We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The World We Have Lost (Redux)

There is a contemporary tendency to put failures down to personal inadequacy. This mistaken way of thinking often colors my own perceptions, for sure. But old Adorno had it nailed, in a précis best rendered in English as "Wrong life cannot be lived rightly." When the system is corrupt, the efforts of the individual to do any sort of 'right' can only come to naught.

This is why my so-called colleagues often let me down. But it isn't my fault or even theirs (which is why I must moderate my contempt). But how can it not be anyone's fault? Because they are simply responding to the general behavioral prompts of the system, just like rats in a cage.

A professor inside the Skinner box.

In the academic setting, perhaps under the general rubric of 'neoliberal self-fashioning', it can best be elaborated as follows:

To adopt this perspective is to open up the possibility of asking how infiltration of higher education by neoliberal rationality, however uneven and contested that process may be, has fostered the formation of faculty members who are ever less likely to appreciate and still more unlikely to do what needs to be done to arrest their declining role in institutional governance. This sort of fashioning occurs not because we are duped by an ideology that legitimates our subordination to a ruling class and its duplicitous agents within the university. Rather, neoliberal academic subjects are shaped via everyday experiences in multiple domains of conduct, each of which engenders a representation of conduct as so many instrumental efforts to maximize return on investments in the self, whether this return takes shape as income, status or some other good.

We are accustomed to spotting this form of reason at work when, for example, our students treat their education as a commodity whose value is to be determined by future earning capacity. Are we, however, equally adept at recognizing its operation when we upload our publications to (as I recently did), and then frequently check our “analytics snapshots” (as I now find myself doing)? To what extent does such conduct betray internalization of the neoliberal assessment techniques and productivity metrics that are now ubiquitous throughout higher education?

... Careerism, of course, is nothing new within the academy. What is new is the inconspicuous but unrelenting disappearance of rival forms of professional identity whose persistence might trouble the figuration of individual conduct, as well as our relations with one another, in a neoliberal register. To illustrate, consider the sort of faculty member imagined by the social contract that was tacitly and sometimes expressly invoked, especially in early decades of the 20th century, to justify the distinguishing features of the academic vocation.

However idealized, the terms of this [outmoded] contract, sometimes labeled “social trustee professionalism,” portrayed the academic career as an ethical trust that entailed commitment to the disinterested pursuit of knowledge that is indispensable to the altruistic good that is progressive enlightenment. Achievement of that end required that the university be subject to neither intrusive political regulation nor marketplace imperatives. To secure such relative autonomy demanded institutionalization of its necessary conditions, including tenure, peer review, academic freedom and participation in organizational governance akin to that exercised by members of other self-regulating professions, especially law and medicine. Should faculty members fail to engage in such governance, this representation cautioned, they will endanger the profession’s claim to exemption from forms of regulation to which other enterprises, especially commercial, are appropriately subject.

If that account of the academic social contract now rings implausible or even quaint, that goes a long way toward affirming the accuracy of my claim about the insidious encroachment of neoliberal sensibilities within the academy.

The notion of a "public trust" is indeed completely laughable from the squinting perspective of today's generation and the last remnants of it -- e.g., "the Wisconsin Idea," a final vestige of progressivism -- are being swiftly eliminated. All my colleagues want is to function inside the cadre of the elite managers (in virtue of their specialized training), be respected, and take home a higher salary (alongside all the perks they can grab). They would be just as happy working for the BLAND Corporation, provided it proved sufficiently ego-systonic.

This betokens, indeed, the final moments of "The Managerial Revolution," in which, as Orwell anatomized:

Capitalism is disappearing, but Socialism is not replacing it. What is now arising is a new kind of planned, centralised society which will be neither capitalist nor, in any accepted sense of the word, democratic. The rulers of this new society will be the people who effectively control the means of production: that is, business executives, technicians, bureaucrats and soldiers, lumped together by Burnham, under the name of ‘managers’. These people will eliminate the old capitalist class, crush the working class, and so organise society that all power and economic privilege remain in their own hands. Private property rights will be abolished, but common ownership will not be established. The new ‘managerial’ societies will not consist of a patchwork of small, independent states, but of great super-states grouped round the main industrial centres in Europe, Asia, and America. These super-states will fight among themselves for possession of the remaining uncaptured portions of the earth, but will probably be unable to conquer one another completely. Internally, each society will be hierarchical, with an aristocracy of talent at the top and a mass of semi-slaves at the bottom.

The military-industrial complex or the society of the spectacle?
Are we now at war with Eastasia?
We've always been at war with Eastasia.

What was the alternative, the world we have lost? (Besides the nation state?) In the American setting, what some deemed the "Old Republic."

If the Old Right stood for anything, it stood for the conservation of the "Old Republic" that flourished in the United States between the American War for Independence and the Great Depression and the civilizational antecedents of the American republic in the history and thought of Europe, and it is precisely that political construct that the managerial revolution overthrew and rendered all but impossible to restore. The Old Republic cannot be restored today because few Americans even remember it, let alone want it back, and even a realistic description of it would frighten and alienate most citizens. The essence of a republic, articulated by almost every theorist of republicanism from Cicero to Montesquieu, is the independence of the citizens who compose it and their commitment to a sustained active participation in its public affairs, the res publica. The very nature of the managerial revolution and the regime that developed from it promotes not independence, but dependency and not civic participation, but civic passivity. Today, almost the whole of American society encourages dependency and passivity—in the economy, through the continuing absorption of independent farms and businesses by multinational corporations, through ever more minute regulation by the state and through the dragooning of mass work forces in office and factory and mass consumption through advertising and public relations; in the culture, through the regimented and centralized manufacture and manipulation of thought taste, opinion, and emotion itself by the mass media and educational organizations; and in the state, through its management of more and more dimensions of private and social existence under the color of "therapy" that does not cure, "voluntary service" that is really mandatory, and periodic "wars," against poverty, illiteracy, drugs, or other fashionable monsters, that no one ever wins. The result is an economy that does not work, a democracy that does not vote, families without fathers, classes without property, a government that passes more and more laws, a people that is more and more lawless, and a culture that neither thinks nor feels except when and what it is told or tricked to think and feel.

Trying to be a "beautiful loser" -- on many different fronts -- has almost killed me. Time for a new tactic. But what shall it be? What Then Must We Do?

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low; Also [when] they shall be afraid of [that which is] high, and fears [shall be] in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets: Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all [is] vanity.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


The new analysis will fuel concern among Christian leaders about growing indifference to organised religion. This year the Church of England said it expected attendance to continue to fall for another 30 years as its congregations age and the millennial generation spurns the institutions of faith.

According to Bullivant’s report, Contemporary Catholicism in England and Wales – which will be launched at the House of Commons on Tuesday, both the Anglican and Catholic churches are struggling to retain people brought up as Christians.

Four out 10 adults who were raised as Anglicans define themselves as having no religion, and almost as many “cradle Catholics” have abandoned their family faith to become “nones”.

Neither church is bringing in fresh blood through conversions. Anglicans lose 12 followers for every person they recruit, and Catholics 10.

"I'm nobody's houseboy now."

Monday, May 23, 2016

So many mistakes

I ought to know: after all, I'm guilty of most of these, and then some.

Some interesting reflections, from The Southern High-Churchman (my emphases):

Among other things, I think I made the mistake of mistaking ideology and this-worldly institution for Tradition and Church. Coming from the Anglo-Catholic tradition, it seems useful to begin there, with some things that may at first seem trivial, and I apologize if this seems round-about, but my argument depends on examine the problem of tradition, and especially of liturgical praxis, since "the law of praying establishes the law of believing."

I think one serious mistake that many Anglo-Catholics made, that I made, was to take current Roman Rite practice in the Roman Church as their model. We have our own tradition, which goes back to St. Augustine of Canterbury, and that tradition already includes everything of consequence that the Anglo-Catholics strive for. I am not saying we cannot learn from, or even borrow from RC's (including baroque-style vestments), but the model must be our own tradition. Likewise this does not mean that recovery is not part of the program. It must be our duty to "restore those things that are gone to decay" and I would include among that the venerable Roman Canon. So, while I would not now use the current Roman Missal, I am sympathetic to the English and Anglican Missals, using the latter, which happily provides Sarum options. Latin in the liturgy is another thing we need to revive, although it never fell out entirely, being in use at the two ancient Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, (which also maintained, through its celibate fellows, the spirit of monastic life until the revival of that in the mid-19th century). I celebrate in Latin as often as I can, that is whenever I am not dealing with a congregation who would be alienated by its use, and for my private prayers use a form of the ancient Roman office that was in use in England prior to the Reformation (key elements of which were likewise long preserved in the universities), and taken up again by religious communities during the Catholic Revival.

To take another problem, taking the position that Anglican-style vestments, with their pre-Reformation origins, are somehow Protestant, seems to me a very un-catholic and sectarian approach into which some Anglo-Catholics have fallen. Many Anglo-Catholics also adopted the Novus Ordo. However, when I look at the Novus Ordo Missae and the ethos that produced it, it seems to me the product of a repressed sexuality, especially homosexual desire, that came out in destructive anger towards the liturgy. (I believe it is sacramentally valid. I believe it can be celebrated reverently, and I know of good priests and congregations that do so—but they are a decided minority.) I would say that there is much about it that is consequently un-catholic. There is a lot in the current Anglican liturgies that is an improvement, but for Anglicans to have taken on so much of the Novus Ordo and its ethos, the whole a deeply flawed and foreign product, and one that is the result of a deeply conflicted and repressed sexuality, seems to me a terrible mistake. To my fellow Anglicans I would say that we need to get over being governed by other people's neuroses, deal with our own, and get back to the fullness of our own tradition. Further, our approach to Scripture, Tradition, and Reason gives us a much better theoretical basis to address the crisis in human sexuality, if only we will use it.

Some would say that the ordinariates for former Anglicans set up by order of Pope Benedict XVI in Anglicanorum Coetibus allows for us to keep our traditions in union with the Roman Church. However, the fact that the ordinariate in this country does not use Anglican-style vestments, does not use the traditional Anglican lectionary, and was forbidden the use of the traditional Latin liturgical forms, is to me more than sufficient evidence of the un-catholic and sectarian spirit behind its the implementation of Anglicanorum Coetibus (though not about the Pope who authored it), and the un-catholic and sectarian approach of the Bishop's Conference and the Roman dicasteries, commission, and bureacracy that implemented it. In short, insofar as the presumed goal of the ordinariates was catholicity, they have failed by failing to respect the Anglican tradition, and this reveals a profound and wider failure in the Roman Church—one which made keeping the legitimate traditions that I received impossible.

How Green Was My Valley

Not Christianity

"Christianity does not, repeat not, look forward to a gradual betterment of human behaviour and society or to the progressive spread of peace and justice upon earth. Still less does Christianity purport to offer a scheme or general outline for bringing that about. Quite the reverse, it uniformly teaches, as if to emphasize the point for good measure, that things will get worse rather than better before we are through. So far from it being the function of Gospel revelation to prevent that happening, the reversal which it promises is sudden, apocalyptic, external; something which irrupts into the world like a lightning flash ...

I have no wish to be unecumenical. Dear me, that would be too terribly unfashionable! Yet I cannot refrain from quoting the remarkable words which the Pope addressed to Harold Wilson on the occasion of the latter's recent visit to the Vatican. The Supreme Pontiff welcomed the accession of the United Kingdom to the European Economic Community -- a provisional political arrangement, about which British electors are all entitled to hold their own opinion, and upon which I suppose the head of a foreign state may arguably be permitted to comment, though with due restraint. But what His Holiness said was astonishing:

[In joining the Community] not only will Great Britain be furthering the cause of the brotherhood of all men but she will be also bringing closer the day when the goal of universal peace and justice will finally be attained.

Nothing could be plainer or more emphatic. If the actions of politicians, such as the governments party to the Treaties of Rome and Brussels, can bring nearer the final establishment of peace and justice upon earth, then other similar actions can bring it nearer still and nearer, until eventually it must be attained through their agency. You cannot both believe this and be a Christian; for if this is true, then Christ died in vain, and mankind can be saved and glorified by its own prudent endeavours. Whatever such a belief is, it is not Christianity; and surely it is striking testimony to the compelling power of fashion that such language should be held, apparently without any sense of incongruity, by the successor of St Peter himself."

--- Enoch Powell, "Then Shall the End Come," Wrestling with the Angel (London: Sheldon Press, 1977).

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Quicunque vult

"The Prayer Book commends that at Christmas, Easter, Whitsun and no fewer than ten other feast days there shall be said or sung at Morning Prayer, instead of the Apostles' Creed, a confession of our Christian faith, 'commonly called the Creed of Saint Athanasius' ...

It seems to me that the Creed confronts us with three facts which we are extremely reluctant to recognize, and to which the prevalent mood of our age and society renders us particularly allergic.

The first fact is that Christianity is an intellectual religion ...

From this follows the second fact which we are desperately anxious to avoid seeing, namely, the possibility, indeed the probability, the prevalence, of failure ...

What is more, and this is the third fact which the Athanasian Creed will not allow us to evade, failure can be final, absolute and irrevocable ...

Once more, men have sought means to cushion and shield themselves against having to meet this truth face to face. The comfortable doctrines of purgatory and intercession for the dead attract because they offer some escape from the intolerable finality of judgement on the human life completed. Yet that finality is already implicit in the basic assertion of Christianity that salvation is about belief ...

It is an uncomfortable conviction to live with, a conviction which imposes solemn, almost insupportable responsibility. But here we stand already on the threshold of the content of the Catholic faith, 'which except everyone keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly'."

--- Enoch Powell, "Whosoever will," No Easy Answers (London: Sheldon Press, 1973).

Ego te baptizo!

Really! Just press this link!

Oh, and ....

Happy happy joy joy.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Our Hitler

So much fodder! Deaconesses, transgender bathrooms, Brexit! But let's step back for a moment and consider the lasting contributions of Adolf Hitler. I say that there are three that continue to dominate and determine our world today: The State of Israel, NATO, and the European Union.

Because of Hitler, there can be no Brexit. The game plans were mapped out long before today and tomorrow will, quite literally, never come. So, lean back and enjoy some Kojevian reflections:

There is no doubt that we are currently witnessing a decisive turning point in history, comparable to the one that took place at the end of the Middle Ages. The beginning of the modern age is characterized by the unstoppable process of the progressive elimination of “feudal” political formations dividing the national units to the benefit of kingdoms, which is to say of nation-States. At present, it is these nation-States which, irresistably, are gradually giving way to political formations which transgress national borders and which could be designated with the term “Empires.” Nation-States, still powerful in the nineteenth century, are ceasing to be political realities, States in the strong sense of the term, just as the medieval baronies, cities, and archdioceses ceased to be States. The modern State, the current political reality, requires a larger foundation than that represented by Nations in the strict sense. To be politically viable, the modern State must rest on a “vast ‘imperial’ union of affiliated Nations.” The modern State is only truly a State if it is an Empire.

The historical process which formerly replaced feudal entities with national States, and which is currently breaking down Nations to the benefit of Empires, can and must be explained by economic causes, which manifest themselves politically in and through the requirements of military technology. It is the appearance of firearms, and notably of artillery, which ruined the political power of medieval subnational formations. The feudal “Prince” – baron, bishop, city – was capable of arming his vassal-citizens with swords and spears, and he maintained himself politically as long as this armament sufficed to enable support for a possible war, with his political independence at stake. But when it was necessary to maintain an artillery to be able to defend oneself, the economic and demographic bases of the feudal political formations showed themselves to be insufficient, and this is why these formations were progressively absorbed by national States, which alone were able to arm themselves in an adequate fashion. Likewise, nation-States were – and are still – sufficient economic and demographic foundations to maintain troops armed only with handguns, machine guns, and cannons. But such troops are no longer effective nowadays. They can do nothing against a truly modern army, which is to say motorized, armored, and involving an air force as an essential weapon. Now, strictly national economies and demographics are incapable of putting together armies of this kind, which Empires alone can maintain. Sooner or later these Empires will thus absorb nation-States politically.

This fundamental inadequacy – demographic and economic and, consequently, military and thus political – of national States is demonstrated in a particularly striking way by the example of the Third Reich. Throughout the High Middle Ages, Germany pursued an imperial project, at once anachronistic and premature, and thus utopian, which is to say without a real foundation in the present, and consequently unrealizable. The pursuit and inevitable failure of this project had as a consequence that Germany entered into the truly feudal period and emerged from it 150 years late, from which it has never known how to catch up since (never having been able to or having wanted to skip stages with a revolutionary act). So it was with a delay of a century and a half that Hitler began his political action. And thus he imagined and created his Third Reich as a State strictly in keeping with the “national” ideal, born at the end of the Middle Ages and having already reached its perfect form in the revolutionary ideology and its realization, signed with the names of Robespierre and Napoleon. For it is quite evident that the Hitlerian slogan: “Ein Reich, ein Volk, ein Führer” is but a (poor) translation into German of the watchword of the French Revolution: “The Republic, one and indivisible.” And one could say that “the Führer” is but a German Robespierre, which is to say an anachronistic one, who – having known how to master his Thermidor – was able to undertake the execution of the Napoleonic plan himself. Moreover, Hitler expressed the essence and the motive of his political thought very well by putting himself at the head of a movement which calls itself “national-socialism,” and which consciously contrasts itself with Soviet “imperial-socialism” as much as with Anglo-Saxon “imperial-capitalism.” Generally, the Third Reich was undoubtedly a national State, in the particular and precise sense of the term. This is a State which, on the one hand, strove to realize all national political possibilities, and which, on the other hand, wanted to use only the power of the German nation, by consciously establishing, qua State, the (ethnic) limits of the latter. Well, this “ideal” nation-State lost its crucial political war.

So now? Playtime!

Frau im Mond

From The MCJ:

Have you noticed that there hasn’t been much commentary on things Anglican, Episcopal, or Druid lately? Not just on MCJ, but pretty much anywhere?

Speaking only for myself, I think that a major barrier has been crossed. To put it simply:

Nobody cares anymore. Using colloquial terms, WTFC???

TEC has become irrelevant. The C of E has become irrelevant. And the Anglican Communion, in its traditional incarnation, has become irrelevant.

The controversies which have raged for the past 4 decades have finally burned themselves out. The church yielded on the issue of women clergy. The church rewrote the BCP to allow for all sorts of modernistic practices. The issue of same-sex marriage and homosexual clergy was at first carefully side-stepped by the church, and then ultimately approved.

All of which was about 10-20 years behind the “norms” of everyday society. And Society very deliberately and effectively has ignored TEC/the Anglican Communion.

IMHO, there is no longer any such thing as the “Anglican Communion”. There are churches which try to call themselves “Anglican” (TEC, the ACC [Anglican Church of Canada] ) and various offshoots/variants, but for all intents and purposes, the Anglican Communion is dead. There’s a VERY large and strong faithful remnant in GAFCON; the Global South has demonstrated for many years that they received the Gospel of Christ as it was taught to them, and they are unwilling to compromise that Gospel, to their eternal credit.

Still, they cannot halt the rush to secularism and popular acceptance that encompasses the 1979 BCP, acceptance of gay clergy, tolerance of lay presidency, “open communion”, and so many other examples of putting social trends and popular causes ahead of scriptural authority and the Gospel of Christ.

Does anyone even care any more if Vicky Gene Robinson is gay? Does anyone care if TEC stands up for any cause whatsoever – gay rights, Native American rights, illegal immigrant’s rights, or Marianne vs. Ginger rights???

I used to follow all sorts of Anglican blogs regularly, to keep abreast of events and be aware of the latest theological and doctrinal developments. I can now do the same thing with a tarot deck missing 13 cards, a loaded pair of dice, and the white pages for Somerset, Kentucky.

It’s now been 40 years since the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States irrevocably launched itself down the road to being a religion governed by popular opinion and abandoned the Faith as Received from the Fathers. If one reviews the various statistics (membership, baptisms, parishes, ASA, etc.; all readily available on TEC websites) it’s clear that the “new and improved” TEC hasn’t exactly been a resounding success.

So – this is one case where I’d have to summarize with, “No news is NOT good news.”

We have now escaped the Earth's atmosphere completely!

Veni, Sancte Spiritus

One of my old-fashioned prejudices in favour of Roman Catholicism was the prominence formerly accorded to philosophy in its educational institutions. It used to be said that a RC college "had to have" a philosophy department, no matter how tiny.

As the process of "all that is solid melts into air" continues unabated, it must finally be acknowledged that here, in America, this is no longer the case. The following is just one more entry (archived here, from the comments section there).

It’s too late for anyone to do anything about the philosophy department at Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, North Carolina, but what happened to the philosophy department there seems to be prescient of what is happening or going to happen at many philosophy departments across the country.

In the Spring of 2009, President William Thierfelder announced that the Board of Trustees had mandated an examination of academic programs at the Abbey in light of financial concerns (it has always been the case that BAC suffers from extreme financial insecurity.) Despite repeated requests from the faculty, it was never revealed how this “examination” (which most of us realized was just a euphemism for making cuts to faculty) would place the Abbey on any kind of securer financial footing. An ad hoc committee was hastily assembled to meet over the summer to carry out this “examination.” The committee was organized and controlled by the Academic Dean, Carson Daly, whose name should be familiar to readers of this blog since she just recently resigned as President of Mount Saint Mary’s College in New York, after firing faculty there.

Long story short, it was obvious to me that both Thierfelder and Daly intended all along to eliminate the philosophy department and its faculty, and that all of this was just a cover (Daly’s constant trying to have votes on whether to eliminate the philosophy department during meetings of this committee without any warning was certainly a clue) . Despite her constant maneuverings, both the committee and later the Faculty Assembly voted to keep the philosophy major and the philosophy requirement in the core curriculum. Still, she misrepresented the will of these two bodies in her presentation to the Board of Trustees and had philosophy eliminated. When inquiries were made as to how a Catholic college could eliminate all philosophy from its academic offerings, Abbot Placid Solari, Chancellor of the college, responded that of course, there was still philosophy since the Political Science department would be offering required political philosophy courses in the core! Yet those of us in the philosophy department were told that either we didn’t have the credentials to teach these courses, or that there no need for extra faculty (the college hired another political science professor that fall).

No department but we still got a philosophy!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

And thereto I plight thee my troth

The suppressed conclusion of the previous post? Demography is destiny. A national democracy and a national church -- both, equally -- depend upon the dêmos, its “we the people.” This is visceral, not an idea: shared history is not some collective notion but a lived experience. There must be in hand a well-worn common currency, whose familiar coin is not debased, ready to be freely exchanged and transmitted, in trust, to the succeeding generation.

Dei gratia.


From The Catholic World Report:

CWR: While some political observers have apparently been surprised by the rise of Donald Trump, the appeal of Bernie Sanders, and the anti-Establishment mood, your 2010 book The Ruling Class indicated that something like this was almost inevitable. You wrote, for instance, that "the Ruling Class and the Country Class has overwhelmed [the division] between Republicans and Democrats." How would you define and describe these two classes?

Angelo Codevilla: The ruling class are society’s “ins.” This class comprises persons in government, those who depend for their livelihoods on government, and whose socio-economic prospects and hopes are founded on government. Thus it includes most people in the educational establishment, the media, and large corporations. Its leading elements and its major voting constituencies are the Democratic party. But it transcends political parties because any number of Republicans aspire to its privileges and share its priorities.

Above all, the ruling class defines itself by a set of attitudes, foremost of which is contempt for those outside itself. This contempt stems from the rather uniform education that the ruling class’s members absorbed from universities and which they developed by living in their subculture. Believing themselves intelligent apostles of scientific truth, they regard others as dumb and in the grip of religious obscurantism. Religion is the greatest of the divides between the ruling class and those it deems its inferiors. Whereas they believe themselves morally good and psychologically sound, they regard others as suffering from psychological dysfunctions and phobias — effectively as bad people. The ruling class does not believe that those outside itself have the right or capacity to conduct their own lives.

The “country class” is the term used in British-American discourse since the 17th century to describe society’s “outs.” The rest of us. Lots more people — quite heterogeneous. Though for reasons heterogeneous and often internally inconsistent, more than two thirds of this class is resentful of the ruling class ...

Since 2010, the consciousness of the bitter opposition between these two parts of America has sharpened. By 2014 it was clear to many (including myself) that the Republican Party had discredited itself as the alternative to the ruling class. The country was hungry for someone to stand up to its rulers. It was clear to me that whoever seized the role of defender of the “outs” against the bad management and contempt of the “ins” would sweep aside opposition ...

Christianity, which gave medieval regimes their character, which character endured in the Western world up until recent decades, revolutionized life by recognizing each individual’s direct relationship to God — the creator of the universe, the essence of goodness, and hence the one and only standard of right and wrong. This, including Jesus’s mandate to separate duties to God and to Caesar, made it possible for life in the West to be lived on several independent levels. This is (or was) our charter of freedom. As Luther put it: “Be on you knees before God, that you may stand on your feet before men” ...

The character of any democracy is neither more nor less than the character of its demos at any given time. The United States of America’s distinctive character was obvious to anyone stepping off a ship in de Tocqueville’s time as it was to anyone arriving here up to, say, fifty years ago: a nation equally God-fearing and free ...

The country has been clamoring for some kind of political vehicle for opposing the ruling class. The Republican Party has shown that it is not capable of fulfilling that function. Its leaders no longer have a following. The sooner it goes the way of the Whigs, the better.

From The Spectator:

A nation is more than just a register of voters paying tax to get services; it relies on social capital, and unless there is a shared idea of nationhood then whoever ends up in power lacks true legitimacy in the eyes of large amounts of the electorate. America’s real weakness may be the idea of a ‘proposition nation’, the (relatively recent) concept that American-ness is defined not by shared history but by adherence to a certain set of values. This is the result of the social changes of the 1960s, including the 1965 Immigration Act that opened the borders to non-Europeans, and the transition of the country from being historically white (with a partially excluded black minority) to multicultural.

This is all well and good on paper, or at least on the cinema screen, but defining a country by its values is not only illiberal, but also incredibly weak at creating social solidarity. As it is, America’s social solidarity is in steep decline, as can be inferred by the declining trust people feel. Democracy and good government generally depend on things like trust, without which people are far more likely to put their trust in demagogues.

The logical thing, of course, would be for the country to divide, and perhaps if the Republican and Democrat areas were contiguous, as in 1861, this is what would happen.

Only resolute and urgent action will avert it even now. Whether there will be the public will to demand and obtain that action, I do not know. All I know is that to see, and not to speak, would be the great betrayal.