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The Secret of Trump’s A Peale:
Traditionalism Triumphant!
Or: He’s Our Evola, Only Better?

Normal Vincent Peale

Norman Vincent Peale

7,144 words

“Personally, I find the Apostle Paul appealing and the Apostle Peale appalling.” — Adlai Stevenson on hearing Norman Vincent Peale was supporting Eisenhower.

“I know that with God’s help I can sell vacuum cleaners.” — Rev. Norman Vincent Peale 

In all the hoopla about Donald Trump, candidate, President, redeemer, God-emperor, not really all that much attention has been paid to what would seem like an important issue in American politics — his religion.

I mean his real religion, not his occasional attempts, strained and painful, to acknowledge the just-mentioned American obsession by pretending an interest in some kind of Christianity.[1]

The Republican presidential front-runner said in an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon Wednesday that Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, had given him notes on what to say when he visited the evangelical university in Lynchburg, Virginia.

“Tony Perkins wrote that out for me — he actually wrote out 2, he wrote out the number 2 Corinthians,” Trump said. “I took exactly what Tony said, and I said, ‘Well Tony has to know better than anybody.'”[2]

One does recall an earlier bumptious businessman, Rex Mottram in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, who, perfectly happy to convert to Catholicism to get access to Julia Flyte and the family monies, is played the fool by Julia’s younger sister, Cordelia, who fills his head with a lot of Catholic truthiness:

“For instance,” says Rex, “that you have to sleep with your feet pointing East, because that’s the direction of Heaven, and if you die at night you can walk there . . .. And what about the Pope who made one of his horses a cardinal? And what about the box you keep in the church porch, and if you put in a pound note with someone’s name on it, they go to Hell. I’m not saying that there mayn’t be a good reason for all this, but you ought to tell me about it and not let me find out for myself.”

When Father Mowbray and Lady Marchmain puzzle “who could Rex have been talking to?” the mischievous young Cordelia laughingly bursts, “What a chump! . . . who would have dreamed he’d swallow it all. I told him such a lot besides . . . About sacred monkeys in the Vatican . . .”[3]

Anyway, looking around for something or other, I recently found this intriguing clue provided by Steve Sailer:[4]

As a child, Donald Trump attended Norman Vincent Peale’s church in Manhattan, which was part of the Reformed Church of America, which is, I think, kind of like Presbyterian but a little more liberal.

Peale (1898-1993) was associated with Protestant business leaders such as Thomas Watson of IBM and Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was the author of the huge self-help bestseller The Power of Positive Thinking. 

Sailer notes that an anonymous commentator at his source adds:

Peale’s positive thinking is definitely evident in Trump’s attitude and speaking style and presentation. Trump is relentless in applying positive thinking. Everything he says about himself and his projects and goals is unequivocally positive.

The positive thinking “philosophy” was very much a part of bourgeois, pro-business, Protestant American mainstream culture, but now largely persists among some evangelicals e.g., Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life” and in a non-Christian, New Age context. The self-help tropes about having a positive attitude, thinking positive, waking up in the morning and staring at the mirror while repeating positive mantras about yourself to yourself every day, etc., derives from positive thinking. Mainline Protestants today find it declassé and are sort of embarrassed by it.

Now this is interesting. I’ve never read a word of Norman Vincent Peale, although I do have a Cultural Literacy type understanding of the reference. What I do know is that this puts Trump in the lineage of what Constant Readers will recall as one of my current obsessions, what I have call America’s home-made Hermeticism, our native-born Neoplatonism, our own two-fisted Traditionalism, the movement generally known as New Thought.[5]

With this clue, I began googling around and scored this gossipy article in the Washington Post from just last January: “How Trump got religion — and why his legendary minister’s son now rejects him.”[6]

The article is about what you’d expect: one third contempt for people who take religion seriously (except as a cudgel to shame conservatives), one third contempt for people who would take this hokey cult in particular seriously, and one third contempt for Trump as a hypocrite anyway.[7]

The link between New Thought and Tradition is clearest in my own personal favorite of the bunch, Neville Goddard. As Israel Regardie said back in 1946, “Of all the New Thought systems, Neville’s is the most magickal.”[8] And for “magickal” I suggest you read “Traditional.”

Who was Neville Goddard, and what was this system? I’ve devoted a longish essay to answering those questions, to appear in the next issue of Aristokratia, but for now, let’s say that Neville (he always went by his first name, like Cher or Madonna) was the Alan Watts of the midcentury; tall, handsome, and delivering his metaphysical lectures to vast crowds in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco in an irresistible British accent.

Born in Barbados, he approached metaphysics with a typically swashbuckling New World attitude. After finding his guru, a black Ethiopian rabbi named “Abdullah,”[9] he stripped down the message of the Vedanta — and, according to him and his guru, Judeo-Christianity as well — to its basic and most literal form. You are, au fond at least, God; and therefore, you are, au fond at least, the Creator of your world.[10]

And this was no armchair notion. Neville provided as well what he modestly called “the simple method for changing the world”: Desire, physical immobility bordering on sleep, and imaginary action.

People have a habit of slighting the importance of simple things; but this simple formula for changing the future was discovered after years of searching and experimenting. The first step in changing the future is desire — that is: define your objective — know definitely what you want.

Secondly: construct an event which you believe you would encounter following the fulfillment of your desire — an event which implies fulfillment of your desire — something that will have the action of self predominant.

Thirdly: immobilize the physical body and induce a condition akin to sleep—lie on a bed or relax in a chair and imagine that you are sleepy; then, with eyelids closed and your attention focused on the action you intend to experience—in imagination—mentally feel yourself right into the proposed action—imagining all the while that you are actually performing the action here and now. You must always participate in the imaginary action, not merely stand back and look on, but you must feel that you are actually performing the action so that the imaginary sensation is real to you.[11]

It is important always to remember that the proposed action must be one which follows the fulfillment of your desire; and, also, you must feel yourself into the action until it has all the vividness and distinctness of reality.[12]

And how can that be possible? Neville, though seldom referring to anyone but Blake and the Bible, leaps over the New Thought tradition to its roots in Emerson, Hegel, Plotinus, and the Idealist and Hermetic Traditions in general, by asking the reader or listener to seriously consider that before he can say “I am this or that,” he must acknowledge himself to be “I AM” — he is, au fond, God (I AM that I AM); “imagination is the God-in-man.”[13]

The method works, because it is, in fact, “the mechanism used in the production of the visible world.”[14]

One way to im-press those desired states on the mind so that they will then be ex-pressed is through self-talk, and here we meet up again with Rev. Peale. Alan Watts used to talk about “silencing the chatter in the skull” so as to experience the pure NOW state of consciousness. This is because our “inner conversations” serve to impose various identities on the pure state of I AM (the “original face before you were born” of Zen).

Neville, in line with the activist stance of the Hermetic tradition, emphasizes learning to take control of such “inner conversations” so as to actively create your future.[15] Rather than the vague “affirmations” of Peale — “I’m great! Everything’s going my way!”[16] — Neville asks us to construct a scene which would follow on the achievement of our goal, and someone congratulating us on our achievement, for which we, of course, thank him. This scene, impressed on our subconscious by our fervent imagining, will compel outside circumstances to create that exact scene in the future.[17]

How? Because, as I AM, Atman, etc., I (again, au fond) am a four-dimensional being, not bound by the “facts” of the three dimensions, but able to access and manipulate the four dimensional continuum that includes time. Imagination accesses that causal continuum and if sufficiently strong the imagined scene will alter the continuum and supersede the previously fated outcome.

“An assumption, however false, if held firmly, will become reality” — Neville.

Is Trump empowering his improbable, against all odds success with such techniques? Possibly so. Discussing this at a recent Counter-Currents meetup in New York City (just a few blocks from Peale’s Marble Collegiate Church) someone brought up a recent snafu where Bibi Netanyahu[18] rejected a meeting with the Don, and Trump, instead of “lashing out” as the MSM would suggest he does habitually, calmly commented that, “When I’m President, I’ll go and see him.” When I’m President, I’ll do that.

I haven’t really found anything else reported that strikes the same note, but I did find this, which is interesting because it’s someone with a blog devoted to ruminations on Neville and other New Thinkers, who in a moment of existential doubt takes heart from . . . Trump:

I was thinking about Donald Trump, for example. It is impossible for Donald Trump to believe, claim and feel himself to be poor. Poverty and lack are completely alien to him. These states never even enter his mind, or if they do, they leave as quickly as they came. He is only aware of being wealthy. Even if he looses his money due to a bad deal or debt, he will make it right back up again. Donald Trump’s perception of himself, his conception of himself, is that of a successful and wealthy businessman, soon to be a successful and wealthy president. I guarantee you that he already sees himself living in the white house, writing laws and changing policies he wants to change. . . .

I have wandered off-topic . . . Realizing that Trump could no more see himself as poor than I could see myself as wealthy I think I finally came to understand what is needed, what is required, for the desired changes in my own life. Somehow I have to stop seeing myself as poor, soon-to-be homeless, suffering, alone, lonely, single, undesirable, unwanted, not fitting in, etc.

Enough is enough! If I want to be successful and wealthy, somehow, I am not sure how, I must see myself as these things. I must claim these desired states for myself. Part of what I can do to that end is make a public declaration that I am successful and wealthy. Another part is feeling it, [remember, “feeling is the secret” to Neville’s method] but I don’t know how I am supposed to feel something I have never felt, The best I could do is imagine how it must be to wake up as an immediate member of Donald Trump’s family. Probably a California King-size bed and silk sheets, next to a beautiful woman, in some ornate room with a balcony overlooking the city. I guess I have to figure out what success and wealth mean for me, and imagine how that feels.

Since you are Imagination, wherever you imagine yourself to be, you are (or, from our 3 dimensional point of view, will be); a point to which we will return.

Assuming you’re still reading this, and haven’t clicked away in disgust at “more hippie nonsense,” you may still find the idea of tying this “New Age” sort of stuff to Tradition, and tying either to Republican politics, seems odd or absurd to you, you have reason. It’s what I call the “New Age Bookstore” effect.

Go into any such establishment, and look for books by Evola: not one in sight, despite mounds of History Channel pseudo-hermetic rubbish from his English language publisher, Inner Traditions. You used to find some René Guénon, back in the day, mostly because there was a proto-ancient astronauts strain in him; see The King of the World or, better, The Kingdom of Agarttha: A Journey into the Hollow (Inner Traditions, 2008) by Marquis Alexandre Saint-Yves d’Alveydre, the hoaxer who took in Guénon and others, with an introduction from Joscelyn Godwin.

Godwin himself is fairly typical. In his Arktos: The Polar Myth in Science, Symbolism and Nazi Survival (First Last, 2015; originally Phanes, 1993), he gingerly broaches the possibility of what he calls “Nazi spirituality,” a kind of ascetic death cult typified by Himmler and his Gita-quoting SS elites, and carried on by oddballs like Miguel Serrano and Savitri Devi. Earlier, in an article on Guénon’s The Reign of Quantity for Gnosis magazine, he prefaced his account of Guénon’s anti-progressive eschatology with the word “Get ready for the Dark Side.”[19]

‘Twas not always thus. My actual introduction to the Traditionalists came from a sparkly orange-spined paperback, The Sword of Gnosis, published around 1972 by Penguin in their “Metaphysical Library” series, both book and series edited by Jacob Needleman;[20] and found, in this case, in the mass market paperback rack (remember those?) at a college bookstore. I recognized the names from Alan Watts,[21] so I bought it — best $1.65 I ever spent!

Penguin later reprinted it in the ’80s — in a larger, so-called “trade” edition — in a later “Arkana” series, but it and the others are long out of print now, and it’s hard to imagine Penguin finding any profit in such a series today.[22]

Even that anthology contains no mention even of Evola or Daniélou;[23] I first heard of the former when Titus Burckhardt’s wary review[24] of Ride the Tiger turned up in his collection Mirror of Intellect (SUNY, 1987), but otherwise the surviving Traditionalists seemed to think it better to not let the name slip their lips.[25]

Needless to say, when I did get around to finding some Evola in English, it was quite the revelation — i.e., apocalyptic. Metaphysics that grappled with the material world of the Kali Yuga, rather than hiding out in Cairo like Guénon. And without hippies![26]

No, today the “New Age” seems firmly the province of the Left — the loony Left, at that. So when New Thoughters are called upon to reflect on politics, the results are typically like this, from a blog supposedly devoted to a “hardheaded” contemporary examination of New Thought notions:

Can New Thought principles help us make tough choices in this contentious presidential election year? Rev. Sara Nichols argues for embracing Bernie Sanders’ big vision and New Thought adherent and political consultant Rob Foreman makes a case for Hillary Clinton. I write that while both Clinton and Sanders have their virtues our actions as citizens may be more important to social and political transformation than which candidate receives the Democratic party nomination. — Harv Bishop

It’s as bad as you’d imagine, or almost as bad. Right off the bat, there’s no mention of Trump. In fact, there’s no mention of any Republican, just two references to shadowy forces known as “Republicans” but who might just as well be called The Nazgul. So yes, the idea from the star is that “the choice” is “which Democrat.”[27]

Mr. Foreman’s piece does indeed read like a “political consultant,” specifically one paid handsomely to spew a squid ink cloud of nonsense in support of his boss.[28] Baffle ’em with bullshit! Take this gut-churning opening:

Here are two spiritual principles that come to mind when I think about why I support Hillary Clinton for president.

1) But none of these things moves me (Acts 20:24).

 This woman has had so many falsehoods hurled at her over the years and not only is she still standing, but she is continually moving forward. She’s been accused of having some part in the death of her best friend, of ripping off people in a shady real estate deal, and allowing a U.S. Ambassador to be killed on her watch. In politics, it almost never matters if none of these things are true. In fact, political careers have been derailed for far less.

But Hillary Clinton faces all accusations and inquisitions head on. She continually advances towards creating [a] world that works for everyone.

To keep with the religious tone, Good God! Those pesky scandals that just keep coming up, I wonder why? Perhaps because she hasn’t yet been brought to justice? I especially like, though, the Hillary Nixon touch of not so much denying the truth of any of this but rather insinuating that the falsity has been dealt with already elsewhere and anyway, as Madame Secretary has famously cried out in exasperation, “What does it matter now?”

The Rev. Sara[29] though makes some interesting points; like Bernie himself, there’s a reasonable position here.

What if we embraced a politics that matched our spiritual conviction? What if we applied everything we know about feeling whole, perfect and complete to the world of effects writ large?

Fact: I am sick. Fact: I am poor. Fact: I am lonely. In our personal spiritual work, we know that conditions have no power over us. Hence, these “facts” under the lens of spiritual mind treatment give way to the truth, which is that I am whole, I am abundant, and I am loved. In spiritual science (the philosophy that I teach) we call that focusing on “First Cause.” We are not interested in the conditions of the world, except as they point us to a new condition, a new thought, a new cause. . . .

Well, if we embraced First Cause politics, it might look a lot like the current presidential political season. In it, the putative frontrunner in the Democratic Party, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is an expert on the politics of pragmaticism. She focuses on these facts: there is not enough money to provide cradle to grave health care coverage for every man, woman and child. Fact: There is not enough money to provide a four-year college education to every qualified student. Fact: we cannot convert to clean renewable energy overnight, and it takes money to do so. Fact: what’s good for Wall Street is good for Main Street. Fact: even if there was enough money, Republicans would say no to it. Fact: these ideas are pie in the sky; they’re not practical. . . .

(Feel free, Dear Readers, to add your own “facts,” perhaps enunciated in that hectoring school marm voice: “Demographic change is a fact.” “Gay marriage is a fact.” “Desegregation is a fact.” “Millions of illegals is a fact; you can’t just deport them.”)

I support Sanders for President because to me he epitomizes a First Cause politics. He is calling us to get off the meditation mat and come out of our rooms to see what is happening in the world. He promises that we can, collectively, shift consciousness to demonstrate the true abundance that we are. He knows the truth of the matter: there is more than enough food, shelter, clean air, clean water and love for every man, woman and child in the world and it is simply a matter of changing the politics of pragmatism to a politics of possibility.

Sure, it’s a little gooey, like Sanders himself, but like Sanders, there’s some truth here. Clinton as the relentless, soul-less Fact Lady, grinding away at the supposed politics of the possible, like Maggie Thatcher — another hectoring schoolmarm — droning an about “there is no alternative”; while Sanders at least notices that if we didn’t go to war with Iraq, fight spooks in the name of the Global War on Terror, and export jobs and import impoverished Mexicans, well, by golly we’d have 2 or 3 trillion to spend on, well, everything!

A point made as well by this photo someone chose to illustrate Foreman’s piece:

Hillary Clinton prays at Jerusalem’s Western Wall in 2005

Our previous blogger, though, the one inspired by Trump, had a different opinion; along the way he drifts briefly into Trump’s politics, as he understands them:

Furthermore I’ll bet that with him as president, America will be taken well on its way to complete freedom and independence from debt. This is how Trump has navigated his own life, and he will take those same navigational s[k]ills into the presidency. I am rooting for the guy, and it’s a toss-up whether I would vote for him or Bernie. Trump may be all the things everyone says he is. But unlike Obama, Trump knows money. To keep America out of another great depression, without causing the problems Obama did in his efforts to fix things, we need someone as intimate with money as Donald Trump, and that is why I would consider voting for him. The alternative is that America gets taken over by China and every other country we owe money to. I would prefer that America remain free and independent. I could care less about a candidate’s personal biases and opinions.

An anomaly? Is he just confused and in need of “re-education” by some kindly Unity minister? Not at all. I was glad to find that Mitch Horowitz, the aforementioned New Thought editor,[30] is pushing for a Big Tent approach to New Thought, as in this essay, “New Thought: Selfish or Socialist?” that also appears on Harv Bishop’s website:

Yes, New Thought has radical roots, which fit my personal ideals as a New Thought writer and seeker.

But Harvey quoted a reader who rightly — and bluntly — articulated something that might appear diametrically opposed to the “social justice” model. This New Thought seeker wrote: “If I show up at a [New Thought church] I am there for one reason and one reason only — the advancement of my personal awareness. If some minister lectures me about some politically correct utopian fantasy (you call it a world that works) I am gone.”

I want that guy at my party, too. The objectivist/ libertarian point of view is as legitimately grounded in the New Thought tradition as social radicalism.

I liked the directness of that commentator’s tone. Let’s face it: we can get very squishy when talking about social justice. Especially when some of the loudest proponents of social justice in our communities can’t be trusted to water a house plant . . .

Then, Mitch drops the bomb:

Seen in a certain light, the mystical teacher Neville Goddard — the New Thought figure whom I most admire — was a kind of spiritualized objectivist. [Mitch’s italics] Or perhaps I could say that Ayn Rand, the founder of philosophical objectivism, was a secularized Neville. Neville and Rand each believed, with uncompromising conviction, that the individual creates his own objective reality and circumstances. Rand saw this as a matter of personal will; Neville saw it as a matter of imagination. But both held, more or less, the same principle.

Is there a dichotomy between Neville’s radical individualism and the communal vision of Science of Getting Rich author Wallace D. Wattles, who saw New Thought as possessing an intrinsic ethic of societal betterment? Not for me. I’m skeptical toward language such as inner/outer, essence/ego, spiritual/material, which buzzes around many of our alternative spiritual communities. Not only do opposites attract, but paradoxes complete. It is in the nature of life.

And aren’t those of us involved with New Thought striving to see life as “one thing”? That “one thing” can expand in infinite dimensions — but does my fellow seeker have to choose between a nice car and “awareness”? Do I have to choose between Marcus Garvey and Ayn Rand? Both were bold and beautiful and right in many ways.

Politically, my heart is with Canadian health care. But I stand with Chris: I refuse an either/or scenario, or a lame compromise. Good cannot be boxed in. Paradox is healthy. Reality has “many mansions.” As my friend Erik Davis[31] says: “Keep it open.”

No surprise that Bert Cooper, cranky but astute businessman and devotee of Ayn Rand, [32] should enunciate the New Thought credo (using a typical Oriental disguise[33]) at a pivotal moment [34]of Mad Men’s first season: faced with news that “Don Draper” is actually Dick Whitman, Korean War deserter and “who knows what else,” Bert memorably intones:

Cooper: Mr. Campbell, who cares?

Pete: What?

Cooper: Who cares?

Pete: Mr. Cooper, he’s a fraud and a liar. A criminal, even.

Cooper: Even if this were true, who cares? This country was built and run by men with worse stories than whatever you’ve imagined here.

Pete: I’m not imagining anything.

Cooper: The Japanese have a saying: “A man is whatever room he is in,” and right now Donald Draper is in this room. I assure you, there’s more profit in forgetting this. I’d put your energy into bringing in accounts.

See what Pete does here? Bert has erroneously attributed Pete’s information to his imagination, which Pete vociferously — and correctly — denies. Pete is the Fact Man par excellence, the man who trusts only his senses.[35] Bert responds with his (pseudo?) Japanese saying, which states the essential principle of Imagination: since we are essentially imagination, wherever we imagine ourselves, is where we are.

Constant Readers will recall that I’ve previously analyzed this scene with an emphasis on the Judaic-Randian aspect of “Who cares?”[36] During another Counter-Currents meetup (such valuable gatherings!) I realized that Bert’s Japanese saying actually references not “terrifying existential uncertainty,” as Matt Weiner typically asserts on the DVD commentary track, but rather the liberating vision of Neville’s method of Imagination:

Humanity, understood psychologically, is an infinite series of levels of awareness, and you, individually, are what you are according to where you are in the series.

Lose your soul on one level, and you will find it on a higher level, defined differently.

Where you are psychologically is what you are in reality.

Where you are psychologically is what you are; therefore, only associate with the feeling that leads you to the fulfillment of your dreams.

Where “I” AM is always what “I” AM. 

The moment you look back at your former state, you re-enter it, as all states exist, preserved in your imagination and ready for occupancy.[37]

The “rooms” are of course the various intersection points on the x/y axes of the Tree of Manifestation, each of which determines a particular state of the being. “In my Father’s house there are many mansions.” [38] Reality, as Mitch says above, does indeed have many mansions.

The attentive reader, of a certain sort, will no doubt have already noticed (or “noticed”) that there is a lot of echoing in this essay. From Neville’s Ethiopian rabbi, to Ayn Rand, to Mitch Horowitz to Ehud Sperling (publisher of Inner Traditions), to the authors of the Post article and the writers and producers of Mad Men. Even, it seems, Trump himself, who, despite all the cries of “anti-Semite” has married his daughter to a member of the Tribe.[39]

I’m not sure what to make of this. The only verifiably goyishe voices are the Rev. Dr. Peale and Neville, which both suggests the generational change from a public sphere dominated by Protestant voices, to one dominated by “Yiddish accents,” as critics referred to Mahler’s appropriation of the German music language, as well as the essential nature of the Semite: an interpreter and exploiter, not an originator.[40]

All that “interpreting” shouldn’t be taken at face value; perhaps something of a Semitic spin is being applied to America’s native tradition of New Thought. Just as Bert Cooper united Randian business acumen with a metaphysical twist, it has also been suggested that Trump’s bumptious personality is the result of long dealing with the Tribe that dominates New York real estate; the loathing he inspires in middle and upper class Jews is similar to the embarrassment they feel toward the old shtetl relatives.[41]

As we’ve seen above, the relatively pro-Trump and pro-Rand students of Neville are wont to point out how similar his views are to the 70-year-old Brooklyn Jew in the race, and Pat Buchanan bluntly says “Trumps issues are Bernie’s.” I guess it just depends what room you’re in.

As Sailer points out, in the article we started from:

Part of the Ned Flanders nicey-niceness comes from positive thinking philosophy, whereby being effusively positive towards other people is believed to lead to positive outcomes, just as thinking and speaking positively about yourself is. Trump’s brashness and ego however adds a twist to this formula, and he won’t speak positively to or about someone and will put someone down if it leads to himself thinking, feeling, and looking more positive.

That’s one aspect of Trump. But on the other hand, perhaps it’s no surprise that Trump is something of a secret New Ager: he is, after all, the Second Most Feminine-Sounding of the candidates (after Hillary),[42] which as Steve Sailer again points out, means that

[H]e Takes Everything Personally. Trump’s is an extreme version of this trait that’s actually pretty common among Big Men, who, in contrast to Nerds, are very aware of their individual human relationships.

Unlike the Keyboard Kommandos of the Man-o-Sphere, real Big Men, as Evola points out, are not afraid to “get in touch with their feminine side,” indeed becoming effectively androgynous, like the Original Man at the Center of the Garden, Adam Kadmon, as Neville would have learned from his Qabalistic rabbi. [43]

And what could be more New Age, or Traditional, than that?


1. “Our government makes no sense unless it is founded on a deeply held religious belief — and I don’t care what it is.” — Dwight Eisenhower.

2. “Trump blames Tony Perkins for ‘2 Corinthians’” by Eric Bradner, CNN, Thu January 21, 2016, here. Alas, the headline led me to anticipate an interesting discussion of the influence of Psycho on Trump’s religious views.

3. “Cordelia’s Sacred Monkeys,” The Evelyn Waugh Society, posted on December 28, 2015 by Jeffrey Manley.

4. “Donald Trump, Norman Vincent Peale, and Ned Flanders,” by Steve Sailer, Unz Review, August 25, 2015, here.

5. The lineage is basically Neoplatonism, Transcendentalism, Mind Cure, New Thought, Positive Thinking, and The Law of Attraction (The Secret).

6. “How Trump got religion — and why his legendary minister’s son now rejects him,” by Paul Schwartzman; January 21, 2016, here.

7. The nadir comes when one Jack Peale turns up, the hitherto unknown son, described as a 79-year-old retired philosophy professor (whereabouts unrevealed) who bitches about Trump distorting his father’s real Christian message and emphasizing the self-hypnosis aspects. Ordinary readers, like myself, will be surprised to hear that there was any Christian message from Peale. The nadir of the nadir comes when he dredges up some story about Trump gifting his father a painting on his 90th birthday: “’he made some remarks that were particularly inane. . . . He repeatedly said, “This is a very great painting,” as if he didn’t know anything else to say about the painting,’ John Peale recalled, adding that from then on the moment became a recurring source of humor within his own family.” I guess joking behind people’s backs and gleefully retailing gossip to the national media is John’s idea of Christian behavior.

8. Regardie should know, having been personal secretary to no less than Aleister Crowley. The comment occurs in his book of 1946, The Romance of Metaphysics, a study of New Thought; the chapter on Neville is reprinted in The Power of Imagination: A Neville Goddard Treasury, edited by Mitch Horowitz (New York: Tarcher/Penguin, 2015); both Tarcher and Horowitz will reappear here soon.

9. Although Abdullah regarded him as being sent; he greeted Neville by exclaiming “Neville, you are late!”

10. Tat Twam Asi; I AM that I AM; I and the Father are one.

11. “I like daydreaming. You know that state before you get to sleep? Except in my life my daydreams came true.” Steve McQueen, interview given while he was dying from lung cancer in 1980. Steve McQueen: The Man and Le Mans (Clarke, 2015).

12. Out of this World: Thinking Fourth-Dimensionally (1949); Chapter 1, “Thinking Fourth Dimensionally”; online here.

13. Cf. Evola: “In the Heliand [the Saxon version of the Gospel], Christ is the source of the Wurd (Destiny, Fate) and this force finds in him its Master, thus becoming ‘the wondrous power of God.’” Revolt against the Modern World (1937; Rochester, Vt.: Inner Traditions, 1995); Chapter 31, “Syncope of the Western Tradition,” p. 294, note 8; online here. The glory to be revealed, spoken of in Romans 8.18, “is nothing less than the unveiling of God the Father in us, as us” (Neville, Resurrection). Regardie, op. cit., thinks Neville’s readers would be shocked if he admitted he is, in fact, “an atheist,” but I think that’s being a bit too Crowley-like; there’s plenty of American precedent for such a pantheistic and self-deifying version of the Biblical God, from Emerson and Joseph Smith to, well, Oprah. The writers of the Gospels do not “hesitat[e] to interpret the Old Testament according to their own supernatural experiences.” (Op. cit.).

14. Feeling is the Secret (1944), online here. Feeling is “the secret” (the phrase appropriated by Oprah) because “you must feel yourself into the action until it has all the vividness and distinctness of reality.” As Dr. Wayne Dyer puts it: “This is how God works. Your imagination, when aligned with the highest principles of y our highest self, is God at work.” Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifesting (Hay House, 2013), p. 85. Or, as Dr. Hannibal Lecter opines in Manhunter (Michael Mann, 1986), “And if one does what God does enough times, one becomes what God is.” Tall, handsome, well-spoken, Neville is the charismatic figure the Tooth Fairy wishes to be. (“You owe me awe!”) Neville is the master communicator in print and person; the Tooth Fairy writes notes on toilet paper and kidnaps a reporter to force him to read a message into a tape recorder. Both Neville and The Tooth Fairy are assiduous readers of Blake, but only Neville has really assimilated him; The Tooth Fairy tattoos “The Red Dragon” on his back, and tries to eat a Blake etching. The Tooth Fairy, a cold psychopath, is unable to truly feel his obsessions (“Someone made a child a monster” — Will Graham) until he meets the blind girl, Reba, but only after it’s too late to save himself. Repetition is the key, at least to build up emotional charge (“Once more with feeling!” as they say); see my “Thanks for Watching: Awakening Through Repetition in Groundhog Day, Point of Terror, & Manhunter, Part 1” and “Phil & Will: Awakening Through Repetition in Groundhog Day, Point of Terror, & Manhunter, Part 2.”)

15. See the recent collection of taped lectures form the 1950s, Your Inner Conversations are Shaping Your World.

16. Not actual Pealisms, but you get the idea.

17. Neville was the original Criswell, both in popular lecturing and in theme: “Future events such as these will affect us all, in the future!” — Plan Nine From Outer Space.

18. Who, some have suggested, rather resembles Trump himself; see “President Trump’s America? Think: Netanyahu’s Israel on Bad Steroids” by Bradley Burston, Haaretz, January 5, 2016, here.

19. As usual, the problem with this is that evil is attractive (and absolute evil absolutely); perhaps this is his way of sneaking these names out to a larger audience? I know it worked for me: see my meditation on Evola’s Lovecraftian worldview in the title essay of The Eldritch Evola … & Others (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2014).

20. The other books in the series included some more Traditionalists, but mostly Gurdjieffian or pseudo-Gurdjieffian works; though posing in his series intro as a mere seeker and more than usually open-minded academic, Needleman gradually revealed himself over the years as a Gurdjieffian, and the series was no doubt intended to get the very un-Traditional Gurdjieff out to a wider audience. A Jew with a hidden agenda — how unusual! Later we’ll return to the idea of Semitic interpreters of Hermeticism and Aryan culture in general.

21. See my “There & Then: Personal & Memorial Reflections on Alan Watts (1915-1973),” here, and Greg Johnson’s “Remembering Alan Watts: January 6, 1915 to November 16, 1973,” here.

22. However, through a series of corporate reshufflings, they now have the venerable New Age psychology publisher Jeremy Tarcher as an imprint, which they are using for a series of bright and shiny reprints of New Thought warhorses as Tarcher Success Classics, which includes The Power of Imagination: The Neville Goddard Treasury, edited by Mitch Horowitz, who will soon reappear further along.

23. Admittedly, it confines itself to pieces published in the journal Studies in Comparative Religions in the 1960s, but either author might have at least been cited or even critiqued.

24. The editor of Evola’s Path of Cinnabar in English (Arktos, 2009) calls it “highly complementary” (p. 231, note 30) but my memory of it is quite different, although I don’t have access to it at this time.

25. Some might say the situation is little changed; see “Our Conclusion on Evola and Radical Traditionalism” by Jason Thompkins, 3/14/16, here.

26. Despite his reputation, Watts had always been a Man of the Right, and became suspicious and eventually downright contemptuous of the hippie culture he seemed to have created; see the essays noted above.

27. That old comedy LP The First Family had a bit where the ubiquity of the Kennedy brothers was satirized with a supposed public service ad asking that you “Get out and vote! Vote for the Kennedy of your choice, but vote!”

28. I do not say he has been hired by Clinton to write this; only that it read as if he were.

29. I mean not offense; I assume she’s the sort of clergyperson who says “Just call me Fr. Joe!”

30. And author of One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life (Crown, 2014).

31. See my own appreciation of Erik in “Ever Sacred, Ever Vexed: Getting Down with the Lord of the Codes,” my review of his collection Nomad Codes: Adventures in Modern Esoterica (Yeti Publishing, 2010), here.

32. “I’m going to introduce you to Miss Ayn Rand. I think she’ll salivate” (Episode 1.11).

33. Bert’s office nipponophilia extends to not just shoji screens but tentacle porn on the walls (“It also, in some way, reminds me of our business. Who is the man who imagined her ecstasy?”) and a demand that all shoes be removed before entrance. His orientalism corresponds to a long-standing meme in which “ancient wisdom” is tricked up with orientalisms. (Keeping with the advertising motif, remember the “Ancient Chinese secret, huh?” commercials? See also the Seinfeld episode where Donna Chang — née Changstein — is oblivious to how everyone assumes she is Chinese, especially when she gives advice from Confucius. “Estelle: She’s not Chinese, I was duped! George: So what?! She still gave you great advice! What’s the difference if she’s not Chinese?! Estelle: I’m not taking advice from some girl from Long Island!” (Season 6, Episode 4, “The Chinese Woman”). The most popular form today is the Magical Negro. Evola endorses this meme when he points out that the hermetic tradition was preserved in the West only by being hidden among the Jews in the form of the Qabalah, re-emerging after the Renaissance. Neville combines both motifs by attributing his initiation to a black Ethiopian rabbi he names “Abdullah.” Mitch Horowitz has made the case for the actual existence of Abdullah, who was a part of the Marcus Garvey “back to Africa” movement and who did indeed move there to take up Haile Selassie’s offer of free farmland, dying shortly before Mussolini’s invasion. Many earlier New Thought writers adopted such pseudonyms as Swami Pachandasi or Yogi Ramacharaka (both William Walker Atkinson).

34. Online here. Appropriate for our subject today, the episode is “Nixon versus Kennedy” (1.12).

35. He discovers Don’s secret when a box of memorabilia is mis-delivered to him at the office. The box is from Don’s half-brother, who hanged himself after Don refused to acknowledge him. For more on the hanged man motif in Mad Men, see my End of an Era: Mad Men and the Ordeal of Civility (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2015). As the Irish say, “You’ll hang higher than Haman!” (Jon Hamm?)

36. See End of An Era, op. cit.

37. The Power of Unlimited Imagination: A Collection of Neville’s San Francisco Lectures; transcribed by Margaret Ruth Broome (Camarillo, Cal.: Devorss and Co., 2015).

38. See René Guénon, The Multiple States of the Being and The Symbolism of the Cross. Neville: “Think of the vertical line of the cross as the line of being upon which there are unnumbered levels of awareness” and “The Bible’s teaching is one of rising higher and higher in consciousness until rebirth occurs. There is but one purpose in life, and that is to rise higher and higher on the vertical bar of the cross.” (op. cit.) The Tree in the middle of the Garden is where Odin, Don’s brother, and Lane Pryce are hanged; see End of an Era and Julius Evola, The Hermetic Tradition. See my discussion of the checkerboard floor in Henry James’ “The Jolly Corner” in “The Corner at the Center of the World” in The Eldritch Evola … & Others (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2014) and the pigeon-holes in Fred Hoyle’s October the First is Too Late (reviewed here).

39. A reversal of the usual method, where daughters of the Tribe marry into the Gentile elite, thereby preserving the matrilineal bloodline.

40. Remember, pace Evola and Neville’s rabbis, that the Hermetic tradition was not created by the rabbis but mere hidden and preserved amongst them.

41. Trump, in fact, reminds me not a little of Jerry Stiller, red hair and all, or at least his Seinfeld character, Frank Costanza, who, you will recall from an earlier note, was almost divorced when his wife found out she was “getting advice form some girl from Long Island.” A fellow native of Queens, Frank once worked as a salesman selling Christian artifacts in Korea, and invented his own holiday, Festivus. Frank, however, would never get along with Bert Cooper, since he refuses to take off his shoes, even in a pool.

42. Measuring Trump’s Language: Bluster but Also Words That Appeal to Women
Claire Cain Miller, New York Times, March 14, 2016. For example, “He talks about himself more than any other candidate, using ‘I’ or ‘we’ 212 times per 1,000 words, and addresses voters directly less than anyone, 42 times per 1,000 words.”

43. “How disheartening to those who uphold the myth of manhood based on muscles and metallic strength: this [the Androgyne] alone is the TRUE man, the ABSOLUTE man. He absorbs within himself the ambiguous virtue of the female. . . .” See “Serpentine Wisdom,” in Julius Evola and the UR Group, Introduction to Magic: Rituals and Practical Techniques for the Magus (Rochester, Vt.: Inner Traditions, 2001). For more on the Androgyne, see his The Hermetic Tradition: Symbols and Teachings of the Royal Art (Rochester, Vt.: Inner Traditions, 1995). and my “Accommodate This! Bruce Jenner & the Hermetic Rebis,” here. Catilin Jenner, on is inclined to say “of course,” is a not only aa Reupublican, but a supporter… of Trump.


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  1. GenYES
    Posted March 22, 2016 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    Your writing is excellent Mr. O’Meara, but this article runs a little long. Do me a favor next time and break it into installments!

    As an aside, I know this article is not really about Traditionalism, but it raises a question I have been pondering at length: what is the deal with so-called “Traditionalism” on the Alt-Right? It strikes me as a de-Bibled form of Christianity, but, admittedly, I don’t “get it”. My biggest problems with Traditionalism (at least insofar as I understand it) are that 1) it isn’t truthful, and 2) it doesn’t seem useful. If the world evolves along the lines of the Traditional “cycle of ages,” then when was the last Golden Age of humanity? Civilization hasn’t been around very long, so there aren’t many choices available (Ancient Greece, Mohenjo Daro, Old Europe, Sumeria, BMAC, the Olmec Civilization – and frankly none of those civilizations seems like a paradise), and it strains credulity to think that the previous Golden Age was during the Paleo/Meso/Neolithic. Aside from the problem of identifying the previous Golden Age, I have to ask whether it is adaptive for White Nationalists to believe that our salvation (through initiation or a Deus Ex) exists in the Orient. Guenon himself, the glorious founder of the Traditional School, converted to Islam and married an Egyptian woman. Is that supposed to be a spiritual role model for the rest of us? Doesn’t that indicate Guenon miscalculated something in his spiritual research? There may be more value in Evola, but I haven’t spent much time reading him, because the whole project stinks of a giant pile of bullshit – the same way that the Flat Earthers at Renegade stank of bullshit from the VERY BEGINNING. The useful insights that Traditionalism offers don’t require the whole package. If anyone here completely disagrees (and I’m sure there are many of you who do), then feel free to set the record straight and tell me, concretely, what Traditionalism offers us and whether it is any better than the fairy tales written in the Bible. As far as I understand it Traditionalism 1) is a Universalist religion that 2) places our salvation in the Orient 3) with Oriental “masters” 4) who are already working behind the scenes to bring about the next Golden Age (no need to do the work ourselves!), but 5) no one can pinpoint when the last Golden Age occurred. I feel like we could probably make up a religion that is far more adaptive than that and that is much more sensitive to our particular cultures and histories (oh wait…William Pierce already did that). Whites need an ethno-religion, and as far as I can see, Traditionalism isn’t up to the task. Personally I’ll take enthoegens (even with a curandero), Cleary’s Heidegerrian paganism, and insightful personal revelations/discussions over a value non-add (perhaps even value negative) philosophy like Traditionalism any day of the week.

  2. Proofreader
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 4:17 am | Permalink

    For some reason, the second quotation in this article’s epigraph (“I know that with God’s help I can sell vacuum cleaners.” — Rev. Norman Vincent Peale) makes me think of H. L. Mencken’s words: “Perhaps the most revolting character that the United States ever produced was the Christian Businessman.”

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