Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Ten Commandments

So a few years ago, in an apparently attempt to squander hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars defending against lawsuits which will inevitably result in failure for the state, Arkansas passed a bill requiring that the ten commandments be posted in front of the statehouse. The bill was sponsored by State Sen. Jason Rapert.

Yesterday the monument was installed on the State House lawn.

Hours later, at 4:30 AM, before the ACLU even had a chance to submit its lawsuit*, an apparently mentally ill man that professes "for our salvation we must have faith in Jesus Christ"** rammed his vehicle into the monument and smashed it into a zillion pieces.


Now, naturally nobody should go around illegally smashing property; I'm very much against it, and I hope this guy gets the combination of hospitalization and jail time that he needs and deserves. But honestly, guys in the Arkansas state legislature, this was a losing proposition from the start. I find it hard to generate a lot of sympathy. Let's take a look at a few of the reasons why.

It doesn't serve its stated purpose

The monument during its brief period of verticality
State Sen. Jason Rapert, the Christian zealot behind this whole mess, has stated in the bill (and which was parroted by Christian commentator Todd Starnes) that the reason for putting the ten commandments on the Statehouse lawn is because:
The Ten Commandments, found in the Bible at Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21, are an important component of the moral foundation of the laws and legal system of the United States of America and of the State of Arkansas
Really?

Which commandments would those be? Is there a law in Arkansas about only worshiping Jehovah of Sinai?

Will the police arrest anyone making a graven image?***

Christ on a Stick! Is there a law against taking the name of the "lord" in vain?

Will the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Arkansas Division) beat people who keep the Wal-Marts and fast food restaurants in Arkansas open on Sunday?

If a child tells their mother to go fuck themselves, will they end up in juvie?

Killing, yeah, and stealing, too, but both of those are hardly unique to the Ten Commandments, Christianity, or Judaism. In fact, I can't think of a culture that didn't prohibit those, including, especially, pagan cultures, so it hardly qualifies as an example of the ten commandments being "the moral foundation of the laws and legal system".

Adultery? Well, it's illegal in the UCMJ, yes, but you won't get locked up for it normally.

False witness? Yup, we've got perjury laws on the books, but see above about killing and stealing.

Coveting? That might be something Oceania's Thought Police might like to be able to arrest someone for, but in this country, it's not against the law to think. Yet.

So no. Nothing in those precious ten commandments has anything to do especially with "the moral foundation of the laws and legal system." In fact, if anything, our current system of law has much more to do with Germanic common law, inherited from the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, via the English colonies. You know, juries, personal rights, due process, that sort of thing that most people would normally associated with "the foundation of ... the legal system."

It's Inherently Sectarian

Most people don't realize that there are a lot more than one version of the ten commandments out there. Jews, Orthodox Christians, Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, they all have their own variations on the theme. You pick one for inclusion in an officially sanctioned and endorsed display by the state, and you explicitly establish whichever denomination of Christianity you picked (and let us not even consider for a moment that Rep. Rapert chose a Jewish version, because he didn't) over all the other ones, and all the Jewish denominations, you didn't pick.

Unless you carved one with a zillion footnotes with alternate versions, wordings, and so forth. But That doesn't make for a good, pithy, "my religion is what's important, not yours" statement, which is exactly what this stupid monument was intended to do.

It says "screw you" to the non-Christians

Pretty much by definition, if there's a monument that has been explicitly established by a state government, placed on government property, and that monument not only has the historical context of a particular religion, but actually says:
I AM the LORD thy god
Thou shalt have no other gods before me
You ain't my "lord" Jehovah of Sinai. You're just a jumped-up desert god from a foreign folk who somehow managed to glom onto a winning formula to lie to people and tell them you're the only god out there (although Asherah might have a word or two to say about that). And then turn right around and contradict yourself by admitting there are other gods. You might be a fine god for the Jews, but you make a piss-poor one for everyone else.

And the legislators in Arkansas, not caring at all, of course, stuck their finger in the eye of every Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Atheist, Shinto, Amerindian religious follower, Wiccan, neopagan, and of course Asatruar out there, among many others. But they don't care, because there are more Christians than the rest of us put together.

For now.

Fortunately the law is on our side, and the United States provides for protections against the sort of religious triumphalism that Rep. Rapert and his supporters were trying to impose. The reason we have individual rights and limitations on the powers of government is precisely to circumvent the sort of mob-rule mentality that says "there are more of us, so we can do what we want." It is precisely to protect the rights of the minority against the tyranny of the majority. Republicans used to be all about that sort of thing. I hope they get back to that core principle.



__________

* Which would win because, unlike the Texas monument it attempts to emulate, this hunk of granite isn't in the context of a whole bunch of similar displays from a variety of religions and sources.

** Insert you-must-be-mentally-ill-to-be-Christian joke here.

*** Consider here the irony of making a graven image of the Ten Commandments. Ahem.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday YouTube Roundup - June 25, 2017

Hey! I made it two weeks in a row! Go me!

First up, we have the awesome-as-always Bearing, who asks the question, Aren't ANTIFA a bunch of dumb cunts.

Yes, Bearing. Yes they are.

And it ends with a great song parody!


Chris Ray Gun (he who caused Laci Green so much trouble lately by having the audacity to date her) covers the latest instance of the left eating itself in an orgasm of trying to out-victim one another; BLM vs. PRIDE PARADE?. "Does everything have to be about race?" Yes, apparently.


Finally, Swedish "Nordic ritual folk" band Leidungr has a new track out entitled Gryning Flammar ("dawn flames"), which is an awesome ambiant track  that would be great in the background of some ritual. Terrific, haunting, stuff. Enjoy!

Friday, June 23, 2017

An interview with Carolyn Emerick

Last month the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle, Cornwall, officially expunged all references to Heathen folklorist Carolyn Emerick from its website, and made her persona non grata, with the Wild Hunt website reporting the following official statement (which appears to have been itself removed from the Museum Facebook page):
A spokesperson stated, “The Museum […] does not accept extreme views which align the morally repugnant politics of the far right (anywhere in the world) with folkloric custom and practice. Nor can it recommend writing which originates in circles which debate Facism[sic] and conflates it with Pagan belief and magical practice.”
Naturally, I had to learn more. Odin's Eye had a nice recap of what happened (with screenshots from the apparent ring-leader), as well as an official statement from Ms. Emerick on the whole affair. But I still wanted to hear more about what seemed a politically-motivated railroading of a person who had written a ton of fascinating stuff about European folklore. It seemed like yet another SJW crusade to not only erase someone from society because of their political views, but to destroy them personally and professionally.

So I reached out to Ms. Emerick, and she graciously agreed to answer a few questions. I mostly stuck to the primary issue, but given my great interest in folklore, I had to take the opportunity to throw in a few curve balls at the end and ask some questions about that. I cannot thank Ms. Emerick enough for her willingness to take the time to answer my questions.

* * *

Q: Please describe a little of your background in folklore and paganism.

A: Well, the reality of where my interests find me now are a culmination of influences built over my entire life. When I was a child, my family always made our heritage a conscious part of our identity, so an interest in the culture of Europe was instilled in me very young. I come from a family of readers, so books on historical figures from British history were passed around from my grandmother, to mother, to myself. I always found the Medieval Era incredibly fascinating, and was always drawn to wondering about the origins of myths and legends. My college experience was untraditional due to life circumstances, so I had quite a few start and stops before finally earning my degree, but that allowed me to explore topics from medieval British literature to historiography.

The folklore bug bit me a little later. Because I had been studying "high literature" in college, folklore was something I just didn't "get." Like a lot of people, I assumed it was simplistic children's stories told by peasants. I did not learn until later on that these simple stories told to children are actually embedded with very deep meaning.

It was through exploring various world religions and different spiritual philosophies in early adulthood that my own spiritual worldview was evolving and becoming more refined. One day I happened to catch Joseph Campbell's famous series of interviews on TV. At that time, I hadn't been especially interested in mythology, but it was his insights he had gained from studying world myth that were jibing so well with my own thoughts. I don't remember specifically what he said, but I do remember actually reacting outloud to the TV (to the annoyance of my ex-boyfriend in the room!), with a lot of "yes! Yes, exactly! Oh my gosh, that's exactly what I've been saying!"

From then, it's really been a never ending passion that fuels and inspires my life. Because I already had a strong background in European history and culture, because I had studied historiography and had majored in literature, I had a strong foundation upon which to build a new passion for researching the folklore and customs of Europe. And, the kind of writing I've done is really no different than the analytic research papers required in any college humanities course, so I can finally say my "useless" degree has been useful!

Q: How would you describe the connection, if any, between cultural heritage and modern political issues such as mass immigration?

A: This is a topic that deserves serious, serious exploration and introspection. I strongly feel that the general public is being manipulated in order to support things that are not good for them, their societies, and future generations. Things are going on now that would have been considered absolutely insane at any other generation in history. And we're told "follow the approved narrative or we will publically flay you with vile name-calling about your character."

As someone who believes that ALL cultures in the world are special and worthy of preserving, it breaks my heart to read in the news that dialects are being lost forever, that London no longer has the Cockney culture it has been famous for since the Victorian Era, and so forth. In fact, I speak of these things with friends around the world, and in particular I recently met a young man from the Pashtun tribe in Afghanistan who has seen his own culture face attacks due to modern politics.

The uncomfortable truth is that homogenization destroys individuality. All of the unique diversity in the world won't be here to cherish if we do not make an effort to preserve our national identities. The Japanese understand this very well, as do the South Koreans. A recent Vice documentary on Jewish immigration to Israel interviewed an Israeli immigration official who said (paraphrase) "well, we must maintain a Jewish majority in Israel if we wish to remain a democracy." In other words, they make their immigration policy determined on how it impacts their demographics. As does Japan, Korea, most Arab states, etc. The Israeli immigration official did not mince his words, he made it very clear that he understood that demographic influx will affect the voting constituency. He very openly explained they don't want non-Jewish immigrants to be able to impact government and society, therefore, they maintain very strict quotas.

Why, then, is it "racist" for European-majority nations to take the same approach as virtually any other culture in the world? The fact is that it is not. But it is being presented as such by political factions working for multi-national bankers pushing a globalist agenda.

Q: Do you see a difference between having a love for one's own heritage, and hate for someone else's?

A: It's a sad thing that this question even needs to be asked, to be honest with you. But, this is the socio-political climate in which we find ourselves. If I want to be overtly frank with you, I would say that I don't think there is any problem with hating aspects of cultures that bring with them "traditions" of animal abuse, women abuse, mass rape, and other forms of violence. I will tell you very openly that I do hate "cultural practices" such as skinning dogs alive, or burying a woman up to her neck in sand and hurling rocks at her head. I hate that. I'm not sorry.

And, it is because I LOVE my cultural heritage and the values that we have collectively worked very hard at refining over hundreds of years in the West that I very strongly assert that we should not put the safety of our loved ones in jeopardy by inviting in cultures who want to bring values that we oppose into our shires.

That said, do I hate PEOPLE? An individual must always be judged upon their own merits. And, this is in the code of ethics by which I live my life. I make no judgement about an individual based on anything other than their actions and their character. However, when we're making decisions at the societal level that affect the masses, we MUST take cultural trends into account in the decision and policy making process. It's simply asinine not to.

Loving your culture has nothing to do with supremacy. By that logic, the Japanese and Israelis are the most ardent "white supremacists" out there. But, if you love something, if you cherish it, you MUST protect it.

Q: Would you describe yourself as "folkish" in the modern Asatru sense of the term? How would you define "folkish"?

A: This was an evolution in my personal views over the past few years. Now, yes, I do consider myself Folkish, but really, as stated above, only in the same way that the South Koreans are regarding how they view their cultural identity.

To understand Folkism, one has to understand that ALL cultures in the world have their own indigenous animistic forms of spirituality. It was not until the spread of Abrahamic monotheism which can be compared to Star Trek's "Borg" in how it operates ("you will be assimilated") that ethnicity, culture, and spirituality were ever viewed as separate things.

Science is demonstrating more than ever the importances that DNA plays in our psyches, inherited memory has been proven to be real, and an article went around recently about how thinking positively about our own ancestral heritage has a profound effect on our mental health.

Therefore, I believe that ALL people in the world have a right to connect to their OWN ancestral heritage, and SHOULD for their own psychological well being. While some people try to misidentify Folkism as racism or white supremacy, in my view it is simply the natural human nature that we all possess to connect to our roots and our own heritage.

It is BECAUSE of my Folkish view that I have become very close friends with my Hindu buddy in India. We text each other daily. He is basically a Folkish Hindu! He believes my culture should be preserved as much as I believe his culture should be! As much as certain factions want to smear someone with views they disagree with as "racist," the truth is, that people of many ethno-cultural backgrounds worldwide think Europeans are just plain crazy for allowing what they are allowing in their countries. And, my Folkish view allows me to understand "folk" of other backgrounds who also want to preserve and protect their cultural heritage.

Q: Please describe what happened leading up to the Witchcraft Museum's statement.

A: Oh, this was the most ridiculous and bizarre outburst of unprofessionalism that I have ever witnessed in my life! What happened was that a woman who is in the folklore community, whom I have known through Facebook for several years and had always had positive interactions with, suddenly decided she couldn't handle my commentary on the migrant crisis. Gillian Smith took it upon herself to launch a public smear campaign against me and apparently recruited the Witchcraft Museum in her little mob.  I was truly blind sided. Suddenly, out of nowhere, people who had respected the quality of my work were seething with negativity over personal political views.

Now, I was aware that this woman holds political views that I personally find abhorrent. But, I would NEVER ever in a million years launch a public smear campaign about her or anyone else! There have been writers in myth/folklore circle who have made political statements that make my skin crawl, and PRIVATELY I will discuss it with friends. Never publically. I would never attempt to undermine someone's career in that way. That is operating without integrity and I will never do that to another human being.

The Witchcraft Museum could have very easily quietly unfollowed me and stopped sharing my articles if they find my personal politics so distasteful. I have never been affiliated with them in any way whatsoever. There was absolutely no legitimate reason for them to make such a public attack against an individual.

Furthermore, outlets like The Wild Hunt have published the museum's statement, but refused to publish my response. Is this journalistic integrity? Do we live in a world where organizations can slander individuals but individuals are not given the opportunity to respond? This is the kind of political terrorism that certain factions use in order to scare regular people into agreeing, or at least shutting their mouths. In grade school what they have done to me would have been called bullying.

Q: What has been the reaction to the Witchcraft Museum's statement on your end? Positive? Negative? A mix?

A: It's been fantastic! My numbers went up on all platforms! I have received loads of messages saying "I can't say it openly, but I support you, you are not alone. Please keep speaking for us, we need you!"  I mean, these messages are coming in from around the world, from the US, UK, Germany, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Scandinavia, the list goes on and on.

My writing has never been politically charged. My personal views were aired on my personal profile, but my professional profile was on topic. This vicious and hostile attack on my character has forced me to double down. Because I am not alone in my desire to see European nations given the same right to self-identity and cultural protection that any other world culture is given. So, I will not stop speaking. Their name calling, if anything, has only made it more evident that we need more voices and they need to speak LOUDER.

And due to the massive outpouring of support that I received, the Witchcraft Museum has inspired me to launch a magazine dedicated to a positive representation of European cultural heritage, which will be debuting later this summer.

Q: Describe your feelings about the modern attack on freedom of speech by people on the Left.

A: Honestly, I never knew how hypocritical and vile people could actually be until I began seeing outright hate spewed at ethnic-Europeans in the mainstream in recent years. Any "white person" who celebrates their heritage, or wishes to see their national identity preserved, is labeled a "supremacist." Meanwhile, groups like Black Lives Matter were, and still are, spewing literal and actual supremacy, endorsing the murder of white babies publically for example. In South Africa today white families literally ARE being targeted and slaughtered in their own homes by "black activists," so this is rhetoric that should be taken very seriously! But, hate speech against white people doesn't count as "hate speech" in the mainstream consciousness.

Here we have a situation where certain demographics are flooding the West, and those demographics are committing drastically higher rates of violent crime than the native population, but simply pointing that out elicits a reaction of horror from the Left... while the violent crimes do not elicit a reaction at all. Certain groups are raping and murdering and getting away with it, but I'm the bigot for having the nerve to say so?! Where is the logic?! Where is the outrage against the people ACTUALLY COMMITTING VIOLENT CRIME?!

What happened to me is exactly why the horrific Rotherham child sex trafficking ring was able to operate with impunity for years! The FACT is that is was almost exclusively Muslim men of non-European ethnic background MASS RAPING LITTLE ENGLISH GIRLS BY THE THOUSANDS. And the police knew. But they were more terrified of the vile social shaming tactics of the Left than they were of the Muslims raping their town's little girls. Well, I sure hope they feel more ashamed for their cowardice than they ever would have been for being called the big scary "R" word.

Listen up, Lefties, you can call me a racist all damn day long, it doesn't make it true. And, calling me a racist will NOT stop be from calling a spade a spade and speaking out to protect my people.

[Editor - Here's where I threw my "curve balls" :-)]

Q: Do you see the "fairy folk" in various places (Iceland's huldufólk, England's brownies, the Iroquois' Jogah, etc.) as being the same sorts of beings, seen through different cultural lenses? Or are they distinct classes of beings related only in the broadest sense?

A: Wasn't this an abrupt change of topic! I'm going to need a moment to recalibrate, haha.

Well, I guess this question is dependent on a literal belief in fairies. I'm agnostic on it, though I do lean toward belief. If these spirits are real, then I think that both views would apply. If there are fairies, spirits, or even just interdimensional beings slipping into our dimension, then there likely would be various species. But, human interaction with them would also be filtered through the cultural lens in which the interaction was occurring.

Q: How do you see the interplay of Viking settlers in England, Scotland, and Ireland with the Celtic and Anglo-Saxons influencing the folk-customs and folklore of those places?

A: Well, I very strongly assert that the British Isles (and even Ireland, but especially Scotland) have much stronger Teutonic influence than they are willing to admit. I very much believe that post-WWII Teutophobia as well as animosity between the Scots-Irish toward the English both caused the Celtic influence to be inflated while the Germanic influence has been downplayed. The Anglo-Saxons settled half of Scotland (and chunks of Ireland) and the Scots language is Germanic (not Scottish Gaelic, that one is Celtic and people confuse them, and "Ulster Scots" is also spoken in Ireland). Furthermore virtually all of the outlying Scottish Islands were conquered and settled by the Norse! An Old Norse dialect called Norn was spoken in the Shetland and Orkney islands until until the 15th century, and at that time Scots language became the main language, which is descended from Old English.

So the folklore of Orkney and Shetland IS Norse. But, the Teutonic influence pops up in Lowland Scottish folklore everywhere. I recently discovered the Scottish version of "The Frog Prince" where the frog was called a "paddock," which I was unfamiliar with. Turns out, it's just an old Germanic for "frog." Well when I posted this on social media, I had Dutch, Swedish, and Scottish people all piping in with their words that are etymologically related to "paddock."

I have presented some very heavily researched articles on the topic of Germanic heritage in Scotland, "Scotland's Other Heritage: The Forgotten Legacy of Germanic Scotland," and "The Queen of Elphame: Hidden Goddess of the Scottish Witch Trials."  The second one is available on my website as a companion to "Thomas the Rhymer: Shamanic Tradition in Lowland Scottish Lore."

It is my opinion that Britain really ought to be considered a very close first cousin of Scandinavia for many reasons. And, this is evidenced in the folklore. I also discovered a vestigial evidence of the Germanic mythical Norns in an English folktale. The Three Heads of the Well: And the Norns in Teutonic Mythology can be downloaded for free on my website.

Thank you for taking the time to ask me these thought provoking questions. Please stay up to date on my writing by following me on Facebook!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Our post-x world

It may seem obvious, but it is worth pointing out that we live in a modern world that is "post" quite a few things. But as with most such "post-" designations, that doesn't mean that the thing that the world is post- is necessarily completely gone. Going back to a Germanic (Heathen) mindset requires the shedding of many different layers that have accumulated over the centuries.

We live in a post-pagan world. Christianity, either of the Catholic variety in the west and north, or Orthodox variety in the east, took care of that in Europe with great gusto, attempting to replace not only pagan religious forms but social ones as well. But elements of the pagan folk-religious memeplexes* remained, whether in folklore and folk customs, covered with a Christian veneer, or even recorded in written form by pagan or Christian authors.

But we also live in a post-Catholic world. Thanks in large part to the Church's own failings, the Protestant Reformation and the emergence of the Church of England profoundly shook European culture, and many of those pagan customs that had survived as folklore, folk custom, or which had been Christianized, were lost. Much written lore was also lost (as in the dissolution of the monasteries in Henry VIII's England).

But then came the Enlightenment, and now Europe found itself in a post-Christian world. Radical concepts like democracy, the scientific method, and evolution set the stage for a fundamental undermining of mass confidence in religion to order society and provide personal meaning. Ironically, this brought with it a renewed interest in pre-Christian (pagan) art forms, writings, and philosophy.

But then came the Industrial Revolution, and now we were in a post-Enlightenment world. Mass production overwhelmed individual craftsmen, and utilitarianism and ruthless efficiency trumped aesthetic value. The last vestiges of the pagan customs that had endured all these centuries were nearly wiped out as the masses moved from agrarian communities where these practices and beliefs were maintained, into large cities to work in factories, which left no time or place for such frivolities. It was at this time, just as folklore and folk customs were disappearing, they were preserved by enthusiastic folklorists across Europe, such as Jakob Grimm. Two world wars served to sever those last links to the deep past, except in self-conscious revivals, with but few exceptions.

And now, of course, we are living in an Information Society post-Industrial world. One in which information is key, and available to anyone on a global scale instantaneously. The bywords for Western society (and increasingly much of the rest of the world) are radical individualism and relativism. There is a near-infinite choice of options literally at one's fingertips, so tradition, whether 50 or 5,000 years old, is rendered devoid of meaning.

So where does that leave us? How do we "radical traditionalists" respond? We peel back the layers, one by one.

It starts by returning to a pre-Information Society mindset. Rediscover the value in tribe and family, and recognize that there is value in tradition for its own sake, precisely because it is tradition. We tune out the vapid mass culture blather and rediscover things like reading and conversation.

It continues by looking to a pre-Industrial world-view. Regaining an appreciation for craftsmanship, and honing our own skills. Homemade, slow food rather than processed fast food. Hand-made furniture and art. We should try to choose the hand-made over the mass-produced, even though we realize it might cost more. We gain other intangible benefits in return.

We then look for the pre-Enlightenment world-view. Open our hearts and our minds to a world filled with magic; a world of land-wights and gods, where rights brought with them responsibilities, and where it was recognized that science should not drive society, but serve it.

And the process continues on and on til we finally get to a pre-Christian mindset. Where tribe and clan matter. Where honor replaces blind obedience and shame replaces sin. Where sex is not a source of embarrassment or shame but is embraced. Where we are one with the world, not seeking to separate ourselves from it, whether spiritually or technologically. A world where we can fulfill our natures with the gods, and with ourselves.

__________

* A memeplex is a collection of interdependent and intertwined memes (core idea concepts). Christianity, for example, is a memeplex that consists of many different memes.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday YouTube Roundup - June 18, 2017

I'm going to try a new feature here in the Garden, and highlight a few videos each week that I think are important, or interesting, or funny, or whatever. Will it become a regular thing? Time will tell.

First up, in Is Black Panther: A Hero the #AltRight Deserves?, YouTuber Black Pidgeon Speaks makes the argument that the Marvel movie/comic book character Black Panther checks a lot of boxes that make him deserving of support from the Alt Right. Seriously.


Next, former AFA Alsherjargodhi Stephen McNallen announces a new network designed, in his words, "to awaken the European peoples from their sleep, and to empower them so that they have, now and forever, complete control over their destiny"; The Wotan Network:


Finally, German folk metal band Faun posted a video of their 2015 Eurovision Song Contest appearance:

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Asatru Option?

Several months ago, conservative commentator and author Rod Dreher released his latest book, The Benedict Option, subtitled A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation, and it made quite a splash in the conservative Christian community. I read it, and I have to wonder if there isn't some kernel at the core of the idea that Asatruar could use as well.

Now, obviously, this is a book aimed at a traditionalist Christian audience, primarily Evangelical, Catholic, or Orthodox. And there's certainly nothing theological in the book that lends itself to any sort of Asatru application. But there's some social, educational, political, and economic ideas that warrant a closer look.

The thumbnail argument in the book is that the West is "post-Christian", and thus Christians need a new strategy to be able to maintain their unique identity in the face of a secular-liberal culture that not only has social values at odds with a lot of Christian values, but which insists on actively forcing those values on everyone, including those whose religion increasingly finds those values odious or even directly against its tenets.

The strategy he endorses is based on the Benedictine monastic tradition; physical and cultural separation from "the world" (in other worlds, from the greater non-Christian culture in which we live), with the formation of explicitly Christian communities being highly recommended, and a rigorous application of Benedictine religious principles in the form of prayer, hospitality, the work ethic, and more.

In terms of cultural separation, he provides the following advice:
Secede culturally from the mainstream. Turn off the television. Put the smartphones away. Read books. Play games. Make music. Feast with your neighbors. It is not enough to avoid that which is bad; you must also embrace what is good. Start a church, or a group within your church. Open a classical Christian school, or join and strengthen one that exists. Plant a garden, and participate in a local farmer's market. Teach kids how to play music, and start a band. Join the volunteer fire department. (p. 98)
If some of that sounds a bit odd coming from someone who is very much a champion of Christian conservatism, bear in mind this is the same guy who wrote Crunchy Cons, subtitled How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, and their diverse tribe of countercultural revolutionaries plan to save America (or at least the Republican Party). I have only skimmed that one as of this writing, but it's at the top of my to read list, for obvious reasons. It seems to check a lot of boxes for people I know in Asatru (again, looking past the Christian emphasis and focusing on the cultural ideals).

He also considers this sort of cultural separation as a tool for what he calls evangelization in and of itself:
As times get tougher, the church will become brighter and brighter, drawing people to its light. As this happens, we Christians should not be afraid to consider beauty and goodness our best evangelistic tools. (p. 117)
That should sound pretty familiar to those Asatru who embrace the idea of outreach by example. That is, by living honorable, joyous, simpler lives along the same patterns of our ancestors, and not being afraid to let our friends, co-workers, and neighbors know that we are Asatru, and that's what informs our life choices, we might encourage more of those people to come home to Asatru.

His solution isn't necessarily to pick up stakes and settle in the woods with a dozen people who think like you do, although I would daresay he wouldn't rule that out. Rather, the preferred strategy seems to be to create pockets of culture-within-culture. Deliberately moving within walking distance of your church, for instance. Once you do that, your everyday life starts to be filled with people who think, and worship, the way you do. Doing so allows you to reinforce those cultural and religious values you want to embrace, and to limit the necessity of dealing with the secular-liberal culture that is so intent on spreading its memes to every host through mass media and cultural peer pressure.

Imagine that scenario, adopted for Asatru. Here in New Jersey, the tribe to which I belong has a bunch of members, but we're scattered around New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York. Some live as much as three hours away from one another (we tend to meet in more central places, so it's not quite as onerous for the outliers). But imagine we all decided, "hey, let's all pick a small rural town and buy or rent houses there." Would it be initially disruptive? You betcha. Jobs would be lost, new ones would have to be found. But in the meantime, we'd have a whole support network of people we know, and love, and consider kith and kin to help us through the rough times.

And imagine how easy it would be to decide where to open that hof!

There's a lot in Dreher's book that a non-Christian would need to jettison, and no mistake. Much of it is in the details of his recommendations; his obsession with sex, homosexuality, and related things is pretty awkward, but par for the course when one considers control of sex is one of the principle instruments of cultural control the Church has used over the centuries, precisely because it is such a fundamental biological urge. I'm certainly not arguing Asatru should embrace that sort of theological baggage.

But the core concept, minimizing the influence of the modern culture, and maximizing the formation of face-to-face communities which foment the creation of real bonds, I think is a perfectly valid one, especially for a religion like Asatru which finds itself also at odds with the modern secular, liberal, industrialized, corporatized, homogenizing, culture in which we live.

Let us not forget that we are not only living in a post-Christian culture, but we are also living in a post-Pagan culture. The Christians are looking at a loss of the dominance of their world-view in the West that has only taken place over the span of a few decades. We as Asatruar are dealing with a culture that saw many inherently pre-Christian aspects systematically destroyed and replaced. We're dealing with a modern culture that has not replaced our own, but is in the process of replacing the one that replaced ours! Now, as part of the historical process, Christianity not only self-injected itself with Germanic religious and cultural concepts, but specific ritual and celebratory practices managed to survive under a thin Christian veneer for nearly a millennium, only to be finally almost obliterated by the Industrial Revolution and the flight of the agrarian folk who maintained those customs into the cities, where the rigid demands of industrial life made it impossible to retain them.

When we live in a culture that labels folkishness as racism, and a magical word-view as superstition, encourages us to be as removed from the production of food as possible, encourages radical individualism and atomization, and insists that we are somehow socially inferior if we don't buy the newest gadget, and which insists that the latest social fad is a basic human right that must be enforced with threats of prison and economic ruin, and on and on and on, that's a culture that should rightly be shunned wherever possible.

In its place we should seek to create a culture-within-the-culture that is based on our natural tribal affinities, on the cycles of nature and agriculture, on the concept of honor rather than shame and family rather than political party, on the knowledge that ours is a magical universe at its core and science for all its wonders is not the be-all and end-all of human experience, and on and on and on. And to do these things not online in blogs and emails and Facebook threads, but in the real-world, where you can walk down the street to a local ice-cream parlor and see one or two of your fellow Asatruar as you do so.

Take away the Christian baggage, and there's a core concept in the Benedict Option that I think Asatruar would do very well to look into.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Intersectionality²

Laci Green, feminist YouTuber
We seem to have reached "peak intersectionality" recently (or intersectionality squared), in the person of Laci Green. Rather, Laci Green seems to be seeing what the ultimate results of intersectionality are.

First, some background.

"Intersectionality" is a Ctrl-Left theory that basically says that all forms of what they label "oppression" are linked, and if you are, for example, a feminist, you must also be anti-racist, anti-capitalist, pro-abortion, advocate open borders, boycott Chick-fil-A, want to doxx and destroy the lives of Gamergaters, use the label "fascist" to refer to anyone who you disagree with, and on and on. It's basically a way to establish ideological purity amongst leftists, a final attempt to weed out those who agree with the left on some things, but not others. That will not do, and "intersectionality" is the tool by which ideological purity is defined and enforced.

You know, like HUAR and the gang over at Godless and Radical.

Laci Green is (or perhaps was is the correct tense; if not, it might soon be) a feminist YouTube commenter. She largely focuses on feminism in her videos, but applied the "intersectionality" idea to her commentary. And Time magazine called her one of the most influential people on the internet (in other news, Time magazine is still around; who knew?). She's a self-identified SJW.

However... a few weeks ago, however, she made the daring suggestion that it might be beneficial to actually talk to people who identified as anti-feminists. And then she revealed that she's actually dating someone who was an anti-feminist; the very talented Chris Raygun.

If you're like me, your reaction is probably, "so what?" Who the Hel cares who she's dating?

Oh, ye of little intersectionality.

She is currently getting a very hard lesson in what "intersectionality" really is, and how those on the Ctrl-Left really operate. In short, she's getting rhetorically beaten black and blue for even suggesting talking to people with whom she disagrees might be a good thing, let alone playing a rousing game or two of hide-the-sausage with someone who happens to disagree with her on certain political issues.

Let me just say that I've been watching Laci Green's videos on YouTube for a while (mostly because of the response videos from anti-feminist YouTubers like Bearing and others), and I genuinely like her. She's cute, she's obviously smart, she's funny, and she's quite engaging. I also happen to vehemently disagree with just about everything she believes when it comes to politics, economics, and social issues, but I could see it would be a hoot to hang out with her at a bar for an evening, drinking, eating wings, and good-naturedly jibing one another about the stuff we disagree on.

See, that's what being a normal person is like. You can disagree with someone on politics, and still think they're a decent human being, and even that they're worth spending time with.


But, sweet merciful bloodstained gods! the reactions to her call for actually talking to people who disagree with feminism (let alone fucking them) are just beyond belief. Here's just the barest sample:

Apparently now Laci is a racist. Because she's white, and talking to anti-feminists. Because... well, you know. All whites are racist, and intersectionality demands that you must check ALL THE BOXES. Even though those boxes are constantly changing. Because to do anything less would make you a bad "ally":
1.5 MILLION subscribers, and she can walk away from ALL OF THAT and still be loved and have her needs met because she's white....
Laci Green is one of the most known, if not the most known SJW on Youtube. And if she can turn her back on people of color and fuck a white supremacist, how the FUCK do you think people of color should feel about the entirety of white allyship? How can ANY OF US trust white women, let alone whypipo as a collective?
She was doxxed herself. Because if one doesn't accept the groupthink, one must be shamed, and be subjected to constant harassment, and have one's life basically destroyed.

I suppose "if you're not against them, you're not with us," is their mantra.

Gods, what it must be like to live a life defined by what you hate, rather than what you love. It's mind-boggling.

You can find a ton more stuff online if you just Google Laci Green. The bile, the virulent hatred, and most of all the willingness to rip apart someone that the Ctrl-Left used to adore, just because she was willing to talk to people who disagreed with her, is outright astonishing.

Laci posted a video about her feels in relation to the reaction. I really feel for her. She did what she thought would be a good thing (and, honestly, what most of us would think would be a good thing; actually engaging with people with whom we disagree), and got the most unbelievably overblow reaction from people who were her supporters and friends just a few weeks ago. It's really unbelievable how quickly, and completely, the Ctrl-Left will disavow one of its own, and indeed turn them into the same sort of pariah they usually reserve for Klansmen, abortion clinic bombers, and Trump supporters.

Laci, if you're reading this (and I have no expectation that you will, since you're a liberal SJW atheist, and this is a folkish Asatru polytheist blog), I am very sorry you had to find out the hard way that the people you'd counted as friends and supporters all this time were really a bunch of Ctrl-Left ideologues, ready to put anyone up against the wall for the most minor of transgressions. I meant it when I said I thought you were a good person, and I really hate that you're having to find out the hard way just what the toxic ideology you've embraced really leads to. You're experiencing the same sort of ostracization that I'm sure you despised when the Mormon church you grew up in did it to you. Only now it's being done by the very people you thought were the most tolerant and open-minded people on Earth.

It sucks that it had to happen to someone who seems like a genuinely nice person, but I hope the irony isn't lost on you. That offer of a beer and wings still stands, next time you're in NYC.