A Sentimental Attachment

Smith_Heidi_and_PeterAnd yet, my friends, there are people who say that all this sort of talk is “sentiment;” that what we want to do is to “come down to cotton and corn and pork;” buying and selling, negotiating your bank exchange; that everything else is “sentiment,” and that sentiment is “rot.” Let it be a point with you, young boys and girls, to remember that the only thing in this world which is not “rot” is sentiment. That thing is rot which can last a man only a lifetime—which rusts and corrupts and decays—that thing, in other words, which can rot. Your cotton and produce are “rot;” your bank exchange is “rot;” your talk about mere material prosperity, as the chief aim and object and existence of man, is “rot,” because when you come to lie down and die and be placed within your narrow habitation, six or seven feet by three or four, not one of these things, nor things gained in this way, can you carry with you, nor present as a part of yourself at the chancel of God.

Issues of the War Discussed by John Sharp Williams

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This brings us to the necessity of concluding that the upholders of mere dialectic, whether they appear in this modern form or in another, are among the most subversive enemies of society and culture. They are attacking an ultimate source of cohesion in the interest of a doctrine which can issue only in nullity. It is no service to man to impugn his feeling about the world qua feeling. Feeling is the source of that healthful tension between man and what is – both objectively and subjectively. If man could be brought to believe that all feeling about the world is wrong, there would be nothing for him but collapse.

Visions of Order by Richard Weaver



T
he other day I mentioned Heidi to a mid-twenties shop clerk and got a disturbingly blank stare. The young woman thought I was calling her a prostitute. I tried to explain that Heidi was a Swiss mountain girl in a story by Johanna Spyri. Still no light. This type of incident has happened much too often to me in recent years. It’s not as if someone has never heard of Marcel Proust or Samuel Becket. In addition to Heidi, I’ve gotten blank stares when I’ve mentioned Treasure Island, William Tell, Roland, Paul Bunyan – the list is a long one. Now, you might say, “So what if our young people have never heard of the classic stories of the European people, they won’t die without reading or hearing the stories.” I would disagree. Ignorance of one particular classic story from the European past will not kill a person, but what that ignorance represents, a total disconnect from the antique Europeans, will kill; it will kill the soul.

Our young people know computers by age five, they know everything about the biological facts of life by age seven, yet they know nothing of the people who built a civilization based on their sentimental attachment to Jesus Christ. And I use the word ‘sentimental’ without shame. We all, even those who claim to be devoid of sentiments, get sentimental about something. The liberal waxes sentimental over the negro, the Marxist gets sentimental about ‘the people’ (in the abstract, of course), and so it goes. I get sentimental over the marriage between Christ and the European people – Tom Brown’s defense of little Arthur, Pip’s loyalty to Magwitch, and Havelock’s relief of Lucknow make me weep. If you spit on such sentiment, you are my enemy.

It was Burke, the indefatigable Christian warrior, who sounded the alarm and rode, alone and unafraid, to the sound of the revolutionary guns. Burke saw that the French Revolution was not, as terrible as that war was, merely a French version of England’s War of the Roses. It was not a bloody quarrel between rival claimants for the throne. The French Revolution marked a divorce from Christ, from that one great sentimental attachment which was the lifeblood of the European people, the attachment upon which European civilization was built. It was not enough to depose Robespierre, Burke maintained; that was merely scotching the Jacobin snake; the Jacobin snake had to be destroyed. But the snake was not destroyed. It resurfaced again in the democratic Revolutions of 1848 and in the Northern rebellion against the Christian south, a war that marked the last defense of the sentimental attachment, which made the European people a people unlike all other people. The European people left Christ and hid in the belly of the liberal leviathan.

The conservatives of the 20th century did not choose to do battle with the liberal leviathan. Instead they tried to make life more comfortable inside the belly of the leviathan. That is not following in the train of the antique Europeans; it is following in the satanic train of the liberals. A true man of Europe, a man with a sentimental attachment to his people and our common hope, must fight his way out of the belly of the leviathan and then turn and attack the leviathan.

What happened to the conservatives was that they thought a mere Gnostic connection to a Christian system could replace a sentimental attachment to Christ and the European people. There is a world of difference between defending our “Judaic, Greco-Roman, Christian heritage” and defending Him who is “our common hope.” Even those conservatives who quoted Burke favorably failed to see that it was his passionate love of his people and his God that guided his mind and pen:

But vehement passion does not always indicate an infirm judgment. It often accompanies, and actuates, and is even auxiliary to a powerful understanding; and when they both conspire and act harmoniously, their force is great to destroy disorder within, and to repel injury from abroad. If ever there was a time that calls on us for no vulgar conception of things, and for exertions in no vulgar strain, it is the awful hour that Providence has now appointed to this nation. – Letters on a Regicide Peace

It is very significant that Burke’s 20th century counterpart, a man who placed his mind at the service of his heart and defended sentimental, European Christianity while denouncing in the strongest terms the New Age intellectual Christianity, is absent from all the survey books of modern conservatism. Anthony Jacob, the last great European, was too European, too Christian, to fit into the liberal-conservative system. His vision was one with Burke’s vision – they saw the European people as the Christ-bearers who must maintain their distinctiveness as a people if they, and their faith, were to survive.

What Europeans such as Edmund Burke, John Sharp Williams, and Anthony Jacob perceived was that it was the Europeans’ sentimental attachment to Christ that needed to be conserved, not our ‘democratic system’ or some ecclesiastical system. I saw the satanic temptation close-up in the ‘systems analysis’ Catholic traditionalist movement. Having fought free of the leviathan’s belly, I found myself in the open seas. Any old port in the storm can lead one to the wrong port. Once aboard the traditionalist ship, I was ushered into a room marked, “For Sentimentalists.” There was a chute in the room (like in the board game Chutes and Ladders), which put me right back into the sea, with the leviathan bearing down on me. Eschewing all the other ecclesiastical ships, I found a safe harbor in that tiny island where Alexander Smollet, that European sentimentalist, has raised the flag of Christian Europe in defiance of the forces of Babylon that have taken the form of a monstrous leviathan.

Intellectual conservatism in church or state does not ‘conserve’; it is part of the forward movement, a movement toward hell, of Jacobinism. The more liberal branches of organized Christianity, which are now part of organized Jewry, go whoring after the black Messiah in order to feel attached to something human. And the traditionalist branches of organized Christian-Jewry have embraced the practical materialism of the Grand Inquisitor: “Of what use is the human element when we have a system?” But does St. Paul give us a ‘system’? Do the Gospels point us to a ‘system’ or to a savior, who is Christ the Lord? That deeply held sentiment, the heartfelt conviction that, “Truly this man was the Son of God,” was what moved our ancestors to fight the forces of ruin and death in order to build Christian Europe. It is those ancestors we must look to for succor, and it is to their faith that we must come if we are going to rebuild Christian Europe.

It is definitely a rebuilding that needs to occur, a spiritual rebuilding. Most of the actual buildings of old Europe still stand, but they no longer house Christian Europeans. In the old dwellings reside the new Babylonians, an assortment of white apostates, Muslims, and colored barbarians. That does not strike the modern Europeans as something tragic. Tony Blair’s statement that, “We must be multi-cultural,” has become the ruling ethos of every European nation. But neither the Jews, the Muslims, nor the colored barbarians believe in multiculturalism. They believe in conquest and the imposition of their culture on people who haven’t enough faith in their God or their people to fight for them. We are back with Peter. By denying incarnational Europe we have denied, like Peter, our Lord. “Lovest thou me?” Christ asks. And we reply, “Lord, thou knowest that we love thee.” “Then,” He tells us, “Rebuild Christian Europe.”

The first apostles had one great advantage over us: They saw Christ face to face. Is it possible to believe with their intensity, without that material confirmation of Christ’s divinity? Christ seemed to think that it was, because He mildly rebuked Thomas for His lack of faith: “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou has believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” Therein lies the profound miracle of Christian Europe. Our people believed without seeing the material Christ! They saw Him feelingly, and made Him, by virtue of a sympathetic communion of hearts – the divine Heart with human hearts – the center of their civilization. Christian Europe revealed, at its poetic core, the face of Jesus Christ. All attempts to scientize the European Christ, to make Him accessible to human beings by way of the syllogism or the science lab, had the end result of making Christ inaccessible to the human heart. The church men and their modern neophytes go whoring after the heathen gods of color, because they have nothing to hold onto “if but for sympathy.” They have no sympathy with anything human, because they walk in the valley of the shadow of abstractions in which the devil fills their minds with dreams of an earthly paradise presided over by the devil gods of color. There is no mystery, no depth, in such a world. The only real mystery is God’s grace and the human heart. Great miracles have already occurred in old Europe, because of that marriage. Isn’t it more than possible, isn’t it quite probable, that miracles will occur again once the Europeans rely on God’s grace working in human hearts instead of relying on human minds with pygmy souls trying to create their Jacobin version of heaven on earth? The former response to existence resulted in Christian Europe; the latter response has brought us Babylonian Europe.

The liberals’ ‘ascent’ has been a descent. If we retrace our steps and go through the provincial European door we will find ourselves back on the time-worn and time-honored path of our people, the Christ-bearers. And we shall stay with them till the end of time, because of our sentimental attachment to those people of our own hearth fire and to the God of that simple European hearth fire. +

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