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?

The Worst Spin Class Ever

In Dalrock’s post “A god we must obey” he wrote:

Pastors Dave Wilson and Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. both teach that a wife’s sexual attraction (or lack thereof) to her husband is a signal from God regarding her husband’s righteousness.

Another form of [the message of  is the idea that a woman’s sexual/romantic desires are sanctifying.  Drs Mohler and Moore teach that the romantic feelings of the wife (instead of the commitment of marriage) are needed to purify sex.  Without the wife providing the purifying cover of her romantic desire, married sex becomes dirty, merely rubbing body parts together.  Former CBMW president Owen Strachan had something similar in mind when he described God honoring romance.  All of this of course goes back just over a thousand years to the idea of courtly love, which CS lewis describes as:

The sentiment, of course, is love, but love of a highly specialized sort, whose characteristics may be enumerated as Humility, Courtesy, Adultery, and the Religion of Love. The lover is always abject. Obedience to his lady’s lightest wish, however whimsical, and silent acquiescence in her rebukes, however unjust, are the only virtues he dares to claim.

Great stuff. Dalrock’s absolutely right. I added this comment:

I’ve twice now listened to a Modern Scholar’s audiobook “Masterpieces of Medieval Literature”, and the author (Timothy Shutt) speaks extensively on the rise of courtly love; referencing C.S. Lewis’ book several times.

But he also goes back one step further, which I found very compelling. He says the fuse was lit by St. Francis of Assisi, who promoted a new affective style of Christian worship. According to Shutt, St. Francis created the first creche (Nativity) and emphasized emoting over the motifs of Baby Jesus, and Mary as the mother of an infant. This emphasis opened the door to a feelings-based style of worship, and transmuted the idea from love-as-obedience to love-as-warm-feelings. He says this permeated the whole of European Christianity, including and especially Christian concepts of marriage and romance.

Every time I think about how emotionalism has overrun the church, I think about this video… You have to see it to believe it.[1] Don’t miss the appropriated lyrics. As an effort of pseudo-Christianity it gets high marks in several categories: lazy, disturbing, and bullshit. In a word: relevant.

Check out the face of the girl at the 3:37 mark. She doesn’t know how to behave.

[1] I think I saw this years ago at Michael Spencer’s Internet Monk, before he died.

Why People Choose Insanity

In a comment on yesterday’s post, Greenmantlehoyos wrote:

Man, thanks for being sane.

Hey man, my pleasure. It’s no sweat to be sane on the Internet while writing under a nom de guerre to a self-selected group of like-minded people . Sanity is a more difficult trick to pull in real life. It takes guts because there are risks. People–coworkers, friends, even family–might stop talking to you.

Or the reverse: Maybe you get surrounded by people (a group of coworkers, for example) who want to know why you have such wrong thoughts. Then you have to explain yourself, and then maybe also you find out that you don’t know how to explain yourself because you haven’t really thought these things through as far as you should have.

Maybe you were just going off intuition; which is another way of saying that you once had a glimpse of a true observation before you closed your eyes and went back to work; even though that glimpse has stuck with you. But a glimpse is no foundation for an argument. You’ve got to take a good hard look at the world in front of you to make an argument. Then you have to question yourself–take a good hard look at yourself–to try to know whether what you are now seeing for the first time is real, or if you have imagined it.

The latter–imagining things–becomes a real possibility. If what you see now is real, and if it conflicts with what you’ve always thought to be real, then you must accept that all your life up until now you have been imagining what you saw rather than really seeing it. At first this seems like a complication and a pain in the ass. But if you are brave then it’s an opportunity to elevate yourself above your peers. That’s a good thing. It’s also often lonesome.

Loneliness is tough. Years ago I was at a party. We were laughing and drinking and having a good time. Then my best friend said to me, laughing, “You are a lot more fun when you drink!” I got angry, but he was right. Later, looking at it with open eyes I understood that I got angry because he was right, and I had interpreted it as wholly derogatory of me. But it wasn’t. The thing about alcohol is that it slows down the brain. After a couple drinks I am within actual talking distance of others.

Excellence, by its nature, separates.

Half-Cocked Variations

On the topic of “Shotgun Dads” trying to scare their daughters’ dates or boyfriends, Scott wrote:

Set aside all the stuff you tell yourself and probably your wife about “traditional values and gender roles” or whatever. You cannot, in todays world seriously plan on carrying out any of these threats. You are puffing out your chest to “scare” off the “bad” boys, who know you are full of crap.

He’s right. And if the date in question really is a bad boy this attitude is helpful to him for a couple reasons. First of all, any girl who is entertaining a bad boy is expressing to her father that his approval is meaningless. Attempts to warn off a bad boy heighten the stakes of the game she is playing. The most likely outcome is that she will do more with the bad boy, and sooner. Second, bad boys don’t want permission. They are planning to leave after they’ve had their fun any way. A father who falsely threatens is dancing to the same song as the bad boy.

The best foil to the plans of bad boys and the girls who want them is to trap them in forced commitment. If only someone had thought of that.

16 “If a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed and lies with her, he shall give the bride-price for her and make her his wife. 17 If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the bride-price for virgins.

That is impossible in the modern world. However, the minds and desires and spirits of humans–including those of girls and bad boys–have not changed since that was written. A protective father could adopt the Lord’s strategy in the OT to our weakened and less manful times by introducing the topic of marriage every time a date/boyfriend’s name is raised, or whenever he is around. Girls perhaps don’t want to marry right now, but they all want to be marriageable right now.

A father could cajole or question a boy to express how he finds the daughter marriageable. This is sure to cause discomfort, but most girls will not be able to resist the temptation to inspect every nook and cranny of the boy’s hems and haws. Any resistance by either the girl or boy to such lines of inquiry ought to be met with the innocent and forthright truth that Christian sexual and romantic relations are always concerned with, and pointed towards, marriage.

Scott also wrote:

It feels good, because all the women around you pat you on the head and nod approvingly. You have earned your cookie.

This is incorrect. If any women pat a man on the head for this it’s because she think he’s a fool; like how a mother “Awwws” over and hugs a child who has done something stupid. It’s not a reward, but consolation.

Dalrock wrote a post commenting on Scott’s post and elaborated in a similar direction as one of my previous essays. While I agree with what both Scott and Dalrock are seeing–the foolishness and the empty posturing–I do wonder what we should expect of most men. I’m much smarter than the average guy, yet my blog isn’t brimming with answers. And it is by far average guys who say things like, “I’ll be cleaning my gun when my daughter’s date gets here.” They’re fantasizing. It’s a really stupid fantasy with contradictions and perversion, but its seed is a honorable desire to protect their daughters. That desire is wholly frustrated because we live in a really shitty culture. Dissolute elites and social science freaks have spent years undermining husbands and outlawing every embodiment of patriarchy. Fathers have been legally emasculated so that no man may truly say it was he who protected his family.

Until there is either an outbreak of sanity, or a breakdown of political entities, we have only one option: Be humble, brave, and truthful; any one of which cannot be done without the others.  Many will protest and question what good are such spiritual weapons against the materialist weapons of our enemies. They’ll put forward some scheme or system which pretends to be a psychological machine that produces Good Kids (or controlled women). They’ll say, “Look what I did. I did this and this and this, and I made my kids do that and that and that, and now they’re so awesome because I did it right.”  That’s as foolish as saying you’re going to scare away bad boys from the girls who love them.

If anyone did it right, then what he did was recognize the truth, told it to himself, told it to those around him, and then tried to live in obedience to it.