“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
~ Psalm 11:3
“Though we have inherited a morality, we seem to be incapable of reproducing it in living forms which we can pass on to our children.”
~ Elton Trueblood, Foundations for Reconstruction, p. 8
Wherever we look on the spectrum of what is termed “the Right,” we find men groping for some formula to halt our civilizational slide into alienation, both internal and external. Preoccupied though we are with attempts to rout the external alienation that attends invasion by foreign governments and antipodal races, all seem to sense the internal alienation back of it. Everyone knows Western Man is soul-sick somehow. But the diagnoses range widely.
Like rumors of the holy grail, everyone insists the panacea to be found in a different place. Where one claims the restoration of Christendom to come only through a complete surrender to Rome, another insists mending the Great Schism of 1054 is the answer; another claims the answer is in oaths of allegiance to one dead emperor or another, or to one dead pope or another, or to one regional rite or another, restoration of the Hapsburg Empire, loyalism to the Houses of Windsor, or Orange, the Articles of Confederation, a return to the Latin Mass, Fatima, European Imperium, libertarian meritocracy, fascist military coup, return to absolute monarchy, return to the 1646 confession, total merger of church and state, restoring prayer to government schools, unification under the GOP, forming big tent PACs, nihilism, Odinism, marches in the streets, occupying government buildings with militia, donating to one ministry or another, right-wing death squads, total ecumenism of Christian sects, total ecumenism of White people no matter their sect, total obedience to one institutional church or another, meme magic, the Benedict Option, etc., etc. A goodly number of which are heretical, besides.
In spite of their best efforts, all these enclaves of stratagem continue in a state of drift and disintegration, themselves. His alignment with a given theory of organization notwithstanding, a man will not forever cling to an institution that fails to affirm and sustain the basic needs of his life. Hey, GOP pundits are calling for turning out the lights on their own party because, even in the wake of electoral victory, their brand proves utterly useless for the purposes of halting our drift. It fails utterly at its only advertised function. But then again, with respect to the GOP, that failure is so overtly calculated that it bespeaks an entirely different agenda. Regardless, men may huddle in mad dashes to the appearance of momentum, amassed capital, or the last known place that it was seen, but this sort of faith does not differ essentially from market confidence in a given stock. Customer loyalty is ultimately only as strong as the success of the brand. Be it institutional size, solvency, regimentation, or the appearance of continuity, all these inducements boil down to a faith in pragmatism. It is trust in what does, or has, at least for a time, seemed to work. And yet all these have failed to actually work in the past, and in the present. For all our pretensions, pragmatism proves impractical. The utilitarian approach is not altogether useful.
But for all these failed courses, we know something held our civilization together in the past. And that coherence persisted well into the era of exploration when our people circumnavigated the globe, even as they colonized new lands en masse. Something sustained our civilizational solidarity for centuries in direct contact with other races. So we know it isn’t, as the liberals insist, mere “contact with the world” that has decimated us so. It is not mere proximity with other races that has turned us against our own.
Neither was it even the presence of Jews moving about the periphery of our society that ultimately broke us, for they had been conspiring and subverting us for the better part of two millennia before this profound disintegration set in. Even if they have been at the forefront of every revolutionary movement, their subversion goes only so far as we allow it. Were we still a faithful people, they could do nothing to us.
Albeit, sociologist Émile Durkheim, himself a Jew come of a long rabbinic line, under the auspices of a new field of study, set out to discern the chinks in the armor of Christendom. On which he concluded:
For if society lacks the unity that derives from the fact that the relationships between its parts are exactly regulated, that unity resulting from the harmonious articulation of its various functions assured by effective discipline and if, in addition, society lacks the unity based upon the commitment of men’s wills to a common objective, then it is no more than a pile of sand that the least jolt or the slightest puff will suffice to scatter.1
Durkheim’s was an almost Sun Tzu-like study to divine the Achilles heel of an indomitable enemy. Sociology, then, was born nothing less than a Talmudic counter-intelligence operation. Grim a thing as it is, we must reckon with that. Still, were we faithful, even such calibrated sorceries could have come to no effect against us.
But wherein Durkheim’s kinsmen followed his subversion strategy to a tee, those of our own who have in retrospect perceived these same mechanisms of disintegration are met only with growing incredulity. Even if deeply injured by said alienation, the further the process goes, the less men conceive or care about the forms which previously insulated them against that atomization.
Thus have prophets such as Nisbet gone unheeded:
But in the contemporary world we have learned that individual faith unsupported is likely to dissolve altogether under the acids of materialism and the invasions of political power. We have learned that large numbers of nominal Christians are prone, when conditions become desperate, to forsake mere creed for mass movements that make central the values of organization and status. Even when the lure of totalitarianism is not strong, when there is no alternative collective escape, individual faith that is unsupported communally often tends to collapse into self-doubt and frustration.2
We might summarize this statement: absent certain social architecture to reinforce it, the faith which defined and gave meaning to that architecture diminishes and recedes.
Though striking at something essential, Nisbet has nonetheless left us with a chicken-or-egg dilemma: The Faith builds certain forms, but does not long survive the destruction of the forms that it builds. Relative to which, Wendell Berry, addressing it from a more personal angle, says:
The defenders of community should point out, for example, that for the joining of men and women there need to be many forms that only a community can provide. If you destroy the ideal of the ‘gentle man’ and remove from men all expectations of courtesy and consideration toward women and children, you have prepared the way for an epidemic of rape and abuse. If you depreciate the sanctity and solemnity of marriage, not just as a bond between two people but as a bond between those two people and their forebears, their children, and their neighbors, then you have prepared the way for an epidemic of divorce, child neglect, community ruin, and loneliness. If you destroy the economies of household and community, then you destroy the bonds of mutual usefulness and practical dependence without which the other bonds will not hold.3
Apart from the benefits and inducements enforced by the good community — that is to say, parochial strongholds of Christendom — the family as we have known it cannot hold. Yet we know that apart from the family, no such community can manifest.
This realization, and its seeming irreconcilability, has driven some to utter despair:
Children existed . . . to inherit a man’s trade, his moral code, and his property. This was taken for granted among the aristocracy, but merchants, craftsmen, and peasants also bought into the idea, so it became the norm at every level of society. That’s all gone now: I work for someone else, I rent my apartment from someone else, there’s nothing for my son to inherit. I have no craft to teach him; I haven’t a clue what he might do when he’s older. By the time he grows up, the rules I lived by will have no value – he will live in another universe. If a man accepts the fact that everything must change, then he accepts that life is reduced to nothing more than the sum of his own experience; the past and future generations mean nothing to him. That’s how we live now. For a man to bring a child into the world now is meaningless.4
This is what the kids call a “black pill.” The seeming insurmountability of the issue drives many to despair. Post-Christians like Houellebecq, especially. He has become the rich man in the Lord’s parable: from hell he warns his brothers in the land of the living not to follow his path, but ultimately has no solution to save them from his fate. He can only bear witness to the horror and wallow in misery.
But Nisbet answers Houellebecq’s lament from across the chasm:
The experience of the present century, especially in Europe, has taught us that religions most likely to survive the manipulations of hostile governments are those that are most strongly supported by the foundations of community and clear social status. . . .
The union of family, local community, and religion, is strong whenever religion has flourished, for motivations toward religious zeal cannot be nourished by the structure of the church alone. In the contemporary world the continuing reality of religion as an integrating force will depend on the successful fusion of religious impulse and religious organization with all forms of social life that implicate the lives of human beings.”5
To borrow a term from Intelligent Design, what Nisbet here proposes is an irreducible complexity of society: recognizing that “religion” in the usage of the authors under consideration means nothing but Christianity, that faith alone is the foundation and justification of our our folkways, institutions, and customs, the faith is sustained only to the extent that it is reinforced by said social architecture. If the folkways of a covenant people fall out of conformity with the faith, the faith itself falls into eclipse. For either Christian faith or forms to flourish, they must flourish together.
Good missiology then necessarily precludes all expressions of the faith that are non-dominionist in nature. They can neither sustain nor inherit. All two-kingdoms, pietist, quietist, emergent, and gnostic strategies like Dreher’s Benedict [Arnold] Option necessarily wither and die. And so, too, with the culture that embraces them. Theirs is the role of retreat, collapse, treason, and suicide. Any Christianity without a holistic outward social and cultural effect is blown away with a breeze. Hence, even if flaring momentarily bright, the recurrent revivals based in retreatist conceptions of the faith fizzle out as fast as they ignite, albeit a little dimmer each time, until only smoking flax remains.
This self-destruct mechanism is built no less into the Alienism that has flooded the Reformed churches in recent years, as their view of dominion is entirely predicated on the erasure of all that defined historic Christendom, even the peoples who comprised it. Yes, they imagine they can renew Christendom by replacing all that defined it with new social and cultural supports. And these are not simply different forms, but nigh diametric inversions thereof. The Christendom they imagine to revive is a negative film roll to the Christendom that actually was. Among other things, they repudiate the existence of ethnic nations and the patriarchal trustee family, which, being interlocking degrees of the same thing, define Christ’s Kingdom in Scripture. They even go so far as to deny all human differences including intelligence, talents, handicaps, and unequal moral inclinations between tribes, and in most cases, declare all physicality either evil or meaningless. All of which any student of Scripture and history will recognize for a patent reprisal of that eldest heresy, Gnosticism – the strain called Docetism, particularly.
St. Paul in his disclosure of the divine rationale behind ethnic segregation has both refuted the Alienist and affirmed the irreducible complexity of society:
“And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us.”
~ Acts 17:26-27
Let Ham’s and Piper’s nonsense be put to bed on this. Their coming of ‘one blood’ in no way negates the fact that God segregated the ethne ‘that they should seek, feel after, and find Him.’ Which means ethnic isolation is, in some essential way, the ordained means to further true religion. Simply put, the natural disambiguation of races, tribes, and clans facilitates Christian civilization over against the egalitarianism forever emblematized by Babel. Never mind, too, that the word blood in that favored Alienist lynchpin ‘one blood’ may be absent from the original autograph and apparent for a later clerical embellishment.
Incidentally, an early Reconstructionist by the name of Trueblood offers poignant commentary:
Perhaps the most beneficent effect of sectarian ties arises from the way in which denominational religion may help people to glory in their own heritage. In short, it helps them to honor their fathers and mothers. . . . Since I did not choose it [my heritage], I am not free to lay it down. I have a heavy responsibility to see to it that the torch shall not fall from my hands, before I pass it on to those who come after me.
All who care about our culture, and are consequently worried by the moral slump which is demonstrated in so many particular ways, must agree that we dare not allow the most important single means of moral development to go unemployed. . . . It is widely agreed that character is formed, not primarily by overt moral teaching, but far more by the sense of belonging. People grow by virtue of social membership, because they strive to live up to that of which they are supposedly a part. Conscious membership is the most powerful single stimulus in all human behavior. The mere notion of sharing in the life of a particular family may be a great incentive to better living. There are many who remember all their lives the special standards of their families, so that they can say, when a crisis arises, ‘Browns don’t do that.’
Now the point is that denominational loyalty is precisely the sort of thing we need in the formation of character. Secular society can provide nothing equal to it. For many of us who were fortunate enough to have our childhood at the beginning of the [20th] century, before the start of the Thirty Years’ War, there were local churches that were decisive in their pervasive influence. It may have been a modest church in the country, but wherever it was, we loved it. I can remember best the scenes outside the meetinghouse door. . . .
Charles Morgan speaks for many of his age when he writes, with powerful tenderness, of the village church of his boyhood:
‘…when the decision was made and the little procession had set out, the power of ritual asserted itself — not yet the ritual of the Church, but that of the fields, the bells, the angle of the sun, of other figures approaching down the convergent lanes of the hill opposite. In the churchyard, if the five-minute bell had not yet begun, there was a pause for neighborly conversation, and it was possible to wander among the graves and read again the inscription which, long ago, had been learned by heart. Inside the church itself was a mingling of daylight and lamplight, a pallor of glass which would presently darken, a low gleam of stone and wood; and all these things bespoke the hour and month, and were part of the order of the seasons.’
There are many, slightly younger than we are, who, unfortunately, never had such experiences. Some of them were victims of the awful heresy that children are fit only for Sunday School and are not able to profit by participation in grown-up people’s services, with the attendant sense of belonging. Some were victims of the general secularization of our whole society. Many are the children of parents who having despised their own heritage, supposing it to be too narrow and cramping, and have ended, not by giving their children a more inclusive heritage, but by disinheriting them entirely, so far as our major tradition is concerned. The parents, being a bit ashamed of the narrow-minded churches of their own youth, have ended by giving their children none.6
Taken out of context, Trueblood could be understood as advocating the ‘smells and bells’ salvation of Roman or Orthodox ecclesiocentrics, but this is not his message. His emphasis is the community, culture, and experience supportive of Christian civilization, and therefore of the Christian Faith; and that, with focus on the covenantal seedbed, the family.
He also wanders close to virtue ethics in regard to sanctification coming more from belonging than from overt teaching. But since the necessity of God’s law for society is the thesis of the same book, it is clear that he means only to emphasize the reciprocal blessings of Christian doctrine lived. His entire argument is one of Christian Reconstruction, after all, and as such, his very writing of the case assumes the indispensability of a propositional faith.
At core, his is an argument for all the interlocking and reciprocal supports of belonging, legacy, heritage, custom, and identification with our fathers and mothers that together foster and sustain the Christian faith. In short, the irreducible complexity of Christendom.
Central to the honor due our fathers and mothers is an imperative to see through their eyes, and insofar as they are wholesome, to share in their experiences. By wholesome, of course, we mean those arts, customs, habits, and perspectives that they lived in accordance with the Faith. For when we break those ties of mutual experience and affection on the grounds of some libertarian or gnostic argument that said forms and manners aren’t explicitly commanded, we have indeed failed to keep the commandment to honor our ancestors. And as the fifth commandment warns by way of negation, when slips that honor, so does our hold on posterity and the land.
This is why in Tönnies’s famed typology, societies of homogenous faith and folk — Gemeinschaft — tend to be a fixed set historically. Whereas Gesellschaft “open societies” of political and economic abstraction and religious pluralism are of a set with racial egalitarianism and empire. The further pattern of which is that, all else being equal, societies of unitary creed and breed are far more peaceful and cohesive than their multicult counterparts, which are otherwise a perpetual torrent of violence, chaos, and upheaval. This circumstance of national homogeneity, being itself a definitional limitation on identity, is undergirded by that principle in such a way that it also grants other various limited identities within said ethnic unity: things like sovereign tribes, communities, clans, and houses. All of which are otherwise confounded under the circumstance of egalitarian societies. Where hereditarian societies foster that natural aristocracy of fathers and mothers assumed under biblical law, and essential to the covenant, multicult societies spurn, suppress, or denature all kin-ties.
The limited and defined identities of ethnicities are not only specified as the material entities on which the Great Commission was meant to work (Matt. 28), but historically prove the only platforms for long-term inculturation of Christianity as well. Which is precisely what St. Paul intimated in his Mars Hill sermon, too — that God segregated the ethne for the furtherance of true religion. Ethnonationalism, and the principle of organized diversity, the trinitarian social theory that Rushdoony vindicated so often in works like The One and the Many, is the ordained framework in which Christian missions and dominion work.
The alternative to this — the universal/egalitarian/pluralist society championed today by Jews, satanists, secularists, and gnostics of every stripe — accords only with Babel (Gen. 11) and the “vengeance of the covenant” (Lev. 26 & Deut. 28) that befalls apostatized nations.
The covenant society, being a self-conscious reflection of the ontological Trinity, demands no ontological subordinationism between the components of society, but rather, all to Christ. And all therefore reflect the same metaphysical ultimacy — church, state, nation, race, tribe, community, clan, family — all these are established in countervailing ultimacies. Or as Dooyeweerd spoke to the matter:
The Christian view did not place a new community (the Church in its transcendent religious sense) on a parallel with, or if need be, above all temporal relationships, as a merely higher level in the development of human perfection. Nor did it project a cosmopolitical temporal community of mankind beyond all boundaries of families, races, and states, in the stoic fashion.
Instead, it laid bare the religious meaning-totality of all social relationships, each of which ought to express this meaning-totality according to its own inner structure. Without this insight into the radical spiritual foundation of human societal life, the differentiation of structural principles of temporal society cannot be understood in its true meaning.7
So Durkheim was correct in his plan of attack. With the undermining of certain rudimentary supports of Western civilization, the pillars of the house buckle, and giving way, the edifice itself cannot long stand. Be they old as the hills, flowers cut from their roots can wither in a day.
Rest assured, our enemies have not overlooked that central institution of the family. Having weaponized her sister institutions against her, it is the Christian family that may have received more concentrated fire than any.
But in their proud exertions against Christ’s Kingdom, it is precisely this administrative top-down approach, while appearing so effective against us, that underestimates the central reservoir of power — the Clan under God. Rushdoony notes, “In Rome . . . the church met in homes, and families were the basic Christian institution.”8 So Rome fell no less before the power of Christian septs within than from Christian Visigoth tribes without.
For it is neither church nor state that essentially suffuses the family, but the family that permeates and animates both. The church being comprised of families under the leadership of federal heads of household makes of the church an aggregate of families. Likewise with the state, as the magistrate is staffed from amongst a given constituency and represents therein those same clans.
Granted, per the current condition of the other institutions, the Christian family is in stark eclipse. We are an occupied people. But the family’s fundamental arrangement and economy piercing to the heart of all other institutions as it does, leaves the avenue of reconstruction clearly open to us. The family, being society in microcosm, subject to Christ, is the tie that binds. According to Scripture and all surveyance of historical and social mechanism, our civilization is, like so many ecosystems observed in nature, of an irreducible complexity. If so, it can be built and sustained only by the divine Architect. So we propose no shrewd political strategem as panacea as if the power were in our tactics, nor do we prescribe any particular benediction to be the ultimate remedy, as if the power were in human presentation. Our civilization is of divine manufacture and cannot be synthesized. Though the family remains the central hub and nexus of power under God, all turns on God’s grace: a grace evidenced by the faith manifest in the houses of the elect.
Even should our nations fall, God has promised to preserve Himself a remnant. Even if the lights are dimming in the West, He has sworn that He shall not quench a smoldering wick, and that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His assembly. As our apostatized kinsmen are bred out by the vengeance of the covenant, some elect lines abide, a holy covert. And like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob of old, the manifestation of that irreducible complexity of Christendom proceeds with them.
- Allan, Kenneth (2005). Explorations in Classical Sociological Theory: Seeing the Social World, p. 136 ↩
- Robert Nisbet, The Quest for Community, p. 224 ↩
- Wendell Berry, Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community, pp. 124-125 ↩
- Michel Houellebecq, The Elementary Particles ↩
- Robert Nisbet, The Quest for Community, pp. 223, 225 ↩
- Elton Trueblood, Foundations for Reconstruction, pp. 56-59 ↩
- Herman Dooyeweerd, New Critique, III, p. 215 ↩
- RJR, The One and the Many, p. 130 ↩