This interview with Fernando “Ferfal” Aguirre follows our review of his recent book, The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse.
To what extent has control in Argentina actually been reasserted since 2001? Are conditions now more or less back to pre-crisis circumstances? If not, what remains to be done, and have you found the role of the people in government diminished as it attempts to rebuild? What businesses came out on top a la Goldman Sachs (so far) ? What industries came out stronger?
Conditions will never be like they were pre 2001. Yes, the anarchy only lasted a few weeks during December 2001, and control has been of course restored. What we have now is a different reality. We now live clearly in a 3rd world status in most regards. We still have a large and somewhat sophisticated capital like Buenos Aires, but then over half of the middle class became poor in a matter of months. We now have 50 % of the population in poor class and over 20% of the population BELOW poverty line. These are people that don’t make enough money to buy the required calories for a minimum diet.
We lost our president in 2001 and we lost the continuity of our democracy. That has long lasting results. We now have an authoritarian presidential marriage (Mr. and Mrs. Kirchner) and we are slowly becoming more and more like Venezuela. This will take many years if not decades to revert. The damage is long lasting. It will take a lot of time before we have serious institutions, a believable country plan that extends beyond a couple months, and we regain the trust form foreign investors.
In a nutshell the business that came out on top were either the ones that bribed their way through with the local power or the smart businessmen that satisfied the market needs left empty by the collapsing government apparatus. Private schools and private transportation, private security and such.
These are the ones that found the opportunity within the crisis.
You state that after SHTF, the prevalence of bribing went up. What was it like before? He also mentions that some areas became no-go for law enforcement except in numbers. To what extent was this simply because of community discontent and poverty, or was there more of a Balkanization based on ethnicities, gangs, etc? What effect did the situation have on gangs overall? What happened to drug prices? (an important question in terms of figuring how the cartels are funded)
We already had corruption before. Now its simply worse, more outspread and almost mandatory if you want to get about anything done.
Some of the villas and settlements, they go on for several blocks and are so intricate and the criminal population is so large, its just very hard to get inside. In some operations hundreds of police officers were needed to have the required number of manpower to get someone out of there, and even with those numbers, there was intense gunfire.
The authorities simply prefer to find other ways, and avoid that kind of publicity were the video looks very much like a war zone.
Fuerte Apache, many of the villas, they are places where cops mostly prefer to avoid.
For Fuerte Apache it was required to use the military to keep the area somewhat pacified. Even then there’s lots of crime and intense gunfights in those areas.
As for drugs, the same principle I insist on was used: Adapt to the new market.
The drug dealers did just that. They started offering the cheapest drug ever offered in Argentina… and the most lethal and addictive: Paco.
Made using the waste of cocaine, Paco is smoked and its estimated that ½ of the males in the Buenos Aires suburbs between ages 18 and 35 are Paco addicts.
Of course, we have the worst drug abuse situation ever seen in our country.
Lack of future for the new generations, poverty, unemployment and a corrupt government that only pays off “muscle” for protests and political support is a lethal combination where Paco and other drug and alcohol abuse easily festers.
You are a younger man with a history of comparatively few injuries. Any thought to how you will modify your training in empty hand as you get older? Randy Coture, a mountain in the MMA, is now 46. Coture is a one in a million specimen. Most will have to adapt their ideas of defense well before then, depending on conditions and how well the body gets treated. You say in the book that boxing and BJJ (Brazilian jujitsu) are the poles of your training- I submit the poles should become a tripod, and pressure point/soft tissue focus ought to be the third leg. Any thought to studying the internal/”soft” styles, enough so to address this systematically?
The more tools you have, the better, but I think there’s simply no substitute for force on force, not only delivering punishment freely but also being able to take it.
This requires a strong body and sooner or later age affects us all, so absolutely, you have to adapt as you get older. Once I know I can’t take a beating, I’ll know its time to adapt my strategy.
What to do? Many things. As for senior h2h fighting, I’d stick to more simple moves as I grow older, give the loss of flexibility and then strength. Keep training with weapons, staying proficient with edged weapons as well. The older you get, the craftier and trickier you should be.
One reader once told me that after reading my book, given his disability to perform well physically, he made sure he walked everywhere with a couple of Dogo Argentino dogs. Keeps them close when at home too. I can’t argue with that, I think its pretty smart.
Let me tell you, even Randy “The Natural” Couture would be in a world of pain (blood and teeth) facing a Dogo Argentino protecting his owner. Street fighting and self-defense are not supposed to be fair.
You detail how so much economic activity during the crisis went at least “gray” if not black, and the widespread use of foreign currency. An important point you make though, on a number of fronts, is that the pre-existing order doesn’t actually go away, contrary to the Mad Max scenarios so favored by some. To that extent, how much did the government of Argentina spend trying to recoup taxes when things were at their most chaotic? Were there Argentinian IRS agents doing some version of street audits on businesses and large transactions ? Once things stabilized, were there widespread audits on businesses after the fact to make sure numbers matched up ?
The Argentine version of IRS went absolutely nuts, became worse and worse as time goes by. Not only are they used as a tool to get as much money as possible out of what’s left of the middle class, they are also very corrupt, often freezing business accounts just to ask for a bribe if you want that … “mistake” … to be solved within a reasonable amount of time.
All privacy laws are violated in order to collect as much money as they can. For example, during the World Soccer Cup, people that bought big screen TVs were considered high profile people and taxed heavily. They used google maps to check who had pools in their homes and tax them accordingly because of this “luxury”. I’m not inventing anything, this was all proudly announced as smart maneuvers by the government to collect more.
After things went wrong, was there ever any concerted effort by the people or criminal groups to target the financial manipulators and government mechanisms that were perceived to have allowed the crisis to develop? Any vigilante attacks against public figures?
No, not really. People are mostly law-abiding citizens and criminals? … they love times like these were they can basically get away with everything. De la Rua and a couple of other politicians were blamed for everything, De la Rua is being charged because of the murders during the riots of December 2001 but he’s still free. But no, no vigilante activity.
Along with the regular inconvenience of government writ large, you state in your book that it is likely firearm confiscation, post-SHTF, will become a priority for a government attempting to reassert its monopoly on violence. There is some basis for this, as you cited gun round ups post-hurricane Katrina. Considering how vital the ability to defend oneself against grave threats can be in a breakdown of order, and how few tools government may have to contain it, at what point do you see a justification for Americans to consider things “too far gone” to trust the government any more ? While recent USSC rulings seem to have solidified private ownership, the fear in the US is that ammunition may be regulated so heavily or taxed so thoroughly that it would become a de facto ban. Any thoughts on the Obama administration’s move on the UN Small Arms treaty, which has potential if adopted to put handloaders in jail and regulate privately owned firearms as if they were battlefield weapons?
I think Katrina was a good example. When guns were needed the most they were taken away from the people. I think there’s not much to do. When dealing when such obvious criminal, anti-constitutional activity, I think it the people’s obligation to hide their weapons and yes, lie to protect their God given, constitutional right to self defense.
Notice how people were naïve and answered yes when asked if they had weapons.
People, lets put this into context: There’s chaos because of the flooding/hurricane/earthquake and mercenaries are going around taking the weapons away from people. You have a constitution that backs you up. You have a right to lie to these criminals so as to keep the tool that enables you to protect yourself and your family.
It’s no different than a Blood or Crips gang member asking you the same question.
People, your life is more important.
The way to prepare for such a disaster is to buy a couple firearms with no paper trail, some ammo and keep them cached somewhere else as your tyranny kit. Having said that, under those conditions, I’d get busy to move out of the country as fast as I can.
Review of The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse by Fernando “Ferfal” Aguirre
With the economic turbulence that began in earnest in 2007, there has been a renewed interest from surprising quarters in what was once the domain of fringe groups and disgruntled Vietnam veterans. In the 70′s “survivalism” became an undercurrent and a catchall for disciplines as varied as defensive pistol shooting and organic gardening, covering an amazing array of interests. Today’s version has been noticed by a far greater slice of the general population, as evinced by firearms and ammunition sales in the US and an unquantifiable but widely acknowledged upswing in the sales of tactical gear, homesteading equipment, water purification kits and the other detritus of a modern day, hardware-fueled urban consumerist that just gained an appreciation of how hard things can fall.
For such folk, the temptation is inevitable- the tendency is to buy specialized weapons, gadgets and tools and to think in terms of “bugging out” and leaving to some remote mountain retreat. Most thought is still largely driven by thinking prevalent during the previous surge in interest, perhaps a variation on being prepared to fight the last war . Into this maelstrom of buying, selling, and fantasy scenarios that bear little resemblance to reality comes Fernando Aguirre’s The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse. A witness of and participant in the Argentinean economic crisis of 2001-2002, Aguirre watched his first world, urbane and educated society slip with frightening speed into a state of turbulence that produced conditions more readily found in the darker bits of the third world. Pockets of general lawlessness and an upswing in crime were right on the heels of economic paralysis as the government attempted to handle a frightening debt situation with devaluation, depegging of the peso to the dollar, and de facto seizure of economic assets. With alarming speed, the currency devalued to a quarter of its original value, and many secure urban professionals found themselves contending with circumstances for which they were dramatically unprepared.
Going into this experience, Aguirre had a modicum of preparation that turned out to be exceptionally useful, including a background with an early education in firearms, unarmed combat and backpacking, which alone can be tremendously useful if for no other reason that it strongly encourages fortitude and self reliance. More importantly, Aguirre was able to adapt to and learn from his situation quickly enough to come out of the situation comparatively intact, no small feat considering the breadth of skills that had to be assimilated. Mindset, awareness of the shadowy world around you, improvisation, even inculcated reactions to incidental confrontations on the street, all had to be retrained in the environment of the new reality. He credits his transformation to his willingness to never quit, to persevere, to adapt, improvise and overcome- and indeed stresses this as the primary tool for anybody in any situation of the gravest extreme.
Police involved shootings, stories of survival in the wilderness, accounts of war and even incidents of grave injury all show this as a common and critical element – a firm belief that, come what may, you are going home when this is over, and that you are going to make it for those you love. Aguirre’s motivation to prevail is the foundation upon which all other efforts are built, and they should be for anybody. As someone of repute once said, when man has a why, the how follows. Aguirre gets this.
Though he does go into the kit he found useful in a comprehensive manner, he is not what some disreputable musician-types refer to as a “gear queer,” and stresses finding what works for you, not what just came out on the cover of “Survivalist Monthly.” He travels light (though as an aside, I would love to compare contents of our everyday bag, and see who can go for more function with less weight), and insists on what police learn very quickly: you are most likely only going to have what you habitually, physically carry on you to deal with an emergency or emergencies when the feces strikes the rotating oscillator (hereafter referenced, as in the book , as SHTF) . He also seems to have an appreciation for tailoring the tools for the job, and recommends some of his favorites, what worked, and what didn’t.
This actually expands into a wider ethos of self reliance for Aguirre, as he notes that if one is serious about preparation for hard times, physical conditioning and what is essentially preventative maintenance on your own body need to be addressed while they may be. One might encounter considerable exertion and much more scarce/expensive medical attention in such environs, and what crises that can be averted or attenuated ahead of time, should be. Similarly, any deficits in knowledge should ideally be addressed in the good times There will inevitably be a very steep learning curve established immediately after things begin to get ugly, and realizing the paramedics aren’t coming after you’ve fallen and broken a leg is no time to learn how to splint. Aguirre advises taking at least basic first aid and CPR courses (easily located by contacting the Red Cross), and if possible, further training in an EMT/trauma mold as it may be available.
Hand in hand with this emphasis on preventative training is his insistence that one take charge of the most basic element that the state must provide to maintain viability, and what is frequently the first thing to fail after mass crisis: personal security. Aguirre maintains that all categories of crime became much more prevalent, with robberies, kidnappings and “commando style” home invasions a common occurrence. Concurrently, police response became slower and at times nonexistent, leaving law abiding people with no particular preparation as vulnerable to assault as sheep in the face of wolves. Notably, Aguirre encourages the sheep to become sheep dogs, and have a positive impact on their entire area.
Aguirre spends about a third of the book on self defense, covering a wide range of subjects that include improvised weapons, tactical driving, empty hand styles and pistol shooting. Again, his intent is not to give exhaustive instruction, but to communicate some tips and the occasional tricks picked up in his own training or from experience where it mattered. He does well to consider a multidisciplinary approach and stresses the importance of force on force training against an opponent with intent, something sorely missing among the legions of dojo ballerinas that buy a black belt and expect the enemy to attack in a very obliging, very narrow range of action. Aguirre knows this is a good way to get your head pulled off like a crayfish.
In fact, Aguirre has a rather good handle on what works, and clearly pays attention to the words of older and wiser men (something that can sure save one some stitches). In the whole of this section, I found only a single element where he mentions something that I find to be aiming in the wrong direction, and to prove just how deep one has to look and how nitpicky I would have to be to truly find any fault with the whole of his effort as regards self defense, I will address Aguirre’s section on boxing and knockouts in general. You will see what I mean.
Boxing is the first skillset for empty hand that Aguirre recommends, and indeed it was the first formal unarmed training I received. However, after considering the counsel of various teachers in aikido, competitive breaking and the styles perhaps best typified by John Perkins’ Ki Chuan Do, I came to alternate conclusions than I learned on the heavy bag .
Aguirre indeed puts considerable weight on boxing and the idea of a knockout blow, and while he does relay the repeatable actions that can lead to consistent knockout, I feel he goes astray here for two reasons. First, a closed fist to the head, unless targeted very precisely , is just as likely to injure the hand as it is to achieve knockout and second, such precision is a low-percentage shot . While such targeting is considerably easier to acquire ( and less likely to injure the striker) with proper training, the fact remains that the opportunity to deliver a knockout blow is far more often a product of a closed ring with consistent stances, distances and intent than it is on the street . Amateur and pro boxers routinely break knuckles , and always fight with the benefit of wrapped and taped hands inside of protective gloves , something that will be lacking in the street .
Any resulting injury is not only going to limit options for the remainder of the incident (if any) but will also be a serious handicap in the weeks and months it will take to heal- time when you can ill afford the incapacitation under the conditions mentioned. And that assumes it will heal properly to begin with, something altogether uncertain considering a quarter of all the bones in the body are in the hands, with the resulting specialization and fragility. I like to make a point this way: if you were challenged to hit a concrete wall with your hand with as much force as possible, without hurting your most important tool, how would you strike?
If you say with anything but the heel of the hand, you really ought to spend a few weeks in a cast to encourage remedial thinking. Any place a fist can injure, a palm heel can devastate. The same force that yields a knockout punch might tear a mandible completely out of the socket. Knockout is not a byproduct of striking a nerve in the chin and sending a consciousness-negating signal to the brain. It is a byproduct of an inertia rebound (either at acceleration or deceleration) of the brain off the interior of the skull, or alternately, brief interruption of blood flow to the brain. Any sudden impact to the head can set up such rebound- the goal is quick transmission of force, something that can be more readily accomplished with the hand open.
As well, many fights can be defused even very late in the game, and adopting an aggressive, fists-balled posture is telegraphing intent and possibly making a fight a self-fulfilling prophecy. With hands open toward a potential attacker, you appear conciliatory or at least unprepared, when in fact you are that much closer to performing a grab that turns into a grapple, or an open hand soft tissue strike following the palm heel, like eye rakes/gouges, ” fish hooking” and ear tears. Hey, nobody said soft tissue on the head was sacred. Destroy the opponent and preserve your weapons. Think long term.
Other than that bit, which seemed to stick out in prominence because the rest of the defense advice was largely so sound, I could find nothing to correct or critique. He sees the force continuum appropriately. In the gravest extreme, you must always be prepared to take it to the next level of force if you would ultimately prevail or fall, and Aguirre, again, gets this.
Another note: Aguirre goes at some length into the proper selection, carry and use of a knife, drawing again from force on force training and the colorful past of the gauchos, hard bitten Argentinian cattlemen from the pampas that lived and died on the points and edges of their facon. The knife is something that does not get much attention in the West, as it is a brutal weapon more commonly associated here with Jack the Ripper and OJ Simpson than a decent person trying to stay alive. This is a foolishness that emergency will ill afford, as a knife is a tremendous close quarters tool, something that can be both hideously effective and omnipresent, often allowed in places where a gun is not permitted. Proper intent above all else matters with the knife, as it is a hard business to carve into another human being , no matter how ornery they may be; but once that line has been understood and kept in perspective, a blade can be more lethal than a pistol. Again, Aguirre gets this.
Besides the heavy and warranted emphasis on defense, Aguirre relates some tips and tricks of storing what you use as foodstuffs and household items. He advocates getting as much as you can afford, in terms of money and storage space, of what you already use, always with an eye towards securing items in a way that will preserve utility. As well, he deals with what might be handy to have around in a compromised economy, items such as small bits of gold (NOT bullion or coins) and foreign currency that may be more valuable than toilet paper. The tips are still valuable, though, if nothing else than they paint a picture of an economy driven by need and ingenuity, developing in the shadows of the official (non-functioning) economy. It is quite a leap from there to the Road Warrior (though Bartertown from the third Mad Max movie does get an honorable mention), something most survival authors usually miss because they simply haven’t been there. Again, Aguirre has.
It would be very difficult to even mention all the angles brought up in the book, as it is comprehensive in its approach in a way that an abstract relation of facts and techniques can never be. This is the life experience of a determined man relayed in sometimes less than perfect English, a snapshot of how he handled waking up one day to find that his country wasn’t really there any more. However, if you are looking for instruction in specific disciplines with a thorough, specialist’s focus in any of the fields Aguirre mentions, there are better books to be had. If you were to have only one comprehensive manual collating likely details and tables that might be needed into a one-volume survival library, this would not be it. However, Aguirre’s Modern Survival Manual is a great beginning in the pursuit of finding out how to stay alive when it seems God might not want that as much as you do.
Takuan Seiyo was born in Communist Eastern Europe and socialized there and then in Switzerland, France and elsewhere. He received his university education and was naturalized in the United States, but interest in some aspects of the Japanese culture took him eventually to Japan, where he now lives. He describes himself as bi-racial, tri-national, quadri-degreed, quinti-lingual and sexto-ethnic. As to religious conviction, he buys directly from the wholesaler while remaining a cultural Christian. Mr. Seiyo’s pen name is both his Japanese nickname that means “Western pickled radish,” and a symbolic way to honor one of his heroes, the 17th century Japanese Zen monk, Takuan Soho.
Seiyo has found this sufficient, particularly as he had taken up the pen to comment on the West from an Eastern perspective. However, since a chance reading took him to the Kevin MacDonald territory, in related matters he finds it proper to elaborate further that he is half-Jewish, son of Holocaust survivors on both sides, and Catholic from birth. An international media executive for many years, Seiyo took up the pen after a chance airport encounter with Tom Wolfe in 2006. His articles are available mainly at the Brussels Journal, Gates of Vienna, Intellectual Conservative, VDare, and the Quarterly Review.
Why the body snatchers and pod metaphors? Aren’t there other non-alien terms for similar ideas in the Western tradition?
I don’t think “ideas” can begin to describe what’s going on anymore. You can say that feminism is an idea. But when contemporary feminism’s official position is to support Muslim immigration and Muslim autonomy (e.g. sharia) in the West, feminism is no longer an ideological movement but a suicide cult. No, it’s an unconscious suicide cult.
Or think about the establishment in all the Western countries that has not a care in the world with respect to its wholesale importation of Muslims, even overtly radical Muslims, to become new citizens. What “ideas” can you possibly put on one scale that could outweigh the willful and moronic denial of the lessons of history and of everyday reality on plain view in every Western city where a Muslim minority lives?
How would you describe the mesh of officially enforced gross lies and open government coercion throughout the West that we inadequately call “Political Correctness”? These are matters of life and death, in every area. The salient example being always Islam, I’ll condense what could easily take 50,000 words to just one name: Major Nidal Malik Hasan. David Horowitz had a relevant post about that: “Our brain-dead country.”
I find the vocabulary of B-movies most suited to describe this phenomenon. I could call our brain-dead (despite 120+ IQs) ruling elites Zombies, the Living Dead, Ghouls etc. I chose “Body Snatchers.” If you see the film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” a few times, and combine it with reflection on what’s happening to us, the aptness of this metaphor will grow on you.
IQ is not a measure for assessing achievement, but only the potential for achievement. I am hardly the authority to expound on why IQ is the central measure, but there are dozens of great books summarizing tens of thousands of relevant studies. Start from Jensen and end not before Vanhanen.
And it’s not just (potential for) achievement. Look into the paper published in the British Journal of Health Psychology (November 2006) by Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa. Kanazawa presents data suggesting that African states suffer relatively low levels of population health not because of poverty, but because their populations are less intelligent than people in richer countries. The ludicrous rage among the British bien pensant that this paper elicited is a worthy subject per se.
I don’t believe I differ with Spengler over this point. I differ only with respect to my insisting that not only the mean score is important but also the standard deviation. A society like Japan’s, with a higher IQ mean, will yield many more good engineers than Italy can. But because its IQ dispersion is so much narrower than Italy’s, Japan (or China etc.) will produce less genius, i.e. fewer IQ “outliers.”
Now, is this the only ingredient necessary for achievement? Of course not. There is character .e.g. hard work and emotional resilience; there are cultural factors, e.g. Protestant Work Ethic or Confucianism; there are chance and fate factors: your parents, your status in society etc.
But here things get even more complicated. Just what do we mean by “IQ” and by “achievement”? There are different types of intelligence, as per the Howard Gardner classification. There are different types of achievement.
Are we talking about making point guard in the NBA or tenured professor at MIT? I wrote a short story about this, “Clueless in Lagos,” based on my experiences in Africa, in the Winter 2008 issue of Quarterly Review.
Which countries do you think will do the best in the coming shuffle? Although Western European countries have been praised for leading the way in suppressing racism and anti-semitism, don’t they look the worst in many ways? America? Is there even any hope for Japan, with all of its demographic trouble?
Suppressing racism and antisemitism are not the sufficient or even necessary ingredients for what I presume you mean by “doing best.” To the contrary, I believe that inasmuch as the West is concerned, the prospects of survival and thriving are inversely related to the efforts to suppress “racism.” It follows that the Central European countries, e.g. Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia have a good chance of a great future if they manage to resist Eurabia’s pressure to eradicate their natural ethnic defense impulses. The countries that have eradicated “racism” the most, e.g. Great Britain and Sweden, are looking at the worst future of all.
I believe that America has a good long-term future, but not as one country. Its hundred million Body Snatchers, Marxist globalists, hostile minorities etc. deserve to live in a socialist multicultural paradise, but not with me. The rest of the citizens deserve and want to live in a country resembling that of their ancestors. The Federal structure of the country will facilitate this separation.
Japan’s future too depends on its ability to reconnect with its past history and values, but in a wholesome way. Defeat in World War 2 freaked them out to such an extent that they threw almost everything away, including many valuable cultural and spiritual assets. “Demographic trouble” of the sort Japan suffers from can be reversed peacefully, through cultural change. On the other hand, “demographic trouble” of the sort Great Britain is suffering from has only two solutions: bloodshed, or eradicating Great Britain. The second solution is well under way.
You’ve said that “Nature, unlike Lake Wobegon, does leave children behind.” Does God?
Yes, of course. There is the “leaving behind” of Christ on the cross, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” Even literally so: one of the accepted theories as to the meaning of the verb “sabachthani” is that it’s derived not from the Aramaic root “sabaq,” i.e. to forsake, but from the Hebrew “azav”, to leave – hence “zavtani” or My God, My God, why has thou left me.”
The same question has been posed by uncountable good people to whom really bad things have happened. Think of the Italian or Irish peasant, pious and righteous, being marched off with his entire family in chains to a waiting Algerian slavers’ galley. Think of the kind Jewish professor, waiting naked in line before the gas chamber while his wife and children are being pushed into a sealed death-trap trucks within his view. A whole branch of thought, theodicy, has been built on this dilemma.
But you can look at it more prosaically too. Think of Salieri complaining to God about Mozart. Or my friend, a gifted violinist, who killed himself at 25. He’d spent 20 years of his life, since the age of 5, preparing to be a virtuoso, and when he finally achieved what few have in them to attain — graduation from a fabled musical academy – he realized that God had given him a gift large enough to be a staff player in a symphonic orchestra, but not large enough to have thousands paying to hear him, as a soloist.
Certainly Christianity has played a formative role in the establishment of Europe, but have not many Christian groups, including substantial elements with in the Catholic church, as Paul Gottfried has remarked here at the Idiots, denounced everything that is not ‘universal’ ? What positive role can Christianity have today?
If you follow news of, say, activism in bringing savage Muslim populations from Africa to the U.S. on the bleeding-heart account of their being “refugees”, you’ll find that explicitly Christian groups are at the forefront of this effort.
Christianity has decayed, along with the rest of Western culture. In the case of the former, it’s reaction to (and cosmic payback for) many centuries of repression, obscurantism and greed for power. In the case of the latter, it’s Hitler’s revenge, and it’s the principles of the Enlightenment taken to their reductio ad absurdum.
Christianity can play a positive role today by giving up its exclusive telephone line to God, while making a strong case that any other religion – most prominently Islam – that claims to be in the exclusive possession of such a line, is the enemy of humanity. I believe that Christianity will be better off by giving up its globalist ambitions but reinforcing instead its inseparable connection with the history, culture and very soul of the West.
And the West will be better off reinforcing such a connection reciprocally. Not in the sense of claiming to possess the one and only universal truth, but in the sense of saying that this is our way to reach truth and grace. The Buddhists have their own way, the Jews have another one partially similar to ours, and the Muslims will have none as long as they seek to extirpate all the others. It’s the story of the blind men and the elephant.
Living in Japan, one learns how ludicrous it is to make religion the centerpiece of one’s identity. The religion of Japan is and has always been, “Japaneness.” There are at least 15 different strains of Buddhism there, there is Shinto, and all the main Christian denominations have adherents too. But religion is perhaps the fifth most important component of one’s identity, the first being race, the second culture, the third social position, and the fourth, gender.
Christianity already has a storehouse of unique ideas. It already has a storehouse of art inspired by it that’s superior by a wide margin to anything else in the history of humanity. Its paintings and music, sculptures and literature, architecture and drama could never have been the same without Christianity. Arguably, nor could its science.
And that’s just the beginning. If you visit the dining table and the clothing rack, the calendar and the whole rhythm of family life, it’s all Christianity there too. Christianity plays a hugely positive role in the life of everyone living in the West already, whether he acknowledges it or not, irrespectively of his faith and church attendance. So the issue is only to acknowledge that.
In your “From Meccania to Atlantis” series you remark:
“That Jews are disproportionately represented among the chief Body Snatchers is one thing, and it calls for a rational critique and repudiation… Kevin MacDonald’s is not such a rational critique. MacDonald’s is an Antisemitic theory in search of supporting facts. The facts are there, but they do not necessarily support that particular theory. “
This remark is confusing. What constitutes an anti-semitic theory? What is an appropriate rational critique?
A negative group stereotype is useful, provided that it be calibrated, correct and comprehensive. Also, it has to distinguish between what applies to a (mean of a) group, and what applies to each individual member of the group by faulty deduction.
When a person holds to a set of negative beliefs about Jews that does not fulfill these caveats, I call him an antisemite. If a theory propagates a negative gestalt of Jews that does not explicitly fulfill those caveats, I call it an antisemitic theory.
An appropriate critique of the Jews would have to account for the following:
A. The ubiquity of the so-called “Jewish” traits and “Jewish” worldly success among all Mercurian (Sowell and Slezkine obligatory here) diasporas, e.g. the Armenians, Lebanese in Hispano-America and West Africa, the Chinese in Southeast Asia, Indians in the Anglo countries etc.
B. The Jewish propensity to leftism has a similar source to that of the Christian propensity to leftism. It’s the Bible and Talmud for Jews. For Christians, it’s the Bible and the teachings of the Jewish Man–God whose own contemporaries called “rabbi.” Unless you show me how the New York liberal differs in his “evolutionary” essence from the Stockholm Social Democrat, your theory is but a package of your own antisemitic prejudices.
C. The Eastern European Jews who became Communism’s truest believers and who committed evil in its name did so because Communism had given them their first in Russian (or Hungarian etc.) history shelter from onerous persecution and discrimination. They had become fanatical Communists. The same action – reaction syndrome exists with other harmful, Jewish-related activities. For instance, the Jewish intellectuals who turned the Frankfurt School into an instrument for undermining the West got active in the 30s, when Nazis were already in power, and reached their full bloom with Adorno etc. only after the Holocaust. If you don’t shed some light on the reactive nature of these negative Jewish phenomena while piecing together a critique of the Jews, you have just stated a half truth, i.e. a lie.
D. The failure to fulfill the caveats of comprehensiveness and individual distinction are so glaring in the case of the Jews as to be impossible, except if one does so on purpose. Because with all the negatives that one can attach to the Jewish presence in gentile society, there are tremendous positives too. I raised the issue recently in a letter to VDare.com, that you’ll find here. You will not believe the volume of foaming rage emails I got from genocidal antisemites in response.
I find that Kevin MacDonald’s writing is simple Jew-bashing not because it’s a taboo to bash Jews, but because his writing is sorely deficient in the four ingredients above.
In your article the Last Samurai and Europe’s First Suicide you state:
“Future historians will see the West’s postmodern regime of liberalism, multiculturalism, sham egalitarianism, tolerance of the intolerable, cowardice, one-worldism and stigmatization of the male and the white, for the suicide it is. It will be just as plain as our image of World War 1 is now. And just like then, by paying heed to lessons from the East, the Western self-erasure unfolding now could have been averted. The greatest lesson, though, and one that is by now outer-space alien to the shallow midgets running the West’s countries on behalf of their devitalized demos, is embedded in the character of the man whom we seek to commemorate here,
What opinions do you hold about the figure of Coudenhove-Kalegri, one of the architects of the EU, who said that the “man of the future will be of mixed race”?
Being of mixed race and adhering to a mixed culture are not necessarily related, except, I suspect, below a certain IQ threshold.
White Westerners are already a mixed race. You have Scythians, Sarmatians and other Central Asians there, Jews intermixing with gentiles for a good 2300 years, and so on. Hardly anyone except for the bluest of bluebloods can trace his ancestry more than 150 years. For comparison, consider my Japanese family that knows its full genealogical tree going back over 700 years, as do practically all families of the samurai class. I am the first non-Japanese on that tree.
I can’t dignify a type like this Coudenhove-Kalegri by even looking him up in the encyclopedia. These people range from the evil to the demented. I am not, and as a big mixture myself cannot be, a racial purist. But when I hear types like Sarko extol the virtues of métissage as the future of the French Republic, it makes this non-racist’s blood boil.
In Japan, the most racially pure society I know, they love mixed Japanese–White marriages, provided that the “gaijin” is smart and successful, or at least handsome, so that the children inherit those traits. What they don’t believe in is miscegenation as an ideological imperative, which seems to be the credo of this C-K character.
Have you found a mixed cultural background a benefit which helps detachment, or has it reconfirmed your attachment to American culture?
My mixed cultural background has been helpful to me in getting an accurate reading of human reality. It’s like fixing the position of a place through triangulation. When you read a situation as a German- influenced Pole, as an American, and as a Japanese, where all three readings overlap indicates a higher probability of accuracy in your perception. And the differences are instructive in their own way, too.
I am not sure if I could call myself “attached to American culture.” I am attached to the set of 18th century giants who founded the United States, and to the original American Constitution, and all the heritage of freedom that ensued from that. But I am not attached to the 20th century perversions of these ideas by the liberal elite, or to pop culture elements like baseball, hot dogs or stickers on $5 prole caps that read “Proudly Made in America.”