Roebuck on the Catastrophe—and the way forward

Alan Roebuck writing at The Orthosphere has a balanced and sensible view of the decisive historical disaster that has occurred, of the discussion about it that’s been going on at The Thinking Housewife, of what we now need to do, and of the difficulty and uncertainty of it. I highly recommend his article.

I am especially appreciative that he has understood my own arguments in the TTH thread on the relation between the American people and the United States. I am amazed at the incomprehension of paleocon-influenced people who, if you differ at all with the paleocon, tribalist view of America, think that you are a neocon propositionalist. In the stunted intellectual world of these “blood-and-soil” conservatives, you’re either a paleocon or a neocon. They have a set of slogans, and are unable to think beyond them. In particular they are unable to grasp the multi-leveled character of American nationhood—and the multi-leveled character of any possible successor to the American nation.

On that subject, Mr. Roebuck perfectly states what I’ve been inchoately thinking but had not articulated adequately in the discussion so far:

Although we can conceptually distinguish between the people and their governing institutions, in practice these cannot fully be separated. The governing institutions express the people’s view of who they are and how life ought to be ordered. And it will not be enough to preserve physically the existence of (mostly) Christian white people who reject the thinking and way of life of liberalism. A nation is more than its people and their immediate way of life. A nation includes the institutions that govern it and give it structure, such as churches, courts, colleges, government, and so on .

And this means that in order to preserve a remnant, we will need a group of interrelated institutions that express in concrete form the understanding we have of the meaning of life and our way of life. We will have to preserve, or perhaps create anew, a set of governing institutions that will embody the authority that every society needs.

* * *

To clear up another common misconception, the building of new communities of which Mr. Roebuck speaks does not mean quietism and surrender. The federal government under Obama threatens us in all kinds of ways, and political action will be needed to try to head off or lessen these threats, as Stanley Kurtz lays out in a recent issue of NR (not online). For example, Kurtz says, as the destructive realities of Obamacare hit home, they may spark a new tea party uprising, dwarfing the birth of the tea parties in 2009 (which was only in response to the proposal of Obamacare, not to the much worse reality of it), which may possibly succeed in putting obstacles in the path to full implementation. The same is true of other tyrannical Obama measures, including a single national curriculum and the move to allow black cities to tax distant white suburbs.

So, an aroused conservative/Republican politics is still needed to try to block the agenda of the liberal government, which will surely be much worse in Obama’s second term than in his first. But that is not the same as defeating it or replacing it with a conservative government, which is not possible.

- end of initial entry -

November 19

John McNeil writes:

The thread over at the Thinking Housewife was really interesting, and while I confess that I sympathize with the “blood and soil” paleocons, I also see the wisdom in your arguments. I certainly think it’s irrefutable that the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution were the ethnic genesis of the white American nation. I also understand the need for institutions and political authorities in safeguarding a nation.

I’m interested in knowing what kind of institutions we will need to preserve/establish anew, and how we would go about establishing a new societal authority to bind the American remnant.

LA replies:

Obviously I’m not prepared to write about that. Since the election we’re facing an unprecedented, deeply traumatic situation, and we’ve been trying to understand it and orient ourselves, which is hard enough to do. Yet various readers seem to expect from me an entire action agenda for the next hundred years.

Or perhaps the next five hundred, the approximate length of the Dark Ages following the destruction of the western Roman empire. I saw someone say the other day, and I agree, that the coming destruction of our civilization—of institutions, of accumulated knowledge, of ways of living—may equal in its extent the destruction of the Roman civilization.

In The Birth of Britain, Winston Churchill described the comfortable rural villas of Romanized Britain circa 400 A.D. which had inside running water. Then he said that after the Anglo-Saxon conquest of Britain in the fifth century, houses in Britain did not have running water again for another 1,400 years.

[Note: I somewhat misremembered the Churchill passage. See correction here.]

Kristor writes:

I am glad Alan has written this, because I had been feeling that I ought to do so myself, and now I don’t have to. Not, at least, at the big-picture level.

The nuts and bolts, however, are still troubling me. How do we do what ought to be done? I mean, it’s Lindisfarne time again, right?

Off the top of my head:

1. Most immediately:

a. Resolve to pay no more PC jizya (all spelled out in the Solzhenitsyn essay that has been discussed a lot lately in the wider orthosphere).

b. Write, read, blog.

2. Near term:

a. Marry a chaste person, have lots of kids, home school, work in a small business that you own yourself, live in the country far from the urban hellholes, join the most old-fashioned church you can find and attend regularly, and live a virtuous, upright life.

b. Buy and renovate old things, particularly houses.

c. Garden; farm to the extent possible.

d. Arm yourself.

3. Long term:

a. Intentional communities of the right minded? Find other tradents online, find out where they cluster, go there to live.

b. Community resources in such traditionalist enclaves? Nothing fancy: libraries, granges, things like that, to be sure; but also, mutual aid societies.

c. Marry off your kids to the kids of other members of the enclave.

With the exception of 1.b. and 2.d., it’s looking a lot like the Amish.

It helps to recall Saints Jerome and Augustine. Rome was falling; they thought it was probably the end of the world. They thought the jig was up, all of it. They were horrified, devastated with grief. How could they have known that the Roman civilization they loved, and the Church that they served, taken up by Germans and Britons, would go on to conquer the whole globe? How could they have known that their own writings would be so very important to the future of the greater Rome?

I have to keep reminding myself to think, live, and write, as they did, toward eternity, full of confidence that it will trump everything else in the end. As Sage said over at What’s Wrong with the World just yesterday (I think), we have to remember that at Calvary things got as bad as they can possibly get: God himself had been killed. Then look what happened.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 18, 2012 09:23 PM | Send

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