When a Westerner hears the phrase “triumph of love over morality” he’s likely to think of some sort of sexual sin. Our civilization has a long history of romanticizing adultery in these sorts of terms. Today, a person might think of homosexuality. At least in Christian times, though, these would not have been good examples. Seducing another man’s wife is enticing her into mortal sin with the consequent danger of hellfire, which is surely not a loving thing to do. In any case, the collision is not between morality and love per se, since morality doesn’t ever forbid one from loving someone, but at most between morality and certain expressions of love. A Christian cannot admit any ultimate contradiction between morality and love, since Jesus Himself made love the two greatest commandments, from which the others are derived.
Are there any cases, then, of people being forbidden to love? Certainly. My country’s bishops have cruelly forbidden one normal type of human love–its very existence and not only any sinful expression thereof. I refer to the love of one’s own ethnic group, roundly condemned by moralistic prelates as “racism”.
Confronted with such condemnation, how is a pious man (following the word’s original meaning of a man who reveres his ancestors) to respond? He may accept the condemnation and try to reform his loves, trying to smuggle in as much of his kind’s continued existence as universalist morality allows. This is the way of the neoconservatives. He may reject it by arguing that true morality sanctions love of one’s ethnic group. The authority of the universal moral law is acknowledged, but its content is disputed. This is the way of the traditionalists.
Suppose liberal morality is all one knows, so the traditionalist way is not available. A man, a white gentile let’s say, instinctively loves his people, his ancestors and their ways. Then he hears predominantly Jewish moralists condemning them as wicked, unjust, and oppressive. His instinct is to be angry, but as he listens to the condemnation, he is forced to admit its validity. The only standard of justice he knows stands with the Jews and against his kind. What can he do? Justice itself demands that he renounce his own father, but how can he do such a monstrous thing?
He feels in himself a contradiction between love and justice, and he chooses love. He turns on justice and defies him to his face:
“They say that you’re a neutral referee standing over everybody, but your partiality gives you away. Once the Jews had a tribal god called ‘Yahweh’ whose job was to take their side in fights and egg them on in their squabbles with other Middle Eastern tribes. Then the Jews started saying that their god was actually the one true God, the great metaphysical principle who made everybody and has a claim on everybody. But, funny thing, the great master of the universe kept on acting like Israel’s little tribal god, always caring about the Jews in preference to everybody else. It was the same old Yahweh. But now the goyim have caught on, so they’ve started telling us we all have to bend the knee to Justice, the great universal principle of practical reason. This ‘justice’ turns out to be just the same old Yahweh, the Jews’ little tribal god. ‘Justice is on our side–we’re so righteous’ the Jews always say, but Mr. ‘Justice’ would be on their side, wouldn’t he? Notice how he says that the weapon the Jewish side can win with, satire, is a basic freedom, while the weapon our side could win with, violence, is impermissible. Well, I’m tired of obeying somebody else’s tribal god. I say there is no impartial referee between the races, no universal justice. Each race struggles to survive, thrive, and expand; this is the fundamental reality. The only morality is loyalty to one’s own race, and no external principle can trump that loyalty, or check it, or check its expression.”
Funny, we started with a man with entirely natural and generous sentiments and we taught him only liberal morality, and we have ended up with a second Adolf Hitler.
Fascist and Nazi theorists insisted that they were an entirely distinct group of anti-communists from the reactionaries, the monarchists and Catholics. The difference is that we can’t accept any principle of group imminence, that the nation or race is ordered to and judged by nothing outside itself. Refusing to subordinate one’s people even to God Himself may sound like a more perfect love of group than we Christians can give. In fact, this idolatrous love falls into the same self-contradiction as adulterous love. To teach a people to be perfectly selfish would destroy what is most precious in it. There are no truly immanentist cultures, not even those of the pre-Christian pagans. If Hitler’s Reich had lasted a thousand years, or even a hundred, it would have long ceased to be recognizably German. One doubts that a people can exist at all without some shared vision of the Good. There is certainly something sympathetic in the person drawn to Fascism or Naziism–I find them far more sympathetic than those drawn to communism, an ideology based on envy and hatred of the sacred. Ultimately, though, Jesus Christ is right: love properly thought through requires His laws.
Filed under: Loyalty to the particular |