By Vexen Crabtree 2005
Sometimes Satanic imagery and Satanic talk of harsh social justice reminds people of the Fascist doctrine of the Nazis, complete with pseudo-science, anger, and hard-edged red-and-black emblems. So what is the relationship between Satanism and Fascism?
In an interview in "Lords of Chaos" by Moynihan & Soderlind (1998) Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan, is asked "Many fear a strong connection between Satanism and some forms of Fascism. Is there any truth to this?". He replies that aspects of Fascism appeal to Satanists - "the drama, the lightning, the choreography with which they moved millions of people". Blanche Barton also replies with the same sentiment: "Aesthetics more than anything else are the common ground between Satanism and fascism. The aesthetics of National Socialism and Satanism dovetail". The themes of theatre, indulgence, shock and power are natural to both Fascists and Satanists going about the task of creating visuals.
The author Gavin Baddeley, a (ir)Reverend in the Church of Satan, writes on the widespread attraction of Nazi imagery and adds a dimension to his discussion: An additional factor behind the occasional use of Nazi-looking symbols is that they represent a horrible state of humanity:
The SS officer, with his monocle and black leather riding boots, has been transformed into a decadent figure familiar to all popular fetish clubs - partly due to the unhealthy idea that, as the twentieth century's most infamous oppressors, Nazis make good models for the recreational sadist. Susan Sontag made a detailed study of this sinister idea in Under the Sign of Saturn, in which she writes: "Between sadomasochism and fascism there is a natural link. Fascism is theatre... as is sadomasochistic sexuality.... expert costumers and choreographers as well as performers, in a drama that is all the more exciting because it is forbidden to ordinary people.
The Nazis as an icon of erotic fascination have much to do with their sense of visual drama. As conservative American humorist P. K. O'Rourke puts it, "I've often been called a Nazi and, although it is unfair, I don't let it bother me for one simple reason. No one has ever had a fantasy about being tied to a bed and sexually ravished by someone dressed as a liberal"”
The second area of agreement is that of harsh social justice. In Satanism, it is called Lex Talionis. My page on Satanic Social Ethics and Teachings on Morality in Satanism discusses this stuff. Check out the section called "the harsh stuff". Although Fascism and Satanism may agree on some areas of social justice the agreement is largely coincidental and the underlying reasons are different. For the Nazis, the flawed science of race-based eugenics and mistaken ideas on evolution were behind their ethics on justice; but in Satanism the issue is much more to do with responsibility: People are responsible for the own actions, and consequences should not be made too indirect, or too slow, to have a real effect on offenders.
“The relationship between LaVeyan Satanism and fascism is a complicated one. In his only reference to Nazism in The Satanic Bible, LaVey says: 'From every set of principles (be it religious, political or philosophical), some good can be extracted. Amidst the madness of the Hitlerian concept, one point stands out as a shining example of this - "strength through joy!" [...] This is certainly a pragmatic attitude to that traumatic episode of history, but not a ringing endorsement.”
Despite, then, the aesthetic agreements and a general trend towards social toughness, there is hardly anything that reverberates between both Nazi Fascism and Satanism.
Anton LaVey explains that the core difference between Satanism and the Nazis' ideology is on race: "The Satanic attitude is that people should be judged by their own merit - in every race there are leaders and followers"2. Satanism is based on individuals who stand out. It cannot be right to arbitrarily judge a person's worth without taking into account their individual achievements and capabilities. Scientific studies have proven that in most areas, not is there little difference between "races" in terms of strength or intellectual ability, but that the very concept of "race" is questionable. Racism is impossibly flawed. Even if one race was statistically better in some trait, the spread of individual capability across the scale means that the elite individuals we are looking for will still occur in all races, unpredictably so. Meritocracy is a catch-all, racism is stupid.
“Egalitarianism is the belief that everyone is equal. Satanism upholds the belief that everyone is not equal, but is otherwise broadly in sync with liberal opinions on social, moral and legal equality. People are not equal because everyone has different skills, characters and abilities. Social stratification and organized meritocracy let those with qualities rise to the top. Therefore there should be equality of opportunity, rights and legal equality, but not social or economic equality. Intellectualism aside, there is still an overriding humanitarian cause for protecting the weak, ill and disadvantaged.”
Just in case I have been unclear or you want it from a higher authority, read the following quote from the now-High Priest of the Church of Satan, Peter Gilmore (1992):
“The Nazi movement drew much of its power from a racist doctrine of Aryan superiority. Satanism is far more discerning than that. [...] Even if one comes from promising genetic stock, and by that we mean from ancestors who have proven their abilities to be superior in performance, this does not guarantee an individual's advancement. We recognize individual merit, and ascribe no value to bloodlines. Satanists only deem individuals to be "elite" if they prove it. [...] There are thus outstanding individuals from all ethnic backgrounds, and they are embraced by Satanism for the superior beings that they are - creating a uniquely trans-cultural tribe of carnal people. Satanists treasure individualism, hardly something to be gained by goose- stepping en mass down the street.”
Satanism upholds freedom, individuality; whilst fascism is a belief that the individual is subservient to a powerful state.
Sexually: Satanism supports all consensual sex, whereas Nazi Germany only tolerated strict heterosexuality, oppressing gays & fetishists (even heterosexual ones).
Fascism has historically oppressed all opposing ideologies, whereas Satanism is committed to open-minded liberalism, not fundamentalism. Diversity of belief is a cherished Satanic value, and oppression of thought is an evil - how could a religion based on individual ego be otherwise!
Satanism, based on a mistrust of human nature, is naturally inclined towards supporting democratic government, not dictatorships, but all fascist states have been dictatorships.
The Fascists heavily oppressed not only racial groups such as Jews, but many minorities such as gays, occultists and religious minorities. Fascism is anti-freethought and not at all compatible with the individualism of Satanism.
From my page Satanic Government and the Distrust of Human Nature:
I speak on behalf of Satanists in general when I say that we do not trust Human Nature at all, nor any one person completely. Not even ourselves. Doubt and questioning are at the core of Satan's rebellion; our role model here provides us with a good example of how things should be run. We must always question other people's motives and I for one, trust those in charge no more than I trust any other person.
This mistrust and its inherent aura of competition must always be present within the government; an atmosphere where one person is not critically judged or challenged allows that person, who is running the country in which you live, to freely make mistakes or to descend into madness. Wherever there has been one person in charge, unchallenged, corruption and inefficiency increase. The one thing that we should not accept within governing bodies is entropy. Those who begin to falter should be easily replaced.
“Democratic institutions form a system of quarantine for tyrannical desires.”
Multiple levels of questioning, doubt and political combat are necessary to keep the best, cleverest and most cunning people in charge. Anyone with a decent amount of honesty about Human nature will not permit a dictatorship... and so be it for Satanism. The Satanic government is fast moving, efficient, and its members will take every opportunity to exploit and point out each other's failings, to compete amongst each other. Satanic government is therefore a modified form of democracy. [...]
A form of stratification fixes the leaks that democracy springs when the masses are ignorant and stupid. The tested intelligent electorate should have two votes, the uneducated and inferior should only have one. The present culture in the UK is at such a level of education that democracy has become an empty shell, until education reaches a generally higher level stratification is the least problematic form of democracy. Better to have a functioning unequal democracy rather than a dysfunctional, hollow pseudo-democracy based on simplistic deceit. The former is a little like a meritocracy, whereas the latter is national suicide.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844 Oct 15 - 1900 Aug 25, was a German philosopher who challenged the foundations of morality and promoted life affirmation and individualism. He was one of the first existentialist philosophers. Some of Nietzsche's philosophies have surfaced as those upheld by Satanists. His detractors continue to run a smear campaign, based on genuine malevolence or ignorance, associating Nietzsche with Fascism. Modern-day scholars largely refute the idea that Nietzsche would have supported Nazi Germany or its morality, especially given its anti-human, destructive, restricting and oppressive nature. The most horrific actions of the Nazis, the genocide of the Jews, the "lowest" race, was based on a nationalism that predated Nietzsche.
“The important of a distinctive national consciousness was first emphasized in Germany in the late eighteenth century. Writers such as Herder (1744-1803) and Fichte (1762-1814) highlighted what they believed to be the uniqueness and superiority of Germanic culture. [...] Herder believed that each nation possesses a Volksgeist or 'national spirit', which provides its peoples with their creative impulse.”
“Nietzsche has long been caricatured as a fascistic thinker whose ideas found their eventual expression in the genocidal racial politics of Nazi Germany. In fact, Nietzsche despised nationalism and anti-Semitism and railed against the backwardness of the German Reich from the 1870s onwards. A good deal of the damage done to his reputation was inflicted by his sister Elizabeth Nietzsche (1846-1935), who assumed editorship of Nietzsche's corpus of work after his collapse into insanity in 1889. Elizabeth's political sympathies may be gauged by her marriage to the anti-Semitic political leader Bernhard Forster (1843-89). Her editorship of Nietzsche's work corrupted its content, removed many of the philosophical contexts that gave it its meaning, and prepared it for its appropriation by Nazi ideologues after Nietzsche's death in 1900.”
Satanism and Fascism differ on many important points. Satanism is highly individualistic, where a person's skills and talents, character and willpower are the true gauges of worth; and where the ego is championed. As such, Satanism accepts differences of opinion, disputes, strong disagreements, etc, because that's what you get when you bring free-thinking rebels together - plus a bit of fire. Fascism holds that the State is supreme and its importance outweighs the rights of the individual, and that individualism is trumped by race, which are both nonsense ideas. Satanic theory highlights the fickle and self-interesting nature of mankind, and therefore, Satanists cannot accept dictatorships as we know that they also spell trouble for all. Democracy, where the talented rise and the decrepit fall, where politicians are questioned, is better than dictatorships where leaders can descend into madness without being ousted. The only similarities between fascism and Satanism are in (1) style: Both have tended to like red, black and white sharp-edged symbols, and (2) in social ethics: Both prefer more immediate, harsher justice.
Current edition: 2005 Jan 31
Last Modified: 2010 Oct 26
Parent page: The Description, Philosophies and Justification of Satanism
All #tags used on this page - click for more:
Baddeley, Gavin. An (ir)Reverend in the Church of Satan.
(1999) Lucifer Rising. Paperback book. Published by Plexus Publishing Limited.
(2000) Dissecting Marilyn Manson. Published by Plexus Publishing Ltd.
Gilmore, Peter. High Priest of the Church of Satan (as of 2001+).
(2007) The Satanic Scriptures. Hardback book. Published by Scapegoat Publishing, USA. Compendium of texts. Many essays are new editions of older texts by Gilmore.
(2003) Political Ideologies. Paperback book. 3rd edition. Originally published 1992. Current version published by Palgrave MacMillan.