A “Literary” Satanism? Decrypting Proto-Fascist and Antisemitic Themes in The Revolt of the Angels by Anatole France

One of the most common justifications which The Satanic Temple’s spokespersons give for their Satanism is that what their sect is all about is not what Christians (mis)understand by the terms “Satan” and “Satanism.” Rather, it is claimed that “[t]he word Satan has no inherent value [i.e., meaning]” (Bugbee, “Unmasking”). Accordingly, the pretense is fostered that TST’s Satanism is a literary construct, that for them “Satan” is a mere metaphor, resembling a character from a novel (ibid.).

In the attempt by The Satanic Temple’s leadership to construct a new, coherent idea of “Satan” which they calculate will be an acceptable exoteric ideological façade to present to the world, the sect has a program of two “Primary Readings” for new members. These readings are The Revolt of the Angels (1914, originally La Révolte des anges) by Anatole France (1844–1924, born Jacques Anatole François Thibault) and The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (2011) by Steven Pinker (1954–present) (thesatanictemple.com, “The Satanic Temple Library”; freethinker). In attempting to add a “literary” sophistication and legitimacy to their Satanism, TST leaders also often describe their Satan as “Miltonic,” in reference to the character named Satan in Paradise Lost (1667) by John Milton, a militant Puritan, although this work is not described by the group as a “Primary Reading.” A web page titled “The Satanic Temple Library” on the sect’s website also recommends a number of other texts, many from the 19th and late 18th century. Among these we find William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790), a work in which Blake “recounts the origin of the belief in the Jews as chosen people,” arguing that the Jews (who he refers to as “long spindle nosed rascal[s]”) are “liars” and that Christ was an “Unbeliever” who aimed to “abolish the Jewish Imposture” (Shabetai 148–149). This argument bears striking resemblance to the thesis of Anatole France in The Revolt of the Angels.

Before addressing the first of the two “Primary Readings” of The Satanic Temple (i.e., The Revolt of the Angels), some comments on Steven Pinker, an “Alt-Right”-sympathizing pop intellectual hack along the lines of Jordan Peterson and Malcolm Gladwell, are in order (Saeen). The “Satanic Panic” narrative-propagating and Holocaust denialist online news rag Vox sums up his thesis in The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined as the claim that “capitalism is killing war” (Buntovnik, 9 Oct 2018, 5:55, 10:50; Beck; 6.2; Beauchamp). His arguments, including those drawing on the racist myth of the “bloodthirsty savage” presented in The Better Angels of Our Nature, have been pretty thoroughly rebutted elsewhere (Gray; Lynch; Douthat; Corry), but it is revealing of the vacuous ruling-class outlook of The Satanic Temple that the group would choose to base itself on a work of distilled bourgeois ideology written by a professor at Harvard, the wealthiest university in the world, whose work has won glowing endorsements from Bill Gates, the man with the highest net worth in the world for much of the past quarter of a century. Pinker, an adherent of the laughably antiquated “Great Man Theory” of history, defends his thesis of “declining violence” by dismissing major events that clearly contradict his narrative, like the Holocaust, as “bad luck,” arguing that if another man—maybe Heinrich Himmler, Ernst Röhm, or Otto Strasser—had taken over as the Führer of Nazi Germany “at almost any time before September 1939,” such violence would have been avoided (“Frequently Asked Questions about The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined”). This is of course sheer absurdity.

How many supporters of The Satanic Temple have actually read The Revolt of the Angels? It’s hard to say, but I suspect that the answer is, not many. What is clear, however, is that basing an actual religion on the text in the manner in which TST claims to have done can only be attributed to a massive misreading and failure to understand the text. Or perhaps TST leaders simply believe that by basing their “literary construct” of Satan on a pre-Nazi era “socialist” like Anatole France—who is, by all accounts, a rather obscure author to a 21st century American audience—they can add a false sense of “depth” to their ridiculous pretensions, not expecting any real exegesis to occur beyond Twitter-friendly (i.e., superficial) blurbs describing the book as being about an “enlightened Satan” rebelling against “authoritarian, tyrannical God.”

In The Revolt of the Angels, Anatole France tells a story which seems to draw on Gnostic themes as much as it does Satanist ones. In the novel, “Iahveh” (YHWH/Yahweh/Jehovah) is presented as “the Demiurge” or “Ialdabaoth,” a lying, stupid, and violent false god or “imposture” who is opposed by “the Seraph” or “Lucifer,” who recognizes that “the world is its own author and spirit is its own God” (191). The story also evokes a number of antisemitic themes.

Although it has sometimes been implied that Anatole France must have rejected antisemitism by virtue of having siding with the Dreyfusards during the Dreyfus Affair (a pivotal event in the history of modern antisemitism, occurring between 1894 and 1906, which saw the Jewish-Alsatian French military officer Alfred Dreyfus [1859–1935] falsely accused of treason and imprisoned, thereby generating public outcry and politically polarizing French society according to views on antisemitism, Republicanism, monarchism, patriotism, and anticlericalism), several sources note that Anatole France nevertheless worked antisemitic themes into a number of his works.

In “Mechanisms of Antisemitic and Anti-Masonic Hate in Drumont and his Heirs,” Thierry Rouault places Anatole France among the writers’ whose work can be classed as evincing the influence of Édouard Drumont, founder of the Antisemitic League of France and author of the best-selling work of antisemitism, La France juive (1886). Rouault suggests that Anatole was impressed not so much by “the antisemitism [of Drumont] but by his hate of the bourgeoisie” (301). Rouault notes that “[l]ike many writers of the 1880s, Anatole France is very ambiguous. He violently attacks La France Juive [sic] but takes inspiration from its author to compose [his own book] L’Histoire contemporaine,” (302). Rouault also observes that, even after making some statements critical of the antisemitic extremists, Anatole France “nevertheless continued to give free rein to antisemitic […] rhetoric by the intermediary of his characters,” (304). Rouault’s analysis of Anatole’s work appears to cut off at 1899, but we will see that the latter’s bigoted writing tendencies did not end then. Incorporating a “hooked nose” Jewish banker-demon as the villain in The Revolt of the Angels (his “revolutionary” novel of 1914), Anatole France demonstrates an affinity for a retrograde form of “Utopian” or “Romantic Socialism,” open to antisemitism, which would eventually give rise to so-called “National Socialism” (i.e., Nazism).

The kind of antisemitism promoted in the work of Anatole France is that found in some strains of the primitive, pre-Marxian “utopian” or unscientific socialist movement. French historian Laurent Joly describes the origins of the antisemitic “Jewish banker” trope which can be found in Anatole France’s The Revolt of the Angels in a review of fellow historian Michel Dreyfus’ book L’antisémitisme à gauche. Histoire d’un paradoxe, de 1830 à nos jours (or Antisemitism on the Left: History of a Paradox from 1830 until Today):

“In the 1840s, socialist thinkers shaped the myth of the Jewish banker, ‘king of finance’ and exploiter. From the utopian socialists (Fourier, Toussenel, Leroux, etc.) to the Blanquists, passing by the Proudhonian school, all the tendencies of the French left of that period were marked, to varying extents, by a Judeophobic imagination that drew on Catholic culture and signaled total ignorance of the real living conditions of Jews (the Jewish proletariat was ignored, and the idea that all Jews are financiers and capitalists constituted a strongly rooted belief,” (184–185).

Joly further explains that this kind of antisemitic “anti-capitalism” was tolerated by some on the political left, who viewed it not as “the enemy” but rather “the socialism of imbeciles.” The 19th century socialists who were willing to tolerate antisemitism, even if they were mildly critical of it, saw it as an acceptable “stage” in the development of a person’s political thought. It was noted that Drumont’s 1886 antisemitic book La France juive (or “Jewish France,” which, as noted above, was a significant source of inspiration for Anatole France) “attacks the Jews, certainly, but he also goes after plutocrats, defends the humble, the exploited,” (185). Thus those who saw antisemitic hate for “Jewish finance” as a “step” towards becoming a real anti-capitalist calculated (wrongly) that “antisemites would do ‘revolutionary work’,” (ibid.).

In a clear example of “giv[ing] free rein to antisemitic […] rhetoric by the intermediary of his characters” (Rouault 304), Anatole France incorporates this “socialism of imbeciles” trope into his 1901 novel Monsieur Bergeret à Paris (or Mister Bergeret in Paris), where a character named Fléchier (described as “an old [Paris] Communard, a good revolutionary” who, in contrast to the protagonist [a surrogate for the voice of the author] is said to “have studied in the books of Marx”) argues: “Cross your arms and watch the antisemites come. For now, they practice with a straw rifle and a wooden saber. But when it will be a question of proceeding to the expropriation of capitalists, I don’t see any inconvenience in starting with the Jews,” (91–93).

Joly also identifies the Dreyfus Affair as a turning point: from then on (i.e., around the beginning of the 20th century), “antisemitism is clearly identified with the extreme right,” and “left antisemitism is the prerogative of marginal and anticonformist groupings,” (ibid.). In other words, the general thinking of leftists in France after the Dreyfus Affair has been that the so-called “socialism of imbeciles” was from then on “the enemy” of the authentic Left. Based on the 1914 publication date of The Revolt of the Angels and the antisemitic bent of the book’s “anti-capitalist” content, it is clear that the retrograde Anatole France had a soft spot for both “marginal anticonformism” and the so-called “socialism of imbeciles.”

“Anticonformist marginality” is in fact a great way to sum up the message of The Revolt of the Angels. In the end of the story, Satan effectively declares that the whole “revolt of the angels” was utterly pointless, coming to the conclusion that, “God defeated will become Satan, victorious Satan will become God,” (410). Satan thus comes to the realization that he prefers marginality and “anticonformism” for their own sake. This is illustrative of the petit-bourgeois mentality of Anatole France, whose “radicalism” was allergic to the notion of working class people taking control of society. If we take the premise of Judeo-Christian mythology as a metaphor for class struggle, wherein God represents the bourgeoisie and humanity the proletariat, then we must admit that the “fallen angel” of Anatole France (and therefore The Satanic Temple’s Satan) is not a proletarian, but a downwardly mobile petit bourgeois whose “revolt” consists neither in the conquest of power nor in the desire to unite humanity under a democratic dictatorship of the proletariat, but rather in reactionary horror at the erosion of his privileged existence in atomistic “anticonformist” separation from “the masses” within a decaying capitalist system, exacerbated by the rage characteristic of the small-time capitalist forced out of business by big-time monopoly capital, which traditionally forms the backbone of all fascist movements.

The historian Phyllis M. Senese points out in “Antisemitic Dreyfusards: The Confused Western-Canadian Press” that defending Alfred Dreyfus did not necessarily an opponent of fin-de-siècle antisemitism make:

“[English-speaking Canadian journalists regularly] denounced vehemently the outrages in France, not because they really wished to defend Jews, but because the persecution of Dreyfus supplied them with an easy means of condemning a Catholic and French society. Defending Dreyfus the man, instead of Dreyfus the Jew, allowed them to denounce an alien religious and social system that they disliked […] As they embraced Dreyfus as the innocent victim of French-Catholic hatred, the western editors repeated routinely the antisemitic canards that were circulating widely in Europe and America. Thus they demonstrated an inability to recognize in their own attitudes the same prejudice that they condemned in the anti-Dreyfusard French,” (94).

This same rhetorical notion of “I don’t see Dreyfus as a Jew, I only see him as a man” (reminiscent of the “color-blindness” ideology which many have critiqued as an inadequate, superficial approach to anti-racism which is complicit in racism, if not actually a subtle form of racism in itself [Mueller; Bostick; Dolezal; Williams]) is found in the work of Anatole France that represents probably his most explicit literary intervention into the Dreyfus Affair. In his 1901 novel Monsieur Bergeret à Paris, Anatole France’s surrogate argues:

“To my mind, all that is equitable is a beginning of socialism […] I know neither Jews nor Christians. I know only men and the only distinction I make between them is whether they are just or unjust. Be they Jews or Christians, it is difficult for the rich to be equitable,” (93).

Thus for Anatole France, the defense of Dreyfus had nothing to do with addressing or combatting racism and antisemitism as such, but rather it was merely a question of defending “a man” who was innocent, not a Jew who was being singled out specifically as a Jew. Or at least that was the pretext. In reality, Anatole France’s “Dreyfusard” stance was more akin to the anti-Catholic Anglo-Canadian Dreyfusards than to that of actual opponents of antisemitism in that he had another overriding reason to oppose the Roman Catholic-associated anti-Dreyfusards: his anticlericalism, which, as we shall see, was full of anti-“Judeo-Christian” baggage and romanticization of Eurocentric pagan imperium (which, for proponents of modern Satanism, is identical to Satanism).

That Anatole France’s motivations for siding with the Dreyfusards were rooted not in opposition to antisemitism, but rather in his proto-fascist “national socialistic” anticlericalism is evinced by the fact that his discourse had in the years prior drawn explicitly on antisemitic rhetoric. In a review of Drumont’s antisemitic magnum opus La France juive that he had had published in a newspaper called Temps, Anatole France “declared that the solution to the Jewish question was that the ‘real’ Frenchmen oust the Jews from their strongholds by being better merchants and bankers” (Byrnes 178). Also telling is the fact that Anatole France kept close company with the antisemitic “socialist” Francis Delaisi (1873–1947), a friend of his who would later become a leading French collaborationist during the Nazi occupation of France (Cousin; Irvine 206).

Anatole’s racism emerges in full force in Chapters 17, 18, and 19 of La Révolte des anges, where we see that the metaphorical celestial war between Lucifer and the “Demiurge” Yahweh takes on geopolitical and racial connotations of an earthly war between the materialistic, capitalist Jewish plutocrats and “Christian Europe,” undergoing a spiritual awakening in which the old “Satanic” pagan gods of “Wisdom,” “Science” and “Beauty” retake their “rightful place.” In effect, the author marshalls the esoteric principle of “as above, so below” to show how the angels’ celestial revolt against “the Demiurge” or evil, false god Yahweh in Heaven corresponds to their efforts to do the same (i.e., foment revolution) in France, on Earth. “Our plan,” says Arcade, one of the angels, “is vast. It encompasses heaven and earth,” (185). The angels desire to conduct an “assault on heavenly Jerusalem” corresponds to their desire to organize a revolution in France, which through “finance” and “by Deposit and Credit […] has become the new Jerusalem.”

We see here that Anatole is building on the trope of the “Jewish banker,” commonplace among French antisemites during the Belle Époque (1871–1914). In Chapter 17, the angels come to a “baron Max Everdingen,” a Jewish demon and director of “the largest credit establishment in France and in the world” asking for a loan of money to finance their “revolutionary” schemes (181–182). The antisemitism of Anatole France is thunderous in the description of the greedy capitalist Everdingen, a demonic “hooked nose” Jew whose physiognomy is said to be of the “pure Semitic type” (301, 182). Beginning Chapter 17 with the Jewish demon-banker’s backstory, Anatole explains that before he became a “fallen angel” (i.e., a demon), “he was named Sophar in heaven” (his angelic/demonic name is perhaps a reference to the shofar, a kind of horn used in Judaism) and he “guarded the treasures of Ialdabaoth [Yahweh], great lover of gold and precious stones,” (181). Because Sophar/Everdingen had this duty, he “developed a love for riches that cannot be satisfied in a society without stock exchange and banking” (182). Anatole France proceeds to lump on the antisemitism in heavy doses, combining Jew-hatred in racial, pseudo-anticapitalist, and religious forms by adding:

“[The demon Jew’s] heart burned with an ardent love for the god of the Hebrews [i.e., Yahweh], to which he remained loyal for a long time. But at the beginning of the 20th century of the Christian era, seeing France from the high heavens, he saw, under the name of republic, this country which had been made into a plutocracy and which, under the guise of democracy, unchecked and unregulated high finance exercised sovereign power. From then on, staying in Heaven became unbearable to him. He yearned for France, his country of choice, and one day, taking all of the fine jewels he could carry, he descended to Earth and established himself in Paris [and] did business there. Since taking physical form, his face offered nothing heavenly; it was an exact copy of the pure Semitic type[.] […] He married an ugly woman and they could see themselves in their two children like in a mirror. The hotel of baron Max Everdingen […] overflows with the plunders of Christian Europe,” (182–183).

The angel Arcade, come to ask for a loan, walks around the Jewish banker’s office and, noticing decorative statues depicting Greek mythological motifs, asks Sophar/Everdingen, “How is it, my brother Sophar, that you, who still have the Israelite [i.e., Jewish] heart, keep so poorly the commandment of your God who said, ‘You shall not have any graven images’[?]” (184). The angels (Arcade and prince Istar) then proceed to threaten to obliterate the banker’s building with a bomb, and he then acquiesces to their demands, though imploring them to only make revolution in Heaven and not to upend the capitalist system on Earth.

Although Anatole France’s demonic capitalist Jew is a “fallen angel,” he is nevertheless not on the side of the Satanic or Luciferian “angels.” It’s worth noting here that in The Revolt of the Angels, there is little distinction at all between demons and angels, and not all “fallen angels” are necessarily on the side of Satan. From Sophar/Everdingen’s utter disinterest in the heavenly revolution (i.e., his unwillingness to help finance the “assault on Jerusalem”) and his keen interest in keeping his vast earthly riches intact, we see that Anatole France employs the trope of the “hooked nose,” demonic capitalist Jew as the epitome of both spiritual and material treachery, one thing leading to the other. The former (his spiritual corruption) is evinced by his disloyalty to Yahweh, his willingness to steal from the heavenly coffers of the Lord (whose depiction as a gold-hoarding entity is telling) and in his cowardly unwillingness to defend the Lord (Yahweh) from Satan, while the latter (his materialistic corruption) is demonstrated by his parasitic hoarding of vast sums of wealth at the expense of “the people” (using capitalism to subvert democracy and republicanism). In his construction of Sophar/Everdingen, Anatole offers an exact reproduction of Blavatsky’s antisemitic construct of the archetypal “Semite,” framed as “degenerate in spirituality and perfected in materiality” (Blavatsky 178). Sophar’s descent from Heaven (i.e., materialization or spiritual degeneration)—by means of which he becomes baron Max Everdingen—is inseparable from his physiognomic transformation into a “pure” (read: perfect) “Semitic type” because in antisemitic thinking the “physical anthropological” datum of the Jew’s perfectly “hooked nose” is synonymous with spiritual degeneracy. The denigrated racial aesthetic, spiritual degeneracy, and material enrichment are all entangled in mutually signifying one another.

Anatole France continues to develop virulent antisemitic themes in the following chapter of The Revolt of the Angels, while additionally introducing clear pan-European imperialist or “white nationalist” motifs as well. Here, in Chapter 18, we can begin to understand that Anatole is arguing for the superiority of a pagan pantheon spanning from the Greco-Roman world to India (i.e., the “Indo-European” or “Aryan” pantheon) over the “evil” Yahweh of the Jews, depicted as a false god imposed on Europe by means of deceitful Semites with the help of the peoples of “Asia and monstrous Africa” (217). This corresponds closely to what we have seen as regular themes of modern Satanism, as expounded by Satanic cults such as “Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth” and the “Order of Nine Angles” and their myriad spin-offs, which freely appropriate aspects of Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and any other religion deemed sufficiently tied to the “Aryan root-race,” attempting to mix them with a concocted Germanic neo-paganism. The fascist nature of this theme of a “good” unified pagan pantheon stretching from Rome to Greece to Persia to India is further corroborated by the fact that top Nazi ideologues, such as Alfred Rosenberg, also expounded it, regarding these places as having all originally been “Aryan nations” which fell one by one, according to them, to so-called “miscegenation,” a trend which could only be negated, so they said, by the remnant of this primitive “race” in Germanic Europe.

A character named “Nectaire” describes the building of the Satanic army in the North, preparing for the “assault on heavenly Jerusalem” (185):

“War having become inevitable, he [Lucifer] prepared with untirable vigilance and with all the resources of a calculating spirit. Making Chalybes [‘Steel Objects’, a Caucasian tribe of Antiquity who are said to have invented steel] and Cyclopses from Thrones and Dominions [angels of the third and fourth rank in the celestial hierarchy of Christian angelology (dbu.edu)], he [Lucifer] extracted iron, which he prefered over gold, from the mountains that marked the boundaries of his [Yahweh’s] empire and forged weaponry in the caves of Heaven. Then he [Lucifer] assembled myriads of Spirits in the deserted plains of the septentrion [i.e., the North], and armed, exercised, and trained them. Although prepared in secret, this undertaking was too big for the adversary [Yahweh] to not soon be alerted. It could be said that he [Yahweh] always anticipated and feared this [revolt], because he had made his home into a fortress and his angels into a militia, and gave himself the name ‘God of Hosts’ [Sabaoth, ‘Armies’]. He prepared his lightning bolts. More than half the children of the heavens remained loyal to him,” (193).

The original French text uses the archaic term “septentrion” to mean “north.” This term carries significance in the discourse of a number of “occultists” and Satanists, being associated with the “Septenary” of the Theosophical Society (which was a profound influence on Ariosophy and, therefore by extension, Nazism). The same term employed in Theosophical Society discourse has also been adopted by the neo-Nazi “Order of Nine Angles” Satanic cult, which refers in its teachings to the “septenary system, or tradition” (or “Seven Fold Way”). Incidentally, it may be recalled that The Satanic Temple also basis its ideology on what it calls the “Seven Fundamental Tenets” (3.2.2). Although the crypto-fascist sect’s leaders and, no doubt, their followers will vehemently insist that any similarity between the “Seven Fold Way” and the “Seven Fundamental Tenets” comes down to pure coincidence (just like “Grey Force” and “Grey Faction”), we would do well to keep in mind Misicko’s long-term involvement with The Process (whose “variation of the swastika” [5.2] he bears indelibly on his flesh), its obsessions with the idea of complementarity and the unification of opposites (namely, Satan-Christ and Jehovah-Lucifer, but also Jew and Nazi, Positive Christianity and Negative Christianity, causal and acausal, anarchist and fascist, Magian and Faustian).   

Anatole France hints at the esoteric significance of these terms relating to the number seven in Chapter 18 of The Revolt of the Angels, describing Satanic cosmology thusly:

“In those times, which preceded time, in the boreal [northern] sky where the seven magnetic stars shined, he [Lucifer] lived in a palace made of diamonds and gold, trembling at all hours with the sounds of wings and triumphant chants. Yahweh, on his mountain, was jealous of Lucifer,” (190).

These “seven magnetic stars” may be taken to refer to the constellation known as the Big Dipper, whose Latin name is “Septentriones,” meaning the “Seven Oxen.” The choice of the slightly more esoteric term “boreal” rather than “northern” (as in aurora borealis, northern lights) is also telling. According to H. P. Blavatsky’s teachings in the Theosophical Society, one of the so-called “root-races” before the “Aryan root-race” were the “Hyperboreans” or inhabitants of the far north (“Hyperborea”). The Big Dipper or Septentriones, pointing to Polaris or the North Star, may be taken thus as an indicator of the way to Hyperborea; i.e., “Hyper-North.” To follow the “Seven Fold Way” is thus to follow the extreme Nordic way. A Processor-like fixation with complementarity can be observed here in that, while the “Seven Fold Way” evokes the stars, the “Seven Fundamental[s]” of The Satanic Temple evokes the notion of foundation (from the Latin fundus, meaning bottom). TST, with its “liberal,” “left-leaning,” “progressive,” “rational” Satanism, provides a basis for the passing of Satanism further into the mainstream of society, widening the pool of initiates who may then rise up from this basic Satanism to an irrational, “celestial,” explicitly neo-Nazi form of Satanism. In this way, the neo-fascist, esoteric “Seven Fold Way” and the crypto-fascist, exoteric “Seven Fundamental Tenets” form one and the same “septenary system.”

In addition to the “Hyperboreans” and “Aryans”, another “root-race” according to the Theosophical Society were the Atlanteans, from Atlantis. These three “root-races” were combined in Ariosophy, wherein “Thule” came to be posited as an Atlantis in the far north where the so-called “Aryan race” developed. This mythical land of Thule was then taken as the name of the “Thule Society,” the Ariosophical sect which had a hand in the development of Nazism and the foundation of the Nazi Party. The top ideologue of the Nazi Party, Alfred Rosenberg (who held a position between 1934 and 1945 with an official title meaning something like “Intellectual and Philosophical Educator and Instructor of the Nazi Party”), wrote openly about this theory of a Hyperborean Aryan Atlantis, thereby adding an “occult” mystique (which he called “the religion of the blood”) to the pseudo-scientific “Nordicist” racial doctrines of American eugenicists, in his book The Myth of the Twentieth Century: An Evaluation of the Spiritual-Intellectual Confrontations of Our Age (1930). Historian James Webb highlights the significance of this work of the Nazi Party’s “Intellectual and Philosophical Instructor” in terms of its relation to the overall ideological project of Nazism in the following terms:

“Rosenberg’s Myth of the 20th Century had sold over a million copies by 1944. It has been the fashion to discount its representative qualities and to point out that Hitler privately described Rosenberg as quite unintelligible. Yet Hitler elsewhere defended Rosenberg as ‘the most acute thinker in questions of Weltanschauung [worldview].’ Rosenberg’s organization could declare without contradiction that the Myth was the most important Nazi text after Mein Kampf. Hitler’s self-distancing from Rosenberg’s production may well have been a tactical maneuver. According to Rosenberg, he gave Hitler the Myth on its completion in 1929. Five months later he received it back from his leader with the comment that it was most ingenious, but that he wondered how many of the party comrades would be able to understand it. Understand it or not, they naturally bought the book. It is not generally realized that The Myth of the 20th Century is merely the most ‘official’ expression of a body of irrationalist opinion quite widely diffused through Germany between the wars. Rosenberg had written one section of what became his book before leaving Moscow in 1917; in 1919 he finished a section on German idealist philosophy; but he seems to have written the bulk of the Myth in the 1920s,” (314).

Continuing to follow the narrative in The Revolt of the Angels, we find that Anatole France relates that after this first Satanic revolt, the angels led by the Seraph (i.e., Lucifer or the “Angel of Light”) are defeated in battle by the angelic forces loyal to Yahweh. At this point, plant and animal life is described as beginning to appear on Earth. The defeated angels, having fallen to Earth, are now demons. Casually glorifying sexual assault and pedophilia, Anatole France informs the reader through the voice of a demon called “Nectaire” that:

“Some of us [demons], being a little unruly, liked to [sexually] grope their [Mankind’s] women and children,” (204).

Anatole France’s “angel” goes on to describe the religious practices of early human societies, identifying the pre-Christian paganism of a quasi-mythologized Proto-Indo-European people or “root-race” (usually identified as “Aryans”) as synonymous with Satanism, as do many, if not most, modern Satanists:

“The wisest among them [early humans, alluding to the ‘Aryan root-race’] observed us in a holy horror and meditated our teachings. In their recognition, the peoples of Greece and Asia [read: ‘Indo-Europeans’ or ‘Aryans’] consecrated to us stones, trees, shadowy woods, offered us victims, sang us hymns; at long last, we were gods for them and they named us Horus, Isis, Astarté, Zeus, Pallas, Cybèle, Déméter and Triptolème. Satan was adored by the names Dionysos, Evan, Iacchos, and Lénée,” (207).

Ironically, a number of the ancient world’s respected historians and theologians, including Tacitus, Lydus, and Cornelius Labeo, identified Yahweh as having been the Jewish equivalent of Dionysus (McDonough 88). We should not, of course, read The Revolt of the Angels with the expectation of coherence; being that Anatole France’s chief concern is Aryanist myth-making, the vilification of the “Semitic” God of the Jews is required at the expense of logic. Thus the mention of Astarte, a Greek goddess of Semitic origin, does not by any stretch unravel our interpretation. Indeed, “[t]he grandfather of all Aryan race theorists, French aristocrat Count Arthur de Gobineau” (1816–1882) posited that the “the Assyrians, with whom may be classed the Jews” were originally of “Aryan stock” (Glazov).

In Chapter 19, the (Indo-European) Greeks are identified as being “regarded by all Demons as a pleasant people,” (211). Here, for “people,” we may read “race.” Anatole goes on to describe this Satanic “Aryan” paradise:

“[T]he Greeks never knew a jealous god. Greece made its gods from its own genius and beauty […] and sometimes, in Athens and Delphes, beautiful young girls, smiling and robust, were seen wearing the entablature of treasures and sanctuaries [likely referring to so-called ‘sacred prostitution’]. Oh, splendor, harmony, wisdom!” (211–212).

A couple of pages later, the rapist god Priapus and the menacing phallic statues which were built to both honor him and signify threat of rape (see: 7.1) are invoked:

“At the door of the garden, where pears and pumpkins ripened and the lily flowered and the acanthus was always green, a Priapus carved from a fig tree trunk, threaten[ed] thieves with his formidable member,” (213–214).

Anatole France, having moved on to praise the Roman Empire, describes Satanic imperialism and slavery as “the most beautiful things”:

“All the countries that the great Dionysus [also known as Bacchus or Satan, according to Anatole (207)] crossed, changing savage beasts into men […] now breathed in the Roman peace. The suckler of the She-Wolf, soldier and road worker, friend of conquered peoples, built roads from the edge of the misty Ocean to the steep slopes of Caucasia; in all cities temples to Augustus and Rome were built and, such was the faith of the universe in Latin justice, that the throats of […] slave[s], close to succumbing under the weight of injustice, cried out, ‘Caesar!’ But why is it that, on this unfortunate world of earth and water, everything withers and dies and the most beautiful things are the most ephemeral? Oh, adorable girls of Greece; oh Science, oh Wisdom, oh Beauty, favorable divinities, you fell into a lethargic sleep,” (215–216).

We can note here that the notion of Satan having “chang[ed] savage beasts into men” clearly implies the attribution of a “subhuman” or Untermensch status to the “non-Aryan” “peoples [outside] of Greece and Asia” (read: Africans), given that Anatole France specifies that it was not the whole of humanity, but rather “[t]he wisest among” early Homo sapiens, “the peoples of Greece and Asia” (indicating Indo-Europeans or what Blavatsky identified as the “Aryan root-race”) who “adored” Satan (215–216; 207). This is confirmed by the fact that Anatole later refers to Africa as “monstrous,” clearly implying a psychotic racial division of the world along Manichean lines, with “Aryans,” “Indo-Europeans,” “Eurasians,” “whites,” or “men” juxtaposed against “Semites,” “Dravidians,” “Afroasiatics,” “blacks,” or “savage beasts” (see below). Considering Anatole’s use of Gnostic concepts such as the “Demiurge” or “Ialdabaoth,” it is not surprising that this theme of racial duality emerges in The Revolt of the Angels, since the “serpent seed” or “two-seedline” doctrine (often espoused by white supremacist sects), which states that Eve was impregnated by Satan in the Garden of Eden, is believed to have originated with Gnosticism.

Close parallels with Nazi ideology are found in the next passage from The Revolt of the Angels, where The Satanic Temple’s favorite author slips back into blatant racism again, explaining how Yahweh, the imposturous “evil god” of the Jews, was able to conquer Rome due to the invasion of “women and priests from Asia and monstrous Africa” and through the invention of the myth of Jesus Christ:

“[W]hile the patient [Roman] legionary camped on the banks of the Rioni and the Don [Caucasian rivers marking the boundary area between Europe and Asia], women and priests from Asia and monstrous Africa were invading the Eternal City [Rome] and disturbing the prestige of the sons of Remus. Until then, the persecutor of industrious demons, Yahweh, wasn’t known in the world that he claims to have created, except by a few miserable Syrian tribes [i.e., Jews; note that the Romans changed the name of Judaea/Judea to Syria Palaestina in 135 AD (Lehmann)], long savage [ferocious] like him, and dragged from servitude [in one place] to servitude [in another, referring to Egypt and Babylon]. Profiting from the Roman Peace [Pax Romana (27 BC–180 AD)], which assured everywhere the freedom of movement and favored the exchange of products and of ideas, this old god [Yahweh] prepared the insolent conquest of the Universe. Incidentally, he wasn’t the only one to try such a thing. In the same time as him, a mob of gods, demiurges, [and] demons […] meditated on grabbing hold of the pacified world. Of all these spirits, Yahweh seemed the least prepared to achieve victory. His ignorance, his cruelty, his pompousness, his superfluous Asiatic extravagance, his contempt for laws, his fondness of making himself invisible, should have offended these Greeks, these Latins, who had received the lessons of Dionysos [Satan] […] He himself sensed that he wasn’t capable of winning the hearts of free men […] [so] he used trickery. To seduce souls, he dreamed up a fable that, without being as ingenuous as the myths […] could touch those with weak minds, who, everywhere, are found in vulgar mobs. He proclaimed that men, having committed a crime against him, a hereditary crime, carried the penalty for it in their present life and in their future life (because mortals imagine wildly that their existence will be prolonged in Hell) and the astute Yahweh made it known that he had sent his own son to Earth to redeem with his blood the debt of Mankind. It’s not believable that punishment redeems sin, and it’s even less believable that the innocent can pay for the guilty. The suffering of an innocent person doesn’t compensate for anything and only adds evil to evil. Nevertheless, miserable beings came forward to adore Yahweh and his expiating son and they announced their mysteries as good news [gospel]. We should have expected this madness. Haven’t we seen countless times these humans, when they were poor and naked, prostrate before all the phantoms of fear, and, instead of following the lessons of favorable demons, obey the commandments of cruel demiurges? Yahweh, through his ruse, netted in the souls. But he didn’t get out of it, for his glory, the result that he expected. It wasn’t him, but his son [Jesus Christ] who received the praise of Mankind and who gave his name to the new religion [Christianity]. He himself [Yahweh] remained more or less ignored on Earth,” (217–218).

Many correspondences can be found between the above passage and the narrative of Christianity’s rise within the Roman Empire presented by Nazi Party “Intellectual and Philosophical Instructor” Alfred Rosenberg in The Myth of the Twentieth Century, published just sixteen years after Anatole France’s The Revolt of the Angels. What Anatole alludes to as “women and priests from Asia and monstrous Africa […] invading the Eternal City and disturbing the prestige of the sons of Remus” (217), Rosenberg identifies as “the […] spread of racial chaos in the ancient world,” and the “distort[ion] and confus[ion] immediately after [Christ’s] death with all the rubbish of Jewish and African life” (30). And Rosenberg clearly echoes Anatole’s talk of “Yahweh [being] known in the world [prior to Christianity, only] by a few miserable Syrian tribes, long savage [ferocious] like him” (217), when he speaks of the spread of Christianity in terms of a Jewish plot to make “the suppressed Jewish national rebellion internationally effective” (30). According to Rosenberg, “[t]he Christian movement, disrupting old forms [cf. Anatole’s ‘lessons of Dionysos’], seemed to the Pharisee Saul [i.e., Paul the Apostle] to hold great promise of practical usefulness [and so he decided to join] its ranks and, possessed by an unrestrained fanaticism, […] preached international revolution against the Roman empire,” (30). The contempt for those who Anatole describes as the “poor and naked” of the Greco-Roman world, “miserable beings [who] came forward to adore Yahweh and his expiating son” and help spread the gospel (218) is palpable when Rosenberg speaks of “[t]he Jews in Rome [knowing] very well what they were about when they placed their synagogues at [Paul the Apostle’s] disposal as places wherein he could make his proselytising [Christian] speeches” so that “[t]he parasitic Jew [could mingle] with the scum of all peoples,” (30, 226). Finally, much in the same way that the proto-fascist antisemite Anatole France posits Christianity as not having worked out exactly as the “Jewish god” Yahweh (God the Father) had expected, with Christ (God the Son) upstaging the former, official Nazi Party ideologue Rosenberg laments that “[i]n spite of all subsequent attempts at reform [i.e., ‘to defend Christianity against this collective bastardisation, orientalisation, and Judaisation’, or to make Christianity ‘an extension of ancient Aryan moral precepts’ by attributing these to Christ], [Paul the Apostle’s] teachings still remain the Jewish spiritual basis, the Talmudic oriental aspect of both the [C]atholic and the Lutheran churches,” (30–31).

From this comparative analysis, it is quite clear that, in effect, “the myth of twentieth century” is “the revolt of the angels”! Anyone who has studied and understood one of these works will, upon studying the other, instantly recognize and understand it as a parallel, as saying in prose what the other says in poetry. By reading and comprehending The Revolt of the Angels by Anatole France, one has already understood The Myth of the Twentieth Century by “Intellectual and Philosophical Educator and Instructor of the Nazi Party” Alfred Rosenberg, and vice versa. The Satanic Temple’s masterminds no doubt understand this.

The Myth of the Twentieth Century (1930) is not the only major Nazi work in which echoes of the Satanic Revolt of the Angels (1914) are to be heard. Let us compare a previously quoted passage from this last work with one from Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf (1925). Where in The Revolt of the Angels, Anatole France asks why “temples to Augustus and Rome […] fell into a lethargic sleep” (215–216), Hitler in Mein Kampf supplies the answer, noting that “Christianity was not content with erecting an altar of its own [but rather] had first to destroy the pagan altars,” (352). Where Anatole questions in lamentation, “[W]hy is it that, on this unfortunate world of earth and water, everything withers and dies and the most beautiful things are the most ephemeral?,” Hitler responds in Mein Kampf, “Each one of us to-day may regret […] the advent of Christianity […], but the fact cannot be denied that ever since [‘the advent of Christianity’,] the world is pervaded and dominated by this kind of coercion and that violence is broken only by violence and terror by terror [and ‘only then’ (after) ‘(a) philosophy of life which is inspired by an infernal spirit of intolerance (of ‘pagan altars’; i.e., «Christianity»)’ has ‘be(en) set aside by a doctrine that is advanced in an equally ardent spirit’ (i.e., ‘{a} philosophy of life’ that is of ‘an equally {«infernal»} spirit’, such as Nazism, Eurocentric neo-paganism, or Satanism)] can a new [Nazi or Satanic] regime be created by means of constructive work,” (352, my words in italics). Where Anatole speaks of “[Yahweh’s] sens[ing] that he wasn’t capable of winning the hearts of free men [leading him to resort to] trickery” and of “[the ‘hooked nose’ demonic Jew’s business] overflow[ing] with the plunders of Christian Europe,” Hitler claims that “we find throughout the history of the world […] a specifically Jewish mode of thought” involving the “substitut[ion]” of individual “personality” with “the domination of the masses” by means of “certain tricks” derived from ancient “ruses and stratagems which man employed to assist him in the struggle with other creatures for his existence” (344–346)

The above-cited comments of Hitler in Mein Kampf are enough to demonstrate the plausible authenticity of Hitler’s recorded private statements in Hitler’s Table Talk (a work which crypto-fascist historians such as Holocaust denier-sympathizing “New Atheist” Richard C. Carrier have attempted to discredit due to its clear exposure of Hitler’s anti-Christian worldview), where Hitler explicitly links Christianity and Marxism, calling the former “a prototype of Bolshevism” and asserting that both were “inventions of the Jew” designed to “mobili[ze] masses of slaves” and “undermin[e] society,” in addition to attributing the decline of the Roman Empire to “[t]he Bolsheviks of their day,” by which he means Christians (Trevor-Roper 7, 75–76, 79; see also “Preface”).

The attentive reader, recollecting the Preface to Anatomy of a Crypto-Fascist Sect, may also have already noticed that the narrative found in The Revolt of the Angels is virtually identical to that presented by Madison Grant in The Passing of the Great Race, a book published in 1916, just two years after The Revolt of the Angels. Adolf Hitler is known to have “quoted liberally from Grant in his speeches,” and even wrote the latter a letter in which he declared The Passing of the Great Race to be his “bible” (Ryback). Attesting to the fact that Anatole France was part of an international wave of eugenicist, social darwinist, anti-Christian (read: Satanic) thought that set the stage for the rise of Nazism and the Holocaust, Madison Grant argues:

“Early ascetic Christianity played a large part in [the] decline of the Roman Empire, as it was at the outset the religion of the slave, the meek, and the lowly [i.e., those ‘predominantly of Mediterranean and Oriental blood’; cf. Anatole France’s talk of the ‘poor and naked’ of the Greco-Roman world, ‘miserable beings (who) came forward to adore Yahweh and his expiating son’], while Stoicism was the religion of the strong men of the time [i.e., the ‘Nordic’ ‘master race’; cf. Anatole’s ‘pleasant people’ (211), the ‘wisest’, ‘the peoples of Greece and Asia’ (207)]. This bias in favor of the weaker elements greatly interfered with their elimination by natural processes, and the fighting force of the empire was gradually undermined. Christianity was in sharp contrast to the worship of tribal deities which preceded it, and tended then, as it does now, to break down class and race distinctions [cf. Anatole’s idealization of slavery under the Roman Empire and lamentation of the latter’s disappearance: ‘the throats of (…) slave(s) (…) cried out, ‘Caesar!’ But why is it that, on this unfortunate world (…) everything withers and dies and the most beautiful things are the most ephemeral? (215–216)]. Such distinctions are absolutely essential to the maintenance of race purity in any community when two or more races live side by side,” (97–98).

It is clear that, for Anatole France, as for the Nazis and their American counterparts in the eugenics movement, such as Madison Grant, the “problem” with Christianity is its Jewish origin. In The Revolt of the Angels, it is the fact that Yahweh, god of “savage beasts” and “miserable Syrian tribes,” has become, via Christianity, God the Father, which renders God the Son contemptible. In the worldview which emerges from this work, in combination with other Satanic Temple favorites, we are necessarily confronted with the idea that it is the Satanist’s task to—in the words of William Blake—“abolish the Jewish Imposture” at the core of Christianity and, in wake of this, revitalize the religion of “the peoples of Greece and Asia” (Indo-Europeans or “Aryans,” who owe their humanity and spiritual superiority to Satan). In this way, “literary” Satanism is synonymous with Eurocentric neo-paganism. For these “literary” Satanists, the concern with Christianity’s Jewish genetics plays not only on notions of non-Aryan spiritual inferiority, but inferiority in a material, biologically “dysgenic” sense as well. Indeed, we saw that both William Blake and Anatole France evoke the “racial” Jew, the “long spindle nosed rascal,” the “hooked nose” of the “pure Semitic type,” who naturally marries “an ugly woman” and produces ugly offspring. Just as biological “miscegenation” is blamed for the destruction of “Aryan” physiognomy, so is the figure of Jesus Christ—as the Son of a “miserable,” “savage,” “tribal” god (and therefore a product of spiritual “miscegenation”)—blamed for the destruction of “Aryan” religion.

At the same time, the apparent ease with which white supremacists alternate between Satanist and Christofascist iterations of antisemitism is explained by the fact that, in Christofascism, the “problem” with Christianity is reframed as the Jewish origin of a mere half of it (e.g., the “Semitic” Old Testament, in contrast to the “Aryanized” New Testament, as in “Positive Christianity”). Incidentally, it is for this reason that it can be said that Christofascism is a halfway stop on the way from Christianity to Satanism. Sects like “Christian Identity” are crypto-Satanist insofar as they represent an attempt by Satanists to draw those who would reject the idea of openly Satanic and pagan Nazism towards this point of view. In this sense, Christofascism could also be called a kind of half-hearted Satanism.

 

 


CONTINUE READING9. Conclusion

OR RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS (Anatomy of a Crypto-Fascist Sect: The Unauthorized Guide to “The Satanic Temple”)


 

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Pinkwashing: How “The Satanic Temple” Exploits LGBTQ+ Causes as a “Progressive” Fig Leaf

In addition to attempts to shroud its crypto-fascist rape culture with a condescending (pseudo-)“feminist” veneer, another major touchstone of The Satanic Temple’s claims to represent a “progressive” or “left-leaning” tendency within modern Satanism is constituted by the group’s efforts to attach itself to LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, etc.) causes. This can be seen, for example, in the fact that in recent years, contingents of TST members have made appearances in Pride marches (TST AZ, Satanic Temple Seattle). TST’s supporters often cite their support for “LGBTQ+ rights” as a way of derailing conscientization of their underlying ties to white supremacism and neo-fascism.

We see an example of this in Satanic Temple co-founder Douglas Misicko’s essay “Down the Spiral of Purity,” written in response to the secession of the Los Angeles chapter of TST in an act of protest against his decision to associate TST with Marc Randazza, a lawyer who habitually defends right wing extremists in court and has been involved in the case Sines et al v. Kessler et al, whose defendants include members of the neo-Nazi terrorist groups that orchestrated the violent attacks on anti-racists during the infamous August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. In the essay, Misicko dismisses the assertion of “Jex Blackmore,” a former leading member of TST turned critic who cited a lack of diversity within TST as a reason for leaving the group, by countering with the claim that “it’s certainly likely that over half of leadership and membership [of TST] are in the LGBTQ+ community[.]”

This is the same line of reasoning employed by retired US military intelligence officer and “Setian” Satanist Michael Aquino to defend his Satanic cult, the Temple of Set, from allegations of neo-Nazism extending from his fawning over Mein Kampf and pilgrimage to Wewelsburg Castle (a site strongly associated with Nazi occultism) by “pointing out that several members of the Temple of Set were of Jewish origin” (Introvigne, Satanism 351). As we saw in 6.1.1 and 6.3.3, this duplicitous claim, from the Satanist point of view, only strengthens the neo-Nazi character of the Temple of Set, since the “orthodox” Satanic opinion is that Adolf Hitler and other leaders of Nazi Germany were of Jewish origin (LaVey, Satan Speaks! 22–23). Therefore, according to the logic of Satanism, neo-Nazism in its truest form would, correspondingly, also have to be led by persons of Jewish origin.

We must anticipate that a similar line of reasoning would be applicable in the LGBTQ+ domain, but this time with a slight basis in reality. That is to say, since it is known that homosexuality was tolerated for a time within the Nazi Party, with a section of the Nazi movement’s leadership having been all but openly gay, it would be logical to posit that neo-Nazi movements would similarly include members of “the LGBTQ+ community.” In particular, Ernst Röhm (1887–1934), who led the paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party (i.e., the Sturmabteilung [SA] or “Storm Attachment,” also known as the “Brownshirts”) from 1931 to 1934, is noted as having been “the highest-ranking gay Nazi” (Wills). Another high-ranking Nazi known to have been gay was Edmund Heines (1897–1934), who Hitler appointed “to deal with ‘all matters relating to the youth movement’” (i.e., the Hitler Youth) in 1925 (Simkin, “Edmund Heines”). And in Berlin, the local “supreme leader” of the Brownshirts, Karl Ernst (1904–1934), had formerly worked at a nightclub “advertised [during the] interwar [period as a] destination for transvestites and transsexuals” (Simkin, “Karl Ernst”; Hopper). Although the aforementioned individuals were purged from the Nazi Party during the “Night of the Long Knives” in 1934, crossdressing nevertheless remained a popular pastime among members of Nazi Germany’s Wehrmacht (which existed from 1935 to 1945). (Note that while—in my opinion—crossdressing does not necessarily imply being gay, not all sincere LGBTQ+ rights advocates agree, and the two have often been perceived as closely correlating; for example, according to the renowned transgender rights activist Sylvia Rivera [1951–2002], “Transvestites are homosexual men and women who dress in clothes of the opposite sex” [Sandeed]). And although crossdressing was not unheard of among members of other nations’ militaries, it is said to have “happen[ed] way more in [Nazi] ranks” (Hopper). Similarly, the historian Lothar Machtan argues in The Hidden Hitler (2001) that the leader of Nazi Germany was a closeted homosexual. Though subject to dispute, this thesis is certainly more plausible than LaVey’s (which says that Hitler was a closeted Jew).

Even if it were possible to falsify Machtan’s thesis by proving with absolute certainty that Adolf Hitler was definitely 100% heterosexual, we should not forget that occultism is defined precisely by the embrace of “rejected knowledge,” irrationalism, and notions of “subjectivity” and “acausality” (Webb). The mythos of the “Pink Swastika,” though bordering on homophobia itself when used to say or imply that “gays caused the Holocaust” or “male homosexuality inevitably leads to atrocities and mass murder,” can be (and has been) picked up and championed by gay reactionaries and neo-Nazis looking to “innovate” their image. This is just another form of “pinkwashing,” a term referring “to the promotion of LGBT rights […] in order to mask other human rights oppressions” (Browne).

A striking example of this kind of neo-Nazi pinkwashing can be seen in the logo and “merch” of the band Death in June, which (as shown in sub-section 3.1) exists in the social orbit of The Satanic Temple, since Boyd Rice (a member of Death in June “for nearly two decades” who described the band as “very racialist-oriented”) collaborated with TST frontman Douglas Misicko to produce Satan Superstar, a book published in 2018 (Merlan, “Trolling Hell”; “Boyd Rice on Racist TV Show”).

death in june merch

Figure 7.10. These patches produced by the Satanic Temple-linked band Death in June, whose frontman Douglas Pearce is gay, feature Nazi symbols including the death’s head (or totenkopf) and the “black sun,” combined with the rainbow gay pride flag (DEATH IN JUNE Official Site). The band’s name (Death in June) refers to the Night of the Long Knives (which took place in late June 1934), when Ernst Röhm and other members of the Nazi Party’s “Brownshirt” paramilitary organization who were attracted to members of the same sex were executed. Pearce has explicitly acknowledged leading members of the Nazi Party “like Gregor Strasser and Ernst Röhm” as inspiring Death in June’s “political view for the future,” (Hatewatch Staff).

The pinkwashing of neo-fascism under the guise of Satanism is intimately tied up with the kind of eroticization of Nazism which was put on display at the “Black Mass” held by The Satanic Temple in Los Angeles in 2017, “billed as the largest Satanic gathering in history” (Wikipedia editors, “The Satanic Temple”; 6.3.3). Susan Sontag, a culture critic who was herself bisexual, observed in 1974 that “it is among male homosexuals that the eroticizing of Nazism [and the attachment of sadomasochism to Nazi symbolism] is most visible” and asked, “How could a regime which persecuted homosexuals become a gay turn-on?” The answer to this question would appear to lie in what film critics Joan Picart and David A. Frank discuss as “the triumph of fantasy in the face of increasing commercialization of the Holocaust” in relation to Apt Pupil, a horror film from 1998 dealing with themes of homophobia and homoeroticism in which a teenage American boy develops a bizarre and inappropriate relationship with his elderly neighbor after discovering that the latter is a fugitive Nazi war criminal. It would seem that as the erotic desire to fulfill the fantasy of the ultimate sexual experience of the sadomasochistic type came to be translated into a market demand that could be met with “sexy” commodities evocative of the Nazi regime, a process of alienation took place vis-à-vis historical memory.

It certainly seems “weird” that “a regime which persecuted homosexuals [could] become a gay turn-on.” But was this “destined” to be? Although they differ in etymology, the words “weird” and “queer” phonetically resemble each other closely and can have the same meaning. This is interesting because the concept of “Wyrd,” an Old English word meaning destiny or fate and the source of the modern English word “weird,” is a regular trope in the discourse of both the Temple of Set and the Order of Nine Angles, ideological cousins of The Satanic Temple. Etymologically, wyrd is believed to come from the Proto-Indo-European root *wer-, meaning “to bend” (i.e., to make not straight). Although we can say in retrospect that the weird appearance of the idea of “queer” or “gay Nazism,” both as fantasy and as reality, was determined (and therefore “destined” in a way) by certain definite causes, we might also predict that the “Pink Swastika” is likely to be destined to disappear with critical conscientization of how the Nazi linking of homophobia and homoeroticism comes fundamentally from a place of alienation, which most will subsequently desire to overcome. The Nazi homophobia-homoeroticism complex evinces alienation in at least two senses. If evidence of a link between “homophobia [and] individuals with an unacknowledged attraction to the same sex” (alienation from oneself) is not sufficient to form a unique “explanation for [all] homophobia,” then it would be a question of alienation from historical memory for those who acknowledge their same-sex attraction but nevertheless indulge in the fantasy of projecting their sexuality through the prism of Nazism (Bronski et al.).

We can observe that Misicko’s application of the “But We Are Inclusive” trope appears to be executed with a noticeably higher level of sloppiness than Aquino’s however, due to the impoverishment of his argument in terms of intersectionality theory. In “Down the Spiral of Purity,” Misicko demonstrates some awareness of the fact that having TST members who “are in the LGBTQ+ community” means nothing in terms of disproving the fact of the group’s lack of diversity in terms of “race,” noting that “[i]t is true that People of Color have been slow to embrace Satanism.” This certainly comes as no surprise, since, as we saw in 4.1.1, there is a particularly strong disdain within Satanist circles for African-American Christians, with numerous individuals leaving hateful comments on a Youtube video titled “Crazy Black Christians Protest Baphomet Statue,” from the time in 2015 when all-white mobs of Satanic Temple supporters invaded the Black-majority city of Detroit for a Satanist party where a banner displaying a neo-fascist symbol used by the “anti-anti-racist” band Crass (based on the Nazi “broken sun cross” symbol) was hung from the stage.

In “Queer Fascism: Why White Nationalists Are Trying to Drop Homophobia,” an anonymous antifascist author points out that the effort by segments of the neo-Nazi movement, including the so-called “Alt-Right,” to combine “queer identity with open fascism” and make neo-fascism appealing to gay men in particular “may seem bizarre to those who understand white nationalism [as] just existing on the far right of a left-right spectrum, where homophobia seems like it would come before the open racialism,” (AntifascistFront). It is this overly diagrammatic, vulgarized view of political opinions as existing along a fixed “spectrum” which crypto-fascists exploit to conceal their genuine political position. If a person operates with this superficial understanding of politics in mind, they are likely to be easily duped into discounting allegations of crypto-fascism against The Satanic Temple, uttering, “But they can’t be neo-fascist; they support gay rights!” as a kind of knee jerk response. Likely they also place so-called “conspiracist ideation” on the far-right end of the political spectrum. People of this sort should be reminded that there is nothing “new” or “innovative” to this deceptive cherry-picking of a few “left-wing” positions, because Nazism, with its “sinister runic humbug” and false pretensions of being the real “socialism,” has been synonymous with crypto-fascism from its inception. What needs to be done in order to fight the type of fascism which is of concern here then is to raise awareness of this fact and foster conscientization of the development of modern Satanism in terms of its material role in the re-encryption of fascism post-WWII, gone into hyperdrive under the guise of “The Satanic Temple” since 2013. When didactic diagrams of the political “spectrum” block critical thinking by reifying ideology, they become a hindrance to the conscientization of theology.

Those who obstinately hold on to the notion of a “left-wing Satanism” in the face of the mountain of evidence falsifying the plausibility of such a thing’s material existence constituted by the research compiled for this work, such as the members of the former Los Angeles chapter of The Satanic Temple who broke away to form their own micro-sect (“The Satanic Collective”) in response to TST and Misicko’s relationship with Randazza, remain mired in the same ideological idealism that allows neo-fascism to memetically spread itself through encryption as “modern Satanism” in the first place. The idea of a “left-wing Satanism” is as absurd as that of a “left-wing Nazism.” Incidentally, this is exactly how many neo-fascists attempt to make open Nazism viable again, by “profess[ing] to see themselves more in the tradition of the Nazi Party’s Strasserite ‘left’ than as Hitlerites” (Young, my scare quotes). (Note that Strasserism is a brand of Nazism associated with Gregor [1892–1934] and Otto Strasser [1897–1974], two brothers who jockeyed with Hitler for power and influence within the Nazi Party). Just as the idea of a “Nazi Left” depends on not only the removal of the Nazi Party from a wider historical context outside itself and any semblance of an understanding of the material results of Nazism, but also on the idealistic conceptualization of a “circular” or “horseshoe”-shaped political spectrum where anti-capitalism seems like it would come before antisemitism, so does the idea of a “Satanic Left” depend on ignorance of modern Satanism’s post-WWII development under the steady influence of the far-right and Western “intelligence community” projects and operations (themselves rooted in Nazi research and interest in the occult), as well as on an aestheticized political arena in which one cannot move to confront Christofascism without passing through a Satanic anticlericalism. Those who have split with TST over its ties to the “Alt-Right” but nevertheless attempt to protect their egos by clinging to Satanism and claiming to independently carry on the “true” Satanic “Reformation” are the Strasser brothers of modern Satanism. By sowing more illusion in the viability of “left-wing Satanism,” they only reinforce crypto-fascism. Indeed, in the conclusion to this Unauthorized Guide we will see that virtually every example of “left-wing Satanism” outside TST which has been cited by apologists for such a concept who nevertheless recognize the “problematic” aspects of TST reveals itself to be a farce.

 

 


CONTINUE READING… 8. A “Literary” Satanism? Decrypting Proto-Fascist and Antisemitic Themes in The Revolt of the Angels by Anatole France

OR RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS (Anatomy of a Crypto-Fascist Sect: The Unauthorized Guide to “The Satanic Temple”)

Witchy Protests and Fake Feminists: The “Satanic Panic”-cum-“Burning Times” as Völkisch Myth and its Basis in Antiziganism

Despite the fact that The Satanic Temple has openly made a spectacle of symbolically perpetrating male sexual violence against a woman’s corpse, its leader having rubbed his genitals on a woman’s grave under the nonsensical pretense of pretending to turn her into a lesbian (7.2), the sect nevertheless attempts to portray itself as being aligned with feminism and women’s liberation movements by posturing as a group engaged in pro-choice activism and which defends the rights to abortion and access to contraception. Charity campaigns are used to foster the image of TST as a “feminist” organization. For example, in 2018 the Arizona chapter of TST initiated a campaign called “Menstruatin’ with Satan,” collecting donated products such as tampons and feminine wipes to be distributed in schools via the YWCA program “Project Period.” This campaign was then used by the Satanists as a pretext to launch attacks on the YWCA (the Young Women’s Christian Association), which, despite its name, is a secular, non-faith-based organization dedicated to fighting racism, after members of the crypto-fascist sect started an online smear campaign against the YWCA, falsely accusing the secular anti-racist and feminist organization of no longer accepting donations collected by TST, a religious organization founded by a proponent of eugenics and a critic of racial desegregation in public schools (Felix, YWCA 2, Matirko). As an aside, it’s worth pointing out here that the neo-Nazi group NSM (or National “Socialist” [sic] Movement), which has known ties to the Satanist group Joy of Satan Ministry, has also protested against the YWCA due to the latter holding anti-racism workshops (Lunning). Another example of TST attempting to pass itself off as “feminist” can be found in a Vice video report titled “Inside the Satanic Temple’s Fight to Protect Your Abortion Rights,” which uncritically regurgitates TST’s portrayal of itself as a pro-women’s rights organization, showing members of the sect counterprotesting an anti-abortion protest while dressed in BDSM garb, diapers, and “baby” masks. TST’s attachment of BDSM apparel to infancy is doubly concerning, given the sect’s known tendency to attach BDSM to Nazi symbolism, hosting private parties where the eroticization of the power imbalance between SS officers and Holocaust victims is discernible, which, as we have coincidentally seen, is ideologically linked to the sexual fetishization of parent-child incest due to the Nordicist or Eurocentric neo-pagan view that ancient “Aryan” religious imperatives, such as that of incestuous coupling (or xwēdōdah) found in Zoroastrianism, can be justifiably appropriated by white supremacists from Asian cultures in which languages of the Indo-European family are or were spoken (6.3.3).

Part of what makes it possible for cryptic neo-fascists to use the aesthetics of “Satanism” as an entryist vehicle into left-wing political causes is the fact that there is some scattered precedent for the use of quasi-“Satanic” aesthetics by the political Left, although these have generally fallen short of actually claiming to uphold “Satanism” as a religion. For example, members of the left-wing Esperanto language group “Sennacieca Asocio Tutmonda” (also known as SAT or “World Anational [i.e., without nationalism] Association” in English), which was founded in 1921, have been known to refer to themselves as “SATanoj,” an Esperanto word meaning “Satans” (Lins 172, 209). Another example is that of the so-called “Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell,” or WITCH, founded in 1968 as the “action wing” of New York Radical Women, a second wave feminist group (Purkiss 8). A number of commentators, noting that “witchy protests are on the rise,” have observed that The Satanic Temple appears to draw on the legacy of WITCH (Sinders, Wood). For this reason, it’s worth taking a closer look at WITCH in order to arrive at an answer to the question of whether and to what extent the ability of neo-fascists to successfully adopt the “witchy” model of protest as a movement-entryist tactic represents a perversion of the WITCH legacy or whether and to what extent WITCH, with its identification with a term connotative of Eurocentric neo-paganism, was already problematic to begin with, considering especially the fact that Eurocentric neo-paganism was, by the late 1960s, already associated with neo-Nazism via groups like the Church of Satan, founded in 1966, and the Odinist Fellowship, founded in 1969 (Gardell 152).

It can be observed that WITCH, in its founding “Manifesto,” drew from its inception explicitly on the white supremacist tradition of appropriating a heavily romanticized fictional version of Rromani culture while at the same time perpetuating antiziganist (i.e., anti-Gypsy) stereotypes that have a very real negative impact on Rroma. In this first public statement, the group’s founders define “WITCH” as “an awareness that witches and gypsies […] have always been […] sexually liberated” (Adler 225). This inane statement demonstrates several levels of ignorance.

Firstly, far from “hav[ing] always been […] sexually liberated,” it must be recognized that Rromani people (or “Gypsy” women and men) were continuously held in slavery from as early as the 1370s until as late 1861, being subject throughout this period to invasive regulation of, and intrusion into, their sexual lives (Achim 13, 131). Enslavement of Rromani people was most systematized in the Romanian principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, but was also practiced in Western Europe into the 18th century. Historian Viorel Achim notes in The Roma in Romanian History that “marriages contracted [between ‘Gypsy slaves’] without the permission of their masters […] led to many disputes between [different masters], which usually resulted in the annulment of the marriages,” (31). Rromani slaves in the Romanian principalities were also forbidden from marrying non-Rromani peasants “in most situations” (Szeman 177). Even worse, slaveholding boyars (i.e., Romanian nobles) regularly subjected Rromani women and girls to “sexual abuse and exploitation,” continuing the medieval tradition of “ius prima noctis” into the 19th century (ibid., 178; Pătrașcu Zamfirache).

The conflation of Rromani culture with witchcraft, which was historically used as a justification for genocidal campaigns waged by European monarchs against Rromani people during the early modern period and which we find reinvoked in WITCH’s formulation of ““witches and gypsies” (as though practically the same thing) is also deeply problematic. Contrary to what the WITCH narrative would appear to want to imply (i.e., that “gypsies” were the victims of irrational witch-hunting hysteria), Rroma were targeted for annihilation by “enlightened” rulers seeking to “modernize” their countries and put an end to the witch-hunting “craze” precisely because their very existence (i.e., their existence as Rromani people) was blamed for perpetuating and giving rise to the kinds of popular superstitions which caused witch-hunts to occur in the first place. The coincidence of genocidal anti-Gypsy laws and edicts aiming to stop witch trials by stamping out belief in witchcraft and promoting “skepticism” and “rationalism” was no mere happenstance, but rather was, across Europe—from France to Hungary—part of a singular “Enlightenment” project in which “Gypsies” and the persistence of magical thinking were construed as “problems” requiring one and the same solution.

Rroma were seen as “exploit[ing] the superstitions of the majority population” by generating income through the performance of “healing ceremonies” and giving advice or “fortune-telling” (Matras 184). Because “their foreign appearance” was said to be the source of the majority population’s willingness to believe that the Rroma “actually possessed supernatural powers,” “enlightened” rulers seeking to eliminate belief in witchcraft seem to have concluded that if they could totally annihilate cultural and bio-physical signifiers of Rromani “foreign appearance,” they would thereby eliminate a major source of the kind of folkloric epistemology quickly coming to be seen as a hindrance to the development of a modern capitalist economy (ibid.).

For example, it can be seen that the “Enlightenment” values of “rationalism” and “skepticism” which in 1766 led Empress Maria Theresa (1717–1780) to move towards the abolition of witch-hunting in the Habsburg Empire (later known as the Austrian Empire and then the Austro-Hungarian Empire) were the same ones which also led her, during the same period (between 1758 and 1773), to implement a series of decrees aiming to eliminate Rromani people as a distinct group (Kern, rombase). Maria Theresa’s 1766 edict, which attacked “the persistent magical beliefs of the populace,” was titled “An Article on Sorcery, Witchcraft, Divination, and Similar Activities” and is said to have represented a “rationalization of the judicial processes that we [scholars and historians] have come to expect from so-called enlightened despots” (Kern 161). Among the steps taken to wipe out Rromani people living in parts of what are now Hungary and Romania in the years surrounding the 1766 decree which aimed to stamp out belief in the supernatural were the following:

  • forced sedentarization (1758),
  • prohibition of a distinct ethnonym for Rromani people, who were henceforth to be called “new peasants,” “new settlers,” or “new Hungarians” (1761),
  • withdrawal of legal recognition of Rromani community leaders (known as voivodes) and prohibition of the Rromani language, traditional clothing, and occupations (1767),
  • prohibition of “marriages between Gypsies,” implementation of strict controls on “mixed marriages,” and ordering “that all children over the age of five should be taken away from their parents and be handed over to a Hungarian farmer’s family” (1773) (Achim 71–72; rombase).

Even more conclusive is the timing of a decree by King Louis XIV of France almost a century earlier. In an edict titled “Declaration of the King of the 11th of July 1682, rendered against Bohemians and those who harbor them,” Louis called on French law enforcement officers…

“to arrest all those who call themselves Bohemians or Egyptians, their women, children, and others of their kind, to enchain the men as slaves, to be led to our galleys, and serve there in perpetuity [and] as for their women and girls […] to shave [their heads] the first time they will be found living as Bohemians […] and [if they] continue […] to live as Bohemians, to whip them and banish them from the Kingdom,” (Freminville 81–82).

Later that month, on July 31, 1682, the “Sun King” issued another edict, titled “Edict of the King for the Punishment of Different Crimes,” which ordered…

“That all persons […] calling themselves fortune-tellers [practitioners of divination] will get out of the Kingdom after the publication of our present Declaration, or face corporal punishment,” (Coynart 274–275).

The same edict contains further clauses threatening even worse punishments, enumerating offenses related to superstition, belief in and pretended practice of witchcraft, and the use of poisons:

“We [the authorities of the Kingdom of France] forbid all superstitious practices […] whether by saying or doing things that have no relation to natural causes, we want that those who will be found to have taught [superstitious practices], together with those who will have put them into use, and who have used them for whatever ends […] be exemplarily punished […]

“And if there would be found in the future people mean enough to add and join to superstition impiety and sacrilege, under the pretext of operations claimed to be magical or another similar pretext, we want that the persons convicted [of pretending to do magical works] be punished with death.

“To be similarly punished are all those who will be convicted of using vénéfices [poisoning by magic spell] and poison, whether death be the result or not, as well as those who will be convicted of making or distributing poison,” (ibid. 275).

These edicts were mainly a result of the so-called “Affair of the Poisons,” a period during the reign of Louis XIV of interest here for the reason that it is in these events of the mid-to-late 17th century, and not with the founding of the Church of Satan in 1966, that the roots of the “modern Satanism” phenomenon may be located, with many scholars concluding that “Black Mass” ceremonies, alleged to have included human sacrifice in some cases, were carried out in Paris at this time, with underground groups continuing the practice into the 18th century (Introvigne, Satanism: A Social History 42).  Indeed, the historian Massimo Introvigne concludes, after a presentation of the “Affair of the Poisons” which is somewhat skeptical in tone, that he is “inclined to believe that a [Black Mass] ritual and an embryonic organization did exist, and [that] the Paris incident was a first instance of proto-Satanism,” (Satanism: A Social History 43). Anne Somerset provides some further context in The Affair of the Poisons: Murder, Infanticide and Satanism at the Court of Louis XIV, noting that…

“The Affair of the Poisons was the name given to an extraordinary episode which took place in France during the reign of Louis XIV. In 1679 fears that poisoning had become widespread led to drastic action. What followed seemed to show that there was a serious problem, for an investigation suggested that many people were indeed using poison and black magic to rid themselves of enemies. Numerous arrests and executions resulted, with torture being widely used and suspects including distinguished individuals from the highest ranks of society,” (25).

While the architects of these early Black Masses were “renegade [Catholic] priests,” also implicated in the poisons scandal was a “magical underworld” of self-styled “soothsayers” and “sorcerers” whose clients included “high-ranking aristocrats” and which dealt in the sale of a variety of goods, including—in addition to poisons—“love potions, grimoires and other books with magical rituals for all occasions, charms intended to bring good luck in business, love, and gambling,” as well as services such as abortion and treasure-hunting (Introvigne, Satanism: A Social History 38–39; Somerset 387). Here it is a question of the “Court of Miracles,” immortalized in Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1831). Interestingly, the first description of the “Court of Miracles” is said to be in the 1616 work of a writer named Richard de Romany (Kraemer 264). One suspect, among many others, in the “Affair of the Poisons” was a man also named Romani, said “to have planned to poison [a woman] by disguising himself as [a] silk merchant and selling her poisoned gloves,” (Somerset 19). Given these indicators, as well as Louis XIV’s edicts calling for the enslavement and persecution of the Rromani community in France at this time, it seems likely that some Rroma were involved in the “magic” business; however, what is even more certain is that the Rroma, and the nascent urban working class in general (members of the Third Estate under the Ancien Régime), also served as a scapegoat, allowing those implicated in the actual Black Masses—the thrill-seeking superstitious aristocrats of the Second Estate, some of the earliest “slum tourists,” and the Black Mass-officiating “renegade priests” of the First Estate, with their sadism, megalomaniacal bloodlust, and sexual scheming no doubt a product of their privileged position in the feudal hierarchy (and desire to advance therein)—to escape relatively unscathed. In 1682, after Louis XIV’s then favorite mistress and mother of several of his children, the Marquise Françoise Athénaïs de Montespan (1640–1707), was implicated in Satanic rituals, the “Sun King” halted the investigation and had all the suspects who might talk about her involvement “incarcerated for life in faraway fortresses, with all contacts with outsiders forbidden” (Introvigne, Satanism: A Social History 38). In this way, by pivoting away from the aristocratic aficionados of the Black Mass and projecting deviance onto the Third Estate commoners and especially Rroma, some of whom made a living in part by generating income through the performance of “healing ceremonies” and by giving advice (deemed “superstition” and “fortune-telling” by outsiders), he avoided a major scandal that would not only have implicated his favorite mistress, but would also have threatened to reveal systemic hypocrisy and moral depravity among the First and Second Estates (i.e., clergy and nobles).

What is significant about the French edicts of July 1682 is that, as with the Habsburg edicts of 1758–1773, they demonstrate that the worst violence against the Rromani communities of the early modern era was not perpetrated by hysterical witch-hunters, but rather at the behest of “rational” despots eager to wipe out folkloric epistemology and “superstition.” We see that the “Enlightenment” era project of wiping out superstitious belief in witches (and vampires, who, unlike witches, were more often male) was intimately tied to the will of “modernizing” genocidal policy-makers to wipe out “Gypsies” from actual physical existence, whether by outlawing the Rromani language, identity, and traditional clothing, separating Rromani families, or enslaving and deporting Rromani people.

Rromani women’s rights activist Carmen Gheorghe identifies the stereotype seized upon by WITCH as that of “the passionate Gypsy woman” (although the founders of WITCH didn’t even bother to capitalize the ethnic epithet, opting instead for “gypsy”) in See Me as I Am: Words and Images of Roma Women, where she also notes that there is a tendency for “stereotypical and racist representations [of Rromani women to be] mingled with hypocritical attempts at ‘affirmative’ representations” (as with WITCH’s grasping onto the racist stereotype of the “sexually liberated gypsy witch” as an “inspirational” device). Gheorghe writes:

“Together with other stereotypical representations of Roma women in literature, art and mass culture – such as the ‘Gypsy’ as witch, florist, servant or thief – a representation which persists in public coverage is that of the ‘passionate Gypsy woman,’ the voluptuous, exotic and seductive woman who drives men insane and is thus the embodiment of ‘white’ men’s fantasies. This myth combines sexism, by presenting women as exclusively sexual beings, dangerous in their irrational seductiveness, with racism – which reduces Roma women to ‘exotic,’ mysterious creatures, closer to nature and its dangers,” (180).

Based on the fact that the mythical “sexy wandering gypsy” which the founders of WITCH invoke in their founding statement is a completely misleading and racist stereotype, we can anticipate that there is not much difference between the WITCH organization’s idea of the “gypsy” and that of the “witch” in terms of either one’s historicity. It is also quite telling to recall that Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan who attempted to justify his admiration for Nazism (and collaboration with neo-Nazis) by claiming that Nazism was a crypto-Jewish movement, also claimed to be of “Gypsy” descent. Needless to say, the image of the “Gypsy” which LaVey leeched off of was identical to that of WITCH.

WITCH has also played a significant role in propagating the so-called “Burning Times” myth; i.e., the false claim that “nine million” women were burned at the stake as witches during the early modern period in an effort to stamp out a “half-submerged pagan religion,” often portrayed as having pre-Christian, matriarchal roots (Adler 225, Purkiss 7). Before WITCH, the claim of “nine million” women killed in the “Burning TImes” was propagated in Nazi Germany by the antisemite Mathilde Ludendorff (1877–1966), a so-called “völkisch feminist,” in a 1936 pamphlet called “Christian Cruelty to German Women” (Bailey 237–238). Later scholarship has attempted to portray the “Burning Times” as an “epistemicide”—a systematic effort to “decimate forms of knowing outside the Cartesian logics” (Esmonde and Booker 121). Ironically, it is not the so-called “Burning Times” which represents an episode of epistemicide, but precisely the opposite. It is the “enlightened” move to abolish belief in the real existence of witchcraft and wipe out “superstitious” ways of knowing (e.g., ways of knowing who is a witch, or what must be done to destroy a vampire) seen as incompatible with “modernity” and capitalist development, which represents the real epistemicide, which in turn led to genocide. Indeed, we saw how the conflation of “Gypsies” with “backwardness” and “superstitious” ways of knowing (still present today in antiziganist stereotypes) undoubtedly led to the designs of “enlightened” rulers to eradicate Rromani culture and people. In terms of “half-submerged pagan religion,” it must be admitted that angelology and demonology, the quasi-polytheistic frameworks of supernatural belief which informed witch-hunting and the levelling of witchcraft accusations during the early modern era, have clear analogues in paganism, with virtually all cultures around the world having developed beliefs about spiritual entities who could be beneficent or malevolent (Evans 9). In this way, we see demonological epistemology and witch-hunting within Christianity and on the part Christians as the artifacts of a “half-submerged pagan religion.” Thus the suppression of witch-hunting, linked across Europe to genocide campaigns against Rromani people, constitutes the suppression of a “half-submerged pagan religion,” the space for sincere polytheism within Christianity.

As the emergence of modern capitalism gave way to a kind of disillusionment with the disenchanted world in which the thought of credulous belief in the existence of witchcraft, vampirism, and the like was met with scorn or ridicule, increasing numbers of Western individuals began to project “a sense of unfulfilled longings and desires” onto romanticized, false images of Rromani people, who really had, to a certain extent, kept the ways of knowing associated with the so-called “Burning Times” alive (rombase, “Stereotypes and Folklorism”). With a “nesting of Orientalisms,” European Rroma (or rather, segments of the Rromani population arbitrarily selected as the most “authentic” due to their being perceived by outsiders as the most “backward” or nomadic) became a source of “inspiration” for the despiritualized Westerner, with some so-called “Gypsologists” remarking, seemingly with some astonishment, that “[i]n Gypsy belief, the conception persists that [a married woman without children] made love to a vampire before getting married and this is the reason for her infertility,” (Mara, “Ţiganii: geneza unei structuri identitare marginale” 78). That the belief in such a conception could easily lend itself to the kind of “dangerous” accusations associated with the so-called “Burning Times” doesn’t matter to the cultural appropriators, who are more interested in projecting their “unfulfilled longings” onto the racist stereotype of “the sexually liberated gypsy witch” than in having any real understanding or authentic engagement with Rromani histories and contemporary situations.

The most emblematic episode of witch-hunting in North America is without a doubt the Salem witch trials, the mythos of which The Satanic Temple can be observed to attempt to link itself up with by having established its official headquarters in Salem, Massachusetts (despite the group’s largest chapter being in Detroit, Michigan). Given (1) TST’s efforts to frame the so-called “Satanic Panic of the 1980s and 1990s” as a “modern day witch-hunt” (see: Chapter 6) and (2) the observation that TST’s model of protest owes much to the legacy of WITCH, it is safe to say that we may consider the so-called “Satanic Panic” as a kind of “modern day Burning Times” myth. If the “Burning Times” was conceived as “a Holocaust of women,” then the “Satanic Panic” is similarly, though even more absurdly, construed along the lines of “a Holocaust of Satanists.” By examining the “Burning Times” myth and seeing that it fails to measure up to the reality of witch-hunting in the early modern era, we will see that, in a completely analogous way, the “Satanic Panic” myth fails to measure up to the reality of the “moral panic” narrative’s status as a meme for those eager to dismiss concerns about neo-fascist operations and the organized aspects of sexual abuse as “exaggerated.”

Diane Purkiss shows in her book The Witch in History how proponents of the “Burning Times” myth appropriate modes of discourse associated with Holocaust remembrance (e.g., “testimony, recollection and traumatic inarticulacy”), despite showing little interest in accurately assessing or contextualizing historical witch-hunts (7–29). Purkiss criticizes proponents of the idea that the “Burning Times” can be seen as a kind of “[Women’s] Holocaust,” noting that they habitually attempt to present the “Burning Times” as more destructive or more atrocious than the Holocaust, inflating the number of women who are said to have been burned as witches to be greater than the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust “as if a competition is afoot” and as if they were trying “to prove that women have suffered more than victims of racism or genocide (as though women have not been among the victims of racism and genocide)” (17). This can clearly be seen to mirror the discourse of Holocaust obfuscationist far-right Ukrainian nationalists who apologize for the collaboration of Ukrainian fascists with Nazi Germany by inflating the number of Ukrainians who died in the so-called “Holodomor,” often alleging that the latter was worse than the Holocaust and that Jews were disproportionately represented in the Soviet government, which they allege deliberately orchestrated famine in Eastern Europe during the 1930s. Purkiss also highlights the fact that the term “Burning Times”—an attempt to allude to the crematoria of Nazi death camps—is itself inaccurate; English “witches” (and English or Anglo-American white settler “witches”) were, for the most part, hanged, not burned at the stake (Purkiss 8, 17).

The tendency to appropriate Holocaust remembrance modes of discourse reflects a more general trend of upholding the Holocaust as the paradigmatic prism through which the concept of modern human atrocity is abstractly viewed. Purveyors of the absurd “Burning Times” legend attempt to give some semblance of validity to their myth by approximating the Holocaust remembrance mode of discourse which interrogates the relation between fantasy and trauma (pioneered in works such as Georges Perec’s W, ou le souvenir d’enfance [1975]), appropriating Jewish cultural theorist Edith Wyschogrod’s concept of “ficción,” defined as a way of presenting “the kernel of contemporary concerns read through a historical lens” (Shuck). Nevertheless, there must necessarily be a fundamental difference between presenting “contemporary concerns” through a lens of falsified history and presenting them through a lens of authentic history. By appropriating the Holocaust remembrance mode of discourse to affirm the historicity of something which is demonstrably ahistorical, exponents of the “Burning Times” myth participate in an oblique form of Holocaust denialism. This is compounded by the fact that the “enlightened” move to abolish the epistemologies of “superstition” anticipated in a very real way the actual Holocaust, as “enlightened” European rulers sought to “modernize” their countries by eradicating Rromani people and culture for their role in producing, or contributing to the persistence of, those “backward” epistemologies. In this way, proponents of the “Burning Times” myth celebrate genocide, adding insult to injury by prattling on about “sexually liberated gypsies,” sometimes even denying the Rromani ethnic connotation of that term by refusing to capitalize it.

In Purkiss’ observation that proponents of the “Burning Times” myth largely construes “racism and genocide” as separate from sexism (insofar as they regard the Holocaust, for example, as essentially “not a women’s issue”), we can begin to read a certain opposition in the myth to intersectionality and therefore also a tendency to construct “feminism” as being largely a matter of “white” women’s rights. This is indicative of the fact that the “Burning Times” myth is in large part a white supremacist myth masquerading as a “feminist” one. This, in turn, is confirmed by the fact that Nazism was the first political movement to champion the “Burning Times” myth, with so-called “völkisch feminists” arguing for “the superiority of Aryan wom[e]n over the men of degenerate races” and citing the witch-hunts of the early modern era as a “Judeo-Christian” effort to “destroy Aryan womanhood” (Bailey 237). A remarkable degree of psychological projection can be observed in the fact that, in the same time that Nazis were spreading tales of the witch-hunts having been “an attempt to exterminate all wom[e]n carrying Aryan racial features, as a means to eliminate the Aryan race entirely from Europe,” they were also carrying out the Holocaust (ibid.).

Viewing the “Burning Times” myth as a pseudo-historical device through which the contemporary concerns of the myth’s proponents in the United States from the late 1960s up to the present are expressed, it can be seen that the myth still carries a great deal of white supremacist baggage, although it is conveyed in a significantly more subtle way than it was in Nazi Germany. Although three of those accused (but not executed) in the Salem witch trials were members of the African diaspora (McMillan 104), we nevertheless find in the Salem events of 1692 and 1693 a narrative of “white victimhood” more palatable to a colonizer culture in which overt racism has, to an extent, lost favor than we do in the events that surrounded it (i.e., “King William’s War” or the “Candlemas Massacre,” in which several times more “innocent” English colonizers, including women, were killed by Wabanaki opponents of English colonialism than died in the witch-hunt). In “Black Magic: Witchcraft, Race, and Resistance in Colonial New England,” Timothy McMillan notes that the practice of levelling witchcraft accusations provided a means by which “slaves were able to express their resentment of [w]hites in a socially acceptable form and also to escape punishment,” (107). From this fact we can begin to gather that witch-hunting in the early modern era did not in any way resemble a unitary, conspiratorial campaign to wipe out “forms of knowing outside the Cartesian logics,” but rather a disparate array of episodes loosely informed by a common cultural idiom of quasi-polytheistic demonological epistemology.

One “Burning Times” myth apologist has argued that “critics of Wicca” fail to realize that “[w]hether or not Wiccan accounts of the Burning Times are historically accurate is of little concern […] What matters is that Wiccans themselves value the account of these events, a narrative that reflects rather than directs their contemporary resistance,” (Shuck). It is true that the “Burning Times” as pseudo-historical narrative merits consideration not only in terms of whether it is accurate (it isn’t), but also in terms of how the act of expressing (genuine or disingenuous) belief in the patently ahistorical “Burning Times” narrative reflects “contemporary concerns.” Earlier (6.2 and 6.2.1), we saw how the desire to dismiss contemporary concerns about sexual abuse (concerns which have found expression in recent years via the #MeToo movement) as “exaggerated” are read through the falsified historical lens of the “Satanic Panic of the 1980s and 1990s,” the term “moral panic” often being invoked to suggest that false accusations of sexual abuse are a much bigger problem than actual sexual abuse. Now, we will see how the desire to build a Eurocentric neo-pagan “religion of the blood” to serve as the racialistic ideological glue of a fascist society has historically been the basis for reading contemporary concerns through the “Burning Times” myth.

In the year 1935 in Nazi Germany, “Reichsführer-SS” Heinrich Himmler (1900–1945) established the Hexen-Sonderkommando (“Witches-Special Unit”) “as a component of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD),” the intelligence agency of the SS, in order to collect data on the persecution of witches during the early modern period (Purkiss, “English Witches and SS Academics” 5). A member of the “Witches-Special Unit” described the group’s goal as being “to identify remnants of ancient Germanic beliefs and […] utilize the information gained about the witch trials in anti-Christian propaganda, specifically directed against the Roman Catholic Church,” (Sebald 254–255). The idea that the “persecuted witches” of what would later be sensationalized as the “Burning Times” were actually “Celto-Germanic Aryans practicing superior Nature religion and suffering merciless persecution under an inferior religion, Christianity, which […] was afflicted […] by Semitic origin,” was not original to Himmler (Sebald 254). Credit for popularizing this idea, sometimes called the “witch-cult hypothesis” is often given to “Grandmother of Wicca” Margaret Murray (1863–1963), whose book The Witch Cult in Western Europe (1921) argued that the witch trials of the early modern could be seen as the struggle of a “surviving sect of pagans, persecuted by the intolerant church,” (Sebald 254; Purkiss, The Witch in History 62). However, the “witch-cult hypothesis” already had racist connotations at the time Murray’s work appeared. Guido von List (1848–1919), the godfather of the proto-Nazi “Aryan” racialist/German nationalist ideology of Ariosophy, propagated the theory before Murray, “claiming that the Armanenschaft [i.e., the ‘Aryan’ pagan priesthood] had never been destroyed, but had survived [‘the Christian epoch’] in secret conventicles,” (Goodrick-Clarke, Occult Roots of Nazism 63).

The discourse of groups espousing Wicca, Ariosophy, Satanism, and the like frequently evinces a desire to cultivate the perception that their hoaky ideologies have deep roots in occult traditions spanning thousands of years, utter lack of historical evidence for this often being explained away by claims of communication with “secret chiefs,” “secret masters,” “dark gods” and the like, who have supposedly kept these so-called “traditions” alive; Goodrick-Clarke notes that “[t]he myth of an occult elite […] in European ideology […] has been a perennial theme of post-Enlightenment occultism, which attempts to restore the certainties and security of religious orthodoxy within a sectarian context,” (Occult Roots of Nazism 65). The Nazi Hexen-Sonderkommando and Wiccans’ wanting-to-believe in the so-called “witch-cult hypothesis” of “Armanen priest-kings” or “wiccan covens” being persecuted by the Church is reflective of this. The neo-Nazi “Order of Nine Angles” similarly claims roots in a “Satanic” tradition stretching into antiquity via its supposed basis in the 1970s merger of a Wiccan group called “Camlad” or “Rounwytha” with two other sects, despite the ONA’s obvious LaVeyan derivativeness (Introvigne 357; 3.2.1.1). True-believers in the “moral panic” narrative of crypto-Communist psychiatrists using “Red Chinese brainwashing techniques” to plant “false memories” of abusive “intergenerational” Satanic cults in people’s heads to destroy families reveal their disingenuousness in ignoring the fact that deviant occultist groups often seek to fabricate false impressions of historical rootedness and longevity. Instead of treating Satanic sects’ ideological pretensions with suspicion, such “moral panic” narrative true-believers use the ahistorical claims of rape culture-permeated groups against the victims of sexual abuse, using the absurdity of the claims of occultist sects to represent “ancient traditions” to sow disbelief in the existence or extent of organized “intergenerational” sexual abuse. That is, the “SRA skeptics” who shriek on about “the Satanic Panic of the 1980s and 1990s” would sooner take the ONA’s claim to represent the continuation of an occult tradition going back to ancient Britannia at face value than acknowledge its obvious roots in “US intelligence community” operations.

If the so-called “Satanic Panic of the 1980s and 1990s” was a “modern day witch-hunt,” then the attempt of The Satanic Temple to represent Satanists as the actual victims of the “Satanic Panic” represents the “modern day Burning Times” myth: a time when innocent Satanists were persecuted by an oppressive Judeo-Christian society, bent on wiping out the benign religion of “Satanism.” Nevertheless, we can see that this is an absurdity in that, even if we do acknowledge that false accusations of sexual abuse do sometimes occur, of those who were accused of sexual abuse during the 1980s and 1990s and were actually Satanists (or “Setians” or “Magickians” or whatever they want to call themselves), such as Michael Aquino (accused in 1986/1987) and Genesis P-Orridge (accused in 1992), there is enough evidence to cast a reasonable amount of suspicion on these individuals. For example, there are the facts, as revealed in The Satanic Letters of Stephen Brown, that in the 1980s Aquino was the leader of an organization (“Temple of Set”) with at least one openly pro-pedophilia member (“James Martin”) and was in contact over a long period of time with another organization (Myatt’s “Order of Nine Angles,” whose name indicates a close relationship with Aquino due to the latter’s authorship of “The Ceremony of Nine Angles”) which condemned his organization for “having a code of ethics” when Aquino attempted to crack down on open support for criminality within his organization (Brown 29, 32). In this respect, it is also curious that a significant number of individuals held simultaneous or dual membership in both Aquino and Myatt’s sects at that time (Introvigne 364). Other relevant matters of fact are that P-Orridge authored a text on conducting a ritual which purports to “make [‘your (…) sexual fantas(ies)’] really happen” “regardless of the […] age of those who take part with you” and led a sect dedicated to “the total freeing of sex” from “standards of morality” (as described in the sect’s so-called “Psychick Bible”) whose members were supposed to do this ritual on a regular basis (48, 134). Furthermore, the emergence of new sexual abuse cases linked to Satanism, such as that of the Emery brothers of Seattle, Washington in 2017 (discussed in 3.2.1.1), demonstrate the complicity of those who dismiss all accusations of sexual abuse linked to Satanism as “Satanic Panic,” “witch-hunting,” “moral panic,” or “sex abuse hysteria” in giving cover to occultist rape culture, or “rape occulture.” This is compounded by the fact that the meme of “Satanic Panic” is often invoked to sow disbelief in disclosures of sexual abuse having zero connection to Satanism, as we have seen with the frequent comparisons made by reactionaries between “Satanic Panic” and the #MeToo movement in their efforts to paint the latter as a “moral panic” (discussed in 6.2 and 6.2.1).

A number of additional factors contribute further to the assessment that the attempt to portray the so-called “Satanic Panic of the 1980s and 1990s” as a “modern day Burning Times” is a farce:

  1. Unlike the witch-hunts of the early modern era, a perusal of reports on “Satanic ritual abuse” cases indicates that most persons accused of perpetrating sexual abuse within the context of Satanic rituals have been male.
  2. Contrary to the construction of the “Burning Times” as a völkisch “feminist” myth, the “moral panic” narrative of “the Satanic Panic of the 1980s and 1990s” never had any pretense of being a “feminist” narrative. On the contrary, the Satanic “moral panic” narrative was constructed by rabid anti-feminists such as “False Memory Syndrome Foundation” leader Ralph Underwager, who blamed feminist psychotherapists and psychiatric social workers for the alleged implanting of “false memories,” contending that “radical feminism” causes “child sexuality hysteria” because “men […] say[ing] that maleness can include the intimacy and closeness of [‘male bonding’] and [‘paedophile sex’] may make women jealous [and say,] ‘Wait a minute, we’re not going to let you do that!’” (Underwager).
  3. Given former “False Memory Syndrome Action Network” administrator Douglas Misicko’s history of recruiting actors to speak on behalf of “The Satanic Temple,” including an actress who spoke about being “an aspiring pre-school teacher” (alluding to the concept of “day-care sex abuse hysteria” expounded by rape culture apologist proponents of the “moral panic” narrative [see Van Sickler; Chapter 2; and 5.1]), we may suspect that women speaking on behalf of The Satanic Temple’s “Grey Faction” are pawns in a male-dominated, crypto-fascist organization’s efforts to promote rape culture and sexual abuse negationism. By getting spokeswomen or actresses to speak on behalf of “Grey Faction” and present anti-psychiatry talking points borrowed from the Church of Scientology about “pseudo-science” and psychiatrists preying on “highly vulnerable” women, the male masterminds of “Grey Faction” attempt to enhance the credibility of their absurd arguments and shield themselves from criticism, in this manner preparing the way for the insidious twisting of the concept of “mansplaining” so that male critics of rape culture will superficially be seen as arguing against the ideas of “feminist” women, despite the fact that (a) “Grey Faction” in reality represents the “Satanic” rebranding of the arguments of the rabid anti-feminist and woman-hater Ralph Underwager, founding member of the “False Memory Syndrome Foundation” and (b) the so-called “feminist” narrative of the “Burning Times” (i.e., witch-hunting in the early modern period), which serves as the basis for the construction of “Satanic Panic” as a “modern day witch-hunt” in which actual “Satanists” such as Michael Aquino and Genesis P-Orridge were “unjustly persecuted,” is in reality deeply rooted in the antisemitic discourses of so-called völkisch “feminists” such as Mathilde Ludendorff, whose pseudo-“feminism” consisted in the attribution of misogyny within Western culture to an alien “Semitic” or “Oriental” Jewish source. Furthermore, even in its more recent iteration through WITCH, the “Burning Times” myth is premised on the erasure of the historical reality of strict regulation of so-called “gypsy” sexuality over a period of centuries of slavery.

 

 


CONTINUE READING… 7.4 Pinkwashing: How “The Satanic Temple” Exploits LGBTQ+ Causes as a “Progressive” Fig Leaf

OR RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS (Anatomy of a Crypto-Fascist Sect: The Unauthorized Guide to “The Satanic Temple”)

 

The Satanic Temple’s Engagement with the Theme (and in the Act) of “Ritualistic” Sexual Abuse: Vicarious Necrophilia as a Weapon of Psychological Warfare

While we have seen that The Satanic Temple and other purveyors of the “moral panic” narrative attempt to create much ado about “false allegations” of sexual abuse, assimilating them to “ritual abuse” and maximally farfetched conspiracist claims and generally working to promote the (false) “belief that we live in a society where men are constantly at risk from a false rape claim epidemic” (de Gallier), it may come as somewhat of a shock to learn that The Satanic Temple has itself engaged in and attempted to make a public spectacle out of a form of sexually abusive Satanic ritual.

In 2013, Satanic Temple co-founder and principal spokesperson Douglas Misicko was charged with “grave desecration” (a misdemeanor offense) after posing for a photograph (shown below, censored) in which he can be seen rubbing his genitals on the grave marker of a dead woman, during what The Satanic Temple portrayed as a “gay conversion” ritual, which the group called a “pink mass.”

misicko fred phelps mother grave desecration

Figure 7.9. Douglas Misicko engages in an act of vicarious necrophilia, ostensibly (and nonsensically) turning a dead woman into a lesbian by rubbing his genitals on her grave, located in Mississippi (thegauntlet.com). Misicko’s genitals, which are exposed in the original photo, have been censored with the “Charles Manson rebel flag,” which was featured on the wall of the studio where Misicko recorded cordial interviews with white supremacist neo-Nazis Tom Metzger and George Burdi (see: Chapters 3 and 5).

The dead woman, Catherine Johnston, was the mother of Fred Phelps (1929–2014), late leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, an ultra-right-wing, pseudo-Christian hate group. Ostensibly meant to turn Phelps’ mother “gay in the afterlife,” the stunt appears to have been both a pretext to provoke a spectacle-producing response from the Westboro cult as well as to raise the visibility of The Satanic Temple with the help of the Satanic “Message Force Multipliers” in mass media. Nevertheless, several inconsistencies readily stand out. For one, if the stunt was meant to turn a dead straight woman into a lesbian in the afterlife by having lesbian and gay experiences at her grave site (other photos show two women and two men kissing above Phelps’ mother’s grave with Misicko standing nearby), then how did the quasi-heterosexual action of Misicko placing his genitals on the woman’s grave contribute to this? The only possibility is that TST’s line of thinking was something like this: Exposing Phelps’ mother’s corpse to nonconsensual male sexual contact will drive her spirit to homosexuality because she will be so disgusted by male sexual violence that she won’t want to have anything to do with men anymore. This means however that the penis-to-dead-woman’s-grave act is admittedly a misogynistic act of symbolic sexual violence. The predictable response to this would be for TST to deflect criticism of its rape culture ritual by asserting that the entire ritual is meant to be taken as a satirical provocation and not a genuine Satanic ritual, mimicking Jean-Paul Sartre’s description of the antisemite as a man who does not take his own words seriously, but merely aims to provoke. Since the ritual is “just a joke, man,” it would be predictable to anticipate that TST or its apologists would claim that incorporation of the penis-to-dead-woman’s-grave act into a ritual ostensibly meant to turn the dead woman into a lesbian has no real significance, because the ritual itself is not “real,” and it is therefore not worth analyzing. This would of course be wrong.

What analysis reveals is that The Satanic Temple’s sexualized grave desecration ritual harkens to a number of paraphilias (i.e., disorders associated with “engaging in sexual behavior that is atypical and extreme” [Psychology Today]). While sexual contact with grave markers would appear to fall under the umbrella of objectophilia at first glance, it is clear from the stated objective of the ceremony that the action of TST’s co-founder was in fact “quasi-,” or vicariously, necrophilic: it was a sexual act involving a human corpse, symbolically present in the ritual through its proximity and adjacentness to the gravestone, which, as the object of sexual contact, stood as a representative of the targeted corpse. The sexual act was not perpetrated against a “pure” object per se, deriving instead its symbolic power from the correlation between that object and the subject-cum-object: the human body devoid of life and of freedom, whose material trace is marked by the gravestone. Like the the sexual exploitation of enslaved persons, necrophilia relies on the transformation of the human subject into an object which is as incapable of giving its consent to participation in sexual acts as it is of withholding it. This sex object is a slave, a corpse, a stone, a toy.

If one were to rank the various paraphilias implied here in order of the magnitude of their harmfulness, the sexual abuse of corpses might arguably be viewed (if we assume the victim of the necrophilic act was not murdered by the necrophile) as not being as heinous as the sexual abuse of living persons (due to the lack of consciousness on the part of the dead) and, similarly, the vicarious sexual abuse of the dead via sexual contact with their gravestones might arguably not be as bad as directly molesting corpses due to the former’s less extreme nature. Nevertheless, these things exist on a spectrum, and it is still entirely valid to raise serious concern when confronted by an individual who thinks it’s okay to expose their genitals at a cemetary and rub them on a dead person’s grave, even if it is the grave of a bad person, or the relative of a bad person. The fact that The Satanic Temple does not consider gravestones as something sacred, seeing it as justified to employee them as sexual objects in vicariously necrophilic acts, raises the question of how far the “civil society” Satanist is willing to go to transgress moral norms surrounding treatment of graves and cadavers, particularly the taboo against sexual contact with the dead.

Would liberal pseudo-radicals have cheered at The Satanic Temple’s “epic trolling” of Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church if members of TST had gone, not in daylight, but in the darkness of night, exhumed the corpse of Fred Phelps’ mother and nonsensically had a man sexually violate her dead body, to “make her spirit gay”? And even if it had been a woman, what difference would that make? If TST had wanted to perform a stunt that would unambiguously transgress ethical boundaries and “épater la bourgeoisie,” surely that would have been the way to go. It seems almost inevitable however that, owing to the contradictions arising from the warring ideals of “personal sovereignty” absolutism (which says, “I can do anything I want to a corpse because I am alive and powerful and that person is dead, weak, and unable to defend their bodily sovereignty”) on the one hand and, on the other, the imperative to dissociate “civil society”-engaged Satanism from any hint of criminality and hardcore unethical behavior (the source of the “lone wolf Satanists = pseudo-Satanists” meme), the praxis of organized Satanists will continue to incorporate acts which transgress accepted ethical and legal norms, though they are more likely to make spectacles out of transgressions judged minor enough to “get away with” than ones that would lead to widespread condemnation.

Nevertheless, a group like The Satanic Temple, which tries to strike a balance between respectable “free speech” legality and transgressive “edginess,” will inevitably fall short of really achieving one or the other. For now, what The Satanic Temple seems to offer, at least publicly, is Satanism-lite, the Satanism of the “nice guys” of rape culture or what might be called petty “Satanic Ritual Hooliganism.” But it also appears to offer a window to something more sinister, showing a way via its “septenary system” (see Chapter 8), The Process, and the dark web to ideological cousins such as Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth, the Tempel ov Blood, Atomwaffen Division, and other deliberately marginal groups which belong “legitimately […] somewhere on a broad spectrum of recognized ‘Left Hand Path’ philosophies.”

 

 


CONTINUE READING… 7.3 Witchy Protests and Fake Feminists: The “Satanic Panic”-cum-“Burning Times” as Völkisch Myth and its Basis in Rromaphobia

OR RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS (Anatomy of a Crypto-Fascist Sect: The Unauthorized Guide to “The Satanic Temple”)

“Satanic” Statues and the Priapic Model of Masculinity: From Ancient Phallic Symbolism to Modern Fascist Rape Culture

In the introduction to the present study, it was mentioned that a significant amount of phallic and sexual symbolism is displayed by The Satanic Temple’s monumental “Baphomet” sculpture (shown below), which has been central to a substantial portion of the media coverage surrounding the Satanist sect due to the group’s persistent lobbying for the statue to be permanently erected in a public location. It is worth examining this “Baphomet” statue more closely in order to further unpack some of the more esoteric aspects of the sect’s ideology, particularly as these relate to the sexual politics of the crypto-fascist sect. This will set the stage for the analyses presented in the following sections (7.2 and 7.3), where the sect’s efforts to encrypt and hide its neo-fascist character with pretenses of being a “progressive” or “left-leaning” organization by superficially adopting “feminist” and “LGBTQ+ ally” positions will be laid bare.

A  bronze statue of Baphomet -- a goat-headed winged deity that has been associated with satanism and the occult -- is displayed by the Satanic Temple during its opening in Salem

Figure 7.2. The Satanic Temple’s “Baphomet” statue (Reuters, via Huffington Post). The statue is based on a drawing by Éliphas Lévi (1810–1875) of the character “Baphomet,” who has come to be used often as an idol or icon representing Satan. In Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, Tome Seconde, Lévi equates Baphomet with “the Devil […] the fantom of all horrors […] Ahriman of the Persians, Typhon of the Egyptians, Python of the Greeks, the ancient serpent of the Hebrews […] the obscene god of Mendes, the goat of the [witches’] sabbath […] terrible emperor of the night,” (208).

We can begin our analysis of the Satanic sculpture by observing that a cloth is draped across the beastly Baphomet’s groin and a noticeably phallic, ball-tipped shaft surrounded by two snakes protrudes from Baphomet or Satan’s genital zone. This symbol of a staff with two snakes wrapped around it is known as the “caduceus” or “Staff of Hermes,” referring to the Greek god Hermes, who “was especially associated with boundaries and their transgression” (Hard 113). The fact of the “Hermetic” symbolism of The Satanic Temple’s statue is confirmed by the writings of Éliphas Lévi, the original designer of this “fabulous image of Satan” (Lévi regards Satan as “fabulous” insofar as he maintains that Satan “does not exist [as a ‘power’ or a ‘superior personality’]” but rather as merely “the personification of all errors, of all perversities, and consequently also of all weaknesses”); Lévi notes that “the caduceus […] takes the place of the genital organ [in the drawing of ‘Baphomet’,]” (212–213). It may be remarked that the “Staff of Hermes” normally has a pair of wings attached to it and that there are no wings directly adjacent to the staff on Baphomet’s abdomen; however, we can see that a pair of wings are placed on the devilish figure’s back. In this way, the entire sculpture is conflated with this symbol, the “Staff of Hermes”:

staff of hermes

Figure 7.3. One version of the “Staff of Hermes” symbol. This is the emblem of the US Army Medical Corps (found at Imgur). The Staff of Hermes has come to be associated with medicine in the United States since 1902, when it was selected a US Army Captain for use by the Army Medical Corps, from where it achieved high level of “memetic” success. However, in recent years, many medical professionals have come to recognize the Staff of Hermes as a “false” symbol of medicine, the real symbol of medicine being a somewhat similar sign, but without wings and with only one snake wrapped around a staff, called the “Rod of Asclepius,” which has been associated with medicine since approximately 400 BC, for much longer than the Staff of Hermes has been (Shetty and Dsouza).

The placement of the Hermetic “staff” in Baphomet’s groin and the Hermetic wings on the Beast’s back suggests that, particularly in sexual terms, The Satanic Temple’s “Baphomet” is conflated with Hermes, a Greek god who is in turn said to have been conflated with Priapus, god of male genitalia (Johns 52). Priapus is described in stories recorded by Roman poets as a rapist. According to a myth related by Ovid (43 BC—c. 17 AD), Priapus was about to rape a sleeping nymph named Lotis when he was foiled by the hee-hawing of a donkey, which caused Lotis and the other mythic personages to awaken and become aware of what Priapus was doing. So Priapus then killed the donkey in retaliation and it therefore became the tradition of his devotees to sacrifice donkeys to him, given that he hated donkeys because one had prevented him from committing rape (Ovid 33, 345; Delord). Another source of information on Priapus, attesting to the rapist connotations of the deity, are the Carmina Priapea, “a collection of poems” compiled by “[a] Roman poet or poets” and “produced […] probably in the first century A.D.” (Williams 21). In Roman Homosexuality: Ideologies of Masculinity in Classical Antiquity, historian Craig C. Williams notes that “the god Priapus, a fertility deity [originally found in Greek mythology] whose outstanding attribute was his prodigiously large penis, became extraordinarily popular among Romans,” (18). Williams notes that Priapus “can be seen as something like the patron saint or mascot of Roman machismo” and describes the myths associated with Priapus as informing a “Priapic model of masculinity,” whose “prime directive” was that “a self-respecting […] man must always give the appearance of playing the insertive role in penetrative acts, and not the receptive role,” (ibid.).

We can further observe that the conflation of Baphomet with Priapus is very ancient indeed, insofar as Baphomet, the “obscene god” or “goat of Mendes” (as Lévi interchangeably calls this personage), is based on an ancient Egyptian god called Banebdjedet, who was depicted as a man with the head of a ram or male goat and worshipped in the city of Mendes (Djedet in Egyptian). The Greek historian Diodorus Siculus (c. 90 BC–30 BC), writes in Historical Library (c. 30 BC):

“They [the inhabitants of Mendes] have deified the goat, just as the Greeks are said to have honoured Priapus, because of the generative member; for this animal has a very great propensity for copulation, and it is fitting that honour be shown to that member of the body which is the cause of generation [i.e., the penis], being, as it were, the primal author of all animal life. And […] other peoples as well have in the rites they observe treated the male member as sacred, on the ground that it is the cause of the generation of all creatures […] And both the Pans and the Satyrs, they say, are worshipped by men for the same reason; and this is why most peoples set up in their sacred places statues of them showing the phallus erect and resembling a goat’s in nature, since according to tradition this animal is most efficient in copulation[.]”

That the cult of the goat of Mendes involved humans having sexual intercourse with goats has been remarked upon by historians since ancient times; it is said that “women copulated with male goats and men with female goats in the temple at Mendes to worship the goat as the incarnation of the procreative deity,” (Beetz; Herodotus).

While it would be absurd and anachronistic to judge mythological figures or the religious practices and cultural norms of the human beings of antiquity by modern ethical standards, the attraction of some contemporary human beings to this ancient symbol of phallus-worship connoting the threat of punitive sexual assault and the desire and intent to commit rape and “dominate” or “penetrate” others, along with their decision to incorporate it into their idolization of the “literary construct” of “Satan,” all while claiming that this “constructed” Satan does not signify “evil” (despite quite literally constructing a monument based on a drawing whose author explicitly described it as depicting an “evil [g]od” [Lévi, Tome Second 214]), is certainly worthy of critical scrutiny.

Other roles of Hermes included that of psychopomp (guide of souls in the afterlife) as well as herald or “messenger of the gods” and he was variously associated with commerce, travel, deception, trickery, and thievery, among other things (Blayney, Slater 179). However, according to an article published in Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, the most popular theory concerning the origin of Hermes posits that he was originally a “phallic god.” This certainly explains the conflation of Hermes and Priapus with one another. It is said that Hermes’ “name was almost certainly derived from the Greek word herma, meaning a cairn or heap of stones,” (Hard 158). Around 2520 years ago, these “heaps of stones” or “herms” (which were used as “boundary-markers”) were upgraded and became “rectangular stone pillar[s] with a bearded head on the top and a phallus on the side, usually erect” (Hard 158). An exemplary herm of this sort can be seen below:

320px-Herma_Demosthenes_Glyptothek_Munich_292

Figure 7.4. A herm from Athens, made approximately 2300 years ago (Wikipedia contributors). The arrangement of the herm’s pubic hairs or “bush” is suggestive of the possibility that these correspond to the wings of the Staff of Hermes. In keeping with this, the snakes of the Staff of Hermes correlate to the herm’s testicles, the snakes also being quite resemblant of sperm cells. The staff is of course the correlate of the penis.

In keeping with the facts previously mentioned; namely, that Hermes “was especially associated with boundaries and their transgression” and that he was conflated with the rapist god Priapus, it has been noted:

“[Statues of Priapus] also represented a no-entry symbol. Here it implied the trespassers would risk violent rape should they cross the boundary set in place. Rape of men and women was a common occurrence in ancient times. It was viewed as a form of punishment, yet there is no word in ancient Greek or Latin which has exactly the same connotations as the word rape is used today,” (Geller).

Williams similarly remarks that “a number of Roman texts […] explore the notion that a statue of the god [Priapus], with […] his characteristic member jutting out from his crotch, would protect a garden by raping thieves, whether male or female [and whether adult or child,]” (18). The historian cites some telling passages from the Carmina Priapea, which reveal much about the nature of the so-called “Priapic model of masculinity” idolized by The Satanic Temple. These words are attributed to the god depicted in the sect’s “Baphomet” statue:

“I warn you, boy, you will be screwed; girl, you will be fucked; a third penalty awaits the bearded thief.

“If a woman steals from me, or a man, or a boy, let the first give me her cunt, the second his head, the third his buttocks.

“My dick will go through the middle of boys and the middle of girls, but with bearded men it will aim only for the top,” (Carmina Priapea, in Williams 21).

Another Priapic prayer, also found in the Carmina Priapea, goes:

“Grant me a flowering youth; grant that I may please good boys and girls with my naughty prick, and that with frequent fun and games I may chase away the worries that harm the soul, and that I may not fear old age too much,” (ibid. 22).

The depiction of a boy and girl standing before a Priapic Satan in The Satanic Temple’s “Baphomet” statue certainly takes on sinister undertones when we consider that these verses represent the speech this mythological figure delivers to boys and girls. According to the sect’s exoteric ideology, TST only believes in Satan as a “literary construct.” They might therefore personify “Satan” in any which way; however, they have deliberately chosen these symbols signifying evil and the sexual assault of children by beastly men.

The endurance of the ancient Priapic/phallic and sexual connotations of Hermes into modernity is confirmed by the fact that, in modern times, the philosophy based on the figure of Hermes, known as Hermeticism, has come to be associated with a number of “Hermetic” sects and semi-secret societies appearing in the late 19th century, which practiced or believed in so-called “sex magic.” Historians of Western esotericism have traced “a bewildering jumble of organizations” to the teachings of an American man named Paschal Beverly Randolph (1825–1875), who founded an occult order called the “Brotherhood of Eulis,” which was closely associated—perhaps synonymous—with a sect called the “Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor” (or “H. B. of L.”) (Godwin et al. 67). Randolph taught his followers that “the keys to the mystery of the Universe are found in Sex,” (Naglowska 6). According to Godwin et al., Randolph “claimed to have found in the Near East the true secret of sex, and began in the early 1870s to distribute a series of manuscript teachings on his sexual magic,” later published as Magia Sexualis (1931) or Sexual Magic (1988) (43). They also note that “various strains of H. B. of L.’s thought” (which focused on “the synthesis of sexuality and occultism” and the so-called “phallic tradition”) “exert[ed] a strong influence through the end of the [19th] century, both independently and in recombination with occultists who ultimately traced their origins back to P. B. Randolph himself,” (66). Groups spreading the “sexual magic” teachings include the “Hermetic Brotherhood of Atlantis, Luxor and Elephantae,” which was founded by members of the H. B. of L. and “published a variety of ‘Hermetic Manuscripts’ and a Hermetic Journal,” and the “Hermetic Brotherhood of Light,” said to have been “founded or reorganized […] in 1895, (Godwin et al. 66–67). The “Hermetic Brotherhood of Light” is significant in that its teachings were the basis for the Masonic (or “para-Masonic”) sect Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), which incorporated so-called “sexual magic” into its rituals and which the infamous “sex magician” Aleister Crowley (1875–1947) later became the most well known leader of (ibid. 63). Another (“para-”)Masonic sect founded around this time was the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn,” although it is claimed—quite absurdly, given the Priapic connotations of Hermes demonstrated above—to have had “nothing to do with sex,” (Godwin et al. 63). Crowley also played a prominent role in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

Aleister Crowley, who devised ritualistic animal sacrifices, including the crucifixion of frogs, was also accused of practicing (or at least supporting) human sacrifice, though his defenders claim that he was not being literal when he wrote that “[a] male child of perfect innocence and high intelligence is the most satisfactory and suitable victim” for a “bloody sacrifice.” Apologists claim that this line in Crowley’s Magick in Theory and Practice is actually an encrypted reference to masturbation, spermatozoa released without the possibility of taking part in reproduction constituting the “sacrifice.” Although the Crowley apologists’ claim that Crowley was referring to masturbation doesn’t quite square with the fact that the line in question pertains to “bloody sacrifice,” we can see that the designers of The Satanic Temple’s “Baphomet” statue may have incorporated the masturbatory interpretation of Crowleyan Hermetic teachings on “bloody sacrifice” in the following ways:

Firstly, observing the layout of The Satanic Temple’s “Baphomet” statue, it can be seen that Baphomet has on each side of him one child, just as his abdominal Hermetic staff rising from his groin has on each side of it one snake. There is thus a correspondence between the two snakes wrapped around the phallic Staff of Hermes (the heads of which form two distinctly “ball”-like shapes) and the “ball”-shaped heads of the two children, which may, due to this correspondence, be said to symbolically represent the testicles or sperm cells of Baphomet’s “Staff of Hermes” (i.e., of Baphomet’s phallus). In this way, the “Baphomet” statue’s representation of the children as more developed forms of the “snakes” (i.e., sperm cells) rising from Baphomet’s genital area may be seen as a “subtle nod” to Crowley’s alleged equation of the “wasting” of sperm cells through masturbation with the “bloody sacrifice” of human children. That is, when Baphomet masturbates, the children standing on his sides are “sacrificed.”

The fact that the two children in the “Baphomet” statue are looking up at Baphomet, with the Staff of Hermes rising up from his crotch in front of them, also appears to echo Crowley’s Hermetic teachings. In The Book of the Law, Crowley writes, “[T]he Beast 666 adviseth that all children shall be accustomed from infancy to witness every type of sexual act[.]” This would, of course, necessarily imply the witnessing of rape (a “type of sexual act”). Even worse, because victims of rape sometimes psychologically engage “[d]issociative mechanisms, such as […] de-personalisation (a sense that it is not happening to ‘me’, rather it is occurring to someone else),” “sometimes described as feeling like you are observing yourself from outside your body” and because these mechanisms tend to be activated “where repeat victimisation is a factor,” we may conclude that Crowley’s Satanic advice about children being “accustomed from infancy to witness” sexual acts of the traumatic type implies an endorsement of repeat victimization to induce depersonalization, thereby allowing them to “witness” (as opposed to “experience”) this perverse type of sexual act as it is perpetrated against themselves (Mason and Lodrick 29, WebMD, my emphasis in italics). Furthermore, in the “Baphomet” statue, it can be seen that “the Beast 666” is holding his right hand with the index and middle fingers extended and held together, which is a hand position associated with female masturbation. In this way, the phrase “every type of sexual act” is illustrated by the statue, with the “sexual act” in this case being masturbation and “every type” taken to mean male (represented by the Hermetic staff) and female (represented by the “fingering” right hand).

The Priapic male-centrism of The Satanic Temple’s “Baphomet” sculpture can be seen quite literally in the central placement of the glans or head of the Hermetic staff in relation to the entire statue. We can further observe the male-centricity of the statue by highlighting Misicko’s comments about the monumental sculpture. In an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), TST’s co-founder acknowledges the fact that Éliphas Lévi’s original conception of “Baphomet” was “hermaphroditic” (or “intersex”), having female human breasts, a goat’s head, and other combinations of male and female parts, but Misicko then explains that TST took the liberty of altering the female chest of Baphomet in its statue design, changing the Baphomet character by replacing the original’s breasts with a more stereotypically male-gendered chest, which features a prominent rib cage and pectoral muscles. The BBC reported:

“[In the original drawing of ‘Baphomet’ which The Satanic Temple’s ‘Baphomet’ statue is based on] Baphomet was a hermaphrodite, with breasts, “but [like the Ripper Crew of Chicago did to women in Satanic rituals, TST] took the breasts off,” says Greaves [i.e., Misicko]. The Temple did not want to get embroiled in a debate about gender which might distract from what it believes are the more important messages of the Baphomet,” (Morgan).

The fact that The Satanic Temple was uncomfortable with exposing Baphomet’s female breasts goes to show that TST is a male-centric organization, viewing the “breastless,” stereotypically masculine chest as the default, non-controversially human chest. The male-centrism of TST is consistent with the interpretation of the “Baphomet” statue’s Hermetic symbolism as Priapic or phallic in nature.

Meanwhile, far away from the United States, in the lands where Hermes and Priapus were born, another allegedly “Satanic” statue has also generated a great deal of controversy. The statue (shown below), erected in a neighborhood of Athens, Greece called Palaio Faliro in December 2017, was dubbed “Phylax” (a Greek word for “Guardian”), and had been criticized by Greek Orthodox clergy for its perceived “Satanic” or heathen aesthetic before being toppled by a group of vandals in January 2018 (Reuters Staff). A closer look at the controversy surrounding this “Satanic” statue can tell us a great deal about the links between modern Satanism, far-right politics, and rape culture, and how these insidious cultural viruses are affecting not only North American society, but other parts of the world as well. This speaks to the fact that the use of Satanism as a means by which to impregnate youth cultures with neo-fascist ideology is a global phenomenon, extending far beyond The Satanic Temple.

phylax statue pictures

Figure 7.5. Details from photographs of “Phylax” (Iefimerida.gr), the controversial statue in Athens, Greece, which was protested by members of the Orthodox Christian community, who demanded its removal shortly before it was toppled and damaged by a group of vandals in the middle of a January night in 2018. Note that in the middle photograph of “Phylax” (i.e., that shown above, taken during the day time), the statue has been splattered with white paint in a previous targeting by vandals.

The “Phylax” statue is rooted in the mythological narratives of Ancient Greece. Coincidentally, like The Satanic Temple’s “Baphomet” statue, “Phylax” is noticeably phallic, it’s head being reminiscent of a worm-like, condom-sheathed phallus. Phylax means “guardian” or “keeper” in Greek, and is also the root of the word “prophylactic” in English, which is a slang term for a condom.

The mayor of Palaio Faliro, affiliated with the “center” right-wing “New Democracy” party (Kritika Epikaira), alleged that members of the Greek neo-Nazi political party “Golden Dawn” were involved in the January 2018 vandalism of “Phylax” (Chrysopoulos). This accusation appears highly dubious however when one takes into consideration the openness with which Golden Dawn is affiliated with Satanism. The idea that Golden Dawn would oppose a work of art solely on the grounds that it was aesthetically “Satanic” can only be seen as patently absurd when the fact that Golden Dawn is itself closely associated with the production of “art” which is exponentially more blatantly “Satanic” than the “Phylax” statue is observed.

Giorgos Germenis is a prominent member of the Central Committee of Golden Dawn who, in addition to representing the neo-Nazi party as a deputy in the Greek parliament, is also the bassist in a “black metal” musical group called “Naer Mataron” (GRReporter; Kontis). Visual artwork associated with Naer Mataron (including music videos, album covers, and promotional material) features all the typical emblems of modern Satanism, including inverted pentagrams, inverted crosses, and the Sigil of Baphomet, as well as white supremacist and neo-Nazi symbolism, in addition to explicitly identifying the group as “the most dangerous Satanic band in this world.” Germenis also made headlines in 2013 for “accidentally” violently assaulting a twelve-year-old girl and is noted to do live performances with Naer Mataron while “wearing make-up and fake blood [and] brandishing knives” (Kanaris).

naer mataron golden dawn music video

Figure 7.6. Screen capture showing flaming inverted crosses and pentagram from the music video for “Aghios O Drakontas” (“Saint Dragon”) by Naer Mataron, whose bassist is one of sixteen Golden Dawn deputies currently seated in the 300 member Greek parliament, a position he has held since 2012 (Youtube). Burning crosses are a well known white supremacist symbol, associated with the Ku Klux Klan.

golden dawn sigil of baphomet greece

Figure 7.7. The cover art for the Russian edition of Naer Mataron’s 2005 album “Discipline Manifesto” features the band’s own variation of the Sigil of Baphomet, versions of which are used as the official logos of the Church of Satan and The Satanic Temple (Discogs). This version of the Sigil of Baphomet features runic writing, which has been widely adopted by white supremacist groups “in large part because Nazi Germany often used runes in its symbology” (ADL). At least four of the five runes featured in the “Discipline Manifesto” cover—the Tiwaz, Othala, Algiz, and Sowilo runes—were used as insignias by the SS (Wikipedia, “Runic insignia of the Schutzstaffel”).

naer mataron golden dawn zito o thanatos promotion

Figure 7.8. An official Naer Mataron promotional message released via Facebook describes the musical group, which was founded by a Golden Dawn Central Committee member and neo-Nazi Greek MP, as “the most dangerous Satanic band in this world.” It further reads, “Chaos, destruction, Satan! Hellenic feast praising death! LONG LIVE DEATH !!!” (metalview.gr; “Naer Mataron official” Facebook page, via archive.is).

Satanism-themed heavy metal music’s status as a vehicle for the propagation and reinforcement of rape culture is undeniable. Even those misguided souls who defend the claim that so-called “extreme metal” has legitimate artistic or cultural value admit that “female and non-white musicians are […] few and far between” in the white male-dominated scene (Strong). Others have noted that cultural artifacts associated with “extreme metal” scenes (e.g., songs such as “Fucked to Death,” “Preteen Bitch with the Itch for Dick,” or “My Fist, Her Face, Same Time, Same Place”) constitute some of the most explicit examples of reified rape culture (Mikkelson). In October 2017, Marilyn Manson (also known as Brian Warner) of the band formerly known as “Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids” attempted to do public relations damage control by announcing that he was “part[ing] ways with [his bandmate] Jeordie White,” after the latter was accused of rape by his former partner (Blistein). White’s “Spooky Kid” stage name was Twiggy Ramirez, which was conceived as a nod to the self-identified Satanist and convicted serial killer and rapist Richard Ramirez (Kushner). In 1995, around the time that White allegedly committed rape, Manson sat by White’s side and appeared to be unapologetic when TV personality Phil Donahue confronted him over having told a fan at a concert that they were “going to get beaten or raped,” presumably either by him or one of his bandmates (Phil Donahue Show). Manson is a “priest” of the Church of Satan and also an open admirer of Aleister Crowley (Hensley). Perhaps Manson’s admiration for the most infamous proponent of Hermetic “sex magic” can help explain his own apparent penchant for issuing threats of rape, given the previously mentioned longstanding association between the Greek god Hermes and the act of threatening to use rape as a form of punishment. Renewed attention to the prevalence of rape culture and misogyny in heavy metal was also drawn to the scene when members of the Polish metal band “Decapitated” were accused in September 2017 of committing gang-rape in Washington state, prompting (1) the band’s fans to heap torrents of online verbal abuse on the woman who reported that the crime in question had taken place and (2) the band’s attorneys to attempt to undermine the woman’s credibility by noting, in true victim-blaming fashion, that she had previously lied to police about not being a victim of domestic violence when her abusive partner stabbed and seriously injured three other people shortly after “he grabbed her by the hair and threw her to the ground” (de Gallier; Kaye; Culver).

It is not by mere coincidence that the name “Golden Dawn” harks back to the aforementioned “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.” The founders of the neo-Nazi “Golden Dawn” party chose the name “Golden Dawn” for their organization in 1980 because they “believed that Hitler was a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” (Clapp). This belief appears to have originated with “Martha Künzel, one of [Aleister] Crowley’s German devotees, [who] believed that Hitler was following Crowley’s precepts and became an enthusiastic Nazi,” (Goodrick-Clarke, Black Sun 213). Crowley himself embraced this belief, “noting parallels between the prophecies of [his own book] The Book of the Law and Hitler’s alleged utterances in [Hermann] Rauschning’s Hitler Speaks,” (ibid.).

The Manifesto of the Greek neo-Nazi “Golden Dawn” echos several of the themes recurring throughout much of modern “Satanic” discourse, such as seeking “the ultimate goal of forming a new society and a new type of man.” The Satanic Temple’s Baphomet sculpture can clearly be said to represent “a new type of man,” one who is combined with a goat. Meanwhile, other Satanic groups of neo-Nazi persuasion, by splicing the old Nazi concept “a new type of man” with trite pop culture tropes appropriated from sci-fi and horror genre films, have envisioned “Homo Galactica” (think “Aryans in space”) or a predatory vampiric/cannibalic “Noctulian” race that treats humanity as its “subhuman” (or perhaps simply human) prey. In this way, Satanism advocates a kind of Nietzschean fantasizing about the biological and spiritual evolution of a part of the human species according to the imperatives of antisemitic and white supremacist ideological desires.

While it is possible that the “center” right-wing mayor of Palaio Faliro blamed the far-right Golden Dawn for the vandalism of the “Phylax” statue in order to avoid placing blame on popular opinion or the Greek Orthodox community broadly considered, it should nevertheless come as no surprise that “anti-Satanist” discourse is by no means monopolized by the political Left. Nevertheless, religious schisms among members of the far-right do not imply that anti-Satanism can be neglected by the political Left. Because Christofascism represents an encrypted form of Satanism, where the words “God” and “Jesus” are used to mean “Caesar” and “Satan” (Ruether 214; Soelle), to leave “anti-Satanism” to the Christofascists is to help empower crypto-fascism, given that the conflation of Christofascism with contemporary Christianity allows crypto-fascist sects like The Satanic Temple to falsely portray Satanism as “left-leaning” and “progressive,” thereby imposing a neo-fascist dichotomy, paradoxically corresponding to the way in which Nazism seemed to seek to fulfill the strategies of the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, positing a dubious synthesis of right-wing “Nationalism” with left-wing “Socialism,” even as “the Jew” was accused of being both the right-wing “international capitalist financier” (or later, the “nationalist bourgeois Zionist”) and the left-wing “international Bolshevik communist” (6.3.3). Thus, even if the mayor’s accusation that a non-Satanic fraction of Golden Dawn (which would somehow be able to tolerate affiliating itself with a party whose leadership produces openly Satanic “art” like that made by Naer Mataron, but could somehow not tolerate the comparatively low-key “Phylax” statue) was involved in the toppling of the red-winged sculpture would turn out to be accurate, the alignment of segments of the far-right with “Christianity” (or, more accurately, Christofascism) does not diminish the significance of the fact that strong ties between modern Satanism and neo-Nazism, and even between modern Satanism and Christofascism, exist. There can be little doubt that Douglas Misicko and other Satanic Temple leaders relish it when intellectually backward Christofascists come out to protest The Satanic Temple, as happened in Arkansas (Laycock), helping thereby to encrypt, or keep encrypted, The Satanic Temple’s underlying fascist orientation and foster the superficial optics of an “antifascist Satanism” in the ensuing media spectacle. The ideal situation for The Satanic Temple, in terms of its desire to reframe modern Satanism as politically “progressive” and cement the Religious Right’s displacement of Mainline Christianity by Christofascist Evangelical and Pentecostal forces in the post-Banzer Plan era, would be for the Westboro Baptist Church to be at the forefront of every anti-TST protest event. To stop this crypto-fascist project in its tracks, it is essential to put forward leftist critiques of modern Satanism and decrypt its neo-fascist character.

It may also be helpful to keep in mind the fact that differences in terms of social context between Europe, North America, and other parts of the world where fascism is present, could lead to some significant cultural divergence in political operations. Various neo-fascist sects and “New Right” parties, although constituting particular manifestations of what is, in more general terms, a single international movement, might in one national context strike a pose with regard to Satanism that appears opposite to that of sects in another national context, or even a different subcultural context within the same nation.

A situation somewhat analogous to this, but with regard to the fascist movement’s orientation toward Freemasonry, arose during the early 20th century. It has often been noted that 20th century fascist movements, including Nazism, stood in opposition to Freemasonry; fascist discourse sometimes played up “Judeo-Masonic” or “Jewish-Masonic-Bolshevik” conspiracy theories in their pseudo-revolutionary attacks on the bourgeois liberal order of post-Napoleonic Europe, finding in “enlightened” Freemasonry a convenient scapegoat for the emancipation of Western European Jewry from feudalistic forms of antisemitic oppression after the French Revolution. However, it would be wrong to simply say that fascism was “anti-Masonic.” In North America, groups such as the second Ku Klux Klan and its fascist spinoff known as the Black Legion found in socially elitist Freemasonry not only a way of legitimizing themselves by modelling their organizations as “fraternal orders” along the lines of Freemasonry, but also, by linking up with the latter, a reliable source of fresh recruits, with a significant number of Ku Klux Klansmen—more than 80% in some localities—holding dual membership in Freemasonry starting from the 1920s, for example (Hernandez 210). Thus liberal “antifascists” provide cover to fascism with American characteristics when they portray Freemasons as victims and opponents of fascism, as portrayed for example in the US Army-produced short film Don’t Be a Sucker (1943), which was “rediscovered” and spread online in the aftermath of the August 2017 neo-fascist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia (Buntovnik). (The film portrays a Freemason protagonist who finds himself agreeing with a fascist soapbox orator, until the end of the speech when the fascist invokes anti-Masonic rhetoric and the Freemason realizes that fascism is therefore bad).

Moreover, Freemasonry is also known to have had a hand in the rise of the Nazi movement. For example, Rudolf von Sebottendorf, a Freemason and founder of the Thule Society, was the editor of the Münchener Beobachter, later known as the Völkischer Beobachter, which was the official newspaper of the Nazi Party from 1920 to 1945 (Goodrick-Clarke 48, 138, 201). The paper had published stories with a “somewhat anti-clerical and anti-Semitic bias” since 1868 but was acquired by Sebottendorf in the summer of 1918, when its offices were moved onto the premises of the Thule Society, whose members played an essential role in the embryonic development of the Nazi Party (ibid. 123, 146). There are also indicators that the anti-Masonic component of fascism has essentially been bypassed, being rendered an exclusively historical feature of “paleo-” Nazism, largely absent from post-war developments in far-right politics, even in Europe. The Masonic Lodge Propaganda Due (“Propaganda Two” or “P2” in English), is a key example of this, as it infamously operated as a neo-fascist Masonic lodge in Italy from 1945 to 1976. And, of course, we have already seen that Golden Dawn, the Greek neo-Nazi party, chose its name as a nod to the belief that Hitler was a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an organization founded by Freemasons and said to be modelled to a significant degree after Freemasonry.

 

 


CONTINUE READING… 7.2 The Satanic Temple’s Engagement with the Theme (and in the Act) of “Ritualistic” Sexual Abuse: Vicarious Necrophilia as a Weapon of Psychological Warfare

OR RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS (Anatomy of a Crypto-Fascist Sect: The Unauthorized Guide to “The Satanic Temple”)

Reactionary Sexual Politics of “The Satanic Temple”

The attentive reader will have noticed a recurrent theme coursing periodically throughout the present study. From the disturbing implications of The Satanic Temple-linked work known as Thee Grey Book, which commands individuals to enact sexual fantasies in real life “regardless of the […] age of those who take part with you” (3.1; 3.2.1.1), to the Emery brothers’ disturbing fixations combining Satanism, child sexual abuse, and shoe fetishism (3.2.1.1); from The War on Kids’ promotion of petit-bourgeois social enclosure through anti-psychiatry and anti-pedagogy conspiracy theories about ADHD medication and the trumped up hazards of public education or “compulsory schooling” (3.2.2), to The Process’s anti-“Grey” conspiracy theories about the inherent evil of psychiatrists encouraging individuals to remember their childhood (5.1.1); from the misogynistic and openly rape-encouraging Satanic elements of the so-called “Alt-Right,” which, rooted in The Process, are the ideological cousins of The Satanic Temple (5.2), to the pedophilia-condoning arguments of “False Memory Syndrome” advocates Ralph Underwager and Hollida Wakefield (3.1); from the pedophilia advocacy of Temple of Set member James Martin (6.1; 6.2.1), to the rejection of all ethical and moral standards of the Order of Nine Angles and the Process Church (6.2.1; 5.1); from the breast amputations of the “Ripper Crew” (6.2.1), to The Process’s encouragement of web-surfers to access the dark web, where psychopaths keep sexualized animal sacrifice video databases and child sexual abuse themed “games” like Sad Satan (3.2.1.1; 5.2), there are indications everywhere that Satanism correlates with highly problematic causes concerning the “rights” of children and the status of women, as well as destructive, traumatic, and pathological forms of sexuality. This pathology is a male-centric, patriarchal form of sexual violence predominantly directed against women and children in particular.

Mainstream awareness of the connection between mental disorders, pathological sexual behavior, and far-right political movements appears to be growing, with recent reports highlighting the case of Nathan Larson, a “Libertarian” neo-Nazi from Charlottesville, Virginia (site of the deadly August 2017 neo-Nazi terrorist rally) who is currently running for the US House of Representatives and who openly identifies as a pedophile, advocates “father-daughter incest,” and demands that women be treated as property (or “‘sex slaves’ and ‘baby factories’”) by their fathers and husbands (Cook and Campbell; Cummings).

Other reports have linked the “Read Siege” section of the so-called “Alt-Right” to “a webzine called ‘Rope Culture’” (Knauf), an apparent play on the words “rape culture” (a term popularized by the feminist movement to describe a society which “normalizes sexualized violence” [WAVAW]) and “rope” as a reference to the rope used to hang individuals in acts of lynching, which in the United States is often associated with the terrorism of the Ku Klux Klan. The “Alt-Right” thus uses “rope culture” as a double entendre to highlight the contemporary far-right’s dual affiliation with misogynistic and misopedist sexual violence as well as white supremacism—a “culture” that normalizes racialized and sexualized violence. Essentially, “rope culture” signifies the sexually and mentally pathological ideology of white male supremacism, which oppresses and treats as inferior not only people of color, but women and children as well. In this way, “rope culture” must be read as signalling the centrality of sexual mental pathology to right-wing politics.

Exposés on Atomwaffen Division, the Satanic “Alt-Right” group which shares memetic roots with The Satanic Temple in the ideas of the Process Church, have noted that its leader, a Texas man named John Cameron Denton, uses the word “Rape” as his pseudonym, and that members of the “Traditionalist Workers Party,” a neo-Nazi sect affiliated with Atomwaffen Division, regularly “encouraged each other to commit rape” in discussions on “Discord,” a chat-service for video gamers which was widely adopted by members of the “Alt-Right” for communication (Unicornriot; Roman).

John Cameron Denton, ProPublica documentary capture 1

Figure 7.1. John Cameron Denton, a Satanist from a village outside Houston, Texas, is reportedly a key leader of the so-called “Atomwaffen Division” (Photo: detail from ProPublica/PBS Frontline documentary Documenting Hate: New American Nazis). Denton goes by the nickname “Rape.” Denton is also suspected to have ties to the ONA-affiliated Tempel ov Blood, whose literature is included in the recommended reading list of Atomwaffen. The ONA presence in Houston, Texas appears to go back as far as 1994, with an ONA-affiliated publishing house called “Vindex Press” putting out Satanic literature from the city in that year (Lewis; “alt.satanism FAQ”).

There may be some reticence on the political Left to deal with the fact that, despite the role which dubious diagnoses of psychiatric disorder have played in oppression and injustice (particularly against LGBTQ+ persons), to reject entirely the fact that certain sexual behaviors are symptomatic of mental illness would be to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” This reticence may be connected to a perceived trend of general depathologization of sex-related psychiatric diagnoses as such, beginning with the depathologization of “homosexuality” by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973 (Drescher) which has been followed by more recent calls by sections of the transgender community to depathologize certain conditions such as gender dysphoria, transvestic fetishism, and autogynephilia, which would likely make it harder for transgender and crossdressing people to receive subsidized medical assistance, such as for hormone therapy, sex reassignment surgery, and other treatments (Gijs and Carroll; Lawrence). Given the clearly destructive forms of sexual violence we are dealing with when discussing neo-Nazism and modern Satanism, to regard across the board depathologization of sex-related mental disorders as inherently virtuous is a facile and dangerous approach. Furthermore, there is an important distinction to be made between destigmatization and depathologization; for example, while it is true that there is a large amount of unjust social stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS, it would be absurd to claim that HIV/AIDS is not pathological. It appears that some proponents of across-the-board depathologization of sex-related mental disorders confuse depathologization with destigmatization.

The ideologies of rape culture and white supremacy are not merely political abstractions, but outgrowths of the realm of the personal, and there is every reason to believe that those individuals who gravitate towards political and cultic movements associated with advocacy of sexual slavery and pedophilia, such as neo-Nazism and modern Satanism, do so because of their personal desires, which are anything but “essentially normal.” One of the most problematic terms with regard to the tendency to generally depathologize mental disorders whose symptoms include deviant and violent sexual behavior is the phrase “sexual minority,” which opens the door for the appropriation of the language of gay liberation by perpetrators of pathological sexual behavior, since those who desire nonconsensual sex are by no means the majority of human beings. Although left-wing social movements and spaces are not immune to the influence of pervasive rape culture, these movements should at the same time not fall into the trap of pseudo-“woke” rote self-criticism which flattens out the steep divide between the position of opposing rape culture and that of embracing neo-Nazism with the claim that “we are all problematic.” Instead, there should be no hesitation to regard open advocates of rape culture as both personally and politically pathological.

Given the The Satanic Temple’s semi-hidden, often cryptic affiliations with the far-right which we have been exposing throughout this Unauthorized Guide, it should come as no surprise that, also in the realm of sexual politics, TST exhibits many shared traits with the right-wing extremists suffering from the pathological forms of sexual desire and behavior described above. In this chapter, we will explore these reactionary sexual politics and demonstrate how beneath TST’s pseudo-feminist and pro-LGBTQ+ stances lies a male-centric tendency towards sexual violence.

 

 


CONTINUE READING… 7.1 “Satanic” Statues and the Priapic Model of Masculinity: From Ancient Phallic Symbolism to Modern Fascist Rape Culture

OR RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS (Anatomy of a Crypto-Fascist Sect: The Unauthorized Guide to “The Satanic Temple”)

On the Psychological Projection of Antisemitism by Satanists

Earlier in this chapter, we touched on the fact that, besides drawing on the paranoia of the anti-communist Red Scare of the 1950s, there was also an implicitly antisemitic component to the anti-psychiatry campaign of the Church of Scientology (6.3). We observed how Scientology inaugurated the modern anti-psychiatry tradition (of which The Satanic Temple partakes) with the publication in 1955 of Brain-Washing: A Synthesis of the Russian Textbook on Psychopolitics, a Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion-esque booklet which was falsely purported to have been authored by Lavrenti Beria (an infamously sexually predatory Stalinist politician who has often been falsely identified as a Jew by antisemites) and which alleged that the Soviet Union was suppressing L. Ron Hubbard’s “Dianetics” and manipulating American psychiatry in order to transform it into a force for Communism’s covert subversion of “American democracy.” Furthermore, we saw how there were well-known tendencies in the popular imagination of the 1950s (which persist to this day) to link Jews to both Communism (e.g., through the myth of “Judeo-Bolshevism”) as well as to the fields of psychiatry, psychology, and psychoanalysis, which have in antisemitic circles often been collectively labeled “Jewish science.”

These constatations invite further analysis of the relation between antisemitism and The Satanic Temple, including the latter’s anti-psychiatry and gaslighting campaigns and the group’s political interpretation of Satanism in general. Given that the road to the emergence of The Satanic Temple in early 2013 was fundamentally paved in many ways by the older “LaVeyan” Church of Satan (a fact which is readily acknowledged and recognized by TST’s leaders, who frame the Satanism of TST as “a natural progression of LaVey Satanism” [Smith]), we should take LaVey’s sect into consideration here as well. Indeed, Satanic Temple co-founder Douglas Misicko has called Anton LaVey “an excellent jumping-off point” and described TST as “adding to LaVey,” suggesting that TST’s politics cannot be fully contextualized without evaluating those of the Church of Satan, particularly during the period from 1966 to 1997 during which LaVey was at the organization’s helm (Bugbee, “Unmasking”).

There is a need to clearly illustrate and establish the undeniable factuality of modern Satanism’s antisemitic character, particularly given that claims relating to the founder of the Church of Satan’s (i.e., Anton LaVey’s) allegedly “Jewish” ethno-racial identity are often used to deflect criticisms of modern Satanism’s relationship with the far-right, not unlike the way in which the conversion of US president Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, to Judaism is used by some neo-fascists to obfuscate the reality of Trump’s ties to right-wing extremism and antisemitism (Jong-Fast). We might similarly anticipate that The Satanic Temple, when confronted with its putrid antisemitism, would point to co-founder Cevin Soling, who identifies as a “secular Jew,” in an attempt to discredit allegations of the group’s neo-fascist and antisemitic affinities. It is therefore vital to pre-emptively demonstrate TST’s antisemitism now, before the apologists come in with their obfuscation tricks.

One tactic used by The Satanic Temple to discredit opposition to Satanism (which is related to the use of LaVey’s alleged “Jewishness” as a shield from criticism of modern Satanism’s affinities with neo-Nazism) is to attempt to link the so-called “Satanic Panic” and “modern day witch-hunt[ing]” (a phrase Misicko invokes here, for example) to antisemitism. This effort constitutes a means of projecting antisemitism onto critics of modern Satanism. The “modern day witch-hunt” narrative is something which TST has clearly attempted to play up in having chosen the symbolically significant location of Salem, Massachusetts for the sect’s headquarters. This dubious operation would have us believe, incorrectly, that “Semitism” is interchangeable with “Satanism” and that “pogroms” are essentially the same as “witch-hunts.” By conflating antisemitism with anti-Satanism, TST and other modern Satanist groups seek to create a kind of “victim status” for Satanists, in this way sucking like bloodthirsty, hypocritical leeches on the real suffering of the Jewish people in order to concoct a false narrative in which white supremacists, imperialist militarists, and neo-Nazis get to play the part of members of an oppressed and persecuted class by identifying as “Satanists.” In the process, they perpetuate the defamatory thesis of a link between Jews and Satanism.

We find this tactic employed on a web page titled “The Satanic Temple Library,” which can be found on the crypto-fascist sect’s official website (“thesatanictemple.com”). On this web page, The Satanic Temple recommends a book called The Devil and the Jews: The Medieval Conception of the Jew and Its Relation to Modern Anti-Semitism (1943) by Rabbi Joshua Trachtenberg (1904–1959). TST inaccurately describes Trachtenberg’s book as “demonstrat[ing] the inextricable relationship between the medieval demonization of Jews and the Satanic Panic libels of modern days.” The falsity of the claim made in this description is obvious and easily demonstrable; since the book’s author died in 1959, long before the fabled “Satanic Panic of the 1980s and 1990s” had ever supposedly taken place, it contains no references to “Satanic ritual abuse,” “day-care sex-abuse hysteria,” or anything of the sort. Whether TST leadership has actually read The Devil and the Jews or are even aware of the fact that it was originally published in the 1940s seems doubtful; no publication date is given on the “Satanic Temple Library” page and the hyperlink given to buy the book on Amazon leads to a more recent edition of the book, published in 2002. Not only is Trachtenberg’s thesis in The Devil and the Jews completely unrelated to trying to prove any sort of relationship between modern antisemitism and the so-called “Satanic Panic of the 1980s and 1990s” (an ahistorical absurdity since it was published in 1943), but the author actually provides several powerful counterarguments to the moral panic narrative’s framing of the “Satanic Panic of the 1980s and 1990s” as “a modern day [antisemitic] witch-hunt,” such as by showing that antisemitic persecution during the medieval and early modern periods was a distinct phenomenon from that of witch-hunting.

Although Trachtenberg does argue, quite reasonably, that “the [antisemitic] medieval conception of the Jew” placed “the Jew […] in a similar category” to “the heretic and sorcerer and witch” (as both categories represented “hated and hunted class[es] in European society”), he also notes their “conspicuous independence” from one another (215–216). Elsewhere, Trachtenberg highlights the fact that Jews, especially Jewish women, were almost entirely spared by the witch-hunts. Trachtenberg writes:

“Among the thousands of witch trials on record, spanning several centuries, there is one case—‘in all probability the only one’—involving a Jewess; and the sequel cleared even her of guilt,” (86).

This fact—that Jewish women were virtually unscathed by the witch-hunting phenomenon—may have played into the Nazi fantasy that the witch-hunts were a “Judeo-Christian” conspiracy to destroy “Aryan womanhood,” a theory which the SS Hexen-Sonderkommando (“Witches-Special Unit”) under Heinrich Himmler were given the task of gathering evidence for and attempting to prove in 1935 (for more on this, see 7.3).

Not only does Trachtenberg show that Jews were massively underrepresented in witch trials, but he also draws attention to the striking fact that witches were associated with the victimization of Jews. Trachtenberg notes that there was a commonly held notion in the folklore of Christian Europe that “the most successful witchcraft” resulted from “the use of Jewish blood” to sign a “pact with the devil,” later adding that there was “universal acceptance of this superstition” (140–141, emphasis in original). As evidence, Trachtenberg cites one case from 1784 in which “two [Gentile] women were broken on the wheel in Hamburg for having murdered a Jew in order to get his blood for [signing a pact with the devil,]” and another case from 1507 in which Franciscan friars accused Dominican friars of having “used the blood and eyebrows of a Jewish child for secret purposes,” (141, emphasis in original). In other words, witches were Jew-killers.

Thus it is incoherent and ahistorical to claim that “Satanic Panic” represents both “modern day witch-hunting” and “modern day blood libel.” Accusations of “witchcraft” (virtually always levelled against Gentiles) and “blood libel” (levelled against Jews) are not interchangeable, as witches and Jews were, for practical purposes, not the same social category in medieval and early modern society. Of course, this does not preclude the fact that there was some conceptual similarity in how they were depicted in literary and artistic representations or abstractly imagined insofar as there was a tendency for both to be demonized and portrayed as being in league with the Devil. What Trachtenberg is highlighting and criticizing is “the medieval conception of the Jew” (that is, the demonization of Jews or the antisemitic view of Jews as evil), not the conception of evil or the possibility of righteously demonizing something which actually is evil in and of themselves. The concepts of Satan, demons, and demonology are a part of Judaism (Cooper, JewishVirtualLibrary.org, MJL). If Trachtenberg’s point was that demons should not be demonized or that Satan should not be satanized, then he would be negating Jewish concepts. Rather, his point is to show how these concepts were abused by “medieval Christian fanatic[s]” and how modern antisemitism is rooted in this medieval fanaticism. By attempting to conflate witches and Jews (or Satanists and Jews, or Nazis and Jews, or the Devil and the Jews), modern Satanists reveal that they themselves actually subscribe to the medieval conception of “the ‘demonic’ Jew”; they gleefully accept, and do not attempt to challenge or dispel, the antisemitic demonization of Jewry.

Moreover, The Satanic Temple’s insinuation that “Satanic Panic” represents the “[blood] libels of modern days” is equally offensive for the reason that it represents an erasure of the fact that blood libel did not disappear with the passing of medieval times. On neo-fascist corners of the internet (e.g., the 8chan message board “Q Research”), antisemites can still be found promoting the blood libel claim, such as in an obviously forged interview staged by two white supremacists, with one of them impersonating a coil-curl merging “rabbi” who uses the term “goyim” as a singular noun and claims that “we [Jews] mix [children’s blood] with our passover bread” (Quora, “Is Abe Finkelstein a real rabbi?”). To claim that opposition to “modern Satanism” (which has been, since its inception, closely attached to right-wing extremism and neo-Nazism) is “the new antisemitism” is to belittle and erase the ongoing existence of real antisemitism.

It’s also worth noting that Trachtenberg, a rabbi, concludes his study, published during the middle of the Holocaust, with a clear allusion to Nazism and its twin doctrines of a neo-pagan “religion of the blood” and so-called “Positive Christianity,” and that he does not hold antisemitism—an “offshoot of medieval Christian fanaticism”—to be a true Christian value, but rather, on the contrary, he explicitly identifies antisemites as enemies of “all Christian values,” noting:

“The Christian religion is in disfavor today among certain leading antisemitic circles whose consuming aim it is to destroy all Christian values; among others hatred of the Jew is preached in the name of a hypocritical and false Christianity. Whatever their attitude toward the teaching and the church of Jesus, this one offshoot of medieval Christian fanaticism, antisemitism, makes them kin. […] Antisemitism today is ‘scientific’ […] To the modern antisemite […], the Jew has become the international communist or the international banker, or better, both. But his aim still is to […] enslave [the world] to his own—and the word is inescapable—devilish ends. Still the ‘demonic’ Jew. . . .” (219–220).

It is revealing that we find this exact antisemitic caricature—the “international [‘demonic’ Jew] banker”—in The Satanic Temple’s number one “primary reading,” The Revolt of the Angels (1914) by Anatole France; however, we will save analysis of this work, its antisemitic content, and TST’s pretentious “literary Satanism” for Chapter 8.

Satanists, including those belonging to or associated with The Satanic Temple, frequently tout the apparent irony that, despite openly collaborating with neo-Nazis and promoting their work, Anton LaVey had some Jewish ancestry. Often the “fact” of Anton LaVey’s Jewishness is waved about by Satanists as though it were a kind of talisman that would somehow magically dispel the link between Satanism and antisemitism via the former’s persistent ties to neo-Nazism.

The Church of Satan’s official claim, put forward in The Secret Life of a Satanist: The Authorized Biography of Anton LaVey by Blanche Barton, is that LaVey had one Jewish great-grandparent (19). Given LaVey’s self-declared attraction to Nazism and known links to neo-Nazi groups (elaborated below), it is reasonable to take Satanist claims that LaVey was “a Jew” with a very large grain of salt. LaVey wrote explicitly and seemingly with awe and approval about the fact that “the Nazis ‘Aryanized’ certain needed Jews” (Satan Speaks! 8). According to the Nuremberg Laws introduced in Nazi Germany in 1935 to define who was a member of the “Jewish race” and who was not, a person having one-eighth “Jewish blood” (i.e., one Jewish great-grandparent) could be considered to be “of German blood” (Grenville 320, USHMM). The pseudoscientific Nazi scheme of Jewish racial pedigree stopped at “Mischling of the second degree,” or “quarter Jew,” meaning a person with one Jewish grandparent (rice.edu). Thus, by Hitlerian standards, LaVey, even with his one Jewish great-grandparent, would not have been considered a Jew, racially or otherwise. This fact should certainly not be discounted when considering his fondness for Nazism and his looking up to the Nazi concept of “Aryanization” as a model for Satanists to follow.

We find an example of this bandying about of LaVey’s atavic “Jewishness” as a protective shield for neo-Nazi discourse in The Suffering and Celebration of Life in America (2013) by Shane and Amy Bugbee (close associates of Satanic Temple co-founder Douglas Misicko on their Satanic internet radio program in the 2000s). In that book, Amy Bugbee discusses her husband’s history of involvement with the neo-Nazi musical act RaHoWa (short for “Racial Holy War”) and his republication of the book Might is Right, which, she mentions, “is not only a cornerstone of Satanism, but also of the modern White Power movement” (90). Amy Bugbee attempts to portray Shane Bugbee’s direct role in promoting neo-Nazi music and literature as examples of his undying activist passion for “defending free speech” (my scare-quotes). Accordingly, she paints those who accused Shane Bugbee of being a white supremacist as “furious white boys” who, by opposing his decision to include neo-Nazi music at a rock music festival, were opposing “free speech.” This description of her husband’s antifascist opponents as “furious white boys” is telling. It can be taken as an attempt to imply that so-called “white people” who oppose fascism’s call to “preserve the white race” through “anti-miscegenation” laws and other “legal” (criminal) measures, such as genocide, are mental slaves to any one of those right-wing canards such as “political correctness,” “reverse racism,” or “Cultural Marxism,” which are said to lead “white people” astray, into hating “their own race.” If Amy Bugbee, who has stated as a matter of public record that she believes that she does not belong to the same species as “blacks or Asians” (“Might is Right Special” 19:27:30–20:03:50), would be a slightly less cryptic neo-fascist, she might have opted here to use the term “race traitors” instead of “furious white boys.” Amy Bugbee assures the reader that before making the decision to include the neo-Nazi band RaHoWa in a mix CD given away as a freebie at the 1995 Milwaukee Metal Fest, Shane Bugbee consulted a “Jewish woman” and “black artist” who, conveniently, were both free speech absolutists and told Shane Bugbee that not promoting neo-Nazi music would amount to censorship! Straining credibility even further, Amy Bugbee claims that white supremacists made death threats against Shane Bugbee because of the fact he published new editions of the book Might is Right that included an introduction by Anton LaVey, whom Amy Bugbee describes as “a Jew by birth” (90), although she neglects to mention that Katja Lane, whose husband David Lane was the originator of the infamous “14 words” slogan and the getaway driver for the neo-Nazi terrorist group “The Order” in its assassination of the liberal Jewish radio talk show host Alan Berg, and RaHoWa’s George Burdi (1970–present), a neo-Nazi skinhead musician convicted of violently assaulting an antifascist protester after one of his concerts, and Douglas Misicko, the eugenicist who would go on to found The Satanic Temple, also contributed to Shane Bugbee-published editions of Might is Right. Nor does she mention that, under Nazi law, LaVey would not have been considered a Jew. Given Amy Bugbee’s omission of her husband’s other neo-Nazi connections and her own racist affirmations, it is obvious that the way LaVey’s supposed “Jewishness” is upheld in the Bugbees’ book is nothing more than an attempt to ward off accusations of neo-Nazi sympathies—but these cannot be so easily dismissed.

might is right white supremacist

Figure 6.6. Front matter displaying neo-Nazi symbolism from the 1999 edition of the book Might is Right, published by “14 Word Press.” This edition was edited by Katja Lane, who also contributed to the “Bugbee Books” edition published in 2003 alongside Douglas Misicko, the co-founder of The Satanic Temple. Her husband, David Lane, was a neo-Nazi terrorist who coined the “14 words” slogan, which is featured at the bottom of the image. The “14 word” slogan has gained widespread usage within white supremacist, neo-fascist movements.

Even if we were to accept the claim that LaVey was “a born Jew” on the basis that he did have some remote Jewish ancestry, this remains an overwhelmingly weak basis on which to refute Satanism’s neo-Nazi connotations, given the following matters of fact:

  • Anton LaVey explicitly declared that Satanists have “an affinity for […] Nazism” (Satan Speaks! 8).
  • LaVey collaborated with and was respected by prominent neo-Nazis, perhaps most notably including James Mason, leader of the neo-Nazi sect called “Universal Order” and the main contributor to Siege, a neo-Nazi periodical later published as a book which has found renewed popularity among neo-Nazis since the emergence of a variety of terroristic “Read Siege” groups, many of them paramilitary in nature, within the so-called “Alt-Right” iteration of neo-fascism (5.2). One of these groups claimed responsibility for a mass shooting at a Florida high school whose student body is largely Jewish in February 2018, which resulted in the deaths of seventeen mostly young people (Barnes and Michel, JTA, JNS). The perpetrator of the deadly neo-Nazi terrorist attack which occurred in August 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia was affiliated with another “Siege-influenced” group (Foster), and the “Read Siege” movement has also been linked to a failed attempt to cause a passenger train to derail and crash in October 2017 (Beckhusen).
  • The “Read Siege” movement’s godfather, James Mason, has expressed the opinion that “LaVey had many great similarities to [American Nazi Party founder] George Lincoln Rockwell,” and has called the founding of the Church of Satan “absolutely brilliant” (Mason).
  • The Satanic neo-Nazi terrorist group “Atomwaffen Division,” which has been connected to several murders, encourages its members and prospects to read LaVeyan Satanic literature (Hatewatch Staff).
  • LaVey’s lieutenant in the Church of Satan, US military intelligence officer Michael Aquino, called Hitler’s Mein Kampf “a political Satanic Bible” and advised Satanists to apply its teachings (Mathews 148).
  • The openly neo-Nazi and pro-human sacrifice sect “Order of Nine Angles” was inspired by and closely tied to LaVey’s sect and one of the latter’s earliest spin-offs (the Temple of Set), borrowing its name from a “Ceremony of Nine Angles” described in LaVeyan Satanic literature, and it not only shared members with the Temple of Set, a Satanic sect which was founded in 1975  in a split from LaVey’s Church of Satan by Michael Aquino (a US military intelligence officer and author of the “Ceremony of Nine Angles”), but also had direct communication with the “Setian” leadership into at least as late as the 1990s (6.1.1).
  • LaVey was a close associate of two members of the racist cult known as the Manson Family, which attempted to provoke a “race war” by framing African-American leftists as culprits in ritualistic murders and whose leader, Charles Manson, later had a swastika tattooed on his forehead, contributed to neo-fascist and Satanist periodicals, and became the object of a cult of personality adopted by certain neo-Nazi and crypto-fascist organizations, including Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth, a group whose “bible” describes Nazi Schutzstaffel (SS) insignias as “part of the Scandinavian DNA-structure” and which has close ties to The Satanic Temple (6.3.1 and 3.2.1).
  • Et cetera

The practice of using Anton LaVey’s would-be “Jewishness” or LaVeyan Satanism’s supposedly “Jewish” character (whether based on LaVey’s ancestry or on his absurd conception of Judaism and Nazism and their relation to one another [see below]) as shields from criticism and as a way to disavow obvious associations between LaVey’s brand of Satanism (which largely defines so-called “modern Satanism” as a whole) and far right, racist ideology appears to go back to LaVey himself. This obfuscationist tactic of countering observations of Satanism’s neo-fascist associations with “But how can Satanism be neo-fascist when it was founded by ‘a born Jew’?” basically runs along the lines of that clichéd talking point of the racist who doesn’t want to own up to being a racist; i.e., “But look, how can I be racist when I have a Black friend?!” (a line unironically invoked by the Church of Satan’s official representatives in the present day).

Shortly before his death in 1997, LaVey wrote a collection of essays that were later published in the form of a book titled Satan Speaks!. In an essay from this collection called “A Plan,” LaVey attempts to show how his brand of Satanism is essentially a synthesis of Judaism and Nazism, insinuating that “being a Satanist means being rooted in Judeo/Nazism” (8). Positing the Jews as “Christ-killers” (as had many an antisemite before him), LaVey argues that “hereditary Jewish culture is a [more] perfect springboard for anti-Christian sentiment” than antisemitic forms of Eurocentric neo-paganism such as “neo-Odinism” (also called Wotanism, Asatru, or Armanism), which frame their opposition to Christianity as owing to the Jewish origins of the religion (ibid.). For LaVey, it seems the “Christ-killer” or what he calls “the universal devil Jew” is a more powerful archetype than that of the ancient Germanic “priest-king” popularized by the Ariosophists and looked up to by many of the original Nazis. Because of this, LaVey contends that anti-Christian neo-fascists will eventually come to see “Satanic Jewish Nazism” as a better way to oppose Christianity and advance their fascist agenda, and so neo-Nazis “without a drop of Jewish blood” will therefore “concoct genealogical evidence of a Jewish great-grandfather, thus making them by heredity, generational Satanists,” (ibid.). LaVey likens this to the fact that “the Nazis ‘Aryanized’ certain needed Jews,” (ibid.). This is of course peculiar in that even the most fanatically diehard adherents to the belief in biologically differentiated human “races” implicitly admitted the overriding social constructedness of race.

The important thing to note with regard to LaVey’s framing of “[Satanic] Judaism” as a more apt “springboard” for the anti-Christianity of neo-Nazism than the Germanic neo-paganism (or “Asatru,” “Odinism,” etc.) favored not only by rival neo-Nazi factions, but also by paleo-Nazis such as Heinrich Himmler, Alfred Rosenberg, Erich Ludendorff, and the so-called “German Faith Movement” (Steigmann-Gall), is that this is a neo-Nazi strategy, not a Jewish one. In “A Plan,” LaVey is promoting, along with the cultural appropriation of “hereditary” Judaism by neo-Nazi gentiles, the antisemitic slur that says that Jews are Satanic “devils” or “Christ-killers.” In the end, it is clear that LaVey is putting forward the possibility of falsely claiming Jewish ancestry as a convenient way for neo-Nazi gentiles to adopt a “Nazi aesthetic” while disingenuously ducking accusations of antisemitism, as well as racism more generally. “But I can’t be antisemitic,” the neo-Nazi wearing a combination swastika/“sigil of Baphomet” armband would say, “my great-grandfather was a Jew! I’m a hereditary Satanic Nazi Jew!” This endorsement of false claims of “Satanic” Jewish ancestry also casts some doubt on LaVey’s own “roots” stories, including claims of a Transylvanian “Gypsy” great-grandfather, which he seems to have played up for exoticizing effect, although there is no evidence that LaVey had any real knowledge of Rromani culture beyond circus stereotypes. Additionally, census records indicate that LaVey’s ancestor in question was not born in Transylvania, but in the Russian Empire (Transylvania belonged to the Austrian Empire at the time), suggesting that the Transylvanian embellishment was added to exploit pop culture associations with “Count Dracula” and vampires. The Satanic Temple appears to implicitly promote this practice of cultural appropriation and concoction of “exotic” family histories, regularly describing its brand of Satanism as entailing an “embrace” of one’s “outsider status.” Arguably, ethnicity, nationality, and race are far more significant factors than religion in the attribution of “outsider status” when it comes to the political aspects of personal identity in the modern United States. LaVey appears to have understood this, opting to identify with the Hitlerian conception of Judaism as a racially inherited identity as opposed to being determined by whether one actually practices Judaism as a religion. The Satanic Temple’s spokesman Douglas Misicko sums it up this way:

“Like, I think it’s okay to hate Jews if you hate them because they’re Jewish and they wear a stupid fuckin’ frisbie on their head [correct term: yarmulke or kippah] and walk around [and] think their God’s chosen people, but it’s not okay to hate somebody [‘born of Jewish blood’] just because their parents were stupid fuckin’ Jews and wore stupid frisbies on their head and thought the Jews were God’s chosen people […] Not everybody of Jewish blood is okay with me, it depends on if they follow the Jewish, uh… […] Satanic Jews are fine,” (Adam, “Doug Mesner [Lucien Greaves/Douglas Misicko] Satanic Temple Anti-Semitic Rant” [transcribed, bold added for emphasis]).

In another Satan Speaks! essay, this one titled “The Jewish Question? Or Things My Mother Never Taught Me,” LaVey advances conspiracist claims that Adolf Hitler and other high-ranking Nazi officials such as Joseph Goebbels and Reinhard Heydrich were actually Jewish. LaVey exalts the figure of the “hereditary [Jew]” who has catastrophically betrayed the Jewish people, citing as a prime example of this, second only to the mythical “Jewish” Hitler, Tomás de Torquemada, who was Grand Inquisitor of the 15th century Spanish Inquisition which resulted in racialistic limpieza de sangre (or “cleanliness of blood”) laws and the forced conversion and/or expulsion of virtually all Jews from Spain, but who is also said to have been of Jewish descent himself. Of course, if LaVeyan Satanism promotes the belief that Hitler was a Jew, which it does, and on that basis attempts to identify itself with “Jewry,” then it is clearly neo-Nazi. Even if we were to accept the claim that Torquemada, Hitler, and LaVey were all “born Jews” or had “Jewish blood,” the fact that they were all fanatical antisemites would not be altered. By these twists of “logic,” one is antisemitic if one opposes Nazism, the Spanish Inquisition, and Satanism, for their leaders were “really” or “secretly” Jewish, but one also becomes antisemitic, of course, if one supports Nazism, the Spanish Inquisition, or Satanism. The purpose of these absurd theories seems to be to create “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”-type dichotomies which universalize antisemitism. This is really just typical Nazi stuff though—“the Jew” is both the “international capitalist financier” and the “international Bolshevik communist”; so, whether you want to be anti-capitalist or anti-communist, right-wing or left-wing, then you must, either way, be antisemitic. In this way, analytically useful political terminology is sapped of its meaningfulness and significance and the fascist dichotomies are imposed. An updated, neo-fascist version of this conception, closely related to the thought of LaVey, supplants categories such as “international banker” and “international communist” with those of “Nazi” and “Zionist.”

LaVey’s arguments in these essays also provide fodder for Holocaust revisionists who meet Satanism halfway by embracing the idea that Nazism was actually a crypto-Jewish movement, but without then embracing this fabricated “Judeo-Satanic Nazism” as their own ideology. “What’s a little holocaust between friends?” LaVey asks in “The Jewish Question?,” arguing that Jews, secretly leading the Nazi Party, orchestrated the Holocaust against fellow Jews, an idea which Amy Bugbee also echoes in the above cited audio clip of Douglas Misicko’s antisemitic rant during a podcast. By embracing this idea, antisemites avoid outright Holocaust denial, instead engaging in a blame-shifting operation which seems to say that “the evil, Satanic Jews were in control of a ‘sinister dialectic’ and sacrificed six million of their own kind by whipping up the forces of Nazism in order to increase their power and establish the Zionist state of Israel.” This allows them to be hardcore antisemites without overtly appearing to be Nazis, instead arguing that Nazism was a Zionist plot, or vice versa. By this absurd line of thought, antisemites become the only real anti-Nazis.

The Satanic Temple employs a number of other similar tricks for disavowing Satanism’s ties to neo-Nazism and antisemitism (necessary because TST attempts to market itself as “politically progressive”).

As described earlier in connection to Rabbi Joshua Trachtenberg’s book, one means by which The Satanic Temple projects its antisemitism onto its enemies is to compare accusations of child sexual abuse (framed as “Satanic ritual abuse”) to claims of blood libel (referring to the antisemitic accusation which has historically been levelled against Jewish people, claiming that they sacrifice Christian babies in order to use their blood as an ingredient in the matzot, or flatbread, which is eaten at Passover) (Lebovic; Greaves, “When It Comes to…”). This tactic is particularly relevant to TST’s “Grey Faction” operation, with its specialized focus on defending accused child abusers by amplifying “moral panic” narratives about “day-care sex abuse hysteria” and “Satanic Panic.” The idea that people accused of perpetrating sexual abuse against children are comparable to persecuted Jews is emphasized in order to imply that anti-Satanists are the true antisemites, or that they are similar to antisemites in that they are despicable for persecuting an ill-defined “innocent people.” Given, however, that modern Satanism as a movement is in many ways intertwined with neo-Nazism and also given that there remain troubling indications of links between efforts to normalize pedophilia and prominent individuals associated with modern Satanism and the anti-“Satanic Panic” movements who were caught up in child abuse scandals during the 1980s and 1990s, such as Michael Aquino (6.1.1), Genesis P-Orridge (3.2.1 and 3.2.1.1), and Ralph Underwager (3.1, 6.1, 6.1.2), what this “Satanic Ritual Abuse accusations are the new blood libel” (read: “Satanists and Red-baiting anti-feminist Protestant ministers are the new Jews”) meme is actually saying is that “neo-Nazis and people who want to redefine child sexual abuse are the new Jews.” These memes actually re-enforce antisemitism by unjustly linking Satanism and sexual abuse to Judaism, when there is no indication that Jews were disproportionately affected by false accusations of child abuse during the 1980s and 1990s. Quite to the contrary, there is rather every indication of a disproportionate number of antisemites and persons with unhealthy fixations on the “aesthetics” of Nazism and histories of abusive behavior among Satanists.

One Jewish text which is particularly cited by antisemites as alleged proof of a connection between sexual abuse and Judaism is the Babylonian Talmud (Lipson), which contains some passages framing incest, a theological problem arising from the logical implication that the children of Adam and Eve needed to procreate with one another for humanity’s sake, in a positive light. For example, it is suggested that Adam demonstrated kindness and goodwill toward his son Cain by not marrying his daughter, but rather letting Cain marry her (Kiel 200). However, religions scholar Yishai Kiel shows in Sexuality in the Babylonian Talmud: Christian and Sasanian Contexts in Late Antiquity how this attitude was actually a result of “Aryan” (i.e., Iranian or Persian) influence, with the Zoroastrian state religion of the Sasanian Empire emphasizing the righteousness of xwēdōdah (incestuous coupling), “[a]n important justification” for which was “the notion of genetic purity […], according to which marriages between members of the same family will ensure the purity of the ‘seed’ […] and that good qualities will remain within the nuclear family and not fade away through genetic intermixture,” (155). Kiel shows that an attitude of Jewish tolerance toward incest among Gentiles is characteristic of the Babylonian Talmud, in contrast to the Palestinian Talmud, demonstrating that a certain amount of religious syncretism took place as a result of the development of Jewish thought within the Sasanian Empire, whose Aryan ruling class practiced incest enthusiastically, considering it “among the most righteous deeds” (152). Thus we see that the Nazis’ anti-Talmudic propaganda, which, if it did not totally fabricate them, mined the Babylonian Talmud for out-of-context quotes to back the claim that “[t]he Jews have double moral standards, and act among themselves with different moral standards than those they display toward gentiles,” (Lipson) masks the sexual taboo, nay perversion, implicitly glorified by anti-miscegenationist white supremacism and the 19th century “Aryan root-race” idea expounded by the likes of Blavatsky, Nietzsche, Madison Grant, the Ariosophists, and, ultimately, the Nazis. In a textbook case of psychological projection, antisemites have accused the Jews of the very sexual perversion and obstinate ethno-religious separatism inherent to their own program.

The Satanic Temple seems to play on these antisemitic claims of Jewish sexual perversion and deviancy through the staging of BDSM-themed “Black Mass” parties incorporating the sexual fetishization of Nazi uniforms and Holocaust symbolism, including the yellow Star of David badge, which Jews were forced to wear in Nazi-occupied Europe, alongside skimpy latex clothing, collars with chain leashes, and bloodletting (Verbeuren 35, 2). This pageantry incorporating the sexualization of the Holocaust builds on BDSM tropes, with “the Jewish concentration camp inmate” and “the Nazi SS officer” supplanting the categories of “submissive”/“slave”/“masochist” on the one hand and those of “dominant”/“sadist” on the other, attempting to normalize the LaVeyan view of Judaism and Nazism as a dialectical unity and make the aestheticization of antisemitism and rape “sexy.” This fetishization of power imbalance in sexual relations flows naturally from the white supremacist desire to enshrine parent-child inbreeding as a kind of “Aryan sacrament,” the Zoroastrian concept of xwēdōdah being necessarily an attractive object of cultural appropriation for any antisemite familiar with the Nordicist myth of “blond […] invaders […] in India [having created the ‘system of castes’] to preserve the purity of their blood” (Grant 35). Indeed, according to the logical imperatives of Nazism, it would necessarily be better for “Aryan” parents to procreate with their own offspring than to allow “racial defilement” by having the latter “breed” with “degenerate races.”

The Satanic Temple’s Black Mass-cum-Nazi sex party is not exactly a new phenomenon. In her review of SS Regalia by Jack Pia (part of a longer essay titled “Fascinating Fascism”), Susan Sontag (1933–2004) highlights the fact that the fusion of sadomasochism to Nazi symbolism was complete as early as the 1970s, noting that “the relation of masters and slaves [had never before been] so consciously aestheticized” as it was in this fusion of “S&M” and Nazism, and furthermore that “[t]hese sadomasochistic fantasies and practices are to be found among heterosexuals as well as homosexuals, although it is among male homosexuals that the eroticizing of Nazism is most visible.” Given that this “tradition” of attaching sexual jouissance to Nazi brutality fits clearly within the codes of sadomasochistic practice which have been highlighted by culture critics for decades, it would be difficult to suppose that the Satanists are unaware of what they are doing.

Photos published in the L.A. Weekly of a “Black Mass” event hosted by The Satanic Temple in January 2017 at a nightclub in Los Angeles show that the crypto-fascist sect’s penchant for Nazi aesthetics becomes noticeably less cryptic when members and supporters of the group gather together in large numbers:

TST member dressed in SS uniform

Figure 6.7. Left (detail): A participant in a “Black Mass” event put on by The Satanic Temple can be seen wearing a replica SS hat, complete with an SS-Totenkopf (the emblem of the SS, the most fanatical appendage of the Nazi Party) and a Parteiadler (“Party Eagle” or “eagle atop swastika,” the official emblem of the Nazi Party) (Verbeuren, 43/71). Right: Portrait of Heinrich Himmler, who was the leader of the SS, wearing the same style of hat (HolocaustResearchProject.org).

TST BDSM themed Black Mass

Figure 6.8. These photos, taken at the same “Black Mass” party organized by The Satanic Temple display the undeniably sexualized and BDSM-themed atmosphere in which Nazi and Holocaust symbolism was included (Verbeuren 35/71, 17/71, 9/71, 1/71, 2/71, 3/71).

satanic_2017hannah_verbeuren_45

Figure 6.9. Another participant at a “Black Mass” event organized by The Satanic Temple, dressed as a demonic SS officer (Verbeuren 5/71).

In the above photo, it can be seen that the standard Nazi emblems have been replaced by a Lovecraftian “Cthulhu” pin. According to Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a teenager who killed ten people in a shooting rampage at Texas high school in May 2018 while wearing a black coat similar to the one shown above, which was adorned with a “Cthulhu” pin of the same design, along with a pin featuring the “Sigil of Baphomet” (the official symbol of both the Church of Satan and The Satanic Temple), “Cthulhu [means] Power” and “Baphomet [means] Evil” (Collins, Zadrozny, and Connor, Banks and Rogers). US military intelligence officer Michael Aquino also combines Lovecraftian mythology with Nazism in his “Ceremony of Nine Angles” text. If, as members of TST claim, the group does not embrace evil, then the acceptance of Nazi iconography and uniforms at the group’s ritualistic events is perplexing.

TST yellow star badge

Figure 6.10. In keeping with Anton LaVey’s absurd conception of Satanism as “Judeo/Nazism” (sic), another participant at The Satanic Temple’s “Black Mass” can be seen wearing a yellow Star of David badge resembling those which Jews living under Nazism were forced to wear (Verbeuren 33/71, yellow circle for emphasis and lower right corner image both added); this was originally a medieval practice but it is mostly remembered nowadays for having been revived in the 20th century by the Nazis (HolocaustCenter.org). Lower right corner: “Nazi propaganda leaflet [in German]: ‘Whoever bears this sign is an enemy of our people’” (ibid.). Solid yellow stars like the one worn by the participant at TST’s “Black Mass” event shown above were used in Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Greece, Lithuania, and Latvia (ibid.).

The appropriation or “reclaiming” of the Nazi-imposed yellow star symbol, especially by non-Holocaust survivors and non-Jews, is widely seen as offensive, misguided, or, at best, tasteless (Pink, Kershner, Silow-Carroll, Pollard, JBN, JPOST.com). Wearing it at a party where people are also dressed as SS officers and in a sexually suggestive manner is undoubtedly doubly offensive. What message or meaning do The Satanic Temple’s followers wish to send or construct by celebrating their “Black Mass” with bloodletting rituals, including cheek and throat piercing with “flesh hooks,” while dressed in clothing symbolic of victims and perpetrators of the Holocaust? It is entirely reasonable to infer that these participants in The Satanic Temple’s “Black Mass” envision the ritual as a kind of symbolic reenactment of the Holocaust.

Another method to shift blame for antisemitism onto proponents of anti-Satanism is to paint discursive speculation by mental health workers about the connection of some of their patients’ trauma to abuse perpetrated under the aegis of the CIA’s “Project MK Ultra” as antisemitic. The accusation of antisemitism on the part of the medical community that specializes in mental disorders related to trauma and dissociation (namely the ISSTD) has been leveled by The Satanic Temple’s “Grey Faction” particularly with regard to a speech titled “Hypnosis in MPD: Ritual Abuse” (note that MPD stands for multiple personality disorder, now called dissociative identity disorder), also known as the “Greenbaum speech,” which was delivered by a psychotherapist named D. Corydon Hammond at a 1992 conference and which posited that there had been a Jewish inmate in a Nazi extermination camp who, having been “raised in a Hasidic Jewish tradition,” knew about Kabbalah and was therefore spared death and instead recruited to assist the Nazis in conducting “mind-control research” before being brought to the United States after the Second World War to work on the CIA’s mind control or “behavioral modification” program (“Project MK Ultra”), becoming known to victims as “Dr. Greenbaum” (Hammond , Hammond [text]).

In April 2018, The Satanic Temple’s anti-psychiatry operation “Grey Faction” produced and published a short video titled “The Greenbaum Speech: The Satanic Panic’s Central Folklore.” By presenting clips from the “Grey Force”-advocating psychologist’s speech in a lurid way, with “spooky,” old-timey footage of creepy-looking people holding a seance, the video attempts to portray discursive exploration of links between Satanic psychological operations and the CIA’s “Project MK Ultra” as quasi-psychotic, irrational, and, moreover, antisemitic. The “Grey Faction” video falsely asserts that the so-called “Greenbaum Speech” makes “wildly implausible claims” which “lack corroboration.” Taking into consideration the following arguments, we will see that although the narrative associated with the so-called “Greenbaum speech” may well contain some distortions or corruptions, the essential elements of the historical narrative summarized above (involving the recruitment of Jewish concentration camp inmates for participation in Nazi research and experimentation—not only as human guinea pigs, but as researchers—and the recuperation of Nazi research by the post-WWII CIA “behavioral modification” program[s] known as “Project MK Ultra”) are plausible and can in fact be corroborated by a wide variety of reliable sources.

Let’s examine the “Grey Faction” video’s first claim, which is the assertion that “the story of ‘Dr. Greenbaum’” is the story of “a folkloric villain who manages to fulfill nearly all conspiracy theory stereotypes by being a Jewish Satanist Nazi brought to the U.S. by the CIA to conduct mind control experiments.” One of the main objectives of this statement seems seems to be to make the viewer respond, “A Jewish Nazi? How absurd! What an outlandish conspiracy theory!” It is pretty clear that the idea which The Satanic Temple’s “Grey Faction” wants to plant in our heads is that the “Greenbaum” narrative, by “fulfilling all the conspiracy theory stereotypes” with its allegations that Greenbaum was not only a Jew and a Nazi-collaborator, but a Satanist, taps into antisemitism. And therefore—“Grey Faction” would have it—anyone who shows the slightest hint of belief in any part of the “Greenbaum Speech” might as well be a lunatic raving about the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. However, as we have just seen in the arguments formulated by Anton LaVey which were analysed above, “Jewish Satanist Nazism” is exactly how the founder of the Church of Satan, who believed that Hitler was Jewish, conceived modern Satanism. For TST (whose leaders assert that their sect represents “the natural evolution or natural progression of LaVey Satanism”) to call others out on this is a clear sign of psychological projection (Smith).

There was in actuality a psychiatrist named Sidney Gottlieb (1918–1999), who was in charge of “Project MK Ultra,” and Gottlieb did have Jewish familial origins (Cornwell). By some accounts, Gottlieb’s CIA nickname was “the Black Sorcerer” (Lennon, AHRP, Hollington 34). These facts, combined with the similarity of the names Gottlieb and Greenbaum, begs the question of whether the rumors about a Jewish “Dr. Greenbaum” might not be based on the real figure of Sidney Gottlieb. Furthermore, Gottlieb was allegedly born “Joseph Scheider” (Bush, Lennon) but sources of biographical data which would account for why or when his name changed from “Joseph Scheider” to “Sidney Gottlieb” are lacking. Nevertheless, the fact that “Gottlieb” was reportedly not his birth name, in combination with the fact that he was in charge of a top secret CIA program that involved the use of numerous code names (such as “Artichoke,” “Bluebird,” “MK Naomi,” “MK Delta,” “MK Search,” “Often,” and “Chickwit”), makes the possibility that “Gottlieb” or “Scheider” may have also used other code names or aliases, such as “Greenbaum,” more plausible. An additional possibility is that “Greenbaum” is simply a corrupted rendering of “Gottlieb.” Indeed, the names are similar; both are Germanic, have two syllables of similar length, and start with the letter G.

Some differences do stand out. Gottlieb is said to have been born in the US and therefore couldn’t have been interned at a Nazi death camp and forced to become an assistant to Nazis in cruel experiments, as it is claimed “Dr. Greenbaum” was. (Unless, of course, the life story of Sidney Gottlieb up to the age of about twenty-seven was fabricated by the CIA). So perhaps “Greenbaum” is not a cipher for Gottlieb. But what exactly is “Grey Faction” claiming is “wildly implausible” and lacking in corroboration? That Nazi scientists came to America after the Second World War? The establishment of significant numbers of Nazi war criminals in all parts of the Americas after the war (many through “Operation Paperclip”) is a well-known fact and has already been covered in the preface to this work and need not be re-examined here.

Is it possible that The Satanic Temple’s “Grey Faction” is trying to say that it is “wildly implausible” to claim that the Nazis would have been interested in acquiring knowledge about “Kabbalistic mysticism” from a Jew or that a Jewish inmate in a Nazi concentration camp could have become an active participant in unethical human experimentation? Yes, those do indeed seem to be the parts of the narrative which TST would like us to think are “fantastic” and “wildly implausible.” An examination of the historical record demonstrates otherwise, however.

A portion of those deported to Nazi death camps were put to work in so-called Sonderkommandos (“special units” or “special squads”), which were responsible for assisting in the practical operations of exterminating prisoners. One of the most famous individuals to have been coerced into joining the ranks of Auschwitz Sonderkommandos was a rabbi named Leib Langfus, who has been considered as a hero for participating in an anti-Nazi uprising on October 7, 1944, leaving behind some fragments of writing about the conditions in the camp which were found after it was liberated (Chare and Williams). Another rabbi, Benjamin Murmelstein (1905–1989), who was not a Sonderkommando but nevertheless worked closely with the Nazis and was imprisoned at Theresienstadt concentration camp, is remembered less favorably, being “widely perceived as a collaborator concerned with his own survival,” (Powers). Of course, the Zohar, the fundamental text of Jewish Kabbalah, forms a part of rabbinic literature, and given that the Nazis rounded up a large portion of the world’s Jews, it goes without saying that there is certainly nothing “wildly implausible” about the Nazis having had access to a significant number of people who were very knowledgeable about Kabbalah.

But why would the ultra-antisemitic Nazis have been interested in Kabbalah and not simply have sought to wipe out this cultural artifact along with the rest of world Jewry? The answer to this lies in an examination of the beliefs associated with Ariosophy (i.e., “Aryan wisdom,” the quasi-religious, völkisch school of thought based largely on the Theosophical Society leader Helena Blavatsky’s concept of an “Aryan root-race,” combined with an unhealthy dose of German nationalism, which was expounded by Austrian occultists Guido von List [1848–1919] and Lanz von Liebenfels [1874–1954] and a number of cultic sects inspired by their work, such as the Thule Society, which had a hand in the foundation of the Nazi Party [see preface and section 3.2.1.1]). List taught his followers that there was in ancient Germania a “secret Aryan priestly caste” called the “Armanen,” who “professed an esoteric religion which the popular worship of Wotan concealed” (Webb 280). Furthermore, according to Ariosophist thinking, this esoteric “Aryan” religion “found its supreme expression in the [Kabbalah], which [the Ariosophists] maintained was not at all Jewish,” (ibid). According to them, “during the eighth century,” when the ancient Germanic pagan religion was in the process of being wiped out by the Catholic Church, “the original [Aryan] priest-kings […] entrusted their gnosis [i.e., mystical/spiritual knowledge] verbally to the rabbis of Cologne […] in order to safeguard its survival during a wave of [anti-German] Christian persecution, (Goodrick-Clarke 63). These rabbis were said to have then “set these secrets down in [k]abbalistic books which were erroneously thought to represent a Jewish mystical tradition,” (Goodrick-Clarke 63). Blavatsky similarly negated the Jewish origins of Kabbalah (Mosse).

More generally, what is called “Hermetic Kabbalah” opts for an antisemitic theory of the origins of Kabbalah. That is, its proponents argue against the “Semitic” origins of Kabbalah, asserting that what they call “Hebrew Kabbalah” is “a product of the impact of Greek [read: ‘Indo-European’/‘Aryan’] Gnosticism on Jewish mysticism” (Barry, The Greek Qabalah xiii-xiv). Here we have it then, that the founders of the Nazi Party belonged to a school of thought closely associated with the belief that Kabbalah was actually “a compilation of ancient German wisdom which had survived [Christian] persecution” in the hands of Jewish community (Mosse).

Open claims by Nazi leaders involving the assertion of an “Aryan” entitlement to the cultural appropriation of aspects of Judaism were reported in the press of the time. A September 30, 1935 report from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency titled “Rosenberg Charges Jews ‘Stole’ Ten Commandments,” reads:

“‘The Ten Commandments are not Jewish, but were stolen by the Jews from ‘Aryans,’ Alfred Rosenberg, ideological leader of the Nazi Party and moving spirit of the pagan cult, declared today in a message to the Reich convention on German History, now in session here.

“Expressing ‘regret that the world bases history on the Jewish Bible,’ Rosenberg stated that the Bible was actually inspired by Bablonian [sic] and Indian culture, which are really ancient ‘Aryan’ cultures.

“‘The Ten Commandments are nothing but material rewritten from the nine commandments composed by ancient ‘Aryans,’ the Nazi spiritual leader charged,” (my emphasis in bold).

Rosenberg makes the same claim in The Myth of the Twentieth Century (1930), the second most important work in the Nazi literary canon after Hitler’s Mein Kampf (1925), mentioning therein “the nine commandment table which [was] appropriated by the Jews as their ten prohibitions” (30). Nor was Rosenberg the only Nazi leader to make reference to “the nine commandments”; Hermann Göring, considered to have been the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany after Hitler, put forward in 1934 the so-called “Nine Commandments for the Workers’ Struggle,” also known as the “Göring Plan” (ushmm.org). Incidentally, it seems likely that the “Nine Angles” referenced by Michael Aquino, the Nazism-obsessed US military intelligence officer who authored “The Ceremony of Nine Angles” (which first appeared in the Church of Satan-published book The Satanic Rituals [1972], was later incorporated into Aquino’s Temple of Set organization, and eventually also provided the neo-Nazi sect known as the Order of Nine Angles with its name), constitutes a reference to this esoteric aspect of Nazi ideology.

Nine commandments for the workers' struggle

Figure 6.11. “German pedestrians read a giant poster of Goering’s ‘Nine Commandments for the Workers’ Struggle,’ that has been affixed to a pillar in central Berlin,” (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum).

Given these facts, it would be “wildly implausible” to suppose that the Nazis, particularly the esoterically-inclined SS, did not desire to appropriate and acquire Jewish insights into Kabbalah, the understanding of which would have to be seen, according to their worldview, as holding the essential key to obtaining so-called “Ariosophical” knowledge and reconnecting with Aryan Ahnenerbe (“Ancestral Heritage”). (Note that the Ahnenerbe-SS or “Ancestral Heritage Research and Teaching Society” was the research branch of the SS, largely devoted to proving the Theosophical/Ariosophical “Aryan root-race” theory). Indeed, the cultural appropriation or “Aryanization” of the Jewish Kabbalah would, for the Nazis, have been even more imperative than that of the Ten Commandments (“Aryanized” as “the Nine Commandments”), because Kabbalah was held to be an encrypted spiritual teaching of those who the Nazis considered to be the purest “Aryan” specimen (the would-be Nordic-Germanic “race”), whereas the Ten Commandments were held to be derived from the “Aryans” of Persia and India (seen as more “racially diluted” according to the Nodicist view adopted by the Nazis). As with the derivation of the “Nine Commandments” from the Ten Commandments, the so-called “Tree of Wyrd” (a “mystical” trope of the esoteric Hitlerist “Nine Angles” and “Setian” cults, based on the “Tree of Life” associated with Jewish Kabbalah) involves subtraction (reducing the number of nodes or sephiroth from ten to seven).  This “Aryanized” Kabbalistic tree is even depicted as a Star of David, though it is euphemistically called a “double-tetrahedron”.

All this culturally appropriative behavior is not entirely dissimilar to the way in which the CIA appears to have looked to African and Afro-diasporic traditions in developing its own “mystical, sinister” methods for “behavior modification,” even though anti-Black racism was undoubtedly pervasive within the “MK Ultra”-era CIA (6.3.1). That said, the Nazis’ Ariosophical self-identification with and appropriation of Jewish Kabbalah does not in anyway prove correct the LaVeyan thesis of “Satanic Jewish Nazism,” for the same reason that CIA appropriation of “Voodoo” or Vinbrindingue rites does not imply a would-be “Satanic Yoruba Anglo-Saxonism.”

The fact that, not long after coming to power in Germany, the Nazis would go on to ban Freemasonry and secret societies or “esoteric organizations” broadly considered (including those of “Ariosophical” and völkisch persuasion, except, of course, those integral to the Nazi state itself, such as the SS) is sometimes touted in order to negate, downplay, or minimize the reality, depth, and significance of Nazi interest in the occult. However, it can be seen that these repressive measures were not the consequence of opposing esotericism and occultism as such, but rather the logical outcome of an esoteric sect, convinced of its own occult doctrines and organizational superiority, taking control of a state. The axiomatic status of Aryanism within Nazi ideology shows clearly the centrality of the Theosophical-Ariosophical “Aryan root-race” theory which forms the basis for the Nazi “religion of the blood.” To argue, as some do, that the fundamentally occultist character of Nazism (which has been observed since the time it arose, with Walter Benjamin calling Nazism “sinister runic humbug” and the Jewish press identifying it as a “pagan cult”) can be dismissed as phantasy simply because the “Aryan” racial doctrine is “the only” occultist or esoteric dogma that the Nazi state unambiguously promoted in a clear-cut and open way, would be like questioning whether a group that had “merely” made belief in Jesus Christ as the son of God its central tenet was “really” fundamentally influenced by Christianity.

Perhaps less well known than the existence of the Sonderkommandos is the fact that the SS also recruited concentration camp prisoners with specialized knowledge in fields such as medicine (including psychiatry) and anthropology (which has long included the study of religion) to aid them with other activities, namely human experimentation (Lifton 289). One Jewish inmate at Auschwitz who was accepted for this kind of work was a Hungarian-Romanian doctor named Miklós Nyiszli (1901–1956), whose memoir Auschwitz: A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account is noted in the Holocaust literature for bringing up the troubling theme of the “ambiguous victim.” While his actions, such as volunteering to collaborate with the Nazis, should be understood within the context of the “practical social reality in a concentration camp” in which he himself was a prisoner and liable to have been killed at any given moment, Nyiszli, who collaborated directly with “Angel of Death” Josef Mengele, nevertheless describes clear ethics violations on the part of himself and his fellow prisoners, such as authorizing fellow “inmate physicians” to dissect and operate on the bodies of murdered Jews in order to “advance their medical education and enhance their professional expertise,” (Turda, Williams). Robert Jay Lifton, a psychiatrist who investigated the psychodynamics behind medical professionals’ participation in the Holocaust, was able to interview “80 former Auschwitz inmates who were engaged in medical work in the camp,” for his research, which suggests that there were significant numbers of prisoners who assisted their Nazi captors in unethical human experiments (Lifton, “What Made this Man? Mengele”).

In “Medicalized Killing at Auschwitz,” Lifton reports that unethical human experiments conducted at Auschwitz involved the study of “the use of drugs (probably including mescaline, morphine and barbiturate derivatives) for purposes of extracting confessions, and the use of poisons, including the development of poison bullets,” (290). This shows direct continuity between Nazi death camp research and the CIA’s “Project MK Ultra,” because, as FOIA documents show, one of the objectives associated with “MK Ultra” was the development of a so-called “truth serum,” although their drug of choice is said to have been LSD instead of mescaline (Kelley and Bender). John D. Marks, a respected journalist and one of the first to report in depth about “Project MK Ultra,” notes in The Search for the “Manchurian Candidate” (1978) that the Nazis conducted hypnosis experiments “in combination with the drug” mescaline and that records of these experiments were acquired by the US military, though “[n]one of the German mind-control research was ever made public” (7, 10). Furthermore, “MK Ultra” overseer Sidney Gottlieb is widely reported to have been interested in the use of poisons, coming up with several eccentric schemes to try to poison left-wing and decolonial world leaders such as Fidel Castro (1926–2016) and Patrice Lumumba (1925–1961) (Inglis-Arkell). Similarly, the New York Times reports in a 1975 article titled “Colby Describes C.I.A. Poison Work” that “William E. Colby, Director of Central Intelligence, told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that [under the aegis of] the project code‐named ‘M.K. Naomi’ [a sister project of ‘MK Ultra’] […] the C.I.A. had developed darts that could shoot poison into a person,” (Horrock).

The fact of the proto-Nazi, Ariosophist interest in Jewish Kabbalah as an occult reservoir of Germanic pagan wisdom, combined with the fact that Jewish psychiatrists, rabbis, and anthropologists interned at concentration camps were coerced into working for the Nazis in the same places where behavioral modification experiments involving drugs and hypnosis were taking place, makes the “Greenbaum Speech” narrative seem more plausible than implausible.  In “The Encounter in Vienna: Modern Psychotherapy, Guided Imagery, and Hasidism Post-World War I,” Daniel Reiser, a scholar of Jewish mysticism, describes the “interaction between Hasidic psychology and modern psychology, which became possible in the German-speaking region of Central Europe, and specifically in Vienna, after World War I,” also providing an outline of rabbinic literature dealing with mesmerism, parapsychology, the unconscious, imagination, and hypnosis into the 19th century (291–292). Notably, Rabbi Menachem Ekstein (1884–1942) published a book in Hebrew in 1921 that largely dealt with “modern issues of psychology” (277). Reiser sums up his findings by noting:

“Central Europe in general, and Vienna in particular, functioned as points of contact between Western and Eastern Europe. As a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Vienna was a point of influence over Galicia, which was the cradle of Hasidism and belonged to the same empire up to World War I. German literature about psychology and hypnotism was translated into Hebrew in Vienna, and was distributed at the outskirts of the empire in Galicia. Modern psychotherapeutic techniques came to Galicia by way of Vienna and, amazingly, they were adopted into the Hasidic psychological thought of several Hasidic figures. This process intensified after World War I, when Vienna became one of the focal points of displaced people including quite a few Hasidic courts. According to our analysis, Menachem Ekstein would have encountered guided imagery techniques in Vienna after World War I, and here adopted them into his own Hasidic teachings,” (293).

This association of not only secular but also religious Jews with the psychological sciences, along with the fact that Hasidism was, and is, strongly associated with Kabbalah (which was believed in German fascist circles to be an encrypted form of Germanic pagan or “Aryan” thought), can be taken as corroborating evidence in support of our affirmation of the plausibility of the claim made by Hammond in the “Greenbaum Speech” that the CIA’s “Project MK Ultra,” in building on Holocaust-era Nazi research, drew upon knowledge gathered by and/or from one or more informants and/or researchers familiar with the Hasidic tradition.

Even more damning for the “Grey Faction” assertion that the “Dr. Greenbaum” narrative is “wildly implausible,” Lifton reports that another Auschwitz project “involved the use of electroshock for mental illness,” and furthermore, that this “project [was] initiated by an Auschwitz inmate doctor with some experience in the procedure, with the approval and sponsorship of an SS doctor,” (“Medicalized Killing at Auschwitz” 290). Medical historians Lara Rzesnitzek and Sascha Lang provide more details about this case in “‘Electroshock Therapy’ in the Third Reich,” noting that the Jewish inmate psychiatrist in question was Zenon Drohocki (1902–1978), while the SS doctor was Horst Fischer (1916–1966).

Rzesnitzek and Lang are quick to point out that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT or “electroshock”) has often been given a bad rap in popular culture, being sensationally depicted in films like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) “as a ‘treatment’ to enforce discipline inside the repressive regime of a psychiatric hospital,” despite the fact that medical professionals generally seem much more likely to have a positive outlook on the prospects of this form of therapy than pop culture manufacturers. That there seems to be something almost inherently sinister and sadistic about “electroshock” has certainly been picked up on by members of the anti-psychiatry cult of Scientology, who have produced brochures featuring the image of a person’s head being electroshocked—lightning bolts and all—with the words “psychiatry destroys minds” superimposed (Gazdag 42). However, it can be observed that Scientologists and other anti-psychiatry fanatics get things backwards in that Nazism was itself anti-psychiatry (and, more broadly, anti-medicine) insofar as its ideological demand was to move the treatment of persons with psychological and physical disabilities, illnesses, and disorders away from the medical model of practice (which means aiming to care for patients, and to strive to at least manage conditions, should it be the case that they cannot be cured), towards a model of practice which is completely the opposite (i.e., one which aimed for the systematic “extermination of people with intellectual disabilities and severe psychiatric disorders” [Gazdag, Ungvari, and Czech 1]). By the mental gymnastics of anti-psychiatry sects, medicine becomes conflated not only with medical malpractice, but with the outright negation of what medicine actually is.

The medical historians Rzesnitzek and Lang question whether Drohocki’s electroshock project was truly therapeutic or whether it was merely a cog in the Nazis’ search for “a solution to the ‘E’-problem” (“E” stands here for euthanasia; i.e., the extermination of “life unworthy of life”) (ibid.). Drohocki himself defended his collaboration with the Nazis, arguing that the ECT machine he and another inmate constructed out of material salvaged from downed “Allied aircraft” was beneficial to the death camp inmates it was used on. It is known that “electroshock” technology was abused in Nazi Germany. Emil Gelny (1890–1961), a Nazi doctor, modified an ECT machine by adding extra electrodes and used it to electrocute at least 300 patients to death (Rzesnitzek and Lang). This is of course inconsistent with genuine medical application of electroconvulsive therapy. It also makes it difficult to accept Drohocki’s rationalization of his efforts to construct an ECT machine at Auschwitz, given its potential for abusive pseudo-medical applications.

Given that there were indeed numerous cases in which prisoners with specialized knowledge in fields pertinent to “behavior modification” or “mind control” research did not only become assistants to members of the Nazi staff of concentration and death camps, but in at least one case the initiators of “a project” using what was at the time recently-invented psychiatric technology that would later be used within the context of “Project MK Ultra” (notably at the Allan Memorial Institute in Montreal, Canada), it is fair to conclude that The Satanic Temple’s “Grey Faction” assertions about “wild implausibility” stem more from a desire to dismiss and discredit the narrative than they do from an objective analysis of the historical record.

But what about the more “esoteric” aspects of the “Greenbaum speech”? It is plain to see that the “Grey Faction” desires to discredit the historicity of the narrative (of a [coerced] Jewish contribution to Nazi research conducted during the Holocaust that would later be recuperated by the US military and implemented under the aegis of the CIA’s “Project MK Ultra”), but behind or in parallel to this first desire there is also a desire to discredit the validity of dissociative identity disorder (DID) as a medical diagnosis. While these two things—(1) the historicity of (aspects of) the Holocaust and (2) the validity of DID as a medical diagnosis—are separate from one another, we nevertheless find them conflated with one another in terms of “Grey Faction” desire. It seems that, for “Grey Faction,” if people can be convinced to doubt and dismiss the “Greenbaum” narrative as nonsense, so too will they doubt and dismiss as nonsense the validity of DID as a medical diagnosis (and, by extension, so too will they doubt and dismiss the legitimacy of psychiatry, practitioners of which are labelled “Doctors Inventing Demons” by members of the so-called “Grey Faction”). In this sense, The Satanic Temple’s anti-psychiatry campaign hinges upon Holocaust denial (or, at best, Holocaust ignorance), writing men like Miklós Nyiszli, Zenon Drohocki, Leib Langfus, Menachem Ekstein, and others out of history because of the inconvenient challenges they pose to dismissal of the “Greenbaum” narrative as “wildly implausible.”

It does seem quite natural that an emergent understanding of DID, which results from psychological trauma, and the Holocaust, a massive collective trauma with lasting psychological consequences, would be intertwined to significant degree. In this regard, it’s noteworthy that Lifton discusses how the doctors at the Auschwitz death camp were “able to separate [themselves] psychologically from the killing process,” arguing that the conditions at Auschwitz, which was seen as a sort of grand “experiment” in and of itself, were conducive to the “splitting of [their] psyche[s]” (“Medicalized Killing at Auschwitz” 294, 290, 296). This does not seem dissimilar to the psychological process which is said to occur in the formation of dissociative identity disorder (DID), which “Grey Faction” is dedicated to negating the existence of. The following passage from Lifton’s research is worth quoting in full, as it may aid us in understanding not only why the historicity of the essential narrative elements in the “Greenbaum Speech” is plausible, but also DID itself:

“Finally, there was one overall mechanism [enabling medical professionals to separate themselves psychologically from the killing process], that which I call ‘doubling,’ within which all the other [mechanisms; e.g., ‘technicizing’, ‘psychic numbing’ or ‘derealization’ or ‘the sense that one was on a separate planet’, ‘heavy drinking’, ‘construction of meaning’, ‘blam(ing) the victim’, relishing ‘a sense of omnipotence that could protect them from their own death anxiety’, ‘feel(ing) sorry for themselves for having (…) (a very tough, unpleasant job that they simply had to do)’, etc.] operated. It includes compartmentalization or ‘splitting’ of various elements of the psyche, so that one could both participate actively in the killing and remain tender in one’s family relationships and even occasionally in certain relationships in Auschwitz. Use of the term doubling, rather than mere splitting, calls attention to the creation of two relatively autonomous selves: the prior ‘ordinary self,’ which for doctors includes important elements of the healer, and the ‘Auschwitz self,’ which includes all of the psychological maneuvers that help one avoid a conscious sense of oneself as a killer. The existence of an overall Auschwitz self more or less integrated all of these mechanisms into a functioning whole, and permitted one to adapt oneself to that bizarre environment. The prior self enabled one to retain a sense of decency and loving connection. The extraordinary demands of functioning in Auschwitz seemed to require doubling of this kind and at the same time sufficient integration of the two selves for general psychic functioning. To an important degree, ideology can serve as a bridge between two such selves. For instance, the strongly held image of national and personal revitalization associated with the Nazi movement could be compatible with both the prior self and the Auschwitz self, and could thereby provide the necessary psychic common ground,” (Lifton, “Medicalized Killing at Auschwitz” 296).

Lifton seems to be saying that involvement in the perpetration of trauma also creates a kind of dissociative identity disorder. It might be possible to add further clarity to the distinction Lifton makes between “doubling” and “splitting” in that “doubling” could be seen as more specific to perpetrators of trauma (in whom psychic compartmentalization is ideologically necessitated in order to accomplish various criminal-political tasks), whereas “splitting” (implying more multiplicity and being less ideologically coherent) can be conceived as more closely related to the type of dissociative disorder experienced by victims of trauma. The phenomenon of “doubling” or “psychic splitting” into “ordinary self” and “Auschwitz self” seems necessarily to imply a kind of dialectical antagonism or binary opposition between private and public spheres or domains (respectively associated with relationships with family and close friends on the one hand and political and professional relationships on the other). For many, it may not seem unusual or pathological that a member of modern society would behave differently in public than they do in private, such as by “acting professionally,” for example. But that is only because we have become used to the social alienation which arises due to living in a society where fully “being oneself” in the public sphere means encountering hostility. One mechanism for coping with this alienation is to retreat into more private social domains where control over the Other is greater, but this can become problematic in that it may lead to a feeling of resignation from contestation of control of the public sphere (i.e., from political consciousness), which means that one has become dissociated from concern for the commonweal. In that case, one cultivates a public persona which is extraordinarily alien to the “ordinary,” or private, self.

Nevertheless, what Lifton describes seems to be something more. It is the splitting or doubling of the personality into two morally contradictory selves: one which is bad or monstrous and another which is good or decent. Thus we have (1) psychic splitting of the self into a public self and a private self and (2) psychic splitting of the self into a decent self and a monstrous self (or an ordinary self and an extraordinary self). The dissociative doubling of the trauma perpetrator’s personality occurs at the intersection of social (public/private) and moral (decent/monstrous) axes.

We can observe two distinct kinds of dissociative doubling which have dialectically opposite valences along the social and moral axes. One is the publically decent, privately monstrous individual (whose archetype is the Satanist) and the other is the publically depraved, privately decent individual (whose archetype is the reluctant Nazi, or the person who has become a Nazi mainly due to the force of social trends). These archetypes are based on what may be posited as the standard conceptions of a Satanic cult and of a Nazi society. The Satanic cult is a corrupt circle of evil individuals (who act out in private) within what is otherwise, at least superficially, a society in which common decency and authentic morality prevails, whereas it is commonly thought that a great many of the complicit members of a Nazi-run society are theoretically “good at heart”; they are “decent” people who behave tenderly with loved ones in private and who would behave differently in public if circumstances were different, who are caught up in and coerced into conformity by hegemonic systems of organized crime controlled by a corrupt and immoral public authorities. Often the Stanford prison experiment is cited to justify this view. In the Satanic cult situation, the individual’s personality is split between an ordinarily decent public self and an extraordinarily monstrous private self, while in a Nazi-run society, the psyche is split into an extraordinarily monstrous public self and an ordinarily decent private self. In both situations, the individual navigates and switches back and forth between two selves whose relation to one another is tense. We see therefore that the problem of psychological dissociation as it relates to social alienation seems to rest in part on the distinction between private and public spheres, but also on the moral turmoil caused by participation in extraordinarily immoral acts, such as organized killing and sexual violence, but also more ordinary immoral acts, such as participation in capitalist processes which seem to legitimate the abstract separation of exchange-value from use-value (justifying war-profiteering, for example, but also making us blind to the social nature of our commodified relationships as producers and consumers), which many members of capitalist society may only be somewhat unconsciously aware of.

While we do see two distinct forms of psychic doubling in examining the archetypal Satanist, whose madness is kept private but may be somewhat normal in public, and the archetypal Nazi, whose madness is expressed publicly as complicity in the enthronement of evil as state policy but who may be somewhat normal in private, there is nevertheless a difference between the reluctant member of the Nazi society who is drawn into immorality by the overwhelming negative influence of an evil public authority and the ideologically committed individual who was a Nazi before society became subject to Nazi authority. The privately evil Satanist and the Nazi public authority each desire to penetrate the social domain where their influence is lacking and fill it with their immorality, but the ideologically committed Nazi who has not yet sufficiently taken control over the public sphere necessarily resembles the Satanist, and, in the era of neo-fascism, will seldom openly identify with the historical legacy of Hitlerism. Herein we find a major cause of the affinities between fascism-as-a-crypt, crypto-fascism, neo-fascism, and modern Satanism (see: Preface).

There is a fear, commonly stoked by reactionaries and crypto-fascists who never tire of issuing dire warnings about the next looming wave of “moral panic,” that if our willingness to confront evil within the private sphere is “too extreme,” it will lead to “totalitarianism,” to lack of privacy, to violation of the sanctity of the atomized “nuclear family,” to “hysterical allegations,” or to the enthronement of a tyrannical false morality over the public sphere which invades the private spheres where authentic morality is preserved. Operating on this fear is a recipe for a life of resignation and accommodation to Nazi-run society and mass proliferation of hellish childhoods. It is not willingness or desire to abolish the distinction between private and public interests that is emblematic of fascism, but rather the increasing privatization of the public sphere, wherein social interaction occurs more and more through the prism of commodification and private control. It can be supposed that the appeal of “Satanic” and “occult” aesthetics within US popular culture today results largely from the rapid multiplication under late capitalism of privatized social interactions; fascination with the “occult” stems from the idea that, by entering a more private (more occult) space, one becomes free from society. But this is absurd. Retreating into the private sphere may offer some temporary relief from the social alienation and oppression encountered in public, but it offers no fundamental solution, and slowly but surely the private sphere stops being a place which offers respite from the oppression encountered in public. To resolve this contradiction, it is necessary to align socialism and morality, thereby abolishing the opposition between public and private spheres, which is largely an ideological, or superstructural, artifice arising on the basis of private property.

The role of ideology as a mechanism which can ensure, as Lifton puts it, “sufficient integration of the two selves for general psychic functioning” evokes a number of examples beyond that of the staff of the death camp at Auschwitz. W.E.B. DuBois, who would later visit Nazi Germany, spoke of “double consciousness” and the difficulty of integrating one’s two selves as an American and as a Black person, “two warring ideals” that seemed, or seem, impossible to satisfactorily integrate within a single psycho-cognitive apparatus. On the other hand, “doubling,” as a survival mechanism, might not always need to be considered as a bad thing; for example, linguistic “code-switching” could be thought of as a way in which the oppressed preserve the authentic self, whose dialect is devalued by the public authority. Perhaps nationalist ideologies more generally can be seen as fomenting this “doubling”; as the citizenry of a nation or ethnos is naturally elevated by nationalist thinking to a status of higher importance or greater concern than humanity as a whole, the latter inevitably becomes conflated with something alien. Virtually all humans today, being subject to claims on their bodies by nation-states, are thus subjected to a splitting of their psychic apparatus. While a particular culture is a necessary modality through which the abstract idea of a universal “human being” is realized, it may be that the degree to which the psyche is split varies from nationalist project to nationalist project, with the worst splits occurring in imperialist cultures.

We have thus corroborated all of the supposedly “fantastic” or “wildly implausible” elements of the “Greenbaum” story. Chronologically, the following key points can be given to sum up the facts which lend support to the plausibility of the “Greenbaum” story:

(1) The belief that the knowledge of Kabbalistic mysticism associated with Ashkenazic (German) Jewry was actually an encrypted form of Germanic pagan gnosis which had been orally bestowed unto rabbis during the Middle Ages by wise men of the “Aryan race” who were being persecuted by the Roman Catholic Church was an esoteric aspect of proto-Nazi ideology;

(2) the Nazis did recruit Jewish concentration camp inmates with specialized knowledge in certain fields, including psychiatry, anthropology, and rabbinic literature (which covers Kabbalah), to work as their assistants during the Holocaust and these individuals did, in turn, commit ethics violations and, in at least one case, initiate a psychiatric research project with SS approval, though they were themselves also victimized;

(3) the US government did recruit and offer protection to persons from Nazi Germany with specialized knowledge in the aforementioned scientific fields, many through “Operation Paperclip”;

(4) during the era of “Project MK Ultra,” the CIA pursued similar themes in its research and development projects and sub-projects as those which had been pursued by researchers in Nazi death camps, including the use of hypnosis and drugs in interrogation, poison-firing guns, and abusive applications of electroshock therapy;

(5) a doctor of Ashkenazic origin with an assumed name/identity similar to Greenbaum (i.e., Gottlieb, reportedly born Scheider), was in charge of “Project MK Ultra,” a covert program relating to mind-control research which began shortly after the end of the Second World War;

(6) ethno-psychiatric or psycho-anthropological research into the psychodynamics behind practices related to or involving witchcraft, magic, ritual sacrifice, trance and possession states, psychotropic drugs, divination, curses and invocations, and personality changes associated with religious experience was covertly funded by the CIA during the period of “Project MK Ultra,” with the development of “psychological warfare” techniques being among the suspected aims of this research (see: 6.3.2);

(7) the US intelligence community, of which the CIA is a part, had at least one operative (Michael Aquino) who advocated reading Mein Kampf as a Satanic “textbook” or “Bible” and who was also, during the era of “Project MK Ultra,” a high-ranking member of the Church of Satan, which attempted to revitalize Nazism by synthesizing it with the notion of “hereditary Judaism” and attributing crypto-Jewish identities to Adolf Hitler and other prominent Nazi Party officials;

(8) the same US military intelligence officer authored a key Church of Satan text called “The Ceremony of Nine Angles,” at almost the same time that US-allied British military intelligence operatives began to use Satanism as a psychological weapon in their war against the Irish independence movement, shortly after which said US officer parted ways with LaVey to be the leader of his own Satanic operation dubbed the “Temple of Set,” which coincided with the emergence of a UK-based Satanic operation called the Order of Nine Angles, whose discourses regularly expound a Kabbalah-inspired symbol identified therein as the “Tree of Wyrd,” which also evinces the US military intelligence officer’s influence in that the latter’s “Setian” sect had a sub-organization called the “Order of the Wells of Wyrd.”

The facts listed above are only those non-speculative ones which have been substantiated in reliable sources of information. Considering all of these arguments, it is abundantly clear that The Satanic Temple’s attempt to invoke the “Greenbaum Speech” as evidence of “the inextricable relationship between the […] demonization of Jews and the Satanic Panic libels of modern days” is entirely without substance. Moreover, given the plethora of ties between antisemitism and TST (as well as modern Satanism more broadly), its attempt to paint criticism of modern Satanism as antisemitic is absurd.

Recalling the dispute over the “racial roots” of Kabbalah, we are brought to another realization; namely, the realization that any insinuation that a “real” or “pure” German culture exists independently of “Jewish influence” is itself antisemitic. Agata Bielik-Robson, a Polish philosopher and professor of Jewish studies, has drawn attention to the thesis that the entire philosophical movement of German idealism was in fact based on the “philosophical translation of the theosophic motif of zimzum, that is God’s mysterious contraction” borrowed from Lurianic Kabbalah (University of Nottingham). The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “a peer-reviewed academic resource,” notes that “while it would be difficult to prove that any particular philosophy was responsible for German nationalism or the rise of fascism, it is true that the works of [philosophical authors associated German idealism were] favorite references for German nationalists and, later, the Nazis.” Although Nazism was essentially the product of a culture (i.e., German culture) that had been influenced to some degree by Judaism, whether directly or indirectly, such as via so-called “Judeo-Christianity,” this does not in anyway diminish the fact of its antisemitism or imply that the Nazis were “actually a Jewish movement,” as the godfather of modern Satanism, Anton LaVey, attempted to argue. It does however go to show that one of the central claims of Nazi ideology—that German culture is either “naturally” opposed to, incompatible with, or corrupted by Jewish culture—is false. Rather, German culture has been enriched by the contribution of its Jewish members.

Somewhat ironically, antisemitism outside Germany often takes on anti-Germanic undertones in addition to anti-Jewish ones. The so-called “Khazar hypothesis” (or myth), which is popular among antisemites, says that Ashkenazi Jews, also known as German Jews (Ashkenazi means German in Hebrew), are not the “real” Jews but “fake” or “imposter” Jews because they allegedly descend from a Turkic people known as the Khazars, who lived in a kingdom during the Middle Ages that was in the region of Eastern Europe that corresponds approximately to what is nowadays the Ukraine. According to the proponents of this hypothesis, the Khazars converted en masse to Judaism and they form the true “root” of Ashkenazic Jewish culture. This of course makes little sense, since the traditional language of Ashkenazic Jewry, Yiddish, is based on German dialects and is not Turkic, indicating the incubation of Ashkenazic culture in the medieval cities of “SHuM” (Speyer, Worms, and Mainz) in the Rhineland, and not in Khazaria. The Khazar “theory” also allows bigots to hide their antisemitism behind “anti-Zionism” by claiming that they don’t have a problem with “real Jews” but only with the “fake Jews,” who they identify as the “Khazar/Ashkenazi/German Zionists.” A Dutch antisemite named Jeroen de Kreek, who was arraigned for hate speech in 2012, even went so far as to suggest that the term “Nazism” is not an abbreviated form of Nationalsozialismus (the German word for “national socialism”), but rather of the Hebrew word for German Jewry, “Ashkenazim” (Eissens). Similar claims have been made in the Dubai-based English language newspaper Gulf News, which has also published Holocaust denialist material. One Gulf News piece claimed that “the Nazi holocaust was a mere lie, which was devised by the Zionists to blackmail humanity” and that “the holocaust was a conspiracy hatched by the Zionists and Nazis.” Another article titled “Nazism embedded in Ashkenazi mind,” also published in Gulf News, absurdly claims that “the Ashkenazi Jews […] became known as the ‘Nazis’ in the 12th Century,” and that “[i]n time, Nazism became a generic name for “the master race” to designate the Aryan race as one, which later became the Nazi party,” (Rahman).

Another prime historical example of the anti-German character of antisemitism can found at the end of the 19th century, when Alfred Dreyfus, a German-speaking French Jew from Alsace, was framed-up for a crime of treason which he did not commit by French antisemites, resulting in a massive scandal whose context was that of heightened tensions between France and Germany following the latter’s 1871 annexation of Alsace-Moselle. German revanchist ambitions on these allegedly “ethnic German” French territories would later serve as a prime pretext for the Nazi invasion of France.

More recently, during the May 1968 student and worker uprising in France, the phrase “We are all German Jews,” became one of the popular slogans of the movement; it was meant as a sign of solidarity with Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a left-wing student leader and Jewish German who was attacked for being “foreign” by opponents of the revolt, including the French Communist Party (which already had a history of employing antisemitic rhetoric, having openly voiced support in 1940 for the Nazi occupation of Paris on the basis of the Hitler-Stalin pact, and which would not begin to repudiate Stalinism until the late 1970s [Humanité]).

Although Donald Trump has found widespread support among antisemites, called participants in a neo-Nazi rally “very fine people,” and often speaks in apparent dog-whistles to white supremacists, his German ethnic background has arguably played a role in the rise in antisemitic discourse coinciding with his presidency. Investigative reports on Trump’s connections to the Russian state and alleged organized crime groups have tended to place a certain emphasis on Trump’s ties to Jews from Russia and other post-Soviet countries and Jewish organizations, such as Viktor Vekselberg, Boris Epshteyn, Felix Sater, Tamir Sapir, and Chabad (Schreckinger, Kampeas, Solnit, Haldevang), and even Vladimir Putin has attempted to downplay accusations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election by suggesting that Jewish Russians (or “Jews, just with Russian citizenship,” who, like Vekselberg [Wechselberg] and Epshteyn [Epstein], often have German-sounding names) are not true Russians (Farrell). A year and a half before Putin’s antisemitic comments, “a spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry” made similar claims, citing a “Jewish conspiracy” as responsible for the electoral victory of Trump in 2016 (BBC). Anglo-American TV personality John Oliver has attempted to exoticize Donald Trump’s name by popularizing the more stereotypically “Germanic” ancestral form of his name, Drumpf. This is not entirely dissimilar from the way in which, during the antisemitic campaign in the Soviet Union of the late Stalin era, “[i]t became common in derogatory articles to mention Jewish surnames in brackets, after the Russian pseudonyms used by the people under attack” (van Ree 205). Nor is it dissimilar from the way in which the antisemitic, proto-fascist writer Alfred Jarry (likely the source of inspiration for Satanic Temple co-founder Cevin Soling’s pseudonym “Malcolm Jarry”), ridiculed Alfred Dreyfus by spelling his name “Zweifuss” (see below).

LaVey’s belief in the myth of a “crypto-Jewish” Adolf Hitler mirrors in many ways the antisemitic myth of German Jewry’s “crypto-Khazar” origin. Both single out Ashkenazic Jewry as particularly prone to evil and deceitfulness, as forming the “bad” or “worst kind” of Jews, “fake Jews,” or the “synagogue of Satan.” Furthermore, LaVeyan antisemitism is partially consistent with the newer forms of antisemitic rhetoric exemplified by the Dutch and Emirati antisemites cited above, which instead of embracing Nazism and fully denying the Holocaust outright, have condemned Nazism as a Jewish or Zionist conspiracy and attempted to promote blame-shifting revisionist history, framing the Holocaust not as a crime against Jews, but as “Jew-on-Jew” crime, the ultimate exercise in victim-blaming. (Recall that Satanic Temple co-founder Douglas Misicko’s old Satanic internet radio friends, the Bugbees, have also engaged in this form of Holocaust negationism, during the same segment of audio in which Misicko states his belief that “it’s okay to hate Jews” [“Doug Mesner [Lucien Greaves/Douglas Misicko] Satanic Temple Anti-Semitic Rant”]). LaVeyan antisemitism condones the same myths, but instead of condemning Nazism and the Holocaust as “Jewish crimes,” it celebrates them as fantastically diabolical “Judeo-Satanic” criminal conspiracies.

The Satanic Temple uses a psychological device similar to that of the Church of Satan’s holding up of LaVey’s would-be “Jewishness” as a fig leaf to cover the stark reality of their deep ties to neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups and rhetoric by appearing to place a certain amount of emphasis on the self-proclaimed “Jewishness” of its own “Malcolm Jarry” (alias of Satanic Temple co-founder Cevin Soling). For example, a New York Times piece notes that Soling “was raised by irreligious Jews” (Oppenheimer). Another piece in the Times of Israel identifies Soling as “secular Jew Malcolm Jarry.” The emphasis on this aspect of Soling’s heritage is presumably supposed to distract from or act as a safeguard against “small” matters of fact regarding TST’s ties to neo-Nazis, but we should not be so easily fooled.

Given The Satanic Temple’s penchant for tryhard pseudo-intellectual references to French fin-de-siècle literati (e.g., the antisemitic writer Anatole France), it would appear likely that Cevin Soling’s Satanic alias (Malcolm Jarry) is a reference to Alfred Jarry, who in addition to praising the alcoholic drink absinthe (a topic which TST has held talks on, attempting to use the widespread banning of absinthe throughout the Western world in the early 20th century to reinforce the “moral panic” meme), was an antisemite whose work was fundamental to the rise of 20th century fascism. The titular character in Alfred Jarry’s most famous work, an 1896 play called Ubu Roi (“King Ubu”), is said to have first appeared as a character in another one of Jarry’s plays a year earlier, that one called César-Antéchrist (“Caesar Antichrist”), in which the character Ubu is the Antichrist. Jarry’s Ubu Roi was fundamental to the foundation of the fascist movement known as Italian Futurism, whose leader, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, authored both the Futurist Manifesto and the Fascist Manifesto. Günter Berghaus notes in “Futurism, Dada, and Surrealism: Some Cross-Fertilisations Among Historical Avant-gardes” that “Marinetti’s first play,” Le Roi Bombance, “was modelled in many ways on Jarry’s Ubu Roi” and that Jarry and Marinetti were close friends, praising each other’s work and exchanging numerous letters (273).

Evidence of Alfred Jarry’s far-right affiliations don’t stop there. In Du mufle et de l’algolisme chez Jarry,” Henri Béhar notes that “examining the manuscripts of [Jarry’s] last novel [which he began to write in 1904 but was published posthumously], La Dragonne, [one discovers] that he was, like most of his colleagues at the [literary magazine] Mercure, on the reactionary path.” Béhar notes furthermore that “the antisemitism of Jarry explodes in the drafts of La Dragonne where a certain priest named De Rayphusce and his brother ‘good Jew, reserve officer Zweifuss’ appear” in a chapter titled “Porc-grome,” an apparent play on the words “pork” and “pogrom” (“humorously” conflating the Jewish custom of avoiding food, such as pork, that is not considered “kosher” with anti-Jewish mass murder events). Making fun of Dreyfus (“bon juif” De Rayphusce/Zweifuss”) and genocidal pogroms in this way is basically the turn of the 19th to 20th century French equivalent of making a tasteless T-shirt based on the murder of Trayvon Martin, as Satanic Temple “High Priest” Brian Werner did (Chapter 4). It is important to emphasize the fact that, when Alfred Jarry was writing his “pork pogrom” piece, a devastating wave of ritualistic and often sexualized mass violence and rioting had just broken out against Jews in Eastern Europe. Diverse sources note that the 1903–1906 pogroms, which resulted in thousands of raped and/or murdered Jews, were coordinated with the Eastern Orthodox Church, with the riots beginning in Chișinău at the end of the Orthodox Easter Sunday rituals. Alfred Jarry’s flippant “pork pogrom” treatment of these events was also “avant-garde” in foreshadowing the fact that, in the current period, numerous right-wing extremist-perpetrated Islamophobic hate crimes (which are another class of antisemitism, in a sense) have involved the use of pork meat or the body parts of pigs in attempts to insult or degrade Muslims, with Donald Trump even going so far as to publicly recount at a mass political rally a racist legend about US militarists dipping their bullets in pigs’ blood before massacring Muslims during the US colonial occupation of the Philippines, which followed the Spanish-American and Philippine-American wars at the turn of the 19th to 20th century (Fisk).

The fact that evidence (including The Satanic Temple’s penchant for absinthe and Belle Époque literary depictions of Satan, which is basically Alfred Jarry in a nutshell) strongly suggests that Soling’s Satanic namesake is Alfred Jarry, an antisemitic reactionary whose work was a fundamental influence on the 20th century fascist movement, says a lot the true nature of the deceptive sect known as The Satanic Temple. Far from refuting the fact of modern Satanism’s antisemitic character, the involvement of Soling (as a “secular Jew”) in The Satanic Temple appears to be more in line with the LaVeyan position that “any person […] who’s accomplished anything in his life had a real disdain for his own ‘people’,” (Barton, Ch. 19). Offering further commentary on this topic, the would-be “born Jew” Anton LaVey, godfather of The Satanic Temple’s brand of Satanism, opined that “people that come from Jewish backgrounds […] are the most rabid anti-Semitic people I know. And I don’t blame them,” (Barton). Indeed, if Hitler is the archetypical “Satanic Jewish Nazi,” as LaVey and others have suggested, then having “a real disdain for [one’s] own people” would be absolutely in line with our expectation that any so-called “born Jew” in the Satanic movement today is, with regard to the contradiction between his/her cultural identity and his/her political praxis, no different from any so-called “born Jew” involved in supporting neo-Nazi movements today, and no different from any so-called “born Jew” who was involved in orchestrating the Spanish Inquisition or the expulsion of Jews from Spain.

 

 


CONTINUE READING… 7. Reactionary Sexual Politics of “The Satanic Temple”

OR RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS (Anatomy of a Crypto-Fascist Sect: The Unauthorized Guide to “The Satanic Temple”)

How Anti-Feminist Backlash Contributed to the Myth-Making of the So-Called “Satanic Panic”: The “Red Nurse” and “Nanny State” as Folk Devils

As a Red-baiter, it only seems natural that Underwager was also a rabid woman-hater. Michael Salter writes in Organised Abuse and the Politics of Disbelief:

“Underwager believed that that ‘hysteria’ about child sexual abuse was being fuelled by ‘radical feminism’ and women’s jealousy of the intimacy between men and boys (Geraci 1993). In one instance, he accused ‘feminists in America’ of waging a campaign of libel against him, following widespread criticism over his claim that ‘[p]aedopihles need to become more positive and make the claim that paedophilia is an acceptable expression of God’s will for love and unity among human beings,’” (251).

Underwager’s McCarthyist vision of a “conspiracy of female professionals strong‐arming children into destroying their families” (Salter 245) through the use of “Red Chinese brainwashing” and “Communist thought reform techniques” approaches that fear of the archetypal “Red nurse” outlined by Klaus Theweleit in Male Fantasies, a work which analyses the writings of members of Weimar Germany’s proto-Nazi paramilitary Freikorps, whose misogyny and, moreover, gynophobia was especially acute when it came to women who were also communists. The engineering of the “Satanic Panic” meme along these lines had everything to do with the perceived threat to patriarchal norms posed by women and their power as an organized group of workers. “[S]ocial workers […] as a predominantly female profession” were perceived as “storm troopers of the nanny state” (Cohen xvi) . The trope of the Red nurse’s morally corrupting influence and the spiritually corrosive effects of the “nanny state” on “the family” (Theweleit posits that the Freikorps men regarded the women who “serviced” the Red Army as prostitutes [or sex workers]) was also revived by Underwager, who maintained that “all forensic interviews with children provoked their sadistic sexual fantasy life, creating ‘psychotic’ and sexualised children who were ‘ruined for life’,” (Duncan 1987; Smith 1992; in Salter 256). Similarly, Underwager also allowed an article to be published in his “journal in 1991 about the ‘dangers’ of informing children about sexual abuse” (Cheit 437). Written by James Krivacska, a man who already had a prior arrest record for sexual abuse and who would later be “convicted by a jury and sentenced to twenty-six years in prison” for the same type of crime, the article argued that “after-the-fact association of ‘trauma’ […] with the pleasant genital […] fondling […] may ultimately interfere with [children’s] later experience of sexual pleasure as an adult,” (Cheit 437; 583).

The rise in popular concern with what goes on in private spaces was seen by the “witch-hunt” narrative’s true believers as a vehicle for “Red nurses” (i.e., social workers, therapists, psychiatrists, and other health care professionals) to enact the Communist Manifesto’s “abolition of the family” by advocating for increased state scrutiny and intervention into the bourgeois family structure. We see the same phenomenon today in advocates of “free-range parenting” and “unschooling,” who exhibit fear of “socialist” community intervention into the affairs of nuclear family units and of “Red” teachers (predominantly women) influencing children through the (unionized) public school system (a favorite theme of paranoid conservatives). Ironically, far from being an assertion of children’s rights, “free-range parenting” is actually a form of social enclosure; it is a re-assertion of the “right” of the patriarchs of the bourgeois nuclear family to shield their “property” (i.e., their children) from community influence. It designates “freedom” from the “corrupting” influence of working women, putting up walls and ramparts around the bourgeois family structure (which favors male control and production of the mass psychology of fascism by allowing “the man” of each household to play the role of a microcosmic Führer) in order to “protect” it from the “threat” of increasingly socialized forms of child care (which liberate and empower women). “Unschooling” is thus a pedagogy of the oppressors because it fends off the feminist social workers and “liberal Marxist” school teachers from intervening in the pedagogical development of the younger generations transitioning to working class adulthood, cementing the hegemony of the socially atomized upper middle class which can economically manage “homeschooling.”

communist teacher

Figure 6.2. Detail from an anti-communist comic produced during the era of the (Second) Red Scare (Reddit). We can observe similarities between the cartoon’s portrayal of the American school system as a potential center of “Communist thought reform” by female teachers and Ralph Underwager’s claims about a “false memory epidemic” involving rumors of child abuse inside Satanic cults being spread by feminist social workers and psychiatrists using “Red Chinese brainwashing” methods to attack the hegemonic, idealized bourgeois model of the family as a predominant and pervasive authoritarian social institution and replace it with the “community of women” and “community of children” under the would-be Liberal or Marxian “nanny state.”

 

 


CONTINUE READING… 6.2 The Actual Moral Panic Behind the So-Called “Satanic Panic”: Exaggeration and the Weaponized Labelling of Historical Episodes as “Moral Panics”

OR RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS (Anatomy of a Crypto-Fascist Sect: The Unauthorized Guide to “The Satanic Temple”)

Lingering Ambiguities About the Genuine Worldview of “The Satanic Temple”

Spokespersons for The Satanic Temple have defined the group as “a non-theistic religious organization” (DeVito). Statements to the effect of “they don’t actually believe in or worship Satan” or “[they just see] Satan [as] a symbol of the Eternal Rebel in opposition to arbitrary authority” are virtually ubiquitous in media coverage of TST (“FAQ”). The group similarly proclaims that it does not “promote” or “believe” in “symbolic ‘evil’” (ibid.). TST’s spokespersons tend to complain about the fact that Satanists are “misunderstood” by the public, especially when they encounter opposition from Christian-identified individuals: “A lot of the ideas people have about Satanism come from moral panic. We do think it’s part of our noble pursuit to correct people of these type of witch-hunting activities,” says Misicko, who has elsewhere written that “[a]s the co-founder of and spokesman for the Satanic Temple,” he is “naturally irritated by [‘the colloquial use of ‘Satanic’ to (…) to describe all that is reprehensible and morally corrupt’],” (Berg, Greaves). It is fairly obvious, however, that rather than being a source of genuine distress which TST seeks to alleviate, this “misunderstanding”—cultivated through a range of techniques, from the unorthodox use of words like “Satanic” to the frequent misrepresentation of the organization as a single-issue interest group concerned with “separation of church and state”—is deliberately fostered by the group.

Matt Goldberg, a film critic for Collider, notes several of the inconsistencies involved in the operations of The Satanic Temple in a review of Hail Satan?, a propagandistic documentary film which presents TST in a favorable light:

“[T]he Satanists [of The Satanic Temple] seem slightly disingenuous in their media strategy. On the one hand, they want people to know that they’re not worshiping evil and that they’re non-violent. But at the same time, their entire media strategy rests on being misunderstood. So many of the news clips [that Hail Satan? director Penny] Lane uses are from Fox News, who knows that their old, Christian viewers will freak out about Satanists and TST depends on that reaction for recognition. If they were simply The Church of Religious Pluralism, no one would care. As Greaves [Misicko] smirks his way through media appearances, you can tell that for him, this is a way to provoke and offend evangelical figures. But that’s not a religion; it’s a rhetorical device and it quickly wears thin.” (Goldberg, “‘Hail Satan?’ Review: Religion as Trolling”).

We could take this analysis one step further by noting that not only does The Satanic Temple’s “media strategy [rest] on being misunderstood,” but so does the entirety of its praxis. Deliberate cultivation of misunderstanding is necessarily at the core of any neo-fascist group which adopts the strategy of crypto-fascism. This naturally leads to a profound lack of clarity about what TST is and what it really stands for. Scratch just beneath the surface of the exoteric presentation of the group as a liberal, libertarian, or left-leaning “separation of church and state” outfit, repeated like a bad meme ad nauseum throughout virtually all major mass media outlets over the past six years, and one encounters a bewildering well of arcane material which the average person, even if they are interested in arriving at a deeper understanding of the significance of TST and its relationship to modern Satanism as a whole, simply doesn’t have the time to make sense of. But that’s what this Unauthorized Guide is for.

Coupled with the superficial similarity of the group’s praxis to “Billionaires for Bush,” many people would likely take the fact that The Satanic Temple says that it “doesn’t believe in Satan” (or God) as a sign that the group merely pretends to be Satanic for theatrical effect. To suppose that this “lack of belief” automatically means that followers of TST are merely pretending to be Satanists would be misguided however, since the idea of being simultaneously religious and an atheist is far from unique to The Satanic Temple. For instance, the Independent reports that two percent of clergy in the Church of England are atheists (Wynne-Jones). As one retired Anglican priest argues, “Once you have accepted that religion is a human creation, then it is like art and literature and things like that. They are an extremely valuable way to understand yourself,” (ibid.). Humanistic Judaism, founded by an atheist rabbi, is another non-theistic form of organized religion, alongside which it is safe to say there are others. Contrary to what may be considered conventional wisdom, it has been contended that religion “does not necessarily imply belief in God, gods, or ghosts, but refers to the experience of the sacred, and consequently, is related to ideas of being, meaning, and truth,” (Eliade).

Still, in contradiction to the “non-theistic” line which The Satanic Temple currently upholds, an early version of the group’s website reveals that at its public debut in January 2013, The Satanic Temple’s creators described it as having been founded “so that those theistic Satanists who continue to practice their religion in silence might find community” (Internet Archive, “thesatanictemple.com”). While there are several clues in this archived text indicating that it was conceived as “satire,” including elements of fiction and trolling (for example, TST is therein described as having been founded in 2006 by a “Neil Bricke,” which is an apparent reference to a real person named Neil Brick, who maintains the website “ritualabuse.us” and whom Misicko described in one podcast interview as a “little shit” and “moron” [16:35]), the contrast between this early Satanic Temple declaration and later ones is not the only inconsistency we find in trying to decipher the group’s genuine orientation towards the question of “belief” in “Satan.”

Satanic Temple “High Priest” Brian Werner was an early, if not founding, member of The Satanic Temple, claiming to have been with the group “since day one,” although Douglas Misicko has referred to himself and Cevin Soling as being the only co-founders. Werner’s joint appearance with Misicko in a January 2014 televised interview on behalf of TST testifies to the closeness of Werner and Misicko in the early phases of TST’s existence (Mancow). Werner resigned (or was dismissed) from TST in late 2014, apparently over differences about the direction in which the organization should develop ideologically and politically. In a statement made in a Youtube video titled “High Priest Brian Werner resigns from The Satanic Temple,” posted on the 23rd of December 2014, Werner blames his departure on “a major change within the organization in the last few months.” Werner goes on to state, “Now, when this organization started, I wanted it to represent all followers of the left-hand path: theists, LaVeyan, Luciferian, Thelemite.” Shortly after that, The Satanic Temple’s former High Priest states, “I’m not an atheist. I’m a Satanist.”

Werner’s video statement also provides us with a glimpse into the kinds of reactionary social and political attitudes tolerated inside The Satanic Temple. Aping the same “prosperity theology” espoused by certain conservative Evangelical groups, Werner claims to have become a wealthy Lamborghini-driving capitalist by “adapting[ing] the Satanic philosophy within [his] life.” Werner was vocal about endorsing the nationalist, anti-immigrant presidential campaign of Donald Trump, uttering the phrase “Hail Satan, Hail Trump” without any apparent trace of irony. While still a “High Priest” of The Satanic Temple, Werner designed the extremely tasteless, racist T-shirt “joking” about the shooting of Trayvon Martin seen below:

xcommunicated-trayvon-martin hoodie brian warner tst

Figure 4.1. A hoodie designed by “High Priest” Brian Werner of The Satanic Temple in 2014. It references the 2012 vigilante murder of Trayvon Martin and the “Stand Your Ground” law which allowed his killer, George Zimmerman, to go free in what many recognized as a modern day lynching (Rosenberg, Teitelman).

It can reasonably be deduced that Werner’s expulsion or “resignation” from The Satanic Temple had more to do with judgements made about the level of negative publicity and backlash his over-the-top racism was likely to attract if he would remain a leading figure in TST than with opposition to his racism in and of itself, given (1) Misicko’s history of open support for eugenics and cozy relations with neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen and (2) Soling’s history of thinly veiled denunciation of racial desegregation of schools. This tells us that, if Werner had only kept his racism a bit more under wraps, encrypted beneath TST’s exoteric façade (as Misicko and Soling have done, or tried to do), he might still be one of TST’s leading figures today.

The Satanic Temple’s paramount spokesman, “Lucien Greaves” (i.e., Douglas Misicko), has done and said more than enough outrageous things to warrant a spotlight in Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch. To give just one example, which will be unpacked in greater detail in 6.3.3, Misicko declared on a podcast which also featured Holocaust denialism that “it’s okay to hate Jews if you hate them because they [practice Judaism, as opposed to it not being okay to hate Gentiles who descend from Jews or who are ex-Jews]” (“Doug Mesner [Lucien Greaves] Satanic Temple Anti-Semitic Rant”). More recently, he has expressed explicit support for the platforming of neo-Nazis and their inclusion in the so-called “Left Hand Path” community (hinting at a kind of “ecumenical” Satanism and a sense of fellowship between TST and explicitly/openly neo-Nazi varieties of Satanism, like those elaborated by groups such as Joy of Satan Ministry and the Order of Nine Angles or Tempel ov Blood).

Unfortunately, most of this outrageous behavior and discourse seems to have gone under the radar of journalists and Misicko continues to widely be given platforms to propagandize on behalf of The Satanic Temple without his problematic attitudes ever being called into question. Perhaps limiting his racist commentary to more informal and quasi-underground outlets like obscure podcasts and social media posts has helped to keep his hate hidden to a greater degree than Werner’s.

Nevertheless, a decision seems to have been made to focus The Satanic Temple’s recruiting efforts on sectors of the so-called “white middle-class” (petit bourgeois) population which are nominally “left-wing” or liberal-leaning. It appears that it was the desire to rebrand Satanism and shake off its association with neo-Nazism and make it more marketable to the previously mentioned demographic through what Misicko calls the “Satanic Reformation” that led to the dismissal of Werner, more so than any disagreement about whether Satanism is or ought to be “theistic” or “non-theistic.” Probably the “non-theistic” brand of Satanism was judged better from the perspective of the desire to dissociate Satanism from its extreme right-wing connotation, because it is more compatible with satire, which allows the group to dissimulate the seriousness of its Satanism when necessary. Critics can then be maligned for “not getting it” and being in the clutches of “moral panic.” This “Satanic Reformation” is comparable to the far-right’s rebranding of neo-Nazism as the “Alt-Right,” and the fact that TST emerged at precisely the same moment as the “Alt-Right” is surely no coincidence.

Greg Stevens, another leading figure within The Satanic Temple, has been described by one disaffected former Satanic Temple member as being “friends” with Mike Cernovich, a right-wing extremist associated with the “Alt-Right.” This claim appears to be supported by a video clip Stevens posted to Youtube on April 30, 2016, showing him and Cernovich discussing “trolling as a tool for social change,” as well as chummy interactions between the pair on Twitter. Cernovich, who has identified himself as “Alt-Right,” is infamous for spreading the propaganda of white supremacist and neo-Nazi movements, such as the claim that “white” people are victims of a genocide being perpetrated by Black criminals, who “regularly [slaughter] the innocent” (SPLC, “Mike Cernovich”). Unlike Werner, Stevens remains at the top of TST’s hierarchy.

Despite adopting the superficial trappings of a satirical “Satanists for Bush” street theater-type group, the thing that makes The Satanic Temple different from genuine parody groups like “Billionaires for Bush” (who were not actually Bush supporters or billionaires) or “Communists for Kerry” (who were not actually Kerry supporters or Communists), is that members of TST actually are, or at least proclaim themselves to be, sincere adherents of a bona fide religion which they call Satanism (“FAQ”). Questions about whether TST is “serious” or “satirical” and whether its members are theistic “Devil-worshippers” or atheists who only “believe in Satan” insofar as the “literary” word-symbol of “Satan” is construed to stand for “rebelliousness” are essentially a pointless distraction from what should be the more pressing matter of the group’s links to extreme right-wing political and religious ideologies and telltale signs of cryptic allegiance to a reactionary agenda. In order to focus on these more pressing issues, we must demonstrate thoroughly that the seriousness with which The Satanic Temple regards itself as a “religious” organization necessarily disqualifies it from being satirical, the pretense of parody being upheld to obfuscate the group’s sincere crypto-fascism.

 

 


CONTINUE READING… 4.1 How Not to Do Satire

OR RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS (Anatomy of a Crypto-Fascist Sect: The Unauthorized Guide to “The Satanic Temple”)

The “War on Kids” Connection: “The Satanic Temple” and the Church of Scientology

Having touched on the subject of child abuse in the previous sections of this chapter, the fact that one of Satanic Temple co-founder Cevin Soling’s most successful forays into the film industry was a 2009 documentary called The War on Kids, whose pretext is that of a critique of authoritarianism within the US public school system, deserves some more attention. Soling’s 2009 film received a significant degree of coverage from US mass media. It was reviewed on The Young Turks and Soling was interviewed about the documentary by Stephen Colbert (current host of CBS’s The Late Show) on The Colbert Report, in addition to appearing on the Russian-owned news network RT. Furthermore, the fact that The Satanic Temple has attempted to position itself on the frontlines of a figurative “War on Kids,” organizing multiple initiatives ostensibly designed to defend or educate children, including “After School Satan” and a billboard campaign against corporal punishment in schools (“Protect Children Project”) suggests that Soling has played a leading role in orienting TST’s “activist” campaigns (Reiss).

In the same way that The Satanic Temple presents itself under the guise of an irony-oriented single-issue interest group that is all about “separation of church and state,” but whose esoteric ideology actually implies much more, so are there indications that The War on Kids (and correlating Satanic Temple initiatives like the “Protect Children Project” and “After School Satan”) have ulterior objectives. Despite The War on Kids being billed as a documentary about “the American school system,” a significant portion of the film’s run-time (almost twenty minutes) is devoted to decrying the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders, namely ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), which Soling describes as “pathologiz[ing…] normal childhood behavior” (RT). Here we see that Soling’s film pulls “the old switcheroo” on viewers; beneath the pretense of a critical analysis of the public school system, it actually presents an attack on psychiatry, mental health care, and modern medicine.

But where does this antipathy for medicine and science come from? Let us reiterate and elaborate upon the fact that Douglas Misicko (“Lucien Greaves/Doug Mesner”) and Cevin Soling (“Malcolm Jarry”) both have ties to the Church of Scientology and recall that the website of Soling’s Xemu Records informs us that the company was “originally conceived as a […] nod to underground cult movements.” Not only that, but the same text also notes that Xemu Records “uses the name ‘Xemu’ to play on the [Scientologist] myth of Xenu” (“Xemu Information”). Macmillian Dictionary defines the idiom “a nod to [something]” as “a sign that someone is aware of or wants to recognize the influence or importance of something.” We must therefore accept, based on the official statements of Cevin Soling’s own Xemu Records, that Soling’s company considers the cult of Scientology “influential” and/or “important.”

Despite all the attention The War on Kids received, no one ever seems to have made the connection between the fact that its director is also the president of Xemu Records, a company whose very name constitutes a recognition of the influence of the teachings of the Church of Scientology upon it, a fact which the company’s website explicitly acknowledges (“Xemu Information”). It is most unfortunate that critics failed to make the connection between the anti-ADHD medication arguments presented in The War on Kids and the filmmaker’s relationship with Scientology, taking into consideration the fact that it has been recognized since as early as 1990 that the “uproar over Ritalin [a drug used to treat ADHD] was triggered almost single-handedly by the Scientology movement,” (Sappell and Welkos).

Another part of the reactionary right which promotes anti-ADHD medication hysteria is the National Rifle Association, whose new leader (as of May 2018), Oliver North (already infamous for his involvement in the Reagan era Iran-Contra scandal which illegally circumvented the US Congress to arm genocidal death squads in Central America) falsely claimed, after the mass shooting at a Texas high school in May 2018, that “many of these young boys [i.e., spree killers] have been on Ritalin since they were in kindergarten,” (Tobias).

In a 2005 article published in Salon and titled “Scientology’s war on psychiatry,” it is noted that “Scientologists have promoted legislation in Florida, Utah and New Hampshire that seeks to discredit psychiatry and drug therapies, especially for kids,” (Mieszkowski). Such laws would criminalize “schoolteachers who recommended mental health treatments to students or parents,” (ibid.). The article’s author, Katharine Mieszkowski, highlights a number of revealing statements Scientologists have made regarding their beliefs about psychological issues, such as the fact that the Scientologist-founded “Citizens Commission on Human Rights” has claimed that, “No mental ‘diseases’ have ever been proven to medically exist,” and that David Miscavige (the leader of Scientology since the death of its founder L. Ron Hubbard) declared in 1995 that it was the objective of Scientology to “eliminate psychiatry in all its forms.”

The “reasoning” behind this legislation (some of which, Mieszkowski notes, was even written by Scientologists) is totally in line with the anti-psychiatry argument of The War on Kids and Soling’s view that “three million children […] are being diagnosed with ADD and other psychological issues for what is essentially normal childhood behavior,” (RT). Here Soling reveals himself to be in line with the praxis of Scientologists; latching onto a general fear among the public that too many children might be being prescribed psychotropic medications, Soling pushes the envelope, insinuating that none of the children being treated for conditions like ADD/ADHD and “other psychological issues” are actually mentally troubled at all. They are just children whose “essentially normal […] behavior” has been unjustly pathologized by “psychs” (L. Ron Hubbard’s epithet for psychiatrists).

More recently, in 2018, Utah became the first state in the USA to pass a “‘free-range parenting’ law,” which “redefines child ‘neglect’” (Gstalter). “Free-range parenting” has been linked to calls for “free-range education” and “unschooling,” which Soling and others have posited as a supposedly favorable alternative to schooling (read: public schooling and the notion of education as a basic social right). Prominent advocates of “free-range parenting,” such as British parents Adele and Matt Allen, link their parenting philosophy to anti-vaccination and refuse to inoculate their children against preventable diseases. Equally absurd, though perhaps highlighting more pointedly the contradiction between the phrasing of “free-range parenting” and its actual implications, is an opinion piece published in the New York Times in late July 2018 which ironically invokes the “‘free-range’ parents” slogan to advocate that parents be allowed to keep young children locked up, alone, inside small enclosures (Brooks).

Perhaps anti-ADHD hysteria is not as widely ridiculed as the “anti-vax” movement because of Scientologist, and now Satanist, efforts to normalize it. While Scientology’s hostility to medical doctors tends to be predominantly focused on psychiatrists, it has also been noted that “Scientology’s war on medicine goes beyond just psychiatry,” and that the group “discourages any use of medication,” (Hall).

Although Soling may not be a card-carrying Scientologist, the degree of harmony between the arguments presented in The War on Kids and those of Scientologists and their front groups like the “Citizens Commission on Human Rights,” combined with the historical roots of The Satanic Temple in Scientology-derived and Scientology-influenced groups, such as the Process Church of the Final Judgement and Xemu Records, are enough to raise the question of to what extent Scientology’s longstanding “war on psychiatry” informs the negative stance of Soling and The Satanic Temple on issues relating to the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses. With regard to the historical connections between Satanism and Scientology, it is also interesting to note that the literary agent of Scientology founder and science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard was a member of the “Magic Circle,” the Church of Satan predecessor organization in the early 1960s, alongside Anton Lavey, who later founded the Church of Satan in 1966 (Introvigne 306).

The overarching theme of attacking mental health care can be observed in another Satanic Temple sub-project: the so-called “Grey Faction” (which will be analysed in depth in Chapter 5). Although “Grey Faction” tends to direct its focus in directions other than ADD/ADHD, instead lobbying primarily against psychiatrists and therapists whose work deals with psychological trauma and dissociation, the exposition of Soling as a denier or skeptic of the general existence of “ADD and other psychological issues” shows that The Satanic Temple’s “Grey Faction” activism needs to be understood within the context of a broader anti-psychiatric school of thought.

One of the key demands of “Grey Faction” is the removal of DID (dissociative identity disorder) from the DSM (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, an essential reference book for psychiatrists). In signs used by Satanic Temple “Grey Faction” supporters at protests, DID is labelled “Doctors Inventing Demons.” This “playful” rerouting of the initialism, analogous to the creation of the occult “shoe-repair” in-joke based on the ad for TOPY (the French shoe repair company seen in 3.2.1.1), shows that “Grey Faction” promotes a view that goes far beyond fears of misdiagnosis, over-medication, or medical malpractice, but questions the very existence of mental health disorders and the need to treat them. And far from solely questioning the existence of ADHD and DID, the broad allusion to “other psychological issues” by The Satanic Temple’s so-called “mastermind” (i.e., Soling) is indicative of the group having a much wider scope than is typically let on.

Striking parallels between The Satanic Temple and the Church of Scientology can be observed in terms of their activist praxis and messaging. If we compare images of both groups’ protests against “psychiatric abuse,” it is plain to see that the Satanists of TST’s “Grey Faction” employ tactics which are identical to those pioneered by members of the Church of Scientology.

satanic and scientologist psych protests

Figure 3.15. Three images of anti-psychiatry protests organized by The Satanic Temple (the first picture from the top) and the Church of Scientology (the second and third pictures from the top) (Grey Faction; Levine; Bárcena) . Scientologist and Satanist rallies and protests against “psychiatric abuse” and so-called “egregious mental health organizations” closely resemble each other, with participants at both typically holding placards about how psychiatry or specific psychiatric organizations “kill,” in addition to exploiting images of specific children who have allegedly been “killed” by psychiatrists (Grey Faction, “Grey Faction Protests the ISSTD […] 2018”).

These images illustrate a striking level of similarity between Satanist and Scientologist protests not only in terms of the “folk devil” they claim to mobilize themselves in opposition to (i.e., allegedly “abusive” and “pseudoscientific” medical doctors), but also their slogans and tactics. The Satanists hold signs reading “ISSTD KILLS,” while the Scientologists hold signs reading “PSYCHIATRY KILLS!” (Note that the ISSTD, or the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation, is a group which is mainly made up of psychiatrists and psychotherapists). Another shared tactic of the Satanists and Scientologists is the exploitation of images of young people who are upheld as examples of the alleged dangers of psychiatry. In the third photograph, a Scientologist protester can be seen holding up a portrait of Julie Woodward (1987–2004), a teenager who was diagnosed with depression and committed suicide, whose death Scientologists have tried to blame on her having been prescribed antidepressant medication, as opposed to her clinical depression itself (Silberner). The Satanist protesters of “Grey Faction” are blatant in their appropriation of this Scientologist strategy. In the first photograph, the goateed, ponytailed “Grey Faction” protester standing in the middle of the image can be seen holding a sign with a picture of Jude Mirra (c. 2002–2010). Jude Mirra was a developmentally disabled child who was killed in part by an overdose of the drug Xanax (which is used to treat some psychiatric disorders) administered by his mother, who alleged that his condition was the result of sexual abuse (Kaplan). The mother was found guilty of “manslaughter driven by ‘extreme emotional disturbance’” and the alleged abusers denied any wrongdoing (ibid.). The “Grey Faction” claim regarding this case can be summed up as the view that the medical community “contributed to” the killing of Jude Mirra because their recognition of a causal link between sexual abuse and psychiatric disorders in some individuals lended plausibility to the allegedly delusional suspicions held by the child’s mother regarding the etiology of the child’s condition (Saint Thomas).

Beyond the patent similarities outlined above, we can also take notice of the fact that members of both groups tend to present themselves as “white knights.” That is, the Satanists of “Grey Faction,” like Scientologists, present themselves as saviors of “damsels in distress.” In the video “Grey Faction Protests the ISSTD […] 2018,” posted to Youtube by members of The Satanic Temple, we see a male “Grey Faction” protester holding up a sign which reads “ISSTD INFANTILIZES WOMEN.” We also hear TST’s “Grey Faction” spokesperson shriek, “[Satanists] can no longer stand passively as mental health professionals within the ISSTD are propagating pseudoscientific techniques that harm their patients, predominantly women,” (ibid., my emphasis). Similar rhetoric can be found in Freedom, a magazine published by the Church of Scientology, which attempts to incite readers against the practice of mental health care by asserting that “psychiatrists administer approximately 72 percent of all [electroconvulsive] shock treatments to women. Psychiatrists have thus set their sights on women, particularly elderly women—a highly vulnerable population for a brutal method developed in Fascist Italy,” (“Annihilation Therapy”).

Additional echoes of “Grey Faction” rhetoric about “mental health professionals […] propagating pseudoscientific techniques,” regularly employed by The Satanic Temple’s anti-psychiatry scaremongering division, are heard elsewhere in the Church of Scientology’s Freedom magazine. Another article therein, titled “What Can Be Done,” begins with the claim that “[p]ermeation of the justice system by psychiatrists and their pseudo-science has brought on a current-day crisis in the courts and in society.” All these striking discursive parallels allow us to constate that the anti-psychiatry alarmism which TST promotes under the guise of “Grey Faction” is in large part identical to that which the Church of Scientology has promoted in its own anti-psychiatry campaigns, which predate the founding of TST by decades. But the affinities between Scientology and Satanism do not stop there.

Ronald DeWolf (born L. Ron Hubbard, Jr.), the once would-be heir to the throne of Scientology, spoke out against the cult in 1983, affirming that the Church of Scientology is based on Satanism and “black magic,” that his father raised him as a Satanist, and that his father in fact believed himself to be Satan (Penthouse). Leaked Scientologist documents written by L. Ron Hubbard, Sr. himself appear to lend credibility to this accusation. In the confidential “Student Briefing” to “Operating Thetan Level Eight” (OT VIII, also referred to as “Truth Revealed” by Scientologists), Hubbard declares that his “mission” is “to fulfill the Biblical promise” of the book of Revelations by ushering in the “anti-Christ period” (“OT VIII, Part 2”). According to the same statement by Hubbard, the “anti-Christ represents the forces of Lucifer […] the forces of enlightenment, the Galactic Confederacy.” That Hubbard envisioned his Church of Scientology as harnessing “Luciferian” forces and bringing intellectual illumination is not at all unlike The Satanic Temple’s claims to represent a “Miltonic” Satan who militates for “rationality” and “science.” But if the example of Scientology says anything, it’s that simply proclaiming that one’s belief system “should conform to one’s best scientific understanding of the world” (as TST does in its hoaky “Seven Fundamental Tenets” [likely a reference to the “Seven Fold Way” of the neo-Nazi “Nine Angles” cult; see Chapter 8], seemingly written to give the organization’s supporters some sense of having “sincere, deeply-held beliefs” and therefore a veneer of religious legitimacy) does little make it so. After all, how could “scientology,” ostensibly “the study of science,” possibly be anything other than in conformity with scientific understanding if this were the case?

A closer look at the beliefs promoted by Scientology reveals that many, if not virtually all, initiatives of The Satanic Temple appear profoundly influenced by a desire to memetically repackage Scientologist and Scientology-derived “Processor” (i.e., Process Church) beliefs in a format which is more socially acceptable (at least to certain demographics, such as left-leaning, somewhat educated individuals, who are for the most part aware of the cultic and pseudoscientific nature of Scientology).

The Church of Scientology teaches that humans are “meat bodies” which are possessed by numerous “body thetans” (souls of extraterrestrials) which must be “cleared” by paying large amounts of money to the cult for “auditing” (intelligence gathering) sessions, eventually allowing an individual to become a so-called “Operating Thetan.” Because “thetans” reincarnate, children are considered to be “meat bodies” occupied by “thetans” which are actually “over seventy trillion” years old. One implication of this is that “[t]he church doesn’t believe in comforting children, believing they are adults in young bodies and can handle pain like an adult,” (Hall). This belief also seems to have played a role in numerous cases of alleged sexual abuse inside the cult (Juzwiak). An official investigation into the sexual attitudes of Scientologists in Australia found that “some” Scientologists believed it was okay for them to rape children because their religious beliefs negate sexual consent laws based on age (Cooper; Paulette). Indeed, as an ex-Scientologist turned critic puts it:

“Scientology teaches that children are ‘little adults’ who don’t need much guidance or protection from their parents. This seems to facilitate and remove all taboos from the idea of sexual relationships between adults and adolescents. Sadly, this behavior is common in cults,” (Lerma).

Besides providing understanding of how Scientologists are able to “justify” their abusive, predatory behavior, this aspect of Scientologist belief holds another explanatory power. Awareness of the notion that Scientology views kids as “little adults” goes a long way to help us understand just how compatible the Church of Scientology’s bizarre belief system is with trendy gimmicks like “free-range parenting” and “unschooling,” the latter having been proffered by Soling as an alternative to “compulsory” schooling. The previously quoted ex-Scientologist continues:

“Many children raised in Scientology […] drop out of school early. Cult-educated children who are later enrolled in accredited schools often find themselves hopelessly behind their conventionally educated classmates, so dropping out of school is an easy choice. The lack of education among [Scientology] cult-raised children is crucial for future indoctrination and recruitment. A child who has never been introduced to the scientific method or critical thinking techniques is ripe for brainwashing. He will more readily accept stories about being possessed by the spirits of space aliens or about being a descendent of shellfish, or believe that Dianetics can cure illnesses. […] a formal education is not considered a necessity,” (Lerma).

It’s pretty easy to see how the Scientologist notion that kids are “little adults” could be used to justify rejection of formal education and the school system; if young “meat bodies” are possessed by “thetans” whose “whole track” (reincarnation history) goes back through countless transmigrations over the course of scores of trillions of years (during which time they would have experienced numerous past lives in which they would have likely already gone through countless years of schooling), then they can only be led spiritually astray by a secular (or non-Scientologist) school system which directly or indirectly encourages them to reject the very religious beliefs that allow them to become “clear” and know their “true selves” through the remembrance of their “whole tracks.”

But to what extent might this idea of kids as “little adults” play a role in the arguments of The War on Kids and The Satanic Temple’s “Protect Children Project,” “After School Satan,” and “Grey Faction” programs or sub-projects? Soling has lectured at Harvard University on the need to “abolish compulsory schooling.” In a lecture titled “Compulsory Schooling Must Be Abolished,” posted to Youtube in 2015 by “Harvard Speaks,” a Harvard University student organization, Soling, who has leveled barely veiled criticism against racial desegregation of US public schools, suggests that so-called “unschooling” is a viable alternative to schooling.

The proposal implied by “unschooling,” or the abolition of “compulsory schooling,” is to allow young children to decide “for themselves” about whether to go to school or not. This in turn implies an erasure of the distinction between a child and an adult, for who but an adult would compel a child to go to school? In effect, “unschooling,” which has also been described with other telling euphemisms, such as “child-directed learning,” is simply the abandonment of pedagogy itself, for as Donaldo Macedo writes in the “Introduction to the Anniversary Edition” of Paulo Freire’s classic Pedagogy of the Oppressed:

“[Vulgarizers of Freire’s work] willfully refuse to understand that the very term ‘pedagogy,’ as my good friend and colleague Panagiota Gounari explains it, has Greek roots, meaning ‘to lead a child’ (from pais: child and ago: to lead). Thus, as the term ‘pedagogy’ illustrates, education is inherently directive and must always be transformative,” (25).

The anti-pedagogical paradigm of “unschooling,” “compulsory schooling abolition,” or “child-directed learning” encourages the attitude that a child “just wants” to learn about a given subject and “just doesn’t want” to learn about another for no discernible reason, except perhaps his or her “pure” will. The responsibility of adults to (1) systematically determine what knowledge and skills need to be conveyed to the younger generation to best prepare them for life as well-rounded adult human beings capable of critical and independent thought and (2) strategize ways of engaging children in the learning of material that they might prejudge as “boring,” but which is nevertheless valuable and necessary, is devalued and de-emphasized. As a concept, “unschooling” represents a violent act of betrayal committed by those whose knowledge and experience is superior (elders) against those whose knowledge and experience is inferior (children). It is the abdication of adults’ necessary role as those who lead and are responsible for children, as those whose moral duty it is to give compelling reasons for education to take place.

A key difference between human life in adulthood versus in childhood has to do with the idea of “free will.” An infant’s environment must be determined to a high degree by his or her person(s) responsible, whereas an adult is comparatively able to exercise much higher levels of determination and control over his or her environment and the direction of his or her activity. In intermediate stages between infancy and adulthood, the child and adolescent progressively exercises more and more control. Many, if not most, modern school systems reflect this conceptualization of a gradual transition to adulthood by incrementally introducing more class periods during the school day which are filled with elective courses, usually beginning from middle school and increasing through the high school years, culminating in the freedom to choose one’s area of study as a young adult in higher education.

Through education and experience, many people realize however that the “free will” of adulthood is largely an illusion. One reason for this is of course that capitalism compels the vast majority of adults to participate in systems of wage-labor or wage-slavery in order to survive. The elusiveness of “free will” was also one of the implications of psychoanalysis, which postulated laws of “psychic [mental] determinism, or causality” and of the predominance of “unconscious mental processes” over conscious ones in a bid to show that the personalities and desires of adults are determined to a high degree by childhood experiences and traumas (Brenner 1–14). Psychic determinism means that whatever one supposes to be a product of one’s conscious “free will”—a decision, a desire, an apparently novel thought or idea—can be understood as the effect of a preceding cause.

Satanists appear to be poorly equipped to cope with the fact of their own nature as determined beings, whose corollary is that the individual’s acts are only proximate or immediate causes. In the larger scheme, everything the individual does and thinks can be traced back in a chain of causality which precedes the existence of the individual his or herself. Satanic ideology epitomizes the vain desire to elevate oneself to a god-like status by being cut off from a God who can be identified as being at the remote end of a chain of causality (as opposed to Spinoza’s panentheistic “God or Nature” which through its immanence is proximate in that what flows from Nature is also inseparably a part of Nature). This desire to be separated from the chain of causality, Nature, or God explains the Satanic myth of an “acausal realm” accessible through the psyche (posited as a “gate” or “nexion”), where the laws of nature are violated (or where “God’s will” does not apply), as well as maxims fetishizing the enactment of undetermined (i.e., self-determined) will.

An example of this fetishization of self-determined will is found in the third of the “Seven Fundamental Tenets” of The Satanic Temple, where it is affirmed, “One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.” This plainly contradicts the previously mentioned fifth “Fundamental Tenet,” which states, “Beliefs should conform to one’s best scientific understanding of the world,” since it can easily be observed that the bodies of individuals of all ages are perpetually and inescapably subject to, dependent on, and effected by, not only the actions of other human beings, but myriad other environmental factors which, whether for better or for worse, have a variety of impacts and determinations on their physical and mental health, mood, decisions, location, activity, consciousness, etc. Moreover, the notion that “one’s body […] is subject to one’s […] will” smacks of the kind of Cartesian idealist determinism which is at odds with the fact that our best scientific understanding of the material world precludes the determination of bodies to action by thought, which, as discussed in the preface to this work, is tantamount to belief in telekinesis.

The fact that the body is spatially delimited by its physically finite nature (separating it from the Other) and death necessarily imposes a limit in time on the exercise of willpower and intellect demonstrates that “one’s body” is inherently violable (i.e., subject to destruction and alienation). To claim the opposite, as The Satanic Temple does, that one’s body is inviolable and “subject to one’s own will alone” implies godhood or having attained a god-like state, because to escape one’s vulnerability to the impact on oneself of things outside oneself would effectively amount to “becoming a god,” since only an omnipresent being, having nothing outside itself (such as the entirety of the universe), could possibly escape such a vulnerability.

Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, spoke frankly about the primary draw of the cult being its claim to offer a quick and easy path to godhood, claiming that “[Americans] tend to believe in instant everything, from instant coffee to instant nirvana. By just…doing a few [Scientology] assignments, one can become a god,” (cited in Urban 45). The writer Kathy Benjamin similarly notes:

“In both Dianetics and A History of Man, Hubbard refers to the ‘godlike’ being you will become if you follow his program. Another Hubbard book called Scientology 8-8008 discusses how to ‘postulate universes into existence,’ and promises that ‘a Thetan who is completely rehabilitated can… create his own universe; a person who is able to create his own universe… is able to create illusions perceivable by others.’”

Any person who proclaims that their body is “inviolable” and answers uniquely to their omnipotent “will” clearly has delusions of being “god-like.” Apologists for The Satanic Temple are likely to contend that the third of the group’s hoaky, pseudo-religious and pseudo-scientific “Fundamental Tenets” is merely some kind of metaphorical moral statement, but it is telling that this axiom stands out from the others in that it is the only “Fundamental Tenet” which does not include the word “should.” While TST could surely have elected to make it read, in harmony with the other tenets, “One’s body [should be] inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone,” the dropping of “should” from this particular “Fundamental Tenet” gives it a uniqueness suggestive of an underlying desire to emphasize a self-aggrandizing, ego-inflating notion of “one’s own will alone” as the sole determinant of one’s self, approaching the primary criterion of godhood. This must lead any reasonable person to conclude that there is a stark cleavage between the group’s religious beliefs and a sound scientific understanding of the world.

On a related note, Mormonism, which is the predominant religion of Utah, the first state to legally enshrine “free-range parenting,” similarly promotes the belief that human beings can become gods (Brooks). This speaks to the fact that the desire to deny, obscure, or perhaps simply forget, the determined nature of childhood (that time of life which is simultaneously the least subject to one’s own will and also the most objective determinant of one’s later personality structure), whether with gimmicks like “child-directed learning” or by reactionary attempts to prohibit or discourage adults from exploring their own childhood memories (particularly in a clinical setting), is often intimately tied to a self-important, megalomaniacal perception of one’s own ego.

What is it that makes “unschooling” and “free-range education/parenting” appealing from the perspective of a believer in Satanism, Mormonism, Scientology, or any other system that promotes the goal of anthropo-apotheosis (i.e., the transformation of human beings into gods or god-like beings)? Perhaps with its claimed rejection of curricular planning and adult-guided learning programs, “unschooling” approaches to education are seen as having the potential to help facilitate the indoctrination children into a worldview that rejects the principle of causality, which threatens the realization of a Satanic ego that inadequately conceives of itself as its own determinant. “Unschooling” may also be seen as extending into adolescence the infantile confusion between the “magical” power of words to produce use-values and the communicative or social exchange-value of words which, through a mutual process, result in the provision of use-values to children by adults. This infantile magical thinking is preserved by “unschooling” in that so-called “child-directed learning” is merely an extension of “baby-demanded feeding”; the role of the adult, whether as provider of education (spiritual sustenance) or of food and other comforts (material sustenance) is not abolished, but simply obscured, leading to an inadequate psychic conception of the relation between the self and the outside world. “Unschooling” thus eventually transforms this infantile magical thinking into an antisocial attitude in adolescence and into adulthood by using the infantile illusion of self-provision of material sustenance through “magical” vocalizations which result in the provision of food (“producing” food or other use-values with “magic words”) as the basis upon which the adolescent illusion of self-provision of spiritual sustenance through the mystical process of “unschooling” is built. The egoism at the heart of modern Satanism is more likely to find fertile ground for acceptance and growth in the mind of the post-adolescent who has been indoctrinated into this infantile, self-aggrandizing-to-the-point-of-apotheosizing belief system than the one who has understood her own status as natura naturata. By preserving and extending an infantile psychic structure into adulthood, we see that it is not the case, as cultic “unschooling” doctrine would have it, that children are “little adults,” but rather that the adults who have this inflated sense of their own ego and willpower, combined with a deflated sense of human beings’ social interconnectedness and of their own social responsibility, are “big babies.”

Shying away from recognition of the role of social and environmental causes in determining (or “leading” or “directing”) the activity of the child, “unschooling” instead enshrines “the will alone” of the child as the supreme, acausal determiner of all learning activity and ignores the role that adults play, consciously and unconsciously, in causing children to regard certain subjects as either interesting or boring, worth learning or not. Instilling absolute faith in the illusion of uncaused, individual “free will” from a very young age ensures solipsistic atomization, blinding the individual to the interconnectedness of not only causes and effects, but also that interconnectedness which exists between members of society with social responsibilities to one another.

The myth of “Yurugu” (the namesake of Afrocentric scholar Marimba Ani’s 1994 critique of “European thought and behavior,” which raised the visibility of the Yurugu myth in the so-called “Western world” to a significant extent), belonging to the Dogon people of West Africa, may be seen as providing some metaphorical insight into the inadequacy of the largely “white liberal” fad of “unschooling.” According to this myth:

“Amma, the Creator, created all beings with twin souls: Male and Female parts which represent the whole being.  Yurugu was a being who tore himself from the process of gestation because in arrogance he wanted to create a better earth than the creator.  When he did create things, he created things incompletely. Nothing Yurugu created was complete because he was incomplete. So noticing this, he returned to the Creator for his female part, but the Creator already gave it away.  So Yurugu was forever incomplete and could now only destroy and yet never be fulfilled.”

“Unschooling” mirrors this myth in that it encourages the tearing away of children from the process of educational gestation before it is complete. This replicates Satanic ideology, which, in fetishizing the empowerment of the individual’s will, implies the negation of the causal determination of his or her personality and desires by a host of cultural, social, and psychological factors. Unless one could accurately say with complete confidence that the most remote cause of an individual’s act was that individual’s pure and simple will (alas, one cannot), then that individual’s act must be contextualized within a larger chain of causality and signifying, wherein the subjective cause of “individual will” plays the role of objectified effect of an infinite number of preceding causes. Being causa sui (the cause of oneself) is the essential characteristic of the idea of “God,” which anthropo-apotheosizing religious movements posit themselves to be in rebellion against. Therefore, religious movements which claim to offer a path to anthropo-apotheosis or something resembling it, such as Satanism, Scientology, and Mormonism, posit that a complete picture of an individual acting in the cosmos can be attained in halting investigation and comprehension of the root cause of an individual’s behavior at some mystical “acausal” process in that person’s mind. This myth, that a human can tear his or herself away from the chain of causality, forms the necessary precondition for attaining the feeling of being god-like, of having a real “free will” whose only cause is itself. This may offer a partial explanation of the observed hostility to psychiatry, psychotherapy, and psychoanalysis or any other system of thought which emphasizes the notion that the experiences of childhood—that time in life when we are necessarily the most unfree, the closest to natura naturata—have a significant impact on the adult individual.

The theoretical tool of demystifying inversion, basic to Marxism, is anathematic to this idealistic conception of human beings in the world, because it forces us to recognize that our desires, consciousness, and behavior are not without natural causes outside ourselves. Psychological and social sciences may be particularly hated by these idealistic and pseudoscientific cults due to the fact that the former recognize that although our awareness and understanding will always be limited to a degree, the proximate and knowable causes of an individual’s actions are rarely limited to that individual being. Rather than understand the subjective cause as an objective effect, mystical schools of thought prefer to wallow in profound ignorance, imagining mythical streams of divine or supernatural “acausal energy” and so justify the illusion of “free will” (i.e., the ability to act contrary to the laws of nature). We will see that this idealism is at the root of Scientology’s “war on psychiatry,” which The Satanic Temple has adapted according to evolving imperatives of political reaction.

Apologists and defenders of The Satanic Temple will in all likelihood object to the analysis of what has been identified above as “Satanic ideology” on the basis that this analysis has misconstrued or misrepresented the version of “Satanism” that TST ostensibly upholds. Indeed, we have examined the anti-pedagogical and anti-psychiatric aspects of TST co-founder Cevin Soling’s film The War on Kids in terms of their feeding into magical thinking, irrationalism, and belief in anthropo-apotheosis (which seems to imply a kind of theism), but TST has made a number of statements to the effect that its adherents do not really believe in Satan and that it (the sect) is atheistic, believing only in a metaphorical “Miltonic” or “literary” Satan, exemplified in works such as Anatole France’s heavily antisemitic novel The Revolt of the Angels (1914), a text which TST has designated as “Primary Reading” for its followers. (See Chapter 8 for more on this novel and its relation to the sect’s ideology). TST attempts to present itself as rationalistic by at times appearing to concord with a Marxist paradigm of demystifying inversion with regard to the relationship between “God” and “Man,” which posits that the idea of an anthropomorphic God is in fact a product of human creativity and imagination, rather than the case being the opposite (i.e., that human beings were created by an anthropomorphic God). However, when one examines TST’s stance on matters such as modern medicine, mental health care, childhood development, and education, the façade of rationalism and fact-based thinking begins to give way to a peculiar kind of irrationalism and belief in a magical “free will.” Only superficially appearing to resemble an authentic demystifying inversion, the anthropo-apotheosis belief, which says “God does not exist—I am my own god” or “Nature does not determine my subjectivity—My subjectivity determines my own nature,” in reality doubles the mystification, being inherently rooted in an inadequate and even potentially dangerous form of magical thinking. Given the abundant “nods” made by Satanic Temple co-founders Soling and Misicko to Scientology and the Process Church (from the former’s stake in “Xemu Records” to the latter’s self-admittedly swastika-like “Process ‘P’ cross” tattoo), as well as the numerous indicators of ties between TST and other “magickal orders” like Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth and the Tempel ov Blood, we must conclude that it is valid to consider the role of magical thinking and irrationality when assessing TST and its ideology.

With an eye to better untangle the mixture of magical thinking and self-proclaimed rationalism which we have encountered in examining the discourse of The Satanic Temple and its leaders, we will move now towards unpacking and deciphering the genuine worldview of the group.

 


CONTINUE READING… 4. Lingering Ambiguities About the Genuine Worldview of “The Satanic Temple”

OR RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS (Anatomy of a Crypto-Fascist Sect: The Unauthorized Guide to “The Satanic Temple”)