Our Children Are The Guarantors

Defending Zionism from its detractors. Anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism. Let the other side apologize for a change.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Neopagastinians

First thing I must make clear that this post isn’t against pagans or paganism, not even against modern paganism in its entirety. Its central subject is identity politics, the politics of national revival, touching upon neopagan revivalism as a window into the mindset of identity politics, and from there tying it to the new nation that calls itself Palestinians.

From the days of the Roman Peace up to the last centuries, Europe had lived under a system in which nations existed but national consciousness was muted in favor of the unifying identity, whether Roman citizenship in antiquity or Christian religion in the Middle Ages. There were, certainly, episodes involving the eruption of national consciousness, for example the Hundred Years War between England and France, but nationalism, as opposed to there just being nations, emerged in the 17th century, in the wake of the Thirty Years War (1618–48) and riding on the lessening of religious fervor.

Nationalism grew in the 18th century, assumed a shaping role in the 19th century, fed by the Romanticist movement, and ran totally loose in the 20th century, being the prominent root cause of the two world wars. As a result of those wars, nationalism has been devalued in the minds of people from 1945 onward, devalued often to such a degree to the opposite extreme that it can no longer serve the West as a defense against the Islamic invasion. That is the reason why the religious, rather than national, identity of the non-Muslim hosts is much more promising—believing Jews, Christians and Hindus are far less likely to wish to appease the Muslim guests than are the “rootless cosmopolitans” behind the Politically Correct regime.

On the enemy side, nationalism is an import from the early 20th-century West (see my post The Californian Nation, from September 12, for a slightly fuller treatment), an attempt at countering the ascendancy of the West by adopting its own ideologies and modes of thinking. It has always been problematic, because the borders drawn by Britain and France after World War I cut across demographic sectors—witness the ethnic and religious mess in Lebanon and Iraq. But it remains a force to reckon with, because of its utility for Middle Eastern politicians, as well as the veneer of Western-type materially-driven feuding. Bashar Assad enjoys his despotism over the “Syrian nation”; in a pan-Arab superstate, he would be a regional governor at best, and in an Islamic Caliphate he would be lucky to be accorded dhimmi status. And the “Palestinians” have reaped rich and numerous dividends, in the form of international support, heavy financial aid (which they use for buying weapons instead of, not even alongside, building the state they have peddled to the world as their “highest aspiration”), carte blanche for killing enemy civilians and, foremostly, the recognition of their claim as equal to the Jewish one. It is on that point that my post is to focus.

Imagine a small strip on the coast of Britain demanding independence from the mainland on the grounds of being an actual nation. Does that sound far-fetched? It actually happened about 15 years ago, when the inhabitants of a small portion of Moldova (itself once part of Romania) seceded in order to have “the right of self-determination” (a key PC catchphrase). Gagauzia is now an autonomous region rather than its own state, but the sympathy accorded to the Gagauzian initiative only goes to show how rewarding identity politics can be.

Apart from cynicism, nationalism does have the positive trait of providing a raison d’être for groups of people who have nothing else. Either case, or both, explains the popularity of identity politics today, more than 50 years since the devaluation of nationalism. In the face of that devaluation, however, the previous option of founding a nationalistic movement upon genetics (ancestry, race) is out. Nationalists have turned to other venues, such as language (an important facet of Celtic revivalism) and religion. Religion being pre-Christian religion. Not all neopagans are national revivalists, but many are.

For a Swede, for example, who wishes to go beyond the rootless cosmopolitism of his default life but cannot assume an identity in the worldwide Christian corpus of believers, nor go the way of genetic nationalism, reviving old Scandinavian religion is the way to go. Many Teutons of today have chosen that path, and it’s better than the default, for sure, but it has big problems. Practical problems.

The dichotomy between nature and logography has been an ideological battlefield between pagans and monotheists (Christians and Muslims especially). The story is told of a Native American woman saying to Christian missionaries that nature is better than their Bible, because nature (specifically the wind and the rain) can turn their Bible (the printed books) to dust. Whether fact or fiction, it was no doubt a response to ideological attack, and for that reason alone I have some slight, sentimental sympathy toward it (in the sense of, “Would that the West were willing to make a similar effort in answering the ideological onslaught on it”—the main reason I started my blog). However, with the discovery of the DNA code, nature and scripture are seen to be not so polarly opposed. DNA itself is a meaningful series of instructions, and quite a few portions of it in humans are unchanged from organisms of billions of years ago, just by having been copied from generation to generation. The wind and the rain can disintegrate a single copy of the Torah, but it has been passed unchanged since its reception through copying. A Torah scribe copying the scroll has a copyist’s version before him, heavily annotated with notes and instructions to guard against errors. Biological replicators have similar error-correction mechanisms, though not foolproof, otherwise there wouldn’t be any cancer patients.

Reviving an old religion that was based in an unwritten culture at its time is a thankless job. The Swedish revivalist can glean much information from the Sagas, but there would still stay many gaping holes in his knowledge of his ancestors’ religious practices. An Irish revivalist is in an even worse situation, having to squeeze information on his religion from writings of the Roman enemy (such as Julius Caesar) and pre-Christian practices that were carried over, with modifications, to the Christian Irish after Patrick’s day. Judaism is in contrast to those, in that the revivalist, or more accurately a non-observant Jew wishing to go back to religious observance, need only read the books—heaps upon heaps of books, codifying both belief and practice of Judaism to the last detail. Jewish revivalism involves the chore of personal adjustment but not that of painstaking research.

So what does this have to do with the “Palestinians”? Even in the Leftist scheme of things, people who engage in identity politics are supposed to display a minimum of authenticity. That’s the reason why Ward “Little Eichmanns” Churchill fabricated his Native American descent. That’s the reason why White Supremacists try to verse themselves in the lore, if not actual practice, of pre-Christian European religion, and why Black Supremacists attempt to learn African languages (often with no regard to actual ancestry, for example African-Americans of West African ancestry learning Swahili). In this game of authenticity, even feigned authenticity, the “Palestinians” score a jawdroppingly low grade.

What does “Palestinian” identity rest on, exactly? Genetics? No, they’re variously descended from inhabitants of the cities (like Jerusalem and Safed), from Bedouins who had come from the Arabian peninsula over successive generations, from Arabs from other lands who had come in the early 20th century once they saw the land was starting to turn green (by the efforts of… guess who? Yep, you guessed right: the Jews. The Jews found the land as Mark Twain described it, and turned it green. Just about the opposite of the “Palestinians”), from black slaves of the Bedouins (now considered Bedouins by the Israeli government, but their brighter-skinned “brothers” still consider them slaves). Language? No, the linguistic gradation completely ignores the international borders—an Arab villager living in the north of the Galilee in Israel will have no problem understanding an Arab across the Lebanese border, but will find it hard to comprehend a Bedouin in the south of Israel. Arab identity? Possibly, but that identity, an ancient and authentic one, resents being fractured to many European-style nationalisms. Religion? They are comprised of Muslims and Christians, the former often turning on the latter in periods when jihad-consciousness is so high that they accidentally drop the nationalist, “Palestinian”, mask. The Islamic religion? That identity is even more critical of national divisions and nationalism than is pan-Arabism.

The cultural distinctives of the “Palestinians” are so bland in comparison to those of real nations: the olive tree, the kefiyyeh, the cactus (an American import), the debka dance, and other such features that do not bring up the thought of, “Palestinian” upon mention, because they are so general, so ad-hoc. Arafat (shr"y) was possibly aware of this, because in his last years he tried to assume a Canaanite connection to the “Palestinian” people, claiming them to be ancestors of the pre-Jewish inhabitants. I think it was one of the few attempts having a shadow of sensibility, yet that was a problematic one too: Canaanite identity would take the “Palestinians”, most of them Muslims, to a forbidden place (polytheism, the gravest sin in Islam).

What a contrast between the Jewish claim to the land of Israel, full to brimming with historical authenticity and cultural continuity, and the hastily cobbled fabrication of the “Palestinians”, made up for no other reason than the desire to dislodge the Jewish claim, and fed by nothing other than jealousy. It is no wonder, then, that the “Palestinians” have failed to build their state—they are not, and never have been, interested in building theirs, but only in destroying their enemy’s.

So why does the Left, so raptured by its fascination with authentic cultures and indigenous claims for self-determination, side with the “Palestinians” rather than with the Jews? I think the Left, or more precisely Western rootless cosmopolitans in general, are frightened by the grim reflections of themselves they see when looking at the Jews: here is a nation that has sustained its identity for centuries, even while not living on its ancestral lands, while they fare poorly even on their ancestral lands. Also, they are angry at the Jews for having spawned a religion that forced itself upon them, and doubly angry that they are at a loss to revive those religions they had held to before the Christian “cultural genocide” (to use another PC-ism). Zionism is in their eyes a repeat of the Christian invasion of pagan Europe, with the “Palestinians” in the role of the pagans. The identity politics of the Left, like so many other positions of theirs, are based on negation rather than affirmation—negation of “imperialism”, including the “cultural” kind, anger at Western culture and its Judeo-Christian foundations as being the “robbers of indigenous peoples” of both their material and their cultural resources. The Leftists are deeply frustrated, and the “Palestinians” are deeply frustrated, and both have struck an alliance to vent their frustration at their objects of jealousy.

But the “Palestinians” have, as shown by their election of Islamic party Hamas, abandoned the nationalistic rhetoric except for Western Leftist consumption. “Palestinian” nationhood, like all the others in the Muslim world, is steadily fading in front of the pan-Islamic dream, the aspiration toward a unified Islamic ummah united under the Caliph. This ummah is just as capable of launching an Intifada in the streets of Paris as it is in the West Bank. And “disaffected immigrant youths living in poverty” is the bone they give the Western Left to gnaw on regarding the “Paristinian” (hat tip: Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily) struggle just as “an oppressed nation clamoring for independence” is the one that goes for the “Palestinians”. In both cases, the Romanticist sentimentality of the Western Left is being masterfully put to use by the Muslims in order to reach the goal of a worldwide (globalization par excellence) dictatorship (no free speech or any of that stuff) ruled by one law (no multiculturalism, no tolerance toward the “other” who wants a burka-less or homosexual lifestyle).

In this current course, the West is about to be impaled on its own sword of identity politics. In order to change course, it needs an identity to take it away from the despair of postmodern, nihilistic rootlessness. The lessons of the taboo-breaking experiments of the “Radical Sixties” have been learned, and anyone who repeats them expecting a different result is a fool. I propose that the best step for rebuilding Western identity is a new conservatism that avoids the two extremes. Here is a symbol of that idea:

Picture: Two Christian women in dresses
Two women from the “Walk for Life” march, January 21, 2006. From Zombie.

Neither nude nor totally covered up. Or, as the frog-eaters say it: Ni putes ni soumises.

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11 Comments:

Blogger sonnyspats1 said...

Thank you for your assessment. Someone somewhere needs to start sorting this mess out. There is much hope I think on all sides. I think some peoples behavior today has to scream even to them. This is not right,wherein lies the solution. Truth is self evident!

October 30, 2006 2:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About the Bible and DNA analogy:

Are sure you really want to go down that path. While it is true that some parts of the DNA for been consistent for a long time, there has also been much evolution.

Also, they are angry at the Jews for having spawned a religion that forced itself upon them, and doubly angry that they are at a loss to revive those religions they had held to before the Christian “cultural genocide” (to use another PC-ism). Zionism is in their eyes a repeat of the Christian invasion of pagan Europe, with the “Palestinians” in the role of the pagans.
You are attributing far too much intelligence and knowldege to the left here. I doubt you could find five people in all of Europe who could from Christianity being a Jewish idea to hatred of Israel today. The two wires would just never hook up in their heads.
I sometimes make the same mistake. The issue that I lead me to believe it a mistake is "pro-lifers". I used to believe that hatred of sexuality was the source of each individual pro-lifer's anti-abortion position. I finally concluded that though the anti-abortion ideology may have forged in the context of a persuasive hatred of sexuality by an officially celibate clergy, the typical "pro-lifer" just picked up some random beliefs from their environment. To attribute any grand motive is simply nonsense on my behalf. Nobody should every lose a genealogical argument about mass belief systems for underestimating human intellectual depth.

I like the slogan "Neither nude nor totally covered up." It may not be enough to save the West, but it does at least make understandable the stakes to some people who may not listen otherwise.
The danger to the West, to our Greco-Judeo-Roman heritage makes me more conciliatory towards what you to have say than I may otherwise be. If I were any less conciliatory towards your views, illustrating your slogan with explicitly "pro-life" women may have made me miss your point.

October 30, 2006 3:45 AM  
Blogger truepeers said...

well done - some worthy candidates for Infidel Babe of the Week! May you be blessed with many little Zionists.

October 30, 2006 10:03 AM  
Anonymous religion of pieces said...

Oops! I meant to post this here but actually commented on the iba intro, so here it is again:

There's an interesting suggestion by Aeneas at

http://beernsandwiches.blogspot.com/2006/10/is-there-need-for-advocacy-group-to.html

for an advocacy group to promote Western culture and values and defend freedom of speech.

Our enemies have CAIR, numerous Islamic awareness weeks, Islamexpos and other petrodollar-funded Taqiyya fests, but we do nothing to celebrate our own Judeo-Christian culture.

October 30, 2006 12:35 PM  
Blogger ZionistYoungster said...

Thank you all for the feedback. I'm in the middle of moving house, with all the chaos that entails, so if I delay in checking my mail and answering the comments, it's because of that.

sonnyspats1,

Each of us, if only we hold off our fear of speaking, can change things. I used to be skeptical of that idea, but Charles Johnson's exposé of the Reuters Fauxtography Scandal proves it true.

Demosthenes,

Yes, I know there's been evolution, and I'm not a creationist either. I just, when I wrote that passage, recalled a remark from Richard Dawkins in his The Blind Watchmaker about a particular gene that has survived unchanged to our day over billions of years by copying. I know there are other genes that haven't (as Morpheus says: "Some things don't change. Some things do"), but I brought that example as a refutation of the physis/logos dichotomy.

I've heard quite a few Europeans complaining about Christianity as "an import from the Middle East foisted upon us", so even though the connection with Judaism may not often be made, the location of origin is brought up a lot. And it ties to European guilt--the sentiment that "We were colonized (by Christianity) and we colonized ourselves, so we must stop any other people from being colonized now", which is behind their support of the Muslims and their willingness to be dhimmis. (A lot of them, of course, not all. And getting fewer with each Muslim misdeed, here's hoping.)

About those women: I saw Zombie's exhibit from that pro-life demonstration a while back, and when I wrote this post, I recalled those women, who, by the way, look a lot like the religious Jewish girls the way they're dressed, so I pressed those photos into use as a symbol of the middle road between anarchy and tyranny. The caption stating that the photos are from the "Walk for Life" march is for attribution, not as a statement of mine on abortion, a subject that isn't relevant to this post. For the record, I'm pro-life, because that's the Orthodox Jewish view.

truepeers,

The Jewish law for women's dress is not just about preserving her modesty, but also about accentuating her femininity. A Muslim woman is required to wear a headscarf at the very least, but she can wear jeans; in contrast, a Jewish woman is required to cover her hair only when she's married, but for her to wear jeans is forbidden. Men and women are required by Jewish law to look distinct (following from the command in Deuteronomy 22:5). I hope to write on that subject after all this hullabaloo is over.

rop,

Thanks, that idea is a good direction in the process I advocated, of leaving defensive efforts and substituting a positive barrage of ideas in their stead. The enemy's ideas can't be stopped from being heard, nor should they be, because censorship can be (and, thanks to CAIR, now is being) turned against us. We need to go in full steam. And we'll need censorship-free (contra YouTube) outlets to achieve that.

October 30, 2006 7:02 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

zy,

it's an interesting point; i hope you sit down and work it out. The comparison you make here is not immediate clear though I know where you want to go: most Jewish women probably do wear jeans so to point out that many Muslims do, in contrast to religious Jews, does not make a lot of sense. The point is the horrific Burka, etc. I agree that the more "religious" or totalitarian the Muslims get, the more defeminized their women; while the girls in your photo are seriously feminine. Yes, even a haute couture French head scarf is de-feminizing if its intent is to hide all the hair all the time.

But I am not necessarily opposed to highly ascetic lives for a select minority of a given populatiion - one cannot deny their importance in promoting civilized disciplines in, e.g., Christian-Western history. But, let's judge the symbolism on the reality, i.e. the ascetic practice, that it symbolizes, without getting stuck on fetishizing the signs themselves. The Muslim who defends the head covering by pointing to a nun misses the point: the Muslim covering may be an ascetic discipline but it's not evidently related to a form of specialized religious organization that is a high point of Islamic civilization, not that I'm sure what that might be. The problem with Islam, it seems to me, is that its "highest" culture promotes a certain universal ascetic discipline for *all* men and women - at prayer, every day - and in a way that is a non-starter for living and succeeding economically, etc., in the modern, highly differentiated, world. Hence the burka, etc., is really a sign of rebellion against modernity: it is a highly political symbol, not a truly ascetic one.

A relativist will argue that the personal and the ascetic are political; we, i think, should argue that this is simply anti-Western buncombe. Western Christian personhood, with its distinction between what is owed Caesar and what is due a moral personhood, is truer to a desirable reality and to human freedom than is the relativism or Umma-imperialism that denies a healthy differentiation of the political and the personal. The greater truth permits the more highly differentiated consciousness (a differentiation tested as meaningful - not simply fantastic wishfulness - by a specific form of concrete historical or cultural experience) , including that which differentiates the G-d-given feminine beauty.

October 30, 2006 10:18 PM  
Blogger ZionistYoungster said...

truepeers,

For Jewish women to wear jeans is against Jewish law; for Muslim women to wear jeans is, as far as I know, lawful according to Islamic law. Actually it's not "jeans" the issue, it's pants. Pants are forbidden for Jewish women to wear because they're "that which pertaineth unto a man" (Deuteronomy 22:5). A dress made of denim is allowed, and indeed lots of Jewish girls in Israel belonging to Zionist Orthodoxy wear it.

The dress is, as you hinted, a serious marker of femininity. "Radical" (60's-inspired) culture defeminizes women by letting them dress like men, or ruins the sacred anticipation for men by having the women reveal nearly (or not nearly) all their secrets in public. Islamic culture defeminizes women by hiding them in a potato sack, obliterating their individuality and objectifying them. It makes all females, whether 9 or 90 years old, targets for sexually repressed men, now that they are 100% a private part. Yet the irony is lost upon those on the Left who admire the Islamic covering of women as "a counter to Western objectification of the female sex". I just read the article Muslim Rape, Feminist Silence on Frontpage Mag, and it's depressing beyond words.

November 01, 2006 10:44 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

It's funny how the comments turned into a discourse on tzniut.

My religious background is in Conservative Judaism, and I had some trepidation when my wife said she would cover her hair when we got married.

Over the years, however, I have a developed a deep respect for tzniut. I have watched my wife dress modestly, cover her hair, and always look very good and very feminine. It helped open my eyes to the beauty of more traditional Judaism.

November 12, 2006 2:18 PM  
Blogger ZionistYoungster said...

Michael,

It's a tangent, but one I purposely pursued for a future post (G-d willing). I just need to find out all the things the Jewish sages say about Tamar, specifically the part where she covered her body completely in order to make Judah think she was a prostitute, and then I'm all set. You can already guess that it's going to be about the middle way between the two extremes of New Age nudity and the Islamic burka.

The Jewish tzniut dress-code does a favor for women both young and old. When a woman's old, her dress and head-covering do much to hide most of the signs of old age.

November 12, 2006 6:54 PM  
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