Sen. Josh Hawley: The Age of Pelagius

Sen. Josh Hawley:

“We stand at one of the great turning points in our national history, when the failure of our public philosophy and the crisis of our public life can no longer be ignored. And what we do about these needs will define the era to come.

For decades now our politics and culture have been dominated by a particular philosophy of freedom. It is a philosophy of liberation from family and tradition, of escape from God and community, a philosophy of self-creation and unrestricted, unfettered free choice.

It is a philosophy that has defined our age, though it is far from new. In fact, its most influential proponent lived 1,700 years ago: a British monk who eventually settled in Rome named Pelagius. So thoroughly have his teachings informed our recent past and precipitated our present crisis that we might refer to this era as the Age of Pelagius.

But here is the irony. Though the Pelagian vision celebrates the individual, it leads to hierarchy. Though it preaches merit, it produces elitism. Though it proclaims liberty, it destroys the life that makes liberty possible.

Replacing it and repairing the profound harm it has caused is one of the great challenges of our day. …”

WOW.

Josh Hawley just named Pelagius.

I like to get to the bottom of things.

As it happens, I spent much of last year tracing the root causes of the moral and cultural decline of Western civilization. I already knew that the disease was liberalism and that we are living through one of the final stages of the cancer, but what was the cause of liberalism?

Here is where I left off in February:

In tracing the roots of the moral and cultural decline of the West, I came across this passage in The Short Oxford History of Europe: The Seventeenth Century:

“The confessional churches of the first part of the seventeenth century, moreover, underpinned the pessimism of the Shakespearian vision with the bleakness of their doctrine of salvation. Theologians in both camps accepted without demur the limited view of human nature which had dominated Christendom since the time of St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430). Man was an irreparably fallen creature ultimately only redeemed in God’s eyes through the saving power of Christ on the cross. Their differences turned around whether or not men played any part in their own salvation through the performance of good works. Neither side believed that performing good works was easy, given the rottenness of the human condition. On the contrary, both agreed that without specific divine grace performing an action pleasing to God was impossible. Only a handful of Jesuit theologians who took their lead from the Spaniard, Luis de Molina (1535-1600), believed that such grace was man’s for the asking. Indeed, according to the wing of the seventeenth century Catholic Church which identified with the opinions of Cornelius Jansen bishop of Ypres (1585-1638), the bestowal of divine grace was arbitrary. Catholic theologians then were often as austere and anti-humanist as their Protestant counterparts. All Christian confessions stressed that life was a vale of tears, the much deserved punishment of God for human disobedience.

Augustine’s negative view of mankind was also used to justify the fact that the majority of Europeans were daily subject to “the proud man’s contumely” and “the insolence of office” as much as the cruel indifference of nature. As frail fallen vessels in an age where the state’s arm was still relatively short, seventeenth century Christians had to be imprisoned within the confines of a gendered, hierarchical and deferential society to ensure that the divine moral order was passably upheld. Make men too comfortable and they would have too great an opportunity to sin. Punish too leniently and they would sin with impunity. Put men in a state of nature or equality and they would tear themselves apart. An Augustinian view of human nature also sustained the penchant of seventeenth century theologians and lawyers for divine-right absolute monarchy.”

This is very important.

From St. Augustine’s time in the 4th and 5th centuries down to the 17th century in Western Europe, a period which lasted over a thousand years, there was a powerful religious consensus in the West about human nature. Human beings were naturally wicked and corrupted by Original Sin.

Luther and Calvin DID NOT challenge this dominant Augustinian worldview in the Reformation. On the contrary, they reaffirmed it. Protestants and Catholics emphasized different aspects of Augustine’s thought. It was Augustine who had vanquished in the Western Christian tradition the doctrine known as Pelagianism which held that moral perfection is possible in this life.

As we saw in the previous post, Augustine had condemned paganism in City of God for failing to teach a doctrine of right living. Traditionally speaking, Western Christianity did not have this problem. For over a thousand years, the Catholic Church provided the structure, authority and content of our cultural and moral lives. It provided answers to any number of questions that are left unanswered today.

While there was always a separation between church and state, the Western Church was coterminus with society. There was no individual choice in the matter. Everyone was a Christian and there were civil courts and church courts that enforced its hegemonic moral authority. Even after the Reformation, Western Europe was divided into official state churches with almost no religious tolerance.

The key turning point came in the 17th century:

“As the previous section made clear, the philosophical and theological assumptions underpinning the dominant mindset of the seventeenth century were not a recent creation. Augustinian values had held the Church in thrall since the fifth century, while their integration with Aristotelian philosophy as principally the work of scholar-priests of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. However, in any study of this broader Augustinian moment, the seventeenth century must occupy a privileged position as it was the first time in over a thousand years that this traditional worldview was seriously challenged. Throughout the century a small but growing minority of educated Europeans refused to accept the Augustinian analysis of the human condition, if only in part, and developed an unusual, and to Augustinian contemporaries unhealthy, interest in both the material manifestations of the human spirit (past and present) and the abundant and complex variety of the natural world. Augustinians saw the world as a snare and the enjoyment of its fruits (artificial or natural) as vanity. In contrast, this growing minority had an obsessive and insatiable aesthetic and intellectual interest in their environment: they sought more and more information about its treasures, and, where possible, appropriated, collected and examined its wonders themselves. In their hands, the private cabinet ceased to be a space for personal devotion and became a theatre or museum of nature sometimes intentionally modeled on Noah’s Ark.”

If I had to describe it, I would say that the whole tone and long term effect of modern philosophy from Descartes through Hume to Kant had the effect of undermining and marginalizing this Augustinian consensus in Western Europe’s intellectual elite which slowly, but surely vanquished metaphysics while embracing a radically skeptical epistemology. This is the common thread that runs through Descartes, Locke, Hume and Kant who put nearly everything that had previously been taken for granted from reality itself to the self to the soul to the existence of God into doubt.

In particular, the Netherlands and England led the charge, although the revival of materialism and skepticism in Western thought was a European phenomena. Amsterdam and London became the first large modern cities. The Dutch and the English were trading nations which accelerated these trends there which lagged behind in Germany, Scandinavia and Southern Europe. The Jews were emancipated and granted liberty of conscience in the Netherlands and England before it happened elsewhere.

In seventeenth century England, the church courts and state censorship which had previously regulated English culture broke down in the chaos of the English Civil War. After the Restoration, Anglicanism was restored as the established church in England and non-conformists and Catholics were excluded from office by the Test Acts. James II’s attempt to impose French-style Catholicism on England was overthrown by King William III in the Glorious Revolution.

King William III united Britain and the Netherlands under a single modernizing monarch. It was from this point forward that “liberty” moved into the center of English life. Censorship was relaxed and the “free press” dates from this period. Religious tolerance was proclaimed. The church courts were no longer able to regulate and enforce morals. Augustinianism went into retreat and was replaced by Whiggery with its Pelagian doctrines of individual rights, religious freedom and human progress.

Culturally speaking, the view from Mount Olympus of Europe from around 1700 down to the present is the decline and demise of Christianity. This has been coupled with cultural decomposition and nihilism as “liberty” and “equality” and “human rights” have been taken to ever greater extremes. Christianity isn’t just gradually marginalized. It takes on a very different tone.

After 1700, the substance and tone of Christianity changes due to the rise of evangelicalism, the decline of Augustinianism, the impact of the Enlightenment and the influence of Romanticism. Gone are the firebrands of the 16th century like Luther, Calvin and Knox. In Britain, they are gradually replaced by mewling sentimentalists like Wilbur Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect.

I’m writing more about Britain here simply because I am so much more familiar with its history than other European countries, but what happened there was going on all over Europe. Basically, the decline of Augustinianism in Western Europe in the seventeenth century opened up the intellectual vacuum into which liberalism moved and has dominated down to the present day.

Note: White Nationalists scream at me that it is the Jews, but I have always seen Jewish influence as more of an effect than a cause. It is liberalism which empowered the Jews over us by poisoning our culture, weakening our social structure, deracinating us and orienting our lives toward individualism and materialism. This had been steadily going on for centuries before our culture became weak enough that the Jews were able to capitalize on it and break out into their current exalted position.

About Hunter Wallace 12366 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent

27 Comments

  1. Hawley’s analysis is sloppy in both the philosophical and historical sense. It’s almost beneath comment.

    Hunter, let me offer some more important, recent news about Hawley: he is scheduled to be a keynote speaker (along with Tucker Carlson, many cucks and a lot of Jews), in a conference that may contribute significantly to the ongoing project of cucking American nationalism:

    https://nationalconservatism.org/

    • I’m sympathetic to Hawley and these people who are trying to shift away from mainstream conservatism. I see them shifting closer to my own way of thinking about these issues.

      • I suppose time will tell which of us is right. The movement among this group, towards your way of thinking, looks, at least to me, like a newfangled cuckservative set-up.

        Let me note one recent development in support of my cynicism: the exclusion of Patrick Casey from attending the “National Conservatism” conference, the conference which I mentioned in my earlier comment. It was the decision of the conference organizers to exclude Casey, and Casey publicized the issue on his Twitter account. It’s hard to reconcile the treatment of Casey, on that occasion, with an optimistic view of the nationalism being espoused by the conference, by its organizers and participants.

          • Here is a link to a relevant tweet of Casey, the tweet which would seem to be where the aforementioned controversy begins on Twitter.

            https://twitter.com/PatrickCaseyUSA/status/1136197151980175360

            The dispute continues in a number of Casey’s later tweets.

            P.S. You might be able to access the above link to Casey’s tweet, on the condition that you’re logged off Twitter. On my computer, it’s possible to get a partial view of those Twitter accounts which have me blocked. First one makes sure to be logged off Twitter, and then one clicks on a link which goes directly to the blocking person’s Twitter page, as if it were an ordinary webpage.

          • ADDENDUM: In my previous comment, in the part about suggesting how to access Twitter accounts which block you, I explained I did so by logging off and then clicking “on a link” to the blocking person’s Twitter. But, to be precise, you don’t need “a link.” You just need the URL (it could be a link, but it doesn’t have to be) of some content (e.g. the user’s general page or some specific tweet) of the blocker’s account. Then the browser can be used to visit that URL, on the condition that you yourself are logged off from Twitter. This trick doesn’t let you see as much as an unblocked, logged-in user would, but it does let you see a lot.

    • Hawley doesn’t explain how Pelagianism revived and has become so dominant. It is due to the eclipse of Augustinianism in the 17th century during the wake of the Scientific Revolution. It was the sidelining of Augustianism which opened the door to liberalism as it evolved in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

      • Augustine may have been the first African rapper. Pelagius was a early member of the group U2.

        • Hahaha I can’t stand U2 bono just might be the phoniest piece of shit on the planet hes a good shabbos goy to preach to people and to be in cahoots with these soros funded NGOs
          I hate rap but theres nothing wrong with rhyming poetry We all know whos behind anti white rap and even black on black rap fueled hate These aren’t good people folks

    • Before I got sidetracked in February, I was reading about Spinoza’s impact on the early Enlightenment. I will return to the subject at some point later this year.

      • Consumerism and a surfeit of food lead to gay bars. This is why corporations are not in conflict with globohomo.

    • Good grief that list is Kosherized. A lot of Jews and Jewish enablers trying to get out ahead of the movement of the crowd.

    • CORRECTION TO MY ABOVE COMMENT: My comment wasn’t clear about who is to be a keynote speaker at the “National Conservatism” conference. Hawley and Carlson are indeed among the keynote speakers. The other keynote speakers are John Bolton and Peter Thiel. When I wrote “many cucks and a lot of Jews,” I should have made it clear I was referring to the much larger category of all the speakers, not just the keynote speakers.

  2. The devastated Forests need reseeding but the soil is barren and drought is abundant. Do I chant holy incantations to nature gods for miraculous rebirth or do I humbly ask a higher power for the strength and perseverance in confronting the daunting marathon ahead?

    What higher power, asks the skeptic?

    Use your imagination, says the weary old man.

    Base my existence on a fantasy, says the skeptic?

    What’s your life based on now, says the dying man?

    Living, experiencing and enjoying the vast pleasures of life, says the skeptic.

    But, if all your ancestors did the same would you be here, says an unknown voice?

    Probably not, says the seeker.

  3. Everything all of you are discussion, for centuries, really, is the mental, emotional , and spiritual derangement and enslavement of the Aryan mind body and soul by the Jew scam called “Christianity”. Keep spinning your wheels in the mud, fellas.

    Dagda spare us.

    • I disagree. If you watch the Gibson film Passion of the Christ, which is really the Oberramergau, a medieval play about Christ you clearly see that Jews are shitheads and Imperial authority is ultimately controlled by them. It’s literally a warming about Jewish machinations and schemes.

      The Greeks who wrote the gospels were ultimately pissing on the Jews.

      Where theologians take that story at worst masks the core story or at best gives whites fair warning.

  4. Brad, I don’t think you can fault Luther or Calvin for not wanting to get into a debate about Christology and subordinationism. They were carrying heavy enough loads.

  5. Pearls before swine, HW…. I would agree. Pelagianism, via its weaker but sneakier cousin, Arminianism, IS the death knell for any white man. You’re on to something, even if the pagans and other fools don’t even see the forest for the trees.

  6. Mr. Wallace

    Good job pointing out that the real enemy is Liberalism, not enough people understand this!

    Mark Moncrieff
    Upon Hope Blog – A Traditional Conservative Future

  7. Hey Hunter, great article, in which we substantially agree. In the 12th chapter of my little indie published book *Rethinking The Propositions*, I argued that for Western man to have throw off the four “shackles” of social hierarchy (monarchy, racial separation, nuclear family, gender roles) it first presupposes a major change in Christianity. I stated that:
    “Some will say that I should have included religion as one of the shackles thrown off by Western man. I did not do so for two reasons. These two reasons are: because a twisted and effeminate form of Christianity endured through it all so that man could salve his conscience, and because these four shackles would never have been thrown off if Christianity and the Bible had still been embraced by the masses. That these social changes even occurred presupposes a prior rejection of (true) Christianity. When man threw off God, he threw off all social order”.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07S8R67Z7/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

  8. “And though there were a few “nays” yelled out during the audible vote in the February 13th resolution, when a written tally was requested, it was carried 424 to zero. Bipartisanship to the point of complete unanimity. Clearly, those who mustered momentary courage to descent withered at the thought of going on the record against Judeo-supremacist anti-blasphemy codes. As in the old Soviet Union, American representatives are now terrified to be the one that stops clapping first. Now, as then, “for fear of the Jews.”

    http://tribaltheocrat.com/2019/04/the-government-outlawed-christianity-and-nobodys-talking-about-it-because-they-are-afraid/

    The Blasphemy that keeps on giving…..

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