A good friend of mine (stolen from me to be a Dominican by God, the selfish deity…) has made some comments in a private setting about the hate he sees among the conservative and traditionalist Christian community. Anyone who isn’t in a liberal echo-chamber is very aware of this. For a variety of reasons, the rhetoric of most conservative folk has become animated by derision, trolling memes, and gleefully laughing at the failures of the enemy.
This is especially problematic for the Christian. I can’t speak for what passes for protestant theologizing, but in the Catholic tradition any and all hate of God’s creation is a rejection of God. Instead, the Catholic must so love God that he wants all to love him as well. As the Thomist Garrigou-Lagrange (Santo Subito!) puts it:
“[O]nly then do we truly love a virtue when we wish others to love it also; only then do we wholly love God when we desire to make Him loved *by all.* […] We may go even further and say that, if we desired only one soul to be deprived of Him, if we excluded only one soul–even the soul of one who persecutes and calumniates us–from our own love, then God Himself would be lost to us.” – The Three Conversions in the Spiritual Life, pp 2-3
I’m not quite innocent in this matter. I’ll repost vitriol. I’ll like it. I may even comment. Get me riled enough, and I’ll drop a treatise on you in a comment box.
Still, the situation made me think about my own project – trying to write and why I want to, especially with who I am.
I’m very much a retrograde Catholic – my only apologies for the crusades, inquisition, and wars of religion is that we didn’t see them through to the end (and we can talk later about how hate is not involved in these). Oh, and I’m an unapologetic monarchical-imperialist. Long live the Holy Roman Empire!
Guys with my types of wrongthink are especially frustrated. I mean, you “freedom of expression” folks, the modern “conservative”, are just trying to defend a liberalism that’s only just starting to crack. My crew? We want to dynamite the last 300-500 years and return to glorious Christendom. Freedom of religion? Anti-censorship? Capitalism? Error, blasphemy, and heresy,. But (most of us) are very aware that, probably, only a civilizational collapse will allow the old order to be restored – and (most of us) aren’t looking forward to that. We’d rather Jesus just show up. We’ll probably get both.
So yeah, my crew is frustrated. But it’s present throughout the conservative-part of the world. And we lash out with a lot of anger and hate. Especially us men. We see error that needs to be corrected, injustices that need to be remedied, and honor and glory that needs to be restored. And we don’t feel able to do so.
This isn’t all fully our fault. We’ve not been equipped to do this. The last generation (by and large, not universally) failed to pass on a firm commitment to what we’ve found to be the Truth. Those institutions built to defend the Truth, to form defenders of the Truth, were repudiated by many in favor of something that we see crumbling all around us – relativistic, syncretistic, liberal crap.
To make matters worse, we’re all, to varying extents, children of this culture we’re repudiating. We all have certain totems and fetishes that we’ve built some sort of stability upon (freedom of x, for most Americans; apparently racial constructs for a lot of the alt-right). These are often totems that make tension within us, as we refuse to admit they are of the very thing we are refuting (this is more pressing to us integralists and retrograde Catholics – we can’t really promote monarchical-hierarchy by populist means… At least not with any self-consistency).
A final piece of this unholy puzzle – the internet. The internet presents itself as an easy, cheap medium to try and fix all the errors, injustice, and dishonors we see. More often than not this is through argument and discussion. The very things a culture IS NOT built upon. And it’s that faulty culture that is the real issue.
Argument and discussion DO NOT make a culture. They CANNOT make a culture. This pains me to admit as one who mostly peddles in ideas. Think of your own life though. What “idea” is your way of life built upon? Ideas can inspire culture creators, but often these must become greater than the idea. Communism as peddled by Marx & Engels is now dwarfed by it’s inculturated forms, whether on the political scale or SJW scale.
But the internet helps us think it does. And arguably the printing press, but I can only be so much of a luddite.
Frustrated, ill-equipped, brainwashed, and touting an idea-network as our culture creator – it’s a recipe for self-destruction and that’s basically what we’re seeing.
This is especially damaging to the Christian and his evangelical mission. We no longer preach in radiant and awe-inspiring joy, or the serene triumph of the followers of the crucified. Instead we shout passively-aggressively, openly deride the lost and confused with a laugh, or become cold-hearted comics equipped with memes. The only joy we often partake in is the small moments of passionate guffawing or raging – anything to help us forget our own seeming impotence in the face of Satan and his unthinking and unconscious forces.
I do think there’s a way out, and this comes back to my writing. We have to make prayer and penance, of course. And we need to see more visual signs of the faith (processions and the like), but I think the men among us especially need something a bit more. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can outline what my plan is – write pulp stories of adventure.
For those watching the sci-fi/fantasy world, especially the literary market, you’ll come across the same sort of vitriol experienced in political discussions. There’s a dying liberal establishment being shouted and derided by brazenly foolish, mostly conservative, upstarts. Those involved in and driving the discussion (with memes, derision, twitter warfare, trolling of awards, trolling of major publishers) are getting a lot of the attention. Few of those guys, though, are actually helping anything.
Instead, what’s actually being constructive and starting to actually draw people without vitriol, is the creators, often not involved in the discussion, of new works which seek to eschew the liberal crap. They’re not perfect, but they’re actually making culture, writing stories that buck the trend without being thinly-veiled treatises (see Cirsova and Story Hack, and Castalia House and the Superversives). Those involved in that vitriolic discussion aren’t as creative, it should be pointed out. Some were creative and are now inundated in the hate-mongering, or have to back away from it to create. A few are delegating creation in order to indulge in the hate-mongering. But you rarely see the hate united with that creation. At least I don’t.
The slew of reviews I’ve been writing are really me trying to figure out how to do this writing thing. I don’t plan to be a classic maker, but want to tap into some of the culture-forming of the early pulps – simple stories with simple virtues. I’ve got two under my belt. We’ll see where I go with it.
But what does this have to do with those who don’t want to write pulp-adventure stories? Create culture. It doesn’t need to be some work of art. It could be teaching Sunday School. Playing music. Coding games. Building cars. Flying kites. Writing blogs (but be careful of this one…). Brewing beer. Drawing and Painting.
And this is evangelizing! The faith, the CULT, is not OTHER than culture, it imbues it, in ways no active integration could ever achieve (the witness of “Christian” pop and literature can attest to that).
An oversimplified historical example: Hitler became the SOB he was in some part because his creativity was crapped on. So he turned to hate. That’s what far too many of us Christian men are doing.
I’m not going to call for the hate-mongering to stop, though I wish it would (well, the better part of me does). I don’t think it’ll be useful for me to wag a finger, especially with some guys going around defending the Christian right-to-hate. What I do want to do is tell people to start creating those artifacts and events and touchstones and institutions of culture. I’m betting you’ll find the hate dissipate as you learn to create.
And truth be told, I hope you can join me on my crazy island, telling people about this dude who died in a backwater, pining for crowns and priests in flowy robes, and retaking this rubble of rock called Jerusalem. And probably gushing about clean-limbed Virginians and space-princesses. I do like my space-princesses. Alright, enough for now.