Thursday, August 30, 2018

New Agers, occultists and the Alex Jonesians

The Alex Jonesians usually sneer at the New Age movement. (Yes, that movement still exists, even though it goes by other names.) Fundamentalist Christians consider New Agers to be part of the Great Satanic Conspiracy.

Given this animus, you'd think that the New Agers would want nothing to do with the paranoia buffs. Yet the modern New Age movement continues to function as a dumping ground for conspiratorial codswallop.

A good example can be seen here. The link goes to an article by one Richard Enos, published on a website called Collective Evolution -- a name seemingly designed to set off alarm bells on the right, since reactionaries hate collectivism as much as they hate evolution. The headline reads "Illuminati Pedophilia: What Is The Role Of The Awakening Community?"

By "Awakening Community," the writer apparently means what used to be called "The New Age Community." Same shit, different verbiage.

If you believe that most people are rational, this piece may change your mind. This hilarious exercise in anti-logic presumes that the Illuminati -- a completely mythical organization -- runs the world. To "prove" his point, Enos cites one of his previous articles -- a veritable Illuminati-palooza, filled with enough absurdities to make even an Infowarrior cringe.

Before you say it: Yes, I am quite aware that there once was a genuine -- and, in some ways, admirable -- clandestine organization called the Illuminati. I've read Terry Melanson's excellent book Perfectibilists; in fact, Melanson has contributed comments to this humble blog. I've also read Johnson's The Architects of Fear, Vernon Stauffer's New England and the Bavarian Illuminati, and Roberts' Mythology of the Secret Societies. I've even read (or skimmed) an actual work by Adam Weishaupt, founder of the Illuminati. In short, I've read the kind of scholarly works that ninnies like Enos prefer to ignore.

How can a reasonable person mount a response to dangerous nonsense like this?

There are no "Illuminati bloodlines." There are no Third and Fourth "Densities." A "Pleiadian entity" named Adamu is not "channeled through a healer named Zingdad." The "insider testimony" cited by Enos is such obvious bullshit that it should evince howls of laughter from anyone over the age of twelve.

Intelligent people usually find these absurdities unworthy of refutation. I know from experience how infuriating it can be to interact with people who have never taken a class in formal logic, and who will never let go of the inanities to which they have become emotionally wedded.

In particular, I'm thinking of an online argument I once had with an obdurate dunderhead who believed in the Gospel According to Myron C. Fagan, a now largely-forgotten figure who once was the go-to guy when it came to Illuminati lore. Fagan (who still has his defenders) once said that Frank Sinatra was a communist. When I pointed to this assertion as an example of Fagan's insanity, my online "sparring partner" presumed that I must be a communist. 

How can one talk to such people?

How can one prevail in a dispute with the fear-junkies who fasten onto nonsensical ideas they way my teething puppy latches onto my socks whenever I try to put them on?

Actually, that metaphor doesn't really work, since the pooch eventually lets go. Fear-junkies never do. Addicts need their fix.

These addicts have a phobic reaction toward normal standards of evidence. They regard scholarship as a debauched game, as an example of the corruption pervading our society. As a result, what they want to be true is true -- at least in their own minds. I'm not the world's greatest fan of Robert Anton Wilson, but these words are wise:
Conspiracy buffs tend to forget the difference between a plausible argument and a real proof. Or between a legal proof, a proof in the behavioral sciences, a proof in physics, a mathematical or logical proof, or a parody of any of the above.
When he said those words, the conspiracist movement was still small, quaint and rather attractive in its oddity. Today's buffs no longer care about plausibility, never mind proof -- yet their numbers grow and their power increases. They elected Trump.

A half-mad civilization cannot endure. Annoying as these creatures are, we must find the patience necessary to interact with them. We must literally talk sense into them.

All of which brings me back to the original question: How can tofu-gobbling New Agers (or whatever the current terminology may be) fall for the drivel concocted by the Alex Jonesians and fundamentalist freakazoids? New Age woo-woo types know full well that the fundies despise them; there should be no common ground between members of these two groups. Nevertheless, the love-n-light vegans and the gun-totin' Southern Baptists regularly meet at Ye Olde Fearmonger's Shoppe.

These furtive encounters have been taking place for quite a long time. The first time I ever saw The Protocols of the Elders of Zion formally published and offered on sale, I was in a New Age bookshop, circa 1989.

Occult conspiracy theories. Let's address a related matter. Right-wing Illuminati-spotters see signs of occult conspiracies everywhere. They claim to fear and despise anything that smacks of occultism. Yet they also seem to be the only people loopy enough to think that occult rituals actually work -- and some of them even try to perform said rituals.

Not all conspiratards are fundamentalist Christians; in fact, some of them actually follow occult traditions. Aficionados of Voat both hate and practice ceremonial magic; to prove the point, first go here and then go here. The latter link goes to a piece written by a pro-Trump Thelemite, "Thelema" being the rather bizarre belief system invented by Aleister Crowley.

Proles who dabble in occult rituals firmly believe that their patrician "overlords" share these irrational views and have gone far beyond dabbling. This credo is sheer lunacy; in reality, only poor people do magic. I'm quite sure that the folks who run Goldman Sachs have never given sorcery a second thought, because those who hold actual power and influence don't need the solace of mumbo-jumbo.

Despite the complete lack of proof, a growing number of people believe that the world is run by a cabal of malefic sex magicians. The right side of the internet sounds that theme constantly; the assertion gains adherents through sheer repetition. I've been reading about fringe subjects since the 1970s; if real evidence for this idea existed, I'd know about it.

I suppose one could cite the case of La Voisin, which takes us all the way back to the 1600s -- but even that case concerns mostly "wannabes" on the edges of the aristocracy, not people who wielded actual power.

In modern times, the only viable examples are to be found stage right.

In the run-up to World War II, some (not all) fascists believed in the validity of the occult worldview. One can point to the examples of Rudolf Hess (to whom Mein Kampf was dictated) and Deitrich Eckart (to whom Mein Kampf was dedicated). One could also mention the fascist philosopher Julius Evola, who was, in many ways, a product of the 19th century French occult revival. There were a substantial number of proto-Nazi occultists, as outlined in the excellent work of Nicholas Goodricke-Clarke.

In more recent times, one could mention Steve Bannon, an unabashed Evola admirer. One could even note that Vladimir Putin has been influenced by Alexander Dugin, who in turn draws from Evola.

These are the only "occultists" (broadly defined) who have ever gotten close to power within the past few centuries. Yet the Alex Jonesians never talk about any of this history. They refuse to discuss Bannon's flirtation with Hermeticism, preferring to trade fables about Hillary Clinton. It's a classic case of projection: The conspiracy peddlers have created a mythos which absolves everyone on the right while proclaiming all leading Democrats -- along with all anti-Trump Republicans -- to be devil-worshippers.

A myth can be dangerous if enough people believe it. We need to make the facts crystal clear: Eyes Wide Shut -- the worst film of Saint Stanley's maturity -- is a work of fiction, despite the crazed caterwaulings of the Q-anon creeps. Pizzagate is a hoax. The people who run the world are not pedophile Satanists. You can read biography after biography of the last century's decision-makers without seeing a single reference to Old Nick. Most pedophiles are of below-average intelligence, incapable of attending good schools; they are more likely to read dimwits like Richard Enos than to hold positions of power.

Yet each day, more and more people -- particularly the ill-educated and the young -- fall under the spell of this insane weltanschauung.

What to do?
You know, I strongly suspect that the Protocols were a very early rat fucking operation. In other words, they express what the author (or authors) WANT people to think about Jews and/or the "elite".....but more specifically how they want leftists and liberals to be viewed. Not what they actually are (which is more like projection, than anything else, IMO). Which I guess is obvious to us now as a hoax, but I think it was meant to be much more than that. Since many conspiracy nuts (Makow in particular) view it as a blueprint for running the world by the "Satanic Cabal" (or whatever), the operation was pretty much a success. Took a while, but it eventually succeeded.
A shaman divining intent in the patterns of tossed chicken bones. A priest of the Christian church reading translations of mouldy scrolls found in the Middle East. A "researcher" pouring over the unhinged scribbles of a loon that came before.

What to do what to do?

In all three cases the vigorous application of an aluminum softball bat might have a corrective effect. Other than that I'm at a loss. We are so boned.
Don't forget millions of people worship a man reportedly born of a virgin, who walked on water, changed water into wine, fed crowds of people bread and seafood mysteriously multiplied from a loaf and a few fish, was murdered but rose from the dead three days later and flew straight into heaven. Who today is honored by drinking wine and eating Saltines that somehow turns into flesh and blood - see where i'm going?

We're used to eating bullshit. And then there's the Rapture...more escapist tripe.
i am trying to remember how long ago it was, maybe 15 years ago??? I got a letter asking me to join the Illuminati.
Was the letter snail-mail? I'd be interested in learning about the postmark and return address.

If email -- hell, I get letters like that all the time. I think it's another Nigerian scam.
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