Archive for August 4th, 2015

Oh, Spengler …

This is Cathedralism dialed up to 11:

On moral grounds I sympathize with the African-American view, but there is an even more urgent reason to rip down the Confederate flag. Our refusal to look squarely at the evil character of the American Confederacy turned us into idiots. It may be a bit late to remedy this national lapse in mental capacity, but one has to start somewhere. … That is American exceptionalism: the belief that America can be a better kind of nation than the ethnocentric nations of Europe, in emulat[i]on of the biblical Israel. That was the impulse of the Founders, born, as Harvard’s Eric Nelson explains in The Hebrew Republic, of the English Revolution’s attempt to design a polity on biblical principles. The Civil War destroyed this impulse, because it killed too many of the New Englanders who believed, as Lincoln put it, that America was “an almost chosen nation.” … Protestantism in America shifted from saving souls to social engineering. The sin of the South was too great to acknowledge; after the sacrifice of nearly 30% of its military-age man and the reduction of its standard of living by half, the defeated white South could not admit to itself that it had gotten precisely what was coming to it for wickedness of slavery. … the Confederates fought with desperate courage, but for rapine rather than right. Crushing them was the noblest thing the United States ever did. … The South could not live in the knowledge that its heroic sacrifices were offered in a wicked cause, and its response was to excise from religion the notion of sin and virtue, and replace it with social engineering. … The Civil War made us stupid. It persuaded us that we were better off playing God than leaving the outcome to a God who might demand such terrible sacrifices of us once again. … The trauma of the Civil War drove us towards Wilsonian Universalism, which lives on in the form of George W. Bush’s “world democratic revolution.” America confronts a number of cultures that are bent on genosuicide. We fail to recognize the symptoms, because we shut our eyes to one of modern history’s most striking examples of civilizational self-destruction, namely the American South. America can’t hope to make sense of the world if it refuses to think about its own history.

Spengler appends some crucial explanatory remarks:

As many people have pointed out (Michael Novak, Meir Soloveichik), there is a biblical (covenantal) as well as a natural law (contractual) component to the Founding; in my view the covenantal component is primary and in need trumps the natural-law component. … The Constitutional mechanism broke down (in fact, the slave party controlled the government for almost all of the period 1800-1860, and an eruption of apocalyptic spirit was required to correct it — bringing to the fore America’s Hebraic-Protestant mission. Of course Lincoln ran roughshod over elements of the Constitution but this, in my view, was what the Talmud calls “sin for the sake of heaven.” The natural-law apparatus (checks and balances, separation of powers, states’ rights, etc.) is the plumbing of government, and it is certainly necessary, but it is contingent on the higher, covenantal imperative.

Yes, it’s a religion.

ADDED: ‘Genosuicide’ (just in case that looked like an uncorrected typo).

August 4, 2015admin 69 Comments »
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