.ast week, a plane was hijacked by the Japanese cult, Aum. Alex Haydon sees iarallels between latter-day cults, New Age philosophy and Hitler's Nazism.
IN THE AFTERMATH of the YE Day celebrations, I am not happy to be the spec!.e at the feast. But while obody in his right mind can eny that the military defeat f Hider was something to elebrate, I am afraid that e have not yet exorcised his shit.
It may live on in someting that, in the face of it, :ems to be its polar oppote: the New Age movement. For there are grounds for elieving that this umbrella )r a variety of notions Lrgely Eastern in origin 3uddhistn, Hinduism, reinrrnation etc), could more r less unwittingly become Sc midwife to a sinister istortion of spirituality, lending it with some ements of the Nazi cult, ongside the international :surgenee of fascism.
The superficial paradox of teir common elements has :ry recently found voice in a ace whose ruined abbey ,mbolises the Catholic adition of this country. According to a recent port in The Guardian, the te-time "messiah" and reen Party spokesman, avid Icke, has claimed that e Oklahoma bomb was Led by the American overnment to give the FBI Ld the "New World Order" pretext to clamp down Lew on all freedoms.
He was speaking in a series 30 lectures on the summer ur which started in Glasnbury, a major New Age eeting-place where greens Ingle and cross-fertilise th right-wing libertarians, 0-pagans and animal erationists.
[eke speaks relaxedly now, lling himself a "recovered tter", and joking about ing called a Nazi. Why this ;e? Because he has fallen, e Hitler before him, for it old Russian forgery The otocols of the Elders of 3n, which claimed to
reveal a Jewish plot for world domination. He also rails at bankers and Freemasons.
Challenged by a current Green Party spokesman, David Taylor, lcke said: "Personally I would not pull a trigger to defend my own life. I am merely asking people to think."
As with Hider in his early days, it is tempting to laugh, but unfortunately, many people are already "thinking" in these terms.
According to Open Eye magazine, which monitors such things, there is an international network of sects and "militias" which believe in the Great Conspiracy of the New World Order.
Jeff Baker, an Influential fellow-traveller of those who sympathise with the Oldahoma bombers, shares Icke's belief in The Protocols. He claims to represent the "10th Amendment Militia".
The Tenth Amendment to the American Constitution states that powers not delegated to the federal government in Washington "are referred to the States.., or to the People."
During the 50s and 60s, "states rights" became the baffle-cry of Southern segregationists wanting to disguise their support for white supremacy.
It is a common conviction among militia members that recent gun control legislation is one of the first steps in the establishment of the Jewish-Masonic (and, some say, Vatican-controlled) New World Order allegedly predicted in the Protocols as well as, some say, the Bible.
Some militia members, many of whom are Baptists, are also members of the Ku Klux Klan.
Tempting as it might be to dismiss both those responsible for the Oklahoma bombing and those in sympathy with them as a handful of isolated freaks, the FBI says that several militias have links with the growing international neoNazi network (which has tens of thousands of supporters worldwide).
In terms of discipline and doctrine, of course, these people have as yet very little in common with most New Agers (amongst whom late is in a minority); but the danger is that the avowed spiritual hunger of the New Age, combined with its faith in 'intuition' and contempt for rational thought as a Western and patriarchal means of control, could lead others to the uncritical acceptance of these feverish conspiracy theories.
And as for imperviousness to rational argument, fanatical self-assurance, hunger for tabloid fallacy, extrapolation from untested hunches, and apocalyptic expectation they are really united in seemingly invincible ignorance.
The followers of Chlzuo Matsumoto, aka Guru Asahara, the leader of the Aum cult (whose blend of Oriental religions was thoroughly New Age), however, are highly educated and apparently sane people who cannot excuse themselves (unlike the redneck militia men) for lack of education.
Like the militias, Asahara also had a clearly defined enemy in his own government. There is always someone else to blame, a scapegoat who, by providing opposition, unites the movement, cult or sect.
Common to these apocalyptic gun-slingers and gassprayers, is the belief in some sort of messiah. This they share with many of the numerous followers of the New Age movement, which often puts more stress on the return of Christ than do most Christians.
Hitler had plans for a world religion: Nazism. In fact, he went further in his claims, saying it was "more than religion; it is the determination to create a new man." There was also to be a Reich Church, in which copies of Mein Kampf would replace the Bible.
Even though he intended, as he put it, to settle his account with the Church when the war was over, he realised that it would not be possible simply to forbid religion; that if only for the sake of social order, some form of faith and practice was necessary.
He even wrote in Mein Kampf that the result of abolishing religious education "without replacing it by something equivalent" would cause "a grave shock to the foundations of mankind's existence", showing an instinctive grasp of Chesterton's point that man will believe in anything rather than in nothing.
This observation no doubt explains the feverish rash of cults and sects, political and otherwise, springing up in the context of a world frightened by the television news.
The terrifying circumstantial evidence for original sin is overwhelming; but many people cannot face it in themselves.
Catholics may laugh this off, as David Taylor (Ickes Green challenger) warns people did Hitler, before it was too late. But many take It all too seriously.
It is superficially consoling to be let off the hook of original sin. It may be the case that many people's hearts are harder, their minds more thoughtless now than in any former age. Psychology has taught them after all that guilt is neurosis.
So, like Hitler, they "walk the path that Providence dictates with the assurance of a sleep-walker" which is just what the New Age prophets are offering them.