Where We Used to Live Isn’t

In the comments to previous post on Traditionalism Oscar astutely posted video of Jordan Peterson, whose talks further spurred me in this direction of thought [1]. It’s one of many in which he talks about his theory that–mythically–it is the duty of a “son” to resurrect a “dead father” by rescuing tradition from irrelevance. I’ve listened to his theory over a dozen times in various videos and podcasts, and I understand him to mean something like synthesis. Emotionally, it is a pleasing concept to think that the son–The New–has a duty to salvage the father–The Old–, yet put his own spin on it.

But it strikes me as trite…and also that the symbolism is fundamentally misleading. The father isn’t tradition. The father is the source of truth and goodness and love and authority. Tradition is no more a father than the buildings I grew up in are my dad.

[1] I can’t say where I’ll end up. These are my thoughts, and implicit requests for conversation.

Real Talk on Traditionalism

If you’re going to make the case for some form of Traditionalism: What you cannot do is make the case that Traditionalism works to keep you, or your family, temporally happy, safe, wealthy, or in any other desirable state. There are so few Traditionalists that to judge its success by material fruits is to admit defeat. To trumpet an earthly bounty from Traditionalism is to wholly discredit yourself. Whatever earthly desires you think you can satisfy with Traditionalism will be put to shame by the proceeds of Modernism.

On the Problem of a Romantic View of Germanic Women

I might want to refer to this later, so I’m cross-posting here a comment whichI made at Dalrock’s on his post “Riding to Lancelot’s Rescue”. He quotes C.S. Lewis:

They effected a change which has left no corner of our ethics, our imagination, or our daily life untouched, and they erected impassable barriers between us and the classical past or the Oriental present. Compared with this revolution the Renaissance is a mere ripple on the surface of literature. […] [A] glance at classical antiquity or at the Dark Ages at once shows us that what we took for ‘nature’ is really a special state of affairs, which will probably have an end, and which certainly had a beginning in eleventh-century Provence.

In “Masterpieces of Medieval Literature”, the author talks about this extensively; driving home the point that none of the surviving literature[1] of the Germanic/Norse peoples deal with romantic feelings as a thing separate from sex. The only woman in Beowulf is Hrothgar’s wife–with whom Beowulf has no significant dealings–and Grendel’s mother. Beowulf kills her. Brynhildr is a significant character in the stories of Sigurd, but Sigurd’s attachment to her isn’t a religious-devotion-like romance.

In the Icelandic Eddas[2a], there are stories which include women who make large impact on the stories, but none of them have a purely romantic–by which I mean extra-sexual–element. There is a story about a great man named Gunnar who married a beautiful woman with “the eyes of a thief” and who brings about his death because he once slapped her for stealing. She had two previous husbands killed for the same offense.

However, there was a custom of the Germanic/Norse people which was activated by Romantic Fever and caused it to have a more deleterious effect than in southern Europe: Germanic/Norse and Celtic women had much greater freedom, authority, and strength than either the women of southern Europe, or those of the Near, Middle, and Far Easts.

Once Romantic Fever took over those peoples, pedastalization of women–and thus Feminism–was probably already an unavoidable symptom. Under the infection of religious-devotion to “love”, those Germanic/Nordics had beautiful, strong, independent demi-goddesses on their hands. In more Latin lands (Italy, France, etc.) Romantic Fever didn’t elevate women to such heights.[2b]

[1] This is significant, says Shutt, because only the most popular, the most retold, stories would have survived. The Germanic peoples were late to the written tradition and passed on their stories via an oral tradition. While it’s possible that at one time there existed stories with “romantic” elements, logic says that they weren’t popular, i.e., if they did exist, they didn’t resonate with the audience.

[2a] Because of it’s relative isolation from the rest of Europe, Iceland was less effected by European trends. These descendants of the Norse people (and some Irish) weren’t infected with Romance Fever as early, or for as long, as the Continentals. This allowed them to become literate, yet not become severely romantic. Meanwhile, in mainland Europe, Germanic traditions were infected. So while the same stories of the oral tradition live on for a bit, they were treated as vulgar and passe…sort of like the American Coastal Elite’s view of gun-toting Bible-thumpers.

[2b] We still see this today. My home, Texas, is to America what America is to the world. And it is absolutely lousy with strong, beautiful, independent women who are loud, obnoxious, and monstrously entitled–and the men who enable them. “Sassiness” is virulent. The majority are downright stiff-necked, crude, and ungrateful. Texans are, perversely, proud of this. Women like Sarah Palin are hugely popular down here, and seen as the epitome of conservative strength.

(This post was edited to correct attribution of the quote from Dalrock to Lewis.)

A Question I Can’t Answer

If tradition is so great at inculcation, why don’t I know any actual traditionalists? Was there a rapture of all the traditionalists and no one heard? Where is the success? Where are the children of traditionalists?

C’mon: Anyone can call themselves a traditionalist. The most fervent apologists for tradition have been “traditional” for about five minutes. Is that a trustworthy source? Would a traditionalist find a tradition of five minutes trustworthy?