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.”