Heathen Patriot: Thoughts from a Heathen Libertarian
Exploring pre-Christian Germanic and contemporary Neopagan beliefs and practices, politics, culture, and from a different point of view. Welcome to the conservative/libertarian end of the Pagan / Heathen pool.
How Can You Call Yourself Conservative?
It’s no secret that a majority of people who identify themselves as Pagans, Neo-pagans, Wiccans, etc. are politically liberal/progressive in their ideology. I don’t think it’s necessarily inherent in the theology of contemporary Paganism so much as it is inherent in the psychology and sociology of those who find themselves drawn to Paganism.
Self-identified Heathens, on the other hand, tend to be much more conservative and/or libertarian in their political outlook. Again, I don’t see this as necessarily being theologically based so much as the psychological and social elements of Heathenry will tend to be seen as more appealing to the sort of person who is drawn to conservatism and libertarianism.
That’s not to say there aren’t conservative/libertarian Pagans, or liberal Heathens, but as a rule Pagans tend to come down on the left side of the fence and Heathens tend to come down on the right. I fall in the latter category, and the reactions from liberal Pagans when that becomes apparent has been interesting.
One of the first reactions is usually, “how can you call yourself a conservative?”, followed by a litany of supposed conservative or Republican transgressions. I’ve heard that to be conservative is to be a misogynist, Christian Dominionist, warmonger, and homophobe. Since I’m conservative/libertarian and I’m none of those things, I find this a curious claim to say the least.
Part of the shock and disbelief that any Pagan could be conservative stems, I think, from the notion that liberal/progressive ideas are inherently and objectively correct and normative. Thus, anyone who deviates from those ideas is wrong either willfully or through ignorance. This leads to a mindset that everyone shares the same liberal ideology, and casual assumptions on that score can lead to shock and disappointment when they are overturned.
Liberal Pagans, feeling they’re in a “safe zone” where everyone is going to share their liberal ideology, will often not even be aware of their own ideological biases. In practice, when the normal political assumptions of a given Pagan community (whether it be an online community or a real-life one) are challenged, the resulting response can be much stronger and more reflexive than it might have been in another context, even to the point of shrillness and hyperbole.
So next time political issues come up in what is nominally a non-political forum (and not necessarily an online one), be aware that not everyone might share your assumptions about abortion, same-sex marriage, “social justice”, and the like. Be ready not to jump down the throat of someone who disagrees, but try to listen and understand, rather than challenge and be indignant. Moreover, understand that just because someone disagrees does not make them automatically “wrong” or “evil”, and the fact that others don't believe as we do is not, in and of itself, a personal attack on our own beliefs.
(Originally posted at www.GOPagan.com)
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