“Someone else you might want to include in this project,” Pierce called out to me as I was leaving his office at the end of one of our evening talks, “is William Gayley Simpson. Do you know about him?”
Simpson’s name did call up some associations for me. I knew he had written a book called Which Way Western Man? and that Pierce had published it under his own imprint, National Vanguard Books.1 I had taken notice of the Simpson book because it was one of only four books Pierce has chosen to sponsor in this way – the others being his own two novels, The Turner Diaries and Hunter, and another novel, Serpent’s Walk, by Randolph Calverhill, which works off the premise that survivors of Hitler’s elite SS corps continued their struggle after the war.2 That Pierce has stood behind the Simpson book as he has was enough to prompt me to make a mental note to read it and see what had drawn Pierce to publish it. And then my interest in the book was heightened by something that came up in my investigations into the Bob Mathews story. Mathews was really taken with Which Way Western Man?. Shortly after joining the National Alliance, Mathews is reported to have spent night after night poring over the book and marking sections with a red pen.3 So Which Way Western Man? was on my to-do list. But at the point that Pierce brought Simpson into our discussions, I hadn’t seen the book and didn’t know anything about Simpson.
“Simpson was born in 1892, the same year as my father,” Pierce continued, “so he was a generation ahead of me. In the ’30s he was interacting with the public in a big way, speaking at a lot of universities, mostly about peace issues, how we must never get into another world war and that sort of thing, and at one time he taught Latin, mathematics, and history at a boarding school around where he lived up in New York state. Somehow he had gotten hold of something I had written – this must have been around 1975 – and he wrote me about it. At that time he was already eighty-three years old.
“Anyway, we started corresponding – about fundamental things; it wasn’t superficial at all. I found Simpson to be a deep, sensitive, and serious man. [That last one, being serious, is especially important to Pierce. He draws a basic distinction between serious people and “hobbyists,” as he calls them.] So I made a resolution to go see him. He invited me and I went up to visit him up at his farm. He had built a farmhouse with his own hands – a really nice house – and he had a shop and outbuildings. He did some planting, but mostly he just lived there and thought and wrote and stayed in contact with people from all over the world. I stayed with him that first time a couple of days, and then I visited him a couple more times after that.
“During this period, Simpson sent me an autobiographical book he had published back in 1934. I read it and was very impressed. He told me about a book he was finishing up that he thought would be very significant, which turned out to be Which Way Western Man?. I read a copy from its first printing that he had managed to get done up in New York and was very impressed. We [National Vanguard Books] sold most of that printing for him, and then we did two more printings ourselves, about seven thousand copies, and sold out on that. The book’s been out of print for around five or six years now. I promised Simpson before he died, which was in 1990 I think – he didn’t quite make it to one hundred as I remember – that I’d reprint the book again after we sold all of the second edition. But he gave me a whole list of changes he wanted in the next edition, and that made it a really big job, and I just haven’t had the resources to get it done.
“I’m sorry I didn’t get to know Simpson better before he died. I found him to be a very interesting fellow, and I admired him as someone who was truly selfless. He was a true servant of the Life Force. He didn’t put his own welfare, bank account, carnal pleasure, or anything else ahead of what he thought was the right thing to do. Here, let me get you a copy of Which Way Western Man?. “
Pierce stood up from his desk, turned to his left, took a couple of steps, and turned left through the open door into his library. I followed. It was dark in there – I could barely make out the titles of the books. It was a good-sized room; I’d estimate it to be about twenty-by-twenty-five feet. It reminded me of the stacks in a university library, the same kind of metal shelves and arrangement. The walls were covered with books, and two rows of shelves tightly packed from floor to ceiling with books spanned the room’s interior. Pierce had labels taped onto the shelves categorizing his collection, so he knew right where to find the Simpson book. He went directly to the wall opposite the door, and after a brief search he found what he was looking for. I stood behind him and took in this tall grey-haired man standing in this gloomy library as he silently peered at titles and turned a few pages of the Simpson book once he found it.
Pierce turned back to me and said “This is it,” and handed over the bulky, dark-blue paperback. My hand gave way a bit from the weight of what I later learned was a 758-page volume.
I thanked Pierce for the book and told him that I would spend the rest of that evening and the next day reading it, and that if I could get it finished and my thoughts organized I would talk to him the next evening about what Simpson had written. Pierce said that was fine with him, and I bid him goodnight.
I spent the rest of the evening paging through Which Way Western Man?, stopping here and there to read a page or two or three to get myself oriented. It became quickly clear that this tome covered far more topics than I had the time to explore at this point. So I looked for a focus, some theme or emphasis in the book that would serve the book I was putting together about Pierce, something I could sound out Pierce about when we spoke again the next evening.
Within an hour, I found one that intrigued me. A central strand in Simpson’s book is his perspective on Christianity. It turns out that Christianity was at the core of Simpson’s being. He had studied for the ministry at the renowned Union Theological Seminary. Christian teachings guided his thoughts and actions until his mid- to late thirties, and the church’s place in Western culture provided a context for his reflections throughout his life. I had the angle I would bring to my engagement with the Simpson reading, which took up my time until well past midnight that night and all of the next day until my 7:00 p.m. meeting with Pierce.
In Which Way Western Man? Simpson tells the reader that in his twenties he read of the life of Francis of Assisi and found it an inspiration and personal challenge. In Simpson’s eyes, St. Francis exemplified what Jesus meant for his most dedicated followers to do in the world. At twenty-eight years of age, during a month alone on an island in the St. Lawrence River, Simpson made the decision to incorporate this ideal into his own life:
In 1920, after five years of relentless questing for the place in our world where I might make my life count for the most, I committed myself without any reserve and without compromise to a course of action dictated to me by the farthest reaches of my religious insight and devotion, my highest idealism, and my most thoroughly thought-out convictions. With whole-souled abandon, I gave myself over to an effort to put the teaching of Jesus into practice. I took him at his word – with absolute literalness – in the same sense that Francis of Assisi did.4
Simpson lived a Franciscan life for nine years. Focusing his efforts in large cities, he made his way across the American continent trying to better the circumstance of people who were having a tough go of it in life. He toiled as a common laborer, giving his work as a gift and living on whatever others chose to give him in return. It proved to be an experience that was not only a test of what Simpson was made of as a person but also of the very foundations that had heretofore directed his life: liberalism, idealism, and Christianity.
Simpson ended this phase of his life when he reached the conclusion that the way he had been conducting himself for nearly a decade was neither the best way for him to serve others nor consistent with his own personal make-up. As laudable as it seemed on the face of it, he finally decided, what he had been doing hadn’t gotten at the heart of what was wrong with mankind. It hadn’t because it isn’t so much the conditions of human beings that need improvement but rather their caliber, and the way he had gone about things hadn’t gotten at that. As for himself, looking back on it, Simpson saw that he had tried to become equal to the lowest and the least of individuals, and that just wasn’t him, that wasn’t his road in life, it wasn’t his way forward. It was now clear to him that what he really wanted to do was reassert the life of the mind that called out to him and to reconnect with the aristocratic instinct and taste that he felt strongly to be natural to him. Plus, he was simply tired of the urban life he had been living: “I came to be filled with a growing sense of the madness of cities, and indeed our whole civilization, and had a deepening hunger for mountains and the sea, and a desire to live close to the earth and to grow my own food.”5
In 1932, Simpson left his wife and child, who had accompanied him on his Franciscan venture. A friend helped him make a down payment on a farm in the Catskill Mountains of New York state, where he spent the rest of his long life. His primary vocation from that point forward was to study mankind – its nature, its limitations, its possibilities. From then on, instead of being preoccupied with here-and-now destitution and despair as he had been, he would be guided by a positive vision of the future that he would create: “It was to the future I wished to address myself [in order to] prepare for the new dawn which I believed must at last succeed the storm of the night.”6 Simpson gave over the rest of his life to attempting to point the way to a finer human existence with particular reference to those he increasingly came to see as his people, those of European background. For them especially, he sought to describe a life of health, robustness, beauty, nobility, and meaning far beyond what they were currently seeking and attaining and far more in keeping with what he considered to be their true nature and possibilities. Simpson began writing a series of papers that spelled out his thoughts and sending them to friends. These papers became the basis for Which Way Western Man?. I will focus on Simpson’s religious views, which were a central part of that writing.
In Which Way Western Man? Simpson analyzes the religious ideals that were the foundation of his thinking and conduct in his younger years and offers what he considers to be a more life-affirming and life-enhancing perspective to use as a grounding for one’s life. Simpson points out that “would you be a good Christian, then do good for others” – with special emphasis on caring for and giving to the underprivileged, the oppressed, the unfortunate, the sick, the sorrowful, the suffering – has always been a central message in Christianity. This Christian ideal of service to others in need, says Simpson, originally grew out of the conception of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. In more recent times, this ideal has often carried with it a social gospel connotation: reform the world has been the call, the charge, heard by many of the faithful. It was this service/reform message of Christianity that came through so powerfully to Simpson during his younger years. It gave his life meaning and direction, and it enabled him to feel righteous and in the light, a member of the spiritual vanguard.
The commitment and diligence he demonstrated in his Franciscan period was indeed praiseworthy, Simpson believes now, and as he thinks back on it he did ease the pain of many people. Nevertheless, Simpson is convinced that he was misguided during this phase of his life. He was misguided because his Christian orientation had focused him on issues of human equality and had distracted him from what his experience over those nine years had taught him was the most fundamental issue confronting mankind: human quality. His Franciscan perspective, he eventually concluded, had worked against the only kind of life he ultimately considered worth seeking for himself and for others – and that is a life of quality. Human beings, Simpson decided, are in fact not equal. And moreover, qualitatively they are not as good as they once were, and the prime reason is that the better elements of mankind are being outbred by the worst. We need to attend to that problem and do something about it, asserts Simpson in his book. Virtually every one of Simpson’s critiques of the church in Which Way Western Man? is grounded in this concern for the quality of human beings and individual and collective life and the related issue of, if you will, human breeding patterns.
In Which Way Western Man? Simpson defines an approach to life that he is certain is better than the ideal of Christian service he formerly followed. Instead of attempting to save someone or ameliorate some social condition, Simpson stresses letting one’s own life shine: that is to say, living honestly in accordance with one’s own highest vision of oneself. Conducting one’s life on this basis, contends Simpson, aligns with basic human nature. “No unspoiled and untamed life wants to ‘be good,’” Simpson argues. “It wants to be itself.”7 The great drive in all unbroken life, writes Simpson, is to fulfill the demands in the innermost quick of its being. So determine to live as who you really are, advises Simpson. Make your outside match your inside. Obey your deepest impulses. Satisfy your most inalienable and unappeasable desires. Rather than follow Jesus, suggests Simpson, follow the god within you.
Christianity, asserts Simpson, cuts us off from others of our kind. Christianity’s stress on spiritual commonality and unity among its adherents, he argues, obscures a much-needed sense of biological and cultural connectedness and identification. While Christianity calls for deference to the idea of the brotherhood of all mankind, Simpson calls for a heightened awareness of what differentiates us, those of northern European heritage, from other peoples and the preservation of an “indissolvable bond” among us.8 The existence of this bond is crucially important, Simpson holds, because it encourages feelings of indebtedness and obligation to our ancestors and a commitment to serve the future well-being of our culture and our race.
Those who attend to the well-being of the race will be drawn, Simpson believes, to see what he sees: that a people will not maintain or go beyond themselves if they don’t give serious attention to replenishing themselves with, as he puts it, “a steady stream of vigorous and gifted new life.”9 To be sure, the church is very interested in new life, since it wants as many in its flock as possible; but its basic concern, contends Simpson, is with the quantity and not the quality of that new life. Thus Simpson ends up talking about service to others of a kind, but it is service to the survival and qualitative advancement of one’s people, and in significant ways that is different from seeking to heal the sick or serve the poor.
Simpson argues that Christianity’s preoccupation with devotional practices and inner states of being has the effect of separating us from the physical side of existence – and that alienation, Simpson argues, contributes to our stagnation and deterioration both as individuals and as a people. By physical side of life, Simpson is referring to the earth itself and to such things as diet and sex and – here it is again – breeding. Simpson warns us against looking away from matters related to “man’s relationship to the earth from which he has been formed; the state of the soil that supports the plant and animal life which supplies his food; and man’s physical health and bodily beauty, and the vigorous will to beget children as indications of it.”10 We are a physical organism, a part of nature, at a particular point in the evolutionary process, says Simpson. Church dogma and practice obscure those realities, and that does us a disservice.
Simpson makes the case in Which Way Western Man? that Christianity does not concern itself enough with strength, vitality, distinctions based on blood and breeding, and aristocratic excellence – those things that are supportive of the qualitative advancement of the race. To the contrary, claims Simpson, Christianity has had a sickening, a weakening, an emasculating effect on Western civilization, as it has enslaved us to ideals and ways that vitiate our vigor as a people. Christianity, offers Simpson, is characterized by “soft” values: unselfishness, charitableness, forgiveness, patience, humility, and pity. The church has focused too much, Simpson holds, on “the poor, the sick, the defeated, the lowly, and sinners and outcasts” and not enough on “the well-constituted, and healthy, and beautiful, and capable, and strong, and proud.”11 Simpson believes that people will become what they most value and what they most attend to, and therefore, at least by Simpson’s standard, Christianity points us in precisely the wrong direction.
Christianity places too great an emphasis on one’s subordination to an external deity and the transference of responsibility and power to this higher authority, writes Simpson. In contrast to this focus, Simpson points out that prior to the dominance of Christianity, Europeans stretching back for three thousand years of their history believed most in the individuals who were noble and excellent. They expected people to stand on their own two feet and make something of themselves, and looked for leadership from those who proved themselves to be truly superior. Christianity’s sentimentality and otherworldliness has
taken away man’s belief in his innermost self, which is his belief in Life. It has taken away his struggle, without which there is no growth, no fulfillment. It has not told man to get his roots deep down in the soil, to food and drink, and to force his tender shoots up to the sky, to sun and air. On the contrary, it has told man that all this costly and painful labor has been done for him by another, and to accept this fact and rest in it, and eventually he will be transplanted to another garden [heaven] and be miraculously transformed into a full-grown and perfect flower.12
There simply isn’t any other garden, says Simpson, and to live as if there were will result in this garden on earth, our garden, the only one there is, remaining – or becoming – barren.
Simpson looks upon Christianity as a Semitic religion and foreign to the European spirit. While some assert that Christ was a Gentile, be that as it may, by religion he was a Jew. And in any case, Christ’s teachings have been filtered through Saul of Tarsus – known as the Apostle Paul – to the extent that that Christianity is arguably Paul’s religion more than Jesus’, and certainly Paul was a Jew. Thomas Cahill has written a recent bestseller entitled The Gift of the Jews: How a Desert Tribe of Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels.13 While Simpson would agree with Cahill that Jewish religious influences on the Western world have indeed been strong, he surely wouldn’t use the word gift to describe them. In the long run, contends Simpson, no people can flourish, or even long maintain themselves, unless they live with and by a religion that accords with their own nature and ways: “A people’s religion should come out of their own blood. It should be their own innermost soul made manifest, the elevation before their eyes of their own hopes and dreams, and of the lessons they have learned through their own immemorial experience.”14 With that criterion as its measure, Christianity is indeed not a gift to the Western world.
Those of European heritage need a religion of their own, Simpson argues, one that is consonant with what is best in their past and the exigencies of their present. He calls for a religion “really our own,” one that will “burst forth a new comprehension of life, a new vision, a new faith, a new discipline for every side of our life, personal and social, for man and woman and child, from top to bottom, for the lowest to the highest.”15 He envisions a bible that
holds up our own ideals and traditions, the record of our supreme achievements and triumphs, the story of our saints and heroes, the admonitions of our great wise men and guides, the vision of our own hopes and dreams and purposes pushed deep into a distant future. It will be the Book of Life not of the poor and the weak or the meek, a book of the strong and the masterful, who by their mastery over themselves will shape their life into something more beautiful in soul and in body… It will be their book of gratitude to Life, their book of rejoicing, their cradle-song and their battle song, the mirror of their soul soaring over vast abysses and the eagle eye studying far horizons. It will be the supremely yea-saying book of a people resolved at all costs to live on the heights, to be itself; and that will rather perish than give way to any other, to serve his will.16
Why, Simpson asks, cannot Aristotle be our Moses, Homer or some of the Icelandic sagas our Exodus and Judges? Why cannot Dante or Goethe take the place of Job? Why cannot Blake supplant the Revelation of St. John and Shakespeare replace Ecclesiastes? And why cannot the Psalms be superseded by the record of some ones of us, in the past or now or yet to come, whose lives and teachings are most inspiring to our collective soul?17
When I met with Pierce the next evening I asked him for his reaction to the way Simpson treated Christianity in Which Way Western Man?.
“I was very favorably taken by what Simpson had to say,” Pierce replied. “By the time I read his book in the mid- to late-‘70s I had pretty well concluded that Christianity was one of the major spiritual illnesses of our people and that we really had to come to grips with that. We couldn’t pretend it was just a minor problem: we had to figure out how to deal with it. I thought Simpson’s conclusions on that subject carried a lot of weight. When he was so immersed in it, Simpson had more claim to being a true Christian than just about anybody else on the planet. He wasn’t someone who rejected Christianity at a very early stage as I had. And he was a very honest, demanding, and thoughtful person. Plus, he was a man of the world, being in contact with some of the intellectual leaders of his day. Therefore his conclusions were especially significant I thought.”
“You used the term ‘major spiritual illness’ to describe Christianity,” I interjected. “That’s pretty strong.”
“Yes, it is,” Pierce replied. “But as I see it, Christianity has a number of elements that are very destructive to our people. One of them is its egalitarianism. You know: ‘the meek shall inherit the earth,’ ‘the last shall be first, and the first shall be last,’ and so on. It’s this whole Sermon-on-the-Mount idea of leveling and putting people down and pulling down those who are on the top of the heap regardless of how they got there. It is a fundamental part of Christian doctrine, and I think it is destructive of any kind of ordered society. When you look at Christianity you have to get beyond the requirements and rituals – you shall be baptized, you shall observe the marriage sacrament, and so forth – and look at underlying things, like the egalitarian, bolshevik message in this religion, which is really dangerous and has helped move us to this democratic age.
“And there is the universalistic message in Christianity. That we are all alike, that fundamentally there is no difference among people, that the only thing that counts is whether you are in or out of Jesus’ flock. It’s the ‘we are all one in Christ Jesus’ idea – man and woman, white and black, Greek and Jew. We are all equal in the eyes of the Lord, that business. All of that is fundamentally opposed to the evolutionary view that I have and which I think is necessary to progress. The truth of the matter is that we aren’t all one, and we are different from one another, and some individuals and cultures are better than others. Anything that obscures that reality and its implications holds things back.
“Another idea inherent in Christianity is that what we do here on earth doesn’t really matter. This life is just a testing ground; the real action will go on someplace else, after our death – that line of thought. And there is the notion that we don’t have to really stay on the case because God has everything under control. He is watching us all the time and looking out for us, and He can push this button or that one and make anything happen He wants. We aren’t in control, and in any case we don’t need to be because it’s not really our responsibility, it’s God’s. I have talked to many Christians of good intelligence who accept this idea. To me, that comes down to an abdication of responsibility.
“And then there is all the superstition and craziness in Christianity. When they had their chance, the Christians burned free thinkers, stifled intellectual development for centuries, and led people off to those suicidal Crusades. So I see Christianity as more than a humorous aberration; it’s a really dangerous one. At the same time I say that I acknowledge that many if not most Christians are basically reasonable and decent people. It’s just that they haven’t thought things all the way through. They aren’t the problem – it’s the doctrine.”
“I assume you agree with Simpson that Christianity is an alien religion.”
“I do. The European spirit is much more expressed in the pagan tradition of northern Europe. In that tradition, there was much more of the idea that man is responsible for the world around him. He is responsible for his own actions. And he’s answerable to nobody but himself. To live up to the European concept of honor and responsibility is to me far more in accord with our nature than to try to follow Christianity. I realize it is a complex subject because for a thousand years Christianity has been modified by European feeling, tradition, and religious ideas. That is how Christianity succeeded in gaining such a grip on Europe, by adapting itself to the conditions there.”
I had looked into pagan religions a bit after learning that Bob Mathews saw himself as an Odinist. Odinism is a pagan religion which holds that truths are inherent in nature and revealed by it and not an overseeing God. Mathews was attracted to this pre-Christian religion as a reflection of Aryan spirit and will. Odin is the father deity of Norse mythology. He rules over a pantheon of gods and goddesses, including Thor, the god of thunder. He is depicted as a fearless fighter who carries a spear and inspires fearless human warriors called berserkers. Along with being a fierce warrior, Odin is also the wisest god, having given an eye to drink from the spring of wisdom.18 Mathews was attracted to what he saw as a strong, and white, God, in contrast to the martyred and Jewish Jesus. He didn’t want to be associated with a religion – Christianity – known for meekness and gentleness.19 I mentioned to Pierce that I could understand how the image of a big, burly, bearded Viking-type wielding a spear or a battle-ax would have appeal to some people.
“Well, I can understand how the idea of a Viking with his battle-ax charging into a monastery and splitting some monk’s skull and grabbing a silver crucifix off the altar and melting it down to make bracelets would be appealing,” Pierce replied. “But, really, that is a very one-sided picture. Raiding was one activity of the Vikings among many, and of course the Vikings were only one part of European culture and civilization. Although I will say that I can relate to that Viking image much more than the whole idea of the Crucifix, which seems so alien as a symbol of a religion. A man hanging from a cross, crucified. That just seems weird to me. It is hard for me to have a good feeling about that. It just doesn’t seem European to me. It would take somebody with a really alien mindset to choose something like that as a symbol for a religion. It is an execution scene. It’s like if I were to start a new religion and chose as a symbol a man hanging from a gallows, or in an iron cage with crows pecking at his skeleton. One of the principal symbols of pagan religion is the tree of life, it’s called the World Tree, which represents their particular cosmology. Have you ever heard of it? [I hadn’t.] To me, the World Tree is a much more fitting symbol for a religion for our people.”
The World Tree, I later learned, is a symbol for the continual creation of new life on earth amid the forces and creatures that tear at its roots – roots that remain, through it all, ever green. The World Tree also represents nature as the source of nourishment and healing to mankind.20 I could understand why Pierce brought this image up, as it reflects his own frame of reference. In the World Tree symbol there is the focus on this earthly world and man’s embeddedness in nature and dependence on it. And then too, there is the theme of renewal and growth amid struggle and adversity. Very much a Pierce representation, I decided.
“Frankly,” Pierce continued, “I fail to see anything that is good or useful in Christianity. There are a lot of people who say, ‘Where would we be without Christianity. Without Christianity we’d all be raping and killing each other.’ Well, we are raping and killing each other as it is. The fact of the matter is that before the dominance of Christianity, Europeans kept that sort of thing pretty much under control through the ways communities were set up. They had rules that made sense in terms of their survival and way of life, and the rules were enforced, and more or less people respected the rules. There doesn’t have to be some kind of supernatural sanction to keep people in line.
“One of the things I quote often because I think it is significant comes from northern European non-Christian writings and it goes something like this: ‘Cattle die and kinsman die, and so too must one die oneself. But there is one thing I know that never dies, and that is the fame of a dead man’s deeds.’ [It is from the Havamal, a group of disconnected, fragmentary poems composed by unknown Norse poets between 800 and 1100 A.D.21] ‘Fame’ here doesn’t mean fame in the way we think of it today – notoriety, having people know who you are, being a celebrity. In this case, fame means your reputation, the impression you make on the world and your fellow men while you are alive. If you live in a way that warrants it, your people will remember you for generations as a person who did great things or was exceptionally wise or just or courageous, whatever it was. That is the only immortality that is real, and that is a kind of immortality that can matter to people and really affect how they live. You don’t need the promise of a life-afterdeath kind of immortality to get people to be good people.
“Something you might find useful is a translation of a booklet I published in my magazine written in the 1930s or early ‘40s called The Voice of Our Ancestors which gets at an aspect of the European spirit. Let me see if I can find it and you can look it over when you get the time.”
Pierce rummaged through a pile of assorted papers, letters, reports, and magazines and quickly pulled out the copy of National Vanguard magazine he was looking for. It always surprised me how fast he could locate what he wanted amid what seemed to be the disarray in his office.
“Here it is. Go ahead and take it with you.”
Later that night I read the Voice of Our Ancestors issue of the National Vanguard Pierce gave me.22 It was written by a Wulf Soerensen – nobody I had ever heard of – and describes the thoughts of a man, I assume Soerensen himself, while gazing at miniature portraits of his ancestors from many generations back. He remarks to himself how little he knows about them and how little real connection he feels with them.
He speculates that likely he is not an exception in that regard. “People today don’t even know the birth dates and death dates of their own parents,” he writes. “Of course they’re written down somewhere… Earlier – much earlier [he means before the predominance of Christianity in Europe] – things were different… That was a time when the living flow of blood from father to grandfather and great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather still had not been cut off. It had not yet sunk, as it has today, so deep beneath alien spiritual baggage that most of us can no longer hear its rustle…”23
The man then refers to the time when “Rome” (the Christian church) “cracked its whip over our land” and “overwhelmed the manifestation of our true nature.” “Thus it happened that our people no longer could understand the voice of our ancestors, that we went astray for many centuries, becoming more and more alienated from our own ways… Only he who bears his own soul, living and burning in his breast, is an individual, is a master. And he who abandons his own kind is a slave.”24
As I read this writer’s obvious anger and resentment, I was reminded of the similar expressions by Native Americans and those from the Third World about Christian missionaries I had heard and read. I was taken by the fact that this time it came from a European.
To such men [as his distant forebears], the commandments from Sinai were offered as guiding lights for their lives! Isn’t it understandable that they raised their swords in anger when the monks told them they were “born in sin” – these best of the Goths, whose very name means “the good ones”? Can’t one understand the unspeakable contempt with which these noble men regarded those who promised them a reward in heaven for abstaining from doing things which were beneath the dignity even of animals? To such men the commandments were brought: men who infinitely surpassed in human dignity and morality the monks who brought them. For countless generations they had been sky-high above the moral flatlands on which the commandments from Sinai operated. Thousands of years before the time of the “savior” the monks claimed to represent, our ancestors had sown the seeds of culture and civilization throughout the world on long, seminal voyages and wanderings.25
The writer imagines his pre-Christian ancestors as not knowing how to “beg” (pray):
They were too strong and proud – and too healthy – for supplication… They wanted nothing given to them; either they already had everything they wanted, or, if they lacked something, they got it for themselves. Their religion was a saying as brief as a wink and as clear and deep as a mountain steam: “Do right and fear no one.” As for the rest of it, it wasn’t really necessary to put into words, which suited a people who were naturally stingy with their words anyway. They carried that part of their religion inside them, and it served them like a compass needle which always steers a boat on its proper course. Wasn’t that a better religion than one which must be written down in a book, lest it be forgotten – and which one cannot properly understand until a priest comes and interprets what is written there? And even then an act of faith is required to believe that this intricate interpretation is correct… .It is something we are supposed to believe is true, but of which no one can be certain and which most of us silently renounce, because it is contrary to Nature and to reason. We want once again to be free of sin – from birth onward – like our ancestors were. We are tired of being humble and small and weak and all the other things demanded of us by a god who despises his own creations and looks on the world as a sink of corruption. We want to be proud again, and great and strong, and to do things for ourselves!26
When I finished reading the National Vanguard issue containing the Soerensen writing, I tossed it onto a dresser and it fell open to the letters-to-the-editor page. One of the letters caught my eye, and I stood there and read it. The anonymous writer referring to Christianity expressed the desire to “throw the whole thing out and start over from scratch with the sun, the moon, Odin, Thor, and all the other wild and beautiful forces in the majestic world of Nature.”27 As I thought about it, that got at the heart of the issue.
1 William Gayley Simpson, Which Way Western Man? (Washington, D.C.: National Vanguard Books, 1978).
2 Randolph Calverhill, Serpent’s Walk (Hillsboro, WV: National Vanguard Books, 1991
3 Kevin Flynn and Gary Gerhardt, The Silent Brotherhood (New York: Signet, 1990), pp. 105-106.
4 Simpson, p. ix.
5 Ibid., p. 3.
6 Ibid., p. 7.
7 Ibid., p. 24.
8 Ibid., p. 59.
10 Ibid., p. 57.
11 Ibid., p. 25.
12 Ibid., p. 20.
13 Thomas Cahill, The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels (New York: Doubleday, 1998).
14 Simpson, p. 61.
15 Ibid., p. 65.
18 Jakob Grimm, Germanic Mythology (Washington, D.C.: Scott-Townsend, 1997), pp. 15-18.
19 See, Howard Bushart, John Craig, and Myra Barnes, Soldiers of God: White Supremacists and Their Holy War for America (New York: Pinnacle, 1999), p. 211.
20 H. R. Ellis Davidson, Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse Universty Press, 1988), pp. 70-71.
21 See, Henry Adams Bellows, translator, The Poetic Edda (New York: Biblo and Tannen, 1969), p. 44.
22 Wulf Soerenson, “The Voices of Our Ancestors,” National Vanguard, no. 107, Oct.-Nov. 1986, pp. 18-27.
23 Ibid., p. 18.
24 Ibid., p. 19.
26 Ibid., pp. 19-20.
27 Ibid., p. 2.