Thursday, June 7, 2012

Matthew Johnson on Johann Herder and Modernism

Excerpts :
Ethno-nationalism, in spite of the myths pouring out of the academic presses, is a rejection of the gnostic-Enlightenment view of man, morality and epistemology. Unless one understands this negative connection, one cannot understand the historical and moral basis of nationalism (properly considered) and the ethno-community. Therefore, it is absolutely central that the work of Johann Herder be dealt with, for, in many respects, the revolt against Enlightenment "liberalism" and "practical" conservatism comes from him rather than from Burke, whose theoretical prowess has been overestimated in many respects.
For the Enlightenment, the notion of "progress" has been an allegedly continuous move from "myth" to "fact;" myth is the sensuous and concrete aestheticization of nature and mankind into something socially recognizable and intelligible. It is found in religious processions, harvest festivals, circular dancing and other signs of solidarity, and a solidarity imposed on a nature now no longer harsh and dangerous. Progress has its esoteric side of being the "demystification" or "unmasking" of such concrete realities into the abstractions of modern scientific and moral ideology. For Herder, this is a regress. Modern scientific methodology has eliminated the concrete object in favor of a sterile concept. The older idea of myth was not falsehood in any sense, but is a key to the heart and mind of a specific people and civilization. To aestheticize nature is to imprint the "general will" upon it, to provide it with cultural reality by integrating it into the vortex of the nation, and hence satisfying the nature need for aesthetics, but an aesthetic of populism and tradition. The nation, then, based on language and the memory of a common tradition and suffering, seeks to unify all things to itself: nature, technics and economics. These are provided with the imprint of the historical memory of a people. Nothing is strange, everything becomes recognizable, everything is made a home, the Voegelinite “cosmion.”
Two things in the article need emphasizing for today's conservatives and young nationalists. First, the state is not the nation, and a nation is not merely a collection of people who happen to be living in the same location. "If culture is strong and vibrant, passed down from the church and family unit, then the arm of the state is unnecessary."

Second, an attack on a nation's myths, fables, legends, and traditions is an attack on the nation itself. "Tradition, self, ideas and language are basically one and the same concept; complex to be sure, but related in such a way as to make their arbitrary analytic separation impossible or unintelligible. ... Only when the culture breaks down through alien peoples and ideas (including the state) does this connection become severed, and the most horrid of situations, alienation, becomes a social reality, leading to social pathology and ultimately, social death."

Our problems today are cultural and spiritual. We will change very little through politics for the simple reason that politicians in a democracy must represent the will of the people and the people have become too lazy, stupid, and corrupt. Change must come at the local, community, grass-roots level. Self, Gods, and families first, then communities, then nations, working outward in our sphere of influence.

Each of us must assume more responsibility for ourselves and our families. We must build the next generation of solid leaders for our families, clans, and our nation. We must start here, start today. Homeschool now, ask me how.

Nota bene: When beginning your research of Herder's works, go straight to the originals or the translations. The wikipedia and stanford encyclopedia-type summaries are so hostile to him, and so inaccurate, one who has actually read and understood Herder would barely recognize him in them.

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