While I see the point in maybe highlighting some of the vulnerabilities in pagan and polytheist communities to New Right ideologies and thus potential infiltration, naming and all-but-naming specific groups of well-established sects, factions, and specific groups of pagans and polytheists is highly problematic (at best), because it subconsciously associates those broadly-defined (and specifically named) groups with the New Right and other forms of Fascism with the reader.
Rhyd’s piece is not completely devoid of value, but his willingness to make an implicit association of pagan groups like Trad Wicca, ADF, Northern Tradition, and more loosely-defined movements like reconstructionism (of which there are formally-associated groups, like Hellenion in the US, and several Celtic groups I know of, but am brain-farting on the names of) and devotional polytheism — that speaks volumes to the notion that he’d constructed this article with a personal agenda in mind.
As i said the other day: He’s smart, and he’s always very careful of the words and phrases he chooses, I have no reason to think that he didn’t know exactly what he was doing with this — especially considering that he made it clear that he was excluding OBOD (a group he’s associated with), Feri, and Reclaiming (groups others in the core G&R team are associated with) from this vague non-association via vulnerable traits. I took note the other day that John Beckett, also associated with OBOD, seems unable to figure out how Rhyd is reasoning that OBOD is somehow “egalitarian” in its set-up, but more like a benevolent “dictatorship” — which is kind of the exact opposite of an egalitarian group, much less a fiercely egalitarian group.
He’s taking digs at great swaths of people for what I can only guess are personal reasons, and he’s couching it in a necessary article. That’s just not cool on so many levels.
I’m all for highlighting vulnerabilities that a group may have, so that we can see what may make it attractive to certain vile political factions, if only for the sake of being on the look out, but the issue comes with listing out specific groups and factions in the manner he did: The juxtaposition of such a list following a clear list of those who are individuals and organisations associated with the New Right. He can add as many disclaimers around the second list as he feels like, he’s already created an association in the minds of the reader.
As much as I appreciate Rhyd’s latest piece on Patheos, which made several clarifications (many unnecessary, for me, but apparently others need it), that doesn’t exactly excuse an ostensibly competent magician from including a section in the offending piece that seemed arranged with little more purpose than to incense others —including myself, and I’m far closer to his part of the political spectrum than I am to that of my other friend, Galina Krasskova. At best, the inclusion seems naïve or ill-thought —I know Rhyd well enough from our (admittedly limited) interactions to know that he is neither.
As several comments on his Patheos follow-up suggested (including members of the G&R writing staff), I’m also of the opinion that what is a relevant, even necessary message, got lost in a sloppy execution. I don’t disagree with him, I disagree with the way in which he put it forward — which distracted a lot of people, making it harder to immediately recognise the New Right from the Distracted Left in his dissenters.