[Ed. Note: Quas Lacrimas has posted an excellent essay about tribalism as well which dovetails quite nicely with this post. Please take a moment to read it!]
In this post, I’d like to address the phenomenon of tribalism. There can be two general definitions of this term. The first is attitudinal – it refers to the possession by a group of people of a strong ethnic and cultural identity, one which pervades every level and facet of their society, and which serves to separate (often in a hostile sense) the group’s understanding of itself apart from its neighbours. The second definition is more technical and anthropological, referring to a group of people organised along kinship lines and possessing what would generally be referred to as a “primitive” governmental form centered around a chieftain and body of elders who are often thought to be imbued with supernatural authority and prestige (mana or some similar concept). The first definition, of course, is nearly always displayed by the second. It is this second definition which I would like to deal with, however.
Specifically, I’d like to explore the question of how tribalism relates to the collapse of widely spread cultures when they are placed under extreme stresses.
There is always the temptation to view historical and pre-historical (i.e., before written records were available) people-groups which were organised along tribal lines as “primitives” or even “stupid.” This is not necessarily the case, and in many instances is certainly not true. However, tribalism is not a truly optimal or even “natural” form of social organisation, and I believe is forced onto people-groups more out of necessity than anything else.
One of the biggest mysteries that plagues the world of neoconservatism is the question of why the end of history – that final triumph of liberal democracy and consumer capitalism – hasn’t occurred yet. All around the world in many different cultures and nations there is a strenuous reaction against these very things. Indeed, even in the western core – Western Europe and the Anglosphere – there is increasing skepticism about these tenets of the Enlightenment.
The question which the neoconservatives ask is, “Why do they hate us?” This question increasingly applies to pretty much everybody all over the world, but most especially to the Muslim world. Instead of seeing Fukuyama’s end of history, we’re seeing Samuel Huntington’s clash of civilisations. It seems to many of the neocons that the Muslim world is simply being obstinately ungrateful in refusing to recognize the blessings of democracy, secularism, and hedonism being imposed upon them by the force of Western military might.
Now, far be it from me to defend Islam itself or to defend the terroristic tactics which Muslims use. Certainly, I find Islam to be a false religion and Muslims to be primitive barbarians for the most part. However, my attitude toward them tends to be one of desiring to neither invade them nor invite them. I’m perfectly happy to let them do what they want in their own lands and to run their own countries as they see fit, so long as their barbarism is not imported into our Western countries.
If there was anything that you would think would be immutable, it would be the past. Short of inventing a time machine, it should be impossible to change any event that has already occurred. However, this assumption is actually quite incorrect. While the events of objective history themselves cannot be changed, our understanding of them can. Indeed, revising history is easy when you control the levers of education and popular culture. Then, it’s just a matter of telling the history that you want to be told while ignoring the history that actually happened.
A case in point would be the movie slated to hit the theaters tomorrow called Hidden Figures. If the hype surrounding this movie is to be believed, it will tell the “true” story of the American space program that put a man on the moon. The movie is a loose biography of Katherine Johnson, a black woman who played a role in the space program. The hype surrounding the movie, of course, portrays her as the single central figure in that program without whom nothing would have been accomplished. All those white guys with slide rules and crew cuts? They could have done nothing without her.
Now to be clear, there really was a black woman named Katherine Johnson who was involved with the space program – that much is true. It is also true that she was an accomplished mathematician and that she was involved in checking the calculations that were involved with the orbital mechanics of putting a man on the moon. But it’s a long way from that to the sort of “black woman single-handedly put a man on the moon” recounting that the narrative hype seems to be portraying. At face value this movie would seem to be exactly the sort of historical revisionism that progressives love to utilize for the purpose of “resetting the narrative,” so to speak.
There are few things that will get you into trouble as quickly as talking about race. This issue is one of the hardest things for a person to become red-pilled about. Many soft-Right classical liberal-style “conservatives” may go along with limiting immigration or even criticizing democracy, but the moment you start talking about racial differences, their inner cuck comes flying to the surface. Westerners – who seem almost by nature to be xenophilic – have a very difficult time accepting realities about race which contradict the sort of wishful thinking about this issue which they learn from their schooling and from their popular culture. As such, even many so-called conservatives will manifest an unreasonable fear of reality about these things.
The perfect example of this could be seen on Twitter this past Tuesday. There is a third-tier conservative talk radio personality who broadcasts out of Charlotte, North Carolina (I live in this state and had never heard of him prior to a couple of months ago) named Bill Mitchell. He has amassed quite a following on Twitter, much of it due to his vigorous support for Donald Trump during the recent election. However, on Tuesday Mitchell had a complete, day-long Twitter freak out because he thought that some of his followers might be “racists.” This led to a series of rather ridiculous broadsides against the alt-Right, whom he characterized as horrible, horrible people because many of them are concerned about the drastic demographic changes that are being forced upon Western countries. To be concerned about the future of white people in their own countries and to recognize the defensive need for the same sort of identity politics on the part of whites that other races routinely engage in was for him apparently beyond the pale. He responded with a huge, ugly, virtue signalling cuckout.
It really was hilarious to see, in a morbid sort of way. Mitchell asserted that Trump had disowned the nationalist alt-Right (even though Trump’s top representative to Israel canceled a meeting with Israel’s foreign minister after a Swedish delegate from the “far-right” Sweden Democrats had been excluded). He apparently failed to grasp that the whole impetus for the anti-immigration stance that drove Trump’s campaign was essentially alt- Right style nationalism. Instead, and predictably, Mitchell tried to characterize all members of the alt-Right as Nazis and the like.
Of the many pathologies which afflict the modern Western world, one of the most pernicious is the soullessness of Western economic life. The essence of modernity, from an economic point of view, is to work for a repetitive eight hours a day so we can then go home and sit in front of a television for eight more, or else go out to the mall and buy useless junk that we don’t really need. Many in our societies recognise this problem, but feel powerless to do anything about it. We feel locked in, chained to a system which maximises “economic growth” and minimises our humanity. We have no choice but to feed the relentless machine of “progress” by offering ourselves as sacrifices to the great god Mammon.
Modern Western man finds himself in the grip of monergocapitalism – the inexorable, undivided will of the economic imperative. Many may be familiar with the Calvinistic theological position of monergism, which essentially posits that God will work through His Holy Spirit to bring about the regeneration of individuals whom He chooses, regardless of their actual cooperation with Him. The term comes from the Greek mono (“one, single”) + ergon (“to work”). Essentially, God’s action AND will alone (as it is often applied) are involved in the theological process of salvation. By analogy, economic monergocapitalism follows the same line – the only acts and will that matter are those of the capitalist imperative, the “invisible hand” that drives all transactions, all goals, all desires, all purposes. All economic life is ever more centralised, ever more monopolistic, ever more fitted into the same mold. To attempt to hinder in any way the progress of this economic imperative is to be a regressive, to be a heretic and a reprobate. Everything must be subsumed under the economic will, even the very essence of human life itself. We in the West have indeed reached the point where the human body itself, even that of the unborn child, is subject to dismantlement and sale to the highest bidder. Likewise with the human soul, captured by the vapid entertainments and propaganda of a society which enslaves the mind to the plasma screen TV.
What we see going on with respect to this monergocapitalism is an extension of the larger and more overall tyranny over mankind of “technique” which was discussed by Jacques Ellul in his book The Technological Society. In it, he discusses the role which technique (which extends far beyond mere machine technology) and its advancement plays in dominating human society ever more thoroughly. Technique is, essentially, any means by which any realm of the human life is regulated, systematised, and organised in what we might call “inorganic” ways. Mankind has always had technology and methods of organising his life, and had even had fitful starts at systematic science. However, it is only since the late 18th century (i.e. coinciding with the full efflorescence of “Enlightenment” thought) that human industry and life began to be dominated by “technique” in such a way that “progress” became formalised as a social aim and the function of economic competition became enshrined as the single acceptable driving force in society, with all others such as religion and morality being shunted to the side as “not useful.” Both man and machines were subordinated to the drive for economic improvement and advancement.
The West is the world’s sick man. I think that just about anyone with any knowledge of the current state of world affairs would recognise the truth of this statement. While still wielding a great, perhaps even preponderant, amount of military and economic power on paper, the Western nations have increasingly shown themselves to be riddled with feckless “leadership” and a blatant unwillingness to defend themselves against foreign subversion and the invasion of millions of hostile foreign nationals entering under the guise of “refugees” and “immigration.” The failure is not one of capability, but of will. The West is a patient lying on his sickbed who refuses to take the medicine that will assuredly make him well. Instead, he continues to wrestle with his fever while blaming the doctors who prescribe for him his cure.
It’s obvious that the current state of affairs in the West cannot and will not continue for very long. Our societies are very far out of accord with nature, and our unnatural, high-energy transition state situation is going to tip over the edge and drop into a lower energy well of one sort or another. It has generally been one of the goals of Tradition and neoreaction to be ready for this “Great Reset” event (or series of events, more likely), and to become worthy, accept power when it presents itself, and then rule. Typically involved with this is the notion of a “restoration” of the West, a return to the things that made the West natural and good, while hopefully avoiding a repetition of the things that have brought us to our present point. The point to this post is to delve somewhat into what the nature of this restoration might look like, if indeed there is to be a restoration. But to do that, I’d first like to cover and analyse, in brief, some history of “the West” and use the previous “restorations” to draw some conclusions.
When we talk about “the West” or “Western civilisation,” these terms are usually used with varying degrees of precision depending on the speaker or writer. However, I think the most broad and generally understandable definition (which I will, as a result, use here) is that “the West” is a long, semi-continuous succession of civilisational “stages” that first became identifiable around the 6th century BC in Greece, and which continue to the present day. Each succeeding civilisation is like a storey in a building built upon the previous ones. These stages each contributed something to what we now call Western civilisation.
Anyone familiar with the Alt-Right (which term I am using broadly to identify all “non-mainstream” Right movements, from anti-political correctness all the way to neoreaction) has surely heard a great deal about nationalism by now. At its most basic level, nationalism is conventionally understood to refer to the belief that a nation should be able to exist autonomously and independently apart from the domination of others, and that the good of the nation should be placed ahead of international or global concerns. As such, there is really a rather large group of positions which crop up among alt-Righters, all of which are considered by those holding them to be “nationalism.”
Generally speaking, I think these positions can be aggregated into two general groups. First, you have the nationalism held by those who would often call themselves “white nationalists,” who would tend to focus on the issue of race, primarily from a genetic aspect. The other nationalism would be that which focuses its attention on culture and on the organic existence and evolution of nations as cultural and social groupings. This latter form is what I would subscribe to when referring to myself as a “nationalist.”
In a previous post, I essentially laid out my description of what a “nation” is. The best and most natural definition of a nation is that given by God Himself when He used it in the original languages in which the Holy Scripture were revealed. In Greek, the term for “nation” as it relates to “the nations of the world” is ethnos. The conceptually cognate term in Hebrew is goyiim. In both languages, the terms come from root words which essentially describe a group of people who are joined by the same language, traditions, mores, rituals, etc. In other words, culture and society. A “nation” is a group of people who share the same cultural outlook, the same general set of beliefs, assumptions, and presuppositions about the world around them and of their relations to each other. My belief is that any definition beyond this one necessarily rests on some level of artificiality, removing it to a greater or lesser degree from the realm of realism.
The title of this post may come as a bit of a shock to a lot of folks who have been observing events over the past few years. How can I say that social liberalism – by which I largely mean the homosexualism, the transgenderism, the abortionism, the aggressive feminism, and the rest of the anti-human, anti-civilisation agenda of the culturally marxist Left – has no long-term prospects? Haven’t they been sweeping all before them? Haven’t they successfully imposed gay marriage on an unwilling population? What about the success in forcing transgenderism onto the military, as well as society at large? Despite the best efforts of the “religious Right,” isn’t abortion more entrenched as “the law of the land” now than it has ever been?
The answer to these questions is, “Yes – but it doesn’t matter.”
Inequality among men is as natural as breathing or eating. Understanding this truism will generally save a person about 90% of the frustration that they would otherwise feel towards human societies and political systems. Never in the history of mankind – not even in the most hopelessly utopian of efforts by social levelers – has this natural inequality ever truly been overcome.
The natural outcome of these inequalities (and I am speaking here within national and cultural bodies, not of relations between them) is that elites will always arise. Within nations, aristocracies will always occur for a variety of reasons. Even within democratic systems, Robert Michel’s Iron Law of Oligarchy will operate, ensuring that a leadership caste rises to the top to effectively dominate the politics and social system within a nation or political subunit. Looking to classical history, we see that even in places and at times when rampant democritisation took place (e.g. Athens from ~525 – 350 BC, late Republican Rome), the initiative for these efforts arose not from the demos themselves, but from popular (and generally aristocratic) leaders who wielded the people as a weapon for gaining political power. Let us not forget the Cleisthenes, whose reform of the Athenian constitution set that city on course for direct democracy, was of the aristocratic Alcmaeonid family; Julius Caesar and other late Republican leaders of the populares came from aristocratic senatorial families.
No less a democrat than Thomas Jefferson himself said, “There is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talent.” Though Jefferson was (obviously) a vigourous opponent of formal aristocracy, his statement is nevertheless true, and explains why aristocracies – elites within societies – originate.
I recently found this article on a blog called Of Wolves and Men, about the three pillars of Western civilisation. Since like the author of that blog, Western civilisation and its discontents will probably form a large part of what I write about here, I thought it might be beneficial to add some of my own thoughts on this subject. The reader may click on the link provided above to read the original article in full. These three pillars are probably ones which most students of European history will be familiar with, or at least could guess what they were without much prompting. However, I’ll list them below as stated in the original article,
1:) The Greek and Roman Legacy
2:) Christianity; Specifically the Medieval Catholic Church
3:) The Customs of the Germanic Barbarians
Before I begin to address these in greater detail, I would first like to lay out my approach to organising my thoughts on this, one that derives (mostly unconsciously, until recently) from the view of civilisations as “organisms” (versus civilisations as “systems” which are more or less consciously created through planned efforts at organisation by groups of men, something which I don’t think a balanced study of the historical evolution of any society, even “startups” like the United States, really bears out). A civilisation is tri-partite. Like the biblical description of man himself, a civilisation has “spirit, soul, and body,” so to speak. Every civilisation has a spiritual component – what it thinks about life, death, God or the gods, the afterlife, etc. They also have “soul” – psyche, mind, the intellectual, philosophical, and cultural heritage that determines how their members think, act, and respond. Civilisations also have “body” – the people themselves, and the customs and rites that they bring with them.