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Thread: Conservatives: is paganism part of the Western tradition you want to conserve?

  1. #21
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    Re: Conservatives: is paganism part of the Western tradition you want to conserve?

    Quote Originally Posted by Surtr View Post
    And yet America still has it's own culture that is separate from ancient Europe.
    Our "mainstream" Anglo-Saxon dominated culture definitely is not separate from ancient Europe in any meaningful sense of the term.

    Consider America's methods of family and social organization. It is centered on the nuclear family and to a lesser extent the extended family. When families marry into other families they tend to have fairly open relations based on whatever levels of affection develop. That is patterned after the "homestead" culture of ancient Germanic tribes where sons enjoyed greater autonomy from their fathers and women had political status comparable to that of men. Male relatives shared authority and responsibility for the well-being of their relatives, even women who married outside the family (note - they were expected to back her up and defend her property rights if she ever divorced, with violent force if necessary).

    You can easily see how those impulses still figure in American culture today. They were especially assertive in the gun-toting culture of the Old West.

    In southern Europe (Italy in particular), families were likelier to be organized on extended families around a single patriarch who looked out for and organized the different branches of his tree. But only for his sons. Daughters belonged to the family they married into, at least theoretically. Thus Italian/Sicilian men are traditionally less willing to intervene in the family life of their daughters. This is a strategy to keep family organization manageable and practical from an economic perspective.
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    Re: Conservatives: is paganism part of the Western tradition you want to conserve?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    Consider America's methods of family and social organization. It is centered on the nuclear family and to a lesser extent the extended family. When families marry into other families they tend to have fairly open relations based on whatever levels of affection develop. That is patterned after the "homestead" culture of ancient Germanic tribes where sons enjoyed greater autonomy from their fathers and women had political status comparable to that of men. Male relatives shared authority and responsibility for the well-being of their relatives, even women who married outside the family (note - they were expected to back her up and defend her property rights if she ever divorced, with violent force if necessary).
    That doesn't sound like America at all, actually. Especially the part where women were political equals. Women didn't achieve political equality until the 20th century. That's because this nation's culture and law is based on Imperial English tradition and common law. The pagans were long gone from the picture when we took over this rock, as well as the majority of their traditions and cultures. You're essentially saying that a DC-9 is a SPAD S.XIII due to some common traits that really aren't that common.
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    Re: Conservatives: is paganism part of the Western tradition you want to conserve?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    No it doesn't. It asked whether paganism is a part of the Western tradition that should be conserved at a cultural level. Like any other goal of cultural conservatism, politics is a tool to achieve that outcome.
    OP mentions three political movements and no others, leaving us to infer
    it means to focus on the political. Certainly OP's last sentence requests
    comment on paganism and "the Right", and certainly "the Right" is above
    all a political term referring to political thought and political activity.

    What follows below is an off-topic discussion on whether paganism has
    any influence other than trivially chronological.



    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    ... I feel no compulsion whatsoever to agree to that very personal condition. Substitute out the theoretical justification and the social functions of the holiday are still broadly similar.
    I do not know what you mean by "theoretical justification." Originally you
    specified Catholic holidays and rituals. No religious holiday ritual may be
    considered Catholic without its theological element, and that is an objective
    rather than personal condition. I doubt it would matter if the dates were
    changed, and in fact they varied in the early centuries of the Church, from
    which we may gather the specific dates are of little to no import. There is
    no doubt, however, that it would matter if the theology was changed.



    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    In the case of any variation of New Years, an opportunity to assemble, renew the social connections that keep communities and families together, and collectively and individually examine the achievements of the year while using that understanding to develop goals for the next year.

    You can say that New Years is an appropriate time for that because of Jesus's birth...
    New Years is not associated with any religious event for the Catholics
    or for any other denomination I know of.



    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    ...and (therefore) a period of significance for the human race that can be used for personal reflection, but from a practical and economic perspective it preserves an institution of a Pagan culture on terms that are largely agreeable to former Pagans because it puts their social and family organization to no inconvenience by changing their religion.
    I don't see why proximity to Christmas should make it more convenient
    to engage in personal reflection or to become a Christian.



    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    The same thing applies to innumerable Latin American holidays where individuals of amazing virtue and spiritual prowess in Native American tradition suddenly became saints.
    What same thing applies? My understanding is that all saints were exceptionally
    virtuous Christians. They are all assigned "days" to be recognized by all Catholics,
    and not just those Catholics living in the same neighborhood, although maybe
    the locals are allowed to have an extra day off in honor of their localmost saint.
    And I guarantee no pagan, Native American or otherwise, has ever been created
    a saint, no matter how saintly he may have acted.



    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    Note - also Halloween stuck around even when it had no real theoretical justification in a Christian context.
    As of the 1907 version of the Catholic Encyclopedia "Halloween" directs to All Saints Day,
    still an important date in the church calendar.

    I'll give you Halloween as a pagan remnant, maybe, sort of. Halloween is I think a mostly
    American tradition, though, and so is not a pervasive element of Western culture. Nor is
    it really that important to American culture. Development of a costume party tradition is
    sure to be possible without pagan influence, don't you think? I mean, some things are just
    obvious fun, and transcend the need for specific religious or other cultural instigation.
    Last edited by USViking; 06-28-13 at 05:56 PM.

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    Re: Conservatives: is paganism part of the Western tradition you want to conserve?

    Quote Originally Posted by Einzige View Post
    I was reading a book on the history of rightist movements between the World Wars and was taken aback by just how pagan-influenced they were. I don't merely refer here to the overrated influence of Aryan theosophy on early Nazism, but to non-fascist movements like Ernst Jünger's Revolutionary Conservative Movement and the French New Right. These movements both consciously rejected Christianity in favor of a heavily paganized worldview - paganism being taken by them as the authentic European tradition, ans Christianity an alien imposition on Western man.

    Then I look around and wonder: why is there none of this on the Right today?
    There is nothing to conserve, since western paganism is extinct. Reconstructed paganism bears as much resemblance to authentic classical pagan traditions as reconstructed dinosaur fossils bear to authentic dinosaurs.
    Last edited by Guy Incognito; 06-28-13 at 06:16 PM.

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    Re: Conservatives: is paganism part of the Western tradition you want to conserve?

    I do not know what you mean by "theoretical justification." Originally you
    specified Catholic holidays and rituals. No religious holiday ritual may be
    considered Catholic without its theological element, and that is an objective
    rather than personal condition. I doubt it would matter if the dates were
    changed, and in fact they varied in the early centuries of the Church, from
    which we may gather the specific dates are of little to no import. There is
    no doubt, however, that it would matter if the theology was changed.
    In terms of the realities of power and social structure, there are certain days out of the week that a society is organized to "take the day off." Generally it entails getting work loads and certain types of work done so that taking time off doesn't threaten the stability or safety of society. For Jewish society, one such time was "every Sunday", for Pagan societies, there were a few extended holidays that carried over the week where they could get their holiday business done, which mostly entailed large public gatherings and taking a break from work so as to renew social connections that they needed in order to maintain cooperation across different households and communities for the rest of the year.

    Since these holidays fulfilled crucial roles in Pagan society, they were absolutely unwilling to indulge any suggestion of conversion that required they "reorganize", which is why dates varied. Everything had to be agreeable to the converts.

    If you think "theological justification" is of great importance and that this isn't, we are completely at cross purposes. In my experience theological justification is strongest when it goes along with what is convenient for power-relations and loses its efficacy as soon as it opposes them. Thus when Christianity was a marginalized religion the proper method for choosing a bishop was for the congregation to choose a spiritual successor and endow him with authority by popular acclamation (by the impetus of the Holy Spirit). Later on, kings chose bishops in collusion with the Pope, according to their shared authority over spiritual and temporal matters (which they enjoyed by the Grace of God).

    Here, I see power at work. The theological justification was modified to cope with that reality.

    That doesn't sound like America at all, actually. Especially the part where women were political equals. Women didn't achieve political equality until the 20th century. That's because this nation's culture and law is based on Imperial English tradition and common law. The pagans were long gone from the picture when we took over this rock, as well as the majority of their traditions and cultures. You're essentially saying that a DC-9 is a SPAD S.XIII due to some common traits that really aren't that common.
    This doesn't really rate as a response, but okay.

    "Comparable" does not mean equal. In the Germanic tradition authority was distributed. Not just in relation to kings and chiefs and their thanes, but also in terms of clan and family relations.

    Generally speaking, Germanic tribes lived in homesteads. When sons got older, they were expected to go find or make their own property, and be more or less independent individuals who maintained their own families with their own money. When women married into other families, they had the right to divorce and go live with whatever male relatives would take them until they married again. In practice, because kings and thanes did not have the resources, court system, or ability to work through family disputes, they had very little influence in such things except when it comes to the power relations of the high born. In that case, the king carefully regulated marriage (or tried to) to ensure no rivals developed to his clan's authority.

    With the exception of the "kings and highborn", that is broadly how American society functions.

    In other cases, women depended on their male relatives to back them up. Since Germanic society was largely anarchic (like the Old West), a woman did not have the authority to take her share of the property unless she had such support.

    That may make it sound like women were trapped by whims of their male relatives, but in practice whenever a man refused to back up a sister or a cousin or whatever when she tried to divorce, it made the community at large doubt the mens' ability to protect anything that belonged to them or was their responsibility. Thus when a cousin refused to support a female relative's divorce, everyone else in the community would start grazing their livestock on that man's property or take food freely from his fields. When he went to go find support from his family, those who had backed the female up would not help him defend what belonged to him because he went against family ties.

    Broadly speaking, this was how family relations worked in England and in the United States until the 21st century provided the superstructure for it to be otherwise.

    Even as shortly go as the 50s, police were deeply unwilling to intervene or file charges when my great-grandfather and his wife had altercations regarding their divorce. Their sons had to stand between them.
    Last edited by Morality Games; 06-28-13 at 06:40 PM.
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    Re: Conservatives: is paganism part of the Western tradition you want to conserve?

    Quote Originally Posted by nota bene View Post
    Who regards paganism as part of "Western tradition"?
    I would. It's incredible how much it influenced various region's implementations of Christianity.
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    Re: Conservatives: is paganism part of the Western tradition you want to conserve?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Blaylock View Post
    Or perhaps post #2 fails to give a rational definition of conservatism. In fact, the criteria being there attached to conservatism rather obviously have nothing whatsoever to do with any common understanding of what it means to be conservative. Conservatism has nothing to do with religion, physique, or sexual dysfunction.

    In fact, looking over this thread as the whole into which it has so far shaped itself; I have to say that the OPs purpose is not to make any honest attempt to define conservatism; but to express a rather odd form of bigotry against conservatism; and you seem to be in league with the OP on this effort.

    One almost has to wonder if both you and the OP are merely engaging in psychological projection here. It is certainly very common, in close quarters with one particular issue on which the two sides tend to sharply differ, for those on the far wrong side to project their own sexual inadequacies and dysfunctions on those of the far right side. Perhaps something similar is happening here.
    Bob, it's okay if you don't consider religion or other matters to be influencing your conservatism, but let's not be completely foolish and/or historically ignorant.

    As for my own, I plead Catholic, but I hold more allegiance to its institutional and ceremonial qualities than some of its views (though I am quite pleased with many of them).
    Last edited by Fiddytree; 06-28-13 at 06:27 PM.
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    Re: Conservatives: is paganism part of the Western tradition you want to conserve?

    Christianity (and therefore the Christian right) is riddled with pagan ties. Many of the traditions, superstitions, and culture values we see today are reflective of pagan schools of thought. Sure, we're not citing a Norse god or gathering at the solstice at Stonehenge, but religious culture isn't just about the god.
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  9. #29
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    Re: Conservatives: is paganism part of the Western tradition you want to conserve?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    In terms of the realities of power and social structure, there are certain days out of the week that a society is organized to "take the day off." Generally it entails getting work loads and certain types of work done so that taking time off doesn't threaten the stability or safety of society. For Jewish society, one such time was "every Sunday", for Pagan societies, there were a few extended holidays that carried over the week where they could get their holiday business done, which mostly entailed large public gatherings and taking a break from work so as to renew social connections that they needed in order to maintain cooperation across different households and communities for the rest of the year.
    None of this rises above what I term the chronologically trivial.

    The Church had no doctrine which was affected by chronology,
    so it could afford to be flexible. This did not extend to doctrine
    itself, as illustrated by the fact that numerous Pagans had been
    converted to Arianism before entering the Roman Empire, where
    Arianism was heretical. Here the Church showed no flexibility,
    and it was the former Pagans who conformed.



    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    Since these holidays fulfilled crucial roles in Pagan society, they were absolutely unwilling to indulge any suggestion of conversion that required they "reorganize", which is why dates varied. Everything had to be agreeable to the converts
    This and your preceding comments could use some citation.

    It so happens that the most significant of all Pagans, the Romans,
    enjoyed over 200 days of holidays per year:

    Ancient Roman Holidays & Festivals

    Since most if not all of these Roman holidays possessed religious
    significance they would not have been tolerated in their original
    form by the early Church. Therefore, you must in order to carry
    your point document some form of accommodation made by the Church.



    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    If you think "theological justification" is of great importance and that this isn't, we are completely at cross purposes.
    My point is that there is not any theological justification for choosing
    one chronology over another.



    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    In my experience theological justification is strongest when it goes along with what is convenient for power-relations and loses its efficacy as soon as it opposes them.
    “My experience” means you have lived through the events yourself.
    What relevant events have you lived through yourself? Reading a
    jargon-laden text does not count.

    As to our argument, recall that for well over two centuries the Church
    provided one of the best examples in all history of opposition to what
    your text might label the power structure. That structure itself was one
    of the best examples in history of a great empire in its prime. That empire
    probably actually did throw Christians to lions. Yet it was the Christians
    who in the end not only survived but triumphed. And they did not do so
    by agreeing that the Romans could keep their 200 holidays per year, I don’t think.



    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    Thus when Christianity was a marginalized religion the proper method for choosing a bishop was for the congregation to choose a spiritual successor and endow him with authority by popular acclamation (by the impetus of the Holy Spirit). Later on, kings chose bishops in collusion with the Pope, according to their shared authority over spiritual and temporal matters (which they enjoyed by the Grace of God).

    Here, I see power at work. The theological justification was modified to cope with that reality.
    I do not see the relevance of this to relative importance of chronology and theology.
    Last edited by USViking; 06-29-13 at 02:46 PM.

  10. #30
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    Re: Conservatives: is paganism part of the Western tradition you want to conserve?

    Quote Originally Posted by USViking View Post
    None of this rises above what I term the chronologically trivial.

    The Church had no doctrine which was affected by chronology,
    so it could afford to be flexible. This did not extend to doctrine
    itself, as illustrated by the fact that numerous Pagans had been
    converted to Arianism before entering the Roman Empire, where
    Arianism was heretical. Here the Church showed no flexibility,
    and it was the former Pagans who conformed.




    This and your preceding comments could use some citation.

    It so happens that the most significant of all Pagans, the Romans,
    enjoyed over 200 days of holidays per year:

    Ancient Roman Holidays & Festivals

    Since most if not all of these Roman holidays possessed religious
    significance they would not have been tolerated in their original
    form by the early Church. Therefore, you must in order to carry
    your point document some form of accommodation made by the Church.




    My point is that there is not any theological justification for choosing
    one chronology over another.




    “My experience” means you have lived through the events yourself.
    What relevant events have you lived through yourself? Reading a
    jargon-laden text does not count.

    As to our argument, recall that for well over two centuries the Church
    provided one of the best examples in all history of opposition to what
    your text might label the power structure. That structure itself was one
    of the best examples in history of a great empire in its prime. That empire
    probably actually did throw Christians to lions. Yet it was the Christians
    who in the end not only survived but triumphed. And they did not do so
    by agreeing that the Romans could keep their 200 holidays per year, I don’t think.




    I do not see the relevance of this to relative importance of chronology and theology.
    If you keep splitting the posts we're finished.
    If you notice something good in yourself, give credit to God, not to yourself, but be certain the evil you commit is always your own and yours to acknowledge.

    St. Benedict

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