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Conquistadores and Cowboys: An Occasional Discourse on the Feudal Origins of American Institutions (Part II)

The second and final part of S. J. irving's survey of the Iberian contribution to American culture and folklore.

3. The Cowboy as a Failed Semiotic

Notice that the heroic pictures painted for us in the fictional genre of Westerns — in anecdotes, camp-fire stories, countless novellas, songs and decades of films — are not historically accurate representations of a cowhand’s life, but that doesn’t necessarily make them false, invalid or of any lesser value. These strictu sensu historical misrepresentations, in fact, conceal an even deeper and stronger European heritage.  The fact is that Western fiction ‘rings true’ so to speak. Our reservoirs of passionate inner experience seem to confirm this vivid fictional trope. Even besides showing us, in the narrower sense, the ‘spirit’ of the system in which the cowboy partook (but was not necessarily protagonist), this genre of fiction conceals behind the imagery of the Cowboy a whole world of inner experiences and cultural self-reference for those to whose blood it genuinely speaks. Under the weathered skin of the rugged yet handsome, broad-shouldered, slim-hipped hero, we have a re-modulation of all the previous forms of protagonist in (proto-)European fiction. After all, is the cowboy not reminiscent of brave Roland of song and story or the Arthurian knights of British legend? Or, more distantly, the larger-than-life epic heroes of Antiquity?

The iconographic power of the Western protagonist is that all the virtue and vigour of an historical noble hero is given fictional popular packaging. Without this packaging, however, our protagonist remains more or less in tact. There is a genuine appeal about the hero-gunslinger which only increases when he is extracted from the imaginary (and much more fanciful) stretch that he is somehow an ‘everyman’ as it were.

The cowboy hero evokes the virtues of independence and self-reliant landownership, the (feudal) right of resistance, the protection of (obligated) dependents, honourable dueling — in short, a circumspection of the whole Spanish system in the New World. He may be seen through individualistic, Anglo-Saxon eyes, but the hero himself, so beheld, bears a distinctly Iberian stamp.

An historically grounded consciousness recognizes him for what he is. To give him a more concrete historical form, we may simply call him the protagonist of the Spanish New World, even after its decline. Granted, it is a conflation or mix-up of the vaquero (cowboy) and caballero or even the nobleman, but this proves rather than disproves the immensely profound and symbolic content of the protagonist as a representation. Mutatis mutandis, this is the sort of confusion one experiences when mistaking a conscripted foot-soldier for a knight or believing that there is no difference between, a gentleman and a nobleman; between ὁπλίτης and στρατηγός, soldier and general.

In any case, we see that the full-blooded protagonist is of a pure-blooded (Iberian) provenance.

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4. Spanish Blood, American Institutions

In Iberia arose the concept which the Spanish called nobleza immemorial, a blood of an exaltedness beyond memory. The Spanish intuitively understood, as all great peoples originally understand, that the greatness of the nobility is a property of the nobility itself, an after-glow of the blood’s quality. It is an aura which emanates from the nobility; it is not granted to them by any Crown. The oldest nobility predate kings and royal crowns and are, therefore, not beholden to the same for their title. Such titles are owed to blood and iron alone. (In fact, the monarchies of Northern Spain seem to have originated as the ‘elective’ sort.)

The stabilizing, feudal institutions of the Middle Ages were long in decline by 1492. Nevertheless, the discovery of the Americas galvanized the Iberians. Interacting with their new material conditions (in the New World), the sea-tossed sons of Iberia’s most venerable lines organize themselves in accordance with instinct, so that they can salvage the art of rulership from the dim and distant vestiges of Mediæval political arrangements, for the rebuilding of that sacred Hierarchy of the Blood. Ethnic (racial-cultural) and environmental factors are inter-related in important ways, so that there must be something consistent in the environment (or from one environment to another), something agreeable to the biology of an organism, for that organism to propagate successfully therein. After all, European vegetation was transplanted to the Americas and, vice versa, American vegetation — like tobacco, maize or the potato — was brought to the Old World. Likewise, something in the European’s heritage was able to thrive in the wide open spaces and upon the rich soils of the Americas and some distinctly American lessons were carried back to Europe, to ignite the European imagination. (See Carl Schmitt’s The Nomos of the Earth in the International Law of the Jus Publicum Europaeum for an exhaustive, scholarly exploration in this connection.)

The European conquerors and settlers found across the Atlantic were largely uncultivated, continentally vast expanses of wild and wide-open nature, interspersed with the ancient stone monuments and sacred spaces of the native civilizations. What they discovered was a roaming “new world” and, in their experience of it, they (re-)discovered, by extension, the ancestral experience of the Indo-Europeans. Their new world was at one and the same time a return to the pre- and ultra-historic origins of the old world, which they carried in their blood. In such a context, it is easier to understand the radical ‘re-feudalizing’ of the Iberian nobles conquering, (sub-)dividing, apportioning and administering the newly discovered continents. They re-discover a greatness for which they still lack words, expanding astraddle the Atlantic ocean and briefly riding athwart history.

Similarly, the Portuguese and Spanish conquerors of non-American territories, most notably the Philippines, found the same re-invigoration. There, they even (albeit unwittingly) planted the seeds which would ultimately preserve the best of Western martial arts, as integrated in the knife- and sword-fighting art known as eskrima. In the Philippines, a distinct warrior culture and a complex quasi-feudal system of native political organization, appropriate to an archipelago of some seven thousand islands, pre-existed their colonization by Iberian powers by centuries. Nevertheless, only the Americas provided the vast, unbroken tracts of land which must have seemed almost a tabula rasa to those highborn warriors whose instincts were to carve out personal, feudal domains and institute strict, sweeping land-tenure arrangements.

In any case, we find the Spanish nobles and their armies in the years following 1492 seeding their newly conquered American territories with the hacienda system described in the previous installment of this article, tailoring it to their own needs and dignities, while retaining some harmony with the Crown and the Church.

Chiefly, the force working against the aristocratic order was, as elsewhere, absolutism and the centralizing tendencies of the Crown. The neo-feudal institutions of the Iberian-American nobility — the greatest aids of that Iberian imperative toward greatness — were opposed by royal institutions, particularly those of the Spanish Crowns more clearly, crudely and egregiously than the Portuguese. To wit, they had to contend with the bureaucratic administration oriented toward the Spanish homeland, the skewed privileges of the peninsulares (the chief weakness in the Spanish-American caste system), the taxation and other offerings expected by a grasping Crown an ocean’s breadth away; and all this enforced by the compulsive apparatuses of the modern, developing Leviathan state (albeit more slowly in Spain’s case than the nations of Northern Europe).

By the end of the eighteenth century, the newly amalgamated Kingdom of Spain (formerly the Crowns of Castile and Aragon) had succeeded; during the nineteenth, the Crown revoked outright many of the privileges developed and enjoyed under the Crown of Castile by Spanish-blooded criollos and Spanish-born alike. (The Portuguese experience is less traumatic because the Portuguese Crown’s treatment of the nobility was less audacious.) Spanish absolutism and centralized state bureaucracy sealed the fate of Spain’s already-dwindling empire. Alas, all iterations of absolute monarchy fail because royal absolutism contains in it no political concept of necessary spatio-material limits, no understanding of the ubi finitur armorum vis which, at the height of European feudalism, was intimately understood by great and prudent nobles.

The polarizing effects of Crown policies included the disastrous (for Spain) result of pushing disenfranchised men of good breeding into various republican and independence movements — men like Bolívar himself, who (it must be remembered!) sought a form of government for Latin Americans built around an hereditary Senate of the best blood. Bolívar, a great admirer of Napoleon, was similarly ambitious, on a similarly continental (dare I say, imperial) scale and was, ultimately, a believer in hereditary (military) aristocracy as much as was the Emperor himself.

Of course, through a clouded and foreshortened hindsight, men of this breed in their particular historical moment, much removed from our own, appear to us like menacing specters in the Jacobin mold, but a goodly many of them were simply the heirs of a once-great blood, of many storied and exalted lineages, fighting to assert their rank and reclaim their rightful privileges, albeit in necessarily new and mutated forms. Their cause, for which they fight as warriors born, is continuity.

When the royal-bureaucratic institutions failed them, they endeavoured to carve out new institutions, which better fit with the older aristocratic ones, which recalls the faded glimmers of traditions felt in every aspect of their existence — brought over on their ancestral ships, carried on their saddles, put forth at their sword-points and coursing through their very veins. In an historical moment which favoured ‘Progress’ and dissolution, specifically a nihilistic centralization within the form of the State, theirs may have been a hopeless task, but not so hopeless that nothing can be gained or salvaged. Its actual significance is that it fueled the subterranean fires just enough that something lasted; their embers can be carried off to light fires in new hearths, to use a metaphor which Nietzsche borrowed from Voltaire. So, while it was then a hopeless task, it nevertheless remains today a worthy task. We may yet salvage that Spanish legacy — and it will be to the future gain of ourselves and our posterity, not to mention the glory of our shared forebears.

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5. The Endless Dance of Blood

Philosophically, we are well advised that all continuous (as opposed to discontinuous) change — whether recursion (i.e. repetition) or even revolution (literally, a complete turning around) — carries us back to the old ways but also carries those very ways themselves into the future. This not only resonates with what Montesquieu calls constance, but also effectively describes the sublative aspect of Hegel’s philosophy of history, the mystifying process of Aufhebung in the Hegelian dialectic. Sublation is preservation by carrying-off. It is momentum. More precisely, then, it is a kind of conservation. By analogy, the conservation of motion or of mass. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Indeed, the more they are enabled to endure.

A generation pregnant with inherited greatness will seek to arrange political life in accordance with the half-forgotten glimmers of its inherited, traditional way of life, to clear the overgrown but structurally solid ruins of the old aristocratic order so that its foundations may support new glories. Occasionally sacrifices must be made — but sustainably, so that flourishing life may not only be saved in the present moment, but continued with dignity; and so these young yet ancient-blooded aristocrats hew from older, more gnarled, seasoned trunks the fresh timber appropriate to its task of construction and renovation.

Moreover, a generation which consciously gives birth to itself as it were, which answers Pindar’s call to “become who you are”, actually reclaims civilization for itself. Men of this breed are even more pronounced in their nobility than the men of Bolívar’s milieu — immeasurable more so! They are more bold, daring, arrogant and sure of themselves. Once they take their courage in their hand and genuinely, fully own up to the inheritance described above, they become discoverers, conquistadores and horseback warriors all over again — maybe even gunslingers of an unforeseen sort. They are, in short, worthy heirs of their — and our — most distant and exalted ancestors.

In this case, the young nobles of Latin America endeavoured valiantly but did not break through the entanglements of the modern world to recover their aristocratic ordering of society or the feudal-tenurial privileges which go with it. What of the next time? For another such generation will arise, as surely as there will always be cowboys of a sort to serve them. No doubt, they will continue to seek such an arrangement of political life as just described. Perhaps they will be stronger this time; perhaps wiser; as much favoured by the preparations which the prolonged passage of time affords as by the opportunities surrendered to them upon the arrival of a fortuitous episode — if only it is seized in precisely the instant in which it appears. On the balance of probabilities, a great generation, even if it numbers only a solitary great man, appears sooner or later.

Indubitably, Old Iberia’s lessons for America and her contributions to a flourishing posterity are still unfolding. It is up to us to seize upon them.

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Work of Art:
Le Pape Formose et Étienne VII
by Jean-Paul Laurens

 

800px-Jean_Paul_Laurens_Le_Pape_Formose_et_Etienne_VII_1870

Title: Le Pape Formose et Étienne VII

Artist: Jean-Paul Laurens

Completion Date: 1870

Style: Academicism

Jean Paul Laurens’ monumental 1870 painting Le Pape Formose et Étienne VII stands as an extraordinary achievement of French academicist technique. Laurens can be appropriately placed among Jean-Léon Gérôme and William-Adolphe Bouguereau among France’s pantheon of  XIXe siècle artists. Born in 1838, he studied under Léon Cogniet and Alexandre Bida at the École des Beaux-Arts and combined a highly detailed style with flawless technical proficiency. Laurens’ approach firstly utilized broad daubs of paint in order to highlight shadowing and then incorporated smaller, precise brushstrokes with a sable-hair pencil. Punctilious use of oil pigments and the ‘building-up’ of layers on the canvas created panoptical scenes of awing splendour.

Laurens’ politics were anti-clerical and republican, which assisted him during the Troisième République. Subservient to its ‘approved’ tastes, he painted the Paris City Hall’s vaulted ceiling, the picaresque series illustrating St Genevieve’s life in the Pantheon and illustrated Augustin Thierry’s Récits des temps mérovingiens. This latter work unfavorably depicted the founding kings as capricious autocrats allied with black-robed churchmen. Many of Laurens’ paintings illustrated medieval settings but are coagulated over with rationalist, liberal prejudices regarding France’s ancient past and the Church. His anti-clerical, anti-royalist biases echoed Diderot’s eschatonic desire for the ‘last king to be strangled with the entrails of the last priest’. In Le Pape Formose et Étienne VII, Laurens delineated his Gothic vision of the infamous papal Synodus Horrenda of January 897 A.D. for his admiring bourgeois audiences.

Ghoulishly engaging, the painting depicts a rotting cadaver dressed in sacerdotal vestments. A gilded cope, headdress and gloves all adorn the corpse’s frame while its eye sockets stare emptily and jaw hangs down. This is the body of Pope Formosus, who was posthumously tried and convicted of violating canon law and perjury. His accusers and judges consisted of lackeys loyal to his papal successor. Pope Stephen VII ascended to the Cathedra Romani and desired to enact a Damnatio memoriae against his predecessor in order to efface him from History. When examined by the inquisitor, a deacon provided answers for the putrefying corpse; presumably the best act of ventriloquism in Western Civilization! Pronounced guilty, a papal seneschal cut three fingers from the cadaver’s right hand and later flung it into the Tiber.

Washing up on the riverbank later, rumours circulated through Rome that the corpse could perform miracles. The Roman mob rose against Stephen VII and deposed him. In July 897, he was murdered while imprisoned. Later, Pope Theodore II (897) rehabilitated Formosus but Pope Sergius III (904-911) reaffirmed Formosus’s conviction. Currently Formosus is not discussed at Roman Catholic universities. Similarly to the Borgia popes, Tridentine historians and theologians will discreetly omit him in order to avoid tarnishing Mother Church’s image in the eyes of the world. Following his politics, Laurens explicitly sought to depict the Church as backward and barbaric by painting this particularly dark scene from its long History.

Le Pape Formose et Étienne VII is absolutely nonpareil in its technical execution and stylistic complexities. Laurens completed it at the dawn of Academicism’s last golden decade before Impressionism. Expertly using chiaroscuro, the viewer’s eyes are drawn to the ghastly, pale skull nestled in pontifical vestments. Contrastingly, Stephen VII is ensconced in blackness and gazes  out from under beetled brows with undisguised malice.The cassocked deacon palpably retreats before the inquisitor’s accusing finger while serried ranks of prelatic sycophants observe the grotesque spectacle. The thurifer, carpet and inquisitor’s vestments are deliberately Orientalist in order to highlight Laurens’ conception of Rome as barbarous and alien to Western progress.

Laurens proposes a radical dichotomy between latitudinarian modernity (as exemplified in the Third Republic) and papistic, oppressive autocracy. While an arresting tableau of Gothic complexities, we must be conscious of Laurens’ leftist beliefs. Those drawn to medievalist oneiric visions will surely find much to contemplate in Le Pape Formose et Étienne VII long after they depart from the gallery.

Peter Sayles

Bangor, Maine (2012)

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Welcome to The Devil’s Review!

Greetings! In my capacity as Political Editor, I am pleased to welcome you to the Devil’s Review! Call me Alfred Smith. Not because that’s my name. It isn’t.  My real […]

Greetings!

In my capacity as Political Editor, I am pleased to welcome you to the Devil’s Review!

Call me Alfred Smith. Not because that’s my name. It isn’t.  My real name is listed under the heading ‘PhD candidates’ on the website of a certain university located somewhere in the UK. The real names of my dear friends and fellow scholars, Henri de Mistral and Peter Sayles, editor-in-chief and artistic editor respectively, will also be found on the websites of universities in the UK and the US.  We are, as it were, in the belly of the beast that is the modern Western educational establishment, and given our views on politics, race, culture, aesthetics, and history, we cannot safely reveal our true identities to the world.

In our daily lives we are forced much of the time to be silent or to employ subterfuge. For instance, some months ago at a gathering of my peers, after having drunk about a third of a bottle of whisky (this may be an overly modest estimate), I declared, staring everyone down with wide bloodshot eyes, the following: ‘ “European” does not mean “cosmopolitan,” it does not mean the EU; the term denotes a distinct people, or family of peoples. What are Europeans? Well, they’re NOT BLOODY TURKS! Let’s agree on that for a start!’  And what, you may ask, was the response? Peals of laughter, of course! This, they understood, was one of my jokes.  I have managed to cultivate a reputation for myself as the funny chap in the department who drinks rather a lot at parties and pretends to be a bigot for the sole purpose of providing amusement. I’ve even heard my peers whisper on occasion, ‘Ha! Surely Alfred doesn’t really mean those silly things!’

Of course we do tire of play-acting all the time. For this reason, we go under cover a few times a year to places where we can talk openly and seriously to people who, unlike most inhabitants of ivory towers, have the distinct advantage of being sane. Well, at least they know, as all our illustrious ancestors knew, that Turks are not Europeans! We regularly attend such events as the annual conferences of the Mencken Club, Traditional Britain Group and American Renaissance, and would be most pleased to make your acquaintance on such occasions. But annual or semi-annual conferences are not enough. We aim, as far as is possible, to create a space for truth and honesty on the central problems facing the European race that will be accessible all the time and from any location.  At any of the above-named conferences so much unvarnished truth and brutal honesty are bandied about that an ordinary inhabitant of the politically correct post-modern West might suffer a nosebleed. After hour in such a punishing environment, a typical 300 lb. lesbian Marxist ‘woman and gender studies’ lecturer could, I imagine, spontaneously combust, or perhaps be transformed into a woolly mammoth, or an immense swarm of  fleas. In short, we aim to create a similar environment on the web as much to educate, inspire and amuse our friends as to cause the eyes and ears of our enemies to bleed, and their heads to explode. This is the purpose of The Devil’s Review.

But why, you may ask, do we need another webzine like Alternative Right, the blogs of the Traditional Britain Group and The Quarterly Review, American Renaissance, VDare or Takimag? I answer: We like to think that our work complements that of the above publications. Though our writers do sometimes comment on the news and what passes today for ‘culture,’ our writing is not primarily journalistic. We are more concerned with deeper questions of social and political philosophy, of history and aesthetics, of the concrete lived traditions of our European ancestors. As the above list of topics implies, our writers have a variety of interests. We also have different opinions on various matters. For instance, some of us are sympathetic to the traditional European Christianity practiced by our ancestors before the advent of Puritanism and the Enlightenment. Others embrace the teachings of Norse Paganism.

On one question, however, we are all in agreement: that the form of political life called ‘democratic capitalism’ or ‘liberal democracy’ is, and always has been, an ugly failure and a fraud, and that the salvation of our people is to be found in a reconstruction of the aristocratic ethos and the aristocratic forms of our European ancestors. Such a reconstruction has many facets. Our aim is to supply the ideas and the inspiration for an aristocratic revolution in politics, in economics, in opinions on race and good breeding, in religion, historiography and aesthetics.

I will take this opportunity to highlight a few of our programmatic writings.

On the nature of man, I recommend S.J. Irving’s five-part essay The Political Anthropology of the Divine Beast. Part 1 can be read here:

http://thedevilsreview.com/?p=189

On aesthetics in general, and the art of painting in particular, see Peter Sayles’ essay ‘Classical Realism and The Renewal of Art: The Viability of Traditional Painting in an Era of Rampant Ugliness’:

http://thedevilsreview.com/?p=290

Anyone who has an appreciation for fine classical European art can probably think of a painting, at the first sight of which, he was in awe.  Even without a description or any knowledge, the beauty is there. Only a great soul could have imagined and created this.  Piss Christ will not produce this effect. We must hear or read a complicated explanation as to why this ought to be considered art. But the explanation is nothing but lies. It is what it appeared to be at first glance, an obscene thing, which should be hurled from atop a high cliff together with the mutilated corpse of its author.

That said, I recommend Mr Sayles’ occasional commentaries on particular works of art. The aim of his project, I believe, is to help his readers re-cultivate the taste for beauty which the post-modern age has beaten out of so many of us, and a healthy loathing for ugliness.

I shall also not miss an opportunity for shameless self-promotion. Some of our ideas on aristocratic politics and the aristocratic revolution to come can be found in two of my essays below:

Reflections on the 2012 American Renaissance Conference

http://thedevilsreview.com/?p=921

In defence of the Lords – Reinstating heredity and continuity to Britain’s constitution

http://www.quarterly-review.org/?p=962

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Reflections on the 2012 American Renaissance Conference

[This essay first appeared on Alternative Right (alternativeright.com) in April 2012. It is no longer available there after that site was rebooted. Therefore, we are re-posting it here.]

 

I

Bon sang ne saurait mentir. These were the words with which Guillaume Faye ended his spirited post-prandial address to attendees of the 2012 American Renaissance conference.  The words are true:  Good blood cannot lie. Individuals and indeed entire races who are of good blood, though they may think it unseemly to boast, nevertheless produce a shower of blessings that are there for all the world to see. The reverse, I conceive, is also true: Mal sang ne peut que mentir. Bad blood cannot but lie.   In denial about the inferiority of themselves and their kind, those of bad blood become of necessity liars. Indeed they must come up with really extraordinary lies in order to convince us that the multiculti shower of bastards they are foisting upon us is actually a shower of blessings.

Trouble is the liars are legion, and the people, by and large, believe their lies. The truths which Amren members defend are 1.) that human quality is determined more by heredity than by any other factor and 2. that European peoples have received from their ancestors a unique bio-cultural heritage which they have a right and a duty to preserve.  Defending these truths is a challenge today not because factual evidence for them is wanting, or because they are counterintuitive. On the contrary, evidence for these claims abounds, and they are nothing if not intuitive.  The problem, as many of the speakers pointed out, is that these basic truths are perceived to be immoral in themselves, or at least fraught with immoral consequences.

Therefore, if we wish to have any success, the first thing we have to do is learn how to make moral, rather than scientific or libertarian, arguments. This, as Alex Kurtagic said in his speech, is how the Left managed to sell its poison to the masses, by claiming moral high ground.  We must take the same approach. With all due respect to Jared Taylor, whose talk was otherwise erudite, witty, and at times rousing, his formulation of a pro-European identitarian-hereditarian morality left much to be desired. ‘We have a right to be ourselves and to be left alone. What could be more moral than that?’ he said.  The fact is, that according to our opponents we do not have a right to be ourselves, for we are the incarnation of evil. As Carl Schmitt has taught us, those who view their opponents as hostis generes humani  (the enemy of the human race) will not abide by the maxim of ‘live and let live’. To ask our enemies and their millions of willing dupes to leave us alone is to say ‘Dear friends, would you be so good as to permit us to persist in being our evil selves? We solemnly promise not to become any more evil than we have been heretofore.’

Kurtagic, I say again, has the right idea. The adoption of a defensive, reactive stance is always a losing strategy. We must ignore the categories of the left and formulate a positive moral doctrine of our own based on the principles of difference, quality, beauty and good breeding. And we must demonstrate that, judged against the principles of our moral doctrine, the present order is profoundly, revoltingly immoral.

Good breeding, or eugenics, is probably the hardest idea to sell in the present cultural climate. Our society recoils at the idea of blaming individuals for inadequacies for which they themselves are not responsible. This reflects an ancient European notion of justice: it is immoral to kill or otherwise punish one who is guilty of no crime.  So be it.  But this does not mean that ‘merciful’ social policies designed to help the stupid and inadequate of the world are above moral reproach. It is just to show mercy to the stupid. But can it be just to maintain a social system which multiplies the stupid and the incompetent, and depresses the numbers of the intelligent? Can a social system be just, which provides perverse incentives for the mass breeding of bastards and imbeciles who, in default of hereditary advantages and a suitable upbringing in a two-parent family, are likely to bring nothing but grief both to their parents and to society as a whole? Is that social system just, which encourages every intelligent woman to pursue a high powered career in, let us say, advertising, so that she finds herself childless and full of regret at age 40, and the rest of the nation deprived of whatever talents or wisdom her children might have contributed to it? A social system such as this is not just, but criminal. It facilitates heinous crimes against quality. It is also hardly compatible with the goal of human happiness. Should not parents be afforded the joy of raising children who will make them proud, or at least spared the anguish of nursing future drug dealers and murderers?

Such are the ‘moral’ arguments for good breeding that occur to me.  Very likely there are better ones. One could, no doubt, be ‘nicer’ in one’s choice of words. In any case, moral arguments must be advanced for all of our principles. The US supreme court justice whom Richard Lynn quoted in his speech was certainly thinking morally, when, ruling in favour of Virginia’s law for the sterilisation of the mentally retarded, he declared: ‘Three generations of imbeciles are enough.’ The social systems and policies which we would remove are going to stay unless and until they be found guilty in the court of public opinion of crimes against difference, quality, and beauty.

II

As I mentioned privately to several other attendees in the tea and coffee intervals, there was one word which seemed to me to be very much in the air during the speeches though it was never actually pronounced. ARISTOCRACY! Historically, the principles of difference, quality, good breeding and others which the ‘alternative right’ seems poised to embrace have been the preserve not of any nation taken as a whole, much less of humanity as a whole, but of a particular class within certain nations. Difference and quality are values peculiar to hereditary aristocracies. If one reads Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, one will immediately understand why democratic man trades tradition and quality for equality and quantity. The democratic man is rootless. He is not tied to any place, he has no memory of an earlier time. Day after day, he expends all his energy merely reacting to the exigencies of the present. Such a condition of life is not conducive to the formation of taste, discernment, knowledge of and reverence for one’s ancestors, or care about one’s descendants.  Indeed, Guillaume Faye gave a perfect example in his speech of the characteristic short-sightedness of our bourgeois party politicians. Commenting on President Sarkozy’s pre-election remarks on the surfeit of foreigners in France about which something ought to done, he said ‘Monsieur le President, you have been in office for five years. Only now this enters your consciousness?’

At his best, the hereditary aristocrat, owing to his station in life, is one who, in Tocqueville’s words ‘almost always knows his ancestors and respects them; he believes he already sees his grandsons, and he loves them. He willingly assumes his duty toward both, and he often happens to sacrifice his personal enjoyments for these beings who are no more or who do not yet exist.’[1] Freed from the drudgery of the field, the factory and counting house, he has time to refine his taste, to study the words and deeds of his forebears and to learn judgment and far-sightedness. For the hereditary aristocrat such modes of thought are habitual. For the bustling bourgeois internationalist masses they are not, and cannot be. One therefore needs an hereditary aristocracy to impose its judgment, its reverence for ancestors, its belief in the necessity of good breeding and its far-sightedness on the rest of the nation. Long before Tocqueville’s time our European ancestors understood this.

Were I to be by some great stroke of luck appointed Minister of Education of an Anglo-Saxon ethno-state of the kind Sam Dickson alluded to on Sunday morning, my first official act would be to order all copies of John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government to be burnt by the public hangman. Government is based on a contract between free and equal individuals, you say? Rubbish! Into the fire with you, with the curses of all honest men!

Instead I would have our young men read a book by George Lawson called Politica Sacra et Civilis (1660). Lawson never imagined a state of nature in which all individuals were free and equal; indeed he dismissed this as an ahistorical absurdity. All human communities, he said, were composed of different orders. And this inequality was ‘consistent with an imparity of birth, parts, estate, or age: for this is from nature or providence.’[2] Nations commonly had three classes of citizens: virtual members, full members, and eminent members. The virtual members were women, children and servants. They had no direct role in politics; their interests were looked after by their masters.  Full members were ‘males of full age, free, independent, have the use of reason, and some competent estate.’[3] In England these were the free commoners who could elect knights and burgesses to the House of Commons. The eminent members he described as ‘such, who by reason of their descent, estates, parts, noble acts, are not once members, but somewhat more, as being fit for honour, offices and places of power, if once a commonwealth be constructed.’[4] In England these were the Peers of the realm.

For Lawson it was essential that only the fit and the independent be allowed to judge concerning the affairs of the nation. And the most fit, those from families of the best birth and parts who had served the nation well before, should have the most power and influence within the framework of the ancient constitution. These lessons were not lost, I think, on an English nation that had watched the quasi-egalitarian constitutional experiments of the Commonwealth and the Protectorate fail one after the other.

Ultimately, the peace, prosperity, and freedom of a nation depended on two things. First, on the good affections of citizens one towards another, which Lawson thought were based on common blood, language, religion and laws. Indeed, this is the point we on the alternative right harp on so much. As Sam Dickson put it: ‘Only in an ethnostate can there be true tolerance, because when people are all of one stock, naturally occurring diversity poses no threats and truly can be celebrated.’  There is no question, ethnic homogeneity is one of the greatest blessings a political community can have. But even ethnically homogeneous compatriots will come to blows with each other if they lack sufficient guidance. According to Lawson, the second factor upon which the prosperity of a nation depended was ‘the number of just, wise and eminent persons amongst them, who are fit, not only to be the matter of the state, but to model it, and order it once constituted.’[5] An hereditary aristocracy was a ready source of such men who had ‘the best education’ and ‘sometimes participate in some measure of the noble spirit of their ancestors, whose rare examples may do something to inspire them.’[6]  Those who wish to form a white ethno-state in America should first get to work on breeding an aristocracy fit to rule it.

III

I should like to conclude with a few more remarks on the speeches of Guillaume Faye and Richard Lynn. Faye offered a useful analogy for the diagnosis of our problems.  A people is like tree. A tree has roots, a trunk and branches. The first correspond to the biological substrate of the nation, the second to its culture, the third to its civilisation. The branches and the trunk, he said, may be damaged, but so long as the roots are not killed, the organism may recover.  Culture and civilization may be damaged, but so long as the biological substrate remains intact, the nation may still be reborn.

All of this is no doubt true. Yet it seems to me that the main problem at present is that the trunk of the tree, the culture, has been burnt to a cinder, and that is the only reason why the roots are being poisoned. If we could but restore the culture, all the damage that has already been done to the roots by third world immigration and the welfare state could be undone over time by a combination of positive and negative eugenics.  We could appoint Richard Lynn Minister of Racial Hygiene and start mending the roots tomorrow were it not for our sick, blighted culture.

Moreover, I am doubtful that, should European peoples finally destroy themselves beyond all possibility of recovery, the torch of civilization would be passed to the Chinese as Lynn predicts.  He is certainly right that European peoples have become ‘too nice.’ But that does not mean that the authoritarian oligarchy of East Asia, however stern, will embrace difference and quality. Asian oligarchs are derived from the same pestilential scum as Western liberal politicians. They are concerned only with material prosperity, the branches (civilisation) in Faye’s analogy of the tree.  Human biological quality and culture are of no interest to them, and therefore they will ultimately lead their people down the same path to suicide.

It is not democracy or oligarchy that we need, but aristocracy. Revival can come only from an aristocratic revolution in culture.

 



[1]Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America: Historical-Critical Edition of De la démocratie en Amérique, ed. Eduardo Nolla, trans. James T. Schleifer. (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2010), Vol. III, 883.

[2] George Lawson, Politica Sacra et Civilis, ed. Conal Condren, (Cambridge University Press, 2006), 30.

[3] Lawson, Politica Sacra et Civilis, 29.

[4] Lawson, Politica Sacra et Civilis, 29.

[5] Lawson, Politica Sacra et Civilis, 26.

[6] Lawson, Politica Sacra et Civilis, 95.

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Great Dives of New England #3:
Dorrian’s

Last weekend, I journeyed down to New York City in order to visit friends and take in the Park Avenue Armory art show. I occasionally visit Manhattan for cultural events […]

Last weekend, I journeyed down to New York City in order to visit friends and take in the Park Avenue Armory art show. I occasionally visit Manhattan for cultural events and typically enjoy my visits. I briefly lived in Hell’s Kitchen in my mid-twenties and still have fond memories of that period in my life. I lived on West 39th and 9th streets in a cold-water, walkup apartment. My immediate neighbors consisted of three Puerto Rican blue-collar working families, a friendly expatriate Irish couple and two attic-dwelling Brazilian homosexuals who also performed as a duo drag act on the weekends. This disparate collection of humanity did not know what to do with me at first and we maintained an uneasy coexistence. I first broke the ice by killing a cockroach on the hallway floor after one of the wives had seen it and screamed. After dispatching it with a size eight cordovan, we started conversing and became friendly.

I was clearly an enigma to them as I kept regular hours and left every morning wearing a Brooks Brothers grey suit,  a white shirt and a regimental tie. I found out later that they initially thought I was a Mormon missionary because of my Nordic features and conservative dress. I burst out laughing when one of the Puerto Rican mamas told me this and assured her that I was NOT a Mormon and that I also found the Church of Latter-Day Saints just as banal as they did. After this we all grew close and I would occasionally be greeted with kindly calls of “Hey Peeta, what’ choo doin?!” as I went grocery shopping and on weekend bar excursions around the neighborhood. Although I became quite comfortable in the local streets, I often found myself on the Upper East Side for socializing and recreation. While there, I became a regular at Dorrian’s Red Hand Restaurant and I decided to revisit an old stomping ground on my most recent trip to the city.

Dorrian’s is a legend in its own right. Situated on East 84th and Second Avenue, its mahogany paneled doors have welcomed generations of overprivileged, WASP children from the Upper East Side, Newport, Beacon Hill, Georgetown and Greenwich. It serves a wide variety of beers and pours Scotch quite generously. Its menu offers typically American fare with cheeseburgers and New England clam chowder proving quite popular choices. Red and white checked tablecloths are festooned throughout the dining room and various Eighties tracks waft through the air. Predictably, singles by Foreigner, Journey, Phil Collins and Genesis are frequently played on the imposing jukebox located in the rear dining room. Dorrian’s is also infamous for being the former haunt of Robert Chambers, the Preppie Killer. This past history clouds its reputation and dissuades some people from drinking at the bar.

Chambers was a minor celebrity in the mid-Eighties. A native Upper East Sider, he was also a brute and misogynist who had been kicked out of several prep schools and Boston University. In the hot summer of 1986, he left Dorrian’s with a young coed in tow and promptly strangled her to death during a fit of anger in Central Park. When confronted by the police over his facial wounds from her fingernails, Chambers explained that she’d clawed him during throes of unwanted passion. This prompted the acerbic investigating attorney to remark that Chambers was the first man he’d met who’d been raped by a woman in Central Park. He was released on bail while the court assembled a jury and began proceedings.

The resulting deliberations were avidly covered by both New York newspapers and the national media. During the trial, a videotape surfaced that showed Chambers at an apartment soiree. Drunkenly clutching a Barbie doll, he twisted its head off and loathsomely remarked, “Oops, I think I killed it!” to the raucous partygoers. Public opinion turned against him, the jury found him guilty and Chambers was sentenced to fifteen years. He proved a violent inmate and after serving his full sentence was later tried and found guilty of cocaine distribution. He is currently serving nineteen years ‘up the river’. All of this clouds Dorrian’s and gives the restaurant a reputation for snobbish, chauvinistic prep school lacrosse players, younger Wall Street bankers and the blonde, Coach bag clutching gallerinas who love them.

I very much enjoy that subculture.

Above all, Dorrian’s is quite refreshing because it attracts a reliably white, educated and conservative crowd. Boys will wear Lacoste polos, Ray-Ban Wayfarers and Sperry Topsiders WITHOUT attempting to be ironic. Girls will attempt to look like their mothers and even wear their grandmother’s pearls. When you speak with someone, they will either be outgoing or dismissive depending on their interest, (intellectual, familial, sexual) in you. However, they won’t subject you to the kind of passive-aggressive, mocking tone that passes for discourse in SWPL circles. It’s one of the few places in Manhattan where I can get a good Scotch, a decent bowl of clam chowder and can avidly talk about small coastal towns in Maine with another young person. Many of the girls are assistant editors for publishing firms or auction house art specialists so I can discuss English literature and art history. There’s a sense of genuine camaraderie at Dorrian’s for white Americans of a certain class and age, which is so refreshing in the Big Bagel.

This past Friday, I left the Waldorf-Astoria wearing a navy blazer, blue shirt, repp tie and faux-Gucci (Cole Haan) loafers. I took a taxi to Dorrian’s, entered and spent the next three hours socializing and conversing with the bar’s customers. I met a lovely young girl who graduated from Bryn Mawr and was working for a smallish publishing house specializing in British literature. She reminded me of Chloe Sevigny’s character in Whit Stillman’s The Last Days of Disco. I also spoke to a bright young man who was working for the Met as an intern in their European paintings department. Later on, the night became much more wild as phalanx after phalanx of baseball cap wearing Duke University and Trinity College boys descended on the bar. The songs became louder as did the patrons. Politely excusing myself to visit the gents’ room, I found that I had to delicately step over a puddle next to the urinal caused by the drunken incontinence of patrons and faulty plumbing. I always find the antics of youth so amusing. After finishing my Laphroaig, I took my leave and exited into the brilliantly-lit Manhattan night.

I am drawn to Dorrian’s for the same reasons that hipsters are repelled by it. It’s preppy, conservative, ‘heterosexist’ (?) and provides a wonderful chance to meet other young people. Although I’m now at an age when I prefer Swifty’s or La Grenouille, Dorrian’s still provides a good night’s merriment and potential companionship for the rest of the evening!

Rating:

Five shots out of five.

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