Hellenismos and Politics

One of the things that I like most about Hellenic Polytheism is that even amongst what passes for scripture within the religion, many political ideologies can be justified (despite what certain individuals are wont to say, in little more than an effort to push their own political ideologies onto co-religionists). Now, when I say “what passes for scripture”, I mean this: Unlike the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), Hellenismos has no centralised text stating exactly what are and what are not “proper” ideas and behaviours for Hellenistai. There are philosophers, whose ideas are incredibly varied. Anthropologists and Archaeologists have concluded that, by and large, it was practise, a certain degree of orthopraxy defined by cultus and / or polis, that united the ancient Hellenes in religion more than a belief. Some commentators even have suggested that the ancient Hellenes simply argued belief and philosophical perspectives for the mere sake of arguing it.

Considering all of this, it sometimes surprises modern Hellenistai, and admittedly, sometimes even myself, to discover that there are co-religionists whose political ideologies differ greatly from one’s own. Speaking for myself, I realise that I’m a pretty Far-Left Socialist in the voting booth (except in U$ Presidential elections, unless I think the Socialist candidate has a fair chance, in which case, I vote Democrat, and I haven’t yet voted in an election where a Socialist Party nominee had a truly fair chance), so I generally expect at least some people’s political leanings to be a little different from my own, even when I consider them to be, in at least some ways, like-minded. Really, it’s only fair for most people to expect at least some minor differences of political opinion from their fellow man. Of course, when I sit down and actually think about it, after the initial sense of being wowed by discovering Libertarians and Republicans amongst my co-religionists, it only makes sense. One who reads and agrees with Plutarch isn’t necessarily going to fall lock in step a Socratic, yet each parties could, in fact, have as much claim to the self-description of Hellenistos/Helleniste as the other.

Seeing another Hellenistos proclaiming any one political candidate as “the most Hellenic”, one should really question that person’s motives and, dare I say, sanity. The facts speak for themselves: There was as much political debate in ancient Greece as there is throughout the modern English-speaking world, probably throughout the modern world, in general. There was hardly even a “one true way” in ancient Hellas as practises differed between Attica, Sparta, Boeotia, Thrace, Lesbos, and so forth; to proclaim otherwise is to be wilfully ignorant of the history that Hellenistai should value, to at least some degree — and to be wilfully ignorant of history is to exist solely for one’s own agendas.

But I digress….

Because I like clicking radio buttons (and I’m hoping that you do, too), I have made another poll. If you don’t know what these terms mean, I suggest the The Politics Test on OKCupid.com, which is generally right in how it defines the ideologies I’ve listed (of course, that test has included some terms that I chose to exclude because at some point, lines get murky between what is one thing and what is another thing).:


5 thoughts on “Hellenismos and Politics

  1. Actually, there IS a Hellenic candidate. His name is Tantalus, and he seems to be quite beloved of the Gods. I saw them over at his house for dinner yesterday, and it looked like they had a pretty rowdy time. If you are a good Hellenist, you will definitely vote for him in the coming election!


  2. In an irony worthy of a playwrite, I’m a pagan/polytheist that happens to be somewhere to the far right of Michael Savage.


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