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November 1, 2012

Wikinews interviews Indian philosopher and writer Kedar Joshi

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Indian philosopher and writer Kedar Joshi

Pune, India — Sunday, October 28, 2012, Wikinews talked with the Pune-based 32 year old philosopher and writer Kedar Joshi.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png You’re Kedar Joshi!

Kedar Joshi: Yes!

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I remember, a few years ago I had read about you and your certain work in philosophy in a news article in Lokmat. Recently, I came across an article on you at Orato.com[fn 1] while googling “Indophobia”. I hope we can talk about that later but let me first know, where were you born?

Kedar Joshi: I was born in Mahim, Mumbai.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Right! That’s what seems to be mentioned on your website.[fn 2] You were born on 31 December 1979; you had your schooling there, and…

Kedar Joshi: and after passing 10th standard in June 1995, I came to Pune for higher education, where I have been living since, though I was in Cambridge, England for 2 years, from March 2004 to March 2006.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Okay. When did you become interested in philosophy?

Kedar Joshi: As far as I remember, I had my first ever philosophical ponderings when I was 12. I made a note of the philosophical problems that popped into my mind and it was one of my maternal uncles who, when approached, later guided me through their possible solutions. The problems, I believe, were pretty naïve, but the discussions and the solutions opened up to me the world of science and scientific ideas, such as the theory of evolution. The uncle, Raghunath Joshi, was a staunch atheist and under his short influence I too became an atheist, perhaps an even more stubborn one. It was later, when I studied quantum physics, relativity, protein folding, astrology, etc., and their philosophical challenges, that I came to have theistic views and philosophies, though technically I am a weak agonistic for the 1% atheism still left as intellectual suspicion into my mind.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Tell me now about the theories of yours, NSTP (Non-Spatial Thinking Process), UQV (Ultimate Questioner’s Vanity), SDD (Solipsistic Divine Dream)?[fn 3]

Kedar Joshi: NSTP is a computational description of subjective idealism, though in totality NSTP is a “semi-idealistic and semi-dualistic” metaphysics. It contends that though space, the one which we happen to experience and the one in which supposedly mysterious phenomena such as quantum non-locality exist, is nothing but a projection of non-spatial mind, there may possibly be real, objective space in which such phenomena simply do not exist. So, it is neither purely idealistic nor purely dualistic; it is thus semi-idealistic and semi-dualistic. I would like to add that my journey to the NSTP theory had actually begun soon after my encounter with atheism, when I had begun to wonder how a smallest unit of biological life can have states of feelings or consciousness when none of its parts is considered alive or conscious. Later it was in late 10s and especially in early 20s that subjective idealism came to rescue with the potential idea that even a stone may be conscious.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Okay. And the UQV theory?

Kedar Joshi: UQV is concisely the view that only one mortal life exists, the life of the author of the theory, which is me, and my life is a question asked by God about the way He exists. And the process of answering the question is supposed to be gradually quenching God’s ultimate vanity. God is discovered to be a paradox, since He, being the first cause, is uncreated, and at the same time He is logically unnecessary, which is inconceivable. God would not create anybody other than the philosopher, for it would be too cruel with regard to the potential for immense suffering and redundant with regard to the divine, philosophical vanity. However, the UQV theory leaves one with the problem, why would God be really even interested in creating the philosopher when He would know in advance whether the question about the way He exists would be answered or not? And it is then that the SDD theory comes into picture to solve the problem about the UQV theory. SDD says that the philosopher is in fact God, who is asleep, and the philosopher, and the philosopher alone, is His dream. In other words: I am not Kedar Joshi; I am God; I am asleep; Kedar Joshi, and Kedar Joshi alone, is my dream. And perhaps God is always asleep; sometimes He is in deep slumber, sometimes dreaming, but never fully awake; for maybe God is a true paradox and therefore unknowable even to Himself.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I believe it has been enlightening and I thank you for that! Let me now come to your England sojourn. You’ve mentioned on your website that you lived and worked in Cambridge and you also seem to have mentioned that you applied for asylum in the UK; your application failed and you were administratively removed to India.[fn 4] What made you apply for asylum in the UK?

Kedar Joshi: The fear of persecution, coming out of the controversial articles I had written while I was there in the UK.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Right! And I think that’s what I see on the Orato article on you I earlier mentioned. The article talks about your Indophobia and your anti-Indian views and writings, that it is one of your sayings that ‘India is a slow but deadly poison’,[fn 5][fn 6] that ‘the West should (militarily) invade India’, [fn 7][fn 8] etc. What makes you see India in such a negative light?

Kedar Joshi: On this, I’ll say only two things. I have respect for India, and for Hinduism, but that does not preclude me from figuring that India is a greatest threat to human civilization, that India is the most intricately barbarous, subtly dangerous and obdurately evil state in the world.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Okay, Kedar Joshi, if you are reluctant to talk more on this topic then maybe we should stop here. I thank you very much for your time!

Kedar Joshi: You are most welcome!



Notes

  1. Kedar Joshi’s Indophobia: Kedar Joshi’s Alarming Anti-Indian Views at Orato.com
  2. SelectedWorks of Kedar Joshi at Bepress (2nd paragraph)
  3. SelectedWorks of Kedar Joshi at Bepress (1st paragraph)
  4. SelectedWorks of Kedar Joshi at Bepress (2nd paragraph)
  5. ‘India is a slow but deadly poison’: Kedar Joshi at rupeenews.com
  6. Kedar Joshi. “Quotes by Kedar Joshi (Quotations – General)” 2009 at Bepress
  7. Kedar Joshi. “The West Should (Militarily) Invade India” 2011 at Bepress
  8. Joshi, Kedar, The West Should (Militarily) Invade India (April 2011). at SSRN

Sources

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This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

August 6, 2012

Wikinews interviews Brenton Clutterbuck

Wikinews interviews Brenton Clutterbuck – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews interviews Brenton Clutterbuck

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Clutterbuck stood for election in the electorate of Maroochydore, representing the Greens

Wikinews contributor Patrick Gillett recently interviewed Brenton Clutterbuck about his project on Discordianism.

“I’d like to add something to the knowledge base of what we know about Discordianism,” says Clutterbuck. “I want to work on a piece that follows a travel narrative structure.” In 2009, Clutterbuck was interviewed — by the same contributor — in his capacity as an election candidate.

Similar works include Voices of Chaos by Timothy Bowen.

Interview

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Can you describe Discordianism?

Brenton: I can somewhat.

Discordianism really depends on the person who practices it. As a general rule it’s a philospohy that divides reality into two parts; Order and Disorder. It says that both of these are illusions, but if we cut it into two parts it means we can play around with different aspects of reality. In Discordianism, the element of Disorder is regarder [sic] as more fun to interact with than the element of Order.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Do you follow this philosophy?

Brenton: I do yes. But part of following it really also means being skeptical of it. If you feel like you’re a bad Discordian for challenging or rejecting parts of the philosophy that don’t suit you, you’re missing the point. It’s very much a self-directed philosophical path, with a number of cheezy jokes thrown in to keep it fun.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What do you hope to achieve from this project?

‘The Prankster and the Conspiracy’ by Adam Gorightly

Brenton: There’s really not a huge amount of work about Discordianism out there. So I’d like to add something to the knowledge base of what we know about Discordianism. Especially in regards to the modern face. There’s some works that go into detail about the origins of Discordia, including ‘The Prankster and the Conspiracy’ by Adam Gorightly which gives a detailed overview of Kerry Thornley who was one of the two founders of Discordia.

But there are so many big exciting names in Discordia today whose stories haven’t been told in much detail, and I’d like to remedy that.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: How long do you hope to take on this project?

Brenton: Possibly a year. A bit over half the year for meeting with interviewees and then another six months or so hopefully on the editing process. It starts in earnest 2013, but if you count the preliminary work going on right now it should be 18 months all up. I’ve already started some interviews with figures such as Professor Cramulus, St Mae, Peterson Silva (Brazilian Discordian who translated the Black Iron Prison text into Portuguese) Gavriel Discordia from the Discordian Culture Shop and others from further out, places like Sweden and Finland.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: In what form will your project take (book, essay etc)?

Brenton: It should come out as a book. Hopefully I’ll also end up with some footage I can upload as well of the interviews I hold.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Where would you upload this footage to?

Brenton: Youtube. With the permission of interviewees.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: So you know of any other people working on similar projects?

Brenton: I know Pope Timothy Bowen who I’ve already had contact with, worked on something similar with Voices of Chaos, a fantastic collection of interviews with contemporary Discordian figures. In contrast I want to work on a piece that follows a travel narrative structure, and spend some more time interacting with groups of Discordians worldwide.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Brenton: I’m self-funding this project. There’ve been some others out there who’ve been excited about this project and have said they’d like to help make it happen. So if anyone would like to help out, I do have a Pozible page going on that I’d be super appreciative of you linking to.
The Pozible page is found at: pozible.com/eris



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February 12, 2012

Amartya Sen among the scholars for US National Humanities Medal

Amartya Sen among the scholars for US National Humanities Medal

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Official Portrait of Amartya Sen at the Nobel Prize

Indian economist Amartya Sen is among nine scholars to receive the US National Humanities Medal tomorrow. No other Indians have received the medal in the sixteen years since it was introduced.

A White House citation hoted “his insights into the causes of poverty, famine, and injustice” and claimed “by applying philosophical thinking to questions of policy, he has changed how standards of living are measured and increased our understanding of how to fight hunger.”

A 1998 Nobel Prize for Economics laureate, Sen is currently Harvard University‘s professor of Economics and Philosophy. Other new awardees include John Ashbery, Robert Darnton, Teofilo Ruiz, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Charles Rosen, Andrew Delbanco, and Ramon Saldivar.

Scholars of Indian origin have won National Medals in Science and Engineering but not in Humanities. Introduced in 1996, the medal is awarded to “those individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities,” says the White House.



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December 16, 2011

Author and contrarian Christopher Hitchens dies at age 62

Author and contrarian Christopher Hitchens dies at age 62

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens speaking in 2007 at The Amazing Meeting 5 (TAM5) conference in Las Vegas.
Image: ensceptico.

British-born author, journalist and political commentator Christopher Hitchens has died yesterday aged 62 at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, following a diagnosis of esophageal cancer in June 2010.

Hitchens was born in 1949 in Portsmouth. After graduating from Oxford with a third-class degree in politics, philosophy and economics in 1970, Hitchens wrote for the Times Higher Educational Supplement briefly, before moving on to the New Statesman where he met the novelist Martin Amis. After moving to the United States in 1981, he started writing for U.S.-based publications like Vanity Fair, The Atlantic and Slate.

In more recent years, Hitchens sided with George W. Bush in supporting the war in Iraq, and also went on to write a polemical book on religion, God Is Not Great, following a theme apparent in his earlier debunking efforts towards Mother Teresa—”a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud” according to Hitchens. The death of Jerry Falwell raised Hitchens’ ire, stating that it is “a shame that there is no hell for Falwell to go to” and calling him a “faith-based fraud”.

In his memoirs, Hitch-22, he wrote of a sexual encounter with two (unnamed) male members of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet. Hitchens was well-known for his drinking and smoking habits, consuming 50,000 cigarettes a year according to one report, and drinking enough every day “to stun the average mule” (according to Hitchens himself). The discovery of cancer last year was, according to Hitchens, “something so predictable and banal that it bores even me”.

Salman Rushdie, whom Hitchens had supported against Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa, wrote on Twitter following Hitchens’ death: “Goodbye, my beloved friend. A great voice falls silent. A great heart stops”.

Hitchens was not close to his brother Peter Hitchens, a conservative columnist. He is survived by wife Carol Blue, daughter Antonia, and two children Alexander and Sophia from an earlier marriage.

Related stories

  • “Tony Blair debates religion with Christopher Hitchens in Canada” — Wikinews, November 30, 2010

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June 15, 2011

First Libertarian Party presidential nominee John Hospers dies at 93

First Libertarian Party presidential nominee John Hospers dies at 93

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

John Hospers
Image: John Hospers.

John Hospers, the United States Libertarian Party‘s first presidential nominee, died Sunday of natural causes at 93. 2008 Libertarian Party Vice Presidential nominee Wayne Allyn Root, who was a friend of Hospers, reported the death via his personal blog, and on Facebook, writing: “I have sad news to report … John Hospers has passed away. Because of our close friendship, I was asked to announce his death to his many Libertarian fans. John was a friend of individual liberty and freedom, and the first Libertarian Presidential candidate. He passed quietly away in his sleep without pain and suffering, of natural causes.”

He later added: “He was the sweetest man alive, and a very loyal friend of mine. He will be greatly missed by all. The Libertarian movement has lost a pioneer and hero.”

Hospers was a renowned scholar who served as Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Southern California. However, he was best known for his 1972 run for president with the newly created Libertarian Party. He appeared on the ballot in only Washington and Colorado and received a combined 8,715 votes, but won an electoral vote from the faithless elector Roger MacBride of Virginia. Hospers was the latest third party presidential candidate to receive such a vote.

In recent years, Hospers was active on Facebook. In his final post on Saturday, he thanked his friends after celebrating his 93rd birthday two days earlier.



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November 4, 2009

French structuralist Claude Lévi-Strauss dies at age 100

French structuralist Claude Lévi-Strauss dies at age 100

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

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Claude Lévi-Strauss, French anthropologist who developed structuralism as a method of understanding human society and culture, has died in Paris at the age of 100.

Lévi-Strauss was born on November 28, 1908 in Brussels, Belgium. Lévi-Strauss studied law and philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris.

Lévi-Strauss lived in Brazil from 1935 to 1939. It was during this time that he undertook his first ethnographic fieldwork, conducting periodic research forays into the Mato Grosso and the Amazon Rainforest. He studied first the Guaycuru and Bororo Indian tribes, actually living among them for a while. Several years later, he returned for a second, year-long expedition to study the Nambikwara and Tupi-Kawahib societies. It was this experience that cemented Lévi-Strauss’s professional identity as an anthropologist. Edmund Leach suggests, from Lévi-Strauss’s own accounts in Tristes-Tropiques, that he could not have spent more than a few weeks with any place and was never able to converse easily with any of his native informants in their native language.

The war years in New York were formative for Lévi-Strauss in several ways. His relationship with Roman Jakobson helped shape his theoretical outlook (Jakobson and Lévi-Strauss are considered to be two of the central figures on which structuralist thought is based). In addition, Lévi-Strauss was also exposed to the American anthropology espoused by Franz Boas, who taught at Columbia University on New York’s Upper West Side. In 1942 in fact, while having dinner at the Faculty House at Columbia, Boas died of a heart attack in Lévi-Strauss’s arms. This intimate association with Boas gave his early work a distinctive American tilt that helped facilitate its acceptance in the U.S. After a brief stint from 1946 to 1947 as a cultural attaché to the French embassy in Washington, DC, Lévi-Strauss returned to Paris in 1948. It was at this time that he received his doctorate from the Sorbonne by submitting, in the French tradition, both a “major” and a “minor” thesis. These were The Family and Social Life of the Nambikwara Indians and The Elementary Structures of Kinship.

Lévi-Strauss’ later works are more controversial, in part because they impinge on the subject matter of other scholars. He believed that modern life and all history was founded on the same categories and transformations that he had discovered in the Brazilian back country – The Raw and the Cooked, From Honey to Ashes, The Naked Man (to borrow some titles from the Mythologiques). For instance he compares anthropology to musical serialism and defends his “philosophical” approach. He also pointed out that the modern view of primitive cultures was simplistic in denying them a history. The categories of myth did not persist among them because nothing had happened – it was easy to find the evidence of defeat, migration, exile, repeated displacements of all the kinds known to recorded history. Instead, the mythic categories had encompassed these changes.

Lévi-Strauss is survived by his wife Monique Roman and two sons.



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April 4, 2009

Interview with US political activist and philosopher Noam Chomsky

Interview with US political activist and philosopher Noam Chomsky

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Political activist and philosopher Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky is a professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Linguistics and Philosophy. At the age of 40 he was credited with revolutionizing the field of modern linguistics. He was one of the first opponents of the Vietnam War, and is a self described Libertarian Socialist. At age 80 he continues to write books; his latest book, Hegemony or Survival, was a bestseller in non-fiction. According to the Arts and Humanities Citation Index Professor Chomsky is the eighth most cited scholar of all time.

On March 13, Professor Chomsky sat down with Michael Dranove for an interview in his MIT office in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

On NATO

Wikinews waves Left.pngMichael DranoveWikinews waves Right.pngI just wanted to know if you had any thoughts on recent NATO actions and the protests coming up at the 60th NATO conference, I know you’re speaking at the counter-conference.

Could be I give so many talks I can’t remember (laughs).

On the NATO conference, well I mean the obvious question is why should NATO exist? In fact you can ask questions about why it should ever have existed, but now why should it exist. I mean the theory was, whether you believe it or not, that it would be a defensive alliance against potential Soviet aggression, that’s the basic doctrine. Well there’s no defense against Soviet aggression, so whether you believe that doctrine or not that’s gone.

When the Soviet Union collapsed there had been an agreement, a recent agreement, between Gorbachev and the U.S government and the first Bush administration. The agreement was that Gorbachev agreed to a quite remarkable concession: he agreed to let a united Germany join the NATO military alliance. Now it is remarkable in the light of history, the history of the past century, Germany alone had virtually destroyed Russia, twice, and Germany backed by a hostile military alliance, centered in the most phenomenal military power in history, that’s a real threat. Nevertheless he agreed, but there was a quid pro quo, namely that NATO should not expand to the east, so Russia would at least have a kind of security zone. And George Bush and James Baker, secretary of state, agreed that NATO would not expand one inch to the east. Gorbachev also proposed a nuclear free weapons zone in the region, but the U.S wouldn’t consider that.

Okay, so that was the basis on which then shortly after the Soviet Union collapsed. Well, Clinton came into office what did he do? Well one of the first things he did was to back down on the promise of not expanding NATO to the east. Well that’s a significant threat to the Soviet Union, to Russia now that there was no longer any Soviet Union, it was a significant threat to Russia and not surprisingly they responded by beefing up their offensive capacity, not much but some. So they rescinded their pledge not to use nuclear weapons on first strike, NATO had never rescinded it, but they had and started some remilitarization. With Bush, the aggressive militarism of the Bush administration, as predicted, induced Russia to extend further its offensive military capacity; it’s still going on right now. When Bush proposed the missile defense systems in Eastern Europe, Poland and Czechoslovakia, it was a real provocation to the Soviet Union. I mean that was discussed in U.S arms control journals, that they would have to regard as a potential threat to their strategic deterrent, meaning as a first strike weapon. And the claim was that it had to do with Iranian missiles, but forget about that.

Cquote1.svg Why should we even be debating NATO, is there any reason why it should exist? Cquote2.svg

—Noam Chomsky

Take say on Obama, Obama’s national security advisor James Jones former Marine commandant is on record of favoring expansion of NATO to the south and the east, further expansion of NATO, and also making it an intervention force. And the head of NATO, Hoop Scheffer, he has explained that NATO must take on responsibility for ensuring the security of pipelines and sea lanes, that is NATO must be a guarantor of energy supplies for the West. Well that’s kind of an unending war, so do we want NATO to exist, do we want there to be a Western military alliance that carries out these activities, with no pretense of defense? Well I think that’s a pretty good question; I don’t see why it should, I mean there happens to be no other military alliance remotely comparable — if there happened to be one I’d be opposed to that too. So I think the first question is, what is this all about, why should we even be debating NATO, is there any reason why it should exist?

Labor actions as a revival of the Left

Wikinews waves Left.pngMichael DranoveWikinews waves Right.pngWe’ve seen mass strikes all around the world, in countries that we wouldn’t expect it. Do think this is a revival of the Left in the West? Or do you think it’s nothing?

It’s really hard to tell. I mean there’s certainly signs of it, and in the United States too, in fact we had a sit down strike in the United States not long ago, which is a very militant labor action. Sit down strikes which began at a significant level in the 1930’s were very threatening to management and ownership, because the sit down strike is one step before workers taking over the factory and running it and kicking out the management, and probably doing a better job. So that’s a frightening idea, and police were called in and so on. Well we just had one in the United States at the Republic Windows and Doors Factory, it’s hard to know, I mean these things are just hard to predict, they may take off, and they may take on a broader scope, they may fizzle away or be diverted.

On Obama’s budget

Wikinews waves Left.pngMichael DranoveWikinews waves Right.pngObama has said he’s going to halve the budget. Do you think it’s a little reminiscent of Clinton right before he decided to institute welfare reform, basically destroying half of welfare, do you think Obama is going to take the same course?

There’s nothing much in his budget to suggest otherwise, I mean for example, he didn’t really say much about it, about the welfare system, but he did indicate that they are going to have to reconsider Social Security. Well there’s nothing much about social security that needs reconsideration, it’s in pretty good financial shape, probably as good as it’s been in its history, it’s pretty well guaranteed for decades in advance. As long as any of the famous baby boomers are around social Security will be completely adequate. So its not for them, contrary to what’s being said. If there is a long term problem, which there probably is, there are minor adjustments that could take care of things.

So why bring up Social Security at all? If it’s an issue at all it’s a very minor one. I suspect the reason for bringing it up is, Social Security is regarded as a real threat by power centers, not because of what it does, very efficient low administrative costs, but for two reasons. One reason is that it helps the wrong people. It helps mostly poor people and disabled people and so on, so that’s kind of already wrong, even though it has a regressive tax. But I think a deeper reason is that social security is based on an idea that power centers find extremely disturbing, namely solidarity, concern for others, community, and so on.

Cquote1.svg If people have a commitment to solidarity, mutual aid, support, and so on, that’s dangerous because that could lead to concern for other things. Cquote2.svg

—Noam Chomsky

The fundamental idea of Social Security is that we care about whether the disabled widow across town has food to eat. And that kind of idea has to be driven out of people’s heads. If people have a commitment to solidarity, mutual aid, support, and so on, that’s dangerous because that could lead to concern for other things. Like, it’s well known, for example, that markets just don’t provide lots of options, which today are crucial options. So for example, markets today permit you to buy one brand of car or another. But a market doesn’t permit you to decide “I don’t want a car, I want a public transportation system”. That’s just not a choice made available on the market. And the same is true on a wide range of other issues of social significance, like whether to help the disabled widow across town. Okay, that’s what communities decide, that’s what democracy is about, that’s what social solidarity is about and mutual aid, and building institutions by people for the benefit of people. And that threatens the system of domination and control right at the heart, so there’s a constant attack on Social Security even though the pretexts aren’t worth paying attention to.

There are other questions on the budget; the budget is called redistributive, I mean, very marginally it is so, but the way it is redistributive to the extent that it is, is by slightly increasing the tax responsibility to the extremely wealthy. Top couple of percent, and the increase is very marginal, doesn’t get anywhere near where it was during the periods of high growth rate and so on. So that’s slightly redistributive, but there are other ways to be redistributive, which are more effective, for example allowing workers to unionize. It’s well known that where workers are allowed to unionize and most of them want to, that does lead to wages, better working conditions, benefits and so on, which is redistributive and also helps turn working people into more of a political force. And instead of being atomized and separated they’re working to together in principle, not that humans function so wonderfully, but at least it’s a move in that direction. And there is a potential legislation on the table that would help unionize, the Employee Free Choice Act. Which Obama has said he’s in favor of, but there’s nothing about it in the budget, in fact there’s nothing in the budget at all as far as I can tell about improving opportunities to unionize, which is an effective redistributive goal.

And there’s a debate right now, it happens to be in this morning’s paper if Obama’s being accused by Democrats, in fact particularly by Democrats, of taking on too much. Well actually he hasn’t taken on very much, the stimulus package; I mean anybody would have tried to work that out with a little variation. And the same with the bailouts which you can like or not, but any President is going to do it. What is claimed is that he’s adding on to it health care reform, which will be very expensive, another hundreds of billions of dollars, and it’s just not the time to do that. I mean, why would health care reform be more expensive? Well it depends which options you pick. If the healthcare reforms maintain the privatized system, yeah, it’s going to be very expensive because it’s a hopelessly inefficient system, it’s very costly, its administrative costs are far greater than Medicare, the government run system. So what that means is that he’s going to maintain a system which we know is inefficient, has poor outcomes, but is a great benefit to insurance companies, financial institutions, the pharmaceutical industry and so on. So it can save money, health care reform can be a method of deficit reduction. Namely by moving to an efficient system that provides health care to everyone, but that’s hardly talked about, its advocates are on the margins and its main advocates aren’t even included in the groups that are discussing it.

And if you look through it case after case there are a lot of questions like that. I mean, take unionization again, this isn’t in the budget but take an example. Obama, a couple of weeks ago, wanted to make a gesture to show his solidarity with the labor movement, which workers, well that’s different (chuckles) with the workers not the labor movement. And he went to go visit an industrial plant in Illinois, the plant was owned by Caterpillar. There was some protest over that, by human rights groups, church groups, and others because of Caterpillar’s really brutal role in destroying what’s left of Palestine. These were real weapons of mass destruction, so there were protests but he went anyway. However, there was a much deeper issue which hasn’t even been raised, which is a comment on our deep ideological indoctrination. I mean Caterpillar was the first industrial organization to resort to scabs, strikebreakers, to break a major strike. This was in the 1980’s, Reagan had already opened the doors with the air controllers, but this is the first in the manufacturing industry to do it. That hadn’t been done in generations. In fact, it was illegal in every industrial country except apartheid South Africa. But that was Caterpillar’s achievement helping to destroy a union by calling in scabs, and if you call in scabs forget about strikes, in other words, or any other labor action. Well that’s the plant Obama went to visit. It’s possible he didn’t know, because the level of indoctrination in our society is so profound that most people wouldn’t even know that. Still I think that it’s instructive, if you’re interested in doing something redistributive, you don’t go to a plant that made labor history by breaking the principle that you can’t break strikes with scabs.

On the Ron Paul Libertarians

Wikinews waves Left.pngMichael DranoveWikinews waves Right.pngI live out in Georgia, and a lot of people there are ultra-right wing Ron Paul Libertarians. They’re extremely cynical. Is there any way for people on the left to reach out to them?

I think what you have to do is ask, what makes them Ron Paul Libertarians? I don’t happen to think that makes a lot of sense, but nevertheless underlying it are feelings that do make sense. I mean the feeling for example that the government is our enemy. It’s a very widespread feeling, in fact, that’s been induced by propaganda as well.

So pretty soon it will be April 15th, and the people in your neighborhood are going to have to send in their income taxes. The way they’re going to look at it, and the way they’ve been trained to look at it is that there is some alien force, like maybe from Mars, that is stealing our hard earned money from us and giving it to the government. Okay, well, that would be true in a totalitarian state, but if you had a democratic society you’d look at it the other way around You’d say “great, it’s April 15th, we’re all going to contribute to implement the plans that we jointly decided on for the benefit of all of us.” But that idea is even more frightening than Social Security. It means that we would have a functioning democracy, and no center of concentrated power is ever going to want that, for perfectly obvious reasons. So yes there are efforts, and pretty successful efforts to get people to fear the government as their enemy, not to regard it as the collective population acting in terms of common goals that we’ve decided on which would be what have to happen in a democracy. And is to an extent what does happen in functioning democracies, like Bolivia, the poorest country in South America. It’s kind of what’s happening there more or less. But that’s very remote from what’s happening here.

Well I think Ron Paul supporters can be appealed to on these grounds, they’re also against military intervention, and we can ask “okay, why?” Is it just for their own security, do they want to be richer or something? I doubt it, I think people are concerned because they think we destroyed Iraq and so on. So I think that there are lots of common grounds that can be explored, even if the outcomes, at the moment, look very different. They look different because they’re framed within fixed doctrines. But those doctrines are not graven in stone. They can be undermined.



Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.


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October 10, 2008

CanadaVOTES: CHP candidate Stefan Jetchick in Louis-Hébert

CanadaVOTES: CHP candidate Stefan Jetchick in Louis-Hébert

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Friday, October 10, 2008

CanadaVOTES
Interview series
2008 Canadian federal election

ALBERTA
Calgary Southwest: CHP
Edmonton—Leduc: NDP
Yellowhead: CHP

BRITISH COLUMBIA
Langley: CHP*
Vancouver Kingsway: NDP

MANITOBA
Brandon—Souris: CHP

NOVA SCOTIA
Dartmouth—Cole Harbour: CHP

ONTARIO
Cambridge: NDP
Carleton—Mississippi Mills: NDP
Don Valley West: NDP
Elgin—Middlesex—London: NDP
Haldimand—Norfolk: LIB, CHP
Hamilton Centre: NDP i
Hamilton East—Stoney Creek: NDP i
Lanark-Front.-Lennox & Addin.: LIB
Parry Sound—Muskoka: NDP
Perth—Wellington: LIB
Prince Edward—Hastings: NDP
Simcoe—Grey: NDP
Thornhill: LIB i
Toronto Centre: AAEV*
Toronto—Danforth: LIB, AAEV
York—Simcoe: CHP

QUEBEC
Louis-Hébert: CHP
Westmount—Ville-Marie: NDP

SASKATCHEWAN
Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar: Lbtn

* Asterisks designate riding incumbents or registered political party leaders.
The letter “i” after a party abbreviation signifies an incumbent MP response.

To write, edit, start or view other Canada articles, see the Canada Portal

In an attempt to speak with as many candidates as possible during the 2008 Canadian federal election, Wikinews has talked via email with Stefan Jetchick, who is a candidate in Quebec’s Louis-Hébert riding, running under the Christian Heritage Party of Canada (CHP) banner. The CHP is a minor, registered political party running a significant number of candidates across the country, looking to earn its first ever seat in the House of Commons. Jetchick is their only candidate running in the province.

The Quebec riding of Louis-Hébert, in the Capitale-Nationale region, has existed in the House of Commons since 2004. It includes the west section of Quebec City, primarily Sainte-Foy—Sillery and Laurentien’s south end. The Conservative incumbent in the riding is Luc Harvey; also running are Pascal-Pierre Paillé (Bloc Québécois), Denis Blanchette (New Democratic Party), Jean Beaupré (Liberal Party of Canada), and Michelle Fontaine (Green Party of Canada).

The following is an interview with Mr. Jetchick, conducted via email. The interview is published unedited, as sent to Wikinews; this includes Mr. Jetchick’s separation of multipart questions into fragments, and his formatting relating to his applicable experience.

Interview

Why are you running for political office?

To try to educate voters about one of the most important problems in Canada as we speak. (Sorry, this is going to be a big long.)
A good political party must propose the best solutions to the worst problems. But, what is currently the worst problem in Canada?
To find out, we must think about the nature of all societies. What is one of the corner stones of a civilized society? Human rights! Think about it: What’s the use of having well-paved roads, without potholes, if the police can arrest you for no reason? What’s the use of eliminating waiting lines in hospital emergency wards, if your neighbors can kidnap your children and steal your car? What’s the use of eliminating greenhouse gases, if you have no rights?
Now, given human rights are fundamental, which is the most fundamental human right? The right to life, of course! What’s the use of having the right to three warm meals a day, if anybody can kill you anytime? What’s the use of having the right to a decent minimum wage, if you’re dead?
But currently in Canada, anybody can kill any pre-born child for any reason, from conception to childbirth. That is our worst problem: we live in a barbaric country where the right to life is violated.

Why at the federal level?

Ideally, I would run at both the Federal and Provincial levels.

Why this party?

See answer to “Why are you running for political office” here above, and add to that the CHP is the only pro-life party in Canada.

And why in this riding?

Lived here most of my life.

Previous to this campaign, have you been politically involved?

Very little. Ran for the same party, same riding, in 2006.

How will you apply your previous work/volunteer/life experience to serving your constituents?

Experience — Effect on my political career
————————————————
Canadian Armed Forces — Never back down when intimidated
C++ Programmer — Keep citizens informed with my squeeky-clean HTML
BA in Philosophy — Drill down into root cause of problems
Conference interpreter — Communicate well in English/French

As you campaign around your riding, it’s likely that some issues are mentioned more often by voters, than other issues. What would you say are the three hottest topics this election, in your riding? Actually, I prefer forechecking to backchecking, so I’m trying to control the agenda in my riding. Hence my Challenge issued to all candidates.

What would you and your party do to address these issues?

Protect innocent human lives from conception to natural death.
Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Are there any misconceptions about you, your leader, or your party and platform?

Are there any? A whole truckload! See FAQ for Louis-Hébert for a sampling of the most popular.

There are more ways than ever to get your message out, from the traditional campaign fliers and lawn signs, to new media like websites, Facebook, and YouTube. The tried-and-true routes get the message out to the masses much easier, but digital alternatives are much more measurable in how many are seeing or interacting with your campaign. What seems to be the most effective, from your experience?

To answer that question, I like the old joke about the business owner who said: “50% of my marketing budget is wasted. Problem is, I don’t know which 50%!”
Seriously, I don’t know. So far, I’m trying a combination of web site with many detailed explanations, short flyers handed out door-to-door, and welcoming Radio-Canada journalists when they ask for interviews (three in three weeks so far).



Sources

External links

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March 1, 2008

Wikinews interviews Frank Moore, independent candidate for US President

Wikinews interviews Frank Moore, independent candidate for US President

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Saturday, March 1, 2008

2008 United States Presidential Election
Wikinews Election 2008.svg
2008 U.S. Presidential Election stories

While nearly all coverage of the 2008 Presidential election has focused on the Democratic and Republican candidates, the race for the White House also includes independents and third party candidates. These parties represent a variety of views that may not be acknowledged by the major party platforms.

Wikinews has impartially reached out to these candidates, throughout the campaign. We now interview independent Presidential candidate Frank Moore, a performance artist.

Interview

Why do you want to be President?

I have been running for president for about a year now. I started running basically because none of the prominent candidates are talking honestly and directly about the state of things, are committed to fundamental change, and have a clear plan to create a humane, sustainable, and just plain enjoyable society. So I took on that role. When everyday people in the “real world” hear about my candidacy, they become extremely excited. They don’t see a performance artist in a wheelchair. They don’t check the odds of my winning. Instead they see someone who they could excitedly vote for… somebody who shares their dreams, talks deeply about what really affects their lives. And then they read my platform. Then they got more excited at how possible it is to bring our dreams for our society into reality… to remove fear and isolation; to get the boot of big corporations off our neck; to provide everyone health care, life-long education, a minimum income, and a livable wage; to restore our rights and freedoms; and to bring our troops home now! We everyday people know the real state of the union! But more importantly, we have the sense of what is possible! We need leaders who share our dreams and who do not sell us short. Or sell us out!
I am running to raise the bar, to raise expectations, to expand the possibilities, to replace fear with hope and joy. I am running because what we want is within our grasp. I am running to get results. Things can work. Truth is political power is based on things not working. This is why things do not work. I am not running for political power, but to get things to work. That simple!

Have you ever run for political office before? Have you ever been a member of a political party? Have you ever campaigned for another political candidate?

Well, the only thing I ran for before was president of the student government in college. I almost won…which freaked the other candidate out because he had spent $900, while I spent $25! This is the same story in this campaign. The only public office I have held is when I was appointed to the rent board in Santa Fe after a successful rent strike in the early 70’s. I helped to found the San Bernardino chapter of the Peace and Freedom Party in the late 60’s.
I have always been dumb to what is impossible. So I just figure how to do the “impossible.” I have been doing this all my life! I am 61. I was born with cerebral palsy. I communicate using a laser-pointer and a board of letters, numbers and commonly-used words. But I am the host of a popular public access TALK show. Go figure it! So now I am setting my sights, as president, on eliminating poverty, hunger, war, etc. Impossible, eh?
When I was born, doctors told my parents that I had no intelligence, that I had no future, that I would be best put into an institution and be forgotten. So the struggle for freedom, and against the powers-that-be has been my life. And it has been a continuous struggle, struggling with schools to let me in, etc. I have always been a radical. But that became obvious when I was 18 and invented my head pointer with which I type and communicate…I started writing political columns for the high school paper…as well as putting out an underground paper. I was in the first special class placed on a regular high school campus so that the disabled students could be in regular classes and be a part of campus life. I was involved in the civil rights and anti-war movements. This was 1965…before it was popular to be against the Vietnam War. In the school paper I got into a debate with a GI in Vietnam. I was sat down and told that, because of my political philosophy and activities, I was hurting the chances of the disabled students who would come after me. I replied that the goal was to get the rights for the disabled [and for all people] to be complete and equal…and that included the right to be political. I would not surrender that, or any other, right.
So I started doing political columns for underground newspapers, joined Students for Democratic Society. Did political pranks…such as rolling in my wheelchair into the Marines Recruiting Office to join, offering to push the BUTTON with my head pointer. But after the Kent State killings, I switched from straight politics to art, performance, and community building as my tools for effecting social change. In the early 90s I and five other performance artists were targeted by Sen. Jesse Helms in what is commonly seen as the first battle of the cultural wars. This placed me in a great position to fight for our freedoms!

Frank Moore in front of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1991.

What is your current job? What skills or ideas do you bring from this position, or previous positions, that will benefit the Oval Office?

“Artist” covers a lot of different “jobs”…and “performance artist” is even vaguer! I am a performance artist. I work outside boxes, using improvisation to draw people into the state of community where they can reach their potential. This is what I will do as President.
Because I came from a suppressed group…the so-called “disabled”…I know how to struggle successfully for equality, freedom, justice, etc. I do have this disability of not knowing what is “impossible.” So, I just figure out how to do it. When I was born, the doctors told my parents I had no IQ. Obviously the doctors were wrong. So I don’t pay any intention to the supposed limitations. I just do what is needed. When I was growing up, I struggled to get educated, struggled against discrimination and prejudices. I really enjoy the righteous struggle. This enjoyment of struggle gives me an advantage when struggle is needed. When Senator Jesse Helms tried to blacklist me, when the Berkeley City Council tried to ban my public access cable show… there have been so many struggles! My enjoying righteous struggle has been a winning element. I also enjoy when struggle is successful. I’m looking forward to the huge struggle of taking away controlling power from the big corporations, of reclaiming the rights and freedoms that have been stolen from the people of this country, of creating a new post-oil social order in which we will eliminate fear of getting sick, of getting old, of the future, of the Other.
I know how to get things done. In the 70s, I developed an extremely successful relationship counseling practice. This created a community with both many thriving businesses and artistic projects…one of which was my caberet show, the outrageous beauty review, which ran for years. The 80’s found me publishing the zine the cherotic ®evolutionary, giving artists, writers, and photographers a home. I also started d.u.d.e., a free distribution service for the small press and indie musicians. When the internet arrived, I used it to further this community building on www.eroplay.com. But when I started our web station www.luver.com over 9 years ago, a genii was released. Not only did we pioneer streaming media, but luver quickly became a powerful uncensored channel for dangerous ideas, voices, dreams!
We need to stop listening to people who keep telling us our dreams are impossible!

Obviously, the next American President and his or her administration will face many diverse issues. But if you were to narrow identify the three most important issues, what would they be? How will you address these issues?

We need to kick the military addiction and the greedy addiction of huge corporate profits and invest the savings into the real welfare of people, thereby creating a new sustainable society for the coming post-oil era.
We invaded Iraq on lies or blunders…take your pick. Almost everyone…with a few notable and impeachable exceptions…now agree that we should not have invaded Iraq. I would bring our troops home now. If someone tells you that s/he will stay in a failed marriage to avoid admitting mistakes, hoping things will somehow improve…you would rightfully question that person’s judgment.
I will change this country’s self-image from that of THE SUPER POWER/ WORLD LEADER to that of a member of the global community. I will cut our military budget by at least half.
We need to stop supporting dictators. On the nuclear issue, we need to get rid of double standards. We need to treat all nations with the same expectations, be it Pakistan, Israel, France, the U.S., Iran, etc. In other words, my policies would be even-handed. I will join the rest of the world in pressuring Israel to live up to treaties, and to dismantle its nuclear arms. I will use the “special relationship” between Israel and the U.S. to motivate Israel to do this.
I will work for the global shutting down of all nuclear reactors and dismantling of all nuclear [and biological and chemical] weapons. I will start this in the U.S. All countries should be expected to live under the same rules….not one set for the “super powers” and another for the “developing” nations like Iran. I will push for a global development of clean, safe energy sources as alternatives to nuclear power.
We have been robbed during the recent years of many of our rights and freedoms. I will have repealing parties in the White House, scrapping all the rules and policies in every department and agency that infringe on our rights, freedoms, privacy, health and welfare. We will have similar parties in both houses of Congress to repeal bad laws such as the so-called Patriot Act. We will return to the common English language in which “torture” means torture. I will declassify documents that were classified to hide questionable actions rather than to protect the real national interests. I will push the Justice Department to investigate the war on The Left by the F.B.I. since the 60’s. Terrorism is a criminal matter. It should be dealt with as such, not as a war. We shouldn’t abandon our principles, freedoms, rights, The Constitution and The Bills of Rights to live in fear. Whenever there is an attempt to fudge the limits of power for convenience of “safety,” we the people get screwed.
I’ll do away with welfare, medicare and social security. Instead, every American will receive a minimum income of $1,000 a month. This amount will be tied to the cost of living and will not be taxable.
We will have universal prenatal-to-the-grave health care and universal free education with equal access.
The universal health care would include all medicine, medical equipment and supplies, long-term care, personal attendants, etc. There will be no pre-authorization ritual. So your doctor will be free to prescribe whatever you need. There may be a review of treatment afterward if there are any questions. Everybody will have the same care as the President now has. Preventative medicine will be stressed and the so-called alternative medicine will be included. You will notice that health insurance companies are not in this picture!
I’ll do away with all tax deductions for over $12,000 income. Instead, there will be a flat tax of 10% on annual income of less than one million dollars for an individual and less than five million dollars for a corporation. But the flat tax will jump to 75% on annual income exceeding these limits.
The guaranteed minimum income of $1,000 a month adjusted to the cost of living is meant to be a safety net rather than a replacement for work. I think most want to work…in an expanded concept of work. But to get a true feeling of what it would be like if you had to live on your minimum income, you have to crank in that you wouldn’t pay for health care, education, mass transit, etc. It all adds up. The combined minimum income couple…or a single parent with a child…would be $2,000 a month. This should provide a realistic basic living. This allows the single parent the option of being home doing the important work of raising a child. But free childcare provided by the universal free education system would open a whole host of new possibilities to the single parent.
The minimum income would encourage people to form the cooperative communal family [of all kinds] groupings who pool their incomes together…using their minimum incomes as a base to create more nourishing homes, to start and maintain small businesses. These communal groupings will be much more financially stable, emotionally nourishing, and environmentally friendly than today’s common isolating model of living.
It is all about caring and choice. If a senior wants to stay in her own home, the $1,000 a month will make that possible as will the home attendants provided by the healthcare system. This is also true if she wants to live with her family or in communal housing. This will actually be much cheaper than the scary mess we have now. The warehouse nursing home will be a thing of the past. Seniors will be an important, active element of every part of our society. We need everyone actively involved. We simply cannot afford on any level to warehouse portions of our population. It is a waste of potential! If we are to survive, we need to end hunger, poverty, and fear.
Basically the problem is not a lack of money, but what we have spent our money on…war, pork, waste, etc. It has been a standard trick to distract us with supposed waste, fraud, etc. in the social programs while milking us out of billions in military waste, corporate welfare, etc.
Again, the minimum income of $1,000 a month for every citizen will give people money to spend, save, invest, or pool with others to create more effective financial communities which will open up a wide range of opportunities for the average person…to start small businesses, to stay on the family farm, to do art, to raise kids, etc. Free health care [which will include long-term care, home attendants, medicine, etc.], free life time education [including child care], free mass transit, etc. will in effect put more real money in the pocket of the average person. But more importantly the fear of the future will fade, releasing what is now horded away for old age, for when your health fails you, for your kid’s education…releasing the knot in your belly of knowing that no matter how much you manage to save [if any] it will not be enough.
Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Campaigning for the American presidency is one of the most expensive exercises in the world. How do you deal with the cost and fundraising?

Well, it doesn’t have to be. I probably will have spent around $1,000-$3,000 for the 2 years of the campaign. I’m use to doing things without much money. Is it effective? You asked me to do this interview! And I have a waiting line! This kind of campaign is made easier by the internet, the indie media, public access cable tv, etc. And it will probably get easier to do this kind of campaign in the next few years. European mainstream press has covered our campaign quite a lot. I expect that the mainstream press here will discover our campaign via Europe after the conventions.
So our campaign has no paid ads, no paid staff, no travel expenses [I tie my campaign appearances to my performance tours], etc. Our biggest expenses are things like buttons, bumper stickers, and booths at street festivals.
Historically the goal of independent and third-party candidates is not to “win.” Realistically the process is rigged to prevent us from “winning.” The function of such a candidate as I is to introduce ideas, to induce change, to raise the bar. Within this context, my campaign is extremey effective. But on the other hand, I JUST MAY WIN THIS SUCKER!

Do you have a running mate yet? Who are they? What are you/were you looking for in a running mate?

My vice president is Susan Marilyn Block, Ph.D.
Part philosopher, part therapist, part humorist and part-time horny housewife, Dr. Susan M Block is a world-renowned sex educator, best-selling author, award-winning documentary filmmaker, art dealer, cable TV host and political activist. A familiar face on HBO’s late-night programming through her #1 Nielsen-rated show, Radio Sex TV and her episodes on Real Sex, she also hosts The Dr. Susan Block Show, rated by The LA Weekly as “The Best of LA Phone-In Shows,” airing weekly on cable TV stations around the world, from Hollywood to the Holy Land.
A magna cum laude graduate of Yale University (BA, Theater Studies, With Distinction), Block went on to study at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State, receiving her masters and doctorate in philosophy with an emphasis in psychology from Pacific Western. Her first book, Advertising for Love, forecast the current online dating explosion. Her second book, Being A Woman, a popularization of her doctoral thesis on Dr. Toni Wolfe’s theory of feminine psychology, became a NY Times bestseller. Her third book, The 10 Commandments of Pleasure has been published in 15 countries (coming soon to Israel, where her cable TV show is a big hit). Creator of the award-winning documentary series, Encyclopedia of Sex, Block is an active member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. She has been featured in numerous documentaries and appeared on multiple radio and TV shows, from Oprah to Today.
Chosen as one of “America’s Greatest Thinkers” (twice) by the Great American Think-Off, and dubbed “the Erin Brockovitch of the Bonobo” by Salon, Block is an active advocate of the extremely endangered bonobos, using their highly sexual, non-violent and gender-egalitarian “lifestyle” as a prototype for her philosophy of Peace through Pleasure. She is a visiting lecturer in the Human Sexuality Department at University of Southern California (USC), and at her alma mater Yale University, as well as a founder, coordinator and regular lecturer at “Sex Week at Yale” (now in its fourth season). Also a consultant to the LA Public Defenders’ Office (Sex Crimes Division), her columns on sex, health, politics and culture are published in various print and online magazines, from Counterpunch to Perfect 10.

Can you win the 2008 Presidential election? Can any third party or independent candidate ever win?

Realistically it is impossible for any of us independent/third-party candidates to win…and for that matter candidates such as Edwards whom the mainstream media labels hopeless. It is not really about a lack of money.
First of all a large number of states either out-right ban write-in candidates or make it virtually impossible to qualify to be a write-in candidate. These states throw out the entire ballot with a write-in on it. This disenfranchises the voters in those states from the full choices. It freezes in place not only the 2-party system…which is a product of evolution, not of the Constitution…but the two parties that happen to be the major parties at the present moment. This has to change before we will have a chance of winning. One effect of my campaign has been forcing several states to clean up their write-in processes.
The mainstream media wants to simplify the story down to as few candidates as possible as fast as possible…focusing on the candidates the closest to the corporate interest and painting the rest as fringe….and hence not worth coverage or be included in debates.
But the indie media has developed as a meaningful alternative to the mainstream media. And it will get much more powerful in the coming years as a hammer breaking down the monopolistic control of the corporate media. Both Wikinews and www.luver.com are part of this movement. This in-depth interview is an example of what is excluded in the corporate media. Moreover, when I received your email asking us independent/third-party candidates for this interview…with all the addresses of the candidates…I switched my candidate hat for my luver hat and offered my fellow candidates luver as a platform to get their messages out. We have created a weekly show, from the margins, for that purpose. It is politics of inclusion rather than of exclusion.

If you can’t make it into the Oval Office, who would you prefer seeing taking the presidency?

Ralph Nader. I have always used my vote as a way to inch society to what I know is a better place. I always vote for the candidate who represents our dreams.

What should the American people keep in mind, when heading to the polls this November?

It will be an exciting, fun four years! Just imagine a world in which somebody like you or me could really become president. Now keep imagining it and we just may win! Do not throw your vote away on a candidate who does not share your dreams, who is not committed to bring your dreams into reality! Go for it! It is the only practical thing to do because if we don’t go for it, we will never get what we need, what we want, what we are dreaming. Hey, it just makes sense… right? So go to www.frankmooreforpresident08.com and read my platform. If you like what read, get involved! Print out the platform and give it everybody! Become an elector for me! Do whatever you can think of to get the message out.
And then write Frank Moore in on Election Day!



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November 5, 2007

Satanism: An interview with Church of Satan High Priest Peter Gilmore

Satanism: An interview with Church of Satan High Priest Peter Gilmore

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Monday, November 5, 2007

Peter H. Gilmore: “Satanism begins with atheism. We begin with the universe and say, “It’s indifferent. There’s no God, there’s no Devil. No one cares!” So you then have to make a decision that places yourself at the center of your own subjective universe, because of course we can’t have any kind of objective contact with everything that exists. That’s rather arrogant and delusional…”
All photos: David Shankbone

In the 1980’s and the 1990’s there were multiple allegations of sexual abuse of children or non-consenting adults in the context of Satanic rituals that has come to be known as The Satanic Panic. In the United States, the Kern County child abuse cases, McMartin preschool trial and the West Memphis 3 cases garnered worldwide media coverage. One case took place in Jordan, Minnesota, when children made allegations of manufacturing child pornography, ritualistic animal sacrifice, coprophagia, urophagia and infanticide, at which point the Federal Bureau of Investigation was alerted. Twenty-four adults were arrested and charged with acts of sexual abuse, child pornography and other crimes related to satanic ritual abuse; only three went to trial with two acquittals and one conviction. Supreme Court Justice Scalia noted in a discussion of the case, “[t]here is no doubt that some sexual abuse took place in Jordan; but there is no reason to believe it was as widespread as charged,” and cited the repeated, coercive techniques used by the investigators as damaging to the investigation.

One of the most visible Satanic organizations—though one that was never a suspect or charged in any of the Satanic Panic cases—is the Church of Satan, founded by Anton LaVey. Members of the Church, such as Peter H. Gilmore, Peggy Nadramia, Boyd Rice, Adam Parfrey, Diabolos Rex, and musician King Diamond, were active in media appearances to refute allegations of criminal activity and the FBI would later issue an official report debunking the criminal conspiracy theories of this time.

Gilmore feels Satanists are often misunderstood or misrepresented. LaVey’s teachings are based on individualism, self-indulgence, and “eye for an eye” morality, with influence from Friedrich Nietzsche and Ayn Rand; while its rituals and magic draw heavily from occultists such as Aleister Crowley. They do not worship—nor believe in—the Devil or a Christian notion of Satan. The word “Satan” comes from the Hebrew word for “adversary” and originated from the Abrahamic faiths, being traditionally applied to an angel. Church of Satan adherents see themselves as truth-seekers, adversaries and skeptics of the religious world around them.

On a windy October day in Central Park, Wikinews reporter David Shankbone sat down with the High Priest of the Church, Peter H. Gilmore, who has led LaVey’s congregation of Satanists since his passing in 1997 (he became the High Priest in 2001). They discussed the beliefs of the Church, current events, LaVey’s children and how Satanism applies to life and the world.

Theistic Satanism (‘devil worship’)

Cquote1.svg My real feeling is that anybody who believes in supernatural entities on some level is insane. Whether they believe in The Devil or God, they are abdicating reason. Cquote2.svg

David Shankbone: What is your relationship to Theistic Satanists?

Peter H. Gilmore: We don’t think they are Satanists. They are devil worshipers, as far as I’m concerned.

DS: There is one in New York who does a lot of websites.

PG: Diane Vera? She’s a kook.

DS: She’s also an editor on Wikipedia. I contacted her, but I never received a response.

PG: My real feeling is that anybody who believes in supernatural entities on some level is insane. Whether they believe in The Devil or God, they are abdicating reason. If they really believe they are in communication with some sort of interventionist deity…you know, somebody can be a deist and think that maybe there was some sort of force that launched everything and now has nothing to do with it. That’s not anything you can prove. It’s also not a matter of faith. It’s a matter of making a choice between whether there was something or there wasn’t. I think maybe that is the most rational decision. I think science makes it look otherwise, but I don’t think somebody like that is mad. But anybody who believes in some kind of existence in deity or spirits or anything that intervenes in their life is not somebody I hold in any kind of esteem.

DS: Have you had much interaction with the theistic Satanists?

PG: No, I just have complete contempt for them and have no contact with them at all. If anybody does contact me and say they are a theistic Satanist we tell them to take a hike. [Laughs].

DS: Do you know what they think of you?

PG: I have no idea and I could not care. I consider it lunatic and it’s Christian. If you want to believe in an existing devil then you probably believe in an existing God and you’re really just a Christian heretic, you’re not a Satanist.

DS: What do you think is their motivation to worship a Christian Satan?

PG: I really wouldn’t know, I’d have to talk to them, but my supposition would be that they want to feel they are naughty on some level. If they really believe in these existing deities, then they have to decide what the values of them are. The Gnostics used to think that Jehovah was bad; the demiurge, and that the real God was something more in touch with what they thought humanity should be like. So, maybe these people think that Jehovah is evil and Satan is good. I just think it’s equally silly whether you believe in an Easter Bunny or Zeus…it’s just…irrational.

Church of Satan 101

David Shankbone: How would you define the word Satan?

Peter Gilmore: Satan is a model or a mode of behavior. Satan in Hebrew means “adversary” or “opposer”; one who questions. Since we generally are skeptical atheists, we question all spirituality. We believe that carnality is all that exists and the spiritual dimensions are fictional. So we stand against eastern and western religions that promote fictions, according to our perspectives. So we are adversaries. Satan to us is an exemplar. When we look at how he is portrayed by Mark Twain in Letters from the Earth, or Byron, or Milton’s Paradise Lost, he ends up being an inspirational symbol to us. We say we would like to be more like that. We will not bow our heads; we will be independent. We will constantly question.
Cquote1.svg You can’t be praying to a God or blaming a devil, or anyone else, for that matter, for what happens to you. It’s on your own head. That’s a challenge for most people. Cquote2.svg

DS: What is the Church of Satan?

PG: Satanism begins with atheism. We begin with the universe and say, “It’s indifferent. There’s no God, there’s no Devil. No one cares!” So you then have to make a decision that places yourself at the center of your own subjective universe, because of course we can’t have any kind of objective contact with everything that exists. That’s rather arrogant and delusional, people who try to put things that way. So by making yourself the primary value in your life, you’re your own God. By being your own God, you are comfortable about making your own decisions about what to value. What’s positive to you, is good. What harms you, is evil. You extend it to things that you cherish and the people that you cherish. So it’s actually very easy to see that it’s a self-centered philosophy.
But it also requires responsibility, since you are taking on for yourself the complete onus for your personal success or failure. You can’t be praying to a God or blaming a devil, or anyone else, for that matter, for what happens to you. It’s on your own head. That’s a challenge for most people. Most people tend to really feel that they want some kind of external support, that they are outward looking and might want some sort of supernatural parental figure, or even some sort of existing governmental authority, existing in their life.

DS: Why do you think people are like that?

PG: I think there are actually two kinds of people. There are the kind of people who need that, and the kind that don’t. The kind that don’t are the smaller percentage of our species. It’s as simple as that.

DS: Why do you think there are those who need to have a God or supernatural parental figure?

PG: I think it’s natural to them. I don’t think it is something developmental, but that it’s just part of their own nature. That they feel a need for something above them, whether it be human or supernatural. And they can’t get away from that.

DS: In the history of a lot of religions, a doctrine was developed by people who were oppressed as a way to explain their lot, and that their oppressors were going to “get theirs in the end.” That’s where Karl Marx was saying religion is the opiate of the masses, because it creates complacency with oppression now because in some other ethereal dimension equality will be achieved.

“We Satanists look at the universe in this wonderful context of that’s what we are part of and that’s really exciting. We don’t need to single out any special part of it unless you find a place you really enjoy. The place you were born, perhaps, or the place you grew up.”

PG: Well, see the idea of the “God” comes from the oppressors, and it’s a way of controlling folks, by saying, “I have communication with this authority figure but you can’t. I’m special.” That’s where priesthoods come in, but also governmental authorities and parties, let’s say the Communist Party or the Nazi Party at one point. They have the key to the way the universe should exist, and everyone needs to be subservient to them and take what they say as holy writ whether they are actually claiming it is divine or not. That’s why so many of those fascist and totalitarian systems function like religions, because they put the leaders and whatever they wrote as some kind of scriptural authority that is not supposed to be debated or examined, but simply swallowed whole.
Now some people might come up with a religious belief that may counter an existing system that will help them feel better about their underdog status, and then sometimes that develops into a major religion and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it is crushed and snuffed out. That’s natural to our species, that people have to find a way for dealing with their existence.
The Satanist, we look at our existence and say, “We’re not going to look for something outside of ourselves. We’re going to be proactive.” We’ll go out there and try to make a change, and we’ll deal pragmatically with whatever life situations we have. So the Satanist, regardless of where he is living and under what kind of conditions, he is going to try to find a way to make his life as good as it can be based upon his own abilities and the world around him. We don’t expect everybody in Satanism to be a genius, we expect people to take whatever they have by nature, and do the best with it. So in that sense, we challenge people who are our members; the only idealism we have is directed at ourselves. We try to look at ourselves and try to realize what our potential possibly could be, what talents do we have. And then we try to take those, through whatever work is needed, to take those as far as we can.

DS: What would be their motivation for doing something for society and not for themselves? Would there even be a motivation?

PG: Oh, absolutely! It’s up for you to choose your own preferences. By being self-centered you can select your own values.

DS: Like, I get value out of what I am doing for Wikimedia, even though it’s for free, there is still a value…

PG: Absolutely! What you’re doing, David, is a Satanic example. The whole point of Satanism is again to choose your values, and if you become somebody that really feels you want to work for hospitals for free—a number of our members work for animal organizations because we generally cherish animals and think they are far less polluted than people with values that are anti- their nature. So, Satanists are often very giving.
Because our values come from the self, people who try to tell themselves that they must be selfless, they can’t really understand why you would be giving if you’re a selfish person. But I think that’s more a revelation of their own natures, meaning if they didn’t have some external force making them being nice to people, they would be bastards! We Satanists, because we are relaxed, we love our lives, we love people who enrich our lives and things that are around us that we enjoy, we can be really giving. Gods can be beneficent! So when you are your own God, you can be happy to give!

DS: How would a Satanist define evil?

Cquote1.svg [W]e believe that as animals that are social, we have a social contract. When we deal with other people, our approach is that we want to have maximum freedom, and maximum responsibility without infringing on people as much as possible. Cquote2.svg
PG: Evil is whatever is harmful to you and the things you most cherish. It’s that simple.

DS: Some people have a compulsion to rape, and it harms them to not act upon it. If it was harmful for somebody to not go out and rape somebody, how would a Satanist address that situation?

PG: We then have to go into the realm of society, and we believe that as animals that are social, we have a social contract. When we deal with other people, our approach is that we want to have maximum freedom, and maximum responsibility without infringing on people as much as possible. So we would set up laws so we really don’t have to spend all of our time defending our territory, being in some kind of castle keep situation. So anyone who is going to go out and assault undeserving people, is someone we would deem a criminal and have them locked up or dealt with in whatever way seems most appropriate, whether it’s therapy, whether it’s drugs, or if they can’t control themselves, execution.

DS: Capital punishment is not antithetical to Satanism.

PG: Not necessarily, but essentially we would rather shrink from the government having the power to take you and murder you, because we don’t have a lot of confidence in people being rational, or being truthful, and we have seen so often—especially with DNA testing—that a lot of people have been jailed and accused of murder and they were wrong. That’s wrongful. So it’s not this broad, “We accept capital punishment and it’s fine!”

DS: “Slaughter them all!” [Laughs]

PG: Right! But there are certain situations where it would be appropriate. Say, when Colin Ferguson shot all those people. There should be absolutely no time wasted on that.

DS: But should it be the government doing it?

PG: I think the government can have the ability but under control. There needs to be checks and balances. That whole idea in the United States that has come from so many other past forms of government is something we feel is necessary. We don’t want any form of megalomaniacal government with absolute power that can do anything willy-nilly to its citizens. Satanists are generally Libertarians. They may choose their specific political alliances because it might better whatever they are trying to do in their lives, but essentially most of us are fairly libertarian people. We would like to have government as minimal as possible.

DS: Do you have a 10 Commandments?

PG: We have the 9 Satanic Statements, but we don’t have commandments that are laws that are like sins. We have eleven sins that are kind of behaviors that we don’t want to be doing. For us, we try to create a situation where we have some social interaction with people that can be beneficial for ourselves. But we don’t set up these kinds of laws that somebody is going to punish you for. So with Satanism they are things where you kick yourself and say, “Why did I do something stupid? I shouldn’t do that next time.” It’s better for you. It doesn’t matter about anybody else on that level: you’ve got to not be an ass.

DS: Are there certain sites or places that are important to the Church of Satan?

PG: No, we don’t really have any holy ground or anything like that. For the Satanist, if there is any kind of architecture you like, or a place you like to visit—some people like places with devil themes or where there is historical interest. But there is nothing particularly Satanic about any location.

DS: No place with a natural significance?

PG: Well, it’s the universe. We look at it like Carl Sagan and we are star stuff, we are made of the stuff of exploding stars. We Satanists look at the universe in this wonderful context of that’s what we are part of and that’s really exciting. We don’t need to single out any special part of it unless you find a place you really enjoy. The place you were born, perhaps, or the place you grew up. Some people are interested in a historical figure and say the place where a castle was built or a particular battle was fought, or some individual took a last stand.

DS: If someone wanted to explore your beliefs, what should they read?

PG: The Satanic Bible is the place to start, because that is the foundational literature for the organization. All of Anton LaVey’s books are worth reading. The Satanic Witch is his compendium of Lesser Magic, which is our concept for how you manipulate people on a day-to-day basis to get them to do things in your favor. It’s geared toward women because we think it’s fine for women to use their sexuality to get what they want. It’s part of nature, so go ahead! Dress for success! But it works for guys, too. Whatever you have to charm people. Glamor is worthwhile, so The Satanic Witch is useful for that. He’s got collections of essays, too, and The Satanic Rituals is more for a formal setting, where different cultures were examined to see what kind of diabolical imagery was in them. Rituals can be fun to do in a large group setting; but they’re not anything you have to do. Here’s a Russian one, here’s a French one; here’s a German one. Here’s a Black Mass—what would that be like? In Satanism a Black Mass is not something we are running out and eager to do because as far as we’re concerned, Christianity is a dead horse, unless in your life you feel there has been this really negative Christian influence that you need to purge, it’s just kind of pointless.
And my book, The Satanic Scriptures, is worth reading, because it ties up where we have been, where we are now, and where we are going. So if you only picked two, I would say read The Satanic Bible and The Satanic Scriptures, because then you’ll have the book ends of the over forty year span of the Church of Satan.

On current events and politics

DS: I’d like to give you some political situations and ask how a Satanist would handle them.

PG: Okay, but I want to preface that and say we don’t really determine people’s political backgrounds. We feel that each Satanist who is a member of the church must make those decisions based upon their own personal values, so there can be a wide range of answers depending upon the people you talk to, whether it be abortion, governmental decisions of going to war…

DS: You can just speak for yourself, then. If you were President—

PG: —[Laughs]—

DS: —How would you handle the Israeli-Palestinian issue?

PG: I don’t have a solution for that. If I did, I would be out there telling people about it, because I don’t really see myself as a politician or arbiter of people’s interactions with each other. I can see that there are issues on both sides of the fence and that when people are fighting over a territory, generally speaking the folks who have the power win and then they write the histories and the world moves on. But we have a situation here where there are bigger players behind the smaller nations, and it keeps this conflict enduring. So they will either have to have compromise and discussion, or one side will have to destroy the other side and “win” and then move on, which is usually the way the world works.

DS: Where do they violate Satanic principles in that conflict?

PG: Each have their own goals. I would say killing people who are just innocent folks, that’s against Satanic philosophy. Terrorism, specifically, is against Satanism because we feel that justice is important, and that is giving people what they deserve. Blowing up somebody who is just wandering around is not a just approach. That’s something against the social contract, and we would oppose people engaging in terrorism.

DS: What about Same-sex marriage?

PG: Absolutely support it.

DS: Abortion?

Cquote1.svg I would look at it as if I was the fetus, I wouldn’t want to be snuffed out. Cquote2.svg
PG: I think people should practice birth control rather than use abortion as an easy way out. Again, the concept of being responsible for yourself and not to willy-nilly get pregnant unless you are really interested in carrying forth the child. Since we have overpopulation generally speaking, I think abortion is something fine to be used, but I think it should not be used as a means of cleaning up after people’s irresponsible sexual activity.

DS: Why do you not consider it just another operation? Some people run or exercise not realizing their limitations and pull a muscle or need an operation for that.

PG: I would look at it as if I was the fetus, I wouldn’t want to be snuffed out. [Laughs]

DS: So is the fetus a sentient being?

PG: Not necessarily, it’s just a piece of tissue and most human life doesn’t really have that much value on a grand scale. In the universe, individual life is practically meaningless, it’s sort of like droplets in a wave that crashes against a rock. Who cares about the droplets? The way life works is it is making large amounts of species of whatever it is, and it keeps moving biologically. I would just think that if it was myself as the fetus, I have a potential to become the person that I am. I wouldn’t want to be snuffed out.

DS: When do you think life begins?

PG: Life is there, whether it is conscious and valuable is debatable.

DS: You mean just on a cellular level it is functioning?

PG: Yeah, it is life. Sperms and eggs are alive, they’re organic, you can’t say that is not life. But what I think you’re looking for is the idea that Christians wants to say from conception. If people want to have abortions it really doesn’t bother me, I just think they really should be more responsible. It just makes more sense. Contraception is easy!

DS: A lot of people don’t like contraception.

PG: And a lot of people are morons and irresponsible, so—

DS: But then doesn’t responsibility come down to defining it for yourself in Satanism? Your statements seem to come down to a baseline level of what is responsibility? What is innocence? Whereas you were saying earlier that a lot of these things are self-referentially defined.

PG: Right, right. We allow people to make that definition for themselves, absolutely. But for me personally, you try to deal with other people around you so that you don’t make their lives miserable unless there is some real overriding reason that would have to happen.

DS: Who are you supporting for President?

PG: Nobody, yet! [Laughs]. Right now, there is not really one candidate that speaks to me more than others. I generally feel that so many candidates are lacking in so many ways, that it really IS the lesser of multiple evils that you are picking. I like the old Lovecraftian t-shirt: “Cthulu for President! Why choose the lesser of two evils?” [Laughs]

DS: If you had a choice between Giuliani and Clinton?

PG: I would probably go with Hillary Clinton. Giuliani was acting like such a fascist before 9/11. He was trying to use his Catholicism to control art that was exhibited in this city. It was unbelievable! His popularity was really down. It wasn’t until 9/11 that he stepped up and did things that were required to be a leader and make people feel more comfortable that his ratings shot back up, but he was really not somebody who was well regarded back then.

DS: That’s talked about now more than it used to be.

PG: It should be now that he is running for President. People need to mention that!

DS: It’s a question of how much it will penetrate the American consciousness that has mythologized him.

PG: That’s the thing: he really was so mythologized at that point. We build heroes, and so many people really do deal with idealistic portrayals and not realistic ones. We have to examine these things all the time and be careful.

Religious and Satanic symbols

DS: Could you explain your logo?

PG: The Sigil of Baphomet. Heavy metal people say “Bapho-MAY!” Because they want to take it from the French Templars, where it originally came from the trials of them. But we explain it as there is a goat face in the center of a five-pointed star. The goat face represents carnality. In ancient Egypt goats were considered representations as god symbols of lust, and we think lust is an important factor of biology that keeps humanity going so we value that. The five-pointed star really comes from the Pythagoreans. That is the one figure in which every element is within the golden mean of each other. It’s this wonderful mathematical symbol of perfection, organic perfection specifically. Since we are organic life and enjoy the idea of perfecting ourselves, that star is right for us in there and it perfectly fits the goat head inside. Now around it are two circles, one at the tip of the points of the star and one outside. In that are Hebrew characters starting at the bottom and going counter-clockwise spelling Leviathan. In Hebrew mythology, Leviathan was the great dragon of the abyss, this powerful Earth figure that even Yahweh was afraid of. So all these things taken together creates a symbol that Anton LaVey identified with Satanism specifically. When he started the Church of Satan, usually upside down crosses were considered Satanic, and he saw that these different elements and felt this was a positive symbol you could tie to the Satanism he was creating.

DS: So much of the symbology references a lot of myths and superstitions, yet you’re antithetical to that. How do you explain how those two notions comport?

PG: We have this approach that we take the dualities and find a third side to it, a way of integrating. You might find that even in Marxist theory, a way of finding opposites and coming with a new synthesis of the different thesis and antithesis. So ritual is natural to people, because humans have a conceptual consciousness. Symbols let us hold much more information in conscious focus, more so than just keeping them separately. So symbols are something we function with. It’s part of our nature. So using ritual activities that are symbolic and have deep meaning to us is common to our species if you look at our history from cave paintings up to every civilization currently existing.

DS: It’s almost difficult to come up with a symbol that doesn’t reference a superstition in some way.

PG: Absolutely! So we feel that since they are often used to support a fiction, why not let it be used to explore the inner part of our nature. For us, when we do ritual—which we call greater magic—we call it an intellectual decompression chamber. It’s a place where we release our emotions, any emotions that are hindering us, and we use the symbolism we find most stimulating. We leave it in the ritual chamber. You enjoy the self-transformational psychodrama in the ritual where you release any emotions that are hindering yourself and then you go outside and basically pursue your life, being rational and doing what you need to do to make your life as rich as it can be.

The Iraq War: A Satanic perspective

DS: Do you think our pursuing the War in Iraq is an example of killing innocent people?

PG: Oh, of course innocent people are being killed in almost any war. It doesn’t matter if it is just Iraq, because there are civilian populations who are caught between these people with agendas, and those civilians just want to live their lives.

DS: Who are the innocents?

PG: Not being involved in the particular conflict. If you are just living your life and doing what you need to do to survive, have a job, bringing in food for your family; that’s being an innocent person.

DS: How has the war in Iraq affected your worldview?

PG: It hasn’t changed it in the least. I see it as human behavior as usual. History is full of aggressors. Iraq to me is an interesting place where there was a totalitarian holding in check religious factions, and now that cap has been removed, the religious factions want to destroy each other. I think it’s a lesson for most people to say look at how these religions were important to people who are always looking above themselves to be regulated, and they found an Earthly regulator in Saddam Hussein, and now that that regulator who actually existed is gone, they are each looking to their own interpretations of their own deities and wanting to slaughter each other. It just shows how poisonous fundamentalist fanaticism can be, which to me is the most dangerous thing in all of human society.

DS: That is what you consider the greatest threat to humanity?

PG: Yes, any fundamentalist fanaticism is a vast threat. I’m looking for humanity to have a secular, pluralistic culture. People should be able to follow whatever fantasies or religions they want, as long as they don’t impose them on other people and force other people into doing things based upon whatever kind of holy writ they have. So the biggest threat to that are these fundamentalists who want to force people into their belief systems. They want to destroy people who have sexual activity they don’t think is appropriate according to their texts. It will be interesting to see in the future if people will wake up to this threat and decide to somehow corral that kind of behavior, defang people like that who are basically on a jihad, whether they be Christians or Muslims or any other religion, because we’ve seen in the past the Catholics were torturing people to death in the Inquisition, then the Reformation happened and different denominations and sects were killing each other. Heretics were being slaughtered. So this is not something just one religion is guilty of.

On New York City

DS: How do you feel about Hell’s Kitchen, where you live, being called Clinton?

PG: I despise that. It should stick to what it really is, and it’s Hell’s Kitchen.

DS: When you see how New York is changing around you—I’ve lived here for close to seven years, and even when I moved here it was very different.

PG: I like the sleaze, I like the history, I like to see New York being this amazing range of the highest and the lowest and I don’t think New York should be cleaned up and Disneyfied.

DS: But it is.

PG: It’s getting there. I did a Black Mass for the BBC in the old Hellfire Club, and that’s gone and Apple is putting up a store in that neighborhood. [Laughs] Everybody just feels safe walking around all the time now. There’s still some parts of Chinatown that are still pretty rough.

DS: Where do you think the culture is going to go? Is the sanitized version here to stay?

PG: No, because if you look at anything that at one point is sleazy, at one it was new and spiffy and wonderful. So, at this point, New York is Manhattanland, it’s for tourists and we’ve made this almost Las Vegas simulacrum of the whole thing. But it will change. As soon as the money isn’t worth pumping into it to keep up the façade, all of the roughness around the edges will creep back in. It’s still here, it just hides in the daytime. There’s still all kinds of weird crime going on in the city when you watch the news.

DS: You see that in all the old Rust Belt cities. Reading, Pennsylvania was one of the most dangerous cities I’ve ever walked around in, and I thought, “This is what 1982 New York must have felt like.”

PG: Yeah, I moved down to New York in 1980—that was pretty rough! [Laughs]

DS: A friend of mine once said if you took someone from 1982 New York and you transplanted them into 2007 New York, the first thing they would say is, “Where did all these people come from?!” That the streets just used to be barren back then.

PG: I’m like that too. Where I live my view of the sunset is gone because two new luxury towers have gone up. They’re building two additional ones. I don’t know who these people are or where they get all their money because they are charging $6,000 a month for these apartments, and I’m thinking who is spending all this money and wandering around the city like it’s a pedestrian mall that could be in any kind of suburbia.

Marilyn Manson

DS: Marilyn Manson is a member?

PG: Yes, he’s a member who has been given an honorary priesthood. When asked about what Satanism is he can be very articulate in explaining it. But his own music is his own art. His stage shows are his own, and they don’t really exemplify Satanism in particular.

DS: It’s more of a character.

PG: Yeah, he’s created a character. We say people forget about past orthodoxies, something that was culturally popular or permeating at one point or another, people forget about that. What Brian Warner did was he looked at David Bowie and Alice Cooper and re-created and repackaged them, and made a fortune.

DS: Is he an active member?

PG: He’s an honorary priest, but he does his own thing. If asked about our philosophies he can explain it. The interesting thing is when his first album came out the two of us met on a panel that we were doing about racism in music that was being sponsored by Seconds Magazine. Nobody knew who Brian Warner was at that point, and he came up to me and gave me a CD and he was all in costume. But he said “I heard about you and I wanted to meet you,” so we moved aside and talked for a little while and I learned he really did understand Satanism. I told Anton LaVey that this guy was pretty smart and this gimmick is going to do well; it’s clever. He’s using this serial killer and Hollywood star combination, and he’s a smart guy and creating his own persona that is probably going to be successful. It took off immediately, and when Marilyn Manson was out on tour in California he asked if he could meet Anton LaVey and he was impressed. He is a really sweet and sincere guy, which has nothing to do with what all of the world sees in just his act and his art.

On the church after Anton LaVey

DS: Does the Church of Satan have relationships with other churches?

PG: Not at all. We’re not ecumenical.

DS: It would seem there are pagans or humanist religions that follow your general philosophy.

PG: I wouldn’t say that. Most pagan religions are theistic on one level or another. They generally think their deities exist in some part. We don’t believe Satan exists as a deity. I think there are some pagans who may look at their Gods and Goddesses as archetypes only, and in that sense that would be closer to our position because you can look at the symbol of Satan as an archetype. But, we generally don’t feel we have any relation to any kind of religious organization.

DS: What is the membership numbers for the Church of Satan?

“I’m looking for humanity to have a secular, pluralistic culture. People should be able to follow whatever fantasies or religions they want, as long as they don’t impose them on other people and force other people into doing things based upon whatever kind of holy writ they have.”

PG: We never give out numbers. The reason for that our founder came up with and I agree with him and keep to his policy: if people think there are too few of us, they tend to not want to take us seriously. If they think there are too many of us, they think we’re a threat. There was even a point back during the Satanic Panic in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s when there was governmental legislation proposed to ban Satanism because they thought there were all these metal heads out there sacrificing babies, doing drugs and making child pornography. Of course, now we know, it was mostly people who were borderline Christian evangelists pretending, but then accusing their own family members and getting them put in jail, or acting as therapists and most of those people have been sued and properly censured since then.

DS: Has the church thrived after LaVey’s passing?

PG: It has. Partially because we are taking advantage of technology with the Internet and global media; our website gets hundreds of thousands of hits a day and literature keeps getting translated into many different languages the world over. My own book, The Satanic Scriptures, the hardcover came out in April and the paperback is coming out this month. I’ve already got five different languages coming out and I’m negotiating for others. We are thriving, we have many members.

DS: What is your book about?

PG: It’s a collection of my essays I’ve written over the past twenty years talking about Satanic philosophy, how it’s applied. I talk about music since I am by training a composer; I went to NYU. I have a Bachelor’s and Master’s in music composition, mostly focusing on orchestral work. One conception in the book I wanted to dispel is the stereotype that Satanism is always associated with Metal and the cookie monster voice. That’s Satanism? No.

DS: It’s not all Gene Loves Jezebel sounding.

PG: No. Satanic music is specific to each person. So to me, Satanic music is the symphony, which to me is the highest art form. So Beethoven, Mahler, Bruckner, Shostakovich — to me that’s some of the most Satanic music ever written because the architecture is there, the expressivity is there; the reflection on the human condition is all present and it’s not idealistic. It’s mostly questioning or showing what a human is capable of doing. And I love architecture. Cathedrals are wonderful. I have no hatred of those because they are put to religious use. They have symbols on them, but I know those are just symbols. I love skyscrapers too.

Anton LaVey’s children and estate

DS: Do Dr. LaVey’s children have anything to do with the church at all?

PG: His son Xerxes is a member because he asked to be. We generally don’t let people under 18 join. We used to let people whose parents allowed them to join, but because people are so litigious we changed that. We just don’t want to take the chance that some parents say, “Yes, it’s okay if my kid joins the Church of Satan,” and then decides that’s the reason they can’t control their kid. We’re just not willing to go there. But if our members have children who are interested, they can participate and become members, but that’s the only way you can if you’re not legally an adult. So Xerxes could become a member because his mother was High Priestess at one point, and still remains a member.

DS: But not Zeena?

PG: No, she left years ago. She’s not very bright and is very jealous. She and her paramour, Nikolas Shreck, got married I think. They wanted to take the Church of Satan over at one point and wanted Anton LaVey to retire, but he was a feisty guy and said “Hell no!” So they quit in high dudgeon and ran off to Europe and said, “America is corrupt and horrible and we’re going to Fortress Europa!” They played with being Nazi occultists, which is kind of funny because both of them have Jewish blood. They’re just like clowns. They then joined the Temple of Set, which was an organization that split off from the Church of Satan years ago, in 1975, when Michael Aquino—

DS: Based on the Egyptian god?

Cquote1.svg His oldest daughter Karla isn’t a very bright girl. She kind of hung around the background and once in a while she would come out to speak in public and support her father. When Xerxes was born she kind of got miffed because she wasn’t the center of attention. Karla is also a jealous type. Cquote2.svg
PG: Yeah, and they’re theists. They believe that Set exists and that their priests can commune with him and that their founder is the voice of Set. So, it’s like, good that they left for housecleaning. But Zeena went and joined them and became High Priestess because Michael Aquino has this Anton LaVey obsession, which is obvious since he wrote a book about him that’s about a thousand pages, so he made her the High Priestess of their organization. Then she left to form an even more orthodox Setian group called “The Storm”, which to us is just funny. Such theatrics. His oldest daughter Karla isn’t a very bright girl. She kind of hung around the background and once in a while she would come out to speak in public and support her father. When Xerxes was born she kind of got miffed because she wasn’t the center of attention. Karla is also jealous type. She withdrew from her father, which hurt him a lot.

DS: How did the legal wrangling surrounding his estate pan out?

PG: They finally settled. What ended up happening is he had written a will. Anton LaVey’s idea was that if he acknowledged he is going to die, then he’d be giving in to death, so he didn’t want to go to an attorney and make out a will. He was very feisty and had his own perspective on that. So he finally wrote a will out and signed it, but it wasn’t notarized and there were no witnesses. So when it came to court they said it wasn’t good enough. They basically split everything up between the three children, so Karla and Zeena and Xerxes all got part of the estate.

DS: Who received the copyright to The Satanic Bible?

PG: The estate. The money that comes in from that gets split up and goes to the three kids. Also there is a small percentage that goes to LaVey’s companion, Diane Hegarty; she says LaVey. But they were never married and had a falling out in the early 1980’s. She went off and left Satanism and sued him for palimony and he had to sell his house because of all of that, and he sold it to an old friend and member. Diane got a pile of money and she got a tiny percentage of the books that had been written up to that point. Every once in a while she comes creeping in off the periphery to say, “Ah! I’m Diane LaVey!” and it’s like, you were Diane Hegarty and you were kind of involved in it, but before the Satanic Panic happened you left and had nothing to do with it. She was never someone who wrote or said anything of interest. She was just the pretty blonde wife of Anton LaVey. She was a nice figurehead, but wasn’t of much use beyond that.



Sources

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