How would the average British person react if I told them that I would rather live in a society where I have to deal with women getting more willing to be violent than a society where I’m not allowed to go out and about past 6pm? Or a society where the only recourse is to put your trust in the state and its enforcers to save us? That’s where my mind turns now that we’re all talking about the police failing to protect women again. This comes after the Metropolitan Police admitted that they had failed to spot the warning signs that indicated Wayne Couzens was planning to rape and murder Sarah Everard, and then released a statement of advice for women who don’t trust certain male officers?
You want to know what the police advice for women being threatened by lone officers was? Literally, it was just call 999, shout out to passersby, run into a house, or wave down a bus. Yeah, if you’re a lady and you think you might be in trouble from a predatory police officer, you’re being expected to call the cops…on the cops. And also wait for someone to come get you, by which point for all you know the predatory cop has already caught up to you. So all that institutional self-reflection that translates to no substantial institutional reform.
But meanwhile, what is our advice to ourselves? I mean, besides everyone telling each other than men in general are the problem, at which point the question still arises as to what to do. There are some who maintain that a curfew, in which men would not be allowed to leave the house after 6pm, is the solution. Putting aside the fact that such a proposal would be so authoritarian as to almost make Soviet Russia look like Switzerland, do you really trust the police to enforce it and protect women, and do you really think it will make the rapes go away? Sure, it might mean less rape and murder on the streets in theory, but what about the rape and murder committed in your own home? What good is telling men they can’t go anywhere if some men will just abuse women when they come home from work anyway?
Some suggest that the answer is to simply vote for a party that wants to reform or fund the police. As I thought about the discourse about police violence, it occurred to me that the Labour Party and its supporters are caught in an obvious contradiction. On the one hand, they seem to acknowledge the issue of police officers responsible for systemic violence against women, not to mention racial minorities. On the other hand, as part of their central focus on the public sector, they tout as their solution to the problem, and crime in general, pumping more money into the police. That in theory means more officers on the beat, which we’re told should mean less crime, but how do we know it doesn’t also mean more Wayne Couzens’ in the force for every “good cop”? Also, when we consider Keir Starmer selling the Labour Party as some kind of “law and order” party, that’s surely be a slap in the face for anyone remotely concerned about the institutional problems of the police. Don’t even bother talking about the Tories. Boris Johnson is out there telling you to just trust the police, so he’s definitely not on your side. And the right’s answer is in general just “more cops”, and completely ruling out any talk of systemic reform in favour of some meaningless rhetoric about individual responsibility. So, “voting for the right party” is truly an empty set of words.
But why do we tell ourselves this stuff anyway? That’s what I’m more interested in than anything. When you talk about how we should encourage women to defend themselves with pepper spray or weapons, some people go at you and think you’re absurd, or even just enabling psychopaths down the line. When you point out that self-defence laws in this country are draconian as fuck, gods forbid start to inquire about the sense of powerlessness that this helps engender, people think of it as ridiculous to even talk about and some will even accuse you patronizing women. Because you know, wanting women to be free and exercise power in their own lives is the same thing as patronizing them, whereas begging the state to oppress as many people as possible isn’t, for some bizarre reason that frankly I’ll never understand. If you can’t trust the state to protect women, since the police as its armed enforcers are clearly going to abuse them and the major political parties won’t do jack shit for you, why not teach each other to rely on ourselves and each other and no one else? Why is this seen as such a ridiculous or even dangerous proposal? Is it not more dangerous to keep relying on the same structures of power that seem to be literally trying to abuse and kill you just so that they can police the behaviour of everyone else?
Still, though, my question remains unanswered. Why do we tell each other this stuff? In my view, it all rests on powerlessness. We do not have any real power over our lives. Brexit has not changed that, despite all the rhetoric about “sovereignty”. Our democratic freedom consists of occasionally voting for alienated representatives to decide our fate on our behalf, while the actual conditions of our lives are totally out of our hands. That’s true for all so-called democracies I suppose, but in our country self-defense is weird. Officially, according to the Criminal Law Act 1967, it is legal to use “such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime”. In theory, you have the right to self-defence. Pepper spray, though, is illegal, and carries the same penalties as owning a gun, which would mean that, as far as the law is concerned, a pepper spray is legally the same thing as a firearm. This is despite the fact that, unlike how a gun can be used, pepper sprays are non-lethal. So self-defence may be legal, but your options for how you defend yourself are pretty limited, at least next to what we might consider to be common sense. We talk so much about what men can do to make women feel safe at night, and it always seems like, when we talk about that conversation, we’d rather do anything except give women the ability to actually fight back against people who might abuse them, like we’re afraid of women becoming aggressive in defence of themselves. And to that end, we continue to put our trust in the same police force that is happy to shield rapists like Wayne Couzens until it is no longer convenient to do so, the same political parties that defend the same institutions and oppose meaningful systemic change, and the expanding power of state control over our lives. All of it seems like a mask for our own powerlessness, a powerlessness which is the only thing that the British person seems to have any pride in. “English liberty” is said to be the chief virtue of British society, but since that “liberty” doesn’t actually exist and almost never has done, the real “virtue” of British society can be more described as “English civility”. Simply put, the British value respectability and civilizational normativity over human life and freedom, and I think that this is unlikely to change.
Have you ever had that feeling when you encounter someone you really found fascinating, whose work got you thinking about something in a bit of a different way from before, and you start taking influence from them, and then you find out that they’ve made such egregious errors of judgement that it makes you question what you want to do with them, and then you feel kind of lost? That’s what happened regarding Rhyd Wildermuth. I discovered his work a few months ago, in the process of rediscovering Gods and Radicals, itself part of my own process of rediscovering, and re-envisioning, Paganism as a religious world-outlook, onto which Luciferianism as an esoteric outlook can be formatted in my own syncretic way. He inspired some ways of thinking about Paganism or had me thinking of some beliefs I always kind of had in a way that, at that time, I didn’t imagine before, or at least pointed the way to them. But recently I’ve begun to think he’s actively taking the side of some bigoted and reactionary corners of the online left – either that or he’s just too stupid to know the difference and he ends up as a dupe – and that has me questioning myself quite a bit. I mean don’t get me wrong, his more recent article on anarchism was very questionable enough and I had a lot of problems with it, but what I’m about to tell you is much worse. It has to do with two online left figures widely known for their snobbish, reactionary bigotry and who together form a kind of red-brown alliance in online circles: one is an (apparently) anarchist YouTuber/podcaster by the name of Angie Speaks, the other is another podcaster by the name of Aimee Terese. One of them, Angie, seems to be a friend of Rhyd Wildermuth’s and is actively platformed on Gods and Radicals’ website. This is a problem for reasons you are about to see.
This all started a few days ago when someone showed me a short Twitter thread that Angie posted last week, in which she attacked people who “”try to be something they’re not”. If that sounds vague, I’ll just post a screenshot of the thread below here:
Now this on its own can invite a fair few questions. What “self-hatred” is she referring to? Who are the people “trying to be something they’re not”? Why is aversion to said people “not bigotry”, and for that matter why the need to refer to bigotry, since this reference implies a response to accusations of bigotry? Who is “not living their truth” and why is it “perfectly natural” to be “creeped out” by them? But the answer to all of those questions, to anyone reading between the lines, is that Angie is referring to trans people. She believes that trans people are not and cannot be the gender they identify as, that they hate themselves, and that cisgender people being averse to them is “natural” because they are “uncanny” and “deceptive”. This is in part a fairly textbook case of ignorance about trans people, but also an equally textbook case of transphobic bigotry, since the whole premise of Angie’s argument is that she thinks trans people are inherently disturbing and that it’s both acceptable and justified for others to be disturbed by them and treat them like scum. When it’s coming from a right-wing conservative, and a Christian one at that, the bigotry tends to be easy to spot and most people react accordingly. When it’s coming from someone who calls themselves a leftist of any sort, the same is also almost true, except that for some reason there are more people willing to take them at face value or give them the benefit of the doubt, because left-wing transphobes, unlike right-wing transphobes, have the habit of masking the same exact bigotry in a labyrinth of intellectual jargon and obfuscation.
This is also not Angie’s first time being transphobic. In April, Angie, after seeing a video of a schizophrenic trans teenager panicking because their mother deadnamed them repeatedly and was in the process of kicking them out of their home, responded to said video by calling the trans person in question a “brat” and remarked that parents would “many parents would rethink having zoomer/ millennial brats if they new it entailed paying for their lifestyle and housing in adulthood”, among other things.
Just to emphasize, the poor individual with the green hair is pleading to anyone watching their TikTok video to help them find a new home in order to get away from their parents, because said parents are abusing them, and Angie’s response to this is to make it seem like the teenager deserved what they got, because of their “strange interests” (as though witchcraft somehow isn’t considered a “strange interest”) and supposed “bullying”. Angie decided to frame the teenager as the bully and her parents as the real victims, and following this she released a nearly-hour-long YouTube tirade about “narcissism”, “validation”, and “social justice”. Angie’s open and public stance on someone having a mental health crisis while being verbally and mentally abused by their parents and thrown out of their home is in fact a dispenser of abuse rather than its victim. Angie is thus justifying the suffering of young trans people, and is therefore a transphobe. Insofar as Angie considers herself to be a feminist, this would mean that she is also a TERF, a trans-exclusionary radical feminist (more on that later).
Oh and did I mention that she’s basically a white nationalist who is in turn supported by other white nationalists and also literal, actual neo-Nazis? Because that’s pretty important.
Aimee Terese is the only contemporary “Marxist” I am aware of who has actually been promoted by white nationalists as an ally of their cause. Consider American Renaissance, the organization founded by the white nationalist and alt-right thought leader Jared Taylor. On their website one of their authors, Chris Roberts, wrote an article on December 11th 2019 titled “Aimee Terese: Contrarian, Marxist — White Advocate?“, in which Roberts goes through a gallery of Terese’s many takes which he finds agreeable to his own white nationalist ideology. In the same vein, the website for the National Vanguard, which is an actual neo-Nazi group founded by a fairly notorious neo-Nazi named Kevin Alfred Storm, also published their own article expressing solidarity with Terese, written on July 28th 2020 by an anonymous author going by “Dissident Millenial”. Titled “Aimee Terese — A Witty Marxist and Fetching Thorn in the Side of “Woke” Liberals“, it contains basically the same collection of tweets as Chris Roberts’ article with basically the same intent, but the author also adds a certain degree of flirtatious feeling to it, almost like a pathetic attempt to get a date. She’s also known to be rather friendly towards a white supremacist and Daily Stormer contributor named Joseph Jordan (known on the internet as Eric Striker), and had agreeable conversations regarding Striker’s views on the “j-left” (presumably meaning “Jewish left”, implying the left they don’t like is a form of anti-white Jewish subversion). When this naturally attracted the ire of the rest of the online left, she pretended not to know who Striker was, accused people of policing her, preceeded to police other people for retweeting her enemies, and had Eric Striker come to her defence.
If you advertise yourself as a socialist, indeed the one of the “only real socialists” on the internet, but you echo the views of white nationalists and neo-Nazis, are friends with neo-Nazis, and will defend association with neo-Nazis, the possibilities are that you are a Nazi or a white nationalist yourself, or are just so colossally stupid that it isn’t even worth contemplating.
Of course, so far I’ve gone through all of this information without once tying it back to Rhyd Wildermuth. But that changes now. You’ll remember that I mentioned that Angie Speaks is still listed on the Gods and Radicals website, and still has a page on that website. I contacted Rhyd Wildermuth via email about much of what has been discussed previously, and expressed concerns about him platforming a transphobe with links to white nationalism. What you’re about to see below is his response:
I’ve checked out the links you provided and none of these amount to evidence of Angie being anti-trans or aligned with white nationalists.
Her views align with a growing number of Black Marxists (see for example the repeatedly de-platformed Black Marxist professor Adolph Reed, as well as many of Cornell West’s recent positions) that neo-liberal ‘anti-racism’ only reifies race, because it is much better for the capitalists that poor people blame each other for ‘systemic oppression’ rather than fighting the capitalists together. While I do not have experience with Aimée Terese, after reading the screenshots provided in those links it appears she is also critiquing this same problem.
I have known Angie personally for many years, by the way, and can assure you she is not anti-trans either. She has absolutely critiqued much of the neoliberal (capitalist) dogma around trans identity and the aggressive subsection of twitter that has called for the death of cis gays who will not have sex with trans people, as well as the many rape threats against gender critical women on social media (see my own critique of this here, with links to large archives of this behavior ).
While some of her own rhetoric can absolutely be quite provocative in a way in which I myself would never engage (it’s one of the reasons I completely left social media in August), it would take much more for me to silence her–or anyone–on our website.
Thanks for your email.
In short summary, Rhyd Wildermuth has seen what I have sent him and does not believe that Angie is anti-trans or aligned with white nationalists, thinks of her as an intellectual critic of neoliberal identity politics doing nothing but critiquing “neoliberal dogma around trans identity”, treats Aimee Terese as yet another of said critics while seemingly not touching on why white nationalists and Nazis seem to actively promote her content, and will not dissociate her from the Gods and Radicals website. Let’s go through this response point by point.
I’ve already established that Angie is in fact anti-trans, so there’s no need to go into too much detail about that. What I could do, though, is get into Rhyd’s justification for why he maintains this idea that she is not anti-trans. He says that she has “critiqued much of the neoliberal (capitalist) dogma around trans identity”. What is that “neoliberal dogma”, exactly? Judging from Angie’s statements it would appear that this “neoliberal dogma” is nothing more than the assertion that trans people are the gender they say they are, and that gender affirmation (or reassignment) surgery is valid. How exactly this is “neoliberal dogma” is a bit of a mystery, unless you consider that perhaps calling it “neoliberal dogma” serves as a way to de-legitimize what is otherwise essentially scientific consensus on the subject of being trans, and in a way that can seem palatable to certain idiotic leftists obsessed with certain ideas of “proletarian culture” against “bourgeois culture”. The only other “neoliberal dogma” I can see is the idea that trans people shouldn’t be deadnamed ad nauseum, let alone at all or by their parents for that matter, and shouldn’t be thrown out of their homes for suffering a mental breakdown because of it. And again, the only reason that’s seen as “neoliberal dogma” for some is because it can serve as a convenient intellectual justification for being cruel to trans people.
The other flank of his argument that Angie is not anti-trans is that she is also critical of “the aggressive subsection of twitter that has called for the death of cis gays who will not have sex with trans people, as well as the many rape threats against gender critical women on social media”. As ludicrous as this all sounds, the tell is in the phrase “gender critical women”. “Gender critical” is the politically correct term for what are otherwise called TERFs – trans-exclusionary radical feminists. These feminists believe that trans women are actually men seeking to “invade women’s spaces”, borrow arguments from homophobic evangelical Christians to justify discrimination against trans people, and they have the habit of threatening violence upon people they disagree with – or at least, they like to stick razor blades under their posters to slice anyone who tries to pull them down. So for a start, it’s the TERFs that like to do the silencing in broad trends. As for the “death and rape threats” accusation, even the Twitter album that Rhyd cites isn’t necessarily the smoking gun that he thinks it is. Not least if you remember that Twitter is not representative of the entire LGBT community – in fact, it’s not even representative of the whole population. Besides which, no matter how many people in the LGBT community actually hold the kind of absurd and bigoted opinions towards homosexuals Rhyd alludes to, that doesn’t suddenly mean that Angie isn’t transphobic anymore than US imperialism suddenly means Iran isn’t an authoritarian theocracy. And even if there are people on Twitter who shit on gay people for not dating trans people, is that really worse than the fact that trans people can be murdered on a whim, with violence against trans people increasing, and their murders often still going unreported, and failing that they’re still regularly denied housing? That’s something that, for some reason, Angie and Rhyd don’t seem interested in talking about, or Aimee Terese for that matter, or any TERF. Or, for another matter, Glenn Greenwald, who went from one of the best journalists in America willing to stick his neck out to stand up to right-wing authoritarianism in Brazil, to a tired old centrist crank whining about how he thinks gay people are being replaced by trans people or some nonsense like that.
Oh but then there’s the point about Angie not being associated with white nationalism. Rhyd insists that Angie is not associated with white nationalism via her links with Aimee Terese, and that instead she is part of a growing movement of black Marxists (only two are actually cited) that are united by the contention “that neo-liberal ‘anti-racism’ only reifies race, because it is much better for the capitalists that poor people blame each other for ‘systemic oppression’ rather than fighting the capitalists together”. This, again, is deflection. For starters, “neoliberal anti-racism” is never specified, but we can only assume it refers to various liberal ideas about race and discussion thereof. Without being given any canards to examine, we can sort of dismiss this by pointing out that many leftists who aren’t what we might call “class reductionists” already tear apart the work of people like Robin DiAngelo as essentially an arm of corporate power against working class coalition building and organization, in favour of socialist anti-racist projects that still emphasize the inclusion of various identity-based struggles.
There’s a reason for this that I’ve come to understand. In the past, there were communist parties that expressly refused to include struggles for black liberation in their political program, no doubt to emphasize that the class struggle was the only struggle. The main example of this would be the Communist Party USA, which in the early 20th century followed this exact approach even to the point of denying the existence of racism. The end result was that some black workers abandoned the communist parties, and the left, to support Marcus Garvey, a proto-fascist black nationalist and an admirer of the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Of course, many who didn’t instead turned to the much more radical Black Panthers, who unlike Marcus Garvey actually did frame demands for black emancipation in the context of a revolutionary agenda. The point being, socialist movements that dismissed liberationist identity-based struggles ended up losing people to anyone who might champion whose causes instead, even if that included fascistic ethno-nationalists. That historical reality may end up explaining why certain “class reductionist” or “class first” leftists end up morphing into reactionaries, often of the white nationalist variety. So contrary to some talking points about how “woke” leftists are creating fascists, the communists who followed the approach that Angie and Aimee would have them follow were the ones actually creating fascists.
Returning to Angie, for a moment, if the idea is that she’s critiquing identity fetishism in the sense of leveraging racial identity against the working class, that’s frankly laughable. In many exchanges, including only a few years ago in which she was arguably just as much an “identity-fetishist” as the people she now hates, she will, during the course of argument, not hestitate to leverage the fact that she’s a black woman in order to shield herself from criticism. Not exactly something you’d expect from someone interested in fighting “identity politics”. Since Rhyd claimed that Aimee Terese makes basically the same critique, we should briefly address her once more. While Terese is framed as an opponent of “identity politics”, we can see from her tweets that she spends a lot of time leveraging white identity against a multicultural elite, which is the quintessential and core politics of white nationalism. Also, for someone ostensibly keen to oppose identitarianism, why is Aimee Terese an anti-Semite? Just a month ago she produced a meme which depicted mass vaccination against Covid-19 as some kind of Jewish plot to enslave non-Jews.
I guess I can’t blame Rhyd too much for not knowing about this, not having dealt with Aimee before. But I’ll bet Angie knows what she’s doing, considering that they are friends and fellow travellers. Insofar as Aimee Terese is a white nationalist, and there really can’t be any denying it at this point, Angie’s links to white nationalism are pretty definite. She’ll never express white nationalism ideologically herself, but she will ally herself with white nationalists seeking to infiltrate the left as comrades in being “cancelled” by everyone else, thereby creating a network of influence. This along with the obvious transphobia is the problem with Gods and Radicals still having Angie Speaks on their website.
In light of all this Rhyd Wildermuth’s stance is clear: he is on the side of TERFs, and from the sounds of it might be a TERF himself, and so he has no problem with transphobia except to the extent that he likes to deny being anti-trans. He has seen evidence to corroborate Aimee Terese being a white nationalist, which would mean that, because Angie networks with Aimee, Angie represents a point of connection between left-wing contrarians and white nationalism, yet has chosen to dismiss the idea of Aimee Terese being a white nationalist, which functionally means he denies that Angie has any connections to white nationalism, and therefore he will not distance himself from her. By continuing to have Angie on the roster of the Gods and Radicals website, Rhyd gives his website a place in that same network. This means that at this point Rhyd Wildermuth is an ally to some very bigoted people.
What does this all mean? Well, it does mean I’m feeling extremely conflicted, mostly because his writings on Paganism proved to be informative of the way Paganism and radical left-wing political thought could intersect and helped light the way to a meaningful Pagan left-wing critique of the Enlightenment, plus his website still has a lot of good work on it, in the form of not just the articles not written by Rhyd, as well as some he did write, but in the form of the books they have (Kadmus Herschen’s groundbreaking True to the Earth is on that website). But while all the good is still there, knowing that Rhyd is willing to go out to bat for these disgusting reactionaries makes things very painfully inconvenient. The best outcome of this is that this complicates my ability to appreciate his work, but the worst possibility is that he’s trying to smuggle some pretty chauvinistic attitudes into Pagan left-wing spaces.
To close out this post, I’d like to make a point about why being a TERF doesn’t make much sense if you’re serious about Paganism. Christian culture may have made a big point about hierarchical masculinity and femininity being fixed essences and set in stone by God, but while even pre-Christian societies tended to be patriarchal, there is also a lot of evidence that they tended to accept trans identity to some degree. 3,000 years ago, the Persians recognized a “third gender” alongside male and female. In Sumeria, the priests of the goddess Inanna were men who discarded their masculinity and became women, and Inanna herself was revered for having the power to change men into women and vice versa. In India, the Hijra were a kind of “third gender”, considered either intersex, transgender, or asexual, who, although often marginalized in Indian society, have been present within it since antiquity and can even possess religious significance. In pre-Christian Norse society, transgressing gender norms could be seen as a source of profound power, and the god Loki himself moved through the genders almost on a whim, a fact that the Norse also tended to accept of their gods in general. And of course, the Amerindian (or Native American) tribes are known to have acknowledged over a hundred different gender expressions, and many tribes had a variety of ideas about people who did not fit the traditional male-female dichotomy, which were then suppressed by the dictatorship of colonial morality.
The point I’m trying to make is that the Pagan world did not have the problems with accepting the identity of trans people that Christian culture or more particularly modern Western culture has up to the present. So what’s stopping Rhyd Wildermuth, a Pagan, from taking effectively the same stance as his ancient pre-Christian forbears and accepting trans people as valid? By legitimating the TERF stance on trans people, endorsing the delegitimating of the identity of trans people on TERF grounds, and falling into identity-based sectarianism between trans people and gay people based on some dumb bullshit on Twitter, itself trumped up by TERFs, Rhyd does not seem to take seriously or grasp the extent to which Paganism endorses the acceptance of the identity of trans people. It also means he doesn’t take too seriously the way he talks about the Right Sacred and the Left Sacred. By his terms, the Right Sacred segregates Man and the Sacred and rigidly enforces the boundaries of experience. The TERF position is all about rigidly enforcing conservative gender norms as the mandatory experience of gender. It doesn’t matter that this hierarchical conservatism happens to be disguised by the rhetoric of female empowerment and liberation, because hierarchical conservatism it most certainly is in reality. So, by Rhyd’s terms, the TERF position is that of the Right Sacred, which he tends to see as inferior to the Left Sacred. To take the Left Sacred, with its emphasis on liberation, disinhibition, and transgression of the boundaries of experience seriously, it would be far more sensible to embrace a society in which the boundaries of experience can be freely transgressed, and therefore being trans should be considered valid in itself on those grounds at least. But even without that framework, being trans was simply considered to be valid in the Pagan world, or at least it was a recognized social category even in the context of societies where this was still marginalized. It’s not something that has recently sprung up as the product of liberal modernity.
In broad terms, Rhyd Wildermuth is taking the wrong side of an issue where we on the left, and we as Pagans, really should not be having such a hard time being on the right side of, and his willingness to defend transphobes who also happen to network with white nationalists is a major problem for his own credibility, and unfortunately that of Gods and Radicals, which is his website. Perhaps it can be maintained that we need not completely disregard the work of Gods and Radicals because of it, but then perhaps it would be better if there was another Gods and Radicals that isn’t run by someone who may be a TERF.
As if British politics couldn’t get any more disgustingly authoritarian, we now see a Green Party baroness, one Jenny Jones, calling for the imposition a curfew for men. This follows the high-profile disappearance and possible murder of a woman named Sarah Everard. Jones’ proposal is that men should be barred from going outside after 6pm, with the argument that it will “make women a lot safer” and that “discrimination of all kinds would be lessened”. Of course, the first of these is in no way falsifiable and the second of these is simply laughable when you consider that having a different set of rules for one gender and for another is quite literal discrimination. I can’t say what popular reaction would be if someone was talking about a curfew for women and not men, but I imagine people would rightly see it for the authoritarian sexism that it is. And yet if I were to peruse Twitter or other social media for the subject I’m saddened to say that I find there are people willing to defend this curfew and express total disregard for the civil rights of ordinary men on the absurd idea that the average man might rape or assault or harrass women.
Now, of course, I believe we can take solace in the knowledge, or at least speculation, that this sort of insane proposal will never be passed, even if only because it is too impractical for the government to implement (let’s face it, the British government has never cared enough for civil liberties for it to be any other reason), not to mention that the ruling Conservative Party is never going to let it pass. But the very fact that something like this is entertained by those in power to start with, and that there will be vocal segments of society defending such an idea, is symptomatic of a deep rot within British culture. Ours is a country that claims a proud tradition of “English liberty”, while in practice I have seen no evidence that either the people or their representatives actually believe in it. In fact, the opposite tends to be true based on nearly all relevant data available and on the fact that there is almost no thoroughgoing movement for civil liberties within mainstream politics. Although in a fit of irony, Jenny Jones, the same woman calling for curfews for men, claims in her Twitter bio to be concerned especially about civil liberties! If such were really the case, she would never have proposed such nakedly tyrannical policy proposal. And yet that’s just how it is here in Britain: not only is there hardly any movement for liberty in British politics, but sometimes even those who claim to support liberty argue against liberty and for tyranny.
Moral panic appears to be the bread and butter of British society. Our elites, our media, and our social media culture are like demagogues who whip up outrage and fear in order to sow mistrust amongst our citizens and get them to comply with the surrender of just about any freedom you can imagine. We’ve had decades of experience in this regard. Who could forget the moral panics considering movies, music, and video games, which we were all told would lead our children down a spiral of violence, criminality, trauma, and psychopathology? And who could forget the Mary Whitehouses of the world, and the Conservative government that eagerly took up their empty concerns as a way of justifying censorship? I would have thought this would have taught us some lessons about moral panics, but it seems the fear of freedom still prevails in our society.
There is something worth discussing with this moral panic in particular, and the case to which it relates. After the disappearance of Sarah Everard, a police officer was taken into custody on suspicion of kidnapping and murder. Why are we talking about imposing curfews for men, when we can be talking about the institution of the police instead? And it’s not like we can’t. Today we’re more than happy to discuss police brutality in relation to the senseless killings and beatings of racial minorities, as indeed we should, but for some reason when a police officer is suspected of aducting and killing a woman we decide that it’s not the police that are the problem and instead that ordinary men should be denied their freedom. Moral panics like this are quite the same, in the end. They are ways to terrify the public, appeal to a broad fear of freedom and desire for security, and justify social tyranny, all while distracting the masses from the brutal nature of the power structures in which they live and thus removing accountability from the prevailing political system by shifting it to innocent people.
Furthermore, I cannot believe the lack of self-awareness displayed by people wh defend this idea. They are OK with totalitarian restrictions of the rights of men, of their fellow citizens, because it will make women feel safe, but do they not see how this can be turned around? I remember when the right-wing in America was talking about a high-profile murder apparently committed by an illegal immigrant, and how they had used this to justify crackdowns on the rights of immigrants. Conservatives also have a habit of using all sorts of incidents to justify curtailing the freedoms of homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgender people. All the “curfew for men” people are doing is taking the same principle that underpins conservative moral panics and making them serve progressive sensibilities, thereby turning the principles of liberal society against not only itself but also ordinary citizens and their liberties. And you know, there are probably many other people, including women, who have gone missing over the years, and not once has anyone been motivated to propose curfews over them, so why is this one case different? In fact, I find it ironic that under progressive normativity it is ultimately the classic case of “disappearing white woman syndrome” that compels them to tyranny.
This repugnant idea of a curfew for men is probably never going to be implemented, but do not let your guard down for even a moment. There are those who will defend this policy, even if not by name but rather by covert appeals to sensibility. Do not be threatened by those seeking to justify robbing you of your freedoms by means of the same reasoning that would allow conservatives to throw social minorities under the bus, and do not allow apathy to render silence and erode your defense of your freedoms.
I do love chthonic beings, and Medusa is a classical example of this. As a figure Medusa tends to convey many things, and indeed has been used as an image of stark, cruel realities that may petrify humans who behold them (examples including the writings of Jack London and, to my chagrin, Jean-Paul Sartre). Feminists, however, like to reduce Medusa to an icon of female victimhood, and it’s in this spirit that recently a statue of Medusa holding the severed head of Perseus, the hero who slew Medusa in Greek myth, was put up for display in New York outside the County Criminal Court building.
The symbolism could not be more obvious. For one thing, it is a clear subversion of Benvenuto Cellini’s famous Perseus with the Head of Medusa, with Medusa killing and decapitating Perseus instead of the other way around, and its location outside the New York County Criminal Court Building, a building where many high-profile sexual assault cases including that of Harvey Weinstein were processed, is intended to communicate a message about victim-shaming. Essentially the idea is to do a #MeToo campaign but through myth. And in all honesty I don’t think it was a very good job.
The central conceit of the Medusa statue is that Ovid depicts Medusa as being a maiden of the temple of Athena who was raped by Poseidon, is cursed by Athena for having been defiled in her temple, turns into the monster we all know, is apparently blamed for the crime of her own rape (which seems insensible given the thing most people would be concerned with is her turning people into stone and also from what I understand not even Ovid says this), and then hunted down by Perseus, and that the killing of Medusa by Perseus because she was the victim of rape, or that it was not to be celebrated because Medusa was a victim of rape. The first problem with that is conceit is that, ultimately, it takes aim at the wrong mythological target. Perseus may have been sent to kill Medusa, but if you truly want to go with the whole revenge against rapists theme, why not have her carry the head of Poseidon, the god who raped her to start with? Or why not Athena, the woman who cursed her because she was raped, thereby doing the victim-blaming herself? Or does this not adequately serve the feminist impulse towards the brazen desecration of the archetypal hero, a typical male icon of the Self? Perhaps there is a certain neopagan undercurrent to it, one that dare not question the gods, least of all female gods, even if said goddesses are actively malicious and consumed by envy?
Moreover, as I said, no version of the Medusa actually mentions anyone blaming Medusa for her own rape. Ovid merely provides a backstory for Medusa’s origin, one that expands her backstory and if anything gives us something of an explanation for why Medusa was the only of the three Gorgon sisters to be mortal while the rest were immortal. In the original mythology, Medusa is killed by Perseus on the orders of King Polydectes of Seriphos as a way to get Perseus out of his hair so he can see Danae, who was his mother, and win her courtship. It’s a common trope in Greek myth: sometimes a king or some other character would send a young man to go and kill some dangerous monster on the assumption that it would be an impossible task. The idea is that the young man would inevitably die in the encounter, having surely failed to conquer said monster, and thus he would no longer be an obstacle to whatever ambition the king has in mind. Of course, in Greek myth, this never works out as planned, and the young men inevitably conquer the monster. Medusa is but another example of this trope, and in this case Polydectes ends up being turned to stone by Perseus who uses Medusa’s severed head to petrify him. So Medusa originally served as another obstacle for another hero for another ambitious king. I can only imagine that Ovid’s backstory, while in no way an invalid edition to the mythos, probably stems from the fact that Medusa is female and the classical poets can’t imagine a woman who wasn’t innocent and delightful to the senses in some way unless they absolutely have to. Just a guess, really, you don’t have to take it seriously.
And ultimately, I don’t get the sense that the statue depicts triumph. Let’s turn back to the original Perseus with the Head of Medusa for a moment. He holds Medusa’s head up into the air, to use it as a weapon no doubt, but it’s also generally a pose that gives an expressive feeling of triumph over an enemy, in this case Medusa. Here, Medusa appears to just be slinking Perseus’s head by her side, as if just carrying him off like a McDonald’s bag. Not sure if triumph is being evoked here. More like having just committed murder. And I guess that makes sense, since the killing of the heroic archetype is without justification.
All in all, I see this is as a stillborn attempt to convey a rebellious archetype of justice, because all I see is the communication of vengeance, and the attempt to manufacture an archetype in the fashion determined by having already been seized by the feminist archetype.
NOTE: 28/10/2021: This actually turned out to be my worst Mythological Spotlight ever. I’ve taken back some of the stuff I’ve said here about Lilith after reconsidering the subject from the angle of detournement, and the problems of treating subversive Satanic icons and symbolisms from the perspective of their originality within the purview of a society that is against them. There are still valid historical points made here, but the angle was erroneous and its conclusion was myopic, hypocritical, and smacks to me of elitism. Just keep that in mind as you read it.
Lilith as a figure almost needs no introduction, as she is a very famous (or should that be infamous?) mythological character whose currency stretches through from Christian culture, to occultism, to neopaganism and to Satanism and the like, and throughout the landscape of fantasy, horror and/or gothic literature. It is perhaps because of her popularity that she has become a ubiquitous archetype relating to some of the darker aspects of femininity. But, in this sense, it is perhaps also because of this that a lot of bullshit has been written about Lilith, and in general a lot of the presentation of Lilith is in many ways divorced from her historical background, and many times in neopagan circles she’s treated as though she was just a goddess of kinky sex with a rebellious attitude, when the actual mythology surrounding her often paints a much more sinister picture. And unlike what you might believe if you saw the intro to Night Angel, she most certainly is not to be identified with Kali, Pele or the various other goddesses who are typically considered “dark” from the perspective of pop mythology – for one thing, Lilith was never even a goddess. In general, as you encounter the mythical figure of Lilith, you will find much that is written about her or ascribed to her that is either ahistorical or just blatantly wrong. I have dealt with this sort of theme many times in my day, but only now do I take the time to write about it.
As you will understand going forward, one fact that affects our assessment of Lilith is that there are esssentially two Liliths present in our mythological canon, each with their distinct character. The first Lilith is the Lilitu found in ancient Mesopotamian mythology, which refers to a type of nocturnal wind demon that seduces men and is also believed to adbuct and kill babies – this I might call the “Pagan”, pre-Judaic or Pre-Pseudopigraphical Lilith. The second Lilith is the Lilith of the Alphabet of Ben Sira, which refers to the original first woman, created by God to be Adam’s wife, but who disobeyed Adam and proclaimed the forbidden name of God, resulting in her banishment from Eden and being cursed to lose one hundred of of her children every day – this I would refer to as the Judaic, Pseudopigraphical, or Christian Lilith. However, both Liliths tend to be very much related to each other in that the latter Lilith inexorably shares characteristics with the former Lilith, with the old myth of Lilith the Night Spirit extrapolated into Lilith the Vengeful Wife.
The “Pagan Lilith”
Many explanations have been brought forward over the years for the origin of the famous Lilith, some of them more or less accepted by scholarship than others, but the most likely explanation seems to be that the name Lilith has its roots in a type of demon known as Lil, also known as Lilu or Lilitu. Lilitu was usually the name of a specific type of demon, not usually a singular demon. One of the earliest references to a demon named Lilitu may have been Mesopotamian inscriptions that refer to Lilitu as a class of disease-bearing spirits or demons associated with the wind, rather than one specific demon. The Hebraic name Lilith ultimately seems to have its roots in the Sumerian name lilu, which means “air” or “spirit”. The name Lilith or Lilitu does not actually mean “screech owl” or “night owl” (that would be Lamia instead), but the association stuck in popular etymology due to an ancient superstition which held that that owls were associated with demonic powers. The Lilu and Lilitu classes of demons both have slightly different attributes connected to wind; the Lilu are associated with the southwest winds, Lilitu were believed to fly out like the wind or like birds. These demons also seem to be chiefly female, and most crucially they are referred to in Mesopotamian texts as being without husbands and thus seek out men to ensare for the purpose of sexual encounters, and it is said that men do not lie down with the Lilu/Lilitu in the same way that they lie down with their human wives. In Dictionary of Demons and Deities in the Bible, a comparison is made between these demons and the goddess Ishtar in that sexual encounters with Ishtar tend to end in death for the men who get involved, suggesting that sex with the Lilu/Lilitu tends to be dangerous for humans. Thus the Lilu/Lilitu demons can be established as dangerous or malevolent succubi as well as demons of wind and storms, and it is perhaps from this where the Jewish and Christian conceptions of Lilith find some of their roots. Later folkloric developments begin to establish the Lilu/Lilitu demons as child-stealers, as suggested by incantations found on Phoenician amulets, such as one found in the Arslan Tash site (though the authenticity is apparently disputed). In such an amulet, the Lilitu is depicted as a sphinx-like demon (referring to as “Flying One” and “Lilith”) and these amulets seem to be intended as apotropaic magical defences for women in childbirth. This establishes the role of the Lilitu demons as snatchers of children who are to be warded off by magical means in order to protect women and children from them.
A demon referred to as ki-sikil-lil-la-ke is sometimes identified with Lilith because Samuel Noah Kramer translated the name as Lilith in the 1930s. According to the Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Netherworld tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh, the ki-sikil-lil-la-ke demon resided inside the trunk of a tree that had grown in the garden of Inanna at Uruk (whose wood she plans to use to construct a new throne), alongside a serpent that rested at the base of the tree and the Zu bird (or Anzu) that raises its hatchlings at the top of the tree (not unlike the Norse myths in which Nidhoggr resides at the base of the Yggdrasil tree and the eagle that resides at its top). The snake is killed by Gilgamesh while the Zu bird flies away, but the ki-sikil-lil-la-ke destroys the house that it built in the tree trunk and ran off into the forest to avoid capture. The ki-sikil-lil-la-ke demon could be related to storms and wind due to the the presence of “lil” in its name, thus perhaps connecting it with the Lilu or Lilitu. However, beyond this etymological association, there is little in common between this demon and the Lilu/Lilitu demons, and it could be that this is just a different type of wind demon, not sharing the predatory sexual aspects of the Lilu/Lilitu demons.
The famous Burney Relief
In popular imagination, and more specifically Left Hand Path and neopagan circles, the Burney Relief has been one of the main ways of representing Lilith, and there are those who maintain that the winged lady depicted in the Burney Relief was meant to represent Lilith. In actual historical scholarship, however, there isn’t really a consensus for just who the figure in the Burney Relief actually is, though I believe it’s safe to say Lilith is not that figure. If we look at ancient civilizations and their religions, and from there you look at the way that the gods and the demons were treated, you’ll find that demons were generally not given the kind of respect or reverence that would lead to large statues being erected in their honour, let alone what must have been a prominent image that would have been displayed to many people, wherever that originally might have been (scholars don’t quite know where it was originally stationed). Demons did get depictions in Mesopotamia, such as Pazuzu or Lamashtu, but very few (namely Pazuzu, Lamahstu and perhaps Humbaba) get depictions in plaques, amulets or statues, and in fact we only really know about Pazuzu statues from this time period. There’s no evidence that the Lilu/Lilitu were given the same treatment, there’s very little evidence of their depictions outside a handful of amulets, and their main description is textual rather than visual. One thing to keep in mind is that while the Lilu/Lilitu were seen as malevolent, Pazuzu was believed to be a protective figure despite his demonic nature, because he was believed to drive out all the other demons and evil spirits and thus was invoked in apotropaic rituals to protect humans from misfortune and diseases. There it makes sense that the Pazuzus would get small statues and plaques while the Lilu/Lilitu would get a handful of amulets, if anything. The ancient Mesopotamians simply didn’t believe that demons like the Lilu/Lilitu deserved that kind of reverence, and who could blame them considering they believed that they were just child-snatching wind succubi. Such a thing would hardly be worthy of honor in any culture. If there is a goddess that had the Lilu/Lilitu’s qualities in the ancient world, some people consider Lamashtu a goddess, though she is usually treated as a demon, but even as a (sort of) goddess Lamashtu was considered very malevolent and, like the Lilu/Lilitu, abducted and feasted on children, and Pazuzu (ironically another demon) was frequently invoked to protect women from her. Lamashtu was certainly not an object of worship for ancient Mesopotamian people, so on that basis there’s no reason to assume why the Lilu/Lilitu would be either.
Generally, in the ancient world, large statues were reserved for the gods, not demons, and usually major gods at that. Take the Greek pantheon for example. Large statues were typically reserved for the gods of Olympus as opposed to comparatively minor gods or daemons. In the case of Mesopotamia we might think of the huge statues of winged bulls that flanked the gates of palaces. These were known as Lamassu or Shedu, and were treated as the representatives of gods, stars and constellations, or were considered protective deities in themselves. Thus the winged bulls would be taken as representations of the gods and their power rather than the demons. Furthermore, what little we do know about how the Lilu/Lilitu were depicted in Mesopotamian textual lore and the iconography found in magical amulets doesn’t really match the figure shown in the Burney Relief, which is a winged nude woman with a crown and talons, standing atop lions.
Furthermore, although scholars don’t quite know who the figure depicted in the Burney Relief, it is my personal opinion that the figure in the relief is likely to be Ishtar or Inanna. Why? The three main possibilities given for the identity of the figure would be Ishtar, Ereshkigal or Lilith. Having ruled out Lilith entirely, we’re left with either Ishtar or Ereshkigal. If you examine the figure on the Burney Relief, you notice that many of her features bear a familiar resemblence to traditional depictions of Ishtar or Inanna. For one thing, the crown definitely resembles the one worn by Inanna, and the wings of the statue, although facing downwards, line up with traditional depictions of Inanna/Ishtar in which she has wings. Sumerian depictions of Inanna match the pose that the Burney Relief figure makes, and in fact we know of several smaller plaques wherein Ishtar/Inanna make the same pose as in the Burney Relief. I believe that the lions in the relief also tie the figure to Ishtar/Inanna on the grounds that lions are her main symbols, and indeed we see artwork of Inanna resting her foot upon a lion in ancient Akkadian art. With all this in mind, it seems a little baffling that scholars have such a difficult time identifying the goddess of the Burney Relief. What’s more, there are no depictions of Ereshkigal anywhere, so with numerous depictions of Ishtar corresponding to the Burney Relief and no depictions of Ereshkigal, there really isn’t that much reason to assume that the relief represents Ereshkigal, and certainly not much more reason than to assume the figure is actually Lilith.
The “Judeo-Christian Lilith”
Where the pagan Lilith was more or less a class of wind demons and succubi, the Lilith of Judaism, and later Christianity, represents a singular entity, following from later folkloric developments about a singular Lilitu, and this Lilith becomes far more mythologically signficant than the pagan version. It must be stated, though, that the Lilith we know does not necessary come from Jewish orthodoxy.
In the official Hebrew Bible, Lilith plays a minor role as an ambiguous “night creature” who settles in Edom following its destruction by God according to the prophecy of Isaiah 34 – and that’s if we assume the night creature is Lilith, if we remember that the name Lilith doesn’t actually mean night owl. It is true that the original Hebraic text does seem to use the word “lilit” (לִּילִית) to refer to the creature. Curiously enough, however, while English translations render it as “screech owl”, Latin renditions refer to this creature as Lamia, not Lilith. It could be, then, that Lilith was not intended to be a personal name in the Hebrew Bible but more of a descriptor for a generic creature. Beyond that, Lilith certainly does not appear in the original creation story of the Torah or the Tanakh. The Lilith that is recognized today thus comes not from the official Hebrew Bible, but from extracanonical Jewish tradition.
The earliest reference to Lilith as the original wife of Adam comes from the Alphabet of Ben Sira, whose composition is estimated at the earliest to be around 700 AD, which would have been well after the ascent of Christianity in Europe, not to mention the rise of Islam, so this would certainly have been a late addition to Judaic canon at best. It is considered to be possible that the story contained within the Alphabet may have predated the Alphabet itself, but this is not possible to determine. What is certain, however, is that the Alphabet of Ben Sira predates the composition of the Zohar, the foundational treatise of Kabbalah, at least according to Gershom Scholem (generally considered an authority of Jewish mysticism and tradition) who believes that its author, Moses de Leon, knew about the Alphabet of Ben Sira and its version of Lilith. In addition, the Alphabet of Ben Sira is considered to be a satirical work, rather than a serious doctrinal treatise, due to several instances of the author blatantly mocking or insulting Biblical figures, depicting them as perverts, and the protagonist of the book himself being depicted as being the product of an incestuous relationship between the prophet Jeremiah and his daughter, all and many other references suggesting the book was intended as a polemic satire of the Jewish faith. Furthermore, while the work is considered to be part of Midrashic tradition, this is largely down to Kabbalistic mystics and scholars accepting parts of its content centuries later as received wisdom, seemingly without paying mind to its overall lack of connectivity to Judaic tradition, and then after that the tale was repeated in Rabbinic compendiums to the point that, when this version of Lilith made it to English speaking audiences, nobody knew enough about ancient and medieval Jewish folklore to know whether the tale really was a statement of Jewish tradition or if the Alphabet was a satirical work.
In any case, the myth found in the Alphabet displays a remarkable transformation of the Lilith character. Here Lilith is a human, the original wife of Adam, distinguished not only by this status but also by her defiant temperament, her insistence that Adam not treat her as a subordinate when she tells him “I will not lie below”. When Adam insists that Lilith is inferior to him, she tells him that “We are equal to each other inasmuch as we were both created from the earth.”. This is often taken as a sign that Lilith, or rather the text’s authors, were preferential to gender egalitarianism on the grounds that it opposed the subordination of women to men. Of course, more profound is that Lilith utters the forbidden name of YHWH and flees the Garden of Eden, thus defying God. It is this defiance that becomes the origin of Lilith’s demonic characteristics. Three angels pursued Lilith on God’s orders seeking to bring her back to the garden, but she refuses, proclaiming that she was created to cause sickness to infants and that she has dominion over male infants for 8 days after their birth and female infants for 20 days. However, the angels ultimately convince Lilith to agree to an oath in which one hundred of her children die each day, and that when she sees the names of the angels on an amulet she would have no power over any infant bearing said amulet. Thus the myth of Lilith in the Garden of Eden is ultimately a rather drawn out explanation for a pre-existing Jewish tradition in which Lilith was viewed as simply a prolific child-snatcher, not the bride of some Adversary. It is interesting, though, how a being that we’ve already established to be a child-snatching demon is elevated to the status of God’s first wife. It does make you wonder what the Ben Sira’s intended commentary is. Is it that the religious institutions are patriarchal oppressors aimed against women’s rights, or its it that the Ben Sira casts women in a negative light by depicting the first woman as a traitor to Adam?
The rest of extracanonical Jewish tradition, at least leading up to the Alphabet of Ben Sira, doesn’t mention Lilith being the first wife of Adam, and instead most tradition focuses on her being a child-snatching succubus. In the Dead Sea Scrolls, Lilith is referenced just once within the Songs of the Sage and in the text Lilith is treated as part of a litany of different types of demons and creatures in pretty much the same way as in Isaiah, referring to “all the spirits of the destroying angels and the spirits of the bastards, the demons, Lilith, the howlers (?) and [the yelpers…] they who strike suddenly to lead astray the spirit of understanding”. In the Midrash Rabbah, there is a version of Genesis where a “first Eve” (or Chavvah ha-Rishonah) is returned to dust by God, but she is not called Lilith and this identification is only made outside the texts and only really becomes established centuries later by Kabbalistic mysticism and extant Jewish folklore from the medieval period onward. Elsewhere in the Midrash Rabbah, in the Midrashic Numbers God threatens to destroy the Israelites and Moses pleads with God to reconsider his threat, in the process comparing him to “that Lilith who, when she finds nothing else, turns upon her own children”. In other Midrashic texts, Lilith appears as a type of demon (in the sense of “a Lilith” or “Liliths”) that seduces and mates with Adam, after he parts with Eve, and their copulation gives birth to various demons that soon fill the world. The Midrash Akbir, however, depicts Adam leaving Eve after Cain kills Abel, only for Adam to be seduced by Lilith and father numerous demons who are eventually destroyed by Methuselah. Sometimes Lilith appears as a singular demon rather than just a type of demon, such as in the Gemara where she appears as a demon who gives birth to demonic children, seizes men who sleep in a house alone like a succubus, shoots “arrows”, and even has a son named Hormin whose name is a corruption of Ormuzd which is another name for the Zoroastrian god Ahura Mazda. Lilith (or Liliths) is also the subject several Jewish incantations which appear on bowls for the purpose of either repelling or imprisoning evil spirits such as Lilith(s). In a next from Nippur, the Liliths (who are referred to as Lili in male form and Lilith in female form, again suggesting that Lilith was not a singular demon entity but a type of demon) are likened with hags and ghools and adjured in the name of Abraham, Isaac, “Shaddai of Jacob” and Ya Ha-Shem. The Lili seem to function as the Judaic equivalent of the incubus, a male demon who seizes and sexually assaults women in their sleep, in complimentary contrast to the female Lilith who is a kind of succubus. Lili would also produce children with their victims without their consent or even knowledge, the offspring being half-human and half-demon (a cambion, if you will), and no one would know about the fact of it being a product of such a union until the child inevitably behaves too erratically for any normal human child in accordance with its nature as a cambion. The female Lilith would also give birth to a demonic child as a consequence of her sexual union with an unsuspecting man, and this child would be born in a deserted area and would seek out its father, screeching and raging into the night whenever it is frustrated in its journey. Anyways, in a similar Persian incantation, “the liliths” as well as “the evil Lilith” are bound and sealed, and “the evil Lilith” in particular is cited as causing the hearts of men to go astray, appearing in dreams (both in the night and the day), creating nightmares and attacking children (both boys and girls). In some medieval Jewish magical texts, the demon Bagdana appears as “the king of the lilits”. Another amulet, the “amulet of Epra”, suggests that there are multiple species of Lilith, as it adjures all of them in the name of their offspring . Generally speaking, Jewish magical tradition held that the Lilith (or Liliths) was a succubus that also bore a patholigical hatred of human children and would thus attack them unless warded off with incantations and amulets, and in many ways this continues on from the Lilith found in the Hebrew Bible. Even Christian lore historically never really changed this connection, with the Byzantian Christian Michael Psellus identifying Gello, a demon from Greek mythology long believed to cause infertility and infant mortality, with Lilith, and even then this identification was ultimately dismissed by later Greek Christian scholars as a confusion. Indeed, speaking of Christianity, we should note that Lilith appears nowhere in the New Testament canon or extant historical Christian tradition, not even in the Gnostic sects.
Popular folk tradition and demonology cites Lilith as the consort of Samael, who she mated with after splitting up with Adam after refusing lie below him, but this idea does not come from The Alphabet of Ben Sira. Instead it comes from later medieval texts, such as A Treatise of the Left Emanation, which was a Kabbalistic text written in the 13th century by Isaac ben Jacob Alfasi ha-Cohen. The same text also posits that there are two Liliths, one of them married to Samael and the other married to the demon Asmodeus. It must be safe to assume that the Lilith who is married to Samael is the Lilith that was to sleep with Adam before disobeying him, and this one is identified as the “Matron Lilith”, while the one married to Asmodeus is known as the “Lesser Lilith”, and is the daughter of a being named Qafsefoni. Other folk traditions say that Lilith simply marries Asmodeus and not Samael, and together they are believed to produce demonic offspring together. Whatever the case, this idea as the wife of [insert powerful demon lord here] seems more or less to be the product of medieval mysticism that came after even the Alphabet of Ben Sira, and certainly after much of established Judaic tradition.
Much of what we now associate with Lilith isn’t really canonical, but despite this it is the basis of the Lilith known to modern demonology (Christian or otherwise) and Western literature. In fact, it seems that the popular conception of Lilith might be traceable to her appearance in Faust, one of the most famous plays in Germany written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. In Goethe’s Faust, Mephistopheles introduces the eponymous protagonist to Lilith (also known as “The Pretty Witch”) as Adam’s first wife and tells him to beware of her because of her otherworldly beauty and because those who are seduced by Lilith never escape her grip. This establishes what is essentially the core of the modern Lilith in Western folklore, the first woman created by God and the emblem of female seductive power as well as the negative side of femininity, and such an archetype continues throughout Western folklore. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, the famous troupe of Victorian-era British painters, particularly Dante Gabriel Rossetti, helped cement this version of Lilith through not only Rossetti’s famous painting Lady Lilith but also his sonnet called Body’s Beauty in which Lilith is described as “the witch he [Adam] loved before the gift of Eve” and her seductive character is elaborated. The poet Robert Browning composed a poem entitled Adam, Lilith and Eve, in which he, in an even more radical and maverick interpretation of the Lilith myth, depicts Lilith and Eve as cultivating friendship between each other. Some Victorian depictions re-emphasized the dangerous nature of Lilith, such as George McDonald’s Lilith in which the eponymous demon, cast as the Queen of Hell (which she never was in almost any of her myths), kills a child named Lona and tries to seduce and have sex with the protagonist Mr Vane, and other novels in which women named Lilith attempt to destroy the lives of male protagonists. 19th century French poetry also ramped up the evil nature of Lilith beyond her traditional scope. Victor Hugo depicted Lilith in La Fin de Satan as the daughter of Satan (again, never was this in any actual mythological canon) who was responsible for the crucifiction of Jesus, brought violence, imprisonment and “the cross” to the world, sees the French population as a threat to her schemes due to their “love of liberty”, and on top of all that is apparently so evil that she can never be redeemed while even Satan is shown being redeemed and turned back into Lucifer as an angel in God’s court. Remy de Gourmont wrote a play called Lilith in which Lilith is graphically shown having sex with Satan and seducing Adam while Satan seduces Eve.
Over time, Lilith eventually came to be seen by some feminists as a symbol of female empowerment and a new idea of femininity that was seen to have emerged in the time, and this idea has continued into modern assessments of Lilith. In his book Demonology and Devil-lore, the American abolitionist minister (and later freethinker) Moncure D Conway, who was sympathic to the suffragettes, seems to have thought of Lilith as not only an “infernal Madonna” but also a “protomartyr of female independence” whose attitude to Adam made him the “prototype of the ‘strong-minded’ and ‘cold-hearted’ woman”. It at first seems difficult to say if he is giving a sympathetic account since he simultaenously talks about Lilith in terms of female empowerment and also in terms of destructive demonic behaviours and not to mention negative female traits, though ultimately he seems to lean towards a somewhat feministic interpretation with lines such as “Had there been an order of female rabbins the story of Lilith might have borne obvious modifications, and she might have appeared as a heroine anxious to rescue her sex from slavery to man” and “we may suppose that Lilith found him [Samael] radical on the question of female equality which she had raised in Eden”. Apparently taking after Conway’s ideas, centuries later, was a scholar named Maximillian Rudwin, who wrote in The Devil in Legend and Literature that Lilith was the first woman to propose that men were essentially equal to women and that she left Adam because he thought the man should be the head of the family, and married Samael because he agreed with Lilith’s ideas about sexual equality. Rudwin even went so far as to mock Jehovah (or perhaps Christianity by proxy) on the grounds that he “could not foresee the widespread suffragist movement of the present day” even with his apparent omniscience. Ada Langworthy Collier wrote in Lilith, The Legend of the First Woman (the title alone should give us a clue as to where this is going) re-interprets Lilith as a character who, although clearly rebellious towards Adam, does not reject the authority of God and in fact is cast further as an apparently more benevolent or at least naive figure than any other interpretation; even her child-snatching ways from the old myths are recharactized not as a product of her own personality but instead an act of desparation brought on by her desire to have a child and jealousy of Eve, all ultimately motivated by the desire to fulfill the role of a loving mother to someone, and unlike the Lilith of actual myth she apparently returns the child she stole from Eve back to Eden. In addition to this departure from the mythos, we find that instead of Samael or Asmodeus this Lilith marries Eblis (clearly supposed to be Iblis, or perhaps Satan by proxy) after leaving Adam, despite herself not being an opponent of God. Apparently Collier based her own poem on old rabbinical myths and legends about Lilith, but also warned that she had not read the legend closely, suggesting that she might not actually have known what she wass talking about.
Perhaps the most radical interpretation of Lilith can be found in Renee Vivien, a radical lesbian poet who may have been a feminist or supporter of feminism. She wrote about Lilith in a similar way to Collier, depicting Lilith as the wife of Satan and thus Satan as a sympathetic supporter of the cause of feminism, and like Collier uses the name Eblis to refer to Satan, but unlike Collier’s and Conway’s Lilith, Vivien’s Lilith was created by the breath of dawn and not flesh and rejects Adam not out of his own apparent sexual chauvinism but because she considered Adam to be inferior to her by nature on account him being made of flesh and thus refuses to be his partner (which is actually even more radical than the Ben Sira). Furthermore, this Lilith is also sterile and on those grounds refuses to have children with Adam or even Satan, instead taking Satan as her “mystic lover” and, instead of having carnal relationships for the purpose of bearing physical offspring, engage in metaphysical intercourse that produces lustful dreams and other wicked fantasies and thoughts that haunt and corrupt the minds of men. On top of all that, she proclaims Lilith to be the symbol of lesbian identity itself, particularly as militantly opposed to heterosexuality, saying that “the dark breath of Lilith is within us” and declares her to be her foremother as an example of her refusing the love of men, preferring that of the serpent.
All of this serves as the root of the modern conception of Lilith within popular culture, religious commentary, demonology, occutlism and especially the Left Hand Path, given that the modern Lilith has a tenuous relationship (at best) to tradition in its characterization of Lilith. The modern Lilith is Adam’s first wife, the grand queen of Hell, the bride of Satan and the purest embodiment of lust itself, all of which have very little to do with the Judaic religious mythos she originates from, but find prolific expression in 19th century Western poetry, and this is where the modern Lilith seems to come from.
The Lilin (a.k.a. Lilim)
Some attention should be paid to the subject of the Lilin, a type of demon popularly known as the lustful offspring of Lilith. It seems that the term also originates from Mesopotamian mythology, wherein the term may have referred to hostile nocturnal spirits, a meaning that is carried over into the Jewish term, which simply means night spirits. According to Ronald Hutton (who may or may not be reliable depending on what you make of his neopagan bias), the Judaic Lilin are carried over from the Lilu/Lilitu of Akkadian and Sumerian folklore, who in turn were the minions of the demon Lamashtu. In the Targum Sheni, King Solomon summoned some Lilin and ordered them to dance for him. It is sometimes claimed that Agrat Bat Mahlat, the angel of prostitution, is the ruler of the Lilin, while some rabbinical texts suggest that Lilith herself is the mother or grandmother of Agrat Bat Mahlat. In A Treatise of the Left Emanation, the Lilin are the offspring of Lilith and Samael, whose presence in the world caused God to castrate Samael in order to prevent the couple from producing more of them. Beyond that, there really isn’t much out there about the Lilin other than they’re night spirits that have some relation to Lilith.
Lamia and Lilith
Returning briefly to the subject of the “Pagan Lilith”, it’s worth examining the connection between Lilith and Lamia that was mentioned earlier. Lamia was a demon found in Greco-Roman mythology who, similarly to Lilith (or the Liliths), seduced men and devoured children. Originally one of Zeus’ many human lovers, she became a demon after Hera, upon learning of this affair, cursed her to kill her own offspring (or alternatively they were killed by Hera). Lamia eventually became so established in Greek folklore that mothers and nannies would warn children about her in order to frigthen them into behaving properly. In this light, the Lamia could also be seen as having evolved into a type of demon rather than a singular figure, in fact this is how it came to be understood in folklore by the time of the Middle Ages. Indeed, manuscripts such as the Suda and the writings of Aristophanes establish that there is not one Lamia but many, establishing the concept of a generic Lamia, much like the generic Lilith is established in Judaic and Biblical tradition. Latin translations (particularly the Vulgate) of Isaiah 34:14, the only Bible verse that actually mentions Lilith in some form, use Lamia as the Latin name for the creature that is called Lilith in Hebrew. If Isaiah were to speak of Lilith as the sort of individual arch-demoness that Kabbalah and later Christian folklore do, this identification would not make sense. As such, the Lilith of Isaiah 34:14 was more or less a type of demon rather than a singular demonic individual, and since this is the case we can assume that Lamia in Latin is meant to translate what Lilith means in Hebrew. The very name Lamia has its roots in the Indo-European “lem”, meaning “nocturnal spirit”, which is very similar to the connotation that Lilith has in both Biblical and pagan Mesopotamian myth. Lamia, then, becomes another form of the Lilith myth within Greco-Roman culture, and thus in this way another “Pagan Lilith”.
All in all, there is much about Lilith that doesn’t have a great deal of connectivity with the Lilith found in ancient tradition. Contrary to a lot of neopagan and Left Hand Path interpretations, Lilith was never a goddess of anything in any tradition she was a part of. Far from being turned from a goddess into a demon by the Jews, Lilith has always been a demon, and often times a generic night demon, a type of succubus, rather than the arch-demonness that is recognized in contemporary folklore. Her status as a symbol of female empowerment is entirely non-traditional and rests not only on the Alphabet of Ben Sira but also a long line of 19th century romantic poetry that sought to re-establish Lilith as a character, both as a dangerous demon of seduction and a defiant symbol of female power or equality, even to the point of her having been taken up as a symbol of lesbian separatism on occasion. Now, I’m not saying here that archetypes are absolutely static and arent subject to change – indeed, several gods have undergone profound transformations during the life of their respective religious cults and ended up taking on new meanings as a result, and beyond that Lucifer and Christos (once a title for the god Serapis) are fine examples of this process – but the transformation undergone by Lilith seems to lack traditional continuity and raises questions about just what ideas of female empowerment or equality we’re dealing with when we attribute such a cause to Lilith.
The whole idea of Lilith being motivated by a belief in the equality of the sexes rests largely on the idea of her refusing to be subordinate to Adam, as is shown in the Alphabet of Ben Sira. But even if we put aside the fact that the Alphabet of Ben Sira itself is considered to be a work of satire in light of Jewish tradition, which would mean that every modern interpretation of Lilith is based on a text that was probably never intended to be taken seriously or even as official myth, and therefore totally unconnected to the mythos of Lilith, just what is Lilith outside the Alphabet anyway? A demon known for attacking men in their sleep and abducting and killing children. Just what ideas about equality and empowerment are in play for that to become a figure of noble defiance against patriarchal norms and inequality? At most, even within the 19th century, we find in Lilith an archetype about many of negative aspects of the female psyche, particularly involving seduction and the complete subversion of parental compassion (tied to the child-snatching and child murder). Her cruelty towards men in both mythos and poetry showcase a prolific female archetype of seduction as well as cold manipulation, she is the archetype of the women who seek to destroy men and children, the latter serving as obstacles to rampant and wanton selfish desire due to their invoking of ancient parental instincts in women, and if Lamia is anything to go by there are many other myths like this in world myth. If that’s someone’s idea of freeing women from patriarchal oppression, then what are we dealing with when it comes to feminism?
You know what I love? I’ve been struggling to find work in the game industry in Wales ever since I graduated, and now I find that a Welsh game developer finds itself thrust in the spotlight. And why? Because they’re trying to bury an embarrassing failure of a game project before it even gets released. I am speaking, of course, about a new game they announced this week that they called Gamer Girl. Wales Interactive released a trailer for Gamer Girl on July 16th, and then promptly deleted it from their media accounts and website following a tidal wave of negative reactions. But despite their best efforts, the trailer still exists, and I will post a video of it below for you to look at – and, by god, it is an abominable game trailer.
Just judging from the horrible presentation aesthetic, the cheap-ass user interface, and the very obvious attempt to pander not only to modern socially conscious liberalism but also the more pervasive neo-1980s nostalgia culture on the internet, I can only imagine that my old game design lecturers are watching this trailer and laughing about it amongst themselves, and they’d have every right to. I mean I’m not sure how to do justice to what I’m seeing. The basic premise of this game, if it can even be called a video game let’s be honest, is that you play as someone who moderates the comments section of a Twitch streamer in order to filter out trolls and some such, as well as just generally make choices for said streamer outside the chat. That’s it. You babysit a grown woman who makes a living off of letting people watch her play video games in a mildly suggestive manner. And in terms of gameplay it seems to play out as though you’re sitting through a series of full motion video scenes peppered with occaisional interactive choice, not unlike games like Night Trap, or perhaps more aptly games like Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties. In fact, I’d say this is the Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties of our generation. It’s so bad an idea that everyone, literally everyone observing this is ripping in to the game. Every gamer, “simp”, “thot”, “troll”, everyone you can name is just ripping into how much ass this game sucks.
It’s so bad that not only did Wales Interactive try to get rid of the trailer, but it seems there’s a whole page of Wales Interactive’s website devoted to the game that seems to have vanished (you get a 404 message if you try to click it). In addition, the game was also promoted by Sony Entertainment on their Playstation social media accounts, and just like Wales Interactive they too quickly removed all references to the game and all promotional posts for it, most likely because of how widely panned it came to be as soon as it was publicized. Just think about how embarrassing that is. This is a major game publisher and console manufacturer, forced to pull promotional material for a game. What’s funny is that at the end of the trailer you see that the game was intended to be released on just about every major platform – Steam, the Playstation 4, the Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch were all slated to have this ass bomb of a game on their platforms in a few months time. I have to imagine plans are gonna change following this level of terrible publicity.
The worst part? There’s a hamfisted pet cause behind it. According to Wales Interactive, the game was all about raising awareness about the damage that certain online comments can have on the mental health of young women, or rather specifically streamers, that is people who broadcast themselves on live video streams on the internet, typically with a focus on content relating to video games (usually people playing video games). The following is a thread posted by Wales Interactive on their Twitter:
Gamer Girl is about the impact user comments and actions have on a streamer’s mental health and wellbeing. The reason why FMV Future created the game was to raise the issue of the toxic environment which can often appear online behind the anonymity of a username…
Without giving away too much, Gamer Girl is an empowering story of a female streamer who, with the help of her moderator friend, battles the trolls and — overcomes— the toxic characters in her stream…
Gamer Girl was co-written by Alexandra Burton, the lead actress who improvised the entire script. The research into the streaming content of Gamer Girl took 4 years and the dev team at FMV Future interviewed dozens of female streamers…
most of whom have experienced abuse of various kinds online — some have even shared their experiences during interviews within the game…
Players start the game as one of Abi’s friends whom she trusts, and it is their job to make the channel a success but also to guide the stream to keep Abi in a positive frame of mind….
Online abuse is real and is still happening every day — Gamer Girl seeks to raise awareness of this issue.
This attempt at social commentary tried to make it seem like there was some greater feminist cause that wasn’t just obvious pandering to the current zeitgeist, but it’s clear that even feminists aren’t falling for this one, as some have pointed out that the game potentially just fetishizes the idea of having control over a woman’s life and decisions, a message that I think the developers never intended to convey but that we can all agree at least in theory is not in the spirit of feminism. Others have taken to calling it a “simp simulator”, most likely in reference to the idea that you play as a guy whose sole job is to protect women from mean things being said about them online. Others think of it as an “incel simulator” or even a “sexual predator simulator”, perhaps connecting the dots in relation to just how creepy this game feels in relation to the underlying premise.
Now, I don’t think there’s a whole lot to say about the game overall that I didn’t cover already, partly because the game isn’t out yet and partly because the trailer speaks for itself on this, but here’s my main thought. For starters, why did anyone think that being a Twitch stream moderator would make for an engaging gameplay element? From the standpoint of elementary game design it sounds like one of the most unentertaining and unengaging modes of gameplay conceivable, not least based on just the kind of drudgery that entails actually being a moderator of such streams. Second, who thought that Twitch streamers needing protection from trolls needed to be a video game? If you really wanted this so bad, why not just post on Twitter or do a PSA in a separate medium? Third, and most crucially, what if the real problem in society is that we now have a culture, in both gaming and society beyond that, where social capital (and in some cases actual capital, which often leads to the normalization of monstrous greed) can be accumulated through banal livestreams and, conversely, where people can relate to video games and gaming culture through the passive consumption of these streams, and occaisionally use some of these streamers as an outlet for their own sexual desires (case in point a man who tried to sue Twitch because he got addicted to masturbating to female Twitch streamers), sometimes even as a substitute for regular pornography, let alone real female companionship? That, I think, is the most salient commentary we can have on this. Why do we have the kind of culture where this is even an item of consideration?
People these days seem hungry for the doctrine that you’re fine just the way you are, and I mean this in the sense of this pervasive idea that nothing you do can come with any negative consequences and you can never be wrong or deluded in your choices. This idea tends to be crystallized in one word: self-love.
Recently I’ve been apprised of a new book that was published in April that has proven emblematic of this noxious ideal. Recipes for Self-Love: How to Feel Good in a Patriarchal World, authored by Alison Rachel, is essentially a self-help picture book of sorts that marries the typical feel good mumbo jumbo you get from New Age philosophy or similar philosophies with intersectional feminism. The book also apparently has an Instagram account that allows us to get a peek at just what sort of life philosophy is contained in the book, as illustrated by a series of graphic designs. And what life lessons can we draw from this book? Well, just hold tight, because you’re about to see.
To be honest, some of the points within that book are actually pretty OK to be fair, like “it’s OK to say no”, “it’s OK to not be OK”, “you don’t always have to be happy”, “learn how to deal with rejection”, or even “normalize menstruation”, and a few are even genuinely positive, like “support those with chronic illness”, “re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book” and “be honest with yourself, be honest with others”, but we’re here for some of the stand outs of bad advice and philosophy, the points which range from the ridiculous and/or deluded to the potentially destructive.
Starting off in that direction, we have “skin is a feminist issue”. What does that mean exactly? Well basically it’s an admonishment of people who think acne is bad skin. You know, that thing most people have to deal with in high school and sometimes still with a little bit of it in later life, that thing that ruins your face by dotting it with pimples and in rare cases even scars? Apparently that’s not bad skin according to this book. Don’t worry about your pimples, you’re just fine the way you are. Don’t work on getting rid of them, don’t consult a doctor if your acne gives you much worse, because there can never be anything wrong with your skin. Your skin is perfect and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Words cannot describe how dumb this is, and it’s not even the only point that stresses that your body is fine as it is even if it is legitimately unhealthy. But apparently this is a feminist issue too. Not sure why that is the case, but then I can’t imagine why advocating that women who have bad skin should just live with it because it’s actually as good as having clear and healthy skin could possibly be of benefit for a movement supposedly concerned with empowering women.
Then there’s “there is no such thing as ‘bad emotions'”. Really? I guess hate doesn’t exist or it doesn’t count as a bad emotion then? Man that’s going to be a problem considering these are often the same people who clamour for hate speech laws to be introduced or expanded. How can you do that without hate being a thing? Isn’t hate a bad emotion? Oh but this just plays into “Your feelings are valid” says one, to which the Instagram post clarifies “absolutely all of them, especially the negative ones”. The only reason this doesn’t apply to hate here is because of how another person’s hate makes you feel, but who cares about that when your hate is valid according to this very framework. I know the author would probably assure that such is not the case, but that’s only because the author is not capable of thinking her philosophy through to its conclusion.
You’ll notice that these points are accompanied by horrible-looking graphic designs that look like they came from some fashion design student decided to make a magazine showcasing their work, and at that the central characters appear to be almost all women. It’s an interesting detail because it sort of showcases the target demographic of the book, which appears to be chiefly women of all races, and almost certainly of the middle class.
One of the worst takes by far is “you don’t have to worry about something that hasn’t happened yet”. For a simple explanation as to why that’s shockingly dumb, let’s just look at climate change. The major effects of anthropogenic climate change that have been predicted, such as the rising of sea levels and the desertification of parts of the earth, are predicted to happen many decades from now, and we’re already at a point where we have just 10-12 years before we arrive at the point where these effects cannot be stopped. But they haven’t happened yet so why worry about it, right? Or how about the looming threat of nuclear war breaking out over the Middle East, or the India-Pakistan standoff, or to a lesser extent North Korea? I guess we can’t worry about that because it hasn’t happened yet, right? Or how about the growth of artificial intelligence and automation? Or the next financial crash? Those haven’t happened so let’s not worry, right? That mentality will be the cause of untold suffering and death if actually applied seriously.
Another particularly horrid take is “eat what you want”. The justification for this is that you shouldn’t feel bad about what you eat because food is just the fuel for the unique person that you are. Well, judging from the fact that there’s several other takes that appear to condemn the pursuit of losing weight or the discouragement of obseity, such as “don’t compliment a woman’s weight loss” or “stop fat shaming disguised as health concerns”, we can sort of guess that “eat what you want” means “don’t worry about whether or not you have an unhealthy diet that makes you fat and flabby”. And of course, it all has nothing to do with health or beauty. It’s all about whether or not you feel good. After all, if you’re fat and somebody tells you the harsh truth of what your lifestyle choices bring upon you, that might feel bad, that would probably make you want to do something about it in order to change that because you feel bad about it, and you can’t have that can you? That would disrupt that perfect aura of self-love you’re supposed to cultivate. Better “protect your energy” as the author suggests (read: block people who tell you that you’re a delusional asshole).
Even more horrid, one that perhaps plays into most of the rest is “you can’t control your feelings”. There are probably a thousand instances in your life where you will encounter the need to control certain feelings, because sometimes said feelings will lead you to make patently bad judgements. The lack of ability to control those feelings leads inevitably to the inability to subordinate emotions to your own faculties of rational calcuation and reason, which can lead to all manner of short-sighted and potentially destructive behaviours. And again, what if hate is one of those feelings? Should you not bother trying to control your hatred even though doing so would prevent a litany of malignant behaviours from emerging? Or no. I forget. Hatred doesn’t count because other people’s hate disrupts your psychic tranquility. How purely self-serving.
Several points appear to just be outright edifices of intersectional feminism. Examples include “good things come to those who smash the patriarchy”, “be a community activist, not a white savior”, “women don’t owe men shit”, “support survivors” (which is really just “don’t express any skepticism when a claim of abuse is made”), “smash the cishetero patriarchy”, “all oppressions are linked”, and of course “I wear the niqab as a defiance against the patriarchy”. Yeah, never mind that the niqab is basically an edifice of patriarchal Islamic or more generally Middle Eastern culture, never mind the fact that in the Middle East women wear the niqab because they’re told or expected to wear it and that dress is imposed upon them by men. Somehow the niqab is a defiant anti-patriarchal artefact of clothing. Worthy of particular note is “beauty is a construct created by the capitalist system to make you see flaws that don’t exist to sell you things you don’t need”. This is noteworthy in particular because it requires us to assume that the concept of beauty has only been around for a very short period of In fact, there is a strong feminist idea of embracing a gendered in-group. One example of this is “don’t make fun of other women”, a point that we can immediately assume will never be applied to women who aren’t liberal feminists and is thus hypocritical. Another features a quote from filmmaker Ava Duvernay which reads, “we should conjure sisterhood wherever we can”. . On a similar note we have “strength in sisterhood”, which sounds almost volkisch if you ask me. And of course no intersectionalist tome would be complete without some attention being given to the transgender issue, their particular take being “a “real woman” is whoever identifies as one”. In other words, you’re not a woman if you posses any components of physically being a woman (whether that means being born a woman or being a trans woman), you’re just a woman if you say so. I guess that means I can do it too, even though I’m a regular man and nothing about me is remotely female.
Some points are not explicitly bad at least on the surface, but they still seem illogical and tend allow for some pretty negative conclusions to be drawn. For example, “you are multifaceted and multidimensional”. In itself, not a controversial or nonsensical statement, but in context it sounds like it’s trying to stroke your ego’s dick by selling the narcissistic personality this sort of philosophy appeals to as more nuanced and deeper than it really is. Or “learn to set boundaries with toxic family”. In itself, something that can be sensible under the right circumstances, but I have a suspicion that this is probably intended to be applied to family members who don’t get along with your particular politics, and I usually don’t get the right vibes from people who use the word toxic to refer to things other than chemical waste. In general I find the book’s attitude to capitalism to emerge from entirely the wrong place, stemming not from a critical analysis of capitalism in terms of the material structures it bases itself on but instead from a dissatisfaction with not being able to follow conventional standards of beauty and productivity. I get this sense from the take that reads “living in a capitalist world can lead to anxiety and depression”. Well, that might be true, insofar as the policies that affect your ability to survive and thrive economically invariably generate anxiety and depression (this can be suggested inversely by a recent study which suggests that raising the minimum wage may reduce suicide rates), but that is not this book’s problem with capitalism. No, the real problem according to this book is that, in a capitalist system, your worth is determined by what you achieved or produce rather than you just being you or you just existing. Not the most compelling assessment I must say.
And on that front we simply must address the “Break the stigma of STIs” take. There’s no getting around it, this reads like a statement of approval for people going around and getting sexually transmitted diseases. I’m not trying to be harsh on people who are suffering from these illnesses and don’t need people being harsh on them while they’re going through that pain. It really does read like the author wants to normalize sexually transmitted diseases. They only care that people are disgusted by STIs because it “perpetuates slut-shaming”. Yeah, no shit, people probably would be more averse to sexual promiscuity or even just more liberal attitudes to sex if to them that just meant going off and getting your dick riddled with herpes or some shit. Seriously, if like me you want people to be less conservative about sexuality, then this sort of attitude actively hurts our cause and we should be fighting against it. We shouldn’t be treating STIs as something that’s basically normal. If we should break the stigma of anything, we should focus on sexual education and safe sex, because as long as those things are normalized, we have very little problem because then nearly everyone who does casual sex would be doing so in a safe manner for all parties concerned.
One take is basically just the egoism of LaVeyan Satanism, but without the honesty. “Don’t feel guilty about putting yourself first”, it reads, and the accompanying Instagram post explains that it’s all about self-preservation and that putting yourself first is all about protecting and looking after yourself and that this doesn’t make you selfish. At least baseline Satanists are prepared to say that, yes, their philosophy is selfish, and that that’s a good thing. Same is true of Objectivists, or for that matter just about any self-identifying egoist. For some reason, however, this book doesn’t have that same level of honesty to it, and to me that’s a red flag. In any case, instead of the determined will-to-power ethos of selfishness that we get from baseline Satanism, we get would reads like pure navel-gazing self-coddling.
But the most galling detail of all is the promotion of the idea of lifestylism as a legitimate form of political activism, and even a representation of authentic political struggle. One take bears a quote from feminist author Audre Lorde, which reads “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare”. We also get something like that from a take that reads “Post your selfies”. On the Instagram post that goes with it, the account explains that female sexuality is commodified by capitalism while women themselves are shamed for posting sexual images of themselves (which, trust me, they aren’t), while not considering that surely they themselves may potentially be contributing to the process of commodification in one way or another. There’s just so many bourgeois traps that this framework falls into that it’s pretty mind-boggling.
Of course, there’s a lot more to go through if you want to see it all, but I would rather not bear labouring the point any further than I already have. The main point I’m trying to get at is that Recipes for Self-Love: How to Feel Good in a Patriarchal World seems to be a work of pure navel-gazing egotism and self-delusion. It is in this sense another edition to the long-running self-help industry that has taken hold of Western consciousness for decades, albeit of a more politically charged variety. It’s essentially what happens when you mix in intersectional politics with this weird trend of seemingle New Age self-help philosophy. I wonder if the author supports Marianne Williamson. In any case, I find that such a philosophy is harmful to Luciferianism on the grounds that it opposes the virtue of overcoming that we Luciferians often attach ourselves to, and it encourages us to surrender our faculties of reason and abandon the duties that come with us being our own divinities in potential – among them, to consecrate our bodies as though they were temples intended to be the house of that potential – in favor of wantonness in pursuit of just feeling good about yourself for the wrong reasons. It is a path that will lead the individual, and society, to destruction if pursued en masse. In fact, stuff like this is already a part of the messaging of the capitalist system as it stands already.
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.
A rather fascinating article from The Guardian caught my attention, titled “Hell freezes over: how the Church of Satan got cool”. And by fascinating I mean this was just a puff piece. The article in question goes on about how the Church of Satan suddenly got hip and cool in the eyes of progressive commentators because some imbuing of left-wing radicalism into the Satanic zeitgeist (by the way, please no), and lamenting the fact that Chelsea Clinton isn’t a Satanist. I don’t see why that last part is a problem: the last thing Satanism needs is the Clintons tarnishing its image.
And a strange puff piece indeed. As you’ll see in the link I’ve left at the end of the post, most of the article deals less with the Church of Satan and more with a Los Angeles Times article (which I will also leave a link to at the end of the post). The LA Times article in question makes the case that ̶a̶ ̶b̶u̶n̶c̶h̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶e̶d̶g̶y̶ ̶C̶a̶l̶i̶f̶o̶r̶n̶i̶a̶n̶ ̶h̶i̶p̶s̶t̶e̶r̶s̶ ̶ a new breed of Satanists are channeling their affinity for the dark side towards progressive political causes to unite against Donald Trump.
Yep, it’s more bourgeois left-wing political activism with a layer of pop occultism on top. Just like last year, when you had “witches” casting “spells” against Trump and then nothing came of it other than they looked ridiculous.
Essentially, these people buy into the idea that the world is going to hell, that American life is never-ending chaos, and that, because of this premise, they’ve decided to mix Satanism with feminism. They earnestly believe that without a sense of magical community centered around their version of Satanism, you’d have the rise of groups such as The Proud Boys (Gavin McInnes’ no-fap PUA brigade), and they, seemingly without any sense of irony or self-awareness, describe the fact that people have those groups as “black magic”. It’s so bizarre to hear that complaint when that’s what you’re into. I mean, the idea of just people forming social clubs as a form of magic is stretching, hard, but even if it’s true, why are you complaining? Is it good when you have black magic, but not when they have it? For me but not for thee, is it? They also talk about how one of their main advantages is being more well-versed in Internet culture, which is ironic because, anything, the anti-leftist political circles seem more savvy than they are in Internet culture because of their skill in making irreverent memes – the right arguably helped a President get elected through memes for shit’s sake. And then later on, the article goes on about how it’s all connected to African belief systems like Voodoo (which have nothing to do with Satanism) and how, predictably, The Satanic Temple is promoting inclusivity in Satanism and that sort of thing. I must say, for a bunch of spiritual rebels they certainly are very politically correct. But we’ll get to that later on. And to say that the new direction is more feminist than nihilist is rather accurate: there’s really nothing intrinsically nihilistic about it, because the progressive movement is, fundamentally, one that vies for its own brand of meaning, however vapid it may be.
But I see no sign that this current has anything to do with the Church of Satan. In fact, the funny part is how in the LA Times article they actually acknowledge that supporters of the Church of Satan believe in resisting liberal pieties as well as Christian ones, referring back to LaVey’s opposition to the hippie movement. So The Guardian went and promoted the Church of Satan as being more feminist, based on an article where they outright say The Church of Satan is still against liberal and progressive orthodoxy. The Guardian article just goes on to extoll the virtues of autistically responding to everyone casually using the phrase “satanic” in a manner not consistent with their beliefs. Funny, I’ve seen them accuse all Christians of being pedophiles just because a bunch of Christian priests came out to defend Roy Moore, who was accused of child molestation during the Alabama special election. I wonder, is that just a part of their “laconic” wit? Because to me it sounds like the take of a bitter teenager who still unironically listens to Antichrist Superstar and thinks he’s got religion all figured out. And the way they quote the FAQ section is rather pretentious. They seem to be under the delusion that the universe being indifferent to humans and values being subjective doesn’t apply to their own brand of progressivism as well: as in, surely it’s just as meaningless as Christianity? But hey, self-serving leftists rarely have that consistency about them.
What I find really, almost insultingly hilarious, is when at the end it says that “Satanism’s latest mutation is something else, a contrarian uprising against a patriarchal world order that deserves its comeuppance”, which gives you a very good idea that these people have no idea what contrarianism is. Feminist progressivism? Contrarian? Well I mean it has to be, that’s why in my country you have an entire political party embracing the zeitgeist. No, two! Labour is now thoroughly progressive in its socialism, and the so-called Conservative Party are actively in the business of diversity hiring with their most recent cabinet reshuffle. I mean it’s definitely contrarian, because you see so many Hollywood celebrities virtue signal about equality. Yeah, that’s what contrarianism is: going with the flow!
Whereas, here’s what Anton LaVey had to say about his conception of the “modern Black Mass” in The Satanic Bible:
Any ceremony considered a black mass must effectively shock and outrage, as this seems to be the measure of its success. In the Middle Ages, blaspheming the holy church was shocking. Now, however, the Church does not present the awesome image it did during the inquisition. The traditional black mass is no longer the outrageous spectacle to the dilettante or renegade priest that it once was. If the Satanist wishes to create a ritual to blaspheme an accepted institution, for the purpose of psychodrama, he is careful to choose one that is not in vogue to parody. Thus, he is truly stepping on a sacred cow. A black mass, today, would consist of the blaspheming of such “sacred” topics as Eastern mysticism, psychiatry, the psychedelic movement, ultra- liberalism, etc. Patriotism would be championed, drugs and their gurus would be defiled, cultural militants would be deified, and the decadence of ecclesiastical theologies might even be given a Satanic boost.
It amazes me how no Satanist movement that I have seen seems to be interested in tapping into this, because the simple fact is that we don’t live in the 1980s anymore. Even in America, the age of people like Bob Larson or Pat Robertson is long over. There’s still Satanic Ritual Abuse themed conspiracy theories spread around today, but it’s not the media phenomenon that it was until the early 1990’s. And despite the left’s fears in the wake of Trump getting elected, we see no signs of theocracy in the United States. If anything, despite the government being in the hands of the GOP, the zeitgeist of the wider establishment seems to be against him (including most media outlets). The idea that anyone’s being contrarian by embracing progressivism is dubious at best, and incredibly deluded at worst. It’s disappointing that there are no Satanists out there, that I know of, who are exploiting things like the reactionary movement as a form of rebellion against contemporary culture. Whatever your opinions on them, you can’t deny that they are at the opposite end of the establishment political zeitgeist, and exploiting the energies of such movements would play right into the kind of thing LaVey was talking about. But nope. If the LA Times and The Guardian are to be believed, it seems that modern Satanism is looking to embrace an ideology that, frankly, oozes with not just conformism and moral purity, but also (that’s right, I’ll say it) Christian universalism.
I fear that this will lead to the loss of a chaotic, rebellious edge that was classically associated with the Satanist movement, and if that happens, then I think it will be the end. Satanism’s primary impact and appeal came from the fact that it was rebellious towards the establishment, it placed the individual in opposition to outside social forces and institutions aligned against it, intent on corralling it into conformity in opposition to its will, and dared the individual to think for himself, treat these ideas with derision and mockery, and laugh at those stupid to embrace such hollow dogmas. But whereas in the 60’s it was Christianity and the hippie movement, and in the 80’s it was fundamentalist Christianity, in the 2010s, the popular zeitgeist is progressivism. You can be fired for publicly expressing ideas contrary to progressive ideology, that alone should be enough of a reason to channel rebellious intent against it. But instead a new breed of Satanists are embracing it. This will undo the original spirit of Satanism, rob of its chaotic, rebellious vitality, and turn it into just another whiny progressive movement based on what is, ultimately, feminist emotional porn. It would be sad to see such a defiant movement fall like this.
Throughout the history of the video games industry, there have been many instances where the industry has been unfairly vilified or looked upon with suspicion or disapproval, and where its consumers are also unfairly vilified or looked upon with suspicion or disapproval. The video game industry has been around for well over 40 years, but only relatively recently have video games become more widely accepted.
In the 1980’s, video games were seen as market that only appealed to children. This is just one reason why Nintendo in 1985 had to market their Nintendo Entertainment System (or NES) and its peripherals (like R.O.B.) as toys rather than as games systems. The other reason was the notorious games market crash that happened in 1983, which caused games to be viewed as commercially non-viable and most stores were unwilling to carry games systems until the NES became as successful as it did. The perception that games were played only by children continued to be perpetuated until at least the mid-to-late 1990 when it was clear that the industry was catering to a more mature audience, or an audience that has grown out of the games produced by, say, Nintendo when they were younger. Even before the 1980’s though, when games as a general medium tended to be associated with controversy over violence, there was an arcade game released by Exidy in 1976 called Death Race, which became controversial because the object of the game is to run over “monsters” that flee the vehicle and scream when hit. Then in the 1990’s, games like Night Trap and Mortal Kombat became the centre of hysteria over violent video game content. As the decade drew to a close people began to blame video games for the Columbine Massacre because the media reported that the perpetrators of the massacre played Doom and created death match maps that supposedly resembled Columbine High School, and people have been trying to video games for violent crime ever since – of course, their attempts are in spite of the significant reduction in violent crime that coincided with the rise of people playing video games, along with the general lack of evidence that video games cause violent crime in the first place. Not to mention, the media never got bored of a chance to paint gamers as psychopaths, such as in the controversy that surrounded Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 over the airport level. There was plenty of whipped up hysteria over violence in video games and usually it came from social conservatives.
When video games weren’t accused of making you violent, they were accused of being bad for your health. Back in 2009, the British government released a poster which insinuated that video games were the main cause of obesity and that children who play video games may die early by playing video games. This poster was released as part of the government’s Change4Life campaign which was, surprise surprise, their attempt to tackle obesity. Not only that, but the poster referred to playing video games as basically doing nothing. Apart from the premise just being inaccurate and misleading, what was really egregious this campaign was that this poster was released at a time when the video game industry was responsible for boosting the economy during a time of recession. And in general, this and similar accusations are generally based on the stereotype of gamers as fat nerds who don’t have a life.
And more recently, when games weren’t accused of causing violent crime or being bad for your health, they were accused of being misogynist, and their consumers were accused of being savage, racist, sexist and generally backwards. It’s significant that around this time we started to see the gaming press being infiltrated by feminist ideologues. This combined with the revelation in 2014 that Zoe Quinn, the creator of a text-based choose your own adventure book style game called Depression Quest, had sex with gaming journalists, apparently in order to get her game promoted, led to the online revolt known as Gamergate, and the controversy that ensued. Those who supported Gamergate did so because they were tired of what they saw as corruption, cronyism and a lack of journalistic ethics within the gaming press, along with its collusion with feminists like Anita Sarkeesian who were basically out to convince the press that gamers were sexist and misogynistic in order to advance their own agenda. But the mainstream media – even the gaming press – dismissed Gamergate as a hate mob concerned primarily with harassing women, even though only a few Gamergate supporters were actually guilty of doing so. As a result, there were now those who shunned gamers collectively and denouncing them as backwards individuals, thus effectively siding with the feminists and the mainstream media narrative.
There’s a certain aspect of this mistrust and ignorance that extends to game designers. Not many people understand game design as a discipline, people still tend to ask “what do you actually do?”. This is illustrated by Scott Rogers in his book Level Up!: The Guide to Great Video Game Design:
Let’s talk about making video games. To most people, making a video game is a mystery. The average party conversation goes like this:
“So you program video games? Is it hard to write all that code?”
No. I said I design video games.
“Oh, so you draw the characters? That must be fun.”
No, I don’t draw them. That’s what an artist does.
“I don’t get it. If you don’t code the games or draw the games what do you do?”
At this point in the conversation, I tell the person that games are made by elves. (Sometimes it’s just easier to tell someone a fantasy than explain what I do for a living.)
– Level Up!: The Guide to Great Video Game Design(page 28) by Scott Rogers
Also, when we were having our talk about what to expect of the third year, we were introduced to the third year space and the lecturers had to explain a few things about the space. We were encouraged to put content on the walls such as concept artwork and research, but we were warned about putting up anything that was too violent on the walls because of the possibility that such imagery would be noticed by passersby (some of whom are apparently women in their 50’s) and by the lecturers’ boss, which would mean that the lecturers have to fight for the right to keep that space for us third year game design students. You have no idea how lucky the third year students are to basically have their own space where they can just work on their projects, and apparently there are people who would do anything to take that from the game design course, and any thing that convinces them that games students don’t deserve that space is enough to make them feel that they can take it.
To be honest, regarding my university, I feel like there’s envy coming into play. The game design course I study under is a course where you can potentially learn a wide pool of skills. You need to know not just how to make a nice 3D model, but how to do it efficiently, up to standard and in a way that you can get your computer-generated asset to actually work in the game engine. You need to know how to rig the characters you make for your games. You need to know how to animate them. You need to know how the game engine works so that you can import your assets into the game, or if you’re going to actually manage the content in engine in order to make it work as a cohesive whole. You need to be able to communicate effectively with the rest of a given team, and even how to operate as a team – which also means you’re going to have to balance working with others with your own individuality. You have to figure out how to tell a good story, design good characters, and design levels. You to learn how to organize and plan effectively, because good game design really needs good planning. You might even have to learn skills involving leadership and even entrepreneurship. You learn and grow as a designer and as a person.
This is a course that offers several skills, some of which can be transferable in that you might find a way to use them outside of game design, and our course is apparently home to some of the hardest working students in my university. So if you’re a game designer or game design student and someone asks you “what do you do?”, you may actually have to respond with “what don’t we do?”. Some art and design courses are, by contrast, geared towards more specific areas of work, which may offer less skills.. The animation students, from what I understand, are just learning 3D animation, possibly geared towards the film industry. Then you have photography students who do, well, photography in an artistic context. Fine art students make visual art under a nebulous category that includes painting, sculpture, and everything else. Illustration and graphic design students, to be fair, actually might have a number of profitable jobs going for them, with graphic design students finding work in advertising for major companies and illustration students designing covers and illustrations for books (sometimes children’s books) and magazines. Then you have the glass art people who seem to me like they spend their days making stained glass windows and other stuff that exists mainly for show. I could go on. The way I understand it, other art and design students may have less options open to them because there are quite the few art courses where you’re basically just an art student without much transferable skills. And from what I hear from my course’s program director, there are students from other courses who complain that they don’t have what we game design students have.
In our course, we’re the black sheep of arts courses probably because what we are working on is not purely artistic and passive media, we are very much learning how to make entertainment. Video games are not a purely artistic medium, like a painting, a sculpture or generally anything passive. Video games are a medium of entertainment fundamentally defined by interactivity and whose primary goal is not artistic consumption but simple enjoyment by a player. There is certainly artistic and intellectual merit that can be found in video games, but it’s important realize that fun and entertainment – and functionality I might add – come first when designing the game. In other words, we’re an art and design course that isn’t purely about making “art”, so we’re looked upon a little differently by people of other art and design courses. Again, at least that’s going from the program director. And I’ll tell you what, I am glad and also pretty lucky to be studying under the tutelage of lecturers at my university who understand video games as they are and clearly appreciate the medium accordingly. Going back to Gamergate, it seems that other academics did not understand this, and wanted video games to serve a role that it might not need to serve by turning it into a more “artistic” or even social medium. It should come as no surprise that these academics were rejected by actual gamers. But for this, they have been vilified by those same academics and their allies in the mainstream media.
To me, it’s telling that games and game design students have had this reputation of being the black sheep in culture, even as video games are already accepted in the mainstream and have been for years now. It’s also telling that video games give people what they might want in a very powerful way, and in turn provide happiness and entertainment to people in a powerful and direct way. It just feels like there are individuals and interests who are very much against such a thing.