Like Wormwood cast into the sea, the bitter eddies of revolution continue rippling outward, poisoning many waters. From the “old Jewry” (Edmund Burke’s twelve-time reference in Reflections on the Revolution in France) of Paris, to St. Petersburg, to Jekyll Island, to Yalta, to Washington, D.C., and beyond – that bitter tide which eroded the promontories of Christendom is now lapping at every shore and riverbank of the West. Of course, any one single chronicle of this war on reality, no matter how meticulous or voluminous, would be insufficient to address the full breadth of the revolt. For the metaphysical insurrection underway is not restricted to the domain of politics, civics, social niceties, or any limited scope. Rather, it pervades every thought, and every inflection. It is all-encompassing.
That said, I intend here only to touch upon aesthetics. Because this sub-topic necessarily overlaps so many others, I may be accused of additionally addressing forensic anthropology, ethnography, eugenics, and other topics. In part I concede those points in advance, as I don’t think it possible to entirely isolate or compartmentalize these subjects one from another. Be that as it may.
Some years past I was asked to teach a Sunday school class to home-schooled teens in an Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Agreeing, I based my classes on whatever subject the pastor had taught on that morning. It came about on the morning of my very first class that the pastor had taught on the unity of truth, so this spun off in my class to a Socratic repartee on the objectivity of truth; since I was trying to drive home a point which would resonate with the otherwise distracted girls in attendance, I asked one of the young ladies directly, “Is a rose objectively beautiful?” I was genuinely shocked at her answer, which would then be echoed by all present, boys as well as girls. It was the unanimous opinion of these conservative, home-schooled catechumens on the brink of adulthood that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” (unwittingly quoted from Margaret Wolfe Hungerford’s signal work, Molly Bawn). In spite of their having been well-steeped in the tenets of the Reformed Christian faith, these children had somehow, in the realm of aesthetics, been covertly won over in some deep way to relativism and existentialism. This idiom to which they professed fealty, I informed them, was not born of a Christian worldview. I countered with a redacted version: “On the contrary, the Scripture teaches beauty is in the eye of the Creator.” I went on to explain that we are not permitted to gainsay the Lord’s pronouncement that the lilies of the field are clothed in a glory surpassing Solomon’s finery (Matt. 6:25-34). Created things possess intrinsic value prior to our utilitarian considerations, prior to the whim of men and our monetization of the elements. Men, if they hope to think true thoughts, must think God’s thoughts after Him. Or, as Robert Andelson stated it, “[B]eauty is the direct sensory expression of absolute value. . . . [I]t kindles an impulse to open the self further to its penetration . . . and this impulse is a manifestation of the voice of duty even if it be not often so conceived. . . . Art is in this respect an immediate celebration of the divine: the artist knows his work to be a calling, a privilege which is yet an awesome and unsparing obligation.”1
Even if Margaret Hungerford’s escapist fantasies were merely dismissing Victorian taboos, the creed for which she is remembered is now seen as justification for much more: pressed to its logical conclusion, her words flout man’s responsibilities toward beauty, creation, truth, and ultimately God. But as we’ve said, she could not foresee these dimensions to her words, nor envision the multicult era in which we live wherein all traditional conceptions of beauty (even the literary structures of her prose and the subjects of her writing) are regularly denounced for their pretensions of form as “White supremacy,” “violence,” and “terrorism.” In short, Hungerford’s maxim ostensibly criminalizes its own author.
As both fall under the broader category of aesthetics, beauty and art are closely entwined. Since the 1913 NY Armory Show marking the advent of modern art in America, the “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” sentiment greased the slide into the era of “anything can be art.” These slogans were much more than the idiosyncratic reservations of cloistered art critics. They became cannonades in the culture war of social and religious dissidence, a war waged on behalf of cultural Marxism: humanism weaponized. But as with all subjectivist arguments, their critical slogans are themselves objective truth claims – an inverse parallel to Christian doxology – and are, therefore, self-negating and incoherent.
But neither coherence nor the lack thereof are of particular concern to them whose goal is the overthrow of the objective Christian cosmos. Thus they testify against themselves:
“Every work of art is an uncommitted crime.” ~ Theodor W. Adorno2
“Realism and art cannot live together.” ~ Jennette Lee3
“Art is man’s constant effort to create for himself a different order of reality from that which is given to him.” ~ Chinau Achebe4
In spite of their rejection of objective standards, the testimony of the revolutionaries proves that they comprehend the moral and metaphysical dimensions to the subject. They know aesthetics are bound up inextricably with logic, truth, and any number of metaphysical apparatus. Theirs is not only a renunciation of objective aesthetics, but a pledge of hostility against intelligibility itself. It is a declaration of war on reality and, by extension, on the Creator who orders and sustains all.
All of these denouncements of the Western aesthetic as arbitrary and dispensable have naturally emboldened and further enraged those who were historically aggrieved by that standard. All the misshapen unfortunates of the freakshow felt themselves vindicated by the overthrow of the old ideal, and the covetousness of other races were piqued against the fairer tribes. So rose the cacophony of allegations that White beauty standards and Western aesthetics are at once arbitrary, prejudiced, and oppressive; what’s more, they inform us that the aesthetics of Christendom constitute violence and terror by their very nature. Not that they encourage violence and terror, but that they are those things by definition. This of course parallels the thesis of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History: that “beauty is terror.” Which is to say that beauty and Whiteness are denounced in the same terms and for the same reasons.
So it is that one recent campaign of note asks rhetorically, “Is WHITE skin really FAIR SKIN?” This use of the word “fair” is of course a double entendre, as it plays on the fact that in our Anglo-Saxon tongue the word “fair” references both justice and whiteness. Said campaign impugns not just the political and social standing of Whites, but the morality of one being born into a color or morphological characteristic which implies a general beneficence. The question is rhetorical, because regardless of the truth of the matter, the only answer which you are permitted to reach is that White skin is not fair at all, but categorically immoral. No alternative, no matter how much more reasonable, and irrespective of qualification, is acceptable to the inquisitors of cultural Marxism. They hold our caste and form in contempt for the very fact that it suggests virtue and reason.
Originally, the view that the White race and Whiteness itself are but arbitrary social artifices of nineteenth-century America was confined only to the Dadaist, Black liberationist, and Black Muslim circles. Christendom regarded that inane theory with an equal measure of humor and contempt because all recorded history and holy writ testify to the contrary. But the relativist-Afrocentric perspective has, outrageous though it were, nonetheless been installed as the default orthodoxy, lending an ever more horrific vigor to the ongoing culture war. The WASP, as the apotheosis of Christendom, has thereby become the scapegoat of the Alienist narrative.
Never mind that the connotation of fair complexion and refined features with virtue well predates the Anglo-Saxon, and was reinforced amongst us from without by Mediterranean Christendom. Thus the Venerable Bede relays Gregory’s first impression of Anglos’ fair appearance: “They are not Angles, but angels.”
But the modern transvaluation, which demands that light be regarded as darkness and vice versa, casts an uneasy pall over the world of art. Some have come to justify their aversion toward beauty in psychological terms; to this end, Wayne White has mainstreamed the phrase, “Beauty is embarrassing,” and even goes so far as to say that beauty “hurts my feelings.”
However, we realize that embarrassment is but another word for shame. Mr. White (and the White world with him) is now ashamed of beauty. Shame defines the parameters of his work, but to his chagrin, beauty defines his shame. Thus he is nonetheless a slave to beauty, and on him the chains lay heavy, making him hate her all the more.
How different this thanatotic modernism is from the life-oriented words of the Christian Bard:
Good Lord Boyet, my beauty, though but mean,
Needs not the painted flourish of your praise:
Beauty is bought by judgement of the eye,
Not utter’d by the base sale of chapman’s tongues.5
In this one stanza we find the counterpoised acknowledgment of mediate human authority over against man’s duty to speak truth to power under God. Likewise is beauty acknowledged for an objective quality independent of men’s embellishments or subjectivist pretenses. Duty, humility, honor, and objective truth are preconditions to any genuine appraisal of aesthetics. So speaks the bard.
Jeanette Winterson has made this same connection:
If art, all art, is concerned with truth, then a society in denial will not find much use for it.6
Inasmuch as art is metaphysically anchored to truth, liars will abolish genuine art. So the gothic arch, the Saxon spires, and Grecian column fall to the sterile rectangular structures of our day; the cottage and manor house are displaced by the prefabricated bungalow and the drab insect hives of apartment complexes; the cathedral and country chapel give way to industrial park “spiritual centers” and amphitheaters; the heroic frieze of David’s duel with the giant and the white marble of Michelangelo’s Moses are replace by disfigurements and distortions of man and nature shouldered by abstract installations smeared with offal.
But due to my own background in illustration, I see a more fundamental difficulty ahead for the aesthetic rebels. Although the art community is now resolved to hold beauty and whiteness in contempt, they have left many dimensions of this matter wholly untouched. Not for a lack of willingness to further their treason, but out of a genuine confusion at how to proceed without inadvertently granting the axiomatic nature of the aesthetics which they mean to depose.
The standard proportions for the generic man as taught to art students looks something like this:
Even at that remote time, men perceived the divine ratio, alternately called the Golden Mean, or the Fibonacci sequence impressed upon the human body. With what can only be called holy fear, we have marveled for generations at the fact that our instinctual recognition of human beauty is found, upon mathematical evaluation, to somehow accord with very particular expressions of the golden ratio in the human form. Simply put, there is much more than arbitrary preference or prejudice at work here. The Marquardt Beauty Analysis is likewise based upon this Vitruvian principle, and the “phi mask” accords with what art history and students of design have taken for granted at least since the classical era: that beautiful people fit within certain parameters of mathematical proportion and narrow geometric symmetry. It really does appear that the historical White standard of beauty is somehow tied inherently to the divine ratio.
Of course, not all Whites fit perfectly into Marquardt’s phi mask, nor are every White man’s or woman’s bodily proportions in perfect sync with the circumference of Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man, but in both cases Whites fit those proportions far more frequently than any other race on earth. And though the Vitruvian Man was drafted as archetypal Man, his proportions are generic of Whites only. Some Blacks’ facial dimensions conform to the Phi Mask too, though much less frequently. When they do, it is generally on account of White admixture, such as in the cases of Halle Berry, Stacy Dash, or Alicia Keys. Otherwise, absent any mingling, pure Africans typically have little crossover with those golden proportions otherwise known as classical beauty, derogatorily referenced today as “White beauty standards.”
Again, this writer’s foremost concern at present is not ethnography, but the classical Western aesthetic. It seems, however, that we cannot touch one without touching the other.
Specifically, Blacks average larger jawbones as well as cheekbones, a wider pallet, thicker lips, a wider, flatter, albeit shorter nose, larger teeth, larger, further-set eyes (also set higher on the head), and yet smaller skulls which sweep back at a reclining angle to rest quite differently atop the spine than does a Caucasian’s head. Further, the African’s prognathic mouth and jaw are counterbalanced by an unusual protrusion of the occipital/parietal region (posterior of the head). They also average significantly longer length of limbs for their height, as well as feet, palms, fingers, and toes. While the average White’s arm span, fingertip-to-fingertip, is equal to his height, the arm span of the African is typically greater than his height. With hands resting at his sides the African’s fingers are much nearer to his knees than are those of White men. Yet, despite length of limb, their muscles are notably shorter than those of White men. Their hips are generally narrower and their shoulders broader than White men’s. Despite a narrow waistline, they tend to have more distention of the abdomen wall and larger gluteal muscles set much higher into their backs, which tend to be slightly swayed for the sake of balance. Protruding navels are the rule amongst them, while an exception amongst Whites. All of these aren’t just the observations of traditional artists trying to cope with the rigors of the diversity revolution, but also the attestation of Popular Science:
Not only the stature, but the proportions of the body, differ in men of various races. . . . [T]here are certain distinctions which are inherited, and mark different races. Thus, there are long-limbed and short-limbed tribes of mankind. The African negro is remarkable for length of arm and leg, the Aymara Indian of Peru for shortness. Negro soldiers standing at drill bring the middle finger-tip an inch or two nearer the knee than white men can do, and some have been even known to touch the knee-pan. Such differences, however, are less remarkable than the general correspondence in bodily proportions of a model of strength and beauty, to whatever race he may belong. Even good judges have been led to forget the niceties of race-type and to treat the form of the athlete as everywhere one and the same. Thus, Benjamin West, the American painter, when he came to Rome and saw the Belvedere Apollo, exclaimed, “It is a young Mohawk warrior!” Much the same has been said of the proportions of Zooloo athletes. Yet, if fairly-chosen photographs of Caffres be compared with a classic model, such as the Apollo, it will be noticed that the trunk of the African has a somewhat wall-sided straightness, wanting in the inward slope which gives fineness to the waist, and in the expansion below which gives breadth across the hips, these being two of the most noticeable points in the classic model which our painters recognize as an ideal of manly beauty.8
Whenever politically incorrect patterns are discerned from statistical observation, liberals trot out all the same deconstructionist arguments, which amount to an apologetic for irrationality. As a refrain, they will identify various exceptions to the rules, and even deny the existence of racial distinctions due to blending at the boundaries. But this is just the textbook demonstration of a Loki’s wager fallacy. Standing astride the oscillating seashore, they deny the separate existence of both land and sea. But St. John testifies in no uncertain terms that he saw an angel standing with one foot upon the land and one upon the sea, without confusion (Rev. 10:5).
A similar argument is that averages and means applied to races aren’t so much realities as “ideals.” Such ideals, the Alienist assures us, are dehumanizing stereotypes, equal parts lie and murder. But the rejection of stereotypes on account of their being generalizations is ultimately a rejection of not only the “ideal” but all the inductive particulars which define that generality. After all, if generalizations were anathematized, it would proscribe not only the identification of a White man based on his conformity to general qualities of the White race, it would likewise render one incapable of identifying his kitchen table on the basis of its conformity to the general qualities of tableness. Really, the objection to stereotypes, if granted, abolishes all categorization of men and things and outlaws the acquisition of knowledge, inductive and deductive.
Along these lines, the relativist replies that the conglomeration of what are taken as White racial characteristics can neither be found in one person nor imposed on an idealized representative, because those indicative characteristics are too varied in their real distributions,9 meaning that they hold the ideal of Vitruvian Man as fictitious. Depending upon how they phrase their argument, they fall from the fallacy of composition, to the fallacy of division, from there to the fallacy of hasty generalization, and back round again.
Both Christian theology and the common functions of logic militate against this Alienist relativism. Plainly, assumption that an individual is representative of a larger group only if he bears all attributes in common with every member would disqualify both the first and the second Adams as federal heads of the species. This, the Christian must reject. Moreover, Jeremiah takes for granted the fact that Ethiopians are known for their unique skin (Jer. 13:23) – which is to say that he not only stereotypes them as Black, but assumes all right-thinking men to do likewise. So too does Isaiah stereotype the Ethiopian as being “tall and smooth of skin” (Isa. 18:2). Are all Africans tall? Are they all hairless? Would the Alienist dare call Isaiah a liar for stereotyping the Black in such ways? The alternative of accepting the ideal of treeness as definitive of trees is nothing less than the literal inability to see the forest for the trees.
As Lewis explained it, “you cannot see things till you know roughly what they are.”10 As with the Black man, so with the White man: the Scripture everywhere sanctions the generalization and “idealization” of families, tribes, nations, and peoples. The stereotypical Cushite man sketched in Scripture is the conceptual equivalent of Vitruvian Man, and by general equity, a sanction then of the corresponding White ideal of beauty and form.
But this raises all the questions which the art community is conspicuously avoiding: is Vitruvian Man representative of mankind, or merely of the White man? See, whenever an illustrator acts upon his education in accord with all the canons of art history, even his depictions of Africans will appear Caucasian in their dimensions, because the artist will follow all those golden-ratio proportions of the Vitruvian ideal; which is to say that it results most often in depictions of what may be characterized as White men in blackface. I dare say it conjures to the imagination all the vaudevillian minstrel shows of days gone by.
Even if those who hold the Western aesthetic in such contempt finally succeed in killing the old ideal, they will never fully be rid of it, because they will be ruled by their aversion to and purposeful avoidance of the same. Even if their embarrassment at beauty impels them to defer to every extreme of asymmetrical proportion, eschewing all occurrences of golden ratios or anything resembling high aesthetics, they will inadvertently be affirming the permanence of the very thing which they imagine themselves to have killed. This is the history of the matter.
However, both their aversion to the old ideal and their lack of any quantifiable alternative leave them with quite a dilemma. They really have no idea how to formulate another standard to replace it. If they were true to their diversity dogma, they would perhaps have to fashion their new universal man as ten heads tall rather than the eight-head ideal. They’d have to make him corpulent (“fat” is offensive), cocoa brown, bow-legged, with hulking arms that hang to the knees, but tiny palms and feet hosting long spidery digits, slanted eyes, and an afro atop a cranium hinting at microcephaly. Oh, yes, and lest we snub the feminists and LGBT crowd, the new universal man has to be a hermaphrodite, too. If the liberal anathematizes Vitruvian Man on the grounds that he cannot represent every quality and characteristic of the species, replacing him with an asymmetrical chimera will not ameliorate the grievance. It will leave us with a federal representation of mankind which is unrecognizable to anyone, and representative therefore of no one at all. This is why I believe Vitruvian Man has received his stay of execution in spite of modern aesthetic philosophy: no one can conceive of a truly universal alternative. Perhaps, as the age of transhumanism dawns, the Alienist’s inability to reconcile the one and the many will simply result in the abolition of all representations of man? That seems the most apt destination, considering the trajectory of cultural Marxism. The PC vision of man then ends, as Lewis foresaw, in the total abolition of man. Back of this consequent trend is the reality that “those who hate Me love death” (Prov. 8:36). All particular and limited representations of man then become hate speech in the mind of the multicult – all of which was presaged from the early days of modern art by the Dadaist Hans Arp:
The head hangs downward
The legs upward
He tumbles into the bottomless
From whence he came
He has no more honour in his body
Even if they haven’t figured out how to kill the old ideal, they will not halt their attack. The insurrectionists’ gnashing of teeth will continue desecrating the old aesthetic, especially as it pertains to the human form, for the alternative is simply too offensive. They will continue whittling away at the edges, denouncing the Disney princess for daring to bear passing resemblance to that regal image of maidenhood impressed on the psyche of Christendom: that is, they will pillory Sleeping Beauty for being too White, too matronly, too poised, too graceful, and too gracious. They will call for retroactive reworkings of certain characters which they hold to be particularly odious, such as Snow White. They will crown gender-bending Blacks and Mulattos as Miss America and Miss Universe, and sue any fashion magazine they deem insufficiently adversarial to genuine beauty. They’ll hold televised summits to address the hate crime of “flesh-colored” crayons and force manufacturers to relabel them as “peach.” They’ll change the ethnicity of well-established White comic book characters, and even recast the Whitest of the mythological personae as Africans or Orientals, such as in the recent cases of Heimdall (Idris Elba) and Hogun (Tadanobu Asano) in Marvel’s Thor franchise. Historical heroes too, such as Shakespeare, Socrates, Mozart, Beethoven, King James, and even King Arthur will continue being re-imaged as Blacks, or some other race. The heroes of celluloid such as Alan Autry, Wayne Rogers, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Charlton Heston, Steve McQueen, and Chuck Norris will continue to be purposely displaced by the likes of Vin Diesel, Denzel Washington, ‘the Rock,’ ‘50 Cent,’ and others who, by their every aspect, can be sold as nothing more noble than anti-heroes, which are really naught but conflicted villains. In fact, we’re yet to see a true white-hat hero who isn’t White.
How could it be otherwise when the very term “white-hat” is a metaphor for the gallant purity of knighted Christendom? Even the notion of the “white-hat hero” must be suppressed for its racist implications. This means that aesthetics and the broader field of ethics fall together, for they cannot be excised of one another.
It may be asked what remedy Christianity offers the problem from the perspective of other races. We grant that the Vitruvian ideal is truly a White ideal, and therefore germane only to the European race. The answer to this dilemma lies only in the perspectivalism of Kinism. That is, the problem of the one and the many in regard to an idealization of the human form requires us to acknowledge the multiplicity of types within the species. Inasmuch as White beauty standards, the general European aesthetic, and the Christian teleology of divine proportions are all expressed in Vitruvian Man, we expect to find a commensurate ideal for the African-Hamitic Man, if you will. And, likewise, an Oriental Man, and so on, as each wing of humanity perceives need of clearer representation.
Of course, the universal character of mankind would thereby be crystalized in that each idealized man, Vitruvian, Hamitic, Mongol, et al., would share in the obtuse traits of all others: one head, four limbs, two eyes, and a mouth. In this way, then, true unity is obtained only in acknowledgment of true plurality of type. While we have not one mankind, but many, all may be nonetheless acknowledged as mankind. And rather than the pathological denial of telic hierarchy which pervades now, the revival of Kinism applied to our modern context is the only answer to the aesthetic dilemma. Otherwise, even the highest revival imagined in the heart of Alienism offers no remedy – only more of the same embarrassment at beauty and transvaluation of aesthetics. Alienism cannot heal the nations, for it denies them their very existence. For the same reason, neither can it attain any Christian aesthetic.
Man can know himself only in relation to God, and the world demands of us an answer; they demand we give an account of Man in the context of Christianity. When they ask the Alienist, he tells them nothing at variance from their own revolutionary dogma. He has no answer. The Alienist affirms the relativist aesthetic of death. But when the world demands to see the Kinist vision of Man, the Kinist answers, “What kind of man?” Which is to say that Kinism introduces Christian teleology (purpose) and cosmology (cause) into the question. For Kinism sees in different races differing design, and therefore specialized intents and purposes. The lines of an Arabian Thoroughbred differ from those of the draft horse, and the aesthetic of each is particular to its function. Only under the assumptions of Kinism is such perspectivalism and equity possible absent the taint of relativism. For again, Kinism, by way of teleology, affirms beauty not as in the eye of the beholder, but as in eye of the Creator.
Conclusively, Kinism is the answer by all impossibility of the contrary. Only Kinism shall redeem the cause of beauty under God, and therein assuage the shame of the White man’s false guilt, and the envy of all others.
- Andelson, Imputed Rights: An Essay in Christian Social Theory, p. 30f. ↩
- Minima Moralia, aphorism #72 ↩
- The Ibsen Secret, p. 205 ↩
- Hopes and Impediments, ch. 13 ↩
- Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act II, scene 1 ↩
- Jeanette Winterson, Art Objects ↩
- See also this video. ↩
- Popular Science, vol. 19, July 1881. “The Races of Mankind.” ↩
- For instance, http://genderedinnovations.
- C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet ↩