UPDATE: A significantly revised and expanded version of this post is up at Counter-Currents.
As I’ve previously noted, I follow Rod Dreher’s posts because I see him as a test case of how a prototypical ‘Christian humanist’ (e.g., someone with a philosophy that intentionally or unintentionally leads to pathological altruism, and that refuses to see race as a salient factor, let alone the central factor) may begin to get red-pilled as the evidence begins to pile up against some of his axioms, and as he otherwise tries to square various incompatible philosophical axioms he holds. In other words, Rod Dreher’s dialectical unfolding is what happens when a tie-dyed, Crunchy Con, Christian humanist begins to realize the flaws of an idealized ‘civic nationalism’, and how the Christian humanist position conflicts with newly formulated, non-egalitarian truths he is beginning to simultaneously grasp.
His latest piece is a significant step in the unfolding saga of The Red Pilling of Rod (“Is Non-White, Non-Christian Germany Still Germany?”). Dreher’s column is a response to the recent Foreign Policy article “The German Election Is a Christian Civil War” (the byline of which reads: “Germany’s far-right is saying out loud what Angela Merkel’s party has always quietly believed: that Christian culture depends on Christian demographics…”), which I previously posted about here.
In general, I believe that all nations have the right to determine their own character. If a historically Islamic, Hindu, or Buddhist nation wanted to maintain its religious and civilizational character, they would have the right, and even the responsibility, to limit or even ban immigration from Christians and others whose presence threatens fundamentally to change the nation’s character.
This point is obscure to Western liberals (including right-wing liberals) who believe that religion is a facet of the individual’s identity, but is no more important than one’s political orientation. To the deracinated, globalizing liberal, it doesn’t really matter if the medieval church in the town center becomes a mosque or a disco, as long as procedural liberalism has been respected. This kind of thing gives lie to the claim that liberalism is neutral.
Is AfD racist? The German media and political establishment says so, but then all over Europe, that’s what they say about populist parties. I don’t know the truth about AfD. But buried within that question is a more interesting and difficult one, and it’s this: To what extent does a culture’s values depend on the ethnicity (= tribal identification) of its people?
For Dreher to even ask that last question (his italics) is quite a radical departure for him.
Think of it like this. Many Africans are Christians. What if Germany was being overwhelmed by Christian migrants from Africa, and Muslims were not a part of the story? AfD’s policies seem pretty clear on this point: it doesn’t matter. What they want is Germany as it historically has been. Christianity is a part of that legacy, according to its platform, but it is not the entirety of that legacy. The clear implication is that if Germany is going to remain Germany, it must be populated primarily by ethnic Germans.
Dreher is wrong here when he says “AfD’s policies seem pretty clear on this point: it doesn’t matter.” There’s two contradictory positions Dreher is holding here. On the one hand, he’s saying the AfD believes “it doesn’t matter”, but then he goes on to imply the AfD believes “it does matter”.
What Dreher doesn’t quite see here, it seems to me, is the pernicious effects the oppressively intolerant political environs of contemporary Germany has on individuals (and political parties) who want to keep Germany a nation of indigenous Germans. As a result, the AfD must use all-encompassing code words such as ‘Christianity’ to convey their point, or else they face criminal prosecution for hate speech. When it comes to the Dissident Right, one needs to engage in a bit of German-styled hermeneutics to tease out the real message.
While the above paragraph of Dreher’s is promising, he eventually falls back into his still-default position, where the most important variable in the equation is a generic Christian identity, not a particular, localized brand of Christianity as it manifests itself amongst a particular ethnicity, a phenotype of sorts (e.g., James Russell’s The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity). Dreher continues:
If you asked Western Christians if they would rather live in Christian Lagos or atheistic Berlin, I suppose most would choose Berlin. I would, or at least that’s what I think off the top of my head. It’s not simply because the standard of living is higher there. It’s also that despite the absence of Christianity, the culture is much more familiar. But consider this: Christian children raised in Lagos almost certainly have a much greater chance of retaining their Christianity into adulthood than children raised in Berlin. What profiteth it a man to raise his kids in all the order and comfort of the West, but watch them lose their souls? According to the logic of my own principles, I ought to choose Lagos over Berlin. And perhaps I would do so, after thinking about it.
This above passage is most striking. In it, Dreher prioritizes a blind and almost meaningless ‘Christianity retention ratio’ when evaluating which country one ought to prefer to live in… as a Christian. Baked into this view is a quasi-libertarian notion that, in the last instance, a culture or society (such as ‘Germany’ or ‘France’ or even ‘the United States’) is no more than the concatenation of the conscious desires of atomized individuals and nothing deeper or more ingrained.
Until the 1960s, nation states were based primarily (and rationally) on ethnicity. (Read Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance and tell me race/ethnicity plays no part in creating the distinct contours of a culture.) The life and culture of the indigenous in Lagos is qualitatively different than the life and culture of the indigenous in Germany. That we are contemplating this beyond a moment’s thought is a measure of how far down the postmodern rabbit hole ‘polite’ discourse has gone. Zimbabwe, for example, is 87% Christian, but, like much of Africa, it’s also a tribalist kleptocracy and very dysfunctional. Clearly, more is involved in the making of a culture (and, by extension, a nation) than its percentage-of-Christians.
There’s a reason world immigration moves in a one-way direction. Whites are not clamoring to move to places like Lagos or Zimbabwe, and there are obvious reasons for that. There are also obvious reasons that low-trust N-selective peoples greatly desire to leave the dysfunctional or suboptimal societies their N-selectiveness created and move to the Disney Land world of high-trust countries (aka Western civilization) built by K-selective people.
Eventually, however, when in very short order we demographically replace the K-selective people of, say, Germany with N-selective people from Africa and the Arab world, then the high-trust society is going to change, and quite significantly. It becomes no longer a high-trust society. ‘Germany’ is no longer Germany. This is happening before our very eyes, and qua Steve Sailer’s “The World’s Most Important Graph”, the point of critical mass will be reached in just a few decades, yet here we are preoccupying ourselves with arguments about how many angels can sit on the head of a pin.
Why do African Christians choose to immigrate to Europe? Surely they know that it will be much harder to raise children in the faith there. The answer, no doubt, is that they want for themselves and their children greater economic opportunity, and a superior material culture. Are they therefore bad Christians? Are German Christians who would choose atheistic Berlin over Christian Lagos bad Christians?
Hard, hard questions. If Germany loses her Christian faith, she may be persuaded in the future to return to it. But if Germany loses her distinctly German culture through mass immigration, there will be no going back. Obviously, the Hitler legacy makes these questions excruciatingly difficult for Germany — as well as hard for the rest of us, or at least it ought to make them hard — but that horrible legacy does not settle the questions.
This is also a step forward for Dreher. But what does he mean by “distinctly German culture”? Does positing this as a real phenomenon make Dreher an awful racist or neo-Nazi? No? Then why is it that when an Alt Right person makes the exact same observation, per the exact same logic, they are suddenly a deplorable neo-Nazi?
These are not trivial matters, and hollering “Racism!” to stifle discussion is wildly irresponsible. It seems to me that what’s happening in Germany is less a “Christian civil war” than a struggle over what it means to be German, what it means to be Christian, and where the two coincide. Perhaps the most disturbing question of all — and this is something all of us must face — is whether or not liberalism, one way or another, ultimately means the dissolution of distinct cultures.
I don’t have the answers, at least not answers I’m comfortable with, yet. But these questions cannot be avoided forever.
It’s nice that Rod is starting to wake up to the realities of how globalist capitalist forces do in fact lead to the dissolution of distinct cultures, as well as what this means for European (aka white) cultures, but he still needs to acknowledge how the distinct cultures of the West are, by definition and historical contingency, the product of ‘white’ populations.
Meanwhile, the cultures of the Other are institutionally protected and deemed sacred by a neo-liberal elite class, with a still-chugging multicultural model elevating ‘diversity’ and non-white identity politics at the expense of the indigenous Europeans.
In this regard, a starry-eyed Christian humanism that does not take into account the central role of race in Western Civilization is just as guilty.