Monday, August 3, 2009

Is "Conservative Swede" an Oxymoron?

Last week, I added Gates of Vienna to my Blog List because it is a comprehensive website for information regarding the clash between Islam and Western Civilization. One of the most prolific bloggers on that site is “Conservative Swede” (a Scandinavian whose profile name – as it turns out – is NOT an oxymoron). I read his most recent blog entry, “Reversal is Possible,” and I found it intriguing enough to go to his website, where I quickly read through his 5 "Important Posts” on a variety of topics.

I’m still in the process of reading the rest of his blogposts, but I already have a good impression of Con Swede’s political viewpoints – some of which I like, some of which I don’t like, and some of which I find confusing.

In his May 2007 blog post, Christian Ethics – To Be or Not to Be, Con Swede writes that “Christian ethics without Christian religion is fatal.” And once we accept that…

“There are only two ways to go from there: 1) Either we put God and Christ back into the equation in order to balance the Christian ethics and make it less suicidal, i.e. we'd need a resurge of Christianity, and once again making our civilization being defined by Christianity. 2) Or we must leave Christian ethics altogether.

“Previously I held the first position…But today my position is that we need to leave Christian ethics to save ourselves and our civilization. However, I'm open to the possibility that one solution would be more fit for Europe and another for America. But my important overall point is the following: If it turns out to be impossible to make the Westerners once again believe in the Christian God, and make Christianity become a strong self-asserting substance for our civilization, it becomes a moral imperative for us to decisively leave Christian ethics, in order to stop the suicide of our civilization.”

“An ideology/religion/culture is not eternal and constant, but evolves organically. It will go from bud to flower, and then to fruit, that will mature and eventually become over-ripe. Certain things of this process will be encoded already into the seed, but might not become manifest until very late in the process, some of it not until the very end. In fact, to some degree, the time horizon for the end and how it will happen, will be encoded already in the seed.”

“Christianity, and more specifically Christian ethics, needs to be scrutinized in the same way.”

“Liberalism is best understood as a branch of the Christian tree, as I see it. Could the outgrowth of this branch be predicted already from the Christian seed? The liberalism branch is over-ripe and rottening. Is the same true for the whole Christian tree?”

“If Christianity is over-ripe, within this model, there's no way to see how it could be restored back into a mature fruit, no more than liberalism.”

“Christian ethics…is a slave morality originally invented by the Jews in the Babylonian exile. Slave morality can only work well if it is centered around a master as the hub of the ethical system--in this case the Christian God. Remove the (symbolic) master and the whole system disintegrates, and the slave morality acts as pure self-destruction.

“Christian ethics, with its weakness and meekness, wants to protect the Other, and to oppose the powerful. It's a morality of self-sacrifice with the idea that we ourselves are the first sinners. Religious as well as secularized Christians walk through life mired in guilt feelings. However, the religious Christians have Christ, who is the perfect Christian for them--their stand-in. He did the ultimate self-sacrifice for all mankind when he died on the cross, and he forgives us for not being able to live up to his example. The secularized Christians, however, have no other option than performing the Christ-like self-sacrifice themselves.”

“Modern liberalism is suicidal, in a way that ‘primitive’ Christianity was not—precisely because they were religious Christians.”

“Scientific and technological development undermined the belief in the existence of God. Already in the 18th century the idea of intellectually proving the existence of God was given up, and we find Rousseau and Kant motivating belief of God based on emotions or values instead. Scientific and technological development steamrolled the traditional image people had of an existing Christian God. And it was bound to do so. I do not believe there's anything the Church could have done to stop it.”

I agree with pretty much everything Con Swede writes about the history and counterproductiveness of Christian ethics. But then – in the Comments sections of his post, “Reversal is Possible” – he makes a series of bizarre statements.

“Leaving Christian ethics has nothing to do with becoming secular (as I explained above). To the contrary, it makes it worse! What is needed is to introduce another great mythological narrative into the minds of the Germanic people. This is the only way to replace the moral grammar of Christianity. Something with roots in our long history. This must done by political means, by a regime with such a focus.”

“There are no myth-free societies. What we would see after a change won't be a society of people with ‘free mind and healthy skepticism.’ What we'll see is a society where people are driven by new collective myths. The idea of a society of people with free minds is... just that... a myth.”

In another post, Con Swede writes…

“When I talk about saving us from civilizational suicide I talk about saving European civilization. This higher, well-organized civilization of beautiful art and respect for the individual is intimately tied to the survival of ethnic Europeans and their societies.”

This strikes me as ethno-centric paganism, which I find very disturbing.

One of Con Swede’s commenters, “Mr. Spog,” shares my concerns…

“Pure paganism seems frightening to me because, for example, I don't find appealing the idea of chained agricultural slaves being part of the rural scenery, as I read was the case in the Roman Empire. In the case of Germanic paganism, meanwhile, we have such delights as human sacrifice and unprovoked wars of plunder or conquest. (Why not embrace Islam instead?) Simple paganism would represent a retrograde step, philosophically as well as ethically. Also, one should bear in mind that in a scientific age it would be probably at least as difficult to resurrect the pagan gods as it is to resurrect belief in the Christian God. A revived "paganism" without a supernatural element would probably amount to a materialistic worship of state power: fascism.”

Indeed. Why do we need to choose between Christianity and paganism?

I share the vision of another commentator, Jason Pappas

“Christianity is fine for private personal salvation and facing death (for those who so choose); but as a civilization, reason and a righteous, proper, and proud egoism is vital. We need an ethics that reaffirms the human potential, underwrites the human achievement exemplified by Western civilization (at its best), and secures individual rights that are at the core of classical liberalism.”

Overall, I have a favorable opinion of Conservative Swede, but he’s done a poor job of explaining why the fall of Christianity must be followed by a rebirth of Roman-era paganism. After all, to use Con Swede’s analogy about over-ripe fruit, hasn’t the fruit of paganism already died? If – as Con Swede says – “technological development steamrolled the traditional image people had of an existing Christian God” – then wouldn’t it do the same to Thor and Jupiter and the other pagan gods?

In my opinion, there is no going back; we can only go forward. We must move forward to a civilization of reason, science, capitalism, and liberty.

I’ll have more to say about Conservative Swede and his prolific ideas in the near-future.


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