The Importance of Morals and Values in Communal Living

The topic of morality when discussing Left-Hand Path adherents can be amusing and unintuitive at best and confounding at worst. Some of the most morally pure people I’ve known, by my standards, have been Satanists. Some of the most amoral shitheads I’ve ever known have been Satanists, and proud of it.

They’re a really hard group to paint with one brush, and Luciferians are even more opaque, running a gambit from Nazi sympathizers to “apolitical” occultist cryptids. Suffice it to say that religious affiliation alone isn’t enough to identify compatible co-habitants in the coming world.

We have to be compatible not only in our moral priorities but in our personal values as well. The Church of Satan is fond of warbling, to no one in particular, that Satanism is a “religion of individuals”.

I have some bad news for the scions of Anton Lavey: “rugged individualism” is only a phantom of a thing that exists within scales of collective cooperation so big and effective that you have the luxury of being oblivious to it. It wasn’t a thing in the “pioneer days”, it isn’t a thing now, and it certainly isn’t going to be a thing in a world where resources are scarce, social safety nets are deteriorating and daily existence depends on cooperation.

There’s also a reason that the Church of Satan hasn’t accomplished anything since its inception.

That might be good enough for alley cats, but humans, as a species, are social and cooperative animals. Individuals don’t generally possess the tools to navigate the world in a meaningful way long term unless they’re being babysat by collectives. Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably selling something, and it’s probably a self-published PDF book on how to be a rugged individual full of advice that falls apart as soon as you breathe on it.

We know we need other people, especially for the challenges ahead, but how then do we identify our people when mere religious affiliation isn’t enough?

Plan A Garden With Your Neighbors

This is a refrain I hear over and over from friends and acquaintances on the political Left, and it’s deeply flawed — and even dangerous.

These are often people with whom I’m very morally compatible. I believe in the principles of mutual aid, community defense, and communal gardening. Pluck a random breadtuber from the ether and we’re likely to agree a lot about the way Things Should Be, and could probably help each other achieve our local goals. We might even make fine neighbors.

Since we’re morally compatible, we should be ideal communal cohabitants, right? No, and it’s because our values are vastly different. For one thing, anarchists tend to reject any form of hierarchy, which I think is horseapples. We probably agree with the idea that hierarchy under capitalism and patriarchy is untenable trash, but I don’t think humans are particularly effective or efficient, especially in the ways that they’ll need to be, with completely lateral organization. I’m a proponent of ethical, evidence-based, and accountable hierarchy.

For another, I have almost no investment whatsoever in the worker movement under capitalism or communism. I don’t think changing the ownership of an ecological nightmare factory is the right bone to be fighting over, and think that as those economic and trade systems break down, it’s going to prove to be a huge waste of time, energy, and resources. Better to deal with your boss and landlord now in the only language they understand.

But I digress. “Start a garden with your neighbors” horrifies me, because your neighbors are a shotgun blast of randomized people in your economic class, and for most of us that means there’s a 50/50 chance that our literal next-door neighbors are part of a deranged death cult. 

It is completely inadvisable to engage with your MAGA neighbors in any kind of mutually cooperative scenario, never mind one upon which your safety and provision depends. If you’ve won the lottery and your immediate adjoining neighbors aren’t hostile to your existence, at least in principle, then expand this to the two or three-block zone you’d need for this concept to actually mean anything at all in the first place. Now imagine trying to establish an authority in that bag of mixed nuts, create systems people agree with, somehow manage to prevent sabotage through intent or incompetence, and establish the kind of cooperation you need from several dozen to a couple of hundred people.

Yeah. Good luck.

Frankly, the idea that you should “start gardening with your neighbors RIGHT NOW!!!!” seems panicked and stupid, and not something people should rush to circulate. What is advisable is living in communal structures with people with whom you’re compatible in both morals and values and gardening with them.

Jinx the Christian Homesteader

I follow a lot of people who are already doing things I think are important. Many people who are interested in things like homesteading, off-grid, and simple living are Christians. I follow a particular Christian woman on Instagram whose biggest apparent flaw might be attributing to the Good Lord the fruit of her family’s labor, and I find that our values overlap about a surprising number of things.

We both value family. We have some overlapping ideas about parenting. We both honor our local ecology and soil health, if for wildly different reasons. We are both attuned to a lot of the same sweetness and sorrows of the human condition. In another world, we might be good friends, I daresay.

But her morality would never allow it. Her morality insists that I’m evil on my face, and one of her values is that we get to use our morality as a beating stick with which to define people we think we aren’t supposed to like rather than listening to them about what they believe. Our values aren’t completely compatible, either. The tenets of their faith allow them to believe that they can live alone in a little cottage in the eye of capitalism rather than need to cooperate with anyone. That even if they’re completely wrong and consumed by the fire, oh, well, God will pluck them up and dust them off and give them each a harp.

My religion specifically requires that I not think that way.

In terms of work ethic, grit, and skills, and even our rare overlap in environmental ethics, we both might be hard-pressed to find better communal partners, we never could because though we share a large overlap in personal values, our senses of morality are completely incompatible.

That’s unfortunate.

Hail Satan and Pass the Seitan

Returning at last to Satanists, Satanists are unlikely to morally object to anything I would want to do. If I want to have naked, psilocybin-fueled rituals and bark at the moon, I’d likely draw participants, but beyond that, barely a sideward glance. Under LaVeyan Satanism, you can do pretty much whatever you want, and even the Crowlean caveat about harming others is a real grey area.

And this is the glue trap of Satanism because this is the only draw of Satanism: Whatever you are, however awful you might be, you’re free to do that without collective judgment, as long as you’re willing to forego judgment for anyone else, however awful they are.

That sounds really attractive to awful people who know they’re awful.

That’s it, though! Do whatever the fuck you want! If whatever you’re doing isn’t fun, or sucks, or is tedious (however necessary), you’re probably going to be doing it by yourself. You can rest assured that no one is going to feel obligated to do anything they don’t absolutely want to do, and no one is going to feel obligated to listen to you about how to do it no matter how much your experience might outstrip theirs. And if they make a mistake and you point it out, they’re just going to blame your reading comprehension.

The concept of a Satanic commune beggars belief. I don’t actually know of one having ever existed and couldn’t imagine how one would operate while also cleaving to their own religious principles.

Satanists and I are certainly morally tolerable, because anyone is tolerable under LaVeyan Satanism, and I know Satanists who aren’t horrible people; it isn’t the religion itself, merely the moral range that the religion provides for and encourages.

But I’m unlikely to find serious allies there for the kind of work that needs to be done.

If Not There, Where?

This is the big question and is at the heart of the Luciferian Dominion project. I have, indeed, found more like minds and kindred spirits than I ever have before. I have Leftist allies. I have Satanist friends whom I plan to trust with my life. We have Pagan friends, theistic Luciferians, small-a atheists, and chaos magicians.

Because I found that looking for allies in this ministry by “-isms” was never going to work. Because the -isms that are out there right now were born into a world that no longer exists. They are inane group identities clinging to the crumbling edifice of Western civilization. I found that the only way to attract people who were interested in and share my morals and values was by finding as many ways as I could to broadcast them and not to waste time debating people on Reddit, or trying to persuade people who don’t want to be persuaded. I’m not saying people can’t unlearn and relearn, but that the people who will are going to find themselves along the way.

It is a strange new world, and I’m finding that our morals and values, as nuanced as they might seem, are extremely intuitive to some people and those people become my people very quickly. I wish it were easier. Sometimes I wish we could benefit from the same mechanisms within capitalism that benefit grifters and assholes.

So far, this ministry has grown one morally compatible person at a time and I find that here, at the end of the world, I’m okay with that.

Jinx Strange is a perfumer, publisher and Archlector of the Luciferian Dominion. He holds certifications in Permaculture Design from Oregon State University, and Medicinal Plants from Cornell University.