Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Loss of Identity in the [u.] S.

The [u]nited States is a frustrating place to live.  So much that gives meaning to life is dissolved in the quest to gain money or ‘freedom’.  One’s identity is not grounded in the traditional soil of Church, family, clan, city, region, nation, empire, and so on but simply in job occupation, leisure activities, and/or the abstractions of various political constitutions and charters.

This unhealthy imbalance has seemingly led to another unhealthy imbalance meant to correct the former:  Race is becoming one of the most important factors in forming one’s identity in the States.  Thus, the rise of La Raza, white nationalists, Black Panthers, etc.

Even the Orthodox clergy in the States seem unbalanced in their attempts to deal with this, in a recent statement bordering on the denial that nationality, ethnicity, and so forth have any real value for the present or the future:

But it seems that both sides are falling into harmful ways of thinking.  The various ethno-nationalists do not see the dangers lurking in their strict identification of race and nation:

And the cosmopolitan Orthodox seem to be forgetting that nationality does have an important role in the present and the future.

Our Lord says that ‘all nations’ will appear before Him at the Last Judgment (St Matt. 25:32), and the recognition of ethnic distinctions continues on in Heaven (Rev. 5:9).  The Orthodox Church has also unapologetically proclaimed as saints some who have advocated very strongly for loving their native lands and cultures - St Paisius of Bulgaria, St Ilia of Georgia, and St Nikolai Velimirovich of Serbia among them:

How should we think of nationality, then, so as not to fall into any of the errors spoken of above?  Vladimir Moss speaks to this:

And this raises the very difficult question: assuming that there is a sense, albeit metaphorical, in which a nation does have a unique spirit or soul, how are we to define it? Or, if a definition is impossible - for, as Aksyuchits says, "just as a person cannot be simply defined, but only described, so is it with a nation"91 - how are we to describe it, at any rate approximately? Or, if it cannot even be described, but only be "felt", how are we to distinguish a true apprehension of the nation's soul from a false one?

In order to answer these questions, I propose briefly examining several criteria of nationhood, both spiritual ones like the religion of a nation, and more concrete ones, such as blood, land and language. In an article written in 1970, and entitled "Three Attitudes to the Homeland", the Russian Slavophile Vladimir Osipov proposes the following set of criteria: "What is a nation? Faith, blood, language and the land. Religion, and even a certain complex of rites, are a part - indeed, the most important part - of the spirit of a nation. An individual person can get by without religion. But without religion, an individual nation cannot survive as a nation... A people disintegrates literally before one's eyes when faith in God disintegrates..."92

Here we find the religious approach to the problem of nationalism – the importance importance attached to the faith of the nation - that is characteristic of almost all Russian writers. It is not that the call of blood, language and land are not felt by Russians - especially the latter. But the strength of the Orthodox Christian tradition in defining the Russians' consciousness of themselves and of others remains strong, even after 70 years of atheist and internationalist socialist propaganda. And this tradition declares that blood, after all, is not a defining quality of nations (especially in such a racially mixed nation as Russia) - and in any case, as the Apostle Paul said, God "hath made of one blood all nations of men" (Acts 17.26). As for language and land, they change and develop without the essential spirit of a country changing - although there is no doubt that a deep knowledge of the language and living contact with the land has an important role in keeping the spirit of a nation alive.

Aksyuchits echoes this judgement: "The positivist definitions of a people - for example, common origin (blood), language, territory, economic structure, culture, state unity - do not embrace the concept of that mysterious unity which is the people, the nation. All such definitions are only partial. They cannot, for example, explain the existence of such a people as the Jews, who in the thousands of years of their existence have become mixed in blood93, have changed their language and culture, have not had a common territory, or economic structure, or their own statehood, but have nevertheless been fully preserved as a people."94

The example of the Jews is indeed instructive, and there can be little doubt that the only major bond holding them together as a nation since the destruction of their statehood in 70 A.D. has been their faith. However, it is also instructive to note that when the Jewish leaders felt that the identity of their nation was being threatened through assimilation with the European nations in the nineteenth century, they founded the Zionist movement at Basel in 1897 with the explicit aim of bolstering the Jewish identity by a return to the land of Israel.95 Since then, moreover, it has been felt necessary to resurrect the Hebrew language - and to make common blood a condition of citizenship in the state of Israel.

So while a nation can exist by faith alone, this faith is strengthened by its association with a specific territorial, linguistic and genetic inheritance (however artificially these associations may be constructed or reconstructed). This intermingling of spirit and flesh in the self-definition of a nation has much to do with the kind of state structure it eventually adopts. A truly theocratic people may be strong enough in its allegiance to its heavenly Homeland to exist without a homeland or state on earth; for they "confess that they are strangers and pilgrims on the earth" and seek "a better country, that is, an heavenly" (Hebrews 11.13,16). However, once settled in a certain place, they will naturally tend to establish a monarchical state structure; for monarchy, and especially hereditary monarchy, is both an expression and a guarantor of continuity with the past. Nor is such traditionalism a matter just of preserving some quaint old habits and customs. Insofar as the faith which expresses the spirit of the nation is a historical one - "the faith of our Fathers", - and bound up with certain specific historical events, such as the Resurrection of Christ or the Conversion of St. Constantine, the history of the nation will be to a large extent the history of that faith in that land, and the keeping of historical memory will be both an expression of that faith and a means of keeping it alive in the people.

However, as a nation begins to lose its faith, the keeping of the traditions, and the preservation of the spiritual unity of the nation in and through the traditions, will come to seem less important than the fulfilling of the needs of the individual citizens. And at that point, as has happened in the history of almost all the European nations, the opportunity arises for an antimonarchical, democratic revolution. For democracy, as we have seen, is oriented to the needs of the individual as opposed to society as a whole, and of the individual as a materialistic consumer as opposed to the individual as a member of the people of God.

Source:  http://orthodoxchristianbooks.com/books/downloads.php?book_id=724, pgs. 97-9, downloaded 12 May 2018

What we see here is that nationality is more a matter of belief and behavior than strictly race.  The ethnic researcher Lev Gumilev also confirms this in his book Ethnogenesis and the Biosphere:

An ethnos, in my understanding, is a collective of individuals that has a unique inner structure and an original stereotype of behaviour, both components being dynamic. Consequently an ethnos is an elementary phenomenon that is not reducible to either sociological biological, or geographical phenomena.

 . . .

Ethnoi are always linked, on the contrary, with natural conditions, through active economic activity, which is manifested in two directions, viz., adaptation to the terrain, and of the latter to the ethnos. In both cases, however, we come up against an ethnos as a really existing phenomenon, although the reason for its origin is not clear.

It is also not necessary to reduce the whole diversity of my theme to some one thing. It is better simply to establish the role of certain factors. The terrain, for example, determines an ethnic collective's possibilities during its rise, but a newly born ethnos alters the terrain in accordance with its requirements. Such mutual adaptation is only possible when a rising ethnos is full of strength and is seeking to apply it. Later, however, it becomes used to the established situation, which becomes near and dear to its descendants. Denial of that leads inevitably to a conclusion that peoples have no homeland, understood here as a combination of topographical elements dear to all hearts. Hardly anyone will agree with that.

That alone indicates that ethnogenesis is not a social process, because spontaneous development of the sociosphere only interacts with natural phenomena, but is not a product of them. But it is precisely because ethnogenesis is a process, and a directly observed ethnos is a phase of ethnogenesis, and consequently an unstable system, that any comparison of ethnoi with anthropological races is ruled out, and so with any racial theories. In fact, the principle of anthropological classification is similarity, and the people who comprise an ethnos are diverse.

Source:  http://gumilevica.kulichki.net/English/ebe1.htm, opened 18, 19 May 2018

The word 'Romans' (romani), for instance, originally meant a citizen of the polis Rome, but not at all the Italics and not even the Latins who inhabited other towns of Latium. In the epoch of the Roman Empire in the first and second centuries A.D. the number of Romans increased through the inclusion among them of all Italians-Etruscans, Samnites, Ligurians, Gauls, and many inhabitants of the provinces, by no means of Latin origin. After the edict of Caracalla in A.D. 212 all free inhabitants of municipalities on the territory of the Roman Empire were called 'Romans', i.e. Greeks, Cappadocians, Jews, Berbers, Gauls, Illyrians, Germans, etc. The concept 'Roman' lost its ethnic meaning, as it were, but that was not so; it simply changed it. The general element became unity not even of culture, but of historical fate, instead of unity of origin and language. The ethnos existed in that form for three centuries, a considerable period, and did not break up. On the contrary, it was transformed in the fourth and fifth centuries A.D., through the adoption of Christianity as the state religion, which began to be the determinant principle after the fourth ecumenical council. Those who recognized these councils sanctioned by the state authority were Romans, and those who did not became enemies. A new ethnos was formed on that basis, that I conventionally call 'Byzantine', but they themselves called themselves 'Romaic', i.e. 'Romans', though they spoke Greek. A large number of Slavs, Armenians, and Syrians were gradually merged among the Romaic, but they retained the name 'Romans' until 1453, until the fall of Constantinople.

But in the first century A.D. new people appeared in the Roman Empire, unlike any of their neighbors, who formed a new entity in the next two centuries. They already counterposed themselves at the beginning of their advent to 'pagans', i.e. to all other people, and, in fact, were singled out from their number, of course, by the character of their behavior and not by anatomical or physiological traits. They treated each other differently, thought differently, and set themselves aims in life that seemed senseless to their contemporaries, in striving for bliss beyond the grave. Asceticism was foreign to the Hellenistic world; the new people created the Thebaid. The Hellenes and Romans had already, for several centuries, considered their gods literary figures, maintaining the cult as a public tradition but guided in ordinary life by many omens. The new preachers and neophytes considered with complete conviction that the other world was reality, and prepared themselves for fife on the other side. While professing loyalty to the Roman government, they refused to recognize its divine nature, and would not bow to the statues of the emperors, although that often cost them their lives. These nuances of behavior did not break the structures of society, but the new people dropped out of the ethnic unity and evoked the burning hatred of the urban poor, who demanded their annihilation, proceeding from the principle of denial of the right to be different.

It is wrong to think that the cause of the arising hostility was the difference in convictions, because there were no stable and distinct convictions among the uneducated pagans at that time, while they were diverse among the people of the new mentality. But why did the Hellenes and Romans not quarrel with Mithra, Isis, Cybele, and Helios, making an exception only for Christ? What put Christ outside must obviously have been not an ideological or political attribute, but an ethnological one, i.e. a behavioral one that was really new and unaccustomed for Hellenistic culture.

As we know, the new entity was victorious in spite of vast losses. The Gnostics disappeared, and Manichaeans were scattered; the Marcionites (subsequently Bogomils) were confined to a narrow community, and only the Christian Church proved viable and gave rise to an entity that had no name of its own. I shall conventionally call it Byzantine, or Orthodox Christian. An ethnos was formed from the Early Christian community in the fifth century A,D. throughout the Roman Empire, that called itself by the old word 'Romaic' (Gr. Rhome). From the fifth to the tenth centuries A.D. Bulgarians, Serbs, Magyars, Czechs, Russians, and Alans were converted to Orthodoxy, and then a superethnic cultural entity of the Orthodox world was created, which was broken up in the thirteenth century by blows from outside – by 'Franks' [+20], 'Turks', and Mongols.

Mr Gumilev’s work confirms for us that one’s bloodline is not the primary factor in national identity.  It does count for something, but it is only one element in the larger national matrix together with faith, land, and language.

A nation, an ethnos, may contain more than one race, as in Rome, Constantinople/New Rome, and Russia.  It is so with the South as well, which is formed mainly of a triple cord of Englishmen, Africans, and Celts, and many are those who have assimilated to the pattern of life they created here in Dixie - Germans, Greeks, Sicilians, etc.  Hopefully, one day the Native Americans who were expelled will also be welcomed back to their lands here in the South (Muscogee, Cherokee, etc., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Civilized_Tribes) and become part of this great ethnos as well.

M. E. Bradford is thus on the right track when he speaks of the Southern identity as ‘a vital and long-lasting bond, a corporate identity assumed by those who have contributed to it’ in Why the South Will Survive (U of Georgia Press, 1981, p. 215). 

The mono-racial state is not necessary for national well-being.  What is needed is a common faith, code of conduct, and history.  The fact that black mammies raised white children throughout the life of the South, and vice  versa, even into modern times, shows that this did exist in the South.  It still does, largely.  What is required of Southerners now is to perfect their oneness in the Orthodox Church, and to protect their inherited social order against threats such as weaponized mass immigration.

The South has an antinomic character, i.e., unlike things existing together in harmony.  These different kin-groups, the African and the Western European, co-exist together peacefully in Dixie (there are exceptions of course, but we are speaking of the general rule).  It contributes greatly to her uniqueness in the world, to the sense of mystery surrounding her.  If the antinomy is destroyed, the South is likewise destroyed.

The multi-ethnic, multi-racial nature of the Orthodox Christian Empire did not lead to the melding of all its tribes and nations into one bland people.  Some intermarriage no doubt occurred (as it has in the South), but this is not a sin (here the cosmopolitan Orthodox mentioned above are correct).  Overall, however, they retained their uniqueness, offering it to the glory of God (which is why folks should not be too eager to destroy these distinctions by thoughtless multiculturalism), while purifying themselves of sin and learning to love their neighbors.

St-Emperor Constantine the Great gives us a glimpse of this harmony in his letter on the dating Easter:

...the most holy festival of Easter should be everywhere celebrated on one and the same day. ...(So) cheerfully accept what is observed with such general unanimity of sentiment in the city of Rome, throughout Italy, Africa, all Egypt, Spain, France, Britain, Libya, the whole of Greece, and the dioceses of Asia, Pontus, and Cilicia . . .

Source:  https://orthodoxwiki.org/Paschalion, opened 15 March 2018

All these peoples lived peacefully together in the one Orthodox Christian Empire by the Grace of the Holy Ghost.  No one in the South, therefore, should think it such a strange or dangerous thing to see different races living under the one roof of Dixie.  If she will simply acquire the Holy Ghost, all will go well with her.


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!

Anathema to the Union!

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