Heralds of Modernism

In this article, we are going to look at the proto-Moderns who lived in the late 19th century and whose work had an enormous impact on shaping the intellectual landscape and culture of the 20th century. The proto-Moderns were not necessarily Modernists themselves, but they were the forerunners or precursors of it. They pushed Western culture in a Modernist direction.

In science, pride of place must go to Charles Darwin who shot the biggest torpedo in European history into Christianity in On the Origin of Species in 1859 and The Descent of Man in 1871. It will suffice to say that nothing did more to undermine and weaken European confidence in Christianity in the 20th century than Darwinism. Darwin loosened the religious convictions of the European intelligentsia and ultimately the masses. He paved the way within Christianity for the split between mainline and conservative denominations. Religious elites shaped culture and thus values and beliefs in the 19th century. The 20th century was overwhelming secular. Christianity went from being the hegemonic culture to a subculture and lifestyle. The West lost its religious horizon under Modernism in which nothing is sacred.

In poetry and the arts, Charles Baudelaire was unquestionably the first hero of the Modernists. The author of Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil) combined transgression against bourgeois norms with an aimless bohemian lifestyle. He called for a new art for a new age that captured the beauty of the present: “the fleeting, ephemeral experience of life in an urban metropolis, and the responsibility of artistic expression to capture that experience.” In Baudelaire, we see the importance of the capture and retrieval of experience, experimentation with sex and drugs, debauchery, the rejection of the past and feeling like an “outsider” all of which would later become central to Modernism. With the duties and obligations of Christianity out of the picture, Modernists glorified the self and advocated living in the present and in the moment and without collective attachments. The individual self should be free to capture and savor every experience of life that makes it meaningful and rich. William James later explained that life as experienced by the mind is a series of moments in the stream-of-consciousness. Modernists believed a meaningful life is a liberated one in the companionship of a small group of self chosen friends. Baudelaire himself believed in Original Sin and thought men were born evil and that he was damned, but this residual Christianity was lost as time went on. In the 20th century, sin came to mean the newly minted -isms and -phobias.

In philosophy, Friedrich Nietzsche had the greatest impact. Nietzsche savagely attacked and critiqued Christianity which he labeled slave morality. The author of The Antichrist (1895) proclaimed that God was dead and Christianity was finished. The author of Twilight of the Idols (1889) was an iconoclast. This dovetailed nicely with the Modernist belief in transgression. Nietzsche’s perspectivism paved the way to cultural relativism in the 20th century. Postmodernism is shot through with his interpretation of ethics in On the Geneology of Morals (1887) and Beyond Good and Evil (1886) as veiled power relations which Michel Foucault took in a leftwing direction. In The Will To Power (1901), Nietzsche called for a declaration of war on the masses. In Nietzsche, we see a number of themes that later became central to Modernism: making a religion out of art as the path to overcoming nihilism, the obsession with self-realization, the relativism of truth, the transvaluation of values, disdain for the masses, cosmopolitanism and elitism. In his magnum opus Thus Spake Zarathustra (1885), Zarathustra should be read as the prophet of Modernism.

Note: Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Henri Bergson and William James were also major thinkers who paved the road to Modernism. We will discuss them in greater detail later.

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


  1. I just want to point out I think you made an error here: “The author of The Antichrist (1895) proclaimed that God was dead and Christianity was finished.”

    Nietzsche observed God was dead, not proclaimed it. By the time he wrote that religiosity was dying off in droves in Europe especially in the cities. Did people still proclaim faith? Yes, but Nietzsche was talking about genuine belief, not belief for social signalling or belief for coping for life or death.

    It was probably the most interesting thing he had to say, and brings up the problem of restoring faith in God in a post-industrial society where a Coca-Cola can be relied upon to give one the energy to complete one’s task more readily and easily than the strength of God.

    • “It will suffice to say that nothing did more to undermine and weaken European confidence in Christianity in the 20th century than Darwinism. Darwin loosened the religious convictions of the European intelligentsia and ultimately the masses.”

      Both this statement and the folly of ‘Outlander’ -[i.e., Xenos, foreigner, NOT OF US-]

      are substantively INcorrect. The West didn’t ‘lose’ her ‘faith’ in YHWH God in the 19th Century. Darwin merely ripped off the festering wound of the APOSTASY of the West, present since at least the 12th Century.

      The West self-apostatized in 1054, via the mechanism of the Papacy, Thomistic ‘philosophy,’ and the filioquist inversion of the holy Trinity. I’ve noted for over five years on this site alone, the one book that you should read, Brad- and yet, you continue to avoid the Truth.

      Dr. Farrell’s ‘God, History, and Dialectic’ is right up your alley. It’s available online, and easily downloaded these days, unlike the printed version I had purchased in four separate volumes back in the day.

      If you use Goodreads, here’s a link to their site: https://www.goodreads.com/series/256571-god-history-and-dialectic

      As Jake Pacigena noted in his review: “Farrell’s work is one of a kind: sweeping analysis that understands the interplay between topics such as sacramentology, law, and history.”

      I would think that would be incentive enough, Brad…

      But the point of this post, is merely to note the fundamental dichotomy of your Weltanschauung, and Christianity’s, in light of Farrell’s masterful dissection of same:

      “The basic thesis of these essays is thus that there are Two Europes, Eastern and Western, First and Second respectively, and that both are the effects and consequences of very different and ultimately contradictory theological presuppositions and methods. These essays argue that these different and mutually exclusive presuppositions and methods have permeated every facet of legal, social, and cultural conventions. But to say this is to say nothing new, nor terribly original, and certainly nothing terribly upsetting to the “multiculturalist” or “Judeo-Christian Conservative.” The thesis of the Two Europes is explored in these essays from the presupposition that the Western, Second Europe is derivative and aberrant. ”

      Derivative… and Aberrant.

      I don’t know about you, but when I first encountered that statement, I thought: ‘Them’s fightin’ words.’ And I was correct. And I needed to change my worldview, accordingly- because I could no longer hold the West’s rationale for Being as valid, after it…

  2. Gee Brad, no story on how the CDC revised the US COVID death count down to 9700 from 150,000? I thought you were covering this story 🙂 LOL!

  3. Darwin, LOL. There are millions of people in the USA today who are convinced the earth is only around 6,000 years old, and that the Biblical creation story is true. Even though Jesus rejected the Old Testament and the law based on it.

    • Krafty, you’re full (again/per usual) of sh*te. Scripture, Chapter and verse, dude.
      Put up or shut up.

      “The heretics were totally shipwrecked with regard to the Faith; but as for the others, even if in their thinking they did not founder, nevertheless, because of their communion with heresy they are perishing.”
      St. Theodore the Studite, Patrologia Graeca 99, 1164

      Oh, and by the way, THAT’S YOU.

  4. Why can’t both propositions be true that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and yet the world was created in seven days? Hear me out. In Genesis there is a gap. The heavens and the Earth are created and yet in the next verse the Earth has turned chaotic. What happened between these two verses? The Luciferian rebellion in Haven. Therefore what we think of as the creation is really the reformation of the Earth after the rebellion. (Try to find a Fenton Ferrar bible. Read the footnotes at the bottom concerning the creation) I am not sure what Genesis meant by days. Regardless I believe the world is 4.5 billion years old but also believe the universe was created by God. Let there be light is the Big Bang. Just food for thought.(In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth. There you have the three forces of Physics: time, space, matter.)

    • Heartland, talking to the non-Elect is like talking to a stone. [That’s why they are said to have hearts of same.[ Ez. 36:26 ]]

      I believe in the Gap- because civilizations like Egypt, China, etc. existed BEFORE and AFTER ‘Adam’s’/the Flood appearance (as was also confirmed by older, more honest Science/Anthropology- the White man ‘suddenly’ appeared, without antecedents, bringing a full-orbed civilization, writing, etc.)

      But I don’t believe that the ‘world’ (entire, globe or pear, per ‘N-word deG Tyson’) was ‘created,’ when looking at the Data of Genesis 1/2. Re-created, surely. But that is not ‘scientific,’ so you see the problem?

      I believe that the Bible is the RECORD of- and FOR – only ONE race of People on this terrestrial plane, and is for THEM ALONE. Thus, Christ’s comment about ‘pearls before swine.’ And the opening chapters of that History do tell ultimate Truth, but it will NEVER be reconciled to a pagan (i.e., Greek/Egyptian) system of cosmology, because it was NEVER MEANT TO BE. Newton, Copernicus, and even Galileo (until his death- cf. Sungenis) were actively antagonistic to revealed Religion- as are many of the fools on this forum, even as they are without excuse. [Rom. 1] And that many of them were Masons, is proof positive of Antichrist hatred.

      In short, nothing but the Biblical model of the Universe is correct, and EVERYTHING that the Modern Apostate derives from the Copernican premises, (including Newtonian physics) re: their Weltanschauung, is SKEWED due to (if they’re White) either their disobedience; and, if they are Western, due to their Apostasy from the Truth of Orthodoxy. (cf. my comments above, re: Farrell)

      This is why, I am also an FE proponent. Because I KNOW NASA lies, but the Apostolic Fathers, don’t. And so Lies take the place of fact, as does all the data RELIGIOUSLY held re: the GLOB by such blind Western Apostates.

      The only thing that has saved the West, over the last millennium, has been our covenantal status, as Adamic Whites. But even YHWH is not going to put up with the reduction to bestiality that now passes for ‘culture’ – and embracing the ‘N-word’ as our ontological/legal/sexual/procreative equal, is the final slap in the Face, that led to both the Flood, and the destruction of Jerusalem, in the first place! Race mixing, and sexual perversion/transhumanism is the final abomination which YHWH does not tolerate.

      But talking about either FE or massive amounts of theology such as this, hurts their ‘widdul bwains,’ so that’s not allowed here; So, I’ll let it rest…. for now.

  5. I’ve been enjoying these dissections. After you’re done plodding through all these modernists id love to hear your take on Vilfredo Pareto’s sociology. Its the next logical step and Pareto is a sorely neglected “right wing” modernist think. They didnt call him “the Karl Marx of fascism” for nothing.

  6. “I’m pissed our side’s not getting what we want so I’m going to misuse an art movement called modernism to rail against any changes from the past 200 years that I dislike on this safe space blog” – snowflake alt right author and his snowflake acolytes. Patheticcc.
    The comments about evolution demonstrate that nobody here is a credible scientist or even aced biology in school. Ha.

  7. Great men like General Soleimani are born in the netherworld region of Modernity and Pre-Modernity. Too much modernity and it’s ruined. Too much traditional collectivism and it’s neutered.

    Get it just right and you become the #1 TBK antagonist of ZOG……

    R.I.P. King.

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