An Odinist Reader (Aargh!) Surfaces To Reprove Tom Fleming
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Stephen A. McNallen
Thomas Fleming`s scalding attack on people who "build
little shrines to Odin" ("The
Thirty Year War for Immigration Reform – Thomas Fleming
replies to Peter Brimelow")
was simply…puzzling. I found myself wondering why this
foam-flecked rant against polytheists found its way into
an otherwise reasonable letter on immigration.
Surely Mr. Fleming does not think that the future of
the West hinges on forcing a few thousand followers of
Odin to obey his demand that they "keep silent about
their little fantasies." The idea that Odinists are a
threat to Western civilization, and ought to therefore
be squelched, is only one of several things that Fleming
does not understand about the revival of native European
religions in the twenty-first century.
I think I can speak with some authority on the
subject, as I was arguably the person most responsible
for reviving Odinism (or Asatru, as many of us prefer to
call it) in North America (http://www.runestone.org/).
Here are some things that Mr. Fleming gets wrong, and
which really need to be set straight:
1. He states that we "would like to tear [the West]
up from its roots and wipe out the last 1500 years." I
know no Asatruar who would agree with that. If he has
encountered low-brow Odinists who gave him that
impression, I apologize for their ignorance and beg him
to not consider them typical.
Far from wanting to destroy the West, we consider
ourselves intimately connected to it. Western culture is
largely an elaboration on themes introduced by the
pre-Christian tribes of Europe. (See The
Germanization of Early Mediaeval Christianity by Dr.
James Russell [Oxford]
for more on this.) Representative government, limits on
the powers of rulers, the right to bear arms, rights of
women, trial by jury, Anglo-Saxon Common Law (Hengist,
Horsa and and Thomas Jefferson)–all these were
features of our ancestral society long before
Christianity was known in the Northlands. The idea that
we want to ban Bach or build thatched huts where Notre
Dame now stands is absurd.
2. Mr. Fleming has a very simplistic view of how
Odinists or Asatruar view race. It is true that we tend
to strongly identify with our biological and cultural
heritage, and to see our religious attitudes as
something inseparable from our existence as a people.
Most of us might well agree with Mr. Fleming`s opinion
that the answer is not as simple as making this "a white
man`s country again." As someone once observed, we
have white power, and it has led us to the brink of
White people in general are in denial. This denial
takes two forms: The first is the illusion that there is
no problem, that everything is all right. When we work
through that form of denial, we all too often slip into
the second kind – which is to blame someone else (Jews,
African-Americans, anyone but ourselves) for our
problems. Maturity and justice demand that we assume
responsibility for the crisis that has led us to this
point. Other races are not the problem; only we can fix
3. Fleming`s view of our religious practices as some
sort of backyard barbecue is, as he must know, a crude
caricature. This is not necessarily his fault, as we do
not advertise what we do, but in the absence of any real
knowledge he might have refrained from making sarcastic
and misleading comments.
Few if any Asatruar expect our religious views to
replace Christianity. We are not a threat. Our
historical role, as I see it, is analogous to that of
American Indians who follow their traditional religion.
Most Indians may be Baptists or Catholics or whatever,
but they are secure in the knowledge that there are
those who are a special link with the ancestors, and
with the soul of the tribe. Asatru can do that for men
and women of European descent, who are today largely
atomized and rootless – cut off not only from our
history, but from our forebears, from the natural world,
and from an awareness of ourselves as a people. If we
can help heal these rifts, if we can remind our Baptist
and Catholic friends that we have an ancient and
honorable past, if we can be a link with those
innumerable generations who have gone before us, then we
will have done well.
"Only when we realize
that we are a river will we stop drowning in puddles."
December 11, 2001