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New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)

Sunday, December 25

white christmas

I continue to be amazed at the ubiquitous conjunction
of New Age spirituality and extreme right racist
politics. It crops up far too often to be accidental.
Here's the latest instance of such unsuspected
bed-fellowship I've discovered in my recent travels...

Good old Nordic Saint Nick put coal in my stocking for writing about this stuff. It figures. I wasn't planning to post this on Christmas Day. Just worked out like that. I started reading around in William Dudley Pelley: A Life in Right-Wing Extremism and the Occult. I'd never heard of Pelley before stumbling across this book on Amazon a couple weeks ago. Wow. An American Nazi -- literally -- who preached a weird mix of fascist racism, reconstituted Swedenborgianism and Theosophy, UFO mania, and all manner of bad craziness that had a direct but little known influence on later New Age "thought." See sidebar. There's a bio on Wikipedia, and a glowing tribute (sans grafik) on the Integral Tradition "Conservative Revolution" site, which never encountered a fascist it didn't just love the hell out of. Plus, there's this little clip...
...anti-Jewish sentiments first crept into UFOlogy in the 1950s when self-proclaimed contactees like George Adamski and George Hunt Williamson described blond, blue-eyed aliens in line with the Nazi ideal. Later, William Dudley Pelley, head of the U.S.-based fascist Silver Shirts, tied his anti-Semitic philosophy to Aryan aliens as well.

~from "UFO update: can the poison of anti-Semitism wreck years of pristine research into UFOs?," Omni, July, 1993

I have no idea what "pristine research" means in that title. A lame joke, perhaps? Anyway, Adamski's 1955 Inside the Spaceships is still in print, and the full text of George Hunt Williamson's 1953 saucer book, Other Tongues - Other Flesh is available at -- are you ready for this? -- sacred-texts.com. The covers of Leon Poliakov's four-volume history of antisemitism are just here for decoration.


william dudley pelley: a life in right-wing extremism and the occult

New Age legacy

After eight years in prison, in 1950 Pelley set up shop in a small town in Indiana. There he crafted a new, cultish theology called Soulcraft that occupied him until his death in 1965. Never again did he venture into politics.

Beekman's biography provides a detailed account of those years -- a chapter of Pelley's life that historians have largely ignored until now. Yet Beekman maintains that it constitutes the core of his legacy. "Pelley's political views continue to resonate in 'white nationalist' circles," the biographer notes, "but I'm convinced that more people have been influenced by his religious teachings than his political views."

So while Pelley spent his Asheville years as leader of the Silver Shirts, he may have left a deeper legacy in the New Age movement that has now made Asheville one of its meccas.

"New Age groups of various stripes owe their existence to Pelley's teachings," says Beekman. "Frankly, I was frequently astonished to find very 'touchy-feely' New Age groups and publications approvingly citing Pelley's religious works – seemingly oblivious to his racist views."

~from Asheville's metaphysical fascist -- a review of William Dudley Pelley: A Life in Right-Wing Extremism and the Occult -- in the Mountain Xpress, Asheville, NC.



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