The European New Right & its Animus against Western CivRicardo Duchesne
My knowledge of the European New Right (ENR) is very scarce, no more than a few short articles and three books: Guillaume Faye’s Why We Fight, Alexander Dugin’s Fourth Political Theory, and Pierre Krebs’ Fighting for the Essence, Western Ethnosuicide or European Renaissance? I found Faye’s metapolitical dictionary substantively insightful and Dugin’s dissection of liberalism penetrating.
But Krebs’ book finally clarified for me something about the ENR I had sensed but was not sure about: its belief that Western Civ stands for the rise of multiracial societies in Europe.
I noticed this animus against the West in Dugin’s book. In the case of Dugin it was more his identification of American Neoconservatism, or Mainstream Liberalism, with Western Civ as such, his rejection of Western rationalism, his condemnation of the idea of progress, his use of cultural Marxists and postmodernists (Franz Boas, Michel Foucault, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Jean Baudrillard) to paint a picture of the West as the sickest, most destructive civilization in human history. Everything hateful about the world — consumerism, environmental despoliation, egalitarianism, plutocratic manipulation, erosion of ethnic and traditional differences — was explained by him as a direct product of the metaphysical orientation of the West.
In order to adequately understand the essence of liberalism, we must recognize that it is not accidental, that its appearance in the political and economic ideologies is based on fundamental processes, proceeding in all Western civilization. Liberalism is not only a part of that history, but its purest and most refined expression, its result (Fourth Political Theory, p. 140).
It is as if the West was from the beginning oriented towards our present-day pro-immigration regimen, driven by a rationalist logic dedicated to the reduction of cultural qualities to measurable quantities, by a will to a universal language for humanity based on mental constructs existing a priori in all humans, by an individualizing logic that seeks to free all concrete persons from any collective identities, and by a progressive view of history that ranks cultures in terms of how close they approximate the liberal-democratic aims of a West envisioned as the master culture led by a superior race. According to Dugin, the “very ideology of [Western] progress is racist in its structure.”
But I thought that these were the prejudices of a Russian nationalist, a keen defender of Putin’s foreign policies in the face of American Neocon wishes for control of former Soviet territories. But upon reading Pierre Krebs’ book a few days ago, I am starting to realize that opposition to the West (and, by direct necessity, opposition to almost the entire history of Europeans) is quite prominent among members of the ENR. I feel confident in making this generalization about the ENR, having read, additionally, some articles by and about Alain de Benoist, noticing right away that he too holds the West responsible for all the main maladies of our times: individualization, massification, desacralization, rationalization, and universalization. He traces the roots of these destructive trends to the Christian concept of equality and the Christian idea of progress, and then explains how these concepts were secularized in modern times. But my focus here will be on Krebs’ Fighting for the Essence, originally published in 1997.
I will engage with Krebs’ ideas by citing passages from his books, and then offering my responses below. I view Krebs as an ideological friend with whom I have a major disagreement about the nature of the West. He offers an effective rhetorical critique of the relationship between the homogenization of humanity and the celebration of diversity through miscegenation.
The originality and the richness of the human heritages of this world are nourished by their differences and their deviations, which surprise and fascinate as soon as one passes from the culture of one people to another. These originalities can find protection, in turn, only in the homogeneous ethno-cultural space that is proper to them. The defenders of multiracialism are the primary destroyers, consciously or unconsciously, of this elementary right. (p. 89)
But the claim that the West has been the destroyer of racial identities is very simplistic and evinces a truncated understanding of the history of the most enriching and complex civilization. Krebs distinguishes an “authentic” West that is Greek, Faustian, and Indo-European from a “Judeo-Christian West that came after. But he condemns the West in its entirety once it became “Judeo-Christian.” And this argument is historically flawed, starting with the term “Judeo-Christian,” which is a recent invention reflecting trends that cannot be teleologically attributed to the ancient past. “Genuine tragedies in the world are not conflicts between right and wrong. They are conflicts between two rights,” Hegel once wrote as he contemplated the history of Europe. Individualization, universalization, rationalization, and desacralization were inescapably connected to the rise of this civilization to world supremacy. They are part-expression of the tumultuous temperament and directional psyche of Europeans. You can’t condemn these world-historical processes without condemning Europeans as a people. These processes were not, historically for the longest time, and, therefore, in and of themselves, anti-White.
In the first stage which corresponds to its political phase, the egalitarian lie first turned the democratic integrity of the state on its head by progressively emptying the Greek model of the ethno-cultural organic principles of the demos which it purely and simply replaced with the vagabond and cosmopolitan institution of the parliament. (p. 18)
RD: Krebs is saying that the Greek polis which evolved gradually from the seventh century BC onward, a radically new form of governance based on laws, offices, and direct participation by members of the polis or city-state, in contrast to a form of rule based on the personal powers of a despot and his entourage, was not only a civic political community based on laws equally binding on all members, but was consciously grouped according to a shared sense of ethnic identity. The representative parliaments that emerged later were merely based on the civic identity of the members of the state, their shared political rights and responsibilities, which anyone regardless of ethnic identity could lay a claim to as long as he was or became a political member of the respective state.
I have heard this claim expressed in New Right circles, how Christians with their idea that we all have equal souls in the eyes of God were responsible for our current obsession with harmonizing all races inside the West, or how Romans with the granting of citizenship during the third century AD to inhabitants in the Empire of any race, started a new trans-racial concept of citizenship. My view is the opposite: racially conscious political communities were created only after the Enlightenment. Europeans were the first people in history to develop a science of race. Humans are ethnocentric by nature in showing a preference for their own linguistic, tribal, and ancestral groups, but this is not the same as being racially aware and having the intellectual wherewithal to articulate a rational argument about the existence of different races. Racial awareness began during the sixteenth century as Europeans were coming into contact with peoples in the Americas, Africa, and Asia with very different bodily attributes and customs. It was during the Enlightenment, however, that Europeans began to develop a scientific theory of race.
The same philosophers who announced that human nature was uniform everywhere, and united mankind as a subject capable of enlightenment, argued “in text after text . . . in the works of Hume, Diderot, Montesquieu, Kant, and many lesser lights” that men “are not uniform but are divided up into sexes, races, national characters . . . and many other categories,” so observes Aaron Garrett in a book chapter titled “Human Nature” in The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Philosophy (2006). Eighteenth-century talk about “human nature” and the “unity of mankind” was less a political program for a universal civilization than a scientific program for the study of man in a way that was systematic in intent and universal in scope. Enlightenment thinkers were not calling for the unity of humanity, the sameness of races, other than for a “federation of the peoples of Europe.” Garrett is stereotypically liberal and thus writes of “the eighteenth century’s dubious contributions to the discussion of race,” but what matters is that Enlightenment thinkers did engage in the scientific study of races in light of the evidence and the knowledge at the time. Most Enlightenment thinkers rejected polygenism and asserted the fundamental (species) equality of humankind, but they also came to the conclusion that humanity was divided into different races with very different biological traits, behavioral dispositions and mental aptitudes.
One cannot speak of the suicide of Europeans in a racial way without the very “rationalism” Krebs condemns, which is presupposed in the scientific study of races. The Greeks were not yet rational in their understanding of races. Their concept of civic membership did presuppose membership of traditional kinship or tribal groupings, but it did not presuppose racial membership. The Greeks developed a pan-Hellenic identity during the first century BC in the course of the Persian Wars (490-479 BC), but this was a cultural identity, easily fractured in the years ahead by the endemic wars between the city-states.
By contrast, in the nineteenth century, the age of full-blown individualization, universalization, and massification, the field of racial studies emerged, and it was in light of these studies that the United States, Australia, and Canada instituted in the twentieth century “white only” immigration policies. These policies were implemented in liberal democratic societies and accepted by the majority of citizens.
“[I]n the American-style ‘carnival’ multiculturalism, it is in fact the naturally aristocratic soul of Europe, its deeply individualist style, its essentially rebellious, Faustian and Promethean spirit that the globalist vulgate is in the process of attacking. Behind its multicultural alibi, Europe is invited to change its mentality — and so its skin — so that its lively identity may be silenced.” (p. 24)
Americans have been pushing multiculturalism and immigration in Europe for decades, and if the term “Western Civilization” is taken to mean that European nations should become as the US and Canada were in the 1960s, with multiple European ethnicities converging as members of one nation, then I am opposed to it. But the settler nations of America, Canada, and Australia (and New Zealand) are European creations and altogether they should be viewed as members of a Pan-European world we can conveniently label “Western Civilization” as a way of identifying common traits and common historical experiences in and outside Europe in North America and Australia, in contrast to that of other civilizations.
My book Uniqueness of Western Civilization emphasizes the roots of this civilization in the aristocratic culture of Indo-Europeans and the Faustian personality of Europeans. But it seems to me Krebs is making a mistake in assuming that the Faustian soul of the West was gradually eroded with the adoption of what he calls “the monster of Judaeo-Christianity” (p. 22). As I briefly argued in a prior essay, citing Spengler’s words:
Christianity, too, became a thoroughly Faustian moral ethic. “It was not Christianity that transformed Faustian man, but Faustian man who transformed Christianity — and he not only made it a new religion but also gave it a new moral direction.”
I will address in Part II Krebs’ erroneous understanding of Christianity. The point I like to make now is that the forces pushing for multiracialism inside the West are still imbued with a Faustian moral imperative, even as they seek to destroy this soul and are themselves already intermixed, in this late hour, with alien morals. The words cited about from Spengler come from Chapter X, “Soul-Image and Life-Feeling: Buddhism, Stoicism, Socialism.” I may write an essay exclusively on this magnificent chapter in the future. In it, Spengler specifically addresses the “morale” of Faustian man in the last stage of the West when it is about to exhaust itself, but before writing about this stage in particular, he notes that, for the Faustian morale in general,
everything is direction, claim to power, will to affect the distant. Here Luther is completely at one with Nietzsche, Popes with Darwinians, Socialists with Jesuits; for one and all, the beginning of morale is a claim to general and permanent validity. It is a necessity of the Faustian soul that this should be so. He who thinks or teaches “otherwise” is sinful, a backslider, a foe, and he is fought down without mercy. You “shall,” the State “shall,” society “shall” — this form of morale is to us self-evident, it represents the only real meaning that we can attach to the word. (p. 341)
On the surface, or perhaps in a way that requires disentanglement, the socialists of Spengler’s day appeared to have rejected the Faustian aggressive will for overcoming all resistances when they spoke softly at conferences and at the ballot box about
the ideals of ‘welfare,’ ‘freedom,’ ‘humanity,’ the doctrine of the ‘greatest happiness of the greatest number’.
[i]t is a shallow judgment, and one incapable of inwardly understanding history, that cannot distinguish the literary chatter of popular social-moralists and humanity-apostles from the deep ethical instincts of the West-European Civilization. (p. 351)
Krebs has an inverted understanding of the Faustian soul. He grasps the aggressive moral certainty of globalists against the heterogeneity of cultures and ethnicities, but attributes this drive to Judeo-Christianity, mainly on the basis of its monotheism and egalitarian impulses, while picturing the Faustian morality of Europeans as if it were inherently inclined toward a life without directionality, repetitive cycles, co-existence with other morals in the world, ecological harmony, and polytheism. Krebs misreads the Faustian will to power of the West; he wants Europeans to “return” to their pre-Christian pagan past. But the problem is, first, that our Indo-European ancestors were a uniquely expansionary and directional people exhibiting a glorious expansive drive since prehistoric times across the Old World, spreading their “Kurgan” lifestyle across Asia and Europe, leading eventually to a situation in which Indo-European languages are spoken today by almost 3 billion native speakers, the largest number of any language family. The problem is also that the immense creativity of the ancient Greeks, Romans, Catholics, Protestants, and Moderns I have written about in previous essays was driven by this Faustian energy — before and after Christianity.
We are facing an enemy — both the Neocon assimilationists and the Left multiculturalists — possessed by a Faustian morale (intermixed with alien demonic motifs) dedicated to the destruction of European ethnic identity “without mercy” and in complete conviction of its ideals. We should not be surprised by this. But just because the proponents of European ethnic dissolution are Faustian it does not follow that this is what the West was always (since the inception of Christianity) inclined to do. The Faustian soul has expressed itself in multiple, conflicting ways throughout history. Europeans have been the most bellicose people in human history. They almost self-destructed in two world wars. Many other alternative outlooks were defeated or unable to gather sufficient support. Now we have a huge conflict opening up. In the Western world “life means struggling, overcoming, winning through” (343), and waging a successful political war against the prevailing Faustian ethic can only be accomplished with a Faustian ethnocentric morale.
Once the dangers have been perceived and the choices have been offered, we must then move to action, first refusing ‘compromise, weakness, and indulgence towards everything which, being derived from the Judaeo-Christian root, has infected our blood and our intelligence. Then secondly, return to our pagan Indo-European tradition without which ‘there will be no liberation and no true restoration, and conversion to the true values of spirit, power, hierarchy, and empire will not be possible.’ (p. 29)
The words cited by Krebs are from Julius Evola. Krebs sees how we are facing an ideology with which there can be no compromises, and yet he speaks of a “return to our pagan Indo-European tradition” without considering that this tradition welcomes the struggle for existence, overcoming limitations, mastering nature. Evola has a mythological understanding of European history, a preference for traditional cultures combined with an immense dislike for Western modernity. He writes of the “order of things” in traditional cultures without realizing that Faustian man refuses to be bounded by orders other than those he has subjected to rational investigation. I learned much from Evola’s Revolt Against the Modern World; it offers fascinating ideas about the “higher world” of ancient cultures, how rulers, institutions, and laws were seen as divine in origin and how this divinity ensured spiritual stability with a clear sense of the proper ranking of classes and human activities, higher spiritual functions versus lower materialistic functions, giving purpose and meaning to life, uplifting everyone in the direction of the higher “invisible reality” and conferring a sacred dignity to leadership roles, rituals, and beliefs. His understanding of the meaning of “tradition” surpasses that of any sociologist.
But Evola is not a practical thinker in tune with the actualities of Western history, what is possible today in the modern world. Just as Spengler called for German conservatives to liberate themselves from Romantic, unrealistic goals based on “dead” programs, the New Right needs to accept and adapt to the realities of international finance, genetic engineering, and robotics. It must not let go of the Faustian ethos:
the Faustian technics, which with the full passion of the third dimension and, to sure, from the earliest days of the Gothic era thrusts itself upon Nature in order to hold sway over her (cited in Farrenkopf, p. 72).
. . . Judaeo-Christianity and its modern avatars, egalitarian democracy . . . and the mercantile ideologies of the Homo oeconomicus and all their variations. In fact, once the assumption that Europe and the West are synonymous, which was previously believed to be self-evident, has been turned on its head, the opposite idea becomes the rule: the West is then moved to the opposite pole as something absolutely alien, with the radical, exogenous character of a civilisation that must henceforth be perceived on the basis of the natural incompatibilities that separate it forever from the authentic European culture considered in all its aspects: ethnic, mental, and spiritual [ . . . ] Europe will be able to find itself, return to an obedience to its gods, purify the conscience of its being which has been adulterated for so long, and recreate in its liberated soul the vibrations of a forgotten transcendence and origin. (p. 39)
Homo oeconomicus was a unique creation of Europeans, authentic to them. Europeans were the first to develop a science of economics and to discover the laws behind the production and distribution of wealth. The first to separate analytically “economic man” and thereby understand the activities of this man without confounding these activities with religious and political motivations, and, in doing so, to apprehend the reality that a nation’s power is more efficiently sustained when a nation creates its own wealth through work rather that through conquest. This was another major step in redirecting the Faustian energies of European man into less destructive endeavors. This does not mean that one has to accept the principles of free market economics since there are other schools, including the much-neglected German school associated with the economics of Friedrich List’s National System of Political Economy (1841), which accepted the wealth-creating nature of capitalism based on the economic history and economic reality of nations.
The West is not alien to Europe but a creation of Europe’s incredible extension across the Atlantic in the modern era. Seeking a “return” to an “authentic” Europe of pagan gods, “transcendence and origin,” is Utopian. This Europe is nowhere to be found in the classical Greece Krebs cherishes. The ancient Greeks reinterpreted or limited the sphere of influence of their gods as they became self-conscious as distinctive personalities in possession of a faculty they called “mind” (in contradistinction to other bodily attributes and psychological drives) capable of self-grounding its own principles and criteria for truthful statements. The first step in the origins of self-awareness, or awareness of awareness, thinking about thinking, rather than thinking in terms of prescribed norms and mandated religious ordinances, came with the uniquely Indo-European fight to the death for the sake of pure prestige by aristocratic peers in the state of nature. I write about this in Chapter Eight of Uniqueness.
The liberation of Europe has to be grounded in its peculiar history rather than in some static “origin” disconnected from what came after.
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Very nice article. I dont agree with his view on Julius Evola tho. He was a very ‘actual thinker’.-
Your observations and comments regarding the European New Right, are quite focused, and this discussion is essential if the idea of a powerful and fully realized Western ethos is to go from a blooming state, to a full-fledged organic life-order.
Sad to say, but the world-views of our kinsmen in Europe, proper, provide some conflict, especially with the misunderstanding that the present-day American ‘west’ is, on its face, Western.
If you have the time, you might consider perusing this Work: http://www.amazon.com/Rise-West-Frank-L-DeSilva/dp/1461001501/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1416935976&sr=8-3&keywords=frank+l+desilva&pebp=1416935991208.
The follow-up is here, in terms of a more dynamic political/philosophical presentation; as well, it introduces the viability and conflict inherent in dialogue between the continents. This dialogue, of course, should happen with a passion, as the rhetoric of ‘pan-regionalism’, ‘pan-eurocentrism’ and the like, is a necessary preliminary to actual collaboration.
A very well written piece.
I sincerely look forward to more of the same.
Part of the problem is that the current ruling elite in the Western world is not in itself Western. It is actively hostile to Western peoples. The elites may exploit certain issues (the Roman view of citizenship, Christianity, the Enlightenment) but this is but a tactic to overcome white resistance. Just think what white nationalists could do with these same issues were they in power!
On a related topic: it would be interesting to see CC do an analysis of how the elites have exploited the current dust up in Ferguson. The Ferguson “uprising” is a battle in a much large struggle against white people. Might also look at how WN have used the Internet to provide an alternative narrative on this, and how it can be exploited to get more white people to think racially.
A fascinating article! I have two questions howevet that I hope you could answer or elaborate on:
1. Do you agree with Krebs that Christianity desacralized the world by removing spirit from matter? Of course matter doesn’t possess spirit, but is it possible that this altered perception damaged the European psyche? Could we still be feeling that today? Or perhaps this desacralization was a net positive enabling further technological development?
2. Didn’t Spengler place the origin of Faustian culture somewhere around 1000AD? I recall Revilo Oliver saying that Spengler found the yearning toward infinite space lacking in Greco-Roman thought as evinced in their architecture. He applied the Classical label to the Greeks/Romans and famously used Gothic cathedrals as evidence of Faustianism.
Benoist also says “that Christianity desacralized the world by removing spirit from matter”; and it is well known also that Christianity is unique in proposing a creation, a beginning of the universe, a rational Creator who gave laws to the universe,which can be comprehended by humans, as they were created by this Creator with the power to reason and understand God’s laws. This way of thinking was crucial to the rise of modern science. Catholicism, known as the most pagan Christian religion, was also the most rational theology, and what happened in the 16th and 17th centuries was partly made possible by medieval men like Ockham, Oresme, Cusa, and others.
Yes, “Spengler placed the origin of Faustian culture somewhere around 1000AD.” But while Spengler is persuasive in showing a lack of a Faustian spirit in Greek art and architecture (and Roman, to a lesser extent), he willfully underestimates the territorial expansionism of the Greeks and Romans, as I argue, briefly, in another essay, which will be published in TOQ. I see this Faustian energy already in the prehistoric Indo-Europeans, as explained in the book Uniqueness.
Yes, Traditionalists would agree that the evil began in Ancient Greece – the grasping quest for knowledge apart from Spirit. Before that we were adventurous and warlike – also indicative of a separation from Spirit and its balance. We are the most the most Promethean Race. And that has been our undoing (as well as our glory). We conquered one alien people after another, only to be conquered by their women and be absorbed into their masses. Such peoples, strengthened by the addition of our genes and technology, then became more formidable foes against us.
I love our Race – even our Promethean aspect. But I refuse to pretend that aspect is not problematic. It can easily morph into Titanism and big “projects”. Maybe if we survive we’ll manage to find our own unique balance. If. Meanwhile many of our Elite have their own version of Titanism, one called Trans-Humanism. They intend to get rid of most of humanity, starting with us.
Better late than never, but I really like your comment. I think you have summed things up quite well.
The praise for this article is very premature, just as Ricardo Duchesne’s claims about the European New Right are very premature, based on an incredibly incomplete understanding, assumptions, and misconceptions. First of all, the resources used are not the most reliable ones (Faye, Dugin, and Krebs), what should have been read was more of Benoist, Sunic, Venner, and Steuckers. In the little comment I am making here, it is not worthwhile to discuss all the differences and similarities between each thinker, nor can the full depth of New Right philosophy be explained; I only wish to point out some major issues in the hopes that some people, perhaps this author as well, will recognize the necessity of researching more deeply to overcome these kinds of misconceptions.
Let me begin with Alexander Dugin: I recently wrote an article on him titled “The Real Dugin” (at the Radix Journal) which deals with major misconceptions and complexities surrounding his thought. I want to say only three things here: (1) “The Fourth Political Theory” is an incredibly incomplete and often unclear book which builds upon the assumption that one has already read many of his previous works – which is why I don’t understand why it was translated first; (2) Dugin is not a typical New Rightist, and many of his Eurasianist ideas deviate from the standards set by the real ENR in France, Italy, Spain, and Germany, although Eurasianism and the ENR do have some similarities; (3) Dugin did condemn “Western Culture” (broadly, reaching back to the Greco-Romans) in some of his works, including “The Fourth Political Theory,” but more recently he has changed his mind, taking a stance more in line with the ENR, as some Russians who read his works only available in Russian have pointed out.
As for Guillaume Faye, his dictionary can be helpful as an introduction to some major ENR ideas, but it is often too simplistic and leaves out some important complexities. Concerning Pierre Krebs, all I will say for now is that he is much more anti-Christian than most New Rightists and his book does not successfully present more than the basic ENR attitude towards ethnic differences, territory, anti-decadence, and an “acceptable” presentation of the anti-Western idea (although considering Duchesne’s total misunderstanding of it, it is either a failing on Duchesne’s part or on Krebs’s part to explain properly). Other than just a basic presentation of these ideas, Krebs’s work is woefully incomplete. In any case, neither Krebs nor Faye are the ideal sources to go to understand ENR thought, they only help with some basic concepts and often don’t do well with others. Concerning what I said about misconceptions in Duchesne’s article, I will list out the basic points here:
First of all, despite their critique of Christianity, most New Rightists do not share Krebs’s rigidly and totally anti-Christian views, but are rather critiquing a certain form and interpretation of Christianity. They often promote Paganism if they are not Christians (some ENR members are actually Christians), but they don’t aim to make a war on Christianity; their primary goal is to reconcile Pagan values with Christianity and defend spirituality/religious belief and the idea of the Sacred/Divine (this has been pointed out by many authors, e.g. the Spanish New Rightist Rodgrio Agullo). Let me put it this way, Krebs is madly anti-Christian and the vast majority of New Rightists don’t quite think like him. Also, the New Right is not Evolian, even though they appreciate Evola’s works to some extent (this should be obvious from Benoist’s lengthy critique of Evola).
Secondly, the concept of the “Western Civilization” presented by the ENR is as the modern, liberal “West”, which is opposed to true European culture; i.e., everything that came before and everything that is non-liberal, holistic, spiritual culture, even in modern times, is considered “non-Western” (and yes, this especially includes the very Christian – although always partly Pagan – cultures of Spain, Germany, Poland, the Celts, etc.). This is posed as “the West vs. Europe” (i.e. the modern Western Zivilisation versus genuine European culture), but it can also be posed as “the negative West” versus “the positive West” (although the “positive West” is only a portion of the larger, positive, Indo-European culture as a broad whole).
Ricardo Duchesne wrote: “Americans have been pushing multiculturalism and immigration in Europe for decades, and if the term “Western Civilization” is taken to mean that European nations should become as the US and Canada were in the 1960s, with multiple European ethnicities converging as members of one nation, then I am opposed to it.”
My response: Then apparently you agree with something of the New Right’s anti-Western idea. Although, that doesn’t quite cover it, because the New Right’s critique of the West is similar to that made by German Revolutionary Conservative intellectuals (Spengler, Spann, Freyer, Jung, Moeller van den Bruck, etc.) and attacks liberalism, individualism, egalitarianism, and materialism in almost exactly the same fashion as the Germans. I really should stress this part, “in almost exactly the same fashion”; it is not quite identical, but it is very similar, and it is much more in that sense that you need to understand their critique, rather than the interpretation you draw from Krebs and Dugin.
Some essential facts need to be mentioned here about the critique of “Western Civilization” that I just mentioned. First of all, individualism is attacked as something alien to healthy society (it creates atomization, alienation, and destroys collective identities; since, as according to individualist ideology, if people are just disconnected individual atoms, collective groups like race or ethnicity are meaningless). True European culture, even modern culture, is thus non-individualist, community-oriented, and holistic; in fact, we could say that all human culture is fundamentally holistic and that individualism is a perversion wherever it appears, both among Europeans and non-Europeans (this was all pointed out by sociologists such as Tonnies, Spann, Freyer, etc.; also clearly explained in some of Benoist’s writing).
Concerning the critique of rationalism, universalism, and desacralization, these are not seen as characteristics of true Europe, of the “positive West” (if you want to look at it that way), but of the “negative West”. The New Rightists are not condemning “Faustian character” per se, they are only condemning excesses and perversions of this character. For example, the critique of rationalism does not equal to a rejection of science and reason; the critique of progress ideology does not equal a rejection of progress; the critique of uncontrolled technological expansion does not equal a rejection of technological and scientific advancements (Benoist has written that he firmly rejects both “technophilia” and “technophobia”, accepting a more moderate position that is actually common even in mainstream sociology); a critique of universalism and modern liberal imperialism does not mean a critique of expansion per se; a critique of “homo economicus” is not a rejection of economic progress, but a rejection of the economic reductionism behind that absurd concept (in the theory of “homo economicus”, humans are dehumanized and posed as simply mechanical, greedy beings. German theorists generally agreed with the rejection “homo economicus” as well).
And finally, as I pointed out in my essay “The Philosophy of Identity: Ethnicity, Culture, and Race in Identitarian Thought” (published in The Occidental Quarterly, Fall 2014 issue), studies have shown that the idea of race and racial identity do not begin with the Colonial Era and scientific racial theory, but can be traced back to ancient sources in multiple different cultures, including Ancient Greco-Roman and Near Eastern (something observed by Traditionalists, New Rightists, and even some mainstream academics). Anyone who truly studied the complexity of Revolutionary Conservative and New Right philosophy properly would know all of these things. The problem here is that this comment is already enormous, yet I am able to cover so little when so many misconceptions abound and so much philosophical understanding is lacking. I hope that, at least, people will read and learn more as a result.
Lucian, thanks for this long comment. As I said at beginning of essay, my knowledge of the ENR is still at the beginner’s stage; I will read the authors you mention — mind you, I have read quite a few of ENR essays here at CC, but I have to read them again in light of these issues.
You write: “they don’t aim to make a war on Christianity; their primary goal is to reconcile Pagan values with Christianity and defend spirituality/religious belief and the idea of the Sacred/Divine”.
But Catholicism, the most rational theology, was also the most the pagan in its retention of certain cultural aspects of Germanic/Celtic/Scandinavian religions, and in absorbing Greek and Roman thought. As Paglia writes: “Italian Catholicism, I am happy to say, retains the most florid pictorialism, the bequest of a pagan past that was never lost” (33, Sexual Personae).
Re modern liberalism; I believe that its roots go back to the aristocratic individualism of Indo-Europeans, and I would distinguish current cultural Marxism from classical liberalism. But I understand that there has to be a better reconciliation of modern liberalism with community-oriented values. The leftist communitarians know this, and right now occupy this field, welcoming the communitarianism of non-Western peoples while expecting Europeans to get their communal values from their universities and the media, while undermining their historic customs and traditions.
Modern science and technology inescapably involve an abandonment of traditional, communitarian ways; it cannot come without a price, and right now we are full tilt into science and technology, and there is no turning nature back to the gods.
RD (Ricardo Duschesne, I assume), concerning your point on Catholicism, that is true, and it is acknowledged by most New Right authors, including Alain de Benoist (although, naturally, we know that Catholicism takes on different forms). Benoist, for all his criticism of Christianity in general, does not fail to recognize the complexities of Christianity, or the various forms it has taken on. We do, in fact, have many historical examples of Christianity reconciled with Paganism, as Mircea Eliade’s investigations have shown (Eliade, by the way, is a major scholarly reference for Benoist and other ENR intellectuals on religious matters). Also, Benoist has not hesitated to show appreciation for many Christian Right-wing authors, especially Catholic and Orthodox ones.
Concerning your point on liberalism and individualism, you need to understand that I refer to “liberalism” in the European sense, not in the American manner (i.e., I am speaking of “liberalism” in the same sense as Benoist); modern liberalism and the basic values of liberty, equal rights for all citizens of a polity, etc. are not equivalent. As for “individualism”, there is an common misconception that “individualism” could mean simply the valuing of individuals, or the idea of “aristocratic individualism” or “altruistic individualism” that Faye refers to (supposedly the “individualism” of leaders, which is linked to self-discipline, liberty, responsibility, striving for accomplishment, etc.).
This sort of “aristocratic individualism” is further posed as an “individualism” that can be linked with holism, reconciled with community. We do not speak of this kind of “individualism”; we have nothing against it, except for the fact that it is an erroneous use of the word “individualism”, which we use in the sociological sense as meaning the exact opposite of holism, and thus something inherently anti-communitarian (Othmar Spann has made this point well, posed as “Universalism [Holism] vs. Individualism”). When it comes to individualism in this sense, it is the enemy. “Individualism in this conception is, therefore, the world-view doctrine which decides the conflict of values between the individual and the community in favour of the individual” (Edgar Julius Jung, The Rule of the Inferiour”, p. 51).
Furthermore, individualism is also inherently egalitarian: “That equality is a demand of individualism and that Liberalism in this way turns its own doctrine of the worth of personality into its opposite has been shown by history” (Jung, p. 60). Individualism is alien to the European spirit – in fact, to all genuine human spirit – and is incompatible with any higher feeling of community, which is organic and suprasensual; we oppose artificial collectivism and individualism alike, fighting for organic holism. As for the “leftist communitarianism” you reference, that is a repulsive simulacrum of any true communitarianism, which always values ethnic bonds and identities, and which the ENR advocates.
Finally, concerning your comment on modern science and technology supposedly “inescapably involving an abandonment of traditional, communitarian ways”, this statement shows a lack of imagination as well as knowledge of other possibilities present in other parts of the world outside of the U.S. and Canada (I don’t intend to offend you with statement, but to me it is how it appears). The reconciliation of holism, community, religiosity, and tradition with modern science, progress, and technology has been pointed out by many in other parts of the world (Europe, Russia, Asia, Latin America). In fact, many currently living societies, such as in East Asia, totally contradict your statement (you can even read from Japanese and Chinese authors the possibility of various alternatives). As for our intellectual group in particular, my point has been well argued by Revolutionary Conservatives in interwar Germany (e.g., Freyer and Sombart; in fact, an interesting book has been written by a mainstream scholar on this called “Reactionary Modernism”, by Jeffrey Herf) and by New Rightist authors such as Mohler, Benoist, Dugin (better done in his texts on Multipolarism and Eurasianism, not the 4PT book), etc. Frankly, there are so many facts that support the idea that tradition and modernity can be reconciled when you look beyond the “Western” mentality dominant in North America. I have the impression that, despite your lengthy historical investigations, you have not been exposed to the particular variety of authors and ideas that one needs to be exposed to to understand this matter adequately.
I can’t argue against what I acknowledged from the start, that I have not been, as you say, “exposed to the particular variety of authors and ideas that one needs to be exposed to to understand this matter adequately.”
You keep drawing a distinction between Europe and America (and by extension, I would guess, Canada and Australia); you also say that ENR thinkers find the mixing of European ethnicities “repulsive”, as has been the case in United States, though less so in Canada, and even less in Australia, which is heavily Anglo. I noticed too, from the little I have read, that ENR thinkers draw a distinction, as you do, between a “true European culture” and “Western zivilization”, strongly equating the latter with the settler nations of US, Canada, and Australia, even though you draw a distinction between traditional Europe and modern liberal Europe, but, like Krebs and Benoist, you seem to blame America for the creation of modern European zivilization.
But America, Canada, and Australia were created by Europeans, and modern liberalism, as you define it, came out of the “true Europe” you praise. And I would say it came out it, not inevitably as the only possible line of development, but certainly as a very strong immanent tendency within traditional Europe. Europe has never been traditional in the way other cultures have. It is not only aristocratic individualism that differentiates Europe; there are other individualistic tendencies, a very crucial one being the independent family farm; homestead farming is intrinsic to the European psychic going back to prehistoric Europe, and constituting the foundation of Greek hoplites and Roman legionnaires. It is how Canada, Australia, and America were settled agriculturally. The Germans have always been the most collective, but less so the English, and this has to be taken into account when one talks about a “true Europe”.
I think you are underplaying the enormous impact of science and technology on traditional Asian cultures; when you think about it, their collectivity is still very strong because they are still racially homogeneous. Last year I was present in a night “meeting” at Salter’s hotel room with Benoist and others who are well known here, and Benoist said there was no hope for France, and he blamed the current state in France on capitalism, much like a Marxist; and, in this regard, he forgot that there can be a nationalist version of capitalism, as in Japan. But we should also be aware that Japan is not traditionally the same anymore, and the dramatic drop in birth rates are testimony of this; and this was not due to feminism but a product of affluence itself, of “zivilization” as Spengler would put it.
I like to come to terms with modernity rather than pretend it was a “wrong” turn, or that we can return to the past; particularly for Europeans, since they are the ones who thought through the movement to modernity; maybe I am too much of a Hegelian, can’t see how we can expect Europeans to agree collectively on basic norms for the future without their reflexive sense of questioning.
First of all, where in any of my comments did I blame the United States (America) for anything at all? That’s not to say that America doesn’t deserve blame for anything at all in history, since it is an extremely problematic nation. However, I certainly wouldn’t blame it for creating what we are calling Zivilisation, even though many would be justified to say it is the epitome of Western Zivilisation, although that is specifically a Western European creation. Also, I acknowledge and believe that there are significant differences between the United States and Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, etc. Also, America actually tried to separate its heritage from European heritage when it gained its independence. Their founding fathers literally stated that they were creating a “new race”, a new culture, heritage, and worldview entirely different and separate from Europe, and Americans have always tried to continue that up to today. Now, despite that, I know that that is not exactly what America is and I know that it has some connection with European culture because the people here are obviously derived from Europeans. But it has many cultural, social, and philosophical differences from Europe, as well as flaws that Europe does not have. Lastly, it is actually Dugin, Krebs, and Faye (in some of his writings, though, not all of them) who tend to “blame America” for the problems in the “West”, but people like Benoist, Venner, and Sunic are far more aware of the complexities. This is not to say that Dugin, Krebs, and Faye do not make valid statements on many issues, only that they tend to be less balanced about some matters.
One more thing regarding America, you claim that I said “that ENR thinkers find the mixing of European ethnicities ‘repulsive’,” but that is absurd, because I never said such a thing. The ENR finds the melting pot policy to be repulsive (especially the form adopted in the latter half of the 20th Century), and it advocates the rights of every ethnicity to maintain its existence as a separate and unique people, but the ENR is not “repulsed” by the mixing of European ethnicities per se. No, the reality is that the ENR holds a far more complex view of ethnic relations, as I have demonstrated in my own study “The Philosophy of Identity” (and some of my other essays available on CC) and which can also be discovered from numerous writings by Benoist and other ENR authors. The major problem I find with your response to me here is that you are misrepresenting what I wrote and then critiquing that misrepresentation. Whether you are doing so consciously or not I obviously cannot tell, but it is not a good basis for any understanding of the ENR, to say the least.
Regarding individualism, there are no inherent individualistic tendencies in European culture; that is a myth. What is called “aristocratic individualism” is a rather vague idea, and one can easily argue that such a thing exists among aristocracies and leaders all across world history in numerous non-European cultures as well. Likewise, you give me the example of homestead farming as something individualistic, but you forget that in almost all medieval and ancient European cultures, farming was in most cases something that was collectivistic or at least held communitarian consequences due to typical policies. In any case, even the most “individualistic” homestead farming does not prove the existence of any inherent “individualism” (in the true sense as it was defined by the authors I referenced). What needs to be understood here is that things like individual rights and individual property (which I agree are inherent in most European cultures) are not synonymous with individualism in the sociological sense. Individualism is the idea, as well as mentality, that only the individual matters, that society is nothing but a mass of individuals, that the parts are greater than the whole. When a people are individualistic they are essentially either egocentric or disconnected, atomized; individualism goes beyond just simply having individual rights and individual property.
That being said, I reference German authors to support my case, but I could reference sociologists from numerous other backgrounds, and Germans like Spann and Sombart spoke not only for the tendencies of German culture, nor do they study only German culture, but numerous other cultures. Finally, in almost every culture, both European and non-European, one can observe simultaneously “collectivist” and “individualist” practices, but one cannot understand whether a culture is individualist or holist unless one is able to go deeper than superficial examples and analyze the spiritual character of cultures, as authors such as Spann, Freyer, Sombart, and Benoist have all demonstrated.
RD: “I think you are underplaying the enormous impact of science and technology on traditional Asian cultures; when you think about it, their collectivity is still very strong because they are still racially homogeneous.”
Racial homogeneity does very little to create holism, a sense of community, or a bonded collectivity; it only partially contributes to it. Racial homogeneity is certainly something to be valued, for other reasons, but community and holism exist as something above it. Theoretically, a very racially mixed society can have a strong sense of community and solidarity just as a racially homogenous society can be completely ripped apart by atomization, and vice versa. We are dealing with two different subject matters. If anything, it is holism that creates racial homogeneity, because individualism weakens or harms collective identities. It needs to be recognized that although race is a value, it has very important limitations.
No, I do not underestimate the impact of science and technology on Asian culture; that would be impossible to do for anyone who has read at least a few Japanese commentaries on such matters. Nor I am the sort of person who likes to make generalizing assumptions, ignoring the complexities and complications of society and culture. Yet the existence of complexities and complications has never made drawing conclusions invalid, as every sociologist knows. In many places in Asia, the phenomena I indicated are a reality, just as is the process known as “modernization without Westernization”. As for capitalism, everyone who knows anything of history can see the existence of “national capitalism”, such as in the cases of Japan and also the Second German Empire (the Hohenzollern Reich). Yet, as authors such as Spengler and Sombart had observed, this is not true capitalism, for it is associated with socialistic tendencies and a different ethical attitude and way of being than the capitalism of Western nations, such as England. However, this is no place to begin a discussion of the types of economic theory and ethics, as that is a very complex subject.
Concerning Alain de Benoist, he is perfectly right to say that capitalism is a major cause of problems for France and for much of the world, and I know for a fact that he is aware of the varieties of economic forms (naturally, anyone who has done such a vast study of the German Conservative Revolution as him would know that). But it always needs to be kept in mind that he sometimes says things based on circumstances, like his declaration that there is “no hope for France”, which could have been due to a passing moment of disappointment. I am not moved by claims from someone who says he spoke with him in person, because I could easily ask Benoist questions myself, and it was not long ago that I had friendly email exchange with him. Also, I have looked into his writings far more extensively than most people, as my discussions with others often keeps reminding me.
RD: “I like to come to terms with modernity rather than pretend it was a ‘wrong’ turn, or that we can return to the past.”
That is exactly what we are trying to do, which is exactly the idea behind the reconciliation between tradition and modernity to create our own “postmodernity” (different from the leftist and liberal “postmodernists”!). We are trying to find a proper balance between tradition and modernity, to accept what is good or inevitable but also to overcome what is negative or damaging to us. I, along with many Revolutionary Conservatives and along with the New Right as a whole, are vehemently anti-reactionary and opposed to erroneous “restorationism”. I do not want to offend you, but frankly, if you have not understood that point, you have not understood anything.
Finally, I want to conclude by saying that I am not interested in continuing this debate further, and I don’t want you to be insulted by that. The problem here is that the more I read and speak with you, the more I begin to realize that we have many philosophical differences, and that our differences are not purely intellectual, but also exist on a deeper worldview level. Changes in worldview do not occur easily and quickly, and we could continue writing each other comments long enough to create book without ever successfully smoothing out the philosophical differences and complications. My intention in coming to comment here on your article was not to engage in such lengthy discussions. My purpose in commenting was to point out that there were too many premature assumptions being made about New Right thought here. I want to simply encourage you and other people here to read and study more before saying or writing premature articles and comments. And I hope that I have accomplished that and that you will indeed study and consider the ENR further and in the future discuss the philosophy of New Right authors more fairly.
RE: Lucian and Ricardo:
Oh, what a tangled web we weave…
As long as there are disagreements, this movement will never get off the ground…
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