Powell! Powell! Powell!
Updated: Apr 3
Enoch Powell was fated to be an occult figure in British politics due to his name: Powell’s name was, in fact, John Enoch Powell—however, he changed it because when he entered university there was already a “John Enoch” who was a classicist. The Book of Enoch is a biblical book excluded from most biblical canons, and perennially popular with Gnostics—if you want to hear about the Nephilim, the giants, and their relations with earthly women then this is the book for you; and it provides hearty fare for UFO fanatics as well. The Book of Enoch is the occult biblical book, just as Powell became Britain’s occult political voice after his “rivers of blood speech”.
Powell’s major problem was that he refused direct engagement with reality; he maintained a rigid mask that he used to manipulate reality but refused to let reality flow inwards—his rigidity and discipline were prodigious; he would work up to 12 hours a day without interruption. In more Freudian times, it was suggested that his aversion to non-white immigration originated in a smother-love relationship, but this was not quite true.
Powell’s mother was an English “tiger mom”. She instilled in him a strict discipline; hence when he fell behind in science at school Powell was so disciplined as to move to top the class. His father encouraged him in a similar way and this led to an odd relationship with his parents. Powell said that he thought he would rely on them more as he aged—normally people take the opposite view, at least in the physical sphere alone your parents will depend on you more as they age.
The result from this excessive discipline was that Powell, as with many hot-housed Asian students, ended up twisted. He learned how to get results through adamantine will and discipline; and while I have praised willpower elsewhere it has to be guided by the heart. Powell was the type to impose logic on reality through discipline rather than bringing logic to what reality presented him.
Hence he was offered a post at Trinity, Cambridge in his early twenties; he did not want to take it, but his father urged him to do so on the grounds that afterwards any post would be Powell’s for the taking. And yet Powell wanted “freedom”; he had won so many prizes that he was financially secure and he had an excellent degree from Cambridge. He could do anything, yet he forced himself into Trinity—just as he forced himself to become excellent at science.
“Just be yourself” is often an excuse for laziness, but humans have a grain—just as wood has a grain—and if you work against your grain the final result will be twisted. The material way to express this would be to say, for example, that Powell’s intelligence had a verbal not a numerical tilt but that his high conscientiousness allowed him to compensate for it; and yet it makes more sense to work with your tilt than against it—even if you can manage to a high standard through compensation.
Powell’s determination to “force” everything led to odd conclusions. Powell loved everything German: he read everything Nietzsche ever produced, and cultivated a moustache just like him—tried to become a classics professor at an earlier age than him; he read all of Schopenhauer; he was pessimistic—he was convinced he would die in WWII; he loved to read in German, revelled in its precision; and when the war loomed he listened to Tristan und Isolde to gird himself for combat—and quoted a German maxim as he did so. More than one person commented that Powell’s rooms “looked like a Prussian military academy”.
Yet Powell was eager for war with Germany and at one point advocated a Morgenthau-style plan to deindustrialise the country and reduce it to 20M inhabitants—although later he rejected this view and wanted a negotiated settlement, not unconditional surrender. Powell was all mixed up; he was an absolute lion for Britain against Germany—thought that a British officer should shoot himself if the King Emperor came to terms with the Reich, honour demanded it. At the same time he was steeped in German thought, language, and music. Indeed, he was steeped in the very German culture that inspired Hitlerism. He seems to have been unaware or unconcerned that he fought for a parliamentary democracy guided by liberalism, mass culture, mercantile values, and an optimistic faith in science and utilitarianism that completely contradicted all the values he so esteemed—not least his view, as an expert in the classics, that the Greeks offered an aesthetic outlook on life largely absent in our current age.
Further, before the Second World War had even concluded Powell decided the next war would be between Europe and Russia against America—not dissimilar in this respect to the view voiced at the same time by Francis Yockey, an American neo-Nazi. This was not what actually transpired and Powell’s failure in this matter was typical as regards his prophetic abilities—at one point he thought WWII would last 10 years.
Really, the situation he described was closer to WWII: Hitler wanted Europe and Russia fused so that Europe could use Russia’s resources to confront America—a perspective reanimated in recent decades by archeofuturists such as Guillaume Faye. I cannot help but think that at some level Powell really wanted to support Hitlerism; and yet his iron logic and willpower prevented him from doing so. His anti-Americanism, his geopolitical stance, and his philosophical inclinations all point in that direction—and yet Powell was the most determined anti-Hitlerite imaginable.
Powell would have replied, as he did elsewhere, that his concern as a natural conservative was his country—and he said he would have fought for the United Kingdom with all his might if it were Communist. His rationale? Powell would say that your nation comes first. The political regimes—Communist, liberal, National Socialist—come and go relatively quickly; so the conservative position is that you just work hard to make sure your nation wins.
So Powell really belonged to the “my country right or wrong” school—further, we have to remember that in the 1930s Britain was still a global empire and the “grudge factor” against Germany was strong in a way people have now forgotten. From his explorations in 19th-century German literature, Powell concluded that the Germans viewed the English with “contempt” and that the problem was not Hitlerism—it was the German nation itself. This viewpoint has vanished today, now the war is only seen as an ideological tussle between liberal democracy and National Socialism.
Powell’s view could be justified from a biological perspective because the state exists, in a sense, to protect the genes of your tribe—or the genes held together by the tribal idea—so the worldview barely matters; if you win prestige and women under the hammer and sickle and then the red flag turns back into the imperial tricolour biology hardly notices; the 70 or so years under Communism were a twinkle in the biological eye—and if the Russians lost to Hitler their nation may well have been ended permanently, so the conservative fights for his country with almost no regard to the country’s political system.
This was an ingenious argument and it appeals, I think, to natural conservatives—conscientious people who tend to be highly disciplined, as Powell was. The generous take on such people is that they are hard workers, sacrifice themselves, and are conscientious. The critical take is that they are pedantic, lack imagination, and are nit-pickers—the latter being exactly how Powell was once described. The problem with such people—as with the archetypal “America, fuck yeah” man who cheers for every American war—is that they can be exploited and used by people with a vision; such people being the left.
Powell was known for his excruciatingly detailed academic studies; he produced a lexicon for Herodotus that traced the etymology for every word Herodotus used except “and”—very autistic. Here we see a typical “tiger mom” product: a hard worker, so logical as to not be in touch with reality, shy, and without strategic flair. Powell was a drudge who could not grasp the big picture; and indeed he certainly had some ideas about the nation, ideas that Chamberlain was dishonourable and socialism wrong; so the contention “ideas don’t matter” seems false to me; and I think a “Russian Powell” would have had some definite views on the ideas that governed the USSR.
The left can parasite major institutions with ease, and its ability to do so is connected to institutional decadence. Men like Powell are victimised by the left because they are tremendously hard workers and endorse, at a certain level, everything their country does.
Powell was stuck in his ultra-rational and logical “tiger mom” shell: at one point he told his parents that he felt in contact with his “daemon” but that he knew it was simply a useful illusion. In short, Powell had built a castle for himself from very hard work, reason, and logic—and this castle almost completely excluded his inner witness. He forced and bent himself out of shape—and felt virtuous when he did so.
This explains why his analysis was quite so paradoxical. He was renowned for his cold logic, but cold logic is not enough; it needs to be plugged into reality. How does it make sense to emulate Nietzsche right down to the moustache and at the same time want to die to defend the very society type that Nietzsche absolutely condemned?
Powell was a restless man: he claimed to have left his academic career behind for the army by his early thirties; then he wanted to be Viceroy of India, until the Empire collapsed—and to achieve that goal he became an MP as a first step. Along the way, Powell learned every language going—from Welsh to Urdu to Russian—as well as being a key intelligence officer.
Why was he restless? Because he was a “tiger mom” child who did not know his own heart; he had been schooled by both parents to be insanely ambitious. Even late in life he was writing back to his parents to ask: “Will this be the right step for my career?”
Powell never cut loose and trusted his own daemon and this is why his ideas were contradictory at the highest level; he was for many years a very rigid atheist, he eventually became a very rigid (and insincere) Anglican. His heart only flashed out briefly, in the “rivers of blood” speech, and even his contemporaries—who knew how he operated—assumed this was a calculated career move as well. Enoch Powell: you never knew yourself.