Civilization’s sickness unto death 377

The Sickness Unto Death is the title of a book by the nineteenth century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855).* He diagnosed the sickness as despair – the despair of individuals. An individual despairing of himself is sick with a psychological disease. “Psychological” is the author’s word for it. Kierkegaard was a Protestant Christian – but opposed to the established Lutheran church of Denmark – and the cure he prescribed was Christian faith.

In the twentieth century the French writer Jean Raspail (1925-2020) published a novel titled The Camp of the Saints. The story diagnoses guilt as the lethal sickness of the pan-European community called the West. Its guilt is a political disease, making it impotent and moribund. Raspail was a Catholic – but angry with the Catholic Church – and the cure he prescribed was Christian faith.

In May 2023, First Things published an article by Nathan Pinkoski on The Camp of the Saints. These are extracts from it:

The most important dystopian novel of the second half of the [20th] century is Jean Raspail’s Le Camp des Saints (The Camp of the Saints, 1973). Its central plotline concerns an armada that transports one million migrants from India to the shores of France. It’s an invasion, an occupation of the Global North by the Global South. As the migrants land, France is thrown into chaos, along with the rest of Europe, and Western civilization dies.

Yet The Camp of the Saints is not a disaster novel. The book’s significance does not hinge on whether Raspail was correct to predict mass immigration or describe it in catastrophic terms. Rather, the novel’s genius lies in the depiction of an apocalypse in the original sense of that term. Properly translated, apocalypse is rendered as revelation, disclosure, literally an “uncovering.” The Camp of the Saints unveils the perverse logic that pervades late Western civilization, and throws into sharp relief the nihilism of guilt whereby the West welcomes its own destruction. …

Raspail will not allow the migrants to be idealized. Throughout the novel, he emphasizes their vulgarity by providing lengthy descriptions of their crudeness, sexual promiscuity, and repellent hygiene. … [T]he migrants are materially and culturally destitute. That is why they find the West attractive. They do not have a mission to redeem sinful Europe; they are seeking deliverance from poverty and from the sometimes-brutal oppression and inequalities of non-Western cultures.

They will not obtain what they seek. In discussing what to do about the armada, the French authorities persuade themselves of their own ­illegitimacy. At the climax of the novel, the French president delivers an emergency speech meant to authorize the use of military force against the migrants and prevent them from landing. But he ­cannot bring himself to deliver the order. France will not defend itself. When the migrants alight from their boats and wade ashore, the West has already capitulated.

European governments fall as the migrants arrive, and European citizens withdraw from public life. Civil society collapses; as a result, the migrants enjoy no real improvement in their condition. They bring their bad rulers with them, replacing European regimes with the very regimes they have fled. ­Dictator-generals and Brahmins take up positions in French government, ruling as they did in their own lands. The migrants and their supporters do not “include” the Rest into the West. They expand the scope of the Third World, and wretchedness goes global. The purported blessing of the arrival of the wretched, so cherished by progressive voices in the novel, does not come about. What emerges is not a particularly harsh despotism—there is only the occasional boot stomping on the human face—but the pain of the survivors is great, because of their vivid memories of what they have lost. …

The left-wing intelligentsia herald the coming of the migrants as the dawn of a new age of multiculturalism, but they stoke a media frenzy and deploy the tools of cancel culture against those who demur, ostracizing or punishing them. …

Raspail is unsparing in his depiction of the betrayals urged by left-wing intellectuals, but he reserves his most scathing passages for the treason of the Catholic Church. In the novel, the previous pope has sold the treasures of the Vatican in a failed bid to win the approval of the Third World. The sitting pope, a Latin American, spends his time flying around on humanitarian missions and selling off whatever Vatican assets remain. He sees himself as a champion of the Third World. As the migrants arrive and the native French abandon their lands, priests go down to the beaches to cry, “Thank God!” They turn their backs on their countrymen, imagining they see Christ in the migrants.

In Raspail’s telling, Catholic Christianity has for some time been in thrall to humanitarian universalism. The novel satirizes a left-liberal Catholicism that disdains national and civilizational particularity and renders the faith indistinguishable from the moral universalism of non-believers. Under the banner of “charity, solidarity, and universal conscience”, progressive clerics abandon their neighbors for the sake of the stranger. They practice the religion of humanity, a Christian heresy

The First World must be taught to be ashamed of itself, to believe that its death will be its greatest gift to the future of humanity. The new civic liturgy of Western nations must express submission to the morally superior non-Western “other”. Those in the West need to be trained to take the knee …

Again and again in the novel, cowardice and self-hatred are masked and moderated by the conviction that mass immigration into Europe and the deconstruction of European identity will somehow take away the sins of the West. But Raspail knows the truth: Third World immigrants do not have the power to deliver Europeans from their sense of worthlessness. Once one embraces the logic of civilizational repudiation, the endpoint is nihilism and cultural death. …

The West is responsible for its own fate. Raspail is right. God will not deliver us from the consequences of our guilty self-­hatred. It is up to us to decide whether we will reject […] atonement through occupation and turn instead to the Lord.

Contrary to Pinkoski’s opinion, ours is that the really interesting thing about The Camp 0f the Saints is the accuracy of its prediction of what is happening in the 21st century: the non-violent invasion of the First World by a vast number of immigrants from the Third World; the failure of First World Governments to prevent it or turn it back; the sabotaging reaction to it of leftist intellectuals; clerics of the great churches – the Catholic priests following the lead of a Latin American pope –  passionately encouraging the shattering, the befouling, the abandonment of Western civilization.

What accounts for the capitulation of the rich and mighty law-governed civilized West to poor, weak, ignorant hordes from (in our case) the dark continent of Africa, corrupt republics of Latin America, cruel khanates of the Middle and Far East, hellholes of vicious Communist dictators?

Pinkoski declares, in apparent agreement with Raspail, that the big mistake which allows such a fatal tragedy to happen, is the embrace by Western political, intellectual, and religious leaders of  a “perverse logic” that “throws into sharp  relief the nihilism of guilt”.  The guilt is for Europe’s erstwhile imperialism, its colonizing and alleged oppressive exploitation of Third World countries. It arises, even in “Catholic Christianity”, out of an enchantment with  “humanitarian universalism”. That, Pinkoski tells us, is a “religion of humanity” and “a Christian heresy”.

The expression “humanitarian universalism” is no doubt intended to imply Marxism, but also more than that: global brotherhood, the family of man, humanism; an ideology of moral values, but essentially secular, and so “heretical” because it omits God. To the Christian mind, such an ideology is invalid because morals can only be decreed by God.

In reality, humanism, which purports to be concerned with individuals, is a very unlikely source of guilt and shame for a communal “sin”. The “sin” in this story is so bad that it calls for extreme punishment – nothing less than the destruction of our entire civilization, the peak achievement of humankind. The notion that humanism, or “humanitarianism”, is the source of such a shame could only arise in the religious mind – a mind furnished with inherited antiques: sin, guilt, atonement, penance, redemption through suffering, subordination of one’s own interests, apocalypse. And only one Western religion demands atonement by self-abasement, self-sacrifice, annihilation of achievement, willing submission to suffering.

Humanism began its resurrection with the anthropocentrism of  the Renaissance, and rose to its full height when Reason dethroned Faith at last in the Enlightenment. After a millennium of Christian oppression, Reason set Western man free to think, explore, experiment, discover, invent, hypothesize, be right and wrong; and be free to choose law instead of mystic revelation as a setter of ethical rules. (It is unfortunate – worse, it is disastrous – that most humanists have by now embraced the secular religion of socialism which again is inimical to freedom.)

The Enlightenment broke the power of the churches to terrify and oppress, but it did not change the essence of Christianity, which is masochistic. Doctrinally self-accusing. An ideology of  guilt, shame, abasement, and morbid reverence for martyrdom. For as long as its institutions were  powerful enough, it was an oppressive, torturing, property-confiscating, murdering tyranny; as totalitarian as it could be in the ages in which it ruled – no matter whether in the name of Catholicism or Protestantism. The secular heir to its tyranny is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism-Wokeism – no matter which of those labels it wears.

Christian faith, far from being the cure for the West’s sickness unto death, is its cause.

***

*Kierkegaard’s works are fascinating and often intentionally funny. He was witty and dryly humorous. His wit and humor are on fullest display in his book Either/Or.

A Terrible Mystery 299

That excellent conservative writer, Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh, asks questions that we too want to know the answers to, in an article* at Canada Free Press:

How did globalism metastasize all over the world so quickly, like a virulent cancer? How was this evil exported around the world in such a short time?

How did the ideology of self-loathing become so pathological, the ideology of putting citizens of another nation ahead of a country’s own interests?

Why are so many governments destroying their own countries on purpose, in unison, to satisfy the directives of the United Nations, a corrupt organization run by representatives of small countries that could not survive without financial help from the west? Their wealth-redistributive climate change industry and the “world without borders” concept have been exported around the world like a blitzkrieg.

Who is responsible for breeding this evil idea of self-loathing and destruction of nations into every corner of the globe? Nobody seems able to resist, they are mesmerized into submission.

And how did the virus of woke-ism spread around the globe so fast, except perhaps in China?

Why would a Yale University Economics professor [Yusuke Narita] suggest that elderly Japanese should commit “mass suicide by disembowelment to help the country deal with its rapidly aging population?”** Where did this insanity originate?

The leftist religion of climate change and planetary apocalypse has also taken over the globe, playing in the hands of elitist billionaires who want nothing but total control of our lives and all businesses, under the guise of protecting the globe from our alleged irreversible damage to the environment.

How did the disgusting critical race theory, in your face anti-white racism, spread so quickly around the United States, the most tolerant nation on the planet?

The author genuinely wants to know the answers, as do we. She does not try to provide them herself.

We are opening a comments page in the hope that if readers have plausible answers, they will tell us.***

 

Footnotes

* The article discusses other topics, and expresses some opinions that we do not agree with.

** “Narita also has mentioned the possibility of making euthanasia mandatory in Japan.” (From the same linked source.)

*** If again we are deluged with nonsensical comment from bots, we will have to close the page.

Posted under Environmentalism, Globalism, Japan, Race, United Nations, United States by Jillian Becker on Monday, February 27, 2023

Tagged with , ,

This post has 299 comments.

Permalink