Category Archives: Worldviews


Postmodernism is a cultural movement which has marked the last few decades of the 20th century. It is there, even here, but many people are not sure what it is. Partly, this is because it is defined negatively as consigning modernism to the past. The irony of this move should be clear. But it is also not clear what modernism is and has been. Some see modernity as starting with the Enlightenment. Others see it as a movement at the beginning of the 20th century. What started at each of these times is also in dispute. The approach adopted here is to identify a number of postmodernisms, each of which might be important in their own way, and reflect on each of them.
Main Development.
The Frankfurt School and Rationalism. During the thirties a school grew up which mounted a critique of Enlightenment rationalism. Jurgen Habermas revisited the tradition of German rationalism. He noted the power and self-belief of Hegelian rationalism, the belief that the State really could march towards some logical-rational synthesis which would mark the final advance of Reason. But, noted Habermas, Nietzsche was both a turning point and marked the inadequacy of this view. He recognized the need for myth. Adorno and Horkheimer critiqued Enlightenment instrumental rationality – the kind which works out the most logical means with which to pursue ends. This approach, recognized by Max Weber, and developed by Austrian economists, Robbins and the Chicago School was foundational to business and management studies. They argued that inevitably this rationalism attaches itself to myths. As Jews they had experienced the perverted efficiency of the Nazi myth of Aryan supremacy. But other myths were open to a similar critique – ones like Modernity, Freedom and Consumerism. Marcuse in One Dimensional Man showed the similar lostness of a consumer culture. They thus cast a big question mark over the whole modern Enlightenment agenda of instrumental rationality. There is an overwhelming emphasis on efficiency, but to what purpose? Speed, leisure, national output, weaponry, trade, media communications all increase, but why do we need them? This vacuum at the centre of Enlightenment culture was not one which the Frankfurt school felt they could fill. Their value system tended to be of a kind of liberal Marxism. All they felt able to do, other than serve the myth, was to oppose it.
French Structuralism. One form of postmodernism occurred in French culture. It had the character of a reaction to rationalism, and especially the rationalist thinking which attatched to the ego in the form of Sartre’s existentialist philosophy. Beause this was a philosophical dead-end, a number of thinkers looked for a richer way of addressing human thought and culture. The key was language as understood within a French tradition of linguistic anthropology, especially in the work of Ferdinand Saussure, was language, la lange. As opposed to Modernism which saw language as giving an objective picture of reality, the Structuralists saw it in the following ways.
• It operated through difference, opposition, polarisation, which are our ways of making sense of the world.
• Language involves using signs – words, letters, signifiers, proper nouns – which we both use and need to study – semiotics.
• Language has many different codes of meaning and grammars which signify the relationship which we see things as having to one another.
• We construct myths which explain areas of experience.
• We are subjects, not consciousness. We are decentred into the signed world we live in. this move was anti-existentialist.
• We normally engage in the social construction of reality.
• There is no privileged language.
This way of approaching academic work grew in the thinking of Saussure, Claude Levi-Strauss, Roland Barthes and others. It was a way of moving away from old-style rational/logical philosophy into a wider relationship with cultural life and from escaping the inexpressibility of existentialism. Its advantage was that it allowed anything to be considered which was presented in signs and it detached meaning from what the author intended. Its problem was that it gave the possibility of establishing the truth over to the signifiers and became enmeshed in linguistic relativism. In principle, scholarship and learning had no possibility of deeper insight.
Wittgensteinian Language Analysis. A similar move had also taken place in Britain, although under the influence of a single man, Ludwig Wittgenstein. He was from Vienna, came over to Cambridge and worked with Bertrand Russell and others to develop a logical propositional language which would describe the world in a neutral, scientific and unquestionable way. This he set out in the book, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921) this great book set out the problems of this agenda. First, it was self-refuting. He stated the issue this way. “My propositions serve as elucidations in the following way: anyone who understands me eventually recognizes them as nonsensical, when he has used them – as steps – to climb up beyond them. (He must, so to speak, throw away the ladder after he has climbed up it. He was also faced with the limits of this kind of modernist language. “The sense of the world must lie outside the world. In the world everything is as it is, and everything happens as it does happen: in it no value exists – and if it did exist, it would have no value…. We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, the problems of life remain completely untouched. Of course, there are then no questions left, and this itself is the answer…” This language was also unable to address causality, ethics, the will, the person, the past, laws of nature and indeed, most of what human life is about.
When Wittgenstein, already by 1920, had revealed the weaknesses of this modernist mode of thought, he worked through to an alternative position, with the help of Frank Ramsey and Piero Sraffa, first in the Blue and Brown books, and then in Philosophical Investigations (1953). This book subordinated philosophy to language and especially the way we use language in life. Meaning, language games and the use of language in the way we live became the frame of reference of the book. Again, it gave over any claim to privileged status in philosophical statement. It was a radical conversion to philosophical humility. The most of philosopher could do was to clarify, to clear away the undergrowth of confusing statements and define what people actually mean. The end result is the subordination of philosophy to language and linguistic relativism.
French Postmodernism. From this school emerged French Postmodernism. By changing codes of meaning and exploring difference, it was possible to deconstruct a whole range of modern myths. This involved moving from the frame of reference which had authority to another one which does not to show that it makes a great deal of sense. Foucault looked at the relationship between sanity and madness. We assumed that mad people were in asylums and sane people outside. Wrong on both counts, said Foucault. Why do we say freedom and lock people up? Perhaps to teach them crime. There is an important French tradition of the fool as wise, and much that Western modernism claimed as sanity could not stand examination. The weapons policy of Mutually Assured Destruction, or MAD for short, is an obvious example. He also looked at the idea of sexual emancipation, and showed it to be a myth, because it enslaved many people while claiming to liberate them.
Leotard similarly announced his, and the broader culture’s, incredulity towards the Enlightenment metanarratives. These include:
• Science, which is supposed to set us free, but makes mistakes and enslaves.
• The Workers’ Revolution, which was supposed to usher in a new age, but led to the murder and suppression of millions, including workers.
• Wealth Creation, which was supposed to be to the benefit of everyone, but is for the few.
• Education, which was meant to teach us how to live better lives, but has lost its inner values.
• Technology, which often pollutes, complicates life and turns out to cost us more effort and money.
• Freedom, which widely seems destructive of relationships and personal wholeness.
• Nationalism, which has led to millions of people being at each other’s throats for much of the century.
• Modernism itself, which assumes that the new is better, when often it is not.
This willingness not to believe in the great themes of modernism can be expressed in a general distrust of big answers, including Christianity. However, because modernist themes were largely seen as replacing Christianity, this conclusion only follows if Christianity has the same character as Enlightenment metanarratives. Arguably it does not, because Enlightenment thought focusses on human possession of knowledge, while Christianity emphasises humans receiving forgiveness, salvation and knowledge from God. In this sense, Christianity is the one untested metanarrative within modernism..
Another theme was Derrida’s dethroning of the authored text. Within modernism we give authority to the author’s view of what she/he writes. But why? asks Derrida. The author’s work is compiled from a myriad of sources, and it will be read in a variety of ways. More than that the style now is to put together experiences which may be very different. Les Miserables at a London Theatre incorporates a multitude of different life experiences and interpretations. Television puts anything alongside anything else, either consecutively or by the use of a remote control. This change of focus diminishes the author’s idea of creativity, authority, uniqueness and individualised scholarship. It exposes some of the arrogance of textual construction and scholarship.
Critique of the Enlightenment Metanarrative. A number of Christian writers have undertaken a deeper questioning of the Enlightenment agenda. They see the underlying problem to be with the Enlightenment’s move from acknowledging God as central to human existence and understanding to making Man the measure of all things. The problems which then follow from the Enlightenment metanarratives above all follow from the denial of God. As Paul says in Romans 1 21-3, For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for human or subhuman idols. The formative thinkers in this tradition were Theo Vollenhoven and Herman Dooyeweerd who identified the underlying patterns of thought which the Enlightenment thinkers had adopted from Greek and Renaissance thought. Dooyeweerd’s New Critique of Theoretical Thought is a magisterial survey. Already in the 30s they had put together a Christian critique of rationalism.
Other scholars followed in this tradition. They included Mekkes, Van Til, Popma, Zuidema and Van Reissen, especially with his analysis and critique of technologism. Hans Rookmaaker produced the first radical critique of Modern art and working with Francis Schaeffer at L’Abri at Huémoz, Switzerland, mounted a contemporary Christian cultural reflection on modernism. Evan Runner at Calvin College in Michigan opened up a similar philosophical critique. Bob Goudzwaard opened up the critique of modernist perspectives in economic theory. A later generation of theorists who addressed the inadequacies of the whole Enlightenment enterprise include Bernie Zylstra, Sander Griffioen, Al Plantinga, Richard Mouw, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Elaine Botha, Pete Steen, Elaine and Alan Storkey, Jim Skillen, Roy Clouser, Leslie Newbigin, Graeme Cray, Peter Heslam, Philip Sampson, David Lyon and others. The common understanding of these people is that only when modern and postmodern cultures are properly seen in the light of biblical revelation will their weaknesses be evident and the actual difference between Christianity and western culture, especially Modernism, emerge.
A postmodern view of the Modernist Epoch. The Enlightenment perspective is a long-term one, whereas the phenomenon of modernism is quite directly identifiable with the whole of the 20th C and no more. Another postmodernist critique addresses just the rise and fall of modernism. Broadly speaking, Modernism can be understood as an era that adopted a particular approach to the past. Earlier, there had been a belief in progress and in some continuity between the past and the future. The French Revolution had tried to make a clean break with the past, but it had been suppressed, deemed a failure and drowned in Conservatism. Modernism not only sought to make a clean break with the past and despised its values and principles, but it also sought to capture the future and realize the future in the present.
Past (obsolete) Present ◄ Future
This perspective puts a great emphasis on the visionary, the creator, the one who can capture the future. There was a dogmatic commitment to the future. One always marched forward. New was better. This began the era of Movements; to be stable or stationary was inadequate. Science Fiction emerged as a genre. Garden Cities, Utopias, New Deals, Communist and Fascist visions of a New Society abounded. Within USSR Socialism a planned future was the fundamental model of change.Very often particular visions of what the future should be conflicted; for some it was a futuristic university, but for others it was a new shopping mall.
The break with the past often happened across the generations. The Young, to whom “the future belonged” rebelled against the previous generation. Angry Young Men, or the 60s Generation rebelled against their parents’ values and priorities. Mao Tse Tung advocated the Great Leap Forward in which teachers were vilified, and the young, with the help of Mao’s Little Red Book, were to break unfettered into the future. Thatcher’s children were to do a new thing. After a while this faith in the new foundered. Sometimes the future was faced more with fear and foreboding. Often a new nostalgia for the past developed and the future receded. Past, Present and Future were faced with less emphasis on the future and more on the present.
Cultural Relativism. In previous eras cultures have often lived in relatively self-contained units of nation and language, or they have involved western colonial export of culture. There are many exceptions to this, like the spread of Christianity, but the generalisation holds in that many people lived in fairly homogeneous cultures. The 20thC has seen the migration and transmission of cultures as never before. People movements have been unprecedented, and culture has moved with education, media, consumption and politics. As a result a high proportion of urban people encounter several, even many cultures. Cultural relativism requires that each is treated as of equal validity. Early in the century theorists like Max Weber and Piritrim Sorokin had faced the theoretical issues, as had Anthropology as a discipline. They of course faced the question of when beliefs and truths should be seen as fundamental and when relativized.
More popularly, it was faced in terms of whether Westernism should have a privileged place over against other cultures. Modernism assumed that it should. Post-modernism doubted this for a number of reasons.
• The West rightly had a sense of colonial guilt. They knew they had imposed their culture on others in a rather bad-mannered way. We’ll kill you if you don’t conform.
• If personal freedom becomes the overarching norm, then we are as free and right to believe anything as anything else.
• If scientific rationalism offers no basis for any beliefs, values and views of the world, then all religious and cultural views have equal validity.
• The internal dilemmas of Westernism have produced a loss of cultural confidence and a turning to other religions and cultures. E.g. Beatles and Sergeant Pepper’s..
• The political principle of impartial treatment of religious groups is in place. It is sometimes reconstructed as impartial tratment of religions.
Deconstruction of the Person. Perhaps the deepest dilemma in postmodernism concerns its understanding of the person. More directly, this is a permanent identity crisis. It is difficult to state this problem, because people remain as they have always been, created by God. They are no different. But the cultural perception of the self in the West has gone through countless revolutions, each of which has changed people’s self-consciousness. The strongest faith in the late 20thC has been in the self, the individual, and it has therefore fragmented under the weight of this faith, when it cannot be met. The earlier problems created by the conscious/subconscious, impressive/expressive, mind/emotion polarities were serious. Existentialism as a philosophy destroying any idea of the self was widely discussed in the 50s and 60s. After that there was no obvious secular ontology of the self. It was a question of how one could achieve wholeness, create oneself, achieve individuality, get it together or make a life.
But postmodern explorations have opened up how fragmented personhood has become. Below are some of the more obvious tensions.
• The presentation of self to one or more audiences leaves the question of who is the self presented and what happens when the selves don’t match?
• The Narcissistic self is self-preoccupied, but when the image in the water is examined it dissipates in ripples.
• Lifestyle involves the incorporation of the “self” in the style.
• Transsexual, gay and lesbian idioms raise questions about gender identity.
• Changing “effective” parents raises questions about the familiar self.
• Changing friends, jobs, partners, home, place of eating, pub and church induces a lack of sense of personal permanence. Am I still the same person?
• The underlying perspective of needing to create myself means that I cannot be, but only become – for a while.
Much postmodern literature and film presents the self as reinvented, kaleidoscopic, repackaged, as the outcome of events and experiences. Finding oneself, not living, is the focus, or if that is unattainable, having experiences which add up to a life.
A Postmodern view of Time. Linked with this is the change in the sense of time which occurs within postmodernism. The Christian understanding of time is of a created reality within which we live as past, present and future, all of which are lived before God. Time is thus open before God and not closed in Fate, Historicism or Determinism. Modernism broke with the past. The distinctive characteristic of postmodern time is to break also with the future and live only in the present, with the qualification that both the past and the future are brought into the present. Moreover, the present is “my present”; it loses meaning as history except as I can appropriate it to myself.
PAST: This occurs as dinosaurs in films or as toys. Braveheart is more important than Robert the Bruce. “Where were you when Kennedy was killed?” becomes “Diana’s death really upset me.” Gradually history becomes personalised in order to get people interested. It is dramatically recreated for us. There is a nostalgia industry and the museum culture is reborn as collecting things from the past to see now and experience the past.
PRESENT: This is overwhelmingly full of experience, which becomes the key category. Our own experience is augmented by the experience of others through news, media gossip, story, and the public lives of the media stars. The now reaction as choice dominates with weakened relationships to past and future. Credit brings consumption from the future into the present. “Love” is instant and implies less long-term commitment. Leisure is the point of life.
FUTURE: It takes care of itself. It is unpredictable and will come later as the present. Life is a series of existential present moments. Planning doesn’t work. To be young now is where it is at and old age and death are to be held at bay for as long as possible. “Settling down” and moving out of a present-focussed culture is a life-stage problem.
Of course, people continue to live lives where past, present and future lived before God matter, and the reality of this breaks in on present-focussed living. “The past catches up with me.” or “Short-termism doesn’t work.” Because the present is packed, in order to live, time escapes us.
The Spectator Problem. Another postmodern problem was the decentring of the self, or the movement away from living. For most of human history people have just lived. Modernism involved a strong understanding of the person being in control of life. Postmodernism is marked by a deep sense of being a spectator. This is both actual – many spend a third of their waking lives as media spectators – and also philosophical. We are taught, even required in a variety of contexts, to stand outside what we believe and are committed to doing. We move from doing sport to watching sport. The Royles TV programme allows us to watch spectators. We don’t have political convictions, but evaluate those who do have them. Films from Bret Easton Ellis and others underline the Spectator problem. The problem is not How should we then live? but how do we feel about those lives we observe on the soaps and other forms of spectatorism.
This is aided by the Third Person move. “I am Napoleon” or “This is unjust” can, indeed should, be judged true or false. He says he is Napoleon is true and provided observer status is maintained the underlying question of truth or falsity is not addressed. Most news is Third Person news. It has Spectator status and allows us to disengage.
This adds up to considerable areas of passive living, often third or fourth hand. We can watch programmes which show us what we watched in the fifties. The issue for many spectators is how they kick-start into living.

The problem of reflexivity.
The Reconstruction of Public Values.
Reconstruction of the Personal.
The Story.
Hypocrisy, Language and Truth.

Christian evaluation.
In Christian terms, much of the deconstruction of modernism is overdue. Indeed, an important question is why, with some exceptions, Christian failed to do this task themselves and vested most of their energy either in defending traditionalism against modernism or in surviving within modernism. Still there are important questions about the extent to which biblical studies and theology are now conceived within modernism.
Equally, too, we can now see the weight of the Christian scholarship which has critiqued the Enlightenment and Modernist agenda. The weight of the work of Kuyper, Dooyeweerd, Runner, Plantinga, Rookmaaker and Schaeffer is that they have seen the culture as Paul saw it in Romans 1, as lost without God. That recognition needs to be gently and articulately conveyed throughout the culture as a whole. As yet many Christians have not even seen the issue and continue to carry their personal faith in the limousine of modernism or to the next postmodern busstop.
Further, many of the postmodernist analyses of language, communication, logic, institutions, metanarratives and so on hold. They engage with partial truths, some of which Christians have or have not seen. Postmodernism thought thus requires proper engagement and critical evaluation by Christian scholars. Much of this has not yet been done.
But postmodernism also reacts against modernism in directions which comport with Christianity. The respect for the person and their beliefs, the holistic views of the person, the changing locus of truth, the pluralism allow the Christian faith to be heard and lived. This is important. Those who think in terms of straight-line movement away from a Christian past do not see culture in biblical terms, for the biblical understanding of culture is far more complex. Many walk backwards towards Christian culture, reacting to earlier lies and myths, but not facing God and seeing the central truths of their existence. This kind of movement is not insignificant. Argentinian Christians attest how after the military dictatorship, when the hubris of the system had been brought low, people were more open to the Gospel. Many, both Christian and Nonchristian are not aware of these freedoms. Others have taken full advantage of them. Spring Harvest was Christianly post-modernist before most people knew the word existed.
But postmodernism is also a further move into western secularism. It is a move from the big gods, the modernist metanarratives, to the little ones, the gods of hearth, home and circumstances. When we realise how small they are, perhaps they can be swept aside and the house of faith really cleaned up for the Lord Jesus.

Saussure’s Course in linguistics
1920 Wittgenstein’s Tractatus

Dooyeweerd’s De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee 35-6


1950 Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations

Schaeffer and Rookmaaker develop L’Abri
Rookmaaker’s Modern Art and the Death of a Culture

1970 Foucault Archeology of Knowledge
A Clockwork Orange

1980 Lyotard’s The Post-Modern Condition.

Newbigin the Other Side of 1984 Prince Charles “Carbuncle..”
Thatcher’s “Back to Victorian Values”
Postmodern Architecture
1990 Fukuyama’s “End of History?”

Pulp Fiction 94
2000 Tate Modern The Dome

Theodor Adorno (1903-69) Frankfurt School,
Jean Baudrillard
Max Horkheimer
Frederic Jameson
François Lyotard
Claude Levi-Strauss
Herbert Marcuse

Theodor ADORNO and Max HORKHEIMER The Dialectic of Enlightenment 1947
Theodor ADORNO The Dialectical Imagination London: 1973
Theodor ADORNO Against Epistemology Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1982 [1970]
Jacques DERRIDA Writing and Difference London: Routledge, 1981
Herman DOOYEWEERD The New Critique of Theoretical Thought 4 vols. Pa: Pres. and Reformed, 1957
Herman DOOYEWEERD Roots of Western Culture Toronto: Wedge, 1979 [1945-8]
Michel FOUCAULT Madness and Civilisation London: Tavistock, 1967
Michel FOUCAULT Discipline and Punish London: Allen Lane, 1975
Hans Georg GADAMER Truth and Method London: Sheed and Ward, 1975
Anthony GIDDENS The Consequences of Modernity Cambridge: Polity, 1990
Bob GOUDZWAARD Idols of our Time Leics: IVP, 1984
Jürgen HABERMAS The Philosophical Discourse on Modernity Cambridge: polity, 1997
(ed) Stuart HALL Modernity and its Futures Oxford: Blackwell, 1992
David LYON Postmodernity Buckingham: Open University Press, 1994
Herbert MARCUSE One Dimensional Man Boston: 1964
Hans ROOKMAAKER Modern Art and the Death of a Culture Leics: IVP, 1970
Alan STORKEY A Christian Social Perspective Leics: IVP, 1979
Alan STORKEY The Meanings of Love IVP 1994

Racialism and Nationalism

The Statism examined in chapter one contributed to both Russian Socialism and the dictatorships of Hitler and Stalin, but Racialism involved another set of commitments and ideas which did not operate in a direct ideological way in Socialist Russia. Many people would draw a sharp distinction between Racialism and Nationalism, but the understanding in this chapter is that they have much of the same underlying commitment. That position needs elaborating and justifying. Nationalism is an old European attitude and in the 20thC obviously helped generate the First World War, but it was intermingled with ideas which were racialist and a long part of European history, the practice of the slave trade and 19thC colonialism. In the 20thC Racialism focussed in Fascism. The only difference in Nazi and Italian Fascist ideology is in the way it was relatively unmodified by christian and liberal perceptions and in the particular union it achieved with Statism. Nationalism, Racialism and Fascism are therefore closely linked.
The underlying idea in all three is of a people who are a natural organic unity and provide the meaning of life for its members. The “natural” theme is important, because the roots are normally seen in terms of blood relationships, biology and an ethnic identity. They can also be seen in terms of the land or the “soil”. The roots of every person are there, and they must affirm their identity in some way or another with their blood brothers and sisters. The principle thus draws on the particularity of family, tribe, ethnic group and nation as an ultimate reality by birth. It is an organic unit, because membership is automatic, and the understanding is that you sink and swim together. Through history this unit has always fought together to attack or defend itself against aliens. The relationship between the people is pre-ideological, because it is based on birth, and it also does not allow division. Anything which would divide a people is the enemy and must be eliminated. This description is, of course, too formal for a set of beliefs which are felt, automatic, in the blood and allow no higher authority. In every circumstance the tribe, the team, the nation, the volk provide the framework of meaning, the ethic and the pattern of understanding within which people live.
This religion, because, of course, it is the great folk religion, has fought a long war with Christianity. Christianity begins with the created unity of humankind in Adam and Eve. It sees the fragmentation of nations as the result of sin. God is no respecter of nations. The Jews, although given God’s revelation, are also judged according to higher standards and are required to treat the alien with justice and care. In the Gospels Jesus relativizes the importance of family, and treats the idea that having “Abraham as our Father” is significant with contempt. He strongly criticizes Jewish ethnic faith and self-righteousness and goes out of his way to commend non-Jewish believers. He makes clear that faith in God and being his disciple divides nations and families, and the Gospel is clearly for every tribe and nation. Paul comes to the great conclusion that in Christ every ethnic dividing wall has been broken down and there is “neither Jew nor Greek..for you are all one in Jesus” (Gal 3 28) This has with aberations been the message of the churches down through the ages. Latin was used as a universal language for much of its history, and this motive has been behind Christian mission. Against this background there has been a continual ideological war, of which this immediate history is but one more stage. Let us follow it through.

The Volk.
The impact of Social Darwinism was widespread throughout Europe [II p ???] and its effect was to create the assumption that races and ethnic groups were engaged in a struggle, that it was natural to be so, and that it was also natural for there to be rulers and ruled. This was the philosophy of Empire and it ruled as orthodoxy in many people’s thought. Each nation had its own ethnic idiom.
Ethnology. It is interesting the way this so-called science has lapsed. It was the study of how and why the races differed, and although it is now pushed int the background, once it was orthodox social science. Its attitudes can be gauged from the following quotation in a reputable encyclopedia of 1912. It describes the chief ethnic groups and among other things their mental characters.
“Mental characters – Negro African: sensual, unintellectual, fitful, passing readily from tragedy to comedy: mind arrested at puberty, hence unprogressive, this trait being attributed to the early closing of the cranial sutures; no science or letters; few industrial arts. Mongolic: generally somewhat reserved, sullen, apathetic, outwardly very courteous, but supercilious; very thrifty, frugal and industrious in China and Japan, elsewhere mostly indolent; nearly all reckless gamblers, science slightly, arts and letters, moderately, developed; porcelein, bronze work etc scarcely supassed, but all plastic and pictoral art defective, lacking perspective, and the human figure mostly charicatured. Caucasic or White: I (European) II (East Africa and India) III (Mediterranean) I is slow and somewhat stolid, cool, collected, resolute, tenacious, enterprising. II and III are fiery, fickle, bright, impulsive, quick, but unsteady, with more love of show than sense of duty. All three are highly imaginitive and intellectual; hence science, arts and letters fully developed, to some extent even from early historic times; most civilisations have had their roots on Caucasian soil.” (Hastings 1912 vol V 527 – 31)
This is beneath distain, but it is part of the general culture of the time in many countries other than Britain. Ethnology aimed to be a quite general theory of human behaviour. Its first effective scholar was Edward Tylor (1832-1917) who was firmly convinced that all cultures could be placed in a progressive hierarchy from savage to civilised, from lower to higher. He was the first anthropology Professor at Oxford 1896-1909. His views were opposed by Franz Boas, teaching at Columbia, NY, 1896-1936 who had a much more plural view of cultures. His The Mind of Primitive Man (1911) got up Hitler’s nose. During this early period ethnology and anthropology were often armchair occupations mediated through traders, colonial administrators and missionaries, and it was only in 1914-8 that Bronislaw Malinowsky (1884-1942) undertook detailed descriptive ethnography which aimed to understand the cultures in their own terms..
In Germany there was an understanding that the pure Teutonic race had to avoid corruption by Latin, Jewish, Slavic and other elements. The German character was pure, noble, honest and courageous; it contrasted with Jewish and Christian elements which emphasized either thought and scheming or weakness and servility, and it was also not fickle and emotionally unstable. Germans had soul. The coming together of the German state under Bismarck was a great triumph for the race, although Bismarck let go of his early anti-semitism and found that the Jews had sparkle. ( Ludwig 1926 330) The culture was strongly German. Wagner’s operas were constructed to create a kind of pagan sacred mythology which would enshrine German values of heroism and purity. He hated the Jews and they function as scarcely veiled villans in his work. There was a tide of mystical worship of the German Spirit as a kind of central unifying principle of life.
In Italy the resurrection (Risorgimento) of the Italian nation was linked to the glory of the Roman Empire and people. It was seen as the fount of European culture reborn after a long period of domination. It was a young, expansive movement, full of its new destiny. The enemies were Austria and Germany, and to some extent France. This nation longed to expand and looked with anxiety at the millions leaving Italy to go to America, weakening the Italian nation.
French ethnicity was more traditional. It looked back to the monarchy, Catholic Church, aristocracy, army and the land as the basis of French ethnic greatness going back to the period before the revolution. The defeat by Germany in 1870 was regarded with obsessive concern as that which must be revenged.
Britain, or Great Britain, as it liked to call itself, was heavily focussed on the Empire and the white ethnic colonial powers which gave it a grip on the world-wide Empire. Since Disraeli made Queen Victoria Empress of India there had been an increasing air of superiority in relation to Europe (which had no comparable Empire) and which was less secure as other nations caught up and overtook Britain economically and educationally.
Thus, ethnically focussed thinking grew in many of the countries of Europe through to the First World War and beyond. There was an ethnic struggle and someone had to lose or win.

German Nationalist and Racist Thought: Johann Herder (1744-1803) emphasized that culture was and should be national, romantic. Ernst Arndt (1769-1860) had a post Napoleonic pan-Germanic vision. Jakob (1783-1863) and Wilhelm (1786-1859) Grimm emphasized the Fatherland, German character and anti-semitism. Fairy tales with a vengence. Johann Fichte (1762-1814) Addresses to the German Nation on historical mission and refusing to submit to tyranny. Friedrich List (1789-1846) was a supporter of economic nationalism, protection and the Zollverein. Key work was The National System of Political Economy (1841) Johann Droysen (1808-84) historian who focussed on and glorified Prussia. Richard Wagner (1813-83) created mythical operas on the heroic triumph of the German virtues. Anti-Jewish. Heinrich von Sybel (1817-95) another pro-Prussian historian. Heinrich Von Treitschke (1834-1896) Statist and nationalist historian. Adolf Stoecker (1835-1909) Chaplain, founder of the Christian-Social Workers Party, viciously anti-Semitic, and worshipped the Germanic-Christian culture ideal. Shows level of Christian failure. Ewald Banse (1883-1953) geographer who advocated war, territorial expansion and extreme German nationalism. Nutter.
French Nationalist and Racist Thought: Ernest Renan (1823-92) “The nation is a soul”. Paul Déroulède, (1846-1914) poet, organized the League of Patriots (1882) to avenge German defeat. Auguste-Maurice Barrès (1862-1923) emphasized French national energy against France – traditional Catholic church/monarchy/army values, inspiring man of letters. Charles Maurras (1868-1952) led Action Français and had anti-Jewish, anti-German bias. Charles De Gaulle (1890-1970) believed in La Patrie, France libre leader during WWII and later President. “La France, c’est moi”.
British Racist/Nationalism: Charles Dilke (1843-1911) wrote Anglo-Saxon panegyrics. Everywhere countries ruled by “an Anglo-Saxon race whose very scum and outcasts have founded empires in every portion of the globe.” J A Cramb (1862-1913) Queen’s College, London History Prof. “God for Britain stuff. Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) champion of British Empire, seeing it based on moral authority not force.
Italian Racist/Nationalism: Vicenzo Gioberti (1801-52) developed a vision of Catholic Italian superiority. Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-82) internationalradical brigand who came back to Italy to lead fight for national unificationin 1861. Gabriele D’Annunzio (1863-1938) “Italy or Death” romantic nationalist.
American Racist/Nationalism: George Bancroft (1800-91) anti-British American historian. Theodore Roosevelt (1855-1919)
Irish National/Racism: Eamon De Valera (1882-1975) was an anti-British, Irish nationalist. President of Sinn Féin and Eire. Kept Ireland out of World War II. Michael Collins (1890-1922) In Easter 1916 Uprising. Leader of Sinn Féin.
Other Countries: Louis Kossuth (1802-1894) Hungarian nationalist struggle against Austria. Vyacheslav Plehve (1846-1904) championed Russian domination of other ethinic groups, possibly Jewish pogrom. Chaim Weizmann (1874-1952) scientist, leader of World Jewish Congress and Zionist leader. First President of Israel. Karl Lueger (1844-1910) Austrian strong Anti-Semite who formed the Christian Social Party, Mayor of Vienna during Hitler’s time there.
Chinese Nationalism. Sun Yat-Sen (1866-1975) developed nationalist ideology to combat rival war-lords. Founded Kuomintang Nationalist Party. Chiang Kai-Shek (1887-1975) led the Kuomintang to national supremacy. 1927 Purge. 1928 leader and generalissimo until 1949.
Pan Europeanism. Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi (1894-1972) Pan European between the wars seen as solution to European Nationalism. Secretary General of European Parliamentary Union 1947. Carl Friedrich (1901-84) was leading American commentator on Pan-Europeanism.

The Structure of Fascism.
The Fascist and Nazi movements had a structure to them which reflected their racialist political philosophy. It was a step beyond Statism, which still had aspects of the old autocratic state, because it involved a direct popular appeal, but it also drew on many of the structural principles of Statism.
* The Volk, the people, the nation, were collectively the source of inspiration for life. This was a religion, an ultimate frame of reference.
* The people were involved in an historical struggle which involved a time when their identity had emerged and a destiny towards which they were travelling – ethnic historicism.
* The source of evil, the enemy, was to be found in other ethnic groups either within or outside the nation whose aim was to undermine national integrity.
* The unity and identity of the nation was mystical, had its roots in blood and nature, and was opposed to faith commitments, disagreement, rational discussion which would compromise the ultimate commitment of members of the nation to its identity.
* The leader could personify the identity of the people or national. By offering himself as national leader and being accepted by the people he became their embodiment. The traditional institutions of State and Constitution could be bypassed.
* Christianity was dangerous because (i) it was a universal faith, not national. (ii) it claimed ultimate commitment beyond the nation. (iii) it came from overseas. (iv) the teaching of Jesus undermined national virtues of strength, heroism and the glory of war. (v) in stressed the unity of humankind.
* Socialism was dangerous because (i) it divided the nation. (ii) it was internationalist in its Marxist-Leninist conception. Arguably, many of the rich, because they feared Socialism tried to use fascism as a way of taming working class socialist appeal. Fascism was a deliberately manipulative ideology, whipping up the masses against Socialism.
* Liberalism was dangerous, because (i) it emphasized the individual and self-interest over against the nation. (ii) it was committed to free trade and limited government. (iii) it allowed individual convictions to override national interests.
* Total government was needed to carry the people forward to their liberation. Salvation was national and the leader was the national saviour.

The Fight against Fascism.
It is difficult, but important, to distinguish those who in their thinking and actions opposed Fascism from those who merely fought German and Italian nationalism when it became sufficiently belligerent. Much of the opposition to the Axis, although less than during the First World War, was straightforward national, either defensive, or nationalist according to the established European pattern. Churchill’s appeal was substantially but not exclusively nationalist. The principled opposition to Racism was far less consistent and well -established.
One base for it was found in the United States. The United States Civil War was fought on the issue of race and slavery, and the abolitionists had mounted a strong Christian critique based on the unity of humankind and the race negating character of the Gospel. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Lincoln, Sojourner Truth and many others had planted this theme in American culture, despite massive opposition. At the turn of the century the influx of European races was so massive – a million a year – that the States had to become racially pluralist. The push westwards, ethnic zoning, and a strong requirement that people identify with The United States nation and flag helped this to come about. The relative absence of Protestant and Catholic political power and denominational hostility also helped greatly. The ethos of the United States, especially in the person of Presbyterian Woodrow Wilson at the Treaty of Versailles at the end of the First World War, was anti-colonial, and remained so. But the United States also had a post-colonial racial problem in its midst in the pink-brown relations in its major cities. A key figure to address this was Burckhardt Du Bois, who worked for Negro and African integrity, as did, in a different way, Marcus Garvey. One bright spot was the career of Carlton Hayes at Columbia University, New York between 1900-1950. In his teaching and seminar on nationalism he both encouraged generations of aware students and spawned other scholars who could analyse critically the growth and structure of nationalism.

United States: Burckhardt Du Bois (1868-1963) Against “separate but equal” doctrine. Helped found Niagara Movement (1905) and NAACP (1909). Praised African culture and set up Pan-African Congress. Radical. Carlton Hayes (1882-1964) Catholic History Professor at Columbia,NY, developed strong critique of nationalism. Books include Essays on Nationalism (1926), France, A Nation of Patriots (1930), The Historical Evolution of Modern Nationalism (1931) and Nationalism: A Religion (1960) As Ambassador to Spain Hayes helped keep Spain out of WWII. Marcus Garvey (1887-1940) American black advocate founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (1914). Imprisoned. Rastafarian origins.

In Europe there was stiff opposition between Socialism and Fascism. But its focus was often not on race and racialism. The Fascists had been Socialists (Mussolini, Hitler, Moseley) and had ratted. They often attacked the Socialists physically, because of their anti-nationalism, and because of the Left-Right split. The Socialists by reaction recognized Fascists as enemies and countered their aggression. Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebnecht, Lenin and other Socialists were not strongly concerned about race, but did, of course share the Marxist critique of international capitalism. Because the problem was Capital, although the Socialists were Internationalist, they were not srongly anti-nationalist. Capital was an international conspiracy.
The strongest opposition to Fascism in Europe came from the Christian Democratic Parties.
Oldham Christianity and the Race Problem

There were a number of roots to Apartheid. Racial antagonism occurred between the British and the Boers, culminating in the Second Boer War (1899-1902), during which the British used Concentration Camps in which about 20,000 people died through disease.This provoked an underlying bitterness against the British when the Union of South Africa, a self-governing dominion of the Cape, Orange Free State, Transvaal and Natal was set up in 1910. The subjugation of the Zulus and Bantus was assumed by the pinks; an apartheid system was effectively in place, supported by both British and Afrikaaners. The 1911 Color Bar Act kept brown people out of skilled jobs. The 1913 Native Land Act kept them to the reserves. The 1926 Labor Act defined civilized and uncivilized labour for different races. A steady influx of poor, unskilled Dutch workers and families made the Afrikaaners into a majority of the pinks. This allowed James Herzog to come to power in 1924 heading a National Party committed to protecting poor pinks against competition with brown labour. Another important factor was the way the Afrikaaner Reformed Churches became very ethnically focussed, interpreting the Bible in terms of their own ethnic history – the Exodus, Promised land and so on. The 1919-24, 1939-48 governments of Jan Christian Smuts (1870-1950) achieved some reconciliation of British and Afrikaaners, but in 1934 the leaders Jan Herzog and Danie F Malan broke away and formed the Purified National Party which had a strong racist and nationalist agenda. When Smuts took South Africa into the Second World War, a lot of Afrikaaners were upset and sided more with Germany. Some of them went to Germany secretly; various black and brown shirt brigades were established, especially a group called the Ossewa Brandwag, which inculcated the idea that you fight for your race. At the end of the War there was a swing towards the Purified Nationalists and they came to power in 1948
Once the Afrikaaners had established political control, they set out to make Apartheid permanent by focussing loyalty, using government, labelling opponents and creating fear. One organisation which helped this process was the Broederbond, a secret organisation which linked together key figures in church, state, military, police and Afrikaaner business to determine what policies should be followed in an extra-political covert way. By the 50s and 60s the National Party had government sewn up. It was able to secure easy majorities based on the principle of protecting the way of life of the white person. Although the English-speaking people often had great business clout, they also depended on the political control of the National Party to guarantee cheap black labour and the security of property. The political dominance was therefore substantial. It was also gradually backed up by intimidation. Opposition was limited but began to come from extra-political sources.
The black opposition had existed since 1912 with the forming of the SA Native National Congress, later named the African National Congress (ANC). It largely sought nonracial justice. When Verwoerd tried to impose Apartheid institutionally on the churches in 1957 there was a civil disobedience by the Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Seventh Dat Adventists and others which forced the Government to back down. In the late 50s there was a defiance campaign by Blacks. The police reacted in March 1960 by killing 72 people, injuring another 180 and imprisoning thousands. It was a brutal reaction which showed the moral bankruptcy of the regime. It led to further suppression and the banning of the ANC. Mandela was imprisoned in 1961. A trial which he and others faced in 1963. A key person at this time was Beyers Naudé. He was a member of the inner circle of the Broederbond, an elite secret society, and Moderator of the DRC General Synod, but on the basis of direct contact with black Christians and Bible study he became convinced of the wrongness of Apartheid and formed the Christian Institute. It opposed on Christian principle all that the Government was doing.
Gradually, although a repressive Government was set in place, together with a brutal Police system, the moral weakness of the system grew. It slowly lost the backing of the Reformed Churches, pink as well as black. The publication of the Kairos Document …
Apartheid. Jan Christian Smuts (1870-1950) Afrikaaner. Educated at Christ’s College, Cambridge, and had English sympathies. Worked with Herzog in Nationalist Party. Prime Minister 1919-24, 1939-48. Botanist. Liberal. Danie F Malan (1874-1959) Doctor of Divinity. Dutch Reformed Church Minister. Left pulpit in 1915 for journalism and politics. Broke with Smuts and Herzog in 1934 to form the Purified National Party which eventually came to power in 1948 on a racial ticket. John Voster (1915-83) educated at Stellenbosch, member of Ossewa Brandwag, pro-Nazi, key member of Malan’s Party and Governments. Prime Minister. Hendrik Verwoerd (1901-61) Stellenbosch. National Party. Helped establish Bantustans. Prime Minister 1958-61, then shot. Beyers Naudé (19????) One of the Afrikaaner elite who became aware of how wrong Apartheid was through reading Bible. Set up Christian Institute in 1963, worked with black groups, attacked Police State and Torture, banned and imprisoned. Recognized that the cost of dismantling Apartheid was a lower Afrikaaner standard of living and changed economic structure. A good man. Trevor Huddleston. Desmond Tutu. Nelson Mandela. Steve Biko.

Post-Colonial Racial/Nationalist Movements.
One powerful movement was a set of reactive racial/nationalist movements which followed the colonial era. Colonial powers see their rule benignly, and fail to recognize how deep is the disrespect and arrogance which is enbedded in the pattern of control, exploitation and socialisation.
The archetypal development was of Arab Nationalism with Gamal Abdul Nasser’s eminently reasonable nationalisation of the Suez Canal in July 1956, which the British and French had hung onto for a hundred years because they built it, although it ran through the middle of Egypt. The British and French responded with a military attack on the area, disabling ships in the area, until President Eisenhower used his clout to rule the naughty boys in. Anthony Eden resigned as Prime Minister. The moral and effective victory meant that the Arab countries emerged from colonial dominance. The oil reserves they controlled gave them considerable power, and in 1972 the organisation of a tight OPEC oil cartel for a while pushed the price of oil high and gave the Arab States vast resources.
Syrian Ba’ath Party. Lybia and Ghaddafi. Suadi Arabia. Iran. Iraq. Egypt. Sudan.

Religion and Race.
Race and Poverty.

Lucy Dawidowicz The War against the Jews (Middlesex: Pelican, 1977)
(ed) James Hastings Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics (Edinburgh: T and T Clark, 1912) Vols
Marjorie Hope and James Young The South African Churches in a Revolutionary Situation (NY: Orbis, 1981)
(eds) J Leatt, T Kneifel and K Nürnberger Contending Ideologies in South Africa (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986)
Emil Ludwig Bismarck Eden and Cedar Paul (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1927)
J H Oldham Christianity and the Race Problem (London: SCM, 1924,33)
Louis Snyder Encyclopedia of Nationalism (Chicago/London: St James Press, 1990)
C Villa-Vicenzio Between Christ and Caesar: Classic and Contemporary Texts on Church and State [includes Kairos etc] (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986)