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Against The New Paganism

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Over the past few decades, Christianity has both retreated from the public square and from mass culture and been pushed from them. Its once-venerable pillars in this country have atrophied. Catholics continue to disaffiliate, and many Protestant denominations can barely be distinguished from unbelief. “The crisis of the Western world exists to the degree in which it is indifferent to God,” Whittaker Chambers, an early editor at National Review, wrote in Witness in 1952. William F. Buckley Jr. believed that Chambers was susceptible to “Spenglerian gloom.” But, on that score, things since then have undoubtedly gotten worse in the West. It is said that nature abhors a vacuum; man’s soul abhors it even more. Thus, into this spiritual vacuum have poured all manner of pretender faiths. It is impossible to understand the rise of “wokeness,” the totalistic vanguard of the modern Left, otherwise. Then there is “vitalism.” As defined by John Ehrett in American Reformer, it is a call for the deepest possible return of all: a breaking of the fetters of secular liberalism and Judaism and Christianity alike, a recovery of a more elemental way of being-in-the-world. The nostalgia of neo-vitalism is for humanity’s most ancient days: for blood and war and shamans and the fierce exultation of the kill. The most prominent exponent of vitalism today is… (READ MORE)

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