Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Next Big Things that weren't and aren't

  • Reggae dominating pop music.
  • Hispanics in America as a political power and dominating the culture. Remember 25 years ago when Madonna sang lines in bad Spanish? Her market research was wrong. I don’t hate them like Sailer seems to (I’m one of them: a grandmother was a Spanish-speaking Catholic) but HBD’s true. The answer is neither shutting people out nor affirmative-action quotas but pure, individual meritocracy. Fair: immigration screening to let in only the smartest and hardest-working; we answer to our own citizens first. I don’t care what color you are; you’re welcome to move here, and to apply for jobs or take entrance tests. Disparate impact is not racist nor the government’s business. Egalitarianism is false and thus unfair. Sailer’s right that Republicans are wasting their time trying to court a Hispanic vote; Hispanics are largely apolitical anyway. The answer in our society is not white power or Hispanic power but individual rights (a northern European concept) so all our clans can get along.
  • The charismatic movement. They’re still around. They and us trads are the only American Catholics who still go to Mass, a minority in the church. (They’re the ones who raise both hands at the Our Father.) But they’re not the force they were thought to be 30-40 years ago. After the council the liberals favored them because ecumenism was cool and charismatics don’t worship like trads. But because they’re an offshoot of conservative Protestantism (the Assemblies of God for example) the libs got tired of them.
  • Ecumenism. Passé as society’s become less churchy. Plus it’s self-limiting. Charley Wingate rightly described it: unlike mainliners 40 years ago, we know union won’t happen; the churches understand what the others teach and aren’t trying to kill each other anymore. That’s as good as it gets.
  • American Eastern Orthodox converts. Owen White called this. The boomlet’s over. In the end you’ll see a couple more Western whites there but mostly continued stolid decline (as Bill Tighe says of their cousins the little PNCC) with most of the few converts remaining people like Tom Hanks, basically nothingarians (ex-Catholics and ex-Protestants) who marry into it (yep, the plot of My Big Fat Greek Wedding), which is great for them. A folk Catholicism that should reteach the official church a few things; now that’s good ecumenism.
  • Episcopalianism, the self-styled ‘cool Catholicism’ that does whatever secular culture wants (all of the pageantry, none of the guilt, har har). The whole mainline is passé. Ex-Protestant liberals have superseded it, and Catholics, including Bad Catholics who don’t practice and disagree with the church, don’t bother with an imitation even if it tells them what they want to hear; they know better.


  1. Re: Hispanics in America

    The late Carlos Fuentes referred to Hispanic immigration to the U.S., particularly Mexican immigration (largely illegal immigrants), as "La Reconquista."

    1. It's actually a very impressive bit of leveraging. They mostly don't vote. When they do, they vote for Democrats and redistributionist policy. But they can get Republican politicians to do backflips for their tribe because they have the shared agenda of neutralizing white middle-class political and economic clout.

      Elites, Jews, Latinos, Muslims, Black Americans, lots of others all enthusiastically and blatantly push for their collective interest. The Anglo-Celts are the only ones still using the 'individual rights' playbook.

    2. This touches on a theme I see in Sailer and Takimag: both fear and envy of clannish, low-trust cultures. The worst seems to want to dump individual rights and fight dirty by being racists: 'white power', 'if they can do it, so should we'. Not a Christian option. (Political correctness is a Christian heresy.)

      I don't think it's really a Reconquista; a point of my original post. Again, they mostly don't vote. The Saileristas (ha) are worried about a kind of soft Reconquista: a low-average-IQ group increasing and dragging down the country. How do you handle that without trampling on human rights? Not Nazi eugenics. Individualist meritocracy. If you're smart and hard-working, bienvenidos. The clans are welcome but the moment you break the libertarian no-harm, non-aggression principle (no one has the right to initiate force against another), out you go. (You choose to come here, you play by our rules, ¿comprende?) It also knocks the wind out of other obnoxious identity politics (Jewish, black, etc.), such as the mascots/proxies of the leftist white elite warring against prole conservative whites.

    3. You want to be individualistic and libertarian (a philosophy highly idiosyncratic to Anglo-Celts) while using government policy to import clannish, low-trust cultures and expect them to play by your rules. That's a strange mix of attitude, simultaneously arrogant and naive.

      The immigration debate reveals that libertarians are not actually anti-State. Libertarians want 'open borders' not 'no borders' because in the latter case, that means people get to draw their own.

    4. I'm not pushing government social engineering, such as what the left is doing importing proxies to fight prole whites, nor big business in importing cheap labor. Just the basic rights to travel/move and seek work. The government should only get involved if the newcomer breaks the do-no-harm rule.

    5. But regarding the right to draw borders, yes. For example, as Sailer points out other English-speaking countries do, immigration tests to let in only the smartest and hardest-working.

  2. "I’m one of them: a grandmother was a Spanish-speaking Catholic."

    No you're not. You're a deracinated white American who married into or joined Catholicism after passing thru the Episcopal church and Orthodoxy. Nothing wrong with that, so do lots of people. But it's kind of silly to make all this individualist, color-blind, strict-meritocracy noise while clinging to one-quarter of your DNA strand to convince yourself you're really an old-country Catholic from Iberia.

    1. Discúlpame, por favor, as I estruggle with — how do you say? ah, jes — writing in the ingles. Seriously, I brought that up just to say I'm not a racist, which good people have to when defending HBD (for new readers: human biodiversity means some groups on average are more talented at some things, such as book smarts, social smarts, or certain sports). It doesn't make sense for me to be one. No contradiction with the 'individualist, color-blind, strict meritocracy' I believe in, since I’m not exaggerating the ethnicity to try to get government perks.

    2. OK John - reading you for years and THAT made me LAUGH. Like LOL, snort out a little of my late night libation laugh. Gracias.

  3. "American Eastern Orthodox converts" This saddens me, but not really, but kinda...

    I mean my Greek Catholic butt thinks it is pretty sweet to hear the Trisagion in a southern twang. (You can actually sing it to Amazing Grace in Slavonic - we did it in seminary - if you try!)... And online Orthodox are almost as obnoxious as I used to be when dealing with them... And all things considered I would have - back in the day - prayed that every single Evangelical in America that didn't become Catholic became Orthodox.

    Would that it were so - all these anti-papists at least kissing icons of the Theotokos and fasting themselves to greater cardio health! Aggravating as I found the converts (they were just as tenacious as I was in "being right"!) the Ben Lomond crowd was pretty cool for (1) choosing sacraments and (2) choosing MY heritage!

    1. Well put. What's changed for you? Just not arguing online anymore?

    2. Radical self-honesty!

      I was engaging in the argument for no greater glory than the glory of "BEING RIGHT!!!!™"

      Righteous indignation is good stock-in-trade when you don't have much else going on in life and you are content to talk ABOUT life rather than live it. When I was the most down to debate was the point in my life that I was the angriest and the most depressed...

      It was above my pay-grade, the forums were NOT meant for discussion as much as confrontation, the chip on my shoulder just grew bigger, the time in front of a computer screen just grew longer, the alcohol to lube the argument machine just increased, and the time spent was always at the expense of dealing with the real-life problems I was facing.

  4. "The boomlet's over"

    Probably true, though one should be careful about generalizing from one's own experience. I mean, it's easy for me to think that the boomlet is over, since I was part of it but now I've left -- as have you, and as has Owen (although I'm not exactly sure where Owen is, ecclesially, anymore). The big, visible part of the "boomlet" was the reception of the Evangelical Orthodox and a fairly good number of other Evangelical conversions (folks like Kevin Allen, Fr Wilbur Ellsworth, Fr Andrew Damick, etc.). But there has also been a steady trickle (or maybe more than a trickle) of conversions from non-Evangelical backgrounds. A fair number of Missouri-Synod Lutheran pastors have "gone East" in recent years (as well as a number of LCMS laity of my acquaintance), and of course Orthodoxy still gets its share of survivors of the shipwreck that is Anglicanism.

    Add to this the flurry of growth in the Western Rite (both ROCOR and Antiochian) in the last few years, and I would argue that there may not be so much "boom" in the boomlet, but it has not entirely petered out.

    As to whether it ever was "the next big thing," I don't think there was much more to that than the American Evangelical "boosterism" that the Campus Crusade veterans brought with them, and the corresponding glad-handing on the part of Metr Philip. The rest of us converts from non-Evangelical backgrounds had the more realistic attitude that Orthodoxy was a safe haven for us, rather than a venue from which we were going to be able to change the world.

    1. I wrote: In the end you’ll see a couple more Western whites there but mostly continued stolid decline.

      The trickle you describe. What one side calls a trickle the other calls a continued boom(let), I guess. We agree; it's still there but not a boom now.

      My trip through Orthodoxy: 18 years ago I fell for 'the modern papacy caused the heresy after the council' or something like that, a mutation of Archbishop Lefebvre's correct observation that the council was a mistake and it was 'a masterstroke of Satan' to tear down tradition under the guise of obedience. The continued ’50s-like normality of Orthodoxy's ethnic folk Catholicism's a great thing, in contrast. But here's the rub. I couldn't buy the party line that allows the opinion that Catholicism's been a fraud since the schism. Also, looking the other way on contraception doesn't work. Stopped trying to buy the line early on, I'd say after about two years (Christmas ’97 I went to SSPX Midnight Mass); online for good after eight years. Stayed far longer than I should have, to try to save face and avoid the pain of a move; barely possible because my pastor was a strange convert crypto-Catholic who grew up before the council, kind of a refugee from the council, like an odd trad. Sure, I like the ethnics and like the rite. Leaving was nothing personal. But being there was hypocritical, not fair to the Orthodox; I didn't belong. (Why I spent so much time at St Clement's for five years; with its stated 'papalist' views at the time, it was a bridge to the church, where most of its best people now are.) Ratzinger became Pope and cleaned house, and the safe-haven pastor retired, so I've been in the church since the end of 2011.

      Owen's closed blogs and moved online so many times I lost track of him, but my last impression of him was he proves you can be hard left politically and a perfectly good Catholic; I don't have to agree with you.


      The boomlet and anything remotely analogous to a boomlet, is over.

      EO was an intellectual fetish of Evangelicals in the 90s. Christianity Today ran at least a few dozen articles and blurbs on EO from the early 90s through the early 00s. Wheaton had its Eastern Scare wherein an emergency board meeting had to be called when it was found out that 5% of the Wheaton student body had either converted to Orthodoxy or was in the catechumenate. But as with CT and Wheaton, it all fizzled out. Wheaton will now trickle out students into EO, but overall as many or more will go Rome.

      The sort of Evangelicals who would convert to EO have now pretty much all had the encounters in literature and/or liturgy that would incline them one way or another. The Evangelicalism of today's 20somethings and younger will not produce anywhere near the same number of people who might be inclined toward Orthodoxy, and in the past most of the sort who are inclined to look into it don't actually convert, and of those that do, a significant % don't remain Orthodox.

      With the Mainlines the fallout has occurred. With ECUSA and Anglicanism, the gig is up. People who give a damn about traditional Christianity (in the loosest take on that phrase) are pretty much all out, or know that the ship is sunk anyway. They have already considered all their options. Far, far, far more have gone into the Continuum or Rome than have gone to Orthodoxy. This will not change.

      The Western Rite of EO experiences tremendous growth when it gets 3 parishes from some splinter Anglican group. That is hugely significant in the incredibly tiny world of WR EO. It means nothing whatsoever of consequence when considering the demographics of traditional Christianity in America, or worldwide. The WR of EO, in both the AOANA and ROCOR, is also, depending on who you talk to, either quite quirky to the point of pressing the boundaries of the merely eccentric, or, horribly and systemically dysfunctional. I tend to think it is somewhere between the two. Those who believe that WR EO is the vanguard of some huge coming influx into EO strike me, each and every one of them, as adhering to a mix of standard religious ideology and street grade American optimism. But come on folks, without the crazy glasses on it is quite apparent that dog ain't ever gonna hunt.

    3. cont'd

      American EO convert subcultures today are fractured, despite the relative homogeneity seen in the new media. When I started Easting, the parish I first connected with was full of folks who had either been mainline or liberal Evangelicals like myself. This was in the Twin Cities wherein such a parish was not an anomaly. Over the years, if there is one type of EO American convert who has most connected to my writing, and a type with whom I've had the most interaction with via emails, etc., compared to other convert demographics, it is this type - folks from the mainlines and from liberal Evangelicalism. Of those I know, which easily number in the hundreds, a good many have either left Orthodoxy or have become somewhat nominal Orthodox (I count my own wife in the latter). I think this is largely because of the choices they face. Convert Orthodoxy is trending politically and socio-culturally conservative in stupid Dobsonista sort of ways, and so one feels pressed to either identify with that, or to try to fake it with the Greeks or whatever ethnic group. For most returning to the mainlines is a dead end. A few end up Vox Nova style Catholics but most are leery of betting on another all or nothing horse. As I wrote years ago in my uberfromm posts, I have never encountered another form of Christianity where leaving (or staying nominally) so often corresponded with agnosticism. For an inordinate number of people, Orthodoxy sucks the religious life out of them. This transcends even those from the mainline and lib evan backgrounds - I've seen this trend among folks coming in from conservative Evangelicalism as well. There is something about the psychology of Orthodox totalism (in America anyway) that is cult-like in its result with regard to religious orientation. If Orthodoxy isn't true, then nothing is true, or at least not confidently so. That sorta thing. I think that one reason you don't see an analogous phenom with the RCC is that even in the not so great corners of the RCC you still have that notion, even if just intuited, that there is objective metaphysical truth that can be grasped outside of the confines of the Church.

      The decline in EO will continue, both in the US and worldwide.

      There will always be the niche markets. My wife was an avid reader of George MacDonald during her liberalish Evangelical years, and thus when she read this take on Orthodox soteriology - - she said that this is what she always believed, without being able to articulate it, as a liberalish Evangelical. That she is perfectly free to believe that as a RC means nothing to her, she doesn't really want to be in the religious company of folks who believe otherwise. I find that particular Orthodox soteriology very fetching as well, but I also know that it is quite modern, and I could never, with any intellectual honesty, believe that such was the clear teaching of Orthodoxy for all or even most of its history. At the same time, I'm glad that there is this niche for folks like my wife, and many dear friends, and I would like to hope that it can somehow survive having jumped off a demographic cliff.

    4. cont'd

      As for my own religious allegiances, when I am not working on Sundays, I usually go with my wife and kids to the tiny smallish town GOArch parish they attend. I also sometimes go to Mass. Both communions claim me. I recently dealt with a canonical issue which prevented me from communing in the RCC, but for reasons I won't get into here I have not communed in the RCC. I have very good friends in both camps, and I now find Orthodox/Catholic polemics and triumphalisms tedious and inane and I regret my former participation in such things. I certainly believe that the see of Peter is the only possible chair of unity for all traditional/sacramental/apostolic Christians. But I also still hold my old equation that for "re-union" to occur between the RCC and EOC, one of the two, or both, would have to dogmatically stop believing itself to be what it currently believes itself to be.

    5. Holy Moses on a Motor-bike! That was classic Owen - THANK YOU.

      Owen the day will come when we drink more beers together than is good for our livers or souls, this I vow.

      No matter how divergent our spiritual paths are, I ALWAYS respect and enjoy your cander and writing. The überfromm posts gave my soul peace and quiet that make me grateful to you to this very day. I read and re-read them and slept better for it. Thank you!

  5. Gentlemen:

    There ain't no more booms or boomlets left in global Christianity of whatever stripe, least of all in what anybody on this corner of the internet would consider the true Faith.

    For our generation and at least several to follow, adherents of the Christian faith will shrink in numbers. The various Churches, self-styled Churches, branches, denominations, sects, whatever you want to call them, will be doing good just to keep who they have. A number will disappear completely.

    1. No doubt. I didn't mean to suggest that things are bright and rosy for trad leaning Catholics or any/every non-Orthodox group. Convert triumphalism and tropes correspond with a lot of inaccuracies and unrealistic hopes in every camp.

      And I truly do wish that Orthodoxy in America were really growing in a way that would off set its current demographic course. Though maybe not so much growth ala fetishing former Anglicans or Byzantine Rite Evangelicals.

    2. I can still imagine a Chinese or African "Oxford movement" or sorts... but that day dream corresponds to the election of a Chinese or African pope...

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  7. I'm a little late to this one, so just a few things:

    First, Owen, good to see you not only blogging again, but under the ochlophobist banner.

    Second, Tyler, were it my daughter (had I one) you'd had abandoning the faith of her youth, I'd have shot you- not because I'm anti-Catholic, just because I'm that Southern :D

    That out of the way.... I'm not sure if I would classify the current rate of conversions to Orthodoxy as a "trickle" (though still not a "boom") as much as it seems a fairly steady stream. While I've only been Orthodox for a few years, I have attended several different parishes around the country, from full on convert parishes (including one of the original batch of Evangelical Orthodox parishes) to cradle parishes that have decent attendance only to run out of room on Christmas and Easter. What I've seen at each is a number of baptisms and chrismations that would have had my revival preaching grandfather jealous. How many of those converts will eventually fall away only God knows, but that's always been a problem with converts in any denomination.

    I've mentioned this before on one of our dear Fogey's posts on Orthodoxy, but I'm running into far less anti-Roman polemics than online message boards would have one expect. Just because a Protestant, even a former Evangelical, has chosen the Bosphorus over the Tiber doesn't necessarily equate to virulent anti-papalism. Many of us seriously considered Rome and simply felt that Orthodoxy had the better True Church claim- while we think there are some small differences (Fogey's trademarked "scope of the pope", the IC as dogma, purgatory as dogma, etc), I have yet to encounter someone harping upon these differences with the type of triumphalism that one of these message board conversations would have one believe to be common. More, I know of at least one Orthodox poster who quite enjoys getting into the online war of words that has nothing but nice things to say about Roman Catholicism when spoken to IRL- he even crosses himself when passing Roman Catholic Churches.

    1. And by "Tyler" did you actually mean "Tyrell"???

      Yeah, good Southerner you, but not really... What Southerner shot a son-in-law for converting his Baptist daughter to Methodism? Get back to me on that one!

      "He even crosses himself when passing Roman Catholic Churches" - Don't you?

  8. Good Southerner that I am, I didn't actually "convert" or seduce my wife; in fact, I attended Divine Liturgy with her for two years and agreed to the Orthodox baptism of my second child, even though I'd reverted. All I meant was that my Orthodox father-in-law who presides over one of the most liberal Orthodox parishes in the Northeast, outed himself as an anti-Romanist despite his liberal bona fides. My wife made her own decision, though I am fairly certain Rome would not have normally come within her purview without my own reversion.

  9. Because of vatican II (and it's seemingly never ending influence) - Orthodoxy is the only option many people see as feasable.

    Many people who convert to the Orthodox Church are not especially anti-roman but simply don't feel that they have the ability to survive in the post-vat II roman Catholic Church.

    For those that do have that ability, I say congratulations! Roman Catholics who hold to the ancient traditions of their faith are it's only hope!

    One can also become exhausted being a traditional roman catholic in a see of modernism.

    Certain people are able to cope with particular theological and liturgical abuses and or heresies better than others. What is unbearable and a threat to the salvation of souls to one man might be only a minor annoyance to another!

    No church community is without flaws.


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