The Gateway to the West

As I sit at the BNF in Paris I was surprised to stumble upon a beautiful series of streets and alleyways on my way over. These curious shops distinct to Paris are known only as the passages. Within there is contained the most unique items, books, and models for purchase. I could not help picking up a action figure of my favorite hero: Roland of Charlemagne’s rearguard.

Now on to business. This article is in defense of Western Culture. The shops in the passages de Paris must be defended. As I understand, there are three major enemies to western civilization today.

  1. Globalization. In a place like Paris, it is pure sorrow to find McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Starbucks. Really, the coffee here is so much better. I don’t know what it is. Globalization erodes local culture. And that is like gutting a swine. Don’t gut the swine but feed it corn. The scorn of all culture is also the erosion of local culture in favor of globalized soft culture, which is further expressed in the second entry.
  2. Erosion of local culture by soft culture of the east. Eastern culture has been subtly infiltrating the western world since the advent of globalization. This is an erosion process could be the decline of western culture. Their cultural war on the west is more likened to a crusade to destroy all things in the west.
  3. The decline of Christianity. Christian thought is the pillar of western civilization. The dissent from this very important bedrock spells disaster, especially when people abject to christianity in favor of another enemy: love of wealth.
  4. Terrorism. Muslim extremists continue to search for vulnerabilities in the west. They take any opportunity to strike and attack. They consistently back the soft cultural war from the eastern realms.
  5. Extreme capitalism in the context of globalization. Greed for money and worship of the God Mahmoud presents the downfall of christian thought and western civilization. Distracted by the golden bull, men of the west cling to cash. This is a very bad thing, for money is not to be placed ahead of culture and faith in God. The community cannot survive on wealth alone, in fact, it even presents the fragments of rebellion and dissension between those who have and do not have.

    I dare say, there is trouble on all fronts. And the enemy is in many forms: he is internal and on the outside. Soft culture must be reprimanded and those core beliefs of the west upheld. Christianity must be protected in the same way it was as far back as Charlemagne.

I’m currently staying in St. Denis. St. Denis was a 3rd century Saint who was converted by St. Paul in Greece. After conversion, he was elected bishop in France. His martyrdom was well recorded. The emperor Decius was an avid persecutor of christians and beheaded him in Paris at Montmarte. It is said that he rose, took up his head, and walked his way back to St. Denis, where there stands today a magnificent basilica that was erected somewhere in the 12th century. At this same basilica, just a stones throw from where I’m sleeping, St. Denis, King Charles, his sons and a multitude of other king’s are buried. This place is the very pillar of western civilization.

As I walk the streets of St. Denis I find that there is still much unrest and dissension. The world of the west has fallen apart by the erosion of soft culture from the east and muslim influences. France is very much the frontline of this cultural war. It is the gateway into the West. Muslim terrorist attacks happen here frequently. Moreover, Islam is vindicated by much of the people in St. Denis. So is the basilica really among friends? I think not. But we must reevaluate what this place stands for.

This essay leads me into my next topic, which is how literary images can embolden and make change. Within literature there is contained the values and life blood to preserve western culture. Two key narratives are indispensable in evaluating the missing values that must reemerge in order to preserve the west: Arthur’s Legend and The Song of Roland.

  1. Arthurs Legend. At Arthur’s court the key attributes of courtliness are first established. These are absolutely critical to maintaining to keep western civilization alive. Don’t be a pautonier, be a free thinker. Courtly conduct is demonstrated  first in the King’s oath. The King’s oath is that he won’t so much as sit down to eat or wear his crown at court unless an adventure happens first. The adventure would often entail one of his best knights sallying forth and accomplishing some marvel of a feat. This emphasizes the important role of the sovereign. He is to place his duty to the people above his personal comfort. A king’s oath is that, before he amuses himself, he must hear the cases of the land and have resolution to the most important adventures. These quest’s were successfully accomplished by Arthur and his knights, and that is how the entire governing body was upheld: through the vindication of the people. Arthur was adamant about hearing every case in the land. Here is why this matters: Does Donald Trump go out to the people in the streets, hearing the problems of the poor and rich communities alike? Not at all! A king, or president (its the same fricken thing) must have an active participation in establishing equity in his kingdom. Get your hands dirty, Trump!
  2. This leads to the second courtly oath, sworn by Arthur’s knights of the Round Table. The knight’s oath is that they are bound to serve a maiden wherever and whenever, especially if she brings a complaint to the court. The knight’s sword was an extension of the king’s justice. He was just as much a symbol of justice and carried the law wherever he traveled. Women must have their rights upheld at all costs. This is paramount to the courtly ideal and, more deeply, principles of equality. In parts of the muslim world, women are beaten and disrespected. The protection of women is critical to our faith and culture of equality. Without love we are nothing. In America today we see a blatant disrespect of women. Rape cases and harassment is on the rise. Rap music has profanely discriminated women and objectified them. The popular culture has followed suit and continues to insult the female sex. Union of the sexes must be embraced and the rights of women upheld by men of worth. The gentlemen of today are very much like the Round Table knights of yesterday. Now I will tell you something about the unification of the sexes: “For God put the force of generation into testicles and penis with marvelous intention- willingly, not to spite of himself- so that the species might by always alive through fresh renewal.” 

The third oath was made by Queen Guenevere’s knights. This was a more general address about suits and cases. The Queen’s knights made the oath that they would accept all challenges and suits that came to court and resolve them by combat. Man-to-man, single combat was the primary mode of administering justice. Since Arthur’s knights were the most formidable in the land, this made it easy to maintain justice. I do not call for the modern world to revert to single combat again, but this oath is another courtly principle that must be taken into account. Gentlemen of rank and worth were the addressers and administers of the king’s law. The rules of justice were upheld by the knight, todays gentleman. So this challenge is that, before you seek to complain, that you solve and address the inequities in your own community today. Be the law that you wish to see and embody that change.

The second means of defending western culture today is synonymous with the defense of Christianity. The founding thinkers of today’s western world were christians. This religion is so ingrained into western civilization that it is unavoidably a part of it. Trying to neglect the importance and relevancy of christian thinkers- a task often ardently pursued by modern educators- is like trying to exclude the Roman thinkers from modern thought and philosophy. Muslim extremists attempt to extricate the faith and are rooted for those within the western world to fall on their own sword and self destruct. Likewise, believers in the acquisition of excessive wealth are taking us away from the faith. Knight’s were obligated to defend the church. Our own blindness and weakness has left us vulnerable to this major element. So here is where the Song of Roland comes in…

The national epic of France, the Song of Roland, is one of the most widely read Chansons de Geste. I am enraptured by Roland’s words before the battle against the Saracens; his battle cry of Montjoie still can be heard today… “Whoso had heard the cry ‘Mountjoy’ they raise / He would remember its valiance all his days.” King Clarion’s battle cry: ‘Mountjoy’ was in reference to the spiritual martyrdom of St. Denis, as mentioned earlier. The warriors with Roland were attacked by the Spanish through the treachery of Ganelon, who sold them out to the Spanish forces. The attack on the rearguard represents the attack on western culture today. The valiant Roland defends the borders and fights valiantly, even when heavily outnumbered. “Curst be the breast whose heart knows cowardice! / Here in our place we’ll stand and here abide: / Buffets and blows be ours to take and strike!” Roland’s battlecry can be heard today. He is the defender of western culture. Let him be a hero to recall and remember in the fight today against the formidable forces that attempt to destroy western culture.

In Arthur’s romance, the Saxons were a pestilence to the people of Britain. They attacked ceaselessly and burned the lands, making all a bitter wasteland. The seven kings of Britain and Little Brittany were constantly quarreling with one another, emboldening the pagan Saxon invaders to continue their harrying. It wasn’t until Merlin united all the kings with a peace treaty that they were able to rout the Saxons. They kings were quarreling with Arthur until this time. When they united, they did it under one banner: the banner of Christianity. Merlin told them to bear the white banner with the red cross, and to bear no other insignia. They assembled at Salisbury Plain and united by their common faith in God. Similarly, we must unite ourselves today against a common enemy. We must be defenders of our land.

Who are our enemies? It is clear that many of them are the same as they were almost a millennia ago. Muslim extremism is a significant military threat to the west today, their is no disregarding this. That is why the west must unite under one banner, casting off nationalism in favor of our common faith and western roots. Moreover, our battle is within. It is against the avaricious who favor wealth over preservation of the common wheel. Inequity is constantly a threat within. People need to be heard. The president and his advisors must go out into the streets to here the issues of the people. They must be generous with the people. The frontline of this war is everywhere. You can see it when you walk down the street, look at your phone or go to the airport. It is a war every common person can join in. Globalization is flattening the world. Soft culture from the east is constantly destroying and eroding our western roots. So what is the solution? Each person has a duty and obligation to revitalize their culture and defend it. First, learn about your culture and heritage. Second, uphold those values and defend what is right. It isn’t a crime to defend your land and values from attackers.

It is your obligation as a member of the western world, much like the knights of the Round Table, to protect, defend and preserve your land and culture. When a man losses his cultural roots and heritage, he may as well already be dead, for he has removed himself from a position to be a worthy social and political agent of change. So I leave you in hopes that you can find a way to cry out Mountjoy, and refute the invasions and erosions of our world that are happening around you in real time.