Charles III: The Traditionalist King of Britain

As of September 8th 2022, Queen Elizabeth II is dead. That means the man we called Prince Charles is now King Charles III. I’m not going to talk too much about whether it’s “the end of an era” for us in the UK. Mostly because I don’t give too much of a shit. But there’s one thing that interests me about what the reign of Charles III might mean. I speak, of course, about his support for Traditionalism; specifically the philosophy of one René Guénon.

Now, some people stumbling onto this article might well wonder, who is René Guénon? René Guénon was a French esotericist and religious philosopher who is perhaps best known as an early proponent, or perhaps arguably the founder, of a school of thought known as Traditionalism. Traditionalism in this setting refers to the belief that all major religions are founded upon a single shared set of primordial metaphysical “truths” referred to as “perennial philosophy”. “Perennial philosophy”, otherwise referred to as “Absolute Truth”, is to be understood as a set of axioms that are to be intuited through a “divine intellect” that is also their source, believed to be latent in the souls of all humans. Traditionalists also tend to believe that adherence to “perennial philosophy”, through one of the major world religions based upon it, is the sole foundation of all genuine esoteric practice. Unsurprisingly, proponents of Traditionalism believe that the “truth” of “perennial philosophy” has been “lost” in modernity, seemingly having been obscured by modernism, secularism, “The Enlightenment” and similar philosophical tendencies, and that we must therefore abandon modernist ways of thought and life in order to reaffirm the”unchanging truth” that is “Tradition”. In practice, this tends to mean embracing a certain set of oppressive hierarchical relationships deemed to be in alignment with that perennial “Tradition”. René Guénon, for his part, opposed democracy in favour of a rigid caste system ruled by spiritual elites.

While Guénon is one of the earliest proponents of this concept of Traditionalism, other notable proponents include Frithjof Schuon, Ananda Coomaraswamy, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Martin Lings, Titus Burckhardt, and Charles Upton, to name just a few. The fascist philosopher Julius Evola was also, in his own way, a Traditionalist, though he apparently developed certain ideas about Traditionalism that differed from Guénon’s original thought. Traditionalism in turn has been massively influential on not only modern far-right and fascist politics but also certain segments of modern conservatism. Evola’s Traditionalism became part of the broad ideology of Italian neo-fascism as well as the broader European “New Right”. For that matter, Evola himself attempted and failed to influence the Italian Fascist and Nazi German regimes. The ideas of both René Guénon and Julius Evola form a major part of the ideology of Aleksandr Dugin, one of Vladimir Putin’s most important advisors and the creator of the Russian Eurasianist movement. Guénon’s ideas also seem to have been influential on Steven Bannon, the former advisor to Donald Trump, as well as a major interest for Olavo de Carvalho, a Brazilian political philosopher, conspiracy theorist and apparent advisor to Jair Bolsonaro. In Argetina, Guénon’s ideas were widely read in (and had a major impact on) the bourgeoning fascist movement in the country during the 1920s and 30s. To this day Traditionalism is also a current in contemporary esotericism. Nigel Jackson, after having abandoned the Luciferian witchcraft of Michael Howard (which he would go on to completely denounce), took up the Guénon’s Traditionalism as his new esoteric path.

The basic throughline of Guénon’s Traditionalism is obviously a recollection of a much older idea found within the “humanist” tradition of the Christian Renaissance, in which it was often argued that all religions contained some aspect of a larger divine mystery. In this argument, the divine mystery means the hidden teaching of Christianity, which was said to have been spoken by Jesus in parables to all except his disciples and hidden in all religions preceding Christianity through poetic language and esoteric symbolism. Renaissance humanist philosophers such as Giovanni Pico della Mirandola argued that this idea was confirmed Dionysius the Areopagite and supported by Augustine of Hippo’s statement that “What we now call the Christian religion existed amongst the ancients, and was from the beginning of the human race, until Christ Himself came in the flesh; from which time the already existing true religion began to be styled Christian”.

In the context of the time, this humanist thesis probably emerged as a way of reconciling Christianity with the ancient pre-Christian Greco-Roman philosophy and culture that had been rediscovered at the time, not to mention some Christian encounters with Jewish mysticism (Mirandola in particular is considered the father of what’s called Christian Kabbalah), but it has persisted over the centuries and can be found in certain variations within not only Traditionalism but also Theosophy and certain New Age and spiritualist circles. In fact, you’ve probably heard about the concept of “perennial philosophy” from the work of Aldous Huxley, who despite not being a Traditionalist in the strict sense definitely adhered to his own concept of perennial philosophy, for which he titled a book about mysticism. The irony of this, of course, is that the Renaissance is sometimes cited in Traditionalist narratives as the beginning of the current stage of humanity’s supposed spiritual decline. Even more ironic is the fact that the very term “perennial philosophy” itself was actually coined in 1540 by Agostino Stueco, an Italian Renaissance humanist.

Of a certain relevance to Satanists and travellers of the Left Hand Path as well as the subject of Satanic Panic is Guénon’s denunctions of what he considered to be “Satanism” and “Luciferianism”. Guénon believed that, just as surely as there existed a great perennial philosophy and tradition, there existed forces of “counter-tradition” or “counter-initiation” in the world, which thus opposed tradition. “Counter-initiation”, he said, involves “true Satanism” which “overturns the sacred” by way of “degradation until the most extreme degree”. For Guénon, such forces of “counter-initiation” included occultists such as Theodor Reuss, Aleister Crowley, Jean Bricaud, Charles Detre, G. I. Gurdjieff, R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz, and possibly Giuliano Kremmerz – no doubt all of them occultists who Guénon disagreed with or detested for whatever reason. Guénon also included Freemasons in his network of “counter-tradition”, as well as Mormons and practitioners of ancient Egyptian magic (the latter of which he believed consisted only of “dangerous” and “inferior” magic dedicated to Set or Typhon). Guénon also frequently claimed to be the victim of attacks by “counter-initiates” against him. To Guénon, the difference between Satanism and Luciferianism was simply a matter of consciousness – Luciferianism meant rebellion against tradition in the name of the idea that Satan was actually an angel of light named Lucifer or simply a form of “unconscious Satanism”, while Satanism per se meant the conscious subversion and degradation of tradition in itself. For Guénon, “unconscious Satanism” meant practically any theory that he believed “disfigured” the concept of God, including the “limited God” theory and the idea of an evolving God, which he thus attributed to thinkers like Baruch Spinoza, G. W. F. Hegel, and William James.

It cannot be overstated how important Guénon is to the imagination of right-wing and fascist conspiracism. In fact, I consider my precise lack of discussion of Guénon in my previous article on Satanic Panic to be a gross oversight. If you consider right-wing conspiracy theories with Guénon in mind, you can easily imagine all of the major villains of the right-wing imagination as “agents of counter-initiation”. That angle is essentially the idea of many of the original anti-Masonic and anti-Illuminati conspiracy theories in that the premise was that shadowy organisations were fomenting revolution in order to destroy the Catholic Church (thus, “Tradition”). From this standpoint, right-wing conspiracism itself emerges as an emergent, organic expression of what is essentially traditionalist ideology, and thus the growth of the far-right also means the growth of traditionalism at large.

So, having established all of this, how do we go from René Guénon to the new King of the United Kingdom? What does Charles III have to do with Guénon and his Traditionalism? The short answer is this: Charles III is a Traditionalist, in the sense that he is a student of René Guénon’s spiritual ideology.

When it comes to discussions of Charles III’s quasi-activist role in British politics and its public discourse, most people focus on either his tendency to talk about environmentalism, his apparent interest in homeopathy, or his prolific opposition to genetically modified crops. But if we take note of the fact that Charles buttresses those latter two concerns in a generalized appeal to “traditional” knowledge and ways of life, it is not hard to realize – and I think not even many critics of Charles’ political activism notice this – the way that Traditionalist ideology plays a role in even this particular form of nuisance politics.

Charles III is a patron of an organisation called the Temenos Academy, which asserts itself to be “dedicated to the teaching and dissemination of the perennial wisdom”, which they regard as “the ground of every civilisation”. This is very much an explicit statement of Guénon’s ideology of Traditionalism. Charles III, who has been a patron of the Temenos Academy since it was founded in 1991, seems to have held the work of the Academy in high regard, saying that the organisation was committed to “fostering a wider awareness of the great spiritual traditions we have inherited from the past”, which he asserted “form the basis of mankind’s most civilised values and have been handed down to us over many centuries”. Charles III also seems to have been a close friend of one of the Academy’s founders, Keith Critchlow, who apparently travelled with Charles for 30 years and taught both Charles and Prince Harry the art of “sacred geometry”. This friendship probably began while Charles was busy campaigning against “inappropriate architecture” (presumably meaning the “monstrous carbuncles” of “modern” architecture) in 1984, at which time Critchlow had come up with the idea behind the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, which Charles later founded in 2005. In 1986, Charles established the Prince’s School of Architecture, which then incorporated Critchlow’s Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts department into its cirriculum, which in turn was later transferred to the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts when it was founded. Critchlow himself was also acquianted with Seyyed Hossein Nasr, a Traditionalist intellectual who was also a scholar of Sufi Islam.

The connection to Islam is somewhat fascinating, considering the nature of British conservative politics and its tendency towards Islamophobia, and so merits considerable attention. In fact, Charles III has something of a reputation as an unexpected advocate for the merits of Islam. In 1993, Charles III gave a speech at the Sheldonian Theatre in which he urged greater understanding between Islam and “the West”, arguing that Islam and Christianity share the same tradition of ethical monotheism, that sharia law is misunderstood by the public because of Western media, and, most importantly, that Islam, unlike modern Christianity, “has preserved a metaphysical and unified view of ourselves and the world around us”. In 1996, he spoke at the Foreign Office Conference Centre to encourage the teaching of Islamic pedagogy and philosophy to young Britons, in 2010 he gave a speech to the Oxford Centre of Islamic Studies arguing that the Quran teaches that “there are limits to the abundance of Nature” established by God and that “we cannot exist on our own without the intricately balanced web of life around us”, and according to his 2018 biography, Charles At Seventy: Thoughts, Hopes, and Dreams written by Robert Jobson, it is recounted that Charles studied the Quran and that he argued that Christianity needs to learn from Islam as well as Judaism, and thus rediscover “universal truths that dwell at the heart of these religions” in order to secure the future.

Such a worldview can be interpreted as an appeal to tolerance or even multiculturalism, and it has certainly endeared him to Muslims around the world. Indeed, if his biography is to be believed, Charles III actually opposed the US invasion of Iraq, disagreed with banning the niqab, and even argued that a political solution for Palestine was necessary to resolve the enmity that he felt was at the root of international terrorism. However, his particular appreciation of Islam may also have brought him on the side of reactionary religious authoritarianism. In 1989, when Ayatollah Khomeini issued the infamous death fatwa against Salman Rushdie for writing The Satanic Verses, Charles III refused to give any public support for Rushdie’s right to freedom of expression. According to Martin Amis, who had an argument with Charles III over this subject, Charles seemed to suggest that no one had the right to insult “someone else’s deepest convictions”, which by implication means that he may have supported Khomeini on this issue. He also seems to have made the same argument much later in response to the publication of Danish cartoons that mocked the Prophet Muhammad.

In view of the broader context of Traditionalism, any connection to Islam is probably not an accident. Islam, or rather Sufi Islam in particular, is one of the religions that Traditionalists believe contains the perennial philosophy. In fact, Traditionalists also often believe that, whereas in “the West” this perennial philosophy is almost entirely lost or forgotten, in “the East” it has been preserved in doctrines such as Sufi Islam and Advaita Vedanta. Moreover, René Guénon himself converted to Islam in 1912, later moved to Egypt in 1930 in order to be initiated in a Sufi order and then study, practice, and preach Islam, and apparently the last word he uttered before he died in 1951 was “Allah”. This perhaps also explains the fact of Guénon’s work having spread and become as influential as it did in the Islamic world, at least if Seyyed Hossein Nasr is to be believed. In Iran, three out of seven members of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution organised by Ayatollah Khomeini were influenced by Guénon’s Traditionalism, and meanwhile Guénon’s work was widely read and discussed among the Iranian intelligentsia during the 1960s and 70s. Likewise, in Pakistan, Guénon’s ideas seem to have inspired the famed author Hasan Askari, as well as A. K. Brohi, the intellectual politician who served in the regime of Zia ul-Haq, and apparently Muhammad Shafi Deobandi, the father of Deobandi Islam.

For all of that, however, while Charles III has been presented as an inveterate anti-Western Islamophile and even a possible Islamic convert by sections of the British establishment and the Transatlantic right-wing press eager to present his appreciation of Islam as a rejection of Christianity and a possible threat to the British nation, Islam is not the only religion that Charles has a special appreciation for. Charles III has also been notable for a similarly intense interest in the Eastern Orthodox Church, which I have to assume has not come at the expense of his appreciation of Islam. In 1997, soon after the death of Princess Diana, Charles III visited Mount Athos, the famous autonomous Greek Orthodox monastic community, presumably seeking to find solace in the mountain’s cloisters. Charles has since made multiple visits to Mount Athos over the years, and in 2004 he offered to assist the Greek and Serbian governments in restoring the Monastery of Chelandari, which was damaged by fire. Around this time he also became a member of an organisation called Friends of Mount Athos, which was set up to raise funds for the Monastery of Chelandari. Close friends said that Charles adorned a section of his Highgrove home with Byzantine icons, possibly originally from Mount Athos, and Athonite monks were convinced that Charles was “Orthodox in his heart”. Charles has also made numerous visits to Orthodox churches not only in Greece but also Serbia, Romania, and elsewhere.

You might be wondering how to make sense of this. Charles III is definitely not a Muslim or a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church in any official capacity. He is a member of the Church of England, and for him to convert to Islam or Eastern Orthodoxy he would have had to give up the right to succeed the throne. Rather, it seems more likely to be the case that Charles admires both Islam and the Eastern Orthodox Church as doctrines in which he sees survivals of what he believes to be the “traditional worldview”. There’s a way that I believe makes more sense of this as it relates to Charles’ affinity for Mount Athos. Abbot Ephraim of the Vatopedi Monastery once said that Athonite monasticism is both “a signpost to heaven” and “a bridge over which pass true spiritual provisions for the world”. From this perspective, we might suppose that Charles III looks at Mount Athos as a worldly link to the universal order of life, a place where “traditional wisdom”, or “perennial philosophy”, and its “blessings” are passed from heaven to earth.

It is worth noting that Charles has also offered some praise to religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, though this praise seems to be mostly in connection to his much larger appraisal of Islam, and his opinion of all three of those religions is connected to his belief that they reject the idea of Man being separate from Nature, religion from science, or mind from matter. Charles III has also praised the principles of Sikhism ahead of his visit to India in 2019. However, it seems clear to me that much of his focus is on the three “Abrahamic” religions, or rather at least two of them: Christianity and Islam. As for Judaism, I haven’t been able to find any extensive discussion of Judaism from Charles, or at least nowhere near as much as Islam or Christianity. That said, Charles was apparently circumcised as an infant by Rabbi Jacob Snowman in a Jewish ceremony, maintained a close friendship with Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, and it has often been said that he had a special relationship with the Jewish community. At the same time, however, in 1986 Charles blamed unrest in the Middle East on “an influx of foreign Jews” and called for the United States government to “take on the Jewish lobby” in a letter addressed to his friend Laurens van der Post.

In a much broader sense, Charles III has been rather consistent in his advocacy of Traditionalism as an ideology. As Hannah Gais points out in her article for The Baffler, Charles suggested in an essay in 2006 that “so much discarded and derided tradition is not the enemy of modernity, but is its inevitable future precisely because of the balance that needs to be struck”. In a 2000 address before the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Charles proclaimed that “our secular age” runs the risk of “ignoring, or forgetting, all knowledge of the sacred and spiritual”. In his 2010 book, Harmony: A New Way of Looking At Our World, Charles argued that all the major crises of the modern world comprise a “crisis of perception”, in that humanity no longer knows how to live in harmony with the planet because it has lost sight of the sacred principles that it embodies. In his lectures, Charles III often references the work of Seyyed Hossein Nasr, who let’s once again establish is an intellectual devotee of René Guénon. In fact, I should also note that, in a 2008 issue of Sophia, a journal published by the Foundation for Traditional Studies, a speech from Charles III about humanity’s relationship to the environment, alongside a similar discussion by none other than Seyyed Hossein Nasr, can be found among its content.

Charles III is also a contributor to an organisation called The Matheson Trust, a think tank on comparative religion that was founded by Donald Macleod Matheson in 1974. The Matheson Trust seems to be interested in spreading works of traditionalist scholarship in order to promote the idea of the underlying metaphysical unity of all religions. Charles III has an essay titled A Sense of the Sacred: Building Bridges Between East and West published in Volume 13 of Sacred Web in 2004. Charles also gave an introductory speech for The Matheson Trust’s Sacred Web Conference in 2006. In fact, both the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts and the Temenos Academy are listed as “academic contacts” on The Matheson Trust’s website, suggesting a solid connection between these organisations. Donald Macleod Matheson himself, by the way, in addition to being an active part of the Traditionalist School, having translated the works of Traditionalist authors such as Frithjof Schuon and Titus Burckhardt, was also the Secretary to the National Trust, for which he received appointment as Commander of the Order of the British Empire. That’s quite a prestigious honour, at least when you consider who else has received it.

Perhaps the smoking gun in all this is the fact that Charles III, even if he may not publicly call himself a Traditionalist, is clearly aware of his own connection to the Traditionalist School and its broad movement. The proof of this is that, in that 2006 introductory speech for The Matheson Trust’s Sacred Web Conference I previously referenced, Charles explained that the mission of both the Temenos Academy and Sacred Web is to explore the role of “Tradition” in the modern world while critiquing “the false premises of Modernity”. Charles refers to this critique as the same critique that was set out by none other than René Guénon, or more specifically in Guénon’s book The Reign of Quantity. Thus we see that Charles III, in an audience of Traditionalists, hosted by a Traditionalist organisation, directly acknowledges his ideological and cultural mission as being based on the ideas of René Guénon.

Understand now that it is the Traditionalism of René Guénon that is at the root of many of Charles III’s political involvements. He is a Traditionalist in the sense that he adheres to the basic form of René Guénon’s ideology, albeit in his own distinct way, and he takes that ideology seriously. He genuinely believes in Traditionalism as something that confronts what he believes to be the dominant ideology of modernity, and he defends Traditionalism from the charge of nostalgia by claiming that it seeks not so much the past as much as “the sacred”, and reveres the past only because it consisted of “the sacred”. There are many conservatives across the Atlantic who fail to understand this and so prefer to think of Charles III as little more than a freewheeling liberal dilettante for his inclinations, but no such prejudice could be further from the truth.

Think about why Charles expressed an interest in being called “Defender of Faith”, referencing religion at large, rather than the traditional “Defender of the Faith”, referencing specifically the Church of England to which he is royally bound. To most people it sounds like just an expression of liberal pluralism or multiculturalism, which some may find noble and high-minded while others deem it to be a bewildering eccentricity. But in reality, what appears to the conservative and liberal alike as an expression of multiculturalism is actually based on the Traditionalist premise that all major religions share an underlying metaphysical unity in the form of perennial philosophy.

Or how about Charles’ environmentalism? Most people assume that this is, again, just fashionable liberal politics, and in turn despised by many a conservative. But while environmentalism may be its own ideological interest for Charles, it is for him rather neatly blended with his overall Traditionalist worldview, or indeed may ultimately derive its core premise from that Traditionalism. His basic argument in Harmony is apparently that “Modernity”, in the sense of our purported move away from the metaphysical order and unity of the world, is the primary cause of our lack of harmony with the planet, which in turn is the supposed cause of the present ecological crisis, and all other social crises. Indeed, I think that Charles’ ideology might make for an curious template for what to expect of “conservative environmentalism”, or “traditionalist environmentalism”, in the future as the bourgeoisie continues to scramble for strategies on how to respond to climate change.

Even Charles’ prolific interest in homeopathy or “alternative medicine”, and further prolific opposition to genetically modified crops, is best understood through his adherence to the Traditionalism of René Guénon. Charles’ argument in defense of homeopathic/”alternative” medicine, as was given during his inauguration speech as President of the British Medical Association in 1982, is that according to him “folk healers” have over the centuries practiced a form of medicine that he believes to be “guided by traditional wisdom”, which, he claims, “sees illness as a disorder of the whole person, involving not only the patient’s body, but his mind, his self-image, his dependence on the physical and social environment, as well as his relation to the cosmos”. It sounds like it’s just airy nonsense – though I would contend that actual indigenous people using their particular medicinal arts probably weren’t as hopelessly inadequate as the modern “skeptic” would have you believe – but even this is an expression of Traditionalism in Guénon’s sense. What is “traditional wisdom” for Charles if not a name for perennial philosophy? Indeed, that holistic worldview he discusses is basically the same as that which he attributes to Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and to some extent Christianity. As for GM crops? Well, his objection that it involves meddling with “realms that belong to God and God alone” can probably be contextualized in his views on “Tradition”, which he most certainly assumes to be “God-given”.

And so we understand that Charles III, the new King of the United Kingdom, is a Traditionalist, and in all likelihood has been a Traditionalist for much of his life. Charles has undeniably studied Traditionalism, is familiar with the work of René Guénon and other Traditionalist authors such as Seyyed Hossein Nasr, and all of his political activism has been on behalf of his Traditionalist ideology. That’s why Charles granted patronage to homeopathic organisations, religious organisations, Islamic studies courses, and of course Traditionalist think tanks. That’s also why he lobbied for Tony Blair to give official state support for “alternative medicines”, it’s why he has devoted such personal and official effort to opening up dialogue between Christianity and Islam, and it’s also part of why he goes on visits to places such as Mount Athos and the Middle East.

Now, what does this all mean now that Charles III is the king of Britain? At this early stage of his reign it’s not easy to get a reliable picture of how his reign could turn. There is a general speculation that Charles III could be somewhat more interventionist than his predecessor. I suspect that this means he will actively lobby on behalf of his personal political priorities, not unlike his attempts to lobby Tony Blair’s government to endorse homeopathy. Perhaps we could expect royal diplomatic ventures in the Middle East? That depends, because the British government has already barred Prince William from getting involved in Israeli and Palestinian politics, though perhaps Charles III could order that bar to be lifted if he saw fit. Charles III has been publicly endorsing homeopathy for decades, it’s come up fairly recently as well, and it’s probably going to come up again, which means he may lobby the government on this again. It’s possible that Charles III may try to establish himself as a tangible world leader in the global effort to combat man-made climate change, which would contrast him with the fact that the ruling Conservative government is currently staffed with inveterate climate change deniers. I suspect that his particular ideological inclinations may actually put him at odds with those of the Conservative Party, whose conservatism is based essentially on the ideology of classical liberalism and its belief in “free market” capitalism, although we should be clear that Charles III obviously has no interest in the abolition of capitalism in any form whatsoever. Hannah Gais is probably on to something when she speculates that any solution Charles puts forward will involve elite management.

But whatever Charles III does, insofar as he takes any concrete actions as the official head of the British state, you could expect all of it to be guided by Charles’ particular form of Traditionalist ideology. If you follow through the connections I’ve presented thus far, this fact becomes obvious. That means Charles III being King means we now have a committed Traditionalist as the head of state. Don’t make any mistakes about what this might mean. While the British commentariat and much of the public currently assumes that Charles’ stances will bring more of a liberal-progressive social agenda into focus, the reality is that behind all of that is a deeply conservative and reactionary ideology that is just as much a part of the growing reactionary tide as any of the right-wing populists vying for power – not to mention, was part of the original primordial soup of reaction from which fascism as we know it emerged. No, Charles III won’t be somebody like Viktor Orban or Donald Trump (just for anyone who might be getting the wrong idea), but he will use his power to fulfill the agenda of Traditionalism as much as he can. That could be a major political victory for the Traditionalist movement, and in that sense a victory for global reaction.

And yes, make no mistake, Traditionalism is an enemy. The institution of the monarchy is itself already one of the eternal champions of authority against freedom, but Traditionalism is likewise such a vanguard, and all the more insidious. I believe that, if you study Traditionalist ideology from a critical perspective, you will be able to see aspects of its ideology across the major developments of global reaction, esoterica, and in the subtle, often barely noticeable contours of reactionary online discourse. Once that happens, it might just transform the way you look at politics and its intersection with culture.

In esoteric terms, Traditionalism is one of the clearest expressions of the Right Hand Path you will find in Western esotericism/occultism. Its premise is that the purpose of life is to live in harmony with a metaphysical order of truth that underlies everything, and esoteric attainment on Traditionalist terms requires participation in “orthodox” religions. René Guénon indeed positioned himself as the defender of traditional religion and esotericism, which set him against many other contemporary occultists that he deemed “counter-traditional”, and he established regular Masonic lodges, such as La Grande Triade (which currently still exists under the Grande Loge de France). The occultists that Guénon opposed include neo-Gnostics, the founder of Thelema, irregular Masonic rites/lodges and their members, syncretic practitioners, Egyptian magicians, to name a few, and he names Enlightenment-era rationalist, pantheist, and empiricist philosophers as “unconscious Satanists”. To my mind, this recalls the way that Enlightenment ideology and its exponents were invoked as a “Satanic” adversary against the Catholic Church. Conspiracy against the order of Christianity thus feeds the trope of conspiracy of counter-initiation against metaphysical tradition. Insofar as Guénon hit out against the arguably “counter-cultural” forms of occultism in his day while elevating regular Masonry and “orthodox” religions, Guénon can be thought of as, ultimately, a champion of The Establishment, in the sense that we mean the religious and esoteric establishment of his day, true to the will of the Right Hand Path.

Charles III is also The Establishment in modern Britain. Indeed, now that he is King of the United Kingdom, he is officially at the maximum possible level of being The Establishment that you can be in this country. And as a committed Traditionalist he thus stands as an almost conscious representative of the Right Hand Path. But on that note, I can’t allow myself to wrap up this article without discussing the fact that Charles III is not the only man of power to have convened at Mount Athos. It may surprise you to know that Mount Athos has, for decades, served as a place where world leaders and powerful people got together, ostensibly for the purpose of spiritual contemplation.

According to an article found on The Seattle Times written by A. Craig Copetas (apparently originally for Bloomberg News), thousands of politicians and elite businessmen have visited a private pilgrimage site at Mount Athos as a sort of spiritual retreat before travelling to Switzerland for the annual World Economic Forum at Davos. According to Copetas these men include not only Charles III but also Silvio Berlusconi, Juan Carlos, Jimmy Carter, George Karaplis, George H. W. Bush, Vladimir Putin, Peter Armitage, the Aga Khan, and even Fidel Castro. That sounds like quite a lot of names, and it does seem strange that they would all go to such a place. But I double-checked; at least a few of these aren’t solely off of Copetas’ reporting. George H. W. Bush appears to have visited Mount Athos in 1995 and attended a ceremony there, seemingly as part of a weekend trip to Greece where the shipping tycoon Yiannis Latsis presented a luxury yacht to the Bush family. Vladimir Putin has made multiple pilgrimages to Mount Athos over the years, the earliest I can find being at around 2005. Peter Armitage, who ran a company called Capital International, has visited Mount Athos, and in fact he seems to have taken an interest in Christianity and Buddhism some time after he left the company. Fidel Castro visted Mount Athos in 2004, after having invited Patriarch Bartholomew to attend the inauguration of Cuba’s first Orthodox Church. Apparently, in 1998, Mount Athos was visited by the exiled Bulgarian king Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha, the fourth Aga Khan Shah Karim al-Husayni, and Vladimir Romanov, apparently to create a “Club for Friends of Byzantium”. In 2018, Abbot Ephraim met with Eugene Fishel, from the US State Department, along with Wess Mitchell and George Kent, at the Vatopedi Monastery in Mount Athos to discuss the Orthodox Church and apparently also the persecution of Christians in parts of the world. In fact, The Guardian noted in 2004 that Mount Athos has been seen as an ideal “detox trip” for the European bourgeoisie.

With these facts established, not to the mention the original Bloomberg article, I have to assume Copetas is on to something legitimate. So we can take as granted that George Karaplis, the former chief financial officer for the OTE (Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation), has in fact visited Mount Athos, apparently having made up to 70 pilgrimages since 1991, and has even described Vatopedi Monastery as “the original World Economic Forum”. He even claims to have accompanied senior executives from Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley. Apparently Mount Athos was considered a highly fashionable retreat for world leaders, and according to the local Athonite monks businessmen come to the Vatopedi Monastery all the time. Father Irenaios has said that he has spent hours listening to professionals, politicians, and businessmen talk about their lack of focus in life, while Father Germanos has said that businessmen regularly come to Mount Athos with “a great emptiness”. According to Copetas in his book, Mona Lisa’s Pajamas: Diverting Dispatches from a Roving Reporter, businessmen, politicians, and monarchs have been making visits to Mount Athos since as far back as 985 AD, when three rich merchants built the Vatopedi Monastery with their fortunes, and since then the monastery has been visited by the likes of the Medicis, the King of Spain, and wealthy brokers such as Ciriaco d’Ancona. You wouldn’t know it too much today, though, since meetings with businessmen typically aren’t publicized. The visits are treated as private moments, and are apparently usually kept secret. This secrecy also goes for royalty, with both Charles and Harry having visited the Vatopedi Monastery in secret.

This is all fascinating especially when your mind turns to certain conspiracy theories about how the bourgeoisie are all godless devil-worshippers. I mean, you could argue that it doesn’t have much meaning, but think about it: if you have the money to go anywhere in the world to find yourself, why the holiest Orthodox site in the world? Is it because Vatopedi Monastery, in addition to being a place of monastic contemplation, also happens to be a historical place of financial influence? Or do they happen to find some vague meaning in Christianity in particular? That wouldn’t be too surprising. Despite decades of conspiracy theory there’s simply no way that the bourgeoisie consists of Satanists. Even things like the Bohemian Grove or that one Surrealism-themed party aren’t “Satanic rituals” in any sense. If they were Satanists, why the hell would they go to Mount Athos, which is an immensely holy place for Christianity – and they go there in private I might add! If nothing else it’s more proof of how Christianity is still to this day bound up in the dominant capitalist system, which is quite the problem for those on “the Left” who keep trying to appeal to some fanciful socialist Christianity. But in a broader sense, you should understand the ruling class not as godless nihilists or devil worshippers, but as faithful servants of the White Lodge, just as eager for the stamp of heaven as any poor worker fearfully humbling themselves before God. Thousands of businessmen, probably many more, and multiple politicians and heads of state, have all gathered at the Vatopedi Monastery at Mount Athos, and perhaps they seek some aspect of what Charles III was looking for. They go there for solace, contemplation, meaning, “heavenly provisions” etc.

King Charles III, and his Traditionalist inclinations together with his history of going to the Vatopedi Monastery, can be thought of as a symbol of the elite progress of the Right Hand Path. At least, if he indeed is as much of an “activist monarch” as we might suspect. He’s certainly much more concerted about any coherent spiritual project than almost anyone in the British ruling class that I can think of, almost impressively so. He should be observed in tandem with the continuing progress of global social reaction. The White Lodge is on the move. I wonder what will follow.

Boris Johnson is not a libertarian

All too often in mainstream British political discourse surrounding government policy as regards the still-ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson as well as the broader Conservative Party are pursuing a “libertarian” approach to Covid-19 policy. This description is, of course, a fatuous reference to the fact that Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party have been deliberately trying to avoid an increase in regulations and restrictions as the Omicron variant of Covid-19 continues to spread through England, thus seemingly taking a laissez-faire attitude to the issue, and derives from Boris Johnson’s own apparent self-description as a “libertarian”. But what is the truth of this “libertarianism”?

I must admit that a few years ago, for some time, I had been unduly skeptical of Jeremy Corbyn on libertarian grounds, but his recent opposition to Covid passports and mandatory vaccines (for NHS workers, at least), in spite of other trends in the Labour Party and the “centre-left” has had me off guard, and gotten me curious. On December 14th 2021, Jeremy Corbyn along with several other left-wing Labour MPs, including Diane Abbott and Zarah Sultana, voted against a series of measures that including Covid passports and mandatory vaccines for NHS workers, joined by a 100-strong contingent of Conservative rebels who opposed the government on these same measures. At first I did not know Corbyn’s argument, and this made me want to hear it, but recently a Double Down News video featuring Corbyn has proven to be rather clarifying on the subject.

Corbyn’s argument is that instituting a policy of requiring Covid passports would lead to a situation in which there would be a massive databank of citizens that can be held by the state for its own purposes against their privacy and civil liberties, and his argument against requiring NHS workers to be vaccinated is that this would potentially mean losing vital staff at a time when the NHS needs all hands available to manage hospitalization of people infected with Covid-19. I must say, it’s hard to oppose this line of argument, and I find myself agreeing with it, in parts cautiously and in parts enthusiastically. And once we start from this argument, or rather the observations it speaks to, the narrative of Boris Johnson’s “libertarianism” unravels into abject falsity.

For all the predictable bromides concerning the tradition of “English liberty”, the British government has fared little better than the rest of the world in its march towards the enactment of a long-term state of exception. After sitting on its hands and waiting for Covid-19 to spread across the UK and kill hundreds of people, the government mandated a protracted lockdown over a months-long period before the summer season, the exact length depending on which part of the UK you lived in. In England, particularly, things had become so draconian that there were even reports that casual sex had been banned (outside your own home, of course). And then, in 2021, peaceful protests and vigils against police violence in the wake of the rape and murder of Sarah Everard were met with violent suppression by the police and an effort by the Conservative government to impose new restrictions against the right to protest, and thereby the basic rights to freedom of speech, expression, and assembly. So much for this “English liberty” we were all told about.

In this light, Boris Johnson can’t possibly be taken as a “libertarian” with any grain of seriousness. But then how do we make sense of his ostensibly laissez-faire approach to the pandemic as of late. Well there are a number of ways. I suspect one viable explanation is that he can’t possibly maintain a position in which to impose further restriction after he himself violated the very restrictions he imposed upon everyone else. But I have another theory. Remember that, as Covid-19 was spreading across Europe and the UK had its first confirmed cases, the government waited until the middle of March to enact any serious policies to combat, or more accurately control, the spread of Covid-19. It was in the vacuum of apparent inaction and mounting viral transmission that a repressive state of exception soon followed. My suspicion hence is that the government had deliberately arranged our extant circumstances so as to allow for the necessity of a state of exception, most likely as part of a strategy to bide time and preserve the order of uninterrupted exchange of capital and goods while the government cooked a set of restrictions to stall the virus and compensate the rich.

This understanding also applies to the proposal to require NHS workers to be vaccinated. In theory it should make sense, but in practice the logical outcome of this means that any NHS workers who, for whatever reason, have not been vaccinated will lose their jobs. The problem here is obvious: that potentially means less staff for the NHS, which means less people to perform the various functions of the NHS which it needs especially in order to manage the negative cascading effects of a pandemic. There is already a staff shortage in the NHS as it is, with thousands of workers absent because of Covid, and this has led to critical incidents in British hospitals, disruptions of vital medical functions including unloading ambulances, military personnel being deployed to plug the gaps, and a general demoralisation among remaining NHS staff. With this in mind, legally requiring NHS staff to be vaccinated in order to continue their duties could deepen the pressures facing the NHS by leading to further shortages, creating gaps that are then harder to fill, leading to a general crisis for the NHS. This, in my opinion, constitutes a direct attack on the NHS, one befitting a government that had already take many millions of pounds of money out of the NHS and continued a regime of privatisation that has been active since before Boris Johnson became Prime Minister. Incidentally, it should be stressed that privatisation has, in the years prior to the global pandemic, been pursued not only by the British government but also the government of Italy, thus eventually weakening the ability of public health services to effectively combat the pandemic.

Thus it is empirically clear what the Conservative government is doing. Far from pursuing a “libertarian” approach to the pandemic, the government is attempting to establish a biopolitically-controlled carceral state, whose order over the masses is based on a broad restriction of freedom that is itself sustained by a constant state of crisis management. This crisis management, of course, pertains to a continuous emergence, recession, and then resurgence of Covid-19, which, while obviously not created itself by the government, is facilitated by the government in that it conditions its ability to cyclically re-establish itself. There have been many voices in the political and scientific establishment

The UK is not the only country in the world where Covid-19 regulations, under the purview of certain authoritarian governments, have served as a pretext to expand the dictatorial powers of the state. In Greece, Covid-19 restrictions were invoked as a pretext for allowing the Greek police to violently suppress protests against the government and censure members of the Greek parliament. In Austria, there is already a raft of draconian restrictions being implemented, including vaccine mandate enforced by fines and police checks, and has enacted a lockdown and curfews specifically for unvaccinated citizens. In France, President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to curtail several freedoms for the 5 million French citizens who have not yet been vaccinated; although he doesn’t plan to vaccinate everyone by force, he does plan to ban unvaccinated citizens from going to restaurants, cafes, cinemas, theatres, and many other public venues. In the United States of America, President Joe Biden tried to implement a policy of mandatory vaccination for employees, but it was blocked by the Supreme Court. And this is to say nothing of the way China has handled the pandemic since it was still largely confined to Wuhan.

My point is that all over the world one of the main cascading effects of Covid-19 has been a raft of states of exception, countries ratcheting the expansion of authoritarian state power by using the continued presence and resurgence of Covid-19 to exercise greater authority over the citizens, and Jeremy Corbyn is right to talk about this happening, he is right to be concerned about how all of this is going to lead up to a future of police states down the line, and he is right about how none of this requries you to be an anti-vax nutjob who thinks that mass vaccination itself is just a control mechanism. If we are at all concerned about civil liberties, we would be fools to ignore Corbyn’s argument. And we should also recognize the Conservative government under Boris Johnson for what it is: an increasingly authoritarian state of exception, which should be dismantled like any other tyranny.

Now, since there’s rumours of Jeremy Corbyn starting a new Peace and Justice Party, even if it’s not going to happen, Corbyn’s talk about civil liberties honestly has me hoping that maybe his new party might be worth supporting. I mean, ultimately no party is going to deliver any country from capitalism in the long-term, and the track record for so-called communist parties is not particularly good, and I would espouse a form of anti-capitalist libertarian communist form of self-reliance that holds that even Corbyn is not the salvation people think he is, but having said all of that, if Corbyn’s Peace and Justice movement has any more of the civil liberties concerns that Corbyn seems to be expressing, then I just might be willing to support it, solely on the grounds that it might be the only chance within the British electoral system of seeing an actual civil-libertarian movement in mainstream British politics. Of course, the only problem with this is that it doesn’t matter if (1) the party never makes any siginificant victories and (2) the British union is destroyed from within as a result of Scottish and Welsh secession which I sincerely hope happens. Seriously, in all honesty, the fragmentation of the United Kingdom into small but independent nations is the one thing that might make Brexit worth it in the end, and the main reason that I don’t actually hold out hope for Labour undoing Brexit, and it’s for this reason that I personally would vote for Plaid Cymru in any Welsh elections, despite the fact that I don’t consider them to be all that left-wing, solely for the possibility of bringing about Welsh independence.

But, if Peace and Justice were to come along as an actual, then despite everything I might be inclined to support them against the Conservatives and against the Labour Party. Because let’s face it, the Conservatives are not the only carceral force in British politics, and the Labour Party has no interest in civil-libertarianism and ultimately no desire to resist the post-pandemic trend towards states of exception, rather they merely want their own, more “competent”, more “forensic”, quasi-social-democratic carceral state.

An anti-government protester photographed in London; image from South China Morning Post

Defund the BBC

I don’t know how late this is, but the subject matter is still very much current, and I have to address on some level or another. Simply put, there is no reason the BBC should be allowed to demand that we pay for it by law in order to own a television. The excuse given to its vaunted status as the central institution of public broadcasting and journalism in the UK is its supposed independence and objectivity, a standard that, theoretically, sets it above all other similar private companies. There are, of course, many reasons to laugh at this claim, but we’ll focus on a recent matter that shows the BBC’s true colours and is still an ongoing scandal.

On October 26th, the BBC published an article titled “We’re being pressured into sex by some trans women”, in which the author Caroline Lowbridge advanced numerous assertions about trans people supposedly peer-pressuring or coercing lesbians into having sex with them. Because there is no actual data to point to in order to empirically support such claims, the author largely cited a number of lesbians who all happened to come from explicitly anti-trans organizations, such as Get the L Out and the LGB Alliance, and represents the “trans side” of the debate through random tweets and a decontextualized video from a “social justice warrior”, almost without ever consulting the trans community or the LGBT community as a whole. This article is so notorious for its irresponisble assertions about trans people that it sparked a major backlash, prompted numerous complaints which led to some editions, some of the BBC’s own staff debated and protested the article before it was even published (evidently the TERF wing of the BBC won out), and now the article even has its own Wikipedia page.

The worst aspect of this comes from one of the article’s sources, Lily Cade, a lesbian former porn actress, who in the article discussed what she called the “cotton ceiling”, a belief attributed to trans people in which “breaking the cotton ceiling” was supposed to mean having sex with a cis woman. No trans person has ever even heard of the term or seen it used in that context before this article was published. Not long after the article was published, people discovered that Lily Cade was herself a serial rapist who abused several other women, and confessed to it, which meant that this was a proven and admitted rapist who then went on to accuse trans people of being rapists, with the approval of the BBC. And after that, Lily Cade took to her blog to release three angry tirades against trans people, all of them involving insane conspiracy theories about the supposed replacement of cis women by trans women and featuring explicit calls for the murder of trans people. They read like a series of school shooter manifestos or, in terms of language and subtext, classical white supremacist hate propaganda. It was only after this that the BBC, after initially doubling down on their article, eventually removed the Lily Cade section from their article, by which point everyone else also figured out that she was a pedophile as well as a rapist. But that still means that every other bigoted, unsubstantiated assertion about trans people was left to run unchecked.

As a matter of fact this article is not an isolated incident from the BBC. At one point they also had a Newsnight show about trans people which featured the likes of Graham Linehan, former IT crowd writer and presently psychotic TERF pundit, who compared trans people to Nazis. Much of the BBC’s coverage of trans people and their issues has actually been remarkably antagonistic to the trans community. Their exclusion of trans voices from any discussion that actually affects them is both systemic and deliberate, as is evidenced by not only the fact that the author of the infamous article chose not to include the testimony of a trans porn actress pointing to Lily Cade’s history of rape, but also by the fact that there are several BBC staff who are themselves transphobes. Some staff have reported that senior management within the BBC have lent an ear to figures with anti-trans ideological beliefs and themselves are taken in by anti-trans conspiracy theories.

The BBC is often talked about by the right as some bastion of progressive ideology, of so-called “political correctness” (a phenomenon that, I maintain, no one has adequately understood from the 1990s onward), but in reality the BBC is quite a profoundly reactionary institution. The regularity with which they churn out anti-trans propaganda is alone evidence enough of this. But we should also note that the BBC has exhibited other reactionary biases, such as its apparent bias against the Labour Party during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. The idea of the BBC as an “objective” institution in the face of power is also directly undermined by its historic tendency to at least cave to pressure from the state, such as during the build up to the Iraq War. In fact, we get a good view as to the true, reactionary historical purpose of the BBC from the organization’s founding father, John Reith. Tom Mills’ book The BBC: Myth of a Public Service summarizes his convictions in the context of his response to the general strike that took place in 1926:

Recalling these events three decades later, Reith wrote that ‘if there had been broadcasting at the time of the French Revolution, there would have been no French Revolution’. Revolutions, he reasoned, are based on falsehoods and misinformation, and during the General Strike, the role of the British Broadcasting Company had been to ‘announce truth’. It was, he thought, quite proper that it had been ‘on the side of the government’ and had supported ‘law and order’.

From this perspective, it makes perfect sense that the BBC, beneath the modern perception of “liberalism” and objectivity, is a deeply reactionary, establishmentarian institution that is hostile to non-normative tendencies and threats to the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. You may also notice the attribution of social and political upheaval to “misinformation”. In a modern context, we might see this same belief motivating our discourse regarding social media, with basically any riot or upheaval that doesn’t get the sympathy of the media being deemed a product of “fake news”.

The BBC doesn’t deserve any of your money. If you get a TV, try to avoid getting the BBC on it, just to avoid getting a license. If you can’t, find a way to replace your TV with a computer. The BBC only exists to further the cause of the oppression of trans people and the working class. Frankly, it should not be a public corporation, supported by your tax dollars. Even if that means it becomes a private corporation, I guarantee you that even if that means the BBC’s editorial line becomes more reactionary than before, it would also just be an expansion of the already reactionary line it often had since its foundation. While I dislike privatization in general, and strive for a system where private property (meaning property held by capitalists to extract surplus value, not personal property) is but a memory and there are no more corporations, I also wouldn’t complain if the BBC, while it exists under capitalism, became a private company instead of a public one, because then you are longer no legally obligated to financially support them if you want a TV. Seriously, fuck the BBC.

The British government may have cancelled Iselder

Something happened recently in my home country, and by my home country I mean Wales, that I would like to take the time to talk about. There was an announcement from Iselder, the one-man Welsh black metal band whose lyrics are dedicated to the cause of Welsh nationalism, which looked initially like an early retirement. Here’s what Gofid, the man behind Iselder, said on the band’s Facebook page:

Today was meant to be a day of celebration. Today was meant to be the day where all my hard work paid off. Today was meant to be the day where my second full length album, Metel Du Gwir Cymreig, was finally released. However, that’s just not the case.

It’s been almost two months since I was arrested on suspicion of inciting arson/criminal damage due to the “Burn Your Local Holiday Home” parody t-shirts, and the lyrics from the song “Llosgi Bwriadol” from the upcoming album. In a cruel twist of fate, my day started the same way it did on September 15th, with a loud knocking on my door. Panicked, I quickly got dressed with my heart beating through my chest, only to realise it was just the postman delivering Christmas presents I had ordered the week prior. If anything this made me realise how deeply this has effected me, with something as simple as a knocking on my apartment door triggering flashbacks and major anxiety.

Due to my PC being in police custody still, I don’t have access to the masters to be able to release the album, or create the merch people had ordered. I also don’t have the means to ship out CDs of past albums, t-shirts, patches, or other merchandise due to those also being seized. My main passion of creating music has been stripped away from me, and my emotional outlet locked away for an uncertain amount of time.

I don’t have much left to say except thank you (or diolch in my native tongue) for all your support over the past couple of months. From comments to private messages, you’ve been nothing but supportive of me throughout this whole ordeal, and I wish there was an easy way to repay all of you for your kindness.

It seems that Gofid got arrested in September, as he recalls in a comment he was accused of inciting or at least encourgaing people to commit arson and property damage. Not even violence, just property damage. This seems to be over his satirical “Burn Your Local Holiday Home” shirt, which parodies the archetypal church burning meme, based on the church burnings that occurred throughout Norway in the early 1990s. The charges are obviously spurious, since in order to book him for those shirts you’d have to arrest every purveyor of church burning shirts everywhere. But Gofid’s arrest seems to have resulted in his personal computer and merchandise being confiscated by the authorities, held in custody for an indeterminate length of time, which means that Gofid is presently unable to press his upcoming album, “Metel Du Gwir Cymreig”, or release new merchandise. At present, it is still possible to support Iselder by buying from his record label, Marwolaeth Records. Marwolaeth Records has explained in a post that Metel Du Gwir Cymreig is currently postponed until sometime in 2022, and it remains possible to pre-order it on Bandcamp, if you’re willing to wait for it.

At this point, I think it’s necessary to explain what the deal is with holiday homes, and why they’re such a pain in the ass from the perspective of Welsh nationalists/independence supporters. A holiday home is basically a second home rented out for people to temporarily live in while they go on vacation. In Wales, the increasing concentration of these second homes is seen to have a negative impact on the local community, contributing to a broader housing crisis by pushing up housing prices for people living in Wales trying to buy their own home. This problem is not only economic in nature, but it also has some cultural implications, with young Welsh speakers being driven out of the housing market by soaring house prices created by the proliferation of holiday homes owned by English speaking holiday-goers, which would contritbute to the decline of Welsh national identity. From 1979 to the 1990s, there was a radical Welsh nationalist group called Meibion Glyndwr who were responsible for burning holiday homes in Wales that were being used by the English bourgeoisie. Back in the day, rich English people, including politicians, would buy up second homes in Wales as vacation residence, which made regular housing in Wales much more expensive, and Meibion Glyndwr was formed as a kind of violent response to those conditions. It’s that history that Iselder is clearly drawing on in their satirical imagery.

Apparently, though, drawing attention to this reality through black metal satire is offensive enough to get you arrested and basically kill your musical career. I suppose this is England’s way of colonizing Welsh art while it still can.

I’ll be honest. I wasn’t expecting this to happen to anybody. I mean, I get that black metal is one of those artforms known for certain brushes with the law. Varg Vikernes was arrested for killing Euronymous (the latter of whom also probably wanted to kill him) as well as in connection with the church burnings that took place in Norway, members of the Greek black metal band Nergal were arrested because the police thought they were involved with a murderous “Satanic cult”, Dagon from Inquisition was arrested for having child pornography on his computer, and a few other black metal bands have also been involved in crimes. But Gofid didn’t do anything illegal, much less wrong, and he gets arrested and has his work stolen by the police. Meanwhile, there are actual fascist bands out there who get semi-mainstream status in the world of black metal. And I don’t just mean bands with problematic assocations like Marduk or Dissection. I mean actual, bona fide, white supremacist and fascist bands whose lyrics are based on white supremacist ideology. High-profile bands like Satanic Warmaster (an outright neo-Nazi band), Graveland (who still releases albums that glorify “the white race”), Destroyer 666 (whose first album literally had lyrics glorifying white pride politics and still has fascist lyrics on their later albums), Nokturnal Mortum (who still perform at NSBM music festivals), Acherontas (who also performed at an NSBM festival and whose later albums seem to contain thinly-veiled fascist lyrical themes), Black Witchery (who have quite a lot of anti-Semitic lyrics), Nyogthaeblisz (whose lyrics are not only anti-Semitic but also seem to be drawn from the Order of Nine Angles), and Peste Noire (a band that uses a Nazi prison gang symbol and whose music is all kinds of racist), to name some notorious examples. Not to mention whole record labels, even ones that have mostly non-NSBM/fascist bands, being owned by Nazis/fascists, like Iron Bonehead Records (run by an apparent neo-Nazi named Patrick Kremer), Nuclear War Now Productions (run by a racist biotech CEO and Yukio Mishima fanboy named Yosuke Konishi), and World Terror Committee (run by Sven Zimper, the vocalist for the NSBM band Grand Belial’s Key who was also in another infamous NSBM band called Absurd).

I haven’t seen any stories of any of those guys getting arrested or having their homes busted open by cops to arrest him for white supremacist lyrics. In fact, I’m willing to bet that merely being accused of being a Nazi is the only real trouble they’ve ever had to face in their lives! Meanwhile a left-wing/left-leaning black metal musician who just makes songs about Welsh independence, history, and heritage gets arrested and has his music confiscated probably just for scaring some dumb settler-colonialist Anglos and/or their snowflakey sympathizers.

Words can’t express how much this aggravates me. Gofid can’t play, but fascists are out there enjoying celebrity status and make money off their music, and even get to be in festivals where they can faciliate connections with actual far-right terrorists, and I haven’t seen them suffer any real social consequences, apart from occasionally getting “cancelled”, and then having the voices of concerned metalheads against fascism deal with the possibility of being drowned out, not even necessarily by fascists, but by whiny, reactionary, often “apolitical” consumerists who don’t want to even wrestle with the challenge of just dealing with any concept of problematic faves. That’s just fucking horrid. But, I guess it’s a pretty good reminder of which side the state is all too often on, don’t you think? I mean, if Nazis and fascists aren’t being arrested for glorifying violence against Jews, but you can be arrested for satirically condemning the existence of second homes owned by English capitalists, then you know for a fucking fact that the capitalist state has a habit of tolerating fascists while persecuting radical leftists. Remember that for the next time somebody tries to whine about how the radical left control everything because some liberal politician said “Black Lives Matter” once and then never talked about police brutality again.

All that said, I say we ought to give the British state the middle finger and show some solidarity to Gofid and his band Iselder. I don’t usually do pro bono promotions like this, but what do you say about showing where you stand by buying whatever you want from Marwoleath Records! I know I intend to! Show Gofid some love and give the Welsh black metal scene a chance, and don’t give even a penny to the fascists who are laughing at you while you help them piss all over your freedom!

Oh, and one more thing. While Iselder has been getting shut down by the cops, I notice that Winterfylleth, who are practically an English nationalist band, got to play in Cardiff twice last month. Let’s not give them any money for them to go on interviews to whine about “Cultural Marxism” and Antonio Gramsci. Support Welsh, Scottish, and Irish independence! Support Iselder and Marwolaeth Records! Reject English colonialism!

America’s war

20 years ago, the World Trade Center was attacked by two airplanes that were hijacked by Islamist radicals led by Osama bin Laden, and then afterwards some another crashed into the Pentagon and another almost crashed into Washington DC but failed to reach its intended target. This was known as the 9/11 attacks. For the next 20 years, the United States of America led an international campaign to take Afghanistan by force and control it on the grounds that Al Qaeda was hiding Osama bin Laden there and refused to hand him over, and then later Iraq was invaded on the grounds that Saddam Hussein had possessed weapons of mass destruction. Both of those wars were trumped bullshit that America only fought so that it didn’t have to go anywhere near Saudi Arabia, and for 20 years the 9/11 attacks served as the basic rationale for . Then, last month, almost 20 years after the 9/11 attacks, America left Afghanistan, or rather was driven out by the Taliban as they were preparing to leave, and America’s ambitions for Afghanistan stood in ruins before the whole world.

I was seven years-old when the 9/11 attacks happened, and at that time I was on one of the many planes flying to America that were diverted shortly after the attacks took place. My plane landed somewhere in Canada. When I go there I had no idea where I was until my parents took me to some YMCA building in Halifax. I was too young to get much grip of what was happening, I only really got any idea of what was happening through newspapers laying around the building and the occasional TV news segment. After a while I flew back to Britain, and the next time I got into America I swear the only thing I could see in the airport was American flags. My mind tells me that I may have seen a photo of George W. Bush somewhere at the same airport, but I guess I probably didn’t. I can only assume that’s the product of the instincts I acquired later in life that told me that America was basically acting like North Korea. Indeed, as I got older and politically conscious, for a while I could only really think of post-9/11 America as a land gripped by fear, nay actually sustained by that same fear. I never did find a single good reason for America being at war with Afghanistan, or Iraq, although at least a few people tried to convince me that there was. For 20 years the West, that supposed axis of liberty, was just taking any excuse it got to create surveillance states, and keep those bullshit wars going to justify them. That’s then horizon of a lot of my early political consciousness, and it’s been very consistent through all my weird travels.

So imagine how happy I was to see that America appeared to have officially withdrawn from Afghanistan. At first I was very much skeptical because, based on what I’ve seen early this year, Joe Biden’s withdrawal looked like it was only going to be in name, with troops being out of Afghanistan but US contractors still there keeping business as usual going in place. And then of course by May the Taliban began a campaign to take over parts of Afghanistan, which they succeeded in doing last month with a surprise siege of Kabul. With the last of US troops out of Afghanistan, the only interference left in the region is the occasional drone bombing. Suffice it say the US still has yet to actually leave the Middle East as a whole alone and stop blowing up their people. But as bad as the outcome of the Taliban re-taking Afghanistan was, made inevitable by the fact that the US really did nothing for Afghanistan save for ensuring its dominion by corrupt client politicians, this really could only mean that America and the UK are out of Afghanistan for good, there’s not going to be another invasion, and if European and British leaders are to be believed America’s days as a world policeman are not long for this world.

There’s still so much bullshit that emanates from the way the Western mainstream has responded to all of this. There’s talk from British intelligence about how supposedly the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is going to lead to the expansion of Islamic terrorism across the globe. Every time I hear that I wonder how many times the Taliban ever actually invaded any Western country or did terrorism there, and I can’t find a single incident of that kind in the West. Only a handful of terror attacks have actually been attributed to the Taliban, the lion’s share of those all happened within Afghanistan, and the only attacks they did outside of Afghanistan were in Pakistan and maybe India. The right seems to have shifted from wanting to end the endless wars and supporting Trump for it to supporting the war and condemning the withdrawal all because of muh troops, which is essentially just them trying to turn the fall of Kabul into their new Benghazi. Liberals disingenously appeal to genuine concerns for the fate of women’s rights in Afghanistan, while conveniently ignoring the many human rights abuses and violations that took place under US occupation. Between brutally authoritarian Taliban rule and a sadistically abusive US occupation propped up by a corrupt government and ultra-conservative warlords, Americans should ask themselves what should Afghans have picked? Everyone keeps going on about how, even if they supported the withdrawal, “the way Biden went about it” was wrong and he could have done it better. It’s so cowardly coming from people who spent the last 20 years talking about how we never should have been in Afghanistan to start with, and all the while nobody actually has a good plan for leaving the country in a way that wouldn’t lead to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, because there is no way fucking way out of Afghanistan that wasn’t going to lead to the Taliban returning to power sooner or later, not least because the US did nothing for Afghanistan in terms of keeping it stable. If like me you’re for the US leaving Afghanistan alone to shape its own destiny free from imperialism, you’re just going to have to accept that the only way out is out, and that there is no clean and orderly way to get out, or at least none that don’t still entail the continued presence of imperialism.

So how does this all come back to 9/11, on the 20th anniversary no less? Because the memory of 9/11 has been the backbone for so much atrocity and deceit and I think people have the habit of blinding themselves to it. I can’t help but think of how the older generations of Americans are more traumatized by 9/11 to the point that any threat to the liberal order is likened to it, while Americans in my generation and others who grow up sitting through 9/11, I like to think they’re more likely to see the forest for the trees. They know that this was never their war, they know that the pretexts for it were lies, and the intelligence agencies have admitted to it late in the war. Remember the people who died in the 9/11 attacks, and the people, troops and civilians, who died in the wars in Afghanistan, and remind yourself of what everyone died for: an unjust war, and a further illegal war, justified on paper-thin pretences, that ultimately ended in failure.

Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan, the last outpost of anti-Taliban resistance that was recently captured by the Taliban, marking the full return of the pre-2001 era for Afghanistan

We need to talk about E. A. Koetting (and also Michael W. Ford)

I imagine E. A. Koetting doesn’t need much introduction for anyone who’s ever been involved with or followed the Left Hand Path in any sense. Koetting (whose real name is Matthew Joseph Lawrence) is sort of infamous for his “Become a Living God” brand and his line of books on occult Satanism, and his name is well-known enough to show up in many familiar Left Hand Path occult spaces. But despite his relative popularity, I never liked him or took him seriously. I mean, as titillating as YouTube videos about love spells or sex magick with bondage thumbnails on them must seem, especially now that I’m unfortunately single again, I have never taken any interest in his books, videos, or his web forum. In fact, when I looked him up in the past, it did not take long for me to see that he was in no way the “living god” that he liked to position himself as or that he offered to help you become, due mainly to the arrest of both himself and his wife in 2014 for abusing mephamphetine and illegal gun ownership. It certainly strikes me that a “living god” in the sense implied by guys like Koetting would not face serious problems with narcotic addiction or the authorities, and that’s not because of them being good little boys either just so we’re clear on that. His weird thing for meth still hasn’t gone away, at least judging by his apparent claims that methampethamines are some kind of entheogen in his recent book Herbarium Diabolicum.

Truth be known, even though he is relatively popular in the left hand path scene, E. A. Koetting is actually fairly notorious in occult communities, where there are many occultists who despise Koetting and see him as a scam artist and a phony. Despite all of that, however, Koetting has maintained a certain status as a successful occult author in the field of Satanic magic and has thus retained some currency within the broader Left Hand Path. I believe that this is a problem, and Koetting must be challenged. I have recently stumbled onto the YouTube channel of a polytheistic Hellenic pagan going by the name Aliakai. They have two videos on the subject of E. A. Koetting, and they both contain some very disturbing facts about Koetting, which I would like to share here.

Aside from a lot of seriously scammy shit that Koetting peddles, such as in one book where he unbelievably claims to have revealed a forbidden cipher from some esoteric order that nobody could solve, he seems to have been affiliated with the Order of Nine Angles, that infamous Nazi Satanist sect responsible for multiple terroristic murders, and may have drawn some influence from them. He also appears to describe “sanguinary vampirism”, as in literally draining human blood for consumption, as part of the practice of black magic, to the point of arguing that reluctant and unwilling donors are the best source for human blood and thereby power for the black magician, and that the path of the black magician involves continually practicing “sanguinary vampirism” until eventually he/she eventually moves on to feasting on “blood essence” instead. Essentially, Koetting is saying that part of his black magic belief system involves attacking and potentially murdering people to feast on their blood in order to gain more and more personal power. He even explicitly outlines a practice of constructing a ritual space specifically for human sacrifice, a “Temple” as it were, which can involve killing someone any number of ways so long as it happens within the “Temple”. He also argues that blood sacrifice is a way for the magician to destroy his old world and create his new world, and further that sacrificing animals allows the magician to confer the characteristics of that animal onto him/herself. This would mean that actual ritual murder is a part of the magical practice that Koetting advocates.

In another book, Koetting argues for indiscriminately murdering people by magical means on the grounds that the act of killing is proof of a person’s godhood by his/her separation from the food chain and sets the magician on the path to using “the power of God to reign as God reigns”, which is to say the absolute power over the lives of others according to his/her own desires. I can’t help but wonder if the irony of a Satanist, who would otherwise rightly rail against the God of the Bible, advocate for a path where the aim is to be the God of the Bible and behave in exactly the same way he does, is lost on him or not. He also writes that the black magician revels in and celebrates the killing of his victim through his magic, and gradually eliminates any feelings of remorse on the grounds that, by killing whoever he wants, he is gaining the power to challenge the gods. Thus, killing people and ridding yourself of any feelings of remorse or empathy is part of the path to becoming a god. And when you become a god, according to Koetting, you will find yourself utterly alienated from the rest of humanity, having few friends who you only see as tools ultimately and marinating in the belief (or more accuraretly delusion) that the human species could have ascended to godhood but instead chose to be “nothing”, and consequently operating under the assumption that your fellow humans’ deaths are meaningless, if anything almost excusable, on the grounds that they could have been gods if only they tried. If you told someone who isn’t a complete psychopath that this is how you think, they would see you for how monstrous, evil, and sociopathic you are, because these are monstrous, evil, and sociopathic beliefs. And for Koetting, that might just be the point, since the whole idea is to rule in the manner he thinks a god would. He also adds a weird victim complex to the whole thing by saying that black magicians often start as victims in some way or another, as if that makes Koetting’s psychopathic worldview understandable.

Here’s an apparent photo of E. A. Koetting taken from when he was arrested for drug abuse, just as a reminder that this lowlife is the dude talking to you about how to become a god.

Like Anton LaVey before him, Koetting claims to have actually murdered someone through magical means. Koetting specifically claims to have murdered his ex-girlfriend through black magic and justified it on the basis she was “slandering” his reputation by spreading false rumours about him sexually assualting her, murdering infants and leaving the dead and decapitated bodies of felines on her porch. It’s actually kind of funny to see him treat these rumours as obviously false but then say that she needs to be “silenced” because of it. You know, judging from what else he’s written in his books, even if the supposed rumours were false (I can’t actually verify even that she made rumours to start with or even who this ex-girlfriend is), you can kind of believe that Koetting would actually do stuff like this, because why not if you believe that killing innocent people and animals gives you personal power and is all part of you becoming a god, not to mention that you probably shouldn’t need to “silence” anyone if the “rumours” against you weren’t true. Think back to any case you can think of someone being secretly murdered for political reasons, and you’ll get the picture. And frankly, since I still treat my ex with whatever support, care, and honour I could muster, after everything, I find what Koetting claimed to have done to be utterly reprehensible and dishonorable, and it tells me that he probably only ever viewed his ex as an object for his whims in a way that is honestly unfathomable to me. But that ex was not the only person he claimed to have killed. He also claims to have killed another woman who he claims faked having a disability in front of him and had him do house chores for her.

On a side-note, it’s discussed in his book Ipsissimus that he was raised by Mormon parents. He apparently claimed elsewhere that his parents were Satanists and members of a Satanic cult. Very bizarre. But, more crucially, for me at least, it reminds me of yet another figure who was raised Mormon and then tried to set up a cult status within the left hand path and then went on to commit horrible crimes. It seems that both E. A. Koetting and Jacob McKelvy have a strange habit of having two completely different and conflicting backstories presented to the world, which is probably not surpising in that both of them are also brazen con artists who try to use occultism or some form of alternative spirituality (or in Jacob’s case, Christianity as well) as a means to make money from people who don’t know any better.

Perhaps most importantly, it seems that E. A. Koetting was a member of Tempel ov Blood, an offshoot of the Order of Nine Angles that is particularly devoted to vampirism as means of creating a new being capable of bringing about the “Day of Wrath”. This is the same Tempel ov Blood that published Iron Gates, that unspeakably grotesque dystopian novel which begins with a baby being killed in front of its mother and is considered required reading for its membership, and who was in the process of taking over the Atomwaffen Division, that infamous neo-Nazi militia, to the point that many neo-Nazis started abandoning Atomwaffen. Tempel ov Blood is notorious for their celebration of sexual violence, mass murder, terrorism, and racial holy war, and their leaders are white supremacists, such as Joshua Caleb Sutter who served as a propagandist for the DPRK (I’m not kidding, the DPRK literally appointed him as their PR guy) and larped as a Hindu priest before eventually joining the O9A. E. A. Koetting, for his part, wrote numerous articles for Tempel ov Blood under the alias Archaelus Baron, published through Ixaaxar Occult Literature, in which he encourages prospective members to study the “Terrorist Handbook” and take up military training in order to learn how to kill, advises that assassinations are sometimes necessary and states a preference for targeting religious figureheads, and explicitly tells people to never kill a person if they have a reason to kill them, entailing that murder is to be carried out at random, on a whim, targeting anyone, without requiring any justification at all. He also apparently went by another alias, Drill Sergeant 666, within ToB. There’s also a bit of mystery surrounding Koetting’s present relationship with Tempel ov Blood. Some occultists believe that Koetting is still a member or supporter of Tempel ov Blood and that he only publicly disavowed them while, in private, he either remained a member or is making financial contributions to the group. If that is true, then it would mean that Koetting is using his Become A Living God brand as a front to funnel money to an occult Nazi organization, which is something that should not be allowed to continue.

As if that’s not enough, Koetting’s work just might have played a role in the murder of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman at Fryent Country Park in Wembley. The murderer, Danyal Hussein (who is currently 19 years old), was a member of Koetting’s Become A Living God forum, where he says he infrequently practiced magick since 2015, briefly got into “spiritual Satanism” (whatever he means by this), believes that he is a “psychic vampire”, and says that his main challenge was summoning a demon who could help him get a girlfriend. He killed the two women as part of a supposed pact with the demon Lucifuge Rofocale that he believed would enable him to win the “Mega Millions Super Jackpot”. This pact required him to sacrifice six women every six months in order to avoid suspicion and arrest by the police. He also had a list of requests for a demon named “Queen Byleth”, who he hoped to summon in order to make some girl he knew fall madly in love with him and make himself more attractive. Hussein was arrested for the murders last year, had his home raided by the police shortly afterwards where they found evidence of his pacts, and was found guilty just last month. He was also especially vulnerable to falling under the influence of dangerous ideologies so his school referred him to a radicalization programme in 2017, and with little to no social support he struggled to socialize with others and especially with girls. It also seems that he held some kind of Nazi-esque ideology and he believed himself to be an “Aryan”. If I may comment, it doesn’t seem that Hussein was very smart, not just because of the mind-bogglingly stupid nature of thinking you can kill six women a month and avoid being caught, but also because he seemed to genuinely think that they would never identify his DNA because he refused to give a blood sample.

The actual pacts and spells found in Hussein’s house, specifically as relates to Lucifuge Rofocale, have been linked to E. A. Koetting’s book, Lucifuge: The Lord of Pacts, which is also co-authored by several other left hand path occultists, including Michael W. Ford, V. K. Jehannum, Orlee Stewart, Bill Duvendack, and more. However the book itself is prohibitively expensive, being sold on Miskatonic Books for $159, and if you go to the Become A Living God website he offers it via certain tiers with a price tag of close to $600. So Danyal Hussein must have had a hard time getting the book, if he did get his pacts and spells from that book. However, in my experience, I have found that it is possible to find some occult works as PDFs if you know where to look for them, and I have at one point been sent entire folders of works by people in the scene. That’s a very useful way to learn about any sort of occultism because actually buying lots of books on the subject is very expensive and a lot of distributors are frankly extortionate price-gougers of the highest order. If Danyal Hussein made a sort of spiritual family for himself in the BALG forum and related communities, it’s entirely possible that he may have accessed the book as a PDF or had it given to him by someone interested in helping him become a magician.

The “pact” made and signed by Danyal Hussein for Lucifuge Rofocale

On top of all that, Koetting and his cohorts apparently advocated for the use of a ritual by which the magician would communicate with the spirits of Covid-19 and “hijack” their “frequencies” (awfully New Age-sounding I notice) for the purpose of supposedly protecting yourself from the virus by “making friends” with it. Naturally, this video comes with a disclaimer in the description which stresses that it cannot replace official medical advice, not that you’ll see them say that in the video. Or maybe the whole thing is J. S. Garrett’s idea and Koetting just happens to put it on his channel and doesn’t necessarily buy it himself, which would be something but it still means he’s on record platforming this. So not only are we dealing with people who advocate for literally murdering people in service of undead gods with the aim of becoming a god yourself, we’re also dealing with people who have their own version of those dogshit evangelical Christian faith healing solutions to Covid-19 – you know, the sort of thing they concoct specifically to justify not following the guidelines and not temporarily halting in-person congregations. Truly a cut above Christian superstition and slave mentality I must say. But I suppose it’s not beyond the remit of someone who offers to turn your crush or your ex into a magic sex slave, make you fall in love yourself, create your own wealth empire out of nothing for you, defend you against any esoteric adversary, help you make a blood pact with any spirit, and other assorted woo benefits all to the tune of $1,600 for a private consultation session. I have to feel bad for anyone who didn’t see the word “SCAM” written all over Koetting’s body when they saw this shit. It’s like Koetting may as well put “holy shit they’re actually giving me money!” somewhere on his web pages and maybe someone would still fall for it. Of course, we shouldn’t forget about the fact that relying on this ritual would probably result in some people dying of Covid-19, at least because they decided to do this instead of self-isolate or get vaccinated.

So, we have a situation where Koetting, as a prominent author of Satanic occultism, is instructing people to commit murder on a whim and enjoy it in order to become a god, by which he clearly means an absolute ruler of creation, and who is quite probably connected to a Nazi organization and has definitely produced ideological and spiritual guidelines for them, under their banner. E. A Koetting is still active today, he still writes books, still makes money off of his shitty brand, he still peddles his grift about personal godhood, vampirism, and how to make a woman your love slave, and more recently, despite his possible association with fascism, he’s busy talking about “Satanic revolution against fascist slave-gods”. He also evidently still manages to hang around high-profile left hand path figures – or perhaps more accurately, they associate with him and promote his work – so he is still treated as a legitimate voice within left hand path communities or by their figureheads. His YouTube channel currently has 87,000 subscribers, his videos tend to get thousands of views each, his Facebook account boasts 128,998 followers, and his Instragram account has 3,717 followers, so he retains a very large social media presence at least. His Become A Living God forum is still active and it seems that there is a lot of activity on the forum, and the Facebook page for the website has approximately 2,500 likes. Put together, he still has some popularity to boast, and that makes him a problem, especially when you consider that people on his forum literally talk about offering people as sacrifices to gods. Not that that’s particularly surprising, though, because Koetting himself has openly advocated for human sacrifice as part of the practice of Satanic occultism.

You know, people talk about “Reverse Christians” in relation to certain people who position themselves as Satanists. You know what I mean, right? Those edgy, and often young, criminals who kill people and do vandalism, flaunt vaguely “satanic” or at least anti-Christian symbolism while doing so? These people usually have no real attachment to Satanism in a religious sense and are often just insane. But here, in the case of E. A. Koetting, I think we can see some semblance of what is clearly a somewhat conscious case of “reverse Christianity” in an actual ontological sense within the context of religious or occult Satanism. I mean there’s the obvious faith healing grift that sounds like the stuff you get from evangelicals if not New Age spirituality, but there’s also a clip in which E. A. Koetting literally talks about the End of Days being upon us, which is just a transparent invocation of the Christian eschatology and sounds rather like you’re talking to a Christian fundamentalist, but instead of this End of Days leading to God’s kingdom on earth it’s supposed to lead to “a new cycle of ascent” towards “ultimate self-godhood”. In fact, it’s probably not for nothing that he comes from a Mormon background and moved his way into Satanic occultism, since Mormons do actually believe in a certain kind of self-deification to the effect that the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints actually believes that humans can become like God. Not to mention, in his books he talks about using the power of God to reign exactly as God does (or “as the gods do”, it’s contextually interchangeable in this framework).

That’s the most stark expression of “reverse Christianity” you can think of: while opposing the God of the Bible, you strive to become the God of the Bible. This would mean that even as Koetting talks about rebellion against fascist slave-gods, the whole concept of “self-godhood” in his belief system means to become one of them. The whole thing is situated specifically in the Christian (or “Judeo-Christian”) framework, and to be honest it has me asking the question. Why, as a Satanist, knowing how bad the God of the Bible is and literally telling your audience that he hates you, would you want to become anything like him? YHWH rules with a cruelty, tyranny, and hate unmatched by pretty much any of the other gods, and he demands absolute faith and expects perfection from his followers, and if you misstep from that your reward is eternal damnation, so why would you want to actually rule and behave in the way he does? It doesn’t make sense to affirm the power of YHWH in this way while positioning him as a fascist and yourself as Satanic opponent of God’s tyranny. But I suppose this is what can happen when a person leaves Christianity behind while failing to challenge its deeper premises internally (this is part of what is called “latent Christianity“). It would be rather sad were it not for the fact that we’re dealing with a guy who cultivates a way of life centered on the total domination of everything and everyone around you by a narcissitic individual subject, and also whose record consists of getting whoever he can to kill people and animals on a whim just like the God he supposedly despises.

I mean there’s latent Christianity and then there’s basically Mormon heaven but for extreme esoteric Satanists

I’m afraid at this point I must also talk about Michael W. Ford, or more specifically one unfortunate thing he may or may not have in common with E. A. Koetting, and a little more, based on some information that has come to my attention while looking into Koetting’s involvement with Tempel ov Blood. According to some occultists at least, Michael W. Ford was also a member of Tempel ov Blood at one point, and apparently some say he claimed to have left. It’s extremely difficult to find any information about Ford’s alleged involvement with Tempel ov Blood, and Ford himself emphatically denies ever being a member or contributor, but besides an old forum where a reader of his makes this claim, we can see that ToB’s Liber 333 apparently has sections and excerpts within it that are authored by or at least to attributed to Ford both under his real name and under the aliases Michael Nachttoter and Baron von Abaddon (both of which he also used for some of his musical projects) and attributed to the late 1990s, back when he was in the Black Order of the Dragon and Tempel ov Azathoth, and it’s said that Ford introduced a guy from ToB called Fra.13 to the concept of vampirism (or “Wamphirism” as it’s also called) and provided comparison between his system of vampirism and the system utilized by ToB’s Vampyric Order. In fact, there are quite a few pages dedicated to Ford promoting his own Tempel ov Azathoth and Black Order of the Dragon as well as expounding on his own concepts of esoteric vampirism.

If you’re familiar with Ford’s work, especially his older catalogue, you probably know that Ford has a major thing for vampirism and vampyric magick, and likes to mix it in with all sorts of other esoteric ideas and belief systems. That doesn’t sound too far away from what E. A. Koetting likes to do. In fact, the two authors seem to be closely connected, and in Liber 333 Ford tends to promote ideas about cultivating an eternal magical will that survives the death of the flesh, not too dissimilar to the way Koetting talks about how the old and the worldly dies and as you progress towards “the Eternal”. Ford also talked about how the Black Order of the Dragon aims to use “sinister archetypes” to unlock “the psyche of European and Euro-decended man and woman”, which sounds very racialist and folkist, and while promoting BOotD he even advocated for culling the masses. He even talks about draining “astral lifeforce” from human “prey”, not too different from Koetting’s ideas. Michael W. Ford appears on the Become A Living God website as a collaborating author, nine of Ford’s books are published through Become A Living God, and Ford has promoted Koetting and given introductions to his work. Koetting, in turn, wrote a foreword for one of Ford’s more recent books, Apotheosis: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Luciferianism & the Left Hand Path. More relevant to the subject of Tempel ov Blood, it is well-known that Ford was a member of its parent organization, the Order of Nine Angles, and has published and written introductions for O9A works, and even though he publicly disavows the O9A, he still makes money off the O9A works he published.

It’s worth mentioning again that Ford denies ever being in Tempel ov Blood, and he claims that rumours to that effect are based on a confusion of the fact that his Black Order of the Dragon was sanctioned by Christos Beest, who apparently was his mentor at that time, from around 1993 to 1997. It must be said that it is true that Liber 333 does not refer to Ford as a member of ToB itself, and instead refers to him as a member of Black Order of the Dragon. This would in theory mean that Ford was not actually a member of ToB, but then he somehow has considerable writing within Liber 333, which means that, even if he was never a member, we can only conclude that Ford’s Black Order of the Dragon and Tempel of Azathoth were in some way affilitated or associated with Tempel ov Blood and exchanged ideas with each other, which as far as I’m concerned is no better than simply being a member of ToB. We should also note that Christos Beest (whose real name is Richard Moult) was a high-ranking member of the Order of Nine Angles since the 1980s, and is still a member to this day. Although in 2001 he claimed to have left the O9A and converted to Catholicism, Beest in reality was still in the O9A and produced documents and media promoting O9A teachings, such as his manifesto “The Dreccian Way” (in which he straightforwardly advocates for “culling”), and his Tarot deck “The Emanations Tarot” (which features artwork containing, among other things, a pale-faced woman holding the severed head of Claus von Stauffenburg and a rifle favored by the SS), and he has even admitted to retaining a friendship with David Myatt, the O9A’s founder with a well-known background in neo-Nazism. Even if we take Ford at his word that he was never a member of Tempel ov Blood, it’s honestly not a good sign to know that, per his own admittance, his mentor was a Nazi, but then it’s already known and acknowledged that Ford used to be an O9A member for a few years. He even used to peddle the idea that the O9A was really an anarchist organization instead of a Nazi one in his Book of the Witch Moon, which is actually a tactic the O9A has trotted out before and will tend to do whenever they face external scrutiny over their political ideology. In that book he even claimed that the O9A didn’t practice cullings depsite their own express word to the contrary. Book of the Witch Moon was originally published in 1999, a year after Ford is often said to have left the O9A in 1998, supposedly after he found their fascist beliefs objectionable, which is odd when you consider that he goes on to refer to the O9A as anarchists. In fact, in Apotheosis: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Luciferianism & the Left Hand Path, he still explicitly refers to the Order of Nine Angles as anarchist, and this was from a book published in 2019, after the O9A again became well-known for their Nazi shenangians.

As I said before, Ford has still published and had writings featured in O9A books long after he supposedly left the Order. One of those was Codex Saerus – Black Book of Satan I, II, III, which was published by the O9A in 2003 and its second edition (published in 2008) includes a forward by Michael W. Ford in which he praises the O9A’s Black Book of Satan as a grimoire capable of challenging stasis and order and essential to the understanding of Satanic magical tradition. Christos Beest and Anton Long are also listed as authors, and the book contains the infamous O9A “Mass of Heresy”, in which Adolf Hitler is revered as a saviour sent by “our gods” to lead the “Aryan” race, Hitlerian salutes are performed, and the phrase “Hail Hitler” is uttered. Keep in mind that all of this is from a book that the O9A advertises as a collection of “anarchist” ritual workings – just what “anarchist” rituals involve praises to Hitler and celebrations of Nazi ideology? – and this is the same book Ford praises as essential to understanding Satanic magical tradition. That’s a worrying indication of Ford’s stance on esoteric Nazism. There is also another O9A book titled Order of Nine Angles: The Sinister Collection, apparently published in 2007, and it is a compilation of writings from O9A members and associates which also has Ford’s name attached to it and contains some his work. In the same year, Ford also published an edition of yet another O9A book, NAOS: A Practical Guide to Modern Magick, originally written by Thorold West, and in the foreword that Ford wrote for this edition he appraised the book’s practices of magickal development as similar to his own system of Luciferian Witchcraft, and justifies publishing it on the grounds that he deems that it is “worth being in any esoteric library”, despite not subscribing to the ideas and methods of the O9A (a difference that is not even downplayed, merely alluded to in passing).

The Codex Saerus, Black Book of I, II, III, second edition; this book contains unambiguous praise for Adolf Hitler

Now, tell me, doesn’t something sound off to you? What we know for certain, or at least what is more or less the official story, is that Michael W. Ford joined the Order of Nine Angles in 1996 and was a member for a few years until he left the group supposedly because its fascist or neo-Nazi beliefs become too objectionable for him, which may have been at around 1998. So what was he doing defending the Order of Nine Angles, claiming them to be anarchists as opposed to Nazis, one year after he left? And if they were not Nazis or fascists, and instead were anarchists, why did Ford find the O9A’s views objectionable enough to leave? What are some of Ford’s writings doing in Tempel ov Blood’s Liber 333? And why does Ford still claim that the O9A were anarchists into the present day, even after they’ve increasingly become even more notorious for their involvement with violent Nazism? Ford has claimed that he was more of an anarchist in those days and that he was never interested in Nazism. So why are there writings from the 1990s where he talks about European racial consciousness and the need to awaken it, and why was he talking about cullings? Now, granted, that’s his teenage years and he was young, but at the same time he can’t claim that he was an anarchist back in those days when nothing of the sort is suggested in his writings except perhaps in name alone. Despite the official story that he left the O9A after a few years, he has still published O9A works under Succubus Publishing, which he owns together with his wife Hope Marie-Ford, which means that although he claims to have abandoned the O9A for being too extreme and fascist for him, he still published O9A books from his label.

Not to mention, what was it about the O9A that proved to be too extreme for Ford anyway? Supposedly he left because it was a neo-fascist group and he got sick of their neo-fascist ways, but there is no reason to assume that was a problem for him before, because there are writings from him where he talked about European racial consciousness and supported cullings like everyone else in the O9A did, and his mentor Christos Beest was a literal neo-Nazi, so I think there is cause to doubt that he was seriously bothered by the neo-fascism. Perhaps he suddenly changed his mind at the time? Unlikely, considering he published and promoted an O9A book containing a Mass devoted to Adolf Hitler as basically a classic Satanic text. Or was that change of heart and everything else was all just more misinformation, like the kind that Christos Beest manufactured when he told everyone he left the O9A while all along he was still a member? And even if Ford did decide that the O9A were neo-fascists, that doesn’t matter because he continued to claim that the O9A were anarchists even after that and to this day, which is an O9A tactic designed to obfuscate their true nature, and he still published books from the O9A, who he supposedly decided were too fascist and extreme for him to keep company with.

On those grounds we have to consider that, even if we can accept that Ford was not a member of Tempel ov Blood at any point, perhaps there is more to the story of his involvement with ToB and the O9A proper than he is willing to tell us. And the fact is that he has writings contained within ToB’s Liber 333, so even if it’s true that he wasn’t a member, his claim that he never contributed to their esoteric oeuvre is simply not true, and in fact I would go so far as to call it a blatant lie. In any case, it’s quite possible that the true extent and history Ford’s involvement with the O9A might not actually be apparent to us, and it is possible that we can’t even be sure that Ford ever even left the O9A, and even if he did leave them, he certainly never stopped supporting them.

To return to the subject of Koetting and his belief in the practice of human sacrifice to gain personal godhood, I had a thought about this as I was writing this post. Isn’t it so funny that we keep seeing people espouse insane conspiracy theories about the ruling class practicing Satanic rituals involving blood sacrifice supposedly to confer some kind of benefit from it, even though none of those people – Donald Trump, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell, Prince Andrew, Bill Gates, none of them – have ever been proven to be involved with any real Satanism or occultism or anything like that, and meanwhile you have people who actually do believe in human and animal sacrifice as a way to literally become a god or gain personal power and none of them ever get put in the center of some far out conspiracy theory, whether that’s QAnon or god forbid some jokey Chapo Trap House bromides about Moloch? I don’t see why we would even need to neglect the conspiracy angle, since we know that Tempel ov Blood literally conspire to infiltrate violent groups so they can use them as vehicles through which to commit random acts of murder for sacrificial reasons as part of their plan to become gods, and that they tried to do this with the Atomwaffen Division. As strange as this must sound, there actually is a shadowy group of people who call themselves Satanists and want to kill innocent people at random specifically for magical and sacrificial reasons, and they even cover themselves up by wrapping their movement in a shroud of conflicting information, but they’re not part of the ruling elite (though they certainly believe that they are some kind of esoteric elite) and don’t represent all of Satanism, and while I’m sure the far-right and the QAnon crowd despise them and would react with disgust if you told them about their activities (as I’m sure almost anyone would), you won’t see people talk about Tempel ov Blood conspiracies ad infinitum. In fact, a lot of the discussion I see about Tempel ov Blood activity comes from anti-fascist activists trying to curb the influence of their parent organization, the Order of Nine Angles, though you will also find it in news reports. The simple truth is that the Satanic Ritual Abuse quacks have always cared more about the invented and fantastical Satanic murder and abuse conspiracies they cooked up in their often drug-addled brains than any actual real-world organizations plotting widespread human sacrifice, or for that matter any actual widespread cases of child sex trafficking. That’s part of why absurd stories involving the Clintons, John Podesta, and basically every Democrat operative matter more to right-wing QAnon nutbags than anything the Order of Nine Angles and its offshoots do in the real world.

Screenshot taken from The Quietus, probably originally from a chan forum. This is the real Satanic conspiracy, not the QAnon or SRA bullshit.

In conclusion, to follow the same spirit as Aliakai, I’d stress that the problem isn’t Satanism, or the left hand path, or occultism or even demon worship. In fact, I don’t take the side of neopagans who insist that venerating the dark side of life is the exclusive by-product of Christianity, and I’ll definitely hang out with pagans who like to venerate “demons” in what is still a non-Christian context. The problem, to be quite specific, is E. A. Koetting, and the network of influence that he has created. Not only is Koetting a notorious con artist known for his dumb videos and equally dumb takes in his books, he also uses his books to advocate for a spiritual practice that is completely sociopathic and dangerous in that it encourages people who are serious about becoming gods to kill whoever they please, and his sphere of influence proved to be a space which cultivates the murderous desires of at least some of its inhabitants, and he himself likely has his fingers in the pie of esoteric fascism. Where Ford may be involved is that he too had his fingers in the same pie, and he and Koetting promote each other and are also part of the same network of influence within the left hand path, and although both may publicly denounced the O9A, it is suspected by at least some that there is more to such ostensible renunication than meets the eye, since those within the O9A who have ostensibly left are sometimes found to actually still be part of the O9A and fulfilling what are called “insight roles”. That means that both Koetting and Ford are part of what I can only describe as an esoteric conspiracy aimed at killing people as sacrifices in order to gain the power to become gods and bring their desired Aeon and their “Dark Gods” for the purpose of destroying democracy and replacing it with a kind of Nazi Satanist empire.

But does all of this mean anything for the left hand path as a whole? Well, for one thing, it means that the network shared by E. A. Koetting and Michael W. Ford has to be avoided like a plague, it must lose the influence and status that it has in the more popular representations of the left hand path. One thing you can do to ensure this is to stay away from Become A Living God and avoid giving E. A. Koetting any money, though that’s not exactly a big ask for most people, stop buying Ford’s books or anything from Luciferian Apotheca, and stay away from any of Ford’s projects, and unfortunately that includes the slowly growing Global United Nightside Movement and the Assembly of Light Bearers. You don’t know that these people aren’t still involved with the O9A, and so you don’t know that any money going to these people isn’t going towards the O9A or anything adjacent to it. In fact, in the case of Koetting you can at least assume that he’s going to spend your money on his drug habit. It’s pretty fucking painful for me to say because even though I like to think I’ve outgrown Ford in a number of ways, I have still had to credit his work with the course of my spiritual development insofar as the guidance of a dialectic between left-hand path-aligned spiritual content and latent paganism has been central to what I believe is my destiny. The thought that a guy like that may have turned out to be with O9A or ToB all along, thus playing a role in a large-scale conspiracy of sacrificial murder, and that he might not be telling the whole truth as to whether he’s still with them (or even was with them at all) is horrifying, but unfortunately that’s just how it is, and so in order to curb all of that, I have to tell everyone and myself that Ford can’t be dealt with or trusted anymore.

The other important rammification for the left hand path, I feel, is that it must find a way to redefine itself away from the kind of framework that is imposed upon it in modernity through a dynamic created by colonialist Christian culture and its esoteric manifestations. Simply put, we should surpass and retire the idea that the left hand path is what denotes spiritual egoism vs the right hand path emphasis on the Other. I find this especially pertinent because even left hand path belief systems ultimately have some kind of Other within them despite claims to the contrary (Koetting, for instance, talks about the Eternal). The Social Darwinism that is core to the baseline of Satanism is built to some extent on a form of egoism, and so long as Social Darwinism retains its place, fascism and its inherent violence are destined to be drawn to it, because they are aligned and not to mention joined at the hip (we should point out that Anton LaVey’s many friends and the Church of Satan membership have often consisted of fascists). But the left hand path has always meant more than this. Before the arrival of Satanism, even within the context of Tantric Hinduism, it has generally encapsulated transgression and the embrace of the flesh as a means of accessing the Sacred, or ultimate unity with God in the context of Hindu doctrine. I plan to delve into the subject of the meaning of the left hand path in a separate post, but I would again mention the way the Pagans at Gods and Radicals talk about the right and left of the Sacred, drawing from 20th sociology in the process.

The right aspect of the Sacred is concerned with purity, order, and the boundaries placed between Man and the Sacred. This is what corresponds to the Right Hand Path, which in the Tantric context of Dakshinachara is defined by the observance of ritual purity and taboos. The left aspect of the Sacred, by contrast, is concerned with transgression, not simply social transgression but also transgression of the boundaries between Man and the Sacred. This is what corresponds to the Left Hand Path, which in the context of Vamachara is defined often by the transgression of ritual purity and taboos. Rhyd Wildermuth makes the point that, in animistic cultures, rituals were performed in order to ensure the spirits and/or gods of their culture stayed within their respective world rather than enter the human world. Under such a framework, the goal of the Left Hand Path would be not to solidify some fallacious notion of a transcedent isolate intelligence as the sovereign ruler of the world, but instead it would elevate individual freedom, spiritual independence, the embrace of the “dark side”, and transgression of the boundaries between Man and the Sacred as part of a way to bring the individual self together with the Other, to elicit communion with the Sacred, with nature, with the unconscious, with experience of whatever might be called “divinity”, and thus leading humans to be whole and united with the sacred nature of life, rather than purify themselves to meet the absurdity of transcendence. Thus, instead of the modern left hand path’s emphasis on atomic individualism, and occasionally fascistic terror, as a way to cut off all bonds the individual has with the world and, in its own way, set out a kind of negative transcendence, this left hand path would seek to produce a holistic (while of course liberated) individual by marinating it in the mulitplicity of a terrific, numinous, darksome Sacred that connects said individual to the world instead of severing them from it.

I can’t stress enough how stupid all of this fascist and Aryanist bile being brooked in corners of the left hand path is. The Satanic esoteric fascists believe that they are manifesting a left hand of the sacred, when, if you think about it, even in the context of manifesting their willpower, what they manifest is absolutely fundamental in the context of a right-hand understanding of the sacred. The whole point of folkish faith, for instance, is to establish strict boundaries between the Sacred and humanity, to limit the way that humans and the Sacred can interact with each other, in this case through racial hierarchy (I’ll post Ocean Keltoi’s video on Folkism at the end to help illustrate what I mean). A left-hand understanding of the Sacred, on the other hand, invites us to transgress those boundaries, so that Man and the Sacred are ever directly linked to each other, perhaps even to the point that they come together as one. Rather than impose limits on the presence of the Sacred in the world of Man, it calls for the Sacred to pour, nay flood, into said world. Ethnic borders between Man and the Sacred tightly control Man’s interaction with the Sacred in the most absurd way possible. But then I suppose that even the right and the left hand paths are not totally adequate to explain some of these types, since, for all I know, all of it could be motivated by the desire to enact the apotheosis of some kind of racial will. For many esoteric Nazis, this entails purity and is thus an extreme expression of the right aspect of the Sacred, but for the Satanic version of this, purity is affirmed in the racial sense but also almost denied in every other sense, yet the boundary between Man and the Sacred is not transgressed, since it remains closed by ethnic boundaries due to the volkisch religiosity so often embraced by the Order of Nine Angles and its various offshoots.

Regardless, I am firmly of the belief that the left hand path cannot be defined by the kind of people whose inexorable direction is fascism, let alone murderous conspiracy in service of fascism. Historically speaking, it is not something that can be limited to something as narrow as the pursuit of the ego, and has not been so until the ascent of LaVeyan Satanism, and morally speaking, the consequences of limiting the left hand path to the frankly pathetic egoistic Social Darwinism too often pushed by what passes for Satanism is something that will only eventually lead to the destruction and emptiness of those who continue to pursue it, even if it does not ultimately lead to the deaths of innocent lives. We who aspire to the divine darkness of the left hand of the Sacred believe in our path because we see in it something beautiful and noble, and absolutely essential, that cannot be found in the delusions of transcendence and purity too often sold to the world as the one true religion. We should not allow this to be obfuscated and snuffed out, whether through the work of the evangelists of God’s “light”, or through the work of sinister and traitorous conspiracy.

Aliakai’s original expose of E. A. Koetting:

Aliakai’s follow-up video covering Danyal Hussein’s crime:

Ocean Keltoi’s deconstruction of folkism, just as a bonus:

I’ve already linked an archive of Tempel ov Blood’s Liber 333 in the text of this article, but I urge you to look at it anyway and see Michael Ford’s writings contained within it, and judge for yourself the nature of his involvement with ToB.

A curfew for men?

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.

“Please return to your homes. A curfew is in effect.”

The left case for Brexit has been defeated

It has only been about a month since we have finally left the European Union after so much wasteful deliberation, but already we seem to be braced for an abominable new direction under the Conservative government. According to a recent article for The Times, Boris Johnson has announced plans to discuss with business leaders on how to relax economic regulations to the extent of turning Britain into “Europe’s Singapore”.

Now, why is this such bad news? Why does it mean the left case for Brexit has been destroyed? Well, considering that the idea seems to mean taking the wealthy city state of Singapore as a model for how the British economy should be organized, there are a few things we should note about the Singaporean economy.

Singapore can be thought of as essentially a free market capitalist economy supported by a profoundly authoritarian government, though for our purposes it is the free market capitalism we will focus on. It has no capital gains tax, no inheritance tax, a corporation tax of 17%, and provisions that allow corporations to pay no taxes at all. In fact Singapore is widely known as an international tax haven due to its obscenely low taxes, so think about that when you hear talk of Britain becoming “Europe’s Singapore” – a ripe, vacant, and probably competitive tax haven with the desires of the European, American, and/or Chinese bourgeoisie in mind. There is also no minimum wage except for cleaners and security guards, no equal pay laws, a notoriously high cost of living for the average person, and very little in the way of public welfare, if it all considering the Singaporean government expects all citizens to pay their own way in all circumstances, meaning that the poor get very little support from the government, often relying on charities and loved ones. Income inequality is extreme in Singapore, in fact it’s considered to be the second-most unequal country in all of Asia, the average Singaporean wage is low (the average median wage for Singaporeans is around $3,000, far lower than that of British citizens), wage growth tends to be very stagnant, and there are no officially published poverty line figures. There are also thousands of foreign workers who come into the country and are subject to horrific exploitation, forced to labour in hazardous conditions for wages that are lower even than the average Singaporean, and they depend on their employer to stay in the country thus ensuring their full compliance to just about any exploitation. Singapore is one of the richest countries in the world, yet a huge portion of the money does not trickle down to the masses, and is instead concentrated into the hands of its ultra-rich ruling class.

When Boris Johnson talks about wanting to turn Britain into “Europe’s Singapore”, and when he says this he very clearly has the economic direction in mind. And when we look at Singapore’s economy what do we see? We see a country with next to taxes, where the average person can expect to take home pittances in comparison to people from other parts of the world, where foreign workers can expect to be treated like slaves, where the rich (both native and foreign capitalists) live comfortably while the underclasses struggle beneath them, and where the government essentially exists to favor the rich and pay themselves a high salary. This is the rot that the Conservatives want us to emulate? And while it has been said recently that recent corporation tax rises and the Brexit deal signal the end of such dreams, do not take such reports on face value. For starters, the Conservatives have, since after the Brexit referendum, talked about modelling a post-Brexit Britain after Singapore as a template for what it can do when cut free of EU regulation, with Boris’s more recent plans simply being the most recent manifestation of an already-existing drive within the Conservative Party. Not to mention, any notions of social-democratic realignment for the Tories seem to be proven increasingly hollow, existing only as a contingency to secure the economy from the utter devastation brought on by the pandemic. I don’t suspect for a minute that the Tories actually want to abandon their free market nightmare vision in the long-term, especially not now that they have gotten what they want, what they campaigned for, and command dominance in parliament. Who do they fear, in this situation?

All of this presents a grim refutation of the left-wing case for Brexit that people like me had. The case was that, free of the EU’s impositions, Britain would be free to pursue an unabashed social-democratic or even socialist agenda that would engender true sovereignty in the economic domain through public and democratic control of our own resources. The problem there is that this was all predicated on the victory of any sort of left-wing government, which never happened in the two elections that were called after the referendum, and it seemed like almost no one, not even the Labour Brexiteers, actually had the stomach to fight for a left-Brexiteer case on the ground. And then all that was left was just the exact same scenario that opponents of Brexit had been panicking about the whole time, but which we had dismissed as a sort of fearmongering conspiracy theory. We were warned that some sort of neoliberal fantasy island was going to be on the cards in the post-Brexit designs of the Conservative government, and now, even just that description doesn’t do justice to the full scale of the horror that could be coming. This represents the destruction of the case for the Brexit outcome as a positive development for the left or for national sovereignty.

Despite all that, it is useless to talk about rejoining the European Union as has been discussed in the past. We have already left as of a month ago, it is too late and unworthy to speak of simply crawling our way back into the EU now that what we were warned would happen is happening. Scotland may attempt to strike out on their own and rejoin as a separate country, but I have seen no indications that the EU would see it as a worthwhile addition to the union. The only thing worth hoping for is that, now, after we have left, the EU will subject itself to internal pressure and a long debate about its own internal democratic processes. There is a social-democratic movement within that bloc, spearheaded by the Greek politician Yanis Varoufakis, which promotes democratic reform within the EU. Essentially, his movement wants to take the EU and make it more internally democratic and more amenable to the social-democratic economic agendas that it has previously undermined. If such a project were to be realized, it is possible that the EU might actually become a beneficent project, and then, only then, could we talk about rejoining. Until then, the mess we have made for ourselves seems to prove quite palpable.

Could this be our future?

It’s a Covid Christmas this year

As if this fucking Covid crisis couldn’t get any worse, yesterday evening I received the sudden news that we were about to enter into a new lockdown effective as of midnight. Now we are in a brand new lockdown during the holiday season right through Christmas and New Year’s, theoretically lasting until the middle of January but I’m honestly not too sure when it actually will end. Supposedly this lockdown is justified by a new strain of COVID-19 which spreads faster than the base strain, but there is no evidence that it is actually more deadly than the base strain, and in fact scientists have told us that there could be thousands of new strains and probably are, meaning that somehow only one was just threatening enough to endanger Christmas festivities. Also it seems that this new lockdown comes hot off the heels of the revelation that 11,000 cases hadn’t been recorded until recently, so it seems like it’s not so much that more people dying as much as there were already cases just that the people who were supposed to register them just didn’t, and now because of that it seems like there’s a certain surge of cases.

In London and south-east England, people are not allowed to mix with each other at all even during Christmas, which means for many people Christmas plans are already cancelled. Elsewhere in England, the rules regarding social distancing will still be relaxed temporarily, but only on Christmas Day as opposed to the original five day plan that was talked about since last week. The same (thankfully) applies to Wales and Scotland. In Northern Ireland, however, there is a window of relaxation for three households at a time which begins on December 23rd and ends on December 27th. though the region is set to enter a six week lockdown that begins on Boxing Day. All told, the British population are having to drastically alter their plans for the holidays, and for some people the holiday season has been cancelled, if not outright then certainly de facto.

This ultimately represents the victory of the modern secular state over popular tradition. Before 2020, Christmas would be seen as utterly untouchable in society, rendering any insane right-wing blatherings about “the War on Christmas” completely ridiculous. Now, however, it has been established that the government can nullify any traditions it likes under the aegis of expediency and security, and this is the precedent that has been established. Truly this is a grim finale for 2020.

We can also speculate on the fate of the economy as a result of this new lockdown, and in this regard there is good reason for pessimism. The holiday season is usually a reliable boost to the national economy, not only with people buying gifts for others, sometimes at the last minute, and after Christmas the sales from Boxing Day onwards typically result in a great deal of revenue and profit for businesses large and small. But with a lockdown in place, all sorts of businesses will face either mandatory temporary closures or remain open only with severe restrictions, and in either case they will be treated to a massive loss of revenue and profit. Previous lockdowns have resulted in businesses large and small forced to close their doors for good, resulting in harsh economic decline. So not only is popular tradition under attack but we can expect the economy to be eviscerated. All of this has barely been accounted for by policy-makers or the prevailing “expert” class.

Of course, however, it would be wrong to say that this move was foisted upon an willing masses. In fact, we have seen many people criticize the government for taking a lax attitude to Christmas in the face of a perceived increased risk. There are those who oppose the lockdown as an infringement of freedom, but there are also those who oppose relaxation as an unacceptable risk to life. There are also those who have reacted negatively to the initial plans for a five day period of relaxation citing the fact that Eid and Rosh Hashanah have either been effectively cancelled or forced to adhere to restrictions that entail behaviours entirely barred by the tradition, so it possible to look at the government’s plans for Christmas as a strategy by which to avoid being called out for hypocrisy, though all it really shows is that the government will not relent in its willingness to attack the freedom of popular tradition along with other freedoms.

What does this mean for me? Not much except for whatever comes of my plans for Christmas with my girlfriend. I’ll still have to go to work, or at least I’m sure of that anyway. I wouldn’t complain if I didn’t if it meant I paid as part of a furlough scheme, but I probably won’t have to worry about that. Honestly though, as more draconian lockdowns keep ravaging the economy and corroding our freedoms, and our shared belief in those freedoms, I couldn’t care less if we ended up adopting the Swedish model once the continuous lockdowns inevitably prove unsustainable. Honestly, I don’t see how anyone stands for this crap all year and I do not look forward to dealing with it for the next year. Yeah, sure, complain about “herd immunity” all you want, I don’t think it’s really a good idea to just let people die, but Sweden never really did a lockdown like the rest of Europe did, and while it seemed horrible at the start it actually turned out that Sweden had no second wave like we did, or at least not until last month. It’s true that almost 8,000 people are dead in Sweden, but that is significantly less than Britain’s 67,401 deaths, or for matter many other European countries. Of course, I still wouldn’t actually recommend it on the grounds that Sweden and Britain may operate on two entirely different sets of conditions, internal and external. Maybe with some moderation involved but certainly not the model of senseless authoritarianism being implemented here.

In any case, the Taiwanese model is the superior model. They closed the borders from the beginning and then spray everything with disinfectant. The result is that cases in Taiwan have stayed below 1,000 for months and there’s only ever been 7 deaths. Not many countries in the world can beat that. And from what I’ve heard Finland has started to take cues from Taiwan since they’re spraying apartment blocks with disinfectant. If any of these stupid European countries, including our country, had done this from the start, there would be no lockdown at all and everything would be fine even with COVID-19 floating around. But barely anyone ever gives credit to Taiwan despite this, you certainly won’t see anyone in the media talk about emulating the Taiwanese model, and the WHO acts like Taiwan doesn’t even exist, quite literally in fact as they seem to treat it as inseparable from China.

Why should popular tradition have to suffer because of the ineptitudes of our government and the witless advice of our technocratic overseers? And why should we keep listening to the ignorant cries of those who insist that the problem was “people not listening”? I have news for you dumbasses: not that many people were going to. The government can’t just mismanage the pandemic from the very beginning, refuse to do the right thing at the right time, draft all sorts of nonsensical plans to send the SAS into Wuhan to rescue any tourists foolish enough to get themselves stuck there, completely disrupt their lives because oopsie daisey it turns out that waiting for the virus to spread here has led to disaster, and then expect people to just go along with the new normal. Maybe instead of resorting to some pallid bourgeois moralism about how everything is the fault of ordinary people just trying to deal with this bullshit, we should be criticizing the actions of the government that led to this whole situation unfolding as it did, and hold them to the fire. I know it’s more satisfying for the ego that we take turns bashing people for trying to have a life, but maybe the truth is that there was nothing else that could have happened as a result of the conditions set up by the government, and there is nothing that can be done except vaccinate everyone. But of course, that’s too pessimistic for many people. The truth often is.

Yet another god damn lockdown

As of Friday, Wales has imposed yet another lockdown on its citizenry. This time it is what they call a “circuit breaker” or “fire breaker” lockdown, which is (in theory at least) a brief period of increased strictitude that is imposed with the intent of forestalling an increase in COVID-19 transmission. The fact that many local areas have not suffered an extreme rise in cases has not been factored in. The rationale behind this decision stems from the fact that, after areas of Wales had begun to see an increase in COVID-19 cases in mid-September, local lockdowns were imposed in various counties of Wales, but these local lockdowns have not succeeded in curbing the spread of COVID-19, and indeed it would appear that in many local lockdowns the case spread has actually increased. Therefore it has been deemed necessary to reinstate a general lockdown for short period in order to halt case growth and buffer our healthcare system in preparation for the winter, when it will have to deal with both COVID-19 and seasonal flu.

One thought that never escaped me is the simple fact that this measure seems to simply be a matter of extending the local lockdowns to the entire nation – that is, simply making it so that it is the whole nation rather than a collection of counties that undergo a certain set of restrictions. If the local lockdowns ultimately still see a growth, rather than reduction, in cases, is it reasonable to assume that extending the same policy across an entire nation will have a different effect? Will we not continue to see growth in cases, but on a national level? And if that’s the case, what is the guarantee that we will not have our two-week (or rather 17 day) lockdown extended for another two weeks in order to further curb infections? Although having said that the government has already announced that after this short lockdown we can expect another one after New Year’s Day (either in January or February), so it does make me think they probably are sticking to a timetable for rolling lockdowns.

What doesn’t help matters is that Welsh Labour is very insistent on this measure, to the point that any all criticism is roundly dismissed by Mark Drakeford, the First Minister of the Welsh Assembly. Conservative MPs who criticize him on the grounds that his measures are rash and destructive and that he has not considered alternative policies, such as shielding, are not debated faithfully but instead dismissed. Drakeford does so on the grounds that it’s the Tories who mismanaged England, but while that is true I do believe it’s a case of Mark Drakeford doth protest too much considering that Wales’ handling of the pandemic has been, objectively speaking, only marginally better than Scotland and England, with the lockdown only barely controlling the spread of COVID-19, which, as I’ve said, was all any lockdown was ever going to be capable of doing for our situation. But hey, I suppose if it owns the Tories and follows the Labour Party line it’ll be worth it, right?

And I’m not exaggerating when I say that. Mark Drakeford’s circuit breaker program is more or less consistent with what the Labour Party is talking about at the moment, which makes sense considering Drakeford represents the Labour Party in Wales. The leader of the Labour Party, Keir Starmer, agitated in parliament for the implementation of circuit breakers on the grounds that SAGE (The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) had advised Boris Johnson to do so, and he complained that Boris Johnson had chosen to decline their advice. It’s worth bringing up because between him and Joe Biden you get a common thread: “listen to the scientists”. In theory a simple and sound point, until you get down to the question of which scientists are we to listen to? After all “the science” is not a unified field of harmonious expertise but rather a collection of scientists who follow the same scientific method but can dissent among themselves on the findings of their inquiries. In simple terms, some scientists will say one thing, others will say another, and you have to decide through the power of empirical reason and critical thinking who is closest to the truth.

Take stock, for instance, of the Barrington Declaration. In this case we have three public health experts from prestigious and well-regarded universities – Oxford, Harvard, and Stanford, in theory surely bastions of scientific expertise – calling for nations to pursue a policy of “focused protection” (meaning focusing on isolating and thereby protecting the vulnerable, mostly the elderly) rather than full-scale lockdowns, so that most people can live their lives with some sense of normalcy. Their statement also takes the form of a petition that has been signed by thousands of other scientists who clearly share their outlook. But when people like Keir Starmer in Britain and Joe Biden in America tell us that we should listen to the scientific experts, I have the nagging feeling that they don’t mean those scientific experts. Indeed, I have the distinct feeling that they only tell us to listen to scientists whose findings justify their own policies. We see here an expression of a broad vision of positivistic technocracy, in which “science” serves as a vehicle not for the determination of empirical truth, as is its rightful purpose, but instead as simply as a vehicle of rational authority in which a select body of experts, the scientific “elite” as it were, determine the truth for the masses to passively accept. The new Church, you might say.

In any case, my abiding worry has been my ability to see my girlfriend again. And this time, it’s honestly a little confusing. I was rather certain that the lockdown would mean I can’t just go out and visit her for the duration of the lockdown, but I had heard that it was possible for people living alone to form extended households, and not only that apparently the only process there is for this is for the two parties to simply agree to form an extended household. This still has me wondering a little and I feel inclined to ask around, but if true, there might be hope. On the other hand it does also make me think that there is a case of either mixed or simply unclear messaging from the government. We are supposed to stay at home and not meet others, but also it’s possible to just agree with other people to see each other. At that point, I’m surprised we aren’t just following the advice of the Barrington Declaration already because we might as well at this point. I said it before: no lockdown we undertake will suppress COVID-19 in our country. Only a vaccine or some anti-viral drugs will do that. Keeping us isolated from each other and shutting down the economy is not sustainable going forward. Therefore, if our options are either let everyone who’s not high-risk go on with their lives or keep doing lockdowns, then we should take the former choice simply because it’s too late to just suspend travel and tighten the borders for an infection that has already made itself comfy here months ago.