The men’s cult represents a conspiracy in plain sight. — Traditions of Conflict, “On secret cults and male dominance”
Something's happening here, What it is ain't exactly clear -- Buffalo Springfield
There is some social phenomenon I have observed but never been able to perceive clearly nor articulate. It’s intimately connected to things that are very much in my wheelhouse, so to speak; organized crime, intelligence agencies, psychology, sexuality. The writer E. Michael Jones has sometimes touched on it, in his own eccentric way, although his “priors” prevent him from describing it outside of his extremely narrow ideology. My favorite writer, Andrea Nolen, is the closest I’ve observed really getting at this; her old blog had more focus on it, although her new blog, which is less general, does touch on it a bit.
It’s about the very nebulous concept of “power” and what she called a form of “narcissism.”
Narcissistic personality disorder — one of several types of personality disorders — is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.
A narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school or financial affairs. People with narcissistic personality disorder may be generally unhappy and disappointed when they’re not given the special favors or admiration they believe they deserve. They may find their relationships unfulfilling, and others may not enjoy being around them.
Psychologists tend to “over-medicalize” or “over-scientize” their own field; in a sense, all babies are born as narcissists, to a certain extent everyone has a bit of narcissism and self-centeredness. The dividing line between a “normal” personality and a “personality disorder” is somewhat vague and very likely culturally dependent. But there is clearly something here.
In isolation, a narcissist is uninteresting. But in groups it seems there is a kind of emergent behavior.
There is a difference between narcissism and “Borderline Personality Disorder” but they are categorized together in the so called “Cluster B.”
People with Borderline Personality Disorder tend to experience intense and unstable emotions and moods that can shift fairly quickly. They generally have a hard time calming down once they have become upset. As a result, they frequently have angry outbursts and engage in impulsive behaviors such as substance abuse, risky sexual liaisons, self-injury, overspending, or binge eating.
Not the same thing, but may often appear together as co-morbidities. Narcissists tend to have an obsession with that nebulous concept of “power”.
People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder have significant problems with their sense of self-worth stemming from a powerful sense of entitlement. This leads them to believe they deserve special treatment, and to assume they have special powers, are uniquely talented, or that they are especially brilliant or attractive. Their sense of entitlement can lead them to act in ways that fundamentally disregard and disrespect the worth of those around them. People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success and power …
One of the social ideas I’ve become interested in is the concept of the Mannerbund. It’s claimed by some that the Mannerbund is the institution that birthed “Aryan culture” but it appears to be quite universal. A fraternity seems to be a type of formalized Mannerbund. The Mannerbund also seems to be at the root of patriarchal cultures, and represents a different development than matriarchy or matrilocality.
The basic feature of the Mannerbund is simply that it is a male group. But it also includes an initiation, it is, as the Freemasons say, “a society with secrets,” and it stands outside of the wider society.
Males tend to form a natural hierarchy, and I think we can distinguish at least two “types” of male hierarchy.
The first is simply the hierarchy of male violence, the kind of thing that forms in prison. This is simply male competition, and forms to in a sense minimize violence. In the classic African-American comedy film Friday, one man is a thief that does the rounds of the neighborhood, threatening the other men and stealing anything they have of value; eventually a couple of his victims team up together to beat him up; they cooperate in the sense they do not then steal from each other, they respect each other’s property and work to keep men like the thief from simply taking everyone’s stuff.
There is another variant of the male hierarchy that is instead based on competence and tends to a form of specialization. There is still a clear hierarchy of leaders and followers and a type of rank, however in order to achieve some goal, to engage in cooperative labor, each individual’s unique talents are recognized and leveraged to attain the goals of the group.
Men will often claim that an all-male group has much less “drama” than a mixed group of males and females. Stereotypes exist for a reason; I read a profile of a “feminist company” that, despite the high ideals of a sisterhood finding business success, saw the entire thing fall apart in a stereotypical fashion due to jealousy, infighting, and cattiness.
A classic essay by James J. O’Meara is about the Mannerbund displayed in the film The Untouchables. You see both aspects of rank as well as specialization among the group of police working to take down another Mannerbund, the “Mafia” of Al Capone.
The team of police clearly have a hierarchy of rank; Kevin Costner is the leader, Sean Connery the lieutenant, his second-in-command. But you also see specialization, Andy García is muscle, while Charles Martin Smith, the accountant, specializes in the intellectual work of the detective discovering the hidden money of the mafia and breaks their coded books.
An illustration of male camaraderie appears in a TV series about the US military in the Iraq war. A reviewer noted how the men addressed each other differently in different contexts. She said that when they were engaging in work, the men addressed each other by their last names; “Smith, how are we on supplies? Jones, we’re running out of bullets.”
When the men were discussing their personal lives, they addressed each other by their first names; “John, I fucking hate this war. I know, Bill, if I have to each one more MRE I’m going to puke.”
But when the men were under extreme stress and close to killing each other, they reverted to addressing each other via rank. This is beautifully illustrated in the film Full Metal Jacket in the scene where Gomer Pyle is going crazy and Joker is warning Hartman that Pyle has a loaded weapon.
Sir, it is the private’s duty to inform the Senior Drill Instructor that Private Pyle has a full magazine and has locked and loaded, sir!
Joker refers to himself in the third person, refers to Hartman by his rank, and refers to Pyle by both his rank and his nickname.
Hartman gives his subordinates nicknames and indeed the boot camp process includes not just depersonalization but even dehumanization.
We also see another institution where people are given nicknames as a form of depersonalization – the institution of the Brothel. When Susan Jones is sexually trafficked by a pimp, she is given another name; Susan Jones becomes Candy. This has the effect of distancing Susan Jones from her own sexual morality; while Susan Jones, the good girl, would never shame her father by engaging in prostitution, Candy isn’t really Susan Jones, she’s an alternate.
And indeed, there is both some very hard evidence, as well as “conspiracy theory lore,” of the sexual abuse of young people leading to a form of multiple personalities.
David McGowan’s writing on the “60’s Counterculture” and the “Entertainment industry” notes that certain people – who without the trappings of “counterculture” we might see more clearly as pimps, giving the groupies and hangers-on nicknames – often very bizarre nicknames. And indeed, many of the “drug parties” McGowan documents have many of the same features we see in a boot camp, depersonalization, even dehumanization, and in fact, dysphoric ritual – very similar to the dysphoric ritual we observe in the “Men’s Cults” of primitive societies. These initiation rituals are typically different for men and women, but we can observe the negative, and “dehumanizing,” aspects are strikingly similar.
You can somewhat see a similar cluster of dynamics and behaviors in what I’ve called “right-wing online cults of personalities.” A good example is that of the blogger VoxDay. There is clearly a type of “cult of personality” on VoxDay’s blog. He himself and his commenters refer to VoxDay as the “Dark Lord” and he, and they, refer to themselves as the “Hoard.”
It’s standard practice to use “handles” online; most people don’t use their real names, and their handles often represent some ostensible aspect of their personalities; sometimes comical, sometimes self-depreciating, often times aspirational. These are, of course, the direct online equivalent to nicknames and indeed, most people seem to have an “online persona” that doesn’t necessarily match their “real life” offline.
In the case of VoxDay, the “cult of personality” seems clearly self-aware and somewhat tongue-in-cheek. In his online persona, VoxDay displays a high level of “narcissism” and his commenters come across as sycophants – “servile self-seeking flatterers” – although again, it all seems more-or-less self-aware and tongue-in-cheek. VoxDay declares how brilliant he is and how great his Hoard are, they flatter VoxDay as a genius and themselves as the savviest of people – all done with a large helping of humor and good nature.
I would contrast this bonhomie with two other blogs, the neo-reactionaries Curtis Yarvin, and especially, Jim Donald. Yarvin’s online persona is not particularly narcissistic; he displays a high level of self-awareness but barely any humorous self-depreciation; however many of his fans act toward him as one would act toward a cult leader. In the case of Jim Donald and his commenters, there appears zero humor and zero self-awareness.
I believe understanding all of these human dynamics can lead us to peeking behind the curtain of the Deep State.
In Turkey, the Deep State, at least pre-Erogan, was a network, or a culture, of secularized military officers that were always at the ready to tamp down any excess of democracy or any Islamic populism.
We saw the Israeli Deep State in action with the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by Yigal Amir. While the official story is that Amir was a “lone wolf” others have suggested he was part of a network of “ultra-nationalists.” Rabin broke the cardinal rule of Zionism by “giving back” Palestinian land; since he assassination not only has no Israeli leader even suggested such a thing, the “peace process” was completely reversed and since then Israel has confiscated more and more Palestinian land at a faster and faster pace.
In the case of Israel, the Deep State had an unmitigated victory. In the case of Turkey, Erdogan seems to have successfully neutered the Turkish Deep State via the coup and counter-coup by and against the Gülen network. The Gülen network in Turkey was not only highly secular and anti-Islamic, it was directly tied to NATO and the United States; indeed, the titular head, Fethullah Gülen, lives in Pennsylvania. To say Gülen is “CIA” is to understate it; as with men like the Saudis Adnan and Jamal Khashoggi, you are seeing something like Imperial Satraps.
Is it just me, or do we see a connection between narcissistic personality disorder, “power-worship” and sycophancy, occulted networks, and indeed, “cults” with their own dysphoric and depersonalizing initiation rituals? And that these occulted networks form what is often described as a “Deep State” that exists right at the very heart of national – and international – power?
In Turkey, the phrase “Deep State” was coined in the wake of the the Susurluk_car_crash, when it was discovered there was a close, personal connection between four cultural institutions: the government, law enforcement, organized crime, and “the entertainment industry” or, perhaps better said, “The Brothel.”
It is my contention that “The Brothel” is an understudied aspect of “Deep State Politics.” While many have discussed the connection between “the entertainment industry” and politics and even intelligence agencies – Nolen calls entertainment “social pacification” – few seem to have studied the role of women and sexuality, broadly.
We did, however, see the American version of these things burst into public view with the arrest and “suicide” of Jeffrey Epstein.
Indeed, we also see government signaling that the “scandal” is over; the fascinating “Deep State” player Ghislaine Maxwell, from a notorious intelligence family (her sister is a major connection between Israel and Silicon Valley to this day) is the last to be arrested and prosecuted. The signs are that the show is over, no one else will be arrested.
In fact, the notorious “MEGA Group” – which in any other society would be recognized as “The Mafia,” organized crime – has been at the very heart of the scandal; the last few articles written about the man who was Epstein’s only “client,” Les Wexner, has been successfully backgrounded, even turned into a “victim” of Epstein.
And who else is a founding member of the “MEGA Group” alongside Les Wexner, the former owner of Victoria’s Secret? None other than a man at the very pinnacle of the “Entertainment Industry,” legendary film director Steven Spielberg.
Another founding family of the “MEGA Group,” the Bronfman family – who got its start during Prohibition as “bootleggers” – did see a scion, Clare Bronfman, sentenced to six years in prison for her involvement in another arm of The Brothel, the “NXIVM cult.”
Do we want to find out where the rainbow ends?