Monday, September 30, 2013

The Man Who Wasn't There - The Culturist Film Review

The Coen Brothers' 2001 masterpiece, The Man Who Wasn't There, is a critique of the emptiness of modern life. It follows a barber (Billy Bob Thornton) who is barely connected to the events and people in his life; he doubts the basic assumptions of the 1950s society that surrounds him and finds them strange. And, while it is obvious that he, as the title character, is 'the man who wasn't there,' I would like to posit an alternative suspect – Jesus is the man who wasn't there.
Whereas others around him "just talk" the barber seeks answers to life's deepest questions – in hair. He wonders where it comes from, "it just keeps growing," he observes laconically. When he may be dying in a car accident, his possible last thoughts are about "the hair" (as he objectively calls it). After death, he wonders, "What keeps it growing?" Herein, we have a deep thought about the afterlife, the soul. He is blindly striving towards religion.
Being a noir film, the barber blackmails someone, kills him when the blackmailee attacks him, and is sent to death row. From there he tells us death takes you out of the maze, you see life whole, there is peace. As death approaches, he takes a higher perspective, looks up and sees that quintessential symbol of the 1950s, a UFO, in the sky, right where God should be; this marvel of the scientific age takes his confession. This is one of the obvious moments that hints that, in this film, the man who isn't there is Christ.
The Coens' black-and-white noir portrays the emptiness of "modern man" (as the barber gets called during his defense trial). Thus, the film implies that modern man should have a larger meaning and moral compass. Please follow me as I diagnose, and propose a cure for, the emptiness in modern Western society; it is a matter of life and death!

As the barber might intuit, Christendom, Western Civilization, has rung hollow since its name change. 'Christendom' implies a transcendent experience of the universe, as it ties us to our heritage; 'Western Civilization' conveys a longitudinal taxonomy, one in which there must be 'Eastern Civilization' and, likely, others, making it one of several. West is a direction, it is a hollow attribute! In basing itself on a cartographical taxonomy, the phrase 'the West' reveals its source, and thus the source of our malaise: the Enlightenment.
Gertrude Himmelfarb's important book, The Roads to Modernity, (stay with me here, this is a matter of life and death), shows that, though we only think of the French when we think of the Enlightenment, there were also British and American Enlightenments. As we only recognize the French one, it alone gets tied to modernity. If we recognize the British and American Enlightenments as 'roads to modernity,' we will have a much better world.
The French Enlightenment sought to recreate society using universal concepts based on reverence for reason that informed an obsessive hatred of Christianity. The 18th century British Enlightenment figures, by contrast, thought of society as formed by compassion, which gave us moral virtues that were compatible with religion. America's Founding Fathers led the American Enlightenment, and created a thriving republic that relied on religion to instill the virtues necessary to sustain it.
The British Enlightenment led to an explosion of charitable organizations; the American, a just republic. The French Enlightenment, by contrast, smashed the Church, which ended France's only social programs. And, when man did not conform to rational designs, the French Enlightenment led to the guillotine terror. And, though Himmelfarb does not discuss it, the God-abstracting German Enlightenment led to the Holocaust.
Rather than "naked reason," Edmund Burke (1729-1797), the British Enlightenment figure and major culturist icon (who denounced the French Revolution), saw liberty in America and Britain being based on "English ideas and on English principles." Instead of exploding parochial prejudices – such as Christianity – with "reason," he suggested we affectionately embrace them, recognizing the time-tested "wisdom and virtue" in them. (1)
Rather than Burke's tradition-embracing English Enlightenment ideal, the Coen's barber employs a French Enlightenment-style critique which subjects all to reason. Reason might tell us that our ways are irrational; Voltaire(1694 – 1778) mocked the Pope as a man with a funny hat in Italy. (2) But 1950s haircuts, our Christian religion, our particular national heroes, our traditions – as Burke and America's founders knew – sustain our liberties by guiding us; we must appreciate them and hold them as dear as our lives.
The barber and his wife (Frances McDormand) do go to church in the film – to play bingo. As she plays, he laconically narrates; "I doubt if she believed in life everlasting. She'd most likely tell you that our reward is on this earth. And bingo is probably the extent of it." Perfectly, the wife then wins, stands, and shouts "Jesus, Bingo, Bingo!" Thus the Coen Brothers brilliantly highlight the random, God-ignoring characteristics of the French-based modernist ideals we have accepted.
We must realize that Christianity, embracing our heritage, and modernism are not incompatible. While not suggesting that we all become evangelicals (not that that would be a bad thing), we might start referring to 'the West' as 'Christendom' again; it will remind us of the man who isn't here in 'the West,' connect us culturally (mitigating the barber's alienation), and ground us in historical virtues (helping him make better decisions), while supporting our liberties (keeping the State from having to fry us, like the barber, in its electric chair).
1. Himmelfarb, Gertrude, The Roads to Modernity: The British, French and American Enlightenments (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005), p. 87.
2. Voltaire, L'Ingenu, 1767.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Culturism and the League of Nations

The League of Nations’ had a body devoted to protecting minority rights in the newly configured states following World War I: ‘The Minority Question Section.’  In 1945, its director, P. De Azcarate, wrote a book about it, ‘The League of Nations and National Minorities: An Experiment.’  The League of Nation’s proto-multiculturalism experiment proved difficult.  The reasons teach us valuable culturist lessons, even today. 

The League of Nation’s ‘Minority Section’ tried to enforce multiculturalism on the principle of “equality.” Here, Mr. Azcarate is very perceptive.  He sees two types of equality: “Negative equality,” protects the minority against unfavorable discriminatory treatment;  “Positive equality” requires funds to maintain minority cultures via minority language schooling and such.

Negative equality, the League found, can be difficult to adjudicate.  Azcarate tells of Yugoslavian police targeting minority Macedonians.  The Macedonians complained to the Leagues’ Minority Section.  The discrimination was real.  But, the Minority Section found that the ‘Macedonian National Committee’ engaged in “terrorist and revolutionary” activities funded by the neighboring state of Bulgaria.[i]  States violating negative equality rights is understandable when hostile foreign neighbors fund terrorists in your territory. 
Recent scholarship, resting on the general consensus in western society, chafes at the prospect of any ‘negative’ discrimination.  But, negative discrimination, such as that preventing Jews from being allowed to hold certain positions, used to be a norm for western states.[ii]  As a Jew, I consider these prohibitions unreasonable overkill.  But, I understand the logic.  I would not want a Muslim to be Britain’s Minister of Defense or Secretary of State for Education.  Even Azcarate himself noted that it was sometimes reasonable to limit minority access to, “public posts, functions, honors, military ranks, etc.”[iii]

Positive equality includes giving minorities the right to "manage and control ... charitable, religious and social institutions, schools and other educational establishments" with their own minority language and religion.4 The problem was that hostile foreign nations would fund these cultural institutions and write curricula that fostered hatred towards the majority culture in the states within which the minorities resided. Germany, for example, pushed a pro-Germany, anti-Polish history curriculum in Poland. Azcárate labeled Germany's use of the multicultural curriculum a "formidable weapon."5
In no situation did the League of Nations' Minority Section, according to Azcárate, regard having minorities as a boon. At best, he reports the presence of minorities as neutral in impact; but usually it is a source of friction. He laments that having minorities was inevitable due to the mixture of people in the Balkans. In Transylvania, for example, the wealthy landholders were Hungarian, while the peasants were Romanian. The two could not be easily torn asunder. But this was seen as a potential for discord, not a reason to celebrate.
According to Azcárate, only one pair of nations made a large decision to counter multiculturalism: Greece and Turkey. Rather than live together, in 1923, these nations exchanged minorities. Greece sent around 500,000 Muslims to Turkey and about 1.5 million Anatolian Greeks were repatriated.6 Thus the only major population exchange Azcárate mentions was between civilizations. Europe's edge was the limit of the League's multicultural experiment.
Mr. Azcárate said that the League's Minority Section "should be not only entirely impartial but free in its origins and constitution from all taint of injustice or privilege."7 To be effective in its multicultural implementation, the League had to be seen as neutral. But, the League itself limited the processing of minority complaints because states that were accused of discriminating too often might leave the League of Nations. Furthermore, Azcárate repeatedly blames Germany for using the Minority Section to rile up Germans in Poland in the years leading up to World War II. We all know how that ended. Even the League wasn't impartial.
Written just after World War II, Azcárate's documentation of the League of Nations' early multicultural experiment with impartiality struggles to help us past minority-majority conflict. In the context of World War II, the book's list of limits to plurality is haunting. The West's current impartiality stance was developed in Francis Fukuyama's 1992 book, The End of History and the Last Man.8 Written as the Soviet Union collapsed, Fukayama argued that western democracy and free markets won the Cold War, so now ideological struggle had ended; the whole world now agreed on liberal values.
Impartiality is an impossible, dangerous, and ubiquitous modern western value. Multiculturalists aim at a culturally neutral government via enforcing negative and positive equality domestically. Internationally, the West takes no side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But history has not ended. As Germany used the League of Nations' Minority Section as a "formidable weapon," Islam uses multicultural impartiality and our globalist stance for aggressive purposes. We need to get wise. The West must reject multicultural, globalist neutrality for a realistic culturist preference for our traditional majority culture(s).
1. Azcárate, P. De, League of Nations and National Minorities: An Experiment, (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1945), 68.
2. Fink, Carole, "Defending the Rights of Others: The Great Powers, the Jews, and the International Minority Protection, 1878 – 1938," (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2006).
3. Azcárate, P. De, League of Nations and National Minorities: An Experiment, (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1945), 142.
4. Ibid. 73.
5. Ibid. 151.
6. "Population Exchange Between Greece and Turkey",
7. Azcárate, P. De, League of Nations and National Minorities: An Experiment, (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1945), 27.
8. Fukuyama, Francis, The End of History and the Last Man, (New York: The Free Press, 1992).

[i] Azcarate, P. De, “League of Nations and National Minorities: An Experiment,” (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1945), 68.
[ii] Fink, Carole, “Defending the Rights of Others: The Great Powers, the Jews, and the International Minority Protection, 1878 – 1938,” (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2006).   
[iii] Azcarate, P. De, “League of Nations and National Minorities: An Experiment,” (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1945), 142.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Hindu Culturist RSS

British culturist should learn from Hindu culturists. Hindus have been promoting their traditional majority culture in India, as well as combating traitorous Muslims, since the 1890s.  In particular, we should emulate their organization named the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), meaning the ‘Association of National Volunteers.’  The RSS is said to be the largest voluntary organization in the world.

The RSS is a grassroots culturist educational organization. Culturism is the science that acknowledges, promotes, and defends traditional majority cultures. As such, culturism is the opposite of multiculturalism – which denies traditional majority cultures’ existence and status. Thus, as culturists, the RSS teaches about Hindu culture and promotes the fact that India is a Hindu nation.

The RSS was started by Keshav Baliram Hedgewar in 1925.  The occasion?  During the annual Ganesha festival, Muslims complained that restrictions against music in front of mosques were not being enforced.  In the face of Muslim intimidation, Hedgewar led troops of young men playing music in front of the mosques. 

Hedgewar noted that Hindus were too easily cowed by the Muslims.  The RSS was started to instill Hindu consciousness and strength into the timid Hindus.  Thus from the beginning the all-male RSS included physical exercise, military drills, marches and weapons training along side Hindu ideological inculcation.[i]  The youth wear uniforms. 5 – 6 million members of the current Indian population have been educated by the RSS. 

This video shows what the RSS looks like in action:

The RSS has some affiliated spin-off groups. The Rashtra Sevika Samiti is the RSS's women's group. It has 3,500 branches. The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad is the student wing. They combat leftist or 'polluting' influences in education. The Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram is the religious affiliate of the RSS. They help people convert back into Hinduism from Christianity and Islam. There is a teachers' council and an RSS affiliated organization dedicated to helping the poor.
Some detractors have likened the RSS to a fascist organization. For one thing, the RSS does not condone ethnic cleansing or genocide. Another difference is that the RSS is strictly non-political. Fascists wanted to control the state; the RSS does not even officially back candidates.2
Despite not engaging in politics, as the RSS was founded in 1925, many of its former and current members now promote Hindu culturism from positions of power. In fact, India's second largest political party, the BJP, came to power with tacit approval from the RSS, loaded with RSS members, and championing the RSS's culturist philosophy.
The RSS refrains from politics because politics corrupts organizations. Political parties have tried to use the massive RSS presence in India to get votes, and then turned their back on the RSS's culturist agenda. If the RSS became political, it too would have to dilute its pro-Hindu message. The RSS's founders understood that India needed to come to understand itself as a Hindu nation before culturist reform could happen via political channels.
India's government is aggressively multicultural. They call this position 'secularism.' But in practice, 'secularism' means that the government denies that Hinduism is India's majority religion and supports minorities rights – specifically in the form of subsidies for mosques and set-aside government seats for Muslims.
The 'secularist' (multicultural) Indian government calls the RSS 'communalists' – we would say 'culturists' – for promoting Hinduism and Hindu identity. As one book explained, "communalism is akin to racism and anti-Semitism."3 So the government calls Hindus, who wish to promote the traditional majority Hindu culture in India, "racist." Sound familiar?
The Indian government has banned the RSS several times, because they promote the idea that India's Muslims are a foreign and potentially dangerous group. Well, Islamic invaders ruled India – often with incredible brutality – for centuries before the British showed up. And Islamic terrorism intent on establishing Muslim dominance continues to this day in India. Cultural diversity is real! As such, it is neither unreasonable nor irrational to ask India to recognize Islam's violent propensities and basic historical facts.
The RSS calls Muslims foreign residents because the Muslim holy land is not in India. Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists, the RSS founders noted, are a part of the larger Hindu community, because their religions are indigenous to India, while Islam's "holy land is far off in Arabia or Palestine."4 As culturists, the RSS wishes the Indian government would officially recognize that India is the one and only homeland of Hinduism and related religions.
Again, the RSS does not advocate ethnic cleansing or anything like it. The multiculturalists tactic of calling people a hate group for recognizing cultural diversity and noting traditional majority cultures is identical in India as it is in Britain.
Throughout many bans, the RSS has continued building character and Hindu identity with its educational programs. By coupling educational efforts with disaster relief, the RSS has won the hearts of many of the people. Thus, friends of the RSS win elections. And, as a result, the RSS, with its long-term educational vision, has assured that Indian culturists will continue to have a loud voice in India's multicultural government for the foreseeable future.
For those who worry that culturism promotes cultural relativism, please note that I am not advocating that British youth start promoting Hinduism. The RSS classes are run by men who take vows of celibacy and dedicate their entire lives to the RSS, based on the traditional Hindu Guru model. That would not work in Britain! However, indigenous western culturist youth groups, such as the English Defence League, might consider being better organized to promote their culturist agenda. In this regard, India's culturist RSS provides a very good model.
1. Bhatt, Chetan, Hindu Nationalism: Origins, Ideologies, and Modern Myths, (Oxford International Publishers, Ltd., Oxford, 2001), p. 119.
2. Jaffrelot, Christophe, The Hindu Nationalist Movement in India, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), p. 58.
3. Mukherjee, Aditya, Mukherjee, Mridula, and Mahajan, Sucheta, RSS, School Texts and the Murder of Mahatma Gandhi, (Los Angeles: Sage, 2008), p. 19.
4. Savarkar, Vinayak Damodar, Hindutva: Who is a Hindu?, (Bombay: Veer Savarkar Prakashan, 1923), p. 113.

[i] Bhatt, Chetan, Hindu Nationalism: Origins, Ideologies, and Modern Myths, (Oxford International Publishers, Ltd., Oxford, 2001), p. 119

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Culturism and Cultural Relativism - Domestically

Culturism: The philosophy and science that acknowledges, promotes, and defends traditional majority cultures.  

Some people hesitate to use and spread the words ‘culturist’ and ‘culturism,’ because they think they imply cultural relativism.  In a previous article, I showed that while scientific culturism doesn’t take sides internationally, western culturism does.  This article will look at culturism domestically.

Multiculturalists believe in cultural relativity.  They believe that Britain is neither Islamic, nor Thai, nor Hindu, nor English; it is a neutral space where lots of random cultures happen to co-exist.  British culturists recognize the fact that Britain has a traditional majority culture.   As such, culturism – unlike multiculturalism - is against cultural diversity domestically.

Volumes have been written on the content of western culture.  Here, suffice it to say that our culture has its roots in Athens and Jerusalem.  That is it is Enlightenment based and Judeo-Christian.  And, each western nation will have its own particular cultural heroes (King Arthur and Shakespeare in Britain, for example).   But, western culture is a specific and coherent culture.  It is not Islamic.  We do not celebrate Muhammad. 

Western culturism holds that democracy, freedom of speech, relative separation of church and state, respect for individual conscience, and women's rights are not universal values. These are values that the West nurtures and champions. While this may seem to be straying into topics of internationalism, the point is that our values are for us; Saudi Arabia does not have a right to build mosques in the West. Saudis are culturist, the West can be so too.
Western culturism is nestled. That is, that Britain lives within a larger context of European culturism. That is why the Nazis were evil. The Nazis contradicted everything that Socrates and Jesus stood for. Within the West we have specific values and we need to uphold them. Neither Germany nor Britain should violate our larger Western values. Culturism does not promote domestic cultural relativism.
The larger western context also restricts what is allowable in Britain. One might try to argue that parts of London are now traditional (majority) Islamic. But the existence of Islamic neighborhoods violates the larger tradition of British and western values; London being within Britain and Britain being with the West. So, unlike multiculturalists, culturists do not embrace domestic cultural relativism.
Ironically, being held together by a belief in individualism (among other values) western culture is hard to see; the Western culturist tradition puts limits on top-down cultural mandates. But the West has a traditional majority culture. We are against stupid theocratic systems like Islam (see the Greek-Persian Wars), and we are not Islamic (see the Crusades). Ours is not unlimited generic tolerance. It is western tolerance for western cultural expressions.
As outlined in my previous article, culturism does not promote cultural relativism internationally. Neither is it culturally relative domestically. Opposing multiculturalists, culturists acknowledge that the West has a traditional majority culture; Britain has a traditional majority culture. On British soil, only British curriculum, laws, and holidays should get official sanction.
Challenge the domestic cultural relativism of multiculturalism, spread the words 'culturism' and 'culturist.'

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Culturism Does NOT endorse Cultural Relativism

Culturism: The philosophy and science that acknowledges, promotes, and defends traditional majority cultures.  

Some people hesitate to use and spread the words ‘culturist’ and ‘culturism,’ because they think it implies cultural relativism.  “If culturism is the philosophy that protects, promotes and defends traditional majority cultures,” they ask, “do western culturists need to celebrate Pakistani culture in Pakistan?”  The answer is an emphatic “NO!”  This article will explain why. 

As a science, culturism is normative.  That is, it describes reality without adding a value judgment. Scientific culturism does not argue that it is either good or evil that traditional majority cultures protect, promote, and defend their traditional majority cultures.  It is just a factual observation: All nations are, and all tribes have always been, culturist. 

Pakistan practices culturism.  We say this without celebrating it or denigrating it.  Think of physics.  England’s Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity.  Objects with mass attract objects with mass.  To note this is not to celebrate gravity.  To note that Pakistan is culturist is not to celebrate it.  The observation simply confirms that fact that all non-western nations are (as we used to be) culturist.

What does follow from this scientific culturist observation, however, is that it is unnatural for the West to be the only place in the history of the world where culturism is not practiced.  

And, in truth, the question we should ask is not, “will Pakistan be culturist if we accept culturism as a political norm?”  It is a scientific culturist fact that Pakistan will be culturist regardless of whatever we say (same for China, Mexico, etc).  The only meaningful question is “Will the West go back to being culturist or stay multiculturalist?”

“But morally,” our skeptic might continue, “doesn’t acknowledging culturism as norm mean that Pakistan’s culturist policies are normative?  Are correct? Within Pakistan’s borders?”

Again, our main question should not be, "Will Pakistan continue to be culturist if the West is culturist?" They will be culturist regardless of what we think. We need to worry about the West being culturist. That is the real question. But let's take the question at face value, despite its irrelevance.
Here I must answer, not from the point of view of scientific culturism, as an objective scientific observer, I must answer as an interested western culturist – as a person of the West. The question of western culturists approving of Islamic culture in Pakistan underestimates just how deeply culture penetrates our souls. As a westerner, I cannot help but be disgusted by Islam's theocratic, anti-gay, anti-women culture. It disgusts me to my bones. From a western culturist policy perspective, I want and will continue to promote western values worldwide. Islam horrifies me.  
From a scientific culturist position, I must accept that Islamic nations will continue to attempt to promote and expand their culture into our lands. It is a scientific culturist truth that all nations try to expand their power. But, as scientific culturists we also note that cultural diversity is real. Culturists are not surprised that the attempt to militarily turn Afghanistan and Iraq into secular progressive states have not succeeded.
"Ultimately, though, does culturism just see values as a matter of 'he said, she said?' Can it never tell us which side is right?'" From a scientific culturist point of view, the answer is "No, scientific culturism cannot tell us which side is right or will win." Scientific culturism just objectively notes there is an inter-cultural fight between Islam, the West, and China. It notes techniques all sides use. It does not say who will win. In fact, scientific culturism would predict that if the West does not quickly replace multiculturalism with culturism, it will lose.
But, as a western culturist, as a western person, I am not at all objective. I pray and work to see that western culturism wins. Unfortunately, despite our scientific analysis, for us real, living-breathing, individual humans there is no neutral cultural ground. I am western (not a 'citizen of the world'), and would rather die than submit to or live under Islam's horrible, sexist, anti-gay, anti-western, theocratic, dogmatic, nightmare of a system.