Who Are We?: Toward a Positive Western Identity


#1

“For me, life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer.”-Arnold Schwarzenegger

This is Western Man in a nutshell. Never was there a population as dynamic as we. From the North Pole to the Race to the South Pole, the discoveries of the Americas, Oceania, and the Orient, the circumnavigation of the globe, from the conquest of the highest peaks to the Space Race, and now the push for Mars, all have been products first of the European imagination, and then of European execution.

An Italian discovered the Americas (and they are named for another); another Italian (though born in modern-day Croatia) connected Europe to the Orient over land, and a Portuguese man accomplished this by sea; another Portuguese man started the first global circumnavigation, which was completed by a Basque; Dutchmen first sighted Australia and New Zealand; an Englishman climbed the Matterhorn with nothing but a small flask of tea and a ham sandwich, and it was a Kiwi who ascended to the summit of Everest; though each of two Americans are often credited with first reaching the North Pole, this is disputed, but it was an American and a Norwegian who we definitively know first reached the North Pole, and that same Norwegian barely bested a British expedition for the South Pole; a Russian was the first man in space; an American first stepped foot on the moon, and it is another race between a white South African and another American most likely to have us on Mars.

The West is the birthplace of democracy and republicanism; of the Scientific Method and the Enlightenment; of cartography; of secularism; of the university; of the printing press, the internal combustion engine, electricity, flight, and the internet; of free market enterprise and precepts of equality that sought to eradicate slavery and global poverty. As Charles Murray chronicled in Human Accomplishment, 97% of accomplishments in the sciences from 800 BC to 1950 AD took place in the West. From prehistory to antiquity to modernity, it has been the progeny of Europe who have driven man’s advancement. For Ricard Duchesne:

The aristocratic libertarian culture of Indo-European speakers was already unique and quite innovative in initiating the most mobile way of life in prehistoric times starting with the domestication and riding of horses and the invention of chariot warfare. So were the ancient Greeks in their discovery of logos and its link with the order of the world, dialectical reason, the invention of prose, tragedy, citizen politics, and face-to-face infantry battle. The Roman creation of a secular system of republican governance anchored on autonomous principles of judicial reasoning was in and of itself unique. The incessant wars and conquests of the Roman legions, together with their many war-making novelties and engineering skills, were one of the most vital illustrations of spatial expansionism in history. The fusion of Christianity and the Greco-Roman intellectual and administrative heritage, coupled with the cultivation of the first rational theology in history, Catholicism, were a unique phenomenon. The medieval invention of universities — in which a secular education could flourish and even articles of faith were open to criticism and rational analysis in an effort to arrive at the truth — was exceptional. The list of epoch making transformation in Europe is endless.

Western Man is defined by what Oswald Spengler termed his “Faustian Spirit”; as Duchesne enumerates, this Faustian Spirit is captured in:

  1. the “infinite drive,” “the irresistible trust” of the Occident,
  2. the “energetic, imperativistic, and dynamic” soul of the West, and
  3. the “rational restlessness” of the West

of Hegel, Spengler, and Weber, respectively. There is something fundamentally different in the composition of our souls that places a premium on accomplishment, particularly against long odds. We have always been a global minority, and yet we have set the pace for humanity for millennia. Duchesne elaborates:

I believe that Oswald Spengler’s identification of the West as “Faustian” provides us with the best word to overcome the current naïve separation between a cultured/peaceable West and an uncivilized/antagonistic West with his image of a strikingly vibrant culture driven by a type of Faustian personality overflowing with expansive, disruptive, and imaginative impulses manifested in all the spheres of life.

Who Are We?: Toward a Positive Western Identity

For the Western spirit, complacency is death, hence why post-modernism and its “de-construction” has been so lethal to our civilization. When we are not moving forward and upward, we die, both literally and meta-physically. The inversion of the Faustian Spirit in the form of “progressivism” has taken the restive-yet-productive disposition of Europeans and channeled it into something wholly destructive. One could easily define the post-modern era as being in the stars and looking at the gutter. It isn’t enough that, as John Derbyshire wrote, “We have pretty much dismantled our civilization in an effort to accommodate blacks. And still they complain.” No, we must compound the egregiousness of the paternalistic nanny state to encompass the entire globe and sacrifice everything we hold dear at the altar of Progress. Mangled genitalia attached to prancing totalitarians in the streets, sitting ducks for the next Moslem-driven lorry to turn into tomato paste is not my idea of progress, yet somehow we have come to cherish the notion, as perverse as it may seem, that this is somehow a noble aim, or else it is our penance for even having the gall to exist.

We are meant to “problematize” the ways in which the delineation of borders, boundaries, and “the Other” shape notions of identity, and how, consequently, these often artificial distinctions may be misappropriated for use in nationalist and imperialist dogma in the dominant discourse, particularly as it pertains to the West. We are meant to abhor any assertion of Western identity as Nazism incarnate, but we must celebrate all other cultures and creeds (and orientations) in the pantheon of Progressivism. The burnt offerings of the past preclude any ability to remain discernibly “us”; guilt, cowardice, fear, the suffocation of alternative points of view, the retconning of the past, intellectual and identity dis-armament—all received as holy sacrament in the temple of the university, a Confirmation into the Church of Social Justice that is a Bachelor’s (or PhD) in the academy. We receive this catechism with blank minds and glazed eyes, conditioned to unquestioningly accept our own destruction. By colonizing the language, the Left has already claimed a strategic victory at that nexus of where the formulation of thoughts becomes expression. Even if people inherently feel that things are profoundly wrong, they may not be able to express those feelings adequately, or have the necessary conceptual or linguistic framework to articulate their anxieties.

“We live in a world of intense ugliness,” Jared Taylor said. The profane is now sacred, the Other venerated, the stranger more dear than our own flesh-and-blood. This is the Malformed Age, testaments to faith and achievement now drowned in an ocean of hideousness and degeneracy. The West is Scapegoat Eternal, even the ones who proclaimed to be conservatives failing to conserve a single thing, busy prostrating themselves before the Left’s cultural commissars, caught up in what Elizabeth Wright called the “Glenn Beck carnival of repentance.” In this Western Necropolis, the supposed sins of the past are omnipresent, the ghosts of a history that never was holding the present hostage while they call it progress. We are disembodied yet wholly tethered to the material, the deepest of contradictions held together with the firmest of hands. For Victor Davis Hanson:

The great immediate dangers to Western Civilization are not hunger, global warming, inequality, or religious fundamentalism, but obesity, consumer culture, utopian pacifism, multiculturalism, declining demography, the secular religion of political correctness that threatens the right to free speech, an inability to protect national borders and to create a common culture rooted in the values of the West, and an absence of belief in spiritual transcendence and reverence for past customs and traditions. The challenge is not just that Australians, Canadians, Europeans, and Americans increasingly cannot articulate the values that explain why throngs of immigrants migrate to their shores, but that even if they could, they feel that they probably should not.

In what Colin Liddell identified as our “anti-civilization,” what sits at the heart of Western civilization as it is presently constructed is a yawning void. As Bruce Thornton quipped; “No one will die for the E.U. flag, or a shorter work week, or a longer vacation, or afternoon adultery, or more porn on the Internet.” Now, it’s all well and good to identify that which besets our civilization, and I shall continue to diagnose those forces that imperil our existence, but we must understand what we are both defending and fighting for, for what defines us should be more than commercial goods, leisure time, and vague notions of “tolerance” and “inclusion.” Liddell points to the need for us to foster and develop a sense of positive civilizational identity once again, where we are defined by what we are, not by what we are not. To re-claim our national sovereignty, our identity, our civilization, we must re-discover what lies in our souls, what we know to be true, and we must learn to love it again—warts and all. For Garrett Deasy:

The extension of loving yourself is excluding those who do not belong; those whose love for your country depends on your tolerance of their subversion. Real patriotism in the end is nationalism. By loving ourselves and our own imagery, we will appear as a threat to those who can do nothing but meme us into their terrifying shadow. We are number one.

It’s high time we embrace that.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://republicstandard.com/who-are-we-toward-a-positive-western-identity/