You, who are now reading these lines, and I are strangers. I have no means of knowing whether you are a Christian or an atheist. That, however, will not matter, so long as we talk about facts and not wishes.
The observed and verifiable facts of the world about us are not affected by religious faith or the lack of faith. Christians and atheists must find themselves in perfect agreement when they affirm that lead is more malleable than steel, that the earth is an oblate spheroid rotating on its axis, that whales are mammals, that Germany was defeated and devastated by the many nations allied against her in 1945, and that the Chinese are Mongolians.
About such matters there can be no dispute among Western men, who instinctively accept the reality of the world about us and cannot believe, as do many Orientals, that it is merely an illusion in the mind of a dreamer.
If we would salvage and restore our civilization – the Occidental culture that is peculiarly our own and that now seems to be disintegrating and rotting before our very eyes – we must do so as Western men, by observing reality objectively and by reasoning from it dispassionately. And when we try to compute what resources remain to us, we need first of all to determine the actual strength of the Christian tradition at the present time.
It is a fact, which Christians will regard with satisfaction and some atheists may deplore, that Western civilization in the sense that the great majority of the people belonging to it (though never, at any time, all of them) believed implicitly in the truth of the Christian revelation. That religious unanimity was for a long time so nearly complete that, after the fall of the Roman Empire and the evanescence of hopes for its restoration, we of the West regarded our religion as the bond that united us and distinguished us from the rest of the human species.
During the Middle Ages, our ancestors occupied the greater part of Europe, and, until they discovered the American continents, they lived only in Europe, but despite that geographical unity, they did not generally refer to themselves as the Europeans. For all practical purposes, furthermore, our ancestors belonged to the same division of the White race: they, like the true Greeks and the true Romans before them, were all members of the great race that we now call Indo-European or Aryan, but they had in their languages no word to designate their blood relationship and biological unity. Thus, when they referred to the unity of which they were always conscious as something transcending the constantly shifting territorial and political divisions of Europe, they called themselves Christendom. And for many centuries that word was adequate and misled no-one.
For many centuries the West was Christendom and its civilization was indubitably Christian: that, whether you like it or not, is a historical fact. There is a complementary historical fact that was less obvious at the time and that even thoughtful men overlooked or tried to ignore until the events of the past two decades made it indubitable: Christianity is a religion of the West, and, for all practical purposes, only of the West. It is not, as its polemical adversaries so often charge, a Semitic cult, for it has never commanded the adhesion of any considerable number of Semites, and it is not, as Christians once generally believed, a universal religion, for experience has now proved that it cannot be successfully exported to populations that are not Indo-European.
Experience has also proved that it does not do the slightest good to deny ascertained facts. The men of Classical antiquity knew, of course, that the earth is spherical, and Eratosthenes in the third century B.C. calculated its circumference as 24,663 miles.
But the early Fathers of the Church, living in the age of growing ignorance that shrouded the last century of the Roman Empire, decided, on the basis of some statements in the Old Testament, that the earth ought to be flat or, at least, no more curved than a shield. Lactantius was the most eloquent and probably, therefore, the most influential of the many who assiduously demanded that the earth be flat and so imposed on their contemporaries the conviction that it was. In the Middle Ages, to be sure, there were some learned men, such as Buridan, who knew that the globe is a globe, but they, like learned men today, who all know very well that talk about the equality of races is utter nonsense, usually refrained from publicly denouncing fashionable delusions. It was not until the Fifteenth Century that the truth became again inescapable, but when it did, the Christians, being men of the West, who do not deny the lessons of experience, surrendered the comfortable error in which they had once generally believed; and since that time, no rational Christian has doubted that the earth is spherical.
Today, as in the Fifteenth Century, Western men have had to discard a congenial assumption to bring their conception of the world into conformity with observed reality. So long as we of the West held unquestioned dominion over the whole earth, we permitted ourselves to assume that our civilization in general, and our religion in particular, could be exported and made universal. We did not sufficiently observe that talent for mimicry is common to all human beings and indeed to all anthropoids; that all human beings stand in awe of those who have power over them; and that a genius for dissimulation and hypocrisy is hereditary in the most intelligent Orientals.
Even with these oversights, the evidence against our assumption was fairly clear, but in the pride of our power we felt that we could indulge an assumption that was so congenial to the romantic generosity that is a peculiarity of our race. But the events of half a century, and especially of the past two decades, have shown us, beyond peradventure of doubt, the shape of the world in which we live. We now know what our prolonged missionary effort, cultural as well as religious, accomplished – and how its visible effects were produced.
When Cortes and his small but valiant band of iron men conquered the teeming empire of the Aztecs, he was immediately followed by a train of earnest missionaries, chiefly Franciscans, who began to preach the Gospel to the natives and soon sent home, with naive enthusiasm, glowing accounts of the conversions they had effected. Their pious sincerity and innocent joy still lives in the pages of Father Shagun, Father Torquemada, and many others. For their sake I am glad that the poor Franciscans never suspected how small a part they played in the religious conversions that gave them such happiness. Far, far more persuasive than their sermons and their book had been the Spanish cannon that breached and shattered the Aztec defenses, and the ruthless Spanish soldiers who slew the Aztec priests at their own altars and toppled the Aztec idols from the sacrificial pyramids.
The Aztecs, Tepanecs, and other natives accepted Christianity, not because their hearts were touched by alien and incomprehensible doctrines of love and mercy, but because it was the religion of the White men whose bronze cannon and mail-clad warriors were invincible.
That was early in the Sixteenth Century and even then there were not wanting indications that should have given pause to a critical mind, but we of the West went on repeating that found mistake for four centuries, as the missionaries whom we sent to all parts of the world wrote home glowing reports of the number of “hearts” they had “won for Christ.” It was only after our enemies’ campaign of “anti-colonialism” really got under way that most of us realized that what had won all those hearts was primarily the discipline of British regiments and the manifest power of the White man.
We now know what happened. On many a shore of Africa, for example, missionaries eager to “win souls for Christ” ventured to land alone, and the aborigines, after mutilating and torturing them for a good communal laugh, ate them, cooked or raw according to the custom of the local cuisine. Usually, a few weeks or a few months later, a British cruiser hove to offshore and lobbed half a dozen 4.5 shells into the native village, and, if not pressed for time, landed half a company of marines to beat the bushes and drag out a dozen or so savages to hang on convenient trees.
Consequently the tribe, if not very obtuse, took the hint and respected the next bevy of missionaries as somehow representing the god of thunder and lightning. And if the men of God distributed enough free rice and medical care with their sermons, they were able to make “converts,” as the natives learned to utter the words that Christians like to hear.
That is, in essence, the whole history of “winning souls” among the savages. There were, of course, many local variations. If the first missionaries were preceded by troops or White settlers, the Blacks had already been convinced of the virtues of Christian rifles and had learned that White men should not be regarded as esculent comestibles. It often happened, however, that the natives, even after many years of preaching and conversion, rejected the White man’s odd rites very emphatically, and a fresh supply of missionaries was needed. In 1905, for example, the Maji-Maji conspiracy in Tanganyika murdered all the missionaries and almost all the White men and women in the entire territory, and it required a German regiment and several companies of marines to restore the teaching of the Gospel. That was done by giving some forty or fifty thousand demonstrations that a Mauser bullet could penetrate even a Black hide that had been most carefully anointed with the grease of a boiled baby.
The Christian missionaries did teach a ritual and often inculcated a superstition that had some superficial substance of Christianity, but they might as well have followed the example of St. Francis and preached sermons to the birds. That is why the many, many thousands of devoted Christians who expended their whole lives to “save souls” built only an edifice of cardboard and tinsel that is now gone in the wind.
What the vanishing of that flimsy facade has made obvious was predictable from the first. The religion of the West has never been comprehensible to the rudimentary minds of Congoids, Capoids and Australoids; races so primitive that they were congenitally incapable of inventing a wheel and even of using one without supervision – races that could not develop for themselves even the first and simplest preliminaries of a civilization.
When the missionaries invented systems of writing the crude languages of the primitives, they had also to invent words to express such concepts as ‘God,’ ‘soul,’ ‘justice,’ ‘morality,’ and ‘religion’ – invent them by either creating new words or by perverting to such meanings sounds that in the native jargons conveyed impressions that were faintly and remotely analogous. That fact alone should have made us think.
It was clear, furthermore, that the “converts,” even those who had been most thoroughly imbued with an awe of the god of repeating rifles and locomotives, would conform to the White man’s morality only under coercion, and that whenever they escaped from the White man’s supervision they spontaneously reverted not only to their own mores but also to whatever form of voodoo they had practiced before.
Even if earlier experience had not been conclusive, what happened in Haiti at the very beginning of the Nineteenth Century should have removed the last lingering doubt. But the missionaries did not learn, and the ‘Ladies’ Missionary Society’ went on contributing their mites, plying their needles, and glowing with tender emotion for the sweet little savages depicted by their romantic imaginations.
Although it is true that in some places in the former colonial possessions missionaries are still tolerated, if they are obsequious to the natives and pay very well, we have at least learned that the Gospel follows the British regiments in the White man’s ignominious and insane retreat from the world that was his.
REVILO P. OLIVER (7 July 1908 – 10 August 1994) died at his home in Urbana, Illinois, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Although he was suffering from leukemia and severe emphysema, the penalty for a long addiction to cigarettes, he chose to retain control over the time, place and manner of his death. Dr. Oliver taught in the Classics Department at the University of Illinois from 1945 until his retirement in 1977. He was a master of twelve languages and especially noted as a scholar of Latin and Sanskrit. He was also NSV Dir. Cooper’s Latin consultant for the more difficult translations. Dr. Oliver was a founder of the John Birch Society but he resigned from that organization in 1966 after its refusal to deal forthrightly with the issues of Jews and race. In 1970 and 1971, he served on the advisory board of the newly formed National Youth Alliance. During his final years of life, Dr. Oliver was on the board of directors for The Journal of Historical Review and actively sought to expose the so-called Jewish Holocaust of World War II. Most movement activists, however, will remember Dr. Revilo P. Oliver as a contributor of regular articles in the monthly Liberty Bell publication. (The Directors, National Socialist Vanguard.)