June 03, 2009

Race, Christianity, and Anarcho-Capitalism

Although Justin and I have been friends for many years, and allies against the neo-Trotskyist scourge, fairness compels me to note his overstatement of my critical remarks about Jared Taylor. It was not my intention to treat Jared as a representative of leftist victimology.  I was simply commenting on the reactive character of his white nationalist ideology, which seems to have been developed as a mechanical response to the present dominance of anti-white, anti-Western elites. I then offered reasons that white nationalists have not been effective in counteracting the multicultural Left. And finally I made a few observations about the overlaps and dissimilarities between the traditional Right and the white nationalist movement. Although white nationalists stress hierarchy and the recognition of natural inequalities, which are hallmarks of the authentic Right, they give no evidence of a traditional class sense or of any rooted identity. In this sense white nationalists are different from European counterrevolutionaries or Burkean conservatives, but also typical of the deracinated world from whence many white nationalists come.

Unlike Justin?s response, my comments were not an invective against people whom I despise and wish to isolate. I respect Jared Taylor as a gracious Southern gentleman whose writings are beautifully crafted and abound in timely observations. Despite our disagreements, I consider him to be a perceptive and audacious critic of our political culture.

Justin?s effort to compare Jared to the failed painter from Vienna who did so much harm is a very low blow. This comparison is certainly not justified on the basis of what Jared posted on this website. Jared?s comments reprise themes and concerns that have been dealt with in a similar way in conventional movement conservative publications. Except for Jared?s greater sarcasm, I really don?t see how his interpretation of the Ricci case in New Haven, Connecticut, differs much from those comments I?ve seen on the same subject by GOP syndicated columnists in my local newspaper.

The real source of Justin?s outrage lies in the contradiction between his ideology and Jared?s emphasis on cultural and biological specificity. The world as conceived by Justin is a collection of self-determining individuals, who should be free to work out their social and economic affairs, providing they do no physical harm to anyone else. In this ideal society, all humans, at least adults, however one defines them chronologically, will be free to develop themselves on the basis of their feelings and self-interests. Personally I couldn?t imagine how such a chimerical society could come into existence, let alone sustain itself, except in the minds of libertarian intellectuals or on a very provisional basis among likeminded ideologues.

Such ideas are the modern counterparts of nineteenth-century utopian communities, all of which were attempts to restore a natural human condition that as far as I can tell never existed. Without authority structures, whether created by traditional hierarchies or by the modern managerial state, human beings have never lived together for any length of time. This generalization would apply to, among other societies, early America, which was a stratified and family-focused place. Our sharp difference of views is reflected in the divergent ways in which Justin and I define the American Old Right. From his perspective, that American Right, about which he wrote an entire book, featured radical individualists resisting societal pressures and state authority. On my reading the interwar Right stood for a small-town and predominantly Protestant America faced by bureaucratic centralization and the rise of the modern culture industry.

I am also perplexed, though perhaps I shouldn?t be, by Justin?s attempt to equate his radical individualism with the ?legacy of Christianity.? Christians by and large until recently defended traditional social hierarchies, and they showed no compunctions about using the state to enforce Old Testament morality. Although Christ and his disciples addressed themselves to individual bearers of souls, they never denied the ?exousia,? or authority, of those who commanded our bodies in a sinful world.

Justin should read Paul?s Letter to the Romans, and particularly section 15, and then follow that up by looking at Aquinas?s tract On Princely Regimes—and just about anything produced by Luther and Calvin on the subject of political authority. That way Justin might get an idea of where traditional Christian teachers have stood on the need for governance. 

Although by no means precursors of the anarcho-tyrannical regime that has now established itself in the Western world, these theologians would not have identified Justin?s worldview as particularly Christian. Certainly they would not have advocated the individualism that he and other modern libertarians have in mind, when they talk about our natural right to do our own thing. I?m not sure that one could find biblical or patristic passages suggesting a right to trade in psychedelic drugs or which would authorize the taking of multiple sexual partners?  Perhaps Justin should investigate this matter before claiming to speak for an ancient religious legacy. Pace Justin, Hitler was not a failed ?portrait painter.? He was a highly talented commercial artist, who should have been allowed to continue studying in his field. He and the rest of the world would have been better off if he had. 

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