Looking back through our archives, one of the posts that still gets the most traffic is the one about Satanic Sex. Another popular post is the one in which, several years ago, my daughter Tina decided to become a Satanist. Since then she has grown up and has a blog of her own which gets a reasonable amount of visitors. One of the questions that both she and I are most often asked is how our satanic beliefs inform our attitudes to sex and love. We are both aware that there is not much written about this subject on the net; at least, not much that we would recommend! So we decided to get together to answer some of the questions we are most often asked on this subject and maybe expand on our views and experiences a bit. First; for any visitors new to this site, a very short paragraph of background information about us.
My name is Sophie. I am 40 years of age and 17 years ago I gave birth to my precious daughter Tina. At the time I was in a long term relationship with Tina’s father. We split up fairly amicably when Tina was seven when we realized we had different directions and priorities in our lives. Tina’s father has continued to play an active and supporting role in Tina’s life and upbringing. I have been sexually active since my mid teens and I suppose I was always fairly liberal and adventurous in my sexual affairs. I’d had a couple of serious boyfriends before meeting Tina’s father (and quite a lot of less serious ones) and after the split I had a lot of liaisons with both men and women before meeting Cassie who has since become my life partner. Both Cassie and I are bisexual and still occasionally have sex with men, but we knew as soon as we met each other that we were meant to be life partners and we love each other deeply.
So I am Tina. I’m 17 in two weeks time and I have been sexually active for just over a year. I was the most innocent of children and had no interest in sex or any of the things connected with being an adult until I was about 14 and in that year I changed and grew up so much it shocked even me! When I was fifteen I started going to parties, meeting boys and kissing and stuff… I decided I should get prepared for the time when there would be more “stuff”! I had a lot of conversations with my mother and then just before I was sixteen she took me to the birth control clinic and I started taking the pill. Luckily I have always been able to talk openly about these things with my mother. A few months later I lost my virginity to my first serious boyfriend. Later I split up from him and “experimented” a bit. Now I have a boyfriend who is a few years older than me and shares a lot of my beliefs and values.
Mother’s Ground Rules.
Sex should only happen between fully consenting adults. If a person doesn’t or can’t give consent it is rape and the rapist should be punished as harshly as possible. Here in the part of Switzerland we live in the age of consent is 16. I know my daughter and I know she is adult enough to have sex if she wants to. However, not all people mature at the same pace. Tina has some sixteen year old friends who, in my opinion, are still not ready for sex. It is also fair to say that some people mature at a faster pace and maybe ready and hungry for sex earlier. Even so, the law is there to protect people and it is always best to wait until you are not breaking the law. If you can’t wait, there is something wrong. In all cases, if in doubt, don’t have sex; wait until a better time.
It is your body and only you should choose how to use it and who to share it with. Never, never do anything sexually that you don’t want to do. If a partner pressures you into doing or trying something sexually you are uncomfortable with, dump that person!
Girls. You can get pregnant! This is something the men don’t fully understand because it can’t happen to them. If you get pregnant, whether you have the child or not, it will change your life completely. So ALWAYS use birth control unless you are with somebody you don’t mind starting a family with. All women have the right to have an abortion, but abortion is a big thing that can fuck your mind and body up in all sorts of ways. It is not a form of last minute birth control.
And last of the scary warnings… AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases still exist. In fact most sexually active people catch an STD of some kind at some point. Be careful. Take precautions. In all casual sex adventures it is best to use condoms.
The Satanic Perspective.
Satanists are intelligent, scientific people and so they should take all the above warnings seriously. Satanists are self-centred and self-reliant, and must take responsibility for protecting themselves as much as possible. However, with all that being said, Satanists think sex is normal and healthy, Satanists are mostly hedonistic, meaning we see nothing wrong with enjoying carnal and mental pleasures as much as possible and Satanists are self aware so learning how to achieve maximum pleasure and satisfaction through sex (and all other things) is part of our life path and meaning. Satanists tend to value and enjoy the so called darker, left hand, sinister, side of things. We feel it is important to explore and integrate that side of things into our lives in a constructive way. That may make some of us more open to certain forms of sexual expression and fetishism than some others may be.
In practical terms, in our own family, my daughter’s blossoming sexuality and sexual appetite is not something I fear or dread (although I will always be the protective mother who sometimes gives more advice than is wanted), rather it is something I welcome and encourage as I think gaining sexual knowledge and pleasure is an important aspect of personal development.
What would you say is the relationship between sex and love?
They are not the same of course but they are very interconnected. Love can be wonderful and Satanists can fall in love as truly, madly and deeply as anybody else. I have had a lot of sexual partners but only a few partners that I was passionately in love with. The difference is huge. Of course the feeling of being “in love” is a huge and lovely thing in itself although when it doesn’t work out as you would like, or when it ends, it can be devastatingly painful. But how to cope with that is one of the life lessons it is important to learn and it says a lot about who we actually are. A loving relationship is the best situation in which to fully enjoy sex and explore your own needs and boundaries. Making love with somebody you are in love with is absolutely the best and safest way to discover and enjoy sex when you are “starting out”. And even later in life, sex within a loving relationship is almost always the best kind of sex there is. You know that Cassie and I have had sex with quite a few other people, and we still do sometimes, but when we are together our love adds a dimension to sex that beats everything and everybody else we have ever experienced.
But there is still a place for sex outside of love. It must still and always be fully consensual, but frankly speaking most people need and benefit from having sexual experiences outside of a committed relationship sometimes. Many religions are very much against that. Satanism treats people as adults with their own agency who don’t have to follow or pretend to follow any form of religious or societal rules when it comes to sex.
Is there sex in Satanic rituals?
Not always, and not in all covens and groups. But sometimes, yes. In our own coven there is nudity and there are some sexual moments or acts in some rituals. It is very rare for full intercourse to happen during a ritual, although because of the sexually charged atmosphere some people do have sex as soon as they can after the formal part is done. But there is sexual stimulation… I don’t want to go into details, but I also don’t want to tell lies. There are sexual elements in many of our coven meetings. They are not really the debauched orgies you sometimes read about but I suppose in some people’s opinion any kind of sexual activity outside what is normal for them is seen as bad… However, and this is really important… Nobody should ever be pressured into any form of sexual activity they are not comfortable with. There are several people in our own coven who prefer not to participate in some of the more sexual rituals. That is fine and we totally respect that. Really. I would say to any person starting out in Satanism or even those who are very experienced practitioners, never do anything sexually just to fit in with a group. If you feel pressured to do something against your will or that you find uncomfortable in any way, leave quickly. If necessary report them to the police. And it is probably worth getting to know several members of the group and what they do for a living, before attending any private group meetings.
Is there a Satanic view of things like homosexuality?
Not really. You know by now it is hard to find any two Satanists who agree on everything, or even anything! However, in my own experience most Satanists I have met tend to have more more liberal views in matters of sex than mainstream society. It is also a Satanic principle to break down taboos. So generally Satanists are open minded about homosexuality and most other forms of sexual expression and identity. Some homosexuals, especially those who have suffered and felt repressed by religions like Christianity, find Satanism a great release and may go into a bit of overdrive in matters of sex! In our own coven we have people of all shades and colours on the sexual spectrum.
So are all Satanists kind of uber-sexual?
No. I know several Satanists who have no interest in sex at all.
Any final comments?
Sex is healthy and fun but it is an adult thing which stirs deep emotions. Satanists (like everybody else really) should enjoy it responsibly. And in the excitement of sex, don’t overlook love. Love is something which binds and heals. Other religions don’t have the monopoly on love. It is as important for Satanists as anybody else.
And is there anything you would like to add?
Well I don’t really have much experience but maybe there are a few things I would add… Firstly sex does change you. It is not the thing of loosing your virginity, it is what happens after that, you begin to think differently and change in other ways… It is not something you can undo. I was lucky but I know some people whose first sexual experiences were not very good or happy. And they are a bit fucked up by that. They need to find their way back and kind of start again. Even I can say for sure it is better to learn about sex in a relationship than in a casual one night stand. So maybe if it starts off bad, people need to get back to the start and look for love more than sex.
Also the places where sex often happens first is at parties or clubs where there is a lot of alcohol and sometimes drugs involved. That is never good. I know some people who had big problems from that. Somebody I know online said if you are drinking at a party or club you should keep an eye on your drink and if you put it down somewhere where you can’t see it, never drink from that glass again in case somebody puts something in it.
I think I am luck that I have you and Cassie and Dad and I can talk to you about things. Some people aren’t so lucky but they should really try to find somebody trustworthy to ask for advice.
Here is a big rule from me. NEVER let your boyfriend/girlfriend/lover of any kind take photos while you are having sex. I can kind of see why people do it sometimes. It can seem kind of fun and kinky. I nearly let it happen once but didn’t. There is a girl in my school who found pictures of herself posted on Facebook and on some other sites. This is something which happens a lot these days and people should be careful. If it does happen though, remember the criminal is the one who took and published the photos, not the person in the picture.
And lastly, Satanists often say Hail Satan and Hail Yourself! Remember you can’t hail yourself unless you respect yourself.
In the last year I have realized I really like sex. But I also realized I like to be fully in control. I know there are some sexual games and fetishes where you give up a bit of control (maybe wearing hand-cuffs for example) but I don’t think these are the kind of things you should do when you are just starting out in sex. There are plenty of other things to experiment with before you get on to bondage and you don’t have to like or do everything straight away.
It is New Year’s Day. We sit in a hotel room in southern England for a few days post Saturnalia holiday to see family, old friends and old coven family. We are all quite hung-over and quite travel weary after a week of celebrations followed by fog caused flight delays and travel changes. Time for our alcohol addled brains to reflect on 2016 and look forward to a New Year.
Tina. 2016 was a big year for me. I turned 16, did a lot of growing up, discovered sex and other vices and enjoyed myself a lot! I also had my first tattoos, first serious boyfriend and all sorts of other firsts. Around me the world seemed to be going mad. My Mum and Cassie seemed quite worried about political things going on in the world but I wasn’t too concerned. I kind of felt invincible like the time for me and my generation is coming… It doesn’t matter if some crazy politicians screw things up because the people of my generation will put things right eventually. Personally I won’t show any mercy to the people who caused the mess we will have to deal with though…
For 2017 I will try my best to study and keep my marks high. This will be harder than it has been in the past because there are so many other things which are much more fun that I would like to do at the same time! Sometime this year I will go to America which I always wanted to do, but now that there will be an idiot in charge it seems like a less important ambition than it used to be… In the next few days I am going to get to know people from the Satanic Coven Cassie belonged to when she lived in England and I hope to make some good contacts there. I want to be able to be more open with more people about being a Satanist. I think I can get away with that more easily than my mother or Cassie can. Anyway, personally I have given up all things that people call morals and I will live by Satanic principle alone. I will write more about that in my own blog.
Sophie. 2016 was a year where my role as a mother changed substantially. Where Tina is concerned I decided to let go as much as I could and I have enjoyed watching her develop as a person… Perhaps I would have been the same as she is now if my parents had been Satanists. She has embraced adulthood and a lot of the hedonistic freedoms that go with the beliefs and lifestyle we have all chosen. I have seen many other mothers grow distant to their children during this phase of life but I feel that Tina and I have actually grown closer as sisters in Satan. I have found however that my maternal instincts have come to the fore in our coven where my role has expanded a lot this year and I have found that very satisfying. With Cassie away working a lot of the time I have taken over the everyday running of the coven and it is surprising just how “motherly” a role that is, even in a group of people that defy conventions and love their independence. Watching our members grow and discover their true selves within Satanism has given me a lot of pleasure. The same is true for my relationship with Cassie.
For the year ahead I want to see us all continue to grow and develop, leaving behind any remanents of pre satanic thought. For our own group and for myself I am confident that that will happen. When I think about the wider world I am more troubled. Perhaps change, even scary and dramatic change, is a good thing in the end, but it will mean difficult and testing times for many people and for the world itself. Just when the major powers were beginning to take climate change seriously we get President Trump who seems set to dramatically reverse what little progress there has been. And politics in general seems to be in melt-down. I think Satanists are called to act wisely to secure the future for ourselves and our children.
Cassie. For me 2016 was a year of even more travel than normal, a lot of hard work and increased responsibilities in my job. I loved it, but I realised that even I have limits when it comes to energy and stamina! Maybe in the coming year I need to pace myself a bit better. On my Satanic path it has been a year of twists and turns that have caused me to think deeply about things and re-evaluate my attitudes and some beliefs. This is good! I must say I have also taken great pleasure in seeing what some would call the corruption of my adopted daughter and what I call her growth, development and empowerment as a Satanic adult. She is going to be a force to be recconned with!
Politically this year has been a disaster with the growth of mindless popularism and prejudice on both sides of the Atlantic resulting in Brexit and Trump. Brexit will hit me personally quite a lot in work and my home life. I don’t know if the company I work for can continue to exist if Brexit goes ahead. And in order to secure a future for me and Sophie I am probably going to have to give up British citizenship and become either Swiss or Irish.
I think 2017 will be very painful indeed in terms of politics and world affairs. Trump and Putin on the same side… More calamity in Syria and the Middle East. More right wing popularist movements in Europe… The Brexit mess going ahead despite the fact that more and more people are realising what an utter disaster it will be for the UK…
I have become quite politically active in the past year in opposition to Brexit and part of my plan for the new year is to be more effective in that but also to pace myself and keep things in perspective. Spiritually I don’t have any specific plans except to keep learning and growing. I’m starting a new forum (details on request) and have a few ideas for our coven to persue…
We wish all our followers and readers all the best for 2017. Blessings from the Satanic Ladies!
Nice to see our daughter following in the family tradition. Actually we are having a bit of a generational battle with Sophie and I trying to out party our offspring, we have some points to prove!
To all our readers and followers who are celebrating at this time of the year we wish you all the best you could ask of the season and happy celebrations, whichever form they take.
We don’t celebrate Christmas exactly, but we do celebrate the Winter Solstice, Yule and Saturnalia which in our family all get rolled into one big long week of parties and debauchery! We have only just got started and this is the first time I have been able to enjoy some of the more debauched elements. I might write more about it next week, depending how much I can remember… But so far I can tell you it is fun! Who wouldn’t want to live in a Satanic family!
Anyway, to all my readers, whatever you celebrate at this time of year, best wishes, have fun and be naughty!
From Wikipedia… [Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honour of deity Saturn, held on 17 December of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through to 23 December. The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of…
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I want to preface this post by saying that it can in some ways be viewed as a kind of warning. We have always tried to present the positive side of Satanism and confront some of the misinformation that often circulates on the media. However, Satanism is certainly a darker path and is not right for everybody. Moreover I think it is fair to say that anybody who takes this path will have to confront aspects of themselves and of society that most people prefer not to.
Satanists and most of us who follow a Left Hand Path; a path associated with darkness, cannot help but be exposed to evil; whatever one considers evil to be. There have been times on this spiritual journey where I have come close to describing myself as fully evil and seeing evil itself as the truest expression of pure Satanism. This may come as a surprise to some who know me, even in Satanic circles, because I have usually taken a public stance which is quite different to that. But I think that all of us on the Satanic path are forced to experience and confront evil in a way that most people never do. We each go through stages in our relationship with evil and come to our own conclusions about it. Some on this path do become everything the wider world considers to be evil and are not afraid to admit that to themselves and others. Some take pride in describing themselves as evil. I do not go quite that far but I certainly do not consider or describe myself as good either. I am Satanic; and that is enough.
It is true however that the deeper one becomes involved in Satanism, the further you travel into the territory that is often described as evil by others. You may blaspheme, you may participate in black masses and other dark rituals, you may practice magic defined by others as black, the use of blood and various sexual acts may become part of your magical and ritual life. And of course you see the enemy of Christianity and several other religions, Satan; The Devil, as your guide and inspiration. You may work with demons and dark spirits. You may see the diabolical as your kin and hell as your spiritual home. I have done all of these things and I must say that once you start to explore this territory it is intoxicating and addictive. This is where the danger lurks for us. In this new territory where there are no clear maps or boundaries, it is easy to get lost. What do I mean by that?
What I mean is that we are exploring areas or our mind and psyche that are considered taboo and forbidden by many and within those dark territories there are things we don’t really think are wrong but there are other things which still may be wrong or evil or against our true nature and judgement. In the darkness and the ecstasy of exploration we can confuse those things. To put it another way, we can begin to see and experience everything in this territory as equally valid and equally much our true nature. We glimpse that we are capable of every kind of evil and may come to feel that every kind of evil is acceptable for us. This is a stage that most, if not all, people who take a Left Hand Spiritual path; or in a Jungian sense explore their dark side, must go through. I have had moments like that. I have had moments when I have felt that to kill somebody who stands in my way would be no more wrong than fully enjoying my sexuality. I have had moments when I have felt that the power to be sadistic and cruel in the extreme without any guilt or shame would be a beautiful and liberating thing. Yes, I have had moments when I have felt that everything I personally abhorred and previously thought to be really evil is everything I actually want to be. I doubt that there are many people on a similar path who have not occasionally had these thoughts and feelings.
I should add that these moments were just that: moments. When the moments were over they became stimuli for deep soul searching and internal dialogue. They became uncomfortable points of self reflection. They became lessons which slowly and uncomfortably lead to personal growth and understanding. But it is easy to see and understand how for some people (and I would never say that I am immune) these moments could become extended… These moments could become their new reality.
Yet still I think this a path worth continuing on. It is dangerous, but it is worth it for some of us (including my partner and my daughter). I would like to speak about why I think it is worth it in the context of what Left Hand Paths are really about. And finally I would like to indicate why I think that being a Theistic Satanist offers a certain amount of guidance and protection that may be missing in some other Left Hand Paths.
The idea of the Left Hand Path first surfaced in Eastern, Tantric traditions. To over-simplify it was seen as a difficult but sometimes faster path to enlightenment which depended heavily on breaking the taboos and conventions of a given time and place. For example, within communities that were vegetarian, Tantric practioners of the left hand path would eat meat. In places where sexual morals were conservative and restrictive, those of the left hand path would explore and practice all forms of sexuality that were considered taboo or depraved. The idea was two fold. Firstly (and this may be a more modern and more western interpretation) breaking conventions and taboos can be seen as a test of the moral validity of such taboos in the first place. Secondly (and perhaps most importantly in the original traditions) the aim was for the soul to remain untainted no matter how much the body was engaged with material depravity and corruption; to remain true to your higher self in the midst of the most extreme material experiences.
I try to incorporate both these aspects into my own version of the left hand path and try to remind myself of the point of it all as often as possible. Thus with each taboo that I choose to break, I evaluate all that I gain or loose by doing so and come to a new value judgement of my own about how I should regard that thing or that action myself. Moreover, when I am momentarily overwhelmed by the sensation or possibilities of something, I try not to let it overpower or consume me but rather allow my higher self to observe and note it. A little bit of Buddhist knowledge and background is very helpful here.
So an understanding of what the Left Hand Path is about can be very helpful and protective; I would say essential. However personally I find that that alone is not enough. In the moments where I have been in most danger of losing myself, it was in fact the presence of Satan that saved me.
Satan first permeated my soul in the shape of the Pagan Horned God, a figure whose voice called out to me to be heard rather than side-lined or ignored. Within the circles I moved in, people were appalled or even terrified that their somewhat neutered Horned God might be associated with the Christian Devil. Yet to me the similarities were clear. I then began to see the Christian portrayal of Satan as false and misleading. I felt His displeasure at being portrayed in such a limited and entirely negative way. And it was because I began to recognize the depiction of Satan as entirely evil as false that I became a Satanist. So when I am exploring the darker areas of my soul, it is a voice of wisdom that guides me and in particular urges me not to linger in dangerous areas for too long. It is Satan once again reminding me that he is not the caricature of evil that Christians would have us believe.
The Satanic path does require us to explore the nature of evil within ourselves and beyond, but it certainly does not require us to become evil.
I titled this post “transcending good and evil” but that might be a little misleading. What this post is about and indeed what Satanism itself is about to a large degree is transcending other people’s definitions of good and evil. As Satanists we all eventually leave behind worldly notions of good and evil and trust instead on our Satanic instincts. But we train and hone those instincts. The lessons can be hard and we can get lost but we learn and we grow. We are always accountable for our own actions and choices. We allow ourselves more freedoms but those freedoms have dangers. This is the path we have chosen but our safety on the path is not guaranteed. We can fall. We can get lost. Some people do.
For me personally (headstrong and arrogant as I can be), a focus on the true nature of Satan and a willingness to heed his advice is the strongest safety line.
For the benefit of anybody who has been skim reading this without much concentration or understanding what I am saying is that while I have glimpsed my own potential to be evil (and will do again I am sure) I have chosen not to be, and that it is Satan who keeps my moral compass pointing in the right direction.
And if you are still confused don’t worry, but don’t ever explore Satanism; you are not ready.
I admit I had a little problem. After my first few posts I couldn’t think what to write. It became clear to me that at the age of 16 I cannot claim to be an expert in Satanism. I am a Satanist and I can give my views and opinions on things but obviously I am not an expert. I was speaking to my mother and Cassie (who you may know from the Devil’s Advocates blog which I also write in sometimes) and they suggested I just write a personal blog; The life and opinions of a sixteen year old Swiss girl, who just happens to be a Satanist. So that is what I will try. And to start off, I will just write a bit more of an introduction to me and my life.
So I’m Tina (that is my blog and online name but not my…
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I recently wrote a political post comparing Trump, Brext and Islamic Terrorism which received some praise but also a lot of criticism. In fairness most of the criticism was respectful and well argued. Some reasonable points were made and scored. However, I still hold to the views I expressed and I think most of my critics are missing the point or are perhaps blind to the points I was attempting to make. Now that Trump has actually been elected which unquestioningly heralds some kind of new era in politics, I want to explain my views in a bit more detail and perhaps argue the points I was originally trying to make from a better perspective. I should add that I am doing this entirely for my own benefit in order to understand and express what I think is going on in the world. I welcome discussion but I don’t really give a fuck if other people disagree with my views.
I have three headings in mind. My Satanic perspective, the indisputable similarities between Brexit and Trump, and finally what it all means and implies.
My Satanic Perspective.
Some people who have landed here after following the political tags may be surprised to find themselves reading a blog which is primarily about Satanism. Do please stay a while and make yourself at home; you may be a bit surprised. And don’t worry, this is not the hotel California, you can leave immediately if you feel uncomfortable!
It has been said that I am a very left wing Satanist and some find it surprising that the views associated with the left can be compatable with Satanic principles at all. In fact there are quite a lot of us left wing Satanists in existence. To over-simplify (because this is not intended to be the main theme of this post) I believe in strong and supportive communities and societies which are very liberal in terms of equal rights for women, men, minorities of all sorts and all parts of the LGBT community because that actually improves the quality of my life and the opportunities I have to live as fully and freely as I want. I am a libertarian but interestingly this position is often seen as rather right wing in America whereas in Europe it is more often associated with the left. I am however not left wing in all things. I am very strong on personal responsibility which can be seen as a right wing concept. I am definitely to the right on matters of crime and punishment, I believe in taking vengeance where necessary and while I think guns should be more strictly controlled (particularly in America) my family and I are all now gun owners and we believe that until society has changed significantly we should have the right to own, carry and use weapons when necessary for personal protection. So yes, I am left wing, but not in all ways.
No two people will ever have exactly the same political views but my family and I are broadly in line with those who are internationalists rather than nationalists. We support parties and policies which promote acceptance of difference, which promote tolerance and to some degree multi-culturalism (although we disagree with the views of many if not all organised religions). We believe in cooperation rather than conflict wherever possible and we think that Europe and the EU for all its many faults and failings is a good example of how different nations working together can maintain their peace and security without loosing their regional and national identities.. Logically therefore we are antagonistic towards people, parties and policies which oppose the things I have just listed.
The indisputable similarities between Brexit and Trump.
There are many things about the Brexit campaign for Britain to leave the European Union and Donald Trump’s campaign to become president that can be disputed. I want to concentrate however on the things which are really not in dispute because of their implications for what happens next in societies which have changed and are deeply divided.
Both the Brexit and Trump campaigns succeeded in identifying a section of society who felt alienated and dispossessed by society as a whole and by the political elite in particular. In both cases this section of society was mainly comprised of an older, poorer and less well educated demographic; people who had not fared well under any political party for a long time.
In order to communicate with the less well educated and politically dispossessed classes, both Brexit and Trump campaigners threw the normal complicated and highly intellectualised language of politics and diplomacy out of the window in favour of very simplified and direct messages. Hanging innuendos were replaced by in your face insults and accusations.
Both campaigns decided to avoid any type of complexity. No problem was caused by lots of complicated factors, instead the focus of the blame was laid on particular individuals and groups of people. EVERYTHING that was bad in the UK was the fault of Europe pure and simple. Everything that was bad in America was the fault of The Clinton Dynasty, the black, immigrant, possibly not American, Obama and Mexicans.
Both Brexit and Trump were supported by elements of the press and media who recognised the demographic which had been identified as being the bulk of their own readership and viewers. Canny newspaper mogals recognised an opportunity to make money by stoking the flames.
To simplify the perceived problem even further the ultimate solution that was put forward by each campaign was simple and stark… Vote Leave and all your problems will be solved. Vote Trump and all your problems will be solved. No other way of voting will get what you need.
Other factors in both of these campaigns that are hard to dispute are that bare faced lies were spoken as truths, fears about immigration were highlighted, and xenophobia was exploited. Trump and the Brexit leaders were not typical politicians but media celebrities, regarded as outsiders and critics of “the system”. Trump in particular and some of the Brexit leaders were the antithesis of political correctness, making comments about race, immigration, gender (women especially) and sexuality which the middle classes and the so called political elite had ruled out of bounds decades ago. They deeply offended and frightened many people but those were people who were never likely to vote for them in the first place.
Finally within hours of claiming victory both campaigns did spectacular U-turns on some of their key policies. The Brexit campaign had promised to divert money from the EU (£350 million) to shore up the health service. Literally within hours they said this was not the case and that their advertisements claiming this had been misinterpreted. Donald Trump spent much of his campaign slating “Obama Care” and he stated repeatedly that he would repeal it completely. One of his first policy statements since becoming President Elect, is that he will in fact keep significant parts of Obama Care in tact.
It is therefore my contention that Trump and the Brexiteers successfully fooled that section of the electorate they had identified as being vulnerable to manipulation.
One more thing that cannot be disputed even if you disagree with everything else I have said is that the results of the EU referendum and the American Presidential election have left Britain and America bitterly and perhaps terminally divided. In both cases the final vote resulted in a virtual 50/50 split with one side claiming victory by a tiny margin. What is different between these results and the results of any comparable votes in Britain or America is that there is absolutely no room for compromise. For myself I can say that I voted to Remain in the EU and I think that leaving the EU will utterly destroy Britain and do significant harm to millions of people. I will NEVER change my opinion on this or compromise one millimetre. I am already a member of several groups and communities that are determined to stop Brexit happening. I do not and will never accept the result. However, I do understand that people on the other side of the argument feel equally as passionate as me. In America there are people who love Trump and there are people who hate and detest him and everything he stands for. There is no compromise between these two views. There are already significant protests about the Trump victory and #NotMyPresident is already viral.
In all election results in Britain and America in recent history there has been a respect for democracy itself which has pressured both the politicians and the voters to come together after an election, find some common ground and make the best of things until the next election. This time however that respect for the democratic process, that acceptance of the result, is missing completely. There can be no coming together of the two sides. This maybe because the election campaigns were carried out at such a base and debased level. But whatever the reason, the fact that thinkers and policy makers need to consider very soberly is that in both Britain and America half the population do not and will never lie down and accept the result. It is perhaps the biggest challenge and danger that our democracies have ever faced.
In conclusion I am aware that some of the people who voted for Brexit or for Trump don’t fit into the demographic I have described above (or don’t think they do). For them I would like to offer a little analogy which begins with the principle that the Brexit and Trump campaigns were both entirely correct in identifying a section of society who felt there was something rotten in society…
Imagine you have a pain in your leg which gets worse and worse. Eventually you go to a doctor. The doctor looks grim and diagnoses cancer. You are told the only solution is amputation. You take his advice and your leg is amputated…
Some months later you begin to get pain in your other leg. Reluctantly you go to the doctor, but this time you see a different doctor. This one tells you the pain in your leg is nothing more than a muscle cramp and that probably was the cause of the pain in your amputated leg as well. Moreover he tells you that even if you had had cancer in your other leg, amputation was not the only option…
Brexit and Trump diagnosed a problem in society and told people there was only one cure. Was their diagnosis correct? Are you sure? And was the cure they offered the only sensible option?
Your leg and your life deserve a second opinion.