I have been meaning to write about this subject for quite some time now, and was originally planning to write this post in autumn of last year after having begun to notice certain patterns about right-wing conspiracy theories, but for some reason my mind got carried away and I never wrote it. However, after seeing my old friend and comrade Satanicviews return to blogging in order to once again do battle with our favourite butterfaced retard Becki Percy, it occurs to me that the whole SRA scare is still going on, even after the Hampstead hoaxers were defeated. So, for my part, I’d like to join the fight in some small way by detailing my thoughts about the subject of SRA conspiracies and what I believe to be their historical and political roots. I intend to demonstrate that such conspiracy theories are often the product of reactionary conservative politial narratives and often an integral part of the harder core of right-wing politics in Western countries, particularly the United States of America where Percy milks thousands if not millions of boomers for all they’re worth.
Before we begin in that pursuit, however, it is best that we start by giving a solid definition for what we’re discussing. The term “satanic ritual abuse” refers to a number of conspiracy theories that all center around the premise that there is a cabal of Satanists or devil worshippers who go around abducting children for the purposes of sexually abusing them or sacrificing them as part of supposed Satanic rituals. This cabal is typically believed to be a part of much larger organization, which usually is held to be part of the ruling elite. Such ideas about elite devil worshipping predators are also frequently tied to the conspiracy theory that Hollywood, the media, the music industry and popular culture promote Satanism. And often times, you will also find all of this attributed to Jews in various iterations of this conspiracy theory. As you’ll see, that last part isn’t a coincidence, and in fact it has links to old traditions of anti-semitism that go as far back as early Christianity. The SRA mythos has been an entrenched part of the politics of the Moral Majority movement, as well as other fundamentalist Christian movements within the United States, and also seems to be a staple in InfoWars and numerous pro-Trump circles, where you will find all manner of related conspiracy theories such as Pizzagate, the spirit cooking nonsense, and the Qanon conspiracy theory, and where you find people like Becki Percy eeking out some profit from it all. The fact that Satanism as an actual belief system expressly forbids child abuse and pedophilic behaviour doesn’t seem to matter to these people. The modern Satanic Panic, which famously gripped the imagination of the 1980s, begins with the publishing of a book called Michelle Remembers, a glorified horror novel that claimed to document instances of ritual abuse allegedly suffered by psychiatric patient Michelle Smith, as well as the hysteria surrounding the McMartin preschool, which culminated in one of the longest criminal trials in US history and yielded no evidence of Satanic Ritual Abuse.
Many have pointed out that modern conspiracy theories about Satanic Ritual Abuse are related to much older ideas surrounding the concept of blood libel, which refers to the belief that Jews capture children in order to use their blood as part of their rituals and ceremonies (an accusation that flies in the face of Jewish law on human sacrifice). These ideas are not solely the product of the Middle Ages, but instead have a long history within the Christian movement. One of the earliest forms of the blood libel trope comes from Eusebius of Caesaria, who accused Jews of crucifying Christians during their Purim celebrations as a rejection of Jesus. Other Christian fathers similarly accused Jews of barbaric religious practices. John Chrysostum accused the Jews of worshipping the devil and described their religious practice as “criminal and unchaste”. Ambrose of Milan also accused the Jews of devil worship, and even went so far as to defend Christians who burned synagogues – Martin Luther would later support the burning of synagogues centuries later. Justin Martyr claimed that the Jews went around torturing and killing Christians and blaspheming God or Jesus, and also that they were behind every persecution faced by the Christians. Now, it would be unfair to solely ascribe this anti-semitic tendency to the early Christians, given that Hellenic authors like Apion and Democritus (not the philosopher) also claimed that Jews captured Greeks and murdered them as part of their rituals, but I find that it is this early Christian anti-semitism that has so undergirded the anti-semitism of later Christian movements, as well as the old medieval passion plays, and eventually inspired more modern anti-semitic ideologies, including Nazism (Adolf Hilter and many of his NSDAP cadres were open in their admiration of Martin Luther).
Although the accusations of Jews carrying out ritualistic sacrifice were almost certainly false, the blood libel trope served to inspire hatred of Jews across Europe, which often resulted in the persecution of Jews. In England, during the 12th and 13th centuries, the Jews were often falsely accused of ritual murder, which led to them being massacred by mobs and eventually deported from the country by King Edward I. Jews continued to be accused of devil worship as well, often through the image of the Judensau, which depicted Jews kissing, suckling, or having sex with a pig, which sometimes was intended to refer to Satan, thus mocking Judaism as a diabolist religion. Accusations of ritual murder were frequently invoked by the Nazis in their paper Der Sturmer. In the 21st century, the blood libel trope continues to be invoked not only by much of the Western far-right and especially neo-Nazis, but also Hezbollah, Hamas, and throughout Middle Eastern television as well as the Russian Duma.
That anti-semitic tropes such as blood libel would be embraced by the hard right is not surprising in the least. Much of the right is presently engaged in rehabilitating the Cultural Marxism conspiracy theory, which is a rebranding of the Nazi concept of Kulturbolshewismus. Its anti-semitic roots are echoed in the fact that William Lind, a who spearheaded the development of the idea of Cultural Marxism, said in 2000 that the members of the Frankfurt School were all “to a man, Jewish”. Considering that he describes Cultural Marxism as the process of corrupting Western countries by promoting the abandonment of Christian morality and conservative values, it’s quite clear that this is but a rehabilitation of the idea of Jews promoting degeneracy that the Nazis once espoused. Another proponent of the conspiracy theory, Pat Buchanan, is notorious for his anti-semitism, having once said that there were too many Jews in the Supreme Court and even engaged in some Holocaust denial by claiming that Treblinka was not an extermination camp but instead merely a “transit camp” that prisoners passed through. In fact, the link between Cultural Marxism and anti-semitic conspiracy theories is still barely hidden, and the neo-Nazis will very often just let the cat out of the bag themselves, as for example this image that was originally taken from the neo-Nazi website Rightpedia where they just outright say that Cultural Marxism is a Jewish project. Outside of the far-right, the term resurfaced this year in British politics when Conservative MP Suella Braverman stated that the Conservative Party was engaged in a struggle against Cultural Marxism. Ostensibly this reference seems separate from the far-right, but it’s worth noting that, around the same time, a pair of Conservative MPs allegedly referred to themselves as “Grand Wizards” (which seems like reference to the KKK), possibly as a joke, and not for the first time either, while others called for the formations of a “blueshirts” movement within the party, which instantly calls to mind the blackshirts of Oswald Mosley. Sometimes this theory enters mainstream politics under slightly different iterations. One example of this is Ben Carson, who is currently Trump’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, who last year claimed that those who believed that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was guilty of rape during his college days were basically just the stooges of the Fabian Society, a British left-wing think tank that advocates for gradualist methods of acheiving socialism through the current system. He argued that the Fabians sponsored the accusations against Kavanaugh in the hopes of somehow taking over the United States of America in order to implement socialism. He also claimed that the Fabians already control the American education system and media, but lost control of the courts when Trump was elected.
There is, however, another ideological element that think may be present in the SRA mythos, though likely an unstated one, not obvious to most people. Many conspiracy theories involving a devil worshipping elite center around the Illuminati, a largely fictitious organization that conspiracy theorists believe orchestrates many key events in world history and engineer developments aimed at de-Christianizing Western societies. Although the Illuminati in a modern context is a purely fictitious organization, there was actually a group that existed in the late 18th century in Bavaria that was called the Illumanti, which is for historical purposes referred to as the Bavarian Illuminati. Founded by Adam Weishaupt in 1776, the Bavarian Illuminati was a secret society that was formed in order to challenge religious ideas and particularly prejudices that were prevalent in German society at the time, believing them to generate social repression and serve as obstacles to freedom of thought and happiness, their ultimate goal being to create a society of ideal liberty and equality. The society didn’t last long, having been torn apart by internal leadership disputes as well as proscribed by the Catholic Church, and after several edicts the group was eventually disbanded in 1785. But it wasn’t terribly long after its disbandment that people started to claim not only that the organization never actually disbanded, but that it was the direct cause of all manner of major historical events that served to upend the traditional order of society.
After the French Revolution occurred and deposed the monarchy while establishing a liberal republic, the Bavarian Illumanti was accused by its conservative enemies as being the cause of the revolution. In addition to this, before the French Revolution, there were some who believed that the Bavarian Illuminati would lead a revolution in Bavaria in order to overthrow the government. There doesn’t appear to be any evidence of this, but in 1793 the Illuminati’s opponents became convinced of this anyway once they discovered that one of its members, Johann Christoph Bode, met with French Freemasons, some of whom allegedly became participants in the French revolution. They supposed that, because of this, the Illumanti instigated the French Revolution and formed revolutionary cells. The claim that the Bavarian Illuminati caused the French Revolution was initially popularized by Augustin Barruel and John Robison, both of whom were staunch opponents of the Enlightenment and Freemasonry and believed that the Illumanti had infiltrated the Freemasons with the intent of promoting revolutionary violence. Barruel in particular is notable for his association of the Illuminati and the ideas of the Enlightenment, which he considered to be a threat to the authority of the Catholic Church, with not only Freemasonry but also occultism and even paganism, an idea that has apparently continued to be propagated by some modern reactionary thinkers such as Gerald Warner and Jason Josephson Storm. Although the Bavarian Illumanti most likely had nothing to do with the French Revolution and certainly did not play any role in starting it, that basic idea came to be the seed for a number of paranoid right-wing conspiracy theories. In the 1960’s, groups like the John Birch Society blamed the long-dead Illuminati for all manner of things – from the welfarist policies of Lyndon Johnson’s presidential administration, to central banking, to both World Wars, to the rise of communism and to the birth of the United Nations. Today, conspiracy theorists like Mark Dice accuse them of wanting to establish a new world order based in Luciferianism, Satanism and communism by infiltrating the media, with both major political parties of the United States (Democrats and Republicans) supposedly being their minions and major world events, including the assassination of John F Kennedy and the 2008 global financial crisis.
The idea of the Illuminati as being a threat to civilizational order, a shadowy force of tyranny responsible for several world-changing events behind the scenes is often dismissed as simply a manifestation of paranoia. But in my view this ignores the very question of why the Illuminati is taken up as the central antagonist of this paranoia. In my view, the myth of the Illuminati represents an obvious manifestation of contempt for the gains of the Enlightenment, chiefly the institution of secularism and the expansion of liberty and universal human rights. That basic contempt is not found solely in the more conspiracist elements of the right, but in more “acceptable” conservative intellectuals such as Yoram Hazony, a neoconservative who espouses the “virtues” of nationalism as a conservative ideology that rejects the doctrines of universal human rights and international law. But even the conspiracists aren’t completely relegated to the fringes. Gerald Warner, for example, is an influencer within the Conservative Party and a major opponent of its Cameronite wing on the grounds of its more modernist outlook. US conservative politics in particular is very prone to conspiracism and as such the conspiracists hardly fail to break into the mainstream of politics, such as the earlier mentioned Ben Carson. As such, the conspiracy surrounding the Illuminati is to be taken as a manifestation of the reactionary conservative view of societies and how they ought to work. In essence, the Illuminati is the bogeyman that threatens what is otherwise a timeless social order rooted in religious hierarchy whose power is not to be questioned. Social freedom and just about any progress away from this order, therefore, is to be treated as the work of shadowy, evil forces set against civilization itself. For modern conservatives, this order also represents free market capitalism and the hierarchy it generates, so of course moving away from free market capitalism would also be seen as part of a larger conspiracy. Indeed, Ben Carson’s conspiracy theory about the Fabians can be counted as something of a variation of the Illuminati conspiracy theory on those grounds.
As such, the SRA mythos is to be taken not merely as paranoid delusion in isolation, but as a primary narrative of conservative and reactionary politics, its content consisting of a synthesis of age-old anti-semitic tropes and 18th century anti-Enlightenment conservatism. When you see Trump supporters like Becki Percy parrot SRA tropes, don’t be surprised. It’s all part of that reactionary, conservative impetus to oppose the cultivation of a society based in liberty, universal human rights and equality under the law, or indeed a society that seeks to expand these ideas by going further to the left, by casting such efforts as diabolical conspiracies.