Christianity, Nationalism And Charity
The people in charge of our country right now – not just the handlers of Joe Biden and the Democrats’ congressional leadership, but the leftists who have seized control of so many of our elite cultural institutions and even a sizable chunk of corporate America – do not share the values of the bulk of our society.
America is generally split down the middle between Republicans and Democrats, though there is sizable movement from the latter to the former. In the past 12 months there have been more than a million American voters shifting to the GOP. Nevertheless, politically neither party has a stranglehold on public perception. If there is unity or consensus, it seems to be in favor of the idea that our elite institutions – political, educational, cultural and economic – are corrupt and incompetent and no longer serve us well.
One of the core projects of Revivalism is to illuminate the reasons for the decay and then actively roll it back rather than to fight the holding action conservatives have tried, and mostly failed, to do.
Because the decline of our institutions was not an organic affair. It wasn’t happenstance. It’s been a continuous project of a cadre of socialists who planned it long ago.
One of the more influential of the societal wreckers whose legacy is causing so much misery today was an Italian communist named Antonio Gramsci. Our more informed readers will know him by his famous formulation of the “march through the institutions” which would culminate in the fall of the Western capitalist civilization. To wit…
“Socialism is precisely the religion that must overwhelm Christianity. … In the new order, Socialism will triumph by first capturing the culture via infiltration of schools, universities, churches and the media by transforming the consciousness of society.”
But Gramsci’s writings specified the elements of the culture that must be destroyed for the Marxist project to succeed.
Specifically, he claimed the workers of the West opted not to turn to Marxism amid the catastrophe of World War I because of “Christianity, nationalism and charity.” According to Gramsci, the cultural Marxist project had to scrub those three elements in order for Western capitalism to fail; without them, the underpinnings of our society would crumble and the communists could find their opportunity for the dictatorship of the proletariat in the chaos to follow.
Most modern woke leftists and neocommunists don’t even know where their arguments came from, but critical theory and all of its offshoots – transgenderism, third wave feminism, critical race theory and so on – come from Gramsci and his contemporaries.
And their project is to destroy Christianity, nationalism and charity.
Obviously, then, bolstering those three elements of civilization has to be the goal of the revivalist movement.
By Christianity we mean Judeo-Christianity, and we don’t even require a return to some sort of Puritan America. Would it be nice to engender a religious revival in this country, something which has happened with periodic regularity in our history and for which we’re long overdue? Sure. But that isn’t even required for the cultural, political and economic revival we need. What’s needed is a renewed appreciation for Christianity, or Judeo-Christianity, as the moral values system which animates us as a society.
And this is easier now than it has been, because we have something to compare it to. One factor which held our nation’s faith strong during the Cold War was the obvious contrast of America with godless Soviet communism and the brutal tyranny it imposed on its victims. There was a strong sense of America as the good guys in that conflict, and our religion – whichever denomination in which it was expressed – was a cultural signifier standing in defiance of the encroachment of communism.
The godless tyranny of the Chinese communist state should have provided a similar unifying force to bind Americans to our Judeo-Christian ideal. But our elites have spent 30 years presenting China as a friendly trading partner supplying us with cheap goods, and the proper effect of their corruption has not manifested itself.
But woke socialism is something else entirely. It stands as a stark contrast to the Judeo-Christian ethic. And now Americans increasingly see that one can embrace either the Judeo-Christian values system or the wokeist one; it’s quite difficult to choose neither. And that contrast is very good for Christianity, because even if you prefer a secular lifestyle to a devout one it’s still far more comfortable and rewarding to live within and benefit from the basic values of the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus Christ than…what? Ibram X. Kendi and Pink?
We shouldn’t shy from proclaiming the superiority of Christianity to wokeism. And armed with things like the Supreme Court decisions on religious institutions benefitting from state voucher programs and Christians having the right to pray on public school grounds, we now have a lot more space to promote our traditional American values within the context of a religious foundation.
Gramsci’s assault on nationalism was probably the thing which most contributed to his death. The primary difference between communism and fascism is that the former is an internationalist ideology while the latter is a nationalist one. The Left, and particularly the communist Left, has attempted to foist fascism as a far-Right ideological system, but this is a lie. Fascists and communists both believe in hulking, overweening governments which strangle individuality and rob people of their personal agency, and that’s a leftist belief. But it was necessary to kick the fascists out of the Leftist camp after the Hitlers and Mussolinis turned out not to be sellable, and so for the Gramscians nationalism became a dirty word.
Watch today’s neocommunists in the media and elsewhere as they discuss nationalism, and they’ll assail the term as some sort of neo-Nazi or racist ideology.
But none of that is real. Particularly in the case of American nationalism, there is no nexus to fascism or big government. In fact, as American nationalism is founded, as America is founded, not on race at all but on the ideas of limited government and individual agency, the idea this is a special nation which must be preserved is an anti-fascist, anti-leftist thing. There is a reason that despite the Left’s constant clamoring over the “white nationalist” threat, they can so rarely find real examples of any white nationalists – and when they do, they’re almost always supplemented if not driven by ample numbers of federal informants.
What Gramsci called nationalism is better described as patriotism. It was his ideological disciples who popularized the saying that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel (we now know that it’s racism, not patriotism, which fits more appropriately in that meme). Patriotism is simply love of country, and love of one’s community at large, and the willingness to sacrifice for its benefit.
Early progressives used patriotism to build institutions like the Boy Scouts and American Legion which insinuated the government into the civil society but not in an especially pernicious way. The modern cultural Marxists insist on making that insinuation pernicious because American nationalism, or patriotism, must be subsumed into the globalist project increasingly controlled by a Chinese regime which perfectly embodies their ideals.
Finally, Gramsci rightly understood that charity is a problem for the communist project. While charity operates at a high functional level, there is no argument for a Marxist redistribution of wealth. That’s why insult and disregard for charity has long been the project of the Left. It built a welfare state which goes far beyond the need of anyone to survive and in so doing destroys Ben Franklin’s famous observation on poverty…
“I am for doing good to the poor, but…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”
We have the richest, fattest and least-motivated poor in the world, and it’s no accident. We’ve spent more than $20 trillion in a “war on poverty” over the last half-century, and in doing so we’ve trashed the nuclear family – an effort Gramsci spent no small amount of focus on – and created a pattern of pathological behavior which makes our inner cities shooting galleries and our rural areas a sea of opioids and crystal meth.
And that welfare state has corrupted the good will of our people, so many of whom turn a blind eye to the suffering of others by taking the position that it’s the government’s job.
And we’re spending ourselves into oblivion, with runaway inflation creating more poor by the minute.
These are the attacks the Left is making on our society. Recognizing them as attacks, and not as the organic flow of societal evolution, enables us to effectively counter them. And counter them we must if we’re going to build the American revival our people so badly need.
Scott McKay’s new book The Revivalist Manifesto delves into the origins of cultural Marxism and how to defeat it in great detail. Buy it on Amazon here.