While some might want me to begin today’s installment by avowing that the November goal is not to attack everybody—as though I were trying to start a Reformed version of Festivus or something, a celebration which begins with an obligatory Airing of Grievances—this would both violate my November rule of no qualifications, as well as having the disadvantage of not being true. I am going to attack everybody . . . at least everybody I can think of that has anything whatever to do with whiteness and its adjacent sins. What a pasty, pale excuse for a foundational ethnic identity! A color? That’s it? If you wanted something like that, you should at least have gone for emerald green. That might have been something worth a preen or two, but no . . .
White Boy Bummer
Let us start with the usual suspects. These are the folks who have completely fallen for the progressive play that is being run on them. That play will be described more fully in the next section, but for the present let us merely say that they have fallen for a ploy that makes them think that we conservatives somehow want the third string to run out on the court at the opening of the championship game. The material they have been reading makes them think that “third string” and “coach” are synonyms.
The third string are those who take the natural affection for their own people—that no sensible man ever doubted was a good thing—hook it up to a bicycle pump, and inflate it to cringe levels. You know, bracing for the pop. They talk much about love and soil and affection and heritage, but their chief characteristic is a crackling envy aimed at anybody who is smarter, wealthier, has a better looking wife, is more influential, or is better connected than they are. And after just a couple of days marinating in that attitude, they start talking ominously about the Jews.
We of course reject all such ethnic pufferies, and we do so with just the right amount of loathing. Not so much loathing as to betray insecurity, and not so little as to hint that we might be harboring some secret affinity for any of that white pride foolishness. If we attacked it with loud shouts of alarm, that would do nothing except telegraph fear—like Trump attacking DeSantis or something. There is a real temptation here, and you need to know that I am resisting it manfully—because I know how it would look. Ethnic vainglory is like a swollen and misshapen souffle, and so the impulses to attack it with a cricket bat are unrelenting and fierce. But I stand firm.
But if we just tut-tutted a little something about how “white boys will be boys,” that too would be a problem. It would look like a cowardly and secret yearning to join up with them.
And so we take special care to ladle just the right amount of loathing all over the top of all ethnic malice or vainglory. Not too much, not too little. That’s the secret.
If someone put a gun to my head and commanded me to come up with a scheme for defending our threatened cultural heritage here in the West, and if I were to obediently tell them to fix things by sorting everybody out based on color, you can be assured that this would be me trying to blink a message in Morse code to the outside world. How else to make their hostage video seem like a risible joke? That kind of thing commits you to a Benjamin Moore color swatch foundation for all your cultural analysis. You get it all worked out—thoroughbreds, mulattoes, quadroons, octaroons, and more! You’re embarrassing us, man. I had an acquaintance once whose grandfather was born a black Roman Catholic in New Orleans and died a white Lutheran in Ohio. Now what? You want to institute a blood purity system of loyalties in a time when we now have the technology that could assign what row of the bus you need to sit in, and determine whether or not you were allowed to open your window. “Your ancestry results are in, and we are sorry to report that it has adversely affected your social credit score.”
And so, to all those in the ranks of the kinists who really were motivated by nothing more than your God-given natural affection . . . you are being snookered. The only thing you are demonstrating is how gullible a certain brand of white people can be. Some are trying to make you think that you are the radicals, the shock troops, the elite fighting units, a red-pilled brigade of Gurkhas. But I can assure you that the progressives would a thousand times more prefer to be fighting folks like you than fighting regular old conservative Christians, the kind whose grandfathers knew how to kick fascistobutt. You dabbling with demented reactionary memes is making life easy for them. So get out. Walk away. Repent. You think the need of the hour is for everybody to grow a spine, like you think you did, when what you really needed to do was to grow a brain.
Honkier Than Thou
Having threaded that particular needle, this puts us in a position to turn our attention to the progressives. This needs to be done because if there is such a thing as white-splaining, these people, pretty much any one of them, could offer a master class in how to do it. Let me pick a representative of this class, taken at random. I have reached into a hat and chosen a lesbian professor of journalism at a community college in Portland. See what I mean? It doesn’t get any worse than that.
I see that I have lost some of you. This particular female (pronouns: hell and no) has hell whiteness grid that no will apply anytime to anyone, and will do it anywhere, with or without an invitation. Not only so, but the mystic forces that impel hell to make these applications are themselves bubbling up from an inner aquifer of hell whiteness. No will swoop in to explain to a redneck how bull riding at the rodeo is racist, and will also explain to a black father how concern about crime in his neighborhood is the new face of white supremacy. There is nothing on this green earth that no cannot problematize into racialist categories.
This by itself is not new, in that we have always had mentally ill people. The thing that is strange and new is how the progressive establishment (political, corporate, media, military, and so on) has gone along with all such woke asininities, solemnly nodding. They have decided that regular white people, simply for being white, needed to be pummeled with official and officious admonitions for a generation or two, after which time, they will have to start paying reparations. Now after more than a few years of this, a bunch of these white people started to get surly. This treatment started to flush out a few white folks who had (not surprisingly) gotten tired of it. They were provoked into taking the bait, see the first section. “If they are going to hang me for a thief regardless what I do, I might as well steal something.”
So as someone who earlier indicated that compromise with kinism is like trying to pick up a turd by the clean end, I think we also need to recognize that it was the progressive left that created and continues to sustain this abysmal situation. By making absolutely everything about superficial ethnicity indicators, it turns out that some have learned this lesson in reactionary ways, and have embraced their superficial ethnicity indicators. Instead of being ASHAMED of this made-up reality, they became PROUD of this made-up reality. And that’s how we got a collection of Proud Boys going down to heckle folks at an Antifa rally, with the Boys in question made up of Scots, Norwegians, Germans, and a Ukrainian, arms locked, singing a Celtic war song. This is nothing more than playing tribal dress-ups, or ethnic cosplay, and all of it based on nothing more than a shared susceptibility to sunburn. It is certainly stupid, but no stupider than what Big Eva has been peddling to Christians for decades.
I misspoke. It is not more stupid, or less stupid. It is the same stupid. It is the other end of the turd. Big Eva has been telling us that if we were color-swatch-guilty-of-privilege we needed to be more contrite, and repentant, and chastened, because there were slavers on the color wheel who looked like us, whether or not we were actually connected to them in any way. That being the principle, why can we not start taking undue pride in the accomplishments of people on the color wheel who looked like us, whether or not we are connected to them in any way. Hey? Equal weights and measures would seem to be the principle we should remember here.
When I think that my skin tone largely matches that of Neil Armstrong and Ted Bundy, I am in equal measure both proud and ashamed. I just don’t know which way to look.
So if you don’t like the white boy reactionaries, then you really need to dismantle the Critical Race Theory factory that manufactures them.
Skittish Christians, But I Repeat Myself
Now in the main, “responsible” Christians have ceded definitional authority on what constitutes an ethnic offense to the progressives. This has created a vast open space in between the place where the respectable Christians are standing (in the suburbs of a big town that Bunyan would have called something like Acceptable Public Discourse) and the fever swamps. On the far side of that vast open space are the genuine cranks, circulating bootleg copies of Luther’s Jews and Their Lies, and posting dark intimations on Gab.
Now in that open space over there on the right there is more than enough room for distinctively Christian worldview thinkers to build a sizeable town of their own. I say “more than enough room,” and I mean miles across, actually.
But in order to begin building anything out there, one needs to move a little bit closer to the cranks, and this creates the opportunity for skittish Christians to start worrying about “trajectories.” Enormous pressure is therefore applied to anyone who has to date lived in Acceptable Discourse, but who is making noises like he is thinking of moving out of the leftist ghetto he has been trapped in. Anything but that.
The result of all this is that cowed and kennel-fed Christians labor to ensure that there will never be a serious biblical challenge mounted against the rogues, mountebanks, and miscreants who make up the current city council of Acceptable Discourse. “If you move in that direction, people will think that ‘Christian nationalism’ is simply code for white supremacist. Simply shouldn’t be done. Dog whistle for raaaaaaacism. Far too risky.”
“Who might think that?” I wonder. “And do I have any respect for their opinions on any other matter? I mean, at all? Why should I care about the opinion of a group that has royally discredited itself in pretty much every way?” In short, I would invite all my readers to consider the fact that this is my “not caring” face.
In short, through excessive worry about any reasonable Christians ever arguing for anything distinctively Christian in the civic realm, because it reminds them of things said in Elijah One Tooth’s newsletter, such policing Christians fussing about tone and trajectory create a situation that results in the only real alternative to the current secular madness being composed entirely of cranks. You know, I think that if I had worked just a little harder I could have made that sentence a little more complicated.
The number of worried concerns that arose about Canon’s publication of Stephen Wolfe’s book was really quite striking. Many of them have been the standard kind of concern outlined above. But there have also been other objections—worries that Moscow was lessening our grip on our exuberant Kuyperianism, and somehow forgetting our theonomic roots. The concern is that we are drifting toward some of Wolfe’s presuppositions—Thomism, natural law, two-kingdoms, etc. Are we abandoning our conviction that worship is warfare? No—rather we are simply noticing what our worship-as-warfare has been accomplishing. And also no, this is not a forbidden qualification in November. It is simply the necessary set-up and background for what I need to say next.
Let me tell you a little anecdote. We recently had Glenn Moots here, who gave a very fine lecture on religious establishments. During the Q&A, he was asked about theonomy, and his answer made it clear that he thought the reconstructionists had been delightfully reactionary back in the eighties, and a lot of fun to read, but that he was functioning much more in the stream of the historic magisterial Reformation. He was talking about some of the things that the recons used to be critical about from the other side—the Reformers’ use of natural law, and so on. And so then I posed a question this way. Suppose that Moots got his way, and everything that he thought proper with regard to civic law was fully instituted, just the way he wanted it. I asked him if the remaining reconstructionists (“all eight of them,” he interjected) would be happier about the new state of affairs than they were right now under our current secularist regime. He kind of smiled, and I think I know what he meant—and that is because I think he knew what I meant.
I would much rather have an amicable argument with a Christian magistrate about the role that natural law should play in his recent decision restricting abortion than with a pagan magistrate over the essential goodness of federal funding of trans-surgeries for teens. We all rejoiced over the Dobbs decision, did we not? Do you think Alito, and Thomas, and Barrett relied on natural law more than they should have? Almost certainly. And do I care? Not even a little bit. Do you think they made their decision because they personally believed that worship was warfare? Of course they did not. But they still made their decision because worship is warfare.
We now have mainstream Reformed scholars arguing for an explicitly Christian civic order, with the foundational standard for law being Scripture, and who are fully prepared to argue for civic enforcement of the First Table of the Law. And Wolfe’s book is selling like cakes that are hot. Is that how it goes? And yet some of our theonomic guys want to hang back because a Thomist is arguing for this, and not a Van Tilian? C’mon, man. Back in the day, a lot of recons used to talk big about rebuilding Christian civilization, but with their strict biblicist and sectarian assumptions it was not possible for them to rebuild a shaved ice stand, in Atlantic City, in August. Because the ice block delivery guy was not fully postmill.
It would be silly for us to make the same kind of mistake again. But if we did make the same mistake, it would be just like us.
More NQN Stuff
A big part of what we do here in November is that we give stuff away. As in for free. This helps offset the impression that our refusal to qualify assertions during November does not proceed from a churlish heart, but rather from a heart brimming over with generosity and open-handedness. So at the bottom of every NQN post, look for the current offers, whatever they might this week. Please note that these are different from Weeks One and Two.
1. This week’s links to free Kindles are Evangellyfish—truth be told, one of my favorites—and my daughter’s book on identity in Christ for women—You Who (Amazon affiliate links).
2. Also November, anyone can get one free month of Canon+ using the code NQNQ. This only works for new subscribers—sorry, it doesn’t work for existing or annual subscriptions. If you do this, you will be able to watch my new documentary over Thanksgiving, and to do so for free. The name of the doc is “How to Save the World (in Eleven *Simple Steps).” That would be simple steps, not easy steps. Critics should be sure to watch it in order to confirm their suspicions about the apparent megalomania of the title, but which will turn out to be a dud. Since disappointing my critics has become something of a hobby of mine, I do encourage critics to take advantage of this free offer.
3. And this November, current subscribers can give a year’s subscription of Canon+ for just fifty bucks—$49.99 instead of $95.88. That way you can get that pastor, friend, or enemy the Canon+ content they’ve been so wishing for.
4. And in addition to all of that, from my quaint little Mablog Shoppe, over the course of this coming week (Nov. 14-18), you may obtain my book on how the gospel undoes all mimetic striving and vainglory. That book is called All the Condemnation in the World, and is free below. In addition, scarcely to be believed, is a free mp3 file of me singing something. Free. Click on that too.
All the Condemnation in the World
A statement of the gospel, that gospel which vanquishes the spirit of accusation.
Peace Peace Peace (MP3)
Somewhat delayed, but still coming at you as promised, is another song from the album Falling on Deaf Ears. A fuller description of the history of that album can we gleaned from the background included for the song Are You Looking for the City?