Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Wild Hunt versus Radical Traditionalism

In the last year and a half, the Wild Hunt blog (aka "the CNN of Paganism") has published four separate attacks on "Radical Traditionalism" in the following posts:
I don't intend to get into the ins and outs and roundabouts of what Radical Traditionalism may or may not be. Fortunately, the job of responding to these attacks is made much simpler by the Wild Hunt's decision to single out the journal TYR as a favored target for their anti-Traditionalist calumnies.

In fact, in the most recent instance (on Sep. 19, see list of links above) it was claimed that merely having an article published in TYR is by itself evidence that the author in question is likely to be a racist or even a fascist. But if we look at some of the authors who have published in TYR, we immediately see just how idiotic this claim is:

Christopher McIntosh
A respected scholar of Rosicrucianism, Dr. McIntosh is the author of The Rosicrucians, Eliphas Levi and the French Occult Revival, and a number of other important books and publications of great interest to Pagans, serious Occultists, and all students of religion, philosophy and cultural history. Here is a page about Christopher McIntosh at the website of the Rose Circle Research Foundation, where he is a Fellow.

Joscelyn Godwin
In my opinion, you can quite accurately estimate the intelligence of a Pagan by the number of books by Joscelyn Godwin she or he has read. Well, that might be going a bit too far, but then again, it might not. Godwin is probably best known for The Theosophical Enlightenment and The Pagan Dream of the Renaissance, although those two books only begin to scratch the surface of Godwin's unique and invaluable scholarship. Here is a page about Joscelyn Godwin at Hermetic.Com, where you can find links to several full articles by Godwin online, including one on Julius Evola: Theosophy and Beyond.

Nigel Pennick
Pennick is a prolific author on many subjects dear to Pagan hearts with a particular interest in Germanic and Celtic traditions. He is probably most well known to Pagans as the co-author, along with Prudence Jones, of A History of Pagan Europe. Here is a link to Pennick's personal website.

Stephen Flowers
Stephen Flowers was one of the pioneering leaders of the movement to form a strongly anti-racist and non-racial religious movement devoted to the old Gods of Northern Europe (the Gods who were worshipped prior to the violent, forced conversion of the Germanic, Slavic, Baltic, Finno-Ugric, etc, peoples). As such he was one of the co-founders, along with James Chisholm, of the Ring of Troth in 1987. Flowers is well known for Hermetic Magic: The Postmodern Magical Papyrus of Abaris, as well as his many books on Runes published under the name Edred Thorsson (especially: Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic). Here is a link to an extensive interview with Flowers by the co-founder of TYR, Michael Moyniham: Wisdom for the Wolf-Age: A Conversation With Dr. Stephen Flowers.


Well, it looks to me like the above list of distinguished authors isn't such bad company!

It is also worth noting that Mattias Gardell, author of Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism, devotes several pages of that book to Michael Moynihan, cofounder and coeditor of the Radical Traditionalist journal TYR (whose website is radicaltraditionalist.com).

Gardell unreservedly exonerates Moynihan from any suspicion of white-supremacist and/or antisemitic leanings: "Moynihan is hardly anti-Semitic or white supremacist, and is definitely not a radical right 'leader' of anything." Gardell also quotes Moynihan directly: "I certainly don't identify with any vague racial category like being 'white' and have never attempted to project such a notion." Gardell also says that Moynihan "does not feel particular connected to most whites."

I am still working on a much longer analysis of the wretched hatchet-job done by Brian Powell for MediaMatters.Org: "The Supremacy Cause: Inside The White Nationalist Movement." (Part One of that project is now finished: link.) That article served as the pretext for the most recent attack on TYR at the Wild Hunt. In that MediaMatters piece, Powell completely ignored the deep and pervasive connections between Christianity the white nationalist movement (including the specific racist group he was reporting on) while focusing on a chance encounter at the fringes of a racist meeting with some people he thought might be Pagans.

I believe there is absolutely no room in Paganism for people or groups who are committed proponents of racism. I definitely don't believe that Pagans must all adhere to a common political ideology, but there are some things, and racism is one of them, that are intrinsically antithetical to Paganism. Others might think it is acceptable for Pagans to be racists, but I do not.

At the same time, we should scrupulously avoid reckless allegations against groups, individuals, publications, etc, because of the poisonous atmosphere created by such irresponsible and destructive words. If the Wild Hunt wants to do serious reporting on Radical Traditionalism, then they should do so. If they want to do a serious investigation of whether or not there are racist elements in certain Heathen groups or in some Radical Traditionalist groups, then they should do so. But instead what we have been getting is weasel-worded insinuations and just plain lousy reporting.

4 comments:

Nick Ritter said...

Good work, Apuleius. I'm glad to see someone writing about this sort of thing. TYR has some true gems among its articles, and I hate to think that some folks might be turned away from reading it because of it being mentioned negatively somewhere like The Wild Hunt.

Apuleius Platonicus said...

Hi Nick! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I'm very glad you liked the post, and you might also enjoy the longer one I'm working on going into a lot more detail about the relationships between some contemporary racist groups and Paganism.

Ruadhán J McElroy said...

I've long been puzzled by Jason Pitzel-Waters regular attacks on RadTrad and TYR, since the only real comparison to Radical Traditionalism and what's typically regarded as Fascism is that it has several Populist aspects -- but then, so does Socialism and Democracy, so clearly Populism alone ≠ Fascism. The basic outline of RadTrad ideals are basically in line with ancient Polytheism from Northern Europe to North Africa, making it hard, if not impossible to divorce from religious reconstructionism.

Pitzl-Waters also just seems very down on the whole Neofolk scene, in general, which displays either a wilful ignorance of the scene (which has parallels to the DIY and anti-commercial ethics of the 1960s Folk Revival), or simply is evidence of a pro-commercial/"mass-market Pagan" stance. Considering his apparent love affair with pop culture and his obvious ignorance of the underground music scenes, I'm betting "a little from column A, a little from Column B", but you may have a differing opinion. Regardless, he seems intent on painting both RadTrad and Neofolk as irreparably NeoNazi, when the connections of said philosophy and music scene to Nazis are pretty far from hard-and-fast; hell, one of the major influences on Neofolk is Leonard Cohen -- so clearly the Neofolk scene as a whole fails at Nazi, even if a few prominent Neofolk and associated musicians either have outright advocated Nazism or Nazi sympathies -- but hey, the National Enquirer started out as a Pro-fascist rag filled with Nazi sympathies, but divorced itself from that during WWII and last year won a Pulitzer, and even the girls from Prussian Blue have recently denounced White Nationalism. Clearly, there is very little in this world that is irreparably Nazi.

Apuleius Platonicus said...

Aha! I always suspected that Leonard Cohen was a Nazi!