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  • Editor's Introduction
  • Arthur Versluis

One of the most valuable contributions of a journal to intellectual life is not only in offering a venue for new research and knowledge but also in presenting new and divergent interpretations and perspectives on particular themes. From the beginning, JSR has not promoted any particular political agenda, but rather has offered a venue for a wide range of subjects and perspectives, and has discouraged articles that themselves advance particular political stances or agendas. This has been deliberate. And in the current issue, we continue this tradition with articles that look at radical critiques of modernity, first on antinomian and anarchist perspectives, then on various figures, themes, and movements on the Right.

With this issue, we begin a multi-issue series of articles that will delve into different aspects of radicalism on the Right. As we began to sift through the numerous articles submitted or proposed, we confronted an underlying question: to what extent does the term "radicalism" accurately describe figures on the Right, which often is construed as the conservative end of the political spectrum? Can a "conservative" also be "radical"? What's more, we found that many of the proposed articles on the Right betray a not-very-hidden identification with the Left on the author's or authors' part, which often led to outright advocacy (for instance, exhorting state prohibitions or legislative action against a group or set of perspectives) that, if analogous statements were in an article about [End Page v] radicalism of the Left, likely would be unacceptable to the very same author(s). We consistently have encouraged analogous approaches that aspire to objectivity regardless of topic and that don't advance particular political stances, but this appears to be considerably more challenging with regard to articles on the Right than with regard to articles on the Left.

Our approach, here as elsewhere, is to maintain our editorial disinterestedness in the sense that although we have our own perspectives, with regard to the articles in the Journal, we encourage a range of authorial approaches and do not identify ourselves with them other than with respect to the fact that the articles all went through an unusually extensive and in some cases challenging peer review process. The articles in this issue, and in forthcoming issues (since we are scheduling articles now for publication more than a year out), present disparate and sometimes controversial and opposing perspectives, and we see this as part of the very real contributions the Journal makes to this area of scholarship.

The articles in this issue begin with Ashleigh Androsoff 's article on the Sons of Freedom, a mid-twentieth century Canadian group devoted to egalitarian agrarianism, who were strongly critical of modern political and economic liberalism, to such an extent that, for example, they were willing to publicly burn some of their own possessions and participate in nude protest marches. Following Androsoff's article is Ted Troxell's article on the Christian theologian John Howard Yoder (d. 1997) and the ways that his work corresponds to and in some respects supports forms of Christian anarchism. The article examines Yoder's theological work in relation to postanarchist theory as well as to contemporary Christian anarchism, advancing the view that effectively, in this case, Christian theology amounts to a kind of Christian critical theory with political implications.

The second set of articles in this issue begins our series on radicalism on the Right. The first of these in this issue, by Richard Frankel, introduces a little-known group in Germany during the Weimar period, the Knights of the Fiery Cross. This group modeled itself in many respects after the American Ku Klux Klan and, as a transnational secret society, it reveals the confluence of several currents in 1920s Germany, including both anti-Jewish sentiment and initiatory societies. Richard Arnold's and Ekaterina Romanova's article centers on an early twenty-first century [End Page vi] conference in Russia that focused on the "White World's Future." Arnold and Romanova present and analyze the leading international figures on the Right who attended this conference, paying particular attention to how those figures presented themselves and their arguments. The final article...


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