Years ago, as an angry young man, I was a leading member of a white supremacist organization in my native England. I am no longer young, nor am I angry, and in my book Race with the Devil I have endeavoured to tell the story of my journey from racial hatred to rational love. This has brought me into occasional dialogue with white supremacists who do not understand why I have abandoned the creed of my youth. I am currently in such a dialogue and thought that I would share it with readers of The Imaginative Conservative.
“I have come to understand that race does matter,” writes my interlocutor, “not because I say it does but because it matters to everyone—even though such disinterested parties may claim otherwise. The subject of race is the one constant social binding and dividing force which unconsciously and consciously drives our behavior. Am I wrong?”
Yes, my dear friend, you are wrong. The one constant social force that binds us together is virtue, a manifestation of the God-Image in us cooperating with the grace He gives us; the one constant social force that divides us sin, a manifestation of our rejection of the God-Image in us and our rejection of the grace that makes us whole. It is the love of God and neighbor that binds us and the hatred of God and neighbor that divides us.
“In our post-civil rights era,” my interlocutor continues, “show to me any voting bloc during presidential elections which is not governed by racial issues under whatever guise. This was especially clear during Barack Obama’s two presidential campaigns. But it goes far deeper than this into the American social fabric; so much so, that I do believe directly due to the ‘balkanization’ of this country, American society will eventually move toward a racial civil war fought on many fronts.”
If, as you say, voting blocs during presidential elections are governed by racial issues, it would have made the election of a black president impossible. Even though the vast majority of black voters backed Obama, he would not have been elected if a huge number of white and Hispanic voters had not voted for him also. If anything, Obama’s election (twice) disproves your assertion. Obama’s election is a tragedy for America and the American people, not because Obama is black but because of his radical socialist and anti-Christian agenda. If, on the other hand, a good black presidential candidate, such as Alan Keyes, had been elected, I would have rejoiced that, at last, we had a president who stood for the true Christian roots of civilization.
Your point about the “balkanization” of America is much more difficult and nuanced than your racial reductionism would suggest. The paradox or conundrum that we face is whether we all become faceless, faithless and rootless consumers, mere fodder on which the Globalist Monster feeds, nothing but indistinguishable ingredients in the homogenized global melting pot, or whether we become rooted in the faith and reason that can withstand the onslaught of Mammon. I would argue that we need a healthy “balkanization” in which the rise of localism in economics and politics, and the rise of religious resistance to secular fundamentalist tyranny, create an alternative to consumerist homogenization.
If there is to be a civil war in this country, it will be fought, I suspect, between the new-localists and the global centralists, which is to say it will be a war between the Little People and the Big Government, or between the hobbits and the Ring of Power. In such a war, should it come to pass, men of all races will fight on both sides. For what it’s worth, however, I suspect that the war will not be necessary. What will come to pass, if we must play the role of prophet, will be more like a siege in which the forces of faith and localism must simply hold out until Mammon implodes under the weight of its own debt-laden greed. The culture of death is self-destructive; the forces of life simply have to be strong and resilient until the Dark Lord and his (do)minions come tumbling down.
“I would like to pose this provocative question,” writes my interlocutor. “Post-World War Two, after the total destruction of Hitler’s evil Nazi empire, and the liberation of Europe (and the world?) from a descent back into darkness (I am being sarcastic), can anyone honestly argue that Europe and North America are better off. I mean socially, culturally, morally, economically, and politically? My simple answer is No.”
I might actually agree with your answer, in the sense that we might not be better off, but we are certainly not worse off. In 1937, for instance, before World War Two and when the Nazis were at the height of their power, the devildom of world politics was not that different from the world in which we find ourselves today. There were wars in various parts of the world, governments were becoming bigger and more powerful, and the traditional family and the traditional understanding of marriage was under attack. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal was in full swing, dramatically increasing the role of the Federal Government in the economy and, in consequence, greatly increasing the power of central government over the lives of ordinary people. This trend towards Big Government was also en vogue, or perhaps we should say “all the rage,” in other parts of the world. Fascism was fashionable and so was communism. Mussolini was in power in Italy, and Hitler in Germany; in the Soviet Union, Josef Stalin ruled with an iron fist, crushing his own people with the power of his own paranoia. This nightmare scenario, in which governments were getting too big for their jackboots, would inspire George Orwell, a few years later, to write his cautionary book about the evils of Big Brother.
As for the spectre of war, it was looming large in 1937. Japan was in the process of conquering China and, before the year was out, its soldiers would commit what has become known to history as the Nanking Massacre or the Rape of Nanking, in which as many as 300,000 Chinese civilians—men, women and children—were slaughtered in cold blood, with many of the women first being gang-raped. In Spain, a bloody and fratricidal civil war was ripping the country apart.
In the Soviet Union, the Great Purge, as it became known, led to the arrest on trumped-up charges of at least 1.5 million people in 1937 and 1938, of which almost half were summarily executed, a rate of 1,000 executions a day. Meanwhile, in the Third Reich, the Nazi Government began to forcibly sterilize non-white children as part of a program of racial purification inspired by the rise of the eugenics movement, which was growing in popularity worldwide, not least in the United States, where Margaret Sanger, as a leading member of the American Eugenics Society and a founding member of the American Birth Control League, forerunner of Planned Parenthood, preached and sought to practice the same sort of racial purification programs as those practiced by the Nazis. As editor of Birth Control Review, Sanger published headlines, such as “More Children for the Fit. Less for the Unfit.” As for whom she considered to be the unfit, she was happy to proclaim it from the housetops with brazen chutzpah: “Hebrews, Slavs, Catholics, and Negroes.” She deliberately set up her first birth control clinics in immigrant neighbourhoods and openly advocated that those considered “unfit” should be made to apply to the government for permission to have children “as immigrants have to apply for visas”. Considering Sanger’s position, it is not surprising that Nazi scientists from Germany were invited to publish articles in the Birth Control Review that she edited, nor that members of Sanger’s American Birth Control League visited Nazi Germany and sat in on sessions of the Supreme Eugenics Court, returning to the United States with glowing reports of how the Sterilization Law was “weeding out the worst strains in the Germanic stock in a scientific and truly humanitarian way”.
If this sounds shocking, it is even more shocking that one of Sanger’s closest allies, C. C. Little, was on the cover of Time, smiling broadly as he lit his pipe and looking dashingly debonair, on March 25, 1937. Little was President of the American Eugenics Society and co-founder, with Sanger and Lothrop Stoddard, of the American Birth Control League. As President of the University of Michigan he had proved controversial for his outspoken support for eugenics, birth control and euthanasia. Much of his research was financed with grants from the big Detroit car manufacturers, in much the same way as the early eugenics and birth control movement had been financed by magnates such as the Rockefellers and the Carnegies.
Then, as now, it was the Catholic Church that stood firm. On March 14, 1937, Pius XI published his encyclical, Mit Brennender Sorge (With Burning Anxiety), against the evils of Nazism. With great courage, pastors read this from pulpits across Hitler’s Reich on Palm Sunday (March 21), risking repercussions from Hitler’s totalitarian régime. Almost simultaneously (on St. Joseph’s Day, March 19), the pope issued another encyclical, Divini Redemptoris, condemning “atheistic communism,” reiterating the Church’s resistance to secularism in all its guises.
No, my dear friend, things were not better in 1937. Nor were they better in 1917, when men were being slaughtered in the nationalist madness of the trenches of World War One and in the Bolshevik madness of the Russian Revolution. Something was rotten in the heart of Europe long before the twentieth century. The rot set in with the decadence of the superciliously self-named “Enlightenment” of which socialism, in both its national and international guises, was a product.
We can agree that we live in an age of barbarism in which people are free to choose to kill their own children. It is, however, a barbarism that unites our own deplorable epoch with the Nazis that you evidently admire. In this admiration for the Nazis we cannot agree, except in the sense that we can agree to differ.
Books by Joseph Pearce may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.