Category Archives: Neo-Reaction

Ashamed Of The Faith

Escoffier, who sometimes posts at Veritas Lounge, left a superb comment recently over at Dalrock’s blog, in the post Worse than fear. Worse than malice. His comment can be found here. The comment, like the original post,  addressed why so many Christians, especially Christian men, are willing and eager to set aside scripture when it comes to matters such as marriage. I am going to repeat his whole comment as a block, both because it is that good, and for ease of reading; my comments will come afterwards:

I want to add a supplementary / alternative reason to explain this embarrassment over the text of the Bible. It’s been touched on but not really fleshed out.

That is, that these nominal Christians under discussion are all moderns first and Christians second (if second). Worse, they don’t even know they are moderns, or what it means to be a modern, or what modernity is.

Modernity, to say the least, conflicts with the Bible. It was designed to, on purpose. Yet it has been so successful in taking over nearly all conscious and sub-conscious thought that hardly anyone any more recognizes it for what it is. That includes most contemporary Christians, to whom “modernity” is simply synonymous with “reality” or even “morality.”

There’s a particular strand of modernity that’s particularly relevant here, namely historicism, and specifically rational historicism (as opposed to radical or irrational historicism). This is the idea of “progress.” “Progress” is cooked into the original conception of modernity, but it came to take on a different meaning much later. Originally, it more or less just meant “We can improve the material condition of man on earth; human beings have a lot more power than either the Bible or classical philosophy will admit.”

Rational historicism takes this idea much further and posits a unidirectional progress, which is worked out through impersonal forces (the so-called historical dialectic) over which man may be an unwitting instrument, but which he didn’t design, doesn’t direct, and can’t control. “History” is nonetheless rational, moving “forward” (with occasional, necessary steps back) to ever-“better” states and eventually to an end state in which all dialectical conflicts are resolved, all moral and political problems solved, and final wisdom achieved (if not necessarily accessible to all). In pop-culture terms, the Star Trek universe is basically the cartoon version of this end state.

Nearly everyone today believes in this “arc” at least in a simplified way. The present is believed to be inherently more enlightened that the past. We Don’t Do That Anymore Because We Know Better. And the future will be inevitably more enlightened than the present.

The source of this impression is ultimately perverted or corrupted or mistaken philosophy, but one does not need to have studied philosophy at all to have been affected, even “convinced.” The astounding success of modern natural science and its offspring, technology, serves to “prove” to such people that “progress” is real and that the present is superior to the past. Technological progress is assumed to be coeval with moral and political progress.

But it is never explained why this should be so. Actually, certain modern philosophers did try to make such a case, but they hardly proved it and their case is open to serious theoretical difficulties which have been pointed out by other philosophers. However, that whole dialogue may as well never have happened as far as the average modern person is concerned. He is simply unaware of it and takes on faith that the present is morally superior to the past.

This, then, is a significant source of the embarrassment. The modern Christian (modern first, Christian second) is embarrassed by the evident conflicts between his nominal faith and his actual, if unconscious, modernity. Modernity trumps. So the offending Scriptures have to be dealt with one way or another. There are many possible ways: insist that it doesn’t say what it seems to say, come up with Rube Goldberg interpretations to square it with modernity, call it “metaphoric,” say that it was right for that time but not our time, and so on. The latter is a kind of “Living Constitution” framework for the Bible. It assumes that God has left to us the task of “updating” Scripture as the “times change.” The changing of the times is held to be the true constant, and really the true God, but only implicitly.

To begin with, Escoffier’s use of the word “moderns” can probably be translated quite accurately into “liberals”, in the sense of the word as I used it in my post The Sound of Inevitability. As for which word is better or more precise/accurate (they aren’t the same thing), I think that is a matter of semantics. Both can work, although for the remainder of this post I will use moderns and modernity instead [the same applies to liberalism and modernism as describing the same over-arching philosophy].

Escoffier is also on the mark when he states that most people “don’t even know they are moderns, or what it means to be a modern, or what modernity is.” Most people adhere to all sorts of philosophical beliefs without realizing it; they lack both the knowledge to categorize their beliefs as well as the introspection to observer them. This double barrier makes it especially difficult to explain to people their own beliefs, as even if you correct their ignorance they might still not get it. All of which means that for most people understanding what they actually believe is probably not feasible.

Escoffier is also correct that most people in the West are moderns first, and Christians second (assuming that they are Christians). There are a number of reasons for this:

  • Training (or indoctrinating) of someone to be a modern begins at a very young age, often before matters of faith
  • Everyone is immersed all the times in modern thinking and modes of thought, whereas overtly Christian approaches are much more rare
  • Modern thinking has already infiltrated a significant amount of Christianity, and corrupted a number of critical fields of doctrine
  • Modernist thinking is baked into everyday assumptions of “how things work”, as well as our understanding of history and our present place in it

And the list goes on. Now, I’m not sure if modernity was in fact explicitly designed to subvert Christianity. Escoffier might be on the right track here, but whether he is or not determining whether this is the case would take up a post by itself. So I will leave it be for now.

“Historicism” is an interesting strain of thought. From my experience most people are just like Escoffier describes: subscribers without realizing what they are subscribing to or even that they are subscribing to something at all. It is the dominant paradigm of the present age, and as Escoffier notes, pretty much everyone buys into it. I think these two sentences are a perfect summation of what most people believe:

The present is believed to be inherently more enlightened that the past. We Don’t Do That Anymore Because We Know Better.

Most people really do buy into the idea that we know better now, and it shapes their thoughts and beliefs when it comes to anything historical. And yes, that includes Scripture. And nowhere does this manifest more than when Scripture concerns women in some way:

  • Wives required to submit to their husbands? Barbaric.
  • Women not allowed to teach or hold authority over men? Outdated.
  • Women required to cover their head while praying? Oppressive.
  • Women advised to maintain a quiet, gentle spirit? Misogynistic.

As far as I can tell, pretty much every part of Scripture (or Tradition) that addresses women in some way is now interpreted through the modernist filter. And that means if it doesn’t agree with modern thinking and beliefs about women, it must be discarded.

This brings us to the final paragraph of Escoffier’s comment, which I will repeat again for ease of reading:

This, then, is a significant source of the embarrassment. The modern Christian (modern first, Christian second) is embarrassed by the evident conflicts between his nominal faith and his actual, if unconscious, modernity. Modernity trumps. So the offending Scriptures have to be dealt with one way or another. There are many possible ways: insist that it doesn’t say what it seems to say, come up with Rube Goldberg interpretations to square it with modernity, call it “metaphoric,” say that it was right for that time but not our time, and so on. The latter is a kind of “Living Constitution” framework for the Bible. It assumes that God has left to us the task of “updating” Scripture as the “times change.” The changing of the times is held to be the true constant, and really the true God, but only implicitly.

There are a couple of key points here. The first is that people are embarrassed by what Scripture says. And by people, I mean “Christians.” They really are ashamed of what the Bible has to say about things like marriage, divorce and “the role of women.” Those teachings are incompatible with modernist thought, and in fact scandalous nowadays. To be associated with them is to be a social pariah. As Escoffier points out, modernity trumps Christianity in terms of their values hierarchy. They have either forgotten, ignored or never learned the admonition of Saint Paul: “Do not be conformed to this world. No, they have conformed, and in many cases do so with gusto.

Yet, for reasons which only they know, they don’t want to give up all of Christianity. They still want to keep some of it- usually the happy, nice, fun parts like the resurrection and grace and forgiveness. But the hard parts, and the parts that conflict with modernity? Those must be “dealt with.”

Ultimately, I think Escoffier is correct when he says that “the changing of the times,” that is, the belief in “Progress”, is the real God of most “Christians”, not the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob. They do not keep the Great Commandment and “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” (Deut 6:4-5). It is the world, and its empty philosophy, that they truly love.

Update: Novaseeker has created a post highlighting Escoffier’s comment, and Dalrock has created his own post as well.

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Filed under Christianity, Churchianity, God, Marriage, Moral Agency, Neo-Reaction, Sin, The Church

The Sound Of Inevitability

[Fair Warning: This post is my attempt to delve into philosophy, political philosophy and other “deep” matters. These are not fields where I have any special knowledge/training, or have an in-depth education, and it will show. Please excuse the (overly) amateur nature of this post.]

I.

For some time now I have been of the opinion that the present outbreak of rebellion in women against male authority, a problem with many names but which can be encapsulated best by the appellation “feminism”, was inevitable in the West, and in the United States in particular. Several different factors are at play right now in the United States, any one of which would create the present crisis (which I believe it so qualifies as). Working together they have created an unstoppable juggernaut which has reshaped the culture over the last century or so to a breathtaking degree. What we have now would be largely unrecognizable to someone who lived at the turn of the 20th century. The social order which we might refer to as “Patriarchy” is now entirely gone. Whatever appears to be left of it is in fact a hollow shell, devoid of substance or meaning.

Two comments stand out in convincing me to write this post. Both took place in my post One Body, where I discussed unity within the church. However, both commenters used the opportunity of division within the church to point out greater divisions within the whole of society. The first comment comes from Denise:

I’ve thought for a while that one of the ironic things about the Christian part of the manosphere is the emphasis on authority, but limited to the need for women to submit to the authority of men. At the same time, there is a general denigration of the authority of church leaders (of whatever denomination). The need for authority permeates our lives, and wherever people are unwilling to submit themselves to the right authority over them, there will be problems.

This comment elicited a response from reader mdavid:

I’ve never really thought about things this way, but the more I reflect it’s pretty dang amusing. Think about it this way: individualistic men of the West, each claiming to be their sole spiritual authority to interpret the bible…get exactly what we ask for: division. And our women, following us, soon become a perfect reflection of their men, indeed made from our very (disobedient) rib to continue the analogy.

In this light, it’s sort of funny to complain about women being disobedient to the very men who are themselves repulsed by earthly spiritual authority. Hey, I don’t want to obey imperfect earthly authority (even though Jesus demanded it) so I’ll follow Christ directly! Well, then, why shouldn’t my wife say exactly the same thing to me? I sure can’t claim perfection for myself nor my earthly spiritual leaders. So the modern western wench is a pretty damn appropriate punishment, the more I think of it. God is clever but never malicious. He is merely giving us what we demand…earthly freedom for us and ours. Ouch.

Both of them touched on one aspect of the problem of female rebellion- the overall dislike of authority in the West. But so much more is at play. I am writing this post in order to examine some of the reasons why Patriarchy was doomed centuries ago, and to show that what is happening now is merely the fulfillment of a destiny set in place long before our time.

II.

Right now there are three major factors, or impulses, that are driving the current trend of female rebellion within the West. I use the term impulse because they are actively pulling society/the culture along; they are not reactive in nature. Each of these impulses is tied to the dominant ideology and political philosophy of the West, which has many specific flavors but overall can be summed up as “liberalism” (note the small ‘”l”). All three are linked to one another to different degrees, as while they manifest differently and have varying effects, their ultimate point of origin is the same.  The three impulses are:

  • The Anti-Authoritarian Impulse
  • The Egalitarian/Equality Impulse
  • The Freedom/Liberty Impulse

Each of these impulses has worked on its own to stoke the fires of female rebellion, each in its own unique way. While the paths they have trodden may be different, the final destination is the same: the destruction of Patriarchy. Now to explain all three in a little more depth.

A.

The Anti-Authoritarian Impulse derives from the liberal opposition to authority and the exercise thereof. This is especially true for “imposed authority,” that is, authority that comes down from above where the person below has no say in the matter. One of the driving forces in the creation of what we can call liberalism was a hostility to this kind of situation. It is principally applied to matters of state, and expressed most commonly in the idea that “just government comes from the consent of the governed.” Liberalism believes that authority cannot be imposed unilaterally from above; it is only valid when assented to by the governed.

As one might guess, this particular impulse manifests as a direct rebellion against authority. It is the most forward of the impulses, and the easiest to understand in its effect (subtle it ain’t).

Also, this impulse is nothing new. Its origin is as old as Man himself, for it is born of the spirit of rebellion that lurks in the heart of every man and woman. The story of the Fall in the Book of Genesis contains the perennial example of the rebellion against authority. So its no surprise that liberalism adopted anti-authoritarianism into its official “plank.” The Reformation also had a huge impact on the development of liberalism, as liberalism was strongest and germinated soonest (from what I recall of my history lessons) in those regions/nations that embraced Protestantism. [This post isn’t aimed to fight that particular conflict over again, merely to show the ideological consequences of the Reformation. So lets keep it topical here.]

B.

The Egalitarian or Equality Impulse is a fairly broad one, as it encompasses both the liberal belief that everyone is equal to some degree or another, as well as the belief that everyone should be equal. Some expressions of this include ideas such as “political equality”, “equality of opportunity” and “equality of outcome.” Ultimately it comes down to treating people the same in some form or fashion, and recognizing them as being the same. Each plays off the other. After all, if everyone “is” the same, then they should be treated the same. And if everyone is treated the same, then they will “be” the same.

Its origin in liberalism is interesting. It has ties to classical philosophy, especially the polis of ancient Greece, where in many instances the citizens of a city-state were considered equal brothers (Sparta is an interesting example of this). Another pagan connection would be various Anglo-Saxon and Viking traditions, which hewed to a sort of “band-of-brothers” belief that fellow warriors were equal to one another. The notion of trial by your peers is an example of this, as it has a history tied to this tradition, dating back to when Germanic tribes first invaded what we now call Britain and Ireland.  There was also a Christian connection as well, owing to the thought of some famous Christian theologians who emphasized the equal worth of human beings in the eyes of God. There is more, but it is beyond the scope of this post.

All of these sources flowed together into the thinking of the Enlightenment, where liberalism was born, and emerged as the idea we now call “Equality.” While it has, even now, many flavors, the Egalitarian Impulse carries a lot of weight in the liberal West.

C.

The Freedom or Liberty Impulse is, stated simply enough, the liberal belief that everyone should be free to act how they wish as much as possible. Usually it is explained as the ability of a human being to act in whatsoever manner they wish, so long as they don’t intrude on the rights of a fellow human being. Otherwise, so long as someone else isn’t directly affected, you are free to do whatever you want.

Much of its origin can be traced to the English Enlightenment, which drew heavily on the centuries old tradition of “English Liberty.” That itself drew on even older traditions dating back to the Norman conquest of England, when certain individuals were granted special privileges based on service to the crown, blood ties and the like. Originally (to the best of my musty knowledge of history) it mainly manifested itself as a list of rights to be free of certain obligations. Freedom from certain taxes and duties, for example. A freedom “from,”, if you will. Over time it morphed into a freedom “to” do certain things. As a matter of political philosophy, this was actually a huge shift, and helped lay the groundwork for the impulse as we understand it today.

III.

The United States in particular is a product of all three liberal impulses. One can look through American history and be bombarded by different ideas and beliefs that all had their origin in one or more of these impulses. Perhaps no document is a better example of liberalism’s core tenets than the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

You can see all three impulses at work here-

  • “all men are created equal” is the Egalitarian impulse
  • “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is the Freedom impulse
  • “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” is the anti-authoritarian impulse
  • “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government” is also the anti-authoritarian impulse

You will find similar influences in pretty much every major American political document or speech. The three impulses pervade everything; they are so commonplace we pretty much take them for granted at this point. An interesting question would be if they are more prominent in the US than they are elsewhere. My personal belief is that the Anti-Authoritarian and Freedom impulses are more pronounced in the US, whereas in the rest of the West the Egalitarian impulse is dominant. That is not to say that the US lacks the Egalitarian impulse, it clearly doesn’t. But it isn’t as strong, and takes a somewhat different form than it does in, say, Europe.

The reason for this is that liberalism has had several different variants over the years. The US has long been a haven for what political philosophers call “classical liberalism”, which is the form of liberalism that developed during the Enlightenment. It is marked by a strong resistance to authority, a preference for Equality of Opportunity over Equality of Outcome, and a strong believe in “individual rights, i.e., “freedom.” Europe, on the other hand, has been influenced far more by “socialist liberalism”, which is a post-Enlightenment variant of liberalism which was a product of the Romantic era. It is marked by a strong preference for Equality of Outcome, which drowns out to some degree the other impulses. However, despite the different flavors they represent, both expressions of liberalism lead to the same place, as the next section will explain.

IV.

This leads me back to the original point of this post- how the rise of “feminism” in the West was inevitable. Liberalism, as the dominant ideology in the West, made sure that all three impulses exerted a great deal of influence on Western culture and thought. They are everywhere. Their influence and effect is inescapable. And each was capable by itself of encouraging female rebellion. How did they do it? Let us examine each in turn.

A.

The Anti-Authoritarian impulse

This is easy enough to understand. This impulse has, over time, encouraged all segments of society to rebel against any form of authority, and it has weakened the authority that can be exercised. Male authority over women is treated like any other kind of authority- it is opposed on principle and tolerated only when those over whom it is exercised consent (stated another way, consent must be had for authority to be exercised). Naturally enough, most women don’t consent to men exercising authority over them. And why shouldn’t they? Individually they often benefit from rebelling, even though society as a whole will suffer.

Left unchecked, this impulse will expand its scope and reach.  And there is no checking it, as it is a core belief of the ideology of liberalism. To check the anti-authoritarian impulse would be to renounce a part of liberalism itself, which it would not, could not do. No form of authority can escape its grasp accordingly.

The authority that a husband  can exercise over his wife in marriage would be one such authority. It was always scheduled to be on the chopping block, no matter what. After all, if the authority of the state and the church has been rejected, why not the authority of the husband over his wife? Compared to the first two, the authority of the last is trivial. Christianity, as we have learned, does not provide an immunity to this. The same thought processes which affect secular thinking affect religious thinking. An example- “so what if the Bible says that wives are to submit to their husbands… there is no reason you have to follow it anyways.”

What has happened in the West over the last many centuries is that the authority of the state and the church has been reduced and limited to an incredible degree (although it should be noted that the rise of socialist type policies and practices runs counter to this- the subject of the impulses competing with one another is a matter for another post, however). The authority of the husband over his wife, and of men over women, would always be targeted because any authority would eventually find itself a target. And no defense could be raised against it, because those elements of society which could mount it had already been neutered.

 

B.

The Egalitarian Impulse

Again, this has two components, one that stresses that everyone is equal, and a second which emphasizes that everyone should be treated equally. Both work together towards the same end.

If women are equal to men, then it follows that men cannot exercise authority over them. After all, authority is exercised by a superior over an inferior, not by one equal over an another. Also, if women are equal to men, than they should be treated the same. It isn’t logical or consistent to treat those who are the same any differently, hence women and men must be treated the same. And if women and men are to be treated the same, then there is no room for male authority over women.

The problem with the Egalitarian impulse is that it could never be easily limited. Once the concept of Equality was acknowledged as an ideal, there was no stopping it. Anyone and everyone would claim the mantle of its power for themselves. How do you distinguish one group as worthy of equality, and not another? As long as it held value in the minds of the populace, people would be hesitant to argue against its further application to another “worthy” group. In holding up Equality as an ideal, liberalism provided a ready made tool to hammer male authority with. The two are incompatible, something had to give. With liberalism being the dominant ideology, the loser was inevitably going to be male authority.

C.

The Freedom Impulse

Male authority over women necessarily entails restrictions on female liberty. That is the nature of authority- it’s exercise limits what you can do. Here we had another inevitable conflict in the making. Again, the idea behind this particular liberal belief is that you should be able to do what you want to do. Support of any kind of restriction on liberty, of anyone, carries with it the charge of hypocrisy (again, with some exceptions based on the other impulses interacting). Whether or not it is true, people don’t like to be called hypocrites. Defending against that charge would require showing that restricting female liberty was of greater social value than promoting greater liberty. The problem with that defense is the fact that liberalism never had as a core component of its ideology the belief that men needed to exercise authority over women. Rather, it was inherited from previous ideological systems as a kind of “leftover”, a tradition that was preserved because it made sense. Some philosophers made stronger arguments in favor of it, but those ideas were never part of the core ideology of liberalism. They were dressing, in other words.

All of this means that when push came to shove, the liberty impulse was destined to win. People in the West have been conditioned to believe that more liberty is inherently a good thing. Indeed, liberty itself is seen as a good of the highest order, so of course the more of it, the better. If you oppose greater liberty for, say, women, why then… the question is raised about what kind of person are you? Only someone opposed to liberty, such as a fascist/national socialist, would oppose liberty. After all, that is what liberalism has essentially taught people in the West. Because liberty was more highly valued by liberalism than any exercise of authority by men over women, it was inevitable that women would seek and be granted the freedom they so desired.

V.

In conclusion, this was always going to happen. The seeds of female disobedience and rebellion were planted centuries ago. Men, in their desire to acquire more liberty for themselves, to level the playing field, and to escape the church and the state exercising any authority over them (without their say so) created an ideology to suit their ends. But in their individualistic pursuit of greater self-actualization and power, they failed to appreciate that they were paving the road for women to follow right behind them. And follow they did.

Churchianity is the natural result of these liberal tendencies allowed to run their course. Notions of Equality, Freedom and a hostility to Authority are so deeply engrained in our minds by the surrounding culture  they incline us to undermine core tenets of the faith. Despite clear teaching to the contrary, wives are not submitting to their husbands, women are preaching and exercising authority over men, and marriage and divorce are treated flippantly. Those are just a small sample of what Churchianity offers. And it is only going to get worse.

In their haste to get what they wanted, our forefathers blindly tore down the barriers that kept our inner demons at bay, and undermined the foundation of Western Civilization. As many around these parts have argued for some time, that foundation was Patriarchy and Patriarchal marriage (for a good explanation of how that is the case, see here). When the present system collapses, and it most certainly will, it will not be because people the people running it were incompetent. Or because they didn’t try it hard enough or long enough. No, everything will fall apart because there could be no other outcome. The liberal order was destined to collapse.

So the next time you hear a woman complain that there are no good men left, the next time you hear a father bragging about his careerist daughter, the next time you hear a man lamenting how his wife blew up his marriage and ruined the lives of their children, the next time a preacher tells the men of the church to “man up”, the next time you hear a story on the news about more and more children being born out of wedlock, know well that you are hearing:

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Filed under Christianity, Churchianity, Femininity, Feminism, Neo-Reaction, Temptation, The Church, Women

The Struggle Of Our Time

I hadn’t realized it until just recently, but Novaseeker over at Veritas Lounge returned to blogging. He had let his blog lapse for a while, but restored it and has written two posts that warrant further analysis and discussion. They both revolve around a common theme, namely, the nature of the struggle that we face now here in the West.

The first post is called Lords of the New Church. In it he begins by discussing the call by one Sandra Korn for “Academic Justice” inside of Academia, rather than “Academic Freedom.” As he explains:

What we see here is nothing less than the development of a new orthodoxy, together with the enforcement mechanisms which go along with any system of orthodox belief.

This much I think has been obvious to most folks for quite some time, but he goes further.:

Clearly this is the enforcement of a moral orthodoxy — or, rather, an enforced set of rules about permitted academic investigation or engagement which are in turn based on a preconceived moral orthodoxy.  It’s quite telling that the ultimate justification, the “punch line” if you will, is that of having “the moral upper hand”.  This is the ultimate “moral” (in reality, ideological) basis which justifies the accepted orthodoxy of one’s actions, and which trumps the academic freedom of any dissenters from such “consensus” orthodoxy.  Of course, while being both banal and unsurprising, it is nevertheless ironic (and an irony that appears completely lost on most of the academy, alas) that a group which has claimed inherited solidarity with Galileo in the face of his persecution for articulating ideas which went against the orthodoxy of his day has now completely turned around, and essentially become its own perceived caricature of what it has despised — namely fulfilling to a tee the academy’s caricature of the Christian church as an ideologically-based enforcer of an orthodoxy of ideas, based on a set of moral principles held in consensus by its own appointed few.  What we are witnessing is nothing less than the “coming out party” of a new church — complete with a priesthood, monasteries and an emergent, and zealously enforced, orthodoxy.

I completely agree with Novaseeker’s assessment here. In fact, I have made a similar argument myself in my post The Three Estates. That post described how the US is slowly drifting towards a neo-feudal order, one where there are three major “castes”, or “estates.” This mirrors how much of Europe looking from the Dark Ages all the way through to the Renaissance. As I explained, the nature of the system was like this:

  1. The first caste defined the moral order
  2. The second exercised political and economic control, through its monopoly on force
  3. The third kept the system running

The old estates were broken long ago- the church was/is largely powerless, and the nobility had been broken and disappeared. However, developments in our society had lead to the emergence of a new social order that looked a lot like the old one. The Third Estate is still much as it always was, but the Second Estate is now composed of politicians, activists, lobbyists and bureaucrats who exercise most of the political power in the present system. As for the First Estate, here is what I explained:

The cultural elites of the West, located in the Media, Academia and the overall “Education Establishment”, have begun to take on the role of the First Estate. Like the clergy in Medieval times, they are largely in a position to define the moral order for overall society. The amount of influence they now wield dwarfs anything that their opponents can muster. For some time the media, although it was just the “press” back then, was referred to as the Fourth Estate. This is because they were outside of the overall power structure as it existed back then, but still wielded influence  (and through it power). No longer. Now the media is very much integrated in the social order. They are joined in this by a powerful Educational Establishment, which molds the minds of citizens starting in kindergarten (or even sooner) all the way through post-graduate education. It is this conglomeration of influence wielders who determine what is, and isn’t, acceptable in society. For an idea of what that means, see here. Under the present system Transgress those boundaries and at best you find yourself a social pariah, with fines and imprisonment possibilities for greater infractions of the social order.

All of this has been apparent for some time to those of us who have actually been paying attention to what is going on. What is different now, as Novaseeker explains, is that they aren’t pretending anymore:

What is new, however, is the brazenness of it all.  That approach and tone comes when people generally feel invulnerable to their critics.  The ideological left (which is what the academy is – it isn’t a centrist, pragmatic left, it’s generally an out-there, radical, ideological left) is basically doing a socio-political-cultural celebratory dance.  Virtually all of their goals have either been achieved or are well within reach.  They know this.  Hegemony is theirs – at least for the foreseeable future.  So, this gives them the courage simply to state explicitly things that previously everyone familiar with the academy tacitly knew, but didn’t expressly say – it’s the most brazen stage of the entire development by which the academy has become monolithic in outlook while at the same time hugely increasing its influence over the state and the society at large.

He goes even further in explaining the situation, and I strongly recommend everyone to read the whole post (and its follow-up).

His second post is called The Struggle is Spiritual. It begins where he left off in his previous post:

This is a religious fight, from start to finish.  It’s best that we see it that way, that we may approach it properly and with the most appropriate tools.

I’m not going to quote nearly so much from his second post, as you really have to read the whole thing to understand it properly. What I will quote from is his opening:

I have gradually come to the conclusion that the current “struggles” we face concerning the “culture” — whether we are discussing the impact of the sexual revolution, the decline of religion in the public square, the increase of all kinds of license, the coarsening of society, the decline of family life, etc. — are primarily not cultural struggles at all.  And neither are they political struggles, although certain aspects of these elements have been aided and abetted by political action and legislation.

By contrast, it strikes me that the cultural and political elements we are seeing are merely manifestations of a broader spiritual struggle — a larger element which underlies these other manifestations, and unites them into a larger, cohesive, and more dangerous, whole.

I owe Novaseeker a debt of gratitude for this part. While I had always sort of known this, in the sense that I had all of the pieces in my mind, I hadn’t put them together. When assembled, they clued me in to the fact that the First Estate, as I had envisioned it, was not merely composed of cultural elites, but spiritual ones. In fact, the media’s influence is as much spiritual as it is cultural, as they help mold and define what is good, and what isn’t. The same applies to Academia. My suspicion is that the lack of clarity over this is deliberate- a product of the machinations of the new First Estate who want to keep everyone else in the dark about what is really going on. They have created distinctions between culture and spirituality that exist only in our minds- they are no more real than the false deity that has been constructed by this new First Estate over the last few decades to centuries.

What is going on now is nothing more, and nothing less, than a war for the Soul of Western Civilization. A campaign is underway to remove the last (overt) traces of Christianity from what used to be known as Christendom, or what we more commonly refer to now as Western Civilization. In fact, campaign might be too generous. Because by all appearances the adversary has already all but won this war, and is in the process of securing its victory.

The question before us is this: What now? What shall we do? How shall we respond?

Will we keep fighting, even though we cannot win (by ourselves, at least)? While it is doubtful that we will be fed to lions or suffer the other forms of torture and execution that the first martyrs faced, suffering is clearly ahead. Loss of property is assured. As is loss of freedom. Perhaps scarier, loss of family- no doubt those with children will see them taken away and sent to who knows where.

Or do we instead “flee to the catacombs”? Do we hide away in small communities and isolate ourselves from general society? Perhaps we can literally flee to the mountains or otherwise sparsely inhabited regions in order to escape the coming persecution. Because that is coming, as surely as night follows day.  The new First Estate cannot tolerate the presence of another source of moral authority, or at least, one which is opposed to it.

Or will we surrender? Do we given in, and compromise our faith that we might live in peace? Most likely Christians will still be allowed to practice their “faith” if they simply drop those parts which offend the morality and sensibility of the new moral order. We will be allowed to worship our God all we want, so long as we also worship theirs as well. It won’t be that difficult either, I imagine, besides giving lip service to their “good”, and saying the right things and hating the right things.

Perhaps these are the end times, and the Day of Judgment will soon be upon us. Or maybe this is just another period of brief darkness that will pass in time. Either way, we cannot tell beforehand. The only thing that we know for certain is the choice we have to make. Fight, flee or surrender?

Choose wisely.

 

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The Three Estates

This post is going to going to be a departure from my normal fare. Today I am going to dip my toe, however tentatively, into that murky pool of forbidden knowledge known as Neo-Reaction, or what some have deemed “The Dark Enlightenment.” Looking back over it, I realize this is a sloppy post, and I apologize for that. Its been difficult to compile and organize my thoughts on this subject and I may not repeat it. But enough of that, on to the actual post.

I. The Medieval System

Christian Europe after the fall of the (Western) Roman Empire and up until the heyday of the Renaissance (and in some nations even later) was organized into a loose caste system which was known as the “Estates of the Realm.” This system was also sometimes referred to as “The Three Estates”, because in many nations the system was made up of three different castes, each of which was referred to as an Estate. France was the archetypical nation that embodied this system. The Estates were as follows:

  • The First Estate was composed of the clergy, ranking from the lowliest monk or parish priest all the way to up to Archbishops. They were also called “oratores”, or “those who pray.”
  • The Second Estate was composed of the feudal nobility, ranging from the lowliest knight all the way up to Dukes and Princes. They were called the “bellatores”, or “those who fight.”
  • The Third Estate was composed of the commoners, ranging from the lowliest serf all the way up to… well, scratch that. Rich merchants and highly skilled craftsmen were essentially the top of this estate. They were called the “laboratores”, or “those who work.”

A few important points:

  • This social order developed organically over time, although philosophy and theology later came to ratify its existence.
  • Something important to note is the absence of two key individuals in the social order in the above estates: the King and (for Catholic nations) the Pope. Technically the King (whomever he was) was above the system, and was in fact in charge of it in whatever nation that he ruled. The Pope, on the other hand,  technically held spiritual authority over all Christians (including the King), and therefore was (according to some philosophers) superior to the King. [More on this later. ]
  • Those elements of society outside the power structure were known as the Fourth Estate.
  • This era was marked by a consolidation of economic and political power together under the nobility. As the economy was primarily agricultural, land equaled wealth. Since the nobility controlled nearly all the land, they largely controlled the economy. Merchants who amassed significant wealth through trade were few and far between, and in many instances the nobility took steps to restrict this development.

The clergy were held to be the first estate because they received their authority from God. The nobility, which received their authority from the clergy, were the Second Estate. And finally came the final, Third Estate, the commoners, who received whatever rights and authority they had from the nobility.

Each of the Estates played an important role in the social order, one that their simple descriptions doesn’t do justice. The First Estate, the clergy, did more than just pray. In fact, a better descriptor of them would be “those who preach.” For it is preaching, not praying, that gave them the power they wielded in European society at the time. They provided the moral authority and framework for the entire feudal system; in essence they set the rules of the game. The nobility did fight, a lot, although the petty nature of much of it has long made me think that they should have been called “those who squabble”. However, they also ruled too, and that was the greater part of their role in medieval society. It was the nobility’s governance over the commoners which marked their primary role in the system. Only the description of the commoners is accurate; they really were “those who work.” The commoners were the backbone of the system, driving the primarily agricultural economy and supporting the existence of the other two Estates.

The key thing to understand about the Estates of the Realm is the way the Estates interacted. The clergy used their influence to provide moral authority for the nobility to rule over the commoners. In essence, they instructed the commoners to follow the nobles. In return the clergy received special rights and exemptions from most of the noble’s governance. They clergy had their own lands, their own court system, and were in many respects independent of the nobility. The nobility used the moral authority they were granted to rule over the commoners. And the commoners provided material support to the other estates.

Here is a graphical representation of how this worked:

The Three EstatesAt its core, the Estates of the Realm was a simple caste system where each caste had a particular role.  Even in those nations which technically had more than four estates, it is relatively easy to fold some of the estates in the one of the “Three”. Distilled to its essence, this is what you have:

  1. The first caste defined the moral order
  2. The second exercised political and economic control, through its monopoly on force
  3. The third kept the system running

I should point out that the symbiotic relationship between the First and Second Estates was not entirely peaceful. In fact, there was a constant struggle between them over the centuries. This is because their interests were close, but didn’t line up perfectly. At the heart of this conflict, at least in Western Europe, was the question of who was supreme: the King or the Pope? Over time, this struggle escalated, and was encouraged by divisions within the First Estate. The Reformation was as much a fight between the First and Second Estates as it was a fight within the First Estate.

Of course, this system eventually fell apart, with some nations holding onto it longer than others. But the model it provides us with- three divisions of society, each with a defined “role”, will be important in the next section. [For those interested in more info, here is the wikipedia article on the subject. I drew most of this info from memory, but the wiki helped fill in the gaps.]

II. The “New” System

This brings us to the present day. What I believe we are witnessing now in the United States and in most of Western Civilization is the development of a social order that bears a striking similarity to the Estates of the Realm. Remember, the core architecture of the “Three Estates” is that you have one Estate/caste which defines the moral order and is largely independent, you have one Estate/caste which rules the commoners and exercises political, economic and military control, and then you have one Estate/caste which is basically everyone else.

The cultural elites of the West, located in the Media, Academia and the overall “Education Establishment”, have begun to take on the role of the First Estate. Like the clergy in Medieval times, they are largely in a position to define the moral order for overall society. The amount of influence they now wield dwarfs anything that their opponents can muster. For some time the media, although it was just the “press” back then, was referred to as the Fourth Estate. This is because they were outside of the overall power structure as it existed back then, but still wielded influence  (and through it power). No longer. Now the media is very much integrated in the social order. They are joined in this by a powerful Educational Establishment, which molds the minds of citizens starting in kindergarten (or even sooner) all the way through post-graduate education. It is this conglomeration of influence wielders who determine what is, and isn’t, acceptable in society. For an idea of what that means, see here. Under the present system Transgress those boundaries and at best you find yourself a social pariah, with fines and imprisonment possibilities for greater infractions of the social order.

  • Already this new First Estate is being exempted from laws that affect the Third Estate. They receive other protections as well, including greater “free speech” rights and special tax rules.

Meanwhile, the Second Estate that is developing is composed  of political elites and high level government bureaucrats at the upper echelons, while law enforcement and lower level bureaucrats fill up the lower ranks.  These are the segments of society who are assuming the same kind of power and authority that the nobility once had. Also, it is more than simply the State, as it includes party leaders and activists.

  • You can see this in the US through the greater amount of control over the economy that the Federal Government is assuming every day. “Obamacare”, which constituted a massive government intervention and involvement in large sector of the economy, is one example of this. The purpose of these laws, the true purpose, is to assume for government greater power over the economy. This is because the centralization of political and economic power is an essential component of the Second Estate asserting itself and ruling over the general populace.
  • While the US military might be weakening, law enforcement in the country is increasingly militarizing. This process is not accidental- while there are some justifications for these measures, they also pave the wave for law enforcement to more easily squash domestic opposition, something which is not lost on those who form the new Second Estate.

The Third Estate hasn’t changed much since then. It is composed of ordinary individuals who are trying to get by in life. It exists now mostly as a tax base to support the other two Estates.

If you look back up to the graphic above depicting how the system worked, you can see that it hasn’t changed a bit. Each segment of society has its role to play. Now, this social order is still emerging, and hasn’t yet fixed itself in place. But the process is well advanced now. Those who dislike the present US administration likely appreciate this, although I suspect few realize just how much the present US President is a creature of the current First Estate. They built him up and launched him into place in order to carry out their goals. And thus far, they have largely succeeded.

The Church, in a very broad sense encompassing all Christian faith traditions, has lost so much influence and authority in the West that it is effectively no longer in the game. The old First Estate is largely broken. In fact many faith traditions have essentially been wholly taken over by the present First Estate, and now serve its interests.

As for the Second Estate, different political factions all operate within the system and accept its rules- their conflict is akin to the nobles of the past fighting over land and title. There is no fundamental disagreement over the propriety of the system, only a squabble over who controls the system and thus gets to divvy up the spoils.

This all brings us to the Fourth Estate. The press is no longer in this position, instead it has displaced the Church and assumed moral authority over society. If there is any part of society which can be considered to compose a present Fourth Estate, I would have to think it would be the few remaining intact Christian faith traditions coupled with the philosophers and polemicists in the Neo-Reactionary movement. Only there do you find any real opposition to the present order, and even there it is stronger in the latter than the former. Only Traditional Catholics, the Orthodox Church and certain isolated Protestant churches can be considered to be in opposition to the present order. The others have either compromised with it, accepted it or embraced it.

III. Conclusion

I think that understanding how the different segments of the present system work will help those in the Third and Fourth Estates to realize the complexity and insidiousness of the current social order. There really isn’t a unified social order, instead “the powers that be” belong to different components within society, each with their own set of goals. Oftentimes those of the first two Estates will overlap, but not always.  If you consider yourself a foe of the first two Estates, it is vital to understand this- as this division is both a strength and weakness. It is a strength because you need to attack and destroy both in order to overthrow the system, and a weakness because their sometimes competing goals can be used to get them to fight one another. As for how to go about that, well, that’s a subject for another day…

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