Towards Renewal and Renaissance
The American racial dilemma
is only part of
the larger spiritual sickness
of the West.
by Fr. James Thornton
am greatly honored to have been invited to address this assembly
of men and women who seek some deliverance from the contemporary dilemma
surrounding the question of race. This question has bedeviled our poor
country for the better part of two centuries, and has brought about in
our history expenditures in human lives and treasure of tragic proportions.
Of late, it threatens thoroughly to overwhelm us and transform this nation,
totally and permanently, into a national and social entity radically dissimilar
from that represented by the past four hundred years of our history.
We have come to think it curious that a committed Christian would have
an opinion on the subject of race not consonant with the prevailing and
rather rigorously invoked view, and would express that personal opinion
in a public forum. For in these closing years of the twentieth century,
Christianity has come to be looked upon by some as a religion for the fainthearted
and the perfidious, as a kind of fifth column within our European culture,
and as one of the seeds of European man's own destruction. Needless to
say, I do not agree with that view.
Yet, I would be the first to admit that among those who call themselves
"Christians," and especially within the leadership councils of certain
official, mainstream, ostensibly Christian groups, there are multitudes
of spiritual charlatans and cultural Bolsheviks. Just as the early Church
was disturbed by heretical offshoots that amalgamated elements of Christianity
with some of the more bizarre forms of paganism, so in our day do we witness
the proliferation of heretical, sectarian modes of thought. These are perfectly
described by the Russian Orthodox philosopher and sociologist Pitirim Sorokin
in these words:
Fr. James Thornton.
". . . a wild concoction of a dozen various 'Social Gospels,'
diversified by several beliefs of Christianity diluted by those of Marxism,
Democracy, and Theosophy, enriched by a dozen vulgarized philosophical
ideas, corrected by several scientific theories, peacefully squatting side
by side with the most atrocious magical superstitions."
What he refers to, of course, is the World Council of Churches kind
of Christianity – that artificial, ideological, politically correct substitute
for the original product. It is, indeed, the very antithesis of traditional
Among those who call
themselves "Christians," there are multitudes
of spiritual charlatans
and cultural Bolsheviks.
I contend that our magnificent European culture, stretching across the
North American continent eastward through Europe to the Urals (and incorporating
some outlying areas such as Australia and New Zealand), is one of the matchless
and wonderful gifts of Christianity, of Christian teaching, of Christian
civilization. We need only think for a moment of buildings such as Notre
Dame, Chartres, Justinian's Hagia Sophia, San Marco in Venice, San Vitale
and Sant' Apollinare in Ravenna, and Dormition and Annunciation Cathedrals
in Moscow; works of architecture of matchless beauty; buildings, all of
them, that still, even in this age of skyscrapers, produce gasps of awe
from those blessed to visit them.
We need only think, too, of the literature of the Christian European
peoples – Dante, Shakespeare, Milton, Cervantes, Schiller, Goethe, Dostoyevsky
– of the music – Bach, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Berlioz, Bruckner, Rachmaninoff
– and of the great works of art – Fra Angelico, Titian, Raphael, Michelangelo,
Dürer, Rembrandt, Rublev. I mention only a few names from each field.
The point is that virtually all of the works of creative genius of the
past 2,000 years, all that we admire as monuments of European high culture,
all of those things that nurture the spirits of refined men and women,
come from Christian civilization.
Pre-Christian, ancient Mediterranean civilization, with its own great
accomplishments in philosophy, law, sculpture, architecture, and so forth,
had by the second century of the Christian Era reached an impasse. The
tremendous edifice erected by the ancients was rapidly crumbling by then,
and was in danger of being lost forever. But this did not happen. Christianity
took dying Græco-Roman civilization, perfected and transformed it
to a remarkable degree, and imparted new life to it. In the West this was
done under the auspices of barbarian tribes who very slowly absorbed aspects
of the dying pagan civilization they found, and who, though they possessed
no real understanding of this civilization for a long time, after some
centuries of comparative darkness gave birth to Western European civilization.
In the East the process was different. The Empire, and Græco-Roman
civilization, lived on under New Rome, under Constantinople. What took
place there was, in the words of the renowned scholar Father Georges Florovsky,
"a conversion of the Hellenic mind and heart" or, to put it another way,
the "Christianization of Hellenism." And the achievements of the resulting
Eastern European Christian civilization – first in Byzantium and then in
Old Russia – are incomparable. So Christianity, far from the "culture destroyer"
or "culture distorter" of Nietzsche, et al., was a premier culture preserver
and profound culture creator. Both in the Eastern and Western halves of
Europe, civilization and culture sprang forth from Christianity; they are
What interests us
here today is the culture sickness that seems to have infected European
mankind over the whole of the globe, a sickness that seems slowly to be
pulling us downward towards some terrible void. It is only by understanding
this larger sickness that we can begin to grasp the dimensions of the peculiarly
racial sickness that is the subject of this gathering.
I suggest that we have come to this melancholy state precisely because
the old traditions of European Christian civilization have been lost. Were
Christianity as vital today as, say, 1,000 years ago, or 500 years ago,
or even 150 years ago, the state of affairs in which we now find ourselves
would be impossible. What brought us to this unhappy condition? Why is
the way of life of our American and European forebears dissolving around
Many men have analyzed this question; to name only a few, Juan Donoso
Cortés, Friedrich Nietzsche, Konstantine Pobiedonostev, Jacob Burckhardt,
Oswald Spengler, José Ortega y Gasset, and the twentieth-century
American Richard Weaver. All grasped that our way of life was at grave
risk, that those concepts and ideals which we value so highly were in danger.
Insofar as precise diagnosis is concerned, many would disagree with
the others. Some were Christians and some were not. Nietzsche contended
that Christianity had exhausted itself and that a new system of morality
should replace it, for the sake of the survival of civilization. Spengler
believed that the fate of Europe was inevitable, that European man had
lived out his natural, allotted span of time and now must face his doom.
Others, like Sorokin, held out the hope that civilization might regenerate
itself through a spiritual awakening and live on for many hundreds of years
to come. I will not argue the precise merits of each of these points of
view, though I will now briefly discuss a few of them.
In re-reading the nineteenth-century Swiss historian, Jacob Burckhardt's
on History, I was struck by his extraordinary insights into the pathologies
that were then beginning to attack European civilization. Those pathologies
are no different today, though they have advanced to a critical stage.
Those familiar with Burckhardt know that he speaks of the interaction within
societies between three primary institutions: Church, State, and Culture.
The terms Church and State require no definition, but Burckhardt's use
of the word Culture requires some elucidation.
Culture, in Burckhardt's scheme, is very broad and encompasses just
about everything not included in the first two. In Burckhardt's words,
"[culture's] total external form . . . , as distinguished from the State
and religion, is society in its broadest sense." Now, history after the
rise of Christianity is the record of a long rivalry between Church and
State. Both tend, however, to be very conservative forces and, though they
compete for power, both inhibit Culture, which tends to be revolutionary.
The most revolutionary of the forces within Culture is money-making, that
is, the economy.
the time of Constantine until the French Revolution, Church and State acted
successfully to keep Culture circumscribed, particularly its money-making
component. Since the time of the French Revolution, the prestige of both
Church and State have suffered and Culture has broken free, so to speak.
The State has now become the instrument of Culture, and to some extent
the Church too. Economic Man, in both his capitalistic and Marxian incarnations,
sits triumphant, bestriding the whole globe.
Burckhardt writes, "We need not wish ourselves back into the Middle
Ages, but we should try to understand them. Our life is a business, theirs
was living. The people as a totality hardly existed, but that which was
of the people flourished." He goes on to warn of "the vast increase in
the power of the State over the individual, which may even lead to the
complete abdication of the individual, more especially where money-making
predominates to the exclusion of everything else, ultimately absorbing
all initiative." And, ponder these prophetic words from Burckhardt: "Money-making,
the main force of present-day culture, postulates the universal State,
if only for the sake of communications . . . ." To Burckhardt, unrestrained
money-making, the obsession with materialism, the "bourgeoisification"
of the spirit of European man, are dangerous things.
So long as Church, State, and Culture interacted with one another in
an organic fashion, curbing one another and thereby holding back certain
darker human proclivities, then our European civilization remained essentially
healthy. Once these institutions were uncoupled from one another, thanks
to the forces loosed by the Enlightenment, the foundations of the structure
of our civilization began to disintegrate.
Contemplate, for a moment, the reality of contemporary television, radio,
films, entertainment, music, advertising, painting, sculpture, and so on
– all powerful elements of a culture without restraints. Consider how our
present culture sickness undermines the authority of the traditions of
society, of family, of morality, of religion, of nation, of language. Rightly
is it said that the great crisis of our age is a crisis of the breakdown
of authority. Our modern commercial, hedonistic society denies the father
authority over his family, the parent authority over his child, the law
authority over miscreants, the priest authority over his flock, the Church
authority over sinners, man authority over the living things of the Earth,
and God authority over His creation.
More than likely, such propensities are intrinsic characteristics of
the commercial way of thinking that makes money the king of all and the
final arbiter of right and wrong, that atomizes the community, that transforms
citizens into consumers and units of production. They are innate in an
economic-rationalist mode of thought that teaches that materialistic self-interest
is the engine of human history and human society, that holds that men do
live by bread alone.
If money is king and money-making the ultimate criterion, if materialistic
self-interest is the engine of history, if men do live by bread alone,
then what utility is there in the preservation of the unique civilization
of European man? Does not some sort of "global village" with a world culture
make far more economic sense? The more uniform the habits, tastes, and
mores of the peoples of the world, the easier to do business, the easier
for some to make money.
It is expressive of our current predicament that such discourse as is
now allowed in the matter of Third-World immigration to North America revolves
exclusively around economic arguments – the economic advantages or disadvantages
of immigration. A young American, supposedly a conservative, recently told
me that he does not believe that Third-World immigration is a problem and
that if we can simply stimulate the economy to grow more quickly, such
growth will solve all concerns about immigration. Would that the things
of this world were that easy!
"The American Dream"
Today, terms such as "the American Way of Life" and "the American Dream"
are almost exclusively associated with a successful business mentality; they
are formulated in materialistic, even hedonistic, terms. That type of thinking
dominates our nation, and much of today's world. Ask even most modern "conservatives"
in America and Europe what they stand for, and the glories of our economic
system and our prosperity will form the dessicated heart and soul of their
ideological analysis – the so-called conservative philosophy will be shot
through with materialism, although there is nothing conservative in the
commercial Weltanschauung. By its very nature, the unfettered money-making
mentality tends always to wreak havoc on traditional relationships within
society, the traditional hierarchy and patriarchy of European custom, the
traditional family, traditional religion and morality, and the traditional
ways of life.
Is it any wonder, since successful money-making has become the ultimate
criterion for our society, that education has become a kind of glorified
job training and that to make education into job training, traditional
curricula – from classical languages and history to philosophy and great
literature – have been largely abandoned? One can become prosperous with
an MBA, but probably not with an MA in classical Greek or Ancient History.
Is it any wonder that entertainment, literature, films, and the like have
become the domain of degenerates whose products flow straight to our youth
from moral and intellectual cesspits? There are vast sums of dollars to
be made from such cultural sewage, and men become rich thereby. Since becoming
rich is considered the supremely admirable quality these days, such men
are admired above all others.
Is it any wonder that rock "music" has supplanted nearly all other musical
forms? Rock "music" and its multiform appurtenances, are the very quintessence
of decadence. Rock music celebrates primitiveness, is soddened in nihilism,
and luxuriates in barren, loveless sexuality. It is a musical lowest common
denominator and so possesses colossal appeal today. Such music generates
huge revenues, so much so that it is one of America's great export products.
More importantly, perhaps, it represents the negation of genuine musical
culture, which draws its inspiration from particular national cultures,
and represents its replacement with the artificial, rootless, pseudo-culture
of internationalism. It is the perfect music for the new world order, the
perfect accompaniment for life in a "global village."
Is it any wonder that illegal drugs are a source of spreading chaos and
tremendous pain in contemporary American and European societies? I believe
that it may be declared with confidence that our current money-oriented
society will never take decisive action against the drug barons at home
and abroad who have done so much to corrupt our society in the past thirty-five
years. The corruption already touches the upper echelons of both major
political parties, and so apart from certain gestures and political posturing
about the issue, nothing will be done.
Finally, is it any wonder that enjoyment of the "good life" by most ordinary
citizens necessitates such drastic limitations on family size that in virtually
every nation of the European world, birthrates have fallen considerably
below replacement level? Thanks to money-mindedness and hedonism, we are
a dying breed.
If obsession with money and the commercial worldview have brought
us near collapse, it can come as no surprise that, with regard to questions
surrounding America's racial dilemma, short-term economic considerations
supersede all other considerations. When one contemplates the kind of well-ordered
society we had 50, or 60, or 80 years ago, the conclusion is inescapable
that for primarily the economic enrichment of certain groups and individuals,
the country is being systematically strip-mined, culturally speaking.
Rightly did Solzhenitsyn speak of our heritage being trampled upon by
the party mob in the East and the commercial mob in the West. This is sensed
by many ordinary citizens who for good reason feel threatened by the societal
revolution that has overtaken us in the past forty years. Whatever hope
we have seems to reside with ordinary Americans, especially those of the
lower middle-class who no longer enjoy so great a measure of material prosperity
as heretofore. Though they are confused by a continual spate of propaganda
from the mass media, nevertheless they know in their hearts – at the deeper
levels of their consciousness – the source of their gathering troubles.
To bring these people to a realization of their priceless Christian European
heritage, and its source, is therefore essential for the resurrection of
this country and of the West.
I wish here briefly
to mention another diagnostician of our current time of troubles, the sociologist
Pitirim Sorokin. Sixty years ago, Sorokin wrote that healthy cultures are
integrated unities. Art, architecture, music, literature, philosophy, ethics,
morals, government, and religion are all interrelated with one another.
Useful elements may be drawn from foreign cultures, so long as they do
not contradict the unity of the host culture, and so long as they are modified
and digested, so as to become wholly a part of that unity.
Until relatively recently, our own European culture was just such a
unity, consistent throughout the multiplicity of its elements. Drawing
that which is valuable from other cultures (for instance, Hindu-Arabic
numerals), it digested these things, so that they became completely part
of its unity. The values of this healthy culture were still strong, its
creativity still vigorous, its "soul" still undefiled. That which was intrinsically
contradictory it rejected, since, as a healthy entity, it was highly selective
Now, however, the picture has changed. Our society is no longer healthy,
but is sick or perhaps dying. While still robust, still believing in itself,
its genius created a grand civilization. This creativity, however, has
now been lost. It can no longer discriminate between the useful and dangerous,
and, consequently, everything pours in and takes root in our unhealthy
culture, often to the exclusion of the healthy, formerly unified elements.
As the flood of undigested, foreign elements becomes greater and greater,
the host culture becomes more distorted, more sickly, and less able to
protect itself. Thus, the host culture undergoes disintegration, at times
more slowly and at other times more rapidly. We may observe all of this
in our contemporary culture which, in its variety of undigested elements,
is utterly astonishing. Literally everything and anything can be found
within it, each loudly competing for our attention and allegiance. All
possess "rights" equal to those of every other, and all enjoy equal tolerance
by society. Between that which is venerable and native, and that which
is new and foreign, there are absolutely no distinctions. So it is with
a society that has lost faith in the source of its greatness; so it is
when a living ideal no longer exists to inspire it.
Interestingly, Richard Weaver writes similarly in his book, Visions
of Order. He observes that the spirit of a culture "always operates
positively by transfiguring and excluding. It is of the essence of culture
to feel its own imperative and to believe in the uniqueness of its worth.
. . . Syncretistic cultures like syncretistic religions have always proved
relatively powerless to create and influence. . . . Culture derives its
very desire to continue from its unitariness."
I have given you some thoughts, borrowed from some great thinkers of
the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, touching on one or two aspects
of our crisis. I have striven to show that the racial dilemma does not
exist in isolation, but is part of a whole matrix in which we are bound,
which is itself the consequence of evil choices made by our forebears long
I wish now to say a few words specifically on the question of race.
One of the most valuable sociological attributes of traditional Christianity
since its founding two thousand years ago has been its recognition that
human beings are not equal. Christianity, it is quite true, holds that
all men are equal when standing before the throne of God at the Last Judgment.
But, apart from that, the doctrine that human beings are, or should be,
equal in a worldly sense appears nowhere in Christian teaching. That human
beings are intellectually equal, or that such differences as do exist in
individuals or groups are rooted, for example, in economic deprivation,
would have been preposterous notions to most traditional Christian thinkers
and teachers of past ages. That all cultures or peoples of the world are
equally suitable as bearers of high Christian civilization would have been
a laughable proposition to these men.
No, traditional Christianity believes that healthy societies are socially
diverse and that a healthy society is organized hierarchically, with different
orders and classes and with the differing material conditions and privileges
appropriate to those orders and classes. We see this in the very organization
of the Church itself, with its many distinct levels: clergy and laity;
Archbishops, Bishops, Archpriests, Priests, Deacons, Subdeacons, and so
forth. The levels of responsibility attained correspond to the special
God-given gifts of each, in accordance with the needs of the Church. Certainly,
that elaborate, consciously hierarchical organization, entwined by the
symbols of sacred mystery and blessed by the Church, is evident in every
Christian society, from that of Constantine and Justinian all the way down
through the centuries to that of Nicholas II. It was true in Western Europe
as well as Eastern Europe.
The Fathers of the Church taught that just as the spiritual world is
organized hierarchically, so too should be the earthly world; any other
kind of societal structure was regarded as something demonic, in that it
promotes spiritual and societal disorder. The Fathers believed that God
abhors chaos, that in a Christian society the earthly order should properly
reflect the heavenly order, and that egalitarianism and rule by the mob
– that is, rule according to the whims and lusts of the herd – are injurious
to the morals of Christians and to the fabric of the Christian community.
Clearly, if the Christian ideal is that human society is constituted in
aristocratic, hierarchical fashion, and if this kind of constitution is
regarded as something of divine origin, so it is implicit in such theories
of organization that men are not created equal insofar as their innate
abilities are concerned. Christianity
is clearly not a religion of earthly egalitarianism.
Christianity is clearly
not a religion of earthly egalitarianism.
Our own country is rooted in a somewhat different philosophical tradition,
but even here no objective scholar would dispute that the Founders of this
nation, most of whom were Christians, did not believe in the inherent equality
of individual men or of races, apart from the idea that free men should
be equal in the eyes of the law. In no other sense were men born equal.
Certain it is that insofar as this country was traditional in its religious
beliefs, it strongly believed in the superiority of its European-derived
way of life. There could be no question of overthrowing that order.
John Baker, in his volume, Race, suggests that a marked sense of racial
differences has existed in mankind for thousands of years, certainly during
all of recorded history, and very likely in pre-historic times. Italian
sociologist Corrado Gini writes similarly, showing how all ethnic or racial
groups exhibit a strong consciousness of human ethnic differences with
a preference for their own. Today, some, most notably Marxists and liberals,
may decry this inclination which seems to be intrinsic to human nature,
yet it is nonetheless an indisputable fact of man's existence. Towards
the Canaanites, the ancient Hebrews showed, as Baker puts it, a "marked
disrespect." Virtually all outsiders, according to the reckoning of the
ancient Greeks, were barbarians. Even among certain primitive tribes of
Africa, there is evidently a belief that some of the even more primitive
tribes are inferior. Until fairly recently, especially the last fifty or
sixty years, these facts did not appear to trouble Christians.
Everyone here probably has some familiarity (directly or indirectly)
with the writings of Joseph Arthur, Comte de Gobineau. Gobineau, in his
on the Inequality of the Human Races makes clear that he believes that
different races of men have been blessed by God with different attributes
and that certain races of men are exclusively responsible for the creation
and maintenance of high culture and civilization. The important matter
for me is that this author was a devout Christian, and accepted as a matter
of course that, a) men, and ethnic groups of men, are not equal in their
inherent abilities, and, b) that all men, from the most noble to the most
primitive, have within themselves a divine spark, the Imago Dei,
that entitles each to the special dignity reserved for children of God.
Each is unique in his abilities, in the gifts that God has bestowed on
him, – and this is true also of ethnic groups – but all are human and all
possess a dignity appropriate to humankind.
In Gobineau's own words, "I believe, of course, that human races are
unequal; but I do not think that any of them are like the brute, or to
be classed with it." To the theory that some human races are simply bipedal
beasts, Gobineau responds: "I absolutely reject such an insult to humanity
. . . ." Though some of his friends and some other writers disagreed with
him, Comte de Gobineau was never chastised by his Church for his widely
published belief in the inequality of the human races. So far as I can
determine, he remained a faithful communicant of the Roman Catholic religion
until his death in 1882.
Alexis Carrel, author of one of the most widely read works of nonfiction
in the 1930s and 1940s, Man the Unknown, was also a devout Roman
Catholic. Carrel was a surgeon and biologist, who won the Nobel Prize for
physiology and medicine in 1912, and the Nordhoff-Jung Prize for Cancer
Research in 1931. Reading Man the Unknown, it is clear that the
author entertains no notion of the equality of the human races. He writes:
"Man is the hardiest of all animals, and the white races, builders of our
civilization, the hardiest of all races. . . . The great white races owe
their success to the perfection of their nervous system – a nervous system
which, although very delicate and excitable, can, however, be disciplined.
To the exceptional qualities of their tissues and consciousness is due
the predominance over the rest of the world of the peoples of western Europe
. . . ."
This forthright statement caused not the slightest ripple of controversy
when it was published in 1935, nor did it do so in subsequent editions
of his book published even in the immediate postwar years. As recently
as that, men seemed able to discuss and debate things, and to disagree
with one another, without resorting to hyperbole, ad hominem attacks,
hysteria, and defamatory labelling. Intelligent men were still able to
focus their minds on facts and issues and to think and express themselves
rationally. In the 1960s, Father Joseph T. Durkin, S.J., honored the memory
of Carrel in his highly laudatory biography entitled Hope For Our Time,
in which he discusses Carrel's deep religious faith. Dr. Carrel, he writes,
was a Christian believer through and through, though at times rather singular
in his expressed opinions.
My third example is the Russian Orthodox sociologist and philosopher,
Pitirim Sorokin, from whom I have already drawn several quotations. On
the last page of Part One of John Baker's book, Race, the author pays special
tribute to Sorokin for a chapter on the racial question in Sorokin's work,
Sociological Theories, which appeared in 1928. About this work, Baker
writes that, "Sorokin's chapter is well worth reading today, as a reminder
of what was still possible before the curtain came down."
In this work, as well as in an earlier work entitled Social and Cultural
Mobility, Sorokin discourses at considerable length on differences
in cognitive ability between Europeans and some non-Europeans. Considering
about twenty-five separate studies of the subject of IQ and race that had
been completed and published up to the middle of the 1920s, Sorokin concludes
"the difference in the cultural contributions and in the historical role
played by different races is excellently corroborated by, and is in perfect
agreement with, the experimental studies of race mentality and psychology."
That heredity is a crucial factor in the development of complex forms of
civilization, Sorokin asserts, "may scarcely be questioned by any serious
investigator of facts."
I have mentioned two prominent Roman Catholics and one Orthodox Christian.
I shall also briefly mention a Protestant Christian, Thomas Carlyle. One
of the great essayists and historians of the last century, Carlyle was
a Calvinist. In his early years he served as a minister of the Scottish
Kirk, and though he later gave up the ministry in disagreement with certain
of the dogmatic pronouncements of his Calvinist ancestors, it is written
that "he was and always remained in profound sympathy with the spirit of
their teachings." Anyone who knows the essays of Thomas Carlyle knows also
that he was not a believer in the equality of the human races. In fact,
he wrote somewhat harshly on the subject.
with regard to the equality or inequality of human beings in cognitive
ability is not a subject on which there exists any Christian dogmatic teaching
Inasmuch as he wrote on this subject at the end of the first half of
the nineteenth century, perhaps his thinking is not so remarkable. Nearly
all educated men, Christian or non-Christian, believed similarly at that
time. But the point is that, insofar as I am aware, the published beliefs
of Carlyle were not condemned at the time by the leaders of his Church.
Nor, in this century, have the published beliefs of Drs. Carrel or Sorokin
been condemned by the leaders of their respective Churches.
It may be argued that the evidence I have just presented is purely anecdotal
and that Christian spokesmen representing the opposite viewpoint could
also be assembled. Doubtless that is true. But my response to that must
be that scientific findings with regard to the equality or inequality of
human beings in cognitive ability in fact is not a subject on which there
exists any Christian dogmatic teaching whatsoever. Those mainline sectarian
groups that have attempted to create such dogma in recent years represent
not authentic traditional Christianity, but a blend of decadent, rationalized
Protestantism and Marxism.
With respect to what I have just said, I must also add a caveat that
the formulation of secular, procrustean ideologies based on race, especially
those that deny the innate dignity of all men, or promote the unjust or
inhumane treatment of persons on account of their race, would indeed run
contrary to Christian teachings and would rightly be opposed by traditional
Since the late-nineteenth century, science has grappled with the subject
of racial differences and, apart from pockets of inveterate ideologues
within the scientific community, it is now generally acknowledged by scientists
in relevant fields that the accumulated evidence has become overwhelming
that such differences do exist. (It is interesting that in 1928, Sorokin
regarded the evidence as overwhelming even then.) Findings related to genetically
determined differences in intelligence and temperament among the various
races of mankind are slowly coming to be accepted within scientific circles,
despite formal and informal barriers now frantically being reared by Marxists,
crypto-Marxists, ignorant journalists, and cowardly politicians.
In many so-called free countries of the West (in Canada and England,
for example), it is now illegal (at least to some extent) to discuss such
scientific findings publicly or to publish them in most periodicals or
in books. In the United States, though it is not yet illegal, those who
do muster the courage to discuss such findings publicly, often find themselves
subject to informal sanctions; commonplace now is character assassination
in articles printed in the daily press, written by uncouth journalists
– those masters of inferential falsehood. Also commonplace are threats
of physical violence against the person, family, and property of the politically
incorrect speaker or writer, various kinds of mob actions, and, of course,
threats to the person's livelihood.
Thought control thus comes in several forms: at one end of the spectrum
we have the Gulag of the old USSR, at the other end the more informal processes
of thought control favored in this country, and somewhere in between the
harsh laws now in force in Europe and Canada. In any case, the Orwellian
intent and thug mentality are identical, only the methods and degree differ
slightly. And I would add it is questionable how much worse it is being
confined to a concentration camp for a thought-crime (as in the old USSR),
as opposed to being ruined financially and professionally, lied about in
the press, unjustly held up to public ridicule, and subjected (along with
one's family) to mob violence and terror for the same variety of thought-crime.
One would hope that in the journalistic profession a man of conscience
and courage, a man of elementary decency, would occasionally step forward
to remind his colleagues of their duty in a free country. Alas, (though
I can think of one or two exceptions) such men seem to be almost as scarce
here as in Stalin or Brezhnev's Soviet Union. Liberal journalists and their
political allies justify the evil they do by pretending that they oppose
what they call (in the cant of our age) "hate," "prejudice," "racism" and
The plain truth is, however, that their madness has generated a sociological
disaster and human misery of appalling dimensions, in the cities of the
United States, primarily
among racial minorities – from whom, despite their endlessly repeated slogans,
the liberal journalists and politicians assiduously shield and segregate
themselves and their families. Their experiments threaten in the next century
to generate horrors which, by comparison, will make our current difficulties
seem trifling. "Great humanitarians," these men who think of human beings
as laboratory specimens! May God protect us all from their further depredations!
Even to attempt to extricate ourselves from the morass in which we now
sink will require a major miracle – the renewal of our courage and of our
belief in the preëminence of our way of life. The civilization of
the European peoples around the globe must return to its roots if it is
to accomplish that miracle, if it is to save itself. Those roots are traditional
Christianity. Father Joseph Koterski, in a recent article in Modern
Age, states that all civilization arises out of religious belief, that
culture comes from cult, and that a renewal of our commitment to traditional
religion would be the "best strategy for the renewal of high culture amid
the collapses of order now being experienced in a largely post-Christian
era." I could not agree more.
Father Koterski goes on to make another important point: "But this is
not to say with the skeptics that that high culture is itself the goal
and religion a more or less convenient means. . . . Rather, culture itself
has a further purpose: to enable human beings progressively to discover
the deepest truth about themselves as human, that their real fulfillment
resides in reverence for the Transcendent God in whose image they are made."
The aim of religion is not the creation of culture, but the culture it
creates assists religion in achieving its ultimate goal.
Grotesque attempts have been made to obviate the need for a return to
traditional Christianity by the substitution of secular ideologies. Such
attempts have been catastrophic. In the last century Nietzsche postulated
a coming new moral system that would replace Christianity – such systems
were attempted in this century and brought about an even more dramatic
erosion of the position of European man and his civilization, as well as
the deaths of tens of millions of human beings in wars and revolutions.
Apart from traditional Christianity, there is no alternative path, in my
judgment, which will lead us to the successful revitalization of our civilization.
For 2,000 years the soul of European man has been Christian. Remove that
soul, and we now know that European civilization becomes sterile and soon
dies. European civilization is Christian. If we recognize that, we begin
the mighty endeavor that will lead us to renewal and renaissance.
This is an edited version of the talk given by Fr. Thornton of the
True Orthodox Church, at the AR conference in Louisville, Kentucky earlier
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