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Teaching Table Manners to Cannibals

The Son of Man, by René Magritte, 1964

René Magritte, “The Son of Man,” 1964

703 words

Despite its pretensions, Modernity presents at least as many taboos and behavioral limitations as the stuffiest Victorian ball. One must never discriminate, one must never judge, and one must never be a dreaded hypocrite. If America’s social and political trajectory should be summed up in a pithy phrase, perhaps it could be “a complete lack of judgment.” To judge is to ascribe value to things, an intrinsically hierarchical, discriminatory, and anti-egalitarian exercise.

Not content to reduce Western Civilization to rubble, our oligarchs are hellbent on grinding the ruins into a perfectly uniform paste.

Traditionalist conservative Roger Scruton recently penned an excellent article, “Bring Back Stigma,” which vividly chronicles the decline of social stigma and the absurd and insufferable consequences of living in a shameless society. It’s a fine read, but it’s also paleoconservative in the worst possible way. He dabbles in heresy with his lamentation that “the only binding law is the law of the market.” In doing so, he deserves credit for performing the revolutionary act of identifying capitalism as a cardinal cause of our misfortune rather than the solution contemporary “conservatives” and libertarians imagine it to be.

Imagine how infuriating it would be, though, to go to a hospital where the doctors eloquently opine on every symptom of the disease, describing each blister and boil with elegance and flair. Imagine sitting there on the table in the gown for hours and hours as they describe the similarities between your own condition and the condition of former patients, validating your suffering and even providing insightful perspectives and prognoses. Mr. Scruton fully agrees that the current social order is derelict and diseased, but he’ll never diagnose it. He’ll never prescribe a treatment. All he can do and all he will ever do is lament that things are not as they ought to be.

The time has long past for a Burkean retreat to the past. There’s no norm left to conform to. The wise old men and little old ladies of today formulated their politics during the height of the Sexual Revolution. To be conservative is to embrace vintage liberalism. Taboos against identitarianism, hierarchy, and antisemitism are baked into all but the most ancient and marginalized Western traditions. It would be nice if we could merely ape all the symptoms of a healthy and cohesive community, but you can’t cure a disease by willing away or suppressing its effects. Diseases are cured by isolating the root causes and the mechanisms, then resolving those problems.

Western Civilization: Worth Defending?

Western Civilization: Worth Defending?

People no longer respond to social shaming because there’s no longer any mutual investment of any sort. When all your neighbors are perfect strangers, it’s hard to care what they think. Scruton proposes that we fake it until we make it.

To reproach your neighbor is to risk his goodwill; to uphold convention is to expose yourself to mockery from the liberated. And yet the good of society may require that ordinary people take these risks—risks that require courage, justice, and even a touch of humility if they are to be successfully managed.

In essence, his argument is that we must take risks and make sacrifices on behalf of a community which is virulently opposed to everything we stand for. His prescription is worse than useless, it’s harmful. It’s enabling a decadent and alienated anti-community. We set ourselves up as their prudish foils, expose ourselves to their contempt, and make their lives easier with our unreciprocated altruism. It’s like helping a whore put her skirt back on after each performance and fancying ourselves champions of modesty and virtue. It’s like trying to teach a cannibal table manners while he’s boiling you in his pot.

Ours is a society where respect and honor are mutually exclusive, a society where the respectable thing to do is dishonorable and the honorable thing will get you expelled from “respectable” circles. It should be opposed and replaced, not reformed and embraced. We must cultivate our own insular subcultures in opposition to this culture within which honor and respect are aligned, shame and social stigma are the natural results of disappointing those you sincerely respect, and altruistic investment is both appreciated and reciprocated.

 

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12 Comments

  1. Achaean
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Beyond his valuable defense of high Western culture, Scruton is a distraction. Ultimately he is no different from a Neocon who believes that the West is all about teaching democratic values to citizens. He may be appealing to “old” values and customs, and may be skeptical of democratic relativism and the spread of Western liberalism around the world, but in thinking that we can preserve the West by teaching age-old values, through gentle conversations, from one conservative gathering to the next, he is no different.

    A few years ago when Cameron and Merkel said that multiculturalism had failed, he penned an article “Multiculturalism RIP”, seriously believing that an ideology so thoroughly entrenched throughout the West had been killed with a few words from these political leaders. Perhaps I can be corrected, but has Scruton ever come out against immigration to England? While he travels from one talk to the next, his Britain continues to be decimated beyond recognition from what it was a few decades ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3HpaC7mKEA

  2. David
    Posted March 16, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Although the writing was top-notch and the ideas came across crisply, I disagree with this article’s thesis – especially its absolutism.

    In the first place, if WNs are going to exclude everybody who has succumbed to modernity, then we’re going to exclude….the very white people we would need to have a civilization. Dismissing every white who’s bought a “HOPE” bumper sticker or believed that MLK really was a brilliant and sincere civil rights leader would be to dismiss basically every white in America.

    In the second place, many of these people are just waiting to be educated about lifestyles “counter” to what they’re presented by the Jewish media, and many of these converts can become the most conscientious WNs (just as converted Catholics tend to be the most heartfelt among us). People who previously embraced the spiritual hell of modernity will oppose it with more sincerity and firsthand knowledge than any who were raised apart from it at the start. (Jack Donovan wrote an article on this topic here at Counter-Currents called “A Church Full of Whores”.)

    Heartiste recently wrote, “….the natural order of things can withstand only so much subversion before the spirit breaks.” And the lies of egalitarianism and the Jewish media do indeed break the spirit of these SWPLs at some point. At that point, rather than telling them to get lost because they’re irredeemable, it’s best to present them our ideas – which I can promise you that most have never even heard before.

    Finally, the most important reason to stand up for what is right is….because standing up for what’s right is always the proper thing to do. Whether it’s asking people to be quiet in a theater, giving a push to a driver whose car slid into a snowbank, or judiciously advising a wayward youngster to think twice before peppering his body with tattoos, these little things can help people out. Homer wrote that kindness to strangers is the first mark of a civilized man (I think that’s the quote). And so there is everything right (and white) with everyday acts of civility – even if the greater civilization is lost.

    • Posted March 16, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      David,

      In the first place, if WNs are going to exclude everybody who has succumbed to modernity, then we’re going to exclude….the very white people we would need to have a civilization. Dismissing every white who’s bought a “HOPE” bumper sticker or believed that MLK really was a brilliant and sincere civil rights leader would be to dismiss basically every white in America.

      They’re excluded from the sociocultural commons unless they align themselves with the subculture. People with a wide variety of backgrounds, including people who’ve been in interracial relationships, have fractional non-White ancestry, and who supported Obama at one point would qualify…on the precondition that they align themselves with the subculture.

      I’m all about and all for inclusivity, and I fully agree that we necessarily have to work with the folk we’ve got, but the favor and support of the subculture must necessarily be restricted to those who share a sociocultural “commons” within the subculture or the favor and support will be squandered on neutral and hostile members of the target audience.

      This seems somewhat abstract and even absurd at the moment, given how weak we are and how little interest anybody has in “our favor”, and it is in the current socioeconomic context. Golden Dawn seemed pretty quixotic and extreme until rapid social and economic changes favored their model. We need to have the model, framework, and vanguard prepared before it makes sense.

      In the second place, many of these people are just waiting to be educated about lifestyles “counter” to what they’re presented by the Jewish media, and many of these converts can become the most conscientious WNs

      Fully agree. I’m all about accepting converts. Furthermore, especially at the local levels, much of the leadership change will merely amount to the familiar community and organizational leaders putting on new hats…as is the way things typically turn out in revolutions.

      Heartiste recently wrote, “….the natural order of things can withstand only so much subversion before the spirit breaks.” And the lies of egalitarianism and the Jewish media do indeed break the spirit of these SWPLs at some point.

      This particular oligarchy and its particularly acute sort of wanton decadence will surely pass. Your error, in my opinion, is assuming that an explicitly racialist vanguard willing and able to preserve our specific heritage and identity is the null position things will swing to. In my opinion, the gravitational pull for America whether it’s decadent or traditional is toward a sort of Latin American third world morass, perhaps one with lots of churches and honest women…but a third world morass, nonetheless.

      Finally, the most important reason to stand up for what is right is….because standing up for what’s right is always the proper thing to do.

      There’s no dignity or martyrdom in dancing along with the cargo cult of congeniality. We must be willing to clearly and consistently delineate an [us|allies|them] social, economic, and political paradigm with the greatest investment of charity and support reserved for a loyal “us” and the absolute least reserved for a hostile or neutral “them”. To be perfectly clear, one should be quicker to break bread with a friendly Black Nationalist [allies] than a White liberal [them]. If we’re not willing to do that, then we’re wasting the time and money of those who believe we’re serious about devising a way out of this crisis.

      • Lew
        Posted March 17, 2013 at 12:06 am | Permalink

        How does one avoid breaking bread, socializing or interacting with liberals? That, essentially, is everyone in everyone’s familial and personal circle. Can you construct a hypothetical example or scenario that illustrates how you see this idea working in practice?

        Since you mentioned it, I actually do find some of your ideas very abstract, and a concrete example might be helpful for “getting it.”

        I believe Golden Dawn sometimes offers people food support and other assistance, but they restrict it to indigenous Greeks who are sympathetic to their goals. Does that approximate what you have in mind?

      • Posted March 17, 2013 at 2:06 am | Permalink

        Lew,

        How does one avoid breaking bread, socializing or interacting with liberals? That, essentially, is everyone in everyone’s familial and personal circle. Can you construct a hypothetical example or scenario that illustrates how you see this idea working in practice?

        What I’m advocating is the development of a discrete subculture with its own heroes, symbols, and identity, one in opposition to the American mainstream. This is not novel, and the basic question is no different than one would ask when joining any other militant subculture, albeit philosophical, religious, political, or what have you.

        Naturally, and especially given the weight we ascribe to kinship, there’s a balance to be struck in dealing with immediate kin or even friends and neighbors. A degree of alienation, not outright separation, is necessary and appropriate in that case, too. At the very least, a deeper bond of fraternity which has largely become alien to us Americans must be cultivated by and for said vanguard.

        Since you mentioned it, I actually do find some of your ideas very abstract, and a concrete example might be helpful for “getting it.”

        I suppose an awkward but obvious example would be Jews. Jews fraternize with and engage the goyim all day long, working with them and even socializing with them. But there’s a certain social and cultural boundary beyond which their non-Jewish friends and associates are neither welcome nor invited. And for Orthodox Jews, there’s yet another boundary beyond which secularized and integrated ethnic Jews aren’t permitted beyond.

        Black Americans and even European immigrant groups which have opted out of assimilation achieve this. These often involve familial complexity, as when Jamal brings a White girl to Thanksgiving, Dimitri joins a Protestant church, or Reuben becomes an anti-Zionist ultra-liberal.

        While it’s being explicated in theoretical terms, here, what I’m advocating for is fraternity, tribalism, rite, and ritual which is instinctive and intuitive for healthy and normal human beings…if not for us.

        I believe Golden Dawn sometimes offers people food support and other assistance, but they restrict it to indigenous Greeks who are sympathetic to their goals. Does that approximate what you have in mind?

        Well, we White Americans have a much steeper hill to climb–a wall to the untrained eye! While we can borrow heavily from projects such as Golden Dawn and Generation Identitaire, the “American” ethnic identity has been radically, completely, and effectively defined out from under us . . . and even those ancestral White cultures we can walk back to are deeply problematic and mutually antagonistic. What we’re fighting for is not nearly as obvious, intuitive, or easy as what the Greeks, Romanians, or even British are fighting for.

        We should definitely borrow the Golden Dawn (and more generically fascist) tactic of actually translating our talk of stewardship and support of the folk into actual-factual stewardship and support of the folk. And you’re correct that this can’t necessarily involve rigorously confirming loyalty oaths before throwing the bread out of the truck or escorting women home after dark. This is necessarily fuzzy and situational, but I think an outline would involve targeting support toward areas which are generally more supportive and taking pains to ensure young males in the target vanguard recruitment demographic have a clear “us vs. them” choice we might not necessarily impose on old ladies who need help crossing the street.

      • Vacant Serif
        Posted March 17, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        Look, this mission can be successful at least partially. I think Im living proof that some of these ideas can penetrate those not of this milleu. I evolved from reflexive liberalism to a more radical leftism to lastly identifying as post left anarchist, and I read, understand and am simpatico with 95% of the content at this site. Im not comfortable with absolute monocasualism and I dont like policing of language. I see this trait of course on the left which alienates many nominal “leftists” but I also see its analog on the “right”, in a pedantic insistence that certain language strictures be adhered to. Just an observation, not in any way relating to the article or comments.

      • Lew
        Posted March 17, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. I understand illustrating with hypotheticals and examples is necessarily speculative. Despite this limitation, I think the illustrations make the ideas more concrete and accessible (for me anyway).

  3. Jaego
    Posted March 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Yes, Conservatism is what we remember from our youth, while Traditionalism is what is passed down from previous generations. One is the memory of a man, the other the memory of a people. The conflation of these is fatal and separates a man from the best in himself. The deepest austerity is putting away the cherished illusions of one’s earliest youth to embrace the Truth – and to do this without creating a cult of the “new”. Indeed we should have had the Eternal Verities passed down to us so we Could have experienced them as much as a child can.

  4. Posted March 16, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Well, that certainly sums things up. “Not content to reduce Western Civilization to rubble, our oligarchs are hellbent on grinding the ruins into a perfectly uniform paste.” — That deserves some sort of Nobel Prize for Metaphor. Anyhow, quoted, linked, and riffed on here:
    http://ex-army.blogspot.com/2013/03/shame-on-nobody.html

  5. Posted March 15, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Wow, all I can say is, great writing, and certainly on point regarding those who would try to be missionaries to the degenerates.

    The degenerates and liberals are all moral hazard, and they need to be allowed to experience the outcomes of their decisions. There’s no saving them — in trying to save them, you will get yourself destroyed. You are exactly right about that.

    Better to exploit them, to be like Dreverhaven in the movie Karakter:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2JYQZvnpAw

    • Junghans
      Posted March 16, 2013 at 4:32 am | Permalink

      How right you are as well, Mindweapon. To try to “save” a degenerate, toxified people from themselves is equivalent to plowing the sea. Regarding Matt’s article, second sentence, I somewhat disagree, as I think that White liberals do discriminate (especially against us), they are judgemental (in their warped fashion), and they are certainly very hypocritical. They obviously lack good judgement, as Matt sensibly relates.

    • rhondda
      Posted March 16, 2013 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      Is this any different from Israelis bulldozing Palestinian homes or the banks foreclosing on white middle class homes in the US? Can you please tell me the difference? Who really is the enemy? That is not a rhetorical question?

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