In his teaching series refuting Kinism, Brian Schwertley has thus far failed to appropriately explain the Kinist understanding of two passages in Genesis: the creation order of “after their kind” and the curse of Ham. He has likewise, in his preliminary discussion on the tower of Babel, failed to explain the true Kinist understanding of race and nationhood as means of sanctification, instead constructing a straw man where we replace the ministry of the Holy Spirit with the practice of ethnonationalism. I will continue dissecting the errors he commits as he provides commentary directly on the tower of Babel.
The Tower of Babel
1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.
3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.
4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
6 And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
After all his preliminary invectives against the Kinist opposition to imperialism, Schwertley seeks to establish his interpretation of Genesis 11, starting with the sin of Babel. He states that the sins of the people of Babel were pride, rebellion, and idolatry: pride, since they set about to make the city and tower as a tribute to their own glory; rebellion, since they were acting against God’s commandment to spread over the whole land (11:4); and idolatry, since they were substituting a godless, humanistic unity for godly unity. Against these sins, God confused their language as a means to thwart their efforts. Kinists are in perfect agreement with Schwertley on these points.
But Schwertley errs in describing the Kinist understanding of this passage. According to him, the Kinist usage of the Babel narrative is that God immediately, supernaturally created racial distinctions at Babel, corresponding these racial distinctions to the new language groups, so that all the new racial groups would be unable (and thus forbidden) to intermarry. Another Kinist utilization of this passage, according to Schwertley, is that the separate linguistic groups created at Babel intend to communicate that those separate groups are not permitted to have any exchange of anything in the future: no transfer of goods, no sharing of ideas, no exchange of recipes, no teaching of foreign languages, and definitely no intermarriage. These are the straw men that Schwertley loves to demolish, and, as they are quite foreign to the text, their demolition is easy. So outlandishly easy, in fact, that it is evident he did not inquire into various Kinists’ belief on the subject.
The general Kinist understanding of Babel is that God’s command to fill the earth (Gen. 1:28; 9:1), which the Babelites flouted, had an ethnonationalist basis (Deut. 32:8; Acts 17:26-27): that the reason underlying the command to fill the earth was not simply a desire of God for certain land to be inhabited, but, principally, His very design of nationhood. This understanding of the dominion mandate is not only more prima facie plausible, for it coherently connects the formation of nations to God’s design for nationhood, but it also asserts its validity when we understand that the linguistic groups formed at Babel corresponded to familial and national groups that were already in place, demonstrating that God intended these hereditary groupings to have intrinsic value, worthy of preservation. Therefore, as the command to fill the earth had an ethnonationalist basis, and as the Babelites rebelled against this command, they were rebelling against God’s design for nationhood, preferring imperial, humanistic unity to the ethnic-national separation for which God has designed man. With this general understanding in mind, let us more clearly expose the follies of Schwertley’s four specific points against our understanding of Babel:
1. Schwertley presents the Kinist position as teaching that the unity of language which the Babelites shared at that time (Gen. 11:1) was itself sinful, representing an illicit mixing of cultures or nations which God sought to overthrow. The clear refutation of such a straw man is that God created man speaking one language, and hence that linguistic uniformity is not essentially sinful. But as stated above, the Kinist understanding of Babelism as imperial amalgamation depends simply on the idea that the diffusion of the nations, which God commanded, is linked with God’s design for separate ethnic nationhood. This link is supported by the fact that when God divided the people at Babel, he did not choose random assortments of people and then assign them to a language group. Instead, God divided the people hereditarily, based upon a group of families descended from a common patriarch. The Table of Nations repeatedly states that the progeny of Noah was divided “in their lands, after their families, after their tongues [languages], in their countries, by their nations” (Genesis 10:5, 20, 31-32). There should be no doubt that the division of nations occurred along hereditary lines, and that they were identified by descent from a common patriarch. God assigned different languages to the different nations, but the existence of the nations preceded the tower’s attempted construction, since their ancestry can be traced from patriarchs who lived before the incident. The initial post-flood dispersion of the nations was intended to geographically separate them both hereditarily and linguistically, and Babel supernaturally expedited this process with severe linguistic confusion. This is why, commenting on Genesis 11, Matthew Henry can state:
God, who, when he made man, taught him to speak, and put words into his mouth fit to express the conceptions of his mind by, now caused these builders to forget their former language, and to speak and understand a new one, which yet was common to those of the same tribe or family, but not to others: those of one colony could converse together, but not with those of another.1
If the linguistic divisions at Babel ran along hereditary lines, and if such a forced division was intended to make men comply with the nationalism of the dominion mandate, then clearly, among other evils, one of the sins of Babel was the mixing of different hereditary lines that ought to have separately diffused throughout the earth. This is exactly why Kinists can cite Babel as an instance of Alienist amalgamation.
Incidentally, while Kinists do not hold that linguistic uniformity is in all circumstances sinful, we do maintain that seeking a one-world language today would be sinful, and for two reasons. First, as Matthew Henry says, to do so would be “to strive against a divine sentence.” God at Babel punished man with a harsh linguistic confusion, so our undoing of that supernatural imposition would be presumptuous. Second, a certain degree of linguistic diversity is built into man by design, so that we would hold this position irrespective of the events at Babel. Even if Adam had never fallen, as man would have spread across the earth he would have progressively acquired certain national and racial distinctions, and corresponding to these would have been cultural and linguistic distinctions. Proof of this can be found in the fact that we have many more language-groups today than could have emerged at Babel, that we can witness languages having evolved in our own records of history (such as Old English), and that peoples who likely did not participate in Babel (e.g. many Shemites) nevertheless had linguistic diversity (e.g. Gen. 10:31). Hence man still would have attained some degree of linguistic diversity without any supernatural acceleration as occurred at Babel, and, as such linguistic diversity would be part of God’s nationalist design of man, it would be a sin to resist this design by imperially seeking a one-world language. However, it is doubtful that linguistic uniformity would have been sinful as early in post-flood history as Babel, for linguistic distinctions would probably have not yet formed, and at any rate, our argument does not depend on that being the case.
2. Still depending on the mistaken notion that Kinists object to the linguistic uniformity of the Babelites as sinful in itself, Schwertley then argues that the linguistic division at Babel was a means to an end: the peoples were growing too strong and too capable of committing great sins, so God weakened them through linguistic confusion, but He had no issue with their linguistic unity as such. Once more, Schwertley here ignores the purpose of this linguistic confusion as relevant to Kinism. True, God sought to weaken the peoples by dividing them, but He also sought to force compliance to His mandate to fill the earth, and as stated above, this mandate has an ethnonationalist basis. No Kinist argues that the imposed linguistic confusion was an end in itself and nothing more; much less do they use that falsehood to argue for racialist conclusions.
3. According to Schwertley, the tower of Babel has no racial implications for the plain fact that God did not supernaturally alter anyone’s morphological features. He did not change “skin colors, hair types or facial features,” but only languages; therefore the passage has nothing to do with race. This is clearly a confused objection. The ethnonationalist basis of the dominion mandate suffices to demonstrate the ethnic or racial implications of Babel; there is no need for, nor have any Kinists stated the necessity of, racial distinctions appearing immediately at Babel.
It would also be important to note here that the Kinist argument does not require morphologically evident racial distinctions to have already existed at the time of Babel. Their presence would better demonstrate the anti-nationalist nature of the Babelite rebellion, fortifying our case, but they are not necessary for our argument. The Kinist argument depends only upon the ethnic design which God has for nationhood (undergirding the command to fill the earth), irrespective of whether that design had yet in history yielded vivid racial distinctions among various peoples.2 But it is quite interesting to note that Schwertley apparently agrees that man has a providential racial design, for he states that racial distinctions emerged as a physical necessity in God’s providence: “God did not in an instant make up different races. Different racial features took several centuries of people groups living in isolation in radically different climates with breeding continuing within a specific geographical area.” Like any Alienist, Schwertley would reduce all the racial-providential workings of God to purely environmental causes, and he would reduce all racial distinctions to purely external features like skin color; but he nevertheless reveals a fundamental problem for the Alienist: since all Alienists hold that racial distinctions emerged necessarily from the diffusion of mankind across the globe, and since all Alienists hold (or ought to) that mankind, apart from sin, would have spread across the globe, then they must hold that racial distinctions are not purely the result of sin, but were incipient within God’s original design of man. Even by their own lights, all Alienists must maintain that racial and ethnic distinctions are not a transient solution to a moral problem, created only in response to sin, but instead a lasting part of God’s creative activity that we will see even in the eschaton (Rev. 21:24-26). The only remaining step to becoming Kinists, then, is their comprehending the obvious fact that race is more than skin color.
Hilariously, after bringing up this point, Schwertley is mysteriously driven to assert that “there is only one race, the human race,” and that the concept of race did not appear until Darwinism introduced it in the past few centuries. Again, I have already demonstrated that this charge is false, and that secular humanism is racially egalitarian – but the very fact that he sees fit to assert such a point leads one to wonder if he caught himself stating too much in his brief discussion of providentially ordained racial distinctions.
Schwertley also argues that as modern linguistic groups do not correspond to conventional racial groupings, Kinists have no grounds to oppose racial intermarriage on the basis of Babel. His goal is to show that skin color does not point to true racial distinctions, for people-groups of vastly different skin colors can be linguistically similar and thus more closely related, making all skin-color-based opposition to intermarriage to be horrendously “racist.” He specifically cites Europeans and Indians: “What is particularly interesting is that the Aryan Indians are linguistically more closely related to Germans than Germans are to the Celtic peoples. Thus, the dark-skinned Indians are more closely related to Germans than are the Irish and the Welsh and the Scottish.” At one point Schwertley even comments, “What morons. They don’t know that Indians in India are Caucasian?” Before calling his opponents morons, he ought to have done some research on the subject in question. Kinists are very much aware that Sanskrit is an Indo-European language, and we are aware that this language was brought to the Indus Valley by Aryans millennia ago. But Schwertley is wrong on a number of points.
First, two different populations can share a common language without sharing a biological relation, due to the providential movement of that language in history. Spanish Europeans are more closely related to the French, even though they are linguistically more similar to the Mestizos of Central and South America given their colonialism. This fact is confirmed by molecular anthropology. So we cannot conclude, as Schwertley does, that linguistic similarity is the same thing as genetic or hereditary similarity. Second, Schwertley is very confused about Indian racial identity. True, there was an Aryan migration into India long ago, but the majority of the population of India remains distinct from the Aryans that settled there. The native Dravidians were somewhat intermixed with the Aryan settlers, making them more closely related to Europeans than other East Asians, but Europeans, such as the Germans and Celts, are still much more closely related to each other than they are to Indians. Third, although the original Aryan migrants who brought the Indo-European language to India have largely been absorbed into the Indian population, there is a discernible remnant still extant to this day, and their clear similarity to Europeans is palpable. The Indian actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is an example of this Aryan remnant, as she clearly is not a representative of the dark-skinned Indians Schwertley has in mind. Thus Schwertley’s main point – that actual racial groupings do not correspond to our conventional racial groupings, which are based more on skin color – is false.
This excursion about Indians should return to the primary Kinist contention regarding Babel: when God linguistically divided the nations at Babel, He preserved their national integrity, not assigning random individuals to random language groups, and He did this because of His overarching design for nationhood: that hereditarily distinguishable peoples should reside in their own lands (cf. Acts 17:26-27). Suppose, from this starting point, that two disparate racial and linguistic groups (Aryans and Dravidians) later encountered each other, so that their languages became mixed (or one subsumed the other). None of this is incompatible with the message which God would have originally communicated at Babel: that He has designed the nations to retain a distinct existence. But that is to say, none of this is incompatible with Kinism.
4. Schwertley alleges that the Kinist view of Babel is that any degree whatsoever of cultural, linguistic, or racial mixing “leads to a one-world government,” and in refutation, he simply cites that the political aims of one-world imperialism are vastly different from and unrelated to the consumption of foreign foods or the utilization of foreign instruments and clothing. In other words, according to him, Kinists hold that “each racial group must remain completely separate,” in the strictest possible sense, “because that is God’s plan for humanity.”
But once more, this is an evident straw man. Kinists do not believe that racial groups can or should live in total isolation from each other. In fact, Kinists believe quite the opposite; just as families can live in independence while interacting with and mutually profiting from other families – though never with an intention of ignoring or assaulting familial boundaries – so also can distinct ethnostates do the same. We affirm that national identity is based upon hereditary ethnic distinctions that ought to be conserved. Consequently, among other things, permanent property ownership within the nation’s homeland should be restricted to the members of the nation itself. This belief in ethnonationalism no more leads to complete ethnic separation than the belief in familial property rights entails the complete separation of families. Just because families can and should own and maintain their own property, it doesn’t follow that people must interact only with members of their own family.
What we do believe regarding Babel is that it displays God’s punishment for man’s violation of the command to fill the earth, and hence of God’s design for distinct nationhood. One of the sins of Babel was refusing to comport with this nationalist design of God, which forbids a certain kind and degree of cultural mixing, but certainly not all cultural mixing whatsoever. However, because this topic requires more elaboration, I will now cover it in further depth.
Some Comments on Culture
Throughout his sermons Schwertley makes several references to culture. He contends that the mixing of the non-sinful elements of culture is entirely without consequence. Christians should be free to adapt different elements of different cultures as long as these elements of culture are not sinful. He also accuses Kinists of supporting pagan elements of Western culture, citing a portion of the Kinist Manifesto to prove that Kinists are supportive of syncretism as the ideal for Western culture:
Nevertheless, we stand or fall with no other but the White peoples of Europe, and their standards of beauty, their cultural achievements, the achievements of their civilization, established through the confluence of pagan and Christian traditions, are both irreplaceable and vital to our survival as a people.
We receive this colorful retort:
Talk of this wonderful confluence of pagan and Christian traditions being “irreplaceable” and vital to our survival as a people. Well, that’s unbiblical and has more in common with the Nazis than the Bible. It’s unbiblical, satanic rubbish; it’s a sin; it’s idolatry. Paganism has nothing to offer us. Nothing. It is offensive to God. All elements of paganism in our culture should be destroyed and replaced with godly counterparts. The gods of the Vikings and the old gods of the Germanic tribes and the old gods of the Celtics: it’s a bunch of satanic excrement, and to say that we need to combine that with Christianity for our wonderful white culture is very similar to the Nazis.
Another straw man. Kinists have never promoted the worship or reverence of pagan deities, but have often been on the front lines protesting paganism or heathenism of any sort. The passage in the Kinist Manifesto is referring to the Christian conquest of pagan symbols and traditions for Christ. Our ancestors’ pagan past contributed to their identity as a people, and we can inherit and cherish that identity, as it has been formed through the confluence of pagan and Christian principles, without thereby promoting a syncretism of pagan and Christian religion.
A prominent example of this is the Celtic cross, which is based upon the pagan sun wheel. Similarly, Sunday originally referred to the Roman pagan celebration of the Sol Invictus, or the Unconquerable Sun. Christians who met for worship on Sunday did not reject the name, but rather altered its significance to refer to a celebration of the Son of God. The Western calendar contains pagan references in our days of the week and our months of the year as well. Parliamentary government is also based upon the pre-Christian Roman practice of the Senate. This has been incorporated by white Christians as an element of the Western political tradition. Schwertley might dismiss all of this as “Nazi” and “satanic,” but this is what Kinists are citing when we talk about Western culture being based upon the confluence of Christian and pagan traditions. To suggest that Kinists support the worship of pagan deities is simply dishonest, and shows no effort whatever to carefully consider our claims.
Next, let’s unpack Schwertley’s assertion that the mixing of the non-sinful elements of culture is a matter of indifference. This is problematic because culture does not arise in a vacuum. We agree that there’s nothing inherently wrong with using non-sinful elements of a foreign culture, especially when these cultural elements arise from a closely-related kindred nation. By definition, if they are adiaphora, then their usage is not intrinsically sinful. However, what is intrinsically lawful is not necessarily righteous to use (1 Cor. 6:12), according to what the circumstances dictate – in our case, what is beneficial for the nation. A nation should place a priority on cultivating its own culture using the resources that it has at its disposal. Without a strong sense of national identity, a nation will lose its unique cultural characteristics that have typified her people’s existence for generations. Different fine cuisines, national holidays, folk customs, and styles of architecture, literature, and clothing arise from nations with a strong sense of identity that give due reverence for their ancestors and due regard for their future generations. Healthy national and regional cultures develop out of the practice of applied ethnonationalism, which has an undeniable basis in biblical law. Schwertley’s position assumes that Christians are to be considered as deracinated individuals, rather than as loyal members of a family, clan, tribe, nation, and race.
Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira has written an excellent article explaining that a relatively closed local and regional economy is needed to preserve the delicacies that we associate with refined culture. Gourmet food, fine craftsmanship, and quality goods and services are the products of a local economy. Cheap trinkets, mass-produced kitsch, and fast food are the products of mass consumerism and multiculturalism. While international trade can and should help to circulate quality goods from all over the world, a healthy priority should be given to local customs and cultural traits, without which quality goods would cease to exist. So while it is permissible to learn a foreign language, eat foreign food, and use some other aspects of foreign culture, this should not supplant our own domestic language and culture. Nehemiah complained that the mixed descendants of Israelites and foreigners were speaking a foreign language (Nehemiah 13:23-24). We can see that Nehemiah considered the preservation of culture to be important, since language and dialect is a manifestation of culture, itself a manifestation of our God-given identity.
According to Schwertley, if Kinists are consistent, we should oppose the teaching and learning of foreign languages. This evidently makes us hypocrites. But the issue for Kinists is not with learning foreign languages or with making use of certain aspects of foreign cultures; the issue is sufficiently honoring and preserving one’s own language and customs. It would not be sinful to learn a foreign language or to make use of the morally defensible aspects of a foreign culture. One can certainly do this to the glory of God, especially if used as a means of evangelization. However, efforts to do away with language and cultural barriers entirely should be rejected as sinful. We join with Nehemiah in opposing his people’s learning a foreign language to the detriment of their own national identity and pride. In a Kinist world, the majority of the time, people would eat the food they made and that was grown locally, use the products that were made locally, and make a concerted effort to preserve and meaningfully contribute to the culture of their ancestors. The products of foreign culture, such as foreign food, customs, and traditions, could be enjoyed as the exception to the rule, without allowing them to supplant the domestic culture.
It should also be noted that the progressive change of cultures over time does not undo this obligation of ours. No Kinist would deny Schwertley’s statement, “Nationalities and cultures have never been unchanging air-tight categories, but have been changing and borrowing from each other from the beginning.” But the mutability and change of cultures does not nullify their reality, nor does it mean that cultures carry with themselves no duties of allegiance.3 Culture has developed over time, but healthy culture has developed within the context of healthy nations with a sense of their own identity.
Further, a national sense of identity is not inconsistent with some usage of another nation’s resources. For example, we often associate tea-drinking with Britons, but their love for tea, when tea leaves are indigenous to Asia, does not entail some degree of blurring between British and Asian cultures. This simply means the British have appropriated a natural resource from another country. The same can be said about Western coffee drinkers; they are not blurring their culture with South American culture, even if coffee beans are grown there. Of course, it can be difficult to draw a line distinguishing all cases of healthy cultural interaction from decadent and imperial cultural mixing (such as our modern phenomenon of “Reformed rap“), but we can at least understand the two categories as separate when inquiring about any particular instance of cultural transfer. We can use extreme examples of the two different types of cultural mixing, but it would be the fallacy of Loki’s wager to assume that, just because they can be practically hard to distinguish, there is no real distinction between the two.
Beyond these cases of cuisine, garb, architecture, and other things, however, it is crucially important to acknowledge that the distinctive elements of a culture involve a number of inarticulable behavioral subtleties in our social interaction. When we speak of having a particular Western culture, we rightly include such elements as literature, cuisine, and garb, but the fundamental joy we derive from a homogeneous culture is how we can deeply understand one another – even feel one another’s souls – in our communication. Rudyard Kipling speaks of this in his great poem, “The Stranger”:
The Stranger within my gate,
He may be true or kind,
But he does not talk my talk–
I cannot feel his mind.
I see the face and the eyes and the mouth,
But not the soul behind.
There is naturally a greater degree of distrust in racially diverse communities, no doubt due to these differences in body language and communication. Even our facial expressions vary by ethnicity, as do a whole number of perspectival subtleties distinguishing our interpretation of events from other peoples’. Living among people similar to us, our kindred, aids us in ways we can hardly articulate. But we can leave it to foolish Alienists like Schwertley, who assert their innocent love for Kung Pao chicken as proof of the permissibility of full-bore cultural mixing, to mock our desires for the preservation of white culture. Fortunately, Schwertley did not double down on Loki’s wager by demanding that “white culture” be defined or else discarded; but his incorrect views on culture are nevertheless inexcusable.
In discussing the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11, Schwertley makes a particularly glaring omission. He fails to account for the context provided by the Table of Nations in Genesis 10. It is abundantly clear that the national divisions reaffirmed at the Tower of Babel were based upon common descent from a national patriarch. Thus there is no basis for Schwertley’s statement that “this passage does not speak to the issue of race at all,” nor is there any grounds for all his other straw men concerning our understanding of the passage. But the plain fact is that, in rebelling against the command to fill the earth, the Babelites also set themselves against God’s ethnic design for nationhood, and hence their imperial aims were thoroughly Alienist.
Schwertley’s sermons are loaded with incendiary rhetoric. He refers to Kinists as “idiots” and “morons,” while referring to Kinism as “satanic,” “rubbish,” and “pagan.” The actual substance of his sermons has not matched his charged speechifying. Schwertley has failed to back up his claims with evidence, like his claim that Germans are more closely related to dark-skinned Indians than to Celts. His analysis of cultural mixing is as problematic as his analysis of Babel itself, since he permits no nuance in the Kinist position, assuming that we forbid any and all possible interaction or communication among different cultures.
We will next look at Schwertley’s case against Kinism using the example of Old Testament Israel. As he argues, Israel wasn’t a society with an identity rooted in heredity, but was exclusively based upon a common faith. Unfortunately, as we will see, his analysis of other Old Testament passages suffers from the same problems.
Read Part 3
- Matthew Henry’s commentary on Genesis 11 ↩
- Biblical arguments for the existence of racial distinctions at Babel would center on the length of time between the flood and the tower’s construction – i.e. the time needed for racial microevolution to occur – particularly assessing the relevance of Nimrod’s (Gen. 10:8-10) and Peleg’s (Gen. 10:25) lifetimes, the possibility of genealogical gaps in the Table of Nations, the timetable which the sons of Noah would have originally established for the post-flood diffusion of nations prior to Babel, and the feasibility of both the post-flood diffusion and the construction of Babel, given the number of men required for both tasks. The subject is complex. ↩
- The belief that mutable or changing things are therefore not real, particularly in the context of race, has sometimes been termed the “Platonic fallacy,” due to Plato’s beliefs about ideal Forms as the only true reality, all else being a mere shadow. ↩