So I re-blogged a post about the idea of “Hierarchies as a Religious Concept.” The reason I did that is because, while writing a piece that I’m thinking of publishing in semi-response to Rhyd’s egregious ejaculation about Fascism and Liberal democracies, I actually had to up my knowledge on what Fascism is and why it came to be.
And judging by what everyone has said lately about Fascism…I’m pretty convinced 95% of us actually have no idea what Fascism is except for it being capital E Evil. Honestly, I get the impression that more Pagans know more things about Satan, a deity from a pantheon and religion we largely reject, than we do about a major political philosophy from a century we were all born in and that we largely get accused of being a part of if we’re not among the “purified” population of Progressive Pagans.
Which really tells me something sad about us as a whole.
The truth is, while I am a classical liberal by philosophy, I am a historian by education and a God by divine intervention. So my personal beliefs on how people should be ruled aside, I can recognize the truths and benefits of other types of rule. And while Odin is God of Kings, Svartwulf is God of Laws, and as long as there are laws the Svartwulf is God of them, regardless of if he actually agrees with all or even most of them.*
So as the re-blogged post states, sacral kingship and hierarchies are often much needed and far more practical than say the universal equality of opinion held to by most “progressive” Pagans.
When everybody gets to be Captain, nobody’s a Private. Trouble is, Privates are the ones who get the actual work done, and part of the reason why they can get the work done is that only one person is giving them orders. Instead of, you know, an unruly mob of puffed up egos all trying to give orders to each other. The reason that all human societies create hierarchies is that it is stupidly, fatally inefficient to reinvent the wheel for every single problem you face.
In looking into world history, my renewed research into Fascism for the potential post (well, okay, reading Wikipedia for a bit), and a great deal of political philosophy I did while younger, it all leads back to this truth.
Even in a liberal democracy, where everyone’s vote matters, we do elect central leadership in order to present a unified command structure. We limit the number of people giving the orders so that such orders can be carried out. Every successful organization follows this pattern, and one starts to see failures when this pattern is abandoned.
I think this is true even over at Gods & Radicals, and from what I hear, their pet project of Many Gods West. G&R’s author list contains several dozen authors, yet somehow I doubt that every contributer there is gathered into a singular discussion every X period of time to decide who is going to write what and from which perspective. Just going by the publishing order if often seems to me that articles are published such as directed by a central intelligence, planning each article in turn to try and strengthen the article after it. Once could note that Halstead’s article about how “putting the gods first perpetuates privilege” came out before Rhyd’s “facsism” article…and that had one not read the Halstead article the Rhyd article would not have made as much sense or potentially been as potent. Not that either was very potent to begin with.
Hierarchies put priority on certain voices. That priority allows for rapid responses. This has been true since the days of kings, and indeed why kings were given the powers they were. An experienced and wise voice, giving clear orders, can mobilize a people to respond to a crisis with enough speed to often mitigate and overcome the crisis.
And as certain events in the modern world occur, I often being to think that such rapidity of response might become very important for man, if not all, Pagan religions. After all, it grows apparent that we cannot really trust those with political power to lead us with our best interests at heart. And it has been made very clear in recent months that the same can be said for a great many “prominent voices” in the Pagan spheres of life, that they will not guide with best desires of individual religions at heart, but with a focus only on their own increased power.
The time is coming where each individual religion is going to have to look at its people and decide if they want to give a place of power and responsibility to a few voices within their own religion. No doubt, certain people will claim this is a move towards “fascist” and “alt-right” ideas…and they might not be exactly wrong. But as my post looking at Fascism is going to point out…Fascism isn’t about right and wrong.
It’s about a people’s survival.
Which is something most people don’t realize about Gods. If you are a God of Something, then you are the God of that Thing, even if you do not always like what comes from that thing. For example, Freya is the Goddess of Fertility, which includes the fertility of a woman who was raped. Freya may not at all like rape, but she is still goddess of the natural force that gets the woman pregnant. Honestly, I need to make a post about this concept/truth.