Sunday, November 11, 2012

Blavatsky in Hong Kong

A recent post at the blog The Dark World’s Fire: Tom and Lena Edgar in War is a good example of the sort of writing that only blogs can provide. Though somewhat afield of our subject (Mme. Blavatsky is mentioned), “Herbert Edward Lanepart (1): Theosophy in Old Hong Kong” opens up like never before the development of Theosophy in Hong Kong in the early part of the twentieth century. The account focuses on Herbert Edward Lanepart, who after being a devoted worker for Theosophy in Hong Kong, became a Nazi sympathizer. The author warns against jumping to unwarranted conclusions:

In fact, as every writer acknowledges, Nazism had many sources, and one of these was Christian anti-Semitism – even if, as Zygmunt Bauman has argued Nazi anti-Semitism is significantly different from ‘traditional’ European anti-Semitism it is impossible to imagine it coming in to being and so quickly taking hold of so much of German society without the ‘preparation’ of centuries of religious anti-Semitism (and those who like to point to Hitler’s interest in Blavatsky’s works might remember that Luther’s anti-Semitic ravings were amongst the most quoted ‘authorities’ in Nazi Germany). It would, of course, be obvious nonsense to suggest that someone became a Nazi because they had previously been a Christian.

When you see statements like: “The origin of Nazism can be traced back directly to Madame Blavatsky and her Theosophical Society,” you immediately know that the writer does not read German. The Nazis hardly had to go to Blavatsky for racial theories; there were more than enough home-grown sources.

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