Nazi Hippies: When the New Age and Far Right Overlap
Both the New Age and the far right are drawn to conspiracy theories
Last week’s rallies in London, Berlin, and Los Angeles against lockdown measures attracted both New Agers and far-right groups. We’ve seen before this overlap between the spiritual movement and the fast-spreading conspiracy theory, QAnon, which insists that an evil cabal of Hollywood celebs and liberal politicians (led by Tom Hanks and Hillary Clinton) are child-eating Satanists who control the world. Luckily, the theory holds, a secret government source called Q (who leaves cryptic comments on the website 8chan) is gathering together a patriot army to fight back and support President Donald Trump, who is a genius sent by God to defeat the evil cabal and usher in a new Age of Love.
This conspiracy theory, which would be a terrible movie plot, is surprisingly popular around the world and is beginning to influence American politics, to the extent that Congress is now debating a bipartisan bill to condemn it. And the QAnon cult has proved popular with both the far right and New Age influencers.
Open Thread: Have You Lost a Loved One to a Conspiracy Theory?
The past four years have transformed fringe theories into mainstream movements. How has it changed us?
Some people are astounded that New Age hippies could have any overlap with extremist conspiracy politics. But it happens. This week, I want to look at another period when the New Age overlapped with far-right politics, with disastrous consequences for the world — Germany in the 1920s and ’30s.
Germany’s two largest astrological organizations endorsed the Nazi party, as did Erik Jan Hanusson, the country’s leading astrologer. The Nazi regime also approved a Working Community of German Astrologers. Rudolf Hess and Heinrich Himmler were both obsessed with astrology — Himmler hired several astrologers to try and find Mussolini when the Italian leader disappeared. The Nazis also created a “working group on cosmo-biological research” within Joseph Goebbels’ Reich Chamber of Culture. Goebbels was fascinated by Nostradamus’ prophecies, which he thought predicted Nazi…