"The words of the song also came back. Words which were sung by the animals of long ago and have been lost to memory for generations. I will sing you that song now, comrades." Animal Farm, George Orwell
Between 1967 and 1988, John Norman wrote a series of twenty five science fiction novels, set on the planet "Gor". The series is notable as one of the most widely read and influental examples of male Dominant / female submissive erotica. In particular, its depiction of a complex and uncompromising Master / slave culture stands out by grasping the nettle of portraying nonconsensual slavery in fiction.
However, the books are marred by Norman's variable quality and repetitive writing style, and by the frankly National Socialist theories which this article addresses and exposes.
Many of the Gor books are set in regions of the planet which are clearly a pastiche of some historical Earth culture. This pattern is established in book four, "Nomads of Gor", set among nomadic tribesmen with many of the customs of medieval Central Asia. By the later books, this mechanical translation of Earth cultures to Gor had become formulaic.
It could be argued that Norman followed the same pattern by choosing to adapt some of the genetic supremacist doctrines of National Socialism to furnish the harshness which any society based on nonconsensual slavery would necessarily possess. As such, it would be explainable as a fictional device (and there are reports that Norman does not wish his fiction to be seen as anything more than fantasy erotica with no political message.)
During the growth of mass Internet use in the 1990's, fans of the Gor series were able to communicate and organise themselves, and publish writings of their own via the Web. Much of this activity was centred on text based realtime role playing environments, such as IRC, and the most prominent of these has been the silk&Steel (who's own members often choose to use the abbreviation "S&S".)
Many of the participants in these channels and chatrooms are mainly interested in some form of Master / slave relationship, and could legitimately claim to be practising a consensual version of the customs and methods of "Gorean Slavery". As such, they are as legitimate as any other group within consensual BDSM.
However, this environment has also spawned a self proclaimed "Gorean Philosophy", and one of its most prolific writers uses the name _Marcus_ of Ar. (_Marcus_ operates the silk&Steel website.)
Much of _Marcus_'s writing is perceptive, and he has sometimes been concilliatory towards people who identify as involved in BDSM (many Goreans do not consider their Master / slave preferences to be part of the D/s aspect of BDSM.) However, his distillations of the beliefs of fictional Goreans, which are widely accepted by online Goreans as being faithful to Norman's intentions, display the same National Socialist theories of genetic supremacy as the books.
Crucially, _Marcus_ and his fellow "CyberGoreans", not only role play life as Goreans, they also advocate the rightness of this philosophy, and consequently they are advocating a form of Neo-Nazism. For many, this has been unwitting, and the lack of familiarity of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf contributes to this: people do not recognise National Socialist doctrines when they are dressed up in a new way.
These two extracts, representing the fundamental ideas of both philosophies, illustrate their identical foundations in genetic supremacist theories:
If a creature is naturally genetically superior to another, then it is considered fitting and proper that such a creature should dominate other, less developed creatures. In regards to human beings, it is understood that the stronger and/or more intelligent members of the race should be allowed to assume their rightful place in command of their inferiors. In regard to male/female sexual relations, it is therefore the right of the male, who is genetically predisposed for physical dominance, to control the physical aspects of his relationship to the female. ...
|The struggle for the daily livelihood leaves behind in the ruck everything that is weak or diseased or wavering; while the fight of the male to possess the female gives to the strongest the right, or at least, the possibility to propagate its kind. And this struggle is a means of furthering the health and powers of resistance in the species. Thus it is one of the causes underlying the process of development towards a higher quality of being. ...|
|Subjugation of the Weak: This principle acts as the inverse to the tenet described above. In order that the race may grow stronger, it is necessary that the weaker and lesser adaptive elements of Gorean society be diminished and controlled. Warfare and slavery are two methods by which this end is accomplished.||Therefore a corrective measure in favour of the better quality must intervene. Nature supplies this by establishing rigorous conditions of life to which the weaker will have to submit and will thereby be numerically restricted; but even that portion which survives cannot indiscriminately multiply, for here a new and rigorous selection takes place, according to strength and health.|
|From What is the Philosophy of Gor? by Marcus of Ar||From Mein Kampf, Vol I, Chapter 11, "Race and People" by Adolf Hitler|
As such, this self-proclaimed "Gorean Philosophy" is rightly seen as a form of Neo-Nazism, and would more properly be called Gorean Nazism.
Most right-wing ideologies are subject to shrill accusations of "fascism" or "nazism" at some time or another, and these ideas have already been confronted in this ineffectual way, without the justifications based on detailed comparisons with "Mein Kampf" presented in this article.
CyberGoreans have responded by pointing to the lack of racism of Goreans, as if racism is the defining quality of Nazism. However, this is to misunderstand the basis of Nazism: the Nazi criterion for elimination or extermination is the Goreans' own principle of "genetic superiority" and race was just the major (and most crude) way of identifying individuals with undesirable genetic qualities.
This is well illustrated by the ease with which other Neo-Nazis are reclassifying the worth of different races and ethnic groups, to the extent that the owners of www.nazi.org (the ingeniously named "Libertarian National Socialist Green Party") boast black members among their ranks and now find it convenient to admit that "scientific evidence suggests a naturally - occurring chaotic pattern of even distribution of intelligence throughout the 'races.'"
It is also well documented that German Nazis used medical as well as racial criteria to identify what Goreans are now calling "the weaker and lesser adaptive elements", as witnessed in the Nazi programme of murder and forcible sterilisation of Germans with hereditary diseases and disabilities, so that they could be - to use the Gorean's euphemistic words again - "diminished and controlled." (It is estimated that 30,000 disabled Germans were "diminished and controlled" by lethal injection or gas in Hartheim Castle alone.)
Furthermore, Gorean Nazism and the original German Nazism share strong concepts of tribal identity rooted in ancient history which form the basis of political life and statehood: "folk", race and nation in the case German Nazism, and city and "homestone" in the Gorean version. Both philosophies share xenophobic attitudes: it is telling that the Goreans have one word for both "stranger" and "enemy".
And as we see here, both philosophies would order society into a hierarchy based on genetic supremacy, with the "inferiors" kept rigidly in line:
"No," said Marcus, "Freedom is for the free. Others are to
be kept in line,
and exactly so. Society depends on divisions and order, each element
stabilized perfectly in its harmonious relationship with all others."
"You do not believe, then" I asked, "that everyone is the same, or must be supposed to be such, despite all evidence to the contrary, and that society thrives best as a disordered struggle?"
Marcus looked at me, startled.
"No," I said "I see that you do not."
|On the basis of this recognition it feels bound in conformity with the eternal Will that dominates the universe, to postulate the victory of the better and stronger and the subordination of the inferior and weaker. And so it pays homage to the truth that the principle underlying all Nature's operations is the aristocratic principle and it believes that this law holds good even down to the last individual organism. It selects individual values from the mass and thus operates as an organizing principle, whereas Marxism acts as a disintegrating solvent.|
|"Magicians of Gor" by John Norman (p119)||From Mein Kampf, Vol II, Chapter 1, "Weltanschauung and Party" by Adolf Hitler|
Both Gor and Nazi Germany are well known as militaristic societies in which the armed forces are granted a uniquely influential political role, and in both cases this can be traced back to their philosophical foundations, which claim that warfare fosters genetic purity and national strength:
People sometimes say to me: "Be careful! You will have twenty years of guerilla warfare on your hands!" I am delighted at the prospect ... Germany will remain in a state of perpetual alertness. Adolf Hitler, 29 August 1942.
the Priest-Kings may have wished war to be a biologically selective process in which the weaker and slower perish and fail to reproduce themselves. This might account for the relatively primitive weapons allowed to the Men Below the Mountains. ... Also, the primitive weapons guaranteed that what selection went on would proceed with sufficient slowness to establish its direction, and alter it, if necessary. "Tarnsman of Gor" by John Norman (p48)
It would have to be in accordance with the eternal laws of life on this Earth which are and will remain those of a ceaseless struggle for existence. It must always be remembered that in many instances a hardy and healthy nation has emerged from the ordeal of the most bloody civil wars, while from peace conditions which had been artificially maintained there often resulted a state of national putrescence that reeked to the skies. From Mein Kampf, Vol II, Chapter 15, "The Right to Self Defence" by Adolf Hitler
Further congruences between German and Gorean Nazism could be listed (such as similar attitudes to environmentalism and long ranting that humanity is denying "the Iron law of Nature") but let this final example of Gor paraphrasing German Nazism at a detailed, even trivial level, suffice for the moment: both philosophies limit access to the civil liberties associated with citizenship, as described here:
Young men and women of the city, when coming of age, participate in a ceremony which involves the swearing of oaths, and the sharing of bread. fire and salt. In this ceremony the Home Stone of the city is held by each young person and kissed. Only then are the laurel wreath and the mantle of citizenship conferred. This is a moment no young person of Ar forgets. The youth of Earth have no Home Stone. Citizenship, interestingly, in most Gorean cities is conferred only upon the coming of age, and only after certain examinations are passed. Further, the youth of Gor, in most cities, must be vouched for by citizens of the city, not related in blood to him, and be questioned before a committee of citizens, intent upon determining his worthiness or lack thereof to take the Home Stone of the city as his own. Citizenship in most Gorean communities is not something accrued in virtue of the accident of birth but earned in virtue of intent and application.
of inauguration in citizenship shall be a solemn ceremony. And the diploma
conferring the rights of citizenship will be
preserved by the young man as the most precious testimonial of his whole
life. It entitles him to exercise all the rights
of a citizen and to enjoy all the privileges attached thereto. ...
"Slave Girl of Gor" by John Norman (p394)
Given their identical, genetic supremacist foundations and their detailed agreement over issue after issue, why do the followers of this self-proclaimed "Gorean Philosophy" not admit that their philosophy already has a name, and that name is Nazism?