Racial ethics as taught by the Transcendentalist "Things Refuse to be Mismanaged Long" versus the rabble-rousing "No one is coming to save you."
submitted 1 day ago by ceck from self.Religion
And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever . . . ." - Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII
Americans of European descent have -- for many decades -- been watching the slow unraveling of America's social fabric. It seems that America has been mismanaged for a long, long time, and Americans frequently argue about what political, racial, or religious remedies might be sought.
Some people see themselves as entirely spiritual and entirely political. The Berrigan brothers were fiercely Catholic and fiercely devoted to impeding the Vietnam war. Fanatical Muslim warriors kill for jihad.
Some people see themselves as entirely loyal to religion and race. Israeli "settlers" who kill Arab children see this as religiously and racially beneficial for Israel. "Thou shalt not murder" -- but the rabbis get to decide which killings are murder and which killings are mitzvot.
Pauline Christianity is famously indifferent to race. Paul believed that Jesus visited him on the road to Damascus, and after that visitation, Paul preached "Gentile or Greek, woman or man, no more." That is, Paul believed that devotion to Jesus was a spiritual allegiance that over-ruled any physical racial loyalty. I was raised in an atmosphere of Pauline Christianity, so I tend to assume that my "immortal soul" has no race. (I don't know that to be true. I might die and my immortal soul might appear before Odin, who might judge me quite harshly for my lack of physical warfare during life.) From the Catholic version of Pauline Christianity I learned the typical notion that "idolatry is sin" -- that is to say, it is sinful to worship anything other than God. One can revere and pray to saints, but such prayers are not worship. A Catholic is permitted to revere and protect his race and his community, but a Catholic must not worship his race. A Catholic is permitted to revere industriousness that leads to wealth, but a Catholic must not worship industriousness -- and a Catholic certainly must not idolize Mammon. Thus, even if it could be proven that Jews are the wealthiest people because they are the most industrious and productive people, a Catholic must not idolize the worldly wealth and accomplishments of Jews. (It is open to debate whether post-Vatican-II Catholics ought to revere Jews as their elder brothers in spirit. A pre-Vatican-II Catholic would say that the opposite is true -- that Jews ought to revere Catholics for holding out the opportunity to be baptized.)
My own notions of spirituality are not very connected to race or politics. I am concerned with mystical experiences while alive and the fate of my immortal soul after the death of my physical body. But here is my problem. I don't see any permanent connection between my consciousness and my race. I have never been visited by Odin or any similarly European deity. I have never had a mystical experience that told me to protect my race by political activism.
It would be very theologically convenient if the Hindu doctrine of "karma" turned out to be true. The notion of karma is hard to pin down, but roughly speaking it seems that "the Wheel of Karma" is a perfect judge of moral right and wrong -- the judgement might take multiple lifetimes, but ultimately all good will be rewarded appropriately. Unfortunately, so far as I can tell, no one anywhere on Earth can truly explain the theory of karma, much less predict its effects in practical terms. To complicate the issue, Buddhist notions of karma are not equivalent to Hindu notions.
Should a spiritual person seek to protect his (or her) race? The answer must vary according to the circumstances of the individual person in question. The Berrigan brothers were born into circumstances that allowed them to take particular actions; Smedley Butler was born into very different circumstances, and took much bloodier actions before (like Ashoka) he stopped killing non-Americans and preached peace to his fellow Americans. (Did God ever find fault with Butler for killing the non-Americans? Did Butler arrive at the Pearly Gates and face judgement for the people he killed before he said "To Hell with War"?)
Ralph Waldo Emerson was doubtless informed by Hindu notions of karma when he wrote:
And yet, to all appearances, Emerson seems to be wrong, because twenty-first century Americans can clearly see that America has been mismanaged for decades -- or even for centuries. The once-proud middle class has been reduced to a precariat, and to all appearances, America will continue its agonizingly slow degradation for many decades to come. "There is a great deal of ruin in a nation." A popular slogan among Americans is "No one is coming to save you." Typically Americans exhort each other to take responsibility for saving themselves and even for saving their fellows. Typical racial rabble-rousers preach as follows: "It is your duty to be strong, and to use that strength to protect your race. You owe that to your race. And I, as the self-appointed representative of your race, will shame you and bully you to the utmost of my ability until such time as you live up to my expectations!"The farmer imagines power and place are fine things. But the President has paid dear for his White House. It has commonly cost him all his peace, and the best of his manly attributes. To preserve for a short time so conspicuous an appearance before the world, he is content to eat dust before the real masters who stand erect behind the throne. ... This law writes the laws of cities and nations. It is in vain to build or plot or combine against it. Things refuse to be mismanaged long.
For my own part, I doubt that anything I do will accomplish much toward saving my race. But when I reflect on my failure to protect my own race, I wonder whether that is a sin for which my eternal soul will be judged.