How to Become an American Traditionalist, Part One

[I plan for this to be a nine-part series, rather than, as has been my custom, one lengthy post.]

Previously I argued that you need to be a traditionalist conservative.  But how does a non-traditionalist become a traditionalist? This essay addresses the question.

Of course, this not a fully rational process. There is no tight recipe for repentance. But we need to talk about it.

In the previous essay I observed that contemporary thinking is fundamentally wrongheaded. As a result, contemporary societies are fundamentally unravelling and contemporary people (aside from those filled with the demonic energy of the liberal jihad) are spiritually and intellectually demoralized. What is the way out of the madness?

We must go back to first principles. The world is a God-given order which some have called the order of being, and you— know it or not—have a place in it. To restore sanity, people must come to know this order and their place in it.

But how do you come to know this order?

Through traditionalism. Traditionalism is more than tradition, for behind it, supporting it and giving it life, is the truth that tradition embodies. American traditionalism is therefore not just the traditional ways of our people, but the basic understanding of, and respect for, the order of being, coupled with a love of the traditions of our American people as unique expressions of this order.

So traditionalism is grounded in the order of being, the mostly-God-given order of the natural, social and divine worlds. This order exists even when man is not aware of it. But if you are unaware that reality has an order, and is not just naked unordered existence, you experience life as meaningless frustration punctuated by occasions of pleasure that do not satisfy. They do not satisfy because man was created to know the order of being and participate in it.  If he does not participate in the true order his basic purpose is frustrated.

[To be sure, the liberals offer man a counterfeit order in the form of liberalism. They offer man meaning in the form of joining the great liberal jihad to spread Tolerance and Nonjugmentalism to all the world. But this does not count, for the religion is false]

Modern man, following the teachings of our leaders, sees himself as radically free from intellectual, moral, and religious authority. And yet if man is to participate in the life-giving order of being, he must give up this freedom and attach himself to an authority, a good authority.

To be an American traditionalist, then, is to know and participate in the order of being as it is uniquely expressed through the people and institutions of America. But how exactly does one become an American traditionalist?


First, know that contemporary America (at least the officially-defined America) is mostly hostile to the true order, and therefore to live well you must oppose the status quo.

And know that America is still your nation, despite her sins, and she is therefore still to be loved. A man cannot divorce his ancestors or his family. Therefore it is your duty to not to come to hate your nation because she has been corrupted, but rather to love her and  do what you can to make her better.

Know, too, that love is not the same as approval. You will not love the poisonous just because it happens to be American poison. You will do what it takes to protect yourself and your family and friends from this poison.

Also know that your opposition to the spirit of the age must primarily be an inward attitude rather than outwardly successful rebellion. The current world system knows how to suppress insurrection, so if you judge success by outward standards, looking for the successful public institutionalization of traditionalist ways you will probably become demoralized. You must begin small, first by reclaiming your mind, and then by living more traditionally, along with a few others near you, if possible. One day, God willing, a better American social order will be reestablished. But this is not possible today.

[Part Two is here.]

45 thoughts on “How to Become an American Traditionalist, Part One

  1. Pingback: How to Become an American Traditionalist, Part One | Reaction Times

  2. Mr. Roebuck, your article reminds me of the words spoken by the great Enoch Powell to the Reaganist Margaret Thatcher. While I do not remember the exact words, I remember that he told her that even if Britain was a communist country, he would still support her. A real man loves his country the way he loves his mother.

    Looking at the state of Russia, I told my father that it probably would have been better if Stalinist Communism had overtaken America, for when communism eventually died, Russia still survived. The same can not be said about the fate of either America or Britain under the rule of globalist capitalism.

    “The current world system knows how to suppress insurrection, so if you judge success by outward standards, looking for the successful public institutionalization of traditionalist ways you will probably become demoralized. You must begin small, first by reclaiming your mind, and then by living more traditionally, along with a few others near you, if possible. One day, God willing, a better American social order will be reestablished. But this is not possible today.”

    What is a 21 year old young man like me to do then? Just watch as I see the entire world and all of the beauty in it crumble away or become distorted and warped? Oh, I agree with reclaiming my mind and I agree with living more traditionally for I do plan to one day marry when I find a nice Catholic girl and have children with her but how far must I allow the Revolution to come into my life? Soon even the blessing of marriage and children and family life will become a luxury if not outright extinguished.

    There needs to be a practical strategy that is inspired by inner-traditionalism. Many older men whom I admire like Thomas Fleming and Paul Gottfried are content and happy with being “beautiful losers” losing every single battle in the Culture War. Obviously, conservatism is not the winning strategy since there is nothing left to conserve anymore. Reactionarism is not feasible since it is impossible to turn back time. What we need is a New Beginning. A national rebirth. Something new based on the eternal and the permanent, the perennial.

    • Yes, we need a new beginning. I cannot say exactly how it is to be brought about, but it will be brought about by men and women who know the truth about the order of being. And you don’t just have to watch the world crumble. You can seek the good and hold on to it.

      • First off, I would like to say that this line: “A real man loves his country the way he loves his mother.”

        Should be ” A real patriot loves his country the way he loves his mother.”

        “Yes, we need a new beginning. I cannot say exactly how it is to be brought about, but it will be brought about by men and women who know the truth about the order of being.”

        That is such a small number of people and these ideas… They are not easily accessible by most people.

        “And you don’t just have to watch the world crumble. You can seek the good and hold on to it.”

        I agree but I believe that we are in the position of frogs being set to boil. The Revolution was smart enough to not spring everything on us at once. At the same time our technology is getting more and more advance and it’s moving away from labor-saving devices to devices and methods that replace the act of being human(mainly in reproductive medicine). We are quickly approaching the intersection of a Brave New World and the Abolition of Man.

      • That is such a small number of people and these ideas… They are not easily accessible by most people.

        That’s why I’m posting this essay. These truths are accessible to all via intuition.

        We are quickly approaching the intersection of a Brave New World and the Abolition of Man.

        Apparently so. And since none of us is able to block it, we must retain our spirits by resisting in whatever small ways we can. The alternative is the sin of despair.

  3. American traditions are mostly regional and mostly traditional in a folk sense. America is essentially liberal and any traditional aspects it’s ever had were despite that liberalism. Squaring that circle has also been the project of a fair number of Americans over the decades and centuries.

    • America may be (on the whole) liberal, but individuals need not be so. And enough non-liberal individuals can begin to generate a non-liberal society.

  4. Is it possible that we who belong to Christ are tempted to love the world too much, to love our prosperity, freedom, and peace too much? We lament, and rightfully so, as American patriots and traditionalist conservatives, the slow but sure devolution of the once great nation that had become the envy of the world. Surely, we have enjoyed a period of peerless prosperity and peace and see both dwindling before our very eyes.

    Yet as Christians, we know that this world is passing away and everything in it will be consumed by fire. 1st John Chapter 2 cautions us: “Do not love the world or the things in the world.”

    Much as I thirst for a return to sanity for our nation, I hesitate to spend my time and energies battling the leftist juggernaut in order to save our country when the souls of men are wasting away and being swooped away by the devil’s lies. As much as our country needs saving, so much more so do the souls of men.

    And sometimes it seems to me there are parallel movements for the immanentization of the eschaton, as Voegelin coined it: one on the left, and one on the religious right. And I think we must ask ourselves: are we more concerned for God’s Kingdom or for this earthly realm?

    I remember the late D. James Kennedy preaching about how we have to get out there and evangelize and convert scores of new Christians who will then go on to “change” the world and make it a better place. And his emphasis was, it seemed to me, making this world a better place. Well sure, the whole creation groans waiting for our adoption as sons — I think to myself. But it seems Kennedy was out to stop the groaning, stop the agony, stop the terror of the reality of living in a fallen world. And we could do that if we just had enough Christians running things.

    But I don’t think that’s the message of the Bible.

    I’ve gone too long, and perhaps without desired effect. I appreciate this forum in which to express my musings.

    • It is right that we should be warned not to love the world too much. But it is also right to love our people and our nation. The “world” of which these New Testament passages speak is the wicked system of the world, not the world in its totality. There is much to love in the world.

      In this essay I’m not speaking about activism. Activism has its place, but sometimes it’s not effective. Especially when, as is true now, the System is set up to block effective activism. I’m speaking about an individual coming to know and love the truth even if it sets him at odds with the spirit of the age and makes him feel like a prisoner in Plato’s Cave.

      • Our eagerness in pointing individuals “to know and love the truth” is a worthy endeavor when we first point them to the author of truth, apart from whom there is no truth, or goodness, or love — true love of others and of country. That’s what I’m trying to say.

      • Debra, I’ve always been bothered by the notion that Christians should be passive since we are in the world but not of it. Several months ago I was speaking to an Egyptian gas station worker and he told me that he was a Copt and a Christian. I started to talk to him about the situation in Egypt with the forced abdication of Mubarak and how it affects the indigenous Coptic Christians and he said to me that “we Christians are not concerned with the goings on of this world, only the next”. Such apathy towards the dire situation of the Copts bothered me to say the least. Here is a race of men who created one of the most advanced civilizations on this earth, who had a long and deep heritage in both Christianity and Egyptian paganism going back for millennia, who’s men are being killed off and women raped by barbaric Islamic animals and he is not concerned? If I didn’t know better, I would have thought that Nietszche had just been vindicated by this man’s apathy.

        God put us on this world for a reason. I personally don’t know why, but it’s our job to find out. When Tolkien was writing about the Elves and Men on Arda he described the Elves as far more intelligent and far more beautiful than the Men. However, the Men were far more productive and driven because unlike the Elves, who were immortal, Men were mortal and limited in their time on Arda. We’re Men not Elves and we do not have time on our side. I know that we will never bring about Heaven on Earth, I agree with you on that. But why would God put us here if He just wanted us to be docile and unproductive? Life is full of struggle and strife and pain but that is way our souls are formed towards the Good. Struggle and strife are the fire in which Man’s excellence is forged. The old pagans, while they did not know Christ, longed for Him and the eternal and they knew that Death was not a curse but indeed a blessing:

        “when you go into battle seeking life, you shall surely die. When you go into battle seeking death, you shall surely live” – Samurai proverb

        “those who love life above Me shall earn Death and those who love Me above life shall earn Life.” – Jesus Christ

        What we do in life echos for eternity. In this world and the next.

  5. Dear Alan:

    I am mainly in agreement with you, but there is a question that I would like to put to you that I have put to myself and answered to my satisfaction.

    In lieu of a restored and healthy — that is to say, a traditional — American society (maybe some version, morally speaking, of 1890), would you be content with a new society, traditional in its constitution both politically and culturally, that made no attempt to resuscitate the United States but sought its own national identity?



    • Hi Tom,

      I’ve not thought in those terms, so I don’t have a ready answer to your query. In response, I’ve been trying to think it through but I’ve not been succeeding. I’d like to hear your thoughts about it.

      • Dear Alan:

        You are a Calvinist, whose principles I admire. Would you be willing to live under a Catholic, clerical-authoritarian regime, like Admiral Horthy’s regency in Hungary, Kurt Schuschnigg’s all-but-dictatorship, inter-war Austria, or Francisco Franco’s Nationalist Government in Spain (like Horthy, Franco saw himself as a regent with a king in absentia). Suppose, when the death of the USA at last becomes belatedly known, and the mortifying continental state commemorates its own passing by convulsively reconstituting itself in numerous new polities, that a Kingdom of Deseret establishes itself around the Great Salt Lake. Would you be willing to emigrate there and adapt to the circumstance? Suppose that a black Baptist state arose in Alabama that endorsed an agreeable cultural agenda. Would you be willing to emigrate there and adapt to the circumstance?

        New polities will arise out of the current, ever-deepening, post-death-of-the-USA disaster. Some of them will enshrine a plausible bitterness against the USA, whose result, the current quasi-soviet state, they will repudiate in order to embody sane principles.

        Perhaps what I am asking can be boiled down to this: Would you be willing to renounce your American patriotism for a sane society?

        I have long since renounced my American patriotism to work for a sane society, as far as I can, often subversively, but persistently. From a single mustard seed… Is that not a vivid metaphor for us native Southern Californians?



      • Would I be willing to renounce my American patriotism for a sane society?

        If America no longer existed, I would have no choice, I suppose. And any restored and sane society consisting of white people residing within the former borders of the American nation would have to be descended from America, and so American in at least a manner of speaking. Unless it were an Islamic nation composed of Moslems descended from American stock.

        And if there still remained a rump American nation, the direct successor of today’s regime, still dedicated formally to suicidal and godless liberalism, then I would have to transfer my allegiance to the same society.

        So the general answer to the question would be have to be yes. But it’s not prospect I relish.

  6. To Svar at 6:21pm, after whose comment I see no “reply” (button?)

    What is Mr. Coptic Christian supposed to do, exactly? March in Washington outside the Egyptian Embassy? What power does he have to “fix” things? His most powerful resource, I would argue, is to be on his knees in prayer for his brothers in Egypt, pleading for God’s mercy on them; and meanwhile, he should attend to his own spiritual well-being and growth in grace, and of those over whom God has placed him: his family. Pray for our leaders, that God would grant them wisdom, and so on; that God would lead our nation to repentance, have mercy on us, and not hold our sin against us.

    The reason God has put us here is to know, love, and serve Him, and to make disciples of all nations. I don’t read anywhere in my Bible where we are commanded to right the wrongs of the world’s agonies. These last times, of which Matthew wrote and in which we have been living since the ascension of Jesus Christ, are replete with “wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.” Matthew 24:6

    However, I’m not aware of the “old pagans” longing to know God. Man’s entire being — his unregenerate being — is hostile to God. The Book of Romans is an excellent resource in gaining insight into the natural enmity of man against our God. And Jeremiah: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.

    Thank you for the opportunity your reply afforded me to discuss these important matters with you.

    • “I don’t read anywhere in my Bible where we are commanded to right the wrongs of the world’s agonies. ”

      I wasn’t saying that we are to create a utopia or try to redeem Creation. I do not know if you are Catholic or not but we Catholics do not believe in Sola Scriptura.

      “What is Mr. Coptic Christian supposed to do, exactly? March in Washington outside the Egyptian Embassy?”

      First step would to be to care about the fate of his land. I’m not Egyptian but even I care. In better times, he wouldn’t have to worry because all of Christendom would have come to his aid like during the Crusades. We lost North Africa, the home of St. Augustine, Byzantium, the Levant, and Egypt long ago and now there are only small pockets of Christendom within hostile territory. The Assyrian Christians have all left Mosul and the Chaldeans are evacuating Iraq. These are ancient Christian communities.

      First thing all Christians need to do (other than praying) is to acquire willpower to not bend, to not surrender to the forces that seek to destroy. It is a question of Honor. Doesn’t God care about Honor?

      “However, I’m not aware of the “old pagans” longing to know God.”

      The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as “a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church 843

      What is Thor but the personification of the deep longing for Christ?

      Also, look at Tolkien’s Marring of Men:

      At Home in this World, or Exiled?:

      “For Tolkien (and Lewis), the sense of exile is a ‘desire’ which implies the possibility of its gratification; in other words, it reflects the fact that Men have indeed been ‘exiled’ from somewhere other than this world.”

      Tolkien was a Roman Catholic and his LotR books are all Christian allegories but his books try to portray the way the pre-Christians saw the world. I would say he is accurate. The pre-Christian pagans had a mystical way of viewing of the world, a way that was far more fulfilling than the way moderns view the world: rational, empirical, material, sterile. This fact alone shows that the need for transcendence is innate within Man, due to his sense of exile in this world. Remember the words of St. Paul: “Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it.” (NLT)

      That line is the basis of our Natural Law doctrine which states that the Law of God is written upon the hearts of all men. Debra, I do see what you mean when you say that Men are hostile to God by nature. I would say it is more complex than that. Imagine the relationship between a petulant child and his father. Is the child throwing a tantrum and misbehaving? Yes. But does the child long for his father? Yes. In the same way, we are like children at once both disobedient and yearning towards God.

      “Thank you for the opportunity your reply afforded me to discuss these important matters with you.”

      Of course, and I thank you as well.

      • I will make this short, as I have a full plate for the next several days, beginning tonight with guests coming to the house.

        Yes, I see from your studied reply that we come from different faith traditions. No, I am not Catholic but from a conservative, Bible-believing, confessional Lutheran Church. So that is where our differences lie, for the most part.

        I am intractable in my theological position, having been a serious student of God’s Word for over 45 years; yes, I am old enough to be your grandmother, if indeed you are 21 years old.

        So rather than haggle over doctrine since there can be no meeting of the minds on this issue (I do not accept that Catholics and Lutherans should “dialogue”), I would instead refer you to the many bright lights of your church who write here at Orthosphere.

        God bless you, now and always.

      • Debra,

        In case you didn’t know, I’m the Orthosphere’s non-Catholic writer. (Kristor was non-Catholic when we began, but he’s joined or is joining Rome.) I’m Reformed. And we do have several Protestant regular commenters, such as Wm. Lewis.

  7. Debra,

    I agree with your comments. I am a traditional Catholic and believe that God calls us to work out our salvation in this world by prayer and penance, by giving our lives to God and by loving our neighbour. There is very little a Coptic Christian can do except do just that: devotion to God and prayer.

    Too much has been made of changing the world – it is the essence of Liberalism and Modernism. A Christian finds the need for charity in everyday life. One comes across those needs in the cut and thrust of life, but by far the greatest works of charity are prayer and penance. The more we engage with the world the more we become infected by all the little traps laid by the devil. I do not buy into the call for Christian social and political change: it is Christianity thoroughly infected with 18th Century Liberalism.

    To answer the main question: re Traditional American? Only by being close to the things of God, close to others who believe the same, close to the culture of those who still believe. And being very wary of the so-called modern culture: its music, its arts, its constitutions – everything – it all has been based on a rejection of God: it is unhappy, rebellious, underminingly pagan. There is no time within the past 200-300 years for us to return. The way ahead does not offer much promise, except to return to traditional Christian devotional life and seek the support within like-minded parish communities.

    To Svar:
    I sympathise with your predicament, but if you are called to marriage, and have children born into an even worse world than it is now (and it will become worse), then one’s sufferings are offered to the Lord, just as the Coptic Christian, I am sure, offers his (as his ancestors have done since the days of St Mark). It is our sufferings which help gain souls for God. The Lord did not promise us victory in this world: He died (in worldly unproductiveness!) and called us to take up our Cross as well. That is what the Coptic is doing!

    Christians who pray are not living passive lives. They work as one must and pray as one must. In Tolkein’s pagan world we have one image of what a real redeemed Man is: Tom Bombadil in his little paradise in Middle Earth. He tended his own garden well. He is in the world and not of it. And so should be we.

    To Alan:
    Well done. We must reclaim our minds. That is the struggle. And it is not uniquely American. I am writing as a Kiwi living in Australia with similar issues as in America and Europe. What we are facing is a global challenge. We should be looking to traditions which were foundational of Western civilisation; traditions which were wrought by Christianity in opposition to our pagan ancestry.

    • To MikePh:

      Your comments to me lifted my spirits considerably because in them I see that I am not alone in voicing that the things of the spirit are of higher value than the things of this world.

      The Apostle Paul — in jail for much of his ministry and on account of his preaching — not once exhorted in his many letters that believers should toil to create a certain kind of society; and this at a time when the nutty Nero ruled Rome.

      We will be persecuted and hounded, hated, as was Jesus whom we serve; we are to take up our cross and follow him, denying ourselves. Moreover, in all this, we do well to remember that even this civilizational calamity we face is part of God’s plan. And it’s so like Satan to tempt us to take our eyes off of Jesus and focus on our crumbling culture, obsess about it, and forget these words of Jim Eliot: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Or the words of the Lutheran August Pieper (there was a Catholic August Pieper, too), and I paraphrase: “The greatest failing of the world is its insatiable interest in everything that is not Jesus Christ.”

      Since other commenters have felt free to post videos and such, I am going to link to a sermon, preached just this past Sunday, a message that more than a little relates to the topic at hand:

      Click to access sermon%20msw%2009%2021%2014.pdf

      G’day to you, our Kiwi Aussie friend.

      • Thanks for the link. A good sermon. We will put you on our ever-growing prayer list. Please pray for my wife and me.

  8. While I recognize and appreciate the sentiment here, I cannot agree. The godless, depraved, death worshipping empire known as “America” has declared total war with a scorched earth policy on the Good, True, and Beautiful. It has taken away just about everything that makes life worth living and left my generation (Millenial) with nothing. So no, I can’t become an “American” traditionalist, which appears a contradiction in terms. The sooner the asinine and hideous idea known as “America” (see D’Souza’s new movie and book to get the picture) dies, the better for all people.

    That said, I’m sure some regional expressions of “America” can be salvaged, if they can discover a new identity of their own.

    If they were to look upon the nightmare trajectory of history, I have a sneaking suspicion that the ancestors whom I honor would agree with me.

    • If you’re a foreigner, then you don’t get to badmouth our people. And if you’re an American, then you sin when you express nothing but hatred for the land where your fathers died. America is guilty of many grave sins, but she is still ours. There is still much good in America. Open your eyes and look for the good. And hold fast to the good you find.

  9. Pingback: How to Become an American Traditionalist, Part Two: The Wisdom of the Ages | The Orthosphere

  10. I’m no foreigner, and I did nothing to “badmouth our people”, whoever “our people” even are anymore. (American today seems to mean someone who says “I am American” and supports above all else consumerism and “freedom”; meaning feminism and gay rights; they don’t even have to be a citizen).

    And perhaps its your Protestant pretensions to messianic nationhood, but I commit no sin in declaring that “America” as it stands to day can be nothing but an abomination in the eyes of God.

    As for there being “much good” in America today, even among the best folks out there I see little but dazed and confused, shallow, unreflective, and prideful people who would rather put some pseudo-patriotic notion of “the greatest country in the world” above the God and His Son whom they claim to have given their allegiance.

    • Mr. Culhane fails–or refuses–to notice anything good about America. Don’t commit the same error.

      His declaration about how God views America is sheer speculation. God has not informed us of His views of America.

  11. By their fruits….What are the fruits of “America”? And if you want to take the track of “God hasn’t informed us” then we could make the same claims as liberals and say “God hasn’t informed us of his views on gay marriage, transgenderism, etc”

    Either way, I see much good about individuals who live in America, but they are not good because they are abstracted, deracinated consumers. They are decent Alabamians, Idahoans, Ohioans, etc. Even my rootless, nearly cultureless state of Colorado has a few decent home grown folks. But its not because they are Americans.

    Its like what Joseph de Maistre said about “Humanity”, how he’s met Germans, and Frenchmen, and Russians but never a “Mankind.”

    All in all, its the idea of “America”, as well as the American Empire, that needs to be done away with. America post 1960, or hell, 1860 would be mostly foreign to our dead forefathers. They would be adrift in a land they could no longer call home.

    • And if you want to take the track of “God hasn’t informed us” then we could make the same claims as liberals and say “God hasn’t informed us of his views on gay marriage, transgenderism, etc”

      You need to think more clearly. Scripture does refer to marriage and “cross-dressing;” it does not refer to the United States of America.

      “They would be adrift in a land they could no longer call home.”

      That’s right.

  12. @ Ransom Culhane

    Look at the German Conservative Revolutionaries. They hated the Weimar Republic and wanted nothing but to destroy such an abomination but they deeply loved Germannia. In the same way, the American Empire (The NYC-LA-DC Axis) must be destroyed so that America and her sons and daughters can survive.

    Also, I would never watch or read a bunch of stupid drivel from that adulterous huckster, Dinesh D’souza. To hell with him.

  13. Pingback: How to Become an American—or Non-American—Traditionalist, Part Three: Wisdom Through Intuition | The Orthosphere

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  15. Just remember that merely wandering onto American soil does not make one an American. Americans are born not declared!

    Yes, there are certain immigrants that are American “brothers by a different mother” who share the in-dwelling yearning to be American. But they are relatively few even as most of our English cousins did not heed the call in the 17th and 18th Centuries.

    Sadly, the language is turned into a weapon against us – word weapons. “American” was once a practical synonym for “U.S. Citizen” but no longer. Be not fooled by false claims of fraternity! This is the essential lesson of Little Red Riding Hood, is it not?

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  20. One of the reasons why true conservatism, traditionalism, etc. are so roundly rejected on a massive scale in the Western World is that they’re so often lumped in with religion. This scares a lot of people — and this isn’t only projection on my part — as the separation of church and state (the first thing that the forefathers included in the very First Amendment) protects both entities.

    If Christianity, the loudest of America’s sects, weren’t so often included as a given element of traditionalism, the latter wouldn’t be so abhorrent to those who value their freedom from religious rule. The countries that we claim to hate are theocracies; we clearly don’t need to turn America into one, no matter whose “god” we pick in this ostensibly free country. For instance, if Rumsfeld hadn’t visibly intended on driving a clown-car full of religious figures into D.C. with him, he would have been elected.

    • Chris,

      OK. You don’t like Christianity. But even leaving aside the question of its truth, Christianity was the spiritual center of Western Civilization for more than a millennium. The West was “theocracy” during its greatest years, and its decline has been perfectly correlated with its rejection of “theocracy.”

      • The enlightenment infected the church in the 17th Century. Historical criticism became the “rational” approach to Biblical scholarship, and infallibility and inerrancy were swept out the window. Out the window went also the miracles of Jesus, his virgin birth, resurrection, Noah and the flood, Adam and Eve, God’s creation of the world in seven days, and anything else that offended man’s reason. Forgiveness, repentance, heaven, and hell no longer had eternal implications, but only this-worldly application.

        Now insert any myth you like into the Biblical narrative to craft your “faith” according to your chosen lifestyle.

        So with the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit discarded (see Ephesians 6:10-20) the church tossed out her only weapons against the cunning of the devil, our sinful natures, and the wiles of the world.

        This comment is not original to me, but is described forcefully in Francis Schaeffer’s “The Great Evangelical Disaster.”
        So I would argue that the rejection of “theocracy” had little if anything to do with the accelerating decline of the West. Rather, it was the failure of the church to ward off rationalism: as the Bible goes, so goes the nation.

    • As is the case with all too many people, Chris misunderstands the First Amendment. The First Amendment does not separate church and state; rather, it forbids the Federal government from interfering in religion, and from establishing an official religion (“Congress shall make no law…”). However, it places no such constraints on religious influence on government.

      The phrase separation of church and state is from a personal letter Jefferson wrote; it has no force of law behind it.

      In the early years of the Republic, many of the states had official religions, and membership in the prescribed sect was a prerequisite for serving in public office. So official religion is licit, but only for the states and not the Federal government.

      As John Adams wrote (also in a personal letter), “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” While this also lacks the force of law, it has a greater force behind it: truth. Lacking morality and religiousity, our former Republic is now little more than a socialist oligarchy. Next stop? Tyranny, the inevitable follower of democracy.

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