by Herr Teufelsdröckh
In the most recent broadcast of American Dissident Voices, Kevin Alfred Strom urged us all to immerse ourselves in our own culture as much as possible, and to ‘fill our bookshelves with the greatest works of all time’; with those great works conceived by what Tennyson called the “supreme Caucasian mind.” To this end, I think I will not mislead anyone if I say that the works of Thomas Carlyle (image) would make a fine addition to any thinking White man’s personal library.
Carlyle’s name has come up before in the pages of NationalVanguard, as I was very pleased to see; a fine article by John Goth gave an analysis of Chartism, one of Carlyle’s earlier works, published in 1840. I propose to discuss here one of the shorter works which Carlyle penned toward the end of his career, “Shooting Niagara – And After?” It is by no means the best or most profound of Carlyle’s productions, but it provides a good introduction to the man’s thought as a whole, and, moreover, many particularities of it are quite obviously relevant to our current struggle.
“Shooting Niagara” was in part a response to a bill which was set to be passed by the English Parliament in 1867, granting all adult men the right to elect their own Members of Parliament. But in this essay Carlyle sees the Reform Bill as yet another sign of general trend that portends disaster for England on all fronts. He is hard-pressed to explain the popularity of political and other movements, which, to his mind, can only lead to death and destruction.
"It is indeed strange how prepossessions and delusions seize upon whole communities of men; no basis in the notion they have formed, yet everybody adopting it, everybody finding the whole world agree with him in it, and accept it as an axiom of Euclid; and, in the universal repetition and reverberation, taking all contradiction of it as an insult, and a sign of malicious insanity, hardly to be borne with patience."
One of these delusions which had seized upon the lemmings of Carlyle’s time and continues to have a hold on them in our time is that “all men are equal” and that therefore the best form of government is that which allows everyone to participate in political decision-making. Carlyle responds:
Divine commandment to vote (“Manhood Suffrage,” — Horsehood, Doghood ditto not yet treated of); universal “glorious liberty” (to Sons of the Devil in overwhelming majority, as would appear): count of Heads the God-appointed way in this universe, all other ways Devil-appointed; in one brief word, which includes whatever of palpable incredibility and delirious absurdity, universally believed, can be uttered or imagined, on these points, “the equality of men,” any man equal to any other; Quashee Nigger to Socrates or Shakespeare; Judas Iscariot to Jesus Christ; — and Bedlam and Gehenna equal to the New Jerusalem, shall we say?
What good is democracy, asks Carlyle, if within its framework the vote of a witless Jamaican Negro counts just as much as the vote of a Socrates or a Shakespeare? Extending the vote to people who are not intelligent enough to vote in any sensible way is not likely to improve matters for us: ‘Bring in more voting; that will clear away the universal rottenness, and puddle of mendacities, in which poor England is drowning; let England only vote sufficiently, and all is clean and sweet again!’
Law and Order
Carlyle points to another disturbing trend, that of a self-serving government punishing, or threatening to punish its own officials for doing their duty. In 1866, Negro laborers of the British colony of Jamaica started an insurrection which claimed the lives of many White British
colonists. The governor, Edward Eyre, declared martial law, and put down the insurrection. For this brave action, England’s Lord Chief Justice condemned the governor at a public hearing, affirming that Eyre’s use of force to quell the insurrection was not justified, and that such severity must not be tolerated any more in Her Majesty’s colonies. Attempts were made by evangelical Christian activists, and their lawyers, whom Carlyle calls “rabid-Nigger Philanthropists, barking furiously in the gutter" to try Eyre in the courts for murder. This sort of thing, points out Carlyle, can easily be the beginning of anarchy, when the political climate becomes such that ‘nobody, official or other, is willing to risk his skin; but cautiously looks round whether there is no postern to retire by, and retires accordingly, — leaving any mob-leader, Beales, John of Leyden, Walter-the-Penniless, or other impotent enough loud individual, with his tail of loud Roughs, to work their own sweet will. Safer to humor the mob than repress them, with the rope about your neck.’
American Dissident Voices listeners know all about the failure of American officials to protect American citizens along the Mexican border against hostile foreigners and mobs of activists. It is hardly surprising that our officials do nothing to stop illegal immigrants and drug smugglers, since the political climate now is such that they can be sued by liberal activists, attacked by liberal journalists, or fired by their nervous or traitorous superiors for faithfully doing their job.
Carlyle also lodges his protest against “sacred free trade” which he calls ‘free racing… in the career of Cheap and Nasty’:
Understand, if you will consider it, that no good man did, or ever should, encourage “cheapness” at the ruinous expense of unfitness, which is always infidelity, and is dishonorable to a man. If I want an article, let it be genuine, at whatever price; if the price is too high for me, I will go without it, unequipped with it for the present, — I shall not have equipped myself with a hypocrisy, at any rate! This, if you will reflect, is primarily the rule of all purchasing or employing men. They are not permitted to encourage, patronize, or in any form countenance the working, wearing, or acting of Hypocrisies in this world. On the contrary, they are to hate all such with a perfect hatred; to do their best in extinguishing them as the poison of mankind.
Free trade was still something relatively new in Carlyle’s time; words such as ‘consumerism’ and ‘outsourcing’ had not yet been invented, but this is essentially what he is commenting on here. The supposed benefit of free trade is that it makes goods cheaper, enabling people to buy more and more things at lower and lower prices. Any thinking man will see, however, that this is no real advantage. Far better for us to pay the real price for a few necessary goods built well, built to last by competent White workers, than to pay a low price for many shabby goods, and fill our homes with piles of useless stuff. Beyond this, the striving for cheapness in goods carries with it all manner of nasty hidden costs and consequences. In our own time here in the United States, Free Trade is the driving force behind corporate decisions to ‘outsource,’ to move their factories to countries where labor is cheap, and, on the other side, to lobby for the importation of cheap non-White laborers to the US. An honest White man ought to oppose Free Trade in whatever way he can: the simplest way is to simply refrain from purchasing those cheap goods, those ‘Hypocrisies’ wherever possible. Free trade can offer us nothing good, only ‘Universal shoddy and Devil’s dust cunningly varnished over; that is what you will find presented you in all places, as ware invitingly cheap…’
Aristocracy, and the Way Forward
By 1867 Carlyle was beginning to lose his faith in the English Aristocracy. He began to stake all his bets on ‘the unclassed Aristocracy by nature, not inconsiderable in numbers, and supreme in faculty, in wisdom, human talent, nobleness and courage “who derive their patent of nobility direct from Almighty God.”’ England could not be set right by the new politicians who would soon be elected to the Reformed Parliament, but all might be saved by a small nucleus of Invincible Aristoi fighting for the Good Cause:
...for if this small Aristocratic nucleus can hold out and work, it is in the sure case to increase and increase; to become (as Oliver [Cromwell] once termed them) “a company of poor men, who will shed all their blood rather.” An openly belligerent company, capable of taking the biggest slave Nation by the beard, and saying to it, “Enough, ye slaves, and servants of the mud-gods; all this must cease! Our heart abhors all this; our soul is sick under it; God’s curse is on us while this lasts. Behold we will all die rather than that this last. Rather all die we say; — what is your view of the corresponding alternative on your own part?”
This would be the final step, open confrontation with the Powers that [ought not to] Be, with the aim of overthrowing them. But, before that, the Aristocrats by Nature must form their own communities, and govern them according to their own high principles to the greatest extent possible without openly contravening national laws. Education would be essential, not only the teaching of the right facts and ideas, but also instruction and training to make everyone a useful, productive member of a fellowship united by a great cause:
But now, what is to hinder the acknowledged king in all corners of his territory, to introduce wisely a universal system of Drill, not military only but human in all kinds; so that no child or man born in his territory might miss the benefit of it, — which would be immense to man, woman and child? I would begin with it, in mild, soft forms, so soon almost as my children were able to stand on their legs; and I would never wholly remit it till they had done with the world and me. Poor Wilderspin knew something of this; the great Goethe evidently knew a great deal! This of outwardly combined and plainly consociated Discipline, in simultaneous movement and action, which may be practical, symbolical, artistic, mechanical in all degrees and modes, — is one of the noblest capabilities of man (most sadly undervalued hitherto); and one he takes the greatest pleasure in exercising and unfolding, not to mention at all the invaluable benefit it would afford him if unfolded. From correct marching in line, to rhythmic dancing in cotillon or minuet, — and to infinitely higher degrees (that of symbolling in concert your “first reverence,” for instance supposing reverence and symbol of it to be both sincere!) there is a natural charm in it; the fulfillment of a deep-seated, universal desire, to all rhythmic social creatures! In man’s heaven-born Docility, or power of being Educated, it is estimable as perhaps the deepest and richest element; or the next to that of music, of Sensibility to Song, to Harmony and Number, which some have reckoned the deepest of all. A richer mine than any in California for poor human creatures; richer by what a multiple; and hitherto as good as never opened, — worked only for the fighting purpose. Assuredly I would not neglect the Fighting purpose: no, from sixteen to sixty, not a son of mine but should know the Soldier’s function too, and be able to defend his native soil and self, in best perfection, when need came. But I should not begin with this; I should carefully end with this, after careful travel in innumerable fruitful fields by the way leading to this. It is strange to me, stupid creatures of routine as we mostly are, how in all education of mankind, this of simultaneous Drilling into combined rhythmic action, for almost all good purposes, has been overlooked and left neglected by the elaborate and many-sounding Pedagogues and Professorial persons we have had for the long centuries past! It really should be set on foot a little; and developed gradually into the multiform opulent results it holds for us. As might well be done, by an acknowledged king in his own territory, if he were wise. To all children of men it is such an entertainment, when you set them to it. I believe the vulgarest Cockney crowd, flung out million-fold on a Whit Sunday, with nothing but beer and dull folly to depend on for amusement, would at once kindle into something human, if you set them to do almost any regulated act in common. And would dismiss their beer and dull foolery, in the silent charm of rhythmic human companionship, in the practical feeling, probably new, that all of us are made on one pattern, and are, in an unfathomable way, brothers to one another.
When Carlyle says that ‘all of us our brothers to one another’ he certainly means all Englishmen, and probably all Europeans also. He believes that ‘simultaneous Drilling into combined rhythmic action’ is something to which we are naturally receptive, and that it is potentially a great source of strength, because it not only perfects the natural talents of individuals, but also teaches them to work together with their brothers, helps them to understand that together they are strong and capable of great things, but separately they may fall. Even for those individuals who might seem to us to be quite lost, incapable of doing anything good either for themselves or for others; just set him, with others like him, to do ‘almost any regulated act’ and you are likely to reform him. Such a community, composed of members who have “drilled” together since childhood in many endeavors, artistic, mechanical, militaristic, and others, will be united, and therefore, many times stronger and healthier than other ‘divided’ communities which have not experienced this benefit.
Carlyle concludes as follows:
Slowly or fast in the course of time you will grow to a minority that can actually step forth (sword not yet drawn, but sword ready to be drawn), and say “here are we, Sirs; we also are minded to vote, — to all lengths, as you may perceive. A company of poor men (as friend Oliver termed us) who will spend all our blood, if needful!” What are Beales and his 50,000 roughs against such; what are the noisiest anarchic Parliaments, in majority of a million to one, against such? Stubble against fire. Fear not, my friend; the issue is very certain when it comes so far as this!
In order to keep this article from running on too long I have had to omit much that was of interest; I therefore advise the reader who has followed me thus far to read “Shooting Niagara” for himself, no longer in print to be sure, but, happily, available on the Internet here* along with other out-of-print works by Carlyle.
I also highly recommend Past and Present, and On Heroes and Hero-Worship which can be ordered from any bookstore.