Much of what follows is a literal transcription of a recent conversation with my four year old granddaughter.
Poppy walked out with his granddaughter and her little brother to play. There was a series of lawns, connected by grassy paths. On one lawn, his granddaughter spotted a tiny, perfectly camouflaged toad hiding in the sand. It was almost impossible to distinguish the toad from the surrounding sand.
She wanted to mess with the toad, but Poppy told her that was a bad idea, because to the tiny toad she seemed like a monster a hundred times bigger than the great fir tree just yonder seemed to us. The poor little toad was so scared of us, that if she just touched him with a blade of grass, he might be scared to death.
She left the toad in peace, even though that was very hard for her to do. Her little brother left him in peace, too.
Then, she found another tiny toad, hiding in just the same way as the first. She looked at it, but left it alone, even though she really wanted to pick it up and pet it. Her little brother left that toad alone, too.
Then, she found a dead toad out on the grass. It was not hiding in the sand. It was quite dried up. She and her brother squatted to look at it. So did Poppy. They poked it with a twig, because Poppy said that the toad could not feel bad about anything anymore.
Holiness spirals are not first a search for status, although once they have got going, they do result in an arms race to see who is holiest among the Pharisees, thus of the highest moral and political rank, and thus least suitable as a scapegoat.
They are, first, a search for the proper constraints of true holiness upon conduct. Men are Fallen, and live in a Fallen, corrupt world; and they know it. They want to get holy; they want desperately to get ritually pure. Until they can honestly feel that they have done so, they will feel terrific anxiety, and thrash about in their predicaments like a bear in a trap.
When there is no established sacerdotal hierarchy that can authoritatively define the unquestionable constraints of holiness, and then offer men a way to get back within those constraints when they have strayed beyond their pale – that can give them a way to know that they have reached safe harbor – then men are going to push and push toward holiness however they can discern it according to their own best lights, without let or correction, and without possibility of any satisfactory completion of the search (because a forecondition of success for any search is a clear definition of success – such as can be authoritatively furnished to the searcher only by an incontrovertible authority). Anyone who disagrees with the notions of those who find that as a result of their personal quest for holiness they themselves are of the holiest sort then becomes a legitimate scapegoat in their eyes, and so a social enemy. There is then mutual repudiation and scapegoating of adversarial sectarians; mutual excommunication; schism; and, with the ensuing conflict of irreconcilable cults, civil war either hot or cold.
Reactionaries worry that a patchwork of sovereign corporations that grant their subjects the right of ad libitum exit to the domains of other such corporations would eliminate the borders that bound nations and constrain immigrations of men devoted to other, foreign, and probably lesser cults – or, why would they have been interested in immigration to begin with? – and thus lead to the demolition of righteous, apt, prudent, ergo successful and prosperous nations or peoples.
It is a reasonable worry. It is the sort of thing that we ought to worry about. But we may dismiss it.
The estimable Laura Wood, an orthospherean shield mate of long standing in the culture wars, and an old friend, responded to my recent post on The New Castellation of the Eurosphere (which adduced the recent proliferation of bollards as its material) with an intelligent and forceful critique of my attribution of that castellation and all its dire cultural sequelae to the threat of Muslim terrorism. This post is a response to her comments.
All the big new buildings of Christendom have them. I was just down at the new – almost complete – Salesforce Tower in downtown San Francisco, and the bollards are everywhere. Ditto for the new immediately adjacent TransBay Terminal, still a year or two away from completion. They’ve got bollards by the thousand there – it’s a huge building – ready to be installed.
The newly ubiquitous bollards are the beginning of the closure of the formerly open West.
When we forget, and begin to think that this world is all that there is, it is easy to wax now and then discouraged – which is, to wane in spirit, in vim and vigor, and so to disappoint our mundane debts, that could have been satisfied by steadfast courageous virtue, of the worldly, merely manly sort, had we but kept our guts. Forgetting that there is more than the current petty defeats we all daily suffer at the hands of our deluded purblind incompetent adversaries, so numerous and so dull and so stupid to life as it plainly is and to things as they obviously are, it is all too easy to say, “forget it, never mind, sorry, going away now.”
And, “to Hell with you.” And, then … to go away. To leave the fight. To simply down arms and walk away.
Fortunately, thanks be to God, there is Christmas.
Commenter Roger G sends along a greeting to the whole orthosphere:
Christmas almost being upon us, again I am reminded of a science fiction short story that I read long ago, and still find particularly moving. In a recent email exchange with Tom I sent him the summary below, and asked if he recalled the author and title. He did not, but maybe someone else out there will.
The protagonist is captain of an enormous alien ship. His race learned of their world’s coming destruction in time to build the vessel, and escaped to search the galaxy for a new home. Initially they had seen the journey as a great adventure, but having long failed to find a suitable planet for themselves, they have become despondent.
They discover what turns out to be Earth, and view it at first with great hope. The ship is placed in a geosynchronous parking orbit, and the captain leads a patrol down to conduct sustainability tests. To their despair, they determine conditions on Earth to be unsuitable.
They come upon a scene that turns out to be the Nativity. Mary, being who she is, knows who they are without requiring explanation, and comprehends their plight. She tells them that God has in fact sent them as a sign of man’s deliverance, and that just as He is giving humanity a Savior, so likewise will He provide for them.
As to the sign, their orbiting ship is the Star of Bethlehem.
The theme of this second Symposium of 2017: Reactionary Praxis: How to Turn Critique and Theory into Practical Use.
Many thanks to our colleagues at Sydney Trads, who have worked so hard to bring this project to fruition. Their introduction to the Symposium is a magisterial treatment of the reactionary’s predicament; highly recommended.
The Rectification of Names is obviously important, if our talk is to be pertinent to reality, ergo effectual. But prior to the rectification of terms is the rectification of the grammar we use to treat of them. If we can’t agree on the right *way* to talk, we shall certainly find it impossible to agree on the right things to talk *about.*
Too often on sites putatively dedicated to the restoration of the West, or of Tradition, or to Reaction (toward tradition) have I seen writers err grammatically, at the most basic level; even that of the agreement as to number of subject and verb. It makes them look like fools.
Wholes are real, or else they are not worth talking about at all, as not existing in the first place. On materialism, there are no wholes: no persons, no molecules, not even any Rutherfordian atoms or protons.
So then, on materialism, most human discourse is – as pertaining to entities that do not truly exist, being therefore inapposite to things as they really are – simply not worth doing; is, rather, inapt, and so likely injurious.
But if materialism is false – as, being a notion of entities that under its own account do not actually exist, it must necessarily be – then wholes are real. Some of them, anyway. The trick is to discern which apparent wholes are entities in their own right, and which are only our own heuristics.