Bend the Knee to an Unjust King

A guest post from our dedicated commenter Scoot and his colleague and interlocutor Hambone:

The virtue everyone loves to hate is obedience. Obedience is easy when it is easy, but there’s a common misconception that having a bad authority exempts us from the duty of obedience. As the late great Zippy Catholic used to say, it is a fallacy of modernity to confuse the question of which authority is just with the question of whether authority in general is just. There’s a fundamental truth hiding behind this misconception that we as fallen humans are often afraid of: That all authority comes from God. Not just good authority – all authority.

If democracy has every man as a king, then the collapse of spiritual authority that snowballed out of the Reformation has every man a Pope. This endlessly fractures the Body of Christ and allows wounds and heresies to fester and spread. “Bad” Popes, Bishops and Priests have been accounted for since the beginning, like their predecessors in the Temple of Jerusalem who did not live up to their offices. How many more such rotten priests might we expect, when every man is a priest untrammelled? The same goes then for political authority: the usurpation of the royal office by the demos is just as unjust as the usurpation of the demotic or familiar offices by the tyrant.

There are three reasons we ought to humble ourselves and bend the knee to unjust men.

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Romantic Christianity versus Christianity Proper

To my recent post about Finding the True Way to Life, Bruce Charlton commented:

@Kristor – I find your post and comments both surprising and confusing! Your post concedes pretty much all the ground to Romantic Christianity; so that you seem to be advocating the same attitude to churches.

Your comment of July 25, 2022 at 4:49 AM suggests that any particular actual or manifest church (including the RCC) is ultimately ‘merely’ (secondarily) helpful or harmful – but never should be regarded as primary or decisive – precisely the Romantic Christian attitude.

And that the individual person’s intuitive knowledge of the mystical/spiritual/immaterial ‘church’ is all that *really* matters at the bottom line (albeit, I cannot distinguish this concept of ‘church’ from knowledge of deity – of God the Father/Jesus Christ/the Holy Ghost).

Most remarkably, you apparently regard the actual, worldly functioning of the Roman Catholic Church to be a matter of ultimate indifference to you! I.e., whether or not the RCC locks its churches; if it ceases to offer the mass, marriage, funerals; and if most of its bishops and priests focus their teachings on defending and endorsing … whatever policies the global totalitarian Establishment are currently pushing – you say:

I am not too troubled by all of this outward and merely formal ecclesial subjection to the tyrannical civil authority.

I suppose the crux is that you regard this as ‘merely’ formal submission. Yet when formal *and informal* RCC discourse overwhelmingly endorses – and indeed instructs – not just submission, but enthusiastic and active participation, over many years and increasingly … Well, I believe you are in error.

Altogether, I don’t [see] you are putting forward a coherent argument here – which may simply mean that you are in a transitional phase.

Indeed I hope so; because I find your casual, dismissive attitude to the RCC enthusiastic-self-shut-down of 2020 (etc.) to be abhorrent!

Like Archbishop Viganò; I regard 2020 as probably the worst disaster in the history of Christianity, an existential catastrophe, the significance of which can hardly be exaggerated.

These are all important points, and it is important that I respond to them cogently, and forthrightly. The first thing that I would say in response is that this latest travesty of the craven responses of the various church hierarchs to the mandates of the civil authorities in respect to the supposed crisis of covid is not our first rodeo of that sort. Things were much, much worse with the Church during the Black Death, a real pandemic:

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On Our Recent Discussions of Christianity

The Orthosphere and Bruce Charlton’s Circle have lately been discussing the nature and current state of Christianity. This is an urgent matter so I’m compelled to respond.

I) Charlton:

In sum: I ask traditionalists for something very specific: an explicit acknowledgement that – here-and-now – the effective and resistant faith of even the most traditionalist and church-orientated of real-Christians has a personal and intuitive foundation.  [emphasis in original.]

Given the correct understanding of the meaning of intuition, this is true. But I sense that Bruce is using a somewhat incorrect definition.

Since reality exists and is what it is independent of us, knowledge ultimately refers to something out there, unless it is knowledge of one of our inner states. Religious knowledge is no exception.

Intuition is man’s faculty of knowing something to be true without engaging in a process of reasoning. “You just know it.” But since man is not omniscient, he must have confirmation that comes from outside his mind, something that is really out there.

It does no good to complain that by verifying it you make it no longer intuition. Because reality exists external to man, his intuitions are sometimes wrong. And since he can be wrong, man needs confirmation even of his intuitions.

The act that is purely subjective (purely personal, if you will) is not knowing, but rather apprehending this knowledge. Taking it inside of us, affirming it, relying on it, living by it.

Intuition is needed for the simple reason that all reasoning is ultimately based on premises that are not subject to formal proof. If everything must be proved formally we have an infinite regress, with the result that we know nothing. Therefore, it is inescapable that some things are accepted without formal proof. But since man is not infallible, he needs confirmation even of his premises. It may appear contradictory, but it is inescapable. Some things must be formally unproved, and since we are capable of being wrong we must seek confirmation outside of ourselves. Continue reading

On the Reason & Purpose & Intent of the Orthosphere

It is obvious that we can’t go back. We must go forward. The project of the Orthosphere is to limn a cult, a culture, and a society that can work properly for humans after modernism – including the modernist “Church” – has crashed, by dint of exploration of the traditional societies that worked.

Creating a new Christianity that is not the old time religion can’t work. That has already been tried. We are now living in the midst of the results of that experiment. So, one thing we can be pretty sure of is that a properly flourishing Western civilization will have to be founded upon and ordered by – and, in the last analysis, governed by – traditional, orthodox Christianity. Thus one of the main subsidiary projects of the Orthosphere is the explanation of and apology for orthodox Christian doctrine. To the extent that moderns find Christianity incredible or repugnant, it is usually because they misunderstand Christianity. One of our jobs is to do what we can to dispel their confusion.

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The Quintessence of the Reasoned Response of the Left to Dobbs

The egregor of the Left is in full control of this gal. I tell you, she’ll go down in history. This photo could be right up there with the shot of the Marines raising the flag on Mount Suribachi. Look at it closely, blow it up if you dare. You will never be able to unsee it; the quivering glossy ululating uvula of existential protest!

Man, I tell you, this is who we are, as Americans. It is the core of our democratic society.

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Moloch Will Want His Regular Meals: Cave!

The recent decisions of the Supreme Court cheat Moloch of his accustomed cheap comestibles. He’ll have to make do with less. But, as with all natural systems under the orbit of the moon, this is a case of pushing the envelope in one way only to see it bulge out in another. Moloch will be served, adequately, or there’ll be hell to pay, and no pitch hot.

There will be deaths. Not of children in the womb, but of others. Moloch must be fed, by his slaves. Now that he’ll be denied the food of babies from so many “trigger” states, he’ll need to be fed in some other way. His vassals will try to figure out how  to immolate some high profile victims, to sate his hunger and avert his wrath. I suspect they’ll offer up some from among their own company.

It can’t work. It can’t suffice. His wrath shall inevitably consume all his worshippers. There are not victims enough to sate his lust. His servants then are doomed.

Reject him! Serve the Lord of Life! Only thereby might you prevent your own ingestion, and dissolution, in the insatiable maw of Moloch.

All the SWPL is White Supremacist, & So Must Be Stamped Out

We learn from Vice Magazine that interest in and enjoyment of the wilderness is characteristic of white supremacists. We had already learned that grammar, diction, logic, and math are white supremacist. Also science, ergo, and so then knowledge, and a fortiori wisdom; thus any notion of characterological merit, or excellence.

When truth as such is dethroned, nothing can survive. Thanks, you goddamned nominalists!

NB: that is not a curse, but a statement of fact.

A pattern emerges: everything that white people generally and particularly and so noticeably like, respect or enjoy is white supremacist, and must be wiped out.

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Choose Martyrdom; What Could Be Better, Withal?

The culture wars are grown of late so acute that it seems we shall all, on both sides, be soon forced to an outwardly testified decision for one side or the other, at cost of our lives. Perhaps I exaggerate; perhaps this shall all blow over yet again, for a while, so that we of our sort may skate by without undue cost.

Or, perhaps it shall not. Perhaps this moment is for us like all the others of our lives under the orbit of the Moon, in which we must make this very same choice.

Come what may in the wider world, we must all choose for ourselves before we die and can no longer choose. So – given the near approach of death for us all – the choice looms at every moment urgent.

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Understand Conservatism

Sometimes a basic term is misunderstood because everyone assumes its meaning is clear.

Conservatism at root is the desire to conserve the existing order. It’s a natural instinct. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Conservatism as a movement arises when the existing order is attacked by revolutionaries. The revolutionaries believe the old ideas are false and unjust and must be replaced. The conservative knows the existing order is good and tries to protect it.

The American conservative movement became potent in the postwar period. At that time the existing order was being attacked by liberal and leftist revolutionaries. The superstructure of the American order was basically sound although its religious, philosophical and social foundations had been severely weakened. At that time, mainstream American conservatism was about the business of protecting an existing order that was outwardly healthy because its visible structure still reflected traditional ways and beliefs.

Some visionaries understood that the foundation was weak and they called for it to be strengthened. They were mostly ignored. To switch metaphors: heart surgery is dangerous, only to be undertaken when the patient is in imminent danger, and most conservatives believed the patient had only a superficial injury.

The revolutionaries were able to overthrow the old order because of the weakness of its foundations. They have taken control. They are establishing a new order based on revolutionary principles: DIE, BLM, CRT, LGBTQ+,…  They do not have total control yet, and counter-revolution is still possible, but the hour is late.

Since the existing order is now revolutionary, the conservative instinct is now to preserve the revolution. That is the fatal flaw of mainstream conservatism: thinking that the existing revolutionary order is good just because it is the existing order. Mainstream conservatism only opposes “extremist” revolution. It supports mainstream, establishment revolution: moderate amounts of feminism, atheism, globalism, immigration, affirmative action, and so on. Mainstream conservatism sometimes makes good-sounding promises, but it does not deliver what is needed.

Within living memory mainstream conservatism opposed the revolution. Conservatives can still be honorable if they work to re-establish the good ways of the old order.

The Sacraments are Prior to Everything Else in Mundane Life

Liturgical innovation – e.g., priestesses – is metaphysically obtuse. It presupposes that the sacraments are merely human artifacts, when in fact – the Lamb having been slain from the foundation of the world – they are logically prior to the creation. We are not the masters of the sacraments, any more than we are the masters of the oceans or the skies. Our office is not to deform them, but to reckon and grapple with them, as objective aspects of Reality.

If Reality is Real, then the sacraments in respect thereto, as given ideally, are nowise subject to correction. They are, rather, handed down from on high. There is then nothing we might do about them, or want to do about them, other than to admit them wholly to our lives. Do they want correction? That then is to be had only in their admission to our lives.

Not us, first, but the rite, and of course the obedience in it signified.

What the hell is a ritual for, after all, if in the last analysis it is just meaningless? If a ritual is meaningful, then it must just force us to its formal purposes. In what other way might we be interested to participate in it?