The non-Christian right

The non-Christian right 1

It has become something of a trend for people with right-wing or conservative views to cultivate a Christian identity, sometimes even converting to Catholicism or Orthodoxy. Perhaps it is a search for roots, a fixed point of reference, or both?

The caricature of the right-winger is that he is anti-abortion, a gun owner, a lifestyle conservative, a Christian and family-orientated. At least that’s how it is in the US.

Many of us who lean to the right do not recognise ourselves in this picture. The question is, is pro-life even a right-wing issue? Maybe not everyone has a big traditional family and lives in the countryside, and not gun lovers. Last but not least, they may not be outspoken Christians either.

Are you even right-wing or conservative if you don’t subscribe to all this? Not according to the left anyway, and it is probably mainly they who have created this image.

The core of the right is about self-ownership and autonomy. In addition, property rights are central, as well as minimal interference from the state and its bureaucrats. We want to be left alone. What we believe or don’t believe in is our own business.

Then, of course, there is a conservative tendency that favours a big and strong state, and a church that oversees it all. In reality, this system was also fairly liberal, as the king and the prelates did not interfere in the everyday affairs of the people, and the tax burden was ridiculously low compared to today’s levels. The government was interested in the bigger issues, foreign policy, war and diplomacy. Politics was not total, and rarely affected the individual, unless there was a war or agricultural reform, land consolidation, etc.

Adventure, expeditions and colonialism were also a result of right-wing politics. We wanted to discover the world, measure, weigh and catalogue. The scientific mind, logic and reason were rewarded. We read the ancient Romans and Greeks, as well as more recent research and findings. Art, architecture, literature and music were valued. There was an end in itself in becoming educated, acquiring knowledge, travelling and seeing all of creation.

Still, there were conservatives who didn’t like the water from the well of knowledge as much. Books could be dangerous. Art and music seduced the young. Unnecessary adornment, ornaments and the like were signs of decadence. And travelling and adventure were dangerous; it was probably best to stay at home and guard the property. Life was to be lived calmly and quietly, potential unrest nipped in the bud.

This lame conservatism, which dislikes change and excessive noise, fits neatly into the concept of the ‘longhouse’, often used by thinkers like the BAP. Old men and women rule, young people are chastised and restricted, they are married off at a young age and soon become like their parents. There is no room for conquest and adventure.

The lame conservatism is close to today’s left-wing movement. There are a lot of bans, regulations, speech codes and censorship. And there is an unhealthy centring on gender roles and sexuality. But in slightly different ways. People are inhibited, disempowered and lacking in self-will and agency.

Both the left and the right contain different aspects of both polarities. But for me personally, the right represents the adventurers, Prometheus, Alexander and his generals, Columbus, etc., those who discover new continents, and those who will visit and colonise new celestial bodies.

Today, we are in an introverted culture, where a lot of energy is spent on software, but less on physical conquests, space travel, nuclear power, etc. We also see de-industrialisation in the West, manufacturing moving east, and medieval windmills generate our electricity. We like to talk about formalities – what can and cannot be said, and how they should be said – but not about the substance, what we are going to fill our fantastic future with. Instead, we fear tomorrow, that the seas will rise, deserts will spread and the sky will fall on our heads.

The Christian Right, in its worst form, becomes in this context yet another attempt to inhibit and contain the people. It is the right’s answer to: You will own nothing and be happy, eat ze bugs. At a time when we are extremely dependent on action and faith in the future, we should not be lured into nonsense debates about abortion, guns, family, church, etc., because there is a risk that we will be stuck for another decade or century. Life is action, intellectual rigour and beauty, not shapeless fermentation and ugliness.