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Witch Hunters as Proto-SJWs
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iSteve commenter Bitfu writes:

I don’t know what killed second-wave feminism, but the Malleus Maleficarum aka Hammer of Witches is a fascinating backstory.

It was written by a priest–Heinrich Kramer– in the late 1400s, and it was the 2nd best selling book behind only the Bible for over 200 years.

From Wikipedia

The Malleus elevates sorcery to the criminal status of heresy and prescribes inquisitorial practices for secular courts in order to extirpate witches. The recommended procedures include torture to effectively obtain confessions and the death penalty as the only sure remedy against the evils of witchcraft. At that time, it was typical to burn heretics alive at the stake and the Malleus encouraged the same treatment of witches. The book had a strong influence on culture for several centuries.

The ironies here are that the Malleus relationship with Gutenberg’s press is a damn fine distant mirror of SJW’s on the Internet. Additionally, the Malleus now reads like a guidebook for SJWs. Simply replace witches in the book with non-woke, and voila! You’ll get your SJW recipe for dealing with Thought Criminals going forward. The parallels are eerie.

The Malleus Maleficarum is divided into three sections. The first section is aimed at clergy and tries to refute critics who deny the reality of witchcraft, thereby hindering its prosecution. The second lays the foundation for the next section by describing the actual forms of witchcraft and its remedies. The third section is to assist judges confronting and combating witchcraft, and to aid the inquisitors by removing the burden from them. However, each of these three sections has the prevailing themes of what is witchcraft and who is a witch.

Kramer wrote the Malleus following his expulsion from Innsbruck by the local bishop, due to charges of illegal behavior against Kramer himself, and because of Kramer’s obsession with the sexual habits of one of the accused, Helena Scheuberin, which led the other tribunal members to suspend the trial.

It was later used by royal courts during the Renaissance, and contributed to the increasingly brutal prosecution of witchcraft during the 16th and 17th centuries.

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  1. Gael Meed says: • Website

    I would say these are larger social phenomenon that have plenty of historical comparisons. We think most often of “witch” because of how often we talk about witch hunts and what not in American lore. I think there are also comparisons to the McCarthyite anti communists (at least what I’ve been taught about them). The SJW way of thinking are in favor among the powerful now.

    Speaking of, interesting story from Vox on the horror of big tech companies being cheated out of cheap workers by the mean Trump admin:

  2. …and it was the 2nd best selling book behind only the Bible for over 200 years.

    According to the Leipzig Einkommende Zeitungen‘s unimpeachable bestseller list, no doubt.

    This was long before PR firms, so you can trust it.

    • Agree: Lot
  3. Heinrich Kramer did nothing wrong .

  4. Yeah except witches are real.

    This take is a lot of Big Boomer Brain Think from having The Crucible pumped into your head repeatedly. Just like there were indeed communists, there were indeed witches.

  5. Sean says:

    Low personal violence, but low tolerance for troublemakers. Kevin MacDonald wrote about this in the APTSDA

    Both East Anglia and New England had the lowest relative rates of private crime (murder, theft, mayhem), but the highest rates of public violence—“the burning of rebellious servants, the maiming of political dissenters, the hanging of Quakers, the execution of witches”

    Getting together for altruistic punishment (AKA lynch mob) is something deep in humans’ psyche. The SJW are so effective because they tap into most people’s instinctive dread of being rejected by their community.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @Cortes
  6. Anon[770] • Disclaimer says:


    The new Neil Stephenson book is out. Several chapters in it seems to have more of a forward moving plot than usual, making it really interesting. There are still his patented asides about obscure subject matter, but they are interesting without bringing the whole book to a halt.

    The Waterhouse clan makes a reappearance, like maybe Stephenson wants to update some Cryptonomicon-era stuff in this BitCoin era. All-in-all, a return to classic Stephenson style.

  7. Somewhere a SJW just got her its wings:

  8. Replace Witchcraft with Hate Speech and there you go.

  9. Jack D says:
    @Jack Hanson

    Here are the six key characteristics of witches:

    A pact entered into with the Devil (and concomitant apostasy from Christianity),
    Sexual relations with the Devil,
    Aerial flight for the purpose of attending;
    An assembly presided over by Satan himself (at which initiates entered into the pact, and incest and promiscuous sex were engaged in by the attendees),
    The practice of maleficent magic,
    The slaughter of babies.

    Which of these were real?

  10. anon[157] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D

    Jack….Keep that up and soon you will be denying the existence of latent homosexuals.

  11. @Jack D

    Here are the six key characteristics of witches:

    Says who? You sure you can trust them?

    • Replies: @Jack D
  12. Ragno says:
    @Jack D

    Which of these were real?

    I’ll go with “aerial flight”.

    Oh sorry, Alex….(clears throat)…What is “aerial flight”?

  13. GD says:

    Witch hunters served similar and adjunct roles to inquisitors, priests, and other moral arbiters serve an essential function in Western society: social cohesion (the primary purpose of religion). Since the West lacked the strong civic sensibilities of East Asian countries (which promoted innovation but also could led to increased levels of sociopathic behavior), religion provided a regimented moral framework that could, nonetheless, be adjusted by religious authorities to permit further innovation; this is contrasted with East Asian societies, where tolerance for social deviance was hovering around zero.

    Yes, such moral arbiters were a fetter on scientific discovery. Yes, they were morally and politically corruptible. Yes, they functioned as a damper on social freedom and progress. But their purpose was to ensure the survival of the society. As they have been removed, repurposed, and denegrated, it opened society to all manner of maladaptive behavior (e.g., xenophilia) that has now proliferated. The SJW version is the same societal impulse retooled for the very heretics the witch hunter impulse was designed to check.

  14. Jack D says:

    You are right that the need for scapegoats, like the need for gods and heroes, seems to be deeply ingrained in all human cultures. You have to wonder what biological imperative drives this? “Witches” were often older females. Was this a way of getting rid of non-productive individuals, the way Eskimos (supposedly) put the elderly on ice floes? Was it because anything that challenges the unity of the tribe endangers survival? Is it just a flaw in our programming, a tendency to favor false positives because real positives can be so dangerous?

    • Replies: @Hypnotoad666
  15. Bartolo says:
    @Jack Hanson

    What was real were people who believed they were witches. But witches were never real, for magic exists not.

    • Replies: @Jack Hanson
  16. I always suspected that the people behind “Malleus” were actually sexual sadists looking for an excuse to torture pretty girls.

  17. Cortes says:

    New England appears in the classic “Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals” by

    One lucky she-ass was spared the stake by the character witness who testified that she’d been of unblemished nature prior to becoming the unwilling sexual partner of her owner.

    Evan’s book was leant on heavily in the story line of the film “Hour of the Pig” but not given much credit.

    • Replies: @Sean
  18. @Jack D

    Any Christian should believe that an explicit pact with the devil is possible, and that any rejection of Christ and grievously sinful behaviour is at least implicitly a pact with the devil. Certainly it is beyond doubt that there were people who at least BELIEVED that they had entered into a contract with Lucifer.

    And explicit ritual human sacrifice, including that of infants, has undebatably happened, and most likely still is, even if it is very rare.

    I don’t know who came up with these six very specific traits of witches, but it’s almost certain that anyone who engages in the latter of these two for the purposes of the former would have (and should) be considered a witch.

  19. Whiskey says: • Website

    Semi related Melinda Gates has had it with White males and is discriminating against “some White guy in a hoodie ” in favor of women and non Whites in her VC fund.

    Melinda Gates can’t stand White men. The new Witches.

  20. Sean says:

    The usual target of primitive vigilantes were violent young men, who were not scapegoats but serial murderers. Gunnar Heinsohn said witch hunting was a campaign against birth control

    Heinsohn has discussed the origin of modern European demographic patterns (starting with an intense increase in population growth in early modern times, leading to sub-replacement fertility at the dawn of the 21st century), including an interpretation of the European witch hunts of early modern times as pro-natalist re-population policy of the then dominant Catholic Church after the population losses the black death had caused.[24][25][26] … A historian of birth control John M. Riddle has expressed agreement.[33][34

    Heinsohn’s interpretation is controversial, but there is no doubt that Hammer of the Witches complains about witches “slaying infants in the womb”.

    Interestingly, the growth of the total population and its urbanisation through density seems to be a objective of pro immigration propagandists. They say replacement immigration is economically necessary.

  21. Frogger says: • Website

    Karl Boetel’s Radish magazine made a similar observation some time ago. Nothing new under the sun, but a reminder from time to time is always welcome.

  22. @Jack D

    All of them.

    Imagine not believing in demons in 2019.

  23. anon[148] • Disclaimer says:

    The Malleus Maleficarum is divided into three sections. The first section is aimed at clergy and tries to refute critics who deny the reality of witchcraft, thereby hindering its prosecution. The second lays the foundation for the next section by describing the actual forms of witchcraft and its remedies. The third section is to assist judges confronting and combating witchcraft, and to aid the inquisitors by removing the burden from them. However, each of these three sections has the prevailing themes of what is witchcraft and who is a witch.

    Clergy = Post Modernist Intellectuals
    Forms of Witchcraft and its remedies = Grievance Studies
    Confronting and combating witchcraft = hate speech laws and codes, diversity training and “goals.”

    Hell, btw.

  24. Jack D says:
    @anonymous coward

    According to Kramer himself.

  25. @Jack D

    “Witches” were often older females. Was this a way of getting rid of non-productive individuals, the way Eskimos (supposedly) put the elderly on ice floes?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the “witches” often had some property worth confiscating once they were condemned. An old woman living on a piece of land with no male relatives to protect her would be easy pickings.

    Also, you can’t necessarily discount the human capacity for sheer gratuitous meanness.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke, Cortes
    • Replies: @Jack D
  26. Within a few years of the book’s appearance the Malleus Maleficarum was condemned as heretical by the Roman Catholic Church. The Church never used this document in any manner, although renegade priests often did.

    Crimes such as heresy, blasphemy, and witchcraft were regarded as crimes against the state by all societies up until and even long past the European Enlightenment. All governments regarded these crimes as dangerous enough to merit death, often imposed in unpleasant and degrading ways. Catholic countries were exceptional in that Church doctrines regarding these crimes were exceedingly sophisticated and complex. So starting as early as the Albigensian heresy, the Roman Catholic Church established inquisitions – official groups of trained specialists in such issues – to conduct inquiries into whether individuals accused of committing such crimes actually had committed them.

    The results of these inquiries were turned over to civil courts as evidence during an accused person’s trial, much as a criminologist’s forensic findings might be presented in a criminal trial today. The rules governing the operation of inquisitions were quite strict and humane for the time. In particular the use of torture was severely circumscribed. This was at a time when northern Europeans and the English and Scottish were still regularly torturing accused prisoners to death in order to obtain false confessions and conducting constant kangaroo courts whose inevitable conclusion was the execution for witchcraft of innocent people whose only crime was odd behavior or something less..

    The results are clear. The various inquisitions – Albigensian, Spanish, Roman, Venetian, etc. – processed many tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of accused individuals. Many were sent home after a few hours of counseling. Only a small fraction progressed to the “third degree”, where torture might be used to encourage recantation or end suspected dissimulation. Ultimately only a few thousand of those processed by the various inquisitions were executed by the civil authorities. During the same period, in northern Europe and the British Isles an estimated 50,000 or 60,000 individuals were executed as witches, often in horrendous ways.

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
  27. Jack D says:

    This is probably true. In any situation like this you start out with folks who are “true believers” and then the opportunists move in when they realize that they can somehow make a buck off of it.

    BTW, apparently witch hunts are still a thing in rural India today.

    Over 2,000 people accused of witchcraft were killed between 2000 and 2012. Often the victims are poor rural women – poor enough to be powerless but perhaps with some small piece of land that someone (a rich landowner) covets.

    Perhaps with enough immigration, we can bring the witch trial back to America!

    In big cities in America, there have been witchcraft stores (Botanicas) for Caribbean immigrants since the ’30s. Hilariously , one of the largest ones in NY is owned by (Sephardic) Jews.

  28. @Jus' Sayin'...

    In Northern Europe, we had more heretics that needed killin’.

    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
  29. @Redneck farmer

    Still do. Trouble is they’re running the place.

  30. KunioKun says:

    I just got the Solomon Kane collection for Christmas. I intend to read it next month. I hope it is as good as Conan was.

  31. Sean says:

    ‘Other animals’, as Aristotle said.. Meaning animals other than the ones usually referred to as ‘people’. Livestock cannot help what they are or what they do, but people can?

  32. @Bartolo

    Imagine not believing in the occult in 2019.

  33. Svigor says:

    Malleus Maleficarum aka Hammer of Witches

    Hexen = witch, so Hexenhammer = “Hammer of Witches” = Malleus Maleficarum.

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