Naziism as the triumph of love over morality

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”.

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Some lives mattering more than others

Steve Sailer finds an interesting contrast:

  • Ottawa to build Victims of Communism memorial.  Elite opinion:  What for?  It didn’t happen in Canada.  The thing’s too big.
  • Ottawa to build a National Holocaust Monument, with a 50% larger budget.  Elite opinion:  General silence.  No controversy.  Implication is–What took so long?  Canada is the only allied nation without a Holocaust monument in its capital.

Commenters note a further asymmetry between the two memorials.  The former commemorates all victims of communism, while the latter will certainly focus on a subset of the victims of Naziism.  Millions of dead Slavs don’t interest anyone, whether it was Stalin or Hitler who killed them.  They were only goyim.

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On being a tribal Christian

Christianity is certainly a thing distinct from the traditional civilization of Europe.  While Christianity was integral to our now dead civilization, it is meant for the entire human race.  Our faith is ultimately in Christ, not in Christians, not even those Christians who are our ancestors and who built Christendom.  And yet I do find it unseemly how our modern Christians try to prove our faith in Christ through our faithlessness to each other.

Hence the constant apologies.  Apologies to the Muslims.  Apologies to the Third World heathen.  Endless abject groveling before the Jews.  One should, I suppose, admire the faith of a man like Pope John Paul II who, in order to carry the Gospel unto all nations unencumbered by the sins of past faithful, was so thoroughly merciless in throwing his fellow Catholics under the proverbial bus.  “Yes, we Catholics have all always been greedy sadistic bigots.  But the Gospel is about Jesus Christ, not us!  You don’t have to give up your contempt and hatred of us to embrace Him!”  I suppose it might be true that a particular religion holds the ultimate truth about God and morality even though all its followers have been complete scoundrels, but I doubt many hearers will find this plausible.  And yet even if it did work in winning converts, the whole thing would leave a bad taste in my mouth.

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Traditionalists must be anti-antiracists

because race is a social construction, of course!  (Not that social constructs can’t also be biological realities.)  While we aren’t obliged to defend intraracial cohesion per se, anyone who attempts to destroy intraracial cohesion will inevitably end up attacking things that we do care about.

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Cross-post: One God, many peoples V: Propositional peoplehood

Allow me to wrap this up.

Universalism, we’ve seen, goes way back.  The ideas of universal brotherhood, a universal natural law, and even of a single ultimate God were known to the pagans.  Far from a sign of spiritual advance, the separation of God from one’s people and social order has often marked spiritual decline.  In Voegelin’s terminology, the compactness of the world, the sense that local rituals and duties connect to ultimate reality, is lost.  The world’s Axial Age, and Israel’s Prophetic Age, were the time when people started to intuit God’s transcendence but didn’t know how to handle it.  They could no longer see God’s presence in the ancient theocracies and vaguely imagined Messianic kingdoms in which this tension could be overcome.  In the moral order, the question was how one could justify particularity in light of this new universalistic perspective.  Having mentally “risen above” the tribe, how does one get back down?

Christianity did not create this problem.  Christianity is one proposed solution, the most adequate on offer, in my opinion.

What is the other solution?  Imagine the predicament of man who loves his tribe or country but has come to accept that this love, loyalty, and piety are rationally and morally indefensible.  His highest moral principles condemn his noblest sentiments.  In fact, you don’t have to imagine this–you’re living it–but I’ll get back to that.  How can he live with such a spiritual wound?  The problem, as he misconstrues it, is this:  how, from a universal perspective (shedding, as he imagines he must, his own “empirical ego”) can it be justified to favor this group in particular?

The group must be special in some absolute, objective sense.  The only quality that really matters is morality, and the heart of morality (as he understands it) is universalism.  And here is the solution!  His group is the one to have discovered universalism.  That doesn’t, of course, mean that they own it, that they can hoard this treasure for themselves.  Quite the opposite!  They have a duty to spread their light to those still in darkness.  This is, indeed, the very essence and reason-for-being of the group:  to spread universalism.  A group dedicated to the abolition of groups.  A universal, a propositional people.  So our man lays down his natural loyalty, and in return he is allowed to pick up a new unnatural loyalty.  His new love, for an idea rather than a concrete people, is a cold and inhuman thing compared to the love he left behind, but it is the only thing his cold and inhuman morality of universal brotherhood will allow him, so he makes due with it.

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There’s no such sin as “racism”

While taking Zippy’s warnings about the dangers of nominalism seriously, I’m going to mostly agree with the neo-reactionaries on this one.  Being an essentialist doesn’t mean insisting every word refers to a real essence.  A word may fail to refer to an essence if it

  1. contains a mischaracterization in its definition.  For example, suppose I define “spousal exclusionism” to be the sinfully discriminating practice of not being willing to have sexual relations with anyone other than one’s spouse.  Although I can easily cite cases of this behavior, the word is still nonsense because the behavior it describes is not sinful, and cramming moral disapproval into the definition cannot make it so.
  2. arbitrarily singles out some instances from others that are essentially the same.  For example, suppose I discover the sin of “even-day arsonry”, the crime of committing arson on an even day of the month.
  3. arbitrarily joining distinct things.  For example, making up a word to refer to either orange juice or peanut butter but no other kind of food.

Every use of the word “racism” is meaningless on at least one of these counts.

If by “racism”, one means “the sin of having a special loyalty and preference for one’s own group”, then it is guilty of #1 above:  it is trying to define a natural and non-sinful attitude to be sinful.  “Racism” as “the sinful belief that one race is superior in some way to another” is also guilty of this, because such a belief may be true or false, but there is nothing inherently wicked in entertaining it.

(By the way, the suggestion that we moderns have discovered a sin that the wise men of antiquity didn’t know about should automatically be greeted with suspicion.  There is, after all, no other obvious evidence that we possess the refinement of moral sensibility to make such discoveries.)

If by “racism” one means “sinful acts perpetrated against members of other races”, then it is guilty of #2 above.  For example, if a man sets out to kill the first ten people of other races he comes across, he will certainly be guilty of a grave sin.  He will be guilty of the sin of murder.  The fact that he sought out members of other races rather than seeking out his own or being indifferent to the race of his victims does not change the nature or gravity of his sin one iota.  Thus, to prove that racism is a real sin, it is insufficient to show that some whites have treated some blacks unjustly.  One must also show that there is something wicked about having done unjust things to blacks in particular, so that if the victims had been whites the act would in some aspect have been not as bad.

If by “racism” one means “the inclination that leads people to mistreat those of other races”, then one is guilty of #3 above, because there is no single such inclination.  There are several, and they are very different in quality.  For example,

  1. Mere selfishness.  Slave traders didn’t have to hate blacks to be willing to make money off of them.  In this case, the racial aspect just involves the lack of a restraint.  The sinner’s bond with his own people would have deterred him from committing the sin against his own kind but not others for whom he has no such bond.  The racially-dependent variable is, in itself, a morally positive thing; what it’s doing is keeping him from doing injustice to some people.  It is just inadequate in itself for a fully moral outlook.
  2. A sense that the other race is a threat.  E.g. tribal warfare.
  3. A belief that another race is an “oppressor”, that is, one of the evil forces of Leftist demonology.  This phenomenon is quite different from the previous case of the natural instinct of loyalty to one’s tribe under threat in that this form of racial hostility is mediated by Leftist ideology.  Much black-perpetrated violence against whites is probably of this kind, and I suspect the public school system has a great deal of culpability.

Surely more is obscured than revealed by having a single word for all of these phenomena.

I therefore propose that the word “racism”, which in practice really does serve no purpose other than to pathologize whites, should be retired and replaced with the following:

  1. a nonjudgmental name for preference for one’s own race
  2. a nonjudgmental name for belief in differences between races
  3. a name for the lack of moral restraint toward those outside one’s own nation or race, that is, an undeveloped sense of justice toward man qua man
  4. a name for hatred of the perceived enemies of one’s race.  This name should include moral disapproval but with the recognition that it is a common deformation of a healthy feeling of protectiveness towards one’s own group under threat.
  5. a name for ideological hatred of Leftist scapegoat groups

The moral perils of trying to overcome racism

Let me first say that I shall be discussing race as a social construct, rather than a biological fact.  A person’s race shall refer to the group of people with whom he identifies, and, most importantly, the group of people he identifies as his ancestors.  Does this mean that I regard biological race as an illusion?  No more than I regard skin color as an illusion.  Race certainly has some biological reality, but morally it’s not a very interesting one.  For my purposes, a person is white if he or she thinks he is white, and everyone around him or her agrees.  And similarly for every other race.  For it is a fact that people–even and especially “anti-racists”–classify others and themselves by race.

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