Interview With Polonia Christiana, Part II
PC Do you believe the neoconservative dominance of mainstream discourse of US foreign policy is slowly coming to an end or we simply seeing a generational shift? Also, have the neoconservatives in your judgement played a role in instigating the current crisis in Ukraine?
TJF The neoconservatives in themselves are of little or no importance. They do not formuulate policy, they merely repeat the slogans of the Cold War Democratic Party and put a slight conservative spin. Their great success was in making an alliance with American Evangelical Zionists, who have been taught to see the world as a struggle between good and evil, light and darkness.
It was a stupid move to try to take over Ukraine, which is what the past two American administrations have been doing. The Russians are extremely paranoid, and this paranoia is not restricted to the far right, but includes even pro-Western liberals who supported Gorbachev and Yeltsin. I have been astonished, over the years, in meeting various political advisers, politicians, and academics in Russia, by their uniform belief that the US and its allies are circling Russia and one by one picking off former dependencies and allies. Of course, they are right, that is precisely the strategy the US government has pursued. Of course, the Russians are not exactly harmless little lambs, and they are vigorously pursuing a strategy to regain some of their lost regional hegemony. I fully understand and share much of the anxiety about Mr. Putin that has been voiced by Poles. What I do not understand is Mr. Sikorski’s hysterical rhetoric at a time when diplomacy is in order. He sounds as if he were still writing editorial copy for the neoconservative National Review. To an outsider, it would appear that he is doing his best to make sure that the next major European war will be fought in Poland. Poland is not now and never will be again a dominant European power, and the United States has shown itself, over and over, a slender reed on which the rulers of small nations have pinned their hopes.
Last year, Pat Buchanan in one of his columns asked the question "Is Putin one of us"? He implied, that Putin began to sound more and more like a paleoconservative. What is your view of the Russian President?
Putin is perhaps the most able politician in power today. He has climbed to the top of the Russian pyramid by making alliances in every sector where power is to be sought, including military and intelligence circles, banking and industry, and criminal organizations. He is truly the capo dei tutti capi. He is not without flaws, and several times in his dealings over Ukraine he appears to have overreached himself. The greatest threat to his power comes not from the US or the EU but from his own allies who will turn on him if he commits a series of major blunders. He seems to see himself as heir not to Lenin and Stalin but to the the great czars whose portraits he keeps in his office. Whatever he may think of traditional morals or the Orthodox Church, he certainly knows that they are forces to be instrumentalized in the reconstruction. Like most columnists, Pat Buchanan can be carried away by the need for simple formulation to explain the world to naive and uneducated readers.
That said, even if Putin is entirely cynical and unscrupulous, he is, nonetheless, not an enemy of our civilization and religion, which puts him in an entirely different category from the leaders of the EU and the USA.
The late prof. Thomas Molnar, an authority among paleoconservatives, once noted that "Our civilization will no doubt come to an end the day the Catholic Church and the United States join the revolution". 50 years after Vatican II, with a Pope more willing to promote the theory of man-made climate change than castigate such decisions as legalization of so-called same-sex marriage in formerly Christian countries, and the United States moving more and more to the Left politicaly and culturally, is our common spiritual home, Western Civilization, really at an end?
My old friend Thomas Molnar was among the few very wise people I have known. I believe that by the time of his death he had come to recognize that the government and mass culture of the United States were advanced forces of the revolution. That, by the way, is the reason why the once anti-American left has become so nationalistic: It is because they see the United States is the great revolutionary avant-garde, destroying the barriers of religion and tradition around the world. As Hilary Clinton has proclaimed, we are willing to wage war to “liberate” women.
Of this Pope, perhaps the less I say the better. So far I do not see signs of heresy, though he is as clumsy and amateurish a diplomat as our own President. His rhetoric, whoever is writing his speeches, is utterly fatuous, and it is embarrassing to read the floundering attempts of so-called Conservative Catholics who defend him. Those who have made a study of our Church’s history are well aware that the heirs of St. Peter have not always been shining lights of intelligence and erudition or even of common sense. This is certainly not the worst Pope in our history—we survived Leo X and the Popes of the “pornocracy”—and there may be some ways in which he will do some good. As a Catholic, I prefer to concentrate more on what the Church has taught us over the past 2000 years than to engage in either idolatry or criticism of the papacy.
From your perspective, is there anyone in the current field of presidential candidates, who can at least to some degree satisfy the expectations of a traditional conservative such as yourself? What would be 3 crucial areas of policy that a truly conservative president would have to tackle?
No. I think at a minimum, a conservative should have an express a clear view of man’s nature as a finite and limited creature with a fixed nature that cannot be experimented with, as in attempts to make women into men or promote the fiction known as same-sex marriage. With this understanding, he would also begin to devolve the welfare state as an impediment to human dignity and promote a return to the old American union based on federalism and subsidiarity, allowing communities to work out their own problems for themselves. Finally, he would extend that same principle to other countries and refuse to be drawn into conflicts or movements (e.g., Arab Spring) in which there is no advantage to be gained for the American people. I do not see a single candidate who is right on a single one of these issues. For some time now, each new President is worse than his predecessor, and, as impossible as it may seem, a Jeb Bush or Rand Paul could easily be a worse President than Obama, who is already far worse than George W. Bush, who was considerably worse than Clinton….
If you were to give some concrete advise to conservatives in Poland, who are doing battle in our own culture war, what would it be?
Over the years, I have talked to many conservatives in Europe, and the greatest mistake I have seen them make is to assume that Anglo-American conservatism has answers for them. Few of them, unfortunately, knew very much about American history, certainly not enough to draw useful lessons from our experience. Inevitably, they gravitated in the direction, first, of the classical liberal/capitalists at National Review and, then later, of the Catholic neoconservatives, whose theology always seems to take second place to political and economic considerations.
One useful point of contact—on on which I had once hoped to organize a conference in Poland—is the Southern (American) emphasis on states rights, localism, and a decentralized political structure as a parallel with Poland’s decentralized regime that too many historians have stigmatized as anarchic. No system, obviously, is perfect, but in an age that is tending toward global government—the dream of Nazis and Marxists alike—a restoration of this older, Christian understanding of the political order would offer a refreshing alternative.
In the nations of central and eastern Europe, Poles are fortunate in having one of the richest literary and intellectual traditions. My own interests were awakened by conversations with my old boss, Leopold Tyrmand. While Tyrmand's interests—jazz critic and all-around swinger—were not exactly those of Catholic traditionalism—he did have an affection for the Polish literary tradition, and it was he who urged me to read the historical novels of Sinkiewicz. Naturally, one can overdo a good thing, and even a patriotic attachment to a nation’s literary traditions can degenerate into mere parochialism and provincialism. Still, if cultural patriotism is combined with study of classical and Medieval cultural traditions, cultural conservatives in Poland would have a powerful tool for combatting the thin and foolish heresies of the modern world. One English writer from whom Poles could derive much benefit would be G.K. Chesterton, who loved Poland.
This month will mark the the 41st anniversary of the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Although generally considered a liberal president, I find that many paleocons and rightists have many good things to say about the 37th president. Was Richard Nixon really a petty "crook", a systematic deceiver or is there more to this fascinating man than meets the eye?
I was brought up to hate Richard Nixon, which I did thoroughly until Watergate, when I realized that anti-American leftists in the Democratic Party, joining forces with cowardly Republicans, were prepared to jettison a statesmanlike President at the height of the Cold War. It is a complex issue, but it is enough to say that Nixon did nothing dirtier than his predecessors and that, for as many times as he was wrong on domestic political issues, he was the last first-class political mind in the White House. I knew him, a little, in his later years, exchanged letters and spent the better part of a day with him. He spoke in complete sentences, grouped into coherent paragraphs. His lucid mind had a wonderful grasp of history and a Machiavellian understanding of political realities. He had his dark side and was beset by his own personal demons, but he is closer to being a tragic hero than the stage villain concocted in the popular media.
Ann Coulter titled her recent book "Adios America", referring to the massive influx of illegal immigrants into the United States from Mexico. The proponents of this process continue to refer to the United States as a "creedal" nation, that is not bound by blood and ethnicity. Paleoconservatives from the beginning have been warning that a policy of amnesty for illegal aliens will not only change the cultural face of America, but also bring with it many social troubles. Who is right?
It is good to see a popular columnist finally waking up to the reality of American life, but she is late in coming to this conclusion and trivial in her comprehension of the problem. The main difficulties are not with the Mexican immigrants themselves, who are a mix of good and bad—though the generosity of our welfare state is luring a large proportion of tax-dependent criminals. No, the problem lies with an America that has lost its identity and its principles, an America whose so-called conservatives have championed open borders as a means of attracting low-paid workers for American business and whose leftists welcome the moral and cultural confusion caused by ethnic strife. There is simply no parallel for the national suicide in which the United States has been engaged since the 1960’s.
This is different from previous waves of mass immigration, since Mexicans do not have to assimilate: They can listen to Mexican radio, watch Mexican television and movies, and read the Mexican press. If they find themselves becoming at all Americanized, their loyalties to Mexico are immediately strengthened by more recently arrived immigrants and by low-cost trips back to Mexico.
To complete the picture, the United States has created vast network of propaganda centers—we all them public schools—that teach natives and aliens alike that all of American history is based on bigotry, greed, and exploitation. Small wonder if Mexicans prefer to remain Mexican.
The situation is out of control and beyond remedy. I remember talking with a Senate staffer back about 1980. He explained to me then that unless we stopped mass immigration in less than a decade, America was a lost cause. He was absolutely correct, and there is no turning back. The America I grew up in is gone, except in little pockets, and our popular heroes are now violent athletes, degenerate entertainers, and the narco-terrorists celebrated in the most popular form of Mexican-American entertainment, the narco-coridos. It is not the violence and criminality per se that is the worst problem, but the American willingness to accept the new status quo.
Unfortunately, what little resistance there is tends toward fear, hatred, and violence. It is a struggle in which it is becoming morally dangerous to take sides. I have written much on this subject and edited two books, but I am becoming reluctant to continue for fear that something I say might be used to turn some unstable souls toward hatred. Nationalism—as opposed to a patriotic love of one’s own people and their traditions—almost always turns toward bigotry, and, while we must continue to bear witness to what we are doing to ourselves, we must as Christians, reject any movement that defines itself in terms of hate.
These two postings are superb–bulls-eye after bulls-eye. I agree with you entirely about President Nixon and the left-progressives’ remarkably successful takeover of the schools as propaganda mills. What Johnson would call the obstupefaction of the national mind looks irreversible.
Tom, Thank you for posting this. Very much enjoyed your wise responses and honest assessments. It takes souls a lifetime to achieve this levels of honest insights. May God bless you for your good words.
Thanks to both Prof. Frank and the Judge. I had been turning down interviews pretty consistently for some years, but Mike Krupa and Polonia Christiana seemed honorable and intelligent. There is an interview in Gilbert, which I have not seen since my subscription was at the old office. Since we are not featuring much in the way of contemporary political commentary or editorials (apart from my own) on this site, I am interviewing a series of analysts on foreign affairs.
Dr. Fleming, will Dr. Trifkovic be appearing on this site? Will Taki be contributing?
Your interview in “Gilbert!” magazine was excellent; Dale Ahlquist served you well as an interviewer.
This interview today could have happily replaced my three years in a graduate school of international affairs.
Pleased to see your distinction between nationalism (something bad) and patriotism (something good), a distinction I’ve seen in Orwell and John Lukacs. The distinction is subtle and often escapes nationalists; yet however subtle, it is a real a one.
This was a wise and brilliant interview, which I have now forwarded to my more scholarly friends. The insights into the Pope, as well as what a true conservative candidate would look like, were especially valuable – obviously the condensed products of a lifetime’s reflection and study. Sadly, I found myself in agreement with virtually all of the good doctor’s assessments of our current plight, and the chances of its resolution.
But I reject the very last paragraph, which alone of all that came before, has an odor of liberalism (or at least “cuckservatism”). It comes down to the most basic political and civilizational issue of all in this era: which is more important – the abjuration of “hate”, or the survival of the West? The innocent peoples of the West – the plain “middles” (Middle Americans, Middle Englishmen, “Middle Europeans”, if we may speak of such) – are being put through the meat grinder of history. We are being invaded, colonized and demographically conquered by genetically dissimilar and thus civilizationally unassimilable aliens (apart from occasional remarkable individuals, though the cultural assimilation of even such persons depends in part on a limitation of their ethnic group’s sheer territorial numbers). These aliens are then used, wittingly or not, by ethnomasochistic liberals in their campaign of cultural auto-genocide. Jean Raspail was right 40 years ago: this immigration invasion spells the doom of the West.
Why exactly is it thought that Occidental patriots are under some moral obligation to “stiff-upper-lip” ourselves into extinction? To tolerate this outrage with good Christian grace? Of course, as I have noted on this site previously, Dr. Fleming is to be applauded for early recognizing the real danger posed by immigration, and steering CHRONICLES to a consistent defiance of the “open borders” disloyalists on the faux-Right as well as Left. But now that the invasion “was” (though of course, it grows ever worse – see Europe today), why should patriots throw up their hands, and in effect call it quits on our struggle for collective self-preservation? Indeed, would Christians be acting justly were they to retreat from the political contest simply because it has now become morally much messier?
The real issue is whether the white race, considered as a collective, and not merely the sum of individual whites, as well as the West, considered as an organic, historically evolved entity (which, as Sam Francis once famously averred, “could not have been created apart from the genetic endowments of its constituent European peoples”) have the right to continue themselves, to live, on this Earth. No one but a racist psychopath would deny that any individuals as individuals, whatever their circumstances (excepting capital criminals so determined in accordance with Biblical standards of judgment), and thus white individuals, too, have a right to live out their natural lives. I am not acting immorally if I seek to feed myself, nor to feed myself before others (excepting family dependents).
But does our civilization have such a right? Though I, as an Old American (pre-1900 on every side; some pre-1800), have a very high regard for “liberty under law”, I am not a libertarian. I am, indeed, a philosophical (perhaps “ontological” would be more accurate) nationalist, precisely because I recognize man’s corporate and historically influenced (determined?) nature – and I assign a moral value to the preservation of that “socially situated and constituted self.” I may be a Christian, along with Christians of innumerable hues across the world. But neither I nor anyone else is an “atomized” one, bereft of any other identity. Is there something wrong with being both a Christian and a Frenchman, or a Christian and an American? Certainly no conservative would think so.
I believe the men of the West possess a moral right to preserve the historical sources of their collective identities. I am not an imperialist; if anything, the opposite (“peace and commerce with all, entangling alliances with [few or] none”). I have no desire to steal, or impose my “way of life” or “mode of being” onto others. But just because fools, greedmongers, and traitors from amongst my own people meretriciously decided to embark upon a policy whose ultimate denoument is the extinction of my nation, my people, very likely my race, why is it thought that I should surrender in preference to rousing my people to racial reawakening and, if need be, racial battle? Who is our Charles Martel, and should we reject him if he appears? The Western peoples are the VICTIMS in this sordid situation. While I favor orderly and humane expatriations (of the illegal aliens in the US; of ALL non-Europeans [nonwhites], illegally or lawfully resident, in Europe, which, respecting its immigration invasions, exists in a completely different moral situation from whites in the New World: America is “Becoming”, a pioneer land, but Europe is “Being”, and immigrants to the latter are simple cultural invaders, who know the inherent threat they pose to the “natives” by their mere physical presence, but don’t care) to the extent feasible, the first and proper concern is with the national survival of OUR PEOPLE – not with procedural or moral niceties afforded to the alien settler-colonialists.
The Western peoples since WW2 are the victims of demographic warfare – imperialism via immigration – and it is our right, nay, duty towards future generations, to resist our collective dispossession. These aliens did not arrive with love for us in their hearts. At best, they came to better themselves at our expense; at worst, actively to colonize and take from us. Westerners (but especially Europeans in their ancient, ancestral homelands) have every right to be resentful, and to begin rallying and mobilizing (as the German PEGIDA movement and other rightist Europeans are finally doing) on the basis of historical nationality, but also, finally, biology (the recognition that Western civilization is a phenotype of the Europoid genotype; it will not outlive the latter’s demise). Western civilization is by light years the world’s superior civilization. Its disappearance would be a global calamity (and this is true however morally and culturally defenestrated the modern West may have become; the possibility for renewal exists as long as, and only as long as, the race exists).
There is no reason actively to preach hate for the Other. But that hate will probably develop, and perhaps must, if WE are to live. And our continued existence is the supreme political task of the age, not mollifying those who exhibit no reciprocal concern for us – and no little willingness to hate us, their benefactors.
Thanks to everyone for the kind words. I would reply to Mr. Heller that, if it is true that “There is no reason actively to preach hate for the Other,” then it probably follows, given the dangers posed by hate-mongering in a community of morally retarded people, which is to say the population of the United States who are victims less of evil leaders than of their own cowardice, sloth, and greed. The majority welcomed economic revolution with enthusiasm, because they thought they were getting something out of it, refusing to recall the old proverb, “He who pays the piper, calls the tune,” or “If you take the king’s shilling….” It is not so much a question of blaming people–so few of us are capable of taking charge of our own lives, we certainly cannot be trusted with authority over others, such as democracy presupposes–as it is to recognize reality. Whinging about wha they have done to us only contributes to the demoralization.
As for the uses of hatred, I do not know of anyone writing in English today who has done so much work to clarify the morality of revenge, self-defense, dueling, vendetta. Indeed, the second chapter of Properties of Blood is devoted to love and hate as essential forces in human life. Understanding the uses of strife, hatred, and revenge, and defending their implementation in traditional institutions, is something quite different from stirring up abstract resentments against outsiders or scapegoating them as an excuse for doing nothing to improve our own lives. For the most part, cultural diversity–while it is an extremely healthy process between separate communities–is subversive within a community. Unfortunately, none of the racialists I have known–and believe me, I have known a great many of the intellectual leaders among whom I count more than a few friends–has lifted a finger or even his voice to advance a healthy understanding of the culture we are throwing away. Why light a candle, when it is so self-gratifying to curse not only the darkness but even a bit of cloud cover?
I do not care if I a called a race-traitor or a racist. I have a job to do, and it is to clarify and deepen, for those who wish to listen, the cultural traditions that made the West.
Herewith another example of the (internal) War on the West, from an [unedited] email [directed to several of us email chain discussants] from a friend I received this very day (Oct 14):
Ben Carson gets it. He knows what time it is. Today, I received an email from my daughter’s school addressed as follows:
“Dear 7th Grade Guardians:”
The word “guardians” caught my eye but I thought the sender was being light-hearted with the use of alliteration “Grade Guardians.” I had to go back to the email because it required action on my part (signing up to volunteer), then it hit me. They were replacing the word “parents” presumably so as not to offend anyone. This is a private all-girls school, by the way. What the hell do they mean by “guardians?”
I have been numbed to the prohibition of titling events “father-daughter camp out” or “Mothers’ Social.” “Grandparents Day” at my kids’ school was amended to “Special Friends Day.”
The concept of parenthood, apparently, has an offensively traditional ring to it. I knew we were done when I heard a law professor criticizing Justice Kennedy’s decision legalizing gay marriage because it relied, in part, on the idea that a marriage (whether same sex or opposite sex) provided stability for children. The professor (Boalt Hall I believe) took the position that we need to move past dated and oppressive notions of family structure.
Words matter. Ideas matter. Erasing the word “parents” from the lexicon is a step toward the Stalinist (?) goal of reordering society using a communist paradigm.
“Guardians” have no biological, emotional, religious, familial, or even tribal (Heller’s preferred term) status. It is a legal construct, conferred by the State, controlled by the State.
What happened? How? Why?
Of course, the immigration invasion, specifically, “diversity”, is what electorally “empowers” as well as allegedly justifies the increasingly totalitarian Left. This is CIVIL WARRE, as Hobbes would say, and the Right needs to start acting like it.
(I also told my friend et al that they need to be reading CHRONICLES, as a couple already do.)
I agree with Dr. Fleming that it is vital to restore to Westerners as much of our lost traditional cultural understandings, including the understanding of morality, as possible. I also recognize that at least some white nationalists are morally unattractive where not outright criminals (or conscious advocates of non- or post-Christian “morality”). I also agree that the Western peoples have squandered their unparalleled cultural and moral inheritance, though I think much of this was due to a go along, get along attitude, as opposed to the outright, mentally deranged, ethnocultural self-hatred of the serious, Hard Left.
But “beautifying” ourselves by recovering our intellectual and cultural heritage, however worthy a pursuit in itself (and I believe Aquinas somewhere in the Summae identifies the pursuit of wisdom as a species of moral action), is not going to stop the ‘barbarian’ (and barbarian) invasions. Someone commenting at this site asked about the “Benedict option” (either the same as, or a variant of, the oft-called “monastic option”) for Occidental survival. Unless merely a euphemism for withdrawing from the surrounding cultural degeneracy to read Great Books, I find this preposterous (see the film SICARIO, if anyone thinks there is any escape from confronting and defeating the new, multicultural realities: they are here, and won’t be changed of their own accord).
Dr. Fleming knows a great deal more than I do about the Dark and Middle Ages, and could do an infinitely better job explaining the differences between the civilizational tasks of men of authentic learning then as against now, but I know enough as a lifelong Californian, saturated with “diversity” from earliest childhood, to recognize that only remarkable, solitary persons ever fall in love with and immerse themselves in racially alien cultures. I grew up with many Chinese-American classmates and friends. Many of them were very intelligent and perfectly behaviorally civilized; some of whom, like me, went on to the most prestigious colleges and universities. To this day, their attachment to “traditional America” is, shall we say, remote. They care as little for the (white) history of the USA as I would for that of China. Indeed, I have several volumes of Chinese history. They are interesting in themselves, but they do not “speak to me” in anything beyond a cerebral way. But stories of our Revolution, Civil War, modern times, as well as of events in the European past, including those of Dr. Fleming’s beloved Greco-Roman antiquity, do move, as well as interest, me. They do so because they are MY story, too, that of MY people. The tribal nature of man is a brute fact (the attenuation of this tribal attachment among whites alone is a singular fact demanding explanation).
So the continuing inundation of aliens represents what Buchanan called with common sense The Death of the West. Do we graciously accept our fate, or fight to change it? And these are hardly abstract resentments. Every white person attacked by black criminals; every white computer coder let go in order that his company can replace him with a lower cost Asian immigrant; every white applicant denied admission to a graduate school for which he was the more qualified, in order to further the non-goal of “diversity”; every white person feeling isolated and alienated living in a Hispanicizing neighborhood – these persons have earned the right to resentfulness.
But the real issue is as I stated it above. Abjuration of tribalism, or the survival of the West? I choose life (and slowly, too slowly, others are coming to the same conclusion; what is the Trump phenomenon, but “implicit whiteness”?). The true intellectual task is to situate that choice within the tradition of Christian moral theology, instead of rejecting Christendom in pursuit of false gods and hopes.
Preventing America from becoming “Mexicanized” is surely a case where the end justifies whatever means patriots need to employ. To reiterate: national preservation is itself a moral value.
In any publication or website in which I have been involved, I have always made it a rule not to permit links, endorsements, etc. I know well the writer Mr. Heller recommended, and do not wish to be associated with his views on government-enforced eugenics.
Re the amren link I posted here: fair enough. Many sites don’t want links to other sites posted. However, whatever the original author’s unrelated views on eugenics might be (an interesting issue, at least insofar as biological realities ought to be considered in the formulation of public policy), the article linked to was an outstandingly written review of a book about the evolving and growing threat of Mexican criminal syndicates, which I posted in part for the benefit of Dr. Fleming himself. I believe Dr. Fleming and others would enjoy and perhaps learn from the review (the book was written by a recently deceased respected prosecutor, whose work, incidentally, was known to a law enforcement friend of mine [I only found this out after having forwarded the review to him]). More broadly, the review underscored my points above – that Middle America is under siege, and we need to start acting on that threat and organizing to resist it.
Mr. Heller, I fear Muslim invasion more than Mexican invasion. I don’t think any part of the country is free of problems. You might like visiting New England in the fall to see the spectacular color of that part of the country. You might also like to visit Maine for her sheer beauty.
I went to college in New England, and know parts of it well. On an Atlantic cruise with my parents in better times, we stopped at one point at beautiful Bar Harbor en route to NYC. I also have a friend from Brunswick (I believe that’s the town – where Bowdoin College is). He’s shown me many pictures of his home area.
If I were European, I would fear the Muslims more than the Mexicans. But as an American, I fear the establishment of the Mexican drug cartels (more properly, “criminal syndicates”) on US territory more than anything (except a Federal Reserve-generated inflationary depression). Ultimately, Western men are going to have to relearn the ancient nexus between tribe and territory, and then work to reestablish it (which will mean inevitable purgative violence).