dimanche, 07 octobre 2012
La fiducia riparte da noi
Claudio Risé, da “Il Mattino di Napoli” del lunedì, 1 ottobre 2012, www.ilmattino.it
La patologia più diffusa oggi? La sfiducia. E non è solo il frutto degli ultimi scandali, o della crisi. E’ qualcosa di sotterraneo, che si sta sviluppando lentamente, da anni, non solo in Italia. Sfiducia verso le autorità, lo Stato, i superiori. Ma anche verso i genitori, i figli. E, soprattutto, se stessi.
La corruzione è legata, nel profondo, anche a questo. Facciamo molta fatica a pensarci onesti. Sarà ben difficile diventarlo finché vediamo in questo modo noi stessi e gli altri.
Questa sfiducia porta con sé il pessimismo: se non mi fido di nessuno, la vita diventa più difficile. Ed alimenta la paura, lo stato emotivo in cui crescono ansia, e instabilità.
All’origine di siffatto scenario, che rende difficile superare le crisi e risanare persone e nazioni c’è un sentimento preciso: la sfiducia.
Sul perché sia diffuso oggi, le versioni sono molteplici. Una buona parte della psicoanalisi, soprattutto dagli anni 30 del Novecento in poi, ha messo sotto osservazione il rapporto del bimbo con la madre, dato che lì si sviluppa la fiducia (o sfiducia) verso gli altri, e il mondo. I cambiamenti nella famiglia, l’aspirazione femminile al lavoro, il trasferimento dalle campagne alle città, e molto altro, avrebbero reso meno accoglienti e più insicure le madri, e istillato questa fondamentale sfiducia nei figli.
Molti sogni di caduta, anche ripetuti da grandi, sarebbero legati alla fantasia (spesso riconosciuta da madri e padri) di lasciar cadere il figlioletto che hanno in braccio, inconsciamente percepita dai figli come pericolo.
Naturalmente, ciò non basta a spiegare la crescita della sfiducia, e delle diverse paure che questo non fidarsi alimenta.
Anche il crescente moltiplicarsi di contratti, di obblighi e diritti giuridicamente tutelati verso gli altri, paradossalmente aumenta l’insicurezza e la sfiducia. I genitori adempiranno gli standard correnti, illustrati dai media, o devo farli “richiamare” ai loro doveri da assistenti sociali, psicologi, magistrati, giornalisti?
Queste nuove possibilità, che sono in effetti anche protezioni, rendono però fragile fin dall’infanzia un rapporto di fiducia di cui lo sviluppo della personalità ha d’altra parte assoluta necessità.
Lo stesso accade per le innumerevoli altre tutele: sindacali, sanitarie, professionali, amministrative, affettive.
L’altro sarà davvero “in ordine”? O ci saranno in giro batteri, irregolarità, secondi fini?
Queste domande ci spingono ad uno stato psicologico molto vicino al disturbo paranoico, che nelle società di massa diventa sospetto generalizzato e infezione psichica collettiva. Tanto più pericolosa quanto più queste società apparentemente permissive e tolleranti non sviluppano nei propri membri senso critico e autocensure, ma autorizzano a trasferire sugli altri timori e inadeguatezze che percepiamo presenti già in noi stessi.
La mancanza di fiducia si rivela così essere la buccia di banana su cui sta pericolosamente scivolando la nostra società ex opulenta (come racconta tra gli altri la filosofa Michela Marzano che ha dedicato al tema il suo ultimo saggio: Avere fiducia).
Inutile, anzi controproducente, si rivela l’icona pubblicitaria della “trasparenza”. L’uomo, in quanto dotato di spessore e contenuti, non può essere trasparente. Deve, anzi, imparare a riconoscerli e difenderli dalle invasioni massmediatiche. Quando poi necessario ed utile a sé e agli altri, deve però impegnarsi nel cambiamento, senza aspettare di esservi richiamato dall’Autorità. Potrà così sviluppare una più tranquilla fiducia in se stesso. Base indispensabile per aver fiducia negli altri.
vendredi, 05 octobre 2012
MERIDIEN ZERO RENCONTRE ERIC WERNER
Ce dimanche, Méridien Zéro reçoit Eric Werner politologue et essayiste Suisse pour évoquer avec lui ses analyse critique de la société libérale contemporaine.
A la barre Jean-Louis Roumégace et le sieur Wilsdorf. Lord Tesla à la technique
Rendez vous ce dimanche à 23 h sur :
Nous serons présents à la Table Ronde de Terre et Peuple ce dimanche à Rungis également
Avec Méridien Zéro, tous à l’abordage et pas de quartier !
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samedi, 29 septembre 2012
LOUIS DUMONT: HOLISMO HIERÁRQUICO
Enlace Revista formato pdf
Louis Dumont: estructuralismo, jerarquía e individualismo,
La influencia de Louis Dumont: Evolución teórica de Alain de Benoist,
Gloria o maldición del individualismo moderno según Louis Dumont,
La historia entre antropólogos: Dumont y Salhins, por Gladis Lizama Silva
Las formas del holismo: Mauss y Dumont,
La racionalidad de la cultura occidental: Weber y Dumont,
Individualismo y modernidad,
Los errores y confusiones de Louis Dumont. A propósito de “la autonomía” o "emancipación” de la Economía,
Individuo y sociedad: un estudio sobre la perspectiva jerárquica de Louis Dumont,
Individualismo y colectividad a partir del concepto tiempo,
El Homo Hierarchicus de Louis Dumont,
La ideología del sistema de castas en Louis Dumont,
mercredi, 26 septembre 2012
La realidad es, más lo que puede ser y meditación y filosofía occidental
Beyond Prudery and Perversion: The Sexual Aesthetics and Metaphysics of Julius Evola
Of course, the ongoing institutionalization of the values of the sexual revolution is not without its fierce critics. Predictably, the most strident criticism of sexual liberalism originates from the clerical and political representatives of the institutions of organized Christianity and from concerned Christian laypeople. Public battles over sexual issues are depicted in the establishment media as conflicts between progressive-minded, intelligent and educated liberals versus ignorant, bigoted, sex-phobic reactionaries. Dissident conservative media outlets portray conflicts of this type as pitting hedonistic, amoral sexual libertines against beleaguered upholders of the values of faith, family, and chastity. Yet this “culture war” between liberal libertines and Christian puritans is not what should be the greatest concern of those holding a radical traditionalist or conservative revolutionary outlook.
Sexuality and the Pagan Heritage of Western Civilization
The European New Right has emerged as the most intellectually progressive and sophisticated contemporary manifestation of the values of the conservative revolution. Likewise, the overlapping schools of thought associated with the ENR have offered the most penetrating and comprehensive critique of the domination of contemporary cultural and political life by the values of liberalism and the consequences of this for Western civilization. The ENR departs sharply from conventional “conservative” criticisms of liberalism of the kind that stem from Christian piety. Unlike the Christian conservatives, the European New Right does not hesitate to embrace the primordial pagan heritage of the Indo-European ancestors of Western peoples. The history of the West is much older than the fifteen hundred year reign of the Christian church that characterized Western civilization from the late Roman era to the early modern period. This history includes foremost of all the classical Greco-Roman civilization of antiquity and its legacy of classical pagan scholarship and cultural life. Recognition of this legacy includes a willingness to recognize and explore classical pagan attitudes towards sexuality. As Mark Wegierski has written:
The ENR’s “paganism” entails a naturalism towards mores and sexuality. Unlike still traditionalists, ENR members have a relatively liberated attitude towards sexuality…ENR members have no desire to impose what they consider the patently unnatural moralism of Judeo-Christianity on sexual relations. However, while relatively more tolerant in principle, they still value strong family life, fecundity, and marriage or relations within one’s own ethnic group. (Their objection to intraethnic liaisons would be that the mixture of ethnic groups diminishes a sense of identity. In a world where every marriage was mixed, cultural identity would disappear). They also criticize Anglo-American moralism and its apparent hypocrisy: ” . . . In this, they are closer to a worldly Europe than to a puritanical America obsessed with violence. According to the ENR: “Our ancestral Indo-European culture . . . seems to have enjoyed a healthy natural attitude to processes and parts of the body concerned with the bringing forth of new life, the celebration of pair-bonding love, and the perpetuation of the race.”
In its desire to create a balanced psychology of sexual relations, the ENR seeks to overcome the liabilities of conventional conservative thought: the perception of conservatives as joyless prudes, and the seemingly ridiculous psychology implied in conventional Christianity. It seeks to address “flesh-and-blood men and women,” not saints. Since some of the Left’s greatest gains in the last few decades have been made as a result of their championing sexual freedom and liberation, the ENR seeks to offer its own counter-ethic of sexual joy. The hope is presumably to nourish persons of the type who can, in Nietzsche’s phrase, “make love alter reading Hegel.” This is also related to the desire for the reconciliation of the intellectual and warrior in one person: the reconciliation of vita contemplative and vita activa.1
It is therefore the task of contemporary proponents of the values of conservative revolution to create a body of sexual ethics that offers a genuine third position beyond that of mindless liberal hedonism or the equally mindless sex-phobia of the Christian puritans. In working to cultivate such an alternative sexual ethos, the thought of Julius Evola regarding sexuality will be quite informative.
The Evolan Worldview
Julius Evola published his Eros and the Mysteries of Love: The Metaphysics of Sex in 1958.2This work contains a comprehensive discussion of Evola’s views of sexuality and the role of sexuality in his wider philosophical outlook. In the book, Evola provides a much greater overview of his own philosophy of sex, a philosophy which he had only alluded to in prior works such as The Yoga of Power (1949)3 and, of course, his magnum opus Revolt Against the Modern World (1934)4. Evola’s view of sexuality was very much in keeping with his wider view of history and civilization. Evola’s philosophy, which he termed merely as “Tradition,” was essentially a religion of Evola’s own making. Evola’s Tradition was a syncretic amalgam of various occult and metaphysical influences derived from ancient myths and esoteric writings. Foremost among these were the collection of myths found in various Greek and Hindu traditions having to do with a view of human civilization and culture as manifestation of a process of decline from a primordial “Golden Age.”
It is interesting to note that Evola rejected modern views of evolutionary biology such as Darwinian natural selection. Indeed, his views on the origins of mankind overlapped with those of Vedic creationists within the Hindu tradition. This particular reflection of the Vedic tradition postulates the concept of “devolution” which, at the risk of oversimplification, might be characterized as a spiritualistic inversion of modern notions of evolution. Mankind is regarded as having devolved into its present physical form from primordial spiritual beings, a view that is still maintained by some Hindu creationists in the contemporary world.5 Comparable beliefs were widespread in ancient mythology. Hindu tradition postulates four “yugas” with each successive yuga marking a period of degeneration from the era of the previous yuga. The last of these, the so-called “Kali Yuga,” represents an Age of Darkness that Evola appropriated as a metaphor for the modern world. This element of Hindu tradition parallels the mythical Golden Age of the Greeks, where the goddess of justice, Astraea, the daughter of Zeus and Themis, lived among mankind in an idyllic era of human virtue. The similarities of these myths to the legend of the Garden of Eden in the Abrahamic traditions where human beings lived in paradise prior the Fall are also obvious enough.
It would be easy enough for the twenty-first century mind to dismiss Evola’s thought in this regard as a mere pretentious appeal to irrationality, mysticism, superstition or obscurantism. Yet to do so would be to ignore the way in which Evola’s worldview represents a near-perfect spiritual metaphor for the essence of the thought of the man who was arguably the most radical and far-sighted thinker of modernity: Friedrich Nietzsche. Indeed, it is not implausible to interpret Evola’s work as an effort to place the Nietzschean worldview within a wider cultural-historical and metaphysical framework that seeks to provide a kind of reconciliation with the essential features of the world’s great religious traditions which have their roots in the early beginnings of human consciousness. Nietzsche, himself a radical materialist, likewise regarded the history of Western civilization as involving a process of degeneration from the high point of the pre-Socratic era. Both Nietzsche and Evola regarded modernity as the lowest yet achieved form of degenerative decadence with regards to expressions of human culture and civilization. The Nietzschean hope for the emergence of anubermenschen that has overcome the crisis of nihilism inspired by modern civilization and the Evolan hope for a revival of primordial Tradition as an antidote to the perceived darkness of the current age each represent quite similar impulses within human thought.
The Metaphysics of Sex
In keeping with his contemptuous view of modernity, Evola regarded modern sexual mores and forms of expression as degenerate. Just as Evola rejected modern evolutionary biology, so did he also oppose twentieth century approaches to the understanding of sexuality of the kind found in such fields as sociobiology, psychology, and the newly emergent discipline of sexology. Interestingly, Evola did not view the reproductive instinct in mankind to be the principal force driving sexuality and he criticized these academic disciplines for their efforts to interpret sexuality in terms of reproductive drives, regarding these efforts as a reflection of the materialistic reductionism which he so bitterly opposed. Evola’s use of the term “metaphysics” with regards to sexuality represents in part his efforts to differentiate what he considered to be the “first principles” of human sexuality from the merely biological instinct for the reproduction of the species, which he regarded as being among the basest and least meaningful aspects of sex. It is also interesting to note at this point that Evola himself never married or had children of his own. Nor is it known to what degree his own paralysis generated by injuries sustained during World War Two as a result of a 1945 Soviet bombing raid on Vienna affected his own reproductive capabilities or his views of sexuality.
Perhaps the most significant aspect of Evola’s analysis of sex is his rejection of not only the reproductive instinct but also of love as the most profound dimension of sexuality. Evola’s thought on this matter is sharp departure from the dominant forces in traditional Western thought with regards to sexual ethics. Plato postulated a kind of love that transcends the sexual and rises above it, thereby remaining non-sexual in nature. The Christian tradition subjects the sexual impulse and act to a form of sacralization by which the process of creating life becomes a manifestation of the divine order. Hence, the traditional Christian taboos against non-procreative sexual acts. Modern humanism of a secular-liberal nature elevates romantic love to the highest form of sexual expression. Hence, the otherwise inexplicable phenomena of the modern liberal embrace of non-procreative, non-marital or even homosexual forms of sexual expression, while maintaining something of a taboo against forms of non-romantic sexual expression such as prostitution or forms of sexuality and sexual expression regarded as incompatible with the egalitarian ethos of liberalism, such as polygamy or “sexist” pornography.
Evola’s own thought regarding sexuality diverges sharply from that of the Platonic ideal, the Christians, and the moderns alike. For Evola, sexuality has as its first purpose the achievement of unity in two distinctive ways. The first of these is the unity of the male and female dichotomy that defines the sexual division of the human species. Drawing once again on primordial traditions, Evola turns to the classical Greek myth of Hermaphroditus, the son of Hermes and Aphrodite who was believed to be a manifestation of both genders and who was depicted in the art of antiquity as having a male penis with female breasts in the same manner as the modern “she-male.” The writings of Ovid depict Hermaphroditus as a beautiful young boy who was seduced by the nymph Salmacis and subsequently transformed into a male/female hybrid as a result of the union. The depiction of this story in the work of Theophrastus indicates that Hermaphroditus symbolized the marital union of a man and woman.
The concept of unity figures prominently in the Evolan view of sexuality on another level. Just as the sexual act is an attempt at reunification of the male and female division of the species, so is sexuality also an attempt to reunite the physical element of the human being with the spiritual. Again, Evola departs from the Platonic, Christian, and modern views of sexuality. The classical and the modern overemphasize such characteristics as romantic love or aesthetic beauty in Evola’s view, while the Christian sacralization of sexuality relegates the physical aspect to the level of the profane. However, Evola does not reject the notion of a profane dimension to sexuality. Instead, Evola distinguishes the profane from the transcendent. Profane expressions of sexuality are those of a non-transcendent nature. These can include both the hedonic pursuit of sexual pleasure as an end unto itself, but it also includes sexual acts with romantic love as their end.
Indeed, Evola’s analysis of sexuality would be shockingly offensive to the sensibilities of traditionalists within the Abrahamic cults and those of modern liberal humanists alike. Evola is as forthright as any of the modern left-wing sexologists of his mid-twentieth century era (for instance, Alfred Kinsey6 or Wilhelm Reich7) in the frankness of his discussion of the many dimensions of human sexuality, including sexual conduct of the most fringe nature. Some on the contemporary “far Right” of nationalist politics have attempted to portray Evola’s view of homosexuality as the equivalent of that of a conventional Christian “homophobe.” Yet a full viewing of Evola’s writing on the homosexual questions does not lend itself to such an interpretation. The following passage fromThe Metaphysics of Sex is instructive on this issue:
In natural homosexuality or in the predisposition to it, the most straightforward explanation is provided by what we said earlier about the differing levels of sexual development and about the fact that the process of sexual development in its physical and, even more so, in its psychic aspects can be incomplete. In that way, the original bisexual nature is surpassed to a lesser extent than in a “normal” human being, the characteristics of one sex not being predominant over those of the other sex to the same extent. Next we must deal with what M. Hirschfeld called the “intermediate sexual forms”. In cases of this kind (for instance, when a person who is nominally a man is only 60 percent male) it is impossible that the erotic attraction based on the polarity of the sexes in heterosexuality – which is much stronger the more the man is male and the woman is female – can also be born between individuals who, according to the birth registry and as regards only the so-called primary sexual characteristics, belong to the same sex, because in actual fact they are “intermediate forms”. In the case of pederasts, Ulrich said rightly that it is possible to find “the soul of a woman born in the body of a man”.
But it is necessary to take into account the possibility of constitutional mutations, a possibility that has been given little consideration by sexologists; that is, we must also bear in mind cases of regression. It may be that the governing power on which the sexual nature of a given individual depends (a nature that is truly male or truly female) may grow weak through neutralization, atrophy, or reduction of the latent state of the characteristics of the other sex, and this may lead to the activation and emergence of these recessive characteristics. And here the surroundings and the general atmosphere of society can play a not unimportant part. In a civilization where equality is the standard, where differences are not linked, where promiscuity is a favor, where the ancient idea of “being true to oneself” means nothing anymore – in such a splintered and materialistic society, it is clear that this phenomenon of regression and homosexuality should be particularly welcome, and therefore it is in no way a surprise to see the alarming increase in homosexuality and the “third sex” in the latest “democratic” period, or an increase in sex changes to an extent unparalleled in other eras.8
In his recognition of the possibility of “the soul of a woman born in the body of man” or “intermediate” sexual forms, Evola’s language and analysis somewhat resembles the contemporary cultural Left’s fascination with the “transgendered” or the “intersexed.” Where Evola’s thought is to be most sharply differentiated from that of modern leftists is not on the matter of sex-phobia, but on the question of sexual egalitarianism. Unlike the Christian puritans who regard deviants from the heterosexual, procreative sexual paradigm as criminals against the natural order, Evola apparently understood the existence of such “sexual identities” as a naturally occurring phenomenon. Unlike modern liberals, Evola opposed the elevation of such sexual identities or practices to the level of equivalence with “normal” procreative and kinship related forms of sexual expression and relationship. On the contemporary question of same-sex marriage, for example, Evolan thought recognizes that the purpose of marriage is not individual gratification, but the construction of an institution for the reproduction of the species and the proliferation and rearing of offspring. An implication of Evola’s thought on these questions for conservative revolutionaries in the twenty-first century is that the populations conventionally labeled as sexual deviants by societies where the Abrahamic cults shape the wider cultural paradigm need not be shunned, despised, feared, or subject to persecution. Homosexuals, for instance, have clearly made important contributions to Western civilization. However, the liberal project of elevating either romantic love or hedonic gratification as the highest end of sexuality, and of equalizing “normal” and “deviant” forms of sexual expression, must likewise be rejected if relationships between family, tribe, community, and nation are to be understood as the essence of civilization.
The nature of Evola’s opposition to modern pornography and the relationship of this opposition to his wider thought regarding sexuality is perhaps the most instructive with regards to the differentiation to be made between Evola’s outlook and that of Christian moralists. Evola’s opposition to pornography was not its explicit nature or its deviation from procreative, marital expressions of sexuality as the idealized norm. Indeed, Evola highly regarded sexual practices of a ritualized nature, including orgiastic religious rites of the kind found in certain forms of paganism, to be among the most idyllic forms of sexual expression of the highest, spiritualized variety. Christian puritans of the present era might well find Evola’s views on these matters to be even more appalling than those of ordinary contemporary liberals. Evola also considered ritualistic or ascetic celibacy to be such an idyllic form. The basis of Evola’s objection to pornography was its baseness, it commercial nature, and its hedonic ends, all of which Evola regarding as diminishing its erotic nature to the lowest possible level. Evola would no doubt regard the commercialized hyper-sexuality that dominates the mass media and popular culture of the Western world of the twenty-first century as a symptom rather than as a cause of the decadence of modernity.
Originally published in Thoughts & Perspectives: Evola, a compilation of essays on Julius Evola, published by ARKTOS.
1 Wegierski, Mark. The New Right in Europe. Telos, Winter93/Spring94, Issue 98-99.
2 Evola, Julius. Eros and the Mysteries of Love: The Metaphysics of Sex. English translation. New York: Inner Traditions, 1983. Originally published in Italy by Edizioni Meditterranee, 1969.
3 Evola, Julius. The Yoga of Power: Tantra, Shakti, and the Secret Way. English translation by Guido Stucci. New York: Inner Traditions, 1992. Originally published in 1949.
4 Evola, Julius. Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order in the Kali Yuga. English translation by Guido Stucco. New York: Inner Traditions, 1995. From the 1969 edition. Originally published in Milan by Hoepli in 1934.
5 Cremo, Michael A. Human Devolution: A Vedic Alternative to Darwin’s Theory. Torchlight Publishing, 2003.
6 Pomeroy, Wardell. Dr. Kinsey and the Institute for Sex Research. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.
7 Sharaf, Myron. Fury on Earth: A Biography of Wilhelm Reich. Da Capo Press, 1994.
8 Evola, Eros and the Mysteries of Love: The Metaphysics of Sex, pp. 62-63.
Cremo, Michael A. Human Devolution: A Vedic Alternative to Darwin’s Theory. Torchlight Publishing, 2003.
Evola, Julius. Eros and the Mysteries of Love: The Metaphysics of Sex. English translation. New York: Inner Traditions, 1983. Originally published in Italy by Edizioni Meditterranee, 1969.
Evola, Julius. Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order in the Kali Yuga. English translation by Guido Stucco. New York: Inner Traditions, 1995. From the 1969 edition. Originally published in Milan by Hoepli in 1934.
Evola, Julius. The Yoga of Power: Tantra, Shakti, and the Secret Way. English translation by Guido Stucci. New York: Inner Traditions, 1992. Originally published in 1949.
Pomeroy, Wardell. Dr. Kinsey and the Institute for Sex Research. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.
Sharaf, Myron. Fury on Earth: A Biography of Wilhelm Reich. Da Capo Press, 1994.
Wegierski, Mark. The New Right in Europe. Telos, Winter93/Spring94, Issue 98-99.
lundi, 24 septembre 2012
Mercury Rising: The Life and Writings of Julius Evola
by Gwendolyn Toynton
If the industrious man, through taking action,
Does not succeed, he should not be blamed for that –
He still perceives the truth.
The Sauptikaparvan of the Mahābhārata (2,16)
If we could select a single aspect by which to define Julius Evola, it would have been his desire to transcend the ordinary and the world of the profane. It was characterized by a thirst for the Absolute, which the Germans call mehr als leben – “more than living”. This idea of transcending worldly existence colours not only his ideas and philosophy, it is also evident throughout his life which reads like a litany of successes. During the earlier years Evola excelled at whatever he chose to apply himself to: his talents were evident in the field of literature, for which he would be best remembered, and also in the arts and occult circles.
Born in Rome on the 19th of May in 1898, Giulio Cesare Andrea Evola was the son of an aristocratic Sicilian family, and like many children born in Sicily, he had received a stringent Catholic upbringing. As he recalled in his intellectual autobiography, Il cammino del cinabro [1963, 1972, The Cinnabar’s Journey], his favourite pastimes consisted of painting, one of his natural talents, and of visiting the library as often as he could in order to read works by Oscar Wilde, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Otto Weininger. During his youth he also studied engineering, receiving excellent grades but chose to discontinue his studies prior to the completion of his doctorate, because he “did not wish to be bourgeois, like his fellow students.” At the age of nineteen Evola joined the army and participated in World War I as a mountain artillery officer. This experience would serve as an inspiration for his use of mountains as metaphors for solitude and ascension above the chthonic forces of the earth. Evola was also a friend of Mircea Eliade, who kept in correspondence with Evola from 1927 until his death. He was also an associate of the Tibetologist Giuseppe Tucci and the Tantric scholar Sir John Woodroofe (Arthur Avalon).
During his younger years Evola was briefly involved in art circles, and despite this being only a short lived affair, it was also a time that brought him great rewards. Though he would later denounce Dada as a decadent form of art it was within the field of modern art that Evola first made his name, taking a particular interest in Marinetti and Futurism. His oil painting, Inner Landscape, 10:30 a.m., is hanging today on a wall of the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome. He also composed Arte Astratta (Abstract Art) but later, after experiencing a personal crisis, turned to the study of Nietzsche, from which sprang his Teoria dell, individuo assoluto (Theory of the Absolute Individual) in 1925. By 1921 Evola had abandoned the pursuit of art as the means to place his unique mark on the world. The revolutionary attitudes of Marinetti, the Futurist movement and the so-called avant-garde which had once fascinated him, no longer appeared worthwhile to Evola with their juvenile emphasis on shocking the bourgeoisie. Likewise, despite being a talented poet, Evola (much like another of his inspirations – Arthur Rimbaud) abandoned poetry at the age of twenty four. Evola did not write another poem nor paint another picture for over forty years. Thus, being no longer enamored of the arts, Evola chose instead to pursue another field entirely that he would one day award him even greater acclaim.
To this day, the magical workings of the Ur Group and its successor Krur remain as some the most sophisticated techniques for the practice of esoteric knowledge laid down in the modern Western era. Based on a variety of primary sources, ranging from Hermetic texts to advanced Yogic techniques, Evola occupied a prominent role in both of these groups. He wrote a number of articles for Ur and edited many of the others. These articles were collected in the book Introduction to Magic: Rituals and Practical Techniques for the Magus, which alongside Evola’s articles, are included the works of Arturo Reghini, Giulio Parese, Ercole Quadrelli and Gustave Meyrink. The original title of this work in Italian, Introduzione alla Magia quale scienza dell’lo, literally translates as Introduction to Magic as a Science of the “I”. In this sense, the ‘I’ is best interpreted as the ego, or the manipulation of the will – an idea which is also the found in the work of that other famous magician, Aleister Crowley and his notion of Thelema. The original format of Ur was as a monthly publication, of which the first issue was printed in January 1927.
Contributors to this publication included Count Giovanni di Caesaro, a Steinerian, Emilio Servadio, a distinguished psychoanalyst, and Guido de Giorgio, a well-known adherent of Rudolph Steiner and an author of works on the Hermetic tradition. It was during this period, that he was introduced to Arturo Reghini, whose ideas would leave a lasting impression on Evola. Arturo Reghini (1878-1946), was interested in speculative Masonry and the anthroposophy of Rudolf Steiner, introduced Evola to Guénon’s writings and invited him to join the Ur group. Ur and its successor, Krur, gathered together a number of people interested in Guénon’s exposition of the Hermetic tradition and in Vedanta, Taoism, Buddhism, Tantra, and magic.
Arturo Reghini was to be a major influence on Evola, and himself was a representative of the so-called Italian School (Scuola Italica), a secret order which claimed to have survived the downfall of the Roman Empire, to have re-emerged with Emperor Frederic II, and to have inspired the Florentine poets of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, up to Petrarch. Like Evola, Reghini had also written articles, one of which was entitled Pagan Imperialism. This appeared in Salamandra in 1914, and in it Reghini summed up his anti-Catholic program for a return to a glorious pagan past. This piece had a profound impact on Evola, and it served as the inspiration for his similarly titled Imperialismo pagano. Imperialismo pagano, chronicling the negative effects of Christianity on the world, appeared in 1928. In the context of this work, Evola is the advocate of an anti-Roman Catholic pagan imperialism. According to Evola, Christianity had destroyed the imperial universality of the Roman Empire by insisting on the separation of the secular and the spiritual. It is from this separation that arose the inherent decadence and inward decay of the modern era. Out of Christianity’s implacable opposition to the healthy paganism of the Mediterranean world arose the secularism, democracy, materialism, scientism, socialism, and the “subtle Bolshevism” that heralded the final age of the current cosmic cycle: the age of “obscurity” the Kali-Yuga. Imperialismo pagano was to be later revised in a German edition as Heidnischer Imperialismus. The changes that occurred in the text of Evola’s Imperialismo pagano in its translation as Heidnischer Imperialismus five years later were not entirely inconsequential. Although the fundamental concepts that comprised the substance of Evola’s thought remained similar, a number of critical elements were altered that would transform a central point in Evola’s thinking. The “Mediterranean tradition” of the earlier text is consistently replaced with the “Nordic-solar tradition” in this translation. In 1930 Evola founded his own periodical, La Torre (The Tower). La Torre, the heir to Krur, differed from the two earlier publications Ur and Krur in the following way, as was announced in an editorial insert:
Our Activity in 1930 – To the Readers: “Krur is transforming. Having fulfilled the tasks relative to the technical mastery of esotericism we proposed for ourselves three years ago, we have accepted the invitation to transfer our action to a vaster, more visible, more immediate field: the very plane of Western ‘culture’ and the problems that, in this moment of crisis, afflict both individual and mass consciousness [..] for all these reasons Krur will be changed to the title La Torre [The Tower], ‘a work of diverse expressions and one Tradition.’”
La Torre was attacked by official fascist bodies such as L’Impero and Anti-Europa, and publication of La Torre ceased after only ten issues. Evola also contributed an article entitled Fascism as Will to Imperium and Christianity to the review Critica Fascista, edited by Evola’s old friend Giuseppi Bottai. Here again he launches vociferous opposition to Christianity and attests to its negative effects, evident in the rise of a pious, hypocritical, and greedy middle class lacking in all superior solar virtues that Evola attributed to ancient Rome. The article did not pass unnoticed and was vigorously attacked in many Italian periodicals. It was also the subject of a long article in the prestigious Revue Internationale des Sociétés Secrètes (Partie Occultiste) for April 1928, under the title “Un Sataniste Italien: Jules Evola.”
Coupled with notoriety of Evola’s La Torre, was also another, more bizarre incident involving the Ur Groups reputation, and their attempts to form a “magical chain”. Although these attempts to exert supernatural influence on others were soon abandoned, a rumour quickly developed that the group had wished to kill Mussolini by these means. Evola describes this event in his autobiography Il Cammino del Cinabro.
Someone reported this argument [that the death of a head of state might be brought about by magic] and some yarn about our already dissolved “chain of Ur” may also have been added, all of which led the Duce to think that there was a plot to use magic against him. But when he heard the true facts of the matter, Mussolini ceased all action against us. In reality Mussolini was very open to suggestion and also somewhat superstitious (the reaction of a mentality fundamentally incapable of true spirituality). For example, he had a genuine fear of fortune-tellers and any mention of them was forbidden in his presence.
It was also during this period that Evola also discovered something which was to become a profound influence on many his ideas: the lost science of Hermeticism. Though he undoubtedly came into contact with this branch of mysticism through Reghini and fellow members of Ur, it seems that Evola’s extraordinary knowledge of Hermeticism actually arose from another source. Jacopo da Coreglia writes that it was a priest, Father Francesco Olivia, who had made the most far-reaching progress in Hermetic science and sensing a prodigious student –granted Evola access to documents that were usually strictly reserved for adepts of the narrow circle. These were concerned primarily with the teachings of the Fraternity of Myriam (Fratellanza Terapeutica Magica di Myriam), founded by Doctor Giuliano Kremmerz, pseudonym of Ciro Formisano, 1861-1930). Evola mentions in The Hermetic Tradition that the Myriam’s “Pamphlet D” laid the groundwork for his understanding of the four elements. Evola’s knowledge of Hermeticism and the alchemical arts was not limited to Western sources either, for he also knew an Indian alchemist by the name of C.S. Narayana Swami Aiyar of Chingleput. During this era of history, Indian alchemy was almost completely unknown to the Western world, and it is only in modern times that it has been studied in relation to the occidental texts.
In 1926 Evola published an article in Ultra (the newspaper of the Theosophical Lodge in Rome) on the cult of Mithras in which he placed major emphasis on the similarities of these mysteries with Hermeticism. During this period he also wrote saggi sull’idealismo magico [1925; Essays on Magic Idealism], and L’individuo ed il divenire del mondo [1926; The Individual and the Becoming of the World], this article was to be followed by the publication of his treatise on alchemy, La Tradizione ermetica (The Hermetic Tradition). Such was the scope and depth of this work that Karl Jung even quoted Evola to support his own contention that “the alchemical opus deals in the main not just with chemical experiments as such, but also with something resembling psychic processes expressed in pseudo-chemical language.” Unfortunately, the support expressed by Jung was not mutual, for Evola did not accept Jung’s hypothesis that alchemy was merely a psychic process.
Taking issue with René Guénon’s (1886-1951) view that spiritual authority ranks higher than royal power, Evola wrote L’uomo come potenza [Man as power]; in the third revised edition (1949), the title was changed to Lo yoga della potenza [The yoga of power].This was Evola’s treatise of Hindu Tantra, for which he consulted primary sources on Kaula Tantra, which at the time were largely unknown in the Western world. Decio Calvari, president of the Italian Independent Theosophical League, introduced Evola to the study of Tantrism.Evola was also granted access to authentic Tantric texts directly from the Kaula school of Tantrism via his association with Sir John Woodroofe, who was not only a respected scholar, but was also a Tantric practitioner himself, under the famous pseudonym of Arthur Avalon. A substantial proportion of The Yoga of Power is derived from Sir John Woodroofe’s personal notes on Kaula Tantrism. Even today Woodroofe is regarded as a leading pioneer in the early research of Tantrism.
Evola’s opinion that the royal or Ksatriya path in Tantrism outranks that of the Brahmanic or priestly path, is readily supported by the Tantric texts themselves, in which the Vira or active mode of practice is exalted above that of the priestly mode in Kaula Tantrism. In this regard, the heroic or solar path of Tantrism represented to Evola, a system based not on theory, but on practice – an active path appropriate to be taught in the degenerate epoch of the Hindu Kali Yuga or Dark Age, in which purely intellectual or contemplative paths to divinity have suffered a great decrease in their effectiveness.
In the words of Evola himself:
“During the last years of the 1930s I devoted myself to working on two of my most important books on Eastern wisdom: I completely revised L’uomo come potenza [Man As Power], which was given a new title, Lo yoga della potenza [The Yoga of Power], and wrote a systematic work concerning primitive Buddhism entitled La dottrina del risveglio [The Doctrine of Awakening].”
Evola’s work on the early history of Buddhism was published in 1943. The central theme of this work is not the common view of Buddhism, as a path of spiritual renunciation –instead it focuses on the Buddha’s role as a Ksatriya ascetic, for it was to this caste that he belonged, as is found in early Buddhist records.
The historical Siddharta was a prince of the Śakya, a kṣatriya (belonging to the warrior caste), an “ascetic fighter” who opened a path by himself with his own strength. Thus Evola emphasizes the “aristocratic” character of primitive Buddhism, which he defines as having the “presence in it of a virile and warrior strength (the lion’s roar is a designation of Buddha’s proclamation) that is applied to a nonmaterial and atemporal plane…since it transcends such a plane, leaving it behind.”
The book considered by many to be Evola’s masterpiece, Revolt Against the Modern World was published in 1934, and was influenced by Oswald Spengler’s Decline of the West (1918) and René Guénon’s The Crisis of the Modern World (1927), both of which had been previously translated into Italian by Evola. Spengler’s contribution in this regard was the plurality of civilizations, which then fell into patterns of birth, growth and decline. This was combined with Guénon’s ideas on the “Dark Age” or Hindu Kali Yuga, which similarly portrays a bleak image of civilizations in decline. The work also draws upon the writings of Bachofen in regards to the construction of a mythological grounding for the history of civilizations. The original version of Julius Evola’s The Mystery of the Grail formed an appendix to the first edition of Rivolta contra il mondo moderno, and as such is closely related to this work. Three years later he reworked that appendix into the present book, which first appeared as part of a series of religious and esoteric studies published by the renowned Laterza Publishers in Italy, whose list included works by Sigmund Freud, Richard Wilhelm, and C. G. Jung, among others. In this book Evola writes three main premises concerning the Grail myths: That the Grail is not a Christian Mystery, but a Hyperborean one, that it is a mystery tradition, and that it deals with a restoration of sacred regality. Evola describes his work on the Grail in the epilogue to the first edition (1937).
To live and understand the symbol of the Grail in its purity would mean today the awakening of powers that could supply a transcendental point of reference for it, an awakening that could show itself tomorrow, after a great crisis, in the form of an “epoch that goes beyond nations.” It would also mean the release of the so-called world revolution from the false myths that poison it and that make possible its subjugation through dark, collectivistic, and irrational powers. In addition, it would mean understanding the way to a true unity that would be genuinely capable of going beyond not only the materialistic – we could say Luciferian and Titanic – forms of power and control but also the lunar forms of the remnants of religious humility and the current neospiritualistic dissipation.
Another of Evola’s books, Eros and the Mysteries of Love, could almost be seen as a continuation of his experimentation with Tantrism. Indeed, the book does not deal with the erotic principle in the normal of sense of the word, but rather approaches the topic as a highly conceptualized interplay of polarities, adopted from the Traditional use of erotic elements in eastern and western mysticism and philosophy. Thus what is described here is the path to sacred sexuality, and the use of the erotic principle to transcend the normal limitations of consciousness. Evola describes his book in the following passage.
But in this study, metaphysics will also have a second meaning, one that is not unrelated to the world’s origin since “metaphysics” literally means the science of that which goes beyond the physical. In our research, this “beyond the physical” will not cover abstract concepts or philosophical ideas, but rather that which may evolve from an experience that is not merely physical, but transpsychological and transphysiological. We shall achieve this through the doctrine of the manifold states of being and through an anthropology that is not restricted to the simple soul-body dichotomy, but is aware of “subtle” and even transcendental modalities of human consciousness. Although foreign to contemporary thought, knowledge of this kind formed an integral part of ancient learning and of the traditions of varied peoples.
Another of Evola’s major works is Meditations Among the Peaks, wherein mountaineering is equated to ascension. This idea is found frequently in a number of Traditions, where mountains are often revered as an intermediary between the forces of heaven and earth. Evola was an accomplished mountaineer and completed some difficult climbs such as the north wall of the Eastern Lyskam in 1927. He also requested in his will that after his death the urn containing his ashes be deposited in a glacial crevasse on Mount Rosa.
Evola’s main political work was Men Among the Ruins. This was to be the ninth of Evola’s books to published in English. Written at the same time as Men Among the Ruins, Evola composed Ride the Tiger which is complementary to this work, even though it was not published until 1961.These books belong together and cannot really be judged seperately. Men among the Ruins shows the universal standpoint of ideal politics; Riding the Tiger deals with the practical “existential” perspective for the individual who wants to preserve his “hegomonikon” or inner sovereignty. Ride the Tiger is essentially a philosophical set of guidelines entwining various strands of his earlier thought into a single work. Underlying the more obvious sources which Evola cites within the text, such as Nietzsche, Sartre and Heidegger, there are also connections with Hindu thoughts on the collapse of civilization and the Kali Yuga. In many ways, this work is the culmination of Evola’s thought on the role of Tradition in the Age of Darkness – that the Traditional approach advocated in the East is to harness the power of the Kali Yuga, by ‘Riding the Tiger’ – which is also a popular Tantric saying. To this extent, it is not an approach of withdrawal from the modern world which Evola advocates, but instead achieving a mastery of the forces of darkness and materialism inherent in the Kali Yuga. Similarly, his attitude to politics alters here from that expressed in Men Among the Ruins, calling instead for a type of individual that is apoliteia.
[..] this type can only feel disinterested and detached from everything that is “politics” today. His principle will become apoliteia, as it was called in ancient times. [..] Apoliteia is the distance unassailable by this society and its “values”; it does not accept being bound by anything spiritual or moral
In addition to the Evola’s main corpus of texts mentioned previously, he also published numerous other works such as The Way of the Samurai, The Path of Enlightenment According to the Mithraic Mysteries, Il Cammino del Cinabro, Taoism: The Magic, The Mysticism and The Bow and the Club. He also translated Oswald Spengler’s Decline of the West, as well as the principle works of Bachofen, Guénon, Weininger and Gabriel Marcel.
In 1945 Evola was hit by a stray bomb and paralyzed from the waist downwards. He died on June 11, 1974 in Rome. He had asked to be led from his desk to the window from which one could see the Janiculum (the holy hill sacred to Janus, the two-faced god who gazes into this and the other world), to die in an upright position. After his death the body was cremated and his ashes were scattered in a glacier atop Mount Rosa, in accordance with his wishes.
 Julius Evola, The Yoga of Power: Tantra, Shakti, and the Secret Way, (Vermont: Inner Traditions, 1992) ix
 Julius Evola, Introduction to Magic: Rituals and Practical Techniques for the Magus, (Vermont: Inner Traditions, 2001) ix.
 Ibid., xvii
 A. James Gregor, Mussolini’s Intellectuals (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2005), 198
Julius Evola, Introduction to Magic: Rituals and Practical Techniques for the Magus, xxi
 Julius Evola, The Hermetic Tradition: Symbols & Teachings of the Royal Art, (Vermont: Inner Traditions, 1992) ix
 Ibid., ix
 Ibid., viii
Julius Evola, The Yoga of Power: Tantra, Shakti, and the Secret Way, xii
 Ibid., xiv
 Ibid., xiii
 Julius Evola, The Doctrine of Awakening: The Attainment of Self-Mastery According to the Earliest Buddhist Texts, (Vermont: Inner Traditions, 1996) xi
 Ibid., xv
 Julius Evola, The Mystery of the Grail: Initiation and Magic in the Quest for the Spirit, (Vermont: Inner Traditions, 1997) vii
 Ibid., ix
 Julius Evola, Eros and the Mysteries of Love: The Metaphysics of Sex, (Vermont: Inner Traditions, 1991), 2
 Julius Evola, Men Among the Ruins: Post-War Reflections of a Radical Traditionalist, (Vermont: Inner Traditions, 2003) 89
 Julius Evola, Ride the Tiger: A Survival Manual for the Aristocrats of the Soul , (Vermont: Inner Traditions, 2003)174-175
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jeudi, 20 septembre 2012
Alexander Dugin’s The Fourth Political Theory
by Alex KURTAGIC
The Fourth Political Theory, London: Arktos, 2012
Arktos recently published what we can only hope will be the first of many more English translations of Alexander Dugin’s work. Head of the sociology department in Moscow State University, and a leading Eurasianist with ties to the Russian military, this man is, today, influencing official Kremlin policy.
The Fourth Political Theory is a thoroughly refreshing monograph, combining clarity of analysis, philosophical rigor, and intellectual creativity. It is Dugin’s attempt to sort through the confusion of modern political theory and establish the foundations for a political philosophy that will decisively challenge the dominant liberal paradigm. It is not, however, a new complete political theory, but rather the beginning of a project. The name is provisional, the theory under construction. Dugin sees this not as the work of one man, but, because difficult, a collective heroic effort.
The book first sets out the historical topology of modern political theories. In Dugin’s account, liberalism, the oldest and most stable ideology, was in modernity the first political theory. Marxism, a critique of liberalism via capitalism, was the second. Fascism/National Socialism, a critique of both liberalism and Marxism, was the third. Dugin says that Fascism/National Socialism was defeated by Marxism (1945), that Marxism was defeated by liberalism (1989), leaving liberalism triumphant and therefore free to expand around the globe.
According to Dugin, the triumph of liberalism has been so definitive, in fact, that in the West it has ceased to be political, or ideological, and become a taken-for-granted practice. Westerners think in liberal terms by default, assuming that no sane, rational, educated person could think differently, accusing dissenters of being ideological, without realizing that their own assumptions have ideological origins.
The definitive triumph of liberalism has also meant that it is now so fully identified with modernity that it is difficult to separate the two, whereas control of modernity was once contested by political theory number one against political theories two and three. The advent of postmodernity, however, has marked the complete exhaustion of liberalism. It has nothing new to say, so it is reduced endlessly to recycle and reiterate itself.
Looking to identify what may be useful to salvage, Dugin proceeds to break down each of the three ideologies into its component parts. In the process of doing so, he detoxifies the two discredited critiques of liberalism, which is necessary to be able to cannibalize them. His analysis of liberalism follows Alain de Benoist. Because it is crucial, I will avail myself of de Benoist’s insights and infuse some of my own in Dugin’s explication of liberalism.
Dugin says that liberalism’s historical subject is the individual. The idea behind liberalism was to “liberate” the individual from everything that was external to him (faith, tradition, authority). Out of this springs the rest: when you get rid of the transcendent, you end up with a world that is entirely rational and material. Happiness then becomes a question of material increase. This leads to productivism and economism, which, when the individual is paramount, demands capitalism. When you get rid of the transcendent, you also eliminate hierarchy: all men become equal. If all men are equal, then what applies to one must apply to all, which means universalism. Similarly, if all men are equal, then all deserve an equal slice of the pie, so full democracy, with universal suffrage, becomes the ideal form of government. Liberalism has since developed flavors, and the idea of liberation acquires two competing meanings: “freedom from,” which in America is embodied by libertarians and the Tea Party; and “freedom to,” embodied by Democrats.
Marxism’s historical subject is class. Marxism is concerned chiefly with critiquing the inequities arising from capitalism. Otherwise, it shares with liberalism an ethos of liberation, a materialist worldview, and an egalitarian morality.
Fascism’s historical subject is the state, and National Socialism’s race. Both critique Marxism’s and liberalism’s materialist worldview and egalitarian morality. Hence, the simultaneous application of hierarchy and socialism.
With all the parts laid out on the table, Dugin then selects what he finds useful and discards the rest. Unsurprisingly, Dugin finds nothing useful in liberalism. The idea is to unthink it, after all.
Spread out across several chapters, Dugin provides a typology of the different factions in the modern political landscape—e.g., fundamental conservatism (traditionalism), Left-wing conservatism (Strasserism, National Bolshevism, Niekisch), conservative revolution (Spengler, Jünger, Schmitt, Niekisch), New Left, National Communism, etc. It is essential that readers understand these so that they may easily recognize them, because doing so will clarify much and help them avoid the errors arising from opaque, confused, contradictory, or misleading labels.
Liberal conservatism is a key category in this typology. It may sound contradictory on the surface, because in colloquial discourse mainstream politics is about the opposition of liberals vs. conservatives. Yet, and as I have repeatedly stated, when one examines their fundamentals, so-called “conservatives” (a misleading label), even palaeoconservatives (another misleading label), are all ideologically liberals, only they wish to conserve liberalism, or go a little slower, or take a few steps back. Hence, the alternative designation for this type: “status-quo conservative.”
Another key category is National Communism. This is, according to Dugin, a unique phenomenon, and enjoys a healthy life in Latin America, suggesting it will be around for some time to come. Evo Morales and Hugo Chavez are contemporary practitioners of National Communism.
Setting out the suggested foundations of a fourth political ideology takes up the rest of Dugin’s book. Besides elements salvaged from earlier critiques of liberalism, Dugin also looks at the debris that in the philosophical contest for modernity was left in the periphery. These are the ideas for which none of the ideologies of modernity have had any use. For Dugin this is essential to an outsider, counter-propositional political theory. He does not state this in as many words, but it should be obvious that if we are to unthink liberalism, then liberalism should find its nemesis unthinkable.
But the process of construction begins, of course, with ontology. Dugin refers to Heidegger’s Dasein. Working from this concept he would like the fourth political theory to conceptualize the world as a pluriverse, with different peoples who have different moralities and even different conceptions of time. In other words, in the fourth political theory the idea of a universal history would be absurd, because time is conceived differently in different cultures—nothing is ahistorical or universal; everything is bound and specific. This would imply a morality of difference, something I have proposed as counter-propositional to the liberal morality of equality. In the last consequence, for Dugin there needs to be also a peculiar ontology of the future. The parts of The Fourth Political Theory dealing with these topics are the most challenging, requiring some grounding in philosophy, but, unsurprisingly, they are also where the pioneering work is being done.
Also pioneering, and presumably more difficult still, is Dugin’s call to “attack the individual.” By this he means, obviously, destabilizing the taken-for-granted construct that comprises the minimum social unit in liberalism—the discrete social atom that acts on the basis of rational self-interest, a construct that should be distinguished from “a man” or “a woman” or “a human.” Dugin makes some suggestions, but these seem nebulous and not very persuasive at this stage. Also, this seems quite a logical necessity within the framework of this project, but Dugin’s seeds will find barren soil in the West, where the individual is almost sacrosanct and where individualism results from what is possibly an evolved bias in Northern European societies, where this trait may have been more adaptive than elsewhere. A cataclysmic event may be required to open up the way for a redefinition of what it is to be a person. Evidently the idea is that the fourth political theory conceptualizes a man not as an “individual” but as something else, presumably as part of a collectivity. This is probably a very Russian way of looking at things.
The foregoing may all seem highly abstract, and I suspect practically minded readers will not take to it. It is hard to see how the abstract theorizing will satisfy the pragmatic Anglo-Saxon, who is suspicious of philosophy generally. (Jonathan Bowden was an oddity in this regard.) Yet there are real-world implications to the theory, and in Dugin’s work the geopolitical dimension must never be kept out of sight.
For Dugin, triumphant liberalism is embodied by Americanism; the United States, through its origins as an Enlightenment project, and through its superpower status in the twentieth and twenty-first century, is the global driver of liberal practice. As such, with the defeat of Marxism, it has created, and sought to perpetuate, a unipolar world defined by American, or Atlanticist, liberal hegemony. Russia has a long anti-Western, anti-liberal tradition, and for Dugin this planetary liberal hegemony is the enemy. Dugin would like the world to be multipolar, with Atlanticism counterbalanced by Eurasianism, and maybe other “isms.” In geopolitics, the need for a fourth political theory arises from a need to keep liberalism permanently challenged, confined to its native hemisphere, and, in a word, out of Russia.
While this dimension exists, and while there may be a certain anti-Americanism in Dugin’s work, Americans should not dismiss this book out of hand, because it is not anti-America. As Michael O’Meara has pointed out in relation to Yockey’s anti-Americanism, Americanism and America, or Americans, are different things and stand often in opposition. Engaging with this kind of oppositional thinking is, then, necessary for Americans. And the reason is this: liberalism served America well for two hundred years, but ideologies have a life-cycle like everything else, and liberalism has by now become hypertrophic and hypertelic; it is, in other words, killing America and, in particular, the European-descended presence in America.
If European-descended Americans are to save themselves, and to continue having a presence in the North American continent, rather than being subsumed by liberal egalitarianism and the consequent economic bankruptcy, Hispanization, and Africanization, the American identity, so tied up with liberalism because of the philosophical bases of its founding documents, would need to be re-imagined. Though admittedly difficult, the modern American identity must be understood as one that is possible out of many. Sources for a re-imagined identity may be found in the archaic substratum permeating the parts of American heritage that preceded systematic liberalism (the early colonial period) as well as in the parts that were, at least for a time, beyond it (the frontier and the Wild West). In other words, the most mystical and also the least “civilized” parts of American history. Yet even this may be problematic, since they were products of late “Faustian” civilization. A descent into barbarism may be in the cards. Only time will tell.
For Westerners in general, Dugin’s project may well prove too radical, even at this late stage in the game—contemplating it would seem first to necessitate a decisive rupture. Unless/until that happens, conservative prescriptions calling for a return to a previous state of affairs (in the West), or a closer reading of the founding documents (in America), will remain a feature of Western dissidence. In other words, even the dissidents will remain conservative restorationists of the classical ideas of the center, or the ideas that led to the center. Truly revolutionary thinking—the re-imagining and reinvention of ourselves—will, however, ultimately come from the periphery rather than the center.
Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com
URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/09/unthinking-liberalism/
Derechos humanos como disvalor
Alberto Buela (*)
Como hace muchos años que venimos escribiendo sobre el tema de los derechos humanos y lo hemos encarado desde distintos ángulos: a) derechos humanos de primera, segunda y tercera generación, b) derechos humanos e ideología, c) derechos humanos o derechos de los pueblos, d) derechos humanos: crisis o decadencia.
En esta ocasión vamos a meditar sobre los derechos humanos como un disvalor o, si se quiere para que sea más comprensible, como una falsa preferencia.
Es sabido que la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos proclamada por las Naciones Unidas a finales de 1948, afirma en su artículo 3 que: Todo individuo tiene derecho a la vida, a la libertad y a la seguridad de su persona.
Con lo cual los legisladores correctamente nos vinieron a decir que los derechos humanos proclamados alcanzan al hombre en tanto que individuo, esto es, formando parte de un género y una especie: animal rationale o zoon lógon éjon, como gustaban decir griegos y romanos.
Pero, al mismo tiempo, nos dicen que estos derechos son inherentes al hombre como persona, esto es, en tanto ser único, singular e irrepetible. Y acá está implícita toda la concepción cristiana del hombre.
Si bien, este magistral artículo 3, merecedor de una exégesis abundantísima, se apoya, tiene su basamento en una concepción sesgada o parcial del hombre: como sujeto de derechos. Y es acá donde comenzamos a barruntar lo que queremos decir.
El hombre durante toda la antigüedad clásica: greco, romano, cristiana nunca fue pensado como sujeto de derechos, y no porque no existieran dichos derechos, sino porque la justicia desde Platón para acá fue pensada como: dar a cada uno lo que corresponde. Con lo cual el derecho está concebido desde el que está “obligado” a cumplirlo y no desde los “acreedores” del derecho. Es por ello que la justicia fue concebida como una restitutio, como lo debido al otro.
Esto es de crucial importancia, pues sino se lo entiende acabadamente, no puede comprenderse la Revolución Copernicana, que produjeron los legisladores onunianos en 1948.
Al ser lo justo, dar a cada uno aquello que le corresponde y no el obtenerlo para uno, la obligación de realizarlo es del deudor. Y ello está determinado por el realismo filosófico, jurídico, político y teológico de la mencionada antigüedad clásica. Así el peso de realización de lo justo recae sobre aquel que puede y debe realizarlo, el acreedor de derechos solo puede demandarlo.
Al respecto relata Platón cómo respondió Sócrates cuando le proponen fugarse de la cárcel al ser condenado a muerte: Nunca es bueno y noble cometer injusticia (Critón, 49ª5) En cualquier caso es malo y vergonzoso cometer injusticia (Critón, 49b6). Nunca es correcto retribuir una injusticia por una injusticia padecida, ni mal por mal (Critón 49 d7), pues es peor hacer una injusticia que padecerla.
Así, Sócrates no ignora que tiene “derecho humano a conservar su vida”, pero prima en él, el “derecho humano de los atenienses”, de los otros. Pues si se fuga realiza un acto de injusticia, peor aún que la recibida.
Hoy la teoría de los derechos humanos invirtió la ecuación y así viene a sostener la primacía del acreedor de derechos por sobre la obligación de ser justos.
Viene entonces la pregunta fundamental: ¿A qué debe el hombre otorgar primacía en el ámbito del obrar: a ser justo o a ser acreedor de derechos?
Sin lugar a dudas todo hombre de bien intenta ser justo en su obrar, sin por ello renunciar a sus derechos pero, si el acto justo implica posponer algún derecho, es seguro que el justo lo pospone.
Ello nos está indicando la primacía y la preferencia axiológica de lo justo sobre el derecho.
Si invertimos esta relación los derechos humanos terminan siendo concebidos como un disvalor.
De modo tal que, obviamente, no estamos en contra del rescate que los derechos humanos han realizado en cantidad de campos y dominios. Estamos en contra que la vida del hombre se piense limitada y girando exclusivamente sobre los derechos humanos.
Y así como el bien tiene una primacía ontológica sobre el deber porque el hombre no es bueno cuando realiza actos buenos, sino que el hombre realiza actos buenos cuando es bueno. Analógicamente, lo justo=ius la tiene sobre el derecho y la lex.
(*) email@example.com arkegueta, aprendiz constante
lundi, 17 septembre 2012
Los artistas como intelectuales
Alberto Buela (*)
En una sociedad como la nuestra, de consumo, opulenta para pocos, cuyo dios es el mercado, la imagen reemplazó al concepto. Es que se dejo de leer para mirar, aun cuando rara vez se ve.
Y así los artistas, actores, cantantes, locutores y conductores televisión han reemplazado a los intelectuales.
Este reemplazo viene de otro más profundo; cuando los intelectuales, sobre todo a partir de la Revolución Francesa, vinieron a remplazar a los filósofos. Es cierto que siguió habiendo filósofos, pero el tono general de estos últimos dos siglos marca su desaparición pública.
El progresismo, esa enfermedad infantil de la socialdemocracia, se caracteriza por asumir la vanguardia como método y no como lucha, como sucedía con el viejo socialismo. Aún existe en Barcelona el viejo diario La Vanguardia.
La vanguardia como método quiere decir que para el progresista hay que estar, contra viento y marea, siempre en la cresta de la ola. Siempre adelante, en la vanguardia de las ideas, las modas, los usos, las costumbres y las actitudes.
El hombre progresista se sitúa siempre en el éxtasis temporal del futuro, ni el presente, ni mucho menos el pasado tiene para él significación alguna, y si la tuviera siempre está en función del futuro. No le interesa el ethos de la Nación histórica, incluso va contra este carácter histórico-cultural. Y esto es así, porque el progresista es su propio proyecto. Él se instala siempre en el futuro pues ha adoptado, repetimos, la vanguardia como método. Nadie ni nada puede haber delante de él, de lo contrario dejaría de ser progresista. Así se explica que el progresista no se pueda dar un proyecto de país ni de nación porque éste se ubicaría delante de él, lo cual implica y le crea una contradicción.
Y así como nadie puede dar lo que no tiene, el progresista no puede darse ni darnos un proyecto político porque él mismo es su proyecto político.
El hombre progre, al ser aquél que dice sí a toda novedad que se le propone encuentra en los artistas sus intelectuales. Hoy que en nuestra sociedad de consumo donde las imágenes han reemplazado a los conceptos nos encontramos con que los artistas son, en definitiva, los que plasman en imágenes los ideas. Y la formación del progresista consiste en eso, en una sucesión de imágenes truncas de la realidad. El homo festivus, figura emblemática del progresismo, del que hablan pensadores como Muray o Agulló, encuentra en el artista a su ideólogo.
El artista lo libera del esfuerzo, tanto de leer (hábito que se pierde irremisiblemente), como del mundo concreto. El progresista no quiere saber sino solo estar enterado. Tiene avidez de novedades. Y el mundo es “su mundo” y vive en la campana de cristal de los viejos almacenes de barrio que protegían a los dulces y los fiambres donde las moscas (el pueblo y sus problemas) no podían entrar.
Los progresistas porteños viven en Puerto Madero, no en Parque Patricios.
La táctica de los gobiernos progresistas es transformar al pueblo en “la gente”, esto es, en público consumidor, con lo cual el pueblo deja de ser el agente político principal de toda comunidad, para cederle ese protagonismo a los mass media, como ideólogos de las masas y a los artistas, como ideólogos de sus propias élites.
Este es un mecanismo que funciona a dos niveles: a) en los medios masivos de comunicación cientos periodistas y locutores, esos analfabetos culturales locuaces, según acertada expresión de Paul Feyerabend (1924-1994) nos dicen qué debemos hacer y cómo debemos pensar. Son los mensajeros del “uno anónimo” de Heidegger que a través del dictador “se”, se dice, se piensa, se obra, se viste, se come, nos sume en la existencia impropia. b) a través de los artistas como traductores de conceptos a imágenes en los teatros y en los cines y para un público más restringido y con mayor poder adquisitivo: para los satisfechos del sistema.
Esto es: los progres
El artista cumple con su función ideológica dentro del progresismo porque canta los infinitos temas de la reivindicación: el matrimonio gay, el aborto, la eutanasia, la adopción de niños por los homosexuales, el consumo de marihuana y coca, la lucha contra el imperialismo, la defensa del indigenismo, de los inmigrantes, de la reducción de las penas a los delincuentes, un guiño a la marginalidad y un largo etcétera. Pero nunca le canta a la inseguridad en las calles, la prostitución, la venta de niños, el turismo pedófilo, la falta de empleo, el creciente asesinato y robo de las personas, el juego por dinero, de eso no se habla como la película de Mastroiani. En definitiva, no ve los padecimientos de la sociedad sino sus goces.
El artista como actor reclama para sí la transgresión pero ejecuta todas aquellas obras de teatro en donde se representa lo políticamente correcto. Y en este sentido, como dice Vittorio Messori, en primer lugar está el denigrar a la Iglesia, al orden social, a las virtudes burguesas de la moderación, la modestia, el ahorro, la limpieza, la fidelidad, la diligencia, la sensatez, haciéndose la apología de sus contrarios.
No hay actor o locutor que no se rasgue las vestiduras hablando de las víctimas judías del Holocausto, aunque nadie representa a las cristianas ni a las gitanas. Estas no tienen voz, como no la tienen las del genocidio armenio ni hoy las de Darfour en Sudán.
Así, si representan a Heidegger lo hacen como un nazi y si a Stalin como un maestro en humanidad. Al Papa siempre como un verdugo y a las monjas como pervertidas, pero a los prestamistas como necesitados y a los proxenetas liberadores. Ya no más representaciones del Mercader de Venecia, ni de la Bolsa de Martel. El director que osa tocar a Wagner queda excomulgado por la policía del pensamiento y sino ¡qué le pregunten a Baremboin?
En el orden local si representan al Martín Fierro quitan la payada y duelo con el Moreno. Si al general Belgrano, lo presentan como doctor. A Perón como un burgués y a Evita como una revolucionaria. Pero claro, la figura emblemática de todo artista es el Che Guevara.
Toda la hermenéutica teatral está penetrada por el psicoanálisis teñido por la lógica hebrea de Freud y sus cientos de discípulos. Lógica que se resuelve en el rescate del “otro” pero para transformarlo en “lo mismo”, porque en el corazón de esta lógica “el otro”, como Jehová para Abraham, es vivido como amenaza y por eso en el supuesto rescate lo tengo que transformar en “lo mismo”.
Es que el artista está educado en la diferencia, lo vemos en su estrafalaria vestimenta y conducta. Él se piensa y se ve diferente pero su producto termina siendo un elemento más para la cohesión homgeneizadora de todas las diferencias y alteridades. Es un agente más de la globalización cultural.
El pluralismo predicado y representado termina en la apología del totalitarismo dulce de las socialdemocracias que reducen nuestra identidad a la de todos por igual.
Finalmente, el mecanismo político que está en la base de esta disolución del otro, como lo distinto, lo diferente, es el consenso. En él, funciona el simulacro del “como sí” kantiano. Así, le presto el oído al otro pero no lo escucho. Se produce una demorada negación del otro, porque, en definitiva, busco salvar las diferencias reduciéndolo a “lo mismo”.
Esta es la razón última por la cual nosotros venimos proponiendo desde hace años la teoría del disenso, que nace de la aceptación real y efectiva del principio de la diferencia, y tiene la exigencia de poder vivir en esa diferencia. Y este es el motivo por el cual se necesita hacer metapolítica: disciplina que encierra la exigencia de identificar en el área de la política mundial, regional o nacional, la diversidad ideológica tratando de convertir dicha diversidad en un concepto de comprensión política, según la sabia opinión del politólogo Giacomo Marramao.
El disenso debería ser el primer paso para hacer política pública genuina y la metapolítica el contenido filosófico y axiológico del agente político.
vendredi, 14 septembre 2012
Pierre Le Vigan
La bohème au XIXe siècle: épate-bourgeois, faux révolutionnaires et précurseurs des bobos
Les bobos. Ils sont moins une classe sociale qu’un sociostyle. On en parle depuis 30 ans. Claire Bretecher les a dessinés. Mais à quoi fait-on référence ? A la bohème du XIXe siècle et à toute une histoire. Une histoire qui ne concerne pas seulement le passé mais aussi notre présent : comment la notion de vie de bohème a joué un rôle important dans la dissolution progressive des valeurs traditionnelles.
A l’origine, le terme bohémien désigne des Tsiganes partis de l’Inde et stabilisés notamment en Bohême. Le bohémien est ainsi un voyageur tel que l’on en retrouvera beaucoup dans le pays basque. C’est Gédéon Tallemant des Réaux (1619-1692) qui introduit un sens nouveau à la notion de gens de la bohème. Auteur d’Historiettes, portraits d’écrivains publiés d’abord clandestinement, c’est en 1659 qu’il parle de la bohème comme d’un mode de vie. Le bohème est une sorte de dandy vivant de rien et riant de tout, à la lisière des milieux artistes et en marge des corps sociaux traditionnels. La bohème relève de ce que Saint Simon (1760-1825), le petit-cousin du mémorialiste, appelle le premier une « avant-garde », au sens non pas militaire mais artistique et littéraire. « C’est nous, artistes, qui vous servirons d’avant-garde : la puissance des arts est en effet la plus immédiate et la plus rapide. Nous avons des armes de toute espèce : quand nous voulons répandre des idées neuves parmi les hommes, nous les inscrivons sur le marbre ou sur la toile… Quelle plus belle destinée pour les arts, que d’exercer sur la société une puissance positive, un véritable sacerdoce et de s’élancer en avant de toutes les facultés intellectuelles, à l’époque de leur plus grand développement ! » On voit quelle importance possède pour la bohème la fascination de la table rase et des idées « neuves ».
C’est à partir de la première moitié du XIXe siècle que la figure de celui qui mène « la vie de bohème » prend un sens courant. En 1840, Balzac commence à publier Un prince de la bohème. « Ce mot de bohème vous dit tout. La Bohème n'a rien et vit de tout ce qu'elle a. L'espérance est sa religion, la foi en soi-même est son code, la charité passe pour être son budget. Tous ces jeunes gens sont plus grands que leur malheur, au-dessous de la fortune mais au-dessus du destin. » L’homme de la bohème veut faire du passé table rase, il est un enfant de 1789, mais va au-delà et là est l’important. Il oppose le « génial » à l’académique, le surgissement au travail, l’individu au peuple, la dépense à l’économie. Il ne se reconnait aucune obligation de fidélité à ce qui nous a précédé. Pour lui comme pour Rabaut Saint Etienne (1743-1793), « notre histoire n’est pas notre code ». L’homme de la bohème doute même que nous ayons besoin d’un code, sauf un code implicite : rien n’est tabou, l’ancien ne vaut rien. On verra plus tard que c’est le meilleur code possible du point du vue du capitalisme.
La bohème du milieu du XIXe siècle se retrouve au Petit Cénacle, le Cénacle étant à la fois un groupe d’amis de Victor Hugo et de Charles Nodier (1780-1844). En 1852, Gérard de Nerval publie La Bohème galante dans la revue bimensuelle L’Artiste. Au programme : jeunisme, et aristocratique plébéen. « On vit un jour Gérard de Nerval trainant un homard dans la rue. A quoi il répondit : ‘’En quoi un homard est-il plus ridicule qu’un chien, qu’un chat, qu’une gazelle, qu’un lion ou toute autre bête dont on se fait suivre ? J’ai le goût des homards, qui sont tranquilles, sérieux, savent les secrets de la mer, n’aboient pas…’’ » Réponse paradoxale et au sens propre insensée bien caractéristique de l’esprit bohème. Théophile Gautier, Pétrus Borel (1809-1859) illustrent aussi ce monde de la bohème. Tristan Tzara écrira : « La Lycanthropie (l’esprit du loup-garou) de Pétrus Borel n'est pas une attitude d'esthète, elle a des racines profondes dans le comportement social du poète [...] qui prend conscience de son infériorité dans le rang social et de sa supériorité dans l'ordre moral. » L’esprit bohème s’apparente ici au dandysme que Baudelaire voyait comme « le dernier éclat d'héroïsme dans les décadences »[i].
Le livre-clé de cette époque est celui d’Henri Murger (né Heinrich Mürger), Scènes de la vie de bohème (1845-48). Ce feuilleton donnera naissance à un opéra de Puccini. Henri Murger écrit que la bohème « est l’état de ces jeunes gens qui n’ont d’autre fortune, au soleil de leur vingt ans, que le courage, qui est la vertu des jeunes, et l’espérance, qui est le million des pauvres… C’est le stage de la vie artistique, c’est la préface de l’académie, de l’Hôtel-Dieu ou de la morgue. Nous ajouterons que la bohème n’existe et n’est possible qu’à Paris. » Lorédan Larchey écrit en 1865 : « La bohème se compose de jeunes gens, tous âgés de plus de vingt ans, mais qui n’en ont pas trente, tous hommes de génie en leur genre, peu connus encore, mais qui se feront connaître, et qui seront alors des gens fort distingués… Tous les genres de capacité, d’esprit, y sont représentés… Ce mot de bohème vous dit tout. La bohème n’a rien et vit de ce qu’elle a. » C’est « une société composée de toutes les sociétés, bizarre, monstrueux assemblage de talent et de bêtise, d’ivresse et de poésie, d’avenir et de néant, et qu’on nomme la bohème. » écrit Henri Maret (Le Tour du monde parisien, 1862). « C’est un vice de nature qui fait le bohème. Il naît de la paresse et de la vanité combinées. Tant qu’il y aura des paresseux et des vaniteux. il y aura des bohèmes. » (Gabriel Guillemot, Le Bohême, 1868 in Lucien Rigaud, Dictionnaire d’argot moderne, 1888).
Travestissement, extravagance, goût de choquer « le bourgeois » caractérisent la bohème. Le poète Jean Richepin (1849-1926) s’attirera ce jugement sévère de Léon Bloy : « En réalité, vous vous foutez de tout, excepté de deux choses : jouir le plus possible et faire du bruit dans le monde. Vous êtes naturellement un cabotin, comme d'autres sont naturellement des magnanimes et des héros. Vous avez ça dans le sang. Votre rôle est d'épater le bourgeois. L'applaudissement, l'ignoble claque du public imbécile, voilà le pain quotidien qu'il faut à votre âme fière. » (Lettre à Paul Richepin, 1877). C’est ce qu’on a pu appeler le romantisme frénétique[ii] , celui d’une France romantique qui succède et s’oppose à la France antique et classique de Napoléon. C’est un « mélange intime du comique et du tragique, [...] des éclats de rire alternés ou combinés, ce que Flaubert en somme appellera plus tard le “grotesque triste” » écrit Jean Bruneau, grand spécialiste de Flaubert.
Les gens de l’avant-garde bohème s’appellent les Bousingots, les Gueux, les Impassibles, les Vilains-Bonhommes, les Hirsutes fondés par Léo Trézenik (1883), les Jmenfoutistes (de là vient l’expression contemporaine si usuelle), les Zutistes (on dirait maintenant Les Enfoirés ?), Les Incohérents, les Fumistes (un groupe fondé par Emile Goudeau [iii] et Eugène Bataille dit Arthur Sapeck, le nom faisant référence aux fumeurs d’opium mais aussi aux adeptes des fumisteries comme goût de tout faire paraître dérisoire).
Aux Hirsutes succèdent les Hydropathes, avec le poète Emile Goudeau (abusant du jeu de mot good eau). « …marche encore et toujours ! marche ! si, d’aventure, Tu touchais ton but de la main, Laissant derrière toi l’oasis et la source, Vers un autre horizon tu reprendrais ta course ; Tu dois mourir sur un chemin. » (Emile Goudeau). Lyrisme et enfantillages se mêlent à la naissance du groupe des Hydropathes : « On pleura de tendresse, on exultait de joie ; on alla casser deux ou trois pianos, dans les brasseries ».
Dans les 20 dernières années du XIXe siècle les Incohérents fondés par Jules Lévy marquent une nouvelle étape de la bohème[iv], avec dans le domaine de la peinture les peintures monochromes (Combat de nègres dans une cave, pendant la nuit, Récolte de la tomate par des cardinaux apoplectiques au bord de la mer Rouge, Stupeur de jeunes recrues de la Marine en apercevant pour la première fois la Méditerranée…). Le critique d’art Félix Fénéon disait d’eux qu’ils représentaient « ... tout ce que les calembours les plus audacieux et les méthodes d’exécution les plus imprévues peuvent faire enfanter d’œuvres follement hybrides à la peinture et à la sculpture ahuries ... » (La Libre Revue, 1er novembre 1883).
Le Manifeste des Incohérents (in Le Courrier français, 12 mars 1884) explique que le mariage ou les rhumatismes amènent à l’exclusion du groupe. « L’Incohérent est jeune, il lui faut en effet la souplesse des membres et de l’esprit pour se livrer à des perpétuelles dislocations physiques et morales (…). L’Incohérent n’a conséquemment ni rhumatisme ni migraines, il est nerveux et robuste. Il appartient à tous les métiers qui se rapprochent de l’art : un typographe peut être Incohérent, un zingueur jamais. L’Incohérent est donc peintre ou libraire, poète ou bureaucrate ou sculpteur, mais ce qui le distingue, c’est que, dès qu’il se livre à son incohérence, il préfère passer pour ce qu’il n’est pas : le libraire devient ténor, le peintre écrit des vers, l’architecte discute de libre-échange, le tout avec exubérance. (…) L’Incohérent prend sa retraite en se mariant ou en attrapant un rhumatisme… » Un point peu souligné est la duplicité du bohème incohérent : il assume une façade sociale et donne le change : « A travers Paris, l’incohérent marche comme tout le monde, il salue ses supérieurs, et serre la main de ses égaux ; mais si, par hasard, il rencontre quelque part un co-incohérent, il se désarticule soudainement, se désagrège : son front, son nez, ses yeux et sa bouche forment des grimaces cabalistiques, ses bras se contournent drôlement et ses jambes s’agitent, suivant une cadence extravagante. Cela ne dure qu’une ou deux secondes. Mais ce sont les signes maçonniques auxquels se reconnaissent les F*** en incohérence. »
La bohème va au-delà d’un esprit potache fut-il régressif. Elle s’alimente de la haine des aieux. Diego Malevue c’est-à-dire Emile Goudeau écrit : « Une chose bizarre à coup sûr, c’est qu’il soit nécessaire de s’intituler moderne et de rompre sans fin ni trêve des lances contre les anciens. » Il est dit à propos des gérontes : « Qu’ils ne nous poussent point au parricide, qu’ils nous laissent la part de soleil, et ne nous enterrent plus sous leur gérontocratie, ou sinon, furieux, nous pourrions lever la main contre nos pères. » Il poursuivait : « De la place s’il vous plait Messieurs. Et pour finir : un seul mot. Il est moderne, il est d’hier : on appelle le gâteux un sous-lui. Nous prions les sous-eux de faire prendre mesure au fossoyeur. » La bohème révolutionnaire du XIXe et ses prolongements au XXe – dont le surréalisme - s’inscrit dans ce moment de l’individualisme révolutionnaire. Tout en étant dans la lignée de la Révolution de 1789 cet individualisme est en même temps profondément en phase avec le mouvement du capitalisme et d’une société de plus en plus marchande et consumériste. « Luc Ferry note justement que « les bohèmes, malgré leur opposition apparente aux bourgeois, malgré aussi, en retour, la haine ou le mépris dont ces derniers vont pendant longtemps les gratifier, n’ont été pour l’essentiel que le bras armé de l’épanouissement du capitalisme mondialisé, l’instrument de la réalisation parfaite de ce qu’on appellera finalement la société de consommation » [v]. Il écrit encore : « Il fallait que les valeurs et les autorités traditionnelles fussent déconstruites par des jeunes gens plutôt ‘’de gauche’’, en tout cas révolutionnaires, pour que le capitalisme puisse nous faire entrer dans l’ère de l’hyperconsommation sans laquelle son propre épanouissement eut été tout simplement impossible. (…) Pour le dire autrement, rien ne freine autant la consommation que le fait de posséder des valeurs solides et bien ancrées, c’est-à-dire des valeurs traditionnelles. » De ce fait, c’est désormais la bourgeoisie, n’ayant plus besoin de poissons-pilotes, ou encore d’éclaireurs d’avant-garde pseudo-dissidents, qui est à la pointe de l’avant-garde et du culte du nouveau pour le nouveau, de l’innovation pour l’innovation, de la désacralisation de toutes les valeurs. Luc Ferry remarque que « le bourgeois, chef d’entreprise ou banquier, devient lui aussi une espèce de révolutionnaire. Il abjure désormais ses troupes de ne pas s’embourgeoiser, de ne pas s’encrouter ni s’endormir sur leurs lauriers. Innovez, innovez et innovez encore leur demande-t-il en permanence. Comme Duchamp, il lui faut sans cesse produire du nouveau, rompre avec le passé. De là sa fascination pour l’art contemporain, dont il comprend enfin combien il lui montrait le chemin, combien il était, au sens propre, l’avant-garde du monde moderne. Nul hasard si c’est Pompidou, le président le plus bourgeois de toute l’histoire de la république, qui ouvre les portes du Louvre à ce vieux stalinien de Picasso et Jacques Chirac, lui aussi pourtant fort peu bohème, celles de l’Ircam à Pierre Boulez. En quoi les bourgeois furent les benêts de l’histoire : comme le disait encore Marx de manière prophétique, ils ont fait l’histoire, mais sans savoir l’histoire qu’ils faisaient, tandis que bohèmes et soixante-huitards en furent les cocus. Reconvertis dans la pub, le cinéma ou la presse, ces derniers peuplent aujourd’hui les réunions du Medef. Bohèmes et bourgeois ont ainsi célébré leurs noces et leur petit dernier, le ‘’bobo’’, n’est que le fruit de leur union enfin consommée au sein de la logique désormais sacrée pour les uns comme pour les autres, dans l’art comme dans l’entreprise, de l’innovation pour l’innovation, de la rupture permanente avec la tradition. Sans cette lecture de l’histoire morale et culturelle de l’Europe, il est, je crois, à peu près impossible de comprendre le siècle. [vi] » Les bohèmes annonçaient ainsi ce que Luc Boltanski et Eve Chiapello appelleront le nouvel esprit du capitalisme [vii] postfordiste et « ludique ». Les bohèmes du XIXe siècle annonçaient les bobos d’aujourd’hui. Ils étaient en phase avec l’éthos économique et culturel de la bourgeoisie, seulement, ils étaient en avance, d’où des déconvenues. Mais ils ouvraient le chemin de l’extension du domaine du capitalisme à l’ensemble de la vie humaine devenue parodique. Ils ouvraient la voie à la destruction de toutes les valeurs, à leur réduction à de simples signes. C’est pourquoi la critique de la bohème d’hier rejoint la critique du rôle actuel des libéraux-« libertaires » dans l’individualisme croissant et dans la néophilie (l’idée que le nouveau est toujours mieux que l’existant [viii]), avec comme conséquence le renforcement de l’emprise productiviste et capitaliste sur les hommes et sur les peuples. Un beau résultat pour de pseudo-dissidents.
[v] Luc Ferry, La révolution de l’amour. Pour une spiritualité laïque, Plon, 2010, et J’ai lu, 2011, ouvrage intéressant même si on n’adhère pas à la thèse de l’auteur d’un second humanisme postrépublicain.
[vi]www.lucferry.fr, 25 décembre 2011.
dimanche, 22 juillet 2012
Sex & Derailment
By Michael O'Meara
Sexe et dévoiement[Sex and Perversion — Ed.]
Éditions du Lore , 2011Four years after Guillaume Faye’s La Nouvelle question juive  (The New Jewish Question, 2007) alienated many of his admirers and apparently caused him to retreat from identitarian and Euro-nationalist arenas, his latest work signals a definite return, reminding us of why he remains one of the most creative thinkers opposing the system threatening the white race.
In this 400-page book, which is an essay and not a work of scholarship, Monsieur Faye’s main concern is the family, and the catastrophic impact the rising number of divorces and broken households is having on white demographic renewal. In linking family decline to its demographic (and civilizational) consequences, he situates his subject in terms of the larger social pathologies associated with the ‘inverted’ sexuality now disfiguring European life. These pathologies include the de-virilization and feminization of white men, the normalization of homosexuality, feminist androgyny, Third World colonization, spreading miscegenation, the loss of bio-anthropological norms (like the blond Jesus) – and all that comes with the denial of biological realities.
At the core of Faye’s argument is the contention that sexuality constitutes a people’s fundament – by conditioning its reproduction and ensuring its longevity. It is key, as such, to any analysis of contemporary society.
As the ethologist Konrad Lorenz and the physical anthropologist/social theorist Arnold Gehlen (both of whom have influenced Faye) have demonstrated, there is nothing automatic or spontaneous in human sexuality, as it is in other animals. Man’s body may be like those of the higher mammals, but it is also a cultural, plastic one with few governing instincts. Socioeconomic, ideological, and emotional imperatives accordingly play a major role in shaping human behavior, especially in the higher civilizations.
Given, moreover, that humanity is an abstraction, there can be no universal form of sexual behavior, and thus the sexuality, like everything else, of Europeans differs from that of non-Europeans. In the United States and Brazil, for example, the Negro’s sexual practices and family forms are still very unlike those of whites, despite ten generations in these European-founded countries. Every form of sexuality, Faye argues, stems from a specific bioculture (a historically-defined ‘stock’), which varies according to time and place. Human behavior is thus for him always the result of a native, in-born ethno-psychology, historically embodied (or, like now, distorted) in the cultural, religious, and ideological superstructures representing it.
The higher, more creative the culture the more sexuality also tends to depend on fragile, individual factors (desire, libido, self-interest), in contrast to less developed cultures, whose reproduction relies more on collective and instinctive factors. High cultures consequently reproduce less and low cultures more — though the latter suffers far greater infant mortality (an equilibrium upset only in the Twentieth century, when intervening high cultures reduced the infant mortality of the lower cultures, thereby setting off today’s explosive Third World birthrate).
Yet despite all these significant differences and despite the world’s great variety of family forms and sexual customs, the overwhelming majority of peoples and races nevertheless prohibit incest, pedophilia, racially mixed marriages, homosexual unions, and ‘unparented’ children.
By contravening many of these traditional prohibitions in recent decades, Western civilization has embarked on a process of ‘derailment’, evident in the profound social and mental pathologies that follow the inversion of ‘natural’ (i.e., historic or ancient) norms – inversions, not incidentally, that have been legitimized in the name of morality, freedom, equality, etc.
Sexe et dévoiement is an essay, then, about the practices and ideologies currently affecting European sexuality and about how these practices and ideologies are leading Europeans into a self-defeating struggle against nature – against their nature, upon which their biocivilization rests.
I. The Death of the Family
Since the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, numerous forces, expressive of a nihilistic individualism and egalitarianism, have helped undermine the family, bringing it to the critical stage it’s reached today. Of these, the most destructive for Faye has been the ideology of libidinal love (championed by the so-called ‘sexual liberation’ movement of the period), which confused recreational sexuality with freedom, disconnected sex from reproduction, and treated traditional social/cultural norms as forms of oppression.
The Sixties’ ‘liberationists’, the first generation raised on TV, were linked to the New Left, which saw all restraint as oppressive and all individuals as equivalent. Sexual pleasure in this optic was good and natural and traditional sexual self-control bad and unnatural. Convinced that all things were possible, they sought to free desire from the ‘oppressive’ mores of what Faye calls the ‘bourgeois family’.
‘Sexual liberation’, he notes, was ‘Anglo-Saxon’ (i.e., American) in origin, motivated by a puritanism (in the Nineteenth-century Victorian sense of a prudery hostile to eroticism) that had shifted from one extreme to another. Originally, this middle-class, Protestant prudery favored a sexuality whose appetites were formally confined to the ‘bourgeois’ (i.e., the monogamous nuclear) family, which represented a compromise — between individual desire and familial interests — made for the sake of preserving the ‘line’ and rearing children to carry it on.
In the 1960s, when the Boomers came of age, the puritans passed to the other extreme, jettisoning their sexual ‘squeamishness’ and joining the movement to liberate the libido – which, in practice, meant abolishing conjugal fidelity, heterosexual dominance, ‘patriarchy’, and whatever taboos opposed the ‘rationally’ inspired, feel-good ‘philosophy’ of the liberationists. As the Sorbonne’s walls in ’68 proclaimed: ‘It’s prohibited to prohibit’. The ‘rights’ of individual desire and happiness would henceforth come at the expense of all the prohibitions that had formerly made the family viable. (Faye doesn’t mention it, but at the same time American-style consumerism was beginning to take hold in Western Europe, promoting a self-indulgent materialism that favored an egoistic pursuit of pleasure. It can even be argued, though again Faye does not, that the state, in league with the media and the corporate/financial powers, encouraged the permissive consumption of goods, as well as sex, for the sake of promoting the market’s expansion).
If Americans pioneered the ideology of sexual liberation, along with Gay Pride and the porn industry, and continue (at least through their Washingtonian Leviathan) to use these ideologies and practices to subvert non-liberal societies (which is why the Russians have rebuffed ‘international opinion’ to suppress Gay Pride Parades), a significant number of ‘ordinary’ white Americans nevertheless lack their elites’ anti-traditional sexual ideology. (Salt Lake City here prevails over Las Vegas).
Europeans, by contrast, have been qualitatively more influenced by the ‘libertine revolutionaries’, and Faye’s work speaks more to them than to Americans (though it seems likely that what Europeans are experiencing will sooner or later be experienced in the United States).
Against the backdrop, then, of Sixties-style sexual liberation, which sought to uproot the deepest traditions and authorities for the sake of certain permissive behaviors, personal sexual relations were reconceived as a strictly individualistic and libidinal ‘love’ – based on the belief that this highly inflated emotional state was too important to limit to conjugal monogamy. Marriages based on such impulsive sexual attractions and the passionate ‘hormonal tempests’ they set off have since, though, become the tomb not just of stable families, but increasingly of Europe herself.
For with this permissive cult of sexualized love that elevates the desires of the solitary individual above his communal and familial attachments (thereby lowering all standards), there comes another kind of short-sighted, feel-good liberal ideology that wars on social, national, and collective imperatives: the cult of human rights, whose flood of discourses and laws promoting brotherhood, anti-racism, and the love of the Other are synonymous with de-virilizition, ethnomaschoism, and the destruction of Europe’s historic identity.
Premised on the primacy of romantic love (impulsive on principle), sexual liberation has since destroyed any possibility of sustaining stable families. (Think of Tristan and Iseult). For its sexualization of love (this ‘casino of pleasure’) may be passionate, but it is also transient, ephemeral, and compelled by a good deal of egoism. Indeed, almost all sentiments grouped under the rubric of love, Faye contends, are egoistic and self-interested. Love in this sense is an investment from which one expects a return – one loves to be loved. A family of this kind is thus one inclined to allow superficial or immediate considerations to prevail over established, time-tested ones. Similarly, the rupture of such conjugal unions seems almost unavoidable, for once the pact of love is broken – and a strictly libidinal love always fades – the union dissolves.
The subsequent death of the ‘oppressive’ bourgeois family at the hands of the Sixties’ emancipation movements has since given rise to such civilizational achievements as unstable stepfamilies, no-fault divorce, teenage mothers, single-parent homes, abandoned children, a dissembling and atavistic ‘cult of the child’ (which esteems the child as a ‘noble savage’ rather than as a being in need of formation), parity with same-sex, unisex ideology, a variety of new sexual categories, and an increasingly isolated and frustrated individual delivered over almost entirely to his own caprices.
The egoism governing such love-based families produces few children and, to the degree even that married couples today want children, it seems to Faye less for the sake of sons and daughters to continue the ‘line’ and more for the sake of a baby to pamper – a sort of adjunct to their consumerism – something like a living toy. Given that the infant is idolized in this way, parents feel little responsibility for disciplining (or ‘parenting’) him.
Lacking self-control and an ethic of obedience, the child’s development is consequently compromised and his socialization neglected. These post-Sixties’ families also tend to be short lived, which means children are frequently traumatized by their broken homes, raised by single parents or in stepfamilies, where their intellectual development is stunted and their blood ties confused. However, without stable families and a sense of lineage, all sense of ethnic or national consciousness — or any understanding of why miscegenation and immigration ought to be opposed – are lost. The destruction of stable families, Faye surmises, bears directly on the present social-sexual chaos, the prevailing sense of meaninglessness, and the impending destruction of Europe’s racial stock.
Against the sexual liberationists, Faye upholds the model of the bourgeois family, which achieved a workable compromise between individual desire and social/familial preservation (despite the fact that it was, ultimately, the individualism of bourgeois society, in the form of sexual liberation, that eventually terminated this sort of family).
Though, perhaps, no longer sustainable, the stable couples the old bourgeois family structure supported succeeded in privileging familial and communal interests over amorous ones, doing so in ways that favored the long-term welfare of both the couple and the children. Conjugal love came, as a result, to be impressed with friendship, partnership, and habitual attachments, for the couple was defined not as a self-contained amorous symbiosis, but as the pillar of a larger family architecture. This made conjugal love moderate and balanced rather than passionate — sustained by habit, tenderness, interest, care of the children, and la douceur du foyer. Sexual desire remained, but in most cases declined in intensity or dissipated in time.
This family structure was also extraordinarily stable. It assured the lineage, raised properly-socialized children, respected women, and won the support of law and custom. There were, of course, compromises and even hypocrisies (as men, for instance, satisfied certain of their libidinal urgings in brothels), but in any case the family, the basic cell of society, was protected – even privileged.
The great irony of sexual liberation and its ensuing destruction of the bourgeois family is that it has obviously not brought greater happiness or freedom, but rather greater alienation and misery. In this spirit, the media now routinely (almost obsessively) sexualizes the universe, but sex has become more virtual than real: there’s more pornography, but fewer children. It seems hardly coincidental, then, that once the ‘rights’ of desire were emancipated, sex took on a different meaning, the family collapsed, sexual identity got increasingly confused, perversions and transgressions became greater and more serious. As everyone set off in pursuit of an illusive libidinal fulfillment, the population became correspondently more atomized, uprooted, and miscegenated. In France today, 30 percent of all adults are single and there are even reports of a new ‘asexuality’ – in reaction to the sexualization of everything.
There’s a civilization-destroying tragedy here: for once Europeans are deprived of their family lineage, they cease to transmit their cultural and genetic heritage and thus lose all sense of who they are. This is critical to everything else. As the historians Michael Mitterauer and Reinhard Sieder write: ‘The family is one of the most archaic forms of social community, and at all times men have used their family as a model for the formation of human societies’. The loss of family stability, and thus the family’s loss as society’s basic cell, Faye emphasizes, not only dissolves social relations, it brings disorder and makes all tyrannies possible, for once sexual emancipation helps turn society into a highly individualized, Balkanized mass, totalitarianism (not Soviet or Fascist, but US Progressive) becomes increasingly likely.
II. The Idolization of Homosexuality
Homophilia and feminism are the most important children of the cultural revolution. They share, as such, much of the same ideological baggage that denies biological realities and wars on the family, conforming in this way to the consumerist and homogenizing dictates of the post-Rooseveltian international order that’s dominated North America and Western Europe for the last half century or so.
In the late 1960s, when homosexuals began demanding legal equality, Faye claims they were fully within their rights. Homosexuality in his view is a genetic abnormality (affecting less than 5 percent of males) and thus an existential affliction; he thus doesn’t object to homosexuals practicing their sexuality within the privacy of their bedroom. What he finds objectionable is the confusion of private and public realms and the assertion of homophilia as a social norm. Worse, he claims that in much elite discourse, homosexuals have quickly gone from being pariahs to privileged beings, who now flaunt their alleged ‘superiority’ over heterosexuals, seen as old-fashion, outmoded, ridiculous – like the woman who centers her life on the home and the care of her children rather than on a career – and thus as something bizarre and implicitly opposed to liberal-style ‘emancipation’.
Faye, by no means a prude, contends that female homosexuality is considerably different from and less dysgenic than male homosexuality. Most lesbians, in his view, are bisexual, rather than purely homosexual, and for whatever reason have turned against men. This he sees as a reflection on men. Lesbianism also lacks the same negative civilizational consequence as male homosexuality. It rarely shocked traditional societies because women engaging in homosexual relations retained their femininity. Male homosexuality, by contrast, was considered socially abhorrent, for it violated the nature of masculinity, making men no longer ‘properly’ male and thus something mutant. (To those who invoke the ancient glories of Athens as a counter-argument, Faye, long-time Graeco-Latinist, says that in the period when a certain form of pederasty was tolerated, no adult Greek ever achieved respectability or standing in his community, if not married, devoted to the interests of his family and clan, and, above all, not ‘made of woman’ – i.e., penetrated).
Like feminism, homophilia holds that humans are bisexual at birth and (willfully or not) choose their individual sexual orientation – as if anatomical differences are insignificant and all humans are basically alike, a tabula rasa upon which they are to inscribe their self-chosen ‘destiny’. This view lacks any scientific credibility, to be sure (even if it is professed in our elite universities), and, like anti-racism, it resembles Lysenkoism in denying those biological realities incompatible with the reigning dogmas. (Facts, though, have rarely stood in the way of faith or ideology – or, in the secular Twentieth century, ideologies that have become religious faiths).
Even when assuming the mantle of its allegedly progressive and emancipatory pretensions, homophilia, like sexual liberation in general, is entirely self-centered and present-minded, promoting ‘lifestyles’ hostile to family formation and thus to white reproduction. Homophilia marches here hand in hand with anti-racism, denying the significance of biological differences and the imperatives of white reproduction.
This subversive ideology now even aspires to re-invent homosexuals as the flower of society — liberators preparing the way to joy, liberty, fraternity, tolerance, social well-being, good taste, etc. As vice is transformed into virtue, homosexuality allegedly introduces a new sense of play and gaiety to the one-dimensional society of sad, heterosexual males. Only, Faye insists, there’s nothing genuinely gay about the gays, for theirs is a condition of stress and disequilibrium. At odds with their own nature, homosexual sexuality is often a Calvary – and not because of social oppression, but because of those endogenous reasons (particularly their attraction to their own sex) that condemn them to dysgenic behaviors.
In its public display as Gay Pride, homophilia accordingly defines itself as narcissistic, exhibitionist, and infantile – revealing in these characteristics those traits that are perhaps specific to its condition. In any case, a community worthy of itself, Faye tells us, is founded on shared values, on achievements, on origins – but not a dysgenic sexual orientation.
III. Schizophrenic Feminism
The reigning egalitarianism is always extending itself, trying to force the real – in the realms of sexuality, individuality, demography (race), etc. — to conform to its tenets. The demand that women have the same legal rights and opportunities as men, Faye thinks, was entirely just – especially for Europeans (and especially Celtic, Scandinavian, and Germanic Europeans), for their cultures have long respected the humanity of their women. Indeed, he considers legal equality the single great accomplishment of feminism. But once achieved, feminism has since been transformed into a utopian and delirious neo-egalitarianism that makes sexes, like races, equivalent and interchangeable. There is accordingly no such thing as ‘men’s work’ or ‘women’s work’. Human dignity and fullfilment is possible only in doing something that makes money. Faye, though, refuses to equate legal equality with natural equality, for such an ideological muddling denies obvious biological differences, offending both science and common sense.
The dogma that differences between men and women are simply cultural derives from a feminist behaviorism in which women are seen as potential men and femininity is treated as a social distortion. In Simone de Beauvoir’s formulation: One is not born a woman, one becomes one. Feminists, as such, affirm the equality and interchangeability of men and women, yet at the same time they reject femininity, which they consider something inferior and imposed. The feminist model is thus the man, and feminism’s New Woman is simply his ‘photocopy’. In endeavoring to suppress the specifically feminine in this way, feminism aims to masculinize women and feminize men in the image of its androgynous ideal – analogous to the anti-racist ideal of the métis (the mixed race or half-caste). This unisex ideology, in its extremism, characterizes the mother as a slave and the devoted wife as a fool. In practice, it even rejects the biological functions of the female body, aspiring to a masculinism that imitates men and seeks to emulate them socially, politically, and otherwise. Feminism in a word is anti-feminine – anti-mother and anti-family – and ultimately anti-reproduction.
Anatomical differences, however, have consequences. Male humans, like males of other species, always differ from females – given that their biological specification dictates specific behaviors. These human sexual differences may be influenced by culture and other factors. But they nevertheless exist, which means they inevitably affect mind and behavior – despite what the Correctorate wants us to believe.
Male superiority in worldly achievement – conceptual, mathematical, artistic, political, and otherwise — is often explained by female oppression, a notion Faye rejects, though he acknowledges that in many areas of contemporary life, for just or unjust reasons, women do suffer disadvantages – and in many non-white situations outright subjugation. Male physical strength may also enable men to dominate women. But generally, Faye sees a rough equality of intelligence between men and women. Their main differences, he contends, are psychological and characterological, for men tend to be more outwardly oriented than women. As such, they use their intelligence more in competition, innovation, and discovery, linked to the fact that they are usually more aggressive, more competitive, more vain and narcissistic than women — who, by contrast, are more inclined to be emotionally loyal, submissive, prudent, temperate, and far-sighted.
Men and women, though, are better viewed as organic complements, rather than as inferior or superior. From Homer to Cervantes to Mme. de Stäel, the image of women, their realms and their work, however diverse and complicated, have differed from that of men. Women may be able to handle most masculine tasks, but at the same time their disposition differs from men, especially in the realm of creativity.
This is critical for Faye. In all sectors of practical intelligence women perform as well as men – but not in their capacity for imaginative projection, which detaches and abstracts one’s self from contingent reality for the sake of imagining another. This holds in practically all areas: epic poetry, science, invention, religion, cuisine or design. It is not from female brains, he notes, that there have emerged submarines, space flight, philosophical systems, great political and economic theories, and the major scientific discoveries (Mme. Curie being the exception). Most of the great breakthroughs have in fact been made by men and it has had nothing to do with women being oppressed or repressed. Feminine dreams are simply not the same as masculine ones — which search the impossible, the risky, the unreal.
Akin, then, in spirit to homophilia, anti-racism, and Sixties-style sexual liberation, feminism’s rejection of biological realities and its effort to masculinize women end up not just distorting what it supposedly champions – women – it reveals the totally egoistic and present-oriented nature of its ideology, for it rejects women as mothers and thus rejects the reproduction of the race.
Sexe et dévoiement treats a variety of other issues: Christian and Islamic views of sexuality; immigration and the different sexual practices it brings (some of which are extremely primitive and brutal); the necessary role of prostitution in society; and the effect the new bio-technologies are going to have on sexuality.
From the above discussion — of the family, homophilia, and feminism — the reader should already sense the direction Faye’s argument takes, as he relates individual sexuality to certain macro-changes now forcing European civilization off its rails. Because this is an especially illuminating perspective on the decline of the white race (linking demography, civilization, and sex) and one of which there seem too few – I think this lends special pertinence to his essay.
There are not a few historical and methodological criticisms, however, that could be made of Sexe et dévoiement, two of which I find especially dissatisfying. Like the European New Right as a whole, he tends to be overly simplistic in attributing to the secularization of certain Christian notions, like equality and love, the origins of the maladies he depicts. Similarly, he refuses to link cultural/ideological influences to social/economic developments (seeing their causal relationship as essentially one-way instead of dialectical), just as he fails to consider the negative effects that America’s imperial supremacy, with its post-European rules of behavior and its anti-Christian policies, have had on Europe in the last half century.
But after having said that — and after having reviewed  many of Guillaume Faye’s works over the last ten years, as well as having read a great many other books in the meantime that have made me more critical of aspects of his thought — I think whatever his ‘failings’, they pale in comparison to the light he sheds on the ethnocidal forces now bearing down on the white race.
American Renaissance, June 29, 2012, http://amren.com/features/2012/06/sex-and-derailment/ , revised July 6th
Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com
URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/07/sex-and-derailment/
dimanche, 15 juillet 2012
Guillaume Faye on Nietzsche
Translated by Greg Johnson
The following interview of Guillaume Faye is from the Nietzsche Académie  blog.
How important is Nietzsche for you?
Reading Nietzsche has been the departure point for all values and ideas I developed later. In 1967, when I was a pupil of the Jesuits in Paris, something incredible happened in philosophy class. In that citadel of Catholicism, the philosophy teacher decided to do a year-long course on Nietzsche! Exeunt Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Marx, and others. The good fathers did not dare say anything, despite the upheaval in the program.
It marked me, believe me. Nietzsche, or the hermeneutics of suspicion. . . . Thus, very young, I distanced myself from the Christian, or rather “Christianomorphic,” view of the world. And of course, at the same time, from egalitarianism and humanism. All the analyses that I developed later were inspired by the insights of Nietzsche. But it was also in my nature.
Later, much later, just recently, I understood the need to complete the principles of Nietzsche with those of Aristotle, the good old Apollonian Greek, a pupil of Plato, whom he respected as well as criticized. There is for me an obvious philosophical affinity between Aristotle and Nietzsche: the refusal of metaphysics and idealism, and, crucially, the challenge to the idea of divinity. Nietzsche’s “God is dead” is the counterpoint to Aristotle’s motionless and unconscious god, which is akin to a mathematical principle governing the universe.
Only Aristotle and Nietzsche, separated by many centuries, denied the presence of a self-conscious god without rejecting the sacred, but the latter is akin to a purely human exaltation based on politics or art.
Nevertheless, Christian theologians have never been bothered by Aristotle, but were very much so by Nietzsche. Why? Because Aristotle was pre-Christian and could not know Revelation. While Nietzsche, by attacking Christianity, knew exactly what he was doing.
Nevertheless, the Christian response to this atheism is irrefutable and deserves a good philosophical debate: faith is a different domain than the reflections of philosophers and remains a mystery. I remember, when I was with the Jesuits, passionate debates between my Nietzschean atheist philosophy teacher and the good fathers (his employers) sly and tolerant, sure of themselves.
What book by Nietzsche would you recommend?
The first one I read was The Gay Science. It was a shock. Then Beyond Good and Evil, where Nietzsche overturns the Manichean moral rules that come from Socrates and Christianity. The Antichrist, it must be said, inspired the whole anti-Christian discourse of the neo-pagan Right, in which I was obviously heavily involved.
But it should be noted that Nietzsche, who was raised Lutheran, had rebelled against Christian morality in its purest form represented by German Protestantism, but he never really understood the religiosity and the faith of traditional Catholics and Orthodox Christians, which is quite unconnected to secularized Christian morality.
Oddly, I was never excited by Thus Spoke Zarathustra. For me, it is a rather confused work, in which Nietzsche tried to be a prophet and a poet but failed. A bit like Voltaire, who believed himself clever in imitating the tragedies of Corneille. Voltaire, an author who, moreover, has spawned ideas quite contrary to this “philosophy of the Enlightenment” that Nietzsche (alone) had pulverized.
Being Nietzschean, what does this mean?
Nietzsche would not have liked this kind of question, for he did not want disciples, though . . . (his character, very complex, was not devoid of vanity and frustration, just like you and me). Ask instead: What does it mean to follow Nietzschean principles?
This means breaking with Socratic, Stoic, and Christian principles and modern human egalitarianism, anthropocentrism, universal compassion, and universalist utopian harmony. It means accepting the possible reversal of all values (Umwertung) to the detriment of humanistic ethics. The whole philosophy of Nietzsche is based on the logic of life: selection of the fittest, recognition of vital power (conservation of bloodlines at all costs) as the supreme value, abolition of dogmatic standards, the quest for historical grandeur, thinking of politics as aesthetics, radical inegalitarianism, etc.
That’s why all the thinkers and philosophers — self-appointed, and handsomely maintained by the system — who proclaim themselves more or less Nietzschean, are impostors. This was well understood by the writer Pierre Chassard who on good authority denounced the “scavengers of Nietzsche.” Indeed, it is very fashionable to be “Nietzschean.” Very curious on the part of publicists whose ideology — political correctness and right-thinking — is absolutely contrary to the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche.
In fact, the pseudo-Nietzscheans have committed a grave philosophical confusion: they held that Nietzsche was a protest against the established order, but they pretended not to understand that it was their own order: egalitarianism based on a secularized interpretation of Christianity. “Christianomorphic” on the inside and outside. But they believed (or pretended to believe) that Nietzsche was a sort of anarchist, while advocating a ruthless new order. Nietzsche was not, like his scavengers, a rebel in slippers, a phony rebel, but a revolutionary visionary.
Is Nietzsche on the Right or Left?
Fools and shallow thinkers (especially on the Right) have always claimed that the notions of Left and Right made no sense. What a sinister error. Although the practical positions of the Left and Right may vary, the values of Right and Left do exist. Nietzscheanism is obviously on the Right. The socialist mentality, the morality of the herd, made Nietzsche vomit. But that does not mean that thepeople of the extreme Right are Nietzscheans, far from it. For example, they are generally anti-Jewish, a position that Nietzsche castigated and considered stupid in many of his writings, and in his correspondence he singled out anti-Semitic admirers who completely misunderstood him.
Nietzscheanism, obviously, is on the Right, and the Left, always in a position of intellectual prostitution, attempted to neutralize Nietzsche because it could not censor him. To be brief, I would say that an honest interpretation of Nietzsche places him on the side of the revolutionary Right in Europe, using the concept of the Right for lack of anything better (like any word, it describes things imperfectly).
Nietzsche, like Aristotle (and, indeed, like Plato, Kant, Hegel, and Marx, of course — but not at all Spinoza) deeply integrated politics in his thinking. For example, by a fantastic premonition, he was for a union of European nations, like Kant, but from a very different perspective. Kant the pacifist, universalist, and incorrigible utopian moralist, wanted the European Union as it exists today: a great flabby body without a sovereign head with the Rights of Man as its highest principle. Nietzsche, on the contrary, spoke of Great Politics, a grand design for a united Europe. For the moment, it is the Kantian view that has unfortunately been imposed.
On the other hand, the least we can say is that Nietzsche was not a Pan-German, a German nationalist, but rather a nationalistic — and patriotic — European. This was remarkable for a man who lived in his time, the second part of the 19th century (“This stupid 19th century,” said Léon Daudet), which exacerbated as a fatal poison the shabby petty intra-European nationalism that would result in the terrible fratricidal tragedy of 1914 to 1918, when young Europeans from 18 to 25 years, massacred one another without knowing exactly why. Nietzsche the European wanted anything but such a scenario.
That is why those who instrumentalized Nietzsche (in the 1930s) as an ideologue of Germanism are as wrong as those who, today, present him as a proto-Leftist. Nietzsche was a European patriot, and he put the genius of the German soul in the service of European power whose decline, as a visionary, he already sensed.
What authors do you see as Nietzschean?
Not necessarily those who claim Nietzsche. In reality, there are no actual “Nietzschean” authors. Simply, Nietzsche and others are part of a highly fluid and complex current that could be described as a “rebellion against the accepted principles.” On this point, I agree with the view of the Italian philosopher Giorgio Locchi, who was one of my teachers: Nietzsche inaugurated “superhumanism,” that is to say the surpassing of humanism. I’ll stop there, because I will not repeat what I have developed in some of my books, including Why We Fight and Sex and Perversion. One could say that a large number of authors and filmmakers are “Nietzschean,” but this kind of talk is very superficial.
On the other hand, I believe there is a strong link between the philosophy of Nietzsche and Aristotle, despite the centuries that separate them. To say that Aristotle is Nietzschean is obviously an anachronistic absurdity. But to say that Nietzsche’s philosophy continues Aristotle, the errant student of Plato, is a claim I will hazard. This is why I am both Aristotelian and Nietzschean: Because these two philosophers defend the fundamental idea that the supernatural deity must be examined in substance. Nietzsche looks at divinity with a critical perspective like Aristotle’s.
Most writers who call themselves admirers of Nietzsche are impostors. Paradoxically, I link Darwinism and Nietzsche. Those who actually interpret Nietzsche are accused by ideological manipulators of not being real “philosophers.” Even those who want Nietzsche to say the opposite of what he so inconveniently actually said. We must condemn this appropriation of philosophy by a caste of mandarins who proceed to distort the texts of the philosophers, or even censor them. Aristotle has also been a victim. One can read Nietzsche and other philosophers only through a scholarly grid, inaccessible to the common man. But no. Nietzsche is quite readable by any educated man. But our time can read only through the grid of censorship by omission.
Could you give a definition of the Superman?
Nietzsche intentionally gave a vague definition of the Superman. This is an open-ended yet clear concept. Obviously, the pseudo-Nietzschean intellectuals were quick to blur and empty this concept by making the Superman a sort of airy intellectual: detached, haughty, meditative, quasi-Buddhist—the conceited image they have of themselves. In short, the precise opposite of what Nietzsche intended. I am a partisan not of interpreting writers but of reading them, if possible, with the highest degree of respect.
Nietzsche obviously linked the Superman to the notion of Will to Power (which, too, has been manipulated and distorted). The Superman is the model of the man who fulfills the Will to Power, that is to say, who rises above herd morality (and Nietzsche thought socialism was a herd doctrine) to selflessly impose a new order, with two dimensions, warlike and sovereign, aiming at dominion, endowed with a power project. The interpretation of the Superman as a supreme “sage,” a non-violent, ethereal, proto-Gandhi of sorts is a deconstruction of Nietzsche’s thought in order to neutralize and blur it. The Parisian intelligentsia, whose hallmark is a spirit of falsehood, has a sophisticated but evil genius in distorting the thought of annoying but unavoidable great authors (including Aristotle and Voltaire) but also wrongly appropriating or truncating their thought.
There are two possible definitions of the Superman: the mental and the moral Superman (by evolution and education, surpassing his ancestors) and the biological superman. It’s very difficult to decide, since Nietzsche himself has used this expression as a sort of mytheme, a literary trope, without ever truly conceptualizing it. A sort of premonitory phrase, which was inspired by Darwinian evolutionism.
But your question is very interesting. The key is not having an answer “about Nietzsche,” but to know which path Nietzsche wanted to open over a hundred years ago. Because he was anti-Christian and anti-humanist, Nietzsche did not think that man was a fixed being, but that he is subject to evolution, even self-evolution (that is the sense of the metaphor of the “bridge between the beast and the Superman”).
For my part — but then I differ with Nietzsche, and my opinion does not possess immense value — I interpreted superhumanism as a challenge, for reasons partly biological, to the very notion of a human species. Briefly. This concept of the Superman is certainly much more than Will to Power, one of those mysterious traps Nietzsche set, one of the questions he posed to future humanity: Yes, what is the Superman? The very word makes us dreamy and delirious.
Nietzsche may have had the intuition that the human species, at least some of its higher components (not necessarily “humanity”), could accelerate and direct biological evolution. One thing is certain, that crushes the thoughts of monotheistic, anthropocentric “fixists”: man is not an essence that is beyond evolution. And then, to the concept of Übermensch, never forget to add that ofHerrenvolk . . . prescient. Also, we should not forget Nietzsche’s reflections on the question of race and anthropological inequality.
The capture of Nietzsche’s work by pseudo-scientists and pseudo-philosophical schools (comparable to the capture of the works of Aristotle) is explained by the following simple fact: Nietzsche is too big a fish to be eliminated, but far too subversive not to be censored and distorted.
Your favorite quote from Nietzsche?
“We must now cease all forms of joking around.” This means, presciently, that the values on which Western civilization are based are no longer acceptable. And that survival depends on a reversal or restoration of vital values. And all this assumes the end of festivisme (as coined by Philippe Muray and developed by Robert Steuckers) and a return to serious matters.
Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com
URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/07/guillaume-faye-on-nietzsche/
dimanche, 08 juillet 2012
An Indigenous Culture of Critique
By Kevin MacDonald
Philip F. Gura
American Transcendentalism: A History 
New York: Hill and Wang, 2007
Philip Gura’s American Transcendentalism provides a valuable insight into a nineteenth-century leftist intellectual elite in the United States. This is of considerable interest because Transcendentalism was a movement entirely untouched by the predominantly Jewish milieu of the twentieth-century left in America. Rather, it was homegrown, and its story tells us much about the sensibility of an important group of white intellectuals and perhaps gives us hints about why in the twentieth century WASPs so easily capitulated to the Jewish onslaught on the intellectual establishment.
Based in New England, Transcendentalism was closely associated with Harvard and Boston—the very heart of Puritan New England. It was also closely associated with Unitarianism which had become the most common religious affiliation for Boston’s elite. Many Transcendentalists were Unitarian clergymen, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, the person whose name is most closely associated with the movement in the public mind.
These were very intelligent people living in an age when religious beliefs required an intellectual defense rather than blind acceptance. Their backgrounds were typical of New England Christians of the day. But as their intellectual world expanded (often at the Harvard Divinity School), they became aware of the “higher criticism” of the Bible that originated with German scholars. This scholarship showed that there were several different authors of Genesis and that Moses did not write the first five books of the Old Testament. They also became aware of other religions, such as Buddhism and Hinduism which made it unlikely that Christianity had a monopoly on religious truth.
In their search for an intellectual grounding of religion, they rejected Locke’s barren empiricism and turned instead to the idealism of Kant, Schelling, and Coleridge. If the higher criticism implied that the foundations of religious belief were shaky, and if God was unlikely to have endowed Christianity with unique religious truths, the Transcendentalists would build new foundations emphasizing the subjectivity of religious experience. The attraction of idealism to the Transcendentalists was its conception of the mind as creative, intuitive, and interpretive rather than merely reactive to external events. As the writer and political activist Orestes Brownson summed it up in 1840, Transcendentalism defended man’s “capacity of knowing truth intuitively [and] attaining scientific knowledge of an order of existence transcending the reach of the senses, and of which we can have no sensible experience” (p. 121). Everyone, from birth, possesses a divine element, and the mind has “innate principles, including the religious sentiment” (p. 84).
The intuitions of the Transcendentalists were decidedly egalitarian and universalist. “Universal divine inspiration—grace as the birthright of all—was the bedrock of the Transcendentalist movement” (p. 18). Ideas of God, morality, and immortality are part of human nature and do not have to be learned. As Gura notes, this is the spiritual equivalent of the democratic ideal that all men (and women) are created equal.
Intuitions are by their very nature slippery things. One could just as plausibly (or perhaps more plausibly) propose that humans have intuitions of greed, lust, power, and ethnocentrism—precisely the view of the Darwinians who came along later in the century. In the context of the philosophical milieu of Transcendentalism, their intuitions were not intended to be open to empirical investigation. Their truth was obvious and compelling—a fact that tells us much about the religious milieu of the movement.
On the other hand, the Transcendentalists rejected materialism with its emphasis on “facts, history, the force of circumstance and the animal wants of man” (quoting Emerson, p. 15). Fundamentally, they did not want to explain human history or society, and they certainly would have been unimpressed by a Darwinian view of human nature that emphasizes such nasty realities as competition for power and resources and how these play out given the exigencies of history. Rather, they adopted a utopian vision of humans as able to transcend all that by means of the God-given spiritual powers of the human mind.
Not surprisingly, this philosophy led many Transcendentalists to become deeply involved in social activism on behalf of the lower echelons of society—the poor, prisoners, the insane, the developmentally disabled, and slaves in the South.
* * *
The following examples give a flavor of some of the central attitudes and typical social activism of important Transcendentalists.
Orestes Brownson (1803–1876) admired the Universalists’ belief in the inherent dignity of all people and the promise of eventual universal salvation for all believers. He argued “for the unity of races and the inherent dignity of each person, and he lambasted Southerners for trying to enlarge their political base” (p. 266). Like many New Englanders, he was outraged by the Supreme Court decision in the Dred Scott case that required authorities in the North to return fugitive slaves to their owners in the South. For Brownson the Civil War was a moral crusade waged not only to preserve the union, but to emancipate the slaves. Writing in 1840, Brownson claimed that we should “realize in our social arrangements and in the actual conditions of all men that equality of man and man” that God had established but which had been destroyed by capitalism (pp. 138–39). According to Brownson, Christians had
to bring down the high, and bring up the low; to break the fetters of the bound and set the captive free; to destroy all oppression, establish the reign of justice, which is the reign of equality, between man and man; to introduce new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, wherein all shall be as brothers, loving one another, and no one possessing what another lacketh. (p. 139)
George Ripley (1802–1880), who founded the utopian community of Brook Farm and was an important literary critic, “preached in earnest Unitarianism’s central message, a belief in universal, internal religious principle that validated faith and united all men and women” (p. 80). Ripley wrote that Transcendentalists “believe in an order of truths which transcends the sphere of the external senses. Their leading idea is the supremacy of mind over matter.” Religious truth does not depend on facts or tradition but
has an unerring witness in the soul. There is a light, they believe, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world; there is a faculty in all, the most degraded, the most ignorant, the most obscure, to perceive spiritual truth, when distinctly represented; and the ultimate appeal, on all moral questions, is not to a jury of scholars, a hierarchy of divines, or the prescriptions of a creed, but to the common sense of the race. (p. 143)
Ripley founded Brook Farm on the principle of substituting “brotherly cooperation” for “selfish competition” (p. 156). He questioned the economic and moral basis of capitalism. He held that if people did the work they desired, and for which they had a talent, the result would be a non-competitive, classless society where each person would achieve personal fulfillment.
Amos Bronson Alcott (1799–1888) was an educator who “believed in the innate goodness of each child whom he taught” (p. 85). Alcott “realized how Unitarianism’s positive and inclusive vision of humanity accorded with his own” (p. 85). He advocated strong social controls in order to socialize children: infractions were reported to the entire group of students, which then prescribed the proper punishment. The entire group was punished for the bad behavior of a single student. His students were the children of the intellectual elite of Boston, but his methods eventually proved unpopular. The school closed after most of the parents withdrew their children when Alcott insisted upon admitting a black child. Alcott supported William Garrison’s radical abolitionism, and he was a financial supporter of John Brown and his violent attempts to overthrow slavery.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) stirred a great deal of controversy in his American Scholar, an 1832 address to the Harvard Divinity School, because he reinterpreted what it meant for Christ to claim to be divine:
One man was true to what is in you and me. He saw that God incarnates himself in man, and evermore goes forth to take possession of his world. He said, in this jubilee of sublime emotion, “I am divine. Through me, God acts; through me, he speaks. Would you see God, see me; or, see thee, when thou also thinkest as I now think.” (p. 103)
Although relatively individualistic by the standards of Transcendentalism, Emerson proposed that by believing in their own divine purpose, people would have the courage to stand up for social justice. The divinely powered individual was thus linked to disrupting the social order.
Theodore Parker (1810–1860) was a writer, public intellectual, and model for religiously motivated liberal activism. He wrote that “God is alive and in every person” (p. 143). Gura interprets Parker as follows: “God is not what we are, but what we need to make our lives whole, and one way to realize this is through selfless devotion to God’s creation” (p. 218).
Parker was concerned about crime and poverty, and he was deeply opposed to the Mexican war and to slavery. He blamed social conditions for crime and poverty, condemning merchants: “We are all brothers, rich and poor, American and foreign, put here by the same God, for the same end, and journeying towards the same heaven, and owing mutual help” (p. 219). In Parker’s view, slavery is “the blight of this nation” and was the real reason for the Mexican war, because it was aimed at expanding the slave states. Parker was far more socially active than Emerson, becoming one of the most prominent abolitionists and a secret financial supporter of John Brown.
When Parker looked back on the history of the Puritans, he saw them as standing for moral principles. He approved in particular of John Eliot, who preached to the Indians and attempted to convert them to Christianity.
Nevertheless, Parker is a bit of an enigma because, despite being a prominent abolitionist and favoring racial integration of schools and churches, he asserted that the Anglo-Saxon race was “more progressive” than all others. He was also prone to making condescending and disparaging comments about the potential of Africans for progress.
William Henry Channing (1810–1884) was a Transcendentalist writer and Christian socialist. He held that economic activity conducted in the spirit of Christian love would establish a more egalitarian society that would include immigrants, the poor, slaves, prisoners, and the mentally ill. He worked tirelessly on behalf of the cause of emancipation and in the Freedman’s Bureau designed to provide social services for former slaves. Although an admirer of Emerson, he rejected Emerson’s individualism, writing in a letter to Theodore Parker that it was one of his deepest convictions that the human race “is inspired as well as the individual; that humanity is a growth from the Divine Life as well as man; and indeed that the true advancement of the individual is dependent upon the advancement of a generation, and that the law of this is providential, the direct act of the Being of beings.”
* * *
In the 1840s there was division between relatively individualist Trancendentalists like Emerson who “valued individual spiritual growth and self-expression,” and “social reformers like Brownson, Ripley, and increasingly, Parker” (p. 137). In 1844 Emerson joined a group of speakers that included abolitionists, but many Transcendentalists questioned his emphasis on self-reliance given the Mexican war, upheaval in Europe, and slavery. They saw self-reliance as ineffectual in combating the huge aggregation of interests these represented. Elizabeth Peabody lamented Emerson’s insistence that a Transcendentalist should not labor “for small objects, such as Abolition, Temperance, Political Reforms, &c.” (p. 216). (She herself was an advocate of the Kindergarten movement as well as Native American causes [p. 270].)
But Emerson did oppose slavery. An 1844 speech praised Caribbean blacks for rising to high occupations after slavery: “This was not the case in the United States, where descendants of Africans were precluded any opportunity to be a white person’s equal. This only reflected on the moral bankruptcy of American white society, however, for ‘the civility of no race can be perfect whilst another race is degraded’” (p. 245).
Emerson and other Transcendentalists were outraged by the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. Gura notes that for Emerson, “the very landscape seemed robbed of its beauty, and he even had trouble breathing because of the ‘infamy’ in the air” (p. 246). After the John Brown debacle, Emerson was “glad to see that the terror at disunion and anarchy is disappearing,” for the price of slaves’ freedom might demand it (p. 260). Both Emerson and Thoreau commented on Brown’s New England Puritan heritage. Emerson lobbied Lincoln on slavery, and when Lincoln emancipated the slaves, he said “Our hurts are healed; the health of the nation is repaired” (p. 265). He thought the war worth fighting because of it.
* * *
After the Civil War, idealism lost its preeminence, and American intellectuals increasingly embraced materialism. Whereas Locke had been the main inspiration for materialism earlier in the century, materialism was now exemplified by Darwin, Auguste Comte, and William Graham Sumner. After the Civil War, the Transcendentalists’ contributions to American intellectual discourse “remained vital, if less remarked, particularly among those who kept alive a dream of a common humanity based in the irreducible equality of all souls” (p. 271). One of the last Transcendentalists, Octavius Brooks Frothingham, wrote that Transcendentalism was being “suppressed by the philosophy of experience, which, under different names, was taking possession of the speculative world” (p. 302). The enemies of Transcendentalism were “positivists” (p. 302). After Emerson’s death, George Santayana commented that he “was a cheery, child-like soul, impervious to the evidence of evil” (pp. 304–305).
By the early twentieth century, then, Transcendentalism was a distant memory, and the new materialists had won the day. The early part of the twentieth century was the high water mark of Darwinism in the social sciences. It was common at that time to think that there were important differences between the races in both intelligence and moral qualities. Not only did races differ, they were in competition with each other for supremacy. Whereas later in the century, Jewish intellectuals led the battle against Darwinism in the social sciences, racialist ideas were part of the furniture of intellectual life—commonplace among intellectuals of all stripes, including a significant number of Jewish racial nationalists concerned about the racial purity and political power of the Jewish people.
The victory of Darwinisn was short-lived, however, as the left became reinvigorated by the rise of several predominantly Jewish intellectual and political movements: Marxism, Boasian anthropology, psychoanalysis, and other ideologies that collectively have dominated intellectual discourse ever since.
* * *
So what is one to make of this prominent strand of egalitarian universalism in nineteenth-century America? The first thing that strikes one about Transcendentalism is that it is an outgrowth of the Puritan strain of American culture. Transcendentalism was centered in New England, and all its major figures were descendants of the Puritans. I have written previously of Puritanism as a rather short-lived group evolutionary strategy, supplementing the work of David Sloan Wilson on Calvinism, the forerunner of Puritanism. The basic idea is that, like Jews, Puritans during their heyday had a strong psychological sense of group membership combined with social controls that minutely regulated the behavior of ingroup members. Their group strategy depended on being able to control a particular territory—Massachusetts—but by the end of theseventeenth century, they were unable to regulate the borders of the colony due to the policy of the British colonial authorities, hence the government of Massachusetts ceased being the embodiment of the Puritans as a group. In the absence of political control, Puritanism gradually lost the power to enforce its religious strictures (e.g., church attendance and orthodox religious beliefs), and the population changed as the economic prosperity created by the Puritans drew an influx of non-Puritans into the area.
The Puritans were certainly highly intelligent, and they sought a system of beliefs that was firmly grounded in contemporary thinking. One striking aspect of Gura’s treatment is his description of earnest proto-Transcendentalists trekking over to Germany to imbibe the wisdom of German philosophy and producing translations and lengthy commentaries on this body of work for an American audience.
But the key to Puritanism as a group strategy, like other strategies, was the control of behavior of group members. As with Calvin’s original doctrine, there was a great deal of supervision of individual behavior. Historian David Hackett Fischer describes Puritan New England’s ideology of “Ordered Liberty” as “the freedom to order one’s acts in a godly way—but not in any other.” This “freedom as public obligation” implied strong social control of thought, speech, and behavior.
Both New England and East Anglia (the center of Puritanism in England) had the lowest relative rates of private crime (murder, theft, mayhem), but the highest rates of public violence—“the burning of rebellious servants, the maiming of political dissenters, the hanging of Quakers, the execution of witches.” This record is entirely in keeping with Calvinist tendencies in Geneva.
The legal system was designed to enforce intellectual, political, and religious conformity as well as to control crime. Louis Taylor Merrill describes the “civil and religious strait-jacket that the Massachusetts theocrats applied to dissenters.” The authorities, backed by the clergy, controlled blasphemous statements and confiscated or burned books deemed to be offensive. Spying on one’s neighbors and relatives was encouraged. There were many convictions for criticizing magistrates, the governor, or the clergy. Unexcused absence from church was fined, with people searching the town for absentees. Those who fell asleep in church were also fined. Sabbath violations were punished as well. A man was even penalized for publicly kissing his wife as he greeted her on his doorstep upon his return from a three-year sea voyage.
Kevin Phillips traces the egalitarian, anti-hierarchical spirit of Yankee republicanism back to the settlement of East Anglia by Angles and Jutes in post-Roman times. They produced “a civic culture of high literacy, town meetings, and a tradition of freedom,” distinguished from other British groups by their “comparatively large ratios of freemen and small numbers of servi and villani.” President John Adams cherished the East Anglian heritage of “self-determination, free male suffrage, and a consensual social contract.” East Anglia continued to produce “insurrections against arbitrary power”—the rebellions of 1381 led by Jack Straw, Wat Tyler, and John Ball; Clarence’s rebellion of 1477; and Robert Kett’s rebellion of 1548. All of these rebellions predated the rise of Puritanism, suggesting an ingrained cultural tendency.
This emphasis on relative egalitarianism and consensual, democratic government are tendencies characteristic of Northern European peoples as a result of a prolonged evolutionary history as hunter-gatherers in the north of Europe. But these tendencies are certainly not center stage when thinking about the political tendencies of the Transcendentalists.
What is striking is the moral fervor of the Puritans. Puritans tended to pursue utopian causes framed as moral issues. They were susceptible to appeals to a “higher law,” and they tended to believe that the principal purpose of government is moral. New England was the most fertile ground for “the perfectibility of man creed,” and the “father of a dozen ‘isms.’” There was a tendency to paint political alternatives as starkly contrasting moral imperatives, with one side portrayed as evil incarnate—inspired by the devil.
Whereas in the Puritan settlements of Massachusetts the moral fervor was directed at keeping fellow Puritans in line, in the nineteenth century it was directed at the entire country. The moral fervor that had inspired Puritan preachers and magistrates to rigidly enforce laws on fornication, adultery, sleeping in church, or criticizing preachers was universalized and aimed at correcting the perceived ills of capitalism and slavery.
Puritans waged holy war on behalf of moral righteousness even against their own cousins—perhaps a form of altruistic punishment as defined by Ernst Fehr and Simon Gächter. Altruistic punishment refers to punishing people even at a cost to oneself. Altruistic punishment is found more often among cooperative hunter-gatherer groups than among groups, such as Jews, based on extended kinship.
Whatever the political and economic complexities that led to the Civil War, it was the Yankee moral condemnation of slavery that inspired and justified the massive carnage of closely related Anglo-Americans on behalf of slaves from Africa. Militarily, the war with the Confederacy was the greatest sacrifice in lives and property ever made by Americans. Puritan moral fervor and punitiveness are also evident in the call of the Congregationalist minister at Henry Ward Beecher’s Old Plymouth Church in New York during the Second World War for “exterminating the German people . . . the sterilization of 10,000,000 German soldiers and the segregation of the woman.”
It is interesting that the moral fervor the Puritans directed at ingroup and outgroup members strongly resembles that of the Old Testament prophets who railed against Jews who departed from God’s law, and against the uncleanness or even the inhumanity of non-Jews. Indeed, it has often been noted that the Puritans saw themselves as the true chosen people of the Bible. In the words of Samuel Wakeman, a prominentseventeenth-century Puritan preacher: “Jerusalem was, New England is; they were, you are God’s own, God’s covenant people; put but New England’s name instead of Jerusalem.” “They had left Europe which was their ‘Egypt,’ their place of enslavement, and had gone out into the wilderness on a messianic journey, to found the New Jerusalem.”
Whereas Puritanism as a group evolutionary strategy crumbled when the Puritans lost control of Massachusetts, Diaspora Jews were able to maintain their group integrity even without control over a specific territory for well over 2,000 years. This attests to the greater ethnocentrism of Jews. But, although relatively less ethnocentric, the Puritans were certainly not lacking in moralistic aggression toward members of their ingroup, even when the boundaries of the ingroup were expanded to include all of America, or indeed all of humanity. And while the Puritans were easily swayed by moral critiques of white America, because of their stronger sense of ingroup identity, Jews have been remarkably resistant to moralistic critiques of Judaism.
With the rise of the Jewish intellectual and political movements described in The Culture of Critique, the descendants of the Puritans readily joined the chorus of moral condemnation of America.
The lesson here is that in large part the problem confronting whites stems from the psychology of moralistic self-punishment exemplified at the extreme by the Puritans and their intellectual descendants, but also apparent in a great many other whites. As I have noted elsewhere:
Once Europeans were convinced that their own people were morally bankrupt, any and all means of punishment should be used against their own people. Rather than see other Europeans as part of an encompassing ethnic and tribal community, fellow Europeans were seen as morally blameworthy and the appropriate target of altruistic punishment. For Westerners, morality is individualistic—violations of communal norms . . . are punished by altruistic aggression. . . .
The best strategy for a collectivist group like the Jews for destroying Europeans therefore is to convince the Europeans of their own moral bankruptcy. A major theme of [The Culture of Critique] is that this is exactly what Jewish intellectual movements have done. They have presented Judaism as morally superior to European civilization and European civilization as morally bankrupt and the proper target of altruistic punishment. The consequence is that once Europeans are convinced of their own moral depravity, they will destroy their own people in a fit of altruistic punishment. The general dismantling of the culture of the West and eventually its demise as anything resembling an ethnic entity will occur as a result of a moral onslaught triggering a paroxysm of altruistic punishment. Thus the intense effort among Jewish intellectuals to continue the ideology of the moral superiority of Judaism and its role as undeserving historical victim while at the same time continuing the onslaught on the moral legitimacy of the West. 
The Puritan legacy in American culture is indeed pernicious, especially since the bar of morally correct behavior has been continually raised to the point that any white group identification has been pathologized. As someone with considerable experience in the academic world, I can attest to feeling like a wayward heretic back in seventeenth-century Massachusetts when confronted, as I often am, by academic thought police. It’s the moral fervor of these people that stands out. The academic world has become a Puritan congregation of stifling thought control, enforced by moralistic condemnations that aseventeenth-century Puritan minister could scarcely surpass. In my experience, this thought control is far worse in the East coast colleges and universities founded by the Puritans than elsewhere in academia—a fitting reminder of the continuing influence of Puritanism in American life.
Given this state of affairs, what sorts of therapy might one suggest? To an evolutionary psychologist, this moralistic aggression seems obviously adaptive for maintaining the boundaries and policing the behavior of a close-knit group. The psychology of moralistic aggression against deviating Jews (often termed “self-hating Jews”) has doubtless served Jews quite well over the centuries. Similarly, groups of Angles, Jutes, and their Puritan descendants doubtlessly benefited greatly from moralistic aggression because of its effectiveness in enforcing group norms and punishing cheaters and defectors.
There is nothing inherently wrong with moralistic aggression. The key is to convince whites to alter their moralistic aggression in a more adaptive direction in light of Darwinism. After all, the object of moralistic aggression is quite malleable. Ethnonationalist Jews in Israel use their moral fervor to rationalize the dispossession and debasement of the Palestinians, but many of the same American Jews who fervently support Jewish ethnonationalism in Israel feel a strong sense of moralistic outrage at vestiges of white identity in the United States.
A proper Darwinian sense of moralistic aggression would be directed at those of all ethnic backgrounds who have engineered or are maintaining the cultural controls that are presently dispossessing whites of their historic homelands. The moral basis of this proposal is quite clear:
(1) There are genetic differences between peoples, thus different peoples have legitimate conflicts of interest.
(2) Ethnocentrism has deep psychological roots that cause us to feel greater attraction and trust for those who are genetically similar.
(3) As Frank Salter notes, ethnically homogeneous societies bound by ties of kinship and culture are more likely to be open to redistributive policies such as social welfare.
(4) Ethnic homogeneity is associated with greater social trust and political participation.
(5) Ethnic homogeneity may well be a precondition of political systems characterized by democracy and rule of law.
The problem with the Transcendentalists is that they came along before their intuitions could be examined in the cold light of modern evolutionary science. Lacking any firm foundation in science, they embraced a moral universalism that is ultimately ruinous to people like themselves. And because it is so contrary to our evolved inclinations, their moral universalism needs constant buttressing with all the power of the state—much as the rigorous rules of the Puritans of old required constant surveillance by the authorities.
Of course, the Transcendentalists would have rejected such a “positivist” analysis. Indeed, one might note that modern psychology is on the side of the Puritans in the sense that explicitly held ideologies are able to exert control over the more ancient parts of the brain, including those responsible for ethnocentrism. The Transcendentalist belief that the mind is creative and does not merely respond to external facts is quite accurate in light of modern psychological research. In modern terms, the Transcendentalists were essentially arguing that whatever “the animal wants of man” (to quote Emerson), humans are able to imagine an ideal world and exert effective psychological control over their ethnocentrism. They are even able to suppress desires for territory and descendants that permeate human history and formed an important part of the ideology of the Old Testament—a book that certainly had a huge influence on the original Puritan vision of the New Jerusalem.
Like the Puritans, the Transcendentalists would have doubtlessly acknowledged that some people have difficulty controlling these tendencies. But this is not really a problem, because these people can be forced. The New Jerusalem can become a reality if people are willing to use the state to enforce group norms of thought and behavior. Indeed, there are increasingly strong controls on thought crimes against the multicultural New Jerusalem throughout the West.
The main difference between the Puritan New Jerusalem and the present multicultural one is that the latter will lead to the demise of the very white people who are the mainstays of the current multicultural Zeitgeist. Unlike the Puritan New Jerusalem, the multicultural New Jerusalem will not be controlled by people like themselves, who in the long run will be a tiny, relatively powerless minority.
The ultimate irony is that without altruistic whites willing to be morally outraged by violations of multicultural ideals, the multicultural New Jerusalem is likely to revert to a Darwinian struggle for survival among the remnants. But the high-minded descendants of the Puritans won’t be around to witness it.
 Kevin MacDonald, Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism (Bloomington, Ind.: Firstbooks, 2004), Chapter 5.
 Kevin MacDonald, The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements (Bloomington, Ind.: Firstbooks, 2002).
 David Sloan Wilson, Darwin’s Cathedral (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002); Kevin MacDonald, (2002). “Diaspora Peoples,” Preface to the First Paperback Edition of A People That Shall Dwell Alone: Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy (Lincoln, Nebr.: iUniverse, 2002).
 David H. Fischer, Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 202.
 Albion’s Seed, 189.
 See Darwin’s Cathedral.
 Louis T. Merrill, “The Puritan Policeman,” American Sociological Review 10 (1945): 766–76, p. 766.
 Kevin Phillips, The Cousins’ Wars: Politics, Civil Warfare, and the Triumph of Anglo-America (New York: Basic Books, 1999).
 Ibid., 26.
 Ibid., 27.
 Kevin MacDonald, “What Makes Western Civilization Unique?” in Cultural Insurrections: Essays on Western Civilization, Jewish Influence, and Anti-Semitism (Atlanta: The Occidental Press, 2007).
 Albion’s Seed, 357.
 Ernst Fehr and Simon Gächter, “Altruistic Punishment in Humans,” Nature 412 (2002): 137-40.
 See my discussion in “Diaspora Peoples.”
 The Cousins’ Wars, 477.
 Ibid., 556.
 A. Hertzberg, The Jews in America: Four Centuries of an Uneasy Encounter (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998), 20–21.
 Ibid., 20.
 See Kevin MacDonald, “The Israel Lobby: A Case Study in Jewish Influence,” The Occidental Quarterly 7 (Fall 2007): 33–58.
 Preface to the paperback edition of The Culture of Critique.
 Frank K. Salter, On Genetic Interests: Family, Ethnicity, and Humanity in an Age of Mass Migration (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction, 2006).
 J. Philippe Rushton, “Ethnic Nationalism, Evolutionary Psychology, and Genetic Similarity Theory,” Nations and Nationalism 11 (2005): 489–507.
 Frank K. Salter, Welfare, Ethnicity and Altruism: New Data and Evolutionary Theory (London: Routledge, 2005).
 Robert Putnam, “E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-first Century,” The 2006 Johan Skytte Prize Lecture, Scandinavian Journal of Political Studies 30 (2007): 137–74.
 Jerry Z. Muller, “Us and Them: The Enduring Power of Ethnic Nationalism,” Foreign Affairs, March/April 2008.
 Kevin MacDonald, “Psychology and White Ethnocentrism,” The Occidental Quarterly 6 (Winter, 2006–2007): 7–46.
Source: TOQ, vol. 8, no. 2 (Summer 2008).
Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com
URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/06/american-transcendentalism/
samedi, 07 juillet 2012
The Underman as Cultural Icon:
The Saga of “Blanket Man”
By Kerry Bolton
“Blanket Man,” known in a previous life as Bernard (Ben) Hana, was a filth ridden alcoholic, given to drinking methylated spirits attired in nothing other than a blanket and a loin cloth. He shouted or mumbled abuse at passers-by, as he squatted on the streets of Wellington with others of his ilk. He seemed harmless enough, and this writer has nothing personal against him or the way he chose to lead his life.
What I do find of socio-cultural interest is the manner by which others have turned him into a cultural icon. Such elevation to the presently esteemed status of Anti-Hero says something about the mentality of those who have revived the “Cult of the Noble Savage” that became the rage of effete upper class French society prior to the Revolution. It is a symptom of what Lothrop Stoddard called “the menace of the underman” and “the revolt against civilization.”
Mr. Hana has a Facebook page  established by his admirers. There one can learn the fundamentals of his life; a hagiography, one might say. He was born February 8, 1957 and died as the result of his celebrated lifestyle choice on January 15, 2012. He was a “homeless man who wandered the inner city streets of Wellington, New Zealand. Ben was a local fixture and something of a celebrity and was typically on the footpath in the precincts of Courtenay Place which has 24-hour activity.”
When the scribe of Saint Bernard alludes to Courtenay Place’s “24-hour activity,” what this means is that the nightlife brings out lowlifes who engage in drinking, vomiting, excreting in the doorways of shops, and other expressions of societal rebellion.
But what makes Saint Bernard especially esteemed by the champions of the generic Underman is that he was a Maori, complete with matted, filthy, dreadlocked hair, and perhaps the epitome of what liberals, nihilists, and anarchists see as the living vestige of the Maori as he was, prior to European colonization: the “noble savage,” existing in the midst of a modern Western city.
Saint Bernard, despite sizzling his brain with alcohol and marijuana, was no fool, and on the few occasions the City Council attempted to do something about his plight, he had a ready answer for the Courts, exploiting the deference New Zealand society is obliged to show for all things “Maori,” whether real or contrived:
Ben was a self-proclaimed devotee of the Māori sun god Tama-nui-te-rā, and claimed that he should wear as few items of clothing as possible, as an act of religious observance. As a result, he was also tempted from time to time to remove all his clothing, which resulted in the consequent attendance of police officers.
Another blogsite devoted to “Brother,” as he called himself, euologizes his contempt for authority, including his squatting with others of like state, at Wellington’s Cenotaph near Parliament Buildings. On this blogsite one can read comments by, for the most part, admiring youths, aptly expressed in pidgin English, who were in such awe that they could only admire Saint Bernard from afar, as if a Christ-like figure too divine to be approachable, but an individual around which myths and legends can be spun:
- “When he i [sic] first saw blanket man he gave me a big as nod [sic] and he has a smile that makes you feel warm inside.”
- From someone who wants to follow the way, the truth, and the life: “Inspiring Shit When i`m A Bigg Girll ii Wanna Bee Justt Like Him He`sz My idol.”
- “mayn this dude is fucking awesome,, gu cunt. i always go to wellie and see him and he always smiles and nods (and mumbles haha) Hez a legend!”
Such is the “evolution” of New Zealand “English” under several decades of liberal education, where grammar and spelling are not corrected by teachers lest the “creativity” of the child is ruined and s/he is left with a feeling of having failed.
However, Saint Bernard became an icon to more than just ill-educated youngsters. Many of the artistic, intellectual and scribbling classes see him as “a carefree spirit,” rather than an individual who became unbalanced after killing his best friend as the result of drunk driving and died through alcoholism. Marcelina Mastalerz in an interview with “Brother” relates her first impressions of his countenance:
He has become an iconic figure of Wellington’s Cuba Mall and Courtenay Place. Wrapped in a purple blanket, nearly naked, with his long dreads and carefree spirit, to many he is an annoying homeless man who simply won’t go away and who is destroying the beautiful, clean image of our city.
At least this was my opinion of him when I first arrived to Wellington. I would see him, make a sour face and above all avoid eye contact as I quickly crossed the street. After all, his lifestyle and that of mine seemed to illustrate two contrasting worlds, which neither of us would ever understand.
But I started to wonder, who is this ever-present figure, who has no shame in living a lifestyle that society finds unacceptable and degenerating? Surely he must be either an alcoholic, drug addict, insane or all of the above, right?
No. “Brother,” what he likes to call himself, is neither an alcoholic nor an unhappy man. He likes his lifestyle, and above all the freedom, which it gives him.
Ms. Mastalerz was surely blinded by the Light, not to have perceived Saint Bernard as an alcoholic, if not a drug addict. What she saw was a Tolstoyan visage of a man who had succeeded in throwing off all the encumbrances of Civilization, and returned to the “state of Nature” that is heralded by effete intellectuals and bourgeoisie who could not last a day in such a state, but who envy those who seem “happy” to live in filth, rationalized as living an “alternative lifestyle,” or as Ms. Mastalerz and her type insist, living “carefree” and in “freedom.” It is what Lothrop Stoddard called “the lure of the primitive.”
In the course of the interview Saint Bernard relates the gospel of the Underman quite articulately, and one readily sees why he is so irresistible to those who feel the burden of Civilization.
M: I saw the documentary Te Whanau o Aotearoa — Caretakers of the Land. In it you set to establish a “village of peace”– Aotearoa. How is that plan going?
B: It’s getting better. We established a political party “Te Whanau o Our Tea Roa.” There’s one million of us. We live love, peace, harmony, equality at the top irrespective of age or gender.
M: If you had the power to do anything, what would you do?
B: I don’t want power. Power belongs to the people.
Saint Bernard, beneath the filthy façade, worn like a halo, articulated the very ideology that is upheld by the multitude of purveyors of Western decline, from the denizens of the streets to Green Party Members of Parliament, the Secretary General of the United Nations Organization, or the President of the United States: “love, peace, harmony, equality at the top irrespective of age or gender,” the present-day catch cries of Western decay; the contemporary counterpart to “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.”
It is no wonder that Saint Bernard became such an admired figure: This is the Age of the Anti-Hero. In bygone days, our heroes were great soldiers and explorers. Today, a hero can be a filthy drunk who lived, cussed, smoked, and crapped on the city streets. A figure who would be one of a multitude in Calcutta; a figure who will perhaps one day also be one of a multitude in all the cities of a bygone Western Civilization: the Fellaheen.
Another scribe for Saint Bernard, Nyree Barrett, provided a class conflict analysis of “Brother”:
Hana pervades the experience of Wellington, whether we like it or not, he is one of the most visual men in the city and because of this he carries a certain amount of celebrity status. He is the protagonist of Abi King-Jones and Errol Wright’s documentary Te Whanau o Aotearoa, the subject of a Wikipedia site, the inspiration for photographic assignments and poetry (albeit bad poetry), and a “character” to be dressed up as. During the recent rugby sevens tournament I saw a group of young men wearing fake dreads and versions of Hana’s distinct purple blanket.
He is imitated, yet when he discusses his many political ideas through his movement Te Whanau o Aotearoa, they are deemed unimportant. This quasi-political party seeks a reclamation of Aotearoa, from its current state as a bureaucratic colony to an egalitarian and racially non-exclusive land. The alienation and inequality in New Zealand is, for Hana, only going to be solved through a complete upheaval of the current system. This sounds an impossibility in a society so entrenched in hierarchy and class. Despite this, Hana’s ideas do deserve to be heard without his homeless status stifling our reception of them.
If the homeless and mainstream society are ever going to be able to live in one space in harmony, as Hana suggests we do in his ambitious vision of Aotearoa, we must first question and change the mainstream perception of life on the streets.
Here again, Saint Bernard is perceived as a great philosopher and political leader, rather than as a wretch who squatted in filth. He is the New Zealand liberal’s version of the most famous “blanket man” of all: Gandhi. He is extolled as the leader of a “political movement,” which seems never to have amounted to to more than a half-dozen other homeless pot smokers who squatted about him within the central business district.
The latest eulogy to Saint Bernard is a play which we are told will further “immortalize” him. “The Road That Wasn’t There,” to be performed at the world fringe festival at Edinburgh, Scotland, was “inspired” by Hana. Playwright Ralph McCubbin Howell, now resident in Britain, wanted to write something about New Zealand “while taking inspiration from folktales.” “Who better to draw on than a man who became a legend within his own lifetime?”
The play is aimed at children, using puppets, and Hana has been made into a puppet of what is — presumably unintentionally — monstrous visage. Other tributes include a song created in 2012 in tribute to Hana, recorded and released by ZM Radio; and a 2007 Victoria University presentation on Hana by sociology lecturer Mike Lloyd and Doctoral student Bronwyn McGovern.
When Hana died of alcohol poisoning in 2012, a makeshift shrine was created at Courtenay Place, where messages were written on the walls of the ANZ Bank building, and flowers, candles, food and other items were left in tribute. Cecilia Wade-Brown, the Green Party’s Mayor of Wellington, were among those who paid tribute to Hana.
The local Anarchists — a melange of pot-smoking street people and mentally aberrant, histrionic bourgeoisie — quite naturally proclaimed Hana as one of their own and produced a signed, limited edition run of prints depicting the frail, doddering “Brother” as a heroic, strident revolutionary. To the Anarchists, “Blanket Man led quite and [sic] extraordinary life and will be missed by many Wellingtonians and New Zealanders alike following his recent death.”
Where once bards wrote of Knights they now write of Blanket Man. He is an archetype of civilization’s decay, and as such is instinctively embraced by those, whether journalists, lecturers, street kids, or artists, high and low, who feel that civilization is an imposition. I saw the future visage of the Fellaheen West, and it squatted in filth on the streets of Wellington.
1. L Stoddard, The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Underman (London: Chapman & Hall, 1922), republished 2012 by Wermod & Wermod.
2. “R.I.P. Blanket Man,” “About,” http://www.facebook.com/pages/RIP-BLANKET-MAN/273891829339723?sk=info 
4. “Blanket Man,” http://www.bebo.com/BlogView.jsp?MemberId=3895594292&BlogId=3895641359 
5. Dr. Stevo, Ibid.
6. Nirvana, ibid.
7. Minta, ibid.
8. Wellington has long since stopped being “beautiful’ or “clean.” I have to question the aesthetic sensibilities of Ms. Mastalerz.
9. Apparently drinking methylated spirits is not to be regarded as a sign of alcoholism.
10. Marcelina Mastalerz, “A Different Way of Life: Interview with ‘Brother’ (a.k.a ‘Blanket Man’),” http://www.bebo.com/BlogView.jsp?MemberId=3895594292&BlogId=3895641359&PageNbr=2 
11. L. Stoddard, chapter IV.
12. Probably an exaggeration.
13. Marcelina Mastalerz.
14. Nyree Barrett, “Perceiving homelessness in Wellington,” http://www.bebo.com/BlogView.jsp?MemberId=3895594292&BlogId=3895641359&PageNbr=2 
15. Sophie Speer, “Myth of Blanket Man takes time trip at coveted Fringe,” The Dominion Post, Wellington, June 26, 2012, http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/culture/performance/7172069/Wellingtons-Blanket-Man-immortalised-in-play 
17. Wellington Craftivism Collective, http://wellingtoncraftivism.blogspot.co.nz/2012/01/blanket-man-limited-edition-prints.html 
Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com
URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/06/the-underman-as-cultural-icon-the-saga-of-blanket-man/
mercredi, 04 juillet 2012
Introduction to Aristotle’s Politics
Part 1: The Aim & Elements of Politics
Posted By Greg Johnson
Part 1 of 2
The following introduction to Aristotle’s Politics focuses on the issues of freedom and popular government. It is a reworking of a more “academic” text penned in 2001.
1. The Necessity of Politics
Aristotle is famous for holding that man is by nature a political animal. But what does this mean? Aristotle explains that,
even when human beings are not in need of each other’s help, they have no less desire to live together, though it is also true that the common advantage draws them into union insofar as noble living is something they each partake of. So this above all is the end, whether for everyone in common or for each singly (Politics 3.6, 1278b19–22).
Here Aristotle contrasts two different needs of the human soul that give rise to different forms of community, one pre-political and the other political.
The first need is material. On this account, men form communities to secure the necessities of life. Because few are capable of fulfilling all their needs alone, material self-interest forces them to co-operate, each developing his particular talents and trading his products with others. The classical example of such a community is the “city of pigs” in the second book of Plato’s Republic.
The second need is spiritual. Even in the absence of material need, human beings will form communities because only through community can man satisfy his spiritual need to live nobly, i.e., to achieve eudaimonia, happiness or well-being, which Aristotle defines as a life of unimpeded virtuous activity.
Aristotle holds that the forms of association which arise from material needs are pre-political. These include the family, the master-slave relationship, the village, the market, and alliances for mutual defense. With the exception of the master-slave relationship, the pre-political realm could be organized on purely libertarian, capitalist principles. Individual rights and private property could allow individuals to associate and disassociate freely by means of persuasion and trade, according to their own determination of their interests.
But in Politics 3.9, Aristotle denies that the realm of material needs, whether organized on libertarian or non-libertarian lines, could ever fully satisfy man’s spiritual need for happiness: “It is not the case . . . that people come together for the sake of life alone, but rather for the sake of living well” (1280a31), and “the political community must be set down as existing for the sake of noble deeds and not merely for living together” (1281a2). Aristotle’s clearest repudiation of any minimalistic form of liberalism is the following passage:
Nor do people come together for the sake of an alliance to prevent themselves from being wronged by anyone, nor again for purposes of mutual exchange and mutual utility. Otherwise the Etruscans and Carthaginians and all those who have treaties with each other would be citizens of one city. . . . [But they are not] concerned about what each other’s character should be, not even with the aim of preventing anyone subject to the agreements from becoming unjust or acquiring a single depraved habit. They are concerned only that they should not do any wrong to each other. But all those who are concerned about a good state of law concentrate their attention on political virtue and vice, from which it is manifest that the city truly and not verbally so called must make virtue its care. (1280a34–b7)
Aristotle does not disdain mutual exchange and mutual protection. But he thinks that the state must do more. It must concern itself with the character of the citizen; it must encourage virtue and discourage vice.
But why does Aristotle think that the pursuit of virtue is political at all, much less the defining characteristic of the political? Why does he reject the liberal principle that whether and how men pursue virtue is an ineluctably private choice? The ultimate anthropological foundation of Aristotelian political science is man’s neoteny. Many animals can fend for themselves as soon as they are born. But man is born radically immature and incapable of living on his own. We need many years of care and education. Nature does not give us the ability to survive, much less flourish. But she gives us the ability to acquire the ability. Skills are acquired abilities to live. Virtue is the acquired ability to live well. The best way to acquire virtue is not through trial and error, but through education, which allows us to benefit from the trials and avoid the errors of others. Fortune permitting, if we act virtuously, we will live well.
Liberals often claim that freedom of choice is a necessary condition of virtue. We can receive no moral credit for a virtue which is not freely chosen but is instead forced upon us. Aristotle, however, holds that force is a necessary condition of virtue. Aristotle may have defined man as the rational animal, but unlike the Sophists of his day he did not think that rational persuasion is sufficient to instill virtue:
. . . if reasoned words were sufficient by themselves to make us decent, they would, to follow a remark of Theognis, justly carry off many and great rewards, and the thing to do would be to provide them. But, as it is, words seem to have the strength to incite and urge on those of the young who are generous and to get a well-bred character and one truly in love with the noble to be possessed by virtue; but they appear incapable of inciting the many toward becoming gentlemen. For the many naturally obey the rule of fear, not of shame, and shun what is base not because it is ugly but because it is punished. Living by passion as they do, they pursue their own pleasures and whatever will bring these pleasures about . . . ; but of the noble and truly pleasant they do not even have the notion, since they have never tasted it. How could reasoned words reform such people? For it is not possible, or nor easy, to replace by reason what has long since become fixed in the character. (Nicomachean Ethics, 10.9, 1179b4–18)
The defect of reason can, however, be corrected by force: “Reason and teaching by no means prevail in everyone’s case; instead, there is need that the hearer’s soul, like earth about to nourish the seed, be worked over in its habits beforehand so as to enjoy and hate in a noble way. . . . Passion, as a general rule, does not seem to yield to reason but to force” (Nicomachean Ethics, 10.9, 1179b23–25). The behavioral substratum of virtue is habit, and habits can be inculcated by force. Aristotle describes law as “reasoned speech that proceeds from prudence and intellect” but yet “has force behind it” (Nicomachean Ethics, 10.9, 1180a18). Therefore, the compulsion of the appropriate laws is a great aid in acquiring virtue.
At this point, however, one might object that Aristotle has established only a case for parental, not political, force in moral education. Aristotle admits that only in Sparta and a few other cities is there public education in morals, while “In most cities these matters are neglected, and each lives as he wishes, giving sacred law, in Cyclops’ fashion, to his wife and children” (Nicomachean Ethics, 10.9, 1180a24–27). Aristotle grants that an education adapted to an individual is better than an education given to a group (Nicomachean Ethics, 10.9, 1180b7). But this is an argument against the collective reception of education, not the collective provision. He then argues that such an education is best left to experts, not parents. Just as parents have professional doctors care for their childrens’ bodies, they should have professional educators care for their souls (Nicomachean Ethics, 10.9, 1180b14–23). But this does not establish that the professionals should be employees of the state.
Two additional arguments for public education are found in Politics 8.1:
 Since the whole city has one end, it is manifest that everyone must also have one and the same education and that taking care of this education must be a common matter. It must not be private in the way that it is now, when everyone takes care of their own children privately and teaches them whatever private learning they think best. Of common things, the training must be common.  At the same time, no citizen should even think he belongs to himself but instead that each belongs to the city, for each is part of the city. The care of each part, however, naturally looks to the care of the whole, and to this extent praise might be due to the Spartans, for they devote the most serious attention to their children and do so in common. (Politics, 8.1 [5.1], 1337a21–32)
The second argument is both weak and question-begging. Although it may be useful for citizens to “think” that they belong to the city, not themselves, Aristotle offers no reason to think that this is true. Furthermore, the citizens would not think so unless they received precisely the collective education that needs to be established. The first argument, however, is quite strong. If the single, overriding aim of political life is the happiness of the citizens, and if this aim is best attained by public education, then no regime can be legitimate if it fails to provide public education.
Another argument for public moral education can be constructed from the overall argument of the Politics. Since public education is more widely distributed than private education, other things being equal, the populace will become more virtuous on the whole. As we shall see, it is widespread virtue that makes popular government possible. Popular government is, moreover, one of the bulwarks of popular liberty. Compulsory public education in virtue, therefore, is a bulwark of liberty.
2. Politics and Freedom
Aristotle’s emphasis on compulsory moral education puts him in the “positive” libertarian camp. For Aristotle, a free man is not merely any man who lives in a free society. A free man possesses certain traits of character which allow him to govern himself responsibly and attain happiness. These traits are, however, the product of a long process of compulsory tutelage. But such compulsion can be justified only by the production of a free and happy individual, and its scope is therefore limited by this goal. Since Aristotle ultimately accepted the Socratic principle that all men desire happiness, education merely compels us to do what we really want. It frees us from our own ignorance, folly, and irrationality and frees us for our own self-actualization. This may be the rationale for Aristotle’s claim that, “the law’s laying down of what is decent is not oppressive” (Nicomachean Ethics, 10.9, 1180a24). Since Aristotle thinks that freedom from the internal compulsion of the passions is more important than freedom from the external compulsion of force, and that force can quell the passions and establish virtue’s empire over them, Aristotle as much as Rousseau believes that we can be forced to be free.
But throughout the Politics, Aristotle shows that he is concerned to protect “negative” liberty as well. In Politics 2.2–5, Aristotle ingeniously defends private families, private property, and private enterprise from Plato’s communistic proposals in the Republic, thereby preserving the freedom of large spheres of human activity.
Aristotle’s concern with privacy is evident in his criticism of a proposal of Hippodamus of Miletus which would encourage spies and informers (2.8, 1268b22).
Aristotle is concerned to create a regime in which the rich do not enslave the poor and the poor do not plunder the rich (3.10, 1281a13–27).
Second Amendment enthusiasts will be gratified at Aristotle’s emphasis on the importance of a wide distribution of arms in maintaining the freedom of the populace (2.8, 1268a16-24; 3.17, 1288a12–14; 4.3 [6.3], 1289b27–40; 4.13 [6.13], 1297a12–27; 7.11 [4.11], 1330b17–20).
War and empire are great enemies of liberty, so isolationists and peace lovers will be gratified by Aristotle’s critique of warlike regimes and praise of peace. The good life requires peace and leisure. War is not an end in itself, but merely a means to ensure peace (7.14 [4.14], 1334a2–10; 2.9, 1271a41–b9).
The best regime is not oriented outward, toward dominating other peoples, but inward, towards the happiness of its own. The best regime is an earthly analogue of the Prime Mover. It is self-sufficient and turned inward upon itself (7.3 [4.3], 1325a14–31). Granted, Aristotle may not think that negative liberty is the whole of the good life, but it is an important component which needs to be safeguarded.
3. The Elements of Politics and the Mixed Regime
Since the aim of political association is the good life, the best political regime is the one that best delivers the good life. Delivering the good life can be broken down into two components: production and distribution. There are two basic kinds of goods: the goods of the body and the goods of the soul. Both sorts of goods can be produced and distributed privately and publicly, but Aristotle treats the production and distribution of bodily goods as primarily private whereas he treats the production and distribution of spiritual goods as primarily public. The primary goods of the soul are moral and intellectual virtue, which are best produced by public education, and honor, the public recognition of virtue, talent, and service rendered to the city. The principle of distributive justice is defined as proportionate equality: equally worthy people should be equally happy and unequally worthy people should be unequally happy, commensurate with their unequal worth (Nicomachean Ethics, 5.6–7). The best regime, in short, combines happiness and justice.
But how is the best regime to be organized? Aristotle builds his account from at least three sets of elements.
First, in Politics 3.6–7, Aristotle observes that sovereignty can rest either with men or with laws. If with men, then it can rest in one man, few men, or many men. (Aristotle treats it as self-evident that it cannot rest in all men.) The rulers can exercise political power for two different ends: for the common good and for special interests. One pursues the common good by promoting the happiness of all according to justice. Special interests can be broken down into individual or factional interests. A ruler can be blamed for pursuing such goods only if he does so without regard to justice, i.e., without a just concern for the happiness of all. When a single man rules for the common good, we have kingship. When he rules for his own good, we have tyranny. When the few rule for the common good, we have aristocracy. When they rule for their factional interest, we have oligarchy. When the many rule for the common good, we have polity. When they rule for their factional interest, we have democracy. These six regimes can exist in pure forms, or they can be mixed together.
Second, Aristotle treats social classes as elemental political distinctions. In Politics 3.8 he refines his definitions of oligarchy and democracy, claiming that oligarchy is actually the rule by the rich, whether they are few or many, and democracy is rule by the poor, whether they are few or many. Similarly, in Politics 4.11 (6.1) Aristotle also defines polity as rule by the middle class. In Politics 4.4 (6.4), Aristotle argues that the social classes are irreducible political distinctions. One can be a rich, poor, or middle class juror, legislator, or office-holder. One can be a rich, poor, or middle class farmer or merchant. But one cannot be both rich and poor at the same time (1291b2–13). Class distinctions cannot be eliminated; therefore, they have to be recognized and respected, their disadvantages meliorated and their advantages harnessed for the common good.
Third, in Politics 4.14 (6.14), Aristotle divides the activities of rulership into three different functions: legislative, judicial, and executive.
Because rulership can be functionally divided, it is possible to create a mixed regime by assigning different functions to different parts of the populace. One could, for instance, mix monarchy and elite rule by assigning supreme executive office to a single man and the legislative and judicial functions to the few. Or one could divide the legislative function into different houses, assigning one to the few and another to the many. Aristotle suggests giving the few the power to legislate and the many the power to veto legislation. He suggests that officers be elected by the many, but nominated from the few. The few should make expenditures, but the many should audit them (2.12, 1274a15–21; 3.11, 1281b21–33; 4.14 [6.14], 1298b26–40).
In Politics 3.10, Aristotle argues that some sort of mixed regime is preferable, since no pure regime is satisfactory: “A difficulty arises as to what should be the controlling part of the city, for it is really either the multitude or the rich or the decent or the best one of all or a tyrant? But all of them appear unsatisfactory” (1281a11–13). Democracy is bad because the poor unjustly plunder the substance of the rich; oligarchy is bad because the rich oppress and exploit the poor; tyranny is bad because the tyrant does injustice to everyone (1281a13–28). Kingship and aristocracy are unsatisfactory because they leave the many without honors and are schools for snobbery and high-handedness (1281a28–33; 4.11 [6.11], 1295b13ff). A pure polity might be unsatisfactory because it lacks a trained leadership caste and is therefore liable to make poor decisions (3.11, 1281b21–33).
4. Checks and Balances, Political Rule, and the Rule of Law
Aristotle’s mixed regime is the origin of the idea of the separation of powers and “checks and balances.” It goes hand in hand with a very modern political realism. Aristotle claims that, “all regimes that look to the common advantage turn out, according to what is simply just, to be correct ones, while those that look only to the advantage of their rulers are mistaken and are all deviations from the correct regime. For they are despotic, but the city is a community of the free” (3.6, 1279a17–21).
It is odd, then, that in Politics 4.8–9 (6.8–9) Aristotle describes the best regime as a mixture of two defective regimes, oligarchy and democracy–not of two correct regimes, aristocracy and polity. But perhaps Aristotle entertained the possibility of composing a regime that tends to the common good out of classes which pursue their own factional interests.
Perhaps Aristotle thought that the “intention” to pursue the common good can repose not in the minds of individual men, but in the institutional logic of the regime itself. This would be an enormous advantage, for it would bring about the common good without having to rely entirely upon men of virtue and good will, who are in far shorter supply than men who pursue their own individual and factional advantages.
Related to the mixed regime with its checks and balances is the notion of “political rule.” Political rule consists of ruling and being ruled in turn:
. . . there is a sort of rule exercised over those who are similar in birth and free. This rule we call political rule, and the ruler must learn it by being ruled, just as one learns to be a cavalry commander by serving under a cavalry commander . . . Hence is was nobly said that one cannot rule well without having been ruled. And while virtue in these two cases is different, the good citizen must learn and be able both to be ruled and to rule. This is in fact the virtue of the citizen, to know rule over the free from both sides. (3.4, 1277b7–15; cf. 1.13, 1259b31–34 and 2.2, 1261a32–b3)
Aristotle makes it clear that political rule can exist only where the populace consists of men who are free, i.e., sufficiently virtuous that they can rule themselves. They must also be economically middle-class, well-armed, and warlike. They must, in short, be the sort of men who can participate responsibly in government, who want to participate, and who cannot safely be excluded. A populace that is slavish, vice-ridden, poor, and unarmed can easily be disenfranchised and exploited. If power were entirely in the hands of a free populace, the regime would be a pure polity, and political rule would exist entirely between equals. If, however, a free populace were to take part in a mixed regime, then political rule would exist between different parts of the regime. The many and the few would divide power and functions between them. Not only would members of each class take turns performing the different functions allotted to them, the classes themselves would rule over others in one respect and be ruled in another. In these circumstances, then, checks and balances are merely one form of political rule.
In Politics 3.16, Aristotle connects political rule to the rule of law:
What is just is that people exercise rule no more than they are subject to it and that therefore they rule by turns. But this is already law, for the arrangement is law. Therefore, it is preferable that law rule rather than any one of the citizens. And even if, to pursue the same argument, it were better that there be some persons exercising rule, their appointment should be as guardians and servants of the laws. For though there must be some offices, that there should be this one person exercising rule is, they say, not just, at least when all are similar. (1287a15–22)
Aristotle’s point is simple. If two men govern by turns, then sovereignty does not ultimately repose in either of them, but in the rule that they govern by turns. The same can be said of checks and balances. If the few spend money and the many audit the accounts, then neither group is sovereign, the laws are. If sovereignty reposes in laws, not men, the common good is safe. As Aristotle points out, “anyone who bids the laws to rule seems to bid god and intellect alone to rule, but anyone who bids a human being to rule adds on also the wild beast. For desire is such a beast and spiritedness perverts rulers even when they are the best of men. Hence law is intellect without appetite” (1287a23–31). The greatest enemy of the common good is private interest. The laws, however, have no private interests. Thus if our laws are conducive to the common good, we need not depend entirely on the virtue and public-spiritedness of men.
Aristotle would, however, hasten to add that no regime can do without these characteristics entirely, for the laws cannot apply themselves. They must be applied by men, and their application will seldom be better than the men who apply them. Furthermore, even though a regime may function without entirely virtuous citizens, no legitimate regime can be indifferent to the virtue of the citizens, for the whole purpose of political association is to instill the virtues necessary for happiness.
1. All quotes from Aristotle are from The Politics of Aristotle, trans. and ed. Peter L. Phillips Simpson (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997). Simpson’s edition has two unique features. First, The Politics is introduced by a translation of Nicomachean Ethics 10.9. Second, Simpson moves books 7 and 8 of The Politics, positioning them between the traditional books 3 and 4. I retain the traditional ordering, indicating Simpson’s renumbering parenthetically. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes are from The Politics. Quotes from the Nicomachean Ethics will be indicated as such.
2. A useful commentary on these and other Aristotelian arguments for public education is Randall R. Curren, Aristotle on the Necessity of Public Education (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 2000).
3. For a fuller discussion of the value Aristotle puts on liberty, see Roderick T. Long, “Aristotle’s Conception of Freedom,” The Review of Metaphysics 49, no. 4 (June 1996), pp. 787–802.
4. One could add a third category of instrumental goods, but these goods are instrumental to the intrinsic goods of the body, the soul, or both, and thus could be classified under those headings.
5. As for the highest good of the soul, which is attained by philosophy, Aristotle’s flight from Athens near the end of his life shows that he recognized that different political orders can be more or less open to free thought, but I suspect that he was realist enough (and Platonist enough) to recognize that even the best cities are unlikely to positively cultivate true freedom to philosophize. I would wager that Aristotle would be both surprised at the freedom of thought in the United States and receptive to Tocquevillian complaints about the American tendency toward conformism that makes such freedom unthreatening to the reigning climate of opinion. A cynic might argue that if Americans actually made use of their freedom of thought, it would be quickly taken away.
6. On the complexities of the executive role in the Politics, see Harvey C. Mansfield, Jr., Taming the Prince: The Ambivalence of Modern Executive Power (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), chs. 2–3.
Introduction to Aristotle’s Politics
Part 2: In Defense of Popular Government
Part 2 of 2
5. The Good Man and the Good Citizen
Having now surveyed Aristotle’s thoughts on the elements and proper aim of politics, we can now examine his arguments for popular government. When I use the phrase “popular government,” it should be borne in mind that Aristotle does not advocate a pure polity, but a mixed regime with a popular element.
Aristotle’s first case for bringing the many into government can be discerned in Politics 3.4. Aristotle’s question is whether the virtues of the good man and the good citizen are the same. They are not the same, insofar as the virtue of the good citizen is defined relative to the regime, and there are many different regimes, while the virtue of the good man is defined relative to human nature, which is one. One can therefore be a good citizen but not a good man, and a good man but not a good citizen. History is replete with examples of regimes which punish men for their virtues and reward them for their vices. Aristotle does, however, allow that the good man and the good citizen can be one in a regime in which the virtues required of a good citizen do not differ from the virtues of a good man.
The chief virtue of a good man is prudence. But prudence is not required of a citizen insofar as he is ruled. Only obedience is required. Prudence is, however, required of a citizen insofar as he rules. Since the best regime best encourages happiness by best cultivating virtue, a regime which allows the many to govern along with the few is better than a regime which excludes them. By including the many in ruling, a popular regime encourages the widest cultivation of prudence and gives the greatest opportunity for its exercise. The best way to bring the many into the regime is what Aristotle calls political rule: ruling and being ruled in turn, as prescribed by law.
Political rule not only teaches the virtue of prudence to the many, it teaches the virtue of being ruled to the few, who must give way in turn to the many. Since the few aspire to rule but not be ruled, Aristotle argues that they cannot rule without first having been ruled: “the ruler must learn [political rule] by being ruled, just as one learns to be a cavalry commander by serving under a cavalry commander . . . Hence is was nobly said that one cannot rule well without having been ruled. And while virtue in these two cases is different, the good citizen must learn and be able both to be ruled and to rule. This is, in fact, the virtue of a citizen, to know rule over the free from both sides. Indeed, the good man too possesses both” (3.4, 1277b7–16).
Aristotle names justice as a virtue which is learned both in ruling and being ruled. Those born to wealth and power are liable to arrogance and the love of command. By subjecting them to the rule of others, including their social inferiors, they learn to respect their freedom and justly appraise their worth.
6. Potlucks, Chimeras, Juries
Aristotle’s next case for bringing the many into the regime is found in Politics 3.11. Aristotle seeks to rebut the aristocratic argument against popular participation, namely that the best political decisions are wise ones, but wisdom is found only among the few, not the many. Popular participation, therefore, would inevitably dilute the quality of the political decision-makers, increasing the number of foolish decisions. Aristotle accepts the premise that the wise should rule, but he argues that there are circumstances in which the few and the many together are wiser than the few on their own. The aristocratic principle, therefore, demands the participation of the many:
. . . the many, each of whom is not a serious man, nevertheless could, when they have come together, be better than those few best–not, indeed, individually but as a whole, just as meals furnished collectively are better than meals furnished at one person’s expense. For each of them, though many, could have a part of virtue and prudence, and just as they could, when joined together in a multitude, become one human being with many feet, hands, and senses, so also could they become one in character and thought. That is why the many are better judges of the works of music and the poets, for one of them judges one part and another another and all of them the whole. (1281a42–b10)
At first glance, this argument seems preposterous. History and everyday life are filled with examples of wise individuals opposing foolish collectives. But Aristotle does not claim that the many are always wiser than the few, simply that they can be under certain conditions (1281b15).
The analogy of the potluck supper is instructive (cf. 3.15, 1286a28–30). A potluck supper can be better than one provided by a single person if it offers a greater number and variety of dishes and diffuses costs and labor. But potluck suppers are not always superior–that is the “luck” in it. Potlucks are often imbalanced. On one occasion, there may be too many desserts and no salads. On another, three people may bring chicken and no one brings beef or pork. The best potluck, therefore, is a centrally orchestrated one which mobilizes the resources of many different contributors but ensures a balanced and wholesome meal.
Likewise, the best way to include the many in political decision-making is to orchestrate their participation, giving them a delimited role that maximizes their virtues and minimizes their vices. This cannot be accomplished in a purely popular regime, particularly a lawless one, but it can be accomplished in a mixed regime in which the participation of the populace is circumscribed by law and checked by the interests of other elements of the population.
Aristotle’s second analogy–which likens the intellectual and moral unity of the many to a man with many feet, hands, and sense organs, i.e., a freak of nature–does not exactly assuage doubters. But his point is valid. While even the best of men may lack a particular virtue, it is unlikely that it will be entirely absent from a large throng. Therefore, the many are potentially as virtuous or even more virtuous than the few if their scattered virtues can be gathered together and put to work. But history records many examples of groups acting less morally than any member on his own. Thus the potential moral superiority of the many is unlikely to emerge in a lawless democracy. But it could emerge in a lawful mixed regime, which actively encourages and employs the virtues of the many while checking their vices. This process can be illustrated by adapting an analogy that Aristotle offers to illustrate another point: A painting of a man can be more beautiful than any real man, for the painter can pick out the best features of individual men and combine them into a beautiful whole (3.11, 1281b10–11).
Aristotle illustrates the potential superiority of collective judgment with another questionable assertion, that “the many are better judges of the works of music and the poets, for one of them judges one part and another another and all of them the whole.” Again, this seems preposterous. Good taste, like wisdom, is not widely distributed and is cultivated by the few, not the many. Far more people buy “rap” recordings than classical ones. But Aristotle is not claiming that the many are better judges in all cases. Aristotle is likely referring to Greek dramatic competitions. These competitions were juried by the audience, not a small number of connoisseurs.
A jury trial or competition is a genuine collective decision-making process in which each juror is morally enjoined to pay close attention the matter at hand and to render an objective judgment. Although each juror has his own partial impression, when jurors deliberate they can add their partial impressions together to arrive at a more complete and adequate account. To the extent that a jury decision must approach unanimity, the jurors will be motivated to examine the issue from all sides and persuade one another to move toward a rationally motivated consensus. A jury decision can, therefore, be more rational, well-informed, and objective than an individual one. The market, by contrast, is not a collective decision-making process. It does not require a consumer to compare his preferences to those of others, to persuade others of their validity or defend them from criticism, or to arrive at any sort of consensus. Instead, the market merely registers the collective effects of individual decisions.
7. Freedom and Stability
Another argument for popular government in Politics 3.11 (1281b21–33) is that it is more stable. Aristotle grants the Aristocratic principle that it is not safe for the populace to share in “the greatest offices” because, “on account of their injustice and unwisdom, they would do wrong in some things and go wrong in others.” But then he goes on to argue that it would not be safe to exclude the many from rule altogether, since a city “that has many in it who lack honor and are poor must of necessity be full of enemies,” which would be a source of instability. Instability is, however, inconsistent with the proper aim of politics, for the good life requires peace. The solution is a mixed regime which ensures peace and stability by allowing the many to participate in government, but not to occupy the highest offices. In Politics 2.9, Aristotle praises the Spartan Ephorate for holding the regime together, “since, as the populace share in the greatest office, it keeps them quiet. . . . For if any regime is going to survive, all the parts of the city must want it both to exist and to remain as it is” (1270b17–22; cf. Aristotle’s discussion of the Carthaginians in 2.9, 1272b29–32; see also 4.13 [6.13], 1297b6).
In Politics 2.12, Aristotle offers another reason for including the populace in government. Solon gave the populace, “the power that was most necessary (electing to office and auditing the accounts), since without it they would have been enslaved and hostile” (1274a4–6). Here Aristotle makes it clear that he values liberty, and he values popular government because it protects the liberty of the many.
8. Expert Knowledge
In Politics 3.11 Aristotle rebuts the argument that the many should not be involved in politics because they are amateurs, and decisions in politics, as in medicine and other fields, should be left to experts. In response to this, Aristotle repeats his argument that the many, taken together, may be better judges than a few experts. He then adds that there are some arts in which the products can be appreciated by people who do not possess the art: “Appreciating a house, for example, does not just belong to the builder; the one who uses it, namely the household manager, will pass an even better judgment on it. Likewise, the pilot judges the rudder better than the carpenter and the dinner guest judges the feast better than the chef” (1282a19–22). If the art of statesmanship is like these, then the best judge of the quality of a statesman is not the few political experts, but the many political laymen who are ruled by him. The judgment of the populace should not, therefore, be disdained.
9. Resistance to Corruption
In Politics 3.15 Aristotle argues that popular regimes are more resistant to corruption. Even in a regime in which law ultimately rules, there are particular circumstances which the laws do not anticipate. Where the law cannot decide, men must do so. But this creates an opportunity for corruption. Aristotle argues that such decisions are better made by large bodies deliberating in public: “What is many is more incorruptible: the multitude, like a greater quantity of water, is harder to ruin than a few. A single person’s judgment must necessarily be corrupted when he is overcome by anger or some other such passion, but getting everyone in the other case to become angry and go wrong at the same time takes a lot of doing. Let the multitude in question, however, be the free who are acting in no way against law, except where law is necessarily deficient” (1286a33–38). Aristotle’s argument that the many may collectively possess fewer vices than the few is merely a mirror image of his earlier collective virtue argument. Here, as elsewhere, Aristotle defends popular government only under delimited circumstances. The populace must be free, not slavish, and they must decide only when the laws cannot.
10. Delegation and Diffusion of Power
Politics 3.16 is devoted to arguments against total kingship. One of these arguments can be turned into a case for popular government. Aristotle claims that total kingship is unsustainable: “It is not easy for one person to oversee many things, so there will need to be many officials appointed in subordination to him. Consequently, what is the difference between having them there right from the start and having one man in this way appoint them? . . . if a man who is serious is justly ruler because he is better, then two good men are better than one” (1287b8–12, cf. 1287b25–29).
Since total kingship is unworkable, kings must necessarily appoint superior men as “peers” to help them. But if total kingship must create an aristocracy, then why not have aristocracy from the start?
This argument could, however, be pushed further to make a case for popular government. An aristocracy cannot effectively rule the people without the active participation of some and the passive acquiescence of the rest. As we have seen above, Aristotle argues that the best way to bring this about is popular government. But if aristocracy must eventually bring the populace into the regime, then why not include them from the very beginning?
11. When Regimes Fail
In Politics 4.2 (6.2), Aristotle returns to his list of pure regime types. The three just regimes are kingship, aristocracy, and polity; the three unjust ones are tyranny, oligarchy, and democracy. Aristotle proceeds to rank the three just regimes in terms of the kinds of virtues they require. Thus Aristotle identifies kingship and aristocracy as the best regimes because they are both founded on “fully equipped virtue” (1289a31). Of the two, kingship is the very best, for it depends upon a virtue so superlative that it is possessed by only one man. Aristocracy is less exalted because it presupposes somewhat more broadly distributed and therefore less exalted virtue. Polity depends upon even more widespread and modest virtue. Furthermore, the populace, unlike kings and aristocrats, lacks the full complement of material equipment necessary to fully exercise such virtues as magnificence.
By this ranking, polity is not the best regime, but the least of the good ones. But Aristotle then offers a new, politically realistic standard for ranking the just regimes which reverses their order. Kingship may be the best regime from a morally idealistic perspective, but when it degenerates it turns into tyranny, which is the worst regime. Aristocracy may be the second best regime from a morally idealistic perspective, but when it degenerates it turns into oligarchy, which is the second worst regime. Polity may be the third choice of the moral idealist, but when it degenerates, it merely becomes democracy, which is the best of a bad lot.
Since degeneration is inevitable, the political realist ranks regimes not only in terms of their best performances, but also in terms of their worst. By this standard, polity is the best of the good regimes and kingship the worst. Kingship is best under ideal conditions, polity under real conditions. Kingship is a sleek Jaguar, polity a dowdy Volvo. On the road, the Jaguar is clearly better. But when they go in the ditch, the Volvo shows itself to be the better car overall.
12. The Middle Class Regime
Aristotle displays the same political realism in his praise of the middle class regime in Politics 4.11 (6.11): “If we judge neither by a virtue that is beyond the reach of private individuals, nor by an education requiring a nature and equipment dependent on chance, nor again a regime that is as one would pray for, but by a way of life that most can share in common together and by a regime that most cities can participate in . . . ,” then a large, politically enfranchised middle class has much to recommend it: “In the case of political community . . . the one that is based on those in the middle is best, and . . . cities capable of being well governed are those sorts where the middle is large . . .” (1295b35–36).
Since the middle class is the wealthier stratum of the common people, Aristotle’s arguments for middle class government are ipso facto arguments for popular government. Aristotle makes it clear from the beginning, however, that he is not talking about a purely popular regime, but a mixed one compounded out of a middle class populace and those elements of aristocracy which are not out of the reach of most cities (1295a30–34).
Aristotle’s first argument for the middle regime seems a sophistry: “If it was nobly said in the Ethics that the happy way of life is unimpeded life in accordance with virtue and that virtue is a mean, then necessarily the middle way of life, the life of a mean that everyone can attain, must be best. The same definitions must hold also for the virtue and vice of city and regime, since the regime is a certain way of life of a city” (1295a35–40).
In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle makes it clear that the fact that virtue can be understood as a mean between two vices, one of excess and the other of defect, does not imply either that virtue is merely an arithmetic mean (Nicomachean Ethics, 2.2, 1106a26–b8), or that virtue is to be regarded as mediocrity, not as superlative (Nicomachean Ethics, 2.2, 1107a9–27). Here, however, Aristotle describes the mean not as a superlative, but as a mediocrity “that everyone can attain.” This conclusion follows only if we presuppose that the morally idealistic doctrine of the Ethics has been modified into a moral realism analogous to the political realism of Politics 4.2.
Aristotle then claims that in a regime the mean lies in the middle class: “In all cities there are in fact three parts: those who are exceedingly well-off, those who are exceedingly needy, and the third who are in the middle of these two. So, since it is agreed that the mean and middle is best, then it is manifest that a middling possession also of the goods of fortune must be best of all” (1295b1–3). Aristotle is, however, equivocating. He begins by defining the middle class as an arithmetic mean between the rich and the poor. He concludes that the middle class is a moral mean. But he does not establish that the arithmetic mean corresponds with the moral.
Aristotle does, however, go on to offer reasons for thinking that the social mean corresponds to the moral mean. But the middle class is not necessarily more virtuous because its members have been properly educated, but because their social position and class interests lead them to act as if they had been.
First, Aristotle argues that “the middle most easily obeys reason.” Those who are “excessively beautiful or strong or well-born or wealthy” find it hard to follow reason, because they tend to be “insolent and rather wicked in great things.” By contrast, those who are poor and “extremely wretched and weak, and have an exceeding lack of honor” tend to become “villains and too much involved in petty wickedness.” The middle class is, however, too humble to breed insolence and too well-off to breed villainy. Since most injustices arise from insolence and villainy, a regime with a strong middle class will be more likely to be just.
Second, Aristotle argues that the middle class is best suited to ruling and being ruled in turn. Those who enjoy, “an excess of good fortune (strength, wealth, friends, and other things of the sort)” love to rule and dislike being ruled. Both of these attitudes are harmful to the city, yet they naturally arise among the wealthy. From an early age, the wealthy are instilled with a “love of ruing and desire to rule, both of which are harmful to cities” (1295b12), and, “because of the luxury they live in, being ruled is not something they get used to, even at school” (1295b13–17). By contrast, poverty breeds vice, servility, and small-mindedness. Thus the poor are easy to push around, and if they do gain power they are incapable of exercising it virtuously. Therefore, without a middle class, “a city of slaves and masters arises, not a city of the free, and the first are full of envy while the second are full of contempt.” Such a city must be “at the furthest remove from friendship and political community” (1295b21–24). The presence of a strong middle class, however, binds the city into a whole, limiting the tendency of the rich to tyranny and the poor to slavishness, creating a “city of the free.”
Third, Aristotle argues that middle class citizens enjoy the safest and most stable lives, imbuing the regime as a whole with these characteristics. Those in the middle are, among all the citizens, the most likely to survive in times of upheaval, when the poor starve and the rich become targets. They are sufficiently content with their lot not to envy the possessions of the rich. Yet they are not so wealthy that the poor envy them. They neither plot against the rich nor are plotted against by the poor.
Fourth, a large middle class stabilizes a regime, particularly if the middle is “stronger than both extremes or, otherwise, than either one of them. For the middle will tip the balance when added to either side and prevent the emergence of an excess at the opposite extremes” (1295b36–40). Without a large and powerful middle class, “either ultimate rule of the populace arises or unmixed oligarchy does, or, because of excess on both sides, tyranny” (1296a3; cf. 6.12, 1297a6ff).
Fifth is the related point that regimes with large middle classes are relatively free of faction and therefore more concerned with the common good. This is because a large middle class makes it harder to separate everyone out into two groups (1296a7–10).
Finally, Aristotle claims that one sign of the superiority of middle class regimes is that the best legislators come from the middle class. As examples, he cites Solon, Lycurgus, and Charondas (1296a18–21).
Conclusion: Aristotle’s Polity and Our Own
If the proper aim of government is to promote the happiness of the citizen, Aristotle marshals an impressive array of arguments for giving the people, specifically the middle class, a role in government. These arguments can be grouped under five headings: virtue, rational decision-making, freedom, stability, and resistance to corruption.
Popular government both presupposes and encourages widespread virtue among the citizens, and virtue is a necessary condition of happiness. Middle class citizens are particularly likely to follow practical reason and act justly, for they are corrupted neither by wealth nor by poverty. Popular participation can improve political decision-making by mobilizing scattered information and experience, and more informed decisions are more likely to promote happiness. In particular, popular government channels the experiences of those who are actually governed back into the decision-making process.
Popular participation preserves the freedom of the people, who would otherwise be exploited if they had no say in government. By preserving the freedom of the people, popular participation unifies the regime, promoting peace and stability which in turn are conducive to the pursuit of happiness. This is particularly the case with middle class regimes, for the middle class prevents excessive and destabilizing separation and between the extremes of wealth and poverty.
Popular governments are also more resistant to corruption. It is harder to use bribery or trickery to corrupt decisions made by many people deliberating together in public than by one person or a few deciding in private. This means that popular regimes are more likely to promote the common good instead of allowing the state to become a tool for the pursuit of one special interest at the expense of another. Furthermore, if a popular regime does become corrupt, it is most likely to become a democracy, which is the least unjust of the bad regimes and the easiest to reform.
All these are good arguments for giving the people a role in government. But not just any people. And not just any role.
First, Aristotle presupposes a small city-state. He did not think that any regime could pursue the common good if it became too large. This is particularly true of a popular regime, for the larger the populace, the less room any particular citizen has for meaningful participation.
Second, he presupposes a populace which is racially and culturally homogeneous. A more diverse population is subject to faction and strife. It will either break up into distinct communities or it will have to be held together by violence and governed by an elite. A more diverse population also erodes a society’s moral consensus, making moral education even more difficult.
Third, political participation will be limited to middle-class and wealthy property-owning males, specifically men who derive their income from the ownership of productive land, not merchants and craftsmen.
Fourth, Aristotle circumscribes the role of the populace by assigning it specific legal roles, such as the election of officers and the auditing of accounts–roles which are checked and balanced by the legal roles of the aristocratic element, such as occupying leadership positions.
If Aristotle is right about the conditions of popular government, then he would probably take a dim view of its prospects in America.
First and foremost, Aristotle would deplore America’s lack of concern with moral education. Aristotle’s disagreement would go beyond the obvious fact that the American founders did not make moral education the central concern of the state. America has neglected to cultivate even the minimal moral virtues required to maintain a liberal regime, virtues such as independence, personal responsibility, and basic civility.
Second, Aristotle would predict that multiculturalism and non-white immigration will destroy the cultural preconditions of popular government.
Third, Aristotle would reject America’s ever-widening franchise–particularly the extension of the vote to women, non-property owners, and cultural aliens–as a sure prescription for lowering the quality of public decision-making in the voting booth and jury room.
Fourth, Aristotle would be alarmed by the continuing erosion of the American working and middle classes by competition from foreign workers both inside and outside America’s borders. He would deplore America’s transformation from an agrarian to an industrial-mercantile civilization and support autarky rather than free trade and economic globalization.
Fifth, Aristotle would be alarmed by ongoing attempts to disarm the populace.
Sixth, he would condemn America’s imperialistic and warlike policies toward other nations.
Finally, Aristotle would likely observe that since genuine popular government is difficult with hundreds of thousands of citizens it will be impossible with hundreds of millions.
In short, if Aristotle were alive today, he would find himself to the right of Patrick J. Buchanan, decrying America’s decline from a republic to an empire. Aristotle challenges us to show whether and how liberty and popular government are compatible with feminism, multiculturalism, and globalized capitalism.
To conclude, however, on a more positive note: Although Aristotle gives reasons to think that the future of popular government in America is unpromising, he also gives reasons for optimism about the long-term prospects of popular government in general, for his defense of popular government is based on a realistic assessment of human nature, not only in its striving for perfection, but also in its propensity for failure.
1. For useful discussions of the arguments of Politics 3.11, see Mary P. Nichols, Citizens and Statesmen: A Study of Aristotle’s Politics (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 1992), 66–71, and Peter L. Phillips Simpson, A Philosophical Commentary on the Politics of Aristotle (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998), 166-71.
2. On the potluck supper analogy, see Arlene W. Saxonhouse, Fear of Diversity: The Birth of Political Science in Ancient Greek Thought (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), 222–24.
3. I wish to thank M. L. C. for suggesting the model of a jury trial.
4 . For a beautiful description of the deliberative process of a jury, see John C. Calhoun, A Disquisition on Government, in Union and Liberty: The Political Philosophy of John C. Calhoun, ed. Ross M. Lence (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1992), 49–50.
5. Friedrich A. Hayek’s classic essay “The Use of Knowledge in Society,” in his Individualism and Economic Order (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948), argues that the market is superior to central planning because it better mobilizes widely scattered information. The market is, of course, larger than any possible jury and thus will always command more information. However, if one were to compare a market and a jury of the same size, the jury would clearly be a more rational decision-making process, for the market registers decisions based on perspectives which are in principle entirely solipsistic, whereas the jury requires a genuine dialogue which challenges all participants to transcend their partial and subjective perspectives and work toward a rational consensus which is more objective than any individual decision because it more adequately accounts for the phenomena in question than could any individual decision. It is this crucial disanalogy that seems to vitiate attempts to justify the market in terms of Gadamerian, Popperian, or Habermasian models and communicative rationality. For the best statement of this sort of approach, see G. B. Madison, The Political Economy of Civil Society and Human Rights (New York: Routledge, 1998), esp. chs. 3–5.
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dimanche, 01 juillet 2012
Rousseau as Conservative:
The Theodicy of Civilization
By Greg Johnson
In 1762, Immanuel Kant did something unprecedented: he missed his daily walk. He stayed home to read Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s new book Emile, a philosophical novel on education which was to exercise a profound and revolutionary influence on his thought. In one of his notes on Rousseau, from 1764–1765, Kant writes:
Newton was the very first to see order and regularity bound up with the greatest simplicity, where before him disorder and mismatched heterogeneity were to be met with, whereas since then comets run in geometric paths.
Rousseau was the very first to discover under the heterogeneity of the assumed shapes of humanity its deeply hidden nature and the concealed law according to which providence through his observation is justified. Formerly the objections of Alfonso and Mani were still valid. After Newton and Rousseau, God is justified and Pope’s thesis is henceforth true.
Here Kant, who was a great admirer of Newton, lauds Rousseau as the Newton of the human world. He also indicates the central problem that any Newton of the human world must face: the objections of Alfonso and Mani. What Alfonso and Mani are objecting to is the idea of divine providence.
King Alfonso X of Castile reportedly declared, “Let justice triumph though the world may perish,” implying that in this world there is no justice; he also reportedly said, upon inspecting the Ptolemaic system of the heavens, that “If I had been the creator of the world, I should have made the thing better.”
Both claims imply that the created world is not ruled by a benevolent divine providence, but by the forces of evil, which is the position of Mani, the founder of Manicheanism.
To answer the objections of Alfonso and Mani, we must solve the problem of evil, i.e., we must produce a theodicy. We must show that the evils of the world are consistent with an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, provident God–either by showing that the evils of the world are illusory, or by showing that they are the unavoidable characteristics of the best of all possible worlds, which is the thesis of Alexander Pope’s Essay on Man and Leibniz’s Theodicy, the thesis known as “optimism.”
Now, at first glance, it seems odd to attribute an optimistic solution to the problem of evil to Rousseau, for although Rousseau thought that the natural world is good, the same was not true of society. Consider this passage from Emile:
when . . . I seek to know my individual place in my species, and I consider its various ranks and the men who fill them, what happens to me? What a spectacle! Where is the order I had observed [in nature]? The picture of nature had presented me with only harmony and proportion; that of mankind presents me with only confusion and disorder! Concert reigns among the elements, and men are in chaos! The animals are happy; their king alone is miserable! O wisdom, where are your laws? O providence, it it thus that you rule the world? Beneficent Being, what has become of your power? I see evil on earth. (Emile, 278)
Indeed, the overall tenor of Rousseau’s Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts (First Discourse, 1750) and his Discourse on the Origins of Inequality (Second Discourse, 1754) was so darkly pessimistic that Voltaire, who was himself no defender of optimism, declared them “books against the human race.”
The First Discourse argues that the progress of the arts and sciences from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment has served to corrupt rather than to improve morals. The advancement of civilization causes the decay of humanity.
The Second Discourse argues that civilization as such is absurd and evil–absurd because it arises from sheer Epicurean contingency rather than through providence or natural teleology, both of which aim at the good–and evil because it alienates us from our natural goodness, our natural freedom, and our natural sentiments of self-love and pity.
What, then, was Kant thinking of when he attributed a theodicy of the human world to Rousseau? How did he read Rousseau as an optimist? There are three Rousseauian texts that can support Kant’s optimistic reading: Emile, Of the Social Contract (1762), and the famous letter to Voltaire of August 18, 1756, which was published without Rousseau’s permission and may have reached Kant. (I should also note that the following discussion is partial, for it abstracts from the crucial topic of Rousseau’s denial of original sin and assertion of the natural goodness of man.)
In his letter to Voltaire, Rousseau responds to Voltaire’s Poems on the Lisbon Disaster, an attack on optimism occasioned by the series of great earthquakes that destroyed much of Lisbon in 1755. Rousseau explicitly defends the optimism of Leibniz and Pope.
Furthermore, he makes it clear that he is an optimist about both the human and the natural worlds, arguing that the First and Second Discourses, contrary to the pessimistic impression they create, actually vindicate God’s providence by showing that God is not the author of mankind’s miseries. Man himself is their author.
Because mankind is free, we are the author of all of our moral miseries and, because we have the freedom to avoid or minimize most of our physical miseries, to the extent that we fail to do so, we are their authors as well. God is blameless.
In Of the Social Contract, the project of a theodicy of the human world is apparent in the famous opening paragraph of Book I, Chapter 1:
Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains. One believes himself the master of others, and yet he is a greater slave than they. How has this change come about? I do not know. What can render it legitimate? I believe that I can settle this question.
In the state of nature, man is free. In the civil condition, he is in chains, but the chains are not merely the iron fetters of slaves, but the fetters of vanity (amour-propre) which bind the masters as well. How did man pass from the state of nature to the civil state? Rousseau claims he does not know.
Now this is a startling claim, for Rousseau’s Second Discourse is precisely an account of man’s passage from the state of nature to the civil state. Apparently, whatever kind of account it is, it does not in Rousseau’s eyes constitute knowledge. This is an important point, to which we will return later.
Rousseau’s next question, “What can render it legitimate?” introduces the question of justice. Rousseau’s goal is to show us that the chains of civilization are legitimate, that they are justified.
It is not possible to offer a complete interpretation of Rousseau’s General Will doctrine here, so let me simply to assert that for Rousseau the civil state is not good because we choose it; rather we ought to choose it because it is good.
Furthermore, Rousseau does not think that only the ideal state of the Social Contract is preferable to the state of nature. He thinks that all really-existing civil states, save the most corrupt, are more choiceworthy than the state of nature; the civil state as such is better than the state of nature.
And why is the civil state good? Rousseau’s most explicit answer is Chapter 8 of Book I: “Of the Civil State”:
This transition from the state of nature to the civil state produces in man a very remarkable change, by substituting in his conduct justice for instinct, and by giving his actions a morality that they previously lacked. It is only when the voice of duty succeeds physical impulsion, and right succeeds appetite, that man, who till then had only looked after himself, sees that he is forced to act on other principles, and to consult his reason before listening to his inclinations. Although in this state he is deprived of many advantages he holds from nature, he gains such great ones in return, that his faculties are exercised and developed; his ideas are expanded; his feelings are ennobled; his whole soul is exalted to such a degree that, if the abuse of his new condition did not often degrade him to below that from which he has emerged, he should ceaselessly bless the happy moment that removed him from it forever, and transformed him from a stupid and ignorant animal into an intelligent being and a man.
Now, in the context of Of the Social Contract, the alternative title of which is “Principles of Political Right,” it is only natural to construe the question of the legitimacy of the civil state as a matter of political or human justice. But the “happy moment” when man passed from the state of nature into the civil state marks the beginning of historical life; it is not the same as the moment in history when man passed from primitive and warlike society (Hobbes’ state of nature) to law-governed political society; rather it is the moment when the human world itself comes into existence.
The transition from warlike society to political society can be guided and illuminated by principles of political right. But the transition from nature to history is pre-political, and if we are to “ceaselessly bless” this moment, it is not in virtue of its political justice, but in virtue of a natural justice–a natural justice that in Emile is revealed to be a divine justice.
In Emile, particularly the Profession of Faith of a Savoyard Vicar in Book IV, Rousseau offers an explicit theodicy of the human world, arguing that man’s fall from nature into history is a felix culpa, even if it does violence to our natural freedom and sentiments, because it creates the conditions for the development of our moral and spiritual natures. Providence, therefore, is vindicated.
First, Rousseau argues that, although man chooses most of his miseries and is therefore responsible for them, the very freedom that creates these miseries is also the condition for his moral dignity:
To complain about God’s not preventing men from doing evil is to complain about His having given him an excellent nature, about His having put in man’s actions the morality which ennobles them, about His having given him the right to virtue. The supreme enjoyment is in satisfaction with oneself; it is in order to deserve this satisfaction that we are placed on Earth and endowed with freedom, that we are tempted by the passions and restrained by conscience. (Emile, 281)
Second, Rousseau argues that civilization makes possible the development of man’s rational faculties, whereas savages and peasants, although bright and active during childhood, become mentally dull and placid as adults. During childhood, young Emile, whose education is the subject of the book, is given all the freedom of young savages and peasants. But Emile will be taught to think, and thinking is an activity that presupposes the development of civilization. Therefore, the full development of Emile’s intellectual faculties requires that he leave the state of nature for the civil state. Thinking is good, and civilization, because it cultivates thinking, is good as well (Emile, 315–16).
Third, the cultivation of taste adds a great deal to the agreeableness of life; it teaches us to find pleasures virtually anywhere and to minimize pain and suffering (Emile, 344); it also makes us more finely attuned to the objective differences in the world around us; and it encourages us to take pleasure in reflection and discussion, thus creating the conditions for philosophy. The ideal place to cultivate taste, however, is not Arcadia or Sparta or Geneva, but decadent Paris:
If, in order to cultivate my disciple’s taste [speaks the preceptor, the narrator of Emile], I had to choose between taking him to countries where there has not yet been any cultivation of taste and to others where taste has already degenerated, I would proceed in reverse order. . . . taste is corrupted by an excessive delicacy which creates a sensitivity to things that the bulk of men do not perceive. This delicacy leads to a spirit of discussion, for the more subtle one is about things, the more they multiply. This subtlety makes feelings more delicate and less uniform. Then as many tastes are formed as there are individuals. In the disputes about preferences, philosophy and enlightenment are extended, and it is in this way that one learns to think. (Emile, 342)
Even the theater, Geneva’s ban on which Rousseau defended, is lauded as a school of taste (Emile, 344).
Finally, in book five of Emile, the political institutions which so frequently do violence to our natural freedom and sentiments are defended as necessary conditions for the development of our moral and spiritual nature:
If he [Emile] had been born in the heart of the woods, he would have lived happier and freer. But he would have had nothing to combat in order to follow his inclinations, and thus he soul have been good without merit; he would not have been virtuous; and now he knows how to be so in spite of his passions. The mere appearance of order brings him to know order and to love it. The public good, which serves others only as a pretext, is a real motive for him alone. He learns to struggle with himself, to conquer himself, to sacrifice his interest to the common interest. It is not true that he draws no profit from the laws. They give him the courage to be just even among wicked men. It is not true that they have not made him free. They have taught him to reign over himself. (Emile, 473)
It is important to note that Rousseau is not talking about the good laws of the ideal state described in Of the Social Contract, but about the bad laws of any and all really-existing states. For Rousseau, even bad laws are better than no laws at all, for laws as such awaken and actualize potencies of the soul which slumber in the state of nature. In particular, laws which prescribe actions contrary to our inclinations awaken our free will; such laws open up the latent distinction between the soul and the body (the soul understood as our moral personality, the body understood as the desires, drives, and inclinations of our physical frame), and finally such laws offer us occasions for virtue, understood as self-mastery.
Man in the state of nature is unreflective and therefore experiences no distinction between the self and its desires and inclinations. Freedom in the state of nature is experienced as the free play of inclination. It is only when a human being is presented with the choice of two incompatible courses of action, one determined by his inclinations and the other by the commandments of the law, that he becomes aware of his moral freedom, i.e., his capacity not simply to follow his impulses, but actively to choose his actions–and not simply to choose particular actions, but to choose the ultimate grounds for determining his actions.
When a human being is presented with the choice of acting upon the desires and incentives of the economy of nature or upon human laws–even absurd and unjust commands–if he chooses to suppress his natural inclinations to obey human laws, then he experiences a sublime elevation of his moral personality above his own body, and above the economy of nature in general, as well as a sense of pride in his moral strength and self-mastery.
Rousseau is fully cognizant of the cruelty of civilization, of its tendency to mortify and mutilate our natural freedom, our natural goodness, and our natural sentiments of self-love and pity. But even at its worst, civilization is justified by the fact that it awakens our distinctly human capacities to exercise moral freedom, to master our inclinations, to take responsibility for our actions. Civilization brings us to know and esteem ourselves as creatures who are not merely cogs in the clockwork of nature, but its masters and possessors. Therefore, civilization—even at its worst—is better than the state of nature. Therefore, the providence that brought us from nature to history is vindicated.
This, I think, is a plausible reconstruction of how Kant read Rousseau’s project as a theodicy of the human world. Now I wish to deal with an objection to this interpretation.
The Kantian interpretation of Rousseau can be characterized as theistic and dualistic, whereas most contemporary interpretations of Rousseau, particularly those influenced by Marx and Leo Strauss tend to treat Rousseau as a modern Epicurean, i.e., as an atheist and a materialist. The Epicurean interpretation of Rousseau is based primarily upon the Second Discourse, and I think that James H. Nichols, Jr. is correct to suggest that,
in this particular work Rousseau is most obviously influenced by Lucretius: the analysis of man’s primitive condition, and of the subsequent steps of development out of it; the character of prepolitical society; and thereafter the movement via disorder and violence to the institution by compact of political society with coercive laws–on all these points Rousseau follows the main lines of the Lucretian account.
Both Rousseau and Lucretius regard man as naturally independent, self-sufficient, limited in his desires, and therefore as happy.
Both regard society as a realm of vanity, false opinions, and artificial desires which trap us in an alienating web of interdependence with other persons and external things, leading to competition, enmity, violence, oppression, and misery.
Finally, both Lucretius and Rousseau offer a non-teleological and non-providential account of man’s passage from nature into history.
Epicureanism is to this day the main alternative to teleological and theistic accounts of the origins of order. According to Epicurus, the appearance of order can be explained without reference to teleology or design, simply as the product of random material collisions which, over a very long time, accidentally produce pockets of order which can maintain and replicate themselves within the environing chaos.
On such an account, man does not leave the state of nature because of the inner-promptings of his nature. Nor does he leave it under the guidance of providence to fulfill a divine plan. Man leaves the state of nature simply because of the accumulation of a large number of essentially contingent and absurd events, such as volcanic eruptions, tectonic upheavals, and even–in the Essay on the Origin of Language–the sudden shifting of the earth’s axis of rotation away from the perpendicular of the plane of its orbit.
Rousseau makes no reference to natural teleology. And save for one reference, appeals to providence are conspicuously absent. Indeed, Rousseau’s account of man’s passage from the state of nature is even more Epicurean than Lucretius’s account, for Lucretius offers a harsher view of prehistoric life than Rousseau and therefore makes the passage from prehistory to history seem far more natural, whereas Rousseau paints an idyllic picture of prehistoric life, which makes the transition from nature to history seem all the more jarring and inexplicable.
Since the perspective of the Second Discourse is clearly Epicurean, i.e., atheistic and materialistic, if one accepts the Second Discourse as a statement of Rousseau’s metaphysical convictions, one is obligated to explain away Rousseau’s theistic and dualistic pronouncements–as well as his explicit critique and rejection of Epicureanism–in Emile, the letter to Voltaire, and elsewhere.
The strategy of Leo Strauss and Allan Bloom seems to be to assimilate the credo of the Savoyard vicar to Rousseau’s account of civil religion in Of the Social Contract. To put it crudely, the vicar’s credo is a salutary noble lie–something to be believed by Emile, but not by Rousseau himself.
Roger D. Masters, although he is a student of Strauss, rejects this approach–in my opinion quite rightly. Rousseau’s substantial agreement with the vicar’s credo is indicated by the fact that its language and arguments appear in texts written in Rousseau’s own name, such as the letter to Voltaire of August 18, 1756, the letter to Jacob Vernes of February 18, 1758, the Letters written from the Mountain, and the Reveries. Rousseau also adds his own approving notes to the Profession itself.
On the basis of such evidence, Masters concludes that Rousseau’s private convictions were theistic and dualistic, although he maintains that these private convictions are “detachable” from Rousseau’s public philosophy, which remains atheistic and materialistic.
By contrast, the Kantian interpretation of Rousseau I wish to defend maintains that both Rousseau’s private convictions and his final philosophic system are dualistic and theistic.
But to maintain this thesis, I must explain, or explain away, the apparent Epicureanism of the Second Discourse. I wish to suggest that the Second Discourse really is an Epicurean account of man’s nature and his passage into history, but that it does not represent Rousseau’s final metaphysical position.
I do not, however, wish to argue that it represents an Epicurean “stage” in Rousseau’s “philosophical development.” Instead, I wish to suggest that the Epicureanism of the Second Discourse is merely hypothetical and provisional. This is, I think, the clear sense of the following passage:
Let us . . . begin by setting all the facts aside, for they do not affect the question. The researches which can be undertaken concerning this subject must not be taken for historical truths, but only for hypothetical and conditional reasonings better suited to clarify the nature of things than to show their true origin, like those of our physicists make every day concerning the formation of the world. Religion commands us to believe that since God Himself took men out of the state of nature immediately after creation, they are unequal because He wanted them to be so; but it does not forbid us to form conjectures, drawn solely from the nature of man and the beings surrounding him, about what the human race might have become if it has remained abandoned to itself. That is what I am asked and what I propose to examine in this Discourse.
Those who wish to treat Rousseau as something more than a hypothetical and conditional Epicurean can, of course, treat this passage as merely an attempt to placate possible Christian censors by casting what is meant to be a true account of man’s nature and history as merely suppositious.
I think that this is clearly part of Rousseau’s intention. But I see no reason to conclude that his statement is also insincere, especially because I can offer a good philosophical reasons for why Rousseau might have adopted a hypothetical Epicureanism, and as a rule I think that we should always prefer philosophical explanations of a given passage instead of, or in addition to, extrinsic political explanations, and we should always prefer taking an author’s statement as sincere unless and until it resists such treatment.
What, then, is the philosophical explanation for Rousseau’s provisional adoption of a position he regards as ultimately false? I wish to suggest that the purpose of the Second Discourse is to lay the groundwork for a total critique of civilization. To offer a total critique of civilization, we must find a standpoint outside of civilization from which we can take the totality of civilization into view. This standpoint is the state of nature.
But why an Epicurean as opposed to, say, an Aristotelian account of the state of nature? Because for Aristotle, man is by nature both rational and political; for Aristotle, the actualization of man’s nature requires civilization; therefore, Aristotelian nature cannot provide a critical standpoint outside of civilization. Epicurean nature, however, can.
In the Second Discourse, man is by nature neither rational nor political. He is a simple, unreflective, undivided material being, wholly content with his lot. Civilization, when viewed from the state of nature, thus seems to be nothing more than a ghastly spectacle of suffering, and we are left to conclude that there’s nothing in it for us; we feel with a pang that our hearts are just not in it.
Given the choice, we would never have left the state of nature. Instead, we were forced out of it by mere accidents. Civilization as such, therefore, is both evil and absurd.
But why does Rousseau mount a total critique of civilization? Rousseau’s critique is not an end itself. Nor is it the prelude to a total revolutionary reconstruction of society. Instead, it is a prelude to an essentially conservative project of reconciliation–the reconciliation of man with civilization and with divine providence. It is a theodicy of the human world.
Rousseau constructs the strongest possible critique of civilization in order to oppose it with the strongest possible defense.
To mount this defense however, we must recognize that the sense of complete alienation from civilization produced by the Second Discourse is a product of its essentially atheistic and materialistic perspective.
Rousseau claims that civilization is based upon man’s internal dividedness against himself. Epicureanism, as a one-dimensional materialism, can conceive of man only as a unified being. Therefore, from the Epicurean point of view, the dividedness of civilization–any civilization–is a violent deformation of our nature.
Civilization would, however, be justified if man really is a divided being. If man really is divided into body and soul, then the only way to heal the violent dividedness of vanity is with the natural dividedness of virtue.
It is only by adopting a dualistic account of human nature and a theistic and providential metaphysics that we can reconcile ourselves to civilization.
This does not, of course imply that Rousseau was uninterested in social and political reform. What it does imply is that Rousseau accepted the essentially conservative principle that although bad laws ought to be changed, bad laws are still better than no laws at all; therefore, we should be cautious lest we discover we are more capable of destroying bad laws than creating better ones.
1. In the 1970s, at the University of Toronto’s Law School, there occurred a remarkable panel on Plato’s Republic, the principal members of which are numbered among this century’s greatest Plato interpreters: Hans-Georg Gadamer, Eric Voegelin, and Allan Bloom. Bloom prefaced his remarks on the Republic with a remarkable claim about Kant and Rousseau. He said, if memory serves, that “Kant was an absolutely extraordinary interpreter of Rousseau, perhaps the greatest interpreter of Rousseau who ever lived.” I find this claim interesting for many reasons, not the least of which is this: If Bloom’s estimation of the profundity of Kant’s reading is correct, then some of what Bloom himself says about Rousseau has to be wrong.
2. Immanuel Kant, Bemerkungen in den “Beobachtungen über das Gefühl des Schönen und Erhabenen,” ed. Marie Rischmüller (Hamburg: Felix Meiner, 1991), 48; my trans.
3. My source for the second anecdote is Ernst Cassirer, Rousseau, Kant, Goethe: Two Essays, trans. James Gutmann, Paul Oskar Kristeller, and John Hermann Randall, Jr. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1945), 18, n22.
4. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile, or On Education, trans. Allan Bloom (New York: Basic Books, 1979).
5. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Sciences and Arts (First Discourse) and Polemics, ed. Roger D. Masters and Christopher Kelly, The Collected Writings of Rousseau, vol. 2 (Hanover and London: Dartmouth College/University Press of New England, 1992).
6. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origins of Inequality (Second Discourse), Polemics, and Political Economy, ed. Roger D. Masters and Christopher Kelly, The Collected Writings of Rousseau, vol. 3, ed. Roger D. Masters and Christopher Kelly (Hanover and London: Dartmouth College/University Press of New England, 1992).
7. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Letter to Voltaire, August 18, 1756. Trans. Terence E. Marshall, in The Collected Writings of Rousseau, vol. 3.
8. Letter to Voltaire, 109–10, 111–12; cf. Emile, 281–2, 293.
9. Rousseau, Of the Social Contract, trans. Charles M. Sherover (New York: Harper and Row, 1984), 4.
10. Of the Social Contract, 18.
11. James H. Nichols, Jr., Epicurean Political Philosophy: The De rerum natura of Lucretius (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1976), 198–99.
12. Roger D. Masters, The Political Philosophy of Rousseau (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1968), ch. 2.
13. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The First and Second Discourses, ed., Roger D. Masters, trans. Roger D. Masters and Judith R. Bush (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1964), 103.
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dimanche, 24 juin 2012
Les « élites » et « l'écroulement d'un monde », selon Frédéric Lordon
« (...) la catastrophe étant sans doute le mode historique le plus efficace de destruction des systèmes de domination, l’accumulation des erreurs des "élites" actuelles, incapables de voir que leurs "rationalités" de court terme soutiennent une gigantesque irrationalité de long terme, est cela même qui nous permet d’espérer voir ce système s’écrouler dans son ensemble.
Il est vrai que l’hypothèse de l’hybris, comprise comme principe d’illimitation, n’est pas dénuée de valeur explicative. (...) Car c’est bien l’abattement des dispositifs institutionnels de contention des puissances qui pousse irrésistiblement les puissances à propulser leur élan et reprendre leur marche pour pousser l’avantage aussi loin que possible. Et il y a bien quelque chose comme une ivresse de l’avancée pour faire perdre toute mesure et réinstaurer le primat du "malpropre" et du "borné" dans la "rationalité" des dominants.
Ainsi, un capitaliste ayant une vue sur le long terme n’aurait pas eu de mal à identifier l’État-providence comme le coût finalement relativement modéré de la stabilisation sociale et de la consolidation de l’adhésion au capitalisme, soit un élément institutionnel utile à la préservation de la domination capitaliste – à ne surtout pas bazarder ! Évidemment, sitôt qu’ils ont senti faiblir le rapport de force historique, qui au lendemain de la seconde guerre mondiale leur avait imposé la Sécurité sociale – ce qui pouvait pourtant leur arriver de mieux et contribuer à leur garantir trente années de croissance ininterrompue –, les capitalistes se sont empressés de reprendre tout ce qu’ils avaient dû concéder. (...)
Il faudrait pourtant s’interroger sur les mécanismes qui, dans l’esprit des dominants, convertissent des énoncés d’abord grossièrement taillés d’après leurs intérêts particuliers en objets d’adhésion sincère, endossés sur le mode la parfaite généralité. Et peut-être faudrait-il à cette fin relire la proposition 12 de la partie III de l’Éthique de Spinoza selon laquelle "l’esprit s’efforce d’imaginer ce qui augmente la puissance d’agir de son corps", qu’on retraduirait plus explicitement en "nous aimons à penser ce qui nous réjouit (ce qui nous convient, ce qui est adéquat à notre position dans le monde, etc.)".
Nul doute qu’il y a une joie intellectuelle particulière du capitaliste à penser d’après la théorie néoclassique que la réduction du chômage passe par la flexibilisation du marché du travail. Comme il y en a une du financier à croire à la même théorie néoclassique, selon laquelle le libre développement de l’innovation financière est favorable à la croissance. Le durcissement en énoncés à validité tout à fait générale d’idées d’abord manifestement formées au voisinage immédiat des intérêts particuliers les plus grossiers trouve sans doute dans cette tendance de l’esprit son plus puissant renfort.
C’est pourquoi la distinction des cyniques et des imbéciles est de plus en plus difficile à faire, les premiers mutant presque fatalement pour prendre la forme des seconds. À bien y regarder, on ne trouve guère d’individus aussi "nets" – il faudrait dire aussi intègres – que le Patrick Le Lay de TF1 qui, peu décidé à s’embarrasser des doctrines ineptes et faussement démocratiques de la "télévision populaire", déclarait sans ambages n’avoir d’autre objectif que de vendre aux annonceurs du temps de cerveau disponible ; rude franchise dont je me demande s’il ne faut pas lui en savoir gré : au moins, on sait qui on a en face de soi, et c’est une forme de clarté loin d’être sans mérite.
Pour le reste, il y a des résistances doctrinales faciles à comprendre : la finance, par exemple, ne désarmera jamais. Elle dira et fera tout ce qu’elle peut pour faire dérailler les moindres tentatives de re-réglementation. Elle y arrive fort bien d’ailleurs ! Il n’est que de voir l’effrayante indigence des velléités régulatrices pour s’en convaincre, comme l’atteste le fait que, depuis 2009, si peu a été fait que la crise des dettes souveraines menace à nouveau de s’achever en un effondrement total de la finance internationale. Pour le coup, rien n’est plus simple à comprendre : un système de domination ne rendra jamais les armes de lui-même et cherchera tous les moyens de sa perpétuation.
On conçoit aisément que les hommes de la finance n’aient pas d’autre objectif que de relancer pour un tour supplémentaire le système qui leur permet d’empocher les faramineux profits de la bulle et d’abandonner les coûts de la crise au corps social tout entier, forcé, par puissance publique interposée, de venir au secours des institutions financières, sauf à périr lui-même de l’écroulement bancaire. Il faut simplement se mettre à leur place ! Qui, en leur position, consentirait à renoncer ?
Il faudrait même dire davantage : c’est une forme de vie que ces hommes défendent, une forme de vie où entrent aussi bien la perspective de gains monétaires hors norme que l’ivresse d’opérer à l’échelle de la planète, de mouvementer des masses colossales de capitaux, pour ne rien dire des à-côtés les plus caricaturaux, mais bien réels, du mode de vie de l’ "homme des marchés" : filles, bagnoles, dope. Tous ces gens n’abandonneront pas comme ça ce monde merveilleux qui est le leur, il faudra activement le leur faire lâcher.
C’est en fait à propos de l’État que le mystère s’épaissit vraiment. Préposé à la socialisation des pertes bancaires et au serpillage des coûts de la récession, littéralement pris en otage par la finance dont il est condamné à rattraper les risques systémiques, n’est-il pas celui qui aurait le plus immédiatement intérêt à fermer pour de bon le foutoir des marchés ?
Il semble que poser la question ainsi soit y répondre, mais logiquement seulement, c’est-à-dire en méconnaissant sociologiquement la forme d’État colonisé qui est le propre du bloc hégémonique néolibéral : les représentants de la finance y sont comme chez eux. L’interpénétration, jusqu’à la confusion complète, des élites politiques, administratives, financières, parfois médiatiques, a atteint un degré tel que la circulation de tous ces gens d’une sphère à l’autre, d’une position à l’autre, homogénéise complètement, à quelques différences secondes près, la vision du monde partagée par ce bloc indistinct.
La fusion oligarchique – et il faudrait presque comprendre le mot en son sens russe – a conduit à la dé-différenciation des compartiments du champ du pouvoir et à la disparition des effets de régulation qui venaient de la rencontre, parfois de la confrontation, de grammaires hétérogènes ou antagonistes. Ainsi par exemple a-t-on vu, aidé sans doute par un mécanisme d’attrition démographique, la disparition de l’habitus de l’homme d’État tel qu’il a pris sa forme accomplie au lendemain de la seconde guerre mondiale, l’expression "homme d’État" n’étant pas à comprendre au sens usuel du "grand homme" mais de ces individus porteurs des logiques propres de la puissance publique, de sa grammaire d’action et de ses intérêts spécifiques.
Hauts fonctionnaires ou grands commis, jadis hommes d’État parce que dévoués aux logiques de l’État, et déterminés à les faire valoir contre les logiques hétérogènes – celles par exemple du capital ou de la finance –, ils sont une espèce en voie de disparition, et ceux qui aujourd’hui "entrent dans la carrière" n’ont pas d’autre horizon intellectuel que la réplication servile (et absurde) des méthodes du privé (d’où par exemple les monstruosités du type "RGPP", la Révision générale des politiques publiques), ni d’autre horizon personnel que le pantouflage qui leur permettra de s’intégrer avec délice à la caste des élites indifférenciées de la mondialisation.
Les dirigeants nommés à la tête de ce qui reste d’entreprises publiques n’ont ainsi rien de plus pressé que de faire sauter le statut de ces entreprises, conduire la privatisation, pour aller enfin rejoindre leurs petits camarades et s’ébattre à leur tour dans le grand bain des marchés mondiaux, de la finance, des fusions-acquisitions – et "accessoirement" des bonus et des stock-options.
Voilà le drame de l’époque : c’est qu’au niveau de ces gens qu’on continue à appeler – on se demande pourquoi tant leur bilan historique est accablant – des "élites", il n’y a plus nulle part aucune force de rappel intellectuelle susceptible de monter un contre-discours. Et le désastre est complet quand les médias eux-mêmes ont été, et depuis si longtemps, emportés par le glissement de terrain néolibéral ; le plus extravagant tenant à la reconduction des éditorialistes, chroniqueurs, experts à demi vendus et toute cette clique qui se présente comme les précepteurs éclairés d’un peuple nativement obtus et "éclairable" par vocation.
On aurait pu imaginer que le cataclysme de l’automne 2008 et l’effondrement à grand spectacle de la finance conduirait à une non moins grande lessive de tous ces locuteurs émergeant en guenilles des ruines fumantes, mais rien du tout ! Pas un n’a bougé !
Alain Duhamel continue de pontifier dans Libération ; le même journal, luttant désespérément pour faire oublier ses décennies libérales, n’en continue pas moins de confier l’une de ses plus décisives rubriques, la rubrique européenne, à Jean Quatremer qui a méthodiquement conchié tous ceux qui dénonçaient les tares, maintenant visibles de tous, de la construction néolibérale de l’Europe. Sur France Inter, Bernard Guetta franchit matinée après matinée tous les records de l’incohérence – il faudrait le reconduire à ses dires d’il y a cinq ans à peine, je ne parle même pas de ceux de 2005, fameuse année du traité constitutionnel européen… L’émission hebdomadaire d’économie de France Culture oscille entre l’hilarant et l’affligeant en persistant à tendre le micro à des gens qui ont été les plus fervents soutiens doctrinaux du monde en train de s’écrouler, parmi lesquels Nicolas Baverez par exemple, sans doute le plus drôle de tous, qui s’est empressé de sermonner les gouvernements européens et de les enjoindre à la plus extrême rigueur avant de s’apercevoir que c’était une ânerie de plus. Et tous ces gens plastronnent dans la plus parfaite impunité, sans jamais que leurs employeurs ne leur retirent ni une chronique ni un micro, ni même ne leur demandent de s’expliquer ou de rendre compte de leurs discours passés.
Voilà le monde dans lequel nous vivons, monde de l’auto-blanchiment collectif des faillis. (...)
Dans ce paysage où tout est verrouillé, où la capture "élitaire" a annihilé toute force de rappel, je finis par me dire qu’il n’y a plus que deux solutions de remise en mouvement : une détérioration continue de la situation sociale, qui conduirait au franchissement des "seuils" pour une partie majoritaire du corps social, c’est-à-dire à une fusion des colères sectorielles et à un mouvement collectif incontrôlable, potentiellement insurrectionnel ; ou bien un effondrement "critique" du système sous le fardeau de ses propres contradictions – évidemment à partir de la question des dettes publiques – et d’un enchaînement menant d’une série de défauts souverains à un collapsus bancaire – mais cette fois autre chose que la bluette "Lehman"…
Disons clairement que la deuxième hypothèse est infiniment plus probable que la première… quoiqu’elle aurait peut-être, en retour, la propriété de la déclencher dans la foulée. Dans tous les cas, il faudra sacrément attacher sa ceinture. (...)
À constater le degré de verrouillage d’institutions politiques devenues absolument autistes et interdisant maintenant tout processus de transformation sociale à froid, je me dis aussi parfois que la question ultra taboue de la violence en politique va peut-être bien devoir de nouveau être pensée, fût-ce pour rappeler aux gouvernants cette évidence connue de tous les stratèges militaires qu’un ennemi n’est jamais si prêt à tout que lorsqu’il a été réduit dans une impasse et privé de toute issue.
Or il apparaît d’une part que les gouvernements, entièrement asservis à la notation financière et dévoués à la satisfaction des investisseurs, sont en train de devenir tendanciellement les ennemis de leurs peuples, et d’autre part que si, à force d’avoir méthodiquement fermé toutes les solutions de délibération démocratique, il ne reste plus que la solution insurrectionnelle, il ne faudra pas s’étonner que la population, un jour portée au-delà de ses points d’exaspération, décide de l’emprunter – précisément parce que ce sera la seule. »
Frédéric Lordon (décembre 2011)
lundi, 18 juin 2012
di Francesco Lamendola
Fonte: Arianna Editrice [scheda fonte]
Da quando l’Illuminismo ha incominciato a predicare la continua perfettibilità dell’uomo, giungendo al suo corollario inevitabile, che il progresso è il motore della storia e che esso è per sua natura illimitato, l’Occidente - e, al suo rimorchio, un po’ alla volta, il mondo intero - si è avviato per una strada che non può non condurre all’implosione.
Un progresso illimitato è una contraddizione in termini, sia sul piano materiale, sia sul piano spirituale. Sul piano materiale, perché un pianeta dalle risorse limitate non può offrire materia ad esso sufficiente (e una eventuale colonizzazione di altri corpi celesti non farebbe che spostare temporaneamente il problema); sul piano spirituale, perché pretende di spostare sul piano del quantitativo ciò che, per sua natura, non può che essere esclusivamente qualitativo: prima cosa fra tutte, appunto, la qualità della nostra vita, che non si misura in base al P.I.L. o ad altri indicatori economici, anzi non si può misurare affatto.
La libertà, il grande feticcio dei tempi moderni, dopo aver prodotto innumerevoli ecatombi e crudeltà, si è rivelata infine per quel che era: un vuoto simulacro, una parola d’ordine dietro la quale fa capolino la schizofrenia di una ideologia che, per garantire la massima fruizione di essa al maggior numero di persone, giunge al tragico paradosso di toglierne quote sempre più rilevanti ai cittadini, proprio in nome della difesa dell’ordine senza il quale la libertà stessa non può concretamente esistere.
Prima, dunque, si è predicato che la società ad altro non serve che ad assicurare la libertà a tutti, intesa come godimento del maggior numero possibile di diritti; poi, per poter mantenere la promessa, si è introdotta una legislazione sempre più restrittiva della libertà medesima, al fine di tutelarne il godimento, si dice, da parte dei cittadini virtuosi che la rispettano, e contro i cattivi cittadini che ne abusano. Fatto sta che l’erosione della libertà colpisce tutti indiscriminatamente e che le istituzioni coercitive (giudici, tribunali, forze dell’ordine) stanno invadendo, su mandato dei parlamenti democraticamente eletti, spazi sempre più ampi della vita privata dei cittadini, guardati ormai tutti con sospetto dalle autorità, quali possibili sovvertitori dell’ordine costituito.
Il serpente si morde la coda. Si voleva sempre più libertà per godere di sempre maggiori diritti; ma, nello stesso tempo, si pretende sempre più ordine pubblico, perché l’esercizio della libertà sia possibile: il risultato è la tendenza verso una società poliziesca, sul modello del Grande Fratello orwelliano, dove le cose proibite, non solo in ambito pubblico, ma perfino in quello privato o semi-privato (di fatto, in molti casi la distinzione netta é impossibile) diventano talmente numerose, che al comune cittadino diviene praticamente impossibile conoscerne e rispettarne l’elenco completo, trovandosi così perennemente esposto ai rigori della legge.
Questa è una delle aporie della moderna società “democratica”, esemplarmente messe a nudo nel nuovo libro di Luigi Iannone, «Il profumo del nichilismo. Viaggio non moralista nello stile del nostro tempo» (Chieti, Solfanelli, 2021), preceduto da una ricca presentazione di Alain de Benoist e scandito in quattro agili ma incisivi capitoli che passano in rassegna, con un taglio sociologico che ricorda un po’ gli «Scritti corsari» di Pier Paolo Pasolini, gli aspetto più invasivi e allarmanti di questa tarda modernità: «Il paese dei balocchi», «Civili e democratici», «L’insostenibile leggerezza delle idee», «La comunicazione globale».
Il libro è una vera miniera di spunti di riflessione: argomentato con logica stringente, ma anche con ironia e un certo qual humour che ricorda un po’ Cioran, un po’ il Leopardi delle «Operette morali», persegue una tesi che non perde mai di vista, pur nella discussione degli aspetti particolari, e che si può riassumere in questa formula: in nome di una tecnologia disumana che avrebbe dovuto portarci il Paradiso in terra, stiamo costruendo volonterosamente, pezzo per pezzo, giorno per giorno, qualche cosa che finirà per somigliare molto, ma molto, all’Inferno.
Così Iannone in un passo particolarmente efficace (pp. 80-82; ma avremmo potuto sceglierne parecchi altri):
«… in una società che si vorrebbe senza rischi e in cui il primato ella ragione dovrebbe sovrastare ogni cosa, la libertà personale è sempre minata da divieti moralizzatori che tentano di influenzare nel profondo il modo di agire e di pensare, palesando una impercettibile ma incombente tendenza totalitaria. […]
Nel 2009, “The Independent” aveva avvertito i turisti inglesi con una frase perentoria: “Se una cosa è divertente, l’Italia ha una legge che lo vieta”. Eppure, proprio perché ideologico, è un declivio di portata mondiale. Quasi tutte le città occidentali vanno infatti dietro un modello leggibile e lo perseguono con tenacia, perennemente insoddisfatte del livello di ordine sociale raggiunto, e quindi facilitano obblighi e divieti.
Quando anche New York, che ancor oggi nell’immaginario collettivo funge da terra promessa delle libertà, diventa - come ci ricorda Marcello Fa - il ricettacolo di tutti i divieto possibili, allora si palesa cin tutta la sua forza lo snodo cruciale delle tesi che ho fin qui sostenuto: proprio in questa città si passati dalla TOLLERANZA ZERO, che aveva delle sue precipue motivazioni di ordine pubblico e di decoro urbano, alla continua erosione di quote di libertà in cambio di sicurezza.
Proposte in apparenza strambe e in molti casi inapplicabili (il divieto di fumo nei parchi ma esteso alle spiagge; l’idea, davvero peregrina, di vietare il sale nelle pietanze dei ristoranti; di ascoltare gli iPod durante la maratona, ma un senatore aveva chiesto di estendere il divieto ai pedoni newyorchesi per tutto l’anno; di bere bibite troppo gasate; di baciare la ragazza in strada, di sbattere la scopa anche su un cortile interno ad un palazzo, e così via) possono farci gettare uno sguardo lungimirante sulle regole del gioco, su quelle che si stanno preparando per il futuro e sule finalità che alimentano percorsi solo apparentemente privi di logica.
Ora,. Al di là dell’ironia che per fortuna ancora marca il confine fra lecito e surreale e fa apparire tutto ciò meno invadente di quanto in effetti sia, sembra chiaro che le sanzioni possono rappresentare un deterrente efficace per regolare i confini del vivere civile e la loro legittimità un cardine della convivenza da cui non possiamo prescindere. Ciò che però preoccupa non è la ricerca disperata dell’ordine ma l’intento censore, soprattutto quando ostentato come valore dominante e alòl’interno del quale i divieti sono solo la precondizione, la parte più superficiale di una battaglia della restrizione delle libertà individuali che si gioca su più campi.
Ecco perché deve farsi largo la convinzione che il più orribile dei fantasmi potrebbe impadronirsi del nostro tempo. E cioè, una generalizzata tendenza alla perfezione che si caratterizza per le grandi opportunità economiche e sociali offerte dalla competizione globale e, contemporaneamente, una non percezione del moltiplicarsi delle limitazioni e dei divieti. Insomma, il delirio delle libertà.»
Ed era inevitabile che così avvenisse, viste le premesse.
L’ideologia del progresso illimitato porta al conformismo di massa e, a sua volta, il conformismo di massa porta all’individualismo di massa; per reagire ai cui effetti distruttivi non resta che innalzare un idolo all’Ordine pubblico, delegandolo a fare da super-guardiano dei cittadini, nei quali non si è voluto, saputo o potuto gettare nemmeno un seme di spirito critico individuale, unica radice del senso di responsabilità che rappresenta la vera garanzia del vivere civile.
Abbiamo eliminato i doveri dal nostro codice etico; anzi, abbiamo gettato via l’etica, considerata, al pari della metafisica, una anticaglia del passato; abbiamo creduto che, per garantire i diritti di tutti, fosse sufficiente stabilire una società perfettamente ordinata. Ora ci stiamo accorgendo che l’ordine presuppone il senso del dovere e non solo la coscienza dei propri diritti; ma, invece di comprendere l’errore commesso e tornare a parlare dei doveri, consumisti fino all’ultimo, stiamo preferendo affidarci al “deus ex machina” della legge, che ci salverà dall’anarchia e farà rigare dritto anche i soggetti meno propensi al bene comune.
Insomma: se gli uomini non vogliono diventare perfetti con le buone, allora bisognerà renderli tali con le cattive, magari costringendoli sul letto di Procuste; perché è certo che non ci si può accontentare di niente di meno della perfezione. Infatti, una volta tolta di mezzo la scomoda, ingombrante figura di un Dio che tiene l’uomo in un perpetuo stato di minorità e che gli proibisce di mangiare i frutti dell’albero della conoscenza del Bene e del Male, a chi dare la colpa del fatto che il Paradiso in terra non sia stato ancora realizzato seguendo i dettami della Ragione?
Rimane, in mezzo ai fumi dell’individualismo di massa, con tutti i suoi miti e i suoi discutibili riti, una diffusa carenza di senso del bene comune: questo è il problema più urgente che la nostra società dovrebbe affrontare, prima ancora della crisi economica che ci attanaglia: perché questa nasce da quello, e non viceversa.
E tuttavia, da dove potrebbe mai scaturire il senso del bene comune, se l’ideologia dominante non ha fatto altro che battere e ribattere sul tasto dei diritti privati, della libertà privata, dell’edonismo individuale? Se non ha fatto altro che insegnare che la società esiste per garantire al singolo individuo il massimo della libertà possibile, del profitto possibile, della felicità possibile?
Si raccoglie quel che si semina…
Tante altre notizie su www.ariannaeditrice.it
vendredi, 08 juin 2012
Réponses de Guillaume Faye au questionnaire de la Nietzsche académie. Guillaume Faye, ecrivain engagé, ancien membre du GRECE, ancienne figure de la Nouvelle droite, est l'auteur dernièrement de Mon programme aux éditions du Lore.
- Quelle importance a Nietzsche pour vous ?
- La lecture de Nietzsche a constitué la base de lancement de toutes les valeurs et idées que j’ai développées par la suite. Quand j’étais élève des Jésuites, à Paris, en classe de philosophie (1967), il se produisit quelque chose d’incroyable. Dans ce haut lieu du catholicisme, le prof de philo avait décidé de ne faire, durant toute l’année, son cours, que sur Nietzsche ! Exeunt Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Marx et les autres. Les bons pères n’osèrent rien dire, en dépit de ce bouleversement du programme. Ça m’a marqué, croyez-moi. Nietzsche, ou l’herméneutique du soupçon... C’est ainsi que, très jeune, j’ai pris mes distances avec la vision chrétienne, ou plutôt christianomorphe du monde. Et bien entendu, par la même occasion, avec l’égalitarisme et l’humanisme. Toutes les analyses que j’ai développées par la suite ont été inspirées par les intuitions de Nietzsche. Mais c’était aussi dans ma nature. Plus tard, beaucoup plus tard, récemment même, j’ai compris, qu’il fallait compléter les principes de Nietzsche par ceux d’Aristote, ce bon vieux Grec au regard apollinien, élève d’un Platon qu’il respecta mais renia. Il existe pour moi un phylum philosophique évident entre Aristote et Nietzsche : le refus de la métaphysique et de l’idéalisme ainsi que, point capital, la contestation de l’idée de divinité. Le « Dieu est mort » de Nietzsche n’est que le contrepoint de la position aristotélicienne du dieu immobile et inconscient, qui s’apparente à un principe mathématique régissant l’univers. Aristote et Nietzsche, à de très longs siècles de distance, ont été les seuls à affirmer l’absence d’un divin conscient de lui-même sans rejeter pour autant le sacré, mais ce dernier s’apparentant alors à une exaltation purement humaine reposant sur le politique ou l’art. Néanmoins, les théologiens chrétiens n’ont jamais été gênés par Aristote mais beaucoup plus par Nietzsche. Pourquoi ? Parce qu’Aristote était pré-chrétien et ne pouvait connaître la Révélation. Tandis que Nietzsche, en s’attaquant au christianisme, savait parfaitement ce qu’il faisait. Néanmoins, l’argument du christianisme contre cet athéisme de fait est imparable et mériterait un bon débat philosophique : la foi relève d’un autre domaine que les réflexions des philosophes et demeure un mystère. Je me souviens, quand j’étais chez les Jésuites, de débats passionnants entre mon prof de philo athée, nietzschéen, et les bons Père (ses employeurs) narquois et tolérants, sûrs d’eux-mêmes.
- Quel livre de Nietzsche recommanderiez-vous ?
- Le premier que j’ai lu fut Le Gai Savoir. Ce fut un choc. Et puis, tous après, évidemment, notamment Par-delà le bien et le mal où Nietzsche bouleverse les règles morales manichéennes issues du socratisme et du christianisme. L’Antéchrist, quant à lui, il faut le savoir, a inspiré tout le discours anti-chrétien du néo-paganisme de droite, dont j’ai évidemment largement participé. Mais on doit noter que Nietzsche, d’éducation luthérienne, s’est révolté contre la morale chrétienne à l’état pur que représente le protestantisme allemand, mais il n’a jamais vraiment creusé la question de la religiosité et de la foi catholique et orthodoxe traditionnelles qui sont assez déconnectées de la morale chrétienne laïcisée. Curieusement le Ainsi parlait Zarathoustra ne m’a jamais enthousiasmé. Pour moi, c’est une œuvre assez confuse où Nietzsche se prend pour un prophète et un poète qu’il n’est pas. Un peu comme Voltaire qui se croyait malin en imitant les tragédies de Corneille. Voltaire, un auteur qui, par ailleurs, a pondu des idées tout à fait contraires à cette « philosophie des Lumières » que Nietzsche (trop seul) a pulvérisée.
- Etre nietzschéen, qu'est-ce que cela veut dire ?
- Nietzsche n’aurait pas aimé ce genre de question, lui qui ne voulait pas de disciples, encore que… (le personnage, très complexe, n’était pas exempt de vanité et de frustrations, tout comme vous et moi). Demandons plutôt : que signifie suivre les principes nietzschéens ? Cela signifie rompre avec les principes socratiques, stoïciens et chrétiens, puis modernes d’égalitarisme humain, d’anthropocentrisme, de compassion universelle, d’harmonie utopique universaliste. Cela signifie accepter le renversement possible de toutes les valeurs (Umwertung) en défaveur de l’éthique humaniste. Toute la philosophie de Nietzsche est fondée sur la logique du vivant : sélection des plus forts, reconnaissance de la puissance vitale (conservation de la lignée à tout prix) comme valeur suprême, abolition des normes dogmatiques, recherche de la grandeur historique, pensée de la politique comme esthétique, inégalitarisme radical, etc. C’est pourquoi tous les penseurs et philosophes auto-proclamés, grassement entretenus par le système, qui se proclament plus ou moins nietzschéens, sont des imposteurs. Ce qu’a bien compris l’écrivain Pierre Chassard, qui, en bon connaisseur, a dénoncé les « récupérateurs de Nietzsche ». En effet, c’est très à la mode de se dire « nietzschéen ». Très curieux de la part de publicistes dont l’idéologie, politiquement correcte et bien pensante, est parfaitement contraire à la philosophie de Friedrich Nietzsche. En réalité, les pseudo-nietzschéens ont commis une grave confusion philosophique : ils ont retenu que Nietzsche était un contestataire de l’ordre établi mais ils ont fait semblant de ne pas comprendre qu’il s’agissait de leur propre ordre : l’égalitarisme issu d’une interprétation laïcisée du christianisme. Christianomorphe de l’intérieur et de l’extérieur. Mais ils ont cru (ou fait semblant de croire) que Nietzsche était une sorte d’anarchiste, alors qu’il prônait un nouvel ordre implacable, Nietzsche n’était pas, comme ses récupérateurs, un rebelle en pantoufles, un révolté factice, mais un visionnaire révolutionnaire.
- Le nietzschéisme est-il de droite ou de gauche ?
- Les imbéciles et les penseurs d’occasion (surtout à droite) ont toujours prétendu que les notions de droite et de gauche n’avaient aucun sens. Quelle sinistre erreur. Même si les positions pratiques de la droite et de la gauche peuvent varier, les valeurs de droite et de gauche existent bel et bien. Le nietzschéisme est à droite évidemment. Nietzsche vomissait la mentalité socialiste, la morale du troupeau. Mais ce qui ne veut pas dire que les gens d’extrême-droite soient nietzschéens, loin s’en faut. Par exemple, ils sont globalement anti-juifs, une position que Nietzsche a fustigée et jugée stupide dans nombre de ses textes et dans sa correspondance, où il se démarquait d’admirateurs antisémites qui ne l’avaient absolument pas compris. Le nietzschéisme est de droite, évidemment, et la gauche, toujours en position de prostitution intellectuelle, a tenté de neutraliser Nietzsche parce qu’elle ne pouvait pas le censurer. Pour faire bref, je dirais qu’une interprétation honnête de Nietzsche se situe du côté de la droite révolutionnaire en Europe, en prenant ce concept de droite faute de mieux (comme tout mot, il décrit imparfaitement la chose). Nietzsche, tout comme Aristote (et d’ailleurs aussi comme Platon, Kant, Hegel et bien entendu Marx – mais pas du tout Spinoza) intégrait profondément le politique dans sa pensée. Il était par exemple, par une fantastique prémonition, pour une union des nations européennes, tout comme Kant, mais dans une perspective très différente. Kant, pacifiste et universaliste, incorrigible moralisateur utopiste, voulait l’union européenne telle qu’elle existe aujourd’hui : un grand corps mou sans tête souveraine avec les droits de l’Homme pour principe supérieur. Nietzsche au contraire parlait de Grande Politique, de grand dessein pour une Europe unie. Pour l’instant, c’est la vision kantienne qui s’impose, pour notre malheur. D’autre part, le moins qu’on puisse dire, c’est que Nietzsche n’était pas un pangermaniste, un nationaliste allemand, mais plutôt un nationaliste – et patriote – européen. Ce qui était remarquable pour un homme qui vivait à une époque, la deuxième partie du XIXe siècle (« Ce stupide XIXe siècle » disait Léon Daudet) où s’exacerbaient comme un poison fatal les petits nationalismes minables intra-européens fratricides qui allaient déboucher sur cette abominable tragédie que fut 14-18 où de jeunes Européens, de 18 à 25 ans, se massacrèrent entre eux, sans savoir exactement pourquoi. Nietzsche, l’Européen, voulait tout, sauf un tel scénario. C’est pourquoi ceux qui instrumentalisèrent Nietzsche (dans les années 30) comme un idéologue du germanisme sont autant dans l’erreur que ceux qui, aujourd’hui, le présentent comme un gauchiste avant l’heure. Nietzsche était un patriote européen et il mettait le génie propre de l’âme allemande au service de cette puissance européenne dont il sentait déjà, en visionnaire, le déclin.
- Quels auteurs sont à vos yeux nietzschéens ?
- Pas nécessairement ceux qui se réclament de Nietzsche. En réalité, il n’existe pas d’auteurs proprement “nietzschéens”. Simplement, Nietzsche et d’autres s’inscrivent dans un courant très mouvant et complexe que l’on pourrait qualifier de “rébellion contre les principes admis”.Sur ce point, j’en reste à la thèse du penseur italien Giorgio Locchi, qui fut un de mes maîtres : Nietzsche a inauguré le surhumanisme, c’est-à-dire le dépassement de l’humanisme. Je m’en tiendrai là, car je ne vais pas répéter ici ce que j’ai développé dans certains de mes livres, notamment dans Pourquoi nous combattons et dans Sexe et Dévoiement. On pourrait dire qu’il y a du ”nietzschéisme” chez un grand nombre d’auteurs ou de cinéastes, mais ce genre de propos est très superficiel. En revanche, je crois qu’il existe un lien très fort entre la philosophie de Nietzsche et celle d’Aristote, en dépit des siècles qui les séparent. Dire qu’Aristote était nietzschéen serait évidemment un gag uchronique. Mais dire que la philosophie de Nietzsche poursuit celle d’Aristote, le mauvais élève de Platon, c’est l’hypothèse que je risque. C’est la raison pour laquelle je suis à la fois aristotélicien et nietzschéen : parce que ces deux philosophes défendent l’idée fondamentale que la divinité supranaturelle doit être examinée dans sa substance. Nietzsche jette sur la divinité un regard critique de type aristotélicien. La plupart des auteurs qui se disent admirateurs de Nietzsche sont des imposteurs. Paradoxal : je fais un lien entre le darwinisme et le nietzschéisme. Ceux qui interprètent Nietzsche réellement sont accusés par les manipulateurs idéologiques de n’être pas de vrais « philosophes ». Ceux-là même qui veulent faire dire à Nietzsche, très gênant, l’inverse de ce qu’il a dit. Il faut dénoncer cette appropriation de la philosophie par une caste de mandarins, qui procèdent à une distorsion des textes des philosophes, voire à une censure. Aristote en a aussi été victime. On ne pourrait lire Nietzsche et d’autres philosophes qu’à travers une grille savante, inaccessible au commun. Mais non. Nietzsche est fort lisible, par tout homme cultivé et censé. Mais notre époque ne peut le lire qu’à travers la grille d’une censure par omission.
- Pourriez-vous donner une définition du Surhomme ?
- Nietzsche a volontairement donné une définition floue du Surhomme. C’est un concept ouvert, mais néanmoins explicite. Évidemment, les intellectuels pseudo-nietzschéens se sont empressés d’affadir et de déminer ce concept, en faisant du Surhomme une sorte d’intellectuel nuageux et détaché, supérieur, méditatif, quasi-bouddhique, à l’image infatuée qu’ils veulent donner d’eux-mêmes. Bref l’inverse même de ce qu’entendait Nietzsche. Je suis partisan de ne pas interpréter les auteurs mais de les lire et, si possible, par respect, au premier degré. Nietzsche reliait évidemment le Surhomme à la notion de Volonté de Puissance (qui, elle aussi, a été manipulée et déformée). Le Surhomme est le modèle de celui qui accomplit la Volonté de Puissance, c’est-à-dire qui s’élève au dessus de la morale du troupeau (et Nietzsche visait le socialisme, doctrine grégaire) pour, avec désintéressement, imposer un nouvel ordre, avec une double dimension guerrière et souveraine, dans une visée dominatrice, douée d’un projet de puissance. L’interprétation du Surhomme comme un ”sage” suprême, un non-violent éthéré, un pré-Gandhi en sorte, est une déconstruction de la pensée de Nietzsche, de manière à la neutraliser et à l’affadir. L’intelligentsia parisienne, dont l’esprit faux est la marque de fabrique, a ce génie pervers et sophistique, soit de déformer la pensée de grands auteurs incontournables mais gênants (y compris Aristote ou Voltaire) mais aussi de s’en réclamer indument en tronquant leur pensée. Il y a deux définitions possibles du Surhomme : le surhomme mental et moral (par évolution et éducation, dépassant ses ancêtres) et le surhomme biologique. C’est très difficile de trancher puisque Nietzsche lui-même n’a utilisé cette expression que comme sorte de mythème, de flash littéraire, sans jamais la conceptualiser vraiment. Une sorte d’expression prémonitoire, qui était inspirée de l’évolutionnisme darwinien. Mais, votre question est très intéressante. L’essentiel n’est pas d’avoir une réponse “ à propos de Nietzsche ”, mais de savoir quelle voie Nietzsche, voici plus de cent ans, voulait ouvrir. Nietzsche ne pensait pas, puisqu’il était anti-humaniste et a-chrétien, que l’homme était un être fixe, mais qu’il était soumis à l’évolution, voire à l’auto-évolution (c’est le sens de la métaphore du « pont entre la Bête et le Surhomme »). En ce qui me concerne, (mais là, je m’écarte de Nietzsche et mon opinion ne possède pas une valeur immense ) j’ai interprété le surhumanisme comme une remise en question, pour des raisons en partie biologiques, de la notion même d’espèce humaine. Bref. Cette notion de Surhomme est certainement, beaucoup plus que celle de volonté de puissance, un de ces pièges mystérieux que nous a tendu Nietzsche, une des questions qu’il a posée à l’humanité future Oui, qu’est-ce que le Surhomme ? Rien que ce mot nous fait rêver et délirer. Le Surhomme n’a pas de définition puisqu’il n’est pas encore défini. Le Surhomme, c’est l’homme lui-même. Nietzsche a peut-être eu l’intuition que l’espèce humaine, du moins certaines de ses composantes supérieures (pas nécessairement l’”humanité”), pourraient accélérer et orienter l’évolution biologique. Une chose est sûre, qui écrase les pensées monothéistes fixistes en anthropocentrée : l’Homme n’est pas une essence qui échappe à l’évolution. Et puis, au concept d’Ubermensch, n’oublions jamais d’adjoindre celui de Herrenvolk... prémonitoire. D’autre part, il ne faut pas oublier les réflexions de Nietzsche sur la question des races et des inégalités anthropologiques. La captation de l’œuvre de Nietzsche par les pseudo-savants et les pseudo-collèges de philosophie (comparable à celle de la captation de l’œuvre d’Aristote) s’explique par le fait très simple suivant : Nietzsche est un trop gros poisson pour être évacué, mais beaucoup trop subversif pour ne pas être déformé et censuré.
- Votre citation favorite de Nietzsche ?
- « Il faut maintenant que cesse toute forme de plaisanterie ». Cela signifie, de manière prémonitoire, que les valeurs sur lesquelles sont fondées la civilisation occidentale, ne sont plus acceptables. Et que la survie repose sur un renversement ou rétablissement des valeurs vitales. Et que tout cela suppose la fin du festivisme (concept inventé par Phillipe Muray et développé par Robert Steuckers) et le retour aux choses sérieuses.
mardi, 29 mai 2012
Credo: A Nietzschean Testament
By Jonathan Bowden
The following text is a transcript by Michael Polignano of a lecture by Jonathan Bowden given in London on September 8, 2007. The audio is available on YouTube here . If you have any corrections or if you can gloss the passages marked as unintelligible, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org  or simply post them as comments below.
I think ideas are inborn, and you’re attracted, if you have any, toward certain systems of thinking and sensibility and response. From a very young age, I was always fascinated about meaning and purpose and philosophy and those elements of religion which impinge on real matters.
And very early in life I was attracted to vitalist, authoritarian, and individualist ideas. And in my late teens I came across Friedrich Nietzsche’s writings in the 28-volume, Karl Schlecta edition. Now those ideas predate my interest in them, because I was drawn towards them in a particular way.
As we look around us in this society now, our people have an absence of belief. They’re very technically sophisticated. We still as a civilization bestride much of the rest of the world, like a sort of empty technological colossus. But if you peer inside, as to what we are supposed to believe, and account for, and what we think our destiny is individually and as a group, there’s a zero; there’s a nothingness; there’s a blank space for many people.
A hundred years ago, Christianity was an overarching system in our society, for those who went along with it socially, for those who believed in it in a deep core way. It’s now virtually — apart from small minorities — invisible. It’s extraordinary how a faith system that can shape a civilization in part for a millennium-and-a-half to two millennia, can disappear. Those who say that certain ideas and ideals are impossible should look at what’s happened to many of our belief systems.
A hundred years ago we had an elite. We actually had a government. We really haven’t had a government in this country, pretty much, for about 100 years. Not an elite that knows what it wants and understands its mission in life, and that will hand on to people after it, and that comes out groups that exist before it. We’re ruled by essentially a commercial elite, not an intellectual elite or a military elite or even a political one, but a commercial, profit-and-loss one.
And things have slid to such a degree now that if asked what does it mean to be British, probably about 8 million of our people will say Posh and Becks. That’s what it means for many people inundated to the tube, and its vapid nonsense.
Now there are many complicated reasons why much of what Western and white people used to believe in has gone down in the last century.
Nietzsche prophesied that the collapse of Christianity, for many people — even though he welcomed it personally — would be a disaster for them. Why so? Because it gave a structure and a meaning and an identity. A death without a context beyond it has no meaning. It’s meat before you. I believe that we’re hard-wired for belief, philosophical and religious, that we have to have it as a species and as a group. Look at the number of people who go completely to pieces when there is nothing outside beyond them to live for beyond instantaneous things right in front of them.
In France they teach philosophy from the age of six.
For the last couple of hundred years in the Anglo-Saxon and Anglophone world there’s been hostility to theory. There’s been a hostility to abstraction. There’s been a complete reaction against a thinker called Thomas Hobbes, who in many ways prefigures many events on the continent in the last century, many many centuries before. We had an extremely violent and convulsive political and dynastic revolution during the Cromwellian interregnum, and since then it should appear that we have a quiescence in this society. Yes we’ve had radical movements. But the last major political movement to occur was the forming of a party by the trade unions in 1900, which grew into the Labour Party after the Labour Representation Committee.
But the idea that nothing can ever happen in Britain and that we are asleep is false. English life is often depoliticized, yes, but culturally English life is always been quite vital, quite violent underneath the surface, quite emotional. In our Renaissance, which is really the Elizabethan period, we were renowned all over Europe for being vital, for being scientifically-oriented, for having our minds completely open towards the future. We were regarded as an aggressive and a powerful group that was coming of age. We created the greatest interconnected set of theater that the world had seen at that time since the Greeks.
We have lost our dynamism as a people: mentally and in every other way. Our people are still quite strong when it comes to the fist, and a bit of pushing and shoving. But what’s up here, is lacking. A thug is not a soldier, and a soldier is not a warrior. And it’s the strength which exists up here which is the thing that we have to cultivate. I believe that strength comes from belief, in things which are philosophically grounded and appear real to you.
One response that a critic would give to what I’ve just said, mentally speaking, is that it’s so individualized now and so broken down and everybody sort of makes it up as they go along — that’s called heuristic thinking, technically — and if everyone does make it up as they go along how will you ever have an organic culture again?
But I think this is to misunderstand Western society, and Western thought. When Blair says, when he used to be premier until couple of months ago, when Blair said that tolerance and equality and forbearance and humanism are our virtues, he was talking about, and turning against us, a tiny strand of our own civility which is part of our nature. English and British people often don’t like to impose their ideas on others, often will avoid conflict until it becomes actively necessary. Many of these characteristics have been turned on us and used against us.
There’s also a subtext to this country in the last 4 to 5 hundred years, and a lot of our Puritans and our obsessives and our fanatics and our extremists went abroad to found the United States. That’s where our Puritans went. Now many of them were gradgrind and the New Model Army banned Shakespeare in Newcastle, and flogged actors who dared to perform it. This is England’s greatest writer of course. So there’s a sort of Taliban self-destructivity, to that type of Puritanism. But we could do with an element if not a Puritanism, then of asceticism, of belief, and of asking foundational questions of what life is about.
To me this is what right-wing politics is really about. The issues that people campaign on at the level of the street are not incidentals. They are the expression of what’s happened when you are ruled by liberal ideas. We’ve been ruled by liberal ideas for many centuries but in their most acute form in the last 50 years. Liberal ideas say that men and women are the same and are interchangeable, that war is morally bad, that all races are the same and should all live together. That a population just exists, that a country is just a zone, just an economic area, that everything’s based on rationalism and materialism and is purely a calculation of economic self-interest.
Now there’ll be millions of our people who say “What’s this chap talking about? This is all abstraction.” Go out there on the street, and you see the example of the society that is based on these sorts of ideas.
Everybody’s mouthing somebody else’s ideas. Even Brown and Blair and the others. They are coming out with, in their own way, their 10th rate way, certain of the ideologies that they knew when they were at Edinburgh or Oxford or wherever. Because everybody speaks–unless they are a universal genius who takes hold of reality and reshapes it as a cosmos of themselves–everyone uses ideas that precede them and to which they are attracted. Even to say, “I haven’t got any ideas, and it’s all load of nonsense,” is an idea. Everything is ideological. Every BBC news broadcast is totally ideological, and is in some respects a soft form of communism, which is what liberalism is.
The last speaker today is a man called Tomislav Sunic, and his book Homo americanus, is about the American role in the world. And of course America is the model for much of the development that is going on in every continent and in every group on earth. America is the model. He said that, and don’t forget he’s a Croatian, and Eastern Europeans have lived under communism. Middle-class left-wing students in 1960s used to hold their fist in the air and talk about communism, but these people actually had to live under it. And that is a totally different formulation, in every respect. What was a protest against mummy and daddy, and a desire to smoke a bit of pot and do what you wanted, led to concentration camps and slavery and dysgenics and death in certain Eastern European societies. What was just the mantras of adult babies out of their cots in the West was terrorism in the East, and that’s what people don’t understand.
But in that book he said something very revealing. He said that communism kills the body, but liberalism rots the soul. And that’s exactly the case.
We face a situation in the West, where, paradoxically, spiritually we’re in a far worse state than the people who lived under communism. And this is one of the great ironies, because amongst its manias and the rest of it, communism froze things. It froze things glacially for 50 years in many respects. And much of the decay, the voluntarist decay, much of which we’ve imposed ourselves, because of ideas that successive generations of our leaders have adopted from themselves and from others, didn’t occur to the same degree in the East: the idea of self-denigration, that patriotism is the worst evil on Earth, that patriotism is one-stop from genocide, that you own group is always the worst group. This hadn’t been institutionalized and internalized quite to the same degree. It’s perverse that peace and plenty can produce more decadence and decay than hard-line Puritanism, artistic philistinism, queuing, and terror. But that’s what’s happened!
And in the East, of course, they now have the dilemma of westernization. And that’s joining us, because these are universal processes, and they won’t stop at the boundary between the old East and West Germany.
I was born in 1962. At the beginning of the 20th century, this country ruled large stretches of the world. We’re still relatively a normatively powerful country. The statistics say we’re between the fourth and the 20th most significant country on earth. But you also know, on all sorts of registers as you look around, that we don’t believe in anything anymore, that we’re in chaos, that a large number of our people are miseducated to the degree they hardly even know who they are. That patriotism, although it still exists in the blood and bone and in the consciousness of many people, has been partially indoctrinated out of many. That people look behind them before they make an incorrect remark, even if they’re in a wood! Even if they’re by themselves, they still look around! Because all these things are mental. They’re in the mind.
Five percent of all groups rule their own groups. And 80% always conform to the ruling ideology. If somebody says, “He’s a demon you know. He’s in one of those far right parties. He’s in the National Front.” That’s what they always say, because that’s the generic term amongst apolitical people for all right-wing groups, even though the BNP is by far the biggest group and has had by far as the greatest degree of electoral success, “It’s all the NF really.” And the mass attitude towards all this is it’s dangerous and threatening! It’s being a Catholic under high Protestantism. It’s something that’s a threat, and the masses are like this, and they always have been.
In Eastern Europe the present regimes would have you believe that the dissidents were loved. I tell you it’s a fact that under Soviet tyranny, if you saw Sharansky, if you saw Sakharov walking towards you, you’d say “Oh my God!” And you did everything to pretend that he was an unperson, that he didn’t exist, that you weren’t in the street with him. There could be a man in a watchtower watching you. Now everyone comes and says, “Oh we agreed with you all along.”
And in this society liberalism has learned how to rule in a far more sophisticated way. Towards the end of the quasi-Stalinist state in Czechoslovakia secret policeman were looking under people’s beds for abstract paintings and jazz music and this sort of nonsense. The West allows people to dissent, just to think in their own little boxes, and don’t give a damn. Doesn’t bother to ban books because 40% of the population can’t read them anyway. This is how liberalism rules. It doesn’t allow the privilege of dissent, because it disprivileges dissenting ideas. And if people can’t think, and those ideas aren’t worth anything anyway, it’s invisible. And therefore you don’t even need to “persecute.” You can put economic pressure on people, so you got a choice to be sort of decanted from bourgeois life if you manifest in public certain types of opinion. That’s one of the pressures that’s put on people. That’s done deliberately to stop people who have education forming in the head, forming a brain, forming an elite with the fist. And that’s done quite deliberately, so that the leaders will be choked off.
If you go to the University–and Blair and Brown say everybody should go to university. At the University of Slough straight up the Thames Valley, there are 28,000 students, and they give courses in golf and tourism and hairdressing. It’s just mass training for a postindustrial society, for sort of semi-robotic nerds to do repetitive tasks in trained environments where they’ve been timed and watched all the time.
Now because I believe it’s thought which characterizes our race and our group more than anything else, I think thinking is cardinal for many people.
When the events of 1968 occurred, there were convulsive riots all across the Western world by left wing Western youth. They can raise hundreds of thousands in the streets, and in the key events in Paris and elsewhere, there were a million in the street. There were also very large riots in the United States on many campuses. Western people have always been convulsed by ideals and by ideas. The idea that it’s all in the past, that Fukuyama said that history is ended, and then 9/11 happened. History never ends, and things go on and repeat themselves and come back again, at times even more violently than before.
What our people are crying out for isn’t really a religion or a belief system, it’s a form of mental strengthening in and of themselves, to overcome the disprivileging mechanisms that don’t allow them to think and also allow them to reconnect with core areas of identity.
I’m not a Christian. And I never was. Although I went to a Catholic school, and they educated me very well. And almost every book in that library was by a dead White European male. And almost everything the one learnt culturally — from the rather gory sort of Grünewald-type crucifixion as you went in, to the Dali on the wall, the reverse crucifixion scene, in reverse perspective from above, that was next to the assembly point, and to everything else — everything was European. And that’s why people become Catholics. Did you notice many parents become interested when their child’s about 10? And that’s because they want to get them into these schools. Why do they want to get them into the schools? Because they retain the structure and the discipline. You don’t leave when you’re 16 and don’t even know what your name is, you can’t read or write, you speak like a Jamaican gangster, you have no respect for what you are and what you could become.
Now you hear about youth crime, and you hear a lot about the uncontrollability of many people in society. They’re not controlled because there’s no control up here.
One of the cardinal weaknesses of the contemporary West is the feminization of all areas of life. Masculinity is a sacred thing, and yet it’s been demonized and disprivileged in the Western world, regarded as just an excuse for brutality. Masculinity is about self-control. It’s about respect and power that’s ventilated when it’s necessary to use it. The only way in which you would cure many of the problems that presently exist with elements of lumpen and criminality at all levels of life is to reintroduce National Service, with maximum harshness in the initial period.
And a few would die because, they’d be too obese to get through those tunnels, and over those walls with serrated glass, with people screaming at them in an unpleasant accent. But you would need to do that. And the reason isn’t physical; the reason is psychological. Some of our Marines cried when the Revolutionary Guard in the Gulf took their iPods off them. This is where we’ve declined! This is the Green Berets! These are the Royal Marines! The Revolutionary Guard in Iran, the Quds brigade, which is the elite brigade which reports directly to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, couldn’t believe it when they saw that sort of thing. The post-imperial British truly have a tremble in the lip. But these things in the end are cultural, and philosophical, and psychological.
Now our civilization has had many religions and many dispensations of thought. But one of the things that we have forgotten is that open-mindedness to the future and respect for evidence does not mean woolliness and an absence of certitude in what we are.
There’s a thinker who existed two-and-a-half thousand years ago called Heraclitus, and my type of thinking is his linear descendant. He’s a pre-Socratic; he’s a sophist; he begins right at the beginning Western thought, when we actually write down what we think. He wrote a book on nature which Aristotle glossed, and which has survived in fragments.
What did he believe?
He believed that everything is a form of energy. “Fire” he called it; we would call it “energy” today. That it exists in all forms of organic and inorganic matter. That thought and the sentience of nature is what we are. Nature has become sentient in us which means we must incarnate natural law as a principle of being. It’s called becoming in my philosophy. The right, even if you don’t use that term, stands for nature and for that which is given.
What does that mean?
It means conflict is natural, and good. It means domination is natural, and good. It means that what you have to do in order to survive, is natural, and good. It means that we should not begin every sentence by apologizing for our past or apologizing for who we are.
Tony Blair made several interconnected apologies when he was Premier, but he didn’t apologize for being Premier. He apologized for the Irish famine. I’ve got Irish blood, but I’m not interested in apologies for the Irish famine. He apologized for the Shoah. He apologized for slavery. He apologized for almost everything going. These apologies are meaningless, as some of the groups that they were targeted on had the courage to say. It’s just temporizing sympathy.
In my philosophy sympathy multiplies misery. And if somebody’s in pain in front of you, you give them some options. And if they can’t get through it, suicide’s always an option.
Now, what does Nietzsche believe? He believes that strength is moral glory. That courage is the highest form of morality. That life is hierarchical. That everything’s elitist. There’s a hierarchy in each individual. And a hierarchy in every group of individuals. There’s a hierarchy between groups of individuals. Inequality is what right-wing ideas really mean.
Right-wing ideas aren’t just a bit of flag-waving and baiting a few Muslims. Right-wing ideas are spiritually about inequality. The left loves equality. It believes we’re all the same. We must be treated the same. And they believe that as a morality. As a moral good which will be imposed.
Under communism, Pol Pot shot everyone who’d read book that he didn’t approve of. Why did he do that? Because he wanted everyone to be the same, and everyone to think in the same way. Asiatics have a formal description. It’s called the tall poppy syndrome. They look at the plants. They decide one’s a bit out of kilter. It’s standing higher than the others, so you snip it down, so all are the same.
Pol Pot’s not his real name by the way. It’s a joke name; it means “political potential.” When he was very young, Maoists wrote down, “This man has political potential.” “Pol Pot.” And that’s where he took it from. This man is a terroristic psychopath. But when he took over his society with a teenage militia high on drugs, and almost everything had been blitzed and was defenseless, he put into practice in a cardinal way, what many of these Western idiots in the 60s with their fists in the air have been proposing. He sat in Paris, in salons listening to Kristeva, listening to Sartre, listening to de Beauvoir. And he imposed it implacably like the cretin he was. The family is immoral. Shoot all the village priests that got people married. Shoot people who are bit too keen on marriage. Shoot everyone who’s read books about marriage. Shoot everybody who ever said marriage is a good thing. That’s quite a pile of bodies, and you haven’t started yet.
That is communism in its rawest and its crudest form. It’s a sort of morality of bestiality, essentially. And it can’t even impose equality, because in the communist societies of yesteryear, the elite will have its own shops, and its own channels, and they will have their own corrupt systems to keep their children out of military service, and so on. Just like Clinton’s America, or Vietnam America before it. Every elite in that sense will recompose, despite the stigma.
Inequality is the truth. Because nature is unjust, but also fair in its injustice. Because there’s always a balance. People who are very gifted in one area will have grotesque weaknesses in another. People who are strong in one area will be weak in another. People who are at the bottom within a hierarchy have a role and have a place in a naturally ordered society. And will be looked after, because patriotism really is the only socialism. That’s why the right appeals to all parties. And to all groups within a culture. Because all have a place.
Now, I believe that in the Greek civilization, a peasant woman could kneel before an idol, and could have a totally literalist — it’s called metaphysically objectivist — view of the religion. She believes in it absolutely. A fundamentalist in contemporary terms. And you can go right through the culture to extremely sophisticated intellectuals, some of whom were agnostics and atheists who supported religion — yes they did!
Charles Maurras was believed to be an atheist, but he led a Catholic fundamentalist movement in France. Why? Because if you are right-wing, you don’t want to tear civilization down just because you privately can’t believe. You understand the discourse of mass social becoming. What does a wedding mean? What does a death mean? What does the birth of a child mean? Unless there’s something beyond it? What does a war mean? Just killing for money? Unless there’s another dimension to it
We are reduced: as White people first, and just as humans second. But we have to understand that belief is not a narrowness. Belief is an understanding that there are truths outside nature, and outside the contingent universe that’s in front of us, that are absolute. The left-wing view that it’s all relative, or we make it up as we go along, is false.
Nietzsche believes that we test ourselves here now in relation to what’s going on before us. And the more primordial we are, the more we live in accordance with what we might become, the more we link with those concepts which are eternal and that exist outside us.
So what appears with half an eye closed to be an atheistic, a secular, and a modern system, if you switch around and look at it from another perspective, is actually a form for traditional ideas of the most radical, the most far-reaching, the most reactionary, and most archaic and primordial sort to come back. To come back from the past.
What the New Right on the Continent in the last 40 years has been is the reworking of certain ideas, including certain ideas associated with fascism, and their reworking so that they come back, into modernity, where we are now.
If you look at mass and popular culture, the heroic is still alive. It’s still alive in junk films, in comic books, in forms that culturally elitist society and intellectuals disprivilege.
Why the heroic treated at that level? Because liberalism can’t deal with the heroic. It doesn’t have a space for it in its ideology, so it decants it.
Nothing can be destroyed. Liberals think that they’ve destroyed the ideas in this room, but they haven’t: they’ve just displaced them into other areas. And they’ve found new ways to come up, and new syntheses that emerge.
Much of popular culture involves the celebration of men–iconographically, in films and so on–who are authoritarian, who are hierarchical, who are elitist. How many cinema posters have you seen with the man alone with a gun staring off into the distance? It’s the primordial American myth.
These are men who think “fascistically.” And they fight against fascism. They fight against authoritarian ideas of what the West once was and can be. This is always the trick: that they will use the ideology of the Marine Corps, to fight for a liberal, a humanist, and a Democratic purpose. That’s the trick. In every film, in every television program, in every comic, in every simple novel, in everything that the masses consume that isn’t purely about sex or sport, the heroic is there. And they always fight for liberal causes, and their enemies are always grinning Japanese generals, or Nazis. Used again, and again, and again, as a stereotype, of a stereotype, of a stereotype, to impose the idea that that which is core, primal, Indo-European, is morally wrong.
I must have spoken, in the four years I was in the British National Party, at 100 events, 120 events, 150 events, if you add everything together. Now, I’ve never mentioned this topic, which I’m going to talk briefly about now. And this is the topic known as the Shoah.
Now all my life, this has been used as a weapon. All my life. Against any self-assertion by us.
Whenever the most mild and broken-backed Tory starts to think, “Immigration has gone a little too far,” the finger will go down. And he will fall on the ground, and say, “Oh no, oh no, I may have made a minor complaint before I was going to leave office, but don’t drag me in that particular direction.”
And of course, many of the people who use this as a weapon don’t give a damn either way. It’s a weapon they can use. And it shuts people up, instantaneously. And it does so because it impinges, at quite a deep level, on what white and European people think about morality.
And this is a deep problem. And it’s a problem that all right-wing politics since the Second World War, which was in reality a Second European Civil War, the European equivalent of the American Civil War in some ways in the century before, of which in a very complicated way it’s both an attenuation and reverse reflex.
But this issue is very, very deep. And very complicated and important. And goes beyond methodologies about the figures for the number of purported victims involved. Many Western people feel that, because it is generally a given in the society and culture that they’re in, that variants of our group have committed atrocities, that our civilization is therefore rendered worthless, almost in its entirety.
Except when it apologizes before it even states that it has a right to exist. So every time Wagner is played on Radio Three there will be, there will be, a sort of 30-second health warning, like on a packet of cigarettes. It’s as literal as that! And because it’s an ideology. It’s got to. It imposes itself. Ideologies want to impose themselves, like liquid finds its own level in a tank.
If I was running the BBC, it would be slightly different from what’s on tonight. In fact those dumb people working at the BBC at the moment would hang themselves in their studios at the thought.
There is a degree to which the issue of the Shoah is very cardinal, because it has caused intergenerational hatred, particularly in Germany and elsewhere. It has caused degree of self-hatred among our own people, something that de Benoist, the French New Right a theoretician from France, talks about a great deal.
And this is the worst type of denigration, because denigration that comes from without is rain that bounces off, and can be withstood: you can put up an umbrella and get rid of it. But that which comes from inside is much more corrosive, much more deconstructive, much more disabling. And one of the reasons why this issue, as if this is the only event of brigandage that has ever occurred, but nevertheless, relativism, deep down, isn’t enough.
When the IRA commited an atrocity they said, “Never mind ours, look at the British! Look at the loyalists!” And people said, “What about this, what you’ve done?” They said, “No, no, no, look what they’ve done.”
Deep down, philosophically, that’s not good enough. The problem we have, is if you are very Christian or post-Christian in your morality, where there’s a total dualism of good and evil. And if you think and have been indoctrinated at school from a very early age that our group has committed some monstrous evil, you are “endwarfed,” to invent a word. You are semi-humiliated, from the start.
When you begin to assert yourself you suddenly begin to remember, “Oh, I need to apologize before I do.” And that’s not just a strange intellectual concept. Millions do that all the time.
They say, “I’m not this, but . . .”
They say, “I don’t want to make an extremist remark, but . . .”
They say, “Well, I don’t really wish to go into the area of self-assertion, but . . .”
And the reason for all that garbage is because of this shadow. Or those that relate to it, in the background. And if you knock down one, another will emerge.
Every black group in the United States wants a holocaust museum about slavery in their own cities. That’s the next thing. And they say to their congressman, “We want our museum!” “Well, I don’t . . .” “If you want our votes you’re going to get us our museum.”
It’s as straight as that. Each group claims status for strength through victimhood. That’s what we face. “I can be strong because I’ve suffered, and I’m going to get back because I’ve been weak in the past. And my strength is revenge, and I’m morally entitled.” And lots of our people think, we were the primary and primordial and dominant group on Earth, for quite a long time, and now we’re losing it, in almost every area.
Oswald Spengler wrote Decline of the West after the Great War, which of course was a dysgenic war, which had a considerably destructive impact upon Western leadership, at every level. But as you look around you sense the decline, and if you have a decline and you have a desire to assert yourself to arrest the decline, and you have to apologize to yourself about even having the idea of assertion to arrest decline, you’re not going to get anywhere, are you?
And that’s what this weapon is.
Now, my view is the following. I’m technically a pagan. And pagans believe that creation and destruction go together. That love is fury. That whatever occurred, and whatever occurs, we don’t have to apologize. We step over what exists.
There’s a concept in my philosophy which is called “self-overbecoming.” Where you take things which exist at a lower level, that you feel uncomfortable with, and you sublimate them, you throw them forward, you ventilate them. You take that which you don’t like, and you transmute it alchemically, psychologically, and intellectually, and you change it.
And you step forward and say, “No!” to past humiliations, to past indoctrination and degradation of the German people, who are cardinal to the European identity. Both because of their cultural and linguistic specificity, and also because of the fact that they were over half of the European continent. If they have to apologize every day of the week, for being what they are, our group as a whole can never assert itself.
And my view is that when this is viewed as an issue: there are relativist dodges, [and] there are things you can say. The deputy chairman of the party that I was in was asked about the Shoah on a Channel 4 program. And he said “Well, which ‘Shoah’ are you referring to? Are you talking about the Communist Holocausts, many of which were inspired by Jewish ideas?”
Silence. A very radical statement for a contemporary BNP leader. Silence. Silence.
But of course, that’s a clever answer, and it’s a political answer, and it’s a relativist answer.
But my view is I would say, “We’ve overcome all of these events.” And we will stride on to new forms of glory. New forms of that which is implacable. We can rebuild cities again! Every German city was completely destroyed. It was like Grozny in Chechnya now: nothing at all!
I have a friend of mine who is a well-known right-wing intellectual. He’s almost 80 now. His name is Bill Hopkins. After the war he served in Hamburg, and during the summer in about 1948 when he was in the RAF, he said all the British troops used to go often outside the city, because the stench was so bad, because of all the bodies under the buildings that hadn’t been reached, that hadn’t been dragged out, or hadn’t been put into lime pits.
But everything has been rebuilt. Because everything can be rebuilt, and built beyond what even existed in the past. So if somebody says to you, “You’re descended from brigands.” Which is in a sense, individually, what that sort of contrary ideology is. You say, “I’m not going to bother about diggers and who did what to whom. I’ve overcome that!”
“Oh, well I don’t like the sound of that. That’s a bit illiberal.”
And I’d just say, you just say, “Liberalism is moral syphilis. And I’m stepping over it.”
“Well, I don’t like the sound of that! You sound like a bit of a Fascist to me!”
And I’d say, “There’s nothing wrong with Fascism. Nothing wrong with Fascism at all!”
Everyone now adopts a reverse semiotic and runs against what they actually think, in order to convince people who don’t agree with them anyway. Because democracy – and I’m not a democrat. I’m not a democrat. When I supported the challenge in the party that I used to be in, I did it for various reasons, but to encourage greater democracy wasn’t necessarily one of them.
But, authoritarianism has to have morality with it! Those who make an absolute claim and who don’t live up to the nature of that claim, or don’t even begin to live up to the nature of it, can’t advocate authority. Mosley, for example, was regarded as above the movements that he led, and therefore there was a degree of absolute respect: even if people disagreed with him totally on Europeanization and various other things. Because of the respect he had, as a man. And if you are to lead right-wing movements, you have to have that degree of character. Character is integral to that type of authority. It would be so in a military commander, never mind a political one. If it’s not there you can’t make authoritarian pledges and carry on in that sort of way, because you’re just involved in the grubby game, which consists of Labor-Liberal-Tory and different versions of the same thing.
To make an absolute claim and not live up to it is worse than being in New Labor. Because they don’t pretend, even though people have been fooled.
So my view is that we must return again to certain sets of ideas which suit us, that are cardinal for us, that are metaphysically objective and subjective, that see the flux and warp and weft of life, and its complicatedness, but know there are absolute standards upon which things are based.
If we can’t overcome the weapons which are used against us, we will disappear. These are the facts. And therefore we have to do so in our own minds.
Every other group that’s ever existed in human history has not had the albatross around it, that it only remembers as a form of guilt and expiation, and as a Moloch before sacrifices must be made, their own moments of grief and of slaughter and of ferocity. They configured the world in another way.
When the Greeks sacked a city in internal warfare, everyone would be enslaved. But they did not remember, when their bards sang of their victories, that they had denied human rights of other Greek city states.
No people can survive if it incorporates as a mental substructure an anti-heroic myth about itself.
This is why war is largely fought in the mind in the modern world. When Iraq was invaded and that regime was taken down, the precedents for everything which occurred had been done earlier in the 20th century. De-Baathafication, removal of the Army — but allowing them to keep their weapons; bad move, the Americans have learned the error of that, subsequently — the removal of the top of the civil service, trials for those involved, their moral degradation and expiation: hanging, in public, put on YouTube so the world can see it! A degradation of these villains, not foreign statesmen to which we were opposed and against in this war, but villains, criminals, that we must demonize and destroy!
Why is it done? Because it destroyed them morally, in the mind. And Iraqis think, “Well, Saddam was the one who [unintelligible]. Why would you say that, Abdul? “Well, I’ve seen it on the telly.” That’s what 80% of people are like. These extraordinary reversals because this is a mass age. In the past countries were ruled by elites. You shot up an elite and put another elite in place. Now the masses are allegedly in charge, you have to indoctrinate the masses. You have to stimulate them to fury: your enemies aren’t human, they’re beasts.
Milošević: beast, human rights abuser, genocidalist. Saddam: our man in the Gulf for years, now a demon, a demon! An anti-Zionist, ferocious apostate, and so on. But most of the chemicals that he used in the three-way war–Kurds, Iranians, and Iraqis, fought on the First World War level–companies in Berlin, Germany, and France, in Russia, in Belgium, in Britain, and in North America provided that. The gas was used by the Iranians as well, and the Kurds fought on both sides. Now that is the complicatedness that people don’t want to see.
And it’s also applicable to all groups. An American colonel in Fallujah will be fighting in his own mind, physically, in a courageous way. At the level of him on the ground with the sand around it, and the flies in his eyes. He’s not thinking about grand theory. He’s thinking about getting through that tour of duty and getting back to the wife and the kids in Maryland or something. That’s the level. We always have to understand that individual White Americans have absolutely no control over their elites, just as we have no control over ours. Because they’ve gone to a global level. And they think they’ve left us behind. They think England and Britain is a puddle, and they can step out of it to universality.
Well we can’t step out of it to universality, because if you’re not rooted in something, you don’t come from anywhere, there are no roots that go down into the earth. And you can be moved about like a weed which has very weak roots and just rips out. And somebody stronger will rip you out.
So my goal, really, in all these right-wing partisan groups I’ve been in, in one way or another, for the last 15 years is to preach inequality.
“Did you hear that? He says people are unequal.” People are unequal: 75% of it’s genetic and biological. Partly criminality’s biological; predispositions to drug addictions are biological; intelligence is biological; beauty is biological; ferocity or a predisposition to it is biological; intellect is biological. You can do a bit, but you’re born to be which you are, and we should celebrate what we were born to be. Because we have created 90% of value in modernity.
I am a modernist in many ways because I believe we created a modern world that has been taken away from what it could have been. The modern and that which preceded it are not necessarily in complete opposition. If people with our sorts of values ruled modernity, everything about the society would be, at one level the same, and in every other respect completely different. People would still drive contemporary cars; there’d still be jets; and there’d still be supercomputers, and so on. But the texture and the nature of life would be different in every respect.
Firstly, cultures would be mono-ethnic. Secondly, there would be a respect for the past glories of our civilization. Thirdly, we would not preface every attempt to be strong by saying “I’m sorry, I’m sorry for what we have done.”
We’re not sorry!
And we’ve stepped over the prospect of being sorry.
Menachem Begin in his autobiography, which is called – is it called My Struggle? – it’s called My Life.
He was asked about the massacres of Palestinian villages, which was certainly instituted by his paramilitary group. And he said, “The sun comes up and goes down. It was necessary. We lived, we struggled, and they have died. Israel!” And we have to do the same. We have to do the same.
I once spoke at a BNP meeting, and this chap came up to me and said, “You’re a bit right-wing, aren’t you?” He said, “I used to be in the Labour Party.”
I said, “That’s all right.”
And he said, “Don’t you think this party is a bit too nationalistic?”
And I said, “Well, what, do you object to these flags?”
And he said, “Well, I’m just being honest.”
And I said, “Okay.” He’s willing to stand, and this sort of thing. I said, “Why does it upset you?”
And he said, “Well, wouldn’t it be better if we presented ourselves as the victims?” I don’t want to caricature the bloke too much. He said, “I’m obsessed by the case of the red squirrel.” And I gave him a very strange look.
But what he meant, what he wanted to configure, was that we are the victims. And the problem with that is that it’s what everyone else does. And it can be done, because there are many white victims in this society now, in the way that it’s going. But if you concentrate on pain and defeat, you will breed resentment. And I believe that resentment and pity are the things to be avoided.
Stoicism should be our way. Courage should be our way. When somebody pushes you, you push them back. When somebody’s false to you, you’re false to them. When somebody’s friendly to you, you are to them. You fight for your own country, and your own group, and your own culture, and your own civilization, at your own level, and in your own way. And when somebody says, “Apologize for this, or that” you say: “No. I regret nothing.” As a French singer once said. “I regret nothing.”
And it’s a good answer! I have no regrets.
One’s life is a bullet that goes through screens. You hit your final screen, and you’re dead. What happens after, none of us know. There’s either a spiritual world, as all the cardinal and metaphysically objectivist religions of every type for every culture and every group say there is, or there’s not.
In my philosophy, the energy that’s in us goes out into everything which exists. That there is an end after the end, but it’s not finite or conscious. That’s what I think.
That’s why believe in cremation. Because I believe in fire, and the glory of fire. I remember when my mother was cremated. If anyone’s ever been to a cremation, there’s a bit of ghastly simpering and this sort of thing, and they have a curtain because they don’t want you to see the fire. Because it’s a furnace, an absolute inferno.
And I said to the Vicar, “Look, I’ll even give you some money. I want to see the fire.” And he went “Ahh, ahh, ahh . . . Pardon?” “I’m a pagan. I want to see the fire.” He said, “Good lord, are you one of those?” I thought he was going to say he’d take 20 quid more. But no.
And I was allowed to stand near the coffin as it went in. And it’s just a blazing furnace, it opens, the sort of ecumenical and multi-dimensional curtain that they have over it, which has a peacock and various multi-faith figures on it, goes up.
And you see this wall of flame. This amazing wall of flame, that’s like the inside of a sun. And you see this oblong box go into it. And the flame finds every line, and every plane, and every sort of mathematical conceit in the box. And soon it’s completely aflame. And then the gate comes down.
And I believe that’s what life’s like. I believe that’s what happens when a sun forms, when a galaxy forms, when one ends, when a life begins, and when a life ends. That for me is life. Fire, energy, glory, and thinking.
Thinking is the important thing. Being white isn’t enough. Being English isn’t enough. Being British isn’t enough. Know what you are! In this book to read about your own culture is a revolutionary act. People are taught to rebel at school and hate our high culture, hate our folk culture – it’s all boring.
I heard a Manchester Club leader who I vaguely knew earlier in my life who died recently. And he was in charge of Factory Records. Very left-wing. That’s why he produced bands called New Order and Joy Division, to make money out of it.
He said, “I didn’t like ’80s New Romantic music,” and the Radio 5 jockey said to him, “Why is that?” And he said “Because it’s too white.” Too white! Because its bass wasn’t black enough, he said.
Now, if you have these sorts of ideas you will mentally perish over time, and you will physically perish as well over time.
But you have to know about our own forms to be able to deny the postulation of these people who would deny them. Knowledge is power. Listen to high music, go into the National Gallery. It’s free. You can stay hours in there. Look at what we’ve produced as a group.
This is what the Muslims teach their people. To be totally proud of what you are in your own confirmation of identity. Because identity is divine. It’s just like that fire, that consumed the box when I was younger.
Nietzsche’s philosophy isn’t for everybody. It’s too harsh and too forbidding for many people. But it is a way of thinking which is reflexive and absolute. It’s a way of thinking which is primordial and extraordinarily Western. It’s a way of thinking that enables people to be religious, in the sense of the sacredness of life, but also to be open to fact, and to evidence, and to science. It combines those things that lead to glory. And express themselves through tenderness and ferocity.
I urge all white people in this era to look into the mirror and to ask themselves, “What do you know about what you are?” And if you don’t know enough, put your hand on that mirror, and move towards greater knowledge of what you can become.
We’re all going to die. Make use of that time which remains.
Greatness is in the mind and in the fist. The glory of our tribe is not behind us. We can be great again. But the first thing that we have to do is to say, “I walk towards the tunnel, and I’m on my own, and I’m not afraid. And I have no regrets.”
Thank you very much!
Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com
URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/05/credo-a-nietzschean-testament/
lundi, 28 mai 2012
Il mito cosmogonico degli Indoeuropei
di Giorgio Locchi
«Ich sagte dir, ich muß hier warten, bis sie mich rufen»
(Oreste, in Elektra di Hugo von Hoffmanstahl)
Il Rig-Veda dell’India antica e l’Edda germanico-nordica presentano due grandi miti cosmogonici, che concordano tra loro a tal punto che vi si può vedere a giusto titolo una duplice derivazione di un mito indoeuropeo comune. Di tale mito delle origini è forse possibile trovare qualche eco presso i Greci. Roma, come vedremo, non ha mai perso il ricordo del “protagonista” di questo dramma sacro che era, per i nostri antenati indoeuropei, l’inizio del mondo. Ma il dramma stesso non ci è pervenuto, nella sua integralità, che tramite l’intermediazione dei germani e degli indoari, di cui scopriamo così che essi ebbero, almeno quando entrarono nella “storia scritta”, e più che ogni altro popolo europeo, la “memoria più lunga.
Grazie ai suoi ammirevoli lavori sulla ideologia trifunzionale, Georges Dumézil ha da lungo tempo messo in luce un aspetto fondamentale, assolutamente originale, della Weltanschauung e della religione degli indoeuropei. Non meno essenziale, non meno originale ci appare la credenza istintiva nel primato dell’uomo (e dell’umano) che testimonia il mito cosmogonico indoeuropeo “conservato” nel Rig-Veda e nell’Edda. Per l’indoeuropeo, in effetti, l’uomo è all’origine dell’universo. E’ da lui che procedono tutte le cose, gli dèi, la natura, i viventi, lui stesso infine in quanto essere storico. Tuttavia, come rimarca Anne-Marie Esnoul, «questo cominciare non è che un un cominciare relativo: esiste un principio eterno che crea il mondo, ma, dopo un periodo dato, lo riassorbe» (La naissance du monde, Seuil, Parigi 1959). L’uomo, presso gli indoeuropei, non è soltanto all’origine dell’universo: è l’origine dell’universo, in seno al quale l’umanità vive e diviene. Giacché all’inizio, dice il mito, vi era l’Uomo cosmico: Purusha nel Rig-Veda, Ymir nell’Edda, Mannus, citato da Tacito, presso i germani del continente (Manus, in quanto antenato degli uomini, essendo parimenti conosciuto presso gli indiani).
Nel decimo libro del Rig-Veda, il racconto dell’inizio del mondo si apre così:
«L’Uomo (Purusha) ha mille teste;
ha mille occhi, mille piedi.
Coprendo la terra da parte a parte
la oltrepassa ancora di dieci dita.
Purusha non è altro che quest’universo
Ciò che è passato, ciò che è a venire.
Egli è signore del dominio immortale,
perché cresce al di là del nutrimento».
E’ da Ymir, Uno indiviso anche lui, che procede la prima organizzazione del mondo. Il Grimnismál precisa:
«Della carne di Ymir fu fatta la terra,
il mare del suo sudore, delle sue ossa le montagne,
gli alberi furono dai suoi capelli,
e il cielo del suo cranio».
Le cose avvengono nello stesso modo nel Rig-Veda:
«La luna era nata dalla coscienza di Purusha,
dal suo sguardo è nato il sole,
dalla sua bocca Indra e Agni,
dal suo soffio è nato il vento.
Il dominio dell’aere è uscito dal suo ombelico,
dalla sua testa evolse il sole,
dai suoi piedi la terra, dal suo orecchio gli orienti;
così furono regolati i mondi».
Purusha è anche Prajapati, il «padre di tutte le creature». Giacché gli dèi stessi non costituiscono che un “quartiere” dell’Uomo cosmico. Ed è da lui solo che in ultima istanza proviene l’umanità. Si legge nel Rig-Veda:
«Con tre quartieri l’Uomo (Purusha) s’è elevato là in alto,
il quarto ha ripreso nascita quaggiù».
Essendo “Uno indiviso”, l’Uomo cosmico è uno Zwitter, uno Zwitterwesen, un essere asessuato o, più esattamente, potenzialmente androgino. Riunisce in sé due sessi, in maniera ancora confusa. La teologia indiana nota d’altronde che il “maschio” e la “femmina” sono nati dalla «suddivisione di Purusha», così come tutti gli altri “opposti complementari”. Ymir, quanto a lui, dormiva nei ghiacci dell’abisso spalancato (Ginungagap) tra il sud e il nord, quando due giganti, uno maschio e l’altro femmina, si sono formati come escrescenze sotto le sue ascelle. E’ parimenti da lui, o dal ghiaccio fecondato da lui, che è nata la prima coppia umana, Bur e Bestla, genitori dei primi Asi (o dèi sovrani), Wotan (Odhinn), Wili e We.
Nell’interpretazione di questi grandi miti cosmogonici non bisogna mai dimenticare che per la mentalità indoeuropea la generazione reciproca è un processo assolutamente normale: gli “opposti logici” sono sempre complementari e perfettamente equivalenti: si pongono mutualmente. E’ così che l’uomo dà nascita a, o tira da se stesso, gli dèi, mentre gli dèi a loro volta danno nascita agli uomini (o insufflano loro lo spirito e la vita). Secondo il racconto dell’Edda, più precisamente nella Voluspá:
«Tre Asi, forti e generosi,
arrivarono sulla spiaggia:
trovarono Ask e Embla,
(che erano ancora) privi di forza.
Senza destino, non avevano sensi,
né anima, né calor di vita, né un colore chiaro.
Odhinn donò il senso, Hoenir l’anima,
Lodur donò la vita e il colore fresco».
In tutta evidenza, in questo racconto, i tre Asi giocano il ruolo dei primi “eroi civilizzatori”. Ask (ovvero “frassino”) e Embla (ovvero “orma”) rappresentano un’umanità ancora “immersa nella natura”, interamente sottomessa alle leggi della specie, testimone di un’era trascorsa, quella di Bur. Se ci si pone al momento della società indoeuropea caratterizzata dalla tripartizione funzionale, ci si accorge d’altronde che le classi che assumono rispettivamente le tre funzioni appaiono come discendenti del dio Heimdal e di tre donne umane. Il Rigsmál racconta come Heimdal, avendo preso le sembianze di Rigr, generò Thrael, capostipite degli schiavi, con Ahne (“antenata”), Kerl, antenato capostipite dei contadini, con Emma (“nutrice”) e Jarl, capostipite dei nobili con “Madre”. Nel Rig-Veda, per contro, gli antenati delle classi sociali sorgono direttamente dall’Uomo cosmico primordiale:
«La bocca di Purusha divenne il brahmino,
il guerriero fu il prodotto delle sue braccia,
le sue coscie furono l’artigiano,
dai suoi piedi nacque il servo».
Così come la distribuzione delle classi è sufficiente a dimostrare, la “versione” del Rig-Veda è probabilmente la più fedele al racconto originale indoeuropeo. Non è escluso cionostante che la “versione” germanica si riallacci anch’essa ad una fonte molto antica. Heimdal, in effetti, è una figura tra le più misteriose. Dumézil ha messo ben in evidenza la particolarità essenziale di questo dio, corrispondente germanico dello Janus romano e del Vaju indiano. Cronologicamente, Heimdal è il primo degli Asi, il più vecchio degli dèi. E’ anche un dio che vede tutto: «ode l’erba spuntare sul prato, la lana crescere dalla pelle delle pecore, nulla sfugge al suo sguardo acuto», ed è questa la ragione per cui svolge il ruolo di guardiano di Asgard, la «dimora degli Asi». Dalui è proceduto l’inizio, da lui procederà anche la fine, il Ragnarok (o “crepuscolo degli dèi”) che annuncerà lui stesso dando fiato al corno. Heimdal riunisce dunque in sé tutti i caratteri dell’”Essere supremo”, oggetto di una più antica credenza che Raffaele Pestalozzi attribuiva all’umanità primitiva (cioè agli umani della fine del mesolitico), ma corresponde anche al “dio dimenticato” di cui parla religioni “evolute” di una preesistente concezione della divinità. Il che lascia supporre che Heimdal non sia che una proiezione dell’”Essere supremo” degli antenati degli indoeuropei in seno alla società dei “nuovi dèi”, nello stesso modo in cui Ymir lo prolunga, in quanto “principio universale, a livello della cosmogonia (1). Una tale interpretazione è suscettibile di gettare una nuova luce sul “problema di Janus”, altra divinità misteriosa, di cui abbiamo detto che corrispondeva a Roma allo Heimdal germanico. Innumerevoli discussioni hanno avuto luogo sull’etimologia del nome “Janus”. Da qualche tempo, sembra che un accordo si stia formando nel senso di ricollegarlo alla radice indoeuropea *ya, che ha a che fare con l’idea di”passare”, di “andare”. Ma tale spiegazione non sembra molto convincente, e ci si può domandare se non vale la pena di mettere il nome “Janus” in relazione con le radici *yeu(m) o *yeu(n) (da cui il latino jungo, “congiungere”, “coniugare”), che esprimono l’idea di “unire”, di “accoppiare ciò che è separato”, dunque di “gemellare i contrari” (gli “opposti logici”). Ciò spiegherebbe bene il carattere ambiguo di questo deus bifrons, che è, come Ymir, uno Zwitter., oscura reminiscenza in seno alle
Si sa, del resto, che un antichissimo appellativo di Janus, di cui i romani dell’epoca di Augusto non comprendevano più esattamente il significato, è Cerus Manus, che si traduce come “buon creatore” (da *krer, “far crescere”, e da un ipotetico *man, “buono”). Noi pensiamo piuttosto che “Manus” non è che un fossile alto-indoeuropeo conservato nel latino antico, che rinvia perfettamente a “Mannus” e significa “uomo” come in germanico ed in sancrito. Il latino immanis non significa d’altronde affatto “cattivo”, “malvagio”, bensì “prodigioso”, “smisurato” (inumano: fuori dalla misura umana). Si comprende allora perché Janus, che è come Heimdal il dio dei prima (delle cose “cronologicamente prime”) è considerato, in quanto Cerus Manus, l’antenato delle popolazioni del Lazio, così come Mannus è l’antenato delle popolazioni germaniche.
Il rituale vedico, essenzialmente imperniato sulla nozione di sacrificio, fa precisamente dello smembramento, della “suddivisione” dell’Uomo cosmico (Purusha), il prototipo stesso del sacrificio. Ora, nei testi “speculativi”, questo sacrificio di Purusha ci è presentato sotto due aspetti: da un lato Purusha sacrifica se stesso, inventando così il «sacrificio imperituro»; dall’altro, sono gli dèi che sacrificano Purusha e lo “smembrano”. La questione si pone dunque di sapere se gli indiani hanno “interpretato” o se al contrario hanno conservato la tradizione indoeuropea in tutta la sua purezza. Questa ultima eventualità ci sembra la più verosimile, non fosse che per il fatto che all’origine ogni mito è al tempo stesso storia del rito e proiezione del rito stesso. D’altra parte, la medesima doppia immagine si ritrova nell’Edda. Allo “smembramento” di Purusha corrisponde, sotto una forma desacralizzata, ma sempre presente, lo “smembramento” di Ymir da parte degli Asi, figli di Bur. Quanto all’altro aspetto del sacrificio dell’Uomo cosmico, quello dell’autosacrificio, basta riportarsi alla Canzone delle Rune (Runatals-thattr) per trovarne una forma trasposta, quanto Wotan dichiara:
«Lo so: durante nove notti
sono rimasto appeso all’albero scosso dai venti
ferito dalla lancia, sacrificato a Wotan,
io stesso a me stesso sacrificato,
appeso al ramo dell’albero di cui non si può
vedere da quale radice cresca»
Odhinn-Wotan, dio sovrano, non è certo l’Uomo cosmico, e tanto meno ne gioca il ruolo in seno alla società degli dèi (2). Nondimeno, anche se non è all’origine dell’universo, Wotan è all’origine di un nuovo ordine dell’universo. Gli spetta dunque di inaugurare mercè il suo proprio sacrificio su Ygdrasil, l’albero-del-mondo, la “seconda epoca” dell’uomo (l’epoca propriamente storica). Odhinn-Wotan si sacrifica non più, come Purusha, per “suddividersi” e “liberare” così i contrari grazie ai quali l’universo deve acquisire la sua fisionomia, bensì per acquisire il sapere (il “segreto delle rune”) che gli permetterà di organizzare, o più esattamente di riorganizzare, l’universo. A dire il vero, questo “rimaneggiamento” del mito originale non sorprende: la Weltanschauung germanica ha sempre sottolineato e amplificato l’immaginazione storica degli indoeuropei, mettendo l’accento su un divenire ove sia il passato, sia il futuro, sono contenuti nel presente, pur venendone trasfigurati.
Per secoli il mito cosmogonico indoeuropeo non ha cessato di ispirare e di nutrire l’immaginazione degli indiani antichi. Forse la sua ricchezza non appare da nessuna parte, in tutto il suo splendore, meglio che nel magnifico poema di Kalidasa, il Kumarasambhava, in cui Purusha è Brahma, divina personificazione del sacrificio:
«Che tu sia venerato, o dio dalle tre forme
Tu che eri ancora unità assoluta, prima che la creazione fosse compiuta,
Tu che ti dividevi nei tre gunas, da cui hai ricevuto i tuoi tre appellativi.
O mai nato, il tuo seme non fu sterile allorché fu eietto nell’onda acquosa!
Tuo tramite l’universo sorse, che si agita e che è senza vita,
e di cui tu sei festeggiato nel canto come l’origine.
Tu hai dispiegato la tua potenza sotto tre forme.
Tu solo sei il principio della creazione di questo mondo,
ed anche la causa di ciò che esiste ancora e che alla fine crollerà.
Da te, che hai suddiviso il tuo proprio corpo per poter generare,
derivano l’uomo e la donna in quanto parte di te stesso.
Sono chiamati i genitori della creazione, che va moltiplicandosi.
Se, tu che hai separato il giorno e la notte secondo la misura del tuo proprio tempo,
se tu dormi, allora tutti muoiono, ma se vivi, allora tutti sorgono.
Con te stesso conosci il tuo proprio essere.
Tu ti crei da te stesso, ma anche ti perdi,
con il tuo te stesso conoscente, nel tuo proprio te stesso.
Sei il liquido, sei ciò che è solido, sei il grande e il piccolo,
il leggero e il pesante, il manifesto e l’occulto.
Ti si chiama Prakriti, ma sei conosciuto anche come Purusha
che in verità vede Prakriti, ma da lei non dipende.
Tu sei il padre dei padri, il dio degli dèi. Sei più alto del supremo.
Tu sei l’offerta in sacrificio, ed anche il signore del sacrificio.
Sei il sacrificato, ma anche il sacrificatore.
Tu sei ciò che si deve sapere, il saggio, il pensatore,
ma anche la cosa più alta che sia possibile pensare».
Questo inno di Kalidasa è uno degli apici della “riflessione poetica” indiana sulla tradizione dei Veda. Esplicita a meraviglia tutti i sottintesi del mito cosmogonico indoeuropeo, nello stesso tempo in cui riconduce ad unità le variazioni (successive o meno) del tema originario. L’opposizione di Purusha e Prakriti (che corrisponde, in qualche modo, alla natura naturans) è estremamente rivelatrice, soprattutto se la si mette in parallelo con quella di Purusha e dell’”onda indistinta” rappresentata da Ymir e dall’”abisso spalancato”. E’ per il fatto di «vedere Prakriti senza dipenderne» che l’Uomo cosmico è all’origine dell’universo. Giacché l’universo non è che un caos indistinto, sprovvisto di senso e di significato, da cui solo lo sguardo e la parola dell’uomo fanno sorgere la moltitudine degli esseri e delle cose, ivi compreso l’uomo stesso, alla fine realizzato. Il sacrificio di Purusha, se si preferisce, è il momento apollineo tramite cui si trova affermato il principium individuationis, «causa di ciò che esiste e che ancora esisterà», fino al momento in cui questo mondo «crollerà», ovvero sino al momento dionisiaco di una fine che è anche la condizione di un nuovo inizio.
In una Weltanschauung di questo tipo, gli dèi sono essi stessi un “quartiere” dell’Uomo cosmico. “Uomini superiori” nel senso nietzschano del termine, essi perpetuano in un certo modo il ricordo trasfigurato e trasfigurante dei primi “eroi civilizzatori”, di coloro che trassero l’umanità dal suo stato “precedente” (quello di Ask e di Embla), e fondarono davvero, ordinandola per mezzo delle tre funzioni, la società umana, la società degli uomini indoeuropei. Questi dèi non rappresentano il “Bene”. Non rappresentano neppure il Male. Sono al tempo stesso il Bene e il Male. Ciascuno di loro, di per ciò stesso, presenta un aspetto ambiguo (un aspetto umano), il che spiega perché, mano mano che l’immaginazione mitica ne svilupperà la rappresentazione, la loro personalità tenderà a sdoppiarsi: Mitra-Varuna, Jupiter-Dius Fidius, Odhinn/Wotan-Tyr, etc. In rapporto all’umanità presente, che essi hanno istituito in quanto tale, questi dèi corrispondono effettivamente agli “antenati”. Legislatori, inventori della tradizione sociale, e, in quanto tali, sempre presenti, sempre agenti, restano nondimeno assoggettati in ultima istanza al fatum, votati molto umanamente a una “fine”.
Si tratta, in conclusione, di dèi non creatori, ma creature; dèi umani, e tuttavia ordinatori del mondo e della società degli uomini; dèi ancestrali per l’”attuale” umanità: dèi, infine, “grandi nel bene come nel male” e che si situano essi stessi al di là di tali nozioni.
Ciò che chiamiamo il “popolo indoeuropeo” è in effetti una società risalente agli inizi del neolitico, il cui mito si è precisamente costruito a partire dalla nuova prospettiva inaugurata dalla “rivoluzione neolitica”, per mezzo di una riflessione sulle credenze del periodo precedente, riflessione che è alla fine sfociata in una formulazione rivoluzionaria dei temi della vecchia Weltanschauung.
Se, come pensa Raffaele Pestalozzi, autore di L’omniscience de dieu, la credenza in un “Essere supremo” (da non confondere con il dio unico dei monoteisti!) era propria all’”umanità primitiva”, cioè ai gruppi umani della fine del mesolitico, allora il mito cosmogonico indoeuropeo può effettivamente essere considerato come una formulazione rivoluzionaria in rapporto a tale credenza (o, se si preferisce, come un discorso che fa scoppiare, superandoli, il linguaggio e la “ragione” del periodo precedente). Giunti a questo punto, siamo in diritto di pensare che, per gli antenati “mesolitici” degli indoeuropei, l’”Essere supremo” non era forse che l’uomo stesso, o più esattamente la “proiezione cosmica” dell’uomo in quanto detentore del potere magico. Ugualmente, possiamo constatare al tempo stesso che questa idea di un Essere supremo, propria agli indoeuropei, non è affatto comune a tutti i gruppi umani usciti dal mesolitico, o, almeno, che essa non appare più tale ad altri gruppi di uomini ugualmente condotti dalla rivoluzione neolitica a “riflettere” sulle credenze antiche.
L’Oriente classico, ad esempio, ha “riflesso”, immaginato e interpretato le credenze “mesolitiche” in una direzione diametralmente opposta a quella presa dagli indoeuropei. La Bibbia ebraica, summa della Weltanschauung religiosa levantina, si situa, in effetti, agli antipodi della “visione” indoeuropea. Vi si ritrova purtuttavia, come antico tema offerto alla “riflessione”, l’idea di un Essere supremo confrontato, all’inizio del mondo, ad una «terra deserta e vuota, dalle tenebre plananti sull’abisso» (Genesi, I, 1). Questo “abisso spalancato”, è vero, è immediatamente presentato come risultante da una antecedente creazione di Elohim-Jahvé. Ora, Jahvé non ha tratto l’universo da una suddivisione e “smembramento” di sé. L’ha creato ex nihilo, a partire dal nulla. Non è affatto la coincidentia oppositorum, l’”Uno indiviso”, non è l’Essere e il Non-essere al tempo stesso. E’ l’Essere: «Io sono colui che è». Di conseguenza, e dal momento che l’universo creato non saprebbe essere l’uguale del dio creante, il mondo non ha essenza, ma soltanto un’esistenza, o, più esattamente, una sorta di “essere di grado inferiore”, di imperfezione. Mentre il politeismo degli indoeuropei è il “rovescio” complementare di ciò che si potrebbe chiamare il loro mono-umanismo (equivalente d’altronde a un pan-umanismo), il monoteismo ebraico appare come la conclusione di un processo di riassorbimento, come la riduzione all’unicità di Elohim-Jahvé di una molteplicità di dèi non umani, personificanti forze naturali (3), in breve come lo sbocco di una speculazione che ha anch’essa ricondotto la pluralità delle cose a un principio unico, che in tal caso non è l’uomo ma la materia e l’energia (la “natura”).
Per il fatto di essere un dio unico, non ambiguo, che non è per nulla il luogo in cui si risolvono e coincidono gli “opposti logici”, Jahvé rappresenta evidentemente il Bene assoluto. E’ dunque del tutto normale che si mostri sovente crudele, implacabile o geloso: il Bene assoluto non può non essere intransigente rispetto al Male. Ciò che è molto meno logico, per contro, è la concezione biblica del Male. Non potendo derivare dal Bene assoluto, il Male, in effetti, non dovrebbe esistere in un mondo creato, a partire dal nulla, da un dio “di una bontà infinita”. Ora, il Male esiste: il che pone un problema molto serio. La Bibbia prova a risolvere il problema facendo del Male la conseguenza accidentale della rivolta di certe creature, tra cui in primo luogo Lucifero, contro l’autorità di Jahvé. Il Male appare così come come il rifiuto manifestato da una creatura di giocare il ruolo che Jahvé le ha assegnato. La potenza di questo Male è considerevole (poiché deriva dalla ribellione di una creatura angelica, dunque privilegiata), ma, comparata alla potenza del Bene, ovvero di Jahvé, essa è praticamente pari a nulla. L’esito finale della lotta tra il Bene e il Male non è dunque minimamente in dubbio. Tutti i problemi, tutti i conflitti, sono risolti in anticipo. La storia è puro decadimento, effetto dell’accecamento di creature impotenti.
Così, sin dall’inizio, la storia si trova privata di qualsiasi senso. Il primo uomo (la prima umanità) ha commesso la colpa di cedere ad una suggestione di Satana. Egli ha, di conseguenza, ricusato il ruolo che Jahvé gli aveva assegnato. Ha voluto toccare il pomo proibito ed entrare nella storia.
Creatore dell’universo, Jahvé gioca ugualmente, in rapporto alla società umana “attuale”, un ruolo perfettamente antitetico a quello degli dèi sovrani indoeuropei. Jahvé è non l’”eroe civilizzatore” che inventa una tradizione sociale, ma l’onnipotenza che si oppone alla “colpa” di Adamo, cioè alla vita umana che questi ha voluto gustare, alla civilizzazione urbana, uscita dalla rivoluzione neolitica, a cui rinvia implicitamente il racconto della Genesi. Come sottolinea Paul Chalus in L’homme et la réligion, Jahvé non ha che odio per “coloro che cuociono i mattoni”. Quando li vede costruire Babele e la celebre torre, grida: «Se cominciano a fare ciò, nulla impedirà loro ormai di compiere ciò che avranno in progetto di fare. Andiamo, scendiamo a mettere confusione nel loro linguaggio, di modo che non si comprendano più l’un l’altro» (Genesi, XI, 6-7). Jahvé, aggiunge Paul Chalus, «li disperse da là su tutta la terra, ed essi smisero di costruire città». Ma già ben prima di questo evento Jahvé aveva rifiutato le primizie che gli offriva l’agricoltore Caino, e non aveva “guardato” che la pia offerta d’Abele. Il fatto è che Abele non era un allevatore, ma semplicemente un nomade che aveva abbandonato la caccia per la razzia, che prolungava la tradizione “mesolitica” in seno alla nuova civiltà uscita dalla rivoluzione neolitica, e che ne ricusava il modo di vivere. Ulteriormente, la missione di Abramo, il nomade che aveva disertato la città (Ur), e quella della sua discendenza, sarà di negare e ricusare dal di dentro ogni forma di civiltà “post-neolitica”, la cui esistenza stessa perpetua il ricordo d’una “rivolta” contro Jahvé.
L’uomo, in rapporto al “dio” della Bibbia, non è veramente un “figlio”. Non è che una creatura. Jahvé l’ha fabbricato, così come ogni altro essere vivente, nello stesso modo in cui un vasaio modella un vaso. L’ha fatto “a sua immagine e somiglianza” per farne il suo intendente sulla terra, il guardiano del Paradiso. Adamo, sedotto dal demonio, ha ricusato questo ruolo che il Signore voleva fargli giocare. Ma l’uomo resterà sempre il servo di Dio. «La superiorità dell’uomo sulla bestia è nulla, perché tutto è vanità», nota Paul Chalus. «Tutto va verso un identico luogo: tutto viene dalla polvere, e tutto ritorna alla polvere» (Ecclesiaste).
L’uomo, secondo l’insegnamento della Bibbia, non ha dunque che da rammentarsi perpetuamente che è polvere, che ogni Giobbe merità il destino che gli riserva il capriccio di Jahvé, e che l’esistenza storica non ha senso, se non quello che implicitamente gli si dà rifiutando attivamente di attribuirgliene uno. Con la loro voce terribile, i profeti di Israele ricorderanno sempre agli eletti di Jahvé la necessità imperiosa di questo rifiuto, così come gli eletti riconosceranno sempre, nelle loro disgrazie, la conseguenza e la giusta sanzione di una trasgressione (o di un semplice oblio) del comandamento supremo di Jahvé.
Il cristianesimo “romano”, nato dall’”arrangiamento costantiniano”, corrisponde sin dall’inizio al tentativo di stabilire, in seno al mondo “antico” trasformato da Roma in orbis politica, un compromesso tra le Weltanschauungen indoeuropee e una religione giudaica, che Gesù si sarebbe sforzato di adattare alla civilizzazione imperiale romana (4). Il dio unico è diventato, tramite il gioco di un “mistero” dogmatico, un dio “in tre persone”. Ha “integrato” la vecchia nozione di Trimurti, di “Trinità”, e le sue “persone” hanno grosso modo assunto le tre funzioni delle società indoeuropee, sotto una forma d’altronde “invertita” e spiritualizzata. Pur essendo creatore e sovrano, Jahvé continua nondimeno a ricusare il doppio aspetto: il Male è provincia esclusiva di Satana. Al vecchio nome che gli dà la Bibbia si è sostituito il nuovo nome di “deus pater“, il «padre eterno e divino» riverito dagli indoeuropei. Ma Jahvé non è davvero padre che della sua “seconda persona”, di questo figlio che ha inviato sulla terra per svolgervi un ruolo opposto a quello dell’”eroe fondatore”; di questo figlio che si è alienato a questo mondo per meglio rinviare all’oltremondo, e che, se rende a Cesare ciò che è di Cesare, non lo fa che perché ai suoi occhi ciò che appartiene a Cesare non riveste alcun valore; di questo figlio, infine, la cui funzione non è più di “fare la guerra”, ma di predicare una pace gelosa, di cui soli potranno beneficiare gli uomini “di buona volontà”, gli avversari di questo mondo, coloro a cui è riservato il solo nutrimento d’eternità che vi sia, la grazia amministrata dalla terza “persona”, lo Spirito Santo.
L’uomo, creatura e prodotto fabbricato, è il servo dei servi di Dio, «escremento» (stercus), come dirà così bene Agostino. Tuttavia, nello stesso tempo, è ora anche il fratello del figlio incarnato di Jahvé, il che fa di lui un “quasi-figlio” di Dio, a condizione che sappia volerlo e meritarlo, tutte cose che dipendono dalla grazia che amministra il creatore secondo criteri insondabili. Il giorno verrà dunque in cui l’umanità si dividerà definitivamente (per l’eternità) in santi e dannati. Giacché vi è ben un Valhalla biblico, il Paradiso celeste, ma è ormai riservato agli anti-eroi. L’Inferno, quando ad esso, appartiene agli altri.
Questo compromesso ha modellato per secoli la storia di ciò che viene chiamata la “civilizzazione occidentale”. Per secoli, secondo le loro affinità profonde, l’uomo “pagano” e l’uomo “levantino” hanno ciascuno potuto vedere nel dio “uno e trino” la loro propria divinità. Ciò spiega idee e confusioni ben numerose: a cominciare dall’assimilazione di Gesù, Sigfrido e Barbarossa da parte di un Wagner, o il “dio bianco delle cattedrali” caro a Drieu La Rochelle, e, d’altra parte, il Gesù di Ignazio di Loyola, il dio del prete-operaio e Jesus Christ Superstar.
Constatiamo oggi, e in modo certo, che l’”arrangiamento” costantiniano alla fine non arrangiò proprio nulla, e che la giornata dell’«In hoc signo vinces» fu un imbroglio, le cui conseguenze si esercitarono a detrimento del mondo greco-romano-germanico. Sino ad una data relativamente recente, la Chiesa di Roma e le chiese cristiane sono restate, in quanto potenze secolari organizzate, attaccate a tutte le apparenze del vecchio compromesso. Ma da tempo ormai hanno cominciato a riconoscere l’autentica essenza del cristianesimo. Ed ecco che l’irrappresentabile Jahvé, sbarazzato dalla maschera del Dio-Padre luminoso e celeste, è ritrovato e proclamato. Ben prima che le chiese ci arrivassero, tuttavia, il “cristianesimo profano” (demitizzato e secolarizzato), ovvero l’egualitarismo in tutte le sue forme, aveva a modo suo ritrovato la verità secondo la Bibbia. Il “rifiuto della storia”, la volontà proclamata di “uscire dalla storia” (per ritornarne alla natura), la tendenza riduzionista mirante a “riassorbire l’umano nel fisico-chimico”, tutti i materialismi deterministi, la condanna marcusiana di un’arte che tradirebbe la “verità” integrando l’uomo alla società, l’ideologia egualitaria infine che intende ridurre l’umanità al modello dell’anti-eroe, al modello dell’eletto ostile ad ogni civiltà concreta perché non vi vuole vedere che infelicità, miseria, sfruttamento (Marx); repressione (Freud); o inquinamento: tutto ciò non ha cessato di restituire ai nostri occhi, e continua ancora a restituire – nel momento stesso in cui una nuova rivoluzione tecnica invita a superare le “forme” che aveva imposto la rivoluzione precedente – l’immobile visione jahvaitica, visione “eterna” se mai ve ne furono, poiché se limita ad una negazione senza cessa ripetuta di ogni presente carico d’avvenire.
Il “Sì” da parte sua non può essere “eterno”. Essendo un “Sì” al divenire, diviene esso stesso. Nella storia che non cessa di ri-proporsi, per mezzo di nuove fondazioni, questo “Sì” deve a se stesso il fatto di assumere sempre una forma e un contenuto parimenti nuovi. Il “Sì” è creazione, opera d’arte. Il “No” non esiste che negando un valore a tale opera. In un mondo in cui il clamore di voci divenute innumerevoli tende a persuaderci del contrario il mito cosmogonico indoeuropeo ci ricorda che il “Sì” resta sempre possibile: che un nuovo Ymir-Purusha-Janus può ancora risvegliarsi dall’”onda indistinta” in cui giace addormentato; che appena ieri, forse, si è già risvegliato, si è già sacrificato a se stesso, che ha già dato vita a Bur e Bestla, e che presto dei nuovi Asi, dèi luminosi, verranno a loro volta alla vita e intraprenderanno allora, in un mondo differente, sorto dalle rovine caotiche del vecchio, la loro eterna missione di “eroi civilizzatori”, assumendo così, serenamente, lo splendido e tragico destino dell’uomo che crea se stesso, e che avendo dato nascita a se stesso accetta anche, nell’idea della propria fine, la condizione di ogni avventura storica, di ogni vita.
(1) Di Purusha, corrispondente indoario di Ymir, il Rig-Veda del resto dice espressamente che ha «mille teste e mille occhi», cosa che mostra bene che all’origine l’Uomo cosmico era dotato di onniveggenza. Secondo Pestalozzi, l’onniveggenza era precisamente uno degli attributi dell’”Essere supremo” primitivo.
(2) Questo ruolo, come abbiamo visto, si trova parzialmente proiettato nel personaggio di Heimdal.
(3) Jahvé confessa d’altronde di essere «geloso» degli altri dèi. Il termne stesso di Elohim non è forse plurale (plurale storico, e non di maestà)?
(4) Non è evidentemente il caso qui di entrare nei dettagli di tale complessa questione, cui si accenna pertanto unicamente a grandi linee.
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dimanche, 27 mai 2012
Martin Heidegger e la Rivoluzione conservatrice
SULLA "RIVOLUZIONE CONSERVATRICE" IN GERMANIA
Armin Mohler utilizzò l'espressione "Rivoluzione conservatrice", introdotto da Thomas Mann e Hugo von Hofmannsthal, per designare un ampio, complesso e, sotto il profilo dottrinario, variegato insieme di tendenze politiche, letterarie, filosofiche, artistiche, che, tra il 1918 e l'avvento del Nazionalsocialismo al potere, criticarono da Destra sia la Repubblica di Weimar e le dottrine democratico-liberali in genere. sia le ideologie social-comunistiche, nonostante certi sconfinamenti di alcune sue espressioni anche verso questi due ultimi orizzonti ideologici. Si trattava comunque di tendenze che avevano quale proprio minimo comune denominatore la critica alla "civiltà illuministico-borghese", ricollegandosi in ciò al Neo-romanticismo di fine Ottocento, e alle "idee del 1789", senza ripetere, però, pedissequamente. i temi già fatti valere dal pensiero Controrivoluzionario e Reazionario, in seguito ad una più attenta considerazione delle conseguenze derivanti dalla cosiddetta "modernizzazione".
Lo scritto di Mohler, Die Konservative Revolution in Deutschland. 1918-1932. Ein Handbuch, frutto di una ricerca per la tesi di laurea, fu pubblicato nel 1950 e, in seconda edizione, nel 1972. Per la traduzione italiana abbiamo dovuto aspettare il 1990. grazie alle Edizioni Akropolis e La Roccia di Erec. Purtroppo, la ricezione non è stata pari quanto meno all'attesa di quella traduzione, molto probabilmente perché si attendeva un testo di dottrina politica, mentre si tratta per lo più di un testo di filosofia della politica, quindi, bisognoso di un pubblico molto più coltivato culturalmente.
Se non proprio il termine "Rivoluzione conservatrice", espressioni analoghe sono ricorrenti in vari teorici — penso, ad esempio, a Sergio Panunzio — che le utilizzarono per designare il significato complessivo delle rivoluzioni nazionali che negli anni Venti e Trenta portarono al governo di importanti Stati europei, tra cui l'Italia, governi di ispirazione fascista. Si interessarono direttamente ad Autori riconducibili alla Rivoluzione conservatrice tedesca, Evola. Delio Cantimori, V. Beonio Brocchieri, Lorenzo Giusso e, anche se in chiave critica, Balbino Giuliano e Guido Manacorda.
Nel dopoguerra, nell'ambito della cosiddetta "Cultura di destra", l'attenzione al movimento meta-politico qui considerato, non poteva non passare attraverso la ricostruzione del Mohler. Possiamo ricordare di Stefano Mangiante, La cultura di destra in Germania ("Ordine Nuovo", n. 1-2, 1965) e gli scritti di un altro studioso, anch'esso scomparso prematuramente, ossia di Adriano Romualdi, la cui tesi di laurea discussa con Renzo De Felice, venne pubblicata postuma nel 1981, con il titolo Correnti politiche ed ideologiche della destra tedesca dal 1918 al 1932.
Profondo conoscitore della cultura tedesca, Giorgio Locchi si interessò a più riprese della Rivoluzione conservatrice e di quelli che devono senz'altro essere considerati come i due ispiratori principali di essa: Friedrich Nietzsche e Richard Wagner. Il saggio che qui di seguito viene riproposto, venne pubblicato dal periodico "La Contea" (N° 34). Locchi discusse del libro di Mohler nell'articolo La Rivoluzione conservatrice in Germania, pubblicato ne "La Destra" del gennaio 1974.
MARTIN HEIDEGGER E LA RIVOLUZIONE CONSERVATRICE
Il dibattito sul cosiddetto "caso Heidegger, recentemente ridivampato in Francia e di là un po' ovunque in Europa, ha dimostrato soprattutto questo: che il confronto col pensiero dì Heìdegger costituisce un'imperiosa necessità per chiunque, scevro da illusioni, si interroghi sui fondamentali problemi dei nostri tempi e sul destino delle genti d'Europa. Ma anche va dimostrato che del pensiero di Heìdegger circolano, dominando imperterrite, interpretazioni (sempre fondate su un aspetto particolare, isolato dal generale contesto), che lo stesso Heidegger ha più volte sdegnosamente confutate e rigettate: esistenzialismo, nichilismo, misticismo, pseudo-teologia, "rifiuto della Tecnica" e così via. Chiedersi — cito il titolo di un dibattito televisivo francese — se "esista un legame tra il pensiero di Essere e Tempo (1927) e l'adesione di Heidegger al Partito Nazionalsocialista 1 1933)", chiedersi cioè se esista un legame tra l'analitica heideggeriana dell'esistenza storica delFuomo e la visione del mondo nazionalsocialista, z interrogazione che presuppone una conoscenza genuina e non già un'interpretazione abusiva o pretestuosa del pensiero di Heidegger, così come d'altra parte esige una visione non riduttrice del Nazionalsocialismo e della sua Weltanschauung.
Quel che non cessa dì sorprendere in tutti gli studi dedicati al pensiero di Heidegger è il fatto che, sempre, la seconda conclusiva sezione di Essere e Tempo testo fondamentale, è totalmente ignorata, come "non letta". L'attenzione degli studiosi e degli interpreti si fissa sulla critica heideggeriana della concezione "metafisica" dell'essere come presenza (Anwesenhei) e sul primo approcio ancora puramente descrittivo della fenomenalità del Dasein, allorquando — e non fosse che per davvero comprendere quella critica e penetrare quella enomenalità — dovrebbe soprattutto soffermarsi sulla concezione che Heidegger espone della temporalità del Dasein, dell'esistenza istoriale dell'uomo. La tanto discussa e, dai più, tanto esaltata guanto malcompresa "rottura" con la "Metafisica"
occidentale scaturisce in effetti proprio da questa nuova concezione della temporalità. È questa concezione della temporalità a fondare la visione heideggeriana della storia ed è dunque in essa e a partire da essa che va eventualmente ricercata la natura del rapporto esistente tra il pensiero di Heidegger e la "visione del mondo" nazionalsocialita. Esprimerò subito, per evitare ogni pur comoda ambiguità, la mia convinzione: questa parentela esiste, è quanto mai intima e. nella sua articolazione, spiega l'adesione attiva dell'autore di Essere e Tempo alla NSDAP e la sua fervida partecipazione alle attività del regime su un piano non soltanto universitario (1933-34). L'abbandono del rettorato e di ogni attività politica a partire dalla seconda metà del 1934 coincidono con una evoluzione di pensiero che progressivamente conduce Heidegger, sempre formalmente membro della NSDAP, su posizioni critiche nei confronti del regime: ma la sua critica resta critica all'interno e non comporta mai, neanche nel dopoguerra, la minima concessione alle ideologie democratiche, la minima simpatia per gli avversari del Terzo Reich.
ROTTURA CON LO SPIRITO DELL'OCCIDENTE
La "rottura" di Heidegger col pensiero filosofico tradizionale dell'Occidente, cioè — come egli diceva — con la "Metafisica" occidentale, è stata recepita dalla filosofia cattedratica come un novum clamoroso, come una svolta storica del pensiero europeo. Heidegger stesso lo ha creduto e, si può dire, orgogliosamente proclamato. Ma, di fatto, la sua "rottura" con la Metafisica altro non è, quando è proclamata, che l'aspetto "moderno" di una rottura con lo "spirito dell'Occidente" propria di tutta una corrente dì pensiero emersa nella seconda metà del XIX secolo, corrente che, con riferimento a Nietzsche, possiamo chiamare "tendenza sovrumanista" in opposizione alla bimillenaria tendenza egalitarista che, con il suo inerente inconscio nihilismo, ha conformato e conforma il destino dell'Occidente. Preannunciata in una delle "due anime" viventi nel petto dei Romantici, questa tendenza sovrumanista trova infatti, in rottura con lo spirito dell'Occidente, la sua prima manifestazione storica nell'opera artistica e negli scritti "metapolitici" di Richard Wagner. Dopo Wagner e, pretestuosamente, contra Wagner, Nietzsche rivendica a sé il merito della "rottura", proclamandosi "dinamite della storia", fondatore del movimento che dovrà opporsi al bimillenario nihilismo dell'Occidente giudeo-cristiano. Ereditata ora da Wagner ora da Nietzsche, la rottura investe già all'inizio di questo secolo larghissima parte della cultura tedesca, che Ernst Tròltsch potè così opporre allo "spirito occidentale", e sfocia più tardi, dopo la prima guerra mondiale, non soltanto in Germania ma quasi ovunque in Europa, nelle varie correnti letterarie, artistiche, ideologiche e infine politiche d'una "Rivoluzione Conservatrice", di cui, a dispetto di quanto si vorrebbe far credere, sono parte integrante i vari movimenti fascisti.
Evidentemente ciò che permette di accomunare Wagner e Nietzsche e Heidegger ed i tanti autori e movimenti della "Rivoluzione Conservatrice" (giustificando l'uso di questo termine generico) non è certamente una filosofia, non è una ideologia in senso stretto, bensì — per così dire a monte di "ideologie" o filosofie quanto mai diverse e magari divergenti — un comune sentimento, una comune intuizione dell'uomo, della storia e del mondo, che drasticamente si oppone alla concezione che tradizionalmente fonda e sottende teologie, filosofie, ideologie, strutture politiche del cosiddetto "Occidente". La tendenza sovrumanista, cioè la rottura con la dominante tradizione occidentale, si manifesta sempre come "rivolta contro il mondo moderno", come condanna del nostro presente epocale e volontà di opporsi ad una situazione obbiettiva interpretata come trionfo del "nihilismo" e rovinoso declino dell'Europa. Di qui l'esigenza di una rivoluzione radicale, che peraltro anche è concepita come un rinnovamento delle origini: tratto politicamente essenziale che permet-
te di distinguere nel modo più netto ciò che è Rivoluzione Conservatrice e Fascismo da ciò che è soltanto o "reazione" o "conservatismo" o "progressismo".
UN RINNOVAMENTO DELLE ORIGINI
La visione della storia che da Wagner e Nietzsche fino alla Rivoluzione Conservatrice determina la "rivolta contro il mondo moderno" — come ho gin indicato — trova il suo fondamento in una nuova intuizione dell'uomo, della storia e del mondo. Questa intuizione nuova è, nella sua radice, intuizione della tridimensionalità della temporalità del Dasein, della "istorialità" umana. Armin Mohler. nel suo fondamentale studio sulla Rivoluzione Conservatrice in Germania, ha esaurientemente dimostrato che, alla concezione unidimensionale e "lineare" del tempo, Nietzsche e gli autori conservatori-rivoluzionari oppongono una concezione tridimensionale del tempo-della-storia. A dir vero. parlare a proposito di Nietzsche e di questi autori di una "concezione" della tridimensionalità del tempo è improprio: intuita, la tridimensionalità del tempo, al pari di tutte le "idee" che ne discendono. è affermata non già concettualmente, bensì con ricorso ad un Leitbild suggestivo ed evocatore, ad una "immagine conduttrice", quella della "Sfera" temporale (da non confondere, come quasi sempre avviene, col "cerchio" o "anello", proiezione della Sfera nel tempo unidimensionale della "sensorialità"). Questo ricorso a "immagini" si imponeva — come ha ben visto Mohler — perché il linguaggio ricevuto è, nella sua "razionalità", tutto impregnato della concezione unidimensionale del tempo ed ad essa dunque obbedisce. Un aspetto peculiare della grandezza di Heidegger sta proprio nel suo tentativo, intrapreso con Essere e Tempo, di destrutturare il linguaggio ricevuto e ricreare un linguaggio nuovo al fine, per l'appunto, di concettualizzare la tridimensionalità della temporalità storico-esistenziale, nonché le "idee" che essa immediatamente genera.
Nella misura in cui si constatò incompreso. Heidegger finì col giudicare fallito il tentativo di Essere e Tempo e ripiegò più tardi su una Sage, su un "dire mito-poetico" che, a parer mio, è stato icor più mal compreso, provocando non pochi Iuívoci e abbagli. La novità rivoluzionaria del nguaggio filosofico di Heìdegger spiega vera-lente l'incomprensione che oggi ancora circonda 'argomentazione conclusiva di Essere e Tempo e n particolare — qui potremmo ironicamente innotare: come è logico — il quarto ed ì] quinto capitolo della seconda sezione, rispettivamente dedicati a "Temporalità e Quotidianeità" ed a "Temporalità e Istorialità". Chi peraltro riesce a penetrare il linguaggio di Essere e Tempo e saprà fare propria, eventualmente sviluppandola, la concettualizzazione della temporalità tridimensionale, anche avrà trovato la chiave che meglio di qualsiasi altra permette di comprendere i "discorsi" della Rivoluzione Conservatrice ed i fenomeni politici da questa generati e cioè in primo luogo di comprendere la "razionalità", fondamentalmente diversa da quella della "Metafisica".
LA TEMPORALITÀ COME "SFERA"
Germanico Gallerani (nello scorso numero de "La Contea") ha creduto di poter opporre Heidegger, "uomo rivolto al passato", ad una Konservative Revolution, "rivolta al futuro". È vero l'esatto contrario: è proprio l'identico atteggiamento nei confronti di passato presente e avvenire il "sintomo" più appariscente della loro parentela spirituale. La Rivoluzione Conservatrice è rivoluzione perché "rivolta al futuro" e tuttavia "conservatrice" perché si richiama sempre ad un lontano "passato". Quanto ad Heidegger basti ricordare una sua definizione del Dasein, dell'uomo in quanto esistente istoriale: "un Essente, che nel suo essere è essenzialmente zukúnftig", cioè essenzialmente esistente nella dimensione temporale dell'avvenire. E proprio perché zukiinftig — spiega Heidegger — il Daseín "è cooriginariamente gewesend", esistente nella dimensione della "divenutezza", e "può dunque tramandare a sé stesso una possibilità ereditata e ad essa consegnarsi". Nel quadro della temporalità tridimensionale, della "istorialità", rivendicazione di un passato e progetto d'avvenire coincidono nel modo più intimo.
Il progetto avvenire che il Dasein sceglie nel "passato", contro altre, una possibilità di esistenza istoriale: "Il Daseín — esplicativamente aggiunge Heidegger — sceglie i suoì propri Eroi" e, cioè, sceglie tra le possibilità offerte dal "passato" (Vergangenheit) la sua propria "divenutezza" (Gewesenheit). Conservator-rivoluzionari e fascismi possono così progettare tutti, rivoluzionaria-mente, un "uomo nuovo" e. nondimeno, richiamarsi ad una passata possibilità d'esistenza: alla più lontana "germanità", alla `romanità" repubblicana o imperiale, ad una "cattolicità" confusa con l'origine della nazione e dei suoi antichi istituti imperiali o monarchici. Allo stesso modo, sul terreno puramente filosofico, Wagner si richiama alla ancestrale "religione" indoeuropea (di cui il "cristianesimo originario", "non giudaìzzato". sarebbe secondo lui una semplice evoluzione), Nietzsche ed Heidegger al pensiero pre-socratico ed Evola, drasticamente, ad una originaria "Tradizione" postulata in una nebulosa pre-istoria. La "rivolta contro il mondo moderno", l'assunto rivoluzionario sono determinati dalla natura stessa del "regresso in una passata possibilità d'esistenza istoriale", cioè dalla natura della "ripetizione" (Wiederholung): perché — così Heidegger — "la ri-petizione non intende far ritornare ciò che una volta è stato, bensì piuttosto offre una replica contraddittoria (erwidert) alla passata possibilità di esistenza" ed è così "simultaneamente, in quanto attualità, la revoca di tutto ciò che in quanto passato determina l'Oggí". "La ripetizione nè si affida al passato, nè mira ad un progresso, l'uno e l'altro essendonella attualità indifferenti all'esistenza istoriale". (Traducendo queste concezioni sul terreno della grande politica Martin Heidegger afferma nella sua Introduzione alla Metafisica che il popolo tedesco, "popolo di mezzo preso nella più dura tenaglia [tra America e Russia] e popolo più d'ogni altro minacciato", può realizzare il suo destino istoriale "soltanto laddove sappia creare in se stesso un'eco, una possibilità d'eco per la missione assegnatagli e comprenda creativamente la sua Tradizione" e cioè, "in quanto istoriale esponga, a partire dal centro del suo divenire storico, se stesso e con ciò la storia dell'Occidente nell'originaria regione delle potenze dell'Essere").
UNA "COMUNITÀ DI DESTINO"
L'atteggiamento di Heidegger nei confronti di "passato" e "attualità" ed "avvenire" non soltanto è essenzialmente identico — conforme — a quello della Rivoluzione Conservatrice e dei movimenti fascisti, bensì anche conferisce alla comune visione-della-storia un saldo fondamento concettuale. Quel che nel discorso conservator-rivoluzionario e fascista è ancora soltanto Leitbild, "immagine conduttrice", diviene con Heidegger concetto. Se in questa sede è evidentemente impossibile mostrare come per l'appunto l'analitica heideggeriana dell'esistenza istoriale concettualizzi, fondandosi sul principio della temporalità tridimensionale del Dasein, tutti i Leitbilder, tutte le "immagini conduttrici" della visione-del-mondo della Rivoluzione Conservatrice e dei movimenti fascisti, mi sembra nondimeno opportuno mettere qui in luce la traduzione concettuale che Heidegger offre di un Leitbild quanto mai rilevante, quello della "comunità di destino", ritrovata a seconda delle correnti o nel "popolo" o nella "nazione" o nella "razza" (questa a sua volta assai diversamente intesa).
E la temporalità tridimensionale dell'esistenza —afferma Heidegger — a "rendere possibile l'istorialità autentica, cioè quel che chiamiamo destino istoriale". Poiché il Dasein, in quanto essere-almondo, è anche co-essere, essere-con-Altri, ìl destino (Schicksal) di un Dasein è anche sempre Geschick, commesso destino comune, "la (cui) forza si libera grazie alla comunicazione ed alla lotta". Ora il "destino" scaturisce da una scelta istoriale pro-veniente dalla dimensione avvenire del Dasein: e nella comunicazione e nella lotta si riconoscono un comune destino coloro che hanno compiuto un'identica scelta istoriale e ad essa restano risolutamente fedeli. Ogni scelta istoriale implica però sempre la "ri-petizione", la "replica a una passata possibilità dell'esistenza istoriale" e, insieme, un "progetto d'avvenire". La "comunità di destino" si rivela dunque essa stessa costituita da una scelta istoriale (che è selettiva e che dunque può essere giudicata non-umanista da un punto di vista egalítarista). Questo significa che nazione popolo razza, in quanto comunità riconosciuta di
destino, se sempre costituiscono una replica contraddittoria (Erwiderung) della passata possibilità d'esistenza su cui si è portata la scelta istoriale, d'altro lato sempre hanno natura "pro-gettuale" e, nel presente oggettivo, restano un "da farsi", una "missione". La prassi politica dei regimi fascisti implica così una "disciplina selettiva" (Zucht, in tedesco) per l'appunto intesa a conformare il "materiale umano" dell'Oggi all'idea di nazione o popolo o razza scaturente dalla scelta istoriale compiuta. (In questo senso i fascismi sono "azione cui è immanente un pensiero" sempreché per pensiero si intendano insieme "ri-petizione" [nel senso che Heidegger dà a questo termine] e "progetto"). Altamente significativa e profonda è in questo contesto la distinzione che Heidegger introduce in Essere e Tempo fra "Tradition" e "Ueberlieferung", cioè — potremmo tradurre - fra "tradizione subita" e "tradizione scelta". "La tradizione — afferma Heidegger in Essere e Tempo — priva di radici l'istorialità del Dasein", essa "cela e addirittura fa dimenticare la sua stessa origine". La "Ueberlieferung", per contro, si fonda "espressamente sulla conoscenza dell'origine delle possibilità d'esistenza istoriale" e consiste nella "scelta" di una di queste possibilità, scelta che sempre proviene dalla dimensione avvenire del nostro Dasein. Solo una concezione del genere riesce a conciliare fedeltà alla tradizione e assunto rivoluzionario teso alla creazione di un "uomo nuovo".
IL "RETTORE DEI RETTORI"
Mohler, nel già citato saggio sulla Rivoluzione Conservatrice in Germania, mette espressamente tra parentesi il Nazionalsocialismo. Egli indica nondimeno che le correnti della Rivoluzione Conservatrice oggetto del suo studio vanno considerate "come i trotzkisti del Nazional socialismo". Implicitamente egli situa così il nazionalsocialismo al centro stesso della Rivoluzione Conservatrice così come dopo di lui ha fatto il marxista Jean-Pierre Faye (da non confondere col neo-destrista Guillaume Faye), che vede in Hitler "l'ospite muto" che accoglie in sé i discorsi che gli provengono dalla Destra e dalla Sinistra della Rivoluzione Conservatrice, tacitamente li sintetizza e, subito, li trasforma in azione. Conto tenuto di ciò e di quanto è stato precedentemente esposto, mi sembra ovvio affermare — così abbordando l'aspetto più concreto del dibattito suscitato dal libro di Farias — che lo Heidegger di Essere e Tempo va situato al centro del vasto campo della Rivoluzione Conservatrice e dunque su una posizione assai vicina a quella del movimento nazionalsocialita, quand'anche — inutile precisarlo - filosoficamente più "alta". Che dunque, al contrario di molti esponenti della Destra e della Sinistra della Rivoluzione Conservatrice, Heidegger non abbia scelto nel 1933 un settario distacco ed abbia invece prontamente aderito alla NSDAP ed attivamente partecipato poi per quasi due anni ad attività non soltanto politiche del regime, tutto ciò è non già frutto d'un abbaglio, d'una speranza mal riposta, del "fascino" subito nel contesto di un conturbante momento storico, bensì è frutto di una coerenza col proprio stesso pensiero e con le idee politiche a questo pensiero inerenti. Ciò non significa che nel 1933 tutte le idee politiche di Heidegger coincidano esattamente con quelle manifestate del discorso del nazionalsocialismo. È tuttavia evidente che, agli occhi di Heidegger, le differenze non investono l'essenziale: e — val la pena di osservare — neanche l'antisemitismo da sempre iscritto nel programma del partito fa ostacolo all'adesione.
L'evoluzione successiva ( a partire dalla seconda metà del 1934) dell'atteggiamento di Heidegger nei confronti del regime è certo avviata da contingenze umane, ma trova la sua causa profonda in una evoluzione di pensiero, quella stessa che indusse Heidegger ad abbandonare il "cammino" di Essere e Tempo, la cui annunciata seconda parte non fu dunque mai scritta. Lo Heidegger di Essere e Tempo aveva veduto nel movimento nazionalsocialista la traduzione politica dell'auspicata fine della Metafisica, cioè un sovvertimento della tradizione occidentale ed un superamento del nihilismo. Probabilmente egli si attendeva pertanto che il suo pensiero fosse riconosciuto dal regime come "filosofia del movimento". Avversato da altri universitari nazisti come il Krieck, protetti da
Rosenberg, Heidegger dovette abbandonare ogni speranza di imporre le sue idee in campo educativo e di divenire, come ad un certo momento era sembrato possibile, il "rettore dei rettori" delle Università germaniche. Nel 1935, un anno dopo le dimissioni dal rettorato, nel suo corso di introduzione alla Metafisica, egli ancora rivendicava al proprio pensiero, contro le varie "filosofie dei valori" alla Krieck, l'autentica comprensione della "intima verità e grandezza del movimento" nazionalsocialista, ritrovata "nell'incontro fra la Tecnica segnata da un destino planetario e l'uomo dei tempi nuovi". In questo stesso corso anche si annunciava però una critica del regime, che troverà in seguito la sua più compiuta seppur "cifrata" formulazione nella lettera Zur Seinsfrage (Sul problema dell'Essere) indirizzata a Ernst Jiinger nel 1953. È una critica — sia detto subito — che a mio avviso non situa Heidegger fuori dal vasto spazio della Rivoluzione Conservatrice. bensì - quanto meno nella trasparente intenzione dello stesso Heidegger — al di là dell'oggi in un "avvenire", che apparirà infine precluso alla volontà umana e potrà semmai soltanto essere concesso da "un dio".
SOLO UN "DIO" CI POTRÀ SALVARE
La "posizione" politica assunta dall'ultimo Heidegger deve essere messa in relazione con la sua interpretazione del pensiero di Nietzsche, la quale anche coinvolge la Rivoluzione Conservatrice (Jiinger) ed il movimento nazionalsocialista. Allo stesso modo in cui l'ultimo Nietzsche, dopo aver esaltato l'opera di Wagner, aveva voluto vedere in essa non già la promessa di una "rigenerazione" del mondo e della storia, bensì il "colmo della decadenza" ed una "fine", Heidegger ritiene fallito il tentativo nietzschiano di "dinamitare la storia" e "superare il nihilismo" occidentale. Secondo Heidegger, Nietzsche avrebbe il merito incontestabile di avere per primo "scoperto" e denunciato il "nihilsmo" della cultura occidentale, ma del nihilsmo non avrebbe saputo individuare la causa, situata a torto nel sovvertimento platonico-cristiano del "valori" anzichè nel-
l'oblio dell'Essere. Il pensiero di Nietzsche non costituirebbe dunque un superamento (Verwindung) della Metafisica, bensì capovolgerebbe la Metafisica stessa, portandola al suo ultimo compimento. Questa critica — non va dimenticato — ha un risvolto apologetico: in quanto ultima, più compiuta forma del metafisico oblio dell'Essere, il pensiero di Nietzsche costituisce nel giudizio di Heidegger un "passaggio obbligato", una ineludibile "necessità" sul cammino che potrebbe condurre al superamento della Metafisica e del nihilismo.
Nella citata lettera Zur Seinsfrage Heidegger proietta questa sua critica di Nietzsche sul "Lavoratore" jungeriano, interpretato come la moderna configurazione della Volontà-di-Potenza inerente al progetto di Nietzsche, e — non senza una segreta ironia nei confronti di Ernst Jiinger —sul regime nazionalsocialista in quanto realizzazione del progetto inerente al "Lavoratore" jùngeriano: ma questo anche significa che agli occhi di Heidegger la forma politica nazionalsocialista, in
quanto traduzione del capovolgimento nietzscheniano della Metafisica; supera storicamente la forma delle democrazie liberali o socio-comuniste. (Ovverosia, per dirla nel sinistrese di un LacoueLabarthe [cfr.: La Fiction da Politiquel: "Il nazismo è per Heidegger un umanismo che riposa su una determinazione dell'humanitas più possente di quella su cui riposa la democrazia, pensiero ufficiale del capitalismo, cioè del nihilismo secondo cui tutto vale").
Ai fini del dibattito aperto dal libro di Farias, poco importa qui la convinzione degli uni o degli altri che l'interpretazione di Heidegger costituisca o non costituisca una falsificazione del pensiero e della "posizione" di Nietzsche. Importante a questi fini è la spiegazione che essa offre dell'atteggiamento assunto da Heidegger nel dopoguerra e di quel suo "silenzio" che tanto esaspera il pretesto imperante "umanismo", proprio perché sostanzia un rifiuto di condannare chi, nel confronto coi suoi avversari, appare incondannabile.
vendredi, 25 mai 2012
“Le Complexe de Narcisse”, recension de l’ouvrage de C. Lasch
par Guillaume FAYE
« Partout, la société bourgeoise semble avoir épuisé sa réserve d’idées créatrices (…) La crise politique du capitalisme reflète une crise générale de la culture occidentale. Le libéralisme (…) a perdu la capacité d’expliquer les événements dans un monde où règnent l’État-Providence et les sociétés multinationales et rien ne l’a remplacé. En faillite sur le plan politique, le libéralisme l’est tout autant sur le plan intellectuel ».
Ce diagnostic porté par Christopher Lasch, l’un des observateurs les plus lucides de l’actuelle société américaine, donne le ton du réquisitoire qu’il a fait paraitre contre la mentalité et l’idéologie décadente des sociétés bourgeoises, sous le titre de The Culture of Narcissism (en traduction française, Le complexe de Narcisse). Dans cet essai, Lasch s’efforce de donner une description aussi précise que possible d’une « nouvelle sensibilité américaine » que l’on retrouve aujourd’hui, plus ou moins atténuée ou déformée, dans la plupart des pays industriels. Conclusion générale de son analyse l’individualisme traditionnel propre à l’idéologie libérale ne se traduit plus aujourd’hui, contrairement à ce qui se passait encore dans les années 60, par une politisation de l’opinion ou une radicalisation de la recherche du bien-être économique, mais par un repli radical sur le “moi” individuel. Ce repli correspond à la poursuite effrénée du “bonheur intérieur”. L’homme contemporain part à la recherche de lui-même, sans illusions politiques, mû par une angoisse qu’il tente d’apaiser par un recours systématique à toutes les formes de sécurité. C’est le triomphe de Narcisse.
Passant en revue l’évolution de la littérature, du système d’éducation, des médias de masse et du discours politique, C. Lasch dresse ainsi la “géographie” d’un narcissisme contemporain dans lequel il n’est pas éloigné de voir, à juste titre, le stade ultime du déclin d’une civilisation.
L’« invasion de la société par le moi » produit, dit-il, une course sans limites vers la « sécurité physique et psychique ». Équivalant à une existence menée dans un perpétuel présent, elle interdit « tout sens de la continuité historique ». Les modes “psy”, les obsessions sexuelles étalées dans le discours public, la frénésie des “expérimentations personnelles”, le désintérêt pour le travail, “l’égotisme” d’une famille nucléaire essentiellement consommatrice, la “théâtralisation de l’existence”, le mimétisme vis-à-vis des “vedettes” de la scène ou de la chanson, sont autant de traits caractéristiques du narcissisme.
« Cette concentration sur soi définit (…) le mouvement de la nouvelle conscience », note Lasch, qui ajoute : « La recherche de son propre accomplissement a remplacé la conquête de la nature et de nouvelles frontières ». Sur le plan politique, un tel comportement s’observe à gauche aussi bien qu’à droite. La gauche était d’ailleurs, depuis longtemps, acquise à une idéologie de refus de la vie-comme-combat. La droite, elle, a peu à peu été gagnée aux valeurs de la pensée rationnelle, calculatrice et bourgeoise. La fuite devant la lutte aboutit ainsi à un psychisme « misérabiliste », que Lasch décrit en ces termes : l’homme « est hanté, non par la culpabilité, mais par l’anxiété (…) Il se sent en compétition avec tout le monde pour l’obtention des faveurs que dispense l’État paternaliste. Sur le plan de la sexualité (…) son émancipation des anciens tabous ne lui apporte pas la paix (…) Il répudie les idéologies fondées sur la rivalité, en honneur à un stade antérieur du développement capitaliste. Il exige une gratification immédiate et vit dans un état de désir inquiet et perpétuellement inassouvi ».
L’origine de ce « complexe de Narcisse », état psychologique ultime de la mentalité individualiste, est à rechercher dans la décomposition d’une société qui, fondée sur l’égalité et l’autonomie individuelle, s’est peu à peu transformée en jungle sociale. « La culture de l’individualisme compétitif est une manière de vivre qui est en train de mourir — note à ce propos C. Lasch. Celle-ci, dans sa décadence, a poussé la logique de l’individualisme jusqu’à l’extrême de la guerre de tous contre tous, et la poursuite du bonheur jusqu’à l’impasse d’une obsession narcissique de l’individu pour lui-même. La stratégie de la survie narcissique (…) donne naissance à une « révolution culturelle qui reproduit les pires traits de cette même civilisation croulante qu’elle prétend critiquer (…) La personnalité autoritaire n’est plus le prototype de l’homme économique. Ce dernier a cédé la place à l’homme psychologique de notre temps — dernier avatar de l’individualisme bourgeois ».
Soumis aux “experts” et dominé par les psychiatres, l’homme contemporain s’est donc anxieusement lancé à la poursuite de son “moi”. Démobilisé dans ses instances profondes, imperméable à toute visée politique de longue durée, inapte à la compréhension d’un destin collectif, indifférent à l’histoire, il planifie, comme un comptable, l’obtention de son bonheur intime. Ce dernier, jusqu’à la fin des années 60, se confondait avec la réussite matérielle et le bien-être du confort domestique. C’était l’époque de la deuxième “révolution industrielle”, animée par une idéologie de la compétition individuelle et caractérisée par l’accession massive des classes moyennes au standing de la bourgeoisie aisée. Mais aujourd’hui, l’idée de bonheur a pris une autre résonance. Elle a dépassé sa connotation purement matérielle pour se doter d’une portée “psychologique”. Il s’agit maintenant de sécuriser son “moi”, de “partir à la recherche de soi-même”, sur la base d’une introspection presque pathologique. À la quête du bonheur économique, dont les limites apparaissent désormais clairement, s’ajoute la recherche du “bonheur intérieur”. L’idéal mercantile du bien-être petit-bourgeois conserve sa vigueur, mais il ne suffit plus à étancher la soif de l’homme contemporain. Celui-ci veut accéder à la “félicité psychique”. Il se tourne vers une série d’utopies nouvelles. L’État-Providence est là pour lui promettre la “bonne vie” sans le stress, le maximum de droits avec le minimum de devoirs, le confort à peu de frais, la prospérité matérielle dans la quiétude du “moi”.
Toutefois, les gourous du mieux-vivre, s’ils ont rejeté les valeurs de compétition et de risque, n’ont pas abandonné pour autant les aspirations matérialistes de la bourgeoisie traditionnelle. Narcisse, obsédé par son désir d’apaiser ses “tensions” psychologiques, de réaliser ses “pulsions” libidinales, n’entame pas une critique sur le fond de la société de consommation. Il veut l’abondance, mais sans avoir à se battre pour l’obtenir ; la richesse, mais sans effort, et, en plus, la plénitude sexuelle et l’apaisement de ses conflits quotidiens.
L’impossibilité évidente de satisfaire en même temps ces exigences contradictoires donne à la mentalité narcissique une conscience à la fois infantile et douloureuse. Plus l’individu se replie sur lui-même, plus il se découvre des “problèmes” nouveaux et insolubles. La recherche du bonheur débouche sur une angoisse qui n’est plus regardée comme un défi, mais comme une menace. La nouvelle bourgeoisie narcissique est une classe fragile, inquiète, hypersensible, superficielle, instable.
Une autre cause du narcissisme contemporain, qui « recroqueville le moi vers un état primaire et passif dans lequel le monde n’est ni crée ni formé », réside dans la permissivité sociale et la bureaucratisation. La permissivité détruit les normes de conduite collectives. Loin de libérer, elle isole. Elle fait exploser le sens. Privé du cadre éducatif et des institutions hérités, l’individu ne sait plus comment se comporter. Il s’en remet alors ans injonctions éphémères que lui distillent les médias, la publicité, les “manuels” d’éducation sexuelle, etc. Les conseils (intéressés) des magazines ou de la télévision se substituent à l’expérience intériorisée de la tradition familiale ou communautaire. Les règles de vie ne sont plus trouvées que par fragments ou par accident, dans le champ anonyme et frustrant du “discours public”. Le “surmoi” social s’est effondré. Les normes de comportement, auxquelles nulle société n’échappent, ne proviennent plus que des structures dominantes, économiques et techniques, de la société, Privé d’autodiscipline, puisqu’il n’intériorise pas les règles sociales, l’individu se heurte brutalement aux interdits socio-économiques qu’il découvre en arrivant à l’âge adulte : règles bureaucratiques, pratiques bancaires, impératifs commerciaux, etc. Élevé dans le mythe d’une “liberté” formelle, il supporte de moins en moins bien ces contraintes et réagit en se renfermant d’autant plus sur lui-même.
La bureaucratisation des activités sociales accentue la tendance. Déchargeant les hommes des soucis de la lutte quotidienne, elle donne aux hommes l’illusion de l’irresponsabilité. L’individu se découvre étranger à ceux qui l’entourent, à ceux qui partagent son existence quotidienne et à qui, désormais, plus rien ne le lie. La mentalité d’assistance, le recours perpétuel à des “droits” que rien ne vient plus fonder, la sécurisation de la vie privée par la bureaucratisation de l’État-Providence décharge l’individu de son rôle actif. Que lui reste-t-il à faire alors, puisque rien ne l’attache plus aux autres, sinon à se passionner pour lui-même ?
Le déclin des idéaux révolutionnaires et du marxisme orthodoxe a fait perdre l’espoir d’une transformation radicale de la société. L‘idéologie égalitaire a reporté ses visées dans le domaine des contre-pouvoirs insignifiants et des micro-aménagements quotidiens. L’égalitarisme ne laisse plus entrevoir de “paradis social”, mais seulement des “paradis individuels”. L’utopie du bonheur s’affaiblit sur le plan collectif et se rétracte au niveau intime et personnel. Nous en sommes à l’ère, prévue (et voulue) par l’École de Francfort, des “révolutions minuscules”.
La “fin de l’histoire”, elle aussi, est recherchée sur le plan individuel après l’avoir usé sur le plan social et collectif, Même la société “bonheurisée” et privée de véritable histoire politique que nous connaissons actuellement apparaît comme trop astreignante. Elle ne constitue pas encore un refuge suffisamment sécurisant contre le stress. Elle n’endort pas encore assez. L’individu, en se repliant sur sa sphère psychique, prend mentalement sa retraite dès l’âge de 20 ans. La société n’entend plus sortir directement de l’histoire ; c’est l’individu qui se retire de la société.
Oublieuse de toute notion de continuité historique, de toute perception dense des liens sociaux, la société narcissique incite à vivre pour soi-même et à n’exister que dans l’instant. Tel est d’ailleurs le sens de la plupart des messages publicitaires. Tel est aussi le “discours” distillé à longueur de temps par des magazines, de plus en plus nombreux, qui se spécialisent dans la résolution “catégorielle” des problèmes individuels (parents, enfants, jeunes femmes, amateurs de vidéo, etc.) et l’étude “micro-dimensionnelle” de la vie quotidienne. Dans cette recherche, nulle place n’est laissée à l’accomplissement personnel dans le sens d’un style aristocratique ou d’un dépassement de soi. On en reste aux fantasmes stéréotypes, à la planification “micro-procédurière”, à l’introspection complaisante d’un “moi” de plus en plus étiolé. « La survie individuelle est maintenant le seul bien », observe C. Lasch. Le XXIe siècle, à ce rythme, ne sera pas un siècle religieux, mais un siècle thérapeutique.
Dans cette perspective, le culte de la fausse intimité, l’intensification artificiel le des rapports subjectifs, la simplification primitiviste des “rituels” de séduction et d’approche, constituent des formes maladroites de compensation par rapport au cynisme social et à l’absence de valeurs partagées. L’existence de liens entre l’individu et des valeurs de type communautaire reste en effet une nécessité inéluctable dans toute société, quand bien même la conscience individuelle les refuse. Les liens affectifs individuels demeurent insuffisants pour donner aux individus un sens à leur existence. Ainsi, paradoxalement, la vague actuelle de “sentimentalité” qui tend à isoler l’individu à l’intérieur du couple, et le couple à l’intérieur de l’ensemble de la société, débouche sur la mort de toute affection authentique et sur la fragilisation des rapports d’union. L’amour comme l’amitié, pour être durables, doivent s’insérer dans un cadre plus large que celui défini par leurs protagonistes immédiats. Or, c’est cette dimension communautaire que le “narcissisme” attaque dans ses racines. Lorsque l’individu ne peut plus ni percevoir ni “idéaliser” le groupe, la cité, la communauté à laquelle il appartient, il est obligatoirement conduit à intensifier ses rapports infimes de façon si hypertrophique qu’il finit en fait par les détruire. C’est ainsi, par ex., que la vague récente de “néoromantisme”, évoquée par Edouard Shorter (Naissance de la famille moderne, Seuil, 1979), ne débouche pas sur l’amour, mais sur l’égotisme et sur l’obsession de soi.
De même, les fausses expérimentations vitales, qui ne reposent sur aucune habitude culturelle, sur aucun besoin intériorisé, dépersonnalisent l’individu au lieu de le recentrer, le “débranchent” en quelque sorte du monde vécu sans lui fournir “l’autre dimension” souhaitée. N’ayant pas trouvé le bonheur dans la consommation matérielle et le confort économique, la nouvelle bourgeoisie “narcissique” tente de l’atteindre dans une consommation de “produits spirituels”, dont la qualité laisse, évidemment, fort à désirer. Les États-Unis, et plus spécialement la sphère “californienne”, sont particulièrement en pointe dans ce style d’entreprises, dont certains essaient de nous persuader qu’elles constituent la naissance d’une nouvelle culture ou la source possible d’un renouveau de la spiritualité.
La description que donne C. Lasch est convaincante de bout en bout. Pourtant, Lasch semble ne pas tirer toutes les conclusions de son propos, probablement parce qu’il se trouve lui-même immergé dans une société américaine dont il n’ose pas remettre en cause les idéaux fondateurs (dont le “narcissisme” est pourtant l’aboutissement). C’est pourquoi il propose, de façon assez peu crédible un retour à des valeurs anciennes auxquels il n’envisage à aucun moment de donner un nouveau fondement. (Certains pourront voir là un essai de réactivation du puritanisme américain traditionnel).
Ce n’est pourtant pas, à notre avis, dans un quelconque “ordre moral” que réside la solution au “mal de vivre” de Narcisse. La solution ne peut procéder d’une manipulation sociale, d’une transformation des institutions, d’une évolution mécanique des codes sociaux ou d’un discours purement moral, Pour en finir avec “l’idéologie de la compassion” et la mentalité de “l’avoir-droit narcissique”, toute attitude répressive ou, au contraire, de simple lamentation, ne peut que se révéler sans effet. Seuls peuvent mobiliser les individus en tant que parties intégrantes d’un peuple, des projets d’essence politique et culturelle, fondés sur des valeurs (et des contre-valeurs) entièrement opposées à celles qui ont présidé à la naissance de la “république universelle” des États-Unis d’Amérique. Ce n’est pas, bien entendu, d’outre-Atlantique, que l’on peut les attendre.
◘ Le complexe de Narcisse : La nouvelle sensibilité américaine, traduit par Michel Landa, Robert Laffont, coll. Libertés 2000, 1981. [Version remaniée : La Culture du narcissisme, Champs-Flam, 2006]
► Guillaume Faye, Nouvelle École n°37, 1982.
La beauté de l'imperfection...
Les éditions Arléa viennent de publier Les Lieux et la poussière - Sur la beauté de l'imperfection, un essai de Roberto Peregalli, dans lequel il dénonce la laideur froide et sans défaut de l'habitat moderne. Architecte milanais, Roberto Peregalli a suivi des études de philosophie et a été influencé par sa lecture d'Heidegger. Il est déjà l'auteur d'un essai intitulé La cuirasse brodée (Le Promeneur, 2009).
"Les Lieux et la poussière est un essai en douze chapitres sur la beauté et la fragilité. La beauté de notre monde périssable, la fragilité des choses et des vies, la nostalgie qui habite les objets etles lieux.
Roberto Peregalli voit les façades des maisons comme des visages. Il regarde le blanc, le verre, ou la lumière des temples, descathédrales, de la pyramide du Louvre. Il dénonce l’effroi provoqué par le gigantisme et l’inadaptation de l’architecture moderne, la violence de la technologie. Il s’attarde sur le langage et la splendeur des ruines, de la patine et et de la pénombre. Il dénonce l’incurie de l’homme quant à son destin.
Roberto Peregalli nous renvoie à notre condition de mortel. Il nous rappelle combien tout est fragile dans notre être et notre façon d’être. Combien tout est poussière. Combien nous oublions de prendre soin de nous dans notre rapport aux choses et au monde.
Son texte a la force soudaine de ces objets qu’on retrouve un jour au fond d’un tiroir et qui disent de façon déchirante et immédiate tout ce que nous sommes, et que nous avons perdu.
À la façon de Tanizaki, dans Éloge de l’ombre, il dévoile avec sensibilité et intelligence l’effondrement de valeurs qui sont les nôtres et qui méritent d’être en permanence repensées et préservées."
mercredi, 23 mai 2012
La boussole s’est rompue
par Costanzo PREVE
On ne peut décemment demander au marin de partir en mer sans compas, surtout lorsque le ciel est couvert et que l’on ne peut s’orienter par les étoiles. Mais qu’arrive-t-il, si l’on croit que le compas fonctionne, alors qu’il est falsifié par un aimant invisible placé dessous ? Eh bien, voilà une métaphore assez claire de notre situation présente.
En Italie, avec le gouvernement Monti, les choses sont devenues à la fois plus claires et plus obscures. Plus claires, parce qu’il est bien évident que la décision politique démocratique (dans son ensemble, de gauche, du centre, de droite) a été vidée de tout contenu; et que nous sommes devant une situation que n’avaient jamais imaginée les manuels d’histoire des doctrines politiques (bien évident : du moins pour ces deux pour cent de bipèdes humains qui entendent faire usage de la liberté de leur intelligence; je ne tiendrai pas compte ici des quatre-vingt dix-huit pour cent restant).
En bref, nous sommes devant une dictature d’économistes, à légitimation électorale référendaire indirecte et formelle. Il est évident que cette dictature s’exerce pour le compte de quelqu’un, mais ce serait se tromper que de trop « anthropomorphiser » ce quelqu’un : les riches, les capitalistes, les banquiers, les Américains, etc. Cette dictature d’économistes est au service d’une entité impersonnelle (que Marx aurait qualifiée de « sensiblement suprasensible »), qui est la reproduction en forme « spéculative » de la forme historique actuelle du mode de production capitaliste (1). À ce point de vue, les choses sont claires.
Ce qui n’est pas clair du tout, et même obscur, c’est la manière dont cette junte d’économistes peut « conduire l’Italie hors de la crise ». Elle est au service exclusif de créanciers internationaux; son unique horizon est la dette. La logique du modèle néo-libéral consiste à « délocaliser » de Faenza jusqu’en Serbie la fabrication des chaussures Omca, afin de pouvoir payer les ouvrier deux cents euros.
Dans cette situation, le maintien du clivage Droite/Gauche n’est plus seulement une erreur théorique. C’est potentiellement un crime politique.
Dernièrement, je suis resté ébahi en lisant un tract du groupuscule La Gauche critique. Je ne comprenais même pas pourquoi, et puis tout d’un coup j’ai cru comprendre. Le terme même de « gauche critique » est une contradiction, puisque le présupposé principal et très essentiel de toute critique, sans lequel le terme de « critique » perd tout son sens, est justement le dépassement de cette dichotomie « Droite/Gauche ». On ne peut plus être à la fois critiques, et de gauche; non plus que de droite, ce qui revient au même.
Je viens de renvoyer au dernier livre de Diego Fusaro. Dans cette histoire philosophique du capitalisme, depuis ses origines au XVIe siècle jusqu’à aujourd’hui, ces deux petits mots, Droite et Gauche, n’apparaissent absolument jamais, par ce fait tout simple et nu que la mondialisation capitaliste, et la dictature des économistes qui nécessairement en est la forme, a entièrement vidé ces catégories de leur sens. Norberto Bobbio (2) pouvait encore en parler en toute bonne foi, en un temps où existait encore une souveraineté monétaire de l’État national, et où les partis de « gauche » pouvaient appliquer des politiques économiques de redistribution plus généreuses que celle des partis « de droite ». Mais aujourd’hui, avec la globalisation néo-libérale, le discours de Bobbio ne correspond plus à la réalité.
Il y a, bien sûr, un problème, du moment que la dictature « neutre » des économistes a cependant toujours besoin d’être légitimée constitutionnellement par des élections, fussent-elles vides de tout sens de décision. C’est donc ici que se met en scène une comédie à l’italienne; personnages : la « gauche responsable » : Bersani, D’Alema, Veltroni, tout le communisme togliattien recyclé; le bouffon qui fait la parade, Vendola, dont on sait bien a priori que ses suffrages iront de toute façon au Parti démocrate (3); les « témoins du bon vieux temps » Diliberto et Ferrero, dont les suffrages iront toujours au même Parti démocrate, sous le prétexte du péril raciste, fasciste, populiste, etc.; les petits partis à préfixe téléphonique (respectivement Pour la refondation de la IVe internationale bolchevique, Refondateurs communistes), de Turigliatto et Ferrando, fidèles au principe olympique « L’important n’est pas de vaincre, mais de participer »; enfin, les « Témoins de Jéhovah » du communisme (Lutte communiste), dans l’attente du réveil du bon géant salvifique, la classe ouvrière et salariée mondiale (4).
L’idéal serait que, selon la fiction du romancier portugais José Saramago, personne n’allât plus voter; je souligne : personne. Si personne n’allait plus voter, la légitimation formelle de la dictature des économistes s’écroulerait. Le magicien capitaliste trouverait encore le moyen de tirer un nouveau lapin de son chapeau, mais on s’amuserait bien en attendant. Hélas ! Cela est un rêve irréalisable. La machine Attrape-couillons est trop efficace pour qu’on la laisse tomber en désuétude.
Et pourtant, la solution pourrait bien être à la portée de la main : une nouvelle force politique radicalement critique à l’égard du capitalisme libériste mondialisé, et tout à fait étrangère au clivage Droite/Gauche. Une force politique qui laisse tomber tous les projets de « refondation du communisme » (la pensée de Marx est encore vivante, mais le communisme historique est mort), et qui retrouve plutôt des inspirations solidaristes et communautaires (5). En théorie, c’est l’œuf de Christophe Colomb; en théorie, il faudra encore plusieurs décennies, à moins d’improbables accélérations imprévues de l’histoire, pour que l’on comprenne bien que la boussole est hors d’usage, et que « droite » et « gauche » ne sont plus désormais que des espèces de panneaux de signalisation routière.
Et c’est ici que je vais donner l’occasion à tous les scorpions, araignées, et vipères de m’accuser : « Preve fasciste ! ». Il est vrai que, si l’on a peur de briser les tabous, mieux vaut se reposer et lire des romans policiers.
Voici : un cher ami français vient de m’envoyer le livre qu’a écrit Marine Le Pen (6). Je sais déjà qu’on va parler d’une astucieuse manœuvre d’infiltration populiste par l’éternel fascisme; mais ce livre, lisez-le, au moins. Il est étonnant. Moi, il ne m’étonne pas, puisque je connais bien la dialectique de Hegel, l’unité des contraires, et la logique du développement tant de la gauche que de la droite depuis une vingtaine d’années.
Voyons cela. À la page 135, Marine Le Pen écrit : « Je n’ai pour ma part aucun état d’âme à le dire : le clivage entre la gauche et la droite n’existe plus. Il brouille même la compréhension des enjeux réels de notre époque ». Je vois que ses principales références philosophiques dont deux penseurs « de gauche » : Bourdieu et Michéa (p. 148). Je vois que Georges Marchais, ce représentant du vieux communisme français, est cité, favorablement. Plus de Pétain ni de Vichy. Sarkozy est condamné tant pour sa politique extérieure au service des États-Unis que pour sa politique intérieure qui aggrave l’inégalité sociale. Sur la question du marché, sa principale référence théorique est Polanyi (p. 26). Le non français à la guerre d’Irak de 2003 est revendiqué (p. 37). Marx est cité (p. 61); le grand économiste Maurice Allais est souvent cité, pour soutenir l’incompatibilité du marché et de la démocratie. Mais surtout, j’y ai retrouvé avec plaisir ce qui me séduisait dans le communisme des années soixante, à savoir que la parlotte polémique à courte portée marche derrière, et non devant : le livre commence par un long chapitre intitulé, à la française « Le mondialisme n’est pas un humanisme ». La globalisation est très justement qualifiée d’« horizon de renoncement », et il y est réaffirmé que « l’empire du Bien est avant tout dans nos têtes », ce qui est vrai.
Je pourrais continuer. Je sais que j’ai donné aux vipères et aux scorpions une belle occasion de m’outrager; et c’est ce qui va arriver.
Mais pour moi, tout ce que je veux, en réalité, c’est faire réfléchir.
Pour comprendre ce que sont aujourd’hui la Droite et la Gauche, nul besoin de s’adresser à des défenseurs « idéal-typiques » de la fameuse dichotomie, en termes de valeurs éternelles et de catégories de l’Esprit, comme un Marco Revelli. Il suffit de lire des défenseurs du système comme Antonio Polito (dans le Corriere della sera, 25 février 2012). Polito dit ouvertement que la compétition politique peut désormais avoir lieu dans le seul cadre, tenu pour définitif, de l’économie globalisée; que tout le reste, du pitre Nichi Vendola (Mouvement pour la gauche) à Forza Nuova (d’« extrême droite »), n’est qu’agitation insignifiante; que cela est notre destin.
Que proposent donc les « gauches » encore en activité, d’Andrea Catone à Giacche et à Brancaccio ? Une relance du keynesisme et de la dépense publique en déficit, à l’intérieur de l’Union européenne ? Une nouvelle mise en garde après tant d’autres contre la menace du racisme, de la Ligue du Nord, du populisme ? Une « alter-globalisation à visage humain » ? À présent que le Grand Putassier n’occupe plus le devant de la scène, avec quoi va-t-on continuer à fanatiser comme des supporters de foot le « peuple de gauche » ?
Si on lit le dossier « Chine 2020 » de la Banque mondiale, récemment présenté à Pékin, on verra que la dictature des économistes s’étend sur le monde entier. Aujourd’hui, la révolution n’est pas mûre; elle n’est à l’ordre du jour ni selon sa variante stalinienne (Rizzo), ni selon sa variante trotskiste (Ferrando). Ni même le réformisme, puisque le réformisme suppose la souveraineté de l’État national. Et il y en a encore qui jouent comme des enfants avec la panoplie du petit fasciste contre le petit communiste ? Ou du petit communiste contre le petit fasciste ? Aujourd’hui, l’ennemi, c’est la dictature des économistes néo-libéraux. Avec ceux-ci, pas de compromis ! Voilà le premier pas. Si on le fait, on pourra faire les suivants.
Deux mots encore à propos de la manie du vote compulsif.
Il est probable que l’américanisation intégrale et radicale, bien plus grave encore que l’européisme, que va apporter le gouvernement Monti, produise une diminution de la participation électorale des Italiens, qui depuis 1945 a toujours atteint des niveaux délirants. Cette compulsion électoraliste, qui est évidente chez les personnes âgées, était liée à l’opposition Démocratie chrétienne/Parti communiste; elle s’est prolongée, par inertie, au temps de Craxi, de Prodi, et de Berlusconi. Mais à présent que l’État prend tout et ne donne plus rien, elle devrait diminuer; pas assez vite, hélas ! Il y aura toujours du champ pour des clowns comme les Casini, les Veltroni, les Vendola, etc.
À côté de cet affaiblissement du vote compulsif, on notera un second aspect de l’américanisation : le déclin des débats sur la politique extérieure. Aux États-Unis, il est naturel que les gens ne sachent pas où sont l’Afghanistan, l’Irak, la Syrie, etc., dont les bombardements sont confiés à d’obscurs spécialistes. Les temps où tous s’intéressaient à la Corée ou au Vietnam sont bien passés, irréversiblement. Toute la caste journalistique, sans aucune exception, est devenus une parfaite machine de guerre qui produit joyeusement du mensonge.
Au temps de la guerre du Golfe de 1991, il y avait encore de la discussion; puis elle s’est tue. On a eu alors ce que Carl Schmitt a appelé la reductio ad hitlerum, c’est-à-dire l’attribution de tous les malheurs de la société et du monde à de féroces dictateurs, et l’invention (dont l’origine est « de gauche ») de peuples unis contre les dictateurs. Les peuples furent médiatiquement unis contre des Hitler toujours nouveaux, ennemis des droits de l’homme. Le jeu commença avec Caucescu, continua avec Noriega, puis ce furent Saddam Hussein, Ahmadinejad, Milosevic, Kadhafi, et maintenant Assad. L’histoire a été abolie; on l’a remplacée par un canevas de comédie, toujours le même : un peuple uni contre le féroce dictateur; le silence coupable de l’Occident; les « bons » dissidents, auxquels est réservé le droit à la parole. Depuis un an, je n’ai jamais entendu à la télévision manipulée un seul partisan d’Assad, et pourtant, la Syrie en est pleine.
C’est seulement lorsque le jeu se durcit qu’il importe que les durs commencent à jouer. Tant que règne la comédie italienne de la parodie Droite/Gauche, il en est toujours comme de ces spectacles de catch américain où tout n’est que simulation devant des spectateurs idiots.
État national, souveraineté nationale, programme de solidarité et de communauté nationale, non à la globalisation sous toutes ses formes, et à la dictature des économistes anglophones !
1 : cf. Diego Fusaro, Minima mercatazlia. Philosophie et capitalisme, Bompiani, Milan, 2012.
2 : Norberto Bobbio (1909 – 2004). Turinois, professeur de philosophie politique, socialiste, célèbre en Italie. Plusieurs de ses ouvrages ont été traduits en français. Signalons, Droite et gauche, Paris, Le Seuil, 1996; L’État et la démocratie internationale. De l’histoire des idées à la science politique, Bruxelles, Éditions Complexe, 1999. Ce dernier ouvrage est considéré comme son œuvre majeure. Costanzo Preve a correspondu avec lui et a écrit une étude critique courtoise, mais radicale, de sa pensée, comme forme classique d’un politiquement correct de gauche : Les contradictions de Norberto Bobbio. Pour une critique du bobbioisme cérémoniel, Petite plaisance, 2004.
3 : Fondé en 2007, par une coalition de divers courants de gauche et centristes (démocrates chrétiens); d’une tonalité analogue au Nouveau Centre, allié de l’U.M.P. en France.
4 : Respectivement trotskiste à la manière du Parti des travailleurs [aujourd’hui remplacé par le Parti ouvrier indépendant, N.D.L.R. d’E.M.] ou de Lutte ouvrière, et refondateur communiste. Susceptibles de s’unir dans une sorte de « front de gauche » à l’italienne. Diliberto et Ferrero cités auparavant sont les chefs de file d’autres courants gauchistes et « refondateurs communistes ».
5 : Preve a quant à lui retrouvé l’inspiration aristotélicienne; à ses yeux, la communauté est la société même.
6 : Marine Le Pen, Pour que vive la France, Grancher, Paris, février 2012.
• Écrit à Turin, le 3 mars 2012, et mis en ligne le jour même sur le site italien ComeDonChisciotte.
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