203. Fellowship with men (II)
Ireland, Spain, and Portugal are three countries that attempted to exit history in the 20th century, to take a long vacation from what everyone else was doing—as with all breaks, their vacation was temporary. The common thread between these countries is that they subscribed to a kind of romantic nationalism combined with Catholicism; it was the holistic world of peasant plot, priest, and regular Mass. As Spengler observed, the peasant is the raw fuel of a society; he is eaten up by the city in its efforts to resist entropy, when a society runs out of rural folk it runs out of energy; in the case of Britain, it sucks in the peasantry of the world—of India and Pakistan—as replacement.
The Catholic nationalists offered a “no” to this Protestant world of rational projects and free enterprise; they would enjoy their merry feast days and moonshine potín and superstitions. They would be poor, but everyone would have enough; and all the world would be enchanted, people would still speak to the fairies, little folk, and leprechauns. As de Valera put it at the foundation of the Republic, it would be: “A land whose countryside would be bright with cosy homesteads, whose fields and villages would be joyous with the sounds of industry, with the romping of sturdy children, the contests of athletic youths, the laughter of comely maidens; whose firesides would be the forums for the wisdom of serene old age. It would, in a word, be the home of a people living the life that God desires man should live.”
Yet today naked women run through the streets of Dublin to demand abortions, and the entire economy is built on air: Ireland is a tax haven, the site of a collapsed property boom, and open to mass migration. Can this be the republic de Valera dreamed, a pious country of sturdy and self-reliant peasants? The same goes for Portugal and Spain, where birthrates have collapsed and Pedro Almadóvar’s pseudo-transgressive films represent the soul of the Spanish nation.
The reason why these Catholic reserves in the 20th century collapsed so quickly is simple. To protect these nations absolutely left the populations vulnerable to the developments of liberalism; so long as the state held firm, so long as the Church was in the saddle, all was well; but the slightest crack—the slightest concession to liberal modernity, a few newspaper articles here and there—and the system crumbled away within thirty years. Those simple peasants had acquired no defences against liberal arguments; they were hit, as innocent children, by industrialised mass media rhetoric: the Church and the nationalists could not compete. In Eastern Europe, people had at least hardened under the lies of communism; but the people of Ireland, Spain, and Portugal still had naïve trust in the leadership; once good shepherd turned bad, they were ushered straight to the wolves.
The answer is not to adopt the secular materialism of Anglo-Saxon convention, to go from daily Mass to “I fucking love science!” The only way out is through, to go to the waterline dreamscape where science, art, and technology meet; it is here that magic, religion, art, and science become one—really all are a matter of non-judgemental awareness, to follow the mystery to its natural conclusion without fear of public judgement; essentially the lesson of Jesus against the Pharisees and today’s version, the reputation-obsessed secular liberal-Protestants.
So we find the knight in shining armour in the figure of Robocop, Zen enlightenment hidden in the double binds of cybernetics, the Hermetic caduceus in DNA, and Christ’s implacable witness in the truth about race and intelligence. To preserve the sacred, we must drop those romantic images of de Valera—true as they are, the fairies are real—and go to the magnesium light of science and technology, but absolutely and without remorse: it must be all or nothing. It is at this point that, via the paradoxical reversal of opposites, that the sacred will return.