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Do Aleister Crowley’s Politics Matter?

Do Aleister Crowley's Politics Matter?

by Brother Richard Strongball


Who cares what Aleister Crowley thought about politics or would care about our current political situation?

I’ll tell you: a devotee of Aleister Crowley is the only person who would care about Aleister Crowley’s political views. That right there tells you everything you need to know about the relevance of Aleister Crowley’s thinking to politics.

In some ways it’s similar to people who refer to Ayn Rand. By and large, political analysts and political scientists are not interested in Ayn Rand, because Ayn Rand never said anything particularly useful or relevant about politics. Ayn Rand tended to think about politics from first principles, which, all other things being equal, is usually a very creative way to think about things, but it doesn’t guarantee relevance or even that your ideas are good.

This is why bringing Ayn Rand into an argument isn’t like bringing Strauss, Arendt, Rawls, Nozick, or even Zizek into an argument. You can rest assured the person invoking Ayn Rand hasn’t read anyone besides Rand. It’s not like showing up to a party with a loud tie. It’s more like having a dick piercing. It implies a whole lifestyle.

Crowleyites are like Randroids, but goofier. Ayn Rand at least has the excuse of having been a political philosopher. She was terrible at political philosophy, but she was without doubt a political philosopher.

The reason you never see political analysts, political philosophers, political economists, political scientists, sociologists, or really anyone else besides Crowleyites invoke Aleister Crowley in political discussions is because Aleister Crowley’s main skillset was casting spells.

Aleister Crowley was a guy who literally thought he could cast spells.

Most of the “Aleister Crowley was a _______ist” discussions aren’t even driven by a desire to frame let alone solve current political problems, though. How could they be when Aleister Crowley’s main problemsolving set involved casting spells?

It’s usually approached from the exact opposite direction. A Crowleyite is already a _______ist, and so they have to convince people—principally themselves—that Crowley was one, too. Because otherwise what are they doing with their life, being a devotee of Aleister Crowley?

The deeper someone is into OTO, the worse this is. Because then it’s not just justifying a lifestyle. The problem now is they’ve given 10, 20, maybe more years of their life to something—real contributions of time, effort, and cash, lasting relationships built—and to find out that it’s based on a set of ideas that are irrelevant or even morally reprehensible vis-a-vis things that person values is too much cognitive dissonance to bear.

This is where you get those interpretations of Thelema according to which everyone is obligated to respect the divinity inherent in each individual—a view which draws its support usually exclusively from Liber Oz but which is otherwise nothing but the warmed over Christian ethics Crowley disparages almost every other chance he gets.

This is the view of Crowley the social justice warriors need to have in order to justify participation. In 10 years when some new form of political flagellation is en vogue, everyone will know—just know—that THAT is what Crowley “really stood for”.

Good thing the man liked playing dress-up.

So here’s a modest proposal.

How about not worrying about what Aleister Crowley believed politically? How about forming your political views on the basis of fact and analysis of facts?

How about instead of arguing about whether socialism is “Thelemic,” start from the perspective that every country on Earth for the last half century has utilized some form of socialism?

Or instead of worrying about what Crowley thought of unions, how about look at the fact that American prosperity was at its greatest when we had strong unions? Shouldn’t that tell you more about the value of unions—or at least their lack of harm—than the opinion of someone who thought he could move things with his mind?


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6 thoughts on “Do Aleister Crowley’s Politics Matter?

  1. I believe this is where there should be a mic drop.

    the emphasis on what a thalamic government might look like should be on Thelema, and not so much Crowley. But people seem unable to move away from the Old ManMan form their own opinions.

    Crowley was the prophet of Thelema
    Crowley was a Magician
    Therefore, all Thelemites must be Magicians

    (Note: I’m rather fond of throwing spells. Nevertheless, one mustn’t confuse the plaines)

  2. I don’t think most people who never experienced living in the UK, especially in the more upper class areas of London, can truly understand Crowley’s political background. He was a High Tory through and through, and yes this does show in his writings. Wiki tells us what a High Tory is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Tory

    That said, the article does a great job at telling straight that we really should stop caring about what “the Prophet” said, or did, and remember that Thelema is (or should) be about finding YOUR True Will, and then do THAT, not Crowley’s.

    But I also realise people are lazy, scared, and need to change Sky Daddy with Daddy Crowley.

  3. Yes, his political views matter. This is how we know thelema is bullshit.

    There is really no separating Crowley’s bigoted, racist, sexist, and hateful views from thelema, the religion he started which enshrines these values.

    Crowley’s entire understanding of a true will is based upon a flawed understanding of evolution, and social Darwinism. I can point to several direct quotes in his writings that demonstrate this, but these two are particularly problematic:

    > The Ethics of Liber Legis are those of Evolution itself.
    >
    > Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law, biologically as well as in every other way.

    What do these statements mean, if they are not a clear reference to social Darwinism and Crowley’s flawed understanding of evolution? These are from his commentary to the book of the law, where he espouses many bigoted and sexist views in connection with these:

    >“Our humanitarianism is the syphilis of the mind […] and the worst enemies of humanity are those who wish, under the pretext of compassion, to continue its ills through the generations”
    >
    >“Nature’s way is to weed out the weak. This is the most merciful way, too. At present all the strong are being damaged, and their progress hindered by the dead weight of the weak limbs and the missing limbs, the diseased limbs and the atrophied limbs”
    >
    >“In the good old days there was some sort of natural selection; brains and stamina were necessary to survival. The race, as such consequently improved.”
    >
    >”Our ancestors survived because they were able to adapt themselves to their environment; their rivals failed to breed, and so “good” qualities are transmitted, while ‘bad’ are sterile.“
    >
    >”Instead of every man and every woman being a star, we have an amorphous pullulation of Vermin.”
    >
    > It is useless to pretend that men are equal; facts are against it
    >
    >”Much mischief has come from our ignorance in insisting, on the contrary, that each citizen is fit for any and every social duty.”
    >
    >“We should recognize the fact that the vast majority of human beings have no ambition in life beyond mere ease and animal happiness. In this way we shall have a contented class of slaves who will accept the conditions of existence as they really are, and enjoy life with the quiet wisdom of cattle. The patriarchal system is better for all classes than any other.”

    These views are unscientific, and lead to an increased amount of human suffering. Crowley bases his entire religion on these views:

    > “There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt:” but it is only the greatest of the race who have the strength and courage to obey it

  4. The most important point, Rand and Crowley were staunch individualists and promoted personal liberty. That’s the most important take away and the only one that matters to us.

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