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Tom Holland Transvaluation of all values


Michael Jones and Tom Holland

Almost at the beginning of this interview, Tom Holland said: ‘Christianity has so kind of saturated the meaning of words in English that it was incredibly difficult to use them’ in his books, ‘and get back to a pre-Christian world’. So saturated that ‘even being opposed to Christianity has Christian roots’! We can see this among those racialists who are ostensibly secular but who ultimately subscribe to Christian morality. Holland even claims: ‘Atheism… is very very Christian in its impulse.’

This is why I hate atheists.

Then up to minute 22, Holland says that the notion that anything secular has existed in the West is a delusion: that the secular and the religious have always been two sides of the same coin. Westerners have been unable to see this because they don’t realise that, axiologically, secular values are essentially religious values. (Holland mentions Richard Dawkins, whom he accuses of unconsciously moving within a matrix of Protestant values.)

After 37 minutes, Holland talks about how difficult it was for Anglo-American Christians to tolerate racialised slavery in their colonies. For, according to Christian teaching, all human beings are equal. First, the Quakers began to hammer away at this issue, then Evangelical Episcopalians followed until abolitionism emerged.

‘Slavery is a monstrous sin,’ says Holland rephrasing the Christians of another age. But this is where you see that even contemporary white nationalism is, still, a Judaic creature. I have already mentioned, and it is worth mentioning again, that in a discussion between two of them it seemed very obvious to the ‘secular’ racialist that the Christian racialist’s question was beyond the pale: ‘What’s wrong with slavery?’ referring to Old Dixie.

The sad truth is that the anti-Semites on the WN forums are still servants of the Jews. They obey Judeo-Christian-inspired precepts which, from their origins, were always aimed at demoralising the pagan Roman and convincing him that he had better worship the god of the Jews. From this angle, The West’s Darkest Hour is the only authentically Jew-wise site in existence today. Even the critics of Christianity on the racial right are not authentically Jew-wise because they fail to recognise that any Aryan who subscribes to Christian morality is even worse than a subversive Jew, for the internal traitor is worse than the external enemy.

After 42 minutes, the interviewer asks Holland a central question: What would the world be like if Rome had not succumbed to Christianity? After an historical prologue, by the 47th minute Holland answered: ‘Why do black lives matter? Because historically in the United States, black people were enslaved… Or why there are trans rights roiling countries of Christian heritage in a way that they’re not roiling in countries with other [emphasis in Holland’s voice] heritage?’ Given that values have been inverted throughout the West because of Christianity, Holland adds that it is their victimhood what ‘gives them credit; being a victim becomes a source of privilege.’

Then Holland talks about his forthcoming book on his trilogy on Rome, but he is completely unaware of the work of scholars that we have summarised here challenging the historicity of Jesus. This is a terrible gap in Holland’s intellectual baggage and reminds me that white nationalists also ignore this issue. Immediately afterwards during the interview with Michael Jones, Holland makes the same mistake in discussing the origins of Islam.

The other issue that Holland doesn’t seem to address in the interview or his book Dominion is that the sexual mores and customs of Sparta, Republican Rome and ancient Germans were different from those of Imperial Rome. Holland seems to judge the entire pre-Christian world by the standards of pagan degeneracy, not when they were healthy.

But after 1:08 Holland confesses something vital that makes him our ideological enemy. While it is clear that we can use Dominion to show that liberalism is a direct child of Christianity and that atheists are de facto neo-Christians, we repudiate what he says: ‘I would say I am much more of a Christian than a theist… uhm, I’ve come to recognise that I am pretty much completely Christian in my values and my assumptions. The problem I have is believing that there is a God, ha!’

Holland even confesses that he only feels God—I would say the god of the Jews—during Passover and Christmas, but that the rest of the year he remains sceptical. But even on those remaining 363 days that is the same problem of white nationalists who presume to be secular: the scale of values of these so-called anti-Semites comes directly from a religion of Semitic origin.

For new visitors, my Dominion excerpts can be found here. Just compare Holland’s position in the above interview with my position at the end of that link. We are antipodes!

Philosophy of history Tom Holland

The Appian way

Christian morality is the seedbed that makes today’s secular West what it is, and for contemporary American racialists the hardest pill to swallow is that their movement has failed because of Christianity. And it will continue to fail unless they become true apostates, not only apostates from Christian dogma but also of the axiological side of Christianity: the so-called secular side. After all, ‘secular’ is just the tricky term St Augustine chose for his theological system, used even in our modern world, when in fact the ‘secular’ and the ‘religious’ have always been two sides of the same cultural coin.

Any racialist movement was doomed from the start, is doomed and will be doomed to failure unless it is understood that Christianity, or more specifically Christian morality, has always been the Devil for the white man. This includes the morality of today’s atheists whose worldview we here call Neo-Christian.

Only by telling us the story of the white race as it really happened in the Greco-Roman world (and here we can think of some essays from The Fair Race), together with elementary historical facts such as the non-existence of Jesus that Richard Carrier talks about, and how the New Testament was authored by Jews as David Skrbina believes, will it be possible to modify the collective unconscious of the white man—especially if we add to that a few pages from Karlheinz Deschner’s Criminal History of Christianity and the history of the Holocaust committed by the Allies, so well described in Tom Goodrich’s Hellstorm. The psychohistorical work of Tom Holland, who has lost faith in traditional Christianity is also pivotal even if, as a typical British liberal, he is our ideological enemy. But let’s use him as a useful idiot!

Holland hit the nail on the head when he said that National Socialism has been the most radical movement since Constantine, especially because it rebels against St Paul’s idea that there is no difference between Jews and Greeks (transformed today in the religious belief that there is no difference between blacks and whites): the original mental virus that caused the inversion of values. Holland also points out that the National Socialists repudiated the very essence of the emblem of the Cross: that a crucified victim is more morally worthy than the crucifying Romans. This idea persists in our times during mass hysteria phenomena such as the Black Lives Matter (BLM) riots of 2020 surrounding the death of George Floyd when countless whites, even outside the US, bent the knee before primitive negroes in the most humiliating way!

Holland has said in several interviews that the central emblem of Western civilisation, Christ on the Cross (now downtrodden negroes on ‘crosses’) provides a moral framework for understanding the Woke phenomenon. Before reading Dominion, in ‘On empowering carcass-eating birds’ in my book Daybreak I had already said that empowering transgender people was a kind of neo-Franciscanism, in reference to St Francis of Assisi (‘let’s love and kiss the new leper’), and quoted the biblical passage that the last shall be first and the first last. Analogously, speaking about whites bending the knee after the BLM riots, Holland has said that this grotesque self-debasement ultimately goes back to the Gospel narrative of the Passion, ‘to that very, very primal image of a man tortured to death by an oppressive state apparatus: Jesus on the cross.’ Not only at the end of Dominion but in his lectures this London historian has also said that a thoroughgoing rejection of Christianity would allow us to return to the ways of the blond beast. (As axiological enemies of Holland, we would add that the first thing this beast would do will be to drive the millions non-whites out of their lands and punish the recalcitrant as the Romans did in the Appian Way.) In a home interview with a conservative Australian, Holland added:

The modern who has more profoundly and unsettlingly understood just how radical that idea is—how radical the idea that the Cross, of all things, should become the emblem of the new civilisation—, was a man who was not just an atheist but a radical hostile, anti-Christian atheist: Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche said: this is a repellent thing. Nietzsche identified with the power and the glory and the beauty of classical civilisation; and he thought that Christianity, notoriously, was a religion for slaves. And he saw in the emblem of Christ nailed to the Cross a kind of disgusting subversion of the ideals of the classical world: a privileging of those who properly should be ground beneath the heels of the mighty. And he saw it as a kind of sickness that then, it kind of infected the blond beast as he called it: that the primordial figure of the warrior gets corrupted and turned into a monk, a monkish figure who is sick with poverty and sympathy for the poor and the oppressed…

Fascism, I think, was the most radical revolutionary movement that Europe has seen since the age of Constantine because unlike the French Revolution, unlike and the Russian Revolution, it doesn’t even target institutional Christianity: it targets the moral-ethical fundamentals of Christianity. The French Revolution, the Russian Revolution are still preaching that idea that the victim should be raised up from the dust and that the oppressor should be humbled into the dust; it’s still preaching the idea that the first should be last and the last should be first just as Christ has done.

The Nazis do not buy into that.

In the post-WWII world westerners culminated the inversion of healthy values that started with Constantine. They enshrined the privileges of the unprivileged and the universality of all human beings—orc immigrants included—because they now live in the shadow of what enshrined the opposite: Hitlerism; and, given their Christian programming, that scares them. As Holland said at the end of another interview, ‘to cling to the idea that, say, racism is the ultimate sin is still for deeply Christian reasons. It’s possible to imagine a different world in which the strong are powerful and in which the world is divided into the civilised and the barbarians because that’s what the Ancient World was like, and that’s what the Nazis enshrined. It’s perfectly possible. The fact that we regard them as abhorrent I think is testimony of how Christian we remain.’

What Angela Merkel did, opening the doors to two million refugees in anti-Nazi Germany, is ultimately an extreme form of following the parable of the Good Samaritan. Always keep in mind that Jesus didn’t exist but that some Jewish rabbis, the mythmakers, wrote the New Testament. No racialist movement that fails to see this can succeed because despite their rabid anti-Semitism racialists continue to, ultimately, obey the Jews who wrote the NT. They are jew-obeyers. They all live, atheists included, under the moral sky bequeathed to us by the mighty archetype of ‘God on the Cross.’ And outside racist forums, the attempt to make not only the dispossessed blacks but poor transexual people the first, and the healthy white man the last, is but the final metastasis of an inversion that began to take root in our collective unconscious as early as the 4th century of the Common Era.

For decades, in my soliloquies I have often said to myself: ‘A fish cannot criticise water.’ We live in a matrix. Without knowing it or recognising it, secular humanists have been swimming in Christian waters since what misleadingly they call the Age of Enlightenment (actually a ‘Dark Enlightenment,’ as some right-wing intellectuals have pointed out). Ultimately this whole issue of ‘human rights’ is nothing more than a transposition to the legal plane of the Pauline ideas that there is no difference between Jew and Greek, woman and man. In the Athenian democracy only the native males of Attica had the right to vote. Neither slaves nor women nor mudblood foreigners could do so. The assumption that we owe modern democracy to the Greeks is false: we owe it to Christian mandates. Furthermore, modern westerners commit what I call, again in my soliloquies, the psychological fallacy of ontological extension. They believe that all cultures share their humanitarian values when not even the ancient Greeks, the Romans or Norsemen did; let alone billions of contemporary Muslims, Chinese or Hindus. In Holland’s words, ‘the conceit of the West is that it has transcended Christianity to become purely universal; purely global, and therefore it can market itself in those terms. But its values, its assumptions, its ethics remain palpably bred of the marrow of Christianity.’

The term catholic derives from the Greek, katholikos. If we translate ‘universal human rights’ into the Greek of the first centuries of our era, we would be talking about ‘catholic human rights’ insofar as catholic means precisely universal in the sense of no longer making distinctions between Jew and Greek, woman and man, slave and free man: all are now equal in the eyes of a Semitic god. Human rights are catholic in this universal sense. Hitler targeted the idea there exists such a thing as universal human dignity, as well as the idea that the first should be last. From his viewpoint, our viewpoint, and I am talking to those who will read Savitri Devi’s Memories and Reflections of an Aryan Woman, or our books Day of Wrath and On Exterminationism, there is no such a thing as rights. Only the moral duty to dispose of the obsolete versions of Homo sapiens. This is the ultimate repudiation of the Christian heritage. And the horror that most westerners feel at the figures of Hitler and Himmler is nothing other than their continued enslavement to the archetype of the Jew on the Cross which they are still unable to exorcize from their psyches, even if this symbolic ‘Jew’ now takes other forms.

If we see Christianity and the French Revolution’s human rights as two sides of the same axiological coin, let us venture to say that the perfect symbol of our counter-revolution would be for thousands of blonde beasts starting to wear T-shirts emblazoned with Himmler’s face while burning churches, crucifying those who tried to destroy their race and wiping their asses with the remains of the pages of the now destroyed Bibles all over the West, but especially in the US. And the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, which symbolises the historic inauguration of Neo-Christianity, must be razed to the ground as well.

As Nietzsche would say, Umwertung aller Werte!

Tom Holland

Watch Holland!

It doesn’t matter that Tom Holland is a normie, a liberal like everyone else and even anti-Nazi: he is spot on in this interview!

The Nazis do not buy into that. The Nazis buy into the Nietzschean idea that the weak are weak and should be treated as weak, as contemptable, as something to be crushed.

Atheists of today [like Richard Dawkins et al]… they are basically Christians. Nietzsche saw humanists, communists, liberals—people who may define themselves against Christianity—as being absolutely in the fundamentals Christian, and I think he is right about that because I think that in a sense atheism doesn’t repudiate the kind of ethics and the morals and the values of Christianity.

Just transvalue Holland’s neo-Christian axiology and we arrive at the POV of this site!

Update of June 7

In the full interview, after the half-hour mark, Holland touches on a topic he didn’t get to touch on in Dominion because this book was published the year before the BLM 2020 riots. Holland says that in America blacks have been last and whites first.

‘Why is that inherently wrong?’ Holland asks his interlocutor with emphasis. He elaborates for a few minutes on George Floyd and says that this collective hysteria that whites suffered had its origins in the great inversion of values that was initiated by the figure of a helpless victim on the Cross.

From the 38th minute, the anti-Nazi Holland returns to Nazism and then discusses the genesis of the ultimately religious idea of ‘human rights’ after the French Revolution. Holland says that believing in such rights is as theological as believing that Jesus rose from the dead.

Near the 42nd minute, Holland says that Hitler saw in St Paul the Jew whose ideas destroyed Greece and Rome.

After minute 53 Holland says something very interesting. Christian ethics (which is the same as the neo-Christian ethics of atheists) constantly destroys its structures and reinvents itself. This is clear from the Middle Ages to the present day: all those funny anecdotes Holland tells in his book that I didn’t quote on this site because it would have meant quoting his whole book.

In the final minutes Holland hits the nail of all nails: just what we said recently about Richard Spencer’s ‘doughnut’ metaphor (the black hole of anti-Hitlerism) and the ‘Foundation Myth’ article, quoted in red at the top of this site. Holland said that Westerners today ask what Hitler did and they are doing exactly the opposite of that!

‘And by doing the opposite they are doing it for Christian reasons’.

Bingo (see also this moment from a Holland lecture in Romania).

Postscript of 8 June:

And in this lecture from his town, half a year ago, Holland even talks about how ridding ourselves of Christian morality permits us to become exterminationists, and even quotes Himmler (a step which, incidentally, Holland dares not take!).

Dominion (book) Tom Holland Transvaluation of all values

Dominion, 40

The following quotes are taken from the final pages of ‘Woke’, the final chapter of Tom Holland’s Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World.

I have sought, in writing this book, to be as objective as possible. Yet this, when dealing with a theme such as Christianity, is not to be neutral. To claim, as I most certainly do, that I have sought to evaluate fairly both the achievements and the crimes of Christian civilisation is not to stand outside its moral frameworks, but rather—as Nietzsche would have been quick to point out—to stand within them.

Holland is a liberal, not a priest of the sacred words.

The people who, in his famous fable, continue to venerate the shadow of God are not just church-goers. All those in thrall to Christian morality—even those who may be proud to array themselves among God’s murderers—are included among their number. Inevitably, to attempt the tracing of Christianity’s impact on the world is to cover the rise and fall of empires, the actions of bishops and kings, the arguments of theologians, the course of revolutions, the planting of crosses around the world. It is, in particular, to focus on the doings of men. Yet that hardly tells the whole story. I have written much in this book about churches, and monasteries, and universities; but these were never where the mass of the Christian people were most influentially shaped. It was always in the home that children were likeliest to absorb the revolutionary teachings that, over the course of two thousand years, have come to be so taken for granted as almost to seem human nature. [pages 534-535]

I have omitted several paragraphs from these final pages in which Holland writes several autobiographical vignettes about how he was brought up by his godmother in the Anglican church. In those pages Holland correctly states that Christianity has been passed down from parents to their offspring for two millennia: it’s programming just as we program our computers. These autobiographical paragraphs are very important in that they explain how whites have been axiologically programmed for many generations, and anyone who wants to read them should simply buy Holland’s book. (I already knew that, although the difference between Holland and me is abysmal in that Christianity didn’t destroy his life.)

‘There is nothing particular about man. He is but a part of this world.’ Today, in the West, there are many who would agree with Himmler that, for humanity to claim a special status for itself, to imagine itself as somehow superior to the rest of creation, is an unwarrantable conceit. Homo sapiens is just another species. To insist otherwise is to cling to the shattered fragments of religious belief.

What Savitri Devi calls anthropocentrism.

Yet the implications of this view—which the Nazis, of course, claimed as their sanction for genocide—remain unsettling for many. Just as Nietzsche had foretold, freethinkers who mock the very idea of a god as a dead thing, a sky fairy, an imaginary friend, still piously hold to taboos and morals that derive from Christianity. In 2002, in Amsterdam, the World Humanist Congress affirmed ‘the worth, dignity and autonomy of the individual and the right of every human being to the greatest possible freedom compatible with the rights of others’. Yet this—despite humanists’ stated ambition to provide ‘an alternative to dogmatic religion’—was nothing if not itself a statement of belief. Himmler, at any rate, had understood what licence was opened up by the abandonment of Christianity.

The humanist assumption that atheism and liberalism go together was just that: an assumption. Without the biblical story that God had created humanity in his own image to draw upon, the reverence of humanists for their own species risked seeming mawkish and shallow. What basis—other than mere sentimentality—was there to argue for it? Perhaps, as the humanist manifesto declared, through ‘the application of the methods of science’. Yet this was barely any less of a myth than Genesis. As in the days of Darwin and Huxley, so in the twenty-first century, the ambition of agnostics to translate values ‘into facts that can be scientifically understood’ was a fantasy. It derived not from the viability of such a project, but from medieval theology. It was not truth that science offered moralists, but a mirror. Racists identified it with racist values; liberals with liberal values. The primary dogma of humanism—‘that morality is an intrinsic part of human nature based on understanding and a concern for others’—found no more corroboration in science than did the dogma of the Nazis that anyone not fit for life should be exterminated. The wellspring of humanist values lay not in reason, not in evidence-based thinking, but in history.

Now that instalment 40 concludes this series, I will include these quotes and my published comments about Dominion in a new PDF book that I may eventually title Paradigm Shift for Racialists. Incidentally, I’ll change the cover to another book we have published here, On Exterminationism, although I haven’t yet decided which image to use. It seems clear to me that if, like the Nazis, I have become an exterminationist and white nationalists don’t, it is because they still obey the Jews who wrote the New Testament, which is clear from what Holland went on to write in the final pages of his book:

When, in an astonishing breakthrough, collagen was extracted recently from the remains of one tyrannosaur fossil, its amino acid sequences turned out to bear an unmistakable resemblance to those of a chicken. The more the evidence is studied, the hazier the dividing line between birds and dinosaurs has become. The same, mutatis mutandis, might be said of the dividing line between agnostics and Christians. On 16 July 2018, one of the world’s best-known scientists, a man as celebrated for his polemics against religion as for his writings on evolutionary biology, sat listening to the bells of an English cathedral. ‘So much nicer than the aggressive-sounding “Allahu Akhbar”,’ Richard Dawkins tweeted. ‘Or is that just my cultural upbringing?’ The question was a perfectly appropriate one for an admirer of Darwin to ponder. It is no surprise, since humans, just like any other biological organism, are products of evolution, that its workings should be evident in their assumptions, beliefs and cultures. A preference for church bells over the sound of Muslims praising God does not just emerge by magic. Dawkins—agnostic, secularist and humanist that he is—absolutely has the instincts of someone brought up in a Christian civilisation.

Today, as the flood tide of Western power and influence ebbs, the illusions of European and American liberals risk being left stranded. Much that they have sought to cast as universal stands exposed as never having been anything of the kind. Agnosticism—as Huxley, the man who coined the word, readily acknowledged—ranks as ‘that conviction of the supremacy of private judgment (indeed, of the impossibility of escaping it) which is the foundation of the Protestant Reformation’. Secularism owes its existence to the medieval papacy. Humanism derives ultimately from claims made in the Bible: that humans are made in God’s image; that his Son died equally for everyone; that there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female. Repeatedly, like a great earthquake, Christianity has sent reverberations across the world. First there was the primal revolution: the revolution preached by Saint Paul. Then there came the aftershocks: the revolution in the eleventh century that set Latin Christendom upon its momentous course; the revolution commemorated as the Reformation; the revolution that killed God. All bore an identical stamp: the aspiration to enfold within its embrace every other possible way of seeing the world; the claim to a universalism that was culturally highly specific. That human beings have rights; that they are born equal; that they are owed sustenance, and shelter, and refuge from persecution: these were never self-evident truths.

The Nazis, certainly, knew as much—which is why, in today’s demonology, they retain their starring role. Communist dictators may have been no less murderous than fascist ones; but they—because communism was the expression of a concern for the oppressed masses—rarely seem as diabolical to people today. The measure of how Christian we as a society remain is that mass murder precipitated by racism tends to be seen as vastly more abhorrent than mass murder precipitated by an ambition to usher in a classless paradise.

This is absolutely fundamental to understanding the darkest hour of the white man.

Liberals may not believe in hell; but they still believe in evil. The fear of it puts them in its shade no less than it ever did Gregory the Great. Just as he lived in dread of Satan, so do we of Hitler’s ghost. Behind the readiness to use ‘fascist’ as an insult there lurks a numbing fear: of what might happen should it cease to be taken as an insult. If secular humanism derives not from reason or from science, but from the distinctive course of Christianity’s evolution—a course that, in the opinion of growing numbers in Europe and America, has left God dead—then how are its values anything more than the shadow of a corpse? What are the foundations of its morality, if not a myth?

A myth, though, is not a lie. At its most profound—as Tolkien, that devout Catholic, always argued—a myth can be true. To be a Christian is to believe that God became man and suffered a death as terrible as any mortal has ever suffered. This is why the cross, that ancient implement of torture, remains what it has always been: the fitting symbol of the Christian revolution. It is the audacity of it—the audacity of finding in a twisted and defeated corpse the glory of the creator of the universe—that serves to explain, more surely than anything else, the sheer strangeness of Christianity, and of the civilisation to which it gave birth. Today, the power of this strangeness remains as alive as it has ever been. It is manifest in the great surge of conversions that has swept Africa and Asia over the past century; in the conviction of millions upon millions that the breath of the Spirit, like a living fire, still blows upon the world; and, in Europe and North America, in the assumptions of many more millions who would never think to describe themselves as Christian. All are heirs to the same revolution: a revolution that has, at its molten heart, the image of a god dead on a cross…

Crucifixion was not merely a punishment. It was a means to achieving dominance: a dominance felt as a dread in the guts of the subdued. Terror of power was the index of power. That was how it had always been, and always would be. It was the way of the world. For two thousand years, though, Christians have disputed this. Many of them, over the course of this time, have themselves become agents of terror. They have put the weak in their shadow; they have brought suffering, and persecution, and slavery in their wake. Yet the standards by which they stand condemned for this are themselves Christian; nor, even if churches across the West continue to empty, does it seem likely that these standards will quickly change. ‘God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.’ This is the myth that we in the West still persist in clinging to. [pages 537-542, bold type added]

Dominion! The paradigm shift proposed by The West’s Darkest Hour is simple: Christian morality is the primary cause of Aryan decline, not Jewish subversion. White nationalists will never solve the Jewish problem because, unlike Himmler, they are programmed by Judeo-Christian morality.

It is paradoxical, but as long as they believe that the JQ is the primary cause they will never settle accounts with Jewry. Settling accounts involves transvaluing all Christian values for pre-Christian values (it’s impossible to solve the Jewish problem using a framework of values that is itself utterly Judeo-Christian!). Transvaluation means repudiating all of Western history from Constantine onwards as well as having the spirit of Hitler, and the coming Kalki, as the avatars to follow as Savitri rightly said in her book we translated.

Dominion (book) Feminism Sexual degeneracy Tom Holland

Dominion, 39


How the Woke monster originated

On 5 October 2017, allegations about what Harvey Weinstein had been getting up to in his fourth-floor suite at the Peninsula broke in the New York Times. An actress meeting him there for what she had thought was a business breakfast had found the producer wearing nothing but his bespoke bathrobe. Perhaps, he had suggested, she could give him a massage? Or how about watching him shower? Two assistants who had met with Weinstein in his suite reported similar encounters. Over the weeks and months that followed, further allegations were levelled against him: harassment, assault, rape. Among the more than eighty women going public with accusations was Uma Thurman, the actor who had played Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction and become the movie’s pin-up. Meanwhile, where celebrity forged a path, many other women followed. A campaign that urged women to report incidents of harassment or assault under the hashtag #MeToo actively sought to give a voice to the most marginalised and vulnerable of all: janitors, fruit-pickers, hotel housekeepers. Already that year, the summons to a great moral awakening, a call for men everywhere to reflect on their sins, and repent them, had been much in the air. On 21 January, a million women had marched through Washington, DC. Other, similar demonstrations had been held around the world. The previous day, a new president, Donald J. Trump, had been inaugurated in the American capital. He was, to the organisers of the women’s marches, the very embodiment of toxic masculinity: a swaggering tycoon who had repeatedly been accused of sexual assault, who had bragged of grabbing ‘pussy’, and who, during the recently concluded presidential campaign, had paid hush money to a porn star. Rather than make the marches about Trump, however, the organisers had sought a loftier message: to sound a clarion call against injustice, and discrimination, and oppression wherever it might be found. ‘Yes, it’s about feminism. But it’s about more than that. It’s about basic equality for all people.’

The echo, of course, was of Martin Luther King. Repeatedly, in the protests against misogyny that swept America during the first year of Trump’s presidency, the name and example of the great Baptist preacher were invoked. Yet Christianity, which for King had been the fount of everything he ever campaigned for, appeared to many who marched in 2017 part of the problem. Evangelicals had voted in large numbers for Trump. Roiled by issues that seemed to them not just unbiblical, but directly antithetical to God’s purposes—abortion, gay marriage, transgender rights—they had held their noses and backed a man who, pussy-grabbing and porn stars notwithstanding, had unblushingly cast himself as the standard-bearer for Christian values. Unsurprisingly, then, hypocrisy had been added to bigotry on the charge sheet levelled against them by progressives. America, it seemed to many feminists, risked becoming a misogynist theocracy. Three months after the Women’s March, a television series made gripping drama out of this dread. The Handmaid’s Tale was set in a country returned to a particularly nightmarish vision of seventeenth century New England. Adapted from a dystopian novel by the Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, it provided female protestors against Trump with a striking new visual language of protest. White bonnets and red cloaks were the uniform worn by ‘handmaids’: women whose ability to reproduce had rendered them, in a world crippled by widespread infertility, the objects of legalised rape. Licence for the practice was provided by an episode in the Bible. The parody of evangelicals was as dark as it was savage. The Handmaid’s Tale—as all great dystopian fiction tends to be—was less prophecy than satire. The TV series cast Trump’s America as a society rent in two: between conservatives and liberals; between reactionaries and progressives; between dark-souled televangelists and noble-hearted foes of patriarchy.

Protestors summon men to exercise control
over their lusts–just as the Puritans had once done.
[This image & footnote appear in Holland’s book—Ed.]

Yet the divisions satirised by The Handmaid’s Tale were in truth very ancient. They derived ultimately, not from the specifics of American politics in the twenty-first century, but from the very womb of Christianity. Blessed be the fruit. There had always existed, in the hearts of the Christian people, a tension between the demands of tradition and the claims of progress, between the prerogatives of authority and the longing for reformation, between the letter and the spirit of the law. The twenty-first century marked, in that sense, no radical break with what had gone before. That the great battles in America’s culture war were being fought between Christians and those who had emancipated themselves from Christianity was a conceit that both sides had an interest in promoting. It was no less of a myth for that. In reality, Evangelicals and progressives were both recognisably bred of the same matrix. If opponents of abortion were the heirs of Macrina, who had toured the rubbish tips of Cappadocia looking for abandoned infants to rescue, then those who argued against them were likewise drawing on a deeply rooted Christian supposition: that every woman’s body was her own, and to be respected as such by every man. Supporters of gay marriage were quite as influenced by the Church’s enthusiasm for monogamous fidelity as those against it were by biblical condemnations of men who slept with men. To install transgender toilets might indeed seem an affront to the Lord God, who had created male and female; but to refuse kindness to the persecuted was to offend against the most fundamental teachings of Christ. In a country as saturated in Christian assumptions as the United States, there could be no escaping their influence—even for those who imagined that they had. America’s culture wars were less a war against Christianity than a civil war between Christian factions. [a war between Christianity and what, on this site, we call ‘neochristianity’—Ed.]

In 1963, when Martin Luther King addressed hundreds of thousands of civil rights protestors assembled in Washington, he had aimed his speech at the country beyond the capital as well—at an America that was still an unapologetically Christian nation. By 2017, things were different. Among the four co-chairs of the Women’s March was a Muslim. Marching through Washington were Sikhs, Buddhists, Jews. Huge numbers had no faith at all. Even the Christians among the organisers flinched from attempting to echo the prophetic voice of a Martin Luther King. Nevertheless, their manifesto was no less based in theological presumptions than that of the civil rights movement had been. Implicit in #MeToo was the same call to sexual continence that had reverberated throughout the Church’s history. Protestors who marched in the red cloaks of handmaids were summoning men to exercise control over their lusts just as the Puritans had done. Appetites that had been hailed by enthusiasts for sexual liberation as Dionysiac stood condemned once again as predatory and violent. The human body was not an object, not a commodity to be used by the rich and powerful as and when they pleased. Two thousand years of Christian sexual morality had resulted in men as well as women widely taking this for granted. Had it not, then #MeToo would have had no force.

The tracks of Christian theology, Nietzsche had complained, wound everywhere. In the early twenty-first century, they led—as they had done in earlier ages—in various and criss-crossing directions. They led towards TV stations on which televangelists preached the headship of men over women; and they led as well towards gender studies departments, in which Christianity was condemned for heteronormative marginalisation of LGBTQIA+. Nietzsche had foretold it all. God might be dead, but his shadow, immense and dreadful, continued to flicker even as his corpse lay cold. Feminist academics were no less in thrall to it, no less its acolytes, than were the most fire-breathing preachers. God could not be eluded simply by refusing to believe in his existence. Any condemnation of Christianity as patriarchal and repressive derived from a framework of values that was itself utterly Christian. [bold added—Ed.]

‘The measure of a man’s compassion for the lowly and the suffering comes to be the measure of the loftiness of his soul.’ It was this, the epochal lesson taught by Jesus’ death on the cross, that Nietzsche had always most despised about Christianity. Two thousand years on, and the discovery made by Christ’s earliest followers—that to be a victim might be a source of power—could bring out millions onto the streets. Wealth and rank, in Trump’s America, were not the only indices of status. So too were their opposites. Against the priapic thrust of towers fitted with gold-plated lifts, the organisers of the Women’s March sought to invoke the authority of those who lay at the bottom of the pile. The last were to be first, and the first were to be last. Yet how to measure who ranked as the last and the first? As they had ever done, all the multiple intersections of power, all the various dimensions of stratification in society, served to marginalise some more than others. Woman marching to demand equality with men always had to remember—if they were wealthy, if they were educated, if they were white—that there were many among them whose oppression was greater by far than their own: ‘Black women, indigenous women, poor women, immigrant women, disabled women, Muslim women, lesbian, queer and trans women.’ The disadvantaged too might boast their own hierarchy.

That it was the fate of rulers to be brought down from their thrones, and the humble to be lifted up, was a reflection that had always prompted anxious Christians to check their privilege. It had inspired Paulinus to give away his wealth, and Francis to strip himself naked before the Bishop of Assisi, and Elizabeth of Hungary to toil in a hospital as a scullery maid. Similarly, a dread of damnation, a yearning to be gathered into the ranks of the elect, a desperation to be cleansed of original sin, had provided, from the very moment the Pilgrim Fathers set sail, the surest and most fertile seedbed for the ideals of the American people. Repeatedly, over the course of their history, preachers had sought to awaken them to a sense of their guilt, and to offer them salvation. Now, in the twenty-first century, there were summons to a similar awakening. When, in October 2017, the leaders of the Women’s March organised a convention in Detroit, one panel in particular found itself having to turn away delegates. ‘Confronting White Womanhood’ offered white feminists the chance to acknowledge their own entitlement, to confess their sins and to be granted absolution. The opportunity was for the rich and the educated to have their eyes opened; to stare the reality of injustice in the face; truly to be awakened. Only through repentance was salvation to be obtained. The conveners, though, were not merely addressing the delegates in the conference hall. Their gaze, as the gaze of preachers in America had always been, was fixed on the world beyond. Their summons was to sinners everywhere. Their ambition was to serve as a city on a hill.

Christianity, it seemed, had no need of actual Christians for its assumptions still to flourish. Whether this was an illusion, or whether the power held by victims over their victimisers would survive the myth that had given it birth, only time would tell. As it was, the retreat of Christian belief did not seem to imply any necessary retreat of Christian values. Quite the contrary. Even in Europe—a continent with churches far emptier than those in the United States—the trace elements of Christianity continued to infuse people’s morals and presumptions so utterly that many failed even to detect their presence. Like dust particles so fine as to be invisible to the naked eye, they were breathed in equally by everyone: believers, atheists, and those who never paused so much as to think about religion. Had it been otherwise, then no one would ever have got woke. [pages 528-533, bold added—Ed.]

Deranged altruism Dominion (book) Tom Holland

Dominion, 38

by Tom Holland

Europeans had been able to take for granted the impregnability of their own continent. Mass migration was something that they brought to the lands of non-Europeans—not the other way round.

Since the end of the Second World War, however, that had changed. Attracted by higher living standards, large numbers of immigrants from non-European countries had come to settle in Western Europe. For decades, the pace and scale of immigration into Germany had been carefully regulated; but now it seemed that control was at risk of breaking down. Merkel, explaining the facts to a sobbing teenager, knew full well the crisis that, even as she spoke, was building beyond Germany’s frontiers. All that summer, thousands upon thousands of migrants and refugees from Muslim countries had been moving through the Balkans. The spectacle stirred deeply atavistic fears. In Hungary, there was talk of a new Ottoman invasion. Even in Western Europe, in lands that had never been conquered by Muslim armies, there were many who felt a sense of unease. Dread that all the East might be on the move reached back a long way. ‘The plain was dark with their marching companies, and as far as eyes could strain in the mirk there sprouted, like a foul fungus growth, all about the beleaguered city great camps of tents, black or sombre red.’ So Tolkien, writing in 1946, had described the siege of Minas Tirith, bulwark of the free lands of the West, by the armies of Sauron. The climax of The Lord of the Rings palpably echoed the momentous events of 955: the attack on Augsburg and the battle of the Lech…

In 2003, a film of The Lord of the Rings had brought Aragorn’s victory over the snarling hordes of Mordor to millions who had never heard of the battle of the Lech. Burnished and repackaged for the twenty-first century, Otto’s defence of Christendom still possessed a spectral glamour.

Its legacy, though, that summer of 2014, was shaded by multiple ironies. Otto’s mantle was taken up not by the chancellor of Germany, but by the prime minister of Hungary. Victor Orbán had until recently been a self-avowed atheist; but this did not prevent him from doubting—much as Otto might have done—whether unbaptised migrants could ever truly be integrated. ‘This is an important question, because Europe and European culture have Christian roots.’ That September, ordering police to remove refugees from trains and put up fences along Hungary’s southern border, he warned that Europe’s soul was at stake. Merkel, as she tracked the migrant crisis, had come to an identical conclusion. Her response, however, was the opposite of Orbán’s. Although pressed by ministers in her own ruling coalition to close Germany’s borders, she refused. Huge crowds of Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis began crossing into Bavaria. Soon, upwards of ten thousand a day were pouring in. Crowds gathered at railway stations to cheer them; football fans raised banners at matches to proclaim them welcome. The scenes, the chancellor declared, ‘painted a picture of Germany which can make us proud of our country’.

Merkel, no less than Orbán, stood in the shadow of her people’s history. She knew where a dread of being swamped by aliens might lead. Earlier generations had been more innocent. Tolkien, when he drew on episodes from early medieval history for the plot of The Lord of the Rings, had never meant to equate the Hungarians or the Saracens with the monstrous evil embodied by Mordor. The age of migrations was sufficiently remote, he had assumed, that there was little prospect of his readers believing that. He had never had any intention of demonising entire peoples—ancient or modern. ‘I’m very anti that kind of thing’…

Himmler, a man whose loathing for Christianity had not prevented him from admiring the martial feats of Christian emperors, had hallowed Otto’s father as the supreme model of Germanic heroism. It was darkly rumoured that he claimed to be the Saxon king’s reincarnation. Hitler, although privately contemptuous of Himmler’s more mystical leanings, had himself been obsessed by the Holy Lance. A relic of the crucifixion had been transmogrified into an emblem of Nazism. Seventy years on from Hitler’s suicide, in a country still committed to doing penance for his crimes, there had never been any prospect of Angela Merkel riding to fight a new battle of the Lech. The truly, the only Christian thing to do, faced by the floodtide of misery lapping at Europe’s borders, was to abandon any lingering sense of the continent as Christendom and open it up to the wretched of the earth.

Always, from the very beginnings of the Church, there had been tension between Christ’s commandment to his followers that they should go into the world and preach the good news to all creation, and his parable of the Good Samaritan. Merkel was familiar with both. Her father had been a pastor, her mother no less devout. Her childhood home had been a hostel for people with disabilities—people much like Reem Sahwil. ‘The daily message was: Love your neighbour as yourself. Not just German people. God loves everybody.’ For two millennia, Christians had been doing their best to put these teachings into practice. Merkel, by providing refuge to the victims of war in the Middle East, was doing nothing that Gregory of Nyssa, sixteen centuries previously, had not similarly done. Offer charity, he had urged his congregants, for the spectacle of refugees living like animals was a reproach to every Christian. ‘Their roof is the sky. For shelter they use porticos, alleys, and the deserted corners of the town. They hide in the cracks of walls like owls.’ Yet Merkel, when she sought to justify the opening of her country’s borders—a volte-face all the more dramatic for seeming so out of character—pointedly refused to frame it as a gesture of Christian charity…

A morality existed that trumped all differences of culture—and differences of religion too. It was with this argument that Merkel sought to parry the objection of Orbán that a Muslim influx into Europe risked irrevocably transforming the Christian character of the continent. Islam, in its essentials, was little different from Christianity. Both might equally be framed within the bounds of a liberal, secular state. Islam, the chancellor insisted—slapping down any members of her own party who dared suggest otherwise—belonged in Germany…

Merkel, when she insisted that Islam belonged in Germany just as much as Christianity, was only appearing to be even-handed. To hail a religion for its compatibility with a secular society was decidedly not a neutral gesture. Secularism was no less bred of the sweep of Christian history than were Orbán’s barbed-wire fences.

Naturally, for it to function as its exponents wished it to function, this could never be admitted. The West, over the duration of its global hegemony, had become skilled in the art of repackaging Christian concepts for non-Christian audiences. A doctrine such as that of human rights was far likelier to be signed up to if its origins among the canon lawyers of medieval Europe could be kept concealed. The insistence of United Nations agencies on ‘the antiquity and broad acceptance of the conception of the rights of man’ was a necessary precondition for their claim to a global, rather than a merely Western, jurisdiction. Secularism, in an identical manner, depended on the care with which it covered its tracks. If it were to be embraced by Jews, or Muslims, or Hindus as a neutral holder of the ring between them and people of other faiths, then it could not afford to be seen as what it was: a concept that had little meaning outside of a Christian context. In Europe, the secular had for so long been secularised that it was easy to forget its ultimate origins. [pages 516-521]

Dominion (book) Islam Tom Holland

Dominion, 37

by Tom Tolland

‘Why do they hate us?’

The president of the United States, in his address to a joint session of Congress, knew that he was speaking for Americans across the country when he asked this question. Nine days earlier, on 11 September, an Islamic group named al-Qaeda had launched a series of devastating attacks against targets in New York and Washington. Planes had been hijacked and then crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Thousands had died. George W. Bush, answering his own question, had no doubt as to the motives of the terrorists. They hated America’s freedoms. Her freedom of religion, her freedom of speech. Yet these were not exclusively American. Rather, they were universal rights. They were as much the patrimony of Muslims as of Christians, of Afghans as of Americans. This was why the hatred felt for Bush and his country across much of the Islamic world was based on misunderstanding. ‘Like most Americans, I just can’t believe it because I know how good we are.’ If American values were universal, shared by humans across the planet, regardless of creed or culture, then it stood to reason that Muslims shared them too. Bush, sitting in judgement on the terrorists who had attacked his country, condemned them not just for hijacking planes, but for hijacking Islam itself. ‘We respect the faith. We honor its traditions. Our enemy does not.’ It was in this spirit that the President, even as he ordered the American war machine to inflict a terrible vengeance on al-Qaeda, aimed to bring to the Muslim world freedoms that he believed in all devoutness to be no less Islamic than they were Western. First in Afghanistan, and then in Iraq, murderous tyrannies were overthrown. Arriving in Baghdad in April 2003, US forces pulled down statues of the deposed dictator. As they waited to be given sweets and flowers by a grateful people, they waited as well to deliver to Iraq the dues of freedom that Bush, a year earlier, had described as applying fully to the entire Islamic world. ‘When it comes to the common rights and needs of men and women, there is no clash of civilizations.’

Except that sweets and flowers were notable by their absence on the streets of Iraq. Instead, the Americans were greeted with mortar attacks, and car bombs, and improvised explosive devices. The country began to dissolve into anarchy. In Europe, where opposition to the invasion of Iraq had been loud and vocal, the insurgency was viewed with often ill-disguised satisfaction. Even before 9/11, there were many who had felt that ‘the United States had it coming’. By 2003, with US troops occupying two Muslim countries, the accusation that Afghanistan and Iraq were the victims of naked imperialism was becoming ever more insistent. What was all the President’s fine talk of freedom if not a smokescreen? As to what it might be hiding, the possibilities were multiple: oil, geopolitics, the interests of Israel. Yet Bush, although a hard-boiled businessman, was not just about the bottom line. He had never thought to hide his truest inspiration. Asked while still a candidate for the presidency to name his favourite thinker, he had answered unhesitatingly: ‘Christ, because he changed my heart.’ Here, unmistakably, was an Evangelical. Bush, in his assumption that the concept of human rights was a universal one, was perfectly sincere. Just as the Evangelicals who fought to abolish the slave trade had done, he took for granted that his own values—confirmed to him in his heart by the Spirit— were values fit for all the world. He no more intended to bring Iraq to Christianity than British Foreign Secretaries, back in the heyday of the Royal Navy’s campaign against slavery, had aimed to convert the Ottoman Empire. His ambition instead was to awaken Muslims to the values within their own religion that would enable them to see everything they had in common with America. ‘Islam, as practised by the vast majority of people, is a peaceful religion, a religion that respects others.’ Bush, asked to describe his own faith, might well have couched it in similar terms. What bigger compliment, then, could he possibly have paid to Muslims?

But Iraqis did not have their hearts opened to the similarity of Islam to American values. Their country continued to burn. To Bush’s critics, his talk of a war against evil appeared grotesquely misapplied. If anyone had done evil, then it was surely the leader of the world’s greatest military power, a man who had used all the stupefying resources at his command to visit death and mayhem on the powerless. In 2004 alone, US forces in Iraq variously bombed a wedding party, flattened an entire city, and were photographed torturing prisoners. [pages 505-507]

A Qur’an manuscript resting on a rehal.
Three pages further on, Holland continues:

Most menacing of all was the United Nations. Established in the aftermath of the Second World War, its delegates had proclaimed a Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To be a Muslim, though, was to know that humans did not have rights. There was no natural law in Islam. There were only laws authored by God. Muslim countries, by joining the United Nations, had signed up to a host of commitments that derived, not from the Qur’an or the Sunna, but from law codes devised in Christian countries: that there should be equality between men and women; equality between Muslims and non-Muslims; a ban on slavery; a ban on offensive warfare. Such doctrines, al-aqdisi sternly ruled, had no place in Islam. To accept them was to become an apostate. Al-Zarqawi, released from prison in 1999, did not forget al-Maqdisi’s warnings. In 2003, launching his campaign in Iraq, he went for a soft and telling target. On 19 August, a car bomb blew up the United Nations headquarters in the country. The UN’s special representative was crushed to death in his office. Twenty-two others were also killed. Over a hundred were left maimed and wounded. Shortly afterwards, the United Nations withdrew from Iraq.

‘Ours is a war not against a religion, not against the Muslim faith.’ President Bush’s reassurance, offered before the invasion of Iraq, was not one that al-Zarqawi was remotely prepared to accept. What most people in the West meant by Islam and what scholars like al-Maqdisi meant by it were not at all the same thing. What to Bush appeared the markers of its compatibility with Western values appeared to al-Maqdisi a fast-metastasising cancer…

To al-Maqdisi, the spectacle of Muslim governments legislating to uphold equality between men and women, or between Islam and other religions, was a monstrous blasphemy. The whole future of the world was at stake. God’s final revelation, the last chance that humanity had of redeeming itself from damnation, was directly threatened… His [al-Maqdisi’s] incineration by a US jet strike in 2006 did not serve to kill the hydra…

All that counted was the example of the Salaf. When al-Zarqawi’s disciples smashed the statues of pagan gods, they were following the example of Muhammad; when they proclaimed themselves the shock troops of a would-be global empire, they were following the example of the warriors who had humbled Heraclius; when they beheaded enemy combatants, and reintroduced the jizya, and took the women of defeated opponents as slaves, they were doing nothing that the first Muslims had not gloried in. The only road to an uncontaminated future was the road that led back to an unspoilt past. Nothing of the Evangelicals, who had erupted into the Muslim world with their gunboats and their talk of crimes against humanity, was to remain. [pages 510-512]

Deranged altruism Dominion (book) Tom Holland

Dominion, 36


How the Woke monster originated

Seven months before Live Aid, its organisers had recruited many of the biggest acts in Britain and Ireland to a super-group: Band Aid. ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’, a one-off charity record, succeeded in raising so much money for famine relief that it would end up the best-selling single in the history of the UK charts. For all the peroxide, all the cross-dressing, all the bags of cocaine smuggled into the recording studio, the project was one born of the Christian past.

Reporting on the sheer scale of the suffering in Ethiopia, a BBC correspondent had described the scenes he was witnessing as ‘biblical’; stirred into action, the organisers of Band Aid had embarked on a course of action that reached for its ultimate inspiration to the examples of Paul and Basil. That charity should be offered to the needy, and that a stranger in a foreign land was no less a brother or sister than was a next-door neighbour, were principles that had always been fundamental to the Christian message.

Concern for the victims of distant disasters—famines, earthquakes, floods—was disproportionately strong in what had once been Christendom. The overwhelming concentration of international aid agencies there was no coincidence. Band Aid were hardly the first to ask whether Africans knew that it was Christmastime. In the nineteenth century, the same anxiety had weighed heavily on Evangelicals. Missionaries had duly hacked their way through uncharted jungles, campaigned against the slave trade, and laboured with all their might to bring the Dark Continent into the light of Christ. ‘A diffusive philanthropy is Christianity itself. It requires perpetual propagation to attest its genuineness.’ Such was the mission statement of the era’s most famous explorer, David Livingstone. Band Aid—in their ambition to do good, if not in their use of hair dye—were recognisably his heirs.

This was not, though, how their single was marketed. Anything that smacked of white people telling Africans what to do had become, by the 1980s, an embarrassment. Admiration even for a missionary such as Livingstone, whose crusade against the Arab slave trade had been unstintingly heroic, had come to pall. His efforts to map the continent—far from serving the interests of Africans, as he had trusted they would—had instead only opened up its interior to conquest and exploitation.

A decade after his death from malaria in 1873, British adventurers had begun to expand deep into the heart of Africa. Other European powers had embarked on a similar scramble. France had annexed much of north Africa, Belgium the Congo, Germany Namibia. By the outbreak of the First World War, almost the entire continent was under foreign rule. Only the Ethiopians had succeeded in maintaining their independence. Missionaries, struggling to continue with their great labour of conversion, had found themselves stymied by the brute nature of European power. How were Africans to believe talk of a god who cared for the oppressed and the poor when the whites, the very people who worshipped him, had seized their lands and plundered them for diamonds, and ivory, and rubber? A colonial hierarchy in which blacks were deemed inferior had seemed a peculiar and bitter mockery of the missionaries’ insistence that Christ had died for all of humanity.

By the 1950s, when the tide of imperialism in Africa had begun to ebb as fast it had originally flowed, it might have seemed that Christianity was doomed to retreat as well, with churches crumbling before the hunger of termites, and Bibles melting into mildewed pulp. But that—in the event—was not what had happened at all! [pages 497-499]

A few pages further on Tom Holland discusses the case of South Africa:

The ending of apartheid and the election in 1994 of Mandela as South Africa’s first black president was one of the great dramas of Christian history: a drama woven through with deliberate echoes of the Gospels… The same faith that had inspired Afrikaners to imagine themselves a chosen people was also, in the long run, what had doomed their supremacy.

The pattern was a familiar one. Repeatedly, whether crashing along the canals of Tenochtitlan, or settling the estuaries of Massachusetts, or trekking deep into the Transvaal, the confidence that had enabled Europeans to believe themselves superior to those they were displacing was derived from Christianity. Repeatedly, though, in the struggle to hold this arrogance to account, it was Christianity that had provided the colonised and the enslaved with their surest voice. The paradox was profound.

No other conquerors, carving out empires for themselves, had done so as the servants of a man tortured to death on the orders of a colonial official. No other conquerors, dismissing with contempt the gods of other peoples, had installed in their place an emblem of power so deeply ambivalent as to render problematic the very notion of power. No other conquerors, exporting an understanding of the divine peculiar to themselves, had so successfully persuaded peoples around the globe that it possessed a universal import. [pages 503-504]

London bus in 1989 carrying the
‘Boycott Apartheid’ message.

The collapse of apartheid had been merely the aftershock of a far more convulsive earthquake. In 1989, even as de Klerk was resolving to set Mandela free, the Soviet empire had imploded. Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary: all had cast off the chains of foreign rule. East Germany, a rump hived off by the Soviets in the wake of the Second World War, had been absorbed into a reunified—and thoroughly capitalist—Germany. The Soviet Union itself had ceased to exist. Communism, weighed in the scales of history, had been found wanting… That the paradise on earth foretold by Marx had turned out instead to be closer to a hell only emphasised the degree to which the true fulfilment of progress was to be found elsewhere.

With the rout of communism, it appeared to many in the victorious West that it was their own political and social order that constituted the ultimate, the unimprovable form of government. Secularism; liberal democracy; the concept of human rights: these were fit for the whole world to embrace. The inheritance of the Enlightenment was for everyone: a possession for all of mankind. It was promoted by the West, not because it was Western, but because it was universal. The entire world could enjoy its fruits. It was no more Christian than it was Hindu, or Confucian, or Muslim. There was neither Asian nor European. Humanity was embarked as one upon a common road.

The end of history had arrived. [pages 504-505]

Dominion (book) Tom Holland

Dominion, 33

‘Wherever you find them, beat up the Fascists!’

The name derived from the palmy days of ancient Rome. The fasces, a bundle of scourging rods, had served the guards appointed to elected magistrates as emblems of their authority. Not every magistrate in Roman history, though, had necessarily been elected. Times of crisis had demanded exceptional measures. Julius Caesar, following his defeat of Pompey, had been appointed dictator: an office that had permitted him to take sole control of the state. Each of his guards had carried on their shoulders, bundled up with the scourging rods, an axe. Nietzsche, predicting that a great convulsion was approaching, a repudiation of the pusillanimous Christian doctrines of equality and compassion, had foretold as well that those who led the revolution would ‘become devisers of emblems and phantoms in their enmity’. Time had proven him right. The fasces had become the badge of a brilliantly successful movement. By 1930, Italy was ruled—as it had been two millennia previously—by a dictator. Benito Mussolini, an erstwhile socialist whose reading of Nietzsche had led him, by the end of the Great War, to dream of forming a new breed of man, an elite worthy of a fascist state, cast himself both as Caesar and as the face of a gleaming future. From the fusion of ancient and modern, melded by the white-hot genius of his leadership, there was to emerge a new Italy. Whether greeting the massed ranks of his followers with a Roman salute or piloting an aircraft, Mussolini posed in ways that consciously sought to erase the entire span of Christian history. Although, in a country as profoundly Catholic as Italy, he had little choice but to cede a measure of autonomy to the Church, his ultimate aim was to subordinate it utterly, to render it the handmaid of the fascist state. Mussolini’s more strident followers exulted nakedly in this goal. ‘Yes indeed, we are totalitarians! We want to be from morning to evening, without distracting thoughts.’

In Berlin too there were such men. The storm troopers of a movement that believed simultaneously in racism and in the subordination of all personal interests to a common good, they called themselves Nationalsozialisten: ‘National Socialists’. Their opponents, in mockery of their pretensions, called them Nazis. But this only betrayed fear. The National Socialists courted the hatred of their foes. An enemy’s loathing was something to be welcomed. It was the anvil on which a new Germany was to be be forged. ‘It is not compassion but courage and toughness that save life, because war is life’s eternal disposition.’ As in Italy, so in Germany, fascism worked to combine the glamour and the violence of antiquity with that of the modern world. There was no place in this vision of the future for the mewling feebleness of Christianity. The blond beast was to be liberated from his monastery. A new age had dawned. Adolf Hitler, the leader of the Nazis, was not, as Mussolini could claim to be, an intellectual; but he did not need to be.

I don’t know if it is appropriate to call the young Adolf, as in this portrait, an ‘intellectual’ (a word widely used in Europe and Latin America for the thinking classes, but not in the US). But the mature Hitler, the Hitler of the after-dinner talks, was certainly an intellectual compared to any head of state of his time.

Over the course of a life that had embraced living in a dosshouse, injury at the Somme, and imprisonment for an attempted putsch, he had come to feel himself summoned by a mysterious providence to transform the world. Patchily read in philosophy and science he might be, but of one thing he was viscerally certain: destiny was written in a people’s blood. There was no universal morality. A Russian was not a German. Every nation was different, and a people that refused to listen to the dictates of its soul was a people doomed to extinction. ‘All who are not of good race in this world,’ Hitler warned, ‘are chaff.’

Once, in the happy days of their infancy, the German people had been at one with the forests in which they lived. They had existed as a tree might: not just as the sum of its branches, its twigs and its leaves, but as a living, organic whole. But then the soil from which the Nordic race were sprung had been polluted. Their sap had been poisoned. Their limbs had been cut back. Only surgery could save them now. Hitler’s policies, although rooted in a sense of race as something primordially ancient, were rooted as well in the clinical formulations of evolutionary theory. The measures that would restore purity to the German people were prescribed equally by ancient chronicles and by Darwinist textbooks. To eliminate those who stood in the way of fulfilling such a programme was not a crime, but a responsibility. ‘Apes massacre all fringe elements as alien to their community.’ Hitler did not hesitate to draw the logical conclusion. ‘What is valid for monkeys must be all the more valid for humans.’ Man was as subject to the struggle for life, and to the need to preserve the purity of his race, as any other species. To put this into practice was not cruelty. It was simply the way of the world…

In 1933, the year that Hitler was appointed chancellor, Protestant churches across Germany marked the annual celebration of the Reformation by singing Wessel’s battle hymn. In Berlin Cathedral, a pastor shamelessly aped Goebbels. Wessel, he preached, had died just as Jesus had died. Then, just for good measure, he added that Hitler was ‘a man sent by God’.

Horst Wessel (1907-1930) was a Berlin leader of the NSDAP’s SA, killed by Communists and became a National Socialist martyr. A march he had written the lyrics to was renamed the Horst Wessel Lied and became the co-national anthem of NS Germany. After WWII, the lyrics and tune of his song were made illegal in Germany, his memorial vandalised and his gravestone and remains destroyed. Holland continues:

Yet Christians, if they thought this would curry favour with the Nazi leadership, let alone influence it, were deluding themselves. To parody Christianity was not to show it respect, but to cannibalise it. Out in the woods, eager young National Socialists would burn copies of the Bible on great fires, and then—‘to prove how we despise all the cults of the world except the ideology of Hitler’—sing the Horst Wessel Lied. On the Rhine, in the amphitheatres of what had once been Roman cities, girls might gather by night to celebrate Wessel’s birthday with dances and prayers to his spirit, ‘to make them good bearers of children’.

I was saying recently that white nationalists don’t visit this site—or at least don’t link to the articles posted here—because mine represents a brutal paradigm shift: from blaming Judaism to blaming Judeo-Christianity. We can already imagine members of the American racial right wing burning Bibles in the streets of Charlottesville!

Boniface, travelling across the Rhine twelve hundred years before, had witnessed very similar things. Dismay at the spectacle of pagan practices in a supposedly Christian land had led him to devote much of his life to combating them. Now, though, his heirs faced an even more grievous threat. Missionaries to Germany in the eighth century had been able to count on the support of the Frankish monarchy in their labours. No such backing was forthcoming from the Nazis. Hitler, who in 1928 had loudly proclaimed his movement to be Christian, had come to regard Christianity with active hostility. Its morality, its concern for the weak, he had always viewed as cowardly and shameful.

Now that he was in power, he recognised in the claim of the Church to a sphere distinct from the state—that venerable inheritance from the Gregorian revolution—a direct challenge to the totalitarian mission of National Socialism. Although, like Mussolini, Hitler was willing to tread carefully at first—and even, in 1933, to sign a concordat with the papacy—he had no intention of holding to it for long. Christian morality had resulted in any number of grotesque excrescences: alcoholics breeding promiscuously while upstanding national comrades struggled to put food on the table for their families; mental patients enjoying clean sheets while healthy children were obliged to sleep three or four to a bed; cripples having money and attention lavished on them that should properly be devoted to the fit. Idiocies such as these were precisely what National Socialism existed to terminate. The churches had had their day. The new order, if it were to endure for a millennium, would require a new order of man. It would require Übermenschen.

By 1937, then, Hitler had begun to envisage the elimination of Christianity once and for all. The objections of church leaders to the state’s ongoing sterilisation of idiots and cripples infuriated him. His own preference—one that he fully intended to act upon in the event of war—was for euthanasia to be applied in a comprehensive manner. This, a policy that was sanctioned both by ancient example and by the most advanced scientific thinking, was something that the German people needed urgently to be brought to accept. Clearly, there was no prospect of them fulfilling their racial destiny while they were still cancerous with compassion. Among the Schutzstaffel, the elite paramilitary organisation that served as the most efficient instrument of Hitler’s will, the destruction of Christianity came to be regarded as a particular vocation.

Heinrich Himmler, the commander of the SS, plotted a fifty-year programme that he trusted would see the religion utterly erased. Otherwise, Christianity might once again prove the bane of the blond beast.

For the Germans to continue in their opposition to policies so transparently vital for their own racial health was insanity. ‘Harping on and on that God died on the cross out of pity for the weak, the sick, and the sinners, they then demand that the genetically diseased be kept alive in the name of a doctrine of pity that goes against nature, and of a misconceived notion of humanity.’ The strong, as science had conclusively demonstrated, had both a duty and an obligation to eliminate the weak.

Yet if Christianity—as Hitler had come to believe—was ‘the heaviest blow that ever struck humanity’, then it was not enough merely to eradicate it. A religion so pernicious that it had succeeded both in destroying the Roman Empire and in spawning Bolshevism could hardly have emerged from nowhere. What source of infection could possibly have bred such a plague? Clearly, there was no more pressing question for a National Socialist to answer. Whatever the bacillus, it needed to be identified fast, and—if the future of the German people were to be set on stable foundations, enduring enough to last for a thousand years—destroyed. [pages 471-476]

Anyone who doubts the Führer’s anti-Christianity should read Richard Weikart’s Hitler’s Religion.

‘What source of infection could possibly have bred such a plague?’ Answer: St Paul and his minions. Those of you who haven’t read the master essay of our Daybreak Press’s first book, The Fair Race’s Darkest Hour, the lengthy Judea vs. Rome article, should read it now.

Dominion (book) Friedrich Nietzsche Tom Holland

Dominion, 32

It was not the front, but the journey to the front that was the worst. ‘There was some shit in people’s pants, I tell you.’ Two years into the war, Otto Dix had seen it all. In 1914, he had unhesitatingly signed up to the field artillery. Back then, people had assumed that victory would be swift in coming. Germany was the greatest military power in Europe. [page 459]

In the next pages Tom Holland describes the horrors Dix witnessed in the First World War. He then adds:

It was not the Bible that had brought Dix to this conviction. In his determination to spurn the mindset of a slave, to revel in all the qualities that made for a master, there was a conscious repudiation of Christian morality, with its concern for the weak, and the poor, and the oppressed. A trench in the midst of the most terrible battlescape in history seemed to Dix a fitting vantage point from which to observe what was, so he had come to believe, the collapse of a 1900-year-old order. Alongside his Bible, he had a second book. So stirred was he by its philosophy that in 1912, while still an art student in Dresden, he had made a life-size plaster bust of its author. Not just his first sculpture, it had also been his first work to be bought by a gallery. Discerning critics, inspecting the bust’s drooping moustache, its thrusting neck, its stare shadowed by bristling eyebrows, had proclaimed it the very image of Friedrich Nietzsche.

‘After a terrible earthquake, a tremendous reflection,
with new questions.’ Otto Dix’s life-size bust of Nietzsche.
[Tom Holland himself took this photo—Ed.]

‘Do we not hear the noise of the grave-diggers who are burying God? Do we not smell the divine putrefaction?—for even gods putrefy! God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.’ To read these words beside the Somme, amid a landscape turned to mud and ash, and littered with the mangled bodies of men, was to shiver before the possibility that there might not be, after all, any redemption in sacrifice. Nietzsche had written them back in 1882: the parable of a madman who one bright morning lit a lantern and ran to the marketplace, where no one among his listeners would believe his news that God had bled to death beneath their knives.

Little in Nietzsche’s upbringing seemed to have prefigured such blasphemy. The son of a Lutheran pastor, and named after Friedrich Wilhelm IV, his background had been one of pious provincialism. Precocious and brilliant, he had obtained a professorship when he was only twenty-four; but then, only a decade later, had resigned it to become a shabbily genteel bum. Finally, seeming to confirm the sense of a squandered career, he had suffered a terrible mental breakdown. For the last eleven years of his life, he had been confined to a succession of clinics.

True, he was briefly institutionalised, but for most of the years following the psychotic crisis of January 1889, Nietzsche spent most of his time at home with his mother, and later with his sister.

Few, when he finally died in 1900, had read the books that, in an escalating frenzy of production, he had written before his collapse into madness. Posthumously, though, his fame had grown with startling rapidity. By 1914, when Dix marched to war with his writings in his knapsack, Nietzsche’s name had emerged to become one of the most controversial in Europe. Condemned by many as the most dangerous thinker who had ever lived, others hailed him as a prophet. There were many who considered him both.

Nietzsche was not the first to have become a byword for atheism, of course. No one, though—not Spinoza, not Darwin, not Marx—had ever before dared to gaze quite so unblinkingly at what the murder of its god might mean for a civilisation. ‘When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one’s feet.’

Nietzsche’s loathing for those who imagined otherwise was intense. Philosophers he scorned as secret priests. Socialists, communists, democrats: all were equally deluded. ‘Naiveté: as if morality could survive when the God who sanctions it is missing!’ Enthusiasts for the Enlightenment, self-proclaimed rationalists who imagined that men and women possessed inherent rights, Nietzsche regarded with contempt. It was not from reason that their doctrine of human dignity derived, but rather from the very faith that they believed themselves—in their conceit—to have banished. Proclamations of rights were nothing but flotsam and jetsam left behind by the retreating tide of Christianity: bleached and stranded relics. God was dead—but in the great cave that once had been Christendom his shadow still fell, an immense and frightful shadow.

The title of this chapter is precisely ‘Shadow’.

For centuries, perhaps, it would linger. Christianity had reigned for two millennia. It could not easily be banished. Its myths would long endure. They were certainly no less mythical for casting themselves as secular. ‘Such phantoms as the dignity of man, the dignity of labour’: these were Christian through and through.

Nietzsche did not mean this as a compliment. It was not just as frauds that he despised those who clung to Christian morality, even as their knives were dripping with the blood of God; he loathed them as well for believing in it. Concern for the lowly and the suffering, far from serving the cause of justice, was a form of poison. Nietzsche, more radically than many a theologian, had penetrated to the heart of everything that was most shocking about the Christian faith. ‘To devise something which could even approach the seductive, intoxicating, anaesthetising, and corrupting power of that symbol of the “holy cross”, that horrific paradox of the “crucified God”, that mystery of an inconceivably ultimate, most extreme cruelty and self-crucifixion undertaken for the salvation of mankind?’

Like Paul, Nietzsche knew it to be a scandal. Unlike Paul, he found it repellent. The spectacle of Christ being tortured to death had been bait for the powerful. It had persuaded them—the strong and the healthy, the beautiful and the brave, the powerful and the self-assured—that it was their natural inferiors, the hungry and the humble, who deserved to inherit the earth. ‘Helping and caring for others, being of use to others, constantly excites a sense of power.’ Charity, in Christendom, had become a means to dominate. Yet Christianity, by taking the side of everything ill-constituted, and weak, and feeble, had made all of humanity sick. Its ideals of compassion and equality before God were bred not of love, but of hatred: a hatred of the deepest and most sublime order, one that had transformed the very character of morality, a hatred the like of which had never before been seen on earth. This was the revolution that Paul—‘that hate-obsessed false-coiner’—had set in motion. The weak had conquered the strong; the slaves had vanquished their masters.

‘Ruined by cunning, secret, invisible, anaemic vampires! Not conquered —only sucked dry! Covert revengefulness, petty envy become master!’ Nietzsche, when he mourned antiquity’s beasts of prey, did so with the passion of a scholar who had devoted his life to the study of their civilisation…

That Nietzsche himself was a short-sighted invalid prone to violent migraines had done nothing to inhibit his admiration for the aristocracies of antiquity, and their heedlessness towards the sick and the weak. A society focused on the feeble was a society enfeebled itself. This it was that had rendered Christians such malevolent blood-suckers. If it was the taming of the Romans that Nietzsche chiefly rued, then he regretted as well how they had battened onto other nations.

Nietzsche himself, whose contempt for the Germans was exceeded only by his disdain for the English, had so little time for nationalism that he had renounced his Prussian citizenship when he was only twenty-four, and died stateless; and yet, for all that, he had always lamented the fate of his forebears. Once, before the coming of Boniface, the forests had sheltered Saxons who, in their ferocity and their hunger for everything that was richest and most intense in life, had been predators no less glorious than lions: ‘blond beasts’. But then the missionaries had arrived. The blond beast had been tempted into a monastery. ‘There he now lay, sick, wretched, malevolent toward himself; filled with hatred of the vital drives, filled with suspicion towards all that was still strong and happy. In short, a “Christian”.’ Dix, enduring the extremes of the Western Front, did not have to be a worshipper of Woden to feel that he was free at last.

‘Even war,’ he recorded in his notebook, ‘must be regarded as a natural occurrence.’ That it was an abyss, across which, like a rope, a man might be suspended, fastened between beast and Übermensch: here was a philosophy that Dix felt no cause to abandon at the Somme…

The unprecedented scale of the violence that had bled Europe white did not shock most of its peoples into atheism. On the contrary: it served to confirm them in their faith. How otherwise to make sense of all the horror? As so often before, when Christians had found themselves enmired in misery and slaughter, the veil that lay between earth and heaven could appear to many hauntingly thin. As the war ground on, and 1916 turned to 1917, so the end times seemed to be drawing near. In Portugal, in the village of Fatima, the Virgin made repeated appearances, until at last, before huge crowds, the sun danced, as though in fulfilment of the prophecy recorded in Revelation that a great and wondrous sign would appear in heaven: ‘a woman clothed with the sun’. In Palestine, the British won a crushing victory at Armageddon and took Jerusalem from the Turks. In London, the Foreign Secretary issued a declaration supporting the establishment in the Holy Land of a Jewish homeland—a development that many Christians believed was bound to herald the return of Christ…

Meanwhile, in basements stale with beer and sweat, men with strident voices were talking about Jews. [pages 462-467]