Mar 03 2015

The Goodguy Badge (by Anton Szandor LaVey)

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As usual, I don’t even remotely own the copyright to this.  If you do, and you have a problem with it being here, please let me know. This is here strictly for reference purposes, because I don’t always have my copy of The Devil’s Notebook with me.


The Goodguy Badge

by Anton Szandor LaVey

Man is a selfish creature. Everything in life is a selfish act. Man is not concerned with helping others, yet he wants

others to believe he is. Inasmuch as selfishness is akin to pride, and vanity considered the Devil’s work, the first rule of the prideful is to make an exhibition of piety and charity, with a Goodguy Badge to pin to his lapel.

Man cannot progress one step further towards his own godhood until he removes that Goodguy Badge.

Mankind’s true saviors are not those who led exemplary lives, but those who have enabled man to pase as Good. Through the cause he provided against himself, Hitler enables countless millions to become righteous. Any semblance of goodness detected in moral enemies seems to dull the luster of the Goodguy Badge. Goodguy Saints are often only winners in abstinence contests. Perceptive scholars and objective students of human nature aver that most of history’s saints have surreptitiously indulged in life’s rewards while offering another public picture to the naîve and conditioned multitude. Leopold von Sacher-Masoch had not yet written Venus in Furs, yet religious and secular Severins were a zloty a dozen.

The Devil, aside from being the best friend the Church has ever had, also bestows upon the individual his mantle of Goodness. In whatever allegory the Devil is conjured, he becomes the reaction device for those who need him the most. Intrinsically evil people are often hypocrites who make a show of their Goodguy Badge; without an enemy to plague them they could never in any believeable sense become Good.

This is not to say that one should not be angered at an injustice or speak out against whatever violates one’s security. That is the first law, the law of self-preservation. But we must consider the motives behind the selection of an enemy. Perhaps nothing more is threatened beyond the threat of not having an enemy.

If, having a pain, you inflict sufficient torment to another area of your body it is easy to pretend that the original pain was never there. The Goodguy needs a bad guy to ease the pain of his own inadequacy. This is why his enemy will never perish, for if he did it would bring about great internal pain. Without a cause to take his mind off his own wretchedness he would be lost.

For the bored and simple, those of little or no accomplishment, those who care little whether they live or die, an enemy is essential. Their validity as human beings is measured not by what they can do or who they are, but by who they are against! Paradoxically, these are the hypocrites who shun any manifestations of “negative” propensities. Their vocabularies are turgid with terms like “true,” “charitable,” “integrity,” “spiritual,” “equality,” “Humanity,” “moral,” “ethical,” “rehabilitate,” “understand,” “empathy,” etc. ad infinitum. Some of these Goodguys, like the fellow who wants to put pants on dogs, are rather transparent. The majority are not.

My purpose here is to make hitherto undetectable Goodguys as visible as Freud made the lady with the closet full of frankfurters. When self-appointed Goodguys are not only spotted but ridiculed for the ostentation of their badges, man will have come a big step closer to the accurate evaluation of personality.

The paramount need to believe in something — anything — has been definitively explained by psychologists Mortimer Ostow and Ben-Ami Sharfstein (the Need to Believe, New York; International Universities Press, Inc., 1954). One need not believe in a set of religious principles; if one’s faith in a lump of mud is sustenance enough, well and good. If, however, a set of religious tenets is weighty with contrasts between “good” and “evil,” the adherent’s pietistic requirements must be addressed. Those who wish to gain acceptance from so-called “respectable” people must be Good. Their self-righteousness must be telegraphed in subtle ways, however. It isn’t enough to greet everyone with a cheery, “Hello, I-am-a-good-person-so- you-must-accept-me,” but by wearing one of the many available Goodguy Badge. The genuinely worthy gain it through individual strength of personality and accomplishment. the rest attempt to gain it by attaching a label to themselves. Psychologists call this “identity.” Man eigther establishes his identity through self or through a collective phenomonon often referred to as a “cause.” Celebrities will often use a “worthy cause” to bolster a shaky identity which may have been originally built on individual ability. Public figures simply wear a Goodguy Badge out of pragmatism. it is clear — or should
be — that the Great Man is doing absolutely nothing of a genuinely charitable nature.

Although it is a truism that every act is a selfish act, not all are harmful and some are even beneficial to others. Goodguy Badges exhibit tendencies which are often harmful and usually devoid of tangible justification for their existence. Rational self-interest is a virtue, but should be seen for what it is: self-interest. that is the predominant theme of Satanism. Irrational self-interest and undeserved self-righteousness are, on the other hand, hallmarks of the Goodguy Badge.

Religion, having created billions of “undeserving” or “unworthy” followers, is the number one wholesaler of Goodguy Badges. Christian doctrine has become outmoded and unbelievable, even to the most feebleminded. One wonders, “How is it possible for people to be so stupid as to believe the lies they are taught by ministers and priests?” Could it be that among the psychological crutches that Christian dogma has provided, the most obvious is the easiest to overlook? Beyond its horrors and personal repressions, Christianity provides an ingredient essential to the masses’ emotional equilibrium: the Goodguy Badge.

The old carnival fortunetellers call a similar ploy “casing the mark” — sending a client away with more problems than
when he arrived, the fortuneteller makes him feel glad that he arrived in time. New Age “psychics,” on the other hand, simply betray the diminishing quantity of self-aware fortunetellers. In believing their own bullshit they don conspicuous Goodguy Badges, as do the other assorted seers, prophets, channelers and healers who have “received their gift from God.” They are applying religious trappings just as surely as did their hair-shirted Anchorite ancestors, and strive for similar sainthood.

The Goodguys are everywhere. Turn on the TV. Within ten minutes a commercial will dramatize the pleas of one of a thousand “non-profit” charities; such charities are spark plugs of the nation’s economy. It’s easy to see why. The donor Goodguy saves tax dollars. The recipient charity spends ninety percent of the money on “overhead.” Management draws inflated salaries and receives kickback tribute form vendors, who in turn are given dispensation to swell up with pride
because of their Goodguy affiliation. If the donor donates his money directly to the government instead of a charity, his status would change from Goodguy to taxpaying boob, and such demotion would cost him more in the bargain. he would have to be crazy not to choose the Goodguy route.

If the Goodguy donates time instead, that’s all right too. They assist the charities by justifying the cost of building facilities and the spending of operational expenses.

English nobility are at times forced to maintain their ancestral castles by conducting guided tours, complete in some cases with ghost noises and rattling chains. Nothing so fey in America. The palaces of the once immensely wealthy are being converted into “foundations.” In many instances the original families stay put, simply yielding a few rooms to volunteers. In other cases the foundation receives the property lock, stock and barrel, taking the distressed owner off the back-tax hook. The former owner becomes a Goodguy, retiring with his Goodguy funds to a new high-rise or condiminium. Chances are good

that he was glad to be rid of his white elephant where he rattled about for years with one or two surly servants. He has reached the point where he wants the very theing that his wealth alone may have neglected to bring: recognition. While he’s still breathing, he can donate his great paintings to a museum’s wing that bears his namesake and bask in Goodguy glory.

Charities solicit those known to have an overabundance not because they can afford to give more, but because they know if the “philanthropist” does not give, he will be depicted as a human monster. Charities choose slogans like, “You can’t afford not to give,” implying that those who refuse them will receive some sort of retribution for their miserliness. The trick of playing on the guilt of those who can.

Mail-order evangelists have been known to bulkmail solicitation brochures depicting a bunch of bloated-bellied “orphans” standing in from of their foundation’s “buildings” in Guatemala or Biafra or New Delhi. Investigation might reveal that the foundation’s masonite sign covered “New Era Export Co., Ltd.” and those kids’ faces beamed not for the Lord’s blessing but for the quarter’s worth of legal tender promised them for posing.

Goodguy causes provide unlimited opportunity for hanky-panky, and not jsut of the fiduciary variety. If a volunteer of sterling moral propensities meets another equally proper (and equally married) co-worker under physically stimulating conditions, a merger might take place in the supply room one night. A rationale will be available, of course: both parties share a common goal. Charities are as much an opportunity for social contact as the most blatant singles club or dance course, but allow the joiner to be a Goodguy instead of a wallflower or creep.

Who could not find it admirable to want to save humanity? And animals and trees in addition? Or, Satan defend us, the desire to save the world? Actually, the madman who thinks in terms of ruling the world and the equally daft individual who wants to save it are usually one and the same: those who wish to rule the world usually go about attaining their goal in the guise of saving it.

Power-mad Goodguys sublimate these desires by trying to help rule through warfare or help save it through egalitarian politics. These helpers can wear their Goodguy badge without taking on the responsibilities or liabilities of a figurehead. A Goodguy who helps to save the world in the guise of an ecologist simply becomes a microcosmic god serving a macrocosmic client.

It seems to me that the people who holler the most about ecology are the least capable of actually contributing to the planet’s development. Quite obviously, the first place to start is to eliminate the source of the problem. The problem of course is people. Get rid of the people and you will be rid of the problems they so desire to eliminate.

The armchair liberals who speak reverently of ecological duty would be horrified to implement the totalitarian requirements of compulsory birth control. They shout, “Power to the people!” Power to do what? Make a bigger mess?

Where are all the little men with big ideas? There goes one now, pedaling by the luxury car showroom on his mountain bike, beads of sweat decorating his forehead like translucent jewels. Here comes another putting by in his sub-compact. Neither has any more self-awareness now than they did decades ago when they tooled along in their 300 horsepower monsters. The man on the bike is wealthy. The one in the small car is not. Mr. Cyclist rides one of his Goodguy Badges and gets healthier in the bargain. Little man in little car rides in one of his Goodguy badges and can actually afford to maintain it.

Turn back the clock and listen to another kind of logic. Nobody would buy a small car because it was unsafe, embarrassing and unheard-of. Only youths and eccentrics rode bicycles. Youths because they weren’t old enough to drive, and eccentrics because it was healthy — but anyone who was a health faddist had to be a nut.

Are we to assume that man is the only living organism that cannot adjust to its environment? If bugs actually thrive on the pesticides that once fell them, will man’s body not accept pollutants, chemical preservatives, etc., as another development of his “natural” evolution? Why are the most sickly-looking people the ones usually seen emerging from health food stores? Could it be that their stringent dietary habits fail to immunize them from “poisonous” foods they are on occasion likely to ingest?

If ecology Goodguys want to practice what they preach, let them establish colonies undeveloped areas and maintain them with as little contact as possible with the outside world. A few actually have done so, and they are to be admired. They are creating a society from an undeveloped environment, however. It is the most important ingredient of all in the life of the Goodguy, the lack of which makes his badge meaningless. That missing ingredient is an audience.

I will tell you a story. There was a hermit who lived in a deep wood near a small town. Once each year, on the first day of May, he would stand at the edge for a little while. Then he would go back in the woods, not to be seen again for exactly one year.

He had done this for 20 years, and the only reason he was ever seen was because the children held a maypole dance in the clearing at the edge of the wood. After the fifth year of regular appearances, he became an institution among the townspeople. In fact, it became a feature of the festivities to gather in wait for the hermit to make his appearance. Soo the hermit became the town’s best-known celebrity, solely on the strength of his yearly appearance.

On the 21st year he did not appear. Near panic ensued. A search party was formed and the woods scoured. The hermit was nowhere to be found. The townspeople sadly returned to their homes and stores. The next day, the hermit came walking down the main street of town. Everyone ran up to him and told him of their concern and how glad they were to see him. They insisted that he stay in town and not return to the woods ever again. They not only took care of him, but elected him mayor.

He was not really a hermit, though, nor had he ever been one. A hermit lives alone, without human contact. That man simply had infinite patience and a responsive audience. He was a good showman who became a politician.

Like some “hermits,” all wearers of Goodguy badges need an audience. Just as an evangelist needs an environment of sinners in which to operate, the ecology Goodguy requires a polluted urban area. Despite the obvious abundance of sunshine, fresh air and healthful living, blind men seldom join nudist camps.

The closent thing to unabashed slickerism many rustics can witness is in the evangelist’s tent. A “man of God” can fleece unconsciously willing victims even easier than a hustler peddling non-Godly wares. The Goodguy Badge that the evangelist supplies in exchange for his thievery ensures his success. Those with a minimum of guilts will become their own victims, and their few inner demons will become the engine for various excesses and vices. Those guilts are greater are more guarded in their actions. They are always looking for someone who will take advantage of them.

I have heard many men and women confess, “I know he (or she) is conning me, but I find it so entertaining I really don’t mind.” When these people are berated for their lack of discrimination or poor judgment, they invariably become all the more attracted to their exploiters. The sin-killing preacher is the ultimate wolf in sheep’s clothing: his followers demand that he be so. Despite the luxury cars, dapper clothes prompted by these accountrements rarely discourage the faithful. The more grandiose the crusade, the more satisfied are their customers. The guilty are relieved of their guilts and inhibitions — especially in the more violent forms of religious ecstasy.

What, it will be asked, is so terrible about such an arrangement? Nothing. Nothing but self-deceit. God and Jesus maketh the evil man good, the vicious man kind, the smitten man grateful, the victim happy.

What would happen if those divine names were no longer potent enough to placate the weak and inadequate? What of the future, when deceit and treachery will be as easily read as one’s name and address? When victims, however willing, will be seen as they are — victims.

When self-deceit can no longer go unrecognized by others, no one will wish to show himself as a fool. Vehicles for sef- deceit will either be employed within one’s private chamber or publicly presented as amusements — nothing more.

Ominous prophesies of an elite “thought police” will prove to be unfounded. New findings in character analysis will render everyone a potential thougth policeman. It will become as easy to assess another’s motivations as it is to tell the color of his eyes. The badge of the Goodguy will be visible in every mannerism, and no amount of affectation or protective plumage will disguise character flaws. And the truly good guy will be seen for his inherent goodness no matter how “evil” his superficial trappings may be.

How refreshing it owuld be to hear a political candidate say:

“I don’t believe in God, but in the protection of citizens’ health and safety. I plan on placing my friends in executive positions. I will pocket what funds I can get away with, but see that the rest is spent on necessary social improvements. You will have no voice in my decisions any more than you ever had. You will have to accept my judgment, which you will, so long as you are reasonably comfortable, have freedom of movement and opportunity for advancement. If I succeed in fooling the public, the public will have themselves to blame. For I warn you that I am as crooked as any politician can be. Despite my unsavory profession, I will try to keep all of you as happy as possible.”

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