Any way you look at it, the elite hold power. That’s what it means to be elite!
Readership: All; Christians;
Author’s Note: This post was coauthored by NovaSeeker and Jack.
Length: 4,100 words
Reading Time: 14 minutes
Under last month’s post, Descriptors of Beauty and Attractiveness (2021 April 23), there was a discussion about the factors that cause changes in the cultural order of a society, with the view of identifying them and understanding how they are driven. This is a topic that frequently comes up in discussions around the ‘sphere, so it deserves a formal treatment.
In this post, we’ll go over several aspects of the cultural order and emergent “way of life”, and, in particular, explain why elites must be influenced or somehow dealt with, in order to affect a societal change in this cultural order.
Red Pill Apostle rightly posited that hard times are the cure to an ailing society, but that even this has its limits.
“If biblical history teaches us anything about human nature and idolatry, it is that hard times are the cure. In the case of feminism, I believe it will change when times are such that it is no longer a profitable grift for the elite. It will fade as a political movement for a time and then resurface with a new shiny package as something else. If you think of feminism for what it is, women being sold that God’s hierarchy of authority is oppressive and women fighting against it, this has been going on since Eve was convinced God was using His authority to keep her down and ate the fruit. Rinse, repeat. In 200 years it will have a new name, but the underlying sin will not be changed.”
This could very well be true, in the sense that broader economic changes will lead to a different material calculus, both for the elite class which generally sets the cultural agenda, as well as for the rank-and-file trying to live their lives in the present tense.
The underlying problem is that humans generally don’t reset their material expectations downward and their lives inward unless they are “hard” forced to do so. Individuals, of course, can and do make this kind of change in their lives, but generally humans do not, and it is the “generally” which is critical in any discussion of social and cultural order. In the sphere of mating, as long as society remains “comfortable” enough materially, people will continue the slide into “new ways of doing family” and the like, rather than generally reset their expectations in an effort to restore traditional families. They will generally only change once it gets so materially painful that they must, and that will be a terrible time for everyone. To state it differently, women will not revert to traditional marriage en masse in the West unless they are essentially economically forced to do so, and any scenario that would entail this kind of economic pressure will be exceptionally painful for everyone, not just women. This may, in fact, eventually happen, but the timing, scope, and nature of these “hard times” resulting from such an economic collapse remain speculative, and therefore relying on them as an agent of change is a relatively weak position to be in.
“All successful religions are elite religions. Christianity provided obedient, virgin wives for the Roman elite. Then the Christian Romans were able to cooperate better than the pagan Romans, so the pagan Romans lost. Then Constantine came in and replaced the official state religion with Christianity and it was all over by then.
First we need memetic sovereignty. Then back it up with the ability to defend ourselves. Then we wait for the left to burn itself out and offer the Caesar/Cromwell/Stalin a religion to replace leftism. That’s how Christianity survives.”
“What I mean by memetic sovereignty is that those in the Christian culture need to establish their own worldview/epistemic framework and enforce it among the culture. It’s the same thing as maintaining frame, but on a societal level.”
“Memetic sovereignty means always arguing from your principles, not theirs. You aren’t a racist, they’re a traitor. You’re not a rapist, her father is an irresponsible fool. You aren’t a bigot, they’re a bunch of evil degenerates. I could go on. Never allow them to set the terms of the argument. That is memetic sovereignty.
The reason Christianity needs that is because the Unitarians, the Puritans, are the modern standard of the Church. There are untold number of “Christian” churches directly opposing the plain reading of the Bible every day. That is because they allowed the Satanists to take the cultural high ground. Without enforcing our own culture and our own memes, Christianity will die on the vine. It will remain a memory until a barbarian with some vision finds a Bible and a preacher, and begins the Re-conquest in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth; He who always was and will always be; the Logos; the Truth, the Way, and the Life; He who was born of Man and of God; He who died for our sins and returned to life. That is memetic sovereignty.”
While it is certainly the case that in the battle of ideas, Christianity must hold its ground against the aggressively anti-Christian framework offered by the emergent culture, this cannot be readily done by “everyman” Christian.
In the time of the ante-Nicene Roman Empire, it was highly educated elite converts to the faith who were making these arguments, and holding this line against pagan (and Jewish) interlocutors and polemicists, precisely because they were the ones who were cognitively in a position to do so — they were able to use the same types of arguments, the same language, the same kind of discourse, because they were schooled in it themselves, and understood its arguments, its mode of discourse, from the inside out, so to speak. They were therefore in a position to engage with their opponents, and more than hold their ground, due to having a firm grasp of both sides of the discussion, and therefore being able to dominate both frames, and thereby reframe the discussion in a Christian vein. This was important not principally from the perspective of “winning the argument” with the interlocutors — it was important from the perspective of providing intellectual respectability for Christianity in terms that the cognitive elite had to respect, even if they disagreed. This respectability made conversion to Christianity more plausible, and more attractive, for more members of the Roman elite class.
This effort gradually won a lot of converts among educated elite Romans, which played a significant role in the elite Roman class being increasingly flipped to Christianity over time. And this was, itself, a massive turnaround for the new faith, because the initial Christian apologists were held in ill-regard by educated Roman pagans, precisely due to the fact that they could not articulate Christianity in a way that was convincing to many educated Romans, steeped as they were in Greek and Roman thought. That changed over time as Christianity made inroads among the educated class, and those educated converts to Christianity and their educated offspring were able to mount formidable arguments which were more convincing to the pagan Romans, and which eventually won the day, converting much of the elite class before Constantine’s famed edict of toleration.
In our context, this will require a similar engagement of Christian minds with the contemporary discourse in a way that is “interior” to it, yet faithfully Christian. This has basically not happened yet — Christianity has massively failed in this regard. For the most part, Christians are either (A) not engaging with the contemporary discourse at all on its own terms, or (B) are engaging it, but doing so either (1) from a perspective that stands “outside” it, and therefore appears outmoded, or (2) at the expense of Christian orthodoxy (that is, being co-opted by the contemporary discourse, rather than formulating Christianity in terms that are intelligible to, and native to, the contemporary discourse). The colossal scope of this failure for Christianity in our era simply cannot be overstated.
In order for true memetic superiority to be feasible, Christianity needs voices which are both orthodox and contemporary — in intellectual terms, that is, in ways that can influence the minds that shape the culture in a way that the more educated and sophisticated Christian apologists in the later ante-Nicene era were doing with Roman elites. This was difficult to do then, and it will be difficult to do again. But it will be impossible to do as long as Christians continue to radically undervalue education, philosophy, contemporary thought, and engaging contemporary thought on its own terms, and prefer instead to separate themselves into a sealed, self-referential ghetto of presumed purity of thought.
Elspeth has articulated the common argument that Christians should separate themselves from any elite influence and all the trappings of materialism. She also described some specific challenges and how hard they are to implement.
“I would argue that “Christianity” as it evolved once embraced by the elites of the Roman Empire, was destined to bring us to exactly where are today.
One of my soapboxes, which my RL friends are very familiar with at this point, is that True, Sincere, small ‘o’ orthodox Christians must find a way to sever our connections to and obsession with, dominant culture markers of success.
Christ made it clear that the Kingdom road is a narrow one. We will not find life on the broad path. What does that look like?
For one thing, re-examining our belief in university as a ticket to the good life, and being willing to sacrifice much of “the good life” for the sake of preserving the faith in our families.
Less consumerism. More strategic entrepreneurship. Real education over schooling. Booker T. Washington’s approach to education was equal parts old school and futuristic.
Networking in real life with like-minded families along with way less entertainment can do a lot to calibrate the tastes of our own kids and produce realistic and measured expectations of a joyful life.
But that’s work. We only do about half that stuff and people -fellow Christians! – think WE’RE extreme.
That only leaves collapse as the force that swings the pendulum.”
Although Elspeth’s suggestions are certainly very important for individual Christians in pursuit of Christian living, there is a major difficulty with this approach being applied to the wider society. It would require an entire Christian community to be formed outside the current culture, which is highly unlikely to happen, and it is hardly a Biblical approach. (See John 17:9-19 where Jesus says we are in, but not of the world.)
This is a surprisingly difficult issue for Christians to face. It is true that the narrow path is the one that leads any specific individual to salvation, but it is at the same time true that Christianity has always tried, when it was able, to arrange the social and cultural context in ways that would make it easier for individuals to walk that narrow path than otherwise. Surely no society will ever be perfectly Christian as long as it remains fully human, but Christianity itself has always taken a keen interest in shaping these social and cultural arrangements, to the extent it was able to do so, precisely to make it easier for people to be Christian in their own lives.
What brought Christianity to its current situation of massive decline in its ability to shape the culture was not the conversion of Constantine or the Roman elite class, both of which led to Christendom itself, without which Christianity in general would not exist in any recognizable form. What brought Christianity to its current impasse was the overwhelming emphasis on individualism over collective authority, precisely in matters pertaining to religion, spirituality and conscience, which came about as a result of the Protestant Reformation. The current scenario in the West, in both Catholic and Protestant countries (both of which were dramatically impacted by the ideas of the Protestant movement), is simply the working out of this logic of spiritual individualism.
The advent of spiritual individualism gave birth to the creation of the “secular” itself, as a kind of “neutral space” within which Christians of “different conscience” could interact with each other without bloodshed. This led almost immediately to the profound secularization of thought, as philosophy and “science” were now conducted in this “neutral”, secular space, and thereby gradually divorced from religious ideas. This, in turn, led to the Enlightenment, which simply followed the logic of Protestant spiritual individualism and the newly-created secular mind-space to its logical conclusion — individual reasoned discretion was itself the ultimate authority over all matters that were not specifically religious, theological or ecclesial, and not in a way that was intrinsically tethered to any kind of religious idea. As the scope of this secular science grew, the scope of the matters which were reserved for religion accordingly shrank, and all of this under the auspices of an entire system of thought which was, itself, based on the primacy of the individual and the individual’s discretionary conscience. This process has continued according to its own “interior” logic such that the “secular” has continued to grow mind-space at the expense of the “sacred” until it essentially flipped the cognitive elite class more or less entirely away from any religious thought whatsoever at some stage in the 20th Century, eventually leading to the current debacle. All of this timeline progression can be traced to one pivotal moment: the individualist approach to religion which was championed by Protestantism, over and against forms of authority which were exterior to the individual conscience.
Of course, the Protestant Reformation didn’t happen in a vacuum — it was protesting against something, and that something was its proximate cause. In Novaseeker’s opinion, the actual longer-term cause of the problem can be traced to the separation of the Catholic West from the Orthodox East, which gradually led the Western Church to drift in ways that emphasized greater authoritarianism, separated popular piety from scholastic theology, and emphasized a kind of Christianity that was less patristic than it was scholastic and medieval in character — all of which led more or less directly to the Protestant reaction to that, which gave birth to spiritual individualism and kicked off the vicious cycle of events described above in the West. In other words, it was precisely what was happening with the elite class in the West, and whether it was being properly framed in Christianity (or not) that led to the entire stream of sad events, culminating in the current mess.
The current problem, therefore, can’t be tackled by doubling or tripling down on spiritual individualism. The entire project needs to be scrapped due to an objective evaluation of its overwhelmingly poor fruit. Rather, apostolic Christianity needs to be articulated again in a manner that is framed in terms of the current discourse, and which converts some of the cognitively elite minds that can then, in turn, articulate the apostolic faith convincingly in the current age, from the “inside out”. Focusing on individualism will only continue to oversee the decline of the faith in broader terms, because the logic of individualism leads directly out of Christianity.
Another idea is that conservative Christian natalists (i.e., those who have large families) will out-breed the issue, simply because non-Christians are not expected to reproduce in large numbers due to generally postponed marriage, widespread birth control and abortion, advanced feminism, homo/transsexuality, and the religious folks who are turning more and more insular as clown world becomes ubiquitous. But this too is rather unlikely as a strategy for widespread social change.
The main reason is that we are vastly outnumbered, so the proponents of the current culture are still having more kinds in total numbers. They also frequently make converts of our children, and, for reasons of the cognitive shortcomings of Christians noted above, we do not.
There is much more flow from the ranks of conservative Christian family kids to the culture than there is from the culture to conservative Christianity. Many of the natalist’s children will apostatize either wholly or partially, as we have largely already seen. Right now there is mass apostasy taking place in the ranks of the younger generations of people who were raised as traditional Christians but who have either left the faith or insist on changing it to a heterodox, apostate version of itself because they disagree with the faith about sex. And the culture is happy to flip conservative Christian kids, because then they flip other ones, and it mushrooms and cascades across that part of the culture as well.
“Christians do it to themselves because they feed their kids into the cultural war meat grinder called college. Willy nilly and without training.
Mostly because they value college above the Almighty and His ways
It’s a war. Church dudes don’t have the balls to sacrifice and fight back effectively.”
We can’t solve cultural issues by outbreeding them from below — we have to control the elites, either by infiltrating them, or by beheading and replacing them — because elites drive the culture, they control the means by which cultural transmission happens.
One suggestion as to how to go about affecting cultural change was geared towards education – NOT college education geared towards the Feminist Life Script nor the Career Life Script, but rather something more akin to homeschooling, finishing school, religious catechism, or the like. The subjects to be taught would likely include the basics of the faith, Christian virtues, the value and purpose of chastity, how to raise and discipline children properly, and family values in general.
This is the diametric opposite of what is being taught in colleges, universities, and yes, even churches today. No, it’s not even the opposite, per se — It’s a completely different paradigm that totally excludes the Christian Life Script!
The most urgent topic that needs to be covered is why young women should get married young instead of pursuing an alternate life script, and why men who have the chance to marry should decide quickly and settle down. If a convincing case could be made for these options, then this would at least give young people a choice in the matter. It has also been suggested that upper-mid-quality men should looksmaxx, up their game, and so on, as this might give them that extra edge and push them into the realm of being noticed by women who are interested in a traditional Christian marriage.
However, this approach towards the traditional Headship model are more of an individual solution, not a societal one, because the SMP/MMP has already degraded, making the competition unwinnable for the vast majority. So the efficacy of education as a vector for change is reduced to discipline, and this too leaves us stumped because of three reasons.
- Discipline requires training, hard work, sacrifice, and suffering, which most are not willing to do.
- Discipline is currently an approach that is unpopular to the point of being heavily persecuted.
- Discipline is one of the ADIEU traits that is concentrated in the upper class. (This serves to reinforce the overall message of this essay.)
There will always be a small number of people who are able to be proper Christians regardless of the “external circumstances” — i.e., whether those make it easier or harder, on the margin, to follow moral orthodoxy from a Christian perspective. The issue is what situations make it marginally easier or marginally harder to do so, because in situations in which it is marginally easier, more people will manage it, while in situations where it is marginally more difficult, fewer people will. This is why the church has never been truly indifferent about what the social rules (and the legal rules which are based on them) are — because they can make it easier or harder, on the margins, to be an actual Christian, which in turn has an impact on how many will manage to do so.
It’s true that in a situation where it is easier rather than harder that there will be more “false” Christians as well — but there will also be more actual ones who are able to manage it because the temptations to not do so are less in that context, precisely because the social rules reflect moral orthodoxy.
The Elites Set the Bar
Last month, we covered the elite lifestyle, and how it is broadly accepted as the norm, even among those who are not elite. Noteworthy posts on this topic are listed here.
- Σ Frame (NovaSeeker): Sticking the Landing is for the Elite (2021 May 10)
- Σ Frame (NovaSeeker): ADIEU HUSsies Sell a Broken Script (2021 May 12)
- Σ Frame (Lexet): Aristocratic Hypergamy (2021 May 14)
- Σ Frame (NovaSeeker): The Upper Middle Class Career Life Script Model (2021 May 17)
- Σ Frame (Jack) YOLO = FOMO (2021 May 19)
- Σ Frame (NovaSeeker): The Kardashian Fantasy (2021 May 24)
It is appropriate to focus on this issue, because herein lies the key.
You can never influence in a meaningful way what those social rules are unless you control the elites. That’s because they are the ones who make those rules, and they are the ones who change them. So if you take the view that this is a problem rather than a help, what you are doing is creating a world in which it is harder for people to be Christian, which means that there will be fewer actual Christians. Yes, there will also be fewer false ones, but there will be fewer people who can manage to be Christian because it is much harder where there are more temptations and fewer guardrails in place. One may think this is a good thing because the false Christians are purged, but overall what happens in this view is that many who could otherwise be Christian, in a real and not a fake way, aren’t, because the circumstances make it too difficult for them to become or to stay Christian.
It’s for this reason that the critical path task for Christianity in the West currently is what it is doing about its interface with elite mind-space. And it is catastrophically failing in this — both as a result of not trying or, in cases where the effort is made, of focusing on critiquing the shortcomings of the currently dominant thinking of the cognitive elites, rather than re-articulating Christianity in a way that is interior to the entire thought-system of the current cognitive elite. This will involve some good amount of criticism, as we see in the ante-Nicene discourse as well, but it is criticism from “inside” the thought system and its premises, rather than a criticism from “outside” based on premises of a system of thought that is considered outdated.
Conservatives have been banging their heads against the wall for decades as to how to “win” the culture war without shifting/replacing the elites, but these various approaches don’t work because the elites control the culture, and so whoever controls the elite culture wins the game.
In the past, Christianity “won” in terms of becoming the predominant culture in the West only once elites began to be converted to the faith. It was the abandonment of paganism by the elite class of the Empire that led to the rise of Christianity — Constantine was a part of that, to be sure, but only a part. The reason why Julian the Apostate failed to reinstate paganism is because the elites had flipped to Christianity for the most part by then — Christianity flipped them.
Today, Christianity is focused on trying to do an “end run” around the elites, because the elites have left Christianity largely for what people are calling “the successor ideology”. It’s similar to what happened to the pagans in the Constantinian empire, but this time it’s happening to Christianity. It isn’t quite the same, because the new faith will not outlaw the old one, as Christianity did with the pagans, but the old faith (ours) will be thoroughly marginalized if we continue to think that we can ignore what is happening in the elite cultural class. The only way to flip that back will be to flip the elites (again), just like Christianity did when it rose in the time of the Empire.