Arktos https://arktos.com Tue, 17 Sep 2019 15:17:01 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.3 Iranian Hegemony in the Islamic World https://arktos.com/2019/09/17/iranian-hegemony-in-the-islamic-world/ https://arktos.com/2019/09/17/iranian-hegemony-in-the-islamic-world/#view_comments Tue, 17 Sep 2019 14:04:35 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=7468 On September 14, 2019, nineteen targets at the Aramco Abqaiq processing facility and the Khurais oil field were struck from the air with pinpoint accuracy, resulting in the destruction of no less than half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production capability. This represented the loss of 5% of petroleum on the world market. The Houthis of Yemen, who have for years been subjected to a genocidal Saudi Sunni sectarian war against their Shi’ite community, claimed that ten of their drones carried out the attacks. But these proxies of the Islamic Republic of Iran could hardly have had the capability to fly such sophisticated drones so deep into Saudi Arabia, and ten drones cannot hit nineteen separate targets. Further analysis suggested that the targets had all been hit from an angle of approach that pointed toward either Iran or Iraq as the staging ground, and that cruise missiles were used to hit many of the targets. The drones may have been nothing but a ruse. The Houthi claim of responsibility does, however, rule out the possibility that this was some elaborate false flag operation staged by Neo-Cons.

Intelligence analysts initially ventured the possibility that the attacks actually originated in southern Iraq, where, in response to Israeli airstrikes, Hashd-al-Shabih, a Shi’ite militia loyal to Iran recently declared its intention to develop its own airforce. Kuwaitis witnessed unknown aircraft passing through their airspace on the night of the incident, and emanating from the direction of either Iraq or Iran itself. On Monday, September 16, the United States, which maintains a significant presence in Iraq, including radar capabilities, informed the Iraqis that the attacks did not originate on their territory or violate their airspace.

If Iran is indeed responsible for the attacks on Saudi oil production, this would demonstrate an Iranian military competence on par with the most capable armed forces of the world.

In any case, the fact that, several days after the operation, there is still no definitive evidence of the path that the objects took, demonstrates that the objects – whether drones or missiles or both – successfully evaded the radar of Saudi Arabia and possibly other countries as well. The flight path and the point of origin of the attack may be reconstructed by other means at the disposal of US intelligence agencies with classified satellite reconnaissance capabilities. Yet among the tens of billions in military hardware purchased from the United States by Saudi Arabia are state of the art radar installations that cover the Kingdom’s airspace. This means that the operation was so sophisticated that whoever was responsible for it managed to identify all of the holes in Saudi radar coverage and to guide the aircraft and/or missiles through these holes over a distance of hundreds of kilometers before hitting their targets with high precision. If Iran is indeed responsible, this would demonstrate an Iranian military competence on par with the most capable armed forces of the world.

There is one other possibility: Iran has developed stealth aircraft, either manned or unmanned, armed with precision missiles. There have been rumors of unconventional Iranian stealth aircraft for several years now, including speculations that these aircraft were used in the capture of a number of American and Israeli drones, which were landed intact, and reverse engineered. Aside from being one of the top drone designers in the world, Iran is also among a handful of the most advanced nations in the domain of cyber-warfare (of the kind used, on board these unconventional aircraft, to take control of American and Israeli drones).

Regardless of whether Iranians carried out the attack from their own territory, or which of Iran’s Shi’ite proxies were responsible for it, and what Iranian weaponry was used to accomplish it, there can be little doubt that this spectacular strike represents another step toward Iranian hegemony in the Islamic World. Far from preventing Iran’s continued resurgence as a major player on the world stage, the Trump Administration’s idiotic policy of insulting, threatening, and humiliating the Iranian nation has only facilitated this development.

1. The Abject Failure of Trump’s Iran Policy

Donald Trump, who had recognized the significant Saudi role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States when he was still running for office, made a trip to Saudi Arabia one of his first priorities as President. There, on 20 May 2017, Trump participated in a Saudi war dance and formed an “anti-terror” alliance with the Saudis against Iran (a country which, unlike Saudi Arabia, has never carried out an act of terrorism on American soil). Shortly after returning from this trip, then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson referred to the Persian Gulf as the “Arabian Gulf.” In his Iran Policy speech of October 13, 2017, President Trump himself used the incorrect term “Arabian Gulf” to brazenly insult Persians when he accused Iran of interfering with maritime traffic in the waters off of its own coastline – at a distance of more than 11,000 kilometers from the shores of America. On March 22, 2018, Trump appointed John Bolton as his National Security Advisor, a man who, for decades, has been a paid lobbyist and propagandist for the MEK, an Islamist-Marxist Iranian terrorist organization that backed Saddam Hussein in his brutal eight-year war against Iran and has a history of murdering Americans.

On May 8, 2018, Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from the JCPOA or Iran Nuclear Deal. This was followed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement of twelve preposterous preconditions for negotiations with Iran that would lead to a new deal. These preconditions included things like Iran’s forfeit of its legitimate international right to Uranium enrichment as well as Iran’s production of ballistic missiles for its national defense. Iran’s rejection of these ridiculously unrealistic demands led, in November of 2018, to the re-imposition of harsh US economic sanctions on Iran, including new sanctions targeting any country that buys Iranian oil. In April of 2019, a six-month waiver that had been given to foreign countries and companies doing business with Iran’s oil sector was terminated and the Trump Administration attempted in earnest to implement a global embargo of Iranian oil. The aim was to put the Iranian economy under such pressure that it would lead to a mass uprising that either brought the Islamic Republic to the negotiating table or ended in a regime change.

Beginning in April, the Trump Administration’s Iran Policy moved from economic warfare to the threat of actual warfare. On April 8, 2019, Mike Pompeo designated the IRGC, Iran’s elite combined military force that is comparable to the US Marine Corps, as a terrorist organization. It was the first time that the United States had designated part of another country’s military as terrorists. This was an extremely threatening move considering the fact that under the 2001 Congressional Authorization of the Use of Military Force in the Global War on Terrorism, Trump would not need to seek approval from the US Congress to go to war against Iran by launching an attack on IRGC “terrorists” inside of Iran. Such an attack almost took place. On May 19, 2019, the President of the United States threatened “the official end of Iran” – not the end of the Islamic Republic, but the destruction of the Iranian nation. This came only days after John Bolton claimed that the United States was preparing to send 120,000 troops and the Abraham Lincoln carrier battle group into the Persian Gulf to confront Iran.

One month later, a US Global Hawk spy drone violated Iranian airspace in the Strait of Hormuz and was shot down by IRGC defensive surface-to-air missile batteries along Iran’s coastline. That night Trump responded by ordering a US airstrike on IRGC targets inside of Iran, an attack that would have begun the worst war that the world has seen since 1945. Just minutes before they would strike their targets, Trump reversed his decision and pulled the planes back. Trump thought that this stunt would bring Iran to the negotiating table, and when he was frustrated in this ambition he posted his most ignorant tweet to date in an attempt to taunt Tehran: “Iranians never won a war, but never lost a negotiation.” In point of fact, Iran has won more than forty major wars in the course of its 3,000 year history – a history which includes the formation of four or five world-class empires, one of these being the largest empire that the world has ever known when estimated in terms of the percentage of Earth’s population that lived as taxpaying Iranian subjects.

Not only did the Trump policy of pressure fail to force Tehran into a renegotiation of the nuclear deal, not only did repeatedly threatening, insulting, and humiliating the rightfully proud Iranian people fail to catalyze protests aimed at regime change, but Iran’s resistance and fortitude in the face of this increased pressure only served to demonstrate the depth and breadth of Iran’s strategic dominance in the heart of the Islamic world. Iran had warned that if it was prevented from selling its oil, then it would have no interest in maintaining the security of oil shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

On May 12, 2019, four oil tankers were damaged near the Fujairah port of the UAE. On June 13, 2019, two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman, one Norwegian and the other Japanese – while Shinzo Abe was undertaking the first visit of a Japanese Prime Minister to Iran for decades. It was a special mission to deliver a message from Trump to the Supreme Leader of Iran, to negotiate – or else. Ayatollah Khamenei rejected this ultimatum in the strongest terms imaginable. In response to the British seizure of the Iranian oil tanker “Grace” (subsequently renamed Adriyan Darya) off of Gibraltar on July 4, 2019, in support of the American embargo policy, the Iranian IRGC Navy retaliated against two British tankers in the Persian Gulf on July 19, 2019.

One of these tankers, the Stena Impero, was intercepted, forced to redirect its course, and then boarded by Iranian commandos in direct defiance of a British Royal Navy vessel that ordered the IRGC-armed speed boats intercepting the Stena to stand down. Despite the British Naval vessel’s warnings, the Iranians continued to radio to the Stena tanker: “Alter your course immediately… If you obey, you will be safe. If you obey, you will be safe.” The Iranian commandos, who repelled from a helicopter onto the deck, took control of the British tanker and sailed the Stena into an Iranian port on the Strait of Hormuz – or the Strait of Ahura Mazda (Middle Persian Ohrmazd or Hormuz).

The will to ensure that the Persian Gulf does not become “Arabian” is based on more than just patriotic sentimentality, let alone nationalistic chauvinism.

Within two months of this incident, Donald Trump fired John Bolton as his National Security Advisor and reiterated that he is “not looking for regime change” and that Iran “has a chance to be a great country even with the same leadership.” At the time of writing, Trump is considering extending a $15 billion credit line to Iran on the hope that Iranian President Rouhani might meet with him at the UN later this month. Meanwhile, the petroleum processing plants and oil fields of Saudi Arabia burn. Trump has also stated that he is in no rush to launch a retaliatory strike against Iran.

2. Contenders for “Core State” of the Islamic World

The will to ensure that the Persian Gulf does not become “Arabian” is based on more than just patriotic sentimentality, let alone nationalistic chauvinism. Iran is certainly a civilization among only a handful of other living civilizations on Earth, rather than a lone state with its own isolated culture, like Japan, but Iran is even more than that. As we enter the era of the clash of civilizations, Iran’s historic role as the crossroads of all of the other major civilizations cannot be overstated.

In this context it must be recognized that Iran is not just another civilization, on par with the West, India, or China. In the event that it is allowed to return to its own heritage and reclaim its proper destiny, Iran could be the cosmopolitan nexus for a dialogue of civilizations with a view to their eventual convergence in the most constructive way imaginable. The first step toward that, must however, be the transformation of the core of the current sphere of so-called “Islamic Civilization” back into an Iranian civilizational sphere. This demands that Iran become what Samuel Huntington would call the “core state” of Islamic Civilization.

Iran has seven potential rivals for the status of Islamic civilizational core state, namely: Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Most of these countries are utterly incapable of leading the Islamic world, and the few that are capable of doing so would never be able to make the case that they can transform so-called “Islamic Civilization” into something that would at least be benign, if not beneficent, when considered in terms of its implications for the human community at large and in view of the demographic dominance of Muslims on Earth by the mid to late twenty-first century. Let us briefly take a look at each of these potential rivals to Iran.

Saudi Arabia is the nation within the borders of which Mecca and Medina, the two holiest cities in Islam, are located. It is the territory of both Muhammad’s own prophetic mission and the administrative capital of the Rashidun Caliphate, the first Caliphate in the history of Islam. In a world still largely dependent on oil for energy and transportation, Saudi Arabia was – until the Iranian proxy attack of September 14 – the Earth’s leading oil producing nation. On that basis alone, it became one of the wealthiest nations on Earth. This key energy production role in the global economy garnered Saudi Arabia a diplomatic and military ally in the United States of America. But it has just become clear how vulnerable Saudi Arabia’s petroleum industry is – even in the face of Iran’s proxies, let alone the damage it would suffer if attacked by Iran directly.

These are, moreover, the only factors in favor of Saudi Arabia assuming the role of Islamic civilizational core state. In light of the competition, they are far from sufficient. Although Islam as a religion appears to have originated in the Arabian peninsula, none of the great civilizational achievements commonly attributed to Islam took place there. Arabia, Saudi or otherwise, is culturally barren and backwards. The Saudis have the most barbaric and inhumane socio-political system of any major player on the world stage. This ought not to be surprising, since the Hejaz is a desert wasteland populated by camel herders. The country has no indigenous agricultural capacity and has never had any significant industrial capability. The Saudi “nation” is a totally artificial construction dating back to 1932. Prior to that, despite the status of Mecca and Medina, the uninhabitable peninsula was peripheral to the Islamic world for most of history. Saudi Arabia’s entire mirage of wealth, and the purchased paper tiger of its military might, rests on a non-renewable energy resource discovered by Western colonialists in the twentieth century – a resource that will run dry within the next twenty years.

After the fall of the Arabian peninsula-based Rashidun Caliphate, the administrative capital of the Islamic world moved to Baghdad under both the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs. The nation-state of Iraq was formed in the same year as Saudi Arabia, namely 1932. Historically, both the names “Baghdad” and “Iraq” refer to parts of Iran. Bogh-Dâd means either “given by God” or “God’s Justice” in the Middle Persian language of the Parthian period, when the city was founded in what was then Western Iran. The term Erâq is a geographical designator for the mountainous region of southwestern Iran, with the part that remains in Iran today being referred to as Erâqé Ajami or “Aryan Iraq.”

From October 29, 539 BC, when Cyrus the Great marched into Babylon until the Arab-Muslim conquest of the Sassanid state in 651 AD, Iraq was the administrative capital of Iran through three successive Iranian empires, that of the Achaemenids, the Parthians, and the Sassanians. By about 900 AD, semi-autonomous Persian fiefdoms in northern Iran had essentially reduced the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad into their own cat’s paw. Even once the Seljuq Turks took over in the middle of the eleventh century, the administrative elite of the Caliphate remained Persian. Iraq then changed hands between the Ottoman Caliphate and Iran for a period of several hundred years under the Safavid and Afsharid dynasties. It is not until around the year 1800, relatively recently in the scope of Iran’s history, that most of Iraq, including Baghdad, was lost – first to the Turks and then to Western colonialists aligned with the country’s Arab majority. Even still, the Arabs of Iraq remained largely Shi’ite and thereby under the religious influence of Iran. Meanwhile, the Kurds in northern Iraq, while Sunni, are ethnically Iranian and speak an Iranian language.

All of this is to say that, in civilizational terms, Iraq is essentially an integral part of Iran and has been so for about twenty-five centuries. The one brief epoch of radically anti-Iranian politics in Iraq, the period of Saddam Hussein, is when Iraq came closest to assuming leadership of the Islamic world at large. Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in 1990–1991, a few years after the failure of his eight-year long campaign to seize Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province, was fated to be nothing more than a passing gleam. As an avowed secular Arab nationalist, Saddam would never have fooled anyone into believing that he had the legitimacy to hold Mecca and Medina and to speak as the vice-regent of Allah on Earth.

Ironically, it was only after the total destruction of Saddam’s Arab nationalist regime in the 2003 American invasion of Iraq that the country became the base of operations for a ragtag group of partisans and mercenaries who claimed to constitute a new Sunni Caliphate, with a caliph named “Baghdadi.” The actual government in Baghdad had become little more than a Shi’ite client state of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Meanwhile, the ethnically Iranian Kurds in the north began their march toward secession from an “Iraq” that had clearly become a failed state because nothing coherent or cohesive ever really held it together after it was severed from the Persian and Ottoman Empires. With the recent defeat of Islamic State forces within Iraq, albeit after the destruction of irreplaceable cultural treasures by those barbarians, it is clear that the reemergence of Iraq as a core state of Islamic Civilization is totally out of the question. Not now. Not ever. Iraq will continue to be dominated by either Iran or Turkey.

As much as Recep Tayyip Erdogan would like to be looked back on as the founder of a New Ottoman Caliphate, Turkey’s prospects for leading the Islamic world at large are rather grim. In a scenario where Iran were to lose what is left of Azerbaijan within its own borders, and a greater Republic of Azerbaijan connects Turkey to the Caspian Sea and across to the Turkic lands of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, a Pan-Turkic federation of some kind is conceivable. This is, not incidentally, all the more reason for Iranians to insist on holding Tabriz and Ardebil, potentially even recapturing Baku, by any and all means necessary – including the reaffirmation of Shi’ite discourse.

However, these Turkic territories are peripheral to the Islamic world. The language barrier between Turks and Arabs, and the significant differences between their cultures, poses a nearly insurmountable barrier to any reassertion of Turkish control over Arabia. First of all, to do so, Sunni Turkey would have to pass through the most solidly Shi’ite among the Arab lands, namely Iraq and Syria, not to mention through the rest of Kurdistan – one third of which is already inside of Turkey’s borders. These are all lands within the Iranian civilizational sphere – Iraq and Syria on account of Shi’ism and Kurdistan on account of its Iranian ethno-linguistic identity. Moreover, in a rivalry with Iran, both the Kurds and a sizeable Shi’ite minority in Eastern Anatolia could be mobilized against the government of Turkey. By contrast, the capacity of a Neo-Ottoman Turkey to mobilize self-identifying “Turks” in Iranian Azerbaijan against the government of Iran would be limited by the hardline Sunni stance of this Neo-Ottoman Calipahte as compared to the Shi’ite identity of the Azeris in Iran.

In short, Turkey is locked in. There is certainly no question of a Westward expansion of a Neo-Ottoman Caliphate. The countries of Eastern Europe, who have the bitterest memories of Ottoman rape and pillage have been the first to reject European Union migration policies and erect a cultural barrier against the Islamization of Europe. The massive number of Turks in Germany poses a serious national security threat to that country, but they are separated from Turkey by this anti-Islamic firewall in the Visegrád region. The most likely outcome is that the continued degradation of German culture at their hands will eventually lead to their mass expulsion or internment by ethnic Germans. If anything the Turkish threat to Eastern and Central Europe should be reason for the Visegrád Group, and ultimately Germany as well, to support Shi’ite Iran as a strong Eastern ally against Turks with an ambition of reestablishing a Sunni Ottoman Caliphate. Such an alliance existed between Safavid Iran and some European powers at war with the Ottoman Empire, and it would make a great deal of sense for this paradigm to be revived.

Pakistan was never the seat of the Caliphate. In fact, Pakistan was not even a nation until its secession from India in 1947. The discourse surrounding and justifying that secession was, however, an explicitly Islamist discourse and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was consciously conceived of as a bastion for all of the Muslims of the world. Practically speaking, this served no real purpose other than to reinforce the artificiality and rootlessness of the so-called Pakistani “nation.” At no point have Arabs, Turks, and others in the Islamic world ever come to consider Pakistan an exemplary Islamic State, let alone a country that would lead the Islamic world in a way comparable to America’s leadership of the Western world. This, despite the fact that Pakistan is (as of the time of writing) the only Muslim country to have developed nuclear weapons, and there appears to be a tacit agreement between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, who largely financed the Pakistani nuclear program, to provide the latter with these weapons in the event of a threat to Mecca and Medina. Even still, this Pakistan-Saudi Axis has never been tested by war, and if the war should prove to be one between Iran and Saudi Arabia, it is doubtful that Pakistan would risk war with Iran by coming to the aid of the Saudis.

Pakistanis are well aware of the fact that the closest thing that Pakistan has to a cultural heritage is the legacy of the Mughal Empire, which was a Persianate culture through and through. Pakistan is nothing other than Persianate India. The denial of this heritage, and the idiotic adoption of Urdu as a national language in an area where Persian had been dominant for hundreds of years until British colonization, has led to cultural rootlessness and the rise of Sunni fundamentalist ideology. The potential for a Taliban-style Islamist seizure of power in at least some parts of Pakistan cannot be dismissed, but given the Pakistani nuclear arsenal, this would pose such a grave threat both to India and to Western powers allied with India, including Israel, that such an Islamist toppling of Pakistan’s central government and seizure of power even in a single province would mean a massive military intervention with only one final outcome: reintegration of a devastated Pakistan into India. Such a forcible reversal of the partition would probably result in a religious clash between Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs on a genocidal scale and cripple the capacity of Pakistanis – or, in that event, North Indian Muslims – to lead the Islamic world. They will be busy enough defending themselves from Hindus and Sikhs within the borders of a re-unified India.

Advocates of an Iranian Renaissance need to understand that an attempt to lobotomize Iran through a forced return to Zoroastrianism would sever Iran’s connection to the other countries in its civilizational sphere.

The neighboring Southeast Asian nations of Malaysia and Indonesia are so peripheral to the Islamic world that the potential for either of them to lead the Arab or Turkic peoples in the formation of a new Caliphate is, from a geographical and historical perspective, utterly preposterous. They merit mention only because the former is among the wealthiest nations in the Islamic world and the latter is among the most populous. Both countries have even been home to some of the most zealous support for Al-Qaeda, particularly, Malaysia, where Osama bin Laden is seen as a hero by many devout Sunnis. In short, Malay financial power and Indonesian military force could play a significant role in an intercontinental Sunni Caliphate in the event that one were to be successfully established in some other, more central part of the Islamic world. Another reason why both Western powers and the Chinese ought to back an Iranian Shi’ite dominance of the Islamic world is that under such a scenario, Sunni Malaysia and Indonesia would become so peripheral and irrelevant to the core of the Islamic world, as they were during the period of the classic Caliphates, that the archipelago would be left for China to dominate. This region is home to the second largest community of oversees Chinese in the world. While the West is rightly weary of the rise of China, it remains the case that Chinese dominance of the Malay archipelago is preferable to its becoming a bastion of Islamists.

3. Sunni Caliphate or Shi’ite Imamate

Of all of the countries that could potentially rival Iran for leadership of the Islamic world, Egypt is actually the most viable contender. Iran and Egypt were closely connected during the one period when Egypt was the seat of the Caliphate, namely the Fatamid period, which is the only time that Shi’ites dominated the entire Islamic world. It is the Ismaili Fatamids of Egypt who finally stopped the Westward advance of the Mongols. Egypt has, of course, since become solidly Sunni. Like Saudi Arabia and Iraq, and unlike the remaining countries that we are about to address, its language is the Arabic language that is authoritative for Islamic theology and the language of the majority of Muslims in the historical core of the Islamic world. In fact, it is the Arabic of Cairo that has become standard for the entire Islamic world in modern times – not the Arabic spoken in the Arabian peninsula itself. Al-Azhar in Cairo remains the world’s leading Muslim theological academy.

Said Qotb’s ideology of Al-Qaeda and the organizational infrastructure of the Muslim Brotherhood took shape in the shadows of this conservative Sunni school of thought. In a scenario where the Al-Saud regime in Arabia meets its demise, whether through internal upheaval or war with Iran (or both), there is a potential for Egypt to reemerge as the core of a Sunni Arab-Muslim Caliphate that extends from Morocco to Oman and as far south as Sudan. Such a situation ought not to be conceived of in terms of the projection of conventional Egyptian military force, nor does it require Egypt to emerge as a major industrial power. Rather, the Cairo-based Caliphate scenario is one that has, as its precondition, the collapse of the Egyptian national state and the surrender of its secularist military to an Islamist movement that is radically transnational – or, at the very least, Pan-Arab in its ideological orientation.

This is exactly the kind of threat that ought to convince major world powers to at least tolerate, if not encourage, an Iranian dominance of the Islamic world. First of all, such a Caliphate would be taking shape on the doorstep of the State of Israel and it is abundantly clear that its cohesion, even at any early stage, would have to involve the annihilation of Israel. Cooperation with Israel has been forced upon the succession of undemocratic but relatively secular Egyptian administrations since the 1970s precisely because this has been felt as such a serious long-term strategic threat. It is actually the main reason why, with the brief anomaly of Barack Obama’s misadventure in Cairo, Western powers have not been keen on supporting democratization in Egypt. The brief Obama Administration experiment of supporting the Arab Spring, including in Egypt, yielded a democratic but fundamentalist Islamic regime led by the Muslim Brotherhood. Had it not been for General Al-Sisi’s Western-backed coup d’état, this democratic election would have put Cairo on track to becoming the epicenter of a new Caliphate.

If Iran is to play a significant role in determining how the basic existential conditions of human life can be secured in the face of a potential technological singularity, then Iran must reemerge as a world power within the next twenty years.

One catastrophic danger that immediately became apparent during the crisis of the brief Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt was a Sunni fundamentalist threat to ancient Egyptian monuments and artifacts. The situation became so dire that, at one point, prime time Egyptian national television was hosting Mufti guests promising to blow up the Giza Pyramids. It became easy to imagine that one fine morning we would all wake up to scenes of the Great Sphinx having been decapitated with dynamite by the cover of night. It is true that in the early days of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, there were a few zealots within the rising regime who had similar ideas with regard to Persepolis or the tombs of the Achaemenid emperors. However, the traditional stance of Shi’ism prevailed and, as was the case in the Safavid period, let alone with the ultra-Persian Ismaili Shi’ites in the medieval period, the Pre-Islamic heritage of Iran was appropriated by the Shi’ite clergy to bolster their Imamate in a way comparable to the Roman-ness of the Catholic Church.

Oftentimes one’s enemies have a clearer perception of oneself. So we ought to take very seriously the claims of surrounding Sunni Arab countries that contemporary expansionist Shi’ite militancy is actually a reassertion of Persian Imperialism (including in Turkic, but Shi’ite Azerbaijan). Unlike Iran, Egypt has no organic continuity with its ancient cultural heritage. There have been too many disruptions and changes of language in the country, from the ancient Persians, to the classical Greeks, and the Romans, all before the Arab-Muslim conquest, to the Ottoman Turks later in the Islamic period. The native Egyptian language and culture did not even survive into the pagan Roman epoch, let alone into Islamic times. The contemporary nation of Egypt is an artificial British colonial construction from out of the ruins of the Ottoman Caliphate. It is so uprooted that Taliban-style destruction of ancient Egyptian cultural treasures is conceivable.

4. Synthesizing Pan-Shi’ism with Pan-Iranism

In the battle for hearts and minds, worldwide, an Iranian Shi’ite Imamate will trump an Egyptian Sunni Caliphate any day. Even Israel would align with a militantly Shi’ite Iran if it were to be presented with such a binary. Furthermore, if a Sunni Cairo-based Caliphate were to endorse or even condone vandalism committed against archeological sites, or destroy the extensive tourism industry of Egypt, it is likely that a significant enough segment of secularists in the country would align with Western powers to re-impose some type of colonial rule over Egypt – in whatever masked form that would need to take for the sake of salvaging an archeological heritage that belongs to all mankind. This could happen in the context of a broader NATO or European intervention on the North African side of the Mediterranean. Israel could, under these conditions, recapture the Sinai peninsula.

All of that would be completely compatible with Iranian dominance further to the East – especially in Shi’ite parts of Syria, Iraq, the Kurdish territories, Azerbaijan, Shi’ite parts of the Persian Gulf, southwestern Yemen, and the Shi’ite and Tajik parts of Central Asia – especially Herat, Kabul, Badakhshan, Dushanbe, Samarkand, and Bukhara. Such a geopolitical strategy requires a fusion of the Shi’ite Muslim and Pan-Iranist discourses. The Pan-Iranist discourse would be more significant in Sunni parts of Iranian Civilization, such as Kurdistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and relevant parts of Uzbekistan.

In other words, a Renaissance of Iran’s leadership of the Islamic world ought not to be considered solely in terms of a Shi’ite victory in a sectarian war with Sunnis. Continued Iranian dominance across all Shi’ite Muslim territories is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for the renaissance of Iran as a civilization, one that is at least geopolitically on par with China in the rivalry to define the World Order of the twenty-first century. This return to superpower status also requires Iran reaching into Sunni parts of its civilizational sphere on the basis of a renaissance of the Iranian heritage.

Advocates of an Iranian Renaissance need to understand that an attempt to lobotomize Iran through a forced return to Zoroastrianism (as if it ever exclusively defined even the Pre-Islamic heritage of Iran) would sever Iran’s connection to the other countries in its civilizational sphere. Overthrowing the Islamic Republic would result in the shattering of the nation’s industrial infrastructure and economic system, the dissolution of its current military force, and possibly even violent attempts at secession on the part of ethnic minorities. This would definitively derail Iran from its track to becoming the core state of what is currently understood to be “Islamic Civilization” and what, over time, can be transformed back into Iranian Civilization. It would, in Alexander Dugin’s terms, ensure that Iran never becomes a pole in a multipolar world order. I say never because we do not have an infinite time frame wherein Iran’s reemergence as a world power, or even a superpower, can take place.

As I argued in World State of Emergency (Arktos 2017), convergent advancements in technology will face the human species as a whole with an apocalyptic singularity within the next thirty years. If Iran is to play a significant role in determining how these technologies are regulated and how the basic existential conditions of human life can be secured in the face of this potential singularity, and with a view to Iranian values, then Iran must reemerge as a world power within the next twenty years. The only way for that to happen is through a transformation of the current regime, not a chaotic regime change. The only concrete path to such global influence at the moment of what will be the greatest crisis ever faced by humanity, is for Iran to continue to consolidate control over the Middle East and Central Asia as the hegemon of the Islamic World.

The Iranian economist and political scientist, Dr. Hooshang Amirahmadi has characterized the Islamic Republic of Iran as having passed through several phases in its respective emphasis on Islamic versus Iranian identity. Initially, the regime began with an Islam–Islam ideology in 1980s, then shifted to an Islam–Iran position in the late 1990s into the early 2000s. Now as the discourse of many Iranian politicians across the country’s political spectrum, from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Javid Zarif, tends to emphasize a pride in the Iranian heritage and a defense of Iran’s national interest over Islamist rhetoric, the country is passing into an Iran-Islam phase. The point of culmination for this socio-political trajectory is an Iran-Iran phase that will also represent the full-blown realization of an Iranian Renaissance. Iranian society should pass into that phase in an organic fashion, after Iran has established its civilizational hegemony over the heart of the Islamic world – including control of the oil fields on the southern coast of the Persian Gulf and administration of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. What a better world we would be living in if the Grand Mosque at Mecca were broadcasting the poetry of Rumi and Hafez to all Muslims, rather than spewing Wahabi and Salafist ideology.

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Iranian Leviathan with Jason Reza Jorjani https://arktos.com/2019/09/17/iranian-leviathan-with-jason-reza-jorjani/ https://arktos.com/2019/09/17/iranian-leviathan-with-jason-reza-jorjani/#comments_reply Tue, 17 Sep 2019 09:06:59 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=7463 Dr Jason Reza Jorjani joins Interregnum to discuss his recent Arktos release, Iranian Leviathan: A Monumental History of Mithra’s Abode. Beginning from keen analysis of recent events – the US abandonment of the Iran Nuclear Deal up to the potentially disastrous bombings on Saudi Arabia of September 14, 2019 – we delve into a discussion of some of the major themes of Iranian Leviathan, including an overview of Iran’s three-millennia-long history, the potential for an Iranian power to emerge as the center of an Iranian civilizational sphere, the role of Islam in Iran both historically and today, and how all of this might help produce a stabler, multi-polar world.

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The Sweet-Scented Manuscript https://arktos.com/product/the-sweet-scented-manuscript/ https://arktos.com/product/the-sweet-scented-manuscript/#comments_reply Sat, 14 Sep 2019 14:35:50 +0000 https://arktos.com/?post_type=product&p=7448 Hilarious, brave, and tinged with the inescapable sorrow of death’s inevitability, The Sweet-Scented Manuscript is a portrait of youth itself.

The 1950s are coming to a close, and young Leland Pefley is off to university. He knows only two things about his future: first, that he, like James Dean, will die young and gloriously; second, that in the meantime he was not destined to live like anyone else. Navigating the pitfalls of conformism and debauchery, overcome by the despair and rapture of youthful love, and menaced continually by the need for gainful employment, Lee boldly strives to defend his integrity and to conquer the heart of the love of his life, the ravishing Judy.

The Sweet-Scented Manuscript is a gorgeous recounting of the romance, the fatalism, the rebelliousness, and the tragicomedy of the springtide of life, sharpened by all the spices of an intelligent young man’s lively revolt against the deadening mediocrity of his times.

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The Sweet-Scented Manuscript https://arktos.com/product/the-sweet-scented-manuscript-hardback/ https://arktos.com/product/the-sweet-scented-manuscript-hardback/#comments_reply Sat, 14 Sep 2019 14:28:47 +0000 https://arktos.com/?post_type=product&p=7445 Hilarious, brave, and tinged with the inescapable sorrow of death’s inevitability, The Sweet-Scented Manuscript is a portrait of youth itself.

The 1950s are coming to a close, and young Leland Pefley is off to university. He knows only two things about his future: first, that he, like James Dean, will die young and gloriously; second, that in the meantime he was not destined to live like anyone else. Navigating the pitfalls of conformism and debauchery, overcome by the despair and rapture of youthful love, and menaced continually by the need for gainful employment, Lee boldly strives to defend his integrity and to conquer the heart of the love of his life, the ravishing Judy.

The Sweet-Scented Manuscript is a gorgeous recounting of the romance, the fatalism, the rebelliousness, and the tragicomedy of the springtide of life, sharpened by all the spices of an intelligent young man’s lively revolt against the deadening mediocrity of his times.

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Confessions Before Our Old God https://arktos.com/2019/09/13/confessions-before-our-old-god/ https://arktos.com/2019/09/13/confessions-before-our-old-god/#view_comments Fri, 13 Sep 2019 12:35:47 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=7437 It might seem quite ridiculous and insolent that I, a trifling artist and child of our postmodern age, should write of such noble and sublime things as gods and faith. That I should judge the faiths which our ancestors once held, when I, and all of us today, stand so far below the heights of their bright spirit and passionate sacrifices.

Yet this is exactly what I must do, precisely because I am a child of our postmodern age. For while these men forever shine with the undying light of Eternity, the ages from which they ascended are gone, and time has forever severed us from the world of Tradition wherein they acted. We are alone, we postmodern children, and Fate has forced us to find a new path to the heights of our ancestors, as all bridges behind us have been swallowed by the dark currents of modernity.

Thus by speaking against the faith of our ancestors, I am not aiming to defile them – how could any mud even be thrown to reach the heights of their heavenly peaks? – but rather to find a path which we can walk, and through which we can honour their deeds by deeds of our own.

So it is not from out of any imagined greatness of my own that I write this confession, but rather it is from my incompleteness as a child of this age. And in this writing, I shall not do as I have previously done and write hidden behind the words of men greater than me, distorting what they have said to fit what I myself feel within our Age. Rather I will plunge into my own heart, and unearth the currents that have flown hidden, undeveloped or denied in my previous writing – thus both destroying and completing what I have written before.

The greatest and most important movement in my writing has been the movement towards Christ – the realization of his greatness, in spite of the Nietzschean and Pagan outlook on life which I previously had. Yet when this movement and image was completed, and I returned to the Bible and the actual words of Christ, I could not recognize what I had painted before me. There was someone else on my canvas, someone I had mistaken for Christ, and whom I had forced into the ill-fitting robes of the noble Nazarene.

We must wholly and bravely believe in a coming Ragnarök – in a destruction of everything old which return our realms to their true Origin and Tradition.

Then who was it that I had painted? Is he a God of the future which is to come? Certainly not, for I am no priest, and much less a prophet. I could never achieve the clear vision and exalted sublimity needed to discern the coming of a new God. I am not nearly delusional enough to see in this mere painter a new John who would baptize our people, with the promise of a Messiah and God which we have not known or seen before.

As an artist, I am just a starved and miserable dog, trapped and confined within the strangling vines and dark foliage of our Age. I can do nothing but chase blindly after fleeting images, trying to clench my fangs around the ghostly prey of a Life which has been taken from me. It is an existence among rustling leaves and wailing winds, among rotten trunks far away from the golden steppes of holy priests and warriors. So what is it that I have caught between my fangs?

It can be nothing more than a piece of a long-forgotten past. A blue inch of some old cloak, embroidered with thin golden threads from a Golden Age. A bundle of strands, which once had flowed like an eternal spring from the shoulders of a Father and Lord, but which now have been torn apart by the currents of Time.

By mere luck, my blind hunt had placed upon my swollen tongue the taste of a lost age. And the small golden spark still residing in this cloth spread like flaming gasoline through my meagre body, burning with the stinging, metallic scent of a titanic sword, which had come at the end of Ages to vanquish whatever has become weak and broken. To prepare the soil of our realms for something both new and ancient, by burning everything old into fertilizing ashes.

But who was He I had but glimpsed? It could not be our pagan gods – it could not be that old and ghostly Odin of the fairy-world, who depended on the golden apples of a woman for life, who depended on sons to fight his battles, who depended on a well for knowledge, and who depended on a successor to take his place the day he died. Yes, in the great mishmash of animistic nature worship and all-too-human gods that is Paganism, I could not recognize the unmoved blue of the Sky and flaming gold of the Sun which I had caught in my mouth.

Thus it was only to Christ I could turn. For Christ told of a one and only God, an absolute and self-sufficient perfection, who yet had chosen to create this world – who yet had chosen, through his unfathomable love, to tread upon it with bleeding feet and a noble crown of thorns and suffering. In this absurd and beautiful image, I could recognize both the cold, still blue of the sky, and the scorching flames of loving gold. And I could not think of any greater image known to us – yet I never set foot in a church.

I talked of the reasons why Christianity was a dead Tradition. I said that it had broken its initiation to the original greatness of Christ, or lost its power over our peoples. But no Christian would believe that Christ is not always present, no matter the depths into which his church falls, to welcome those who seek him. And no Christian would express doubt in the victory of his own church – in the victory of Christ’s own body – and instead choose to merely observe the struggle of the church from outside.

I talked of creating new forms which could manifest the Father in tomorrow, but for a Christian, there can be no new forms. Christ is already the complete and definite, and there can only be deviations from him. And who could ever create anything which could reach the heights of God himself? Who could ever repeat the sacrifice of God made Man? The mere thought of such ‘new forms’ must make a man cringe with shame.

So I had to realize, either that I was the worst and most cowardly Christian to ever walk the earth, or that I simply did not believe in Christ – that I made my reservations not because I feared to struggle for him against modernity, but because of a repressed knowledge that I did not see him as my Lord at all.

It was not Christ that I had painted, but neither was it Thor – rather it was a spark of that original Fire and Father, of which Thor was but a faint glow.

And I know that I do not fear modernity; that I do not fear the wrath of our despicable enemies or the lies of the filthy polluters – hence it must have been someone other than Christ that I had seen. Someone whom I, in my own ignorance, had fused together with the image of Christ, to the disgrace of them both, and myself.

At the height of my veneration of Christ, I tried to paint him on the cross. But I could not bear myself to paint the noble Nazarene. I could not align with the Christian faith and its spirit the image I felt the need to create – I could only paint Christ through the appearance of a dying Thor, who had both slayed the World-Serpent and sacrificed himself for the world below.

But how could that be, when both my reason and heart know Thor to be such an incomplete idol amongst a pantheon of idols? There must have been something else hidden within Thor, which aligned itself with the forgotten God whose torn cloak I had found a piece of, and the embroideries I wanted to reflect. Something which was not Pagan, but rather the source from which Paganism had fallen, a source which far outshines that of Christianity.

It was not Christ that I had painted, but neither was it Thor – rather it was a spark of that original Fire and Father, of which Thor was but a faint glow. But still, it was of this fire that Thor glowed faintly, and as such, there was still something in him which could make the unintelligible embroideries dance with the sense of a clear vision. Even if it was just with a mere fraction of the Light they once reflected, they still shone.

But it was absolutely not a Pagan painting – no, not at all. For I could as little bear myself to paint this image in the standard bright red and heavy, earthly colours that permeates the Pagan depictions of Thor, as I could to paint it in the lamb-white colours of Christianity.

The final colours came to me in a summer night, in these Northern twilights which never really turn into darkness, but rather linger upon the edge of life and death. I lay among blue bedclothes, which in the solemn light glowed mildly in the same cold and still colours as the sky outside of my window. And I saw upon this blue the skin of my own thigh, in its rosy white, which behind fabrics had been spared the scorching light of a summer sun.

I could see Life tense through the fibre of my muscles, as I flexed my flesh upon the sky-like bed, and I could feel the rising course of an ancient blood, which wished to flow as much in the body I had inherited, as among the rosy clouds which glistered through the glass panes.

And when my eyes moved inwards, to the fatter and softer insides of my thighs, I could almost feel the dark dagger of Fate itself, aimed at the vulnerable veins throbbing beneath an all-too thin skin. And at the infinitely small point where this sharp blade touched my living flesh – luring almost unnoticeable, waiting for a moment to plunge into my body – I could feel the unity of Life and Death. I could see it, in the struggling flow of the blood, and its final, grand gushing through the wounds of Fate.

I saw the colours of the Father, whose love and sacrifice I wanted to paint – the cold blue of the sky, the rosy white of twilight clouds, and a gushing sun of Blood. I saw his Hyperborean spirit and blood, and his choice to flow and pour through a people of war-torn, Northern steppes. And it was this sensation of violent Life lived through Death, of spirit flowing through gushing blood and flowering in total destruction, that I could not find in that heavenly afterlife of the Christian.

Christ was necessary for me, and for Europe as a whole, as a denier and vanquisher of that broken and fallen mess we know as Paganism. But I will say that Christ is not the God whose memory is flowing through our blood.

For the Christian may speak of being a part of Christ’s body – but this is not a body which tears itself apart for the spiritual fulfillment of struggling blood, but a vessel whose ultimate goal is to dissolve and leave this world behind, carrying with it the Christian. And the Christian may speak of already having faced Death and Life together with Christ, through the rebirth of baptism – but this is a Death for Life, rather than that Hyperborean Life which lives through Death and War.

Christianity is like the Gothic cathedral, with its vertical lines converging in slender towers, almost floating above the earth. It is a solely upwards-striving architecture of elegant beauty, escaping the filth and sin of the horizontal world below. But it is only the Ancient temple that can truly resonate with Hyperborean blood. For in that temple weight and power is the main principle, expressed in the strong and vertical pillars of spirit which carry the pain of a large, horizontal slab upon their shoulders, unto eternity. Yes, where the Gothic spire escapes the world, the Ancient temple stands up to elevate the world – to lift the horizontal slab of marble that was once hidden in the earth, so that it can shine with the purest white, as a part of the sky itself.

Yet when I woke the next morning to paint in the colours I had seen, cowardly reason had again taken place. And only knowing of the Pagan gods and Christ, it had to tell me that it was Christ I painted, bleeding among the scales of the World-Serpent.

But now I’ve realized who I actually wanted to paint – the one and only Sky Father, who is at the origin and centre of Aryan Tradition.

I will never take back anything I have said of Christ’s greatness and beauty, nor will I deny that our ancestors saw some great Truth in Christ, and lived glorious lives in his image. Neither would I ever attempt to ridicule those of my friends who wholeheartedly seek for Christ, and want to live by his light – for they will probably live far more noble and fulfilled lives than I, a dog-like artist, can ever hope for.

Christ was necessary for me, and for Europe as a whole, as a denier and vanquisher of that broken and fallen mess we know as Paganism. But I will say that Christ is not the God whose memory is flowing through our blood, and that I wish, despite the high deeds of Christianity, that Christianity has had its run, and is facing the end of its cycle. This so that our true, original Father can return – he who as of now remains hidden, far beyond the fog of Paganism.

Yes, Paganism is a damp and dead fog obscuring our original peaks, and it is far worse to be a Pagan today than a Christian. I, who dream of the infinite reaches from which Paganism fell, can harbor nothing but disdain for those who worship dead remains of false gods, mixed with the stinking soil of animistic ghosts.

The Pagan gods can be seen as nothing more than distortions and degenerations, only having their value in the fact that they clung to some small spark of the original Sky Father and his eternal Flame. To then cling to the ashes of these clingers can be seen as nothing more than spiritual weakness and idolatry – instead we must kill within us all old Pagan gods, kings and priests, in order to unearth the original Fire with which they once burned, but which they themselves never were.

But how are we to reach this original Father and Fire? Any reconstruction or backward gazing is of course completely impossible – for the original Father of the Aryan Tradition is completely hidden by the past, and even if we knew him, we could not summon him by only sewing back together the tattered remains of his garments.

Instead we must look forwards. But who among us could ever dream of reaching the skies all by himself, to show the Father’s will to us? It is simply unimaginable, and to say otherwise is to forever hide the true Father behind a false and idolatrous faith in our own insignificant power as men.

He is far too high for anyone of the flesh to reach, and this is our great despair. Yet this despair is also our greatest hope, for it means that neither our ancestors, the first Aryans of flesh and blood, could reach the Father on their own, but rather that he must have shown himself to them. Any true knowledge of the Sky Father demands that he treads down, in some way or another, and if he has tread down once, he can do it again, igniting yet another turn of our cycle.

We must not look back to the last and lowest remnants of the previous Hyperborean Tradition – that is, not look back to the mishmash which we know as Paganism. Rather, we must wholly and bravely believe in a coming Ragnarök – in a destruction of everything old which return our realms to their true Origin and Tradition. We must believe as our ancestors did, that the height and beginning of a Cycle paradoxically lies hidden beneath its bottom and end.

We must believe that He will show himself again, through the end of our current civilization and that coming war, which hangs so ominously and inevitable, like a dark blade, above the head of Europa. Believe that He will lay waste to everything which we sad descendants of old Heroes know, yet at the same time bring back everything we’ve forgotten, thus rekindling the European sun.

But unlike the Pagan, we will not hope for a successor of Odin at the end of Ragnarök and the dawn of Tomorrow – rather we will wish for the original Sky Father himself, Him for whom Odin was but a faint retainer.

Thus I am not a Pagan; rather, I have faith in Him who is the source from which Paganism fell. Furthermore, I have complete faith in his Return. But because of that, I am at the same time of a Paganism far greater than that which any actual Pagan knows and professes.

So what am I to do with this faith? As I’ve said, I’m just a man of our age, and I can have no pretensions or delusions of being able to reach the Sky Father anew. And I’ll never take on the role of a charlatan or false prophet, misleading my brethren with empty words – for no words or thought of man can ever show Him to us again. Instead I’ll only live as what I am – a dog-like artist – and I’ll never again pretend that my art is anything more than the craft of such a dog. And I’ll only live as who I am – a man of my people – and carry out such duties as Fate will put upon my shoulders.

Not because any of these things in itself will lead to the return of the Sky Father, but because this is the only way in which I can express my Faith in Him and His Return. The only thing I can do is to face the great and dark struggle that is to come, now at the end of our old Age. I can only throw myself towards the godless and howling Fimbulwinter – but I will do so with the burning Faith that He is at the other side.

And if I amount to nothing more than a dog’s death, if I am never to see our true Father in my lifetime, but only am to disappear in the darkness before the break of dawn – then what of that? A dog lives a dog’s life, and dies a dog’s death – and there’s nothing more to it.

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Dumézil and the Structure of Civilizations https://arktos.com/2019/09/10/dumezil-and-the-structure-of-civilizations/ https://arktos.com/2019/09/10/dumezil-and-the-structure-of-civilizations/#comments_reply Tue, 10 Sep 2019 14:26:35 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=7415 The portrait which cultivated persons generally paint of the religion of Ancient Rome is, more or less, that it was an isolated complex. According to the schema followed by the current teaching – and, moreover, according to the method adopted by more than one specialist of Roman things – after a hasty nod to the pre-Roman Italic civilizations and the Etruscans, they proceed to consider Roman cults and institutions in detachment, save as they note the Greek and Oriental influences which these cults and institutions subsequently underwent. As this is how things presently stand, the publisher Einaudi has done well to publish, in Italian translation, the work of a well-known French scholar, G. Dumézil: Iupiter, Mars, Quirinus (Torino, 1955),1 which offers an example of the application of a different method – the comparative method, on an ‘Indo-European’ basis – in the study and the interpretation of the Roman world.

The three types of gods have their correspondence in three functional castes or classes: the lords or priest-lords, the warriors, and the bourgeois or proprietary and farming animal breeders.

This method is certainly not new. The discovery that civilizations, such as the Hindu, the Iranic, the Greek, the Roman, the Celtic, the Germanic and various others still all share a common root dates back to the second half of the last century.

The thesis was demonstrated first of all on the philological plane, with respect to the inheritance of the elements of a single original language. From this plane, the thesis passed on to the racial, seeking to reconstruct prehistoric migrations of groups of peoples all from a single stock – the Indo-Europeans – who, speaking this original language, gave to the aforementioned civilizations their essential fingerprint.2 Finally came confrontation with the problem of cults, of divinities, of institutions and of juridical forms, with the intent of establishing other parallels and points of comparison.

As was natural, the initial enthusiasm led to prejudices, errors and fantasies. Only recently has the comparative method been refined, and the Indo-European thesis been formulated in a scientifically satisfying way. Dumézil is among those who have made the best use of it, and for some years now he has applied it to the study of the Roman civilization. The book noted above includes the major essays which he published along these lines from 1941 to 1948.

Written with extreme clarity and vivacity despite its erudite appurtenances, this book is interesting in the first place for its method. New horizons are opened here, for Roman things are considered in function of that wider cycle of civilization, of the Indo-European heritage. This heritage, to be sure, might have received a particular and original formation in Rome, but without ever wholly losing its features. Indeed, it is only in this framework that not a few Roman motifs reveal to us their deeper and more original meaning.

In the second place, this book is interesting because Dumézil felicitously takes up once more the idea, already advanced by Vico and de Coulanges,3 of an internal, organic unity of the cults, the social bodies, the vocations, the functions and the institutions of the ancient civilizations. In Rome, no less than in every traditional civilization, all of this was originally organized around a single axis.

Through complex and tenacious research, Dumézil demonstrates that the tripartite structure of civilizations, well-attested in the East, was not alien even to Rome.

Then there comes the specific aspects of Dumézil’s research. He holds that all civilizations proposed a partition of ‘functional divinities’, which reflects an analogous social partition. These would be, in the first place, divinities that incarnate the idea of sovereignty in both its mystical and almost magical aspect (sacred power which affirms itself directly, which triumphs without fighting), as well as legal; then, warrior divinities; and finally, the divinities of fecundity, of riches, of productivity. The three types of gods have their correspondence in three functional castes or classes: the lords or priest-lords, the warriors, and the bourgeois or proprietary and farming animal breeders. Through complex and tenacious research, Dumézil demonstrates that this tripartite structure, well-attested in the East, was not alien even to Rome – though here, the principle of a somewhat uniform social unity, based on the civic sense, eventually prevailed over the principle of hierarchico-functional articulation. The triad of gods in Rome according to Dumézil was Jove, Mars and Quirinus. The tripartition of the major Roman priesthood, the Flamines, corresponded to these. The social counterpart was constituted by the three ancient tribes of the Ramnes, the Luceres and the Titienses. These traces of a common legacy survived in Rome up to that time in which they became simple archaic hold-overs, no longer accessible4 to the animating idea which had constituted their basis.

So far as the special aspect of his research goes, however, Dumézil sometimes lets his theses lead him by the nose; he seeks to reduce too many things to his schema. This is not the place to enter into critical considerations, so we will mention only two points. In the first place, rather than a social tripartition, the fact of the matter is that we often encounter a quadripartition: sovereignty, warrior force, bourgeoisie, and workers. It matters little that Dumézil observes that in the East the fourth caste was not composed of Indo-Europeans, but of subjected peoples, because he admits that the Romans and the Nordics came to their tripartition through association with ethnic groups originally heterogeneous and even inimical to them.

Is the social tripartition or quadripartition truly a characteristic of the Indo-Europeans, and almost a sign by which they can be recognized? Or is it a schema having an intrinsic value, an internal necessity and even an analogy in the articulation of the human being?

The second point is this: Is the social tripartition or quadripartition truly a characteristic of the Indo-Europeans, and almost a sign by which they can be recognized? Or is it a schema having an intrinsic value, an internal necessity and even an analogy in the articulation of the human being? Despite what Dumézil might think of this, we believe that the second alternative is the correct one, and that one may say at most that the Indo-Europeans were the peoples who, more than any others, succeeded in recognizing and applying the ideal to an organico-functional hierarchy. This ideal however maintains its objective and normative value, and is not to be considered as the casual creation of a given human group.

The importance of this last point will not escape the reader, supposing only that he, beyond everything which Dumézil’s book might compellingly reveal regarding a Romanness as studied through a new and wider view, is brought by all of this to intuit the lasting and concordant meaning of that which a group of great civilizations manifested – civilizations understood as a true order of social functions all referred to a State which, as Plato said, exists as idea, beyond the bounds of history and prior to any particular more or less imperfect realization.

References

1This book by Georges Dumézil (1898–1986) has yet to be translated into English from the French Jupiter Mars Quirinus (1944–1948). His 1940 work Mitra-Varuna, which has been (New York: Zone Books, 1988), treats of similar questions.

2Much research has obviously been done in the decades following Julius Evola’s publication of the present essay. We discussed some of these matters on one of our Interregnum episodes with Survive the Jive.

3Giambattista Vico (1668–1744) was an Italian philosopher, best known for his 1725 work The New Science, regarded as one of the first attempts at a philosophy of history. Numa Denis Fustel de Coulanges (1830–1889) was a French historian, whose best known work, also his first, has been translated into English as The Ancient City; and it treats of the centrality of religion as a binding factor in the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, so much so that the decline of the old cults led to a corresponding decline of society as such.

4Literally, ‘no longer transparent to the animating idea which had constituted their basis.’

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Force and Freedom: Fascism, Totalitarianism and the Left-Right Spectrum https://arktos.com/2019/09/06/force-and-freedom-fascism-totalitarianism-and-the-left-right-spectrum/ https://arktos.com/2019/09/06/force-and-freedom-fascism-totalitarianism-and-the-left-right-spectrum/#view_comments Fri, 06 Sep 2019 15:46:23 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=7391 I have been pleased to review the responses posted beneath the Mussolini article published week before last – and more pleased still at their critical, often incisive character. Understanding Fascism represents one of the great challenges of our time for any serious inquiry into the political alternatives presented by what is increasingly a blandly, almost tyrannically unanimous Modernity. The difficulties begin even from the word itself: is ‘fascism’ meant to indicate specifically Italian Fascism? Or does it rather denote that loose family of regimes which emerged in various European countries in the interwar period? Even leaving aside the difficulties involved in comprehending ‘fascism’ in the generic sense – for instance, the differences between its various manifestations in various European states, its sometimes amorphous or deliberately anti-ideological stance (particularly in Italy), etc. – a clear view of this phenomenon is, of course, complicated still further on account of the fact that it – for several comprehensible reasons and a swarm of utterly absurd and doctrinaire ones – has been swaddled in a fog of obscurantism, loathing, and dread.

There is nothing surprising in this. As I point out in my introductory notes to Mussolini’s article, fascism generically understood is the only real alternative to Liberalism to actually emerge as a political reality in late centuries, yet which at the same time was never disproven by the ‘march of history’; it was defeated militarily, never ideologically – nay, nor even concretely, in terms of its praxis. It has never been demonstrated, in the ‘laboratory of reality’, that Fascism of one variety or another would not have been able to produce a long-standing and successful state, had it not been for its obliteration in the war.

The right-wing or the left-wing placement of Fascism is, by the standards of the left-right spectrum itself, fundamentally misguided.

It should go without saying – though alas, given the present climate, it certainly does not – that our right aim in seeking to investigate Fascism is the improvement and the deepening of our political understanding, and not some crude and historically ingenuous will to resurrect Fascist ideas from their tomb. We contend that Liberalism has had a great opponent in Fascism: it should then be of interest to the friends and critics of Liberalism alike then to comprehend Fascism in a lucid light. Liberalism is impaired in this, among other things, by its natural and continual animosity toward its old nemesis. The ruthless but judicious theoretical critique of Fascism, which can only be carried out today by those standing beyond the present political conventions, is therefore of utmost importance today – and I find that the Journal’s commentators have not failed to put their finger on several of the essential questions which must be included in any such critique.

I would like to offer several very preliminary thoughts on a few of these questions, with the aim of promoting further reflection in this greatly important matter. I will refer to several of the comments submitted under Mussolini’s article1 as my point of departure.

Fascism: Left or Right?

To begin with what is nearest me, several of the commentators noted what they believed to be an error in my introductory notes to my translation of Mussolini’s article. In these notes, I endorse Mussolini’s neat distinction between Fascism and the political left of his day, while the commentators in question either believe this distinction to be untenable, or hold that that the left-right spectrum itself is so. Before anything, then, a point of at least partial agreement between us: I wholly agree that the left-right dichotomy, which is so entrenched in our discourses as to be absolutely presupposed by them, is radically limited in scope, choked by its narrow horizon and basically unequal to the ambitious task which is generally set before it of qualifying the entire gamut of human political thought. This spectrum in fact issued from a specific historical moment – the French Revolution, as one commentator has rightly indicated – and therefore dwells entirely within a paradigm of Enlightenment political thought, of which the Revolution was merely the great emblem and most celebrated manifestation. This spectrum is breaking apart in our time, because that paradigm itself no longer encompasses the full range of real political possibilities confronting us. That is the measure of the dizzying, often frightening potentialities which are opening beneath our very feet in the present day.

Some of the commentators have suggested that the conventional spectrum is therefore false; I would rather say it is limited. It cannot be wholly false, because it was confidently used to understand and categorize the better part of political phenomena for some two centuries, even by eminently competent observers and almost without any substantial critique, which suffices to demonstrate that it evidently referred to real features of the political situation of prior times. That it is being called into question today indicates, not that we have somehow seen its errors, to which past generations were blind, but that we are exceeding its limits and so can no longer adequately explain the political facts of our time with reference to it.

The left-right political spectrum almost fully suffices to understand the politics of middle Modernity – which is to say, the republican/liberal/revolutionary left as against the conservative (and therefore usually monarchistic or aristocratic)2 right. It is altogether an Enlightenment schema, and is quite suitable to the period in which the Enlightenment was politically coming into its maturity. It falls apart in late Modernity and especially in so-called ‘Postmodernity’, because here, for the first time, alternatives are both actually realized and actively proposed to the Enlightenment as such. Communism is not among these alternatives; communism is in fact in many ways the culmination of Enlightenment thought, and for that reason stands naturally on the far political left, as has historically been acknowledged and almost universally accepted; communism marks the natural and generally accepted boundary of the left. I therefore entirely subscribe to Kerry Bolton’s view that Liberalism and Communism must be regarded as closer kin and kind, than Fascism and Communism.

Fascism and National Socialism, meanwhile, have likewise commonly been placed on the political right of our spectrum; in my opinion, however, this has been done reflexively and unreflectively, out of the mere presupposition of this conventional spectrum – i.e. out of the prejudice that that spectrum is sufficient to understand all possible political forms, and perforce must encompass as well the regimes of the interwar period. The inadequacy of their placement on the right is indicated by several visible and well-known facts. For one, while the left generally does not protest the view that communism is its extreme boundary, almost no one on the mainstream right rests easy with its purported kinship to Fascism, National Socialism, Spanish Francoism, etc. – neither the conservatives, who fail to understand how these revolutionary regimes could possibly represent the far boundary of conservative thought, nor the remnant traditionalists of monarchical stamp, who see in all of these forms of government something quite different from, and in some cases perhaps inherently threatening to, the traditional monarchies of Europe. Moreover, while it is almost never argued that communism belongs to the political right, there inevitably arise voices (usually, though not always, of libertarian origin) which insist on the extreme left-wing nature of Fascism.

These facts indicate a degree of confusion regarding the very concept of Fascism. My claim is that the right-wing or the left-wing placement of Fascism is, by the standards of the left-right spectrum itself, fundamentally misguided. In truth, both Fascism and National Socialism were reactions against the Enlightenment, and therefore were reactions against the whole of the political spectrum produced by the Enlightenment. They amalgamated or incorporated qualities and political aims or characteristics from both sides of the conventional scale, and for this reason alone, it is impossible to adequately plot them on that scale.

The Totalitarian Question

All of this is directly relevant to a second point of agreement standing between me and several commentators: they have indicated Mussolini’s contempt for freedom as a dangerous and potentially totalitarian element of his political thought, and I agree with them – supposing the issue is rightly understood. This purely reactionary element of Fascism in my view owes its existence to a widespread but shallow comprehension of those Enlightenment dynamics which Mussolini (among others) was openly seeking to redress and replace. The Enlightenment attempted to marry freedom with equality, but, in order to arrange a marriage between two ideas that had always been understood to stand in tension if not hostility, had to fundamentally alter the concept of freedom itself: freedom, no longer as the culmination and mark of virtue, but freedom as the mere absence of constraint. This work was done by the Enlightenment thinkers, not explicitly or with great ado, but quietly and surreptitiously.3 Those who have merely reacted against the Enlightenment without deeply understanding it (as many of the Italian Fascists) have rejected both equality and this modified view of freedom. Their inadequate grasp of the insidious theoretical work done upon the very concept of freedom during the Enlightenment led directly to their failure to reclaim the older idea of freedom; they became antagonistic and hostile to freedom as such, and this led inevitably in many cases to a kind of obsession with blind obedience, irrationalism, instinctualism, primitivism, mysticism of the most obtuse kind, labour as the aim of life, productivity as the measure of man, etc. It led, in other words, to a resounding failure to resurrect, in anything near its full sense, the pre-modern idea of human virtue.

In focusing so strongly on blind and absolute obedience, Fascism could not possibly forge a full human being, nor even adequately aim at such, and everything from the legal order to the intellectual life of the nation suffered for this dearth.

This is surely connected with totalitarianism, and does indeed point to noteable similarities between the Fascist regime, the National Socialist regime, the Communist regime, and other like regimes of the same period – similarities we would be remiss not to note. Under Fascism there was indubitably a quantity of idolatry of the state, which more than one commentator has justly raised as a possible critique against Fascism. It must be stated, however, that in clear opposition to Soviet Communism, this idolatry was not unquestioned and was not universally adopted by the Fascists themselves. It always remained a point of debate in Fascist Italy.4 This tension can be seen in the regime itself, which often protested that it was ‘spiritualizing politics’ and attempting to forge a ‘new man’ (words heard from the lips of Mussolini himself on more than one occasion) – attempts which were of enormous potential, though they often ring hollow in the light of what we know about daily life under Fascism. In focusing so strongly on blind and absolute obedience from the very bottom to the very top of its hierarchy, and without at the same time seeking to nourish and stimulate, at its upper echelons in particular, a new liberty and initiative, Fascism could not possibly forge a full human being, nor even adequately aim at such, and everything from the legal order to the intellectual life of the nation suffered for this dearth.5

In one respect, of course, taking the state as the crucial point of reference for public life was healthy for Italy, since most human beings are incapable of true freedom, and thrive best in hierarchy and order, in an organic state wherein they may work constantly for the fulfilment of generally recognized and communally beneficial social roles. It could perhaps be said that Fascism solved the problem of mass society in its pragmatic quality, but not in its spiritual quality.

There is a key lesson here, which totalitarian governments of all stripes not only fail to grasp but actively undermine, whether consciously or unconsciously: the only way of thoroughly opposing the egalitarianism of Modernity is through a thorough renovation of the true aristocratic ideal of freedom. Because Fascism was insufficiently radical to grasp this, it naturally tended to drift in a similar direction as other late-modern dictatorships of the epoch, and to this extent can be regarded as sharing distinct features and practices in common with Soviet Communism. The wholly modern concept of totalitarianism is therefore useful for understanding these points of contact. However, it cannot explain the equally overpowering tensions standing between those same regimes – and here we return to Mussolini’s useful distinction between Fascism and the political left.

In a state of affairs in which two states emerge with similar ‘ideologies’, there is generally a natural confluence of the two into a single political alliance, since they share common ends and perceive that their power to attain those ends will be augmented through their conjunction. This is all the truer when they possess at the same time a common and powerful enemy. Their coalescing can be interrupted, of course, by political intrigues, coups, assassinations, etc.; it can be compromised by the existence of ambitious individuals who struggle against one another for power, or by divergences between the national, economic and geopolitical interests of established states; but the tendency, particularly on the level of the mass and the gross, is toward unity and not division. Thus the radical anarchists, Marxists, communists, socialists, proponents of the ‘Crystal Palace’ etc. etc. during the Russian Revolution for the most part flowed naturally together into the Red Bolshevik Army. Thus the monarchists, reactionaries, blackshirts, etc. in Italy of the interwar period naturally converged in Fascism. The United States and Britain were destined allies during the war, despite their patent conflicts of interest on the global scale and their ambitions for unilateral domination over the same seas; they were both, at bottom and despite various internal contradictions, liberal states, and shared a set of metapolitical goals, which overrode their geopolitical antagonism.

But it is precisely such convergence between Fascism and Marxist socialism, or between National Socialism and Marxist socialism, which one does not see in the rise of the former two regimes. To be sure, Stalin borrowed much from Mussolini and from Hitler; but what he borrowed were primarily tactics and outward trappings, not inward principles or aims. National Socialism remained intransigently opposed to Communism, despite its brief marriage of convenience with Soviet Russia; meanwhile, the earliest emergence of the Fascists as a political force involved ubiquitous and often enough bloody battles with socialists. Mussolini was originally a socialist critical of socialism; he could not have become a Fascist without first rejecting socialism and being expelled from its ranks. As a clear measure of his opposition, it should be recalled that communism very well might have seized power in interwar Italy had it not been precisely for Mussolini’s rise. One commentator to the article published the week before last has pointed out that Mussolini was killed, not by the Allies, but by his fellow Italians. Given. Yet his final execution was not carried out by just any Italians; it was the Partisans who murdered him, almost all of whom were socialists of one stripe or another. The assassination of Mussolini at the hands of left-wing elements might be explained as a mere political ploy in a time of great political upheaval; the gloating public display of his mutilated corpse cannot be explained in these terms.

Put briefly, the alliance between National Socialist Germany and Fascist Italy was often uneasy, but that between National Socialist Germany and Soviet Russia was untenable. The differences in the first case, though real and important, were not diametrical; in the second case, only matters of geopolitical import could suffice to temporarily suppress them, so far apart did the two regimes stand on several fundamental issues. It is useful here to recall what Alliance actually won the war. And while this alliance, too, proved ephemeral, this was not because Communism and Liberalism stood so much opposed to one another, but because America and Russia did.6

Alternatives to the Spectrum

It is generally allowed in the New Right that the conventional political spectrum is or has become somehow inadequate.7 If we accept this premise for a moment, the question becomes what manner or method we should then adopt to analyze and comprehend political things, both in their essential qualities and in their specific relations with one another. We have been so long accustomed to the use of a simple bipolar spectrum that we are wont to attempt to preserve it in some form or other by changing or multiplying its poles. We need not list here the variety of often wild alternatives that have been proposed, which range from Cartesian coordinate systems to horseshoes, with probably even more curious geometries yet lurking around the manifold chambers of the internet. I would rather like to focus on an alternative suggested by one of our own commentators, which seems to me one of the likeliest substitutes that I have seen, but which to my mind, precisely for its superiority to most other possibilities, demonstrates the fundamental inadequacy of ‘lineal thinking’ of this kind as a whole.

Rather than considering the political in terms of a single scientistic and lineal (or even planar) scale, it is meet to think of political things in terms of a variety of possible political regimes.

The commentator in question suggests that the true poles of the scale should be conceived to stand between a hypothetical extreme of total individual freedom on the one hand, and a hypothetical extreme of total governmental control on the other. Leaving aside the question of whether freedom itself can adequately be understood in terms of the absence of constraint, I do not dispute that the alternative between a certain kind of freedom and governmental control is a real one, and that it can be useful for comprehending any number of political things. More, I do not doubt that one can indeed, should one wish to put oneself to such a task, arrange all human societies upon such a scale. I suspect, however, that such a spectrum will lead to problems of its own which it is not equipped to surmount. A single example will have to suffice: a theocratic Muslim state stands at or near the totalitarian antipode of this scale, alongside atheist Soviet Communism, godless ‘Brave New World’ technocracy, and certain tribal societies wherein the chief controls practically every aspect of the private lives of his tribemates. Do these kinds of government or social organization really have more in common than not? Are there not real and essential political and social differences between them which, following this scale, we are led to downplay or ignore altogether? Or, put from a different point of view, do we really adequately understand a Muslim theocrat or a Marxist idealogue leader, by supposing that his overriding or most important concern is with political power?

I for one doubt this, and I suspect that, while at this level the matter remains rather theoretical, important practical consequences follow from these considerations.

One could similarly arrange societies on a scale ranging from the least technological to the most technological, or from the perfectly egalitarian society to the perfectly hierarchical society, or from the most capitalistic society to the most communistic society. All of this might now and then be useful, but to privilege one or another of these scales as being somehow the measure of political things can only be justified by a rigorous demonstration that the two antipodes are not arbitrarily selected, but represent the root political alternative. For my part, I doubt that there is a single alternative, so much as alternatives. But then binary reductions of any kind, while locally useful, will be globally confounding.

I would propose here what I have already proposed elsewhere, namely, a fundamentally different approach: rather than considering the political in terms of a single scientistic and lineal (or even planar) scale, it is meet to think of political things in terms of a variety of possible political regimes. This kind of thinking originates in classical antiquity, primarily in the work of Plato and Aristotle. These thinkers generally reduced the possible human regimes to anywhere between five and six.8 The task then would be to understand whether totalitarianism is the reflection of one or more of these regimes (principally tyranny), or whether it forms its own characteristic kind of regime. Furthermore, the question emerges of the character of Fascism and National Socialism in their most distinctive features – whether they pertained more to monarchy, tyranny, aristocracy, oligarchy, etc., or whether they somehow represented a mixed regime, or some new regime which, for developments arising from modern times, cannot be understood exclusively in classical terms at all. Even in this latter case, however, classical regime analysis would provide the necessary frame of reference for a comprehensive understanding of new things.

Recovering this diversified and nuanced view of human societies is to my mind the only way of transcending the narrow limitations of every ‘political spectrum’ and freeing ourselves from the logical or ideological cages of our late modern political theory. It could permit us to grasp the essential nature of Fascism with a surer clarity – through which understanding alone we can measure the degree to which Fascism, despite all its blunders and mistakes, represented a legitimate alternative to modern political philosophy, and the degree to which it was nothing but the wayward, prodigal and indeed wastrel child of the same.

References

1Benito Mussolini, ‘Force and Consensus’, Arktos Journal, 23 August 2019.

2There are exceptions to this, not least of all the conservative right in the US, which was from its very origins republican (in the original sense), and not aristocratic or monarchical. The conventional American right has always set its sights on conserving the original republican order of the United States; it has always taken its bearings almost exclusively by the Constitution. The only competitor to the Constitution as a ‘founding document’ for the American right has been the Bible, and it is characteristic of American conservatives to stubbornly assume (rather curiously, in our view) a harmony between the two texts. The possibility of a ‘republican’ or even ‘democratic’ right reflects the deficit of the idea of the right itself. I offer some reflections on this in my essay on conservatism.

3 One commentator provided the following quotation by Locke: ‘[F]or law, in its true notion, is not so much the limitation as the direction of a free and intelligent agent to his proper interest, and prescribes no farther than is for the general good of those under that law’. It is my contention that this presupposes the Enlightenment idea of freedom, not the older Christian or Roman concept of liberty. Further in the same passage (Second Treatise of Government, Chapter VI, § 57), Locke states that ‘liberty is, to be free from restraint and violence from others; which cannot be, where there is no law: but freedom is not, as we are told, a liberty for every man to do what he lists: but a liberty to dispose, and order as he lists, his person, actions, possessions, and his whole property, within the allowance of those laws under which he is, and therein not to be subject to the arbitrary will of another, but freely follow his own.’ The two alternatives proposed here purposely omit the third and classical idea of freedom: freedom as the attainment or consummation of virtue, which perfects the will, liberates one from the inner slavery to vice, and tames the passions. Nothing could be more representative of this difference in views than that a philosopher confined to a prison cell would be viewed, from the modern perspective, as unambiguously enslaved, whereas the same philosopher to antiquity would in no way suffer a diminution of his freedom. For a particularly poignant statement of this view, see the words of a philosopher who was imprisoned: Boethius, Consolations of Philosophy, e.g. Book 1, Chapter VI and Book 2, Chapter II.

4Consider for instance the Second Conference on Trade Unionist and Corporatist Studies, a much publicized event held in Ferrara in 1932, at the very centre of the Fascist regime’s twenty-year rule. This event became the stage for a heated debate between two vying visions of the Fascist state, the one tending toward a (sometimes openly) communist vision of total integration in the organic body of the state, the other defending a more hierarchical view of the Fascist order. For more on this event and on the relation of Fascism to the political left, see Julius Evola, Recognitions (Arktos 2017), Chapter 1, and especially pp. 4–8. See of course also Evola, Fascism Viewed from the Right.

5Fascism is often regarded as an attempt to consolidate all freedom in the single figure of the head of state; to this extent, it might be considered monarchical or tyrannical, depending on the nature of that ruler. Yet it should also be noted that this state of affairs has more in common with the Rousseauean view of the embodiment of the ‘general will’ or the Hobbesian supreme monarch than with any premodern idea or ideal of monarchy; for it tends to divorce the will of the leader altogether from any sense of human virtue.

6Insofar as the Cold War was also an ‘ideological’ struggle, it was the vestigial Republicanism of the United States, in the form of its conservative traditions, which produced such a state of affairs. The left in the United States, and particularly the left-wing intelligentsia largely supported Soviet Communism, and those who opposed it were often considered right-wing cranks. I would claim that, while the American right at that time surely had a more respectable position, the American left was in many ways more intellectually consistent. For anyone who would like to better understand the arguments for a deep kinship between American-style liberalism and Soviet-style communism, including a consideration of the Cold War in this light, I cannot do better than recommend Tomislav Sunic’s Homo Americanus: Child of the Postmodern Age (Arktos, 2018).

7Some will perceive a contradiction in this formulation: if the political spectrum is inadequate, then does not ‘New Right’ cease to mean anything at all? I happen to believe there are good reasons for retaining this epithet, and the idea of the ‘Right’ as such; I have discussed this elsewhere.

8It is worth noting that Machiavelli reduced them to two; see his Prince, Chapter 1. There is evidently something reductionistic here about modern thought, and it would be well worth considering why.

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Culture in America with The Great Order and No White Guilt https://arktos.com/2019/09/06/culture-in-america-with-the-great-order-and-no-white-guilt/ https://arktos.com/2019/09/06/culture-in-america-with-the-great-order-and-no-white-guilt/#comments_reply Fri, 06 Sep 2019 15:37:20 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=7394 Jared George of The Great Order and Jason Kohne of No White Guilt join Interregnum to talk about the state of American culture and the battle currently underway for the soul and the future of the United States. We also discuss the relationship between the US and Europe and the importance of culture and art in the social and political struggles confronting us.

Related links

The Great Order: YouTube, BitChute

No White Guilt: YouTube

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Iranian Leviathan https://arktos.com/product/iranian-leviathan-hardback/ https://arktos.com/product/iranian-leviathan-hardback/#comments_reply Sun, 01 Sep 2019 14:28:15 +0000 https://arktos.com/?post_type=product&p=7279 A Monumental History of Mithra’s Abode

No other nation on Earth has contributed more to the elevation of the human spirit, and to the enrichment of every aspect of civilization on a global scale, than Iran. Some of the most defining scientific, religious, and cultural characteristics of both the Eastern and Western Worlds actually owe their origin to Iran, let alone the contributions that Iran has made to the formation of the so-called “Islamic World.” The latter is almost entirely Iranian in terms of its high culture, and if “Islamic Civilization” is to have any future at all, it needs to be transformed back into Iranian Civilization.

That is the impression that one is left with after reading this monumental history of Iran, not just as a country, but as a vast civilization encompassing many related cultures and ethnicities. It is the first history of Iran ever written from a philosophical perspective. In other words, far from being a textbook history, this study aims to discern the inner meaning of Iran and the spiritual destiny of the Iranians or Eastern Aryans.

As an original work of Philosophy, Iranian Leviathan explores fundamental concepts in the realm of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and political philosophy. With respect to socio-political thought, this philosophical history lays the groundwork for the ideological program of an Iranian Renaissance. This is a bold and unapologetic vision, not only for the revitalization of culture within Greater Iran, but also for the reestablishment of Iran as an imperial hegemon and global superpower in our time.

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The Leviathan of Iranian Civilization https://arktos.com/2019/09/01/the-leviathan-of-iranian-civilization/ https://arktos.com/2019/09/01/the-leviathan-of-iranian-civilization/#view_comments Sun, 01 Sep 2019 14:19:13 +0000 https://arktos.com/?p=7323 A few countries are more than mere nations. They have been translated from the earthly plane into the spectral geography of ideas. As “Rome” is irreducible to Italy, and the modern state of Israel is only a reemergence of “Zion” into the mundane world, “Iran” is far more than the nation-state that foreigners once widely referred to as Persia. Iran is an immortal idea – a terrible thought in the mind of the gods (devâs, divs). Iran is destined to reemerge as the Leviathan from amongst all of Earth’s great nations.

Until 1935, Iran was referred to internationally as “Persia” (or La Perse), and the Iranian people were broadly identified as “Persians.” This was the case despite the fact that Persians always referred to themselves as Iranians (Irâni) and used the term Irânshahr (Old Persian Aryâna Khashatra) or “Aryan Imperium” in order to designate what Westerners call the “Persian Empire.” The adjective Persian (Pârsi) has only been used by Iranians to describe the national language of Iran, which has been spoken, and especially written, by all Iranians regardless of whether it is their mother tongue. The Persian heritage is at the core of Iranian Civilization.

Civilizations are not as narrow as particular cultures in their ideological orientation. Even cultures evolve and are not defined by a single worldview in the way that a political party has a definite ideology. The inner dialectic that drives the historical evolution of Iranian Civilization is based on a tension between rival worldviews. This is comparable to the numerous worldview clashes that have shaped and reshaped Western Civilization, and is more dynamic than the creative tension between the worldviews of Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Communism and the cultural characters of the Han, the Manchurians, Mongols, and Tibetans in the history of Chinese Civilization.

The phrase “Iranian Civilization”, has long been in use by academics in the field of Iranology or Iranian Studies. That there is an entire scholarly field of Iranology attests to the world-historical importance of Iran. However, in the public sphere, and even among other academics, Iran has rarely been recognized as a distinct civilization alongside the other major civilizations of world history. Rather, Iran has for the most part been mistakenly amalgamated into the false construct of “Islamic Civilization.” We have entered the era of a clash of civilizations rather than a conflict between nation states. Consequently, the recognition of Iran as a distinct civilization, one that far predates the advent of Islam and is now evolving beyond the Islamic religion, would be of decisive significance for the post-national outcome of a Third World War.

Iran is a civilization that includes a number of different cultures and languages that hang together around a core defined by the Persian language and imperial heritage. Besides the Persian heartland, Iranian Civilization encompasses Kurdistan (including the parts of it in the artificial states of Turkey and Iraq), the Caucasus (especially northern Azerbaijan and Ossetia), Greater Tajikistan (including northern Afghanistan and Eastern Uzbekistan), the Pashtun territories (in the failed state of Afghanistan), and Baluchistan (including the parts of it inside the artificial state of Pakistan). As we shall see, Iranian Civilization deeply impacted Western Civilization, with which it shares common Indo-European roots. There are still a few countries in Europe that are so fundamentally defined by the legacy of the Iranian Alans, Sarmatians, or Scythians that they really belong within the scope of Iranian, rather than European or Western Civilization. These are Ukraine, Bulgaria, Croatia, and, should it ever secede from Spain, Catalonia. The belonging of these European, Caucasian, Middle Eastern, Central Asian, and South Asian ethnicities and territories to an Iranian civilizational sphere is, by analogy, comparable to how Spain, France, Britain, Germany, and Italy are all a part of Western Civilization.

An even closer analogy would be to China, which is also a civilization rather than simply a nation. China, considered as a civilization, includes many cultures and languages other than that of the dominant Han Chinese. For example, the Manchurians, Mongolians, and Tibetans. What is interesting about China, in this regard, is that its current political administration encompasses almost its entire civilizational sphere – with the one exception of Taiwan (and perhaps Singapore). In other words, as it stands, Chinese Civilization has nearly attained maximal political unity. Western Civilization also has a high degree of political unity, albeit not at the level of China. The Western world is bound together by supranational economic and military treaties such as the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). By contrast, Iranian Civilization is currently near the minimal level of political unity that it has had throughout a history that spans at least 3,000 years.

To borrow a term from the Russian philosopher, Alexander Dugin, the Persian ethnicity and language could be described as the narod or pith of Iranian Civilization. This would be comparable to the role of the Mandarin language and the Han ethnicity in contemporary Chinese Civilization, or to the role of Latin and the Italian ethnicity in Western Civilization at the zenith of the Roman Empire when Marcus Aurelius had conquered and integrated Britain and Germany. Although I accept Samuel Huntington’s concept of a “clash of civilizations”, I reject his distinction between what he calls “Classical Civilization” and Western Civilization. This is a distinction that he adopts from Arnold Toynbee, and perhaps also Oswald Spengler, both of whom see the origins of Western Civilization in Medieval Europe. In my view, Western Civilization begins with Classical Greece and is adopted and adapted by Pagan Rome.

The narod of a civilization can change. If Western Civilization were to prove capable of salvaging itself and reasserting its global dominance in the form of a planetary American Empire, this would no doubt involve a shift to the English language and the Anglo-Saxon ethnicity as the Western narod. The lack of a clear narod in Western Civilization at present is symptomatic of its decline and dissolution following the intra-civilizational war that prevented Greater Germany from becoming the ethno-linguistic core of the entire West. A very strong argument could be made that Germany and the German language were long destined to succeed Italy in this role, which Italy still plays to some extent through the Vatican’s patronage of Latin and the Roman Catholic faith. The alliance of Hitler with Mussolini could have prepared for such a transition. If, for whatever reason, Latin America were to one day become the refuge of Europeans and even Anglo-Saxons fleeing Europe and North America, there would be a very good chance that the Spaniard ethnicity and the Spanish language would become the narod of Western Civilization following this transformative crisis.

In the three thousand years of Iranian Civilization, the narod of the civilization has shifted only once. For the first five hundred years of discernable Iranian history, the Median ethno-linguistic consciousness was at the core of Iran’s identity as a civilization that included other non-Median Iranian cultures, such as the Scythians. Actually, for most of this period, the Medes were embattled by the Assyrians and other more entrenched non-Iranian (i.e. non Aryan) cultures, such as the Elamites. It is only for a brief period (on the Iranian scale of history, not the American one) that the Medes established a strong kingdom that included other Iranian cultures and could consequently be considered a standard bearer of an Iranian Civilization rather than a mere culture. This lasted for maybe a couple of hundred years before the revolt of Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BC saw the Persians displace the Medes and expand the boundaries of Iranian Civilization into the borders of the first true empire in history, one that included and integrated many non-Iranian kingdoms, and encompassed almost the entire known world.

For more than a thousand years after Cyrus, and despite the severe disruption of the Alexandrian conquest and colonization of Iran, we saw a succession of the three empires of the Achaemenids, the Parthians, and the Sassanians. The Achaemenid language was Old Persian, while the Parthians and Sassanians spoke and wrote Middle Persian (Pahlavi). These languages are direct ancestors of Pârsi (or Dari), the New Persian language that, in its rudiments, arose at the time of Ferdowsi (10th century AD) and has remained remarkably stable until the present day.

For more than 2,500 years, the Persian ethnicity and language have defined the core identity of Iranian Civilization. That was not lost on all of the various Europeans who dealt with Iran as an imperial rival from the days of the classical Greeks, to the pagan Romans, to the Byzantines, the British, the French, and the Russians. All of them, without exception, always referred to all of Iran and its entire civilizational sphere as “Persia” or the “Persian Empire.” Friedrich Nietzsche wished that the Persians would have successfully conquered the Greeks because he believed that they could have gone on to become better guardians of Europe than the Romans proved to be. Nietzsche claimed that “only the Persians have a philosophy of history.” He recognized that historical consciousness, of the Hegelian type, begins with Zarathustra’s future-oriented evolutionary concept of successive historical epochs leading up to an unprecedented end of history.

The will to ensure that the Persian Gulf does not become Arabian, that Persian is not disestablished as the official language of Iran, and, in short, that Iranian Civilization does not disappear, is based on more than just patriotic sentimentality, let alone nationalistic chauvinism. Iran is certainly a civilization among only a handful of other living civilizations on Earth, rather than a lone state with its own isolated culture, like Japan, but Iran is even more than that. As we enter the era of the clash of civilizations, Iran’s historic role as the crossroads of all of the other major civilizations cannot be overstated.

In his groundbreaking book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, the Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington argues for a new world order based on a détente of great civilizations rather than perpetual conflict amongst nation-states. In effect, Huntington envisages the end of the Bretton Woods International System put in place from 1945–1948 after the Second World War. He advocates for its replacement with a geopolitical paradigm that would be defined by the major world-historical countries. These are the countries that can each be considered the “core state” of a civilization encompassing many peripheral vassal or client states.

The core state of any given civilization can change over the course of history. For example, Italy was the core state of Western Civilization for many centuries, and as the seat of the Roman Catholic Church it still has significant cultural influence over the West – especially in Latin America. Currently, however, the United States of America plays the role of the Western civilizational core state, with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) effectively functioning as the superstructure of an American Empire coextensive with the West, with the exception of Latin America, where the United States has been economically and diplomatically dominant at least since the declaration of the Monroe Doctrine.

Huntington identifies less than a handful of surviving world-class civilizations whose interactions would define the post-international world order: Western Civilization, Orthodox Civilization, Chinese Civilization, and Islamic Civilization. The core states of the first three are America, Russia, and China. Within the context of his model a number of major world powers lack civilizational spheres. These “lone states” notably include India and Japan. While it has a high level of culture, and deep historical ties to China, Japan is not a part of Chinese Civilization and yet it lacks a civilizational sphere of its own that would encompass other states. Had the Japanese Empire triumphed in the Second World War, Japan might have become a civilization in its own right – one dominating the Pacific.

India is an interesting case, because in addition to being a “lone state” it also fits Huntington’s definition of a “torn state.” The latter are nations that are suffering from an identity crisis on account of being torn between two or more civilizations. India has its own Hindu civilization, which once extended to many neighboring states, but which is now more or less confined to India (with the possible exception of Sri Lanka), but India is also the world’s largest Muslim country. Despite the fact that Muslims remain, for the moment, a minority in India, the country is still home to more Muslims than Pakistan or any other Islamic nation on Earth. Given current demographic trends, and historical precedents such as the Mughal Empire, the possibility of India becoming a part of Islamic Civilization is a prospect to be taken seriously.

Of all the major civilizations delineated by Huntington, Islamic Civilization is the only one lacking a clear core state. Huntington considers this one of the reasons for the perpetual strife both within the Islamic world and between Islamic countries and states that are part of other civilizations. In effect, non-Islamic powers are confronted by a situation wherein there is no one to negotiate with who would have the legitimate authority to enforce a uniform policy within Islamic Civilization in a fashion comparable to America’s capability to speak for the West in fundamental conflicts with Russia or China. In such confrontations, European leaders may grumble about hegemonic American decision-making but when it comes down to it the United States really does make policy for the West. Germany, the strongest and most central state in Europe, is home to numerous American military bases and installations. Italy, historically the most enduring European core state of Western Civilization, also quietly remains under American military occupation.

Since the collapse of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1918, and Western colonial demarcation of totally artificial national borders across North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, the Islamic World has been without a center. From a historical standpoint Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia rival each other as artificial nation states that in a totally incomparable pre-national and pre-modern form once had the legitimacy of being home to the Khalifa (or sovereign authority) of the Ummat (the worldwide Islamic community). However, when viewed in terms of military and economic power, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia are more significant geopolitical players within the Islamic world. With a view to assuming leadership of an Islamic civilizational sphere, none of these countries is as well positioned as the Islamic Republic of Iran in terms of its cultural-historical heritage, industrial capability, and strategic location. Of all of the contenders within the Islamic world, Iran alone has the potential to resume its natural historical role, not just as a world power, but as a superpower responsible for securing the Islamic sphere within a new global order.

From an Iranian standpoint, the ultimate aim of this geostrategic project would be to reassert the Iranian character of the core of the Islamic world, thereby dismantling the false construct of Islamic Civilization while forwarding a Renaissance of Iranian Civilization. From a global strategic standpoint, this Greater Iran would be saving the West, India, Russia, and even China (which has an increasingly serious Muslim problem) from the prospect of a late 21st century world defined by a global Sunni Caliphate governing a human population demographically dominated by Muslims. This is Iran’s cultural-historical responsibility. Only if Iranians themselves admit this, can other major world powers also recognize the fact that Iran’s acceptance of this titanic duty is for the good of all mankind. This could be the key to Iran’s reemergence as a global superpower. Iran has been destined to be the Leviathan among nations.

Thomas Hobbes appropriated the image of the Leviathan from the Biblical book of Job as a metaphor for a kind of sovereign authority so absolute that it would be seen as God’s viceroy on Earth. When Hobbes’ mother went into labor with him on April 5th of 1588, her birth pangs were induced by shock at the prospect of a Spaniard naval invasion of Britain, such that Hobbes would joke – with a very dark sense of humor indeed – that she “gave birth to twins, myself and fear.” Hobbes was a reader of the work of his contemporary, Rene Descartes, with whom he exchanged barbs over who had come up with which of their shared ideas first. Hobbes’ friend, Marin Mersenne, was Descartes’ publicist, and at one point he asked Hobbes to write a review of Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy; this was published, together with Descartes’ replies, in 1641. Hobbes takes Descartes’ description of the body as a mechanism and applies it to the social body of the state, with the sovereign as the ghost in the machinery of government.

Hobbes actually says very little about the Book of Job, from which he draws the symbol of the Leviathan (it is more than a mere metaphor). One thing that he does say is that, unlike the historical parts of the Bible, the book is intended less to be a chronicle of events that actually took place than a philosophical treatise on the question of “why wicked men have often prospered in this world, and good men have been afflicted.” Citing textual analysis by scholars of his time, Hobbes points out that the core “argument” of the book is all in verse, while the narrative Preface and Epilogue are in prose. What this means to him is that an essentially philosophical text has been framed in such a way as it could be incorporated into the Bible. Hobbes also acknowledges, on stylistic grounds and in terms of its philosophical content, that Job is a relatively late book of the Bible and he even specifically claims “the Writer must have been of the same time” or “after” the writer of “The History of Queen Esther… of the time of the Captivity.” In other words, the text is a product of the period of intense Imperial Iranian influence on the formation of Judaism as we know it.

The Leviathan is a monstrous sea creature or, if it is artificial, then it is a titanic submarine machinery of terror. Hobbes’ Leviathan is the most definitive argument for Absolute Monarchy in the history of political philosophy. The core of Leviathan is a critique of the separation of powers that is the aim of every constitutionalist movement. This would include the Persian Constitutional Revolution of 1906–1911, which yielded a parliament (Majles) checking the power of the crown and which attempted to establish a constitutional monarchy in Iran. Hobbes saw this kind of limitation and division of the authority of the crown as the consequence of a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of sovereign power. His defense of Absolute Monarchy is so extreme that he even denies the right of private property and advocates for the suppression of what we would today call “civil society” as a social sphere independent of the political order. Insofar as this social (rather than political) sphere includes the Church, he demands that the latter utterly submit itself to the Sovereign – or, if you prefer, that the Sovereign be seen as God’s viceroy. Finally, Hobbes envisions a regime so all-encompassing in its power over human life that the Sovereign would decide even on the meaning of language.

Rather than being praised by monarchists for defending their beloved institution in the strongest terms possible, Hobbes was mercilessly attacked by them. It is not just because they hated the book, but because his masterpiece exposed the deficits of King Charles – a man who Hobbes saw as too fickle and indecisive to be worthy of the crown as the country slid into civil war. An observer of contemporary Iranian politics cannot help but to notice the similarity to the situation of the monarchist movement among exiled Iranian opposition groups today. Hobbes wrote Leviathan during the English Civil War, while he and other royalists were exiled in Paris. In 1642 the tense situation between the King and Parliament erupted into open strife, eventually leading the exiled royalists to Paris. Hobbes was one of these, and by 1646 he found himself employed as the personal mathematics tutor of the sixteen-year-old Prince of Wales.

So Hobbes wrote Leviathan at a time when Britain was facing both the prospect of disintegration through Civil War and foreign conquest at the hands of the Spaniards, the main colonial sea power rivaling the nascent British Empire. As the keen reader ought to notice, this is not too dissimilar from the situation faced by the Islamic Republic of Iran today. A nation that, on the one hand, is beginning to carve out an imperial sphere of influence (in Iran’s case, unlike in Britain’s, for the fifth or sixth time in history) is at the same time facing both the prospect of internal disintegration through civil strife and a potential invasion initiated by foreign powers. The latter are also responsible for manufacturing ethnic separatist movements and stoking dissension so as to divide the country as they conquer it. The balkanization of Iran is, today, a very real impending catastrophe. Ironically, as in the case of Hobbes’ Britain, this danger comes on the doorstep of an era of imperial power. If Iran can remain united, it could reemerge not just as a regional hegemon but as a major player on the world stage – a role that Iran has played many times in its long history. Given the strategic significance of the Islamic world, and the demographic destiny of Islam on this planet in the 21st century, an Iran that successfully dominates the Muslim heartland could even establish itself as one of several rival superpowers within the foreseeable future.

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