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The Storm of Steel: Review

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No word is more overused today than “legendary.” Some new movie is “legendary.” Some celebrity is “legendary.” Some putdown on social media is “legendary.”

We need to use our words more carefully. Something legendary is something out of Myth, something that approaches what we vaguely term the numinous or the divine. Here now, in the Kali Yuga, legends are almost unknown.

But Ernst Jünger was a legend.

A warrior, philosopher, and philosopher of unparalleled skill and insight, he lived to be 102 despite throwing himself body and soul into the singular experience of his life, the First World War. He was wounded numerous times and was one of the very few infantry leaders to receive the Pour le Mérite for extraordinary heroism and bravery.

The new edition of The Storm of Steel, his memoir of World War I, shows us not just a vanished world, but vanished values. This new edition from Mystery Grove Publishing Company should really be called the “old” version, because this is the original 1929 translation that contains the youthful soldier’s thoughts on heroism, nationalism, and duty.

In the Preface to the English edition, Jünger pays tribute to the soldiers he faced, calling the English “not only the most formidable but the manliest and the most chivalrous.” Jünger’s is not penning a bitter screed against hated opponents. “Warlike achievements are enhanced by the inherent worth of the enemy.”

Three major themes emerge.

First is Jünger’s defense of war as an opportunity for personal growth, even transcendence. This is staggering, even bizarre to most of us, because the popular image of World War I is that it was a pointless fratricidal conflict that destroyed the Western order for reasons that seem petty and short-sighted in retrospect. The foolish statesmen on all sides caused civilizational catastrophe, and World War II and its horrors were simply an outgrowth of that first conflict.

Yet Jünger is not really talking about politics. He does refer to marching with the front with his comrades with the “ideals of ‘70” in his heart (referring to German unification). However, he reflects on the effects the war had on his own character and those of his comrades. Jünger states: “Time only strengthens my conviction that it was a good and strenuous life, and that the war, for all its destructiveness, was an incomparable schooling of the heart.” Those forged “in fire and flame” could “go into life as though from the anvil.” “What is more sublime than to face death at the head of a hundred men?” he asks. The experience of the war and the intimacy with death gave “an indescribable intensity to every expression of life.”

A second theme is Jünger’s insistence that individual heroism mattered in World War I. The popular image is of masses of soldiers running directly into machine guns and artillery fire, following orders given by stupid generals who didn’t understand modern warfare. “On the contrary, to-day more than ever it is the individual that counts,” Jünger writes, invoking the “princes of the trenches” who face terrifying conditions where neither retreat nor mercy is possible. “Blood sounds in the shrill cry that is wrung like a nightmare from the breast.”

He also describes the battle frenzy which can only be called Odinic:

“The roar of battle had become so terrific that we were scarcely in our right senses. The nerves could register fear no longer. Every one was mad and beyond reckoning; we had gone over the edge of the world into superhuman perspectives. Death had lost its meaning and the will to live was made over to our country; and hence everyone was blind and regardless of his personal fate.” He compares this feeling to that of “werewolves [who] have howled and hunted through the night on the track of blood.”

Finally, there is his view on how not war, but life is justified by struggle and the pursuit of an idea. After it was over, he finds that the “martyrs” who threw themselves at death can no longer be understood.

With remarkable prescience, he states, “When once it is no longer possible to understand how a man will give his life for his country–and the time will come–then all is over that faith also, and the idea of the Fatherland is dead.” He suggests men may come to envy those who acted in the name of a faith that can no longer be truly understood, in the same way his generation could “envy the saints their inward and irresistible strength,” dedicating their lives to a religious ideal that no one today could truly grasp.

“We are all afraid, but we must fight against it,” he says. “To be overcome by one’s weakness is only human. At such a moment look at your leader and your fellows.” Of course, as Jünger himself became company commander, this terrible burden of exemplifying bravery became his, even when the German Army knew “that victory could no longer be ours.” “But the enemy should know that he fought against men of honor,” he recalled.

We are as foreign to Jünger’s worldview as Jünger was to those Catholic martyrs who would suffer or even seek unspeakable torments to gain the Kingdom of Heaven.  However, we can still find truth in his words.

“[L]ife had no depth of meaning except when it is pledged for an ideal, and that there are ideals in comparison with which the life of an individual and even of a people has no weight.”

What makes these themes remarkable is that Jünger does not shy away from the ugliness of war. This is not a romance glorifying war. He painstakingly describes the decaying bodies, the filth of the trenches, the monotony, the rats, the atrocities, the sick feeling it gave Jünger to kill men he clearly admires and in other circumstances would be his friends.

He recalls comrades who died in the mud, lost to unknown graves, brave and loyal men transformed into rotting corpses in forgotten fields.  A compassionate, courageous, intelligent companion who had so much to contribute would be cut down by a “senseless piece of lead.” Beautiful French communities would be destroyed by endless artillery bombardments as the giant armies, like two forces of nature, move back and forth.

Somehow, because the war was so horrible, because it ended in defeat, because it ended in disillusionment, he finds meaning. “[T]he ideal of the Fatherland had been distilled from all these afflictions in a clearer and brighter essence,” he writes.

Jünger also confronts truths about himself. He was insanely brave. One almost must believe in the supernatural to explain how he survived this war, let alone live to be 103. He’s shot numerous times in the book. Yet he keeps coming back to the front to lead his men.

However, even he admits he once fled after a moment of “blank horror” following artillery. He recalls himself to his duty because “an officer’s sense of responsibility drowns his personal fears.” It provides “a sticking-place, something to occupy the thoughts,” he writes. However, after the initial danger passes, he “broke into convulsive sobs while the men stood gloomily around me.”

He also admits that the war, while it provided the opportunity for transcendence, also could lead to utter baseness and atrocity.  “Weak natures are prone to the atavistic impulse to destroy; and it takes hold of the trench fighter in his desolate existence when any one appears above ground,” he wrote. “I have felt it myself only too often.”

He also admits the dark impulses, perhaps even the death-drive, that animates young men. “The horrible was undoubtedly a part of that irresistible attraction that drew us into the war,” he said. “A long period of law and order, such as our generation has had behind it, produces a craving for the abnormal, a craving that literature stimulates.” Of course, these young recruits “never for a moment dreamt that in this war the dead would be left month after month to the mercy of wind and weather, as once the bodies on the gallows were.”

Jünger found that “national pride not a quality of the masses.” At the same time, before the last great offensive, he said, “Every man felt his personality fade away in the face of a crisis in which he had his part to play and by which history would be made.” Thus, the masses respond to ideals which only a minority truly possess and understand.

In the beginning of R.R. Reno’s Return of the Strong Gods, the author quotes one of his students who bemoans living in the “long twentieth century.” We are still in the postwar world of 1946 and mainstream culture, values, and narratives still derive from the supposed moral drama of the Second World War. As the decades pass, those ideas seem, if not irrelevant, more distant. The Storm of Steel gives us a glimpse of a pre-war world from the perspective of a spiritual aristocrat, a man fiercely protective of his own identity and code who found self-actualization in fire, flame, and comradeship.

The Storm of Steel is worth purchasing and reading even if you aren’t looking for philosophy or introspection. Simply as a thriller, it is infinitely more terrifying and engrossing than the tiresome paperbacks of war fantasies and spy novels you find at drug stores. The words stab at you like bayonets; each chapter is an artillery barrage.

However, The Storm of Steel is far more than a memoir. It presents us with profound and uncomfortable questions about life, death, identity, and meaning. For those of our generation, we already live in the situation Jünger prophesied, when we lack faith because we lack an ideal.

What is our Ideal? To what standard to we rally? What are we willing to die for, and, much more importantly, live for?

I have my answer. What about you?

 

 

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Cultural Sickness: Virtus Vs Virtue Signaling

The Academy Awards, which fewer people watch each year, was a disgusting spectacle. I can’t imagine watching it, but unfortunately, because of mass media, I had to hear about it.

Millionaires who live in unimaginable luxury lectured others about equality. It’s another sign that we’re in a period of decadence, a time when existing institutions, cultural norms, and spiritual philosophies seem exhausted. Thus, people turn to escapism and voyeurism, virtual life instead of real life. Fake characters on the screen are more “real” to many people than their friends and family, assuming they have any. And as we all know now, behind Hollywood’s glitter something deeply sick and perverse is going on.

When the wealthy and elite lecture about equality, we call it virtue signaling. It’s a way for those who hold power to legitimize their positions. By praising weakness, they become strong. Their thrones are built by hypocrisy. Though they claim to be victims and underdogs, they command resources dwarfing those of past kings and emperors. Unless you are a true believer in media Narratives, you can see the cynicism behind these performances.

There is something inherently corrupt about the entertainment industry. In Rome, actors were considered part of an unclean trade. The Emperor Julian prohibited pagan priests from even going to the theater. He was on to something.

We could use a Julian about now. We’re not a serious society. Instead of wanting to accomplish things, we want to be celebrities, famous just for being famous. Instead of forging lives of heroic achievement, we look up to people whose only value is in pretending to be someone else. We’ve gone from a stern pioneer society to a decadent mob always crying for novel pleasures and entertainments.

Consider – a recent survey found a plurality of American and British youth said they wanted to be YouTube stars when they grow up. The same survey found most Chinese youth want to become astronauts. That, right there, shows the relative trajectories of these two cultures.

Many Western youth want to live in the artificial world. They want praise and attention from the all-encompassing media machine. They want to accept its values.

We don’t.

Yet… you’ve probably heard a sermon like this before. You may have written it yourself – probably on social media. Isn’t this just self-congratulation?

It’s easy to blast celebrities, or sneer at the media, or cultivate an “outlaw” image. However, if you’re critiquing the system without building an alternative, you’re not weakening it. You’re strengthening it. You’re not an outlaw. You’re part of the problem.

We must resist the temptation to give in to our own brand of virtue signaling. You may have healthy values, but what good are they if they don’t lead to real-world accomplishment? Slamming celebrity culture is no different than calling in to some local radio show to complain about what a bum some professional athlete is. It’s just ressentiment.

Get offline. Get outside. Act, don’t criticize.

Instead of virtue signaling, cultivate Virtus, the masculine virtues of heroism, strength, and the desire for glory. The cure for depression is purpose and an amor fati that views even the largest obstacles as challenges to be overcome. Instead of pretending you are some Viking warrior, admit what you are. After accepting that, strive to become something greater.

The best way to cultivate Virtus amid decadence is to find a space to physically, mentally, and spiritually separate yourself from Empire. It means having a sacred space of your own for ritual, reflection, and meditation. This may be in your house or apartment, but it is better if it is in nature. Here, you can recharge, reflect, and become better connected with your own Ideal, your own Highest Self.

After that, it’s time to act. It’s time to start building something in the real word. I’m not telling you to find your own answer. I’m telling you the Operation is the answer.

We emphasize physicality and fitness because physical hardship is often the best path to mental discipline and spiritual enlightenment. Restrain from the temptation to write an angry Facebook post and go to the gym. Instead of wailing about the NFL and wearing some other dude’s name on your back, start training yourself.

You may not have the strength of some professional athlete. Maybe you’re fat. Maybe you drink too much. That’s not what’s important. What’s important is what you do about it. Start your Ascent. Live by your standards. Instead of bragging on Facebook, become what you say you are, even if it’s hard, even if it costs you fake friends.

That’s really what this is all about – authenticity. There’s no privacy anymore. Some people out there will exploit this to  attack you. Living in this kind of world is a challenge, but also an opportunity. It means that we must embrace furious action and fierce sincerity.

You can only be hurt if you allow yourself to be hurt. The best way to reduce your vulnerabilities is to act, instead of talk. Unplug. Train. Get together with friends who share your values. Start a Division. Apply for Werewolf Elite during the next opportunity. Look for opportunities for adventure. Live a Myth.

Don’t worry about the magnitude of the task before you. Just focus on one thing at a time. Perform the next correct action. Slowly, you will grow in physical power, mental discipline, and temporal success. And by living this way, you will attract others to the banner of strength.

We know we live in a sick culture – almost more of an anti-culture. There’s no possibility of regeneration from the top. No one is coming to save us.

So start building a new alternative. I’m not saying it’s possible or even desirable to block out mass culture. But even amidst the filth, you can find things that you can use for your own ends.

What are those ends? Building a new culture. Pursuing strength. Enjoying fellowship. You have the power, right now, to do these things. So use it.

Escape from the blue screen. Build an alternative to degeneracy. Take the forest passage. And perhaps, one day, I’ll see you around the fires.

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Progenitors

Defy their attempts to silence us.

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Arma virumque cano – “Of arms and the man I sing”

The Aeneid

From the beginning of the universe to the time you were born, everything had to happen exactly as it did to create you. You are the culmination of thousands of years of struggle.

Simply because you are alive, you are part of an unbroken chain that goes back to the beginning. Perhaps you can trace your line to some great king or hero. However, all of us have ancestors that were defeated, enslaved, or humiliated. Yet ultimately, just because we’re alive, we know we had ancestors that endured.

However, how do we relate to those ancestors? How can we identify with empires, nations or tribes whose very names have been lost to history? How can we determine who we really are?

Identity is defined by two things. First, identity is defined by those things you have which can’t be reduced to a commodity. The second thing that defines identity is will. A tribe, a people, and a cult can endure beyond defeat. They can keep their identity even when Power tries to stamp it out. They just need the will to continue, even under the most difficult circumstances. And sometimes, they need to adapt their tradition into new forms to meet new circumstances.

In the classical tradition, the hero Aeneas was one of the great fighters in the Trojan War. Of course, he fought the for the losers. His city was destroyed, his king killed, his people all but wiped out.

However, this wasn’t the end for him or his tribe. He gathered a group around him, including his father and son. He also carried with him the statues representing the gods of Troy, thus continuing the sacred cult which defines identity.

The image of Aeneas leading his son and carrying his father (who in turn carries the gods) has echoed throughout Western art. It is a powerful representation of the chain of identity that binds all of us.

In Virgil’s Aeneid, Aeneas leads his small group from the ruins of Troy into exile. He has a passionate romance with the Carthaginian queen Dido, and Aeneas is tempted into staying with her. However, he is reminded by the gods that he has a greater destiny. Dido swears eternal enmity and then kills herself. This presages the later wars between Rome and Carthage.

After all, it is Aeneas’s destiny to found Rome. He leads his group to Italy and ultimately to victory over the Latins. Virgil portrays Aeneas as the legendary ancestor of Julius Caesar and Caesar Augustus, sanctifying the ruling dynasty.

Scholars argue whether the Aeneid is imperial propaganda or a clever, subversive text that is about the horrors of war and the abuses of power. Both views are wrong.

Virgil was a Roman pagan, and he had the pagan worldview very few share today. The pagan view of life is a tragic one. This doesn’t mean life is depressing. It means we are bound by fate and that our choices can’t be reduced to an abstract morality of “good” and “evil.” We operate within the context of an honor culture.

The pagan Virgil knew that Aeneas was not an autonomous individual who can just do whatever he wants. If he was, he would have stayed with Dido. Instead, he must fulfill his destiny. He has a Need (symbolized by messages from the gods) that he must fulfill, no matter what the cost. He must fight and conquer so that he can continue the Trojan legacy. He ultimately lays the foundation for Rome, which in turn conquers Greece. The past, the present, and the future are all united in one chain of existence and they all affect each other simultaneously.

Aeneas went from being an exile from a defeated, defunct city-state to becoming a progenitor, the founder of something new. Yet that new thing he founded was still related to that older Trojan tradition. It was an eternal way of existence that adapted itself to new forms.

The universal longing for continuity and for Identity, to know one’s place and roots, is why the Aeneid had such power in so many diverse cultures. Snorri Sturluson, a Christian Icelandic political leader and historian, wrote in his Prose Edda that Thor was a Trojan prince.

Historically, this makes no sense, and is probably even further removed from the truth than the Greek or Roman tales. Yet it served a mythic role, inserting the Norse peoples and their supposed progenitors into the classical history so prized by many early Christians. It was an attempt to claim legitimacy, to say that the Norse weren’t on the margins, but had always been at the center of the Western story.

Today, we too may feel marginal. Today’s values, such as they are, disgust us. The System wants us silenced. The institutions have failed us.

We are disconnected, disenfranchised, exiles in our own land, strangers in our own culture.

The temptation is to link ourselves to some glorious past, to make ourselves something more than we are. This is what Snorri did and it’s very understandable. Yet ultimately, such efforts betray a certain inferiority complex. If your only accomplishment is to be born from a great line, then the chain ends with you. Ultimately, you must carry it forward, not rest on the laurels of your ancestors.

Consider again the statue of Aeneas. His father is not carrying him, he is carrying his father. Aeneas shoulders the burden of the past. Yet he does this willingly. In turn, his father holds the gods, the archetypes of primordial identity and ultimate aspirations. Aeneas is fleeing defeat, but his destiny is to create a new beginning.

It may seem like the chain is broken and that we are rootless and alone. It may seem easier to abandon the past altogether, to let it drop to the ground and seek pleasure and contentment.

But that’s not how heroes are made. We must take up the burden of the past. Yet we go forward to a new destiny rather than looking backwards to past defeats and dead institutions. We are the progenitors of a new line, a new tradition, a new cult that is rooted in the deepest and most ancient of primordial truths.

It’s already happening. We have it in our power to create a new rising culture out of the ruins of Empire. Those of you reading this can become more than just a link in the chain. You can become progenitors, founders, the creators who give rise to a new people, culture, and way of existence.

As we look back, we see the chaos of Empire, the grey of a dead world, the insanity of a ruined culture. So we go forward, carrying the sacred flame with us, walking the path of ascent, and paving the way for the new Age of Heroes.

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Conquerors Don’t Apologize

Not long ago, Mongolia erected a massive monument to Genghis Khan. It is the largest equestrian statue in the world. The greatest conqueror in world history glares out from atop his horse, looking east, towards his supposed birthplace. He is supported by 36 pillars, representing other Khans. The monument is surrounded by yurts and exhibits displaying Mongolian history and culture.

To Mongolians, he is a hero. The local airport is named after him. The president praised him. Merchandise with his likeness can be found everywhere in the country.

Of course, all this celebrates a man who was responsible for an estimated 40 million deaths. He used mass extermination against resisting cities and can be considered a pioneer of biological warfare because of his tactic of hurling cadavers over city walls. He and his successors killed about five percent of the world’s population.

It took Russia centuries to recover independence. China was ruled by Sinicized Mongol emperors. The Caliphate in Baghdad, at that time one of the world’s most advanced civilizations, never recovered.

Europe was not exempt. The Mongol general Subutai, leading a relatively small force, smashed Western armies with ease. If the Great Khan (at that time, one of Genghis Khan’s sons) hadn’t died, the Mongols probably would have conquered Rome itself.

This is a powerful lesson for those who assume Europeans are automatically the world’s greatest warriors. This includes both those who think they are inherently better than others because of their ethnic identity and those who assume Europeans are always oppressors and never victims.

I doubt the latter group will accept this lesson. They have too much invested in a simplistic, Manichean worldview where Western Civilization is always the bad guy. Genghis Khan was responsible for at least six times as many deaths as the Nazis and almost as many as Mao. There were also much fewer people back then.

Yet are outraged Arabs, Russians, Chinese, or Eastern Europeans demanding (or getting) reparations? Is there a movement that suggests this should take place?

Of course not. The idea is absurd. Scholars calmly discuss whether Genghis Kahn’s conquests were a good thing because they expanded trade routes. Apparently, this omelet was so tasty it justified breaking 40 million eggs.

We can also think of examples closer to home. Not that long ago, Napoleon conquered most of Europe. The occupation of the German territories was especially brutal. In one famous case, a man who was distributing a book calling for German resistance to the French was executed by a firing squad. German student fraternities that still exist today originated as underground groups preparing for an uprising. The collective experience of occupation was a powerful factor in eventually creating the united German identity that culminated with Bismarck’s achievement.

Yet is Napoleon a hated figure in the West, or even in Germany? Will you be attacked for expressing a favorable opinion about him? Hardly. His magnificent tomb still draws huge numbers of tourists every year. An author from the Emperor’s most implacable enemy, Great Britain, recently wrote a book arguing that he should be called “Napoleon the Great.” He’s also said the world would have been better off had Napoleon won at Waterloo. Is this author deplatformed, arrested, or assaulted? Of course not.

Journalists don’t demand your job or masked radicals your head if you express admiration for Genghis Khan, Napoleon, or, for that matter, Joseph Stalin. (A recent poll found 70 percent of Russians approve of Stalin.)

So let’s contemptuously dismiss the idea that people really care about human rights or universal moral norms. They care about avoiding taboos. They don’t want to lose money or perceived social status. Whether someone is considered a monster, a hero, or simply a historically important person is entirely a product of power, especially media power.

“History is written by the winners,” we are smugly informed. The ones who tell us this are usually the ones operating from a position of power, even if they pose as victims. They are simply the beneficiaries of previous conquerors.

Those who lecture us about our moral obligations have this power because their superior ancestors were conquerors. No doubt, if their powerful ancestors could see their mentally and physically weak descendants, they would have decided it wasn’t worth fighting for them.

Conquerors don’t apologize. Outside the West, their descendants don’t either. Whoever you are, whatever your ethnicity, you exist because those before you had the courage to fight for survival and work for the next generation.

You’re descended from conquerors. Act like it. Don’t apologize. Become a king by your own hand.

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Aesthetic Justification

Culture comes from the cult, and unfortunately, we live under a cult of ugliness. “Art once made a cult of beauty,” said the late Roger Scruton. “Now we have a cult of ugliness instead. This has made art into an elaborate joke, one which by now has ceased to be funny.”

We all know modern “art” is a scam. When someone bought a banana duct-taped to a wall as “modern art” for $200,000, it barely raised eyebrows. The dirty secret of modern art is that it’s mostly a front for money laundering. Insofar as it has an aesthetic or ideological function, it’s just to tear down what better people created in the past. Rather than inspiring us, it disgusts us, and it does this deliberately.

When Notre Dame burned, even those who weren’t Roman Catholics were horrified. Yet some journalists urged completing the desecration by giving Notre Dame a “modern” look like some shopping mall.

The same principles are bleeding into personal appearances. The corporate media promotes airbrushed, artificial celebrities warped by plastic surgery. They can even insert dead actors into films through technology, which begs the question of why worthless celebrities are needed anyway.

Yet the corporate media also tells us being fat and unhealthy is great because of “body positivity.” Now, we have a society of shoggoths.

Let’s speak plainly. Obesity is a moral failure.

Barring the few that truly suffer from a medical condition, obesity is a sign that you have no self-control, no mastery over yourself. It’s immoral to tolerate it. If a man is drinking himself to death, it’s not the act of a friend to encourage it and say that no one can tell him what to do. If a man is eating himself to death, shaming him and forcing him to stop is a moral act. It’s the act of a friend.

Yet there’s something more important at stake than worrying about health. Aesthetics are deeply important. “[I]t is only as an aesthetic phenomenon that existence and the world are eternally justified,” wrote Nietzsche. It we surround ourselves with ugly, tawdry things, our minds will be ugly and tawdry. If we surround ourselves with works of inspiration, beauty, and heroism, we will be driven to forge our own works of inspiration, beauty and heroism.

This begins with ourselves, with our own bodies. If a man is weak, fat, or both, we automatically feel disgust. We automatically know this person can’t be relied on. His opinions have little weight. After all, he can’t govern himself, so why should we listen to what has to say about anything else?

If a man is strong, and looks strong, his words have more meaning. After all, we know he can back them with furious action, if he needs to.

We only have so much free will and rationality when it comes to how we view the world. If free will is our mental software, our hardware is the judgments, assumptions, feelings, and impulses that our mind automatically impresses on us. Appearances do matter. Growing strong is important, but so is looking strong.

When we see classical sculptures of the human form, we recognize it as beautiful. Strength is beautiful and so is heroism. In great works of art, we see our Ideal, something higher that we should strive for. It lights a fire in our mind to become our own Ideal, to lift, to train, to grow strong, to accomplish great works.

For almost all human history, this was taken for granted. Kings, Emperors, Popes, and merchant princes patronized glorious works designed to inspire and elevate. Yet today, “art,” massively subsidized by governments and huge foundations, deliberately seeks to grind us down. It requires no insight, no talent, no vision. It just requires having the right political connections.

Instead of buildings that link us with a past and a people, we get soulless corporate structures that make us feel like a product.

Instead of beautiful paintings that require exquisite skill and perceptive genius, we get crude tricks, parodies, and desecrations.

Instead of sculptures that honor great men and great deeds, we get amorphous blobs on college campuses and in city parks.

It’s garbage. The people paying for it and creating it know it’s garbage. We experience deracination, depression, and alienation because we’re surrounded by these things. This is how they want us to be. Our minds are constantly driven into the mud, rather than inspired to look upward, to reach beyond ourselves, to reach for something greater than life.

Rebel against this through action. Training should be a religious act, a holy ritual. Through pain and sacrifice, you are forging yourself into something greater than you were. You are spitting in the face of death, fighting a battle that must be fought, even if the ultimate outcome is the grave. You are doing what you can to turn yourself into your own Ideal.

The stereotype of the dumb meathead setting off “lunk alarms” at Planet Fitness is false. “It is a disgrace to grow old through sheer carelessness before seeing what manner of man you may become by developing your bodily strength and beauty to their highest limit,” said Socrates. “But you cannot see that, if you are careless; for it will not come of its own accord.” A strong mind in a strong body is the Ideal and it must be relentlessly pursued.

If you are old, you can still start training. If you are injured, work around it. If you are utterly crippled, read, study, and look to the heroic to transport yourself beyond your current situation.

We were not born to be fat, complacent, and lazy weaklings, our bodies fueled by high fructose corn syrup and our minds filled with some corporate anti-culture. We were meant to be heroes. We are the descendants of conquerors and champions. We should act like it.

Our art should reflect this – in music, painting, sculpture and every other field. Our rituals should fill us with sacred inspiration so we can overcome the weakness within us. Our tribe should hold us accountable, not making excuses but driving us to ever greater accomplishment.

And the first step for all of this to happen is for you to train, to pick up that barbell, select a program, and get to work. Accepting struggle is saying yes to life. Find the hero within yourself. Fight, bleed, and suffer so that you can kill what is and become what should be.

Some may say this is unrealistic. I’d ask them to look again at what art speaks to them, motivates them, or stirs something deep within them. If it’s some “modern” desecration, I have nothing to say to such people anyway.

But I suspect you reading this have the same sense of life that I do. It may be against the spirit of our times, but you should take that as confirmation your deepest feelings are right and true.

Fight back. Rebel against decline. Rage against death itself. Rally to the banner of strength and build something great in this world of decay.

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Our “Support Group” Is Strength

Not long ago, if you were a “normal” man, there were certain things you could take for granted.

You would get married and have children. You would enjoy the support of friends, family, church, and community.

You would have a social role. You knew what standards you were expected to uphold.

You would be taught certain skills to survive and prosper – hunting, fishing, fighting, construction, and craftsmanship.

You would know that you could be called to war to defend your country, but also take comfort because your nation would honor your sacrifice.

This is what it was to be a “normal” man.

These things are gone now.

Because of social media and poisonous doctrines, modern relationships can be a nightmare.

There’s no initiation into manhood.

Many young men grow up without fathers.

Many assume (and accept) they will never be married or have children. If they have no brothers or sisters, their line will end with them.

Men are told they’re “obsolete,” so they vanish into worlds of fantasy and vicarious existence. They define themselves by corporate franchises. Or they disparage manhood entirely and broadcast their weakness.

And the System pats them on the head. It wants us tamed; spaniels, not wolves.

Recently, a System mouthpiece ran a gleeful article about men forming a support group to “shrug off the armor of masculinity to get in touch with their true feelings.”

“Like a sort of anti-‘Fight Club’,” the journo smugly wrote.

The piece celebrated “a shift in attitudes and increased curiosity about what it means to be male.”

A sociologist, another mouthpiece, said it is bad when a worldview sees “every other man [as] a potential competitor.” We must look at each other as “brothers” instead of “rivals.” We will apparently bond through shared helplessness.

Of course, it’s easy to sneer and make wisecracks about “soyboys,” a term that already feels dated. But this is the wrong approach. The problem, pain, and isolation are real. It’s not enough to just roll our eyes and say, “toughen up.” There is a root cause behind this crisis of masculinity.

And, in truth, we’ve all felt it. Atomization, deracination, commodification – this is the Kali Yuga, when everything that is solid melts into dissolution. Men feel confused. We do need brothers, community, solidarity.

Yet can you bond over weakness? Failure? Shame?

The journo’s reference to Fight Club is significant, because it was a book and film that captured the way many men felt at the time – devoid of purpose, identity, and the chance for heroism. Yet in the years since, we have been told that men are not allowed to feel this longing. That longing is just proof of our “privilege.” Instead, we must strip themselves of “toxic” masculinity, hold ourselves to no standards, identify only with our flaws and weaknesses.

The intended message of Fight Club is irrelevant. What’s important is that it addressed something real. It also showed two ways of responding. In the beginning of Fight Club, the narrator finds peace by crying at support groups. But ultimately that becomes insufficient, and he derives a deeper sense of satisfaction by creating a forum for combat. What’s more, the men who attend find the greatest brotherhood by fighting each other. Solidarity is built through battle.

Fight Club was two decades ago – it feels like a lifetime. Today, deconstructing masculinity is a profession for some people. People with real privilege, outrageous wealth, media backing and unlimited job security screech about what we must believe. Our assigned role is to be like sinners in a church, crying about our shame and depravity.

It’s no wonder the mouthpieces love publishing stuff like this. They gain more temporal power the more we humiliate ourselves. The reason this article was even published was to push men in this direction, thus granting the priests of weakness more power over us.

Of course, there’s a big difference between a priest from a Christian church and the clerics of egalitarianism. In church, whether speaking to a priest or to your god directly, you may feel shame about your past actions. However, there’s the promise of salvation, forgiveness, and rebirth.

Egalitarian clerics don’t even offer that. You don’t get redemption from a “support group.” You’re never washed of sin through the “precious blood.” You are just told about different ways you must break yourself down even further.

Weakness can’t beget anything but further weakness. There is a better way. Culture comes from the cult. Tribe is created through shared struggle and ritual. Deed begets deed. Strength begets strength.

Does this mean we despise our brothers when we fail or fall short? No, but we don’t make excuses. If a “brother” ignores your shortcomings, explains away your flaws, or says that your weaknesses are “actually” strengths, he’s not your brother. He doesn’t love you and he doesn’t care about you.

The state of the world should make you depressed – if you’re happy about the way things are, there’s something deeply wrong with you. Events in life will hurt you emotionally and spiritually. The strongest men can be crushed by a breakup or divorce. Tragedy can break the will of would-be conquerors.

Yet does a real brother allow you to wallow in this mire of sadness and defeat? Of course not. Have we not all said or done things when we were depressed that seem embarrassing now? How much better it would have been if a brother had listened with understanding and then, physically or metaphorically, slapped us across the face and told us to get up and move forward.

More importantly, have we not all experienced tragedy and anguish from events that still tear at our hearts? Like the indecisive Hamlet, should we just be paralyzed by grief? A brother should listen with compassion, but not enable self-destructive behavior. Your brothers exist to push you over these hills, not to push you back down into the swamp of endless self-criticism.

There is no conflict between a man being your “brother” and your “rival.” They should be constantly pushing you forward, directing you higher, offering challenge after challenge, victory after victory.

Sometimes, the best expression of brotherhood is a fist to the face, followed by a hand to lift you back up.

I am in constant competition with my brothers, and they with me. And it is this continuous challenge, conflict, and competition that makes us strong and sustains an Honor Culture.

Reject what the System and its mouthpieces are telling you. Masculinity is a challenge, and it is a challenge that should be welcomed.

We face a culture that is driving men into suicide, escapism, and self-mutilation. I don’t know whether these consequences are intended or not. I do know that the Lords of Lies gain power from them, and that when they preach weakness to us, it is to enhance their own perverted form of strength.

It is the Age of Iron, and many have fallen away. Death comes, our time is short, and the certainties of the past lie in ruins. We dwell in a Hollow Empire, a mausoleum for a dead culture.

Yet in the real world, away from the blue screens, tribes are rising over ash, flame, and blood-stained altars. Conquerors will emerge from this crucible, not just through physical strength, but through spiritual, mental, and intellectual fortitude. A new culture is born, or re-born. The Age of Heroes comes again.

We reject the System’s values and the mewling of its mouthpieces. We have our own code, one our ancestors would recognize. We hail our own gods, returning in forms relevant to our own world and our own time. Our standard is raised against the world.

If you are weak, become mighty. If you are scared, become brave. If you are comfortable, seek challenge. My brothers are my rivals, my tribe is my family, and my “support group” is our strength.

And no matter how lost you are in the darkness, with the right eyes you can see the fires beckoning you, calling you to a better way.

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Culture Versus Commodities

Cultural Extirpation

A few months ago, Dan Carlin did a “Hardcore History” podcast on “The Celtic Holocaust” and Julius Caesar’s conquest of Gaul. He observed that the Gauls weren’t just fighting for their families and property, but for the very existence of their culture. Defeat meant utter extirpation. Everything was on the line.

In passing, Carlin said this is something modern Americans can’t relate to because it’s something we would never face. What, after all, would our “culture” being eliminated mean? He lightly wondered whether that would mean no more blue jeans, or iPhones, or Christianity being outlawed.

Obviously, Carlin was making a tangential observation, not a serious philosophical or historical statement. Yet Carlin doesn’t need to wonder about cultural extirpation.

It’s already happened.

Do we have a “culture?” No, we have commodities. We have films, clothing, and corporate brands that are consumed the same way throughout the world. Is that a “culture” – blue jeans and iPhones? It’s more of a global consumer anticulture that everyone participates in equally.

We have fandoms. We have people who define themselves by their attachment to certain movies or television shows. It’s easy to laugh at soy boys who collect action figures or children’s toys. Yet how many men identify with “our” favorite sports team, filled with athletes that have no ties to the local community? The rise in “fantasy football” teams is a powerful indication that even franchise loyalty is fading because everyone knows that this is just a business, and players and coaches are interchangeable.

We have a country – or at least a passport. Yet does that country share a history, culture, heroes, or even a common language? Does everyone who holds citizenship feel it defines them? Perhaps it was that way once, but it’s hard to say it’s that way now.

We have religion. Yet switching faiths today is as easy as switching between Reebok and Nike. In some denominations, the clergy don’t even believe their own sacred teachings.

We have media – by far the most powerful force today. Media can tell people to believe almost everything, and though there is rising distrust of the press, most people will still believe whatever they are told.

Yet its power is brittle. It almost doesn’t matter what message is conveyed; media is so all-encompassing that people could be convinced of anything no matter how absurd. That doesn’t mean media is powerful, it just means most people are mentally and spiritually weak. If media preached different values, most people would instantly switch their “beliefs” without even noticing.

So who are we? What is our culture? How do we define ourselves? These aren’t questions for any particular group, they’re for everyone.

Recently, there was another tiresome debate about “cultural appropriation.” The specifics don’t matter, it’s just another example of people using a display of weakness to pursue power. Yet there’s a fundamental question at stake. Do certain practices, clothing, hairstyles, or whatever else belong inherently just to a certain group? And if so, does this apply to everyone?

Should I be outraged that people protesting “cultural appropriation” are speaking my language of English? Isn’t that cultural appropriation? Or is English not even my language?

After all, English itself contains Latin words that came into it following the Norman Conquest of 1066. To this day, people with Norman names in the United Kingdom (like “Percy”)  tend to be wealthier and live longer than those with common names (like “Smith”). If I’m not of Norman descent, am I internalizing oppression by speaking English? Some people thought so. There was an even an effort to get people to speak “Anglish,” a version of the language that eliminated all the borrowed Latin words. (The word “uranium” becomes “Ymirstuff”) for example.

If you want to wage war against “privilege,” you’re waging a pointless struggle because inequality is natural and inevitable under any system, even within a small group. Similarly, if you want to protest “cultural appropriation,” you’ll be reduced to tedious logic-chopping exercises about who can “authentically” claim a symbol.

Of course, those who protest “cultural appropriation” probably aren’t making a serious critique, but just want a financial payoff or Internet attention. They are using symbolic totems, not asserting something real. It’s a cargo-cult mentality.

This is also true of those who surround themselves with selected commodities to claim a certain label. It’s like proclaiming yourself a “redneck” because you listen to country music during your commute to an office job in a big city.

What we’re left with is the question of Identity. One’s Identity is defined by those things that can’t (or won’t) be reduced to a commodity. It’s a combination of those things you are born with (your background, family, birthplace) and those things you hold beyond monetary value. These are the things you would sacrifice for, work for, die for. These are the things with which you identify your Honor. The potential for danger and sacrifice is what separates LARPing from Identity.

There’s subjectivity here, because some might be willing to make almost everything in their life a commodity. They’ll sell out anything and everything for convenience, comfort, or media approval. Such people are not really people at all but simply commodities of another kind. “Free” social networking programs and apps have revealed a terrible truth – we aren’t buying a product, we are the product, and our behavior, interests, and data are bought and sold.

It’s not surprising that in this kind of climate we’re seeing new “communities” and “identities” multiply online with no end in sight. Much of it seems artificial, but the subconscious yearning expressed is all too real. People want something essential, something that isn’t a commodity.

Yet the only way most people can fulfill that yearning is by using the very means – the Internet, social networking, pop culture – that has stripped them of Identity and meaning. The only way most think they can create a community is by defending the same decrepit values – universalism, egalitarianism, victimhood – that have destroyed real communities.

What’s the answer? To return to basics. First, real community is not found online. If you have a Facebook group or a Discord, that’s not a “tribe,” that’s a computer game. You must step forward. You must build something real.

Second, study your Tradition. Look to your ancestry, your history, and your roots and find what is relevant to you. This isn’t a question of “picking” something like choosing one brand or another at a supermarket. Don’t try to be something you are not.

Finally, see what the Tradition means in this time, in this place, in this world. This can only be done through experience. Identity is not something that is entirely self-created but nor is it simply assigned or accepted. It is discovered through ritual, sacrifice, and tribe.

“Your” sacred symbols and traditions mean nothing until you have experienced them and made them your own. A living culture is connected from the beginning until now by shared symbols and traditions that embody eternal truths that are experienced differently by each generation. Without that experience, without that blood-and-flesh reality, you’re just dressing up in a costume.

Your culture isn’t blue jeans or iPhones made by Chinese slave labor. Your Identity isn’t by a passport or a jersey with some dude’s name on it. It’s defined by roots, community, and honor. What is that which you value beyond money? What do you have which can’t be reduced to a commodity?

Once you know the answers to those questions, you’ll know who you are. You’ll know what you must defend. And you’ll know what you must do next.

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Weakness Is A Will To Power

Always show strength, even in defeat

As above, so below, as within, so without. The eternal battle between Order and Chaos, Form and Entropy, takes place within our own bodies. At death, everything that makes us who we are disintegrates, becoming amorphous corruption.

You are most who you are when you are strong. When you fall apart, when the body fails and the mind follows, identity fragments. That’s why we sadly say an elderly person lost to dementia is “already gone.”

“No matter how long and intense the training,” said Yukio Mishima, “our body, deep down, is progressing little by little towards decadence.” That thought so tortured the Japanese author that he committed ritualistic suicide rather than face aging.

As we’ve discussed before, many cultures and religions believe the dead somehow live on “in their prime,” either as proud warriors or in perfected bodies. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs about the afterlife or lack thereof. But when it comes to our physical bodies, we all know we’re born into a losing struggle.

We age. We sicken. We die. The only question is how we respond.

There are two alternatives. You can rage against it, while acknowledging its inevitability. You can build power, seek adventure, create legends. Demand the impossible. Become your true self, your highest self, your greatest self. And live a Myth that will last forever.

The alternative is to preach decline, weakness, and death. It’s to define yourself by your flaws and sicknesses. More than that, it’s to use your weaknesses as a weapon against others. This is the Victim Culture that reigns today.

Morality, after all, is a Will to Power. Morality is the after-the-fact justification rulers use to defend concrete interests. The various “-isms” people fight against are just ideological constructs. If you go along with their morality, you’re giving them license to your money, your time, your life.

The newest “-ism” is “Ableism.”

Obviously, if someone is sick or hurt, it’s reasonable for society to accommodate them. It’s cruel to mock or stigmatize people for poor health. Even those who are strong can be instantly struck down by illness or injury. We should always be conscious that we can’t take health for granted.

Thousands of young Americans have lost limbs or suffered terrible brain injuries after fighting in the Middle East. Mocking such people, instead of honoring them, is perverse.

But does anyone actually do this? What problem is “ableism” supposed to solve?

Today, it seems “ableism” is a celebration of disability rather than a justified request for dignity. Just a few days ago, #YouMightBeAbleistIf trended on Twitter. Many of the complaints focused on the “ableism” of people who encourage weightlifting, losing weight, or bodybuilding.

It’s “ableist” for fictional characters to have a handicap removed.

It’s “ableist” to develop technology that will allow those crippled by sickness to walk.

It’s “ableist” to hope your newborn child is healthy.

It’s “ableist” to tell fat people to lose weight – in fact, to end “fatphobia” we need to end Western Civilization itself.

This isn’t compassion. It’s fetishizing weakness and ugliness. Most people who are hurt or ill want to get better, not be congratulated that they are part of the “oppressed” class. If being sick or suffering is inherently good, it would mean that we should stop practicing medicine or studying diseases, lest we “stigmatize” or “erase” those we can’t immediately cure.

Helping those who are hurt and tolerating destructive habits are two different things. Someone who is fat because they lack self-control doesn’t deserve praise, but tough love or shame. Acknowledging problems, weaknesses, and failures should never cross over into accepting them, much less praising them.

So many of those who criticize “ableism” are acting in bad faith. Affluent and powerful writers proudly recite their supposed “mental disorders” as if it exempts them from criticism. This isn’t a rebellion against oppression. It’s a weaponized morality they are using to protect their elite status.

“Only the inferior strive for equality- those seeking to make more of themselves are not interested in the concept of egalitarianism or ‘fairness,’ and reject that as a childish notion,” wrote Paul Waggener. “In this life, we will have either what we can attain and hold for ourselves, or what those stronger than we are decide to allow us.” The worst part about our present condition is that those who have power over us justify it by claiming weakness.

But weakness is more than a political pose. It’s a brutal, crushing reality we all confront as we age. Yet the reality of weakness and death doesn’t negate the value of strength and life. A healthy (unless that word too is “ableist”) society values beauty, creation, and production. Ugliness, destruction, and decay exist, but to praise these forces is to deny life.

This isn’t do say that pain can’t have value. Nietzsche suffered from debilitating headaches from the time he was a child. Obviously, if there was a cure, he probably would have taken it. Yet without that pain and that experience, he may not have been driven to philosophize with a hammer.

Those who are chronically ill or dying can still serve life. There’s something heroic about those who risk dangerous treatments to provide information that will help others. Yet even this is an act of defiance against death. Pain is justified if it is a spur to accomplishment.

Even in defeat, we recognize strength and dignity. Think of sculptures like “The Dying Gaul” or “The Lion Monument” to the Swiss Guard. Contrast that to the “art” of today that serves to deconstruct the very idea of beauty, like a banana duct-taped to a wall that recently sold for $120,000. The former achievements will last forever. The latter will simply be a historical footnote about an embarrassing age of decline.

Strength, power, accomplishment – these things outlast any individual’s life. Weakness, defeat, petty scheming – these are rightfully forgotten.

In a larger sense, it’s the awareness of oncoming death that drives us all forward to greatness, to grow strong while we still can, to seek beauty while we have the chance, to risk death when we still have life. As countless books, films and poems have pointed out, if we had bodily immorality, we might even yearn for death simply out of boredom.

Perhaps one day our descendants will confront that problem. But we won’t. Death is coming for you, inevitable and inexorable. Your body is decaying, your cells collapsing into entropy. How will you respond? Not even today is guaranteed.

Don’t beg for “equality” – in the physical sense, we’ll all be equal when we’re dead. You’ll get your egalitarianism soon enough. What will do you to serve life? What will you do to build something beyond yourself?

In creation, in combat, at the gym… defy pain, sickness, and ugliness. Fight with every ounce of strength against entropy and despair. Endure. Be remembered as a hero, not as an object of pity. And when King Death comes for you, sneer in triumph because you built something beautiful that outlasts even Him.

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In Hoc Signo Vinces

The Standard

In the year 9, three Roman legions were destroyed by the Cherusci chieftain Hermann. Germania was spared Gaul’s fate of becoming just another province.

Most people who identify with or even know about the Germanic gods are familiar with the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. It’s almost cliché.

Fewer know what the Romans did during the disaster. The greatest disgrace for a Roman soldier was to lose their “eagle,” their standard. One Roman standard bearer, refusing to give the barbarians the satisfaction of a captured eagle, reportedly threw himself into the bog with it. He drowned. The eagle was lost, or, in that soldier’s last thoughts, saved.

Many people know the Emperor Augustus supposedly wandered the palace after the disaster, crying, “Where are my legions?” But other accounts have him saying, “Where are my eagles?”

One highlight of Augustus’s reign was ensuring the return of eagles that the Persians had captured in a previous war. Even though he got them back through diplomacy, not war, Augustus treated it like a great victory. The Romans getting the eagles back is even depicted on Augustus’s armor on the famous statue we’ve all seen.

It’s easy to be ironic about eagles, flags, or other standards. In one play, Shakespeare’s character Falstaff dismisses the very idea of honor as absurd (“a mere scutcheon”) and says, “I’ll [have] none of it.” But his friend who becomes King Henry V gives those heroic speeches (“Once more into the breach” and “We band of brothers”) that audiences respond to even now.

Napoleon supposedly said that “a soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.” If he indeed said it, he didn’t mean it cynically. He restored the tradition of giving “eagles” to his regiments. Of course, while they were a rallying point for the men, they were also targets for enemies. If a person captured one, he was a national hero.

But at the end of the day, they were chunks of metal.

The same is true of flags. If you identify with a certain country, its flag is something sacred; if you hate it, it’s something vile. If you don’t care, it’s just a piece of cloth.

We stroll past things in museums that earlier people thought were powerful, sacred, worth killing or dying for. This age has its own taboos, ones that will appeal foolish to future generations. The same person who smirks at a hero’s tomb will react like a scandalized Puritan if you question the equality of all men.

The anarchist Max Stirner said ideas like “God,” “Fatherland,” or “property rights” were just “spooks,” empty ghosts that people have created for themselves or to trick others. Most people think they are really serving some higher purpose when they are just fulfilling their own self-interest, or being fooled into serving someone else’s.  There’s a lot of truth in what he says.

Yet is it really that simple? Like the Roman who killed himself to spite his victorious enemies, there are countless examples of men who sacrifice all that they have for honor’s sake, even if it seems pointless, even if nobody will ever notice. That’s why we respond to tales of heroism and sacrifice, even in defense of causes that make no sense to us today. “You say it is the good cause that hallows any war. I say unto you: it is the good war that hallows any cause.”

There’s something inherent in us that wants to reach beyond ourselves; there’s something in life that reaches beyond life.

We read that Odin sacrificed “himself to himself” to gain knowledge. There are many ways to interpret this, but one is that he was willing to pay the price of death to glimpse a truth, even for just a moment. Think of the concept of a “good death,” which different cultures like that of the Japanese, the American Indians, and the Vikings all shared.  There was this concept of ultimate self-realization at the moment of your extinction. When famine, war, disease, and tyranny were so omnipresent, the way you met your death was basically the only choice you had.

Today, many people probably don’t even realize when they are dying because they are drugged up or unconscious. Yet ultimately, most still have that same choice. More than that, we have the far more important choice of deciding not what we will die for, but what we will live for, and how we will live.

In the past, heroes fought for a god, a flag, a king, or some other authority because they were in an environment where it was expected. Your identity was assigned to you. This was comforting in many ways.

We are wiser now, or perhaps just more cynical. We have the terrifying, awful freedom to choose our standard, to create our own eagle. We aren’t assigned it automatically. There’s no Emperor to order you forward, no warrior king to take you on a great quest. We must do it ourselves.

In this consumerist, post-honor, and increasingly post-human society, it’s easy to walk away from commitments, to shed identities, to “choose” a religion with no more thought than you might choose Amazon or Netflix. Even Marx wrote, “All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned.”

Of course, he was wrong; new idols have simply been created to replace the old ones and blasphemers are punished in the same old ways. Now, the priests of weakness preach the creed of self-degradation, and call it humanity; of degeneracy, which they call liberation.

What has truly been destroyed is the older idea of heroism, of living your life to serve something greater, higher, and nobler than yourself. Even if these concepts are just self-created, what’s been taken away is the idea of “sacrificing yourself to yourself,” of forging yourself into your own Ideal, of living a Myth and so making it real.

This is why Operation Werewolf is necessary. There is a Need to create a real culture, to worship strength, to tap into an everlasting Tradition and make it relevant to this time. In an Empire of ashes and dust, we must look to Iron and Blood to rekindle the living spirit of something authentic.

It is here. It exists now. The black flag of the Operation has been unfurled, the Totenwolf revealed, the Iron Age upon us. It is a challenge to all the world, but ultimately it is a challenge to ourselves.

Are we willing to rally around this standard? Will we accomplish what we say we will? If necessary, will we sacrifice all for this banner, the way a legionnaire would value his life as nothing before the eagle?

Many have enrolled in Werewolf Elite. Yet Operatives who didn’t, for whatever reason, are still part of this. They are still claiming the same standard. They are still creating this rising culture.

As you go into the new year, there’s a question you must ask yourself. What standard are you showing to the world? Are you willing to defend it to the end? What are the values that you proclaim? Are you going to be the person you say you are?

At a time of deracination, degradation, and entropy, we raise the banner of strength. We rally to no standard but our own. We show our belief in the Myth by living it. And we will create something that lasts forever under the banner of the wolf.

Iron and Blood,

Operative 413

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The First King: Birth of an Empire – Review

Every empire begins with a tribe. Every tribe begins with a cult.

The First King is ostensibly about Romulus, Remus, and the creation of Rome. Yet it’s really about leadership and identity.

There are no marble columns or statues in this story, no patrician class. Romulus and Remus are two shepherds eking out a living, covered in dirt and grime. After they are almost killed by a flood, they are captured and enslaved by masked warriors from Alba Longa.

They and other slaves are forced to fight to the death as part of a sacrifice. Romulus tells his brother to beat him mercilessly. When the priestess approaches to ritualistically smear blood on the “dead” Romulus, he awakens and grabs her. The other slaves break their bonds and kill their enslavers. Romulus is wounded, but he tells us brother that “the god,” represented by the fire kept by the priestess, is coming with them now.

Romulus defies two conventions. He touches the sacred priestess and he claims ownership over the fire. However, he does not deny the god’s existence or the power of Tradition. Instead, he claims it for his own new tribe.

The small band of slaves and rogues escape into a forest. They want to kill the wounded Romulus, but Remus insists that Romulus be saved. However, at one point, Remus goes to find food, and one of the men takes this chance to finish off Romulus, this burden to the group.

However, the priestess builds a “sacred fire” around the wounded man and invokes horrible curses on anyone who crosses it. Terrified, the man backs down. Remus then returns with a deer he’s slaughtered, and it’s clear he has become the leader. In fact, he proclaims himself “king.” The first king is not Romulus, but Remus.

The men then kill a band of warriors from a nearby village. Remus enters the village with his warriors, with the head of the former leader on a pike. He claims the village as the seat of his new kingdom. The priestess wonders whether he is a kind of god.

However, after a sacrifice, the priestess inspects the entrails and says that one brother must kill the other in order to create a powerful state. Everyone assumes this means Remus must kill the wounded Romulus.

Remus responds in Nietzschean fashion. He defies the prophecy and ties the priestess in the woods to be devoured by beasts. He burns the village down and lets the sacred fire go out. He kills a villager in cold blood. When defied, he forces men to bow before him. He asserts that “the god” isn’t real, and that men will make their own fates.

Romulus, now somewhat healed, confronts his brother. Remus, ashamed, goes to find the priestess, but she has already been mauled by animals and is on the verge of death. She tells him to “run away.”

Meanwhile, Romulus consoles the mourning villagers and helps them bury the dead men with the appropriate rites. He also rekindles the sacred fire and picks a young girl to feed it for the rest of her life. She is the first Vestal Virgin.

Remus regathers the remainder of his small group of warriors and try to flee the area by crossing a river. Unfortunately, the mounted soldiers from Alba Longa have finally come for revenge. They are outmatched, but Romulus and the villagers arrive to rescue them.

Yet even after this, Remus insists on his regal title. He wants everyone to bow to him. There’s an old legend that Romulus killed Remus after the latter leapt over Rome’s initial walls. Romulus then said something like, “Woe to whoever overleaps my bounds.”

In this film, Romulus makes a boundary between Remus and the sacred fire. Remus crosses it and is slain in the ensuring fight. Romulus is horrified at what he’s done, but recognizes it was necessary. Remus repents just before death, recognizing that Romulus is his king.

The small group burns the body and Romulus says his brother’s strength will guide this new settlement, Rome.

It will be a haven for slaves and outcasts, who will in turn become masters of the Earth.

If Operation Werewolf is about anything, it’s about worshiping strength. However, strength is not enough. Remus is the strongest, yet his power and charisma can’t build a society. Romulus is powerful but also what Nietzsche calls a “creator of peoples.”

He gives them a faith and a creed to bind them together. He reconnects to an ancient tradition – the sacral fire that represents the presence of “the god.” Yet he also violates the taboos. He appeals to something eternal but he adapts it to his own needs, his own time, and his own conditions.

Remus is a great warrior – the priestess even admits he is something of a god. Yet because he does not link that strength to anything greater than himself, he is ultimately defeated. His claims to “kingship” over a petty band of scruffy villagers seem pathetic and self-aggrandizing.

Yet to his credit, Remus recognizes this. Before he dies, he salutes Romulus as “my king.” In turn, Romulus holds up Remus’s strength and pride as noble qualities for his new Romans to follow.

And who are his new Romans? Outcasts, former slaves, a few warriors, some old men. But Romulus teaches them that they are strong if they are united. Outcasts can become a tribe, a tribe with a tradition becomes a people, a people can create a rising culture.

What is the ultimate goal of Werewolf Elite? Of course, there’s the objective of Total Life Reform. However, like Romulus, we want to link people to an eternal tradition that is expressing itself in new forms.

Even if you can deadlift 600 pounds, defeat anyone in a fight, overcome any physical challenge, it can only go so far if you aren’t part of something larger. Werewolf Elite is about forging something greater than ourselves.

Individual physical strength is the foundation. It’s necessary to everything we want to accomplish. But by itself, it is insufficient.

There is one final opportunity to enroll in Werewolf Elite. Then, we are cutting it off. If you feel the call to not only rebuild yourself, but build something greater than yourself, this is for you.

Remember, even Rome started with just two men.