Compensatory violent fantasies

Events occurring and how they relate/affect Anabaptist faith and culture.
PetrChelcicky
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Compensatory violent fantasies

Postby PetrChelcicky » Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:50 pm

Compensatory violent fantasies play an inevitable part in politics. At the moment. they are most visible in the Richard-Spencer variant of the alt-right: marches, salutes, "hails" etc., apt mostly for an army as in Games of Thrones.
This not completely harmless, because it may be acted out in a destructive way. I don't say that we shall ignore it. I only say that we shall not distance ourselves from it.
We Anabaptists have had our own streak of compensatory violent fantasies in northwest continental Europe between Westphalia (the Munster Anabaptists) and the Netherlands (the "Batenburgers"). Mennonism was not simply created by distancing from them. Mennonism was partly created by winning them over, as humans who were bitterly disappointed and prepared to withdraw from worldly ambitions.
Interestingly, here in Germany the Munster Anabaptists are mostly seen as precursors of the Nazis (following the author Reck-Malleczewen, whose book about Munster was definitely anti-Nazi, and following the author Duerrenmatt). On the other hand I see that the modern leftist fraction within American Anabaptism looks at the Munsterians as representants of a legitimate "transformationist" tradition in Anabaptism whose ideas are to be revived. This is an example how the left and the right are not as different as they want to believe.
I'm certain that a lot of Richard-Spencer-type altrighters will be bitterly disappointed after some years and prepared to withdraw from worldly ambitions and I think that, like Menno Simons, we must be there to receive and accompany them.
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Bootstrap
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Re: Compensatory violent fantasies

Postby Bootstrap » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:49 pm

Hi Petr,

I'm not sure that I understand all of this. Can I ask some clarifying questions?

PetrChelcicky wrote:Compensatory violent fantasies play an inevitable part in politics. At the moment. they are most visible in the Richard-Spencer variant of the alt-right: marches, salutes, "hails" etc., apt mostly for an army as in Games of Thrones.
This not completely harmless, because it may be acted out in a destructive way. I don't say that we shall ignore it. I only say that we shall not distance ourselves from it.


By "shall not distance ourselves from it", do you mean "probably will not distance ourselves from it"? I assume you do not mean "should not distance ourselves from it"? Modal verbs are hard across languages ....

PetrChelcicky wrote:We Anabaptists have had our own streak of compensatory violent fantasies in northwest continental Europe between Westphalia (the Munster Anabaptists) and the Netherlands (the "Batenburgers"). Mennonism was not simply created by distancing from them. Mennonism was partly created by winning them over, as humans who were bitterly disappointed and prepared to withdraw from worldly ambitions.


I think Mennonites did distance themselves from the Munsterites. You seem to imply that many of the early converts were from the Munsterites - I have no idea. Where can I find that information?

PetrChelcicky wrote:Interestingly, here in Germany the Munster Anabaptists are mostly seen as precursors of the Nazis (following the author Reck-Malleczewen, whose book about Munster was definitely anti-Nazi, and following the author Duerrenmatt). On the other hand I see that the modern leftist fraction within American Anabaptism looks at the Munsterians as representants of a legitimate "transformationist" tradition in Anabaptism whose ideas are to be revived.


Interesting! I knew that the Germans see the Munsterites as a dangerous cult even now. I did not know that they saw a connection to the Nazis, but I only lived in Germany for 8 years. Can you show me where to find this connection? Is this a common understanding among Germans? Is it found in their textbooks?

You say that there are modern Mennonites who see the Munsterites as representatives of a "legitimate transformations tradition" whose ideas are to be revived? Can you say more? Honestly, I have only ever heard them portrayed as a violent cult who were right about being zealous and unwilling to compromise with evil, but wrong about almost everything else - their understanding of what the Bible teaches, polygamy, violence, what the New Testament is really about.

PetrChelcicky wrote:This is an example how the left and the right are not as different as they want to believe.


I definitely agree with that. Violent extremists are violent extremists, no matter what slogans they put on their signs. And moderates who are reasonable and willing to work together are shaped more by facts and the problems they are trying to solve than by rigid ideologies. We focus too much on left vs. right, sometimes making it a big part of our identities.

PetrChelcicky wrote:I'm certain that a lot of Richard-Spencer-type altrighters will be bitterly disappointed after some years and prepared to withdraw from worldly ambitions and I think that, like Menno Simons, we must be there to receive and accompany them.


I hope so. I don't think they are a huge movement. Just good at attracting lots of attention. And I think the same is true of Antifa.

Is this why you think we should not distance ourselves from them, so we can be there to receive them when they burn out? If that's what you mean by not distancing ourselves, I can see that, but I certainly want to distance myself from their views. That holds for both sides.

btw, is your name Czech?
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Szdfan
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Re: Compensatory violent fantasies

Postby Szdfan » Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:02 pm

Boot, in seminary I wrote a paper on a piece called "The Blasphemy of Jan of Leyden," which is attributed to Menno Simons. In my research, I did come across the speculation that some of Menno's earliest followers were survivors of Muenster. There's even speculation that one of Menno's brothers was killed in a Muensterite raid on an abbey.

My paper is somewhere deep in my archives. I'll have to dig for it. If I find it, I'll post the citations.
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haithabu
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Re: Compensatory violent fantasies

Postby haithabu » Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:43 pm

I don't know about the Muensterites being specifically precursors of the Nazis unless you either think of the Nazis as a fanatically religious millenarian movement or of the Muensterites as a racially motivated genocidal movement. What I do see they had in common is an overriding ideological imperative which trumped all other moral or ethical considerations - which I believe is the common denominator for all totalitarian movements. (See "Errors" #3 and 4.)
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haithabu
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Re: Compensatory violent fantasies

Postby haithabu » Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:44 pm

Szdfan wrote:Boot, in seminary I wrote a paper on a piece called "The Blasphemy of Jan of Leyden," which is attributed to Menno Simons. In my research, I did come across the speculation that some of Menno's earliest followers were survivors of Muenster. There's even speculation that one of Menno's brothers was killed in a Muensterite raid on an abbey.

My paper is somewhere deep in my archives. I'll have to dig for it. If I find it, I'll post the citations.




Szdfan, I would be interested in seeing your paper if you would be willing to share it.
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haithabu
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Re: Compensatory violent fantasies

Postby haithabu » Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:54 pm

If there is a precursor to the brutal absolutism displayed by the Nazis in German history, I would look to Charlemagne's campaigns among the Saxons.

If any one of the race of the Saxons hereafter concealed among them shall have wished to hide himself unbaptized, and shall have scorned to come to baptism and shall have wished to remain a pagan, let him be punished by death.
Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae
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Hats Off
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Re: Compensatory violent fantasies

Postby Hats Off » Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:54 am

Bootstrap wrote:
btw, is your name Czech?

I thought I recognized the name as coming from the Reformation era - I was out by some years but he obviously still had an influence after his death.
Petr Chelčický[1] (Czech pronunciation: [ˈpɛtr̩ ˈxɛltʃɪtskiː]) (c. 1390 – c. 1460) was a Czech Christian spiritual leader and author in 15th century Kingdom of Bohemia (modern Czech Republic). He was one of the most influential thinkers of the Bohemian Reformation. (Wikipedia)
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Szdfan
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Re: Compensatory violent fantasies

Postby Szdfan » Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:38 pm

haithabu wrote:Szdfan, I would be interested in seeing your paper if you would be willing to share it.

I'm happy to share it if I can find it. It's been almost a decade :shock:
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Szdfan
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Re: Compensatory violent fantasies

Postby Szdfan » Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:42 pm

haithabu wrote:I don't know about the Muensterites being specifically precursors of the Nazis unless you either think of the Nazis as a fanatically religious millenarian movement or of the Muensterites as a racially motivated genocidal movement. What I do see they had in common is an overriding ideological imperative which trumped all other moral or ethical considerations - which I believe is the common denominator for all totalitarian movements. (See "Errors" #3 and 4.)

Friederich Engels also famously saw Anabaptists as a proto-communist movement because of their role in the German peasant's rebellion of 1525. I don't really agree with him, which is why we also need to ask questions about interpretation and hagiography.
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Bootstrap
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Re: Compensatory violent fantasies

Postby Bootstrap » Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:00 pm

I have never spent much time looking at Thomas Müntzer or his relationship to Anabaptists beyond what Menno Simons wrote about them, e.g. in his Renunciation of the Church of Rome.

Hmmmm, here's one place to start ...

Thomas Müntzer (GAMEO)

Thomas Müntzer (Muentzer, Muntzer) was perhaps the most controversial figure of the period of the German Reformation, a man who has been called at various times the "beginner of the great Anabaptist movement," the forerunner of modern socialism, the beginner of the mystical-spiritualistic movement in Germany, a religious socialist, the leader in the Peasants' War 1525, and other such designations, none of which really fit this versatile man who during the decisive last five years of his life (1520-1525) changed his position almost from year to year. Karl Holl's assertion that most of the catchwords or slogans of the German Reformation during its formative period were made current by this fiery and restless mind is acceptable. Noble and deep thoughts mingle in his writings with rather coarse and rude expressions, not to say offensive passages; genuine spirituality alternates with fanciful inspirationism. At the end, in spite of his position as a priest and preacher, one may legitimately ask: Was he still a Christian?


It goes on from there ...
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