Note: This text has been superseded by my 2013 work A Rejection of Extremism (pdf).

David Myatt

 

 

Notes on The Politics and Ideology of Hate

 

Contents

  • Preface
  • Part One: Some Notes According to the Philosophy of The Numinous Way
  • Part Two: A Personal Perspective – My Uncertitude of Knowing
  • Part Three: Personal Suggestions Regarding Countering Extremism


Preface

 

This little work summarizes some of my reflexions on, and some of my conclusions concerning, my forty years as a practical extremist and my forty years of practical experience of extremism and extremists; a practical experience that ranged from fascism, and the racism of National-Socialism, to radical Islam [1], and which experience included producing propaganda, organizing activities, formulating extremist ideology, imprisonment for racist violence, inciting hatred, violence and prejudice, engaging in criminal activities to fund extremist causes, and encouraging and supporting terrorism. These reflexions resulted from – were forced upon me by – some years of moral, personal, and philosophical questioning, a questioning made urgent, given interior priority, by a personal tragedy in 2006; and which tragedy and which questioning led me a few years later to reject all forms of extremism and develope and thence continue to refine my own weltanschauung based on the virtues of empathy, compassion, and humility.

Such personal reflexions and conclusions from a former extremist may possibly be of some interest to those curious about extremism and to some of those engaged in efforts – political, social, or religious – to counter extremism and extremists, and also possibly be of some use to some of those with an academic interest in subjects such as extremism, terrorism, and extremists.

To avoid confusion I have outlined in an Appendix how I, often from practical experience, understand and use certain terms, such as politics, ideology, society, radical Islam, extremism, and extremists. My usage may thus sometimes differ from how such terms are commonly used or how they have been previously defined and used in some academic and other works relating to extremism .

David Myatt
April 2012


 

Part One

Some Notes According to the Philosophy of The Numinous Way

Introduction

The ethical criteria of The Numinous Way will be used to consider the politics and the ideology of hate – that is, to consider: (i) those beliefs and/or ideas which produce or which engender or which incite in people an intense dislike of or an extreme or violent aversion to some other people or group and/or of or toward opposing beliefs and/or toward opposing ideas; and (ii) the actions and the political activities of those motivated by or pursuing some ideology that inclines them toward hatred or which produces hatred.

Specific examples will be restricted to two sets of beliefs/ideas, firstly that conventionally termed ‘extreme right-wing’/fascist/neo-nazi, and secondly that conventionally termed radical Islam, and so restricted for the simple reason that I have personal practical experience of such beliefs/ideas and have also studied them in detail. In the former case, my experience and study amounts to some thirty years; in the latter case, to around nine years.

The Criteria of The Numinous Way

The criteria of The Numinous Way is the revealing – the insight, the knowing, the understanding, the feeling – that the faculty of empathy provides when we, as an individual, personally interact with another living being over a certain period of time. What is thus discovered by means of empathy is sympatheia – a numinous sympathy with the-living-other – and how, as an individual, we are an affecting connexion to all life, and thus how our assumed separation, as an individual, is an illusion, a manifestation of hubris. We therefore become aware of how we affect or can affect others; how they affect or can affect us; and of how their suffering, their pain, their joy, their grief, is ours beyond the barrier of our inner and our outer egoist.

This discovery, this revealing, thus inclines us toward compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, love, tolerance, peace, fairness, wu-wei [2], and toward being non-judgemental in respect of those we do not personally know and thus have no experience of, have had no empathic contact with. For it is empathy – the close and the extended personal interaction with individuals, on an individual basis, that empathy requires – that is the natural and the moral way of assessing, of really knowing, another human being.

This means two important things. First, that we treat human beings in a human way – that is, as individuals, recognizing that they are unique or have the potential to become unique; that they, like us, can and do suffer pain, grief, sadness, joy; that they, like us, have hopes, dreams. Second, that all individuals we do not personally know are or should be presumed to be ‘innocent’, unjudged, and so are to be given the benefit of the doubt; for this presumption of innocence – until personal experience and empathic individual knowing of them prove otherwise – is the fair, the honourable, the moral thing to do.

The Ideology and Politics of Hate

For an ideology to cause, provoke, or incite hatred – or which inclines people toward hatred or which of itself embodies hate – it is logical to assume that there has to be two components at work given that hatred is an intense personal emotion which can predispose a person or persons toward or cause anger and thence violence, and given that an ideology by its nature is supra-personal, that is, a coherent, organized, and distinctive set of beliefs and/or ideas or ideals.

My experience leads me to suggest that the first component is prideful identity, and that the second component is the ideal, the goal, of the ideology. For this given and accepted identity is always supra-personal and always imparts a needed sense of belonging, a meaning to life, just as the goal, the ideal, involves individuals committing themselves in a manner which vivifies, removes doubt, and imparts a sense of purpose, with the result that individuality becomes subsumed with duty and loyalty to the goal, the ideal, given a high priority in the life of the individual.

Ideologies such as National-Socialism – new or old – and radical Islam are predicated on identity, a pride in that identity, and on the need to affirm that identity through practical deeds. In the case of National-Socialism, there is a personal identification with one’s assumed race, a pride in what is believed to be the achievements and the potential of this race, and a desire to aid one’s race and its ‘destiny’ by opposing ‘race-mixing’. In the case of radical Islam, there is the sense of belonging to the Ummah, a ‘comradeship’, a certain pride in Islam and its superiority; a feeling of the need to undertake or at least support Jihad, and a desire to counter the kuffar in practical ways, all deriving from the belief that this is what Allah has commanded we do.

The identity so assumed or presumed produces or can produce resentment, anger – caused by a perceived or a felt disparity between the now and the assumed ideal, past or future.

For an essential part of such ideologies is that it is believed that in the past some posited ideal community or society or people or way of life existed and that the present is a deviation from or a loss of the ‘perfection’ that then existed; a deviation or a loss that the ideology explains by the assumption of a simple cause and effect, or several simple causes and effects, a simple linearity between the now and the goal (future) and/or the idealized past. Thus the problems or the conditions of the present are assumed to have certain identifiable supra-personal causes, just as the path to the goal is regarded as requiring that those causes be dealt with. In addition, these causes are often or mostly the work of ‘others'; not our fault, but instead the result of ‘our enemies’, and/or of some opposing ideology. That is, someone, or some many, or some ‘thing’, is or are to blame.

Hence in order to return to this past perfection – or in order to create a new form of this past perfection, this past ideal, or in order to create a new perfection inspired by some past ideal – our enemies, and/or opposing ideologies and those adhering to them, must be dealt with. There must therefore be struggle; the notion of future victory; and at the very least political activity and propaganda directed toward political goals – a moving toward regaining the authority, the power, the influence which supporters of an ideology believe or assume they and their kind have lost and which they almost invariably believe are now ‘in the hands of their enemies’ and/or of traitors and ‘heretics’.

In effect, perceived enemies, those having authority/power, and those perceived as adhering to opposing or detrimental ideologies/beliefs or living in a manner seen as detrimental, become dehumanized, are judged en masse in a prejudiced manner, and become disliked, with this dislike naturally – because of the struggle for ‘victory’ – becoming intolerance, harshness, and thence, almost invariably at some time, turning to anger thence to hatred with such hatred often resulting in violence against individual ‘enemies’. [3]

Such hatred and intolerance are the natural, the inevitable, consequence of all ideologies founded on notions of identity which glorify past glories or past perfections, which posit some abstract goal or some future ideal and which involve a struggle against enemies to achieve such a goal or such an ideal.

For there is symbiosis, an empowering of the individual, with the very notion of identity and meaning being dependant on notions about past glories, on inclusion/exclusion, on notions of superiority/inferiority, on posited enemies, on obstacles, and of a striving, a struggle, for an ideal, for some posited goal. And vice versa. This is the intoxicating elixir of extremism, a symbiosis born of, which engenders and which flourishes on division, divide, intolerance, pride, struggle, goals, and hate; a division, divide, an intolerance, a hatred, that possibly are at their worst, their most vitriolic, when based on ethnicity, or involve religions, or involve perceived or assumed ‘heretical’ divisions within a religion.

In terms of nazi and neo-nazi ideology for example, Aryans are and have been ‘the light-bearers of civilization'; the enemies are the Jews and their machinations, inferior non-Aryan races, and ideologies such as ‘multi-culturalism’ and liberalism; while the goal is a racially pure Aryan nation, and/or a strong and militarized National-Socialist State with a mission, a destiny, to ‘civilize’ the world through kampf.

In terms of modern right-wing extremism, as manifest for example by certain nationalist political groups in European countries, the ‘civilization of the West’ – in which many such groups now include Israel [4] – is the ideal because it is morally superior; the enemies (the hated inferiors) are Muslims and other ‘immigrants'; with an idealized and resurgent ‘European culture and identity’ (manifest in strong nation-States of ‘native Europeans’ and/or in a return to communities based on ‘European traditions’) having replaced the nazi/fascist ideal of a National-Socialist/Fascist State and with ‘past glories’ celebrated and idealized and used to motivate and inspire pride and develope a sense of urgency about the ‘threat’ posed by enemies and by the loss of national/cultural ‘identity’.

In terms of radical Islam, the enemies (the hated inferiors) are Amerika, Israel, Muslim collaborators, and decadent kuffar, with the goal being a resurgent Khilafah or at least the implementation of Shariah as the only law at first in Muslim lands and then elsewhere.

A Numinous Approach

Activists and even many supporters of such ideologies find meaning, worth, identity, empowerment, in the inclusion, in the collectivity, the belonging, that such ideologies assert or assume, and thus their knowing of themselves and of others, and thence their ‘ethics’ (or lack of ethics) are or become determined by the boundaries set by such ideologies. The boundaries of enemies; of traitors; of those ‘different from us/inferior to us'; of obstacles to be overcome in the struggle toward victory; of sacrifice for the cause; of conformity to guidelines for living laid down by a leader or leaders or ideologues or ‘the party’ or set out in some political programme, or book, or tract, or speech, or manifesto.

What therefore is lost or tends to become lost because of such boundaries, such collectivity, is empathy; wu-wei; notions of the innocence – the non-judgement – of those we do not personally know; sympatheia with others on an individual basis; and a desire to treat every human being as an individual sans all ideological boundaries, sans all prejudice, sans abstractions of inclusion/exclusion, sans all notions of ‘them’ and ‘us’, and sans all rhetoric and propaganda about a struggle for victory, and about the ‘urgency of the situation’.

For such ideologies manifest the-separation-of-otherness and which error of hubris is the foundation, the essence, of all abstractions[5], and which separation-of-otherness is the genesis of supra-personal, ideological, hatred and intolerance, usurping as such ideologies do with their collective empowerment and their supra-personal authority the empathy of the individual, the unique individual judgement that arises from such empathy, the necessity of interior personal spiritual (numinous) development, and the wu-wei, the compassion, the fairness, the tolerance, the humanity, that empathy by its revealing inclines us toward.

As such, those ideologies, born of and manifesting hubris, ignoring or disrespectful as they are of the numinous, and attempting as they do to redefine the ethical, are therefore – it seems to me – immoral, and lamentable.


 

Part Two

A Personal Perspective – My Uncertitude of Knowing

The Bad of Extremists

For some forty years, from 1968 to around 2008, I as a fanatical idealist placed some ideal – some illusory, some believed in perfection – before people, hubristically believing (as fanatics and extremists [6] always seem to do) that some ideology and its attempted implementation was more important than personal love, than fairness, than compassion, than kindness, than tolerance, than empathy, than peace, than wu-wei.

Thus, as a fanatical idealist, I was so dissatisfied, so discontented, with the societies of the West – especially with the society I regarded as my homeland, the United Kingdom – that I actively saught to undermine and change them by political and revolutionary means, by incitement to disaffection and even by terror.

For the first thirty years of this discontent (1968-1998) my desire was to establish, in Britain, a neo-nazi – a racist – society, believing as I did in the superiority of ‘the Aryan race’ and enamoured as I was of National-Socialist Germany and of Hitler’s struggle for power between 1919 and 1933. Thus the idealized, the romanticized, National-Socialism I believed in and the historically-inaccurate NS Germany I admired were my inspiration, and with the dedication and the hardness and harshness of a fanatic, an extremist, I joined several racist, fascist, neo-nazi, and paramilitary organizations; engaged in street brawls, wrote and distributed propaganda, gave vitriolic speeches; organized demonstrations, incited hatred and violence; founded two new neo-nazi groups; was imprisoned for violence and arrested nearly a dozen times for a variety of other criminal offences.

Between 1998 and 2008 – following my conversion to Islam – my activities were directed toward undermining the societies of the West (and especially those of Britain and America) and toward aiding Muslims fighting elsewhere – undertaking Jihad – for the establishment, in their lands, of Shariah as the only law.

During these forty extremist years I ranted and I railed against what I believed were ‘the problems of the West’, the ‘decadence of the West’, and propagandistically trumpeted the ideal type of society I believed in and thus considered was better than all existing societies. During my neo-nazi years, this ideal, this idealized, society was a new National-Socialist one, an ideal that I in perhaps some small way helped create through voluminous writings written during the 1990’s with titles such as The Meaning of National-Socialism,  Why National-Socialism Is Not Racist, and The Complete Guide to the Aryan Way of Life. During my Jihadi-supporting years, this ideal, this idealized, society was one inspired by the Khilafah and was to be established in some Muslim land or lands by a return to the pure guidance of Quran and Sunnah, and by Jihad ‘against apostates, and the kuffar and their collaborators’.

The error here – the error I persisted in for some forty years – is the error of faulty, unbalanced, judgement, deriving from extremism and hubris; an error that leads to, that develops, that nurtures, bad individuals and thus leads to inhumanity, to violence, prejudice, anger, discontent, hatred, brutality, terrorism. An error caused both by the distorted view of people and of existing societies that extremist ideologies cause or at least encourage, and by some ideal, some ideology, being cherished more than human beings.

For the personal fault of extremists seems to be that of being unable and/or unwilling to view, to consider, the good that exists in people, in society, and/or of ignoring the potential for good, or change toward the good, which is within people, within society, within what-is. To prefer the dream in their head to reality; and/or to prefer the struggle, the strife, the conflict, to stability and peace; and/or to need or to desire repeated stimulation/excitement. One cause of such things could, in my view – from my experience – be the inability or the unwillingness of a person, an extremist, to develope and use their own individual judgement, as well as the inability or the unwillingness to take individual, moral, responsibility for their actions and for the effects those actions personally have upon people. Thus violence, prejudice, hatred, brutality, killing, and terror, are not judged by the moral criteria of how they affect and harm people but instead by whether they aid the goal – the implementation of the cherished ideal – or, worst of all, by whether they provide excitement and/or provide the individual with a sense of purpose, a ‘destiny’, a sense of being special, a ‘hero’ to their kindred extremists, or at least of being remembered.

In my own case, I justified what I did – my extremism – by appeals to the goal I ardently believed in and ardently desired, and thus ignored or overlooked or dismissed as unimportant the many benefits that Western societies provide and have provided, concentrating instead on the faults, the problems, of such societies, or on assumed faults and problems. In addition, and most importantly, I arrogantly felt I ‘knew’, that I ‘understood’ – that I, or my cherished beliefs, my ideology, were right; correct, the solution to all problems, personal and of society, and that these problems urgently needed to be dealt with. There was, therefore, a desire in me to interfere, to act, based on this arrogant misplaced feeling of having ‘the right answers’, of being right; of having ‘seen the flaws’ in society and/or in people.

In addition, my judgement derived from, was based on, was dependant upon, The Cause, the ideology; and so was unbalanced, bad, flawed. For The Cause, the ideology, gave meaning and set the boundaries, the limits, of knowing, of doing. For example, in the case of National-Socialism, there was the boundary of duty, which was “to promote National-Socialism [and] to strive to act in accord with Nature’s will by preserving, defending and evolving one’s own folk.” [7] There was the meaning of ‘pursuing idealism/excellence/the will of Nature’ over and above ‘personal happiness’ as well as the need to ‘overthrow the existing System based on materialism’ [8]. There was the knowing that ‘race and Nature’ defined us as human beings so that our most essential knowledge was to know our kind, our ‘destiny’, and the ‘will of Nature’, a will manifest, for example, in kampf and idealized in such abstractions as ‘a new Reich’, Homo Galactica, a Galactic Imperium, and so on and so forth.

The flawed judgement, the lack of critical balance – the lack of humanity – that resulted meant that I did not take individual responsibility for the harm I caused, I inflicted, I incited. Instead, I shifted the responsibility onto the ideology, thus justifying or trying to justify the consequences of my deeds, of my incitement, by appeals to the ideology (‘the end justifies the means’) and by the belief that the ideology needed to be urgently implemented ‘for the good of the people’, with ‘the people’ of course always being viewed abstractly (as a race or folk), being idealized or romanticized and divorced from, or more usually considered as being built from, the harsh consequences of striving to implement such a harsh ideology.

Therefore, it seems to me now that a reasonable illustration of extremism might be to liken it to some contagious disease, some sickness, or some ailment. One that alters not only the behaviour of individuals but also their perception, their thinking; how they perceive the world; and one that inclines them toward being bad and toward ignoring the good that already exists in society and the credit due to society for aiding such good. A disease or an ailment or a sickness that inclines them toward acting in an unbalanced and unethical manner, disruptive to other people and disruptive to society, and careless of, or indifferent to, the harm they do, the suffering they cause.

The Good of Society

The simple truth of the present and so evident to me now – in respect of the societies of the West, and especially of societies such as those currently existing in America and Britain – is that for all their problems and all their flaws they seem to be much better than those elsewhere, and certainly better than what existed in the past. That is, that there is, within them, a certain tolerance; a certain respect for the individual; a certain duty of care; and certainly still a freedom of life, of expression, as well as a standard of living which, for perhaps the majority, is better than elsewhere in the world and most certainly better than existed there and elsewhere in the past.

In addition, there are within their structures – such as their police forces, their governments, their social and governmental institutions – people of good will, of humanity, of fairness, who strive to do what is good, right. Indeed, far more good people in such places than bad people, so that a certain balance, the balance of goodness, is maintained even though occasionally (but not for long) that balance may seem to waver somewhat.

Furthermore, many or most of the flaws, the problems, within such societies are recognized and openly discussed, with a multitude of people of good will, of humanity, of fairness, dedicating themselves to helping those affected by such flaws, such problems. In addition, there are many others trying to improve those societies, and to trying find or implement solutions to such problems, in tolerant ways which do not cause conflict or involve the harshness, the violence, the hatred, of extremism. [9]

This truth about the good [10] in our current societies, so evident now, leads me to ask how could I not have seen it before? How can extremists, in general, not see, understand, appreciate, this truth? How can they – as I once did – seek to destroy that balance; destroy all that such societies, despite their flaws and their problems, have achieved? How can they ignore the good work of the plethora of individuals seeking to change those societies for the better in a reasoned and tolerant manner?

I can only, in truth, answer for myself, based on some years of introspection. As an extremist in thrall to an ideology and thus seeking to disrupt, change, to overthrow an existing society – to incite disaffection – I had no reason, no incentive, to emphasize the good that had and has been wrought by successive governments, by the introduction of laws, and by the people, such as the police and the security services, who in their majority tried from the best of motives to do and to uphold what was good by striving to counter and bring to justice those who who were bad, those who in some way harmed or saught to harm others from whatever motive and for whatever reason.

Indeed, I was for the most part wilfully ignorant of this good, and when mention or experience of it could not be ignored for some reason, or might prove useful for propaganda purposes, what was good was almost always attributed to something which the parameters of the ideology allowed for. For instance, the good actions of an heroic policeman would be judged by the parameters of whether he was ‘Aryan’ – in which case ‘the good’ resulted from him being Aryan, having an Aryan nature – or whether those actions in some way, however small, helped ‘us’ and our Cause, as for example if the person in question had dealt with and caught ‘black people’ rioting or committing crimes. There was thus a biased, a blinkered, a prejudiced, a bigoted view of both events and people.

This bias also meant that, in pursuit of their extremist agenda, extremists – and especially the propagandists and the leaders – often or almost always made irrational generalizations about or concerning a specific incident or isolated incidents to ‘prove’ their extremist views, while often or almost always ignoring incidents that did not support or seemed to disprove those views.

Thus the bad behaviour or the crimes of a few people said to be ‘immigrants’ – or regarded as belonging to some ‘inferior race’ – would be trumpeted as ‘proof’ that ‘immigrants’ were ‘criminally-inclined by nature’, and/or that such non-White people were indeed ‘inferior’ and ‘uncivilized’, while ‘immigrants’ or a ‘black person’ or some ‘black people’ doing a good deed or deeds, or something heroic, would usually be ignored, or if it could not be ignored would be explained away as ‘Jewish/ZOG/Marxist propaganda’ or as some attempt by ‘the Establishment’/the media to brainwash ‘White people’ in pursuit of what was believed to be some sort of conspiracy to ‘destroy the White race’.

Similarly, the everyday activities of, for example, the police in serving the community would be mostly ignored except when there was a story that could be propagandistically used. Thus, the bad actions or behaviour of a few police officers would be trumpeted as ‘proof’ that the whole police force was corrupt, just as when the police arrested some extremists for breaking the law it was regarded as ‘proof’ that the whole police force were bad people and thus our enemies because agents of ZOG, and so on etcetera.

In my own case, I have some forty years experience of interaction with the police, from ordinary constables and detectives, to custody sergeants, to officers from specialist branches such as SO12, SO13, and crime squads. During that time, I have known far more good police officers than bad – corrupt – ones. Furthermore, I realized that most of those I came into contact with were good individuals, motivated by the best of intentions, who were trying to do their best, often under difficult circumstances, and often to help victims of dishonourable deeds, catch those responsible for such deeds, and/or prevent such deeds.

Yet I wilfully ignored these truths when I produced propaganda or gave speeches or incited people to disaffection, because they did not aid my extremist agenda, my revolutionary aims. To what, therefore, did I during my extremist years attribute their honourable motivation, their good character, to? Yes, of course – to them being ‘Aryans’ who just happened to be in the police force. Or, on one occasion, to having an ‘Aryan nature’ (accorded honorary Aryan status) even though the officer in question was ‘of mixed race’… Thus the ideology I adhered to, I believed in, set the parameters of my judgement; prompted the correct ideological response [11].

But in truth they, those officers, as one of them once said to me, were guided by what ‘was laid down’ and did not presume to or tried hard not to overstep their authority; guided as they were by the law, that accumulated received wisdom of what was and is good in society; a law which (at least in Britain and so far as I know) saught to embody a respect for what was fair and which concept of fairness was and always has been (again, at least in Britain and so far as I know) untainted, uncorrupted, by any political ideology.

Now I know, I understand, I appreciate, that for that reason – of so being mindful of the limits of their authority, of being guided by what had been laid down over decades – those people, those police officers, were far better individuals than the arrogant, the hubriatic, extremist I was; an arrogant extremist who by and for himself presumed ‘to know’ what was right, who presumed to understand, who presumed he possessed the ability, the authority, and the right to judge everyone and everything, and who because of such arrogance, such hubris, most certainly continued to contribute to the cycle of suffering, ignoring thus for so long as he in his unbalance did the wisdom that Aeschylus gave to us in The Oresteia.

Balance and The Uncertitude of Knowing

One error of unbalance and of hubris – and an error which is one of the foundations of extremism – is that of allowing or of encouraging some imagined, idealized, or posited, future to affect one’s judgement, and/or to determine one’s actions, and behaviour in the present.

Thus one becomes not only dissatisfied with what-is, but concerned with – if not to some extent obsessed with – what should-be or what might-be if what should-be (the goal or ideal of the extremist ideology) is not realized or not fought for. Furthermore, this assumed what-might-be is often the result of someone making some generalization or some prediction based on some ideology and which ideology, being an ideology – an abstraction – is founded on the simplicity of linear cause-and-effect and of problems/enemies having to be dealt with in order for some perfect future or some ideal or some victory to be achieved or brought-into-being. That is, what-might-be – and extremist action and incitement based upon it -requires a certainty of knowing.

This is one error I persisted in even after – as a result of pathei-mathos – I began to fully develope my philosophy of The Numinous Way with its emphasis on empathy, compassion, humility, and personal honour. An error which, for example, led to me, for some two or more years, to ebucinnate the abstraction of ‘the clan’ as some sort of embodiment of ‘the numinous’ and of honour and as an idealized means of manufacturing a new type of society as if such a future, such an assumed, hypothesized, society might offset some of the suffering in the world.

An error which the uncertitude of empathic knowing most certainly reveals. For empathy – the living, the numinous, way to know another living being – is a sympatheia, sans all ideations, with a living being in the immediacy-of-the-moment and involves an individualized proximity, and thus discovers only the knowing of that one living being as that living being is in that one moment, or those moments, of empathy. A discovery applicable to only that specific being and a knowing which some future empathic discovery in respect of that same being might change. For living beings are subject to change; their life is a flow, possessed of an a-causal living nature; and thus another encounter with that same living being may reveal it changed, altered – perhaps better, or matured – in some manner. Certainly, in respect of human beings, pathei-mathos is or can be a vector of interior change.

Thus, the faculty of empathy – over a succession of moments linked in causal time by a duration of days, weeks, or months – may intimate to us something about the character, the nature, the physis, of another person. A subsequent meeting with that individual – months, years, later – may intimate a change in that nature, possibly as a result of pathei-mathos.

There thus arises the knowing of the wu-wei, the humanity, of empathy;  a knowing of the transient, the a-causal, nature of the living-knowing, the revealing, the a-causal knowledge, that empathy may provide, and hence the need not to judge, not to prejudge, some past or future living being (or even the same being once known) unknown to, or as yet untouched by, such empathy or by another empathic encounter. For certitude of knowing – presumed, assumed, or otherwise – is causal, fixed, or the result of some posited linear extrapolation of such a static causal knowing into the future or back into some past.

Extremism – of whatever type – depends on this certitude of knowing, past and future, and which certitude amounts to a tyranny against the flow of life; certainly there is a lack of empathy, as well as the imposition of and thence the cultivation of a rigid harshness within the psyche of the individual which at best displaces, or which can displace, the human capacity for pathei-mathos, and which at worst may remove the capacity for pathei-mathos.

The future certitude of this hubriatic knowing is the given and fixed goal or ideal; and the certitude of struggle being necessary to reach that future goal or make real that ideal. The past certitude is of a given idealized past and/or of past glories (if indeed they were glories). And the present certitude is that of identity – of ‘we’ being different from and better than ‘them’. A certitude of identity and of assumed difference that gives rise to prejudice, hatred, intolerance, and all the other characteristics of the extremist.

Thus, for a neo-nazi or a racist, ‘Aryans’ (or ‘Whites’) are regarded as superior to ‘blacks’ and Jews, and the ‘separation of the races’ is regarded as the ideal goal. This superiority is a given, an affirmed, certitude, and regarded as fixed, past, present, future, and applicable to most if not all of the ‘inferior’ group or groups. There is thus no uncertitude of knowing in the individual; no interior balance; no wu-wei; no empathic discovery of the character, the nature, the physis, of other individuals as individuals in the immediacy-of-the moment; no allowance made for change, even by pathei-mathos. There is only harshness; generalization, supposition, assumption; a rigid adherence; the arrogance of certainty, of ‘knowing’ some are superior/inferior, that there is black/white, Aryan/Jew; that separation is ‘necessary’ and desirable. A need for stasis, and/or the desire to inhumanly try to make living, changing, individual, human beings fit some static category and thence the prejudice and intolerance and hatred based on or resulting from such an assumed or idealized static category.

As I know from my own experience, the certitude of knowing and the certitude of identity that an ideology provides displaces personal love, fairness, compassion, kindness, tolerance, empathy, peace, and wu-wei; or at least assigns to them a far lower importance than hate, injustice, harshness, intolerance, prejudice, strife, and disaffection to society, to what-is. Such certitude, such a lack of the humanity of empathy, also provides us with a fixed, an  – according to my pathei-mathos, my experience –  incorrect, answer to an important question attributed to Aeschylus and asked over two thousand years ago, and which fixed incorrect answer encourages, breeds, plants, the τύραννος within us [12] – our hubris, our inner egoist – and which wrong answer encourages, which breeds, which plants, tyrannical societies as well as allowing such a τύραννος as Hitler to gain an abundance of followers obedient to his hubriatic will.

The important question is τίς οὖν ἀνάγκης ἐστὶν οἰακοστρόφος [13]. And the fixed and the incorrect answer is always the same: some leader, some τύραννος, some sovereign, some ideology, some goal, some rigid identity, is there to guide us, to provide us with meaning, to justify our actions. To explain away or justify our lack of empathy, our lack of compassion, our intolerance, our suspicion, our hatred; our lack of wu-wei; and our lack of respect of the numinous, our lack of respect for other life, for human beings different from us. A wrong answer to explain our amnesia, our forgetting or ignorance of the wisdom of the past; a wisdom embodied in what – at least according to my admittedly fallible judgement, born from my pathei-mathos – is the correct answer given to that question asked thousands of years ago and which correct answer is in my view an excellent reply to extremism. An answer which embodies that uncertitude of knowing that is the essence of balance and which uncertitude the faculty of empathy makes us aware of. For the answer to preventing the extremism of hubris, to who guides us, who steers us, to whom we should look, and whom respect, is: Μοῖραι τρίμορφοι μνήμονές τ᾽ Ἐρινύες  [14].



  Part Three

Personal Suggestions Regarding Countering Extremism

 

Before considering some suggestions regarding countering extremism – personal suggestions born from my forty years as a practical extremist and my forty years of practical experience of extremism and extremists – I would like to briefly mention what, for me at least, is one of the most interesting and intriguing possible causes of extremism, and which particular possible cause led me to one possible solution to the problem of extremism.

This cause of extremism is what I term ‘the hubriatic ethos’ and which ethos has some similarities with the patriarchal ethos that has dominated, or tended to dominate, Western societies for millennia.

The Hubriatic Ethos

The hubriatic ethos is one where what may be described for the sake of convenience as predominately masculine traits (such as aggression, a need to be controlling and dominating, lust for change, lust for glory, and a lust for competition) are manifest, and where what may be described for the sake of convenience as predominately female traits (such as compassion, being nurturing, empathy, sensitivity) are undervalued, unappreciated, or regarded as of little importance (or even as a hindrance) ‘in the real world’.

Such a hubriatic ethos, in my experience at least, seems to form the basis – to inspire, to pervade – extremist ideologies such as fascism, radical Islam, nazism, and neo-nazism, with the result that such extremisms tend (again, in my experience) not only to attract a certain type of person but also serve to shape or influence the personalities of many recruits. Thus it is no surprise that so many extremist organizations and movements are dominated by men, tend to be led by men of a certain type, tend to have activists who are men of a certain type, and tend toward aggression, toward inciting hatred and the radical, harsh, social change and disruption of violent revolution.

The hubriatic ethos is one of extreme – unbalanced – dissatisfaction with what-is. One where kampf is regarded as natural and necessary, or as God-given; where there is a glorification of war; a clear and a required division between ‘us’ and ‘them’, our enemies; where some collective – said to be embodied in some ideal, or some leader(s), or some ideology – is regarded as more important than the individual human being; and where conviction/faith/obedience are prized more than the development and the exercise of a free and unbiased individual judgement untainted by conviction/faith/ideology/dogma.

The hubriatic ethos thus manufactures – for however short or long a time – a certain type of society, or has as an ideal a certain type of society. One that favours or embodies harshness and requires or even demands obedience or where obedience is held as an ideal. One where strife with ‘enemies’ (internal and/or external) exists or is endemic. One which is militaristic. One in which men play the dominant role and occupy most positions of authority; and one where successful and/or influential women are often or mainly those who have adopted or who embody those qualities that the hubriatic ethos itself manifests and thus which hubriatic men value.

There is thus a masculine bias, resulting in an overt or a subtle unfairness in respect of women, and a lack of appreciation of and misunderstanding of women, as well as a disregard or ignorance of – if not a dislike or intolerance of – those often underdeveloped qualities and attributes in men which are muliebral [15] – manifest for example in empathy, sensitivity, and compassion – and which qualities and attributes are necessary in order to develope or to maintain a natural balance, a healthy psyche [16], and thus enable a man to avoid the error of hubris, an error that today is often manifest in extremists and by and through extremist ideologies.

This bias, as I mentioned in Part One, might therefore be a possible explanation for why extremist ideologies seem to regard pacifists, Sapphic ladies, gay men, and even sensitive artistic men who are not gay, as either ‘enemies’ or at least as somehow inferior or reprehensible human beings, with the result that many of the supporters of such ideologies dislike, are intolerant of, or even hate, such individuals and why some extremists are often violent toward such individuals.


Countering Extremism – The Axiom of Hope

My suggestions in respect of countering extremism are only my personal answers; my tentative fallible answers found after nearly two years of reflexion – of interior introspection – pondering the following question: What, or who, could or might have prevented me and others like me from causing the type of suffering I caused or contributed to during my four decade long career as an extremist of various kinds?

Thus far, I only have the following three suggestions, however impractical (or even risible, to some) one or more of them might seem, and all of which suggestions derive from my uncertainty-of-knowing that what may be important in countering extremism is the methodology of developing the personality of individuals (or encouraging such development) in a natural, individual, and a human – a positive – way by direct practical, personal, and moral experiences of an involving and an emotive kind. In essence, through humanizing personal experiences involving other human beings and not through dull ‘book-learning’ or ‘history lessons’ or lectures or moralizing speeches, however well-intentioned.

Such a methodology is, of course, based upon the axiom of hope. That human beings are, perhaps in their majority, capable of positive, ethical, change; that perhaps a majority of human beings are not by nature inclined to be bad; and that perhaps at least some of those who, for some reason, do what is wrong are or may be redeemable.

1) Knowing The Consequences of Extremism

This is the suggestion of the education of individuals by a learning of the human consequences of extremism. That is, as I mentioned in the essay Pardonance, Love, Extremism, and Reform:

“…learning, personally, from those who suffered because of, or who were affected by, such extremism. In effect, individuals being shown the personal consequences of such actions, such deeds, such violence, such hatred, such prejudice, and such terrorism… How the victims of our extremism, and their families and relatives, were affected; how they suffered; what in human terms they lost and was taken from them. A personal encounter with their grief, their sadness, their sorrow, their pain, their loss. Not some history lesson; not an impersonal reading of some books; but personal encounters with victims, with the family and the relatives of victims; or at the very least factual documentaries and recallings that tell the personal, the moving, stories of victims, of the family and the relatives of victims. A revealing thus of the terrible, the horrid, human cost of extremism.”


2) Experiencing Diversity

This is the suggestion of young people experiencing diversity in a practical and personal manner so that – and for example – those who consider themselves to be or are regarded as ‘White’/Caucasian spend time with a family of a different culture (such as a Muslim or Indian one) and vice versa, and thus (and hopefully) with such young people coming to respect, as individual human beings, those who may outwardly appear to be different from them or who live in a different way from them.

3) Experiencing Innocence

This is the suggestion of counterbalancing the masculine bias, the patriarchal ethos, that still seems prevalent in all Western societies by young men experiencing innocence in diverse others [17] and thus hopefully developing or at least coming to learn of some of those human qualities a lack of which can and often does lead to extremism and involvement with extremist ideologies.

In effect, this is an attempt to undermine, at source, the hubriatic ethos, and so counterbalance aggression, the desire to dominate and control, the lust for change, the lust for glory, the lust for competition, and the desire for or the expectation of the necessity for displays of excessive masculine pride. And this counterbalancing – this enantiodromia – through providing young men in particular with opportunities whereby they can learn to value innocence, gain a better understanding and appreciation of not only women but also of those muliebral qualities and attributes that exist within themselves.

One possible method of doing this – although possibly a currently impractical method not to mention a highly controversial one – is for such young men to be somehow and under the necessary supervision of women, involved with, or somehow assist with, the learning and the playtime of very young (and thus innocent) children to whom they are not in any way related. If some such children belong to families of a different culture there is then also an experience of the innocence of such diversity. There would then be, by this method, a direct, an emotional and personal, experience of what innocence is.

Another possible method of doing this – possibly a more practical if still somewhat controversial one – would be for young men, as part of their education, to learn by practical means caring skills such as those required to care for the sick, the very young, the infirm, the dying, and the elderly. That is, to spend time so caring for such people, again under the necessary supervision of women.

Are Extremists Redeemable?

An interesting and possibly also an important question relating to countering extremism is whether all extremists are redeemable, capable of change, capable of rejecting extremism and becoming decent, moral, compassionate human beings. That is, can they or could they all be changed by such a knowing of the human consequences of their extremism or by experiencing innocence and thus of developing or awakening certain muliebral qualities?

As I wrote in Pardonance, Love, Extremism, and Reform:

In all honesty, I have to answer no. For my personal experience over some forty years has unfortunately shown that some people (whether extremists or not) are, or appear to be, just bad, rotten, by nature and thus possibly/probably irredeemable. I could be mistaken, as I hope that there exists some means to reveal, to nurture, the humanity of such individuals, although I do not know and cannot conceive of what such means might be. What I do intimate, however, is that such irredeemable individuals are, and probably always have been, a minority.”


Notes

[1]  For those unacquainted with my extremist past (1968-2008), I have been described (not always accurately) – by assorted academics, authors, journalists, politicians, and others – as (among other things) the author of ‘a detailed step-by-step guide for terrorist insurrection’ [i]; as having called on ‘all enemies of the Zionists to embrace the Jihad against Jews and the United States’ [ii]; a theoretician of terror [iii]; a neo-nazi thug; the man who shaped mind of a bomber [iv]; an example of the axis between right-wing extremists and Islamists [v]; a ferocious Jihadi [vi]; a staunch advocate of Jihad and ardent defender of bin Laden [vii]; a supporter of ‘suicide attacks’ [viii]; the person who has ‘arguably done more than any other theorist to develop a synthesis of the extreme right and Islam’ [ix]; the ‘ideological heavyweight’ behind the violent neo-nazi group Combat 18 [x]; the bodyguard of Colin Jordan [xi]; someone at the forefront of extreme right-wing ideology in Britain since the mid-1960s [iv]; and as a man of extreme and calculated hatred [iii].

Sources:

[i] Michael Whine: Cyberspace A New Medium for Communication, Command and Control by Extremists. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, RAND, 1999.
[ii] Ely Karmon. The Middle East, Iran, Palestine: Arenas for Radical and Anti-Globalization Groups Activity. NATO Workshop On Terrorism and Communications – Countering the Terrorist Information Cycle, Slovakia, April 2005
[iii] Searchlight, July 2000.
[iv] Sunday Mercury, July 9, 2000.
[v] Mark Weitzman: Antisemitismus und Holocaust-Leugnung: Permanente Elemente des globalen Rechtsextremismus, in Thomas Greven: Globalisierter Rechtsextremismus? Die extremistische Rechte in der Ära der Globalisierung. 1 Auflage. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften/GWV Fachverlage GmbH, Wiesbaden 2006, pp.61-64.
[vi] Martin Amis, The Second Plane. Jonathan Cape, 2008, p.157.
[vii] Robert S Wistrich, A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad, Random House, 2010.
[viii] Mark Weitzmann, Anti-Semitism and Terrorism, in Dienel, Hans-Liudger (ed), Terrorism and the Internet: Threats, Target Groups, Deradicalisation Strategies. NATO Science for Peace and Security Series, vol. 67. IOS Press, 2010. pp.16-17.
[ix] Michael, George. The Enemy of My Enemy: The Alarming Convergence of Militant Islam and the Extreme Right. University Press of Kansas, 2006, p. 142.
[x] The Observer, February 9, 2003
[xi] Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke. Hitler’s Priestess: Savitri Devi, the Hindu-Aryan Myth and Neo-Nazism, New York University Press, 2000, p.215

[2] Wu-wei is an important part of The Numinous Way, with the term being used to mean a personal ‘letting-be’ deriving from a feeling, a knowing, that an essential part of wisdom is cultivation of an interior personal balance and which cultivation requires acceptance that one must work with, or employ, things according to their nature, for to do otherwise is incorrect, and inclines us toward, or is, being excessive – that is, toward the error, the unbalance, that is hubris, an error often manifest in personal arrogance, excessive personal pride, and insolence – that is, a disrespect for the numinous.

In practice, wu-wei is the cultivation of a certain (empathic, numinous) perspective – that life, things/beings, change, flow, exist, in certain natural ways which we human beings cannot change however hard we might try; that such a hardness of human trying, a belief in such hardness, is unwise, un-natural, upsets the natural balance and can cause misfortune/suffering for us and/or for others, now or in the future. Thus success lies in discovering the inner nature (the physis) of things/beings/ourselves and gently, naturally, slowly, working with this inner nature, not striving against it.
[3] One aspect of all extremist ideologies, of the politics and ideologies of hate, that has intrigued me for some time is their explicit or their implicit patriarchal ethos; their masculine bias; their stridency, their lack of not only empathy but also of those qualities that are ineluctably feminine, caring, nurturing, and thus which tend toward balancing the hubriatic male qualities such as harshness, fanaticism, kampf, and militarism, which such ideologies laud.

This bias toward overt masculinity, toward machismo, possibly explains why such harsh, such extremist ideologies – and often the supporters of such ideologies – dislike, are intolerant of, or even hate, pacifists, Sapphic ladies, gay men, and even sensitive artistic men who are not gay.

For a further discussion, refer to the section The Hubriatic Ethos in Part Three.

[4] The support for Israel by such groups has led to some political commentators regarding such support by such extremists as either cynical opportunism or as some attempt to gain political credibility and thus an attempt to distance themselves from nazism and fascism even though their whole agenda, their trumpeting of ‘European civilization and culture’, their nationalism, their dislike of ‘immigrants’ and especially of Muslims, seems to place them within the sphere of those ideologies. For instance, these extremists seem to have simply made Muslims, and ‘immigrants’ in general, the ‘new Jews’.

[5] The Numinous Way understands an abstraction as the manufacture, and use of, some idea, ideal, ‘image’, form, or category, and thus some generalization about, and/or some assignment of an individual or individuals – and/or some being, some ‘thing’ – to some group or category with the implicit acceptance of the separateness, in causal Space-Time, of such a being/beings/things/individuals. This assignment of human beings to some abstraction (some abstract category) – such as Negro or Jew or ‘traitor’ or ‘heretic’ or ‘prostitute’ – always involves either some pejorative judgement being made about an individual on the basis of the qualities or the attributes that are believed or assumed to belong to that abstraction, or some idealization/glorification of those so assigned (such as some idealized ‘Aryan race’).

The positing of some ‘perfect’ or ‘ideal’ form, category, or thing, is part of abstraction.

Thus understood, abstraction encompasses terms such as ideology, idea, dogmatic/harsh beliefs, and ideals.

[6] As explained in several other essays – such as Ethos of Extremism – by extreme I mean to be harsh, so that an extremist is a person who tends toward harshness, or who is harsh, or who supports/incites harshness, in pursuit of some objective, usually of a political or a religious nature; where harsh is understood as rough, severe, a tendency to be unfeeling, unempathic.

[7] The Meaning of National-Socialism (dated 108yf, i.e. 1997)

[8] ibid.

[9] In my essay Society, Social Reform, and The Numinous Way (dated February 2012) I briefly touched upon ‘a numinous approach’ to social change and reform. Which was the apolitical, non-violent one of personal example, and of fostering, encouraging, the natural, slow, interior and personal change of individuals.

[10] The good is what is fair; what alleviates or does not cause suffering; what is compassionate; what empathy by its revealing inclines us to do.

[11] It was such experiences – personal and political – which eventually, after two and half decades, prompted me in the late 1990’s to modify my ideology and thus develope what I termed non-racist ‘ethical National-Socialism’. But even that did not alter my commitment to extremism, my extremist activities, and my desire to undermine and overthrow British society.

[12] ὕβρις φυτεύει τύραννον. ‘Hubris plants the tyrant.’ Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus, v. 872.

[13] “Who then compels to steer us?” Aeschylus [attributed], Prometheus Bound, 515

[14] “Trimorphed Moirai with their ever-heedful Furies!”   Aeschylus [attributed], Prometheus Bound, 516

[15] Muliebral derives from the classical Latin word muliebris, and in this context refers to those positive traits, abilities, and qualities that are associated with women – as for example in the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God – and which traits, abilities, and qualities, in both Hellenic culture and pagan, pre-Christian, European cultures were often personified by female deities with such deities held in high regard and often accepted as equal to, if not sometimes superior to, male deities.

[16] In Jungian terms, acquire an individuated self. In terms of The Numinous Way, the natural balance is that of enantiodromia. See, for example, my essay Numinous Expiation, and also my essay The Change of Enantiodromia.

[17] My usage of the term innocent is explained in the Appendix.


Appendix
Usage of Terms

I outline here how I understand and use certain terms. My usage may thus sometimes differ from how such terms are commonly used or how they have been previously defined and used in some academic and other works relating to extremism.

Extremist/Extremism

By extreme I mean to be harsh, so that my understanding of an extremist is a person who tends toward harshness, or who is harsh, or who supports/incites harshness, in pursuit of some objective, usually of a political or a religious nature. Here, harsh is: rough, severe, a tendency to be unfeeling, unempathic.

Hence extremism is considered to be: (1) the result of such harshness, and (2) the principles, the causes, the characteristics, that promote, incite, or describe the harsh action of extremists. In addition, a fanatic is considered to be someone with a surfeit of zeal or whose enthusiasm for some objective, or for some cause, is intemperate.

Thus, and I believe quite correctly, I have described myself as an extremist, as a promoter of extremism, both during my neo-nazi years and during my years propagating a harsh interpretation of Islam, an interpretation which included supporting bin Laden and the Taliban, supporting and promoting ‘martyrdom operations’ and thus supporting and promoting attacks on, and the killing of, non-combatants.

In the philosophical terms of my weltanschauung, The Numinous Way, an extremist is someone who commits the error of hubris; and error which enantiodromia can sometimes correct or forestall.

Ideology

By the term ideology is meant a coherent, organized, and distinctive set of beliefs and/or ideas or ideals, and which beliefs and/or ideas and/or ideals pertain to governance, and/or to society, and/or to matters of a philosophical or a spiritual nature.

Incitement

Incitement is used in the sense of ‘to instigate’ or to provoke or to cause or to ‘urge others to’.

Innocence

In general, innocence is regarded as the attribute of those who, being personally unknown to us, are unjudged us by and who thus are given the benefit of the doubt. For this presumption of innocence – until personal experience and individual knowing of them prove otherwise – is the fair, the moral thing, to do.

In specific instances, such as quite young children, innocence implies actions are blameless, without harmful intent, and thus should be understood as causing no harm.

Politics

By the term politics is meant both of the following, according to context. (i) The theory and practice of governance, with governance itself founded on two fundamental assumptions; that of some minority – a government (elected or unelected), some military authority, some oligarchy, some ruling elite, some tyrannos, or some leader – having or assuming authority (and thus power and influence) over others, and with that authority being exercised over a specific geographic area or territory. (ii) The activities of those individuals or groups whose aim or whose intent is to obtain and exercise some authority or some control over – or to influence – a society or sections of a society by means which are organized and directed toward changing/reforming that society or sections of a society in accordance with a particular ideology.

Radical Islam

By radical Islam is meant a particular modern harsh interpretation of Deen al-Islam. This is the belief that practical Jihad against ‘the enemies of Islam’ and the occupiers of Muslim lands is an individual duty incumbent upon every able-bodied Muslim; that Muslims should live among Muslims under the guidance of Shariah; that Muslims should return to the pure guidance of Quran and Sunnah and distance themselves from the ways and the influence of the kuffar.

Many though not all radical Muslims also support the restoration of the Khilafah; are intolerant of those Muslims they consider have allied themselves with the kuffar; and believe that ‘martyrdom operations’ against enemies are permissible according to Quran, Sunnah, and Ijmah. In addition, many supporters of such operations also believe that the deaths of non-combatants in some or all such operations are permissible according to the aforementioned criteria.

Society

By the term society is meant a collection of people who live in a specific geographic area or areas and whose association or interaction is mostly determined by a shared set of guidelines or principles or beliefs, irrespective of whether these are written or unwritten, and irrespective of whether such guidelines/principles/beliefs are willingly accepted or accepted on the basis of acquiescence.

Terrorism

A useful definition of terrorism is that it is the calculated use of violence or the threat of violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of an ideology or of goals that are generally considered to be political, religious, or ideological.


The Good

The good is considered to be what is fair; what alleviates or does not cause suffering; what is compassionate; what empathy by its revealing inclines us to do.

Thus the bad – what is wrong, immoral – is what is unfair; what is harsh and unfeeling; what intentionally causes or contributes to suffering.

Violence

By the term violence is meant the use – by a person or persons and in pursuit of an ideology or of goals that are generally considered to be political, religious, or ideological – of physical force sufficient to cause bodily harm or injury to a person or persons.


cc David Myatt 2012
Third Edition
 

This text is issued under the Creative Commons (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0) License
and can be freely copied and distributed, under the terms of that license.

 

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