Carrying on with Rhyd trying to defend himself with all the dodging power of Neo and all the success of Tom the Cat, we move on to the next part.
Some of the criticisms are related to a broader conversation regarding my work and that of Gods&Radicals. From John Beckett’s piece:
“Rhyd and his compatriots at Gods & Radicals put their politics first, and that’s fine. But some of us put our Gods first. Or we put Nature first. Or we put our magic first. Or we put our families and our communities first. And some of us agree with their diagnosis of the world’s ills but strongly disagree with their prescription. The acceptance of the genuine existence of many Gods or the reverence of Nature does not lead directly to the conclusion that Marxism and anarchy are the only or even the best approaches to politics.”
Pretty good way of putting it there, Beckett.
Do I put my politics first? I don’t actually know what that means. Do I favor political ideology over what the gods say to me? Do I favor political action over spiritual activities? This is not a question I can answer, because in my world, they inform each other and are inextricably linked. My gods help me understand my relations to politics, and my politics helps me understand my relationship with my gods. There is no wall between them for me.
If you can’t tell, then I’m going to side with “you do.”
But here’s the thing, Rhyd is claiming that his politics and religion are inseperable from each other. That his political views influence his relationships with the Gods and the Gods in turn influence his political views. Now, I for one would love to know which Gods exactly he is speaking with. I know, it sounds terrible, but I want him to name names. Why? So that I can go and study the lore of these gods and speak to them myself. Because in my many years of practice getting to know many Gods, I have yet to meet one that espouses Marxism. Well, except maybe Christ.
The irony, of course, is the hypocracy here. It is perfectly okay for Rhyd to combine Marxist and Anarchist politics with his Paganism, but the instant that a Pagan does the same thing with “Alt-Right” politics (which…ancient Paganism certainly has a lot more in common with than Marxism) suddenly it’s a bad thing to mix politics with religion and vice versa. Suddenly the very action that is good for him: Letting his Gods influence him to Marxism, is now an evil action if the Gods influence a person to the “alt-Right.”
It is impossible for me to prove this to another person, particularly when they are certain it is otherwise. That’s fine. But I will say it anyway, as I believe this to be true. I also believe that humans must always take responsibility for the manifestation of their ideas, values, and beliefs and never displace the role of human agency in our political and theological beliefs.
“Take it on faith, people!”
Here’s the thing, no one (alt-right or otherwise) is displacing the role of human agency in our political or theological beliefs. However, what some of us might be doing (and dear gods Rhyd, you’re driving people to the Alt-Right with this) is allowing the Agency of the Gods to dictate how we then use our agency. Why? Maybe because they’re bigger, they been around longer, we trust them to be wise and experienced beyond our short lives? Maybe just because we have faith in the plans their making. Doesn’t matter. But to claim we have no agency simply because we allow our Gods to influence our politics in a direction you don’t like, doesn’t mean we do not have that agency or that the Gods are not in the “Correct” position.
In doing the same thing Rhyd does, we become weak, sacrificing our agency and denying our responsibilities. But this is going to depend on what we feel our responsibilities are. Rhyd feels it is his responsibility to bring about an egalitarian world via his Marxist understanding of the ideal. Many others, however (including a lot of Gods) feel that one’s primary responsibility is to ensure the survival of one’s peoples and traditions, because these people and traditions were created by the Gods in question and are a sacred thing to be honored and protected. This is very true in Heathenism were we are all literally children of the Gods, but it holds pretty true within the Cultus as well.
Galina Krasskova’s post, Decisive Moment, further accuses me:
“We have a group of people who have extreme political views – and they are trying to radicalize polytheism, and even suggesting that those want to be apolitical and focus on religion are fascists– who are systematically targeting both polytheisms and leading figures in the movement. They are using censorship and thought policing and playing on our political fears and they are willing to use threats and force and even going to the police to quell those who think differently than they. If you’re ok with that, then you’re going to live in that community. If you’re not, you need to speak up now before this becomes the norm.”
She’s not wrong. Rhyd and G&R are very open about their political views and even stated that they had a zero-tolerance for fascists and the alt-right because of these political views. Rhyd’s on introduction shows how closely he and other members of G&R are tied to the Wild Hunt, Patheos, and Many Gods West.
The Wild Hunt has run many, many articles about Social Justice Paganism (I’ve commented on some of these), with all the articles either taking the stance, or written from the perspective of people whose Cultural Marxism is the foundation of their Paganism and that is the right and just thing.
Patheos recently many of its major authors (Including Beckett and Ryan Smith) denounce McNallen, the AFA, Abell, the Troth, and nearly any heathen who protested Smiths’ labeling of McNallen as a fascist to be….racist fascists.
In addition, Patheos author John Halstead spent several months attacking polytheists, their growing presence, and their political leanings and priorities.
Many Gods West recently kicked out and threatened a group of Dionysians who were invited by MGW to hold a Dionysian ritual after one or more of the Dionysians made some satirical articles towards Rhyd. One of the main Dionysian blogs has pretty much gone dark because of this.
Given these events, and many more, Krasskova is factually correct about the nature of some very staunch political ideologues staking their claim on Paganism as a whole.
While the latter’s rhetoric is a bit extreme, both writers admit the possibility that political views might shape beliefs and practice. Unfortunately, both (particularly Krasskova) choose to focus primarily on leftist views on polytheism.
Of course, because it is the Leftists (Marxists) who not only hold a primacy of power in the public literature of the community, but are the ones actively hunting down and attempting silencing those who do not believe as they do, or even those that do, but don’t believe it enough.
Look, if the Alt-Right was running around pulling this shit, we’d be calling them on it. But they’re not. The only people pulling “thought police” here are the Leftists holding the keys. And yes, a lot of that Leftist talk has been against polytheism, which tends to be more Libertarian or even Conservative in nature, for being the “wrong kind of paganism.”
This should not be surprising, though. An essay from Krasskova (The Battle For Polytheism’s Soul?) recently appeared with her consent on a right-wing, Hindu Nationalist news site which also features anti-Muslim and anti-leftist rhetoric. There, she makes clear how she sees differences in opinions about the gods:
“Secondly, yes, our polytheistic ancestors were – with occasional exceptions– tolerant of every possible approach to polytheism. Look where it got them. Exterminated. So maybe we might want to rethink reifying “tolerance” of every assed up, non-theistic view put forth as ‘polytheism.’ We have clear evidence of where such tolerance leads. Perhaps we can afford to be tolerant when we’re not under siege but that day is not today.”
Wait, in Confronting the New Right, there was a big insistence on it being “Anglo-European” in nature. I even pointed out it was an odd phrase. But now, apparently, there is Alt-Right Hindus? As in, Continental Asia Indians? That’s…not Anglo-European at all.
Now look, I’m not going to say that Krasskova isn’t a bit…extreme. But at the same time, it’s hard to admit she doesn’t have a point. I watch a youtuber called Sargon of Akkad and he’s a die hard classical liberal. Freedom of Speech till the day he dies, and even he has had pause to wonder if in order to fight a totalitarian ideology like Marxism, if you the only option isn’t to be totalitarian and silence their rhetoric. While I side more towards Sargon than Krasskova, looking at Rhyd’s resume on this article, plus things I’ve learned recently from other people…it’s hard not to agree at least in part with Krasskova.
We’ve been tolerant, we’ve not judged anyone’s politics within the faith, and now we’re at the point where the entire publication leadership is moved to a point of Marxist totalitarianism towards any ideas they consider “fascist.” We’ve been so tolerant that we’ve let the intolerant bigots get into power and now they’re trying to purge the “wrong think.”
I’m gonna skip the second Krasskova quote because it’s mostly more of the same, and get to Rhyd’s stuff.
Though Krasskova is hardly alone in these views, it might be useful to wonder why so much effort has been made to decry the information on the New Right I compiled. Tribalism, Sacral Kingship, rulership of the fittest, and the notion of a natural, divinely ordained hierarchy are well-attested and integral ideas of the New Right.
Maybe because Rhyd put it in such a bullshit, weaksauce way? The original “Confronting” didn’t give any real information on the Alt-Right. It just listed a few ideas floating in space, named a few names, and then proceeded to point out how these “ideals” also appeared in certain forms of Paganism and put them “at risk” for falling to the alt-right.
But as Krasskova pointed out, many of these ideas are part of her Paganism because they come not from the Alt-Right, but from Paganism itself. I pointed it out earlier. The Alt-Right are Traditionalists, and they therefore draw from the traditions of old. Ideals like Tribalism, Sacred Kingship, rule of the fittest (meritocracy is bad now folks), and so forth are traditions that come from Paganism, they were not created in any way, shape, or form by the Alt-Right.
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?
Infiltration? Maybe not, Marxists have been in Paganism almost as long as non-Marxists have been in Paganism (or even “alt-right” people like McNallen). Paganism was pretty open back in the day. So they’ve been here all along. Now, have they certainly stepped up the game, grabbed positions of privilege and power, and are now using those positions to push their ideology, with Rhyd and G&R leading the charge?
Yes. Absolutely. Undeniably. Yes.
Did Rhyd hold up an “uncomfortable mirror” to the rest of us?
Yes. Yes he did.
But not, perhaps, the mirror he thinks he did. Nor did it show us what he thinks it did either.
While I and the writers of Gods&Radicals are quite open about our political views and how they relate to our practices and beliefs, it might be a good time for others to consider being more open about this, too.
Certainly, before this whole mess I never considered if my religious practices as a Cultor or Heathen had anything to do with the Alt-Right. To me, it was Heathenism, or Cultus. To me, it was the traditions and beliefs of ancient Germania and Rome. To me, there was no politics to it. Sure, it might influence how I viewed politics in the modern day, what kinds of politicians I liked and didn’t like, where I stood on certain issues, but the religions themselves were not part of political ideologies. They were apolitical and I liked it that way, much as I was fairly apolitical except in a loose, Cultural Libertairain way of “max freedoms, min controls.”
But after this “Confronting” post I and many others have had to take a hard look at our Religions and our Politics. A lot of us, myself included, who identified as politically Left are now having to ask ourselves some hard questions.
Questions like “What do I believe?” Am I truly a Pagan, do I hold to the ancient ideals like I say I do? How far do I take these ideals. Are they sacred, are they sacred to the Gods, are the Gods sacred to me? How far am I willing to go to live a Pagan life by Pagan ideals? If these “alt-right” ideals are in fact the same ideals espoused by the religions, traditions, and cultures I claim to believe in…no, that I actually believe in and commit myself to then…
Then the conclusion becomes that the Alt-Right…is not wrong.
The Alt-Right is a movement rising up to counter Cultural Marxism. Marxists, Rhyd and G&R, publicly state that their entire desire is to create an egalitarian society by destroying utterly the systems, hierarchies, and traditions that make people “unequal.” It doesn’t matter if these traditions are sacred to anyone, if they define anyone’s culture, or Paganism, or anything, these traditions and their internal hierarchies will be utterly destroyed for the sake of the egalitarian utopia.
And they just stated that to a bunch of people who have been fighting tooth and nail for the last 70 years to bring back Paganism.
The Alt-Right on the other hand tells us that not only are these sacred traditions of ours not evil or offensive, but that they like and embrace them as well. According to Rhyd’s “informational” post it even makes it look like Paganism, so long an ally of the Political Left and so often ignored by that Ally, could in fact find a new political ally which not only would accept us, but even give us the chance to be a real, growing voice in a lot of situations, because we keep, honor, and practice these ancient traditions as our religion. If anything, a number of us look at it as an opportunity not for politics to influence the ideologies of Paganism, but for Paganism to take center stage in influencing the ideologies of politics which are naturally aligned with a number of our ancient ideals.
So yeah…we’ve had to look into the uncomfortable mirror. And we’ve had to ask ourselves what is more important. Being who we’ve fought to be for all our lives in the face of overwhelming oppression and the desired destruction of our ancient traditions at the cost of potentially being labeled as “fascists,” or…allow our traditions to be attacked and purged for the sake of being on the “politically correct” side of the Marxist divide.
Do we side with the “angels” and give up everything to their “Egalitarian” dreams, loosing all our freedoms of belief, freedoms of ideas, freedoms of speech, in order to fight against “Evil.” Or do we become “Evil” in order to be free to believe as we please, to freely embrace the ideals of our Pagan religions, and freely speak of them so as to teach others the ancient and sacred traditions of our Gods?
A lot of us took great pride in our “evil” appellation when given to us by the Christians. A lot of us are used to being “morally wrong” in order to practice what we believe is holy. Now, we face a new line of “good/evil” thanks to Rhyd and his companions. Rhyd held up the mirror…and now we’re having to choose which side of the line we will be on.
We’ll continue in part 4