Revilo P. Oliver Christianity and the Survival of the West (Sterling, Virginia: Sterling Enterprises, 1973)
Revilo P. Oliver
Christianity and the Survival of the West
(Sterling, Virginia: Sterling Enterprises, 1973)
I. The Religion of the West
II. The Orient
III. Christianity Today
IV. The Predictable Future
V. The Consequences
VI. Succedaneous Religion
A return will set in of the re-active pressure of nature upon mankind. Mankind will again be restive under it. . . . But woe to that people which has not men that will stand up and fight without flinching. Those countries where the moral decay shall have gone deepest, where the proved stock shall have died out and given way to poor stock, where the great effeminization of men shall have taken place (for the masculinization of women will be no compensation), where the strong and the wise and the shrewd shall gain no more of wealth, power, and influence than the weak, silly, and incompetent, all being equal,—those will go to the wall. And when this fate shall have overtaken most of our western white men’s countries, our cycle of civilization will be completed.
—Correa Moylan Walsh (1917)
Glücklich wird niemand sein, der heute irgendwo in der Welt lebt.
—Oswald Spengler (1918)
Jamais comme aujourd’hui les peuples n’ont eu la sensation d’être menés par les événements. Jamais ils n’ont été plus impuissants, plus volontairement impuissants devant eux. . . . Et c’est bien ce qui me parait le plus tragique dans l’aspect du monde de 1932: on n’y voit qu’une civilisation qui tombe et la nuit qui approche.
—Pierre Loewel (1932)
The mission of this generation is the most difficult that has ever faced a Western generation. It must break the terror by which it is held in silence, it must look ahead, it must believe when there is apparently no hope, it must obey even if it means death, it must fight to the end rather than submit. . . . The men of this generation must fight for the continued existence of the West.
—Francis Parker Yockey (1948)
THE RELIGION OF THE WEST
You, who are now reading these lines, and I are strangers. I have no means of knowing whether you are a Christian or an atheist. That, however, will not matter, so long as we talk about facts and not wishes.
The observed and verifiable facts of the world about us are not affected by religious faith or the lack of faith. Christians and atheists must find themselves in perfect agreement when they affirm that lead is more malleable than steel, that the earth is an oblate spheroid rotating on its axis, that whales are mammals, that Germany was defeated and devastated by the many nations allied against her in 1945, and that the Chinese are Mongolians. About such matters there can be no dispute among Western men, who instinctively accept the reality of the world about us and cannot believe, as do many Orientals, that it is merely an illusion in the mind of a dreamer.
If we would salvage and restore our civilization—the Occidental culture that is peculiarly our own and that now seems to be disintegrating and rotting before our very eyes—we must do so as Western men, by observing reality objectively and by reasoning from it dispassionately. And when we try to compute what resources remain to us, we need first of all to determine the actual strength of the Christian tradition at the present time.
It is a fact, which Christians will regard with satisfaction and some atheists may deplore, that Western civilization, for about half of its recorded history, has been a Christian civilization in the sense that the great majority of the people belonging to it (though never, at any time, all of them) believed implicitly in the truth of the Christian revelation. That religious unanimity was for a long time so nearly complete that, after the fall of the Roman Empire and the evanescence of hopes for its restoration, we of the West regarded our religion as the bond that united us and distinguished us from the rest of the human species. During the Middle Ages, our ancestors occupied the greater part of Europe, and, until they discovered the American continents, they lived only in Europe, but despite that geographical unity, they did not generally refer to themselves as the Europeans. For all practical purposes, furthermore, our ancestors belonged to the same division of the white race: they, like the true Greeks and the true Romans before them, were all members of the great race that we now call Indo-European or Aryan, but they had in their languages no word to designate their blood relationship and biological unity. Thus, when they referred to the unity of which they were always conscious as something transcending the constantly shifting territorial and political divisions of Europe, they called themselves Christendom. And for many centuries that word was adequate and misled no one.
For many centuries the West was Christendom and its civilization was indubitably Christian: that, whether you like it or not, is an historical fact. There is a complementary historical fact that was less obvious at the time and that even thoughtful men overlooked or tried to ignore until the events of the past two decades made it indubitable: Christianity is a religion of the West, and, for all practical purposes, only of the West. It is not, as its polemical adversaries so often charge, a Semitic cult, for it has never commanded the adhesion of any considerable number of Semites, and it is not, as Christians once generally believed, a universal religion, for experience has proved that it cannot be successfully exported to populations that are not Indo-European.
Experience has also proved that it does not do the slightest good to deny ascertained facts. The men of Classical antiquity knew, of course, that the earth is spherical, and Eratosthenes in the third century B.C. calculated its circumference as 24,663 miles. But the early Fathers of the Church, living in the age of growing ignorance that shrouded the last century of the Roman Empire, decided, on the basis of some statements in the Old Testament, that the earth ought to be flat or, at least, no more curved than a shield. Lactantius was the most eloquent and probably, therefore, the most influential of the many who assiduously demanded that the earth be flat and so imposed on their contemporaries the conviction that it was. In the Middle Ages, to be sure, there were some learned men, such as Buridan, who knew that the globe is a globe, but they, like learned men today, who all know very well that talk about the equality of races is utter nonsense, usually refrained from publicly denouncing fashionable delusions. It was not until the Fifteenth Century that the truth became again inescapable, but when it did, the Christians, being men of the West, who do not deny the lessons of experience, surrendered the comfortable error in which they had once generally believed; and since that time, no rational Christian has doubted that the earth is spherical.
Today, as in the Fifteenth Century, Western men have had to discard a congenial assumption to bring their conception of the world into conformity with observed reality. So long as we of the West held unquestioned dominion over the whole earth, we permitted ourselves to assume that our civilization in general, and our religion in particular, could be exported and made universal. We did not sufficiently observed that talent for mimicry is common to all human beings and indeed to all anthropoids; that all human beings stand in awe of those who have power over them; and that a genius for dissimulation and hypocrisy is hereditary in the most intelligent Orientals. Even with these oversights, the evidence against our assumption was fairly clear, but in the pride of our power we felt that we could indulge an assumption that was so congenial to the romantic generosity that is a peculiarity of our race. But the events of half a century, and especially of the last two decades, have shown us, beyond peradventure of doubt, the shape of the world in which we live. We now know what our prolonged missionary effort, cultural as well as religious, accomplished—and how its visible effects were produced.
When Cortés and his small but valiant band of iron men conquered the teeming empire of the Aztecs, he was immediately followed by a train of earnest missionaries, chiefly Franciscans, who began to preach the Gospel to the natives and soon sent home, with naïve enthusiasm, glowing accounts of the conversions they had effected. Their pious sincerity and innocent joy still lives in the pages of Father Sahagun, Father Torquemada, and many others. For their sake I am glad that the poor Franciscans never suspected how small a part they played in the religious conversions that gave them such happiness. Far, far more persuasive than their sermons and their book had been the Spanish cannon that breached and shattered the Aztec defenses, and the ruthless Spanish soldiers who slew the Aztec priests at their own altars and toppled the Aztec idols from the sacrificial pyramids. The Aztecs, Tepanecs, and other natives accepted Christianity, not because their hearts were touched by alien and incomprehensible doctrines of love and mercy, but because it was the religion of the white men whose bronze cannon and mail-clad warriors were invincible.
That was early in the Sixteenth Century and even then there were not wanting indications that should have given pause to a critical mind, but we of the West went on repeating that fond mistake for four centuries, as the missionaries whom we sent to all parts of the world wrote home glowing reports of the number of "hearts" they had "won for Christ." It was only after our enemies’ campaign of "anti-colonialism" really got under way that most of us realized that what had won all those hearts was primarily the discipline of British regiments and the manifest power of the white man.
We now know what happened. On many a shore of Africa, for example, missionaries eager to "win souls for Christ" ventured to land alone, and the aborigines, after mutilating and torturing them for a good communal laugh, ate them, cooked or raw according to the custom of the local cuisine. Usually, a few weeks or a few months later, a British cruiser hove to off shore and lobbed half a dozen 4.5 shells into the native village, and, if not pressed for time, landed half a company of marines to beat the bushes and drag out a dozen or so savages to hang on convenient trees. Consequently the tribe, if not very obtuse, took the hint and respected the next bevy of missionaries as somehow representing the god of thunder and lightning. And if the men of God distributed enough free rice and medical care with their sermons, they were able to make "converts," as the natives learned to utter the words that Christians like to hear.
That is, in essence, the whole history of "winning souls" among the savages. There were, of course, many local variations. If the first missionaries were preceded by troops or white settlers, the blacks had already been convinced of the virtues of Christian rifles and had learned that white men should not be regarded as esculent comestibles. It often happened, however, that the natives, even after many years of preaching and conversion, rejected the white man’s odd rites very emphatically, and a fresh supply of missionaries was needed. In 1905, for example, the Maji-Maji conspiracy in Tanganyika murdered all the missionaries and almost all the white men and women in the entire territory, and it required a German regiment and several companies of marines to restore the teachings of the Gospel. That was done by giving some forty or fifty thousand demonstrations that a Mauser bullet could penetrate even a black hide that had been most carefully anointed with the grease of a boiled baby.
The Christian missionaries did teach a ritual and often inculcated a superstition that had some superficial resemblance to their religion, but as for teaching the spiritual substance of Christianity, they might as well have followed the example of St. Francis and preached sermons to the birds. That is why the many, many thousands of devoted Christians who expended their whole lives to "save souls" built only an edifice of cardboard and tinsel that is now gone in the wind.
What the vanishing of that flimsy façade has made obvious was predictable from the first. The religion of the West has never been comprehensible to the rudimentary minds of Congoids, Capoids, and Australoids, races so primitive that they were congenitally incapable of inventing a wheel and even of using one without supervision—races that could not develop for themselves even the first and simplest preliminaries of a civilization. When the missionaries invented systems of writing the crude languages of the primitives, they had also to invent words to express such concepts as "God," "soul," "justice," "morality," and "religion"—invent them by either creating new words or by perverting to such meanings sounds that in the native jargons conveyed impressions that were faintly and remotely analogous. That fact alone should have made us think. It was clear, furthermore, that the "converts," even those who had been most thoroughly imbued with an awe of the god of repeating rifles and locomotives, would conform to the white man’s morality only under coercion, and that whenever they escaped from the white man’s supervision they spontaneously reverted not only to their own mores but also to whatever form of voodoo they had practiced before. Even if earlier experience had not been conclusive, what happened in Haiti at the very beginning of the Nineteenth Century should have removed the last lingering doubt. But the missionaries did not learn, and the "Ladies’ Missionary Society" went on contributing their mites, plying their needles, and glowing with tender emotion for the sweet little savages depicted by their romantic imaginations.
Although it is true that in some places in the former colonial possessions missionaries are still tolerated, if they are obsequious to the natives and pay very well, we have at last learned that the Gospel follows the British regiments in the white man’s ignominious and insane retreat from the world that was his.
We Indo-Europeans have been Christian for about half of our recorded history, and our whole culture was so intimately connected with our religion that we called our world Christendom. Today, however, our religion and hence our understanding of ourselves and the world about us have been drastically affected by three distinct developments that have no necessary relation to one another and that we should be careful not to confuse, viz.:
(1) The catastrophic decline of religious faith and belief among our own people during the past century and a half or two centuries. That is a phenomenon which, although perhaps slightly accelerated by alien influences, arose within our culture and was simply a revival of the tendency of our Western philosophy before the appearance of Christianity. It is therefore a separate topic that we must postpone for later consideration.
(2) The now obvious failure of our efforts to communicate Christianity to the primitive races, which we discussed briefly in our opening chapter.
(3) The futility of all our efforts to export our Occidental religion to the old and civilized nations of the Orient. This is really the most striking phenomenon of all.
Among the biologically and mentally primitive Congoids, Capoids, and Australoids, Christian missionaries attained for a while some specious semblance of success. One can only marvel, however, at the illusions that Christendom obstinately entertained, century after century, despite its constant and virtually total failure to win converts among the highly intelligent and subtle Orientals, both white and yellow, who had elaborate cultures of their own.
Since we are, on the whole, a rational race, there was some basis for those illusions. The sacred books of Christianity did not originate in the West. The Old Testament deals almost entirely with the activities of Israelites and Jews. The events of the New Testament, to be sure, took place in a Roman province in Asia Minor, and largely in Galilee, a small territory inhabited by a conglomerate population that the Jews despised as inferiors, but the first apostles, whatever their race, were certainly not Europeans, and Paul was admittedly a Jew. It was known, furthermore, that in the early centuries there had been some small Judaeo-Christian sects,* and that it was not until later that the new religion attracted votaries that could be identified as authentically Greek, Roman, and Celtic. Although Europeans knew the Christian scriptures only in Greek and Latin, and during the Middle Ages only in Latin, the Asiatic origins created a supposition that Christianity, the religion of Europe, was not European, even when everyone knew that it had no adherents outside Europe except in the territories of the Byzantine Empire, and that Byzantine Christianity was so adulterated with Levantine elements that it was unacceptable to the West.**
(* The Ebionites and the Cerinthians were the most important of these sects, but there were others, most of which are catalogued in the seven-volume edition of Adolf von Harnuck’s History of Dogma. I need scarcely add that the term "Judaeo-Christian" is correctly used only with reference to these sects and their antecedents.)
(** The differences between Western and Oriental Christianity were so profound and fundamental that repeated attempts made before 1453 to effect a union of the two churches were utter failures despite the Byzantines’ desperate need for military aid from the West, despite the West’s idealistic notion that its religion was "universal," and despite a generous amount of hypocrisy on both sides. After the capture of Constantinople by Mohammed II, most of the surviving Byzantines devoutly thanked their god that they had fallen under the rule of Moslems (with whom they had much in common) instead of European Christians, who would have tried to impose on them an alien religion. It is significant that the abyss between the two religions that called themselves Christian was too wide to be bridged, even though the conglomerate and partly Levantine population of the Byzantine Empire had inherited the culture and learning of the ancient (and extinct) Greeks.)
We cannot here analyze the effects of that supposition on Mediaeval Christendom. A concise and incisive treatment of that subject may be found in Lawrence R. Brown’s brilliant work, The Might of the West (New York, 1963). It will here suffice to note that even during the high-tide of Christian faith marked by the Crusades, that supposition prevented our ancestors from drawing the correct deductions from their manifest and perpetual failure to extend Western Christianity beyond the borders of the West.
Ever since it was founded, the Christian Church has labored incessantly to convert Jews, using every method from flattering exhortations and cash rewards to legislative pressure and armed coercion, and it has failed utterly. That failure, furthermore, was conspicuous in every city and almost every town of Christendom, year after year and century after century. It was known even to the most ignorant and isolated peasant.
In Christendom, as elsewhere, the international race planted its colonies wherever there was money to be got from the natives, and it always followed the standard procedure that it used, for example, in Alexandria in the fourth century B.C. The colonists filtered in in small groups until their numbers were sufficient to take over a part of the city for themselves to establish their own ghettos, from which the natives of the country were informally, but effectively, excluded. But the main body of colonists, ostentatiously exclusive, was usually or always accompanied by a number, smaller or greater as the occasion demanded, of Marranos, i.e., Jews who feigned conversion to the religion and culture of the nation in which they had come to reside. As they had professed Greek philosophy in Alexandria, so in Mediaeval Europe they professed Christianity. They, so to speak, covered the flanks of their less versatile congeners.
Here and there in Europe, Christians sometimes tried to dislodge and expel the Jewish colonies, but they never succeeded. By violence or threats of violence some cities and territories were able to drive Jews from their ghettos for a few years, but invariably, except in Spain and Portugal, the ostentatiously alien Jews returned sooner or later and industriously restored their ghettos. The Marranos, sheltered by their professed "conversion," eluded all efforts to control them, and in Spain and Portugal, at least, they not only entered the highest offices of the state but, despite the frantic efforts of the Inquisition, they filled even the Church with nuns, priests, bishops, and archbishops who solemnly celebrated in public the rites of a religion they despised and, when they met in their secret conclaves, laughed at the stupidity of the gullible goyim.
The amazing versatility of subtlety of the Marranos, especially in "most Christian" Spain and Portugal, has been described by many distinguished Jewish scholars. A History of the Marranos, by Professor Cecil Roth of Oxford, is a concise survey; the recent work by Haim Beinart, Anusim be-Din ha-Inqwizisiah (Tel Aviv, 1965), unfortunately not available in English, is a highly detailed study of a single community at one point in its history.
Was a Jew ever converted to Christianity? The learned and candid Rabbi Solomon Schindler,* addressing a Christian audience in Boston, was certain that no Jew could "submit conscientiously" to so inferior a creed. "There never was a Jew," he said, "converted to Christianity who conscientiously believed in the doctrines of his adopted religion. They were all hypocrites, who changed their creed for earthly considerations merely." And the acute, sagacious, and earnest Maurice Samuel,** after diligent and conscientious study, concluded that "Obviously you do not make a gentile of a Jew by baptizing him any more than you would make an Aryan of a negro by painting him with ocher." Such sweeping generalizations may be too absolute, and there seem to be some certain instances of Jews who sincerely defected to Christianity, but they are few. On the whole, the failure of Christians to allure or compel Jews has been total and spectacular.
(* Solomon Schindler, Messianic Expectations and Modern Judaism, with an introduction by [the Reverend] Minot J. Savage. Boston, Cassino, 1886.)
(** Maurice Samuel, You Gentiles. New York, Harcourt-Brace, 1924.)
Christians often explain that failure by attributing to the Jews some peculiar perversity or malevolence, the result of either a divine curse or of conscious collaboration with Satan. But in the interests of both fairness and objectivity, we should consider respectfully and dispassionately the testimony of the erudite and discerning Jews who have earnestly studied and pondered the many and profound differences between their people and ours, and who assure us, as courteously as they can, that to their minds our religion and most of the standards of our culture appear ludicrous or repulsive and sometimes utterly incomprehensible. How can we expect or require a man to believe what is to his mind mere nonsense? Would not that be as absurd as to expect the Jews who reside in our country to consult our interests rather than their own?
So long as Christendom knew only the Jewish colonies in its territory and the Semitic and Hamitic Moslems on its southern borders, some theory of an obduracy or perversity peculiar to Jews and Moslems could perhaps be maintained, but surely Christians should have perceived, as their geographical horizons expanded, that their religion has no appeal for any Oriental people.
The name of Christ, to be sure, is used by certain Monophysite cults in the Near East and Malabar and by other sects in Egypt and Abyssinia, of which vague rumors reached Mediaeval Europe and inspired the romantic legends of Prester John. But actual contact with those sects in the Sixteenth Century brought disillusion; the reading of their sacred books in Syriac, Coptic, and Geez showed how vastly those conceptions of religion differed from the European; and missionaries were dispatched to convert those "Christians" to Western Christianity—efforts that always ended in failure and sometimes in bloody failure.
With the exceptions of such isolated and minor cults as the Mandeans and the Yezidis, the Semitic peoples of Asia have found their aspirations and their religiosity fully satisfied by Islam, and all the exhortations of our missionaries for a millennium induced only a handful of Moslems to profess Christianity. In India, where the blood of the Aryan conquerors was blotted up long ago, a few outcasts and famished drudges became "rice Christians," and some educated babus said they were converts so long as "conversion" seemed likely to expedite their advancement in the bureaucracy of British India; and the Hindus sent us in return hundreds of sloe-eyed swamis to convert us and care for our souls—especially the souls of wealthy dowagers. In China and Japan the seeds of the Gospel, though sown over and over again by generations of earnest and often martyred missionaries, produced no better harvest.
In sum, experience has shown us that the Jews, though unique as an international race, do not differ from other Orientals in their resistance to the "glad tidings" (euangelium) of Christianity. In Asia, as in Africa, though for far different reasons, Christianity is evaporating as rapidly as dew in the morning sun, and there is every reason to believe that, with a few possible exceptions, the remaining Asiatic "Christians," including native clergymen and bishops, are simply Arab, Hindu, Chinese, or Japanese Marranos and profess a Western religion for business or diplomatic reasons.
We have an unbroken record of failure of failure in all our efforts to export Christianity to other peoples. That failure has nothing to do with the decline of faith among our own people in very recent times as a result of a skepticism based on our science and technology. Uniformly since the foundation of the Western Church, Christianity failed to attract and convince other races, and in the great Age of Faith in Europe that failure was as complete as it is today. Christendom should have understood the reasons for that inevitable failure long ago.
For centuries our clergymen had the strange custom of looking through all the other religions and cults of the whole world to find superficial similarities that they would then adduce as somehow corroborating our religion. They clutched eagerly at every ghost story in the world and used it to "prove" that a belief in immortality was "universal." What all the other doctrines and myths really proved was that our belief in immortality was something peculiar to ourselves and probably incomprehensible to other races.
We Aryans have a deep and innate longing to endure forever. But the immortality of which the atheist despairs and for which the Christian hopes is a personal immortality—the survival of the individual consciousness complete with all its memories of life on earth. For each of us, immortality is the prolongation of his consciousness after the death of his body. Although we, if not spiritually sick, desire the survival of our race and culture, that is not what we mean by immortality; even if we felt assured that our people would eventually own the whole earth and all the other peoples in it, that would seem to us to have nothing to do with the question whether or not you and I as individuals will live after death. Again, we can believe that at death a man will be either annihilated or become a single disembodied consciousness: we cannot believe that he will become five or six different and widely scattered pieces of a ghost. Again, if some psychic spark of ourselves should survive death but be unconscious, having no knowledge or memory of what we were in life, to us that fate would be annihilation, not immortality. Again, if I am to live after death, so must my wife: no number of houris could reconcile me to a Paradise attained by many millions of men but only four women and one dog. Furthermore, we can imagine reincarnation, but only reincarnation as ourselves. If my wife has been Napoleon and Richard the Lion-Hearted, she is nothing that I have ever known or loved. And if I was ever Aspasia and Nell Gwyn, then I do not exist even now: I am just an illusion.
The kinds of "immortality" posited by the other major religions are inacceptable to us: meaningless, absurd, or repulsive to our racial instincts. But obviously such notions of a future life are not only satisfactory to other peoples but represent what they instinctively desire. To the great majority of the world’s inhabitants our conception of immortality is meaningless, absurd, or repulsive. That is simply a fact that we cannot change.
Christianity embodied all the moral instincts of our race, such as our concepts of personal honor, of personal self-respect and integrity, of fair play, of pity for the unfortunate, of loyalty—all of which seem preposterous to other races, at least in the form and application that we give to them. They simply lack our instincts. We think that it makes a great difference whether we kill a man in a fair fight or by treacherously stabbing him in the back or by putting poison in the cup that he accepts from our friendly hand; to at least one other race, we are simply childish and irrational: if you are to kill a man, kill him in the safest and most convenient way. Again, we, whether Christians or atheists, have an instinct for truth, so that if we lie, we have physical reactions that can be detected by a sphygmomanometer (often called a polygraph or "lie detector"). When officers of American military intelligence tried to use that device in the interrogation of prisoners during the Korean War, they discovered that Koreans and Chinese have no reaction that the instrument can detect, no matter how outrageous the lies they tell. We and they are differently constituted.
We can no longer be so obtuse as to ignore the vast differences in mentality and instinct that separate us from all other races—not merely from savages, but from highly civilized races. The differences are innate, and to attempt to change their way of thinking with argument, generosity, or holy water is as absurd as attempting to change the color of their skins. That is a fact that we must accept. However one may relate that fact to Christian doctrine, if we, a small minority among the teeming and terribly fecund populations of the globe, call all other peoples perverse or wicked, we merely confuse ourselves. If we are to think objectively and rationally, we must do so in the terms used by Maurice Samuel, who, after his discerning and admirably candid study of the "unbridgeable gulf" that separates Indo-Europeans from Jews, had to conclude that "This difference in behavior and reaction springs from something more earnest and significant than a difference of beliefs: it springs from a difference in our biologic equipment."
We cannot reasonably expect beings differently constituted to have our instincts or to believe as we do, any more than we can expect dogs to climb trees or cats to bark at intruders. And let us beware of the word "superiority." If it means that we are superior in terms of our own values, it is mere tautology; if it has an objective and practical meaning, it poses a question that can only be answered only when the future has proved which peoples will survive and which will go under in the proximate struggle for possession of an overcrowded globe.
This is not a matter of doctrine or wishes, and it does not depend on our faith or lack of faith. Whatever may be the meaning of certain passages in the Old Testament, the earth is not flat. Whatever may be the meaning of certain passages in the New Testament, Christianity was not for "all the world." The earth is spherical. Christianity is an Indo-European religion.
If you desire to preserve our country and our civilization, you must face two fundamental facts.
The first of these is that 90% of all the active support of pro-American efforts has come from Christians.
Of that, there can be no doubt. Almost without exception, all of the thousands of "conservative" and "anti-Communist" organizations that have come and gone during the past fifty years have been specifically Christian, proposing to defend Christianity and the Constitution simultaneously. Many of the most active organizations today are evangelical and try to revive Christian faith by holding meetings in which the Gospel and patriotism are inseparably blended. Some organizations specifically established to resist or promote certain legislation do not explicitly raise religious issues, but they take Christianity for granted. The only patriotic organizations that are explicitly non-Christian are a small periodical, The Truth Seeker, which, having spoken disrespectfully of Jews, is now being forced to the wall, and one small "activist" group in California.
It is true that a very successful promotion was founded by a master-salesman who began by admitting, with a show of candor, that he rejected belief in a personal god as childish and preferred a vague pantheism that recognized an "upward reach" in "all mankind" that was similar to the upward reach of growing plants. But after testing the market, he began to claim that he was purveying a doctrine that was a kind of pep pill good for all religions and guaranteed to make the purchaser a better Christian, better Pharisee, or better Moslem, as the case might be. (There are no Buddhists, Parsees, Yezidis, Jains, Saivites, or Tantrists with large bank rolls in the United States at the present time, nor are they represented by oil-rich governments abroad.) The only point that need concern us now is that the promoter accurately gauged his market. Of all the members who passed through his organization in its heyday, at least 80% were Christians—probably 90% of those who really worked and gave money to the limit of their resources.
You have only to attend any "anti-Communist" meeting, including both the most sincere efforts and the most fraudulent promotions, and talk to the persons who attend and contribute to convince yourself that almost all of them are Christians, and by that I mean persons who really believe in Christ, as distinct, of course, from the many persons who attend Sunday-morning clubs because they think it good for business, politically expedient, or socially amusing. Whether you like it or not, you must accept the fact that 90% of the active support for patriotic and pseudo-patriotic efforts comes from men and women who have a sincere faith in Christ.
During more than two decades, the active Defense of the West has rested almost entirely on the shoulders of Christians in all Occidental nations. And that has been true on all levels. I know that comparisons are invidious, but to make my point I will say that if I had to pick one periodical on our side as having the highest literary finish and intellectual content, I should have to name Découvertes, the monthly publication of a highly cultivated group of staunchly Christian Frenchmen now in Lisbon.
That is not astonishing. For almost fifteen centuries Occidental civilization was Christendom, and, as is shown by the data that we have always examined, Christianity as we know it is, and always has been, an Indo-European religion, incomprehensible to the rudimentary minds of the primitive races and unacceptable to the subtle minds of the Orientals who have civilizations of their own. If that seems to you negative proof, consider the conversion of the Norse peoples during the early Middle Ages. They were not subject to a Christian government that could coerce them and they needed no Christian support against anyone; the Christians whom they plundered on occasion were certainly not militarily superior, nor were the institutions and culture of the Dark Ages anything that Vikings and Varangians might have envied and wished to imitate. Their only reason for abandoning the bleakly pessimistic religion of Thor and Odin must have been that Christianity was more congenial to their minds.* Such spontaneous conversions are rare phenomena in the history of the world’s religions; the closest parallel is the adoption of decadent Buddhism by the Chinese who found it congenial to their mentality.**
(* One historical factor often overlooked was Christianity’s appeal to the historical sense of our race. Norse theology was a collection of inconsistent tales, admittedly mythical since the skalds could revise or elaborate them at will, about the adventures of various gods in Niflheim, Jotunheim, Asgard and other realms outside the known world and inaccessible to men, at dates no more specific than "once upon a time." Christianity offered a circumstantial and realistic narrative of events that had taken place in remote but specific and well-known towns and geographical areas at precisely stated times during the reigns of known Roman Emperors; the historicity of the narrative was further guaranteed by the generally consistent and apparently independent statements of four eyewitnesses, whose veracity was further guaranteed by the official reports of Roman governors who had themselves participated in the climactic scene (i.e., the Acta Pilati, Epistula Lentuli, and other forgeries that were accepted as genuine during the Dark Ages). It may be relevant that the Epistula Lentuli certifies Christ as unmistakably Nordic: tall, fair-skinned, with blonde hair and blue eyes.)
(** Note, however, the very important difference that although the Chinese adaptation of the Buddhist religion eventually made a large number of converts, it never supplanted Taoism and other native cults, to say nothing of the widely-held doctrine of Confucius (which virtually ignores the supernatural) and the more restricted philosophy of the Fa Chia (which regards all religions as myths useful for governmental purposes). It would never have been proper to speak of China as a Buddhist country.)
There is a second fact that you must also face. The Western world is no longer Christendom. The religion that once united us has become the faith of a minority.
That is obvious from what is happening here and in every country of Europe except Spain and Portugal. The real question is how small a minority are Christians in the United States.
In 1942, after a very careful study of the situation in England, Professor A. N. Whitehead concluded that "in the whole country far less than one-fifth of the population are in any sense Christians today." There is very little difference in this respect between England and the United States. And today?
Let us transcend all the doctrinal differences, important as they are, that divide the Christian churches. The absolute minimum requirement of a Christian is faith that Christ was literally the Son of God. Of course, persons who do not have that faith may have the impudence to call themselves Christians, just as they may call themselves elves, Martians, or pterodactyls, but if they do, they are obviously intending some hoax or fraud.
How many adult Americans today really believe that Christ was God Incarnate? I have consulted discerning Christians of indubitable piety and zeal who have had exceptional opportunities to observe in all parts of the country. The lowest estimate was 9%. The figure that was best supported was approximately 12%.
Of the 12% of adult Americans who truly believe in Christ, not all, by any means, are active in efforts to defend our nation and civilization. Of true believers, some also believe that the End of the World is at hand; others believe that the destruction of the Western world has been ordained as condign punishment for its sins, and that it would be impious to resist the manifest Will of God; and others quite logically regard the events of the brief life on earth as merely preparation for the salvation of their souls. I should be astonished if more than half of the remaining Christians are actively committed to the preservation of our country. And yet this 6% has provided almost all of the support for anti-Communist causes. That is something to think about.
We must specifically notice that the minority that still believes that Christ was really the Son of God does not include the majority of the persons who now talk from the pulpits of Sunday-morning clubs, including the propaganda-chain operated by the National Council of Churches. The majority of professional clergymen were trained in theological seminaries in which they were taught that the Christian Bible is an agglomeration of forgeries perpetrated by persons too ignorant to write coherently and patched together by persons too stupid to make a consistent story out of it. They were further taught that Christ, if he existed and was not merely a myth created by awkward revision of the Essene story about the Teacher Yeshu, was a crack-pot agitator to whom were attributed, long after his death, some nice remarks about ethics and "social justice."*
(* Christians who have the courage to contemplate the present status and the now inevitable future of all the large organized denominations must read a recent book by a highly reputed "Biblical scholar" whose works have been long been respected as authoritative in ecclesiastical seminaries: Dr. Hugh J. Schonfield’s The Passover Plot (1965). Although his reconstruction of the way in which a crack-brained Jewish agitator named Jesus tried to stage a fake miracle is admittedly conjectural, his interpretation of the character and motives of that man (assuming that he ever existed) is now accepted in all of its essentials by virtually all educated clergymen, although, understandably, they may prefer to envelop it in clouds of misty verbiage when they harangue the persons who fill the collection-plates each Sunday. That Jesus, although an ignorant blunderer, is thought admirable because he was an early Bolshevik who tried to incite a revolution to destroy our race’s Classical civilization and realize the old Jewish dream of One World ruled, of course, by God’s Own People.)
Believing this but lacking the courage to seek honest employment, the poor wretches are ordained and find themselves in a business in which their income depends on their ability to keep congregrations awake or, at least, in a donating mood each Sunday, while they must curry the favor of both their atheistic superiors and of the Lords of the Press and Radio. It is no wonder that they preach the "social gospel." Some of them, no doubt, really believe it, for it is a fact that the loss of religious faith merely leaves many minds morbidly susceptible to the contagion of the most grotesque superstitions. Some see no reason why they shouldn’t peddle the brand of buncombe that pays the best. Some doubtless thirst for revolution and chaos to avenge themselves on the society that makes them exert themselves in pulpits, and, like the Vicar in Daphne du Maurier’s memorable novel, Jamaica Inn, picture themselves as clever wolves preaching to congregations of uncomprehending mutton-heads. That is the real explanation of what has happened to most of our churches, and there is no need to imagine some fantastically large and cunning conspiracy of Illuminati or other Supermen to account for the behavior of clergymen who do not believe in Christianity.
The catastrophic decline of Christian faith is the most important, the crucial event of our recent history. Even the dullest members of Sunday-morning clubs know that it has happened, but they will try to deny it by informing you that the Seventh Baptopistical Church has just moved to a wonderful new edifice that cost half a million dollars and is architecturally indistinguishable from a night club, and that St. Olaf’s Presbutheran Church has just added a hundred-thousand-dollar gymnasium to its sacred facilities. Believing Christians, on the other hand, know what has happened and deplore it. When they try to account for the catastrophe, however, they, if they recognize a natural cause at all, most commonly blame the Jews. That, I think, is unfair and, what is much worse, incorrect and therefore dangerous.
The most comprehensive and scholarly survey of Jewish pressures on, and infiltration of, Christianity from the earliest times is the work of one of the most learned ecclesiastical historians of our day and is now available in a passable English translation: The Plot Against the Church by Maurice Pinay. The virtual capture of the Catholic Church in recent years, which has been celebrated in articles in Look and other periodicals, is ably described by Vicomte Leon de Poncins in his Judaism and the Vatican. No Protestant scholar, so far as I know, has made a comparable study of Protestant denominations. It would be difficult to take exception to the reporting of historical facts in the two books that I have cited, and let us not question the authors’ conclusions. Do they adequately explain the decline of Christianity?
I have no wish to defend the Jews, and I shall not ask whether it is entirely reasonable to blame them for forwarding their own interests by their own methods wherever they have planted colonies among populations whom they regard as inferior, much as our ancestors regarded the aborigines of North America. Let the Jews be as wicked and diabolical as you wish, but let us consider the religious question objectively, lest error delude us with fallacious hopes.
If we, from our vantage point in the present, look back over the history of our religion dispassionately, we can discern, at a distance of a thousand years and more, the origins of our plight today. I do not refer to sectarianism and heresies: they are simply normal in all evangelical religions. In Islam, for example, the multiplicity of sects is proverbial, and by the time that Buddhism became a religion in the second century B.C., there were already eighteen major sects, each claiming, of course, to be the sole repository of the true doctrine. Christianity is exceptional only for its relative stability. Over a period of twelve centuries, from 325 A.D., when its doctrine had taken form in all essentials, to the Protestant Reformation in the Sixteenth Century, the religion of the West was an effective unity, not seriously disturbed by such sporadic heresies as the Albigensians, and Waldenses, the Patarini, and the Hussites.*
(* We are not here concerned with the theological convulsions of the Byzantine ("Orthodox") Church, which, as we observed earlier, was a radically different kind of religion, imbued with Levantine elements rejected by the West, and thereby appealing to a racially different people. A discussion of the origin, incidence, and relative importance of Jewish and other Levantine elements in the early Christian doctrines, the progressive supersession of such elements in the West, and their recrudescence in some heresies would necessarily be long, involved, and somewhat abstruse. We cannot touch upon that topic here, where our concern is with Christianity as it was generally understood and accepted by our race. Debates about whether our distant ancestors understood it correctly or should have accepted what they did would be, for our present purposes, irrelevant and otiose.)
Christianity is, as we have said, an Indo-European religion and it was therefore accepted and understood in terms of the mentality and thought-processes peculiar to our race. Our minds, unlike those of other races, demand that all the elements of a doctrine be logically consistent with one another and in conformity with observed reality. The intellectual efforts of the early Fathers of the Church, who labored to establish texts and resolve contradictions, have some analogies in other religions, but the Scholasticism of the Middle Ages is unique. This great philosophical effort to understand the world about us has nothing to do with heresies or even skepticism; it was, as one of the Scholastics defined it, fides quaerens intellectum; it was carried on by churchmen, and, as we too often forget, accompanied by mathematical investigations and empirical observation of nature. There are many histories of Scholasticism, and a good outline may be found in the second volume of Ueberweg’s standard History of Philosophy. There are some very stimulating observations on late Scholasticism in the first volume of Egon Friedell’s Cultural History of the Modern Age. The histories of science by Sarton and by Thorndike cover the Mediaeval period fairly well. The reader, however, will find the essentials most clearly presented in the brilliant work of Lawrence R. Brown, The Might of the West, which not only brings together facts that are artificially separated in other works, but identifies in its Mediaeval origins the great tension of modern thought. Christianity brought with it from Asia Minor alien elements that were generally ignored but remained latent in its sacred books and dogmas, incompatible at the limit with Western man’s innate need to know and master the physical world, and further complicated by historical accidents. That is what gave us, as Mr. Brown observes, "a society whose inward convictions have been at hopeless variance with the outward professions that the events of history have forced it to make." We need only add that the conflict became even more acute with the Renaissance and became one of the hidden causes of the Reformation and Europe’s first Civil War.
From the Renaissance to the present, we of the West have had to observe an ever increasing discrepancy between the tenets of our religion and the observed phenomena of the world in which we live, and during the past century the discrepancies became catastrophic.
One can enumerate sixteen intellectual factors that have contributed to the decline of Christianity, but the four most important, all of which took effect during the past hundred years, are:
(1) The recovery by archaeological excavation of much of the history of the Near East.
(2) Perception of the great physiological and anatomical similarity of human beings to extinct sub-human species and to existing anthropoids, the whole forming a neat evolutionary sequence.
(3) Determinations that the earth is at least a billion years older than the Creation posited by Christian doctrine.
(4) Most important of all, perhaps, perception of the size of the universe. It is one thing to call it infinite; it is another to know that there are galaxies so remote that light from them, travelling at more than eleven million miles a minute, has taken eight billion years to reach us.
Christian theologians, to be sure, have offered innumerable explanations of these discrepancies. Some are forthright efforts to meet the issues squarely, of which the best that I have seen is The Genesis Flood, by Professor John C. Whitcomb, Jr., of Grace Theological Seminary, and Professor Henry M. Morris, of the Virginia Polytechnical Institute. Some are bizarre efforts to conjure a god from the Planck constant or squeeze him out of the (hypothetical) Lorentz contractions. And some reach the level of the books that Teilhard de Chardin must have written with tongue in cheek. But we are not here concerned with the validity of any of these Christian explanations. The important fact is that they convince no one except Christians. Perhaps they should, but they do not.
That is the principal cause of the recession of Christian faith, and you cannot blame the Jews for it. It is most unlikely that the Jews planted every inscribed tablet found by excavators in Asia Minor, and it is quite certain that they did not create quasars or even the great galaxy in Virgo. The blame, if any, must fall entirely on our race—on the philosophical mentality and Faustian will that distinguish us from all other races and that alone made possible the abstruse and complex determinations of fact that undermined our faith. The four intellectual factors that I listed above and eleven of the twelve that I did not have space to enumerate all depend on data that no other race had either the capacity or the wish to ascertain—data, furthermore, that all other races either cannot comprehend or regard as insignificant and irrelevant to their racial mentality.
To repudiate the science of the West is simply to blow out our brains figuratively, as our fetish-men, witch-doctors, and other "Liberal intellectuals" would have us do. And if we of the West do it figuratively, we may as well all do it literally, too, and so escape the ultimate misery and degradation in store for us.
I began this cursory discussion by saying that it did not matter whether we were Christians or atheists so long as we faced facts and reasoned objectively about them. As rational men, all that we can do is measure the consequences of the disastrous decline of faith—for it is a disaster even greater than most Christians suppose—and ascertain by what means (if any) we can hope to survive it.
THE PREDICTABLE FUTURE
Christendom is no longer Christendom. The faith that Christ was literally the Son of God, which dominated the Western world for fifteen centuries, and effectively united all the men of our race for ten, has become the faith of a minority.
It is vain to wish that this calamity had not happened, and nugatory to try to blame our enemies for it, however cunning and malevolent they may be. For it is our destiny—the destiny that is biologically innate in our race and the only source of our greatness and of the power than enabled us thus far to survive in a world in which we are a small and universally hated minority—to think philosophically about the external and physical world, and to seek objective truth, at whatever cost to our vanity or comfort. As Lawrence R. Brown says, in the book that I quoted before, "Whatever has been easier to believe than to discover has never been what created the unique greatness of our society. Not the comforting satisfaction of inward belief, but the potential humiliation of outward fact has been the last standard of truth in the West." And that has been the principal cause of the waning of what was once our common faith.
We cannot expect, therefore, within the foreseeable future any increase in the number of believing Christians, who now number about 12% of adult Americans; on the contrary, a gradual decrease is possible and in some circumstances likely, since the majority of them are now in or past middle age.*
(* I need not remark that no one should take seriously the little bands of hysterical adolescents who occasionally try to attract attention by emerging from the communal squalor of their kibbuzim and yelling "Jesus!" instead of "Peace in Vietnam!" Although some enterprising operators in the evangelical business advertise such outbreaks as harbingers of a "revival of faith," it is quite clear that the young derelicts, insofar as they are not indulging in mere exhibitionism, are actuated by the hallucinations that normally occur in minds that have been rotted by the drugs now commonly used by children in the public schools, chiefly marijuana, mescaline, lysergic acid diethylamide, and heroin. The febrile excitement of derelicts "hooked on Jesus" is merely a variation of their feeble-minded enthusiasm for every kind of occult posturing and mystery-mongering, including witchcraft, black magic, Satanism, astrology, oneiromancy, necromancy, and innumerable adaptations of various Oriental cults. More disturbing are the reports of colonies of youngsters who, reportedly without the help of hallucinatory drugs, exchange thoughts with a superior race on Jupiter, chat with visiting spooks, or have at the top of their skull a psychic opening through which the Holy Ghost whispers instructions. Like the "hippies," these unfortunates are commonly graduates of the cut-rate diploma-factories that are still called "universities." That is a fact that will be terribly significant to those who are not afraid to think about it.)
We have no reason to anticipate a drastic and revolutionary change in the scientific evidence—a discovery, for example, that the earth ceased to rotate on its axis for a day or two when the Israelites invaded Canaan, or that stars outside the solar system are optical illusions. Rightly or wrongly, a great many men of intellectual integrity can now discern no evidence of the existence in the universe of a conscious power superior to man, and, precisely because they are men of intellectual integrity, they are not going to change their deductions in the absence of radically new evidence that is intellectually cogent to them. And precisely because they are men of our race, who reason from dispassionately ascertained data, they are not going to be swayed by the emotions of orating evangelists, and they will be simply disgusted by attempts to equate "atheism" and "Communism."
No one doubts but that the power of man—which, for all practical purposes, means the power of our race—is small indeed. We and our planet and our whole solar system are infinitesimal motes in a galaxy that is itself an insignificant part of the known universe. No one doubts, furthermore, but that for many phenomena we have no satisfactory explanation. But knowledge cannot be derived from what is not known, and to deify known natural forces is to resort to a mocking evasion, not unlike that of Epicurus. In the 1930’s, Leopold Ziegler thought that the Second Law of Thermodynamics was a quite satisfactory "god" and others have applied that term to biological evolution toward more complex organic forms, to the fact of human consciousness, to instincts found in one or more races that seem analogous to a growing plant’s heliotropic striving for sunlight, to the theories of indeterminacy or of parity in sub-atomic physics, and a wide variety of other phenomena. But no alert Christian will be deceived. His God is a conscious being, a personal God, a God who is aware of, and has concern for, the individual; He is a God to whom one can pray.
Men prayed to the Sun when they believed that that incandescent globe was a conscious being who could hear them; but nobody prayed to the Great Mystery that [cannot render equation—Editor]. Christians rightly regard the difference between an atheist and a "pantheist" today as the difference between six apples and half-a-dozen. They can derive no comfort from the prudential evasions of some writers.
Christians are demonstrably right when they insist that if we and the other nations of the West were still Christian nations, we should not find ourselves in our present plight. We should have other difficulties, of course; we should, no doubt, continue to quarrel among ourselves, and we should have to face, as now, the open hostility or covert hatred of the rest of the world. But if we Occidentals were still Christian nations, we should have no need to worry about International Bankers, Illuminati, Bolsheviks, Jews, "Liberals," or any other internal menace that you may choose to name or imagine. Recognition of that fact, however, will not produce a religious revival. It is a peculiarity of our Indo-European mind that for us truth is not demonstrated by either comfort or self-interest. We cannot believe a proposition to be objectively true just because we wish that it were or because our personal safety depends upon it. No exposition of present danger, therefore, can create faith.
Is there any hope of a significant increase in the minority that now believes that Christ was the Son of God?
Some Christians anticipate that the trend will be reversed by divine intervention, but there is little agreement about the nature of the expected miracle. Some expect the Second Coming of Christ, which will provide visible evidence of the truth of Christian doctrine and thus start a wave of conversions, while others count on God’s application of a psychological force that will change men’s minds and force them to believe what now seems unreasonable. Others as positively expect a virtually total loss of faith with miraculous suddenness. Not infrequently one encounters a Christian, usually a lady, who is quite certain that on a day in the very near future she and 499 other persons will soar aloft into the atmosphere, apparently to a level above the cumulus and below the cirrus cloud-formations, and there float in ecstasy while the rest of the earth’s population is condignly destroyed in a succession of catastrophes. But the majority of Christians, I am sure, do not count on impending miracles.
One common ground for hope is, at best, uncertain. We Americans, thanks to our folly, will soon undergo a considerable amount of physical suffering: domestic violence, economic collapse, probably some starvation, quite possibly conquest by foreign invaders and resident revolutionists. It is true that, as history shows, such afflictions usually induce a revival of religion, and many Christians expect such an effect here. That is not likely in the future that we can foresee. For one thing, the historical effect requires an unremitting and prolonged suffering—thirty years or more. The Crusade to Save the Soviet in 1939–45 inflicted great suffering on many nations of Europe, especially Germany and Poland, but produced no significant religious revival. Secondly, if there should be such an effect, it probably would not benefit Christianity. The Protestant Churches as a whole have long been disgraced by the pinks and punks of the National Council. The Catholic Church is now committing suicide by repudiating its own doctrines and burlesquing its traditions. In the eyes of non-believers now, the religion has been compromised by the antics of the greater part of the professional clergy, and despite the admirable loyalty of "traditionalist" and "fundamentalist" minorities, it is likely that the coming disasters will—unjustly, but understandably—make Christianity seem a religion that failed. Thus any revival of religiosity will benefit cults that will have the attraction of novelty and a new "revelation," possibly including some doctrine of metempsychosis.
We are left, therefore, with the present situation and very little hope that it will or can be soon altered. So we had better reckon with it, whatever our personal desires or convictions.
The visible consequences of the withering of our religion are enormous, overshadowing, frightening. Christianity was much more than a religion comparable to the religion of Osiris in early Egypt, the worship of the Olympian gods, the Orphic mysteries, or Mithraism. Unlike those cults in their time and place, Christianity for a large part of our history was the whole formal basis of our entire culture, the absolute from which were deduced our moral codes, our laws, and our political systems; it largely informed our art, inspired our literature, animated our music, and sustained our men of science. The void that has been left is so great that few can peer into the dark abyss without vertigo.
There is, however, no rational escape from a question to which there can be only two answers. Was Christ the Son of God?
Christians answer Yes. And on that faith they found their lives.
The majority of adults today, including most of the persons who are doing business in the pulpits, answer No. The negative answer cannot be covered with verbiage about "great Teacher," "social vision," "moral earnestness," and the like. There is no escape from logic.
If Christ was not the Son of God and an Incarnate God, then he was, on the record, a lunatic with delusions that he was. And a lunatic’s views on morality and justice are simply worthless. From this simple alternative our "modernist" clergy try to escape by claiming that all the passages in which Christ speaks of his own divinity, or miraculous proof of it is given, are forgeries concocted by clumsy interpolators, but if that is true, there is no passage that is exempt from the suspicion of forgery, and we have to conclude, as did Father Loisy in his famous work on Le mystère chrétien (1930), that there is no authentic record of what Jesus said—and, indeed, no certainty that He is not, like the words attributed to him, merely an invention of the clumsy "interpolators." At the very best, if Christ was not literally the Son of God, his opinions are of infinitely less value than the opinions of learned, earnest, and thoughtful men, such as Aristotle, Cicero, and Marcus Aurelius in antiquity, and in modern times, David Hume, Schopenhauer, and Renan. From that clear alternative there is no escape except in the kind of patter and chatter that stage magicians use to distract the attention of the audience from a trick of prestidigitation.
If Christ was not literally the Son of God, the entire morality on which our civilization was consciously based for so long seems to collapse, to vanish as an illusion, to be as unfounded as the old nation that the earth was flat. And this apparent dissolution includes all of the ancient Indo-European morality that guided our peoples in the many centuries that preceded our adoption of Christianity.* That is obviously what is happening—has happened today, when we witness everywhere tacit and explicit repudiation of all morality—not only Christian teaching, but the antecedent and basic morality without which civilization is flatly impossible. And, what is even more disheartening, there seems to be no basis left for any morality.
(* Christianity, of course, introduced very little that was novel in the practical ethics governing human conduct in society, most of which were not only traditional in our race but were common to most civilized societies, including the oldest of which we have adequate knowledge. (Clergymen who impudently talk of "Judaeo-Christian ethics" try to give the impression that the prohibition of theft, adultery, etc. in the Ten Commandments was some kind of dazzling and miraculous invention, but if they were honest they would speak of "Sumerian-Christian ethics" in that connection.) About the only element that can fairly be called a Christian innovation was the great emphasis on forgiveness as a duty rather than an act of unnecessary generosity. (Its doctrine of rewards and punishments after death tended to enforce observance of the whole moral code, but that is another matter.) The historical antecedents, however, will not help us now, for our religion was so long regarded as the one and only basis for morality and the unique source of all right conduct that the earlier traditions have vanished except insofar as we still instinctively regard certain actions as dishonorable. Even those feelings, however, may be consciously repressed as "relics of superstition" by persons who have reacted strongly against the religion and are proud of having "emancipated" themselves from it.)
For a long time, men, except a few romantic and evangelical atheists, have agreed that a viable morality must be based on a religious faith. Hesiod, whom some scholars place in the ninth century B.C., warned the judges of his day that Zeus had 30,000 invisible and immortal observers who go through the whole earth and report the evil deeds of men. A discerning correspondent, whose letter reached me yesterday, remarks that "unfortunately, most people need to feel that they are watched by a superhuman power."
For Aristotle, Plato, and Cicero, civilized society must be based on a generally accepted and uniform religious faith. And, with few exceptions, the thoughtful non-Christians of our world have held the same opinion. Renan, for example, took leave of Christianity with elegiac sadness and deep apprehension: "What is ominous is that we cannot foresee for the future any means of giving men a code of conduct that they will generally accept . . . I frankly admit that I cannot imagine how it will be possible to restore, without the ancient illusions, the foundations of a noble and serene life."
On a quite different level, the pragmatic and cynical Augustus believed religion the indispensable basis of political stability, and many rulers and statesmen, before him and after him, had the same conviction. And some of the world’s most acute minds have drawn the conclusions that Machiavelli, perhaps, stated most bluntly:
Principalities and republics that would save themselves from decadence must above all other things keep uncorrupted the ceremonies of their religion, and hold it always in veneration; for there can be no greater symptom of the ruin of a state than to see divine rites held in contempt. . . . They should therefore use every opportunity to foster and augment their religion, even though they perceive it to be false; and the more prudent they are and the more they know about natural phenomena, the greater their obligation to do this.
It is now too late to heed Machiavelli’s warning. The disaster that he apprehended has come upon us.
It is vain to dream of a religion to replace Christianity. Comte’s notion of a "Religion of Humanity," whereby congregations would throng temples to venerate Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Werner von Braun as "benefactors," was one of the ideas that occurred to him when he was out of a straight-jacket, but it should have suggested to his friends and keepers the need to hustle him into one. True, there have been serious proposals by eminently sane men, who, however, seem to forget that a religion must be based on faith, not speculation or psychological peculiarities. Captain Ludovici is a highly intelligent and earnest man, and when he wrote his Religion for Infidels (1961), he must have known that his "rational religion" could appeal only to a few, and had no chance whatsoever of meeting our society’s need for a unifying faith.
If the faith of Christendom was an error, alien gods can command no true piety—not even in the little circles where they may enjoy a passing vogue. The Oriental cults that make wealthy dowagers beam and write cheques are not for men. Christianity is irreplaceable.
No more than 12% of adult Americans believe that Christ was the Son of God. No more than half of this minority has thus far provided from 80% to 90% of all the support given to "conservative" and "anti-Communist" efforts. So there is another fundamental fact that you must face, if you desire to preserve our country and our civilization.
If most of the men included in that 6% were physically robust and vigorous, disciplined and well trained in the techniques of guerrilla warfare, equipped with the necessary weapons (including, in addition to automatic rifles, machine guns, and land mines, such devices as infra-red projectors), and willing to fight ruthlessly under a unified command, they could recapture the United States.
If the 6%, though not capable of military action, formed a group that would not only contribute money and work to the very limit of their powers and vote as a solid bloque, but would also, at the command of their leaders, endorse and propagate the propaganda line that those leaders judged most expedient at any given time, even though that line was mendacious and contrary to all that they as individuals believed, and would furthermore, at command, work politically for candidates whose political patter suggested the very opposite of what they as individuals want, it might be possible for them, by persistent effort over many years, to recapture the country with conspiratorial tactics.
Obviously, however, the active Christian minority is incapable of either of the only two kinds of action that could bring success. It is, furthermore, incapable of even sentimental agreement, for it is fragmented by real and important doctrinal differences, and any accord that may be established among Christians can always be quickly disrupted by even the crudest incitation of sectarian emotions. Even now, one of the most influential of the Christian "anti-Communist" preachers varies his message from time to time with clear intimations that the Pope is the Antichrist. The remaining Christians in the Catholic Church, having faith in its traditions, are more sensitive than ever to Protestantism now that they see their church resorting to cheap parodies of Protestant services as part of its effort to commit suicide. "Fundamentalist" Protestants frequently quarrel over the question whether or not certain tribes of Israelites migrated to northern Europe or the British Isles after they were supposedly captured by the Babylonians. And one evangelist with a very well-known name and small following is currently urging that all the Jews residing in the United States be killed "county by county" without delay, and most vehemently denounces all who have so little faith in Scripture that they have doubts about the feasibility of carrying out the proposed purification successfully this year.
Seeking the most inclusive definition, we defined Christians as persons who have an abiding faith that Christ was in fact the Son of God. But each Christian necessarily believes more than that, and the diversity of faith in other tenets reduces the Christian minority to a multiplicity of groups that are incapable of sustained unity of purpose and could not act effectively, even if they had the means of action. Crusades were possible in ages in which Faith in Christ could bring together large and well-equipped armies of veteran warriors ready to smite and slay the paynim and to vindicate their faith with the sword, but today a suggestion that Christians could launch a Crusade is simply ludicrous.
If Christians and other Americans really want to survive as Americans rather than as brutalized and stultified fellahin, the despised slaves of an alien and international super-state, they had better think seriously about the 88% of non-Christians of their race in the United States. We are here concerned only with Christians who are willing to make that effort, and we are well aware that many will find it much more entertaining to continue orating to one another, pounding their typewriters, quoting Scripture and wrangling about what it means, and contributing their money to every clever promoter who promises to produce with talk precisely the kind of miracle that would make them happy.
So what of the 88%?
The most logical alternative to Christianity is obviously atheism, by which we mean the belief that, in all probability, there does not exist in the universe a personal god to whom one can address prayers and who has conscious purposes. If the faith that was well nigh universal among members of our race for so many centuries was a fiction and a delusion, then it is a priori highly improbable that Apollo, Odin, Vishnu, Dionysus, or any other Savior God is less of a myth and fantasy than the Christian God. If the faith that inspired our race for so large a part of its recorded history was merely a figment of overwrought imaginations, it is highly probable that faith in any substitute for Christianity is likewise a product of the same overheated fancy. He who finds Christianity unbelievable should at least equally suspect all other revelations, and conclude that, so far as we can ascertain, there is no god, no conscious power in the universe superior to man. That is only reasonable.
It is odd, therefore, that we hear so little of atheism today. There is, to be sure, a small number of evangelical atheists, who devote themselves to spreading the glad tidings that there is no god. They are best represented by the little periodical, The Truth Seeker, that does not enjoy enough support to continue publication in conventionally set type and has had to resort to photo-offset reproduction from copy prepared on a quite ordinary typewriter. It would be a gross exaggeration to estimate the avowed and active atheists at one-half of one percent of our adult population. And one suspects that their number is steadily dwindling.
It is true, nevertheless, that doubt and denial of religion is a long-standing and ancient tendency in our race, and is very closely connected with our peculiar capacity to think objectively about the world in which we live and our experience of it.* I shall not argue that atheism is distinctively Indo-European like Christianity, for I doubt that such an argument could be maintained, nor shall I advance the more defensible claim that the atheism of Occidental minds differs generically from the manifestations of irreligion in other races, for that would entail a long excursus on China, with particular consideration of the doctrines of Confucius, Mencius, Hsun Tzu, and, most important of all, the Fa Chia;** a second excursus on the falasifa who flourished briefly in the world of Islam and included true Semites from southern Arabia; and, at least, a third excursus on the atheism that is so wide-spread among the Jews today. I shall merely remind you of two items in the history of India, and suggest that you reflect on their significance.
(* It may be pertinent to recall that during the Viking Age many men, including even some kings, confessed that they were atheists (goðlauss) and openly derided the Norse theology; many more, no doubt, were content to keep their opinions to themselves.)
(** I remark in passing that although the Fa Chia, which I mentioned in an earlier note, was a political philosophy confined to an intellectual élite in positions of power, it effectively dominated the practice of Chinese governments from the third century B.C. to the present, except for comparatively brief intermissions. It appears to be totally unknown to the journalists, both "Liberal" and "anti-Communist," who manufacture books about the present régimes in Formosa and on the mainland, ignoring the racial determinants of the Mongolian mind and pretending that the Chinese have a yen for "democracy" and the other abstractions that are effective bait for voters in this country. The best thing to do with such books is to drop them in the wastebasket unopened; that saves time and eyestrain.)
If you search the annals of mankind for a parallel to the strict materialism and concomitant atheism that is the premise of a very large part of the dominant thought of our time and simply taken for granted by many of our best minds, you will find the closest parallel in the philosophy called Lokayata, of which traces remain in the next-to-oldest parts of the Mahabharata, in the Arthasastra, and in a few other ancient works in Sanskrit. It is quite clear that this virtually scientific materialism flourished while the Aryan conquerors of India were in the plenitude of their power, and vanished as completely as though it had never been when the natives of that sub-continent succeeded, by such devices as miscegenation, military imitation, and exploitation of rivalries, in breaking the Aryan power and racial consciousness.
Late in the sixth century B.C. a young Aryan prince named Siddhartha, doubtless influenced by the Lokayata prevalent in intellectual circles, evolved an atheistic pessimism that differed from a strict materialism only in the assumption that an individual’s will-to-live (as distinct from his mind and personality) could survive his death. This palingenesis of the will (which must be sharply distinguished from the reincarnation of a soul) strikingly resembled the basis of the modern philosophy of Schopenhauer, and Siddhartha, yielding to our racial instinct to deduce and formulate universal laws, presented it as true for all men. His doctrine therefore appealed to sentimental Aryans who were concerned for "all mankind" and had an itch to "do good" for the lower races by pretending that those races were their equals. They accordingly preached the philosophy of Siddhartha and gradually transformed that bleak pessimism into a religion complete with gods, saviors, and innumerable angels and demons, and they called Siddhartha "the Enlightener of Mankind" (Buddha). As an odd mixture of philosophy and religion, Buddhism became the Established Religion of India, consummated the mongrelization of the Aryans and their submergence in the prolific native races, and then, its work of subversion accomplished, it disappeared from India and survived only as a grossly superstitious religion in Tibet, China, Japan, and adjacent Mongolian territories, and, with many doctrinal differences, in Ceylon and Southeast Asia, where it appears to have become as decadent as Christianity among us.*
(* When Arnold J. Toynbee visited Burma he was impressed by the "spiritual light" that is particularly radiant in Buddhist friars who assemble in mobs and, when the spirit moves them, start killing people with the clubs, revolvers, and hand-grenades they carry under their sacred yellow robes. This social gospel, however, is a very recent innovation. On the other hand, much that is old survives, as was evident a few years ago when our propaganda-machine for political purposes exhibited on television the spectacle of some Buddhists who incinerated themselves. The yokels who gawked at the exhibition did not know that it was merely the observance of an ancient custom, much older than Christianity and even older than Buddhism itself.)
If we consult the direct tradition of our civilization, we find from the earliest recorded times to the present eminent men who reject the popular religion of their day and the god or gods of that religion, believing that the world is uncreated and eternal and holding, in keeping with the mentality of our race, that the world operated by natural law, that is to say, the uniform and automatic processes of a nature that is independent of supernatural intervention. What is rare is not thinking that dispenses with gods, but proselytizing atheism. That rarity cannot be entirely explained by fear of persecution, and it must be attributed in part to a reluctance to destroy the religion of the people.
In the seventh century B.C., Thales, who was regarded as the founder of both astronomy and natural philosophy, and is believed to have been the first who could predict eclipses of the sun by mathematical calculation, appears to have identified the gods with what we should call kinetic energy, gravitation, magnetic force, and, perhaps, chemical processes. Such a definition cannot have been either instructive or encouraging to persons intent on praying for mercy or favor from Zeus or one of his divine associates or subordinates, but Thales was not technically an atheist, and he disturbed established beliefs less than did Xenophanes, whose rigorous monotheism required him to ridicule all anthropomorphic gods. Democritus, one of the greatest minds of antiquity, explained all phenomena in terms of atoms governed by uniform natural forces, and he left nothing for gods to do, although he cheerfully conceded, for the benefit of those who felt strongly about the matter, that the same natural forces that produced man could have produced superior races, more perfectly formed of a more tenuous matter and so possibly exempt from some of our ills and limitations. Epicurus argued, perhaps sincerely, on the basis of epistemological considerations, that gods probably existed, but must dwell outside our world and must, by their very nature, have no interest in or concern for human beings. It is obviously folly to try to attract the attention of such superior beings, and it is preposterous to think that a god would have cared who won the Trojan War, or that a son of God (Dios nysos, i.e. Dionysus) could have suffered, been slain, and have arisen from the dead to save mankind, but Epicurus was not technically an atheist. Euhemerus blandly devised evidence and argument to show that Zeus had been a King of Crete and that the notion of worshipping gods was merely a development of men’s natural tendency to venerate the memory of great men after they are dead. Many an ancient writer explained religion in the terms most generally accepted by modern anthropologists: primus in orbe deos fecit timor. Primitive men personified and tried to placate forces of nature that they did not understand. Intelligent readers could draw their own deductions, but ancient writers refrained from preaching atheism as such, and addressed themselves only to very limited and select audiences.
There may have been an intermission of such skepticism during the Roman Decadence and the darkest part of the Dark Ages, but by the Thirteenth Century men knew of the famous book De tribus imposteribus that is now lost. (The extant work is a forgery produced in the Eighteenth Century.) The three impostors, of course, were Moses, Christ, and Mahomet, charlatans who imposed on the credulity of their ignorant contemporaries, but so far as we can tell, the author of that doctrine did not specifically deny the existence of a god. From the Thirteenth Century to the present, the chain of such thinking is unbroken, and it is easily recognized under the various forms that it successively assumed. During the Renaissance, for example, a favorite precaution was the doctrine of "two truths," which enabled a philosopher, such as the most illustrious of the Paduans, Petrus Pomponatius, to affirm that by faith he believed to be true precisely those propositions (e.g., the immortality of the soul) that he had just demonstrated to be false in the light of reason and observation. After the Reformation, the modern method appears. For example, Sir Walter Raleigh’s friend, Thomas Hariot, now chiefly remembered for his work on the mathematics of navigation and cartography, simply ignored Christianity (except that he thought it good for the American Indians); his contemporaries suspected him of atheism, but they couldn’t prove it. Today, you may pick up any serious treatise on astronomy, geology, biology, or almost any science, and you will find that the author simply ignores religion as irrelevant and does not even take the trouble to mention as curious myths the Christian beliefs that are tacitly refuted by his findings. Authors today have nothing to fear from the rage of Christian divines, but they are content to let intelligent readers draw their own conclusions. A formal profession of atheism would be in bad taste, and, what is more, many of the authors really do not want to destroy what religion is left to our people.
Our whole tradition, therefore, deprecrates gratuitous and unnecessary offense to religious beliefs, and one of the strongest reasons for that restraint is, and long has been, a conviction that a belief in gods who punish moral transgressions is the most efficacious, and possibly the unique and indispensable, means of maintaining in a large population the morality without which a civilized society would become impossible. Machiavelli did not originate the doctrine that he expressed with brutal frankness in the passage from his Discorsi that we quoted above. The idea is ancient; it appears in Herodotus, the "Father of History," and was probably old in his time. It is not even confined to Aryans. Although he was doubtless influenced by Greek thought, the great Arabian poet, Abu’l-‘Alá al-Ma‘arrí, gave the idea an epigrammatic expression in verses that may be translated thus:
The Moslems stumble; Christians are astray;
The Jews are mad, and Magians grope their way.
We mortals are composed of two great schools—
Enlightened knaves or else religious fools.
"Enlightened knaves" will flout and circumvent the ethics imposed by religious sanctions, and no society can support more than a small proportion of them. Such, at least, has been the conclusion of careful observers of human society.
An infidel, to be sure, is not necessarily a scoundrel, but even if we claim that a system of ethics can be so logically deduced from objectively ascertained data that it will be cogent to every rational reader, we cannot reasonably expect that the demonstration will sway any very large part of the population. How many persons, for example, would be willing to read the Nicomachean Ethics or the De officiis, or would understand them, if they did read them? Even if we could construct an intellectually irrefragable code of morality, we should still find religion indispensable, as Aristotle said, "in order to persuade the majority." Or as James Burnham, who is certainly one of the best minds in conservative circles today, expresses it: "The political life of the masses and the cohesion of society demand the acceptance of myths. A scientific attitude toward society does not permit belief in the truth of the myths. But the leaders must profess, indeed foster, belief in the myths, or the fabric of society will crack."
That conclusion always has been widely accepted by men who, naturally, refrain from proclaiming it in public. I knew a gentleman who, although not wealthy in the usual sense of that word, contributed some five thousand dollars a year to his local church. "Of course, I don’t believe in immortality and the rest of that bunk," he told me, "but belief in a hereafter is the only thing that will keep most people straight, so I do what I can." That opinion was based, not on reading, but on his own observation of men. Essentially the same opinion is held by some clergymen. I have conversed with one, who is certainly not one of the "social gospel" shysters. He is a very well educated and thoughtful man, who believes religion necessary for social stability, although he regrets that a series of historical accidents made so confused and vulnerable a cult as Christianity the religion of the West instead of the form of Buddhism found in the Milinda-panha (c. 125 B.C.), which, incidentally, he has read in the original Pali. That, of course, is not what he tells his congregation, but he holds that since a belief in the supernatural must be fostered for the comfort of the majority, it is best for society that the doctrine be dispensed by men who can take an honest and coldly rational view of their task and will not be carried away by fanaticism or exhibitionism. That view is not unique, and we should remember, for example, that in this century the staunchest and most eloquent defender of the Christian faith in France was the genial Charles Maurras, who, perhaps indiscreetly, confessed that he personally was an atheist.
One of the most striking proofs of the extent of irreligious support of religion as a social utility is the current rash of books and articles that urge Christians to unite with all other religions in "combating skepticism," because the important thing is to have "a faith," chosen from the contemporary flowerbed that provides nosegays to match any complexion or ensemble. That, of course, is the equivalent of saying that it does not matter what you believe, provided that you believe it hard enough. Just as the antithesis of love is not indifference but hate, so the opposite of a true religion is not skepticism but a false religion. So far as there is any honesty in this campaign to "save religion"—so far as it is not a swindle—it must be based on the premise that the beliefs of all Christians, Pharisees, Kabbalists, Theosophists, Moslems, Buddhists, etc., are equally false, but should be encouraged because such superstitions may serve to restrain men’s natural propensity to crime. Obviously, the "interfaith" cuddling that is so much in the vogue among professional clergymen these days is possible only for those who have no faith in their own religion, and we can only hope that some of them are thinking in terms of social utility rather than promoting a racket—or a conspiracy.
The incidence of disbelief in a personal god—atheism, although many atheists escape social disapproval by using such euphemisms as agnosticism and pantheism—cannot, therefore, be estimated, even roughly. It is not limited to strict materialism. The structure of the human consciousness is at present so little understood, and so many psychological phenomena (e.g., hypnotism, the effects of hallucinogenic drugs, possible instances of telepathy, certain instincts of civilized men, many of the mental peculiarities of our race) remain unexplained that a belief that we have an immaterial and spiritual component is widely held, often associated with hypotheses concerning a fourth (or, if time is the fourth, a fifth) dimension. This spiritual element, thought yet mysterious in the way that the observed effects of radioactivity were mysterious before radium was isolated and identified, is regarded as subject to natural laws yet unascertained, and therefore as involving no presumption that a deity is responsible for those phenomena. Some of our contemporaries, indeed, consider probable a doctrine similar to that of the "godless" Yogins of India (Nirisvara-samkhya) and posit cycles of reincarnation governed by moral laws that are as automatic and impersonal as gravity. And Captain Ludovici, in his well-known Religion for Infidels, believes in the efficacy of prayer even in the absence of a god or other conscious force to hear it.
For many earnest Americans, religion has become a private matter, a system of ethical conduct reposing on metaphysical premises, hopes, or conjectures that they are unwilling to discuss and might have difficulty in defining precisely even to themselves. All that is certain is that there must be the greatest variety in their conceptions of the praeterhuman. It is impossible, therefore, to estimate the persistence in our time of the Stoic conception of a deity that is the Soul of the Universe, which reappeared in the Deism of the late Eighteenth Century, which was professed by some of the founders of the American Republic—just as it is difficult to be certain to what extent that Deism was more than a way of rejecting Christianity without incurring the stigma of atheism. Many of its pronouncements, indeed, such as Voltaire’s famous dictum, si Dieu n’existait pas, il faudrait l’inventer (particularly when read in context), suggest much more concern for the stability of society than faith in the unnamed god.
One suspects that a numerical majority of our population has simply lost interest in religion as such and does not think about it at all, except as a kind of social convention, regarding the existence or non-existence of a god as something that cannot be determined, so that thought about it is impractical and profitless—a waste of time that can be used more advantageously in thinking about how to get a raise in salary, and more pleasurably in watching a baseball game or a prize fight. The conventions must, of course, be observed; indeed, some corporations when they send an "executive" into a new territory, perhaps as District Sales Manager for Charnel House cosmetics or Bloaters’ beer, stipulate that he must promptly join a country club, a church, and a local business men’s association. I am told that at least one corporate monstrosity has thoughtfully compiled a catalogue of the churches that are best for business in each section of the country, so that its "executives" and their wives (who must be "college graduates" without intellectual interests and active in "community work") won’t have to worry about a choice. "Fundamentalist" churches, I hear, are streng verboten: being suspected of taking Christianity seriously would be, like atheism, bad for sales. And that, I fear, is symptomatic of what religion has become for a large section of our people: not a matter of belief or disbelief, not a subject that excites either emotion or thought, but just a social gesture, to be made perfunctorily and with indifference.
All this, I know, is acutely painful for Christians, but it will do them no good to weep or to curse infidels or to hire an evangelist to tell them that they must "fight atheism" by booking him for a return engagement. The facts are but little less distressing to non-Christians who want to preserve what is left of our culture and our race, and who desperately wish that there were some way to restore the faith that was our bond of unity when the West was Christendom. But we were born into the Twentieth Century, not the Eleventh or the Thirteenth, and, unless we prefer to retreat into a dream-world or passively await our doom, it is with the realities of the present that we must cope, if we can.
The loss of Christian faith as the West’s bond of union was a disaster; the spiritual vacuum thus created was a catastrophe.
Since the later part of the Eighteenth Century, we have had among us bands of evangelical atheists, numerically small but at times very influential, who, either openly or under the euphemistic appellation of "anti-clericals," worked to destroy Christianity. Although they were used by political conspiracies with which they sometimes knowingly collaborated, and although they were certainly encouraged and often subsidized by the Jews, who always profit from the misfortunes of the peoples among whom they have planted their colonies, most of the polemists against our religion were quite sincere and many were men of good moral character. Let us, for our own instruction, disregard here the scabrous plotters who appear so often darkly in the background, and let us disregard also the often funeste consequences of the anti-religious agitation. Let us reduce to the simplest terms the principles of every society for the promotion of atheism, whatever it was formally or informally called.
There are just three basic propositions. Let us examine them, remembering that we are trying to reason about a desperate situation in which we find ourselves, whatever our beliefs. If we feel a need to indulge orgiastic emotions, let us do that elsewhere and after we have concluded our serious business.
(1) Christianity is false. This conclusion is drawn from (a) a critical examination of the Christian Scriptures to discern the innumerable internal inconsistencies and contradictions, and to weigh the innumerable and equally contradictory attempts of theologians to explain them away; (b) comparison of Scriptural accounts, so far as possible, with historical records; (c) examination of Scriptural statements in the light of known natural laws; and (d) consideration of the discrepancies between Biblical statements about the world and the observed nature of that world. Obviously, we cannot here consider the data and arguments adduced by the atheists under each of those four headings, but the important point is that, with no exceptions worth mentioning, this first step is intellectually sound. Each writer reports the facts correctly (except insofar as they were supplemented by later discoveries) and reasons from them with strict logic to rigorously drawn conclusions. Christians, to be sure, surmount these conclusions by various acts of faith, and their faith is entitled to every respect, but although it is asking much of them—as it is asking much of any man to ask him to be objective and just to his opponent—I hope that they will be able to admire the intellectual processes by which the conclusions were obtained. They cannot deny the facts without lying; to throw themselves on the floor, kick with their heels, and scream "blasphemy!" is unworthy of adults.
(2) Religion is therefore an imposture on the ignorant perpetrated by priests for their own profit. This conclusion is drawn from (a) the long, long history of fraudulent simulation of supernatural phenomena, from the witch-doctors among the Congoids, who excite the awe of their tribesmen with some of our simpler parlor-tricks, to the elaborate machinery and drugs used in ancient Egypt, Asia Minor, and even Greece to show the ways of god to the suckers; (b) the manufacture of relics and the forgery of decretals and donations in Christianity; (c) the power-politics of the established clergy in many historical periods; and (d) the corruption and scandalous profligacy or dishonesty of many churchmen of exalted rank, including some Popes. Here, however, we have gone a little fast, haven’t we? There is no conduct attributed to the clergy, even to its worst members, that is not at least matched by conduct that is common enough among laymen, including rulers and members of a nobility or aristocracy, and while believers may be distressed that their religion does not transform men, how can atheists think it very significant that ecclesiastics are human beings? And have we not excluded some data here? Does not the record show a very large number of well educated and highly intelligent men, both churchmen and laymen, who, if not insane, must have held the faith they professed? And can we suppose that religion answers no natural need or desire in men? That it serves no purpose in civilized society? That it would never have existed, if the equivalent of our stage magicians and our confidence men had not imposed on the credulity of our ancestors?
(3) Let us, therefore, destroy religion, that monstrous engine of deception and exploitation—écrasez l’infâme!—and men, governing their conduct by clear-sighted reason alone, will enjoy the infinite progress that Science makes possible. This conclusion is based on—what? History provides no example of a people that governed itself by cold reason, and, for that matter, not many examples of leaders and governors who behaved reasonably even in terms of their own personal advantage or the advantage of their family or other small group. It provides no example of a civilized people without a prevalent religion.* If, in our society, religion is a fraud, it is only one of the hundreds of frauds currently practiced by playing on ignorance and emotions, usually with appeal to such constant human incentives as greed and malice. So what is the basis of the atheists’ third proposition? Faith. Faith in a statement that is completely unsupported by data or by logical deductions, and even contrary to the indications of all the relevant evidence that can be found.** It is a faith that can be based on no revelation other than the effervescence of an overheated imagination, and that can have been accepted for no reason other than that it promises a miracle that seems delightful.
(* I speak, of course, of nations as a whole. It is true that small and essentially aristocratic groups, delimited by birth and education, such as Victorian gentlemen, found in a code of personal honor an adequate substitute for religion, and there have been times when incredulity was normal among an upper and politically dominant group, but it may be significant that the incredulity was most open and notorious in the periods that immediately preceded a great national catastrophe. Even during those periods, however, the mass of common people remained religious. In Eighteenth Century France, 95% of the population practiced Christianity until the Revolution. In the late Roman Republic, before the great Civil Wars, the Capitoline gods suffered some neglect, but the religiosity of the populace was increasing as shown by the importation and spread of various Oriental cults, and the local deities of the countryside seem to have enjoyed about as much veneration as ever. We shall come to the situation in the United States today below.)
(** For example, Robert G. Ingersoll was a very intelligent and well-read man, but readers of his famous orations and of his collected letters (which will guarantee the candor of the speeches) can only marvel at the facility with which his evangelical eloquence disregards the French Revolution, which should have provided him with an unforgettable lesson of what Gibbon termed "the danger of exposing an old superstition to the contempt of the blind and fanatic multitude." Ingersoll must have read, in one of the three historians whom he most highly esteemed, the passage from which I have quoted, and he must have read many reports, written by non-Christians and so acceptable to him, of the orgy of sadism, savagery, and homicidal mania in France, but the lesson was evidently lost on him, perhaps because he had faith in institutions that have now disappeared in all but name from the United States—and yet he had himself fought in the fratricidal madness commonly called the Civil War, and he had himself witnessed the sadistic reprisals carried out by hate-crazed fanatics on the civilized inhabitants of the conquered and helpless Confederacy!)
What has happened to the evangelical atheists without their being aware of it is clear. When they expelled their faith in Christianity, they created within themselves a vacuum that was quickly filled by another faith. And the fervor with which they hold that faith is of religious intensity. They preach the joyful tidings that there is no God with as much ardor and sincerity as ever a Christian preached his gospel. They sacrificed themselves, and some even underwent martyrdom, for their faith. If we wanted to indulge in paradox, we could describe them as the zealots of an anti-religious religion, but it is more accurate to say that their faith in a religion, which was rational in that it expected miracles only from the supernatural power of its invisible deity, was replaced by a superstition that expects miracles from natural causes that have never produced such effects—a superstition that is totally irrational.
Societies for the promotion of atheism as such are relatively innocuous and merely exhibit on a small scale a psychological phenomenon that has catastrophic effects when it occurs on a large scale, much as sand spouts and dust devils are miniature tornadoes. When religious faith is replaced by materialistic superstition on a large scale, the consequences are enormous devastation.
The great wave of anti-Christian evangelism swept over Europe about the middle of the Eighteenth Century, and its natural results were most conspicuous in France, where decades of strenuous social reform imposed by a centralized government under a king whose mediocre mind had been thoroughly addled by "Liberal" notions, naturally triggered the outbreak of insanity and savagery known as the French Revolution. Since the shamans and fetish-men of the new superstition control our schools and universities today, the history of that event is little known to the average American, who is likely to have derived his impressions, at best, from Carlyle’s novel, The French Revolution, and, at worst, from the epopts and fakirs of Democracy. Obviously, we cannot here insert an excursus of a thousand pages or so on what happened at France at that time, nor need we. The efforts at social uplift through economic and political reforms during the reign of Louis XVI are well summarized by Alexis de Tocqueville in The Old Régime and the French Revolution.* The best short account in English of the underlying forces of the disaster is the late Nesta Webster’s The French Revolution, supplemented by the two volumes of her biography of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI and the pertinent chapters of her World Revolution.**
(* The reader should remember that de Tocqueville wrote at a time (1856) when the recrudescence of religion that followed the French Revolution permitted him the illusion that Christianity had been "definitely reëstablished" and that the climate of his time was "highly favorable to Christianity.")
(** Mrs. Webster wrote as a Christian and so, although she was a woman of great learning and penetrating mind, her interpretations of the facts that she correctly reports are colored by (a) failure sufficiently to allow for the fact that while the publication of the great French Encyclopédie was undoubtedly subversive of both church and state, it was nevertheless an accurate report of the science, technology, and historical knowledge of the time, so that if we deplore the publication of encyclopaedias, we must logically demand that accumulated knowledge be made accessible only to a restricted and small élite; and (b) the Christian conception of a universal conflict between God and Satan, whence it follows that whatever is anti-Christian is morally evil and wicked. Many of the early colonists in North America, especially the English, accordingly thought that the Indians must have been incited by the Devil not to surrender their hunting grounds to the Christians, and today many think that Jews are Satanic and wicked because they act in conformity with the interests, instincts, and beliefs of their race. Non-Christian readers should make allowance for this tendency without illogically rejecting Mrs. Webster’s report of the facts.)
We need not here concern ourselves with the sinister and mephitic conspiracies that clandestinely incited and contrived so much of the disaster, for our interest is not in the manipulators but in the men of our race who were manipulated. Our problem is not what was done to them, but why they let it be done. Adam Weishaupt, the founder and titular head of the homicidal conspiracy of the Illuminati,* was undoubtedly a cunning creature, who was able to enlist some of the kings and princes of Europe in a conspiracy to abolish monarchy, to enlist Christian clergymen in a conspiracy to destroy Christianity, and to enlist tender-hearted sentimentalists in a conspiracy to murder thousands of cultivated men and women, but however subtle his methods of deceit, his success argues some fundamental weakness, mental or moral, in his victims.
(* We must, of course, be careful to avoid exalting Weishaupt to the rank of Satan by making him and his scabrous crew responsible for the whole of the catastrophe to which they (and many others) undoubtedly contributed. In my Conspiracy or Degeneracy?, note 19, I commented sufficiently on the notion, popular in some circles, that the Illuminati were and now are an incredibly powerful gang of Master Minds who have conspired and labored for hundreds or thousands of years, and have caused all the woes of the world for some purpose of their own. The underlying premise, sometimes explicitly but often left latent these days, is that the terrible but unidentified Illuminati are engaged in a Conspiracy Against Christianity, presumably with the active coöperation of the Devil. If those diabolic conspirators had not done their dirty work, there would now be no nasty skeptics and awful atheists, and everyone in the whole world—well, everyone in the United States, at least, would believe every word in the Bible and conduct himself accordingly. Now, as I have indicated above, if you accept that idea, you must accept its necessary corollary, that most of the physical world about us is an illusion that we mistake for reality—an illusion somehow contrived by the Illuminati or their immortal Superintendent. And if you believe that, the best thing to do is to retire, as did the well-known group of Byzantine monks, and contemplate your navel (assuming that it is not also an illusion).)
No historical period is more instructive than the half-century in France during which the yet numerous members of the hereditary aristocracy and the more numerous nouveaux-riches with their purchased titles worked so assiduously to produce the cataclysm in which they perished. They spoke proudly of their time as the Enlightenment, the Siècle des Lumières, the Age of Reason. Most of them saw the light at last when they faced a new humanitarian machine for amputating their heads; and many did not live until 10 November 1793, when they could have seen Reason finally enthroned and incarnate in the person of a nude whore seated on the high altar of Notre Dame. The results proved that, taken as a whole, the French aristocracy, which included much of the best (and some of the worst) blood in the nation, was the most spectacular collection of boobs seen anywhere before Twentieth-Century America.
The Eighteenth Century saw great and solid achievements in all the basic sciences, in industrial technology, and in historical scholarship. It is indubitable that almost all of those brilliant achievements in science and scholarship directly or indirectly impugned the tenets of Christianity. Although comparatively few men had a thorough understanding of those discoveries, a superficial knowledge of their implications was communicated, usually by witty popularizers, to the entire educated class. That sufficed to destroy their religious faith, which was accordingly replaced by the weird superstitions of the self-styled philosophes. That gabbling crew could no longer believe in God, but they could believe in World Peace, which was to be magically produced by either the Abbé de Saint-Pierre’s project for a "United Nations" or by tobacco, which, if smoked by everyone, would infallibly so soothe men’s nerves that they would no longer lose their tempers and want to fight. They could not believe in Christ, but they could believe that an oleaginous Jew who impudently called himself the Comte de Saint-Germain had witnessed the Crucifixion and had remained in good health ever since by abstaining from all food and extracting his nourishment directly from the air—and they thought it the most natural thing in the world that such a long-lived genius should be installed in the royal palace as a personal adviser to the king. They could not believe in the immortality of the soul, but they could believe that a sleazy Jew named Balsamo, alias Mr. Bacthymore, alias Comte Pellegrini, alias Comte de Cagliostro, etc., could conjure up the dead, foresee each person’s future, make diamonds grow bigger, and distill an elixir that would rejuvenate old men and convert young men into infants.*
(* In this connection, we should perhaps mention the Cardinal de Rohan, a model ecclesiastic who was so intellectual that he discovered how profitable it was to collaborate with the Cerf-Beers and other Jewish banking houses. He knew, of course, that Christianity was a "silly superstition," but after he saw the "Comte de Cagliostro" manufacture a potful of gold out of dross, he logically concluded that the conjurer was Divine and perhaps an incarnation of God, and must therefore have the power to help the Cardinal seduce Marie Antoinette and cuckold the King.)
If there is any one individual who can be regarded as a perfect representative and, as it were, archetypal symbol of the Enlightenment, it is the famous Marquise d’Urfé. She was a high-born, wealthy, and intelligent woman who evidently had a serious interest in chemistry and is credited with the invention of a self-regulating laboratory furnace for use in her experiments. She also believed that it would be much nicer to be a young man than an old woman, and accordingly she took steps to have herself transformed. She took one important step on the advice of Querilinthos, a Genius then residing in the Milky Way, and at the exactly calculated astrological moment she, after a solemn prayer to Selenis, the Spirit of the Moon, cast into the Mediterranean a casket which she had filled with fifty pounds of gold, silver, mercury, and other metals, and diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, chrysolites, topazes, and opals. (Casanova, of course, had thoughtfully substituted fifty pounds of lead before the lady cast into the waves her offering to the Seven Planets.) This devotion so moved Selenis that she sent from the Moon an immortal Undine (one of Casanova’s mistresses in green tights) to give the Marquise a ceremonial bath. The Marquise d’Urfé, I need not say, was a true intellectual, who had emancipated herself from vulgar prejudices.
It is not astonishing that a society of such intellectuals took seriously a crack-brained vagabond who was given to snivelling ecstatically as he meditated on the Virtue that filled his Pure Heart, and to denouncing the corruption of the Christian Churches that maintained the orphan asylums at which his bastards were surreptitiously abandoned. Rousseau, unfortunately for us, had the ability to write an emotional prose that gave spice to his balderdash, and he seems on occasion to have been capable of a forced lucidity (as in his Considérations sur le gouvernement de Pologne), but he himself summed up his whole career when, in a moment of candor, he told Boswell, "I live in a world of fantasies, and I cannot tolerate the world as it is."*
(* Not by any means his only confession; cf. his letter to Malesherbes, 4 January 1762: "Je trouve mieux mon compte avec les êtres chimériques que je rassemble autour de moi qu’avec ceux que je vois dans le monde." One could collect at least a dozen more or less candid admissions that he could not bear to think about the real world.)
We should not damn Rousseau for his influence. The real gravamen of guilt falls on the educated, skeptical, intellectual society that did not laugh at his fantasies about the innate Virtue of hearts uncorrupted by civilization, the Noble Savage, the Equality of all human beings, who can become unequal only through the wickedness of civilized society, the sinfulness of owning property of any kind, and the rest of the tommyrot that you will find in the thousands of printed pages of Rousseau’s whining and ranting. You can read all of it—if you grit your teeth and resolve to go through with it—and you really should, for otherwise you will not believe that books so widely read and rhapsodically admired can be so supremely silly and so excruciatingly tedious.
What Rousseau’s fantasies produced is an amazing superstition. It is not exactly an atheism, for a vague god was needed to create perfectly noble savages to be corrupted by civilization, and to inspire perfectly pure hearts, like Rousseau’s, that overflow with Virtue and drip tears wherever they go; but for all practical purposes, Rousseau’s creed substituted "democracy" for God, and put civilized society in place of the Devil. It replaced faith in the unseen and empirically unverifiable with faith in the visibly and demonstrably false.
We cannot afford to smile at poor Mme. d’Urfé. Her instructions came from Querilinthos, but that great Spirit had been conveyed to the Milky Way by seven salamanders, so naturally she could not expect him to come in person for her to see. You may think that if the noble lady had been really shrewd at the time that the immortal and voiceless Undine was giving her a lustral scrub, she would have jabbed that Moon-maid with a pin, but, after all, a woman who has just thrown a fortune in gold and jewels into the sea is apt to be a little excited, and something must be allowed for the impatience of an old woman eager to become a young man. No such apology can be made for the mighty minds that were stunned by Rousseau’s drivel. They could have tested the proposition about natural Equality by just walking down the street with their eyes open, looking inside the nearest prison, or paying a little attention to the conduct of any one of the score of really noteworthy degenerates of very high rank.* They must have met every day military men and others who had observed savages in their native habitat and could comment on the innate nobility of the dear creatures. And some conversation with a few footpads and cutpurses would have elucidated the problem whether or not Society was responsible for their having been born without a conscience, wings, and other desirable appurtenances. In fact, no rational person could have escaped a daily demonstration that Rousseau’s babble was utter nonsense—except, perhaps, by confining himself in a windowless and soundproof room. But the philosophes were able to attain in their own capacious minds a far more total isolation from reality.
(* Including, by the way, the great Apostle of Democracy to whom we owe both the word Sadism and the nonsensical dictum that "All men are created equal" ("La Nature nous a fait naître tous égaux"). This favorite dictum of the Marquis de Sade is elaborated early in the first volume of his Justine, where he expounds the doctrine, now tacitly or explicitly espoused by our "Liberals," that the most revolting crimes are always justified as a form of social protest and receive the special approbation of Providence, since it is only through every form of criminal action that we can restore the blessed state of perfect equality intended by our Creator ("l’état où elle [la Providence] nous a créés est l’Égalité"). De Sade was twice condemned to death for revolting crimes of which it had been possible to convict him in the courts, but under the decadent government of Louis XVI, as in the United States today, political influences were always available to save the utterly depraved from execution, and De Sade was held in a comfortable prison until he was released by the French Revolution. He became one of the most fervent orators for Social Justice and Brotherhood, and continued to exercise his phenomenal ingenuity for torturing and mutilating the men and women whom he kidnapped for his private amusement, throughout the Revolution. The degenerate creature was clapped into an insane asylum as soon as Napoleon came to power.)
How was this possible? There are two obvious factors.
Of the first of these, let us take one of the innumerable examples that have no political or religious implications.
Many of the novels of Dickens were published serially in periodicals, and naturally each installment was published in England before it appeared in the United States. In 1840, ships arriving from Britain found awaiting them on the dock little knots of well-dressed men and women who, as soon as the vessel came within hailing distance, inquired with tearful anxiety, "Is Little Nell dead?" Now those who asked that question with bated breath were literate and presumably educated persons of what is called the leisure class. They were neither drunk nor insane, so they must have know that Little Nell was a purely fictitious product of Dickens’ imagination and that she appeared in a tale set quite some time before the present. If they had any acquaintance with human life, they must have further known that the fictitious Little Nell was a paragon that resembled no child ever born of woman. A minimal amount of reflection would have assured them that Dickens was contriving with conscious art a tear-jerking story of which the peripeties and denouement would be determined by his judgement of what would most excite the sentimentality of his readers within the limits of length that he thought most advantageous for his magazine.
The inquirers were not idiots; they knew all that. But the imaginations that Dickens had stimulated were so vivid and powerful, and were reënforced by sentiments of generosity and pity so strong, that the rational mind was, so to speak, put on a chain, like an inconvenient watchdog, and a part of the consciousness luxuriated in the illusion that Little Nell was a real being and in anxiety over her fate.
The hypostatization of Little Nell was merely an extension or, rather, perversion of a psychological process common to our race and that we all experience whenever we read a work of imaginative literature, in prose or verse. When we take up a work of poetry or prose fiction, we begin with what literary critics commonly call the poetic suspension of doubt. We resolve that during our reading we will believe that whatever the author tells us actually happened, and that we will vicariously be present when it happens and will experience the emotions that we would experience if we were physically present. That is the literary experience of great literature—and, indeed, our experience when we read any fiction that is sufficiently well written to keep us from throwing the book in the fireplace. When we read tales of the marvellous and praeternatural, we make a temporary act of faith and accept the world that the author has created. Only the poor in spirit will refuse to believe in hippogriffs when they read the Orlando furioso or doubt Prospero’s power when they read The Tempest. We make what is essentially the same act of faith when we read fiction written in more realistic terms. It is a faith of strictly limited duration, and, unless our minds have slipped a cog or two, when we put down Hardy’s greatest novel we no more suppose that we have read the biography of a man named Jude the Obscure than we expect to find hippogriffs mingling with the traffic on the street outside after we have read Ariosto.
Literature provides us with emotional and spiritual experience of which we have a racial need, for we Indo-Europeans inherit genetically vivid imaginations that are apt to get out of control if we try to repress or ignore them instead of exercising them rationally and thus satisfying our inner yearning for worlds brighter, more beautiful, and more dramatic than the one in which we live. Our first great literature was the poems of Homer, both the Iliad, with its eternal figuration of the unalterably tragic fate that only men of the West are strong enough to meet knowingly, and the Odyssey, with its magic casements opening on the foam of perilous seas. And that literature we shall need so long as we endure as a race. The power of our imagination, while not, perhaps, unique, as is the capacity for philosophic reasoning that enables us to know and partly master the physical world, is a part of our racial being, and we can deny it only at our own peril.
The danger comes, of course, when imagined scenes are so vivid that we ignorantly mistake them for reality. That is what makes "historical" and "thesis" novels as dangerous as nitroglycerine and to be handled with the same caution. Many a person who has not read in the historical sources has been left with the impression that Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities describes the French Revolution. Many readers of Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans have thought that they had learned something about Indian tribes that had actually lived in North America. And, incredible as it seems, the sentimental drivel exuded by the infected imagination of Harriet Beecher Stowe so inflamed weak minds that it became one of the causes of national insanity and a fratricidal war that permanently impoverished our nation and may yet prove to have been suicidal.
On a vulgar and prosaic level, we see constantly cases of imaginative intoxication that match anything produced by alcohol. The good ladies of the local church’s sewing circle read the prose of some missionary or journalist, and lo! each sees in her imagination sweet little black boys and girls just like her Johnny and her Mary, only a little nicer, and her heart yearns to equip them with trousers and dresses and a copy of the New Testament, and to supply them with ice-cream cones. And so she plies her needle for their sake and puts her mite in the collection box, blissfully unaware that the darling objects of her concern are no more real than Lewis Carroll’s Sylvie and Bruno. It is also a commonplace phenomenon that whenever some particularly vicious young brute has rearranged his wife’s anatomy with an axe, a certain number of females will generate pictures of a dear misunderstood boy and write him offers of marriage, and a much larger number of females, seeing the same vision but less impulsive in their behavior, will hope that, at the very worst, the parole board will turn the lad loose in a year or two so that he can resume his amateur surgery. The phenomenon is not by any means confined to the more lachrymose sex, and we see instances of it every day. We enact laws to discourage people who see pink elephants on the wall from driving automobiles, but we do nothing about the far graver problem of preventing people who see World Peace around the corner from voting.
Our hyperactive imaginations usually act in concert with the generous impulses that are peculiar to our race—so peculiar that no other race can understand them except as a kind of fatuity from which they, thank God! are exempt. Long before we began to indulge in international idiocy on a governmental scale, it was virtually routine for Americans to hear that the Chinese in some province were starving, and within a few weeks numerous individuals, many of them comparatively poor, made private contributions, and food was bought and shipped to the starving (if the collections were honestly made). Now I do not deprecate that exercise of charity, which is a virtue that we instinctively admire, but we should understand that although the Chinese gladly ate the food and politely said "thank you," they privately concluded that we must be weak in the head. They would never have done anything of that sort, not even for men of their own race in a neighboring province. The White Devils, they decided, must have maggots in their minds. Sympathetic generosity, however, is a virtue or vice of our race, and we shall have to live with it.
What happened in the Eighteenth Century was that Rousseau’s fantasies so excited imaginations and generous impulses that the reasoning mind lost control. The nobility’s collective heart bled for Little Nell.
There is, however, a second factor more important for our purposes here. You will find a clear illustration in our recent history, during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, who appears to have been a not uncommon combination of mental auto-intoxication with corrupt ambition, and who was appointed President after the resident General Manager, Barney Baruch, and his crew had (as one of them boasted to Colonel Dall) led him around "like a poodle on a string," taught him to sit up and bark for bonbons, and made sure that he was well trained. As we all know, Baruch eventually decided that it would be good for the Jewish people to prolong the war in Europe, so that more Indo-Europeans would be killed and more of their countries devastated, and that the time had come to repay Germany and Austria for their generosity toward the Jews, who had been given in those countries more of economic, social, and political dominance than in any other European nation. It followed therefore that the thing to do was to stampede an American herd into European territory.
Our concern here is with the herd: what set it in motion? We all know how credulous individuals, many of whom had visited Germany and knew better, were impelled to imagine pictures of the evil War Lord, Kaiser Wilhelm II, and the terrible Huns—pictures that were as vivid and convincing as the vision of the monster Grendel that we see every time we read Beowulf. And, of course, there was much rant about supposed violations of a code of chivalry that no one even remembered a few years later. A college professor with some reputation as an historian was hired, doubtless for a small fee, to prove that wars are caused by monarchies, although he somehow forgot to mention the terribly bloody war that had taken place on our soil some fifty years before and which had obviously been caused by the dynastic ambitions of King Lincoln and King Davis. And, naturally, the press was filled with many other ravings. So pretty soon the Americans found themselves engaged in a "war to end wars" and a "war to make the world safe for democracy." It would probably have been a little more expensive—good propaganda costs money—to make them fight a "war to end selfishness" and a "war to make the world safe for goblins," but it doubtless could have been done. Green snakes are not much harder to see on the wall than pink elephants.
We must not tarry to discuss either the methods of the conspirators who so easily manipulated the American people or the folly of those who were manipulated. Let us consider our enthusiastic rush on Europe as an historical movement.
If, taking the larger view, you ask yourself what that movement most resembled, you will see the answer at once. It was a crusade—or, to be more exact, an obscene parody of a crusade. It was a mass movement inspired by a fervor of religious intensity.
The Crusades, which mark the high tide of Christianity, were (given our faith) entirely rational undertakings.* It was obviously desirable that Christendom own the territory that was a Holy Land, where its God had appeared on earth and whither many pilgrims journeyed for the welfare of their souls. The Crusades were, furthermore, the first real effort of European unity since the fall of the Roman Empire, and they were also a realistic missionary effort. It was impossible to convert Orientals to Christianity, but it was possible to make Orientals submit to Christian rulers. The Crusaders established the Kingdoms of Cyprus and Jerusalem and the Principalities of Edessa, Tripoli, and Antioch—and eventually they found it necessary to capture Constantinople. But they could not take Bagdad and their high emprise ultimately failed for reasons which need not concern us here. The Crusades were, as we have said, the high tide of Christianity.
(* Except, of course, the so-called Children’s Crusade, which is significant only as evidence that even at that early date some members of our race had a pathological propensity to have hallucinatory imaginations.)
Wilson’s fake crusades against Europe evoked from the American people the energies and spirit that the real Crusades had aroused in Europe, and while we must deplore their delusions, we must admire the unanimity and devotion with which the Americans attacked and fought the Europeans.* The crusade was irrational, however, because it was prompted, not by religion, but by the debased and debasing superstitions represented by Rousseau.
(* Of course, we did not actually fight Great Britain, France, and Russia, our ostensible allies; they were defeated in other ways.)
From about the middle of the Eighteenth Century to the present we have witnessed the spread and propagation throughout the West of a superstition that is as un-Christian as it is irrational, as obviously contrary to the Scriptures and tradition of Christianity as it is a blanket denial of the reality that all men see and experience every day—a superstition by which faith in an unseen God is replaced by hallucinations about the world in which we live. After that grotesque superstition inspired the most civilized and intelligent part of France to commit suicide, and loosed the frenzied orgy of depravity, crime, and murder called the French Revolution, its influence was contracted by a resurgence of both Christian faith and human reason, but recovering its malefic power over the imagination and sentimentality of our people, it grew again and as a succedaneous religion it gradually supplanted Christianity in the consciousness of both unintelligent non-Christians and infidel Christians, paralyzing both reason and faith.
This grotesque caricature of religion is now the dominant cult in the United States: its marabouts yell from almost all the pulpits; its fetish-men brandish their obscene idols before all the children in the schools; its witch-doctors prance triumphantly through all the colleges and universities. And virtually everyone stands in fearful awe of the fanatical practitioners of mumbo-jumbo. Both the God of Christendom and the reasoning mind of our race have been virtually obliterated by the peculiar system of voodoo called "Liberalism."
It is obvious that this mass delusion is leading, and can lead, to but one end. James Burnham named it correctly in his generally excellent book, Suicide of the West.
It can be argued—and argued very plausibly—that a race that could long accept the "Liberal" voodoo-cult as a substitute for both its religion and its powers of observation and reason—a race capable of such mindless orgies as a "war to end wars"—a race that has for decades worked to commit suicide—is a race that has become too imbecile to be biologically viable. It is entirely possible that our unique capacity for science and technology will, after all, be no more effective in the struggle for life than was the vast bulk and musculature of the dinosaurs. It may be that any attempt to reason with a people seemingly in the grip of suicidal mania is itself the greatest folly, and that the vainest of all illusions is the hope that anything can save men who evidently no longer want to live.
If we permit ourselves as Christians any hope this side of Heaven, and if we permit ourselves as atheists any hope at all, we must base that expectation on the hypothesis that the collapse of Christendom, the loss of faith in the religion of the West, was a traumatic shock to our racial psyche that stunned but did not kill. If that is so, then there is hope not only that we may revive from the shock and survive, but also that the unique powers of our unique race may again be exerted to give us a future that will be brilliant, glorious, and triumphant beyond all imagining. If that is so. . . .
The question is one that only the future can answer. But a significant indication will be given by the attitude and action of the Christian minority that has thus far been the only defender of our race, the only champion of our embezzled heritage. Will they be willing to face, as did their ancestors in the great Crusade, the fact that wars are won only by mobilizing and directing superior force against the enemy; that pious sermons, Scriptural citations and benevolent intentions never turned a single spear or blunted a single blade; and that if Christians had put their trust in miracles, they would long since have disappeared from the face of the earth? Christendom survived at Chalôns, and at Tours, and at Vienna, and in many another crisis, not by book, bell, and candle, but by grace of the shining sword in a mailed fist directed by a dauntless heart.
The foregoing pages were written in March and April, 1969, as a sequel to my article, "After Fifty Years," and were to be published first as a series of articles and then as a booklet on behalf of the newly formed National Youth Alliance. The first chapter appeared in the Summer (1969) issue of the American Mercury, but the rest of the work was withdrawn as soon as I had reason to apprehend that the Youth Alliance, contrary to the assurances given its sponsors (Professor Austin J. App, Mr. Richard Cotten, Admiral John G. Crommelin, General Pedro del Valle, the Reverend Mr. Ferrell Griswold, and myself), would be turned into one of the sucker-list operations that now constitute the principal business of the American "right-wing."*
(* My apprehensions were soon verified and the original Alliance came to an end. What I have said above implies no criticism of the legitimate successor organisation, the National Youth Alliance headed by Dr. William Pierce, which has my best wishes, although I have no connection with it.)
I was unwilling to have the booklet published under other auspices because conversations with some very influential Christians showed me the futility of trying to talk sense to them. Their plan for salvaging the nation consisted of cursing the Jews and repudiating reason by reciting the mantram, "A little child shall lead them." They could not remember that precisely that phrase had been the inspiration of the Children’s Crusade, which succeeded only in filling the slave-markets of the Near East with a choice breed of biped cattle.
I also observed that, on the whole, American "conservatives" and "anti-Communists" seem to be either unwilling or unable to learn anything from the total and unmitigated failure of all their efforts for the past fifty years. They have dwindled to a little band of aged and aging men and women who now can talk only to themselves, repeating ever more shrilly their futile anachronisms, closing their eyes more tightly to avoid seeing the world of today, and retreating ever farther into a realm of fantasy filled with good fairies and wicked witches who can be summoned or exorcised with magic words. And they have, inadvertently and unwittingly, made patriotic organizations almost a monopoly of confidence men who cynically sell them fallacious hopes and comforting fictions.
Many well-meaning, estimable, and voluntarily blind Americans seem to derive satisfaction from writing cheques whenever a sucker-list operator has his computer write them an "urgent" letter promising the impossible; from imagining that they can hire a lobbyist so glib that he can talk 370 congressmen into committing political suicide; from going to cozy little chapter-meetings to hear the latest version of Little Red Riding-Hood and the Bad Old Wolf, composed by an expert with just the right sequence of phrases to excite their imaginations, flatter their egos, soothe their nerves, and stimulate their hands as they reach once again for the well-worn billfolds. No one would question their right to purchase consoling illusions, any more than he would question their right to put their money on the horses at Saratoga or to make the rounds of the clip-joints on Montmatre, but their very eagerness for such distractions seemed evidence of an invincible determination never to find out that the United States passed the point of no return in 1964.
As Professor Andrew Hacker cheerfully assures us in The End of the American Era (1970), the United States has ceased to be a nation: "What was once a nation has become simply an agglomeration of self-concerned individuals." Despite the assumptions made by jabbering politicians and journalists, the United States has become a territory filled with bewildered individuals who have in common only a geographical area inhabited by incompatible races. Our "history as a nation has reached its end" because "the American people have never developed a feeling for history." We have been so crazed by the debasing superstitions of "democracy" and "humanitarianism," our minds have been so thoroughly sabotaged by the witch-doctors in the public schools, and our society has been so rotted by feckless sentimentality that we have reached "a juncture at which it becomes pointless to call for rehabilitation or renewal." Professor Hacker optimistically thinks it likely that our amorphous horde can continue to exist for some time in ever increasing discomfort, disorder, degradation, and danger—provided no healthy nation desires our territory and sees the advantages of using its present population to fertilize the depleted soil.
Although our people will not believe it so long as the routine of their personal lives is not suddenly and violently disturbed, we have ceased to be a nation because Americans no longer have the will to be one. That is the conclusion reached by Professor Hacker, a diligent observer who cannot be suspected of having the slightest taint of "conservatism" (to say nothing of horrid "racism"!), and whose sympathies, evidently, lie with the very forces that he identifies as the cause of our national decease.
The last years of the late Whittaker Chambers were overshadowed by a bleak pessimism of which some adumbrations appear in the pages of his Witness and the posthumous book, Cold Friday (1964). He was convinced that the American people are actuated by a subconscious, but ineradicable and irresistible, death-wish—a subliminal longing for extinction that makes them turn in fury on anyone who tries to make possible their survival. Before his death in 1962 so drastic a conclusion, extending the effects of morbid psychological states and degenerative diseases to an entire population or even an entire race, seemed highly improbable and could be dismissed as a reflection of the bitterness of his own experience. But another decade has produced no evidence that Chambers was not right. We usually tell ourselves that our domestic enemies have stealthily captured all of our means of information and communication, and now administer through the schools, the liepapers, and the boob-tubes a corrosive brainwashing that accounts for the ovine apathy of our people as they are herded toward national suicide, but it seems a little odd that our people should have been so obtuse as to permit that capture, and we cannot categorically deny that what we optimistically attribute to systematic brainwashing may have a deeper and hidden cause.
Our race is a biological species and it would be the wildest megalomania to pretend that we are exempt from any of the laws of nature, including those that we cannot yet precisely define. Innumerable other species, less loquacious than ours, have become extinct because they did not have the intelligence to cope with relatively slight changes in their environment. The dinosaurs, the pterodactyls, the mammoths, the Neanderthals, and the moas cannot have had the capacity for ratiocination on which we pride ourselves, but it is not impossible that when their environment no longer matched the conditions in which the species had become dominant, the resulting frustration of some inherited instinct produced in the individuals of the doomed species behavior that resembled a subconscious awareness that they were biologically obsolete. In some species that are now becoming extinct, notably the mountain gorilla, we can observe a depletion of the vital energies and a resulting apathy that can be described as loss of the will to live.
A gorilla cannot reason. As he shambles toward a new growth of esculent young bamboo, his dim consciousness doubtless is filled by satisfaction with himself and feels no concern for the future; when he slinks away from some challenge that would have roused his ancestors to combat, he does not need to cover his cowardice with a pretense that he has become morally superior and a peace-lover. He cannot know that his contented apathy manifests a genetic deterioration that dooms his species to proximate extinction.
Our race is a biological species, and our peculiar intelligence, like the gorilla’s mighty shoulders, once gave us dominance over other species. But what we must now objectively observe in our behavior is not really the gorilla’s apathy. It is something much worse: a perverse and idiotic delight in whatever weakens us and strengthens our enemies. This morbid racial masochism is now most conspicuous in the United States and Britain, where we are not only doing everything in our power to subsidize and accelerate the breeding of voracious parasites to impoverish, degrade, and destroy us, but are also applying the most effective biological techniques to breed ourselves into imbecility and eventual extinction.
Six years ago in my Conspiracy or Degeneracy? I asked the one crucial question: Have we, the men of the West, lost the will to live?
Nothing, certainly, has happened since then to suggest a negative answer. To be sure, after some sensationally flagitious outrage to our race, a considerable number of men, invariably the least "educated," mutter angrily among themselves; and in a city of almost two million some fifty men and women may boldly assemble to voice their protest, thus embarrassing the vast majority of Aryans, who hasten to assure the world that their heads are so stuffed with mush that they love their Enemies and hope for nothing better than the privilege of being spat-on and kicked some more. And if the outrage is widely reported, the computers will whirr more loudly as they churn out appeals to patriotic suckers, and the travelling salesmen will drive harder as they rush from chapter-meeting to chapter-meeting to meet a temporarily increased demand for patriotic paregoric to soothe nervous stomachs. Nowhere can one discern the slightest indication that in the great majority of our people the racial instinct of self-preservation has not been lost.
The question remains unanswered, however, for we cannot yet determine whether the instinct has been extinguished or is merely in abeyance while our people are in a kind of cataleptic trance from which they may be roused by physical suffering and acute privation when the times comes, as it assuredly will in a few years. In the meantime the question remains open, although our fragmentary data point to an affirmative answer—to the loss of the will to live. The laws of biological processes, like the law of gravitation, are constant and unalterable; they cannot be evaded by magic or oratory or whimpering; and it would be supremely silly to expostulate with a people that is not biologically fit to survive.
All these considerations confirmed my decision to withhold these pages from the press.
This booklet is now published at the instance of Mr. Richard Cotten, who refuses to despair of the future, and who has himself set an example of perseverance in the face of great odds.
There are a few encouraging indications. The greatest of these is the publication and increasingly wide distribution of a very important volume, entitled The Dispossessed Majority by Wilmot Robertson. This is the first attempt to survey the present plight of the American people coolly and objectively in terms of fact and logic, without mysticism or sentimentality, transcending the self-imposed and self-defeating limitations of the "anti-Communists" who have failed totally and continuously for fifty years. It is addressed to the large number of highly intelligent and scientifically trained men who find it impossible to believe in Christianity, and who should find it impossible to tolerate the preposterous and fetid superstitions of our "Liberal" witch-doctors and fetish-men—superstitions, by the way, that "anti-Communist" buncombe-artists have always been careful not to offend.
The author, who is a man of keen and discerning intellect, and who has devoted ten years of his life to his task, believes that it is yet possible to salvage much from the ruins of our nation. In a man of his intelligence, such optimism is in itself grounds for some hope.
There are some corroborative indications. I am reliably informed that a number of "Liberal intellectuals," who seemed to be devotees of their orgiastic cult, have read Robert Ardrey’s new book, The Social Contract, and, instead of howling execrations and trying to scalp the author, as is the custom of "Liberals" when confronted with inconvenient facts, they not only understood it but have begun to talk rationally about the structure of human society. That could be the beginning of a true enlightenment.
There are signs that many thoughtful men are becoming skeptical or disillusioned, and question, at least in their own minds, the prevalent superstitions. I cannot believe that so staunch a "Liberal" as Professor Hacker, whose book I mentioned above, is really pleased with the results that he observed and felt obliged to report. Recently Professor William Shockley of Stanford and Professor Arthur Jensen of California dared to suggest openly that the scientific method and the known laws of biology were applicable to blacks; of course, mobs of Professors of Voodoo and Doctors of Obeah rushed out of their lairs, screaming, spitting, and wildly flourishing their fetishes. The obscene exhibition, however, and the bold claim that it is the function of universities to paralyze the American mind with lies, disquieted many men who, preoccupied with other studies, had not taken time to think about egalitarian idolatry.
This one exposure of "Liberal" charlatanry, obscurantism, and fanaticism may have done more good than all the preaching of "anti-Communist" evangelists for half a century.
There are also some encouraging signs of a disposition in some "conservative" circles to discuss questions normally charged with emotion by dispassionately considering the evidence. In my Conspiracy or Degeneracy?, note 45a, I mentioned the existence of data that may indicate that our race is mentally inferior to the Jews, and I intimated that it would be futile to haul in Satan to explain away evidence of crucial importance that needed to be examined with all of our race’s capacity for objective thought. It is gratifying, therefore, that the problem has been considered coolly in the light of social structure and biological forces by Mr. Ivor Benson in a short but very valuable article that has been reprinted in this country in Conservative Viewpoint (July, 1972) and in the British periodical, Spearhead (July, 1972). The reader may also profit from this reminder that the dereliction and "alienation" that is destroying a large part of our genetically sound youth is mainly caused by ignorant or cunning frustration of basic human instincts of which the biological origin was clearly explained in Robert Ardrey’s The Territorial Imperative (1966) as well as in his latest book. Benson’s monthly bulletin, Behind the News, is peppered with Scriptural quotations and evidently addressed primarily to a Christian audience. That makes the article particularly encouraging.
These and some other indications that I need not enumerate may warrant some hope, but we must understand that it is hope of surviving the calamities that we in our folly have brought upon ourselves. There can be no hope of escaping them by floating back to 1928 on the magic carpet that the travelling salesmen of pseudo-patriotic businesses promise their customers. What is gone cannot be restored by telling how nice it was; what is dead cannot be resurrected by necromancy, no matter how eloquent the incantation.
It is true that the part of our population that pays taxes still works, receives bogus money that it can still spend, can still amuse itself in its hours of leisure, and, with the exception of individuals who have been robbed, raped, or crippled, can still pretend that everything is nearly normal and will stay that way forever. But no one who gives a moment’s thought to the news that cannot be kept out of the daily papers can fail to see the extent of our social disintegration and decay, or to guess how deep the rot goes.
The limits of what can now be accomplished by "political action" were clearly demonstrated a few days ago, when many American watched, in addition to football and with almost as much interest, the staged game that was played to make it seem that "the people" were selecting an office boy to run errands in the White House for Commissar Kissinger or whomever our masters may appoint to succeed Kissinger as Chief Executive. The "conservative principles" of the "American businessman" are now exhibited by his joyous expectation that he can make a few bucks out of trading with our enemies in Russia and China at the expense of the taxpaying serfs in the United States. The economic status of our ruined nation is apparent to professional economists, who now speculate only about the date at which the counterfeit dollars printed by the Federal Reserve will be declared worthless and replaced by new counterfeits. And the goals of "education" are made more obvious by the "university" in California that has proudly established a special "curriculum" for homosexuals.
If you listen perceptively to the young who have not yet been permanently deranged by drugs and depravity, you will see that their febrile emotionalism, their promiscuity, their ostentatious clamor or indifference, their mercurial inconstancy, all mask an underlying and subconscious despair that is terribly significant. And now everyone knows that the peace-lubbers’ efforts to sabotage our army and navy and to reduce us to military impotence have been successful, and that even if we had the will, we should not have the capacity to defend this country against the Soviet Union, should its masters order an attack on us.
Our situation is desperate, and we can afford no illusions, no retreat into a land of dreams. Now, more than ever, optimism is cowardice.
We are born into this time, and there is no escape from it save in death. If the courage of our ancestors was not entombed with them, if their ability to meet desperate perils with clear-sighted resolution was transmitted to their heirs, if their will to live is not extinct in us, our race and our civilization may yet survive.
If, as I am told, this little booklet can make even the slightest contribution to our survival, its publication is justified.
I have consented to the publication in the hope that it may clarify for some readers the function of Christianity in our history, and also that it may persuade some of the remaining Christians that, however strong and assured their personal faith may be, and however perfect the peace and beatitude they will enjoy in Heaven, they are now living in a world that is governed by impersonal and immutable laws of nature from which there can be no derogation and no appeal, and of which it is childish to complain. If they wish to provide, if possible, a place on this planet for their progeny, their only hope must be based on our science and technology and on our race’s capacity for objective thought, which our shamans and howling dervishes have been intensively sabotaging for decades under the guise of "education" and "social science," and which will shortly be attacked by a carefully planned epidemic of occult hocus-pocus and orgiastic irrationality, designed to destroy forever what is left of our sanity.
The behavior of the Christian remnant at this juncture and the extent of its ability to subordinate religious emotions to the grim task of racial survival will be a datum to be considered if you try to guess whether the future holds for us more than a day on which the crucial question will have been definitively answered—when the Americans will have been the only people in history compulsively and yet knowingly to commit suicide, and when all that is left of them will lie forgotten in dishonored tombs.
20 November 1972