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Aleister Crowley on Politics

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From: shri 
Date: Sat, 26 Apr 97 19:22:36 -0400

Subject: Aleister Crowley on Politics
is a new essay by Aleister Crowley, just 
posted to the Thelema Kaaba's web site at the following URL:

"Aleister Crowley on Politics" collates all of Crowley's major political 
insights into a concise, coherent, and crystal clear original exposition 
of the political principles and implications of the Law of Thelema.  If 
you're interested in Aleister Crowley's Law of Thelema, you owe it to 
yourself to check this out!  

[from the URL listed above]

   It is unfortunate that Aleister Crowley never wrote a single
   systematic treatise on the theory of politics, for Crowley's visionary
   genius shone far beyond the occult realms for which he is noted, into
   the heart of the State and the social problems of the Twentieth
   Century: problems which, far from having been resolved by the fall of
   Communism, it is only now beginning to be recognized and understood by
   the leading intellectuals of the time are leading towards the greatest
   catastrophe in history, comparable to the prehistoric Neolithic
   Revolution, from which history itself emerged. The work which follows
   is a "synthetic" essay. It was compiled from more than a dozen of
   Crowley's political writings, by a process of "scissors and paste."
   First, all of Crowley's major political insights were collected and
   compared, out of which emerged a set of definite themes (see the
   Bibliography at the end of the essay). These were then reorganized, in
   order of length. Finally, the individual quotations were "sewn
   together." The result is a logical and coherent exposition of
   Crowley's ideas, such as Crowley himself might have written had he
   been inspired to do so. This work meets a very real need. There is
   very little understanding, even amongst Thelemites, as to the
   political implications of the Law of Thelema. "Liber Oz" is often
   cited, but it is only a skeleton or outline of a possible future
   constitution, devoid of context. Many Thelemites seem to be attracted
   to an anarchist, anarcho-capitalist, or even anarcho-fascist
   interpretation of the Law of Thelema, little aware that the Prophet
   himself rejected both pure anarchism and capitalism, considered Hitler
   to be an instrument of the Black Brothers, and Mussolini a fool.
   Crowley was far ahead of his time, as the following paper clearly
   shows. Not only did Crowley understand that monetarism is servitude,
   and that urban industrialist capitalism/consumerism/corporatism is
   really no different in the long term from socialism, and the mother of
   imperialism and warfare (about which, surprisingly, he was not
   enthusiastic), but he understood that the increasing importance of
   technology would lead inevitably to a "technocracy," a new
   dictatorship of "experts," and a philosophy of mechanism, in which the
   individual would be reduced to a cog in the social machine, and that
   the increasing complexification of industry would inevitably end in
   authoritarianism and collapse, such as is foreseen by many
   contemporary radical intellectuals. While many modern savants look to
   grassroots democracy as a remedy for our social ills, Crowley rejected
   democracy also as just another form of dictatorship by the weak, the
   mediocre, and the vicious. And in his call for the rejection of
   materialism in favour of a new spirituality, decentralization, return
   to the land base, the radical simplification of society and its legal
   system, and in his recognition of the need for an ideal State situated
   above and beyond the "bottom line" of the dictatorship of the rich,
   Aleister Crowley is in the very forefront of the radical ecotopian
   vision of the future. Clearly, Aleister Crowley is a prophet to be
   reckoned with, whose vision of the New Aeon, ridiculed during his

   lifetime, now seems, in the late Twentieth Century, to be looming, all
   too uncomfortably close!
   A note on the text: All of the words which follow were written by
   Aleister Crowley, with one exception, indicated by the use of square
   brackets. I have made the use of capitals consistent, and I have
   normalized some spellings, but otherwise the only other editorial
   discretion which I have utilized is that of selecting and ordering the
   selections in order to make a coherent exposition. I have paid a great
   deal of attention to Crowley's meaning in context, including many
   passages not included herein; I believe that the following accurately
   represents the tenor, substance, sophistication, and complexity of
   Aleister Crowley's mature political thought.
                         ALEISTER CROWLEY ON POLITICS
   Of old, the generality of men desired only things of which there were
   enough for all, such as wives, children, food, flowers, music, and
   various pleasures. Today, the press has insanely tried to make all men
   desire things which demand the slavery of other men for their
   enjoyment, and so are in their very nature inaccessible to all. The
   press has done this in order to make men work harder to get money, of
   course in vain, since money becomes valueless as soon as it is more or
   less evenly divided. For this phantom men have given up their true
   wealth, which was attainable by wholesome and moderate labour, health,
   happiness, and the incalculable spiritual treasures which Burns at his
   plough, and Boehme at his last, could only share with the Westminsters
   and the Rothschilds, but create for the endowment of mankind at no
   material cost whatsoever.
   The technical developments of almost every form of wealth are the
   forebears of Big Business; and Big Business, directly or indirectly,
   is the immediate cause of War.
   Society has had bad masters, who, wishing to increase their material
   wealth and luxury, tried every means to force men to slave for them,
   instead of being independent units. Also, profoundly conscious of the
   contempt in which they and their riches were held by poets and
   artists, mystics, scholars, and even by the merely well-born, they
   used the power of their money to destroy the esteem in which men held
   wit, art, breeding, and so forth. They did this even at the cost of
   diminishing their own true happiness, for of old the rich gained much
   from the service of genius. They have only endured one type of
   "superior man," for their envy has made them wish to destroy poets and
   scholars and so forth altogether; that man is the man of applied
   science. Him they still tolerate, even encourage, as his work aids
   them directly to pile up still more money. They have cut their own
   throats in more ways than one. Firstly, they, and especially their
   families, have become bored with life. They want new worlds to
   conquer, yet they have cut themselves off from the worlds infinite in
   scope, where conquest is an endless and increasing joy. Extravagance
   itself cannot tell them how to spend their money to their own
   advantage or that of others, for they have exiled just those brains
   that could have helped them.
   Again, by making the goal of ambition a thing so obvious and vulgar
   that the basest can apprehend and pursue it, they have created a
   competition against themselves of just those people who, incapable of
   higher pursuits, will rush blindly upon them, armed with their own
   grossness, avarice, and envy, and outnumbering them by thousands to
   one. This danger they have recognized too late; to meet it, they have
   made oppressive laws, multiplied taxes, created a Praetorian Guard of
   police, and at last plunged the world into war. It was a logical but a
   fatal folly. This made men soldiers to bring them under laws yet more
   rigorous than before, and to kill as many competitors in the race for
   wealth as possible. But some survived, and these men, trained to arms,
   aware of the power of discipline and organization and become
   contemptuous of death, demanded their share of the spoils. There was
   less labour to go round; its price increased. Yet there was less
   wealth produced and its price rose in sympathy. Depreciation of the
   purchasing power of money was universal; everybody was poorer in
   everything but the bits of paper which the various governments had
   issued, as the Chinese hoped to propitiate evil spirits by casting
   worthless shreds of tissue in the air!
   No, the poets in their time were no poorer; and the rich men may still
   gnash their teeth and howl with envy when they see us; for our
   treasure is infinite, and, free to all who can enjoy it, is accessible
   to none who cannot.
   Mass production for profit fails when its markets are exhausted; so
   every effort is made to impose it not only on the native but the
   foreigner, and should guile fail, then force! But the process
   ineluctably goes on; when the whole world buys the nasty stuff, and
   will accept no other, the exploiter is still faced by diminishing
   returns. No possibility of expansion; sooner or later dividends
   dwindle, and the business is bust. To even the most stupid it becomes
   plain at this stage that war is wholly ruinous; organization breaks
   down altogether; one meaningless revolution follows another; famine
   and pestilence complete the job. Last time--when Osiris replaced
   Isis--the wreck was limited in scope--note that it was the civilized,
   the organized part that broke down. This time there is no civilization
   which can escape being involved in the totality of the catastrophe.
   The obscure autocrats of Diplomacy and Big Business are infinitely
   stupid and short-sighted; they cannot see an inch beyond their too
   often stigmatically shapen probosces, except where the profit of the
   next financial year is concerned. They live in perpetual panic, and
   shy at their own shadows. They accordingly attack even the most
   innocuous windmills in suicidal charges.
   But what will the rich do next? The survivors of their armies have for
   the most part gone onto the game. Social revolutions have occurred
   over a great part of the earth, and elsewhere have only been postponed
   because the dearth of labour has, by raising its price, temporarily
   obscured, for the less acute minds, the hard fact that there is less
   wealth than ever to go round. But the rich themselves, hard hit by the
   depreciation of securities and the lack of luxuries, are intensely
   apprehensive of the awakening of the stupid avarice of the mob. Men
   who would once have thought themselves princes if they could have a
   cottage and a vineyard of their own at fifty, have been dazzled by
   newspaper accounts of men become millionaires at twenty-five. The
   sane, natural, worthy ambition has been replaced by insane greed and
   envy. Even those who could still be content with reasonable comfort
   see it farther away than ever, and observe also that their immemorable
   liberties and pleasures are under ban. They want the rich man's place,
   arbitrarily and at once, and, aware of his unscrupulous methods, see
   no reason why they should not oppose force to fraud. Strikes,
   revolutions, expropriations are in order. The rich may try another
   war; the poor may refuse to become cannon-fodder. Also, another war
   could only make bad worse; I think that even the rich see that.
   The truth is that the prosperity of industrialism depended wholly upon
   accident. After Waterloo, the Nineteenth Century was on the whole a
   period of peace. The means of producing wealth was simplified faster
   than the growing complexity of civilization demanded. The economic
   blood showed a rising opsonic index. That has stopped. We can no
   longer devise means to overcome temporarily our crises as we have done
   hitherto. We have no reserves of capital, either in brain or bone to
   draw on. Adjustments ask too much. Observe my knife; 'tis dull? A
   stone mends that. But my typewriter? I must take it at great cost and
   trouble to Palermo; and then they probably make a mess of the job. A
   little more annoyance, and I shall scrap it and go back to a quill
   from the first goose I meet! I think that this is a good analogy of
   what will happen to civilization. The machinery will break down beyond
   repair, and only the simple will survive. What exact means the
   stupidity of the rich will devise to precipitate this event does not
   seem to matter much. The only alternative is a new religion or a new
   cult of art; and that isn't likely; the people have been too
   hopelessly debauched by Christianity and newspapers. There must be an
   optimum relation between industry and agriculture, between town and
   country. When the proper balance is not struck, the community must
   depend on outside help, importing what it lacks, exporting its
   surplus. This is an unnatural state of affairs; it results in
   business, and therefore ultimately in war. Whenever the proportion of
   townsfolk to countryfolk grows too large, the nation is smashed. We
   can only postpone the crash by our "scientific" schemes of
   organization. So nobody must be allowed to think at all. Down with the
   public schools! Children must be drilled mentally by quarter-educated
   herdsmen, whose wages would stop at the first sign of disagreement
   with the bosses. For the rest, deafen the whole world with senseless
   clamour. Mechanize everything! Give nobody a chance to think.
   Standardize "amusement." The louder and more cacophonous, the better!
   Brief intervals between one din and the next can be filled with
   appeals, repeated 'till hypnotic power gives them the force of orders,
   to buy this or that product of the "business men" who are the real
   power in the State. Industrialism, the mother and nurse of socialism,
   [is] destroying the soul of the people.
   An Utopia to end Utopias? Very good, so I will. Education, to begin
   with; well, you've had all that in another letter. The main thing to
   remember is that I want every individual taught as such, according to
   his own special qualities. Then, teach them both sides of every
   question: history, for example, as the play of economic forces, also,
   as due to the intervention of Divine Providence, or of "sports" or
   genius: and so for the rest. Train them to doubt--and to dare!
   Then, somehow, as large a number of the most promising rebels should
   be selected to lead a life of luxury and leisure. Let every country,
   by dint of honouring its old traditions, be as different as possible
   from every other. Restore the "Grand Tour," or rather, the roving
   Englishman of the Nineteenth Century. Entrust them with the secrets of
   discipline, or authority, or power. Hardship and danger in full
   measure; and responsibility.
   A great deal of such material will be as disgustingly wasted as it had
   been in the past; and there will be much abuse of privilege. But this
   must be allowed and allowed for; no very great harm will result, as
   the weak and vicious will weed themselves out.
   I have no sympathy with those who cry out against property, as if that
   all men desire were of necessity evil; the natural instinct is to own,
   and while man remains in this mood, attempts to destroy property must
   no only be nugatory, but deleterious to the community. There is no
   outcry against the rights of property where wisdom and kindness
   administer it.
   It is necessary for the development of freedom itself to have an
   organization; and every organization must have a highly centralized
   control. In order to obtain freedom to do your will, it is necessary
   to submit voluntarily to discipline and organization. Evolution
   implies structuralization. The power of man is greater than the power
   of the amoeba, because he has specialized the function of our
   protoplasm of which he is composed. In order to do the one thing which
   you will truly you must therefore renounce all those other things
   which may tempt you to swerve from the one purpose of your sojourn
   amongst us.
   In the body every cell is subordinated to the general physiological
   control, and we who will that control do not ask whether each
   individual unit of that structure be consciously happy. Be we do care
   that each shall fulfil its function, and the failure of even a few
   cells, or their revolt, may involve the death of the whole organism.
   Yet even here the complaint of a few, which we call pain, is a warning
   of general danger. Many cells fulfil their destiny by swift death, and
   this being their function, they in no wise resent it. Should
   haemoglobin resist the attack of oxygen, the body would perish, and
   the haemoglobin would not thereby save itself. For every individual in
   the State must be perfect in his own function, with contentment,
   respecting his own task as necessary and holy, not envious of
   another's. For so only mayst thou built up a free State, whose
   directing will shall be singly directed to the welfare of all. Say not
   that in this argument I have set limits to individual freedom. For
   each man in this State which I propose is fulfilling his own True Will
   by his eager acquiescence in the order necessary to the welfare of
   all, and therefore of himself also. The problem of government is
   therefore to find a scientific formula with an ethical implication.
   This formula must be rigidly applicable to all sane men soever without
   reference to the individual qualities of any one of them. The formula
   is given by the Law of Thelema. "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole
   of the Law." It is intended ultimately that the temporal power of the
   State be brought into the Law, and led into freedom and prosperity by
   the application of its principles. This injunction, in one sense
   infinitely elastic, since it does not specify any particular goal of
   will as desirable, is yet infinitely rigid, in that it binds every man
   to follow out exactly the purpose for which he is fitted by heredity,
   environment, experience, and self-development. The formula is thus
   also biologically indefeasible, as well as adequate, ethically to
   every individual, and politically to the State. It combines monarchy
   with democracy; it includes aristocracy, and conceals even the seeds
   of revolution, by which alone progress can be effected. The absolute
   rule of the State shall be a function of the absolute liberty of each
   individual will.
   The principle of popular election is a fatal folly; its results are
   visible in every so-called democracy. The elected man is always the
   mediocrity; he is the safe man, the sound man, the man who displeases
   the majority less than any other; and therefore never the genius, the
   man of progress and illumination. The submergence of the individual in
   his class means the end of all true human relations between men. Every
   class, as a class, is almost sure to have more defects than qualities.
   As soon as you put men together, they somehow sink, corporatively,
   below the level of the worst of the individuals composing it.
   Socialism means war. When the class moves as a class, there can be no
   exceptions. It is this fundamental fact which ensures that every
   democracy shall end with an upstart autocrat.
   It has always been admitted that the ideal form of government is that
   of a "benevolent despot," and despotisms have only fallen because it
   is impossible in practice to assure the good-will of those in power.
   The rules of chivalry, and those of Bushido in the East, gave the best
   chance to develop rulers of the desired type. If any person of
   position insists upon living a life of hardship and inconvenience when
   he could do otherwise, then men will trust him, and he will be able to
   execute his projects for the general good of the commonwealth. But he
   must naturally be careful not to relax his austerities as his power
   increases. Make power and splendour incompatible, and the social
   problem is solved. Where honour is the only possible good to be gained
   by the exercise of power, the man in power will strive only for
   honour. This is, then, the first lesson in our great principle, the
   attainment of honour through renunciation. The patriarchal system is
   better for all classes than any other; the objections to it come from
   the abuses of it. It is generally understood by all men of education
   that the general welfare is necessary to the highest development of
   the particular. The great nobles of all time have usually been able to
   create a happy family of their dependents, and unflinching loyalty and
   devotion have been their reward. The secret has been principally this,
   that they considered themselves noble as well in nature as in name,
   and thought it foul shame to themselves if any retainer met
   unnecessary misfortune. You should treat everybody as king of the same
   order as yourself. Experts will immediately be appointed to work out,
   when need arises, the details of the True Will of every individual,
   and even that of every corporate body whether social or commercial,
   while a judiciary will arise to determine the equity in the case of
   apparently conflicting claims. (Such cases will become progressively
   more rare as adjustment is attained.) All appeal to precedent and
   authority, the deadwood of the Tree of Life, will be abolished, and
   strictly scientific standards will be the sole measure by which the
   executive power shall order the people.
   The minimum of organization is desirable; all artificial doctrinaire
   multiplication of works which produce no wealth is waste; and for many
   reasons (some absurd, like "social position") tend to create fresh
   unnecessary necessities. When laws are reasonable in the eyes of the
   average man, he respects them, keeps them, does his best to maintain
   them; therefore a minute police force, with powers strictly limited,
   is adequate to deal with the almost negligibly small criminal class. A
   convention is laudable when it is convenient. When laws are unjust,
   monstrous, ridiculous, that same average man, will he-nil he, becomes
   a criminal; and the law requires a Tcheka or Gestapo with dictatorial
   powers and no safeguards to maintain the farce. Also, corruption
   becomes normal in official circles; and is excused. The basis of our
   criminal law is simple, by virtue of Thelema: to violate the right of
   another is to forfeit one's own claim to protection in the matter
   involved. Every man has a right to fulfil his own will without being
   afraid that it may interfere with that of others; for if he is in his
   proper path, it is the fault of others if they interfere with him.
   Acts invasive of another individual's equal rights are implicitly
   self-aggressions. Men of "criminal nature" are simply at issue with
   their True Wills. Only one symptom warns that you have mistaken your
   True Will, and that is, if you should imagine that in pursuing your
   way you interfere with that of another star. Collision is the only
   crime in the cosmos.
   What is money? A medium of exchange devised to facilitate the
   transaction of business. Oil in the engine. Very good, then; if
   instead of letting it flow as freely and smoothly as possible, you
   balk its very nature; you prevent it from doing its True Will. So
   every "restriction" on the exchange of wealth is a direct violation of
   the Law of Thelema. Money must circulate, or it loses its value.
   Progress demands anarchy tempered by common sense. All laws, all
   systems, all customs, all ideals and standards which tend to produce
   uniformity, being in strict opposition to Nature's will to change and
   to develop through variety, are accursed.
   * "An Account of A.'.A.'." In Gems from the Equinox (St. Paul, MI:
   Llewellyn, 1974), pp. 31-41. (All subsequent references to this work
   shall appear as Gems.) *"An Appeal to the American Republic." In The
   Works of Aleister Crowley (Des Plaines, IL: Yogi, n.d.), pp. 136-40.
   Atlantis: The Lost Continent. Malton, ON, Canada: Dove, n.d.
   The Book of the Law. York Beach, ME: Weiser, 1976.
   * "Concerning the Law of Thelema." In The Equinox, Vol. III, No. 1
   (New York: Weiser, 1974), pp. 225-38.
   The Confessions. London: Arkana--Penguin, 1989.
   The Heart of the Master. Montreal, PQ: 93 Pub., 1973.
   * "An Intimation with Reference to the Constitution of the Order." In
   The Equinox, Vol. III, No. 1, pp. 239-46.
   * "Khabs Am Pekht." In Gems, pp. 99-110.
   The Law Is for All. Phoenix, AZ: Falcon, 1983.
   * "The Law of Liberty." In The Equinox, Vol. III, No. 1, pp. 45-52.
   Liber Aleph: The Book of Wisdom or Folly. York Beach, ME: Weiser,
   * Liber Oz. Published as a single card in 1942.
   "Liber Porta Lucis." In Gems, pp. 651-55.
   "Liber Trigrammaton." In The Law Is for All, pp. 339-44.
   "Liber Tzaddi vel Hamus Hermeticus." In Gems, pp. 657-62.
   The Magical Record of the Beast 666. Montreal, PQ: 93 Pub., 1972.
   Magick in Theory and Practice. Secaucus, NJ: Castle, 1991.
   Magick without Tears. Tempe, AZ: Falcon, 1973.
   * "The Message of the Master Therion." In The Equinox, Vol. III, No.
   1, pp. 39-43.
   * "An Open Letter to Those Who May Wish to Join the Order." In The
   Equinox, Vol. III, No. 1, pp. 207-24.
   * The Scientific Solution of the Problem of Government. N.p.: Ordo
   Templi Orientis, [1936].
   The Secret Rituals of the O.T.O. Publication information not
   * "Thien Tao." In Konx Om Pax (Des Plaines, IL: Yogi, n.d.), pp.


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