aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,
aefenglommung
aefenglommung

A whiter shade of pale

I used to spend some time on one or two websites that had a lot of hard-to-find publications concerning Germanic linguistics and literature. In particular, I was trying to download the entirety of Jakob Grimm’s Deutsche Mythologie in J.S. Stallybrass’s English translation. The main website that I found helpful – not only did it have the full text of Deutsche Mythologie, but many other resources – was run by a bunch of neo-pagans.

Neo-paganism is an attempt to go back to the ancestral worship of the Germanic (or other) peoples, purged of everything Christian. Their truth is, as it were, in their blood and culture, not in some Greek and Hebrew collection of Scriptures. They reject the influence of Rome, Athens, and Jerusalem. Neo-pagan religions such as Asatru actually have quite a number of adherents in places such as Iceland and around the Baltic Sea.

People find neo-paganism attractive for a number of reasons, I suppose, not just alienation from the Christianized (if increasingly post-Christian) West. Some find their way to it from their interest in fantasy literature, and it seems cooler than being one of those dull, icky Christians. Others are trying to rebel against convention, or on a search for something that seems more ultimately authentic. Some share an interest in Scandinavian or German Death Metal, and some of them have, besides the music, what we in America would think of as a Skinhead/White Nationalist fixation.

Of course, you can go straight to European white nationalism without the neo-paganism. This can take the form of a kind of esoteric interest in anthropology or sociology (go to YouTube and look up videos on who the real ancient Europeans were). It can join itself to violent expressions, but usually doesn’t. If the music or the neo-paganism doesn’t give you a catharsis sufficient to get you through the week, just expressing what your society finds “low” or “disgusting” in company with others is good enough for most people. Like finds like, and they mutter together, and then don’t feel so alone.

In my limited interactions with folks who follow this sort of thing, I try to be polite and avoid pointing out the elephant (or perhaps, aurochs) in the room, which is the inauthentic nature of authenticity cults. Asatru and other neo-pagan religions are very little like actual Norse paganism. If you read their theological and liturgical writings, they have basically reclothed the structure of Christianity in something that looks like Dungeons & Dragons. As much as they drape it in Norse terminology and the names of Norse gods, it’s still the religion they despised; it’s just that Thor has replaced Jesus. I wonder, Do they really believe in an actual Thor who grants their prayers? I suppose, if this troubles them, they probably wonder if I believe in an actual Jesus who grants mine. In any case, it’s not about what’s true; it’s about what’s mine -- or ours, if you will. It’s a search for something special that the rest of society that I don’t fit in with can’t understand.

Something of the same sort is probably at the root of the less religious forms of Euro-white nationalism – as in some Finns’ desire to prove that the Indo-Europeans (most of the rest of Europe) are somehow less authentic than they. After all, “we” were here when you bully-boys invaded 5,000 years ago, thank you very much.

All of this is mostly harmless stuff. It doesn’t prevent most folks from showing up at work on Monday morning, and obeying the traffic laws on the way there. Only we know that once upon a time, it showed itself forth in a truly frightening way. The ghost of Nazi racist theory, of Nazi paganism, stalks Europe – and not just Europe. Today, as many non-Europeans flood into Europe, fleeing ISIS (and economic collapse), it stirs resentment. And sometimes, the Euro-white nationalists – wittingly or not – begin to grump in terms that echo the ghastly and all-too-recent past.

In America, white nationalism is also a basement preoccupation of some folks. The more articulate of them have the same problem that the neo-pagans do: their search for authenticity leads them into extremely inauthentic formulations. All their attempts to describe what their ideal society would be like come to, at best, “What we have always known – minus those people.” Some of them like to clothe their more lucid attempts in old-fashioned language. They try to use the terminology of the Common Law, for instance, without realizing what it actually is and without realizing that nobody in the Middle Ages would have put them in charge of it. Most of them are mutterers, and most of them are fairly harmless. A few might occasionally try to parade about and bash a few heads – until they get theirs bashed back, which is no fun. Only we know that once upon a time, “white nationalism” in America showed itself forth in a truly frightening way. The ghosts of Jim Crow and the KKK stalk our country. And sometimes, the mutterers of “what about us white people” – wittingly or not – begin to grump in terms that echo our ghastly and all-too-recent past.

Now, there are a lot of white people – and not just white people – who get tired of being blamed for things that are not their fault. They were called “bitter clingers” by Obama, “deplorables” by Hillary. The Left, which dominates most cultural institutions in our society, bangs on about them day and night; meanwhile, it lifts up a different view of non-white people. Both the social constructs of “white” and “non-white” as dispensed by the Left are caricatures, cartoons, just as the old way of talking about race in our past presented caricatures, cartoons, of white and non-white people. Most white folk I know are willing to acknowledge the hurtful stereotypes once current that presented non-whites in a derogatory way. But they also therefore resent the new stereotypes that now present them in a derogatory way.

Against this understandable background, the truly alienated, the people with the peculiar idea that their whiteness is something like a banner to follow, or that somebody else’s non-whiteness is a threat to be combatted, are missed. They look and sound like everybody else – until they do something horrible. Then, all the people who had nothing to do with it are piled on by the usual denouncers, as if they were responsible for this.

Well, here’s a thought, folks. If you want to find the alienated (and possibly dangerous) people hiding in plain sight, you need a better approach than to lump them in with huge numbers of everybody else, and then blaming them all for believing in something the vast majority reject. Instead of peddling leftist or rightist stereotypes and dealing in race theory (of whichever sort you prefer), how about giving everybody a banner to actually follow: a common sense of belonging to a wonderful country, where anybody can be an American? The ordinary whites who affirm our multi-racial society aren’t sheltering the white nationalists. If you can’t find the weirdos, it’s more because the Left finds it useful to see terrorists in everyone who disagrees with them.

The enemy isn’t “whiteness.” Most whites don’t care about “whiteness,” which seems as inauthentic to them as neo-paganism does to most Germanic people. The only time they think about “whiteness” is when some Lefty denouncer is sticking the label on them and saying how bad they are. We need to find an idea to agree upon that leaves racial categories and epithets behind, which all Americans can rally behind – and which will leave the truly odd – and sometimes dangerous – revealed for everyone to see.
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