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Culture Archive


Daily Work of Art

Page: Jupiter and Semele

Artist: Gustave Moreau

Completion Date: 1895

Style: Symbolism

Genre:mythological painting


Material: canvas

Dimensions: 213 x 118 cm

Gallery: Musée Gustave Moreau

““In the midst of colossal aerial buildings, with neither foundations nor roof-tops, covered with teeming, quivering vegetation, this sacred flora standing out against the dark blues of the starry vaults and the deserts of the sky, the God so often invoked appears in his still veiled splendor.”

—Gustave Moreau

Painted in 1895, Jupiter and Semele plunges its viewers in realms of myth and magic. According to Roman mythology, Jupiter seduced the mortal princess Semele and produced Bacchus by this union. Seated on his celestial throne, the King of Heaven clutches bloodied Semele like a limp doll while multitudes of deities crowd around them. Bloodied and exhausted, the princess experienced intercourse with a god and will now bear a divine son synonymous with fantastic rites and wild Maenads. Below them flock wild Pan, silent Death and terrifying Hecate. Additionally, a three-head devil and several angels crowd around the throne to see the wounded princess. Riotously colorful, the hosts of splendor crowd every inch of the canvas and invite onlookers to partake of this extraordinary spectacle.

Oppositional to Impressionism, Jupiter and Semele boldly defends both Symbolism and its artistic techniques. Unafraid to depict romantic mythology, Moreau proved he could produce works of sophistication. The painting’s detailing creates a scene of encrusted gold, heavenly glories and physical delight. Pierced by the god, Semele experienced orgasmic ecstasy unlike anything on earth. Now the bearer of Bacchus, she will be honored as the mother of an Olympian. Jupiter and Semele valorized Hellenic cosmology and in so doing created an opportunity for viewers to experience our race’s original religion. Subversive and fascinating, it compels us to slip off our bourgeois assumptions and experience the mystery cults of old Arcadia.


Daily Work of Art

Title: Salome Dancing Before Herod

Artist: Gustave Moreau

Completion Date: c.1875


Genre: religious painting


Material: canvas

Dimensions: 61 x 92 cm

Gallery: Musée national Gustave Moreau

Finished in 1875, Salome Dancing Before Herod constitutes Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau’s greatest achievement. Resplendent with Orientalist imagery, it depicts Salome lasciviously gyrating before fiendish Herod Antipas. Wreathed in translucent silk and bedecked in sapphires, the harlot contorts her sensuous, alabaster body to please Galilee’s profligate tetrarch. With every shake of quivering thigh and pouting breast, she urges spectators into frenzied lust. Flavius Josephus chronicled that Herod promised Salome anything she wished if she would dance for him. Following her terpsichorean spectacle, she legendarily demanded the head of John the Baptist.  Herod reluctantly ordered God’s prophet executed and presented his head on a silver platter to Salome. In Salome Dancing Before Herod, Moreau used his full talents in executing this scene of Biblical sumptuousness for his Parisian audiences.

Rich in color and detail, the painting invokes luxurious scenes of palatial Eastern harems. Perceptively, Moreau included a multi-breasted statue of Cybele above Herod’s throne; thereby referencing ancient whisperings of orgiastic rites. With her erotic litheness, Salome powerfully evokes concupiscence in her withered, malevolent potentate. Moreau appropriately applied multiple layers of glaze onto the canvas in order to create a gossamer wrapping over his splendorous phantasmagoria. Bright droplets of paint illuminate Salome’s milky body but Moreau wisely chose to veil them under rich lacquer. This artistic technique heightens the painting’s fantastical vision of Herodian decadence. Teasingly challenging us to scrutinize more closely, his Salome Dancing Before Herod proffers the promise of esoteric knowledge if we can pierce the veil and expose the magnificent glory before us.



Landmark Collaboration Between Oxford and Vatican Libraries Brings Ancient Texts into the Digital Era

In a landmark event, two of Europe’s most extensive libraries have announced a collaborative digitalization project which will allow the general public to access never before seen historical texts from both ancient Greek and ancient Hebrew repositories.

The University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (BAV) have announced an initiative which will take over 1.5 million pages of ancient text and make it available freely online in digital form. The libraries state that the effort also aims to benefit scholars “by uniting virtually materials that have been dispersed between the two collections over the centuries.”

Monsignor Cesare Pasini, the Prefect of the Vatican Library, stated that “two of the oldest libraries in Europe will join forces in an innovative approach to digitization driven by the actual needs of scholars and scholarship. With this joint initiative, the two Libraries continue to accomplish their mission for the benefit of science and culture; it represents a great step forward in the Vatican Library’s entry into the digital age.”

The collaboration aims to digitalize both ancient Greek and ancient Hebrew manuscripts including texts by Plato, Hippocrates, Homer, Sophocles, manuscripts of the New Testament and of the Church Fathers, “many of them richly decorated with Byzantine miniatures.” Additionally, the BAV plans to digitalize a manuscript that is most-likely the earliest Hebrew codex in existence, as well as a copy of the entire Hebrew Bible written in Italy in the early 12th century.  Also included in the BAV’s contribution are ancient texts covering widely the fields of medicine, philosophy, astronomy, liturgical commentaries, as well as additional ancient science-arts and polemical documents from both Christian and Jewish perspective.

The Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford form the most extensive university library collection in the United Kingdom, while the BAV libraries are today still considered one of the most important research libraries in the world, without actually being attached to an academic institution. Both the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana and the Bodleian Libraries hold valuable treasures of scholarly texts. Respectively, they are the 4th and 5th largest collections of ancient texts in the world.

The entire effort will take four years to complete and is made possible by a £2 million award from the Polonsky Foundation. The Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Lord Patten of Barnes, said that Oxford is “very grateful to Dr. Polonsky for his insight into the importance of widening access to the fundamental texts which have had a major impact on the development of civilization.” It is due to the contribution by the Polonsky Foundation that the landmark historical collaborative initiative is made possible.

Source: the Vatican


We Want Your Soul:
An Approximation of Cultural Sustainability
(Part I)

‘On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.’ -C. Palahniuk Sustainability has been described as the capacity to endure. ‘At the start of the twenty-first […]

‘On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.’
-C. Palahniuk

Sustainability has been described as the capacity to endure.

‘At the start of the twenty-first century, the problem of global sustainability is widely recognised by world leaders, and a common topic of discussion by journalists, scientists, teachers, students and citizens in many parts of the world. The World Summit on Sustainable Development confirmed that the first decade of the new century, at least, would be one of reflection about the demands placed by humankind on the biosphere.’  [1]

Yet how will we ever achieve the knowledge needed for sustainable civilization without first meeting the sustainable civilian? The physical world is a place where all things, regardless of station or preference, are subjected to entropy and chaos. Life, however, is different. Life is organized, and biological systems strive for order. It must be this way in order for life to thrive against chaos and entropy. This is indeed an age of science and technology, an age of global connection at the touch of a button, an age where science rules supreme.

It isn’t that humans are smarter now than we were centuries ago; it is that we are bombarded constantly by an influx of information. Yet, despite this digital age wherein more data is introduced to the human brain within a single day than ever before, not only have we failed to create a sustainable, symbiotic civilization for our species, but we have actually created an entire myriad of additional problems: we have embedded them into our culture like unfitting jig-saw puzzle pieces, and we have created a misfit collage as if in homage to our perpetual downward mobility. We are no longer bound to the land. We lack ties to cultural heritage. We are floating in space, rootless. Modernity, for man, means a life devoid of purpose.

It is not more information that we require; it is a better process by which to incorporate and understand this information which we need. This must become embedded into the very social fabric of our reality; we must strive to create a culture which is not simply a contribution to sick society, but rather, is sustainable and functions to enforce not morality but rather a value system hierarchy within the conscious lives of mankind. ‘All sciences are now under the obligation to prepare the ground for the future task of the philosopher, which is to solve the problem of value, to determine the true hierarchy of values.’ [2] Inherent within Nietzsche’s words is a message which scholars, philosophers, and social scientists alike have struggled to solve for ages. Yet this emotional algebra is far deeper in complexity than simply asking us to solve for X.

Without a sustainable culture, and without sustainable life, we are met with a deeply disturbing and pressing issue which plagues modernity in a far more insidious way than even the ancient plagues of long ago. Modern medicinal science may have cured us from many of these plagues and yet it is helpless when faced with the idea that life is not always alive; cures for biological sickness do not translate to emotional and cultural sicknesses, and unlike mortal diseases which plagued mankind yet granted a swift and final death, these modern ailments of culture and the human spirit offer no such respite. We are left with a world overcome by a systemic locust-like plague which eats at the very fabric of mankind. This host is undeniably distinguishable by many characteristics, yet none so obvious as its mindlessness, an emptiness of higher cognitive function, and its insatiable hunger: a parasitic horde of apparently undead enemies which at one point were living humans. ‘The truth is that zombies have no social organization to speak of.  There is no discernable hierarchy, no chain of command, and no drive toward any type of collectivization.’ [3]

Consider the metaphor:

‘The dead walk among us. These somnambulists are the greatest threat to humanity, other than humanity itself. To call them predators and us prey would be inaccurate. They are a plague, and the human race is their host. The lucky victims are devoured, their bones scraped clean, their flesh consumed. Those not so fortunate join the ranks of their attackers, transformed into putrid, carnivorous monsters. Conventional warfare is useless against these creatures, as is conventional thought. The science of ending life, developed and perfected since the beginning of our existence, cannot protect us from an enemy that has no life to end.’ [3]

We are approaching the point. Things which cause societal and psychological ‘abject terror,’ the stuff of nightmarish horror film legends, zombies, vampires, ghosts, demons, all of these are complex symbolic representations of what we already live in this modern age. Notably during the Dark Ages, when the world shrank after the falling of Rome and families huddled inside houses in the winter telling stories of monsters, witchcraft and demons, these stories have been generationally passed down as man is of course, a storytelling species. [4]

Mankind has long since possessed an innate terror of these immortal beasts, psychologically fascinating because each is perhaps an archetypal representation of man’s own manifestations of himself. The collective nightmares of humanity precede man’s individual life on this planet, and go on to exist far after individual man’s mortal death. ‘Does this mean the living dead are invincible? No. Can these creatures be stopped? Yes. Ignorance is the undead’s strongest ally, knowledge their deadliest enemy. Survival is the key word to remember—not victory, not conquest, just survival.’ [3] All of these monstrous creatures, can in fact, be found embedded in the reality of our unconscious collective.

Forget what you thought you understood about the underworld. It’s already here. From this angle we can examine the various ways in which we will ultimately never arrive at global sustainability without going deeper into the nebulous, maze-like definition of what it truly means to be human and to be conscious, for this is perhaps the only feature which separates us from the host of hungering undead. Anything hostile to the healthy instincts of life will undoubtedly be a decorating feature of the undead masses.

Before detouring a bit into the land of existentialism, let’s review the abstract.

The entirety of our sustainable future lies within (re)defining our socially skewed definitions of basic, core concepts such as ‘zombie’ and more importantly, freedom. It is as Goethe tells us: ‘none are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.’ Western Civilization itself has become a breeding ground for false symbolic interpretations, most profoundly apparent in misrepresenting definitions of what it means to be free and have freedom.

This isn’t about government, nor is it about politics. We are not going to try to take the ‘mock’ out of modern democracy. Instead the focus is freedom in the abstract sense. It is about relearning how to fall in love with an ideal, one which ultimately has the power to lead us into a future which doesn’t end with the cinematic Zombie Apocalypse. If we cannot kill the undead enemy, we must find a cure for it: if we are to survive. And like Mr. Brooks tells us in The Zombie Survival Guide, it is all about survival.

Let us begin by separating fact from fiction.

In a liberal age of rampant multiculturalism, those of us in possession of healthy instincts to life have witnessed the disaster which occurs when these very instincts bring a host of undead upon us. It is as if the simple act of breathing, of being alive, is the act which attracts the horde and calls them to us as they mindlessly seek to eat our brains so that we too, may become one of them. The hunger of course is primary, but the byproduct of this hunger seeks to assimilate all of humanity into its system of undead equality.

Against overwhelming numbers, many have seen good men fall to this plague. The modern social construction of reality is toxic. It is bound in cultural shame. Because it is undead, it seeks to sustain itself by consuming the cognitive higher-thinking processes of the living; it is completely codependent. It is the opposite of sustainable. Codependence itself is a form of addiction, and is a term coined by addiction experts to classify general, omnipresent symptoms displayed by the children of addicts. [5] What we are, what we inherit, is always passed down to us from the generations which precede us. This is the nature of legacy. This attributes much to the root cause—the heart of the issue. This is why it is not enough to kill the zombies; the plague is infectious, symptoms are erratic and often carriers of the mutation fail to manifest illness for decades or more.

The collective unconsciousness of mankind itself is sick. We exist in a world wherein a negative biofeedback loop broadcasts in constancy; we have created a culture which in itself is sick enough to infect generations which have not yet been born. So, how to begin an approach toward an illness so effective, so evasive, modern society has failed to detect it, submerging it instead into mythic stories of fantasy and fictitious milieu?

If man is to survive, man must find means to free itself from its addiction to the undead. It is in this way we must seek to understand and utilize the muddy conceptual phenomenon that is freedom.

1. Freedom from addiction leads to freedom from codependence and therefore toxic shame. This creates room for the undead man to begin to regain living function. So long as the individual is unaware, he is a locust, feasting on the flesh of the living as to sustain his addiction: soulless, he has an ever-present, deep-seated, instinctive hunger to consume. In moments of consciousness, when perhaps he awakens from the thrall of his disease, he is overcome by shame at what atrocious acts in his sickness he has committed. In seeing his violent and grotesque crimes against life, he becomes bound by shame, and with no thread to tie him to his conscious state, again he flees into addiction and codependent undead consumption.

2. Well-being: Freedom from dysfunction is the door which opens the freedom to be well, psychologically as well as physiologically. The consumptive culture in which we live is a byproduct of capitalism. That it is dysfunctional and not sustainable is an unintended consequence of the civilization of codependent children which built it to be a Pleasure Island of shortsightedness. Like Pinocchio, our civilization built by codependent children needed to stay too long at the amusement park to understand firsthand the price. Jackass or undead plague, the moral of this story remains the same. When one leaves the seductive embrace of the affliction, one becomes free to again regain living function. The functionality is the trademark trait of the living, as healthy instincts to life call at all times for order against dysfunction.

3. We live in an ever-changing society dominated by scientific phenomena and technological globalism. Science is fallible, and yet it is worshipped as if it were godlike in perfection.  Perhaps Nietzsche knew even a hundred years ago what the outcome would be when he told us that God is dead. It is not enough to seek for a singular deity worshipped by the masses because in such a changing, rootless world, man must seek instead to listen to his own inner determination of values—so long as he is not yet afflicted by sickness. In modernity, when man fails to do this, man is left with the choice to succumb to the worship of a long-dead religious deity. Failing this, man learns to cleave to modern science as if it were an adequate substitute for man’s inner divine consciousness. Failing these two choices, man succumbs instead to sickness, despair, addiction, and ultimately, un-death.

This path is preceded singularly by one’s inability to own oneself, as Nietzsche put it, ‘the individual has always struggled against the tribe. Try it, and you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no cost is too great to pay for the privilege of owning oneself.’  Eliminating the ways in which we worship the literal means freedom from fear-based definitions of what are ultimately only symbolic approximations of imagery. Goodbye, tacky mental jewelry. We must be visiting our self-inflicted illustration of scars with the freedom to wander the abstract.

4. Sick society is permissive, liberal, rootless, and devoid of purpose. It teaches consumption for the sake of consumption; it is Ourboros incarnated. It functions only because its peoples are ignorant of its existence. We need freedom from ignorance as well as freedom to obtain authentic existence, authentic experience, and authentic knowledge. Instead, man is born inundated by false social truth, littered by subjective knowledge which agenda-driven marketing companies wish to impart to further the sickness of rampant consumerism. Freedom from ignorance: it is infinitely more simple to discuss than it is difficult to achieve. The essence of this is freedom grants one the power to know oneself. In just the way our god is dead, we are as estranged from the champions and heroes of our ancestral lineage, and this emptiness creates a yearning for champions and heroism personified by ancient Greek civilization.

Popular culture is literally littered with champions as a byproduct of this. Screenwriter Joss Whedon once expressed that ‘nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. It is harsh and cruel. That’s why there’s us. Champions. It doesn’t matter where we come from, what we’ve done or suffered, or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world were as it should be, to show it what it can be.’ Sick society breaks the individual. It breaks the self, and after this there is no such luxury as a blank slate on which to rewrite, redefine the self. Freedom from ignorance grants the power to meet oneself, which is the prerequisite for what Nietzsche talked about regarding the privilege of owning oneself. In modernity this becomes a process of locating and collecting all the psychologically-fragmented puzzle pieces. This involves not only being free to pursue one’s fragmented parts, but also the freedom to reject the addiction, the impulse-seeking, ego-driven compulsions within man’s sickness, which cryptically, could be compared via contrasting wheat-grass versus soda-pop. Hint: while there’s a Coke machine on nearly every corner, it’s going to be more difficult and time-consuming, as well as more financially expensive and out of the way, to pursue what is healthiest.

5. Apparent now is that man’s undead affliction is, at least in the first physiological manifestation, a spiritual disease gone viral. The second stage of disease becomes a social disease, until finally it consumes the host entirely as it steals man of his life and the undead arises from the shell. We must catch the virus in its early stages, while it is still a spiritual sickness. This truth is written everywhere within culture; it is continually broadcast in a language only those still living can comprehend. Obviously, the afflicted undead are fixated on forty channels of American Gladiators, punctuated by commercial breaks for Presidents’ Day Sales featuring Lincoln selling Lincoln town-cars just before American Idol. One must wonder how many Americans watched Fight Club for its violence, for shirtless Brad Pitt, oblivious to its poignant satire meant to address those still living among the post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland. In the novel, Chuck Palahniuk’s message was summary: ‘we are the middle children of history. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War is a spiritual war. Our Great Depression is our lives.’

Man is the singular species evolved on this earth to be sentient; we have developed our consciousness and because of this we have built great cities, we have developed systems of philosophies and mansions of thought. It is the presence of consciousness which is definitive of what it means to be a human being. When the conscious life of man is healthy, it is a conscious life which fulfills him. Man becomes spiritually awakened; he is optimally functional, and he has found the crux of what Nietzsche prompted us to find when he proclaimed that God is dead, for he has found himself and is now free to navigate his own inner determination of values.

It is the above five elements which must ultimately and alchemically serve us in curing the social sickness before the pandemic escalates to outbreak. The missing caveat, our proverbial stone of Rosetta, is a symbolic definition of what ‘freedom’ really means at the end of the day. Hint: it is not what the western culture indoctrinates us to believe. For the sake of our mission, we’ll define freedom against spiritual slavery. There are shackles, iron bars and chains we’ve never even heard of, and for the sake of our mission, let us understand that at any given moment, we are barely aware of the ways in which our fortress became our prison. Machiavelli’s symbolic exploration includes an argument in which the fortress is only a prison in disguise, shrouded in some magic, for truly it isn’t a fortress after all but a prison, ‘a symbol of power’s isolation,’ [6] and in that way (as well as Goethe’s) we are metaphorically subjected to imprisonment by simply not being aware of the many ways in which we are lacking crucial data: it is not that we seek to define freedom for an abstract ideal of its own purpose, but rather, that we seek to define what it is that grants us the mirage of protection at the price of imprisonment. In this, one must stare into the void of what it is which causes one to not be free. Back to the point, then.

In order to live an authentic life, we must submit that the sustainability of the soul of this planet is intrinsically tied to a process wherein it is crucial to start at the location, identification and exploration of the individual. Yet it is not enough to stop there. This is a starting point and nothing more, and it is but the first step in the correct direction. It is only after one has lost everything that one is free to find anything: in this way the self is the most basic unit of what comprises the family, the community, the culture, the nation, and the sociological fabric of this planet. In many ways the self is subject to all of these additional spheres in which one is a part, and yet it is rational to surmise that if the basic building block upon which a culture is built, is in itself, sick, then this sickness will undoubtedly spread into the culture itself and begin the slow, insidious biofeedback loop of the current malignant order. After all, growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.

The self is the most basic building block of the unconscious collective. Additionally, mankind has possessed an ethical nature for roughly 10,000-12,000 years. [7] The purpose of man’s ethical nature is not to construct vacant temples nor is it to subject others to his muddled, murky, and malignantly moral sense of value. Man’s ethical nature serves the purpose of binding man to his tribe, to his blood, to his family, and to the traditions of his ancestry. There is a deliciously delicate balance between oneself and one’s relationships with others which must be addressed, and the answers are not yet a question of value for philosophers in a way which means hierarchy as Nietzsche meant: rather the journey of man’s spirit exists to travel an hermeneutic circle of meaning. It is immersive and it is the point of the journey itself which sustains the spirit; the abstraction is within what the symbol that represents the journey, comes to mean for the unconscious collective. For individual man the experience is concrete; it is solid; it does not disintegrate into vague approximation until it becomes assimilated into the culture via the unconscious collective.

The first part of the process is the self, and it is the self which must become sustainable if we are ever to survive the infringing masses of the undead plague. The point is to survive. Anything which has no use to us is proven to be systematically eliminated by evolution. We evolve not linearly, but in a differential manner, with increased opportunity for change to be detrimental but inextinguishable before an unsuccessful trait becomes generalized over the entirety of our species. [8] This is the way in which–unknowingly, perhaps—man creates a consumptive culture which values only its compliant pop-cultural constructs, beliefs and elements, honors dysfunction, supports the wasting of human life and caters to the only agenda known by the undead: feed the hunger. Fill the hollow.

Mmmmm, brains.


Part II of this essay addresses complexities regarding this issue, as well as seeks to delineate additional symptomatic features of the walking dead, so that prompt and swift diagnoses may take place. Further analysis of the potential solutions to its sick social phenomenon is also be discussed.

‘Voici mon secret. Il est très simple : on ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.’

[1] Adams, W.M. (2006) The Future of Sustainability Re-thinking Environment and Development in the Twenty-first Century.

[2] Nietzsche, Friedrich (1887) The Genealogy of Morality.

[3] Brooks, Max. (2003) The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead.

[4] Kieckhefer, Richard (1989) Magic in the Middle Ages.

[5] Pia, Mellody (1989) Facing Codependence.

[6] Greene, R, & Elffers, J. (1998) The 48 Laws of Power.

[7] Bucke, Richard M.D. (1969) Cosmic Consciousness: a Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind.

[8] Alcorn, P. (2003) Social Issues in Technology: a Format for Investigation.

[9] Storey, John. (2006) Cultural Theory and Popular Culture.


[Mistral Archive] The Sahara of the Beltway

[This piece was originally posted on October 8th, 2009 at 12.45pm.] American society suffers a distinct lack of higher culture. Nowhere is this lack more dire, clear or embarassing as […]

[This piece was originally posted on October 8th, 2009 at 12.45pm.]

American society suffers a distinct lack of higher culture. Nowhere is this lack more dire, clear or embarassing as it is in the upper echelons of the political class, which are firmly enshrined inside the Capital Beltway.

Capitol Hill has, for the whole duration of living memory hitherto, been populated almost entirely by hucksters and frauds. All in all, there is not a man of talent in sight. After eight years of horrific ‘compassionate conservatism’ in the Oval Office, and a nine tepid months of Obama, the cultural destitution and lack of national self-assurance in the United States is painfully clear.

Inside the Beltway, one might as well be in a cultural desert, an intellectual wasteland for third-rate minds to shamble around in. One hears so much hot air, and nothing else. The seat of national government is a disgrace to any American with an ounce of dignity. It is devoid of any charm or merit which might otherwise redeem it.

Quite simply, the political class of the United States exists in a policy-maker’s paradise. Regardless of the realities of the outside world, laws are made by the chattering classes inside a bubble (no doubt designed by the same social-engineering geniuses of every federal policy), which reflexively vacates anything resembling (higher) culture. They live in a cultural Sahara found within the Beltway.

I cannot but be inclined to think that this has something to do with the United States’ complete lack of aristocracy, or anything which resembles it by any stretch of the imagination. The whole public, political discourse revolves around keeping everyone’s faces in their troughs. The Establishment accomplishes this by pandering to the very rich or the very poor, the very Christian or the very ‘New Atheist’, the very ‘urban’ or the very immigrant — this minority interest group or that. By instituting new programs for ‘social justice’, ‘economic growth’ and, most of all, the myth of multiculturalism.

In any case, this inclination of mine is not merely borne out by the fact that an aristocracy enriches the Nation, but also because the forces which oppose aristocracy inevitably end up dissolving what is cohesive and conservative in a culture.

Does aristocracy even have a history the United States?

The only native-born aristocratic society throughout the existence of the States was, as H. L. Mencken accurately commented on a number of occassions, the genteel landowning culture of the Old South (which he opposed to the plutocracy of his contemporary America). The outcome of the War Between the States and the era of Reconstruction which followed irrevocably annihilated the aristocracy of the Old South. The effects which the levelling Union had upon the Southern States in the aftermath of the War are actually suitable for comparison with the contemporary effects which U.S. foreign policy has upon the world as a whole, including the United States itself. The logic behind the intestine conflict between the States is the same as that which lurks under the neocon policy coupling prominently identified by Steve Sailer — namely (1) ‘invite the world’ and (2) ‘invade the world’.

Everyone with a historically competent understand of the bloodshed between the Southern and Northern states, the South’s Army were on the whole an overwhelmingly better and more professional fighting body, and in particular, their generals were spectacularly superior. This is not because they had God on their side, but because they had culture — enough, indeed, to discipline the great multitudes of Southern men into better footsoldiers than the even greater multitudes of the North. Supposing their Creator was on their side, he did not show it sufficiently well.

[Coincidentally, H. L. Mencken mentions this in a brief line of another book, his Treatise on the Gods: “in war, even when both sides pray to the same divinity, one is bound to win.”]

The North won due to numerous factors which the Northerners arrogantly attributed to their ‘moral superiority’ (a useless consideration), to ‘progress’. and to God’s favour for the Union. [Refer to the above note.] Nevertheless, the North’s victory was achieved through numbers, through its technology and its monstrous war-machinery, through ‘intelligence’, and ultimately through simple circumstance. Does their victory in the War Between the States vindicate the Union? Does it make the North’s a better culture than the Old South? Of course not. One does not judge a culture based on the wars it wins, but by the conduct of its warriors so to speak — that is, by the extent to which it breeds greatness.

This is similar to the demarcation of values between North and South. Their practical morality is, in Nietzschean terms, ‘Sklavenmoral’ and ‘Herrenmoral’ respectively. Indeed, Nietzsche says of the difference that “men of ressentiment will inevitably end up cleverer than any noble race, and will respect cleverness to a quite different degree as well: namely, as a condition of existence of the first rank,” — this certainly applies to the Union under Lincoln as much as to the Beltway Establishment and liberalism as a doctrine — “whilst the cleverness of noble men can easily have a subtle aftertaste of luxury and refinement about it: — precisely because in this area, it is nowhere near as important as the complete certainty of function of the governing unconsciousinstincts,” (Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals I, §10) — which means, in other words, that the inherited conservatism of the nobility makes intelligence something of an added bonus. The honest conservatism we strive to uphold is, for them, second nature.

What I have just stated is an important consideration for us to retain, as conservatives — genuine aristocracy and genuine conservatism go hand-in-hand, which I have established before (again, referring to Nietzsche where I did so). Unless we are ‘pro-aristocracy’ (even if only unwittingly), we are ‘contra-conservative’. I believe that an examination of the historical challenges which conservatives have faced will bear this out. Additionally, a cursory glance will show us that our self-appointed opponents are parvenu plebeians — compare the manners of late, (not-so-)great neocon no-goodnik Irving Kristol with those of the ‘later’, greater, paleo-con point-man [and, incidentally, man-of-the-South] Sam Francis.

In what we might call comportment, carriage, bearing, ettiquette or some such, we see that the North was once sorely outstripped by the South, just as neocons are now sorely outstripped by ‘paleos’.

What qualities did the South lack that enabled the Union to obtain ‘victory’ in the conflict and to attain a totalitarian hegemony in the 20th and 21st centuries?

We have already seen the entirety of the North’s ‘advantages’. All that was lacking in the South was the ill-humour, intemperateness, bitterness and overcast piety of the North. In short, they lacked the Puritannical bad nature of New England. Let it be clear: the Northerners opposed slavery for the same reason that they opposed States’ Rights.

Moreover, the ‘Emancipation Proclamation’, gilted and exalted by today’s scholarship, was merely a piece of bad pragmatism and presidential petulance on Lincoln’s part. The legality (or flagrant illegality) of the two executive orders notwithstanding, they were wartime measures against the Confederate states (not against all slaveholding states, but only those considered to be in a state of ‘rebellion’ against the Union). The first executive order was extortion; the second was punishment. Supposing these tyrannical decrees were taken together and designated a title, ‘Emancipation Proclamation’ seems a little loftier than is deserving, a little more idealistic than the political realities they addressed would allow, and categorically deceptive about Lincoln’s motivations. Rather, ‘Emancipation Ultimatum’ is the most generous one can readily allow. More accurately still, one must call them something like a ‘Total Destruction Ultimatum’ once the effects, cultural, economic and otherwise have been taken into account.

Today, an ‘Emancipation Proclamation’ might be more genuine. Only, under the Obama administration, it would be part of the insidious “health-care reform”, and it could be called the ‘Amnesty Proclamation’. [Obamacare is supposed to be fair, cost less and/or provide better value for Americans, even though around 12 million undesirables to wit, maybe considerably more, will be costing the rest of the roughly 307-million (at least) population. How it makes sense to have less people paying for more, escapes me — or anyone with even an elementary understanding of economics, statistics or ‘mere’ mathematics.]

Abolitionism is a manifestation of the spite which deliberately denies the conditions which make a high culture possible. Supposing that the do-gooders could be brutally and openly honest, they would have to acknowledge that their desire is and always has been to bring an end to all elevation and happiness.

We are utterly unprepared for the severity which results in a higher culture. It is the severity of honesty with oneself, and consistency with others. In North America, the only genuine, sustained glimpse of greatness existed in the antebellum South.

Revisionists on the liberal-democratic side characterize the antebellum period of Southern history as a period of barbarity, while all too many romantics on the racial-populist (and implicitly White Nationalist) side, characterize it as a period of incomparable prosperity for all white Southerners.

The fact is, that the South was more severe, more exclusive and more aristocratic than either could conceive of. The South was stratified on the basis of race no more than of class; conversely, we must understand that its structure was at least as deeply rooted in class as it was in race. The values embodied by the chevaliers of the South were, quite simply, the values of masters — that is, of creators and conquerors. A ‘Master Race’ of vulgar bigots, in the ‘classless society’ which Hitler envisaged in Nazi Germany, is almost a contradiction in terms. On the other hand, the men being bred in the American antebellum South were indeed becoming a race of masters.

The South was where “some attention was given to the art of living — that life got beyond and above the state of a mere infliction and became an exhilarating experience”,  H. L. Mencken tells us in his essay ‘The Sahara of the Bozart’, originally published in 1917, with a warmth rare in his mostly pugnacious punditry. “A certain noble spaciousness was in the ancient Southern scheme of things. The Ur-Confederate had leisure. He liked to toy with ideas. He was hospitable and tolerant. He had the vague thing that we call culture.”

These Southerners who flowered so briefly are but one achievement of the Western world, and they were driven to extinction by the merciless aggression and reformism of the highly industrialized North, another nation of vulgar bigots, needless to say. How was this accomplished? Mencken covers this in ‘The Calamity of Appomattox’:

“First the carpetbaggers ravaged the land, and then it fell into the hands of the native white trash, already so poor that war and Reconstruction could not make them any poorer.”

What the Northerners did was to make the Southerners more Northern than themselves. The Reconstruction was the Northern logic of oppression taken to extremes, and enforced as an absolute and explicit organizing principle. It is categorically a worse crime against humanity than the accumulation of all the abuses which could possibly have occurred under the sensible, reasonable, traditional ordering of society in the antebellum South.

The negroes were no longer enslaved as a simple matter of course, but they became despised by the consistently mediocre politicians who greedily grasped for the levers of power. These bumpkins and bounders associated the negroes with their feelings of inferiority, and saw them as a demographic so base and servile that they could give themselves the illusion of importance by scourging them.

The stable, servile condition in which the negroes of the South had existed was obliterated, leaving them at the mercy of the incurable yokels who could only have wished for the shelter and sustenance afforded by bondage. Before the War Between the States, the negroes of the South had been secure in chattel slavery — I would risk poor taste by stating that they had a ‘job for life’ — and even a place in the family of their owners. Plantation life was demanding, but charming also. The yokel, on the other hand, does not understand the wisdom expressed in the words ‘protego ergo obligo’ (which Carl Schmitt calls “the cogito ergo sum of the State”).

The slaves were not hated by their masters, at any rate, but merely kept. Hatred came with the Reconstruction and the rise of the New South.

There are very relevant lessons here, for the student of cultural history. What do we learn from the Old South’s demise, the Civil War, and ‘Northern aggression’ in its various forms?

Foreign policy shows this perpetual moralizing in the world, America’s great ‘answer’ to a question no-one asked. The invasion of Iraq ( — for it was not a war — ) constitutes a sort of projection, an ever greater hubris toward the world, which contradicts sound sense about political realities. Of course, it’s not about political realities. It’s about moral fantasies. It is an expression of precisely the same Puritan (so-called ‘imperialist’) logic which found its dress-rehearsal in Cromwell’s campaign to overthrow the old social order, subdue Ireland and Scotland, and destroy men of breeding. Between then and now, it infected France and gave rise to the French Revolution.

An inversion of historical accuracy regarding these sorts of events is the very precondition for the deceptive ramblings of the Establishment (Left and Right). Un-doing this inversion involves, in this case, admitting that imperialism and proletarian revolution go hand-in-hand. Not as a sequence of ‘opposed’ world-historical events, but as a sort of collaboration. This is why, for example, the typical neoconservative remain consistent in one thing (if only one) throughout his political life — namely, the seamless progression from left-wing troublemaking to a hawkish imposition of neoliberalism around the world. Aren’t internationalism and globalization similar notions, after all? Their methods, too, remain the same throughout: in a word, rabble-rousing.

There is a sense in which this is Hegelian [like Fukuyama’s ‘end of history’  fad]; and, ironically, a sense in which history is happening behind their backs, in Hegelian fashion — they are deceived into believing their opposition. Unfolding before us is merely the successive stages of slave-revolt. What we are really seeing is the ‘history of an error’, so to speak.

Conservatives need to take heart in this, and commit themselves to the succor of a more elevated fruit, at once newer and older than the status quo. It’s finally time to deal the death-blow to wishy-washy, Wilsonian wistfulness. America will not be ennobled inasmuch she can democratize the world, but rather inasmuch as she can ‘aristocratize’ herself – that is, she will gain ennoblement on to the extent that she actually, literally ennobles herself. In North America, there has always been the potential — albeit squandered — for an aristocracy which is organic, original and proper.

Against what Mencken calls the ‘aristocratic impulse’, the bourgeois Establishment will always be, first and foremost, ‘The Enemy’ collectively. It is not for this simple fact that we hold contempt for it, but because it is a dishonourable enemy. The Establishment’s infrastructure — comprising both public and private institutions — is ‘manned’ by faceless bureaucrats, and governed by an elite who are merely the ‘managers of managers’. Regulated and reinforced by this infrastructure, the ‘moral majority’ — prohibiters and abolishers of strength, pleasure and happiness — frustrate cultural elevation at every avenue. Their fervent support for sorry fads like abolitionism and Prohibition are part of their wide-scale, long-term policy of unrestricted warfare against everything well-constituted. The Do-Good Brigade, thus assembled, are not only the world’s greatest organized horde of dangerous imbeciles. They are anarchic-tyrannical nihilists par excellence.

It is not the Establishment alone which we must defend against, however. They are bolstered in a demographic, rhetorical and outright democratic sense by the rabble. A system managing these blocs (and others) of American society is managing innumerable hordes of more or less willing victims. The anarchic-tyrannical system is made for a purpose no more dignified or dignifying than the driving of cattle and the inculcation of bovine instincts. It is this system which collects together everything to which we are opposed on a fundamental level.

Conservatives must get to grips with the severity which results in success. The managerial elite produces so-called ‘individuals’; we must cultivate a natural order of rank, the only organic ordering of the species. Whereas the philistine aspires to tame men, we shall breed them. The answer is fairly simple, yet excruciatingly difficult.

We must embrace aristocracy.

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