These are some preliminary remarks to a major essay, entitled, “Conjuring Satan—False Transcendence and Counterfeit Words within an Age of War,” which is scheduled to appear in the January edition of the Postil.
I suspect that those who read and write for the Postil magazine see it as an alternative source of thinking for those who find that their concerns, interests and priorities are marginalized, if not ignored outright and/or denounced by journalists, academics and other ideas brokers who create, dictate and now seek to enforce through the control of media the narratives circulating within the Western global “townhall”/”public square.” It is a magazine that contains many disparate voices and points of view which are united by one common purpose: opposition to the fabrications that circulate in the global “hall/square.” Those fabrications, in spite of their diversity, also have one thing in common: they serve the interests of those whose wealth and power is of such a magnitude that they control (through funding, or, as Whitney Webb in her overwhelming and brilliant exposé One Nation Under Blackmail demonstrates, blackmail) governments, the human resource policies and major decisions of global corporations, and mobs ( now labeled as “communities”) pursuing their respective interests. Those fabrications are to thinking what global conglomerates are to businesses—monopolistic powers driving out all competing ways of doing things.
In the case of the narrative fabricators, their prestige is inseparable from their forging and circulating ideas, which is also to say that any claims, arguments, or even facts (and facts, of course, are inseparable from their meaning), that deviate from the ideas that support the fabrications have to be eliminated, discredited, or reformulated to discredit the author or speaker. The tactic of reformulation serves the purpose of ensuring ever greater control over our words and hence over our thoughts and communication, along with ensconcing the authority and professionality of those who monitor speech/ writing and decide what is permissible. It is a way of culling the dissidents from the technocratic new world in which an elite decide what must be done, who will do it, how it will be done, and who can say what about it.
The typical way of culling the dissidents is to discredit and denounce what is being said by claiming that it is something hateful, and that hate comes from being some sort of “-phobe” or “-ist,” and the hate of the -phobe or -ist is due to false information and delusional theories about non-existent conspiracies. It is because I despise this tactic, as well as the dreadful consequences that come from it, as well as what transpires along with it (the present war in Ukraine, at this moment, being the most conspicuous and awful example) and given that this topic addresses what I and others see as the diabolical nature of our hyper-sexualized, hyper-infantilized, hyper-idiotic and suicidally divisive culture that I want to address it directly and explicitly say that like hundreds of millions of people in the West I do not care what people’s sexual preferences are because sexual behaviour and preferences are a private matter as long as they do not violate the law.
In the West while laws surrounding involuntary sex—rape, for example, and defining the age of sexual activity- are generally uncontentious, laws which have decriminalized same sex relationships are, for good reasons, generally not opposed even by a great number of people who do not think that same sex relationships should be so normalized that school children should be taught that they might themselves consider pursuing same sex relationships. Generally people who think in this traditional manner do not approve of the means and mechanics of sexual pleasure being included in school curricula, believing that this is the business of parents not the state. Hence while as long as the majority think this way means that same sex will be viewed as not the norm, the larger issue is to what extent should the state be used to radically transform social norms. This transformation also inevitably leads to social polarization of the sort that is now the norm in Western countries, and which many non-Western countries (Russia just a few days ago) are determined to prevent happening in their country.
In the West the word prejudice is widely used to conceal the fact that sexual liberation comes at the heavy price of social polarization, and it may well be that the polarization will be of such a magnitude that it will completely rent asunder a society. Which, to repeat, is why entire peoples on this planet do not want to pay that price. For my own personal part I think policing sexual behaviour and choices (apart from rape, age constraints, and the like) is neither desirable nor socially congruent with other freedoms I value, such as freedom from blackmail, genuine cruelty, and discrimination. The vast majority of people in Muslim countries, if various Pew surveys conducted over the years, do not agree with me. Nevertheless like me, I can safely assume that several hundreds of millions of people in the West not only think this—for there is no mass movement “to turn back the clock” and outlaw same sex relations or transgender people – but, also like me, in their personal lives they love, and/ or accept, and befriend people who publicly identify as gay and/or trans. Also like me they do not agree with the way same sex and trans issues are currently politically framed by liberal progressive groups, parties and government officials and corporations, and how this framing coincides with the polarization and persecution, attacks and denunciations of those who do not think that all ideas and information, all that we know and value, think and say must conform to the idea that whatever is decided by “political leaders” of these “communities” must be accepted and complied with. On the contemporary politicization of trans issues as a weapon against all traditions allow me to quote Matthew Crawford whose brilliant substack work I have just discovered and recommend to all and sundry: “Almost nobody cares to hate transgender people unless they’re ruining sports, twerking in a public library, or demanding the right to lurk in the wrong bathrooms.”
Hence too the question of what constitutes cruelty—the most notable formulation of cruelty today being ensconced in the extremely lax and ideologically driven formulation of “hate speech”—and discrimination. The latter cannot be addressed with any clarity without taking into account social roles (which means social obligations) and words—which, albeit to contrary ends, is also recognized by what those who wish to completely destroy traditional social roles and the nomenclature that reflects those roles wish. One does not have to be heterosexual in one’s sexual taste to think that the terms discrimination and cruelty (specific acts of violence, as opposed to the expression of criticisms which people do not want to hear because they “feel” they are discriminatory and hateful) have now been turned into ideological truncheons for the creation of a global hell, and that the language of rights is a very dangerous, duplicitous and destructive language when unconnected from the thicker and frequently tacitly understood obligations -what Burke called prejudices – involved in the endurance of traditions. The danger with attempting to make reality fit our abstractions is the extent to which we have to kill reality to fit into the narrower confines of what we want: philosophers so deeply opposed in other respects such as Nietzsche and J.G. Hamann both recognized this.
It is also, to repeat, one thing to act upon “transgressive” desires and experiences and seek legal protection in doing so—which is by and large how gay sexuality was “embraced” in the 1960s and 1970s, and for many gay people still is—and another to insist that those very desires should not be not only tolerated or accepted but seen as building blocks for the construction of the family, the school, the military, and every other social institution. The objection to deeming certain sexual acts as transgressive is that this makes “marginalized” people second class citizens and prevents them from living their life-style openly. But the degree to which one weighs this claim tends to depend upon whether one is prepared to accept or ignore the counter-claim that every social role contains a sacrificial component, renouncing certain desires and actions and hence agreeing to a reduction in the array of possibilities that are commensurate with being able to act in that role: being a vestal virgin in a Roman temple required not having sex, being a Catholic priest requires celibacy, being a husband or wife, traditionally at least, has meant forsaking all others for sexual congress, being a husband has traditionally meant being married to a woman, being a man at certain times and in certain environments meant one could be conscripted into the army etc. Of course, it is not that uncommon for people to accept a role and defy the strictures require for its performance—priests not being celibate, spouses committing adultery, etc. While everyone knows that humans cheat and lie frequently, and that there are numerous motivations why someone may want to occupy a certain social role and office and not want to lose that role because they also follow through on the desires and impulses that the role or office demands they forsake, that is a very different issue from the social and political decision to dismantle an institution so that it better adapt to the truth that some fathers, mothers vestal virgins, priests etc. transgress.
Choosing or being born into a role means not only forsaking (or concealing) some kinds of actions other roles, making sacrifices to perform one’s social role.
The particularly modern Western triad of rights, emancipation, equality/ equity ignores this feature of social reality, and thus sets up an abstract and unreal way of talking about life. The normalization of the unreality of this way of life largely comes from the widely taught and widely held idea that all groups should have it “all”—i.e., be totally emancipated – and that the only reason they cannot is because white men can have it all. This is a fabulation, largely pushed by feminists in the 1970s and after (and now white cisgender feminists frequently finds themselves being denounced for the privileges they once said were exclusively male). It is a fabulation because it ignores the fact that traditional male roles—everywhere- have been bound up with adult males being required, when necessary, to sacrifice their lives to save the group. Feminists bolstered this fabulation that men have it all with the claim that war is a male creation (never mind that having it all is also bound up with being prepared to belong to the first group to be sacrificed for the community), thereby demonstrating that (a) they are either totally ignorant of or indifferent to the nature of primordial group survival and scarcity and (b) that ideational fabulations are expanded via rationalism and generalizations which suit the “will to power” of those invested in the fabulation, in this instance professional women wanting to achieve more power on the basis of their being rather than their achievement. The tactic of making sheer being, understood as identity, the condition of having has now extended to any group member making the case that their being be rewarded because it is the being of being disadvantaged (the clumsiness of the formulation is intended, because the thought process behind this is as clumsy as it is self-serving).
Because the language of the feminist movement (and we see the same pattern play in all identity based political movements) was so general—fight the patriarchy—very different issues, ones which really were a matter of discrimination and an economic protection racket for some men, and hence were areas where it was very hard to deny the rationality and moral legitimacy of those seeking legal and political redress, were mixed up with general and simplistic claims about the history of roles in society, and the desirable mosaic of economic distribution on the basis of gender, which required paying attention to holding or being employed in an office or position rather than one’s achievements for acquiring or performing within it. That was the beginning of what would become the greater problem of the undermining of a fundamental law of a person’s development, more precisely for the growth of the soul, and even more precisely it is an attack upon how transcendence features in a life. It is the complete inversion of what the self requires in order to transcend mere appetite and instinct. And it is that inversion of a law of the soul’s potential life that causes such personal and social destruction that concerns me when I focus upon how our modern sexualization of the self is a “satanic” commitment, a way of prioritizing death over life by taking an aspect of our being and making it something it simply is not. Thus I am not the slightest bit interested in people’s sexual actions as such, for while a sexual act may bring down a life, a family, a government or empire, and while any addiction which requires the sacrifice of all and everything to slake a particular desire imperils the soul, societies may well accommodate various sexual acts and preferences without having to insist that our institutions and culture must be rebuilt in conformity with making sexual pleasure the cornerstone of social and personal meaning. It is this modern value decision that I see as contributing to an ever greater degree of soullessness—which is another synonym for satanism.
I will discuss the literary and figurative forces that have sought and have largely succeeded to tilt the West in the direction of a satanic form of the individual and social heroism, and my brief is to attempt to encourage people to be more attentive to the evil we do and succumb to inadvertently, especially through making ourselves beholden to empty yet deathly destructive powers of our own imagination and understanding, to our pride. Some will see the term satanic figuratively, others literally—in the end I think that difference is so moot that it is unimportant, because the outcome is the same—the triumph of death over life. This world we are making in the West is predicated on mass death.
Most obviously it is predicated upon abortion being completely routinized. And to talk of the price paid for our sexualized culture being mass death of fetuses is no exaggeration. That the argument for abortion being a right, as was evident in the US in the recent Dobbs vs Jackson Women’s Health decision, is primarily about the danger to a woman’s life, or rape and only secondarily to the right to use it as a means of birth control is indictive of a tacit acknowledgement that the more sanctified language of rights may be compromised if it boils down to mere utility – consider how John Rawls the great champion of “distributive justice” makes the case why his rights based theory of justice is superior to any utilitarian based one. After all today almost every couple may watch the fetus form into a baby through various stages of its gestation- and is it not notable how our entertainment moguls regularly use the image of a fetus with a beating heart in its movies and television shows to demonstrate the extent of the love between parents, while the majority of the members of that very industry are so vocal about the right to terminate that very being because it is a matter of my body/ my choice? The appeal to the exception by pro-choicers is simply because abortion is very hard to reconcile with the idea that a growing fetus, which we can witness with our own eyes, while dependent upon and growing within the mother’s body, and who has its own tiny organs, may be extinguished because it is an economic burden upon the mother and father (if he is still around). That Western nations are, nevertheless, deeply divided over abortion is less significant than the fact that the scale of it is so great it is undoubtedly, and whether for good or ill, part of who and what we stand for.
There are two other major ways in which I think it reasonable to talk of our contemporary West being predicated upon death—one is the wars that it continually supports, the other is the push toward depopulation.
Conflicts over scarcity and territory and, somewhat more belatedly, faiths is a commonplace feature of the human story. What is particularly conspicuous about the wars involving the West today are that they not only take placed in far-away lands but they are made by others on behalf of beneficiaries in West. Just as the language of liberty prevails in an environment where liberties are increasingly diminished to fit global corporatist fiat and outcomes, the West presents itself as a means for peace when it manufactures one war after another. As with abortion, mass death is hidden and where it occurs the blame for it is laid elsewhere. Finally, just as vegans fail to see the consequences of their protests if they achieved their ends, viz. instead of living any kind of lives, cows, sheep, chickens etc. would not roam free, but be immediately reduced to a tiny fraction of their present number and, the few left, would be almost entirely living in zoos, the average person who accepts the globalist Malthusian need to depopulate the planet does not ask the question of how will that depopulation occur and who will make the decisions about who stays and who goes. It is one thing to note that there would be some population reduction accompanying greater wealth (presuming that occurs), which is a phenomenon that accompanies greater living standards, but the Malthusian argument is equally about resource control as much as population control as much as technological control. The idea that the scaling back of fossil fuel energy will automatically lead to the triumph of nonrenewable energy is not remotely as convincing as the idea that the scaling back of fossil fuel based energy will be a joker in the pack when it comes to pressuring governments into all adopting much lower populations to save the planet, because saving the planet has required scaling back energy, and, along with that food production. Maybe then the belated rage of populations will resemble something like the Chinese peasant rebellions of past times which periodically bought down dynasties.
Yuvsal Harari puts it plainly enough when he says, “fast forward to the early 2st century when we just don’t need the vast majority of the population,” and that “Humans are now hackable animals. The idea that humans have this soul or spirit, they have free will and nobody knows what’s happening inside me -so whatever I chose in the election of in the supermarket, that’s my free will? That’s over.”
And closely related to this is the replacement of the traditional family with the new family in which the natural process of birth only pertains to one type of family—the new types of family bypass nature, and in their bypassing, in their new kind of manufactured nature, the opportunity for technocratic control over who is allowed to give birth becomes inevitable. No wonder that many people today call this state of affairs in which the extent of control over life and nature and the concentration of that control within the elite decision making that is requisite upon the population accepting the authority and decisions of the decision makers satanic.
Against this backdrop, the politicization of the trans and gay movement, the push for gay marriage and the demand that gay and transgenders friendly materials be part of the school curricula, while on the surface being about a group’s right to social acceptance is a very conspicuous pawn in a larger game of social and population control. To be sure gays/trans people will seem to have want they want, but it is questionable whether the full extent of what we will all have will be what they or anyone apart from the “happy few” will want once they have what they really have. But this is precisely what the satanic always delivers—a big fact nothing that promises to be everything.
The follow-up essay is also about why it is neither stupid nor cruel to describe the way Western culture has conjoined the demand for complete emancipation within a narrative fabric in which non-being, lies, are integral to its formation and spread. While the essentialization of human identity based around a limited number of aspects—sexuality, race, and ethnicity – is intrinsic to it, in the main, it is sexualized identity which features both as the bedrock or being of the self as well as its apex. This is congruent with the great metaphysical turn of the seventeenth century seeking to build a new world by changing the names of what we experience to conform to a reality that is disclosed by the more stringent laws of reality discerned by the mind’s understanding. Such a turn, though, meant that the human world which is shot through by our makings that come from imaginings, stories, intimations, and more generally traditions are somehow less authentic and real than whatever world we might build anew, and what pertains to the understanding and imagination of the new builders.
Apart from the Cartesian and Lockean allowance of the various mental functions deployed to make sense of ourselves and the world, this turn also involved a substitution of the soul with sheer appetitive-ness and its satiation, making the avoidance of pain and the seeking of pleasure the polarities within which life’s meaning is to be played out. Although Kant was completely beholden to mechanistic science in his thinking about “experience” he was able to see that this polarity interfered with the grander claim about human dignity and the importance of its basis in freedom requiring that we are subject to laws that our own reason has concocted. That movement from appetites to rights ( almost two centuries before Rawls) was merely to replace nature’s raw stuff with our own abstractions. This has indeed made the new priest class who traffic in ideas about governance and freedom feel that their verbal wisps can eventually form flesh, but it has nothing to do with enhancing life itself.
I realize that clarifying the issues will still not stop those invested in ideological assault upon ideas that do not serve their interests and view of the new world and place within it, denouncing those who think like this as “-phobes” and “-ists.” But it is precisely because of the extent of thoughtlessness in the world that the world is in the turmoil it is, and our democratic societies all but dead and, more personally, that I pull myself away from my daily joy of playing guitar and singing to write essays on such terrible aspects of reality for the Postil.
Featured: “Three Name Givers,” by Odd Nerdrum; painted in 1990.