by Matt Parrott
Millennia before Modernity, the West had a distinct character. Whether pre-Christian, Christian, or post-Enlightenment, Europeans have maintained a certain style of behavior which is surely innate. It’s followed Europeans even as they’ve adopted wildly differing creeds and adapted to wildly different lands and lifestyles the world over.
Wherever we go, we bring with us a Faustian spirit of discovery which has found as many expressions as there are men and women of European heritage. Wherever we go, the women we bring with us are more confident and assertive than the women of other races. Wherever we go, the need for either leadership or solitude weighs more heavily on our souls than fellowship and servitude.
Progressivism, feminism, and individualism have managed to captivate our people in the past few centuries, weaponizing these organic predispositions of ours into self-destructive ideologies which destroy us from within by taking our inclinations to their logical conclusions. Unfortunately, most Traditionalists adopt a race-blind approach which inappropriately contrasts Eastern peoples with our own, with peoples whose narratives are cyclical, whose women are submissive, and whose lifestyles are communal whether they’re under the aegis of a virtuous traditional way or slipping into decadence.
Human diversity manifests in how different populations and individuals manifest tradition and indulge in decadence. Tradition is necessarily patriarchal, but patriarchy in the West finds room for marauding warrior princesses, powerful and assertive queens, and St. Joan of Arc, among millions of less famous examples of womanly leadership and boldness in defense of faith, family, and folk. By contrast, decadence in the East often manifests in harems, widespread sex slavery, and degradation of women which is integrally against our Western nature, even when we’re misbehaving.
I don’t aim to express value judgments on the differing natures of differing peoples. Whether one finds feminism and cuckoldry more or less repugnant than misogyny and sex slavery is beside the point. Both fall short of a traditional gender dynamic, one where both men and women behave honorably and honor one another in pursuit of the transcendent. There are innumerable ways to slip into the abyss. And while Tradition is a singular mountaintop ideal, there are as many paths up that mountain as there are people and peoples making the climb.
There’s a temptation among Radical Traditionalists in the West, that of Orientalism, to adopt not only the abstract ideals of Radical Traditionalism which have fared better there than here, but to attempt to latch onto Eastern identities, customs, cultures, and folkways which are entirely alien not only to our history but to our nature, as well. This is most obvious and absurd when it’s directed toward remote Indian and East Asian cultures, but is also folly when directed at the Russians who, despite being more genetically similar to us than they would like to admit, have a distinct manner and disposition from our own.
We in the West have the immense and unenviable task of figuring out how to reconcile our history, our inclinations, our modern technology, and our contemporary circumstances with Radical Traditionalist ideals. Fortunately, Tradition can be manifest by absolutely any people in any context, though we’re left with no clear map from where we are to where we need to be, just a crude compass in the form of sacred texts and recorded history of how our derelict institutions which once manifested traditional ideals did so.
As a ‘Western Rite’ Orthodox Christian, I believe I’ve resolved more of the riddle than most, but even this pathway raises as many questions as it answers about what a traditionalist Western future might look like.
Bringing Tradition to the West doesn’t entail bringing anything more than Tradition to the West. We need changing, but we must do it ourselves. We must strip away the ideologies of eternal progress, feminism, individualism, and other Modern constructs. But if we’re still a bit restless, our women are still a bit opinionated, and our homes are still a bit far apart from one another, then that’s how Tradition will manifest in the West. And that’s okay. God made us this way for a reason, just as he made other peoples different. We should strive to accept the wisdom we’re receiving from the East while embracing and accepting our Western identity and what that identity entails about our nature.
Originally published at Traditionalist Youth Network