Racist Spiritual Warfare: Heathen Edition

Havamal 127:
When you recognize ill will, speak out against ill will,
and grant no peace to your foes.

It's come to my attention only recently that Stephen McNallen not only has a Youtube Channel, but he's become relatively prolific again, posting a new piece yesterday.
Do not mistake my memes and attempts at levity as insincerity.

Granted, I could barely finish the latest video due to all of the dog-whistling and outright racism. If you're not familiar with dog-whistling, its a technique wherein a person uses coded language to 'signal' their agreement with certain (mostly unpopular) viewpoints. The AltRight is very, very good at it, as are members of the Conservative Talk Radio network. 

So here's my breakdown of McNallen's latest video - time-tagged appropriately.


(0:00 - 0:10)
"The message I bring to the world is for any man or woman of European descent."
This is classic dog-whistling, right here. "European descent" has become the "nice" way to say "white." Nevermind that Europe has enjoyed little more than tearing itself apart for millennia along cultural lines. Two World Wars in the last century alone prove that, let alone the fucking Middle Ages where they tore each other to bits over which flavor of Christianity was "better."

For many closeted (and some not-so-closeted) racists, "Europe" (the eastern border of which is vague - most don't consider anything past Italy) is some kind of pan-cultural homeland. The joke on them is that they seem to be trying to mirror the modern African-American idea of "African" heritage, but their twist has a giant blind spot that they refuse to acknowledge: Europeans the world over were not forcibly divested from their country of origin's culture by violence or force of law. Kind of a big difference, but a classic Western Christian persecution complex creates a lot of blind spots, as we'll see.
(0:10 - 0:15)
"Whether Christian or Atheist, or Agnostic, or Asatru like me."
No Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Wiccans, etc? I wonder if McNallen is aware that there have been Muslims and Jews in Europe for longer than the United States has existed. I can't imagine why he would exclude someone who can trace lineage in Europe back at least six or seven generations just because they face East a couple times a day. I mean, Wiccans and other Pagans will never get a shout-out because McNallen has a history of decrying any racially and culturally inclusive religion. Almost like "European descent" doesn't actually mean "your family is from Europe."
Dog-whistling is a bitch.
(0:42 - 0:49)
"Vikings carried Asatru into Russia, and into Byzantium, where Norse warriors formed the backbone of the Emperor's elite body guard."
Someone is showing his Imperialist Christian roots. The Varangian Guard, as these elite warriors were known, were mercenaries, not missionaries. They did not go to convert, or to preach. By all accounts they didn't do much more than make a ton of money, buy a slave or two, and try to get back home in one piece to spend all that sweet, sweet loot. The only enclaves of Heathen worship in Byzantium were those that came with the troops, no one converted willingly. Couple that with the fact that many of the Varangians converted to Christianity as well (they were blood-sworn to protect a Holy Christian Emperor, after all), this rosy view of history is yet another blind spot.
(0:50 - 1:37)
"I have followed that religion for more than 40 years. More than that, I have been one of the main people responsible for restoring it in the modern world. Now, here's the thing about Asatru, it requires the continued existence of the European-descended peoples, because no indigenous religion survives the extinction from whose racial soul it manifests. If all whites of Germanic heritage died out, Asatru would also be dead. Other races could not carry it on, because they are not us. Likewise, we could not carry on the Yoruba faith, or that of the Aztecs. We are not them."
Quick background on McNallen to put this quote in context: 
Stephen McNallen believes in a term known as "Metagenetics." Yes, that's a link to his piece on an openly NeoNazi blog with a swastika on the top. Nuff said there. The TL;DR version is this: Religion and it's attendant Deities are tied, genetically, to a specific people, and those people should only worship the religion of their genetic ancestors. 

It's bunk, obviously. Not only because it's a very handy way of tying pseudoscientific shit like race to spirituality, but because it completely robs the Gods of agency. Think about it. Either the various monotheistic Gods don't play by those rules (converting anyone they could for millennia, by hook or by crook and damn the genetics) while indigenous Gods can't fight back for some reason, or indigenous Gods are less powerful than the monotheistic Gods. Either way, he's implying that the Gods he worships are less (either in spiritual conflict or in power) than the dominant monotheistic Gods. I doubt he believes that, but it's the logical conclusion to Metagentics.

The best way to explain the twisted logic behind this mind-numbingly stupid premise is the old adage: Cui bono? Racial separatists and racists who also happen to be Pagan, that's who. You can take my word for it or you can see it loud and clear in his statement above. He's not even sugar-coating it: "all whites of Germanic heritage. [...] We are not them." This is the public face of "nice" racism today, kids. They'll argue until they're blue in the face that they don't hate anyone, or that they're "not better, just different" so they can't really be racist, and you're just a SJW who needs to STFU.
Why all the hate for Smooth Jazz Waluigis, I'll never know.
(1:38 - 2:03)
"I'm not telling you all of this to convert you to Asatru, but because I want you to understand where I'm coming from. Additionally, I want to make the point that the fight to save our people is a profoundly spiritual one. If you're not Asatru, I invite you to find ways within the framework of whatever faith you follow, to spiritualize the great task before us."
Now this is fascinating. McNallen wasn't kidding in the previous quote where he bragged about being part of the reason Heathenry in general has seen a resurgence. He ran what is now known as the Asatru Folk Assembly for several decades before recently stepping down, so it's safe to say he and the org run along the same lines. With that said, one of the AFA's stated declarations of purpose (located in their "About" section, #3), states: 
"Asafolk are not always eager to proselytize; however, we know that our brothers and sisters will all be healthier and happier once they have returned to the religion that expresses their unique cultural and genetic heritage, a heritage that is a part of them as surely as blood and bone. The restoration of our ancient ways, and the building of a secure future for our religion and our people, is our call and our destiny." [emphasis mine]
So what we're seeing here is McNallen arguably abandoning the premise that everyone should join Asatru, and really, it is just about preserving the white race, not about everyone getting back to worshipping the Gods of "Germanic Europe." Let's not neglect to mention the fact that the last sentence in that AFA quote is basically a sloppy crib from the outright racist screed known colloquially as the Fourteen Words. I'm going to be quoting enough racist tripe on this post, follow the link if you need a refresher on what they are. 

With all of that subtle and not so subtle set-up, it's not like it's going to get any worse, right?
(2:03 - 2:15)
"Whether you are Christian, Asatru, or none of the above, let me give you two ways in which almost anyone, regardless of religion, can hang a spiritual interpretation on our battle..."
Buckle up.

(2:15 - 3:00)
"First: The Ancestors. All the ancient white cultures I've studied had a consistent attitude toward the ancestors. They gave us the gift of life. Their influence can still be felt, even though they are no longer among us. Did you know that the majority of people who have a loved one or family member die, have some sense of contact with that person in the days following their death? Death is not a brick wall. It is a flimsy curtain through which love and blessings flow to us from beyond the grave. In return, I believe, the ancestors expect something from us."
I'm surprised. Not much to argue with here, other than the continued racist division ("white cultures"), as if ancestor veneration isn't something that's existed in every religion to one degree or another. Christians gave us Ancestor Veneration Lite (TM) with the "watching from heaven" and "guardian angel" and "saints" concepts. Ancient Romans would have picnics on ancestors graves to share food, drink, and time with them, and Rome encompassed most of the Mediterranean (quick refresher - that was white "Europeans," darker-skinned people from the Middle East, and black people from northern Africa, oh noes!). And I'm pretty sure Eastern religions and cultures have continued ancestor veneration in unbroken traditions for longer than Western Civilization has existed, while that pan-European blob that constitutes the target audience for this video had to give up direct ancestor veneration for nearly the last thousand years.
(3:01 - 3:25)
"First: They want the family line to be continued. To repay the ancestors for the gift of life which you received from them, you need to pass that torch on to another generation. In short, you need to have children if possible, and those children need to be healthy, well cared for, and integrated into the family and society."
Here's another classic racist talking point dog-whistled quite eloquently. An argument against non-whites commonly found in the more angry sections of the racist discourse is that "they're out-breeding us." It's not about miscegenation (which obviously is also a bad thing to them, given the direction of these arguments), but a simple numbers game. It's almost like white people are afraid of becoming a minority. Almost like there's something wrong with the way minorities are treated in society...
"He turns."
(3:25 - 3:52)
"The second thing the ancestors want is to be remembered. In the old days, we left offerings of food and drink at their tombs. Today, you can still pour a libation on the graves of family members, even in a modern cemetery. I've done so. But beyond that, you need to tell their stories to your children, to remember them on their birthdays, to have their pictures above the fireplace, and to visit their graves."
There's nothing wrong with this. At all. This is classic ancestor veneration. He never addresses the troublesome nuance that any ancestor grave you're likely to venerate as a "white Germanic European" (or whatever other labels he wants to tack on) were Christian. I do have an ancestor shrine in my home, with photos of as many ancestors on both sides of my family as I could get my hands on.  I can tell you that my dead Christian family members are not huge fans of the Pagan veneration they get. 

Now let's see how this perfectly acceptable ancestor practice gets twisted...
(3:53 - 4:39)
"This is the modern way of carrying out the traditional duties to the ancestors as practiced by our race for thousands of years. This attitude towards the ancestors imparts a sense of continuity across the generations and the centuries, and also a sense of duty. We have a duty to the ancestors, and our race, to add to the glory and the repute of the family. And correspondingly, to keep it's honor intact. Where the family reputation or honor has been damaged, it must be remedied by right works, or the repayment of a debt. Not just a financial one. Or occasionally, by revenge."
The concept of family honor passed through generations is very much a Heathen thing, as is the concept of weregild, or "man price." If a wrong was committed against a family (the theft from, or injury to, a member), that family would seek recompense at the Althing (the gathering of families for settling of disputes and creating law). 

This is the gray, murky area where racist dog-whistling gets particularly insidious. How, really, does one "keep [family] honor intact"? I'm sure we're all aware of how some religious fundamentalists keep family honor intact. I'm sure McNallen wouldn't really advocate that level of violence in maintaining honor, right? It's not like that little bit at the end mentioning revenge is a subtle call to violence...
Shhhh...
(4:40 - 5:44)
"A second attitude or principle that can be practiced by anyone regardless of faith is to serve Life. All the cliches come to mind: "Walk gently on the Earth", "Save the Planet", whatever. But just because something is a cliche doesn't mean it's not true! The basic principle is this: Stay close to nature. Protect nature. Get out of the house! Immerse yourself in the wonders that surround you, and do what you can to promote the wildness that you find in nature. When the wildness disappears from the world around us, it will also disappear from our hearts, and we will be tame, inter-changeable economic units designed to produce, consume, and obey. Serve Life, and you serve yourself, and your race in the process."
Once again, a good idea choked and surrounded by the tentacles and claws of bad ones. There's absolutely nothing wrong with serving Life, promoting nature, and protecting the world and the environment. He's not wrong that if we allow Nature to be wholly consumed by the modern world's voracious neoliberal economic machine, a part of humanity's soul will die.

I have a really, really hard time believing that last bit, though. The very Capitalist machine he rails against was created, fed, and perpetuated for centuries by Western (re: white) Societies (re: race). Let's ponder the premise that if perpetuating the path our ancestors began is what we're supposed to do, then why stop exploiting anything and everything for profit?

The truth is, for all of the love and energy our ancestors can offer us, they were human, and they made mistakes, including perpetuating the idea that race even exists (hint: it doesn't, except as a means of division, control, and exploitation of the populace), and that Capitalism somehow willingly helps the most vulnerable of society (hint: it doesn't). The ancestors created where our path began, but no one says we have to follow it.
(5:45 - 6:10)
"The struggle for our race is directly in service to Life. We are higher life, right there on the front of the evolutionary process. We are the race that will colonize the galaxy. We are the Ever-Becoming Ones. And as we serve our destiny, we cannot help but serve all peoples and all life on Earth."
Oh, Sweet Christmas, he actually went and said it. I want every single one of you "McNallen's not really racist" apologists to tell me just how that crow tastes. He's spelling it out, plain as day: Whites are superior and everyone else will be lucky to ride our coattails into the future. There's really nothing to say to this other than:
"Evolved" my lily-white ass.
(6:11 - 6:43)
"It is here that the inherently spiritual nature of our struggle becomes obvious. We are no small-minded movement, no party absorbed in parliamentary minuta, no materialistic or economic program masquerading as something greater than it is. Our view is idealistic, transcendental, rising above all that is base and dross, and as such it becomes high adventure."
Oh come on. McNallen is employing classic religious rhetoric, very much in the "Spiritual Warfare" vein of modern Christian extremists. I expected better, but I guess that was my fault.

After circling the point like a vulture, he lands, makes his meal of the rotting flesh of Racism, and now tries to sell it to us like a cooked prime steak. Giving in to the forces of the world that would continue to see us violently divided due simply to the fault of birth and genetics is a cowardly act. He is wallowing in filth masquerading as flight, and there are far too many who will join him.
(6:45 - 7:08)
"I invite you to find the spiritual impulse, the soul impulse, in this great endeavor, and to continue our race's journey into the infinite. Do right and fear no one. Thank you." 
I found an impulse, all right. It's why I wrote this blog post, pointing out your misinformation, your dog-whistling, and your racism. I won't say you're not a Heathen, because I know better than to trip face-first into a fallacy.

I will say you're a terrible, racist Heathen, and you don't deserve to utter the names of the Gods.

You know, he didn't even deliver on the base premise of the video. He did not elucidate on why racism is a "spiritual struggle," only that individuals who want to can make it a spiritual struggle. He even says as much at 2:03. Unless you want to count that tripe at 6:11 about how it's "high adventure" just because he says so, he offers no other reasoning that it's a spiritual struggle. All he's done is point out how two very good, very Heathen/Pagan practices (Ancestor Worship & Serve Life) can be shoe-horned into Racist Spiritual Warfare.

I need a fucking shower.

Comments

  1. Yep, pretty clear, regardless of how 'reasonable' he may seem, its clearly focused on white European heritage. Vikings did NOT carry their religion or culture to other countries. In fact they assimilated into the regions they invaded and settled. Only christianity carried forward and forced indigenous peoples to convert. I fear that a mind-set like this may keep even more people in the closet with regard to Asatru or the impulse that people of any race may have to openly show their worship of the Norse gods because there is a large assumption that it means supporting a whites only mentality.

    In fact, the assimilation that took place through Scandinavian settlement means that there are quite surely many non Northern Europeans that inherited he blood ancestry of those very same North men and now hat we have traversed a millennium of descendants all of whom could rightly claim ancestry it must be realized that not everyone today that possesses that same bloodline appears to be of Northern European descent, the same as in America where people can actually trace back to the indigenous population but are fair skinned and blue eyes look nothing like the early inhabitants of North America. Spirituality knows no boundaries or skin color. While yes many are drawn to the religion of their ancestors, culturally or through national existence, there are no longer any pure races. The Nazis could not even uphold their end of the bargain in search of such a valid basis for the Aryan Myth, which in fact relates back to civilizations in what is now the Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan region. The language and even the preliminary runic alphabet even has it roots in Indo-European languages which include Sanskrit...it is a glossing over of real history and understanding of true migration wherein lies the faults of people like this concluding that their religion or belief system falls so neatly into one category, one belief and manner of worship and one race. Once a people, (any people) started to leave their homogeneous zones to settle elsewhere for food or land, the idea of a one-race culture/society was bound to change. Today, I can only think of Iceland as being the most homogeneous because the inhabitants have been so isolated on a single island for over a thousand years.

    For me I will follow my heart and follow that which draws me for I feel that no matter what, the overall Universal idea o a consciousness is what speaks to us, not the color of skin or the location of birth which we had no choice over. I hope that reprobates like this are continuously meted out for others to see the subliminal displays of racism for what they truly are and that it has no place in one's spirituality. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm also worried about how these mindsets (especially a public and influential one like McNallen) could keep more Heathens in the closet, that's what compelled me to write this. The word needs to get out that there is absolutely a counternarrative, that one can be truly Heathen (not just eclectic Pagan or Norse Pagan (not that there's anything wrong with those, either!)) and be diverse and open-minded.
    Bloodlines are a terrible rubric, I agree as well. What the racists continue to miss is that it's a cultural grouping, not a genetic one. America, I think, is suffering an identity crisis because isolationist grouping of cultures and immigrants were usually the result of discrimination and segregation (de jure or not). Couple that with the practically nomadic nature of the nation's labor force and the size of the country, putting down roots and maintaining family/cultural ties becomes very difficult.
    We're all yearning for that collective community again, but the racists are, quite frankly, "doing it wrong."
    Thanks for the feedback!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good piece, my only issue is that here it is stated that white Europeans were not forcibly removed by law from their homes (I'm paraphrasing there). May I suggest you look up the sentence of Transportation for life, it is a uniquely British punishment that forcibly removed poor people from their homes and families for relatively minor crimes like stealing food so they could feed their families. Of course this happened in the early years of the British empire, other examples are the Barbary Corsairs who raided all over Europe part of their spoils were European Slaves. The Vikings did the same part of their spoils were Slaves or Thralls, arguing that Europeans were not forcibly removed is as inaccurate historically as most of the subjects arguments.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Corsairs and Vikings are a good point, but my statement was:
      Europeans the world over were not forcibly divested from their country of origin's *culture* by violence or force of law.
      The Transportation for Life was basically exile, but it was not a cultural destruction akin to the Slave Trade or Colonization eras.
      I will measure my examples a bit more carefully in the future, however. Thanks. :)

      Delete
    2. While (maybe) not nearly as drastic as what occurred with other people, there were quite a number of cultural traditions which were eradicated or erased through violence and law, especially when it came to the traditions and customs of women and queer folk throughout Europe. The use of terror to spread the values of capitalism and erase cultures were not restricted places outside of Europe. Europeans did all that capitalist colonialism internally and proceeded to export it out to the rest of the world.

      Still, that is no excuse for white supremacist attitudes in Heathen or Asatru practices.

      Thank you for this post.

      Delete

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