The art and music of Western civilization have gone through a transformation that mirrors the modern transformation of community.  Instead of the rich and varied tapestry of art forms and people—the products of subsidiarity—we suffer from a monotonous regularity.  Not to worry, say the foppish multiculturalists; this lack of variance is actually “diversity.”  Diversity, as it resounds through the Dewey camps of education as well as society at large, really means conformity.  

This conformity has resulted from the alien presence known as “man”—a caricature of real men and women that is neither American, nor European, nor of any nation or culture save that of the globalists’ nightmare.  

As some men believe that nations can be created by drawing lines on a map, so many of the celebrities of modern music have embraced the idea that music can be created simply by placing notes on a staff.  As some men have devolved their own national and cultural particularities, some music has preceded apace, glorifying an abstract universal that is alien to any nation or culture.  How fitting that a world that only acknowledges superficial cultural differences and wages war to enforce artificial borders should produce  music that, at best, chirps happily about diversity in Esperanto.

In the 19th century, small and functional polities were destroyed by those captivated by the idea of union.  During the 20th century, the world that World War I made safe for bolshevism and Na-zism bred atonality with doctrinaire autonomy, creating a new and uniformly mediocre type of music.  As central planners in every clime liberated the tapestry of civilization by unraveling it, composers of the McModern school cast aspersions on the very sense of cultivation necessary for any real diversity in art.  

Spurious systems of order, such as 12-tone music, and caricatures of choice and freedom, such as Dada art and “chance music,” began to make the formal and harmonic devices that had, for centuries, provided wonderfully rich differentiation appear to be the artistic equivalent of kulaks.

Arnold Schoenberg, revered in many academic texts as a martyr who was persecuted by the Nazis for his ostensibly freethinking approach to harmony, threw off the supposed hegemony of functional harmony, creating the “12-tone system,” which is based on a tonal matrix of mechanical equality wherein the function of each note depends solely on its place in an artificial scale.  Committed to its place in the artificial common order, each note imitates the Nazi slogan “Public good must precede individual good.”  A perfect synthesis of musical painting by numbers with the aural equivalent of the ant farm, this ersatz community of notes is right at home with the bureaucratic vision of making the world safe for central planning.  The 12-tone ideal reminds us that our very purpose and spirit are embodied in the degree to which we conform to the system.

Manuel Ponce, who wrote what is arguably some of the greatest literature for the classic guitar, said of the 12-tone system:

To obtain a clearer idea of Schoenberg’s doctrine, it will suffice for us to imagine a poet who so desires absolute originality that he fabricates verses with syllables of different words, selected by chance, that have no relation to each other either grammatically or ideologically.  Our poet then forms words that only someone no longer in need of his senses can possibly understand.  This same author then finds himself in straits to preserve these fantastic combinations of syllables that will eventually form a new vocabulary for either his own personal use or for the use of those privileged spirits that are able to understand it.

Ponce’s description of Schoenberg’s intellectual dishonesty can also be applied to true community under the thumb of the modern state.  First, make it incoherent; then, do all you can to preserve it.

Ponce argued that, without the freedom provided by an historical authority, the composer is left with nothing but his instincts as a guide.  Applying that concept to society, we discover that the planned, egalitarian, and enlightened community (or nation or world) is nescient of human nature.  With instinct as our only guide in a world that refuses to acknowledge that greed, cruelty, and exploitation are intrinsic to uncultivated human character, society grows more and more barbaric.  Is it any wonder, then, that the music that follows such a philosophy is so much like the modern state—proscriptive, boring, and agitating all at once?

Over time, planned systems of incoherence give way to the virulently postmodern, embracing the idea that life and art without editing are the very acme of freedom.  When all beauty is really just a matter of perception, we will have, of course, more “options” for inclusiveness, artistic expression, etc. which explains why postmodernist Karlheinz Stockhausen could call the destruction of the World Trade Center “one of the greatest works of art of the modern world.”

Postmodern composer John Cage has said that his “chance operations” were meant to free his work from his own desires so that the music could be more like nature in its processes.  We write music, you see, not to add to the beauty of nature but to call “natural” our limited perceptions of what we imagine to be random.  Thus, postmodernism gives us the freedom to make a parody of Creation.  What is nature without man?  Of what value is musical composition that takes the freedom gained from historical authority for granted?  What is creativity without editing?  What is art or civilization without love and cultivation?  Postmodern thought ignores these questions and, thus, negates man’s place in nature by reducing cultivation to the level of a social science.  Like mass democracy and today’s practice of calling a refusal to defend our communities from harmful alien influences “tolerance and diversity,” music that is created from this fundamental misunderstanding of nature seeks to invent universals by blurring real differences and, in so doing, actually destroys the very freedom it claims to foster by limiting our discretion.  If everything is art, then nothing is art, and talking about artistic freedom in this context is absurd.

The simple truth is that the parts of a system must be both integrated and sovereign in order for it to function properly.  Otherwise, there can be no harmony—in music or in civilization.

To create chords, the building blocks of harmony, you must have at least two notes that are sovereign yet possess an attraction to each other.  Great composers, understanding the natural affinity of certain notes, resolve the tension that results from these notes being placed in relation to other notes for which they have no natural affinity.  When the natural affinity of notes is seen as an arbitrary “construct,” the very concept of harmony becomes absurd.  In the same vein, people who share nothing—save that they pay taxes in order to live the same cookie-cutter lives in artificial neighborhoods—can hardly be called a “community.”

In reducing people and sounds to arbitrary combinations, modern thought cannot understand freedom.  The very richness of Creation elucidates man’s place in nature.  As men created in the image of God, the very person in us that acts either to weed or to cultivate is formed by the honing of character, and we do this by tempering our instincts, likes, and dislikes by an authority based on the principles of nurturing.  Contrary to the nostrums of liberal thought, there simply is no system of procedures or laws that can replace human caring or the celebration of life and love in the creation of art or community.  Without the understanding that art, life, and liberty are about living, enjoying, and celebrating Creation, such words as choice, options, diversity, inclusion, and freedom are nothing more than conjuring devices in the socialists’ bag of tricks.

Postmodernists argue that people too often confuse beauty with what is easy on the ears—a practice common to saps and sissies, to paraphrase the Connecticut crackpot Charles Ives.  Contrasting Ives’ thought with his action, it is hard to tell if, to use his own words, he is either lying or simply being stupid.  His thought is characterized by hypocrisy, excusing or ignoring plutocracy in government while blustering about the “common man.”  Cheer-leading for mass democracy in the country and pure autonomy in composition, he simultaneously saluted the extraconstitutional shenanigans of Abraham Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson as being “beyond mere politics”—alluding, of course, to those “higher law” shibboleths that we have come to expect from the worst despots and mischief-makers in modern history.  And, he argued, no real music could be made until the “last man willing to make a living from it was dead and gone forever.”  Though making a living by being an artist is the ultimate sissified sin, it is apparently the height of masculinity and freedom for underwriters of mercantilist war debt to make a living hawking their wares.  Ives was so committed to Wilson’s blundering that he suffered a massive heart attack after arguing with FDR over the necessity of selling Liberty Bonds at a price that the “man on the street” could afford.  

Ives represents the modern state and modern art rolled into one.  He celebrated mass man’s democratic superstitions: “[T]o an insurance man, there is an average man and he represents humanity.”  Much of his music reflects what mass democracy would eventually make the average American town look like.

For example, in “Putnam’s Camp” we hear familiar tunes buried in an alphabet soup of egalitarian, homogeneous noise.  They represent in sound the effect of seeing your church or corner grocery bravely peering out of the habitat of what is called the “workforce” in modern democratic parlance: the undiversified landscape of fast-food chains, freeways, strip malls, and megastores.

“Where aliens thrive, ecological diversity declines” has been the mantra of the National Park Service as it attempts to eradicate nonnative plants at the Grand Canyon, and, for those of us struggling to keep the real America alive, it should be our mantra as well.  In the arts, the postmodern priests of the “Inclusition” encourage us, in essence, to water the weeds and celebrate their diversity—to encourage listening, reading, and viewing space to be overgrown with unreflective celebrations of the alien, of mass man’s tortured images, stories, and noises.  In America, we find a habitat in which mass immigration crowds out the natural diversity of community; where mercantilism squelches local economy and republican government; where the practical and administrative aspects of the rule of law are hamstrung by teleocratic philosophy; where a massive and iatrogenic therapeutic state regenerates itself as it disables any real solution to social problems; and where McFlux thrives like camel thorn on a Grand Canyon beach, crowding out the natives as it destroys their natural habitat.

Richard M. Weaver wrote that the political class could not bring us up out of the swamp of 19th-century scientific superstition and that,

barring the advent of an illumination by some fateful personality, the task falls upon poets, artists and intellectuals, upon workers in the timeless . . . they alone can impress us with some splendid image of man in a morally designed world, ennobled by the conception of the transcendent.

Weaver’s prescription is right on the mark; still, many art celebrities continue to represent in sound, story, and image the modern state’s weed patch of homogeneous materialism, determinism, and fatalism.  Making his paeans to the alien creature, mass man—who owes his allegiance to nothing save mass production and consumption—has been only too eager to resist the very principles of cultivation that must precede any real art or community.

In this wasteland, we must celebrate real diversity by asserting particularity.  We can defy mass-produced slave art and culture by cultivating our art, our lives, and our homes with love and care in the oases of civilization where this timeless work has always been done—and, with fortitude, will continue to be done-in the real America.