Though we may not see eye to eye I do invite one day soon for a Skype “tea time” and discuss these issues I have, since I don’t speak for all of the Pagansphere. Since I don’t know you, I would love to have the opportunity to do so. I’m not a rude person nor will I make any conservation in fight. I despise fighting. “An eye for an eye makes the world blind.” So you can either accept my olive branch and plan a virtual meeting or ignore this attempt at understanding someone who I tend to disagree with. I’d rather not assume negative things about people that may in reality be in possession of a good heart. So please let me via a comment on here on what you wish to do or ignore it. Your choice.
Cheers and good tidings.
When people say things, it tends to need a mirror held up to it and taken apart. Perhaps this is the scientist in me to inspect the various parts of an idea or article. Recently, this blike named Rhyd Wildermuth painted polytheists in a broad brush stroke and for good reason it sparked the ire of many polytheists. I tackle this is my previous post, which includes a link to the article in question. Rhyd Wildermuth has posted another article titled The Uncomfortable Mirror which I will inspect and take apart.
The information page, called Confronting The New Right, was crafted by me in order to provide more information about the New Right to readers who were unfamiliar with that ideology. I consulted with several others regarding the information therein, who helped refine the language and provided additional resources; however, I claim full responsibility for its contents.
Now, I can respect someone who ends on the note that they take responsibility for their words. I must ask, though, about those others he consulted with. Did they not see the pompous rhetoric that was flowing? I would say perhaps they ignored it because they agreed with it which doesn’t ever help in creating constructive dialog. In order to do so you need to step down from the holier than thou nonsense and come at it with a full spectrum of ideas to posit to the masses. People don’t like being talked down to nor having sweeping generalizations being made. If I were Rhyd, I would have consulted both those who are on the Left and Right that way I establish a better understanding from differing perspectives instead of only gaining insight from one perspective.
While the vitriol and falsehoods contained in some of the critiques make it a little difficult to dissect their arguments, I believe they fall into three categories:
• Guilt by Association: the analysis I provided directly equates Pagan and Polytheist beliefs with the New Right
• Leftist Infiltration: that I am part of a leftist infiltration of Polytheist belief, and not a Polytheist myself.
• “Red Scare” or “Witch Hunt”: by discussing intersections between New Right ideology and some Pagan beliefs, I am attempting to demand ideological or political purity.
I’ve read the article over and over again and it does equate Pagan and Polytheistic beliefs with the New Right. Also, there’s the idea that being apolitical is fascistic in itself, which is nonsense. As a practice, I keep my religion out of my politics just like I keep my religion out of science. I think others would benefit from such an idea, but that’s me. As a former Leftist infiltrating certain groups was always discussed and if applicable encouraged, but such an idea isn’t confined to Leftism, but also Right Wing as well. You can’t blame people who might assume that you’re trying to dismantle Paganism by positing the idea for all of the world to see that basically all Pagan traditions are inherently fascist. It’s bad enough that we get bad press when the media gets the chance and also the long period of climbing our way up from the abyss of history. We have enough struggles as is and to have this hung around necks now is not fair to those of us who don’t perch our personal politics next to the statues of our Gods. If you wish to place your politics next to the Gods, be my guest, but don’t admonish people for not doing the same by calling them closet fascists.
I am also not accusing all polytheists (or anyone else) of being Fascist. If I were, then I would also be a Fascist. The piece I wrote draws no equivalency between specific Pagan-aligned traditions and the New Right. Rather, I draw attention to places where New Right ideology intersects, could influence or currently influences Paganism, including the traditions I am a part of.
Language means a lot and if used properly or improperly can mean different things despite it having the same meaning to it. I can say that I wish to kill myself, but it can differ in context. Maybe I made an error on a test I figuratively want to kill myself and not literal. So with that in mind, the way you utilize language needs to be observed and that’s why consulting with others outside of your boxed in world helps a great deal because then this whole mess could have been avoided. Language, people, language!
Do I put my politics first? I don’t actually know what that means. Do I favor political ideology over what the gods say to me? Do I favor political action over spiritual activities? This is not a question I can answer, because in my world, they inform each other and are inextricably linked. My gods help me understand my relations to politics, and my politics helps me understand my relationship with my gods. There is no wall between them for me.
So in Rhyds world politics and religion goes hand in hand, which sounds much like the problem over in the MidEast with radicals combining religion and politics into the age old concept of theocracy. We Pagans know what happens when theocracies occur, other beliefs seen as heresies are attacked and burned at the stake. However, today the stake is on the internet and public/cyber shaming spectacles are becoming the new normal. I mean if that’s how you conduct your life, so be it, but don’t shame those who are apolitical and have their religion separate from their politics. Some of us prefer walls between our religion and politics.
Or did I, by gathering information about the New Right hold an uncomfortable mirror up to a tradition I am a part of? Have I violated sacred traditions, or merely revealed their political aspects?
No and no, to answer both questions. The mirror isn’t uncomfortable because being a part of quite a few Heathen groups ( one which has been founded by a Jewish convert to our religion) and following many Heathen and Pagan blogs I have seen the arduous task of keeping the fascist element out of our beliefs. We are being scrutinized by various groups such as Leftist ran organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center to Right wing organizations who want to prove that their Christian religion is far more moral than ours. So, we have to, by our own means, fight against the fascist elements attempting to usurp our religion for their political advancement (sound familiar?). While I believe vigilance is important, and that is the ultimate takeaway with Rhyds article, we certainly don’t need to be chided by those who feel like they have to be the impromptu “nannies”.
The ‘Red Scare’ was a time when artists, intellectuals, writers, actors, and many others were investigated by the House UnAmerican Activities Commission, led by Joseph McCarthy and influenced by J. Edgar Hoover and powerful business people. Radicals of all sorts—particularly civil rights activists—were investigated for potential associations with the Communist Party. People with suspected associations with Communist organisations or even sympathies (‘fellow travelers’) were blacklisted from trade unions, actors guilds, publishers, and many other artistic and professional organisations, effectively silencing radical voices for decades.
The Witch Trials have been variously described by many authors, but Feminist author Silvia Federici’s Caliban & The Witch perhaps best elucidates the historical and political processes which led to the arrests, trials, imprisonments, and burnings of heretics and witches.
In regards to the Red Scare and Witch Hunts, isn’t this what you have pretty done yourself with stating that anyone who is apolitical and in disagreement with your views as fascists and agents of the New Right? I believe so. Enough said.