An irate commenter recently asked why we call this site the Orthosphere, when we don’t seem particularly concerned about conserving European culture. It’s a fair question. We aren’t particularly concerned with conserving European culture – not, at least, for the sake of European culture.
We are Christian Reactionaries. As a proposal about the concrete rescue of human souls from the grip of the evil, suffering and death that pervades creation – human society being no exception – Christianity is always ipso facto a profound reproach to any and every such fallen social order as may be found in any time or clime. There is no human culture that a Christian, properly so-called, would not react against. “Christian Reactionary” is redundant.
We call ourselves the Orthosphere in part because, as Christians, we understand our fundamental orientation as transcending and, ergo, orthogonal to all worldly orders. The Kingdom to which we aspire is not from this world. It is as perpendicular to our whole cultural and political landscape, and to every other, as a bolt of lightning from on high – or a ray of sunlight at noon. The mundane political lexicon comprehends us only as men of the Right. So be it; but we are men of the Logos, that orders all things and sets them right, so that there is such a thing as order or righteousness in the first place. Such at least is our hope, and prayer.
What is the true good for man, that will promote his virtuous flourishing in his progress toward salvation? What social order is best formed to support and encourage that flower of virtue? These are the questions we would answer.
Certainly there is much in the West that is good; this is surely one of the several reasons that the West conquered the globe. There is no true good in man or his works that a Christian would not support. Insofar as the West has been Good, we support it; and I think it fair to say that we generally feel that the West is of all societies among the best.
But European culture is after all radically defective. This is not a recent development; only its recently developed defects are recent; and they are characteristically European defects, no? They are developments of a defective culture, as it works its way logically, methodically, relentlessly, toward its last absurd reduction. Liberalism is an invention of the West, and an expression of some of its deepest convictions about reality, powerfully motivated by our characteristic nisus toward our noblest, highest moral aspirations. But errors at the roots have misdirected our intense urge toward the Good, and toward God, and turned them toward evil and futility and death. The West has been perverted, and is therefore dying; indeed, much of it is committing suicide. As Bruce has pointed out, “A group which chooses to stop reproducing, and even celebrates the fact, is a group that knows it is deeply wrong in its basic worldview.”
So, European culture probably ought not to be conserved. If anything, it ought to die, so that it may be resurrected.
There are to be sure many aspects of our European patrimony that would perdure and thrive in that organic society, or natural society, or Good society, or orthological society, or whatever we decide to call it. They include our own people, and the hale elements of our goodly heritage. Those good things? We love them. A synecdoche of the transformation we seek: cathedrals, yes; strip malls, no. Another: Bach, yes; rap, no.
We need a new wineskin. If we are canny and bold enough to earn it, and fortunate, we will recognize it when we buy it as just the sort of wineskin our fathers would have loved to own. But it will be new, so that the new vintage will not burst it.
But nor will it ever be good enough. Farther up and farther in!
I hope it goes without saying that I welcome correction and emendation of what I have here said – especially from my fellow Orthosphereans, for whom I have greatly presumed to speak.