NOTE: This article quotes racist and sexist passages.
Since last fall, Minnesota State Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, has taken a keen interest in a book called Bronze Age Mindset. The self-published tome has captivated many on the American right while trafficking in neo-fascism, racism and misogyny. The writer is an anonymous internet figure who goes by the pen name “Bronze Age Pervert” and has 45,000 Twitter followers.
The book argues that equality and human rights are unnatural; that most people form a vast, inferior class who will only find “solace and meaning” through “submission” — and that the proper rulers of the world are white men.
A passage claims, “Life appears at its peak not in the grass hut village ruled by nutso mammies” — using a racial slur to refer to Black women — “but in the military state.”
Chamberlain, the influential chairman of the upper chamber’s Taxes Committee, tweeted at the author, Bronze Age Pervert, on April 30, thanking him for an introduction to Bach’s “Fugue in G-minor;” likely a reference to Pervert’s podcast, which uses classical compositions as bumper music. (The podcast is even more overtly white supremacist.)
“The most obvious form of hatred in this book is misogyny,” said Curtis Dozier, a Vassar College professor of classics who documents appropriations of Greco-Roman antiquity by hate groups. “His ideal of masculinity is racialized.”
Dozier has analyzed the book’s appropriations — and misappropriations — of ancient literature.
Dozier said the title’s “Bronze Age” refers to an imagined era when a glorious warrior culture overthrew female tribal rulers and spread the Indo-European language — and male domination — from Iceland to southern India. Pervert identifies these conquerors as the Aryans, borrowing the ideas of Nazis, eugenicists and contemporary white supremacists, Dozier said.
Unlike most peddlers of hate online, however, Pervert does not disavow violence to soften the historic image of white supremacism and fascism — he glorifies it.
Chamberlain did not respond to requests for comment by phone or email.
But he also follows a number of neo-Nazis on Twitter, and seems to be a fan of the transgressive, adolescent fascism of Bronze Age Pervert.
In addition to thanking the author for introducing him to Bach’s Fugue, Chamberlain has “liked” multiple Twitter posts by the author, as recently as August 16.
A common tactic fans use to promote Bronze Age Mindset on Twitter is to photograph the book in an interesting place: tucked in a snowbank, standing on a shelf, sitting on a beach. Chamberlain has “liked” several of these promotions.
While Chamberlain’s appreciation goes further than most, he is not alone among prominent figures on the Minnesota right. Bronze Age Mindset earned a discussion in the flagship podcast of Powerline, a popular conservative blog. The Minnesota-based blogger John Gilmore is a champion of the book and brags he introduced it to Chamberlain. Pervert’s message was further spread by the Minnesota Sun.
The writer and philosopher Noah Cicero was once considered a leading figure in the “alt-lit” movement, a literary genre that is generally progressive but has a similar eclectic, born-on-the-internet style as Bronze Age Mindset.
The ultimate message of the book, Cicero told the Reformer: “I am white, and white men should cast off civilization and become super people.”
“It reads like a Marvel movie for disquiet white boys,” he said. “Like a fascist superhero fantasy.”
But to many on the right, Bronze Age Mindset is neither fantasy nor joke.
The book received a sympathetic 5,500 word review in the respected conservative journal Claremont Review of Books. According to the reviewer, a one-time national security aide in the Trump administration, the book briefly cracked the top 150 best selling products on Amazon. According to Politico, it has made the rounds among White House staffers.
Cicero has worked extensively with small and independent publishers for nearly two decades. He said it is unheard of for a self-published work to have this kind of reach, especially a philosophical tract. “Tell a self-published author a state senator has this book,” he said, “and they would be blown away.”
The book also has fringe admirers. It has been positively reviewed on several white supremacist websites, while the flagship Daily Stormer respectfully engaged* with Pervert’s ideas in 2015. Another reviewer wrote that Pervert “shares many of our ideas and beliefs.”
Dozier, the Vassar classicist, cautions that the violence of Pervert’s ethos may be a metaphor or a joke, but adds that “even in articulating violence as a metaphor, he’s going further than the wider white supremacist online world.”
It was likely in the Bronze Age Mindset community that Chamberlain began discovering the many neo-Nazis and white supremacists he follows on Twitter, including:
- Nord Man, who brags in one post that he deflated a Somali girl’s tires when she asked for gas money.
- Matt the Cotton Massa, whose header photo is a flag combining American, neo-Nazi and Christian iconography.
- PrairieFyre, who identifies in her bio as “volkische” — a neo-Nazi movement — and who recently tweeted a fawning video of American Nazi Party founder George Lincoln Rockwell that ends with the words, “We will win our country back.”
Chamberlain also follows and retweets a number of users who post about European culture — paintings, architecture and music ostensibly created by “westerners.”
Dozier said that appreciation of classic culture can be innocuous, but in the world of online racist propaganda, it is frequently repurposed to serve a narrative about the innate superiority of white people. Dozier looked at one of the accounts Chamberlain most frequently retweets and said by email that it was “pretty clearly a peddler in white supremacist dog whistles.”
Bronze Age Mindset, on the other hand, does not bother with dog whistles.
In a long, meandering passage — replete with allusions to ancient Roman literature — Pervert argues that ethnic groups that “choose” slavery over mass suicide are inferior to the “master races.”
If nothing else, Chamberlain’s colleagues might mull over his literary taste, especially if they see him in the Capitol cafeteria. As Bronze Age Pervert writes:
“Cannibalism is the eternal way of those erased humans who submit themselves to the Venus Willendorf and all ‘earth mammies,’ because this faction of nature is a putrid evil dripping blood from its claws and seeking the dissolution of all higher life, spiritually and biologically, to the amorphous muck of the primeval swamp.”
*This story has been corrected to note that Daily Stormer engaged with Pervert’s ideas in 2015, though this was before the publication of Bronze Age Mindset.