont to express by the maxim: that every British citizen ‘was equal before the law . . .’ Our fathers valued liberty, but the liberty for which they contended was each person’s privilege to do those things and those only to which God’s law and Providence gave him a moral right. The liberty of nature which your modern asserts is absolute license; the privilege of doing whatever a corrupt will craves, except as this license is curbed by a voluntary ‘social contract’” [sic]

Dabney’s apparent crossover with Jeffersonianism has less to do with the Enlightenment and more to do with Calvinism. It has been said by some that Calvin was the spiritual father of the American project. They point to Rutherford’s Lex Rex as influencing the founders more than Enlightenment ideas. What drove Dabney to look to the reactionary elements of scripture more so than Northern Calvinists was the influence of Southern civilization and his insistence on keeping one foot firmly planted in reality. There was also a notion among Southern Presbyterians, notably James Henley Thornwell, that the Church had a uniquely spiritual function. That is one quite different than the State. It was no contradiction to marry the doctrines of grace in the context of the Church to the law of nature in statecraft. Southern Calvnism gave Dabney the freedom to apply his rational comprehension of natural order to his thinking in the political sphere.  He pointed to Old Testament Israel as a precedent to support his conclusions.

Dabney’s rejection of egalitarianism is shown starkly in his classification of the Negro, “the African has become, according to a well-known law of natural history, by the manifold influences of the ages, a different, fixed species of the race, separated; from the White man by traits bodily, mental and moral, almost as rigid and permanent as those of genus.” He saw miscegenation as a virtual abomination, “the offspring of amalgamation must be a hybrid race, stamped with all the feebleness of the hybrid, and incapable of the career of civilization and glory as an independent race.” Covenantal Theology teaches that God interacts with us not just as individuals but also as groups, that there is a particular and a corporate aspect to our relation with him. Dabney cites God’s separation of the Gibeonites, a people with lesser rights, from the Israelites to prove that God’s common wealth was not egalitarian.  Unlike Jacobinism, rights are not absolute in a Christian system.  In the Gibeonite example, the actions of one people affected the children of that people and relegated them to a different status, despite individual capability or moral integrity.Dabney did not consider the Black race capable of civilization. They had no claim to that which the White man had by right of birth.

Dabney’s defense of slavery is difficult for modern evangelicals to swallow. We must remember though the value system of the antebellum South was the complete reverse of our own. In A Defense of Virginia and the South, he cites countless passages from both the Old and New testaments. The work contains a rock-solid analysis of the Bible’s view of the issue. Departing from the Reformed tradition of rigorous Biblical analysis, Dabney’s modern critics assert that his positions are racist without refuting him. He also noted that Northern industrialism provided free Irish a much lower condition of life to that of the Negro in the South. He cited the healthy condition of the Negro both spiritual and physical as indicating the beneficence of the Southern institution. He argued against the belief that slave labor was economically less efficient than free Northern labor, “the neatest, most thorough and most profitable agriculture, and the highest priced land, the finest farm stock, and the most prosperous landholders, are to be found precisely where the slave labour is most prevalent.” He was critical of the abuses of the slave trade and of abuses within the institution but it did not follow that it should be condemned in whole. He said that Negro suffrage would be, “extreme political madness.” An unnatural pairing of two races in the same society would lead to tyranny. The object of the state was the common welfare. Southern society and Africans themselves would both be harmed by Black emancipation, they had no right to it. He predicted two possible outcomes of such a development. A war where one of the groups was exterminated or amalgamation. The civilized South might well turn into a mongrelized nation similar to Mexico. Post-emancipation Dabney opposed accepting Negro presbyters to rule over White churches. A step which he said, “would seal the moral and doctrinal corruption of our Church in the South, and be a direct step towards that final perdition of Southern society, domestic amalgamation.” Luckily the worst of Dabney’s concerns were not realized, though they remain relevant potentialities to this day. Whites were able to wrest back control of their institutions after reconstruction and Jim Crow helped prolong the life of the South as Dabney had known it. More importantly, a God-fearing, Church-going spiritual vigor maintained the South’s will to resist. Even today its people have yet to fully submit to the North’s anti-Christian weltanschauung.

Consistent with his agrarian outlook, Dabney was a critic of the so-called advancements of his day in economics and production. Excepting large ventures such as railroad construction, he favored small business to large conglomerate corporations. His insights wouldn’t sound out of place among modern critics of corporatism, both left and right. He advocated co-partnerships where the participants would be liable for their venture. Corporations were entities which removed liability from any single individual and therefore presented social problems. With personal liability removed, corporations could be misused. This included, for example, taking out loans for a risky venture and then afterward becoming insolvent, passing the cost of wasted capital off on society, while leaving those who took part in the venture no worse for the wear. With a large corporation efficiency is lost in a managerial web of overpaid administrators and the cost is passed on to the customer. Dabney admits that new techniques in production do lower the price of goods, but that cheapness comes in spite of the clunky corporate model, not because of it. In addition, a corporation is a soulless legal entity that gets the same privileges as a person, a machine with legal rights that interacts with society in an impersonal way. People committing injustices on the ground are following orders from superiors and superiors never get to experience the injustices first hand, thus taking the human element out it. Where does moral culpability fall in such a situation? Is the duty to the welfare of the public or to the stockholders? Dabney knew this entanglement would create moral dilemmas. These entities in practical effect would work for the pecuniary advantage of the few individuals who had the means to take full advantage of them. They could easily be used by anti-social types to gain an advantage over the rest of the public. What is to stop corporations from using the wealth they gain to bribe for legislation that favors them? The result is, Dabney argued, corporations that are more powerful than the governments of states in which they reside. He predicted a new form of despotism would arise from these conditions. The rich would get richer and the poor will get poorer. Large stock holders might well mislead the public while colluding behind the scenes to profit off of their ignorance. What’s to stop them from saying “bear” when they want to buy and “bull” when they want to sell? Dabney expresses his concerns in an essay entitled The Philosophy Regulating Private Corporations. He worried about the effect corporatism would have on the freedom and dignity of average Americans. In this particular passage he laments the destruction of independent production and small farming:

 “the forms of industry promoted by the powerful corporations tend to undermine the domestic and personal independence of the yeomanry. The associated means of production supplant the individual, the products of the older and more independent forms of industry retreat before those of the corporations . . . 

The wheel and the loom are no longer heard in the home. Vast factories, owned by corporations, for whose governors the cant of the age has already found their appropriate name as “kings of industry,” now undersell the home products everywhere. The axe and the hoe which the husbandman wields, once made at the country forge, the shoe upon his mule’s feet, the plough with which he turns the soil, the very helve of his implement, all come from the factory. The housewife’s industry in brewing her own yeast can hardly survive, but is supplanted by some “incorporated” “baking powder,” in which chemical adulteration may have full play. 

Thus, the centralization of capital leads at once to the centralization and degradation of population. The free-holding yeoman citizen is sunk into the multitudinous mass of the proletariat, dependent on the corporation for his work, his wages, his cottage, his kitchen garden, and privilege of buying the provisions for his family.”

Centralized capital also promotes political centralization. Conglomerate entities had supported Congress assuming the power to create the first banking corporation, the precursor to the Federal Reserve, a move that Dabney called “a perversion of the constitution,” a perversion of “that equitable model designed by the fathers.” Corporatism led to the protective system of tariffs which were also unconstitutional. Dabney believed if it weren’t for the influence of these corporations, Southern secession wouldn’t have been necessary and without their aid the North wouldn’t have been able to conquer the South.

Dabney had trouble seeing the possibility of restoration, but he has much to offer by way of moving forward. The South’s loss took a toll on him. For a period of time he thought of emigrating with likeminded Southerners to South America or Europe, “I fear the only way to save Virginia is to take her out of Virginia.” Many wrongly suppose as they do with reformer Martin Luther that Dabney’s mental and moral capacities declined in his waning years. It is true that the war had affected him, but according to biographer Thomas Carey Johnson, “At the close of this period, in May, 1869 there can be no question that Dr. Dabney was mentally greater than he had ever been before. Nor should there be question that he had Improved morally.” He understood as few did the meaning of the South’s defeat and its implications for the future of Western Civilization. He could never let rest the injustices committed against Virginia and the wounds inflicted upon her. Her ground had been soaked with the blood of her greatest citizens. To his credit, he saw the truth clearly when so few did and stood certain of the righteousness of his cause. While he apologized to Southern posterity for his generation’s failure to preserve their inheritance, he called us to remember those who had sacrificed everything in fighting for it:

“The heritage of freedom that our fathers left us we have not been able to bequeath to you. Our other apology is, that in the endeavor to save the liberties transmitted by our fathers, we did what we could. And in proof of this justifying plea, we can point to the forms prematurely bent, and the heads whitened by fatigue and camp diseases, to the empty sleeves, and wooden legs, and the Confederate graves so thickly strewn over the land. (The New South)

He likened his people to the Christian prophets and martyrs. The South was maligned while defending the interests of the entire civilized world. He believed the Confederacy would ultimately be vindicated, but that it could no longer exist as it once did. The new dispensation had made this an impossibility. His generation had done all they could and having done their duty, their consolation was that they had retained their honor:

Our apology is, again, that while we were contending for the rights and interests of the civilized world, nearly the whole world blindly and passionately arrayed itself against us. Such was the strange permission of Providence, that we, while defending the cause of all, should be slandered and misunderstood by all. But why should I say this fearful dispensation was strange? When we see that from the days of the Christian martyrs until now, mankind have usually resisted and sought to destroy its true benefactors. So it was; we had the world against us . . . subsequent events have shown we were attempting to defend and preserve a system of free government which had become impossible by reason of the change and degeneration of the age. We did not believe this at the time, for we had not omniscience . . . Thus the task which duty and Providence assigned us was, to demonstrate by our own defeat, after intensest struggle, the unfitness of the age for that blessing we would fain have preserved for them. Hard task, and hard destiny to attempt the impossible! But one which has often been exacted by a mysterious Providence from the votaries of duty. Yet it gives us this hard consolation, that inasmuch as the survival of our old system had become impracticable, failure in the effort to preserve it might be incurred without dishonor.”

Going forward, he exhorted that we not succumb to the temptations of the new era. He urged that the “pole-star” for the New South must be the unmoving principles of “scriptural politics.” He called us to remember “righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34) and that “wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation” (Isaiah 33:6).  He gives us some key applications of these principles. He warns against becoming like our conquerors. The temptation lies in the perceived wealth and productive capacity of the North. There existed at the time a desire among young Southerners to place an emphasis on industry in order to compete with the North. He concedes that in the modern era wealth is necessary for greatness, even a country with a great martial spirit will be overcome if he lacks it. He tells us to seek wealth as a means but not as an end. If, making mammon our god, we are overcome by it, that god will make us weak and sink us. If though, we retain a civic spirit of charity and sacrifice, retain our manhood and let it not make us effeminate, we can use it to bolster our section. His second warning is that we not become so disgusted with the moral state of the world that we draw ourselves away from politics and public life. He warned that this temptation is greatest for those of an elevated nature, the best among us. Such a person cannot “wrap himself like a hermit in the folds of his own self-respect.” This robs the State of virtuous men at a time when it most needs them. The life of the State depends on these men. He said, “If this virtue, the foundation of all the civic, exists in you, it will, it must manifest itself most plainly in reverence and enthusiasm for the heroic and the self-sacrificing of your own people and State.” He counsels against despair and giving in to the notion that all is lost while recognizing the difficulty of his request, “how tiresome is it to such a man to hold up the standard of principle when it is unsustained by the breeze of popularity.” Finally, and most importantly he urges us to remember the true history of past events. To “be sure that the former issues are really dead before you bury them! There are issues which cannot die without the death of the people, of their honor, their civilization and their greatness.” We must not allow the dominant party to teach a false narrative of history. He anticipated a deluge of anti-Southern propaganda would flood like “the frogs of Egypt, into our houses, our bed chambers, our very kneading troughs.” We must not succumb to false information but diligently learn and transmit the history of the past truly. To retain our identity, we must have a genuine connection to an unfiltered past. If we are to make sound political calculations, they must be born out of a true discernment of our history, “Tomorrow’s configuration of the planets may be very dissimilar from that of today, but it will be rigidly consequential thereon.” Any political endeavor built on lies must fail. He forewarned that the prophets of the new age would seek to turn patriotism into treason, good into evil, and light into darkness. “If you wish to be buried deeper than thrice buried Troy beneath the final mountains of both defeat and shame, go with these architects of detraction.” Holding with that advice, he urged us to keep alive at all cost the memory of our deceased heroes. On them rests the foundation for our future:

 “As long as the hearts of the New South thrill with the generous though defeated endurance of the men of 1861; as long as they cherish these martyrs of constitutional liberty as the glory of their State and its history, you will be safe from any base decadence. If the generation that is to come ever learns to be ashamed of these men because they were overpowered by fate, that will be the moral death of Virginia, a death on which there will wait no resurrection. But I do not fear this. I recall what my own eyes witnessed at the last great civic pomp in which I was present. This was the installment of that statue of Jackson near our State capitol, which Virginia received as the tribute of British statesmanship and culture to her illustrious dead . . . Then came hobbling a company of two hundred and thirty grizzled men with empty sleeves, and wooden legs, and scarred faces, and hands twisted into every distortion which the fiery fancy of the rifle-ball could invent, clad in the rough garb of a laboring yeomanry, their faces bronzed with homely toil; this was the company for which every eye waited, and as it passed the mighty throng was moved as the trees of the forest are moved by the wind, the multitudinous white arms waved their superb welcome, and the thundering cheer rolled with the column from end to end of the great city. It was the remnant of the Stone-wall Brigade! That was the explanation. This was the tribute which the sons, the daughters, the mothers of Virginia paid to sturdy heroism in defeat.”

Dabney understood that as long as the spirit of Jackson burned in hearts of the Southerners, all was not lost. That flame is not yet extinguished and as long it burns, however diminished, there is still hope. “And as I saw this my heart said with an exultant bound, ‘There is life in the old land yet!’”

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Third World Dystopia Hits Home

IMG_1526723686190.jpg(Francis Fortner left)

Originally published May 20, 2018 at identitydixie.com

It sounds like a passage from an Ayn Rand novel. A day before high school graduation Frances Fortner was on her way to church for rehearsal. She was driving down the road in her red convertible when her tire hit an uncovered manhole. It flipped the car and killed her.

Earlier that day at 9:30 a.m. another lady’s tires had popped when she ran over the same manhole. The woman notified the authorities in hopes of preventing another accident. Nothing was done about it. In total, there were three complaints made to the police and still no cones, no barrels, and no tape to cordon it off. You can read about it here. I can’t help but be reminded of the disasters of corruption and ineptitude detailed in Atlas Shrugged. Without rehashing the faults in Rand’s philosophy, we can see the high-level dysfunction she described manifested before our eyes. As for the root of this dysfunction, I have a simpler take than Ayn Rand. This is what happens when third-world people are given authority in a first-world society. Welcome to any typical Southern city in 2018.

We ought to keep the Fortner family in our thoughts and prayers. She was on her way to Christ United Methodist in Jackson, Mississippi when the incident occurred. We assume she is in a better place and that God is looking out for her soul. Anger, however, is justified. This could have been prevented.

When Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown were killed by alleged police negligence their deaths became a national crisis. Obviously, in Frances Fortner’s case there is no room for racial motivation, but there is an inescapable sense that one of ours was killed because of their incompetence. Southerners have an aversion to publicizing and politicizing tragic events and rightly so. It is poor taste to use tragedy for political gain. Though, when a genuine problem in society exists it is unjust to allow the problem to persist. It’s like having a killer out on the loose, ready to strike again. We can honor Frances by doing everything in our power to make sure this doesn’t happen again. This is where the discussion ought to start. Those of us who long for a just society cannot sit idly by.

The primary blame goes to the City’s leadership, but we should also look to ourselves. How could we allow things to get this bad? We can’t control everything, but we can do something. I hope the family files a suit against the city immediately. Whoever is responsible needs to feel the heat for their ineptitude. We can raise awareness about the incident and put pressure on the city government. Let’s do what we can to make sure that happens.

Generally, we need to be more open and honest about the problem. I imagine very few of us harbor any serious antipathy toward black folks, but let’s be honest, this level of incompetence does not exist in white run cities. The stark truth is that the black population isn’t fit to run much of anything. I don’t blame them for voting for their own and engaging in tribalism, that’s the nature of politics. This fundamental reality is lost on most white people. We can be painfully naïve at times and that’s on us. It’s OK to put the interests of your own people first.

White Southerners need to be in charge of their own destiny. Once we have an awakening of mind, we can set about working toward an equitable solution. We can begin to lay the groundwork for taking charge of our cities again. That is the only way to fix the problem. Whether or not we get there is in God’s hands, but it’s our job to work toward it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Short Fiction – The Cell

VanGogh.ProgulkaZakluchennuh

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

“Ohhhh. My head . . .”

Brent Hathaway woke up dazed and half-sick. He lifted his eyes and fixed them on a glowing mechanical clock. His dim sight began to focus. 11:00 a.m. He looked around and saw a misty room lit by what looked like neon light.

A bar? Was he in a bar? He turned to a man standing behind a black countertop and said, “Where . . . am I?”

The bartender wore a white tank top with a phosphorescent sword running its length. “Flatliners,” he said. “You slept here last night.” He smiled and shook his head. “You had a little too much to drink.”

“Why . . . didn’t–”

“You were out cold. The owner decided to leave you here. Said he had no problem with you crashing on the table.” Chuckling, the bartender added, “What’s your name? No, let’s make it simple. How many fingers am I holding up?”

“Brent Hathaway . . . Two.”

“Can I get you something? You look pretty rough.”

“Water,” Brent mumbled. “Please.”

The bartender hoisted a glass and grabbed the bar hose. “Sharp suit. It’d look nicer if you hadn’t slept in it.”

Brent couldn’t manage a response.

“So, what brings you to the area? You from around here?”

“Where are we?” Brent asked.

“Man, you are out of it. Crystal City.”

Brent shook his head. “I can’t even remember how I got here.”

“That’s not good,” said the bartender. “Check your cell phone, look at your recent calls. That might help you remember.”

“I don’t have my phone. Must have lost it.”

“Well, let’s start easy. How about you tell me what you do?”

“I, uh–”

“Take your time.”

“I work at a think tank, called . . . GPI. The Global Policy Institute in Washington.”

“Interesting. Generic sounding, but I bet it’s interesting.”

As the words left the bartender’s mouth, Brent bent toward the sound of pattering feet. A brunette girl around nine was walking out of a side room, backlit by violet light. She drew toward him, halted, peered into his eyes and said, “You know what you did.”

Suddenly he was fully awake. “What?”

“Don’t listen to her,” said the bartender. “Come on, Sophie, you know you’re not supposed to bother customers.”

The girl glared at the bartender, her stern look turned into a smile and she skipped back into the side room.

Brent closed his eyes. He saw a mechanical owl with dark-purple eyes flying toward him in slow-motion.

“That’s the owner’s daughter. She’s strange, usually doesn’t talk much. She throws away her summers watching old sci-fi movies in the game room.”

Aside from Brent’s amnesia and the weird statement, something was bizarre about the situation. He had an agitation, deep in his mind.

Lyrics he had heard a thousand times were humming in the background. Something about a dark desert highway and cool wind in his hair. “Hotel California,” a techno remix.

Brent turned to the bartender and said, “Look, I’m gonna get out of here. I’m going back to my apartment to lie down. I guess I let college sneak up on me, but like I said, my memory . . . I don’t know, it’s like weeks are missing. I’m scared I might have taken–”

“Don’t worry about it,” the bartender said.  “Alcohol-induced memory loss. It’s pretty common. I had a wild night a few years ago with my trader buddies from New York, and my brain was fried the next morning. You’ll be OK. But don’t leave yet, we don’t want you falling down in the street. Just sit there awhile.” He hesitated, put two fingers over his mouth and his thumb under his chin. “Actually, you know what, you’re going to say I’m crazy, but you need to have one more drink.”

“You got to be kidding me. That’s the worst idea I ever–”

“No, I’m telling you! We make a grape fruit drink. It’s called Infinite Silence. It’s free, on me. The best cure is what makes you sick to begin with. I know you know the expression ‘hair of the dog.’

“Really?”

“That’s what they say.” The bartender beamed and held up his fists in a boxing stance. “If it doesn’t work you can punch me.”

“Ha-ha. I’m not the fighting type. And who’s they?” Brent asked.

“Doesn’t matter. I know what I’m talking about.”

He shrugged. “Whatever.”

Ice clinking the side of the glass, the bartender stirred the drink and handed it to him. It had a pinkish hue that glowed in the dimly-lit basement bar.

“Didn’t catch your name,” Brent said.

“Sam.”  The bartender stuck out his hand.

“Thanks, Sam.”

“No problem. Tell me more about your job in DC.”

“We specialize in foreign policy.”

“Oh yeah? What kind of foreign policy?”

“Our goal is to reduce conflict through international exchange. We promote peaceful trade between nations. We use the American system as a model for the world.”

“Honestly, I don’t know much about politics,” Sam said. “I avoid the subject. Poor topic for someone who lives off tips, especially in this area.” He paused for a moment. “So, you can’t remember how you got here. You know where you’re from?”

“Massachusetts. We spent a lot of time in Nantucket. My parents have a home on the coast.”

“You come from money?”

“Yeah, but my parents inherited.”

“Inherited?”

“Well, the Hathaways came over with the first settlers. A son set up a law office, did well, bought several thousand acres in New England, and that land was passed down through the family.”

“Your family still has it?”

“Not really. It was split up, and most was developed long ago. My great-grandfather made use of our name and expanded our holdings. He became a prominent statesman later in life.” Sam paused, remembering. “He was a believer in noblesse oblige, thought it was our family’s duty to lead this country. He was what you’d call an elitist, all about ‘his honor, his purpose.’ Nonsense.”

“I see. And where’d you get your education?” Sam asked.

“I went to a fancy private school and later attended Yale. I wanted to get my law degree, but GPI offered me a position. They lobbied hard for me.”

“So these guys hired you right after you got your bachelor’s?”

“Yeah, they said my work would directly affect U.S. foreign policy.”

“And their views lined up with yours?”

“I can’t say I have any moral convictions on the subject. I had way too much fun in college for that–”

“You still are, based on the way you were acting yesterday,” Sam said, chuckling.

aug-beers-feat-uproxx

“Ha-ha. Fair enough. Obviously, I did well enough to attract the interest of one of Washington’s top think tanks. They offered me a great salary, but what appealed to me was that it’s where all the action is.”

“I knew you were important when I saw you come in here yesterday. Your work keeps us safe, you’re a guardian, that’s a special task,” said Sam.

“No, I’m not any more significant than you. What’s ‘Ivy League?’ An overblown ordeal. And my name, it’s just a title,” Brent said as he finished up his drink.

He looked up at the gaudy art on the wall, retro-future, then back at the clock and thought There’s something familiar about this place. There was something about Sam too, something about him Brent couldn’t pinpoint. Had he seen him before yesterday? The thought became a sense, and the sense morphed into a private panic.

“Sam, you ever get déjà vu? I’m talking about the kind mixed with dark tones. Like you’ve lived this moment before and it scares you. I’m getting it now.”

“I don’t know,” Sam said. “Amnesia and déjà vu? You’re saying you have a problem remembering and not remembering . . . at the same time?” He laughed. “Sorry, it’s just funny.”

Brent sighed. “Look, I appreciate all you’ve done, but I should go. I might call my doctor, see if he advises I check into a hospital.”

“Wait. Don’t go yet.” Sam nodded toward the TV. It was on The Weather Channel. “Looks like there’s a storm coming, it’ll be here in just a minute.”

Then another voice rang out. “Don’t listen to him!” Sophie said. She had snuck her way back into the bar. “That feeling you’re having? Your body’s rejecting the truth. Let your head accept it.”

Brent gasped. He was shocked to stiffness as some of his memory returned to him.

“Sophie? What did I tell you? Leave him alone and go back to the game room. Put on that movie.” As she obeyed, Sam turned to his bewildered patron. “Brent, look at me, you really shouldn’t leave now, especially in your condition. I’ll have the guy in the back make you some food. You need something in your stomach. It’s on us.”

Sam leaned toward Brent and added, “let me tell you a secret about that girl. She’s off. She–”

“Sam, I can remember—”

“No, let me finish. She has issues. Nothing she says has anything to do with her setting. She’s detached, her thoughts are always out of context. Too many films, not enough–”

“Sam, listen to me. I don’t care. I’m telling you I can remember.”

Sam exhaled. “OK. What do you remember?” He switched off the TV and tapped the rewind button.

Brent got out of his chair, breathing hard. “I was thrilled,” he said. “I had a big promotion, an important appointment, a presidential appointment.”

“Hmm. Now that you mention it, you do look really familiar. Were you on TV?”

“Yes, occasionally. I was appointed to work directly under the Secretary of Defense. They found my policy paper on the bipolar nature of global power in line with their goals. I said intervention would necessary to ensure peace and quell the aggressive Eastern bloc. Wasn’t my idea, I had gotten it from my colleague, but they liked how I articulated it.” Brent paused, and swallowed. “Wow, that must have been over a month ago. There’s still a lot I can’t remember, about the past couple weeks, how I got here–but it’s coming back.”

“Told you there was nothing to worry about,” said Sam.

Brent blinked. “I had an emergency meeting to attend, that’s why I came here. Something happened.” He looked up and said, “I’m leaving now, forget the weather.”

“Don’t!” Sam barked.

Brent stalled, surprised by the outburst, then said, “Look. I’ve had enough of this. Where’s your phone? I’m calling a cab.”

“Our phone doesn’t work anymore,” Sam said in a dull voice.

“What kind of bar doesn’t have a working phone? Let me–”

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean? I don’t care who you are, you can’t come in here and disrespect my bar!” Sam shouted.

Brent stood there staring at him. “Whatever. I’m out of here.”

“Wait, Brent. Wait. It’s nasty out there.”

Brent gave Sam a disgusted look, then turned and headed for the stairs.

As he walked up he heard a door shut in the confined lobby up top, and when he finished the ascent he saw a woman standing there. She was stunning: blue eyes, fiery red hair, white blouse, pink skirt. She had the sign of Libra at the end of her necklace. Just the type of girl Brent would dream about.

“You can’t be going out in that,” she said.

Brent shrugged. “It can’t be that rainy. You’re dry.” She stared back, not saying a word. “I . . . I have to go,” he said, about to leave.

“Wait,” she said. He swiveled around. Her palms were covering her face and she was crying.

“What’s the matter?”

“I’m scared,” she sniffled. “My boyfriend and I broke up a month ago. He was drunk and got mad and called me the worst names. I’d never seen that side of him. I told him it was over and left immediately, and the next week he stalked me, showed up at my house and at work. I got a restraining order but he kept coming back. I called the police and they arrested him. He’s in jail. Now I feel so worthless. I need someone to–” Suddenly she began weeping hysterically.

For a moment Brent forgot his own troubles. “It’ll be OK,” he murmured, and put a hand on her shoulder.

“You have a gentle face,” she said. “Can you . . . could you come downstairs and talk to me?”

“You know, I’m not having a good day myself. Plus, the bartender yelled at me. I don’t want to look at him right now.”

“Please. Your issues can’t be worse than mine. Just give me a few minutes.” She looked at him with a pitiful but somehow charming gaze.

“Fine,” he said. “I guess I could give you a minute or two.”

They walked back down together. Brent saw a steaming plate of chicken and rice sitting on the table. The food Sam had ordered him? Odd, he thought.

As they came in together Sam growled, “Well, well. Look who came back.”

“Just ignore him,” the woman said. The two sat down at the table together. Brent, hungry as he was, managed to restrain himself. He offered her the meal. She refused.

“Well, you mind if I eat?”

“Not at all.”

It took everything he had to remember his manners. He was starving.

“So, what’s your name?” Brent asked, chewing.

“Sarah.”

Her smell, Brent thought, was intoxicating. He studied her as they talked. Her skirt and blouse were modest her skin soft and pale. Her personality was sweet and accommodating. Whenever he made a joke, she would throw her head back, expose her neck and laugh. Brent felt he was talking to a girl he had known a very long time.

“So, what do you do for a living?” she asked.

As she spoke, Sophie peeked her head out of the side room, caught Brent’s attention and gave him a nod.

What do I do for a living? Brent heard himself gasp. Memories were gleaming through his brain.

“What’s the matter?” she said.

“It’s wild,” he said. “I woke up with heavy amnesia–but I was into our conversation and forgot about it.”

“Forgot about your amnesia?”

“Yeah. But something came back.”

She just sat there, watching him with a worried look.

“An appointment,” he said. “Yes, an appointment–but then something awful happened.”

“What?”

“I don’t know,” he said.

“You do,” said Sophie, making her way out again.

Brent’s heartbeat quickened; he was just on the cusp of remembering everything. He rose and said to Sophie, “What is it? Tell me!”

Sam, his face red, screamed at Sophie, “We’ve been over this a thousand times, now keep your mouth shut. This isn’t your place. Get out of here!”

Startled, she ran back out.

“Why’d you do that?!” yelled Brent. “Look, Sarah, I’ve had it with this place. I’m leaving, come with me.”

“No,” Sarah said in a now distant and lifeless voice. She got up and walked over to Sam. She put her arm around his waist and said to Brent, “You should stay with us.”

“Sarah? What are you doing? Are you teasing me?”

“You should stay, it’s absolutely terrible out there,” replied Sarah.

“What the hell is this?”

“You’re free to leave, but you we know you won’t,” said Sam.

“What do you mean!?”

Sam turned and looked at Sarah, then back at Brent. “We’ll be direct. You’re a prisoner. Our prisoner.”

Scan 1

“Prisoner?” said Brent.

“Yes. We’re prison guards, the non-physical kind. That is, we don’t believe in using force, tying people down or making them do anything against their will. Sarah and I are deeply nonviolent people. Just like everyone else these days.”

“These days?”

Sam paused and stared at him a moment, “You’ve been here longer than one night, Brent.”

Brent swallowed. He knew in his soul that this was true. He took a deep breath and asked, “What day is it?”

“We’d never force you to stay here. But nevertheless, here you will remain.”

“Answer my question. What day is it?!”

“It doesn’t really matter what day it is anymore. The only the thing that matters is how long you’ve been here.”

“In this bar? What? How long? Tell me!”

“Years.”

Years? No way. It’s not possible.”

“Coming up on three, to be accurate. And that’s just the starting point, you’ll be here much longer than that. Our shift is about to end for the day. We’ll leave and go home. But you won’t.”

“What? You said I was free to go. Damnit, I will go!”

“Brent, it doesn’t matter. Once you go upstairs and step outside, you won’t have the courage to leave. We know this. Your conscience will hit you like a bolt of lightning. You let everyone down. It’s not what you did, rather what you failed to do. You were given something special, but you didn’t live up to it and we’ve all had to pay the consequence. This is your retribution. Your memory is filling in the blanks and when you step outside you will see plainly. But it doesn’t matter. You’ll be ours again soon.”

“What  . . . what is it?! I’m not a bad person!”

“We’ve given you a tablet. It’s in a small slit on your left coat lapel. It’s a memory-erasing drug.”

Brent felt his lapel. There it was. A small bump.

“I don’t believe you. You’re insane both of you. I’m outa here.”

Brent darted out of the bar and up the stairs. He stormed through the lobby and threw open the double doors. The sun blinded him. As his eyes adjusted, he could make out the setting: outright devastation, not one building standing, rubble running all the way to the horizon. The scene sparked, in the recesses of his mind, a final recollection. New appointment. Department of Defense. Secretary Stein. His crew had been gearing up for a massive conflict.

Oh God. It had never been real, any of it. It was all a sham. All that intellectual posturing, all that talk about peace, it was just a power grab. That’s all those devils ever wanted. God, I feel sick. I could have let the President know what I felt. He would have listened. He was clueless. But I stood back and let it happen, like a frozen animal, let it all happen. War . . . total war!

psalm-142-free-from-my-prison

Brent was gasping for air when a bold of agony hit him. Pain like a thousand bullets, from every angle. He dropped to his knees and vomited on the pavement. He fell back onto the street writhing in terror. Clutching for the tablet in his lapel, he pulled it through the slit, popped it in his mouth, and gulped it down. It wasn’t long before the soporific took him. He got up and staggered back down the stairs.

Three blurred faces were waiting.

“Look, it’s our old friend. Did you miss us?” Sam said with a grin. “Why don’t you come in and have a seat?”

“It can’t be true,” said Brent. He stumbled further inside, the room swirling around him. He found his way into a booth, lay his forearms on the table and dropped his head onto them.

As his mind slipped into darkness, Sophie whispered, “Tomorrow.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on Church and State

13112b92e228546ebe9855d0a58ad813

Confusion arises in public discourse because of the failure of Christians to understand the distinction between Church and State. The prevailing view throughout Christian history has been that the two should occupy distinct spheres. This view was maintained by leading Reformers such as John Calvin and Martin Luther. There are two separate realms—one dealing with the supernatural and the other with the natural. The way each goes about its mission is unique. The traditional view is that God ordained differing roles.  The role of the State is to enforce justice by natural law—through the power of the sword. The Church fulfills its mandate by mercy through the power of God’s grace. In Christianity grace and justice are in tension with one another. The State is a manifestation of God’s wrath (Romans 13:3-4).

Government is necessary because man is fallen. We are imperfect beings who need laws and earthly authority to enact them. When we formulate laws of the State we should employ rational thought to determine the best form of government. We need national borders because conflicts inevitably arise between different peoples. If sinful man experiences strife with members of his own family, how much more will it occur with those whom he has little in common? As for style of government, there is no one size fits all. We should adapt various forms to various peoples.

There are those who claim that a “true Christian” can never be a ethnic or racial nationalist. They argue that scripture prohibits division between two members of Christ’s body—be they “Jew or Gentile.” They err by conflating the function of the State with that of the Church. This confusion has seriously damaged the Church and has contributed to the destruction of Western nations. Any sensible philosophy of government must avoid mingling the two spheres.

If man were not fallen there would be no need for politics. Those who project the purpose of the Church onto the State—by advocating liberal social policies or open borders—implicitly deny the doctrine of man as innately sinful. Secular moralists and progressives explicitly make this denial. As a result, they have an apolitical—utopian view of what life on earth can and should be. Consider the following from Carl Schmitt’s Political Theology:

“The fundamental theological dogma of the evilness of the world and man leads, just as does the distinction of friend and enemy, to a categorization of men and makes impossible the undifferentiated optimism of a universal conception of man. In a good world among good people, only peace, security, and harmony prevail. Priests and theologians are here just as superfluous as politicians and statesmen. What the denial of original sin means socially and from the viewpoint of individual psychology has been shown by Ernst Troeltsch in his Soziallehren der christlichen Kirchen und Gruppen and Selliere in the examples of numerous sects, heretics, romantics and anarchists. The methodical connection of theological and political presuppositions is clear. But theological interference generally confuses political concepts because it shifts the distinction usually into moral theology. Political thinkers such as Machiavelli, Hobbes, and often Fichte presuppose with their pessimism only the reality or possibility of the distinction of friend and enemy. For Hobbes, truly a powerful and systematic political thinker, the pessimistic conception of man is the elementary presupposition of a specific system of political thought. He also recognizes correctly that the conviction of each side that it possesses the truth, the good, and the just bring about the worst enmities, finally the war of all against all. This fact is not the product of a frightful and disquieting fantasy nor of a philosophy based on free competition by a bourgeois society in its first stage (Toennies), but is the fundamental presupposition of a specific political philosophy.”

Schmitt argues that the friend-enemy distinction is the essence of the political. When a worldview is apolitical, the other becomes evil incarnate. Enmity becomes moral rather than tribal. Conflict is internalized within nations and at the same time externalized with fierce intensity. Anyone who stands in the way of the moralist’s vision and its realization—must be eliminated. This creates the sharpest and most vicious political distinctions. As Schmitt has noted, universal moral outlooks result in increasingly destructive wars. To live in a more harmonious world we must recognize that all men are flawed, no one has absolute truth or right on their side, and that organic divisions are drawn from ethnic distinction—not ideological.

Again, since man is fallen and will continue to be until kingdom come, government will necessarily exist. It’s the State’s job to make divisions. It suppresses wickedness so that good might flourish. It keeps hostile and foreign elements at bay. The Church on the other hand is a place of unity for all peoples and nations. The Presbyterians of the Antebellum South differed from their Northern brethren. They took the sacred unity of the Church seriously and wished to avoid bringing political tensions into their denomination. Just before the War between the States, Southern Presbyterian luminary—James Henley Thornwell wrote an Address to all Churches of Christ. In it he said:

“Two nations, under any circumstances except those of perfect homogeneousness, cannot be united in one Church, without the rigid exclusion of all civil and secular questions from its halls. Where the countries differ in their customs and institutions, and view each other with an eye of jealousy and rivalry, if national feelings are permitted to enter the church-courts, there must be an end of harmony and peace. The prejudices of the man and the citizen will prove stronger than the charity of the Christian. When they have allowed themselves to denounce each other for their national peculiarities, it will be hard to join in cordial fellowship as members of the same spiritual family. Much more must this be the case where the nations are not simply rivals but enemies; when they hate each other with a cruel hatred; when they are engaged in a ferocious and bloody war, and when the worst passions of human nature are stirred to their very depths. An Assembly composed of representatives from two such countries could have no security for peace except in a steady, uncompromising adherence to the scriptural principle, that it would know no man after the flesh; that it would abolish the distinctions of Barbarian, Scythian, bond and free, and recognize nothing but the new creature in Christ Jesus. The moment it permits itself to know the Confederate or the United States, the moment its members meet as citizens of these countries, our political differences will be transferred to the house of God, and the passions of the forum will expel the Spirit of holy love and Christian communion.”

Thornwell certainly had his own political and regional biases, but took great care not to carry them into the Church. He continues:

“The only conceivable condition, therefore, upon which the Church of the North and the South could remain together as one body, with any prospect of success, is the rigorous exclusion of the questions and passions of the forum from its halls of debate. This is what ought always to be done. The provinces of the Church and State are perfectly distinct, and the one has no right to usurp the jurisdiction of the other. The State is a natural institute, founded in the constitution of man as moral and social, and designed to realize the idea of justice. It is the society of rights. The Church is a supernatural institute, founded in the facts of redemption, and is designed to realize the idea of grace. It is the society of the redeemed. The State aims at social order; the Church at spiritual holiness. The State looks to the visible and outward; the Church is concerned for the invisible and inward. The badge of the State’s authority is the sword, by which it becomes a terror to evil doers, and a praise to them that do well. The badge of the Church’s authority is the keys, by which it opens and shuts the kingdom of Heaven, according as men are believing or impenitent. The power of the Church is exclusively spiritual; that of the State includes the exercise of force. The Constitution of the Church is a Divine revelation; the Constitution of the State must be determined by human reason and the course of providential events. The Church has no right to construct or modify a government for the State, and the State has no right to frame a creed or polity for the Church. They are as planets moving in different orbits, and unless each is confined to its own track, the consequences may be as disastrous in the moral world as the collision of different spheres in the world of matter.”

Despite his address, there was a North-South split in the Presbyterian Church. Thornwell was right to emphasize the Church-State distinction. There was a spiritual rift that ran between the sections before there was a political one. The formerly Puritan North was busy demonizing and otherizing Southern slaveholders as absolute evil in the manner Schmitt referenced. This same type of fanaticism lead John Brown to murder five slavery supporters in Kansas. His words and actions and those of other fanatical abolitionists put the nation on a razor’s edge. What resulted was one of the bloodiest wars in history. The moralist’s desire to “immanentize the eschaton” and realize utopia here and now is still with us today in the form of SJWs, “wars for democracy,” and the Social Gospel.

While Thornwell believed in separation of Church and State, he did not use the concept as secularists use it today. He understood that such a distinction could never be absolute. He believed that a Christian people create a Christian culture, and that culture and politics are intimately intertwined. He believed in the concept of a Christian nation and that a common religious-moral base is necessary to unite a people. Among Christians there is “little difference of opinion” as to right and wrong. Also, he highlighted the right of the Church to upbraid the State:

“When the State makes wicked laws, contradicting the eternal principles of rectitude, the Church is at liberty to testify against them and humbly to petition that they may be repealed. In like manner, if the Church becomes seditious and a disturber of the peace, the State has a right to abate the nuisance. In ordinary cases, however, there is not likely to be a collision. Among a Christian people, there is little difference of opinion as to the radical distinctions of right and wrong. The only serious danger is where mortal duty is conditioned upon a political question.”

Additionally, he urged the Confederate Congress to amend the Constitution to declare the Confederacy to be in submission to Christ, for “to Jesus Christ all power in heaven and earth is commit­ted.”

Echoing Thornwell, Dutch Calvinist Herman Bavinck was another theologian who had much to say on the subject:

“Just as the individual must seek the kingdom of God not beyond but within his earthly calling, so too the kingdom of God requires of the state not that it surrender its earthly calling or its unique national particularity, but simply that it allow the kingdom of God to penetrate and saturate its people and nation. In this way alone can the kingdom of God come into existence.”

The Church will enrich a people and bring the blessings of Christ to a nation, but the Church is not the nation. The Church works within and across national barriers.

Christians who blend the purposes of the Church with the State make a grave error. This is no light misstep. Their thoughtlessness has resulted in untold damage. Effectually they are the same as liberal humanists to whom the State acts as a religious institution. These people claim Christianity, but implicitly deny man’s imperfection—a fundamental doctrine. So-called conservative Christians who condemn ethnic nationalism—advocate open borders and multi-racialism—are confused at best and insincere at worst. Christians in the Alt Right should feel no shame in calling these people out. We can agree with Schmitt that universal moral ideologies do not mix well with politics. They should be opposed whether they take the form of Communism, Liberal Humanism, or Social Christianity.

We want a world of nations each working out their place in an imperfect world. We wish for each ethnicity to pursue its own destiny within its own borders. When we again draw political distinctions according to natural divisions, we can begin to approach the other with mutual understanding. There will always be conflict, but our aim should be to avoid the blood-letting of the 20th century. We want peace—realistic peace. We want diversity—true diversity.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

My Experience at Auburn

AU

It was Tuesday, the day Richard Spencer was to speak in Auburn, and I was waiting in line at the department store checkout clasping a white Polo. This was a key piece of the Safety Squad uniform. Like a modern Sturmabteilung, we were to guard Spencer and Enoch, ensure things went smoothly, and exchange blows with Antifa if necessary. Auspicious as it was the lady at the counter asked me if I wanted to contribute to an autism charity. Smirking and pausing for a moment, I shifted a decimal, rounded down and said, “I’ll give them $1.48.”

After an hour or so of preparation, I was on my way. I hit the road with five hours to mull over all that might occur that evening. I didn’t know what to expect, there were internal reports that up to two-hundred Antifa might show and they were talking a big “gonna crush the Alt-Right” game on Twitter. I liked our chances but was preparing myself psychologically for an all-out brawl. I was ready to take licks for the cause. I was ready to be arrested for the cause. I was girding myself mentally for a doxing and having my career hopes rendered vain. I even fantasized about what it would feel like to get stabbed or shot.

There was talk of a federal injunction, but as a likelihood it never crossed my mind. I thought that, like Auburn University, the federal government would forgo its legitimacy in refusing Spencer. I saw the Alt Right as the new authority, it was up to us to re-establish our nation’s collective sanity. Things turned out different than I expected. When I read that we had gotten the injunction I felt both victorious and crestfallen. I was elated we had won the case but also defeated knowing we wouldn’t have that special opportunity to prove ourselves. I wouldn’t get a chance to fight and win a bit of glory for myself either in what would no longer be an epic throw down.

I arrived around 4:30 and met with some cohorts from Mississippi and Alabama.  All of us piled into one car, laughing and in good spirits we rolled into campus. We met with some friends of our driver who were a rowdy young crew of Trump supporters. They weren’t affiliated with the movement but were excited by the controversy, thought Spencer had the right to speak and were curious for a good time. We huddled around in a parking lot by a row of brick dormitories. I whipped out a glass pint of vodka and we each took a swig. Whether for good luck, nerves, or just an ole fashioned buzz, all had a share.

As we made our way up to the rabble four or five black clad Antifa trotted past. Initially we weren’t sure they weren’t geeky drama students dressed for some dark uninspiring play. Even I, who should have known better, was surprised at how unintimidating they were. I was amused with myself for having been so anxious.

Looking around while strolling up the police were everywhere, in the courtyard, along the guard rails, glaring from the roof, encircling our guys, encircling theirs. They had the big hand in the situation. There were hordes of students surrounding a hundred or so of our comrades in front of Foy Hall. Our group walked through the crowd and joined them unmolested. We stood together, some of us with uneasy looks on our faces. We were outnumbered, girdled about by gawkers staring at us like beasts in a cage.

We moved closer to Foy and filed in line for the event. The policeman perched on top of the hall sternly peered out of his sunglasses as the setting light shone past. I was thinking it was hot for April when a happening broke outside the fence line. For a moment, it looked like disorder might have its way. The crowd flocked and ran toward the action. The cops put an end to it and in a few moments stillness was restored. Apparently, a fight had broken out between an Antifa and one of our own.

Unsure whether alcohol was legal on campus a fellow Mississippian and I slugged down the remaining vodka before passing security. Stepping along with an intoxicated grin, I made my way to the show. As we found our seats inside the excitement carried with us. A third of the room set in front were friendlies, another third seemed to either be Alt Lite or neutral and the final third in the back were opposed. When Spencer spoke the tension in the room was appreciable. Hostiles were hunkered ready to pounce and rip to shreds any word of his at which they felt moral outrage.

There was a girl just in front of me who looked as if she were taking notes. I thought, possible journalism major. I handed her a quart of milk and said “Would you take this up to my friend in the front row please? He would really get a kick out it.” She looked puzzled and declined. I let her in on the joke and told her how most blacks are lactose intolerant. She wasn’t amused and held an accusing glance so I carted it up to him myself. I came back and sat down, turned to a friend next to me, and exchanged a few observations and jokes. Whenever I had something to say that was hermetic to our movement her ears perked up. I imaged she was trying to get “the inside scoop” back to her professor, maybe swap it for extra credit. Chaos swirled around but never took hold, a more subdued situation than the one at A & M for sure.

When it all ended, Spencer was escorted away. A few belligerents chased after him, the students followed their lead and darted along like boneheaded gazelles. It is a wonder to see a thousand-people running in pandemonium, sprinting like a bomb exploded, or some deranged pupil were behind them with a rifle. Spencer and Enoch were shuttled away safely and scurried off to Atlanta.

My pack leisured its way over to Avondale bar just outside of campus. Inside I overheard a couple of frat types discussing the spectacle. I interjected, told them I was with Spencer and invited one to sit our table. We talked about race, he had objections, but after a bit of posturing was open about his true opinions, “I know what Spencer was saying when he said, ‘We have a black cloud hanging over us.’ I know what they’re like I have to work with them.” I assured him that was not what Spencer meant and that he was referring to our collective White guilt. He insisted on his view and went on to talk how blacks had higher crime rates and lower intelligence. “It’s a fact,” he said triumphantly. Encouraged, I told him sure, but that the real take-away shouldn’t be differing stats, the central theme was identity.

He went on about the good blacks and black doctors. He argued, “We shouldn’t think in terms of race because there are smart ones.” Then he continued, “There are also sorry White people. Shouldn’t we be able to get along with the good ones?” I agreed on his first point but not his second, “Nationhood has been historically determined by identity and not social status.” I said, “Economy is a poor bond for the unity a nation requires. We need to reestablish peoplehood in the traditional sense.” It seemed he was unable to counter and moved on, “Look at where things are headed, there are too many of them. Whites used to dominate the planet but now brown people are out populatin’ us. We can’t win and shouldn’t try, it’s futil’.” I couldn’t believe my ears. The true reason he couldn’t take our side is that he was a “go along to get along” kind of guy. This scene from Alt Right favorite They Live came to mind:

 

 

“We all sell out every day, might as well be on the winning team.” I thought, what a slavish mentality. So many of our people think this way, indeed many Southerners like himself.

The evening was a success but I don’t know how it could have worked without the injunction. That said, there weren’t that many Antifa and we could have easily outmaneuvered them. Reports of their weak nature for me held true. The students of course had us on numbers. Some were antagonistic, others were neutral maybe even interested, but most haven’t read our blogs or listened to our arguments. Southerners mostly get their opinions from the person next to them, it can be a strength or a weakness. Had Spencer tried to speak without the help of the police, we would have almost certainly been shouted down or run off campus.

The cops that day held everyone one in awe. They were the strong man in town. As our adherents grow and gain experience, we will be more effective. Our forces must be able to thwart opposition when the authorities fail us. It will take more men willing to put themselves on the line, willing to risk getting hit, possibly worse. Once we’re battle hardened we will be the ones the nation looks to for security and leadership. When and where the current regime fails, we have to be ready to fill their place.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ethno-nationalism and the Christian Trinity: Follow Up Discussion

tumblr_lzzwrxFa6H1qgzqeto1_500

In my previous post one Christian commenter took a contrary position to the one I had taken in regards to ethno-nationalism. We had a discussion that further elucidates my views on the subject and also presents the opposing position taken by the majority of modern Christians. I have pasted the discussion here below:

Samuel O. Griffin: This is an interesting perspective, especially considering so many (e.g., Moltmann, Zizioulas, Volf, Fiddes) have used the trinity to argue for the exact opposite conclusion—desegregation / mutual embrace.

I have a few comments and I’d love to hear your feedback.

First, if we assume definitional clarity on racial identity and belonging (no small feat), we can agree different human “sub-types” display “varying abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.” If this is the case, it seems to me the church suffers loss if such sub-types segregate, since there are fewer opportunities for mutual edification. I see a similar, though not identical, parallel in Paul’s discourse on spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12). In that chapter, Paul acknowledges a diversity of gifts but credits them to one Spirit and for the whole body such that each member relies on one another for health (vv. 24-25). If I separate myself from believers, especially of different cultural, racial, political, etc. background, I have lost an opportunity to correct and be corrected, to encourage and be encouraged, to serve and be served. Ethno-nationalism, it seems to me, robs the church of such opportunities.

Second, theologians (e.g., John of Damascus, Aquinas, Calvin, Moltmann, Zizioulas, Swinburne) sometimes speak of perichoresis—mutual inherence between trinitarian persons in loving cooperation. While I share your concern to preserve distinction between trinitarian persons, perichoresis and procession, I think, works against your argument, since there is no closer relation than between Father, Son, and Spirit. They are, in other words, codependent and reciprocally implicating. The Father has no “space to [himself] in which [he] can express [himself] as such.” He has, instead, existed in essential, eternal, coequal subsistent relationship with persons different than himself. This suggests to me, then, it is precisely when differentiated sub-types enjoin themselves to / with one another within shared communities that we can see something of a reflection of triune relations. Ethno-nationalism, from my perspective, appears to promote a form of individualism (very charitably, one that can be maintained harmoniously) that serves as a denial triune relationality, not its affirmation.

Third, you ground ethno-nationalism in the creation mandate, in which “we deduce from the principle of stewardship a need to preserve species and sub-species of various plants and animals.” Stewardship, I think, includes both preservation and governance—to exercise dominion for creation’s welfare (e.g., infrastructure, irrigation, agriculture). What are your thoughts on interbreeding between plant species (“to produce new crop varieties with desirable properties”)? Do you believe this technique violates the principle of stewardship? If so, I wonder if your interpretation of stewardship in inconsistent with governance. If not, your argument for the preservation of human “sub-species” (and by extension, ethno-nationalism) appears undermined. This, of course, is reductio ad absurdum, and I wonder if the consistent application of what I take as your interpretation of Gen. 1:28-30 would prohibit things as innocuous as plant breeding.

Thanks for the interesting post. I look forward to your reply.

Manly Task: First of all, to clarify, politics is a necessary evil. In my view, I make a very sharp distinction between the kingdom of man (the state) and the kingdom of God (the church). Christians live in a world of sin and unbelief. Government is a necessary check on fallen man. If everyone were a member of the Church invisible and completely sanctified, we wouldn’t need governments or borders.

As long as we are involved in missions and allow foreign residents, students, and visitors into our homelands, I don’t see why we wouldn’t have plenty of opportunities for mutual edification. I heard an anecdote once from R.J. Rushdoony that under segregation black and white churches would come together on occasion, have a mixed service, and share dinner together. This allows both congregations to retain their identity while coming together a few times a year for united worship with Christian neighbors. Ethnically homogeneous homelands have been the assumed norm throughout human history. Were our Christian forefathers in previously all-white Europe or are our modern day brethren in all-Japanese Japan any less sanctified or edified than we are in multi-racial America? I would tend to think not.

The more sanctified a group of heterogeneous people become the more closely they resemble perichoresis as you describe it. That is the closer they can come to one another without dissolving into oneness (unitarianism) and retaining their distinctness without coming into conflict and then ultimately breaking apart (polytheism). The passage from Revelation I quoted in my article gives us a vivid image of exactly what this looks like. In this perfected vision we have the platonic African at the height of his African-ness and the platonic European at the height of his European-ness worshiping side by side. As I said though, we live in a world of sinful Christians and unbelievers. Ethno-nationalism as a philosophy and political tool is the perfect solution for our present age.

Are you saying that producing hybrid-plants with desirable properties is part of governance? Sorry, I’m a little confused. There were laws against hybridization in the old testament. “Keep my statutes. Do not let your cattle gender with a diverse kind. Do not sow your field with two kinds of seed. Neither shall there come upon you a garment of two kinds of stuff mingled together (Lev. 19:19). Do not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed; lest the fullness of the seed which you have sown be forfeited together with the increase of the vineyard. Do not plow with an ox and an ass together. Do not wear a mingled stuff, wool and linen together (Deut. 22:9-11).” While we live in the new testament dispensation and old testament statutes no longer apply, I do believe that hybridization does tend to run against the grain of nature. Hybrid animals can’t survive in the wild and I would assume (not an expert on the subject) letting hybrid plants into the wild would cause ecological imbalance. Hybridization practiced on a limited scale I wouldn’t have a problem with, but on a massive scale it is, I believe, irresponsible and unwise. That applies whether we’re talking about plants, animals, or humans.

Samuel O. Griffin: Thanks for the helpful response. I think this reveals some divergent underlying presuppositions, specifically concerning the nature of culture / race (and perhaps the historical formation of such cultures / races), its place within individual / corporate identity, and its relation to Christian identity.

I’ll try to keep my questions and comments concise.

First, granting that ethno-nationalism allows for “foreign residents, students, and visitors,” it’s unclear to me how ethno-nationalism succeeds in “creating protective environments” that shields “from the destructive effects of modern globalization,” since the very presence of such residents exerts influence on the indigenous culture.

Second, in answer to your question about the sanctification of homogeneous cultures, I’ll simply reaffirm, with you, that particular cultures have “varying abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.” My Japanese Christian friend, in fact, does believe Japanese churches fail, because of their homogeneity, to benefit from the perspective and presence of other believes. It’s precisely when, say, a Nigerian believer interacts with his Japanese counterpart that the former’s unique, God-given abilities and strengths can address and correct the latter’s unique weaknesses. Could this happen through occasional interactions? Of course. Yet, it seems to me, lasting mutual edification and encouragement happens within the daily lived experience of Christian communities.

Third, yes, I’m taking agricultural methods as an aspect of governance. I have a few questions here: (i) can you explain why such regulations as Lev. 19:19 apply not simply to cattle, seeds, and cloths but to human races as well, (ii) since you see no problem with “hybridization” on a limited scale, would you thereby see no problem with, for example, interracial marriage on a limited scale, and (iii) cultures / races, it seems to me, derive from “hybridization”—having singular origin in Adam, diverse cultures / races emerge in interaction with one another (e.g., Judeo-Christian heritage, Anglo-Saxon); as such, rather than cultural / racial dissolution, wouldn’t greater cultural / racial exchange promote greater varieties of human sub-types (cf. Gen. 1:28-30: “be fruitful and multiply”)?

Fourth, relatedly, can you explain (if space and energy permits) the nature of culture / race? For example, what exactly is the platonic form of African-ness? For example, what language is spoken by the ideal African? To what tribe does he (she?) belong? What is the ideal African’s skin tone? As I recall, Plato thought we could perceive the forms by reflection on their spatiotemporal instances. In perceiving the form of African-ness, on whom do we reflect? My point, of course, is that culture / race is far more dynamic and diverse than I think you admit. In my opinion, asserting such things as African-ness or European-ness as univocal categories diminishes cultural / racial diversity within those contexts by artificially selecting one grouping as representative, and thereby dissolves into oneness, something we can both agree should be avoided.

Let me know if you think I’ve overreached. Thanks!

Manly Task: The ethno-state exists to further the integrity, interests and wellbeing of its ethno-group. It doesn’t have to be 100% pure to do that, %90+ is a more realistic aim. As long as the state takes measures to protect the history, culture, and identity of the people it was created to preserve, I don’t see why you couldn’t allow for a limited foreign presence? This was sort of standard practice pre mass-migration.

Imagine you could flip a switch and shake up the world population so that there is an equal distribution of all races and kinds in every country in the world. In order that every Christian congregation could experience this edification you speak of, would you flip the switch? Before you answer, I’d ask you to seriously consider the ramifications of your decision.

Reading through numerous old testament passages I think you can safely extract from them that mingling of mixed kinds as a general principle was opposed by God. Inter-marriage between Jew and Gentile was also forbidden, “And Ezra the priest stood up, and said unto them, Ye have transgressed, and have taken strange wives, to increase the trespass of Israel. Now therefore make confession unto the Lord God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives.” No, I don’t have problem with intermarriage occurring on a limited scale. I thought that was clear from my last comment.

Yes, intermixing between tribes and peoples occurred throughout human history and yes this does at times create new people groups and sub-types. This sort of historical intermixing however happened slowly and organically. We are talking about an entirely different thing here in the modern era. This is a massively random and chaotic commingling created by our new world of mass-transit and globalization. Under normal circumstances the tendency is for mankind to develop in isolation. This gives time for a unique culture and people to develop and form.

As I envision it, we need to think of a hierarchy of categories and sub-categories. There is the platonic Man, the platonic European, the platonic Northern European, the platonic Scots-man, the platonic Highlander and on down to the most specific category. To give an example, the platonic Scots-man represents both what is common and unique to all Scots in an ideal and perfected form. Same with any other category in the hierarchy. I just arbitrarily picked African and European to make an illustration.

Bonus side factoid. Creationists posit that there were so called “kinds” which Noah saved in his Ark and that from these “kinds” were derived the wide diversity of animal life. In taxonomy, this so called “kind” would occur about at the family level. Dogs, wolves, foxes, and jackals all are members of the biological family Canidae. Did you know that a dog and a wolf have more in common genetically than an African and a European?

Samuel O. Griffin: Thanks for the reply. I think we’ll have to part ways here. (I admit defeat.) Once we start delineating necessary and sufficient conditions for participating in the platonic Scots-man the conversation has ventured beyond my pay grade.

If I may leave with a personal anecdote, I’ve lived most of my life in predominantly white, middle class, conservative environments. Since then, I have been privileged to worship, and live, with believers of various cultures, ethnicities, nationalities, church traditions, and political affinities. I believe it’s precisely because I have lived in close proximity to these believers that I have grown in my faith, better able to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of my own cultural identity.

Honestly, I welcome the destruction of any cultural particularity that distracts or detracts from reception to the gospel, ultimately because my identity in Christ supersedes all others (e.g., white, middle class, conservative, American, reformed Baptist). (*Interesting factoid. Did you know I have more in common with a Nepalese believer than with any unbeliever in my biological family?) If God uses globalization to strengthen his people and extend the gospel to all peoples and my white cultural heritage (whatever that means) is destroyed in the process, I’ll gladly praise God in whatever language I use.

Would I shake up the world’s population to ensure an equal distribution of peoples in every country? Probably not, though I think eternity with look something like that. I can say whatever the ramifications, there would no longer be unreached people groups, and for that I’d be grateful.

Again, thanks for the post and the gracious responses. I expect we’ll both see eye to eye some day.

Manly Task: Your perspective and insights are a welcome contribution. Thank you for the civil discourse.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ethno-nationalism and the Christian Trinity

trees-03

“The Church catholic, as thus divided, and yet spiritually one—divided, but not rent—is a beautiful illustration of the greatest philosophical principle which pervades all nature—the co-existence of the one with the many.” ~ J.H. Thornwell, Address to all Churches of Christ

“In orthodox Trinitarian Christianity, the problem of the one and the many is resolved. Unity and plurality are equally ultimate in the Godhead.” ~ R.J. Rushdoony, The One and The Many

The most effective way to argue the case for ethno-nationalism with Christians is not to cite scripture (though there are many verses), but to argue from the nature of the Christian Trinity. In the Trinity, what we see is a contradiction from the human perspective. We see a being that is simultaneously many and one, both together and separate, both the same and distinct. And yet, if we look throughout creation we find ubiquitous examples of opposites existing side by side, either in harmony or in tension. To quote the essay Nationality, Race, and Intermarriage, written by the late Presbyterian theologian Francis Nigel Lee:

“As there is a variety within the unity of the Triune God, it is only to be expected that He would also plan and approve of a variety within the unity of the universe which would similarly reveal Himself as He really is — a variety within a unity. So, when we see the God-created variety of stars, planets, elements, plants, fishes, birds and animals etc. within the unity of the universe — and when even within the unity of the human race we see the variety of sexes, personalities, nationalities and racial colors — we must remember that God Who is Himself both a unity and a variety, from all eternity foresaw and foreplaned it all the way it actually is. 1st Corinthians 15:39-41.”

To draw an analogy from biology—the cells of our body are diverse in their function, shape and appearance. Yet they work in harmony as part of one body and share a sameness in that they are derived from an identical DNA code and they have their origination in a single ancestral zygote.

In human society, we see the principles of order and anarchy existing simultaneously in tension with one another. That is the will of the individual in tension with the cohesion of the state. The two often come to violent blows and either the order of the state will win out or the anarchy of the individual will dissolve it. Unlike the Trinity, this is an example of contradiction leading to conflict. This is given expression by the philosophical concept of dialectic. In the animal and plant kingdom, we see the one and the many play itself out in taxonomy. There are many types of trees, Maple, Alder, Acacia, Oak, Poplar, Beech, and they all share a oneness, a sort of platonic essence common to them all. This is also true of the various types of animals as well as human beings. We have one human essence, one singular origin in our ancestor Adam and yet we are diverse and have distinct races and sub-types with varying abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Christians of different races should, in an ideal sense, live in harmony with one another. They should do so while retaining their separateness and distinctness, like the cells of a body, ultimately like the Godhead himself. The current pervasive policy of the Church is that of speaking out against all-white congregations and furthering anti-white narratives. For European derived peoples to retain their unique God-given qualities, they need spaces to themselves in which they can express themselves as such, whether in worship or in day to day society. This, of course, also applies to other people groups, but in our age, is uniquely denied to people of European descent. This is anti-biblical and runs counter to the nature and doctrine of the Trinity.

Ethno-nationalism is a political philosophy that serves the preservation of the diversity of the human species. It is a means to creating protective environments for the many sub-groups of mankind. These are environments that are shielded from destructive effects of modern globalization. The ethno-state is a tool by which the interests, integrity and particularity of any give racial and ethnic group is ensured and maintained. In the twenty-first century people, ideas, culture, and technology can be moved and exchanged on a massive scale. If this goes unchecked, we could see linguistic, cultural, and genetic sub-groups wiped out before our very eyes on a scale that history has yet to see. God commissioned us to exercise dominion over the earth and its creatures. In this, we deduce from the principle of stewardship a need to preserve species and sub-species of various plants and animals. How much more important, then, is it for us to protect our own species from the destructive consequences of our own radically changing human environment? Ethno-nationalism as a worldview and a philosophy, is needed now more than ever because of the unique historical dispensation in which we live. Christians should support the maintenance of ethnic and racial distinction, while promoting unity and harmony between nations and peoples. Ethno-nationalism is not only compatible with the Christian ethos, but flows naturally from it. A consideration of the Trinitarian Godhead, with his simultaneous unity and distinction, gives us a blue-print for how Christians of various ethnic stripes should go about relating to one another. That is as brothers in Christ and as distinct peoples. Scripture in describing the new heavens and the new earth hints at a vision, a utopian world of nations living in peaceful harmony and worshiping God in their own way. All of them come together in unity to rejoice and worship God at the throne of the Lamb. “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb...

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments