Thrasymachus has written an interesting post about my comments on the Reformation.
I have been meaning to expand in considerable detail my thoughts on that subject. I’m also convinced that “it all goes back” (i.e., the collapse of American civilization) to the Reformation.
“The Modern World,” as some have called it, goes back to the secular and religious trends that were swirling around the time Columbus discovered the Americas and when Martin Luther launched the Protestant Reformation in Germany a few decades later.
Unlike Thrasymachus, I don’t hold the Renaissance Papacy in very high esteem as a spiritual institution. Many volumes have been written about the Borgias and their successors. It will suffice to say that the Catholic Church had become a very worldly institution in that period.
Before there was Protestantism, it must not be forgotten that there was Humanism. The banner of this website is taken from Raphael’s “School of Athens” which was painted in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican around the time Luther was making his pilgrimage to Rome.
“School of Athens” is a beautiful fresco – we honor the Roman Catholic Church by displaying it here.
It is a real credit to the Vatican’s contribution to Western civilization which reflects the revival of interest in the Greco-Roman classics during that period. Pope Julius II also had Michelangelo decorating the ceiling of the Sistene Chapel back then.
In the 21st century, we can look back on the aesthetic accomplishments of the Renaissance Papacy with the perspective of an American tourist and find much to admire. We can also see that it was tasteful worldly men like Pope Julius II and Pope Leo X who were commissioning this artwork.
It must have taken a lot of money to patronize all these artists and to build all these great palaces in Italy. Where was the money coming from?
Now here we get to the heart of the issue: it all started when Pope Leo X sent Johann Tetzel into Germany to sell indulgences to raise money for the construction of the extravagant St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Luther responded by nailing that famous document on the church door in Wittenberg in 1517: that was the beginning of the catastrophic decline of the Catholic Church in Northern Europe, a blow from which it never recovered, and the start of a historical arc that ultimately led to the creation of the United States.
There is a lot of empty talk on the internet about the need to preserve our culture. Just what is our culture though? It is Protestantism.
In Luther, you can see the very first “American”: he nails that document to the Wittenberg church door, he writes the Archbishop of Mainz to inform him of his opinion, he starts to assert the doctrine of the relationship between the individual Christian and God, he stands up against the Inquisition in the name of reason, faith, and conscience, he demands that his errors be proven, etc.
In Wittenberg, Luther becomes a preacher, not a Roman Catholic priest. His greatest act of sabotage was to translate the Bible into the German language. It was a revolutionary act of defiance to bring the Word of God directly to the German people in their own language.
In the process of translating the Bible into German from Latin, Luther effectively created an entirely new religion, as the Bible didn’t mean the same thing in German or English that it had meant in Latin and Greek.
At the end of his life, Martin Luther had taken a wife with whom he had six children. There were Protestant churches throughout Germany and Northern Europe. The Bible had been translated into German, English, French and other European languages.
We haven’t gotten to the story of America yet … but, there are groups of dissenting Protestants in Europe with their own confessions, who through England would ultimately travel to North America to found English colonies along the Atlantic seaboard in the 17th century.
In the intervening years (1517 to 1607), Europe would be convulsed by religious warfare between Protestants and Catholics, which culminated in the Thirty Years’ War which lasted from 1618 to 1648. America was taking shape in North America while the Wars of Religion were raging in Western Europe.
How does this touch upon race?
It is important to keep in mind that Catholics and Protestants settled the New World. Spain and Portugal established their sphere of influence in Latin America. Britain and France fought over North America until the Seven Years’ War.
In the Spanish and Portuguese colonies, which is to say the Catholic colonies, there was widespread miscegenation which led to the creation of Mexicans and Brazilians. This was also true of French North America where the Catholic French were not as reticent about interbreeding with American Indians.
In the British colonies, which were settled by dissenting Anglo-Protestants, you have the English planting a Protestant culture which would have a remarkably different fate than the French, Spanish, and Portuguese colonies.
In Virginia and New England, the Anglo-Protestant colonists started out as Englishmen and Protestants, and they made an effort to convert the American Indians to Protestantism. This evangelism would continue in New England and Virginia until around King Phillips’ War and Bacon’s Rebellion.
By 1700, the “American” has emerged into full blossom in Massachusetts and Virginia: he is an English speaker, a Protestant, and now he is a White man. There is something like an American national identity taking shape around a racialized version of Protestantism.
The Americans looked back to the Old Testament and interpreted their conflicts with the Indians through the prism of the old tribal faith that had motivated the Israelites in their conquest of Canaan. Isn’t that what the Americans were doing in North America?
Weren’t the Americans the Israelites in the wilderness of North America? Wasn’t it our national destiny to conquer this bountiful continent which had been delivered to us by Divine Providence? What sense did it make to mix the blood of the new Israelites with the Canaanites?
As the Puritans knew, God had warned the Israelites about the dangers of miscegenation in the Old Testament. This is where the American ideal of “racial purity” came from which was the foundation of “the color line.”
In the 18th century, the Americans went through the Great Awakening and the American Revolution, and our world here in North America was completely transformed in the process of severing our ties to the British Empire.
In the 17th century and 18th century, Western Europe had reacted to the Wars of Religion and the Scientific Revolution by reviving speculative natural philosophy – there was a great hope that human society could be established on a firm rational and scientific basis like Newtonian physics.
In North America, the American frontiersmen were consumed by the problem of managing the black slaves and defeating the Indians who were being pushed back into the interior – under the racialized version of Protestantism, the Americans had begun their long march to the Pacific.
In Western Europe, the Europeans were trying to figure out how to put an end to the religious wars, had grown excited by contemporary developments in science and philosophy, and had begun to ponder how to reconstruct human society through the use of reason.
During the American Revolution, Enlightenment philosophy (which had been flourishing in Western Europe) was borrowed to justify separating from the British Empire. In New England, which launched the American Revolution, it put down much deeper roots than in the Southern colonies.
Also in the North, the Quakers and Unitarians appeared in the late 18th century, and their negative philanthropic influence along with the imported version of ideological liberalism from Britain and France would soon have a disastrous impact upon American racialism there.
By 1800, the United States had become an independent country, and the “Americans” were now English speakers, Anglo-Protestants, and White men who subscribed to republican political principles.
In the nineteenth century, the American experiment succumbed to its own growing heterogeneity: the North and South diverged into separate nations, the War Between the States broke out, and the Confederacy lost the war and its independence.
In the North, the Revolution had been very ideological, and fidelity to the revolutionary ideology for subsequent generations of Northerners meant pushing the limits of their abstract doctrine to ever greater extremes.
There was also a religious revolution going on there: the Quakers and Unitarians, the evangelical Protestants that emerged from the Second Great Awakening, and the secular intellectuals like the Transcendentalists who were keeping up with fashionable European intellectual trends transformed the existence of slavery within the Union into a moral and ideological issue that eventually succeeded in fracturing and toppling the Union.
The North was also developing a commercial and industrial economy. This was attracting wave after wave of European immigrants from Catholic Ireland and the Catholic parts of Germany. It was well on the way to becoming the “Nation of Immigrants.”
In contrast, the South had remained agrarian and was becoming even more deeply committed to negro slavery. The European immigrants were settling in the North. The South had remained Protestant and was the expansionist section of the United States.
The South was evolving into a feudal society. Aristocracy was becoming fashionable. Enlightenment liberalism was fading here. Racial science was thriving and pre-Darwinian theories like polygenism were in the air. Southerners had turned their eyes toward Northern Mexico and Cuba as fresh targets for American expansion.
In the aftermath of the War Between the States, the cancerous ideology and the cancerous religious trends in the North (which grew more serious in the 19C) triumphed within the Union. This culminated in the abolition of slavery and the Reconstruction experiment of extending citizenship to the negro “freedmen” and passing civil rights legislation to make them our social and political equals in America.
By 1900, the United States was essentially the Northern states, which had developed its own unique racial system. The Americans were White Christians (there was some confusion on this point given the unresolved and contested status of blacks, Asians, and Indians) who subscribed to an ideological version of republicanism.
Meanwhile, the Jim Crow South had diverged into its own alternative universe. From 1865 until 1965, Dixie had its own racial caste system, its own racialized culture, its own political system, and the Reconstruction amendments had been nullified in the South by the Plessy decision.
In the South, the Americans were still English speakers, Protestants, and White men who subscribed to a conservative version of republicanism. It was still an agrarian society that was dominated by a homogeneous ethnic group descended from the British Isles.
In the 20th century, these two worlds which had been diverging for 100 years collided a second time in the “Civil Rights Movement,” which lasted from 1955 until 1968. The assault upon the South was renewed by the Supreme Court in the Gaines decision in 1938 which was followed by the Brown decision in 1954 and Loving vs. Virginia in 1967.
From 1900 until 1965, the North was transformed once again: this time an enormous wave of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe had settled in the North, the backlash against Nazi Germany had popularized anti-racism there, the American victory over the Great Depression and Allied victory over the Axis Powers had led to a utopian mindset, and the Jews and their non-WASP allies had risen to power in the financial world, the universities, and the mass media in the North.
By the 1950s, the traditional WASP elite in the North (i.e., the Madison Grants, the Henry Adams, the Charles Davenports, the Henry Cabot Lodges, etc) was being overthrown by the present day multiethnic elite that was graduating from the North’s universities which had switched to the meritocratic system in the aftermath of the Second World War.
From the 1930s until the 1970s, the great project of redefining Americanism had begun in the North, as the new elite displaced the old WASP elite by demonizing it as racist, sexist, homophobic, reactionary, bigoted, and so forth – they completely rewrote American history during this period.
In the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement, the Northern multiethnic elite of Jews and deracinated White liberals became a multiracial/multicultural elite that expanded to include blacks, Hispanics, Asians, homosexuals, women, etc.
By 1970, the “Americans” were people who subscribed to a perverted strain of liberal ideology which was heavily influenced by European intellectual trends like Marxism and postmodernism. For the first time in American history, there was no longer any racial, ethnic, religious, or cultural basis to Americanism.
This revolution had begun in the North which was conquered between the 1920s and the 1970s. In the 1950s and the 1960s, the new multiethnic elite used the power of the federal government and the mass media to impose its racial and cultural ideals on the South.
See, the revolutionary destruction of traditional Americanism had begun in the North, where it had been opposed by Henry Adams, Henry Ford, and Madison Grant, because that was the unhinged section of the United States where all the insurgents had been invited to settle back in the “Melting Pot” days.
They didn’t settle in Dixie because the Jim Crow South had a totally different racial, political, cultural, and economic system. It was the industrial and commercial economy of the Northern states, its huge inviting cities which were hungry for “cheap labor,” and its religious and ethnic confusion and ideological orientation that had created the fatal opening which the predatory elite walked through in the JFK years.
By the year 2011, it was becoming obvious that the Universal Church of Political Correctness was losing its grip on power. The American elite that rose to power from the 1930s to the 1970s was staring down the barrel of a gun. The old tactic of hauling every dissenter before the Inquisition to be put on trial for heresy against Black Run Amerika wasn’t working anymore.
(1) First, the American elite had been drawn from disparate sources through the meritocratic system which was established in the postwar years – the people who rose to power through that system didn’t feel any sense of obligation to ordinary folks in the Heartland, and used their newfound power only to feather their own nests at the expense of the nation at large.
(2) Second, the American elite was committed to a progressive ideology which had no correspondence to reality, which over time began to erode the cultural and economic foundation of American prosperity and jeopardize its grip on power.
(3) Third, the American elite had begun to systematically deconstruct the American nation, which came at the cost of losing legitimacy and narrative power over vast swathes of the Heartland.
(4) Fourth, the rise of social media allowed Americans in the Heartland to start constructing their own narrative, and they began to demonize “the establishment” and “the political class” and the “Mainstream Media” and were beginning to explicitly organize themselves as an opposition party.
(5) Fifth, the American elite was always incredibly unstable because of its own heterogeneity and its total alienation from White people in the Heartland, which made it easy to castigate as “the Other.” It had nothing at its disposal but wealth and fantasy ideology to legitimize its grip on power.
(6) Sixth, the price of Black Run Amerika and the political class to White America was becoming unbearable, and there was so much cognitive dissonance between the ideology of the political class and the hard facts of reality for the despised ordinary White family that it was resulting in a narrative rupture and a total loss of legitimacy for the American elite.
And so, we can return all the way back to the beginning of Modernity when Luther and Calvin launched that revolt against the Catholic Church.
In Protestant America and Protestant Northern Europe, every Protestant has been told to shut up, conform, and submit to the authority of the liberal establishment since 1945 – unless they want to be hauled before the Secular Inquisition and put on trial, excommunicated from respectability, or thrown in prison by the ruling class for the manufactured sins against liberal dogma of “racism” and “extremism” and “anti-Semitism” and “nativism” and “xenophobia,” etc.
The very essence of Protestantism, which is the foundation of American culture, is that the individual answers only to God, that the individual is supposed to follow his reason and conscience, that the individual Christian is as good as any fallible Pope or “Human Rights Commission,” and has the right, the freedom, and the duty to question the New York Times, NPR, and President Barack Hussein Obama if they are abusing the faithful and steering them down a disastrous course.
That is precisely what has been undone in the United States and Northern Europe by the secular liberal establishment since 1945. Nowhere has Protestantism been undone more than in Britain, Sweden, Canada, and Germany where ordinary people live in mortal terror of the thought police.
If Martin Luther were published in the Federal Republic of Germany in the year 2011, he would be thrown in prison for all sorts of heresies. No one who is familiar with John Calvin’s Geneva can possibly lay American and Dutch degeneracy at the doorstep of Calvinism.
All of our better instincts in America to oppose degeneracy, to make up our own minds, to follow our own conscience, to love learning, and to question authority trace back to Luther and Calvin. The same is true of the racialized faith and the rationalized nationalism that drove American expansion across North America from the 17C to the 19C.
Insofar as American Catholics are opposed to the racial status quo in the United States, it is because they are marinated in America’s Protestant culture, which inspires them to dissent from the Roman Catholic Church and make up their own minds about this issue.
Protestants and Catholics have been conforming to the mores and ideology of the American liberal establishment which has captured every important cultural institution in our society (just look at Yale, Princeton, and Harvard) – liberalism, a secular fantasy ideology, is now the universal faith which rules unchallenged over all of Western civilization.
This is not the time for Protestants to pick a fight with Catholics, or for Catholics to pick a fight with Protestants, when both Protestants and Catholics subscribe to a Christian faith that is utterly incompatible with liberalism.
Liberalism is the enemy.
Martin Luther King, Jr. has assumed the role of Jesus Christ in Black Run Amerika. The Civil Rights Martyrs (CRM) like John Lewis, Emmett Till, and Rosa Parks have replaced the saints and martyrs of Christianity. The gospel of anti-racism and diversity has become a sacred dogma. The only sacred marriage in the United States is a gay marriage. Divorce and abortion are now sacred rights.
There are now Medieval shrines in Black Run Amerika like the Edmund Pettus Bridge which attract thousands of liberal pilgrims every year who walk over that magical bridge. Barack Hussein Obama and Hillary Clinton walked over that bridge in 2007.
Whiteness has been transformed into the Original Sin. There is now a shrine to the divine MLK on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Charles Krauthammer claimed in his column that MLK has ascended to the American Pantheon.
I could continue to elaborate on the secular religion that is American liberalism, but it will suffice to say that the new ideological wine of liberalism has been poured into the old Christian bottles, and that the theological differences which separate Protestants and Catholics are rather small compared to the ones that separate Christians from the doctrine of liberalism and its degenerate clergy of secular intellectuals in our universities.
The liberal faith is what has to be eradicated in this country.
Every time I wake up in the morning burning with a zeal that inspires me to take the time out of my day to attack Paul Krugman and Tom Friedman and Roger Cohen and the rest of the liars and frauds in the Universal Church of Political Correctness and the Mainstream Media on this website, I am reminded of that numbered list of 95 theses that Martin Luther nailed on that door in Wittenberg almost 500 years ago.
For some strange reason, I have never cared what those morons and idiots thought about me. I never thought much of the authority of the liberal establishment. I will never renounce my beliefs or prostrate myself before those fools either.
It was an attitude that I had absorbed by osmosis from my own Protestant culture. There is absolutely nothing that I enjoy more than smashing their idols. I would love to see dynamite strapped to that MLK statue in Washington. Every single holy shrine to the “Civil Rights Movement” in Dixie ought to be eradicated.