The Occult in Politics
No matter what side of the political spectrum you sit, it is fascinating to read about Steve Bannon's fascination with the occult as this article points out. But it is not unusual - there are many television specials linking right wing politics with occult activities. But most have occurred in ancient or pre-21st Century times.
According to Occult America: White House Seances, Ouija Circles, Masons, and the Secret Mystic History of Our Nation writer Mitch Horowitz:
There is a long-standing intersection between mysticism and conservatism in America. This marriage extends back to the late 19th century when globetrotting occultist and Russian noblewoman Madame H.P. Blavatsky depicted America as the catalyst for a revolution in human potential in her 1888 opus “The Secret Doctrine.” “It is in America that the transformation will take place,” Blavatsky wrote, “and has already silently commenced.”
Generations of occult writers echoed Blavatsky’s theme of America as a Holy Grail among nations, possessed of a “secret destiny,” as Manly P. Hall put it, and thus married esoteric spirituality to patriotic ideals. This partnership has flourished out of view of most mainstream observers—and significantly impacted American culture, including the look of our currency.
In 1935, then-Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace, a former Republican and mystical seeker who went on to become Franklin Roosevelt’s second vice president, approached FDR with a novel idea: mint a coin with the mysterious reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States—the eye-and-pyramid surrounded by the Latin maxim “God Smiles on Our New Order of the Ages.” Both men were Freemasons with a taste for portentous imagery—and were on the lookout for epic, unifying symbols for the recovering nation. (Wallace had spoken of the need for a “New Deal of the Ages.”) Roosevelt was so taken with the 1782 image, with its Masonic undertones and message that worldly achievement is incomplete without higher ethics, that he personally supervised its installation on the back of the dollar bill, making a previously arcane insignia into an indelible symbol of the republic.
President George H.W. Bush brought new attention — and unintended infamy — to the concept of a “New World Order.” In his Sept. 11, 1990, speech to a joint session of Congress, Bush sought to celebrate the possibilities of international trade and cooperation that could follow a swift victory in the first Gulf War: “Out of these troubled times, our fifth objective—a new world order—can emerge … An era in which the nations of the world, East and West, North and South, can prosper and live in harmony.” Little was he aware that his use of the term would inspire a generation of conspiracy theorists to notions of a hidden, sinister global plan.
Conservative metaphysics extend beyond geopolitics. One of Richard Nixon’s confidants — in addition to the Rev. Peale, whose church he also attended—was insurance magnate W. Clement Stone, a right-wing activist, benefactor of the famous ESP lab at Duke University, and collaborator to Napoleon Hill, author of the mind-metaphysics classic “Think and Grow Rich.”
Bill Clinton took a dim view of parapsychology. During a period of post-Cold War cost cutting in 1995, he eliminated the CIA’s budget for its psychic-spying program. Jimmy Carter, by contrast, admired the “remote viewing” operation. The year of Clinton’s cuts, Carter told a group of Emory University students that during his presidency, clairvoyant spies helped identify the coordinates of a crashed Soviet spy plane in Central Africa, netting a significant intelligence gain.