The article consists of a very brief (<1,000 words, even including the questions), and thoroughly superficial interview with Nathan Pett, a former member of the White Order of Thule, a group that only just barely ever existed, and that has been disbanded for over a decade.
The most important passage in this interview is the following:
"Let’s face it — the White Order of Thule had such a small amount of people. The chapter in Virginia was just Michael Lujan and a P.O. box. The same with me in Washington state. I was the only guy there. I had one or two people I knew who I tried to get interested, but it was so bizarre to most white supremacists to do the weird mix of philosophy. Most people just didn’t want to get into it, you know? It was so esoteric. People couldn’t understand what the hell it meant, including me."The second most important thing about this article is that nothing is ever "explained" about so-called "Esoteric Nazism." Instead, Nathan Pett serves up a bizarre word salad that makes the Unabomber sound like Thomas freaking Jefferson. For example, we are told that the group was made up of "pseudo-intellectuals" who admired Nietzsche, Hitler ... and Joseph Stalin. This promotion of Stalin "as a good leader", Pett tells us, made it difficult for the WOT to be taken seriously by the other white nationalists! As to the supposedly "pagan" content of the WOT's ideology, Pett says that this amounted to a mixture of Christian mysticism, Theosophy and Greco-Roman Paganism, and that this made it difficult for the WOT to be taken seriously even by white nationalists who pose as "neopagans", because these tend to "obsessed with the Nordic thing."
Meanwhile, the main article in the same issue of the Intelligence Report is the SPLC's annual round up of violent right-wing yahoos: The Year in Hate and Extremism, 2010. The focus of this overview is on nativist/anti-immigrant and "Patriot" groups. There is no mention anywhere of groups that promote any kind of Paganism or Heathenism.
It is no secret that there is only one religion that has always been and always will be intimately associated with racist and neo-fascist groups in America, and that religion is Christianity. Christianity is the religion of the Ku Klux Klan, and it was the religion of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party. It is also the religion of the overwhelming majority of those most active in the nativist and "Patriot" movements. It is also the religion of the Tea Party, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Michelle Bachmann, etc.
So why does the SPLC continue with this pattern of misinformation and slanders against Paganism? At least part of the answer seems to be that the SPLC is to a great extent run by a single person, Mark Potok, who has some kind of personal vendetta against Paganism. In 2006 Potok was widely quoted (in USA Today and elsewhere) describing Paganism as "a theology that celebrates raw physical power and domination." For that reason, Potok said the kind of person who is drawn to Paganism is "a white man who is looking for justification for extreme violence, who is looking for an ideology which explains why he should be the boss." (Apparently, Potok has never read the Bible or the Quran, if he thinks that a "white man" has to turn to Paganism to find such a "theology"!)
The SPLC has in the past been criticized for it's bigoted Pagan-bashing by prominent Heathens and Pagans including Chas Clifton, Jason Pitzl-Waters, and Dave Haxton. Lets hope that this most recent episode will elicit a similar response.
Related posts from this blog:
- Religion, Racism, and the Right
- Rosenberg, Chamberlain, Harnack
- Karla Poewe's "New Religions and the Nazis" reviewed by Richard Steigmann-Gall
- "Hitler was not an occultist": Mitch Horowitz is right but his sourcing is all wrong
- Fascism, Islam, and Freedom of Expression
- Christian Nazi Quote-fest
- Nazis and Christians and Pagans, Oh My!