(urth) Thecla's "Identity"

Ross Arlen Tieken ross.a.tieken at gmail.com
Fri Apr 5 16:36:30 PDT 2013

When I spoke of the Catholic modernists, I should have been more  
precise. The modernists all have weird spiritual proclivities. Eliot  
wasn't technically a Catholic either. I should have clarified what I  
meant: They all have a mystical bent, believe in strong authority, and  
are inspired by myth, myths, and mythic worldviews, and the middle  
ages. This leads to the accusation of fascism (correct in Pound's  
case, dubious in Eliot and Tate's, completely inappropriate in the  
case of Tolkien and Lewis) and to the strong stroke of nationalism and  
ethnic myth-making in these authors. Wolfe definitely shares these  
preoccupations. See http://www.thenightland.co.uk/MYWEB/wolfemountains.html 
; an essay on the importance of Tolkien which begins with the sentence  
"There is one very real sense in which the Dark Ages were the  
brightest of times, and it is this: that they were times of defined  
and definite duties and freedoms." In this, he echoes a Chestertonian  
defense of the Middle Ages and Catholic civilization. I also see in  
Wolfe an implicit defense of Neo-Feudalism and a strongly relgion- 
centric worldview.
Pound was a bad fascist; he didn't understand that it depended upon  
the same assumptions that modernity did, and paid the price for it--he  
failed to see the 'real' problem on which his contemporaries easily  
picked up; not just any mythos is good enough, there has to be real  
sticking power and it has to based in some kind of transcendent truth/ 
experience and allow also for the intuitive human good. Fascism of  
course fails utterly at providing this, but Tolkien & Eliot's strong  
ethnic (non-racial) Traditionalism and mystical monarchism worked  
fine. This is what I'm writing on for my dissertation, and I thought  
about including Wolfe although he's a little out of the time period.  
It's coming back though, these mystical traditional neo-feudal myth- 
making monarchist distributist Catholic artists.

On Dan'l Danehy-Oakes note: Distributism is the Catholic economic  
theory; Marxism's assumptions about "the way stuff works" are  
absolutely not compatible with the Catholic vision of humanity--nor is  
fascism, or hyper-capitalism for that matter. Both depend on a pseudo- 
scientific reading of humans--Catholics sort of aren't up for that.  
Distributism (championed by Chesterton and Belloc, later by Eliot and  
the Southern Agrarians in America) fulfills the requirements of  
Catholic anthropology while seeking to correct the culture-killing  
nature of transnational corporate capitalism. Look it up, tell me what  
you think.

Also, Wolfe is probably aware of Distributism and is a Catholic in  
good standing with the Church. http://ironicalcoincidings.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/inheriting-tolkien-pt-2-gene-wolfe/


On Apr 5, 2013, at 1:44 PM, Marc Aramini wrote:

> Yes I see- ephemeral and illusory promises instead of reality.
> I think it is Wolfe's dualism that creates so many interpretational  
> tangles for some, and that the things you mention are a part of that  
> difficulty.
> --- On Fri, 4/5/13, Dan'l Danehy-Oakes <danldo at gmail.com> wrote:
> From: Dan'l Danehy-Oakes <danldo at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: (urth) Thecla's "Identity"
> To: "The Urth Mailing List" <urth at lists.urth.net>
> Date: Friday, April 5, 2013, 11:33 AM
> The enmity between Communism and Christianity stems from Marx's  
> belief that religion was used to keep the proletariat in line, to  
> lure them away from their just rights with the promise of (as the  
> song says) "pie in the sky by and by." Or, as long as I'm on songs,  
> songs like Bob Marley's "Get Up Stand Up" put it very well.
> Mind you, I'm a Catholic liberal, so I have a bias in these things.
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Ross Arlen Tieken
Religious Studies
Rice University
ross.a.tieken at gmail.com
(361) 407-0100

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