Rebel Yell 333 John Marshall, Kinism

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This is Rebel Yell – a Southern Nationalist podcast of the Alt-Right. I’m your host Musonius Rufus. Joining me are my cohosts Mencken’s Ghost and Ryan McMahon. For our 114th episode of Rebel Yell, I speak with John Marshall about kinism.

Thanks, goys!

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7 comments

  1. A lack of enthusiasm among Kinists?

    Yeah…it’s because Kinism, very quickly (and before my eyes) morphed into a cult, with all cult-like pretensions. And cults are never the friend of enthusiastic (or creative) expression.

    John Marshall and his work meant so much to my intellectual growth and development. He represented (in my mind) the best of the “golden-age” of Kinism. And yet, in its twilight days, there were people claiming to be kinists who had no idea who Marshall was and had never heard of Kinism.net!

    I became associated with Kinism during the very end of its golden era (by my estimation) – back when we existed mainly on blogs, forums, and pre-social-media venues. But with the rise of Facebook – and the inclusion of certain persons – the “movement” (such that it was), ground to an ever slower and slower halt. Death by cult…

    There’s a recent article on Counter-Currents suggesting ‘identitarians” attempt to, essentially, “evangelize” Christians. But after experiencing Kinism and the seeing that it provides one of the most philosophically and theologically in-depth assessment of white-identity that can be found anywhere, the idea of “Identitarians” roping us into their fold is laughable. It’s like African doctors wanting to put maggots or leaches on our wounds, when we’re used to first-world medical treatment. Repulsive. If anything, Counter-Currents needs to go out of commission until they’ve read everything John Marshall has ever written. Johnson would be better off for it, at the very least.

    …but despite that, the most interesting thing about Kinism, in my view, is how it pre-dates the Alt. Right, and further, how everything happening in the Alt. Right eerily mirrors what happened in Kinism. Kinists were a decade (or so) ahead of the Alt. Right. We were “trolling” before there was a word for trolling. We were “memeing” before anyone began recognizing “memes”.

    …and let the alt. right be warned (or whatever fragments of it there still are)…they, like Kinists, are grinding to an ever slower and slower halt. Death by cult…

  2. The recent history does not define it. There are Christian men, right now, coming to a proper historical view in these regards. No one knows or cares about the goofy microscopic feuds. They do care abut the future and posterity.

      1. I’m not sure how correct beliefs are necessarily opposed to the liberation of the soul from modernity. It could be argued that this liberation will never occur without having the right thoughts about modernity. It could be further argued that without right thoughts on modernity, one could scarcely even identify its deficiencies and seek to ameliorate them.

        Striking out blindly (however vigorously) against a vague discomfort with contemporary conditions is never preferable to understanding why you feel what you do, and others like you, and forming a view on how to rectify the situation. If those ideas take on the character of “correctness,” might it not simply be that some ideas are better than others? Might it not simply be that others have found the way out of modernity, and that the way out is, in part, comprised of formulating the problem-solution matrix correctly in the mind, so that one doesn’t, again, blunder back into modernity because he simply struck out in an arbitrary direction?

        When you encounter a necrotic tissue, it is better to isolate and remove the affected tissue than it is to amputate the limb. Even the Southern Agrarians, who were as ill-disposed to ideology as anyone we might imagine, still produced two relatively thick volumes of essays directed at what was wrong (and still is) with modernity, and what needs to be done. I can understand discomfort with an overly preening and condescending attitude toward those who are not doctrinal cognoscenti, but I don’t think anyone promoting Kinism (if there are any such figures) today can be (with grounds) accused of this sort of behavior. The mere destruction of ideas or ideological conformity does not portend the destruction of modernity.

  3. Excellent and fascinating interview. When I first started listening I had no idea that Marshall was the gentleman behind the original Kinist Review. I recall reading several of the articles there years ago when his website was still up. I’m also quite glad to see this podcast going in a more explicitly kinist and theonomic direction.

    I agree completely that building alternative institutions is key, and I’d add (or perhaps simply emphasize) that the church must be the first of these institutions from which everything else flows. If we can’t recapture the church (or build a remnant church) then I don’t see how we will be able to accomplish anything else. I appreciated Musonius’ comment about forming private Bible studies on Sunday afternoons after attending established churches, as this is something I am already attempting to do.

    On the topic of kinism losing steam over the years, I do have a criticism of Marshall and others which I hope will be taken charitably. I have been reading kinist material for 10+ years now, and I have noticed that on more than one occasion a kinist thought leader decides to pull the plug on his projects, sometimes quite abruptly and with little explanation. I understand that we have other commitments to family and that our level of involvement fluctuates over time, but why is it necessary to take down your website? The Kinist Review, SpiritWaterBlood, and Good Morning White America have all done this. Tribal Theocrat is at least still up, even if new podcasts are no longer being produced. Were it not for Faith and Heritage, kinism would barely exist even on the internet. All of the great work that was done at the Kinist Review and elsewhere should at least stay available for those who are becoming familiar with these ideas.

    1. Mr. Pulaski, This is John Marshall. I was among those who met at the home of one of our number near Greenville, TN in 2003 to fashion the set of commitments that came to be known as Kinism, and I helped craft its relatively well-known “manifesto”. I can speak directly to your question. Kinism.net was taken offline when I felt it had served its purpose, which was to foster discussion on the logical implications of certain Christian religious commitments that amounted to the “doctrine” known as Kinism. It was, at its inception, not intended to be a permanent repository of thought, but rather to facilitate interaction between those who expressed interest in the historic creeds and counsels of the church, and the necessary inferences from Holy Scripture, on the Christian Doctrine of Nations. That is, it was to be for community-building. The site was in operation from 2003 to 2013, so I devoted 10 years to its care and feeding, evidenced in such things as paying for domain and hosting fees, performing software updates and patches, moderating the online form (from which I still have the database) and performing web development. It had gotten to be a time-commitment that was putting a strain on my personal relationships, in particular my marriage, because I felt the obligation to participate in, and guide many if not all of the discussions there. In addition, it seemed to me that participation in the forum, and page views of the site, had waned considerably over the years, as Facebook and other forms of social media began to divert “eye share” from Kinism.net. It seemed time to move on to other things.

      A recent upsurge in interest in the ideas surrounding Kinism (resulting from the podcast, which I hope is not the last we’ll do) has led me to consider bringing some material back online, and to try to promote the continued exploration of these ideas, and their dissemination—ideas that I don’t think have lost their relevance to contemporary challenges that face the Christian European Diaspora in the U.S. Indeed, I attempted to contact Harry Seabrook (Spirit, Water, Blood) many times to acquire control over the Kinsm.net domain from him (which I’d given over to him temporarily so that he could securely register the domain, as he was, at that time, relatively more immune from concerns regarding so-called doxing or loss of anonymity) for the purpose of bringing online some of the old materials, and also putting some effort toward their development. All these efforts were to no avail. I have recently acquired the domain Kinism.org for this purpose, and so these materials should begin to be available again. I spent much time in the early days trying to organize a more cohesive effort around this development and dissemination. For better or worse (only God knows) it was deemed by the several prominent Kinist personalities at the time that a more distributed and individualized approach was better. I am of the opinion that time has shown that approach to be less effective, as all the individual blogs (apart from Faith and Heritage) are now gone. It seems that Faith and Heritage is, for all practical purposes, what Kinsm.net aspired to be, and Nathanael is to be commended for his efforts. The fact that F&H has a benefactor who subsidizes the site has aided tremendously in its longevity, though I think that its focus is perhaps rather too narrow. I have a couple of articles at that site, but it seemed for a time that I had said what I had to say about Kinism. I attended a conclave of Kinists back in 2014 (if I recall correctly) that was sponsored by F&H’s benefactor, and it was very refreshing to see so many young men with passion for these ideas, and it was enjoyable to fellowship with these young leaders. it bears underscoring that F&H was born, in part, as a reaction to the excesses of Kinist rhetoric, and, for a time, the site, understandably, rather shunned the label. I, for one, don’t think Kinism should be judged by the actions of those few who brought on it these unfortunate associations. Neither do I feel any rancor toward them. At the time I think these actions were undertaken in order to bring publicity to the movement, but also out of a genuine and rightful contempt for the cultural Marxist erosion of the true Gospel. We can regret their tactics while having some regard for their (on better days) purer motives.

      As for Mr. Terry’s comment that Kinism had become a “cult,” I’m not certain that I concur entirely. If by cult he means that Kinism counted among its ranks some self-appointed leaders around whom something of a cult of personality had developed, perhaps this charge has some merit. Certainly the controversies of the day had begun to distract from the mission of developing the position more fully and systematically, and soon became all-too-easily associated with the term Kinism, as did a certain variety of aggressive social media tactics that, while bringing notoriety and publicity to the “movement,” tended to attract criticism from mainstream ecclesiastical figures who otherwise might have been more sympathetic (I am thinking particularly of Doug Wilson). Often enough, these figures were social media targets of certain individuals, some of whom, I understand, are now disgraced, and they reacted accordingly. Frequently, criticism of Kinism was directed at its methods rather than its ideas, an honest accounting of which an orthodox Christian would be hard pressed to find fault.

      If by cult he means a relatively well-defined set of ideas from which founders are unwilling to deviate, or their tendency to arrogate to themselves the authority to say what a doctrine is, and what it isn’t, I can’t concur. The central feature of a cult is that its gnosis is esoteric, and can only be obtained from an adept after certain initiatory rites have been undergone, loyalty been demonstrated, and a period of indoctrination completed. Kinist doctrine has never been private, never esoteric, and it has never been disseminated by adepts to whom absolute loyalty is a criterion of accession. Those individuals who participated in the development of the basic features of the doctrine, did, from time-to-time, guard the right to define what they had named and promulgated. This approach may not appeal to populists, or those who have a distrust of “authority,” but it is not unusual for those who have begun a thing to want to retain some say in how that thing is defined, with all due respect to Mr. Terry. After all, they were privy to the original discussions, and were in the best position to relate the parameters of those discussions. But nothing like a full-fledged position came out of Greenville, or the manifesto, and, it must be admitted, the development of the position was always understood to be something of a shared undertaking, in which Mr. Terry himself partook, who may, it seems, harbor some resentments as to his treatment at the hands of certain Kinists. I can only conjecture, but there does seem to be some lingering animus whose source I can only guess. I’ve always attempted to be cordial and respectful in my treatment of inquirers, those who were associated with the ideas, and the community of people engaged in the discussion and debate around the logical and necessary implications of that handful of dogmatic commitments. Those commitments are as follows: A Theonomic perspective on God’s Law, a biblical perspective on the definition of the nation, a commitment to presuppositional epistemology, a high regard for the habits of mind and behavior of our Christian forebears, an immovable opposition to the project of globalism conducted under the guise of the Christian Faith, and staunch rejection of the concept of inter-generational guilt.

      A certain slavish devotion to the thought of R.J. Rushdoony, and a historicist variety of Theonomy, also had its effect. I would say that, while its origins were Protestant, Kinism has suffered from being considered an exclusively Protestant/Reformed position, whereas I think that these are the consensus views of the church from its inception on the proper form of polity for man, as a created being, and the property of a loving God. None of these were errors of malice, but rather, often enough, of either inexperience or egotism. I’m sorry that Mr. Terry feels ill-used or badly treated, and I certainly bear him no enmity. I respect his position, though I disagree with some of its particulars, and I hope that his posture will soften in time as he realizes that he was dealing with fallible men, sinners, who were neither experts in how to promulgate a “movement” nor immune from the temptations and petty foibles to which men are often prey. I tried my best to steer clear of the controversies and focus on how Kinism could make a difference in people’s lives, and prepare them for what appears to be an increasingly bleak future (though the ultimate victory is God’s). Considering that the PCA (in its 2018 advisement to the General Assembly) mentions Kinism by name as an actionable heresy, I would say that the view still has some currency and relevance to contemporary conversations in ecclesiastical circles, and is probably worth dusting off and taking a fresh look. I, for one, hope that the animosities and bellicosity of the past can be put behind us, and that we can go about the work of giving this important viewpoint a thorough accounting.

      I want to again thank the folks at ID and Rebel Yell for the opportunity to talk about the ideas to which I’ve given so much of my adult life, and to which I’m still as committed as I ever was back “in the day.”

      In Christ, John Marshall