The Great Crusade

What does Western unity look like? More importantly, what could it look like?

The greatest moments of our people can be found in those struggles when Europeans united in defense of their blood and civilization against a common foe. We can hear the echoes of those struggles even today.

  • The last stand of the 300 at Thermopylae and the Greeks fighting together against the mighty Persian Empire.
  • The Battle of Lepanto, the miraculous victory that delivered the Mediterranean from the awful specter of “The Turk.”
  • The Battle of Vienna of 1683, where the Polish King John III Sobieski personally led the largest cavalry charge in history and the famous Winged Hussars crushed the Ottoman hordes.

Yet the mythos of these moments are at least somewhat invented. The great Greek city of Thebes allied with Xerxes during the Persian invasion, and the other Greeks reverted to shifting alliances and slaughtering each other soon afterward. Don John of Austria spent his final days trying to subdue the rebellion in the Low Countries and died of typhus, a demise that Dutch patriots must rejoice in today. And just after the “Saviour of Christendom” Sobieski died, the European powers went back to merrily butchering each other in the War of the Polish Succession.

White advocates are used to hearing the usual taunt that unity is a myth because most White nations and peoples fought most of their wars against other White nations and peoples. And this is, of course, true. Foreign allies are sometimes seen as useful weapons even against closely related peoples or in a civil war. In contemporary political terms, there can be little doubt that the Left sees non-Whites as useful auxiliaries in struggle to destroy their hated White foes on the Right. And lest we say only the Left is guilty of this, it was the Moroccan Regulares that served as Francisco Franco’s shock troops in the Spanish Civil War.

It’s said that diversity plus proximity equals war, but proximity is probably more important than diversity. To say Whites generally fought other Whites isn’t a political statement, it’s a tautology. Muslim infighting does nothing to change of the ideal of the Ummah. And it’s the self-interested and ethnocentric Jews who gave rise to the old joke, “two Jews, three opinions.” The fact that we fight most often with our own doesn’t change the reality that we can see each other’s soul, as Kipling wrote, while the Stranger is utterly impermeable, be he good or evil.

The West came into existence as Unity. The battles of the Greek city-states did not change the distinction between Greek and barbarian. The never ending Roman civil wars and battles for the imperial throne did not render the “Roman world” a hollow idea. And Europe was a meaningful concept and cultural unity a reality even when the Continent was devouring itself in the two terrible civil wars of the last century. The West is a Broken Empire, and the dream remains Imperium.

But does Imperium mean a unified political construct? Some historians believe that it was the very division of the West into feuding nation-states that enabled the competition which propelled the European continent from a global backwater to the dominant force on the planet. On a purely practical level, the attempt to impose a single economic order on countries as different as Greece and Germany has led to catastrophe. The European Union is hardly a model to inspire, well, anything. Adherence to the Mosleyite idea of “Europe a Nation” at this time threatens to render us irrelevant.

Richard Spencer argues that “Europe wants to come together,” but most of the momentum on the Right runs toward support for secessionist and localist movements and opposition to overweening bureaucratic structures like the European Union. And while a new Roman Empire or some such imperial arrangement may appeal to our aesthetics, who or what would be sovereign? Unless some literally godlike Emperor of Man type figure presents himself (complete with flaming sword and halo), it’s hard to imagine anyone or anything who could inspire the kind of irrational and automatic loyalty and sense of identity that even our degraded polities can still draw upon.

But ethnonationalism is also not a real solution. It’s all very well to say every people deserves their own nation, but there is a reductio ad absurdum element to this, as you can break down just about every imaginable polity into ever smaller levels. The country that is able to resist this most effectively will remain the most powerful. If there is a political counter-revolution to what is happening to the West today, it’s hard to imagine it coming in any other form than being spearheaded by a powerful nation under a government and a leader with the ability to force a new order. Some nations will be winners, others will be losers, and History will roll on. And we see the terrible price of this in the Brothers’ War raging in the Ukraine.

A Western Imperium is a great Sorelian vision. But debating the form it would take, the boundaries, and the way it would be organized is meaningless.

What is the solution? As Markus Willinger stated, Europe is not the same thing as the European Union and the most important objective is to unite in defiance of our enemies. And here, we have a way forward in that European unity can be defined by an action rather than a form of organization. And we also have a precedent, one that our enemies will never let us forget—The Crusades.

After the suppression (and conversion) of the pagan threat to Christendom, Europe remained a heavily militarized continent. The Crusades were an explicit attempt to stop that intra-European bloodletting of medieval Europe and direct it against outward enemies. The Crusades channeled those impulses which already existed towards higher ends. Rather than wars for petty local concerns, war would be a sacral form of penance through which violent men could uphold high ideals like liberating Christian communities, protecting travelers, and making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

The Crusades originated in an institution that did not have direct sovereignty over Europe but nonetheless commanded the spiritual allegiance of both nobles and peasants. Local nobles, knights, and soldiers answered the call of the First (and successful) Crusade as the great Crusader Kings only participated in the later (and less successful) expeditions. The first Crusader ruler of Jerusalem, Godfrey of Bouillon, was a knight and a lord, not a king.

Here we have an enterprise that united Europeans from all around the Continent in a great political, spiritual, and military quest. The kind of local polities and “private governments” favored by a good chunk of neo-reactionaries and New Right supporters participated in a great pan-European quest. They may have failed in the end, but the Crusades were hardly a debacle. The establishment of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in an age before railroads, steamship transportation, modern medical care, and advanced communications was a stupefying accomplishment. And the legacy of the Crusader as a holy warrior willing to sacrifice everything in a quest against evil lives on in our culture. The very word (albeit spelled with a small c) is synonymous with a heroic struggle.

At least until recently. It’s striking how the image of the Crusader has been transformed from the very archetype of noble sacrifice to a genocidal war criminal within the span of a few decades. From Kingdom of Heaven to Ironclad, the Crusaders are portrayed as participants in the greatest war crime of antiquity.

In American political culture, the Crusades are taken a priori as a shameful episode in Western history. One month after the September 11 attacks, President Clinton attacked “those of us with various European lineages” and blamed the Crusades as a root cause for the attacks. The Bush Administration quickly had to retreat from labeling its Middle Eastern wars a “crusade” because of the offensive connotations. Barack Obama lectured that we couldn’t look down on the Islamic State because of the “Crusades and the Inquisition.”  

In the contemporary West, the Crusaders are held to be the exact equivalent of various jihadists. Thus, the opposition to jihad can only come through leftist forms. We are allowed to be opposed to Islamic jihad not because it threatens us or our civilization, but because it offends atheism, feminism, or the natural desire for people to consume as many Doritos as possible once the government gets them a job. Those who want to confront an enemy are just as bad as jihadists, as the real divide is not between the West and the Rest but those who have some semblance of an identity, culture or faith and those who simply want to dissolve into McWorld.

The New Atheists supposed opposition to Islam is only stated in this form. The late Christopher Hitchens in his “revised Ten Commandments” directly linked jihadists and Crusaders together as “psychopathic killers with ugly delusions” and Sam Harris tells us that confronting Islamic radicals is simply the equivalent of coming across as medieval Christians. Thus, we see the persistence of the Whig view of history. We are all on the same path to John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Our enemies aren’t really an Other or even an enemy—they are simply a road block on the way to progress. If we want to be charitable, we can just say they are deluded.

Many Whites aren’t reading from this script. American soldiers in the Middle East, with the disapproval of their commanders, tattoo themselves as crusaders or “infidels.” The late Chris Kyle tattooed himself with a Crusader cross. Marches against the Islamization of Europe feature Christian symbols even as the church leadership speaks out against them. Some Americans have made their way to the Middle East to fight with the nationalistic Kurds against the Islamic State and openly call themselves crusaders. The fact that they are defending the people that created Saladin only strengthens the argument that the Crusade in the Western Imagination symbolizes something broader than fighting against Muslims or even fighting for Christianity as such.

Before we establish an Imperium even in theory, we should be thinking in terms of what great enterprise can unite various Europeans around the world without asking them to deny or surrender their particular loyalties. We need, in short, a Crusade. And absent a common religion, the fight for Europa itself seems like the only plausible impetus. As Spencer has said, the attempted Islamization of Europe may, in the long run, prove a necessary and even beneficial development because it is a crucible that will force Western Man to remake himself or die. In struggle will lie our redemption or our extermination.

The Crusade must be established as our ideal. The cause as it exists today is a political, cultural, and spiritual struggle against our occupation. This cause can unite Europeans around the world to recognize our shared struggle even as we must adapt to local circumstances and different cultural realities. The critical importance of establishing links and common projects between White Identitarains around the world provides the seed bed for what could become the great enterprise of our time. And the continuing relevance and salience of the “Crusader” as a word and an ideal shows it still resonates with ordinary people.

Of course, there are many problems with this theory. Who is our Urban II and can exercise even nominal control over such an enterprise? How can a sacral mission be undertaken when the members of a movement don’t share a common faith, or even concede that religious faith is a good thing? And where is the great war for Europe today? The only shooting war in Europe itself is between Russia and Ukraine, and even within the “far right” opinions are fiercely divided on that issue.

Such questions are premature. The ideal of the Crusade, rather than the Imperium, can be our Sorelian myth. And Identitarianism provides the beginnings of a universal framework adaptable enough that Europeans around the world to engage at the local level while still remaining relevant to the worldwide struggle. The Flemish movement especially provides an example of how battles for local autonomy and cultural independence does not mean abandoning the larger goal of Western Unity.

It’s the nature of a website to provide analysis and theory rather than activism and action. This is necessary but not sufficient. The revolution will not be online. At best, some of what is discussed can lead to concrete things that every person who reads this can do immediately, to better their own lives. But what we need is a way to bind all of our individual struggles together, in all our vastly different locations, circumstances, and beliefs. And just as soldiers from Spain to Norway marched in the service of an Idea, so we can live our lives in the same way, gradually building toward a culminating adventure to come. Rather than talking in circles, we need an ideal of action.

Make your life a Crusade. Dedicate yourself to an Ideal. Europe Wills It.