Religious Practicalities

Anyone who has been following the Alt Right internal politics will no doubt be getting a little peeved by the infighting and edge-lording that is coming dangerously close to defining the movement. Just in the last few weeks, what essentially amounts to a hit-piece on Greg Johnson came out from AltRight.com, and Jack Donovan finally came out in public attacking the White Nationalist movement as a whole.

I don’t know Daniel Friberg — one of the editors of AltRight.com, with whom the argument with Greg began — so I’ll assume he’s probably a decent fellow. Or perhaps he’s a piece of shit, as Greg Johnson alleges. I don’t know.

I do know Greg Johnson, however, if only peripherally, and I know Jack Donovan. Both are not merely fundamentally good people, but courageous to boot (a far rarer trait). So many intelligent people, and yet the arguments persist. It seems as if the Alt Right as a political movement is inheriting the internal divisiveness of its libertarian predecessor.

A few weeks back, the arguments between The Golden One and Thulean Perspective (Varg) related to the Christianity and Paganism essentially reflect the pugnacious nature of the Alt Right journals, for those who only follow politics on YouTube.

Worse still, it isn’t just the dumber elements arguing with the intelligent ones, or the humble with the vainglorious. Some of the more firm race-realists might ascribe this to white individualism, but I believe the lines are traceable to a religious starting point. By uncovering this cause of the disconnection between subcomponent members of the Alt Right, we may be able to move forward as a group, rather than as squabbling mini-groups, and actually accomplish something in our own interest.

The divisiveness of the Libertarian party, I believe, correlates strongly to its broadly atheistic identity. As I have written about elsewhere (here and here, for instance), religion is not best understood primarily as a metaphysical belief structure, but as a hierarchy of values and a general orientation towards the world. At the symbolic religious level, atheism is virtually indistinguishable from nihilism, and a political movement which is predominantly atheistic in character will naturally result in a plethora of disjointed and incompatible value-hierarchies. Political success from such a movement is unlikely.

Now the choice arises in the Alt Right between paganism (especially the Nordic variety) and Christianity. Here’s an interesting question to explore: which one is more likely to succeed, in a political context?

I think the heart of the answer can be reached rather intuitively by looking at the most important virtues established in each. Paganism most strongly emphasizes strength and honor, while Christianity holds up forgiveness and grace.

Personal strength and honor are certainly critical virtues, and they are unfortunately undervalued by many Christians, especially today. However, real strength is not achieved by an individual, but by an individual working within a group. In Pagan circles, this is often stated as an aphorism: “the strength of the wolf is the pack, and the strength of the pack is the wolf.” These pagan circles understand the concept, and hold up “tribe” as something like a sacred unit. That these religions succeeded in surviving for thousands of years argues on its own, prima facie, that such a small-scale, tribal system is cohesive and sustainable.

But there is strength in numbers, and we live in a larger world. A perfect Dunbar-sized tribe of 250 people won’t stand a chance against a nation-state of 250,000, armed with the latest technology, specialized industry, and economies of scale. This is not a matter of idyllic lifestyles, but a matter of brute strength. In war, the larger nations usually win, and in politics, larger movements will succeed over smaller ones.

The symbol for strength through unity has historically been the fasces, a bundle of sticks bound together around an axe. Individually, they can be broken, but as a group, they are invincible. Symbolically speaking, the question is which makes for the stronger axe: better sticks, or better bindings?

Aedhan Cassiel of Counter Currents puts it comparatively in a more prescient way:

If the United States government were to turn against the Wolves of Vinland and try to wipe it out of existence, how long do you think the Wolves would survive? It would be perfectly reasonable to bet they wouldn’t last a week.

And why is that?

It’s because the United States government is a larger entity than the Wolves. And the United States government is a larger entity than the Wolves because membership in it is based on shared dedication to common principles and goals as well as consent to the hierarchy of an overarching command structure—not whether or not everyone who joins the U.S. government wants to buddy up with each other. The U.S. government’s capacity for domination of fringe groups like the Wolves is, in and of itself, proof that political alliances built out of principle rather than “buddying up” will trump isolated, small–tribe “groups of buddies” every time.

So in order to be successful, the Alt Right needs to find a narrative moral foundation (i.e., a religion) which encourages the virtues that bind people together, rather than the virtues that encourage in-group cannibalism.

Christianity fits this bill.

All of these things are conducive not only to personal spiritual growth and maturity, but also to the success of a political organization. Some of the earliest letters of the Church, after all, were explicitly written to reduce in-fighting. And the history of Christendom broadly bears out the success of Christianity in this regard.

The question is, does Paganism have these qualities?

I believe the answer in principle is “yes.” The problem modern pagans run into, however, is that their Paganism tends to derive from a rejection of Christianity, rather than a genuine expression of classical religious beliefs and the carrying on of an organic tradition. As a result, they have become Dionysians, rather than Apollonians. In a more Nordic context, many pagans who believe they are worshipping Thor and Odin are, in fact, following in the example of Fafnir (whom Nietzsche described as the Dionysian character of Wagner’s opera, contrasted with the Apollonian Wotan), or perhaps the great wolf Fenrir.

Those who were influenced by Nietzche’s arguments for master moralities over slave moralities have aspired for the virtues of nobility. The Dionysian character of a master morality is impulsive, assertive, unconstrained by conventional morality, and otherwise essentially virile and vivacious. It may plan and display patience, but it does not brood or linger. For the Nietzschean master, the Christian slave is a pathetic thing, self-denying, and by extension, life-denying.

Of course, Christianity is not at all anti-life. It embraces the virtues that form the bonds of a cohesive and strong society, from which strength in life is derived. They have become the innumerable pack, while Pagans have remained Dunbar packs, or even lone wolves.

As Nietzsche saw a Christian culture in his time, despite a loss of Christian theology, so too is much of modern pagan culture Nietzschean in character, despite a general lack of Nietzschean literature. It rejects Christianity not because of Jesus, but because of the Apollonian character of Jesus. Within this Nietzschean paganism, the pathetic, weak, Left has become so dehumanized that they are not even worthy of combat. There is no honor in beating up children.

Where is there honor? Why, in waging wars with other valiant, strong pagans — explicit, nominal, or honorary. People like Jack Donovan, or The Golden One, or like Greg Johnson.

I have no desire to convert contended Pagans to Christianity. I do, however, desire a successful right-wing political answer to the left’s march of nihilism and atheism, and cohesion will be required for this movement. Both European history and the texts themselves indicate a stronger embodiment of the necessary virtues for this movement within Christianity than within Paganism. If this movement is to be successful, Christians will, of course, need to leave their American-Protestant evangelism and their obsession with conversion at home (Orthodox Christians and Catholics have something of an advantage here).

More importantly, however, Pagans will need to confront what their own personal issues with Christianity are. The things they most hate about Christianity are not just latent within the Pagan traditions themselves, but will be required of a successful political movement. In the long run, they will most likely be required of any given individual anyways, so you may as well sort yourself out earlier rather than later.

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