The time has once more arose, as the fellow once said, to have a little thoughtful interaction with the concept of kinism. What I want to do here is have a little give and take with Bret McAtee (I am assuming Bret is jetbrane), who was recently kind enough to mention my name and some of my thinking on all this stuff. His piece is here. If you take a look at his bio at the end of the piece, many of the readers of this blog will see that there is a big overlap in the Venn diagram of our shared go-to authors, and so perhaps there might be hope of some progress. But given how clashes over ethnicity go, probably not. Sorry for getting your hopes up.
There are three reasons for tackling this just now. The first is that Canon Press is re-releasing my book Skin and Blood, which challenges kinism in various places, and this is the book Bret interacts with. The second reason is that Canon is also soon to release Stephen Wolfe’s book called The Case for Christian Nationalism, and a predictable line of critique is going to be that Wolfe’s thesis is a racist dog whistle. This should always be anticipated, even though it is hard to find anything these days that isn’t a racist dog whistle, if you follow my drift. And the third reason is that because we are all living under the current regime of a crazed board of governors overseeing the current ESG Madhouse, kinism is looking more and more like a responsible option to more and more conservative Christians, and so I think that some warnings are in order.
Gatekeeping Christian Nationalism
For example, if you look at the tweet I have helpfully included off to the right here, from a gent named Jan Schlebusch (who elsewhere calls himself a kinist), you will immediately see the pressing need we have to disambiguate, as Wikipedia would put it. There is no way to defend Western culture (which has been a major aspect of my calling in life), without incurring the charge of racism. This is a standard tactic of the Left. And in my experience, there have been many conservative Christians who would have joined in with this effort earlier if there hadn’t been all these darn kinists out there doing their level best to make the charge seem plausible. So rather than say that kinists were Christian nationalists before it was cool, I would prefer to say that kinists were playing the role of a dog in the manger—not really enjoying their brand of conservatism, and by their fringe behavior preventing others from wanting to join them. Schlebusch is skeptical of our motives, but I can still state them plainly. Conservative Christians aren’t worth a cultural dime if they aren’t routinely accused of being racists, and conservative Christians aren’t worth a cultural dime if the accusation has any merit or substance.
So of course, kinism only starts to look like a responsible option in demented times. You know, I find that I am using the word demented far more often than I used to. But it has to be admitted that kinism can start to look reasonable in comparison to what the commies are doing. This is because the commies despise whiteness far more than the kinists love it.
But you also have to realize that it only looks like a responsible option in the same way that a Calvin-Klein-hot-couple-in-their-skivvies ad looked back in the eighties, you know, sultry and miserable, when compared with a couple of body positive type models in one of their ads today, in which the probable-girl-unit has a beard, and the guy-unit is probably pregnant. The former ad was certainly sinful and worldly, while the latter is demented. See? There is that word again.
All of this is to say that the powers that be (with most of them being as white as the back of Elizabeth Warren’s knees) are doing their level best to make it appear like the kinists are the only ones who haven’t taken a complete leave of their senses. So why do I still want to cordon that kinist realm off with yellow caution tape like I do?
Perhaps a little interaction with McAtee’s piece will help.
Race and Ethnicity
And so first a little something on the vocabulary of the whole thing.
“Keep in mind that Doug keeps talking about race when Doug has said he does not think race exists. How can he do that?”
Bret McAtee, in aforesaid article
This is a fair cop, and there are two layers to my response. The first is that I have been talking about these issues for decades now, and over that time I have learned a great deal. One of the things I have learned is that a more biblical way to talk about these issues is in terms of ethnicity and not in terms of race. So while it is true that I believe that there are not difference races of men, there are different tribes. The nations of men (ethnoi) are recognized as a thing in Scripture, while races are not. But a number of the things I have written on this subject were from the time before I came to this conclusion and hence I used the more common vocabulary of race, races, and racism. You will see that in some of the quotes below. Before I would speak of the sins of racial animosity and racial vainglory where now I would want to say ethnic animosity and ethnic vainglory. So if you run across me saying something like the former, just translate in your head.
The second layer is that I sometimes I still defer to the current usage, either to save time, or because I am reverting to my factory settings, and old habits are hard to break. But it is true that, given the option, I would much prefer to speak of the sins and temptations of ethnic groupings because I believe that this is way closer to the way Scripture speaks of them.
“Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.”
Colossians 3:11 (KJV)
There was no racial difference between Scythians and the Greeks, but there were profound ethnic differences, which the blood of Christ came to address and reconcile. The difference between the kinists and me at this point is that we have both been asked to organize and catalog a vast library with various books from 13 different languages. I want to group the books topically and/or by language, while the kinists want to organize all the books by color—blue books over here, and red books over there. I think my way is more useful.
At any rate, I would really like to see us all retire the word racism. The word is almost completely useless by this point anyhow—I mean, the Left wants to apply it to everything, which has made it worthless as a designation of anything specific, particularly as a designation of a sin. It is not a biblical word.
McAtee begins his piece by quoting my book.
“The thing that requires me to identify kinists as racists (and as much in defiance of the Scriptures as any they oppose) is the overt malevolence they routinely show toward the image and work of God Himself. To mock folly and sin is a prophetic duty. To mock the color of a man’s skin is to defy the handiwork of God.“
Douglas Wilson, Skin and Blood
And he also quotes me as saying this . . .
“Racial malice and racial vainglory are sins against God, not because they take the obvious factors of race into account as they interpret the world, but because they are malicious and vainglorious.”
Douglas Wilson, Skin and Blood
First, notice my use of “racial” and “race” in that quote, which is how I used to speak of these things. Back in the old days before I was wise.
So let me begin our interaction with something McAtee does grant at the beginning, and which I am very glad to see—as far as it goes.
“Allow me to admit that there have been times when I have seen black people being mocked by white Kinists simply because they are black. I do agree when this happens this is a bridge too far . . . I will grant that it is still sin to mock the color of a man’s skin if Wilson will grant that a majority of people with pigmented skin have been co-opted to genocide White Christians and to roll Jesus Christ off His throne.”
First, while I don’t want to quibble, it seems to me that a confession that mean-spiritedness is wrong ought not to be dependent on anybody else admitting to something else. That’s not how this works. But as far as the point he wants me to grant goes, I do grant it. But something more needs to be said, and it is really important.
“I do think though that the Rev. Wilson might want to take into some considerations that there currently is an ongoing attempt to genocide white people, or at the very least turn them into hewers of wood and drawers of water (slaves) . . . Does Wilson need to be reminded that it is minorities along with other constituencies who are have been captured by the cultural Marxists . . .”
No, I don’t need to be reminded of anything like that. I am in a pitched battle with the commies, and I don’t much care what color the commies are. Here we are, defending our cultural Helm’s Deep, and the next wave of orcs comes swarming up the walls. And then suddenly, down our rampart a little bit, I hear the cry raised by the kinists. “Just shoot at the darker ones!” I would suggest mildly, and with just a hint of exasperation, that somebody doesn’t understand what the hell is going on.
Various minorities, pigmented and otherwise, have in fact been co-opted by forces of great evil in the world. That is true. But their program is not really genocidal. What is the color of the co-opters? It would be better to describe all this as suicidal.
“But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: All they that hate me love death.”
Proverbs 8:36 (KJV)
When the body of whiteness is found, and the gun lying beside that carcass still warm, it will not be to the point to say that the gun hated whiteness. The gun was the instrument, but it was whiteness itself that pulled the trigger. Aggrieved minorities (ethnic, sexual, hearing-impaired, and Vietnam-era vets) are being used as the instrument, sure enough. So?
I grant that “whiteness” has been made a central target, and that extermination of Western civilization, that is to say, a generically Christian civilization, is the goal. Much of the besieged city is not truly Christian anymore, but these people hate God so much they don’t want anything that even reminds them of something that used to be Christian.
But who co-opted these minorities in the first place? Who enlisted them to do this awful thing? Who is using them as a cat’s paw? White people, that’s who. Woodrow Wilson was white. FDR was white. LBJ was white. Earl Warren was white. Margaret Sanger was white. King Charles III is white. Out of the six justices who voted for Roe, only one was black. Elizabeth Warren is white. Ted Kennedy was white. Nelson Rockefeller was white. John Roberts is white. Jimmy Carter is white. Nancy Pelosi is white. Hillary Clinton is white, ditto Bill. John Dewey was white. Richard Rorty is white. Keith Olbermann is white. The overwhelming number of Ivy League grads are white. Shall I go on?
So when the commies are wrecking the place, which they are, you don’t get to say that all the white people who cooked up the destructo-plans in the first place are doing their evil deeds in spite of their noble skin color, and that all the darker-skinned groups that have been enlisted as patsies in the cause are doing it because of the color of their skin. How convenient for the thesis. What my net don’t catch ain’t fish.
Misjudging the Kinists?
However, I do not think this [malevolence] is the norm for Kinists and I know that Wilson can’t prove it is the norm. Anecdotal evidence is not proof.
So let me lay out what I am basing my observations on. I acknowledge that it is anecdotal, and if my impressions are way off, and the kinist world is a place of inter-racial respect and harmony, no one would be more delighted than I. But let me tell you how I came to my conclusion.
The original groundwork for what I wrote in Skin and Blood was a website from back in the day called Little Geneva. It was of particular interest to me because it was kinist, and Reformed, and presuppositional, and so on. My friend Phil Johnson called it “appalling,” which it regularly was. The “bridge too far” that Bret refers to was a bridge that LG lived pretty close to, just like Johnny Rivers and the Mississippi, and which they crossed over as a matter of routine. I believe that was where I was first introduced to the term kinist, and they were the ones who set the tone for all my subsequent responses.
The second reason for my ongoing take on kinism would be the regular parade of commenters on my blog, those who were a big part of my reason for turning comments off for most of my posts. If I were to publish a little something in defense of Western culture, say, somebody was sure to show with an intense desire to talk about the Jooooozzzss. So if kinists want us to believe that as a group they are not snarling and biting any more, they need to select a better set of ambassadors.
“The white Kinists I know are the people who are the most likely to reach out and help people from other races when they are in genuine need. I completely reject Wilson’s anecdotal charge of malevolence . . . Wilson wants to paint kinists as solely white and as uniquely haters.”
Having said the foregoing, it is important to note that I have no desire to accuse McAtee himself of malice or malevolence, and I am sincerely glad to see him acknowledge here what he states about the sinfulness of that kind of attitude. And I do take his agreement on this point at face value.
But I still need to pick up on something Bret says at the end of that previous quote. I believe that the temptations to animosity and vainglory are universally human because all humans are fallen, bent, and sinful, and this is one of the common areas where it is on display. I don’t believe that whites or blacks or Jews have an inside corner on this sin. Not at all.
Again, the sins associated with all this are ethnic animosity and ethnic vainglory. The former is something we here in Moscow hate with the heat of a thousand suns. The latter is something we hate with the heat of 25 suns. The former diabolical and filled with spite and envy. The latter is filled with the bumfuzzledness of human blundering and stupidity, which on a good day can be somewhat endearing. Kind of like watching a Dufflepud Superiority Rally, where there is so much cringy fremdschamen material on display that one does not know where to look, and it is so bad that a sort of splendor creeps into it. So on the more entertaining days, I simply disapprove with the heat of a tanning booth set at medium high down at the Summer Solstice Tanning Salon.
“Note also that Wilson assumes above that only white people are Kinists. I know black Kinists, Filipino Kinists, Mexican Kinists, Sub-continent Indian Kinists, and Mexican Kinists. Are all these people skinists also or does Wilson save his pejoratives for only white kinists?”
Yes. All of these kinists are skinists. In my world, nobody gets a free pass to sin because they are sinning on behalf of a certain color swatch they got at Benjamin Moore. But they are skinists because this is a common human failing. Every ethnic group tends to think that they are the center of the world, and are regularly astonished at any form of cosmopolitanism. And there are two basic forms of cosmopolitanism. There is the form brought about by merchants, harbors, international traffic, supply chains, and foreign exchange students. This can be benign, but it often drifts into the supercilious attitude currently on display with our globalist elites, noses in the air, jetting off to Davos to save the planet again. That’s one kind. The other kind is a gospel cosmopolitanism, the kind established by missionaries, church planters, and Bible societies.
A biblical doctrine of sin and depravity would protect us from a lot of this foolishness. When I read of certain atrocious passages in the Talmud (and there are some), I don’t think of the unique perfidy of Jews. Rather I take it as just one more entry in Paul’s Romans 2 argument that the Jews are lost sinners, just like everybody else. When I read of the appalling treatment that Americans applied to certain Indian tribes, I don’t blame whiteness, or America, or the Founders. I reflect on the fact that Americans are descended from Adam, and have behaved exactly like that on more than a few occasions. When I think of the African kings who enslaved other Africans and took them down to the coast in order to sell them off to the slavers, I don’t attribute this to the blackness of their skin, but rather to the blackness of their hearts.
No Monotone Glory
[Referring to Titus 1:12-13] Doug would have to concede that Paul affirming true the race of Cretans being always liars, evil beasts and lazy gluttons a racial slur . . . Today Paul might say some races are more prone to violent crime than others. It’s just an observation of a natural reality in differences of races. Just as we talk about the penny-pinching Dutch, or the stubborn/fighting Scotsman, or the quick-tempered Irish.
And he also says this:
“There is a stream of the Gnostic in Doug. Doug seems to think that if the black man and the white man would alike properly worship the same God that would eliminate all the differences between race. I do not believe that is true. I believe that the races were created by God to be distinct and different and those distinctions and differences remain even when they all worship the one true God in the proper manner . . . Regeneration and proper worship of the one true God doesn’t erase what it means to be Irish or Kenyan. It doesn’t negate or remove the distinctions.”
Of course it does not. It is hard to know how to respond to this because it is a point I have been making for a long, long time, and with regard to the first quote, doing so while arguing from that very passage in Titus. Here is an example of it:
Suppose the apostle Paul had said something like, “‘Cretans are evil beasts, lazy gluttons, and liars.’ This testimony is true” (Tit. 1:12). Just suppose, all right? Would it be to the point to say, “some are, some aren’t, just like the rest of us”? Different cultures sin differently, even though we live in a time when it is almost illegal to state the obvious. Some cultures are laid back, some of full of cussedness, some are grasping, and some are lazy.
Me, back in 2008
But having said all this, it is crucial to note that the apostle Paul does not leave the Cretans to wallow in their wicked ways. He goes on to tell Titus to “rebuke them sharply” so that they wouldn’t be like that any more. There is no genetic determinism when it comes to sin.
So as the gospel brings the world closer to the blessed day when the world will be filled with all the fruit of God’s kindness, the different ethnic groups are going to bring all their variegated glories into the New Jerusalem. And all of us, emptied of our vainglorious pufferies by that point, will praise and honor one another, each of us esteeming the other groups as better than our own (Phil. 2:3). This is not the self-loathing we see on display now, but rather the glory of Christian humility, which is something some white people really need to work on. Some whites do the self-loathing thing, and others do the chest-beating, and everybody ought to consider Paul’s more excellent way.
As the kings and chieftains are making their way through the gates of that New Jerusalem, there will be no thrown elbows, catcalls, or jeers. Differences yes, but the differences of all the varied instruments in a symphony orchestra, all playing a song composed by Moses in Heaven, and by the Lamb.
“And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.”
Revelation 15:3–4 (KJV)
One Last Thing
In a different article, Bret McAtee complains about the Leftist press anointing me as the titular head of the Christian Nationalism movement, and argues that I am going to use my immense powers the same way that William F. Buckley did when he “cleansed” the conservative movement, first of the Birchers, followed by others like Brimelow and Sobran.
He bases his account of this on an article by Murray Rothbard, and one wonders why McAtee is demonstrating his leftward drift so openly, citing the work of a Jew like that. A little suspicious, no?
However I confess myself as not being in charge of anything that other people might want to call themselves. I am only in charge of what I am willing to call myself. And if Christian Nationalism comes to be widely associated with ethnic animosity and/or ethnic vainglory, then to Hell with Christian Nationalism, and I would rather be dead in a ditch than to call myself that. I would drop it like a hot rock. But if Christian Nationalism gets successfully defined by Christians who understand how important it is not to go down that ungodly wormhole, then I am happy to be associated with it.
But time will tell. I have not yet gotten my orders from the CIA.