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So Rhyd wrote a new post on his personal Blog. Which, I will honestly say, I found by accident. I wasn’t looking for it or hunting stuff down. Literally just popped up. And it starts off like this:

I don’t normally do this, but unfortunately, it’s time.

I’m linking to a document that you really need to read. It’s a collection of words that I think will make you as nauseated and angry as I am.  How these people could possibly have thought we’d allow them to continue degrading and denigrating so many innocent people is beyond me.

I’m really sorry to be the person to point this out, but you really need to know these things. Follow the link–you’ll be really fucking angry too.

So I see this and I’m like, ‘Gods, what is he gonna do now?’ Because really, what reaction could I have at this point. No doubt it’s going to be a cleverly worded screed against something alt-right, fascist, or whatever he feels like attacking today. Probably something to do with the evils of capitalism. Heck, I figured if it wasn’t more rants about the alt-right, it was gonna be some sort of expose thing on some environmental damage done by some corporation or another.

Which, really, okay. I mean, I’ve written enough pieces about the damage Islamists are doing to people, the sexual assaults, murders, and so forth, that really I’m fine if Rhyd wants to throw out a similar piece on issues he cares about. I just don’t like it when he starts implying that everyone who disagrees with him is a fascist. I mean, I don’t start calling everyone who disagrees with me an Islamist. Generally, I don’t call them anything. So, with mild curiosity, I clicked the link.

“The Link.” (You can click it too.)

I’m just gonna say, being linked to a pdf file was not what I was expecting.

Oh, hey.

There’s actually nothing here.

And that’s sorta my point. Mind if I borrow your attention for a little bit longer?

Yeah, I’ll admit, I was thrown. It actually took me a couple minutes to figure out this was intentional rather than some messed up 404 joke. In my defense though, I was really tired when I came across this.

First, could you do me a favor? Consider the moment you clicked on that link and how you felt. I’m gonna guess there was a bit of anxiety there, or rage. I was trying to get you riled up, using strong emotive rhetoric to invoke a feeling in you.

Actually, I felt bored. Not even joking. Rhyd might have been trying to rile people up with it, but for me…yawnfest.

He then goes on to basically go “gotcha!” to the reader about how that’s how propaganda works, click bait works, yadda yadda yadda, Fox news something, alright something. Etc. I’m not even going to break it down and respond to it, because as meme worthy as it is (he seems to ignore that the Progressive Left uses click-bait tactics a hell of a lot more than the Right or Alt-Right do), it honestly just feels like the same old tired drivel of “look how smart I am!” you get from most “progressively” minded people.

He tries to claim his “Critics” are using such click-bait tactics, especially after the whole blow up about him offhandedly calling soldiers “paid murderers,” in a post about something else. I was one of them, and I completely know that it wasn’t the focus of his post. I responded to it though, as a channel for Bellona who didn’t care that it was an offhand comment. Most of the other commenters who did so also knew full well it wasn’t the focus of the post. But the casual, offhanded way the comment was made showed how deeply ingrained the perspective is in Rhyd.

He also tries to explain that his “reckoning” phrase was not as in “day of judgement” but more from his Appalachian roots where it means “figuring out.” He acts like this should be some easy to figure thing (says his origins are “well known”). On the other hand, I too am from Appalachia, I’m aware of this phrase, and…yeah. It didn’t sound like an Appalachian “reckoning” to me. That’s more of an “I reckon this here well has run dry.” Not a “Polytheism/Paganism has long been do for a reckoning.”

Maybe if he’d included an image of a dancing hillbilly?

Nice try Rhyd, honest. But it’s a lot like Halstead trying to dodge when he attempted to change the definition of “enchantment.” At least, that’s how I reckon it.

But what interested me really was the part that came towards the middle, after all the “gotcha” education stuff.

I fully understand why some don’t want you to read my words. I am constantly questioning the authority of gatekeepers within Polytheism and Paganism—many of my fiercest critics happen to see this as a threat, and I don’t blame them. But the choice of what is done with my words isn’t up to them, or even up to me. It’s up to you.

It’s funny because the vast majority of his critics that I’ve seen (except for Beckett) don’t get published on the major Pagan websites like Rhyd does. Maybe the meaning of ‘gatekeepers’ changed too?

But it’s this part that I find the most interesting.

I won’t ask you to stop reading them, or insist that I am right and they are wrong. However, can I ask you another favor? If you read someone else talking about something I’ve written first, could you try to give me the benefit of the doubt? If something I’ve written seems dangerous or violent, could you consider taking a brief pause and asking whether or not that perception was influenced in any way by someone else? There are over half-a-million words of mine that have been published on the internet over the last 3 years—I’ve probably already addressed a specific criticism previously, and a quick search could probably turn up counter-evidence to certain angry people’s propaganda.

Now, I could get all meme about how he calls the writings of his critics “propaganda” but I’m going to try and actually do this post without memes. And here’s why.

Rhyd has been very crafty in his writing. I don’t mean this as an insult. The Norse admired cunning, especially cunning with words. Rhyd has implied, layered, dodged, and slipped everything it could ever want into his posts without actually outright calling anyone (well, except Invictus and McNallen) outright fascists. Everything else is a sly hint, a wink-nudge. Everyone can see what he means, but he hasn’t had to bare face say it.

Odin the wordsmith is king of the Aesier.

I’m impressed by the skill.

At the same time, everyone saw the sly hints and nudged winks for what they were. And they (myself included) have replied with thundering force and forthright words of a thousand flying hammers.

But never let us forget that it is Thor who is the strongest of the Norse Gods.

Here’s the thing though. I liked Rhyd back in the day, I even respected him. In the way that a metal head will occasionally respect a punk rocker for his skill in flipping the bird to the proverbial man. Back in the day I could even smirk a bit as he “cleverly” worked to put forth his ideas (his tactics haven’t ever really changed, and he’s always been a bit over hyped on his talents). I could admire the enthusiasm he had, even if I didn’t always agree with his positions and conclusions.

But that’s for as long as they were for himself. And if people wanted to get together with him and think the same things, not really a problem for me, long as it was for themselves.

Rhyd here asks us to give him the benefit of the doubt. And no doubt, while writing this I suspect he had a personal sense of both “haha, how clever am I?” and honest desire to also have…people give him the benefit of the doubt. Rhyd, and G&R, have been getting it hard from several different sectors of Paganism and polytheism. I’m sure he does feel a bit beat up.

Personally though, here’s how I felt reading it. I felt like a general, a warlord, who has come to his foes village. The village is on fire, its walls are crumbling, and Rhyd kneels before me and says “Please, I am sorry for what I said and implied about your people. Please, give me another chance. Show mercy.

Now, I know that’s a bit over dramatic. G&R is clearly not on fire and Rhyd is probably not the broken man that this paragraph would imply, but reading it…that’s the feeling I felt. Rhyd cracking, Rhyd breaking, Rhyd begging people not to think of him as the totalitarian, marxist, anarchist, anti-capitalist who is seeking to destroy the sacred traditions and practices of many Pagan paths that exist outside of his own personal one. Not to see him and his crew at G&R as people seeking not to live their own Paganisms, but to radically transform the Pagan religions of Other People, (Pagan Religions they themselves do not follow and are free to not follow if they find them disagreeable), into pagan “religions” that work the way G&R and Rhyd find acceptable. It felt like him begging for people not to see him like that.

Despite the fact that all of this started with a post about him and G&R proudly waving those flags as warbanners against “fascism” and “alt-right” ideals and…doing pretty much exactly what he’s asking us not to think of him as doing.

And as I stand here, with my proverbial sword in my hand, looking down at this begging Rhyd, I find myself thinking. ‘This is not a war I wanted. It is not in my nature to think the worst of men. The Pax is sacred, all should believe as they please without molestation, no matter how offensive, so long as they do it for themselves. I desire more to return to my own lands, my own people, and I do not desire to drive forth the killing blow.’

Honestly, I want to give Rhyd the benefit of the doubt. I do. I am tired of Pagan fighting Pagan. I am tired that even my religion must apparently become a battleground. Peace is almost always preferable to war.

But. I. Can’t.

I can’t give him the benefit of the doubt. I cannot stay my hand. Not against him, not against G&R, and certainly not against what they stand for.

I have my degree in history, and while I much preferred the medieval studies to anything else, I Know Marxism and What It Has Done. I know of its body counts, its cultural destruction, its crimes against humanity wherever it has been practiced on this planet. I know what it believes, and I know what it leads to.

Marxism, as an ideology, has been so completely refuted as a workable, humane set of ideals that only a person so enamored with their own intelligence, their own righteousness, and their own hatred could ever justify its practice on this world.

I know what anarchy is. I know what anti-capitalism are. I know what totalitarianism is. And I know what inevitably follows all of them. And it is not some glorious, egalitarian future where everything is puppies and rainbows. It is war, it is death, it is suffering, it is slaughter. It is a place where this is no humanity, much less human rights.

And you know what, maybe I will give Rhyd and even G&R the benefit of one doubt. Maybe they personally do not wish a giant purging of Paganism, or the world at large, of these “horrific” ideals. Maybe they don’t want “red scares” and “witchhunts” to discover the wrongthinkers and purge them from Paganism. Maybe, just maybe, they’re like Marx himself. People with an idea of how the world should work, viewed with rose tinted glasses.

But Marxs give birth to Lenins. People willing to take the ideals of Marx and forcibly apply them to a land, a peoples. People who do want “red scares” and “witchhunts” in their work to bring about a perfectly egalitarian society. People who as they go along, stop seeing diverse points of view and see only evil points of view, held by evil people who refuse to learn the right way to think, the right way to act. And Lenins give birth to Stalins. People who see heretics and wrongthinkers everywhere, and will do anything, go to any measure, slaughter any number of peoples in order to preserve that “perfect utopia of Marx.”

Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Che Guevara, Kim Jong Il. Castro. The list goes on. These are men who followed the same teachings, the same ideals that Rhyd and G&R espouse. Not just Espouse, but raise as flags to signal their morality and virtue in their lives and in their cause. These are men who came to their nations to bring “Egalitarianism” and destroy the “Fascist and capitalist exploitation.” And between them, they have body-counts that make all the Fascists of the world look like piss poor babies who couldn’t even put on their pull ups.

And now, Marx is at the door of Paganism. His believers sit upon the hallowed throwns and decry the evils of Paganism’s structures, traditions, and values which go against the will of Marx as having something, anything, to do with those horrible fascist. And somewhere in all those chanting “yes men” that are following Rhyd, G&R, or their ideology, are going to be people who feel that any means, any measures are acceptable in order to achieve the Dream of Marx. To achieve this “egalitarian society” free of capitalism and other “exploitative systems.” I’ve seen it elsewhere. And sure, for now there are not death squads hunting us down door to door. Just a couple people on a couple websites who like to call their detractors names and imply evil things about them.

But I’m not waiting for the day when they do start going door to door. For when they do start calling cops, threatening to bring in the FBI, S.W.A.T.ing people, shutting down websites, or making angry mobs at pagan gatherings to go hunt down the heretics and the fascists.

I cannot afford to give Rhyd the benefit of the doubt. Because even if he doesn’t intend to do those things, he is giving someone who will do them the justifications they need to do them.

A man once said:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Well Rhyd and G&R have come for the “fascists.” They hint the desire to come for the folkish, the reconstructionists, the polytheists, and anyone else who does not agree with them. I could be kind, I could give the benefit of the doubt. I could even do as some suggest and let them take the “fascists” and the “Racists” in the vain hope they would stop there.

I could do that.

But I believe that people are free to think and believe whatever they wish without molestation, no matter how distasteful I find it, so long as you believe it for yourselves. Well Rhyd, G&R, you have declared your intentions to not just believe in your ideologies for yourselves, but that these ideologies must be for others because you find their current beliefs distasteful. Your site has argues that tolerance and freedom of speech should be disregarded because they are used by those you dislike. You have declared openly that you are coming for the Fascists.

I am no Fascist, but I will not let you take them.

I will not be silent as the ideals of freedom, tolerance, self determination, religious adherence, and so forth are attacked by you and yours. Because I know what comes after. I will not give you the benefit of the doubt. Because I have seen, without a doubt, where your ideologies take people and what they do to them. Had you been content to live your lives as you pleased, and not sought to prevent others from doing the same, this could all have been avoided. You chose not to, and you proclaimed loudly and proudly what you were and why that mean you would show no quarter to the “fascists.”

You wanted to fight an enemy without showing mercy. You and yours implied that many “groups” I belong to fall into categories “at risk” by this enemy to whom you will not show mercy. Groups you claim have a “moral need” to examine and then reject ideals you find abhorrent because of who else may also believe in something like them. And that if we do not, then we are no different from the enemies you seek to destroy. I therefore, cannot show mercy to you. I cannot have doubts when it comes to staving off your marxism, for the price of your ideology’s victory is too high already, and I will not see Pagan people’s suffer because of its implementation here. I will not see Rome or Germania laid low for Marx’s glory.

I am…truly sorry, Rhyd. This is not anything I ever wanted to come to pass. But you and yours chose to bring war to my doorstep. To threaten my Roman and Germanic religions and their peoples with devastation as you fight your “perennial enemies.”  Did you think I would not answer in kind? The Gods call me to war, to fight against your Marxism and protect the plurality that should be. To defend the Pax Romana et Germania from the totalitarianism and destruction that inevitably comes with your ideologies.

 

 

Bellona Invicta

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