Book Review | Bronze Age Mindset
Bronze Age Mindset by Bronze Age Pervert (£7.26)
What is the most right-wing position you can imagine? Ban abortion? Privatise the NHS? Compulsory religious education? Re-introduce conscription?
You are not even trying.
The political right is, in the final analysis, about adherence to the laws of nature. If you take this position to its root, being a radical, you will conclude that civilisation itself is a mistake. The right is about freedom arising from a natural order, and no man is as free today as he was in the stage before civilisation. Civilisation has always rested on the slavedriver’s whip, the priest’s lies, and – above all – the grain of the farmer. The milquetoast conservatives, like Roger Scruton, may praise their cathedrals, but the most radical rightist will scoff at Chartres. Civilisation is an unnatural state, though it may make extraordinary use of the natural energies it twists and contorts. This view is quite hard to comprehend for most people today, because conservatives and the hard right bang on endlessly about “saving Western civilisation” or civilisation in general. The idea that civilisation is a corruption will be quite novel to many on the right, and it will actually sound like a leftist position.
This antipathy to civilisation is also a religious view. It’s more than that, it’s the religious view. The writer Bruce Chatwin understood that the essence of religion is walking. The Tao is described as “the way”, Jesus walked into the desert, Mohammad trekked across Arabian sands, Moses led his people on a great exodus, and the Buddha was a great walker. Wherever religion springs up it always does so in opposition to the city, and it is always forged through walking. The film director Werner Herzog understood this when he identified travel by foot as sacred and aircraft-borne tourism as a sin. Indeed, Herzog walked from Munich to Paris when his mentor, Lotte Eisner, was dying. He maintained that this act of spiritual devotion kept her from death. I believe him.
The religion of walking is, you must understand, not in anyway nice. The small human band walking through Africa thousands of years ago hears a choking from the straggler in their column. It’s grandma. She can’t walk anymore. Tough. She is hastily buried (or perhaps left where she fell, though with appropriate charms and rites) and the band marches on. Movement is ruthless and Darwinian. Movement winnows the weak from the little band. Religion, the numinous, is founded on this absolute brutality. As Heidegger might have observed, it is only by holding death before us that we can cultivate a truly religious attitude to the world. The little walking band always had death before them. The nomads are holy and, in a strange way, Pope Francis is right to say that migrants are close to God.
Walking is connected, of course, to rhythm and song. When a baby cannot sleep, we pick the little bundle up and walk until it is quieted. We do this because we are evoking the deep memory of walking and the rhythm that goes with it. The great thinkers, Nietzsche and Kant, were also great walkers. Nietzsche distrusted indoor thoughts. He knew that thoughts coalesce in a particular way when walked into existence. In this way, we can see a connection between rhythm, song, poetry, religion, walking, and thought. Mathematics is a matter of patterns and rhythms in its own way, and so even the most abstract of the sciences must be walked into existence. What is, say, an algorithm? It is an algo rhythm. That is my own invented etymology, but it is an invention that contains a truth. There is, ultimately, no separation between movement and thought.
The city, meanwhile, is built on agriculture and impiety. It has commercial talent and technology, but it has very little movement or roaming. The people gather in the stadia and drinking halls. They are not brutal like the walker, but they are cruel and petty minded. They laugh and sneer at each other. Honour is unknown to them. They are, as Nietzsche observed, cruel to dumb animals. Sooner or later, the nomads – God fierce in them – will ride over the hill to burn the city and restore a taste of the divine.
The implications of this situation for us in a globalised world where the “megacity” has become a kind of mania is significant. There is nowhere to go. We are trapped. Our possibilities for reaching the divine are limited by the day – even the nomads have skidoos and the Touareg drive…well…they drive VW Touaregs. We are pinned into the city, as much as a chicken is pinned into a factory farm. All the great paths and ways – Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, and Taoism – are melted down in the city into nothing more than a commercial accessory suitably adopted to the low needs of merchants and traders. Philosophy, art, and science – also rooted in walking – cannot escape the same fate. These become mere tokens, reduced to the ideology of “scientism” or slaved to the dead needs of technology.
Those who stand against this world stand with the nomad as the ideal. These riders of the plain, adored by Chatwin, preserve the antic freedom, good humour, sense of the divine, and brutality of the walker. They live in movement. They are not dominated by their women like the city dweller; for the city is the domain of the matriarch. The nomads do not work passively for beer and grain. They ride. They take what they want: women, riches, or horses. They are a necessary part of the cycle of all life. Nature demands that when the city overreaches herself, a horde of nomads must emerge to clean and purify the muck.
The city will arise again. It was always so. But the horde must come again. It was always so.
This should make you think about our age of world cities. The Second World War was long ago. Our forest is filled with unburned dead material, and when humans stop forest fires from occurring naturally the eventual conflagration is always worse than many small fires. We have been holding back the purifying fire for many decades now. Accordingly, the next conflagration will be a mighty one.
Bronze Age Pervert is a self-proclaimed nude fascist body builder who is determined to end the decadent and louche time of the cities. The Pervert’s Twitter account has gained public notoriety though an act of trolling by the neo-reactionary thinker Mencius Moldbug, who claimed in an interview with a reporter that the Pervert was rallying his legions of nude bodybuilders in preparation for a march on Washington to defend Trump. The Pervert’s Twitter account features diet advice, dreams of the lost city of Atlantis, pictures of his bodybuilding “frog” acolytes (#HandsomeThursday), and musings on reactionary politics. This combination is catnip to the media, and hackettes in particular are drawn back to the Pervert to deliver panty soaked condemnations of his politics in the form of articles on radical right politics. “You are a very, very bad boy. Stop being a nude fascist bodybuilder. #HandsomeThursday s-i-g-h. I really hope you don’t come and tell me off *gulp* *squirt* for cheeking you.” So runs the refrain. As the Pervert himself might say, “Grils are groace.”
Bronze Age Mindset is, I should add, extremely well written and executed. The Pervert has a definite style, and developing a style is the essence of good writing (it is also the essence of life). There is no doubt that he has seduced many people this way, for he does sound like some charming Conan the Barbarian figure come to life. It is easy to imagine him mashing the keys of his iPhone between vigorous workouts at the gym – occasionally pausing to refresh himself with lashings of coconut ice cream.
The Pervert’s worldview is essentially the one I have sketched out above. You, a mere “hueman” or “bugman”, are living in a open air prison called technological modernity. You live a cramped and squalid life doped up on sugar and carbohydrates, dominated by women, and entranced by banal and cruel television shows.
Throughout Mindset, the Pervert lusts for space – we need more space. The desire for living space, lebensraum, is never made explicit, but this is what the Pervert is suggesting. The Nazi plans for Eastern Europe, once they had fully enslaved the Slavs and killed the Jewish people living there, involved setting the land up as a kind of vast system of estates and roaming space. It was not preparation for a nomadic existence, but it was a system that would fulfil the Pervert’s desire to roam freely in adherence to the laws of nature rather than civilisation. Ideas of this kind, as you would expect from a nude fascist body builder, run through the book implicitly.
We live in a time when the terms “neo-Nazi” and “fascist” are overused, encompassing everyone from Jordan Peterson to Donald Trump. Further, we also live in a time when there is much ambiguity and irony in our digital lives. A great appeal of the Pervert, to press and public alike, is his ambiguity. Is he really on the level? Is this just another troll or prank? His persona seems so humorous and ridiculous that many will believe that his politics are merely an extreme affectation, a chance to be a naughty boy and provoke. I believe, however, that he is sincere. His beliefs as expressed in this book are entirely consistent with aspects of Nazi ideology and, particularly, he shows a predilection for the ideas of “esoteric Hiterlism” propounded by the Chilean diplomat Miguel Serrano. These include psychic powers, a belief in Atlantis as an Aryan homeland, and the notion of Antarctica as a base for Nazi UFOs – among other eccentric beliefs.
The idea that space and expansion are inherently a characteristic of Western man is not solely Nazi property. It manifested strongly in the thought of Oswald Spengler; a man who was not a Nazi sympathiser, though he was of the hard right. Spengler claimed that the infinite, space, and expansion were characteristics of the West. Accordingly, Western man is always reaching out through conquest, aviation, and space travel. The hankering for space is characteristically Western. Other civilisations, the Chinese for example, are much more urban and contained in the way they advance.
Konrad Lorenz also hangs heavily over Mindset. Lorenz studied the behaviour of animals and their demarcation of territory. He was a Nazi party member, as were many in the intellectual establishment of Austria, and the Austrian state has recently posthumously rescinded honours granted to him. The Pervert, not being a strict Darwinian, seems to draw much inspiration from Lorenz’s fascination with aggression, territory, and the field of ethology. The Pervert accepts, in the spirit of Nietzsche, that the truth is multi-levelled. He agrees that Darwinism is true in a certain sense, but he also – following Schopenhauer – sees the Will as being key to understanding biological nature. Lorenz’s fascination with aggression and the territorial, particularly the population numbers in an area required to spark aggression, chimes neatly with the Pervert’s view of life as a territorial struggle for space. Lorenz’s work, though observational (a style much admired by the Pervert), contained non-English materialist aspect, i.e. he saw the working of the Will as something connected to but external to the biological behaviour of the individual animal.
This interest in the Will and observation as opposed to a crude materialism and abstraction relates, of course, to ideas current in the Third Reich of an “Aryan physics” or “Aryan science”. This is what, in his fascination with the Will and disdain for “English methods” of science, the Pervert is expounding.
A further neo-Nazi trope within Mindset is its anti-Semitism. The Pervert asserts that the people called “Jewish” today are not Jewish at all, and proceeds to advance the idea that there is a disconnect between the two categories. This view is designed to delegitimatise a people and so justify mass murder on the grounds that only people following an “evil” ideology, not an entire people, are being killed. It’s a wicked idea.
The idea that there is such a thing as a “Jewish attitude”, quite distinct from a Jewish people, was fairly common in the 19th century and is evident in both Marx and Nietzsche. When the Nazis spoke of “killing the Jew within yourself” this was what they were alluding to. Looking back from the 21st century, we forget that the Nazi conception of race was not genetic as we would understand it, and their animus towards the Jewish people was not based in, as was traditional in Europe, religious anti-Semitism. Rather, Nazi anti-Semitism was rooted in the view the Pervert expounds, that there is a sort of womanish, commercial, and overly-civilised way of being that – while applicable to any person – is particularly pronounced in Jewish people. This is a spiritual form of racial animus that contains a blood element through inheritance, but it is quite alien to people in the 21st century who are more schooled in contemporary genetic thought.
You must understand, therefore, that the Pervert expounds, to an extent, a classical Nazi account of what it means to be Jewish. He does not announce this, of course. That would drive people from his work. But that is the view that you will swallow, if you take this book as truthful. You may wish to stick two fingers down your throat to vomit it up.
However, the picture is more complicated than this. The Pervert is not a complete anti-Semite, nor quite as radical as the Nazis in his anti-Semitism. The idea that the Jewish people had become womanish, overly commercial, and weakened (nerdy, as the Pervert would have it) was shared by a wing of the Zionist movement – specifically Revisionist Zionism, a movement that took inspiration from European fascism in its vision for Israel.
The Revisionist Zionists wished to reconnect the Jewish people with their ancestral soil and make them into a strong agricultural and warrior people. Revisionist Zionism achieved its goals. Yes, it is true, we have the characters portrayed by Woody Allen and Larry David as the archetypal model of the “nerdy” Jewish man. But the Zionists – Revisionist Zionists in particular – with their insistence on working the land and soldierly conduct produced Moshe Dayan, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Ariel Sharon. There can be no doubt that these dynamic military men are quite different to the characters portrayed by Allen and David. In this sense, the reconnection of the Jewish people with their soil and the cultivation of a martial spirit in the people has created a vigorous and virile Israeli Jewish people. They stand tall, as the Revisionist Zionists intended.
This is why the Pervert can admire Israel, since Israel is one of the few states in current existence that comes close to embodying many of his political ideals – though he is himself indifferent regarding its existence as a state, being neither for or against it in its wider existential struggle. This is not so uncommon. The fact is that a black nationalist, a white nationalist, a paleoconservative, a Revisionist Zionist, an Italian fascist, and all the iterations of the hard right can have a grudging respect for each other – perhaps even cooperate in a limited way. This is because their common enemy, the left, wishes to dissolve all their peoples and nations into a uniform beigeocracy.
What kind of state does the Pervert want? Here he is at home with Nietzsche. He has great respect for the polis, but fundamentally he wants a select group of men to live with the freedom to range the plains and undertake great projects. He is not prescriptive with regards to the form this state should take, though it will be a state protected by closely knit societies of men – a bulwark, as Gore Vidal once observed, against tyranny in Ancient Greece.
He also connects with figures on the techno-commercial right, such as Mencius Moldbug and Nick Land, in this respect. They worship a technological city-state, yes, that is so. But the spirit of decentralisation and hierarchy emerging from that decentralisation is in keeping with the Pervert’s vision. The Pervert desires a state guarded by brotherhoods of men (no homo) from tyranny while they pursue excellence in body and mind. The excellent body, as per Nietzsche, feeds into the excellent mind. And here he is in agreement with feminists who see science as the male mind raping nature, except that the Pervert sees that as a procreative and positive activity. The body beautiful, as developed by the Japanese writer Mishima, is the life goal. Mishima made his body beautiful and then sacrificed it in a military coup against Japans dull and commercial postwar government.
You can die in a hospital bed wired up with morphine at ninety, the indifferent and sadistic nurses laughing over your enfeebled body and working out if they can steal your phone…or you can die scaling a mountain or leading a coup against the state, young and beautiful. The former fate is most common in the technocratic West. The appeal of a glorious death was highlighted in columns by John Dolan (aka “the War Nerd”) many years ago, but he saw it as an impossibility or immoral. Awareness of this sensibility has been circulating in among the unofficial intelligentsia for sometime. The Pervert wishes to recapture this glorious death.
The Pervert is nothing but a consistent pederast (not paedophile) in the Greek sense, he appreciates the beauty of boys and young men aesthetically – and in this respect he is not unlike Germaine Greer. She also understands the appeal of boy love, having produced a whole book on the subject. This ties in to being “nude” rather than “naked”. You can have “naked careerism”, but you cannot have “nude careerism”. Nakedness is flagrant and womanly. Nudeness (nude bodybuilding) is about contemplating the body’s beauty and aesthetics, not merely the rutting sexuality of nakedness.
Returning from this diversion into nudity to the polis, the right – the occulted right in the West – is represented, I believe, by this affection for the city state, for it is only under the conditions of the city state that we can begin to pursue excellent – virtue in particular. This occulted or deep right includes: Nick Land, Mencius Moldbug, Alasdair McIntyre, Nassim Taleb, John Gray, and the Pervert.
All these men represent, in different ways, a move back to knowledge springing from the body and decentralised hierarchy. Their desire for smallness is not smallness for the sake of smallness. It is not a fetish of the small, but rather it is an appreciation that hierarchy and other particular goods can only function optimally at a certain level. They represent a new and resurgent form of radical rightist thought that has long been absent in the West.
Of these, the Pervert is in some ways the least original thinker. His ideas recapitulate the Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Weininger, Lorenz, and Nazi ideology. The other men on that list are much more distinct and take very different, often more technological, views of politics. However, the Pervert is the best stylist among these men. This may prove to be his great advantage in the long run, since aesthetics trumps clever arguments. I suspect, of course, that the Pervert would say aesthetics is a clever argument.
This comes down to Nietzsche, and from him it returns to Aristotle. Plato is the prophet of the totalitarian, and the product of an exhausted age. Aristotle, tutor to the warrior Alexander, was a through going observer and practical man. It is in Aristotle’s practicality that we find the roots of the body-rooted city state, and it is in Plato that we see the grand dreams of global control that developed into the EU and the UN.
In the end, it’s all a war between Plato and Aristotle.
As with Nietzsche, the Pervert looks to another form of consciousness to animate the human. Read the Iliad and the Odyssey – Bronze Age epics – and you will find that characters are animated by the gods whispering in their ears. They have little or no self-agency as we understand it. Zeus or Aphrodite whispers to you…and you’re off. And you’re probably in a lot of trouble, especially if Aphrodite has her claws into you. You learn to accept your fate, of course, it’s just what the gods have in mind for us mortals.
They kill us like flies for their sport.
This point was made by Julian Jaynes in the The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. The gods used to talk to us like an outside force and we walked the earth in a form of religious ecstasy, but civilisation crammed all this inside our mind. Life has been rather peculiar ever since then, and only a few people – particularly schizophrenics – still feel like they talk with the gods. The Pervert sees in this consciousness a form of external excess, a route to creative destruction and religious ecstasy of the most total sort. It’s how we should all live. The Pervert appeals to you to listen to that deep voice that seems to come from without you and guides you. You know what I mean. It’s how I’m writing this article. It’s almost as if “I’m” not writing it, but there is some thing that is writing through me.
It is through accessing the voice of the gods, now largely silent, that the Pervert hopes to see men return to their pre-civilisation state, the nomad bands walking the Earth in religious ecstasy. This is a world of extremes, and the Pervert lauds the Roman emperors for their cruelty. He does not necessarily approve, but he expects great achievement to beget great cruelty. The Pervert is no great believer in “Pizzagate” and similar stories of paedophile networks in high places. This is far too sophisticated for our banal elites who achieve nothing great. No great evil without great achievement, a point from Nietzsche again.
The Pervert celebrates the mercenary and the pirate. This is the world of Harry Flashman, and the popular series of novels based on his picaresque adventures – tales of a solider of fortune whose life is thick with adventure, beauty, girls, and treasure. An absolute cad and a villain in the oh-so-pious Tom Brown’s Schooldays, George MacDonald Fraser rescued Flashman from Hughes’s Schooldays and turned the character from bully and villain into a loveable rogue in a series of Bond-like novels.
This is why the Pervert lionises the mercenary adventurers of Africa, such as “Mad” Mike Hoare and the likes of Blackwater. These are the ideal individualistic adventurers of the modern world. But, more darkly, this is also the world of SS chief Heinrich Himmler, who called himself a “freebooter” (a knight for hire or wandering mercenary) in correspondence with his wife.
I do not subscribe to the Pervert’s worldview, though you may do so if you wish. It is a reviewer’s responsibility to point out what others might not see. If this were an automobile review and I discovered that windscreen wipers didn’t work in a hail storm, I would have to tell you that. I like the history of ideas, and so in this case it is my duty to tell you what ideas, particularly those derived from Nazism, are occulted and motivate this book – ideas not necessarily immediately apparent to the lay reader.
My personal theory of the Pervert, having researched him a little over the last year, is that he is sincere and on the level. He had a long posting history on hard right forums, and it is unlikely that anyone would sustain this worldview quite so persistently as a joke – although, of course, in our Internet age stranger things have happened and probably will. I suspect that he has a South American connection, probably to the Southern Cone countries. He may be partly a Chilean or Argentine, possibly explaining his anecdotes of the region and residual affection for Serrano. As to his occupation, he is too erudite and witty to be an engineer or the like. He is most likely a lawyer or management consultant by profession, probably with a degree in philosophy or mathematics as a first degree from an East Coast university.
This is as far as my half-arsed investigations have taken me. I am not a Nazi hunter, either amateur or professional. Whether or not I will ever know if this is true, well, it seems unlikely. My other theory, quite different, is that the Pervert is a graduate of West Coast university, probably Jewish and overweight, and that “BAP” is merely a highly elaborate prank by someone with a PhD in literature that has gotten radically out of hand.
The abbreviated and curt style of the BAP Twitter account does not fully translate to a book-length work. The awkward barbarian sounds surprisingly erudite, especially considering that he supposedly spends his time dreaming of sacking the decadent cities and slaying the great bitch goddess civilisation (perhaps represented by an overweight public librarian). However, the book’s pseudo-history does acknowledge that the book may have been transcribed in some Hong Kong opium den. We can, therefore, convince ourselves that the Pervert’s frog-like acolytes cleaned up the material, and that – as with Plato – we are dealing with a student’s notes here.
I could end this review with the usual caveats and exceptions expected by our dominant ideology. I am expected to condemn fascism, racism, and nude bodybuilding. I am expected to tut like a disgusted schoolmarm at this dirty material. I will not. The book stands as it stands. It is a finely crafted, humorous, and original work in a world that is increasingly deadened by technology and absurd ideological illusions. Whatever you make of this worldview, sneering at it and wrinkling your nose will not make it go away. The Pervert grows stronger with the howling of every female journalist (who secretly wants to f!ck him).
We live, many of us suspect, in a world out of joint. We also seem to live in a period between a receding feminine force and a resurgent masculine. The election of Trump and Brexit are only two signs of a great shift that is underway. We in the West have been enchanted since the Great War concluded, and now the enchantment is wearing off. New energies and possibilities are arising, but these, while holding promise, also hold out the possibility of some great new disaster.
Where this will lead, I cannot say. I merely observe what is happening around me. Mass use of the Internet is throwing up extraordinary and unusual worldviews that are then converted by the meme machine into ambiguous jokes. These jokes, often highly ironic, contain the possibility of strange enchantment.
Where will this take us? How will the masculine return? Will it be the iron grip of Artificial Intelligence guiding our social policy, or will we all strip nude and worship the sun? I don’t know what course the world will take, or if any of these options are desirable. What I do know is that liberal technocracy, the world system that grew from the First World War, is in profound crisis. So far her ideologues and leaders do not seem to know a way out, and they half fear and half admire the perverts of the Bronze Age.