29 January 2015

Reactionary VS Conservative

So what is this Thomas Carlyle Club for Young Reactionaries, and how do I join?

Where I stand, and how I got here.

Happy New Year 2015!  Such as it is.  What am I the weather man?

Anyway, here's hoping for better year than last.

What would that look like?

Would it mean restoring the heir of the Stuart throne to Westminster, or Washington?  How about reforming the Holy Roman Empire?  At this point I'd settle for a little less progress, revolution, and degeneracy being shoved down my throat.

But its important not to place our hopes in this world, trust not in princes, let alone in politicians.  Our hope is in the next world, our true King is eternal, as is our true Kingdom.  Down here on Earth we must simply do as best as we can.

So, how did this recovering South-Western American,Yankee Neo-Conservative, Patriot, Liberty Crusader turn into a Paleo-Conservative, Authoritarian, Reactionary Monarchist?  One might say it was a journey of a lifetime, that I've always been here, or that I've always been moving here, that I've finally come home.  Or one might say that I've read too much, and seen too much, and put two and two together and gotten fifteen.

Something is wrong with the world, something deep, something just under the surface, just in our peripheral vision but never in focus.  Why do I feel like an alien in my own time and place?  What does it mean to be a man in a culture that despises manliness?  What does it mean to be an American, when the pillars of society and culture say that being American means anything, everything, nothing?  What if everything we know (as conventional red state 'conservative' Americans) is simply not just so?  What if Harvard and Yale and the Daily Kossacks are more authentically American than any of us red-neck Jesus-Landers?  Scary thought, no?

But let us begin at the beginning.

I was born and raised steeped in the red-state, Western US experience, at the tail end of the Cold War.  I remember watching Reagan's second inaugural on TV.  Seeing Red Dawn was a foundational experience, I remember 'earthquake' drills in Indiana, hiding under our desks.  For me, War-games is horror movie.  My great shame is not having been old enough to vote for old Ray-gun.  Seeing the Wall come down on TV was a life changing event.  Now, I was a precocious child, most of my playmates didn't care about these things.

Socrates is right, ignorance is bliss.

I was raised Mormon, at least initially, but like many of my generational cohort, I was raised in a broken home, bouncing between living with Mother and Father; attending Church only in fits and starts, early on experiencing faith as if I was at buffet of religiosity, a smorgasbord of traditions. I distinctly remember a fondness for the traditional and apostolic rites of Christianity, both Eastern and Western ,even then, but quite naturally, I rebelled.  Tired of bouncing between weltanschauungs both familiar and deeply alien (Hare Krishna, Dad, really?), and finally put off faith altogether by an experience with Sufism (no, I don't want to talk about my feelings, nor do I want to do transcendental meditation, I'm a teenage boy, thank you very much). I declared my independence, I said, I'm agnostic and I just can't bothered about this God question now go away, or I shall taunt you a second time!

Naturally, this de facto atheism lead to many more errors.  I became a... shudder... Libertarian.  It seemed natural enough at the time, I was reading the Federalist Papers, and the Anti-Federalist Papers, and Common Sense lead to more Thomas Paine, and thence to John Stuart Mill, and Milton Friedman, and Ayn Rand, and so on and so forth.  At this time I was also immersed in the 90s anti-pinko, anti-Clinton milieu.  I read American Survival Guide and Soldier of Fortune like I should have been reading the Bible.  Then I read David Icke, and boy howdy do we ever need an Index Librorum Prohibitorum in this day and age, let me tell you.  Naive, I became convinced that the Gospels are a-historical, a sham.  I am probably going to hell.  So kids, let this be a warning.  Listen to your parents, don't read bad books, and eat your veggies.

Then I graduated from high school and found myself at the local community college, taking courses fitfully, just plain lost in the world.  This was Year of Our Lord 2001, September of that year, and well, you know.  So I joined the Army.  Seemed like the thing to do at the time.  I finished training just in time too, my unit crossed the border between Kuwait and Iraq as part of Operation Cobra II on 20 March, Year of Our Lord 2003.  You'd think that it was my time as an enlisted private soldier that knocked the wind out of Libertine jib, but sadly, that isn't so.  Like many of my fellow Soldiers, especially White Male soldiers from the American South or West, I could very easily reconcile military discipline with 'liberty', especially seeing as we where all professionals, volunteers, highly paid to be subject to UCMJ and the command of our officers.

No it was the 'real' world,  or at least the corporate world that slapped that stupid out of me.  Look, I know how fouled up the Army is, the dirtbags we have to sometimes carry to accomplish our missions, the sheer youth of everybody involved at the sharp end, yet somehow we got things done, in highly stressful situations, without the comforts of home or even the proper tools.  The civilian world is different, shit doesn't get done, when it does, its the same two or three people in the room carrying everyone else.  What is the difference?

That was a question that would haunt me for a long time.

It was around this time that I read something than changed my life.  Strangely, or perhaps not so strangely considering the effect of Heinlein in confirming my youthful dalliance with Libertarianism, it was a work of fiction.  SM Sirling's Dies the Fire or Emberverse series tells a story of a world where electricity and pneumatics stops working, meaning no gadgets, no internal combustion, no guns, no explosives, no steam, nothing fancier than hydraulics and spring power.  After the die off the strange get going, giving us a world of neo-gael witchy archers and US Marine cataphracts, and ex-mafia knights and militant monks and magick and mystery, visions and apparitions, quests, and blood, and thunder!  Its a rollicking good time and I highly recommend it.

As a long time survivalist I was terribly struck by the centrality of food to life, and the centrality of agriculture to food, and land to agriculture, and sheer physical labor involved when machines are not an option.  The need for many hands to make light work, and to fight to keep the sweat of your brow, meant that a nuclear family, even a single extended family is hideously vulnerable.  The only intelligible unit of survival is a community, a tribe.  And what binds a community together is a story, a myth, because men do not live by bread alone.

Then too, I'm reading The 5,000 Year Leap and I'm thinking, OK, I can reconcile the 'Myth of the West' (Christianity) with Classical Liberalism (ie the American Revolutionary movement and modern day Libertarianism).  Only one problem, all those obnoxious atheist liberals who happen to like property (Paul-bots), what claim to be the true inheritors of Thomas Paine and Patrick Henry.  And just go back and look at the the anti-Christian stuff that comes out of Jacobin, pro-French revolution wing of the founder's generation, frankly, they're not entirely wrong.  Dig a little deeper into the history of the Myth of the West, and one finds an even bigger problem with squaring the circle; Classical Liberalism is a Protestant project, and Protestantism is a product of the so called 'Enlightenment' that which also gives us modern 'Liberalism' aka Humanism, aka, Atheism.  Ooops.

Now I have no doubt that there are many good and believing folks of all manner of Protestant confessions, I have no doubt because I personally know this to be true, I grew up in just that sort of milieu!  So, what does a confused young man do when his personal project to make sense of his place in the world founders on the rocks of reality?  Why double-down of course!  Damn the torpedoes and ahead full steam!  I can square the circle if I just try hard enough, want it bad enough.  I grew up imbibing the myth of America, honoring the fathers that came before us, and is this not good and true and meet and right so to do?  But what if the Myth of America and the Myth of the West don't get along?

Never you mind!  I'll just look around for a form of Protestantism that still contains as much of the Myth of the West as is possible but still making peace with the Enlightenment, Modernity, and Classical Liberalism. At the same time mutating my now ill-fitting classical liberalism into a sort of national populism, just shy of ethno-nationalism, because I'm still enough of an un-self critical liberal to say that a propositional nation is possible.  Well it is, but it has to be one heck of proposition, like, say, believe in me and you shall have eternal life, that sort of thing.  The only successful multi-ethnic states have shared a religion... hint, hint...

As luck would have it, the place I was living just happened to be a hot-bed of just such a form of Protestantism.  The Anglican Church in North America is a break away sect of high-church, theologically conservative Episcopalians who could not abide openly gay clergy.  Womyn-priests sure, but gay priests we say nay!  So I think I've done it, victory at last!

But there remains a doubt.  Why should there be a Church of England?  On what Authority does it exist?  The King's?  But we don't have a King, and why do I care if Henry wanted an annulment?  Whatever do I have to Protest?  Do I want the laws of prayer and belief subject to majority vote?  Because that's working so well in my own country?  We just elected Barrack Obama for Christ's sake!  And look at this, there are so many Anglicans/Episcopalians converting to Catholicism, that the Pope is setting up an alternate structure within the Latin Roman Church just for them...

Well shit.  Oh, hey, I'm married now, and I've got a baby on the way, I'm going to be a daddy and I'd better figure this stuff out.

And then I read Bonald, and Moldbug, and Robert Filmer, and Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, and, and... Well you get the idea.  So let's review.  Here I am, I have found modernity alienating since I was a child.  I remember being powerfully affected by JRR Tolkien, Homer, Virgil, by Arthur, Roland, Charles Martel, Beowulf, and Aragorn.  I remember being struck by the mystical relationship between the King as Imago-Christi to the people and the King as Father to the people and the land as a junior high school student.  I remember remarking to my best friend in high school, 'how can we develop Arete without a war or some danger to confront?'  I have nothing to Protest in the undiluted Myth of the West, well, let's be clear, in Roman Christendom, and everything to gain, up to and including my soul if I am very good and very sorrowful and repentant from now on.  Come on, let's all swim the Tiber, the water's fine!

Only I get to other side, and something smells off right away, but that's for next week's update.

28 January 2015

Standing by

The doctor is in, expect new content soon...

Bloody ungrateful bastards!