Christendom: yesterday, today, and tomorrow

I have a new piece up at Crisis Magazine about the futility of generic conservatism and the need for Christendom as a goal, and one at Catholic World Report that says that Christendom is always with us, since there is always some scheme of connections, loyalties, and authorities that is in fact authoritative.

21 thoughts on “Christendom: yesterday, today, and tomorrow

  1. From the article in Crisis:

    “Not only have conservatives lost all the battles but it seems they’ve lost the war.”


    “The best hope for the future therefore appears to lie with a renewed if no doubt incomplete Christendom.”

    From Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 12:

    “…so shall the World goe on,
    To good malignant, to bad men benigne,
    Under her own waight groaning till the day
    Appeer of respiration to the just,
    And vengeance to the wicked, at return
    Of him so lately promiss’d to thy aid…”

  2. I really like the first article, I just wish if Mr. Kalb would admit that there are options for this sort of thing outside Christianity as well, a broader coalition could be built.

    Basically all we need to do is to realize that the source of our suffering is our too big egos, too much self-importance, and too much attachment to our desires. Our basic problem is that we take the “I”, the “I am”, and the “I want” way too seriously. Basically a form of narcissism.

    Liberalism fuels it in all sors of ways and the more liberal a person is the more narcissistic he or she is e.g. :

    If only you can make people understand this, even atheits will be functionally very similar to traditional Christians. (Hint: Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search For Meaning.)

    The advantage here is that you don’t have to convince people that God really exists in order to ge them to change their lives. All you need to do is to convince people that parts of the human software, the ones regarding self-importance, narcissism, pride, vanity, ego, desire, is basically buggy. You can talk about Original Sin to Christians, but you may as well translate Original Sin and the way it generates vanity (Augustine) into a bug in the human software for non-believers, and you get something functionally similar.

    It can even be put in Darwinist terms, that is fashionable, popular and at least partially true: our emotions evolved for a dangerous enviroment, where the typical desire was something along the lines be still alive when the next spring comes. The dangerousness of the environment forced us to not focus on ourselves focus on what is happening around us and what we are going to do about it: “Grug really should stop oppressi.. wait, was that the sound of a tiger coming?!” But in a safe and comfortable world, the environment does not force this and thus we become self-absorbed, thinking about our “oppression”, our rights, our desires, other people’s opinions, “marginalization,” etc. etc.

    • The difficulty of making that argument sans God is that what incentive is there for the individual atheist to sacrifice for the cause? It all sounds great if most pepole would follow, but if there is no ultimate meaning, then what, exactly, is wrong with me trying to get mine at whatever cost? Why should I risk my nose as long as Grug is willing to take out the tiger because of his God delusion (or any other delusion for that matter)? As long as there are sufficient people willing to take it for the team for whatever reason, as an atheist, my best and highest return is in letting them do it while avoiding any heavy lifting of my own. And even if there are not sufficient people, my next best and highest is to be last one the tiger meets – maybe he’ll be full by then. Far from being buggy, selfishness makes perfect sense from an atheist pov. In fact, it is the only logical pov.

      • “It all sounds great if most pepole would follow, but if there is no ultimate meaning, then what, exactly, is wrong with me trying to get mine at whatever cost?”

        Only sociopaths try to get theirs at whatever cost. Healthy human beings just are not “wired” to do so.

      • The incentive is simply that it is not possible to achieve lasting happiness with a big ego. Also, that even amongst atheists a life lived simply for the pursuit of desires can easily become empty and meaningless, and then a more heroic existence can be appealing.

      • “Evidence?”


        Its your own damned theory! Whatever we come to believe, for whatever reason, causes us to evolve, whether it be moral or morphological (if there is a difference between the two, a difference which evolution muddles.) In fact, that is the great “progress” of progressivism. That is the dream of John Lenon’s “Imagine.”

  3. When their political and social heritage is fundamentally liberal that’s a problem. God, America, and freedom get all mixed up together, and the easy way to deal with difficulties is to gloss them over and focus on symbols and rhetoric.

    This is an excellent point but whenever this point is brought up in contemporary debates even here on the Orthosphere it usually engenders a knee jerk negative reaction in most conservatives.

    Free market conservatives seem to be an exception to the rule of failure.

    Actually if there is any single group that ought to be confined to the ash heap of history it is Right-Liberals/libertarians. Every libertarian effort at even curtailing the welfare state has failed. Libertarians have never cut a single government bureaucracy.

    Reactionaries and Marxists on the other hand can at least claim real substantive victories against liberalism and for better or worse are only remaining viable alternatives left. Time to dump Right-Liberalism.

    • Name one reactionary victory.

      Marxists are a liberal product-endpoint of a liberal current. They are in no way an alternative.

      • Name one reactionary victory.

        Metternich’s system.

        Marxists are a liberal product-endpoint of a liberal current. They are in no way an alternative.

        In some ways yes in other ways no.

    • Yeah, if you are not fond of conspiracy theories, libertarianism is hard to explain. It is, as you say, a failure. It is, in itself, liberalism purified until it gleams: cold, hard, and dead. Essentially nobody is in favor of it, and most people recoil in horror at it.

      Meetings of libertarians are even more empty than the commies’ meetings were in the US. They are actually surreal. There are a precious few more or less normal people, all employees of one libertarian or pro-gun group or another. The rest is a sparse freak show with an odd doctor or dentist who wants his taxes lowered. Then there are the gold con-men, looking for marks, slobbering over the doctors.

      Then, there are the publications. Reason magazine has a circulation of about zero, despite the fact that they were sending me issues fifteen years after my subscription had lapsed. Libertarianism is the most AstroTurfy AstroTurf that ever AstroTurfed.

      Yet, somehow, it remains constantly in the public eye, thrust there by some undisclosed process. It is the go-to place for policy for the wonks of one of the major political parties. It is the approved opposition party inside media, Hollywood, and the academy. If you notice that there is something amiss here in Masonstan, the libertarians are there to safely channel your frustrations.

      • Yes, libertarianism meetups are sullied by some wild haired stinky pitted off the grid unlicensed driving silver note clutching tubby mouth breathers. It is true. But not all of them. Lots of very normal young people are ok with libertarianism. It really is a nice idea. It just might work if everyone was a nice Christian. Ron Paul is like my grandpa. I love him.

  4. On the necessity of Christendom: this is one reason why I think Christians can’t simply ignore our civilization as it decays. We have responsibilities we can’t ignore and anyhow the Christian life can’t be fully lived in corporate retirement. There are aspects of the Christian life that are not now available to us because of the state we’re in as a society and giving up on society means giving up on those aspects.

  5. “There are aspects of the Christian life that are not now available to us because of the state we’re in as a society and giving up on society means giving up on those aspects.”

    What are those aspects?


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