A Traditional Catholic Ponders the West and Its History, Part 1 of 2: My Intellectual Journey

All the utopias dreamed up by the Left inevitably lead to bloodshed—because they conflict with human nature. The classical Marxist Utopian vision of a classless society in the Soviet Union self-destructed, but only after murdering millions of its own people. Now the multicultural utopian version that has become dominant throughout the West is showing signs of producing intense opposition and irreconcilable polarization.
Individualism and the Western Liberal Tradition: Evolutionary Origins, History, and Prospects for the Future by Kevin MacDonald

Something broke in me.

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To the extent that I have “future” readers — ones who will have read my observations and musings chronologically in my many reviews and articles — I will not now belabor how it is that I arrived here. Suffice it to say, my opinions have dramatically changed over several years. While I have always been politically minded and politically literate, my conventional conservatism gave way to something much more, at least in modern terms, extreme. To be sure, I do not view myself as an “extremist,” whatever that means, but many of the authors I now read and consider — and, indeed, with whom I now agree — are veritable intellectual and cultural pariahs. Even though I am far from a public figure, publicizing my agreement with these social excommunicates would be career suicide for a relatively successful professional. That says much more about the world we live in than it does me or my views, but, regrettably, such is the world we now live in. The dystopic realm of thought crimes and thought punishment is well upon us. Notwithstanding the social opprobrium associated with it, I refuse to concede the privacy of my mind. While there is no particular courage in recording my thoughts and saying “NO” in the secrecy of my mind, the first “NO” must be articulated privately before it is expressed publicly. Eventually, however, that “NO” must be said publicly.

My journey into, euphemistically anyway, political “nonconformity” had an important antecedent; I had been “red-pilled” many years ago if one counts Traditional Catholicism. More than anything else, Traditional Catholicism, which is a dissent from the modern heterodoxy and effeminacy of the flaccid, homosexual-ridden, modern Catholic Church, opened my mind to the idea itself of challenging an omnipresent narrative. Part of coming to terms with Traditional Catholicism is an openness to skepticism, which, in and of itself, is ironic given that Traditional Catholicism is based, at least in part, on a robust return to living within the dogmatic past and truth of historic Catholicism. In other words, Traditional Catholics are now revolutionaries (or, perhaps more aptly, counterrevolutionaries) who are undermining and destabilizing the authorities who govern the very institution that Traditional Catholics wish to save and rehabilitate. Like virtually all Western institutions, the Catholic Church was co-opted during the 1950s and 1960s by Leftist revolutionaries bent on destroying the established understanding and role of the institution. As a result, we, as Traditional Catholics, do more than worship God in an antiquarian way — we are latter-day Catholics who seek to demolish the destroyers (and present-day leaders), who are now firmly entrenched in power. The world is always rich with irony when the revolutionaries themselves become entrenched in power and become, as it were, the establishment — as if true to a political axiom, they are always better at destroying than governing (see, e.g., Lenin, Castro, Mao). For an otherwise conformist conservative, the migration into Traditional Catholicism made a vast difference, and I moved from someone seeking modestly to “conserve” the traditions of my fathers into someone who was in open revolt against those who were actively destroying them. Traditional Catholicism was the first time in my life that I saw myself as subversive, but it would not be the last.

Traditional Catholicism was then a gateway to much more than traditional worship. It carries within it a scathing critique of the entire Enlightenment project and many of the philosophical tenants that we take for granted as ordinary Americans. To be deep into Traditional Catholicism then is to make it difficult to remain a typical conservative Americanist. Indeed, what was Vatican II if not a triumph of the Americanist forces over the retrograde forces of medieval “fortress Catholicism”? Thoughtful Traditional Catholics (pardon the redundancy) are more than merely subversive concerning the leadership of the modern Catholic Church, they begin to subversively question many American sacred cows like “freedoms” of religion, speech, economic exploitation, and eventually democracy itself. While I do not suggest that Traditional Catholicism led me to consider — or even hold — the particular views discussed below, it certainly opened my mind to think more critically. Put differently, if I could not trust the messaging of the contemporary Catholic Church and my Americanist public schooling, then what else was untrustworthy and potentially wrong?

Long after I became a Traditional Catholic, I began to question still other maxims of American social and political life. If I could organize the threads of dissent that put me firmly outside of the mainstream in political and social thought, it has been the slow and painful recognition of reality based, at least in part, around groups. Namely, things like: “diversity” and “pluralism” are destructive notions; “race” is a meaningful scientific concept; the respective races differ on average in various talents and attributes and create different civilizations on account of those differences; relative racial homogeneity — and its preservation — is positive for a given society; and that European people (i.e., “Whites” for a lack of a better term), have an interest in perpetuating their race and associated cultures and civilization. These ideas, taken together, are verboten among American elites of all stripes, conservative, liberal, or otherwise. Indeed, it is socially appalling and “racist” to suggest otherwise — meaning that the self-evident propositions that diversity is good and racial homogeneity are negative (at least among Whites), the non-existence of biological race and biologically based racial differences, and the obvious evil of a conscious White racial identity (unless that identity is invoked to apologize or otherwise self-flagellate) are ideas that no respectable American should hold. Indeed, holding such views publicly is to invite social and economic ostracism.

But my unconventionality goes further. If the celebration of diversity, the denial of race, and the destruction of European-peopled societies in terms of their self-sought racial extinction are cultural and political axioms that must be accepted without question or complaint, the question becomes who created the axiom, and why. In other words, who turned the world upside down and began the process of dissolution of European-peopled countries? The answer that I arrived at, again painfully, is that the Jews are the revolutionary agents who have not only sowed racial disharmony in the United States (and elsewhere), but they are largely responsible for the rapid moral degradation in our societies. True enough, Jews are not singularly responsible, but the point is that their contribution to the social well-being and flourishing of the non-Jews with whom they share territory — from a collective point of view — is always negative.

As I have cataloged repeatedly, given my profession and my geography, individual Jews have played an outsized and unique role in my life — and it goes without saying that whatever views I hold towards Jewry as a whole are not animated by personal animosity towards any particular Jew that I have ever known. Indeed, if anything, I hold the views about Jewry generally despite my long and varied history with individual Jews. Parenthetically, this is a key distinction that is not allowed within the intellectual framework of the post-Christian, multicultural West — that is, recognition of group dynamics and group predilections are not allowed. Put simply, we are not allowed to stereotype anymore based on group activity even though the basis for the stereotypes is punctuated by the reality of what we see and experience. It is like a type of lobotomy in which the brain is no longer allowed to process and analyze data because the conclusions are deemed socially impermissible. Notwithstanding my affinity towards most of the Jews that I have known, the moral rot, the manic push towards racial heterogeneity in European-peopled countries, and social dysfunction in the modern West are collectively a Jewish project. Thus, if it weren’t enough that I hold odious “racist” views, I also hold equally odious “anti-Semitic” views.

Truly, I am who Secretary Hillary Clinton described as “deplorable”.

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Now, of course, I am no racist or anti-Semite but holding the views that I hold now makes me liable to the charge per se. No, if I get down to brass tacks, the change that occurred in me was a willingness to see what I refused to consider before: namely, that groups exist along racial lines, that they exist with differing talent and attributes, and further that they exist with differing moral sensibilities and with differing social aims. Moreover, I have grown to see Jews as a special group that collectively — and euphemistically — is always unhelpful to their non-Jewish neighbors. If there is such a thing as Western/European conceit, it is not that which we are typically accused of; rather it is that we project on to non-Western and non-European peoples our sensibilities, temperaments, and talents — we assume that everyone essentially is just like us. As it turns out, at least in my provisional thoughts, that projection and assumption are wildly unwarranted, i.e., all men cannot be us, all men do not make the civilizations we make, and simply uploading non-Europeans in our midst will not transform them into us. The reverse is true too: adding Europeans to another civilization will not transform us into East Asians or Africans. We are who we are, and they are who they are. Without being biologically fatalistic or deterministic, there are real biological differences and temperaments between the various races. That America and Western Europe are rapidly becoming Third World countries in which systems, infrastructure, and bureaucracies no longer function and our national moral consensus is disintegrating is proof positive that the pluralism, which is hailed as a great social benefit, is instead a great social evil. In particular, my steadfast belief in the essential individuality of people and their functional malleability — a bedrock component of conventional Americanism — gave way to seeing myself and others from a group perspective. And the supreme irony of my change of heart, as it were, is that it was driven precisely by the elites who relentlessly preach something that can only be described as true cognitive dissonance: (i) race and groups do not exist except that (ii) Whites, as a group, are uniquely evil and all other groups are good. Imagine, our institutions and our media uncompromisingly tell us that there are no groups or group attributes, but if there are groups and group attributes, the only salient thing that we are allowed to express is that Whites are bad, and non-Whites are good. The predominant ethic is that whatever is bad for Whites collectively is good for the rest of the world. It took this sustained expression of antipathy directed at Whites for me to see myself as White and begin to puzzle over who was driving that expression of antipathy.

While recent events and political and cultural phenomena all contributed to this awakening of sorts, what initially changed was my willingness to read books by authors whom I once considered off-limits. So, reviled authors such as Jared Taylor, E. Michael Jones, J. Philippe Rushton, Edward Dutton, Charles Murray, Israel Shahak, Gilad Atzmon, Jean Raspail, and Guillaume Faye introduced me to a new world of nonconforming dissidence. After limiting myself for many years to either the classical works of Western Civilization or Catholic works (that is, studying the patrimony of my civilization), I branched out in a new direction. In doing so, I wanted to make sense, within a workable prism of Traditional Catholicism, of the questions of race, religion, and the Jewish question. Invariably, they are always tied together. Parenthetically, when I have an intellectual knot, I seek to untangle it by writing through it. In that sense, my writing is a type of therapy for an intellectual who experiences discomfort from an intellectual disorder. My corpus of work, which is now long and varied, is essentially a journal of working out my intellectual conundrums, one page at a time. True to the maxim that the life unexamined is not worth living, I have examined my life, which is synonymous with my mind and intellect, by reading and writing on the topics that confounded me until that confounding was ameliorated.

There is no consensus among these dissident writers: the various anathematized authors that I have read, the question of the dissolution of the West, the withering of a Eurocentric culture and civilization in its wake, and the looming disappearance of Whites is something that is approached from different angles. Some, like Taylor and Dutton, approach the issue from a cultural and biological perspective — race for them is the predominant question. Others, like Atzmon, and Shahak, are fixated on the Jewish Question and the Jewish supremacism as something particular odious. Some approach it in terms of the superiority of Western Civilization like Faye and Raspail. Still others, like Murray, approach it from the perspective of salvaging the Enlightenment by acknowledging that different racial outcomes are to be expected and tolerated based on differing talents and aptitudes. Others, like Jones, approach the Jewish question as predominant but approach it as something born out of religious history. One author fuses the Jewish question and race in a synthesis that I find most plausible and appealing — namely, Professor Kevin MacDonald. While he is a lapsed Catholic and does not write from the perspective of the truth of Catholicism, I find that MacDonald recognizes the Jews for who they are, and, more importantly, by what they do collectively. He analyzes our situation like Taylor (in terms of a statement on race and the need for Europeans to preserve their identity and culture) but with the added benefit of providing the necessary context of why Europeans are under attack from Jews as the primary agents of our destruction. Add Jones’s Catholic critique of the Jews to MacDonald’s critique of race and the Jews and one arrives, at least in my opinion, at a very sensible statement of where we are. MacDonald then is a key intellectual in my opinion and his various works on the Jews as well as his academic periodical, The Occidental Quarterly, is necessary reading to understand the situation we face. While I do not agree with everything he says, he addresses the Jewish question without “Jew-baiting” or gutter anti-Semitism. Rather, he looks at us and them academically and without guile. The portrait he dispassionately paints may not be affirming but what he writes says more about them than it does about him.

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The questions of race and the Jewish question, however, have proved to be nearly intractable — immune, as it were, from a simple working out. I know this is so because I keep reading and writing on these questions over and over again because I have not yet reached an internal coherence in what I think. That said, certain things have become clearer to some extent. Through this process, I have a better understanding of the science of race, what it is, and why it matters. The question of the reality of race, mercilessly suppressed, is both obvious and meaningful: there are races, and they differ on average in qualitative ways. This is not an invitation to discriminate against people, but it is nonetheless an acknowledgment of the way the world is. I readily admit it is an unpleasant fact, but its unpleasantness is not a reason to suppress it or ignore it. For example, instead of alleged and phony “systemic racism” or the like, the reason that African Americans disproportionately populate American prisons or require special quotas to obtain admission to America’s elite universities is that they are more temperamentally violent and less intelligent on average. That is an ugly truth but a truth all the same. And even if my consciously stating it is likewise an ugly thing, most Whites in the United States implicitly (and in their private thoughts) know that this is true, which is why so-called “White Flight” remains a persistent reality because no Whites want to live in a community dominated by African Americans.

Parenthetically, as I have written before, my intellectual acceptance of racial groups and differences therein conflicts, at least superficially, with my Catholic belief in terms of the universality of man’s dignity. Before God and Church, we are essentially equal — even if I hold the view that certain groups of men by race are not equal in talents and temperaments. I concede that that distinction bothered me for a long time — it was a stumbling block and a moral conundrum. While I would be the first to acknowledge that individual men differ in talents and temperaments, the extension of that reasoning to groups of men (especially by something inherent such as race) nonetheless rankled me. That a wolf and a domestic dog differ in temperament and intelligence as subspecies of Canis genus does not bother me; that an African and an East Asian may differ, however, does bother me. Interestingly enough, as if to demonstrate that my queasiness is a product of an overarching cultural matrix within which I was raised, men of the Church in years past had no issue with taking cognizance of the problematic nature of the Jews (see e.g. Civilta Cattolica, the official voice of the Vatican on political affairs, on the negative aspects of Jewry on European Christian countries in 1890), and, at the very least, the leaders in the Church, even if they did not accede to the modern notion of “race,” acknowledged that differences among people by group could be acknowledged without calling into question the essential dignity of all men. In any event, race differences stare us in the face — as do the overarching negative consequences for non-Jews of forging a society with a significant Jewish population.  That Christ is Lord, and He is surely, is something I have to reconcile with what I believe is reality. That both are true is what it is.

There are two lines of thought here at play as it relates to race and religion. One could say that the ultimate questions are ones of faith so the issues surrounding race, racial homogeneity, ethnic ties, and the like are red herrings designed to distract us from the Great Commission to baptize all nations. There is something to be said for that view — after all, I have much more in common with an African Traditional Catholic than I do with a homosexual White Episcopalian. True enough. But herein lies the rub: when we think of the Great Commission, there is an emphasis on nations, which is a type of surrogacy for race. In other words, the Great Commission takes for granted that men are not to be thought of atomistic individuals (that is a distinctly Enlightenment notion) but as members of tribes with a particular culture, language, history, and future. The destruction of tribalism — and not acknowledging people as members of a group — is not something that is within the remit of Christianity. Christianity is undoubtedly a universal religion, but its universality operates on the plane of a spiritual brotherhood that preserves the notion of tribe and nation — not a necessary amalgamation of people into one race. More to the point, the globalist version of universalism — the one that seeks to obliterate the historic races through miscegenation between them — makes the Great Commission more difficult to accomplish. It deracinates whomever it touches and the atomization that occurs makes the Gospel less receptive than when it is encountered in an organic community of kin and family. Deracination is a type of lived-out cynicism — it cuts off man from his father and mother, from his soil, and from his culture and language. My working hypothesis is that our Lord commissioned evangelism to the “nations” because God works corporately among men. True enough, we accept the Gospel individually, but we live out the Gospel in a community. At least that is the argument.

Traditional Catholicism itself played a part in my thinking too because it is necessarily a rejection of the philosophical schools and projects since the Enlightenment. Once I became “paleo-religious” — my mind was opened to other “paleo” schools. The moral anguish over what I describe above is uniquely modern and born out of a post-Enlightenment milieu. Once I saw the best society as a Catholic kingdom — not a mixed capitalist, technocratic, democratic nation-state — I began to see other things too. Moreover, to be a Traditional Catholic is to stare at the courage, ingenuity, and generosity of the European people. Sure, we have long had our share of great sinners (as much as anyone else), but to love the cult of saints is to stand in awe of the many of the men and women who made Europe what it became. So, while I reject a Eurocentrism that is racial, I cannot help but love my mother continent and my European cousins (both here and there) as extended kin. Without delimiting the contributions of any other groups, I am fortunate to be European and I belong to a legacy of people that have often been uniquely exceptional in world history. To put it in trite terms, I migrated in my soul from a youthful “American Exceptionalism” to something in my mature mind that amounts to a Catholic “European Exceptionalism”. My children — and every other White child — should be proud to be European in that Europeanness should be expressed within the milieu of Catholicism.

Go to Part 2.