Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Republican Satanists?

In response to my recent post on the ridiculous accusation that the Democratic Party is controlled by demonic forces, reader Undercrypt posted a link to a video discussing an odd change made to the Republican Party's logo in 2000. I had never noticed before, but at that time the logo was slightly modified so that the three stars were rendered inverted rather than upright. The image above shows the pre-2000 and post-2000 logos side by side. This change has led some conspiracy theorists to suggest that in 2000 the Republicans secretly were signalling their allegiance to Satanic forces, perhaps due to George W. Bush's membership in Yale's secretive Skull and Bones Society, which a surprising number of people believe is some sort of evil occult order rather than the frat-on-steroids for rich people that actual investigations have found.

In magick, the upright pentagram represents the dominion of spirit over matter, while the inverse pentagram represents the descent of spirit into matter. For example, one interpretation of Aleister Crowley's Liber V vel Reguli is that the inverse pentagram is used to represent the fortification of the magician's material form with the spiritual forces of the four classical elements. Satanists tend to view the inverse pentagram as the opposite of the upright, representing the dominion of matter over spirit, which is why they use it as one of their symbols. Either way, it certainly can be argued that the Republican party under Bush's "tax-cut-and-spend" administration tilted more strongly in favor of the materially wealthy, and even from a spiritual standpoint the last decade has seen the rise of "green gospel" theology among members of the pro-Republican religious right. But is it really a conspiracy? Can a logo do all that? Could the Republican Party be under the control of some secret Satanic cabal?

The fact is that this conspiracy theory is just as silly and counterproductive to civil debate as the idea that the Democratic Party is controlled by demons. One of the things Karl Rove is famous for in political circles is running focus groups on everything. If you read conservative magazines and web sites, for example, you'll see many Republicans talking about the "Democrat Party" rather than the "Democratic Party," the proper name of their opposition. This isn't ignorance, but rather the result of one of those focus groups. It was found that "Democrat Party" produced a slightly more negative impression in listeners than "Democratic Party," so the Bush team got all the Republicans they could to start using it deliberately. Similarly, my guess is that the inverse-star logo was tested against the upright-star logo and wound up eliciting a more positive response, so it was adopted without any additional thought.

I will say, though, that the absence of a Satanic cabal does little to mediate the degree to which I'm appalled by many of the policies supported by the post-2000 incarnation of the Republican party. I found their tactics during the recent debt ceiling debates particularly heinous, especially since they pulled the exact same thing at the state level here in Minnesota. It wasn't always this way - only a decade ago (before 2000, as a matter of fact) there were many Republicans at both the state and national level that I respected and supported. None of those Republicans would ever have irresponsibly "played chicken" with a default on our country's debts. In fact, in 2000 many of them wanted to spend the next decade paying down the national debt rather than cutting taxes and increasing spending the way Bush did.

So what to do? It so happens that to a magician symbolic changes such as this one can be profoundly useful. Magicians use symbols as mental "handles" for complex processes, and the best way to do this with an organization is to make use of symbols that organization has applied to itself. So it should be pretty clear that if you're somebody like me who thinks that it would be of great benefit to the nation if the Republican party could be transformed back into what it used to be, the way to do it would be to strengthen the pre-2000 symbol as you weaken the post-2000 one. And there are a number of spirits - say, those of the path of Jupiter - that I'm sure would be thrilled to help out with such a project.

Happy conjuring!

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Natura Spiritus said...

Also the new (post 2000) Republican symbol is darker in color. More serious and better matching the colors of the flag. (To appear more American?) You will also note that it is rendered in 3-D. It no longer sits on the paper, it jumps out at you and extends into your world. Not to mention make for a much better Web used symbol to appeal to the younger Generation. Maybe the the stars aren't inverted at all just tilted and rotated toward the Right? Hmmm...Interesting at the least!

Scott Stenwick said...

I'm sure that the better web aesthetics of the new logo had a lot to do with why it was selected. Thanks to the 3D effect it appears much more modern and updated. The darker blue may just be pragmatic in that regard - if you tried to add the 3D effect to the lighter blue the thing could produce some serious eyestrain, especially if it was a large image on a webpage.

With the stars you could just as easily say they're tilted and rotated to the left. While the policies Bush supported were quite conservative, remember that back in 2000 he was still trying to seize the middle with the "compassionate conservative" moniker. But I don't think that much thought went into it - focus group creations are based on emotional appeal, not anything logical.

Now, if that's the case it is still an interesting question from a magical point of view why people emotionally prefer the inverted star to the upright one.