Carl A. Raschke is an American philosopher, theologian, former chair and professor of Religious Studies Department at the University of Denver. Raschke wrote Painted Black: From Drug Killings to Heavy Metal — The Alarming True Story of How Satanism Is Terrorizing Our Communities” (HarperCollins, 1991), which describes how occultists have subverted our society’s religious and political beliefs through drug culture, art, books, music, movies and the news media.
Postmodernist Attack Operations by Pervert Justice Warriors
One of the notable things about Raschke’s book was the organized counter-attack and smear campaign against it waged by a number of usual-suspect pervert justice warriors (PJWs) and moral relativists. Simply do a Google search for “Raschke ‘Painted Black'” and you’ll see page after page of postmodernist PJW push back. This can also be reviewed on Raschke’s Wikipedia page, which spews forth the same slanted narrative over and over.
The Wiki page was written by one Justin Knapp, who’s responsible for more than one million online edits and posts. Knapp has degrees in philosophy and political science from Indiana University. He mostly makes sycophantic Leftist New Age biased edits about politics, philosophy, religion and popular culture. One can only imagine the poison he’s spread.
The counter attack against Raschke’s book was sophisticated, not the standard drivel produced by the “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” pajama-people types. Fortunately, the internet provides us the ability to examine who the so-called scholar critics of “Painted Black” were and examine their agendas and narratives.
The book, as Knapp put it, “has been overwhelmingly condemned by [pseudo] scholars as inaccurate and repeatedly cited as having assisted in fueling the ‘satanic ritual abuse moral panic’ during the period [1990s], and Raschke’s status as an ‘expert’ on these topics has been criticized.”
Typically of the mantra, “scholar” Sarah M. Pike described how a media report during the trial for the nasty West Memphis Three “failed to consult experts on Wicca and satanism” but rather referred to material by Raschke, who she describes as a “widely discredited ‘satanism expert.'”
Pike, a professor, has a dog in this fight. She wrote several articles and book chapters on topics such as Burning Man, neopaganism, rituals, environmentalism, youth spirituality, New Religious Movement and animal rights activism. Her work also includes Wiccan ritual practices pertaining to sexuality, polyamory and marriage.
So-called scholar Robert Walser in 2013 said that “the terrorism of Raschke and similar critics depends upon two tactics: anecdote and insinuation.” Walser is noted for such tomes as “Running With the Devil: Power, Gender and Madness in Heavy Metal Music” and “Prince as Queer Poststructuralist.”
“Scholar” Arthur Versluis used all the standard neuro-lingustic trigger words in his review. He described “Painted Black” as an “effort to awaken an American inquisition” and called it “breathless sensationalism”. Versluis cites Raschke’s description of the role playing game “Dungeons and Dragons” as a means of initiation into “black magic” as an example, and said that “it is scarcely possible to exaggerate the hysterical nature of this book, nor the number of errors in it (although some have tried at least to chronicle them).”
Versluis claims, Unfortunately, Raschke’s book didn’t have the kind of impact he so clearly wanted: to fully awaken the inquisitorial spirit.
Of course, Versluis, as editor of the “Journal for the Study of Radicalism” and founding editor of “Studies in Esotericism,” brought his own agenda to the table.
“Scholar” Wouter J. Hanegraaff wrote, “Raschke’s eagerness to include everything ‘Gnostic’ into a ‘genealogy of darkness’ (Painted Black, 133) inspires sloppy historical scholarship.”
Hanegraaf’s forte, belief system and interests are apologist academic reviews of the New Age movement, its important authors, themes and aspects of New Age beliefs, with looks at the New Age in the context of traditional Western esotericism.
“Scholar” Mattias Gardell said, “I have found nothing to substantiate the alarmist allegations of Raschke.” This postmodernist egghead is a self-described pagan who has labeled himself a “spiritual anarchist.”
And “scholar” Jonathon S. Epstein in a 1991 review wrote: “‘Painted Black’ adds additional fuel to the flames of hysteria surrounding satanism [sic] in America.” He added that “what the book lacks is scholarship, it makes up for it in sweeping and unsupportable generalizations” and wrote that the book “cannot be taken seriously.”
Epstein is the author of an fawning, anything-goes book called “Youth Culture: Identity in a Postmodern World.”
What Was ‘Painted Black’ Really All About?
Given the sole use of fallacious arguments, it’s apparent that these detractors never bothered to read this book. Raschke cast a very jaundiced eye at the apologists of satanism (and cults in general), likening them to “comfortably kept guard dogs trained to spring to their haunches and bark at the approach of truth.”
The average American intellectual, he notes, “has a difficult time accepting that there are people who could willfully do evil for the sake of doing evil.” The apologists’ usual arguments are: (1) It’s an established religion; (2) there is no satanic crime; and (3) it’s just hysteria and conspiracy theorizing by fundamentalist Christians attacking poor, misunderstood minority religionists. This is neither serious reporting nor scholarship, Raschke counters, but an appeal to “intellectual libertinism.”
We suggest that Raschke is being too kind about the motives of the PJW wags.
But Raschke goes to the heart of the matter: Satanism is not a “new religion” but “a sophisticated and highly effective motivational system for the spread of violence and cultural terrorism.”
The book addressed destructive cultism and clandestine subcultures, and their impact on society. Three decades later, this can be seen in spades.
Winter Watch Takeaway
An organized cult is different from an exploitative cult. The latter will twist established religions, while others claim to offer a more secular “truth.”
In an assessment of the term “cult,” we need to be very careful as the kakistocracy likes to invert ethics and morals to taint those who think outside the box. The term “cult” could be applied incorrectly.
Winter Watch defines a “cult” as a social group with socially deviant beliefs and practices. This is further defined as Malum in se, meaning wrong or evil in itself. The phrase is used to refer to conduct assessed as sinful or inherently wrong by nature, independent of regulations governing the conduct. It is distinguished from malum prohibitum, which is wrong only because it is prohibited. The kakistocracy is pushing malum prohibitum hard as applied to wrong think.
Destructive cults, gangs and syndicates are commonly associated with occult doctrines that provide a mechanism by which an individual, or a small group, can control the thoughts and behavior of large numbers of people. Members’ identities can be altered and members can be turned into de facto slaves. Might these kinds of groups be formed and controlled by individuals and groups with totalitarian or criminal agendas as a means of covertly subjugating others?
The labeling of a cult needs to be constructed carefully. The late Ted Gunderson used the term “satanic cult.” However, these cults could also be more discordian than pure satanic. The dominant theme is moral relativism or do as thy wilt. The cult can form groups to self promote their members in a like minded secret society. This infiltration model is much wider spread than generally imagined.
But Raschke shows that “true satanism” is an eclectic concoction, not a coherent tradition. One prime example of a clandestine subculture was the 1989 torture-sacrifice of 15 individuals, by Adolfo Constanzo and his drug gang at Matamoros, Mexico. The debate turned to “satanism” as being at the core.
Constanzo wasn’t a shadowy denizen of some obscure subculture. He had been a “psychic to the stars” in Mexico City and influenced celebrities and politicians. Within the drug trade, his brand of black magic brutalized and intimidated opponents. Raschke explains that Constanzo and his gang believed in a supernatural aura surrounding acts of violence, and that one must kill, torture and maim to harness that demonic power.
Satanism incorporates a fascination with brutal crime. The Marquis DeSade called it obedience to “nature.” It holds contempt for the laws of man and God. Important elements of modern satanism have also been contributed by respectable intellectuals and artists, such as Beaudelaire, Wilde, Rousseau and Nietzsche.
Fast forward to Israel Keyes for a more current manifestation of this mentality. There is a demonic God-like complex at work, a feeling of great superiority and utter disdain. These high-functioning and capable individuals are not lacking in self-esteem — in fact, quite the opposite. Rather, it’s a sense of grandiosity. Keyes, like others of his ilk, stated that satanism was an influence, especially in terms of inversion.
A point Raschke makes repeatedly and effectively is that the reporters and investigators of satanic crimes are, by and large, professionals — social workers, therapists, lawyers, police and district attorneys — not religious fanatics. Yet, scoffers continually attack the credibility of these investigators. And, yes, we believe there is a form of malice and cover up in play.
Raschke stated that there is no worldwide satanic conspiracy per se, but that satanism is the preferred belief system of powerful drug cartels. Is it a play on Aleister Crowley’s dream of mastery of the world through drugs and will? Ironically, the real broad-based “satanic network” probably has nothing to do with religion, but may instead be the international drug network itself. Raschke is too conservative in his 1990 approach, but we now have three more decades of further evidence pointing to something more global and organized.
Raschke, in his chapter on the “occult underworld,” traces satanism from medieval times. The popular image of satanists as hooded cultists who worship the Devil, reverse good and evil, and pervert Christian ritual during orgiastic “Black Masses” is applicable in some cases, but is much too simplistic to portray accurately the entire phenomenon.
Much of satanist ideology has its roots in Manicheanism, an ancient dualistic religion based on belief in a perpetual struggle between the God of Light and the God of Darkness. This struggle is resolved only through initiation into the “higher knowledge” that both “dark” (evil) and “light” (good) are necessary for salvation. This ecstatic union of opposites is intended to connect the celebrants with the “divine.”
Raschke defines it as an ideology of destruction and decadence, from the radicals of 18th century France down to Anton LaVey. He really moves over the target, stating it’s more about hidden ideas and influential philosophical movements that remain virtually unknown to society in general. An example is “illuminism,” a secular, radical 18th century sociopolitical movement that advocated violence, egalitarianism and the supremacy of “instincts.”
The genealogy and ambitions of this cult of ideas is being applied to an unsuspecting society.
Raschke notes that where crude forms of satanism simply reverse Judaeo-Christian morality — calling whatever is good evil and vice versa — sophisticated forms, like Aquino’s Temple of Set, replace objective standards of good and evil with the subjective “will.” Ethics, in this context, are strictly relative. What’s “good” to you may be “evil” to me and vice versa. However, a person who believes himself to be “beyond good and evil” is capable of almost anything.
In the chapter on “the aesthetics of terror,” satanism as a cultural revolt and a self-conscious art form is considered. Raschke sees an affinity between occultism, anarchism and “aesthetic terrorism,” which he defines as “the notion derived from avant-garde artistic work, and applied to the occult, that power over things ultimately requires social revolution, which in turn demands a subversion of symbols.”
In the satanist world view, this means the reconciliation of opposites — “beyond good and evil,” as Nietzsche said.
“Aesthetic terrorism” connects with this power by predicting the direction of shifting values within modern society.
“The rudimentary problem in analyzing `Satan’s underground,'” Raschke observes, “has always been making plausible connections among activities and misdeeds of particular groups … that might somehow lay bare a deeper layer of organization than the conventional wisdom would posit.”
In several chapters, Raschke deals with the links between satanism, heavy metal music, fantasy role-playing games, drugs and destructive behavior. In aesthetic terrorism, aggression becomes “expression.” These “psycho-social factors” can warp a child’s world view by stripping the targets’ belief systems and substituting their own. This was written pre-Columbine.
Raschke observes that while academics continue to deny that this music adversely affects teens, health professionals who deal with the clinical effects of heavy metal on troubled teens have a less-benign view of the issue.
The American Academy of Pediatrics warns that long-term exposure to the “morbidity” of heavy metal combined with other “psycho-social factors” can warp a child’s world view. Heavy metal is “poison” for disturbed adolescents who can’t control their urges toward violence and promiscuity. Add drugs and the combination can be lethal.
Heavy metal lyrics flaunt hate, power, rape and a glorification of violence with religious overtones, a mix that fits right into the teen druggie’s life of “swagger, brutality, theft and sex.” Raschke charges that its purveyors are engaging in thought reform by stripping their targets’ belief systems and substituting their own.
Raschke views games like “Dungeons and Dragons” as dangerous because they are not healthy fantasy but rather psychodramas set in a world of chaos, craftiness and black magic in which initiative is equated with aggression and crime. The New Age moral relativism of the “Game of Thrones” works the same way and is well dissected in the following video. Morality is ambiguous, and good and evil are “whatever works” within the power fantasy.