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Protocols of the Puppies of the Alt Right

5,872 words

Ex Ignum Sapientiae
The Alt-Right-Hand Path
Amazon Digital Services, 2018

“[Leo] Strauss relished his role as a guru to worshiping disciples, once writing of ‘the love of the mature philosopher for the puppies of his race, by whom he wants to be loved in turn.’”[1]

This book had an interesting effect on me; a positive effect, but I’m not sure it’s the one the author intended.

Hard on the heels – indeed, snapping at the heels – of the Bronze Age Pervert’s Bronze Age Mindset, we have yet another pseudonymous attempt to provide the so-called “Alt Right” with a combination Declaration of Principles and call to action.[2]

Stylistically, these are two very different books. While the Pervert writes in a kind of crap Zarathustra style we might call Gonzo Nietzsche, our author (whom I will refer to as “EIS,” or perhaps “Sap”) has chosen the high road, as it were, and produced a veritable Tractatus Alt Righticus or Summa Contra Galilaei, a heavily outlined work of numbered sections of various lengths, most shortish, and written in something close to old-time Thomistic jargon.

Within a few pages I was feeling as if I had been transported back[3] to the dusty halls of my dear old alma mater, an ex-Catholic outfit in provincial Ontario, fitfully transitioning to a modern, “full-service” university, where the Philosophy and Religion departments were still staffed with superannuated Thomists.[4]

Ordinarily I would spurn this kind of private association with the atmos’ of a text, as being of no interest or use to my readers,[5] but I think its relevance will emerge as we go on.

It may also seem strange for a manifesto of the “Alt Right”[6] to appear courtesy of Amazon’s Kindle services, but such are the paradoxical opportunities available in our times:

The cause and agents of the chaos of the world has been discovered and cataloged, thanks to the advent of the Internet, this new Information Age, this beginning of new Renaissance. The rise of the Internet has marked the unification and enlightenment of the White race, creating the circumstances necessary to usurp and triumph finally over the materialistic interests of international finance and Abrahamic groups; the time for riding the tiger is over.

Enter, riding said tiger, the Alt Right!

Where is the hegemony that has not condemned the Alt-Right? In light of the establishment’s ubiquitous fear and hatred of the Alt-Right, its legitimacy and ability as a power that truly opposes the cosmopolitan, chaos-mongering interests has been clearly demonstrated, and it is high time for the Alt-Right to organize as a party under a constitution of shared principles, to openly address the public, and to work toward the realization of its goals – in both an open, democratic way and a covert, revolutionary way . . .

Alas, as anyone knows who’s dabbled a bit in the online arena, the Alt Right seems far from being able to organize anything but some Web pages, or taking power from anyone, except each other. Why is this?

The movement’s general failure . . . is due to the Alt-Right’s reactionary nature, which (rightfully) rejects our present-day circumstances, and due to its populism in conjunction with its being influenced by the Jewish media and thought of our times, it is presently vulgar and deconstructionist of tone (displaying at times the irreverence of the Jew), polemically hyperbolic in expression, impressionistic in vision, unorganized in leadership and adherence, and unobserving of the philosophical and moral fundamentals outlined herein that are necessary to ensure right action.

What’s needed, as Ignatius Reilly already knew, is a course in theology and geometry; EIS means to provide it, good and hard.

To this end of articulating the fundamental principles of the Alt-Right for the religious, political, and tactical unity of our People – for the future of our god-loving race –, the author, with the approval of some of the most erudite members of the Alt-Right, has outlined these enduring, constituting principles in the following pages of this short book, which is something of a combination of a revolutionary pamphlet, political manifesto, philosophical essay, wisdom literature, and, with the outlining of the material, a catechism.

A catechism, eh? I hope the reader can begin to see how the text evokes the atmos’ of an “Old Boys Day” with me; we’ll return to this point, but for now, let’s take a look at these “fundamental principles.” EIS calls them The Way:

The Way is not a method to be employed but rather is a manner in which one should constantly live, and it is how the universe (and everything in it) operates. The Way is simply to look toward what is True and to do what is Good.

Truth is what is, and Goodness is what is conducive to life . . .; we see truth through discursive reason and intuitive contemplation, and goodness is life. Together, they marry into Beauty, a joy-bringing combination of the two that embodies what is right. Beauty is Goodness realized in the present; it is the state of everything being in its proper place, right where it belongs, and the response to this condition is joy, happiness.

These, then, are the primary Platonic entities – Being, Truth, and Beauty – from which the primary virtues are derived.[7]

Learning is an ultimate virtue, being the employment of Truth-seeking for the realization of the Good (intelligence), motivated by an enjoyment of Beauty, Love, Life, and enjoying the realization of Beauty as its own reward.

To seek the Truth is to have sincerity, and to look towards Goodness is to have regard; these are the two fundamental virtues: sincerity and regard. . . . And this is the essence of wisdom: knowledge directed toward Goodness. We may look to the principle of Beauty and add to this the virtue of grace or contemplative silence.

Yes, the Way really is this simple: to look to what is and to do what is conducive to life, to regard Truth, follow Goodness, and behold and enjoy Beauty.

Well, but it’s not quite that simple; it “takes effort . . . to attain the Way, but once attained, walking It is an effortless effort – joyful and automatic.”

Though the Way is simple, it can be elusive and paradoxical; to realize the Way, one must give themselves to It rather than trying to assert it, just as one must give oneself to the water if they hope not to drown: one must, in the first place, surrender and conform to the Way rather than assert their self-interested mental framework as the Way; one does not hold the Way, one is suspended in the Way.[8]

The problem is that the ego “has a natural tendency to preserve itself, indulge its vessel, and occupy itself with sensations that it finds self-assuring or self-affirming, an effort to contrive beauty for itself instead of losing oneself to the Highest Love – and then to slip into egoistic abandon in order to avoid hardship, flattering the ego-self into thinking that it is radically separate from the world and has no responsibility to act for it.” So, what’s the hack for this?

The trick to overcome it and remain with the Way is to maintain the observance and practice of the Way with purity of mind, unclouded and undiverted by self-indulgence, keeping one’s mind fixed on their higher, spiritual goal and working towards it. . . . The only adversarial force for us is our ignorance.

In particular, it is in the contemplation of God that the ego’s strategy is thwarted:

When we accept God, the ego fades and assumes its rightful place . . . instead of pursuing material pleasures and vain adornments, we pursue God, true Beauty, spiritual pursuits and adornments. In God, the ego is sublimated. . . . When we accept God and the ego is thus sublimated, there is no longer a discrepancy between knowing what is Good and wanting what is Good. Truly it is God that we seek. When we accept [this and pursue][9] God, we treat ourselves by engaging in spiritual practices and pursuits – mystic contemplation –, not with material sensation.

To unpack this idea of “contemplation” for the modern reader, EIS turns to . . . what’s this? Cazart – it’s Leisure, the Basis of Culture, by Dr. Joseph Pieper!

Once more, we’re back in the classroom: the dusty, literally ivy-covered and suitably named Memorial Hall; the hard wooden seats, the open windows – no climate-controlled environment here – letting in the sound of students discussing that scary new film, The Exorcist, distracting us from the rather Peter O’Toole-ish chap at the front, Prof. John Underwood Lewis, whose Philosophy 101 class is supposedly studying this very essay![10]

In his Leisure the Basis of Culture, Dr. Josef Pieper points out that leisure is a contemplative re-centering with the Good that animates oneself and the world, and he says that leisure “is not possible unless it has a durable and consequently living link with the cultus, with divine worship”. . . . Just as leisure depends on cultus, “culture depends for its very existence on leisure,” and it is thus it is in leisure that we have the link between culture and cultus. Pieper says of leisure that it “is not a Sunday afternoon idyll, but the preserve of freedom, of education and culture, and of that undiminished humanity which views the world as a whole” [and that it] must necessarily occur for its own sake, not for some utilitarian end;[11] the re-centering act occurs as a surrender to the animating Good within oneself, to return to one’s heart and have faith and know that All is Good. . . . Through contemplation, the re-centering and channeling practices of the divine madnesses,[12] and through participating in culture, true leisure is realized.

It’s at this point that EIS knocks me out of my warm bath of nostalgia by making one of those remarkable connections that you, Constant Reader, come to Counter-Currents to find:

Is this not exactly what the Alt-Right does today? The Alt-Right is the only group that, as a whole, pursues the Truth in all matters to secure the Good against the forces of chaos and ‘total work’ in this world. The Alt-Right engages in true leisure when they spend time online, searching for truth, affirming their very selves in the fight against white genocide and Abrahamic cultural destruction, observing theurgic ritual in the expounding of memes, observing sacrament in the creation of memes and engaging in other online interactions in their essentially religious communities.

The Alt-Right is not merely a sub-culture; it is a culture and cultus unto itself, indeed a greater culture than the hegemonic one in which it exists, because it upholds everything at the heart of Western civilization, including paganism, which is precisely the true religion that looks to the Truth and Goodness within ourselves and our cosmos.

As leisure is man’s ultimate bastion of freedom, truth, and fulfillment, the Alt-Right is a force that consistently insists upon the importance of leisure, of a free and uncensored Internet, and of man and truth against the godless Leftist worker-state, the proletarianizing state which Ernst Jünger declares [in a passage from Der Arbeiter quoted by Pieper] is “the denial of free scholarship and enquiry.”

Alas, the late Prof. Lewis never came to know that his lectures on Pieper were laying the foundation of the Alt-Right! [13]

All that remains for the Alt-Right is a contemplation of deeper, metaphysical truths and the communal actualization of the realizations yielded by this contemplative pursuit, both politically in the form of the ethno-nationalist pagan Household and religiously in the form of Ouroborean Cultus, which are . . . currently in the process of being established.

EIS devotes the rest of his “catechism” to aiding these projects; first, with a kind of Syllabus of Errors, in which contemporary maladies are schematized as resulting from promoting the Good over Truth (Christianity, egalitarianism, negative liberty, pathological altruism, pragmatism, and “irrational positive thinking”), promoting Truth over the Good (secular empiricism, virtue-signaling, and nihilism), general errors arising from “wrongful estimation or ordering of Truth and Goodness” (progressivism, hedonism, quietism, “might is right”); then a discussion of “social fundamentals” which involve “rightful ordering of the relations between individuals, family members, lovers, youths and elders, sexes, races, nations, and man and the gods as well as putting oneself and one’s nation into order, bringing macrocosm into microcosm through communion with the Divine Powers.”

The former contains some interesting discussions and points, but its “transcendental deductions” seem more clever than likely to convince anyone of their error;[14] the latter is mostly Alt Right boilerplate. Instead, lest this review approach the length of this short book (112 pages) itself, let’s move on to some general criticism.

The problems start early, right with EIS’ choice of format. As he happily explains:

For the reader’s convenience, the content of this book is divided in the easy-to-follow, alphanumeric outline format: I. > A. > 1. > a. > i. > (1) > (a) > (i) > 1) > a) > i).

Now, it is a basic rhetorical error to think that the most logical order of presentation is the most effective, still less the most attractive.

In fact, EIS’ mode here resembles one of the least attractive features of German philosophy. The professors of Hegel’s day would lecture from their own published “text-books” (hence the name used today), usually taking the form of short, numbered paragraphs.[15] Whether intentional or not, these tended to be rather cryptic, and the professor would explain them (“unpack them,” as one of my professors would say)[16] as they came up in the lecture course.

A sufficiently famous professor, like Hegel, would have his texts published posthumously, but here effort was made to seek out the lecture notes of his students, which were published alongside the relevant paragraphs: the famous Zusätze that, of course, may or may not have been entirely accurate.[17] But without such “extra punches,” the text is usually rather boring, if not incomprehensible.[18]

EIS, however, thinks this alphanumeric arrangement is a feature, not a bug, though he grants that the reader can ignore it.

The work reads most beautifully as it was originally written, without the outlined subtitles, so it is recommended the reader read from the work thusly, though one may consult the Table of Contents to get one’s bearings of the development of the argument.

Except one really can’t. Oh, I suppose one could literally not read the headnotes, carefully shifting the eye away from the headings, forcing it to jump ahead to the text; rather like someone can read Playboy for the interviews. But of course this procedure is itself wearying for the reader; and the level of outlining is so dense that there is hardly a page to turn (or Kindle screen to advance) without bringing up another damned header. And, even if one could perform this optical trick, the idea of flipping back to the Table of Contents for periodic reorientation is another annoyance (though easy enough with the Kindle version).

And it’s not as if a better model isn’t ready to hand. Pieper’s essay (like all his essays, or at least the ones I’ve seen) is a model of how to do a concise overview (he covers everyone from Parmenides to Heidegger and Jünger), and indeed he provides a schematic outline; but this is given as part of the Table of Contents, not interspersed throughout the text.

Indeed, I can’t help but notice that in the essay that accompanies it in the English edition, “The Philosophical Act,” Pieper shows his rhetorical instincts by beginning his rather theoretical discussion with some considerations of the Platonic dialogue The Symposium, and how its rather complex framing structure is not only aesthetically pleasing but conveys – by having the enthusiastic philosophical puppy Apollodorus narrate the dialogue to a blasé group of businessmen – an element of Plato’s theory of leisure and philosophy.[19]

Pieper and rhetorical persuasion are of substantive importance as well. EIS is not only aiming to provide some philosophical enlightenment for the Alt Right, he also wants to reconfigure the Alt Right’s mission: to found a new religion, pagan-based, to replace Christianity, which he regards as an “Abrahamic counter-religion” opposed to all tradition.[20]

There are some problems with this. First of all, although the Alt Right has tended to be – and to be characterized by its enemies – as non-Christian, or even anti-Christian, and pro-pagan, there are substantial parts of it which are indifferent, and even hostile, to any such project.[21]

Then – although you wouldn’t know it from EIS’ discussion here – Pieper is quite clear that he writes and thinks as a Christian, specifically a Catholic, philosopher.[22] Can Pieper’s insights into leisure be divorced from his Christianity? More to the point, Pieper is quite comfortable incorporating his classical – even “pagan” – wisdom into his Christianity; is there any reason to think he’s deluded?

And if Christians can be Platonists, and Platonists can be Christians,[23] why then can’t Christians be nationalists, or even ethnonationalists? As Tom Sunic has pointed out, the churches of Eastern Europe have – and have always – had no problem in promoting the national interests of their people. As with Islam, and any religion, there is no “Christianity” but rather various warring interpretations, some of which may well be quite compatible with, say, the struggle for a white ethnostate. Why, to coin a phrase, reinvent the wheel?

There are some clues in the text to what’s going on here. The idea of writing a “catechism,” as well as a section critiquing Alt Right deviationism called “Anathemas,” and perhaps most tellingly in his casual remark – really, the only place where his “catechism” deigned to give a concrete example – that “sexual behavior outside of heterosexual marriage” is “morally disqualif[ied]” as a “selfish” affront to “the dignity[24] of all persons”[25] – all this suggests the writer is a lapsed Catholic.

Despite his insights into Alt Right culture, I suspect EIS is not really an Alt Righter as such (or “integrally,” as he would say, using another tell) but a paleocon, or a Catholic traditionalist, who has lost his faith but, realizing, as per Pieper, that the cultus is the root of culture, wants to replace it with a revival of paganism.

As Nietzsche said of the British moralists, like George Eliot: He wants to get rid of Christianity while keeping Christian morals.[26]

In all this, EIS compares unfavorably to our own estimable Greg Johnson, who in his latest, The White Nationalist Manifesto, eschews unfamiliar scholastic terminology and dogmatic answers to every moral and political issue – as well as attempting to establish a new religion – and instead keeps his eye on the main issue: establishing a white ethnostate, after which everything else can be settled at our leisure.[27]

Only a white society has been, and will be, hospitable to cultus, leisure, and culture; globalized multiculturalism can only be Pieper’s proletarian workaday work, only with the economic materialism replaced with Cultural [sic] Marxism.

Nevertheless, this short work contains a plethora of intellectual stimuli, and can be recommended to anyone looking for a better way to invest – as Schopenhauer would say, rather than “spend” – his leisure time: don’t be a bugman!

Notes

[1] Kevin MacDonald, “Understanding Jewish Influence III: Neoconservatism as a Jewish Movement,” quoting Leo Strauss, Persecution and the Art of Writing (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1952), p. 36.

[2] Irony of ironies – all is irony! For an outfit that views itself as non-Christian, and often outright anti-Christian, the “Alt Right” has developed a taste for pseudonymity that could rival the “forgery factory” run by the early – and not so early – Christians. See Bart D. Ehrman, Forged: Writing in the Name of God–Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are (New York: HarperCollins, 2011). “Arguably the most distinctive feature of the early Christian literature is the degree to which it was forged. Even though the early Christians were devoted to the truth – or so their writings consistently claimed – and even though ‘authoritative’ literature played a virtually unparalleled role in their individual and communal lives, the orthonymous output of the early Christians was remarkably, even astonishingly, meager. From the period of the New Testament, from which some thirty writings survive intact or in part, only eight go under the name of their actual author, and seven of these derive from the pen of one man. To express the matter differently, only two authors named themselves correctly in the surviving literature of the first Christian century. All other Christian writings are either anonymous, falsely ascribed (based on an original anonymity or homonymity), or forged.”

[3] See Colin Wilson’s musings on time travel through art in The Philosopher’s Stone (1969; reprinted by Warner Books in 1981 with an introduction by Joyce Carol Oates – of whom more anon – and by Valancourt in 2013).

[4] See Greg Johnson, “The Counter-Currents Interview,” in James J. O’Meara, The Homo & the Negro: Masculinist Meditations on Politics & Popular Culture, Second, Embiggened Edition, ed. Greg Johnson (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2017). Brighter stars that found themselves within its orbit, such as Marshall McLuhan, tended to write memoirs that portray it as a veritable Miskatonic University; see how Wyndham Lewis repaid its wartime shelter in Self Condemned (1954); reprinted by Voyageur Classics in 2010. In Crossing the Border (New York: Vanguard, 1976), American expat Joyce Carol Oates writes of her colleagues at the pseudonymous “Hilberry College” in southwestern Ontario as feeling “superior to the college, to the nation, even. To Canada itself!”; while in the O. Henry award-winning story “Gay” (Playboy, Dec. 1976, reprinted in The Best American Short Stories, 1977), a self-deluded English professor screams “Harvard, Oxford . . . somewhere in Canada? Impossible!” Being in Canada is too much, on top of his closeted life, and he goes nuts.

[5] Such personal material is to be shunned when playing the Glass Bead Game; as Magister Ludi Joseph Knecht says: “This private association of mine is a precious possession I would not willingly give up. But the fact that two sensual experiences leap up every time I think, ‘spring is coming’ – that fact is my own personal affair. It can be communicated, certainly, as I have communicated it to you just now. But it cannot be transmitted. I can make you understand my association, but I cannot so affect a single one of you that my private association will become a valid symbol for you in your turn, a mechanism which infallibly reacts on call and always follows the same course.” Hermann Hesse, The Glass Bead Game, translated by Richard and Clara Winston, with a Foreword by Theodore Ziolkowski (New York: Bantam, 1970); see my “Two Orders, Same Man: Evola and Hesse,” reprinted in Magick for Housewives: Essays on Alt-Gurus (Melbourne, Victoria: Manticore, 2018).

[6] Which should be called the “Dissident Right,” as per our preferred nomenclature here at Counter-Currents.

[7] The Big Three as taught by Prof. Deck (to whom Magick for Housewives is dedicated and who is referred to there passim) were Being, Unity, and Goodness, with I suppose Unity representing the idea of being in one’s proper place. This was referred to by professorial rivals as “Deck’s BUG metaphysics,” which today would have unfortunate echoes of the dreaded “bug men,” so let’s stick with EIS’ nomenclature. EIS does not use the term, but his eviscerating discussion of the “sports” fan would apply to such. EIS’ discussion of Beauty is largely an exposition of Deck’s lodestar, Plotinus.

[8] Though EIS is resolutely – one might say, pig-headedly – pagan, here, as in several other places, he strikes a rather Alan Wattsian tone. Although both make use of the traditions of the entire world, Watts was able, at least for a time, to express himself in the language of Catholic Christianity; see my review of his Behold the Spirit: “Rekindling Alan Watts,” in Magick for Housewives. Later, we’ll look at EIS’ anti-Christianity.

[9] The text seems corrupt at this point, so I’ve reordered the phrasing.

[10] EIS even uses the same 1952 Pantheon edition (with an Introduction by T. S. Eliot) which, as a Signet paperback, we had back in the day. You can get it now as Josef Pieper, Leisure, the Basis of Culture (1948); new translation by Gerald Malsbary of two linked studies, Musse und Kult and Was heisst Philosophieren? with an Introduction by Roger Scruton (South Bend, Ind.: St. Augustine’s Press, 1998). See also Maria Popova, “Leisure, the Basis of Culture: An Obscure German Philosopher’s Timely 1948 Manifesto for Reclaiming Our Human Dignity in a Culture of Workaholism,” in Brainpickings, August 10, 2015.

[11] Like the Way, or the previous example of swimming, it is the antithesis of “work” or the “Protestant Ethic” promoted too often by HBD nerds: “Southern Europeans are lazy darkies!” Prof. Lewis once remarked, a propos of an upcoming strike called by the Canadian union of university professors, that he wouldn’t be participating: “See, I’m not a working man.” Indeed; on one morning, as I was “pulling an allnighter” in the graduate student office, I heard him amble along the corridor to his office, jauntily singing “It’s a Good Life” to himself. On a similar morning, I heard him advise a colleague that, “Well, nothing you can do but whack your tack.” On the latter phrase, see my “Of Apes, Essence & the Afterlife,” reprinted in Magick for Housewives, op. cit.

[12] Plato, Phaedrus.

[13] Indeed, Pieper’s devastating portrait of the world of efficient and rational “total work” accompanied by organized and commodified “leisure” already being set up in postwar Germany can be seen as the earliest adumbration of the “small-souled bugman” meme: “While he may carry himself with an air of intellectual and moral superiority, the bugman has stopped asking the big questions. He can distantly recall the sense of awe he felt as a child, those times looking up at the stars and the moon; those times reflecting on his ancestry, where he came from, the history and traditions of mankind and the wild beauty of Earth. Now his mind is so distracted by pixelated inanity, trash culture and his ridiculous job that he cannot, for the love of god, simply sit and think. He can no longer be at peace or derive joy from nature and blissful simplicity. He feels frustration over his powerlessness to bring an end to the mysterious forces chipping away at his soul day by day, but does nothing about it. And so he remains, indefinitely and emphatically, a small-souled bugman.”

[14] Needless to say, I’m a bit puzzled by his attack on “positive thinking,” since I have argued that – if rightly understood – it’s eminently traditional: see “The (Not So) New Thought of Neville Goddard,” in Magick for Housewives, op. cit.). It also seems inconsistent with his promotion of theurgy, which is surely much the same thing. Perhaps this is why he terms it “irrational positive thinking,” as opposed to the supposedly rational procedures of Iamblichus and other late Neoplatonists.

[15] A tradition carried on by such otherwise disparate writers as Wittgenstein and Heidegger.

[16] See my remarks on the “little Marrano” who tried to unpack Heidegger for me, in “’A General Outline of the Whole’: Lovecraft as Heideggerian Event,” reprinted in my collection The Eldritch Evola . . . & Others: Traditionalist Meditations on Literature, Art, & Culture, ed. Greg Johnson (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2014). I was spared such rigors, as my college, though intensely archaic, took after the French tradition of explication de texte, as had been brought to Canada through such Thomists as Etienne Gilson and Jacques Maritain; in this, the professor would lecture over the course of two semesters, but rather than a “textbook” about, say, early modern philosophy, one studied actual philosophical texts from the period. Thus, as an “introduction to philosophy,” Professor Lewis spent our entire year “unpacking” Pieper’s two essays.

[17] “Intended as a pedagogical aid for attendees of his lectures, Hegel revised and extended the Encyclopedia over more than a decade, but stressed its role as a ‘textbook’ in need of elucidation through oral commentary. The 1830 text is widely available in various English translations with copious additions (Zusätze) added posthumously by Hegel’s students, deriving from their lecture notes. These additions expand on the text with examples and illustrations, and while scholars do not take the Zusätze to be verbatim transcription of Hegel’s lectures, their more informal and non-technical style make them good stand-ins for the ‘necessary oral commentary’.” From Wikipedia.

[18] The Luther-LARPing theology professor in Thomas Mann’s Dr. Faustus gives us the flavor of it: “It is true that Kumpf usually read his lecture from a printed textbook, his own production; but his glory was the so-called ‘extra punches’ which he interpolated, delivered with his fists thrust into his vertical trouser-pockets past the flung-back frock coat, as he stumped up and down on his platform. Thanks to their spontaneity, bluntness, coarse and hearty good humour, and picturesquely archaic style, they were uncommonly popular with the students. It was his way – to quote him – to say a thing ‘in good round terms, no mealy-mouthing’ or ‘in good old German, without mincing matters.’ Instead of ‘gradually’ he said ‘by a little and a little’; instead of ‘I hope’ he said ‘I hope and trow’; he never spoke of the Bible otherwise than as Godes Boke. He said ‘There’s foul work’ instead of ‘There’s something wrong.’ Of somebody who, in his view, was involved in scientific error, he said ‘He’s in the wrong pew’; of a vicious man: ‘he spends his life like the beasts of the field.’ He loved expressions like: ‘He that will eat the kernel must crack the nut’; or ‘It pricketh betimes that will be a sharp thorn.’ Mediaeval oaths like ‘Gogs wownds,’ by ‘Goggys bodye,’ even ‘by the guts of Goliath’ came easily to his lips and – especially the last – were received by the students with lusty tramplings.”

[19] Op. cit., pp. 100-101.

[20] EIS devotes a fair amount of space – almost as much as Pieper gets – to quoting Jan Assmann on counter-religion. Compare Greg Johnson, “Notes on [Assmann’s] Moses the Egyptian.”

[21] See Greg Johnson, “The Anti-Christian Alt-Right: A Response to Matthew Rose,” for a general discussion of the issues.

[22] “Now one may ask, How could a Christian philosophy have something over a non-Christian philosophy, if it does not reach to a higher level of solutions, if it cannot get handy answers, if the problems and questions are still there? Well, perhaps a greater truth could be present in its ability to see the world in its truly mysterious character, in its inexhaustability. It could even be the case that here, in the very experience of being as a mystery, that it is not to be grasped in the hand as a “well-rounded truth” – herein is reality more deeply and truly grasped than in any transparent system that may charm the mind of the student with its clarity and simplicity. And this is the claim of Christian philosophy: to be truer, precisely because of its recognition of the mysterious character of the world. In no way, then, does philosophy become easier. Plato appears to have discovered and felt that too – if a certain interpretation of Plato is correct, maintaining that Plato understood philosophy to be something tragic for this reason, that it must constantly have recourse to mythos, since the teaching of philosophy can never close itself into a system.” From ‘The Philosophical Act,’ op. cit., pp. 127–128.

[23] See John N. Findlay, “Why Christians should be Platonists,” and A. Hilary Armstrong, “Negative Theology, Myth, and Incarnation,” in Neoplatonism and Christian Thought (Studies in Neoplatonism: Ancient and Modern, Vol. 3); ed. Dominic J. O’Meara (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1982), as well as editor O’Meara’s discussion of their “diversity of ways” on page xv. Armstrong of Dalhousie University was Dr. Deck’s greatest nemesis.

[24] Here’s another interpretation of “dignity,” less welcome to the Alt Right: Marine Le Pen is facing charges of circulating “‘violent messages that incite terrorism or pornography or seriously harm human dignity’ that can be viewed by a minor.”

[25] Straight out of the Catholic moral theology handbook. A dog whistle of “No Homo,” but as often on the Alt Right, one wonders if the full implications of this, as a Catholic moral theologian would draw them, would be welcome. One wonders how “selfish” is defined, and how marriage obviates it. Is “unselfishness” coordinated to heterosexual marriage because it requires every act be “open to the transmission of life”; i.e., only one licit act, sans contraception?

Leaving aside the fun aspect, doesn’t this conflict with the generally pro-eugenics, pro-abortion (at least for the darkies, as Margaret Sanger envisioned) views of the Alt Right? On the other hand, is this not the position of African Christians? “Tanzanian president seeks end to contraception,” News24, September 10, 2018.

One might adduce the example of an actual (non-Christian) Traditionalist, Alain Daniélou, whose long-term relationship with Swiss photographer Raymond Burnier would compare favorably with most marriages on the “unselfish” scale. Daniélou said that he thanked God for the gift of homosexuality, since it enabled him to live a pleasurable life devoted to study, without the distractions of marriage or the dangers of enforced celibacy (and we know how well that works). He also said that his first homosexual experience was what convinced him that God exists; this would fit in well with EIS’ notion of the role of divine contemplation in founding culture, as well as Plato’s (as discussed in Pieper’s essay).

A review is not the place to hash out these issues, but I raise the point only to illustrate the sort of questions anyone would have before they sign onto the morals drawn from this set of metaphysical principles.

[26] “G. Eliot. — They are rid of the Christian God and now believe all the more firmly that they must cling to Christian morality. That is an English consistency; we do not wish to hold it against little moralistic females à la Eliot. In England one must rehabilitate oneself after every little emancipation from theology by showing in a veritably awe-inspiring manner what a moral fanatic one is. That is the penance they pay there.

“We others hold otherwise. When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one’s feet. This morality is by no means self-evident: this point has to be exhibited again and again, despite the English flatheads. Christianity is a system, a whole view of things thought out together. By breaking one main concept out of it, the faith in God, one breaks the whole: nothing necessary remains in one’s hands. Christianity presupposes that man does not know, cannot know, what is good for him, what evil: he believes in God, who alone knows it. Christian morality is a command; its origin is transcendent; it is beyond all criticism, all right to criticism; it has truth only if God is the truth – it stands and falls with faith in God.

“When the English actually believe that they know ‘intuitively’ what is good and evil, when they therefore suppose that they no longer require Christianity as the guarantee of morality, we merely witness the effects of the dominion of the Christian value judgment and an expression of the strength and depth of this dominion: such that the origin of English morality has been forgotten, such that the very conditional character of its right to existence is no longer felt. For the English, morality is not yet a problem.” From Twilight of the Idols, “Skirmishes of an Untimely Man”, 5 (Walter Kaufmann translation).

[27] Years ago, in one of those leisurely online debates EIS lauds, I pointed out to some libertarian that Scandinavia seemed to be doing pretty well, economically and socially (this was some years ago). His retort was, “That just shows that white people can make any economic system work.” (Again, this was some years ago.)

 

Related

6 Comments

  1. Travis LeBlanc
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    I like how Ex Ignum Sapientiae warns against self-indulgence while using the most self-indulgent writing style imaginable. It sounds like he was on a ton of cocaine when he wrote that book. Or maybe it’s just autism.
    “The Alt-Right is the only group that, as a whole, pursues the Truth in all matters to secure the Good against the forces of chaos and ‘total work’ in this world. The Alt-Right engages in true leisure when they spend time online, searching for truth, affirming their very selves in the fight against white genocide and Abrahamic cultural destruction, observing theurgic ritual in the expounding of memes, observing sacrament in the creation of memes and engaging in other online interactions in their essentially religious communities.”

    I mean, what can be said of that prose? Aside from the obvious self-congratulatory cokehead grandiosity (but it could just be autism)?
    It’s like he tries to sound badass Nietzsche but instead almost comes off as New Age hippy. “It’s all about truth and beauty. We’ve got to bring out the beauty inside us, maaaaaaaaaaaan.”
    And “The Way” just sounds like a book Oprah would be promoting on her show. “This woman was an unemployed single mother but then she read ‘The Way’ and now she owns her own business.”
    One of WN 2.0’s big selling points is that it is fun but this guy takes himself way too seriously. This guy can take a community that is witty and mischievous and make it sound humorless, pretentious, and almost makes us sound like a cult.
    “Observing sacrament in the creation of memes”. OK, so he’s equainting making Pepe, white shariah, and gas chamber memes to the Catholic tradition of holy communion. I mean, c’mon man.
    It’s like he’s try to say that being a NEET is the most super-trad thing you can be because spending all day online proves that they are the most devout to the religion. NEETs engage in true leisure online unlike those Chads who go out and pick up women. They make all the memes which is actually a sacramental rituals.
    It’s all ridiculous. This guy is way overthinking this stuff. And most likely he is on a ton of cocaine.

    • James O'Meara
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      I left out a passage where I compare the opening of EIS’s book with this:

      “ Never has human life been as miserable as it is today — despite all its technical advancements. Devilish human beasts oppress us from above, slaughtering millions of people in unconscionably murderous wars conducted for the enrichment of their personal money-bags. Savage human beasts undermine the pillars of culture from below. . . . What do you want with Hell in the Beyond?! Isn’t the one we are living in now, and in which we are now burning, terrible enough?” — Dr. Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels, Theozoology, or the Science of the Sodomite Apelings and the Divine Electron (1905).

    • SO
      Posted September 30, 2018 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Your criticism is a bit uncharitable, to say the least. I guarantee you be is probably a Buddhist or highly sympathetic to the Dharmic religions. Also, the world ‘sacrament’ doesn’t automatically imply Catholicism; most Christians are NOT Catholic!!

  2. Jim
    Posted September 25, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Sorry but it’s killing me.

    Ex ignum sapientiae is wrong. Assuming he wants to say “out of the fires of wisdom” it should be “ex ignibus sapientiae” or, more appropriately, “ex sapientiae ignibus”.

    So is “summa contra Galilaei”. It should be “summa contra Galilaeos”.

    Other than that, thoughtful article.

    • James O’Meara
      Posted September 25, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Romanes eunt domus?

    • Troll King
      Posted September 25, 2018 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Right, ex always takes the ablative. It should be “ex igne sapientae.” Ex ignibus sapientibus would be wrong. Sapientia is first declension and never takes an -ibus ending which occurs in third declension.

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