Arktos https://arktos.com Sat, 22 Sep 2018 13:24:03 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Another Babble https://arktos.com/2018/09/21/another-babble/ https://arktos.com/2018/09/21/another-babble/#view_comments Fri, 21 Sep 2018 14:43:05 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=4664 All quotations below are taken from two articles published in The Economist on 13 September 2018: ‘A Manifesto for Renewing Liberalism’ and ‘The Economist at 175’.

In recent years thinkers of the Right have begun to speak of ‘enemies’ with a liberality that our fathers and grandfathers would surely find unnerving. We do not reserve this hard term, as they would, for mortal foes on some real field of battle, but extend it freely, not only at times to certain special ‘interest groups’ in our societies, nor even to the hyper-wealthy globalists, who are surely most responsible for the alteration and adulteration of our societies, but even in some cases to liberals themselves whose worldview makes the ascension of these former groups possible. For we are coming full into the awareness that the question of the regime under which we are destined to live represents a battle between principles which cannot coexist in one and the same social and political order. ‘Compromise’, that feeble ethic so adored by democratic man, is in any number of cases simply not possible to us: to use an expression borrowed from the very worldview we will here be critiquing, the conflict between differing visions of regime is fundamentally a ‘zero-sum game’.

Given the centrality of the liberal worldview in building this New Tower of Babble in whose shadow we all presently dwell, it cannot help but pique our interest to encounter a document written by unapologetic and exceptionally well-informed liberals in defence of their views. We allude to an essay appearing in The Economist a little over week ago, ‘The Economist at 175’, which the newspaper describes as a ‘manifesto for renewing liberalism’. In the spirit just mentioned, we propose to set forth a critique.

The Four Elements of Liberalism

The Manifesto recognizes four key elements of its worldview:

The first is that society is a place of conflict and that it will and should remain so; in the right political environment, this conflict produces competition and fruitful argument. The second is that society is thus dynamic; it can get better, and liberals should work to bring such improvement about. The third is a distrust of power, particularly concentrated power. The fourth is an insistence, in the face of all power, on equal civic respect for the individual and thus the importance of personal, political and property rights.

The claim that ‘society is a place of conflict’ is placed at the head of this list. But this is practically the last mention made of this provocative proposition in the entire course of the lengthy Manifesto. Given the growing ‘partisanship’ and patent ethnic, religious and political divisions within our societies, which are clearly exacerbated by various liberal policies and which in some cases threaten quite literally to tear our civil order apart, this silence is alarming, and we are tempted to say that it suggests a dearth of self-understanding on the part of the Manifesto’s liberalism.

Liberals have become unwilling to leave the fate of the open society in the hands of the ‘populist’ masses; they opt to betray the open society in order to preserve it.

No clear boundaries nor any definition are suggested for the ‘conflict’ mentioned. We can safely assume, given the general position of The Economist, that it does not extend to physical violence. Reference is made to ‘the right political environment’ as its precondition; the writers of the Manifesto are evidently aware that conflict as such, in the wrong kind of context, can lead to nothing but evil. The conflict they would promote is likely rather a conflict of goods and ideas: the economic ‘competition’ inherent to the free market on the one hand, and the intellectual contest in the ‘marketplace of ideas’ on the other.

The problem concealed by this formulation is none other than the problem of the ‘open society’ itself. The open society requires as its necessary precondition guarantee of freedom of speech. But freedom of speech means freedom of speech also for those who would destroy or transform the open society. So long as the proponents of ‘closed societies’ do not gain too much in authority or hearers, they present no threat; but in late days their influence has begun to menace many parts of the liberal West. The open society must therefore decide whether it will limit anti-liberal speech so as to defend itself, thereby ceasing to be the open society, or risk being undermined or revolutionized on account of the very freedom it holds to be most sacred: it must choose between suicide and the imminent threat of destruction. The proponents of the free society, if they are to follow the latter route, must either be secretly self-loathing, or must have total faith in two utterly dubious axioms: first, the absolute superiority of the free society over and above all other possible social orders; second, the power of the truth to emerge victorious from the free ‘conflict of ideas’.

The true believers here form a shrinking contingent within the wider ranks of liberalism, as is evidenced by the growing censorship of our times. Most liberals in our day adhere blindly to the first, but not the second of these two axioms; a few might have an uneasy conscience even as regards the first. Many so-called ‘liberals’ have been shaken in their dogmatic faith by the clear signs that their worldview is not unequivocally winning in the ballot boxes and referenda of the West: the bugbears of Trump and Orbán, Brexit and Salvini have shaken them from their doctrinairism. Because of their lack of faith, they have become unwilling to leave the fate of the open society in the hands of the ‘populist’ masses; they opt to betray the open society in order to preserve it.

This special conflict is but one of the most striking manifestations of the problem of liberalism in our day; others include the problem of tolerance (how deal with the intolerant?) and of the multicultural society (what to do with closed cultures which reject multicultural precepts?). All of these in turn are reducible to the inner and irreconcilable conflict between freedom and equality.

This pressing and urgent issue, which perhaps represents the crisis of liberalism in our day, is but skirted by the writers of the Manifesto. It is difficult to say to what extent this is the result of timidity, ignorance or strategy. We are forced to infer the position of The Economist from between the lines. Its writers state:

In America, Donald Trump’s pathological lying and constant attacks on the media as ‘enemies of the people’ and ‘fake news’ are taking their toll. But the fact-free world of paranoid fantasy that right-wing media provide for his followers is a bigger problem.

Well and good: and what is the solution to this ‘problem’? The Economist is strangely elusive. It continues:

So is the echo chamber afforded by social media – even when they are not being manipulated by foreign powers. By reinforcing people’s biases, they cut off the competition ideas need if they are to improve. At the same time they discredit the compromise that democracy needs.

Until the staff of The Economist are willing to rewrite their ‘Manifesto’ to make a few essential matters somewhat more manifest, we can only assume that ‘liberalism’ in our day would support the manipulation, guidance or soft censorship of ‘right-wing’ social media, which, according to the estimation of the worthy Economist writers, is surely neither ‘well informed’ nor ‘in good faith’.

But if this is so – and it is on the writers of The Economist or their liberal ilk to set forth some truly viable and truly liberal solution to the problem of irreconcilable worldviews in an open society – then one wonders indeed just how they hope to avoid ‘concentrated power’ in the hands of the censors (the third element of liberalism above), whether these censors be governmental or, as is more common in our day, corporate.

Though the connection is not drawn within the Manifesto, this last point is part and parcel of one of the problems which The Economist actually acknowledges as confronting liberalism today: the corporate concentration of power. The Economist is to be applauded for diagnosing the ills involved in this concentration, but its cure leaves much to be desired. In good liberal fashion, it seeks the solution to these dangers in laws and institutions. Yet the power of multinationals and even of certain extraordinarily wealthy individuals has become an international, a globalistic power; this means that it exists wholly or partially outside of the sphere of any specific nation’s laws. Changes in those laws or in those institutions can therefore only provide makeshifts for true solutions; sooner or later, these monstrous entities will find ways of mastering individual governments rather than being mastered by them, superseding the rules of the game by reinterpreting them.1 They are paid to do nothing else, and it is the fault of no one but the liberals that these hideous forces should have been unchained in the first place from morality and responsible governance which once constrained them. The solution cannot come via liberalism, because liberalism is the crux of the problem.

In our amazing material plenty we have but invented and then sharpened hungers which never previously existed.

Liberalism, in its overweening hubris, will deny this. It will indeed posture as the one salvation, attempting to resolve these difficulties in the one way remaining to it: through the establishment of a liberal world order, a global or semi-global system of government, institutions and laws or regulations that are overarching enough to contain even post-national globalist entities. But it is precisely these entities which most fervently desire the advent of this world order, and this should tell us all we need to know about the probable face that such a global paradise would finally wear.

Progress and Decline

Surely the most evident feature of the liberalism The Economist espouses (and, we might add, a principle feature of liberalism as such) is the second element in its list above: its unwavering subscription to the ideal of progress. Consider but the newspaper’s own motto, which is repeated at the close of the Manifesto: ‘nothing serves liberalism better than “a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress”.’ In truth, nothing could more clearly reveal the biases of The Economist than such a neat division between an ‘intelligence’ which ‘presses forward’, and a ‘timid ignorance’ which is ‘obstructing our progress’. It is needless to say into which of these camps conservatism must fall – not to speak of Traditionalism! As the Manifesto itself ruefully observes:

Many liberals have, in truth, become conservative, fearful of advocating bold reform lest it upset a system from which they do better than most.

They must overcome that fear—or, if they cannot, they must be attacked by true liberals who have managed to do so.

Scepticism regarding ‘forward motion’ is evidently the mark of ‘fear’, ‘unworthy, timid ignorance’; one must be either a coward or an ignorant obstructionist to see anything disconcerting in the modern world order, anything questionable in our breakneck rush toward ‘improvement’. It is therefore altogether meet that we recall but several key reasons to doubt the reality or desirability of the ‘modern progress’ so touted by the economists:

  • Hitherto, in the time before the democratic and industrial revolutions of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, poverty was regarded exclusively as the lack of the necessities in life; but we in our ‘progress’ have transformed any number of luxuries into yet further necessities, so that ‘poverty’ now extends to persons who do not have a car, a cellular telephone, a computer, a television, a refrigerator, etc. Far from eliminating material malcontent, our ‘progress’ has rather simply broadened and deepened it, and in our amazing material plenty we have but invented and then sharpened hungers which never previously existed.
  • Hitherto, education was regarded primarily as cultivation in virtue, and secondarily as the preparation for a life-long craft or profession, which, given the care and expertise that were connected to them, were rightly regarded as arts; our ‘progress’ has transformed education into mere preparation for ‘gainful employment’, and supplanted the arts with increasingly ephemeral and technical ‘jobs’, which aim at productivity far above quality.
  • Hitherto, money was regarded as a means to an end, and was thought best kept by men who were scornful of it; now, money has become the goal of goals, and even a marker of quality itself, as is presupposed in our concept of the ‘meritocracy’ – an economic system in which one’s rank is measured exclusively by one’s ability to convince other human beings to empty their pocketbooks into one’s own.
  • Hitherto, writing was regarded as a higher form of language (a ‘Fathertongue’ as Thoreau put it), a deeper and more beautiful and more layered and potent kind of expression, and the relatively few men who were capable of reading, read in that spirit; now, with our much vaunted ‘universal literacy’, writing in many cases has degenerated even to a level beneath merest speech, and reading generally has reduced itself to an impatient and shallow form of fact collection, a radically inefficient version of that process our computers are programmed to perform.
  • Hitherto, the laws were regarded as cultivation of excellence and training toward virtue; now, they are considered but the protection of ‘universal human rights’, which essentially makes of them a battleground for the laziness, complacency, greed and jealousies of base human beings.
  • Hitherto, the arts were regarded as the finest flower of a society, and were protected and patronized by men of long-cultivated and exacting taste; now, the arts are considered a form of entertainment or advertising, and their patron is the mass, which is careless of beauty and contemptuous of cultivation, and judges all things on the basis of pleasure alone.
  • Hitherto, the highest positions in society were filled by men who were born to them, and thus carried on their backs the full weight and expectations of age-long family lines, or else by men who were drawn to them vocationally, and thus filled them by virtue of their own special callings; now, these highest positions are filled by any Dick or Jane, who seek them out only because they crave the rank and mammon that flows from them, and who succeed in attaining them because they are unscrupulous enough to do whatever they must.
  • Hitherto, it was understood that the gods infused the world, and worked through it and manifested in it in an immanent and perceptible way, and this divine presence governed and regulated the lives of men and the orders of their societies; now, men are made to understand that they need not the guidance of higher powers, but are thrust back wholly onto their own feeble, petty and fleeting desires and whims, and taught that these are the be all and end all of their lives.

To be sure, this quite incomplete list surpasses the narrow boundaries of the economic worldview. For none of these points is measurable: none of them can be scientistically or mathematically gauged. And it is indeed the final sign of the utter and resplendent decadence of our ‘progress’, that we are unable to take seriously any argument or critique which is not founded on ‘data’, ‘information’ or ‘scientific studies’ as if we ourselves were but robots or rocks, and the lives we lived, the societies we built, the cultures we cultivated, were but the accidental assemblages of so many mechanistic atoms.

Pragmatism and Economism

These reflections bring us to one of the primary underpinnings of the idea of progress: pragmatism, understood not as mere practical wisdom, but rather as almost a veritable worldview of its own. The pragmatism of The Economist represents an approach to human things which concentrates primarily on the use that can be made of them: it judges tools, ideas and virtues alike by their utility, and poses this utility as the measure of progress itself. This kind of pragmatism is essentially modern, and owes its birth to the general and generally failed attempt to render philosophy scientific, which was the peculiar drama especially of the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. In a certain sense, this wild dream has yet to be abandoned: one of its final and most defensible redoubts is precisely in the study of economics.

The economist is thus a judge who, contrary to Iustitia herself, has his eyes open but his sword sheathed.

Pragmatism tacitly ignores all aspects of its subject which cannot be reduced to mathematics. There are already profound doubts as to whether even the ‘inanimate’ world can really be understood in these stark terms;2 all the moreso, then, as regards living systems, and particularly human ones. Pragmatism, however, boldly casts off these philosophical concerns. It plugs this open question with the concept of the ‘standard of living’ in a country or a region (measured through median income, number of beds per hospital, length of life, life expectancy, average mortality rates etc.), positing this as the go-to model for understanding progress and decline.

The inadequacy of this as a standard of human progress is felt even by those who tend to refer to it most emphatically, and the present case is no different. The writers of The Economist are far from numb to what most liberals would view as the true gains made by liberalism in terms of ‘human rights’ and ‘social justice’; quite despite their acknowledged pragmatism, they, too, must make reference to fundamentally non-mathematizable values like ‘liberty’. Yet this is a problem to the economic viewpoint, for so long as there is need to recur to non-measurable values, one finds oneself adrift once more in the broad sea of philosophy, which these pragmatists fear and despise and fight away from with all the strength they can put into their oars. They must then find a way of measuring even the unmeasurable, locating ‘benchmarks’, ‘scales’, ‘rates’ etc., even for ‘abstract’ notions like liberty or civil rights. This is not the place to critique such attempts; suffice it to say, they depend decisively on the unspoken philosophical premise that human things are reducible to non-human things, which is generally taken for granted by economists, and true defence of which necessarily transcends the boundaries of science.

Given The Economist’s ‘results-oriented’ defence of liberalism, we are therefore not surprised to find the following remarks:

Our founders would be astonished at how life today compares with the poverty and the misery of the 1840s.

It is radically inadequate, not to say morally abhorrent, to identify poverty and misery on the one hand and wealth and progress on the other; and though we will not ascribe this facile view unequivocally to the writers of The Economist, nonetheless such crass reductionism is an orbit from which liberal pragmatism never wholly escapes. For it is well and good to claim that a good man may be poor and at the same time happy, or a bad one rich and at the same time wretched, but how to demonstrate such a proposition in the field of hard facts? Supposing one wants ‘objective’, meaning scientistic, data by which to judge of human progress, one must sooner or later reduce human happiness itself to quantifiable, and therefore material, terms. But happiness was classically understood (as for instance by the Platonic-Socratic equation ‘knowledge = virtue = happiness’, the Aristotelian eudaemonistic tradition and Epicurean hedonism) as the standard for overcoming the unprincipled love of materialism, of wealth or power or pleasure. Happiness, by the economic viewpoint, is made the lowly slave of those vulgar concerns it should permit us to transcend.

The economic reply, of course, is that without a measurable standard which depends on ‘objective facts’ and not ‘subjective values’, there can be no demonstrable standard of progress or decline whatsoever. This may well be so, but the natural retort is – and so? Are we to deny out of hand the possibility that human things are essentially irreducible to mathematical and scientific formulae, that the kind of debate the economists and liberals would obviate is in fact a necessary and inescapable part of the human condition? The accusation or insinuation that The Economist does not hesitate to make against conservatism, that it is actuated by timidity, might in fact be applied with equal justice here: for truly, it appears the part of the pusillanimous to avoid discussion of first and last things, and to attempt to supplant the ambiguities and deep problems of our condition with inapt mathematical structures and artificial economic models. It is, moreover, utterly unbefitting the idea of seminal conflict which the economists are evidently supposed to embrace.

We claim with Nietzsche, to the contrary, that value is inseparable from fact, that it is the philosophical questions of value, wisdom, and virtue, and not the scientistic questions of ‘facts’, of ‘information’, of ‘standards of living’, which point to the most fundamental of human problems, and that without at least attempting to confront these problems, in all their radical difficulty and labyrinthine, sometimes terrifying complexity, this New Tower of Babble will inevitably collapse into an ant-like colony of squalid Last Men, governed by demonic plutocrats whose souls are seated irredeemably in their stomachs.

All Men are Created Equal

At a little deeper layer, beneath the lust for ‘progress’ which directs the economic and liberal worldview, we descry the hidden and secret root of the liberalism of The Economist, and indeed of our day as such.

As The Economist wrote on its centenary in 1943 (as quoted in the article ‘A Manifesto for Renewing Liberalism’) that it is ‘not only just and wise but also profitable…to let people do what they want’. Here we come to human equality, as embodied in basic human rights – the fourth element of liberalism identified by The Economist. 

Indeed, the pragmatism we have just critiqued cannot provide, nor does it seek to provide, any standard by which one might discriminate between man and man. A simple example: in measuring wealth, the economist takes a rise in average incomes to be unambiguously good; he has no means of assessing the nature of the individuals who are granted this greater ‘spending power’, nor of judging the ways they might dispose of it. He does not differentiate between a good man who is granted a healthy stipend and a rogue who is granted the same. That moral difference, which would have been decisive to the Ancients, is merely elided over by the modern economist, and indeed disappears altogether in his calculus of the well-being of society. He must take each man as being equal to the next; but because men differ radically in what they seek and desire, he is forced to judge of the overall progress of human societies in the only terms which it he can validly abstract from those ‘subjective’ preferences: purely material terms, the ‘standard of living’, the ‘wealth of nations’. But it is only the lowest of men who judge of good and bad in terms of material things alone, which means that the economist is forced to view from the frog’s perspective, awkward and uncomprehending whenever he deigns to glance upwards, toward the right sphere of human existence.

The economist is thus an unworthy judge, an incomplete judge, a judge who, contrary to Iustitia herself, has his eyes open but his sword sheathed. It would be possible to constitute a society composed exclusively of extremely affluent, long-lived, healthy and legally unhampered, but spiritually empty, artistically numb, morally indifferent and philosophically ignorant masses, which would shoot to the top of any standard of living you please, and thus stand as the current model society for liberals of The Economist’s special stamp. But to say that a society like this would represent a pinnacle of human progress is an absurdity of the highest order.

This absurdity can be perceived, to be sure, only from a far higher view than that taken by the economist. It is only from a super-economic, super-scientistic, philosophical or spiritual, but fundamentally aristocratic standpoint that one can ever rightly critique the idea of egalitarian progress which has proved to be the motive force of the entirety of our Modernity. Only from such a perspective as that is one allowed to note that a country of rich and well-fed men who are incapable even of appreciating the great works or deeds of Western history, much less of reproducing anything resembling them, cannot be regarded as ‘progressive’ in the decisive sense. Only from such a perspective as that can we perceive that a society which has provided abundantly for all its citizens’ material well-being, but has not given the least prevision for the care of their souls, is fundamentally rotten and corrupt, no matter what GDP it might boast. Only from a perspective which consciously refuses the meretricious temptations of a mathematical and scientistic understanding of man, and which rejects the levelling instinct of our contemporary democratic and secular societies, can we ever hope to rise once more toward the true human heights, which have nothing to do with ‘standards of living’ and the petty middle-class ‘progress’ of liberalism. We owe to these heights alone every human achievement of real and transcendent worth in all of our history – and these arose, almost to a one, in societies which would make our ‘liberals’ tremble in rage and loathing.

Let us recall that the very word ‘progress’ itself in its present acceptation dates back to no hoarier epoch than the seventeenth century; it is a modern term in every regard. We, the men of the Right, refuse to speak in terms of ‘progress’, that mere ‘walking forward’ which might be a blind stumbling toward the abyss as well as not; we speak rather in terms of elevation, of discipline, of culture, of education, and above all of virtue. And by these standards, the very notion of economic or liberal ‘progress’ reveals itself for what it is: a precipitous plummeting downward, accompanied by the ravishing and unworthy delight in the fall.

We oppose ourselves yet more fundamentally to the egalitarianism at the bottom of the liberal worldview, and hold ourselves forth as champions of a most ‘illiberal’ ideal of human excellence. And against all of the modern etymological and linguistic confusions which beset our day, we do not shrink from asserting that, by the standards of a true human liberty, which can only be realized by the few and never by the many, we have a better right than the Mammonists of The Economist to refer to ourselves by that now wretchedly twisted, but once high and noble name, of liberal.3

Footnotes

1Consider the words of one pre-eminent globalist, George Soros (who is, incidentally, far from antagonistic to the ‘liberal’ viewpoints of The Economist): ‘I don’t play the game by a particular set of rules; I look for changes in the rules of the game.’

2This doubt has characterized both the earliest forms of science (many of the first protagonists of the scientific worldview considered science as a kind of grand experiment, and were even surprised by the extent of its early successes) and the lattermost (most of its current champions affirm that science is approximative and infinitely improvable model of reality; some even tend to suggest, à la Thomas Kuhn with his idea of the ‘paradigm’, that scientific theories cannot be evaluated in objective terms of truth or falsehood). This development should be taken as a symptom of the crisis in science that Husserl already identified in the last century. The basic failing in most critiques of science has been modernistic in nature: they have attempted to resolve the crisis in science by making philosophy scientific, whereas they should rather have sought the contrary. Philosophy must be reinstated to the throne of the human sciences, and the fundamental and irredeemable limitations of science must be recognized, and its boundaries decreed by a power which transcends them. Only then can the problem of science be resolved, by placing science at an appropriate level in the hierarchy of human knowledge, and limiting its research and its technological developments accordingly. The future hinges in part on our ability to control our unrestrained technological development in a timely way; but the extent to which science is presently given free reign, and the almost total failure on the part of our intellectuals to perceive the innermost problematic aspects of science itself, does not give one much room to hope.

3Scholars of Latin amongst my readers will know whereof I speak: the adjective liberalis meant, to the Romans, ‘befitting a free man’, which included in those finer days an unsubtractable element of human virtue: hence the word came also to mean ‘noble, magnificent, munificent, graceful, befitting a son of free men’, an acceptation which it retained well into the Middle Ages, and which began to fail only in early Modernity, on account of the latter’s attempt at a corrupting reformulation of the idea of human liberty. Some ghost of it yet lingers in the idea of a ‘liberal education’. Given its original sense, it is nothing but a travesty that the economists should call themselves liberals, not to speak of the progressivists and egalitarians of all stripes. The word belongs by rights to the men of the Right; had we the courage of our calling, we might learn how to reclaim it to ourselves – which would have the added virtue of preserving us from that particularly contemporary and reactionary fallacy, according to which we must oppose the idea of human freedom if we are to oppose Modernity itself.

]]>
https://arktos.com/2018/09/21/another-babble/feed/ 1
European Resistance https://arktos.com/2018/09/19/european-resistance/ https://arktos.com/2018/09/19/european-resistance/#comments_reply Wed, 19 Sep 2018 16:35:31 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=4648 The situation confronting all the Western peoples today presses ever more individuals to pose themselves questions, the responses to which must be sought by deepening our investigations of the historical and cultural causes which, for nigh on a century, have carried the White Man to a state of complete devitalization.

For decades now, and centuries still before that, the White peoples, and among them various political and religious factions, have fought fratricidal wars which served more or less visible economic, financial and political interests, and which sought every possible objective other than the conservation and the strengthening of those very biological, ethnic and cultural fundaments which came thereby to exterminate one another. French against Germans, English against Irish, Germans against Russians, Americans against Europeans, for the most divers causes and ideologies, but ever and always bringing millions of White men and women to shed their blood in the fields of battle, to burn alive in bombardments, in hatred of their neighbours, without ever obtaining from this a real resolution to the problems that they hoped thereby to address. It was ever the sons of Rome, of Barbarossa, of William the Conquerer, of George Washington, of General Lee or of Peter the Great to throw themselves to the assault, heedless of their own demise; it was these men to die in atrocious conditions or in prisons, while the bankers and the businessmen counted up their earnings in the Exchange, sipping champagne in the salons of London and Wall Street. Let us imagine, only for an instant, if from the Middle Ages up to today – that is, from that time anyone first began to dream that there might exist a foundation for the unity of European culture – let us imagine that the Whites had not slaughtered each other, but rather, following a common path, had busied themselves with the joint cultivation of all their potencies and local wealth, protecting one another and discovering new lands, at whose luminous borders they might build the lighthouses of Civilization to shine forth.

Certainly, there have been examples of this, as in Lepanto, when Europe found itself standing against the Islamic tide. The Crusades, too, quite beyond their Catholic underpinnings, displayed an ideal common tension which was only superficially defined on a religious basis. In reality the Knights of all of Europe, of the North and the South, of the West and the East, felt within themselves the urge to defend their lands and their women from peoples and cultures which were not assimilable; and to this very day, in the south of Europe, where these peoples were able for a time to plant themselves, their expulsion and the reconquest of liberty are recalled with festivals and celebrations, banners and symbols. Some people forget that up till two centuries ago the Arabs of North Africa led incursions upon our coasts, looting and raping, depopulating entire towns to make slaves of them in their houses; they forget too that in those times it was often only the men of those places to resist, without the help of any ‘regular’ troops, because they knew that they were truly fighting for their lives. But even in that period it was not the money of the enemies of these peoples that shielded us, but rather the courage of our fathers, which has guaranteed what today appears almost a miracle of history: the maintenance of lands, isolated from the European continent and not far from North Africa, in the ethnic and cultural sphere of Europe. This should bring us to reflect on how much those strong, clear-sighted, (fortunately) uneducated, but resolute and courageous men must have done by means of their qualities – precisely the qualities which today are lacking to too many Europeans.

And yet this did not suffice. No one inquires into the reasons why Asia and Africa have ever pressed upon our borders. These reasons must be sought in a number of factors: the hunger of these peoples, their knowledge that they could here find lands in which to settle, prisoners they could enslave, white slaves for their harems, the control of ports and commercial routes. That which permitted them to attempt the venture was their indubitable courage, their indubitable sense that they were sacrificing themselves for a common cause, which they held to be ‘Holy’, their fanaticism. If we coolly consider these causes, we can affirm that they were not so different from the motivations which today press the enormous migratory influx toward Europe, and especially in recent years toward Italy. The difference is that it was not then permitted to these peoples to enter freely into our lands, nor did we maintain them financially, as happens today; and our Mediterranean coasts remind us of how constant this resistance to their attacks must have been, when we see today everywhere the bastions, towers, forts of that period. Today we rather permit them to accommodate themselves in our home, in all comfort; they no longer need bring their scimitars, and Mohammed, Loumba and Aziz thank us for it. It is no longer the sharpened sword of the farmer to greet them on our shores, as once happened when these men used to disembark, precisely as today, hungering for spoils, for women, for Western comforts; but now they are welcomed by an ethnomasochistic humanitarianism, ready to meet them in their very ports of departure; and we, rather than imprisoning them and throwing away the key as any State worthy of the name would do, believe it best to ‘regulate’ the ‘non-governmental organizations’ responsible for bringing them hence.

All of this is possible today because a ceaseless propaganda has instilled in the minds of us Europeans – and unfortunately it must be said, more often in Northern Europe than in the South (perhaps on account of the greater fear that the powers of the Great Replacement have of a national reawakening in those peoples) – a historical feeling of guilt and a lack of consciousness of belonging and of identity, without which it would not be possible to accept such a state of affairs, particularly as it grows ever more intolerable. And while the Church at least once upon a time blessed the defenders of the West, today it is the first of the powers to call for a ‘welcoming’ and an intermixing of these peoples, with Pope Francis ever ready to whimper out of his window, gloating that he can expand his flock of the ‘poor in spirit’ of every colour and origin out of all right proportions. Unfortunately, they do not limit themselves to this alone, but they ever, with Jesuitic coldness and resolution (the present Pope is an old Jesuit), put into effect their task of genocide against the White peoples. Their ethnomasochism is based on historical falsehoods which are repeated to our children from the earliest age, by a propaganda of customs in which the non-native is presented as ‘cooler’, ‘more interesting’ and (for some of us paradoxically) also more ‘rebellious’, so that African degradation would be a form of a cultural avant-garde toward liberty.

All of this represents but the fringe of a situation to which the youngest are dangerously exposed, and already we see its fruits if we follow any of the real news that is able to slip through the filter of media censorship. That White who so much as observes, as we here are doing, the objective situation, is branded with the magical little word ‘racist’. Beyond the ignorance this reveals regarding the original use that the word ‘racism’ had, which has nothing at all to do with its present abuse, there is in this the will of the media and of the cultural ‘elite’ to criminalise everything which has to do with one’s pride in one’s belonging, in one’s own origin, history and culture. Obviously, all of this regards only the Whites, while if such arises amidst peoples of colour then it will be not only supported but financed by our ‘philanthropists’, and even hailed as cultural progress. The other is better insofar as he is OTHER. The self-destructive do-goodism that has by now corrupted the minds of our people goes so far as to justify and to ignore the absurdity of all this; one ignores the fact that the millions of persons of every origin who pour upon our borders, and the others who are ready to do so, are certainly not the highest representatives of any given culture and tradition – though even then it would be equally criminal to permit them to plant themselves here – but rather that we are dealing with the worst masses of those deluded by the ‘Westernist’ myth and the consumerist style of life. Our shopping malls have today among their finest wealthy clients ladies in burqas, prolific Pakistani and Chinese families. Here we glimpse who it is to really profit by this invasion – not, certainly, our unemployed and our family men.

We, in any case, do not put our hope in all this: we do not hope to reach cultural progress through ethnic intermingling and cultural contamination; our instinct rebels against all this, because when we think of our millenarian roots in the thought of Greece, in the hymns of Homer, in the Lex Romana and in the order of our Empires, in the art of the Renaissance etc., the blood boils in our veins at seeing how the only ones capable of being, today as ever, the creators of this Civilization – we, the Whites – are substituted by a foreign population whose very origin is in many cases sometimes barely known, and who themselves carefully pretend not to know it, coming as they do from promiscuous families (as the present Minister Kyenge) whose very grandparents (if not they themselves) knew cannibalism as a traditional practice.

This entire process, this present replacement of the White peoples, surely does not arise spontaneously. The great deceit of coloured immigration has its origin in global politics, in our case in the European Union, which tends to force the States ever more to cede their sovereignty, as well as to powerful figures that the peoples have never elected, and toward whom they feel no affection whatever – indeed they often do not even know anything of the very existence of these individuals. It was Italian ex-Prime Minister Mario Monti who declared in an interview that ‘Economic crises periodically serve to force the States to cede their sovereignty to supranational organisations’. To understand how this process develops, it is necessary to confront the murky question of the ‘European Union’ and of the single currency that is in circulation within it. That which today is called ‘pro-Europeanism’ has nothing to do with a free confederation of peoples who determine to follow a common political direction, but it is the dictatorship of agents of globalism, who with their money move every policy to their favour, and with their ‘philanthropy’ cynically carry out the ethnic replacement which we are suffering. It is necessary to turn back a number of years to find the point at which all of this originated, both ideologically and practically.

Who are the fathers of this ‘Europe’? Surely not a few of them are ‘Italian’, among the best known of whom are Altiero Spinelli, Eugenio Colorni, Ursula Hirschmann and Ernesto Rossi. Spinelli was a communist until the Twenties, Colorni in the Thirties militated in ‘Justice and Liberty’ and was arrested in ’38 as an antifascist Jew, a socialist partisan, and died in that same period. Ursula Hirschmann, a bourgeois Jew from Berlin, had three daughters by Colorni, and went on to have another three by Spinelli after she was widowed by Colorni’s death. The foremost of these is Barbara, today serving as a Member of the European Parliament with ‘L’Altra Europa con Tsipras’. Ernesto Rossi, militant anticlerical and author of Il manganello e l’aspersorio (The Truncheon and the Aspergillum), was part of the Partito Radicale (Radical Party).

But to understand the idealogical basis that have carried us to the European Union, we must turn to 1922, when Coudenhove-Kalergi founded ‘Pan-Europa’. In 1925 this obscure Austrian-Japanese personage delivered a report to the League of Nations in which he presented his primary objectives: unify Europe toward the end of integrating it within a politically merged global organization, a global government which in its turn would federate new continental federations. In 1946, Kalergi returned to Europe, after having had to hurriedly pack his bags and depart the continent; and his personality played a role of extreme importance in subsequent developments.

Delegations were created throughout Europe, in every country, to strengthen to his project of Paneuropa, which was well financed by his banking friend Warburg. These delegations realised the European Parliamentary Union, and in 1949 the creation of the ‘European Council’. For this ‘effort’ of this, he received the ‘Charlemagne Award’, a prestigious award for those whom (by its own statement) demonstrate the same ideals as the founder of the Sacred Roman Empire (!), and in whose honour the ‘Coudenhove-Kalergi Prize’ itself was instituted, which every two years is awarded to whomever most distinguishes himself in Europe, in the pursuit of the globalist and multiracial ideal. Among those who have received it are Angela Merkel, Hermann van Rompuy and Pope Francis. Speaking of Max Warburg, who represented the German Bank of Hamburg, it should be noted that his brother, Paul Warburg, moved in that period to the USA, becoming ‘American’, and was among the founders of the Federal Reserve, apart from being the head of the Council on Foreign Relations. Thus there emerges a link between Wall Street and the will to federate Europe under a supranational and stateless government. In his 1925 Praktischer Idealismus, a pamphlet of some hundred pages, Kalergi dedicates a good amount of space to the question of ‘racial crossings’ and consanguinity (he himself was, to use his own terminology, a ‘mongrel’).

On pages 12 and 13 we read: ‘The typical profession of the Junker caste is the official, that of the literary caste is the journalist. […] [The Junker] despises the townsperson, and above all the literary man and the Jewish journalist.’ Then later:

The substance of the gentleman is tradition, that of the bohemian, protest: the essence of the first is conservative, that of the second revolutionary. The mother of the ideal of the gentleman is England, the most conservative of the European countries; the cradle of the bohemian is France. […] Germany sought in its poetry the ideal incarnations of the German essence and found Siegfried as psycho-physical ideal, and the old Faust as the spiritual ideal. These two ideal types were ‘romantic-unreal’; the romantic ideal of Siegfried ossified into the Prussian official, the lieutenant, the Faustian ideal into the erudite German, into the professor (pp. 16–18).

And yet again:

Endogamy reinforces character, weakens the spirit; cross-breeding to the contrary weakens character, reinforcing spirit. Wherever consanguineity and cross-breeding encounter one another under the most favourable circumstances, they create the highest type of human being, connecting the strongest character to the most piercing character… The man of the future will be of mixed race. Today’s races and classes will gradually disappear owing to the vanishing of space, time, and prejudice. The Eurasian-Negroid race of the future, similar in its appearance to the Ancient Egyptians, will replace the diversity of peoples with a diversity of individuals (pp. 21–23, emphasis in original).

Still again, most interestingly: ‘In persons of mixed race are often united a lack of scruples with lack of character, weakness of will, instability, irreverence, faithlessness’ (p. 20).

This for him is the perfect mass to dominate – model citizens of the then future, and today actual, Pan Europa; they are incapable of maintaining a strong opposition to power, in the uprooted life of the great cities; and Coudenhove-Kalergi explains who it shall be to dominate this mixed race mass further on:

Rustic barbarism and consanguinity favour without any doubt the development of the pagan mentality, while urban civilization and cross-breeding favour the development of the Christian mentality… Christianity and socialism are the international products of the great metropolises… These two manifestations are built on internationalism (p. 25).

To the extent that Europe is Christian, it is Jewish (in the moral-spiritual sense); to the extent that Europe is moral, it is Jewish. Almost the entirety of European morality is rooted in Judaism… St. Augustine and Rousseau, Kant and Tolstoi were Jews in spirit. Nietzsche was the only non-Jewish and pagan European moralist. The prominent and most convincing of the Christian ideas, in their rebirth called pacifism and socialist, originate with the Jews (p. 27).

Rather than annihilating Judaism, Europe has, against its will, through this process of artificial selection, ennobled it and has raised it up to the rank of nation-leader of the future. […] It has developed into a European nobility of spirit. A bounteous providence has therefore, at the moment that the feudal nobility has started to decline, offered to Europe the gift of a new nobility of spirit (Judaism), through the emancipation of the Jews; this is the kernel around which a new nobility of spirit, a new race of lords reunites (p. 50).

The Jews and the Jewish martyrs of the the revolutions of Eastern and Central Europe have nothing to envy, in terms of courage, of resistance, of idealism, in the non-Jewish heroes of the World War; indeed, they often surpass them in spirit (p. 51).

The elect therefore reunite in themselves, following the example of the ancient nobility, willpower with mental acuity (p. 52).

We can add to this the fact that Coudenhove-Kalergi married a Jewess, the fruit of which marriage would evidently be the prototype of the nobleman of the future. As Simonetti writes in The Kalergi Plan:

From these premises arose the idea of Paneuropa – and it is to such a personage as this that an international prize has been dedicated. This so-called European union is born as an anti-democratic movement – or better say, an anti-popular movement, hidden from the people. The people suffer the results of decisions which are realized in the shadows, and they are pressed toward a European feeling through media campaigns fashioned in places which are hidden and inaccessible to them. The pro-European debate has never involved the European peoples, neither on the level of conscience and opinion, nor unfortunately from the political point of view, understood as direct participation and legitimation. It is not accidental that there have never been democratic votes on the possibility of acceding, or not acceding, to the European Community, nor can the people in any way control the work of the Commissions of nominated individuals. Indeed, we should add that every act of lawmaking proceeds in a Babble of cross-references, rendering the understanding of these decisions impossible to single individuals (as for example the Treaty of Lisbon). Count Coudenhove-Kalergi, finding no way of creating a successful pro-European party, concentrated on operations of cultural and political pressure, with adhesion to Masonry and of his economic and political supporters.

To conclude, let us cite Dieter Schwarz in Chapter 3 of his 1938 Freemasonry – Ideology, Organisation, and Politics:

The Grand Lodge of Vienna went enthusiastically to work for the Pan-European Union in a call to all Masonic chief authorities. Even the Masonic newspaper ‘The Beacon’ enthused about the thoughts of the higher degree Freemason Coudenhove, and stated in March 1925:

Freemasonry, especially Austrian Freemasonry, may be eminently satisfied to have Coudenhove among its members. Austrian Freemasonry can rightly report that Brother Coudenhove fights for his Pan-European beliefs: political honesty, social insight, the struggle against lies, striving for the recognition and cooperation of all those of good will.

In this higher sense, Brother Coudenhove’s programme is a Masonic work of the highest order, and to be able to work on it together is a lofty task for all brother Masons.

]]>
https://arktos.com/2018/09/19/european-resistance/feed/ 0
The Hellenic Canon https://arktos.com/2018/09/17/the-hellenic-canon/ https://arktos.com/2018/09/17/the-hellenic-canon/#comments_reply Mon, 17 Sep 2018 13:35:27 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=4627 I am convinced that our educational systems do not teach classics properly. Taking my own example: I managed to studiously get through university and earn a degree in the liberal arts, with high honours, without ever reading Aristotle or Tocqueville, let alone Homer. No wonder my view of the world was rather stunted.

Actually, the fault is not only that of the educational establishment: classics are often hard for the uninitiated to read, having been written hundreds or thousands of years ago for a very different time and place, and often being of mysterious origin. In the ancient classics, we are reading the very first recorded flickers of human consciousness, suggestive, potent and inscrutable, like the notes one might take immediately upon waking up from the strangest of dreams.

Among all the ancient peoples, none seem to have been so wholly biopolitical as the Greeks. Among no other people was the desire to foster and impose higher life so natural, among no other were manly virtue and reason so combined, leading them to explicitly articulate and justify this world-view. This makes the Greeks particularly worthy of study: in addition to being the founders of our Western civilization, their world-view is surprisingly consonant with our own Darwinian assumptions.

In this article, I would like to briefly go over some of the works of the Hellenic Canon. I hope this signposting will encourage reading and make these works seem less forbidding, for no European movement can triumph without moral self-confidence, and that self-confidence also stems from the intimate knowledge that our efforts based upon the soundest of intellectual and cultural foundations. In addition, the life and thought of each us can only be positively influenced, or even transformed, by engaging with ancient wisdom.

Everyone loves a good adventure story and even children can appreciate the tales in Homer’s Odyssey (my first encounter with the poem was in the form of a charming Australian animated adaptation1). The less paraphrasing of Homer the better. Suffice to say that Odysseus embodies the virtues of the European hero throughout the ages: loyalty, tenacity and cunning, in a story revolving around homeland, identity and destiny. Odysseus is the vital man, whose honour and intellect are in full harmony with his drive for exploration and conquest.

In a similar genre, one can enjoy the writer-soldier Xenophon’s Anabasis, his account of his service with the expedition of the Ten Thousand Greeks who invaded and successfully escaped from Persia. Besides being an enjoyable tale, the work showcases the necessarily violent birth of the State, founded by a responsible Männerbund, as well as the virtues of leadership.

Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations are perhaps the most succinct introduction to ancient philosophical ethics. One is not shown the arguments and speculations surrounding ethics, boring and confusing to many, but rather the conclusions: a synthesis revealing ancient ethics in practice in the form of a Roman emperor’s spiritual diary. Reading of the Meditations can indeed be a transformative experience. Marcus Aurelius is the pious man, ever training himself in self-mastery, for the good of his community.

Aristotle’s Politics can and ought to be read by all people who claim to have an interest in public affairs. We can hear the Stagirite philosopher speak to us through these fossilized lecture notes, whose points are always graspable, empirical and practical. Aristotle’s usual method of listing practices and opinions on his subject makes this a fine introduction to ancient Greek politics and indeed politics in general. In terms of principles, Aristotle makes a powerful case for a eudaimonic, communitarian, and biopolitical republicanism, one in no way tainted by later ‘slave morality’ or liberal entitlement. In many ways, even after over two millennia, the Politics ought to be our baseline for the kind of politics we want to see: Plato may be more ambitious and inspiring, but Aristotle is more grounded and palatable.

More generally, many of Aristotle’s works can be profitably read by most anyone, whether his Nicomachean Ethics (on personal behaviour), Poetics (on creative writing), Rhetoric (on persuasion), and so on. Aristotle presents in a formally academic way the unabashedly aristocratic way of life and skills of the ancient Greeks.

Plato in many respects represents the summit of philosophy. If Aristotle was a scientist and perhaps even an academic in the modern sense, Plato was something of a poet [sic] himself and a great spiritual reformer. His work can be charming, stimulating, and inspiring. But he is not holding your hand. With their paradoxes and mysteries, the vast corpus of Platonic dialogues forms a great koan, or riddle. No one but Plato could have become so honoured by circles as diverse as the ancient intelligentsia, the Church Fathers, the American Transcendentalists, or indeed the Third Reich. But this enigmatic philosopher can also be annoying: Jefferson was quite disgusted by his Republic and Nietzsche never forgave Plato, Socrates, and/or Plato’s Socrates for turning philosophy into a game of definitional hair-splitting, of nerds demoralizing jocks.

Still, one does not need to be a professional philosopher to profit from and enjoy Plato. The tetralogy on the last days of Socrates2 can only move and inspire those who are on the quest to find, speak and live the truth, especially in a democratic age.

The Republic, that famous book, is perhaps the best synthesis of Plato’s project, with his jokes, his provocations, his logical extremes… putting in parallel the philosopher’s spiritual quest for truth and the politician’s quest for a superior state, all the while never forgetting, as so often happens among both ancient and modern moralists, the biological foundations of the human endeavour.

If all this seems too elevated, one must read Plato’s Seventh Letter, which, whether authentic or not, instructively spells out the practical implications of Platonic philosophy for personal life and political activism.

The lengthy Laws have a bad reputation; and certainly much material is covered in a more approachable manner in the Politics and much is of purely historical interest. Nonetheless, the work has its charms and insights, and can be enjoyed if read in the right mindset. The Laws makes clear that Plato’s philosopher is not lost in the clouds, but is dedicated to decidedly practical, realistic and ambitious socio-political transformation. One can surmise that much of his project in fact is a rare description of Spartan practice.

There are many other Platonic works, dealing with epistemology, ethics, metaphysics, the soul and so on. Suffice to say that Plato saw no contradiction between biology and the spiritual quest, and this makes him supremely valuable. And he undertook all these things while sharing a wholesome chuckle.

Alongside Plato, one can very profitably turn to Xenophon’s own Socratic dialogues.3 Academics have often found Xenophon’s Socrates less profound, but these dialogues – which were very highly rated by Nietzsche – are more approachable, arguably more constructive, and certainly more immediately morally instructive. One discovers discovers a Socrates who is a cogent critic of individualist, egalitarian, and rootless-cosmopolitan excess, and who artfully makes the case for community, discipline, and self-cultivation.

There is much to learn from the ancient historians, but their wisdom is buried in their very lengthy works, which being chronicles or annals, are necessarily ‘one damn thing after another’ (of often highly uncertain reliability, at that). Thus, unless you want to know the full details, you can settle for extracts of the most famous passages.

I am personally quite partial to Herodotus: his tales are often implausible and yet, taken as a whole, are full of wisdom and insight. High points include the meeting between Croesus and Solon, the discussion of King Nomos (‘Custom is King’), the Persian Debate on forms of government, and the heroic portrayal of Athens and Sparta’s victory over the Persians, with many iconic scenes and bons mots (many of which, in fact, made it into the film 300).

Thucydides is the first surviving author whom we would consider a true historian, as opposed to a tale-teller. His work is long, dry and bitter. Memorable passages include the Introduction on writing history, the famous Melian Dialogue on the Athenians’ extermination of recalcitrant subjects, the portrayal of Civil War, the final battle of the Sicilian Expedition, and especially Pericles’ Funeral Oration, that moving and eloquent defence of the Athenian democracy.

From later times, Polybius is a fine chronicler of the rise of the Roman Republic. Strikingly modern passages on the writing of history, and in particular ‘universal history’, can be found in Books I and XII. Book VI contains a famous account of the Roman constitution’s virtues, especially the balance between social orders, which proved quite influential on modern republicans.

Concerning Plutarch, I can only speak of his works on Sparta, especially the Life of Lycurgus and the collected Sayings of the Spartans. These, along with Xenophon’s brief Constitution of Sparta, are the longest works dedicated exclusively to that famous yet mysterious austere city-state. These must be studied alongside Pericles’ Funeral Oration as laying the foundations for Western civic politics: one discovers a lawful, communitarian and biopolitical regime, which in Plutarch’s idealized description expresses an uncommon combination of ancient wisdom and manly virtue.

The various Pre-Socratic and Sophistic thinkers,4 surviving in fragments, are necessarily enigmatic and highly heterogeneous. While much is bizarre, one also finds much which can resonate with a modern: deep insights on the nature of reality, genuinely scientific observations and theories (‘the sun… is a fiery stone larger than the Peloponnese’!), and familiar socio-political debates, sometimes of a subversive character.

The Golden Verses, attributed to Pythagoras, are a synthesis of ancient philosophical ethics in the form of a regularly recited quasi-religious poem. That the ancient philosophical schools did not evolve, as Buddhism did, into popular and institutionalized religions preserved them from certain distortions, but also meant that they did not survive as lived traditions.

From beyond the grave, the sayings and life of Diogenes the Cynic5 forever shame us for our inconsequence.

If Diogenes’ antics appear incomprehensible, one may turn to the last pagan emperor Julian’s Letters for fiery and eloquent explication, as well as broader insight into pagan religion and philosophical practice (his religious and political Orations, in contrast, may leave the modern rather cold).

One can learn much the same thing from the Discourses of Epictetus, who again and again explains and affirms the daily practice and mindset of the Stoic. The Stoic way of life is cogently summarized in his Manual (Enchiridion), which can be used as a helpful day-to-day ethical guide, and indeed was used as such for centuries by the Orthodox Church.

To return to the primordial poets, Hesiod’s Theogony intuits the great passions and violence at the origin of things, while his Works and Days is a synthesis and catechism of peasants’ hard-won wisdom and common sense, much as valid then as today.

Homer’s Iliad is the more difficult, the deeper and the more awesome of his two poems: one finds expressed with unique power those terrible terrible forces of love and war, the sheer force, at the origin of all life.

Footnotes

]]>
https://arktos.com/2018/09/17/the-hellenic-canon/feed/ 0
Decorum and Democracy https://arktos.com/2018/09/14/decorum-and-democracy/ https://arktos.com/2018/09/14/decorum-and-democracy/#view_comments Fri, 14 Sep 2018 12:31:46 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=4590 Much ado is made throughout the West of the recent decline in decorum in the political arena. Politicians who could once meet one another despite all disagreements in a spirit of calm and rational dialogue seem now not to be able to abide even the look of one another, and do not hesitate to hurl the most amazing accusations against each other, or to use all the means at their disposal, including manifestly unfair and devious ones, to have the better of their opponents. Far from presupposing good will in each other, they regard one another as the worst of pirates, ready each to overturn the ship of state and feed like sharks on the wreckage; and thus they pretend as though they were obliged by decency itself to do whatever they can to stop such madmen from having their way.

‘On the street’, meanwhile, matters have degenerated even further. A shroud of silence has fallen over political matters in families or between friends or in the workplace, and it is thought better to keep mum and to keep the peace, than to open one’s mouth and to risk turning a cold war hot. That is precarious enough; worse yet, however, these differences smoulder beneath veil, threatening at every moment to set it aflame. For despite this tacitly agreed upon silence, one knows more or less what one’s neighbour believes – and one suspects or even despises him for it. And so the protests and counter-protests which occur with ever increasing frequency in our public places threaten as never before to plummet into violence, as men who no longer know how to debate one another resort to the single means of resolving their dispute, when discourse has failed them.

Democracy, as has been known since antiquity, is in fact the war of all against all.

For a number of characteristic reasons, all of this has taken a somewhat more theatrical turn in the United States than in Europe. Yet, whether Europe likes it or not, the United States still today stands as the herald and groundbreaker in contemporary political trends, and, most unhappily, has for the past hundred years if not more led the entirety of the West downward. In the United States, one attempts to explain the growing discord and lack of cordiality between the two major political parties as the fault of one or the other of them: one seeks, in short, a scapegoat, and by far the likeliest of these has been Donald Trump with his admittedly vulgar and crude antics, or the ‘populism’ which he is said to represent. One thus treats the decline in civility and decorum as if it were merely a change in manners brought about by this or that incidental cause; one speaks of ‘divisiveness’, as if the political stances which broadly characterize the political parties in our moment had simply drifted, or been pressed, distant to one another, and could, with similar but contrary effort, be brought back again toward some more hospitable centre, where it would be possible once more to ‘work together’, ‘like brothers’, toward a ‘common end’.

And as always, such superficial diagnosis of an entrenched disease does nothing but aggravate it: one applies ointment to the rash – and drives the infection toward the heart.

All of this has recently shown forth most strikingly in the confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court of the United States. To anyone who watched these proceedings from an impartial position (supposing such a thing is even possible any more for the better part of our pundits and commentators), it is clear enough that both sides have to some extent abused the good faith of the people, the one taking unfair advantage of its strong position to avoid many established historical protocols, the other making full use of insinuation, slander and a largely favourable press to paint a rotten picture of a man who is despite all of extremely high calibre. Viewed from such a higher position, it becomes clear that what we are witnessing here is not a ‘democratic proceeding’ in the idealistic sense that word is generally used, meaning the peaceable procedure of an elected or semi-elected body politic toward the end of establishing, protecting or furthering the law; rather, this is a kind of bloodless warfare in which either side will do whatever is necessary to have its way, without any more respect for the law of the land than it is compelled to publicly manifest.

For that reason, however, we are constrained to call this precisely a democratic proceeding, in the true and full sense of the term: for democracy, as has been known since antiquity, is in fact the war of all against all.

American ‘Democracy’

The statesemen who founded the American state took a famously dark view of democracy, though not half so dark as that taken by the Ancients. With the notable exception of Jefferson and his qualified concept of the agrarian democracy,1 the American founders spoke of it in the pejorative with a consistency which is liable to offend or confuse modern sensibilities. Everywhere they mention democracy, it seems to be in the discussions of its vices, and how these vices might be limited and constrained. They almost to a one considered the American state to be, not a democracy, but a constitutional republic. I provide but a sampling:

Democracy has never been and never can be so durable as Aristocracy or Monarchy; but while it lasts, it is more bloody than either.

[…]

Remember Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a Democracy Yet, that did not commit suicide.

— John Adams, Letter to John Taylor, 17 December

Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives, as they have been violent in their deaths.

— Publius (James Madison), The Federalist Papers, Number 10

It has been observed by an honorable gentleman, that a pure democracy, if it were practicable, would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved, that no position in politics is more false than this. The ancient democracies, in which the people themselves deliberated, never possessed one feature of good government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity.

— Alexander Hamilton, Speech of 21 June 1788, New York Ratifying Convention

The ‘American model’, with its conscious rejection of pure democracy, was subsequently adopted in the majority of European countries, particularly in the post-war period. Even in such countries which remain formally distant to constitutional republicanism (as for instance England, with its parliamentary monarchy) the same kinds of tendencies and trends can be seen, the same spirit supervises its work. And most notably, counter to the structure of these states and in many cases the will of their founders, the same transformation has lately arisen in all the nations of the West, perhaps without exception: this older ‘American model’ is increasingly showing the traits of unbridled democracy. This transformation, for reasons we cannot consider here, is a natural tendency contained within republicanism as such, and one which can be halted or delimited only for so long before it finally gains the upper hand, utterly supplanting republican mores and institutions with rigorously democratic ones, and thus preparing its own rapid ruin. Though our language confuses us here (for we are liable to speak today of ‘American democracy’, for instance, as if it were a thing that has existed since the Revolution), we are in fact living precisely in that time of transition.

The specific difference between democracy and republicanism lies in the respective loci of their power. Republicanism diffuses power, dividing it between many different counterbalanced centres so as to avoid its consolidation and abuse; hence the celebrated ‘separation of powers’ and ‘checks and balances’. Democracy, on the other hand, locates power unequivocally and directly in the mass of voting citizens, which mass it attempts to enlarge to include as many individuals as possible. Republicanism constrains the body politic and the social order to the rule of law, and enshrines that law in a set of determinate legal precedents (as in the English system) or in a written constitution (as in the American, the Italian, the French, etc.); in pure democracy the only limit to the law is the limitless ‘will of the people’.

The concept of the ‘will of the people’, of which we hear so much prattle, is essentially empty. It presupposes a unitary ‘will’ where there is in fact a plurality of often fundamentally conflicting ‘wills’, and a singular people where in fact there is only an undifferentiated or heterogeneous mass. The concept of a people in the proper sense depends on natural unity of ethnicity, custom, religion, language, mores etc. Supposing a true people as the underpinning of a democracy, it is even possible for democracies to be fairly effective or long-lived; democracies are thus most functional either at the local level, or else in small and homogeneous countries like Iceland and erstwhile Sweden, or else in the very early decades of the transition from a hierarchical regime to a democratic one, in which the forms, institutions and ‘philosophy’ of the state become increasingly democratic, while the voting citizenry still owes its worldview and native ways of being to the older order. Many of the examples which are brought forth to demonstrate the value of democracy in fact depend on these exceedingly special conditions.

But these conditions, far from being normal to democracy, are indeed exceptional to it: the essential drama of democracy is that it strongly tends to fragment the citizenry and to transform the unified people into a divisive mass. By insisting on human equality2 and the sacred rights of the individual, not to speak of the horrid travesty known as the secular state which dissolves all higher bonds on the average man, the ‘citizens’ of democracy begin to think, no longer in terms of the whole and the heights, but exclusively in terms of their own low and private and selfish interests. And since the average individual is by himself as impotent in democracy as in any other regime, it is only natural for each individual to gravitate toward others with like interests in order to augment their influence, thus forming opposed and conflicting aggregates within an increasingly fragmentary and unstable whole. From a relatively unitary human group with relatively unitary aims and desires, the multi-headed hydra of faction emerges.

The conflict between rich and poor can be bridged through right institutions; never can the chasm between a Muslim and an atheist be.

Faction is the great nemesis of democracy, as was clearly recognized (among others) by the American Founding Fathers.3 By naturally tending to give birth to factions, democracy produces or fertilizes the seeds of its own destruction. Democracy is a self-consuming monster, a waypoint from one regime to another; it is not long for this world save in exceedingly special conditions, but inevitably gives rise to another and non-democratic regime. And on account of the downward pull and the entire force and motion of its development, that regime tends to be, as the Ancients already well understood, the worst of all regimes: unbridled tyranny.

Faction and Democracy

The great limitation in the analysis of democracy of the Ameircan founding fathers, and perhaps also in the Ancients themselves, is to be found in their understanding of what the founders called ‘faction’. The founders rightly believed that factions represented the interests of different portions of society – the rich, the poor, the nobility, the bourgeois, the Catholics, the Protestants, etc. – but they understood these interests primarily in materialistic terms: they understood them as financial interests, economic interests, interests pertaining to the distribution and use of powers, rights and privileges etc.:

 [T]he most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society.

— Publius (James Madison), The Federalist Papers, Number 10

The founders therefore conceived the possibility of effecting a compromise between conflicting interests by separating them into their constituent spheres and granting to each the possibility of representation in the new state that they were engineering. This division occurs at several different levels. In terms of regimes, the republic is a mixed regime, with elements of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy, each carefully embroidered into the tapestry of the state’s written or unwritten constitution; that is one kind of ‘separation of powers’, one kind of ‘representative government’. Then, because in the time of the Founders the bloodiest conflicts in the European theatre had mostly been religious in nature, it was seen fit to separate the church and the state, so as to eliminate the political manifestations of these internecine disputes; religion was relegated to the private sphere, and the argument between various sects was consigned to oversight by secular law.4

So much for the formal division of powers. On a more quotidian level, the interests of the wealthy are to be found in the capitalist aspect of the state, those of the worker in the labour unions, those of special concerns in the lobbies, those of private citizens in the power to vote for their representatives or for public referenda etc. Each of these groups seeks its own interest to the exclusion of every other; each is thus put into direct competition and conflict with every other. But since none can gain simple superiority, each is forced to compromise with the others. And insofar as each of these groups really is interested in nothing but its material well-being and betterment, compromise can indeed generally be effected. In the conflict between a capitalist who wants the greatest share of profits possible and the worker who wants a decent wage and standard of living, there is certainly a tension; but it is a tension which is easily enough resolved through parliamentary debates.

What we are witnessing today, however, is the undermining of those proceedings on account of what appears at first glance to be the uncompromising stubbornness of the various parts. This is the same lack of decency, the same partisanship, which is so frequently denounced by all sides of the great political divide, as if it were simply a question of comportment and attitude. The fundamental problem is that today, in the form of contemporary democracy,5 we are seeing the emergence of factions which are not opposed in their mere materialistic interests, which thanks to modern science and capitalism have largely been guaranteed, but in what we might call their ideological claims, their root vision of the world. This makes for an antagonism which the division of powers is incapable of addressing. The conflict between rich and poor can be bridged through right institutions; never can the chasm between a Muslim and an atheist, an authoritarian and a liberal, a globalist and a nationalist be so spanned. The former demands a simple redistribution of resources or a reformulation of specific laws, a searching out of the correct balance of the goals and gifts of the state; the latter treats instead of irreconcilable worldviews, one of which must be sacrificed wholesale if any other is to be realized.

The fundamental flaw in the original American analysis of factions is that it presupposed the homogeneity of its people. Part of this was conscious on the part of the Founders: they knew, for instance, the blessings afforded their country by its ethnic and social and even religious unity. They presupposed more thoughtlessly however that homogeneity which extended also into the ideological realm. This was possible in the early republic, when ‘We the People’ were literally constituted by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and everyone looked to those documents as the final and irrevocable word on the nature and purpose of their country. But in democracy, each individual is given the freedom to embrace the ideology he pleases, and the Constitution be damned. Democracy is a veritable breeding ground of ideologies; and sooner or later these ideologies, insofar as they would survive and see themselves realized in this world, must come to blows with other incompatible ideologies. What then can remain of decorum, when the parties to the opposing sides recognize that their opponents do not represent merely differing visions on how many taxes to raise or at what age a person should be able to retire, but on the very manner in which the state should be structured, the very principles which should be embodied in and should embody society, the very standards by which right and wrong government must be judged in the first place?

These are differences, not on policy, but on principle; they are differences on the fundamental things. In the face of their dignity, Robert’s Rules of Order seem a thing of wholly tertiary concern.

Conclusion

In an impassioned and (from the American classical conservative perspective) quite respectable plea, Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska recently took the Senate to task in stern language for failing its constitutional duties and refusing to tackle the messy business of hashing out differences of opinion.6 He accused his colleagues of ‘avoiding responsibility for unpopular decisions’, which in turn has made of the Supreme Court the nexus of the purely political conflict which the people can no longer delegate to a deliberately impotent and complacent legislature. He noted, and not without reason, that when the people begin to protest before the Supreme Court rather than before the Congress, this reveals a fundamental disequilibrium in the state. The poor Senator believes he is living in the same America that was founded a quarter millennium ago, and that all that has changed in the meantime is the attitude and dealings of its politicos.7

To speak of decorum and decency in the midst of ideological warfare is like to asking gentleness and respite from the hurricane.

But in point of fact Senator Sasse’s concern touches but the surface of the trouble. We are witness, not to a change in attitude, but to a change in the very regimes under which we live: our republics have transformed into democracies. In a constitutional republic of any type, the binding and insuperable perimeters of political things are inscribed by the law of the land. Compromise is possible, is desirable, is mandatory precisely because there are limits drawn around the possible points of dispute. Democracy abolishes those borders, first slowly eroding them and gnawing them away as a rat to the corn, and then all at once smashing through them, in a kind of releasing of the ideological floods. The constitutional republic deliberately and in many cases expressly forbids the establishment of any number of regimes which contradict its principles and which would render its law nugatory or void; but in democracy, every regime is possible, is nascent, awaits merely the summons of the vox popoli. Democracy is, from the ideological point of view, almost not a regime at all; it is in point of fact but a natural interregnum,8 a natural halt and haitus between regimes, which soon must be overcome. In democracy, the entire cosmology of human governments suddenly become possible once again, and the disputes standing between citizens no longer show the character of rational disagreements on means, but of vital divisions on ends and principles. Not varying degrees of compromise between two more or less consonant viewpoints, but the total war between mutually exclusive worldviews, becomes the dominant theme of democratic discourse. And to speak of decorum and decency in the midst of ideological warfare is like to asking gentleness and respite from the hurricane.

This is the true and underlying reason for the increasing ‘divisiveness’ of the American Supreme Court hearings, as was seen also in the case of the right honourable Neil Gorsuch not two years ago. These men, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, are in no way inadequate to the position to which they have been nominated; practically no one disputes their professional and mental calibre. But the question is not their viability, but their beliefs. Attempts are made to defend them by saying that they take a neutral position, that they would simply obey the Constitution, rather than their own personal opinions; no one realizes that this is the speech and reasoning, not of democracy, but of republicanism, which is already far in its twilight. Despite all the fine rhetoric of our elected representatives, ‘obedience to the Constitution’ is no longer the default position of the citizenry and the elected representatives, but merely one unprivileged ideology amidst a growing crowd. The Constitution has become but a weapon in the hands of this or that ‘belief system’.

And as in America, so in Europe: the old ‘spirit of the laws’ which is one of the finest of our European legacies is on the brink of being exorcised by the spirit of the whim of the people. And when the globalists, the various ethnic interests of our ‘multicultural societies’, the Muslims, the Marxists of all stripes, the ‘interest groups’ and the various other factions we have fomented come to blows, we will finally learn that our cherished constitutions, save as they are written upon our very spirits, are but scraps of paper that can rot or burn as well as not.

Gorsuch and Kavanaugh are sometimes, most interestingly, accused of ‘radical conservatism’; more interestingly yet, they are strenuously defended from these charges by their own champions. As if radical conservatism precisely were not the prerequisite for any man who would be the defender of a Constitution! But in point of fact, long past is the day that one could hope to preserve the republican orders of these our Western nations; the conservatives, in whom this sacred task has always been vested, have utterly failed their duty. Nor could they have succeeded, for constitutionalism, republicanism, is naught but a stopgap against the rising democratic flood, and will leak out until it bursts. And when the deluge finally arrives, as indeed is befalling our fateful epoch, the decline in decorum and ‘the increase in partisanship’ will be the least of the troubles to follow from its chaotic churning. For democracy does not bring with it peaceable institutions and the stable rule of law, as our indoctrinated generation so naively believes, but rather the iron reality of a godless and valueless anarchy, in which every kind of action is suddenly justified, because every kind of political order is suddenly possible.

Footnotes

1Here, as elsewhere, the Monticellan is a riddle. It is indisputable at least that Jefferson considered majority rule to be the fundamental condition of fair government, and that he believed right majority rule in turn to hinge decisively on the education of the average citizen. To that extent – and that is already much indeed – he was certainly a good democrat. Nonetheless, I will not be the first to note the native aristocratism inherent, not to Jefferson’s ideas, but to his deportment and his spirit. He was a man, one is tempted to say, who was in his soul superior to his notions.

2At least a high degree of legal equality is the minimum necessary presupposition of any democracy. But universal equality before the law cannot help but degenerate sooner or later into equality pure and simple, for the inescapable practical reason that it locates a fundamental value in the common man, who is emboldened by this to agitate for his own interests, and who is generally incapable of perceiving the subtle difference between legal equality and equality as such. On a deeper level: legal equality cannot easily be disentangled from the insidious notion of ‘equality of opportunity’; and this equality of opportunity will inevitably struggle with the insuperable problem of inequalities of birth, which will lead it continually to more and more invasive interventions. The moment one begins to attempt to provide human beings a ‘level playing field’, is the moment that one has swallowed the bait of egalitarianism whole.

3See in particular The Federalist Papers, especially 9 & 10.

4Needless to say, no notice was made of the fact that this was essentially an atheistic determination. If the law of man is to reign supreme over the law of the gods in this world below, one must already fundamentally doubt the validity of the law of the gods. And to doubt the validity of the law of the gods is to live by another law than the divine; it is to live quite literally without the gods, a-theistically.

5Contra all those who, judging by the discrepancy between their imaginary model and the hard reality, claim that we are not living in ‘true democracies’, it must be asserted that contemporary democracy is in fact the purest form of democracy ever realized in history. It is a materialistic error to conflate ‘pure democracy’ with ‘direct democracy’, as the American founders did; modern democracy is the most democratic of all historical democracies in the spiritual and metaphysical sense. It fails of course in innumerable ways to see to the best interests of the people; it is manipulable and manipulated by innumerable secret powers; it is host to manifold corruptions: but we can only respond that this precisely is democracy, the only kind and form of democracy the world has ever known, save in the fantasies of the ideologues, or in the very special circumstances already outlined. To object to these shortcomings in our contemporary democracy, is therefore to object to democracy itself, whether one likes it or no.

6The relevant portions of his speech can be seen here.

7Even if the problem limited itself to that, of course, this would already be dire commentary on the feasibility of republicanism, for it would indicate an institutional flaw depending no longer on the abuses of power, which might indeed be channelled or manipulated to favour of the commonwealth, but rather on the deliberate avoidance of responsibility, which no manipulation save that of the gods can correct.

8It is not for nothing that Arktos has named its official podcast Interregnum; nor are we alone in perceiving that the political ‘systems’ which presently stand over us cannot continue, but must sooner or later be substituted with regimes better fit, not to mere consumers and democrats, but to full human beings.

]]>
https://arktos.com/2018/09/14/decorum-and-democracy/feed/ 2
Croix de Sang Manifesto https://arktos.com/2018/09/12/croix-de-sang-manifesto/ https://arktos.com/2018/09/12/croix-de-sang-manifesto/#comments_reply Wed, 12 Sep 2018 13:28:12 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=4557 Background, Formation and Beliefs

The inter-war period in Europe saw a plethora of radical ideas, actions and groups take shape, some of which held greater influence than others, all of which however reflected a despair at the events of the First World War, particularly the crumbling of older orders, mass loss of life and the treatment of veterans after the armistice was called. Ideologies were forged in this crucible that ranged the political spectrum, and some of which attempted an exit from political thought entirely. France was no different, itself having lost almost an entire generation of young men in the quagmire of mud, lead and death that formed the trenches of the front line, on the back of competing republican, reactionary and arch-Catholic sentiments that were already simmering at the outbreak of this tragic war.

Several French groups and organizations formed or took a more solidified shape during this era, some of which came to influence public and political opinion to a greater or lesser extent. However, one group, whose formation can only be described as springing from the noblest sentiments – the proper recognition of true veterans from the front who had been awarded the Croix de Guerre for actions which endangered their own lives in order to save others or further French military victory – has since disappeared entirely from the history books, especially within the Anglophone context: the Croix de Sang.

Little is known about this group, and indeed, for most, the present author included, the only introduction to the Croix de Sang has come from the martial industrial project Les Joyaux de la Princesse, whose 2007 album Aux Volontaires Croix de Sang was dedicated to the group. Within the limited box set of this album was a reprint of the original French manifesto the reader finds below, along with the hymn of the group and a handful of related propaganda images the artist has scrupulously searched for and assembled. What is certain is that the group was formed during the early 1930s by decorated Captain Maurice d’Hartoy, who founded the more publically recognized Croix de Feu, another veteran’s league in 1927, which was subsequently led by the more well-known figure Lieutenant Colonel Françoise de la Rocque in 1930. De la Rocque transformed the Croix de Feu into a more explicitly political force, and introduced a social, anti-German and Corporatist platform.

The group was dissolved in 1936 and, likely drawing heavily on the ranks of its members, de la Rocque formed the Parti Social Français1 in 1936, which would last until 1940, and the fall of France to German occupation. Little is known as to the continuity or fate of the Croix de Sang; however one propaganda image featuring a cloaked figure drawing its sword against a backdrop of a ploughed field mentions a Croisade d’Hiver 1933 – 1934, suggesting its co-existence or even independent activity to the Croix de Feu during those years. Other clues to the activity of the Croix de Sang during these years are present in the sample of the group’s hymn, attributed in the aforementioned album to 1934, and the collage artworks which adorn the album booklet, including; an image of a programme for the Grand Gala de Bienfaisance “Aux Volontaires Croix de Sang” dated to the 19th November, 1933; and an advertisement for a memorial album of a rally (forty-eight pages with one hundred and forty photographs) held on the 11th November, 1934. A small text indicates that the members of the Croix de Sang were metaphorically drawn from the Croix de Bois, which appears to be a reference to the wooden cross on soldiers’ graves, indicating that the Croix de Sang saw itself as a voice of the deceased soldiers, as well as a veterans’ league. In this aspect one could make a link to the mystical nationalism of Maurice Barrès,2 which was rooted in the cemeteries of dead soldiers (to which he dedicated many poems, composed in an almost religious fervour), and would see Barrès express Frenchness as being intricately linked to the network of war memorials and remembrances of the Great War.

Certainly, the Croix de Sang by its very name suggests a reverence for the blood spilt in deep commitment to France, and the reverence for those soldiers, both living and dead, which goes above and beyond normal limits. Was it in essence a cult of remembrance, a veneration of valour, a nationalist expression that aimed to form a force capable of resisting Socialist and Liberal dogma? One can only speculate as to the activities and deeper beliefs of the Croix de Sang, expressed as they were through marches, rallies and music, due to the paucity of information available. Truly, this appears to be a clandestine affair.

The aim of the Croix de Sang of forming a counter-revolutionary force of ‘incomparable military and moral virtue’ points towards the fabric from which the best elements should be drawn today when attempting any manner of Deep Right activism.

The question arises, then, why should we address the Croix de Sang in these pages, rather than the more visible (and arguably far more influential) Croix de Feu? Firstly, due to the actions of Maurice d’Hartoy in instigating this group, with its aims (as clarified in the manifesto below) in providing a voice for veterans who were justly awarded for their valour in combat, rather than the other recipients of the Croix de Guerre, who gained such a decoration for less valiant reasons. Secondly, the secrecy of this group, and its relative invisibility in the annals of history, make it worthy of exhumation and remembrance, it being born from the genuine desire of d’Hartoy, himself semi-paralysed during the First World War, to see justice be done and due reverence performed. Lastly, the fourth aim of the Croix de Sang as described by d’Hartoy, of forming a counter-revolutionary force of ‘incomparable military and moral virtue’, is especially interesting and worthwhile, forming a commentary on the socio-political environment of the day, and pointing towards the fabric from which the best elements should be drawn today when attempting any manner of Deep Right activism.

The manifesto presented below is taken from a reprint (the only one I am aware of), from the 2007 album Aux Volontaires Croix de Sang by Les Joyaux de la Princesse. Any errors in translation are my own, and it is the pleasure of Arktos Journal to present, for the very first time in English, the Manifesto of the Croix de Sang, and to dedicate it to the memory of those brave soldiers who risked their all for their country. Extensive translator’s notes have been provided by myself to clarify figures and events mentioned in the text itself. The translation has been presented as closely as possible to the layout found in the original document to preserve its integrity.


Why I founded the Association of the ‘Croix de Sang’1

Maurice Hanot d’Hartoy

President of the Croix de Sang

Comrades…

On the proposal of comrade Carpentier, and with the unanimity of its members, the constituted general assembly of the Croix de Sang asked me to publish a small leaflet which would summarize, for the purposes of propaganda, the doctrine and the aims of our beautiful association.

‘Those who are absent must also know why you founded the Croix de Sang,’ one of us exclaimed.

I obeyed.

I founded the Association of the Croix de Sang:

  1. To perform an act of justice (to honour, in the present sea of medals, those that have been won through blood).
  2. To accomplish, too, an act of logic (to create an association of combatants which is composed exclusively and undisputedly of the elite of these elements).
  3. To give to the mass of true combatants the only doctrine and the only leaders which are worthy of them.
  4. Finally, to achieve that which has not and could not have been accomplished in the Etats Généraux de Versailles:2 to form a committee of vigilance and patriotic action, to organize a great anti-revolutionary and anti-coupist force of the most incomparable moral and military value.

I will now explain myself with regard to these points.

I. Accomplishing an Act of Justice

(To honour in part, among the sea of medals, those that were won through fire)

In effect, too often:

‘The crosses and the stripes were won from behind’,3 as remarked, not without bitterness, the poet Taminiau,4 the father of a brave soldier, who died without reward in 1918.

In addition, the Governments, in their desire to satisfy the greatest number, did not hesitate to award to those good retainers behind5 the same ribbons as to the bloodied heroes of the trenches.

And the lions of Yser and Verdun6 then smiled with no a roar, because they had other troubles and worries. And then when it came to rewards, how many were silent, out of a modesty that was clearly abused.

But everyone’s time comes. And now arrives the hour to establish a legitimate and courteous distinction between those decorations won through danger to one’s life and the… others, less honourable than they.

Already, nearly one year on, and following the Ruotte Affair,7 I founded l’Association des Membres de la Légion d’honneur décorés au peril de leur vie,8 which is at present very prosperous, and whose adherents include the most glorious heroes of France, both military and civilian: radiologists, like Vaillant,9 whose flesh is so often tortured by the scalpel; aces of aviation with countless victories like Fonck and Vitalis;10 explorers like Charcot;11 policemen like Fleury,12 who was wounded ten times whilst arresting criminals; intrepid women like Louise Thuliez and Léonie Van Houtte;13 rescuers like Pollet14 who saved 196 lives; and countless others…

After having founded this first association, whose special goal was to defend the prestige of the Légion d’Honneur which today is threated by such an ignoble racket, I understood that my work was not yet finished.

Our cross was won through blood shed for the Motherland: it is the ‘Croix de Sang’.

Those with military medals of the simple Croix de Guerre15 wrote to me or told me that:

Your association is evidently the most beautiful of all and we applaud its goals, but we too, we have also been decorated…, through danger to our lives. … Without doubt the black ribbon is another colour, but the blood that we paid through brilliant action is also the same blood as yours. We therefore want, we too, to distinguish ourselves from the good men who wear the same sign as we, though they have never crossed a parapet, heard a whistling bullet or the roaring of a mine.

At that is how it was born, the sister and friend of the first, this second Association, which includes only ‘Combatants of the Front and Those Wounded through Brilliant Action’, no matter the decoration obtained.

Once again, we have the fullest sympathy with the French who have done their duty, even were it in Bordeaux,16 if fate had placed them in this place.17 We do not accuse them of trying to disguise themselves, for it is not their fault if the decoration they wear is similar to ours. But we say that ours has been won through other means, that’s all!

And as for our fellow comrades who deserve to be decorated and who have not been let they be willing to consider that our gesture is also a protest against forgetfulness, of which they were victims in favour of those less exposed.18

To have braved fire and death, we award ourselves a cross of honour, the same as that which other good people have obtained for the sake of safer service, but we risked the award only of… a wooden cross.19

Therefore, our cross, for us, was won through blood shed for the Motherland: it is the ‘Croix de Sang.

II. To Accomplish an Act of Logic

(To create an association of combatants which was composed exclusively of their elite elements)

Just as today, ten years after the war and despite the plethora of associations for ‘old veterans’, there does not yet exist any group composed exclusively and uniquely of:

Soldiers from the Front;

Soldiers decorated all in the name of bravery;

Soldiers who have reunited, not for their own personal advantage but in the interests of the Motherland.

—Why?

—For two main reasons:

  1. Because the majority of associations count on their number of voters to influence the men of politics. And in this race for great numbers, they allow themselves to become invaded by soldiers… from behind [the lines] – good Frenchmen without a doubt but incapable (and with good reason) of understanding and reflecting the spirit of the Front.
  2. Because the rare associations which are composed of real soldiers (there are a few) exist because of their adherence to military displays, but they do not reflect a sincere and active patriotism.
    It is however very difficult – one only has to look at the Etats Généraux de Versailles on 11th November, 1927 – to express the patriotic will of the soldiers without addressing exclusively the genuine combatants who are faithful to the country which they saved.And since such a group did not exist, it was only logical to create one.

From now on, the Motherland will know where to find, without risk of error, the elite of our veterans, those men who are, if not the only ones, are at least the most qualified to express the thoughts of the Victors.

III. The Only Doctrine and the Only Leaders Worthy of Combatants

After the effort of the 11th November, 1927, one of our comrades wrote:

What will result from this unique front, of which, at Versailles, people spoke like others speak of peace, without knowing what is meant by these words, or where it will lead?

The veterans did not dare nor did not they want to do the right thing. They were afraid to shake off the yoke. And, in spite of the birth of the Federation, the party men who sit in Parliament will continue to regard us as eternal supplicants, never satisfied, and to whom, in order to have peace, they would grant satisfaction from time to time.

—Why?

Read, one after another, the statutes that you understand from the various associations. You will see – and it’s a tribute to them – that they all have their particular usefulness, but you will see that the combatants think mainly – and legitimately – of their claims to ‘food’ and very little as to their right to control the government of a country that they themselves saved, or to the vital interests of the Motherland. You will see that they have, in addition, drawn up these statutes in a spirit of total submission to the powers… to the powers which they have preserved from the enemy’s yoke. And yet, the vast majority of fighters are patriotic and proud.

Leave it to the others to make their discussions, the Croix de Sang studies in silence the most appropriate methods to organize the defence of society.

They therefore merit another doctrine and this doctrine can be summed up thusly: mens agit molem.20 That is the motto of the Croix de Sang.

They merit new leaders who are selfless, intrepid. They will be found in the Croix de Sang, every one of which has given proof of their intrepid spirit; who all have inscribed at the head of their considerations the name France.

IV. A Great Anti-Revolutionary and Anti-Coupist Force, of Incomparable Moral and Military Virtue

Revolutionary demonstrations broke out in Paris on August 31st.21

Scenes of looting occurred, where even the most modest traders were not spared.

The losses to the community have been considerable.

Pedestrians who could not defend themselves were beaten.

Finally, the ultimate ignominy occurred: the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, symbol of the War Dead, was odiously defiled.

Despite their efforts, the police nearly succumbed to the numbers and violence of the attackers.

Was there any single association of veterans which decided to eventually organize and take to the streets, where possible, to help the army or even the police to restore order by any means necessary?

—None!

And yet the true France, the honest France, the France of hard-labouring workers, has for a long time turned towards the veterans with hope.

This is why I founded, at great personal risk and peril, an association of the most incomparable moral and military virtue, the Croix de Sang.

Leave it to the others to make their discussions, the Croix de Sang studies in silence the most appropriate methods to organize the defence of society.

There are already roughly 150,000 veterans who fulfil the extant conditions for being admitted into the Croix de Sang.

Even if only a handful of these brave men are effective and ardent enough to join this vast movement, France will find an invincible army of educated volunteers, chosen from the most courageous and the most patriotic; in essence, the great army of the interior victory.22

V. The Characteristics of the Croix de Sang

The association of the Croix de Sang unites the following rare qualities:

  1. It prefers virtue over numbers;
  2. It is composed exclusively of the courageous;
  3. All the members may, at the head office, be made aware of the titles of their comrades;
  4. Its administrators do not become Pontiffs, but comrades; they are like the rest, they simply have accepted heavier duties, and of their own free will;
  5. Its administrators have undertaken to accept no decorations for the role that they perform within the association;
  6. It places the word ‘duty’ in front of ‘right’ and has the word ‘France’ at the head of its programme;
  7. It enables patriotic action by any means;
  8. It is neither jealous of nor does it fight with any other association;
  9. It facilitates, on the contrary, a coalition where applicable with other groups, even those not formed from veterans (a new approach, unique in the lifespan of such associations);
  10. It does not belong to a political party. It watches them all.

VI. Colonel Coquet de Terrier23 has Approved and Congratulated the Croix de Sang

Inspector of the sections of mutilated veterans, illustrious soldier; through his presence at the Grand Council of the Order of the Croix de Sang, Colonel Coquet de Terrier strengthens our divisions with the motto: Honour and Motherland.

Conclusions

Under the auspices of such elements, it is impossible not to achieve great things.

However, even if we do nothing, our coming together would be, by its very existence, a beautiful and great gesture of justice and patriotism.

But we will do something, thanks to you, Comrades, who from the four corners of France, will have to bring your ideas, your energy and your love to this great French work, so the future depends on you; that I place under your protection, I place it within your valiant hands,

But hurry yourselves, Comrades! because ‘the dead are growing’ among veterans, and old age with its trembling hands will soon come for the rest.

I want, finally, to remind you that the first ‘poilu’24 who registered with the association of the ‘Croix de Sang’ was Pierre Gallien,25 the energetic and much beloved commander of the ‘Sang du Souvenir’.26

We elected him Honorary President of the Croix de Sang. It seems fitting, therefore, to end this declaration by the word which made it famous and which expresses so perfectly the superhuman courage of France:

Awaken the Dead!’

We will translate as follows:

‘Awaken, those who seemed dead!

Awaken, those who shed their blood!

Awaken, the Croix de Sang!’

Maurice Hanot d’Hartoy
Man of Letters

Volunteer Infantryman
(3 grades – 2 commendations – 1 injury)

50% disabled
Father of 4 children.

Footnotes

iLiterally ‘The French Social Party’. The Croix de Feu translates as the ‘Cross of Fire’. All other French terms, including the Croix de Sang, are clarified in the Manifesto translator’s notes below.

iiMaurice Barrès (19th August, 1862 – 4th December, 1923) was widely acknowledged as one of the foremost originators of the French radical Right at the start of the 20th century, and enjoyed huge popularity as an author, political thinker and poet during his lifetime. One of his most famous political work is Scènes et Doctrines du Nationalisme (1902).

1Literally ‘The Cross of Blood’. – Trans.

2The Etats Généraux de Versailles was a general assembly summoned by King Louis XVI which brought together the ‘Three Estates’; the clergy, the nobility and the commoners. Here however d’Hartoy is referring Les Etats Généraux de la France Meurtrie which took place at the Palace of Versailles on the 11th November, 1927, that focussed on the forced retirement of veterans over fifty-years-old and resulted in many veteran associations rising up in revolt. – Trans.

3Taminiau is referring to those who were not frontline soldiers in the First World War, but who served far behind the lines in other, often bureaucratic positions. – Trans.

4Sadly, I have been unable to locate any information regarding this poet. – Trans.

5Behind the front lines. – Trans.

6The Battle of Yser (October 1914) too place along the Yser River in Belgium, and cost the Belgians c. 20,000 men. The legendary Battle of Verdun (21st February – 16th December, 1916) proved devastating for all armies involved, with some estimates for French casualties and losses exceeding 500,000 men. – Trans.

7Marcel Ruotte (1883 – ??) was the deputy chief of Office for the Ministry of Commerce, and was made responsible for the classification and distribution of the Legion of Honour decoration. He was involved in a scandal in 1926, accused of selling the decorations to the highest bidders. – Trans.

8The Association of the Members of the Legion of Honour Decorated through Danger to their Lives. The Legion of Honour is the highest honorary decoration one can receive in France, and was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 to reward those who rendered great services to the nation. – Trans.

9Charles Vaillant (6th August, 1872 – 4th December, 1939) was a French radiologist who developed the method of using treated paper rather than glass to capture the x-ray images, which was greatly aided the use of x-rays in the field. His use of radiology on himself for testing purposes led to his death through burns and amputations. – Trans.

10Colonel René Paul Fonck (27th March, 1894 – 18th June, 1953) was a French aviator who was termed the top Allied ‘fighter ace’ at the end of the First World War, with 145 claimed victories, 75 of which are confirmed. Adjutant Chef Marie Gaston Fulerant Leon Vitalis (15th February, 1890 – 17th August, 1941) was another ‘ace’ from the First World War, with 7 confirmed victories in the air. – Trans.

11Jean-Baptist Charcot (15th July, 1867 – 16th September, 1936) was a scientist, doctor and explorer, who accompanied the French Arctic Expedition from 1904 – 1907. He also explored Eastern Greenland and the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard from 1925 to 1936. He died in a shipwreck off the coast of Iceland during a storm. – Trans.

12Sadly, I was unable to find any information on this worthy Police Officer. – Trans.

13Louise Thuliez (12th December, 1881 – 10th October, 1966) was a school teacher who was also deeply involved in the French Resistance during the First and Second World War. In the former, she helped allied soldiers trapped behind enemy lines escape from Belgium into Holland, rescuing around 200 soldiers. The Germans imprisoned her in 1915, until she was released in 1918. Léonie Van Houtte (1888 – 4th May, 1967) was a seamstress who, along with Louise de Bettignies passed military intelligence to the Allied command. She received the Croix de Guerre, the Knights Cross of the British Empire and the Belgian Civic Cross. – Trans.

14Information on this worthy gentleman too is sadly elusive. – Trans.

15This award was created in 1915 and is awarded to those soldiers who distinguish themselves through bravery. – Trans.

16During the First World War the French government temporarily relocated from Paris to Bordeaux. – Trans.

17Having not won through injury or heroism. – Trans.

18In the war. – Trans.

19D’Hartoy is making a pun here, referring to the wooden cross of a grave. – Trans.

20The Mind Moves the Mass. – Trans.

21D’Hartoy appears to be referring to the riots that broke out in Paris and London following the executions of Italian-American anarchists Bartolomeo Vanzetti and Nocola Sacco, led by sympathetic revolutionary groups. The damages amounted to 10,000,000 Francs, and the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, raised for those killed in the First World War whose bodies were never recovered, was defaced. – Trans.

22Here d’Hartoy is invoking a great force that can restore order within France. – Trans.

23Alas, no information on this august individual can be found. – Trans.

24Poilu was term for a French infantryman during the First World War. – Trans.

25Sadly, no information on this gentleman was forthcoming. – Trans.

26Literally ‘The Remembrance of Shed Blood’. It is unclear what this group or association was, no information could be found. – Trans.

]]>
https://arktos.com/2018/09/12/croix-de-sang-manifesto/feed/ 0
A White Pill on Sweden with Henrik Palmgren and Christoffer Dulny https://arktos.com/2018/09/12/a-white-pill-on-sweden-with-henrik-palmgren-and-christoffer-dulny/ https://arktos.com/2018/09/12/a-white-pill-on-sweden-with-henrik-palmgren-and-christoffer-dulny/#comments_reply Wed, 12 Sep 2018 08:30:56 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=4561 Henrik Palmgren and Christoffer Dulny give their take on the Swedish elections. The growth of Swedish nationalism against all odds, the possibility of electoral fraud and the possibility of a future awakening of the Swedish people are the themes of this episode of Interregnum.

Related links

Red Ice and Red Ice Members

Nordisk Alternativhöger

]]>
https://arktos.com/2018/09/12/a-white-pill-on-sweden-with-henrik-palmgren-and-christoffer-dulny/feed/ 0
Shifting the Political Paradigm https://arktos.com/2018/09/10/shifting-the-political-paradigm/ https://arktos.com/2018/09/10/shifting-the-political-paradigm/#view_comments Mon, 10 Sep 2018 13:31:38 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=4519 Nearly thirty years ago, the Berlin Wall came crashing down and we entered the Post-Cold War era. Liberalism had triumphed and we had finally arrived at ‘the end of history’1 – or so we had thought. Nowadays, we find that the foundation of liberalism is not as strong as once imagined and we are witnessing the ascendancy of illiberal political forces all over the globe. Will we be entering a Post-Liberal world in the near future?

End of the Left/Right Paradigm

Following the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War, we began to witness divergence taking place in the political spectrum. On the Left, we saw a schism arise; the Left split into two forces which became known as the Old Left and the New Left. The Old Left represented political forces that were highly sympathetic to the Soviet Union and Communism. Once the globe was divided into two poles, Liberalism and Communism, the Old Left became less relevant as a political force and many was subjected to ‘witch hunts’ by the likes of Senator Joseph McCarthy. With the decline of the Old Left, we then began to see the rise of the New Left, also known as progressivism. The New Left was strongly influenced by critical theory. It concentrated more on issues of the sociological and cultural inequalities that existed in society and was much less concerned with Marxist economic theory. Left-leaning intellectual circles, such as Partisan Review, became strong proponents of New Left thinking, which was socially democratic and anti-Communist.2 In contemporary political discourse, the New Left is the origin of what has come to be known as ‘identity politics’, i.e. politics concerning feminism, multiculturalism, etc.

The Polish Independence March.

On the right, particularly in the United States, we saw a similar divergence. The little that existed in the United States of the Old Right, that part of the Right sympathetic to fascism, had been completely relegated to the dustbin of history with the defeat of Fascism and Nazism in World War II. In fact, during the war, most of those who were sympathetic to fascism were jailed or punished in some manner.3 The few Old Right sympathizers that existed post-WWII were heavily marginalized by what became known as the New Right in America (not to be confused with le Nouvelle Droite movement that arose in France in the late 1960s). The American New Right was a form of right-liberalism which was an amalgamation of views, such as pro-capitalism, support for limited government, anti-Communism (also, anti-fascism), a hawkish interventionist foreign policy, and a defense of Christian family values. The American New Right, better known as conservatism, was popularized by figures like William F. Buckley and his magazine, National Review, along with political figures like Barry Goldwater.

Both conservatism and progressivism are forms of liberalism (conservatism being a right-liberalism and progressivism being a left-liberalism). Both stand in opposition to communism and fascism. Both are advocates of liberal democracy, free-market capitalism, egalitarianism, and humanitarianism. Since right-liberalism, conservatism, accepts all of the key tenets of liberalism, it has proven itself to be a largely ineffectual opposition to left-liberalism. Ironically, with the defeat of their only remaining ideological adversary, communism, both ideologies had the wind taken out of their sails. Conservatism thus shifted its geopolitical goals to opposing ‘Islamo-fascism’. This was temporarily successful, as we saw with the rise of the neoconservative movement, especially following the events of 9/11. However, the American people have quickly become disenchanted with the neoconservative war footing overseas. As for progressivism, with the competing strain of leftism out of the picture, it has been largely set adrift, dabbling in bizarre expressions of leftism, e.g. whiteness studies, third-wave feminism, queer theory, and gender theory. Progressivism has become a ‘rebel without a cause’ because it is the last man standing and the triumphant victor of the Cold War, yet it finds itself without anything it might define itself in opposition to. In the post-Cold War era, we are left with an effete right-liberalism and a triumphant, but aimless, left-liberalism. With the arrival of the ‘end of history’ and its permeation all over the globe in the form of globalism, we are ready to enter into the era of post-liberalism.

Rise in Opposition to Liberalism

In 2018, we see the rise of illiberal forces all over the planet. In the West, we see Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Brexit, Orbán in Hungary, Salvini in Italy, European identitarianism, nationalist populism and the alt-right. In what remains of the Middle East, we see Assad, Erdoğan, Hezbollah, the Ayatollah and the spread of Wahhabism. We see the rise of Putin, who is in opposition to American hegemony. In the East, we see the DPRK, China, and Duterte in the Philippines. In Latin America, Maduro still carries on the flame of the Chavez legacy in Venezuela. All over the world, from both the left and the right, we see an opposition to liberalism. Several key factors, which have played a role in the rise in opposition to liberalism across the entire political spectrum, have stood equally in opposition to American foreign policy, open-borders immigration, and demand for economic security.

Topic of the fourth political theory.

Naturally, in response to this rise in illiberalism, we see liberalism lashing out in various ways against each of these political forces. We are witnessing in consequence the rise of a new political paradigm. Russian philosopher, Alexander Dugin, refers to the opposing political force in this new paradigm as ‘the fourth political theory’.4 It is not yet completely formulated as a political ideology but it incorporates pieces of Communism and Fascism and stands in opposition to Liberalism (see image). Similarly, Alain de Benoist has called for a periphery against the centre.5 Slovenian Marxist philosopher, Slavoj Žižek, has also called for a right-left alliance.6 In the West, we see that populism is most likely going to be the most viable vehicle to bring about this political change.

Conclusion

The greatest challenge that opponents of liberalism face will be cooperation with other illiberal political factions. In the United States, it is unlikely that we will see a coalition between populists of the right and left (supporters of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders). However, in Italy, we see some cooperation between Salvini’s Lega and the Five Star Movement. Cooperation is possible and it will be necessary. Jewish-American paleoconservative professor, Paul Gottfried, calls for a ‘stripped-down’ populism which avoids politically divisive issues.7 Given the nature of the American political structure, it appears bipartisanship will be necessary to address the concerns of populists. Even then, issues such as immigration, foreign policy, and the economy can still be divisive. Populist success in the United States will be of the utmost importance as well, since it is the ‘belly of the beast’ so far as Liberalism goes. In order to seize the opportunity granted to us by the successful presidential campaign of Donald Trump, we must develop a critical theory of populism. Building a fourth political theory and dismantling Liberalism will require a new school of thought. By seeking to understand the nature of Liberalism and the nature of populism in response to Liberalism, we can begin to create a new critical theory.

Footnotes

1Fukuyama, Francis. The End of History and the Last Man (1992). Fukuyama argued that the worldwide spread of liberal democracy and free market capitalism of the West would signal the endpoint in humanity’s sociocultural evolution and become the final form of human government.

2Partisan Review was an influential intellectual magazine from the 1950s onward until its last issue was published in 2003. In the 1950s, Partisan Review was the recipient of CIA funding in order to promote shift intellectual opinion and create a new anti-Communist leftism. For more information, read Hugh Wilford’s The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America (2009).

3In 1943, Ezra Pound was arrested for treason and served ten years in a psychiatric ward. In 1939, the National Association of Broadcasters, forced Father Charles Coughlin off the air; in 1942, the Postmaster General revoked Coughlin’s mailing privileges in order to prevent further circulation of his newsletter Social Justice. In 1942, William Dudley Pelley was sentenced to fifteen years in prison for sedition.

4Dugin, Alexander, The Fourth Political Theory (2012). Dugin examines the three political theories of modernity: Liberalism (1PT), Communism (2PT), and Fascism (3PT). With only Liberalism now remaining and threatening to monopolize global political discourse, Dugin argues for the need of a Fourth Political Theory (4PT) in order to counter Liberalism.

5On May 12th 1993, Alain de Benoist called for a rejection of the traditional left/right political dichotomy. Instead, he preferred the usage of ‘the centre’ and ‘the periphery’. The centre is comprised of all the various political factions which uphold and defend liberalism. The periphery is compromised of all the various factions which are in opposition to liberalism. In Benoist’s view, the far left and far right should naturally ally with one another against liberalism, instead of allying themselves with those who uphold and defend the current political order (conservatives, progressives), and are therefore compromised.

6Žižek, Slavoj, ‘Alt-right Trump supporters and left-wing Bernie Sanders fans should join together to defeat capitalism’, Independent. November 26th, 2017.

7Gottfried, Paul. After Liberalism: Mass Democracy in the Managerial State (1999), pp. 131–134.

]]>
https://arktos.com/2018/09/10/shifting-the-political-paradigm/feed/ 1
The Ideology of Failure https://arktos.com/product/the-ideology-of-failure/ https://arktos.com/product/the-ideology-of-failure/#comments_reply Sun, 09 Sep 2018 09:18:02 +0000 https://arktos.com/?post_type=product&p=4528 How Europe Bought Into Ideas That Will Weaken and Divide It

We are living in unnerving times. Our societies are characterised by a social polarisation not known since the 1930s. At the same time, there is now one principal source of knowledge: Google, an omnipresent, omniscient (some might say) company embedded in the social justice warrior ideology. Just a handful of Californian companies control our digital lives. These companies and most public institutions employ the same commoditised speech code (diversity, inclusion etc.) that operates in a context of groupthink enforcing further the sense of polarisation.

Language is being increasingly policed and causing offence could now be a hate-crime in parts of western Europe. Amidst such infringements on the freedom of speech, a culture of silence is emerging. This can be seen in our universities. They should be theatres of open debate, but instead many shun viewpoint diversity. But, the toxic, zero-sum identity politics that currently plagues academia is spreading now to society at large.

This book explores the nuts and bolts of this identity politics that is weakening and dividing our Continent. The Ideology of Failure asks the most searching questions of the political correctness orthodoxy and gives the reader the tools to talk openly about the topics which we are made to feel awkward about discussing.

Travels in Cultural Nihilism (2nd ed.)

]]>
https://arktos.com/product/the-ideology-of-failure/feed/ 0
What is the Deep Right? https://arktos.com/2018/09/06/what-is-the-deep-right/ https://arktos.com/2018/09/06/what-is-the-deep-right/#view_comments Thu, 06 Sep 2018 12:22:11 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=4491 He who would understand the alterations in the political terrain of his day, could choose no better place to begin his explorations than the most recent changes in political speech – not that speech which is employed by the contemporary academics, whose language is built from foundationless abstractions, and who live in a world of phantasms and cobwebs; but rather that speech, vivid and concrete, which is employed day to day by the citizens of a country, by the real-world movements or political parties which spring up in the political fray, by the politicians (particularly when they speak publicly or to their constituency), and by the media and the press. For this language exists and arises in response to specific and immediate political contingencies, albeit ones which are generally only halfway or quarterway understood by its users, and often even by its makers or originators. The propagation, if not the creation, of new political terminology is thus largely a natural process, brought about first by need – by the perceptible and perceived inadequacy of existing conceptual schema, along with some understanding, intuition, or instinct regarding what should replace them – and second by will, the training of desire and vision to need. Many of these terms, then, are like natural geographical accretions or the outgrowths of novel plants in some desert, leading us hence toward oases or natural refuges, with much greater accuracy than the signposts of the academics, which are stuck here and there into the shifting sands by cartographers who do not know these places first-hand, and which are thus wont to lead us nowhere if not to desiccation and the madness of mirages.

One of the most salient changes in the political lexicon of recent years concerns not this or that new name of some political movement or association or even party (such changes are to be expected in democracies especially), but rather and most strikingly an emergence in the popular discourse of terms which attempt to rectify or redefine the entire political right as such. For reasons we will have occasion to touch upon, this has not occurred to the same extent within the political left. The political right has seen a continual movement in this direction, beginning already from the early part of the last century, and gaining momentum in recent years, as in the rise of the New Right, the Alternative Right, the populist Right, even (and most suggestively) the True Right. The so-called Dark Enlightenment or Neoreaction is surely another facet of this same change, as indeed is the older Revolutionary Conservative Movement, for though these names do not include any explicit reference to the ‘right’, they nonetheless make decisive reference to a reaction against modernity or the Enlightenment, that philosophical juncture from which the conservative right (as indeed the left) first sprang. Yet another example would be the emergence toward the end of the last century of paleoconservatism, a conservatism, as its name implies, which looks to older things to seek its bearings, or perhaps which seeks to conserve, no longer the present, but rather a society which is already past. Equally, though in a much more sinister fashion to anyone who takes his bearings by the True Right, we can locate the emergence of ‘neoconservatism’ in this same general trend.

It is clear that what what we might call (though not without a certain smile) the traditional right, has entered into a moment of hardship, of duress, even of decline, even of crisis and illness – and who is to say that this illness might not be terminal?

Before anything, it would be well to come to terms with the nature and the causes of this illness – to perform a brief, and necessarily incomplete, diagnosis of the moribundity of the right. This in turn requires of us a more or less adequate understanding of the very nature of the left-right political division as it exists today, and as it has existed in recent history. Only then can we glimpse the problem of the Deep Right – what it might be, how and by what standards it might take its bearings, what its relation is to existing political positions, what its emergence might portend in this world.

It is impossible, of course, to come to terms with any of these problems in the space of a single essay. We can do no more than give what we hope are suitable points of reference for the further exploration of these questions.

The Spectrum

The ‘right’, no matter which ‘right’ one happens to evoke, is always tacitly understood in contrast to the political left; any and all mention of the ‘right’ thus makes implicit but inevitable allusion to the left-right spectrum of political thought. In recent times, this spectrum has increasingly fallen under critique, and for very good reasons: quite apart from the fact that it has shown distinct signs in recent years of strain and inadequacy even in the face of existing political parties, men and theories, it would reduce the entire wide and rich constellation of political things to a binary opposition running in unbroken continuum from one extreme to another, along a single line. The rank simplification of the whole involved in such a proposal should have been enough, long ago, to convince thinking men to laugh this ‘spectrum’ out of court, and it is most telling that it has for centuries now rather played at monarch therein; it has been regarded as the way of most rapidly and accurately identifying a man’s political bearings, to such a degree that, even today, it is simply presupposed in the majority of political speech.1

We need not rehash the origins of this spectrum here in any great detail: it emerged, suffice it to say, during the French Revolution, in the opposition between those who defended the Ancien Régime and those who wished its overthrow. Its ‘spatiality’ was owed simply to the physical position that these two factions took in the National Assembly with respect to the King. As there were good reasons at that precise historical juncture to really divide all men, notwithstanding subtler divergences in opinion, into neat categories, for the sake of that ideological clarity demanded by all extreme and revolutionary times, one began to conceive of men and ideas as occupying one of two opposite and opposing ideological spheres, equivalent to the two groups of Assembly members themselves: the revolutionary left and the monarchist right.

The ‘conservative’ has always represented a somewhat thoughtless mixture of ‘tradition’ on the one hand, and ‘Enlightenment’ (i.e. revolutionary egalitarianism) on the other.

The distinction stuck, though the sense of it evolved: for the moment of revolution was comparatively brief in European countries (it is indeed alarming to see with what rapidity liberalism and ‘democracy’ were able to establish themselves throughout the continent, overthrowing and demolishing millenary institutions, social classes, and ideologies), and in its very success, being a ‘monarchist’ surely did not mean what it had once meant. The aristocracies were felled; the monarchs, wherever they kept their crowns, not to speak of their heads, began their slower transformation into mere symbolic representatives of their country, utterly divested of any real political power, utterly at the behest of parliamentary wrangling on the one hand, and the whimsy of the people on the other. The left-right spectrum survived this transformation by itself transforming: rather than being understood as dividing the political between the revolutionary on the one hand and the monarchical or aristocratic, or at any rate ‘loyalist’ on the other, it rather came to be seen as dividing the world roughly into ‘liberal’ (later ‘progressive’) on the left, and ‘conservative’ on the right: those who would forge ahead at all costs toward the ideals inherent in the thought of the Enlightenment, and those who would resist these changes, with greater or lesser zeal, capability and success. The transition of the original sense of ‘left’ and ‘right’ as two absolutely incompatible and incommensurable political positions thus gave way to the idea of a single gambit of continuous political thought which one could presumably walk from one end to the other, step by step, in unbroken stride.

It is essential to any understanding of this spectrum, and indeed of the political dynamics of the past several centuries up to today, to recognize two distinct facts about it: first, the left-right spectrum was born out of the drama of the Enlightenment, out of the ferment of modernity, and is itself a creature of the same, existing wholly within the sphere of Enlightenment thought – or if you please, standing as the precise borders of that thought, as the limit and measure of that thought; and second, that the spectrum emerged at a specific historical moment which was coeval with the first triumph of the ‘left’, broadly understood, and the decisive defeat of the ‘right’, as it was originally understood, i.e. as a purely defensive Traditionalist and Monarchist stance in the face of the onslaught of liberal-democratic egalitarianism and the essentially modern attempt to create a new political form. The left was born out of success; the right was born out of the ignominious death of an older world.

These points bear a moment’s explication.

To begin from the first, one cannot understand the spectrum without direct appeal to Enlightenment values. The spectrum, so far from representing a universal schema capable of encapsulating any given possible political position in any place or time, is in fact but a kind of still life of a single historical moment, and subsequently the portrait of a single historical-theoretical era. Within that limited scope, it is both useful and valid; exported beyond those borders (when it is applied, e.g., to the old aristocracies, to Fascism or to monarchy; to orders like Medieval feudalism or the Roman Empire or the Spartan Constitution; to men like Cicero, Dante, St. Thomas Aquinas, Nietzsche, Plato, Napoleon, Augustus, Thucydides, etc. etc.) it becomes perforce artificial and arbitrary, and only deforms that which it would clarify. While it is often understood as representing two positive visions of the world, from what has just been said it clearly emerges that it is in fact more like a magnetic pole with a positive and a negative end, the positive end representing Enlightenment ideals, the constant ceaseless agitation and press toward those ideals, and the negative end representing this or that local attempt to repulse or resist that movement. Enlightenment-style progress (movement) on the one hand and more or less entrenched conservativism (resistance) on the other: that is the left-right spectrum. And it is evident that, even as in the case of a serpent, when the head of this ‘spectrum’ willfully determines some aim or goal, the hind scales of that viper, however much they might resist the motion forward, needs must follow the lead that has been set.

The only thing that amazes in the conservatives’ failure to halt the ‘progress’ of Enlightenment ideals, is that anyone should ever have found this failure to be amazing. In the aftermath of the American Revolution or the French Revolution, and also the Revolutions of 1848 which followed in the wake of the first two and truly earth-shattering upheavals, a ‘conservative’ has never meant anything else but one who seeks to preserve the ‘here-and-now’; but this ‘here-and-now’, after the aforementioned Revolutions, has always been a ‘here-and-now’ existing within the Enlightenment, within the range of its aims, its social orders, its philosophies, its worldview. This explains as well why ‘conservatism’ has meant different things in different times and climes, while ‘liberalism’ has universally meant more or less the same thing, though to differing degrees and expressed in different language:2 the ‘conservative’ has always represented a somewhat thoughtless mixture of ‘tradition’ (i.e. the historical accident of his specific time and place) on the one hand, and ‘Enlightenment’ (i.e. revolutionary egalitarianism) on the other. He has always been a mottled beast, a kind of splotched donkey who likes to yawl about ‘principles’, braying that one should ‘stop’, even while sitting stubbornly and ‘immovably’ in place – upon the very back of the egalitarian wagon that bears us all hence. He has therefore been largely powerless, certainly in the long run, against that progressive who is rather the wholesale advocate of the same ideals that he adopts only in part; he has been fragmentary, partial, and inconsistent, where that other has been entire, zealous, and thorough. Thus it is that each new generation’s ‘here-and-now’ lies to the left of the previous generation’s; each new generation of conservatives is necessarily more liberal than the one to precede it. The conservative’s great paradox is that he stands, with respect to his very forefathers whose ways he should be reverently ‘preserving’, in the position of a revolutionary with respect to stale and stodgy old reactionaries. The modern ‘conservative’ is the laughingstock of history.

When one speaks of the ‘left-right’ spectrum, therefore, as if it contained two holistic worldviews, one contrary the other – as if one could place oneself on the ‘right’ in total and principled opposition to the contrary pole – one already is working beneath a severe and severely handicapping misunderstanding. One has already, in a certain sense, given up the ghost; one has acquiesced, in part or in whole, to the Enlightenment understanding of the world, which is already an understanding embodied more perfectly in the left than in the right. The political right and the political left, as they have been understood since the time of the French Revolution, agree in fundament; and indeed without this agreement it would have been impossible to plot them both on a single spectrum to begin with.

Only that, due to the ‘polarity’ we have discussed above, this has meant an inexorable movement toward the left, a slow, but decisive, and at the present moment rapidly hastening, encroachment of the egalitarian utopia which has always been the effective heart and motive centre of Modernity.

The Spectrum Fails

It will be clear to discerning readers, then, why the present world has the sense of such deep political instability; why one begins to hear talk of ‘irreconcilable differences’ between the left and the right; why ‘partisanship’ has become so hot, and one’s relations with one’s political opponents so cold: the famed ‘spectrum’, which is supposed to encompass all worldviews, no longer even encompasses those ‘conservative’ viewpoints which once constituted one of its own poles. Or, put more in the terms proper to contemporary political discourse: what once would have been considered a perfectly moderate ‘centre-right’ view throughout the West (e.g. opposition to political or social recognition of homosexuality; realism regarding general and unalterable differences between human races; belief in the different natural tendencies, natures and roles of men and women; adherence to principles of hierarchy), has now come to constitute what is known as the ‘far-right’ or even the ‘fringe right’, which (thanks to the metapolitical and propagandic work done by the left after World War II, principally via the Frankfurt School) is now considered a domain peopled exclusively by ignorant bigots or men of perverse psychology. There is thus a visible gap, not to say a chasm, which opens up in the inner experience of any man who happens to hold such viewpoints – a rift between his understanding of himself, and the image of himself which he finds presented in the world around him (in the media, in the ‘entertainment industry’, in Hollywood and popular literature, in the speechifying of politicians, etc.): they claim that he is a secret font of hatred and irrational bigotry and prejudice; while he sees in his beliefs nothing but sensible positions, often supported by any number of sound arguments, empirical evidences and scientific data, which are, moreover, certainly not less ‘extreme’ than the beliefs of his parents, his grandparents, his great-grandparents, for whom he maintains at least his respect, if not his reverence. Some of these men – those who are, truly, the most ‘conservative’ among them – will reply to this assault on their worldviews by digging in their heels, resisting the offensive and derogatory insinuations or slurs which are made against them, and performing the same kind of ass-like defiance that conservatives have attempted and failed since the birth of modernity, only with this difference: that now they have been painted as a kind of enemy of society, so that their resistance must be that much more desperate and fierce.

This particular drama, intriguing though it is, does not concern us here. We are interested rather in another group of so-called ‘conservatives’ – those who, finding themselves in the situation just outlined, respond to it radically, by attempting to get to the bottom of their plight, attempting to understand it, not merely superficially as a kind of spontaneous historical occurrence of our moment, but as a deep problem which might even be congenital to the political ‘right’ as such. In this investigation, two important things happen: in the first place, awareness is opened up of the purely contingent roots of our present historical juncture, which permits, for the first time in a century, and perhaps really for the first time in half a millennium, a widespread and profound revaluation of the modern project as a whole; and simultaneously, ipso facto, the ‘conservative’ transforms into something else: he transforms into an anti-modern; he transcends the Enlightenment scheme entirely, and breaks free of the rigid barriers set around him by the ‘left-right spectrum’. From a half-hearted contestant of the left, he becomes, for the first time, the bearer and carrier of principles which truly oppose the left – and therefore also the conventional right.

Enter the Deep Right

We have indicated that a degree of skepsis regarding the left-right spectrum has begun to make itself felt. One increasingly often comes across suggestions that the spectrum is ‘outdated’, thus implying that it has been rendered nugatory by ‘recent historical developments’, whatever this term is supposed to mean. Insofar as it is merely intended to signify that one historical moment has yielded to another, and nothing besides, it is worse even than a truism; one must then suppose there is something else beneath it.

The Deep Right in its historical, anthropological, Traditionalist venture… stands beyond both left and conventional right, challenges them both, offers an alternative to both.

It is clear that when one speaks of or implies ‘historical development’ today, the idea often enough carries a sense of improvement, of learning from past mistakes. The idea of ‘historical development’ itself is a modern one, presupposing as it does a kind of ‘evolution’ of human thought. In considering the change of the political spectrum ‘historical’ or ‘evolutionary’, however, one considers it as a kind of natural transition from the past to the present, moving ever toward the future; one preserves, if only implicitly, the idea of ‘progress’ which is essential, not to human thought as such, but only to modern thought. One tacitly neglects, that is to say, other possible interpretations of this transition, which, prior to all philosophical analysis, we must allow as being equally possible: namely, that it might represent a decline from a healthy and hale worldview to a decadent and diseased one; or a return to a past position; or a leap to a radically different position.

In order then to come to grips with the change, one must go back, back to the roots: one is in need, that is to say, of a deep and penetrating analysis, not only of the political facts and facets of our day, but of our entire epoch and indeed era, of the entire Modern Era of which we are all the children.

Enter here the Deep Right. Though this concept can be meaningfully applied to any number of theories or movements of the past hundred years, the term itself is of recent origin, having to my knowledge emerged in the context of the Swedish Right. It makes its first appearance in English in the writing of Joakim Andersen, in what can certainly be regarded as one of the best if not the best handbook for the metapolitical endeavours of the contemporary Right: Rising from the Ruins.3 Andersen considers the Deep Right to include ecology, Tradition, and Spiritualism:

We must reconnect to our hidden sources, both in terms of our long memories, our myths and the authentic Right. Economy and immigration can sometimes be of urgent importance, but we must not neglect the deeper aspects. We must devote ourselves to both defense and to reconstruction (p. 302).

The very term ‘Deep Right’ indicates the profundity of this venture; it does not stop up, as does this or that conservative movement, with what is, with the here-and-now; it seeks the root or the principle by which the here-and-now can be made sense of, can be rightly adjudged and addressed. It implies therefore also work on the present, through the abiding principles of the Tradition; yet it does so in full awareness that to terraform a desert, one cannot plant a jungle. One must understand the nature of the land whereupon one dwells. The project of the Deep Right thus can be seen to neutralize the primary venom which has hitherto rendered the political right sickly and ineffective, and which is presently leading to its inevitable demise. The Deep Right presents itself as an urgent task in a moment of exceptional historical sensitivity and importance: for the death of the political right, the one force which has ever even remotely obstructed the flow of ‘progress’, is now being overwhelmed and carried away by that flow. This represents the triumph of the Enlightenment, the ‘end of history’.4 At the same time, the possibility is opened for an alternative to Modernity.

For this, the Deep Right goes back – back to the origins, back to the roots; back to the time before the emergence of the left-right political spectrum. The Deep Right in its historical, anthropological, Traditionalist venture reveals itself as more comprehensive than the left-right political spectrum: it stands beyond both left and conventional right, challenges them both, offers an alternative to both; it reveals itself, that is, as the foremost total political antagonist of Modernity, of the Enlightenment. In challenging the political spectrum, the Deep Right dissolves it, reminding man of other fundamental and perennial possibilities for political and social life, and forcing us to turn away from a painfully simplistic and myopic, essentially dualistic interpretation of political things, to a more articulated, nuanced, and varied conception of a variety of political regimes (as the Ancients had proposed), each standing in a sense counter all the others, but also related to all the others in a complex and irreducibly non-linear fashion.

The possible political collapse of our society, given the heinously irresponsible and terrifyingly powerful globalistic-technological aspect of Modernity, might well represent… the utter annihilation of the very preconditions for human growth.

Modernity can be practically opposed only in one of two ways. One can either offer an alternative political and social and philosophical vision to its own, by resurrecting visions of the pre-modern past; or else one can, in an almost modern spirit, attempt to rectify the principles upon which modernity itself is built, by turning to the original figures of the modern venture and attempting to understand them in a different and more wholesome light. As but an example of the latter: Modernity as it is understood here and now is essentially and exclusively egalitarian; yet when one returns to certain fathers of Modernity, such as Machiavelli and Hobbes, this egalitarian element, while in many places being implicit, is certainly countered by other and essentially non-egalitarian concepts and concerns in those thinkers. But to be able to revalorize these hidden and nigh forgotten elements of Modernity, one must have recourse to other principles than those which presently govern us; returning, without any deeper points of orientation, to the origins of Modernity alone is wont to lead us into a vicious circle, by whose cruel arc we are carried inexorably back to precisely the same difficulties we presently face.

The first of these routes is known as Traditionalism; the first and the second together comprise the work of the Deep Right. The foremost labour of the Deep Right is then the reclamation of a forgotten, a suppressed, an ever-vital but presently dormant, taproot of human political excellence, of human social order, and more fundamentally yet of human perspective and spirituality. This work, for its utterly and uncompromisingly radical nature, is destined to be politically ineffective in our day barring a collapse or transfiguration of the present social order. Such a collapse, however, given the heinously irresponsible and terrifyingly powerful globalistic-technological aspect of Modernity, might well represent, not a clearing of the field for new human growth, but a salting of the earth and the utter annihilation of the very preconditions for human growth. It could represent the end of the human being, either in his simple physical destruction, or in his ‘transcendence’ (really his radical and irredeemable descent) into a robotic, digitized, unnatural and unspiritual plane of existence, through the ‘Singularity’ or the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, or however else one wishes to nominate the digital death of man. The Deep Right, precisely as it is radical, cannot then afford to ‘let well enough alone’, to sit by complacently awaiting the apocalypse, with idle dreams of antiquity distracting its thoughts.

Beyond that: there is an element in any Deep Right of the warriorly attitude, the will to fight where the fight is good. Daniel Friberg has summed this up nicely in his essay on metapolitics in A Fair Hearing:5

Simply put, the struggle is not lost. In fact, it has only just begun. Instead of being depressed about the direction society has taken, we must view our present situation as an opportunity for adventure, an era where our actions can impact history itself.

Riding the tiger in the Evolian sense may have been a sound and necessary strategy during the latter half of the previous century, but this is no longer the case. The West is bleeding, but the tiger – liberal modernity – is dying as well. It is time to jump off its back and put it out of its misery while there is still a European civilization to fight for (p. 194).

Given this as the imperative premise of any and all of our work, the second and special task of the Deep Right thus arises: to use the thrust and impetus of Modernity against itself, through its original figures; to oppose Modernity, not by attempting to stand in the midst of its by now unstemmable current, but rather by attempting to throw the might of the river upon a different course. It is easier to transform a worldview from within, according to its own presuppositions, than without, according to radically different ones. The presuppositions of a worldview, however, represent the frozen horizons surrounding it; there are thus laid about any given political stance strict and insurmountable limits as to what forms it might take. The Deep Right must then investigate the origins of Modernity to see to what extent they might be made to work within the greater sphere of the Deep Right itself, toward renovation and rejuvenation of this failing West. May be that we shall discover that the tree of Modernity was poisoned by egalitarianism from the start, and that nothing but poisoned seeds shall drop from it, or spring up from its origins; but barring careful, deliberate, and aware investigation on the part of men who know whence they act and think, it were premature to conclude as much, and the hope still stands that Modernity, at least in some limited sense, might be straightened, or at least ameliorated and prepared for a different outgrowth, from within.

Why ‘Right’?

We close with an observation on the very name ‘Deep Right’, on the use of the word ‘Right’ for a viewpoint which, as we ourselves have admitted and indeed insisted upon, lies beyond the left-right political spectrum. There are two points to consider here.

In the first place, the word ‘right’ in English does not limit itself to mere chirality. Indeed, in a connotation which is mirrored or echoed in languages and societies around the world, ‘right’ necessarily carries connotations of ‘justice’, ‘goodness’, ‘correctness’, ‘rectitude’, ‘honesty’, while ‘left’ has historically borne implications of the ‘sinister’, the ‘dishonest’, the ‘crooked’, the ‘suspicious’, the ‘erroneous’ (observation which is indeed, from the perspective of the Right, cutting commentary on the nature of these left-leaning days). Even that historical accident which spawned the left-right political spectrum, the division of the members in the French National Assembly on the eve of the Revolution, did not occur by chance: for the members who gathered at the right hand of the King did so according to a long tradition, by which standing at the right hand of the Authority is connected with loyalty, fidelity, kinship. One thinks immediately of the ‘right hand of God’ as but one of the clearest examples of this; on a more mundane level, it is not for nothing that in the West one shakes hands with one’s right. The Deep Right is then an attempt, not to revivify the purely modern ‘political right’, but to seek out the right, understood in the juridical, the moral, the spiritual sense of the word.

So much for the deeper meaning. Fortuitously, there is also in the present moment a simply pragmatic aspect as well to the use of this word in English. If it is true that the political right is collapsing, that its pillars are crumbling out from under it, that it can no longer sustain its own weight by any of the principles upon which it has historically rested, that it has become but an openly hypocritical and useless appendage to the political left, then all those men who perceive this, or even intuit it, must perforce flee back to some sounder redoubt, taking their bearings by a more fortified position. They will slowly but inevitably abandon that conservatism which has represented since the beginning of Modernity the position of men who were often unconscious traitors to the very thing they wished to preserve; they will seek a view which is at once higher and deeper. The name ‘Right’ will call the best of these men home through the desert of Modernity, to the perdurable city of our fathers.

Footnotes

1It is worth noting in passing that most of the proposed substitutes to the left-right political spectrum attempt to preserve its polarity, as if this polarity were somehow clearly wanted in an understanding of political things; rather than suggesting a substitute to the form of the scale, they seek merely to substitute its terms. There is surely an element here of political scientism, the attempt to render the political world measurable and gradable. But the life of man is not mathematizable; and our understanding of politics should take a natural, rather than a scientific-artificial, mould. Replacing one totally inadequate and unnatural model with another does nothing for anyone. It would be preferable to return to an elder vision, and to attempt to reconstitute the regime-analysis of the Ancients; at that point, it would be possible to rigorously comprehend modernity from at least a single super-modern point, to see if our contemporary forms of government are comprehensible by the Ancients’ analysis, or if they in fact represent innovations upon it. For the Ancients’ approach was organic and rational, rather than being artificial and logical; as such, it could be modified without being abandoned – flexibility which our present left-right political spectrum decidedly lacks.

2Needless to say, this should not be construed as stating that ‘liberalism’ is wholly consistent; it has its deep and immutable inner contradictions, the manifestations of which at present form so many cracks in the contemporary crisis of the West. We mean only to say that these contradictions, as indeed the general creed and aim of liberals everywhere, has remained largely unchanged in the course of these past centuries, while the right has varied starkly on the basis of the variety of times and places it has inhabited, in such a way as to be incompatible with itself. But a few examples: the right historically has been now monarchical, now constitutional-republican; it has been here fundamentalist Christian, and there rigidly secular; it has at times adopted the most strident and heedless capitalist principles, while at other time declaiming sternly and even moralistically against the excesses of capitalism in society or politics. The left, one might say, has taken up now this, now that tool to address the more or less universal ‘deficiencies’ it finds in the social order; the right on the whole has never even been consistently certain as to what those deficiencies, or their contrary virtues, might really consist in.

4This concept, which is implicit in all of modernity, and most especially in the work of Hegel, has made somewhat disquieting and triumphant appearance, as is by now well known, in the thought of Francis Fukuyama (The End of History and the Last Man, 1992); well would it be, however, to understand it for the void horror it represents, beneath all its pomp and circumstance.

5A Fair Hearing, Arktos, 2018.

]]>
https://arktos.com/2018/09/06/what-is-the-deep-right/feed/ 1
Dante Alighieri and the ‘Philosophy of Right’ https://arktos.com/2018/09/04/dante-alighieri-and-the-philosophy-of-right/ https://arktos.com/2018/09/04/dante-alighieri-and-the-philosophy-of-right/#comments_reply Tue, 04 Sep 2018 17:04:06 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=4424 The Right is intrinsically the political and ideological embodiment of perennial values, albeit tempered by the landscape and the historical experiences that go to form a ‘people’ and a ‘civilization’. As Westerners concerned with either the regeneration of Western High Culture or bequeathing perennial values that might contribute to the emergence of a post-Western High Culture of the European peoples, Western Rightists look to their own heritage. While this should seem too obvious to mention, given the manner in which Western culture has been deconstructed, and the Western heritage buried or distorted, especially by academia, what was once obvious in an education system predicated on Western heritage, is today more difficult to discern. The Right draws on this legacy beyond the modern world in its search for origins. Indeed a ‘conservative revolution’ implies a return to origins.

Bizarrely, the Right is often identified with ideologies that are antithetical to what is traditional. Liberalism and English Whiggery are not ‘Right’. Capitalism and Free Trade are not ‘Right’. Julius Evola and Oswald Spengler as much as Karl Marx saw these as ‘subversive’; the first two men took a critical view of them, the latter considered them as part of the historical dialectic.i Thus a pseudo-Right, also called ‘neoconservatism’, looks for inspiration not in the High Culture of the West, what Spengler called the ‘Spring’ epoch, but to the Late West – Western Civilization in its terminal epoch of senility and decay. It is because our ‘modern’ historical thinking is based on a lineal, Darwinian ‘progressive’ notion that Late Western academic thinking sees the current and emerging epoch as the epitome of ‘progress’, the culmination of all hitherto existing history; and 19th century evolutionists such as Dr A.R. Wallace and present-day historians such as Francis Fukuyama share this optimistic and hubristic view.ii

Dante: Representative of Western High Culture

It is necessary for Rightists to seek inspiration from the Spring epoch of Western High Culture, along with those even in our own time who remain detached from the modern Zeitgeist. Spengler’s Decline of The West includes several convenient tables on analogous cultural epochs for several different civilizations, including the Indian, Chinese, Classical, Arabic, and Western. Among the individuals mentioned as representative of the unique Western world-feeling in its ‘Spring’ epoch, the birth of the West as a High Culture, is Dante Alighieri (1265–1321).iii

It would be easy (or more likely wilfully ignorant) to reinterpret Dante in the Zeitgeist of the Late West, as a liberal, a ‘progressive’, and an ‘internationalist. He believed in a ‘world state’, a world monarch, the unity of ‘humanity’, and happiness as humanity’s greatest aspiration. However, one must look at Dante as he was in his own times, during the Western Spring of High Culture, and not through the lenses of the hubris-ridden ‘modern’. It would also be easy to portray Dante as the continuation of the Roman-Classical civilization, which is in turn generally regarded, from the Renaissance onward, as the foundation of Western civilization. The West is supposed to owe its origins to the Graeco-Roman, as well as a common Judaeo-Christian heritage, and Spengler is criticized for his theory that the Classical and Western civilizations are not conjoined but are separate entities with distinctive world-feelings reflected in all their manifestations of culture. That Dante is a precursor of Renaissance thought, and a continuation of a Roman legacy, might be assumed on account of his constant references to the Roman Empire, to Rome as a God-ordained world-imperial order, and his citing Classical eminences such as in Aristotle and Virgil. However between the Gothic Western and the Classical there is no such commonality. Indeed the term ‘Gothic’ is a Renaissance disparaging of the early Medieval epoch, which it regarded as a ‘primitive’ era. It was coined by a Renaissance Italian architect in reference to the ‘barbarian’ Goth tribes.iv

Spengler cites Dante as repudiating the notion that the Western world-feeling – the ‘Gothic’ or ‘Faustian’ – is derived from the Classical. He refers to Dante’s Vita Nuova as a work of deep self-examination at the very outset of the spiritual history of the West. Hence, Dante is among the seminal figures who express, not a revival of the Graeco-Roman world-feeling, as the Renaissance and Enlightenment sought to re-establish, but rather a new, distinctly Western world-outlook. A culture both adapts and transforms elements from a foreign culture, or it is retarded by them. When Dante alludes to Classical Rome and its personalities, he makes these uniquely Western. He thus stands at the birth of Western High Culture. His creation of the Italian language was not a revival of the Classical, but a distinctly Western event. This is the epoch of the intuitive world-feeling, not the mechanistic, nor the Cartesian fracturing of the psyche. Life is inwardly grasped rather than dissected and analysed, a method revived by Goethe as ‘living nature’v and applied by Spengler as historical method. Thus while Dante references Aristotle throughout De Monarchia, it is the young Western world-feeling that he is expressing, not the revival of the old Classical. The Gothic world-view ‘transcends’ systemizing the world, dissolving into a ‘deep infinity of mysterious relationships. So felt Dante, and so felt Goethe.’vi ‘That which Dante saw before his spiritual eyes as the destiny of the world, he could not possibly have arrived at by ways of science, any more than Goethe could have attained by these ways to what he saw in the great moments of his “Faust” studies, any more than Plotinus and Giordano Bruno could have distilled their visions from researches. This contrast lies at the root of all dispute regarding the inner form of history’.vii This intuitive, mystical world-feeling is derided as superstition by the Renaissance scholars, by the Enlightenment and the ‘modern’ or ‘Winter’ epoch of the West, in which lies the destiny, hubris and tragedy of a Late civilization.

T. S. Eliot esteemed Dante as European and referred to him as representing the Western culture organism (Eliot was a proponent of European unity), a figure standing above provincialism at a time when the ruins of the World War were monuments to Western fracture:

Dante is, beyond all other poets of our continent, the most European. He is the least provincial –and yet that statement must be immediately protected by saying that he did not become the ‘least provincial’ by ceasing to be local. No one is more local; one never forgets that there is much in Dante’s poetry which escapes any reader whose native language is not Italian; but I think that the foreigner is less aware of any residuum that must for ever escape him, than any of us is in reading any other master of a language which is not our own. The Italian of Dante is somehow our language from the moment we begin to try to read it; and the lessons of craft, of speech and of exploration of sensibility are lessons which any European can take to heart and try to apply in his own tongue.viii

It would be easy to misrepresent or misunderstand Dante as a cosmopolitan and an internationalist. Hence, we find this written of Dante in 1921 in a full-length exposition on his political ideas:

The greatest war of all history has but recently been terminated and after this lamentable experience mankind has decided to enter on some course which would prevent the recurrence of such a catastrophe. The League of Nations is now a historical fact, and irrespective of whether it shall live or not, we cannot but observe that humanity has never more seriously approached the realization of the ideals of the great Florentine than in the present time. And for this reason, I believe that one can pay no greater tribute nor render greater homage to the memory of Dante than by drawing attention to his efforts in behalf of universal peace and the universal brotherhood of mankind.ix

Whether claiming Dante as the father of the League of Nations is the ‘greatest tribute and homage’ is debatable. To Rolbiecki, Dante is ‘ultra-modern’ in calling for a universal state to assure peace.x Dante advocated a universal empire with a world-emperor. But Dante was no precursors of a Woodrow Wilson nor a Dag Hammarskjöld. Dante thought in the Gothic manner. Rolbiecki did concede that ‘Dante advocates a universal monarchy, but not a universal language, he believes in unity, but not in entire uniformity.’xi

Embroiled in the bitter civil war between empire and papacy, Dante, in exile, wrote in defence of the Empire and the Emperor, placing him with the Ghibelline party against the Guelphs, and thrusting him at the same time amidst rivalries that made his position even more complex. This struggle for the soul of the Gothic West was of epochal importance to Julius Evola, who places Dante squarely in the traditionalist Ghibelline camp. Dante wrote of a universal Empire and Emperor at a time of great threat, and his treatise was to provide a philosophical foundation for these, and delineate the roles of empire and papacy. As Evola shows, a civilization in the traditional sense (the ‘Spring’ of Spengler’s scheme), is based around an axis mundi. W.B. Yeats refers to this when writing of civilization during its epoch of decay that ‘Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold’.xii The emperor is the world sustainer of civilization, the nexus between the divine and the terrestrial in maintaining that centre.xiii That was the philosophy expounded by Dante. Evola alludes to the ‘formative centre of all existence that gave a meaning of life’, holding together ‘more or less organic parts of a whole’. ‘The positive and necessary manifestation of this centre in the political level corresponded to the principle of the Empire, not only in its secular significance (that is, political in a limited sense), but spiritual as well, which is preserved in the medieval European ecumene and which was marked by a political theology of high Ghibellinism, as supported by Dante himself’. The ‘decline of the Empire and its authority’, that is, the Holy Roman Empire, was the first symptom of Western Gothic dissolution and ‘dissociation’.xiv

Dante was regarded by Eliot, Ezra Pound and Spengler as the epitome of the Western world-feeling. Julius Evola saw Dante as such, and alludes to him in Revolt Against the Modern World, Men Among the Ruins, Ride the Tiger and The Path of Cinnabar, in support of his transcendental, traditionalist conceptions of state and empire. Particularly in The Mystery of the Grail, Evola considers Dante to be an initiate of the cult of courtly love, as did Ezra Pound;xv Dante’s initiatory quest is described in The Divine Comedy.xvi Dante was the greatest influence on Ezra Pound,xvii the inspiration for Pound’s quest to write his own epic poem. We might ask whether it was Dante who also got Pound thinking about usury and the dissolutive impact of greed on high culture?

Because of Dante’s greatness he is a conundrum for those who aim to deconstruct and obliterate Western culture. There are two options: bury or appropriate. In 2012 the Italian human rights organisation Gherush92, which advises UN bodies on human rights issues, urged the Dante’s Divine Comedy be ‘removed from school curriculums, or at least used with more caution, because it is “offensive and discriminatory” and young people lack the “filters” to understand it in context’.xviii

Gherush92 singled out some particular cantos from Dante’s masterwork for criticism: Inferno’s 34th, which tells of Judas, endlessly chewed in the teeth of Lucifer, and 28th, in which Mohammed is depicted torn ‘from the chin down to the part that gives out the foulest sound’, as well as Purgatorio’s 26th, which shows homosexuals under a rain of fire in purgatory. The work, it says, slanders the Jewish people, depicts Islam as a heresy and is homophobic. ‘We do not advocate censorship or burning but we would like it acknowledged, clearly and unambiguously, that in the Divine Comedy there is racist, Islamophobic and antisemitic content’, said Valentina Sereni, president of Gherush92, to the Adnkronos news agency. ‘Art cannot be above criticism’.xix

On the other hand in 2015 The Divine Comedy was the subject of reinterpretation by African artists at the Smithsonian’s Institute of African Art, entitled ‘The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists’. xx Perhaps the greatest of Western art is intrinsically ‘racist’ and ‘fascist’? The same quandary is now being meted out by academia to Puccini.

Organic State

Dante is located within the organic tradition, in his world-feeling and in his description of the way the ideal state should be organized. His sociology is organic. It is particularly in De Monarchia that he describes the organic character of the civil order he is proposing:

Now, therefore, we must see what is the end of the whole civil order of men; and when we have found this, then, as the Philosopherxxi says in his book to Nicomachus, the half of our labour will have been accomplished. And to render the question clearer, we must observe that as there is a certain end for which nature makes the thumb, and another, different from this, for which she makes the whole hand, and again another for which she makes the arm, and another different from all for which she makes the whole man; so there is one end for which she orders the individual man, and another for which she orders the family, and another end for the city, and another for the kingdom, and finally an ultimate one for which the Everlasting God, by His art which is nature, brings into being the whole human race. And this is what we seek as a first principle to guide our whole inquiry.xxii

The organic social order is part of the perennial tradition.xxiii It is the means by which traditional man maintains the nexus between the cosmic and the terrestrial. Hence the organic conception of society transcends time and place in being the means of social order during the ‘Spring’ epoch of a High Culture, which is gradually broken down, as epochs proceed along decay. For the West, the last, decaying, corrupted remnants of traditional order were eliminated by decree by the Jacobin prohibition of the guilds.xxiv

The Gothic West inherited the guild structure, or corporations as they were called in Italy, from Rome, and made this ‘corporatism’, as it was known during its modern revival, the means by which the organic state was organized. Dante uses the analogy of the human organism to show how this is based. It is a metaphor used throughout history. Aristotle described the organic state in defining man as a ‘political animal’ while denouncing as brutish those who are ‘tribeless, lawless, hearthless’xxv or what we might call today the rootless individual, whether of the left or of globalized commerce:

Further the State is by nature prior to the family and to the individual, since the whole is of necessity prior to the part; for example, if the whole body be destroyed, there will be no foot or hand, except in an equivocal sense, as we might speaks of a stone hand; for when destroyed the hand will be no better than that. But things are defined by their working and power; and we ought not to say that they are the same when they no longer have their proper quality, but only that they are the same. The proof that the State is the creation of nature and prior to the individual is that the individual, when isolated, is not self-sufficing; and therefore he is like a part in relation to the whole.xxvi

However it is to Paul that we can readily trace a Christian foundation for the organic state, and the whole of Chapter 12 of Corinthians is a treatise on the organic state, amidst a description of the social organization of the early Church:

The eye cannot say to the hand ‘I don’t need you!’ And the hand cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary. Those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable… Its parts should have equal concern for each other… Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is part of it.xxvii

Paul refers to a diversity of talents within the body of the Church, and hence he is no proto-Bolshevik or Jacobin demanding a levelling ‘equality’, but he does recognize in that inequality that there is nonetheless a transcendent relationship which makes each constitute part (the cells and the organs of an organism) indispensable each to the other. This is where actual social justice lies – in a recognition of differences as each necessary part of a totality, not in any levelling creed. The Church long maintained this traditional ethos in the face of capitalism and its Leftist counterparts; in reasserting its organic social doctrine, Pope Leo XIII stating in his 1891 encyclical on labour relations that

Just as the symmetry of the human frame is the result of the suitable arrangement of different parts of the body, so in a state is it organised by nature that these two classes should dwell in harmony and agreement, so as to maintain the balance of the body politic. Each needs the other: capital cannot do without labor, nor labor without capital.xxviii

Dante was a statist, not a libertarian, yet he also believed that the state must assure the free will of its citizens, giving each the opportunity to fulfil his divine purpose of Earth. Again this is not the precursor of capitalism or Marxism; it is the Medieval ethos based on Christian free will within the divine order. It is this duty that is the basis of ‘Right’, as he calls it:

Further, whoever works for the good of the state, works with Right as his end. This may be shown as follows. Right is that proportion of man to man as to things, and as to persons, which, when it is preserved, preserves society, and when it is destroyed, destroys society.xxix

This duty towards the State is the essence of what Spengler would centuries later call ‘Prussian socialism’,xxx an organic socialism that heals the fractures created by capitalism and its Left-wing offspring; a socialism that is traditional and Gothic; an imperative towards reconnecting the earthly with the cosmic order. Spengler wrote of ‘liberating German socialism from Marx’. This German socialism is the Gothic organic state, and here too Spengler, who eschewed the notion of Western High Culture being a continuation of the Graeco-Roman, nonetheless, like Dante, uses the analogy of Rome, in calling for a German youth that ‘must be willing to accept obligations despite hardship and poverty, they must possess a Roman pride of service…’xxxi

‘Right’ is that which aims at the ‘common good’, which is to say, ‘the good of the state’.xxxii This means that by subjecting personal and other factional interests to the common good, and sublimating the selfish, and the sin of avarice, one had the freedom to serve:

They renounced all selfishness, a thing always contrary to the public weal; they cherished universal peace and liberty; and that sacred, pious, and glorious people are seen to have neglected their own private interests that they might follow public objects for the good of all mankind. Therefore was it well written: ‘The Roman Empire springs from the fountain of piety’.xxxiii

Within this traditional sociology Dante continues the metaphor of the human organism:

And as the part is to the whole, so is the order of parts to the order of the whole. The part is to the whole, as to an end and highest good which is aimed at; and, therefore, the order in the parts is to the order in the whole, as it is to the end and highest good aimed at. Hence we have it that the goodness of the order of parts does not exceed the goodness of the order of the whole, but that the converse of this is true. Therefore we find a double order in the world, namely, the order of parts in relation to each other, and their order in relation to some one thing which is not a part (as there is in the order of the parts of an army in relation to each other, and then in relation to the general); and the order of the parts in relation to the one thing which is not a part is the higher, for it is the end of the other order, and the other exists for the sake of it. Therefore, if the form of this order is found in the units of the mass of mankind, much more may we argue by our syllogism that it is found in mankind considered as a whole; for this latter order, or its form, is better. But as was said in the preceding chapter, and it is sufficiently plain, this order is found in all the units of the mass of mankind. Therefore it is, or should be, found in the mass considered as a whole. And therefore all the parts that we have mentioned, which are comprised in kingdoms, and the kingdoms themselves ought to be ordered with reference to one Prince or Princedom, that is, with reference to a Monarch or Monarchy.xxxiv

Universal Monarch

There is nothing of the republican about Dante, nor the democrat. He sees the individual as part of a social organism, just as the cell is part of an organ and the organ part of the biological organism. Each constituent part from cell to organ finds its fulfilment as an essential part of the whole. This was the rationale for the organic state for millennia, which reached its apex in the Gothic epoch, and broke down as other aspects of the Western culture started to fracture through the much acclaimed Renaissance, The Reformation, and The Enlightenment. Each is proclaimed as a ‘progressive’ step away from ‘superstition’ and ‘despotism’, but each was a step towards the fracturing of the Western social organism, and the Western psyche.

Dante saw even at the height of the Gothic ‘Spring’ the seeds of decay, a corruption within the Church. His ‘universalism’ is a call to organically re-concentrate against fracture. It is a universalism shared by cultures in their ‘Spring’ epoch in seeing themselves as the nexus between the world and the divine, of their universal mission, from Hopi Indians to Chinese emperors, to the Seat of Saint Peter, to the Russian Katechon, to serve in sustaining the axis mundi on which the stability of the world depends, and without which the world descends into chaos: into the Kali Yuga, Wolf Age, Iron Age.

To Dante, the Holy Roman (Gothic) Empire is the Universal Empire and the Universal Emperor; the world-sustainer. Christendom, meaning the Gothic West, has taken over that role from the Roman imperium which, although pagan, had been ordained by God with that world-mission, and in that context also the birth and death of Jesus Christ within the Roman empire was also significant.

The Roman Imperium, Dante stated, was not created primarily by martial means, but by a noble ethos, and a noble race. Success comes to the noblest by right of a divine order. Furthermore, honour and nobility are created and bequeathed to subsequent generations as a legacy. This is inherited nobility and honour; ‘ancestral wealth’, and ‘hereditary virtue’. It is a defence of the aristocratic, not the democratic – nor, as will be seen, the oligarchic.

My answer then to the question is, that it was by right, and not by usurpation, that the Roman people assumed to itself the office of Monarchy, or, as men call it, the Empire, over all mankind. For in the first place it is fitting that the noblest people should be preferred to all others; the Roman people was the noblest; therefore it is fitting that it should be preferred to all others. By this reasoning I make my proof; for since honour is the reward of goodness, and since to be preferred is always honour, therefore to be preferred is always the reward of goodness. It is plain that men are ennobled for their virtues; that is, for their own virtues or for those of their ancestors; for nobleness is virtue and ancestral wealth, according to Aristotle in his Politics; and according to Juvenal, ‘There is no nobleness of soul but virtue’, which two statements refer to two sorts of nobleness, our own and that of our ancestors.

To be preferred, therefore, is, according to reason, the fitting reward of the noble. And since rewards must be measured by desert, according to that saying of the Gospel, ‘with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again’; therefore to the most noble the highest place should be given.xxxv

The Universal Monarch is the axis around which society revolves, from individual to family to national entity, within an imperium. Dante draws the parallel of the household patriarchy ascending upward to the monarch. ‘Happiness’ is realized through being part of this organic imperium; it emerges though a social order with a hierarchy. How different this is from the liberal-humanistic ideal of ‘happiness’ which is at times ascribed to Dante! The notion of ‘equality’ is specifically damnable, and democratic rule the precursor of disorder:

If we take the case of a single man, we shall see the same rule manifested in him: all his powers are ordered to gain happiness; but his understanding is what regulates and governs all the others; and otherwise he would never attain to happiness. Again, take a single household: its end is to fit the members thereof to live well; but there must be one to regulate and rule it, who is called the father of the family, or, it may be, one who holds his office. As the Philosopherxxxvi says: ‘Every house is ruled by the oldest’. And, as Homer says, it is his duty to make rules and laws for the rest. Hence the proverbial curse: ‘Mayst thou have an equal at home’. Take a single village: its end is suitable assistance as regards persons and goods, but one in it must be the ruler of the rest, either set over them by another, or with their consent, the head man amongst them. If it be not so, not only do its inhabitants fail of this mutual assistance, but the whole neighbourhood is sometimes wholly ruined by the ambition of many, who each of them wish to rule. If, again, we take a single city: its end is to secure a good and sufficient life to the citizens; but one man must be ruler in imperfect as well as in good forms of the state. If it is otherwise, not only is the end of civil life lost, but the city too ceases to be what it was. Lastly, if we take any one kingdom, of which the end is the same as that of a city, only with greater security for its tranquillity, there must be one king to rule and govern. For if this is not so, not only do his subjects miss their end, but the kingdom itself falls to destruction, according to that word of the infallible truth: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself shall be brought to desolation’. If then this holds good in these cases, and in each individual thing which is ordered to one certain end, what we have laid down is true.

Now it is plain that the whole human race is ordered to gain some end, as has been before shown. There must, therefore, be one to guide and govern, and the proper title for this office is Monarch or Emperor. And so it is plain that Monarchy or the Empire is necessary for the welfare of the world. xxxvii

While Dante writes of ‘mankind’ there is no aim of seeing it reduced to a nebulous, undifferentiated mass. He writes of national differences and their relationship to the Universal Empire. Specifically, he writes that different nations, or what are really different races, require different laws according to their temperament. There is no one law for mankind; no sense of what we today call globalization, nor any precursor to Woodrow Wilson’s ‘Fourteen Points’ or any United-Nations-type charter on human rights.

But it must be carefully observed that when we say that mankind may be ruled by one supreme prince, we do not mean that the most trifling judgments for each particular town are to proceed immediately from him. For municipal laws sometimes fail, and need guidance, as the Philosopher shows in his fifth book to Nicomachus, when he praises equity. For nations and kingdoms and states have, each of them, certain peculiarities which must be regulated by different laws. For law is the rule which directs life. Thus the Scythians need one rule, for they live beyond the seventh climate, and suffer cold which is almost unbearable, from the great inequality of their days and nights. But the Garamantesxxxviii need a different law, for their country is equinoctial, and they cannot wear many clothes, from the excessive heat of the air, because the day is as long as the darkness of the night. But our meaning is that it is in those matters which are common to all men, that men should be ruled by one Monarch, and be governed by a rule common to them all, with a view to their peace. And the individual princes must receive this rule of life or law from him, just as the practical intellect receives its major premiss from the speculative intellect, under which it places its own particular premiss, and then draws its particular conclusion, with a view to action. And it is not only possible for one man to act as we have described; it is necessary that it should proceed from one man only to avoid confusion in our first principle.xxxix

Moreover, despite his allusions to the common ‘genus of mankind’, he does not regard all races and nations as equal to govern themselves. Some entire races are born to govern and others to be subordinated to them. While Dante desires universal peace, it is a pax imperium, once Roman, now Gothic:

As the human race, then, has an end, and this end is a means necessary to the universal end of nature, it follows that nature must have the means in view. Wherefore the Philosopher well demonstrates in the second book Of Natural Learning that the action of nature is governed by its end. And as nature cannot attain through one man an end necessitating a multiplicity of actions and a multitude of men in action, nature must produce many men ordained for diverse activities. To this, beside the higher influence, the virtues and properties of the lower sphere contribute much. Hence we find individual men and whole nations born apt for government, and others for subjection and service, according to the statement of the Philosopher in his writings Concerning Politics; as he says, it is not only expedient that the latter should be governed, but it is just, although they be coerced thereto.xl

It is as a superior people that Romans created their empire, according to Dante. That legacy was assumed by the Holy ‘Roman’ Empire: the Gothic West. ‘If these things are true, there is no doubt but that nature set apart in the world a place and a people for universal sovereignty; otherwise she would be deficient in herself, which is impossible.’xli ‘Right’ was established by the superior qualities necessary to govern.

Evola shows that Dante’s universal ‘Monarch’ accords with the perennial tradition, as a type of Gothic analogue to the Hindu Kalki, and he hopes for an avenger against the corruption of the world; an avenging ‘hound’,xlii the symbolism of which is suggested by Evola,xliii who ‘restores’ ‘humbled Italy’.xliv This is the ‘retorating agent’, the ‘Universal Ruler’ of Dante’s De Monarchia,xlv who like other such avatars in the perennial tradition, comes at the darkest hour to restore the severed nexus between the divine and the terrestrial.

While even back in 1921 John J. Rolbiecki could only interpret Dante’s Universal Empire and Universal Monarch in profane terms as a prototype of the League of Nations and global pacifism,xlvi Evola, drawing on the perennial tradition across time and place, showed that Dante’s imperator pacificus, a title that had been bestowed on Charlemagne, ‘is not the profane and social peace pursued by a political government – but rather an inner and positive peace, which should not be divorced from the ‘triumphal’ element. […] It is a calm that reveals the supernatural.’xlvii This Gothic Emperor to which Dante devoted the entirety of De Monarchia is described in similar terms by Confucius as being ‘stable and unperturbed’, ‘virtuous’, and such virtue is so manifest that it brings others to subjection without the necessity of force. He is the ‘Lord of Peace’ and the ‘Lord of Justice’ of the Vedas, and Dante writes at length of both as characteristics of the Universal imperium. Indeed, Dante opined that it was due to her virtues and not her military, that Rome established her empire. Evola states that these principles of peace and justice are ‘fundamental attributes of royalty that have been preserved in Western civilization until the time of the Hohenstaufens and Dante, even though the political aspect predominated over the higher meaning presupposing it.’xlviii

Being, Unity and the Good

‘Good’ and a sense of ‘Being’ are predicated on ‘Unity’. That is the raison d’être of the organic state. It is part of the perennial tradition that we see in castes and ‘estates’, ordered as part of an organic totality, and not as competing factions, while the individual finds his sense of ‘happiness’ as part of this ‘Unity’. Class war and individual competition are anathema to the Gothic mentality.

I say also that Being, and Unity, and the Good come in order after the fifth mode of priority. For Being comes by nature before Unity, and Unity before Good. Where Being is most, there Unity is greatest; and where Unity is greatest, there Good is also greatest; and in proportion as anything is far from Being in its highest form, is it far from Unity, and therefore from Good. Therefore in every kind of things, that which is most one is best, as the Philosopher holds in the treatise about simple Being. Therefore it appears that to be one is the root of Good, and to be many the root of Evil. Therefore, Pythagoras in his parallel tables placed the one, or Unity, under the line of good, and the many under the line of Evil; as appears from the first book of the Metaphysic.xlix

Could there be any clearer traditionalist repudiation as ‘evil’ of the fracture that we today know as the ‘class war’ of the Left or the individualism of the Free Trade capitalist?

Avarice and Usury

In Dante’s Inferno there is no greater sin than avarice, deserving no sympathy or salvation. Greed, the accumulation of material wealth, the ‘worship’ of which is referred to in the Bible as the ‘root of all evil’ which causes the dissolution of the social order,l is presided over in the fourth circle by Plutus, the god of riches, who in Dante’s portrayal is degraded into a demon. Dante exhorts of those controlled by greed:

To the Fourth Cavern so we downward passed,
Winning new reaches of the doleful shore
Where all the vileness of the world is cast.

Justice of God! which pilest more and more
Pain as I saw, and travail manifold!
Why will we sin, to be thus wasted sore?li

The result of chasing after the ‘vileness of the world’ is divine justice afflicted upon the profane. They are both ‘squanderers’ and ‘hoarders’, but no amount of gold could ‘purchase peace’. It is divine justice that must assure that avarice is kept in reign, ‘Who holds all worldly riches in her claws.’ ‘O foolish creatures, lost in ignorance!’ While in modern epochs the wealthiest are equated with ‘success’, there is no such notion in the Gothic ethos. For the frauds, including usurers, the sixth circle of Hell assures some harsh punishments for what ‘God hates most’.

‘Sodomites’ can be found in the same hellish sector, bringing to mind a comment from Ezra Pound: ‘The Church condemns buggery and usury because both are against natural increase’. In Canto XLV, ‘With Usura’, Pound alludes to the Medieval dictum of usury as ‘contra naturam’. The belief that usury is a sin against nature is an important part of the Medieval ethos.

Simon Ravenscroft of Cambridge University discusses the Medieval outlook on money and usury and the identity of usury and sodomy as both unnatural. The Medieval outlook was that money is a means of exchange. This is the outlook of Dante. It became the avid stance of Dante’s modern devotee, Ezra Pound, who took up the theory of Social Credit with gusto as the means by which the traditional outlook on money could be restored, and who like Dante saw usury as the root of social decay.lii Pound refers to Dante in his 1942 pamphlet on money and credit, A Visiting Card: ‘The cultural tradition with regard to money, which should never have become separated from the main stream of literary culture, may be traced from Demosthenes to Dante, from Salmasius to M Butchart’s Money (an anthology of opinions of three centuries)…’liii Of the frauds, Dante writes:

All of them filled with spirits miserable.
That sight of them may thee henceforth suffice.
Hear how and wherefore in these groups they dwell.

Whate’er in Heaven’s abhorred as wickedness
Has injury for its end; in others’ bane
By fraud resulting or in violent wise.

Since fraud to man alone doth appertain,
God hates it most; and hence the fraudulent band,
Set lowest down, endure a fiercer pain

Of the violent is the circle next at handliv

This economic fraudulence including usury, ‘false coining’ and ‘simony’,lv are particularly injurious of the organic social order; ‘of natural bonds’:

The other form of fraud makes nullity
Of natural bonds; and, what is more than those,
The special trust whence men on men rely.lvi

Ravenscroft writes of Dante’s outlook:

Dante appears to draw on these arguments from the nature of money when he links usury with the sins of blasphemy and sodomy in the final section of hell’s seventh circle. These three sins are located together as sins of violence against God, and they are all punished in like manner, the perpetrators suffering from burning sand beneath them and a rain of fire falling from above. Dealing with the connection between sodomy and usury first, the relationship is one of inversion, as for Dante, sodomy is the making sterile of that which is naturally productive (the sexual act), whereas in contrast, usury is the making productive of that which is naturally sterile (money).lvii

In this thoroughly Dantesque, Gothic tradition, Ezra Pound wrote ‘With Usura’:

with usura, sin against nature,
is thy bread ever more of stale rags
is thy bread dry as paper,
with no mountain wheat, no strong flour
with usura the line grows thick
with usura is no clear demarcation
and no man can find site for his dwelling.
Stonecutter is kept from his tone
weaver is kept from his loom
WITH USURAlviii

The Florence of Dante’s time was noted for its commerce, including the extensive usury practised by wealthy families. Jeremy Catto writes that ‘The bankers of Florence had established, by 1300, an astonishingly precocious system of international credit.’lix It is this greed-ridden Florence, run by merchant-princes that Dante condemns as epitomizing the corruption of the social order:

Be joyful, Florence, since you are so great
that your outstretched wings beat over land and sea,
and your name is spread throughout the realm of Hell!lx

Conclusion

Because we are living in a profane and decaying epoch, and have been for centuries, our perspective is profane, and we are apt to interpret everything from within the Zeitgeist in which we live. Even opposition to that Zeitgeist will tend to be a reflection of it. Hence, Marx did not transcend capitalism but appropriated it, as Spengler pointed out in The Decline of The West, Prussianism and Socialism, The Hour of Decision, and elsewhere. If the Right sees in Dante’s Universal Imperium a precursor of globalization, it is because its lenses are as profane as those of that liberal who interprets Dante the same way. In particular Dante could be seen as an affront to the Rightist’s hallowed notion of the nation-state. The nationalism of much of the Right rests unwittingly on liberal-humanist foundations, which make the Declaration of Independence a sacrosanct document of American nationalism, while French Rightists uphold the ideas and symbols of Jacobinism. If Dante was anti-nationalist, it was because he thought as a traditionalist, not as a proto-globalist nor as a liberal-democrat. Nationalism was another means of the dissolution of the Gothic West. Dante’s virtuous and heroic Universal Emperor was substituted by the cunning of Machiavelli’s ‘Prince’,lxi the petty ruler of petty states; and from the Renaissance there proceeded ‘a scattering of forces that follows the disintegration of an organism,’ and there ceased to be ‘a unitary axis’.lxii

Contrary to the organic unity that Dante espoused throughout De Monarchia, and which was the basis of the organic social order of Medieval life, albeit one persisting as a shallow remnant until the French Revolution, ‘the centre no longer directed the individual parts, not only in the political but in the cultural context as well.’ There was no longer a ‘common organizing force’, represented by empire. lxiii To Evola the ‘national state’ was a ‘new and subversive idea’, part of the process of dissolution, alluding to Dante’s description of the traditional plurality of political autonomy where the parts are constituents of a social organism. lxiv The national state brought centralization, whereas Medieval feudalism maintained group autonomies within imperium by a transcendent ethos that sought a just peace, as described by Dante. The centralizing, statist tendencies of Jacobin France, in the name of ‘human rights’, might be recalled here, upholding the rights of the individual over the rights of group association, and on the ruins of the last of the traditional regimes, which were called ‘tyrannical’.

By considering Dante’s ‘philosophy of Right’ the profane lenses might be discarded and an insight gained into the traditional world prior to the profane might be discerned. Nothing is more superfluous than to call such ideas ‘outmoded’. The Right does not assume the mantle of modernism, progressivism and positivism, but is a repudiation of these, and a return to eternal values. It is not for the Right to adopt the doctrines of the epoch of decay, such as liberalism, capitalism and free trade. The Right holds that certain ideas remain eternally valid, and are no more liable to historical redundancy than the laws of gravity. Rather, the need for the return to an organic social order and a repudiation of usury and of ‘avarice’, condemned as sin in Dante’s epoch, but defined now as the foundation of modern economics, is as valid today as it was during the 13th century. It is the Right’s call for a return to origins.

References

iK. R. Bolton, ‘Marx Contra Marx: A Traditionalist Conservative Critique of The Communist Manifesto’, Anamnesis Journal, March 2, 2012; http://anamnesisjournal.com/2012/03/kr-bolton/ (accessed August 13, 2018).

iiK. R. Bolton, The Rise and Fall of Civilisations (London: Black House Publishing 2017), ‘Progress and its Dissidents’, 45–74.

iiiOswald Spengler, The Decline of the West (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1971), ‘Table I: ‘Contemporary’ Spiritual Epochs’, ‘Spring II: Earliest Mystical-Metaphysical Shaping of the New World-Outlook, Zenith of Scholasticism: ‘Western (from 900)’’.

ivPaul B. Newman, Daily Life in the Middle Ages (London: MacFarlane & Co., 2001), ‘Styles of Cathedral: Romanesque and Gothic’, 82.

vSpengler, op. cit., Vol. I, 56.

viSpengler, ibid., 158.

viiIbid., 96.

viiiT. S. Eliot, ‘What Dante means to me’, originally given as a speech at the Italian Institute of London, July 4, 1950.

ixJohn J. Rolbiecki, The Political Philosophy of Dante Alighieri (Washington: Salva Regina Press, 1921), 7.

xIbid., 35.

xiIbid., 54.

xiiW. B. Yeats, The Second Coming (1919).

xiiiK. R. Bolton, The Decline and Fall of Civilisations, op. cit., 13–20.

xivJulius Evola, Ride the Tiger (Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions, 2003), 150.

xvE Fuller Torrey, The Roots of Treason: Ezra Pound and the Secrets of St Elizabeth’s (London: Sidgwick and Jackson, 1984), 34.

xviJulius Evola, The Mystery of the Grail (Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions, 1997), 50–53, 144–149.

xviiE. Fuller Torrey, op. cit., passim.

xviii‘Dante Comedy is “offensive and discriminatory” says Italian NGO’, The Guardian, March 14, 2012

xixIbid.

xx‘In DC blockbuster African artists put their spin on “Divine Comedy”’, Observer, March 3, 2015; http://observer.com/2015/03/african-contemporary-art/ (accessed August 12, 2018).

xxiAristotle.

xxiiDante, De Monarchia, I: III.

xxiiiK. R. Bolton, ‘Corporatism as a Perennial Method of Traditional Social Organisation’, Aristokratia, Vol. II, (Manticore Press, 201), 40–61.

xxivLe Chapelier Law, 1791.

xxvAristotle, Politics, Part II.

xxviIbid.

xxviiPaul, I Corinthians, 12: 21–27.

xxviiiPius XIII, Rerum Novarum: Rights and Duties of Capital and Labour (Vatican City, 1891), 1–2.

xxixDante, De Monarchia, II: V.

xxxOswald Spengler, ‘Prussian Socialism’ (1919) in Prussian Socialism and Other Essays by Oswald Spengler; annotated and introduced by K R Bolton (London: Black House Publishing, 2018).

xxxiOswald Spengler, ‘Prussian Socialism’, ibid., 25.

xxxiiDante, De Monarchia, II: V.

xxxiiiDante, De Monarchia, II: V.

xxxivDante, De Monarchia, I: VI.

xxxvDante, De Monarchia, II: III.

xxxviAristotle.

xxxviiDante, De Monarchia, I: V.

xxxviiiLibyan Berbers.

xxxixDante, De Monarchia, I: XIV.

xlDante, De Monarchia, II: VII: 3.

xliDante, De Monarchia, II: VII: 4.

xliiDante, The Inferno, Canto I: 101

xliiiEvola, The Mystery of the Grail, op. cit., 52.

xlivDante, The Inferno, Canto I: 107.

xlvEvola, op. cit., 52.

xlviJohn J Rolbiecki, The Political Philosophy of Dante Alighieri, op. cit.

xlviiJ Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World (Rochester: Inner Traditions, 1995), 18.

xlviiiIbid., 19.

xlixDante, De Monarchia I: XV.

lI Timothy, 50.

liDante, The Divine Comedy: The Inferno, Canto VII, 16–20. James Romanes Sibbald translator.

liiEzra Pound, Social Credit: An Impact (1935), What is Money For? (1939), A Visiting Card (1942), Gold and Work (1944).

liiiEzra Pound, A Visiting Card (1942), 12.

livDante, The Divine Comedy, Canto XI, 19–28.

lvThe selling of sacred objects.

lviDante, Inferno, op. cit., 61–63.

lviiSimon Ravenscroft, ‘Usury in the Inferno: Auditing Dante’s Debt to the Scholastics’, Comitatus: A Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Vol. 42, (2011), 97; https://philpapers.org/archive/RAVUIT (accessed August 13, 2018).

lviiiEzra Pound, ‘Canto XLV’ from The Cantos of Ezra Pound; https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/54319/canto-xlv (accessed August 13, 2018).

lixJeremy Catto, ‘Florence, Tuscany And The World Of Dante’, in The World Of Dante: Essays On Dante & His Times, ed. Cecil Grayson (Oxford University Press, 1980), 12

lxDante, op. cit., Canto XXVI, 1–3.

lxiJ Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, 308.

lxiiIbid.

lxiiiIbid.

lxivIbid., 303.

]]>
https://arktos.com/2018/09/04/dante-alighieri-and-the-philosophy-of-right/feed/ 0