Thursday, July 7, 2016

An open letter to an open letter to Jim Lyngvild

Author's note: I specifically asked Mr. Lyngvild for his permission to write this, so hopefully I'm not just butting in where I'm not wanted. Now, on to the show.

For those who don't know, Jim Lyngvild is a very successful fashion designer/commentator and author in Denmark, has built his own hof, is happily and openly gay, and is something of an iconoclast in his politics.

It should be said that he's also on record as saying that "Asatru and viking-religions is for EVERYONE... NOT just the selected few! And it has NOTHING to do with the color of Your skin". So... not exactly folkish. But he also says "I love my culture and my ancestors, precisely as all other cultures should do! Be proud..." So... not exactly a self-hating SJW ready to see Denmark turned into Little Damascus.

So he's not an ideologue, either way. I can respect that, even if I might disagree with him on things. And there's no denying his accomplishments. I've interacted with him a few times on Facebook, and damn but he's hard not to like. His enthusiasm for Asatru, and his hof, is infectious. He just seems genuinely happy and like a really nice guy. He's also not one to surround himself in a bubble of ideological purity, like some. And that seems to have gotten him into trouble with The Usual Suspects.

About a month ago, one Räv Skogsberg posted An Open Letter to Jim Lyngvild on his blog. It's actually quite a fascinating piece of hand-wringing. He's downright pleading with Lyngvild to prove his liberal bone fides before it's too late. And that, of course, involves denouncing people and political opinions with which Skogsberg disagrees. Quotes from this point onward are from Skogsberg's letter.
I’m writing to you in this manner because you have become quite famous in our circles due to the beautiful hof you’ve built, but you have simultaneously become very contentious with regards to your political implications.
Why does wanting to see a limit to non-Danish immigration need to be "contentious"? It's a simple matter of disagreeing on a matter of national policy. If it's contentious to be on one side of such an argument, it must be contentious to be on the other, as well. But the assumption here is that Skogsberg's view is the correct one, and any opposing view is inherently and objectively wrong. That's a theme you'll see again here.
Now, I believe you when you say that you’re not racist, and I definitely believe that you’re not homophobic – essentially I believe that you’re a good man, since I have it on good authority – but somehow you’ve become an icon for people with tragically excluding views.
"Tragically excluding"? Why is wanting to limit the number of foreigners who come into a tiny country like Denmark somehow tragic? Is it tragic to want to see one's society maintained? Is it tragic to not want to follow Sweden down the path to becoming the world's rape capital? The language here is so clearly biased it's funny.
People to whom nationality and ethnicity is cause to exclude and look down on others. Those who would use our gods for their own ends, rather than be open to do what the gods want us to do.
 And here we have the crux of the issue. Skogsberg seems to be conflating a desire to limit immigration to Denmark with being a folkish Asatruar, and in the same breath completely screwing up what it means to be folkish. This, despite the fact that Lyngvild has explicitly stated he doesn't think that Asatru should be limited based on skin color. And that folkish Asatru seeks to see people of every folk, every ethnicity, every race return to their own pre-monotheistic gods and religions. And also despite the fact that saying "Don't come here" isn't remotely the same thing as seeing others as inferior, any more than you're looking down on other people when you lock your front door at night.

And, as a bonus, he's telling us that he speaks for the gods. He knows "what the gods want us to do."

Our snowflake continues:
That is not what I believe about you, rather the opposite, and therefore I urge you to be clear about your position and make use of your fame to promote an inclusive Heathenry that takes the stance that the strong should protect and help the weak.
You mean like he already did? Repeatedly? On video? When he said that Asatru as he sees it shouldn't be limited by skin color? Have you even seen his Facebook page, you dumbass?
Be like Thor that Hárbarðsljóð speaks of, the one to take in the outcasts.
Well... no. That's not what Hárbarðsljóð says. In that poem, the line to which you're referring (24) ends "Óðinn á jarla, þá er í val falla, en Þórr á þrælakyn." That last word, þrælakyn, doesn't mean "outcasts". It means slaves. Thralls. It's an insult that Harbard is aiming at Thor, to demean him compared to Odin, who has the nobles. Jarls. But I can see why you'd want to obfuscate that meaning, as it really doesn't advance your argument. But hey, why worry about scholarly integrity when there's a political crusade to advance, amirite?
Do as the High One bids us in Havamal: If you see evil, say that it is evil, and give no peace to your enemies.
And here again we see the motif that Skogsberg keeps up. People who disagree with him, no matter what the specifics, aren't just wrong. It's not just a good-natured disagreement that men of goodwill can come to different conclusions looking at the same evidence. Disagree with him, and you are evil. It's a constant refrain from the regressive Left. This isn't just a political or a religious issue. It's a moral crusade, and if you're not with them, you're against them. Hmmm. Where have I heard that before?
Now, why would you listen to me? I say you should because you don’t want the people I talk about to destroy our religion! You and I would probably disagree on many points if we were to discuss politics, but I’m convinced we would agree on the really important stuff. That is what I have gleaned from our brief chats, your Facebook posts and from what your friends say about you. People I know and think highly of like you.
Which explains why you're trying to convince a high-profile Asatruar to endorse your pathetic political agenda. But look at that language again - those of us who disagree with him on religious issues, specifically those of us who are folkish, will "destroy our religion". There's no having a disagreement with this sort of person. Any attempt at debate will simply cement in his mind the fact that you are The Enemy, and are thus out to destroy what he thinks is right and true. And thus, you're fair game to be destroyed in turn.
There is a tide of a bad nationalism welling in over us. It flows – but it will ebb when the tide turns. The people who want to connect our gods with a specific nationality or ethnicity will drag the names of our gods in the mud when the tide turns.
Ah, not only does he speak for the gods, but now he's a prophet as well! But of course this sort of rhetoric isn't to be taken seriously, it's just more of the implied threat that he's using to whip someone he sees as useful into line. "Agree with us, or else..."
The reason why the heathen/pagan revival started in the UK rather than in Germany or Scandinavia is quite simply and obviously that the our symbols were usurped by people using them for their own ends, without any regard for their divine origin.
Spoken like someone with zero knowledge of the history of the Heathen revival, with little logic in it to boot. First off, if you're talking about the revival that started in the 70's, that started in the US, Iceland, and the UK simultaneously. And in the US and UK, that revival was decidedly folkish. We folkish were here first. I can certainly see Germany being used as an example of "our symbols were usurped by people using them for their own ends." But Scandinavia? Denmark and Norway were conquered, Iceland and Sweden never were. And as far as I know, the National Socialist dream didn't get too far into those places where Germany did conquer. So... this is just bizarre.
People with an agenda very far away from yours or mine. Lets make sure that doesn’t happen again. Lets leave a legacy that says we heathens stand for inclusion. Lets make sure we end up on the right side of history.
And here we have the hard sell again. And the implication that anyone who disagrees with a policy of completely open borders is somehow a racist, or "on the wrong side of history". Muslim history, perhaps.
Perhaps you will disregard this letter. Perhaps you think me one of those who refuse to see you for the man you are: a man who has been charged by Odin to build his hof, and has done so with all the powers available to him. I see that man, but I also see a man who has become a symbol. Who has, against his own wishes perhaps, become a role model, someone who people look up to. That comes with the territory. When Odin chooses you, you are marked for greatness, but that also means that what you do have consequences far beyond your own life.
Yeah, yeah. "You're a notable figure, so I want you to take up my political cause." An age-old call, no doubt. But once he found out about it, Lyngvild didn't disregard that letter. Indeed, he responded quite well, with his usual grace and aplomb.

But what struck me in particular was the ending of Lyngvild's video. I can't embed it here, because it's posted on Facebook, but here's what he says right at the end:
I don't care about races. I don't care about colors. Yes, I do, because if we just put everything down into a blender and pressed the button, it would be grey and boring. I love colors! I love that we have so many different kinds of people in this world. Let's keep it that way. Let's be inspired by each other. Let's love each other! And let there be space for people to have their own ideas about how the world should be ruled. Because I have mine, you have yours, and you know what? That is perfectly fine.
And you know what? That's what folkish people have been arguing for, for years. Contrary to what the SJW's say about us, we aren't just looking out for white people. We genuinely want to see hundreds of folkish faiths spring up, with every folk, and every people, re-embracing the ancestral faiths of their pre-Christian or pre-Muslim, or pre-Buddhist ancestors. I'm not saying that Jim Lyngivld is folkish, because he obviously is not. Neither is he some sort of xenophobe. But a world with hundreds of unique folk-groups existing side-by-side, is something we have in common, even though I might extend that to each such group exploring their own rich cultural and religious traditions.

So close!


  1. While i don't agree with folkish believes, i do agree with everything you're saying here, though Scandinavia never needed a "revival" as the faith has always been here, it never went away, people just practiced in secret until it became socially acceptable again, around the romantic period of the mid 19th century, in Denmark it might even have been earlier since our translations of the Eddas go back to late 18th century, but as with all religious endeavours in Scandinavia they are performed on a very secular basis so that's why you probably would'nt call it a revival since we don't tend to make a spectacle out of anything religious, and it's probably also because of the strong secular sensibilities in our cultures that we in general disagree with the folkish beliefs from the UK and the US, going of on a tangent there sorry, i know it's anecdotal but i know several families that are Asetro and has been since the christianization of Denmark.

  2. Kudos to Lyngvild. As for that other guy, the mouthpiece of the Gods, the prophet, ah, no......