by Salofaista and Zoltanous
Fringe movements, whether in politics or religion, tend to attract fringe individuals. George Lincoln Rockwell, leader of the American Nazi Party, once made the observation that:
“Creativity is fanaticism. Every creative genius has had to be a fanatic. Many of them have been burned at the stake… In between the Communists and the Nazis is the great mass of non-fanatics, the TV watchers, and the comic book readers.”
He might have had a point. It is hard to be a revolutionary or a radical without being a fanatic to some degree — and fanaticism of any kind is, by definition, not exactly “normal”. William Dudley Pelley, who led the fascistic Silver Legion of America (the ‘Silvershirts’) during the interwar-era, was almost the quintessential example of the kinds of fringe individuals who frequently find their way into radical politics.
Pelley was a successful journalist and Hollywood screenwriter who had been radicalized through his time covering the Bolshevik Revolution and by his own experiences with Jewish film executives. In the mid-1920s, he began experiencing divine‘visions’ which led him into a career as a best-selling spiritualist teacher and writer. Pelley believed that his visions were sent by the Lord Jesus Christ and that he had been chosen for a great purpose, and it was these visions which in turn inspired him to create the Silver Legion in 1933 with a goal of bringing about the renewal of the United States on both a spiritual (immaterial) and a physical (material) level.