Elitism

One concept that’s often associated with Left Hand Path traditions is the concept of elitism. I’m not sure if it’s a universal tradition among the Left Hand Path. Some Left Hand Path traditions seem to, or at least some claim to be associated with the Left Hand Path – the irony of course being that some of these “Left Hand Path” traditions actually embrace a kind of collectivism, in terms of the acceptance of an in-group and shunning an out-group – case in point, the Order of the Nine Angles, which is sometimes seen as embracing elitist concepts and spirituality, and also embraces the notion of the in-group versus the out-group (the in-group being anyone in the ONA, and the out-group being the “mundanes”, which refers to anyone who’s not a member of the ONA).

In his book Lords of the Left Hand Path, Stephen Flowers seems to refer to the Temple of Set as elitist. There is some truth to this, as there are a category of people – which, of course, consists of very few people – who are identified as “Elect”, referring to individuals within the Temple of Set who have attained the second degree or higher or have been selected by the Prince of Darkness after realizing their separation from the objective universe and its natural order.

And then there’s Peter Gilmore, personality cult leader current head of the Church of Satan, who wrote this:

[Satanism is] a religion of elitism and Social Darwinism that seeks to re-establish the reign of the able over the idiotic, of swift justice over sluggish injustice, and for a wholesale rejection of egalitarianism as a myth that has crippled the advancement of the human species for the last two thousand years. Is that something to fear? If you’re one of the majority of human mediocrities merely existing as a media-besotted drone, you bet it is!

– from Satanism: The Feared Religion by Peter Gilmore

Honestly, if Satanism really is a strongly elitist religious tradition, then that’s an aspect of Satanism that I don’t think I’ve looked into a lot (though the Book of Fire in the Satanic Bible contains verses that could be interpreted as supporting Social Darwinism and elitism). That, or I just say that because the Satanism I follow is basically a non-elitist interpretation of Satanism.

You also have individuals such as Augustus Sol Invictus (who you may remember from this year’s International Left Hand Path Consortium in Atlanta, USA), who have been associated with the Left Hand Path and espouse some kind of elitism, to the point where they are actually trying to blend LHP belief with fascist ideology. In the case of Augustus Sol Invictus, he has come out in support of eugenics programs and criticized the United States federal government for not having them in its policy because he believed that the government favored “decadent” ideology which he claimed “rejected the beauty of strength and demands the exponential growth of the weakest, least intelligent, and most diseased.” He also believes that the “strong” should govern and rule over the “weak”, which would definitely entail elitism in some form.

The dictionary definition of elitism reads as follows:

  1.  leadership or rule by an elite

  2. the selectivity of the elite; especiallysnobbery <elitism in choosing new members>

  3. consciousness of being or belonging to an elite

– from Merriam-Webster

In general, the Left Hand Path is supposed to embrace individualism above all else, which means the rejection of collectivism and collectivist ideals. But elitism, by its very definition, is preferential towards a group of people over another (or others), and its premise is actually errs towards collectivism. In collectivism, humans are divided into two key groups: one of them is the in-group, the other is the out-group. The in-group is the group that the majority or a given individual may identify with, while the out-group is the group that said majority or said given individual does not identify with. In collectivism, the in-group is given preferential status, power and the rights that those things entail, while the out-group treated as the inferior party and does not have the same rights, and there are no individual rights, only group rights. Consequently, the application of elitism would have results that I think a Left Hand Path practitioner such as myself would not find very agreeable. Going back to Peter Gilmore when he described Satanism, the irony is egregious. Satanism is a religion that espouses individualism as one of the core tenets. Elitism, put into practice, contradicts individualism and instead operate on a collectivist mindset.

In fairness though, it’s not as though every Left Hand Path individual or organization believes that the external world should follow an elitist social order. Again, I’m not sure if it’s a universal tradition in the Left Hand Path, so I can’t be sure if most Left Hand Path practitioners agree with such a premise and I certainly can’t speak for everyone – only really myself. Also, the Temple of Set is not especially egregious in its apparent elitist worldview given that they only practice anything close to elitism a hierarchy that only applies to those who join the Temple of Set. As far I know, they do not seek to impose any kind of elitism on the external world, and they don’t think that the non-elites should actually be ruled by the elites. This post is more targeted to those who an elitist social worldview.

But I cannot stress enough that, in my opinion, the application of elitism on the external world tends to only go one way – down. In the Western world today, I have been taking notice of a significant divide between the political establishment/the media and the common people, and in my opinion this divide is only getting more exposure with some key political events – namely this year’s US presidential elections and the looming EU referendum in the UK. In America, there are two populist presidential candidates you can easily point to. One of them is an old socialist, and the other is Donald Trump. Both of them seem to come from outside the political establishment and both are gunning for the power of the elite, but Donald Trump has clearly been the most successful of those two. The main reason for Donald Trump’s success is simple – he has successfully appealed to a large section of the American people who, quite frankly, are tired of feeling excluded from the political process. And that section of people happens to be a large portion of the working class.

For a long time now, the so-called liberals (I prefer the term progressives, actually) have done a good job of lording their supposed political superiority over everyone else in American culture, and even Facebook has gone out of its way to suppress people with more conservative opinions. In addition, the Obama administration proved to be a disappointment to many people, with the change promised by Obama himself not coming to pass for the most part, and you still couldn’t criticize progressivism without facing some ostracism from your liberal friends, who now doubt make a point of virtue-signalling and express their conformity through lame memes. Don’t forget the media with its glowing pro-establishment biases. Around the same time, you had political correctness gone mad, as embodied by not just the progressive/liberal establishment but also the feminist establishment, as well as a movement of young Marxists popularly referred to as social justice warriors, all demanding obedience to progressive dogma whilst considering themselves to be ideologically and morally superior to everyone else.

Naturally, a large section of people feel have had enough, and they see Trump as the antidote. The media have been falling over themselves repeatedly trying to understand Trump’s rise, and the only thing progressives seem to do is denounce Trump’s voters as racist and go out of their way to not just unfollow or block Trump supporters, but actively encourage their friends to do so as well because they’ve decided Trump supporters at large lack compassion and empathy for other human beings, little realizing that it’s exactly this intolerance to the point of illiberalism that’s spurred Trump’s voters on in the first place. It’s so bad now in the American media, that Trump’s presidency is treated as an extinction-level event, but of course some of us know what this all really means – that the establishment actually feels threatened by Donald Trump and they want him gone. We even have David Harsanyi from the The Federalist write in The Washington Post calling for the “weeding out” of ignorant Americans from the electorate. Even though the article doesn’t mention Trump at all, I have a feeling that this is establishment media butthurt stemming from Trump’s success. But the fact is, this suggestion is elitist at its core. Why? Because the author suggest that America excludes citizens from voting on the basis of intelligence, even though the right to vote is supposed to be universal – applying to literally everyone – in any democracy. Frankly, I hear stuff like this and just feel disgusted.

In the UK, we have been a part of the European Union since 1973 (back when it was called the European Economic Commission), and we voted to be a part of the single market in 1975, but the British people have had no real say as to whether or not they want to be a part of the European Union until recently, and now there’s a chance we may leave. Now the European Union is about as elitist as it gets barring actual fascism. They impose their own will on member states, and the people of member states fall out of line (like in Ireland, France, and Holland for instance) they will denounce them as xenophobic. The European Union generally does not have much respect for ordinary people at large. And as a matter of fact, neither do pro-EU politicians, like Pat Glass who referred to a voter as a “horrible racist”. And this attitude seems to be reflected in everyone else who supports the EU. In the British media, you have a cultured establishment media that is divorced from the common people (The Guardian being a perfect example) versus a more populist but less informative media that most people wind up reading (The Daily Mail being a perfect example), and if you’re a Eurosceptic you can be mistakenly denounced as racist and right-wing. Lots of people are keen on staying on the “right” side by virtue-signalling and shunning opposing viewpoints. The referendum presents an opportunity for populist backlash in this country, if all goes well at least.

Elsewhere in Europe, we see another recent example of the divide between the establishment and the people. Just two days ago, Austria almost elected Norbert Hofer, leader of a right-wing populist party called the Freedom Party. They captured the working class votes that were previously the domain of Social Democrats because they didn’t take the working class seriously enough, and they captured the conservative vote from the People’s Party – both parties represented a more centrist political establishment, and the EU had felt threatened by the rise of the Freedom Party. Other countries in Europe have had far right populist movements threaten the political establishment – France for instance has the Front National, Italy has Lega Nord, the Netherlands has the Party for Freedom, Greece has the Golden Dawn, and here in the UK we have UKIP. Some of this backlash is tied with the migrant crisis, and Europe’s response. Generally in popular culture you’re expected to just blindly support mass migration, and if you dare to question the impact that might have on your community then you’re vilified as being an anti-immigration racist. That ostracism will no doubt provide fuel for some seeking to attack the political establishment. Especially in Germany, after authorities tried to cover up the mass sexual assaults that happened on New Year’s Eve. In the UK, we also had a culture of political correctness which left authorities largely powerless to deal with the spread of radical forms of Islam and often prevented police from taking decisive action against criminals who happened to be Muslim (such as in the infamous Rotherham scandal), prompting the rise of the EDL and similar, more extreme groups.

The reason I wrote in great length about Europe and America in this post is because what’s happening there and generally in the Western world illustrates a simple truth that is becoming self-evident – when you culturally exclude a group of people deemed morally inferior in civil life instead of treating them as basically equals, it’s only a matter of time before the established order faces the prospect of populist backlash. In our world, we should be viewing our fellow citizens as morally autonomous adults or at least presume that they are – regardless of their beliefs, gender, or race – and try to engage with their ideas in order to understand and even challenge them to the best of our ability, whatever chance we get. However, it seems a lot of people decide not to do this, and instead just unfairly vilify the other side without any notion of intellectual humility, or even integrity if you think about it. When “polite society”, the establishment, the media and everyone who offers obedience to it,  people will become fed up and rise against the demand for conformity. When a political establishment becomes too divorced from the people and from reality, such a disconnect will eventually become obvious. Put simply, impose elitism on the outer world, and the people will have none of it. They will want to go for the throats of the elite, and watch their establishment burn.

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8 responses to “Elitism

  1. Satanism, and more broadly Left Hand Path traditions are tightly associated with elitism. Satanism, for example, although being individualistic in nature, can’t exclude the fact that Man is a political/social animal. Man needs the group to thrive. But only strong leadership and strong management (not strict, but competent) can make the group advance. This is where elitism kicks in. Would you rather be lead by a pack of wolves or by a bunch of sheep? Humans need leadership, but right now is mostly sheep voting for the wrong wolves. This doesn’t mean the sheep shouldn’t be equal in terms of rights, but should be instructed into becoming wolves, or at least help them think more for themselves.

    More than collectivism, it is a social application of individualistic values.

    • The problem with the historical application of elitism is that it doesn’t apply individualistic values. As I already explained, it can’t because applying individualistic values means protecting individual rights. Elitist systems, usually applied via fascist systems, offer more rights for the “elite” in-group and less or no rights for the out-group. Even outside of that, in our own system, people with elitist attitudes tend to show contempt for the masses whom they are supposed to govern, always trying to undermine them, which of course will lead to disaster. And you cannot apply individualistic philosophy through collectivism, because it results in collectivism and not individualism.

  2. The mention of Sol Invictus reminded me of the strange phenomenon of the elitist Satanists who claim to believe in Fascism, likely because they see it as a generic word for “elitism,” when it’s a highly collectivist ideology. Mussolini made no bones about the absolute primacy of the Fascist state, and it’s philosopher Gentile even went so far as to deny that individual minds existed.

    There are intelligent Satanists out there, but a lot of others are into dark and edgy rhetoric about “the strong,” and “the weak.” likely because they envision themselves as the former group. What is baffling to me is that if these elitists are, well, elite, why do they need to proclaim this to us instead of showing it to us through deed?

    • I must point out that, to my knowledge at least, Sol Invictus is not actually a Satanist. I think he is an independent practitioner of Thelema, and he has mentioned God, the Goddess, and the “great god of the wilderness” in separate instances. He was apparently a member of Ordo Templi Orientis but was kicked out, and some sources say it was because he sacrificed a goat to celebrate the completion of a spiritual pilgrimage he undertook in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

      Because I consider myself a Satanist/Luciferian and am not a Thelemite nor do I care a lot for Aleister Crowley, it’s pretty easy for me to denounce Sol Invictus.

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