An idiosyncratic argument on how to save the West
Cesar Tort has posted an entry consisting of Conservative Swede’s discussion at Gates of Vienna earlier this summer (which was discussed at VFR here), on whether the West’s suicidal course can be reversed. I skimmed through the original, huge discussion at GoV, which in Cesar’s rendition has been expanded further—to 26,000 words. It’s not something I’m inclined to read, first, because of its length, second because apparently Conservative Swede’s main thesis is that for the West to save itself it must reject Christianity and create some new, non-Christian culture; and third, because, even before Swede’s turn in the summer of 2007 against the West, against conservatism, and against me personally (with all three turns occurring simultaneously—as I said at the time, paraphrasing Nietzsche, there was a need for more psychologists), he had already started moving in a strange direction, arguing that the reason religions exist is to legitimate the power of some people over others. (Go here and read the three paragraphs starting “Conservative Swede doesn’t believe in God. He believes that power is the ultimate reality.”) A person with such a false and reductive view of religion is completely unable to explain human culture and is therefore completely unable to give sound advice to us on our culture.
Now maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Swede has gone beyond his jejune nihilism of 2007 and has developed sound and important insights from which we could benefit. But I’m not going to read 26,000 words of his blog comments to find out.
I’ve asked Cesar Tort if he could write for me a summary of Conservative Swede’s thesis.
Update Sept. 7 2:50 p.m.:
Cesar Tort has added a 500 word preface to the entry as I suggested. As Cesar explains it, Conservative Swede’s thesis seems to come down to the idea that as long as we remain Christians or neo-Christians (i.e., non-believing persons who believe in Christian culture and morality), we will lack the severity required to drive Muslims and other non-Westerners out of the West and restore our societies. He’s saying we must go back, not just to the pre-Sixties, not just to pre-World War II, not just to pre-Enlightenment, but to pre-Christianity. We must adopt the hard ethos of the ancient Romans. Then we will be able to take the actions necessary to save ourselves.
Let’s leave aside the fact that since the time of the Renaissance discontented European intellectuals have been calling, either without avail or with disastrous results, for a return to the pre-Christian past. Let’s simply note what Swede is saying. He’s saying is that before we try to do anything to stop the immediately urgent threat of Islamization, we must first dismantle and then reconstruct our entire civilization. This apparently is the policy in the name of which he’s been telling the anti-Jihad blogosphere for the last two years that my approach, which I call Separationism, is weak and unrealistic.
I would say that we have to start from where we are. I think it’s possible for Westerners, when they see the catastrophric consequences of modern liberalism with its ethos of non-discrimination and openness, to give up modern liberalism and thereby free themselves to defend themselves. Extremely difficult, but possible. But to say that we cannot not do anything about Islam until we first wage war against and overthrow our own Christian religion and culture, is to doom ourselves to impotence and extinction.
Which raises a reasonable question: is Conservative Swede’s main purpose to save the West from Islam, or to get rid of Christianity? Ironically, when he turned on me two years ago, it was because he thought (mistakenly) that I oppose liberalism so much that I would sooner surrender to Islam than cooperate with liberals to protect the West from Islam. But a mirror image of the same accusation could be directed at him: Does he hate Christianity so much that he would rather surrender to Islam than cooperate with Christians to protect the West from Islam?
Cesar Tort writes:
There is an error in your summary of ConSwede:LA replies:
Ok, so he envisions a Western restoration taking place only after the complete collapse of the present civilization and perhaps its takeover by Islam. Of course, I’ve always said that such a defeat and destruction may happen. But I take my stand on the hope that short of such total catastrophe we can save ourselves. Swede, by constantly attacking my Separationist strategy of rolling back, isolating, and containing Islam, seems to exclude the very possibility of Western self-defense and restoration this side of a new Dark Age. It would be a Dark Age in reverse. Just as the First Dark Age was brought on by the fall of Rome and led to the rise of Western Christendom, Swede’s Second Dark Age will be brought on the fall of Western Christian Civilization and lead to the rebirth of Rome. On such flamboyantly idiosyncratic notions he bases what he calls the defense of the West.John Dempsey writes:
Does Conservative Swede have a clue as to who were the only people to ever defend themselves against or attempt to conquer Muslims? And I’m not talking about the recent spats between Muslims and the Danish Hell’s Angels. I’m talking about Christians, real Christians. Our European ancestors. The Christians who actually believed in Christ, not some pagan worshipping idea called Christianity wherein Christ is all but abandoned. Christians who used to understand and believe that it was they who must conquer other peoples, and in turn, rule them in a benevolent fashion in order to keep mankind from falling into utter darkness. Maybe Conservative Swede is simply confused about what Christianity is, and with good reason. Today’s halfway house Christianity is not the faith of our European forefathers. It is capable of defending absolutely nothing.Cesar Tort further clarifies:
Therefore, after the world collapses because of our stupid axiology, Con Swede predicts an Umwertung aller Werte, a term that R. J. Hollingdale, the Penguin Books translator of Nietzsche translates as “revaluation of all values”. Con Swede and other GoV-ers see the forthcoming “end of the world as we know it” as catastrophic as the fall of Rome. Nonetheless, Con Swede in particular is very optimistic. Badly hurt but phoenix-like, later in this century Westerners will not only revert to the ethical values before the 1960s, but in other aspects to the values cherished by us before World War I and even before the French Revolution and Christendom (both Con Swede and I admire the hard ethos of the ancient Romans).LA replies:
Cesar’s further clarification only confirms the correctness of my previous comment. Conservative Swede sees no hope of defending the West and driving back Islam, prior to a collapse of our present civilization.Cesar Tort writes:
Oh boy!: I didn’t know you would publish my first email, which was written in a hurry. Next time I’ll take more care with my email syntax.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 08, 2009 10:44 AM | Send