“I’ve got the smartest guy in Rome next to Tom Williams in the Studio, and he’s gonna one-up ya…” [14:42′]
“Harnwell’s always a tough guy — he comes across as a monk, but he’s actually a very tough guy.” [18:42]
SiriusXM host Stephen K. Bannon welcomed Benjamin Harnwell of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute to Wednesday’s Breitbart News Daily.
Harnwell said the younger generation across the Western world was on a “long slide” into darkness, which his Institute is working to resist by “trying to prop up one of the major pillars of Western civilization – what used to be called ‘Christendom’ – and that’s the recognition that man is made in the image and likeness of God.”
“That recognition is the basis of the statement that we can see in person, on a philosophical basis, an individual. And it’s the only bulwark there is, really, against totalitarianism,” he explained. “Because what we say is, man has his essential identity before he enters into community, before he participates in the social environment.”
This is the vital understanding that has come under assault on campuses across the nation – even Catholic universities, “the foundational institutions of the Judeo-Christian West,” as Bannon pointed out.
“There’s no sense of doubt on the Left that they’re right. I don’t think it’s just an academic analysis that they’re right; it’s a sense of moral superiority that they’re right. That, I think, is what feeds their sense of anger,” said Harnwell, suggesting this sense of righteousness is nourished on the Left by both the mainstream media and academic establishments in the U.S. and Europe.
He thought the definition of “Left” and “Right” was changing because of this moralistic crusade and the response to it:
I don’t really see a great revival of what’s called the “far Right” by the media. Really, what I see is a revival of the center. And that is because since the Second World War, every passing generation has shifted one to the Left. So what we have now, what we would call “far Right,” it’s really basically just center, center-Right.
From this perspective, Harnwell argued that political opposition figures like Marion Le Pen in France, and the alternative parties in Germany, are called “far Right,” even though “there’s nothing really in their programs that would be traditionally associated with the far Right.”
He saw the widening gulf between Left-leaning political elites and centrist-inclined voters as one of the reason so many voters were exploring previously forbidden political avenues on the Right, with the pressure of Muslim migration an obvious factor in recent years.
It’s clear: If you’re looking at Angela Merkel in Germany, it’s clear the political leadership does not see an existential crisis … anything which is threatening to cultural, historical background that is posed by bringing in millions and millions of people who share a religion which is radically different from Christianity.
He said the ideology of these political elites left them incapable of understanding how mass Muslim immigration is likely to overwhelm the host cultures, rather than the new arrivals assimilating to European society.
“These people, by and large, they might weakly associate themselves as being Christian, but they don’t really hold the Christian faith, neither Protestant nor Catholic,” he explained, adding:
Therefore, when they look at other people who are religious, they sort of assume that they’re just like them, but with a different cultural affinity. They’re not looking at Muslims as being members of a religion which is innately or aggressive. They’re looking at people that they’re projecting themselves. That’s the nature of the ideology, Steve: they’re projecting themselves onto other people, and they’re assuming that other people are essentially just like them.
Harnwell believes there is an existential crisis facing the Judeo-Christian West, including the United States, driven by skyrocketing national debts and collapsing birth rates.
“There’s not a single country, a single EU member state, that has a fertility rate at replacement level,” he pointed out. “That is, every country, unless it’s being maintained through immigration, will decline and collapse.”
He cited Spain as an example, noting its 1.1 birth rate is only half what is needed to maintain population strength, and recommended Mark Steyn’s America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It for an insightful early examination of the fiscal and cultural pressures created by population decline. One of Steyn’s more disturbing observations was that, based on the evidence of history, no civilization has ever touched a fertility rate as low as Spain’s and survived.
Harnwell said there was a fundamental spiritual component to demographic collapse: “We no longer think Western civilization, Christendom, is something that is worth actively protecting and continuing.”
One of the contentions in Steyn’s book is that, based on the evidence of history, population decline is extremely difficult to reverse – arguably impossible, once it passes a certain point.
Harnwell said provocatively:
That’s probably going to be the direction we go in, and it might not be such a bad thing because if what we’re talking about is the wholesale collapse of what we would call liberal secular government – if we’re talking about the wholesale collapse of society, one of the things that’s going to collapse with that is liberal secular government, and that’s one of the problems that I would indicate.
“Looking at Mark Steyn’s book, he indicates empirically that the more pervasive the State is in people’s private lives, the lower the average fertility rate of that society is.”
From this, Harnwell postulated, “The State, in taking responsibility over what are the prerogatives of an adult, infantilizes this adult. And, of course, if a person is infantilized, one of the things that differentiates infants from adults is procreation.”
He saw grim evidence of this process in headline news items declaring that “more people under 35 live with their parents than live with a partner.”
If you can’t take responsibility, if it’s denied from you the responsibility to choose a work contract according to your own preferences, rather than the State coming in and underwriting things like the minimum wage, what have you, if you’re not allowed to deal with the specifics of your own insurance, health insurance, stuff like that, the whole thing where everywhere, the State likes to get in and make our lives better for us, according to its own precepts, we lose all of the responsibilities that define us as adults, and the free agents of our own destiny.
He found it no surprise that this process of infantilizing adults led to a grievous shortage of actual infants.
Harnwell thought this was all part of a deliberate agenda to reduce the human population. He was well aware of how radical that suggestion sounded, joking that he would keep his “tinfoil hat” on long enough to explain his conclusion.
“I do believe that there is an international movement, led by organizations such as the European Union and the U.N., to reduce global population. I’m certain of that,” he said, adding:
I spent fifteen years working in politics at the House of Commons and in the European Parliament, and I studied these things quite closely. It’s beyond coincidence that one sees pieces of legislation, introduced in one country after another, in almost identical wording. There has to be some kind of coordination for this.
He traced this anti-human initiative back to the Sexual Revolution of the sixties, from which also sprang the modern environmentalist movement and its Malthusian obsessions, such as climate change.
“There’s a straight line between these two things, which is basically, ‘People bad, Nature good,’” Harnwell stated, then asserted:
The actual consequence of both the sexual revolution in terms of legislation, with no-fault divorce, with abortion, with these things, and moving forward towards climate change, is that people would have less children. That’s the straight line that unifies these things.
He agreed with Bannon’s observation that “People bad, Nature good” is also the creed behind the pagan religions with which Left-wingers have grown preoccupied, leading to the “neo-pagan” movement.
“It’s exactly what we can expect to get, when we allow our societies to be de-Christianized,” Harnwell warned. “Something will fill that vacuum.”
He found the trend toward anti-humanism and neo-paganism so strong during his time in the European Parliament, working on pro-life issues, that he declared his sense that “being in direct spiritual warfare against the Devil” has never been so strong.