Most of our dear readers have heard about the sad turn of events in Charlottesville. With the KKK and Neo-Nazis on one side, Antifa and Black Lives Matter on the other, and a police force unprepared for violence, the rally was opportune for chaos. Mirabile auditu, the police needed to evacuate the scene and return with proper riot equipment! Gavin McInnes avers that this ineptitude was by design: mayors cite disorderly conduct in other rallies and assemblies as both a means to deny permits to rally and to accrue more power to restrict free expression. The end result is a “right” of peaceful assembly with more red tape than a license to purchase fully automatic weapons. Future rally organizers need to be wary lest they unwittingly give ammunition to politicians wishing to impose restrictions like “hate speech” (i.e. anti-Leftist speech) laws and the like on American citizens.
The most offensive persons at the Charlottesville rally numbered among the far-right and alt-right. (I made this conclusion from all the information I have: I know well Antifa is essentially the Democrats’ new KKK.) During the recent presidential campaign, I often wished to defend the alt-right. Yet, the alt-right has consistently moved from the legitimate domain of defending white cultures into the white nationalist camp. Perhaps, they were always there, but so much confusion over just the definition of alt-right made me and other conservatives think that they were lumped together in the same boat. But, the alt-right has appeared prominently and without shame besides the KKK and Neo-Nazis. I, a philosophical adherent of classical liberalism, can’t make common cause with any of these three groups.
Recently, I’ve come across a wonderful website on Southern history and culture called the Abbeville Institute. I heartily recommend this site for its unique vision of America. It acts as a corrective both to the very anti-Southern history we were taught and to the Progressive vision of America in general. One of the best things this organization does is to undercut so many of the assumptions Progressive philosophy has caused us to believe.
The Abbeville Institute highlights that the South’s tradition is so much more than poor race relations and slavery. After all, the South gave us George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, James Monroe, and so many other figures who shaped our nation. Without George Washington, the Revolutionary Army would have been ineffective and disbanded before Patriot victory. Many of the other Southern Founders were responsible for giving the Federal government a more federal character and less of one powerful central government–as men like Alexander Hamilton wished it to have. (I firmly believe that the Constitution benefited from both impulses, the central and the local, and we would live in a far different country without both political schools.) In many ways, much of the best in American heritage has its roots in the South.
Americanism is an interesting concept: one form is a heresy, while the other just refers to the native genius of America. Pope Leo XIII wrote in his encyclical Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae about these two forms: “certain endowments of mind which belong to the American people, just as other characteristics belong to various other nations, and…your political condition and the laws and customs by which you are governed…” or 2) “…the confounding of license and liberty, the passion for discussing and pouring contempt upon any possible subject, [and] the assumed right to hold whatever opinion one pleases on any subject and to set them forth in print to the world…” Delighting in the first is not only lawful but necessary for any red-blooded American. The second describes the malaise of our times: nothing is sacred and everything is permitted.
Pope Leo XIII
To the wrongheaded Americanism, I might also add the confounding of America’s will with God’s will. We are right to think that God has especially blessed this country; but, we are only blessed to the extent to which we adhere to God’s will. We can and have erred in our history. Our particular endowments, characteristics, and political conditions do not count as the universal human standard.
Reading Fultin Sheen’s Treasure in Clay offers the reader many great insights. One of the best comes in the following quote:
The curious would like me to open healed wounds; the media, in particular, would relish a chapter which would pass judgment on others, particularly because, as a French author expressed it: [n]ous vivons aux temps des assassins–“we live in days of assassins”–where evil is sought more than good in order to justify a world with a bad conscience. (310)
This idea is salient on the question of social justice vs. individual justice, over which Sheen claims Vatican II was debated. Moderns have in large part discarded individual for social justice. In doing so, they can see the collective guilt of societies, but not the guilt of their own souls. To them, righteousness is something gained by being on the right side, not through individual deeds.
Reading about the condemnation of a Croatian soccer player leading the cheer “Za Dom Spremni” got me thinking about why people are up in arms about this. “Za Dom Spremni” literally means “For home…Ready!” (The second part is given in answer to the first.) The cheer “Za Dom” has existed for a long time in Croatian history. It first appears in the Hungarian epic The Siege of Sziget, written by Miklos Zrinyi, the great-grandson of the epic’s hero, Croatian Duke Nikola Subic Zrinski. (We celebrate the 450th anniversary of the battle’s end on September 7th. Cardinal Richelieu called it “the battle which saved civilization.) It also appears in the 1876 opera Nikola Subic Zrinski by Ivan Zajk in the patriotic song “U boj, u boj!” And, the cheer appears to have been used in a fuller version by Duke Josip Jelacic (1801-1859). Jelacic would shout “Za Dom!” and his soldiers would respond with “Spremni umrijeti!”–i.e. “Ready to die!” So, the cheer has existed for a long time, and the sentiment probably as long as Croats have wielded a sword in battle.
Duke Nikola Zrinski at Szigetvar
Despite this long tradition, various leftists and Serbs (who fall in the former camp) have married the cheer exclusively to the Croatian fascist government of WWII and the Ustashe. And so, the soccer player above was accused of being a fascist…and, I suppose, all Croats who love soccer. The Croatian fascists did use the cheer with regularity; however, they tended to add “Za poglavnika” (“For Poglavnik”), referring to the commander-in-chief’s deputy, Poglavnik Ante Pavelic.
Recently, I got into an argument with a friend of mine on the role of women in society. The discussion became quite heated–made worse by the fact that we came from two different angles on the topic. I believe that both traditionalists and moderns sincerely wish to elevate women in society; but, our ideas about which roles are the more elevated differ, because we value the four human spheres of activity differently: economic, vital, aesthetic, and spiritual. What is the proper ordering of these spheres?
Before I begin my arguments on this topic, some might say: “Isn’t there also a political sphere?” The goal of politics is the common good of communities. As such, political offices find their place within the vital sphere like other offices tending to the common good: military, law enforcement, judicial, and infrastructure. Also, the government can’t really produce economic, aesthetic, or spiritual growth, but only create favorable conditions for these to take place.
My mind constantly revolves around politics these days. I view this absorption as a fault, since yours truly would rather write fantasy fiction. So, look at this post as an attempt to get my thoughts about the evils of Progressivism out of my head so that I can turn my mind to knights, wizards, epic combat, and other things healthier than politics. Progressivism is aptly named because it progresses towards Socialism and then Communism or Fascism. All four fall as fruits from the evil tree of Marxism, a sophistry created by a misanthrope and hater of God who wished for you, me, and everyone else to have a warm reception in hell. (Don’t believe me? See Marx and Satan by Richard Wurmbrand or this article here.) The following piece will have little good to say about the Left, but, after the deluge of invective people on the right have received (e.g. racist, fascist, xenophobic, etc.), are any hard words from my side of the aisle too harsh as long as they are true?
First, the Left used to represent a strain of Liberalism, the kind which gave us the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and The Federalist Papers. Americans who call themselves conservative are Classical Liberals, though some Libertarians also accept the label. However, Classical Liberalism had an evil twin: shortly after American Federalists, basing their laws on a combination of Enlightenment philosophy and English common law, inaugurated the Great Experiment, French Liberals overthrew their king, established a democracy, and proceeded to slay any dissenters in their Reign of Terror.