Western Culture

What Is and Isn’t Creative—and Not Just in Hollywood

In the comment thread following Kevin MacDonald’s recent blog post “Hollywood and the Left, Again,” one of the commenters, Caleb, wrote “It’s not just Hollywood. Creative people in all fields tend to be tolerant and politically liberal. Show me an artist who’s also a country club Republican.” In effect, several of those who replied seemed to think, as do I, that generalizing about creativity and creative people should be approached with caution. After I tried teasing out the implications of this concise sentiment, however, concision soon got consigned to oblivion. The paragraphs that follow are what replaced it.

The truism that “creative people” tend to manifest the “values”—tolerance and liberalism, for two—of this society’s masters is as uninformative as every other truism (“a proposition that states nothing beyond what is implied by any of its terms”). Unsurprisingly, the people who have successfully peddled this bill of goods, even to some TOO commenters, fail to reveal that the definers of creativity are the same people that run the communication, information, and entertainment industries and much else besides. Read more

Review of Civilization: The West and the Rest, by Niall Ferguson

Review of Civilization: The West and the Rest, by Niall Ferguson (2011) London: Allen Lane.  402 pages.

If you’ve ever found yourself saying, as I have, that your major political preoccupation is the salvaging of the best of “Western Civilization” [WC], you may then have been queried, “What is it? What aspect of WC is so important?”

[Let us pause here while you review your own list…]

Perhaps a bit of uncertainty? Not sure how long a list to compile? Not sure of your priorities? Isn’t it a matter of taste? And importantly, most of us are not at all sure how WC came about.

Niall Ferguson will certainly help you out here. He is the now well-known and popular (e.g., The Accent of Money) Scottish economic historian, teaching at Harvard and the London School of Economics, and frequent TV commentator.  The book under review was the basis for a six-part documentary, for Channel 4 in Britain, “Civilization: Is the West History?”. (Aha! That ought to wake you up, all you readers of The Occidental Observer.) Read more

Helmuth Nyborg on the Genetic Decline of Western Civilization: Denmark as a Case Study

Prof. Helmuth Nyborg

The Danish psychologist Helmuth Nyborg has an academic paper soon to be published in Personality and Individual Differences (“The decay of Western Civilization: Double Relaxed Natural Selection“). Nyborg is well-known for his work showing a sex difference in IQ favoring males, a paper which resulted in an investigation of his work and a reprimand from his university. (Nyborg describes the “witch hunt” he endured  here.)

Nyborg’s latest paper charts past trends and projects IQ changes in Denmark as a result of two trends: relaxation of natural selection among the traditional Danes, and an influx of low-IQ immigrants. These two trends together amount to what he terms a “double relaxation of natural selection” (DRNS).

Relying on Richard Lynn’s work Dysgenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations, the relaxation of internal selection is thought to have begun around 1850 as the fertility of the lower classes exceeded the upper classes because of improvements in hygiene and reduction in diseases. He cites Lynn’s estimate that England lost 6.9 IQ points over 90 years (1920-2010) and estimates that Denmark’s average IQ dropped around 10 points since 1850 due to internal relaxation of natural selection. Read more

Alain de Benoist on the West

Alain de  Benoist’s current TOO article (“The ‘West’ Should Be Forgotten“) contains this remarkable paragraph:

Between the destitution of its past and the fear of its future, it believes in nothing else other than abstract moralism and disembodied principles that would save her from thriving in its being — even if the price is its metamorphosis. Forgetting that history is tragic, assuming that its can reject any consideration of power, searching for consensus at any cost, floating weightless, as if in a form of  lethargy, not only does it consent to its own disappearance, but it interprets its disappearance as a proof of its moral superiority. One can obviously think of the “last man” that Nietzsche talked about.

Yes, the West has become the proposition culture, identified solely by its moral abstractions–abstractions that seen by the natives as more important than life itself (see, e.g., here). Abstractions that may be used to justify pretty much any war our elites decide to promote, but which leave the natives defenseless against invasions by the rest of the world. Unfortunately, the price for holding onto these abstractions is far more than metamorphosis but, as he says, disappearance–death by any other name.

The only solution is to redefine the West not in terms of abstractions but in terms of its traditional people–people with interests in maintaining control of specific lands. It is this step that seems impossible for the vast majority of contemporary Western intellectuals, even those associated with the right.

The ultimate irony is that without altruistic Whites seduced by moral abstractions to see their own suicide as a moral imperative, the glorious multicultural utopia that is scheduled to succeed the West is likely to revert to a Darwinian struggle for survival among the remnants, with principled morality in short supply. But, unless things change dramatically and soon, the descendants of these high-minded White folks won’t be around to witness that denouement.

The “West” should be forgotten

Zeus and Europa

(Translated from the French by Tom Sunic)

The “West”? Raymond Abellio observed that “Europe is fixed in space, that is to say, in geography, as opposed to the West which is “portable.” In fact, the “West” has continued travelling and changing directions. In the beginning that term meant the land where the sun sets (Abendland), as opposed to the land of the rising sun (Morgenland). Starting with the reign of Diocletian in the late third century AD, the opposition between East and West came down to the distinction between the Western Roman Empire (whose capital was Milan and then Ravenna) and the Eastern Roman Empire in Constantinople. The first one disappeared in 476 AD, with the abdication of Romulus Augustulus. After that the West and Europe merged for good. However, starting with the eighteenth century the adjective “Western” came to light on nautical charts referring to the New World, also called the “American system,” as opposed to the “European system,” or the “Eastern Hemisphere” (which then included Europe, Africa and Asia). Read more

On the Western Tendency to Moral Universalism

I am in the rather odd position of trying to rebut comments made in the article by Richard Spencer that I posted. But it’s a good opportunity to clarify my ideas.

Richard has two objections to my theory that individualism has something to do with the attraction of CPAC conservatives to the universalist rhetoric of rights.

First, the Japanese have excelled in the abstract logic required in advanced electronics and industrial engineering, and their economy is geared towards exporting to global markets; yet, judging by their national consensus on immigration restriction, they have little compunction in fighting for their genetic interests.

When I mentioned an attraction to abstractions, I meant moral abstractions as a component of Western individualism, not abstractions in general.  Otherwise Jews would be the ultimate moral universalists. Moral idealism is a powerful tendency in European culture, apparent, for example, in the German idealist philosophers and the American transcendentalists. (Writing a foreword for a forthcoming English translation of Vladimir Avdeyev’s Raciology [Russian edition reviewed in TOO by Dan Michaels] made me realize that idealism was a trait commonly ascribed to Nordics by racial scientists in a very influential intellectual tradition from the late 19th century until its demise with the defeat of National Socialism.) Universalist moral ideals are erected and then steps are taken to achieve the moral vision by changing the world, often accompanied by a great deal of moral fervor, as among the opponents of slavery in America and during the French Revolution (see below). Read more

Abstractions Are a Weak Source of National Identity

Alex Kurtagic has a nice comment at VDARE.com on British PM David Cameron’s multiculturalism-is-a-failure speech. He notes,

A strong national identity is perforce traditionalist, particularist, and inegalitarian. It is dependent on localization, specificity, and uniqueness, as this is stabilized into a tradition over many generations, what differentiates the indigenous from the alien, then native from the foreigner.

A strong national identity, therefore, implies that what is indigenous takes priority over what is alien. It is incompatible with multiculturalism or diversity.

Surprisingly, Gregory Rodriguez, your basic Latino activist as affirmative action op-ed writer with a lofty perch in the mainstream media, makes a complementary point—that the proposition nation idea is not psychologically compelling:

“Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, democracy, the rule of law, equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality,” Cameron said, would provide “a clear sense of national identity that is open to everyone,” especially to young Muslims who are caught between cultures.

The only problem is that the freedoms Cameron champions, worthy as they are, hardly constitute firm “roots.” Anglo American liberalism is essentially a collection of abstract ideas, and abstractions simply aren’t as effective as bloodlines and religious ritual when it comes to bringing people together as a nation. Read more