Wednesday, April 24, 2019

the great museum

As someone who admires tradition I was naturally saddened by the Notre Dame fire. What really saddened me most though was that it was like seeing a museum burn. A museum full of beautiful things, but beautiful dead things. Notre Dame is a symbol of a dead civilisation.

Had Notre Dame been destroyed during the Middle Ages it would not have been a disaster. A new cathedral would have been built to replace it. The faith that inspired men to build something that would take almost two centuries to complete still existed. Not just the religious faith, but the faith in the future, the faith in their own civilisation. Had it been destroyed in the 14th century it might well have been replaced by something even more impressive. The faith was there, and the skills and the aesthetic sensibility were there, to create masterpieces of religious art and architecture. All of that is gone now. We can create replicas of masterpieces. We can no longer create anything original of value.

It’s like looking at the Venus de Milo. It’s beautiful but it’s a product of a dead civilisation. We could, and we do, make copies of such statues. But no-one today could create such a statue. We just don’t look at the world the way the classical Greeks did. We cannot truly get inside their heads. Just as we cannot truly get inside the heads of those medieval Frenchmen who built Notre Dame. The Venus de Milo is a museum piece.

It’s not just a symbol of what the French have lost, it’s a symbol of the West. Western civilisation has been living on its reputation for a very long time. The West created some marvellous things, things of surpassing beauty and sublime intelligence and subtlety. But that was long ago.

The great achievements of European civilisation lie in the past. Perhaps it’s just not possible for a materialistic society to create anything of real value. Europe is a gigantic museum. Modern Europeans are ambivalent about their cultural treasures. They’re an uncomfortable reminder of the extent of our modern decadence. Treasures of religious art make modern Europeans particularly uncomfortable. Is it possible that there was a time when people cared about more than shopping and sex?

Of course one would like to see Notre Dame restored, but it can only be restored as a museum exhibit. In some ways that would be even sadder than leaving it as a ruin.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

why nationalism has no electoral appeal

I’ve been having an intriguing debate on immigration with a Finn at Unz Review. He was crowing over the magnificent success of the anti-immigration party in the recent Finnish election. That party got a massive 17.5% of the vote. I tried to gently point out that since all the other parties are rabidly pro-immigration that result actually means that 82.5% of Finns voted in effect for pro-immigration policies. He tried to counter that by arguing that a recent survey showed that 74% of Finns opposed immigration. My reply was that such a survey isn’t very comforting when 82.5% of Finns proceeded to vote for parties with explicitly pro-immigration policies.

This all seems consistent with the situation in other countries. Polls show that people do not want immigration but they still vote for parties that they know are in favour of massive immigration.

So what is the answer to this mystery? Why is it that nationalist and anti-immigration parties just don’t attract the level of electoral support that would be expected?

I can suggest a few possible explanations.

Firstly, opinion polls and surveys are not especially reliable when it comes to social attitudes. Results can vary enormously depending on how questions are phrased. Opinion polls can be manipulated to provide particular results. The problem with this explanation is that you would expect opinion polls to underestimate support for immigration restrictionism.

Secondly, it may be that these parties are remarkably poor at selling their message. That sounds plausible but can we really believe that all these parties are incompetent when it comes to selling themselves?

Thirdly, it may be that many of the leaders of anti-immigration parties rub people up the wrong way - they seem autistic or weird, or more to the point they can easily be portrayed by the media as autistic and weird and socially undesirable.

Fourthly, it may be that while a very large number of people are anti-immigration it’s not really a very important issue for most of them. When it comes to voting they’re more interested in bread-and-butter issues. They’re more interested in voting for the party that will put the most money in their pockets right now. That’s much more important than the future of our society.

Fifthly, it may be that nationalist and anti-immigration parties are too much associated in the public mind with ideas that are so deeply unpopular and socially unacceptable that any party even vaguely linked with such ideas will fail to win votes. I’m talking about ideas such as HBD (human biodiversity) which its proponents claim to be a scientifically proven recognition of inherited differences (particularly in intelligence) between races. The problem with stuff like HBD is that firstly the science behind them is very very dubious and secondly there is no way you can avoid having such ideas labelled as white supremacism or Nazi science. So you end up with nationalist/anti-immigration parties being tainted with racism and that’s going to scare off 80% of your potential voters.

Sixthly, such parties can come across as being very negative. Concentrating too much on what you’re against without articulating what you’re for is a major political mistake.

I’m inclined to think that the fourth, fifth and sixth explanations are by far the most likely. So what is the answer to this problem? Obviously nationalist parties have to offer a lot more than anti-immigration rhetoric. They have to offer an economic alternative to globalism. They have to offer hope and inspiration. They have to get people excited about the possibility of having a future again. They have to be wary of obvious vote-losing stuff like HBD.

Whether any of this would actually work, whether nationalist parties would ever be allowed to govern, is another matter. It’s possible that even if they won they’d be targeted for destruction by the United States. I’m not even sure it would necessarily be a good thing if they won - I have expressed my reservations about nationalism in other posts. I’m simply pointing out why the current strategies of nationalists seem doomed to failure.

And it is worth pointing out that one of the reasons nationalists and other dissidents are such easy targets is that they have no real base of popular support.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

the war to control the language

The most important thing to remember about the transgender push and the fuss that SJWs make over pronouns and “misgendering” is that it’s another phase of the war to control the language. If you’ve read your Orwell you know how crucial that is.

Forcing us to call a man wearing a frock a woman is the same as O’Brien telling Winston Smith that if the Party tells him he sees O’Brien holding up five fingers then there are five fingers, even if there are really four.

Our political masters do not care in the least about poor confused people who think they can change from a man into a woman. What they care about is controlling the thoughts that we can express, because that is the first step to controlling what we can think.

That’s the key to the whole of political correctness. The actual content of the politically correct agenda is irrelevant. Men cannot transform themselves into women. Women cannot be effective front-line soldiers. Those who are pulling the strings to which the Social Justice Warriors dance are well aware of these realities. What matters is that we are taught to conform and to obey. What we conform to is unimportant. What the rules are that we must obey  is unimportant. It is the habits of conformity and obedience that matter.

It is completely unnecessary for our masters to believe the things that they force us to believe. There’s no point in trying to understand the logic behind whatever the social justice agenda happens to be this week because there is no logic to it. There doesn’t need to be.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

two cheers for nationalism

I despise globalism and all its works, which should logically put me in the nationalist camp. Which it does, up to a point. The trouble is that I have certain reservations about nationalism.

For one thing, nationalism is a liberal concept.

My main reservation about nationalism is that it has tended to erase regional identities. Regional identities have been fading under the relentless assaults of liberalism, nationalism and modernism for a couple of centuries now. Traces of such identities still survived until quite recently. I can recall stating in a bed-and-breakfast in Cornwall in the early 80s and making the mistake of referring to the landlady as an Englishwoman. She indignantly informed me that, “We’re nothing to do with the English here.” I must confess that I thought that was rather wonderful.

But nationalists have had little time for such regional identities. The aim of French nationalism was to turn Gascons and Bretons into generic Frenchmen. The aim of German nationalism was to turn Bavarians and Swabians into generic Germans. The aim of Italian nationalism was to turn Lombards and Sicilians into generic Italians. The aim of British nationalism was to turn Yorkshiremen and Cornishmen and Welshmen into generic Britons.

I’m not comfortable with any of that. I’m a multiculturalist. That’s why I dislike multiculturalism so much - in practice it seeks to destroy diversity and to replace multiple cultures with a single global culture. I like the idea of a world with countless different cultures.

I also prefer the idea of ties of loyalty that grow naturally, such as loyalty to family, or to a local community bonded together by a common faith, language and customs. I consider loyalty to a king to be a natural loyalty as well, or at least it was in the days when we still had actual kings. I’m not overly keen on the idea of loyalty to a government.

And nationalism can all too easily become loyalty to the state rather than the nation. Even worse (as in the case of French nationalism and American nationalism) it can become loyalty to an ideology.

If I have to choose between nationalism and globalism I’ll choose nationalism, but without any great enthusiasm.