Alright, I’ll say it. I don’t like it when, every Christmas time, the left tries to claim Jesus and Santa as icons of socialist ideology. I don’t care if that happens to be the seasonal fetish of other communists or socialists, or for any rhetorical merits they might argue for. It’s stupid, it’s a form of cultural and religious tailism, and it only serves to reinforce either the still-hegemonic status of Christianity or the commercialist culture we live in, at least if it all isn’t a pure meme anyway, and I’m going to give my reasons for why you should pack this bullshit in if you’re a leftist and still doing it. Also, I know it’s pretty late for me to talking about this basically a week after Christmas, but the march to the New Year is still part of the holiday season in some unofficial sense, so in my opinion there’s time to explore this subject before 2022.
When it comes to Jesus, the obvious center of the Christian concept of Christmas (which, by its namesake, is meant to literally mean “Christ’s Mass”), there are no shortage of left-wing narratives aiming to cast Jesus as a socialist, or even the first communist. To be honest, a lot of this simply comes from Jesus having smashed up the money-changers in the Temple in Jerusalem, and his attendant proclamation against them, saying “My house shall be called a house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of theives” (Matthew 21:13). It’s a truly memorable episode from the New Testament, one that echoes through our culture as one of the central defining moments through which we understand the character of Jesus, and admittedly it does make for an epic moment of defiance against the intrusion of market forces, servicable to empire, in the otherwise unadulterated domain of religion. It’s easy enough to come away thinking of the Cleansing of the Temple as an ancient proto-typical anti-capitalist narrative. But, there are problems with framing it in this way.
What is a money-changer? A person whose trade is to exchange one currency for another. Are money-changers capitalists? It’s not obvious that they are. Keeping in mind, of course, that the society that Jesus lived in predated the existence of not only capitalism but also the medieval system we call feudalism. This has important implications for the material conditions relevant to any attempt to elevate the anti-capitalist credentials of Jesus’ Cleansing of the Temple. A capitalist is an individual who controls a given means of production and portions out a fraction of the fruits of the labour generated through it to those willing to sell their labour power for a wage. So what’s a money-changer, then? Just a merchant, ultimately, and specifically one whose services allowed Jews to exchange Roman coins for shekels in order to make payments to the Temple, which did not accept the standard Greek and Roman currency as payments. It is not clear that these merchants followed the model practiced by the bourgeoisie as it would have emerged centuries after Jesus’ time. As for Jesus himself, he is traditionally described as a carpenter, and it’s not clear that he had any employees working under him, so Jesus would have been a self-employed carpenter. In Marxist terms, if we’re going to apply the definitions of the capitalist system onto the narrative of Jesus’ life, this might make him one of the labour aristocracy, which is a privileged sector of the proletariat who benefit from superprofits and have no desire for revolution, sometimes siding with the ruling capitalists to preserve their own advantage. So if we interpret the Cleansing of the Temple solely on the basis of class, Jesus would have been a pre-modern labour aristocrat clashing with merchants of a similar class background. This is hardly the struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie. On the other hand, in abandoning his carpentry in order to focus on his ministry, since he did not take on a productive job in which he sold his labour power for a wage, by some standard he might well be considered one of the lumpenproletariat, a submerged sector of class society who are either disorganized, “declassed”, and assumed not to be revolutionary. Marx and many successive Marxists also despised the lumpenproleriat, condemning them as degenerates and outcasts, which is sort of unusually moralistic for a thinker who Karl Vorlander noted for his wholesale mockery of morality as a concept. But returning to the subject of Jesus, if he is a lumpenproletarian, and we take the view that lumpenproletarians are still part of the proletariat, then it is only in this sense that, perhaps, Jesus represents the working class, but in a struggle against a mercantile labour aristocracy and not the bourgeoisie.
So what’s the real meaning of the Cleansing of the Temple? It’s not in any way obvious that Jesus has a problem with currency exchange in itself, and instead the problem expressed by Jesus is simply that the money-changers turn the “house of prayer” into a “den of thieves”. It’s easy enough to take from this that Jesus thinks currency exchange is in itself theft, but the only time Jesus seems to talk about money-changers is in the Temple instance. A popular explanation is that Jesus thought they were cheating their customers and overcharging them, though this might actually be a simplistic interpretation. In fact, some argue that the main issue with the Temple was its functioning as a bank, at the centre of a whole local economy in which wealthy property-owners lent money to the poor at the cost of debt, which if unpaid would result in the loss of land. Still, the exact language and statements given by Jesus suggest his main problem was not so much economy itself as much as the intermingling of economy with religion. In other words, Jesus’ problem was specifically with the presence of markets in the Temple, which means his problem was with the merging of economic life and religious life, the latter of which was to remain pure and unadulterated by the influence of economic activity, and in this instance the problem was not with the economic system as a whole, let alone with capitalism.
To further communicate some of the problems with the radical credentials ascribed to Christianity, I’m going to draw a lot from everyone’s favorite quasi-Marxist and quasi-apologic socialist politicial scientist Michael Parenti, or more specifically his 2010 book God and His Demons, which, although probably flawed on its own, draws from Biblical scripture to make its argument against the anti-capitalist or progressive credentials of Christianity. For all the abolitionist credentials ascribed to Christianity, Jesus himself in no way opposed the institution of chattel slavery and in fact affirmed the categories of slave and slave-owner as legitimate via the right of the slave-owners to beat the slave, harshly or gently depending on whether or not the slave knowingly disobeyed their owners (Luke 12:47). The master-slave or master-servant relationship is affirmed throughout Jesus’ parables, such as the parable of the faithful and wise servant described in Matthew 24 and Luke 12. Jesus also seems to accept poverty as something that will always exist, rather than something that can be abolished through socio-economic change, as is shown Mark 14:3-9 where a woman is admonished by others for pouring expensive perfume on Jesus’ head instead of selling it and sharing the profits with the poor, and Jesus defends the woman by saying “The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me”. In other words, Jesus is saying that poverty will always exist, and you can always ameliorate it through private charity, but what really matters is that his followers please and serve him because he won’t be around forever. This is not an anti-capitalist message, to say the least. Indeed, in the account of Jesus’ accomplishments given in Matthew 11:5, the poor are not given wealth but instead only “the good news”, while the blind, the “lame”, the lepers, and even the dead all received miraculous reversals of their prior predicaments. The Bible also declares that there is no authority on earth not established by God, and thus that whoever is in charge serves God for your good and rebellion against authority means going against God and paying for it (Romans 13:1-7). This would mean that the authority of capitalism exists by God’s decree, and thus should be obeyed.
And it doesn’t stop with the Jesus. St. Paul supported the institution of chattel slavery by urging slaves to respect their masters in order to defend God’s teaching (1 Timothy 6:1). St. Peter also supported slavery by urging those who reverently feared God to submit to their masters in slavery, even if their masters were harsh, and praised those who endured beatings for doing good as part of their service (1 Peter 2:18-22) . Origen, one of the early church fathers, chastised the poor in Book VI of Contra Celsus by claiming that the majority of them have bad characters and that “not even a stupid person would praise the poor indiscriminately”. Elsewhere, in On Prayer, Origen says that if you are poor and bear your poverty “ignobly”, and conduct yourself in a “more servile and base” way than is becoming of the Saints, you fall away from “heavenly hope”, and counselled that the “daily bread” that Christians are to subsist on consists not in actual physical bread but instead in spiritual or “supersubstantial bread”, thus the rich and the poor alike are to depend solely on the spiritual nourishment of God, and presumably thus not demand the betterment of their own living conditions, since this would mean subsisting yourself or enriching your situation with elevated material conditions by your own hands as opposed to simply relying on the spiritual sustenance of God. Clement of Alexandria referred to the destitute, those who begged for daily bread, and the poor who were dispersed on the streets as the “most blessed” on account of their extreme poverty, want, destitution, and lack of subsistence, thus sacralizing and glorifying the condition of poverty. Clement also opposed the view that God commanded Christians to renounce property, and instead counselled Christians to simply manage property without inordinate affection in service of God. The early Christian text On Riches, attributed to Peter of Alexandria, apparently rebuked the poor for their supposed envy, their concern about the rich, and their ingratitude to the God who “made them free from the cares about which the rich man is concerned”. In other words, the poor are to be grateful what they have. The rich are divided into the “wicked and merciless rich” who abuse their wealth and property and the “merciful and loving rich” who use their wealth and property benevolently and align with the will of God, whereas the poor are not divided in such a way and the author of On Riches declares that he does not “honor the poor by making them equal to the rich” nor “favour them”, and if anything holds that the poor man may leave his poverty only for “another poverty seven times more evil than this”.
Despite prominent popular discussion of Matthew 19:24 as a Christian indictment of the rich and despite The Cleansing of the Temple, in Christianity wealth is not always considered a bad thing, and in fact has been considered a good thing so long as it is managed according to the will of God. The Christian condemnation of the rich and their wealth pertains to the extent to which earthly riches or simply the love thereof impedes devotion to God, or that the management of wealth is unscrupulous, harms the poor, or simply leads the rich man away from God. From this standpoint, as applied to capitalism, capital, as a form of wealth, is not actually inherently against God’s will, only the “wicked” use of it against God is, and a just society is one where both the capitalists and the poor working class all observe their ordained social stations in a manner that comports with God’s will. Class society as divided between bourgeoisie and the proletariat is still to exist, since it too is ordained by God, but each class is to observe God’s will and act humbly, mercifully, and dutifully within their respective terms. Since wealth, thus capital, is only bad insofar as its use does not serve God, the capitalist class would be compelled to reform their ways so as to be more “merciful” in alignment with God, which would suggest no real policy changes other than perhaps a couple of benign reforms agreed upon by a consistently Christian ruling class. In modern terms, Christian teaching is only about as anti-capitalist as Elizabeth Warren is, which is to say not at all.
Some leftists might point to Acts 4:32-35 as a kind of pre-modern expression of religious communism, describing a society ruled by the apostles and inhabited by believers in Jesus who were all one in heart and mind, shared all of their possessions and claimed no private (or seemingly even personal) property, no one was needy, and those who owned land and houses sold them and brought their profits to the apostles who distributed the money to anyone who needed it. In Acts 5, it is further described that those who keep any of their profits from selling houses and property for themselves miraculously fall down and die after being called out by St. Peter, suggesting that God would punish those who retain some personal profit with death. This sounds vaguely like what a communist society might look like, though hard to reconcile with Jesus’ teaching about the inevitable condition of poverty or early church teachings about wealth and property. It could just be a vague utopian commune project devised by the apostles. But what has always bothered me is that, for a religion that supposedly has inscrutable socialist or proto-communist credentials, most of the history of Christianity has not yielded any lasting socialist or communist society under the banner of Christian power. There were Christian efforts at establishing proto-socialist communities in Europe, but they were suppressed by the larger Christian establishment, who invariably upheld the legitimacy of the owning class. Of course, the Catholic Church is well-recognized as an edifice of elite power, but anti-revolutionary sentiment is not limited to the Catholic Church. The German Peasants’ War, in which peasants fought for freedom from restrictions imposed upon them by their lords, divided the Protestant movement in its response, with Thomas Muntzer and some more radical sections of the Protestant movement supporting the peasants while Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation, not only opposed the peasants and claimed they were on the side of the Devil but also sided with the nobles and called for the punitive and violent suppression of the peasants. Very little of Christian society has manifested lasting working class power under the banner of the Christian faith, and in fact the rise of capitalism seems to seen Christianity emerge as a religious legitimator of the capitalist order and state power.
The trouble with using the Bible, Jesus, and Christianity to form a religious anti-capitalist narrative, and from there the wider problem with Christian Socialism or Christian Communism, is that it is necessarily selective, and cannot reflect the whole of the Christian vision of a society that is considered just insofar as it aligns with God’s will. A socialist or radical anti-capitalist interpretation of Christianity requires a hyper-fixation on a select handful of verses of the Bible and episodes of Jesus’ purported life that can be interpreted in a sufficiently anti-capitalist light, while leaving out the parts of the Bible that can be interpreted as supportive of a capitalist order or not entirely condemning of the rich, as well as creatively de-spiritualizing the message of Jesus by reducing it to a single economic substance such as debt forgiveness, thus leaving out not only the broader religious/spiritual content of the Biblical message but also the wider history of the early Christian movement and its tendency to chastise the poor while telling them to be content with their lot and defending at least some of the rich. Their concern was not with the material emancipation of the masses from the ruling economic and political order but instead a spiritualized, ethereal, and indeed extramaterial deliverance from the world into the kingdom of God, and attaining it by obeying the will of God, which, as I have shown, includes obedience to the system. Such efforts make sense only so as to attract religious Christians to the message of socialism by hopping on the bandwagon of its hegemonic popularity, instead of challenging the authority of Christianity, presumably off the back of either winning the unity of the working class or votes that might otherwise go to conservatives. In summary, it is a kind of religious tailism.
But before we get to that let’s touch on the other subject of my article: Santa Claus. Jacobin Magazine, with what seems to be a touch of humour, once published an article in 2018 advocating that socialists should embrace Santa Claus on the grounds that he is an egalitarian internationalist who disregards the borders of the nation state and free market norms to give gifts to children. The same magazine, during the same year, also seems to have published a parody article deconstructing Santa Claus as a robber baron who exploits his elven workers and rose to power through violently subjugating of the inhabitants of the North Pole. But in any case, the idea of Santa Claus as some sort of communist icon spreads around annually in certain corners of the online left, and sometimes in conservative circles. But is there reason to go along with it?
Putting aside the predictable discourse about how Santa Claus, if real, would subsist on exploitative practices for his workers, expecting them to constantly produce toys for little in the way of a wage, let’s just go right to the heart of the matter: the Santa Claus we all know is just a corporate mascot. The modern image of Santa Claus derives his name from Saint Nicholas, who is known for his secret gift-giving involving distributing wealth to the poor, but much of the iconography and character of the modern Santa Claus was developed from various precursors in European folkloric traditions (some of which, such as the Dutch Sinterklaas, were based on Saint Nicholas) by several soft drink companies into the holly jolly gift-giving figure of pop culture, often sanitized from a number of harsher equivalents in pre-existing folklore, such as the Joulupukki of Finland. So one of the many faces of capitalism is to be recast as one of its opponents on behalf of the workers of the world. Of course, that’s not even getting into conversation we can have about how the myth of Santa Claus probably encourages rampant consumerism on the part of parents and children, lending to the annual mass support of capitalist markets.
Now, to be fair, there is the argument to be made all of this represents a form of detournement, the art of taking popular icons of the dominant culture and integrating them into a new, radical context, in which the original icons are then subtextually altered so as to gain a new and more subversive meaning. The idea of turning a capitalist icon into a partisan of communism certainly does make sense as an act of detournement, as does the idea of enlisting the most popular religious figure in the Western world as an opponent of capitalism. Except, the idea is not really to subvert the dominant culture. Instead, the idea is to affirm socialism and/or communism not as a radical opposition to the order of society but rather as innate within the cultural DNA of the society we live in, which need only be unlocked in order to awaken the class consciousness of the public. In practice, this means blindly following the popular ideas of Jesus, Christianity, and Santa Claus and what they represent in order to reinterpret them, without challenging them. Contrast with this with the use of the inverted cross by Satanists and other anti-Christian elements that I discussed a few months ago. This represents the subversion of traditional symbolism undertaken as a conscious challenge to its original traditional context, as opposed to embracing the popular context of Christianity so as to claim it as your own. Thus we come to the concept of tailism, as developed in Marxist political theory.
The concept of tailism, as it is understood by Marxists, can be traced to Vladimir Lenin and his 1902 pamphlet What Is To Be Done?, which for Marxism-Leninism can be thought of as a landmark expression of its core ideological goals. In What Is To Be Done?, Lenin talked about the tendency of some socialists who advocated for the practice of “dragging at the tail of the movement”, by which Lenin seems to mean “bowing to spontaneity” and straggling behind the tendencies of popular movements without actually leading and educating the masses, a tendency which is then elevated to a point of principle. This is what Lenin referred to as tailism. Mao Zedong took this concept further in On Coalition Government, in which he defines tailism as the practice of “falling below the level of political consciousness in the masses” instead of leading it forward, thus tailing behind backwards elements within the working class, resulting in some comrades adopting backwards and reactionary attitudes on social issues. In modern circumstances, we can see this tendency especially pronounced in certain social-democratic elements of the left who, like all social-democrats, are captured by the promises of electoral power and, unlike most, come to think that by appealing to facetious narratives of the inherent conservatism of the working class they may yet win power and defeat the conservatives, or even in certain Marxist-Leninists who seem convinced that the bourgeois conservative image of the working class is the true identity of the revolutionary proletariat or that their tailism is actually a means of breaking free from the limits of bourgeois politicial thought.
The way that certain leftist elements attempt anually to frame Jesus or Santa as socialist or communist revolutionaries, and Christianity as nothing more than a political message of debt forgiveness, constitute a form of tailism in one sense. Even if not in the manner of the notable reactionary contingents of the social-democratic or Marxist-Leninist movements, we can look at the frequent attempts to Marxify Jesus and Santa as tailing behind popular consciousness, or perhaps actually falling below the imaginary that has been constructed for the masses by the powerful, without actively and consciously challenging said consciousness or imaginary. In a religious sense, it is thus religious tailism, and in a cultural sense, it is thus cultural tailism, but these are still modes of tailism whether Novara Media or Jacobin like to admit it or not. As such, what might otherwise be an attempt at detournement is guided by the desire to bind revolutionary socialism to the spirit of a popular society that it is in the business of remaking or overturning, and showing the masses for the subjugation that it is.
I know this post is rather spontaneous, and I don’t plan on writing about the Gods and Radicals stuff for too long, or at least unless something major happens, but it seems that Rhyd Wildermuth’s article about anarchism just yesterday received a response on that very same website written by Christopher Scott Thompson, an anarchist and contributing author. The article, titled “We Are What We Always Were: A Response To “What Happened To Anarchism”“, is a sincere challenge to Wildermuth’s arguments against anarchist anti-fascism and I find that it put some real, heartfelt perspective to what Wildermuth strives to complain about, as well exposing his lies.
But, the article itself is not the main subject of this post, though the perspective it provides is a big part of what I want to talk about. What I want to talk about is some reflections and perspective that was inspired by Thompson’s response.
Probably the most important point to consider from the article is about conflict, more specifically Thompson’s response to Rhyd’s points about the tactics used by anti-fascists. In response to Rhyd’s point about how it was ironic that anarchist websites got banned from Patreon and Facebook after Antifa groups “led the call” for far-right groups getting banned, Thompson argued, pretty convincingly, that even their own groups getting censored was, while bad for them, worth the risk to take out the far-right. His point was that a tactic in itself doesn’t become bad just because it can be turned against you, because the same applies for every tactic, in that there is no tactic that isn’t in some ways a double-edged sword. According to Thompson, everyone knew that this would happen, and accepted the risk on the grounds that it was worth taking the hit if it meant preventing harm being done. While I tend to be skeptical of deplatforming and definitely opposed to censorship on principle, when it comes to doxxing fascists who are about to do violence on others and bully others into committing suicide, it almost seems like there’s no reason to oppose that. I mean it’s just as Thompson says, which is more ethical? Is it more ethical to let fascists on 8chan “troll storm” Sophie Labelle into committing suicide because they didn’t like the fact that a trans person was creating comics that offended them, or is it more ethical to stop those fascists from doing that? If Thompson is right, the 8chan fascists seemed to stop harassing Sophie Labelle only after anti-fascists doxxed the people involved. I can’t help but think back to what happened to Near, the emulator developer who was bullied into suicide because they were trans and autistic, and wonder if perhaps the people at KiwiFarms might have backed off if they had the feeling that, perhaps, they would face the consequences of what they were doing? Would Near still be alive?
The perspective that Thompson offers is like a lightning bolt, it thrusts something important, but often forgotten, to the center of consciousness. From the perspective of Thompson, and the active, on-the-ground anti-fascist movement of which he is a part, it’s all about conflict, because theirs is a struggle in a real and visceral sense, one that is violent in nature in response to violence against the marginalized. For liberals, conservatives, vulgar libertarians (as opposed to radical, socialist ones), and apparently for people like Rhyd Wildermuth too, this is all just a conversation of ideas and opinions that can be hashed out intellectually. That’s in stark contrast to the anti-fascists fighting on the streets: for them, this is war.
Struggle, conflict, war, these are things that are lost to people who live in comfort and abstraction. Rhyd Wildermuth lives in the Ardennes, far away from anything happening in the United States that was once his home. Angie, his friend, is a middle class online socialite from London. Her friend, Aimee Terese is the rich daughter of a Lebanese capitalist living all the way in Australia, all the while doing nothing but incoherently rambling about the politics of a land whose people she has no real connection to. There’s all sorts of people who live, if not in comfort, then certainly in isolation from the struggle that persists at the center of the present. But if you live in relative security, comfort, alienation from struggle, it’s easy to think what you do about people who actually live in struggle and conflict, and make it their business to claw their way out rather than try to talk their way out of everything forever. And sometimes, just as is the case for the bourgeoisie, if you have comfort you’ll stoop to anything to protect it, even becoming a grotesque reactionary. I once met a guy who lived in the happiest country in the world and for him everything was about how to win debates and resolve the issues of “wokeness” to make socialism electable. The last time I saw him, he had fully embraced white nationalism. That’s what becomes of these people, because the truth is, if they’re not trying to hold on to their pre-existing biases, they have no skin in the game, and have no respect for those who do have skin in the game. Besides, all they like to do is get offended about everything and then complain about their rivals supposedly being like that. That is weakness.
Here’s something important to take away, consider it a lesson in life: never allow your struggle to be reduced to an intellectual quandary. If you do, then you’ll spend too much time trying to figure out how to solve the quandary, but all that means in practice is creating a set of rationalisations to justify yourself to others in a way that you hope your enemies will be satisfied with. They won’t be satisfied, because they never are, because that was never the point for them. Their real goal has never been to achieve resolution through reason, but instead to dominate you, gaslight you, and create insurmountable obstacles for your goals that can only be overcome on their terms, and while you never win they sit comfortably knowing that their victory is forever assured. Meanwhile the war, if it hasn’t already been ceded through intellectual compromise, is still going on all around you and your friends are dying or being brutalized, and figuring out how to rationalize yourself intellectually has solved nothing.
What has the working class ever gained by arguing that they have the right to equitable and humane living conditions, instead of fighting for those very conditions? What would Stonewall have ever gotten for the LGBT community if not for the riots of 1969? People talk about the American Founding Fathers to use them as a stamp of authority on behalf of their own positions, often for conservative goals, but you would never be able to do that if they didn’t wage revolutionary war against the British crown. Why do trans people have to debate their existence and their rights and endure the suffering of marginalization while their enemies get all the social protection and every benefit of the doubt?
Never forget what Heraclitus said, “war is common, strife is justice, and all things happen according to strife and necessity”. Struggle is real, it animates the transformation of things and of society, because Nature consists of cyclical growth and change, and therefore transformation. Life strives, therefore it fights. Therefore, the world turns. Change, justice, power, emancipation, these grow out of the barrel of a gun or the clash of a blade, or the smash of a brick, or the light of a flame. That’s also the only reason capitalism exists: it won the battle of the brutal transformation of the social order – that is what Marxists call the dialectic of history, and, I assure you, I’m convinced lately that the implications of dialectical transformation contain a grain of brutality to them. It’s also the only reason that losers get to evangelize about the greatness of civilization and progress, because they live off the fat of historic victory, turning that victory into the law of the land, and are eager to avoid losing their place.
Remember the struggle that matters, matters to you, because that knowledge at least might as well be sacred. If you lose it, you lose yourself.
I’m growing more and more fascinated by the Surrealist milieu of the early 20th century, by which I mean not so much the art movement but the philosophical movement surrounding it, and the largely left-wing political tendency that composed French surrealism in particular. From what I hear it was deeply libertarian, which is why many of them opposed Joseph Stalin while being communists (although many did align with Leon Trotsky instead, who, let’s face it, was not much better), and they seemed to be committed to dialectical materialism despite accusations to the contrary. I also read about how Lucifer made appearances in surrealist literature and essays, such as Andre Breton’s Arcane 17 and Roger Caillois’ The Birth of Lucifer, suggesting the presence of a Luciferian modality within Surrealism. I say modality, because it’s not like the Surrealists viewed themselves as Luciferians in a religious sense, but that’s a subject for another post. Anyways, in the process of searching through the Surrealist milieu I somehow stumbled across Walter Benjamin, a German intellectual who either was a surrealist himself or simply adjacent to surrealism, or more specifically one concept of his in particular: profane illumination.
What is profane illumination? In his 1929 essay Surrealism: The Last Snapshot of the European Intelligentsia, Benjamin defines profane illumination as referring to a form of inspiration that he stresses to be materialist, anthropological and secular, though as I’ll lay out it has some pretty mystical overtones that can used to relate it to an ultimately religious outlook (not that this should be to the discredit of Walter Benjamin, who was himself influenced by religious thinking). The main characteristic of profane illumination is that is meant to be a type of illumination that allows you to see through the illusions of the society you live in, particularly in the context of bourgeois values. As Donna Roberts and Daniel Garza Usabiaga write in The Use Value of Lucifer: A Comparative Analysis of the Figures of Lucifer and Satan in the Writings of Roger Caillois and Walter Benjamin in the 1930s, the concept is to be taken as a way of piercing through the phantasmagoria (illusions or make-believe images) that comprised the superstructure of bourgeois society and liberating all that is trapped under its spell of reification (which in Marxism is a term for when temporal human social relations come to possess immutable authority through idealization). Thus profane illumination is a surrealist device by which to see and illustrate bourgeois society as it really is, and destroy the self-image of this society that is presented by the ruling superstructure, in order to align oneself and others with the truth of present day conditions in order to create a new culture base defined by authentic freedom. Applied to the Situationist tendency that followed (and criticised) surrealism, we could still say that in this light the surrealist profane illumination is a tool by which to dismantle the Spectacle, the sum total of the spectacular reign of bourgeois superstructure and its manifold illusions, a task that, for Guy Debord, will only truly be completed with the revolutionary reconstruction of society through the destruction of capitalism and the mass implementation of workers councils as the dominant structure of the economy.
To add to this, Michael Löwy further describes profane illumination as the materialistic and “post-mystical” core component of the otherwise romantic and even “magical” tendency of Surrealist experience and formulas, thus, ironically for a supposedly secular concept, we have a what seems to be a deeply spiritual take on what could otherwise be seen as an empirical and materialist engagement with the world. The French neo-Marxist Henri Lefebvre observed that the Surrealists wanted to “decode inner space and illuminate the nature of the transition from this subjective space to the material realm of the body and the outside world, and thence to social life”. What this means is that the aim of Surrealism can be taken to mean the revelation of the unconscious forces prevalent in the social sphere and the psyche, and the mechanism by which these forces manifest in the body and the world and are translated in the social fabric. The German philosopher Hermann Schweppenhäuser added that the concept of profane illumination, although Benjamin partially defines them in relation to intoxication, is defined by its rejection of intoxication as a means of attaining spiritual enlightenment, stating that profane illumination is where “intoxication comes to its senses” and “speculative thinking becomes sober”. Thus, although Benjamin said that narcotic intoxication could give a lesson into this experience, he ultimately did not recommend it on the grounds that it was dangerous. In fact Benjamin also said that “the most passionate investigation of the hashish trance will not teach us half as much about thinking (which is eminently narcotic), as the profane illumination of thinking about the hashish trance”, suggesting that, ultimately, sober meditative contemplation is better for the purposes of profane illumination than narcotic intoxication. And all the better. Such illumination, though intended by Benjamin to be secular, makes the most sense not only as a clear mental pursuit, but spiritual praxis.
The easiest way to ground the otherwise secular concept of profane illumination in religious terms is through the concept of the Light of Nature, or Lumens Naturae, introduced by the medieval Swiss physician Paracelsus, and expanded by Carl Jung. Paracelsus, you may remember, was a Christian who, although ultimately loyal to the Catholic Church even in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, harbored a distinct naturalistic outlook that inspired skepticism towards religious dogma and ecclesiastical authority, at least on matters of his profession. He considered scientific, natural knowledge to be the domain of the Light of Nature, and theology to be the domain of the Light of God (Lumens Dei). He also considered both lights to be a gift imparted to Man by God. Even though his own preference was for the latter, as judged by his statement that “Christian knowledge is better than natural knowledge”, it nonetheless sketches out an interesting religious grounding for the concept that would later remanifest in surrealism as profane illumination. As Jung says the light leaves behind nothing but dross and scoriae and the rejected earth, which in light of profane illumination can be interpreted as the ruins of the illusions imposed upon the empirical, natural world. Its profane nature is due to it being, for Jung, the light of the darkness which illuminates itself as opposed to the light from above which renders the darkness darker still, the darkness in this case being not just the unconscious realities of human life but also Nature itself.
A concept that seems to be related to profane illumination is that of the organization of pessimism, or organized pessimism. I could also perhaps call it revolutionary pessimism as well, since while the term in other communist usages can mean more or less anything, Benjamin’s concept of the organization of pessimism easily lends coherent definition and context to such a concept. The concept comes from the writings of Pierre Naville, one of the French Surrealists who also happened to be a Trotskyist, who called for the organization of pessimism as the most authentic manifestation of revolutionary attitude, a sort of anti-optimism that is the only mode capable of dispelling the illusions of bourgeois society and the only idea that can, in his words, “save us from death”. In context this seems to be related to opposition to the optimism found in both bourgeois and social-democratic parties. This attitude seemed to alienate him from other French communists, and it contributed to his expulsion (or departure) from the French Communist Party, after which he began identifying with Trotskyism and the “left opposition”. For Walter Benjamin organized pessimism is “the Communist answer” the Surrealism has come ever close to, and this answer means “Mistrust in the fate of literature, mistrust in the fate of freedom, mistrust in the fate of European humanity, but three times mistrust in all reconciliation: between classes, between nations, between individuals.”, which is Benjamin’s way of describing an attitude of skepticism towards bourgeois optimism and the promises of reform that are offered by bourgeois society. The ironic reference to LO Farben and “the peaceful perfection of the air force” as the only things a person can trust is taken as a prediction of the rise of the Luftwaffe and the onslaught of World War 2, and suggests a skepticism and acute radical awareness of the dangers of the logic of modern technology, its tendency towards acceleration, and the destructive effects this brings upon the world – a point that Pierre Naville may not necessarily have shared in that his own attitude towards technology was somewhat more positive. Michael Löwy connects this idea with profane illumination on the grounds that it illuminates all of the forces, murmurs, energies and catastrophes that would be obscured through bourgeois optimism and its phantasmagorias of false hope.
But Naville and Benjamin take different approaches in a related sense, in terms of accompanying political ethos. Whereas Naville, as a committed Trotskyist, called upon Surrealists to simply abandon any anarchist leanings, Benjamin, as evidently more of a libertarian Marxist, instead suggested that the revolutionary discipline and structure of orthodox Leninism should be combined with the libertarian tendencies that were classically associated with anarchism. As Sami Khatib writes in To Win the Energies of Intoxication for the Revolution, this suggestion, inspired by Surrealism, entails a materialist theory of perception that entails “a revision of the commonplace dichotomy of sober ratio and enthusiast affect”, meaning of course the dissolution of the dichotomy between seemingly rational consciousness and the life-affirming unconscious, and as Benjamin says, this means that any exploration of the surreal entails a dialectical intertwinement of these opposing forces, to the extent that excessive focus on the mysterious element of the mystery is one-sided, ignoring the real world that the mystery ultimately underpins. Indeed the title of Khatib’s paper really sums up the project that Walter Benjamin describes of Surrealism, that is to “win the energies of intoxication for the revolution”, which means not to completely immerse yourself in transgressive ecstasy but instead to traverse reality and surreality and undertake cultural and political action that dissolves the boundaries of the bourgeois subject by way of a revolution of consciousness, concurrent of course with class revolution, leading ultimately to a community free of totalitarian spectacle and the formatting of bourgeois rational-positivism.
There are, of course, many applications for profane illuminations. We can, in a Jungian sense, take the component of profane illumination to reference the incorporation of the life-affirming contents of the personal and collective unconscious, the soil of Hades from which psychic and spiritual content springs and to which it returns. In this sense profane illumination is the light either of the unconscious or the individual who clings fast to his Hadean roots, the true light of the morning star. It is Luciferian light just as much as the Light of Nature is the light of Mercurius, the Christ of the unconscious and the alchemist’s world soul. We can then extrapolate revolutionary goals to this: to, in the fashion of the Morning Star, retrieve the worthies of the underworld, the liberatory contents of the unconscious, discover and reveal its hidden presence in all things, its true nature, and from there, in a way, the true order of things, and harmonize human beings with the true substance of their humanity and the true substance of humanity with human beings. In this sense such an idea can be applied beyond the class struggle and applied to the nature of psyche and reality, for no matter what time and what place, humans have always lied to themselves without realizing it, there was always been a hidden underbelly to life, to the psyche and to society that is frequently obscured by the ego and by reification, with the goal of spiritual enlightenment being to dispel that reification, cultivate profane illumination, and see the world, and yourself, as you really are, and attain spiritual freedom from this knowledge. That is the true fruit of psychoanalysis, the fruit of empiricism and, indeed, the fruit of genuinely good religion.
The accompanying element of revolutionary pessimism can be applied to confer other characteristics to profane illumination that are relevant to socio-political outlook, lending itself to a paradoxical intersection between the traditionally libertarian and the traditionally “conservative”, all within the context of a communist philosophical device. The libertarian end of this is not difficult to explain. In the original Surrealist context this meant an emphasis on complete creative and artistic freedom to interface with the unconscious without interference from the state or the party and any prevailing dominant culture, and these elements were associated with libertarians and anarchists and clashed with the prevailing Stalinist currents of the French left at the time as well as other Leninists (though not necessarily Trotskyists it seems). But we can, within the same field of cultural libertarianism and revolutionary pessimism we may derive a fundamental skepticism of teleological progress. Bourgeois society, dominated by economic liberalism and, in proceeding fashion, social liberalism, is anchored in an unshakeable belief in its own endless growth, a fantastical moral arc bending towards some transcendental conception of justice or progress, the idea that everything can be managed in a meticulously rational-technocratic fashion, and that the West has passed through the “end” of history. Even within the left, you notice some variation of this teleological progressivism, and in the broader sphere, it lends ultimately to the alienation of humans from their own destiny, as the march of progress ultimately wrests humans away from their central place in the world through the increasing complexity and all-pervasiveness of technology and our dependence upon it. The organization of pessimism in light of profane illumination instills a resolute contempt for the illusions of teleological progressivism and its moralizing content. This, combined with the insight of a pervasive unconscious element that has always permeated human life, lends itself to a profound skepticism of teleological progress that, ultimately, lends to a somewhat conservative outlook. And by no means is this a bad thing, if in the sense that such conservatism serves as an element of the libertarian component and perhaps a watch against excess rather than simply as a yoke to be imposed on non-conformists.
Of course, this ultimately presents a problem for orthodox Surrealism (yes, that was a historical thing) given that, unfortunately, the surrealists of old tended to oppose many of the moral conventions that would make sense to the average person even before capitalism had anything to say, under the premise of dismantling bourgeois values. Take the case of the Surrealist defence of Charlie Chaplin in 1927. At this time, Chaplin’s then-wife Lita Grey was divorcing him and demanding hundreds of thousands of dollars (at the time; surely millions in today’s money) in alimony from him on the grounds that Chaplin had cheated on her with multiple other women. The divorce was an international sensation at the time, and the public was aghast at Chaplin’s actions at least to the extent that they believed Grey’s testimony. But the French Surrealists, blinded by their admiration of Chaplin, decided to defend Chaplin’s actions, thinking he should live as he pleased. As part of their critique of bourgeois morality and its restrictive tendency towards human freedom and creativity, they decried marriage as an oppressive institution, a “prison” for human passions, and they admired Charlie Chaplin because he followed his desires wherever they went. This can be a dangerous attitude to have, in my opinion, and I wonder if the Surrealists ever found out about the fact that, went Chaplin met and impregnated Grey to start with, she was 15 years old and he was 35, and they had to marry in secret in order to avoid Chaplin being arrested for having sex with a minor. I suppose it’s no wonder that men like Roger Caillois decided that the Surrealists lacked the ideals of discipline and self-mastery that would come to form his conception of Lucifer, or why the Letterist International, a precursor to the Situationist International, hated Charlie Chaplin, began to transgress Surrealism, and in 1952 staged a disruption of Chaplin’s press conference at the Hotel Ritz Paris, accusing him of emotional blackmail and calling him a “fascist insect”.
Things like this pose a problem for interpreting the Surrealist enchantment with the past in a “conservative” light, even when it can be a potent source of teleological skepticism to counter the optimistic rationalism of the Situationist International – after all, if the Surrealists decided that there should be no limits as to how you live your life, what even can be preserved? However, with Walter Benjamin’s conception of profane illumination, we see the attempt to harmonize the almost anarchic instincts of Surrealism with the discipline of Leninism, and in a sense bring the surrealist ethos away from complete identification with the unconscious and the passions latent therein. Jung would tell you that it is supposed to be the conscious mind that integrates unconscious content, I would say darkening itself in the process, rather than the unconscious devouring conscious mind, because while the latter leads to possession of the personality and therefore disaster, the former leads to an integrated wholeness that leads to the birth of the Self. Of course, both paths ultimately entail the embrace of darkness.
And while we’re on this point, it may be worth briefly referring to the point of the “cult of evil” as a political device. In Surrealism: The Last Snapshot of the European Intelligentsia, Benjamin states that “One finds the cult of evil as a political device, however romantic, to disinfect and isolate against all moralizing dilettantism”. Darkness, the traditionally “evil” realm, the “cult of evil”, refers here not to some puerile Satanism let alone of the kind that is frequently imagined in popular consciousness, but instead to a way of guarding yourself against moral grandeur and teleological zeal, and the illusion, megalomania and decadence that follows for the spirit. In some ways one could make the comparison to Tibetan Buddhism, where the seemingly evil-looking wrathful deities are in reality merely the violent guardians of spiritual practice, disinfectants against illusion and destroyers of the ego. In this sense it makes sense that you find themes pertaining to Lucifer appear in Surrealist literature and discourse, or discourse adjacent to it, between Andre Breton, Walter Benjamin, Roger Caillois and Georges Bataille. Lucifer is the archetype that makes the most sense here because it seeks enlightenment defined what we would call profane illumination, not just in a social-political class context, but in an existential context.
However, for Surrealism to truly take on the form of Luciferian light, it must be developed in a way that its romantic elements can still lend itself not so much to flight from reason, as is sometimes suggested by the early Surrealists, but in subversion of rationalism, the detournement thereof in order to take the tool of reason and use it to make a scientific methodology for understanding and appreciating the darkness, the hidden, the unconscious, the dare I say occult layer of reality that is just as much a part of Nature and society as you or I. For that purpose, one should both retain surrealism as an ethos of communism and transcend it as a framework. I believe reading both Walter Benjamin and Roger Caillois simultaneously offers a good road for what that might look like. One should not, as Andre Breton would have us do, refuse to cut open the Mexican jumping bean simply in order to honor the mystery. How can a man honour any mystery if he cannot see it for himself? How can humans honour darkness and make it bright if he has no knowledge of the dark light? A science of the surreal is thus indispensable.
I could have written this post sooner, following the increasingly dismal outcome of the Democratic primaries in the US, but I decided to wait until the Labour leadership contest ended, just to see how that plays out. And, sure enough, today is the day when said contest is over, and Keir Starmer has emerged as the victor, with Angela Rayner winning the deputy leadership position. All throughout this cycle I had expected Starmer to win, so it’s no shock either way, though one thing I kept seeing throughout the cycle from his supporters as that the reason they support him isn’t so much to do with his policies but because they want Labour to win. Well, they certainly won that argument today. By a handsome majority too from the seems of it – Starmer won by 56.2% of the vote, while his opponent Rebecca Long-Bailey (favored by the Corbynites) couldn’t even get half of that. Perhaps Starmer will be the man to bring Labour back into electoral relevance, or maybe not so long as the Tories hold on to the formula of economic populism/social democracy plus social conservatism that Labour doesn’t even dream of attaining, but in any case, the British left won’t benefit from it, and to be honest nor would they benefit from Corbynism or Blairism returning. Indeed, I don’t see a bright future for the left as it stands.
Keir Starmer himself is a fairly interesting individual. Similar to Tony Blair before him, he’s one of those social democrats who used to be a radical when he was younger. In 1986, Starmer used to be an editor for a Trotskyist magazine called Socialist Alternatives, and ironically for the man who now leads the Labour Party and calls for “unity” against its “hard left” contingent, he used to be a intractable critic of the Labour Party, openly attacking its leadership (at the time, this would be Neil Kinnock and his deputy Roy Hattersley) for their “neo-Keynesian” (meaning social-democratic) economic programme and supposed dogmatic rigidity. In this capacity, he seems to have been affiliated with the “Pabloite” subset of Trotskyism, that is to say an adherent of the ideas of Michel Palbo, a Trotskyist who expanded on the tactic of entryism within established parties – entryism is when a small radical organization gets its members to covertly join larger organizations (typically more established or mainstream parties) in order to spread their ideology, propagandize its members and undermine its existing leadership; whereas Leon Trotsky advocated this only to the extent that it would be temporary, Michel Pablo believed instead that Trotskyists should basically occupy the more established parties in perpetuity, a tactic known as “deep entryism” (or entryism sui generis). However, beyond this, he doesn’t seem to have been as involved in hard-left activism as Jeremy Corbyn was, and in fact from 1987 onwards he became a barrister and established himself as a credible lawyer and legal advisor. In the years since, he drifted away from his former Marxist roots, like so many other politicians from both the ostensible left and the right, but unlike many of those people he still considers himself to be a socialist, and indeed affirms that position in a series of pledges he made during the leadership campaign, in which he claimed to be making “the moral case for socialism”.
Now, do I believe him when he says he’s a socialist? I’m inclined to say no. I do not believe that he adheres to the basics of socialism anymore, I’ve never seen him call for joint/collective ownership of the means of production for one thing. He has written about how he wants to make a moral case for socialism, but socialism for him seems to just mean some largely undefined moral position against injustice and inequality – socialism for him has less to do with participating in class struggle on behalf of the proletariat and more to do with progressive positions such as opposing the death penatly, Iraq War and austerity, as well as support for a “green new deal”. I’d say he’s a progressive social democrat rather than a socialist, but in that regard, he seems distinct from both the Corbynite and Blairite factions within the Labour party, which means that, contrary to the sound and fury of the Corbynistas, he won’t actually be a return to Blairism, although he will ostensibly represent a softening of the social democratic or “left” direction of the Labour Party. Really, the only reason the Corbynites accuse him of being a Blairite is the fact that he is committed to shoving Corbyn’s faction of Labour out of power. Although, in their defence, for a leftist he sure did manage to gain the support of George Osbourne, which is definitely rather suspicious and, I’d say, indicative of a certain bourgeois class alignment. But in the overall, the main threat Starmer poses to the progressive character of the Labour Party isn’t really a re-assertion of neoliberalism, but instead a softening of the progressive politics through the de-emphasizing of certain pet issues such as Israel-Palestine, as well as his willingness to negotiate with the Conservative Party and his toned down rhetoric about the Tories. Otherwise, he maintains the bulk of the progressive consensus that rests within modern liberalism and the modern left, such as unwavering support for membership of the European Union (he not only defended Labour’s second referendum policy from last year but he was also the only leadership candidate on the ballot who advocated for us to rejoin the EU) and he plans on maintaining support for feminism, LGBT identity politics and environmentalism, all of which are shared by the “hard” left that supported Corbyn. Really, the claim that he’s going to lead Labour away from “the left” is not as believable as it seems on the surface. Given that he’s described as a Zionist and has a Jewish wife and kids who are being raised in the Jewish faith, I’m half-tempted to suspect that the Corbynites secretly hate him for his Jewish background rather than his lack of progressivism. In any case, it doesn’t really matter. Starmer will ultimately continue the degenerative progressivism that resides within the Labour Party, just that this time it will be milder in character than the fearsome ressentiment that dwelled within the Corbynite movement, and the left will fall into decline. But we’ll get into that in more detail in a moment.
For now though, let’s get into his legal career, because that’s also worth going over. He famously appeared in the McLibel documentary in 1997, by which time he served as a legal advisor for Helen Steel and David Morris, two Greenpeace activists who were being sued by McDonald’s for producing a fact sheet criticizing numerous unethical industrial practices on their part, and was frequently called to the bar in various Caribbean nations. Later on in 2002 he would be appointed to the Queen’s Counsel, which is a group of lawyers hired to advise the monarch on legal matters, was named Head of the Crown Prosecution Service in 2008, and was eventually knighted in 2014 for his “services to law and criminal justice”. So on the whole, he seems to have had a long, prestigious and successful career in legal services. However, there is also a deeply disturbing aspect to this history. A year after the famous DJ and philanthropist Jimmy Saville died in 2011, it was revealed that Saville had engaged in the sexual abuse of women and children between 1955 and 2009, and that the authorities failed to prosecute him while he was still alive. In 2009, back when Keir Starmer was head of the Crown Prosecution Service, Jimmy Saville was interviewed under caution by the Surrey Police following a complaint made by a woman who claimed to have witnessed one of his assaults during the 1970s. After receiving case files from the police, the Crown Prosecution Service refused to prosecute Saville and dropped the case entirely, citing “insufficient evidence”. Only a year after his death did we find out that he abused people and what the scale of this abuse was, and that there was to some extent a covering up of this abuse in high places. So, just so we’re clear here, Keir Starmer basically helped cover up the crimes of Jimmy Saville, or at least that’s what the actions of the Crown Prosecution Service, under his leadership, amounted to. Although, to be fair, Starmer apologized for this and stated that he and the police in Surrey and Sussex failed to deal with the allegations properly, and went on to call for changes in the way child abuse cases are investigated. He also refused to prosecute Simon Harwood, a London police officer who beat up a man named Ian Tomlinson to death in 2009.
Now, before I go on about the more general picture of the state of the left, let’s turn to the US Democratic primaries, the original impetus for me writing this post, and I’m afraid the situation is quite grim. At first, despite Elizabeth Warren’s attempt to gaslight Bernie Sanders over fallacious (indeed quite obviously bullshit) accusations of sexism, Pete Buttigieg’s blatant conspiracy to rig the Iowa primaries, and Michael Bloomberg’s brief but hostile and absurdly high rolling campaign, Bernie Sanders looked like the frontrunner for pretty much all of the primaries. In fact he was doing so well that nearly every other candidate still standing dropped out, very suddenly I might add, leaving the race to come down to basically just Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden (Elizabeth Warren, Tulsi Gabbard and Michael Bloomberg stuck around for a while after Super Tuesday, but ultimately dropped out and had very little support going for them anyway; Elizabeth Warren lost her home state and Tulsi Gabbard failed to win a single delegate for most of the race). But then Super Tuesday happened, fourteen different primaries happening in the same day, and almost out of nowhere Biden enjoyed a surge in votes and delegates. Yes, Joe Biden, who at the start of the race looked like he was going to fail, suddenly supplanted Bernie as the frontrunner. And as it is the lead looks almost insurmountable. Biden currently leads with 1,217 delegates, while Bernie has 914. Ever since Biden’s surge Bernie has generally fallen behind Biden by about 300 delegates.
And to be honest, it’s hard to tell what happened exactly. It’s easy for me to say that this is the work of an overarching conspiracy by the DNC, who initially seemed to favour Pete Buttigieg but obviously now favour Biden, particularly when you consider that Biden grew just as most of his major rivals dropped out. Not to mention, a lot of the primaries since then have seen unusual delays in releasing the full results, especially in primaries where Bernie might win, which leads me to think there’s shenanigans going on. But the more the primaries drag on, the more I think that it’s impossible to account for Biden’s surge solely through conspiracy. Bernie’s supporters seem to have gravely underestimated the possibility of the average, barely political but Democrat-aligned voter to be swayed by the “look, I like Bernie, but we need to win”, argument, despite the fact that the data shows Bernie to be the most likely to beat Trump in the general contest. Of course, there are some on the left who blame the political correctness and hyper-liberalism of some of Bernie’s supporters, by which they really mean some Twitter or podcast celebrity that the average voter has no knowledge of because most people don’t actually use Twitter, which to me leads gullible people to think that they just showed up to ruin everything on Super Tuesday for no reason. The simple fact is that the Bernie movement looks set for failure, and it’s going to be a rather devastating one, made all the more bitter by the fact until recently it looked like they were going win. Although, strictly speaking, things are not completely hopeless in the sense that there is still time for Bernie to bridge the gap between him and Biden and possibly take the lead again, and a lot of primaries have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the chance of Bernie taking that lead again seem slim and we have no idea if those delayed primaries will be amenable to Bernie victory. So it looks like Biden will probably win the primaries, although I suppose if Trump’s horrendous response to the pandemic is anything to go by it turns out Biden might have a chance of beating Trump after all, but honestly a contest between Biden and Trump would be something of a toss up.
But it’s here, now, that we can begin to discuss the failure of the left in a more abstract sense. I don’t mean to equate the Sanders movement with the Corbyn movement, there are clear differences between them, but there are common points between the two leaders, and between the failures of the movements of the left more broadly. And in this regard, I have a major problem with Bernie’s conduct in the primaries – namely, that it has been wildly inconsistent. When Elizabeth Warren accused him of being a sexist, he and his team straight up called her out as a liar, when Pete Buttigieg tried to claim victory in Iowa, Bernie also claimed victory and just straight up said “because I have more votes”, but when Joe Biden is in danger of winning, he bends the knee before the primaries are even over by. In fact his general conduct regarding Biden has been generally cuckish – he demanded members of his campaign team apologize for calling Biden corrupt (which he actually fucking is!), he’s described Joe Biden as a “friend”, and he openly said that Joe Biden can defeat Trump. No wonder he’s surging ahead! Yeah, sure, he called Biden out on policy, particularly social security, but there’s just no fire in it like there is when he’s dealing with his other opponents. Much debate within the Democratic Party focuses on which candidate can defeat Donald Trump, and Bernie should have been out there saying “I’m the only one who can defeat Trump, everyone else just isn’t good enough”, and he doesn’t seem to be doing that, or if he is, he’s actively contradicting this praxis by declaring Joe Biden capable of defeating Trump. The lesson we should have drawn from Elizabeth Warren’s shitshow campaign is that unity has no place in a competitive primary, but Bernie seems content to do that anyway. But then part of me thinks it doesn’t even matter because it’s not like he isn’t making the right moves in response to the pandemic. He’s been holding live video rallies on YouTube in keeping with social distancing measures, he’s been raising money to go to relief for victims of the pandemic, and he’s been holding roundtables with experts on how to fight the pandemic. All of this is awesome, and I hope it turns thing around for him, but at the same time I wonder if it will really push back against this tide of boomers who are ready to die of COVID-19 just to vote for Joe Biden. And I’m gonna level with you here, if not only the pandemic but also all the credible accusations of rape don’t stop Biden from winning, I can’t say for certain what will.
And then there’s Jeremy Corbyn. What a miserable joke he’s been. No matter how many times he loses, he tries to spin it as though actually he won all along. And he was even weaker than Bernie Sanders has ever been, in that at least Bernie Sanders was actually capable of demonstrating strength of character at times. Corbyn repeatedly failed to address the anti-semitism crisis within the Labour Party and repeatedly dodged the question of whether he is an anti-semite. Every time the question comes up, he only says “anti-semitism has no place in the Labour Party whatsoever”, without ever refuting the accusations levelled towards him. He should have said something along the lines of “now listen here you lying vultures, I am not an anti-semite and here’s why”, he should have actively refuted the claims about anti-semitism in Labour, but instead he lets all of his supporters do it, while at the same time his supporters show themselves to be anti-semites. He repeatedly dodged many other questions as well, such as how he intends to pay for his nationalization programs, and he refused to defend to himself from allegations of being a terrorist sympathizer over his past associations with the IRA and Hezbollah. He crucially was also very weak on the Brexit issue, in that despite his longstanding Euroscepticism he failed to maintain any coherent position on whether or not we should leave the EU – in his past, he consistently advocated that we leave the EU, but since assuming leadership he appeared to waver between compromise and adamant pro-EU sentiment. And even before he became leader, it’s not like he was a positive force within the party, given that, like Keir Starmer, he chose to ignore pedophilia under his watch whenever it cropped up. And, most importantly, despite all of his failures, despite every defeat suffered under his leadership, despite every humiliation he brings to the Labour Party, he will never admit any mistakes, he’ll never concede the reality of defeat, he’ll never change course on anything, and he will only think of himself as a man who’s done nothing but the right thing in all circumstances. Even as he exits the Labour Party, he believes that he’s won the argument just because the Tories gobble up some of his policies.
And the movement that has consolidated around Corbyn is in many ways worse. Besides the already-mentioned anti-anti-semitism, there seems to this shared belief by them that Corbyn is not going away, even as he fades into irrelevance, that he won the argument, that his ideas will live on forever, and that he may as well be Jesus Christ himself. Everything about him was right, everything wrong with him is just propaganda, the only reason he lost was because of media bias (which for some reason didn’t stop him from becoming a major opposition leader in 2017), and if you criticize any of this then you’re a right-wing conservative who wants the Tories to win. That is, without embellishment, what they believe. And while some of them are now bending the knee to Keir Starmer after previously claiming that he would drag the party to the right, most of them remain convinced that the days of the Labour left are over, despite Kier Starmer merely being a soft social democrat, rather than simply a neoliberal. Their entire purpose of being consists of the pursuit of power, that power built of course upon the destruction of any kind of patriotism, common sense, and any form of left politics that doesn’t solely exist as a protest movement. And to be fair, while the pro-Bernie movement isn’t as bad, they seem to be concurring with the Corbynites as to why people didn’t vote Corbyn – namely, “it’s all the media’s fault” and “bigoted white people were afraid of change”. The progressive spell is everywhere in the electoral left, whether in the US or the UK, or in the Corbynites or the Starmerites, and I don’t see why it wouldn’t also be present in Europe too. It is my opinion that the left is destined to lose several major elections, and certainly will not win the US or the UK at least for a decade or two – in the meantime, the right-wing is going to have a lock on power throughout the Western world, and it will survive by morphing into a kind of weird reactionary social democracy in response to the new material conditions brought about by both the pandemic and the general crisis of capitalism.
Now you might be wondering, why aren’t I, an ostensible Marxist, talking about revolution at this point? And the answer to that is very simple: there is no reason to think a revolution will be successful in developed Western countries, and no basis for a revolution to take place even if there were. The simple fact is that the revolutionary tactics of the 20th century did not account for the rapid consolidation of highly advanced, often AI-operated, militatry technology in the hands of bourgeois governments in the 21st century. Just try and do some kind of October Revolution in the United States for instance. Go ahead, try it. You will be crushed and scattered without much trouble. And it’s not like the people calling for revolution are revolutionary material themselves. They lack the ability or the means to set up revolutionary apparatus, they lack the kind of discipline and virtue that a revolutionary would possess, they lack even just the ability to agree with their comrades on the simple nature of what they’re fighting for, and on top of all that all they like to do is make excuses for why the only reason they suck is because of anything but themselves. Of course, even if that weren’t a problem, class consciousness is very minimal, and the working class is a long way away from being inspired to revolution. Not that today’s left is capable of inspiring revolution. They don’t create, and don’t like the thought of creating anything (except for shitty YouTube videos of course), they only like the thought of destroying or reappropriating that which already exists. They talk of scientific socialism, but refuse to base their worldview on anything other than a select handful of socialist thinkers instead of real-world conditions (they elevate theory above praxis). They actively despise the working class of their respective countries, dismiss them as reactionary in accordance with their master Lenin, and to that end they despise any kind of patriotism that they might exhibit. They also have a bad habit of softballing foreign dictatorships, even the ones they might otherwise despise, so long as they can be seen as opponents of US imperialism – I speak, of course, about their weak attitude towards China. Indeed, even as we enter into a crisis entirely of China’s making, they refuse to just blame China, and they refuse to criticize a lot of the vile cultural practices that take place in China, namely the senseless slaughter of wildlife and the devouring of live infant animals, supposedly to cultivate spiritual energy, because doing that would just be imposing our culture on them. They also seem to have this weird slave morality about them, wherein they derive community value from vulnerability rather than strength, and they lean on this stupid idea that the universe runs on a moral arc that bends inevitably towards their idea of progress, and to that effect they obssess with progress as an ideal, even if that progress doesn’t take us anywhere good, and if you criticize that you’re a reactionary. And, on the internet in particular, I find that a lot of the left are simply nostalgic losers who wish that Stalin or Bakunin would come back from the dead and set us right.
There are many times now where, even while I still hold to some kind of socialistic politics that would lead to me being within the left grouping, I will probably be done considering myself a part of the left. This is not to say that my political consciousness won’t be aligned with what I consider to be some form of socialistic politics, but the broader movement to me seems to have degenerated to a point of nigh-irreversible decline, and it seems to be invested in clinging onto to tendencies and values that I simply cannot align myself with on a personal level. And if there are those who complain that you can’t be a socialist while divorced from the contemporary left, who the hell cares? If Slavoj Zizek can get away with it, why can’t I?
After my two recent posts I sense that, perhaps, there may be some interest in discussion over the group I mentioned called The Satanic Reds, the Satanist organization that also happened to be communist. Just who are they, and just who is Tani Jantsang, the group’s founder?
I suppose we can start with Tani Jantsang first. She appears to have been active in either the Satanic movement or just occultism more generally since the 1960s. She seems to have started out as a big fan of H P Lovecraft during the 1960s, when she intially encountered his writings, and in 1965 she came into contact with a group that was purportedly known as Societas Selectus Satanas, an organization that we know next to nothing about (although at least one person claims that there was actually no Societas Selectus Satanas and in fact what is referred to as such was actually a sect of “Family Tradition” Wicca), of which she believed the fantasy author Lin Carter was a member. As the 60s progressed, Jantsang’s interest in Lovecraft was so intense that it began to intertwine with her spiritual outlook. She started to believe that Lovecraft was connected to an ancient “Black Tradition” of magick that originated in Mongolia and unspecified parts of central Asia, and in 1969 she joined a magical order called Starry Wisdom, which appears to have been inspired by Lovecraft. In future decades she would also go on to become a prolific author of several essays, novels, and poems, many of them themed around the Chthulhu mythos, and she along with a man named Philip Marsh were also the editors of a magazine called Chthulhu Cultus, which ran from 1995 to 2001. In 1974, Tani and Philip formed an organization known as the Kishites, named for the ancient Sumerian (though they claim it to be Babylonian) city of Kish, which seemed to combine the Lovecraftian mythos with Tantric lore and other spiritual systems. In fact, Tani considers the Satanic Reds to be a continuation of the Kishite sect, albeit stripped of any references to Lovecraftian fiction.
Besides her work on Lovecraftian fiction, Tani is also apparently known for being a co-author of 11 historiographical monographs of various incarnations of Left Hand Path spirituality, so she seems to be a seasoned author of both fiction and non-fiction within the realm of Satanism. She is also an enigmatic figure in the movement, relatively obscure nowadays compared to the likes of Peter Gilmore or Michael Aquino (not to mention that very few photos of her exist), and so her life and involvement within Satanism sometimes the subject of rumour, speculation, and even drama. She is sometimes said to have been a Magistra of the Church of Satan in the past, a claim that Tani herself denies. She does seem to have had some correspondence with the Church of Satan, via letters that were sent between her and the Church of Satan between 1992 and 2000. In these letters she was praised by both Anton LaVey and Blanche Barton on various points, such as her pronouncements against the Nazis (or “Aryanists”), various articles of hers that were evidently submitted to the Church of Satan, and some music that she showed them that was apparently composed by her, as well as her correspondence with Anton’s son Xerxes. This is in itself would not be proof of her being a Magistra, but there is a quote of her saying that she was a Magistra going around in old Google forums dating back to 2003. It’s not entirely clear where this quote originates. Her relationship with the Church of Satan appears to have been amicable at first, and she also defended their doctrine of Satan as a dark force in nature against the Temple of Set, but by the time of her last correspondence with Blanche Barton there seems to have been a falling out between her and her organization, supposedly over her increasingly vocal anti-fascist pronouncements against some members of the Church of Satan.
Now, this is very interesting because, in a previous correspondence with Blanche Barton, dated to 1995, Blanche praises Tani for condemning the Nazis in the organization. In fact, Blanche refers to the “Aryanists” (as she calls them) as lacking nobility and purpose and accuses their cosmology and methods of being linked to Christianity (which is silly but at least it seems like she opposed Nazism). Curiously, this is the same year in which Blanche wrote that article for Black Flame in which she gaslighted Satanists who were expressing concern about the presence of fascists in the organization. But by the year 2000, it seems that Tani Jantsang had began calling them out again, in a similar way that she had before only perhaps more vocally, and this time that seems to have pissed off Blanche Barton and others in the Church of Satan. And that gets into some questions. How is it that the Church of Satan, an organization that, as I’ve demonstrated, has had a longstanding association with fascists up to the top of its hierarchy since its early years, would find itself admitting a self-identified communist into their ranks? Perhaps they weren’t lying after all when they said they were an apolitical organization? But then again why would they sideline a member or associate who they previously praised because of her vocal criticism of fascism, after previously praising such criticism?
However, I would be being one-sided if I did not bring up the fact of Tani’s own associations with fascists. I already talked about how she used to be a member of the fascist Order of the Left Hand Path, but she also seems to have known James Madole, the leader of the fascist National Renaissance Party. There is an interview in which Jantsang recounts meeting with Madole, along with a few other Nazis, who shit-talked Anton LaVey and ranted about him being a Jew taking over “the dialobic current”, that presumably was just a noble Aryan pagan warrior cult before he showed up (I tell you, the delusions that these volkisch fascists conjure within themselves never ceases to be entertaining). In addition it is known that Madole, who is noted for his fascination with occultism, was also, like Tani Jantsang, very interested in the writings of H. P. Lovecraft, which leads me to believe that it was probably through this that the two initially became acquainted decades ago. And much later in life, despite calling out the Nazism of Church of Satan members, we find an interview she did in 2007 in which she praises Pat Buchanan’s books Where the Right Went Wrong and A Republic, Not An Empire as accurate books that everyone should read and even claimed that they constituted satanic literature, despite the notable handicap of Pat Buchanan and his vision for American society being characterized by conservative Christianity. And can I just say, isn’t it strange that a self-proclaimed Marxist would have such a high opinion of a man who believes that Jewish Marxists are responsible for the decline of Western Civilization? Not to mention, in that same interview, she praises the work of the white nationalist Kevin McDonald for his book The Culture of Critique, which argues that Jews are genetically predisposed towards ethnocentrism and to infiltrate white societies in order to eliminate their white populations and replace them with non-white peoples, and was directly inspired by the “Great Replacement” myth, and she also seems to dabble in Eurabia-style conspiracy theories, and along with that some ideas that sound suspiciously like the talking points of the far-right, when she says this:
Some of the Islamics even admit that they are unarmed invaders that will outbreed the Europeans and simply take over their societies and destroy their culture. These European countries have their own cultures and they are secular and advanced civilizations. I’d hate to see Western Civilization lost. It just might take extreme measures to fix what’s wrong in Europe. Playing the political correctness game has to stop if European culture, language and civilization is to survive this onslaught – and that means in the USA too. I regard the USA as primarily a European-culture nation, Western Civilization, post enlightenment. It should stay that way.
In addition to this, in her article about “Generational Satanism“, she says “I also said, “JEWS are Generational Satanists, and THEY RULE YOU.”. On the other hand, she also gives Jews quite a bit of credit within the remit of her ostensibly materialistic philosophy, in the sense that she holds that Jews are hated by Christians because hold the view that there is no heavenly afterlife. So, with all that in mind, I actually wonder why she would come out against the Nazis if she appears to harbour anti-semitic sympathies herself? Is it truly because of a moral opposition to the ideological program of Nazism (which, as I surely don’t need to tell you, is inseparable from anti-semitism), or is it just because she thinks of the Nazis as obvious bad guys, or because they’re most likely to actually bring her harm should they ever take power in her country? It’s hard for me to say, and I don’t think the answer to this question is going to be a particularly good one, since she appears to promote white nationalist (and blatantly anti-semitic) thinkers and ideas when given the chance. I think that Tani seems to be very confused on the question of Jews and anti-semitism, and, as we’ll see, politics more generally.
Returning to drama, though, there’s also a weird drama that Tani Jantsang has concerning Michael Aquino and the Temple of Set. There was an apparent incident involving Aquino in 1972, when he was still a member of the Church of Satan, in which the Lovecraftian lodges seemed to get into conflict with Aquino over some manuscripts that it is claimed were written by Lin Carter. Jantsang’s critics accuse her of plagiarizing an essay that was originally written by Michael Aquino. There’s also the matter of the Order of the Left Hand Path, and the circumstances surrounding her leaving the order. She recalls that she “started a shitfight” with Bolton, and this was likely motivated by an increased sense of ideological divergence and the apparently dogmatic tendencies of its leader, Kerry Bolton. She accused Bolton of having used the idea of the Dark Doctrines to browbeat people into submission. This split caused the Order of the Left Hand Path to reconstitute into the Ordo Sinistra Vivendi in 1994, and in the process jettisoning the influence of Jantsang’s doctrine and other Eastern influences in favour of a doctrine inspired by the Order of Nine Angles.
Her drama is not entirely limited to Satanist groups, as she seems to have been in some sort of feud with a secretive communist group called Maoist Internationalist Movement, which considered her to be a terroristic anti-communist agitator. Jantsang, in turn, considers MIM to be an FBI COINTELPRO group that also endorses terrorists and attacks other communist organizations (which, to be fair, considering the fact that the CIA started up and supported Maoist groups in the 1960s for the purposes of splintering the communist movement, would not be without precedent). And in general, from what I have noticed of her writings or rather her exchanges on forums and particularly the old group chats she started from the early 2000s, she had the tendency to be highly polemical and defensive to the point of being excessively confrontational and often vulgar towards others, which lends to some sharp dramatic tendencies. This also lends itself to some extreme positions being on her part, such as her apparent opinion that the US should drop nuclear bombs on Afghanistan. I must say, if she is a Marxist, she must be a very confused one. For instance, in the quotation wherein she identifies herself as a Magistra of the Church of Satan, she also identifies herself as a Stalinist, but in another post she describes Stalin as a totalitarian dictator (and in that case she’d be right about that btw).
All of this comes from what little information is out there about Tani Jantsang herself, gleamed from a handful of books on the subject, the Satanic Reds website, and a series of forums often dating back around half a decade. Even from this, there are many who doubt even the most basic details about her, including her very name. Some believe that Tani Jantsang is actually a woman named Tanya Lysenko, or Phyllis Rose, or Phyllis Rosenbaum, but these come from a few old forum posts and I have no way of verifying the authenticity of such claims. So, in many ways, a lot of her life seems to be a mystery.
But enough about Tani herself, let’s talk about The Satanic Reds as an organization. They were founded by Tani Jantsang and Philip Marsh in 1997, decades after their formation of the Kishites and a couple of years after her involvement with the Order of the Left Hand Path. It’s unknown how many members they have, though Tani Janstang claims that the group has 800 members. This organization bases itself on two identifiable core doctrines – the first is what they call the Dark Tradition or Dark Doctrines and the second is what they call Social Realism. The Dark Doctrines is their way of referring to their overall cosmology and the line of esoteric tradition that they claim to draw from. The basic idea of this is that there’s an ancient tradition of Tantra that constitutes the primordial form of Satanism, which Tani claims is found not only in ancient Tantric Hinduism but also in the Pythagorean tradition, Advaita Vedanta and “Turanian” mysticism. The cosmological doctrine of the Dark Tradition is based on the idea of Sat, Tan, and Asat, with Sat and Tan in particular supposedly forming the primordial basis for the archetype of Satan. Sat is the name of the concept that they define to be the Boundless Darkness, the substance of the All which is then infused into all things and particularly living beings as Atma (the Hindu concept of the soul), and the source of the light, or the Flame as it were. Tan is the name of the force by which this Darkness is infused into all of creation, and in a broader sense the process of Becoming. Satan, in this light, is interpreted the synthesis of these two, the unfolding and its object, and thereby the embodiment of the creative process by which all things come into being in the universe. Asat in this doctrine is their word for Non-Being, which is described as giving rise to Sat or Being (much like Wuji, or the Without Ultimate, gives rise to Taiji, or the Supreme Ultimate, in Taoist cosmology), but they also seem to use it to refer to temporal or temporary phenomenon within the cosmos.
Although I’m not convinced that it is the historical representation of Tantra (or Satanism for that matter) that Tani Jantsang purports it to be, it does seem to derive from Tantric Hinduism in the use of several Hindu concepts possibly connected to Tantra. The connection to Tantra may, however, just be as stretched as the name Tan supposedly being the basis of the word Tantra, in which case this is just a particularly inventive system of religious syncretism. And such a syncretism is not an uninteresting one either, in all fairness. In Sat and Tan we could extrapolate a dynamic of creation associated with some pantheistic belief systems, in which Tan becomes the creative impetus or force which compels the generation of things upon the embryo of the universe. There’s also the invocation of various archetypal links – there’s wrathful Buddhist deities such as Shri Kalachakra and Mahakala, there’s the Tao, there’s Sanat Kumara (who for them refers to the five Kumaras which are the five Tan that make up the five points of the pentagram in their tradition), and there’s the Slavic deity Chernobog (or “Chynerii Bog”), which are all taken to be names of this force of darknesss. They also seem to root themselves in the idea of unity with Nature, or more specifically their own Nature, and in their Nine Postulates (their own take on the Nine Satanic Statements), they stress that humans are of Nature, and that those who try to rebel against their own nature, thereby defying Nature more broadly, spiritually die and become nothing, and I think the emphasis on nature does sound nice if framed from the perspective of the Ziran concept found in Taoism. The term for a person who defies Nature is called a Klippoth, which for them means Nothing, but in one article Tani Janstang also uses the term Setian, as in a follower of Michael Aquino’s doctrine, in a similar way, to refer to someone who, like the Christian, detaches himself from the natural world and views themselves apart from (or indeed threatened) by it, which in my view seems to be an attack on the Setian doctrine of human self-consciousness (and Set, its progenitor) as being outside of and apart from nature and the Satanist therefore as seeking to seperate from nature. Honestly, that’s quite the burn. She also calls them pretas, a Hindu/Buddhist term referring to the “hungry ghosts”.
The major problem, however, is that Tani’s concept of a Dark Tradition is ultimately ahistorical. There is nothing tracing her doctrines of Sat, Tan and Asat, or indeed the Satanic pentagram, to Pythagoras or the Pythagoreans – indeed, we all know that the Satanic pentagram in its modern form can be traced to 19th century occultism, where it was used as a negative symbol asssociated with the forces of subversion and opposition to God. There is also nothing linking her particular philosophy to the original Tantra in the historicist sense, and there is certainly no etymological link between Sat, Tan and Satan. I would perhaps appreciate it if Tani and the Satanic Reds were honest about the fact that this philosophy is their own syncretic invention, and in this sense a modern doctrine, but it seems they’re rather invested in the idea that this is just something that people have always believed in if it weren’t for those pesky Christians (which, given what we’ve already established about her associations with volkisch fascists, sounds like it’s not too different from what they believe about how everyone followed Esoteric Hitlerism or some such until the Jews decided that we shouldn’t), and given her claims to “Turanian” heritage, it almost feels like a massive projection of a sense of ethnic identity. Not to mention, her writings on the Dark Doctrines, much like her comments in general, are difficult to read and make sense of for some reason. There’s a certain disjointedness to her writing style, I often find it difficult to grasp her work, not because of its ostensible profundity but instead because everything feels jumbled and it’s hard to make sense of what she’s saying. It’s like she has some sort of communication problem.
As for Social Realism, this is the name given to the political ideology of the Satanic Reds doctrine. It’s not really given its own definition, it just seems to be a moniker they give to their particular left-wing politics and its synthesis with Satanism. Now, it’s here that we come to one thing that I never really addressed in this post, which is probably the most interesting subject of this matter, is the question of how exactly do you be both a communist and Satanist, given that Satanism at large tends be an anti-egalitarian philosophy that in particular has a habit of embracing Social Darwinism? Whilst I can’t speak for other Satanists who happen to consider themselves communist, the Satanic Reds apparently have their own way of reconciling it, and, to be quite honest, it’s confusing. Even though the Satanic Reds are referred to as communist and their logo can be seen brandishing the hammer and sickle symbol of the Bolshevik movement, their FAQ seems to suggest that they are not in fact strictly socialist, but instead are both capitalists and socialists, or more specifically supporters of Dirigist capitalism, which they maintain is a form of socialism (to which any other Marxist, myself included, would laugh and then tell you to read basic Marxist theory as regards socialism and/or communism). What’s more, they seem to purport that they self-identify as “Reds” (meaning communists) not because of any actual adoption of communist ideology but because Franklin Roosevelt, whose New Deal programs they appear to support, was considered a communist back in his day, and, in their words, “if F. D. Roosevelt was a Red, then so are we!”.
This suggests that they are not in fact communists, or even socialists, but instead New Deal progressives who dress up their ideology in communist garb for nakedly contrarian reasons. In fact, they apply this logic to everything else as well. They embrace the label Red (or communist) on the grounds that liberals, feminists, gay rights advocates, advocates of social and religious tolerance, anti-racists, anti-fascists, and advocates of state planning or regulationist economic reforms, have all been considered communists at one point or another by right-wing reactionaries, and so being a communist to them simply means an expression of support for all of these things (oddly enough without the actual communism to support it). This is ultimately not so much an expression of meaningful communist politics so much as it is getting willfully hung-up on the fact that right-wingers, especially Republicans, have done what they will do even to conservative Democrats: so long as they are running against the GOP, the GOP’s supporters will denounce them as communists. Hell, even Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican President, was demonized as a communist by the John Birch Society over opposition to the military-industrial complex among other issues, but you can bet for certain that the Satanic Reds will never vote Republican just because of that. The overall stance follows from the logic that those who do not adopt Christianity are considered Satanists, so you might as well adopt that identity. Tani herself is an example of this; she claims to be “generational Satanist”, in that she claims her family was Satanists, but in reality they were likely not Satanists and Tani herself describes them as “non-Islamic Turko-Tartars” who she claims practiced a syncretic religion based on Tibetan Buddhism, Taoism, Tantric Hinduism (or “Tantric-Vedantic concepts”) and some form of shamanism.
And look, I know it can seem tempting to some left-leaning individuals on the internet to embrace the commie label just because reactionary forces and right-wing idiots deem them to be communists and will call you a communist no matter what you do, but consider the reverse of this phenomenon. For ages, Democrats have had a bad habit of calling their Republican enemies Nazis, and outside of America you will often find people with a left-leaning bent who will call various right-wing politicians fascists or Nazis, regardless of whether or not they are actually fascists or Nazis. Now, if hypothetically a right-winger were to say that he decided to move to the far-right on the grounds that “the left” has decided that everything’s fascist now, would you be willing to believe them or take them seriously? Come on, I’ve seen that Matt Bors comic you guys like to share. Of course you don’t buy it. So why do this for yourselves through the label of communism? Now, I get that it makes a tiny bit of sense if you take it from the lens of Satan being the archetype of opposition to the establishment or whatever, but the way you manifest that within a leftist outlook is through the union of the Satanic archetype and a meaningfully radically outlook. Apparently the anarchists managed to do it since the 19th century, so why can’t these guys?
That being said, however, the Satanic Reds website contains multiple links to various articles written by either Tani Jantsang or other members outlining their postulations about communism, socialism, and even dialectical materialism – the very philosophical basis of Marxism. It may be interesting, therefore, to examine them.
It seems obvious to me that we are dealing people who are, at least in some sense, socialists, and they operate within Marxism in particular. Tani herself I think is a Marxist-Leninist of some type (judging by the fact that she once called herself a Stalinist, which is the name of a specific tendency within Marxism-Leninism). In some ways, I find them to be convincing leftists. However, I also find them to be confused. On the one hand, you have all of this material that establishes a credible Marxist ideological current for themselves, but on the other, their Q&A establishes that they might actually be pro-capitalist in the sense of Dirigist or New Deal capitalism. I’d say that they’re being a bit too coy about their political beliefs if you ask me.
The last thing I want to address about their doctrine is their views on the definition of the Right Hand Path and the Left Hand Path. It seems that they are simultaneously of the Left Hand Path and not of the Left Hand Path, in that they define the Left Hand Path and the Right Hand Path as inseparable parts of each other that, when separated, are reduced to falsity and error. Tani points out that the LHP and the RHP are, in their original Tantric context, defined not by their respective goals (because they had the same goal of attaining unity with God) but by their respective methods, but also suggests that LHP refers to Yin (the passive principle) while RHP refers to Yang (the active principle). This would be a strange idea because it would require us to categorize whether or not the Vamachara methods of transgression as either passive or active, or whether or not transgression itself is passive or active. And under this framework, transgression in the active sense, of all kinds, is RHP, even the Luciferian impulse and even violent revolution against the status quo. By the way, speaking of Lucifer, in this article Tani Jantsang claims that the term Lucifer was never used to refer to Satan until John Milton wrote Paradise Lost, when in reality the identification likely begins with Jerome.
And, that’s pretty much all I want to talk about with regards to the organization. The only other thing I could say about them is that it seems their website hasn’t been updated in several years. In the year 2020, this website still looks like it’s the late 1990s or early 2000s, suggesting that the website has not been updated at all since the group became somewhat popular in the early online Satanist scene of that time.
Overall, I find that the Satanic Reds are a group that could have had some promise in its weird mixture of Tantra, Satanism and Marxism, but while there are several promising elements I can’t say that it’s a well-executed synthesis. And it doesn’t look like the movement is still active and today it is largely treated as obscure footnote in the history of Satanism, which is kind of a shame because there was a lot going on in the background of the organization’s history that also ties in with the history of the Church of Satan. As for Tani Jantsang herself, I find her to be a very strange figure. On the one hand, she is commendable in being one of the few Satanists out there to actively try and challenge things like “might makes right” and Ayn Rand style individualism within the remit of Satanism, and there are aspects of her doctrine I find interesting, but on the other hand she also seems to be kind of a kook, she ultimately failed to produce the kind of refined synthesis that would be serviceable and ripe for expanding upon. And, on top of that, despite her commendable opposition to Nazis within the Satanic movement, it also seems that she, for a long time in her life, herself associated with fascists, and appears to have sympathies with white nationalists and the works of white nationalists and anti-semites, and I think that’s simply unacceptable.
I think, in the end, that the kind of thing that Tani Jantsang seeks would be better acheived by doing for Anton LaVey what Karl Marx did for Georg Willhelm Friedrich Hegel. Just as Marx took the foundation of Hegel’s dialectical philosophy and reconstituted it as a doctrine built upon materialism rather than idealism, so too must a Marxist running either within or adjacent to the Left Hand Path continuity take a foundation of something like Anton LaVey or whatnot and reconstitute it into a new philosophy using dialectical materialism. That is what I believe Jantsang would do if she were a more capable intellect, and in some ways it is the primary goal of my studies, wherever that path takes me.
For the past week the world has been busy commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, which took place in July 20th 1969. For what it’s worth, it was by all accounts an event that defined a generation. There are many people alive today who still remember where they were on that day when they saw Neil Armstrong pose on the moon and plant that flag, as well as that timeless shot of the Earth as seen from the moon’s surface, and the landing is remembered as one of the greatest accomplishments of human history.
And I suppose, objectively speaking, it is still a pretty grand acheivement. It helped to change the way we see not only outer space and the vastness that awaits further exploration, but also our own planet due to the fact that we have gotten a close look at it from outside of our atmosphere. But even in that sense, there are things that put the Apollo 11 mssion into perspective that you are often not told about, because for you to be informed of these facts would undermine a particular hegemonic narrative for which the bourgeoisie uses Apollo 11 as a shibboleth by which to sustain the ideological weight of capitalism.
One thing to remember is that, both prior to and after the Apollo 11 project, the Soviet Union was one of the most innovative countries in the world, being responsible for numerous inventions that capitalist society almost never gives them credit for. For example, the biggest irony of the classic canard of “those god damned left-wing milennials arguing against capitalism from their smartphones” is that the Soviet Union helped lead the way in the development of modern mobile phone technologies, with the Altai moblie phone system having been developed in Soviet Russia in 1958. More importantly, the Soviet Union was the first country in the world to send a man into space, that man beign known as Yuri Gagarin. Although the Soviet space program had quite a few fatalities to its name, it was notably industrious in its efforts to explore the cosmos and at any rate preceded NASA by a year or two. It was in fact the direct motivation of the NASA program, a fact that the bourgeoisie themselves cannot deny.
This dynamic of competition is most likely still at play in the present decade given the fact that there is now much talk of a new US mission to land on the moon by the year 2024. This can be contextualized by the fact that China has long-term ambitions for space exploration and in fact China seems to be aiming for their own moon landing, and are making great strides in such a project. It cannot be lost on NASA that, after the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, NASA launched no further lunar missions, while China is presently engaging in several lunar missions, although they haven’t quite landed on the moon yet. NASA never really had the ambition to explore the moon on their own. Without the rivalry of the Soviet Union, the United States would see no profit in advancing civilizational progress in such a way, whereas the Soviet Union was not driven in its ambitions by the mere pursuit of profit or competition. Of course I doubt I can make the same argument of China, which after 40 years of Dengist reform is now thoroughly capitalistic (not to mention borderline fascist), but the point still remains that NASA’s ambitions seems to depend on the activities of foreign rivals in order to sustain itself.
There isn’t much for me to say other than, when I saw a news report about the Apollo 11 landings, I got really annoyed when a reporter framed it as a moment that finally united the American people. He talked about how the 1960s were a turbulent decade, defined by the Vietnam War, the civil rights struggle, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr and John F Kennedy, and widespread social division, and how the landings lead to a moment where all of those divisions were swept away in a national symbol of triumph. Well after the Apollo 11 landings, things didn’t exactly get less turbulent or divided. Months after the Apollo 11 landings, there was the Altamont concert that ended in a gay man being murdered by members of the Hell’s Angels. The Vietnam War continued to rage on, as did the movement against. The following year saw the Kent State Massacre, in which four students were gunned down by the national guard for protesting against the US campaign in Cambodia. And if you want to talk about the national divide, that massacre only intensified this divide; there were people who rightly condemned the massacre for the atrocity that it was, and there were those who earnestly believed that either the students deserved to be shot or they shouldn’t have stood in the way of the national guard and in any case condemned them as radicals. That whole idea of the national divide being healed by Apollo 11 is pure myth-making – whatever feeling of unity there was must have been very brief.
All in all, don’t discount the Apollo 11 landing or the NASA space program. It was still important to the history of the US and to human civilization more broadly. But don’t allow yourself to be tricked by those who would use the moon landings as a shibboleth of their own sentimental narratives in the name of capitalist hegemony.
I have discovered a video on YouTube posted by Dave Cullen (a.k.a. Computing Forever), an Irish conservative who supports nationalism as well as free market libertarian and even anarcho-capitalist economics, in which he talks about his conversion to Christianity and promotes a concept known as the “god pill”, which can be taken as a facet of “red pill” online political culture. The video, entitled Rediscovering Faith: My Journey Back To Christianity, was so grotesque to the eye of reason, so erroneous in its premises, so self-serving in its function, and yet so enlightening as to the direction of online reactionary politics as well as Dave’s own political evolution, that I decided it was my civic duty to address it and key concepts from the video here on this blog. Please forgive me in advance for the sheer length of this post, but I must dissect these points here, for you will encounter these talking points on your own in time. Dave goes through several arguments at a time here, often in small portions but in quick succession, so addressing his major points will take up a lot of space, and the result will be probably one of my longest posts ever. If you don’t mind that (and here’s hoping you don’t), then I encourage you to read on.
Let ‘s begin by addressing the concept of the “God Pill”. Ostensibly, and for all practical purposes, the “God Pill” in the parlance of “red pill” culture is simply another way of referring to religious conversion, or rather the embrace of the belief in a God. God, for our purposes, refers to the concept of a supernatural consciousness that created and controls the universe and exercizes sovereignty over the souls of humans. However, the concept of the God Pill is also more than the simple acceptance of the belief in God, in that it is necessarily a component of the broader stages of “swallowing the red pill”. The God Pill stage is synonymous with the White Pill stage, which is suppsoed to follow the Black Pill stage, which is supposed to follow the Red Pill stage. Before we explain what exactly that means, let’s see Dave explain this process through his own words in the beginning of his video:
It seems now that a pattern is beginning to emerge among many of us who operate in this genre of red pill philosophy. When you take the metaphorical red pill, it’s just the first epiphany, the first layer. You realize how much you’ve been lied to all your life. You discover that you’ve been fed an ideology perpetuated through biased narratives and spin. You begin to discern truth from illusion, and reject the programming that they attempted to indoctrinate you with. Now if the red pill is the means by which you discover that you’ve been lied to with, the black pill is how you learn just how dangerous those lies truly were. The black pill is when you descend down the rabbit hole further and learn just how bad things have become. It’s where the consequences of evil become truly apparent. It’s also the point where you begin to experience a degree of hopelessness and despondence. This is the point of rock bottom, but luckily, from there the only way is up. Things can seem bleak, but it’s virtually impossible to stay black-pilled for long. It’s simply too difficult to entertain nihilism or despair for extended periods of time. Eventually, an appetite for hope, optimism and meaning begins to develop. The soul requires nourishment. Enter the white pill, also known as the God pill. You begin to desire action, order, purpose and a semblance of values in your life. The world may be going crazy but you’re not going to. The very values that have been stripped from Western nations by the left for the last 50 years gradually begin to make sense.
The God Pill, properly understood, is to be taken as an alternative name for the White Pill, which is the end of the stage a broader journey associated with the Red Pill concept. Taking the “Red Pill”, in this parlance, usually means the rejection of progressivism, liberalism, feminism and political correctness (or more or less as conservatives define it, which is basically just when you take a lefty-ish stance on social issues), and “awake” to what they believe to be the true nature of reality that is obfuscated and censored by progressives and globalist elites on a regular basis. In pick up artist parlance, where the red pill philosophy mythos originates, the “Red Pill” means “awakening” to the premise not only that society is gynocentric but chiefly that women don’t care about your personality and are only interested in promiscuous sex with young men, which given that women are also morally condemned for such a shallow mindset, even if they don’t actually have it, is pretty much unavoidably a recipe for misogyny. The opposite of the Red Pill is the “Blue Pill”, which represents ignorance of the realities of politics as well as women within red pill parlance. The “Black Pill” is a concept that Dave seems to softball for some reason. It is not simply when you learn how dangerously bad things are, but rather it refers to what happens when, some time after the premise of the Red Pill is accepted, you begin to develop a fatalistic and nihilistic outlook towards the world on the grounds that one comes to believe that the system that the adherent opposes cannot be reversed. In practice this usually means people in the new right turning to some kind of nihilistic fascism on the grounds that they now believe that the system they oppose can no longer be opposed through honorable or democratic means and that they are damned by whichever path they take, though in pick up artistry and incel culture the term simply means accepting the premise that there is nothing you can do to make yourself attractive to women if you are not conventionally attractive. The original definition of the Black Pill can be found in a post written by the Canadian anti-feminist blogger named Paragon in 2011, who defined the Black Pill as accepting the premise that there is no personal solution that can alter what pick up artists or incels or whatever they’re called nowadays consider to be a systemic trend of hypergamy that will always prevent men from having sex with desireable women. The “White Pill” in incel parlance is actually supposed to be just a generic term for the attainment of any sort of optimism and focus on self-improvement stemming from the premise of the Red Pill, but for people like Dave Cullen it seems to have taken on a distinctly religious connotation, related to religious conversion. In essence, we get a narrative which, in a sense, might give away the real goal of the strands of reactionary internet politics we see today: the end goal is to get disillusioned young people to not only reject progressivism, but also to reject any kind of liberal values, to reject the Enligthenment, to reject reason, and to reject the work of the French Revolution, and embrace Christian theism as a means of reviving the pre-Enlightenment order.
It is worth noting at this point that Dave is far from the only exponent of the God Pill concept, and perhaps not the most insane of them. Rocking MrE, who considers himself to be a classical liberal and was once promoted by the EDL as such alongside Carl Benjamin (Sargon of Akkad), used to be an atheist who ascribed to a sort of “Cultural Christianity” (that is, when you don’t believe in God but you still support Christian moral doctrine and values), but converted to Christianity proper at some point in 2018, and now he not only believes in God but also denies evolution as an “occult doctrine” designed to lead people away from Christian morality. The concept of a God Pill seems to have been discussed by other right wing channels such as Blonde in the Belly of the Beast. One YouTuber, Critical Condition, credits her “God Pill” status to the lectures of Jordan Peterson, which she saw as a way of re-establishing what is apparently to be taken as a dormant sense of religiosity. The right-wing pick up artist Daryush Valizadeh (better known as Roosh V) converted to Orthodox Christianity in March this year, apparently after finally becoming dissatisfied with a life of treating women as just the object of vainglorious sexual conquest (not to mention getting high on magic mushrooms), and now promotes the concept of the God Pill on his online forum, where he describes it as the final destination of a journey that begins with the “blue pill” (ignorance of reality), then progresses with the “red pill” (awakening to reality, apparently through pursuit “materialism”, in this case meaning pick-up artistry), then the “black pill” (despair, nihilism and the resutling withdrawal from “materialist” society) and ends in the God Pill (in his words, submission to God’s Will). The transition from the Red Pill to the God Pill appears to be a general trend that has been seen by some Christian observers, who comment that the invariable destination of the red pill political subculture is the revitalization of Christian religiosity. But, I feel it is in Dave, as well as Rocking MrE, that we find something particularly poignant. Here we have people who have devoted themselves, ostensibly, to reason. To that end they have embraced some very conspiratorial worldviews relating to reactionary politics, to the point that they may as well have been wearing reason as a costume, but Dave at least seemed to consider himself to be taking after the likes of Christopher Hitchens in some of his videos. And now, here he is rejecting atheism as a childish doctrine in favour of Christian religiosity! But I suppose this all makes sense in light of the red pill pipeline being just a pathway to religion. Though, in Dave’s case, there might well be distinctly emotional motives for his transition, ones that just happen to intersect with his hardline conservative views.
Anyways, with all of that having been established, let’s move on to the next point:
I guess I considered myself an atheist since I was about 13. I rejected the religious teachings of my parents, who were both devout Catholics and quite conservative, and as I entered my teenage years I began to become more liberal and I believed that I could have all the answers, that science and secularism were adequate substitutes for religion and faith. But as I grew older, I also became more conservative, and I began to realize that the wisdom of my parents was based on something timeless, universal and tried-and-tested for thousands of years, that the teachings of Christ were a set of rules and instructions that not only made intuitve sense when carefully studied but actually had been essential in maintaining and building our Western Civilization.
This is the first part of the video where we get to one of the more absurd claims Dave makes in order to justify his position. The claim in question is that Christianity has been “tried and tested” throughout the history of the Western world, as in for thousands of years, as in, by implication, presumably long before Christianity was actually formulated, before Jesus was even born. To assert this tripe requires you to neglect the entire body of Hellenic philosophy upon which we derive many of our modern sciences, philosophical concepts, political constructs and even large parts of our mythos. I’ve covered this before in my post about Cultural Christians, but let me summarize this point by saying that large parts of Christian doctrine derive from the writings of Plato, Aristole and the Stoics, not to mention many mystery cults such as the Eleusinian Mysteries. Then there’s the fact that so many Christian holidays, myths and even saints and angels have their roots in the pagan custom of Greek, Roman and other ancient societies. I would argue that, if there really is something that is timeless, universal, and tried-and-tested for thousands of years, it’s not Christianity, considering the fact that Christianity has only really been around for two thousand years, which in the grand scheme of human history is a pretty short stretch of time.
Next, we come to his criticism of the New Atheist worldview, which he purports to have dismissed during his teenage years:
Science is the means by which we understand the physical world around us. It is not the means by which we derive our morality. For that we need philosophy, metaphysics, religion. Human beings need relatable stories, instructions, parables, in order to develop a moral and ethical framework in which to live.
Now, I will say for the record that I find what I have seen of Sam Harris’ attempts to form a morality based on the scientific worldview to be utilitarian garbage, and I find that he justifies this using many of the same arguments that Christian apologists would use (namely that if you don’t follow his morality you must be a psychopath), but to assert that you cannot divine morality through pursuit of studying physical reality is to reject the physical world. If morality is a phenomenon that comes from the physical world in the sense that it emerges from human relations, and in a sense can only really be observed in the context of the physical world, then treating it as dependent on something that can only be based on something that is supposed to be categorically outside of the cosmos doesn’t make any sense, and in a sense divorces morality from reality, which in my opinion is a dangerous and irresponsible thing to do because it creates the groundwork for moral nihilism. Not to mention, he seems to speak of philosophy as somehow separate from the pursuit of science, and aligned with religion and metaphysics. The problem with this is that the pursuit of philosophy makes no sense without its object – questions surrounding the nature of reality, that is a matrix that exists outside of ourselves that we observe on a constant basis – and also the fact that even the scientific method itself bases itself upon a specific set of philosophical assumptions and doctrines, which have proven effective for their purpose – that is, the investigation of reality through empirical study and experimentation and analysis based on reason. So from there, we can already see that Dave’s argument for religion amounts to a weak-kneed cop-out.
But in a sense, it’s also here we that we also come to one of the more revealing facets of Dave’s thesis on religion, one that is also apparent from the very beginning of the video, shortly before the first quote I posted from it. He doesn’t commit himself to a rational reason for believing in a Christian God, or in accepting the Christian religion as the guiding force for society as well as himself, but because he needs the Christian religion because it provides him with a meta-narrative that allows him to make sense of the world around him, and this desire, as was already implied in the discussion of the God Pill concept and as you will further see later on, is deeply linked to his conservative politics and his opposition to just about any form of left-wing politics you can find.
For now though, we must address that age old Christian apologist talking point that just won’t die, and that Dave is apparently resurrecting here:
Science and religion are actually not in conflict, as some atheists believe. They’re not actually in competition. One is the means by which we understand the physical world around us, the other is the means by which we derive meaning and moral instruction.
The main problem with this talking point is twofold. The first problem is that it assumes that religions are not formed as means by which to understand the world around us. The reason that’s a problem is simply the fact that religions like Christianity and Islam, and their surrounding myths, as well as the myths of polytheistic religions, were in part devised quite literally as a means by which people without scientific knowledge could explain the physical world. I mean, what the hell is the idea that God created the universe and is responsible for its cycles including those that happen on Earth if not an attempt to explain the physical cosmos? Oh wait, I forgot. We’re not supposed to take that literally. The second problem is that to believe that science and religion are not in competition but instead working harmoniously with each other requires the ignorance of the history of Christian power in Europe, as well as in America, which then as now is often in conflict with scientific findings. Did we all forget about how Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake by the Catholic Church for his pantheistic beliefs which he may have drawn from his scientific pursuits? Or how Galileo Galilei was forced by the Inquistion to recant his scientific discovery of how the Earth revolves around the Sun and not the other way around? Or how in the United States a man named John Scopes was sued by the state of Tennessee for teaching Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection? Or how for decades the evangelical lobby has fought for creationism against the scientific teachings of not only evolution but also man made climate change, and how this lobby is still an active part of the Trump administration today? Oh wait, I forgot, that’s all just progressive babble isn’t it Dave?
Following this, we come to a part of the video where Dave’s political direction descends further into regression, past the realm of the absurd and into the realm of the sinister, while also serving as the first exposure of just how utilitarian Dave’s embrace of Christianity really is. Here is how he segues from religion being a system of meaning and moral guidance:
This system may even be the basis of a legal system or even a constitution for a nation state to live by, but the core philosophy must be based upon something that cannot be altered or replaced by man-made ideals. It’s the idea that there is a higher power that Man is answerable to, that governments and politicians cannot challenge, that the state is beholden to the values and morals that the populace subscribe to. This is one of the primary utilities of religion in our society.
Let me spell it out for you just in case it wasn’t already obvious: he is describing the logic of a theocratic society. He is describing a system that derives its legitimacy not from the will of the people, not from a secular body of law, but from the will of God and from the edicts of a religious doctrine. What he is describing invariably entails a society which, by definition, derives its legal basis from the interpretation of the laws and commandments of God by some religious or ecclesiastical authority. I don’t see how else it would work in his society unless he thinks that either Christians will just vote their beliefs into power or that God will just sort everything out by himself. His proposal cannot be classified as anything other than the basis of a theocratic society.
But the unstated premise of this assertion is that the need for religion as the basis of a society, in conservative parlance, derives from the need for a device through which their desired economic order becomes impossible to challenge through any sort of state intervention. Think about this for a moment. The state, properly understood in a democratic context, represents the sum total of human will in its ability to direct material components of the political system and make decisions on behalf of itself as represented by the body politic. Free market capitalism, being a man-made construct, is the product of human hands and as such is subject to human hands: Man created capitalism, Man becomes a subject to capitalism, and Man can also destroy capitalism. Of course, Man can also bend market forces to his will, that is say the state can assume ownership of what was once the realm of private markets in order to direct said markets and capital in pursuit of common good. The capitalist, and the conservative, oppose this because it hinders the free flow of capitalist markets to stream capital upwards in accumulation into the hands of private elites, which, for them, represents a much more abstract notion of economic freedom (freedom for the few, of course, not for the many). If the best way to stop this is to have something in place that is higher than the state, higher than the will of Man, then what better candidate than God Almighty, an entity that cannot be challenged by the will of Man according to the religions that believe in him? Now apply this to free market economics, via that popular conception of the invisible hand of the market (however true it might be to the way Adam Smith intended to espouse it). The idea that the markets direct capital, goods and services in a positive direction that benefits society without the interference of the state, can be reified as a religious concept by arguing that the invisible hand of capitalist market is, in a way, the hand of God, or more or less the will of God working through the markets. The result of this is that the free market cannot be challenged by the state on the grounds that doing so means going against the will of God. The only problem with this, of course, is that the Bible doesn’t actually support free market economics except through a selective reading of it, and in fact there is even a famous verse in the Book of Acts in which a seemingly proto-communist society appears to be endorsed as a commune of Christ’s followers.
After that little quotation, he shows a clip from an interview he did with a guy called John Waters, who is a writer for the Irish Times and not to be confused with the American film director of the same name. A self-described “neo-Luddite” who despises the internet and emails in particular, he has supported many reactionary conservative positions in his day. He supported the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan in the early 2000s, has claimed in 2014 that depression does not exist, opposed same-sex marriage, blamed gay people for his decision to quit journalism, and is such a staunch Catholic conservative that he even denies that there is institutional pedophilia in the Catholic Church, claiming instead that the real problem is homosexuality, which he claims explains the cases of pedophilia on the grounds that homosexuality is tied to ephepophilia (which, much like the anarcho-capitalists, he treats as morally distinct from pedophilia). In the interview clip being presented, Waters states that in the preamble of the Irish constitution begins with the phrase “In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred”, which he believes is grounds to treat the Irish constitution as a kind of prayer or invocation, which he justifies simply by stating that it is a mechanism to take the fundamental rights of humans and place them out of the reach of humans – in other words, to define human rights as a law that cannot be changed by humans (even though rights as a concept originate directly from humans).
We get into another stupid claim from Dave after this wherein he cites the British author John Glubb via his book The Fate of Empires as justification for religion as an integral part of civilizational survival:
Nations and even empires that lose religion tend to collapse within a couple of generations. This is the pattern that John Glubb observed time and time again when he catalogued the rise and fall of great powers throughout history. When an age of decadence is reached in a society, an age of liberalism follows. When you take God out of the equation, Man tries to become God.
The central problem with this claim in particular is that it is not simply that it is utterly unfalsifiable, but that it is demonstrably false and incorrect. The Roman Empire, for example, can hardly be said to have “taken God out of the equation” in the years preceding its collapse. In fact, by the time the Roman Empire collapsed, Rome was already dominated by the Christian church, and had been through an almost unbroken succession of Christian emperors for over a century. The idea that the Romans were trying to “become God” can from there be treated as utterly laughable. The ancient Egyptian religion was still a present element of Egyptian rule and culture during the last days of the Egyptian empire under Cleopatra, after whose death Egypt became a Roman province. The Egyptians only briefly lost their religion during the reign of Akhenaten, who tried to introduce a monotheistic cult centering around a sun god named Aten, but after his death the religion of the old priests was restored and all mention of Atenism was purged from memory. The religion of the Aztecs only really disappeared after the Spanish conquistadors arrived and forced them to convert to Catholicism on pain of torture or death. The short lived Seleucid Empire did not die because of some lack of religiosity, in fact the empire was pretty successful in establishing what we now know to be classical Hellenic culture and syncretizing it with foreign with influences such as Buddhism. Instead, it died after a period of instability generated by civil war surrounding succession that broke out after the death of Antiochus IV. China went through several imperial monarchies throughout its history, and religion is not necessarily the cause of their collapse and displacement by successive new empires. If you know just a little bit about Chinese history, you’ll know that civil war is a common feature in ancient Chinese history, cropping up frequently as a point of transition between new dynasties, the most famous examples being the Three Kingdoms Period that preceded the short-lived Jin Dynasty and the Warring States period that preceded the Qin dynasty.
Furthermore, his talking about how without religion Man tries to “become God” is a particularly mystifying talking point, and it doesn’t seem to have much basis in reality. Is he talking about how, throughout history, monarchies and empires have had their populace worship the king as a god as part of their religious custom? Or is he perhaps channelling Camille Paglia’s nonsense about how accepting transgenderism precipitated the decline of the Roman Empire? The swapping of gender roles, and indeed the inversion of many Roman values, was already a feature of Roman life in one particular festival, Saturnalia, which the Christians later phased out and replaced with the celeberation of Jesus’ birthday, which we would eventually call Christmas.
Oh wait, never mind, Dave’s actually talking about communism:
Communism, which is once again trying to infiltrate every facet of our culture and compromise our institutions in the form of globalism, believes that the state is God, that it can be mother and father to an infantilized, powerless and impoverished proletariat.
As is standard practice for right-wing conspiracist content, Dave invokes the Cultural Marxism conspiracy theory, which tells him that everything he doesn’t like about liberalism is actually communism, despite the fact that liberalism and communism are against each other as they always have been and despite the fact that Marxists are marginalized, rather than endorsed, in academia (not to mention that the European Union and quite a few European countries ban the promotion of communism or at least ban communist symbols). But that’s not the most important part of this video – we expect his ilk to parrot the same old conspiracy theory even afterit’s beendebunked already. The real hot take here is that communism believes the state to be God. You know, that ideology that famously rejects God, views religion as the opiate of the masses and believes that the state is supposed to wither away as the society progresses towards commiunism – God tends not to wither away in any system that concieves of his existence you know! What were you thinking when you spouted this nonsense!? I could address everything else he said when he invokes that tired old talking point about communism impoverishing nations wherever it’s been tried, but not only do I lack the scope for such an endeavor in this post, but it’s also somewhat irrelevant when you consider that his understanding of communism here falls apart when you understand even the most basic points about its actual ideological content.
Oh but that won’t stop him. After all, he’s not basing his worldview on anything rational or anything like that, just some utilitarian goal which centers around quashing the phantom of communism and “Cultural Marxism”.
It doesn’t even matter if you believe in an afterlife or an interventionist God at all, or how the universe got started. These discussions are great fodder for theoretical debates, but they won’t build or maintain a society. They won’t protect against communism, or indeed another outside religion that seeks to dominate the West. Everything the left has done has been a gradual attempt to take people away from who and what they are and where they came from.
You know, Dave, there was a religion that came from a foreign land, or more or less based on a set of teachings that originated outside of the West, that sought to dominate the West, and ultimately succeeded in replacing the values and beliefs that had been with our ancestors for thousands of years.
What was that religion called? Christianity.
This is something that, even while I was a right-winger back in 2017, always annoyed me about proponents of this “Cultural Marxism” bullshit. They talk about the threat of their Christian religion being replaced by some outside force, and they never talk at all about the fact that it was originally the Christians who sought to replace the paganism of our ancestors, as well as the religions of any foreign people’s they came into contact with. And unlike the Hellenic Greeks before them who let the Egyptians and the Bactrians practice their religion in harmony with Hellenism, and encouraged a syncretism that was nonetheless still unique to the cultures they arrived at, the Christians in many cases simply replaced the cultures of the various peoples they encountered wherever they could, often destroying many important artefacts, such as what happened to the Mayan civilization. But they don’t like to talk about that, either because it simply doesn’t enter into their minds at all or because it’s inconvenient to the narrative they’ve weaved for themselves. Do these people have any idea what the Spanish conquests were, or what the Goa Inquistion was, or how the Christians sacked various pagan temples such as in Alexandria? Of course we can’t say the Christians completely succeeded in replacing the heritage of the West, what with the Renaissance revitalizing many Greco-Roman concepts, but it does not change that the Christians still sought the destruction of quite a bit of pre-Christian heritage, a fact that a lot of these conservative nationalists fail to account for.
Christianity celebrates the vital importance of the family unit, the most powerful defence against an authoritarian state. In Christianity, the roles of men and women are clearly defined, with great respect given to the unique roles of the mother and the father and the raising children in a set of values shared by other members of our community and tribe.
First of all, the sacralization of the family unit is not at all unique to Christianity. In fact the use of “family values” as a political device is not at all unique to Christian conservatism, and can be traced back to the Roman emperor Augustus, who believed that monogamy and chastity were ancestral values and sought to enforce piety and carnal forbearance through religious and moral law. Second, the idea that the roles of men and women are clearly defined only in Christianity is just absurd. Every society and every religion has had its own definitions of gender roles, some of them closer to our modern conceptions than others. In Roman society, for example, the role of most women was very clearly defined as the property of a man, either her father or her husband (yeah, real progressive there). Third, are we going to ignore the fact that women often played vital roles in the early Christian movement that weren’t simply reducible to home-making? Who could forget the lore surrounding Mary Magdalene, who before she was whitewashed by the Roman church was likely considered to be a leading figure among Jesus’ followers and disciples. There is even discussion about how men and women may have been treated as equals in marriage during the early church period. Fourth, where does this talking point about how the nuclear family is the best protection against authoritarianism come from? The logic of it is not adequately explained at all. In fact, it’s worth pointing out that one of the main planks of fascism as defined by Benito Mussolini has always been the preservation of the nuclear family through the means of the totalitarian state. This is not to say that family is a totalitarian or authoritarian concept, merely to say that the idea that it is the greatest bulwark of liberty is unfalsifiable. If anything, it might just be completely false. In Russia, the Orthodox Church has a lot of sway in Russian society and is closely tied to the government of Vladimir Putin, with Christian conservatism the norm in Russian society, but that hasn’t changed the rampant drug addiction and domestic violence that runs rampant in the country, and the state is far more authoritarian than many Western countries. But the people on Dave’s side of the aisle treat those who resist this state of affairs, particularly feminists (who for once actually have a good cause), as maniacal totalitarians for the high crime of fighting an authoritarian state. What a joke.
The community-building aspect of the religious service, the Mass, and the profession of faith ensure that everyone knows they are part of something bigger than themselves, that there is an authority beyond a democratically elected politician in office. This is how a nation state is maintained: by recognizing the value of the family. As you can see, it’s not hard to understand why the leftist Cultural Marxists have attacked religion and the family at every turn.
There is a tell in this part of the video that yet again reveals Daves inclinations towards theocratic authoritarianism: “that there is an authority beyond a democratically elected politician in office”. Logically there is one thing that this can entail in practice. It means that the authority of religion supercedes the will of the people, and their rights and freedoms can be superceded by ecclesiastical authority, and it entails that democratic authority can be bypassed by the authority of religion. In that sense, the only reason people like Dave have for opposing such undemocratic (nay, anti-democratic) institutions as the European Union is because these institutions represent cultural liberalism, which they mistake as being communism or socialism for some baffling reason. If the European Union were more overtly conservative and going on about how important Christianity is (like Vladimir Putin does in Russia), he would have no problem with the EU bypassing the will of democracy in order to preserve Christian power, and perhaps he might even be treating the Eurosceptics, rather than the Remainers, as SJW progressives.
However, as if anti-democratic theocracy wasn’t enough, Dave’s thesis takes a much darker turn, one that betrays what could be an overlap between his own political thinking and that of the racist alt-right.
In Christian nations, the origin story of our culture is the birth of Christ. Now, even if you’re not religious, even if you don’t take the stories of Jesus literally, you can probaly acknowledge that an origin story about the birth of a child and a savior, born to bring peace to the world, is a powerful message and a symbol of hope for future generations. But if people are encouraged to move away from Christianity, then they lose attachment to this story, and the origin story of who and what they are becomes rewritten. It’s replaced with a focus on the worst moments in our history. This is why in many modern liberalized Western nations nowadays the native people are being encouraged to be ashamed of their past. In social justice infested college courses in America, young Americans are brainwashed into self-loathing. They’re encouraged to feel guilty for atrocities commited by their ancestors from hundreds of years ago. The same is true of many European nations: their people are being encouraged to feel an intense sense of guilt and self-hatred for their colonial past for example. So once the story we told ourselves about where we came from spiritually was based on the hope of a young child being born who could usher in a new age of peace for all humanity. Now it’s about negativity, despair and hopelessness. You cannot build anything stable or successful on such foundations.
It might not seem obvious at first glance, but if you pay attention to channels like Dave’s, you will see an overlap between what he’s saying here and the talking points presented by alt-right YouTuber Black Pigeon Speaks in his apparently now-deleted video “Why The West HATES and is DESTROYING Itself”, which he seems to have lifted from a post from an alt-right blog called Chateau Heartiste (which seems to have been removed from WordPress). The basic angle of Black Pigeon Speak’s video is that, following the aftermath of World War 2, the West became dislodged from what he sees as its affirmative origin stories and sacred narratives, and became obsessed with generating a new sacred narrative centered around the worst atrocities in human history. If you pay attention to his video, it becomes clear that he is by and large referencing the Holocaust. He goes on about how Western nations have somehow become anti-nationalistic (yeah right) and now oppose any conception of unity, order, civilization and national (or for that matter racial) pride because of how the Nazis are to be taken as the ultimate evil, and this supposedly is tied to “the post World War 2 foundation myth”, which he directly identifies as the Holocaust (the unstated implication, of course, being that we are to believe that the Holocaust never happened or was wildly exaggerated despite all of the evidence we have to support what we know about it). This trope has another name in alt-right circles: they call it “Holocaustianity”, which they believe to be a secular religion created by the Jews to enslave the minds of the white race through psychological and moral guilt.
I am fairly certain that Dave seems to have derived his argument from Black Pigeon Speaks, considering he has mentioned and promoted his content in the past throughout his career, and while I doubt that Dave himself denies the Holocaust, I am concerned that he appears to be promoting the ideas of actual Holocaust deniers and white supremacists in order to justify the nationalist impetus for his religious conversion, and that he is effectively soft-balling fascism. It should be especially concerning when you note that, for him, it is this trope that is responsible for the way American college students, as well as European university students, are supposedly indoctrinated by their professors to hate their past and their nation (which, if you think about it, is really just Dave being upset about the fact that Americans have to learn about slavery and colonialism, because he doesn’t like it when you learn about the parts of Western history where we end up being the bad guys). Not to mention, it’s not like people who think “Holocaustianity” is a thing limit themselves solely to discussion of the Holocaust: some alt-right commenters on Chateau Heartiste expand the concept of Holocaustianity to extend to the history of slavery in America, in order to cast serious discussion of slavery as nothing but religious self-flagellation.
But where for white nationalists and white supremacists all of this was about Jewish power and control, for Dave all of this culminates into a much more abstract narrative about the left seeking to destroy Christianity, somehow.
On the theme of the birth of a child, third wave feminism has promoted and attempted to normalize abortion, so the left has literally become like a death cult. You see, although the promotion of left-wing ideology is ultimately about power, it’s also not quite as simple as a straightforward attack on conservatism. It’s an attack on Christianity that goes back as far as the crucifixion of Christ, getting people away from their Christian heritage and values, disconnecting people from God and making them docile and compliant by promoting distractions that placate the masses: consumerism, pornography, sex, instant gratification, drugs, and materialism.
The part where he says “It’s an attack on Christianity that goes back as far as the crucifixion of Christ” alone deserves quite a bit of scrutiny. I didn’t know the “left” were attacking Christianity before the church of Christianity had even been established. Is Dave even talking about third wave feminism anymore? Just what does he mean by “the left”, if he’s even still talking about the left? And if not the left, then who? It boggles my mind, and, given how we’ve already established that Dave was basically parroting anti-semitic alt-right talking points about historical meta-narratives, I fear that Dave might be doing a dogwhistle and subtly referring to how Jews supposedly corrupt the white race. There are a few tells that suggest why this might be the case. The first of these is the idea of the attack that goes back as far as the crucifixion of Christ. The idea that there was anything that could be identifiable with the left in a modern sense is simply absurd, so it begs the question of just who Dave is referring to. The early Christian fathers have long hated the Jews, blamed them for the death of Jesus (which is funny to think about considering that Jesus’ death was supposed to happen per God’s plan to “save” humanity through the resurrection) and considered them thus the enemies of God, and this is reflected in the way medieval passion plays emphasized the negative role of Jews in the life of Jesus. In fact, such anti-semitism was so persavive in medieval Christian culture that the Catholic church only formally repudiated the idea that the Jews killed Jesus as recently as 1962, when they held the Second Vatican Council. The second tell is the way Dave describes this “attack” involving distracting the populace by promoting consumerism, drugs and pornography. For starters Dave promotes in his videos, including this one, the concept of “Cultural Marxism”, which is nothing more than a rehash of the Nazi concept of Kulturbolschewismus (or Cultural Bolshevism), which was basically a category for all manner of modern artistic and creative expression which the Nazis considered to be degenerate and corruptive to the minds of the German race. Then there’s the fact that white supremacists have long blamed Jews for a host of phenomenon they deem to be social ills, including pornography. The white nationalist James Edwards, for example, believes that the Jews use pornography as a tool to subvert the moral character of the white race as part of a broader agenda to keep them under control if not destroy them. The Jews have also long been associated with satanic influences against Christian culture in medieval folklore, and from this idea we get the blood libel trope that animates much of the whole Satanic Ritual Abuse theory and the term Judensau, which is now used as an insult by neo-Nazis. So with all that in mind, it makes me wonder: is Dave actually using Christianity as a cover for moving towards anti-semitic fascism?
After this part, he talks about how his mother died, and how this supposedly opened the way to religiosity, and from here we get a very strange interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer:
I knelt down one night and, for the first time in many years, prayed the Lord’s Prayer. I had said the Our Father many times as a child. I repeated it like a mantra, words that never truly meant anything to me. But this time, suddenly something changed when I reached the line “lead us not into temptation”. Now you can look at those words and not fully interpret their reason for being. “Lead us not into temptation”. What’s so objectively bad about temptation? Well, it’s the next line that suddenly struck a chord with me because it justifies that previous line: “but deliver us from evil”. So, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”. Now, all of a sudden, for the first time, given everything I was witnessing in the world, I could understand the context of why this prayer had been written this particular way. What has the left been promoting for the past number of decades? Temptation, sin, greed, materialism, deviation from the path, a denial of nature. If you corrupt the people, promote vice and their baser animal insticts, you bring about the destruction of the nation state. Promiscuity rather than monogamy results in unplanned pregnancy, broken homes, low parental investment. Marriage is destroyed by feminism, alternative lifestyles are promoted, the act of sexual union between two people is no longer respected, pregnacy and the creation of new life becomes a nuisance. By no longer believing in a power beyond Man, the state becomes the thing that everyone relies on. From welfare to their rights, it becomes extremely powerful and soon after, authoritarian. Suddenly, in those few words of the Our Father, I had gained an insight and a truth that had been hiding in plain sight my whole life. As E. Michael Jones would call it, Logos. Saint Augustine said that a man has as many masters as he has vices, and, as E. Michael Jones has talked about, the left has sold vice as a form of liberation. In truth, we become enslaved to our base, greedy and primitive natures, and thus much easier for governments to control. The people become docile, and malleable and atomized, especially since identity politics is promoted to further divide and conquer people.
There’s a lot to unpack here, but I must say for starters that, being someone who has had his lay Christian phase when he was a child, I find myself wondering what precisly he thinks is so special about that line. I remember being a school boy in Pembroke Dock and later Carmarthen and having had the Lord’s Prayer recited collectively during regular assemblies. The line just seems to be a petition to God to protect his followers from temptations (or, perhaps, for him to not actively lead them astray), and lead them away from the clutches of evil forces or Satan. I don’t know where he got his particular interpretation from. It kind of seems to me like he thinks the Lord’s Prayer was written because of SJWs. Or Jews, maybe, given where he seems to have gone earlier on in the video.
In regards to how he applies his interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer to the left as a whole, we should take great care to note what Dave considers vice, given that he believes that the left promotes vice at every turn. Among other things we leftists generally tend to oppose the tendency of free market capitalism to accumulate capital away from the masses or the common good and towards private elites, we oppose private corporations having the power to expropriate the value of the labour of the working class while giving them pittances in return, we oppose wage slavery, we oppose war, we oppose imperialism, we oppose the imposition of cruel living conditions upon working people and their families, we oppose sexual abuse like any decent people would, we oppose the systematic waste and destruction of our planet’s resources, and we oppose the system that generates needless envy and the suffering it creates, which as Slavoj Zizek has stated is the enemy of self-love. What about this can be interpreted as promoting vice or the wanton rule of our baser instincts exactly? Well, you see, guys like Dave are mad that we also (usually) support freedom of choice when it comes to sexuality. He hates it when non-traditional, non-conservative, non-religious lifestyles and attitudes towards sex are represented in Western culture, and he hates it when liberals and leftists oppose the criminalization of abortion and pornography and support same-sex marriage, expansive sexual education programs and the freedom to be gay, bisexual, trans or whatever else. Now I don’t agree with a lot of the left, progressives or liberals about a lot of what gets promoted in regards to “gender identity”, and I insist that we should be free to say whatever we want about it even if it means offending the wrong people, but I have never opposed the right of people to claim they’re two-spirit or whatever. That’s because I believe freedom of speech and of expression are central to my political worldview. Now Dave might claim that he too supports freedom of speech and expression, and I have no reason to believe he doesn’t sincerely believe that, but I think his vision of society would, in practice, run counter to such a profession on the grounds that in his society, democratic petitions and struggles for social and sexual freedom would be superceded and negated by ecclesiastical authority. Thus, I believe his claim that the left “sells slavery as freedom” is nothing but projection on his part.
His bizarre interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer is also yet another clue in just how far Dave is into the anti-semitic alt-right rabbit hole. You’re probably wondering who E. Michael Jones is. Well, he’s an American paleoconservative Christian writer and author who runs a magazine called Culture Wars and also has a YouTube channel where he talks about all manner of cultural and political issues, and also Jews for some bizarre reason. A quick search through his bilbliography leads you to some very interesting and totally not anti-semitic titles such as The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and Jewish Fables: Darwinism, Materialism, and Other Jewish Fables, and if you look at his YouTube channel you will find videos titled Jewish Agents of Chaos, It’s OK to Criticize Jews, and E Michael Jones on Jewish Influence from Calvary to Trump. He’s also done interviews with the likes of Jean Francois-Gariepy, Faith Goldy, Nick Fuentes, Roosh V, Owen Benjamin, Richard Spencer, and Red Ice Radio, most of whom belong to the alt-right. All of this begs the question: why the hell is Dave promoting this guy? It strikes me as another sign of Dave’s adjacency to alt-right politics as well as a hidden anti-semitic tendency.
Now the next part is a bit of a tangent from the overall theme of this post but it’s worth addressing anyway.
Our nations are also becoming increasingly less safe under leftist control and further destabilized, and therefore more heavily policed. The power of the state is increasing, as people surrender their freedom for more so-called security.
I am curious about which Western nations he believes are under “leftist control”. The ones that spring to my mind are Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Finland, and Greece, all of whom are currently governed by social-democrats, and with the exception of Greece most of those countries have not been social-democratic for particularly long (Denmark and Finland, for example, have only recently elected social democrats to the national government). Meanwhile, Donald Trump has been president of the United States for nearly three years and the authority of the state has only expanded under his tenure. In fact, I am still old enough to remember when we were all invoking that famous Benjamin Franklin quote about freedom and security when criticizing the government of George W. Bush, a right-wing neoconservative! So much of the authoritarianism we see in Britain that Dave (rightly, in many cases) crticizes has happened under the auspicies of right-wing rule, including the Blairites of the Labour Party. And, as we will discuss in further detail later, Poland and Hungary, under nationalistic conservative governments, stifle freedom of expression and curtail democracy while the “leftist” European Union does little to challenge them. Dave’s argument rests only on the fact that social democrats and progressives within the Anglosphere and elsewhere flaunt their autocratic radical-liberal performative politics, and not on the actual mechanics of the expansion of authoritarian power over the last 30 years or so, which entails right-wing governments and ideologues laying the foundation for all of this. Indeed, even all this nonsense about “hate speech” can be traced to neoliberalism, namely through the ideas of Karl Popper.
Skipping ahead just a little:
The left hates Christianity more than anything, because it can’t control people who believe in something bigger than the state. It’s now my belief that the greatest act of defiance we can make against globalism is to spread the teachings of Jesus Christ.
It seems that Dave is now chanelling a common talking point among modern conservatives: the talking point that conservatism, or Christianity, is the new counter culture. I’ve seen Dennis Prager say, essentially, that being an ordinary god-fearing Christian is actually somehow the best way to secure your individuality as a person, as opposed to, you know, defying the largest religion in America. I guess that’s what happens when you base your political worldview on a conspiracy theory where everything is under attack by “communist” globalists. Or Jews (really, guys, just be honest, half of the time when the right uses term “globalists” they just mean Jews because they can’t actually call globalism what it is because that would mean actually opposing capitalism and joining the left; why else would they be trying to push the “Cultural Marxism” conspiracy theory again?).
Still there’s something to be said about how the left supposedly hates Christianity more than anything. Really? Is that why Christian socialism has historically been such a widespread tendency in non-Marxist currents of socialism, and is still a real trend in British leftism? Or why Hugo Chavez, father of one of the few socialist revolutions alive today (deal with it comrades, the Bolivarian project is socialist in purpose), was such a devout Christian who believed that his socialism derived from liberation theology and declared that “Christ is with the revolution”? If Dave believes that Christianity is the primary subject of antagonism for the left, then it just shows further that he has no understanding of the political concepts that he is talking about.
Next, if you thought he had a bizarre treatment of the Lord’s Prayer, wait till you see what Dave does with the Sermon on the Mount (or of the Mount, as Dave put it for some reason):
On the Sermon of the Mount, Christ says “resist not evil”. Now I thought I understood this message, that this commandment made no sense. Of course we have to resist evil, otherwise it’ll win. Now, recently I heard a pretty interesting interpretation of this commandment by John Butler, which was something to the effect of “don’t justify evil by giving it your attention”. Don’t come into conflict with it because to do so is to give it power. There is only one power in the universe, one force, not two forces. Evil is only maintained so long as people stray from the path. You empower it by giving it your attention. Think of it another way: if you’re driving to a destination, and you have two possible roads before you. Once you know that you’re on the correct road, you don’t need to give any attention to the wrong road anymore. You don’t need to focus on the darkness, when you’re looking towards the light.
Now the irony of this whole statement is that is that giving attention to evil, or more or less what he considers to be evil, have been Dave’s whole schtick on YouTube for the last four years, maybe more. In fact, if you look at his channel content, most of his video content before this video consists of the same brand of content – that is, short tirades about progressive media and other conservative pet talking points. How can he complain about “empowering evil by giving it attention” when that’s all he’s been doing this entire time, and he doesn’t intend to stop? Of course, he doesn’t. He simply intends to give his channel a new focus. In fact he uses a clip from Yuri Bezemenov’s widely-trafficked 1983 lecture on psychological warfare and subversion to demonstrate his point about how stressing religion above the culture war is the best way to counter “Cultural Marxism”. But before you get to that part, you’re left with the impression that he seems to resgined himself to some sort of cuckoldery, not that such cuckoldery would be genuine anyway – as you’ll soon learn, there isn’t much that seems to be genuine or authentic to Dave’s newfound love of religion.
Before we move on to the next point, let’s briefly address the way Dave contradicts baseline Christian dualism. In asserting that there is only one force, rather than two vying for power, he negates the dualism that animates much of the New Testament, particularly the Book of Revelations. The conflict between God and the forces of Satan that Christians stress as central to their belief system or mythos no longer makes sense in this interpretation, and as such, we can actually question Dave’s commitment to Christian theism.
Anyways, moving on, skipping the Yuri Bezmenov clip he introduces for less than two minutes, we come to Dave’s assessment of Ireland, his home country:
In Ireland, many people conflate the corrupted institution of the Catholic Church with Christianity, and because people have rejected their spiritual tradition, what has happened in Ireland? Well it’s becoming less Irish by the day. Try to think of a Western nation that’s succumbed to leftism that’s also got strong borders. When Ireland began to lose its faith, which is to say the pillar it was built on, unsurprisingly it began to slowly unravel. Now marriage has been redefined, and people have been so brainwashed that they’ve literally voted to take away rights from a portion of their own society: the unborn. And they celebrated this with tears of joy in the streets when they did so. They’ve given up on their future because the most vulnerable and precious in our society, our children, are no longer protected, and their right to life has been superceded by a woman’s right to treat that life as if it was nothing more than a piercing or a tattoo on her body.
Once again we have much to get into here. First of all, Ireland is not a country that is presently governed by leftists. The current government is dominated by the Fine Gael party, which is a liberal party that supports free market capitalism and economic liberalism with just a dash of conservatism, making them a standard liberal-conservative party, not entirely distinct from the Conservative Party here in the UK or the many center-right/”centrist” parties that dominate the European continent and the European Parliament, though unlike our Tories these guys support the re-unification of Ireland (meaning Northern Ireland folding back into the rest of Ireland). It’s just that these guys also support Irish membership in the European Union, which I guess for Dave is just leftism (even though the European Union is nothing but a giant capitalist power bloc). Second, although Dave explicitly means Western countries, it is worth noting that, during the Cold War, none of the red bloc states had open borders, as he puts it. DDR Germany and Soviet Russia, for example, had border police. And they had secure, strong borders for one very good reason: to protect their nations from the constantly present, and constantly escalating, threat of being destroyed, within or without, by capitalist encirclement, not for the sake of same base nationalism or to keep immigration from poor non-white countries to a minimum. So this talking about how leftism means open borders in practice is simply nonsensical, no matter how much conservatives and anarchists want it to be otherwise. Third, Ireland has not lost its faith, or at least not yet. The majority of Ireland’s population is still Catholic, with 78.8% of the population affiliated with the Catholic Church, although that figure has declined from 84% as of 2011. Christianity in general is still the predominant religion of the Irish population, and any other religions or irreligious and atheistic tendencies are profoundly marginal in Irish society. The Irish Constitution also still sort of honours Christianity, and Article 44, which holds that the Irish state recognizes God as a figure of honor and reverence, is still present within the constitution. Fourth, when I first saw Dave talk about how the Irish people have voted to take away the rights of a portion of their society, I erupted into laughter and curled into a ball, unable to contain myself, as I thought at first he was still talking about gay marriage. Of course, he was actually talking about abortion. Although I myself dislike abortion, I am unconvinced that criminalizing it will have any positive effect in terms of reducing abortions. In fact, while the debate around abortion cannot be reduced solely to the right of female bodily autonomy (due chiefly to the fact that, despite the feminist and libertarian slogans, it is not simply the woman’s at stake here, due to the fact of her sharing her body with a developing lifeform), it seems to me that Dave has no regard for the concerns of women who may be undertaking abortions. I mean, say a woman gets raped, and the coerced sex produces an offspring. Does he expect the woman to simply bear the child of her rapitst? Is that not simply demanding that women who were raped become the subjects of their rapists for the rest of their lives? That to me is simply an immoral position, and cannot be allowed for in a just and humane society. I completely agree that the life of the fetus should not be treated as simply an object to be dispensed with at will, on the grounds that it is a developing lifeform that, if given the chance, may eventually attain self-realization and carry out the Great Work in the name of the Luciferian path, but for me this means navigating a tight balance between the freedom to abort a fetus at the correct time (before it can be classified as a conscious being) and the right of women to make the right call. It also, most importantly, means working to eliminate the conditions that create abortion in the first place which, if anything, I would argue are partially created by both the social norms and the economic system that assholes like you support!
Of course, Dave will never concern himself with freedom, or at least not consistently, anymore. After all, as he puts it:
If you change the values of a nation’s people, you change the nation. If you distract the people with concerns about rights this and rights that, hedonism, sexuality etc., they will become focused on selfish navel-gazing and concerns that don’t matter.
In case you didn’t catch that, his position on social freedom and human rights is that it does not matter to him. The only thing that matters to him is that the body politic of a given society embodies his desired conservative social order. If that means gays don’t have the right to get married, or that women can’t have abortions, or that you can’t fight for your right to have a free, democratic, and secular society, then that’s immaterial to him, because all that matters is making sure that God is at the locus of the social and political fabric. In his worldview, rights are just a distraction that inhibits the conservative body politic: or, more aptly, the power of the nationalist state – what irony, then, that Dave whines so constantly about the need for religion in order to free humans from the state! When I first heard him explain this position, I was shocked. I was taken aback. How could someone who had once claimed to champion enlightenmentarian ideas to some extent regress in such a way? But on reflection, I now believe that this is what happens when you marinate yourself in conservative nationalism for long enough, arrive at the point where you become aware that liberalism is slowly dying, and have to make the call for how to surpass it. If you don’t have any commitment to the ideals of the Enlightenment left, having abandoned them entirely, you will end up embracing tyranny in the name of God (or perhaps race). And this embrace of tyranny is shown further by his affection for Poland:
Contrast liberal Ireland to conservative Poland. In Poland, they have Christian values and a strong sense of their identity, and a desire to maintain strong borders. Poland will therefore survive.
Um, Dave, how do you think Poland has kept to these “Christian values” you speak of? Actually, forget that for a moment. Poland is arguably not that committed to Christian values if it is indeed the fortress nation you say it is, when you consider the fact that the Bible counsels its believers to welcoming strangers, rather than rejecting them. The Book of Exodus encourages believers not to wrong strangers or foreigners on the grounds that the Israelites were once considered strangers or foreigners in Egypt, where they were enslaved. The Book of Leviticus instructs believers to treat those who sojourn into their lands as though they were fellow natives and love them as they love themselves, also referring to the Israelites being strangers in Egypt. Indeed, throughout the Bible it is stated that the sojourners, meaning people who go to another place to reside there (usually temporarily) are not to be mistreated or oppressed by the natives. In the Book of Matthew, Jesus says quite plainly, “I was a stranger, and you welcomed me”. All of this presents a problem for people who try to use Christianity to justify strict controls on immigration, or “sending them back” as it were, which you would think would bother Dave quite a bit. But that doesn’t stop him from embracing nationalistic chauvinsim towards refugees, and it certainly didn’t stop Christian Poland from refusing to accept refugess coming into Poland (except, of course, for Christian migrants). Christianity, therefore, seems simply to be a matter of Christian culture or “identity”. And, returning to the original question, how did Poland keep such identity, exactly? Anyone who knows just a little bit about the Polish government knows that it has laws against offending religious objects or places of worship, with offenders being punished by either fine or a 2-year sentence of imprisonment, which allows for pro-Christian activists to push for censorship of freedom of expression if they decide that they got offended. Yes, this is how Poland preserves its precious Christian identity: by curtailing liberty. What a joke Dave is.
Also, it’s worth noting just for irony that, although Poland is usually quite stringent about how many people they let in, they don’t seem to be all that bothered about how many people leave the country. Here in the UK we get several immigrants from Poland, and in August 2016 Poland overtook India as the most common country of birth for non-native citizens. This, incidentally, has also lent itself to discussion of Poles as being the victims of increased hate crimes within the last few years. Apparently Poland doesn’t mind its native population leaving because it receives billions of dollars for all the natives that leave the country and go off to other countries for work. Ironically, for a country that seems so stridently opposed to the European Union’s immigration policy, they seem OK with leeching from the union for all its worth. Yes, this is the country that Dave admires as a bastion of conservatism against liberalism and nationalism against globalism.
I look at the vandalization of our Christian heritage and see celebrations. St. Patrick’s Day is reduced to a glorified excuse for massive alcohol consumption. Easter doesn’t appear to be about the death of Christ for most people anymore. It’s become about chocolate eggs and the Easter Bunny. Likewise, Christmas is completely divorced from the birth of Christ, and it’s now become a tacky commercial holiday that begins in late September and promotes hyper-consumerism and materialism.
There are a number of problems with this analysis, chief among them the fact that there are quite a few holidays from the ancient world that were connected to the cultural order of society that could easily be taken as excuses to get wasted and indulge the senses. One of them, as it happens, was Christmas: or rather one of its precdessors, Saturnalia. One of the main points of Saturnalia that connects it to the modern Christmas is that, like the modern Christmas, it involved the exchange of gifts between people. But it also involved a lot of drinking and other reckless festivities, which would have suited its overall theme of reversing the normal custom of Roman society, which theoretically stressed virtue, order and hierarchical deferrence. Alcohol consumption for celebratory reasons was also rather ubiquitous in ancient culture, with celebratory drinking being observed in Greek civilization, Egyptian civilization, the Neolithic Orkney settlements, and Anglo-Saxon Britain. Then there’s his complaint that Easter and Christmas have nothing to do with Christianity anymore, which in my experience is simply false. Yes, it is very consumerist nowadays, no one denies that, but you can also still find that the theme of Jesus’s birth and death are brought up in relation to them, and the average person will still encounter Christian themes and symbolism in the festivities, particularly if they come from an at least nominally Christian background. I, for instance, am from a Catholic family, and my family still celebrates the customs that Catholics associate with Christmas and Easter (and as you all know I don’t particularly mind that because it means enjoying a good feast). I think that Dave’s general outlook that most of these holidays are strictly Christian is mistaken, considering that, with the exception of St. Patrick’s Day, many of them developed out of pre-existing pagan festivities – in fact, even the early Christians flat out stated that their custom of Christmas was an appropriation of the festival of Sol Invictus.
People now engage in alternative, quasi-spiritual practices, trying to replace real spirituality with yoga and meditation. Now, meditation can be very useful for breathing control and quelling anxiety, and that’s fine. I’m not knocking it, but it contains no content, so therefore, it cannot be used as a substitution for a moral framework and a values system. Something more is needed.
Here we find another set of concepts that, it appears, Dave has no understanding of. Dave seems to treat meditation as a concept separate from religion. This perception is very ill-informed when you account for the fact that meditation has been a part of religious practice, often inseparably connected to it, for centuries. Hell, even Christianity embraces meditation as a means of contemplating on God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but you wouldn’t know that from all the times Christian fundamentalists denounce meditation as a satanic practice designed to allow demons to get into your head. Indeed, you can find several books about meditation in the Christian context from various denominations, including Catholicism. Islam also embraces meditation. In fact, there is a type of meditation in Islam known as Salah, which is also considered a form of prayer and is mandatory for practicing Muslims. From Eastern religions to Abrahamism, meditation is a fairly universal part of religious and spiritual tradition, and indeed it is also embraced by several occult traditions. It’s almost like meditation is supposed to be part and parcel of spiritual life rather than just something you do to feel good about yourself. Yoga is also an important component of Indian religious practices, and is not to be taken as just a set of exercises you do to improve your body. In Hinduism, yoga means the practice of attaining unity with God or the Brahman, and such entails not a set of fitness exercizes but spiritual techniques aimed at attaining religious communion with the absolute. In Buddhism, yoga refers to a set of methods aimed at developing a series of virtues that would allow the practitioner to more easily attain nirvana, cognizance of the true nature of reality. In Jainism, yoga refers to a set of meditative practices that cultivate austerity for the purpose of liberating the soul from the power of karma. This is not simply the realm of trendy, consumerist quasi-spirituality that Dave seems keen on talking about, but in fact the realm of actual religious concepts that have been around for centuries, and have only relatively recently been appropriated as a set of undemanding activities tailored to fit the capitalist lifestyle. Understood correctly, the point of these practices is not to serve as its own religion, as Dave seems to think is the case, but instead serve as components of existing religions.
With the loss of religion, we’ve also jettisoned notions of sacrifice, personal accountability, restraint, honor, and duty. These were considered virtues once.
Since we can establish quite safely that by “religion” Dave just means Christianity (indeed it may actually surprise Dave to learn that not all religions are metaphysical or mystical in nature), it is worth pointing out that the ideas he speaks of are not unique to Christian religion, and as a matter of fact were taken as high virtues in ancient Rome. Romans prized things like self-sacrifice and duty among their highest virtues, and the story of Cincinnatus – the farmer who briefly became dictator of Rome to help defend the republic from invasion and abdicated once his task was completed – was a legendary source of inspiration not only for the ancient Romans, but for the founding fathers of the United States of America, who sought to take after the Roman Republic. The Chinese had similiar ideas about virtue to the ancient Romans, which were stressed in a religious/philosophical doctrine known as Confucianism.
Now there’s another important component of this: the recognition that we are corruptible and imperfect. That we will try and often fail to be good. This is why no matter how much we mess up, no matter what we’ve said or done or not done, the challenge of redemption is always possible. The gift of forgiveness is always offered by God.
You honestly do not need Christian religion to arrive at the conclusion that we are imperfect beings. The simplest pursuit of earnest philosophy will you help you arrive at this conclusion. The simplest observations of human life and human society lead you necessarily to this conclusion. It’s such a universal wisdom that we find Greek mythology, for instance, to be resplendent with tragic heroes and morally ambiguous gods to remind us of that humans are not angels and that we are imperfect beings. Forgiveness has also been a reified concept and component of civic virtue before Christianity arrived: the Romans venerated it as the goddess Clementia (known as Eleos in Greece), and the emperor Julius Caesar was often associated with this goddess due to his willingness to forgive. The main difference as regards Christianity is that forgiveness becomes a faculty of the absolute and part and parcel of salvation – and, of course, a way for the church to overlook your crimes.
Now, I’m not going to pontificate to you or sell you some notion of an anthropomorphic, all-powerful being in the sky. I have no idea what that force resembles. I’m also not going to tell you that the purpose of doing good is a reward in Heaven. I’m not even fully sold on the idea of an afterlife. Maybe there is something I don’t know, but that’s not why I changed. To do good, knowing there’s no reward, is to be truly noble.
Wait…what? Why the fuck are you even a Christian? What is the point of you having “taken the God Pill” if you aren’t going to try and sell the most basic parts of Christian theism to your audience? If you aren’t sold on the idea that doing good and spreading Jesus’ teachings gets you a reward in some kind of heaven, why are you a Christian? That idea is one of the central premises of the religion you are now preaching, and you’re telling me you’re not actually committed to that? You’re not even committed to explaining to us why Yahweh is a real being in the universe? This to me is the most obvious tell going from here that Christianity to him is, in large part, a tool by which to advance a conservative social order, rather than a genuine religious belief, and the reason it seems that way is because he can’t even asked to defend core epistemological concepts of Christianity!
When I prayed to God I said, “I will change even if I get no answer”, because the word of Jesus makes more sense to me now given the state of our world. So at some point I stopped believing in nothing, because there is simply too much order in the universe, too many telltale signs of purpose and intent in reality for me to ignore the possibility that some guiding hand was behind all of this.
This kind of sounds like more cuck stuff from Dave. He’ll believe in Yahweh even if Yahweh gives him no answers, which for me is among the most pathetic forms of belief. He doesn’t need any assurance in reality that Yahweh is the supreme being and his will is at work wherever you go, he just believes it is anyway, because it makes more sense to him because something something progressive communist globalist Jews. That’s all this God Pill stuff is: it’s embracing a religious narrative because it makes sense to you because in a weird way it sort of dovetails with that whole conservative narrartive that you’ve marinated yourself in for, what, five years now? That’s why Rocking MrE denies evolution now, that’s why Roosh V is an Orthodox Christian now, and that’s why Dave claims he believes in God now – the idea that Christian religion is under attack, that all the “evils” of the left go back to the conflict with Christianity, and that returning to Christianity is the only way to push back against progressivism is simply the next development of the conservative narrative, a new story that guides their politics onwards, even if it’s not necessarily reflective of even baseline Christianity.
But then there is the other aspect of that part: he believes in God because there’s too much order in the universe for there to not be a God. The first part that sticks out about that is that it’s basically a rehash of just about any creationist argument you can think back to from over ten years ago or perhaps before. You’ll see Christian creationists and apologists, for instance, make the argument that God must exist because the universe seems so perfect, so precise, almost mechanical, that for them this must be proof of intelligent design. You also see arguments like that from Islamic fundamentalists and creationists, who insist that the universe is so sophisticated that it must be the product of the will of Allah. The irony of this cannot be overstated. Again, I remember when Dave was not only an atheist, but also a part of that whole milieu of “rational skepticism” on YouTube, opposing not only religion but also feminism on the grounds of rationalistic philosophy, and now here I find he’s leading the revival of what is essentially creationism or intelligent design theory! What a bizarre turn the internet has taken. The second part of this, however, is actually something familiar to me, one that almost has me empathizing with him. I already covered this in my post entitled “Nihilism sucks“, but I too have arrived at the conclusion that the idea that there is no order or purpose to life must be an absurd premise. But, where I differ from Dave is that I reject the premise that this means accepting theism, let alone Christianity, on the grounds that I do not believe that the natural order of things is dependent on a grand designer, a demiurge or some such, especially when we consider that the laws of nature are almost entirely apprehensible through scientific means. Where Dave must derive his purpose from Yahweh because he lacks the framework that allows him to do otherwise, I derive my purpose, spiritual or otherwise, from the idea that Man can and will know the truth, that we have the ability, and the duty, to demystify the mystified universe. All I can say otherwise is that I guess I have Anton LaVey and the like to thank for this perspective, and for the fact that, even during my right-wing phase, I’ve been consistently safe from the influence of Christian conservatism.
Skipping Dave’s explanation of astronomy and atomic materialism for dummies, we come to this:
If there’s a single instruction that the divine software architect programmed into the universe from the beginning, it’s creation. Destruction is part of the cycle of creation, and the unending move towards more complexity. Animals and humans die and their bodies will decay into the earth, but other life will feed on those remains. Planets will die and solar systems will be destroyed by exploding stars, but new material will continuously be created in stellar nurseries and recycled by the cosmos. We are the universe made flesh, made aware of itself, and what we believe and how we choose to live matters.
Wait, hold on a minute, this isn’t Christian epistemology. Or at least not in any baseline sense. It’s more like pantheism, but he still believes that there’s a God that exists outside of the universe – he refers to a “divine software architect”, obviously a modern variation of the term “divine architect” or “Grand Architect”, which entails that God exists outside of the universe and fashions it as an object external to his being – so what you get is a doctrine that partially resembles pantheism and partially resembles classical theism, possibly entering the realm of panentheism (the doctrine that God and the universe are distinct, but also that God exists within the universe, or something). But in any case, it’s a doctrine that diverges from conventional Christian theism in many ways. Its assertion that we are the universe made flesh, while definitely an interesting philosophical proposition from my perspective, is anathema to Christianity on the grounds that it asserts that Man is equal to the divine and that, as per pantheist doctrine, God is equal to the material universe rather than its father. In fact pantheism is sometimes treated as a form of atheism, not only by theists but also by atheists – Richard Dawkins famously referred to it as “sexed up atheism” and Vladimir Lenin considered pantheism to be compatible with the strictly atheist ideology of Marxism-Leninism on the grounds that it was a glorified atheistic doctrine whose materialism held God to be identical with Nature and hence the universe.
In any case, this tells me yet again that Dave’s embrace of Christianity seems to be almost purely utilitarian, based not on the actual embrace of Christian epistemology but rather utilizing some conception of Christian values, tradition and mythos as a meta-narrative by which to justify his political ideology (rather poorly at that, too). It shows much further here:
Nations will fall, but powerful ideas will remain timeless and powerless forever. The answer is not only about rejecting destructive ideology. It’s about embracing the philosophy of creation. It’s about choosing life and not death, hope and not despair.
Christianity here is simply an expression of the “white pill”, a psychological expression of Dave’s personal desire for meaning, optimism, and hope, to dispel the despair he sometimes feels when faced with the reality of the world, or rather the reality that he himself has sort of created through his conspiracist ideology. Christianity for him is an abstraction representing philosophical goodness, life, and traditional continuity, a foundation for the order of the nation state as he imagines, and not the force of mental delusion and spiritual desertification that it actually is. If Dave lived in India, he would be embracing Hinduism as part of the goal of advancing Hindutva politics. If he lived in the Middle East, he would be embracing conservative Islam. If he lived in Japan, it would probably some weird nationalistic Shinto or Zen Buddhism like the Japanese far-right utilized in the past. If he lived in Israel, he might just be a typical Likud Zionist. In either case it would be the same thing because all it amounts to is just an expression of the desire to use a religious narrative, derived from your national cultural background, to make sense of the world and give yourself hope for the cause of conservative nationalist political activism. It’s all just the “white pill”, another step in the ascent of the modern online reactionary.
Skipping ahead just a little again, gradually approaching the end of the video, he goes on about how he probably won’t convince everyone, and tries to conclude with a nice sounding nugget of platitudes:
So I can only conclude by saying that I believe that the wisdom and lessons of our past will show us how to chart a course for a better future, that it is our duty to help those less fortunate, lest we forget the lesson, “there but for the grace of God go I”. I believe that we must also pray for our enemies, as they simply know not what they do, and we will all answer to the same authority in the end. Our enemies may hope for our destruction, but we do not pray for theirs. To do so would make us no different to them. So we pray that they can be saved from the evil they have succumbed to.
This is purely platitudinous in the overall, but it’s also all the stranger when you take into consideration the statement that he believes that his enemies know not what they do. This in my mind poses a problem for the genre of right-wing conspiracy theory that Dave and his ilk have been peddling for years. The unstated premise of this conspiracy theory is that the elites that they talk about consciously seek the destruction of the nation states that they subject to “globalist ideology”, because to break down these nation states is how they supposedly intend to pave the way for one world governance (that’s all this “globalism” stuff is, the old New World Order spiel all over again). The premise that they know not what they do is nonsensical in this worldview, because it undermines the whole premise of all the stuff Dave complains about being planned out from the outset, as is the case for all of these conspiracy theories surrounding “Cultural Marxism” and the like.
The video ends in what is probably the only remote link between Dave’s philosophy and baseline Christian epistemology:
I believe that those we’ve lost have never truly left us, that they have become part of something greater and more powerful than any man-made evil in our world. I believe this power is a benevolent and uniting force that governs all things in our universe, and seeks to provide us with the means to save ourselves from human frailty and damnation. I believe that within this force we will find our salvation and peace, and that if we place our faith in that power, it will lead us not into temptation, but it will deliver us from evil, forever. Amen.
You have probably noticed that, throughout this post, I don’t actually talk about God an awful lot, or make a lot of arguments against God, and the reason for that, quite simply, is that for most of the video Dave doesn’t actually discuss God, or baseline theistic concepts. Instead he just goes on about how religion, or more specifically Christian religion, is useful in promoting his desired values system. This is probably the only part of the video I can think of where Dave actively proposes a straightforward conception of a God consistent with basic Christian epistemology, but it begs so many questions. What is this force, really? Do we actually become God after we die? What does this salvation mean? How does this power, this God, “save” us? Why does it care about us enough to even want to give us the means of salvation? Salvation from what damnation? These are all questions that might emerge from Dave’s assertion, but he doesn’t go into any detail that might actually elucidate his concept of God. It’s just a generic belief in God.
And with that, we can conclude this post with some reflective remarks on what we’ve just seen.
It seems obvious to me that this “God Pill” development amounts to just a way of weaving Christianity into a broad desire for hope, which seems to be framed as the next step of a path of the intellectual evolution of conservatives, libertarians and assorted reactionaries who find themselves in that whole “red pill” milieu. It is a way by which people like Dave can add a spiritual and ecclesiastical dimension to their already reactionary political worldview, even if it doesn’t entirely match up with actual Christian doctrine (for instance, on immigration and even abortion). It also seems to be a development towards increasingly authoritarian political ethos, with Dave’s proposal seemingly rejecting liberty and individual freedom as a valid concern of politics and longing for a social authority structure that can bypass democratic will. The way Dave invokes what are clearly anti-semitic tropes suggests the possibility that this “God Pill” might also be something a lubricant towards some fascist sentiment or at least anti-semitism, or if not that then rather a way of undergirding some sort of ethno-nationalist or quasi-ethno-nationalist political tendency with a much broader religious motivation – it does not surprise me at all that anti-semitism would go hand in hand with Christian reaction. We can probably establish this elsewhere in the way that Rocking MrE, another right-wing YouTuber who promotes the concept of the “God Pill”, espouses all manner of fascistic conspiracy theories (despite presumably claiming he isn’t an alt-righter) about Jews, Judaism and the Qabbalah, alongside a number of strange ideas about white genocide, Cultural Marxism, and communist subversion of, well, just about everything, even UKIP for some bizarre reason – I imagine it’s not that hard to see where this is heading. Roosh V, another “God Pill” promoter, also has something of a history of anti-semitism. In 2015, he promoted the works of Kevin McDonald, a veteran white nationalist author who is the editor of Occidental Observer, while esposuing anti-semitic conspiracy theories on Return of Kings, such as how racism was supposedly invented by Leon Trotsky. Two years later, he wrote on his own personal website about how the Jews are “masters of propaganda” who according to him created feminism, and claimed that Return of Kings is responsible for “Jew-pilling” (meaning convincing people to believe in anti-semitic conspiracy theories) thousands of men. I can’t say everyone doing the “God Pill” thing is anti-semitic, in fact it’s still a relatively new trend, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see more people promoting the “God Pill” either promoting anti-semitic tropes or outright being anti-semitic themselves.
Although the “God Pill” hasn’t quite exploded so far, I think it would be naive to simply overlook this development, and if Dave and Rocking MrE are any indication, more right-wing atheists will eventually follow in “taking the God Pill” and converting to Christianity following a similar logic to Dave. You may even be surprised to find Carl Benjamin, who’s been an atheist for years, join their ranks in the future. My reasoning for such speculation comes from the fact that he has, over the years, begun to soften up to Christianity. Years ago there was a time where, in addition to criticizing feminism and progressivism, he also crticized Christian conservatives like Ben Carson and commented against creationists like Ray Comfort. But increasingly, he seems to have spent less effort criticizing Christianity or Christian fundamentalism, even as it becomes all the more powerful during the Trump administration. The last time he complained about Christianity that I remember was him getting visibly annoyed and disgusted by the religiosity of Trump’s inauguration ceremony, but he seems to have gotten over that because he is now reduced to a cheerleader for the Trump administration. And now, he’s a member of UKIP, the party most prone to Christian conservative tendencies and where you will find literature about how homosexuality is a disease, and he speaks to UKIP members about “Christianphobia”, a concept that should make about as much sense as “Islamophobia” to anyone committed to opposing the Abrahamic faiths. Thankfully, however, he hasn’t quite succumbed to Christianity yet, as evidenced by his willingness to debate against Christianity during his debate tour of Gloucester, though I am left wondering how long this will last. In fact, I wonder if the “God Pill” route will end up becoming the inevitable destination for many conservative atheists as the inevitable result of their refusal to detach from the Christian ethos after rejecting belief in God. Anton LaVey certainly wouldn’t be too surprised to see such a development if he were alive today.
It would be foolish to dismiss the growth of this trend, however small it might be. We cannot rule out the possibility that the right won’t coalesce around the “God Pill” concept on a larger scale than what we’re seeing now, because if that happens we will see Christianity rehabilitated after all the effort that has put into debunking it over the years. Given the vision that Dave lays out, this will always lay the groundwork for the growth of religious and conservative authoritarian rule, and freedom will be under threat or eventually suppressed by religious reaction, and our goals will be set back significantly. We must strive to oppose this development however possible, and perhaps bolster our frameworks in the service of this effort. Otherwise, the Great Work of the Morning Star will be impeded.
Reject the “God Pill”. Reject the false song of Christian salvation. Reject the path to tyranny. Fight it in the name of freedom for humanity. In Nomine Dei Nostre Luciferi Excelsi.
Everyone knows the traditional Christian narrative of the origin of mankind, the concept of original sin, and the concept of salvation and judgement. Jehovah creates Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge and gain knowledge of good and evil after being tempted by the serpent (often supposedly Satan or Lucifer), and get banished from the garden because of it. Thousands of years later, Jehovah sends Jesus, his only son, to die on the cross and supposedly open the way for the redemption of mankind. And eventually, the day of judgement arrives when the believers go to the kingdom of Jehovah and everyone else is condemned to hell.
This is also the narrative shared by Islam, except that in Islam it is the prophet Muhammad that reveals teachings that lead the way for mankind. I should point out the original sin myth was originally a Jewish myth (which may also have had its roots in older cultures), but the narrative of the fall followed by redemption and judgement is basically Christian.
But would you believe that same narrative is shared by both Nazi and Marxist ideology?
Apparently, Nazi ideology believed in the same cosmological conflict that underpinned Zoroastrian, Christian, and Islamic thought, just that they believed that the Aryan race was light and every other race of humanity was dark. They somehow convinced themselves that the world once consisted only of one race of people (namely the Aryan people) until the rise of different races, and they believed that paradise on earth would be ruled by the Aryan “master race” and brought about through their domination of the world and the destruction of so-called subhumans. There is a similar belief regarding the existence of other races found in the cosmology of Nation of Islam, which apparently believes that the whole of humanity used to be black and that white people were created by an evil scientist named Yakub. The same group believed that the Earth is 76 trillion years old.
The philosophy of Karl Marx also stresses a similar narrative. Karl Marx, along with Friedrich Engels, argued that primitive human society was originally an egalitarian society where common ownership prevailed. Basically primitive communism, or Ur-Communism. According to this narrative, that age ends with the introduction of private property. Private property, according to Karl Marx’s theory of history, lead to monarchy, feudalism, and eventually capitalism, all described as authoritarian and slavish in nature. After a revolution of the workers against capitalism, and after the rise of socialism, Marx thought that society would be put under the dictatorship of the proletariat, and that this would eventually lead to the dream of a world without governments, laws, nations, social class, and private property, a world were everyone works for everyone and not for their own reward.
Have you noticed the pattern yet?
Christianity, Nazism, and Marxism all believed that the world originally was “perfect” until the rise of some aberration, and that the world would finally be saved by the removal or destruction of that aberration and a perfect order would arise on earth. For Christians, the aberration is knowledge, particularly the knowledge to decide good and evil. Before the serpent tempted Adam and Eve they were mindless thought-slaves. For the Nazis, the aberration was racial diversity as opposed to racial “purity”. For Marxists, the aberration is private property as opposed to collective ownership. They all believed in an aberration that was based on that which enabled human beings to differentiate themselves from others or grant themselves their own identity. The Christians condemned individual thought, and the freedom thereof, as original sin. The Nazis condemned biological and racial individuation as “subhuman”. And Marxists condemned the birth of private property as equivalent to original sin. They condemned individuality, and dreamed of a world where everyone was the same as each other in some way or another. Christian belief prescribed total theocracy, Nazi ideology prescribed total racial hegemony, and Marxism prescribed total egalitarianism. If you think about it then I am certain you may realize that these goals aren’t so different after all. The only difference between them would be their attitudes towards religion, since Marxism attributes religious belief as part of the fall from the primitive egalitarian society.
I also sense that the narrative behind all three beliefs stems from Hesiod’s myth of the Golden Age, and the attitude that underpins it. In Greek mythology, the Golden Age was an age where mankind lived in harmony with the gods, without toil or grief, and where the abundance of food was practically infinite so there was no need for humans to practice agriculture. In the story of Hesiod, this Golden Age ends when Zeus defeats the Titans, ruled by Cronus, and rules mankind, and then Prometheus steals the fire of the gods, which was withheld by Zeus, and gave it to mankind. By doing so, Prometheus gave each person the source of intellect, spirit, and the drive to leave the nest and carve out ones own path and individuate oneself, and Prometheus was punished for it. After this and the mythical events of Pandora’s box, the Greeks believed that each age (except the Heroic Age) become progressively worse, with mankind having to toil for itself more and more. Thus the Greeks pined for the days when they lived in harmony with the gods, and Prometheus was viewed negatively for leading mankind into successive ages of suffering. The difference is that there doesn’t seem to any conception in Greek thought about a utopia happening at the end of human history, caused by the removal of a supposed aberration in humankind. All that is certain in Greek mythology is that someday the current generation of mankind would be destroyed like previous generations.
I honestly don’t know where this Golden Age mentality comes from, and I don’t feel like the idea of a perfect society in the beginning that degenerates over time has any real basis in actual human history. If anything, human civilization has been constantly evolving and progressing for the better, and our understanding of the world has evolved likewise with time. Whether that’s attributed to the fire of Prometheus is down to your opinion. 😉 But seriously, would you really want mankind to regress to the Stone Age, the Paleolithic Age, or the days when we were equivalent of chimpanzees? Because in my opinion, that’s what the narrative of the Golden Age seems to encourage. It encourages regression instead of increased understanding, and tribalism instead of individuated existence. And in the form of Christian, Nazi, and Marxist ideology, this is even more egregious because it condemns individuation on all levels and desires a state of homogeneity. In a sense, this might be taken as a regression in its own way.
Yes, I wasn’t born there, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion of it. And this is not just because they didn’t have everything I liked, or because I think music, films, and TV from the 50’s was terrible. And I certainly don’t like how lightly or positively the 50’s is sometimes depicted in media.
It was a time where ignorance, oppression, and fear ruled over the people. Sure the streets seemed safer, Coca Cola was dirt cheap, and a wide variety of comics besides superhero comics was available until 1954, but that means nothing compared to the bigger picture.
For starters, you have the Cold War, which, if you think about it, wouldn’t have happened if America hadn’t nuked part of Japan just to show off to the Russians. Pretty much everyone who didn’t have a mind of their own was in fear of what seemed like imminent nuclear annihilation, all while in truth, no one wanted the button to be pressed. Not even the people in charge of pressing the button wanted to do so. Meanwhile, US politicians tried to convince everyone that communism was everywhere, and spies from the Reds were potentially lurking anywhere. Anyone who spoke out against this rampant paranoia and for the truth was labelled a Communist by the McCarthy patrol.
Then you have the creation of the nuclear family unit, which has haunted American social culture for the last 60 years so far, and let’s not forget the suburban environment of the time. It was all about keeping up with the Jones’, and if you were different and didn’t conform, or you had some kind of problem, you had to keep it a secret. Conformity and social conservatism ruled America, especially very restrictive attitudes towards sex and sexuality, and in what is supposed to be the land of the free. And I’m willing to bet a lot of people suffered from depression caused by conformity. Social mores and rules were rigid, as was their enforcement, and teenagers were looked down on and seen as either petty delinquents or hormonal gangsters. Fun fact: did you know that domestic violence could not be prosecuted as a criminal offence until the 1970’s? Before then, men could beat their wives and children all they wanted, and it’d be considered discipline and even law enforcement. In some states, it was illegal to try and stop spousal abuse.
Then, you have the racism. I hope we’re not forgetting that the 50’s was a time were white people and non-white people were segregated, with the latter still being treated as pretty much second-class citizens until the 60’s, and many African-Americans, barring few famous individuals, were denied many privileges that at the time were reserved almost entirely for white people. And sexism prevailed too. Back in the 50’s, especially via the conservative nuclear family ideal, women were seen as little more than housewives, sex toys, and domestic property combined who you could treat like children and pets. In those days, you were screened for gender and skin colour when applying for a job. I assume religion and political views are also screened as well. I mean, let’s be honest, I’d be surprised if you weren’t screened for those things in that decade.
And did I mention that you couldn’t be gay in 50’s America? Or bisexual for that matter?
And let’s not forget J. Edgar Hoover, who two years ago had a movie made about him. If you lived in America during the 50’s he had a proflie on you, much like the government today, and if you were trying to change the status quo for the better, he wanted you dead. No matter how many times you can try to make him seem like a decent character via a movie, he was nothing but a shadowy, paranoid, oppressive figure who existed only to maintain the status quo.
The only way you could enjoy the 50’s is via ignorance. Children may have enjoyed those times (you know, besides the strict social rules and their Dad’s idea of disciplining them), but that’s because they don’t know or understand a whole lot about the world around them yet, or have an idea of how to interact with it, or care for that matter. The only reason children could enjoy the 50’s is because of not only ignorance, but also because their world is so small and most of them don’t even care about the oppression around them. Much worse, they’re often molded to accept it and they don’t realize it yet.
This post is mostly about collectivism and communism, and their flaws, but still, utopia fits in.
Every time someone tries to create a utopianistic society, it is only ever one execution away from the vision’s fruition. What do I mean? Well, think about it. Not eveyone agrees with the system, and in most systems trying to be a utopia, such as communism, the dissenter is the threat to the utopia, and his/her execution will be seen as pivotal to restoring the utopia, but then the utopia is never realized and still does not exist, no matter how many dissenters are killed by the state to support it.
Same with world peace, or peace in general. If one were to create a global government designed to bring world peace, said peace would still not exist, and not everyone would like said establishment. What if said dissenters were killed by the government, just like in any dictatorship, just to preserve the harmony and the peace, which, again, still does not exist. If you could really create true peace in any society, let alone the world, you’d have to get rid of anything that could potentially disrupt that peace. Anything. And you would still fail to create a utopia.