A Loss of Purpose


Sorry this is so late.  I’m alive, I just woke up early to get “fasting”blood tests and they took a while (there’s always a wait at these places) so I’ve just now had my first coffee of the morning.  Maybe I’m groggy and confused.

But what I want to talk about is gods.

Yes, plural, because it’s an historic thing.

I’ve been reading Campbell’s books on mythology, primitive, oriental, occidental and imaginative, mostly because one of my trilogies that needs to be rewritten (partly because it was only a novel.  660 words long. Look, I was young and had no clue of the realities of the market.) deals with a primitive religion which within the confines of the world is not actually a religion at all (though it’s been attached to it) but the feeding of an alien parasite which allows the host to do magic. (Okay, some of us are really uncomfortable with straightforward magic.)

Anyway, take it for what my foggy brain can dredge up.  As most of you know I’m a religious believer even if weirdly twisted and unorthodox (partly through having feet in two faiths by upbringing, and a heck of a lot of overthinking to confuse things.)

I am also by nature a non-conformist, meaning if something is rigidly enforced I instinctively fight free of it. I might come back again, but it has to be because I’ve decided to come back.

Taking all that into account the sheer secularization of society and my own psyche sometimes catches me unawares and renders me breathless, as I realize I’ve made a decision or done something as though I were sure there was nothing after death.  I see it even more so in our society.  Even our welfare system and even religious charities that offer relief without the need to “listen to the sermon” i.e. without any moral guidance or effort at straightening out your life assume there’s nothing hereafter.  Why do I say that?  Because charity is supposed to be offered, sure, but you’re supposed to make sure this person’s eternal life will be saved. That the suffering and the relief, both work to the greater good of making this person a candidate for heaven (or at least purgatory.)  The fact that the “charity” proffered by most churches enables and encourages the continuance of what is often a life of vice works contrary to that.  By their actions, the churches are proclaiming they don’t believe in what should be their greater purpose.

So, with that in mind, excuse me as I fling out a brace of disjointed thoughts.  Not because I don’t want to take time to join them/work them through but because the greater sense of the thing is right now a feeling, more than a thought, and I’m looking forward to YOUR thoughts to enlighten me.

  • I’ve often said that Western civilization died in WWI.  It’s when we lost our animating purpose (to my mind.)  Since then we’ve been self-hating, a disability which the virus of Marxism in all its forms enables and worsens.
  • Campbell dates the loss of belief in Christianity as an orthodox and universal faith to the 12th century, which ties in with my readings on the great death/black plague and the feeling that something broke in the western psyche then.
  • Is it possible that in the intervening centuries, what animated western civilization was not a belief in G-d (even though that belief was still paid lip service) but a belief in the state.  It is from around that time that the conflation of church and state starts, becoming more intense in the religious breakdown of Germany (Such the prince, such the religion.)  It is also from then that we get loony genealogies linking European kings to putative children of Jesus by Mary Magdalene, thereby allowing the king to claim to be descended from Himself. So the belief in the ethereal and eternal was replaced with allegiance to a people/ruler.
  • Which started breaking down … well, with our revolution, even if the ones that followed us were less kindly and more totalitarian.  So the belief in an Earthly power became more abstract: a belief in a people/state/the might of the blah blah people.  (We’re a little different as we believe in principles, which in turn call back to Himself. But that’s in theory.  A lot of people still regard presidents as kings — even some presidents — and WANT them to be so.)
  • And then WWI, that vast abattoir for nothing in particular removed patriotism and the faith in the nation-state which was at that point the TRUE faith of the Western nations.
  • Leaving us with? — it is perhaps no coincidence that the US, where religious faith is still WAY stronger than in Europe, and patriotism, oddly, also way stronger than in Europe, the virus of socialism/communism/marxism has less penetration.  Nor that the virus penetrates harder and deeper into those classes either hereditarily or educationally vacated of all other belief.
  • Which brings us to why Marxists hate and attack religion, even as most mainline religions have been infiltrated and struggle madly to adapt to the demands of the left.  Because while religious belief in something/someone else, however attenuated exists, it prevents the full penetration of the Marxist mind-virus
  • This also explains their insane attacks on people like Jordan Peterson, who offer — if not faith — a discipline for living which by itself precludes Marxism.
  • The crazy blood-and-soil call themselves right also hate Peterson, and frankly any other form of discipline or belief that might impair what they hope and want to be a return to faith in nation-and-people.
  • This blood and soil faith might even work for rejuvenating most of western civilization.  I expect it to be the animating force of a second European renaissance — if Europe is not too far gone.  It might be.  When there aren’t that many young people and those that are are drug/alcohol addicted, it might be gone beyond ressurgence — and frankly it’s better than the alternative.  Though if it works at all, the convulsions leading to “workable” will be long and bloody.
  • It will not work for the US, not only because we weren’t formed in the same way (not people, coalescing by blood real or imagined.  Even at the time of the revolution there were as many Germans as Englishmen on the land) and frankly now we’re a hodgepodge of races, something that can’t easily be disguised in a time of genetic/genealogical testing.
    That said, we’re not in as bad a shape as the rest of the west, and a mere coalescing around the civic virtues derived from the constitution, a pride in our heritage, a learning of our ancestral thinkers might be enough.
    Of course, the contagion from blood-and-soil will come from Europe, but will it be more or less trouble than the Marxist mind-virus now leaking into the minds of those for whom Europe will always be a lodestar?  I’d guess less, as it’s not as… convincing and self-sealed a system, nor can it be made so in a nation where blood and soil aren’t covalent.
  • The one thing absolutely sure is that our schools work against ANY belief except in Marxism and internationalism, which are presented as “sensible” and “rational.”  (They’re not.)
  • This creates in all of the West a situation similar to that of a conquered tribe in pre-history (to which to a great extent our minds still belong.)  When tribe conquered tribe, the gods of the defeated were broken and humiliated.  This usually led to a state where the defeated tribe stopped reproducing/their women attached to the victors/and eventually they stopped existing utterly (unless they retained belief, despite all.  We know at least a tribe who did that, but there are others, not as prominent.)
  • This is possibly because, as a Galilean Rabi said, “Man doesn’t live of bread alone.”  Whatever else we are, we’re creatures of belief and of aspiration.  Man devoid of those is not worth the name, but a poor creature, worse than the apes since the apes don’t need to see themselves in a story or to believe in something bigger than themselves to live.
  • And this is what’s consuming western civilization.  Marxism is a virus, sure.  But it’s more like the creatures that infect a tree whose core has been sundered by lighting.  Where there’s any other sort of belief, it can’t survive.  It only occupies where nothing else lives.
  • For us, and civilization to survive, belief, religious or secular — Rome survived for centuries on the belief in the God-Emperor long after they’d become fuzzy on their other deities — must be found and forged.
  • It’s easy for Europe to return to an earlier form of belief, but it fits atrociously badly in the US.
  • So, we need to teach and communicate our civic virtues and our special destiny in the annals of man, and leave it to each individual to believe or not believe in anything above that in respect for our freedom of religion.
  • And that’s the best we can do, so let’s put shoulder to the wheel.


185 thoughts on “A Loss of Purpose

  1. You say, “Which brings us to why Marxists hate and attack religion, even as most mainline religions have been infiltrated and struggle madly to adapt to the demands of the left. Because while religious belief in something/someone else, however attenuated exists, it prevents the full penetration of the Marxist mind-virus.”

    But (although they won’t admit it) Marxism is a religion. A particularly fundamentalist one, which brooks no opposition to its dogma. It will infiltrate and subvert existing religions to turn them into proselytizers for the one true religion, Marxism, but it will do it’s best to destroy any other religion that contradicts or competes with Marxism. In this it’s very much like Islam, which is perhaps why the two religions seem to get along so well (at least until they no longer have a common infidel enemy to destroy, at which point they will turn on each other with great bloodshed).

      1. Marxism cannot accept religions other than itself because religions recognize that there is something of greater importance than the state.  Marxism is, as has been observed, a godless religion.

        1. Well, it’s different from those atheists who do not want there to be something more important than themselves. . . .

          1. Me myself and I agree, we don’t need nobody else.
            I never learned to bow, bend, or crawl to any known authority.
            I really wanna build my statue tall.
            That’s all. 

      2. I think not only is it their belief in the divinity of the Almighty State, but also the massive amount of narcisssim that pervades society, which has resulted in a self-centered arrogance that would put the Greek pantheon to shame (or for those Stargate SG-1 fans would be a bridge too far for a Gou’ald System Lord)

    1. Marxist hostility of religion isn’t even original to Marx, being a carryover from the philosophy of the Young Hegelians. They were quite hostile to Prussian church and state as they placed restrictions that prevented perfect freedom. Destruction of church and state as prerequisites for creation of a new “perfect” society wasn’t original to Marx.

      1. Nod, the French “Enlightenment” was very hostile toward clergy and the Church.

        1. And so come the French Revolution the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris was taken from the Catholic Church and rededicated to the Cult of Reason and then to the Cult of the Supreme Being. Before they were done it was used a warehouse.

          1. I knew about the “Cult Of Reason” but didn’t remember hearing of the “Cult of the Supreme Being”.

            I disagree with the Theology of the Catholic Church but those idiots were bigots.

        2. Given the reported corruption in French clergy, such an attitude is understandable, although I wouldn’t care to defend it.

          1. It is very easy to destroy morality when the arbiters of moral value show themselves to be the most despicable of people.

            It is good to have a well developed sense of schadenfreude; I’d be weeping otherwise.

      2. Marx himself said as much – that before one could accept his teachings it was necessary to be “baptised in the Feuerbach”

        1. All Marx really managed to do was create a new philosophy with all the flaws of Young Hegelian and add more flaws atop it. Mind you, I’m not saying the Marxists and Young Hegelians were not alone in having deeply flawed philosophy. I find the State-worship of the Old Hegelians, and the much of the thoughts of Rosseau, to be greatly flawed as well. Locke is far more appealing, personally.

  2. I would imagine there are areas in the Americas where blood-and-soil could take hold and be quite troublesome – think Ghengis degree of troublesome – but that it is unlikely given the cultural overlay of us darn ‘murcans that applies pretty much everywhere. Even if things fall quite emphatically apart, that cultural context would still apply.

    Given that cultural context, only a sufficiently large perturbation that causes any significant degree of falling-apart could enable something like that. And if there was such, I’d imagine the new thing would be based on that context as a blood-and-soil-rhyming Kratman-esq sequence of a civil order reboot that results in an expansionist imperium, which retains the pasted-on labels and forms of the prior Constitutional Republic without the pesky representational democracy and sovereign-citizenry bits.

    But frankly the Europeans have a lot more experience at the whole Imperium thing, so it’s way, way more likely over there than here.

    1. If I sweat blood to develop that soil, and shed blood to defend it; I’m going to fight body and soul to keep it from anyone trying to take it away from me, foreign invaders, our government, or my so-called, next-door neighbor.

    2. Humans, by their very nature, are tribal. The wonder of America isn’t the residual tribalism (which the Left likes to either embrace or denigrate, depending on which tribe and their mood), it’s how much we’ve overcome tribalism with the overlay of “American”.

      1. The danger is that with the intermixing, what happens when the tribal identities come around again. The left is all in on tribal politucs. Even the “ZOMG Russia” garbage is trying to stereotype

        1. Quite simply, we can work out that we can’t build a long term sustainable political faction on that. There isn’t enough people who hate blacks for a viable political faction, but what if they were? If the rest of the American people were united in their hatred of blacks? Well, that would be unstable. The current spokesmen for hatred of blacks, if given a greater platform, would probably bring in hatred of Asians and of English speaking Hispanics. Which splits off parts of that united political faction. We expect it would fail to a purity death spiral, maybe going next to the Irish or the Poles or the Indians.

          Blacks are not so numerous or so uniform as to inspire hatred independently of the current spokesmen. Yes, there are many who are hardcore leftist assholes, but there are a lot of other hardcore leftist assholes.

          The is probably an opportunity to realign things, because of the nuttiness of the left, and because of the unchecked nuttiness of the black identity and hispanic identity leftwing nuts. The Left anti-white faction may be having some similar vulnerabilities to the hypothetical above.

          What is a viable identity faction that can be formed? American. Through understanding aspects of our history that were not interesting enough to note at the time, we understand that what the left paints as a toxicially white uniform tyranny was very different from what their revisionist history describes. Because French, English, Spanish, German and so forth were very, very different, and could learn to live in peace. If other alien cultures ‘cannot’ learn to live with that compromise, the problem is not that Americans are unaccommodating, it is that the others refuse to participate. Treat them as outsiders, because they have opted to be.

          1. Except right now there is enough for a political party targeted against constitutionalists. And with sufficient force genocide can happen from a minority.

            1. It is very easy for a sufficiently crazy minority, faced with a majority that they do not realize is not actually dedicated to their destruction, to overestimate the amount of relative force that they are bringing to the confrontation. My guess is this likely happens before the minority is in a position to be wholly successful at genocide. That is also an ugly situation, without a lot of great political options should it happen.

              The stuff I’ve heard here about Hispanic genocide of blacks in California suggests that we aren’t seeing anything simple or neat, and that there may be points further into such mass murder where things can be resolved with a sustainable peace. Perhaps likewise the Harvard discrimination against Asians thing.

              1. Yoir lips, God’s ears. More and more i look out and expect the USG to commit genocide against anyone not in the ruling coalition. Law enforcement will do nothing to protect from mobs, will use false accusations and evidence to destroy lives, and will eventually be kneeling people before the wall and executing them. And all the vaunted “gun owning patriots” will be reviled as so many McVeighs once the slander campaign goes thru. So be perfectly ok to destroy them in drone strikes cuz terrorists.

                Remember, we are looking at queen Pelosi again next year, followed in 2020 by president Harris and ML Schumer. Trumped up charges, personal destruction and more racial ‘healing’from the government to follow

                  1. Except Shrill managed to screw up a sure thing. Even more merdeMidas than previous occupant of oval office. Even if the left runs “centrists” (some of the special election winners vote with trump more than most R’s) that was the same way Obama ran.

                1. And I’m out of the election forecasting business for the near future.

                  How do we judge elections? Anecdotally, based on people we talk to. From data, usually polling.

                  Anecdotal is only ever really solid for an area, and can be prone to bubbling. No one is really tuned into every single congressional district, and the people who got Trump right did so in 2015. It is unwise to emotionally invest in outcomes from anecdotal data on the composition of the house, or for the 2020 presidential election prior to 2019.

                  Data based, the polls missed 2016. What kind of error was that? Was it the .1% of a 99.9% confidence interval? Was it the sixty percent of a 40% confidence interval? Possibilities I see are a) unchanged voter behavior, and sound methodology b) unchanged voter behavior and unsound methodology c) changed voter behavior and sound methodology d) changed voter behavior that can be addressed by changing methodology e) changed voter behavior that can not be addressed by changing methodology. My intuition is changed voter behavior. I may be learning the statistics I would need to back of the envelope model changes in voter behavior and methodology needed to be valid for same. I have a lot of other stuff on my plate, so may not be doing that. Until I either do that, and am convinced that polling methodology is valid, or until we see the polls working well again for several elections, I think the polling data is too unreliable to trust.

                  My 2015/2016 political experience was a very bad event in a series of bad choices where emotions and politics are concerned. (I was sure Trump would lose, and the first season of Iron Blooded Orphans was warm, fluffy, and healing in comparison to my mental place.) I am simply not going to live very well if I return to the rut I was in then. To survive better, I have made some changes, and am sticking to them better than not. I’ve given up assuming outcomes, for now. I’ve given up emotional reactions to things that are ambiguous. I’ve managed periods where I’ve cut way back on politics..

                    1. Larry Sabato is saying that the House will go D, based on 1994 and mid-term trends. I drooped for a moment. But this ain’t 1994, and poli-sci isn’t science.

                    2. Good Lord. We are in COMPLETELY unknown territory here. Yes, it’s possible, but I’ve never seen the left this crazy and to be frank, I’ve never seen a president like Trump.

                    3. I’m not sure who Sabato is, but I recall Dan McLaughlin doing an extensive thing on mid-term history. (Dan is a New York lawyer, a conservative Republican, and a baseball stats nerd gone into political forecasting.)

                      Personally, extrapolating from history is extrapolating beyond the data. It was invalid when Marx did it, and you have to work really hard to do it in semi-valid ways. Sometimes you can model things well enough to forecast, and sometimes you can’t.

                      I dislike Trump, and am not committed to being for or against him. I think I could be persuaded either way by convincing evidence. It is extremely tempting to conclude that I am a proxy for the fraction of the American population which could be persuaded one way or another. (It is very likely I am not a useful proxy.) Despite knowing that it is invalid, I keep finding myself concluding from my own example that the persuadables have not yet committed themselves for or against Trump.

                      At this point, the only immediate purpose in following the allegations is if one is playing the political game at a higher level than voter. If you aren’t engaged in activism, you can safely ignore the noise and continue your planned course of voting. Yeah, playing close attention will be important for writing the history. The history of right now will also need sources that will only be available in what is currently the future.

                2. “So be perfectly ok to destroy them in drone strikes cuz terrorists.”

                  Well, until they realize that the collateral damage from those strikes in suburbs and cities is unacceptable.

                  1. Ha. Police do more collateral damage than military ever did. Just toss a bag of taxpayer money at the victim and say that rules weren’t followed, mistakes were made. Remember, the US Government cares more for the residents of other countries than the slaves it already holds.

              2. Bob, right now, we aren’t seeing a genocide of blacks by Hispanics in CA; what we ARE seeing is an ethnic cleansing, because the blacks still have (actually lots) of places to easily run to, even if it’s out of state. Genocide requires a genocidee who’s physically trapped, which is why the US refusal to admit Jewish refugees here, and the British refusal to allow them to return to Israel, were contributors to the Holocaust.

  3. Have some orange juice with your coffee, your blood sugar level probably bottomed out. I assume you meant your novel was 66.0 thousand words long, not just 660.

    Alien parasite that allows the host to do magic? Sounds like Lucas’s midichlorians.

    Charity without fixing the causes of a person’s hardship merely extends and perpetuates the problem. Which is fine if that furthers your political goal of increasing victimhood to get re-elected. Not so fine if your goal is growth of the nation and improving human lives in the long run.

    I think a true secular humanist, which I think Jordan Peterson might be categorized as, following natural law as understood by Jefferson, will come up with a set of rules to live by that resemble, if not replicate, the Judeo-Christian commandments.

    I also think we need to drive a wedge between socialism and Christian (and possibly other) religions. Half of what that Galilean Rabi is reported to have said supports communal living, the other half does not. I suspect that the RCC around the 1200s decided that pushing the communal line on the laity was the best way to keep control over them. Which is probably why socialism pushes it too.

    Humans do need religion. The programming is apparently in our genes. What religions or what kind of religions are where we have to make the decision which to support, or to build. And I have no desire to follow in L. Ron Hubbard’s shoes in that matter.

    1. Belief in an omniscient and omnipotent being at least has the option of unprovability. Belief in omnipotent government should be pretty dang obvious by now but it’s winning.

      1. Actually, the existence of an omniscient and omnipotent being can be proved. See Edward Feser’s “Five Proofs of the Existence of God”.

        Unfortunately, for a lot of people, Philosophy is hard and this is the wrong conclusion.

        1. *adds book to reading list.* This place and MGC are the best places I’ve found to get a start on learning about ANYTHING. Sooner or later someone always starts tossing about reference material!

    2. “Alien parasite that allows the host to do magic? Sounds like Lucas’s midichlorians.”

      Well, I think the midichlorians could work in a different setting. The problem with them was that they clashed hard with everything else we’d been told about the Force.It’s a mystical power, it is in everything, it connects all things to everything else, it works through belief…and it’s caused by microscopic organisms and your talent in it can be determined by a simple blood test.

      1. Maybe Lucas was trying to head off the nutcases that were making a religion out of the Force. He seemed to be a bit distressed by that.

        1. I’ve got no problem with a magical mystery tour of the universe. By the Power of the Holy Spirit, The Force, or even Greyskull. As for Lucas’s distress, if he didn’t want religious comparison or cultism of the Force, then he shouldn’t have put holy warriors and mysticism in his story.

          I can imagine Star Wars as written by Sarah having Luke and Leia as genetically engineered, super pilot, fertile mules hidden away from the Evil Empire at birth. No mysticism required beyond a little telepathy between them and others of their kind.

      2. See, perhaps in part because (despite actually studying biochemistry later) my first introduction to mitochondria was the rather fantastic version provided by Madeleine L’Engle, I just kind of… rolled with the midichlorians. The Force was previously established to be generated by life and to bind the universe, living and nonliving, together; okay, sure, we can have organelles/symbiotic organisms as part of the mechanism by which people perceive and interact with it, just like aligning and moving your macro-level body parts is (to my understanding) supposed to be part of how chi flows in the real-life disciplines that postulate it, or like how the neurons in your brain have an effect on your mind.

        But then, I also firmly assumed that what you could do with your potential and quite possibly the actual blood count was something that could be altered with practice, though perhaps only so far….

      3. Jack Chalker did the parasites as “magic”power enhancers far better in his Four Lords of the Diamond series then Star Wars (and many other works) did.

        1. Nyet, but fodder for a series of at least five or six separate books. When can we expect to see the first rough drafts?

            1. What does it split into the best without forcing it? OTOH, isn’t 100K a darned fat book already?

              1. It needs a lot of plot rewiring. It’s not only long as hell, it’s BORING because I was struggling with post-partum depression.
                If I rewire it, given I’m missing an entire half of it (It’s two brothers who aren’t twins, but look it. Oh, and one doesn’t know the other exists) it’s probably 10 books. Sigh.

                1. What so surprising about that? My non-twin sisters and I were always been asked whether we were twins, and sometimes our mother was asked as well. (Meanwhile, my mother actually is a twin, and she was once introduced to her twin by someone who knew both their names but didn’t draw the connection.) Fraternal twins remsemble each other no more than any other pair of siblings.

                  1. Had classmates that were considered twins, because they were same class level, near the same age, but were not twins, of any variety. Nor was one held back or jumped ahead. They were 11 months apart. One’s birthday was December 1955, other’s was October 1956.

                  2. Nothing surprising. But they’re half-brothers and one is illegitimate, whom the legitimate doesn’t know about. He’s kidnapped by the barbs and ends up as their leader. So they’re on opposing sides. Kind of. The real problem is the ice age pushing the barbs into civilization. (Yes, before GRRM. Sigh.)

      1. Split into 10 novels each costing between $3-$6 each. One guy charges $3 and has about 70 pages in each. He’s up to #68. I think that we’ve rediscovered Dickens serial novel!

        1. Meanwhile I’m actually considering whether a work in progress, currently looking toward 150,000 words, would be better split up.

          WAY too soon. I ought to see whether it’s that long in reality — but — does splitting up actually help sales?

          1. Apparently, sales are better for really long audiobooks on Audible, as long as they still fit under the guidelines to sell for one credit. Because bargain.

            I think people like somewhat shorter novels on Kindle.

      2. AH, wow. That’s no goat gagger, you may have choked the whole herd! /chuckle

    3. “Humans do need religion. The programming is apparently in our genes. What religions or what kind of religions are where we have to make the decision which to support, or to build.”
      This. We need religion — of some sort. And if we cannot have it in a good way, we will have it in a bad.

      1. “Per the theology of Hestiachitl no Mikoto no Kami, we set Keynesians on fire to stimulate the economy.”

  4. I’m not a student of history, so my opinion about Marxism might not be worth much. I think Marxism is pervasive because it’s based purely on emotion. Even a cursory examination of its ideas shows it’s based on things that aren’t true, and can’t even be made true. Its appeal is strictly the fantasy of “wouldn’t it be great if the world were like this” and you have to *believe* it completely, because you’ll never see evidence that it works. So it acts like one of the worst kinds of religions — where reality doesn’t line up with it — while at the same time claiming it’s *not* a religion. All this makes it insidiously attractive to people who, as you stated, are beginning to turn away from religion, yet have the innate desire to believe in something bigger than themselves. Full adherence to the tenets of Marxism are required to keep their universe intact. And by everyone, because it’s that fragile.

    I think it’s funny that Marxism claims to be scientific and reality-based, yet it doesn’t tolerate skepticism and the testing of its principles like Christianity does.

  5. What the Galilean Rabbi taught was communal living, based on the ruling principle that we treat each other as we would like to be treated, and that we voluntarily treat each other as family (in which the more able share freely with the less able). This has seldom been achieved in practice, and never for a lasting period on a large scale.
    In spite of its lapses and imperfections, the American Republic, based on the abolition of a hereditary monarch and aristocracy, limited and self government, Adam Smith’s ideas of economic freedom, and predominantly Christian but free choice and exercise of religion has perhaps come closer to this ideal than any other nation in history.
    What Marx and followers taught was communal living, based on jealousy, class hatred, and dictatorship. The radically opposed means contaminate the end so badly that they produce bloodshed, economic misery, or both every time and every place Marxist-based government has been attempted.

    1. Marx and especially his followers (or putative followers) also taught that the Commune should do its business according to dictats promulgated by pseudo-intellectual twerps with no experience of (say) farming, and far removed from the facts on the ground. Result; famine. It didn’t help in the slightest that putting that much authority in the paws of the State made control of the State an irresistable goal for driven Monsters like Stalin.

      1. So the Holodomor was caused by righteous adherence to stupid Marxist ideology? Unintended consequences of good intentions writ large.

  6. I am not a “believer” in the religious sense. That said, I recognize that a need for ritual and symbolism, a need to find “greater meaning” in things–or impose a meaning if one can’t find it–on the world. I resolve these two by following a religious “tradition” (actually quite young–practitioners may tell themselves they’re recreating “old ways” but in truth but at best they are creating a brand new one around the handful of surviving “bones” of the old) which doesn’t care about “belief” so much as ones actions. I like the delightful term a friend of mine coined “agnostipagan.”

    A lot of problems come, I think, when people try to deny this latter hard-wired need as part of their disbelief in traditional religion. That need will out, one way or another. And a common way it comes out is the deification of the State (with Marx as its prophet). And, since they are denying the religious nature, why their new source of ritual, symbolism and meaning must be “rational” and everyone who disagrees is thus a benighted fool.

    And, with “reason” and “science” on their side (It Says Here(TM)) why anything they do, no matter how heinous, is justified to bring “enlightenment” to the rest of us.

  7. One of the best fictional descriptions of the social-psychological impact of the First World War was Erich Maria Remarque’s ‘The Road Back.’ Here is one of the characters, Ludwig Breyer–a serious aspiring intellectual as a student, a dedicated and responsible officer in wartime.

    “They told us it was for the Fatherland, and they meant the schemes of annexation of a greedy industry.–They told us it was for honour, and meant the quarrels and the will to power of a handful of ambitious diplomats and princes..They stuffed the word Patriotism with all the twaddle of their fine phrases, with their desire for glory, their will to power, their false romanticism…And we thought they were sounding a bugle summoning us to a new, a more strenuous, a larger life. Can’t you see, man? But we were making war against ourselves without knowing it!…The youth of the world rose up in every land believing that it was fighting for freedom! And in every land they were duped and misused; in every land they have been shot down, they have exterminated each other.”

    I do think sort of reaction was much less-strong in the US than in the European belligerents, given our much lower proportional casualty rate.

    The American Civil War did have an especially dreadful casualty rate relative to the population: 620,000 killed, roughly comparable to the number killed in ALL of the nation’s other wars. But it does not seem to have had the same kind of loss-of-purpose effect that the First World War had on the Europeans, at least not to the same degree.

    1. The postwar depression and the “influenza” were serious here, but much more serious in Europe.

      Also, WWI smashed most of the existing social orders. The Russian Empire, and Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the German Empire ceased to exist, along with various eastern European monarchies. France, Belgium, and Holland were wrecked. The Communists were scaring the hell out of everyone, sumdood in Italy was attracting a lot of attention with his new Fascist agenda, and the march of technology was upsetting the normal social order – voice over wireless, proliferation of telephony, moving pictures (some with sound!), heavier-than-air aviation, antibiotics, mass-produced automobiles… the technological Crazy Train was gathering speed while governments staggered and economies collapsed, and “tomorrow” changed from “more of the same” to “WTF, dude?!”

      1. In Peter Drucker’s 1939 book “The End of Economic Man”, he had a chapter titled “The Return of the Demons,” which addresses the psychological roots of Fascism.

        One of these was the experience of the Great War–“Modern war appeared to be the denial of all tenets on which the mechanical and rational conception of society is based. This was not because war is amechanical and arational, but because it reduces mechanization and rationalization to absurdity…the war showed the individual suddenly as an isolated, helpless, powerless atom in a world of irrational monsters.” Another factor was the Great Depression, which “proved that irrational and incalculable forces also rule peacetime society: the threat of sudden permanant unemployment, of being thrown on the industrial scrap heap on one’s prime or even before one has started to work. Against these forces the individual finds himself as helpless, isolated, and atomized as against the forces of machine war.” As a result of these factors, “The European masses realized for the first time that existence in this society is governed not by rational and sensible, but by blind, irrational, and demonic forces.”

      2. Also, America’s industrial revolution was doing unto European industry exactly what the Chinese industrial revolution has lately done unto American industry. This rather seriously undercut Europe’s ability to recover economically.

        1. Europes’s indistrialism was also hampered by the idiocy of disdain for people in ‘trade’. This was pretty widespread in England, I know. My familiaroty with the phenomenon elsewhere in Europe is spotty. But the attitude of the Aristocracy in England certainly didn’t HELP.

          That, of course, predates WWI by a century or more. One can seemit in the framework of the Regency Romance. Amd while the Regency as depicted in that genera has about as much claim to reality as the American Western, it does have some.

            1. I thought so, but didn’t know directly. I have some feel that something like that hampered industrialization in the South, too. But that got spine-broken by the Civil War, followed by the move of the cotton mills from North to South after cheap(er) labor. I know about that because of spending summers near New Bedfors and Fall River, both milling centers that collapsed when the mill owners moved South, but don’t have a firm grasp of timing.

              1. In Europe there is also what I call aristocratic romanticism, which infects even well-to-do middle class, too, the bizarre idea the world would be better without industry or money or the “grosser things.”

              2. There were efforts to build mills in the South prior to the Civil War: in particular, there was a guy named WIlliam Gregg who not only ran his own mills but what quite the evangelist on why the South should pursue the textile industry. He didn’t get much traction, though. In addition to the distaste which most of the plantation owners had for industry, there was a reluctance on the part of many Northern and European experts to moving into a slave society.

              3. The cotton states, in particular, were obsessed with the agrarian economy. They had a very 18th Century mindset that land = wealth. And after the Industrial Revolution, this wasn’t true. Capital = wealth.

          1. Gordon Wood’s The Radicalism of the American Revolution” holds that the elevation of internal trade and industry to general respectability was one of the major social innovations of the Revolution. I happen to agree with that, myself, but it wasn’t one of the things the Founders expected to happen.

      3. Also, WWI smashed most of the existing social orders.

        And that aspect is likely a large part, beyond lower casualty percentage of population and an ocean of isolation, of why WWI did not so much affect the USA: The social order that was smashed, had been rejected earlier anyway.

    2. The de-coupeling of Church and State in the US, along with having a “good” war 1917-19, made a huge difference in the US as compared to Europe. The collapse of private as well as public faith after 1917 did far more damage to society than we realize in the States. And the USSR took it two leaps farther in Russia and Eastern Europe.*

      * Just how Christian the Baltic states were is an interesting topic. There’s a lot to suggest that “their dipping didn’t take.” At least not well.

      1. So perhaps the Teutonic Knights were right? Or wrong, depending on what areas we are talking about?

        1. Yes. Pagan practices lasted well into the 1900s. I have a feeling that having various reforms and Reformation imposed from above had a wee, small, titch bit to do with the lack of enthusiasm for Christianity.

          1. Weeeell, there are a lot of “pagan practices” in Europe that turn out to be Christian practices from the 1600’s. But some of the Balkan stuff is really pagan.

            OTOH, having exciting fun stuff for St. Elisha’s Day or St. Jeremiah’s Day usually turns out to be Scriptural, it you use the Septuagint or read the right Greek hagiography.

            1. Leaving offerings in springs for the local water spirit to preclude drought, making gifts to rocks in thanks for the land spirits’ and ancestors’ generosity…

              1. Yeah, that is the pagan stuff. Although teeeechnically, feeding the fairies is a lot like feeding birds or tipping people; it is not necessarily against Christianity unless you want it to be. It’s just that Slavic fairies are killcrazy psychopaths if you tick them off, even more than other European fairies.

                Although throwing coins into water seems like more of a compulsive human activity than a pagan offering, given how many people always do it, even when it is totally uncoupled from religion, charitable giving, or luck superstitions. Monkey likes rocks going plunk, I guess.

        2. Having just returned from Latvia i find this interesting. The Namejs ring is extremely popular. It supposedly goes back to the last 12th century pagan leader fighting the Teutonic nights Christianizing the Latvians. The ring became popular after a historical novel, “Nameja gredzens” (“Ring of Namejs”) was published in 1928. I recognize them as the Latvia club ring.

    3. “But it does not seem to have had the same kind of loss-of-purpose effect that the First World War had on the Europeans, at least not to the same degree.”

      That would be because, in the North at least, when they were told they were fighting for liberty, it was an objective verifiable fact that they were, in fact, setting captives free.

      The South, OTOH, did have that loss of purpose, magnified if anything by the fact that to a greater or lesser degree they became aware that they were fighting to keep captives. Probably the ONLY mitigating factor was that they could (and many did) leave that behind and build up something new and better out West. Those who stayed had to deal with that and still are.

      And I’ll get off my soapbox now.

  8. The battle/war was going on prior to WW1. At its heart it’s a battle between two religions, orthodox Christianity, and “Social Justice” christianity. In the main line U S Presbyterian Church in the early 20th century there was war between “Fundamentalists” and “progressives”. In 1909 the General Assembly of the main American Presbyterian denomination, said that 5 fundamental points were required essentials. Miracles were real, Jesus Resurrection, His atonement, His Virgin Birth, and an inerrant Bible.

    Presbyterians are a “confessional” church. Now we have too many of them. The Progs have “won” in the PCUSA today, with ordination of women and “gay” required. In fact now the only essential for PCUSA ministers is to believe in ordination of women.

    Liberal “christianity” is based on 19th century science: If you know the start, you know the end. It leaves no room for God, only a god of the gaps, which as we learn more, removes the need for any god.

    Social justice “christians” don’t need a god. At best the bible is just a book of stories written by “men”, Progs then and now are sure they are the enlightened ones, who know better. The progressives were the ones who sterilized the unfit. So this is a more than 100 year religious war. A war where the left thinks they are the ones doing “good”. So it is important to realize that the battle is not just between left and right, but is a Christian schism.

    1. The Old Catholics were displeased enough with the newer Papal edicts that they forked off a new branch and turned the clock back to the 1800s. Apparently they picked a date where they decided the Church had begun losing off the rails, then proceeded to ignore everything after that point.

      Since their chances of reforming the Vatican were essentially zero, it seemed like a reasonable thing to do.

      1. Um… Except that the Old Catholics then went straight to everything being Protestant, with a side order of ordaining Anglicans and consecrating Anglican bishops. Sinead O’Connor was a lot later, but she actually was pretty typical of an Old Catholic convert.

  9. I’m dubious about dating the loss of general belief in Christianity as early as the 12th century, particularly if the reason given is the Black Death; it would have been impressively prophetic if people lost their faith over a plague that wasn’t going to reach Europe for another two hundred years.

    With you on the devastating effect of World War I on Western civilisation, though. One of the first places I noticed that was in literature. Readers born before the first world war could be counted on to have a common body of knowledge encompassing the Bible, major Latin and Greek works, and most of Shakespeare. Readers born afterwards began losing that common knowledge, and writers gradually had to give up making religious or literary allusions that no longer resonated with their changing audience.

    On a slight tangent: I’ve just been watching Kalman’s Czardaskiralyno, first performed in November 1915. It’s mostly a delightfully frothy comedy, but the subtext concerning wounded soldiers returning from the Isonzo Valley breaks my heart. Why? Because I know, as the composer and librettist couldn’t have known, that the carnage along the Isonzo was going to get incomparably worse before the end of the war.

    1. Um… sorry, conflated two thoughts. This is what happens when I get my first cup of coffee just before starting to type this. He dated it to the 12th century and I dated it to the black death. I don’t know what he htought caused the loss of belief. For me, from reading about the black death, a lot of the “holy terror” was lost then.

      1. My one university history teacher (she of the “I would rather be a medieval European woman than a woman in any other era except the present” class shocking sentiment) was of the opinion that the best of the priests, nuns, bishops, and cardinals were killed ministering to their people during the plague, and what was left of the Catholic hierarchy were the worst of them who isolated themselves.

        1. I’ve “heard” that part of the problem was also that the Church needed plenty of new priests, bishops, etc and allowed people into those positions that before the Plague the Church would have rejected.

      2. I haven’t read Campbell on this subject, but dating the start of abandonment of Christianity as an animating principle of society to the 12th century seems odd. That is the first century that Christendom did *not* have a continual parade of outside invaders tramping through its living room and library, and could get on with building a new civilisation on the foundations it had been able to preserve. In the 11th century the state was formally told to get its dirty mitts off the church, and you see the first universities. In the 12th the universities really take of, and natural philosophy (later called science) gets going in a big way. In the same century the first gothic cathedrals. In the 13th the high point of scholasticism, and the great summas. In the 14th… climate change, famine, widespread long-term war as an instrument of policy, the black death, the western schism, the rise of nominalism. Between 1319 and 1350 it all went to hell, and the roots of modernism become visible. The corpse of the Middle Age staggered about for another century and a half, but the life had gone out of it by 1350.

          1. The old joke about the monk who was found crying that the original text said, “celebrate, not celibate!”

    2. There were several factors in play in the 11th-15th century which weakened belief in Christianity, or specifically the Catholic version of it. There was the investiture controversy over whether secular authority or the Pope controlled the clergy, the ultimate failure of the Crusades, the Black Death, and the schism in the Papacy.
      However, to my view it was Gutenberg’s press, which allowed Bibles to be printed, and the translations into German, French, and English which allowed those without Latin education to read them, that really made the difference. Anyone could read the Bible, look at the Catholic Church, and say “Whatever Christianity is supposed to be, this isn’t it”, and a great many did.

      1. There were already translations, and a lot of uneducated people knew their Bibles cold. The big difference was that knowing a little Greek or Hebrew seemed to send some people crazy, and not in the direction of being more theologically similar to Greek speakers or Hebrew speakers. It was in the direction of total weirdness.

        Re: replacing God or the Church with the King, that actually goes back to a small group of Bible scholars in the Middle Ages, who were busy currying favor with the Holy Roman Emperor (because they had made their homes too hot to hold them). There were a whole historical string of rulers of various denominations who sponsored this kind of stuff, right down to the German state universities in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

        1. There were already translations, and a lot of uneducated people knew their Bibles cold.

          The previous translators like Wycliff were burned for some heresy or another. Those caught reading unauthorized translations were tortured and or killed. Case closed and heresy suppressed.

          Gutenberg was the turning point because the problem got too big. Too many books to be burned. The Inquisition and the Papal office still has records of when the bible was a book that was on the Burn on sight list.

      2. Agreed – it was the ordinary people, or at least, the literate element, actually reading the Bible for themselves, and tapping into controversies which heretofore had only been a matter for Catholic theologians with a taste for argument, which impelled the Lutheran Reformation. Which was only the last of those theological rebellions which managed to stick, fueled by bourgeoisie in middle Europe and by various minor nobles in the same area, who had the resources and nerve to make their objections stick in a way that hurt a Church which had become slack, lazy, corrupt, and more obedient to demands of the temporal, rather than the spiritual world.

        1. A whole host of reformers broke out, following Luther’s example, as soon as Bibles could be produced by the hundred instead of one or two at a time. Not all of them were Protestant, either: a good many stayed in the Catholic Church.

          1. Lollards, Waldensians, Hussites…
            One of the really interesting things when reading Doyle’s The White Company, set in the Hundred Years’ War just after Poitiers, is that the religious tensions of the day are a constant theme throughout the book. Unsurprisingly, he’s a little more down on the Catholic Church than he should be, but it’s not the worst starting point.

            1. The ancient scholars would point out that the Latin rite Western Chalcedonian church calling itself “Peter’s Throne” the Universal Church of Christ, Catholicism, was itself merely a schism branched off of Greek Chalcedonian orthodoxy.

        2. Ordinary people who read the Bible mostly stayed what they were. Like other European religious movements, normal people were mostly converted one way or another by fervent preaching.

          Upper middle class guys with dissatisfaction mostly came up with the really wild stuff for themselves. Much like the Jacobin lawyers.

      3. Reminds me of a line of Thomas Cromwell’s in Wolf Hall. If I remember right, he tells his wife, “You should read the Bible some time. You’d be surprised what isn’t in it.”

  10. Is it just me, or did anyone else see the picture used as illustration and think L. Jagi Lamplighter’s Rachel Griffin series?

      1. And also “anything which bears the image of an angel, is an angel.”. Should I be worried?

        1. And that Dr. Who exchange made me realize that Daleks are the perfect analogy for Marxists; as Marxism, just like with the Daleks, requires the elimination of all non-Daleks/Marxists, and eventually ends up with the decision to “exterminate” all non-Daleks/Marxists.

          1. How clearly you see it as that depends upon your political point of view.  It depends from where one perceives (or have experienced) the greatest pressures to conform that goes against their grain.  Those who wish to employ force to shape society and to eliminate those they see as detrimental to that process have not been not limited Marxists. 

      1. As have I. I even prevailed upon The Spouse to purchase extra copies to share with a friend.

  11. In the USA at least, a big part of the reason that religious groups, especially Christian churches, do not provide “the sermon” anymore with charitable work is that the Federal government and leftist activist groups have made clear that they will be punished if they do so. both through threats of loss of IRS tax exempt status and loss of access to government funds that are provided on condition that no religious message be made accompany what is done with the funds. By accepting Caeser’s money, they have subjected themselves to Caeser’s whims.

      1. No, please. Never close off a piece of culture that keeps the State’s grubby paws off of any money. It doesn’t do much worthwhile with what it HAS.

        *grumble grumble*

      1. When the priests become lords and parasites over the body of sheep, this was bound to turn out badly.

        The priests always needed to work with their own hands to feed themseles, not rely on “tithes” and “donations” and “covenants” from the sheep, to buy their next Porsche and German super car.

        I don’t have anything personally against Joel O’Steen, since many Protestants and Evangelicals that dislike ol Joel, are also guilty of similar “pastor” parasitism. It just isn’t as profitable so perhaps envy plays a part.

    1. Well, that and the fact that if they didn’t they got hassled within an inch of their lives and the government told all the people they wanted to help that taking the church’s help might lose them access to all the things the church couldn’t do.

  12. I do not hate Western Civilization.

    However, I may be cheerfully lacking in civilization.

  13. One quibble: I would (and have) argue that a MAJOR misunderstanding of the founding of The United States stems from calling the War For Independence a Revolution. Almost all other Revolutions aim to overthrow the status quo (I would say all, but I may have missed one or five). The War For Independence was a war to defend the independence the Colonies had enjoyed for quite some time. England had changed a long standing set of policies and wanted to impose a new Order, and the Founders, accustomed to running theor own patch, fought back.

    Of course they didn’t manage to return to the status quo ante. That would have required England to return to a system of benign neglect that simply wasn’t in the cards. But the resemblance of ‘The American Revolution’ to any other that I know of is extremely superficial.

    1. That’s a very good point. Sadly, it’s probably a hundred years too late to try and change the name.

    2. Nod.

      Prior to the War of Independence we had thirteen governments with a slight legal connection with England (many of the State Governors were appointed by the Monarch).

      These thirteen governments finally decided (after England started changing the rules) to fight for independence from England.

      We had plenty of “fun” trying to form an union of the thirteen independent States.

      Personally, after reading about the fun-and-games, I think the main reason we “stuck” together was concern about European “meddling” in North America.

      1. Please remember that the nation we have today is because those scoundrels we sent to the Constitutional Convention pulled a massive bait and switch on us. And thank God they did.

  14. Sara, thank-you for bringing up the charity without calling out vices and/or inculcating virtues is not Christian charity. I had noticed the enabling of bad behavior, but as an agnostic had not made the jump to “Hey, these churches are violating their own faith by doing this.”. Now, I just have to figure out how to make the parishioners see this.
    I am not going to be a popular volunteer with the heirarchy. at all.

    1. Not surprising that charity ignores religious principles given that nominally Catholic universities, such as Georgetown and DePaul are outright punishing students who espouse Church doctrine on such things as marriage. In essence, they are being punished for practicing their religion, the very religion the institution they are intending is supposed to be supporting.

      1. DePaul’s university president said that St. Vincent de Paul would have wanted easy access to abortion. In point of fact, the man fought abortion by founding hospitals, adoption services, and orphanages, as well as nice refuges for girls in trouble to learn trades and be gently cared for. No girl or woman was to feel so desperate as to be driven to harm herself or her child. Everything was to be pleasant and helpful, so that girls would come freely and feel welcome.

        After his death, the kings took over most of his charities and turned them into state-run hellholes and Dickensian workhouses, where people were kept by force. This helped bring on the French Revolution.

        1. Anyway, the point is that when SJW meets history or religion, either they change themselves away from SJWism to conform with reality, or they keep trying to change God and history to fit themselves.

          A Catholic university like Steubenville is totally different from a “university in the Catholic tradition” like DePaul, but only as long as they keep the SJWs from taking over.

  15. Here’s what I’m seeing in Sarah’s comments (if you’re at 30,000 feet, I’m at 60,000 feet):

    First, Rome was a mess; the gods were more powerful than the senate, but there was so many gods that no one temple became powerful enough to control the senate. The senate was beholden to the emperor, and then the Emperor was declared a god. Rome went from secular being ascendant over religions to being state-religion over secular. Eventually the emperors became incredibly corrupt.

    That changed once Constantine made Christianity the official religion of Rome. Now, the religious is ascendant over the secular state, and the emperor must bow to the church and be installed by the church. Rome was still powerful and unified, but Rome itself started shattering with the invasions; as cohesion was lost, the church became even more powerful and ascendant over the various nation states. You see the Church being the power that selects the kings and the aristocracy, and they in turn maintained the primacy that the church had in society.

    But that power became corrupt. And that corruption was noted (as many have earlier stated), and thus the power was reduced when the church fractured (no malice intended towards Luther at all, just reflecting a reality).

    As the church became more and more fractured with more and more different denominations and flavors, the states started gaining power because there wasn’t one unified church in control. And it flips back and forth.

    What I see is a power struggle between the secular powers and the church. While there is a unified structure that is self correcting on one side or the other, it can stay in power. But once that power extends beyond a certain point, corruption becomes endemic and someone steps in to stand against the corruption. That results in a loss of power as the unified becomes fractured and the other side takes over.

    (The Constitution recognized this and put in place a set of corrections to make sure that the balance of power between state and federal government could be balanced, but slowly those correction mechanisms have been removed [for example, senators are no longer selected by the state and the state has lost power].)

    This is a HUGE simplification, and I see a lot of truth in what Sarah says regarding the fallout of such destructions as the Black Plague and WWI. But I think the corruption of man in either venue causes the other establishment to react to that corruption.

    1. LOL 😆

      Prior to both Christianity and the Empire, Rome had an official “secular” post that managed the temples.

      IE: There was a “governmental” position that over-saw the religions of Rome.

      Prior to Christianity (besides within Judaism), there was very little division between the secular sphere and the religious sphere.

      After the Roman Empire acknowledged Christianity as a State Religion, the Church acknowledge the secular authority of the Emperor. At the same time, the Emperor encouraged the Church Leaders to “settle” various religious disagreements within the Christian Church. But there was a “gap” between the secular sphere (the Emperor) and the religious sphere.

      After the fall of the Western Empire, the Pope became more important but the Pope’s secular power was limited and there are plenty of periods where if the secular rules said “Jump”, then the Pope “Jumped”.

      Within the Eastern Empire, the Emperor had a degree of power over the Eastern Church while leaving over-all religious matters to the Eastern Church’s leaders.

      With the Reformation, the Protestant Churches often had the local King as the Official Head of the Church.

      Even in Catholic countries, the Pope’s secular power was limited.

      What happened in the US was the idea that there would be no Federal “Established Church”. IE: The Federal government would not say what branch of Christianity was the “preferred” branch of Christianity.

      1. Awesome; you can see how well my math degrees were for my understanding of history. 😆

      2. Part of the problem may be the educational system’s preference for talking more about the secular institutions and less about the religious ones? Maybe? I can’t say I feel that any history professor I had balanced the two correctly.

        1. Check out the Ligonier ministries Michael Godfrey Church History series.

          Helps if you already have a decent historical background, but I suspect he does a good enough job of presenting everything you actually /need/.

          The issue is that there are a number of different ways that one can teach history, and that preparing to do one well requires working to have the background. Hard core religious history scholars aren’t very common. Okay, we have a lot of ‘scholars’ who teach ‘history’ that the Marxist cults find convenient. And those bad historians push out good. But the traditional big three disciplines were political, military, and diplomatic. We don’t necessarily have lots of those these days, but if we did, other disciplines would still be filling in. History of science, law, medicine, etc…

          Really, most of them are important. You can’t count on full coverage from gen ed courses. I’m not a history major, (though was my second choice), and I recommend the Ligonier because now, after many years, I’m finally learning more about religious history.

      3. Basically, the more important a Roman god was to the civic state of health and prosperity, the more it was government-managed to stay the same forever. Newer gods and less important gods were left more to their own devices, unless they were doing something shady, unlucky, or prejudicial to other gods’ interest, or to the state’s interests. Being a priest could be prestigious or embarrassing, all depending. Some civic affairs were god stuff, like where they kept the treasuries of Rome and other cities.

        It is not simple.

    2. Now, the religious is ascendant over the secular state, and the emperor must bow to the church and be installed by the church.

      That is incorrect. Both the Byzantine Chalcedonians and the Western Latin Rite Chalcedonians in Rome controlled the Patriarchs by putting them under kings and dukes. The Emperor of Constantinople told the Patriarch of Constantinople who needed to be excommunicated. If the Patriarch says ney, that Patriarch goes bye bye. No need for American Senate filibusters and endless arguments.

      What I see is a power struggle between the secular powers and the church.

      I can agree that there was corruption, almost inevitable. Constantine allied with christianity and used it to fight his political problems with paganism or Romanism specifically. Rome was basically in his day, another version of Leftist Planned Profit, transgender, homo whatever.

      Constantine wanted to unify christianity because it served a political purpose.

  16. For the “sure could use a little good news today ” file, I had a flat tire today. While my brother and I were working on it, (115 degree temp, midafternoon sun, black asphalt parking lot, tire & tools nearly too hot to handle) a woman & her young son drove by and gave us each a cup of ice water from the local McD’s. THIS is the real America.

    1. Yes. That is my experience of America as well, and I’m a furriner. Even in New York, people commonly do stuff like this.

      In Canada, you might have that too, but people are very reticent to come up to strangers here. A woman by herself with a kid would not stop to help you, unless it was a rural area.

      1. We’ve done this more than once, but then “we” in the picture is my husband & I, & he is 6’2″. Even then it meant giving someone a ride in the back of the pickup, not in the front.

        I’ve done the following twice (don’t tell hubby or son they’ll have heart attacks on the spot for all that each occurred years ago):

        1) On Oregon Coastal highway between Reedsport & Florence. Man carrying toddler walking along the road, had already passed away back a broken down car. Were not hitch hiking, just walking. That area is Ocean & Forest, no private residencies along the way. Stopped to see if they needed help. Drove them to the nearest phone booth (said it was awhile ago).

        2) Close to home. Family stranded in a disabled car; mom & 4 young kids. Pouring down rain. They lived in general area, so I took them home.

        Incident #1 was a LOT more risky. But I could not pass up someone with a kid on a highway. Now it’d just take a cell call as coverage on highway 101 is steady for all the wilderness & lack of continuous cities or development along the coast. Back then, the coverage was not available.

  17. Two points:

    1. Any loss of faith in the 12th Century is probably due to the failures of the Crusades. The Crusaders were expecting some degree of Divine Intervention to help them…and didn’t get enough of it to overcome poor logistics and infighting.

    2. The First World War gutted the self-confidence of the West. I think of the World Wars as the Second Thirty Years War – a conflict fought with a degree of ferocity that shocked all the participants. The difference being that after the Thirty Years War, the West developed Laws of War and fought constrained conflicts for 250 years. After the World Wars…the Communist shark was circling in the water.

    I also consider that the First World War went on a LOT longer than it should have, mostly because the three Allied powers were politically unstable and conceding that the Germans were ahead on points in 1915 would have had serious political consequences. So they just kept fighting, without regard to the damage they were doing to the confidence of the public that the leadership knew what they were doing.

    1. Wilhelm wanted a repeat of the War of 1871; march into France, kick ass, pass out medals and honors, and party with the tribute the French paid to make the Germans go away.

      I don’t think he or his staff reckoned with the manpower and economy of the extended French Empire; even modern histories tend to slide over the contributions of French North Africa and the French Far East. And then the British, and the Russians, and the Americans, and pretty much everyone else jumped in, turning what was intended to be a local counting of coup into a world war.

  18. This also explains their insane attacks on people like Jordan Peterson, who offer — if not faith — a discipline for living which by itself precludes Marxism.

    Marxism, being a fantasy* requires all adherents to admire the Emperor’s wonderful new wardrobe. It accustoms us to lying and accepting the lies of others (i.e., The State) rather than pursuing Truth.

    For Marxism is a jealous religion and will have no other religions before it. Maintaining the illusion requires all-in efforts and any side-interests undermine pumping the smoke up the public’s skirts.

    *It only works in fantasies and in realms where the books are cooked, empires of lies in which Reality is not permitted any intrusion.

  19. Spiritual battles and contemporary politics, citing an essay by Joseph Bottum:

    “Beginning with the abolition of slavery, the bitter battles of American political life have often been fought over spiritual issues. It’s hard to know, for example, what else Prohibition was about. And yet the great moralizing and spiritualizing of American politics feels different these days, more complete, more all-encompassing. It’s as though our public life were not a political stadium in which spiritual footballs sometimes appear; rather the field itself has become religious. Our public life is now a supernatural game and our purely political concerns have been reduced to nothing more than footballs with which we happen to play that public game of spiritual redemption.”


    See also the comments by David Goldman (‘Spengler’) on The Rise of Secular Religion:

    “America’s consensus culture, Bottum argues, is the unmistakable descendant of the old Protestant Mainline, in particular the “Social Gospel” promulgated by Walter Rauschenbusch before the First World War and adopted by the liberal majority in the Mainline denominations during the 1920s. Although this assertion seems unremarkable at first glance, the method that Bottum brings to bear is entirely original. A deeply religious thinker, he understands spiritual life from the inside. He is less concerned with the outward forms and specific dogmas of religion than with its inner experience, and this approach leads him down paths often inaccessible to secular inquiry. The book should be disturbing not only to its nominal subjects, the “Poster Children” of post-Protestant America, but also to their conservative opposition. The battle is joined on a plane far removed from the quotidian concept of political debate.”

    and Paul Gottfried on the lack of interest in logic argument among today’s college professors.


  20. I think you are partially wrong with respect to your diagnosis as to why the United States is different and reacted differently to the World Wars and other events which shook the faith of Western Europe in the State. We Americans never had that much faith in the State to begin with – we knew that the State was composed of “We, the People”. It is actually difficult to formulate a statement of what we believed in above the State for me – much for the same reasons that fish don’t think about water. I think I can identify several elements to our common faith, but I’m more than willing to listen to folks who think the following list is over-inclusive or under-inclusive:
    1. We believe that “We, the People” are ultimately the State. The folks we elect work for Us, not the other way around. This has certain implications – though some of them could be categorized as additional beliefs on their own:
    a. The State is fallible and needs to be limited because power corrupts individual politicians and/or parties. This belief can be seen in the very structure of our government. It also can be seen in the electorate’s tendency to make sure the government is divided and not run by a single party.
    b. When the People speak, the politicians had better listen if they want to keep their job. There are times when our politicians can lead but there are times when our politicians had better get in front of the parade which is forming or we will replace them with someone who is willing to do so. We enshrined the right to free speech and to petition our government in the First Amendment. We actually use that right and believe the politicians are listening. So, think about how much mail from their constituents our politicians receive – which smart politicians actually tend to pay attention to.
    c. In an emergency, the people on the scene are the true “First Responders”. We don’t wait for the State to come take care of the problem. The Cajun Navy is only the latest manifestation of this phenomena. Perhaps an even more spectacular example can be found in the boat lift off of Manhattan after 9/11 – perhaps the single largest evacuation the world has ever seen. (If you haven’t seen Boatlift, currently available on YouTube, I strongly recommend it.)
    2. We believe in the American Dream – each American has the opportunity to achieve prosperity and success, as well as an upward social mobility for the Dreamer’s family and children, through hard work and determination.
    3. We believe there is something more, that this life is not all there is. We don’t all agree on the details of the Higher Power/God(s)/etc., but you don’t get people running into a burning building to save others if they think that this life is it. One of the flip sides to this is the belief that there are some people, principles and/or things worth fighting (and dying) for – though we tend to agree with Patton when he characterized the job as making the other poor !$@# die for his country.
    4. We believe in the Rule of Law. Justice is blind (i.e. impartial) and no man is beyond the reach of the Law. When a man makes a deal, he should live by the deal or pay the price for breaking the deal. Fundamentally, our Courts are there to interpret the law, not to independently make policy.
    5. We believe in the value of self-organizing communities. If you’ve ever traveled abroad, Americans actively seek each other out in non-English speaking areas. Rugged individualism as a value or no, Americans also tend to form an orderly line at the drop of a hat – and self-police that line to enforce our norms against line jumpers. In contrast, when a flight from France to Italy got cancelled, I watched, amazed, as a significant number of the Italian passengers basically swarmed the desk, each making demands at top volume. In contrast, the folks trying to get out of New York on 9/11 formed orderly lines with everyone helping each other. No boat got swamped because everyone insisted on getting on now as opposed to being willing to wait (and 500,000 people got moved off by boat in around 9 hours as a result).

    I think these are the critical 5 – but, as I said, I’m open for suggestions either way. These are what gave us the partial immunity to Marxism that Europe lacked. Together, they may form sufficient grounds to consider it a cult or minor religion — but it is one which is fundamentally opposed to some of the fundamental assumptions that are part of Marxism.

      1. Fair enough … please feel free to steal my thesis above as I’m hopeful it is not too disjointed. 😉

  21. Sarah,

    You’ve mentioned reading Campbell before, but regrettably, I don’t know which Campbell you’re referring to. Would you please share Campbell’s full name or his book titles or name of the series? I’d like to try reading some of this myself because I’ve looked off and on for a good work on either the history of various religions and/or comparative religions and really would rather avoid mind-rot.

    Thank you,

  22. We’re having our own private “suicide of the West” here in Canada right now. Toronto has surpassed New York City in number of shootings this year.

    Just take a moment to consider that. Toronto has more people shot than Murder City USA this year. For real.

    Here’s why: https://www.therebel.media/_i_don_t_care_about_isis_high_school_teacher_screams_at_rebel_reporter_at_toronto_shooting_memorial

    I’m going to make a blog post about this idea. Link later, after I think about this a bit.

    1. I’m not sure why you consider New York to be Murder City?
      Year to Date as of Jul 25, 2018 @ 8:07 am
      Shot & Killed: 262 Shot & Wounded: 1370
      Total Homicides: 314

      Final 2017 Totals
      Shot & Killed: 625 Shot & Wounded: 2936
      Total Homicides: 682

      *Not every homicide is by gun and not all folks shot and killed were classified homicides by this source. Even so, the numbers are strikingly higher than New York’s with a smaller population. Our homicide rates would be MUCH higher if we did not have some of the best/most experienced trauma specialists in the world. Now, in terms of murder rate per capita, Chicago doesn’t make the top of the list (depending on where you cut off city size) but then again, neither does New York.
      See, e.g.,

      1. yay Richmond isn’t on that list anymore.

        Conversely, people point to that chart and say “See, L.A. isn’t that bad….” So, I have to point out “Compton is its own city. Burbank is its own city. Pasadena is its own city. Glendale is its own city. Etc, etc, etc…”

  23. Sarah and Drak,

    Thank you for posting links for me. I’m sure I’m breaking the threading, so my apologies for that as well.


  24. A thought-provoking work on the West’s loss of cultural self-confidence is Arthur Koestler’s 1950 novel ‘The Age of Longing.’ It is set in a France where imminent Soviet attack is likely. The protagonist, Hydie, is a young American woman…once a devout Catholic, she has lost her faith. She falls, hard, for a committed Russian Communist.

    In this passage, a senior French security officer explains his view of the world to Hydie:

    “You cannot cure aberrations of the political libido by arguments…Now the source of all political libido is faith, and its object is the New Jerusalem, the Kingdom of Heaven, the Lost Paradise, Utopia, what have you. Therefore each time a god dies there is trouble in History. People feel that they have been cheated by his promises, left with a dud check in their pocket. The last time a god died was on July 14, 1789, the day when the Bastille was stormed. On that day the Holy Trinity was replaced by the three-word slogan which you find written over our town halls and post offices. Europe has not yet recovered from that operation, and all our troubles today are secondary complications.

    The People–and when I use that word, Mademoiselle, I always refer to people who have no bank accounts–the people have been deprived of their only asset: the knowledge, or the illusion, whichever you like, of having an immortal soul. Their faith is dead, their kingdom is dead, only the longing remains. And this longing, Mademoiselle, can express itself in beautiful or murderous forms, just like the frustrated sex instinct…Only the longing remains–a dumb, inarticulate longing of the instinct, without knowledge of its source and object. So the people, the masses, mill around with that irksome feeling of having an uncashed check in their pockets and whoever tells them ‘Oyez, oyez, the Kingdom is just round the corner, in the second street to the left,’ can do with them what he likes.”

    I reviewed the book in some depth here:


  25. While Constantine made christianity no longer persecuted and gave it tax breaks, it didn’t become a State Religion totally until 2 emperors later.

    By that time, of course, it was too late. Much of the monarchies and other traditional structures like the Church of Rome, is built upon the borrowed or false authority of Divinity. The God Emperor and Son of God in Rome, that was crowned by the High Priest of Jupiter, merely became the Holy Roman Emperor crowned by the P of Rome, the Vicar of Christ, and the Pontifex Maximus instead.

    Divine authority and writ is necessary and critical for maintaining the obedience to king’s, along with food and military power. The best thing that ever happened to Europe after the Dark Ages, was the Black Death, as it disrupted the control of the institutions, forcing feudal lords to rely more heavily on their own people and peons.

    What the Romans and Greeks could not do to directly stamp out the christian and nazarene sects, they did by marrying the various churches into State power. There was a separation between secular authority and religious authority, but they worked together as allies more often than not.

    The Founding Fathers already knew about why Rome became a problem, and even as they tried to reconstruct the ancient Hope by reviving the Senate and the Republic, they could not allow religious human organizations to dominate the new nation. They could not entirely stop it but they could and did slow it down.

    An easy event to check up on is the Albigensian Holy War that the P of Rome called a crusade for and ultimately needed the creation of the Inquisition (Papal, not Spanish State), to crush. Many of the churches and teachings started by the 12 apostles were lost in such a fashion, as the state sponsored christian sect crushed the “heretics” that lacked state military support.

    Christianity, if it can even be called such given 30,000+ schisms, is a shadow of its former self. No wonder that the West, a civilization based upon certain traditions and precepts, is also a shadow of its former self. When the devotion and faith in the State started dying due to WW1, as Hoyt correctly outlined, the religious authority would naturally fall as well since those two are tied together in a marriage for Europe. State Christianity cannot get much done lacking coercive powers since it lacks the original powers of the faithful such as prophets, Moses magic, plague punishments, and the walls of Jericho falling down due to a sound weapon. Jesus, the super Virgo under Vedic astrology, had the personal qualities of healing output to convince the masses that he knew what was up. And his disciples, direct students of the lineage, could reproduce similar workings. They didn’t need the State’s power.

    A State Christianity suffers without a powerful State backing it.

    I would even go so far as to assess the prediction that the next time a major organized religion sets a Crusade, the Last Crusade for example, some poor christian sect will find itself under its guns sooner or later, after Islam is either vanquished or weakened. The 30,000 + schismatic sects tend to fight each other almost as much as they fight external enemies they deem such as foreign Islam or witches or the occult or anything having to do with astronomical knowledge.

    It’s the blind fighting the blind and why the parables were created to keep people from finding out what the plain truth was. Even if they saw, they would not understand.

    This is not an ancient issue either. Blaming modern people for the mistakes of their ancestors is a convenient Leftist tactic of communal punishment and guilt. Oh no, things are far worse than people expect. The Albigensians are still considered due to P of Rome “education”, to be devil worshippers that needed to be wiped out because “they weren’t having enough kids”. Well, there’s one easy reason why the Church of Rome needs more kids…

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