Classic EssaysRevilo P. Oliver

Conservative Twaddle

Soldier of Fortuneby Revilo P. Oliver

EDITOR’S NOTE by Wilmot Robertson: Soldier of Fortune (pictured), a publication that reeks of the good old days when Northern European nations squandered their best genes on asinine colonial ventures in Asia and Africa, has lately been getting into the news for its help wanted ads for white mercenaries. In line with its Errol Flynn image, the magazine ran an editorial by Lt. Col. Alexander McColl in its spring 1976 issue, which made all the right points in the beginning and all the wrong ones in the end. As an example of the confusion and self-defeating propaganda that permeates so much of present-day conservative writing, we reprint the final one-quarter of the editorial, which began by comparing our present times with the last days of Rome.

One is reminded of the time of the breaking-up of the Roman Empire, the collapse of the old Mediterranean civilization, the onset of the Dark Ages. Yet Christendom survived, and the names of the heroes and saints of that age are honored and remembered even yet. Aetius, Charles Martel, Roland of Roncesvalles, Columba of lona, Benedict of Nursia, Augustine of Canterbury. The Goths and the Vandals, the Huns, the Vikings and the Saracens, all were either thrown back or converted, and of the institutions of the older time, only the Holy Church survived.

But meanwhile let us not forget these things:

– that the South Vietnamese and the Cambodians — even the Buddhists — were fighting and dying for the defense of Christendom and against the sworn enemies of God and His Holy Church

– how appropriate it was that the insignia of the late U.S. Command in Vietnam was the Crusaders’ sword and shield, and its color scarlet red — in the rubric of the Church the color of blood, and hence of martyrdom

– that the disaster in Southeast Asia is not only an appalling human tragedy for the peoples of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, but also an avoidable and irreparable defeat for Western Christendom and the final requiem for the United States as a great power

– that the last time round, the Dark Ages lasted about five hundred years

McColl’s Soldier of Fortune editorial was so out of ideological kilter that it provoked the following abrasive clarification from Dr. Revilo P. Oliver:

FOR SHEER blithering drivel I have seen nothing that surpasses the claim that “the South Vietnamese and the Cambodians … were fighting and dying for the defense of Christendom and against the sworn enemies of God [Yahveh?] and His Holy Church.” Hell and damnation! Even a schoolboy, if his brains have not been addled and pickled, knows that those people fought (a) to save their own lives and property, and (b) because we paid them to fight so that we could degrade and debase ourselves by ensuring our ignominious defeat in a war that a world power could have won in a week, and ensure our defeat for the express purpose of (a) killing many young Americans and demoralizing the rest, with few exceptions, and (b) pumping more blood out of the taxpayers to slush it down so convenient a sewer, and (c) training blacks for use in future massacres of our people.

Christendom? An unfortunate but accepted geographical term that designates Western Europe in the Middle Ages and also the inhabitants (Europeans), thus becoming an anthropologitical term. ”

“His Holy Church?” In the Dark and Middle Ages Europe was united by a common religion in which the great majority of its inhabitants then believed, and in which a dwindling minority now believe. Roman Catholics profess to belong to an organization that is a continuation of the Medieval church and they still have a high priest installed in Rome, but even fifty years ago their doctrines were so different from the doctrines of the Medieval church that they were in fact, though not in name, a quite different sect, although that was not obvious to superficial observers. What the Catholics have today is a spiritless organization which is committing suicide religiously by claiming that God’s Vicar and God himself did not know what they were talking about for fifteen centuries.

And so we come to the “heroes and saints.”

Aetius. A Nordic, perhaps a Slav, of great military ability and courage and a ruthless singleness of purpose that eventually made him the supreme commander of the armies of the Roman Empire (i.e., the empire established by the Romans, who became extinct long before his time). In that capacity he, with his German allies, defeated the Mongoloid Huns at Chalons and thus saved Europe. He was undoubtedly a man: he killed Count Boniface with his own hands in a duel which somewhat anticipates the chivalric code of the Middle Ages, and perhaps the best proof of his character is that after he was assassinated by the little punk, Valentinian III, two of his officers revenged him by murdering the Emperor at the first opportunity. Aetius fought for himself, of course, and perhaps he may have entertained ambitions to reach an even higher rank, but he fought also for the Roman Empire, which was still being held together by the desperate exertions of a few men and, whether consciously or not, for Western civilization. He was nominally a Christian, but he certainly did not fight for the Holy Church, for which he had a kind of amused contempt.

Charles Martel. A German who made himself master of what is now France (keeping the Merovingian king as a useful puppet), a talented leader of the disorderly forces that in the Dark Ages took the place of the disciplined Roman armies, and, as the despoiler of Holy Church property, the founder of the feudal system. He decisively defeated the Saracens at Tours (Poitiers) and drove out the invading Semitic Arabs from France, though he did not recover Spain or even Narbonne. He fought for his own power, needless to say, and for the kingdom of which he was the actual ruler, and he may have been aware that he was fighting an alien and non-European race. He was a Christian, but he certainly did not fight for the Holy Church, although he found it expedient to make a deal with the Pope.

RolandWe know too little about Roland to say what manner of man he was or why he fought, but it is likely that a man who was made the subject of an epic three hundred and more years later must have been memorable. The Chanson is one of the great epics of our race, and a moving one, as all readers must admit who accustom themselves to the crude and unformed language in which it was written. The poet added Christian trimmings (but has eschewed the pious nonsense one finds in the Pseudo-Turpin and the trash derived from it). The poem itself makes it quite clear why Roland fought: for his typically Nordic determination to preserve his honor at all costs, for his loyalty to his emperor, and for the Germans (called Christians) against the alien race of the Semites (called Paynim). He is another Leonidas, the hero who gives up his life to save a hopeless situation. He fought for Christendom in the sense that the empire of the Franks was officially Christian, and the term included their kindred of the same race who were not Franks; and that empire was the heart of Europe at that time. The epic includes two other elements that are significant of its racial origin: (1) Archbishop Turpin, a formidable warrior himself, his religiosity appearing principally in his determination to convert Saracens permanently — convert them into corpses, I mean; and (2) at the conclusion of the poem, Charlemagne returns and takes condign vengeance of the Saracens in the manner of a true statesman. (He exterminates them; it is true that here the Christian god, who has evidently been asleep thus far, intervenes and stops the sun in its course so that Charlemagne will have uninterrupted daylight for the good work.) There are few passages in all our literature more moving than that in which Roland, the last survivor, unable to break his sword, places it beneath him as he dies with his face toward the enemy — and hears in his last instant of consciousness the thousand trumpets of the returning army shake the hills.

The Chanson is an epic of honor in the specific Nordic sense of that word. The religious trimmings could as well have been taken from the Norse or the Homeric religions, but, given the time, they are Christian — but it is a Christianity that has been made fit for men by simply ignoring the inappropriate pages in the cult’s holy book — and that means most of them. There isn’t any gabble about luff and brudderhoot and all mankint and the rest of the mind-poisoning nonsense that one hears now whenever a holy man goes into his act.

Columba of Iona. The exquisite sonnets of Thomas S. Jones, Jr., have cast a glamour of romantic pathos over all the monasteries of western Scotland and Wales, but apart from the poetry and from the silly stories about miracles, we feel that there must have been something manly about an Irish princeling who was able to lead a band of his unruly brethren and establish a large monastery on the barren isle of Iona, and we admire that quality in a man, however mistaken his beliefs. Columba is memorable for his intelligence and his courage, rather than for his religion.

And finally we are told that it was appropriate that “the insignia of the late U.S. Command in Vietnam was the Crusaders’ sword and shield.” Given the operations of that command (no doubt under the duress of orders from Rooseveltgrad), the only appropriate device on its shield would have been that of a jester in cap-and-bells in the act of blowing out his brains with a blunderbuss. McColl does appeal to whatever sparks of manhood may be left in our people, and there may be some, invisible under the ashes that have been shoveled over them; but he fatally misleads the men whom he may move by his words. About the only thing in his editorial that stands the test of sober reflection is his prediction of new Dark Ages.

If McColl had suggested to Aetius or Charles Martel or Roland that even one soldier should be detached from the army and sacrificed to save the Christians in Abyssinia (where there was a large Christian population at all three of the dates we are talking about), to say nothing of the Khmers in Cambodia, McColl would have been hanged with breath-taking celerity. Those commanders were Christians, at least in the sense that they probably accepted the prevailing religion of their times, but they did not have maggots in their brains.

* * *

Source: Instauration magazine, November 1976

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2 June, 2015 2:19 pm

Great article.