It’s been a funny week, this week. Yesterday was the official coronation ceremony held for Charles III, the new king of Britain, and as a consequence of that we have had to deal with absurd, obsequious displays of servility to the royal family. In fact, we’re actually at a point where it’s getting repressive. Anti-monarchist protesters seem to have had their signs confiscated and been arrested by police, anti-monarchist groups seem to have received threatening letters from the Home Office, the government keeps making plans to crack down on protests while claiming to support freedom of speech, and it’s even been said that there were plans to compel everyone watching the coronation ceremony at home to publicly swear allegiance to the King, which were ultimately walked back. And of course, the BBC can’t even give you the whole story about Charles III’s coronation without facing censorship from the monarchy. Mind you this isn’t new at all. On September 12th last year, a man named Paul Powlesland was told by police officers that if he wrote “Not My King” on a blank paper sign then he would be arrested under the Public Order Act, for daring to protest the succession of Charles III.
You might wonder, is this Russia? Is this Belarus? Is this North Korea? We should be so lucky! It’s “the theatre of being British”. A miserable pageant of oppression, deceit, and waste. Oh sure, the government may not knock on everyone’s doors and make everyone bow before the King, but from what I understand that’s what they were hoping to do. There’s certainly a cult of personality around the royals that is frequently enforced and upheld by state violence. You should see the absurd depths of corruption to which the worshippers of the King descend. They are so thoroughly spiritually attached to the monarchy, that they sometimes decide that simply calling someone a racist is worse than being a paedophile. I wish I could say this was an exaggeration. Why the monarchy deserves this kind of universal deference, let alone the violence required to stop people from voicing their conscientious objection, is almost beyond comprehension. At least that’s true for me anyway, as someone who has always opposed the existence of the monarchy.
Don’t let me make bones about it. I do not question whether the monarchy can maintain its social legitimacy in the year 2023, rather I deny the right of the monarchy to exist as an insitution entirely. I do not believe, as many other young adults do, that the monarchy is simply stodgy and outdated. No, I believe that the monarchy should not have existed to start with. If one were to propose that justice exists at all, I would say the existence of monarchy is inherently unjust. It should be dissolved, their land and their wealth redistributed, and all the nations (if we still entertain the concept of nations at all) still bound to the royal commonwealth should renounce the British monarchy as free republics.
We keep talking about the “modernity” of the new king’s reign, but this is a facade. Our notion of this “modernity” consists of nothing more than the inclusion of interfaith participation in what is still an explicitly Christian ceremony, made what is still a Christian king, still sworn to the Christian God. Bear all of those basic facts in mind when you hear anyone insist that we are somehow a secular nation, despite our contrasting reality of a nation whose official head of state is also the leader of the Church of England. It is the idea that the appearance of diverse representation within the institution of monarchy will allow it to somehow transcend its conservative role in the present and its historic basis in colonial rule. “Modernity” for the monarchy is as if to say that the same royal family that presided over colonial repression and genocide against Africans is entering a new era because it includes BAME priests and interfaith leaders. Or as if the same royal family that hoards millions and millions of pounds on its own pomp and circumstance could ever be a beacon of hope for people living through a protracted cost of living crisis. As long as this is what we mean when we talk about “modernity”, then “modernity” is just a joke.
And yet this is only a pathetic progressive cover for why people here really want the monarchy: they desire the stability of power. Indeed you can see it in the way people contrast the instability of the last year of British politics, shifting between three Prime Ministers (at least two of which we didn’t even elect!) and the supposed stability of the monarchy, as if to reassert the role of the monarchy as the guarantor of order. No matter how “progressive” the monarch, monarchy is the single most conservative institution in the entirety of British political life. It is also the one institution that manages to retain official or tacit reverence, even if the British public at large increasingly either does not believe in the monarchy or simply doubts its contemporary relevance. The previous monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, become queen in 1952 and was coronated in 1953, and until her death last year her reign lasted for 70 years. For most of the British masses, this meant that Elizabeth II could be thought as someone who was “always there” in British life. For some people, her reign may have encompassed their whole lifetimes; many people might have lived and died while Elizabeth II was still queen. Her death was seen as the loss of that quasi-spiritual sense of stability, but the coronation of Charles III is seen as the renewal and continuitiy of that promise.
It’s bewildering seeing people in British media talk about the value of the monarchy as sincerely as they do. One journalist talked about how, in a world of artificial intelligence, democratic backsliding, climate change, and all manner of destabilizing changes to the world, Charles III will be working to make the case for the British monarchy as a force of “stability” in the world. There is something inherently reactionary about all of this. Think about it: the response to widespread social change (good or bad) is to cling on to the vestiges of feudal power, to the institution of uncontestable hereditary authority, and to the power of the church. But more to the point, it’s a lie. The King can do nothing in the face of the world that our media presents him as facing. Charles III cannot save liberal democracy from collapsing in on itself, he can do nothing regarding AI, he can do nothing about the United States racing towards totalitarianism, he will have absolutely no role to play in stopping the wars that are happening, and, much as I know he would like to try, he will not lead the world to a resolution of our anthropogenic ecological crisis. All King Charles III can do is keep the British masses comfortable, and therefore weak, by inculcating us with some false sense of stability and from there a false sense of hope. Politically speaking, he is only there to keep us thinking “the King is with us, God is with us”, while his goons in the British government repress anyone who openly challenges the insitution of the monarchy in civil protest.
But then we also shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that all of this is tied to the Traditionalist agenda that Charles III has always had, and which is once more the will of the White Lodge. Charles III has always been very explicit about his belief that the problem with modernity is that for him the modern world is out of sorts with what he takes to be the divine order (that is to say the order of God). Modernity to him as that which is cut off from “transcendence”, from some immutable principle of divine truth that is supposed to govern all things. Thus, in the face of the “chaos” of modenity, we are called to return to the “order” of God. That is the real substance of the “stability” that Charles III is supposed to embody. It is an attempt by the White Lodge, by those acolytes of the Right Hand Path, to realign the world with (as they at least imagine) the will of God, or the universal spirit of order (it really doesn’t matter what they call it, or even if they call it anything Christian).
Yes, we are indeed to remember that the White Lodge is at work again, once more striving to bring the world under their control. And in the meantime, every conceit of British society, including its reverence for the monarchy, will inexorably lead it to totalitarianism of some kind. There are many who point to a development towards fascism, and we can definitely see signs that the UK is on track to becoming something like Hungary under Viktor Orban, or even Russia under Vladimir Putin. I also seem to remember many times when the ruling Conservative Party would propose ideas that sound like the policies of Marxist-Leninist dictatorships. For example, the Welsh Conservative Party leader Andrew R T Davies called for public broadcasters to play “God Save The Queen” on TV every day. Believe it or not, something similar was actually done in the Soviet Union, where every night TV channels would shut off broadcasting and sign off with the national anthem. It’s interesting to think of the kind of culture the Conservatives seem to want.
But all the more fitting. Mark me when I say that Britain is not a free country. We never have been. And we never will be until we discard the institutions upon which we base British society, and never look back.
As of September 8th 2022, Queen Elizabeth II is dead. That means the man we called Prince Charles is now King Charles III. I’m not going to talk too much about whether it’s “the end of an era” for us in the UK. Mostly because I don’t give too much of a shit. But there’s one thing that interests me about what the reign of Charles III might mean. I speak, of course, about his support for Traditionalism; specifically the philosophy of one René Guénon.
Now, some people stumbling onto this article might well wonder, who is René Guénon? René Guénon was a French esotericist and religious philosopher who is perhaps best known as an early proponent, or perhaps arguably the founder, of a school of thought known as Traditionalism. Traditionalism in this setting refers to the belief that all major religions are founded upon a single shared set of primordial metaphysical “truths” referred to as “perennial philosophy”. “Perennial philosophy”, otherwise referred to as “Absolute Truth”, is to be understood as a set of axioms that are to be intuited through a “divine intellect” that is also their source, believed to be latent in the souls of all humans. Traditionalists also tend to believe that adherence to “perennial philosophy”, through one of the major world religions based upon it, is the sole foundation of all genuine esoteric practice. Unsurprisingly, proponents of Traditionalism believe that the “truth” of “perennial philosophy” has been “lost” in modernity, seemingly having been obscured by modernism, secularism, “The Enlightenment” and similar philosophical tendencies, and that we must therefore abandon modernist ways of thought and life in order to reaffirm the”unchanging truth” that is “Tradition”. In practice, this tends to mean embracing a certain set of oppressive hierarchical relationships deemed to be in alignment with that perennial “Tradition”. René Guénon, for his part, opposed democracy in favour of a rigid caste system ruled by spiritual elites.
While Guénon is one of the earliest proponents of this concept of Traditionalism, other notable proponents include Frithjof Schuon, Ananda Coomaraswamy, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Martin Lings, Titus Burckhardt, and Charles Upton, to name just a few. The fascist philosopher Julius Evola was also, in his own way, a Traditionalist, though he apparently developed certain ideas about Traditionalism that differed from Guénon’s original thought. Traditionalism in turn has been massively influential on not only modern far-right and fascist politics but also certain segments of modern conservatism. Evola’s Traditionalism became part of the broad ideology of Italian neo-fascism as well as the broader European “New Right”. For that matter, Evola himself attempted and failed to influence the Italian Fascist and Nazi German regimes. The ideas of both René Guénon and Julius Evola form a major part of the ideology of Aleksandr Dugin, one of Vladimir Putin’s most important advisors and the creator of the Russian Eurasianist movement. Guénon’s ideas also seem to have been influential on Steven Bannon, the former advisor to Donald Trump, as well as a major interest for Olavo de Carvalho, a Brazilian political philosopher, conspiracy theorist and apparent advisor to Jair Bolsonaro. In Argetina, Guénon’s ideas were widely read in (and had a major impact on) the bourgeoning fascist movement in the country during the 1920s and 30s. To this day Traditionalism is also a current in contemporary esotericism. Nigel Jackson, after having abandoned the Luciferian witchcraft of Michael Howard (which he would go on to completely denounce), took up the Guénon’s Traditionalism as his new esoteric path.
The basic throughline of Guénon’s Traditionalism is obviously a recollection of a much older idea found within the “humanist” tradition of the Christian Renaissance, in which it was often argued that all religions contained some aspect of a larger divine mystery. In this argument, the divine mystery means the hidden teaching of Christianity, which was said to have been spoken by Jesus in parables to all except his disciples and hidden in all religions preceding Christianity through poetic language and esoteric symbolism. Renaissance humanist philosophers such as Giovanni Pico della Mirandola argued that this idea was confirmed Dionysius the Areopagite and supported by Augustine of Hippo’s statement that “What we now call the Christian religion existed amongst the ancients, and was from the beginning of the human race, until Christ Himself came in the flesh; from which time the already existing true religion began to be styled Christian”.
In the context of the time, this humanist thesis probably emerged as a way of reconciling Christianity with the ancient pre-Christian Greco-Roman philosophy and culture that had been rediscovered at the time, not to mention some Christian encounters with Jewish mysticism (Mirandola in particular is considered the father of what’s called Christian Kabbalah), but it has persisted over the centuries and can be found in certain variations within not only Traditionalism but also Theosophy and certain New Age and spiritualist circles. In fact, you’ve probably heard about the concept of “perennial philosophy” from the work of Aldous Huxley, who despite not being a Traditionalist in the strict sense definitely adhered to his own concept of perennial philosophy, for which he titled a book about mysticism. The irony of this, of course, is that the Renaissance is sometimes cited in Traditionalist narratives as the beginning of the current stage of humanity’s supposed spiritual decline. Even more ironic is the fact that the very term “perennial philosophy” itself was actually coined in 1540 by Agostino Stueco, an Italian Renaissance humanist.
Of a certain relevance to Satanists and travellers of the Left Hand Path as well as the subject of Satanic Panic is Guénon’s denunctions of what he considered to be “Satanism” and “Luciferianism”. Guénon believed that, just as surely as there existed a great perennial philosophy and tradition, there existed forces of “counter-tradition” or “counter-initiation” in the world, which thus opposed tradition. “Counter-initiation”, he said, involves “true Satanism” which “overturns the sacred” by way of “degradation until the most extreme degree”. For Guénon, such forces of “counter-initiation” included occultists such as Theodor Reuss, Aleister Crowley, Jean Bricaud, Charles Detre, G. I. Gurdjieff, R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz, and possibly Giuliano Kremmerz – no doubt all of them occultists who Guénon disagreed with or detested for whatever reason. Guénon also included Freemasons in his network of “counter-tradition”, as well as Mormons and practitioners of ancient Egyptian magic (the latter of which he believed consisted only of “dangerous” and “inferior” magic dedicated to Set or Typhon). Guénon also frequently claimed to be the victim of attacks by “counter-initiates” against him. To Guénon, the difference between Satanism and Luciferianism was simply a matter of consciousness – Luciferianism meant rebellion against tradition in the name of the idea that Satan was actually an angel of light named Lucifer or simply a form of “unconscious Satanism”, while Satanism per se meant the conscious subversion and degradation of tradition in itself. For Guénon, “unconscious Satanism” meant practically any theory that he believed “disfigured” the concept of God, including the “limited God” theory and the idea of an evolving God, which he thus attributed to thinkers like Baruch Spinoza, G. W. F. Hegel, and William James.
It cannot be overstated how important Guénon is to the imagination of right-wing and fascist conspiracism. In fact, I consider my precise lack of discussion of Guénon in my previous article on Satanic Panic to be a gross oversight. If you consider right-wing conspiracy theories with Guénon in mind, you can easily imagine all of the major villains of the right-wing imagination as “agents of counter-initiation”. That angle is essentially the idea of many of the original anti-Masonic and anti-Illuminati conspiracy theories in that the premise was that shadowy organisations were fomenting revolution in order to destroy the Catholic Church (thus, “Tradition”). From this standpoint, right-wing conspiracism itself emerges as an emergent, organic expression of what is essentially traditionalist ideology, and thus the growth of the far-right also means the growth of traditionalism at large.
So, having established all of this, how do we go from René Guénon to the new King of the United Kingdom? What does Charles III have to do with Guénon and his Traditionalism? The short answer is this: Charles III is a Traditionalist, in the sense that he is a student of René Guénon’s spiritual ideology.
When it comes to discussions of Charles III’s quasi-activist role in British politics and its public discourse, most people focus on either his tendency to talk about environmentalism, his apparent interest in homeopathy, or his prolific opposition to genetically modified crops. But if we take note of the fact that Charles buttresses those latter two concerns in a generalized appeal to “traditional” knowledge and ways of life, it is not hard to realize – and I think not even many critics of Charles’ political activism notice this – the way that Traditionalist ideology plays a role in even this particular form of nuisance politics.
Charles III is a patron of an organisation called the Temenos Academy, which asserts itself to be “dedicated to the teaching and dissemination of the perennial wisdom”, which they regard as “the ground of every civilisation”. This is very much an explicit statement of Guénon’s ideology of Traditionalism. Charles III, who has been a patron of the Temenos Academy since it was founded in 1991, seems to have held the work of the Academy in high regard, saying that the organisation was committed to “fostering a wider awareness of the great spiritual traditions we have inherited from the past”, which he asserted “form the basis of mankind’s most civilised values and have been handed down to us over many centuries”. Charles III also seems to have been a close friend of one of the Academy’s founders, Keith Critchlow, who apparently travelled with Charles for 30 years and taught both Charles and Prince Harry the art of “sacred geometry”. This friendship probably began while Charles was busy campaigning against “inappropriate architecture” (presumably meaning the “monstrous carbuncles” of “modern” architecture) in 1984, at which time Critchlow had come up with the idea behind the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, which Charles later founded in 2005. In 1986, Charles established the Prince’s School of Architecture, which then incorporated Critchlow’s Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts department into its cirriculum, which in turn was later transferred to the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts when it was founded. Critchlow himself was also acquianted with Seyyed Hossein Nasr, a Traditionalist intellectual who was also a scholar of Sufi Islam.
The connection to Islam is somewhat fascinating, considering the nature of British conservative politics and its tendency towards Islamophobia, and so merits considerable attention. In fact, Charles III has something of a reputation as an unexpected advocate for the merits of Islam. In 1993, Charles III gave a speech at the Sheldonian Theatre in which he urged greater understanding between Islam and “the West”, arguing that Islam and Christianity share the same tradition of ethical monotheism, that sharia law is misunderstood by the public because of Western media, and, most importantly, that Islam, unlike modern Christianity, “has preserved a metaphysical and unified view of ourselves and the world around us”. In 1996, he spoke at the Foreign Office Conference Centre to encourage the teaching of Islamic pedagogy and philosophy to young Britons, in 2010 he gave a speech to the Oxford Centre of Islamic Studies arguing that the Quran teaches that “there are limits to the abundance of Nature” established by God and that “we cannot exist on our own without the intricately balanced web of life around us”, and according to his 2018 biography, Charles At Seventy: Thoughts, Hopes, and Dreams written by Robert Jobson, it is recounted that Charles studied the Quran and that he argued that Christianity needs to learn from Islam as well as Judaism, and thus rediscover “universal truths that dwell at the heart of these religions” in order to secure the future.
Such a worldview can be interpreted as an appeal to tolerance or even multiculturalism, and it has certainly endeared him to Muslims around the world. Indeed, if his biography is to be believed, Charles III actually opposed the US invasion of Iraq, disagreed with banning the niqab, and even argued that a political solution for Palestine was necessary to resolve the enmity that he felt was at the root of international terrorism. However, his particular appreciation of Islam may also have brought him on the side of reactionary religious authoritarianism. In 1989, when Ayatollah Khomeini issued the infamous death fatwa against Salman Rushdie for writing The Satanic Verses, Charles III refused to give any public support for Rushdie’s right to freedom of expression. According to Martin Amis, who had an argument with Charles III over this subject, Charles seemed to suggest that no one had the right to insult “someone else’s deepest convictions”, which by implication means that he may have supported Khomeini on this issue. He also seems to have made the same argument much later in response to the publication of Danish cartoons that mocked the Prophet Muhammad.
In view of the broader context of Traditionalism, any connection to Islam is probably not an accident. Islam, or rather Sufi Islam in particular, is one of the religions that Traditionalists believe contains the perennial philosophy. In fact, Traditionalists also often believe that, whereas in “the West” this perennial philosophy is almost entirely lost or forgotten, in “the East” it has been preserved in doctrines such as Sufi Islam and Advaita Vedanta. Moreover, René Guénon himself converted to Islam in 1912, later moved to Egypt in 1930 in order to be initiated in a Sufi order and then study, practice, and preach Islam, and apparently the last word he uttered before he died in 1951 was “Allah”. This perhaps also explains the fact of Guénon’s work having spread and become as influential as it did in the Islamic world, at least if Seyyed Hossein Nasr is to be believed. In Iran, three out of seven members of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution organised by Ayatollah Khomeini were influenced by Guénon’s Traditionalism, and meanwhile Guénon’s work was widely read and discussed among the Iranian intelligentsia during the 1960s and 70s. Likewise, in Pakistan, Guénon’s ideas seem to have inspired the famed author Hasan Askari, as well as A. K. Brohi, the intellectual politician who served in the regime of Zia ul-Haq, and apparently Muhammad Shafi Deobandi, the father of Deobandi Islam.
For all of that, however, while Charles III has been presented as an inveterate anti-Western Islamophile and even a possible Islamic convert by sections of the British establishment and the Transatlantic right-wing press eager to present his appreciation of Islam as a rejection of Christianity and a possible threat to the British nation, Islam is not the only religion that Charles has a special appreciation for. Charles III has also been notable for a similarly intense interest in the Eastern Orthodox Church, which I have to assume has not come at the expense of his appreciation of Islam. In 1997, soon after the death of Princess Diana, Charles III visited Mount Athos, the famous autonomous Greek Orthodox monastic community, presumably seeking to find solace in the mountain’s cloisters. Charles has since made multiple visits to Mount Athos over the years, and in 2004 he offered to assist the Greek and Serbian governments in restoring the Monastery of Chelandari, which was damaged by fire. Around this time he also became a member of an organisation called Friends of Mount Athos, which was set up to raise funds for the Monastery of Chelandari. Close friends said that Charles adorned a section of his Highgrove home with Byzantine icons, possibly originally from Mount Athos, and Athonite monks were convinced that Charles was “Orthodox in his heart”. Charles has also made numerous visits to Orthodox churches not only in Greece but also Serbia, Romania, and elsewhere.
You might be wondering how to make sense of this. Charles III is definitely not a Muslim or a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church in any official capacity. He is a member of the Church of England, and for him to convert to Islam or Eastern Orthodoxy he would have had to give up the right to succeed the throne. Rather, it seems more likely to be the case that Charles admires both Islam and the Eastern Orthodox Church as doctrines in which he sees survivals of what he believes to be the “traditional worldview”. There’s a way that I believe makes more sense of this as it relates to Charles’ affinity for Mount Athos. Abbot Ephraim of the Vatopedi Monastery once said that Athonite monasticism is both “a signpost to heaven” and “a bridge over which pass true spiritual provisions for the world”. From this perspective, we might suppose that Charles III looks at Mount Athos as a worldly link to the universal order of life, a place where “traditional wisdom”, or “perennial philosophy”, and its “blessings” are passed from heaven to earth.
It is worth noting that Charles has also offered some praise to religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, though this praise seems to be mostly in connection to his much larger appraisal of Islam, and his opinion of all three of those religions is connected to his belief that they reject the idea of Man being separate from Nature, religion from science, or mind from matter. Charles III has also praised the principles of Sikhism ahead of his visit to India in 2019. However, it seems clear to me that much of his focus is on the three “Abrahamic” religions, or rather at least two of them: Christianity and Islam. As for Judaism, I haven’t been able to find any extensive discussion of Judaism from Charles, or at least nowhere near as much as Islam or Christianity. That said, Charles was apparently circumcised as an infant by Rabbi Jacob Snowman in a Jewish ceremony, maintained a close friendship with Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, and it has often been said that he had a special relationship with the Jewish community. At the same time, however, in 1986 Charles blamed unrest in the Middle East on “an influx of foreign Jews” and called for the United States government to “take on the Jewish lobby” in a letter addressed to his friend Laurens van der Post.
In a much broader sense, Charles III has been rather consistent in his advocacy of Traditionalism as an ideology. As Hannah Gais points out in her article for The Baffler, Charles suggested in an essay in 2006 that “so much discarded and derided tradition is not the enemy of modernity, but is its inevitable future precisely because of the balance that needs to be struck”. In a 2000 address before the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Charles proclaimed that “our secular age” runs the risk of “ignoring, or forgetting, all knowledge of the sacred and spiritual”. In his 2010 book, Harmony: A New Way of Looking At Our World, Charles argued that all the major crises of the modern world comprise a “crisis of perception”, in that humanity no longer knows how to live in harmony with the planet because it has lost sight of the sacred principles that it embodies. In his lectures, Charles III often references the work of Seyyed Hossein Nasr, who let’s once again establish is an intellectual devotee of René Guénon. In fact, I should also note that, in a 2008 issue of Sophia, a journal published by the Foundation for Traditional Studies, a speech from Charles III about humanity’s relationship to the environment, alongside a similar discussion by none other than Seyyed Hossein Nasr, can be found among its content.
Charles III is also a contributor to an organisation called The Matheson Trust, a think tank on comparative religion that was founded by Donald Macleod Matheson in 1974. The Matheson Trust seems to be interested in spreading works of traditionalist scholarship in order to promote the idea of the underlying metaphysical unity of all religions. Charles III has an essay titled A Sense of the Sacred: Building Bridges Between East and West published in Volume 13 of Sacred Web in 2004. Charles also gave an introductory speech for The Matheson Trust’s Sacred Web Conference in 2006. In fact, both the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts and the Temenos Academy are listed as “academic contacts” on The Matheson Trust’s website, suggesting a solid connection between these organisations. Donald Macleod Matheson himself, by the way, in addition to being an active part of the Traditionalist School, having translated the works of Traditionalist authors such as Frithjof Schuon and Titus Burckhardt, was also the Secretary to the National Trust, for which he received appointment as Commander of the Order of the British Empire. That’s quite a prestigious honour, at least when you consider who else has received it.
Perhaps the smoking gun in all this is the fact that Charles III, even if he may not publicly call himself a Traditionalist, is clearly aware of his own connection to the Traditionalist School and its broad movement. The proof of this is that, in that 2006 introductory speech for The Matheson Trust’s Sacred Web Conference I previously referenced, Charles explained that the mission of both the Temenos Academy and Sacred Web is to explore the role of “Tradition” in the modern world while critiquing “the false premises of Modernity”. Charles refers to this critique as the same critique that was set out by none other than René Guénon, or more specifically in Guénon’s book The Reign of Quantity. Thus we see that Charles III, in an audience of Traditionalists, hosted by a Traditionalist organisation, directly acknowledges his ideological and cultural mission as being based on the ideas of René Guénon.
Understand now that it is the Traditionalism of René Guénon that is at the root of many of Charles III’s political involvements. He is a Traditionalist in the sense that he adheres to the basic form of René Guénon’s ideology, albeit in his own distinct way, and he takes that ideology seriously. He genuinely believes in Traditionalism as something that confronts what he believes to be the dominant ideology of modernity, and he defends Traditionalism from the charge of nostalgia by claiming that it seeks not so much the past as much as “the sacred”, and reveres the past only because it consisted of “the sacred”. There are many conservatives across the Atlantic who fail to understand this and so prefer to think of Charles III as little more than a freewheeling liberal dilettante for his inclinations, but no such prejudice could be further from the truth.
Think about why Charles expressed an interest in being called “Defender of Faith”, referencing religion at large, rather than the traditional “Defender of the Faith”, referencing specifically the Church of England to which he is royally bound. To most people it sounds like just an expression of liberal pluralism or multiculturalism, which some may find noble and high-minded while others deem it to be a bewildering eccentricity. But in reality, what appears to the conservative and liberal alike as an expression of multiculturalism is actually based on the Traditionalist premise that all major religions share an underlying metaphysical unity in the form of perennial philosophy.
Or how about Charles’ environmentalism? Most people assume that this is, again, just fashionable liberal politics, and in turn despised by many a conservative. But while environmentalism may be its own ideological interest for Charles, it is for him rather neatly blended with his overall Traditionalist worldview, or indeed may ultimately derive its core premise from that Traditionalism. His basic argument in Harmony is apparently that “Modernity”, in the sense of our purported move away from the metaphysical order and unity of the world, is the primary cause of our lack of harmony with the planet, which in turn is the supposed cause of the present ecological crisis, and all other social crises. Indeed, I think that Charles’ ideology might make for an curious template for what to expect of “conservative environmentalism”, or “traditionalist environmentalism”, in the future as the bourgeoisie continues to scramble for strategies on how to respond to climate change.
Even Charles’ prolific interest in homeopathy or “alternative medicine”, and further prolific opposition to genetically modified crops, is best understood through his adherence to the Traditionalism of René Guénon. Charles’ argument in defense of homeopathic/”alternative” medicine, as was given during his inauguration speech as President of the British Medical Association in 1982, is that according to him “folk healers” have over the centuries practiced a form of medicine that he believes to be “guided by traditional wisdom”, which, he claims, “sees illness as a disorder of the whole person, involving not only the patient’s body, but his mind, his self-image, his dependence on the physical and social environment, as well as his relation to the cosmos”. It sounds like it’s just airy nonsense – though I would contend that actual indigenous people using their particular medicinal arts probably weren’t as hopelessly inadequate as the modern “skeptic” would have you believe – but even this is an expression of Traditionalism in Guénon’s sense. What is “traditional wisdom” for Charles if not a name for perennial philosophy? Indeed, that holistic worldview he discusses is basically the same as that which he attributes to Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and to some extent Christianity. As for GM crops? Well, his objection that it involves meddling with “realms that belong to God and God alone” can probably be contextualized in his views on “Tradition”, which he most certainly assumes to be “God-given”.
And so we understand that Charles III, the new King of the United Kingdom, is a Traditionalist, and in all likelihood has been a Traditionalist for much of his life. Charles has undeniably studied Traditionalism, is familiar with the work of René Guénon and other Traditionalist authors such as Seyyed Hossein Nasr, and all of his political activism has been on behalf of his Traditionalist ideology. That’s why Charles granted patronage to homeopathic organisations, religious organisations, Islamic studies courses, and of course Traditionalist think tanks. That’s also why he lobbied for Tony Blair to give official state support for “alternative medicines”, it’s why he has devoted such personal and official effort to opening up dialogue between Christianity and Islam, and it’s also part of why he goes on visits to places such as Mount Athos and the Middle East.
Now, what does this all mean now that Charles III is the king of Britain? At this early stage of his reign it’s not easy to get a reliable picture of how his reign could turn. There is a general speculation that Charles III could be somewhat more interventionist than his predecessor. I suspect that this means he will actively lobby on behalf of his personal political priorities, not unlike his attempts to lobby Tony Blair’s government to endorse homeopathy. Perhaps we could expect royal diplomatic ventures in the Middle East? That depends, because the British government has already barred Prince William from getting involved in Israeli and Palestinian politics, though perhaps Charles III could order that bar to be lifted if he saw fit. Charles III has been publicly endorsing homeopathy for decades, it’s come up fairly recently as well, and it’s probably going to come up again, which means he may lobby the government on this again. It’s possible that Charles III may try to establish himself as a tangible world leader in the global effort to combat man-made climate change, which would contrast him with the fact that the ruling Conservative government is currently staffed with inveterate climate change deniers. I suspect that his particular ideological inclinations may actually put him at odds with those of the Conservative Party, whose conservatism is based essentially on the ideology of classical liberalism and its belief in “free market” capitalism, although we should be clear that Charles III obviously has no interest in the abolition of capitalism in any form whatsoever. Hannah Gais is probably on to something when she speculates that any solution Charles puts forward will involve elite management.
But whatever Charles III does, insofar as he takes any concrete actions as the official head of the British state, you could expect all of it to be guided by Charles’ particular form of Traditionalist ideology. If you follow through the connections I’ve presented thus far, this fact becomes obvious. That means Charles III being King means we now have a committed Traditionalist as the head of state. Don’t make any mistakes about what this might mean. While the British commentariat and much of the public currently assumes that Charles’ stances will bring more of a liberal-progressive social agenda into focus, the reality is that behind all of that is a deeply conservative and reactionary ideology that is just as much a part of the growing reactionary tide as any of the right-wing populists vying for power – not to mention, was part of the original primordial soup of reaction from which fascism as we know it emerged. No, Charles III won’t be somebody like Viktor Orban or Donald Trump (just for anyone who might be getting the wrong idea), but he will use his power to fulfill the agenda of Traditionalism as much as he can. That could be a major political victory for the Traditionalist movement, and in that sense a victory for global reaction.
And yes, make no mistake, Traditionalism is an enemy. The institution of the monarchy is itself already one of the eternal champions of authority against freedom, but Traditionalism is likewise such a vanguard, and all the more insidious. I believe that, if you study Traditionalist ideology from a critical perspective, you will be able to see aspects of its ideology across the major developments of global reaction, esoterica, and in the subtle, often barely noticeable contours of reactionary online discourse. Once that happens, it might just transform the way you look at politics and its intersection with culture.
In esoteric terms, Traditionalism is one of the clearest expressions of the Right Hand Path you will find in Western esotericism/occultism. Its premise is that the purpose of life is to live in harmony with a metaphysical order of truth that underlies everything, and esoteric attainment on Traditionalist terms requires participation in “orthodox” religions. René Guénon indeed positioned himself as the defender of traditional religion and esotericism, which set him against many other contemporary occultists that he deemed “counter-traditional”, and he established regular Masonic lodges, such as La Grande Triade (which currently still exists under the Grande Loge de France). The occultists that Guénon opposed include neo-Gnostics, the founder of Thelema, irregular Masonic rites/lodges and their members, syncretic practitioners, Egyptian magicians, to name a few, and he names Enlightenment-era rationalist, pantheist, and empiricist philosophers as “unconscious Satanists”. To my mind, this recalls the way that Enlightenment ideology and its exponents were invoked as a “Satanic” adversary against the Catholic Church. Conspiracy against the order of Christianity thus feeds the trope of conspiracy of counter-initiation against metaphysical tradition. Insofar as Guénon hit out against the arguably “counter-cultural” forms of occultism in his day while elevating regular Masonry and “orthodox” religions, Guénon can be thought of as, ultimately, a champion of The Establishment, in the sense that we mean the religious and esoteric establishment of his day, true to the will of the Right Hand Path.
Charles III is also The Establishment in modern Britain. Indeed, now that he is King of the United Kingdom, he is officially at the maximum possible level of being The Establishment that you can be in this country. And as a committed Traditionalist he thus stands as an almost conscious representative of the Right Hand Path. But on that note, I can’t allow myself to wrap up this article without discussing the fact that Charles III is not the only man of power to have convened at Mount Athos. It may surprise you to know that Mount Athos has, for decades, served as a place where world leaders and powerful people got together, ostensibly for the purpose of spiritual contemplation.
According to an article found on The Seattle Times written by A. Craig Copetas (apparently originally for Bloomberg News), thousands of politicians and elite businessmen have visited a private pilgrimage site at Mount Athos as a sort of spiritual retreat before travelling to Switzerland for the annual World Economic Forum at Davos. According to Copetas these men include not only Charles III but also Silvio Berlusconi, Juan Carlos, Jimmy Carter, George Karaplis, George H. W. Bush, Vladimir Putin, Peter Armitage, the Aga Khan, and even Fidel Castro. That sounds like quite a lot of names, and it does seem strange that they would all go to such a place. But I double-checked; at least a few of these aren’t solely off of Copetas’ reporting. George H. W. Bush appears to have visited Mount Athos in 1995 and attended a ceremony there, seemingly as part of a weekend trip to Greece where the shipping tycoon Yiannis Latsis presented a luxury yacht to the Bush family. Vladimir Putin has made multiple pilgrimages to Mount Athos over the years, the earliest I can find being at around 2005. Peter Armitage, who ran a company called Capital International, has visited Mount Athos, and in fact he seems to have taken an interest in Christianity and Buddhism some time after he left the company. Fidel Castro visted Mount Athos in 2004, after having invited Patriarch Bartholomew to attend the inauguration of Cuba’s first Orthodox Church. Apparently, in 1998, Mount Athos was visited by the exiled Bulgarian king Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha, the fourth Aga Khan Shah Karim al-Husayni, and Vladimir Romanov, apparently to create a “Club for Friends of Byzantium”. In 2018, Abbot Ephraim met with Eugene Fishel, from the US State Department, along with Wess Mitchell and George Kent, at the Vatopedi Monastery in Mount Athos to discuss the Orthodox Church and apparently also the persecution of Christians in parts of the world. In fact, The Guardian noted in 2004 that Mount Athos has been seen as an ideal “detox trip” for the European bourgeoisie.
With these facts established, not to the mention the original Bloomberg article, I have to assume Copetas is on to something legitimate. So we can take as granted that George Karaplis, the former chief financial officer for the OTE (Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation), has in fact visited Mount Athos, apparently having made up to 70 pilgrimages since 1991, and has even described Vatopedi Monastery as “the original World Economic Forum”. He even claims to have accompanied senior executives from Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley. Apparently Mount Athos was considered a highly fashionable retreat for world leaders, and according to the local Athonite monks businessmen come to the Vatopedi Monastery all the time. Father Irenaios has said that he has spent hours listening to professionals, politicians, and businessmen talk about their lack of focus in life, while Father Germanos has said that businessmen regularly come to Mount Athos with “a great emptiness”. According to Copetas in his book, Mona Lisa’s Pajamas: Diverting Dispatches from a Roving Reporter, businessmen, politicians, and monarchs have been making visits to Mount Athos since as far back as 985 AD, when three rich merchants built the Vatopedi Monastery with their fortunes, and since then the monastery has been visited by the likes of the Medicis, the King of Spain, and wealthy brokers such as Ciriaco d’Ancona. You wouldn’t know it too much today, though, since meetings with businessmen typically aren’t publicized. The visits are treated as private moments, and are apparently usually kept secret. This secrecy also goes for royalty, with both Charles and Harry having visited the Vatopedi Monastery in secret.
This is all fascinating especially when your mind turns to certain conspiracy theories about how the bourgeoisie are all godless devil-worshippers. I mean, you could argue that it doesn’t have much meaning, but think about it: if you have the money to go anywhere in the world to find yourself, why the holiest Orthodox site in the world? Is it because Vatopedi Monastery, in addition to being a place of monastic contemplation, also happens to be a historical place of financial influence? Or do they happen to find some vague meaning in Christianity in particular? That wouldn’t be too surprising. Despite decades of conspiracy theory there’s simply no way that the bourgeoisie consists of Satanists. Even things like the Bohemian Grove or that one Surrealism-themed party aren’t “Satanic rituals” in any sense. If they were Satanists, why the hell would they go to Mount Athos, which is an immensely holy place for Christianity – and they go there in private I might add! If nothing else it’s more proof of how Christianity is still to this day bound up in the dominant capitalist system, which is quite the problem for those on “the Left” who keep trying to appeal to some fanciful socialist Christianity. But in a broader sense, you should understand the ruling class not as godless nihilists or devil worshippers, but as faithful servants of the White Lodge, just as eager for the stamp of heaven as any poor worker fearfully humbling themselves before God. Thousands of businessmen, probably many more, and multiple politicians and heads of state, have all gathered at the Vatopedi Monastery at Mount Athos, and perhaps they seek some aspect of what Charles III was looking for. They go there for solace, contemplation, meaning, “heavenly provisions” etc.
King Charles III, and his Traditionalist inclinations together with his history of going to the Vatopedi Monastery, can be thought of as a symbol of the elite progress of the Right Hand Path. At least, if he indeed is as much of an “activist monarch” as we might suspect. He’s certainly much more concerted about any coherent spiritual project than almost anyone in the British ruling class that I can think of, almost impressively so. He should be observed in tandem with the continuing progress of global social reaction. The White Lodge is on the move. I wonder what will follow.
All too often in mainstream British political discourse surrounding government policy as regards the still-ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson as well as the broader Conservative Party are pursuing a “libertarian” approach to Covid-19 policy. This description is, of course, a fatuous reference to the fact that Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party have been deliberately trying to avoid an increase in regulations and restrictions as the Omicron variant of Covid-19 continues to spread through England, thus seemingly taking a laissez-faire attitude to the issue, and derives from Boris Johnson’s own apparent self-description as a “libertarian”. But what is the truth of this “libertarianism”?
I must admit that a few years ago, for some time, I had been unduly skeptical of Jeremy Corbyn on libertarian grounds, but his recent opposition to Covid passports and mandatory vaccines (for NHS workers, at least), in spite of other trends in the Labour Party and the “centre-left” has had me off guard, and gotten me curious. On December 14th 2021, Jeremy Corbyn along with several other left-wing Labour MPs, including Diane Abbott and Zarah Sultana, voted against a series of measures that including Covid passports and mandatory vaccines for NHS workers, joined by a 100-strong contingent of Conservative rebels who opposed the government on these same measures. At first I did not know Corbyn’s argument, and this made me want to hear it, but recently a Double Down News video featuring Corbyn has proven to be rather clarifying on the subject.
Corbyn’s argument is that instituting a policy of requiring Covid passports would lead to a situation in which there would be a massive databank of citizens that can be held by the state for its own purposes against their privacy and civil liberties, and his argument against requiring NHS workers to be vaccinated is that this would potentially mean losing vital staff at a time when the NHS needs all hands available to manage hospitalization of people infected with Covid-19. I must say, it’s hard to oppose this line of argument, and I find myself agreeing with it, in parts cautiously and in parts enthusiastically. And once we start from this argument, or rather the observations it speaks to, the narrative of Boris Johnson’s “libertarianism” unravels into abject falsity.
For all the predictable bromides concerning the tradition of “English liberty”, the British government has fared little better than the rest of the world in its march towards the enactment of a long-term state of exception. After sitting on its hands and waiting for Covid-19 to spread across the UK and kill hundreds of people, the government mandated a protracted lockdown over a months-long period before the summer season, the exact length depending on which part of the UK you lived in. In England, particularly, things had become so draconian that there were even reports that casual sex had been banned (outside your own home, of course). And then, in 2021, peaceful protests and vigils against police violence in the wake of the rape and murder of Sarah Everard were met with violent suppression by the police and an effort by the Conservative government to impose new restrictions against the right to protest, and thereby the basic rights to freedom of speech, expression, and assembly. So much for this “English liberty” we were all told about.
In this light, Boris Johnson can’t possibly be taken as a “libertarian” with any grain of seriousness. But then how do we make sense of his ostensibly laissez-faire approach to the pandemic as of late. Well there are a number of ways. I suspect one viable explanation is that he can’t possibly maintain a position in which to impose further restriction after he himself violated the very restrictions he imposed upon everyone else. But I have another theory. Remember that, as Covid-19 was spreading across Europe and the UK had its first confirmed cases, the government waited until the middle of March to enact any serious policies to combat, or more accurately control, the spread of Covid-19. It was in the vacuum of apparent inaction and mounting viral transmission that a repressive state of exception soon followed. My suspicion hence is that the government had deliberately arranged our extant circumstances so as to allow for the necessity of a state of exception, most likely as part of a strategy to bide time and preserve the order of uninterrupted exchange of capital and goods while the government cooked a set of restrictions to stall the virus and compensate the rich.
This understanding also applies to the proposal to require NHS workers to be vaccinated. In theory it should make sense, but in practice the logical outcome of this means that any NHS workers who, for whatever reason, have not been vaccinated will lose their jobs. The problem here is obvious: that potentially means less staff for the NHS, which means less people to perform the various functions of the NHS which it needs especially in order to manage the negative cascading effects of a pandemic. There is already a staff shortage in the NHS as it is, with thousands of workers absent because of Covid, and this has led to critical incidents in British hospitals, disruptions of vital medical functions including unloading ambulances, military personnel being deployed to plug the gaps, and a general demoralisation among remaining NHS staff. With this in mind, legally requiring NHS staff to be vaccinated in order to continue their duties could deepen the pressures facing the NHS by leading to further shortages, creating gaps that are then harder to fill, leading to a general crisis for the NHS. This, in my opinion, constitutes a direct attack on the NHS, one befitting a government that had already take many millions of pounds of money out of the NHS and continued a regime of privatisation that has been active since before Boris Johnson became Prime Minister. Incidentally, it should be stressed that privatisation has, in the years prior to the global pandemic, been pursued not only by the British government but also the government of Italy, thus eventually weakening the ability of public health services to effectively combat the pandemic.
Thus it is empirically clear what the Conservative government is doing. Far from pursuing a “libertarian” approach to the pandemic, the government is attempting to establish a biopolitically-controlled carceral state, whose order over the masses is based on a broad restriction of freedom that is itself sustained by a constant state of crisis management. This crisis management, of course, pertains to a continuous emergence, recession, and then resurgence of Covid-19, which, while obviously not created itself by the government, is facilitated by the government in that it conditions its ability to cyclically re-establish itself. There have been many voices in the political and scientific establishment
The UK is not the only country in the world where Covid-19 regulations, under the purview of certain authoritarian governments, have served as a pretext to expand the dictatorial powers of the state. In Greece, Covid-19 restrictions were invoked as a pretext for allowing the Greek police to violently suppress protests against the government and censure members of the Greek parliament. In Austria, there is already a raft of draconian restrictions being implemented, including vaccine mandate enforced by fines and police checks, and has enacted a lockdown and curfews specifically for unvaccinated citizens. In France, President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to curtail several freedoms for the 5 million French citizens who have not yet been vaccinated; although he doesn’t plan to vaccinate everyone by force, he does plan to ban unvaccinated citizens from going to restaurants, cafes, cinemas, theatres, and many other public venues. In the United States of America, President Joe Biden tried to implement a policy of mandatory vaccination for employees, but it was blocked by the Supreme Court. And this is to say nothing of the way China has handled the pandemic since it was still largely confined to Wuhan.
My point is that all over the world one of the main cascading effects of Covid-19 has been a raft of states of exception, countries ratcheting the expansion of authoritarian state power by using the continued presence and resurgence of Covid-19 to exercise greater authority over the citizens, and Jeremy Corbyn is right to talk about this happening, he is right to be concerned about how all of this is going to lead up to a future of police states down the line, and he is right about how none of this requries you to be an anti-vax nutjob who thinks that mass vaccination itself is just a control mechanism. If we are at all concerned about civil liberties, we would be fools to ignore Corbyn’s argument. And we should also recognize the Conservative government under Boris Johnson for what it is: an increasingly authoritarian state of exception, which should be dismantled like any other tyranny.
Now, since there’s rumours of Jeremy Corbyn starting a new Peace and Justice Party, even if it’s not going to happen, Corbyn’s talk about civil liberties honestly has me hoping that maybe his new party might be worth supporting. I mean, ultimately no party is going to deliver any country from capitalism in the long-term, and the track record for so-called communist parties is not particularly good, and I would espouse a form of anti-capitalist libertarian communist form of self-reliance that holds that even Corbyn is not the salvation people think he is, but having said all of that, if Corbyn’s Peace and Justice movement has any more of the civil liberties concerns that Corbyn seems to be expressing, then I just might be willing to support it, solely on the grounds that it might be the only chance within the British electoral system of seeing an actual civil-libertarian movement in mainstream British politics. Of course, the only problem with this is that it doesn’t matter if (1) the party never makes any siginificant victories and (2) the British union is destroyed from within as a result of Scottish and Welsh secession which I sincerely hope happens. Seriously, in all honesty, the fragmentation of the United Kingdom into small but independent nations is the one thing that might make Brexit worth it in the end, and the main reason that I don’t actually hold out hope for Labour undoing Brexit, and it’s for this reason that I personally would vote for Plaid Cymru in any Welsh elections, despite the fact that I don’t consider them to be all that left-wing, solely for the possibility of bringing about Welsh independence.
But, if Peace and Justice were to come along as an actual, then despite everything I might be inclined to support them against the Conservatives and against the Labour Party. Because let’s face it, the Conservatives are not the only carceral force in British politics, and the Labour Party has no interest in civil-libertarianism and ultimately no desire to resist the post-pandemic trend towards states of exception, rather they merely want their own, more “competent”, more “forensic”, quasi-social-democratic carceral state.
How would the average British person react if I told them that I would rather live in a society where I have to deal with women getting more willing to be violent than a society where I’m not allowed to go out and about past 6pm? Or a society where the only recourse is to put your trust in the state and its enforcers to save us? That’s where my mind turns now that we’re all talking about the police failing to protect women again. This comes after the Metropolitan Police admitted that they had failed to spot the warning signs that indicated Wayne Couzens was planning to rape and murder Sarah Everard, and then released a statement of advice for women who don’t trust certain male officers?
You want to know what the police advice for women being threatened by lone officers was? Literally, it was just call 999, shout out to passersby, run into a house, or wave down a bus. Yeah, if you’re a lady and you think you might be in trouble from a predatory police officer, you’re being expected to call the cops…on the cops. And also wait for someone to come get you, by which point for all you know the predatory cop has already caught up to you. So all that institutional self-reflection that translates to no substantial institutional reform.
But meanwhile, what is our advice to ourselves? I mean, besides everyone telling each other than men in general are the problem, at which point the question still arises as to what to do. There are some who maintain that a curfew, in which men would not be allowed to leave the house after 6pm, is the solution. Putting aside the fact that such a proposal would be so authoritarian as to almost make Soviet Russia look like Switzerland, do you really trust the police to enforce it and protect women, and do you really think it will make the rapes go away? Sure, it might mean less rape and murder on the streets in theory, but what about the rape and murder committed in your own home? What good is telling men they can’t go anywhere if some men will just abuse women when they come home from work anyway?
Some suggest that the answer is to simply vote for a party that wants to reform or fund the police. As I thought about the discourse about police violence, it occurred to me that the Labour Party and its supporters are caught in an obvious contradiction. On the one hand, they seem to acknowledge the issue of police officers responsible for systemic violence against women, not to mention racial minorities. On the other hand, as part of their central focus on the public sector, they tout as their solution to the problem, and crime in general, pumping more money into the police. That in theory means more officers on the beat, which we’re told should mean less crime, but how do we know it doesn’t also mean more Wayne Couzens’ in the force for every “good cop”? Also, when we consider Keir Starmer selling the Labour Party as some kind of “law and order” party, that’s surely be a slap in the face for anyone remotely concerned about the institutional problems of the police. Don’t even bother talking about the Tories. Boris Johnson is out there telling you to just trust the police, so he’s definitely not on your side. And the right’s answer is in general just “more cops”, and completely ruling out any talk of systemic reform in favour of some meaningless rhetoric about individual responsibility. So, “voting for the right party” is truly an empty set of words.
But why do we tell ourselves this stuff anyway? That’s what I’m more interested in than anything. When you talk about how we should encourage women to defend themselves with pepper spray or weapons, some people go at you and think you’re absurd, or even just enabling psychopaths down the line. When you point out that self-defence laws in this country are draconian as fuck, gods forbid start to inquire about the sense of powerlessness that this helps engender, people think of it as ridiculous to even talk about and some will even accuse you patronizing women. Because you know, wanting women to be free and exercise power in their own lives is the same thing as patronizing them, whereas begging the state to oppress as many people as possible isn’t, for some bizarre reason that frankly I’ll never understand. If you can’t trust the state to protect women, since the police as its armed enforcers are clearly going to abuse them and the major political parties won’t do jack shit for you, why not teach each other to rely on ourselves and each other and no one else? Why is this seen as such a ridiculous or even dangerous proposal? Is it not more dangerous to keep relying on the same structures of power that seem to be literally trying to abuse and kill you just so that they can police the behaviour of everyone else?
Still, though, my question remains unanswered. Why do we tell each other this stuff? In my view, it all rests on powerlessness. We do not have any real power over our lives. Brexit has not changed that, despite all the rhetoric about “sovereignty”. Our democratic freedom consists of occasionally voting for alienated representatives to decide our fate on our behalf, while the actual conditions of our lives are totally out of our hands. That’s true for all so-called democracies I suppose, but in our country self-defense is weird. Officially, according to the Criminal Law Act 1967, it is legal to use “such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime”. In theory, you have the right to self-defence. Pepper spray, though, is illegal, and carries the same penalties as owning a gun, which would mean that, as far as the law is concerned, a pepper spray is legally the same thing as a firearm. This is despite the fact that, unlike how a gun can be used, pepper sprays are non-lethal. So self-defence may be legal, but your options for how you defend yourself are pretty limited, at least next to what we might consider to be common sense. We talk so much about what men can do to make women feel safe at night, and it always seems like, when we talk about that conversation, we’d rather do anything except give women the ability to actually fight back against people who might abuse them, like we’re afraid of women becoming aggressive in defence of themselves. And to that end, we continue to put our trust in the same police force that is happy to shield rapists like Wayne Couzens until it is no longer convenient to do so, the same political parties that defend the same institutions and oppose meaningful systemic change, and the expanding power of state control over our lives. All of it seems like a mask for our own powerlessness, a powerlessness which is the only thing that the British person seems to have any pride in. “English liberty” is said to be the chief virtue of British society, but since that “liberty” doesn’t actually exist and almost never has done, the real “virtue” of British society can be more described as “English civility”. Simply put, the British value respectability and civilizational normativity over human life and freedom, and I think that this is unlikely to change.
The British government has taken a grim turn on the subject of civil liberty. Not long after the abduction and murder of Sarah Everard, there was a vigil held in south London callled Reclaim These Streets, intended to express solidarity with Evevard and all other women who they believe face similar risks as she did. It was a peaceful demonstration, but that did not stop the police from descending upon the demonstrators, violently suppressing the vigil-goers, dragging them to the floor, grabbing them, leading them in handcuffs, without any visible sign of provocation. After scenes from this suppression went viral, the chief of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, has refused to resign and has received the backing of the policing minister Kit Malthouse.
Supposedly the police were justified in their actions because of restrictions on social gatherings required by the pandemic. But think about that for a moment. There were mass protests in solidarity with George Floyd, the man who was senselessly murdered by US police after already being detained and without any sign of him resisting arrest, throughout Britain, still during the same pandemic, and the British government did not see fit to declare that those protests could not happen. Meanwhile, I remember seeing anti-lockdown protests get broken up by the police after previously establishing that the Black Lives Matter protests could go ahead. And now, Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, declared on Monday that protests could not happen during a pandemic, despite being a cornerstone of democracy, close to a year after the government previously allowed certain protests to continue. Wrap your head around that. I’ve also seen some people claim that the vigil stopped people peaceful when a few people shouted through a megaphone to “get people riled up”. I never want to hear those people claim to defend freedom of speech again, because what they’re against is freedom of speech.
But soon after all that, the British government voted on a bill referred to as the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. This bill would allow the police to impose greater restrictions on protests, such as start and finish times, noise limits, and in general more discretionary and enforcement powers for police officers. It also allows Priti Patel to unilaterally create laws to define “serious disruption” at her leisure without the approval of parliament. This is a clear and unambiguous crackdown on civil liberties, representing a direct assault on our rights to freely protest the government. Under this bill, your protests can only happen under the direction of the police, and they can be repressed if they hurt the feelings of the police. And yet despite this, our “English liberty” government voted to pass this bill. It passed by a majority of 96 votes. 359 yeas, to 263 noes. A brutal defeat for democracy and civil liberties in Britain.
If you look at the voting data for this bill, you will find that every single MP who voted in favour of this bill was from the Conservative Party, the very same party that had more recently been complaining about universities for curtailing freedom of speech on campus. Only two Conservatives did not vote for the bill, and even then they didn’t vote “No” either, merely abstaining instead. So you have almost the entire Conservative Party voting “Yes” to the bill, and the rest who were just too cowardly to take one position or another. Meanwhile, all of the votes against the bill come from the opposition parties. Nearly every Labour MP voted against it, none of them voted for it, and only three abstained. Even MPs like Dawn Butler, who I normally assume to be a totalitarian tinpot, voted against the bill. Every Liberal Democrat MP voted against the bill, so did Caroline Lucas, the only Green MP in parliament, all three Plaid MPs as well as independent ex-Plaid MP Jonathan Edwards opposed it, all SNP MPs voted against it, which is very ironic considering the quasi-totalitarian policies that the SNP implemented, and Jeremy Corbyn himself, now an independent MP, voted against it. Nearly all the opposition opposed the bill, while nearly all the Conservative Party voted for it. That should tell you everything you need about the direction of the current goverment.
I should also mention that Theresa May, who is no longer Prime Minister but still a sitting Conservative MP, did complain about the bill because she thought it would undermine freedom of speech, but nonetheless she appears to have voted for that bill regardless! What kind of bullshit is this!? If you’re really concerned about the crackdown on freedom of speech, you should be joining the opposition in voting “No” to the bill, not joining your fellow Tories in voting “Yes”. But then I suppose this is consistent with her campaign to destroy human rights and curtail your personal privacy. As a brief aside, I should further mention that Britain is not the only country where freedom of speech is being curtailed in the name of defending the police. In Kentucky, within the United States, the state senate committee has been advancing a bill that would make it illegal to insult or offend police officers. That state senate committee is dominated by the Republican Party, the same party that had been complaining about the Democrats supposedly trying to tell Americans what they can and can’t say.
Now, the only mystery for me is how groups like UKIP or Nigel Farage’s Reform Party would have voted. On the one hand, I would think their ostensible concern for civil liberties would lead them to oppose the bill, but on the other hand, I think their socially conservative tendencies will lead them to fall for that whole “law and order” angle and cause them to support the bill. There is also the conservative centrist Social Democratic Party, which so far has been completely silent on the issue. The CPGB-ML, notorious as a party looking to sneak conservative agendas into the communist movement, is also silent, and so are the Workers Party of Britain. I see this as reason for distrusting all conservative forces on the issue of civil liberties. They either oppose your right to freedom of speech, expression, and assembly, often while pretending the opposite, or they simply don’t care. I never want to hear conservatives talk about freedom again, because it’s all lies from them and nothing else.
As if British politics couldn’t get any more disgustingly authoritarian, we now see a Green Party baroness, one Jenny Jones, calling for the imposition a curfew for men. This follows the high-profile disappearance and possible murder of a woman named Sarah Everard. Jones’ proposal is that men should be barred from going outside after 6pm, with the argument that it will “make women a lot safer” and that “discrimination of all kinds would be lessened”. Of course, the first of these is in no way falsifiable and the second of these is simply laughable when you consider that having a different set of rules for one gender and for another is quite literal discrimination. I can’t say what popular reaction would be if someone was talking about a curfew for women and not men, but I imagine people would rightly see it for the authoritarian sexism that it is. And yet if I were to peruse Twitter or other social media for the subject I’m saddened to say that I find there are people willing to defend this curfew and express total disregard for the civil rights of ordinary men on the absurd idea that the average man might rape or assault or harrass women.
Now, of course, I believe we can take solace in the knowledge, or at least speculation, that this sort of insane proposal will never be passed, even if only because it is too impractical for the government to implement (let’s face it, the British government has never cared enough for civil liberties for it to be any other reason), not to mention that the ruling Conservative Party is never going to let it pass. But the very fact that something like this is entertained by those in power to start with, and that there will be vocal segments of society defending such an idea, is symptomatic of a deep rot within British culture. Ours is a country that claims a proud tradition of “English liberty”, while in practice I have seen no evidence that either the people or their representatives actually believe in it. In fact, the opposite tends to be true based on nearly all relevant data available and on the fact that there is almost no thoroughgoing movement for civil liberties within mainstream politics. Although in a fit of irony, Jenny Jones, the same woman calling for curfews for men, claims in her Twitter bio to be concerned especially about civil liberties! If such were really the case, she would never have proposed such nakedly tyrannical policy proposal. And yet that’s just how it is here in Britain: not only is there hardly any movement for liberty in British politics, but sometimes even those who claim to support liberty argue against liberty and for tyranny.
Moral panic appears to be the bread and butter of British society. Our elites, our media, and our social media culture are like demagogues who whip up outrage and fear in order to sow mistrust amongst our citizens and get them to comply with the surrender of just about any freedom you can imagine. We’ve had decades of experience in this regard. Who could forget the moral panics considering movies, music, and video games, which we were all told would lead our children down a spiral of violence, criminality, trauma, and psychopathology? And who could forget the Mary Whitehouses of the world, and the Conservative government that eagerly took up their empty concerns as a way of justifying censorship? I would have thought this would have taught us some lessons about moral panics, but it seems the fear of freedom still prevails in our society.
There is something worth discussing with this moral panic in particular, and the case to which it relates. After the disappearance of Sarah Everard, a police officer was taken into custody on suspicion of kidnapping and murder. Why are we talking about imposing curfews for men, when we can be talking about the institution of the police instead? And it’s not like we can’t. Today we’re more than happy to discuss police brutality in relation to the senseless killings and beatings of racial minorities, as indeed we should, but for some reason when a police officer is suspected of aducting and killing a woman we decide that it’s not the police that are the problem and instead that ordinary men should be denied their freedom. Moral panics like this are quite the same, in the end. They are ways to terrify the public, appeal to a broad fear of freedom and desire for security, and justify social tyranny, all while distracting the masses from the brutal nature of the power structures in which they live and thus removing accountability from the prevailing political system by shifting it to innocent people.
Furthermore, I cannot believe the lack of self-awareness displayed by people wh defend this idea. They are OK with totalitarian restrictions of the rights of men, of their fellow citizens, because it will make women feel safe, but do they not see how this can be turned around? I remember when the right-wing in America was talking about a high-profile murder apparently committed by an illegal immigrant, and how they had used this to justify crackdowns on the rights of immigrants. Conservatives also have a habit of using all sorts of incidents to justify curtailing the freedoms of homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgender people. All the “curfew for men” people are doing is taking the same principle that underpins conservative moral panics and making them serve progressive sensibilities, thereby turning the principles of liberal society against not only itself but also ordinary citizens and their liberties. And you know, there are probably many other people, including women, who have gone missing over the years, and not once has anyone been motivated to propose curfews over them, so why is this one case different? In fact, I find it ironic that under progressive normativity it is ultimately the classic case of “disappearing white woman syndrome” that compels them to tyranny.
This repugnant idea of a curfew for men is probably never going to be implemented, but do not let your guard down for even a moment. There are those who will defend this policy, even if not by name but rather by covert appeals to sensibility. Do not be threatened by those seeking to justify robbing you of your freedoms by means of the same reasoning that would allow conservatives to throw social minorities under the bus, and do not allow apathy to render silence and erode your defense of your freedoms.
As if this fucking Covid crisis couldn’t get any worse, yesterday evening I received the sudden news that we were about to enter into a new lockdown effective as of midnight. Now we are in a brand new lockdown during the holiday season right through Christmas and New Year’s, theoretically lasting until the middle of January but I’m honestly not too sure when it actually will end. Supposedly this lockdown is justified by a new strain of COVID-19 which spreads faster than the base strain, but there is no evidence that it is actually more deadly than the base strain, and in fact scientists have told us that there could be thousands of new strains and probably are, meaning that somehow only one was just threatening enough to endanger Christmas festivities. Also it seems that this new lockdown comes hot off the heels of the revelation that 11,000 cases hadn’t been recorded until recently, so it seems like it’s not so much that more people dying as much as there were already cases just that the people who were supposed to register them just didn’t, and now because of that it seems like there’s a certain surge of cases.
In London and south-east England, people are not allowed to mix with each other at all even during Christmas, which means for many people Christmas plans are already cancelled. Elsewhere in England, the rules regarding social distancing will still be relaxed temporarily, but only on Christmas Day as opposed to the original five day plan that was talked about since last week. The same (thankfully) applies to Wales and Scotland. In Northern Ireland, however, there is a window of relaxation for three households at a time which begins on December 23rd and ends on December 27th. though the region is set to enter a six week lockdown that begins on Boxing Day. All told, the British population are having to drastically alter their plans for the holidays, and for some people the holiday season has been cancelled, if not outright then certainly de facto.
This ultimately represents the victory of the modern secular state over popular tradition. Before 2020, Christmas would be seen as utterly untouchable in society, rendering any insane right-wing blatherings about “the War on Christmas” completely ridiculous. Now, however, it has been established that the government can nullify any traditions it likes under the aegis of expediency and security, and this is the precedent that has been established. Truly this is a grim finale for 2020.
We can also speculate on the fate of the economy as a result of this new lockdown, and in this regard there is good reason for pessimism. The holiday season is usually a reliable boost to the national economy, not only with people buying gifts for others, sometimes at the last minute, and after Christmas the sales from Boxing Day onwards typically result in a great deal of revenue and profit for businesses large and small. But with a lockdown in place, all sorts of businesses will face either mandatory temporary closures or remain open only with severe restrictions, and in either case they will be treated to a massive loss of revenue and profit. Previous lockdowns have resulted in businesses large and small forced to close their doors for good, resulting in harsh economic decline. So not only is popular tradition under attack but we can expect the economy to be eviscerated. All of this has barely been accounted for by policy-makers or the prevailing “expert” class.
Of course, however, it would be wrong to say that this move was foisted upon an willing masses. In fact, we have seen many people criticize the government for taking a lax attitude to Christmas in the face of a perceived increased risk. There are those who oppose the lockdown as an infringement of freedom, but there are also those who oppose relaxation as an unacceptable risk to life. There are also those who have reacted negatively to the initial plans for a five day period of relaxation citing the fact that Eid and Rosh Hashanah have either been effectively cancelled or forced to adhere to restrictions that entail behaviours entirely barred by the tradition, so it possible to look at the government’s plans for Christmas as a strategy by which to avoid being called out for hypocrisy, though all it really shows is that the government will not relent in its willingness to attack the freedom of popular tradition along with other freedoms.
What does this mean for me? Not much except for whatever comes of my plans for Christmas with my girlfriend. I’ll still have to go to work, or at least I’m sure of that anyway. I wouldn’t complain if I didn’t if it meant I paid as part of a furlough scheme, but I probably won’t have to worry about that. Honestly though, as more draconian lockdowns keep ravaging the economy and corroding our freedoms, and our shared belief in those freedoms, I couldn’t care less if we ended up adopting the Swedish model once the continuous lockdowns inevitably prove unsustainable. Honestly, I don’t see how anyone stands for this crap all year and I do not look forward to dealing with it for the next year. Yeah, sure, complain about “herd immunity” all you want, I don’t think it’s really a good idea to just let people die, but Sweden never really did a lockdown like the rest of Europe did, and while it seemed horrible at the start it actually turned out that Sweden had no second wave like we did, or at least not until last month. It’s true that almost 8,000 people are dead in Sweden, but that is significantly less than Britain’s 67,401 deaths, or for matter many other European countries. Of course, I still wouldn’t actually recommend it on the grounds that Sweden and Britain may operate on two entirely different sets of conditions, internal and external. Maybe with some moderation involved but certainly not the model of senseless authoritarianism being implemented here.
In any case, the Taiwanese model is the superior model. They closed the borders from the beginning and then spray everything with disinfectant. The result is that cases in Taiwan have stayed below 1,000 for months and there’s only ever been 7 deaths. Not many countries in the world can beat that. And from what I’ve heard Finland has started to take cues from Taiwan since they’re spraying apartment blocks with disinfectant. If any of these stupid European countries, including our country, had done this from the start, there would be no lockdown at all and everything would be fine even with COVID-19 floating around. But barely anyone ever gives credit to Taiwan despite this, you certainly won’t see anyone in the media talk about emulating the Taiwanese model, and the WHO acts like Taiwan doesn’t even exist, quite literally in fact as they seem to treat it as inseparable from China.
Why should popular tradition have to suffer because of the ineptitudes of our government and the witless advice of our technocratic overseers? And why should we keep listening to the ignorant cries of those who insist that the problem was “people not listening”? I have news for you dumbasses: not that many people were going to. The government can’t just mismanage the pandemic from the very beginning, refuse to do the right thing at the right time, draft all sorts of nonsensical plans to send the SAS into Wuhan to rescue any tourists foolish enough to get themselves stuck there, completely disrupt their lives because oopsie daisey it turns out that waiting for the virus to spread here has led to disaster, and then expect people to just go along with the new normal. Maybe instead of resorting to some pallid bourgeois moralism about how everything is the fault of ordinary people just trying to deal with this bullshit, we should be criticizing the actions of the government that led to this whole situation unfolding as it did, and hold them to the fire. I know it’s more satisfying for the ego that we take turns bashing people for trying to have a life, but maybe the truth is that there was nothing else that could have happened as a result of the conditions set up by the government, and there is nothing that can be done except vaccinate everyone. But of course, that’s too pessimistic for many people. The truth often is.
Within the last week or so there’s been talk about gradually easing the COVID-19 lockdown we have here in the UK. That means slowly removing or just relaxing various emergency restrictions over a period of time, though not removing the lockdown as a whole. After about six weeks of the lockdown, I’ve been looking forward to some kind of change that would allow for a little more freedom whilst still having a functioning lockdown in place to prevent the spread of the virus. Well, recently we have been getting some changes announced, but not very many. Yesterday Wales announced effectively unlimited exercize as well as the re-opening of garden centers and public libraries, effective as of Monday, while every other restriction has been extended for another three weeks. This came just two days before the national government was to announce a plan to “re-open the economy” – such an announcement is to be held tomorrow at 7pm. Even more galling, this was announced by the Welsh government just a day or so after Mark Drakeford, the First Minister of Wales, insisted that Wales must leave the lockdown at the same time and pace as the rest of the UK. This is what has been called the “four nations approach”.
The “four nations approach” is a simple premise to understand. It basically just means that all the nations within the United Kingdom – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – are to exit the lockdown at a simultaneous pace, they all undertake the same measures to phase out the lockdown at the same time. The problem with this, of course, is that it’s bullshit, and no one in government actually believes in it. I mean consider for the fact that the Scottish and Welsh governments announced their own plans for the lockdown before Boris Johnson was to give his ministerial address on Sunday. Scotland announced that they wouldn’t be changing anything about the lockdown, just days after their government floated the idea of implementing social bubbles (that’s allowing households to hold a maximum of ten people, and at that a selection of close friends and relatives) as a way to ease the lockdown, and Wales announced a three-phase graduation from the lockdown before anyone else in the country did, and now it seems Wales has stopped talking about this, has announced minor changes to the restrictions for the next three weeks, and it is being speculated that the Prime Minister will go the same way as Wales. This is not “all nations acting simultaneously”, this is the rest of the country being goaded into following the will of one other nation, or one country deciding what to do and everyone else just begrudgingly going along. Nobody actually believes in all four nations acting simultaneously, in fact the Prime Minister seems to imply that the opposite is a real possibility.
And while we’re here I simply need to express how much I despise Mark Drakeford, the uncharismatic toad currently presiding over the Welsh Assembly. I already mentioned here that under him the Welsh Assembly announced minor changes to the lockdown on Friday ahead of the rest of the country, a mere day after just saying the UK needs to act in simultaneous fashion, and then before that talking about a “three-phase” plan. Well, even with that “three-phase” plan, he gave fuck all information about what those phases consist of. And then a week after announcing that he basically told everyone that he had no idea when the lockdown was going to be lifted, whilst also saying that Wales was past the peak of the outbreak. There was also an instance where he said that, although he thought that the emergency powers granted to the police for enforcing the lockdown were adequate enough, he was very open to expanding them if the police requested it. Yes, Mark Drakeford will approve any police request to arbitraily expand their authority. Meanwhile the Conservative MP Priti Patel actually called for a curb on police powers in response to outrageous excesses of authority (such as their harassing of a man whose only “crime” was standing outside on his own front yard). When the fucking Tories are more like sensible civic libertarians than Labour, that’s a serious problem. And when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic and the national government was rolling out all sorts of benefits and bailout packages to cope with the lockdown, Mark Drakeford waited between a week and three weeks to do the exact same thing for Wales. The man is an utterly pathetic tinpot leader who does what he does because he had no plan for any of this, no more than anyone else in the British government anyway – in fact, I’m fairly certain he was even less prepared than the Tories in England. And keep in mind, Welsh Labour’s governance can almost be taken as a snapshot of what Labour would be if they ran the whole country, so in a sense we could almost predict that the Labour Party would have somehow handled the crisis much worse than the Tories are handling it now, if you could believe it.
I would like nothing more than to see Mark Drakeford ousted from the Welsh Assembly, or to see the Labour Party lose its grip on Wales. And as much as I despise the Conservative Party (believe me, I will never vote Conservative in my life, particularly not after the shitshow by which they handled the pandemic for the country as a whole), it seems like they may look set to replace Labour in Wales if recent polls are anything to go by. So all in all, Mark Drakeford can fuck off with his spiel.
In March last year, the Conservative MP Suella Braverman was under fire for stating that “as Conservatives, we are engaged in a battle against Cultural Marxism”, leading to accusations of anti-semitism. Cultural Marxism is basically a conspiracy theory that alleges that “left-wing” ideologues and academics are taking over national institutions in order to subvert the nation by undermining its supposed ideological and cultural foundations. The reason she was accused of being anti-semitic for promoting this idea is because the idea has its origins in the Nazi idea of Kulturbolshevismus (or, quite literally, “Cultural Bolshevism”), which was a term the Nazis used to refer to modernist culture and art which they deemed to be degenerate and therefore a destructive Jewish influence, and its early proponents from the late 1980s to 1990s included people like William Lind, who for some reason felt compelled to note that the Frankfurt School’s membership was “to a man, Jewish”, not to mention the fact that the connection between Cultural Marxism and Kulturbolshevismus is often barely hidden by its proponents (for example, the alt-right wiki Metapedia used to publicly refer to Cultural Bolshevism as another name for Cultural Marxism, only to later change the article to remove all references to Cultural Bolshevism, presumably to hide any connections to Nazism). Although this does not entail that Suella Braverman is an anti-semite by itself, given that there are many people who believe in the Cultural Marxism theory who merely associate it with progressivism and modern “left-liberal” tendencies with no knowledge of its connections to Nazi ideology (perhaps Suella Braverman is one of them), the fact remains that Cultural Marxism is an idea that does have anti-semitic connotations and premises not least because of its Nazi origins.
But why am I talking about all of this? Because it turns out this same Suella Braverman was recently revealed to be a member of a “controversial Buddhist sect” – and by “controversial sect”, we literally just mean a cult. The cult in question is known as the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, otherwise known as the Triratna Buddhist Community (or just Triratna). This sect was created in 1967 by a man named Dennis P. E. Lingwood, also known as Sangharakshita (a Sanskrit name that was given to him in 1949 by Buddhist monks), after he spent many years of his life in India, where Triratna members claim he grasped the full doctrinal essence of Buddhism and where Sangharakshita claimed he spent most of his days as a wandering asectic. Triratna was one of the fastest growing “new religious movements” in the UK, and claims to be the only real vanguard of Buddhism in the Western world. To this end they sometimes bill themselves as Western Buddhists, attack Asian schools of Buddhism as “merely ethnic” and therefore somehow inauthentic (despite apparently claiming to be linked to said Asian traditions), and claim that their local Buddhist centres are the only official ones (for instance, they call their Birmingham branch “The Birmingham Buddhist Centre”).
There are numerous distinctions between the doctrine of Triratna and that of other Buddhist sects. For starters, the aim of Triratna meditation is to transform the individual into a “higher being”, whereas the aim of almost every other form of Buddhist meditation is to achieve nirvana through the realization of the ontological reality of sunyata (emptiness) in all things, in accordance with Buddhist teachings. The idea of becoming a higher being through mediation is not itself outside of Buddhist teachings, but the aim appears to be “to become a higher type of being than you were before you began practising it”, which doesn’t seem to have much relevance to the core of Buddhist doctrine, and it seems to be drawn more from the philosophy Friedrich Nietzsche than Buddhism, and it’s worth noting that Nietzsche was apparently one of Sangharakshita’s favorite philosophers, and that the Triratna sect itself made numerous efforts to reconcile Nietzschean philosophy with Buddhism, such as in Sagaramati’s “Nietzsche and Buddhism”. There is also a codified sexism within the sect, based on Sangharakshita’s belief that “angels are to men as men are to women”, which seems to suggest that men are superior to women. In fact, Sangharakshita believed women to be less capable of spiritual evolutuion and enlightenment than men due them being lower in his “Hierarchy of Being” than men. Although there may have been some sexism in early Buddhism, there is no “Hierarchy of Being” in Buddhist doctrine. Furthermore, while the Triratna sect uses the ostensible existence of “a strong women’s wing” as proof of not having a sexist attitude towards women, consider for a moment that even other traditionally patriarchal religions, such as Islam, Christianity and Hinduism, don’t have “women’s wings” within their sects. Indeed, why the need to separate women and men in this way in any religion, if not for the purpose of constructing a strict gender segregation within your movement that doesn’t even exist within traditional Buddhist monasticism.
But the most striking distinction found within Triratna, the thing which sets it apart from all other forms of Buddhism, is the sect’s attitude towards the family and in particular towards heterosexuality and homosexuality. Whereas the old Buddhist texts and philosophers established the honoring and establishment of the traditional family unit as a foundation of Buddhist virtue, the Triratna sect despises the nuclear family, its founder and members believe the nuclear family to be a profound source of artificial social conditioning and even child abuse, as well as believing that heterosexuality (or heterosexual relationships) traps humans in the animal state. Sangharakshita even went so far as to say that the nuclear family and people who live in nuclear families are enemies of the spiritual community who need to be destroyed. His solution, therefore, was the establishment of homosexual (or “single sex”) communities as the basis for a new society, on the grounds that he believed that such communities were the best way of counteracting conditioning and thus paving the way for enlightenment. And in true cultish fashion, he advises heterosexual people to avoid contact with their heterosexual partners, and the sect even advises members to cheat on their partners by having sex with mutiple strangers in order to destroy their sense of attachment. The justification for all of this comes from Sangharakshita’s belief that heterosexual behaviour is nothing more than the result of social conditioning, and that social conditioning acts as an impediment to enlightenment. He tries to stress that both homosexuality and heterosexualtiy are equally the result of social conditioning, but this is simply a cop-out that falls on its face when you consider that he and the Triratna sect seem to hate heterosexual relationships in particular, the fact that they advise that heterosexuals cheat on their partners but not homosexuals, the fact that they favour the establishment of “single sex” communities against heterosexual communities, and the fact that homosexual sex is widely encouraged by the sect’s inner circle.
And here we come to the main reason why the Triratna sect has been in the news, both in the past and now in the present – under the aegis of Triratna doctrine regarding heterosexuality and the family as an obstacle to enlightenment, Sangharakshita sexually abused several young men within his inner circle through the use of psychological suggestion supported by religious pressure. Men such as Mark Dunlop, whom Sangharakshita seduced and manipulated into having sex with him by convincing him that many men, including him, were actually bisexual (and thus compatible with homosexual sexual activities) but were unable to admit that to themselves because of social conditioning. Dunlop is certainly not the only case, not least considering that a report produced by Triratna members (of all people) contains many accounts of sex crimes carried out by Sangharakshita and his coteries. Sangharakshita preys on young men by convincing them that they are nothing more than a mess of social conditionings, ironically conditioning the young men under the guise of trying to break their social conditioning (we used to call this brainwashing), and from there convince them that their heterosexuality is nothing but a result of this conditioning, and that in order to fight this conditioning they must participate in homosexual sex even if they were not actually homosexually inclined. After this, the next step is to convince them that it is possible to transcend mundanity through a type of homosexual sex that involves a male Triratna member and a “mitra” (a word meaning “friend”, in this case they claim it refers to someone who has contact with the group or something) – in other words, a male Triratna member having sex with a male “friend” for whom they have sexual urges. This doctrine creates the set-up for sexual abuse that is lubricated through brainwashing and psychological conditioning.
And if that’s not bad enough, the Triratna sect also encourages the indoctrination of children. In fact, not only do they try to push their ideas about the evils of heterosexuality and the virtues of having sex with “mitras” as a way of fighting social conditioning and attachment to adults, they also try to push it on teenagers. In 1996, they listed “avoiding over-identifying with one’s sexuality” as a major principle of Buddhism. When you know nothing about Triratna, this seems vague and sounds like you could apply it anywhere else, but when you remember that Triratna encourages adultery and enforced homosexual sex as a means of overcoming attachment to heterosexuality, it becomes clear that this is Triratna trying to subtly convince kids to accept their doctrine on sexuality so that they too might become amenable to the abusive sexual practices of its leadership.
All of this makes me wonder what exactly Suella Braverman, a conservative MP who says that her party is engaged in a war against “Cultural Marxism”, is doing in such a sect. There is nothing conservative about many of the Triratna sect’s most distinctive beliefs, other than maybe Sangharakshita’s contempt for feminism. In fact, the sheer contempt for the Triratna sect towards heterosexuality and the nuclear family is completely antithetical to what we would recognize as socially conservative politics, whose ostensible aims include precisely the preservation of the nuclear family rather than its destruction. If anything much of Triratna’s beliefs on sex resemble exactly the thing that we would expect “Cultural Marxists” to believe, given that they are supposed to be advocating for the destruction of the nuclear family and the delegitimization of heterosexuality for the purposes of making society more pliable for communist takeover (which is, of course, an absurd premise). But I suppose if we take into account Cultural Marxism being a fascist idea, I could take note of how Triratna’s doctrine about spiritual evolution had been compared to Julius Evola’s The Doctrine of Awakening.
So we have a strange incidence in which a Conservative MP is found to be a member of a Triratna sect, which is pretty much just a front for Sangharakshita’s predatory sexual desires, which are then carried out by the sect at large through its doctrine and practices. As the Attorney General of England and Wales, she has an important position in the current cabinet as the main legal advisor to the government. That potentially means Triratna gains some influence over the government’s decision-making, at least depending on the extent of her involvement with the sect. We could have in our midst a situation similar to South Korea, wherein the then-head of state Park Geun-hye was involved with a weird shamanistic cult known as Yeongseygo (or The Eternal Life Church) and through this the cult gained an influence over the government tbrough bribery and intruige.
Well it’s finally happening, so it would seem. It’s January 31st, the day that we’ve been told we’re supposed to leave the European Union, and for once, unlike the last time, it looks like we might actually leave. After two, maybe three deadline extensions and a shambolic parliamentary process, we are at last going to leave the European Union.
I don’t relish the thought that it had to be Boris Johnson of all people who has to finally drag us out after an excess of three long years. Really, I think it would have been better the people who were originally involved (Nigel Farage on the Leave side, David Cameron on the Remain side) had stuck around to see our democratic fate through, not least because they had a hand in its arrival. But I suppose Boris was logically the person most suited to this end. And maybe, had he won the Conservative leadership contest back in 2016 instead of Theresa May, I’d say we would have left the EU much sooner and our situation would have turned out very differently indeed. In any case, I’d say that after all the tribulation we can finally rid ourselves of the impositions of Brussels.
But, don’t get comfortable. Our leaving the European Union will not be the end of the Brexit saga, as the battle is far from finished. There have already been voices in the Liberal Democrat and Labour movements who speak of the possibility of our rejoining the European Union in the future, and make no mistake they will fight and agitate for that possibility. For all I know, we might even end up rejoining the EU without a referendum. It’s not impossible, considering our entry into the union to begin with back in 1973 happened entirely without our democratic consent – such consent was only ratified two years later in the very first referendum on our membership in what was then called the European Economic Commission.
And unfortunately we may have to take such a prospect seriously, because it’s not as though our leaving the European Union will be an entirely comfortable. We can expect some economic growth to come our way, no doubt about that, we can also expect a period of economic instability and decline, particularly in the realm of manufacturing what with the loss of jobs that may unfold. Of course, this is probably not solely to do with Brexit, and indeed we’ve been aware of the prospect of a global market crash that is set to happen in the next few years or so for a while now, but the stagnation will doubtless be an effective way for the Remainers to justify the premise that the EU was protecting our livelihoods, even though it wasn’t really doing so. In such an event, we may have to consider that the remain and reform option might well be the only available option for us – at least there we might have the hope of remaking the EU into a servicable force along the lines of what George Orwell originally proposed when he talked about a Socialist United States of Europe.
Also, I won’t lie, I’m entirely comfortable with the prospect that the UK, after Brexit, will likely seek trade with either the US or China. The latter case, I think, doesn’t need much of an explanation considering the nature of the Belt and Road Initiative, but in the former case let’s just there’s a very real danger that our healthcare will be sold off and our food standards will go down the crapper. In fact, part of the reason why I’m hoping that Bernie Sanders wins the 2020 presidential election is that maybe, just maybe, his administration will give us a trade deal won’t require such sacrifices to our healthcare and regulatory systems. We won’t be getting American socialism out of it, realistically, but it might just save us in the long term. And let’s face it, I don’t see the Labour Party being an effective force for good any time soon, and they certainly wouldn’t be able to do much if we remained, what with social-democratic economics being illegal under EU law (they call it “distorting the market” or some such nonsense).
Nonetheless, I defend our decision to leave the European Union. I voted Leave originally back in 2016, and if Labour had won last month’s election and called for a second referendum, I would have voted Leave again, even knowing what I do now. Even if I know full well that the path of our Brexit might well lead to defeat rather than victory, I will stand by it because it is a point of principle, and all virtuous men know that the only way forward is hold them steadfast until they become impossible to carry further. I will defend Brexit until it is no longer possible to do so. And beyond that, post-Brexit Britain is a situation worth keeping an eye on. The Conservatives are seizing upon the chance to break away from free market orthodoxy in a way that Labour missed the chance to do so (though I suppose it is funny that the press likes nationalizations when Labour aren’t the ones doing so), Boris has even gone so far as to ban MPs from visiting Davos – a sharp contrast to how people like Micah White, the co-founder of Occupy Wall Street, now think Davos has revolutionary potential. As for Labour, I think they’re either going to double down on Corbynism or revert to some shitty Third Way politics unsuited to the age of populism. But either way, we’ll how things go.
Happy Brexit Day everyone, salutations to the people of Britain, and to the people of Europe. Yes, them too. For one day they will also know freedom from the tyranny of the European Union. At least, that is our fond hope as Eurosceptics.
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