by The Cat Lady
A review of Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke's Black Sun:
Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity
New York University Press, 2002, 371 pages, $29.95
Black Sun, like Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke's earlier books The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and their Influence on Nazi Ideology (New York University Press, 1985) and Hitler's Priestess: Savitri Devi, the Hindu-Aryan Myth, and Neo-Nazism (New York University Press, 1998), is a fascinating compendium of information on Nutty Nazis.
What do I mean by "Nutty Nazis," particularly in a world where all Nazis are seen as nutty?
Some people recognize that the highest political priority is the preservation and advancement of the white race. Some recognize that the greatest danger to the white race is the Jew. Nazis not only recognize these truths, they have the courage to admit that Hitler recognized them before they did. They also recognize that Hitler did more than any other human being to act on these truths, and that his writings and deeds are a source of penetrating insights on radical politics that are valid to this day. They revere Hitler and those who fell with him in World War II as martyrs to a holy cause. But they think it is still too early to say that Hitler's cause has failed, that his sacrifice was for nothing. They are determined to make it not "for nothing." So they try to persuade others of these truths, and they try to create effective organizations to put these truths into practice.
Nutty Nazis find it difficult to persuade people of the two central truths that White = Good, Jew = Evil. Or maybe they are just afraid to come right out and say it. Or maybe they are not really serious about White = Good, Jew = Evil. Or maybe they are just plain nutty.
Whatever the explanation, Nutty Nazis all hit on the same strategy. They think that if they can first persuade people of a lot of false and silly notions, they will have an easier time of persuading them, eventually, of the truth. Some Nutty Nazis hope that, given the proper hints, people will figure the truth out for themselves, sparing them the potential embarrassment and social ostracism of ever speaking it plainly. So the Nutty Nazi informs us that Odin will save us if we just learn to yodel the runes. Or he informs us that Hinduism is true -- and, by the way, Hitler was the ninth Avatar of the God Vishnu, and many non-Whites in India worshipped him as a God, so he's all right. Or he tells us that there are secret Nazi bases at the South Pole from which a fleet of Nazi flying saucers will issue one day to conquer the world. Or he tells us that Whites are the true Jews, and the "Jews" of today are impostors, and that Hitler was just doing Jehovah's work. Or he retells Hitler's life in the language of the synoptic gospels and the Catholic Mass, thrilling naughty altar boys everywhere. Or he tells us that Whites came from Atlantis or Aldebaran or from the North Pole. Or, if you are Miguel Serrano, you tell us all of the above.
It is hard to persuade anybody of such false and kooky beliefs. Most Nutty Nazis manage to persuade people of only one thing: that they are nuts. But if they are successful, then congratulations, they've enriched the movement with a few credulous dolts. People who can believe anything can believe in National Socialism too. But only at the price of trivializing all beliefs.
Perhaps the Jews will simply die laughing.
Just think of what these same people could have accomplished if they had spent all their time and energy hammering away at the simple, easily-documented TRUTHS that White = Good, Jew = Evil. Imagine the kinds of converts they could have attracted if they had spent their time sharpening their wits with arguments rather than dulling them with dogmatism, stocking their minds with scientific and historical facts rather than clogging them with myths and fantasies.
Chapter One, "American Neo-Nazism" deals with such figures as George Lincoln Rockwell, Matt Koehl, and William Pierce, as well as James Mason, The Order, Louis Beam, and Harold Covington. Aside from Matt Koehl's New Order, which really is a Hitler cult, none of these individuals and groups are particularly religious, although Goodrick-Clarke ferrets out every religious-sounding statement he can from Rockwell and Pierce. Furthermore, these people keep their eyes on the ball. They focus on the basic truths and do not obfuscate them with cultish mumbo-jumbo. William Pierce does not first try to get people to join his "Cosmotheist" church (which strikes me as little more than a tax dodge). Instead, he tries to recruit for the National Alliance. And week after week he hammers away at the Jews.
The same can be said of Colin Jordan, who is the main subject of Chapter Two, "The British Nazi Underground." A lot of this chapter seems lifted, almost verbatim, from Hitler's Priestess. Goodrick-Clarke also discusses such groups as Combat 18, the National Socialist Alliance, and David Myatt's National Socialist Movement, quoting from their tiny photocopied newsletters and generally trying to give the impression that they amount to something. Want to be a threat to Western civilization?All you need is a post office box and a copy machine. Goodrick-Clarke will do the rest.
Chapter Three, "Julius Evola and the Kali Yuga," begins its discussion of the most substantive occult fascist with an account of a terrorist bombing committed by people influenced by Evola. That pretty much sets the tone. Goodrick-Clarke's summary of Evola jibes with what I have read, and it is far superior to the intellectually dishonest attempts to whitewash his connections to fascism and National Socialism.
Chapter Four, "Imperium and the New Atlantis," deals with James H. Madole and the National Renaissance Party, which fused National Socialism with Francis Parker Yockey's Spenglerian fascism, Hiduism, and Madam Blavatsky's made up history of the world.
Chapter Five, "Savitri Devi and the Hitler Avatar," is an often verbatim condensation of Hitler's Priestess. Black Sun contains a nice profile shot of Devi that clearly displays her famous giant swastika earrings. All told, though, the selection of photographic plates is rather poor. Like Hitler's Priestess, it is padded out with puzzlingly irrelevant photographs yet lacks obviously relevant ones. There are no good pictures of Rockwell, Colin Jordan, Françoise Dior, and Richard Butler. A whole page is given to the same old picture of Francis Parker Yockey, yet he is hardly discussed in the book. There are no pictures of William Pierce, John Tyndall, Louis Beam, James Mason, James Madole, Harold Covington, Robert Matthews, David Myatt, Kerry Bolton, Matt Hale, and most of the leading figures of the Christian Identity and Odinist movements. Naturally, I would love to see photos, or even sketches, of Nazi flying saucers, secret polar bases, the Black Sun and the Green Ray, and the lost cities of Agartha and Shambhala.
Chapter Six, "The Nazi Mysteries" surveys "Raiders of the Lost Ark" yarns about Nazi missions to find old Jewish relics and tap the inscrutable wisdom of Tibetan onion heads.
Chapter Seven, "Wilhelm Landig and the Esoteric SS," Chapter Eight, "Nazi UFOs, Antarctica, and Aldebaran," and Chapter Nine, "Miguel Serrano and Esoteric Hitlerism," covers in greater detail some books and authors discussed by Joscelyn Godwin in Arktos: The Polar Myth in Science, Symbolism, and Nazi Survival. Arktos is an entertainingly lurid collection of nutty theories, and Black Sun is clearly modeled on it. Reading these chapters, I began to regret that Goodrick-Clarke offers no overview of the many different uses of the Black Sun symbol.
Chapter Ten, "White Noise and Black Metal," deals with skinhead music and Black Metal. This chapter clearly suffers from inadequate research. Virtually the entire genre of Apocalyptic Folk and military-industrial music seems to have escaped his notice. Death in June's massive catalog (complete with Black Sun imagery) surely merits an extensive discussion, as do Laibach, Current 93 (album titles like Imperium and Hitler as Kalki should have rung a bell), and Der Blutharsch. Yet only Michael Moynihan's Blood Axis and Kadmon's Allerseelen are discussed, even though they are relatively minor players in comparison to Death in June. "Boyd Rice and his band NON" are also mentioned, but only Might! is discussed. Heaven Sent, Rice's "Scorpion Wind" collaboration with Douglas Pearce of Death in June, with its lyrics from Savitri Devi, the Marquis de Sade, and C.G. Jung, is obviously quite relevant to Goodrick-Clarke's topic, but apparently he has never heard of it. All of Goodrick-Clarke's oversights could have been remedied with a couple hours of online research. Given that he apparently did not bother, one wonders how he ever heard of Blood Axis. Maybe Moynihan contacted him!
Chapter Eleven, "Nazi Satanism and the New Aeon," deals primarily with David Myatt and Kerry Bolton. Chapter Twelve, "Christian Identity and Creativity," deals mostly with Aryan Nations and the Church of the Creator. Chapter Thirteen, "Nordic Racial Paganism," is an interesting history that gives a bit too much space to David Lane and very little to more scholarly and interesting Odinists. But then they are not serving 190 years for murder and conspiracy, so their Odinism does not have the same frisson of danger and transgression. These chapters are filled with annoying repetitions. Throughout the book, the same people are introduced again and again, often using the exact same words and turns of phrase.
Chapter Fourteen, "Conspiracy Beliefs and the New World Order," is a rather depressing litany of conspiracy theories, some of them so obviously kooky that they give the very idea of conspiracy a bad name. In fact, maybe that's what they are designed to do . . .
In the Conclusion to Black Sun Goodrick-Clarke hints that his politics are right of center. He approvingly cites the very respectable Jared Taylor and Peter Brimelow on racial inequality and the immigration crisis. (I wish that he would read the very respectable Kevin MacDonald as well.) He states flatly that the media has a liberal bias and that it covers up black-on-White crime, that black violence and stupidity cannot be attributed entirely to racism, that multi-cultural and multi-racial societies have been failures, and that unrestrained Third World immigration will be the Death of the West. In short, he recognizes many of the central claims of White racial nationalists are true, that they are reacting to real problems, and that they might remake the future of the White world. He ends the book with the line, "From the retrospective viewpoint of a potential authoritarian future in 2020 or 2030, these Aryan cults and esoteric Nazism may be documented as early symptoms of major divisive changes in our present-day Western democracies." He stops just short of saying that if the establishment does not want a Nazi-influenced future they might consider changing the policies that incite far-Right identity politics.
In spite of these heresies, Goodrick-Clarke is still concerned to maintain his credentials as an establishment historian. He is an independent scholar, a full-time researcher, writer, translator, and consultant. He publishes on university presses and has worked at Oxford University. So he is very, very Semitically Correct. In Black Sun, anti-Semitism is always presented as a baseless form of paranoia, the Holocaust is gospel truth, and Nazis are irredeemably tainted by their brutal treatment of God's little pets. The jacket of Black Sun carries three recommendations, all of them from Jews.
As an independent scholar, Goodrick-Clarke has to sell books. I think that this in part explains the frequent references to "terrorism." He even reminds us of September 11th, just in case we had forgotten that the West is at war against terrorism. Throughout Black Sun, Nazis are constantly described as "terrorists" even though right-wing terrorism is quite marginal compared to left-wing terrorism, and skinhead violence pales by comparison to Black, Latino, and Asian gang violence. I am sure it would be relatively easy to find members of Black organizations that have committed violent crimes, but a history of Black organizations that trotted out every incident would never see print. All the wingers of my acquaintance do nothing but talk. The only violence some of them do is to themselves, through excessive drinking. Nobody would be afraid of the wingers I know. But boy are they afraid of "terrorists." Perhaps one day, when Dr. Goodrick-Clarke is spending his extra money riding to hounds, his learned prose will be quoted at military tribunals before people like us are shot for "terrorism."
In spite of its flaws, I recommend Black Sun, and borrowing a category from Lenin, I wish officially to proclaim Dr. Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke a Nazi useful idiot. The dirty little secret of Dr. Goodrick-Clarke's career is that most of his readers are the very right-wingers he professes to disdain. Furthermore, for all their cautionary pronouncements, his books draw more people toward the cause than they repel. They certainly can capture and hold one's attention, stimulate the imagination, and can even lead people to the truth in spite of themselves.
For example, I discovered Savitri Devi through Goodrick-Clarke's biography, and she has had a very powerful influence on me. She never managed to convince me that Hitler is the ninth Avatar of Vishnu. But I was very impressed by the fact that a brilliant woman with MS and Ph.D. degrees, who was fluent in seven languages, and who could write beautiful and brilliant prose, was to the right of Hitler and faulted him for being too kind. That forced me to radically revise my sense of what was politically possible. I took Devi seriously in spite of her Hindu Hitlerism, not because of it, and learned a great deal along the way.
In the end, I am a ruthless pragmatist. I wish that there were a lot fewer Nutty Nazis. But as long as they are around, I have no objection to Goodrick-Clarke (or Joscelyn Godwin) making a few bucks retailing their ideas, especially if it benefits our cause along the way.
THE CAT LADY