Radical Traditionalism

I continue to find myself trying to understand “Radical Traditionalism” and how it relates to Paganism.

Now let me be perfectly clear and upfront about this. I am not a Radical Traditionalist. I will never be one. I am opposed to racism. I am opposed to sexism.

This site here quotes Tyr magazine which lists what Radical Traditionalism purports to believe in.

  1. Resacralization of the world versus materialism.
  2. Natural social hierarchy versus an artificial hierarchy based on wealth.
  3. The tribal community versus the nation-state.
  4. Stewardship of the earth versus the “maximization of resources.”
  5. A harmonious relationship between men and women versus the “war between the sexes.”
  6. Handicraft and artisanship versus industrial mass-production.

If I am to be honest with myself, I agree wholeheartedly with most of these. However, I imagine that I would interpret it differently from the Radical Traditionalists. Let’s take this step-by-step:

  1. I absolutely believe in the resacralization of the world vs. materialism. I feel that because our society has ceased to view the planet as a thing full of resources to be plundered, our Earth has suffered greatly.
  2. Here is my only real hard disagreement. Though I’m definitely not in support of an artificial hierarchy based on wealth, I’m also not for hierarchies in general. I’m more of an egalitarian. I don’t believe there’s a natural pecking order, so to speak.
  3. As someone who does not believe in patriotism, I can get down with the idea of tribes over nation-states. Mostly, I’m for autonomous collectives that may or may not join in federations over shared interests. But that’s a lot of hypothetical anarchist bullshit. Pie in the sky. I believe in self-government and think it only really works in small groups where everyone knows each other and takes each other’s interests into account (as well as their own). I’m a fan of intentional living (communes, co-ops, monasteries, etc.)
  4. I am absolutely for stewardship of the Earth vs. maximization of resources.
  5. Here’s where this gets dicey for me… Do I want a harmonious relationship between men and women? Absolutely. But I also believe that means the abolishment of patriarchy (which is most certainly not what Radical Traditionalists believe). I am a hard core feminist. I don’t believe in a ‘war between the sexes’ but if one sex is holding the other down, I most definitely believe in making things equal.
  6. Again, I am absolutely for this. People used to take pride in the things they created. They took time to master a skill or trade and made things of craftsmanship that were handed down for generations. Think of Shaker furniture as a more modern example. Monk-made beer (Trappist ales) are some of the best beers in the world. Yes, what they make must support their communities, but they’re focused on quality not on productivity. It’s not about extracting maximum value out of workers. It’s about taking the time and skill to make things right. You still see this in a lot of aspects of Japanese culture.


I notice that there’s no specific mention of race, which is odd to me…as most of Radical Traditionalism is associated with racist (or folkish) groups. Additionally, though the original piece mentions harmony between the sexes, it does not specifically say that women are to take an inferior position to men. (Though that attitude is said to be ‘traditional’ and thus common with Radical Traditionalism.)

Perhaps there’s a need for a new form of traditionalism that takes some of these concepts of love for the Earth, anti-materialism, anti-capitalism, love for traditional skill and craftsmanship and applies it to a more egalitarian viewpoint.

I think these people are definitely onto something when they criticize our drab modern buildings or the cheap mass-produced crap that we fill our lives and houses with but when it veers into racism or sexism, they’ve absolutely lost me.

When using the past, idealized or not, as a lens in which to imagine the future (or reshape the present), one must pick and choose what elements of the past or what elements of modernity one wants to include or keep out.

It seems to me that many of these traditionalist groups or individuals choose to live with technology (such as the Internet) or perhaps modern medicine. That’s fine. I choose that as well. What baffles or interests me is that they always also seem to focus on racial homogeneity as an important quality that they choose to take along with them into their vision of the present or future.

Let’s get back to a more intentional and meaningful existence. Let’s not let the Internet or television or popular culture influence us. But at the same time, let us realize that we’re all in this together, regardless of politics, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, or race.

I continue to view diversity to be a form of strength.




~ by R.M. McGrath on 02/13/2017.

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