Tag: left-wing

Ibsen’s Rosmersholm

Ibsen’s <i>Rosmersholm</i> posted in Eleison Comments on September 28, 2019

Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906) was a famous Norwegian playwright, often credited with being the worldwide father of modern drama. He was not Catholic, but he told a great truth, and St Augustine once said that all truth belongs to Catholics (because their God is “the Way, the Truth and the Life”). For this reason Catholics can even sometimes appreciate better than non-Catholics the truths that the non-Catholics are telling. The great truth of Ibsen is that even in strait-laced hypocritical Norway of the late 19th century, where life and joy are stifled beneath a weight of dying traditions, still the human spirit rises up in protest, and it prefers even death to an existence entrapped with no apparent freedom or meaning.

Let us illustrate this protest with a group of three later plays of Ibsen in which he has turned rather from the drama of modern society to that of individual persons. Rosmersholm (1886) ends with the hero and his beloved committing joint suicide. The Master Builder (1892) ends with the hero falling to his death from a high tower which it was suicidal for him to have attempted to climb in the first place. John Gabriel Borkman (1896) ends with the hero dying from the cold of a virtually suicidal climb up a freezing mountain slope. But in each case the hero was striving for the freedom of the human spirit against a world stifling that spirit. Let us have a look at Rosmersholm in particular, an adaptation of which was staged in London recently with great success. Ibsen lives!

Every drama needs a dramatic clash, and the clash in Rosmersholm is between the old world of the Rosmer family and home on the one side, distinguished for the last 200 years by its soldiers and parsons who have set an example and given a lead to the whole region, and on the other side the rising new world of emancipation and freedom from all those old values. The central figure in the play is the last scion of the noble family, John Rosmer, formerly a parson but who has lost his Christian faith and is now torn between the two worlds. On the one side is Dr Kroll, a cold-hearted conservative attempting to save Norway from the all-invading liberalism, but whose own wife and children are going liberal. On the other side is the editor of the local radical paper, Mortensgaard, who is at least as disreputable as Kroll in his attempts to pull Rosmer to his side. Rosmer himself has in theory been won over to the new world of joy and freedom by the charming young woman, Rebekka West, his platonic companion for several years.

The drama comes to a head when Rosmer tells Kroll of his loss of faith and his intention to fight in public for the liberals. Kroll moves into action, by fair means or foul, to stop Rosmer from lending his person and prestige to the rot. Under pressure from Kroll, Rebekka realises that in her struggle to liberate Rosmer from his noble but stifling background, it is in fact that background, Rosmersholm, which has overcome herself. In the end, the only way that John and Rebekka can achieve both the new freedom and the old nobility is to throw themselves together into the water-mill of Rosmersholm. In other words, says Ibsen, the old nobility is joyless, the new conservatism is heartless and the new emancipation is no better. There remains only death as a way out, seemingly the only possible affirmation for the trapped couple.

Is that all dark nonsense, unfit for today’s Catholics? No, it is a realistic portrait of our world. When faith goes dead, as with Rosmer and with billions of souls today, then conservatism (Kroll) ultimately conserves nothing, left-wingery (Mortensgaard) is as good as throwing godless gasoline on a godless fire, emancipation (Rebekka) lacks stamina, and the liberal death-wish takes over. If one wishes to have life, and to have it more abundantly (Jn. X, 10), then Rosmer must revive in himself the faith of his truly noble ancestors, which means he must go back beyond even the best of his Protestant ancestors to the Catholics who made Christian Norway. Let Rosmer become truly Catholic, and then Kroll, Mordensgaard and Rebekka will all be able to see the true solution, and the whole region can light up again with the light of Christ.

Kyrie eleison.

Frankfurt School

Frankfurt School posted in Eleison Comments on November 7, 2009

Valuable lessons for all friends or lovers of “Western civilisation” are to be culled from an analysis of the USA’s leftwards lurch in the 1960’s by a Californian Professor of Psychology, accessible at www.theoccidentalobserver.net/articles/MacDonald-WheatlandII.html . Professor Kevin MacDonald is there reviewing the critique of mass culture in a book on “The Frankfurt School in Exile.”

The Frankfurt School needs to be much better known. It was a small but highly influential group of non-Christian intellectuals who, when Hitler came to power, fled from Germany to the USA, where in conjunction with a like-minded group of New York Trotskyists they continued to exert an influence out of all proportion to their numbers. Feeling a profound alienation from the “traditional Anglo-American culture,” says MacDonald, they made war on it by promoting the individual against the family, multi-culture against White leadership, and modernism against tradition in all domains, especially the arts. “Theodor Adorno’s desire for a socialist revolution led him to favour Modernist music that left the listener feeling unsatisfied and dislocated – music that consciously avoided harmony and predictability.” The Frankfurt School wanted “the end of the order that bore the sonata.”

The Frankfurt School scorned the American people’s lack of desire for Revolution, and they blamed it on the people’s “passivity, escapism and conformism,” says the Professor, and on “late capitalist” control of the mass culture by, for instance, conservative organisations imposing moral standards on Hollywood. Yet when in the 1960’s they themselves gained control of the media, universities and politics, they exploited to the full the mass culture and Hollywood and the people’s on-going sleep-like condition to swing them to the left. The Professor laments the resulting vicious attack upon “White interests,” “White identity” and the “traditional people and culture of the West.”

The Professor is right on several counts. For instance, the war is not mainly between capitalism and communism, as the leftists originally thought, and as many Americans still think. Material comfort has lulled the American people to sleep, after the 1960’s as before them. Also, on or off the leash, Hollywood and culture play a huge part in moulding minds and masses (which is why “Eleison Comments” often treat of cultural topics). Also, there does exist a small group, conscious and resolute, of highly influential enemies of “traditional Western culture.”

However, to defend “White interests” the Professor needs to go well beyond White interests as such. The real problem is religious. Why did White Europeans ever have so much to give Because for centuries and centuries they co-operated with God’s grace to profit best by the Catholic Faith. Why does this small group of leftists so hate “Western culture”? Because it is the lingering remains of that Faith. And why did the small group become so powerful from the 1960’s onwards? Because at Vatican II the same “Whites” were mainly responsible for the Catholic officials’ betrayal of the Faith which took place at that Council. Today’s triumph of the leftists is no more nor less than a just punishment from God.

Professor, you are not asleep. Now pick up a Rosary!

Kyrie eleison.

Masking Apostasy

Masking Apostasy posted in Eleison Comments on May 3, 2008

Question: Why do so many politicians of modern times talk right-wing while acting left-wing? Because the people want to go left while pretending to stay right. And why do the crowds want to slide leftwards while pretending not to do so? Because they want to bask in a godless future even while they pay hypocritical homage to a godly past.

For if there is one word to sum up the last 500 years of world history, it is the word “apostasy,” i.e. a falling away from God. Now, ever since God revealed himself in the Incarnation, that has meant a falling away from the Incarnate God, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and His Catholic Church. Before the Incarnation, apostasy could never be so clear. Ever since the Church established Christendom, if one wished to descend from those medieval heights, it made such apostasy necessary.

But from the end of the Middle Ages onwards it was so clear that those heights were truly high, that all those choosing to descend had to honour what they were quitting even while they were quitting what they claimed to honour. Hence the hypocrisy intrinsic to, for instance, liberal and socialist politicians. For instance, when somebody tried to sing the praises of Communism to Winston Churchill, he snorted: “Christianity with a tomahawk!”

However, as usual since the Incarnation, the heart of the problem lies not in politics but in the Church. “Left-wing” and “right-wing” are terms arising from the division of the French Revolutionaries of 1789 into violent and only semi-violent, destroyers of the Old Order, that of throne and – altar. Now King Louis XVI was guillotined, but the real target was the altar. Therefore what differentiates left-wingers from right-wingers is their more or less explicit apostasy.

So when Cardinal Suenens described Vatican II as the French Revolution of 1789 within the Church, it is not surprising if the mass of churchmen divided into extreme or only moderate destroyers of the Old Order, i.e. of the true religion. But, as in 1789, the moderates were, and remain, destroyers still. Woe then to churchmen of today who would try to blend with these “moderates”! They risk adding themselves on to the end of a 500-year list of hypocritical traitors, however well-meaning!

Kyrie eleison.