Orthodox Christian Occult Conspiracy Theorist Boards Trump Train, Calls for a Rejection of the Enlightenment and the Establishment of Autocracy
This week we’ve been looking at some of the looney tunes who have embraced Donald Trump as cover for a range of fringe agendas, from reactionary pseudo-archaeology to reactionary white nationalism to reactionary … well, everything. Today’s entry is Jay Dyer, a Trump supporter who advocates for a return to the Byzantine Empire’s Orthodox cultural traditions, as embodied in modern Russia. Dyer, naturally, has followed Vladimir Putin’s lead in celebrating Trump as an avatar of Christian civilization, alongside other extreme right politicians like Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen. Would it surprise you to know that Dyer thinks that modern science is a Satanic conspiracy to destroy Christendom, one that Donald Trump can stop? Consider his recent screed on why he has jumped on the Trump Train:
This is also not a declaration of support for all the policies of Geert Wilders or any politicians playing into the clash of civilizations narrative – however, the differences are real, and for that reason, the obliteration of any traces of Christianity in western civilization is the explicit goal – be sure of that. In fact, it is the neoconservatives who truly hate Trump! Then, long term, the Islamic nations will be degenerated by all the same scientistic policies of western technocracy. In short, the clash is being orchestrated, but as an adherent of Orthodox Civilization, we cannot be forced to admit our religion is false or a failure. Here it is my hope that Trump’s positive actions concerning the border and immigration can stave off the decline. I am not a champion of Americanism, but America is the most powerful force on the planet, and, like it or not, it’s here. It exists – and if it its machinery can be harnessed and turned towards good, that would be amazing. Two years ago, I would have said that was impossible. Now, I at least think it is possible.
Dyer is a bit different from the so-called “alt-right” in that he doesn’t hate Islam simply for being Muslims. Instead, he sees Islam as another victim of a “degeneracy” he traces to occult forces operating through Hollywood movies. For example, he alleges that elements of the U.S. government encode secret information about the future into movies like Tron in order to prepare humanity for what he sees as a techno-apocalypse and indoctrinate them into occult belief systems. However, he is happy to move in alt-right circles, and he has appeared on Red Ice Radio, a founding member of AltRight.com and a frequent platform for white nationalists. To that end, he is an unabashed supporter of Putin-style authoritarianism and even sexist patriarchy. Consider his allegedly insightful evaluation of a conflated belief system that he claims unites liberalism to the social sciences and atheism:
The world and the mainstream media are confused and generally unable to read Trump – they can’t seem to figure out what is happening. That is because the Enlightenment mythos is breaking and the egalitarian left are realizing what we on the traditional camp have said all along – humans look to leaders and hierarchy, they don’t operate as rational, atomic units. Trump represents post-modernism in a good way, in the way of a possible return to Tradition, and that is what is causing the confused mob of brainwashed liberals to panic. It is a daily demonstration to them that their anthropology and worldview are false. Men will rediscover Tradition, the Bible, Orthodox Christianity and patriarchy and they will find that is what makes them strong – and that all forms of liberalism – especially classical liberalism – leads to techno-nihilism and death.
It's probably worth noting, just for irony’s sake, that Orthodox Christianity brought such “strength” to its societies that the Byzantine Empire crumbled before the Turks and Russia collapsed in mere months to the godless Soviets. That’s not really the major problem with the claim, though: Dyer is right to the extent that many people do seek out authoritarian leadership. But this leads to the is/ought problem: Does the fact that many people want to give up their autonomy to a despot mean that it is morally correct for them to do so? This we cannot say with any certainty.
But Dyer is happy to indulge in the worst aspects of Trump-worship when it helps him to fight against the “left.” Two weeks ago, he appeared on a radio show to discuss whether Trump is a “God-Emperor,” a term of praise some alt-right types have used to describe their fantasy of a Trump monarchy. On the show, he and his fellow speakers (amidst a numbing array of warmed-over right-wing talking points from the past twenty years and fringe history conspiracy theories) praised the original, anti-Semitic “America First” movement and claimed that Trump is a legitimate standard-bearer of the old idea. Dyer also claims that the government coopts popular culture in order to destroy traditional Christian culture in favor of a Satanic and/or atheist agenda. In a separate radio appearance this week, Dyer praised Trump again for threatening the Enlightenment, which he sees as a world-historical mistake. He even dipped into blaming Freemasons for inventing capitalism and perpetuating the leftist worldview he so abhors, along with some anti-vaccine conspiracy theories and some hatred of “Darwinism.” He blames evolutionary theory (but of course) for twisting social science toward atheism.
I’m not sure why anyone listens to Dyer—he is neither a compelling speaker nor particularly insightful on his subject matter—but he has an audience across radio and the New Age Gaia TV web television channel. I must say, though, that I have never encountered a fringe historian who openly calls for a rejection of the Enlightenment, the founding ideals of America, and the very notion of human freedom in order to embrace servility and obedience to an autocrat. Many have implied it, but few come right out and say it. Trump’s authoritarianism appeals to Dyer—though he never says this on air—because it is so similar to the ideal Byzantine autocratic state he lusts for, and imagines to be embodied in Putin’s Russia. I guess it is the privilege of those who see themselves as the future ruling class.
The wall I keep running into is that so-called Christians are far too willing to embrace the most un-Christian systems of government and to crush the rights of others in service to an ideology of repression, suppression, and hate.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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