Saturday, September 24, 2016

Finding Folkishness in all the Wrong Places

Recently the Standing Rock Sioux staged a successful protest to halt construction of a pipeline near their territory that they claimed was going to risk their sacred sites and land. It's actually a worthy cause, and I happen to think the Standing Rock Sioux are on the right side of this issue. So do a lot of Asatruar that I know. That's not the problem.

Of course, this is exactly the sort of cause célèbre that would attract the SJW types, too. And so it did, with posts and articles about what was going on all over social media, as well as some enterprising chap putting together a website called, which basically endorses solidarity between neopagans and the Standing Rock Sioux protest against efforts to bulldoze their land for some pipeline. There's a link to some progressives-only (!) petition of support, and general expressions of support for the Standing Rock Sioux whose fight against the destruction of their sacred land has scandalously not been reported in the mainstream media.

The list of people and organizations standing shoulder to shoulder (metaphorically speaking, of course; actually going there would take a lot more effort than signing a petition or forwarding a link on Facebook) with the Standing Rock Sioux is quite interesting. In particular, there are some names you might find familiar. Godless and Radical posted about the issue. Twice. The Troth posted a link to the petition, too. So did The Wild HuntThe board of CUUPS formally declared their solidarity with them. And the individuals who are listed as having signed it (it's not an up-to-date list, alas; it doesn't seem to have been updated with new signatories in weeks) is like a Who's Who of the SJW scene, with G&R Commissar Rhyd Wildermouth, all-around ass Gus diZerega, and atheist John Halstead leading the pack.

But did you know that the Standing Rock Sioux are actually more folkish than the Asatru Folk Assembly? Yup, you read that correctly. The group that the Rhyd Wildermouth, that rock-ribbed paragon of anti-folkish sentiment, has endorsed solidarity with a group that is more folkish than the AFA. One has to look no further than the constitution of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe:

The membership of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe shall consist of 1.) all persons of Indian blood who were duly enrolled on the official roll of the Tribe on June 15,1957, and all persons of Indian blood who were duly enrolled subsequent to June 15, 1957, in accordance with the ordinances and procedures adopted by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council pursuant to Article IV. & 1"r" of this Constitution and 2.) all persons of one-fourth (1/4) or more degree of "Oceti Sakowin" Indian blood from a Federally Recognized Tribe born after June 15, 1957 and prior to or subsequent to the effective date of this amendment, to a parent or grandparent who is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, shall be added to the official roll of the Tribe upon proof demonstrating: a) the parent or grandparent's membership in the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe; b) the person for whom enrollment is sought is of one-fourth (1/4) or more degree of "Oceti Sakowin" blood from a Federally Recognized Tribe and born after June 15, 1957; upon the affirmative vote of two thirds of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council then in office; and 3.) any person who is rejected for membership shall have the right to appeal to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Court from the decisions of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council, and the decision of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Court shall be final. Provided further, that prior to the distribution of any tribal assets to the members of the Tribe, the membership roll shall be approved by the Secretary of the Interior.
Yes, you read that correctly. The head of Godless and Radical is endorsing solidarity with an organization that actually has a blood relationship requirement for membership written into its constitution. You literally have to prove your lineage in order to join. Even the AFA doesn't do that. They just said they like white babies. They didn't go so far as to prescribe a percentage! But that's what the Standing Rock Sioux did.

Which, as an Asatruar, I have absolutely no problem with if that's what they want to do. It's a pretty folkish position, certainly on the folkish spectrum, and Asatru is a folkish religion. So, good for them. That's not the problem, here.

But from a blog such as G&R, which prides itself on its universalist ideology, and recently made several strong anti-folkish statements and pronouncements (not to mention the other SJW groups and individuals who support them), it's a painful example of the hypocrisy of those on the left. They don't have a problem with a Sioux tribe requiring blood tests and genealogical proof for membership, but when it comes to an organization for people of European descent, then it's somehow bad. Hel, someone saying white babies are a good thing not too long ago got roasted by these self-same SJW's who stand in solidarity with a group that requires blood tests for membership, and doesn't see the contradiction.

What is that word, that means treating people of different races according to different rules? I'm sure it'll come to me. Oh yeah. Racism.

And lest one think that this doesn't apply to their religion, the Standing Rock Sioux are quite clear on that front, as well. One of their official publications, the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy makes it plain that Sioux spirituality is for the Sioux:

Preserve and advance the culture and traditions of the tribe while increasing participation in traditional activities. ... Everyone [of the tribe] who is able should learn the traditional dances and participate in PowWows.
But here's G&R, supporting them. A blog that hates folkishness in white people and calls it racism, but which embraces it among the Standing Rock Sioux and supports them.

That's the real racism. Having different standards for different races. White people have to play by one set of rules, and Sioux get to play by another set of rules. That is the very definition of racism, not to mention hypocrisy, and that is precisely what G&R and a huge number of other neopagan organizations and individuals that have signed up to support the Standing Rock Sioux are doing.

They have one set of rules for the Standing Rock Sioux, and another set of rules for the Asatru Folk Assembly, because the first is for red people, and the second is for white people.

And that's the real racism.


  1. First off, thank you for taking the time to engage me on reddit.

    I appreciate that you support the Standing Rock Sioux but isn't folkishness in a persecuted minority like Native Americans substantially different from a group of people (i.e., white people) in a position of power and privilege?

    I understand that your primary focus was probably to essentially call out the G&R crowd (as well as liberals and others) who have been critical of folkishness in groups like the AFA.

    Can it be OK for a minority to do something that it's not OK or inappropriate (or just flat out wrong) for a person in the majority to do?

    I understand that not all folkishness is racist. Even among white people, I appreciate people that want to preserve their culture. However, when it bleeds into racist groups, I think it's right to be concerned. (The AFA appears to be sticking their toe over the line with the shoutout to the "14 Words" of David Lane.)

    I support the right to free speech and free expression. I'm not looking to silence so-called racists into submission, but I do view some of their opinions to be dangerous in light of what happened in Germany/Europe within living memory.

    What's your perspective on this as someone who supports folkishness?

    1. Just wanted to let you know that I have replied, below. Just in case you didn't get a notification.

  2. Thanks for accepting my invitation to come here to discuss my post. I hope I can show I'm not quite the ogre that some people make me out to be. :-) I'll be replying to your points in different comments, to make things easier to unpack.

    I don't think it's a question of "right or wrong" when it comes to racism. I think racism (defined as treating people of different races differently) is wrong across the board.

    I don't think that racist attitudes are dependent on power or status. For one thing, power cannot be measured on a racial level. For one thing, it implies that, simply because a given race or ethnicity *in the aggregate* is more powerful than another, that that necessarily translates to an individual level. Certainly there are poor white Appalachians who are much worse off than many blacks, for instance. But through the lens of white privilege, which assumes that every individual who is white derives benefits simply on that basis, those Appalachians still have some ineffable benefit, even though their lives are unutterably more miserable than, for instance, a wealthy black attorney in Manhattan.

    To take another example, what about Zimbabwe? In recent years white farmers have been systematically slaughtered and driven out of their farms by the majority black government, simply because they are white. Does that mean that the Zimbabwean government is not acting in a racist manner, because whites on some other continent hold a better position than blacks?

    I think that's crap. Racism is racism, no matter who practices it. Poor or rich, black, white, red, brown, or yellow, American or Zimbabwean. Treating someone differently, or as an inferior, because of their race, is racism. Plain and simple.

    In short, the "racism requires power" argument fails because it assumes an equal disbursement of power globally across racial lines, and does not recognize that power is exercised on a local, or individual, level.

    That said, I also don't think folkishness (defined as being proud of one's own race, and believing that the cultural heritage of that race is most appropriately expressed by members thereof) is racism. That's not to say that some people cloak racism under the label of folkishness; some absolutely do, and organizations such as the AFA have a long history of rooting out such people, as I've chronicled here on this blog. But a truly folkish attitude holds that all races should be afforded exactly the same opportunity; to honor the gods and spirits of their ancestors.

    It's impossible to say that "people of every race should have the same opportunity" is somehow racist. Yet that is the core of folkishness.

  3. As to your second point, I don't agree that what AFA Allsherjargodi Matt Flavel said was "a shout-out to the "14 Words" of David Lane."

    At the risk of being pedantic, the 14 Words, as I understand it, mentions "white children." Flavel's comment mentioned "white babies."

    It does bring up the question, though, of why you (and obviously others) would associate the phrase "white babies" with white supremacy. In the context of the original statement (which was actually an endorsement of hetereonormative relationships among people of European descent, given that Asatru is an indigenous European religion), it seems pretty natural that saying that the product of such relationships (kids) is a good thing.

    Forgive my provocative question, but are you saying white kids are somehow inherently *not* a good thing?

    I tend to doubt it, since you seem a reasonable person, but that's been the subtext of a lot of the responses to a relatively innocuous statement. Masculine men are good, feminine women are good, and kids are good. Personally, I find nothing wrong with that statement. It certainly doesn't imply the opposite; that homosexuals are somehow "bad", or that childless couples are. I wrote about this specific issue too, not too long ago, after asking Matt Flavel about it specifically. The AFA didn't ban homosexuals. It just said it, as an organization, was promoting heterosexual lifestyles. If someone can be homosexual and still be okay with that, then no problem. And a lot of homosexuals can. Just ask the Log Cabin Republicans.

    But for the phrasing, does Nathan Lane somehow have a trademark on the term "white children" or "white babies" or "white kids" or whatever? Is it the term "white" that is somehow inherently offensive? Would it be better if Flavel had said "babies of majority European descent?" That's quite a mouthful, and obviously absurd, but it does ask the question, what, exactly, is wrong with the phrase "white babies"?

    And, of course, in line with my earlier reply, the question then becomes, is there a similar problem with the phrases "black babies", "Hispanic babies", "Sioux babies", "Japanese babies", etc. etc. etc.?

    I tend to think not. So... why should we give David Lane veto power over the use of a phrase (not even the exact phrase, but only something close)? Why do you want to give him that much power?

    I certainly don't, and I refuse to stop using the term "white babies" just because a few people think it's too close to a phrase that someone I don't even agree with, uses.

    I decline to give him, or them, that much authority over me.

  4. Now I'd like to address your final point, which I repeat here because I've been a bit verbose in my first two replies (apologies):

    "I do view some of their opinions to be dangerous in light of what happened in Germany/Europe within living memory."

    By this I assume you're referring to Nazi Germany and their policy of racial extermination. Which I will be the first to agree was completely awful and a scourge on the 20th century. Twelve million or so killed in the name of racism. It's appalling.

    That said, I think it pales in comparison with the body count of the true villain of the 20th century, Marxism. I've also written about this here, but it's worth repeating the salient point:

    One hundred million people.

    Yes, that's right. Nearly one hundred million people have been killed by Marxist regimes in the last hundred years or so. When you compare that to the relatively paltry twelve million killed by racists in the 20th century, I hope you'll begin to understand that I personally think there are things out there that are much worse than racism. Specifically, Marxism, communism, socialism, Maoism, being worse by an order of magnitude.

    I know that we've been conditioned to think of the Nazis as the Absolutely Most Evil Regime That Ever Was Or Ever Will Be. And I agree that it was evil, and awful, and people who glorify it are complete fuckwads.

    But compared to the indescribable evils of Stalin and the USSR, Mao and the People's Republic of China, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Min, Castro, Che, and all the rest, Hitler was an amateur.

    Is it better to slaughter ten people because they had the wrong ideology, than to slaughter one person because they belonged to the wrong race? I say no. I know that's going to be regarded as scandalous in some quarters, but it's simple fact. Marxism/Communism/Socialism has killed ten times as many people as racism.

    So forgive me if I'm less than impressed with accusations of racism from people who openly profess their support for Marx and Mao. I don't support Hitler, and I don't support Marx, but I know which one is worse. And it ain't Hitler.

  5. Just realized I kept saying "I've written about this before" without any sort of links. That's what I get for getting wrapped up in my replies. Here are a few links:

    Hope my replies have been helpful. I look forward to more discussion with you. You raise good questions, and it's helpful, I think, that this sort of thing gets discussed.