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Radix Journal

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Tag: Counterculture

Myth, Mental Illness, and Political Extremism

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from the forthcoming book “American Extremist: The Psychology of Political Extremism”.  An unfortunate consequence of the medicalization and naturalizing of the mind (and the body)…

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from the forthcoming book “American Extremist: The Psychology of Political Extremism”. 

An unfortunate consequence of the medicalization and naturalizing of the mind (and the body) has been to view cognitive dysfunctions and personality disorders almost exclusively in terms of biological causes.  In those situations where thinkers dare to look beyond the biological, the tendency to consider environmental and even political causes will emerge.  So too, will these theorists turn towards explanations that emphasize various technological and cultural innovations (the omnipresence of visual and auditory stimuli), narcissistic industries (the arts, including fashion, music, and cinema), and the demands that changing work environments have on psychomotility), share in contributing to the phenomenon of human psycho-social dysfunction.  To the credit of such thinkers, new disciplines have emerged in the last century to address these problems.  However, this too has proven insufficient.  This is not to say that theories of physical trauma, congenital disturbances of neurobiological processes, rapidly changing technological and environmental demands, and considerations relating to the individual’s political circumstance are not significant, but should we consider the explosion of mental health problems in industrialized and modernized societies – in particular over the last quarter century – as well as our failure to treat persistent psychiatric conditions, then we must admit that something is awry in our analysis.  Thomas Szasz wrote of the myth of mental illness in 1974, but in this work I would like to discuss myth and mental illness.

Medicalization of the Mind

The how of human behavior throughout most of our history has been relegated to the domain of religion, in particular through the use of myth and parable to convey truths about our nature, and as such, to provide archetypes or models which we can then internalize and embody in our actions.  Throughout our history these archetypes have provided the form for consciousness (we could also call that ‘personality’), and the use of myth and parable has served as a kind of moral and ethical education.  During that time, we regarded these societal tools with great care and as such they were not easily dismissed by past regimes; when new mythical systems were adopted, almost always for the purpose of political consolidation and expansion, the most successful societies either retained significant features of the existing system, and if pressed, wiped out any trace of their existence (including the people who held on to them).  What we see in our current situation is a covering, an overlaying, of the existing mythic and parabolic foundation upon which America was founded.  An analogue to this may be found in Christopher Caldwell’s recent book The Age of Entitlement, where he pointed out that America is presently divided between the founding constitutional document and its mid-twentieth century legal replacement (brought about by the civil rights movement); we are not only contending with dueling legal understandings, but dual and incompatible understandings of our own mythical, historical, and parabolic origins.

Stepping aside from the technical and historical implications of that statement and moving directly to its psychological consequences, we can say that perhaps to a greater extent than people are a product of their race, ethnicity, or geographical origin, they are the result of their mythological and parabolic inheritance.  If a people can be ripped from their inherited narratives, which are best understood as a true collective fiction or ideology, or merely have their narratives re-written in a way that is disempowering, then they necessarily become psychologically vulnerable to the slings and arrows of malevolent narratives and cognitive colonization.  New narratives emerge which provide a different set of ethical and moral codes, which, as we can plainly see, do not foster the development of agency, maturity, and eusocial intimacy.  Rather, they engender quite the opposite.

Moreover, such people become alienated from their own identities, the result of which is a kind of false consciousness and the development of an othered self-concept.  Natural instincts honed over generations of natural and sexual selection thus become problematized.  Conformity to a set of mythical and evolutionary behaviors, themselves finely tuned and highly adaptive are now indicators of repression, trauma, or worse, fascist tendencies.  Seen in this light, mental illness can be understood as the result of a conflict between a dysgenic mythos and the natural psychological tendencies which seek realization within an orderly mental framework.  While it is not ideal to describe the resulting psychological deficits using the language of mental illness (a concept so bound up in pseudo-medical and pseudo-scientific complications as to be unwieldy in helping us to achieve greater clarity), understood in its conventional sense it does give us a point of discursive origin – the dysfunction of human thought and action.  Operating from the insights afforded to us by narrative theory – stated simply, the idea that storytelling is an essential component of human cognition – we would be better served to work with a parabolic and mythological conception of psychological dis-ease.

In short, the subversion of religious, national, and ethnic mythos grants a tremendous capacity for political and social control.  Much of contemporary discourse is itself a fight over the rights to our foundational myths, so that they may be used to combat the social and political ills of our time – namely racism, anti-Semitism, fascism, inequality, misogyny, colonialism, imperialism, and homophobia (to name a few).  One such example of this contest for cultural supremacy may be found in the work of Donna Zuckerberg who wrote the book Not All Dead White Men, partly with the intention of de-fanging classic texts (such as those of the Stoics) who, in her view, served as a legitimating force that aided far-right misogyny.  In a 2018 interview with The Guardian, Zuckerberg was quoted as saying,

The ancient world was deeply misogynistic – it was a time when there was no word for rape, feminism did not exist and women’s actions were determined by male relatives.”

Other choice quotes from the same interview bemoaned the fact that white supremacists and racists:

“…long appropriated the history, literature and myth of the ancient world to their advantage. Borrowing the symbols of these cultures, as the Nazi party did in the 1940s, can be a powerful declaration that you are the inheritor of western culture and civilisation”; that these texts were being “distorted and stripped of context”;

And that furthermore,

“Classics are wrought with histories and narratives of oppression and exclusion.” 

While universities make progressive attempts to broaden the canon so students aren’t simply reading one dead white man after another,

“the manosphere rebel against this. They see themselves as the guardians of western civilisation and the defenders of its cultural legacy.”

One last statement, simply to punctuate the point,

“By quoting Marcus Aurelius – as Steve Bannon is known to often do – Red Pillers perpetuate the idea that they, white men, are the intellectual authority under threat from women and people of colour.”

We can find countless examples of this phenomenon, though I won’t go into quite as exhaustive an investigation here (but a few more will further illuminate the point I have already made).  In her 1976 work, The Laugh of the Medusa, Feminist theorist Helene Cixous reinterpreted the Perseus myth as an expression of male fragility and terror.  In her own words:

“Too bad for them if they fall apart upon discovering that women aren’t men, or that the mother doesn’t have [a penis].  But isn’t this fear convenient for them?  Wouldn’t the worst be, isn’t the worst, in truth, that women aren’t castrated, that they have only to stop listening to the Sirens (for the Sirens were men) for history to change its meaning?  You only have to look at the Medusa straight on to see her.  And she’s not deadly.  She’s beautiful and she’s laughing.  Men say that there are two unrepresentable things: death and the feminine sex.  That’s because they need femininity to be associated with death; it’s the jitters that gives them a hard-on! for themselves! They need to be afraid of us.  Look at the trembling Perseus moving backward toward us, clad in apotropes.  What lovely backs!  Not another minute to lose.  Let’s get out of here.”

A pioneering moment in what would later develop into the discipline of Queer Theology, Hugh William Montefiore wrote in 1967 of Jesus Christ’s obvious homosexuality.  In the paper titled Jesus, the Revelation of God, Montefiore wrote,

Men usually remain unmarried for three reasons: either because they cannot afford to marry or there are no girls to marry (neither of these factors need have deterred Jesus); or because it is inexpedient for them to marry in the light of their vocation (we have already ruled this out during the “hidden years” of Jesus’ life); or because they are homosexual in nature, in as much as women hold no special attraction for them. The homosexual explanation is one which we must not ignore.”

Bishop Hugh William Montefiore, author of “Jesus, the Revelation of God”.

Saint Sebastian, the early Christian saint and martyr who was killed during Diocletian’s persecution of Christians has since enjoyed a second life as a symbol for the pain of closeted homosexuals.  Richard A. Kaye wrote that

“Contemporary gay men have seen in Sebastian at once a stunning advertisement for homosexual desire (indeed, a homoerotic ideal), and a prototypical portrait of a tortured closet case.”

The 1619 Project, begun by New York Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones (and which recently was awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary), is another such example of narrative-based political action heavily dependent on myth as a means for influencing thought and action.  The project argued, among other things, that the American Revolution was fought to preserve the institution of slavery on the freshly settled continent.  While I do not intend to rebut the arguments and reinterpretations presented in this paragraph, they do serve to underscore my position – myths make the people.  Ayn Rand was alleged to have remarked positively at the release of the 1977 television series, Roots, arguing that it was an important work which provided African-Americans with a sense of myth and history, having lost this connection as a result of the slave trade.  Clearly we can see what we may call mythic competition, as the story of the African slaves has been transported from a peripheral, though integral, part of American history to the front-and-center position it currently enjoys.

To quote Derrida from his lecture “Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences” (who in turn was quoting Levi-Strauss),

“The myth and the musical work thus appear as orchestra conductors whose listeners are the silent performers. If it be asked where the real focus of the work is to be found, it must be replied that its determination is impossible. Music and mythology bring man face to face with virtual objects whose shadow alone is actual…. Myths have no authors”.

And because myths have no authors, they can be seen as part of the commons – belonging to the public domain – and therefore subject to an unending sequence of reappropriations.  An unwillingness to secure a ‘rightful’ interpretation, or at least designating an interpretative or priestly class of sufficient loyalty, thus opens the populace up to powerful and unrelenting psychological manipulation.  Not all political power comes from the barrel of a gun; often we find the pen to be just as mighty as the pistol.

The appropriation of myth has powerful implications for the development of a secure identity. Mythical reevaluations are to large degree the unavoidable consequence of both cultural evolution and involution; the more a people migrate from their formative circumstances, the greater is the need for their myths and parables to be recontextualized so they may make sense of new challenges and circumstances.  There may be a political dimension to this process or it may reflect simple pragmatic necessities, sometimes both at once.  In our present situation it is difficult to deny the political motivations behind the repurposing of Western and American mythology.  Whether owing to the desire to suppress political opposition, or as the logical result of a democratization of the arts, whereby marginalized peoples seek to break the yoke of oppressive, supremacist, and phallogocentric narratives (itself a revolutionarily political act), we see in all instances a will to power seeking its own exertion and preservation.

Persecution and Suffering as foundational myth.

Persecution and suffering, being so central to the founding mythology of many Americans (be they English, African, Irish, Jewish, or otherwise) thus provides a wellspring of resentment, angst, and terror with which to be drawn from and marshaled for reasons of political efficiency.  By no means are these the only themes to be found in our myths, nonetheless they have proven the most enduring and politically expedient for the achievement of control and subjugation.  Consider the following realities of victimhood: The Jewish-American fears an inevitable persecution at the hands of his Gentile neighbor.  The African-American fears he will never free himself from the slavery of his Caucasian oppressor.  The European-American increasingly suffers under the weight of his own mythical tyranny, for increasingly his narrative is one of original sin, situating him as the sole agent of evil in the modern world.  Woman, too, anguishes at her inability to escape man’s cloying grasp.  And as the revolution of human rights continues its march into the adolescence our new century, homosexuals and transsexuals find themselves similarly – and in their view, most significantly – suffering victimhood for the mere crime of existing.  Resentment, that rich and eminently minable psychological resource, may be the prevailing feeling of our time; so long as this remains the case we will find ourselves helpless to improve our current circumstance and realize the ambitions of the last century.

Fellow Radix stalwart Dr. Edward Dutton would tell us that political extremism and its concomitant psychological maladaptations find their origins through the evolution of the spiteful mutant.  And this may be true to a very large degree.  But a mere bad roll of the genetic dice alone could not account for the unprecedented level of cultural and political turmoil that the United States is presently confronted with.  Amassing large swaths of human capital (be they spiteful mutants or otherwise) will aid the pursuit of political power, but as Gustave Le Bon showed us, they are not in and of themselves sufficient to achieve any purpose.  They must be guided, massaged, spellbound before they may become useful political golems.  Mental illness and political extremism go hand-in-hand; while evolutionary pressures integrally set the stage for psychological and political development, we must understand as well the role that myth – be it through religious, poetic, literary, cinematic, or musical transmission – plays in giving shape to the mind of man.

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Death by Modernity: Michael Haneke’s “The Seventh Continent”

What should one do when they feel dead on the inside? When yesterday, today, and tomorrow all bleed into one another and when society ceases to provide any kind of…

What should one do when they feel dead on the inside? When yesterday, today, and tomorrow all bleed into one another and when society ceases to provide any kind of meaning?

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The God of White Dispossession

“MLK Day” has become the high holy day of the American liturgical calendar. No other statesman, not Washington, Jefferson, or Lincoln, is deemed worthy of a holiday all to his own. And no other national holiday seems to carry such relevant, pressing *meaning* for Americans as the third Monday in January.  The 4th of July has become an excuse for a backyard barbecue. The MLK anniversary, on the other hand, inspires Americans to ask who we are and what our higher ideals should be.

“MLK Day” has become the high holy day of the American liturgical calendar. No other statesman, not Washington, Jefferson, or Lincoln, is deemed worthy of a holiday all to his own. And no other national holiday seems to carry such relevant, pressing meaning for Americans as the third Monday in January.  The 4th of July has become an excuse for a backyard barbecue. The MLK anniversary, on the other hand, inspires Americans to ask who we are and what our higher ideals should be.

NPI’s co-founder, Samuel Francis, who was active in the debates about the institution of the holiday in mid-’80s, recognized then that the significance of Martin Luther King Jr. stretched far beyond the legal and political technicalities of the Civil Right Act.  The celebration of the man represented a great change in how Americans understood their nation.

[T[he true meaning of the holiday is that it serves to legitimize the radical social and political agenda that King himself favored and to delegitimize traditional American social and cultural institutions — not simply those that supported racial segregation but also those that support a free market economy, an anti-communist foreign policy, and a constitutional system that restrains the power of the state rather than one that centralizes and expands power for the reconstruction of society and the redistribution of wealth. In this sense, the campaign to enact the legal public holiday in honor of Martin Luther King was a small first step on the long march to revolution, a charter by which that revolution is justified as the true and ultimate meaning of the American identity. In this sense, and also in King’s own sense, as he defined it in his speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, the Declaration of Independence becomes a “promissory note” by which the state is authorized to pursue social and economic egalitarianism as its mission, and all institutions and values that fail to reflect the dominance of equality — racial, cultural, national, economic, political, and social — must be overcome and discarded.

By placing King — and therefore his own radical ideology of social transformation and reconstruction — into the central pantheon of American history, the King holiday provides a green light by which the revolutionary process of transformation and reconstruction can charge full speed ahead. Moreover, by placing King at the center of the American national pantheon, the holiday also serves to undermine any argument against the revolutionary political agenda that it has come to symbolize. Having promoted or accepted the symbol of the new dogma as a defining — perhaps the defining — icon of the American political order, those who oppose the revolutionary agenda the symbol represents have little ground to resist that agenda.

Sam is all too correct that “MLK writ large” has become the foundation of American identity; in many ways, the situation is far worse than the one he depicted in 1998.

At the time, Sam described a pitched battle between MLK’s egalitarian “Dream” and “traditional American social and cultural institutions,” which he describes, in Cold War language, as “anti-Communist foreign policy,” free-markets, and the Constitution.

What Sam might not have grasped in 1998, but understood fully later, is that by the turn of the 21st century, the MLK counter-culture was (and is) the Establishment. There are precious few “traditional American social and cultural institutions” that do not honor MLK or treat “The Dream” as informing their missions.

And this is not solely the case for the more overtly liberal ones like the Department of Education. No less a putative bastion of conservative values than the U.S. Army is led by men like Four-Star General George Casey, who in 2009, in response to a Muslim Army Major who murdered 13 of his fellow soldiers as an act of jihad, averred,

What happened in Fort Hood was a tragedy. But I believe it would become an even greater tragedy if our Diversity becomes a casualty. And it’s not just about Muslims. We have a very diverse Army; we have a very diverse society; and that gives us all strength.

MLK unites the Left (tactical disputes between Malcolm X and the pacifist reverend have long since gone by the wayside). And in a strange way, he unites the Right as well. “Judged By The Content Of Their Character” is the central (if not sole) argument against multiculturalism and affirmative-action offered forth by self-styled “conservatives.” And King is counted as an American icon and hero not only at left-wing and liberal gatherings but at those of the “Religious Right” and Beltway Republicans.

Glenn Beck—who, in his radio and television programs and mass rallies, has created a kind of religion of MLK—might actually turn Sam’s polemic on its head and claim that MLK is the hero of American foreign policy and Constitutional government. And he would, in a sense, be correct—even in the matter of foreign affairs. Washington’s violent incursions into the Middle East are invariably accompanied by promises that all shall vote, women shall attain undergraduate educations, and minorities shall be empowered.

Despite conservatives’ wishful thinking, The Dream—in all its manifestations—is the antithesis of a free society. Government’s enforcing that all people and businesses make judgments non-racially is, in itself, a totalitarian notion and has, in fact, resulted in a massive interventionist infrastructure and bureaucracy. (Rand Paul tepidly hinted at as much during his 2010 Senate campaign.) The costs of the industry of “civil rights” and “diversity training” in the workplace can be measured in the hundreds of billions, if not trillions, per year. (And pace conservative revisionism, the actual Martin Luther King Jr. unequivocally advocated most all of the measures done in his name.)

More deeply, “non-discrimination” as a value is the enemy of all tradition, not just the Anglo-Saxon American society it has helped destroy. The version of The Dream that conservatives like—that of interracial hand-holding and vague libertarianism—is ultimately a vision of race-less, family-less, class-less, history-less individuals, happily experiencing equality with other individuals of various shades, all integrated by the marketplace and government. Tradition is, at its root, about being a part of something larger than oneself. The Dream is about becoming a self-contained atom.

Conservatives might think it cute to quote some of King’s more libertarian utterances back at liberals, as a form of “PC Judo.” But in the end, they will be the losers of such a gambit.
Martin Luther King Jr., a fraud and degenerate in his life, has become the symbol and cynosure of White Dispossession and the deconstruction of European civilization. We shall overcome!


This essay was first published on January 20, 2014, at RadixJournal.com and NPIAmerica.org.

 

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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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When the Gods Hear the Call

Black Metal shares the fate of all complex and multifaceted phenomena that transcend their narrow genre identities and, similar to Hegel’s philosopher who is able to “grasp an era through thought,” are always ahead of their time, either by affirming, or by totally rejecting the spiritual foundations of the time period in which they live. Both require an ability to examine it from a distance. As the unquestionable product of Modernity, Black Metal paradoxically issues a death sentence to the Modern world. The latter is the case not only with respect to contemporary Christianity: it is the antithesis to everything that is believed to be of any value for an average representative of today’s Western society: from the conventional notions of the good and the beautiful to the metaphysical Being itself. In other words, Black Metal, at a glance, is the very embodiment of an active-nihilistic phase in a metaphysical process of transvaluation of all values heralded by Friedrich Nietzsche.
This is the second reason why Black Metal is mostly defined apophatically, that is to say, from negation. I have already mentioned the first reason for this: despite Black Metal’s prevalent description as a subculture, it is more accurate to define it as a counterculture the goal of which is to terminate the entire Modern era. Many sociologists would disagree with my assertion, because some of them share the idea that early Christianity was the only fully successful counterculture in European history, which overthrew the values of the previous era, whereas the adherents of Black Metal, both genre creators and ordinary fans, are totally integrated into the current social system, support its cultural codes, and never question that which is truly vital for its existence axioms. 

THE CONSERVATIVE-REVOLUTIONARY POTENTIAL OF BLACK METAL ART

I. Black Metal: a Subculture or a Counterculture? Methodological Foundations

Black Metal shares the fate of all complex and multifaceted phenomena that transcend their narrow genre identities and, similar to Hegel’s philosopher who is able to “grasp an era through thought,” are always ahead of their time, either by affirming, or by totally rejecting the spiritual foundations of the time period in which they live. Both require an ability to examine it from a distance. As the unquestionable product of Modernity, Black Metal paradoxically issues a death sentence to the Modern world. The latter is the case not only with respect to contemporary Christianity: it is the antithesis to everything that is believed to be of any value for an average representative of today’s Western society: from the conventional notions of the good and the beautiful to the metaphysical Being itself. In other words, Black Metal, at a glance, is the very embodiment of an active-nihilistic phase in a metaphysical process of transvaluation of all values heralded by Friedrich Nietzsche.
This is the second reason why Black Metal is mostly defined apophatically, that is to say, from negation. I have already mentioned the first reason for this: despite Black Metal’s prevalent description as a subculture, it is more accurate to define it as a counterculture the goal of which is to terminate the entire Modern era. Many sociologists would disagree with my assertion, because some of them share the idea that early Christianity was the only fully successful counterculture in European history, which overthrew the values of the previous era, whereas the adherents of Black Metal, both genre creators and ordinary fans, are totally integrated into the current social system, support its cultural codes, and never question that which is truly vital for its existence axioms.

As attentive readers of Ernst Jünger know, almost everything — no matter how “subversive” or “irreverent” — can be incorporated back into the system as “manifestation of freedom. Therefore, Black Metal may be considered only a subculture, which is exaggerated in many infamous parodies that reveal the infantile and ultimately primitive character of the self-proclaimed “true blackers” who cannot cope even with their parents. Undoubtedly, these observations are not groundless, and are basically endorsed within the movement itself, which developed its own ways of social regulation in order to expel the so-called “untrue” posers from their community, i.e., trendies and money-makers that appeared after the scandalous events in the early history of Black Metal.

However, I would like to emphasize the fact that the given survey is not sociological; otherwise, I would have to put a full stop right after stating that the Black Metal scene degraded a long time ago, which means that there is no place for wishful thinking. In other words, I will discuss not what Black Metal currently is, but what it is supposed to be according to the pioneers of the Black Metal movement and those who stayed devoted to the latter tradition. Therefore, I consider Max Weber’s Verstehende Soziologie (Interpretative Sociology) to be the only suitable sociological method that seeks to understand a certain cultural phenomenon from within, describes it on its own terms and operates within the notion of the ideal type. The latter gives the opportunity to avoid biases of positivist thinking and legitimately apply the heuristic mental constructs derived from the empirical data for the purpose of better analyzing reality. The most famous example of the ideal type is the “Protestant ethic” used by Weber as a key for exploring the emergence and the essence of capitalism in his renowned work Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905), which provides a fruitful alternative to the popular historical-materialistic explanation of Karl Marx. Accordingly, our ideal type is called “Black Metal Art” or simply “Black Metal.”

As such, this method is quite akin to the philosophical-hermeneutical approach developed by Martin Heidegger and his disciple Hans-Georg Gadamer who rejects the very term “method” as a natural-scientific remnant in the Geisteswissenschaften (human sciences). According to Heidegger’s philosophical interpretation focused on the classic concept of the hermeneutic circle (“to understand the whole, we need to understand the parts and visa versa”), the task is not to find the way out of the circle, but rather to enter it correctly, since this circle is that of our existence. Put simply, we (“Dasein” as “Being-in-the-world”) always understand certain phenomena in this or that way, so our sole duty is to explicate our assumptions or, in Gadamer’s words, our “anticipation of perfection.” The latter is what I am going to do in this paper, although I have to admit that in some cases we deal with such a high level of self-reflection demonstrated by the Black Metal artists that the researcher gratefully turns into a mere commentator: consider the first-ever DVD “Opus Diaboli” released in May of 2012 by the Swedish band Watain to experience the difference between the interpretation of Watain’s vocalist E. and those given in most Black Metal documentaries, interviews, and thematic investigations. The vast majority of such sources still are very disappointing or insufficient.

II. Aesthetics and Metaphysics vs. Ideology and Politics of Black Metal. The Principal Directions within the Black Metal Movement

What is the starting point for this research? Since the times of Aristotle, it has been obvious that the shortest way to the essence of a thing lies in its definition. But, again, mostly negative definitions of Black Metal exist. They do reflect the greatness and intensity of this phenomenon but say little about its main idea. For example, the epochal and countercultural significance of the latter can be easily inferred from the well-known attempts to clarify the essence of Black Metal such as, “it is not another musical genre,” “it is not mere music,” and “it is not entertainment/business.” Another set of negative definitions due to the nihilistic orientation of Black Metal is also widely recognized: it is believed to be anti-religious, especially anti-Christian, antisocial, misanthropic, blasphemous, and so forth.

Likewise, all intellectual efforts to articulate what Black Metal is rather than what it is not usually end up with an appeal to a certain spectrum of moods and emotions (“dark,” “melancholic”), sometimes–to certain highly metaphoric concepts (“evil,” “ugliness,” “war”) or to Black Metal aesthetics known as part of the well-established phrase “Black Metal Art.” This expression, however, raises further questions since Black Metal is represented as l’art pour l’art only if the latter means something like Supreme Art that bears explicit occultist connotations, which is the very opposite of this approach. If not, one is welcome to enter endless debates regarding the basic principle(s) of Black Metal ideology, which are mostly centered on Satanism.

Depending on what one considers the object of negation or the enemy against whom the War is being waged (“Black Metal ist Krieg”), there exist different ideological trends within the general Black Metal movement, which regularly cause sharp disagreements between its members: radical nihilism and atheism that stand behind Satanist imagery and sometimes overlap with LaVeyan Social Darwinism; the Occultist trajectory, which is often connected with the Left-Hand Path; Theistic Satanism (the religion of Deus/Diabolus Absconditus) that borders on Gnosticism and similar teachings, on the one hand, and archaic Pagan cults, which may be linked to “Aryan Luciferianism”—on the other; variations of Heathenism, from Pantheism to Vedic hymns, which are mainly developed within such subgenres such as Folk Black Metal or Viking Black Metal, and even Christian “Unblack” Metal, not to mention other innovative Black Metal bands often focused on their own “philosophy.” Naturally, we may legitimately wonder which direction is more representative of the movement or, in contrast, should in no way not be associated with it as one that transcends the limits of this ideal type.

Another way to fill the gap between the apophatical definitions involves pointing out the mystical or even a religious feeling that is typical of the Black Metal Weltanschauung, its special “spirit.” A reference to this theophanic experience that underlies rational explanation, among others, can be found in the interview with the French Black Metal band Deathspell Omega:

Some of us had a religious upbringing indeed, and these obviously went through the initial phase of global denial, whereas others were raised under the sign of rationality. That we eventually all experienced a shattering theophany is something very hard to explain in rational terms. There’s of course cultural arguments, anyone who went through long universitarian studies has been given keys—and this despite the fact that most universities in the occidental world are actually strongholds of humanitarian egalitarianism—and we chose not to ignore these keys, whereas most people do as they prefer to remain in harmony with the current Zeitgeist.[1]

Such purely phenomenological descriptions could have dissolved genre boundaries, yet we feel that Black Metal has its positive core which strictly differentiates it from the related genres and may be formulated very simply. Therefore, even though only the National Socialist Black Metal (NSBM) scene and its rarer leftist analogues are notable for direct political involvement, Black Metal as a countercultural movement with great ambitions but carefully guarded borders is political par excellence, political in Carl Schmitt’s sense of the distinction between the friend and the enemy, which translates into the ultimate degree of association and dissociation between “us” and “them.” A highly selective approach to potential membership in the Black Metal community, of course, is more eloquent than inherent in any genuine aesthetic formation, prioritizing artistic expression and detesting the rigid and external ideological clichés, whether political or otherwise.

At the same time, such Ukrainian Black Metal bands as Nokturnal Mortum, Kroda, Drudkh, or Hate Forest, which at present comprise one of the most acclaimed NSBM scenes in the world, if not the most, even though they may introduce themselves as simply patriotic and concerned with traditional heritage preservation (another esteemed Ukrainian one-man band Lutomysl was described in a recent interview by Pavel “Lutomysl” Shishkovskiy, who envies people “whose only problems boil down to the presence of Jews or blacks,” as NEONSDSBM [2]), can hardly be regarded as such that impose restrictions on ways of expression in order to meet ideological needs. Above all, they gained recognition all over the world owing to their musical masterpieces.

In a narrow sense, Black Metal as a total war against the Modern world cannot be free of the political implications either, although most crimes in the early history of Black Metal were committed due to personal, not political reasons [3]. Similarly, one may single out both the left-wing and the right-wing tendencies since the very birth of the Black Metal movement represented accordingly by Satanist Øystein Aarseth “Euronymous” of Mayhem, who sympathized with left-wing extremism, and Varg Vikernes of Burzum as a scholar of Old Norse religion, an adherent of Paganism, and an authoritative figure in the contemporary right-wing circles (among his influences are Knut Hamsun, Oswald Spengler, and Julius Evola), who distanced himself from Satanism and the whole Black Metal scene after its newcomers had started exploiting the original ideas and aesthetics invented by the pioneers merely for their shock value or for commercial purposes. Retrospectively speaking, it is no wonder that Euronymous was killed by Vikernes in 1993, which is regarded as “the beginning of the end” followed by the split and the growing commercialization of the scene (consider Nargaroth’s song “The Day Burzum Killed Mayhem”). On the other hand, I would not say that there is an irresolvable conflict of these two tendencies, or that there is no such metaphysical position that integrates them on a higher level.

Indeed, it is possible to oppose the Modern world and its symbolic incarnation, Christianity, both “from the Left” and “from the Right.” Furthermore, although liberation, nihilism, anti-clericalism (remember the famous Norwegian church burnings), etc. are mostly associated with the Left, even those Black Metal groups that stick to the Left-Hand Path (for instance, Polish Black Metal band Behemoth) do not necessarily correspond with the political Left, both classical and Cultural Marxism. Often quite the reverse is true, or they go beyond politics. This ambivalence is also visible on an aesthetic level: the “right-wing” symbols of the Empire, King, God, etc. are no less popular than the “left-wing” concepts of Homelessness, Void, Rebellion, and so on.

Benjamin Noys, who also addressed the issue of politics in the Black Metal movement, used as a case study the interview answers by Sale Famine of the French Black Metal band Peste Noire[4] which was not an accident. Famine, who believes that left-wing Black Meal is contradictio in adjecto, underlines the chthonic and, as a result, the nationalist character of Black Metal and glorifies “the dark European past,” declared the synthesis of both approaches in a very transparent manner:

Black Metal is the musical memory of our bloodthirsty ancestors of blood, it is the marriage of Tradition, of old racial patrimony with fanaticism, with the rage and the rashness of a youth now lost.” [5]

Likewise, Famine describes his nationalism as fundamentally twofold, “temporal” and “spiritual,” which correlates with being a citizen of France (“medieval,” “rural”) and of Hell (“Sieg Hell!”)[6]. Noys fairly draws a parallel between this focus on the chthonic aspect of Black Metal and the telluric grounding of Carl Schmitt’s Partisan. Finally, searching for the roots of this ambiguity in Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy is also absolutely correct: the greatest European nihilist was simultaneously the greatest elitist, aristocrat, and traditionalist who looked ahead to the beginning of the new Golden Age. That is why Nietzsche referred to himself as “the first perfect Nihilist of Europe who, however, has even now lived through the whole of nihilism, to the end, leaving it behind, outside himself”[7], that is the first anti-nihilist as well.

In addition, Nietzsche was the greatest aesthete and stylist who erased the very distinction between form and content by making even the superficial details ideologically relevant and meaningful. The latter sheds light on the reasons why the expression “Black Metal Art” means something incomparably deeper than, for instance, “Black Metal Ideology” or “Black Metal Politics” and has the potential to reach a metaphysical level. At this point, an appeal to the Conservative Revolution—another complex cultural phenomenon that has much in common with Black Metal—becomes inevitable.

III. The Grand Invocation: the Conservative Revolution as an Act of Ushering the Gods Back into the World

Conservative Revolution and Black Metal are similar for at least two reasons. First, both have countercultural value. The only difference lies in the fact that what requires additional reconstruction in the context of Black Metal belongs to the explicit objectives of the conservative-revolutionary theory, which may be unequivocally derived from its name. Conservative Revolution was a broad ideocratic movement that evolved in Germany during the 20th century’s interwar period. It was also known under the name of the “Third Position” or the “Third Way” because it was impossible to classify it as ideologically Right or Left. Some of its principal players have already been mentioned: Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, Oswald Spengler, Edgar Julius Jung, Carl Schmitt, Ernst and Friedrich Georg Jünger, Julius Evola, Ernst Niekisch, Martin Heidegger, Armin Mohler, and others. The global aim of the conservative-revolutionary movement was formulated by Hugo von Hofmannsthal in 1927 as part of his legendary speech delivered to students in Munich. He argued that the Conservative Revolution is a phenomenon previously unknown in European history that strives to terminate not only the era of the Enlightenment, but also that of Renaissance and Reformation. In other words, its goal is to construct the New Middle Ages.

This necessity of revolting against the course of history was proclaimed in Julius Evola’s work Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order of the Kali Yuga (1934), which, to a great extent, was nothing but a radicalized and politicized version of the major text The Crisis of the Modern World written by René Guénon, the founder of integral traditionalism, in 1927. In the chapter called “The Doctrine of the Four Ages” of his work, Evola writes:

Although modern man until recently has viewed and celebrated the meaning of the history known to him as epitomizing progress and evolution, the truth as professed by traditional man is quite the opposite. In all ancient testimonies of traditional humanity it is possible to find, in various forms, the idea of a regression or a fall: from originally higher states beings have stooped to states increasingly conditioned by human, mortal, and contingent elements. This involutive process allegedly began in a very distant past; the term that best characterizes it is the Eddic term ragna-rokkr, “the twilight of the gods”… According to Tradition, the actual sense of history and the genesis of what I have labeled, generally speaking, as the “modern world,” results from a process of gradual decadence through four cycles or ‘generations.’[8]

In his later book Men Among the Ruins: Post-War Reflections of a Radical Traditionalist (1953), Evola defined Conservative Revolution as “the return to the starting point,” “to the source.” Naturally, in order to secure this grand historical coup, one has to rely on the means available in that very Modern world. This insight gave birth to the shortest formula of fascism “René Guénon Plus Tank Divisions,” which may be found in The Morning of the Magicians written by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier in 1960. Indeed, back in 1921 Thomas Mann considered Conservative Revolution in his Russian Anthology as a political projection of Nietzscheism understood as a synthesis of “conservatism” and “revolution,” “freedom” and “bonds,” “faith” and “Enlightenment,” “God” and “the world” and compared it with the Russian messianic idea as two totally different phenomena united, although, by their common “religious nature, religious in a new vital sense that has a great future.”

Therefore, second distinctive feature of Black Metal and the Conservative Revolution comprises the fact that both movements are not only anti- and contra- but also meta-phenomena, which reject the narrow genre and political identities in favor of the higher goals. Conservative Revolution is always positioned as a metapolitical movement and, speaking in Ernst Jünger’s terms, as “the absolute revolution” that ruins tradition as form but thus realizes the sense of tradition. This is the so-called “metahistorical” and “dynamic” approach to Tradition written with a capital “T,” which was introduced by Julius Evola as an ability to sacrifice forms in the name of principles. Furthermore, another similarity between Black Metal and the Conservative Revolution is that both ideal types are portrayed as a special recognizable “style,” that is, ultimately as an aesthetic phenomenon.

The merger between the aesthetic and the political elements in the conservative-revolutionary movement, which was noted with displeasure by leftists who were always afraid of “irrationality,” Walter Benjamin, in particular, was undoubtedly carried out beyond decorative purposes in mind. It was aesthetics that was meant to be that magical key used to “re-enchant” the world and reintegrate the autonomous and disconnected fields of politics, science, religion, ethics and, again, aesthetics, which replaced the hierarchic medieval universe subordinate to one transcendental principle. However, conservative revolutionaries mostly spoke not of God but of gods in the plural; the generally acknowledged metaphor that signifies re-mythologization of the world is “the return of the gods” or “the return of the sacred,” which was especially anticipated by Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Jünger.

“Merely” waiting for re-sacralization of the world, however, is not a rule and corresponds only to the current phase of metaphysical transvaluation of all values. This phase was preceded by the active-nihilistic period of titanic domination, the reign of Prometheus, who symbolizes the elemental powers of technology. According to Ernst Jünger’s observation made in his essay “On Pain” (1934), we live in the time when the new orders have moved far ahead, but the new values have not become visible yet:

We conclude, then, that we find ourselves in a last and indeed quite remarkable phase of nihilism, characterized by the broad expansion of new social orders with corresponding values yet to be seen.[9]

This means that Übermenschals Sieger über Gott und das Nichts,” the Superman as a victor over God (the ruined old order) and Nothingness that replaced the latter, enters the final phase of the battle with Nothingness itself. At this stage, both Jünger and Evola developed the concepts of apoliteia, right-wing anarchism and the differentiated man that rejects the Modern world not out of nihilism, but because it does not meet the ideal of the new sacred order. Of course, this stage is temporary: Evola’s right-wing anarchist and Jünger’s Anarch are always ready to seize the opportunity to build a new Empire.
Structural similarities between Black Metal and the Conservative Revolution are also obvious. Armin Mohler, who published a monograph Conservative Revolution in Germany: 1918–1932 (1950), which started the tradition of academic investigation of the conservative-revolutionary movement, singled out five main directions within the latter, three of which became exemplary: Young Conservatives (Moeller van den Bruck, Edgar Jung, Oswald Spengler), National Revolutionaries (Ernst Jünger, Ernst Niekisch, Hans Freyer), and the völkische movement that made the greatest impact on National Socialism (the famous doctrine of “Blood and Soil”). Accordingly, Young Conservatives mostly developed the organic imperialist models; National Revolutionaries were on extremely good terms with the destructive forces of the industrial civilization, and the völkische resemble the contemporary Pagan Front.

In his profound examination of the conservative-revolutionary recollections in the Black Metal movement, Alex Kurtagic primarily emphasized völkisch ideas [10], which is justifiable. At the same time, I would say that the most representative of the Conservative Revolution was not the völkisch but rather the national-revolutionary movement. Its members, Ernst Jünger, in particular, elaborated on the main metaphysical sentiment of the Conservative Revolution, that is the unity of freedom and the necessity presupposed by the concept of German voluntarism, in the most detailed and accurate manner. This metaphysical standpoint corresponds with the Gnostic Anti-Cosmic trend in the Black Metal movement, which is also notable for strict dualism between one’s divine will and anything else (“Death against death”) and does not seek the sacred within the limits of this world. A well-known description of National Socialist metaphysics by Hendrik Möbus of the German NSBM group Absurd (“the most perfect synthesis of the Luciferian will to power, and neo-heathen principles and symbolism”) would also be relevant in this context, although he is more closely associated with the Pagan Front. Incidentally, his conversation with “Velesova Sloboda”[11] is the most interesting and professional discussion of the classic conservative-revolutionary topics by any Black Metal musician that I have ever read.

In conclusion, I would like to quote the words of Erik Danielsson of Watain about the revolutionary essence of true art and the necessity “to get deeper and deeper” while exploring the horizons of the genre:

If you want to do something groundbreaking in something as sinister as black metal—if you want to correspond with dark energies that exist beyond this world, you cannot have a mere interest in black metal. A passion for a music genre is not enough to change the course of musical history or the history of the world. To me, it’s not strange there aren’t more bands like us because individuals of that sort are very rare. If you have an extreme source of energy flowing inside yourself you either end up in prison, sharing a high place with a politician or you do what we do.[12]

It is difficult to disagree and overlook the parallels with the aspirations of the most devoted and bright members of the conservative-revolutionary movement. After all, Mohler’s academic research was nothing more than a way to gather the new extreme front in post-war Europe under an alternative name after discrediting the National Socialist project and any other movements dangerous for the system, including Black Metal in its purest manifestations. Is it surprising that one day the representatives of these metahistorical and countercultural directions will join their forces as the “contenders in the larger game”?[13]


  1. Ajna Offensive, Deathspell Omega Interview.  ↩
  2. Interview with Lutomysl at Orthodox Black Metal.  ↩
  3. Kevin Coogan, How Black is Black Metal?, Nachrichten Heute  ↩
  4. Benjamin Noys, “Remain True to the Earth!”: Remarks on the Politics of Black Metal, Hideous Gnosis: Black Metal Theory Symposium I; Edited by Nicola Masciandaro (Charleston: CreateSpace, 2010), p. 105–128.  ↩
  5. Nathan T. Birk, Interview with La Sale Famine of Peste Noire, Zero Tolerance  ↩
  6. Ibid.  ↩
  7. Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power; Translated by Walter Kaufmann and R. J. Hollingdale; Edited by W. Kaufmann (New York: Vintage Books, 1967), p. 3.  ↩
  8. Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order of the Kali Yuga; Translated from the Italian by Guido Stucco (Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions International, 1995), p. 177.  ↩
  9. Ernst Jünger, On Pain (New York: Telos Press Publishing, 2008), p. 46.  ↩
  10. Alex Kurtagic, “Black Metal: Conservative Revolution in Modern Popular Culture,” The Occidental Quarterly Online, republished at Counter-Currents.  ↩
  11. Hendrik M. (Absurd) im Gespräch mit der Redaktion von “Velesova Sloboda”  ↩
  12. Darren Cowan, Interview with Erik Danielsson of Watain at Blistering.com  ↩
  13. Ibid.  ↩
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Rainbow Nation

The original Rainbow Family met a gruesome end in the jungles of South America, but its spirit still infuses all major social institutions in the United States.

November 2013 was a month of key political anniversaries in America, with 150 years having passed since Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and 50 since the assassination of John F. Kennedy. While Lincoln articulated the United States as a Proposition Nation ordained to illuminate the world with freedom in 1863, Kennedy’s execution a century later revealed in brazen fashion the inescapable reality of oligarchic rule in democracy[1]. Though the importance of these events should not be diminished, another anniversary has eluded our attention: that of the mass-murder suicide of 913 cultists from the People’s Temple in Jonestown, Guyana. Thirty-five years later, Jonestown is now mostly remembered for its signature cocktail of cyanide-laced grape Kool-Aid[2]. Yet it is this tragedy, brushed aside as the handiwork of a lone maniac, that heralds the results of the liberal experiment.

Long before collecting children from third-world countries became chic among Hollywood celebrities and megachurch Evangelicals, the eccentric Marxist Reverend Jim Jones and his wife Marceline had already formed their own “Rainbow Family” in Indianapolis, Indiana, in the early 1960s[3]. This was comprised of three Koreans, an African-American boy, an American Indian girl, a White adopted boy, and the couple’s own biological son. Jones, a Pentecostal preacher who sold monkeys on the side, was known as “Father” to his mostly inner-city Black congregation, which he named the People’s Temple, itself an extended Rainbow Family upheld as the prototype for humanity’s future development. Soon finding the Midwest inhospitable territory for his progressive vision, Jones took the People’s Temple to California, where by 1974 it would flourish in the counter-cultural laboratory of San Francisco.

One striking note in interviews with survivors is their conviction that the People’s Temple was a wondrous “mosaic” of harmony and fusion between different peoples. The white members who joined seemed positively intoxicated by the sense of racial equality on display in Jones’s church; here was a chance to demonstrate avant-garde morality and strike a blow for progress. And over decades of coverage of the Temple, from heady days of prominence in San Francisco to post-massacre trauma, the news media have helpfully reinforced this narrative[4]. What should have been a project for a bright new tomorrow suddenly “went wrong,” as the story goes. Its leader, after all, was a drug-addled madman. But Jones was not merely some charismatic charlatan who managed to deceive society for a time; he embodied the ideals of the American civic religion—pluralism—and played them out to their ultimate conclusion.

Almost from the moment of the Columbian discovery, America has been subject to mystical speculation over its role in inaugurating a New Order of the Ages. Sir Francis Bacon, one the greatest minds of the Elizabethan era, imagined a thinly veiled virgin continent as the New Atlantis under Rosicrucian rule[5]. A ready refuge for centuries of Quakers, Shakers, hucksters, and heretics, America would accommodate the growth of innumerable sects and religious crazes due to a combination of popular pietism and constitutionally encoded state indifference. The appearance of an organization like the People’s Temple was therefore less of a novelty even in the conservative Midwest than it was a familiar facet of national life.

In the revolutionary spirit of 1776, Jim Jones was first and foremost a fire-breathing egalitarian. Sunday services at the Temple, headquartered at a former synagogue in the rundown Fillmore district, featured a carnival-like atmosphere of revival preaching flavored with leftist activism. Once raucous Gospel music, dance routines, and comical faith healings lathered the crowd into a frenzy, “Father,” clad in trademark shades and choir robe, would descend to the pulpit from his elevated chair, an American flag on one side and a poster-sized Declaration of Independence on the other. Warming up with down-home vulgarity, he’d then launch into extended harangues on socialism, racist government persecution, and his own divine greatness. By channeling the ressentiment of his followers and playing upon their hopes and fears, Jones effectively became both Norman Mailer’s alienated White Negro and an unscrupulous Superman who drew his strength from mass manipulation. And Jones’s rants were remarkable not only for their length, but especially for their consistent inversion of orthodox Christian doctrine, rejecting the Kingdom of Heaven for a perfected kingdom of this world.

For all of Jim Jones’s efforts at innovation and originality, the People’s Temple was just a new rendering of the chiliastic temptation, that “City on a Hill” so central to the American messianic mythos. Seventh-century Puritanism had long since devolved into secularized forms, but in the marketplace of ideas, its zealotry still manifested in moralistic social movements like suffrage and civil rights, as well as fringe sects like the Temple. Jones’s syncretistic brew of holy-rolling Communism was reflective of a counterfeit spirituality ascendant after Enlightenment rationalism and materialism had so successfully wreaked havoc upon the traditional worldview of Western man. Deprived of divine Truth or programmed to disdain such embarrassingly outdated notions, moderns have chased after simulacra of transcendence by adopting every manner of surrogate religions, from the Prosperity Gospel to self-help psycho-twaddle and New Age magical narcissism. Here the California-born Sufi writer Charles Upton provides especially useful context from his own experience:

As the early and mid–20th Century had called for culture and education for the masses, we called for mass enlightenment… The legacy of old-fashioned American revivalism abruptly encountered psychedelic drugs, exotic religions, 20th Century ideas of evolution and progress, and the shock of the war in Vietnam to produce a ‘go for broke’ attitude: ‘give me Enlightenment or give me death; Apocalypse Now.’

Due to increasing press scrutiny of torture, brainwashing, and sexual abuse within the People’s Temple (Jones was omnivorous in his depravity, carrying on numerous affairs with the women surrounding him and sodomizing his male adherents), the cult hurriedly left San Francisco for its jungle outpost in Jonestown, Guyana, in 1977. Like the Jacobins and Bolsheviks before him, Jones promised the citizens of his new society a radiant paradise of freedom, equality and brotherhood, only to deliver them unto misery and death. Having killed a U.S. Congressional Representative on a fact-finding trip to Guyana a year later on November 18th, the patriarch of the Rainbow Family opted for revolutionary suicide rather than see his life’s work unravel[6]. Invoking the words of Doors frontman Jim Morrison, Jones showed himself an “erotic politician” on a mission of annihilation, a veritable medium for demonic forces unleashed upon the world.

Anglo-Saxon democracy does not appear at first glance as destructive as the maximalist programs of a Robespierre or Trotsky, yet America is acquiring certain features characteristic of the People’s Temple. Lest anyone raise the objection that Jim Jones was an un-American Communist psychopath, it’s worth remembering that the United States was founded upon the same revolutionary abstractions of liberty and equality that time and again have given rise to tyranny. Liberal pluralism, a potent weapon of the plutocrats who seek our enslavement, first produces spiritual, moral, and physical chaos, which in turn serves as a convenient introduction to the militantly tolerant police-state panopticon. Jones would have exalted in the capabilities afforded him by an NSA total surveillance grid, and he certainly would have given hearty approval of mass immigration and Washington’s plans to further “diversify” the country through population resettlement. Far from promoting friendship and brotherhood, the false virtues of egalitarianism lead only to paranoia, envy, hatred, and the murder-suicide of nations.

Though the People’s Temple was conceived as a universal model for all mankind, it was at its most basic level a Black church. For that simple reason primarily Black Americans suffered at the hands of their prophet at Jonestown; around 80 percent of the victims were identified as such. In a cruel irony, Jim Jones, the all-loving “Father,” the tireless anti-racist advocate and integrator, flew hundreds of African-Americans to their deaths at a tropical slave plantation maintained by armed guards and a fanatical inner circle of White female administrators. Other suspicious circumstances have even suggested the whole bizarre saga was possibly a mind-control operation conducted by U.S. intelligence agencies.

With the passing of decades since Jonestown, the Black community in the United States remains just as vulnerable to government social engineering and corporate exploitation, often acting as a test subject for whatever new cultural pathogen our controllers have devised. The record includes unethical medical experiments, the taxpayer-subsidized ruin of the Black family (with a resulting surge in crime), and the CIA’s facilitation of the crack cocaine epidemic in the 1980s, not to mention the relentless, full-spectrum promotion of degeneracy by media organs quite openly intent upon smearing everyone in filth. And any principled black voices willing to oppose this system are studiously ignored. “Integration” with the regime benefits self-appointed spokesmen such as Al Sharpton and public sector unions, while calls for integrity and autonomy from the likes of Booker T. Washington and Malcolm X have been forgotten in an atmosphere of corruption and decay.

To best understand the People’s Temple as an American phenomenon, we must look to its “white-bread,” all-American congregants. What sort of fever impelled educated, professional young White women, or young couples raising families, into the embrace of Jim Jones? The road to Jonestown was paved with the lofty expectations of American pluralism, transmitted through cradle-to-grave indoctrination. Countless times in their upbringing, at school, on television, or at home, children in the United States have learned that our nation is a proposition, a place for every tribe of man to merge as one in the pursuit of happiness, i.e. plentitude and pleasure. As ancestral memories often fade within a generation, Whites in particular, long the main source of “human capital” in this enterprise, have consequently defined identity according to the universalist constructs bequeathed us by the Founders and their disciples.

There is a terrible price to pay, however, for imposing the reign of equality. If the Brave New World is to survive, rites of blood tribute must be performed to satiate its dark gods. In 1978, Jim Jones and his impeccably progressive inner circle murdered nearly 1,000 sect followers, mostly Black families, rather than relinquish utopia. Today U.S. policy elites carry out war and subversion to export liberal democracy across the globe while racial antagonism at home takes on ever more vicious forms. The latest nationwide trend, often known as the “knockout game,” consists of groups of young Black males attacking most commonly White (and sometimes Asian or Jewish) pedestrians. Hoover Institution fellow and Black columnist Thomas Sowell has forthrightly identified the implicit racial motivations behind the acts, and Mike Tyson, a man who knows a thing or two about knockouts, called the perpetrators “evil.” The media, meanwhile, strives mightily to misdirect its audience with regard to the nature of this violence, in the process hoping to salvage the imploding pluralist dream, an illusion that no amount of entertainment spectacle, debt schemes, or overseas adventures can sustain.

The original Rainbow Family met a gruesome end in the jungles of South America, but its spirit still infuses all major social institutions in the United States. Jonestown’s millennialist Marxism and international capitalism both reduce existence to the purely material plane and man to an economic unit stripped of any higher meaning. What we know to be the actual diversity and dignity of creation among mankind must be abolished and re-engineered into Diversity, Inc., as life attains all the depth of a Doritos commercial. A coming unified race of Wal-Martians is to worship at the altar of Mammon, whose incarnation will utter blasphemies earlier foreshadowed by the Reverend Jim Jones:

I am freedom. I am justice. I am peace, and I am equality. I AM GOD!


  1. December of 2013, marks 100 years since the incorporation of the Federal Reserve System, the Money Power’s open declaration of hegemony over America.  ↩
  2. The powder drink was actually a similar product called Flavor-Aid.  ↩
  3. Jones was well-known as an influence broker in San Francisco politics, a role that earned him a seat on the Housing Commission. The assassination of Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk, both of whom were closely tied to Jones, came just nine days after the massacre at Jonestown.  ↩
  4. Jones’s eccentricity was so far-ranging that his boyhood peers observed him killing cats and holding funeral ceremonies for them. Fyodor Dostoevsky’s vile Smerdyakov engaged in the exactly the same practices as a child in The Brothers Karamazov.  ↩
  5. Bacon was quite prescient about the role of secret societies in establishing the New World; the United States was founded upon Masonic Enlightenment ideology.  ↩
  6. Jones would privately confide to his lieutenants that he was atheist or agnostic. Nonetheless, the rebellion against God presupposes one’s own desire to become a god. Thus Jones could at once deny the “Sky God” and assert his own divinity. Dostoevsky already laid out the results of such a quest in The Possessed. The atheist Kirillov denies Christ the God-man and seeks to affirm his own godhead, an objective he deduces can only be reached through suicide.  ↩
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