The Eras Of Western Civilization
I have known many on the Right who talk heavily of “Western civilization”… but who do not seem to know much about it. Or they have an opinion that Western civilization is whatever they want it to be, rather than what it is. Most seem to think of it as some type of monolith, instead of what it actually is: three broad eras (with numerous sub-eras).
For this reason, we need to address tradition and the eras of Western civilization.
My idea of Enclavism is traditionalist, in a strict sense. Tradition is the learned knowledge passed down by previous generations, which can be used to help us tackle complicated subjects that seem counter-intuitive. Our ancients have figured out the answer for us already, which is where tradition comes in.
I do not believe in abandoning this knowledge in the pursuit of “progress” (properly read: regression). This applies for all cultures, but as I am a Westerner, I relate far higher to the Western tradition.
Western Civilization, speaking broadly, has had three broad eras. This includes:
- The Greco-Roman era (which include the historic and ancient periods)
- The Christendom era (which includes periods such as the middle ages and the renaissance)
- The Enlightenment era (which includes the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, modernity, and contemporary periods) which we still reside under.
The preservation or reverence of Western tradition is then somewhat complicated, considering these eras are often at odds with one another on foundational precepts. The Enlightenment shares almost nothing in common with Christendom (for it was mostly a reactionary response to the decline of Christendom), and shares even further hostilities with the Greco-Roman era.
For example, post-Enlightenment includes universal suffrage, democracy, and egalitarianism. Greco-Roman is anti-egalitarianism and anti-universal suffrage and Christendom is anti-democracy. Christendom requires an intermingling of church and state, where the Enlightenment era requires the exact opposite. Christendom requires moral fortitude and moral objectivism, whereas the Enlightenment allows for moral subjectivism and contention-avoidance. There are about five hundred other examples I could present, but I’m sure my readers already have a few of their own off the top of their head from my initial incursion into the subject.
Since we are traditionalist, we desire to draw much more heavily from our heritage, which includes the Greco-Roman and Christendom, over that of the Enlightenment. But these two are not equivalent.
Still, for example, we desire certain elements from the First Era, such as the contributory framework for citizenship rights, strong demand for men of action, a proper corporative hierarchy, anti-egalitarianism, and republicanism. Additionally, the initial focus on heritage and pure might (prior to decline).
From the Second Era, Christendom, we seek the tradition of fortitude, supremacy of leadership and state fidelity, moral objectivism, rejection of individualism in favor of individuals acting collectively, and related qualities.
These two are tradition, in the “Traditionalist” sense of the Right. These are the traditions we seek to respect and emulate from.
Not much can be taken from the post-revolution Enlightenment except perhaps constitutional governance and an emphasis on reason and logic (which coincidentally are both structured upon the Greco-Roman history and could be alternatively categorized under them – see Plato/Aristotle).
The era of the Enlightenment has almost completely been dominated by the left, at least in terms of things we could take from as traditional. Most of the Enlightenment has been what has lead us to where we are now. They pushed for the endless “progress”, they demanded secularism/subjective morality, and they encouraged the degeneracy. The Enlightenment led to the modern and contemporary periods. It is, in many ways, a narcissistic and suicidal era. It begun with the inversion of everything. Even its name it is inverted – “Enlightenment” was not enlightening at all. In fact, it was a rejection of learned wisdom throughout the eras (tradition/heritage) in favor of the unknown, which we can now look back on with certainty was a failure of an idea.
Tradition is simply a return to what is sane from what we have learned throughout the lessons of history. We reject blind “progress” which has no pathway to sustainable success in favor of a structured road that is, while not perfect, slowly building us to that better path using learned knowledge over time. The Enlightenment era has been the former. Greco-Roman and Christendom were the latter.
The anti-traditionalists are in contrast to the traditionalists. Where the anti-traditionalists have a blind faith that their continually yet-to-be-determined version of the future will be better, the traditionalists generally recognize what is truly needed for sustainment and what must be done to do so. Where anti-traditionalists want to throw off all of the chains of the past without regard for what new chains they put themselves in, the traditionalists see the larger picture and desire to hold onto the critical elements that sustain them.
In many ways, it is a contrast between those who recognize history and do not want to repeat it, versus those who desire to repeat it ad nauseum in the pursuit of their current inclination of “progress”.
These two factions, constantly warring with one another, are the true drivers of civilization. We are firmly in the traditionalist camp, favoring historical heritage and realism over modern vice and blind optimism.
This is an absolutely essential topic for the Right to understand. These three eras are all Western civilization, but they are all very different. For example, a return to 1776 is still a return to the post-Enlightenment era, which will eventually lead us directly back to where we are right now. If it wasn’t stopped this time, it won’t be the next.
The “post-tradition” aspect of the Enlightenment is the problem, not the solution.
Therefore, when people say they are in favor of saving “Western civilization”, the first question to ask them is: Which part? Because the parts are not equal and the saving of one is the necessary death of the other. Their answer will tell you far more you need to know about their position than anything else.