The above was written in 1899, and the book which is the source of the quote has been subject to ridicule from the usual crowd in this cynical and “know-it-all” age. Nevertheless there is a lot of truth in that little quote. We can see it playing out now as the author predicted.
Our age has produced generations of people who think that our era symbolizes some kind of pinnacle of human knowledge and wisdom. Yet we are not wise enough to admit or even to see, in many cases, that today’s philosophy of life has brought a lot of misery and unhappiness, and may end in our disappearance as a people. Speaking for myself, I don’t find the past worthy of derision; my grandparents and their generation were far wiser, though perhaps less ‘educated’ than today’s self-absorbed perpetual adolescents of all ages. It’s too bad we chose to abandon the rules and standards by which we lived in their day, which produced stability and a legacy they passed on to posterity. Is it too late to restore that?
T.S. Eliot had some relevant things to say about tradition, culture, and community, recorded in the book After Strange Gods: A Primer of Modern Heresy, which is material from lectures he gave in the 1930s.
He warns against being sentimental towards the past necessarily, because any ‘living tradition’ is bound to be a mix of good and bad. In other words, we have to be selective and discriminating about what we preserve and what we leave behind. I think these are important ideas to our age, as we seem to be at a crossroads.
But let’s look at what Eliot says here I’ve bolded parts I think most interesting or relevant.
“Nor can we safely, without very critical examination, dig ourselves in stubbornly to a few dogmatic notions, for what is a healthy belief at one time may, unless it is one of the few fundamental things, be a pernicious prejudice at another.
What we can do is to use our minds, remembering that a tradition without intelligence is not worth having, to discover what is the best life for us not as a political abstraction, but as a particular people in a particular place; what in the past is worth preserving and what should be rejected; and what conditions, within our power to bring about, would foster the society that we desire. Stability is obviously necessary. You are hardly likely to develop tradition except where the bulk of the population is relatively so well off that it has no incentive or pressure to move about. The population should be homogeneous; where two or more cultures exist in the same place they are likely to either be fiercely self-conscious or both to become adulterate. What is still more important is unity of religious background; and reasons of race and religion combine to make any large number of free-thinking Jews undesirable. There must be a proper balance between urban and rural, industrial and agricultural development. We must also remember that — in spite of every means of transport that can be devised — the local community must always be the most permanent, and that the concept of the nation is by no means fixed and invariable. It is, so to speak, only one fluctuating circle of loyalties between the centre of the family and the local community, and the periphery of humanity entire. Its strength and its geographical size depend upon the comprehensiveness of a way of life which can harmonise parts with distinct local characters of their own. When it becomes no more than a centralised machinery it may affect some of its parts to their detriment, or to what they believe to be their detriment; and we get the regional movements which have appeared within recent years. It is only a law of nature, that local patriotism, when it represents a distinct tradition and culture, takes precedence over a more abstract national patriotism. This remark should carry more weight for being uttered by a Yankee.“
The last sentence hints at Eliot’s sympathetic views toward the South. Eliot was something of a maverick in his political sentiments, especially amongst so many liberal/leftist writers and ‘artists.’ His casual statement about Jews in the above excerpts makes it no surprise that he was accused of anti-Semitism.
Regardless of his political and social views, I think he shows very sound thinking on the issues he talked about in this particular segment, and it’s all very relevant to our world now, as tradition is being jettisoned by both the ‘Frankfurt School’/Critical Theory crowd on the left, and by segments of the right, who have decided that nothing in our past is worth saving, and that we can’t learn anything from our ignorant forefathers.
There is a place for stability, continuity, and tradition. It is not possible to built a culture from the ground up, to start from scratch, as some seem to think we ought to do if it is ever in our power to have a say in our future. Eliot recognized this. We don’t have many men of his calibre today, and so much the worse for us.
I trust you all enjoyed a pleasant Independence Day, though with each year the question “just what we are celebrating?” insistently recurs in my mind.
For a lot of Americans it seems as though we are celebrating just out of habit, or just for the sake of celebrating — with the customary fireworks, barbecues, parades — but for some of us the day has assumed overtones of mourning — mourning what has become of our country, mourning for what should have been but now is not.
If we choose, we can look back at the genuine accomplishments and heroism of our forefathers in creating this country, though it seems fewer Americans each year are inclined to do that. Cynicism on the part of many on the right is the order of the day, and I seem to see as much bitterness towards our forebears from the ‘right’ as from the left. No matter which way you cut it, that is sad. No matter how wrong America has gone in this ‘grand experiment’ that we call our country, is there really any comfort in denouncing the Founders of this country? Does it serve any useful purpose? I say it doesn’t; if we are truly ethnonationalists or ethnopatriots there has to be something in our history and our folk that we can love and defend. Of course we have to separate our nation (and our folk; they are one) from our government, which does not represent us, nor does it seem to care about our safety and happiness.
But must we trash the past and the people who made our country? I can’t take part in that, though I am decidedly not one of those people the right (and left) disparage as ‘patriotards.’
Even the use of names like ‘patriotard’ is an example of jaded cynicism, something I dislike, especially if I find it growing in my own heart.
Pat Buchanan, in a very good article, asks the question of whether we are still a nation. In my opinion it’s one of the best things he’s written lately, though I often felt he did not ‘go far enough’ in the past in addressing some issues.
I think most of us would agree that the country, as we know it today, does not embody a true nation, a people descended from a common ancestry and with shared history and culture. But there is still a core, a remnant, that exists. Those who are part of this know it, and it is to this that we should and must be loyal. Cynicism and bitterness are not motivating influences; instead they seem to lead to apathy and resignation, and to a perverse kind of superiority feeling based on being above the simple-minded ‘normies’ or ‘Murkans.’ Nothing positive can be built on this.
I don’t know what the future of this ‘Republic’ of ours holds; I am sorry to say I am not as optimistic as I once was (though my optimism was always cautious and tempered by realism). I don’t know that we have any cause to celebrate on Independence Day except to remember our forebears and their great efforts and sacrifices for our benefit, and the fact that their posterity failed to ‘keep’ the Republic they created for us is to our discredit, not theirs.
Porter at Kakistocracy has a very evocative post titled In Memoriam, consisting of images of the ‘old America’. Don’t miss it.
The many beautiful photos show what a rich and yes, ‘diverse’ life we had in this America in the pre-multicultural days. Those pictures are very much in keeping with the theme of my old blog; I think the inspiration I have lost since then is due to the lack of that anchor in the past. It’s easy to lose one’s moorings in this bizarro world in which we live. We need the past; without that to hold onto, we are amnesiacs.
There are always the cynics who say ‘you can’t live in the past; you can’t turn the clock back’, but without some image and some ideal to which we can look for inspiration, it’s hard to want to go on with this existential struggle we find ourselves in.
Maybe we can never have our (and yes, I said our) America back, not the America that existed in those photos, and in the memories of those who were alive then, but it’s an image we can cherish, imperfect though it was. All is not lost, although it may seem so at times.
America as it was, the real America, the old America, lives as long as there are those of us who were part of it still here, and as long as there are some who still honor what that country was. America, as Walt Whitman said, is you and me.
It truly makes me feel sick to write about the recent events in which time-honored monuments in the South have been vandalized, desecrated, and destroyed. And all of this is being done so as to destroy, finally, the image of the Confederacy and the good name of the White people of the South. It’s being done to appease, to flatter, and to pander to blacks, to reassure them that they, in fact, are THE people now; the time of Whitey has passed, and it is now their turn, their time to exact revenge and to demand homage and ‘respect’ from those who (as they believe) have ‘held them down’.
As I’ve written before, the real ‘dark days’ of the South were the days of so-called ‘Reconstruction’, in which nothing was rebuilt, but much was savaged and destroyed. Newly-freed blacks were then being instructed by their unprincipled ‘carpetbagger’ mentors and ‘protectors’ that they were now entitled to payback for the past, and that they were now free to behave as they pleased. Search out older history books (if the leftists have not eliminated them all) and you may find that the White population of the South was on the receiving end of a great deal of violence thanks to ‘freedmen’, Northern carpetbaggers, and Southron scallywags, all of whom, together, fomented disorder and fear in the South. Those days, Mitch Landrieu, were really dark days; not the antebellum days in the South as you implied in your recent anti-White speech in New Orleans, justifying the destruction of Confederate monuments.
Mitch Landrieu’s uninformed references to the days of slavery and the whole history of the Confederacy amount to the usual anti-White, anti-Southron boilerplate, and it sounds like history as told via Hollywood scriptwriters looking to sensationalize that era (a la Django, 12 Years a Slave, etc. etc.) as one of incredible cruelty, rape, and inhumanity. I believe Landrieu even uses those words.
Most Americans have been force-fed a steady diet of lies regarding the past, especially concerning racial differences, and Landrieu perhaps believes it all himself; but liberals are much more free to make up ‘history’ as it suits them, believing as they do that there is no such thing as objective truth; nothing is absolute, all is relative. It’s all a matter of whose narrative you choose. Obviously Landrieu chooses the nonwhite version of “history”, in which nonwhites are ever-sinned against, never sinning. Nonwhites, in their own eyes, can never be wrong or do wrong. It is always ‘Whitey’s’ fault; the blame can never lie elsewhere; it can never even be shared. Guilt is exclusively the property of Whitey. No one else. Ever.
I wonder if Mitch Landrieu or any lefty has ever heard of the Slave Narratives? If so, the response is simply to ignore it, and failing that, to deny the truth therein. If any of my readers have not read from that source, I recommend reading some of the stories. The overall picture is not at all the lurid picture of White cruelty and rapine that the current powers-that-be continue to push. I won’t be surprised when and if the politically correct archivists and historians yield fully to PC and expunge those stories from the Internet as well as from libraries. Can’t allow competing narratives, can we? Only the anti-White narrative must be allowed to be read or heard or seen; all else must be silenced, or, as with the Confederate monuments, pulled down, razed, and turned to rubble.
And now that all those who were actually slaves are long gone, there is no one to gainsay the lying depictions of the South as a cesspool of inhumanity, exploitation, torture, rape, and degradation. So the Mitch Landrieus of the world can spread their mendacious stories likening the antebellum South to ‘Nazi Germany’ or whatever other example of ultimate ‘White evil’ they are hyping.
What makes Landrieu’s posturing especially ironic is that there is at least some doubt about his own ancestry; sources say Landrieu’s family was listed as ‘black’ on past census records, and Mitch’s grandfather altered their identity to White. So is Mitch Landrieu a ‘White supremacist’ because he and his relatives now choose to downplay if not deny any black ancestry? I would say hardly; no ‘White supremacist’ would take such a hard-line anti-White, anti-Confederate stand as he is taking. At worst he is a hypocrite on his racial identity, though why he does not proudly claim any black ancestry is beyond me, considering that he extols ‘diversity’ and the holy ‘melting pot’ in his speech. In fact he praises everybody under the sun in that speech except Whites, for whom he reserves his greatest vitriol. So is Landrieu White or not? Is he self-hating? I mean, if even Rachel Dolezal can proudly claim her black ancestry, why not Landrieu?
Maybe he enjoys posing as the noble White defender of poor downtrodden diversities, hence the decision to be ‘White.’ But he knows that by the old code of the South — and indeed, of pretty much all of old White America — the one-drop rule was applied. If one was a fraction black, one was black. Period. Full stop. End of story. One drop was all it took. Hence people like Adam Clayton Powell. Or some of these people.
For some bizarre reason, The Atlantic seems to insist on Landrieu’s ‘white’ identity; wait — I thought race was just a social construct anyway.
Mitch Landrieu is a politician, and they come and go. So he is not really the issue here; he is just one of many. There are plenty of other anti-White ‘Southern’ politicians today, who deserve the shameful label ‘scallywag’ that our Southron ancestors used for them. When Landrieu and that whole clan are no longer in office (if Louisiana ever runs out of Landrieus to run for office) there will be others, by other names, just as much scoundrels, to take their place.
I don’t know how North and South,black and White, can coexist under the same government, but for some reason the perverse pro-Union types insist, demand, that live together we must, whether we like it or not. Some people, strange though it may seem, believe that this hideous ‘shotgun (re)marriage must continue, despite divisions and, increasingly, open violence. Is this abstract thing called the ‘Union’ really worth coercing people who distrust and despise and resent each other to live together? And how is that called ‘freedom’?
In my perusals of the many old books on Archive.org, I came across a book called The New Dictionary of Americanisms, published in 1902. The above is from that book. It’s interesting that there was a term coined back during the ‘Reconstruction’ era, just after the War for Southern Independence, describing the South’s situation of being “under the control and domination” of the black race. People saw it for what it was then; why do so few see it now?
Few people today, White or black, seem to know that this was the state of things after the War Between the States. The whole point of the ‘Reconstruction’ regime was to place the White citizens of the South in an inferior and degraded condition, and to punish the White Southerners for attempting to go their own way. The freedmen were loosed on the disarmed and disenfranchised White folk, and the latter were at the mercy of this unholy coalition of the Northern exploiters, or ‘carpetbaggers’, traitorous Southern ‘Scallywags’ — and black freedmen.
Now we seem to be in a continuation of Reconstruction, and this same sort of unholy coalition is attempting to deliver a coup de grace to the South, its history, heritage, and culture — and to fully subjugate the traditionally-minded Southern White folk, or at least the remnant thereof. I am glad to see, though, that some are showing signs of resistance to this all-out assault on the South that is now under way.
Facing the reality of what is happening is a necessary part of mounting a defense. As long as some Southron folk are in denial about it, or oblivious to it, then we will continue to be under the domination of those who despise us and our ancestors.
After reading yet another plea for White ‘internationalism’, in other words, White multiculturalism, I find myself compelled to reiterate why I believe this idea is wrong-headed and moreover, unlikely to be workable.
Looking at the practical side of it, how could all the disparate peoples of European descent (and they are disparate) be compelled to unite? By simply the threat of an outside enemy? That is the main argument usually; the White race is under dire threat from outside enemies who want us gone, or more accurately, under threat from enemies within and without. However it’s useful to remember that the European Union, once euphemistically called the ‘European Economic Union’ or ‘The Common Market’, was proposed as the way to shield Europe from an external threat.
Poster above: from 1951
The storm clouds above the little girl have hammers and sickles, representing Eastern bloc Communism, obviously.
And how did that work out? Europeans under the EU have shown no greater resistance to outside threats, and in fact the Communist threat was simply internalized, while the European peoples still retain their differences. Many differences are good, but old grudges and grievances persist along with the healthy differences.
But suppose a ‘new and improved’ right-wing EU arose, with all the European peoples under one government, determined to amalgamate themselves into some kind of generic European. Putting aside the big cultural and genetic gaps that exist even within Europe, assuming that could all be dealt with easily, whose culture would be the dominant one? We’ve seen in all multicultural experiments, even with White American multiculturalism, that some group’s culture, by design or simply by natural strength, will dominate — or will be perceived as dominating. Whose would that be? In America, as Anglo-Saxons were the original and dominant group, theirs was the default to which newcomers were expected to assimilate and conform. And how did that work out? Centuries later, certain groups nurse grievances over things that they imagine (or read in a history book) their great-great-grandparents ‘suffered’ at the hands of the oppressor. Even ethnicities who appeared to have assimilated successfully have in recent decades suddenly ‘remembered’ or been taught that their ancestors were ‘done wrong’ by the WASP elites, and now they are born-again partisans of a nationality and culture that their ancestors left behind 100 or more years ago.
Likewise, with language. Whose language would be the ‘official’ language in some kind of White multinational empire? English would be the most plausible, given that a great many Europeans are fluent in it (Scandinavians and Dutch, for example) but imagine the Francophones, just to name one group, quietly accepting English as the, ahem, lingua franca of the new Empire?
And religion? Catholic and Protestant seem more divided than at any time in my lifetime, and then there are growing numbers of proponents of paganism or some form of ‘nature worship’ supposedly based on the legendary ‘old religion’ who are very eager to proselytize and push for the elimination of Christianity as being an ‘alien’ faith as they often insist. What then? Invent a new religion out of whole cloth, as some people propose? As if religion is something that one can cook up to order, to serve a purpose. A religion professes to be true. If it is not true, and is just an invention of some human mind (a la L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology) then it is no religion and would not answer people’s needs for truth and meaning.
And then there are the militant atheists, who seem to exist mostly amongst White people, for some reason.
Culture, language, religion, these are all important components of a working civilization. To lack cohesion or a common basis would be fatal to the success of constructing a new ‘union’.
Can we say that, at minimum, the people (I would say more properly, peoples) of that proposed new entity should have a common blood origin, based in kinship? Because at heart that is what a nation is: a people united by a common origin and ancestry.
And along with that common origin and shared ancestry goes a shared history, a shared heritage and memory, which is naturally passed down in a body of folklore and custom and legend and tradition: holidays, commemorations of past triumphs and trials. Every nation has its heroes (and villains, too), people who are real or semi-legendary who embody the nation’s archetype, the archetype of the unique character of that particular kin-group and people. America, despite the frequent sneers that America is not a ‘real’ nation and never was, once had all the above things, and those things I tried to re-introduce into the common consciousness when I first began to blog, but that doesn’t ‘sell’ anymore.
Absent a desire to remember our past, we seem to have died a little more since the days I first began blogging.
But are we in a real sense equal kin with all European-descended peoples? Maybe more Americans (or Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders) would feel more ‘inclusive’ towards Whites who are distantly related to us, but that is because we have been given infusions of multiculturalism from relatively early in our history, and have come to believe that people who are very different can ‘become us’ just by acquiring citizenship papers, or by learning a halting version of our language.
Many Europeans are not as ‘welcoming’ that way, because they have not been made to acclimate to ‘diversity’ as the Anglosphere nations have been. And, I suppose, good for them. The Eastern Europeans fit this category as of now, but suppose they too are made to acclimate to having very different people living in their midst?
Russia, remember, is a polyglot, multicultural, multiracial empire, even post-Soviet Russia.
I’ve lately begun to wonder if some of what is happening to the Western countries is in part happening because the globalists, who still sit firmly in charge, want European-descended peoples to react by willingly uniting and amalgamating. Obviously they have tried, via the EU, to do this, but it seems not to be proceeding as they want, and the Anglosphere still remains recalcitrant to some degree (Brexit, for example) and America’s (failed?)attempt to turn the clock back, to ‘Make America Great Again’.
White internationalism, or some kind of transcontinental Empire of Europeans would just be one more step, intentional or not, toward forming a ‘region’ which would fit nicely into the globalists’ theoretical One World system, divided into several ‘regions.’
It’s more centralization, which is not good.
It’s an attempt to fit disparate things and peoples together by political means. It is thus unnatural.
And most importantly, to me, it is based on the utopian idea that all European peoples are, or can be treated as, equals. This is a false idea, and a false god, truth be told. Since most Western countries have become hopelessly infected with the idea of ‘equality’ and egalitarianism, this would doom the project from the start. It is not true of nations, or of cultures, and especially not of flesh-and-blood human beings.
The idea of equality, of fungibility, of interchangeability, and of leveling out all differences in the name of the ‘rights of man’ or whatever slogan has been a toxic one on which our nation is mistakenly basing itself. To have a pan-European empire built on that false foundation would be a disaster.
Quote via Wrath of Gnon.
I suppose that for many Americans and other Westerners, individual ‘autonomy’ or ‘freedom’ is paramount, and this, I’d say, is part of our predicament. Do we see ourselves as ‘rugged individuals’, or part of an unbroken chain, going back through the generations? Do we think of ourselves as self-created, self-determined individuals, beholden to no previous generations and no traditions?