Other than a penchant for organic diets and opposition to vaccines, the Nazis were also convinced society was secretly under attack by an elite society of monsters. Sound familiar?

 

 

After the trauma of defeat in World War One and the despair of the depression , Germany experienced a big occult revival. Germans turned to magical solutions for their problems, and that brought the ‘occulture’ into the mainstream.

Hitler and his fellow Nazis sold the German people a simplistic supernatural fantasy and conspiracy theory, in which all their problems were caused by a hidden global elite of monsters/vampires/demons — ie the Jews — but the magical light-warriors of the Nazi party would defeat them in a cosmic battle, ushering in a golden age of peace and love.

Numerous Germans compared Hitler to a magician, a hypnotist, a medicine-man, who cast a spell on his listeners in his rally speeches. One German, Kurt Ludecke, recalls that after hearing Hitler, his ‘critical faculty was swept away’ by the ‘intense will of the man…. I experienced an exaltation that could be likened only to a religious conversion. I felt sure that no one who had heard Hitler that afternoon could doubt that he was a man of destiny, the vitalising force in the future of Germany.’

Like other gurus, Hitler was a malignant narcissist, willing to lead the entire nation to death and destruction rather than back down and admit his magical prophecies of a thousand-year Reich were fantasy.

What I am saying is we shouldn’t be bewildered by the present overlap between the New Age and extremist conspiracy thinking. It’s happened before.

However, we shouldn’t kid ourselves that this sort of toxic magical thinking only happens on the far-right. You can also find aspects of it on the far-left, in totalising Us versus Them narratives like the idea all white people are racist, or all men hate women, or conspiracy theories that a secret cabal of Big Money is destroying the planet. Black Lives Matter has at its heart an eminently fair and reasonable demand — the American police should be less trigger-happy in its policing, particularly of black communities. But it also occasionally turns into cultish thinking and witch hunts, particularly among white liberals, where unless you adopt the right terminology, read the right books, make the right ritualistic confession of your latent racism, you are evil.

 

 

 

 

 

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