Heisman’s suicide note, 8

Americanism is really a form of Judaism

Years after the death of his comrade, Karl Marx, and only about a year before his own death in 1895, Frederick Engels, co-founder of the communist movement, published an essay called “On the History of Early Christianity”. It began:

The history of early Christianity has notable points of resemblance with the modern working-class movement.

Like the latter, Christianity was originally a movement of oppressed people: it first appeared as the religion of slaves and emancipated slaves, of poor people deprived of all rights, of peoples subjugated or dispersed by Rome. Both Christianity and the workers’ socialism preach forthcoming salvation from bondage and misery; Christianity places this salvation in a life beyond, after death, in heaven; socialism places it in this world, in a transformation of society.

Both are persecuted and baited, their adherents are despised and made the objects of exclusive laws, the former as enemies of the human race, the latter as enemies of the state, enemies of religion, the family, social order. And in spite of all persecution, nay, even spurred on by it, they forge victoriously, irresistibly ahead. Three hundred years after its appearance Christianity was the recognized state religion in the Roman World Empire, and in barely sixty years socialism has won itself a position which makes its victory absolutely certain.

Engels thus believed that a form of socialism “did in fact, as far as it was possible at the time, exist and even became dominant—in Christianity.” Christianity had a “class” appeal comparable to monotheism’s earlier storybook appeal to a “class” of Pharaoh’s Hebrew slaves.

Of all the attempts that have been made to link Christianity and communism, this is among the most significant. Written soon before his own death, it was like Engels’ final confession. Yet one point that Engels avoided, a point that would have been impossible for him not to take mental note of, was the Judaic origins of both Jesus and Marx. This unspoken theme was handled by downplaying the significance of the Judaic background of Jesus, and thus seemingly implying that the same held for Marx…

Whereas Roman values synthesized the good with the virtues of the soldier, Biblical monotheism disassociated the good from the virtues of the soldier… While Caesar presumed god-status as the highest among humans, Jesus on his crucifix attempts to demonstrate a way in which the lowest can be highest… Christian values turned the political arena from the arena of highest human virtue to the arena of the lowest human virtue…

Jesus, like Marx, takes aim at an entire system of perceived injustice. The Kingdom of God represents Jesus’s “system”. The Kingdom of God is Jesus’s equivalent of Marx’s imagined successor to the capitalist system. Just as Jesus claimed that he came, not to abolish, but to fulfill the laws of Moses (Matt. 5:17), Marx saw communism, not as the absolute negation of capitalism, but as the fulfillment of the logic of history. In both Christianity and communism, taking the most leftward logic to the extreme led to the production of something new and ultimately opposite.

In his papers on the Jewish Question, Marx wrote:

Christianity sprang from Judaism; it has now dissolved itself back into Judaism. The Christian was from the start the theorizing Jew; the Jew therefore the practical Christian, and the practical Christian has once more become Jew.

The classic “practical Christian” is the American. Americanism, then, is really a form of Judaism, not a form of Christianity. This implies that the capitalist age is a Jewish age, and that Karl Marx was a theorizing Jew who prophesized a new Christianity called communism.

Christianity collapsed into capitalism, in part, because Christianity attacked the patriarchal virtues of duty and family that override selfish individualism. Above all, it was the Christian valuation of a form of altruism that subverts kin selective altruism that helped pave the way towards capitalist individualism. In a sense, Christianity led the modern West to a state more like Jews. This means that Christianity inadvertently helped produce the capitalist world criticized by Marx.

Marx’s relatively superficial conception of “class” warfare has deeper roots in a more fundamental form of internal warfare—Jesus’s attack on the family:

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.

Jesus’s sword was poised to divide kin, to divide the family, and to divide generations against themselves. This is a historical root of the Marxist “class” warfare that divides society on a higher level…

Jesus’s attacks on the Pharisees may have influenced Marx’s anti-Jewish tracts. Although Marx himself was born a German Jew, he was converted to Christianity at an early age. Just as Jesus was formally a Jew in an anti-Roman culture, Marx was formally a Christian in an anti-Jewish culture. But was Jesus treated as a full Jew? Was Marx treated as a full Christian? Just as Jesus became, in a theoretical sense, more Jewish than the Jews, Marx became, in a theoretical sense, more Christian than the Christians. For both Marx and Jesus, then, the issue of assimilation by law, but discrimination in fact, may have been a common impetus for world shattering prescriptions.

As Walter Kaufmann put it, Marx’s “impassioned interest in the salvation of wretched humanity made him the second Jew in history to be accepted by almost half of humanity as a messiah”…

Modern leftist causes would not have taken deep root without the fecund soil prepared by Christianity. The “Good News” of secular leftist revolutionary liberation was, in part, a reaping what Christianity had sown.

Hitler showed what can happen when the assumption of Christian influence is profoundly questioned. The difference between Roman altruism and Christian altruism is like the difference between National Socialism and Marxist socialism. The Nazis brought back the ancient pagan way that preceded Christianity as a corollary of bringing back the primacy of biological evolution.

[pages 463-470]

Why Europeans must reject Christianity, 17

by Ferdinand Bardamu

 
The Christian origins of modern liberalism and socialism

The “anticipatory” consequences of spiritual equality meant social and economic equality for the church, leading to the establishment of formal communism in the early Christian communities. This was not just philanthropy, but a highly organized social welfare system that maximized the redistribution of wealth. Early Christian communism was widespread and lasted for centuries, crossing both geographical and ethno-cultural boundaries. The communist practices of the ante-Nicene church were rooted in the Jesus tradition of the 1st century. The existence of early Christian communism is well-attested by the Ante-Nicene fathers and contemporary pagans.

After Christianity became the official state religion, the church became increasingly hierarchical as ecclesiastical functions were merged with those of imperial bureaucracy. The communist socio-economic practices of the early church were abandoned by medieval Christians. This was replaced by a view of inequality as static, the result of a “great chain of being” that ranked things from lowest to highest. The great chain was used by theologians to justify cosmologically the rigidly stratified social order that had emerged from the ashes of the old Roman world. It added a veneer of ideological legitimacy to the feudal system in Europe. In the great chain, Christ’s vicar, the pope, was stationed at the top, followed by European monarchs, clergy, nobility and, at the very bottom, landless peasantry. This entailed a view of spiritual equality as “antipathetic.” St. Thomas Aquinas provided further justification for inequality along narrowly teleological lines. In the Summa Contra Gentiles, diversity and variety in creation reflect the harmonious order established by god. If the universe only contained equal things, only one kind of good would exist and this would detract from the beauty and perfection of creation.

The antipathetic view of Christian equality was the dominant one until the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. Martin Luther’s iconic act—the nailing of the 95 Theses to the Wittenberg Castle door in 1517—began an ecclesiastical crisis of authority that was to have tremendous repercussions for the future of Western history. The pope was no longer the supreme representative of Christ on earth, but an irredeemably corrupt tyrant, who had wantonly cast the church into the wilderness of spiritual oblivion and error.

Access to previously unknown works of ancient science and philosophy introduced to an educated public the pagan epistemic values that would pave the way for the Scientific Revolution of the 17th century. The humanist cry of ad fontes! was eagerly embraced by Reformers. It allowed them to undermine scholastic hermeneutical principles (i.e. the Quadriga) and the major doctrines of medieval Christianity. The rediscovery of more reliable manuscripts of the Bible served as an important catalyst of the Reformation.

Reformed theologians, armed with humanist textual and philological methods, studied the New Testament and the Ante-Nicene fathers in the original languages. This led to a Christian “renaissance,” a rediscovery of the early Christian world. Compared to the lax morality and spiritual indifference of late medieval clergy, the first 4 or 5 centuries of the primitive church seemed like a golden age, one that maintained the doctrinal purity of Christian orthodoxy until Pope Gregory I, unencumbered by the gross distortions of scholastic theology and ecclesiastical tradition. Early Christian teachings and practices, forgotten during the Middle Ages, became popular once again among Protestants.

Reformers sought to recapture the spirit of primitive Christianity by incorporating egalitarian and majoritarian principles into an early modern ecclesiastical setting. Egalitarian thought was first enunciated in Luther’s teaching on the universal priesthood of all believers. In contrast to medieval Christian teaching, which viewed the clergy as members of a spiritual aristocracy, Luther proclaimed all Christians equally priests before god, with each one having the same capacity to preach and minister to fellow believers. On this basis, Luther demanded an end to the differential treatment of clergy and laity under canon law. He also defended the majoritarian principle by challenging the Roman ecclesiastical prerogative of appointing ministers for Christian congregations. Calvin, the other great Reformed leader, acknowledged the real-world consequences of spiritual equality, but approached it from the perspective of universal equality in total depravity.

Protestant radicals viewed the egalitarian policies of the mainstream Reformed churches as fundamentally inadequate; any concrete realization of Christian spiritual equality entailed a large-scale revival of the communistic socio-economic practices of the primitive church. Muntzer, an early disciple of Luther, is representative of this more radical egalitarian version of the gospel. In 1525, a group of religious fanatics, including Muntzer, seized control of Muhlhausen in Thuringia. During their brief rule over the city, they implemented the program of the Eleven Articles, a revolutionary document calling for social justice and the elimination of poverty. Idols were smashed, monks were driven out of their convents and monastic property was seized and redistributed to the poor. From the pulpit, Muntzer delivered fiery sermons ordering his congregation to do away with the “idol” of private property if they wished the “spirit of God” to dwell among them. A leader of the Peasant’s War in Germany, he was captured in May of 1525 after his army was defeated at Frankenhausen. He was tortured and then executed, but not before his captors were able to extract the confession: “Omnia sunt communia.” Whether the confession represents the exact words of Muntzer is controversial; nevertheless, it accurately reflects Muntzer’s anti-materialistic piety and view that the teachings of the gospel were to be implemented in full.

The Munster Rebellion of 1534-1535, led by Jan Matthys and Johann of Leiden, was far more extreme in its radicalism. After the Anabaptist seizure of the city, Matthys declared Munster the site of the New Jerusalem. Catholics and Lutherans were then driven from the town, their property confiscated and redistributed to the poor “according to their needs” by deacons who had been carefully selected by Matthys. They set about imposing the primitive communism of the early church upon the town’s inhabitants. Money was abolished; personal dwellings were made the public property of all Christian believers; people were forced to cook and eat their food in communal kitchens and dining-halls, in imitation of the early Christian “love feasts.” Ominously, Matthys and Johann even ordered the mass burning of all books, except the Bible. This was to symbolize a break with the sinful past and the beginning of a new communist era, like the Year One of the French Revolutionary National Convention. In the fall of 1534, Anabaptist-controlled Munster officially abolished all private property within city limits. But the Anabaptist commune was not to last for long. After a lengthy siege, the Anabaptist ringleaders, including Johann of Leiden, were captured, tortured and then executed by the Bishop of Munster.

The Diggers (or “True Levellers”) and the Levellers (or “Agitators”), active during the English Civil Wars (1642-1651) and the Protectorate (1653-1659), were strongly influenced by primitive Christian teaching. The Diggers, founded by Gerard Winstanley, were inspired by the communist socio-economic practices of the early Christians. They tried to establish agrarian communism in England, but were opposed in this endeavor, often violently, by wealthy farmers and local government officials who dismissed them as atheists and libertines. The more influential Levellers, a radical Puritan faction, tried to thoroughly democratize England by introducing policies of religious toleration and universal male suffrage. Their rejection of the arbitrary monarchical power of King Charles I in favor of egalitarian democracy was ultimately informed by Christian theological premises. Prominent Levellers like “Freeborn” John Lilburne argued for democratic egalitarian principles based on their exegetical interpretation of the Book of Genesis. All men were created equal, they said, with no one having more power, dignity and authority than anyone else in the Garden of Eden. Since no man had the right to exercise authority over others, only popular sovereignty could legitimately serve as the underlying basis of civil government. Many Leveller proposals, as written down in the Agreement of the People, were incorporated into the English Bill of Rights of 1689. This document later influenced the American Bill of Rights of 1791.

John Locke was the founder of modern liberalism, a political tradition soaked in Christian religious dogma. He drew many social and political implications from Christian spiritual equality. His belief in equality was rooted in the firm conviction that all men were created in the image of god, making them equal by nature. Church fathers and medieval theologians had long argued that all men, whether slave or free, were “by nature equal,” but that social inequality among men was god’s punishment for sin. John Locke agreed with the patristic and medieval authors on natural equality but repudiated their use of original sin to justify the passive acceptance of human social and economic inequality. Like the Protestant reformers before him, he believed that spiritual equality was not merely eschatological, but entailed certain real-world implications of far-reaching political significance.

Locke’s argument for universal equality was derived from a careful historical and exegetical interpretation of the biblical narrative. The creation of man in god’s image had enormous ramifications for his political theory, especially as it concerns his views on the nature of civil government and the scope of its authority. From his reading of Genesis, Locke argued that no man had the right to dominate and exploit other members of the human species. Man was created by god to exercise dominion over the animal kingdom. Unlike animals, who are by nature inferior, there can be no subjection among humans because their species-membership bears the imprint of an “omnipotent and infinitely wise maker.” This meant that all men are born naturally free and independent. Locke’s view of universal equality further entailed the “possession of the same faculties” by all men. Although men differed in terms of gross intellectual endowment, they all possessed a low-level intellectual ability that allowed them to manipulate abstract ideas and logically reason out the existence of a supreme being.

In Locke’s view, all government authority must be based on the consent of the electorate. This was an extension of his belief in mankind’s natural equality. Any abuse of power by elected representatives, when all judicial and political avenues of redress had been exhausted, was to be remedied by armed revolution. This would restore men to the original liberty they had in the Garden of Eden. Freedom from tyranny would allow them to elect a government that was more consonant with the will of the people.

Locke’s theory of natural rights was based on biblical notions of an idyllic prehistory in the Garden of Eden. Contrary to monarchical theorists like Filmer, man’s earliest social organization was not a hierarchical one, but egalitarian and democratic. If all men were created equal, no one had the right to deprive any man of life, liberty and private property. In Lockean political philosophy, rights are essentially moral obligations with Christian religious overtones. If men were obliged to surrender certain natural rights to the civil government, it was only because they were better administered collectively for the general welfare. Those rights that could not be surrendered were considered basic liberties, like the right to life and private property.

Early modern Christian writers envisioned in detail what an ideal communist society would look like and how it would function. The earliest communist literature emerged from within a Christian religious context. A famous example is Thomas More’s Utopia, written in 1516, which owes more to patristic ideals of communism and monastic egalitarian practice than Plato’s Republic. Another explicitly communist work is the Dominican friar Tommaso Campanella’s 1602 book City of the Sun. These works form an important bridge between pre-modern Christian communism and the “utopian” and “scientific” socialism of the 19th century. For the first time in history, these writings provided an in-depth critique of the socio-economic conditions of contemporary European society, indicating that only through implementation of a communist system would it be possible to fully realize the humanist ideals of the Renaissance. They went beyond communalization of property within isolated patriarchal communities to envisage the transformation of large-scale political units into unified economic organisms. These would be characterized by social ownership and democratic control. Implicit in these writings was the assumption that only the power of the state could bring about a just and humanitarian social order.

“Utopian” or pre-Marxian socialism was an important stage in the development of modern leftist ideology. Its major exponents, Blanc, Cabet, Fourier, Saint-Simon and Owen, were either devout Christians or men profoundly influenced by the socio-economic and ethical teachings of primitive Christianity. They often viewed Jesus of Nazareth as a great socialist leader. They typically believed that their version of communism was a faithful realization of Jesus’ evangelical message. In the pre-Marxian vision, the primitive communism of the early Christian church was an ideal to be embraced and imitated. Many of these writers even defended their communist beliefs through extensive quotation from the New Testament.

Louis Blanc saw Jesus Christ as the “sublime master of all socialists” and socialism as the “gospel in action.” Etienne Cabet, the founder of the Icarian movement, equated true Christianity with communism. If Icarianism was the earthly realization of Jesus’ vision of a coming kingdom of god, it was imperative that all communists “admire, love and invoke Jesus Christ and his doctrine.” Charles Fourier, an early founder of modern socialism, viewed Jesus Christ and Isaac Newton as the two most important figures in the formative development of his belief-system. He grounded his socialist ideology squarely within the Christian tradition. As the only true follower of Jesus Christ, Fourier was sent to earth as the “Comforter” of John 14:26, the “Messiah of Reason” who would rehabilitate all mankind along socialist industrial lines.

Henri de Saint-Simon, another important founder of modern socialism, believed the true gospel of Christ to be one of humility and equality. He advocated a “New Christianity” that would realize the practical and economic implications of the just world order preached by Jesus. Saint-Simon was also an early precursor of the Social Gospel movement, which sought to ameliorate social pathology through application of Christian ethical principles. The early Welsh founder of modern socialism, Robert Owen, although hostile to organized Christianity and other established religions, regarded his version of socialism as “true and genuine Christianity, freed from the errors that had been attached to it.” Only through the practice of socialism would the “invaluable precepts of the Gospel” be fully realized in contemporary industrial society.

The earliest pioneers of socialism, all of whom maintained socio-economic views grounded upon Christian religious principles, exercised a profound and lasting influence on Marx. His neo-Christian religious beliefs must be regarded as the only real historical successor of orthodox Christianity, largely because his ideology led to the implementation of Christian socio-economic teachings on a scale hitherto unimaginable. Muntzer, the radical Anabaptists and other Christian communists are considered important predecessors of the modern socialist movements of the 19th and 20th centuries. For example, in Friedrich Engels’ short monograph The Peasant War in Germany, Muntzer is immortalized as the man whose religious and political views were way ahead of his times. He even possessed a far more sophisticated “theoretical equipment” than the many communist movements of Engels’ own day.

The primitive communist transformation of the socio-economic order under Christianity is based on 1.) the elimination of all ethno-linguistic and socio-economic distinction between men—unity in Christ—and; 2.) the fundamental spiritual equality of all human beings before god; it is the mirror image of the modern communist transformation of the socio-economic order under classical Marxist ideology, which is based on 1.) elimination of all class distinction between men and; 2.) a fundamental “equality” of access to a common storehouse of agricultural produce and manufactured goods. The numerous similarities between Christian communism and Marxism are too striking to be mere coincidence. Without the dominant influence of Christianity, the rise of modern communism and socialism would have been impossible.

The Protestant Reformation of the 16th century links the socio-economic egalitarianism of the early Christian communities with the socio-economic egalitarianism of the modern West. As a religious mass movement beginning in late medieval times, it profoundly affected the course of Western civilization. The Reformation played an instrumental role in the initial formulation and spread of liberal and socialist forms of egalitarian thought that now serve as the dominant state religions of the modern Western “democracies.” Without Luther and the mass upheaval that followed in his wake, Christian spiritual equality would have remained an eschatological fact with no direct bearing on the modern secular world.

Spengler’s observation that “Christian theology is the grandmother of Bolshevism” is a truism. All forms of Western communism are grounded in the Christian tradition. The same applies to liberal egalitarian thought, which was also formulated within a Christian religious milieu.

Civilisation’s “Heroic Materialism”

Originally I posted this article on April 25, 2012. But now that I have been postulating that the One Ring of greed and power—that we might start calling “the Aryan Problem”—could be the main factor in the West’s darkest hour, I am moving it at the top of this blog.

Below, some excerpts of “Heroic Materialism,” the last chapter of Civilisation by Kenneth Clark. (For an introduction to these series, see here.) Ellipsis omitted between unquoted passages. Also, the headings don’t appear in the original text:

The westerners’ new god: Mammon

Imagine an immensely speeded up movie of Manhattan Island during the last hundred years. It would look less like a work of man than like some tremendous natural upheaval. It’s godless, it’s brutal, it’s violent—but one can’t laugh it off, because in the energy, strength of will and mental grasp that have gone to make New York, materialism has transcended itself. It took almost the same time to reach its present conditions as it did to complete the Gothic cathedrals. At which point a very obvious reflection crosses one’s mind: that the cathedrals were built to the glory of God, New York was built to the glory of mammon—money, gain, the new god of the nineteenth century. So many of the same human ingredients have gone into its construction that at a distance it does look rather like a celestial city. At a distance. Come closer and it’s not so good. Lots of squalor, and, in the luxury, something parasitical.


Blake’s Satan

One sees why heroic materialism is still linked with an uneasy conscience. The first large iron foundries like the Carron Works or Coalbrookdale, date from about 1780. The only people who saw through industrialism in those early days were the poets. Blake, as everybody knows, thought that mills were the work of Satan. ‘Oh Satan, my youngest born… thy work is Eternal death with Mills and Ovens and Cauldrons.’

The [slave] trade was prohibited in 1807, and as Wilberforce lay dying in 1835, slavery itself was abolished. One must regard this as a step forward for the human race, and be proud, I think, that it happened in England. But not too proud. The Victorians were very smug about it, and chose to avert their eyes from something almost equally horrible that was happening to their own countrymen.

In its early stages the Industrial Revolution was also a part of the Romantic movement. And here I may digress to say that painters had for long used iron foundries to heighten the imaginative impact of their work with what we call a romantic effect; and that they had introduced them into pictures as symbolising the mouth of hell. However, the influence of the Industrial Revolution on Romantic painters is a side issue, almost an impertinence, when compared to its influence on human life. I needn’t remind you of how cruelly it degraded and exploited a mass of people for sixty or seventy years.

What was destructive was size. After about 1790 to 1800 there appeared the large foundries and mills which dehumanised life. Long before Carlyle and Karl Marx, Wordsworth had described the arrival of a night shift ‘that turns the multitude of dizzy wheels, Men, maidens, youths, Mothers and little children, boys and girls, Perpetual sacrifice.’

The terrible truth is that the rise in population did nearly ruin us. It struck a blow at civilisation such as it hadn’t received since the barbarian invasions. First it produced the horrors of urban poverty. It must have seemed—may still seem—insoluble; yet this doesn’t excuse the callousness with which prosperous people ignored the conditions of life among the poor on which to a large extent their prosperity depended, and this in spite of the many detailed and eloquent descriptions that were available to them. I need mention only two—Engels’s Conditions of the Working Classes in England, written in 1844, and the novels written by Dickens between 1840 and 1855. Everybody read Dickens. But his terrible descriptions of poverty had very little practical effect: partly because the problem was too big; partly because politicians were held in the intellectual prison of classical economics.

The images that fit Dickens are by the French illustrator Gustave Doré. He was originally a humorist; but the sight of London sobered him. His drawings were done in the 1870s, after Dickens’s death. But one can see that things hadn’t changed much. Perhaps it took an outsider to see London as it really was.


Degenerate architecture

At the beginning of this series I said that I thought one could tell more about a civilisation from its architecture that from anything else it leaves behind. Painting and literature depend largely on unpredictable individuals. But architecture is to some extent a communal art. However, I must admit that the public buildings on the nineteenth century are often lacking in style and conviction; and I believe that this is because the strongest creative impulse of the time didn’t go into the town halls or country houses, but into what was then thought of as engineering. In fact, all modern New York started with the Brooklyn Bridge.

In this series I have followed the ups and downs of civilisation historically, trying to discover results as well as causes; well, obviously I can’t do that any longer. We have no idea where we are going, and sweeping, confident articles of the future seem to me, intellectually, the most disreputable of all forms of utterance. The scientists who are best qualified to talk have kept their moths shut.

The incomprehensibility of our new cosmos seems to me, ultimately, to be the reason for the chaos of modern art. I know next to nothing about science, but I’ve spent my life trying to learn about art, and I am completely baffled by what is taking place today. I sometimes like what I see, but when I read modern critics I realise that my preferences are merely accidental.

Western civilisation has been a series of rebirths. Surely this should give us confidence in ourselves. I said at the beginning that it is lack of confidence, more than anything else, that kills a civilisation. We can destroy ourselves by cynicism and disillusion, just as effectively as by bombs. Fifty years ago W.B. Yeats, who was more like a man of genius than anyone I have ever known, wrote a famous poem.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

America’s unpardonable crime

Or:

“In committing the matricide of Europe
Americans heaped-up their own funeral pyre”



This is article by Michael O’Meara was originally titled “Summer 1942, Winter 2010: An Exchange”:


martin

In the Summer of 1942—while the Germans were at the peak of their powers, totally unaware of the approaching fire storm that would turn their native land into an inferno—the philosopher Martin Heidegger wrote (for a forth-coming lecture course at Freiberg) the following lines, which I take from the English translation known as Hölderlin’s Hymn “The Ister”: (*)

“The Anglo-Saxon world of Americanism”—Heidegger noted in an aside to his nationalist/ontological examination of his beloved Hölderlin—“has resolved to annihilate Europe, that is, the homeland, and that means: [it has resolved to annihilate] the commencement of the Western world.”

In annihilating the commencement (the origins or breakout of European being)—and thus in annihilating the people whose blood flowed in American veins—New World Europeans, unknowingly, destroyed the essence of their own being—by disowning their origins—denigrating the source of their life-form, denying themselves, thus, the possibility of a future.

“Whatever has commencement is indestructible.”

Americans destined their self-destruction by warring on their commencement—by severing the root of their being.

But Europe—this unique synergy of blood and spirit—cannot be killed, for her essence, Heidegger tells us, is the “commencement”—the original—the enowning—the perpetual grounding and re-asserting of being.

Europe thus always inevitably rises again and again—like she and her bull from under the waters, which sweep over her, as she undauntedly plunges into what is coming.

Her last stand is consequently always her first stand—another commencement—as she advances to her origins—enowning the uncorrupted being of her beginning—as she authenticates herself in the fullness of a future which enables her to begin over and over.

The opposite holds as well.

America’s annihilation of her commencement revealed her own inherent lack of commencement.

From the start, her project was to reject her European origins—to disown the being that made her who she was—as her Low Church settlers pursued the metaphor of Two Worlds, Old and New.

For Heidegger, America’s “entry into this planetary war is not [her] entry into history; rather, it is already, the ultimate American act of American ahistoricality and self-devastation.”

For having emerged, immaculately conceived, from the jeremiad of her Puritan Errand, America defined herself in rejection of her past, in rejection of her origins, in rejection of her most fundamental ontological ground—as she looked westward, toward the evening sun and the ever-expanding frontier of her rootless, fleeting future, mythically legitimated in the name of an “American Dream” conjured up from the Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism.

Americans, the preeminent rational, rootless, uniform homo oeconomics, never bothered looking ahead because they never looked back. Past and future, root and branch—all pulled up and cut down.

No memory, no past, no meaning.

In the name of progress—which Friedrick Engels imagined as a “cruel chariot riding over mounds of broken bodies”—American being is dissolved in her hurly-burly advance toward the blackening abyss.

Yet however it is spun, it was from Europe’s womb that Americans entered the world and only in affirming the European being of their Motherland and Fatherhood was there the possibility of taking root in their “New” World—without succumbing to the barbarians and fellaheen outside the Mother-soil and Father-Culture.

Instead, America’s founders set out to reject their mother. They called her Egyptian or Babylonian—and took their identity—as the “elect,” the “chosen,” the “light to nations”—from the desert nomads of the Old Testament—alien to the great forests of our Northern lands—envious of our blue-eye, fair-hair girls—repelled by the great-vaulted heights of our Gothic Cathedrals.

The abandonment of their original and only being set Americans up as the perpetual fixers of world-improvement—ideological champions of consummate meaninglessness—nihilism’s first great “nation”.

While Heidegger was preparing his lecture, tens of thousands of tanks, trucks, and artillery pieces started making their way from Detroit to Murmansk, and then to the Germans’ Eastern front.

A short time later, the fires began to fall from the sky—the fires bearing the curse of Cromwell and the scorched-earth convictions of Sherman—the fires that turned German families into cinders, along with their great churches, their palatial museums, their densely packed, sparkling-clean working-class quarters, their ancient libraries and cutting-edge laboratories.

The forest that took a thousand years to become itself perishes in a night of phosphorous flames.

It would be a long time—it hasn’t come yet—before the Germans—the People of the Center—the center of Europe’s being—rise again from the rubble, this time more spiritual than material.

Heidegger could know little of the apocalyptic storm that was about to destroy his Europe.

But did he at least suspect that the Führer had blundered Germany into a war she could not win? That not just Germany, but the Europe opposing the Anglo-American forces of Mammon would also be destroyed?

“The concealed spirit of the commencement in the West will not even have the look of contempt for this trial of self-devastation without commencement, but will await its stellar hour from out of the releasement and tranquility that belong to the commencement.”

An awakened, recommencing Europe promises, thus, to repudiate America’s betrayal of herself—America, this foolish European idea steeped in Enlightenment hubris, which is to be forgotten (as a family skeleton), once Europe reasserts herself.

In 1942, though, Heidegger did not know that Europeans, even Germans, would soon betray themselves to the Americans, as the Churchills, Adenauers, Blums—Europe’s lickspittle—rose to the top of the postwar Yankee pyramid designed to crush every idea of nation, culture, and destiny.

That’s Europe’s tragedy.

Once Europe awakes—it will one day—she will re-affirm and re-assert herself—no longer distracted by America’s glitter and tinsel, no longer intimidated by her hydrogen bomb and guided missiles—seeing clearly, at last, that this entertainment worthy of Hollywood conceals an immense emptiness—her endless exercises in consummate meaninglessness.

Incapable therefore of beginning again, having denied herself a commencement, the bad idea that America has become is likely, in the coming age of fire and steel, to disintegrate into her disparate parts.

At that moment, white Americans will be called on, as New World Europeans, to assert their “right” to a homeland in North America—so that there, they will have a place at last to be who they are.

If they should succeed in this seemingly unrealizable fortune, they will found the American nation(s) for the first time—not as the universal simulacrum Masons and deists concocted in 1776—but as the blood-pulse of Europe’s American destiny.

“We only half-think what is historical in history, that is, we do not think it at all, if we calculate history and its magnitude in terms of the length… of what has been, rather than awaiting that which is coming and futural.”

Commencement, as such, is “that which is coming and futural”—that which is the “historical in history”—that which goes very far back and is carried forward into every distant, unfolding future—like Pickett’s failed infantry charge at Gettysburg that Faulkner tells us is to be tried again and again until it succeeds.

“We stand at the beginning of historicality proper, that is, of action in the realm of the essential, only when we are able to wait for what is to be destined of one’s own.”

“One’s own”—this assertion of ourselves—Heidegger contends, will only come if we defy conformity, convention, and unnatural conditioning to realize the European being, whose destiny is ours alone.

At that moment, if we should succeed in standing upright, in the way our ancestors did, we will reach ahead and beyond to what is begun through every futuristic affirmation of who we European-Americans are.

This reaching, though, will be no “actionless or thoughtless letting things come and go… [but] a standing that has already leapt ahead, a standing within what is indestructible (to whose neighborhood desolation belongs, like a valley to a mountain).”

For desolation there will be—in this struggle awaiting our kind—in this destined future defiantly holding out a greatness that does not break as it bends in the storm—a greatness certain to come with the founding of a European nation in North America—a greatness I often fear that we no longer have in ourselves and that needs thus to be evoked in the fiery warrior rites that once commemorated the ancient Aryan sky gods, however far away or fictitious they have become.

—Winter 2010

Note

(*) Martin Heidegger, Hölderlin’s Hymn ‘The Ister’, trans W. McNeill and J. Davis (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996), p. 54ff.

Published in: on April 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm  Comments Off on America’s unpardonable crime