In a recent essay (“Old and New Paganism”), the erudite and inimitable Bronze Age Pervert articulated the conditions for the possibility of the emergence of a genuinely new Paganism. That essay came shortly after Richard Greenhorn’s thoughtful engagement with BAP’s Bronze Age Mindset, which placed the contemporary pagan subject in continuity with the “classical man” of Greco-Roman culture, from which the Christian subject also emerged:
BAPbook is above all things an attempt to revive the Classical Man in a liberal world. The classical man and the liberal man—or as BAP calls him, the Bugman—cannot coexist. It is the classical man, and the classical man alone, on which Christ can work His transformation. We have to learn how to be men again before we can be Christians.
In the modern age, the liberal (i.e. the bugman) is the Christian’s worst enemy—though one would be surprised to learn this given the fact that the pagan and “paganism” are still the preferred whipping-boys for the Christian. Whatever their politics or degree of orthodoxy, few Christians are able to resist the temptation to place paganism as the supreme antipode to the Church. This is outdated nonsense, proof that the Christian does not understand his enemy. The pagan is opposed to the Church, but his opposition is couched in the overruling claims made by his own selfhood; the bugman wants his selfhood eviscerated on the altar of social consensus and the zeitgeist. The pagan bows his head to the rule of Nature; the bugman sees his self created by Demos, and his morality and self-hood dependent on sociality. The pagan still adheres to the ideals of classical man; the bugman is transhumanist, and adores the fact that we already live in a functionally post-human era, where the body is thought of as a nuisance to the pleasure-center which modern man takes to be his soul. The classical man can see his ideals reflected in the bosom of Greece and Rome; the bugman longs for the world of Oriental despots and nihilism.
BAP, meanwhile, concluded his essay by noting the futility of any uncritical revival of premodern forms of European (Greek, Roman, or Nordic) paganism:
[It] is very offensive or stupid when people try to actually go to forest and pretend they worship Wotan or Hermes or whoever…nor have I seen those old gods or any other such specifically that I can name. Those gods are dead or asleep… [For] any old paganism to be restored, one must let go of the hokey opinions about what real pagans believed in, and what they thought important… Then much later the demons and gods will show themselves, but not in any way you would expect, nor by any names you recognize. And it will be they, not you, who will make signs and establish the proper form of worship, and even the meaning and purpose of such worship.
The essence of the contemporary dialectic between paganism and Christianity should thus be understood, not in terms of a stale theological opposition between God and the gods, but rather as a struggle over the vital core of meaning in human life. “Hokey” forms of pagan ritual practice, (purportedly) reconstructing long-extinct lineages, are no less dead inside than empty pews. The question is what it would take for a new paganism not to arrive stillborn.
The issue at stake here, in other words, concerns the nature of the gods. Contemporary, uncritical pagan revivalism treats Hermes and Wotan and so on as concrete, frozen personages. But premodern paganism centered around the worship of primal and elemental forces: the sun (Helios), the sky (Ouranos), the harvest (Demeter). A bad harvest reflected—or simply was—the displeasure of Demeter. Similarly, at any given time, the sun as an experienced reality may or may not have been conceptualized by an ancient Greek as ontologically identical with the god Helios; but, to the pre-Christian consciousness, the two could never have been understood as entirely separate, if for no other reason that (as is the case for most Indo-Aryan languages) the word helios refers both to the sun and to the sun god.
To take a step back for a moment and examine BAP’s argument from a broader perspective, this is the civilizational and experiential framework that Charles Taylor, in A Secular Age, refers to as the “enchanted world”: a world inhabited by spiritual forces to which the premodern “porous” self was acknowledged as being open and vulnerable. The Christian paradigm replaced many of the specific “enchantments,” but retained the essence of this outlook. Thus, for example, the daily trek of the sun across the heavens was no longer understood as Helios being driven in a horse-drawn chariot, but as the divine Providence of the one true God who holds all of heaven and earth in His hands.
The Protestant Reformation, and the so-called “Enlightenment” which it produced, should from this broader theoretical perspective be understood as waypoints along a progressive process of dis-enchantment, whereby the porous self was replaced with the “buffered” self: the self re-conceptualized as a rational, disciplined, disembodied agent, no longer subject to any irrational spiritual forces (a vulnerability now re-characterized as “superstition”), and therefore constituting the ideal political subject for the atomized, industrialized society of interchangeable widgets to which this process of intellectual-historical-religious-technological development ultimately gave birth. The Protestant critique of Catholicism has, for this very reason, always been framed as a rejection of the latter’s “pagan” elements, i.e., the extent to which the non-Protestant Christian retains at least a vestigial porousness: a lingering susceptibility to the supernatural effects of candles, icons, statues, novenas, the Eucharist, and so on. From the perspective of the Reformers, the saints simply replace the gods as an improper object of devotion and worship. The buffering of the self from gods and demons necessarily entails the buffering of the self from Papist witchcraft.
But theological Reform cannot be understood independently of its sociopolitical valences. That is to say: religious dis-enchantment is not a separate phenomenon from social and political rationalization. Socrates was executed for failing to acknowledge the gods that the city of Athens acknowledged; this, like the Christian refusal to acknowledge the Roman princeps as the Immortal Sun (sol invictus), was a “religious” opinion that constituted, from the perspective of the political authorities, at best subversion and at worst treason.
Hence, of all the “Enlightened” lies that constitute the rotten foundation of Clown World, among the most far-reaching in its damaging consequences is the lie that the secular liberal world order provides an epistemologically-neutral site for the adjudication of competing metaphysical truth claims, a political logic that could finally disentangle loyalty to the Empire from the ritual worship of the Emperor. The two most important case studies for this phenomenon are, naturally, the temporally and historically closely-related American and French Revolutions. The French Revolutionaries, fresh from their regicide, temporarily replaced the monarchical apparatus of the State with a theoretically-egalitarian dictatorship of the Demos, and the Church with a sterile cult of “reason.”
Similarly, the United States of America—arguably the defining political project of the so-called “Enlightenment”—was intentionally founded as a place where the intense Protestant-vs.-Catholic sectarian rivalries that had produced the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) were no longer supposed to be able to take hold, as both the “establishment” of a national church and religious tests for public office were explicitly prohibited by the Constitution. The idea in both the French and the American contexts, as eventually would take hold in the British context, and as indeed has been the idea underlying every subsequent ghastly perversion undertaken in the name of “progress,” was that the liberal political order could finally provide a truly impartial governing platform, with no more need for internal sectarian strife of any kind. As secularism gradually displaced all competing metaphysics, the most dangerous source of sectarian identity became ethnic identification: globohomo is ein Reich, with perhaps a few Führers, but most importantly, controlling all the various Volks (at least until it succeeds in mashing them all into one caramel-colored paste).
It would, of course, be thoroughly unoriginal to observe at this point that secular liberalism constitutes its own de facto religion, that far from being “tolerant” or “peaceful” it is in fact completely intolerant of dissent and brutally violent against dissidents. We all know, at this point, that the only way in which secular liberalism is able to suppress sectarian strife is by crushing any distinctive sectarian identity under its bootheel. But, to return to BAP’s essays, there is one important question typically left unasked by those who correctly point out the fundamentally religious nature of totalitarian “democracy”: conceding this to be a religion, who or what does it worship? What are its gods? For it is in examining this question that we may begin to understand the spiritual forces presently at work in our sick joke of a society.
By way of sketching out the first approximation to an answer for this question, it is helpful to return to the issue of language, the relationship between the sun as helios and the Sun as Helios, only now with an eye on developments within the English language. On this note, one of the most interesting features of the Elizabethan-Jacobean milieu out of which the United States emerged is that, despite this period’s relative temporal proximity to the Industrial Revolution, it was functionally premodern.
It is well-known that the ur-texts for Modern (as opposed to Middle) English are the corpus of William Shakespeare (1564-1616) and the King James Bible (translated and compiled 1604-1611), contemporaneous developments immediately preceding the Thirty Years’ War. Less commonly appreciated is the manner in which “Modern” English, at this originary phase, was already saturated with religion. In this way, it bore striking and essential similarities with pre-modern language systems. The Ten Commandments’ prohibition on “taking the Lord’s name in vain” was precisely a proscription on using religious language in an inappropriate context. The key point here is that premodern linguistic taboos—a universal, and quantifiably-measurable, feature of human language—centered around religious categories. To this day, we refer to the use of certain nominally-taboo words and phrases as “swearing” or “cursing,” despite the fact that the words and phrases in question are, strictly speaking, neither swears nor curses.
Here I must quote from the linguist John McWhorter:
It might seem like a kind of obsessive piety to us now, but the culture of [medieval England] was largely oral, and swearing—making a sincere oral testament—was a key gesture of commitment. To swear by or to God lightly was considered sinful, which is the origin of the expression to take the Lord’s name in vain (translated from Biblical Hebrew for “emptily”). The need to avoid such transgressions produced various euphemisms, many of them familiar today, such as “by Jove,” “by George,” “gosh,” “golly” and “Odsbodikins,” which started as “God’s body.” “Zounds!” was a twee shortening of “By his wounds,” as in those of Jesus.
Yes, “zounds,” a most favored inoffensive exclamation of Scooby Doo and the gang, was once upon a time among the most filthy and disgusting things one could say. But:
By the late 18th century, sex, excretion and the parts associated with same had come to be treated as equally profane as “swearing” in the religious sense. Such matters had always been considered bawdy topics, of course, but the space for ordinary words referring to them had been shrinking for centuries already.
There is much that could be written about this transition, and what it signifies about the society which underwent it. But the end result of this process was that, despite the bowdlerizations of the Victorian era, today “fucking” is practically a synonym for “very,” while “shit” really only means “stuff.” Meanwhile, as McWhorter notes, the hallmark taboos of the English language under the thoroughly degraded House of Windsor (now mostly famous for marrying their scions off to divorced American mulattas) is that “today, it is the N-word that such a couple would smack down with precisely this indignation. The response is the same; only the issues of concern have changed.” Thus, since the primary “issue of concern” is now the maintenance of social peace between Whites and nonwhites (and, concomitantly, the emasculation of the White population), “the N-word” is now unprintable, unrepeatable, unthinkable, along with “f****t,” “k**e,” “s**c,” and any other group-based slur. From this perspective, if modernity is theorizeable as the replacement of religiously-based sociolinguistic taboos with taboos about the body, postmodernity is theorizeable as the re-introduction of religious taboos, only now the religion in question is no longer the worship of Jesus Christ, but the worship of His murderers (along with sundry other “minority” groups).
Again, there is nothing new or interesting in pointing out that what the unprintable slurs referenced above all have in common, what unites them in their power to destroy the life of any White man who utters them in public, is their implicit opposition to the White, the male, the heterosexual—in short, the normal.
The service which I would like to provide here in this essay, my response to the Bronze Age Pervert, lies in the recognition of this attack on normalcy as the construction of a new pantheon. Precisely because the world is enchanted, whether we like it or think of it as such or not, the Protestant-Enlightenment assassination of the ancien regime only created a spiritual power vacuum to be filled by the cult of the Magic Negro and Holy Poopdick. Witness the replacement of the Christian liturgical calendar with an endless parade of insults: “Talk Like A Pirate Day,” “Pride Month,” “Black History Month,” etc. As spoken by the Vedas and heard by the ancient Āryans, the sacrifice—which is to say, the primordial Man, Prajāpati, the cosmos itself—is the year. The structure of the calendar is the rhythm of religious practice, i.e., human life.
Indeed, the new gods and demons already asserting themselves. Abortion, clad in medical gauze, with bits of baby flesh stuck between her razor-sharp teeth, devours the innocent; the unfathomably ugly hermaphrodite, Diversity, screams an incomprehensible cacophony of every language at once, drowning out all other sound and deafening anyone unfortunate enough to hear the din. As Steve Sailer and John Derbyshire have pointed out, “If you look closely at [“institutional racism,” “white privilege,” and so on] you see that they are essentially magical—mysterious emanations or vapors, invisible and unquantifiable, known only by their results, like the messages sent from the spirit world to a ouija board”: spooky action at a distance, operating completely independently of any conscious agent’s intention; “On his West Hunter blog, Henry [Harpending] observed how the most distinctively African aspect of the widespread belief in witchcraft is that a rival can project malevolent forces vast distances against you without his even consciously willing it.”
Clown World must therefore be understood as a kind of nightmare re-enchantment, re-paganization in the key of terror and madness, the return of repressed spiritual forces (that could of course never really be removed) in the form of these new gods and demons. The question, then, is whether this inevitable re-enchantment, already well underway, will proceed along such Africanized lines, or whether the spirit of the Apollonian—particularly as recapitulated in the intellectual heights of medieval Christendom—can re-assert itself. The only certainties in this regard are that the secular liberal “Enlightenment” rationalist center cannot hold, and that the cuckolds and the Thomists cannot offer a vision of Christianity that will be adequate to the task.
But those who would jettison Christianity from the body politic of the West should keep in mind that their ancestors converted to Christianity for good reason, and that there is no reason to expect that any other new gods or demons they might come across should have their best interests at heart. At its best, paganism can only offer temporary, temporal benefits. The West of the Hagia Sophia, Notre-Dame de Paris, Westminster Abbey, and St. Peter’s Basilica was forged by men inspired by a vision of the Eternal and Living God.