First, a bit from The Everlasting Man, to show what I’m talking about:
Whether it be because the Fall has really brought men nearer to less desirable neighbors in the spiritual world, or whether it is merely that the mood of men eager or greedy finds it easier to imagine evil, I believe that the black magic of witchcraft has been much more practical and much less poetical than the white magic of mythology. I fancy the garden of the witch has been kept much more carefully than the woodland of the nymph. I fancy the evil field has even been more fruitful than the good. To start with, some impulse, perhaps a sort of desperate impulse, drove men to the darker powers when dealing with practical problems. There was a sort of secret and perverse feeling that the darker powers would really do things; that they had no nonsense about them. And indeed that popular phrase exactly expresses the point. The gods of mere mythology had a great deal of nonsense about them. They had a great deal of good nonsense about them; in the happy and hilarious sense in which we talk of the nonsense of Jabberwocky or the Land where the Jumblies live. But the man consulting a demon felt as many a man has felt in consulting a detective, especially a private detective; that it was dirty work but the work would really be done.. A man did not exactly go into the wood to meet a nymph; he rather went with the hope of meeting a nymph. It was an adventure rather than an assignation. But the devil really kept his appointments and even in one sense kept his promises; even if a man sometimes wished afterwards, like Macbeth, that he had broken them.
In the accounts given us of many rude or savage races we gather that the cult of demons often came after the cult of deities, and even after the cult of one single and supreme deity. It may be suspected that in almost all such places the higher deity is felt to be too far off for appeal in certain petty matters, and men invoke the spirits because they are in a more literal sense familiar spirits. But with the idea of employing the demons who get things done, a new idea appears more worthy of the demons. It may indeed be truly described as the idea of being worthy of the demons; of making oneself fit for their fastidious and exacting society. Superstition of the lighter sort toys with the idea that some trifle, some small gesture such as throwing the salt, may touch the hidden spring that works the mysterious machinery of the world. And there is after all something in the idea of such an Open Sesame. But with the appeal to lower spirits comes the horrible notion that the gesture must not only be very small but very low; that it must be a monkey trick of an utterly ugly and unworthy sort. Sooner or later a man deliberately sets himself to do the most disgusting thing he can think of. It is felt that the extreme of evil will extort a sort of attention or answer from the evil powers under the surface of the world. This is the meaning of most of the cannibalism in the world.
For most cannibalism is not a primitive or even a bestial habit. It is artificial and even artistic; a sort of art for art’s sake. Men do not do it because they do not think it horrible; but, on the contrary, because they do think it horrible. They wish, in the most literal sense, to sup on horrors. That is why it is often found that rude races like the Australian natives are not cannibals, while much more refined and intelligent races, like the New Zealand Maories, occasionally are. They are refined and intelligent enough to indulge sometimes in a self-conscious diabolism. But if we could understand their minds, or even really understand their language, we should probably find that they were not acting as ignorant, that is as innocent cannibals. They are not doing it because they do not think it wrong, but precisely because they do think it wrong. They are acting like a Parisian decadent at a Black Mass. But the Black Mass has to hide underground from the presence of the real Mass. In other words, the demons have really been in hiding since the coming of Christ on earth. The cannibalism of the higher barbarians is in hiding from…civilization… But before Christendom, and especially outside Europe, this was not always so. In the ancient world the demons often wandered abroad like dragons. They could be positively and publicly enthroned as gods.
What specifically brought that passage to my mind was this story of horrors in the Congo, including what appears to be ritualistic cannibalism: cannibalism not caused by people starving and thus eating whatever comes to hand, but engaging in it for reasons of magic…to obtain some power or favor. What was forced into hiding by the coming of Christian civilization – even in very much non-Christian areas of the world – is now out and about; openly stalking the world.
Of course, we don’t believe in demons, do we? Well, no matter: they believe in you.
It isn’t just in the Congo. There is a cult rapidly growing in the Americas called Santa Muerte – Holy Death. It is a pagan religion which fuses pre-Columbian native religious ideals with elements of Catholic imagery. The cult is very popular among gangsters, especially gangsters in such organizations as MS-13. When you hear about the horrors perpetrated by MS-13, you’re not just hearing about gangsters being gangsters, but very likely finding out about horrific practices by people who have dropped Christian civilization in favor of the worst sort of demonic paganism (side note, I once came into direct contact with some people who were into this – I very nearly fled in terror; there was a very dark evil about them). This desire for the power of demons is getting to be everywhere – and people from all different backgrounds are joining in. After all, what are the Jihadists but another death cult like Santa Muerte or those cannibals in the Congo?
Another thing which got me on to this subject was reading a couple weeks ago a “historian’s” take on the massacres carried out by the Aztecs in their religious practices (do keep in mind that Santa Muerte derives as lot of its views from the Aztecs). This was a typical Progressive bit of drivel about how we Westerners – imprisoned by our racist, colonialist past – simply cannot understand the deep meaning and inner beauty of The Other. This is what really irritates me the most about the Left: their abandonment of basic, human decency in viewing the world. Its actually quite easy for any person to understand what the Aztecs were up to – it is the same thing an MS-13 gangster, Jihadist or a Congo cannibal is up to: perpetrating horrors in order to obtain or retain power. The Aztecs knew full well what they were doing was wrong. If they didn’t, then the Aztecs, themselves, would have volunteered to have their still-beating hearts ripped from their chests. But, they didn’t. They captured foreigners and used them for the sacrifices, thus easily demonstrating for anyone with room temperature IQ that the whole edifice of Aztec religion was a con. Brutal and deadly, but still a con.
All one has to do to penetrate a con like this is ask that question: are the people selling the con submitting themselves to the worst aspects of the con? Just as an example: the USSR: the con being sold was that even if things were bad, they were all equal and everyone was working to build a glorious, socialist future. Fine. Except those who were proclaiming this as true lived in high-end dachas and were allowed to shop at well-stocked stores the common people couldn’t enter. Con. The Jihadist leaders – proclaiming that God wants these things to happen and those who die in the cause will get a one-way ticket to heaven. Once again, fine. But if you really believed that, you’d volunteer to strap on the bomb vest, yourself. Con. And so it was with the Aztecs.
Another aspect overlooked – or, perhaps, ignored? – is how cool it is. You and I recoil in horror from such things and that is good; but not everyone does. Ever wonder why people slow down to look at a car wreck? What are they hoping to see? Some gore. A horror. Something to wake them up from their dream, even if what wakes them is a nightmare. We’re all susceptible to it. To go from rubbernecking at a car accident to ritualistically slaughtering people – and, perhaps, eating them as well – isn’t that far a step. It is a step, thank God, most of us don’t take…but it is the smallest step you could take. It’s merely a matter of stopping hoping to see something horrible to just making it happen. And if you’ve got the stomach for it, you can go far. Whole empires have been founded on it. People do like a spectacle, after all. And if you feed them that, they’ll put up with a lot from you. And those who don’t like it will often fall silent for fear of being ground up in it. As long as you aren’t having your heart ripped out, being forced to strap on the bomb vest, being forced to recant in a show trial…maybe just keep your trap shut and it’ll all blow over?
But our problem is that it isn’t blowing over – it is, in my view, getting worse all the time. Demons are like that – never quite satisfied. You, invoking them, might think that you’ll do it just this once and then be done with it, but the problem with doing wicked things – as in all forms of rapid descent – is that stopping is hard, and gets harder the further down you go. And we’ve gone quite a long ways down. Think how low we Americans – arguably the most Christian people remaining in the world – have fallen: 60 years ago, abortion was almost entirely illegal in the United States…now we have people who are seriously arguing that even a born child isn’t fully human and can justly be killed. We have people demanding we celebrate abortion as a good thing…we’re not very far off from going Carthaginian here…you know, getting dressed up in our Sunday best and heading out to watch a baby being roasted alive. But, Mark, you say: this isn’t demonic. It is wrong – maybe even stupidly wrong – but it isn’t demonic. It is based upon Enlightenment thinking, even if it is being taken the wrong way. We don’t worship demons here!
Well, yeah, we do. There’s a reason God says that He is a jealous God…not because He needs our worship, but because He knows that if we worship anything besides God, we’ll eventually make a demon out of it. It is an old risk in paganism – all paganism. Even the most clean and respectable sort of paganism has that risk. You might wish to worship the spirits of the field and that isn’t all too wrong…you need those fruitful fields. But, after a while, you’ll find that you’ve left off worshiping the spirit of creation and have started worshiping the demon of mere sexual appetite. The Romans probably had to the most sane paganism of any high civilization of the past, but even in Rome, were you to transport yourself back into that time, you’d find in well-appointed gardens of highly civilized men and women a status of Priapus. Not something you’d want on your lawn…well, not something you would want. But you know as well as I do that plenty of our neighbors would be delighted to have that vulgar thing out there.
Think about this: plenty of people are saying we need things like abortion and birth control to keep our population low, or even reduce it, because too many people means the Earth dies. Have you really rolled that idea around in your head? Once you do, you realize that such people are saying that the Earth has intrinsic value…that it is something which has worth outside that which is assigned by rational minds. If we weren’t here, the world would be worthless – nothing of any consequence would ever happen. The people who want to “save the Earth” have made the Earth their god…and are willing to sacrifice children on the altar of their god. It is paganism as senseless as any practiced in the pre-Christian past. But think of the tens of millions who really think we have to “save” the Earth…and who are willing to sacrifice human life to do so.
Death is the crucial thing here – the taking of human life. You see, once you’ve participated in that, it is very hard to not back to the hilt the idea which convinced you to go along with it. Of course, it is the last lie out of Hell that a person can’t change. Indeed, the price for any sin we have committed or might commit in the future – regardless of how horrible – has already been paid in full. Anyone, no matter how hardened a sinner, can change – and glory to God, some do. But let’s admit that it is difficult; and the more deeply a sinner has gone into sin, the harder to pull back. There gets to be a sense that there is no going back. And when the sinner has really hit rock bottom, he starts justifying the sin as a good thing. Like this: there are likely many men who are firm advocates for abortion because they once paid for someone’s abortion. Further: once you’ve done that, you might perhaps become a historian who suddenly finds human sacrifice to be not all that bad…or someone who figures that the jihadist might have a point.
There are many battles to be fought, and many worthy battles, at that. We can’t just concentrate on one thing. But I do ask that everyone give a thought to this battle I have noticed: the battle against the demons. God tested Abraham with human sacrifice but once – and stayed Abraham’s hand. God doesn’t want our deaths. To me, it stands to reason that anyone who wants a human death – who desires it as some good thing – is standing athwart God; against all that is good and decent. And it doesn’t matter if you desire to bring about the death via ritualistic cannibalism; a bomb vest, an abortion clinic or an assisted suicide…if your desire is death as a good thing, then you are in league with demons, and I’m against you.
And I think, ultimately, this will prove the most important battleground of our era. A fight between those who want to use death as a means to an end and those who wish to use life as a means to an end. Not for nothing were people moved to talk about a Culture of Life and a Culture of Death. I think they were moved to talk about it in those terms by a higher power. Because it is the crucial thing – do you want life, or death? I want life – and I want everyone to have life. I might be forced by circumstances to agree to killing, but I’ll never think of killing as good. This puts me against people who think that killing, as such, can be good, or can accomplish some good thing. Such people who believe in death have their piles of corpses, but I’ve yet to see any of the good things they said such corpses would provide. On the other hand I see those who want life…and I see them alive. To me, this is an unanswerable argument.