Back to Qumran

Responding to Franklin, Bill commented:

I don’t understand how you Christians can worry so much about politics

It’s inertia, obviously. For 1500 years, our civilization—all of it, including the politics—was self-consciously based on traditional Christianity. We’re not used to being in the catacombs any more. We have to figure it out again. And first we have to realize, in an action-oriented, gut-and-not-just-head way that something really, truly has to be done. This is not that easy given that we’re not currently being fed to the lions, live and streaming from Netflix.

Amen. It’s back to the catacombs, back to Lindisfarne, back to Pella, back to Qumran. Israel has several times threaded such a needle as we find we must now again thread, and has survived. The last time she faced a situation like that of the present, Christian Rome was falling. Jerome and Augustine thought it was probably the end of the world. They could not have known that the Roman Civilization, and its Church, taken up by the Britons and Germans, would go on to conquer the globe, or that their own writings would be important factors of that eventual conquest.

Of all such times of tribulation, that of the Essenes in the first century BC is perhaps most like our own. The Essenes were a two-fold community of conservative traditionalists. On the one hand were monastics who lived in desert fastnesses such as at Qumran, and elsewhere: in the Hebrew polities of Arabia, where Paul studied after his conversion; perhaps also at St. Catherine’s in the Sinai; in Egypt – not just the many communities of Therapeutae around Lake Mariotis discussed by Philo of Alexandria, but possibly also the Jewish community at Elephantine Island far up the Nile, and even perhaps as far south as Ethiopia (kohanite genes have been found in black South African tribes with a tradition of descent from Israelites); and within the ambit of the Babylonian Diaspora. There were Israelites throughout the Roman and Parthian Empires in those days, but the communities in Egypt and Babylon were very large, for obvious reasons. Such monastic establishments were not uncommon among the Hebrews; the Old Testament often calls them schools of prophets. Elisha took over Elijah’s school, as Speusippus took over the Academy from Plato.

But there were also many lay Essenes, who lived in the towns, married and raised families, and were employed in commerce, farming and manufacturing. The likelihood is that the lay Essenes far outnumbered their monastic brethren, and supported them economically. Lay Essenes also seem to have cycled in and out of the monasteries. Boys were trained by monks, then released to lay life; many then returned to the monasteries at retirement, or for extended retreats.

The Essene movement was itself complex. The community at Qumran seems to have been quite extremely conservative, and at odds, not just with the alien pagan occupiers from Greece and Rome, not just with the corrupt, invalid and collaborationist priesthood of the Temple establishment in Jerusalem, but with other strains within the Essene movement whom they regarded as insufficiently pure. The Qumran monks considered themselves a Last Faithful Remnant, preserving the Old Ways, the Old, True Doctrines (and, in their library, the Old Scriptures). Some of their most vicious rhetoric was leveled against members of their own sect.

Sound familiar?

The Essenes apparently disappeared from history circa the Jewish War. They called themselves Sons of Light; so did the Christians. Some have therefore argued that the reason the Essene sect vanished without a trace is that Jesus and his Apostles were Essenes, and that after the Resurrection and Pentecost the rest of the Essenes simply started calling themselves Christians. Not all of them, perhaps; many would presumably have disputed the Christian assertion that Jesus was the fulfillment of Essene messianic hopes. But there seems to be no other good explanation for what happened to them.

Should we take the Essenes as a practical model? Put another way, should we take the primitive Church as a practical model? Even if “Essene” and “Christian” were not coterminous, the two models are the same: communities of lay believers meeting privately to celebrate their ancient rites, sharing economic resources, and working quietly at their businesses; and celibate monastics and professional religious living in wilderness redoubts. Unlike the Zealots, with whom they seem to have shared similar eschatological and political views, but with whose tactics they disagreed, they did not engage in guerilla war, terrorism or banditry. They focused instead on personal righteousness and probity, mutual aid, and cultural separation from the wider profane world, both Hebrew and Greek.

These tactics enabled them to maintain a prosperous sub rosa existence, most of the time and in most places. They were able to hide in plain sight. When they did come under suspicion in the early centuries AD, it was most often during times of plague or pestilence, when their mortality and morbidity rates were so much lower than those of the general population (due to their practices of nursing each other in sickness, and providing for their widows, orphans and destitute slaves) that they attracted charges of sorcery. They were resented also for their business success, even as they were valued as honest traders. But most of the time, in most places, they lived quiet, prosperous, sane lives, and were mostly left alone. And, thanks to their horror at abortion and infanticide, and their support for the orphans among them, their fertility far outpassed that of their pagan neighbours. This is how the salt of the earth came to permeate the dough of the Empire, until by AD 300 Christians outnumbered pagans.

They were not, of course, immune from the immense social convulsions that rocked the Empire in those days. The Jerusalem Church was probably wiped out along with the rest of the Palestinian Jews in the suppression of the bar Kochba revolt. But by then, there was a wider Church into which the refugees of the Hebrew Church could vanish, and in which they could survive.

If we were to take them as our model, what would we do? I now elaborate on a list that has already appeared at VFR:


  1. Resolve to pay no more PC jizya (beautifully spelled out in the Solzhenitsyn essay that has been discussed a lot lately in the wider orthosphere). Tell the truth, and call a spade a spade: calmly, politely, and without being obstreperous about it, but nevertheless firmly. Without making a big deal about it or calling attention to yourself, fail to appear for the public rites of Moloch. If you must thus appear, quietly fail to meet the requirements of the rite.
  2. Write, read, blog, talk: join a book club, an apologetics roundtable, a bible study group. Learn the arguments for reaction, for Christianity, for theism; learn the arguments against them, and how they may be defeated. Speak up: fearlessly, scandalously, but always humbly and politely.
  3. Live a virtuous, upright life, at home and in business. Speak the truth, and do the right thing. Whatever it happens to be, don’t let it be about yourself; let it be about the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.
  4. Beware; and be prepared to move, quickly. Get rid of stuff that you don’t need or that is not positively beautiful to you in some way – especially debt and belly fat, which are likely going to cost you as the financial and medical sectors of the economy devolve over the next ten years.
  5. Maintain tradition in small things: e.g., dress more formally than is customary these days, practice old-fashioned manners, refrain from swearing; read old books, and then discuss them around the family dinner table; join together in regular and serious family prayer, if only to bless each meal; remember your family holiday traditions, and observe them gravely and with joy.
  6. Pray without ceasing. Pray whenever your attention is not wholly consumed with the task at hand. Work toward praying even when it is. Nothing is so convincing as sanctity, or so attractive, or so authoritative. Without it, personal rectitude can seem like Pharisaical arrogance (and risks becoming just that). You can’t push sanctity. But you can work at allowing it to happen.

Near term:

  1. Marry a chaste and virtuous person, have lots of kids, home school them, and read good books to them at bedtime every single night. Answer their questions as carefully, truthfully and thoughtfully as you can.
  2. Work in a small business that you own yourself.
  3. Live in the country far from the urban hellholes.
  4. Join the most old-fashioned church you can find and attend regularly, and live a virtuous, upright life.
  5. Buy, keep and renovate old things, particularly houses and books. Maintain fences and walls in good order. Preserve old arts and skills. Master at least one of them.
  6. Garden; farm to the extent possible. Apart from long, arduous sojourns in the wilderness or in a monastery, there is no better way to understand your very existence as integral, and good; as, i.e., sacramental.
  7. Arm yourself, and get training in a martial art; see that your kids do the same. Prepare for disaster by stockpiling supplies.
  8. Notice – don’t remark upon it just this once, but notice repeatedly, as a habit – that everything I have recommended so far falls under the heading of practical wisdom. It has always made sense to live this way, no matter what has been happening in the wider world.

Long term:

  1. Gravitate toward intentional communities of the right minded – i.e., of the orthogonally minded. Not communes, but towns or churches. Find other tradents online or through the grapevine, find out where they cluster, go there to live or worship. Don’t try to create a community from scratch – with no frontier any more, that’s no longer anything but gnostic utopianism. On the contrary, join an existing community with a surviving traditional life – if you have few prospects of marriage, consider a monastic community – and learn to love it. Make a point of participating; be a valuable contributor. Make yourself known first as a friend, and a quiet, respectable person. Then, in your casual interactions, share what you have learned, and you will nudge that community toward the Right. Be ready and willing, even earnestly happy, to be yourself thus nudged, in turn. This should be the focus of your political life. [As for national politics, the best thing you can do is write online. How many readers of these words became traditionalists on account of something they stumbled upon, online? I did.]
  2. Join and support community resources in such traditionalist enclaves. Nothing fancy: libraries, granges, things like that, to be sure; but also, mutual aid societies. Old-fashioned churches in rural communities are still doing this sort of thing.
  3. Marry off your children to the children of other tradents. If your children grow up in a traditional community – either a town, or a church (with activities for young people, such as retreats, pilgrimages, and so forth) – they will find attractive mates from among them.
  4. Maintain cultural traditions: traditional music, liturgy, dance, local folkways. Even such things as Civil War re-enactments can form the core of a local culture. Ritual is intentional anachronism, by which we reproduce the past in our present lives, to the mutual reinforcement of the causal efficacy, both of our present lives and the past speaking through them – the very definition, in literal terms, of “tradition.” What is the local tradition? Join it; enjoy it; ennoble it.

I keep telling myself that my job right now as a writer is to be like Augustine, and Jerome. They wrote of their heartbreak at the Fall of Rome. But they mostly wrote about eternal things; that’s why we still read them. They were involved in politics, but not as partisans so much as prophets. So, I tell myself that I must think, and write, and pray, toward eternity; love the Good, and honor it. What else is there, ever?

A good old thing, that we have all loved so dearly, is now dying. On, then, to the final crisis, and to the new thing for which its death will open room. Seed time and harvest, each in due season. Now begins the harrowing.

In the meantime, let’s do what we can to keep the small things we have loved alive. I happen to be listening to plainchant right now; we can work on such things, even if only by buying and using them ourselves. And then, too, there are lots of good recipes for pumpkin pie that will survive the general wreck.

It’s trite to ask this, but: what are you thankful for? How can you prosper its ways and defend it? I mean it: if you are so moved, tell us what small thing you have inherited from our forefathers, that you love, and that you can and will see is preserved, to be passed along to your children. Anything will do; even a nursery rhyme. This has to spring from our deepest roots. It must be watered with tears, and nourished with our life’s blood. So whatever it is, for each of us, it must matter.

If I should fail to post again beforehand, allow me to wish you all a blessed Eucharistic Holiday this Thursday.

57 thoughts on “Back to Qumran

  1. Beautiful words, Kristor.

    I recently made a very difficult decision, one which will define the rest of my life. Many in my family thought me crazy, others thought it is a great idea. I decided to pursue a degree in agriculture. There are few other life paths which are as truly traditional as farming. As for what I am moved by and seek to preserve it would have to be our people’s many great pieces of fictional literature, especially poetry. Dante’s “Divine Comedy”, Homer’s “The Iliad”, Poe’s “The Raven”, and especially the children’s tales by the Brothers Grimm.

      • Typically you would be correct. But for someone who is considering immigration having a degree in agriculture is a good idea. At least I have several career options in the field of agriculture with that degree.

    • A friend of mine farms, and he didn’t really need his degrees to do it, but they helped in getting part-time work with the state agricultural extension. Because he knows stuff.

  2. This is a very good list, Kristor. I came up with a similar one, several years ago, but yours is even better and more comprehensive. I would add: cultivate a love for the arts, history, science, and the natural world. Develop your sense of adventure. Maintain a standard of physical fitness.

    It’s trite to ask this, but: what are you thankful for?

    Maybe trite, but not in a bad way. I was thinking about all of it, today, while spending time with my family, and the thought struck me: I have joy in my family, and they can’t take that away.

  3. From the Solzhenitsyn essay:

    Will not subscribe to or buy a newspaper or magazine in which information is distorted and primary facts are concealed.

    Right in the Post, too! Cheeky devils.

  4. I googled “what defines a community” and almost all of the returns are for building a community of customers for a product. I’m not sure what that says about us, but its probably not good that most people interested in community just want to sell something.

    • I have mixed feelings about that. Maybe it’s just that I’ve spent my career in business, but I long ago concluded that human communication is all sales, all the time. All transactions – physical, moral, spiritual, formal – are amenable to treatment in economic terms. They can’t be adequately reduced to “nothing but” economics, but then neither can economics.

      The only sort of communication I can think of that might not be selling is humor. Whatever can be uttered with a straight face is effectually a proposal of some sort.

      It’s just a hunch. But I haven’t yet discovered any counterexamples.

      • If “all interactions” are “all transactions” to you, yeah, it’s all about the money, Mr. Cash Nexus.

      • I have heard economics described as encompassing all of human interaction, but , well I don’t really have a “but”, maybe you’re right. I still don’t see it as all sales, all the time, though. I rarely try to sell my ideas, I just state them. I have tried in the past to sell them, but I am a terrible salesman. Transactions, yes, sales, no.

      • Mr. Cash Nexus: yeah, I wish! More like Mr. Natural.

        Seriously, though, it is crucial to remember that economics is not just about money and financial instruments. It includes them, but it is really about the creation, destruction and exchange of value.

      • All human interaction can be described as economics if you define economics to be the description of all human interaction.

      • If an event involves the exchange of some value – and it is hard for me to come up with a creaturely event that does not – then it is amenable to economic treatment.

      • All human interaction can be described as economics if you define economics to be the description of all human interaction.

        That’s the trick Ludwig von Mises played.

        Seriously, though, it is crucial to remember that economics is not just about money and financial instruments. It includes them, but it is really about the creation, destruction and exchange of value.

        Are you channelling Mises? I gave up that BS a long time ago.

      • If economics is not about value, what is it about? And, can you point to a human interaction that involves no moral or aesthetic considerations – i.e., no value? Note that I do not propose to reduce everything to economics, which (so far as I can tell from your cryptic statement) seems to be what you are concerned about; indeed, as I have pointed out, it doesn’t even work to reduce economics to economics. That physics treats of motion does not mean that motion is nothing but physics; likewise, that economics treats of human action does not mean that human action is nothing but economics. To think otherwise would be a category error, of confusing explanans with explananda. But on the other hand, that human action is more than just economics does not mean that there is nothing we may learn from an economic analysis of human action. That economics doesn’t tell us everything there is to know about humans doesn’t mean that it can tell us nothing at all.

        I go into all this a bit in Proper Reduction.

      • If economics is not about value, what is it about? And, can you point to a human interaction that involves no moral or aesthetic considerations – i.e., no value?

        I understand what you are saying. I think you’re just over-analyzing life, and reducing it to Mi$ean terms $o American$ can under$tand it.

      • Ah, I see. You’re absolutely right: I do tend to overdetermine things, philosophically. It’s an aspect of my OCD. 😉

        But what that means is that I’m not overthinking things in order to explain them to so and so. I’m doing it because, God help me, it’s just what I do. Dr. Charlton would argue, I think rightly, that this urge is to me a source of not inconsiderable spiritual danger.

  5. “Arm yourself, and get training in a martial art; see that your kids do the same.”

    Isn’t this the way of the Zealot rather than the Essene?

    • No. Martial skill may be exercised defensively or offensively. The Zealots did the latter. They engaged in banditry, terrorism, and assasination. They went out looking for trouble. That’s a good way to call attention to yourself, and not in a good way. It was their ilk that was behind the bar Kochba revolt that resulted in the utter destruction of the nation they sought to defend.

      What I am recommending rather is that we lie low. We don’t want to call attention to ourselves as an inherently problematic population. We want to just quietly out-produce, out-reproduce, and out-flourish our adversaries, whose wicked ways are naturally going to make them less fit, less healthy, less prosperous. We don’t need to fight them, just out last them.

      At the same time, because the engines of social order can be expected to break down more and more over the coming decades, self-defense is going to grow more and more crucial to obtaining for ourselves, and protecting, the mere opportunity to work, kin, and pray.

      • “an inherently problematic population. We want to just quietly out-produce, out-reproduce, and out-flourish our adversaries, whose wicked ways are naturally going to make them less fit, less healthy, less prosperous”

        This may be a valid Hebrew or Essene attitude but is it a Christian attitude?
        The Christian has a different conception of Divine Justice than the Hebrew (CS Lewis-Reflections on Psalms)
        He must regard himself as wicked that needs to be purged.
        They are NOT our adversaries.
        Also remember that the Jerusalem Church was wiped out along with bar Kochba rebels. So it may be that the iniquity of America needs to be purged with the sacrifice of orthogonals.

      • How is it un-Christian to try to be virtuous?

        If we focus on working out our salvation in fear and trembling, that should incline our hearts to virtue, and prosper our handiwork, as compared with those who do not believe in salvation, or in the need for it. And that relative surfeit of virtue and prosperity will more than suffice as a reproach to those disinclined to virtue; and as a difference in our relative trajectories, such that we are more likely to survive than they. It’s only a likelihood, though. We may well perish with them, when their depraved system eventually collapses. But this is always so; it is no more particularly true now than at any other time.

      • But one should not WANT to out-compete anybody. It is not a competition and we must not be like the prodigal’s elder brother.

        You are right in that that the Reaction is about the morality of Proverbs. One should be virtuous and prosperity shall follow virtue. In fact, this has been my major theme here that Reaction does NOT require discussions on Salvation-the Proverbs are sufficient and Job and the Preacher are not required.
        Thus the Reaction, by its nature as a Political Matter or Doctrine, can only aim at Natural Felicity and has nothing to say about Supernatural Felicity. The Reaction can be and should be shared with non-Christians.

        Thus. the Reactionaries should aim at virtue, individual and social, as reactionary, not for Salvation but for the sake of Nation.

      • Well, but it would seem that everyone ought to aim at virtue, not for the sake of the Nation, but because it is virtuous. Ditto for holiness; one ought to try to be holy, not for the sake of the nation, or even for the sake of salvation, but because holiness is holy (we ought not to worship God because we are going to get something out of the deal, like salvation, but because he is, you know, God; so that we ought to worship him even if that meant we would go to Hell). Virtue and holiness are in the first place our mere duty, and in the second are both inherently rewarding. That they both generate beneficial side effects for us – prosperity, health, and so forth – is gravy, and really rather beside the point.

        Can a merely secular Reaction truly succeed? As I said to you in a different thread:

        I doubt that a Reaction that had no particular theological inputs could be really much better than our present situation. If Reaction is to be “based on Christian principles,” as indeed it should be, it must then ipso facto have particular and, for some, inevitably difficult or uncomfortable theological inputs.

  6. It is NOT by staying low and pursuing success, the Christians witness to the World. The Christian is called out to be the Salt of the Earth, the Saint, the Martyr.
    Where is the Love of Neighbor in being a virtuous remnant, while the neighborhood is burning down?

    The Proverbs tell us to shun evil men but not because we are too good for them–that is Pharisaical attitude-but because we fear that we are not good enough.

    So, separate out and pursue virtue if you feel you are NOT good enough but some of us may be called to fling ourselves into the Burning City.

    • Vishmehr, nowhere in the Scripture or Tradition of the Church do I find any warrant for the idea that we ought to lie down beside Faramir on the pyre. On the contrary, there is all sorts of warrant for dragging him off. Can you point me to some authoritative texts that say the Samaritan should lie down next to the victim of the Zealots and die with him of exposure by the side of the road?

      Obviously the Samaritan must be himself fit and prosperous if he is to be any good at all to the victim. All I am recommending is that we be fit and prosperous – not because in doing so we would discomfit our adversaries, although of course that would indeed happen – but because it is right, and is the fruit of righteousness. I’m not recommending that we be holier than thou, like the Pharisees (as you will readily see if you read the post more carefully), but rather that we be holy.

      • To save Faramir, one has to go and reach him bodily. This is not lying low but precisely “flinging oneself into fire”.

        I do think that you err in linking Reaction to Salvation. One can be saved as well under a communist tyranny as in medieval Byzantium. We have not been given more information.

        But Reaction must be for the sake of Natural Felicity, i.e. for the sake of our families and our Nations.

      • But our families and nations are – like creation in general – ultimately for companionship with God – i.e., in our fallen case, salvation. The completion of natural felicity is not possible except to the virtuous, and the fulfillment of virtue is not possible except to the saintly.

        A polis that is not ordered to the Good cannot attain it – cannot fully satisfy the reactionary – except adventitiously. And unless a people’s notion of the Good be proper thereto, they cannot seek it. So the merely secular society is, if not doomed to fail, at least overwhelmingly likely to do so. There is always a state religion of some sort. The only question is whether it is True, or idolatrous.

        As for Faramir and the pyre, I guess I misunderstood you to be saying that it is the Christian’s duty to immolate himself rather than do his best to rescue the wounded.

      • “A polis that is not ordered to the Good cannot attain it ”

        true but that does mean that we should strive for a Catholic monarchy.
        Proverbs are a part of Scripture and there is little there a Hindu would not agree with. The Reaction means a Return of the Nation to the Tao-the Natural Law.

        If we could return to 1960 that would be success beyond any expectation.

        Apparently, you are not convinced that the the fact that Natural exists in its own right–though grounded in and aspiring towards Supernatural-means that there is a clean separation between Religious and Secular Affairs in the Christendom, the way it is not in Islamic and Oriental worlds.

        That is why, there has been Priests and Kings and not Priest-Kings.

  7. What have I inherited from my forbears that I love and can pass on? Many things, but in particular: Self-government, and I was once a very good calligraphic artist. I should imagine I will be taking the latter back up.

  8. Pingback: Fish rotting: Head down. | Dark Brightness

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  10. Isn’t discarding one’s television (or access to the associated broadcasts) an essential prerequisite? Progress would not have made such inroads had it been without a machine pumping propaganda for hours every day to nearly every American.

    To watch television nowadays is to indulge ugliness and abomination.

  11. How do we understand this passage from Burke:

    “Nothing is more certain than that our manners, our civilization, and all the good things which are connected with manners, and with civilization, have, in this European world of ours, depended for ages upon two principles; I mean the spirit of a gentleman, and the spirit of religion.”

    We talk a lot of spirit of religion but perhaps the spirit of gentleman also requires a certain consideration?

  12. Good Sir,

    As commenter Bill said to Franklin: “And first we have to realize, in an action-oriented, gut-and-not-just-head way that something really, truly has to be done.” That means that we must begin to act decisively in ways that we have not acted before. It means that we must put ourselves at risk. It does not mean that we simply do more of the same and that we keep it low-key, gradual and mostly to ourselves; which is what we consistently do – keep to ourselves. As long as the traditionalist conservative community lurks and skulks in the shadows, as we do, we will have no effect on the larger society that we seek to resist and alter. We are withering, while the larger society is growing rapidly.

    Your “Now” list consists of half-measures that have been practiced all along to no avail. They fail against a larger and more agressive force that overwhelms them. They are weak and submissive. It’s repetiton of more of the same. Be good, live right, lose the fat, hunker down and double down on prayer. Sounds to me like a strategy for survival in denial; a pretend community cringing with their eyes closed. These aren’t actions, they’re protocals of surrender.

    Your “near term” list is no different. Garden, go to church, be frugal, and buy a gun and learn to fight. Who are they going to fight or shoot? They’re neighbors on the cul-de-sac? The next town over? Men and women who know that self-defense is a natural right still submit to man’s law. Who is in charge?

    notice repeatedly, as a habit – that everything I have recommended so far falls under the heading of practical wisdom. It has always made sense to live this way, no matter what has been happening in the wider world.

    If it has always made sense, then of the people who are reading this set of to-do lists, who are not already on board? Who is not already in general or rough agreement and mostly in alignment with these action points? Is it your reader that needs to alter his behavior in order to get our world back on track? Or is it the larger world that has not the slightest interest in hearing one word of your gentle suggestions?

    The “long term” list is a pipe dream. To “gravitate” will take ions. People need to pick up and move on mass and abruptly while there is still time. They need to be seen as acting abruptly and seen as doing so with a deadly sense of purpose. It needs to be obvious. Secretly and quietly slipping away is what Americans have been doing for the last hundred years. We’re in their midst. They wield the power and authority over us in public. It’s in public that we need to act, not in the shadows as if we are a secret society.

    Your lists sound like the kinds of things that people discuss when they know with certainty that their days are numbered and that they have decided that they will die with dignity.

  13. I highly recommend the 2004 movie The Village. The general population of a small, isolated countryside village believe that their alliance with the mysterious creatures that inhabit the forest around them is coming to an end. The pact between the people of the village and the creatures who reside in the surrounding woods is confronted by reality. The townspeople do not enter the woods, and the creatures do not enter the village. So, what could go wrong? (The sound track is beautiful)

  14. I said nothing about a revolt and nothing about fantastically establishing an independent state. That is what separatist fantasize about. There is nothing fanatical in anything that I said. I understand your reaction though, it is typical, and it’s the only one that I get. Make me out as a zealot and attribute unstated ideas to me. I would like to learn from you where my thinking is wrong. Ego aside, explain what is new on your list and how it will be decisive. How will these typical traditionalist “tactics” reverse the course of a withering traditionalist conservative white minority against a continuously growing and strengthening modern liberal non-white majority?

    • How will speaking the truth be decisive? Well, in a civilization built upon a tissue of lies, I should think that there could hardly be anything more outrageous or efficacious. If we just went out and started shooting liberals (or something like that), they’d (rightly) characterize us as evil nutjobs (like Breivik) and rub us out, uncontroversially. Everyone, including our natural allies, would agree that we were a public menace. But if our comportment is such as to make it clear that we are *not* nutjobs, but instead totally sane and virtuous, indeed far more sane, virtuous, grounded – and so, happy, serene, brave, and prosperous – than the ordinary joe, our words will be very hard to dismiss as ravings of lunatics.

      This is not in the final analysis about resurrecting the West. I view the West as finished. I’m grievously wounded by this turn of events, but I feel I must first admit the gravity of the situation, and face it honestly. At most, what we must now aim for will be to the West what the Carolingian Holy Roman Empire was to the Western Roman Empire. It will resurrect what was best in the West, with of course a deal of loss thereof, but within a new order, that is something different altogether.

      We have to aim here, not for a mere regime change, but for a Kuhnian paradigm shift – a cultural phase change. We have to limn a wholly different way of living, and begin then to live it, and show that it is attractive.

      What is that new order? I don’t know. Stay tuned here. We’re working on it.

      Finally, in saying that I think the West is done with, I should emphasize also that I think that any effort to “reverse course … against a continuously growing and strengthening modern liberal non-white majority” is doomed. We shouldn’t try to go at them directly. Not sumo; they are too big for us to compete with them that way, they’ll just flatten us. Not sumo, not even karate or boxing, but aikido.

      Their system is collapsing already, for lack of funds and proper coordination to reality. We should just … let it. We should focus on surviving so that we are around, in coherent, prosperous communities, to pick up the pieces afterwards. When things do collapse, there will be plenty of fighting to go round, in defending those communities. But if there are no communities to defend, why then the fight will all go their way. They’ll take us down the toilet with them.

  15. I’m not sure it’s so dire. But if it is..why not fight? Look at what you are running from! Any who would run from that aren’t fit to survive. God rebounded on the Franks, survived among the Greeks based on the sword.

    My God does not love cowards.

    • Solzhenitsyn was not a coward. Nor was Havel. Neither were Paul or Polycarp. Yet they risked death as much as any soldier. Christianity didn’t begin to conquer by the sword until the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. It got to that point, not by virtue of the martial courage of such undoubted Christian heroes as Constantine, Martel, and Juan of Austria, but by virtue of the rhetorical courage of preachers, and the spreading observance of the virtuous habits of Christian living. Both sorts of courage are needed. But they are not both equally appropriate as tactics at every time and place. It’s no good to fight a tank with a slingshot. But if you climb up on it and harangue the tankers, and more importantly the onlookers, why you might get somewhere.

      I agree that liberalism is incredibly weak; I have made that point many times. Like any established totalitarian system, however, it is far more vulnerable to rhetorical challenge than to any military insurrection. If we just quietly, consistently speak the truth – especially to our friends and families, those whom we are most fearful of losing – we will create a devastating chink in the armor of the behemoth Moloch. All we have to do is say, over and over again, “but the Emperor is naked,” and people will begin to wake up.

      Meanwhile, those who quietly speak these truths will have to risk, and often bear, ostracism, rejection, and impoverishment. Thus all my talk of working for oneself and joining a community of like-minded people. For those of us who speak the truth, it is going to get lonely, and dangerous. Why? Because to an established totalitarian regime, there is no greater danger than that the people will one day decide they are done with it.

  16. I completely agree with Kristor that we have to start where we are and start speaking the truth where and when we can – and that “It’s no good to fight a tank with a slingshot.” But there is also something to what Buck O says. I see a lot of satisfying rhetoric in the tiny corner that is Tradentosphere but very little truly practical advice.

    How for example should an odd sock like myself who has no networks of the like minded, begin to find others in a similar situation and start to build communities? I do not as yet (though working on it ) belong to a particular religious affiliation – and I’m sure there are other odd socks out there who are equally disconnected –that assortment of lone recovering and almost recovered Liberals who have no tradition to go back to.

    Takuan Seiyo, writing over at Gates of Vienna is very big on us starting communities where we are – even if it is New York Chicago or London: He says :

    “Freedomians who are stuck and cannot move from whatever Snatcher territory they inhabit, ought to at least relocate to the same neighbourhood. If there aren’t enough of them to fill a neighbourhood, let it be a single street. Let it have at least a bookstore where Freedomian books are sold and Freedomians can have coffee together.”

    I have been able to form a small discussion group which is something but how are we to start even a street of the like-minded – there has been very little practical advice on this and I would like to hear some, as my own efforts have thus far not got very far.

    • Astraea, the fact that this is difficult, and that it is unclear how to proceed – as indeed it is for me, too – just means that we are all on terra incognita. If you’ve started a discussion group, that means you are in the van, or even a valiant and canny scout. Kudos!

      The list I blithely generated off the top of my head is remarkable to me mostly because it aggregates and specifies explicitly a number of things I have long felt vaguely that I ought to get around to, but never quite did. Why? Mostly because it had seemed to me for a long time that the crisis of the West might still possibly be averted, so that it made sense to keep working at the old ways, living a modern life. No more. The doom of the West is upon us, or so it now seems to me.

      That being so, it now makes sense for us to begin finding the local Pella, the local Lindisfarne. Where are they? I don’t know. Just go where your gut tells you is safest, truest.

      One thing I do know: in America, small towns away from the coasts have been emptying out for decades. What’s left of them is likely to be pretty old-fashioned, with quite a few old folks who still remember something of the old ways and would be thrilled to see some wholesome young people moving back to town.

      One other word of advice: get to a church every Sunday, starting now. If one of them appeals to you, ask the pastor for a meeting. In that meeting, ask him what distinguishes his denomination from the others, and why he thinks the distinctions matter. If he can’t or won’t answer definitively, go elsewhere. If he can and does, then ask him to teach you how to understand the doctrines you find difficult. If he can’t or won’t answer your questions definitively, go elsewhere. Your first church might not end up being your home church. Doesn’t matter. Just start toward home, right now. Set forth, posthaste. One way or another, get thee to a church. There’s no time to waste.

      • From a Lutheran blog, I offer this in support of your point about church attendance, Kristor.

        —-Christian discipleship should begin with a very simple commitment that any given Lord’s Day will find you in the assembly of God’s people, singing His praise, offering your prayers, receiving His gifts. The *only* reasons for missing is because you’re too sick to be present or because you’re away traveling – and even in the later case, blessed are you if you find the family gathered in that location and join with them.

        “Let us consider how to stir one another up to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25—

        Without such unglamorous disciplines (also including daily prayer and Bible), we are unreal people, investing hours in scenarios that will never come to pass, engaging in inner rehearsals of debates that we will never have, and neglecting people (spouses, children, friends, neighbors, and others) who need us. In other words we fail in our vocations. I honestly think that if we who are Christians keep two things before us, we will be disposed to worthwhile (though often, to us, invisible) effective action: (1) remember that you are baptized and, so, that your identity is not what you do, but what you have been made, being united to the death and resurrection of Christ; (2) remind yourself often of what your vocation is. This is much like Baptism in that much of it is a given, not something you think about taking up. If you are a father or a mother, that is a great part of your vocation; you have a vocation to serve in the places where you work… and so on. What a relief it is that none of us has to figure out such important things; they are given and we need to seek with God’s help to align ourselves accordingly, always knowing that our status with God is a matter of His mercy to us and not how well we are fulfilling our Baptismal identity or how well we are fulfilling the duties of our vocations.

        But yeah, go to church.

  17. Pingback: Where to Move? « The Orthosphere

  18. As always, let me remind you the church of old is still around, it is here. If you are not affiliated with any of the “western” churches (many of which have contributed to the demise of western civilization) look for the church of A. Solzhenitsyn, the Orthodox Church… There is one in your neighbourhood even if you have to drive a couple of hours to get there as many of do…

    Sorry for the “commercial” but we are getting overlooked a lot…

  19. I would like to offer some advice from the Jewish perspective. Judaism has much the same problem as Christianity and other religions. In fact, as many of you know, liberalism is a particularly nasty affliction for Jews. The reaction against liberalism began over 200 years ago with Hasidic Judaism. The Hasidic strategy was basically “Back to Qumran” in that Hasidic Jews withdrew from the world into their own communities. This worked to an extent but the problem is that these groups remained tiny, much like the Amish or Mennonites. They don’t hold much promise of having a significant impact on the future. But recently one Hasidic sect called Chabad decided to reach out and teach traditional Judaism to other Jews. Chabad was really tiny, but its impact in the last few decades has been enormous. It is certainly the biggest traditionalist success story of the last century and is worth studying. The basic idea is that instead of arguing about ideas, Chabad had mitzvah campaigns. A mitzvah is a specific positive action often based on tradition. Each campaign aimed at getting Jews to perform one specific traditionally Jewish action. The idea here is quite Jewish. The liberal and Christian view is that ideas cause action. But the Jewish view is that actions influence ideas. So the concept here is that by getting people to perform traditional actions, one can bring them closer to a traditional mindset.

    My point in bringing this up is to show that a small group of dedicated people can have a large impact if they work together in the right way. Let me give an example of a possible Christian “mitzvah” campaign. One tradition strongly associated with Christianity is saying grace. So a “say grace” campaign would involve encouraging all Christians that you know to say grace before meals. Saying grace is exactly the kind of simple traditional action that Chabad focuses on. When you eat with other people, you can ask them to say grace with you before the meal. In fact I get together with some Christian friends where I live at a restaurant on Thursday mornings and they say grace before the meal in the public restaurant. This is unusual these days, so it draws attention, but I think this is a good thing. As a Jew, I don’t say grace but I bow my head out of respect. I certainly don’t think it is offensive for Christians to say grace even with non-Christians present. With an effective “say grace” campaign, each committed traditionalist Christian could get several of his Christian friends to start saying grace before meals and, based on the Chabad experience, I do believe that this would have a meaningful effect in getting these people to start respecting tradition more. Again, the idea is not to argue with your friends about ideas, but rather just to ask them to say grace as a favor to you and as expression of Christianity. The less discussion and the more action, the better. It is also critical that you do not hesitate to do things like saying grace in public and that you do so without the least embarrassment. This shows other people that such traditions are a regular part of some people’s lives.

  20. Franklin,*The West* (which includes Western Christianity) thinks the action is born of the thought. However, EasternOrthodox Christianity (mentioned above by another commenter, as the Church of Solzhenitsyn), teaches that actions are part of ‘working out your salvation,’ and actions will change the soul. Just a few are (in no particular order):
    +Making the sign of the Cross.
    +The Jesus Prayer
    +Standing in prayer, bowing in prayer
    +Personal Rule of Prayer
    +Giving alms
    +Attending the Divine LIturgy
    That is not to say that these actions, in and of themselves, will lead to salvation. However, with faith in Jesus the Christ and humble submission to HIs love, these practices can make the soul fertile for the changes God makes.

    • Pascal made the same argument. Don’t believe? Don’t know how? Just act as if you do, act as believers are meant to act, and after a while you’ll learn first how to believe, and then that you believe.

  21. Palestinian Jews were not “wiped out” by the suppression of the Bar Kokhba rebellion. After the persecution ended, Jewish life was reestablished. The Mishna (the earlier, Hebrew part of the Talmud) was composed in Palestine after the Bar Kokhba revolt, and the debates on the Mishna in Jewish academies in Palestine through about the year 500 are recorded in the Jerusalem (or Palestinian) Talmud. There continued to be active indigenous Jewish life in Palestine until after the Islamic conquest.

    • OK, then: not wiped out, just decimated. It was a figure of speech.

      Estimates I have read suggest that the Jewish population of Judea at the time was about 2 million. Half a million of them were killed in the suppression of the Bar Kochba revolt. The practice of Judaism was prohibited, Jews evicted from Jerusalem and the city renamed and remade as a pagan Roman metropolis, etc. The Sanhedrin were mostly executed, Rabbi Akiba was flayed alive. Pretty harsh.

  22. @Kristor,

    Yes, decimated is correct, and the practice of Judaism was outlawed by the Romans for a while. But the suppression did end, after which Judaism revived and continued to develop in Palestine (excuse me, the Land of Israel) for several more centuries. It was Islam that ultimately pretty much wiped out indigenous Judaism in Israel – not immediately, but within a few centuries after the conquest (which, ironically, the Jews had originally welcomed – Jews were as bad at gauging their own interests then as they are now).

  23. Pingback: Preparing for the storm | Moose Norseman


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