Category Archives: Western civilization

Not With a Bang, But a Duck Call

Rod Dreher today revisits the difference between paleoconservatives and everybody else:

“My conservatism is primarily cultural, social, and intellectual. Hers was also cultural and social, but it was more temperamental than intellectual… she had a reflexive disdain for intellectualism. She saw it as an effete indulgence at best”

I see this coming and going. Even people who have every cultural reason to be paleoconservative (traditional Catholics, for instance) enthusiastically support the establishment agenda because they, as Red once put it, don’t understand the philosophy behind what the brand of conservatism they have bought into.

Not us, though. We paleos are doomed to see and understand. What is our reward, Rod?

Hence the pathos of those intellectual conservatives… they encounter liberalism articulated with a cultural sophistication that, even if it doesn’t seduce them, amplifies the alienation they feel from their own tribe.

A very eloquent was of describing the red pill, isn’t it? He describes the consequences of those who have chosen to remain on the “blue pill” team eloquently as well:

And whether consciously or not, they embraced a right-of-center version of emotivism: the idea that feelings are a reliable and sufficient guide to truth and right conduct.

That is pure Palinism, yes? She has good “instincts”…

Dreher’s call to action, other than a generic recommendation to “engage”, is quite a decent idea…. one can look for ideological allies among the private Classical Christian schools that have begun to be crop up. Not a bad insight.

But for a really inspiring call to arms, for a true reminder of why we fight, I had to dust off the June 2006 issue of Chronicles, which is not available online. In it, Chilton Williamson Jr. writes:

“Whoever wishes to defend and preserve our disintegrating civilization ought to minimize his time spent with the news and devote the hours saved to reading poetry and literature; listening to the great composers and studying great works of art; filling his house with the finest furniture, china, silverware, and crystal he can afford; giving elegant dinners for his friends and other like-minded acquaintances in short, refining himself as a work of high civilization and establishing his household as civilization in miniature.

Better yet, he should set aside the propaganda, half-truths, and outright lies of which most of the news consists and turn his hand to painting a picture, composing a string quartet, writing a novel, and doing it without thought of fame, fortune, or influence. Good and honest work, like civilization itself, is its own reward, with effects that radiate, like an act of charity, infinitely through the universe.”

 

 

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The problem with Tolkien

When the Lord of the Rings movies charmed moviegoers and critics alike, the SPLC fired back with a hostile Pacific News Service review that slammed the movie for its celebration of all things European: “Almost all of the heroes of the series are manly men who are whiter than white” and “exude a heavenly aura of all that is Eurocentric and good. Who but these courageous Anglo-Saxon souls can save Middle Earth from the dark and evil forces of the world?”

Well, we can’t have movies extolling manliness, now can we? And any work of art that portrays defenders of traditional European culture as anything but evil MUST be shunned.

But now here’s the Guardian exposing the underlying fault of Tolkien’s works — it’s not just the fact that no actors of color were cast in the movies based on his best-selling novels; the real problem with Tolkien is his enduring ideal of what constitutes “the good”:

Tolkien’s myths are profoundly conservative. Both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings turn on the “return of the king” to his rightful throne. In both cases this “victory” means the reassertion of a feudal social structure which had been disrupted by “evil”. Both books are one-sided recollections made the Baggins family, members of the landed gentry, in the Red Book of Westmarch – an unreliable historical source if ever there was one. A balanced telling might well have shown Smaug to be much more of a reforming force in the valley of Dale….

We’re left to take on trust from Gandalf, a manipulative spin doctor, and the Elves, immortal elitists who kill humans and hobbits for even entering their territory, when they say that the maker of the one ring is evil. Isn’t it more likely that the orcs, who live in dire poverty, actually support Sauron because he represents the liberal forces of science and industrialisation, in the face of a brutally oppressive conservative social order?

Perfect. The Elves in The Lord of the Rings are “elitist,” Sauron is a reactionary’s lampoon of enlightenment, and Sauron’s hellish mills represent Marxist “liberal forces of science and industrialisation.” Of course.

These people aren’t just attacking a fantasy classic. They seek to destroy the Western civilization that classic celebrates. Tolkien’s aim in writing The Lord of the Rings, besides giving us a rip-roaring and inspirational story, was to create a new heroic mythology for Europeans.

And our enemies know that.