G.R.E.C.E. undertakes the defense of Western culture
Good Minds Are Stirring in France
Instauration has mentioned several times that France is way ahead of other Western nations in lighting the fuse of a cultural renaissance. Most of the French philosophers, anthropologists, historians and critics who are taking the lead in rescuing their nation from the throwback shamans of the liberal-minority-Marxist establishment are members of G.R.E.C.E. (Groupement de Recherche et d’Études pour la Civilisation Européenne), an intellectual community that compares to an American think tank as Plato compares to Henry Kissinger. “Because it is not a party, but a ‘laboratory of ideas,’” as stated in a newly published report of its history and growth, “G.R.E.C.E. has no fixed program and never will have. Such is not its purpose. Nevertheless, it has the duty to clarify its positions and summarize some of its ideas.” The group has therefore put out a twelve-point statement of policy, which is modestly described “as the fleeting response of its permanent reflexes.” Omitting the material that has only to do with France, we offer below a free, very free, translation of G.R.E.C.E.’s position paper in the hope of stimulating the growth of a similar organization in the U.S.
At the present time equalitarian dogma is the common denominator of one-world doctrines and leveling ideologies. Originally, nothing was more foreign to the European spirit than this line of thought. All the societies of antiquity were organic and viewed politics as a product of forces, the social components of which were carefully structured upon certain hierarchies that accepted individuals for what they were, that is to say, for unique persons not identical to any other human being.
Equalitarianism penetrated European culture in the beginning of the modern era through the back door of a new anthropology, of which Judaeo-Christianity was the vector. For the first time it was affirmed that the diversity of the world was secondary—that beyond each man’s peculiar set of characteristics (his qualities and his faults, his merits and his gifts) there subsisted the essential–that which in the eyes of God is supposed to render every person equal.
This equalitarian anthropology could have only sprung from theological roots—fertilized by the myth of “equality before God.” Little by little, with the advent of democracy, socialism and, finally, communism, the doctrine was secularized. Equalitarianism brought down to earth as the here and now was substituted for the beyond. Today the secularization of Christian theodicy has been entirely realized. The Church itself has come to recognize in modern equalitarianism the child that it engendered long ago.
The annihilation of the equalitarian world view must be regarded as the fundamental strategy of a war against negativism, reductionism and “massification.” It is not sufficient to deplore the symptoms of decadence. It is necessary to identify the causes of decadence. Only by attacking the causes can we substantially modify the effects.
The progressive erosion of the neighborhood, the constant assault on regional and ethnic characteristics, the homogenization of the countryside and urban areas are a profound menace to physical and moral health. If he had the choice, man would prefer to live in the region or country of his birth, where he has his roots, memories and origins, instead of being exiled to regions or countries where his surroundings are no longer recognizable and to which he has no natural ties.
A particularly damaging form of deracination affects the peoples of the Third World, whose emigration to Europe is organized by veritable “slave hunters,” who are exclusively concerned with short-term profits and who find in their lucrative work a dubious substitute for economic innovation.
By imposing an alien way of life and thought on men with different values and aspirations, modern immigration policy deprives immigrants of their identity and constitutes an attack on their right to be themselves. A rational policy of aid to the developing nations should enable the immigrants’ own country to offer them at home the opportunity for work which they have been forced to seek elsewhere. At the same time the children of the immigrants should have the right to an education that respects their cultural heritage and that will facilitate, in accord with the promises so frequently made by the concerned governments, their ultimate return to their countries of origin.
Against Intellectual Terrorism
Contemporary art and culture reflect the pathology of a declining civilization. Absurd spectacles, incoherent styles, encroaching exoticism, insipid songs, obsessive eroticism, formless art, ideological drumbeating on radio and television. All these techniques of stupefaction influence modern man to abandon his sense of values and to adhere to the purely subversive principle that “everything equals everything.” If he should resist, he will find himself in a losing struggle with the all-out “intellectual terrorism” of an intelligentsia whose fantastic conception of the wishes of the citizenry provides the excuse and justification for its tyrannical hold over modern thought. The terrorism is implemented by silence, defamation, slander and by the broad dissemination of debilitating and guilt-producing myths.
Politicians are all too often quite content to smile indulgently at the aberrations of a counterculture which, unfortunately, is not a marginal phenomenon. Marxist theoretician Antonio Gramsci, correcting Lenin on this point, has demonstrated the crucial role that cultural power plays in advanced societies. The object of cultural power is to weaken all the implicit values, the metapolitics, responsible for the social consensus without which no state could govern. Revolutions take place when this corrosive power has done its work, when the majority of society has been won over by values and doctrines to which it has not been habituated.
The reaction against the cultural power of the intelligentsia ought to be conducted on its own terrain by the formulation of a world view that links theory to practice—the only positive alternative. This calls for a series of responses dictated by a unified ideology that reaches into all the domains of culture, human knowledge, ethics and thought.
Against the Degradation of Teaching
The “democratization” of teaching conceals with ever greater difficulty the sad reality of a leveling of education toward the bottom and the devaluation of educational standards. Under the cover of reforms, administrations have promoted a veritable academic revolution in primary and secondary education, a revolt inspired by the equalitarian and utopian concept of man. The result has been confusion and anarchy.
Genuine popular education is incompatible with these revolutionary goals. Needed is a complete overhaul of the educational system, which must be reestablished on the foundations of a world view totally opposed to the one that now prevails.
The fundamental aim of education is not to provide “knowledge,” which is only a means of achieving a much greater objective, the shaping of character to conform to the student’s particular heritage. Knowledge has meaning only when it rests on culture—a culture founded on the past and therefore uniquely capable of building the future. In the last analysis knowledge is a political problem. The neutrality of education is a myth invented by doctrinaire equalitarians to expand and justify their ascendancy. It is not necessary to oppose their “neopedagogues” because they “make politics,” but because their politics are false, destructive and vicious.
While considering the individual as a member of a community, education ought to endow him with a feeling for the life at the center of the community, to aid him to form his character at the same time it exercises his intelligence. It should provide him not only with lessons, but with models.
A rigorous selection and diversification of study courses are indispensible to the harmonious realization of a child’s aptitudes and aspirations. The artificial barrier which separates literary from scientific studies must be removed. The “divorce of the cultures” prevents the adolescent from familiarizing himself with the real world, provokes disillusion and can easily turn brilliant students into dropouts.
Between the conservatism of some instructors, totally out of phase with the age, and the harmful utopias of the pseudomodernists, there is room for teaching self-discipline, stimulating intellectual curiosity and voluntary effort, and aiding the expansion of the student’s creativity.
Finally, it is necessary to emphasize the autonomy of universities, not only in regard to their recruiting program, but in regard to the choice or curriculum. Institutions of higher learning should be encouraged to enter into healthy competition with each other, which will have the effect of raising the level of instruction. The university will then cease to live in an ivory tower.
Against “Sexploiters” and Taboos
For many centuries a dogmatic attitude foisted on European man has made sexuality “shameful.” Antiquity exalted the body, as it exalted all worldly things. The Church, on the other hand, saw in the “flesh” the refuge of the Devil. It has long been evident that we must substitute an adult and natural sexuality for “sinful” sexuality. It is one thing to get rid of guilt. It is another to preach exhibitionism. If self-repression is a sign of psychosis, the eruption of an omnipresent sexuality is a sign of disequilibrium—all the more so if it is accompanied by perverting the sense of physical beauty which leads to the perversion of the vital sense of love.
At the urging of Wilhelm Reich, Marxists and Freudians joined in viewing social and family institutions as the major cause of “sexual misery.” In their opinion all regulatory morality is necessarily repressive. The decalog of “don’ts” has yielded to the catalog of perversions. The problem of conscience remains, but it is more concealed than ever.
The more there is of the sexuality of representation, the less the sexuality of act. We are supposed to be living in an era of sexual liberation. But never have therapists had so many “problem patients.” The truth is our “liberators” have proposed a priori that life itself is a problem. Permissive society is not a liberated society. It is a society of impotence. It has become so hypererotic it is no longer erotic. The psychiatrist has simply superseded the priest. Without provocation or false modesty, sexuality must be returned to where it belongs and erotic health no longer confused with promiscuity.
Against Merchants of Illusions
Prophets, quack doctors, shamans and visionaries are everywhere in the limelight. Every day they reap greater profits from the media-propagated taste for the “sensational.” Mystical sects of Oriental provenance, many of whose directors and “missionaries” have spent time in psychiatric wards or correctional institutions, preach a metaphysics of renunciation and guilt. A gregarious youth, worried about its future and having lost its sense of direction, provides an easy target for this propaganda.
Government authorities display an inexcusable tolerance toward this exploitation of disorder, credulity and superstition. The State has the duty to see that laws which suppress these practices are respected and reinforced, if need be, by legislation. The State also ought to reaffirm more sternly than ever that religious freedom does not authorize attacks on the moral health of its most vulnerable citizens, the manipulation of guilty consciences for presumably charitable ends or, still worse, the imposition on society of concepts and beliefs designed to shatter the people’s faith and deepest instincts.
For an Organic Society
Equalitarian thought is necessarily reductionist. If everyone were really identical, everyone would also be interchangeable. It follows that a society composed entirely of interchangeable individuals would be nothing more than the sum of its parts. It would therefore rest on a social physics and its social bonds would be essentially mechanical. The fact is that society is a living whole, whose parts are necessarily unequal, and draws its identity from what is added to this whole by the addition of these different and unequal parts. Society does not derive from physics (essentially dependent on analysis), but from physiology, morphology and sociobiology (essentially dependent on synthesis). The social bonds holding all this together, if the whole is to be orderly and harmonious, must be organic.
Since the triumph of equalitarian thought in Europe, especially in the last two centuries, the mechanical has been taking precedence over the organic at the core of society. This evolution corresponds, as Spengler has stated, to the “materialization” or “petrification” of human relations—a clear symptom of culture in decline.
More proof that the organic is giving way to the mechanical is that society is slowly losing all its previous moorings. Life, as stated previously, is becoming problematical. Neighbors find themselves total strangers. The social order is fragmenting into factions, parties and mutually antagonistic unions—all working to advance their own special interests. The term community has become almost incomprehensible. All the hierarchies are threatened as an exacerbated individualism produces its reciprocal—totalitarianism and “massification.”
For the current idea of society it is time once again to substitute the idea of community, to revive the natural and organic links that should exist between the organs of a viable social order, to reestablish the harmony and the complementarily that have been supplanted by antagonism and division. This complex task is the sine qua non of every national undertaking. Above everything, it calls for a strenuous battle against equalitarianism in all its forms.
For a Genuine Science of Man
Scientific research lacks funds, yet it tolerates an enormous waste of energy. There is a dramatic contrast between the results obtained in physics, chemistry and biology laboratories and the relative unproductivity of the “social sciences.” This situation is due largely to the fact that man and the society he created are not “reducible” by a purely empirical and analytical process. Too often the social sciences are only scientific in their pretension to become a science. Should they succeed, they would then become the science not of the living but of the dead (when they do not serve, purely and simply, as alibis for sundry equalitarian and universalist dogmas).
As an antidote to the specialization brought about by the development of technology, a synthetic process involving several disciplines is needed to make full use of our capability to catalog and disseminate the special branches of knowledge. A genuine science of man defines the parameters of what is specifically human and calls for a systematic comparison of human society with other living systems and a strong emphasis on such new disciplines as sociobiology.
The all-too-evident proposition that the wisest of men, like everyone else, are influenced by the doctrines and thought of their time does not mean that the experimental method is dead. What happened a long time ago in the case of Galileo, as well as in the Lysenko era in the U.S.S.R., has amply demonstrated the contempt of totalitarianism for facts. For ideological reasons many researchers do not hesitate to “black out” certain areas of study to minimize “irksome” findings. They tend to evaluate their work in progress according to its “dogmatic desirability.”
For the Renewal of Tradition
A rational approach to the human spirit shows that it is ruled by more than reason, which is only one among many cerebral functions. Just as the soul needs spiritual nourishment, the mind needs psychological nourishment (including the implicit recognition that it aspires toward a much greater quality of life). As part of this latter nourishment, myths formed and kept alive by history comprise one of the most powerful factors in inspiring motivation and outlining objectives.
Experience demonstrates that societies wishing to deny the spiritual and mythical dimensions of the human spirit, notably by a forced deracination of regional and national attitudes, often come to a sudden end.
Traditions, in effect, are nothing but molds in which innovations are born and formed. From one end of the year to the other, from birth until death, they provide the rhythm of existence—the eternal return of the seasons and of the generations of man.
Instauration, June 1979, pp. 8, 27–28.