“Fascist and other far right movements do not herald the rebirth of old pagan values. They are Christian and capitalist to the core.”
Two commenters responded to me. The latter commenter is a close friend and she made a good response:
“I don’t quite think that in regards to National Socialism/ Facism and it’s rise to power in Germany. Germany for many centuries prior had to mould Christianity to fit their “volkish ideology” which is very pagan and based on Nordic myth. They actually blamed Judaism for furthering industrialism and the process of modernization (which includes capitalism), thus breaking their natural ties to Nature/ the environment. I can’t speak for other fascist movements but I don’t think there’s a correlation between Facism in 20th century Germany to Christanity / Capitalism.”
I then wrote to her my response to her response, the gist of this post.
“I’d say that the paganism is only in the surface. My comment is meant to counter fascists I’ve seen who think fascism will return us to old pagan values. It won’t. All the fascists and fascist movements I’ve seen reflect A LOT of Christian and capitalist values.
For instance, their take on social issues is very similar to that of modern Christian fundamentalism. For instance, they think humanity is fundamentally ugly and wicked (“decadent”/”degenerate”) and needs to corrected and punished. They hark back to an idealized Greece and Rome to judge humanity the same way extreme Christians think humans are full of sin compared to God.
Their views on sex tend to be a lot like a fundamentalist Christians’ views. They find sex to be inherently dirty and degrading, and that it should be used firstly for reproducing. They see sex for its sake as somehow deviant and suspicious. They also see sexual relationships that don’t conform to the whole man-master-top over women-children-bottom as decadent. Once again, very fundamentalist way of viewing things.
Likewise, they see women as inherently corrosive and evil in some way and see all or most forms of femininity (associated with women) as decadent and degrading. They especially loathe women’s rights because they see it as “feminizing” and degrading society. They even extend this to racist and homophobic ideals, seeing “lower” races and “deviant” sexualities as “feminine” in some way. This is very similar to Paul of Tarsus who, with his hateful rhetoric, made up the whole idea of women being the cause of original sin and that the earthly world is evil and sinful.
Also, fascists tend to be very racist, placing whites or Asians on top while black and brown people are at bottom. They may talk about some Aryan Indo-European ancestry, but at bottom it’s the same racist ideology that began with colonialism. At heart they think white men are supreme beings who must rule over the earth and over other races. This is a very modern, capitalist, colonialist way of thinking.
I’m no expert on ancient pagan civilizations and I may be very wrong about everything I’ll say right now. It seems that ancient western pagans (specifically Egyptians, Greeks, and Western Europeans)* seem to have seen nature as something terrible, awe-inspiring, and a constant reminder of their mortality. Their relationship to nature seems to have been reciprocal and something to cope with. They didn’t view nature as something to be endlessly dominated and exploited. Modern fascism (like in Germany and Italy in the 20th century) was extremely industrial and had the same conceit as American capitalism: the whole idea of rebuilding the world in their image. That image was a bourgeoisie image, like in America.
*There is no singular “old Pagan values”. I use specific civilizations.
Pagans also had a different image of the sexes. Yes, men were seen as superior and subordinated women, but the core idea is that men and women were complimentary halves to a whole, each their unique abilities and responsibilities. A balanced masculinity and femininity made the universe whole. But modern fascists eye femininity with the same suspicion and disgust as fundamentalist Christians do. They see the world as corrupted by femininity. They have the same desire to “purify” the human race of femininity and dominate over femininity.
Nazi Germany outperformed America in profits in the mid 20th century. This was because they did capitalism better than capitalist countries in America and Europe did. It’s also worth mentioning that great capitalist moguls at the time like Henry Ford admired Nazi Germany. They saw in fascism the restoring of traditional values to oppose communism and the gaining rights of disenfranchised people.”