I am a fascist.
Or at least I am according to the rag Gods & Radicals in Rhyd Wildermuth’s “Confronting the New Right” (archive) and “The Uncomfortable Mirror” (archive) and again in Shane Burley’s “Rainbow Heathenry: Is a Left-Wing, Multicultural Asatru Possible?” (archive).
When this nonsense started, I was stunned. I’m accustomed to fools saying dumb things; it’s the Internet, after all. This, however, was on a new level. The first thing to catch my eye was how poorly these people understand what fascism is. To them it’s just anything that is seemingly contrary to their own beliefs. This is not unlike how socialism is an evil thing in the US, as it is supposedly contrary to the American way of life. It’s clear that Rhyd did not mean to refer to a totalitarian government with tight controls on the economy and collectivist ideals being placed over individual rights.
No, it’s really just about how anything that vaguely smacks of traditionalism is bad because having roots at all is somehow bad to Marxists. What a wonderful world these people see around them.
The initial article is focused on the Alt Right (named the New Right throughout) and professes to out them for their fascist beliefs. These supposedly are:
- A belief in the decay of society.
- Being pro-European.
- A return to sacred traditions that have been otherwise disrupted.
- Protection of one’s land and thus nation.
- Defending against external threats in the form of a common enemy.
I must say that these don’t seem too bad. All polytheists want a return to our ancestor’s sacred traditions. Protecting one’s land and nation should never be taboo, but apparently it is now. And it’s true that it’s usually a thoughtcrime to be pro-European, but, hey, it’s okay for everyone else to approve of their own people, so let’s do away with the double standards for once. All in all, though, none of this is remotely fascist. Darn.
Let’s not stop there. Rhyd goes on to list which things are subsequently prone to this evil, evil Alt Right:
Before continuing, it is important to note that the presence of New Right ideas in any Pagan or Magical Tradition does not mean the tradition itself is part of the New Right. Often times the adoption of these ideas is unconscious, particularly since many advocates of New Right ideology do not present their ideas as part of a political stance. In fact, many ideas are presented as overtly ‘apolitical,’ deriving from common sense, tradition, lore, or the will of the gods.
Dianic and Goddess Spirituality: Most adherents of Dianic Witchcraft and goddess spirituality are fiercely feminist and egalitarian. There is some danger of potential crossover with the New Right through ‘essentialist’ ideas of gender—and the ‘sacred’ right of people to exclude transpeople from their circles.’
Druidry: While groups such as the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids are fiercely egalitarian, smaller groups (including the ADF and AoDA) sometimes have overlaps with Traditionalist and Tribalist thought, particularly in ADF’s focus on Indo-European ‘hearth cultures.’ Also, the ideas of Oswald Spengler (a favorite amongst many New Right theorists) have gained popularity through some “Long Descent” druids.
Reconstructionism: One of the more significant places where the New Right intersects with Pagan beliefs. Emphasis on returning to ‘reconstructed’ traditions, older (and poorly understood) social forms and hierarchical structures, as well as an emphasis on recovering European heritage are often problematic. Further, nationalistic and racial exclusionist tendencies are often justified as being part of ‘the lore.’
Devotional Polytheism: Similar to the problems in Reconstructionism, but with an extra dimension. Because some Devotional Polytheists place final authority in ‘the gods’ and emphasise hierarchical relationships (between human and god, priest and devotee), ethical questions cannot be challenged by concerned people because ‘the gods will it.’
Heathenism, Asatru, and ‘Northern Traditions’: while generally considered the most problematic, Heathenism is one of the few large Pagan traditions which also has a vibrant opposition against New Right ideology. Also, because of the constant media attention white nationalists within Heathenism garner, non-racist Heathens can draw on greater support from the communities around them.
Occult/Witch/High Magic Traditions: Because of their emphasis on obscurantism and secret mysteries, it is often difficult to discern the political leanings of leaders within occult traditions. Here, ‘association’ tends to be much more useful. Mentions of Evola or other ‘esoteric fascists’ should be considered warning signs.
My, my, how broad! I especially love how reconstructionists apparently do not understand the societies that they’re studying. This will really come as a surprise to those involved in Hellenismos and Cultus Deorum Romanorum. And someone should tell the Celtic Reconstructionists that they’re racist and “problematic” just by virtue of their name and methodology.
He then expands on these sins by listing more things that the Alt Right believes in:
- Hierarchy (as opposed to egalitarianism)1Impressively Rhyd claims that hierarchies are unnatural and do not exist in nature. It’s an amazing display of stupidity.
- Tribalism (as opposed to “interconnectedness”)
- Self-determination for all people2This is outright mocked by Rhyd, going so far to say that it’s okay for others, but not for Europeans. Furthermore it’s claimed that this belief is just a lie anyway.
At this point Rhyd should just come out as racist against Europeans, but in his world there’s no such thing as racism against Europeans due to some fantastical belief that only people with ill-defined “power” can be racist. So very convenient.
In his second piece, Rhyd tries to weasel his way out a bit by saying:
I am also not accusing all polytheists (or anyone else) of being Fascist. If I were, then I would also be a Fascist. The piece I wrote draws no equivalency between specific Pagan-aligned traditions and the New Right. Rather, I draw attention to places where New Right ideology intersects, could influence or currently influences Paganism, including the traditions I am a part of.
And further down in the same piece:
The presence of ideas espoused by the New Right in any Pagan tradition or belief system does not mean the tradition or belief system is part of the New Right.
But such journalistic integrity was to be found:
Is there a leftist infiltration of Polytheism? And am I—and the writers of Gods&Radicals—leading it? Or did I, by gathering information about the New Right hold an uncomfortable mirror up to a tradition I am a part of? Have I violated sacred traditions, or merely revealed their political aspects?
After all, he’s only insulted a vast portion of polytheists baselessly and with incorrect definitions, especially so for Heathens. Theodism is really targeted, though never named.
Let’s actually bother to look at the Alt Right’s beliefs. I’ll summarise The Right Stuff’s article on this very topic:
- Tribalism and the protection of one’s own
- Europeans have a right to self-determination like everyone else3Self-determination is specifically mentioned in the United Nations Charter under Chapter 1, Article 1: “To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.”
- Gender differences exist and are complementary, which are in turn expressed by gender roles
- Unrestrained democracy is bad4This, of course, bears a striking resemblance to the issues of mob rule and the tyranny of the majority.
- Optional: Jews have a disproportionate influence on the West and do not have the best interests in mind for Europeans5This issue is contested on multiple sites in my research. For some this is a mandatory tenet, while others disagree. The former have great contempt for the latter. This issue is further exacerbated by Israel having a habit of demanding that the West change its ways and open its borders to everyone, yet Israel won’t do the same.
More information can be learned from Allum Bokhari’s and Milo Yiannopoulos’ “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt Right“6During my wanderings on Alt Right websites, opinions were thoroughly divided about this article. Some absolutely hated it, saying that the authors portrayed the movement poorly or that Milo Yiannopoulos was trying to position himself as some sort of leader. Others said that it was broadly good. I did not see many in between.:
- A great respect for history
- A love of culture
- A distaste for so-called cultural appropriation
There shouldn’t really be a problem with these tenets for the most part, yet opposition by the regressive Left is intense. They consider meritocracies to be discriminatory and demand instead quotas. They despise Europeans thinking of themselves; only guilt and monetary reparations should be witnessed. In the extreme they don’t believe in gender or think that it’s a spectrum or think that it’s an infinite collection.7It’s really rather amusing when regressives clash about which is the politically correct answer here. The only real similarities are a dislike for unrestrained democracy8While the Alt Right is often more concerned with uninformed voters holding massive power over informed voters, the regressive Left is horrified by votes that don’t agree with them and will decry the results. One might argue that this is similar in that the regressive Left feels that all those who disagree are uninformed voters. and cultural appropriation.9But the regressive Left does not believe that Europeans have cultures and thus only complains when a European dresses or acts in a manner that they dislike.
Throughout all of this, however, it’s been forgotten that the Alt Right is the result of the regressive Left. For years regressives have been telling Europeans that they don’t have a right to self-determination, that they’re racist no matter what, that they’re evil from birth, that they have no culture, and that they are inferior to others. Is it any wonder that people have fought back against these ideas? Some will go the opposite direction and form a counter, while others will simply give in to what they’re told and become the very things of which they are accused. After all, why does it matter what you do if you’re already guilty by some original sin?
Now it is evil that polytheists have any sort of love or respect for what they reconstruct or have otherwise built. It’s somehow morally wrong that they do not seek to destroy everything in the name of intersectional feminism, Marxism, or anarchism. Tradition and heritage are just so horrible, especially if it relates to Europe in any way! What crimes they have committed just by expressing wrongthink! And those Heathens are just the worst bunch of the lot.
This pains me. I was a Democrat for years.10Nowadays I am a member of the United Independent Party of Massachusetts. They have a convenient “what we believe” page. When I visited Washington, DC, in eighth grade for a class trip, I bought a miniature license plate that said “Democrat”. It hung in my bedroom throughout my teen years. I voted for Democrats for nearly a decade. In my teens I attended gay rights rallies and protested in front of the State House. I was in the newspaper for being a part of a signature campaign for gay rights in my high school; I still have the clipping and I cherish it. I remember excitedly sitting in front of the TV with my rainbow flag as marriage equality became law in Massachusetts and thinking about how I could marry someone in the future. I was vice president and later president of the gay-straight alliance in my high school. I helped in various environmental groups throughout university.
I was quite simply a progressive. But it was for nothing. I watched as the Democratic leadership voted poorly or actively hurt itself in some failed bid for bipartisanship.11I mean, really. The Democrats have the worst negotiation techniques. You don’t drop several of your demands on literally the opening move for fear that you might be rejected anyway! I watched as so-called progressives kept going so far left that I couldn’t even recognise their goals. I watched as I became the greatest evil in the world just because I’m a white male. Most recently I’ve witnessed the rise of the belief that I’m this horrible misogynist because I’m gay and not sleeping with women. Or, even better, that I’m gay by choice and thus even more terrible because of my apparent hatred for women.
The regressive Left is embodied by people like Rhyd Wildermuth, Shane Burley, and the social justice warriors who infect Tumblr, schools, and online “journalism”. They’ve gone so far over that the world itself is the enemy. They are intellectually dishonest and hold beliefs so stunningly radical that to implement them would be to burn everything until nothing remains. They’ve tried to destroy atheism, gaming, open source projects, and education. And now they are here for polytheism in this quest to burn. It is useless to try to reason with them, as ideological purity is their sole goal and everyone else must be smashed aside with their cries of racism, original sin, and heresy.
I have not moved much politically since I was a teen. I was taught that all peoples deserve the same rights and opportunities. I was taught that merit is important. I was taught to respect history and culture. I was taught to love my heritage and to embrace it. I was taught to help others and to extend these beliefs to others in good faith. And yet I am not on the Left anymore. The Left is unrecognisable and barely even visible from where I stand. For what I was taught and believe, I am labelled harshly and comically inaccurately.
The regressive Left does not want me. I am guilty and sinful to them. My very religion is now offensive to them. But the Alt Right wants me. They respect my love of tradition and heritage. They support me. They approve of my goals in history and religion. All without moving an inch politically, I already have a foot in their camp.
The regressive Left made me what I am.
- Marc’s “A Thought on the Recent Radical Brouhaha“
- “Polytheism is Fascism‽” on A Polytheist’s Ramblings (with an excellent listing of other responses)
- Joseph Bloch:
- Sargon of Akkad’s “An Honest Look at the Alt Right” (a video with more information on core tenets)
- Lucius Helsen:
- “‘They’re Facists!!!!’ Part 1“
- “‘They’re Facists!!!!’ Part 2“
- “‘They’re Facists!!!!’ Part 3“
- “‘They’re Facists!!!!’ Part 4“
- “Looking at ‘Fascism’ a Bit Further Part 1“
- “Looking at ‘Fascism’ a Bit Further Part 2“
- “Through a Mirror Darkly Part 1“
- “Through a Mirror Darkly Part 2“
- “Through a Mirror Darkly Part 3“
- “Through a Mirror Darkly Part 4“
- “Through a Mirror Darkly Part 5“
- “Rhyd’s Reckoning TL:DR“
- Sarenth’s “A Response to The Uncomfortable Mirror“
- Ruadhán’s “How did Fascism break the Polytheist Blogosphere?“
Footnotes [ + ]
|1.||↑||Impressively Rhyd claims that hierarchies are unnatural and do not exist in nature. It’s an amazing display of stupidity.|
|2.||↑||This is outright mocked by Rhyd, going so far to say that it’s okay for others, but not for Europeans. Furthermore it’s claimed that this belief is just a lie anyway.|
|3.||↑||Self-determination is specifically mentioned in the United Nations Charter under Chapter 1, Article 1: “To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.”|
|4.||↑||This, of course, bears a striking resemblance to the issues of mob rule and the tyranny of the majority.|
|5.||↑||This issue is contested on multiple sites in my research. For some this is a mandatory tenet, while others disagree. The former have great contempt for the latter. This issue is further exacerbated by Israel having a habit of demanding that the West change its ways and open its borders to everyone, yet Israel won’t do the same.|
|6.||↑||During my wanderings on Alt Right websites, opinions were thoroughly divided about this article. Some absolutely hated it, saying that the authors portrayed the movement poorly or that Milo Yiannopoulos was trying to position himself as some sort of leader. Others said that it was broadly good. I did not see many in between.|
|7.||↑||It’s really rather amusing when regressives clash about which is the politically correct answer here.|
|8.||↑||While the Alt Right is often more concerned with uninformed voters holding massive power over informed voters, the regressive Left is horrified by votes that don’t agree with them and will decry the results. One might argue that this is similar in that the regressive Left feels that all those who disagree are uninformed voters.|
|9.||↑||But the regressive Left does not believe that Europeans have cultures and thus only complains when a European dresses or acts in a manner that they dislike.|
|10.||↑||Nowadays I am a member of the United Independent Party of Massachusetts. They have a convenient “what we believe” page.|
|11.||↑||I mean, really. The Democrats have the worst negotiation techniques. You don’t drop several of your demands on literally the opening move for fear that you might be rejected anyway!|