For my purposes, I will define a religion as the communal practice of honoring the holy. By the holy, I do not necessarily mean a God or gods or any supernatural beings, whether immanent or transcendent. What I mean is the highest good in any belief system, that to which all lower values must defer and, in a conflict, be sacrificed.
One can either duly honor the highest value, or one can ignore, denigrate, and profane it. Religion honors it. But it is not enough merely to honor the highest good in thought. One must do so in action. But even that is not yet religion. To actively honor the highest good individually is to lead a righteous life. To honor the highest good collectively, in community with others, that is religion. Such collective honors to the highest good are rituals.
Religion, on this view, is inherently communal and inherently ritualistic. But it is not inherently theistic or supernatural. A community could hold itself—its origins, its existence, and its destiny—to be the highest good and make itself the object of a civil religion, of communal rituals of self-remembrance and self-perpetuation: honoring heroes and ancestors, sanctifying marriage and family life, sacralizing education and coming-of-age, solemnly commemorating great historical events, demonizing enemies, damning traitors, and so forth.
I believe that there is one highest good for any community that persists over time. For religion—a common hierarchy of values combined with a means for collectively honoring and perpetuating them—is the primary preserver of unity. A community with multiple highest goods and religions may appear in a historical freeze frame, but I would argue that if you let the film run, you will see that such a society is actually in the process of decomposition. There are many values and forces that pull societies apart. A society will perish, therefore, if its continued unity is not valued, and if that value is not made into an actual cohesive force by being given collective honor through a civil religion. Mere external, legal force is not enough if its goals are not seen as legitimate in the minds of the people.
What makes a community one need not have anything to do with religion. A community can emerge simply because of geographical isolation and shared blood, language, and customs. But what sustains a community as one over time has everything to do with religion. There are, of course, deep-seated, entirely natural inclinations to love one’s own and to distrust strangers. But these alone are not enough to preserve distinct communities.
Communities can perish by splitting apart and by merging with others. Sometimes communities with common values split because they fall into quarreling due to scarcity. Sometimes radically different communities and races merge and blend with one other, due to greed and lust. For communities to stick together, they have to make unity a higher value than family and factional loyalties and individual greed, lust, and ambition. Making such priorities stick is a matter of religion.
Of course, the unity of a community may still be threatened if there are still higher values above it, for instance universal brotherhood, or capitalist wealth accumulation, or Communist wealth redistribution. Thus the best way to preserve a community is to make it the highest value, i.e., to erect a civil religion.
If a common religion preserves the unity of a society, whence the religious pluralism of modern Western societies? There are essentially two explanations. First, the pluralism could be illusory. Second, the unity could be illusory or transitory. Both are true of the West.
Western religious pluralism is in part illusory. It is a mistake to identify the plurality of Christian sects with genuine religious pluralism, for since the 17th-century, Christianity has not been the dominant religion of the West. In 1648, the Peace of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years’ War between Protestants and Catholics. In 1660, the Restoration ended Puritan rule in England. Both events in fact replaced Christianity as the dominant religion of the West with a new civil religion of Liberal Universalism. In effect, the values of religious tolerance, social peace, and secular progress were raised above Christianity, and ever since, Christianity has submitted—sometimes eagerly, sometimes grudgingly, but submitted—to this new civil religion.
Second, Western unity is in part illusory, because Liberal Universalism has opened Europe to subversion and colonization by peoples who pay lip service to Liberal Universalism even as they practice tribal forms of particularism (most prominently, Jews, but also East and South Asians and other Third World immigrants) or rival, illiberal forms of universalism (Islam, Marxism). Liberal Universalist society, because it does not insist on genuine reciprocity from others, is a self-subverting system that will be dismembered by the aliens it has allowed in its midst.
White Nationalism, as I conceive of it, is not just a political philosophy, competing with other political philosophies for power under Liberal Universalist hegemony. Rather, we must aim at displacing Liberal Universalism and establishing a White Nationalist hegemony, a new civil religion for the West which treats the preservation and flourishing of our race as the highest good, to which all lesser values must be subordinated. White Nationalism must make the highest good of our race the center of a public cult celebrating our identity, our heritage, our heroes, and our Faustian destiny.
From this point of view, the debates about Christianity versus Paganism in White Nationalist circles seem beside the point.
The critics of Christianity are right: Christian values are at best indifferent to racial preservation and at root hostile to it. Beyond that, Christianity is not really an alternative to Liberal Universalism, which has simply secularized Christian values and eschatological fantasies.
But the critics of Christianity are wrong to think that Christianity is, today, the primary enemy. For the real religion of our time is Liberal Universalism, to which even the Pope bends his knee.
Besides, most of the people who counsel a return to Christendom actually picture just an earlier, less overtly decadent period in the history of Western Liberal Universalism. If they actually knew anything about the real history of Christendom—if they read a history of the Albigensian Crusade, the Thirty Years’ War, or the English Civil War, for instance—most of them would reject a real Christian restoration in horror.
I have no doubt that the indigenous European folk religions can be revivified through studying the fragments that have come down to us, accessing traces of living traditions, and having direct experiences of the numinous. I have no doubt that European folk religions are more consistent with European identity politics than Christianity, Islam, Liberal Universalism, etc.
But I see no sign that neo-pagans seriously wish to establish a pagan civil religion. Most neo-pagans seem entirely content with being socially marginal, “tolerated” outsiders in what they imagine is a Christian society.
Moreover, when politics comes up, neo-pagans basically divide themselves into two camps: Liberal Universalists and White Nationalists. And let us be frank: the vast majority are Liberal Universalists and White Nationalists first, and neo-pagans second.
For White Nationalists, the real religious struggle of our time should not be between Christians and pagans. Christianity does not rule, and neo-pagans don’t even know what that would entail. The real struggle is between Liberal Universalism and White Nationalism.
So what would the religious landscape look like under White Nationalist hegemony?
First of all, under Liberal Universalist hegemony there is complete unity on Liberal Universalist values. Likewise, under White Nationalism, there would be complete unity on the supreme importance of white racial preservation and progress. The denigration or destruction of our race would lie outside the parameters of acceptable opinion, just as White Nationalism is currently outside the boundaries of polite society. All rival civil religions and hegemonies would be suppressed: Liberalism, Marxism, Islam, Judaism, etc.
Second, just as under Liberal Universalist hegemony, there would be complete pluralism and tolerance in all unimportant matters. As long as Christian denominations do not challenge the racial civil religion, they will enjoy the same status as they do today under Liberal Universalism. The same goes for all forms of neo-paganism, imports from the Far East, and any other religion you care to make up.
Since Christianity’s kingdom is not of this world, and since the church has a long history of supple accommodation to whatever Caesar is in power, Christianity will quickly reconcile itself with racial civil religion.
Many of the values of Liberal Universalism—private enterprise, private life, freedom of thought, speech, and creativity, etc.—can also be preserved under a White Nationalist hegemony insofar as they are consistent with racial survival and health.
Under a White Nationalist hegemony, it would be understood that the Racial Civil Religion would not fully satisfy the spiritual needs of everyone. But, as in Antiquity, everyone would be free to explore mystery cults and foreign faiths as long as they do not undermine our race. But for me, my race is not just my nation, it is my religion as well.
C’est OK d’être blanc
Counter-Currents Radio Podcast No. 359 Greg Johnson, Millennial Woes, & Fróði Midjord
Counter-Currents Radio Podcast No. 358 Greg Johnson, Millennial Woes, & Fróði Midjord
Day at the Museum: A Special Guided Tour
Let’s Have a Sequel Already! Marty Phillips’ Let Them Look West
The Passing Over of The Overcomer
How Conservatives Can Capitulate To The 1619 Project