No Tomorrows

All human societies have some form of belief system, usually based in the supernatural or in unexplained mysteries. People who study these things think that belief is one of the earliest modern human traits. Language and religion, the formalization of belief, most likely evolved together. That certainly makes sense. Religion has always been a handy store of knowledge and language is the way in which it can be transported from one generation to the next. From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense for both to coexist.

That is speculative, but what is not speculative is that all known people have had something we would consider to be a faith system. Primitive people have primitive belief systems, usually based in natural phenomenon like the seasons and elements. American Indians have a whole collection of deities based in nature. More complex societies create more complex myths, legends and belief structures. The Greeks and Romans had very complex systems. Christianity, obviously, is a rich and complex belief system.

We in the modern West tend to think we have moved past this stuff. The educated classes, while not willing to say they are atheists, scoff at the religious. The most you will get from the upper classes is the line about being spiritual, but not religious. The truth is, Western elites are believers like all people in all times, maybe more so. It’s just that their beliefs are informal and ad hoc. The people toting canvas sacks to the market are doing so because our better say nature demands it of us.

Belief systems describe a people. The ancient Egyptians had a highly complex belief system like many ancient people. Their religion, however, was unique in that it was entirely focused on the afterlife. They did not make sacrifices and pray for the here and now. They built monuments, complex burial systems and temples in order to prepare the living for the after life. There is a good argument that this focus on the after life is what allowed the Egyptians to keep their culture going for 3,000 years.

On the other hand, the Greeks were not very concerned about the after life. Their focus was on the here and now. The gods interfered in the lives of men, so it made sense to focus devotion on swaying the gods to act on your behalf or against the interests of your enemies. The Greeks did have the concept of an afterlife, but it was not the focus of their belief system. Immortality for man was possible by having sons, who would carry his name, or dying for his polis, which would live on and remember his name.

The Greeks may have been more concerned with the present, when it came time to worshipping the gods, but they had a nice long run, roughly 1000 years. It was not as if they were hedonists, living only in the moment. Even so, this focus on the now had some odd results. For instance, we know just about every Egyptian ruler and his deeds. We even have some of their corpses. The Dorian Greeks, on the other hand, burned their kings, as well as any record of them. We know nothing about them as a result.

This brings up an important point about our present age. The cult of Gaia, for example, is long on rhetoric about the future, but its focus is on present virtue. The greens are not trying preserve the environment for future generations. They are hoping their efforts snuff out future generations. The same is true of anti-racism and multiculturalism. These are all about the present. Calling them suicide cults is useful rhetoric, but in fact our virtuous rulers don’t think past tomorrow. it’s all about grace today.

This is particularly true with regards to migration. Nationalists like to cook up complex theories as to why our rulers are wedded to the idea of mass immigration. Some say it is cheap labor. Other say it is cheap votes. Still others see it as spite. All of those things are true, but the real motivation is virtue. Instead of a public ceremony where they sacrifice a bull or consecrate a church, inviting in the poor and downtrodden is the big public act of virtue. The consequences are down the road. The grace is today.

It’s not just vanity. We are the first people to have no conception of an afterlife. Even the Greeks believed in the after life and they believed there was judgement of souls. They may not have made that the focus of their faith, but they still believed there was something beyond this life. This spiritual hopelessness of Western elites may be why the Cloud People couch everything in terms of personal fulfillment and self-actualization. It is a way of crossing the River Styx without actually believing in it.

 

The nuttiness of modern elite culture may simply be a neurosis arising from the conflict between the natural, bone deep desire of man to be remembered, colliding with the lack of any reason to be remembered. Even the humblest of men will carve his name into a tree or scratch his name on his prison wall. “I was here” is the primal scream. Today, that impulse has no cultural vessel into which it can flow. The lonely barren spinster yells “I was here” and the only thing that happens is the cat stirs and then goes back to sleep.

Maybe this is it for us. Maybe there is no tomorrow for the West.

Alt-Jew

Someone contacted me the other day saying they were starting a site called Alt-Jew and he wanted to know if I knew any right-wing Jews that would be interested. You never know about these things. It could have been a terrorist organization trying to get some names of people they could terrorize. Anyone can register a website. Well, not anyone, thanks to terrorist groups like the SPLC and ADL. Still, you never can be sure about these things. The Reagan Battalion was an elaborate Soros fraud.

Regardless, it provides a reason to write about a subject that gets zero attention. That is the schism among American Jews, one that is looking a little bit like the divide within the white world. There are a growing number of right-wing Jews, who are wondering if liberal Jews are bad for Jews. It’s not just politically, but culturally and racially. They look around at the demographics in America and see greater out-marriage, lower birth rates and the telltale signs of assimilation and secularization.

Anyone who has engaged with Orthodox Jews knows they regard Liberal Jews with a high degree of hostility. They are not as bad as the Hasidim, but they view Reformed Jews as fakers, getting the benefits of being Jewish without the commitment. Their relatively small numbers have made them easy to ignore, but demographics are changing quickly. Orthodox are 10% of American Jews and a full decade younger than the median age of Reformed Jews. They also have many more children per female.

Now, the Orthodox are famously ethnocentric. They also vote for conservative white candidates in elections. When it comes to identity politics, the Orthodox favor it over consensus. They may not be talking about ethno-states and separatism, but their revealed preferences run strongly in that direction. Like the Amish though, their numbers will only grow the old fashioned way. They don’t recruit so they don’t attract a lot of converts. Talk to anyone who has converted and they will tell you it is a long and challenging process.

There’s another division, somewhat related to the Orthodox movement, and that is the Chabad movement. Here’s a Globe story from two years ago and a Forward story from last year for some background. One of the unique things about Chabad is they recruit and do so aggressively. They even recruit gentiles. I’ve had them put the arm on me more than once, even though they know I’m not a Jew. President Trump’s son-in-law and daughter are Chabad. Joel Pollak, the Breitbart big shot, is Chabad. This is not an accident.

As that Globe story makes clear, the Chabad movement is a curious thing. On the one hand, they are Orthodox, which puts them culturally to the right of most people and way to the Right of most Jews. On the other hand, they seem to be following the model of the early Christian church by letting converts ease into the life. Jared Kushner is not growing a beard and wearing all black anytime soon. It’s hard not to think that they are first concerned with growing the movement. They’ll worry about discipline later.

There’s another piece to the puzzle. There are Conservative Jews who make up about 20% of American Jewry. These are the folks you will not only see filtering into the Chabad movement, but also on the fringes of the alt-right. They may or may not consider themselves white, but either way, they are fine with white identity politics. They think multiculturalism is madness. It’s not just madness for Jews, but for everyone. Diversity is a cancer to be avoided. These are folks who would be called Alt-Jew.

The number of Conservative Jews sympathetic to the alt-right is debatable, depending upon how you define the terms. There are quite a few Jews supporting Jared Taylor’s work at American Renaissance. I correspond with maybe half a dozen Conservative Jews who share my politics. They think their numbers are growing as Jews in America come to terms with the failings of liberalism and reformed Judaism. To use a phrase I picked up at AmRen, these are Jews who are religious, if not spiritual.

None of this means that Jews are suddenly going to lift Richard Spencer up and carry him to the throne of the ethno-state. It just means that demographics and shifting politics spare no one. Liberal Jews are old and not particularly fertile. Orthodox Jews are young and extremely fertile. Conservative Jews fall somewhere in between, but probably represent a much more practical alternative for American Jews who wish to remain American and Jewish. In a majority-minority world, everyone is going to have to pick sides.

For a distinct minority, it will also mean a return to strict ethnic solidarity. That means policing stuff like this that only serves to encourage the worst response from other groups in the population. Whether or not that happens or how it plays out is a mystery, but what is certain is that in the future, everyone will be voting their skin. That’s how multiculturalism works. There’s no place for modern liberalism, much less liberal Judaism, in a world of identity politics. Alt-Jew may be the only way forward for Jews in America.

Better Living Through Suicide

Religions tend to set limits. Those limits come with the force of God or some spiritual force that transcends man. Otherwise, a religion would be nothing more than man-made rules enforced by the strongest. This is why laws in most of the world are rooted in the dominant religion of the region or country. The local religion is a list of restrictions and limitations placed on the believers. Naturally, when it came time to form a government and write laws, they relied upon the laws and rules of their religion.

This may seem rather obvious, but the concept of the limiting principle is easy to take for granted. This is a core feature of most religions and it easiest to understand by considering our laws. Take two people who are not robbing banks. Just as long as both are not robbing banks, neither is more or less of a bank robber than the other. Both are simply not bank robbers. In other words, while there may be degrees of bank robbery, there are no degrees of not bank robbery. Not being one is the limit of that virtue.

This is true of religion, of course. The sinner can be someone breaking a minor rule or someone violating the big rules. Their degree of sinfulness can be established, but their degree of virtue does not exist. If you are not violating the rules of the faith, then that is as good as it gets for you, at least in this life. In other words, there is a limit to virtue. That limit is the rule or prohibition. You are either within the rules or not. Efforts to out-virtue others are usually seen as vanity, unjustified boasting about one’s spiritual state.

The limiting principle keeps religions and the law from going crazy and descending into virtue spirals. After all, if one can be more virtuous than the next guy, then the next guy can be even more virtuous. The cycle ends only when everyone is dead. The same is true of the law. Utopian schemes like communism are aimed at constructing the perfect society, but since perfection is impossible, it is a never ending cycle of madness to make society better, which means making people better. It’s why they always end in violence.

This has always been the problem with efforts to create a civic religion. Robespierre and his radical buddies figured this out quickly, which is why they came up with the Cult of the Supreme Being. Of course, their new reason cult got weird in hurry and contributed to the demise of Robespierre. The reason is any effort to invest moral authority in men or their creations turns those men into gods. The madness of the French Revolution was a virtue spiral, as there was no transcendent limit. The radicals could always be more radical.

We see this with the nature movements that have been a feature of the Left for as long as anyone reading this has been alive. The greens always aim for some sort of Edenic outcome. Their goal always lies just a little further. The idea of “good enough” is outside their comprehension. Couple that with their preternatural belief in the sinfulness of man and you end up with a nature cult that borders on being a suicide cult. The end point of every Progressive nature movement is the end of mankind.

The greatest impact individuals can have in fighting climate change is to have one fewer child, according to a new study that identifies the most effective ways people can cut their carbon emissions.

The next best actions are selling your car, avoiding long flights, and eating a vegetarian diet. These reduce emissions many times more than common green activities, such as recycling, using low energy light bulbs or drying washing on a line. However, the high impact actions are rarely mentioned in government advice and school textbooks, researchers found.

Just look at that list. It sounds like a combination of the Shakers and 1970’s new age mysticism. In order to save the planet, according to researchers and experts no less, is to avoid having more humans and make the ones waiting around to die as miserable as possible. The unspoken reason for selling the car and sitting in the dark with your nothing burger is so you can suffer and atone for your sins. In other words, it is not enough to be a green, you have to kill yourself as the ultimate sign of your virtue.

This is not new. The Shakers, obviously, are an example of what happens when a religion cannot imagine a limit to virtue. The Shakers, though, had the decency to mind their own business and not try to inflict themselves on the rest of the world. In the long run, they were a slow-motion suicide cult, but they were willing to let nature take its course. The modern nature cults not only want to rush their demise, they want to take the rest of us with them, or at least make us suffer for their religion.

This is the problem that has haunted the Left in America. There’s no concept of good enough. They are always chanting, “we can do more” or “there is more work to do.” No matter how much damage they do in the holy cause, they are sure that more needs doing, more must be done. It’s why their causes tend to burn out in fits of insanity like we see with the whole transgender thing. The quest for the ultimate victim has led them to celebrate mental illness as a virtue and deny biological reality.

There’s another point here worth mentioning. A reason Progressives lack the concept of the limiting principle is that the modern American Left grew out of the postmillennialism of the 19th and early 20th century. This was an American Protestant movement based on the belief that the time between now and the end times would be one where the Church came to dominate the nations of the earth and usher in an era of peace, prosperity and righteousness, signally the return of Christ. Abolitionism was a product of this movement.

Modern Progressives have abandoned the language of Christianity, but they retain the characteristics and much of the language of their spiritual forebears. Instead of spreading the Word, they spread democracy. Instead of defeating Satan by expanding the kingdom of God on earth, the modern Progressives expands the inclusive Community to defeat the Hate. Saving the earth is, in a way, the restoration of Eden. When the goal is to immanentize the eschaton, it is no wonder they set no limits for themselves.

The Church of Modern Lunacy

I have a passing interest in the Church of England and its American variation, the Episcopal Church. An old friend is in the church so I get some first hand descriptions of what it is like to be in a dying institution. That’s the only way to describe the Episcopal Church. Attendance declines every year as old members die off and new members never materialize. Go into an Episcopal service and you can’t help but notice that most everyone is a senior. The actuarial tables are the church’s greatest enemy.

Of course, church attendance has always skewed a little older. Young people tend not to be attracted to the faith, even if their parents regularly attend services. As people get older, have families and begin to sink roots, they get more involved in their faith and attend services regularly. That’s the trouble with the mainline Protestant religions. The young are not coming back once they start having families. That means their children are not raised in the faith. As a result, these churches are now in a death spiral.

The story is familiar to anyone who has been paying attention. These churches made the decision to chase the latest social fads in the 70’s and 80’s, hoping to make themselves more appealing to the young. The only thing they did was make themselves less attractive to people interested in being part of a traditional Christian sect. It was not just in the pews, but in the clergy as well. Those feeling the call found that the church in which they were raised was not interested in defending and maintaining the faith.

The result is the clergy slowly radicalized. First came the women and then the feminist women. Soon they invited in the homosexuals and the clergy started looking like the faculty of a liberal arts college. That’s when the pews started to empty out. Why bother going to church, when you can get the same liberal lecture from television? That’s what started the decline in church attendance. Instead of offering a shelter from the storm, they decided to chase an over-served market – radical Progressives.

Talking to my friend, he tells me that there are elements within the Episcopal Church that know what must be done to save the church. The trouble is they are outgunned and out maneuvered by the radicals. That’s the thing. The conservatives make it a priority to serve the church and serve God, while the radicals are always scheming to advance the radical agenda. The conservatives are constantly outmaneuvered because they are not playing the political games. They end up getting marginalized, despite having numbers.

Of course, young people seeking to join the clergy are confronted by a politicized bureaucracy full of homosexuals and social justice warriors, who are mainly interested in advancing their own agenda within the church. Like the old commie radicals of yesteryear, the current radicals use struggle sessions and purity tests to boil off those who would challenge their agenda. Imagine you’re a young priest and you are told you now have to celebrate a special mass for the transgendered.

The General Synod of the Church of England has voted to ‘welcome transgender people’ by considering preparing a church service as a way to “mark a person’s gender transition”.
The official church of the United Kingdom voted four to one in favour amongst the Clergy and more than two to one amongst the Laity (members who are not Clergy) at the four-day Synod, the motion reading:

“That this Synod, recognising the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church, call on the House of Bishops to consider whether some nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition.”

Vicar of Lancaster Priory Church, Chris Newlands, posed the motion to the Synod, saying he would speak on behalf of transgender people as the church’s Synod has none.

He said: “We need to be aware of the impact that our actions – be them welcome or rejection – have on the members of the trans community.

“I hope that we can make a powerful statement that we believe trans people are cherished and loved by God, who created them.”

The BBC reports that, “Such a service would not be a second baptism, however, as the Church’s teaching is that humans are made in the image of God – transcending gender – and baptism takes place only once.”

Archbishop of York Dr. John Sentamu said there was a need for vicars “to welcome and affirm, in their parish, transgender people”, adding that the “theology has to be done” by the House of Bishops and “can be done very quickly”.

Notice the feminine language. They want to “welcome and affirm” trannies into their churches. I’d like these guys to point to the passage in the Bible that covers men who like to play dress up or people so mentally unbalanced they believe their sex organs are imaginary. Ministering to the mentally ill has a place in a church, but that’s not what they are saying. They want to make mutilating people a sacrament. Imagine being forced to embrace this sort of madness. It is no wonder the sane clergy are leaving.

Of course, it’s also why the pews are empty. It’s another reminder that Progressives must be treated like rage zombies or highly contagious disease carriers. Once you let one into your organization, it will set about bringing in more of its kind. In this case, it was women in the clergy, then feminists, then homosexuals. They have reached the point where few inside the church care at all about the faith. It’s all about the latest Progressive fads and how they can outrage the remaining members of their congregations.

Is the Pope Catholic?

There’s been a lot of commentary about Pope Francis being a commie, mostly from Official Conservatism, which now holds a puerile understanding of both communism and capitalism. Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), is a 2013 apostolic exhortation by Pope Francis that criticizes neoliberal global capitalism, among other topics. American “conservatives” took this mild critique to mean the Pope opposes the new religion of Globalism, so he must be a Marxist, because Marxists are bad.

The thing is, Catholicism has always been opposed, to some degree, to capitalism, particularly certain aspects of what we now call capitalism. The most obvious example is the opposition to usury. Every lecture on the evils of antisemitism contains some reference to the Church forbidding usury. Less well known is the Catholic Church’s embrace of localist economics and politics, in opposition to the internationalism of Soviet communism. The point being, the Church has never been a fan of global capitalism.

The criticism of the Pope on economic grounds says more about the bottomless ignorance of modern conservatism than it does the Pope or the Church. For the Church, any church for that matter, economics are downstream from theology. In fact, economic positions should only matter in so far as how they advance the particular theological points of the faith. Catholicism long attachment to the sovereign authority of the people, naturally leads it to embrace national economics over global economics.

That bit is sure to get some spergy responses from Catholics and Christians, but we’ll deal with that in the comments. The point to take away is that it is perfectly plausible for the Pope to be within Catholic doctrine and oppose the current fads in global economics and not be a communist. The fact that secular defenders of globalism are more hive minded than the clerical critics, suggests globalism has become more of an all-consuming religion than Catholicism. It is international fascism. 

Whether or not the Pope is a globalist is unimportant. What matters is whether or not he is a Catholic. Look at the response from Francis when Trump announced that he was withdrawing the US from the Paris climate deal. The Pope had heavily lobbied Trump in person on the mysteries of climate. He gave him a book pushing the apocalyptic claims of the most unhinged climate fanatics. It’s not unfair to say that the Pope bet a big chunk of the Church’s prestige on this, so naturally he was very angry at the result.

Now, the Pope had a joint presser with Trump on his home turf. Trump has been divorced a few times, has children from a variety of women. He is, by his own admission, a serial adulterer. The Church, at its core, opposes the way in which Trump has lived his life. At their meeting in Rome, the Pope could have taken the time to admonish Trump on these basic theological issues. At the minimum, he could have made the most powerful man in the world blush a bit about his lifestyle, even if he was not willing to be Thomas More.

Of course, the Pope is more than a theologian and spiritual leader. He is a politicians so it is understandable if maybe he would avoid the personal. He could have, however, weighed in on the oppression of Christians and Catholics in the US. That health care bill everyone says is a mess has provisions that compel Catholics to act in a way that contradicts their faith. That should be pretty damned high on the Pope’s list of concerns to be broached with the American President.

It’s not just a question about the Pope being Catholic, or at least prioritizing Catholic theology over his personal theology. The question is whether the Catholic Church is still Catholic. It used to be that the Church was at the forefront of social issues like abortion and homosexual marriage. Today, it is rare to hear anything from the Church on social issues. Instead, in the US at least, the Church is more concerned with maintaining their refugee rackets and defending Gaia from your lawnmower.

We are in a post-Christian world so perhaps it is inevitable that the Catholic Church would be looking around for a way to remain relevant. Attendance at Christian services continues to drop and the median age of self-identified Christians keeps going up. On the other hand, it is not unreasonable to think that maybe what hurts the Catholic Church is that it has stopped being Catholic. There are a million places to hear sermons on Gaia, diversity and other Progressive fads. The Pope is just another voice in the choir.

On Atheism

A useful way to think about faith and belief is to imagine a scale where at one end you have fanaticism and at the other end you have extreme skepticism. The Muslim wearing a suicide vest is down at the fanatic end, while H.L. Mencken was down at the other end with the extreme skeptics. Disbelief is not the opposite of belief. Skepticism is the opposite of belief. The believer is willing to accept, without evidence, the truth of some statement, while the skeptic is unwilling to accept statements without proof.

Atheists will argue that atheism is the opposite of religious belief, but that’s what is called a gratuitous assertion. The atheist believes there is no superior being. They have no proof of this as there can be no proof. In that regard, atheism is illogical as it is something that can never be proved. Christianity, in contrast, can be proved. Christ could show up and confirm the tenets of the faith. The same is true of Islam or Judaism. In other words, even though there is no proof now, there could be proof. That’s not possible with atheism.

My general impression has always been that atheists are a) mugging for attention, b) mostly opposed to Christianity in a subversive way and/or c) not well versed in religion or the role of religion. Bill Maher is a famous atheist because it makes him safely edgy. He gets to be controversial without any risk of controversy. A Penn Jillette, on the other hand, is just angry that his mother died and his prayers were not answered the way he wanted them answered. He’s also arguing from a position of ignorance. He’s just not that smart.

It’s why I don’t find atheists or atheism all that interesting. Most of it is just a pose from people who demand the right to say controversial things, but have nothing controversial to say. They are meta-rebels. These are people who talk about being rebellious and subversive, but never dare color outside the lines. Entertainers are fond of this style of edginess as it safely allows them to flatter their audience’s own egotistic need to see themselves as an avant-garde. Every modern TV comic falls into this category.

The other day I saw on twitter that Richard Dawkins went somewhere to insult Christians and was so proud of his efforts he was tweeting about it. Dawkins is more famous for being a public douche bag now, than he is for his book The Selfish Gene. I chalk this up mostly to the madness that results from trying to square the prevailing orthodoxy with the realities of biology. Dawkins wants to be a beloved public intellectual and an honest man of science. Instead he is an obnoxious provocateur and a public nuisance.

Dawkins claims to be a militant atheist, not just an anti-Christian bigot, but it’s hard to find any evidence to support his claims. He’s careful not to say bad things about Muslims, probably because he enjoys having his head attached to his neck. Similarly, he has been very careful not to upset the Jews. Christians, on the other hand, get no breaks and he seems to go out of his way to offend them. This is true of all atheists. Whether it is because Christians are a soft target or just anti-Christian animus is debatable.

The other day, someone asked me about this clip from the Joe Rogan Show that Cernovich was promoting. The point was to solicit an opinion from me on Cernovich. My reply was “I will not be shocked if one day we learn that Sam Harris has been strangling hookers and burying them in the desert.” I’ve never found Harris very interesting, so I never bothered to watch him. In that ten minute clip, I got the impression that Harris has a lot of demons. I was also reminded that atheist are almost always joyless dickheads.

I was also reminded that Vox Day used to give Sam Harris the business. I no longer remember the details, but I think a few of the alt-right people have taken shots at Harris, who in addition to being an atheist, is a hooting Progressive and an anti-Trumper. That’s a feature of atheism that goes unremarked. Most are Progressives and usually the hard thumping variety. They may not believe in God, but they are bubbling over with belief in the One True Faith. This suggests that maybe atheism is just another facet of Progressivism.

The Prog impulse to root around in the private lives of strangers, imposing their values on everyone, comes from public Protestantism. This is the general belief that societies are judged as a whole, so the faithful have a duty to root out sin and lift up sinners. In the same way, atheists seem to think that their sacred duty is to stamp out Christianity, as if it is a sin preventing mankind from reaching the singularity. It is excessive belief, manifesting as a hostility toward the more conventional expressions of belief.

To be clear, I’m not a believer. I’m down on the end of the scale with Mencken. I don’t know if the Christians are right about a God in heaven, but I don’t know they are wrong either. I don’t know. I can’t know. For all I know we could be a science experiment for some extra-dimensional species. That said, if religious faith brings you happiness, I’m happy for you and wish you the best with it, just as long as you don’t make a nuisance of yourself. In other words, indifference is my preferred position on your religiosity.

I do know I’d never want to live in a world ruled by atheists.

The Reconquest

Anthropology tells us that early modern humans slowly populated what is now sub-Saharan Africa and then began to migrate out into the rest of the world. Whether this was out of curiosity, the search for food or population pressure is unknown, but it was probably some combination of all three. The most likely route was along the western coast of the Red Sea and then into the Eastern Mediterranean. From there, humans slowly fanned out across the globe. It’s all speculation, but that’s the logical route out of Africa.

The point here is the first wave of human migration was south to north. Humans appear to have made it as far north as Siberia and Scandinavia before changes in climate forced people back south again. There are some who think that the populations to the north had acquired better cognitive and maybe even physical tools that allowed them to migrate south and displace the populations in the more temperate zones. The changes in climate had the effect of improving the human populations in Asia and Europe.

That may be debatable, but what is not debated is that large scale human migrations change both the invaded and the invader. The people being conquered are either massacred or bred out by the winning tribes. On the other hand, the invading people tend to borrow things from the conquered people, including genetics from the female line. The Irish say the Vikings took the best looking women with them to Iceland, which is why Icelandic women are some of the most beautiful in the world.

A good example of this may be Islam. Historians have assumed Islam grew out of the polytheistic religions of Arabia in the late 6th century. While the details of Mohamed’s life are not clear, it has generally been accepted that he was a real person, who lived around Mecca in the 6th century. It has been assumed that Islam was an Arab response to the growth of Judaism and various Christian sects. In time, Islam spread through the Middle East, as the Arabs conquered the region.

There’s some interesting revisionism of the origins of Islam and the accuracy of the alleged Arab conquests. This New English Review article from a few years back is a nice summary of it. The archaeological evidence suggests that Islam was a Persian implementation of a Jewish-Christian sect that disappeared after the Council of Nicea in 325. Persian coins from the period, for example, when Mohamed was allegedly leading the Islamification of Arabia, have Christian symbols on them, in addition to Persian symbols.

The revisionist think Eastern Christians migrated into Arabia and Persia. In time, their form of Christianity evolved into a monotheistic religion of the Persians. According to this line of thinking, the Persians actually conquered the region and spread this hybrid Christianity that would evolve into Islam. It was only later, when the Arabs took over for the fading Persians, that the tale of Mohamed was created, as well as the story of the Arab conquests. Islam as an off-shoot of a now extinct form of Christianity is not implausible.

What’s interesting about both approaches to the origins of Islam is the base assumption that it filled a void that existed within Arab populations. Christianity and Judaism were the dominant religions of the Near East, but those people were the hated rivals of the Arabs and Persians. A need for a unifying faith to compete with the monotheism of their rivals was probably understood by Persians and Arab rulers. Religion has always been the business of kings, so it is reasonable to think they encouraged this development.

It’s also interesting that Islam most likely evolved from a mix of Judaism, Christianity and other ancient religions. What may have started out as a Jewish heresy was transformed by the people into a religion that was useful to them. Put another way, Christianity made its way into a less than fertile land, but adapted and mutated until it was something that could thrive. The fact that Islam has not spread too far past the boundaries of the people who created it suggests something about religion in general and Islam in particular.

When you look at what is happening to Europe, there are some similarities to the Arabs and Persians in late antiquity. The attempts to replace Christianity with the sterile bureaucratic super state have largely failed. Falling birth rates and an unwillingness to resist invasion are signs of a people who have no purpose. The average European today lives for carnal pleasures and the acquisition of goods. There’s a void in the center of European life and perhaps Islam is what is going to fill it.

It could very well be that the Muslim invasion of Europe is the end of a cycle that was started by Emperor Constantine when he made Christianity the religion of his empire and bound the Church to Rome. The losers at Nicea wandered off into the desert, presumably to be forgotten, but instead, their decedents are back to reclaim Europe. Like the people who migrated north and then returned ahead of the ice sheets, the Muslims are coming into Europe armed with a purpose, against which the locals have no answer.

Alternatively, maybe the people in charge of Europe, away from the public and the press, know that their people need a religion. Maybe like the Persian king Chosroes II, who historians are sure practiced a form of Christianity, the leaders of Europe are inviting Islam into their lands, even if it means taking in Muslims. After all, the Archbishop of Canterbury seem pretty keen on Islam. It’s unlikely that there is a secret mosque in Brussels for the EU rulers, but maybe they think some form of Islam would not be such a bad thing.

Regardless, we may be seeing the start of a reconquest, of sorts. Instead of Christianity making a come back in the West, it is the forgotten version, the one many think was the first and therefore the correct version of Christianity. Islam as practiced today will never work in Europe, but it could certainly evolve into something that does work. Maybe what’s happening is that the old original form of Christianity is coming back, but first as its foreign incarnation. In time, it will evolve into something the West can use.

Angels and Demons

The general consensus among physical anthropologists is that religion co-evolved with language. By religion, they mean belief, not the highly complex and abstract stuff we now think of as religion. Early humans probably started with supernatural ideas about the forces controlling the parts of the natural world they could see. Then maybe more abstract ideas about what happens to people when they die and the need to properly handle the dead. This is all speculation, but that’s where the evidence seems to point.

Whether or not belief is baked into our genes is debatable, mostly because we don’t know enough about the human genome. The news makes it sound like science has unraveled the mysteries of human DNA and we’re on the verge of creating super babies, but nothing could be further from the truth. There’s also the fact that people continue to insist that believing in Progressive mythology is rational while being a committed Christian is delusional. Once again, Progressive orthodoxy hinders science.

When religion is treated as a subset of mass movements, then the genetic argument for belief becomes more promising. The person who is always caught up in one cause or another is well known. It is not unusual for someone to start out in one thing and end up in its opposite. The Christian, who gets into radical politics and ends up as a spiritual gluten free vegan into hot yoga. Some people are highly prone to getting caught up into mass movements, while others are disinclined to join anything, even when they agree with it.

The true believer latches onto a cause, in part, because of a deep belief in magic or the super natural. The crazy cat lady into aroma therapy will have a long list of wacky reasons why certain smells have magical powers, but it’s still just magic. She does not know. She believes and she gets satisfaction, a psychic reward, by exercising that belief. Half of Iceland believes there are invisible elves on the island, even thought no one has seen an elf. They are invisible, after all. It just feels right to believe they exist.

The ruling class of America seems to be particularly prone to belief in the supernatural, despite their alleged love of science and reason. You see this in their obsession with racism. Our betters talk about racism as if it is a demon spirit. The anointed, invested with the spirit of good-think, are tasked with exhorting the rest of us to resist the Dark Lord of Racism. You see it in this post the other day by VD, regarding the hysteria at Duke Divinity School. Anathea Portier-Young sounds like she is organizing an exorcism.

“Racism is a fierce, ever-present, challenging force, one which has structured the thinking, behavior, and actions of individuals and institutions since the beginning of U.S. history. To understand racism and effectively begin dismantling it requires an equally fierce, consistent, and committed effort” (REI). Phase I provides foundational training in understanding historical and institutional racism. It helps individuals and organizations begin to “proactively understand and address racism, both in their organization and in the community where the organization is working.” It is the first step in a longer process.

Puritan ministers use to talk like that about Satan. Racism is no longer just normal clannishness based on race. Now it is a magical, almost indescribable, force that creeps up on little cat feet to possess the soul of those who are not vigilant. These seminars all have a revival quality to them. The participants are inducted into secret rights that allow them to resist the Dark Lord of Racism and all his works. The exhortation to go forth and preach against the temptations of racism is right out of 17th century Salem.

The late great Eric Hoffer observed that mass movements can get along without a god, but they must always have a devil. Modern Progressives have only a muddled sense of a deity, but they have a devil, as well as a list of lesser demons that do his bidding. Racism is the arch demon in the cosmology of the Left. It is why everything they don’t like is associated with racism. Trump, for example, is one of the least racist guys in public life, but they swear he is the soldier of the Dark Lord of Racism.

The ruins at Göbekli Tepe are interesting for a number of reasons, but one of them is what they suggest about the nature of man. It was assumed that human organization was either out of self-interest or out of a sense of cooperation. It was homo economicus or homo reciprocans. The fact that pre-settlement people came together to build what looks like a religious site, suggests that neither is true. A desire for purpose, beyond the material, may be the force that drives human cooperation beyond the bounds of kinship.

Our ruling class has the same desire for a purpose beyond their extravagant lifestyles as Cloud People. These are people who fully committed to the meritocratic, managerial system. They are true believers. Having abandoned Christianity long ago, the ruling class lurches from cause to cause, looking for a reason to cast themselves as on the side of angels, in the great moral struggle that is the human condition. Lacking a deity, a light to give them purpose, they settle for demons they can slay.

The Death of You

Try to imagine yourself alive during the early middle ages in Britain. It is not an easy thing, of course, as the world of 7th century Britain may as well have happened on another planet, compared to our age. The largest city at the time, for example, was probably Winchester. This was a city of a few thousand people, not tens or hundreds of thousands of people. By modern standards, it was a small village or what developers in America call a town center. Of course, it would have smelled like a restroom at a truck stop.

The Romans tried to recreate the cosmopolitan life they associated with civilization, but it never really took hold in Britain. After the Romans left, things quickly fell back to their natural order. People lived in rural villages. They spent most of their time working the land and tending to the things that agrarian life required. Britain was a tribal society and people lived among their kin, ruled by men who were their kin, or by men who had ruled over their kin for longer than anyone remembered.

Anyway, there you are, covered in dirt and filth, smelling like cabbage, when some weirdos show up and meet with the rulers.  Maybe you saw them come down the road or maybe you heard about them.  All you know is that foreign weirdos have shown up and the people in charge are entertaining them for some reason. Eventually, you and everyone else is rounded up and marched down to the local river where you witness the weirdos dunking the lord in the river, while making weird sounds and pointing toward the sky.

Then, the king’s men force all of the people, including you, to do the same. You are marched out into the river, you are dunked under the water by the weirdos. To your surprise, your family and neighbors seem to be OK with it. They enthusiastically go along with this strange new ritual, even though you know they have no idea what’s happening either. Their confusion is due to fear and their fear tells them to follow along, even though they have no idea what is happening. You do the same. You have been Christianized.

That’s not an unrealistic portrayal of how Britain went from being a pagan land to being a Christian one. The Church set about converting Europe by first converting the kings, nobles and tribal leaders. It could then be the duty and interest of the rulers to force the new religion on their people, which they mostly did. In Britain, Æthelberht of Kent was the first king to accept baptism, around 601. The final kingdom to join the winning team was The Isle of Wright in 686, but the death of Penda in 655 ended paganism in Britain.

Just because the king adopted this new weird religion, did not mean the people fully embraced it. In fact, the ruling class was not entirely on board with Christianity. In order to make the transition easier, the Church gave the early Christians of Britain broad authority to practice Christianity. The goal was to get them on board first and then later enforce theological discipline. The Church was playing the long game so many pagan practices were Christianized to make it easier for the people to convert to the new faith.

Another way that made the conversion smother was for the legends and stories of the old gods carried on with the peasants. That’s where we got English folklore. All of those old legends told in the pagan era were a form of entertainment for the common people. After conversion, they still told stories about magical creatures and heroes, but they left out Woden and Loki, at least as real gods on the same level as the Christian God. They became children’s stories and fairy tales, rather than foundation myths for the people.

The removal of a people’s religion, cuts them off from their past and effectively ends their identity as a people. It was so much more effective to adapt the new religion to the culture and customs of the people being converted. It allowed the people to hold onto their identity by holding onto their past. This is also why the Americans allowed the Japanese Emperor to remain in place after the war. He was more than just a political figure. He was a defining feature of the Japanese people. Liberal democracy was modified for post-imperial Japan.

The point of all this is as it relates to what we see going on in America with the slow removal of Christianity from the culture. The ruling class long ago converted to the new religion of multiculturalism. They have been slowly erasing the old religions from the public institutions and replacing it with their own. Now they have moved into private institutions by forcing Christians to worship at the altar of multiculturalism. The next step, and there are already rumblings, is to force churches to adopt gay marriage or face sanction.

Christianity is not the only religion under assault. The soft, civil religion of Americans, based on equality before the law, individual liberty and the right to be left alone is being erased. The tearing down of Confederate statues is one example. The elimination of freedom of association is another. The rule of law, of course, has been eliminated long ago when the Talmudic parsers cooked up the idea of a living Constitution. The law is now just an endless round of hairsplitting and a morality of convenience.

The toppling over of confederate statues is often seen as a final sweeping up after the Civil War. First they came for the Confederate flags and now they are coming for the statues. Next they will be digging up the graveyards. That’s all true, but it is also an effort to erase America’s past. There are calls to topple over the statue of Jefferson at the University of Virginia.  It will not be long before Washington, Franklin, and the rest of those evil pale penis people, who founded the nation, are ruled out of bounds on moral grounds.

The whole point of the exercise is to cut the people off from their past, by taking away their religion and civil institutions. It’s tempting to think of globalism in purely economic terms, but it is more than that. It is a war on the people who make up nations. It is a direct assault on the very idea of a people. If they can destroy the civil institutions and erase the past, they will destroy the identity of the people and the very rationale for countries. The post-national paradise, therefore, is the post-you world. It is the death of you.

The Great Disconfirmation

In one of his recent communications with the resistance, John Derbyshire mentioned this Joel Pollak column about the demise of the Obama cult. Pollak does not come right out and say it, but Obama was essentially a totem for the Left. His election was not about him or his polices, but instead it was about returning the Ark to the Temple, so to speak. The long war with the bad whites over racial justice was finally won and the blessings of the void where God used to exist would now descend upon the righteous.

As Derbyshire points out, Pollak is not the first guy to notice this as readers of this site certainly know. The only way to properly understand the American Left is to look at it as a civic religion. Because the American Left adopted European anti-Christianity in the 20th century, it is easy to think they are anti-religious. That’s a mistake the Right has made for half a century. The New Religion, what Progressivism is today, evolved out of the Social Gospel Movement, so it carries with it many of the same habits.

The most obvious of those habits is the obsession with public morality. Public Protestantism starts from the assumption that society is judged as a whole. The righteous, like the virtuous in revolutionary France, have a moral duty to raise up the fallen into the righteous life. This is what gives them license to nose around in your business and order you around.  It’s not about fitting the economic pieces together as with European socialists. The American Left is consumed with building the City upon a hill.

Derbyshire makes the point that when a prophecy fails, it is does not mean the end of the religion.

In fact all the hysteria on the left this past few weeks yields to a religious, or pseudo-religious explanation. Clearly some of the same kinds of passions are involved that you find in committed religious believers.

Consider, however, the fact that religions very rarely fail. They just adapt.

Recall the Millerite sect that flourished in the 1840s. William Miller, who founded the sect, predicted the Second Coming of Christ at a certain date. Thousands of followers sold all their belongings and waited joyfully for the day. When nothing happened, Miller just reworked his calculations and set another day … then another.

You’d think a disappointment like that — it was actually called the Great Disappointment — you’d think it would kill a religion stone dead. Not at all. Here’s a historian writing about the Millerites, quote:

Following such a catastrophic failure, one might expect that the Millerite movement would fade away entirely. But that is not what happened. Although the fragmented Millerites languished for some time, and though many did abandon the movement, several of the competing splinter groups would ultimately gain new life. Hiram Edson’s [Millerite] sect … developed into a denomination that still exists — the Seventh-Day Adventists, who today number as many as 15 million members worldwide.

End quote. For truly committed believers, a religious or pseudo-religious passion like that can’t be put aside. It doesn’t fail, it only needs adjusting.

Again, readers of this site know where this is going. The thing that holds together these sorts of movements is an internal psychology that allows them to internalize disconfirmation. There is a famous study in psychology by three guys named Leon Festinger, Henry Riecken and Stanley Schachter. They studied a UFO cult based in Chicago that claimed space aliens were due to arrive on a certain date. When that failed to happen, the cult did not dissolve. It transformed into something else.

That’s an important lesson to keep in mind when watching the antics of the Left of late. Their lunacy is not directed at the rest of us. They don’t care what you or anyone else thinks about what’s happening. Their public acts are about signalling to the rest of the believers. By holding protests and making fools of themselves in a public way, they are providing support for one another as they work through the disconfirmation. Like herd animals, they are huddling together in the face if danger. It is pure instinct.

If they were left to sit alone at home, they would have no one around to help them through their doubts. These are people whose entire sense of self is dependent on the identity of the group, so getting out and “making their voices heard” lets them focus on something other than the disconfirmation. Trump as Hitler provides a short term bridge between the failed prophesy and whatever comes next for the New Religion. They can tell themselves that their faith was not wrong, it was just subverted by mysterious forces, or Hitler.

In the past, Progressive Awakenings were followed by period of hibernation as new missions and causes were conjured by the next generation of believers. The trouble for them this time is there is no obvious replacement for identity politics and social justice. When you’re reduced to championing the rights of mentally ill men in sundresses, you have run out of victims. The nation’s changing demographics also means that identity politics will play against this sort of utopianism.

In the mean time, the rage of the true believers will result in more public displays of incoherent misery. The reason they have no point is they cannot face the cause of their pain. It has nothing to with Trump or his policies. It is an unspeakable rage at having failed to reach the promised land. The rage is a distraction and a source of comfort to the believers as the Cult of Modern Liberalism comes to terms with the great disconfirmation of the last decade. Let’s hope they to make their way through it.