International Man: Let’s start with the basics.
What are holidays, and why are they important to a culture or country?
Doug Casey: The word “holiday” actually comes from “holy day”; it has a religious derivation. Once upon a time, I’d say as recently as the 1950’s, religion played a very important role in Western culture. It no longer does. Christianity is a dead duck in Europe, and fading rapidly in North America. Much as it replaced classical religions starting in the late Roman Empire, Christianity is being replaced by Wokism/Greenism.
Our holidays, until recently, were still about shared values and shared traditions. They were an acknowledgment of common beliefs, a celebration of what was important among the people of a country or a culture. But that’s no longer the case. The meaning of holidays, as with so many things, has degraded.
International Man: Marketing agencies are responsible for most consumer-themed holidays, which aim to get people to buy stuff they don’t need.
It started with Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, but now there seems to be a holiday for everything. There is National Tequila Day, National Donut Day, Amazon Prime Day, and countless others. What’s your take on this?
Doug Casey: Previously, people limited work during holidays. They were celebrations. Sure, there were sales of food, drink, and things necessary for the celebration. But in the past selling was just a consequence, a necessary adjunct of the holiday.
Today, selling has become the essence of the holiday. Christmas used to have a real religious essence, but it’s devolved into little more than a time for intensive marketing and competitive gift giving.
One of the very few good things about the giant amount of debt in society, and the unfolding Greater Depression, is that the promiscuous consumption centering around holidays will drop. People are likely to reorient towards more basic values as times get tough.
The fact that so many holidays have gotten a seal of approval and made “official” by the government is another sign that fascist values have overcome the West. Fascism, you’ll recall, doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with violence and black uniforms. It’s simply the melding of big business and government. They support each other, and prosperous big business means more tax revenue for the State. It’s exactly what Mussolini, who coined the word “fascism”, intended.
International Man: Identity politics has been a big factor in the surge of new holidays as politicians seek to cater to certain groups.
Juneteenth is a newly declared federal holiday. Columbus Day has been re-branded as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. President Clinton gave the first presidential declaration marking Kwanzaa.
We now have Pride month for those with sexual deviations, February is dedicated to black history, and November is dedicated to Native Americans, and so forth. It seems there is now a day, a week, or a month for every group. What is going on here?
Doug Casey: Holidays have become politicized. Many years ago holidays were times when people would acknowledge common beliefs and traditions; they united people. The newly minted ones see individuals as parts of a group, in effect arraying them against other groups. Of course, I question the value of artificially uniting people in the first place, because it typically emphasizes the lowest common denominator, like race.
The deletion of Columbus Day is shameful in itself. Columbus, for all his faults, was a heroic character who initiated a new era in world history. But replacing it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day is even more shameful.
As is the use of the term “Native Americans”. It emphasizes the fact that they were here first, which implies, and even emphasizes the fact that the Europeans took over their property. But more advanced civilizations have been doing that to primitive ones since Day One. It’s purposely antagonistic to emphasize it. In fact, Russel Means, with whom I was friendly if not an actual friend, preferred the term “Indian” for a number of reasons. I agreed with him on that. Self-hating white wokesters have a long history of subtlely corrupting words.
But that aside, today, holidays have become so politicized that they’re no longer mellow and joyous, but have become a source of resentment for everyone. They don’t create cheer and camaraderie, but antagonize groups that feel left out.
This is a natural consequence of no longer being a country which shares traditions, beliefs and attitudes. The US has become a multicultural domestic empire with numerous groups striving for power over each other.
Even things that seem as relatively benign as Martin Luther King Day—and he seems like a basically thoughtful and decent human being—was only made a holiday as a sop to blacks who rioted after he was killed. The State was, in effect, just throwing a racial group a bone. The same is true of the totally phony holiday called Kwanzaa, fabricated and promoted by Ron Karenga, a rabid race baiter.
It would’ve been equally legitimate—and I personally would’ve preferred—a holiday for Malcolm X. Why? Because towards the end of his life, he was becoming a rather overt libertarian, something that most people are completely unaware of because of his black Muslim name. But it’s a bad idea for the State to create holidays for anyone or anything out of thin air. If you want to promote something, do so. But don’t use public funds to impose it on everyone else.
The worst of these phony constructs may be Juneteenth, which is now a national holiday. Wikipedia says it was the day, June 19, 1865, two months after the end of the war, when Federal troops marched into Galveston and informed blacks that they were no longer slaves.
But perhaps even the 1619 Project will someday be turned into a holiday of some type. It’s the year when the first black slaves were brought to Virginia. Its promoters say that this was the country’s real founding. The whole concept is based on a fraud, the overt lie that the US was built on slavery. The 1619 Project is clearly intended to promote race hatred.
The widespread acceptance of these things is further proof that the government has been captured by actual Jacobins. The Democrats are a reincarnation of the group who tore France apart in the 18th century. They’re the most important “cadre” leading ongoing cultural revolution in the United States.
International Man: Do all these newly created celebrations cheapen traditional holidays? How does it factor into the bigger trend of the degradation of Western Civilization?
Doug Casey: I suspect the change started in earnest back in the ’50s, when people started writing ‘Xmas’ instead of ‘Christmas.’
I’m not a religious person, but I am a cultural traditionalist in many ways. Many of our hallowed traditions seem to have religious roots; they have nothing to do with religion, but they’re quite benign. Lovable old Santa Claus has absolutely nothing to do with the original idea of Christmas. He was popularized by the famous cartoonist Thomas Nash in the mid-19th century, and then adopted by the Coca-Cola company in the 1930’s.
This type of thing is true to an even greater extent with Easter, which, unbeknownst to most, is much more important than Christmas in the Christian liturgy. The original concept of Easter (the death and resurrection of Jesus) has been replaced with things like the Easter bunny and chocolate eggs. These are very nice traditions, but we have to recognize that the original meaning of Easter has gone away.
Halloween is another example. It used to be All Saints and All Souls’ Days, and now it’s all about spooks, goblins, and costumes. Its religious significance has totally disappeared.
Once again, not being a religious person, these things don’t bother me. Santa and the Easter Bunny are benign, and they take the hard edge off dogmatic religious holidays. Who wants black-clad puritans dictating holidays or holy days? But they’re indicative of certain trends.
For instance, take Christmas itself. You rarely wish people Merry Christmas anymore. In recent years you wish them a Happy Holidays—which means absolutely nothing.
Of course, if we go back further, the early church designated Christmas as a time to subvert and replace Saturnalia, a raucous Roman religious holiday that took place at the same time. Easter is a later appropriation of the ancient celebration of the spring equinox, a fertility festival.
The Christians captured pagan holidays and now neo-pagans are capturing Christian holidays. You can like it or not, but society evolves. In some ways, it’s benign; in other ways, not so much.
International Man: Many governments throughout history have invented new holidays to distract the plebs from bigger issuers. Do you see this happening today? What does the rise of fake holidays say about the big picture?
Doug Casey: Perhaps it goes back to the French Revolution. The Jacobins totally renamed and reformed the calendar and all holidays. They attempted to overtly overturn society.
That’s what’s going on today. Holidays are no longer organic or traditional. They no longer rotate around nature and well-worn traditions. They’re created by fiat out of Washington, and marketers in New York and Hollywood. Ill-intentioned groups that masquerade as benevolent or righteous reformers. These people are identical in character and intention to the Jacobins in France, the Bolsheviks in Russia, or the Nazis in Germany. They try to capture the culture along with the politics and economics of society. Reinventing holidays is just one of many fronts in the culture war. An overture to a real revolution is taking place.
We’ll see where it goes, but trends in motion tend to stay in motion. My guess is that before things get better, they’re going to get pretty scary.
Article cross-posted from International Man.