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The Occidental Quarterly Winter 20172018 Volume 17, Number 4
Winter 20172018
Vol. 17, No. 4
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Envying the Cruel Falcon: The Anti-Liberal
Poetry of Robinson Jeffers
Andrew Joyce
Johann Gottfried Herder: Advocate of EuropeanJohann Gottfried Herder: Advocate of European
Perfection, Opponent of Multiculturalism
Ricardo Duchesne
Signs of the Times: The Canadian Labor
Movement and the Question of Asian
Immigration during the Nineteenth Century
Brian Thorn Brian Thorn
Culture and Nationhood in the World of
Herodotus: An Evolutionary Analysis
Guillaume Durocher
Jewish Mobilization against National Socialism
Review of How the Jews Defeated Hitler:
Exploding the Myth of Jewish Passivity in the Face of Nazism
by Benjamin Ginsberg
Andrew Joyce
An Epigenetic Explanation for the Decline of the WestAn Epigenetic Explanation for the Decline of the West
Review of Biohistory: Decline and Fall of the West
by Jim Penman
Nelson Rosit
Science and the Suicide Cult: The Irrationalism of Richard Dawkins
Review of Science in the Soul: Selected Writings
of a Passionate Rationalistof a Passionate Rationalist
by Richard Dawkins
Tobias Langdon
He Doth Opine: An Assistant Professor Climbs the Academic Ladder
Review of Making Sense of the Alt-Right
by George Hawley
Robert S. GriffinRobert S. Griffin
The pursuit of truth has been a uniquely Western ambition since the
ancient Greeks came to discover that humans have a faculty called
“mind” or “nous” distinguishable from bodily appetites and the “spirit-
ed” personal emotions, which allows humans to think rationally in ac-
cordance with logical principles and factually demonstrated evidence
above one’s inclinations and the taken-for-granted conventions of the
time. Regrettably, this unique disposition for truth telling has been
warped in nefarious ways right inside the very institutions
universitieswhich Christian medievalists created for the purpose of
guaranteeing the pursuit of rational inquiry without restriction.1 Today,
open inquiry continues in the natural sciences except in topics deemed
too controversial such as whether human beings can be differentiated
along racial lines, but in the case of the social sciences and humanities a
panoply of irrational discourses now dominate all the departments and
anyone who dissents from an agenda dedicated to racial diversification
is harassed, ostracized, and even dismissed.
“Diversity” is the official mandate of almost every university in the
West.2 This reality goes beyond the fact that countless academics have
chosen ethnic studies, multiculturalism, or race relations as very lucra-
tive fields of research. Everyone inside our universities, from students to
presidents, has been compelled to embrace diversity as the sine qua non,
1 As Edward Grant, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of History and
Philosophy of Science, Indiana University, writes: “A medieval university education in
arts was primarily an education in logic, natural philosophy, and the exact sciences,
where reason functioned as the most important tool of interpretation and analysis. In
the absence of courses in literature and history and other humanities subjects, the me-
dieval university offered an education that was overwhelmingly oriented toward ana-
lytical subjects: logic, science, mathematics, and natural philosophy. See Edward
Grant, God and Reason in the Middle Ages (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
2001), 102.
2 If one Googles the words “diversity in universities, hundreds of thousands of re-
sults will pop up.
The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 4, Winter 2017–2018
the indispensable condition, of progress and the creation of an “enlight-
ened” citizenry. Words and expressions such as “knowledge,” “truth,”
“scholarship,” and “open inquiry” now connote Diversity.
But there is a rather troubling problem in all this: not a single great
thinker in the West, not a single item of the Western canon, not a single
historic leader, and not a single founding culture of Western civilization,
ever called for diversity.3 This is a major difficulty for an ideology that
portrays itself as the latest expression of the progressive course of histo-
Cultural Marxists want to hide from us the totally unprecedented, an-
ti-Western character of their racial experiment. They want to inculcate in
students the idea that racial diversification is a natural continuation of
such Western achievements as the establishment of constitutional gov-
ernment, industrialization, and the separation of church and state. They
call themselves “progressive” because the idea of progress is uniquely
Western, because this is the only civilization that engendered continu-
ous novelties and whole new epochs while the rest of the world’s civili-
zation remained stuck in agrarian despotism and amoral familism.
These cultural Marxists want historical justification for their totally
malevolent experiment.4 They want you to believe that past Western
thinkers were already progressively calling for multicultural diversity in
order to gain legitimacy. They want you to believe they are standing on
the shoulders of giants. The German Johann Gottfried Herder (1744
1803) is the thinker they have appropriated as the original advocate of
the idea that multiculturalism and racial diversity are the most effective
way for humans to achieve their “humanity.”
Herder is not as well-known as Kant, Locke, or Plato, but he has been
rightfully included in the long, and unparalleled, pantheon of great
Western thinkers. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says that
Herder “is a philosopher of the first importance,” and that he “can claim
to have virtually established whole disciplines which we now take for
3 In The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages (New York: Harcourt Brace,
1994), Harold Bloom makes a persuasive argument that the idea of the Western canon
is inherently exclusive and Eurocentric; a multicultural “canon” for Western students
inevitably excludes some of the greatest books for the sake of including lesser works.
4 Ricardo Duchesne, “The Moderateness of the ‘Far Right’ and the Extremism of
Immigration,” Council of European Canadians (June 20, 2014).
Duchesne, “Johann Gottfried Herder
granted.”5 In Herder and the Foundations of German Nationalism, Robert
Reinhold Ergang identifies Herder as the most important figure in lay-
ing the intellectual foundations for German national identity. After ex-
amining his profound influence on Goethe, Fichte, Hegel, the Schlegels,
Schelling, Wilhelm von Humboldt, and others, Ergang writes:
in response to the call of Herder, and in his spirit, a large array of
naturalists, historians, philologists and ethnologists ransacked eve-
ry corner of the earth in search of wider and more accurate
knowledge concerning the history of man. Alexander von Hum-
boldt’s Kosmos, Friedrich Ratzel’s Anthropogeographie, and
ze’s Microcosmos, to mention but three works, are, in a sense, elabo-
rations of some of Herder’s ideas. He it was, indeed, who initiated
the modern comparative study of literature, language, religion and
art. In stimulating fellow scholars and others who followed to in-
augurate movements for research in philology, anthropology and
literature, Herder stimulated an interest in racial and cultural prob-
lems in general.6
Readers may already be wondering how could the founder of Ger-
man nationalism, which has come to be identified with parochialism,
xenophobia, and territorial aggrandizement, be the source for the pro-
motion of multiculturalism, an ideology that negates the national identi-
ty of Western nations in favor of the cultural identities of immigrants
and non-European minorities. It was not long ago, before the 1960s and
before Herder came to be seen as someone who valued equally the cul-
tures of the world, that someone as highly regarded as the British phi-
losopher R. G. Collingwood criticized Herder “for having started so
pernicious a doctrine” as “the idea that there is a European race whose
peculiar virtues render it fit to dominate the rest of the world.”7 How
did we get from this interpretation to the interpretation prevalent today
that the “deeper intellectual roots of the conception of diversity” we are
currently witnessing in Canada, and across the West, are to be found in
5 “Johann Gottfried von Herder,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
6 Robert Reinhold Ergang, Herder and the Foundations of German Nationalism (New
York: Columbia University Press, 1931), 100.
7 R. G. Collingwood, The Idea of History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975
[1946]), 91.
The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 4, Winter 2017–2018
the writings of Herder?8 How did we get from Herder the believer in
racial hierarchies to Herder the advocate of multiculturalism as “a con-
dition to be sought and fostered” and as a man “beloved of dwellers . . .
such as Islamic and Hindu peoples to whose cultures he brought a re-
gard [equal to European peoples]”?9
The transformation of Herder from a progenitor of German racialism
into a fan of non-European minorities, or “diversity” as such, began
with the writings of Isaiah Berlin and his claim that Herder stood
against the “Eurocentric” cosmopolitanism of the Enlightenment in fa-
vor of the idea that all national cultures have their own standards and
that no culture should be set up as a model to be emulated by others.
However, as I shall explain, Berlin did not quite say that Herder
could be used to promote multiculturalism inside Western nations. In-
stead he interpreted Herder as developing a philosophy that valued the
multiple ways in which humans had expressed themselves culturally
across the world, with their own unique attributes, making them equally
worthy of understanding.
There is much truth in this interpretation of Herder, which Berlin of-
fered originally in his 1960 book, Vico and Herder: Two Studies in the His-
tory of Ideas.10 On this interpretation, Herder is better classified as a “cul-
tural pluralist” than as a proponent of the idea that Europeans are a su-
perior race with a superior culture. Berlin effectively argued that for
Herder humans have a deeply felt natural inclination to prefer their own
culture of birth and that it would thus be inappropriate to set up one
culture as model for the rest. Humans have a need to belong, and the
group/nation within which this need could find satisfaction could not
be other than with the group/nation within which they grew up,
learned their languages, songs, religious beliefs, and customs.
In my estimation, nevertheless, Berlin did lay the groundwork for the
8 As expressed by Mahmoud Masaeli, professor of Global Ethics at the University of
Ottawa in “The Ethics of Deep Diversity in Multicultural Societies, Live Better Maga-
zine (April 2013).
9 Alba della Fazia Amoia and Bettina Liebowitz Knapp, eds., Multicultural Writers
from Antiquity to 1945: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press,
2002), 166.
10 Isaiah Berlin, Vico and Herder: Two Studies in the History of Ideas (New York: Viking
Press, 1976).
Duchesne, “Johann Gottfried Herder
misuse of Herder’s ideas as ideological weapons to promote the totally
different notion that the peoples of European nations should be sympa-
thetic to the presence within their own nations of peoples from other
cultures. Herder simply said, and Berlin understood this, that Europeans
should be sympathetic in their efforts to make sense of the many cus-
toms and beliefs enjoyed by peoples around the world. He was, I would
add, following a long line of European scholars always curious and in-
terested in learning about the world’s cultures and the history of hu-
mans at large.11 The followers of Berlin, on the other hand, took Herder
further as an intellectual forerunner of the notion that the expansion of
cultural diversity within European lands through immigration is a form
of sympathetic understanding that will enhance the “humanity” of eve-
I will argue below that one reason Herder came to be misinterpreted
in such an egregious fashion by Berlin’s followers in recent decades is
that they paid attention to Herder’s view that all cultures have their own
incommensurable ideals of perfectibility but this was disconnected from
any linkage to Herder’s wider teleological idea of nature and history.
Herder did say that each culture has its own concept of perfectibility,
but he also said that the European ideal of perfectibility exhibited to the
highest level the purpose of nature to bring to fulfillment what is poten-
tially highest in human nature.
Let us first make the observation that Herder, like his teacher Im-
manuel Kant, conducted his study of the histories of the nations of the
world for the purpose of finding out whether one could discern in histo-
ry a progressive plan from barbaric ignorance to enlightenment in the
way that Kant had argued in his famous essay, “Idea for a Universal
History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View,” published in 1784.12 While
Herder agreed with Kant that there was a discernible pattern in history
11 See Joseph E. Skinner, The Invention of Greek Ethnography: From Homer to Herodotus
(New York: Oxford University Press, 2012). This book shows that the Greeks were
uniquely concerned with the “Other,” contrary to the repeated claims by some classi-
cists that they were the most ethnocentric people in the ancient Mediterranean world.
Rather, it was the ancient Greeks who first engaged in the ethnographic study of dif-
ferent cultures, rather than remaining totally trapped inside their own world, as were
the Mesopotamians and Egyptians, and they did this long before those in charge of our
universities manipulated the meaning of ethnography to mean the celebration of the
Other and the condemnation of your own people.
12 Immanuel Kant, “Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of
View” (1784), in On History, trans. Lewis White Beck (Indianapolis, IN: The Bobbs-
Merrill Co., 1963).
The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 4, Winter 2017–2018
characterized by the development of the sciences, the efflorescence of
the arts, and the enhancement of freedom, he rejected the idea that all
national cultures should eventually converge within a cosmopolitan or-
der living according to the same universal values promoted by French
Enlightenment thinkers.13
In Herder’s view, each nation was following, and should follow, its
own progression. Even as he observed in the course of world history the
expansion of knowledge and of civilized institutions, he did not envi-
sion history as a straight line of development leading from lower to
higher stages with the more advanced nations standing as models for
the less advanced ones. For Herder, world history was a panorama of
different cultures inhabiting different ecological settings “stretching in
all directions, with all manner of turns and twists.”14 He was called a
“cultural pluralist” because he believed that all nations had their own
cultural standards, their own “image of happiness,” customs, and lan-
guage. Berlin thus saw in Herder the argument that
every nation has its own centre of gravity, and that is where its
happiness lies. The Greeks were happy in one way, and the Ro-
mans in another. Germans in the Middle Ages were happy in one
way and now in another.15
Each nation was a Volk, a unique “family writ large,”16 an organic
community rooted in a particular soil. Out of this soil each people nur-
tured its own unique identity and “its own ideals”17 of perfection. Since
each nation developed its culture out of its particular needs within its
particular soil, its cultural standards could not serve as a model for other
nations. Each culture had to be judged by its own standards.
13 Johann Gottfried Herder, On World History: An Anthology, ed. Hans Adler and
Ernest A. Menze, trans. Ernest A. Menze and Michael Palma (Armonk, NY: M. E.
Sharpe, 1997). This is the key text I am relying on for my views on Herder, in addition
to the secondary sources cited. I don’t make a claim to expertise in Herder, but what I
know tells me the experts are totally misusing his ideas, as I hope to demonstrate here.
14 Ibid., 101.
15 Isaiah Berlin, “The Assault on the French Enlightenment: Herder and Historical
Criticism,” John Danz Lectures, University of Washington (February 22, 24, 25, 1971)
The Isaiah Berlin Virtual Library.
16 F. M. Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought: From Enlightenment to National-
ism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), 54.
17 Berlin, “The Assault on the French Enlightenment.”
Duchesne, “Johann Gottfried Herder
It is for this reason that F. M. Barnard estimated that Herder’s notion
of progress and perfectibility was “strictly relativist.18 However, in my
view, while Barnard’s view, which was articulated in the 1960s when
multiculturalism was not yet an academic movement, is correct about
the cultural pluralism of Herder, it is incorrect in assuming that Herder
made no distinctions or value judgments about the respective cultural
achievements of nations. My reading below will show that, in Herder’s
view, Europeans had achieved the highest level of “human perfectibil-
ity.” We need to square this claim about Europe’s perfectibility with his
passionate German cultural nationalist inclinations and his call upon
Europeans to be appreciative of the ideals of other cultures, against the
advocacy of French Enlightenment ideals as ideals for all of humanity.
Herder did not say that the German race was superior, or that the higher
perfectibility of Europeans should serve as a model to be exported to
other lands. Germans, like the peoples of all cultures, had an attachment
to their own culture as the culture to which they belonged. Humans
have a natural need to belong to a group, to belong to the culture in
which their identity was nurtured. However, Herder did believe that
European peoples had achieved the highest levels of human perfection
in the arts and sciences.
Berlin is correct that “Herder’s nationalism is of an extremely tolerant
and harmonious kind.”19 But he is quite misleading in his statement
that, for Herder, “the very notion of the perfect man, the perfect society,
the perfect sage is unintelligible.”20 It is unintelligible only if we take the
notion of European perfectibility to mean that peoples from non-
European lands should want to, and can, imitate European perfectibility.
The same Herder who rejected the Enlightenment notion that one could
discern in human history a developmental pattern from lower to higher
cultural forms, culminating in a French nation with the best values for
humanity, also believed that Europeans had carried the potential for
human perfectibility to its highest levels. Berlin and Barnard suppressed
this aspect of Herder’s thought, because they were members of a post-
World War II climate in which Western intellectuals were discouraged
from viewing Europeans as the cultural exemplars of the highest poten-
tialities of humans. They were members of a generation uncomfortable
with European colonialism, the imposition of European values on non-
European nations. They were also members of a generation increasingly
18 Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought, 136.
19 Berlin, “The Assault on the French Enlightenment.”
20 Ibid.
The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 4, Winter 2017–2018
inclined to view in a positive light the cultural ways of less advanced,
non-European peoples. They needed a thinker from the past who could
be employed to persuade Europeans to be less arrogant about their
achievements, and Herder became this thinker. They wanted a Herder
that could function against the perceived racism and cultural suprema-
cism of Europeans, and this is why academics were drawn to Berlin’s
relativist interpretation.
But this was only the beginning of the misuse of Herder as a propa-
ganda tool for multiculturalism. By the 1980s, as multiculturalism came
to gather momentum in Western nations, particularly in Canada,
Herder’s ideas would be twisted beyond recognition; he would become
the thinker who first envisioned European nations as places in which
masses of immigrants should be welcomed and encouraged to maintain
and enhance their cultural identities in opposition to an assimilationist
Eurocentric model deemed to be inconsistent with the human need to
prefer their own cultural traditions. Herder’s call upon Europeans to be
empathetic in their descriptions and explanations of the historical expe-
riences, languages, and customs of other peoples, was radically inter-
preted to mean that we should be sympathetic to the arrival of multiple
peoples into Western lands and the longing of these immigrants to pre-
serve their cultural ways.
My reading of Herder is closer to the pre-Berlin interpretation. It
seems to me that Berlin erred in pulling out, or decontextualizing,
Herder’s cultural pluralism from his wider teleological view and his ob-
servation that European civilization exhibited a higher level of actualiza-
tion of the end or purpose of nature to achieve the highest forms of exis-
tential expression. While I think that R. G. Collingwood’s racialist inter-
pretation is one-sided, he is correct in stressing Herder’s teleological
view of nature. Herder did view “each stage in evolution as designed by
nature to prepare for the next,” to use Collingwood’s words.21 Herder
21 Collingwood, The Idea of History, 89. Since Collingwood is no longer spoken about
as he was some decades ago, I will quote the first sentences of his entry in the Stanford
Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
R. G. Collingwood (18891943) was a British philosopher and practising archae-
ologist best known for his work in aesthetics and the philosophy of history. Dur-
ing the 1950s and 1960s his philosophy of history in particular occupied centre
stage in the debate concerning the nature of explanation in the social sciences
and whether or not they are ultimately reducible to explanations in the natural
sciences. Primarily through the interpretative efforts of W. H. Dray, Colling-
wood’s work in the philosophy of history came to be seen as providing a power-
Duchesne, “Johann Gottfried Herder
believed that in nature there was a striving for higher and superior ex-
pressions of being, and that man was the culmination of this teleological
process, because “man is an end in himself . . . in his rational and moral
life.”22 With man, if I may belabor Collingwood’s point, there is no long-
er mere external determination, unconscious development. Man can
make his own history and not be completely at the mercy of mysterious
natural laws. Man can become consciously aware of his history-making
actions, and thus achieve progress in history, rather than be subjected to
natural cycles, and, in this way, promote his rational and moral faculties.
It is true that Herder wrote in relative terms of the ways in which hu-
mans prefer their own culture and of how each culture has its own con-
ception of happiness and perfectibility. But Collingwood is closer to
Herder in adding that each culture (Collingwood uses the term “race” to
mean “culture”) expresses a specific type of humanity, and that each
type of humanity can be differentiated and graded in terms of their level
of fulfillment of the purpose of human nature to achieve rational perfect-
To the degree that Europeans increasingly acted rationally and freely
in the cultivation of their institutions, norms, and arts, they became his-
torical beings. This is how Collingwood expresses this point:
Each race has its own conception of happiness and its own ideal of
life. But this racially differentiated humanity is . . . a matrix in
which there arises a higher type of human organism, namely the
historical organism, that is, a race whose life instead of remaining
static develops in time into higher and higher forms. The favoured
centre in which this historical life arises is Europe, owing to its ge-
ographical and climatic peculiarities; so that in Europe alone hu-
man life is genuinely historical, whereas in China or India or
among the natives of America there is no true historical progress
but only a static unchanging civilization or a series of changes in
which old forms of life are replaced by new forms without that
ful antidote against Carl Hempel’s claim for methodological unity. Collingwood
is the author of one of the most important treatises in meta-philosophy written
in the first half of the twentieth century, An Essay on Philosophical Method (1933),
which is a sustained attempt to explain why philosophy is an autonomous dis-
cipline with a distinctive method and subject matter that differ from those of the
natural and the exact sciences.
22 Collingwood, The Idea of History, 89.
The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 4, Winter 2017–2018
steady cumulative development which is the peculiarity of histori-
cal progress.23
This interpretation of Herder, and similar ones, would be pushed
aside as Berlin became the canonical interpreter, and eventually the
springboard for a full-blown multiculturalist interpretation. A major ex-
ponent of this multicultural reading of Herder was Charles Taylor, a
pupil of Isaiah Berlin at Oxford University, known as “one of the most
important thinkers Canada has produced.” According to Taylor, the im-
portance of Herder lies in his realization that human fulfillment cannot
be achieved in abstraction from the large national community to which
each person belongs. Individuals find validation within the larger cul-
ture or nation they were raised within; they cannot find satisfaction in
the mere acquisition of material comforts as isolated economic agents, or
in the expression of themselves as citizens with individual rights only.
Humans need to belong to a national group, and they need others to re-
spect their national group.24
Taylor, however, instead of focusing on majority cultures and nation-
alities with their own states, employed Herder to argue in favor of the
collective right of minorities within existing nations. Minorities should
be given recognition, or group rights, within nation-states dominated by
members of the majority culture. This recognition, he argued in seem-
ingly Herderian language, was an essential precondition for the self-
fulfillment of individuals belonging to minority groups.
Taylor also enlisted Herder as a sympathizer of the idea that Western
nations must cease to have a cultural identity of their own, in the name
of a multicultural identity affording special collective rights for immi-
grant groups, while excluding the majority culture from such collective
rights. This multicultural identity would work to combat the “racist”
historical legacy of European national majorities and the colonial op-
pression of non-Europeans. Whereas Berlin was still able to say that
Herder “did not believe in emigration, because once you emigrate you
lose something infinitely valuableassimilation always robs you of
something,”25 Taylor employed Herder to promote multicultural group
23 Ibid., 90.
24 Charles Taylor, “The Politics of Recognition,” in Multiculturalism: Examining the
Politics of Recognition, ed. Amy Gutmann (Princeton: NJ, Princeton University Press,
1994), 2574.
25 Berlin, “The Assault on the French Enlightenment.”
Duchesne, “Johann Gottfried Herder
rights for immigrants and in opposition to any form of cultural belong-
ing by European peoples in their own homelands!
One may ask: how could Taylor, one of the supposedly “great think-
ers of Canada,” use Herder in this misleading way? My sense is that he
felt justified simply on the grounds that Herder called for a sympathetic
understanding of the ways of non-Europeans, and because Herder was
an “anti-colonialist.” This is what Taylor says:
Herder also used it [his Romantic expressiveness] to formulate a
notion of national culture. Different Völker have their own way of
being human, and shouldn’t betray it by aping others. (In particu-
lar, Germans shouldn’t ape Frenchmen. But Herder was also a pas-
sionate, and early, anti-colonialist.)26
Immigrants should not ape the culture of the European nations they
inhabit. Europeans were imperialists, who exploited Third World peo-
ples, and Third World people now want to emigrate to European lands,
and if Europeans are to make up for their colonialism, they should grant
group rights to immigrants, since humans have a need to belong and to
have their cultural identity validated.
Taylor is not alone in engaging in this type of invalid inferences.
Herder has been eagerly appropriated by many academics to promote
both the unique and inviolable identities of Third World peoples in their
own homelands,27 and the unique and inviolable identities of Third
World peoples inside Western homelands. This has been done in concert
with the demonization of European national identities. Before I examine
other multicultural interpretations of Herder, it is time to bring some
textual evidence supporting what I have been saying about Herder.
I agree with an interpretation of Herder that is quite different from
the multicultural view; and would go further than the nationalistic in-
terpretation according to which Herder was a romantic nationalist who
combined a commitment to diversity among nations with an insistence
on the importance of cherishing the singularity of customs, languages,
26 Charles Taylor, Sources of the Modern Self: The Making of the Modern Identity (Cam-
bridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989), 376.
27 Avishai Margalit, “The Moral Psychology of Nationalism,” in The Morality of Na-
tionalism, ed. Robert McKim and Jeff McMahan (New York: Oxford University Press,
The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 4, Winter 2017–2018
and traditions within each nation. I believe that Herder’s conception of
history is teleological in the Aristotelian sense that human beings are
striving to actualize their full potential in a perfectionist direction. The
difference with Herder is that he tried to see this teleological process un-
folding in the course of history rather than in the course of individuals
within a particular lifetime, as Aristotle did. The goal of history, for
Herder, was the actualization of the full potentiality of humanity, what a
human “is capable of being,” and he believed that this potentiality, or
perfection, had reached its highest level among the peoples of Europe.28
I will offer a few passages from Herder which directly contradict this
multicultural view and instead point to the idea that Europeans, thanks
to the geographical peculiarities of Europe, were able to develop in a
cumulative way the best predispositions of humans for freedom, reason,
and, in this way, bring to a higher level the actualization of the human
potential for perfectibility. Let it be said that I will be relying on a
book, On World History. Johann Gottfried Herder: An Anthology, which is a
collection of articles and excerpts from Herder compiled by two editors
who want students to believe that Herder was advocating a multicultur-
al view of world history. Yet even in this book, the Eurocentrism of
Herder cannot be hidden.
Perfection in an object is found in nothing but that the thing is
what it is meant to be and what it is capable of being.29
Perfectibility, therefore, is not a deception; it is the means and final
end to all that is called for and made possible by the character of
our kind, by our humanity.30
In order to live up to the potential of its kind, and for the sake of its
worth and dignity, humankind is meant to be developed.31
The greatest number of humans is of the animal kind, brought into
the world with only the potential for humanity, which must first be
formed by diligence and labor. In how few is it rightly formed!32
28 Herder, On World History, 100.
29 Ibid.
30 Ibid., 104
31 Ibid., 106.
32 Ibid., 156.
Duchesne, “Johann Gottfried Herder
Clearly, Herder does not assume that humans, by their sheer exist-
ence, are ipso facto in a state of perfectibility. He does not say that primi-
tive peoples have achieved the ideal of perfectibility per se, or that they
have brought to completion in their own way nature’s purpose.
The next passage below is about the Eskimos and Greenlanders living
“near the North Pole.” The editors of On World History want students to
believe that Herder is profiling these Arctic peoples, and every other
cultural group in his historical account, to convey that history is about
“the development of the greatest possible variety in the totality of time
and space.”33 But this is inaccurate. What Herder wants to convey is the
extent to which the potential that lies in humankind was able to mani-
fest itself within respective geographical and climatic regions in the
world. We are all members of the human species, and, as such, the po-
tentiality for perfectibility inheres in all humans, but the reality is that
different cultures have brought forth different levels of attainment in the
arts and sciences and thus different levels of potentiality.
How has the organization of the human being preserved itself un-
der these [North Pole] limitations? . . . Here, and in a few other
parts of the earth, dire necessity sits on her loftiest throne and
compels humans to lead almost the life of the bear. Yet everywhere
the quality of humanity is preserved; for even in what appear to be
features of the greatest inhumanity among these people, their hu-
manity is evident when they are closely examined.34
Even in harsh primitive cultures, the humanity of the inhabitants “is
evident” but their state of existence is still quite undeveloped, far below
the potentiality of humans.
Similarly, reading Herder on “the nature of African peoples,” it is
quite evident that he is not saying, contrary to what Michael L. Frazer,
professor at Harvard University, would like us to believe, that African
culture “bears in itself the standard of its perfection, totally independent
of all comparisons with that of others.” There is, rather, a benevolent
form of patronage in his call upon Europeans “to lay aside their preju-
dices” when examining the lack of cultural development of Africans, by
considering that Africans could only achieve so much in the regions of
the earth they inhabited.35 After describing the physiology of Africans,
33 Ibid., 162.
34 Ibid., 16365.
35 Ibid., 178.
The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 4, Winter 2017–2018
their “ampler measure of sexual enjoyment,” he says:
Thus, let us sympathise with the Negro, but not despise him, since
the conditions of this climate could not grant him nobler gifts, and
let us honor mother nature, who gives in denying. He lives a care-
free life in a land that offers him his nourishment with abundant
Herder would have been summarily fired from a multicultural uni-
versity had he used these words today! The peoples of the Americas fare
better in his description:
If, after this description, we were to ascribe to the Americans a
dominant or central character, it could be goodness of heart and
childlike innocence; a character that their ancient establishments,
their habits, their few arts, and above all their initial conduct to-
ward the Europeans, confirm. Springing from a savage land and
unsupported by any assistance from the civilized world, all the
progress they made was their own; and in their feeble beginnings
of civilization, they exhibit a very instructive picture of human-
Herder recognizes the higher achievements of the Asians, but even in
the case of the relatively civilized Chinese he finds them wanting in
bringing to fruition what humankind is capable of being. It is also amply
obvious from the passage below that he was not of the view that all cul-
tures should be judged in their own terms; Herder was very Eurocentric
and always used the higher level of achievement of Europeans as a
standard by which to judge the attainment of other cultures.
Is it to be wondered at that a nation of this kind should have in-
vented so little in the sciences according to the European standard,
or that it has remained at the same point for some thousands of
years? Even Chinese books of law and morality continually follow
the same circle, and carefully and precisely say the same things
about childish duties, in a hundred different ways with systematic
hypocrisy. Among these people, astronomy and music, poetry and
36 Ibid., 18384.
37 Ibid., 194.
Duchesne, “Johann Gottfried Herder
art of war, painting and architecture, are what they were centuries
ago, children of their eternal laws and of their unalterably childish
How about the ancient Greeks?
At last, human beauty found a site along the coasts of the Mediter-
ranean Sea, at which it was able to fuse with the spirit, and thus
could become visible, in all attractiveness of terrestrial and heaven-
ly beauty, not only to the eye but also to the soul; this was Greece
threefold, in Asia Minor and on the islands, in Greece proper, and
along the shores of the other countries of the Occident. . . . In the
first place, it is obvious to everyone that the region of the most per-
fectly formed people is a middle region of the earth lying, like
beauty itself, between two extremes.39
Herder continues:
We have considered the history of this remarkable region from
several points of view, as it represents in a way for the philosophy
of history a development unique among all the peoples of the
earth. The Greeks not only remained free from any intermixture
with foreign nations, so that their formation has been entirely their
own, but they also lived their historical epochs to the fullest, and
from the smallest beginnings journeyed through their entire course
in a manner unmatched by any other people in history. The na-
tions of the continent either have stopped at the earliest beginning
of civilization, and unnaturally perpetuated it by laws and cus-
toms, or have become prey to conquest before they had lived their
course; the flower cut down before it blossomed. Greece, on the
contrary, enjoyed the fullness of its time; it developed of itself what
was capable of developing, a perfection to which it was helped
once more by the good fortune of its circumstances.40
How about Europe’s historical perfection at large?
38 Ibid., 235.
39 Ibid., 175.
40 Ibid., 287.
The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 4, Winter 2017–2018
How, therefore, did Europe attain its civilization and the rank due
to it above other peoples? Place, time, necessity, the state of affairs,
and the course of events impelled it to this; but, above all, its par-
ticular industriousness in the arts, the result of many common exer-
tions, procured this rank to it. . . . The potential nature of the mod-
ern civilization of Europe is evident from what has been said; only
a civilization of human beings as they were and wanted to be; a
civilization driven by industriousness, the sciences, and the arts
(his italics).41
There is nothing in Herder that could possibly be construed as an an-
ticipation of diversification, as a call for the promotion of multiple cul-
tures inside nation-states. It would be far more reasonable to argue that
Herder’s ideas about the attachment humans have to their culture, the
value of cultural diversity across the world, and his rejection of univer-
sal cultural models, can be readily used by European ethno-nationalists
against immigrant multiculturalism.
But cultural Marxists are pathologically committed to a program of
diversification which has blinded them from reality and has given them
a license to manipulate texts to serve their own malicious ends. I will of-
fer some examples, starting with a paper titled “J. G. Herder and the Pol-
itics of Difference” by the abovementioned Michael L. Frazer.42 Frazer,
like other current interpreters of Herder, including Berlin, disconnects
(or misinterprets) Herder’s teleological view from his idea that all cul-
tures have their own ideals of perfectibility. Frazer simply says that “all
nations and cultures pursue the ideal of Humanität” or perfection, with-
out specifying the crucial distinction Herder made between the higher
European actualization of perfection, and the lower actualization of oth-
er cultures. He cites Herder’s words that “each [culture] bears in itself
the standard of its perfection, totally independent of all comparisons
with that of others.”43 But he leaves out Herder’s many passages noting
the backwardness of many cultures and praising Europe above non-
European cultures.
41 Ibid., 30910. This anthology is full of Eurocentric passages.
42 Michael L. Frazer,J. G. Herder and the Politics of Difference,” paper presented
at a conference titled “Immigration, Minorities and Multiculturalism” (Montreal, 2007).
43 Ibid.
Duchesne, “Johann Gottfried Herder
Frazer makes two erroneous inferences. First, from Herder’s claim
that all cultures try to actualize the potential for perfection he wrongly
deduces the claim that all cultures actualize equally this human potential
for perfection. Second, from Herder’s claim that we should show empa-
thetic understanding towards all cultures, he erroneously concludes that
Europeans should show empathetic understand towards the arrival of
multiple cultures into their nations.
While Frazer presented this view in a conference dedicated to a mul-
ticultural Canada, he does not quite say that Herder called for a pro-
gram of diversification. He is satisfied filling his paper with endless
strings of fluffy words and phrases taken out of context from Herder,
combined with his own fluffy thoughts, as a way of softening Canadians
into accepting the takeover of their nation by millions of foreigners:
“forgiveness,” “compassion,” “empathy,” “moral sentiments,” “humani-
ty,” and the sorts of things that Canada’s current Prime Minister, Justin
Trudeau, says every other day. The fact remains that no words can be
found in Herder justifying a multicultural interpretation.44
The most sustained effort to shape Herder into a multiculturalist
comes from Vicki Spencer’s recent book, Herder’s Political Thought: A
Study of Language, Culture, and Community.45 It is worth spending some
time with it. Spencer reads him as a forerunner of pluralism and multi-
culturalism. Herder’s nationalism, she starts explaining, was very re-
spectful of the autonomy and importance of the cultural value of all
communities around the world and inside nation-states controlled by
larger cultural groups. She weaves through a myriad of statements by
Herder coupled with interpretations by secondary authors trying to
make her case. She does manage to compile a patchwork of sentences
seemingly showing that Herder might have been sympathetic to multi-
44 There is a brilliant academic, Mahmoud Masaeli, Professor of Global Ethics at the
University of Ottawa, who does say in a paper, which I already cited above, “The Eth-
ics of Deep Diversity in Multicultural Societies,” that Herder was an advocate of “deep
diversity.” According to Masaeli, Herder has taught us that “the essence of humanity
stems from the ability to come into diversity and difference.” Yet, for all the feel-good
phrases Masaeli strings together, he fails to provide a statement from Herder that can
in any way be interpreted as a call for the creation of multicultural societies. The most
he gets is that Herder believed that it would be mutually beneficial for members of dif-
ferent cultures in the world to get along. But he never cares to tell readers why Ger-
mans, Italians, Canadians, or Australians would get along better by bringing millions
of diverse cultural groups.
45 Vicki Spencer, Herder’s Political Thought: A Study of Language, Culture, and Commu-
nity (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 2012).
The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 4, Winter 2017–2018
culturalism, notwithstanding the many contradicting claims she encoun-
ters in his writings and the rather contrived appearance of her story line.
But the whole argument is very strained and ultimately fails to come up
with a single statement in which Herder could be said to have been call-
ing for the racial diversification of European nations in the name of the
autonomous rights of communities from Africa and Asia.
In this endeavor she argues that we should not equate Herder’s con-
ception of Volk with modern Western nation-states based on political or
civic values agreed upon by the majority to which minorities are ex-
pected to assimilate. Herder understood that not all cultures could be
identified with a nation-state since many existed either within or across
the borders of nation-states. These communities were no less important
to Herder than those organized into nation-states. From here Spencer
asks whether Herder defined membership in a community in terms of
strong cultural characteristics, such as common language, shared ances-
try, historical memories, and territorial setting, or whether he defined
them in terms of political values agreed upon by the citizens of a state
who may not necessarily share the same culture. She thinks that Herder
prioritized the culture of a community more so than the existence of a
nation-state based on civic values.
She then debates whether Herder attached the importance to racial
ties, or common blood ties, in his definition of cultural communities.
Spencer acknowledges that Herder wrote some things about the nature
of communities in which racial characteristics were emphasized, includ-
ing disparaging statements about other races, but she brushes these off
as merely indicative of the prejudices of the time. She does not think
these racial statements “pose a fundamental challenge to a pluralist in-
terpretation of his work,” because of “his belief in the equal moral status
of people.”46
This exclusion of ideas regarded as unsavory by supposedly “pro-
gressive” thinkers is quite common among cultural Marxists. Spencer’s
rationale is that race could not have been a defining component of
the Volk. In her rendition, whether Herder did consider race to be a con-
stitutive factor is just a prejudice we can leave out. After all, according to
46 Ibid., 137. In my claim that a multiculturalist interpretation of Herder prevails to-
day, I don’t mean to say that everyone has accepted this interpretation. Some academ-
ics cannot forgive Herder for his “anti-Semitic” statements. Paul Lawrence Rose still
sees him as a proponent of German racial homogeneity in his book, German Ques-
tion/Jewish Question: Revolutionary Anti-Semitism from Kant to Wagner (Princeton, NJ:
Princeton University Press, 1990), 97109.
Duchesne, “Johann Gottfried Herder
Spencer, “there is nothing to prevent a group with no ethnic ties from
forming a Volk.”47 Herder’s concept of Volk is more accurately under-
stood, she insists, in purely cultural terms, as a community of people
sharing myths, territory, language, history, customs, and religion. These
cultural traits, she also adds, cannot be taken in a strict sense as objective
factors that define the meaning of Volk since there are varied ways in
which these factors have been (or have not been) found throughout his-
tory among communities.
Spencer then notes that Herder preferred communities that were
open to outside influences, and that he hoped that Germany would
“learn to appreciate that African, American, and Oriental Völker possess
valuable skills and talents that Europeans do not.”48 She thus eliminates
“ethnicity” from the concept of Volk. (I should add that she does not
quite equate “ethnicity” with race but rather with a strong cultural iden-
tity.) In this vein, she downplays the “myth of a common ancestry” as a
necessary component of a cultural community. “Culture, not ethnicity, is
the defining feature of Herder’s concept.”49
In other words, she opts for a soft definition of culture in Herder. She
wants neither a definition pointing to strong centralized state based on
civic values, forcing all cultures therein to assimilate to these values, nor
a national community with cultural identifiers that may be too strong
and may thus point to a Herderian definition that excludes minority cul-
tures. She does not want a civic nationalism that implies assimilation to
Western modern values, but she also does not want a Western nation
with a strong cultural identity that may be unwilling to import other
cultural communities.
Of course, Spencer is never explicit about what she wants. She wants
reader to think she is actually finding these ideas in Herder. But to those
who are aware that Western nations are controlled by hostile elites de-
termined to diversify them, it should not be surprising that Spencer is
just one more leftist deceptively trying to enlist the great thinkers of the
past as “precursors” of diversification. But if she does not want a West-
ern civic form of nationalism, which insists upon assimilation by mem-
bers of minority cultures, and she molds Herder’s Volk into a soft cultur-
al community, what type of Volk does she want for the majority Europe-
an community constituting a state? She wants a soft majority Western
culture that will be open to other cultures; in fact, she may not even
47 Spencer, Herder’s Political Thought, 138.
48 Ibid., 142.
49 Ibid., 144.
The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 4, Winter 2017–2018
want a Western state with a culture, since her entire argument is about
how Herder’s thought may be employed to promote immigrant minori-
ty cultures, without a single word dedicated to the ways in which
Herder may be employed in favor of the cultural integrity of the majori-
ty European community.
Not surprisingly, Spencer then goes on to say that “ultimately a Volk
is constituted by the subjective beliefs of its members,” “most appropri-
ately defined as a socially cohesive community with shared historic
memories, a common culture, and a sense of solidarity and belonging
that unites its members.”50 By elevating the “subjective” factor thusly,
and speaking about “solidarity,” she is able to envision communities
that are more open and malleable, as well as nation-states that are more
open and malleable, and in this way point towards a multicultural state.
Once she interprets Herder in this way, as someone who did not see
communities in strong cultural terms, but as changeable and malleable
to outside influences, Herder is ready to be sold to students as a harbin-
ger of multiculturalism. Herder, the German nationalist who called up-
on Germans to be proud of their ancestry, their heroes, folk songs, and
customs, rather than to ape Frenchmen, was apparently calling for a
Germany open to Africans and Muslims! Rather than a nationalist, he
was a theorist of minority rights. When he wrote about the need humans
have to belong to a cultural group, he was only speaking, or so Spencer
would have us believe, about the need of immigrant groups to have
their identities enhanced inside European states. She thinks she is justi-
fied in making these arguments simply because Herder called for uni-
versal respect for cultural diversity everywhere. But what about respect
for the culture of the majority community in charge of a nation-state?
What about Herder’s ardent attachment to his own German cultural
identity? Here is a well-known passage expressing Herder’s attachment
to his culture:
No greater injury can be inflicted on a nation than to be robbed of
her national character, the peculiarity of her spirit and her lan-
guage. Reflect on this and you will perceive our irreparable loss.
Look about you in Germany for the character of the nation, for
their own particular cast of thought, for their own peculiar vein of
speech; where are they? Read Tacitus; there you will find their
character: “The tribes of Germany, who never degrade themselves
50 Ibid.
Duchesne, “Johann Gottfried Herder
by mingling with others, form a peculiar, unadulterated, original
nation, which is its own archetype. Even their physical develop-
ment is universally uniform, despite the large numbers of the peo-
ple,” and so forth. Now look about you and say: “The tribes of
Germany have been degraded by mingling with others; they have
sacrificed their natural disposition in protracted intellectual servi-
tude; and, since they have, in contrast to others, imitated a tyranni-
cal prototype for a long time, they are, among all the nations of Eu-
rope, the least true to themselves.”51
But even if we were to agree that Herder preferred nation-states in
which historical minorities, or “long-standing communities,” as Spencer
puts it, are accorded cultural autonomy, a view consistent with Alt-
Right principles, I might say, how can Herder be seen as a “precursor”
of the enlargement of minority communities within nation-states via
mass immigration? She recognizes this difference:
It might be objected that within Herder’s framework of thought,
his proposal to respect cultural diversity relates to a state with a
number of Völker but not to cultural diversity arising from immi-
gration within a Völker.52
In reply to this question, the first step Spencer takes is to question the
notion that Herder was against immigration; the fact that he said hu-
mans are deeply attached to their culture and do not like to be uprooted,
should not be taken to mean he would thereby call for suppression of
immigrant cultures. But this is pure supposition. Essentially, she refer-
ences some words Herder used describing the plight of minorities in
some states in the past, and from these words she infers that he would
be sympathetic to a program of diversification. Can’t Europeans be em-
pathetic and interested in understanding the ways of other communities
(as they have by writing all their histories and inventing the disciplines
of archaeology and anthropology) without having to bring Third World
communities into their nation-states? She infers that, insomuch as
Herder said that cultural diversity in the world is good, it follows that
diversity inside nations creates (and here she cites the words of Bhikhu
51 Modern History Sourcebook: Johann Gottfried von Herder: Materials for the Phi-
losophy of the History of Mankind 1784. Fordham University.
52 Spencer, Herder’s Political Thought, 192.
The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 4, Winter 2017–2018
Chotalal Parekh) “an aesthetically pleasing and stimulating world.”53
She also infers that, insofar as Herder said that we should respect other
cultures, Europeans have a duty to respect the creation of whole new
immigrant cultures inside their nations. She indeed deduces from
Herder the idea that Europeans would be disrespecting immigrant
groups if they asked them to assimilate. To be a true Herderian one
must allow immigrants to enjoy cultural autonomy within the frame-
work of the nation-state and its laws. It is beneficial to the members of
the “dominant” culture to learn from the members of the minority im-
migrant cultures. She writes:
When there is no impetus for members of the dominant culture to
learn from and come to understand those who belong to minority
cultures in their community, the dangers of social exclusion, indif-
ference, and the perpetuation of old stereotypes are heightened.54
She then cites Taylor in complete support of his argument that immi-
grants deserve group rights inside Western nations because “due recog-
nition is not just a courtesy we owe others. It is a vital human need.
Spencer concludes:
It follows that a community concerned with the welfare of all its
members, such as Herder advocates, cannot ignore its immigrants
of various nationalities. . . . A vibrant and strong community is one
that reinterprets its traditions in light of the increasing multicultur-
al character of our modern states.55
In other words, Spencer sees fit to make Herder into an apologist of
what can only be described as a radical program to destroy the cultural
identity of Europeans even though Herder never said anything about
diversification and even though he was an ardent German nationalist.
Finally, let us consider an MA thesis by Jesse Joseph Paul Semko,
“Isaiah Berlin and Charles Taylor on Johann Gottfried Herder: A Com-
53 Ibid., 193. Bhikhu Chotalal Parekh is a presumptuous fool who calls himself a
“baron” and has demanded that the British stop being racist by opposing his desire to
see Britain populated by billions of Indians. The more British towns look like Indian
cities, the more “aesthetically pleasing” they will become. It is really amazing the rub-
bish academics take seriously!
54 Ibid., 194.
55 Ibid., 194, 198.
Duchesne, “Johann Gottfried Herder
parative Study.”56 This thesis takes Herder’s statement, “no individual
human being exists for himself,” as the platform from which to argue
that no ethnic European, no Swedish cultural group, no British, no Span-
ish European, can exist on their own if they are to achieve their
Humanität.” “Since communication and social exchanges are the pro-
cesses which advance humanity throughout history,” it follows that Eu-
ropean and Canadian communities “should be structured in such a
manner” that they are open to cultural and racial diversity wherein
“discussion and deliberation can flourish.”57 Only within a diverse
community can Europeans fully engage in a true “dialogical” conversa-
tion, which is the basis of true “knowledge,” as opposed to a “monologi-
cal” conversation among Europeans only, which is one-sided and cannot
produced great thinkers like Bhikhu Chotalal Parekh.
In fact, the “Herderian model,” this student insists, requires European
nations “to empower” immigrants with “additional rights,” over and
above the individual rights of Europeans, “to ensure that they can equal-
ly participate within the political process.”58 “A good human life is one
lived within the context of a [diverse] cultural community.” The final
sentence of his thesis is:
The Canadian [multicultural] experience exemplifies an essential
theme in the perspective shared by Herder and Taylor; namely,
that improving the communicative process [by bringing millions of
Muslims and Africans] is the most effective way of creating condi-
tions where human beings can continue to exist.59
The idea that minorities need special collective rights was taken by
this student straight out of Taylor. This thesis should have been failed,
and the books by professors it relies upon should never have been pub-
lished, since there is not an iota of textual evidence in Herder that can be
construed as a call for the integration of multiple cultures and races
within any nation.
56 Jesse Joseph Paul Semko, “Isaiah Berlin and Charles Taylor on Johann Gottfried
Herder: A Comparative Study” (MA thesis, University of Saskatchewan, 2004). This
thesis is available online in the Isaiah Berlin Virtual Library:
57 Ibid.
58 Ibid.
59 Ibid.
The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 4, Winter 2017–2018
Why, then, do we have academic “experts” claiming that Herder was
the father of multiculturalism and diversity? I cannot think of any other
answer than to say that willful deception reigns at the highest levels of
academia. I am not an expert on Herder, which may be for the better.
For the more a student reads from the current experts, the less he is like-
ly to understand what Herder actually said.
Elsewhere I have pointed out other instances of deception, the mis-
leading ways in which world historians today read the actual history of
the scientific revolution, the contributions of the Greeks, the exploration
of the worldindeed, every great achievement by Europeans, as if they
were accomplished by “humanity connected” without offering any sub-
stantive evidence other than misleading claims about migrations and
many fluffy words about how all belong to the “Mother Earth” and how
we all came from Africa.60 I have also pointed out the deceptive ways in
which Will Kymlicka, the foremost theorist of Canadian multicultural-
ism, misuses liberal theory, and the theory of minority rights in particu-
lar, to promote the creation of new immigrant minorities-to-become ma-
jorities inside all European nations, which is a cultural Marxist agenda
without intellectual roots in the Western liberal tradition.61 The outra-
geous misinterpretation of Herder is yet another case.
But why this deception, some may ask? I think this paper offers an
answer: since World War II, intellectuals in the West have committed
themselves to the cause of racial integration, the abolition of ethnocen-
trism, the promotion of multiculturalism inside Western nations, against
White privilege and in complete discomfort with the much greater his-
torical accomplishments of Europeans.62 This is a commitment entailing
the complete transformation of Western nations, which requires justifi-
cation, explanations, and historical foundations. One way to find a justi-
fication is to argue that the greatest thinkers of the past, the ones ad-
mired as upholders of our highest ideals, were “precursors” of this
transformation. This gives the project of “diversity” intellectual legiti-
macy, and covers up the fact that cultural Marxists are impostors dedi-
cated to the destruction of Western ideals and Western peoples.
60 Ricardo Duchesne, Faustian Man in a Multicultural Age (London: Arktos, 2017).
61 Ricardo Duchesne, Canada in Decay: Mass Immigration, Diversity, and the Ethnocide
of Euro-Canadians (London: Black House Publishers, 2017).
62 As explained in Duchesne, Canada in Decay.
Full-text available
The article analyses the life and activity of Estonian ethnomusicologist and folklorist Herbert Tampere (1909-1975), as well as the research history of Estonian folk songs until 1945, also paying attention to the influence of the Estonian Folklore Archives and its head Oskar Loorits. The historical background to Tampere’s activity is the establishment of independent statehood in Estonia (1919) after Estonians had existed as an ethic minority group subjected to the ruling classes of other nationalities for hundreds of years. The scientific and cultural background is constituted by the development of European folkloristics and ethnomusicology and the increasing prestige of folk music and non-western music in Europe, which contributed to the rise of the cultural self-awareness of Estonians as a nation with oral lore different from Indo-European culture. The approach is framed with the metaphor of life and death, which in Herderian way of thinking corresponded to the growth and fading of a nation and its creation. In the 1930s, Tampere brought into the discourse of the Estonian folk song, seemingly in opposition with the gradual fading of the living lore and complaining thereabout, a turn in writing about it, unexpectedly confirming that the folk song was alive. The older folk song started to disappear from public use in the 19th century, when people lost interest in its performance and the newer European folk music style spread more widely. At the same time, they tried to overcome the national inferiority complex that had developed due to existence as a lower class, as well as the oral culture considered as a sign of backwardness, creating on the basis of folklore a new national-language and valuable European literary culture. To accomplish this, the old, evolutionally lower traditional culture had to be abandoned. Writings about the dying folk song helped to encourage people to collect folklore and create distance with the past. In the 20th century, with the development of Estonian national self-awareness and literary culture and the rise of the nation’s self-esteem, and on the other hand the recession of Eurocentric and evolutionist way of thinking in the world of science, a new interest appeared in the structure and performance of the folk song, and it started to be increasingly appreciated and considered as living. Such changes in rhetoric indicate how reality is reflected subjectively, according to standpoints and circumstances. Considering the fact that in the 19th-century social evolution theory folklore and literary culture were attributed to different development stages of a nation, the nation with low self-esteem, striving for literary culture in the 19th century, could be satisfied with the dead folk song, yet in the 20th century, in the light of new culture concepts, it could be declared alive again. In summary it can be said that the following factors helped Tampere achieve a novel approach to folk songs in his research. 1. Tampere came from a talented and educated rural home, in which music and literature were appreciated and in whose neighbourhood different music styles were practised. His interests and skills were shaped by good education at schools with remarkable music teachers and an early contact with folklore collection at the Estonian Students’ Society. 2. Good philological education from the University of Tartu and work at the Estonian Folklore Archives, becoming familiar with folklore collections as well as other young folklorists and linguists, especially cooperation with Oskar Loorits, Karl Leichter, and Paul Ariste, added knowledge of newer research trends, such as ethnology and experimental phonetics. Maybe, paradoxically, the absence of higher music education, which would have directed the young man towards other music ideals, was positive in this respect. 3. The knowledge acquired of the methods and way of thinking in comparative music science provided a theoretical basis for understanding, valuing, and studying non-western music. Professional work was also supported by the development of sound recording and -analysis. 4. The immediate contact with living folk music already in his childhood and later on, when collecting folklore, elaboration of folk songs in the archives and compiling voluminous publications made this manner of expression more familiar. Tampere must have enjoyed the performance of at least some of the regilaul songs as he mentioned nice impressions and the need to delve deeper; also he recorded, studied, and introduced these songs to the public. 5. The heyday of national sciences and national ideals in the Republic of Estonia valued engagement in folklore as the basis of cultural identity. The first folk music reproductions appeared, such as folk dance movement and runic verse recitals at schools, which was why the issues of performance started to be noticed and studied. Oskar Loorits supervised the study and publication of the most Estonian-like (in his own opinion) folklore – folk songs – and it was probably also his influence that made Tampere study the problem of scansion, to systematize and study folk songs, and compile publications.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.