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Category: Reviews

“Vikings” and the Pagan-Christian Synthesis

“In the gentle fall of rain from Heaven I hear my God. But in the thunder I still hear Thor.” (Brother Athelstan)

Ragnar: So have you returned to your faith, renounced ours? Athelstan: I wish it was so simple. In the gentle fall of rain from Heaven I hear my God. But in the thunder I still hear Thor. That is my agony. Ragnar: I hope that some day our Gods can become friends. Ragnar: So have you returned to your faith, renounced ours? Athelstan: I wish it was so simple. In the gentle fall of rain from Heaven I hear my God. But in the thunder I still hear Thor. That is my agony. Ragnar: I hope that some day our Gods can become friends.

Whenever political activists talk about culture, they need to be careful about not over-reading the artist’s intent.

Rather than guessing what he meant politics-wise, activists have to look for the influences, heretical or mainstream, he drew upon. Unlike the intended message, which is subject to interpretation, cultural influences can be identified with sufficient likelihood.

Though it cannot be proven—and culture industry creators would likely deny it—it is more than plausible that James C. Russell’s The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity has had an important influence on popular culture.

In Canadian-Irish TV series Vikings, this influence is close to obvious. Though the show’s screenwriters may not have read it—I would be very surprised they haven’t at least heard of it—they seem to have been influenced by it at least through an intermediary text, or person, which/who conveyed Russell’s message.

Russell established in his book that the Christianization of Germanic Europe (in the broad sense, including Scandinavia) was two-sided: the indigenous Pagan faith was replaced, by fair means or foul, by an exogenous one; and in doing so, Christianity was altered by its prey, a process which had actually already begun in the Roman empire.

The ubiquity of Pagan symbols and rituals in European Christianity

This is a reality that is hard to talk about with Christians—and the more conservative, the harder. It is like Edgar Poe’s Purloined Letter: what is right before one’s eyes is what they cannot see. The omnipresence of Pagan rituals and symbols in European Christianity is such that many Christians see them as having always belonged to their faith, even in its first stages, when it was still a markedly Oriental religion.

In some countries, “king cakes” are baked for the celebration of the Epiphany, and crepes are cooked for the day of Candlemas. Both symbolize a Sun disk, and these two Winter feasts were, before Christianity phagocytated them, meant to prepare the return of the Sun.

Of course, we also know that the Christmas holiday was established to replace the celebration of the Winter Solstice, which was a solar cult in various European indigenous religions, most notably in Rome (Sol Invictus).

Interestingly, since the fracture between Catholicism and Protestantism roughly corresponds to that between Latin and Germanic Europe (please note my emphasis on “roughly” before mentioning Catholic Flanders or Calvinist Romandy), Protestants are usually more aware of this unholy origin. As Richard Rives at WND proudly reminded us, Christmas used to be illegal in many Protestant countries. Below is a screenshot from Rives’s video:

That Rome has influenced Christianity is made evident by the fact that the Catholic Church is established in the Eternal City, that the Pope is called “Pontifex Maximus” as the Roman Emperors used to be, and of course that Latin is the main liturgic language. But do all Catholics know that cardinals wear purple cassocks just like Roman senators used to? That priests (in Western churches) are clean-shaven and keep their hair short like the Romans? And that nuns cover their hair as Roman free women did, to distinguish themselves from slaves?

Christianity didn’t merely conquer the Indo-European world. It was also molded by it, almost beyond recognition after centuries of reciprocal acculturation.

This is chiefly what the two first seasons of TV series Vikings are about.


Ragnar (left) hands his plunder over to Jarl Haraldson. Ragnar (left) hands his plunder over to Jarl Haraldson.

When the story begins, Ragnar Lothbrok is an under-achieving farmer, who occasionnaly goes raiding with other Norsemen in the Baltic lands. He resents the authority of Jarl Haraldson, who is a generation older than he.

Every year, after the harvest, Haraldson orders his men to raid East. The plunder is meager, since Balts are not really richer than Vikings. But even though their farms are hardly sufficient to support their families, Ragnar and the other young raiders have to hand over all the booty to Haraldson, who comfortably stays home. If the story was taking place in today’s West, Haraldson would likely be a baby-boomer expecting his children to pay for his retirement pension after a pat on the back, and then wonder why they, unlike him, cannot make both ends meet. But I digress (or do I?).

Ragnar has enough, and so does his brother Rollo (not to be confused with the founder of the Duchy of Normandy; the story is contemporary to Charlemagne, over a century before the Norsemen’s settlement in France).

Ragnar buys a sun compass to a merchant, which enables him to find his way West, beyond the strait that separates the Baltic Sea from the North Sea. There, the merchant told Ragnar, fabulous riches await him in a place named England. Further South is the even-richer “Frankia” (the Kingdom of the Franks).

Since all the ships belong to Haraldson, Ragnar needs a new boat. He asks his friend Floki (reminiscent of the God Loki), to build a flat-bottomed one, that can both navigate on rivers and high seas. The Scandinavian drakkar is born. Floki’s odd appearance and erratic behavior are a nod to Heath Ledger’s Joker (Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight), as illustrated by a scene in the second season when Floki tells Ragnar’s son that he’s “just a joker”.

“All things begin and end as stories”

Compass, boat… Ragnar now needs a crew. Rollo gathers the region’s best warriors and sets up a meeting. Wary of Ragnar’s intentions at first, and afraid that Haraldson might punish them for disobeying him, the men are, one by one, taken by Ragnar’s Tyler Durden-like speech. Ragnar doesn’t try to convince his audience by way of factual arguments or logical demonstrations. Rather, he inspires them with a dream, a story they’ll tell their children. As Ragnar puts it, “all things begin and end as stories”:

As could be expected, Ragnar’s raids on Northumbria (one of England’s seven kingdoms at the time) significantly increase his prestige and power in Kattegat, still under Haraldson’s rule. This inevitably leads to a conflict between the two men. Being hunted down by Haraldson’s men, Ragnar challenges Haraldson in combat and, predictably, kills him and becomes Jarl.

“Why are we not looking outwards to the West?”

Being now an important ruler, Ragnar will try to unify the Vikings, still spending most of their formidable energy fighting each other (something Madison Grant lamented). After an epic battle leaving no victor between two Viking armies, one led by Ragnar, the other led by his brother Rollo, Ragnar delivers a speech in which he urges all men to “look outwards to the West:”

During his first raid on Northumbria, Ragnar met with a Saxon monk, named Athelstan. He spared his life not out of mercy, but because, Athelstan speaking Norse in addition to Old Saxon, Ragnar thought (rightly) that he’d be of great use to him.

At first a hostage and then a slave, Athelstan soon became Ragnar’s protégé, and even his main advisor, due to his cleverness, courage, and wits.

This symbolizes the encounter between Nordic Paganism and Christianity. At first disgusted by the Pagans’ uncouth manners, Athelstan will more and more forget his Christian faith and convert to the Vikings’ Pagan religion (or maybe I should say “revert,” since continental Saxons had only recently been Christianized under the iron fist of Charlemagne, who was not always the gentle-hearted, loving king both popular and elite culture have pictured along the centuries).

Of course, the acculturation goes both ways: Ragnar is impressed by the Christians’ ability to build wealthy, efficient societies, while his people are still wasting their tremendous strength in suicidal, internecine berserk.

Christianization, a “come-together” moment for Europeans

For all the legitimate criticisms that Pagan or Nietzschean alt-righters can have about Christianity (especially today’s Christianity, whether Catholic or Protestant), they souldn’t forget that it was the first religion that gave a feeling of kinship and a common purpose to Europeans.

Descendants of the long-forgotten Indo-European people, Europeans had scattered across the heterogeneous continent they conquered and branched off into a number of peoples, speaking many different languages, to the point where they saw each other as foreigners, and even “Barbarians.”

(And it happened again during the first half of the 20th century. Then, Europeans worldwide nearly annihilated each other in wars driven by petty nationalisms that were wrong on all counts: genetic, cultural, moral.)

Christianization, despite Christianity’s extra-European origins and universalistic outlook, was for Europeans a “come-together” moment, and this encounter between two Germanic peoples once separated by faith illustrates it well.


Odin on the Cross

Back to the series, this back-and-forth between Paganism and Christianity reaches a higher level when Athelstan is captured by King Ecbert of Wessex during a new Viking raid. Recognized as a Saxon and thus as an apostate, Athelstan is crucified (see picture on the right) by the local bishop (likely a historical inaccuracy since Emperor Constantine had outlawed crucifixion in the 4th century A.D. and none were documented afterwards).

What struck me when I saw the scene was the way Athelstan was represented. Look at the picture closely. Having been beaten up by the Christian populace, his eye is so black that he looks one-eyed, just like Odin. Given the emphasis on his appearance on the cross, I doubt it is coincidental.

Luckily for Athelstan, King Ecbert arrives just in time. He orders the bishop to cut him down, and once again, Athelstan becomes the ruler’s protégé and counsellor. (Priests advising kings was commonplace then: one of Charlemagne’s main advisors was Alcuin, an English monk.)

Of course, King Ecbert wants to know more about the Vikings to be able to defeat them. He is a symetrical character to Ragnar’s: like the latter, Ecbert rules over a portion of a divided country, and hopes to unify England under his rule. The war with the Vikings must be a way, thinks he, to assert his legitimacy, since he is the only one able to resist them. As we know, however, it is two centuries later a Norseman, William the Conqueror, who will succeed in this endeavor at the Battle of Hastings.

The second reason why King Ecbert takes interest in Athelstan is because as a former monk, he is fluent in Latin. Ecbert wants Athelstan to translate and read him aloud the lives of the Roman emperors (likely Suetonius’s Twelve Caesars), thinking Roman civilization was superior to Early Medieval Europe, which is another historical inaccuracy. The very idea of the “Dark Ages” is a modern fabrication devised by French revolutionaries to justify the Enlightenment’s tabula rasa. Roman basilicas and Gothic cathedrals still stand to testify that the “Dark” Ages were actually bright.

The similarities between Paganism and Christianity

Being forced into returning to Christianity, Athelstan has a hard time forgetting Paganism, as if the latter was a natural faith to him while Christianity necessarily needed constraint. During Mass, he almost falls out when a crucified Christ appears to be bleeding, which reminds him of a Viking, Leif, who was sacrificed at the Pagan temple of Uppsala:

Increasingly, Athelstan is struck by the similarities between Paganism and Christianity. When King Ecbert asks him to tell him more about Odin, Thor, Loki or Freyja, Athelstan responds in a way that both thrills and frightens him:

“Their gods are very old… and sometimes I could not help noticing some similarities with our own God… and His Son.”

Later, when Ragnar and Athelstan meet again (King Ecbert and Ragnar are seeking a truce), Ragnar asks Athelstan whether he has returned to Christianity and abandoned Paganism. But things are not so simple:

Ragnar, who unlike his brother Rollo has not received baptism at this point (this was one of King Alle of Northumbria’s conditions for the peace talks), takes a growing interest in Christianity, which foreshadows the Vikings’ conversion. This of course is a historical short-cut, given that Norsemen would not become Christians before the 10th and 11th centuries.

But religious acculturation is a long march, which proceeds with seemingly benign but, in retrospect, irreversible and accelerating steps. Over three centuries passed between Nero’s persecutions against Christians and Theodosius I turning Christianity into the Roman Empire’s official State religion (380). The latter happened “only” 43 years after Constantine’s conversion on his deathbed (337).

In the series, such benign step is the scene in which both Ragnar and Athelstan recite a Pater Noster before going into battle against King Horik of Denmark. Once victorious, Ragnar becomes the uncontested ruler of the Vikings. A Promethean figure, Ragnar proves that boundaries exist to be tresspassed.

The second season ends on this note (Season 3 will be released in 2015) and I could finish my review here, but I think that beyond the depiction of the Pagan-Christian synthesis, Vikings asks a capital question for us, which is:

Which religion for 21st century Europeans?

Three questions seem to arise here. Should we return to the faith of our ancestors? Should we save Christianity from itself? Or should we overcome both Paganism and Christianity with a futuristic religion that would set space conquest as our “Manifest Destiny?” (I’m leaving aside the question whether we should stick to materialistic Modernity. The absence of Transcendence of the latter obviously argues against such an option. If the status quo was a viable one, our legacy would be guaranteed.)

Returning to Paganism poses a major problem. As Karl Marx famously put it, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” And I fear a return to Paganism would be such a farce, from what I can judge when I take a look at recent forms of Paganism. Pagans can’t act as if Christianity hadn’t vanquished their faith. I hear the argument that Paganism was just in a state of dormition, and that for most of European history (including when Europeans had no consciousnness of being one people), Europeans were Pagans.

But then, how would it not contradict the imperious necessity of a European Brotherhood? The absence thereof was arguably Paganism’s main flaw, and Christianity, for all its vices, allowed Europeans to get together.

Most readers of this article would return to Germanic and Nordic religions, while the author would have to choose between Gallic and Roman ones (the latter would be more to my liking, by the way; I consider myself a Roman rather than a Gaul). Slavs would be separated from the rest of us. Again.

The same argument works for Christianity. Once united by faith, Christendom has been torn apart by the wars between Catholics and Protestants. These Wars of Religion ended on a “draw,” leading to the triumph of the secular State, which paved the way towards Modernity. That’s where we are now.

Critics of Christianity on the Alternative Right usually blame it for its universalism, but I think the main problem with Christianity is the belief in the Apocalypse. Whether we precipitate the End of the World or wait for it, we can’t have a future (a future far beyond the death and rebirth of our own individual souls, a selfish concern if there ever was one) if we don’t believe that something awaits us (“us” being the long chain linking our ancestors to our descendants) after the Earth has become inhospitable for human life.

Enter this futuristic religion I was mentioning as the third option. The main trap for it would be to amount to “Modernity on life support,” with the West, now encompassing all of Mankind, escaping to new worlds after having made the original one unwelcoming. This would happen only if Europeans keep refusing to drink at Tradition’s rejuvenating spring.

Tradition that comprises both Paganism and Christianity as sucessive, necessary steps in European Man’s upward journey. Yes, that presupposes a belief in linear time. For our mortal planet’s lifespan is linear, too.

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“Interstellar”: Finding A New Telos

We’ve forgotten who we are: explorers, pioneers… not caretakers.” (Joseph Cooper)

We’ve forgotten who we are: explorers, pioneers… not caretakers. (Joseph Cooper)


There’s an unwritten rule with movies: the more you expect from one, the less you get from it. Another unwritten rule is that a remake is, in most cases, not as good as the original.

Christopher Nolan seems to be the great rule-breaker of today’s film industry. When he took on the project of salvaging the Batman franchise after Joel Schumacher had almost destroyed it (Batman Forever and Batman & Robin), who could have predicted he would release a trilogy that would almost completely eclipse Tim Burton’s two first opuses (Batman and Batman Returns), which were actually really good?

When Interstellar‘s trailers started to catch my attention, and it was evident that Nolan was attempting a remake of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, I thought that the stakes were too high this time. How dare Nolan challenge The Master?

Interestingly, Christopher Nolan has often been described as Kubrick’s heir, partly because of the two directors’ common propensity to cut the Gordian Knots of established filmmaking. Kubrick was one of the very first moviemakers to use a nonlinear narrative, in The Killing (1956), and Nolan went even further in Memento (2000), which recounts the fragmented story of an amnesiac whose memory is rebooted every five minutes.

The comparison between Kubrick and Nolan is even apter in the case of Interstellar. Indeed, Interstellar is more than a remake of 2001. It is 2001, only way, way better. If Kubrick was film’s Copernicus, then Nolan is its Galileo.

Before raising Radix readers’ eyebrows, I should mention that Nolan’s improvement upon Kubrick’s 1968 movie is not due to technology. Unlike many futuristic movies these days, Interstellar is two-dimensional, and though there is, of course, an important use of CGI, it is not what defines the movie (and it is worth noting that in technical terms, 2001 has aged quite well). I could go as far as saying that Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity (2013) was graphically much more audacious than Interstellar. But it would be missing the point: though Interstellar takes place in outer space, it is not about space conquest. Much like 2001, Interstellar is about biological evolution, the meaning of human existence, Mankind’s destiny, and God.

And though there is an important reflection on artificial intelligence in Interstellar, supercomputers are here reduced to the status of farm animals. There is no equivalent of “HAL,” arguably 2001‘s central character.

The prominence of humans in the scenario made the casting a matter of ultimate importance. Whereas the actors of 2001 could easily have been replaced with others, Matthew McConaughey’s performance in Interstellar already is, and will remain indispensable.

Though not as famous as Leonardo DiCaprio (Inception), and still mostly known for starring in a string of interchangeable “rom-coms,” McConaughey has recently proven as a man of both wit and emotional depth. With only a few minutes of screen time in Martin Scorcese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, released last Winter, McConaughey managed to play the movie’s most famous scene with a simple “money mantra” (or whatever it’s supposed to be).

McConaughey also appeared on TV this year. In HBO’s True Detective, he plays officer Rust Cohle. Down in Louisiana’s post-industrial rubble, he and detective Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) are investigating a series of murders committed by the local elite in a ritual, Satanic fashion, leading some website editors to analyze True Detective as a “conspiracy theory” series. Commenting on the “tomb of the American Dream” he and Hart have to muddle through, Rust Cohle has some lines that echo those of Nolan’s comic-book heroes and villains: “The world needs bad men. We keep the other bad men from the door.”

In Interstellar, McConaughey, starring as Joseph Cooper, doesn’t fail to provide the spectator with catchy lines. But before I start quoting, perhaps some contextual elements are in order.

The story takes place in the United States, or rather what used to be the United States. Joseph Cooper, a former engineer and pilot who had to retire after a crash, is now growing corn to provide for his two kids and his father-in-law. Cooper’s wife died a few years before the story begins. She had a tumor that, had it been diagnosed in time, would have been curable. But the lack of proper medical devices and qualified physicians sealed her fate.

Cooper was wise enough to plant corn instead of wheat, corn being (for now) the only crop which resists a blight that is ravaging plantations.

The earth, both with a small and a capital “e,” is dying. The rotting plants turn into dust, which, due to frequent windstorms, makes it harder and harder for people to breathe. Field fires are commonplace. Harvests hardly reach survival levels. Apocalypse has come, not with a bang but with a whimper.

Though early 21st-century technological devices keep being used as long as they work, civilization has globally reverted to a pre-Industrial Revolution level: most human activity is oriented towards food production. Cooper’s elder son, Tom, whose intelligence is only slightly above-average, will have to study how to grow corn in high school. More and more, boys learn their fathers’ trade, as it used to be before the 19th and 20th centuries’ division of labor.

Cooper’s daughter, Murph, is much more like her father. She seems to be endowed with a kind of “shine” that allows her to feel a part of reality that the five senses cannot detect. Unlike her brother, she knows that “something is wrong” in the present state of affairs. She doesn’t live by the rules, because she feels that rules are dooming her family. Though—or rather because—her intelligence is vastly above-average, she has troubles with her teachers at school. On her spare time, she tries to figure out what “ghosts” want to communicate to her. Although Cooper doesn’t believe his daughter’s “ghosts” stories, he supports her in her personal experiments. One day, she detects a signal that resembles geographical coordinates.

Cooper, who has noticed anomalies in his automatic ploughing machines’ functioning, believes it is due to a magnetic field, whose center has been located by Murph. He decides to go there, and his disobedient daughter manages to hide in his pickup truck and go with her father. (Promethean Nolan likely means that all evolutionary leaps are made by rebels, like Columbus in his time.)

It turns out that the mysterious site is nothing less than a covert NASA base. Once the pride of the world, NASA has gone underground since government credits have been cut in favor of agriculture. (But as “Paul Kersey” wrote, in today’s “real world,” space conquest has been abandoned to the benefit of “Diversity.” At least humans in Interstellar have the excuse of starvation.)

In a very short-sighted manner, what remains of the government thinks that Mankind’s dire situation justifies that “frivolities” like space exploration make way to more essential endeavors like farming. (History school books are orwellianly rewritten to describe Apollo 11 as a hoax.)

Slipping the “Surly Bonds of Earth”

Here I am reminded of an episode from TV animated series Archer. In the twelfth episode of the third season, Commander Tony Drake (with Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston’s exalted voice) explains to curvy quadrooness Lana why space colonization is the right answer to “here and now” problems:

Drake: You think space exploration is a boondoggle?!
Lana: Well, come on, in this economy?!
Drake: Exactly! Now, more than ever, is when we need to look to space for the solutions to Mankind’s problems. In just two hundred years, Earth’s population will exceed her capacity to produce enough food. And even as the famines begin, global war will erupt as fresh water becomes scarcer than gold. But if we begin now, using the lessons learned aboard Space Station Horizon, a small group of brave colonists can terraform Mars. And Mankind can finally slip the surly bonds of Earth, to live forever… AMONG THE STARS!!!

“Slipping the surly bonds of Earth” is exactly what Professor Brand (Michael Caine), a NASA researcher, has to offer Cooper. Brand wants Cooper to lead an expedition with Brand’s daughter (Ann Hathaway) to a black hole located near Saturn’s rings (which is reminiscent of 2001‘s black monolith revolving around Jupiter). Beyond this black hole is another stellar system, in a faraway galaxy, with three planets apparently similar to Earth both in gravity and atmosphere composition. The expedition’s mission is to find out whether one of these exoplanets can be terraformed.

Cooper faces Ulysses’ dilemma. Should he stay in Ithaca or should he go conquer Troy? And Penelope’s dead anyway. As painful as it is for him to leave his children and his home, Cooper decides to go. He begs his daughter to forgive him and explains to her that he has to live at last. To live, that is, to exist beyond food, shelter, and reproduction. To put the Greater Good above one’s family’s interests (or rather to understand that the latter depends on the former). To follow one’s Destiny, even if said Destiny is tragic. And, for those who have that rare power, to bring Mankind to a higher level of consciousness, mastery, and being.

Cooper knows when he leaves that his chances of seeing his family again are very thin. Not only is the journey long and dangerous, but spacetime is different on the three exoplanets: one hour there amounts to seven years on Earth.

Which means that the expedition, named Lazarus after the Christian saint who came back from the dead, is a race against time. Even if Cooper manages to make it, he might be back when there’s nothing left to save on Earth (a little like in the first Planet of Apes). And, of course, when his kids are dead.

But he accepts the challenge, which appears to be Mankind’s last chance. Pr. Brand informs Cooper that corn will also die out eventually. Even worse, the Noah’s Ark-like vessel ready to follow Cooper’s pioneer expedition is, for now, too heavy to overcome Earth’s gravity.

NASA’s calculation is that Cooper will get back when the scientists on Earth have managed to make the vessel fly, due to the spacetime difference between the two stellar systems.

If this “Plan A” doesn’t work, they’ll turn to “Plan B”: a light shuttle with fertilized eggs aboard will leave with a few colonists to the New Earth; the rest of Mankind will be left to die. (I wonder what will annoy conservatives most this time: surrogate motherhood or the idea that not all human lives have the same value?) Thanks to these eggs, a new Mankind will be recreated. As Brand puts it, “We must think not as individuals but as a species.”

Later in the movie, Cooper will throw the line that prompted me to write this review: “Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here.”

A Philosophical Challenge to Identitarians

Interstellar is problematic for Identitarians, who follow two simple principles: Blood and Soil. If the former is only shaken by Nolan (more on that below), the latter is completely crushed by the British Faust.

Indeed, space conquest means that Man will not dance around the same wooden totem pole for Eternity like Hobbits, which Identitarianism often boils down to.

But I think Instellar is a challenge rather than a stop sign to Identitarians, at least for (Pan-)European ones. As I mentioned in my debut article at Alternative Right (my very first article in the English language, by the way), this “Let’s do as our ancestors have always done” motto may suit Indian tribes, but it is unworthy of Sons of Europa, whether the “European New Right,” which is neither European in spirit nor New nor even right-wing, likes it or not. “We are the heirs of conquerors,” fellas. Our distant ancestors had to “slip the surly bonds” of the Pontic steppe so they could reach a higher stage of evolution in their millenial upward journey.

Of all people, Americans should understand that reality better than any of their European brothers, which is actually the reason why I decided to “slip the surly bonds” of my beloved Hexagone two years ago (which answers the usual question I’m asked: “Why are you doing all this?”; that’s why).

The real founding of America—when the Mayflower left Plymouth, not when the “Holy Scrap” was written down—is not even four centuries old, a period of time, in strictly evolutionary terms, that’s merely a blink-of-an-eye.

If evolution keeps its course (I think it will), there will be a Mayflower spaceship someday. Let’s just hope that it won’t be crammed with Puritans.

As for the “Blood” part of the Identitarian motto, it is also challenged by Nolan, but in a more subtle way. Viewers will have noticed that the Lazarus expedition comprises one Black man, and a woman whose name could be Jewish. Well, call me a “race traitor” (but again, traitors are firstly those who betray Europa’s spirit) if you will, but I didn’t hide under my seat in terror. Let’s not forget that Art shouldn’t be confused with Politics, something the Right has never understood, and the Left less and less understands, which is why its works of art are getting embarrassing.

The second reason why I don’t mind seeing non-Whites in a European expedition is because as Oswald Spengler put it, “those who talk too much about race no longer have it in them.” What is more traitorous: non-Whites appearing in a clearly European movie, or great-grandsons of Acheans, Romans, Franks, and Vikings placing their hopes in this or that model of car?

(“Both are equally abhorrent” is an easy, common, but… wrong answer.)

There are, in my opinion, two competing strains of Identitarianism, whose opposition can be summed up thusly:

“What is Mine is Fine” VS. “What is Fine is Mine”

(Due to Prince Harold’s history-shifting shipwreck on Picardy’s shores and the Battle of Hastings that ensued, the rhyme also works in French: “Ce qui est mien est bien” VS. “Ce qui est bien est mien.”)

I explained that in an interview at AltRight with Alexander Forrest:

We can recognize the various strengths of [other] civilizations and take inspiration from the noble and inventive things they engendered. That is exactly what the West used to do best. To use a very basic example… the Arabs produced coffee long before the West adopted it and transplanted it to the Americas. Today, the most refined coffee is brewed in Italy. It is the essence of our civilization to take what is best in other civilizations and improve upon it.

The worst aspect of “Blood and Soil” rigidity is that it deprives those who stick to it of a telos, of a final cause that would transcend their individual lives and therefore enable them to pass their dreams down to their descendants, until the time when these dreams can be put to practice.

I believe such a dream should be space conquest. I obviously won’t live it, nor will my children, and I don’t think my grandchildren or even my great-grandchildren will. And therefore, in the meantime, a European Home should be established so as to make the carrying out of this dream possible and even thinkable (the rewriting of history books about Neil Armstrong’s giant leap is one of Interstellar‘s most important scenes).

But this European Home would’t be sustainable—it wouldn’t even see the light of day, since its founding is, in itself, a project involving several generations from conception to realisation and therefore requires transcendence to survive the bite of time—if there wasn’t an idea bigger than us, an idea that will mean the same thing in one century as it now does. It is time we cultivate this idea instead of doing as if it was still “five to midnight” and we had to “act before it’s too late.”

It is not five to midnight. It is five past midnight. The night is still dark and cold. Predators of many kinds prowl around the camp. Ghastly screams echo in the void. Waiting for the Dawn, torch-bearing guards keep the fence, and poets recount glorious tales around the fire, while everybody looks to the stars.

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“Mad Men”: The Dispossessed Elite on TV

“All I’m going to be doing from here on is losing everything.” – Roger Sterling

Some of my friends across the Ocean have asked me what I had been up to lately. Well, I’ve mostly been catching up with TV series.

TV drama is a genre I had neglected for years, mainly because of its inferiority to movies (or so thought I). However, being a movie buff is painful these days, with the obvious “creation crunch” that is crippling the industry.

So, before Marvel releases another Iron-Man 28 or The Avengers 42, I wanted to pay a tribute to some TV series I have been watching these last months. Most have made me reconsider the unjustified contempt in which I was holding fiction on TV.

Today I will begin with AMC’s Mad Men. This may not be the most obvious choice, compared to shows that have been far more successful, and that are maybe more relevant to our purposes: Breaking Bad, House of Cards, or Game of Thrones, among others.

Nevertheless, I think that for “craftsmen of the word” like us, the story of a creative director in an ascendent advertising agency is full of precious lessons. Besides, the whole show seems to revolve around a hidden theme that is familiar to Radix readers: the dispossession of the Old Anglo Elite by a new class using its verbal skills to gain power.

For a cultural contrarian, there is always a risk of overreading the producers‘ intent. However, while I believe they wanted to depict this Old Elite negatively, and express some relief about its downfall, I can’t help thinking that the initial expectation wasn’t fully met (think of Cabaret or American History X as similar failed attempts).

For the sake of clarity, I won’t recount the 85 episodes, as I assume most of you have watched the show (for the others, you can keep reading; there will be spoilers, but the general plot is not as important as the atmosphere).

That being said, a rough summary should be done. The story takes place in New York, in the 1960’s. When the show begins, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) is the creative director of Sterling Cooper, a relatively small ad agency on Madison Avenue. He’s tall, strong, handsome, always perfectly-dressed, smart (though not particularly educated), socially savvy and uncannily successful. Successful in his work, and, of course, successful with women. Despite having a wife that would be rated as a “9” if not a “10” in the manosphere (Betty Hofstadt, played by Nordic beauty queen January Jones), he enjoys the company of many other women, who enable him to escape the sanitized boredom of his white-picket-fenced suburban house®.

We don’t see Don Draper work much. He’s always late, even for meetings, spends most of his office time smoking, drinking (Canadian Club rye at work, “Old Fashioned” cocktails at bars), and taking naps to recover from it all. When the afternoon comes, he often calls it a day to join some mistress in a luxurious hotel room. Despite that, every one of his pitches to the clients is a home-run, making him the main money-maker of the agency (his jaw-dropping Kodak carousel presentation should be turned into a mandatory training in communication and marketing programs). This reminds us that creation requires laziness as much as hard work. All those who write for a living know that their best ideas pop up when they are doing something else, or doing nothing at all.

Alpha/Übermensch Don Draper is “just too good to be true,” to the point that NBC did a spoof “Don Draper’s guide to picking up women”, in which the viewer learns that all he has to do to be as successful as Don is… impossible to fulfill.

So, why do the opening credits show a cartoon version of Don falling from a skyscraper into a sea of advertisement junk? In a Hollywoodian clichéd way, the character can’t be that successful without having a secret flaw, which, in time, will be revealed to be fatal.

As we soon learn, Don’s secret flaw is nothing less than identity usurpation. His real name is Dick Whitman. Son of a prostitute (who dies giving birth to him) and a drunk farmer (who is killed by a horse), Dick grows up in a whorehouse. When he turns 25, he takes the opportunity of the Korean war to flee. There, a field officer named Don Draper is mortally burnt in a fire Dick accidentally starts. Since the officer is totally disfigured, Dick manages to switch the identification tags and become the man who just died, giving him his former identity. This identity theft is symbolized by Season 5’s finale, which ends with Nancy Sinatra’s “You Only Live Twice.” The story takes place in 1967, which is the year the eponymous James Bond movie was released. (By the way, the song’s powerful lines “You drift through the years — And life seems tame — Till one dream appears — And love is its name” could summarize the dissident rightists’ increasing impatience; just replace “love” with some synonym, like “power,” “victory” or “glory.”)

This 92-episode series (the seven final ones will be broadcast next year) would get boring if it wasn’t for the supporting characters. Though Jon Hamm’s acting is excellent, the contradiction between Don Draper’s rise to success and his growingly incapacitating original sin wouldn’t be sufficient to support the show from Season 1 to 7. The main thing that can be said about Don Draper is that in the age of materialism, which has been the Postwar era so far, such a talented man couldn’t express his genius in a meaningful field. Rather than being an artist, a scientist, or a statesman, he had to devote his talents to selling laxatives, ketchup, and lipstick.

Still, being an outsider, Don Draper is generally benefitting from the cultural revolution of the 60’s, that he fully embraces, despite losing his own family in the process:

Completely different is the fate of other characters, who embody the declining WASP elite. Here are the most representative ones:

Roger Sterling

If there had to be a single one quintessential elite Anglo-Saxon on screen, that would be him. Heir of the original agency’s co-founder (hence his “name on the building” he’s so proud of), Roger always had it easy until the 60’s. To paraphrase one of my famous countrymen, Roger “took the trouble to be born, no more,” except during the Second World War. Roger’s wittiness and charms enable him to be very efficient in handling clients, but can’t shield him from the cultural tsunami that washes America throughout the 60’s. Unable to resist the sexual revolution, he repudiates his wife Mona in favor of an Ashkenazi secretary, Jane, who will give him no heir. Once high on LSD, Roger realizes it was a bad move, which will leave him with two alimonies to pay for. His former wife Mona only gave him a daughter, who ends up living in a rural commune with degenerates after having abandoned her “beta provider” husband and her son.

Drugs are not enough to make him forget his feeling of void, which results in an explicit recognition of his own dispossession:

Having received a Classical European education, Roger thinks he can afford the luxury of playing dumb, for example when he intentionally mixes Spanish conquistadores, Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama, and “Mexicans” in a single sentence. In an other episode, he explains to Pete Campbell what “Munich” (i.e., surrender) means when it comes to negotiation, only seconds before he attributes to his mother the famous Churchill quote “You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war.” Obviously, someone who knows what “Munich” means also knows who delivered this statement after the Munich Agreement of 1938. Unfortunately for Roger, the 60’s are no longer the time for playing dumb, especially since his leadership is under siege.

“Duck” Phillips

While he’s not a very important character, Herman “Duck” Phillips plays the role of a scapegoat in the official narrative about the ’60s. Everything in his behaviour is wrong, to the point that the whole character becomes rather incredible. Incapable of self-mastery when he’s drunk, “Duck” makes fun of the speaker during an adverstising awards ceremony and tries to defecate in Roger Sterling’s office (believing it’s Don Draper’s) after having been fired from the agency. In spite of all these flaws, he’s always impeccably attired, very charming, and quite well-spoken. He’s also a war hero, having killed 17 Japanese soldiers in the Battle of Okinawa. The message seems to be as follows: when a man is handsome, well-educated, and successful, there must be something deeply wrong about him. This should explain why such types have almost entirely been driven out of Western elites in favor of ugly, incompetent, and sociopathic ones . . . but I digress.

Bert Cooper

Cooper is the other co-founder of the initial agency. Unlike Roger Sterling, who is a generation younger than he, Bert Cooper is a self-conscious conservative. He is very skeptical of “civil rights,” and implicitly asks she-office manager Joan Holloway/Harris to make sure the receptionist girl remains White. Bert Cooper is why conservatives can’t win. Though he disagrees with the triumph of the Moral Left in the ’60s, he never dares express it. Quite symbolically, he lost his testicles in a surgical operation that went wrong. He dies childless and heirless, the day Neil Armstrong sets foot on the Moon. One small step for a man, indeed . . . and one giant leap to the dustbin of history for country-club Republicans.

Conrad Hilton

Speaking of the Moon, the only real character of the series, hotel chain-founder Conrad Hilton (“Uncle Connie”), is a very telling one. He randomly meets Don Draper at a . . . country club, and then becomes a client for a short time. He ends his contract with the agency when Don fails to give him “Hilton on the Moon,” a literal request Don thought was only figurative. In a monologue that leaves the viewer wondering whether Hilton is mentally ill, he displays a worldview that is actually quite typical of the postwar Right:

Can we see “Uncle Connie” as a member of the dispossessed elite? Yes, if we bear in mind who one of his great-granddaughters is.

Lane Pryce

In his three-part review of the series at Counter-Currents, James J. O’Meara defined Lane Pryce as the agency’s sacrificial victim. That is true, though in my opinion, O’Meara doesn’t really explain how Lane Pryce is so. Pryce is a former auditor from the British company that had bought the initial Sterling Cooper agency. Then he becomes a junior partner in the new agency started by Sterling, Cooper and Draper. Due to fiscal problems with the United Kingdom, he tries to steal money from the agency. When Don confronts him about his forged check, Pryce resigns and hangs himself in his own office. I would suggest that Pryce is sacrificed for his very Britishness, the same way the Cosmic America fantasized by Conrad Hilton was born out of the sacrifice of English and British heritage. Jared Harris, who stars as Pryce, looks like the usual caricature of the English people in rival countries: a toad face at the top of a fat, listless body.

Pete Campbell

Pete Campbell is maybe even more representative of this dispossession: being 10 years younger than Don Draper, he has been deprived of his birthright before he was even born. At some point in the series, the viewer learns that his ancestry in America goes back as far as the Mayflower. Yet his father found a way to dilapidate his family’s fortune before dying and leaving his two sons with crumbs. Still believing in the American myth of the self-made-man, Pete thinks he’s going to make up for his father’s failures with hard work, only to discover that the dices have been rigged from the start against young, ambitious men like him (which, of course, is more of a concern for our generation than Pete Campbell’s, who is a baby-boomer; this is not the only way the writers managed to inject contemporary issues into the series). In a half-drunk rant, Campbell expresses his impatience about being patronized by the former generation. That reminds me of something.


I could go on and on, since there’s no shortage of examples, from the clients to the employees, as well as their families.

I keep thinking that the producers wanted to celebrate the replacement of this Old Anglo Elite by a Rainbow Coalition including women, gays, and minorities, chiefly Jews, given that the production crew is predominantly Jewish. In the very first episode, Roger Sterling asks Don Draper whether the agency has ever hired a Jewish copywriter. “Not on my watch,” jokes Don. It’s 1960. In the coming decade however, the agency is going to recruit many Jewish copywriters and Black secretaries.

Nevertheless, to show how hard it was for the Rainbow Coalition to overthrow this Old Anglo Elite, the producers had to depict it as a formidable enemy: a caste of good-looking, refined, well-mannered, educated aristocrats. By thus doing, they made this elite appealing, and many viewers could conclude that they would rather be ruled by such a gang than by the current one.

That said, one could have the same feeling watching Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon (which was arguably the last liberal movie Kubrick made, before he started making conservative films, or outright reactionary ones like Eyes Wide Shut). The 18th-century aristocracy was, in many ways, admirable by its style and its brilliance. But it adopted the set of ideas and values that would lead to the removal of English rule in the thirteen colonies and of the King’s head in Paris. In like manner, Roger Sterling’s capitulation before the sexual revolution and Don Draper’s abandonment of his own family were foreshadowing the Great Erasure that was just about to happen. In the early 60’s, the agency sells a patriarchal and hierarchical American Dream. At the end of this crucial decade, the agency promotes alternative lifetsyles, women’s independence from their husband and family and minorities’ march through the institutions, with the partners hardly noticing this radical shift, and completely ignoring that it might undermine their rule.

Don Draper may embody all a man could dream of being and may succeed in all ways imaginable. He is also the last specimen of a dying breed. Let’s hope that the next European elite will know better and not confuse the Will to Power with the suppression of the very institutions that make it sustainable.

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The Real Dugin

Personally, I had once considered these critiques as being essentially valid, but upon a more thorough investigation of Dugin’s writings and thought, I concluded that these critiques were based on flawed premises and assumptions. My intention here is to point out what the most common reasons for denouncing Dugin have been and why they are based on misconceptions and propaganda rather than reality.

Alexander Dugin is by now well-known in “Right-wing” circles of all sorts across the world—whether we are speaking of nationalists, Fascists, traditionalists, cultural or national conservatives, or New Rightists (also known as Identitarians). Upon the translation of his book The Fourth Political Theory in 2012, Dugin has received a significant amount of international attention from anyone interested in Right-wing or Conservative theory. Since then, a number of other essays by Dugin on the topics of Eurasianism (also spelled “Eurasism”) and also the Theory of the Multipolar World (both of which are interconnected with each other and with what he calls the Fourth Political Theory) have been translated into English, among other languages, allowing us a better view into his thought.

There is no need to discuss Dugin’s theories in any depth here, since his own essays achieve that sufficiently. However, a problem has arisen among Right-wingers in the West in regards to Dugin: while many have appreciated his works, a large number have completely dismissed or attacked him and his theories largely on the basis of misunderstandings or propaganda from Dugin’s political enemies. The situation is certainly not helped by the fact that well-known Identitarian writers such as Greg Johnson, Michael O’Meara, Domitius Corbulo, and some others in Europe have denounced Dugin with reasoning based upon such misunderstandings. Personally, I had once considered these critiques as being essentially valid, but upon a more thorough investigation of Dugin’s writings and thought, I concluded that these critiques were based on flawed premises and assumptions. My intention here is to point out what the most common reasons for denouncing Dugin have been and why they are based on misconceptions and propaganda rather than reality.

Position on Race

First, one of the most difficult issues is the claim that Alexander Dugin believes that race has no substantial reality, that it is a “social construct” and must be completely abandoned as a harmful product of modern Western society. Certainly, he critiques racialist theory, but this is not the same as rejecting race entirely (since one can assert the importance of race without resorting to “racism.” See my essay “Ethnic and Racial Relations”). It must be admitted that Dugin has not taken a clear stance on the matter of race, and occasionally makes statements which imply a dismissal of race (although it is significant that, for the most part, he leaves it an open question). On the other hand, he has also made statements implying an appreciation for racial identity to some extent, such as when he wrote the following:

Being White and Indo-European myself, I recognize the differences of other ethnic groups as being a natural thing, and do not believe in any hierarchy among peoples, because there is not and cannot be any common, universal measure by which to measure and compare the various forms of ethnic societies or their value systems. I am proud to be Russian exactly as Americans, Africans, Arabs or Chinese are proud to be what they are. It is our right and our dignity to affirm our identity, not in opposition to each other but such as it is: without resentment against others or feelings of self-pity. (quoted from “Alexander Dugin on ‘White Nationalism’ & Other Potential Allies in the Global Revolution”)

However, let us assume, for the sake of argument, that Dugin truly does believe that race is a “social construct”, as some have assumed. Would this be enough reason to declare Dugin a subversive intellectual in the Right? If this was the case, it would follow by the same reasoning that any past Right-wing intellectual who did not believe in the importance of race (or at least the biological form of race) must also be denounced. This would include such notable thinkers as Oswald Spengler, Francis Parker Yockey, Othmar Spann, José Antonio Primo de Rivera, Oswald Mosley, and numerous other Fascist or nationalist intellectuals and leaders who did not place much importance upon physical race. Yet, paradoxically, many of those we see denouncing Dugin today would not do the same for such thinkers. This is not to imply that previous Fascist or nationalist intellectuals are entirely agreeable for us today (in fact, most New Rightists reject Fascism and old-fashioned nationalism), it is only to point out the self-contradiction which has gone unnoticed.

Furthermore, it is important to remember that Dugin clearly believes in the importance of ethnicity and culture and advocates ethnic separatism. Similarly to German Revolutionary Conservative and Völkisch thinkers, Dugin has unmistakably placed the Volk or ethnos as one of the highest values of his philosophy: “The subject of this theory [the Fourth Political Theory], in its simple version, is the concept ‘narod,’ roughly, ‘Volk’ or ‘people,’ in the sense of ‘peoplehood’ and ‘peoples,’ not ‘masses’” (quoted from “The Fourth Estate: The History and Meaning of the Middle Class”). Thus, it is clear that even if he does not value race, Dugin certainly does value ethno-cultural identity. Of course, this is not to say that rejecting the reality of race is not at all problematic, only that it is not enough to denounce a philosopher. However, those who like to claim that Dugin dismisses race as a “social construct” are reminiscent of those who say the same thing about Alain de Benoist, whereas it is clear that Benoist asserts the reality of race and advocates racial separatism–specifically from a non-racist standpoint–in many of his writings, one of the most notable in English being “What is Racism?”.

Empire vs. Imperialism

The second problematic notion about Dugin is that he is an advocate of a type of Russian imperialism, usually suggested being of a Stalinist and Soviet type. However, this claim has no basis in fact, since he has renounced Soviet imperialism and has also distinguished between true empire and imperialism (which also made by Julius Evola and many other Traditionalist and New Right authors). In his essay “Main Principles of Eurasist Policy,” Dugin has asserted that there are three basic types of policy in modern Russia: Soviet, pro-Western (liberal), and Eurasist. He criticizes the Soviet and Liberal types while advocating the Eurasist policy: “Eurasism, in this way, is an original ‘patriotic pragmatism’, free from any dogmatics – be it Soviet or liberal… The Soviet pattern operates with obsolete political, economic and social realities, it exploits nostalgia and inertness, it lacks a sober analysis of the new international situation and the real development of world economic trends.” It should be clear from Dugin’s analysis of different forms of political approaches that his own viewpoint is not based on the USSR model, which he explicitly rejects and critiques.

Moreover, it is often overlooked that when Dugin advocates a Eurasian empire or union, there is a distinction between a true empire—in the traditionalist sense—and imperialism, and thus an empire is not necessarily an imperialistic state (for a good overview of this concept, see Alain de Benoist’s “The Idea of Empire”). Unlike domineering and imperialistic states, the Eurasian Union envisioned by Dugin grants a partial level of self-government to regions within a federalist system:

The undoubted strategic unity in Eurasist federalism is accompanied by ethnic plurality, by the emphasis on the juridical element of the “rights of the peoples”. The strategic control of the space of the Eurasian Union is ensured by the unity of management and federal strategic districts, in whose composition various formations can enter – from ethno-cultural to territorial. The immediate differentiation of territories into several levels will add flexibility, adaptability and plurality to the system of administrative management in combination with rigid centralism in the strategic sphere. (quoted from “Main Principles of Eurasist Policy”)

Of course, it must also be remembered that Dugin’s vision needs to be differentiated from the policies of the present Russian state, which, at this time, cannot be said to adequately represent the Eurasists’ goals (despite the influence of Eurasism on certain politicians). Furthermore, it should be mentioned that while Dugin currently supports president Putin, it is clear that he does not uncritically accept all of the policies of Putin’s government. Therefore, a sound analysis of Dugin’s proposed policies will not equate them with those of the Russian government, as some of his critics have erroneously done.

The “West” as the Enemy

Another common misconception is that Dugin is hostile to Western European civilization and even advocates its complete destruction. It is important to recognize that Dugin’s conception of the “West” is similar to that advocated by the European New Right (in the works of Pierre Krebs, Alain de Benoist, Guillaume Faye, Tomislav Sunic, etc.). The “West” is not a reference to all of Western-European civilization, but rather to the specific formulation of Western-European civilization founded upon liberalism, egalitarianism, and individualism: “The crisis of identity […] has scrapped all previous identities–civilizational, historical, national, political, ethnic, religious, cultural, in favor of a universal planetary Western-style identity–with its concept of individualism, secularism, representative democracy, economic and political liberalism, cosmopolitanism and the ideology of human rights.” (quoted from the interview with Dugin, “Civilization as Political Concept”).

Thus, Dugin, like the New Right, asserts that the “West” is actually foreign to true European culture—that it is in fact the enemy of Europe: “Atlanticism, liberalism, and individualism are all forms of absolute evil for the Indo-European identity, since they are incompatible with it” (quoted from “Alexander Dugin on ‘White Nationalism’ & Other Potential Allies in the Global Revolution”). Likewise, in his approving citation of Alain de Benoist’s cultural philosophy, he wrote the following:

A. de Benoist was building his political philosophy on radical rejection of liberal and bourgeois values, denying capitalism, individualism, modernism, geopolitical atlanticism and western eurocentrism. Furthermore, he opposed “Europe” and “West” as two antagonistic concepts: “Europe” for him is a field of deployment of a special cultural Logos, coming from the Greeks and actively interacting with the richness of Celtic, Germanic, Latin, Slavic, and other European traditions, and the “West” is the equivalent of the mechanistic, materialistic, rationalist civilization based on the predominance of the technology above everything. After O. Spengler Alain de Benoist understood “the West” as the “decline of the West” and together with Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger was convinced of the necessity of overcoming modernity as nihilism and “the abandonment of the world by Being (Sein)” (Seinsverlassenheit). West in this understanding was identical to liberalism, capitalism, and bourgeois society – all that “New Right” claimed to overcome. (quoted from “Counter-hegemony in Theory of Multi-polar World”)

While Dugin attacks the “West” as modern liberal civilization, he simultaneously advocates the resurrection of Europe in his vision of the multipolar world: “We imagine this Greater Europe as a sovereign geopolitical power, with its own strong cultural identity, with its own social and political options…” (quoted from “The Greater Europe Project”). Similarly to the previous statements which we have quoted, he asserts here that European culture has multiple ideological elements and possible pathways in its history which are different from the liberal model: “Liberal democracy and the free market theory account for only part of the European historical heritage and that there have been other options proposed and issues dealt with by great European thinkers, scientists, politicians, ideologists and artists.”

Domitius Corbulo has argued, based on statements Dugin made in The Fourth Political Theory that liberalism and universalism are elements which run throughout Western civilization, that Dugin condemns Western-European culture in its entirety. However, it is important to recognize that these arguments are largely borrowed from Western-European authors such as Spengler, Heidegger, and Evola. These authors also recognized that anti-universalist, anti-liberal, and anti-materialist elements also exist in Western-European culture, and thus that there have always been other paths for the destiny of this culture. It is evident that Dugin would assert the same fact from his essays which we have cited here (as well as books not yet available in English, such as ¿Qué es el eurasismo?, Pour une théorie du monde multipolaire, or in Russian in Четвертый Путь, among others). It is important to remember here that The Fourth Political Theory is not a complete and perfect statement of Dugin’s thought, and that what he says there must be balanced with what he says in his other works.

It is often assumed that, considering his hostility to the liberal “West,” Dugin also advocates a complete destruction of the United States of America, which is seen as the epitome of the “West.” However, the very essence of his theory of the multipolar world is the idea that each civilization and nation must be granted the right to live and to determine its own destiny, political form, and way of life. For this reason, Dugin advocates the global combating of American cultural and economic imperialism, which denatures non-Western cultures. However, in the multipolar scheme, the United States also has the right to exist and to choose its own path, which means allowing the American people the right to continue the liberal model in the future, should they desire to do so. Of course, the liberal model would naturally be discouraged from abroad and be limited in its influence. This position can be drawn from Dugin’s key essays explicating the Theory of the Multipolar World: “The Multipolar World and the Postmodern” and “Multipolarism as an Open Project”.

The Fourth Political Theory vs. Reactionary Traditionalism

Some writers, such as Kenneth Anderson (“Speculating on future political and religious alliances”), have interpreted Alexander Dugin’s thought as a form of Radical Traditionalism (following Julius Evola and Rene Guenon) which is completely reactionary in nature, rejecting everything in the modern world–including all technological and scientific development–as something negative which needs to be eventually undone. This interpretation can be easily revealed to be incorrect when one examines Dugin’s statements on Traditionalism and modernity more closely. It is true that Dugin acknowledges Traditionalist thinkers such as Evola and Guenon among his influences, but it is also clear that he is not in full agreement with their views and advocates his own form of conservatism, which is much more similar to German Revolutionary Conservatism (see The Fourth Political Theory, pp. 86 ff.).

Unlike some Traditionalists, Dugin does not reject scientific and social progress, and thus it can also be said that he does not reject the Enlightenment in toto. When Dugin criticizes Enlightenment philosophy (the ideology of progress, individualism, etc.), it is not so much in the manner of the Radical Traditionalists as it is in the manner of the Conservative Revolution and the New Right, as was also done by Alain de Benoist, Armin Mohler, etc. In this regard, it can be mentioned that critiquing the ideology of progress is, of course, very different from rejecting progress itself. For the most part, he does not advocate the overcoming of the “modern world” in the Traditionalist sense, but in the New Rightist sense, which means eliminating what is bad in the present modern world to create a new cultural order (“postmodernity”) which reconciles what is good in modern society with traditional society. Thus Dugin asserts that one of the most essential ideas of the Eurasist philosophy is the creation of societies which restore traditional and spiritual values without surrendering scientific progress:

The philosophy of Eurasianism proceeds from priority of values of the traditional society, acknowledges the imperative of technical and social modernization (but without breaking off cultural roots), and strives to adapt its ideal program to the situation of a post-industrial, information society called “postmodern”. The formal opposition between tradition and modernity is removed in postmodern. However, postmodernism in the atlantist aspect levels them from the position of indifference and exhaustiveness of contents. The Eurasian postmodern, on the contrary, considers the possibility for an alliance of tradition with modernity to be a creative, optimistic energetic impulse that induces imagination and development. (quote from Eurasian Mission, cited in Dugin, “Multipolarism as an Open Project”)

It should be evident from these statements that Dugin is not a reactionary, despite his sympathy to Radical Traditionalism. In this regard, it is worth mentioning that Dugin also supports a “Third Positionist” form of socialism as well as a non-liberal form of democracy. In regards to socialism, he has written that the “confusion of mankind into the single global proletariat is not a way to a better future, but an incidental and absolutely negative aspect of the global capitalism, which does not open any new prospects and only leads to degradation of cultures, societies, and traditions. If peoples do have a chance to organize effective resistance to the global capitalism, it is only where Socialist ideas are combined with elements of a traditional society…” (from “Multipolarism as an Open Project”). Whereas some have accused Dugin of being anti-democratic, he has plainly advocated the idea of a “democratic empire”: “The political system of the Eurasian Union in the most logical way is founded on the ‘democracy of participation’ (the ‘demotia’ of the classical Eurasists), the accent being not on the quantitative, but on the qualitative aspect of representation” (quoted from “Main Principles of Eurasist Policy”; see also the comments on democracy in his “Milestones of Eurasism”).

References to Leftists and Cultural Marxists

Finally, one of the most recent attacks on Alexander Dugin is based on his reference to Cultural Marxist and “Leftist” philosophers, which is seen by some as an indicator that Dugin himself is sympathetic to Cultural Marxism (see Domitius Corbulo’s “Alexander Dugin’s 4th Political Theory is for the Russian Empire, not for European Ethno-Nationalists”). However, Dugin has clearly pointed out that while he uses ideas from Marxist and “Leftist” theorists, he rejects their ideologies as a whole: “The second and third political theories [Fascism and Marxism] must be reconsidered, selecting in them that which must be discarded and that which has value in itself. As complete ideologies… they are entirely useless, either theoretically or practically.” (quoted from The Fourth Political Theory, p. 24).

If one notes that Dugin occasionally makes use of Marxist thinkers, then it should not be overlooked that he places even more importance on Right-wing thinkers, who clearly form the greater influence on him; the intellectuals of the Conservative Revolution (Heidegger, Schmitt, Moeller van den Bruck, etc.), the Traditionalist School (Evola, Guenon, Schuon, etc.), the New Right (Benoist, Freund, Steuckers, etc.), and the conservative religious scholars (Eliade, Durand, etc.). Furthermore, Corbulo objects to Dugin’s use of Claude Levi-Strauss’s work, yet respected New Right thinkers like Alain de Benoist and Dominique Venner (see Robert Steuckers, “En souvenir de Dominique Venner”, citing Venner’s Le siècle de 1914) have also referenced the ideas of Levi-Strauss on matters of culture and ethnicity, among other authors that Dugin uses, such as Jean Baudrillard.

In a recent interview, Dugin has clearly agreed with the European Right’s position on immigration (which advocates the restriction of non-European immigration), mentioning the threat that liberal cosmopolitanism brings to European culture: “The immigration changes the structure of European society. The Islamic people have very strong cultural identity. The European people weaken their own identity more and more in conscious manner. It is human right and civil society individualistic ideological dogma. So Europe is socially endangered and is on the eve to lose it identity” (quoted from “The West should be rejected”). Thus, when we take a less biased view of Dugin’s writings and statements, it is clear that his overall position is very far from that of the Cultural Marxists and the New Left.

From our examination thus far, it should be obvious that there are too many misconceptions about Alexander Dugin’s thought being circulated among Right-wingers. These misconceptions are being used to dismiss the value of his work and deceive members of Right-wing groups into believing that Dugin is a subversive intellectual who must be rejected as an enemy. Many other important Right-wing intellectuals have been similarly dismissed among certain circles, due to practices of a kind of in-group gleichschaltung, closing off any thinker who is not seen as readily agreeable. It is important to overcome such tendencies and support an intellectual expansion of the Right, which is the only way to overcome the present liberal-egalitarian hegemony. People need to take a more careful and unbiased look at Dugin’s works and ideas, as with other controversial thinkers. Of course, Dugin is not without flaws and imperfections (
nor is any other thinker), but these flaws can be overcome when his thought is balanced with that of other intellectuals, especially the Revolutionary Conservatives and the New Rightists.

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Subverting Thor

How can you pervert a perversion?  The Marvel version of Thor has about as much to with Germanic heathenry as the screeching crone Madonna has to do with the Theotokos.  The entire history of the character is an insult to the old European belief system, and was intended as such.  But the recent controversy over Marvel’s “Thor” being transformed into a woman shows that even bastardized Western symbols have to be subverted, as modern culture is unable to create something original and admirable. 

How can you pervert a perversion?  The Marvel version of Thor has about as much to with Germanic heathenry as the screeching crone Madonna has to do with the TheotokosThe entire history of the character is an insult to the old European belief system, and was intended as such.  But the recent controversy over Marvel’s “Thor” being transformed into a woman shows that even bastardized Western symbols have to be subverted, as modern culture is unable to create something original and admirable.

The Thor of the comics was not simply the God of Thunder put into a fictional universe so he can fight Galactus or Absorbing Man.  Thor has a dual identity within the Marvel mythos as he is sometimes Dr. Donald Blake, a physical weakling.  Odin forced Thor into this identity in order to teach him a lesson about humility and become “worthy” of wielding Mjolnir.

The latest Marvel movies, which inform how most people think of the character today, dismissed the dual identity premise.  Even when he is not wielding Mjolnir and stripped of his divine power, the movie character is still a highly effective warrior capable of, in Agent Coulson’s phrase, “making some of the most highly trained professionals in the world look like a bunch of minimum wage mall cops.”

At the same time, they have kept the larger idea of breaking the proud Thor and turning him into a soldier for egalitarianism (and mysterious multinational government agencies).  Thor’s highbrow speech and noble lineage is a punch line, and Thor only becomes “worthy” when he tells Loki to stop being like Hitler and sacrifices himself to make the world safe for Natalie Portman.

But while the movie Thor is perverted, he’s still a dull reflection of the actual Thor, a greater Western archetype of strength.  More importantly, the character always thinks of himself as Thor, even when he’s lost his supernatural powers.  The subversion is one of ideology, not identity – Thor’s strength and character is “broken,” rebuilt, and then used to save democratic man (or woman, in Portman’s case).  It’s simply the cinematic version of Seal Team Six going through hell so their daughters can be like Miley Cyrus.

In contrast, the comic book divorces Thor’s essential characteristics from the character itself.  Stan Lee pictured Thor in his true form as “looking like Vikings of old, with the flowing beards, horned helmets, and battle clubs.”  But Thor’s consciousness is somewhat divided.  While “Blake” is always “Thor,” his status as one of the Aesir is something conditional, rather than something that he just is.  Thus, as recent apologists for Thor’s sex change argue, Thor in the comics is not always a mighty Norse god–sometimes he’s just a man—or even a frog.  Like the word Christ, Thor is apparently less a name than a title.

Thus, Marvel can say, “This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR. This is the THOR of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before.”  But it’s not really.  It’s just transferring the personification of power into a more politically correct vehicle.  In the Marvel Universe, Thor isn’t really the hero or even really Thor – Mjolnir and the power it contains is.  After all, the weapon is inscribed, “Whomsoever wields this hammer, if he [or she apparently] be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.”

Within Marvel’s announcement there is a representation of the “Unworthy Thor” stripped of power, who looks like some kind of archaeo-futurist barbarian borne of the collective unconscious of the New Right.  Maybe he just got tired of fighting to make the world safe for Tumblr.

As with all actions of this type, there is a financial motivation.  Marvel says it will “speak directly to an audience that long was not the target for super hero comic books in America: women and girls.”  But as Time magazine points out, even young boys don’t buy much in the way of comic books these days, let alone girls.  While there might be a slight uptick in female readers, a “gimmick” like a sex or race change  gets the niche market of comic book fans–mostly “middle-aged men”–to make sure they pick up the latest issue.

The female Thor accordingly corresponds to the cover girl aesthetics of “strong” female characters—who don’t exactly resemble female powerlifters and couldn’t put up 225 on a squat rack, let alone duel a frost giant.  Fictional portrayals of “strong” women like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Lara Croft are mostly designed to appeal to men by combining cover girl aesthetics with masculine actions.  This of course is prompting criticism that we must have feminine superheroes who defeat enemies through “feminine” abilities.  (Like what?  Posting selfies featuring handwritten slogans about tolerance?)

But there is also an ideological motivation.  Comic book heroes–especially those “born in Lower East Side at some point between 1938-1944”–have often reflected the a dual fantasy of subversion and assimilation, with Superman as the obvious example.  He is alien–yet he is also the ultimate representation of the American nation.  Yet as America herself has become passé and unacceptably tied to a European past, superheroes have had to renounce ties to the historic nation and even to their own racial identity in order to remain “heroes.”   

To facilitate this, we get the racial transformation of various characters, such as Nick Fury morphing from a World War II soldier (albeit one who led a “racially integrated elite unit”) into Samuel L. Jackson in both print and film.  Similarly, comic books today are less telling stories than about beating the correct political ideology into a dumbed down audience.  Therefore, Archie will soon die taking a bullet fir
ed by a fanatical gun rights supporter at his gay friend, who is “married” to a black man.  Soviet propaganda looks like a model of subtlety in contrast.

What never seems to catch on is the actual creation of heroes that don’t owe something either to a past White identity or Western archetype.  Those that are created come off like unintentional comedy, like “Black Panther”–and he’s probably the best of the lot.  He hails from the “technologically advanced” nation of Wakanda, menaced by the evil quasi-Afrikaner nation of Azania and its evil champions (like “Voortrekker.”)  The defining characteristics of affirmative action heroes–indeed their only characteristics–are that they are black, have a vagina, or practice one of the sexual fetishes that our society has deemed worthy of celebration.

Therefore, we are constantly hectored that existing heroes of comics and the screen must be made black–we need a black Batman or a black James Bond.  By doing this, we will somehow convince minorities of various sorts that they too can be universally appealing heroes.

After all, Black Panther represents… being black.

And, Wonder Woman represents… being a woman.

So to get around this, we’ll transform characters with greater appeal.  Archie was supposed to be about wholesome Americana… so we’ll make it about homosexuality and gun control.

Captain America represents patriotism… so we’ll make him black.

Batman represents justice… so the good Republicans at the Wall Street Journal tell us we “need” to make him black soon too.

It is a cultural form of the cargo cult role playing which has led to such historic spectacles like Faustin I of Haiti aping Napoleon by putting a cardboard crown on his head, or America collectively pretending that Maya Angelou’s sub-literate nursery rhyme at a Presidential Inaugural was really a poem.

But Thor is a special case.  The deity Thor is perhaps is most important personage of the indigenous European religious tradition, and certainly the most popular god among ordinary people of the pre-Christian age.  Rather than identifying Odin as the symbolic champion of the old ways, John Lindow in Norse Mythology notes that medieval Scandinavian sources portray “the conversion as a struggle between Thor and Christ.”  During the period of uneasy coexistence between Christians and pagans, believers in the Old Gods would wear Thor’s hammer pendants around their necks–a practice continued by heathens today (and, for that matter, some metal fans).

Therefore, Thor is culturally specific in a way that Superman or Batman isn’t.  Putting him in a comic book is bad enough, as the character is based on a deity that was once the dominant figure for Germanic civilization and who understood and pictured their gods in highly specific ways.  One imagines that the adventures of “Moses” calling on God to drown a mugger in Greenwich Village or “Muhammad” using a friendly jinn to trick Dr. Octopus might be seen as distasteful (although hilarious).

But even if the point to “lighten up” is graciously conceded, Stan Lee pictured Thor along the lines of the romanticized image we have of Vikings of the late heathen period. He wrote him as part of that.  He therefore fits in a certain context that represents a group of people that once existed.  The comic book hero’s adventures and changes have to be limited by what makes sense with the character.  The usual objection that “anything is possible” because fictional heroes are in a world of magic misses the point–the character is based in a specific cultural context and is indeed defined by it.

Moreover, even in fictional universes, magic and supernatural occurrences have rules and context.  A Song Of Ice and Fire has magic, but Ned Stark’s severed head can’t simply start flying around in the middle of the story any more than the wildlings can breach the Wall with an Abrams tank.  Even within the Marvel universe, Thor can’t be a woman and remain Thor just as Cat-Woman can’t be a man and remain Cat-Woman.

Thor’s sex change is political and is defined by its creators as such.  The reason is that to have a white (indeed Nordic) male character associated with the Germanic past and traditional masculine virtues is simply impermissible.  Even in the most bastardized, degraded, perverted form, the existence of a white male Thor in pop culture is an insult to everything our culture is telling young boys to be.  The Marvel Thor has to be a woman – and it has to be a different race next.

Political correctness can only achieve popular appeal through subverting symbols that already appeal to mass constituencies because any new symbols will appeal pathetic by comparison.  And certainly European cultural symbols, even in their most debauched form, are superior to affirmative action culture.  Most Americans, especially children, instinctively sense this.  After all, “social justice man” is hardly something to appeal to the imagination of a typical seven year old.

To be fair, shapeshifting and even gender bending is nothing new even within the lore of European religion.  Loki is, after all, the mother of Sleipnir, having transformed into a female horse as part of a ruse against a giant.  However, while the shapeshifting, androgynous Loki helps various gods (including Thor) on several adventures, he is also the father of monstrous beings who will ultimately unleash chaos and the destruction of the gods.  In this we see the understanding that perversity and chaos, even if used for temporary advantage, further a process of degeneration and final destruction.  Loki is a deeply perverted character, although not an entirely “evil” one in the Christian sense.

Interestingly, there is a story in the lore where Thor must pretend to be a woman–the Þrymskviða.  Assisted by Loki, Thor must disguise himself as Freyja and attend “her” wedding in order to reclaim his stolen hammer.  The giants recognize something is amiss (like when the “bride” eats an entire ox) but Loki comes up with one hilarious excuse after another.  One can imagine our ancestors roaring around a fire hearing this light-hearted tale.

Of course, the reason Þrymskviða is funny is because European religion and Germanic Christianity had a sense of social norms and hierarchy as serving a necessary function.  Bending gender roles on occasion could be used for humorous effect or perhaps in extraordinary occasions (like the “shield-maidens” of legend).  However, it would be absurd to take “pride” in the idea that you are subverting a norm and deriving worth from it–the louder someone boasts of their pride, often the less they have to be proud of.

But America can’t admit that.  “We are all created equal” after all.  So even gods, symbols of gods, and even the fictional heroes of less degenerate times need to be twisted in order to make people feel better about themselves.  In the end, the value of such symbols are frittered away and become objects of indifference or even scorn–arguably, what is happening to American patriotism and identity today.

What Marvel is doing to Thor is part of this.  We should be glad because even though young boys swinging a plastic Mjölnir is better than nothing, such actions ultimately postpone the inevitable.  European cultural symbols, practices, and even gods need to become the source of a vital living Tradition, not objects of exploitation used to propel the elaborate practical joke we call American culture.

Besides, Thor is a red bearded war god, not a socialist teddy bear.  The existence of Marvel’s she-Thor may make it a bit easier for Europeans to start looking into the distinctions and rediscover the living well of Tradition media companies have been leeching from for years.

Yes, it’s an insult.  But we should laugh at how utterly pathetic it is that people feel compelled to act this way in order to feel moral.

And we should remember the end of the Þrymskviða.  Thor gets his hammer back and deals with the situation as the God of Thunder usually does–by using it to slaughter all of his enemies.

There can be these games for a while, and comics’ new world begins, where nonwhites are paid for existing, and transqueers don’t pay for their sins. But as surely as Water will wet us, the sons of Europe will learn–and The Gods of the Copybook Headings, or the Gods of the North will return.

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The Evil of the Telescreen

The telescreen can never be turned off; only turned down. 

The telescreen can never be turned off; only turned down.

Fate found me in a government building sans a book or a cellphone.  A television blared from the center of the room, commanding all attention.  For the first time in many years, I watched regular television programs, marooned in a state waiting room, surrounded by strangers.

Like many others, I have a television that is only used for DVD’s or the inevitable Netflix account, giving me a certain amount of freedom as to what I want to see.  As I get most entertainment and news from the Internet, I never quite realized how bad the “normal” and “apolitical culture” has become.

The first show was an episode of “House” in which the eponymous doctor attempts to help a marriage counselor with a mysterious illness.  The male counselor is suffering from low testosterone among other problems, and House puts him on a dose of the male hormone while they attempt to figure out the source of his illness.

Initially, the testosterone makes the patient feel better, act more decisively, and feel more sexually attracted to his wife.  However, he starts making decisions without her and demanding his wife respect him as the “Man of the House” (the title of the episode).  The wife is shocked by this behavior, wondering where her compliant, submissive husband went.  Watching a video of one of her husband’s earlier business seminars, she is disgusted by the way her husband used to preach a creed of take no prisoners capitalism.  “I never would have gone out” with a man like that, she sniffs.  In the end, the patient is saved – but before he is discharged, he asks for the testosterone to be lowered.  He admits it makes him feel better – but making his wife happy is more important.

The next show was NCIS, starring heroic law enforcement officers working for the Department of the Navy.  Two of the male protagonists in this episode were married to the same woman, and the plot now centers on her third husband.  There is a terrorism plot against the Joint Chiefs of Staff who are all going to a football game (insert your joke here.)  When the plot is predictably foiled, the dying terrorist tells the law enforcement agents, “You don’t even know what you’re defending.”  It is revealed that the terrorist–an employee of the Homeland Security Department–was sponsored by someone in the military industrial complex, presumably to prevent defense cuts. Thus, as always, the real terrorists are those who promote fear of “the other.”

There is a Narrative.  It is never fully defined but we all know what it is.  Heterosexual white males are holding everybody down.  Racist forces are numerous, powerful, violent, and everywhere.  Hate crimes are rampant, homosexuals are brutally oppressed, and every wife in the country puts on make up in the morning to hide the black eye she got from her husband.

The defining characteristic of the Age of Obama is not anything the President did or any historical event overseas.  It is that Obama seemed to open a door to the anticulture of the egalitarian Left to fully take over the mass media.  It seems genuinely incredible that there was a time when parents used to protest things like sexual content or obscenity on television.  More than that, it is only in the recent past there has been a shift were the “default” culture is socially egalitarian, explicitly anti-Christian, and explicitly anti-white.  It is not media bias that is the program – it is the moral vision presented by sitcoms, talk shows, and the daytime pap consumed by your average White Americans.

This propaganda is all the more insidious because it is diffuse.  Despite the extreme concentration of the American mass media, most Americans cannot recognize propaganda as propaganda unless it specifically comes from the government.  More than that, unless it comes with militaristic trappings and the aesthetics of fascism, most Americans will not see social conditioning as sinister or even intentional.  It will be simply be interpreted as freedom in action.  Unlike in They Live, there isn’t just one television signal we can blow up to reveal the horrible truth.

A sign of successful propaganda is that the intended target can’t remember where he heard it, but he swears it is true.   This is easy to accomplish when degeneracy serves as a kind of background noise for the entire society.  Millions of half-formed impressions, snippets of conversation, and barely remembered storylines will far outweigh any coherent argument or even cogent slogan in defense of positive values.  The prevalence and uniformity of the media is such that for a huge segment of the population, “creating awareness” and “education” are nothing but a tremendous waste of time.

But there is a bright side.  It also means that “Come the Revolution” (as the Left used to say), most people will believe whatever they are told to believe.  It means that even when public opinion is nominally against the Dissident Right, a vast swath is simply unthinking allegiance to whatever they vaguely remember from Oprah that morning.  And it means that culture is a creation, not a source, of power.  It means that victory is not impossible.

This is nothing but a silver lining for the dispossessed Dissident Right and the European peoples they fight for.  But just try to watch some TV for fifteen minutes – and after that, I’ll take any glimmer of hope I can get.

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Redefining Brave

But we live in a different age and the conception of bravery has changed to mean simply “being yourself”–as long as being yourself means conforming to politically correct thoughts on race, gender, and freedom of course.

America is a country that is big on the word brave.

We even like to fashion ourselves “The Home of the Brave,” and we frequently give everyone–from sports stars to cancer survivors–that honored label.

This is in spite of the fact that the only current way Americans would’ve earned the status of brave in centuries past is to fight tribesmen in the mountains of Afghanistan. That’s because it was primarily tied to martial skill and valor by our ancestors and very few Americans can actually say they have participated in situations where they exhibited those virtues.

But we live in a different age and the conception of bravery has changed to mean simply “being yourself”–as long as being yourself means conforming to politically correct thoughts on race, gender, and freedom of course.

Sure, we still call the soldiers who fight needlessly in far-away lands brave and the masculine conception of the ideal still lingers around in our society–but less than 1% of America’s population will have any chance of engaging in state-sanctioned martial valor.

Not like that will stop our society from appropriating the term and using it to let people congratulate themselves for existing as obedient drones.

We can see this when the residents–and former residents–of one of the largest cities in America describe themselves as “Boston Strong” just because one bomb went off in their city, which resulted in a lockdown of the entire metropolitan area to track down the most unintimidating terrorist in human history.

Thus enters in the new, feminine conception of bravery that celebrates the individual freeing themselves from the “shackles” of old norms and conforming to the West’s new morality.

And you can be brave while parking your ass on the couch and not having to lift a muscle – because you just have to be yourself!

The culture certainly reinforces this with a popular song by Sara Bareilles that only asks its listeners to be “Brave.”

Backed by a saccharine piano line and having the same effect on testosterone as a gallon of organic soy milk, Bareilles‘ conception of brave is not that of martial valor but that of existing as the last man. It’s easily read in the song’s lyrics that the “brave” theme is coming out of your closet to announce to the world that you are a freak and an outcast.

Here are some choice lines that solidify that impression:

You can be the outcast /
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love /
Or you can start speaking up

Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do /
When they settle ‘neath your skin /
Kept on the inside and no sunlight /
Sometimes a shadow wins

Fallen for the fear /
And done some disappearing, /
Bow down to the mighty /
Don’t run, just stop holding your tongue

The video reinforces this theme by having fat schlubs and losers (like that inane “Happy video, which must constitute some type of trend) awkwardly dancing around in public places as an act of defiance against fascist cultural norms.

Watch for yourself:

There’s little wonder then that the songwriters behind this song intended it to be, in their words, a “a real civil rights anthem at a time when there are no civil rights anthems and there’s a giant need for civil rights anthems.”

Because there is always a need for more dogmatic songs instructing White Americans to break away from Tradition. And that’s what the song is ultimately about—breaking away from Tradition. That’s what it means when society tells you to be brave. Strike down the customs of your ancestors and embrace the existence of the Last Man. “You can be an outcast,” because we’re now all outcasts in the eyes of our ancestors.

And the purpose of this song is to further subvert the meaning of “brave” to suit the needs of a consumerist society that just wants to sit on its ass and eat Cheetos all day.

Bravery no longer has to mean real men fighting and dying in combat – it now means some obese fairy dancing around in a mall on his way to buying the complete series of “Sex and the City.”

The shame is that this song and other filth like it are played everywhere you might go. The bar, the grocery store, and even the gym (as gyms rarely play music for you to hit PRs with anymore) will all have Bareilles’ voice chanting for you to become the Last Man. It’s hard to create a revolutionary mindset within a culture that promotes such limp-wristed schmaltz.

That is why the creation of our own forms of culture is so important.

Culture conveys values and attitudes far more effectively than any kind of political sloganeering. Pursuing the creation of what you might call a “subculture” within North America that exists outside of the confines of mainstream society and reinforces the traditions and the values of our ancestors is just one way we can immunize ourselves from the culture of the Kali Yuga.

Luckily, there are already groups dedicated to this task.

Otherwise, we can continue to watch as more words get redefined to mean something contemptible to us.

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Christopher Priest’s Fugue for a Darkening Island

Originally published in 1971, Fugue for a Darkening Island was Christopher Priest’s second novel. The scenario is similar to that explored by Jean Raspail in The Camp of the Saints,…

Originally published in 1971, Fugue for a Darkening Island was Christopher Priest’s second novel. The scenario is similar to that explored by Jean Raspail in The Camp of the Saints, and the outcome nearly identical, but the arguments and point of view are markedly different.

Africa has been ravaged by all manner of natural and man-made disasters. With the emergence of a number of nuclear states, and the inevitable nuclear exchange, the Dark Continent has become uninhabitable. There are survivors, however, and great multitudes of starving, poor, desperate Africans set sail for the north. Over a period, dilapidated boats loaded with thousands run aground on British shores, some going as far as the River Thames, in London. The government at first seems baffled, unable to stop them, or take decisive action to prevent the boats from coming ashore. The Africans land and quickly disappear into the cities. This, incidentally, is exactly what has been happening lately in Spain’s southern border, where African migrants have changed tactics and, instead of attempting to slip into Europe in small numbers, now organise nocturnal raiding parties, climbing fences several thousand at a time, thus making it impossible for the border authorities to stop them. In the Priest’s novel, the landings carry on until eventually the island ends up with two million invaders, which in the novel are referred to as ‘refugees’. A ‘Right-wing’ government—by which we must understand not fascism, but something along the lines of Enoch Powell’s brand of conservatism—takes strong measures to protect British subjects, aiming to contain and eventually expel the invaders. The invaders, however, organise into ‘Afrim’ militias, which soon begin raiding English towns and forcing people out of their homes. The country descends into a civil war: on the one hand, there are the Nationalists, who are with the government; on the other are the Secessionists, who want to restore order and give full citizenship and rights to the ‘refugees’.

Against this background we follow the story of one Alan Whitman, a university lecturer. Whitman’s marriage is a shambles: his wife, Isobel, seems sexually frigid (though it later transpires that she feels neglected), and his response is to philander serially and indiscriminately, driven purely by his sexual urge. The Whitmans have a daughter, Sally, who is the ostensible reason the marriage still holds—ostensible, because both adult parties are a state of avoidance and denial. In due course, the Whitmans lose their home and are forced into the countryside, where Alan has his wife and their daughter living like animals, without a decisive plan of action, and without the wherewithal to do what is necessary to get them to a safe destination. This unchains a series of events. First, Isobel leaves him, and, though they are later on reunited, he then loses her again when Afrim militiamen take her and their daughter away from him at gunpoint, to be shuttled away who knows where. By this time Alan has ended up with a group of British refugees, led by one Rafiq, of indeterminate origin. Initially, the group avoids committing to any faction. When the gang finds a cargo of firearms amid the ruins of a Nationalist convoy, however, Rafiq decides to organise the group into a militia, but Alan, a pacifist, walks away, averse to committing himself politically or to violence. Whitman is, indeed, thoroughly unheroic: weak, spineless, indecisive, and liberal. Predictably, he is detached when the crisis first develops—a gape-mouthed witness, predominantly preoccupied with his numerous love affairs, when a boatful of invaders wedges itself against the London Bridge, right under his nose; he then sides with the invaders, presumably speaking up for their human rights (though about the specifics we are not told); he subsequently loses his job when the university is closed down, forcing into manual labour; and even then he is in denial, acting only as and when circumstances leave him without options. His actions, on such occasions, are invariably prissy and limp-wristed. He steadfastly refuses to support the Nationalist cause, thinking it racist. It is a miracle he survives as long as he does.

From the narrative, the author’s sympathies seem to lean in one direction: the Nationalists are spoken of or portrayed as extremists, their measures as repressive and counter-productive, and their supporters as creepy Neanderthals in suits; the Secessionists, by contrast, tend to give Whitman fairer treatment, and he, of course, deems their vision for a resolution the superior one. Nevertheless, Priest does not make any effort to humanise the Africans: they are like shadows in the landscape, emotionless, and utterly ruthless throughout; from the most part they are a distant menace. Priest also seems to view avoiders and deniers with amazement and contempt, for avoidance and denial afflicts not only Whitman; they are, indeed, a theme throughout the novel.

In the end, and as always, events force Whitman to commit himself against his liberal judgment. Afrim militiamen had used the white women abducted by them to set up brothels and thereby establish a method for procuring supplies. Rumour has it that his wife and daughter were likely taken to one of the brothels along the Southern coast. He finds the brothel and the family is reunited, except that his wife and daughter are now two out of a score of female bodies rotting on the beach. That same evening, we are told, Whitman murders a young African, steals his gun, and goes back into the countryside. That’s where the story ends.

The 2011 edition of this novel offers a revised version of the original. In his preface, Priest explains that, at the time, he had simply set out to write a disaster story, against the background of events in post-colonial Britain such as Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, but that the language of race relations had changed in the intervening time, causing a novel that was initially praised for anti-racism to be condemned for racism. He deemed this too much of a distraction, so he updated the text to substitute nowadays troublesome words like ‘Negro’ and ‘coloured’ with politically correct terms, in an effort to leave the text ‘politically neutral’. I don’t think it is, and this impression is accentuated by the veering into speechification towards the end of the novel, when Whitman realises his own uselessness and his wasted life on the periphery. And yet, though I suppose the intention is for the reader to view Whitman’s conversion to militiadom as a tragedy, an unintended and yet equally possible reading is that the effete Whitman finally discovers his manhood and goes out to earn his right to be called a citizen, reality’s repeated bites having finally instigated the growth of a spine.

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Derek Turner’s Sea Changes

As far as anti-establishment contemporary fiction goes, Derek Turner’s Sea Changes is among the best one is likely to read in English today. In tone, it is clearly a satire;…

As far as anti-establishment contemporary fiction goes, Derek Turner’s Sea Changes is among the best one is likely to read in English today. In tone, it is clearly a satire; in sensibility, it is clearly traditionalist; but in sentiment, it has the added virtues of temperance and compassion, qualities that steer this novel clear of the vices that have afflicted others dealing with immigration and the tone and character of modern race relations—Jean Raspail’s The Camp of the Saints comes to mind—which have usually been vehicles for sublimated spleen. Perhaps the reason is that this novel was aimed at a mainstream audience, and not at fellow outsiders looking for a wink and a nod.

Sea Changes tells the story of Ibraham Nassouf, a young Iraqi. Desiring to escape the poverty and limited prospects of existence in his native Basra, he sets sights on emigrating to England, dreaming of the sort of life he had seen in Western media and magazines; his very grim and unpleasant journey, however, ends badly, for, having paid, along with dozens of others, a gang of human traffickers to take him to Britain, the latter decide to throw their human cargo into the sea and spray it with bullets after being challenged by a British coastal patrol. Ibraham is the only survivor, but he is washed on the beach along with forty or so of his fellow migrants, mostly African. The discovery, the suggestion that the migrants may have been murdered by local racists, and the throwaway remarks of a stolid farmer who finds himself in front of a television camera, being asked for comment by a reporter hyper-attuned to the racial angle, triggers a noisy media event, which dominates and is the raison d’être of the story.

Unusually, sympathy is with Ibraham, despite the fact that he funded his migration journey with money he earned working for a gangster in Basra. In a serio-comical fashion, at once caricaturesque and sophisticated, Turner skilfully conveys the squalor, uncertainties, precariety, mentality, and transient relationships involved in a journey of this nature. At each stage, Ibraham is reliant on a shady link in a long chain of sleazy, crooked, callous types who, while outwardly amiable, well-wishing, and occasionally hospitable, nevertheless make a living, or supplement their income, by fleecing the immigrants passing through. Ibraham is portrayed exactly as migrants are portrayed in Western media: a well-meaning, somewhat childlike, hard-working poor devil escaping war or poverty, and willing to go through hell for a better life in a rich Western country. Similar treatment is accorded to the Mediterranean countries of Europe forced to deal with the ever-rising tide of Third World migrants: the latter are seen by the authorities as pests, to be moved around and put out of sight in processing centres, where they languish in boredom and inactivity, but where they learn about rights they never imagined they had. It is a shadowy, confusing, and unforgiving world, constantly in flux, where every human is both predator and prey. What is worse, once Ibraham arrives at his destination, England, that paradise of the North Atlantic, it turns out his troubles have only just begun, for he becomes the ball in what is for him a confusing game of political football, in which he, the migrant of colour, is manipulated as a tool by the white English who, while appearing incredibly kind and helpful to him, are in fact completely self-absorbed and do not give a hoot about him. Eventually, he attains his dream—after some difficulty, he is allowed to remain in the United Kingdom—and he is even given permission to import his family. But life in London proves a tremendous disappointment, and we leave him living in bleak accommodation, jobless, with embarrassing flatmates, and in the throes of alienation, living in—but not part of—a culture he neither understands nor any longer wishes to understand. Looking back, life in Iraq, difficult as it was, at least offered community, friendships, and meaning. The process of migration proves destructive.

The closest to villain in the novel is John Leyden, a handsome Left-leaning journalist replete with fine phrases and crusading zeal, yet also egotistical, vain, shallow, arrogant, hypocritical, infantile, and spoilt rotten to the core. The reader does not end up hating him, however; rather, he comes across as a buffoon—a cog of the system he helps maintain. In the end, we are left to wonder about his motivations, for he is clearly not psychologically healthy or normal, despite his polished façade and professional success. His main antagonist is another journalist, Albert Norman, an old, grizzled, jaded, fat, wealthy, peppery, recalcitrant reactionary, whose politically incorrect column is both popular—indeed, it is the only thing levitating the circulation numbers in an otherwise modernising (=flagging) newspaper—and the last bastion of sense in a world gone mad. Along with Ibraham, Norman is Turner’s vehicle for some of his commentary on modern Britain, but, though almost heroic, he is ultimately an object of pity, for he is eventually defeated by the forces of ‘progress’ and even comes to realise his own futility. These two characters constitute the poles between which we find an array of depressingly familiar types: the thriving ethnic activist, the anti-racist thug, the Gerry Gables of this world, the ‘modernised’ offspring of rural parents, the cynical politicians, the semi-illiterate socialists, and, of course, the equally opportunistic, but far less skilled, anti-establishment politician. The latter, incidentally, a Nick Griffin analogue, has a seat in Parliament, until his party is banned in a swell of righteous fervour. Though stereotypes, all appear as three-dimensional characters, neither wholly good nor wholly evil, and indeed very human. All are, nevertheless, cogs in a machine.

Turner’s assessment of the situation is, therefore, that the problem is not the malfeasance of particular individuals, though some are more contemptible than others: everyone is implicated in some fashion, knowingly or unknowingly, actively or passively, whatever their individual reasons, however sensible their course of action may seem in the circumstances. The problem is systemic. And what sustains the system, in this case, is not the media, nor the politicians, nor any particular ethnic group, since they are all part of it: it is the idea that equality as the highest good—the highest expression of moral enlightenment. This is not explicitly stated in the novel; the latter is very focused on how British society today thinks about race and immigration. Yet, it is obvious, or it should be, that, in a type of society in which ethics possess singular importance, as is the case in Western societies, despite the corruption of modern times, what drives the tone and character of race relations today, and the debate on immigration, is the ethics of egalitarianism. That is what drives all the chatter, all the policies, all the decisions, all the actions and reactions despised by the type of reader who will read these lines. Without it, there would be no Sea Changes, nor a need for it. This is what, in my opinion, is most admirable about this novel, and why it is, to date, the most serious treatment of today’s cultural malaise, despite its satirical tone and occasional incursion into outright caricature. This is the only illustration I have seen in fiction of the way egalitarianism produces unfair, unjust, invidious, and unhappy outcomes. Something worth pondering.

There are, of course, some minor niggles, stemming from this being Turner’s first effort at fiction. I was distracted by the presence of superfluous adverbs, for example, a common mistake not made by more experienced writers of fiction, and not tolerated by professional editors at large mainstream publishers. And I am not a big fan of the front cover and general layout, which I think undersells the content. The book is, indeed, far better than it looks. Yet, this aside, Turner’s prose is elegant, effective, and rich with beautiful metaphor and well-crafted phrases. It is consistently good all the way through, and there is no sagging in the narrative, despite the predictable unfolding of events; it is, in fact, a page-turner, which sails along at a leisurely pace. Above all, Turner is to be commended for having successfully negotiated, with humour, sensitivity, and insight, a topic given to hysterics (on both sides), making the case against egalitarianism for readers of any political persuasion, radical and conformist alike.

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Uncanny X-Men

Much has been written about how the superheroes of American comic books were developed largely by Jewish creators, and that within the symbolism of the comic book world, the popular superheroes were designed, often consciously, to represent Jews. According to this understanding, it has also been frequently pointed out that the “secret identities” of these superheroes are symbolic of the *crypsis* Jews have often felt necessary in a milieu of potentially hostile Gentiles. 

Occasionally, it has also been mentioned that the intrinsic moral code that motivates these superheroes to use their powers for good has its root in the notion of Jews being essentially benefactors of society or “a light onto nations.” Less has been written about the implication of their “super-powers,” that is, special gifts that the heroes possess and which are absent in the wider world they are charged to protect. 

And the super villains also have super-powers. . . 

Much has been written about how the superheroes of American comic books were developed largely by Jewish creators, and that within the symbolism of the comic book world, the popular superheroes were designed, often consciously, to represent Jews. According to this understanding, it has also been frequently pointed out that the “secret identities” of these superheroes are symbolic of the crypsis Jews have often felt necessary in a milieu of potentially hostile Gentiles.

Occasionally, it has also been mentioned that the intrinsic moral code that motivates these superheroes to use their powers for good has its root in the notion of Jews being essentially benefactors of society or “a light onto nations.“ Less has been written about the implication of their ”super-powers,” that is, special gifts that the heroes possess and which are absent in the wider world they are charged to protect.

And the super villains also have super-powers…

As the years have worn on, however, Jewish creators of these comic books have been more revealing about the Jewishness of their characters (and even its implications), much as Jews in wider society have felt less of a need to conceal their identity.

Clark wasn't really from Kansas.

Clark wasn’t really from Kansas.

In at least one important and salient case, a superhero is depicted openly as a Jew and with his fantastic powers deriving from—or at least being enhanced by— his experiences as a Jew, specifically, the suffering of the Holocaust. This character is “Magneto” of the X-Men series. Interestingly, this superhero is, for the most part, perceived a villain, albeit a very complex one.

Indeed, watching the rivalry between Magneto (Max “Magnus” Eisenhardt) and “Professor X” (Charles Francis Xavier), particularly in the films, one is briefly tempted to view the X-Men series as a somewhat politically incorrect addition to the comic-book canon. The films, being products of their time, are pro- multicultural and pro-feminist—featuring Mutant superheroes of both genders and all races exercising roughly commensurate super-powers and working to safeguard a liberal, multicultural world. But at first blush, they do not seem obsequiously philo-Semitic. The Jewish Magneto has been twisted and made hateful and vindictive by his experience in the Holocaust, and, to a degree, the audience is invited to sympathize with his plight. Nevertheless, Magneto is a terrifying entity: he not only sees human as his persecutors but as his inferiors, an outmoded species that deserves to be subjugated and displaced (maybe even eliminated) by the highly evolved Mutants. The WASPy Professor X, on the other hand, is depicted as the moral center of the X-Men universe.

Hence, if we take Magneto as the representative of Judaism in the series, are the X-Men pro-multicultural, yet anti-Semitic? (Or at least are they “anti-Semitic” according to the hyper-sensitive contemporary usage of that term, in the way that, for example, the ADL sometimes fears that the Democratic Party is becoming “anti-Semitic” when it makes vaguely critical statements about Israeli?) Does the X-Men series represent a break from the metaphor of Jews as benevolent superheroes—indeed, a break in popular culture from the depiction of openly Jewish characters as anything but benefic? Do the virtuous X-Men, opposing Magneto, represent the “talented tenth” of a multicultural society, instead of crypto-Jews? Are the X-Men “progressives” who will, with their greater intelligence and wisdom, lead the rest of humanity in an evolution to a multicultural Utopia, where everyone will be a uniquely talented “Mutant” regardless of race and creed?1

This seems to be at least the exoteric meaning of the Mutants’ multiculturalism. Though upon closer examination, there are more nuances at work here. To understand this, a good starting point would be to ask just who is Professor X, the leader of the Mutant coalition that seeks to avert Magneto’s plans for human subjugation? In the films, whether played by Patrick Stewart in his older incarnation or by James McAvoy as a younger man (both employing British accents), ethnically, he is apparently Anglo-Saxon. But this by itself is hardly definitive, as frequently characters who are not necessarily Anglo-Saxon are Anglicized in order to broaden their commercial appeal.

Indeed, Stan Lee, who developed the character, is understood to have taken Yul Brynner, an actor of Gypsy ancestry, as the inspiration for Professor’s X physical appearance in the comic book (though in fairer youth, Professor X is blue eyed and blonde as one can see in an accompanying illustration). To be sure, it is much more useful to look at the comics developed by Stan Lee, which form the basis for the popular film series. Here, one gets the strong sense that Professor X—whose very moniker suggests crypsis—is likely also Jewish.

The Origin of Professor X

The first clue comes in the form of Xavier’s biological father. In the original comics created by Stan Lee, we come to understand he is the son of a Nuclear Scientist residing in New York City, who had worked on the Manhattan project. The development of the atomic bomb was led and dominated by Jewish scientists, and in the popular consciousness, it is understood to be a largely Jewish achievement, summoning to mind names like J. Robert Oppenheimer and Albert Einstein (whose real contribution was lobbying for the funding of the project). This impression is especially strong in the minds of American Jews, who might take pride in the Manhattan project as an example of Jewish scientists outwitting the German establishment, which unwisely excluded Jews and thereby failed to develop the weapon of global hegemony.

Another salient clue to the possible ethnicity of Xavier comes with the introduction of his stepbrother, Cain Marko. Cain is certainly an unusual name for Stan Lee to have selected for this character. It is, of course, biblical in origin. And unlike common Torah names like Isaac or Rebecca, Cain carries with it ominous, pejorative connotations. Hence, we can very reasonably assume it was meaningful to Lee. And as in Cain and Abel, a rivalry springs up between Cain and the young Xavier that becomes abusive.

“Cain” and Xavier

In Medieval Europe, the story of Cain and Abel was popular and, like the story of Jacob and Esau, was seen as describing the conflict between two archetypal characters—one Jewish, the other Gentile. At this time, however, it was the cursed Cain who was associated with the Wandering Jew, forced to drift for all of eternity for the transgression of killing his brother. Yet this meaning, like so much else in the Bible, derives from a process of cultural appropriation, whereby the original symbology is altered as it passes from one culture to another, from Semites to Europeans. In this case, the symbols have, in fact, been inverted so as to take on the opposite of the original meaning.2 It is likely that Cain was originally understood to be representative of the Gentile, whereas Abel, the innocent and wrongly slain Jew. In the story, Cain is not a nomad (or, at least, he does not start out that way until he is cursed); rather, he is a landed farmer. Abel, on the other hand, is the nomadic herdsman, the archetypal profession of the Jewish patriarchs and most ancient Jews. All interpretations of the story of Cain and Abel, whether Jewish or Christian, concur, however, that the one named Cain is the evil “Other” (possibly even the son of the Devil).

It seems possible, if not likely, that Stan Lee is making a distinction between Jew and Gentile with the introduction of this biblically named character, who is not related to Xavier by blood. It is also interesting to note that a great source of the conflict between the two comes from Xavier’s ability to read Cain’s mind, leading to Cain’s anger and resentment of Xavier. Whether deliberate or not, Xavier’s “mind reading” ability seems like a comic-book metaphor for Freudian Psychoanalysis. It’s worth noting that psychoanalysis was developed by a Jew (who was, by the way, highly conflicted about his own Jewishness), and for a century it has been enveloped in a certain urban Jewish culture. Moreover, Cain resentment towards Xavier seems metaphorical of that of patient towards his analyst, who, in effect, knows him better than he knows himself.

Interestingly, Cain eventually becomes the arch-villain “Juggernaut,” via the possession of an ancient Demon named Cyttorak, who, being one of eight such beings seeking to reclaim the world, could be understood as a god of the polytheistic pantheon. Hence, Cain the Gentile reverts to his evil Pagan roots. It is important to note here as well that Juggernaut is a superhero nearly opposite to Xavier, relying solely on brawn, not brains.

It is possible, however, that Xavier’s early conflict with Cain may never have been written. Indeed, Stan Lee had originally planned for Magneto and Xavier to be actual brothers related by blood, which would have unequivocally indicated them both as Jews, hence eliminating the mystery surrounding Professor X’s ethnicity. Though had he done this, he would have lost the opportunity to depict what very likely appears to be a parabolic conflict between Jew and Gentile, where Jewish brains (Xavier) triumphs over Gentile brawn (Juggernaut).

Xavier’s inaugural encounter with an evil Mutant, The Shadow King, whom he encounters in Cairo, is also of interest. The Shadow King, who here takes the corporal form of Amahl Farouk, an Egyptian crime lord, is understood as an entity of pure psychic force that “feeds on the hatred of humanity,” a force which possesses others and commands them to do his evil bidding. According to the backstory, he was born from the first human nightmare and exists as the explanation of all great human evildoing in all times and places. As a concept, he harkens back to Amalek, regarded in Rabbinical tradition as an enemy that reoccurs through all times, taking different corporeal forms: the Armenians, the German National Socialists, and the Palestinians have each been referred to by Rabbis as “Amalekites.” (For what its worth, The Shadow King’s Egyptian form, Amahl Farouk, harken back, phonetically and orthographically, to Amalek.)

The evil Amahl Farouk inspires yokels to oppose gay marriage.

The evil Amahl Farouk inspires yokels to oppose gay marriage.

Perhaps more important, however, is that the Shadow King is Egyptian and is encountered in Egypt. As the Bible relates, next to Cain and his descendants, the Egyptians were one of the great early archenemies of the Jews. But is this merely coincidence? Supportive of the relevancy of this detail is what Professor Xavier does after he defeats the Shadow King; like the Jews of the Bible, who escaped the God-smote Egyptians during their famous Exodus, Xavier travels to Israel.

In Israel, Xavier works at a psychiatric hospital where he treats the mentally ill, including the Jewish woman Gabrielle Haller, who has become catatonic because of her experiences during the Holocaust. Xavier cannot help but fall in love with her and eventually impregnates her, before leaving her in Israel on good terms. Their confused child becomes the arch-villain Legion, whom is known for his multiple personalities. Perhaps the schism between his mother and Xavier created these internal schisms within Legion, and they are not just personal but political.

In Israel, Xavier also meets and befriends the Holocaust Survivor Max “Magnus” Eisenhardt, who will later become Magneto. He and Magnus have long debates on the challenges that humans face with the ascendancy of Mutants. Magnus’s view of humanity is decidedly darker than that of Xavier’s, and he is insistent that humans will seek to oppress or eliminate this new minority, as they have done to others in the past. Xavier is more optimistic and believes coexistence is possible. Nevertheless, despite their seemingly opposed worldviews, the two become fast friends, and Xavier discovers in Magnus “a fascinating kindred spirit.” In fact, Stan Lee himself never viewed Magneto a villain, as he related in an interview.

I did not think of Magneto as a bad guy. He just wanted to strike back at the people who were so bigoted and racist… . [H]e was trying to defend the mutants, and because society was not treating them fairly, he was going to teach society a lesson. He was a danger of course … but I never thought of him as a villain.

Bigoted and racist?

The Great Schism

In the end, Professor X and Magneto’s views develop thusly: Magneto believes that Mutants or “Homo Superior” should be protected by any means and, intriguingly, should have a Homeland. The slaughter or enslavement of humans he sees as a completely reasonable means to achieve these goals. Professor X agrees that Mutants represent a higher stage of evolution—or, more precisely, a new people that must be identified and cultivated, hence the founding of Professor X’s “Gifted School of Youngsters.” He also concurs that humans are prone to destroy that which they fear and don’t understand. However, he ultimately hopes that Mutants can live in peace with human kind. In a scene from 2011’s X-Men: First Class, Xavier and Magnus concisely sum up their positions:

Xavier: We have it in us to be the better men.

Magnus: We already are.

Xavier and Magnus take separate paths.

Xavier and Magnus take separate paths.

For obvious reasons, Magneto has often been compared to Malcolm X, while Professor X to Martin Luther King Jr. (their respective monikers not withstanding). Indeed, MLK and Malcolm X were two figures that were doubtlessly on Stan Lee’s mind when he invented these characters in 1963. Though the radical Zionist Meir Kahane is also considered, likely more accurately, as inspiration for Magneto. Professor X, on the other hand, can perhaps be best likened to the Diasporic Jew, deeply interested in the safety and prosperity of his people but convinced this can be best achieved through peaceful coexistence, maybe even integration, with Gentiles.

Contrasting the two super-powers of Magneto and Professor X is also instructive. Magneto is a “materialist”: his attacks come in the form of matter (specifically, metal), which he marshals against his foes; his powers are thus almost necessarily violent. Professor X relies on reading minds and, frequently, mind-control (a most peaceful solution to any conflict if ever there was one). One is tempted to see in this the contrast between the Israeli Jew, armed with the gun, the missile, and the tank, versus the liberal, American Jew, armed with media, film, TV—and comic books!—who is able to neutralize potentially hostile adversaries through “mind control.”

Ultimately, the difference between these kindred spirits—whatever their disagreements and however they might tussle—might merely be one of strategy and not end goals; their relationship vis-à-vis humanity might be compared to that of Good Cop/Bad Cap or Diplomacy versus War.

One faction of the Mutants is openly hostile and dangerous to humans and, presumably always will be; the other faction acts as guardians of humans—and also of the Mutants (half of whom, again, are adversarial to humans). One wonders if Professor X is intended as a hero and model for humans and some “Mutants,” whereas the edgier and cooler Magneto is designed as a hero and model for other “Mutants.” (Humans are not allowed a hero of their own in the X-Men universe.)

Cynically, given the reluctant and often cozy nature of the pair’s rivalry, one might even view Professor X as “controlled opposition.” Maybe Magneto and Professor X, a latter day Moses Hess and Karl Marx, decided long ago that as Lenin put it: “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.” Invariably, Professor X was destined to seems like the “good guy” (after all, he’s controlling your mind!). He is thus a master a thousand times more effective than the one who endeavors to rule openly with steel.

We might have been friends!

We might have been friends!

Super Christians

What to make of the “X” in Professor X and X-Men? While ostensibly drawn from Xavier’s surname, given the context, its symbolism seems to stretch much further. “X” is certainly suggestive of rootlessness and non-identity; Malcolm X took the moniker as a symbol of his erased heritage, which was, ironically, the basis for his racial nationalism. When used by a person of presumed Jewish identity, “X” has an even deeper connotation of lost identity.

Certainly, an “X” in lieu of a last name has often been used by illiterates when signing documents. But for early Jewish immigrants arriving in America via Ellis Island, who were either illiterate or unfamiliar with the Latin alphabet, signing a document with an “X” could be seen as tantamount to disavowing ones Jewish religion. It is frequently reported that these immigrants, particularly those from Eastern Europe, associated the “X” with the image of the Christian Cross. Wikipedia describes:

The word “Christ” and its compounds, including “Christmas”, have been abbreviated in English for at least the past 1,000 years, long before the modern “Xmas” was commonly used. “Christ” was often written as “Xρ” or “Xt”; there are references in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as far back as 1021. This X and P arose as the uppercase forms of the Greek letters χ (Ch) and ρ (R) used in ancient abbreviations for Χριστος (Greek for “Christ”), and are still widely seen in many Eastern Orthodox icons depicting Jesus Christ.

Hence, among these immigrant Jews, there arose the practice of signing documents with “Os” (the slur “kike,” likely derived from the Hebrew word kikel, is thought to have its origin in this practice). Is it too much to see significance in the “O” in Magnet-O?

The “X” taken as an allusion to Christ (whether this was Stan Lee’s intention or not) is quite suitable for Professor X, who with his purported desire to save both “Mutant” and human is by far the more Christian of the two. Like Christ (perhaps the ultimate Crypto-Jew), Professor X is a Jewish character with a Jewish enemy, developed by a Jewish scribe for the moral instruction and guidance of a non-Jewish world. To wit: “Love thy enemy.”

And if the X does have this additional significance, does this also mean we should interpret X-Men as “Christ-men” or “Christians” in the manner we read X-mas as Christmas? Who knows? But perhaps it’s not a bad rumor to spread, whether it was an intended allusion or not. Doubtlessly the idea of the “Christ-men” versus the vindictive and antagonistic Jewish Magneto would, at the very least, cause fuss and moral angst among that particularly effeminate breed known as “fan boys.” Stan Lee himself could quash it … but then one could reasonably contend that the nomenclature arose unconsciously from a Jungian impulse … or better that Stan Lee was being evasive in the manner he appears to have been with Professor X’s apparent ethnic identity.

Professor X’s status as an invalid further establishes him as a Christ figure. Indeed, the villainous Alien that crippled him in the original comic book series was named, quite unsubtly, Lucifer. But his status as a disabled hero has a Jungian dimension as well. Christ is the wounded god, transfixed to the cross; Professor X is, likewise, transfixed to his wheelchair. The figure of the Fisher King, a being synonymous with Christ and appearing in Arthurian Grail Legends, is likewise lame and without the use of his legs. Interestingly, in the film X-Men: First Class, Profess X is injured by a human: when Moira Mactaggert fires a bullet at Magneto, he deflects it, unintentionally wounding his friend in the spine. The guilt is for Professor X’s metaphorical crucifixion is thus transferred, at least in part, away from super beings (Alien or otherwise) and onto humans.

Had Stan Lee been an open Joseph Campbell acolyte, à la George Lucas, we’d perhaps be inclined to suspect details like this were deliberate. Though maybe this is naïve … for as Stan Lee succinctly points out in an interview:

I have never been a Joseph Campbell follower. There are so many people who write so learnedly and at such great length about things that to me seem so obvious.

And the Midrash, too, offers insights for storytellers.

Return of the Gods

Whatever differences might exist between Professor X and Magneto, they are both in tiresome accordance with the zeitgeist: openly multiculturalist and therefore unavoidably hostile to the existence of European-derived peoples. Additionally, merely the idea of “Mutants”(often depicted in this series as misshapen, freakish beasts) as “Homo Superior” is distasteful and feels inherently degenerate. Even Nietzsche, who waxed about a “Superman”—and who, perhaps, inspired comic books as we know them with this term—made explicit his aversion to the idea that man should seek to become another species. A better version of the species? Certainly.

All this said, one is inclined to take solace in the fact that superheroes, who seem to grow more popular in film everyday, are inherently problematic for a monotheistic (in our case, Judeo-Christian) culture. After all, the superheroes that receive our reverence, “offerings,” and “tithing” at local movie theaters—which are no less than modern day temples—are tawdry bowdlerizations of the gods and heroes we’ve always worshiped. (Marvel’s bland “Thor” is the most explicit example of this, but he’s certainly not exceptional.)

Indeed, one is even, quite gradually, witnessing an Anglicizing of comic book characters in the works of Christopher Nolan and Zach Snyder. It’s an appropriation that reminds us of the Cain and Abel myth mention above, when the meaning of a myth is turned on its head. The common practice in comic books of “retcon,” retroactive continuity, that is, the alteration of previously established facts in the continuity of a fictional work, may even eventually explicitly Gentilize a character like Professor X (though, to be sure, this would mean destroying an interesting and illuminating backstory). Lord of The Rings, Braveheart, Gladiator, 300 and even the often lurid Game of Thrones offer glimmers as well of the gods seeking to return. Even Hellboy, with its charismatic “villains” such as the Elfin Tuatha De Danann, indicates the call of the gods, albeit through a hostile priest serving as medium. Dare I say that Harry Potter is a sign?

Perhaps one day, in a not-too-distant future, these modern-day temples will finally fill with the real gods in their true and noble form and offer services worth attending. What is lacking now is the bards of the scale of Wagner and Shakespeare to sing of them. And they are coming, getting better, getting wiser. One should remember, and take courage in the fact, that artists like Nolan and Snyder have to contend with very strong social taboos; but with bold and careful decisions, they have succeeded in creating popular art with radical-traditional characteristics. Perhaps social restraints are necessary for the creation of great art? Pressure, after all, makes diamonds. And there is potentially—not to sound vulgar—a lot of money to be had in restoring this particular priesthood. Hence, one should be keen to assist such artists who seem promising.

Could mass-media become community-forming, as opposed to community-destroying? Could what was formerly known as “Comic Con” become a Pagan festival on the scale of Bayreuth—an event attended not only by geeky “Cosplayers” but intelligent, cultured men and woman of all walks of like, who seek to honor the gods, the bards, and high art? Am I getting carried away?


  1. The original and early X-Men were exclusively White Caucasians. Nevertheless, one is inclined to wonder if, in becoming increasingly multiracial, the X-Men (and superheroes in general) can still represent Jews. To wit, whereas once it was conceivable for the adopted Clark Kent to have been a Jew “passing” as a Gentile, with African-American or Asian-American characters, this is now much more difficult … unless the metaphor becomes more abstracted similar to Steven Spielberg’s “robots” in A.I..

    With the X-Men, if one assumes, likely incorrectly, that there is still a concerted effort to maintain them as metaphors for Jews, it could be tenuously argued that maybe a certain amount of racial admixture is being acknowledged and condoned as will invariably occur amid host populations, provided the most gifted are drawn into the gene pool selectively as are recruited by Professor X into his “Gifted School of Youngsters,” and in the token proportions that are suggested by the largely Caucasian X-Men. The problem is that as comic books and the films derived from them become increasingly popular, they will invariably become less Jewish as both the audience they pander to and their creators become more diverse. This is especially true as their original creators die off and have less direct control over the brand. It’s a form of the same syncretism that also Germanized Christianity. In most cases this means more multicultural (i.e. the enlightened and gifted multiracial “talented tenth” mentioned in the article). The esoteric elements of this art will also likewise suffer as they are less comprehended, revised and/or take on less or more generalized meanings as occurred with Christianity.

  2. The story of Cain and Able is very likely itself an appropriation of the Egyptian Myth of Set and Osiris. And again the appropriation inverts the meaning of the original myth, making what was once the hero of the story, the antagonist and vice- versa. Osiris, like Cain, is associated with agriculture and is a rising and dying vegetation god like Jesus Christ. He is slain by Set who, like Abel, is associated with animals and was a god of foreigners. Interestingly, the name Set appears to be continued in the Jewish revision of the tale in the form of “Seth,” who is the surviving brother of Abel and who populates the earth alongside the presumably non-Jewish tribe of Cain before the flood extinguishes the latter. Notably, while Set is antagonistic in the Egyptian Myth, he is made “good” in the form of Seth in the Jewish revision. In Genesis 4:25, there is a “folk etymology” for Seth’s name, which derives from the Hebrew word for “plant” as in “plant a seed.” Hence, there seems perhaps a later effort, whether conscious or unconscious, to disassociate the name from the idea of a wanderer or foreigner, to say nothing of an antagonistic Egyptian god.
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