Breathes there the man with soul so dead
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne’er within him burned,
As home his footsteps he hath turned
From wandering on a foreign strand!
If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonored , and unsung.
In honor of Walter Scott’s birthday, August 15, 1771, I would like to talk about his enduring value to all Europeans. I know Scott is of no significance to modern Europeans who do not believe that anything or anybody from the past has enduring value, but Scott endures, and always shall endure, in eternal Europe, and that is the only Europe I care about.
“Scott is long-winded,” “Scott is superficial,” “Scott is moralistic,” “Scott is sloppy;” all that and more have been hurled at Scott by the modern, soul-dead Europeans. But all the criticisms of Scott stem from one central premise of the liberals – “The Christ championed by the Europeans prior to the 20th century was not the true God.” So it follows, by liberal logic, that the most European of writers, the most Christian of writers, should be derided and discarded.
Scott’s works serve as a sign of contradiction to the liberals, because they told us that there was no such thing as Christian Europe and that there never were such men as Walter Scott. But when we turn the pages of Scott’s books, we see that there was a Christian Europe and there were such men as Walter Scott.
Scott’s appeal – and he was enormously popular in his day – was not to the propositional Christian of either the Roman Catholic or Protestant churches. Scott’s Christianity went much deeper than the outward forms of the sects. His Christianity was in line with St. Paul’s; it was a Christianity of the heart. The fact that Scott was so widely read in Europe and America, particularly in the South, is an indication that the Europeans of the 18th and 19th centuries still held the Christian God in their hearts.
My contention is that the vision of Christ which is crystal clear in Scott’s novels is the true vision. Scott’s faith is in line with St. Paul, the early Church fathers, and the great majority of European Christians prior to the 20th century. So if we look at the reasons why Scott has been rejected and discarded, we can see the reasons why the true faith has been rejected and discarded.
First, Scott’s Christianity is the fairy tale Christianity of the Bible. He depicts a Christ who comes to mankind through human hearts. The more “intelligent” faith of the medieval scholastics and their modern academic counterparts is not found in the heroes and heroines of Scott’s novels. Certainly there are the great reasoners, such as Louis XI in Quentin Durward, but he is the arch-villain of the novel as are all the great reasoners in Scott’s novels. When liberals say that Scott is just a storyteller without any realistic characters it is because they don’t believe that a portrait of a liberal who has lost faith in everything but his own reason and consequently given himself over to Satan is realistic, because they believe reason abstracted from God is a good thing. And since they do not believe in Satan or his Divine Antagonist, they reject as unrealistic and simpleminded anyone who believes in Satan and his Divine Antagonist.
In modern Liberaldom we search in vain for anyone in the Christian churches courageous enough to believe in the fairytale Christ that Scott and his readers believed in. But if Christ can only be known through the esoteric system-makers, who tell us of a Christ with no resemblance to the Christ of Scott’s Europe, why would we want to worship Christ?
The second feature of Scott’s Christianity is his Pauline belief that charity is the greatest of these. His heroes and heroines all have that charity of honor that Burke writes about. Without charity there can be no honor, and without honor, which encompasses our duties to God and our fellow men, there can be no true charity. Jeanie Deans, the heroine of The Heart of Midlothian, does not walk from Edinburgh to London to beg the King to pardon her sister because she believes the crime of child-murder is of no consequence; that would be a stain on her honor. She goes to London to ask the King to pardon her sister because she believes her sister is innocent of the sin of child-murder. That is true charity, charity with honor. We no longer have any true charity in church or state, because we have separated honor from charity. The willful murder of infants is considered charity, and the betrayal of one’s own people is considered honorable because charity and honor are now separate liberal entities.
The third aspect of Scott’s Christian vision is his provincialism: hearth fire – neighborhood – region – nation. The modern mad-dog liberals and the liberal conservatives are universalists. They love mankind while hating everything that makes a man humane. We learn to love God and man in those small provincial units the liberals condemn. Deprive a man of his hearth-fire virtues: love of family, race, and place, and you produce a cynical, cowardly man fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils. Such a man has no place in his heart for God, because he has not developed a heart. Without the provincial virtues he becomes only a creature of reason like the aforementioned Louis XI:
In this point of view, Goethe’s conception of the character and reasoning of Mephistopheles, the tempting spirit in the singular play of “Faust,” appears to me more happy than that which has been formed by Byron, and even than the Satan of Milton. These last great authors have given to the Evil Principle something which elevates and dignifies his wickedness; a sustained and unconquerable resistance against Omnipotence itself—a lofty scorn of suffering compared with submission, and all those points of attraction in the Author of Evil, which have induced Burns and others to consider him as the Hero of the “Paradise Lost.” The great German poet has, on the contrary, rendered his seducing spirit a being who, otherwise totally unimpassioned, seems only to have existed for the purpose of increasing, by his persuasions and temptations, the mass of moral evil, and who calls forth by his seductions those slumbering passions which otherwise might have allowed the human being who was the object of the Evil Spirit’s operations to pass the tenor of his life in tranquillity. For this purpose Mephistopheles is, like Louis XI, endowed with an acute and depreciating spirit of caustic wit, which is employed incessantly in undervaluing and vilifying all actions, the consequences of which do not lead certainly and directly to self-gratification.
There can never be an “I’ll respect your culture and you’ll respect my culture” peace between a universalist culture and a provincial culture, because a universalist culture is based on a man-made abstraction, while a provincial culture is based on the laws of God. The abstract culture must destroy the provincial culture completely so that the grace of God can never take root in the souls of men.
The grace of God is anathema to the universalists. The French Revolution and the war of Northern aggression in our own country were wars fought to destroy the unbought grace of life that God grants to provincial cultures formed by men with provincial hearts. The current “peace” is the peace of the grave. The liberals believe they have killed provincialism. But those of us who believe as Scott believed know that a hero, in imitation of The Hero, can restore provincialism.
Which brings us to the fourth component of Scott’s Christianity: his belief in the hero. It is the task of the Christian hero to break through, by the force of his spirit, the materialist façade of the world. By his spiritual exertions, he reveals to his people the animating spirit, which has a local habitation and a name, behind the material world. Liberals have no heroes because they are materialists. They have idols, such as negroes, who are the gods of the natural world, and they have systems, which wise gurus explain to their neophytes. But they do not have heroes; heroes come only from spirit-based cultures. Back in the day when liberals even bothered to comment on Scott’s novels, they would cast him aside as “unrealistic” because of his heroes and heroines. But aren’t the liberals making a priori assumptions about the materialistic nature of existence when they condemn Scott for his romantic heroes?
The Freud-Jung dispute speaks to this issue. If you recall there was once a clash of secularist titans. Jung, who was a secular disciple of Freud, broke with Freud on the issue of religious faith. Freud claimed that a man with religious faith was suffering from a neurosis, for which he needed a cure. Jung saw that all his patients had religious longings, so he asked the question, “How can something we all have, namely religious longings, be labeled a neurosis?” Of course Jung never went any further with his findings. He didn’t bend his knee to Christ. Instead he sat in his easy chair and thought about the Oversoul. But the Freud-Jung dispute is pertinent to the hero / anti-hero debate between the European and the liberal. If a longing for the hero, the man who can break through the chains of superficial materialism threatening to strangle his people, is in us, then how can it be an unreality? All my life, for instance, the longing for a hero has been much stronger and more real to me than a longing for an expert with a system. The former beckons me to the mountains where He resides, while the latter beckons me to a materialist hell on earth.
Scott’s novels in which the romance of heroism took center stage became as nothing to the 20th century Europeans because they had crossed a spiritual Rubicon. No more would they think of themselves as men with souls; they now belonged to nature and nature’s gods, the negroes. And the primary concern of the managerial liberal, in every European country, was to suppress any manifestation of the Walter Scott-type hero who would remind his people that they were the spirit above the dust who belonged to the Hero of Heroes and the King of Kings. The treatment of Rommel by the Nazis and the allies during World War II is a perfect example of the hatred the Christian hero draws from the scientistic, managerial materialists who run the Western world. Hitler, who was a demi-god of a materialist state, hated Rommel because he had a following among the remnant of German Christians. In the end the pagan demi-god had the Christian hero murdered, because the satanic demi-god cannot tolerate the Christian hero who is a sign of contradiction to his pagan reign. Throughout the 20th century and continuing into the 21st, no matter what side is fighting the materialist, utilitarian philosophy prevails. The allied forces were just as anxious as Hitler to suppress any manifestations of heroism, lest the people be converted to the true faith:
TO: All Commanders and Chiefs of Staff
FROM: Headquarters, B.T.E. and M.E.F.
There exists a real danger that our friend Rommel is becoming a kind of magician or bogey-man to our troops, who are talking far too much about him. He is by no means a superman, although he is undoubtedly very energetic and able. Even if he were a superman, it would still be highly undesirable that our men should credit him with supernatural powers.
I wish you to dispel by all possible means the idea that Rommel represents something more than an ordinary German general. The important thing now is to see that we do not always talk of Rommel when we mean the enemy in Libya. We must refer to “the Germans” or “the Axis powers” or “the enemy” and not always keep harping on Rommel.
Please ensure that this order is put into immediate effect, and impress upon all Commanders that, from a psychological point of view, it is a matter of the highest importance.
c. j. Auchinleck,
From what the liberals would call “a psychological point of view,” and what we would call a spiritual view, any talk of or stories about the hero must be suppressed because heroism is the stuff the true faith is built on.
A fairytale-esque appreciation of the Christian faith as expounded by our Lord in the Gospels and by St. Paul in his Epistles, a charity of honor that comes from that faith, a provincialism that nurtures that faith, and a love for the hero who embodies and champions that faith, are all woven into one exquisitely beautiful tapestry (and I speak of the highest form of beauty, moral beauty) by my European kinsman and hero, Sir Walter Scott. Just as words cannot do justice to Scott’s vision of Christ’s people, the Europeans, there are also no words that can adequately describe the moral separation between our modern Europe and Scott’s Europe. To hate the former and love the latter is essential if we are ever to be worthy of the people and the God championed by Walter Scott. +