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mardi, 23 novembre 2010

F. Sieburg: "Die Lust am Untergang"

Friedrich Sieburg: „Die Lust am Untergang“ – eine Rezension

Ellen KOSITZA

Ex: http://www.sezession.de/

Friedrich Sieburg: Die Lust am Untergang. Selbstgespräche auf Bundesebene.
Mit einem Vorwort und einem Nachwort von Thea Dorn
Frankfurt a.M.: Eichborn 2010. 418 S., 32 €

Sieburg.jpgFriedrich Sieburg (1893–1964) war der Edelstein, ja: ein Solitär der nichtlinken Nachkriegspublizistik. Wegen seiner unklaren Rolle in der NS-Zeit war er bis 1948 mit einem Publikationsverbot belegt. Wolf Jobst Siedler titulierte den konservativen Essayisten und Literaturkritiker der Nachkriegszeit einmal als »linksschreibenden Rechten«. Sieburg war ein brillanter Stilist, seine Feder und Gedanken von einer gleichsam elastischen Gespanntheit; polternde Polemik war ebensowenig seine Sache wie der langweilig-dogmatische Duktus herkömmlicher Konservativer. Weniger aus Sturheit denn mit würdiger Gelassenheit pflegte er sich zwischen jene Stühle zu setzen, die die gesellschaftliche Nachkriegsordnung bereithielt. Die großen Namen seiner Zeit zogen teils den Hut vor seinem Scharfsinn (Thomas Mann schrieb in seinem Tagebuch, Die Lust am Untergang erinnere ihn an seine Betrachtungen eines Unpolitischen), andere zahlten ihm harsch zurück, was er austeilte: Kein anderer Literaturkritiker ging so erbarmungslos wie Sieburg mit den Vertretern der Gruppe 47 ins Gericht.

SieburgLust.jpgMan mag nicht glauben, daß 56 Jahre seit der Erstveröffentlichung des vorliegenden Bandes vergangen sind! Die Fragen, denen Sieburg sich hier in neun Kapiteln (etwa »Die Kunst, Deutscher zu sein«, »Vom Menschen zum Endverbraucher«) widmet, lesen sich nicht als Rückblick auf Gefechte von gestern. Sie sind noch ebensogut unsere Themen: Identitätssuche, Vergangenheitsbewältigung, Konsumwahn, die Grenze zwischen Privatheit und Öffentlichkeit. Auch wo seine Angelegenheiten einmal der unmittelbaren Aktualität entbehren – etwa in seiner bemerkenswerten Replik auf Curzio Malaparte (d.i. K.E. Suckert) oder in seinen Einlassungen zum Verlust der Ostgebiete – nickt man staunend. Ohne Twitter oder Ryan Air gekannt zu haben, spottet Sieburg über »das Management des Vergnügens«, die »Mechanisierung der Freizeit«. Er meinte damit – wie bescheiden aus heutiger Warte! – »Betriebsausflüge an den Comer See« und Klassenfahrten in die Alpen. »Der Vorschlag, die Kinder sollten an der Nidda Blumen suchen, würde heute auf allen Seiten große Heiterkeit hervorrufen.« Für Sieburg waren die Deutschen »ein Volk ohne Mitte«: »Im Deutschen, so glaubte die Welt gestern noch, ist mehr Explosivstoff angehäuft als in jedem anderen Erdenbewohner. Hat sich diese Ansicht geändert, sind beim Anblick des fleißigen und lammfrommen Bundesdeutschen, der sogar den Karneval straff organisiert und wirtschaftsbewußt dem Konsum dienstbar macht, der das Wort Europa dauernd im Mund führt, (…) den kein Aufmarsch mit Fahnen mehr aus seinem Wochenendhaus, seinem Faltboot und Volkswagen herauslocken kann, der nur noch zu den Vertretern versunkener Fürstenhäuser und zu Filmstars aufschaut, der einen harmonischen Bund zwischen Preußentum und Nackenfett eingegangen ist, (…) der vom Golf von Neapel bis zum Nordkap die schnellsten Wagen fährt, sich in Capri bräunen läßt (…), der sich aus Ordnungssinn mit der abstrakten Kunst und dem Nihilismus beschäftigt – sind, so frage ich, beim Anblick dieses Musterknaben, der sich in der Schule der Demokratie zum Primus aufarbeitet, alle Ängste und mißtrauische Befürchtungen verschwunden? Ich antworte, nein.«
Sieburg, der Frankophile, liebte seine Heimat und litt an ihr, an diesem Volk, das sich nun in einer

seiburg2.jpgMüdigkeit und Geschichtslosigkeit zeige, »die mit einer nie dagewesenen Nüchternheit« gepaart sei. »Nur der Deutsche schwärzt seinen Landsmann bei Fremden an, nur der Deutsche verständigt sich lieber mit einem Exoten als mit einem politischen Gegner eigenen Stammes (…), nur der Deutsche verleugnet Flagge, Hymne und Staatsform des Mutterlandes vor Dritten.« Als »dümmstes Schlagwort« seiner Zeit erschien dem Publizisten der schon damals opportune Vorwurf, »restaurative Tendenzen« zu befördern. Alles Große, Geniale, das Heldenhafte ohnehin, dessen die Deutschen einst fähig waren, werde nun verhöhnt und gegeißelt unter dem Vorwand, »daß die alten Zeiten nicht wiederkommen dürfen«. Ja, und wie furchtbar war auch der »deutsche Spießer!« Allerdings, so Sieburg, sei zu befürchten, daß der Spießer in neuem Gewand, nämlich mit »heraushängendem Hemd« nach US-Vorbild wiedergekehrt sei, und daß die »Vorurteilslosigkeit in der Kleidung, im Umgang mit dem anderen Geschlecht und den Nerven der Mitmenschen nicht eine höhere sittliche Freiheit und einen souveränen Geist« mit sich führe.

Die Krimiphilosophin und TVTalkerin Thea Dorn durfte man bislang für eine wohl kluge, aber strikt den Kategorien aktueller Meinungsmoden hingegebene Zeitgenossin halten. Nun hat sie uns mit geradezu schwärmerischer Geste – Vor- und Nachwort, vereinzelt nur gespickt mit zeitgeistigen Kotaus, stammen aus ihrer Feder – den nahezu radikalen Widerborst Sieburg wiederentdeckt. Ein Glücksfall!

samedi, 13 novembre 2010

Por qué somos jovenes conservadores: a modo de manifiesto

Mensur_G%C3%B6ttingen_1837.jpg

 

Por qué somos jovenes conservadores: a modo de manifiesto

 

 por Giovanni B. Krähe

Ex: http://geviert.wordpress.com/

Hay lectores que leen este blog y se entusiasman por sus temas, pero luego se desaniman por culpa de los significados comunes y corrientes que escuchan del término conservador: un derechista, viejo, reaccionario, facho, burgués, liberal, ultramontano, pro-sistema, extremista, pasadista, filo-monárquico, ultra-derecha, anti-moderno, derechista “cavernario”, uno que “no quiere cambiar las cosas”, un defensor del status quo, del mundo de los “adultos”, de la iglesia, uno que le gusta la “mano dura”, un plebiscitario, un nacionalista, decisionista, un schmittiano, uno que se pasó “a lado oscuro de la fuerza” (que tal boludez), un “lobo de arriba”, uno lacayo de los “poderes fácticos”, etc, etc, etc. Dejo a la fantasía del lector realizar todas las posibles combinaciones que se usen en su país.

Estas etiquetas hábilmente utilizadas por anquilosados ideólogos de alcoba, llevan a nuestro lector a la duda, logrando que abandone ese primer entusiasmo que descubrió inicialmente. Nuestro lector termina claudicando espiritualmente frente a las sirenas del progresivismo, lo neo-, lo post-, lo “revolucionario”, lo “anti-sistema”, la “contra-cultura”, “la emancipación”, “el feminismo igualitario”, lo “glocal”, lo anti-. Todo lo que encuentre a la mano y le permita decir No, termina seduciéndolo. El primer prurito gratuito que encuentra es pasar por ateo. Al parecer, todas esas sirenas parecen ser las únicas formas que tienen los más jóvenes para hacerse aceptar por los propios coetáneos, para diferenciarse del grupo o para mendigar reconocimiento (a esto lo llaman con un nombre a efecto “militancia”, “compromiso”). Si colocamos juntos a todos los desencantados por igual, la derrota generacional es tan general y profunda a nivel espiritual que es típico encontrar una masa descarriada de escépticos, ateos, dandys libertarios, anarquista á la Ciorán, Gramscianos 2.0, de “rebeldes anti-sistema”, todos aglomerados al mejor postor. Muy raro es encontrar a un sólo joven de 20 – 25 años que se declare joven-conservador, de nueva derecha y sin pelos en la lengua, sin temor. “Soy de derecha y soy de sociales” parece ser la áurea consigna de aquellos universitarios solitarios que se resisten a vender su alma al prurito colectivo del momento, al novismo, al automatismo del Anti-. Ser un “libertario”, un “anarquista” un “post-moderno”, un “filósofo-pop”, querer pasar ahora, en tiempos de religión civil y catequismo liberal, por ser “menos” comunista, menos “utópico” y más “de neo-izquierda”, querer pasar siendo, en una palabra, un radical chic, se ha convertido en un automatismo, en una cuestión antropológica (Umberto Eco dixit).

La vieja derecha

En el caso de las posturas de vieja derecha, el vicio y las sirenas no son muy diferentes: las sirenas en este caso tienen que ver con la “tradición”, la “Überlieferung”, los caprichos de Sissí y Barbarossa, la capa del torero y la espada. En una palabra, el viejo derechista en LA cultiva el abolengo pseudo-ibérico en privado y el dandismo criollo en público. Peor aún si a todo esto se añade el anhelar un abolengo europeo, pues todo resulta tres veces lejano: de espíritu, de carácter y de distancia. En el peor de los casos, la sirena para el viejo derechista en LA es el entusiasmo por la “mano dura” o la nostalgia pasadista por viejos experimentos autoritarios. Para el viejo conservador en LA, es literalmente imposible ser conservador sin ser católico. Si las jóvenes generaciones tienen todos esos prejuicios mencionados al inicio sobre lo que es ser conservador, se debe en gran parte a esta miopía confesional de la vieja derecha latinoamericana autoritaria y ultramontana. Debido a esta miopía de los padres, las nuevas generaciones – no pudiendo negar su propia fe – tienen que crearse un Dios mundano a medida, un deísmo a medida, una fe a medida, una curiosidad por lo trascendente o lo religioso (o su rechazo, que vincula por igual) a medida de la propia subjetividad e intimidad. Hasta la primera rebeldía de estas generaciones a la segunda socialización (las instituciones, la ciudadanía) es menos que un remedo de las aporías y sinsabores de la primera rebeldía identitaria hacia los padres.  Gracias a esta intolerancia católico-confesional en LA, el joven termina abrazando, primero, el vicio meramente reactivo y gratuito del ateismo, para pasar luego al anti-modelo religioso por antonomasia: el mito político-romántico, (neo-) marxista o el dandismo del mito libertario-anarquista. Entre un polo viciado y el otro, el modesto, el discreto, encuentra el ocasionalismo liberal, el patriotismo humanista. Es suficiente que el jovencito ateo, el neo-izquierdista, pasen apenas los treinta años para descubrirse poco a poco un liberal “moderado”, un socialdemócrata blando, un liberal universalista astuto y movedizo (Vargas Llosa es el bio-pic por antonomasia). A partir de los treinta o se es un apocalíptico o un integrado (Eco). Dos mundos generacionales en LA, padres teístas e hijos deístas, que terminan siendo exactamente dos caras precisas de la misma moneda.

Después de todo, tanto en el caso del radicalismo chic de izquierda como en el dandismo criollo de vieja derecha, se trata de mendigar diferencia, definir estilos, pedir reconocimiento o fugar hacía la ideología culturológica de la otredad. ¿por qué la dureza? porque en sentido estrictamente politológico e político-sociológico, la dicotomía izquierda y derecha ya no explica nada del fenómeno de lo político. Decir “nueva derecha”, es más bien limes identitario, un inicio, una orientación para el lector atento. Frente a todo lo afirmado, nuestro lector se vuelve a preguntar ¿por qué debería ser, entonces, joven conservador? En un post anterior formulé rápidamente algunas ideas sobre el significado del ser conservador, del espíritu conservador, del ser joven conservador. Retomo lo escrito en aquel post. Quien leyó con atención, notó que no se trató de introducir una pauta sobre el pensamiento conservador como doctrina político-filosófica (se hará en su momento). Se trató simplemente de compartir una regla y un símbolo vivo, una bandera en alto, que represente el ser conservador como carácter. A esa regla, a esa bandera en alto, la definiremos con la siguiente imagen:

El espíritu conservador es la pura y simple admiración alrededor de nuestra propia finitud. Es aquella admiración permanente que conserva, en el tiempo, los frutos de aquella experiencia finita. El espíritu conservador cosecha el símbolo anunciado en ese evento y lo conserva en el íntimo misterio de su revés perpetuo, hace de aquel revés finalmente su piedad y su entusiasmo, su regla. El joven conservador sabe que la fuga permanente hacia “lo nuevo”, hacia el “mañana”, no es menos ingenua de esconderse detrás de un símbolo viejo del ayer, de un símbolo muerto. Solo un mito vivo puede pedirle que vuelva la mirada hacia el pasado, nunca un mito muerto. Porque solo el Ahora (Nun) es guía para el conservador, sólo ante el Ahora se postra y solo en el Ahora escrito claudica. Si alguna vez su corazón temblará de temor, dará dos pasos hacia atrás para observar mejor cómo crece el horror o la belleza de aquella verdad que lo espera al borde de sí mismo. Nunca fugará hacia el pasado muerto y sus fantasmas, nunca hacia un mañana innecesario. El tiempo del conservador es tiempo kairológico. El joven conservador es un peregrino del absoluto.

El espíritu conservador es un espíritu íntimamente joven, jungkonservativ y joven Romántico por antonomasia. A diferencia del aburridísimo (muchas veces incompetente) analista ideológico que no distingue entre conceptos básicos como poder y autoridad, el joven conservador es una alma silenciosa, sabe donde se oculta el poder, conoce la miseria del necesitado (no la hace parte de su identidad ideológica). El joven conservador no teme expresar sus sentimientos, su subjetividad, cuando es un símbolo, y no los fantasmas del intelecto práctico o racional, a guiar su Ahora. El pensamiento joven-conservador resulta ser, entonces, finalmente joven, porque es simplemente honorado por todos aquellos retos que la vida misma le exige y exalta. En este sentido, el joven conservador o la joven conservadora no claudican jamás ante la finitud de la existencia, sabiéndola inevitable: ambos conservan lo vivido en ella con suma admiración, haciendo de aquella experiencia un fruto reflexivo e intelectivo, pero también un estandarte silencioso, entre un Ahora y otro, entre un abismo y otro. Harto de pastar abismos, el pensamiento del joven-conservador es un pensamiento necesariamente fuerte, no por esto indelicado, sin virtud, sin gracia.

Descubrir el admirar jungkonservativ

Expresado mejor con las últimas palabras de una joven de 22 años, poetisa de origen francés, una joven conservadora y radical-aristocrática del Siglo XVIII, decapitada por rebelde un día de aquelarre, cerca del cementerio de Montrouge, en París. Antes de morir, escribió exaltada y visionaria lo siguiente. Se recupere el entusiasmo juvenil por la vida, el símbolo, más allá de la imagen, el tono o la metáfora (paráfrasis nuestra a partir de un manuscrito apócrifo):

Ser joven conservadora, radical, extremista, es dejarse atravesar por el viento, dejar que la existencia raye con los márgenes de nuestra propia libertad, que lo más intenso y descabellado nos escoga en yugo para siempre. Es sentir con la piel en flor los límites del ser al punto de toparse cara a cara con nuestros más íntimos límites, con la ruptura fatal que nos desnuda la piel. Mi canto es el canto ebrio, la gloria puntual, la llamada de la esclavitud más dura de lo justo y necesario, el espejo nuestro en el castigo esperado, el yugo que invade todo desde el cariño perpetuo. Que nuestros enemigos nos lancen ya, desde lo más alto y con el más íntimo desprecio, la sucia moneda de cobre con la mirada más rencorosa, siendo nosotros mismos la moneda, la mano, el desprecio, la súplica, el enemigo, la altura, la SED, el perdón. Porque salvaje e indómito es aquel Dios que enciende toda locura clarividente en nuestra llama VIVA, en nuestro AHORA, en nuestro mirar perpetuo, en nuestro admirar sincero; indómito es aquel Dios extraño que enciende exacto y puntual, de carmesí inapagable, nuestros corazón, deshojándose por esto, en su osadía, de rubor humano.

¡Desde la más ínfima ilusión de Libertad en cada ser humano individual, en cada albor que sopla centelleante sobre nosotros, por obra de la conciencia servil al borde de su próxima y amada oscuridad, se restaurará la legítima esclavitud del Espíritu en coro unánime y con la máxima y cruda imposición, porque lo más BELLO, lo más esplendoroso, lo más tierno, lo más sincero, OS perseguirá puntualmente a azotes sobre vuestro miserable JUBÓN de piel, curtido de tiempo…! Antes de recibir vuestro castigo humano, antes de entregar mi cuerpo a la oscuridad más sublime, yo les impogo a ustedes mi PERDÓN. Mi odio no está hecho de la medida de vuestra mundana cobardía. La gracia del acto puro en el perdón se desparramará en su luz sobre todos vuestros sucios cráneos y el yugo restaurará la legítima esclavitud del Espíritu, aquella que posee sin ninguna miserable liberalidad, ninguna, fuera de la oscura y amorosa coacción del Ahora, fuera de la corrupción de los principios en el ayer y el mañana! ¡La cima crecerá más aún por vosotros, seres que saben únicamente crecer horizontalmente, en VIL cópula; cada uno de ustedes seguirá en silencio, desde la volición unánime del Dios que llega del viento y nunca desde el desierto infame, la fe humana, aquella que será arreada por última vez a besos, a pesar de las guerras que vendrán después de mí. Se escuchará cantando finalmente, en procesión, mi nombre oculto!

Si el Dios se mantiene vivo, de pie, con la cabeza en alto, con el pie fijo y certero sobre la cerviz infame del Dios que viene del desierto, conservando intacto su dignidad celeste en el Ahora, es porque respira en el aire la profunda certeza de que un sólo joven conservador, UNO solo, y una sola joven conservadora, UNA sola, dignos de él y sólo de ÉL, existen.

Quien de antemano niega la grandeza y la capacidad del Dios, la inconmensurabilidad de la belleza que él reviste cuando decide arbitrariamente posarse en una sola hebra de mis cabellos al viento, en los labios del extraño o en la mirada misma de quien me recordará mañana, le cava una tumba al propio corazón: le forja un hoyo negro donde vivirá agonizando de Amor ausente. La fe y la voluntad en armonía perfecta mueven montañas inamovibles, derriban murallas y desconocen de todo límite, y por virtud del viento y del rubor, son omnipotentes. Porque aquel que se niega a dar camino a sus miserables pasos, se niega a soñar. Aquel que, en cambio, no aprende a seguir los pasos del Dios, se niega a ser el SUEÑO mismo. Solo el viento en el ahora es el camino, donde no mora Dios alguno.

El cielo está repleto de estrellas y cualquier zarza común cae ardiente llena de Dios hacia la tierra; y sólo aquel que ya ve llegar el fuego lento sobre la propia piel desnuda, se descalza completamente de Amor; los demás se sientan en torno a las cenizas del último corazón en llamas y arrancan contritos, en espera, las moras.

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imágenes:

Imagen: John Willian Waterhouse, Psyche Opening the Golden Box.

lundi, 08 novembre 2010

Fidus: c'est ainsi que se voyait la jeunesse

Michael MORGENSTERN :

Fidus : c’est ainsi que se voyait la jeunesse

 

fidus45.jpg« Ce qui s’avère nécessaire pour nous, maintenant, ce n’est pas encore davantage d’artificialité ou de luxe technique, mais de nous habituer à éprouver à nouveau de la joie face à notre authenticité spirituelle et à la naturalité de nos corps ; oui, vraiment, nous avons besoin d’apprendre à tolérer la beauté naturelle, du moins dans le domaine de l’art », écrivait Fidus dans le volume édité par Eugen Diederichs pour donner suite de la fameuse rencontre organisée par le mouvement de jeunesse allemand sur le sommet du Hoher Meissner en 1913. Le motif qui l’avait incité à écrire ces lignes fut l’exposition d’un dessin qu’il avait réalisé à l’occasion de cette réunion des jeunes du Wandervogel, un dessin qui s’intitulait « Hohe Wacht » et qui représentait de jeunes hommes nus portant l’épée et aux pieds desquels se trouvaient couchées des jeunes filles, également nues. L’image avait causé un scandale. Plus tard, un dessin de Fidus deviendra l’image culte et le symbole du mouvement de jeunesse ; il était intitulé « Lichtgebet », « Prière à la Lumière ». Sur un rocher isolé, un jeune homme nu étendait les bras et le torse vers le soleil, le visage empreint de nostalgie.

 

Fidus, un artiste célèbre de l’Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) et l’interprète graphique de la « Réforme de la Vie » (Lebensreform) et du néopaganisme, était né sous le nom de Hugo Höppener à Lübeck en 1868, dans le foyer d’un pâtissier. Ses parents l’envoyèrent à l’Académie des Beaux-Arts de Munich, où, très rapidement, il se lia d’amitié avec un peintre excentrique, apôtre d’une nouvelle adhésion à la nature, Karl-Wilhelm Diefenbach. Celui-ci, accompagné de quelques-uns de ses élèves, se retirait régulièrement dans une ancienne carrière abandonnée sur une rive de l’Isar pour y vivre selon les  principes du mouvement « Réforme de la Vie ». Diefenbach pratiquait le naturisme, ce qui alerta les autorités bavaroises qui, très vite, firent condamner le fauteur de scandale à la prison. Höppener accepta de suivre son maître en prison, ce qui induisit Diefenbach à le surnommer « Fidus », le Fidèle.

 

Plus tard, revenu à Berlin, il prendra pour nom d’artiste le surnom que lui avait attribué son maître. Dans la capitale prussienne, il fut d’abord l’illustrateur d’une revue théosophique, Sphinx, ce qui lui permit d’accéder assez vite à la bohème artistique et littéraire berlinoise. Dès ce moment, on le sollicita constamment pour illustrer des livres et des revues ; il travailla aussi pour la revue satirique Simplizissimus puis pour la revue munichoise Jugend, créée en 1896. Cette revue doit son nom au Jugendstil, au départ terme injurieux pour désigner les nouvelles tendances en art. Contrairement au naturalisme, alors en vogue, le Jugendstil voulait inaugurer un style inspiré d’un monde posé comme harmonieux et empreint de spiritualité, que l’on retrouve dans l’univers onirique, dans les contes, dans les souvenirs d’enfance ; et inspiré aussi d’une nostalgie de la plénitude. Une ornementation végétale devait symboliser le refus du matérialisme banal de la société industrielle. Suite à une cure végétarienne de blé égrugé, qui le débarrassa d’une tumeur qui le faisait souffrir depuis son enfance, Fidus/Höppener devint un végétarien convaincu, ouvert, de surcroît, à toutes les médecines « alternatives ».

 

Il cherchait une synthèse entre l’art et la religion et se sentait comme le précurseur d’une nouvelle culture religieuse de la beauté qui entendait retrouver le sublime et le mystérieux. Cela fit de lui un visionnaire qui s’exprima en ébauchant des statues pour autels et des plans pour des halls festifs monumentaux (qui ne furent jamais construits). A ses côtés, dans cette quête, on trouve les frères Hart, Bruno Wille et Wilhelm Bölsche du cercle de Friedrichshagen, avec lesquels il fonda le « Bund Giordano Bruno », une communauté spirituelle et religieuse. En 1907, Fidus se fit construire une maison avec atelier dans le quartier des artistes « réformateurs » de Schönblick à Woltersdorf près de Berlin. Plus tard, une bâtisse supplémentaire s’ajouta à cet atelier, pour y abriter sa famille ; elle comptait également plusieurs chambres d’amis. Bien vite, cette maison devint le centre d’un renouveau religieux et un lieu de pèlerinage pour Wandervögel, Réformateurs de la Vie, Adorateurs de la Lumière et bouddhistes, qui voyaient en Fidus leur gourou. Le maître créa alors le « Bund de Saint Georges », nommé d’après le fils d’un pasteur de Magdebourg qui, après une cure de jeûne, était décédé à Woltersdorf. Fidus flanqua ce Bund d’une maison d’édition du même nom pour éditer et diffuser ses dessins, tableaux, impressions diverses et cartes postales. Dans le commerce des arts établis, le Jugendstil fut éclipsé par l’expressionisme et le dadaïsme après la première guerre mondiale.

 

fidus1.jpgLes revenus générés par cette activité éditoriale demeurèrent assez sporadiques, ce qui obligea les habitants de la Maison Fidus, auxquels s’était jointe la femme écrivain du mouvement de jeunesse, Gertrud Prellwitz, à adopter un mode de vie très spartiate. L’avènement du national-socialisme ne changea pas grand chose à leur situation. Fidus avait certes placé quelque espoir en Adolf Hitler parce que celui-ci était végétarien et abstinent, voulait que les Allemands se penchent à nouveau sur leurs racines éparses, mais cet espoir se mua en amère déception. La politique culturelle nationale-socialiste refusa de reconnaître la pertinence des visions des ermites de Woltersdorf et stigmatisa « les héros solaires éthérés » de Fidus comme une expression de l’ « art dégénéré ». Dans le catalogue de l’exposition sur l’ « art dégénéré » de 1937, on pouvait lire ces lignes : « Tout ce qui apparaît, d’une façon ou d’une autre, comme pathologique, est à éliminer. Une figure de valeur, pleine de santé, même si, racialement, elle n’est pas purement germanique, sert bien mieux notre but que les purs Germains à moitié affamés, hystériques et occultistes de Maître Fidus ou d’autres originaux folcistes ». L’artiste ne recevait plus beaucoup de commandes. Beaucoup de revues du mouvement « Lebensreform » ou du mouvement de jeunesse, pour lesquelles il avait travaillé, cessèrent de paraître. Sa deuxième femme, Elsbeth, fille de l’écrivain Moritz von Egidy, qu’il avait épousée en 1922, entretenait la famille en louant des chambres d’hôte (« site calme à proximité de la forêt, jardin ensoleillé avec fauteuils et bain d’air, Blüthner-Flügel disponibles »). L’ « original folciste » a dû attendre sa 75ème année, en 1943, pour obtenir le titre de professeur honoris causa et pour recevoir une pension chiche, accordée parce qu’on avait finalement eu pitié de lui.

 

Pour les occupants russes, qui eurent à son égard un comportement respectueux, Fidus a peint des projets d’affiche pour la célébration de leur victoire, pour obtenir « du pain et des patates », comme il l’écrit dans ses mémoires en 1947. Le 23 février 1948, Fidus meurt dans sa maison. Ses héritiers ont respecté la teneur de son testament : conserver la maison intacte, « comme un lieu d’édification, source de force ». Jusqu’au décès de sa veuve en 1976, on y a organisé conférences et concerts. La belle-fille de Fidus a continué à entretenir vaille que vaille la maison, en piteux état, jusqu’à sa propre mort en 1988. La RDA avait classé le bâtiment. Les œuvres d’art qui s’y trouvaient avaient souffert de l’humidité et du froid : en 1991, la « Berlinische Galerie » a accepté de les abriter. La maison de Fidus est aujourd’hui vide et bien branlante, une végétation abondante de ronces et de lierres l’enserre, d’où émerge sa façade en pointe, du type « maison de sorcière ». Il n’y a plus qu’un sentier étroit qui mène à une porte verrouillée.

 

Michael MORGENSTERN.

(article paru dans « Junge Freiheit », n°5/1995 ; http://www.jungefreiheit.de/ - « Serie : Persönlichkeiten der Jugendbewegung / Folge 2 : Fidus » - « Série : Personnalités du Mouvement de Jeunesse / 2ième partie : Fidus » ; trad.. franc. : octobre 2010).   

dimanche, 07 novembre 2010

A Forgotten Thinker On Nation-States vs. Empire

A Forgotten Thinker On Nation-States vs. Empire

Paul Gottfried

Ex: http://www.freespeechproject.com/

Carl_Schmitt_-_The_Enemy_bigger_crop.jpgGerman legal theorist Carl Schmitt (1888-1985[!]) has enjoyed a widespread following among European academics and among that part of the European Right that is most resistant to Americanization. In the U.S. it is a different matter. Outside of the editors and readers of Telos magazine, which has heavily featured his work, Schmitt's American groupies are becoming harder and harder to find.

My intellectual biography of this thinker, which Greenwood Press published in 1990, has sold rather badly. An earlier, much denser biography, by Joseph W. Bendersky, put out by Princeton in 1983, obtained a broader market. In the eighties, academically well-connected commentators, including George Schwab, Ellen Kennedy, Gary Ulmen, and Bendersky, built up for Schmitt a scholarly reputation on these shores by trying to relate his thought to then-contemporary political issues. This caused so much concern among American global democrats that The New Republic (August 22, 1988) published a grim tirade by Stephen Holmes against the Schmittian legacy. An echo could be found in the New York Review of Books (May 15, 1997), in a screed by another neoconservative, Mark Lila. Though the Schmitt scholars sent in responses, the New York Review would not publish any of them. Apparently the political conversation in Midtown Manhattan is not broad enough to include non-globalists.

Schmitt is properly criticized for having joined the Nazi Party in May 1933. But he clearly did so for opportunistic reasons. Attempts to draw a straight line between his association with the Party and his writings of the twenties and early thirties, when he was closely associated with the Catholic Center Party, a predecessor of the Christian Democrats, ignore certain inconvenient facts. In 1931 and 1932, Schmitt urged Weimar president Paul von Hindenburg to suppress the Nazi Party and to jail its leaders. He sharply opposed those in the Center Party who thought the Nazis could be tamed if they were forced to form a coalition government. While an authoritarian of the Right, who later had kind words about the caretaker regime of Franco, he never quite made himself into a plausible Nazi. From 1935 on, the SS kept Schmitt under continuing surveillance.

There are two ideas raised in Schmitt's corpus that deserve attention in our elite-decreed multicultural society. In The Concept of the Political (a tract that first appeared in 1927 and was then published in English in 1976 by Rutgers University) Schmitt explains that the friend/enemy distinction is a necessary feature of all political communities. Indeed what defines the "political" as opposed to other human activities is the intensity of feeling toward friends and enemies, or toward one's own and those perceived as hostile outsiders.

This feeling does not cease to exist in the absence of nation-states. Schmitt argued that friend/enemy distinctions had characterized ancient communities and would likely persist in the more and more ideological environment in which nation-states had grown weaker. The European state system, beginning with the end of the Thirty Years War, had in fact provided the immense service of taming the "political."

The subsequent assaults on that system of nation-states, with their specific and limited geopolitical interests, made the Western world a more feverishly political one, a point that Schmitt develops in his postwar magnum opus Nomos der Erde (now being translated for Telos Press by Gary Ulmen). From the French Revolution on, wars were being increasingly fought over moral doctrines - most recently over claims to be representing "human rights." Such a tendency has replicated the mistakes of the Age of Religious Wars. It turned armed force from a means to achieve limited territorial goals, when diplomatic resources fail, to a crusade for universal goodness against a demonized enemy.

A related idea treated by Schmitt is the tendency toward a universal state (a “New World Order”?). Such a tendency seemed closely linked to Anglo-American hegemony, a theme that Schmitt took up in his commentaries during and after the Second World War.

German historians in the early twentieth century had typically drawn comparisons between, on the one side, Germany and Sparta and, on the other, England (and later the U.S.) and Athens - between what they saw as disciplined land powers and mercantile, expansive naval ones. The Anglo-American powers, which relied on naval might, had less of a sense of territorial limits than landed states. Sea-based powers had evolved into empires, from the Athenians onward.

But while Schmitt falls back, at least indirectly, on this already belabored comparison, he also brings up the more telling point: Americans aspire to a world state because they make universal claims for their way of life. They view "liberal democracy" as something they are morally bound to export. They are pushed by ideology, as well as by the nature of their power, toward a universal friend/enemy distinction.

Although in the forties and fifties Schmitt hoped that the devastated nation-state system would be replaced by a new "political pluralism," the creation of spheres of control by regional powers, he also doubted this would work. The post-World War II period brought with it polarization between the Communist bloc and the anti-Communists, led by the U.S. Schmitt clearly feared and detested the Communists. But he also distrusted the American side for personal and analytic reasons. From September 1945 until May 1947, Schmitt had been a prisoner of the American occupational forces in Germany. Though released on the grounds that he played no significant role as a Nazi ideologue, he was traumatized by the experience. Throughout the internment he had been asked to give evidence of his belief in liberal democracy. Unlike the Soviets, in whose zone of occupation he had resided for a while, the Americans seemed to be ideologically driven and not merely vengeful conquerors.

Schmitt came to dread American globalism more deeply than its Soviet form, which he thought to be primitive military despotism allied with Western intellectual faddishness. In the end, he welcomed the "bipolarity" of the Cold War, seeing in Soviet power a means of limiting American "human rights" crusades.

A learned critic of American expansionists, Schmitt did perceive the by-now inescapably ideological character of American politics.

In the post-Cold War era, despite the irritation he arouses among American imperialists, his commentaries seem fresher and more relevant than ever before.    

Paul Gottfried is Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College, PA. He is the author of After Liberalism and Carl Schmitt: Politics and Theory.  

mercredi, 27 octobre 2010

Ortega y Gasset: Europa y la revolucion conservadora

ORTEGA Y GASSET: EUROPA Y LA REVOLUCIÓN CONSERVADORA


Sebastian J. Lorenz
No es muy conocida la relación que tuvo Ortega y Gasset con el pensamiento y los autores de la «Revolución Conservadora» alemana, especialmente con Martin Heidegger, aunque más constatada está su atracción –desde muy joven- por la ciencia y la cultura alemanas, país en el que durante su estancia universitaria le permitió vislumbrar la necesidad de una reconstitución de la historia de España. No debemos olvidar que Ortega formaba parte de la generación europea de 1914, en sus palabras, de una “generación de combate”, cuyo bautismo de fuego acentuó “el deseo de crear nuevos valores y de reemplazar aquellos que estaban desvaneciéndose”, un sentimiento común y generalizado de los jóvenes europeos que había hecho suyo el lema nietzscheano de la “transvaloración de los valores”: además de Heidegger, Spengler (al que prologó la edición castellana de su principal obra), Sombart, Mann, Schmitt, Jünger, Klages y Ziegler, entre otros, que posteriormente se darán cita en la “Revista de Occidente” en su particular cruzada contra las instituciones demoliberales que habían desatado aquella “hiperdemocracia” tan ajena a sus sentimientos elitistas.
Tras la “catástrofe” producida en una Europa desmoralizada y deshumanizada por el desencadenamiento de las “tempestades de acero” y el abatimiento que provoca la observación de un “mundo en ruinas”, Ortega, que continúa siendo un revolucionario-conservador, volverá a Alemania creyendo en la “unidad de la supranación europea” y allí pronunciará sus conferencias tituladas “Meditación de Europa” y “¿Hay una conciencia de la cultura europea?”, cuyo interés ha quedado oscurecido por la trascendencia de otras como “España invertebrada” o “La rebelión de las masas”.
“España es el problema, Europa la solución”, afirmaba tajantemente Ortega y Gasset. La idea de Europa en el pensamiento político de Ortega, sin embargo, no encajaba demasiado en los rígidos corsés del conservadurismo revolucionario germano-centrípeto, aunque tampoco –como se ha especulado- con el frágil paneuropeísmo del conde Coudenhove-Kalergi, pues el pensador español tenía una “íntima concepción” de Europa, algo así como “una interpretación española de la posibilidad europea” que arrancaba del binomio regeneración-europeización puesto ya de manifiesto por Joaquín Costa.
Precisamente, la idea orteguiana de “nación”, que parte de la definición de Toynbee como una combinación de “tribalismo y democracia”, tiene el significado de “unidad de convivencia” referido a los pueblos europeos o colectividad constituida por un repertorio común de tradiciones que la historia ha creado en función de grupos étnicamente próximos. Europa es una nación “in statu nascendi” que se identifica con una “forma de ser hombre” en el sentido más elevado y que aspira precisamente a “la manera más perfecta de ser hombre”, por eso cada tipo europeo –el ser francés, el ser español- representa “una forma peculiar de interpretar la unitaria cultura europea”, incitándose mutuamente hacia la perfección. Ortega concibe la “Nación-Europa”, ante todo, como “programa” de vida hacia el futuro, porque las “pequeñas naciones históricas constituidas” se han quedado sin porvenir y la única solución es la supranacionalidad hacia una integración europea: si en la formación trágico-heroica de Europa fue decisiva, en momentos cruciales, la confluencia de elementos de carácter geográfico, biológico o filológico, ahora a Ortega reflexiona sobre lo que a él le parece un peligroso reduccionismo étnico, pues se hace necesaria la superación de las fronteras nacionales y la búsqueda de una “nueva forma” de estructura jurídico-política que proporcione el molde adecuado a la voluntad política de unión europea.
Al fin y al cabo, Ortega reconoce que “una cierta forma de Estado europeo ha existido siempre”, al poseer Europa un “poder público europeo” y una “opinión pública europea” , esto es, una auténtica “sociedad europea” –unas vigencias sociales comunitarias- que han dejado sentir su presión vital sobre todos los pueblos del orbe. En definitiva, su teoría de que el hombre europeo ha vivido siempre –y simultáneamente- en “dos espacios históricos”: uno, menos tupido pero más extenso, Europa, y otro, más espeso pero más reducido, la etnia o nación.
Entonces existen un poder, una opinión, una tradición, un equilibrio, una sociedad europeas. Pero, ¿hay una conciencia cultural europea? Porque Europa como cultura no es lo mismo que Europa como estado. Según Ortega el “nationalisme rentré” que ha arrastrado secularmente a los pueblos europeos a combatirse entre sí y, al mismo tiempo, a admirarse en una paradójica hermandad conflictiva, bastaría para deprimir la idea de una conciencia cultural europea: el exaltado y vital particularismo de los pueblos europeos explicaría, en cierta medida, la ausencia de un gran poder de atracción respecto a la cultura común que incitase a las pequeñas naciones a salir de sí mismas. Y es que la cultura europea es “creación perpetua”, no es un punto muerto, sino “un camino que obliga siempre a marchar hacia adelante”. Depende, pues, del reconocimiento colectivo de una cultura común, de la recuperación de esa “memoria europea”, que la unión futura dote de forma institucional a una realidad preexistente.
La división de las naciones europeas, con sus disputas y rencillas domésticas (léase “guerras civiles”), ha provocado que “Europa ya no mande en el mundo”, después de varios siglos en los que los pueblos europeos, como grupo homogéneo, habían ejercido –e impuesto- un estilo de vida unitario sobre la mayor parte del globo (período llamado de la “hegemonía europea”), hecho insólito que, necesariamente, implica –según Ortega- un “desplazamiento de poder”. Sin embargo, el relevo es complejo. ¿Quién llenará con legítima autoridad ese “horror vacui” dejado por Europa en su capacidad de mando civilizadora, su “imperium espiritual”? Se trata, en definitiva, de un cambio de gravitación histórica (que también es cíclica, como el tema spengleriano de la decadencia), porque sin el ejercicio de ese “poder espiritual”, la humanidad representaría “la nada histórica”, el caos, al desaparecer de la vida los principios de jerarquía y organicidad. Para Ortega, el “imperium espiritual” de Europa emana de un cuerpo orgánico en equilibrio sobre un mundo ramificado y desordenado, para darle forma, estilo, unidad y destino.
Ciertamente, los mandamientos europeos, sin ser los mejores posibles, pero sí los únicos mientras no existan otros, han perdido su vigencia, pero nadie es capaz de sustituirlos por un nuevo “programa de organización del mundo”. Ortega no cree que los Estados Unidos de América o la Federación Rusa (pueblos nuevos camuflados históricamente) sean las alternativas, puesto que constituyen “colonias culturales o parcelas del mandamiento europeo”, pueblos-masa que, sin embargo, “se encuentran resueltos a rebelarse contra los grandes pueblos creadores, minorías de estirpes humanas que han organizado la historia”. Sólo una Europa unida será capaz de encontrar nuevos principios, nuevas vigencias colectivas, nuevas instancias bajo las que articular la convivencia de los pueblos.
Pero Ortega no se limita a un análisis de Europa puramente político y filosófico. Su carácter interdisciplinar le anima también a elaborar diversas disertaciones biohistóricas sobre “la formación vertical de la Europa de los tres elementos”. Así que tres elementos son comunes en la constitución de los pueblos europeos: el autóctono originario, el sedimento civilizador romano y las inmigraciones germánicas. Ortega se opuso a la división de Menéndez Pelayo entre las “nieblas germánicas” y la “claridad latina”, puesto que concebía este binomio como dimensiones inseparables de una “cultura europea integral”, de ahí su teoría sobre la complementariedad entre lo germánico y lo latino, advirtiendo, no obstante, que ni Europa, ni Áfica, ni América existían cuando la cultura mediterránea era una realidad. Puntualizando esta idea de complementariedad, Ortega traza una hipótesis fundamentada en los dos polos del hombre europeo: el pathos materialista del sur y el pathos trascendente del norte, como partes de un todo, de la “patética continental” europea.
“Europa es ciencia, España es inconsciencia” es otra frase orteguiana para el recuerdo. Europa es la inventora de la técnica científica, de la conjunción invención-industrialismo, mientras que los “pueblos jóvenes” no la “crean”, sino que la “implantan”. Pero Ortega rechaza la idea de Spengler según la cual “la técnica puede seguir viviendo cuando han muerto los principios de la cultura”. La técnica no puede vivir si su base cultural (científica). La tesis orteguiana es la siguiente: el hombre europeo es un ser técnico que pretende recrearse un mundo nuevo; la técnica es, esencialmente, creación y, a través de ella, el europeo pretende transformar una “naturaleza” en la que se siente incómodo, porque el hombre europeo no tiene naturaleza, en su lugar tiene cultura, tiene historia, tiene técnica, tiene ciencia. En definitiva, los pueblos europeos han quebrado la “invariabilidad de la naturaleza”, pero sin pertenecer a ella, sino al contrario, situándose, mediante un extrañamiento, frente a ella, destruyendo la regulación natural del “ser”. Por eso dirá que “Europa es igual a ciencia más técnica”. Y adelantará acontecimientos: la técnica europea acabará convirtiéndose en una especie de “sobrenaturaleza” humana, transformándose en “patrimonio de todos los pueblos del mundo”.
En fin, Ortega encontró en la idea de Europa la respuesta al problema de España. El objetivo debía ser la integración en la cultura europea, la conquista de un “mínimo nivel histórico” dentro de la evolución cultural europea. Pero frente a las tesis europeístas que proclamaban la fusión de España con Europa o frente a las tendencias casticistas que defendían el aislamiento y la individualización del ser español, Ortega prefería adoptar el “método cultural y científico de Europa para incorporarlo a nuestro nivel y peculiaridad”. Al mismo tiempo, el carácter distintivo de Europa, esto es, la identidad que se refleja en la existencia de un sentimiento europeo habría de ser, precisamente, su definitivo impulso hacia una empresa unificadora: identidad nacional y cultural entre la diversidad y la pluralidad. Eso es Europa.
[Publicado en ELManifiesto.com] 

mardi, 26 octobre 2010

Ernst Jünger: "Sicilian Letter to the Man in the Moon"

Sizilien.jpg

Ernst Jünger’s “Sicilian Letter to the Man in the Moon”

Ernst Jünger

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

Translated by Andreas Faust

1.

Greetings you magician and friend of magicians! Friend of solitaries. Friend of heroes. Friend of lovers. Friend of the good and the bad. Knower of nighttime secrets. Tell me: where there is a knower — is there not already something more than can be known?

I still remember the hour when your face appeared in the window, large and terrible. Your light fell into the room like that ghostly sword which freezes all motion when drawn. Rising over the wide realms of stone, you see us slumbering close together with pale faces, like the countless white pupae which rest in the corners and corridors of ant cities, while the night wind roams through vast fir forests. Do we not appear to you like creatures of the deep — submerged in abysses of the sea?

My small room, too, appeared submerged — the room where I had sat up in bed, immersed in a solitude too deep to be broken by men. Things stood silent and motionless, in a strange light, like the sea creatures one glimpses beneath a curtain of algae on the ocean floor. Did they not appear mysteriously changed — and is change not the mask behind which the secret of life and death conceals itself? We all know these moments of uncertain expectation when one feels the voice of the unknown near, and listens for it to resound, and when the hidden conceals itself only with difficulty in every form. A crackling in the woodwork, the vibration of a glass, over which an invisible hand seems to brush — just as space itself is charged around the exertions of a being who hungers for sense, and who can catch its signals!

Language has taught us to hold Things in contempt. Grand words are like a grid stretched across a map. But isn’t a single fistful of earth greater than an entire cartographic world? Once, the whispering of nameless forms still had an urgency. There are signs scrawled on broken down fences and crossroad posts, which the burghers carelessly ignore as they pass. But the tramp notices — indeed, he knows a great deal about them. To him they are a cipher in which the essence of an entire district is revealed — its dangers and securities.

The child, too, is such a tramp, who only recently wandered through the dark gate which separates us from our timeless homeland. The child still understands the language of the runes of Things, which tell of a profound brotherhood of essences.

2.

I feared you in those days, as a being of malignant, magnetic power, and believed one could never stare directly into your full, gleaming radiance without being robbed of gravity, and sucked irresistibly into empty space. Sometimes I dreamt I let my caution slip, and saw myself in a long, white shirt, devoid of will, like a cork on a sinister flood tide, driven high above a landscape in whose depths lurked nightshade forests, and where the roofs of villages, castles, and churches glimmered like black silver — the sign language of a threatening geometry, directly apprehensible to the soul.

On such dream journeys my body was completely rigid. The toes were curled, fists closed, and the head bent back. I felt no fear — just a feeling of inescapable loneliness in a deserted world, governed mysteriously by silent powers.

3.

How this image later changed under the influence of the northern lights, whose first penetration of the fiery and proud heart was like a raging fever. There comes a time when one feels ashamed of one’s frenzied ecstasies, and another time when one again accepts them. Nor would one wish to have gone without the ecstasy of reason in its utmost excess, because in every triumph of life containing an absolute — in every enlightenment deeper than enlightenment — there too hides a spark of the eternal light and a shadow of the eternal darkness.

Dark assault on the infinite! Should a courageous heart be ashamed to be party to it? Military solitude of the siege tunnels, as seconds and millimetres pass; powerful front lines of the trenches in no man’s land, equipped with the strict mathematics of ramparts and sentry posts, with sparkling machines and fantastic instruments!

The idea willingly remains at that border where number dissolves into symbol, willingly revolves around both symbolic poles of the infinite, atom and star, and loves nothing more than taking booty on the battlefield of endless possibility. Was there any sorcerer’s apprentice who didn’t stand once behind the artificial predatory eye of the telescope, moved by the operation of silent clocks in cosmic trajectories, which never once belonged to the bustling crowd of psychologists?

Here danger looms, and he who loves danger loves to answer for it. He wants to be attacked with greater ferocity, so he can answer more ferociously in return. Light is more obscure by day than by night. He who has tasted doubt is certain to go beyond the frontiers of lucidity in search of the miraculous. He who doubted once must doubt still more, if he wishes to avoid despair. Whether one was capable of seeing a number or sign in the infinite — this question is the last and only measure to which a mind of this type will reply. But for each the position is another that he must win to be capable of deciding. Happy is that simplicity which knows not these forked paths — yet a wild and manly joy blooms on the edges of precipices.

In any case, was it not surprising to learn that behind the man in the moon, a light- and shadow-play was concealed, of plains, mountains, dried-up seas and extinct volcanoes? Here the strange suspicion of Svidrigajlov entered my mind — the suspicion that eternity is only a bare, whitewashed chamber, whose corners are inhabited by black spiders. One may enter . . . and that is all there is to eternity.

Yes, and why not? What is the air to one who breathes it? What does he care for the beyond when it gives him nothing that is not beyond as well?

A new topography is required.

4.

The drill thinks in a different way to the pincers, which grip one point after another. Its thread cuts broadly through several layers in the material, but through all the many points it touches in spiral motion, it is the tip which gives direction and energy to the thrust.* This relationship between chance and necessity, which do not exclude each other, but are mutually dependent, is also inherent in the words and images of a language, which claim to be the sole and final possibilities of understanding. Every word turns on an axis, which itself is incapable of containing words. The language I dream of must be comprehensible, or completely incomprehensible, until its last letters, as the expression of a great isolation which alone makes possible the highest love. There are crystals which are transparent solely in one direction.

But are not you yourself a master who knows how to put his riddle elaborately, that riddle of which only the text, not the solution, is communicable – just as the hunter sets his snares with great care but must then wait for a beast to stumble into them?

The solution itself is not important – only that the riddle is seen.

* “The motion of the screw, crooked and straight, is one and the same.” – Heraclitus

5.

You know how life is at the edges of dark forests: the gardens, lighted islands in the glow of lanterns, encircled by a magical whirling of music. You know the couples who lose each other silently in the darkness; your light meets their faces like pale masks, while lust accelerates their breathing and fear stifles it. You know the intoxicated ones who break out of the thicket.

You rose large over the thatched houses along the river, on that June night when one of your apprentices entered into closer brotherhood with you. The festive table was placed on the trampled threshing floor, and the weapons and red caps gleamed in the tobacco smoke on walls lined with fir twigs. Where now is the youth who so soon afterwards broke the secret seal of death, whose tidings were already prepared for him? He was there once, and is there evermore. How the first ecstasy pulls the heart like sails! Did you not love him as he sank for the first time in the depths, where elemental spirits mightily exalted power? Are there not hours when one is beloved by everything, like a flower who blossoms in wild innocence? Hours when from sheer excess we are shot like a projectile along the paths of habit? Only then do we begin to fly, and only in uncertainty is there a high objective.

I follow him with my eyes as if it had been today, for some experiences have a validity which eludes all laws of time. When wine’s fire melts away the growth rings which have yearly encircled this strange and wondrous heart, we discover in our depths that we have remained the same. O memory, key to the innermost forms contained in people and experiences! I am certain that you yourself are contained in the dark, bitter, intoxicating wine of death as the last and decisive triumph of Being over Existence. I greet you above all, you solitary revellers who keep your own company at table, and time and time again raise a glass to yourselves! What are we, other than mirror images of ourselves? And where we sit with ourselves in pairs, then the third one, God, is never far.

I see your protégé as he appears from a raging cloud of noise, before the low doors, over which the thin white horse’s skull gleams in the night light. The warm air, laden with the pollen of grasses like narcotic gunpowder, creates a wild eruption which drives him crying blindly into the silent landscape. He ran along the crest of the high wall bordering the meadows, and fell, oddly enough without pain, down into the thick grass. Further along the course turns to the feeling of a power, which seems to be nourished by unlimited resources. The large white umbrels gliding by like alien signals, the scent of a hot, fermenting earth, the bitter haze of the wild carrots and spotted hemlocks — all these like the pages of a book which opens of its own accord, in which eternally deep, miraculous relationships are described. No more thoughts whose properties melt darkly into each other. The nameless life will be greeted exultantly.

He penetrates the wide belt of reeds in the stream’s midst. Gases bubble up from the mud. The water embraces the glowing breast as if it had arms, and the face glides away along the dark mirror of the river. In the distance a weir thunders, and the ear, which has come near to the primeval language, feels dangerously enticed. The stars glimmer upwards from bottomless depths, and when the water swirls and eddies they begin to dance.

On the other bank the forest opens up; its thickets trap life, threateningly and in tangled lines. The roots spread their intertwining patterns of threads and tendrils, and the branches weave themselves into a net, in whose seams a swarm of faces move and change. Over the tops of the trees lattices of blind generative power intersect, their forms giving birth to both enmity and destruction, and the foot throws up the soft mist of decay where life dully mingles with death.

Then the clearing breaks open, and your light falls into the darkness like an excommunication of law. The trunks of the beech trees gleam like silver, the oaks like the dark bronze of ancient swords. Their crowns emerge in a powerful structure. The smallest twigs and the last blackberry stalks are touched by your light, unlocked and interpreted, and at the same time surrounded – struck by a great moment which makes everything significant and which chance surprises on its secret paths. They are part of an equation whose unknown symbols are written with glowing ink.

How the simple lines of the homeland are hidden even in the most intricate landscape! Happy allegory, in which a deeper allegory is embedded.

6.

What sustains us, if not the mysterious ray of light which sometimes flashes through the inner wilderness? People wish to speak, however imperfectly, of that which to them is more than human.

The attempts of science to contact distant stars are an important characteristic of this age. Not only the endeavour itself, but also its technical methods provoke a strange mixture of soberness and imagination. Is it not an astonishing proposal to draw with navigational lights the right-handed triangle of Pythagoras and its three quadrats over an expanse of the Sahara Desert? What does it matter to us whether a mathematician exists somewhere in the universe! But here is a living feature that calls to mind the language of the pyramids, an echo of the sacred origin of art, of the solemn knowledge of creation in its hidden meaning — with all conditions of abstract thought brought into harmony, and the devices of modern technology disguised.

Will the radio signals we hurl into the bottomless depths of icy space ever be received, this transformation of languages (whose boundaries lay in earthly mountains and rivers) into an electrical pulse which announces itself all the way to the borders of the infinite? Into which language will this translation be translated?

Wondrous Tibetans, whose monotonous prayers ring out from the cliff-top monasteries of the observatories! Would anyone wish to laugh at prayer wheels who was familiar with our landscapes, with their myriad of revolving wheels — those fierce agitations which move the hour hand of the clock and the furious crankshafts of aeroplanes? Sweet and dangerous opium of velocity!

But is it not true that in the innermost centre of the wheel stillness lies hidden? Stillness is the proto-language of velocity. Through translations one would like to see the velocity increase — all these increases can only be a translation of the proto-language. But how is man supposed to understand his own language?

See, you glance down over our cities. You saw many other kind of cities before them, and will see many others yet. Every individual house is well furnished and built for its own special purpose. There are narrow, winding streets established seemingly by chance in the course of time, just as the the fields of a farming area are divided according to long-forgotten inheritances. Other streets are straight and wide, their alignments determined by princes and master builders. The fossilizations of eras and races fit into each other in many different ways. The geology of the human soul is a special science. Between the churches and government buildings, villas and tenement houses, bazaars and entertainment palaces, train stations and industrial zones, life spreads out its cycles; the circulation is significant, solitude exceptional.

From so great a height, however, this vast store of organic and mechanical powers takes on another picture. Even an eye which observes it through the most powerful telescope could not fail to notice the difference. Indeed, the things do not actually change for that which stands over them, but rather present a different side. It is no longer the case that churches and castles are a thousand years old and warehouses and factories the products of yesterday; for something emerges that one could call their pattern — the common crystalline structure, in which the raw material has condensed. Even the vast diversity of goals and movements which they give rise to, the eye no longer takes as true. Down there are two people, who hurry past each other, two worlds in themselves, and one part of the city can be further from another than the north pole is from the south. But from yourself outwards, you who are a cosmic being and yet still a part of the earth, everything is perceived in its stillness, just like the separation whereby this life has taken form out of volcanic ferment and volatile liquids. O marvellous drama, time after time, as form upon form arises through the difference and hostility of eras and regions! This is what I call the deeper fraternity of life, in which every enmity is included.

For us down here, however, it is rarely permitted to see the aim fused with the meaning. And perhaps our highest endeavour is that stereoscopic glance which comprehends things in their more hidden, more dormant physicality. The necessary is a special dimension. We live in it, and as yet are only capable of beholding its projections in significant beings. There are signs, allegories and keys of many kinds — we are like the blind man who, while he can’t see anything, still feels the light in its vaguer quality — as warmth.

Is it not also the case that the blind man’s every movement takes place in what for a seeing eye is the light, although he himself is shrouded in eternal darkness? We never saw our face in more timeless mirrors. But so, too, do we speak a language whose significance is incomprehensible to us ourselves — a language of which every syllable is both transitory and immortal. Symbols are signs, which nevertheless give us consciousness of our values. They are first of all projections of forms from a hidden dimension, then, too, searchlights through which we hurl our signals into the unknown in a language pleasing to the gods. And these mysterious conversations, this chain of miraculous efforts from which the core of our history exists, which is a history of the battles of men and gods – - – : they are the only things which make learning worthwhile for humanity.

7.

True comparison, that is, the contemplation of things according to their location in necessary space, is the most marvellous method of the protective art. Its base is the mutual expression of the essential, and its peak the essential itself.

This is a kind of higher trigonometry, which deals with the mass of invisible fixed stars.

8.

I climbed on this radiant morning in the ravines of Monte Gallo. The red-brown earth of the gardens was still moist with dew, and under the lemon trees stood the red and yellow blossoms of the Sarazenenfrühlings like the pattern of an oriental rug. There, where the last leaves of the opuntias peered naked and curious over the reddish wall, were mountain pastures, towered over by cliffs and overblazed by yellow perennial spurges. Then the path led through a narrow valley carved from barren rock.

I do not know, and will not attempt to describe, how in the middle of these walls the insight emerged to me that a valley like this grasps the wayfarer more urgently with its stony language, as if a pure landscape were possible, or, put differently, a landscape like this one had deeper powers at its disposal. It probably never had awareness of rank, which would have been unclear to it, and in fact such moments are rare, when one recognises an ensouled life prevailing in nature from a physical expression of this life standing directly opposite. Yes, I believe it has again become possible in recent times. But it was just such a moment that surprised me in this hour — I felt the eyes of this valley resting on me with complete affection. Put differently: it was beyond doubt that this valley had its demon.

Straight away and still in the frenzy of discovery my gaze fell on your already very pale disc, which hovered close over the crest and could probably only be seen looking up from such depths. There rose again, in a strange flashing birth, the image of the man in the moon. Certainly, the lunar landscape with its rocks and valleys is a surface formulated by astronomical topography. But it is just as certain that, at the same time, it is available to that magical trigonometry of which we have spoken — that at the same time it is a region of spirits, and that the fantasy which gave it a face understood the primordial language of runes and the speech of demons with the depths of the childlike gaze.

But the incredible thing for me in this moment was to see both these masks, of one and the same Being, melt inseparably into each other. Because here for the first time an agonising conflict resolved itself, which I, great-grandson of an idealistic, grandson of a romantic, and son of a materialistic race, had hitherto regarded as irreconcilable. It didn’t exactly happen that an Either-Or metamorphosed into an As-Well-As. No, the real is just as fantastical as the fantastical is real.

That was the wonderful thing which delighted us about the doubled images we observed through the stereoscope as children: In the same moment in which they melted together into a single picture, the new dimension of depth burst out from them.

Yes, that is how it is; the age has brought home to us the old magical spells which were always present, if long forgotten. We feel that sense begins to weave itself in, hesitantly still, to the great work which we all create, which holds us in its spell.

La psico-antropologia de L. F. Clauss

LA PSICO-ANTROPOLOGÍA DE L.F. CLAUSS:

UNA ALTERNATIVA FRUSTRADA
Sebastian J. Lorenz
 
Frente al concepto materialista de la antropología nórdica, que consideraba la raza como un conjunto de factores físicos y psíquicos, se fue haciendo paso una antropologíade tipo espiritual, que tendrá su máximo exponente en el fundador de la “psico-raciología” (Rassenseelenkunde) Ludwig Ferdinand Clauss. Frente a la preeminencia de los rasgos fisiológicos, a los que se ligaba unas características intelectuales, Clauss inaugurará la “ley del estilo” . Para él, la adscripción a una etnia es, fundamentalmente, un estilo que se manifiesta en una multiplicidad de caracteres, ya sean de tipo físico, psíquico o anímico que, conjuntamente, expresan un determinado estilo dinámico: «por el movimiento del cuerpo, su expresión, su respuesta a los estímulos exteriores de toda clase, el proceso anímico que ha conducido a este movimiento se convierte en una expresión del espacio, el cuerpo se convierte en campo de expresión del alma» (Rasse und Seele).
Robert Steuckers ha escrito que «la originalidad de su método de investigación raciológica consistió en la renuncia a los zoologismos de las teorías raciales convencionales, nacidas de la herencia del darwinismo, en las que al hombre se le considera un simple animal más evolucionado que el resto». Desde esta perspectiva, Clauss consideraba en un nivel superior las dimensiones psíquica y espiritual frente a las características somáticas o biológicas.
Así, la raciología natural y materialista se fijaba exclusivamente en los caracteres externos –forma del cráneo, pigmentación de la piel, color de ojos y cabello, etc-, sin reparar que lo que da forma a dichos rasgos es el estilo del individuo. «Una raza no es un montón de propiedades o rasgos, sino un estilo de vida que abarca la totalidad de una forma viviente», por lo que Clauss define la raza «como un conjunto de propiedades internas, estilo típico y genio, que configuran a cada individuo y que se manifiestan en cada uno y en todos los que forman la población étnica». Para él, la forma del cuerpo y los rasgos físicos no son sino la expresión material de una realidad interna: tanto el espíritu (Geist) como el sentido psíquico (Seele) son los factores esenciales que modelan las formas corpóreas exteriores. Así, en lo relativo a la raza nórdica, no es que al tipo alto, fuerte, dolicocéfalo, rubio y de ojos azules, le correspondan una serie de caracteres morales e intelectuales, sino que es a un determinado estilo, el del “hombre de acción”, el hombre creativo (Leistungsmensch), al que se deben aquellos rasgos físicos, conjunto que parece predestinar a un grupo determinado de hombres. La etnia aparece concebida, de esta forma, como una unidad físico-anímica hereditaria, en la que el cuerpo es la “expresión del alma”. Klages dirá que «el alma es el sentido del cuerpo y el cuerpo es la manifestación del alma».
La escuela “espiritualista” fundada por Clauss tuvo, ciertamente, una buena acogida por parte de sus lectores, que se vieron liberados de las descripciones antropológicas del tipo ideal de hombre nórdico, las cuales no concurrían en buena parte de la población alemana, reconduciendo, de esta forma, el estilo de la raza a criterios idealistas menos discriminatorios. Pero lo que, en el fondo, estaba proponiendo Clauss, no era una huida del racismo materialista sino, precisamente, un reforzamiento de éste a través de su paralelismo anímico, según la fórmula “a una raza noble, le corresponde un espíritu noble”. Distintos caminos para llegar al mismo sitio. Así, podrá decir que «las razas no se diferencian tanto por los rasgos o facultades que poseen, sino por el estilo con que éstas se presentan», esto es, que no se distinguen por sus cualidades, sino por el estilo innato a las mismas. Entonces, basta conceder un “estilo arquitectónico” a la mujer nórdica, a la que atribuye un orden metódico tanto corporal como espiritual, frente a la mujer africana que carece de los mismos, para llegar a las mismas conclusiones que los teóricos del racismo bio-antropológico.
Por todo ello, las ideas de Clauss no dejan de encuadrarse en el “nordicismo” más radical de la época. El hombre nórdico es un tipo cuya actuación siempre está dirigida por el esfuerzo y por el rendimiento, por el deseo y por la consecución de una obra. «En todas las manifestaciones de actividad del hombre nórdico hay un objetivo: está dirigido desde el interior hacia el exterior, escogiendo algún motivo y emprendiéndolo, porque es muy activo. La vida le ordena luchar en primera línea y a cualquier precio, aun el de perecer. Las manifestaciones de esta clase son, pues una forma de heroísmo, aunque distinto del “heroísmo bélico”». De ahí a afirmar que los pueblos de sangre nórdica se han distinguido siempre de los demás por su audacia, sus conquistas y descubrimientos, por una fuerza de empuje que les impide acomodarse, y que han marcado a toda la humanidad con el estilo de su raza, sólo había un paso que Clauss estaba dispuesto a dar.
El estilo de las otras razas, sin embargo, no sale tan bien parado. Del hombre fálico destaca su interioridad y la fidelidad por las raíces que definen al campesinado alemán (deutsche treue), puesto que la raza fálica se encuentra profundamente imbricada dentro de la nórdica. Respecto a la cultura y raza latina (Westisch) dirá que no es patrimonio exclusivo del hombre mediterráneo, sino producto de la combinación entre la viveza, la sensualidad gestual y la agilidad mental de éste con la creatividad del tipo nórdico, derivada de la productiva fertilización que los pueblos de origen indogermánico introdujeron en el sur de Europa (Rasse und Charakter).
De los tipos alpino (dunkel-ostisch) y báltico-oriental (hell-ostisch), braquimorfos y braquicéfalos, dirá que son el extremo opuesto del nórdico, tanto en sus formas corporales como en las espirituales, porque son capaces de soportar el sufrimiento y la muerte de forma indiferente, sin ningún tipo de heroísmo, pero su falta de imaginación los hace inútiles para las grandes ideas y pensamientos, en definitiva, el hombre evasivo y servicial. Curiosamente, el estudio que hace de la raza semítico-oriental –judía y árabe-, con las que se hallaba bastante involucrado personalmente, no resulta tan peyorativo, si bien coincidía con Hans F.K. Günther en que existe entre los hebreos un conflicto entre el espíritu y la carne que acaba con la victoria de esta última, con la “redención por la carne”, mientras que de los árabes destaca su fatalismo y la inspiración divina que les hace creer –como iluminados- que son los escogidos o los enviados de Dios.
Por lo demás, Clauss admitió que los diferentes estilos, al igual que sucede con los tipos étnicos, se entrecruzan y están presentes simultáneamente en cada individuo. Según Evola, «para él, dada la actual mezcla de tipos, también en materia de “razas del alma”, en lo relativo a un pueblo moderno, la raza es objeto menos de una constatación que de una “decisión”: hay que decidirse, en el sentido de seleccionar y elegir a aquel que, entre los diferentes influjos físico-espirituales presentes simultáneamente en uno mismo, a aquel que más se ha manifestado creativo en la tradición de aquel pueblo; y hacer en modo tal que, entonces una tal influencia o “raza del alma” tome la primacía sobre cualquier otra.»
No obstante lo anterior, el nordicismo ideal y espiritual de Clauss fracasó estrepitosamente porque nunca pudo superar la popularidad que tuvo el tipo ideal de hombre nórdico que Hans F.K. Günther proponía recuperar a través de los representantes más puros de la cepa germánica, si bien no como realidad, sino como una aspiración ideal, de tal forma que, finalmente, Clauss se vio apartado de todas las organizaciones del tejido nacionalsocialista a las que, desde un principio, había pertenecido.

mercredi, 20 octobre 2010

Carl Schmitt, pensador liberal

Carl Schmitt, pensador liberal: a modo de introducción

por Giovanni B. Krähe

Ex: http://geviert.wordpress.com/
 

Una de las tesis consolidadas en los estudios schmittianos es el anti-liberalismo de Carl Schmitt. Conservadores, monárquicos, católicos, filo-schmittianos “de Weimar”,  anti-schmittianos de wikipedia, ocasionalistas pro-dictadura, antifascistas etc., todos, en familia, están de acuerdo con esta tesis: Schmitt fue un anti-liberal. En este preciso punto, ambos bandos de apologetas y anti-schmittianos se demuestran de acuerdo. La pregunta que queremos poner en este post es: ¿Pero de cuál liberalismo señores? ¿contra cuál liberalismo Schmitt desarrolla su crítica? A continuación retomanos una respuesta que se dió en este blog a modo de introducción sumaria al tema.

Entre revolución nacional y religión: las cuatro tradiciones de la Sonderweg alemana

En Alemania se desarrollan cuatro diferentes tradiciones políticas: conservadora, liberal, católica y socialista. Todas nacen y se desarrollan mucho antes de la fundación del Reich alemán por Bismark (1871). Las cuatro tradiciones poseen un curioso elemento pre-estatual, pre-societario, comunitario y anti-contractualista. Estas características no las convierten en tradiciones “prematuras” o “tardías” (H. Plessner) en relación a la formación de los Estados en USA, Inglaterra o Francia. Muy al contrario. En efecto, a las características mencionadas se añaden otros dos factores históricos muy interesantes que se desarrollarán transversalmente a las cuatro tradiciones mencionadas. Estos dos factores determinarán la denominada “vía particular” (Deutscher Sonderweg):  la revolución nacional y la religión. Siempre a modo de sinopsis, mencionaremos una diferencia curiosa ulterior: el denominado “absolutismo iluminado” de los prusianos (S. XVIII). Los prusianos introducen reformas estructurales a diferentes niveles (la tolerancia religiosa por ejemplo) que la “reina de las revolución continental”, la revolución francesa, conocerá tan sólo posteriormente. Se puede notar entonces un Estado alemán de facto, ya maduro en diferentes frentes, que le faltaba únicamente la forma política del aparato estatal en su sentido moderno con soberanía única, monopolio de la fuerza y territorio unificado. Mientras en los demás casos nacionales europeos los primeros partidos asumirán el rol de la socialización política, en Alemania, en cambio, los primeros agentes de socialización política no son “partidos”, sino asociaciones (Vereine) de creyentes, dado que no hay “Estado” como unidad política hasta 1871. El fenómeno de las asociaciones (religiosas) alemanas es un fenómeno europeo  de tipo cooperativo-comunitario muy interesante para los estudios de historia comparada.

Socialización política entre imperio y reino: los movimientos nacionales de creyentes

Estos agentes de socialización política serán más bien movimientos religiosos y nacionales, en parte “aglutinados” bajo una identidad negativa (el enemigo francés), pero curiosamente forjados a partir de una sutil “ambigüedad” constitutiva muy particular: una continuidad latente con el Sacro Romano Imperio Germánico. Debido a esta continuidad, al interior de las cuatro tradiciones mencionadas todos los agentes desarrollarán un visión fuertemente a favor del modelo del Reich como unidad indivisible y fuertemente pro-unitaria. Esto último se explica en parte debido a la ausencia misma de una forma estatal. No se olvide que el Sacro Romano Imperio era casi una “forma federal” sui generis, por lo tanto las “partes” hacen referencia a un imperio, no a una forma de estados relativamente autónomos, como afirmaría la actual teoría federal por ejemplo. Tal caracter pro-unitario y pro-imperio no será, entonces, unitario únicamente en terminos de la unidad del “Estado-nación” (que no existía), sino de cada uno de estos agentes en relación a sí mismo y al Reich.  En efecto, la etimología de la palabra alemana “partido” (Partei), tuvo siempre un significado íntimamente negativo para todos los agentes que entraban por primera vez en la area política de la revolución nacional. En esta revolución nacional, no se podía ser egoísticamente “de parte” frente a la comunidad. Se cumple, según las máximas de la ética prusiana de la época, un preciso rol, se brinda un preciso servicio (Dienst), según una precisa llamada (Beruf, profesión), para ejercer una función en un preciso ámbito (Be-Reich) al interior de la comunidad espiritual del Reino (Reich). Estos agentes que las cuatro tradiciones ideológicas canalizan a través de la idea de nación y religión, generarán ese futuro sistema de partidos fuertemente orientado al formato imperial de la comunidad del Reich. Será también la misma peculiaridad que llevará a la fuerte polarización inter-partidaria que se verá después de la Primera guerra Mundial, cuando el modelo configurante del II Reich desaparece.

Esta tendencia religiosa nacional-comunitaria, basada en la defensa del Estado como principio, la comunidad política y la identidad colectiva, no es únicamente una peculiaridad de la tradición alemana católica y conservadora, como se podría imaginar rápidamente. Será también un rasgo emblemático de las otras dos familias idelógicas, la liberal y la socialista, incluída la radicalización posterior de esta última, la comunista (en su ala no internacionalista atención). Esta curiosa convergencia se debió a la tendencia general pro-unificación del Estado en su sentido moderno, que era un objetivo y tendencia transversal a las cuatro familias ideológicas. Sólo el comunismo, variante externa y espuria del socialismo alemán, asumirá una contratendencia crítica a través del internacionalismo (por lo tanto será visto como el primer enemigo). Con la derrota de la primera Guerra, los partidos que representaban estras cuatro tradiciones ideológicas (más la novedad comunista) se verán, entonces, tal cual por primera vez, es decir en términos modernos: simplemente “partidos”, organizaciones “de parte” dentro de un Estado democrático frágil. La respuesta será insólita: Ese elemento partidario fuertemente inclusivo y pro-Reich (más aún en el revanchismo de la  derrota) regresará otra vez con el totalitarismo monopartidario del Nacionalsocialismo. El temor que Schmitt ya habia previsto venir desde antes de la primera Guerra, es decir, la completa eliminación de la distinción entre Estado y cuerpo social, se cumple finalmente. Nuevamente re-emerge, entonces, de sus cenizas la tendencia pro-Reich perdida. Este perfil fuertemente de estado-partido – mutatis mutandis – no desaparecerá después de la guerra. Es el caso del denominado “Estado-de-partidos” del sistema político alemán. Este sistema posee una fuerte hegemonía de coaliciones inter-partídarias (2 partidos centrales+3 satélites) excluyentes (se habla de Alemania actual como una “democracia blindada”).

Pietismo y Reforma

Estos agentes de socialización política se irán forjando entonces al interior de una tradición política nacional-religiosa madura, cuya mencionada “ambigüedad” constitutiva se continuará reflejando especularmente ya sea a nivel de la Liga alemana (1815-16) como del pacto militar de la liga “alemana del norte” (1866), oscilante entre “liga de estados” y el “Estado unitario”. Al interior del elemento religioso mencionado no podemos olvidar un factor histórico decisivo muy anterior obviamente, pero no menos incisivo, no sólo en Alemania: los efectos políticos de la Reforma. A esta se añadirá otro factor silencioso dentro de la Reforma misma, no menos decisivo, sobre todo a nivel de los mencionados agentes de socialización política nacional-religiosos, transformados en el tiempo en  movimientos “nacional-sociales”, en cuanto agentes de socialización política . Esto último debido al increiblemente rapido proceso de modernización industrial (casi a la par sino superior a Inglaterra). Tal factor silencioso interno no menos decisivo es el Pietismus, movimiento de creyentes evangélicos anti-iluministas y anti-dogmáticos que desarrollan una mística comunitaria transversal a la Reforma, en el tiempo convertida en “religión de Estado”. El Pietismus fue una corriente evangélica “transversal”, fuertemente comunitaria (fundaban ciudades (!) de creyentes) al dogma reformista. Su núcleo más íntimo es exquisítamente místico.

El nacional-liberalismo alemán de Carl Schmitt

Dados estos elementos histórico-ideológicos weltanschaulich, se puede deducir entonces que  la tradición del liberalismo alemán que surge de este contexto es una tradición con fuertes elementos religiosos en sus primeras formas sociales, y nacional-comunitarios en su vínculo con el Estado. Este liberalismo alemán no será, por lo tanto, confundido con el liberalismo anglosajón (tal vez con la tradición conservadora whig). No hay ni un “individuo” por defender ni libertades negativas por asegurar ante un Estado (no existía tal cual). Luego de la fundación del Reich (1871) el vínculo del nacional-liberalismo alemán a favor de la forma estatal aumentará más aún: En efecto, la peculiaridad del nacional-liberalismo alemán no es la defensa del individuo, sino la defensa de la relación entre la comunidad política y el Estado. En la historia del liberalismo europeo, el liberalismo alemán será sucesivamente catalogado como una “idealización” (Sartori), a través de Hegel, del Estado moderno. Este liberalismo alemán será considerado finalmente como un modelo “estado-céntrico”, para diferenciarlo del liberalismo inglés (que sería individualista-utilitarista). Bajo esta precisa tradición nacional-liberal se formará Schmitt, no menos que Max Weber. El joven Schmitt recibirá además la influencia del mencionado Pietismus, elemento que lo llevará luego a descubrir el misticismo de Franz v. Baader y los anti-iluministas franceses (Louis Claude de Saint Martin). Tales elementos “esotéricos” no serán tampoco extraños a Max Weber.

primera conclusión (tesis):

1) Como ya intuído por la escuela de Leipzig (H. Schelsky en particular), la crítica de Carl Schmitt al liberalismo es una crítica al liberalismo inglés desde la peculiaridad del nacional-liberalismo alemán (H.Preuss, Von Stein) . En la historia de la doctrinas políticas se tiene limitadamente en mente una tradición liberal anglo-americana y se desconoce la peculiaridad del liberalismo continental alemán. Desde esta perspectiva limitada, cualquier crítica no-comunista al liberalismo pasa entonces como mero anti-liberalismo,  asi como cualquier anti-comunismo, es decir, cualquier crítica no-liberal al comunismo, pasa como Fascismo. lo mismo sucede con la falacia del “anti-liberalismo” de Schmitt a secas. A partir de esta ignorancia (porque ignorancia es), se cataloga a Carl Schmitt como un pensador anti-liberal. Nosotros afirmamos: sí,  Schmitt es un pensador anti-liberal, pero contra el liberalismo inglés. El nacional-liberalismo de Schmitt podría catalogarse como una “tercera vía” hegeliana de derecha, como ya desarrollado en una traducción de un artículo de Schmitt al respecto.

jeudi, 14 octobre 2010

Ludwig Woltmann: la obsesion por la hegemonia germanica

 
Sebastian J. Lorenz
Ex: http://imperium-revolucion-conservadora.blogspot.com/

ludwig-woltmann.jpgComenzamos por señalar la corriente darwinista que reinterpretó la lucha de clases como una lucha de razas, en la que destaca la obra de Ludwig Gumplowicz (Der Rassenkampf), judío de origen polaco que, casualmente, sería considerado como maestro sociológico por el germanista radical Ludwig Woltmann. Precisamente, increpado Gumplowicz por su discípulo Woltmann al haber abandonado el concepto de raza, el sociólogo nostálgico respondió en los siguientes términos: «Me sorprendía … ya en mi patria de origen el hecho de que las diferentes clases sociales representasen razas totalmente heterogéneas; veía allí a la nobleza polaca, que se consideraba con razón como procedente de un tronco completamente distinto del de los campesinos; veía la clase media alemana y, junto a ella, a los judíos; tantas clases como razas … pero, en los países del occidente de Europa sobre todo, las distintas clases de la sociedad hace ya mucho tiempo que no representan otras tantas razas antropológicas y, sin embargo, se enfrentan las unas a las otras como razas distintas …».
Woltmann, sin embargo, representa ya un modelo racista más avanzado en el tránsito hacia el racismo biológico, apropiándose, al mismo tiempo, de ciertas elucubraciones de Gobineau y De Lapouge. Ludwig Woltmann, un ex-marxista que abandonó la lucha de clases y se convirtió a la lucha de razas, representa, en definitiva, un racismo que aparece ahora revestido como una ciencia de la antropología que se dirige a establecer los caracteres de los pueblos superiores y dominadores, capaces de asegurar la primacía y la potencia de las civilizaciones. Curiosamente, en su famoso “manual”, Armin Mohler incluye a Woltmann entre los autores völkischen (rama del “campesinado”) de la Revolución Conservadora alemana.
Para ello, Woltmann define un tipo biológico, puramente antropológico y morfológico en sus descripciones, y después, lo asocia a una serie de cualidades espirituales: «el hombre de alta estatura, de cráneo desarrollado, con dolicocefalia frontal y de pigmentación clara –la raza nord-europea- representa el tipo más perfecto del género humano y el producto más alto de la evolución orgánica». Otto Hauser, su discípulo, definía a los pueblos indoeuropeos como «pueblos rubios, bien definidos, que llegaron por sí mismos a una cultura cuyo nivel será admirado siempre, mientras circule en un pueblo, en un individuo, sangre nórdica afín».
Insiste Woltmann en que, mientras a las razas nórdicas les corresponde mayores cualidades intelectuales y facultades creativas, a las razas inferiores les resulta imposible acoger elementos de las civilizaciones que, como la nórdico-mediterránea tan próxima a sus áreas geográficas, pudieron adoptar para su propio beneficio, pero no lo hicieron, sumiéndose finalmente en la barbarie. Sin embargo, las razas germánicas se adueñaron rápidamente de las culturas griega y romana, mientras que, ni griegos ni romanos asimilaron la hebraica. «La transmisión de una civilización superior a razas inferiores no es posible sin una mezcla de sangre, a través de la cual los elementos de la raza más dotada se fundan con los de las razas menos dotadas». Pero el cruce de razas no es un factor de progreso duradero, sino cuando se trata de dos razas afines y del mismo valor biológico y espiritual: «es así como los germanos y los romanos se sintieron recíprocamente como de igual valor».
A pesar de reiterar la tradicional advertencia sobre los peligros de la mezcla de razas, Woltmann se aparta del pesimismo gobiniano para abrazar el difuso concepto de la “desmezcla de razas” que luego reinterpretarían Rosenberg y Darré para el nacionalsocialismo. Según esta teoría, debía atribuirse una importancia capital al fomento artificial de la raza a través de cruzamientos endogámicos (esto es, entre individuos supuestamente pertenecientes a la misma raza), con «la modesta esperanza de poder conservar y salvaguardar la sana y noble existencia de la raza actual por medio de medidas higiénicas y políticas encaminadas a protegerla».
291208_152955_PEEL_QZBZNe.jpgLas tesis iniciales de Woltmann, no obstante lo anterior, irían cobrando un intenso matiz germanista, hasta el extremo de no tolerar la unión de los alemanes con otras ramas de la familia nord-europea. Es más, una posible asimilación de los otros pueblos germánicos –daneses, holandeses, etc- la condicionaba a su dominio por parte de una gran Alemania. La extravagancia de Woltmann, que partía de la idea según la cual el valor de una civilización depende de la cantidad de raza rubia germana que contenga, le hizo asegurar que los grandes hombres (nobles, políticos, artistas, filósofos, etc) más representativos de la cultura y la sociedad italiana, francesa y española eran, sin duda alguna, de ascendencia germánica, pensando que sus cualidades anímicas y espirituales revelarían siempre los caracteres antropológicos del germano, dolicocéfalo y rubio, aun cuando su apariencia física externa fuera la de un alpino braquicéfalo o la de un oscuro mediterráneo.
Poseído por la obsesión del “racismo rubio”, veía en las élites intelectuales y artísticas de las naciones europeas a hombres de cabello rubio y ojos azules. Hasta un teórico racista de la talla de Hermann Wirth llegaría a decir que «por un error singular de observación, Woltmann y sus partidarios descubrieron en tantos genios y talentos europeos rasgos germánicos. Para ojos imparciales, los retratos que Woltmann agregó como explicación muestran precisamente lo contrario: tipos baskiros, mediterráneos y negros».
Evidentemente, ningún historiador serio pondrá en duda que en todos los países europeos, en mayor o menor medida, existen elementos raciales –o más exactamente antropológicos- del tipo germánico o, en general, indoeuropeo, debidos a las continuas y sucesivas invasiones de estos pueblos. Así, Max van Gruber podrá decir que «cuando examinamos las características físicas de nuestros más grandes hombres en cuanto a su pertenencia, encontramos, es verdad, caracteres nórdicos, pero en ninguno exclusivamente nórdicos … pero a las cualidades de los nórdicos han tenido que agregarse ingredientes de otras razas para producir tan feliz composición de cualidades».
El sueño de una hegemonía germánica mundial de Woltmann tenía, sin embargo, un obstáculo históricamente reiterado y constatado: el hombre germánico es el gran enemigo –y el más peligroso- del hombre germánico. Alemania necesitaba “una regeneración espiritual y una purificación racial internas” destinadas a la lucha final y definitiva, para lograr un grado de civilización superior a todos los precedentes, contra todas las familias de raza germánica.
Unas décadas más tarde, la Gross Deutschland conseguiría la anhelada “unidad racial germánica” (Germanische Blutseinheit) sometiendo, no sólo a los baltos y eslavos parcialmente germanizados (lituanos, letonios, checos, polacos, ucranios), sino también a otros pueblos germanos, como daneses, noruegos, holandeses, flamencos, y enfrentándose, especialmente, con los anglosajones –británicos y norteamericanos- por la conquista del mundo, pero el resultado final fue muy distinto al de la premonición de Woltmann.

mardi, 12 octobre 2010

Carl Schmitt: A Dangerous Man

Carl Schmitt (part IV)

 A Dangerous Man

by Keith PRESTON
 
 
Carl Schmitt (part IV)
 

When Hitler first came to power, Carl Schmitt hoped that President von Hindenburg would be able to control him, and dismiss him from the chancellor’s position if necessary. But within days of becoming chancellor, Hitler invoked Article 48 and began imposing restrictions on the freedoms of speech, press, and assembly. Within a month, all civil liberties had essentially been suspended. Within two months, a Reichstag dominated by the Nazis and their allies (with the communists having been purged and subject to repression under Hitler’s emergency measures) passed the Enabling Act, which, more or less, gave Hitler the legal right to rule by decree. The Enabling Act granted Hitler actual legislative powers, beyond the emergency powers previously provided for by Article 48. Schmitt regarded the Enabling Act as amounting to the overthrow of the constitution itself and the creation of a new constitution and a new political and legal order.

The subsequent turn of events in Schmitt’s life remains the principal, though certainly not exclusive, source of controversy regarding Schmitt’s ideas and career as a public figure and intellectual. Schmitt remained true to his Hobbesian view of political obligation that it is the responsibility of the individual to defer to whatever political and legal authority that becomes officially constituted. On May 1, 1933, Carl Schmitt officially joined the Nazi Party.

Despite his past as an anti-Nazi, Schmitt’s prestigious reputation as a jurist and legal scholar heightened his value to the party. Herman Goering appointed Schmitt to the position of Prussian state councilor in July, 1933. He then became leader of the Nazi league of jurists and was appointed to the chair of public law at the University of Berlin. While occasionally including a racist or anti-Semitic comment in his writings and lectures during this time, Schmitt also hoped to strike a balance between Nazi ideology and his own more traditionally conservative outlook.

Schmitt’s hopes for such a balance were dashed by the Night of the Long Knives purge on June 30, 1934. Not only were hundreds of Hitler’s potential rivals within the party killed, but so were a number of prominent conservatives, including Schmitt’s former associate, General Kurt von Schleicher. Even Papen, who had initially been vice-chancellor under the Hitler regime, was placed under house arrest.

In response to the purge, Schmitt published the most controversial article of his career, “The Fuhrer Protects the Law.” On the surface, the article was merely a sycophantic and opportunistic effort at defending Hitler’s brutality and lawlessness. While Schmitt likely regarded the killing of rival Nazis as little more than a dishonorable falling out among thugs, he also included within the article subtle references to unjust murders that had been committed during the course of the purge, meaning the killing of his friend General Schleicher and others outside Nazi circles, and urged justice for the victims. The wording of the article pretended to absolve Hitler of responsibility while dropping very discreet and coded hints to the contrary.

Though Schmitt enjoyed the protection afforded to him by his associations with Goering and Hans Frank, he never exerted any influence over the regime itself. The purge of the SA leadership had the effect of empowering within the Nazi movement one of its most extreme elements, the SS. The SS soon concerned itself with the presence of “opportunists” and the ideologically impure elements, which had joined the party only after the party had seized power for the sake of being on the winning side. These elements included many middle-class persons and ordinary conservatives whose actual commitment to the party’s ideology and value system were questionable.

Schmitt was a prime example of these. His efforts to revise his theories to make them somewhat compatible with Nazi ideology were subject to attacks from jurists committed to the Nazi worldview. Further, former friends, professional associates, and students of Schmitt who had emigrated from the Third Reich were incensed by his collaboration with the regime and began publishing articles attacking him from abroad, pointing out his anti-Nazi past during his association with Schleicher, his prior associations with Jews, his Catholic background, and the fact that he had once referred to Nazism as “organized mass insanity.”

Schmitt attempted to defend himself against these attacks by becoming ever more virulent in his anti-Semitic rhetoric. When the Nuremberg Laws were enacted in September of 1935, he defended these laws publicly. His biographer Bendersky described the political, ethical, and professional predicaments Schmitt found himself in during this time:

No doubt at the time he tried to convince himself that he was obligated to obey and that as a jurist he was also compelled to work within the confines of these laws. He could easily rationalize his behavior with the same Hobbesian precepts he had used to explain his previous compromises. For he always adhered to the principle Autoritas, non veritas facit legem (Authority, not virtue makes the law), and he never tired of repeating that phrase. Authority was in the hands of the Nazis, their racial ideology became law, and he was bound by these laws.

Schmitt further attempted to counter the attacks hurled at him by both party ideologues and foreign critics by organizing a “Conference on Judaism in Jurisprudence” that was held in Berlin during October of 1936. At the conference, he gave a lecture titled “German Jurisprudence in the Struggle against the Jewish Intellect.” Two months later, Schmitt wrote a letter to Heinrich Himmler discussing his efforts to eradicate Jewish influence from German law.

Yet, the attacks on Schmitt by his party rivals and the guardians of Nazi ideology within the SS continued. Schmitt’s public relations campaign had been unsuccessful against the charges of opportunism, and Goering had become embarrassed by his appointee. Goering ordered that public attacks on Schmitt cease, and worked out an arrangement with Heinrich Himmler whereby Schmitt would no longer be involved with the activities of the Nazi party itself, but would simply retain his position as a law professor at the University of Berlin. Essentially, Schmitt had been politically and ideologically purged, but was fortunate enough to retain not only his physical safety but his professional position.

For the remaining years of the Third Reich, Schmitt made every effort to remain silent concerning matters of political controversy and limited his formal scholarly work and professorial lectures to discussions of routine aspects of international law or vague and generalized theoretical abstractions concerning German foreign policy, for which he always expressed outward support.

Even though he was no longer active in Nazi party affairs, held no position of significance in the Nazi state, and exercised no genuine ideological influence over the Nazi leadership, Schmitt’s reputation as a leading theoretician of Nazism continued to persist in foreign intellectual circles. In 1941, one Swiss journal even made the extravagant claim that Schmitt had been to the Nazi revolution in Germany what Rousseau had been to the French Revolution. Schmitt once again became fearful for his safety under the regime when his close friend Johannes Popitz was implicated and later executed for his role in the July 20, 1944, assassination plot against Hitler (though, in fact, Schmitt himself was never in any actual danger.)

When Berlin fell to the Russians in April 1945, Schmitt was detained and interrogated for several hours and then released. In November, Schmitt was arrested again, this time by American soldiers. He was considered a potential defendant in the war crimes trials to be held in Nuremberg and was transferred there in March 1947. In response to questions from interrogators and in written statements, Schmitt gave a detailed explanation and defense of his activities during the Third Reich that has been shown to be honest and accurate. He pointed out that he had no involvement with the Nazi party after 1936, and had only very limited contact with the party elite previously. Schmitt provided a very detailed analysis and description of the differences between his own theories and those of the Nazis. He argued that while his own ideas may have at times been plagiarized or misused by Nazi ideologists, this was no more his responsibility than Rousseau had been responsible for the Reign of Terror. The leading investigator in Schmitt’s case, the German lawyer Robert Kempner, eventually concluded that while Schmitt may have had a certain moral culpability for his activities under the Nazi regime, none of his actions could properly be considered crimes warranting prosecution at Nuremberg.

Schmitt’s reputation as a Nazi, and even as a war criminal, made it impossible for him to return to academic life, and so he simply retired on his university pension. He continued to write on political and legal topics for another three decades after his release from confinement at Nuremberg, and remained one of Germany’s most controversial intellectual figures. For some time, his pre-Nazi works were either ignored or severely misinterpreted. A number of prominent left-wing intellectuals, including those who had been directly influenced by Schmitt, engaged in efforts at vilification.

An objective scholarly interest in Schmitt began to emerge in the late 1960s and 1970s, even though Schmitt’s reputation as a Nazi apologist was hard to shake. Interestingly, the framers of the present constitution of the German Federal Republic actually incorporated some of Schmitt’s ideas from the Weimar period into the document. For instance, constitutional amendments that alter the basic democratic nature of the government or which undermine basic rights and liberties as outlined in the constitution are forbidden. Likewise, the German Supreme Court may outlaw parties it declares to be anti-constitutional, and both communist and neo-Nazi parties have at times been banned.

Schmitt himself returned to these themes in his last article published in 1978. In the article, Schmitt once again argued against allowing anti-constitutional parties the “equal chance” to achieve power through legal and constitutional means, and expressed concern over the rise of the formally democratic Eurocommunist parties in Europe, such as those in Italy and Spain, which hoped to gain control of the state through ordinary political channels.

 

Schmitt’s Contemporary Relevance

 

The legacy of Schmitt’s thought remains exceedingly relevant to 21st-century Western political and legal theory. His works from the Weimar period offer the deepest insights into the inherent weaknesses and limitations of modern liberal democracy yet to be discussed by any thinker. This is particularly significant given that belief in liberal democracy as the only “true” form of political organization has become a de facto religion among Western political, cultural, and intellectual elites. Schmitt’s writings demonstrate the essentially contradictory nature of the foundations of liberal democratic ideology. The core foundation of “democracy” is the view that the state can somehow be a reflection of an abstract “peoples’ will,” which, somehow, rises out of a mass society of heterogeneous individuals, cultural subgroups, and political interest groups with irreconcilable differences.

This is clearly an absurd myth, perhaps one ultimately holding no more substance than ancient beliefs about emperors having descended from sun-gods. Further, the antagonistic relationship between liberalism and democracy recognized by Schmitt provides a theoretical understanding of the obvious practical truth that as democracy has expanded in the West, liberalism has actually declined. The classical liberal rights of property, exchange, and association, for instance, have been severely comprised in the name of creating “democratic rights” for a long list of social groups believed to have been excluded or oppressed by the wider society. The liberal rights of speech and religion have likewise been curbed for the ostensible purpose of eradicating real or alleged “bigotry” or “bias” towards former out-groups favored by proponents of democratic ideology.

The contradictions between liberalism and democracy aside, Schmitt’s work likewise demonstrates the ultimately self-defeating nature of liberalism taken to its logical conclusion. A corollary of liberalism is universalism, yet liberal universalism likewise contradicts itself. Liberalism, as Westerners have come to understand it, is a particular value system rooted in historic traditions and which evolved within a particular civilization and was affected by historical contingencies (the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment, and Modernism being only the most obvious.)

Schmitt’s definition of the essence of the political as the friend/enemy dichotomy simultaneously exposes the limitations of liberalism’s ability to sustain itself. Robert Frost’s quip about a liberal being someone who is unable to take his own side in a fight would seem to apply here. The principal weakness of liberalism is its inability to recognize its own enemies. Even in the final months of the Weimar republic, liberals, socialists, and even Catholic centrists held so steadfastly to the formalities of liberalism that they were unable to perceive the imminent destruction of liberalism that lurked a short distance ahead.

This insight of Schmitt would seem to go a long way towards explaining the behavior of many present day zealots of Liberal Democratic Fundamentalism. It is currently the norm for liberals to react with a grossly exaggerated, almost phobic, sense of urgency concerning the supposed presence of elements espousing “racism,” “fascism,” “homophobia,” and other illiberal or ostensibly illiberal ideas in their own societies. In virtually all Western countries, elements espousing the various taboo “isms” and “phobias” with any degree of seriousness are marginal in nature, often merely eccentric individuals, tiny cult-like groups, or politically irrelevant subcultures.

And yet, liberals who become hysterical over “fascism,” typically express absolutely no concern about the importation of unlimited numbers of persons from profoundly illiberal cultures into their own nations. Indeed, criticizing such things has itself become a serious taboo among liberals, who somehow believe that such values as secularism, feminism, and homosexual rights can never be threatened by the mass immigration of those from cultures with no liberal tradition, where theocratic rule is the norm, or where the political and social status of women has not changed in centuries or even millennia, where there is no tradition of free speech, where capital punishment is regularly imposed for petty offenses, and where homosexuality is often considered to be a capital crime.

A related irony is that liberals have embraced “Green” consciousness in a way comparable to the enthusiasm and adulation shown to pop music stars by teenagers, while remaining oblivious to the demographic and ecological consequences of unlimited population growth fueled by uncontrolled immigration.

Schmitt’s steadfast opposition to legal formalism as a method of constitutional interpretation and as an approach to legal theory in general is also interesting when measured against the standard complaints about “judicial activism” found among “mainstream” American conservatives. Schmitt’s view that laws, even constitutional law itself, should be interpreted according to the wider essence or deeper substance of the laws and constitutions in question and according to the concrete realities of specific political situations would no doubt make a lot of American conservatives uncomfortable. Of course, an important distinction has to be made between Schmitt’s seemingly open-ended approach to legal theory and the standard ideas about a “living constitution” found among American liberal jurists. Schmitt was concerned with the very real and urgent question of the need to preserve civil order and political stability in the face of severe social and economic crisis, civil unrest, and threats of revolution, whether through direct violence or cynical manipulation of ordinary political and legal processes. The various legal theories involving a supposed “living constitution” or “evolving standards” advanced by American liberals represents the far more dubious project of simply replacing the traditional Montesquieu-influenced American constitution with an ostensibly more “progressive” democratic socialist one.

That said, one has to wonder if it would not be appropriate for American anti-liberals to initiate an ideological move away from advocating strict adherence to the principle of legal or judicial neutrality towards a perspective that might be called “defensive judicial activism,” e.g. the advocacy of the use of the courts at every level to resist the encroachments of the present therapeutic-managerial-multiculturalist-welfare state in the same manner that liberals have used the courts to impose their own extra-legislative agenda. This would be an approach that is more easily discussed than implemented, of course, but perhaps it is still worthy of discussion nevertheless.

The political theory of Carl Schmitt likewise aids the development of a more thorough understanding of the nature of the state itself. Contrary to the prevailing view that political rule can be rooted objectively in sets of formal legal rules and institutional procedures, or that the state can be a mere reflection of the idealized abstraction of “the people,” Schmitt recognized that ultimately political rule is based on the question of “Who decides?” Ideological pretenses to the contrary, there will be a “sovereign” (whether an individual or a group) who possesses final authority as to what the rules will be and how they will be interpreted or applied.

Schmitt’s friend/enemy thesis likewise contains the recognition that the prospect of lethal violence defines the essence of politics. Political rule is about force, and about possessing the ability to exercise the necessary amount of physical violence to maintain a system of rule. The truth of these observations and of Schmitt’s broader critique of liberalism and democracy do not by themselves eliminate the problematical nature of Schmitt’s own Hobbesian outlook. Clearly, Schmitt’s own life and career illustrate the limitations of such a view. Indeed, after his purge by the Nazis, Schmitt reflected on Hobbes more extensively and modified his views on political obligation somewhat. He concluded that political obligation must be reciprocal in nature. Hobbes taught that the individual was obligated to obey political authority for the sake of his own protection. Schmitt argued in light of the Nazi experience that the individual’s obligation of obedience is negated when the state withdraws its protection. Schmitt’s concern with the primacy of order and stability could well be summarized by the Jeffersonian principle that “prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes.”

Yet, there is the wider question of the matter whereby the malignant nature of a particular state is such that the state not only fails to provide protection for the individual but threatens the wider culture and civilization itself, a situation for which Dr. Samuel Francis coined the term “anarcho-tyranny.” Clearly, in such a scenario, it will seem that the obligation of political obedience, individually or collectively, becomes abrogated.

Keith Preston

 

vendredi, 08 octobre 2010

Ernst Jüngers Lieblingspsalm

Ernst Jüngers Lieblingspsalm

Von Georg Oblinger

Ex: http://www.jungefreiheit.de/

junger2.jpgDer 26. September 1996 war ein bedeutender Tag – auch wenn dies die Öffentlichkeit erst mehr als ein Jahr später erfahren sollte. An diesem Tag wurde Ernst Jünger in die katholische Kirche aufgenommen. Beim Gottesdienst zu diesem Anlaß wurde nach Jüngers Wunsch der Psalm 73 gebetet, in dem er die oft verschlungenen Pfade seines Lebens widergespiegelt sah:

„Lauter Güte ist Gott für Israel, für alle Menschen mit reinem Herzen. Ich aber – fast wären meine Füße gestrauchelt, beinahe wäre ich gefallen. Denn ich habe mich über die Prahler ereifert, als ich sah, daß es diesen Frevlern so gut ging. Sie leiden ja keine Qualen, ihr Leib ist gesund und wohlgenährt. (…) Sie sehen kaum aus den Augen vor Fett, ihr Herz läuft über von bösen Plänen (…) Sie reißen ihr Maul bis zum Himmel auf und lassen auf Erden ihrer Zunge freien Lauf. Darum wendet sich das Volk ihnen zu und schlürft ihre Worte in vollen Zügen. (…) Also hielt ich umsonst mein Herz rein und wusch meine Hände in Unschuld.

Und doch war ich alle Tage geplagt und wurde jeden Morgen gezüchtigt. Mein Herz war verbittert, mir bohrte der Schmerz in den Nieren. (…) Da sann ich nach, um das zu begreifen; es war eine Qual für mich, bis ich dann eintrat ins Heiligtum Gottes und begriff, wie sie enden. (…) Sie werden plötzlich zunichte, werden dahingerafft und nehmen ein schreckliches Ende. (…) Ich aber – Gott nahe zu sein ist mein Glück. Ich setze auf Gott, den Herrn, mein Vertrauen. Ich will all deine Taten verkünden.“

„Sie reißen ihr Maul bis zum Himmel auf“

Jünger konnte diesen Bibeltext auf seine lange religiöse Suche beziehen. Die Nationalsozialisten haben oftmals versucht, ihn für ihre Ideologie zu gewinnen und so wäre Jünger beinahe gestrauchelt. Doch Jünger erkannte ihre „bösen Pläne“ immer deutlicher, was schließlich 1933 zu seinem Ausschluss aus der Dichterakademie führte.

Wer vor dem Hintergrund der Biographie Ernst Jüngers den Psalm 73 liest, sieht vor seinem geistigen Auge Hermann Göring und Joseph Goebbels, wenn die Frevler beschrieben werden „sie sehen kaum aus ihren Augen vor Fett“ und „sie reißen ihr Maul bis zum Himmel auf.“

Wenn im Psalm von der Verbitterung des Herzens die Rede ist, denkt der Jünger-Freund unwillkürlich an die letzten Kriegsjahre in Paris, wo Jünger die „Pariser Tagebücher“ verfaßte, die später in seine „Strahlungen“ aufgenommen wurden.

Das Unsichtbare läßt sich für Jünger nur in Gleichnissen fassen

Doch der Psalm endet mit der Hinwendung zu Gott – ganz so wie das lange Leben Ernst Jüngers selbst. In seinem Alterswerk „Die Schere“ schreibt Jünger von der „Welt, die außerhalb unserer Erfahrung liegt.“ Er unterscheidet „zwischen dem Sichtbaren, dem Unsichtbaren und dem Nicht-Vorhandenen.“ Dieses Unsichtbare läßt sich für Jünger nur in Gleichnissen fassen.

Daher schreibt er „Gott“ immer in Anführungszeichen. Seine Begründung: „Die Wirklichkeit des Göttlichen ist für mich unleugbar, aber sie ist auch schwer zu definieren und zu benennen.“ Wie seine Konversion zeigt, war er allerdings der Meinung, daß der katholische Glaube der unfassbaren göttlichen Wahrheit wohl am nächsten kommt.

Werner Lass et Karl-Otto Paetel, deux nationaux-bolcheviques allemands

anb1.jpg

Werner Lass et Karl-Otto Paetel, deux nationaux-bolcheviques allemands

Moins connus qu’Ernst Niekisch, Werner Lass et Karl-Otto Paetel  sont deux figures atypiques du national-bolchevisme, décrit par Louis Dupeux comme le courant le plus fascinant  de la Révolution Conservatrice.

Au coeur de la jeunesse bundisch

Né à Berlin le 20 mai 1902, Werner Lass appartient aux Wanderwogel de 1916 à 1920. En 1923, il est élu chef du Bund Sturmvolk dont une partie s’unit, en 1926, avec la Schilljugend du célèbre chef de corps-francs Gehrardt Rossbach (1). En 1927, Lass  fait scission pour fonder la Freischar Schill, groupe bündisch dont Ernst Jünger devient rapidement le mentor (« Schirmherr ») et qui place au cœur de ses activités le « combat pour les frontières », les randonnées à l’étranger et la formation militaire (2).

D’octobre 1927 à mars 1928, Lass et Jünger s’associent pour éditer la revue Der Vormarsch (« L’Offensive »), créée en juin 1927 par un autre célèbre chef de corps-francs, le capitaine Ehrhardt. Désireux de dépasser les limites étroites du simple mouvement de jeunesse, il fonde le Wehrjugendbewegung ou Mouvement de jeunesse de défense. Il s’agit pour lui de lier la « dureté de l’engagement du soldat du front avec la force de réalisation et la profondeur du mouvement de jeunesse » afin de créer un nouveau type d’homme.

En août 1928, la Freischar Schill participe au Congrès mondial des organisations de jeunesse, à Ommen, en Hollande. Lass fait un coup éclat en protestant contre la « colonisation » de l’Allemagne et la non attribution d’un visa aux délégués russes. La même année il est emprisonné, accusé d’avoir participé à la révolte paysanne de Claus Heim qui secoue alors le Schlewig-Holstein, et son mouvement sera interdit dans plusieurs villes.

En 1929, la Freischar Schill entreprend des négociations avec le NSDAP, qui échouent du fait des prétentions exorbitantes de la Hitlerjugend. En septembre 1929, Lass fonde une ligue regroupant les membres les plus âgés, le Bund der Eidgenossen ou Ligue des Conjurés, qui adopte très vite des positions nationales-bolcheviques.

Die Kommenden et les nationalistes sociaux-révolutionnaires

Quelques mois plus tard, en janvier 1930, Werner Lass et Jünger prennent la direction de l’hebdomadaire Die Kommenden, qui exerce alors une grande influence auprès de toute la jeunesse bündisch. Lass y écrira de rares articles.

C’est à la rédaction de Die Kommenden qu’il croise la route d’une autre figure du national-bolchevisme des années 30 : Karl-Otto Paetel. Celui-ci est également né à Berlin, le 23 novembre 1906. Tout comme Lass, il a commencé à militer dans les rangs de la jeunesse bündisch, à la Deutsche Freishar et au Bund der Köngener. Issu d’un milieu très modeste, il a dû arrêter ses études quand la bourse dont il bénéficiait lui a été retirée après qu’il ai manifesté contre le plan Young. Esprit décidemment rebelle, il sera aussi exclu de la Deutsche Freishar, en 1930, à la suite d’un article jugé insultant envers le maréchal Hindenburg.

Animateur, de 1928 à 1930, du mensuel Das Junge Volk, Karl-Otto Paetel lie dans ses écrits, dès 1929, combat de libération nationale et lutte des classes : « Tout pour la nation !… Le mot d’August Winning, d’après lequel la lutte libératrice de la nation doit être le lutte du travailleur allemand mène ici à la seule conséquence possible : approuver la lutte des classes comme un fait, la pousser dans l’intérêt du peuple tout entier (…) l’emprunter comme une voie pour la victoire du nationalisme ».

En 1930, Paetel se voit proposer par Lass et Jünger la direction de Die Kommenden. Dans un article paru dans le premier numéro de l’année 1930, il appelle à « en faire un porte-parole de toutes les nouvelles impulsions et pensées qui partout sont à l’œuvre dans la jeune Allemagne, pour toutes les tentatives révolutionnaires de renouvellement » et à rejeter les « aboiements du libéralisme et de la réaction, en qui nous reconnaissons nos ennemis mortels » (3). Et d’assigner au journal une ligne résolument révolutionnaire : « Nous reprendrons à l’intérieur et à l’extérieur de l’espace allemand le combat contre le système de l’exploitation capitaliste, qui a toujours empêché l’intégration du prolétariat dans l’ensemble du destin allemand » (4).

Quelques mois plus tard, fin mai 1930, il crée le Gruppe sozialrevolutionarër nationalisten (Groupe des nationalistes sociaux-révolutionnaires). Une série d’articles, publiés dans le numéro du 27 juin 1930 présente la déclaration-programme du GSRN.  Pour Paetel, « le sens de toute économie est uniquement la couverture des besoins de la nation et non pas la richesse et le gain » (5). Il en appelle à une « révolution mondiale »,  considère le bolchevisme comme un mouvement de libération nationale et souhaite  l’alliance avec l’URSS pour faire pièce à l’esclavage exercé par les nations occidentales : « Nous nationalistes sociaux-révolutionnaires, nous en exigeons l’alliance avec l’Union soviétique . Nous voyons dans tous les peuples opprimés, à quelques races qu’ils appartiennent, nos alliés naturels »(6).

National-bolchevisme et national-socialisme

Pendant l’été 1930, Paetel est débarqué de Die Kommenden par les tenants d’un nationalisme plus classique. En janvier 1931, il lance le mensuel Die sozialistische Nation, qui se réclame du national-bolchevisme, prône la lutte des classes, la collaboration avec le PC et l’instauration de « l’Allemagne des conseils », et entend alors représenter « le secteur non marxiste, non matérialiste du front socialiste ». De son côté, Lass publie, en septembre 1932, une nouvelle revue, Der Umsturz (La Subversion), qui se veux l’organe « des nationalistes radicaux, des socialistes radicaux, des activistes révolutionnaires de toutes tendances » et se réclame ouvertement du national-bolchevisme. « Bolchevisme est présenté comme la quintessence de tout ce qui est destructeur et décomposant. Alors, c’est vrai, nous sommes nationaux-bolcheviks, car précisément, la voie de la nation ne passe que par cette destruction créatrice » (7) peut-on y lire.

L’orientation NB semble corroborée par les évènements des années 1930-1931, scission de l’aile gauche du NSDAP d’une part, politique « nationale » du KPD d’autre part. En ce qui concerne le NSDAP d’Hitler, les NB estiment qu’il s’est embourgeoisé. En 1931, Lass écrit ainsi : « Aujourd’hui au nationaliste convaincu du NSDAP peut seulement être accordé la tâche de radicaliser la large masse de la bourgeoisie et de contribuer au délitement national »(8). Rien de plus. Le 4 juillet 1930, Otto Strasser quitte le parti pour fonder la Communauté nationale-socialiste révolutionnaire. Mais très vite les NB se montrent critiques vis à vis des thèses strassériennes, stigmatisant son «  socialisme à 49 % »  et ses hésitations sur la question de l’alliance russe.

Le fossé entre NB et NS de gauche s’élargit encore du fait de l’espoir mis dans l’évolution du KPD. Le 24 août 1930, l’organe central, Die Rote Fahne, publie une « Déclaration programme pour la libération nationale et sociale du peuple allemand », qui accorde une large place à la question nationale. Il s’agit pour les communistes d’enrayer la radicalisation des classes moyennes, en développant une argumentation nationaliste appuyée sur un appel à une « alliance de classes » de tous les travailleurs contre le petit groupe de possédants capitalistes. Cette stratégie parvient à faire passer dans le camp communiste des nationalistes (9). Croyant naïvement qu’une ligne NB est à l’œuvre au KPD, Paetel multiplie les débats avec les communistes, prenant même la parole lors de leurs meetings. En 1932, il appelle même à voter pour le candidat communiste à l’élection présidentielle, Thaelmann . Début 1933, il publie un Manifeste national-bolchevik, dont les premiers exemplaires, imprimés le 29 janvier, sont distribués le soir même de l’arrivée au pouvoir d’Hitler.

Werner Lass sera arrêté, en mars 1933, pour détention d’explosifs et mis en prison. Après une instruction interrompue, la Freischar Schill et le Bund der Eidgenossen ayant été interdits, il intègre la Hitlerjugend, ce qui représente un cas unique parmi tous les chefs NB. Il en sera d’ailleurs exclu en 1934. De son côté, Paetel sera emprisonné à plusieurs reprises après l’arrivée au pouvoir d’Hitler, avant de parvenir à gagner Prague en 1935, puis la Scandinavie.

Edouard Rix

NOTES

 

(1)  Son nom perpétue le souvenir du major Schill, tombé au cours de la lutte de libération contre l’occupation napoléonienne.

(2) Ses jeunes membres subissent une formation paramilitaire selon le « Reibert », manuel de l’infanterie allemande.

(3) K.O. Paetel, « Unser Weg », Die Kommenden, 1930, n°1, p. 2.

(4) Idem.

(5) T. Münzen « Gwendsätzeiches zum sozialistischen Wirtschaftsarfbau », Die Kommenden, 1930, n°26, p. 307.

(6) K. Baumann, « Sozialistische Revolution », Die Kommenden, 1930, n°26, p. 301.

(7) « Wir Nationalbolchewisten », Der Umsturz, n°6-7.

(8) W. Lass, « Vom vormarsch des Nationalismus », Die Kommenden, 1931, n°7, p. 76.

(9) C’est le cas du capitaine Beppo Romer, chef du bund Oberland, du sous-lieutenant Richard Scheringer, directeur de la revue Aufbruch, de Bruno von Salomon, frère d’Ernst et dirigeant du Landvolkbewegung, ou encore d’Harro Schulze-Boyser, animateur du journal Der Gegner.

Source : Réfléchir & Agir, été 2008, n°29, pp. 48-49.

 

dimanche, 03 octobre 2010

Gli intellettuali tedeschi e la crisi di Weimar

Gli intellettuali tedeschi e la crisi di Weimar

Francesco Lamendola

Ex: http://www.centrostudilaruna.it/

In tempo di crisi – economica, politica, sociale e culturale -, gli intellettuali possono costituire un faro nella nebbia per i cittadini “comuni”? E, se lo possono, lo devono anche?

Qual è il loro ruolo, esattamente, nel contesto della società? È giusto aspettarsi da loro che siano la nostra coscienza critica? O forse non commettiamo l’errore, quando essi – specialmente in tempi di crisi – ci additano la Luna, di guardare il dito anziché la Luna, ossia di prendere troppo alla lettere ciò che essi dicono, invece di cogliere lo spirito che li muove e l’orizzonte cui aspirano e che cercano di dischiudere, per sé e per noi?

È facile fraintenderli, quando li si prende alla lettera: come nel caso dei surrealisti. Tutto essi volevano, tranne che fondare una scuola; il loro credo fondamentale era la rivolta contro ogni sistema, quindi anche contro il surrealismo. E invece che cosa fa il pubblico, davanti agli intellettuali che contestano un sistema ormai agonizzante? Li innalza sugli altari di un nuovo sistema; li promuove a profeti di una nuova religione – che essi lo vogliano o no. E, anche se lo vorrebbero – come nel caso di Spengler, di cui tra poco parleremo – non è detto che noi rendiamo loro un buon servizio, accontentandoli; certamente non lo rendiamo a noi stessi.

Tutte queste domande e queste considerazioni ci sono venute alla mente rileggendo un famoso brano del libro di H. Kohn (I Tedeschi, traduzione italiana Edizioni di Comunità, Milano, 1963), dedicato agli intellettuali tedeschi di fronte al nazismo.

Non è un brano molto breve, tuttavia ci sembra indispensabile riportarlo integralmente, per non correre il rischio di falsare, semplificandolo, il pensiero dell’Autore; dopo di che svilupperemo le nostre riflessioni, portandole dal piano storico contingente (la crisi della Repubblica di Weimar e l’avvicinarsi del nazismo al potere) a quello della riflessione storico-filosofica generale, per cercar di trarne qualche utile insegnamento per il presente.

«In poco più di un decennio gli intellettuali furono in grado di condurre il popolo tedesco nell’abisso. Non ci sarebbero riusciti se non fossero stati preceduti da generazioni di preparazione, in cui germanofilismo e antioccidentalismo erano divenuti sempre più caratteristici del pensiero nazionale. Nell’ultimo stadio il nazionalismo tedesco respinse non solo la civiltà occidentale, ma anche la validità della vita civile. «Il nuovo nazionalismo – ammonì Ernest Robert Curtius nel 1931 – vuole buttar via non solo il diciannovesimo secolo, attualmente tanto calunniato, bensì addirittura tutte le tradizioni storiche». I pensatori nazionalisti francesi – Charles Maurras,o Maurice Barrès – non si spinsero mai fino al punto di rivoltarsi contro la civiltà. In Germania gli antintellettuali non erano plebaglia, ma intellettuali di primo piano, uomini spesso di gusti raffinati e di grande erudizione.

Mettendosi a considerare ogni cosa dall’angolo visuale tedesco, essi si convinsero che la civiltà occidentale fosse dappertutto profondamente minata come in Germania. Partendo da osservazioni parziali arrivarono alle conclusioni più estreme. Identificarono la situazione tedesca, com’era peraltro da essi interpretata, con quella dell’umanità, addirittura con quella dell’universo. Gottfried Benn non dubitava che il periodo quaternario dell’evoluzione geologica stessa approssimandosi alla fine, che l’homo sapiens stesse diventando sorpassato. Nessuna espressione era tanto forte da riuscire a manifestare tutto l’odio nutrito per la civiltà occidentale, il liberalismo, l’umanitarismo. La filosofia di Martin Heidegger, la dottrina politica di Carl Schmitt, la teologia di Karl Barth contribuirono per parte loro a convincere gli intellettuali che l’umanità aveva raggiunto una svolta decisiva, una crisi senza precedenti causata dal liberalismo. Questi intellettuali guardavano dall’alto in basso l’Occidente con lo stesso disprezzo più tardi manifestato dai capi nazisti. Allo stesso tempo si mostravano arrogantemente sicuri che il pensiero tedesco, proprio per la sua consapevolezza della crisi, fosse l’unico degno della nuova epoca storica. […]

“La comprensione classica della tradizione, così viva in Goethe, fu perduta negli anni trenta in Germania come in Russia. L’arte divenne ‘popolare’, ‘nuova’ e ‘utilitaria’; la forma non contò più. Nadler si sentì autorizzato a criticare Goethe perché «un uomo come lui non poteva trasformare un popolo». Ora il popolo si stava «trasformando»; perlomeno i suoi portavoce se ne vantavano. Un periodico molto stimato, Hochschule und Ausland, dedicato al mantenimento dei contatti fra le università tedesche e quelle straniere, nell’aprile del 1937 cambiò testata assumendo il nuovo nome di Geist der Zeit (Spirito dei tempi). Il suo editoriale dichiarò con appropriata modestia: «Non c’è alcuna nazione in Europa, e non ce n’è mai stata alcuna al di fuori della Grecia, in cui lo spirito è così vivo come nell’odierna Germania». Ma gli intellettuali tedeschi sbagliavano scambiando il loro spirito dei tempi con l’effettivo spirito del tempo. Nella loro cieca antipatia per l’Occidente essi interpretavano erroneamente la storia. […]

Moeller, Spengler e Jünger ritenevano che la guerra perduta si sarebbe trasformata in vittoria, se i tedeschi si fossero resi conto di rappresentare lo spirito dei tempi – Moeller aveva iniziato la sua attività come critico letterario e principale traduttore tedesco di Dostoevskij. La guerra comunque lo trasformò da uomo di cultura in pensatore politico. Nel Diritto dei popoli giovani, apparso all’inizio del 1919, egli chiedeva che fosse riconosciuto il diritto all’espansione delle giovani nazioni, che avevano idee nuove, mentre il decrepito Occidente non era altro che una continuazione del sorpassato diciottesimo secolo. Fra i popoli giovani era la Prussia che avrebbe assunto la funzione di guida. «Verrà il momento in cui tutti i popoli giovani, in cui tutti coloro che si sentono giovani, riconosceranno nella storia prussiana la più bella, la più nobile, la più virile storia politica dei popoli europei». […]

“Nel 1923, due anni prima di suicidarsi, Moeller pubblicò il suo libro più autorevole, Das Dritte Reich. Il titolo non può essere tradotto con ‘Terzo Impero’. Il Reich è nella sua essenza molto più di un impero. Ci sono più imperi, c’è un unico Reich. «Il nazionalismo tedesco – scriveva Moeller – è un campione del Reich finale: sempre ricco di promesse, mai concluso… C’è un unico Reich, come c’è un’unica Chiesa. Gli altri pretendenti al titolo non possono essere altro che uno stato, una comunità o una setta. Esiste solo Il Reich». Creando il Reich, i tedeschi non agivano per se stessi, ma per l’Europa. Il loro Reich era urgentemente necessario perché la civiltà occidentale aveva non elevato, bensì degradato l’umanità. «Circondato dal mondo in sfacelo che è il mondo vittorioso di oggi, il tedesco cerca la sua salvezza. Cerca di preservare quei valori imperituri, che sono tali per propria natura. Cerca di assicurare la loro permanenza nel mondo riconquistando il rango a cui hanno diritto i loro difensori. Allo stesso tempo combatte per la causa dell’Europa, per ogni influenza europea che si irradia dalla Germania in quanto centro dell’Europa… L’ombra dell’Africa si proietta sull’Europa. È nostro compito fare da sentinella sulla soglia dei valori».

Moeller definiva il Reich «una vecchia bella idea tedesca che risale al Medioevo, ed è associata all’attesa di un regno millenario». Esso sarebbe stato genuinamente socialista e antiliberale. Il terzo capitolo del libro portava come motto le significative parole «Col liberalismo il popolo perisce».Il socialismo tedesco non aveva nulla in comune col materialismo storico marxista e con la lotta di classe internazionale. Era la solidarietà nazionale di un popolo sfruttato dalla plutocrazia straniera; era l’idea dell’altruismo al servizio del bene comune anziché del perseguimento del profitto personale. «Dove finisce il marxismo – scriveva Moeller – lì comincia il socialismo: un socialismo tedesco, la cui missione è quella di soppiantare nella storia intellettuale dell’umanità ogni specie di liberalismo. Il socialismo tedesco non è compito di un Terzo Reich. È piuttosto la sua base». Moeller accettava la rivoluzione antiliberale e antiplutocratica di Lenin come un tipo di socialismo nazionale peculiarmente adatto alla Russia e si dichiarava propenso a collaborare con essa purché dirigesse la sua espansione verso l’Asia e ammettesse la legittimità della missione della Germania nelle terre di confine russo-tedesche.[…]

Oswald Spengler in Preussentum und Sozialismus [Prussianesimo e Socialismo] (1919) fece un altro passo avanti: «Solo quello tedesco è vero socialismo! Il vecchio spirito prussiano e il socialismo, benché oggi sembrino contrari l’uno all’altro, sono in realtà tutt’uno». Questo libro relativamente beve di Spengler rimase sconosciuto al pubblico inglese, ma attrasse molti più lettori tedeschi dei due grossi volumi della sua opera principale. Le idee esposte in Preussentum und Sozialismus furono, come egli stesso confessò, il nucleo (Kern) da cui si sviluppò tutta la sua filosofia. Il libro è basilare non solo per la conoscenza dell’autore, ma anche per la conoscenza del periodo weimariano. Naturalmente Spengler contrapponeva i suoi prussiani socialisti agli individualisti inglesi attaccati al denaro, che facevano ognuno per conto proprio, mentre i primi erano legati l’uno all’altro. Quando gli inglesi lavoravano, lo facevano per smania di successo; i prussiani lavoravano invece per amore del dovere da compiere. In Inghilterra era la ricchezza che contava, in Prussia l’azione. Il socialismo marxista era profondamente influenzato dalle idee inglesi. Marx infatti, al pari degli inglesi, non ragionava dal punto di vista dello stato, bensì da quello della società. Per lui, come per gli inglesi, il lavoro era qualcosa da comprare e vendere, una merce dell’economia di mercato, mentre per i prussiani ogni lavoro, da quello del più alto funzionario a quello del più umile manovale, era un dovere, compiuto come un servizio reso alla comunità. A detta di Spengler, Federico Guglielmo I, il re-soldato prussiano del diciottesimo secolo, e non Marx, era stato «il primo socialista cosciente». Soltanto la Prussia era uno stato reale, e quindi uno stato socialista. «Qui, nel senso stretto del termine, non esistevano individui isolati. Chiunque viveva nell’ambito del sistema, che funzionava con la precisione di una buona macchina, faceva parte della macchina».

Spengler andava a ritroso nella storia per spiegare la differenza fra inglesi e prussiani; il carattere inglese derivava dai saccheggiatori vichinghi, quello prussiano dai devoti Cavalieri Teutonici. Malgrado lo storicismo, ora brillante, ora falso, gli scritti di Spengler intendevano essere non distaccate opere di studio, bensì littérature engagée [letteratura impegnata]. Il suo Preussentum und Sozialismus era infatti un fervido appello alla gioventù tedesca, lanciato nell’ora della disfatta e dello sconforto. «Nella nostra lotta – egli scriveva nell’introduzione – conto su quella parte della nostra gioventù che sente profondamente, al di là di tutti gli oziosi discorsi quotidiani, […] l’invincibile forza che continua a marciare in avanti malgrado tutto, una gioventù […] romana nell’orgoglio di servire, nella umiltà di comandare, preoccupata di chiedere non diritti dagli altri, bensì doveri da se stessa, senza eccezione, senza distinzione, per realizzare il destino che sente nel suo intimo. In questa gioventù vive una tacita coscienza che integra l’individuo nel tutto, nella nostra cosa più sacra e profonda, un patrimonio di duri secoli, che distingue noi fra tutti i popoli, noi, i più giovani, gli ultimi della nostra civiltà. A questa gioventù io mi rivolgo. Possa essa comprendere quello che ora diventa il suo compito futuro. Possa essere fiera di aver l’onore di affrontarlo.»

L’appello di Spengler alla gioventù si faceva ancora più fervido alla fine del libro: «Chiamo a raccolta coloro che hanno midollo nelle ossa e sangue nelle vene… Diventate uomini! Non vogliamo più discorsi sulla cultura, sulla cittadinanza mondiale, sulla missione spirituale della Germania. Abbiamo bisogno di durezza, di ardito scetticismo, di una classe di dominatori socialisti. Ancora una volta: socialismo significa potenza, potenza, ancora e sempre potenza. La via verso la potenza è chiaramente segnata: i più valenti lavoratori tedeschi devono unirsi ai migliori rappresentanti del vecchio spirito politico prussiano, gli uni e gli altri decisi a creare uno stato rigidamente socialista, una democrazia nel senso prussiano, gli uni e gli altri legati da un comune senso del dovere, dalla coscienza di un grande compito, dalla volontà di obbedire per dominare, di morire per vincere, dalla forza di compiere tremendi sacrifici per realizzare il nostro destino, per essere quel che siamo e quel che senza di noi non esisterebbe. Noi siamo socialisti. Noi non intendiamo esser stati socialisti invano».

La filosofia spengleriana della storia era concisamente esposta in un brano di Preussentum und Sozialismus: «La guerra è eternamente la più alta forma di esistenza umana, e gli stati esistono per la guerra; essi manifestano per la guerra essi manifestano la loro preparazione alla guerra. Anche se un’umanità stanca e smorta desiderasse rinunciare alla guerra, essa diventerebbe, anziché il soggetto, l’oggetto della guerra per cui e con cui gli altri guerreggerebbero».

Lo stesso tema viene ripetuto nel secondo volume del Tramonto dell’Occidente, apparso nel 1922: «La vita è dura. Essa lascia un’unica scelta, quella tra vittoria e sconfitta, non quella fra guerra e pace.» E nell’ultimo libro pubblicato, undici anni dopo, Anni della decisione, egli affermava con ripetitività quasi hitleriana: «La lotta è il fatto fondamentale della vita, è la vita stessa. La noiosa processione di riformatori, capaci di lasciare come loro unico monumento montagne di carta stampata, è ora finita… La storia umana in un periodo di civiltà altamente evoluta è storia di potenze politiche. La forma di questa storia è la guerra. La pace è soltanto […] una continuazione della guerra con altri mezzi […] Lo stato è l’essere in forma di un popolo, che è da esso costituito e rappresentato, per guerre attuali e possibili». Questa filosofia della storia ultrasemplificata portava la priorità della politica estera su quella interna, tipica di Ranke, a un estremo palesemente assurdo. Civiltà e religioni, istituzioni e costituzioni, economia e benessere nazionale non contavano più nella storia; non rimaneva che la politica estera, ridotta essa stessa alla guerra e alla preparazione della guerra. Le guerre non erano più eccezioni o incidenti, erano il fatto centrale della vita e della storia, il loro significato e coronamento. La prima nazione moderna che l’aveva compreso era, secondo Spengler, la Prussia, che su questa consapevolezza basava la sua pretesa di supremazia nella nuova era. «La Prussia – egli scriveva – è soprattutto priorità incondizionata della politica estera su quella interna, la cui sola funzione è quella di mantenere la nazione in forma per quel compito.»[…]

Le teorie politiche proclamate da Spengler col tono di un veggente furono esposte, in veste più erudita, da Carl Schmitt, professore di diritto internazionale e costituzionale all’università di Bonn, per due decenni il più autorevole maestro di diritto pubblico in Germania. I suoi scritti, legati a quelli di Spengler, introdussero una nuova concezione della politica, che riceveva il suo significato non più da quella che era considerata la vita normale della società, bensì da situazioni estreme. Il normale non tendeva più a controllare l’anormale. […]

La guerra era un momento importante della vita politica e della vita in genere; l’inevitabile relazione amico-nemico dominava ogni settore. «I punti culminanti della grande politica – sosteneva Schmitt – sono quelli in cui si discerne il nemico con estrema concreta chiarezza come nemico». Questa teoria politica corrispondeva al presunto primordiale istinto combattivo dell’uomo che tendeva a considerare chiunque si frapponesse all’appagamento dei suoi desideri come un avversario da toglier di mezzo. La tradizionale arte di governo dell’Occidente, invece, consisteva nel trovare e vie e i mezzi per superare l’istinto primitivo col negoziato paziente, col compromesso, con uno sforzo di reciprocità, soprattutto con l’osservanza di leggi universalmente vincolanti.

La totalitaria filosofia di guerra fu così riassunta da Schmitt: «La guerra è l’essenza di ogni cosa. La natura della guerra totale determina la forma naturale dello stato totale». Comprensibilmente, egli nutriva un profondo disprezzo per il diciannovesimo secolo, «un secolo pieno d’illusione e frode.» Nel suo stato ideale di quest’epoca, ovviamente immune da illusioni e frode, la vita nella sua interezza era subordinata al conflitto armato. in tale ordine d’idee Karl Alexander von Müller, direttore della Historische Zeitschrift [Rivista storica], l’organo ufficiale degli storici tedeschi, concluse, nel numero di settembre del 1939, un editoriale sulla guerra con le parole: «In questa battaglia d’animi troviamo il settore delle trincee che è affidato alla scienza storica della Germania. Essa monterà la guardia. La parola d’ordine è stata data da Hegel: lo spirito dell’universo ha dato l’ordine di avanzare; tale ordine sarà ciecamente obbedito».

In questo brano di riflessione storica emergono, a nostro avviso, alcuni tipici difetti della storiografia d’impostazione liberal-democratica, primo fra tutti quello di presentarsi (e percepirsi essa stessa) come la storiografia, immune da passioni e pregiudizi, e perciò titolata a giudicare, davanti al tribunale della storia, tutte le altre ideologie. Intendiamoci: molti giudizi sono pertinenti e perfettamente condivisibili. Giusto porre l’accento sulle responsabilità politiche ed etiche degli intellettuali tedeschi dell’epoca di Weimar nell’aver spianato la strada al nazismo; giusto evidenziare la rozzezza e le eccessive semplificazioni della filosofia della storia di Moeller, Spengler, Schmitt; e giusto anche aver richiamato il fatto che il successo di quella impostazione dei problemi politici, nella cultura e nella società, non sarebbe stato possibile se non vi fosse stata una lunga preparazione, da parte di generazioni e generazioni di intellettuali che li avevano preceduti.

In che cosa verte, dunque, la nostra perplessità, davanti all’approccio storiografico di Kohn? Essenzialmente nel fatto che egli, tutto preso dal suo pathos moralistico, sembra essersi scordato che il compito primo e fondamentale del mestiere di storico (e anche dello storico del pensiero) non è quello di giudicare, ma di sforzarsi di capire. Il che, naturalmente – giova ripeterlo, onde evitare il solito malinteso tanto caro ai moralisti in male fede – non significa giustificare alcunché. Nel caso specifico, a Kohn è sfuggita la comprensione di quanto di originale poteva esservi nella “rivoluzione conservatrice” che ha coinvolto, oltre a Moeller, Spengler e Schmitt, anche personalità della statura di Heidegger, Jünger, Frobenius, Gogarten e, per certi versi, anche Jung; per non parlare, fuori della Germania, di Hamsun, Pound, Evola, Gentile, Ungaretti, Pirandello, Unamuno, Barrés, Eliade, … dobbiamo continuare? E occorre ricordare che alcuni di questi intellettuali, anche fra quelli particolarmente presi di mira da Kohn, ebbero il coraggio di opporsi al nazismo, o ad aspetti significativi della sua politica, esponendosi in prima persona? Il tanto vituperato Spengler rifiutò di aderire al fanatico antisemitismo nazista e avrebbe subito gravi rappresaglie, se la morte non fosse giunta in buon punto, nel 1936, per metterlo al riparo da esse. Jünger, col romanzo Sulle scogliere di marmo, presentò apertamente Hitler come un malvagio e dissennato timoniere che porta la nave della Germania verso la catastrofe; e suo figlio venne ucciso dai nazisti. Heidegger, come è noto, si dissociò al regime e si chiuse in un cupo silenzio, pur non schierandosi esplicitamente contro di esso.

Ma, si dirà, Kohn non accusa costoro di essere stati dei cripto-nazisti, bensì di avere oggettivamente spianato il terreno della cultura tedesca all’influsso nefasto del nazismo. Senonché, è proprio quell’avverbio, oggettivamente (che ricorda, guarda caso, altri climi politici e altre condanne spicciole), che ci sembra ingeneroso e poco corretto dal punto di vista del metodo. In un’epoca di crisi, morale non meno che materiale, gli intellettuali vanno anch’essi a tentoni e non li si può accusare con troppa disinvoltura di aver preparato le catastrofi a venire, istituendo per loro una sorta di retroattività morale. Lungi da noi voler minimizzare le responsabilità degli intellettuali; senz’altro alcuni di essi sono stati dei cattivi maestri, e ne portano tutta intera la responsabilità. Occorre, però, distinguere bene i due piani della riflessione: quello storico e quello etico. Se il libro di Kohn, I Tedeschi, vuol essere un libro di storia, è necessario che del metodo storico accetti le premesse e l’impostazione generale: la priorità rivolta allo sforzo di comprendere, innanzitutto. E non ci pare che egli abbia fatto molto in tal senso. Non ha tenuto conto del punto di vista interno della società tedesca nel periodo della Repubblica di Weimar; e non ha tenuto conto della frustrazione e del risentimento, in parte comprensibili, con i quali il popolo tedesco visse quel periodo, dopo che a Versailles Clemenceau era riuscito a far prevalere la logica della pace “punitiva” e dopo che l’inflazione aveva polverizzato non solo i risparmi e i frutti del lavoro di una intera generazione, ma anche – apparentemente – le speranze di rinascita del popolo tedesco.

Se la famosa pugnalata alla schiena è, infatti, un mito bello e buono, inventato dalla cricca militare prussiana per scaricare sulla società civile, e specialmente sulla socialdemocrazia, la responsabilità della sconfitta in quella guerra che essa aveva fortemente voluto, considerandola – a torto o a ragione – necessaria e inevitabile per la sopravvivenza della Germania come grande potenza, vi sono pochi dubbi – a nostro parere – che il popolo tedesco, al termine della prima guerra mondiale (e, di nuovo, con la crisi della Ruhr del 1923), fu vittima di una grossa ingiustizia storica. Se si fa astrazione da ciò, si rischia di non capire come le parole e gli slogan degli intellettuali conservatori tedeschi ebbero tanta risonanza e tanto successo, specialmente fra la gioventù, negli anni Venti e all’inizio degli anni Trenta. Lo storico, invece – anche e, per certi aspetti, soprattutto lo storico del pensiero – deve sempre e rigorosamente contestualizzare. Non si può comprendere Lutero fuori del proprio tempo e della propria situazione storica; non si può comprendere Kant; non si può comprendere Hegel o Nietzsche o Heidegger. In verità, non si può comprendere niente; a meno che si immagini che il pensiero non vada in nulla debitore della società che lo esprime.

Un’altra riflessine di carattere generale che ci sembra opportuno fare è che la sconfitta, così nella vita del singolo individuo come in quella dei popoli, è portatrice di una crisi che può anche essere salutare, perché costringe, letteralmente, a prendere atto di una inadeguatezza e a elaborare delle strategie per superare le presenti difficoltà. La società tedesca non era stata certo l’unica responsabile della tragedia del 1914-1918; ma, alla fine della guerra, si trovò dalla parte del perdente e quindi, automaticamente, dalla parte del torto (cosa che si sarebbe ripetuta di lì a ventisette anni). Una clausola del trattato di pace imponeva ai rappresentanti della Germania di firmare una dichiarazione in cui la loro patria si assumeva, tutta intera, la responsabilità di quanto era accaduto: e questo sotto la minaccia di una ripresa immediata della guerra. Mai si era vista una simile prepotenza giuridica, per giunta sotto l’ipocrita bandiera del democraticismo wilsoniano; ma Erzberger dovette trangugiare, a nome del suo popolo, l’amaro boccone (cosa che ne provocò la condanna a morte da parte dell’estremismo nazionalista: condanna che fu eseguita, pochi anni dopo, da un giovane assassino).

Né basta. Per tre volte – nel 1919, nel 1923 e nel 1929 – l’economia tedesca fu travolta dalla terribile bufera della crisi economica, che spazzò il risparmio e creò milioni e milioni di disoccupati. Ogni volta la società tedesca riusciva a rimettersi in piedi, compiendo degli sforzi veramente titanici, un intervento esterno la rigettava a terra. Nel 1919 la pace punitiva – con le mutilazioni territoriali, la perdita delle colonie e della marina, l’enorme indennità di guerra da pagare agli Alleati; nel 1923 l’occupazione francese e belga del bacino minerario della Ruhr, che rendeva ancor più impossibile soddisfare quei pagamenti; nel 1929 il crollo della borsa di Wall Street, cui gli speculatori della finanza ebraica newyorkese non furono certo estranei: e la terza volta spianò la strada a Hitler. C’è da chiedersi, semmai, come poté resistere tanto a lungo la società tedesca alle sirene del nazismo, con la comunità internazionale ben decisa a distruggerne la volontà di ripresa e la Lega delle Nazioni, comodo paravento giuridico-morale delle plutocrazie britannica e francese, a fare da cane da guardia alle assurde decisioni politiche e territoriali della Conferenza di Versailles.

Tale il contesto del decennio preso in esame da Kohn (1923-33), e che egli chiama “la marcia verso l’abisso”, attribuendone tutta la responsabilità morale agli intellettuali tedeschi, che avrebbero dissennatamente predicato la violenza e l’esasperazione del darwinismo sociale e del machiavellismo politico. Egli conclude affermando che, per opera di Schmitt e di Spengler, penetrò nella cultura tedesca “una nuova concezione della politica, che riceveva il suo significato non più da quella che era considerata la vita normale della società, bensì da situazioni estreme. Il normale non tendeva più a controllare l’anormale”. Omette però di precisare che la Germania, a causa della miopia e dell’egoismo delle classi dirigenti britanniche, francesi e americane, da oltre un decennio non viveva affatto in una situazione “normale”; che potenti forze economico-finanziarie internazionali facevano di tutto per tenerla in una condizione di cronica e disperata anormalità.

Così pure, quando Spengler afferma che «La vita è dura. Essa lascia un’unica scelta, quella tra vittoria e sconfitta, non quella fra guerra e pace», Kohn omette di precisare che questa visione cinica e brutale della vita umana era stata ampiamente diffusa (anche se non “inventata”) dall’egoismo e dalla cecità dei vincitori di Versailles. Era stata la loro politica ad insegnare agli sconfitti la dura legge del vae victis, la legge inumana secondo la quale la pace è un lusso degli oziosi e degli imbelli o un’utopia dei sognatori, e che la sola cosa che conta è la forza. Per giunta, i brutali vincitori avevano ammantato tale machiavellismo con le vesti rispettabili dell’umanitarismo wilsoniano e della democrazia liberale, sanzionando a posteriori, con una capillare opera di propaganda e di diplomazia internazionale, il puro e semplice trionfo della forza. Come avrebbero fatto col processo di Norimberga (e con quello di Tokyo) alla fine della seconda guerra mondiale. Un processo ove i crimini tedeschi (e giapponesi) vennero giudicati dagli stessi vincitori, ragion per cui nessun fiatò sui crimini anglo-americani e sovietici.

Ma veniamo allo specifico, e cioè alle caratteristiche fondamentali della cultura tedesca nel decennio 1923-33, in cui Kohn vede solo e unicamente una marcia verso l’abisso, una preparazione del diluvio nazista, mentre gli sfuggono completamente le esigenze autentiche e legittime di rinnovamento che si esprimevano in quel contesto e con quella tradizione storica: elementi dai quali non è lecito prescindere, a meno di fare un’operazione culturale altamente anti-storica. Non entriamo ora nel merito della filosofia di Mueller, Spengler, Schmitt, e neanche di Jünger, Wittgenstein o Gogarten, perché ciò esulerebbe, e di molto, dai limiti che ci siamo prefissi. Desideriamo piuttosto far notare che questi autori (che, fra l’altro, non vanno arbitrariamente omologati, pena il perdere di vista la specificità intellettuale di ciascuno d’essi) testimoniano uno sforzo del pensiero per trovare nuove certezze dopo le tremende delusioni e i traumi del periodo precedente e, al tempo stesso, un tentativo di ridefinire lo spazio culturale della Mitteleuropa, e anche dell’Europa in generale, nei confronti di un “Occidente” sentito ormai come una realtà socio-culturale al tempo stesso obsoleta e artificiale. In questo senso, furono i promotori di un’autocritica del pensiero europeo: autocritica, ripetiamo, nata dalla sconfitta e dall’umiliazione nazionale; mentre nulla di simile fu neanche immaginato dalla cultura delle nazioni vincitrici, tutte intente a godersi il bottino di Versailles e, semmai, a giocare cinicamente sulle rivalità dei nuovi, piccoli Stati dell’Europa centrale (Cecoslovacchia, Jugoslavia, ecc.) sorti dallo sfacelo del vecchio ordine europeo.

È vero, gli intellettuali inglesi e francesi degli anni Venti non hanno seminato idee ultranazionaliste e guerrafondaie. Non ve n’era bisogno: la cultura di quei Paesi si godeva la meravigliosa sensazione di aver affrontato e superato una dura prova e, alla fine, di aver contribuito al trionfo della giustizia, della libertà, della democrazia. Gli intellettuali tedeschi – e, a maggior ragione, quelli austriaci o dell’area ex asburgica: Musil, Roth, Kafka, von Rezzori, Cioran – erano costretti a interrogarsi non solo sulla sconfitta e sulla disintegrazione della vecchia Mitteleuropa, ma anche sull’incipiente disintegrazione dello spirito europeo, sulla stessa disintegrazione dell’Io come soggetto unitario della coscienza. Avevano a che fare con una situazione estrema, e fecero del loro meglio per trovare un raggio di luce, una indicazione che li guidasse fuori dalla crisi, verso il futuro. Possiamo discutere la saggezza della via da essi battuta e dissentire da alcuni aspetti della loro polemica; tuttavia, se vogliamo essere onesti, dobbiamo riconoscere che non tutte le ragioni della loro polemica erano infondate.

Quando Spengler, ad esempio, affermava che “per Marx, come per gli inglesi, il lavoro era qualcosa da comprare e vendere, una merce dell’economia di mercato, mentre per i prussiani ogni lavoro, da quello del più alto funzionario a quello del più umile manovale, era un dovere, compiuto come un servizio reso alla comunità”, non ci sembra che dicesse cosa molto lontana dal vero. Anche l’osservazione che nel vecchio sistema prussiano erano impliciti elementi di socialismo e che, ad ogni modo, in Germania il senso dei valori collettivi prevaleva sull’individualismo, non era peregrina; come non era infondata la convinzione di Moeller che il regime bolscevico, per le sue istanze profonde antiplutocratiche, fosse – nonostante le apparenze – ideologicamente più vicino agli interessi e al sentire del popolo tedesco di quanto non lo fossero i sistemi liberal-democratici dell’Europa occidentale e degli Stati Uniti. La polemica degli intellettuali tedeschi contro l’umanitarismo era sicuramente riprovevole, così come pericoloso il loro continuo soffiare sul fuoco del nazionalismo esasperato. Però bisogna rendersi conto di una cosa: essi sentivano il dovere di ricorrere a ogni mezzo per rimettere in piedi un popolo che era stato ridotto in ginocchio e che era tuttora vittima di una ingiustizia storica. La spettacolare crescita economica, culturale e sociale tedesca del Secondo Reich, fra il 1871 e il 1918 (sì, anche sociale: con una delle legislazioni del lavoro fra le più avanzate al mondo) era stata letteralmente strangolata da una coalizione mondiale che adesso era ben decisa a impedire che la Germania si rialzasse e tornasse a mettere in pericolo i privilegi acquisiti dalle potenze mondiali più vecchie.

Gli storici come H. Kohn, implicitamente o esplicitamente, rimproverano agli intellettuali tedeschi di quel periodo di non aver fatto nulla per convogliare le simpatie dei loro compatrioti verso gli istituti della democrazia. Così facendo, sembrano dimenticare un elemento fondamentale, che oggi si ripete in Iraq e in varie altre parti del mondo: la democrazia era stata, per la Germania, non il punto d’arrivo di un processo interno e naturale, ma la conseguenza della sconfitta e, in un certo senso, una imposizione dei vincitori. Quantomeno, gli Alleati si erano serviti della Repubblica democratica di Weimar per presentare al popolo tedesco il conto salatissimo della Conferenza di Versailles e della pace-capestro. Portata al potere dal doppio trauma della disfatta militare e del diktat dei vincitori, la Repubblica non era amata e, soprattutto, non era sentita come parte della tradizione storica nazionale.

Si può, naturalmente, chiamare in causa la scarsa maturità politica della classe dirigente tedesca e, più in generale, la tradizione filistea del ceto medio, sempre pronto – in particolare dal 1870 – ad applaudire il vincitore di turno, ossia qualunque governo capace di portare al successo l’affermazione dello Stato con la forza materiale. Questo, certamente, era il peccatum originalis del Secondo Reich: il “patto col diavolo” della borghesia tedesca che, nel 1866 e nel 1870, si era inchinata davanti alla politica di Bismarck solo perché, sul piano della pura forza, si era dimostrata vincente. Ma sarebbe antistorico e ingeneroso addossare tutte le colpe agli intellettuali che, negli anni Venti, dovettero procedere alla liquidazione del vecchio mondo e delle vecchie certezze a prezzi fallimentari; e che, contemporaneamente, dovettero cercare in tutta fretta di fornire nuovi orientamenti al loro popolo traumatizzato e demoralizzato.

Più in generale, ci sembra che la vicenda della cosiddetta “rivoluzione conservatrice” segni l’ultimo sprazzo di vitalità della cultura europea, l’ultima sua reazione davanti alle forze inumane e omologanti che oggi chiamiamo della globalizzazione, ma che già allora venivano percepite come una americanizzazione del vecchio continente, capace di fare piazza pulita, in nome della borsa, del profitto e dei metodi tayloristici di organizzazione scientifica del lavoro, dell’anima stessa del vecchio continente. Si può interpretare l’opera filosofica di Mueller, Spengler, Schmitt e Jünger come una reazione, aristocratica e popolare al tempo stesso, contro gli aspetti più minaccioso della modernità, primo fra tutti il prevalere delle logiche del mercato su quelle della società civile, della quantità sulla qualità, dell’egoismo privato sull’interesse collettivo. In breve, si può interpretare il pensiero di quegli autori come un tentativo disperato, nostalgico e anti-moderno, di ripristinare i valori tramontati dell’aristocrazia davanti al trionfo degli aspetti più massificanti ed egoistici dello spirito borghese.

Certo, vi furono molte, troppe scorie all’interno di un tale tentativo; vi fu un uso irresponsabile di slogan aggressivi e razzisti; vi fu un disprezzo esagerato e irragionevole per tutto quanto, a torto o a ragione, era considerato parte di quello spirito borghese e, pertanto, parte di quel quadro internazionale che aveva penalizzato così duramente la patria tedesca. Vi furono molte semplificazioni assurde, molti facili luoghi comuni e un uso troppo disinvolto di formule dall’intrinseco potere distruttivo, che avrebbero sospinto alla catastrofe la società tedesca per la seconda volta nel volgere di una sola generazione. Però, lo ripetiamo, occorre tener conto della particolare situazione tedesca, anche sul piano internazionale. Da una parte la Russia staliniana, dall’altra i vincitori di Versailles, chiusi e sordi a ogni senso di equità e di saggezza, protesi unicamente a sfruttare al massimo i loro immensi imperi coloniali e i profitti giganteschi che la guerra stessa, come nel caso degli Stati Uniti, aveva portato loro.

La Germania, pertanto, si sentiva come una cittadella assediata e abbandonata alle sue risorse; o trovava in se stessa la forza di reagire, o sarebbe perita, forse per sempre. Questo videro i Mueller, gli Spengler e gli Schmitt. Bisognerebbe tener conto del dramma che stava vivendo il loro popolo, prima di giudicarli con una severità dettata dal senno di poi e da una serie di pregiudizi ideologici che derivano proprio dal fatto che la storia, una volta di più, l’hanno fatta e continuano a farla i vincitori. Basti pensare al destino riservato, circa vent’anni dopo, al cuore della Germania, la vecchia Prussia: smembrata, svuotata dei suoi abitanti con una spietata pulizia etnica, cancellata totalmente dalla carta geografica. Vae victis, appunto: gli Alleati, nel 1945 come nel 1918, non amavano i toni rozzi e aggressivi alla Spengler, ma agivano esattamente in base a quei criteri, brutali e machiavellici, che tanto li disgustavano quando a teorizzarli erano i Tedeschi.

Atlantis, Kush & Turan: Prehistoric Matrices of Ancient Civilizations in the Posthumous Work of Spengler

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Atlantis, Kush, & Turan:
Prehistoric Matrices of Ancient Civilizations in the Posthumous Work of Spengler

Translated by Greg Johnson

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

Editor’s Note:

In this brief review essay, Robert Steuckers provides an introduction to Spengler’s writings on prehistory and early world history, which contain surprising theses, stunning metaphors, and quite interesting departures from The Decline of the West. These writings are almost unknown because they were never finished and were only published in incomplete form decades after Spengler’s death.

Oswald Spengler’s morphologies of cultures and civilizations in his most famous work, The Decline of the West, are widely known. However, Spengler’s positions changed after the publication of Decline. So claims the Italian Germanist Domenico Conte in his recent work on Spengler, Catene di civiltà: Studi su Spengler (Napoli: Ed. Scientifiche Italiane, 1994), which is a thorough study of the posthumous texts published by Anton Mirko Koktanek, especially Frühzeit der Weltgeschichte [The Early Period of World History], which gathers the fragments of a projected but never completed work The Epic of Man.

In his reflections immediately following the publication of The Decline of the West, Spengler distinguished four stages of human history which he designates simply as A, B, C, and D. Stage “A” lasted a hundred thousand years, from the first phases of hominization up to the lower Paleolithic. It is during this stage that the importance of the “hand” for man appears. It is, for Spengler, the age of Granite.

Stage “B” lasted ten thousand years and lay in the lower Paleolithic, between 20,000 and 7,000–6,000 BCE. During this age the concept of interior life was born: “then appeared the true soul, as unknown to men of stage ‘A’ as it is to a newborn baby.” In this stage in our history man was first “able to produce traces/memories” and to understand the phenomenon of death. For Spengler, it is the age of the Crystal. Stages “A” and “B” are inorganic.

Stage “C” lasted 3,500 years: it starts with the Neolithic era, running from the sixth millennium BCE to the third. It is the stage when thought started to be articulated in language and the most complex technological achievements became possible. In this stage are born “cultures” whose structures are “amoebic.”

Stage “D” is that of “world history” in the conventional sense of the term. It is the stage of “great civilizations,” each of which lasts approximately 1,000 years. These civilizations have structures of the “vegetable” type. Stages “C” and “D” are organic.

Spengler preferred this psychological-morphological classification to the classifications imposed by the directors of museums who subdivided the prehistoric and historical eras according to materials used for the manufacture of tools (stone, bronze, iron). In keeping with this psychological-morphological classification, Spengler also rejected the idea of the “slow, phlegmatic transformation” or continuous development, rooted in the progressivist ideas of the 18th century.

Evolution, for Spengler, is a matter of catastrophic blows, sudden irruptions, unexpected changes. “The history of the world proceeds from catastrophe to catastrophe, without any concern with whether we are able to understand them. Today, following H. de Vries, we call them ‘mutations.’ It is an internal transformation, which affects without warning all the members of a species, without ‘cause,’ naturally, like everything else in reality. Such is the mysterious rhythm of the world” (Man and Technics). There is thus no slow evolution but abrupt “epochal” transformations. Natura facit saltus [Nature makes leaps—Ed.].

Three Culture-Amoebas

In stage “C,” where the matrices of human civilization actually emerge, Spengler distinguishes three “culture-amoebas”: Atlantis, Kush, and Turan. This terminology appears only in his posthumous writings and letters. The civilizational matrices are “amoebas” and not “plants” because amoebas are mobile, not anchored to a particular place. The amoeba is an organism that continuously pulsates along an ever-shifting periphery. Then the amoeba subdivides itself as amoebas do, producing new individualities that move away from the amoeba-mother. This analogy implies that one cannot delimit with precision the territory of a civilization of stage “C,” because its amoebic emanations can be widely dispersed in space, extremely far away from the amoeba-mother.

“Atlantis” is the “West” and extends from Ireland to Egypt. “Kush” is the “South-east,” an area ranging between India and the Red Sea. “Turan” is the “North,” extending from Central Europe to China. Spengler, explains Conte, chose this terminology recalling “old mythological names” in order not to confuse them with later historical regions of the “vegetable” type, which are geographically rooted and circumscribed, whereas they are dispersed and not precisely localized.

Spengler does not believe in the Platonic myth of Atlantis, the sunken continent, but notes that an ensemble of civilizational remnants are locatable in the West, from Ireland to Egypt. “Kush” is a name that one finds in the Old Testament to indicate the territory of the ancient Nubians, the area inhabited by the Kushites. But Spengler places the culture-amoeba “Kush” more to the East, in an area between Turkestan, Persia, and India, undoubtedly inspired by the anthropologist Frobenius. As for “Turan,” it is “North,” the Turanic high-plateau, which he thought was the cradle of the Indo-European and Ural-Altaic languages. It is from there that the migrations of “Nordic” peoples departed (Spengler is not without racial connotations) to descend on Europe, India, and China.

Atlantis: Hot and Mobile; Kush: Tropical and Content

Atlantis, Kush, and Turan are cultures bearing morphological principles emerging mainly in the spheres of religion and the arts. The religiosity of Atlantis “hot and mobile,” is centered on the worship of the dead and the preeminence of the ultra-telluric sphere. The forms of burials, notes Conte, testify to the intense relationship with the world of the dead: The tombs always have a high profile, or are monumental; the dead are embalmed and mummified; food is left or brought for them. This obsessional relationship with the chain of ancestors leads Spengler to theorize the presence of a “genealogical” principle. The artistic expressions of Atlantis, adds Conte, are centered on stone constructions, as gigantic as possible, made for eternity, signs of a feeling of life which is not turned towards a heroic surpassing of limits, but towards a kind of “inert complacency.”

Kush developed a “tropical” and “content” religion. The problem of ultra-telluric life is regarded with far less anxiety than in Atlantis, because in the culture-amoeba of Kush a mathematics of the cosmos dominates (of which Babylon will be the most imposing expression), where things are “rigidly given in advance.” Life after death is a matter of indifference. If Atlantis is a “culture of the tombs,” in Kush tombs have no significance. One lives and procreates but forgets the dead. The central symbol of Kush is the temple, from which priests scrutinize celestial mathematics. If in Atlantis, the genealogical principle dominates, if the gods and goddesses of Atlantis are father, mother, son, daughter, in Kush, the divinities are stars. A cosmological principle dominates.

Turan: The Civilization of Heroes

Turan is the civilization of heroes, animated by a “cold” religiosity, centered on the mysterious meaning of existence. Nature is filled with impersonal powers. For the culture-amoeba of Turan, life is a battlefield: “for the man of the North (Achilles, Siegfried),” Spengler writes, “only life before death, the fight against destiny, counts.” The divine-human relationship is no longer one of dependence: “prostration ceases, the head remains high; there is ‘I’ (man) and you (gods).”

Sons guard the memory of their fathers but do not leave food for their corpses. There is no embalming or mummification in this culture, but cremation. The bodies disappear, are hidden in underground burials without monuments, or are dispersed to the four winds. All that remains of the dead is their blood in the veins of their descendants. Turan is thus a culture without architecture, where temples and burials have no importance and where only the terrestrial meaning of existence matters. Man lived alone, confronted with himself, in his house of wood or in his nomad’s tent.

The War Chariot

Spengler reserved his sympathy for the culture-amoeba of Turan, whose bearers were characterized by the love of adventure, implacable will power, a taste for violence, and freedom from vain sentimentality. They are “men of facts.” The various peoples of Turan were not bound by blood ties or a common language. Spengler does not utilize archaeological and linguistic research aiming to find the original fatherland of the Indo-Europeans or at reconstituting the source language of all the current Indo-European idioms: the bond which links the people of Turan is technical; it is the use of the war chariot.

In a lecture given in Munich on February 6th, 1934 entitled “Der Streitwagen und the Seine Bedeutung für den Gang der Weltgeschichte” (“The War Chariot and its Significance for the Course of World History”), Spengler explains why this weapon constitutes the key to understanding the history of the second millennium BCE It is, he says, the first complex weapon: One needs a war chariot (with 2 wheels and not a less mobile carriage with 4 wheels), a domesticated and harnessed animal, a meticulously trained warrior who will henceforth strike his enemies from above. With the war chariot is born a type of new man. The chariot is a revolutionary invention on the military plane, but also the formative principle of a new humanity. The warriors became professional because the techniques they had to handle were complex, and they came together as a caste of those who love risk and adventure; they made war the meaning of their life.

The arrival of these castes of impetuous “charioteers” upset very ancient orders: the Achaeans invaded Greece and settled in Mycenae; the Hyksos burst into Egypt. To the East, the Kassites descended on Babylon. In India, the Aryans bore down on the subcontinent, “destroyed the cities,” and settled on the ruins of the civilization of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa. In China, the Zhou arrived from the north, mounted on their chariots, like the Hyksos and their Greek counterparts.

From 1,200 BCE, warlike princes reigned in China, in India, and in the ancient world of the Mediterranean. The Hyksos and Kassites conquered two older civilizations of the South. Then three new civilizations carried by “dominating charioteers” emerged: the Greco-Roman, the Aryan civilization of India, and the Chinese civilization resulting from Zhou. These new civilizations, whose princes came from North, Turan, are “more virile and energetic that those born on banks of the Nile and Euphrates.” According to Spengler, however, these warlike charioteers sadly succumbed to the seductions of the softening South.

A Common Heroic Substrate

The theory of the rough simultaneity of the invasions of Greece, Egypt, India, and China was shared by Spengler and the sinologist Gustav Haloun. Both held that there is a common substrate, warlike and chariot-borne, of Mediterranean, Indian, and Chinese civilizations. It is a “heroic” civilization, as shown by the weapons of Turan. They are different from those of Atlantis. In addition to the chariot, they are the sword and the axe, which imply duels between combatants, whereas in Atlantis, the weapons are the bow and arrow, that Spengler judges “vile” because they make it possible to avoid direct physical confrontation with the adversary, “to look him right in the eyes.”

In Greek mythology, Spengler claims, the bow and arrows are remnants of earlier, pre-Hellenic influences: Apollo the archer originated in Asia Minor; Artemis is Libyan, as is Hercules. The javelin is also “telamon” [= Atlantid] while the jousting lance is “Turanic.” To understand these distant times, the study of the weapons is more instructive than that of kitchen utensils or jewels, Spengler concludes.

The Turanic soul also derives from a particular climate and a hostile landscape. Man must fight unceasingly against the elements, thus becomes harder, colder, more wintry. Man is not only the product of a “genealogical chain,” but equally of a “landscape.” Climatic rigor develops “moral strength.” The tropics soften the character, bringing us closer to a nature perceived as more matriarchal, supporting female values.

Spengler’s  late writings and correspondence thus show that his views changed after the publication of The Decline of the West, where he valorized Faustian civilization to the detriment primarily of ancient civilization. His focus on the “chariot” gives a new dimension to his vision of history: the Greeks, the Romans, the Indo-Aryans, and the Chinese found favor in his eyes.

In The Decline of the West the mummification of the Pharaohs was considered as the Egyptian expression of a will to duration, which he opposed to the oblivion implied by Indian cremation. Later, he disdained “telamon” mummification as an obsession with the beyond, indicating an incapacity to face terrestrial life. “Turanic” cremation, on the other hand, indicates a will to focus one’s powers on real life.

A Change of Optics Dictated by Circumstances?

Spengler’s polycentric, relativistic, non-Eurocentric, non-evolutionist conception of history in The Decline of the West fascinated researchers and anthropologists outside the circles of the German right, particularly Alfred Kroeber and Ruth Benedict. His emphasis on the major historical role of castes of charioteers gives his late work a more warlike, violent, mobile dimension than revealed in Decline.

Can one attribute this change of perspective to the situation of a vanquished Germany, which sought to ally itself with the young USSR (from a Eurasian-Turanian perspective?), with India in revolt against Great Britain (that he formerly included in “Faustian civilization,” to which he then gave much less importance), with China of the “great warlords,” sometimes armed and aided by German officers?

Did Spengler, by the means of his lecture on the charioteers, seek to give a common mythology to German, Russian, Chinese, Mongolian, and Indian officers or revolutionaries in order to forge a forthcoming brotherhood of arms, just as the Russian “Eurasianists” tried to give the newborn Soviet Russia a similar mythology, implying the reconciliation of Turco-Turanians and Slavs? Is the radical valorization of the “Turanic” chariot charge is an echo of the worship of “the assault” found in “soldatic nationalism,” especially of the Jünger brothers and Schauwecker?

Lastly, why didn’t Spengler write anything on the Scythians, a people of intrepid warriors, masters of equestrian techniques, who fascinated the Russians and undoubtedly, among them, the theorists of the Eurasiansm? Finally, is the de-emphasis on racial factors in late Spengler due to a rancorous feeling toward the English cousins who had betrayed Germanic solidarity? Was it to promote a new mythology, in which the equestrian people of the continent, which include all ethnic groups (Mongolian Turco-Turanians, descendants of the Scythians, Cossacks and Germanic Uhlans), were to combine their efforts against the corrupt civilizations of the West and the South and against the Anglo-Saxon thalassocracies?

Don’t the obvious parallels between the emphasis on the war chariot and certain theses in Man and Technics amount to a concession to the reigning futuristic ideology, insofar as Spengler gives a technical rather than a religious explanation of the Turanian culture-amoeba? These are topics that the history of ideas will have to clarify in-depth.

Source: Nouvelles de Synergies européennes, no. 21, 1996.

mercredi, 29 septembre 2010

La aventura del rebelde

reb7670g.jpg

LA AVENTURA DEL REBELDE

Ex: http://imperium-revolucion-conservadora.blogspot.com/

La existencia de una supuesta tendencia humana hacia la igualdad, la nivelación en todos los órdenes, fenómeno que Ratheneau calificaba como la invasión vertical de los bárbaros o la revolución por lo bajo (Revolution von unten) de Spengler, es una afirmación rigurosamente inexacta. El hombre es un ser naturalmente inconformista, competitivo y ambicioso, al menos, en un sentido progresivo y evolutivo. El mito de la igualdad deja paso a la lucha eterna por la diferenciación. Y este concepto dinámico se integra en la sociedad mediante dos polos opuestos que originan en ella un movimiento de tensión-extensión: minorías y masas, formadas por hombres-señores o por hombres-esclavos, estos últimos seres mediocres en los que se repite un tipo genérico definido de antemano por los valores imperantes de la moral burguesa o progresista triunfante en cada momento o por los dictados de la modernidad, siervos de una civilización decadente que pugna por la nueva nivelación-igualación consistente en rebajar o disminuir a los que se sitúan por encima atrayéndolos a un estrato inferior. El combate por la libertad cede ante la búsqueda de una felicidad gratuita.
Nietzsche expuso su antítesis entre una “moral de señores”, aristocrática, propia del espiritualismo en sentido europeo intrahistórico, y una “moral de esclavos”, de resentimiento, que correspondería al cristianismo, al bolchevismo y al capitalismo demoliberal. Es la naturaleza la que establece separaciones entre los individuos “espirituales”, los más fuertes y enérgicos y los “mediocres”, que son mayoría frente a “los menos”, una “casta” que anuncia el advenimiento del “superhombre” (Übermensch). El “mensajero del nihilismo” fue un predicador militante contra el orden caduco y la moral convencional, pero lo hacía desde un profundo individualismo que se oponía a las distintas formas de dominio ejercidas sobre las masas con el oscuro objetivo de anular toda personalidad.
Y es aquí cuando percibimos que la figura solitaria, dramática y patética del rebelde, del anticonformista, parece haber desaparecido de la sociedad posmoderna. El declive del romanticismo y el advenimiento de la sociedad de masas han puesto de manifiesto la crisis del héroe, del intelectual comprometido con la disensión y la protesta, reduciéndolo a un mero personaje de ficción literaria. El neoconformista interpreta toda renovación como un atentado contra su seguridad. Atemorizado por el riesgo y la responsabilidad inherente al difícil ejercicio de la libertad personal, aprieta filas con el modelo colectivo. Es el hombre heterodirigido de Riesman o el hombre masa de Ortega y Gasset. Sin embargo, a lo largo del pasado siglo, diversos movimientos han respondido, intuitivamente en la mayoría de las ocasiones, enérgicamente las menos, contra esta homogeneización de las formas de vida.
Durante la década de los cincuenta aparecieron los llamados jóvenes airados o generación beat, espíritus extravagantes caracterizados por sus deseos de romper con las reglas del orden constituido. Forman un grupo promiscuo de bohemios, artistas fracasados, vagabundos, toxicómanos, asociales inadaptados y genios incomprendidos. Mezclan, en extraña confusión, ciertos gestos incomformistas respecto al sexo, las drogas, la amistad, con actitudes intolerantes hacia las formas de vida social, familiar e individual establecidas. Viven en pequeñas comunidades, desprecian el dinero, el trabajo, la moral y la política. Su culto a la rebelión anárquica se resuelve en una técnica existencial autodestructiva que suele concluir en el psiquiátrico, el reformatorio o el presidio. Los beats, en medio de la alucinación y el desespero intelectual, degeneron en lo absurdo, porque absurdo era el mundo en el que estaban obligados a vivir.
Marcuse, símbolo de la protesta estudiantil de los sesenta, intuía la contracultura como una gran negación y, como toda actitud negativa, suponía la afirmación de unos valores opuestos a la cultura en su sentido clásico. El mayo francés, con su imaginación al poder, dio vida efímera al fenómeno de la contracultura.: su temporalidad se debió, sin duda, a su carácter de negación, «porque aquel que reacciona contra algo afirmado no tiene iniciativa en la acción», en expresión de Evola. La contracultura intentó construir una alternativa diferente al futuro tecno-industrial, renovando la caduca cultura occidental a través de una revolución psicológica de la automarginalidad.
Por otra parte, la infracultura delincuente constituye una auténtica anticultura, cuyo código de honor consiste en trastornar las normas justas –o, al menos, aceptadas colectivamente- de la cultura dominante, a través de la ritualización de la hostilidad gratuita y el vandalismo, erigidos como principios éticos que no se dirigen a la obtención de un lucro inmediato, sino a la posesión del placer por lo ilícito, del riesgo por la violación de un tabú. Su comportamiento es incontrolado, carente de toda lógica, y su actuación es hedonista, inmediata, no programada, lo que la diferencia de la delincuencia profesional. Este tipo de rebelde fracasado, surgido de los sectores menos favorecidos –ahora la extracción se produce también entre los niños pijos consentidos-, ve en la propiedad ajena el símbolo tangible del éxito, razón por la cual su apropiación o destrucción constituye una singular venganza, un camino más sencillo que el de la autodisciplina, el sacrificio o el valor del trabajo.
La cultura urbana, a través de expresiones musicales como el rock y sus más modernos ritmos afroamericanos y de sus depresiones alucinógenas –mezcla de drogas, alcohol, música e imágenes estereotipadas-, ha creado nuevos tipos de protesta uniformada, es decir, una paradójica protesta neoconformista, totalmente absorbida por el sistema y por las corrientes de la moda. En nuestro país, este fenómeno de hastío moral degeneró en la movida, un mero gesto contradictorio expresado por las vías del espectáculo huero y el sensacionalismo absurdo. La movida, de repente, reaccionando en sentido contrario a la ley física que le dió su nombre, se detuvo. La vaciedad de su contenido provocó su muerte prematura.
De todo lo anterior se desprende que los hijos de la posmodernidad han aprendido una lección: la inutilidad del acto de protesta institucionalizado y la conveniencia de aceptar las leyes de la sociedad capitalista. Y he aquí que el antiguo revolucionario cambia de uniforme y se entrega en manos de la ambición desmedida, de la competitividad, el consumismo y la seducción. Es el prototipo del nuevo burgués descrito por Alain de Benoist. Mientras los medios de comunicación difunden este tipo humano robotizado, la publicidad lo eleva al altar como único ejemplo de valores eternos que merece la pena imitar. La fórmula lucro-especulación más placer teledigirido, divulgada por la estética urbana, fría y despersonalizada, ha triunfado finalmente.
En el lado opuesto se sitúan, incómodos y descolgados del tren pseudoprogresista, los nuevos bárbaros, personajes que parecen extraídos de los mitos de la literatura fantástica. Son auténticos rebeldes que rechazan, a veces cruentamente, el código cultural y moral hegemónico. Retorno a las formas naturales, gusto por el misticismo, espíritu de combate, tendencia al caudillismo y al sectarismo organizativo, pretensiones literarias y filosóficas, actuación marginal, a veces incluso extremista, son las líneas básicas que los definen, como si constituyesen una recreación de las bestias rubias de Nietzsche. Su inconfesable propósito es sustituir el espacio cibernético de Spielberg por la espada mágica de Tolkien.
Pero también hoy nos encontramos con un nuevo tipo de rebelde, que lucha por hacerse un sitio en el bestiario de la sociedad tecno-industrial. Es el hombre duro, incombustible emocional y espiritualmente, eternamente en camino, en constante metamorfosis nietzscheana, que ejerce su profesión como actividad no especulativa, que defiende su ámbito familiar y relacional como último e inviolable reducto de su intimidad, que participa con actitud militante en la formación de la opinión pública, que en fin, subraya sus rasgos propios frente a la masa y que está dispuesto a sacrificar su individualismo en aras de valores comunitarios superiores. No es hombre de protestas gratuitas o solemnidades falsamente revolucionarias. Busca la autenticidad a través de la resistencia a lo habitual, como un gerrillero schmittiano, aunque esta resistencia sea dolorosa y desgarradora porque se dirige, sobre todo, hacia el interior de sí mismo. En ocasiones también, su dramática existencia y el repudio de la sociedad demoliberal, le acercan a la revolución nihilista de los nuevos bárbaros. Este proyecto humano es aventura, destino no propuesto, la dimensión heróica y trágica del rebelde de Jünger, del nuevo hombre que resulta enormemente peligroso para el inmovilismo.
[Publicado en ElManifiesto.com]

lundi, 27 septembre 2010

Conservadurismo revolucionario frete a neoconservadurismo

 CONSERVADURISMO REVOLUCIONARIO FRENTE A NEOCONSERVADURISMO

ReCons versus NeoCons

SEBASTIAN J. LORENZ
fidus-schwertwache.jpgBajo la fórmula “Revolución Conservadora” acuñada por Armin Mohler (Die Konservative Revolution in Deutschlan 1918-1932) se engloban una serie de corrientes de pensamiento contemporáneas del nacionalsocialismo, independientes del mismo, pero con evidentes conexiones filosóficas e ideológicas, cuyas figuras más destacadas son Oswald Spengler, Ernst Jünger, Carl Schmitt y Moeller van den Bruck, entre otros. La “Nueva Derecha” europea ha invertido intelectualmente gran parte de sus esfuerzos en la recuperación del pensamiento de estos autores, junto a otros como Martin Heidegger, Arnold Gehlen y Konrad Lorenz (por citar algunos de ellos), a través de una curiosa fórmula retrospectiva: se vuelve a los orígenes teóricos, dando un salto en el tiempo para evitar el “interregno fascista”, y se comienza de nuevo intentando reconstruir los fundamentos ideológicos del conservadurismo revolucionario sin caer en la “tentación totalitaria” y eludiendo cualquier “desviacionismo nacionalsocialista”.
Con todo, los conceptos de “revolución conservadora” y de “nueva derecha” no son, desde luego, construcciones terminológicas muy afortunadas. Por supuesto que la “revolución conservadora”, por más que les pese a los mal llamados “neconservadores” (sean del tipo Reagan, Bush, Thatcher, Sarkozy o Aznar), no tiene nada que ver con la “reacción conservadora” (una auténtica “contrarrevolución”) que éstos pretenden liderar frente al liberalismo progre, el comunismo posmoderno y el contraculturalismo de la izquierda. Pero la debilidad de la derecha clásica estriba en su inclinación al centrismo y a la socialdemocracia (“la seducción de la izquierda”), en un frustrado intento por cerrar el paso al socialismo, simpatizando, incluso, con los únicos valores posibles de sus adversarios (igualitarismo, universalismo, falso progresismo). Un grave error para los que no han comprendido jamás que la acción política es un aspecto más de una larvada guerra ideológica entre dos concepciones del mundo completamente antagónicas.
Tampoco la “nueva derecha” representa un nuevo tipo de política conservadora frente a la ya tradicional economicista, gestionaria y demoliberal, sino que se sitúa en algún lugar “neutro” (no equidistante) entre la derecha y la izquierda (extramuros de la política), como se desprende inmediatamente de la antología de textos de Alain de Benoist publicada por Áltera (“Más allá de la derecha y de la izquierda”). Recordemos que, cuando a Drieu La Rochelle le preguntaron por su adscripción política, jugando con la posición que ocupan en los parlamentos los distintos grupos políticos a la derecha o a la izquierda del presidente de la cámara, el pensador francés se situaba, precisamente, justo por detrás de éste. Toda una declaración de principios.
El propio Alain de Benoist, en la citada antología, se pregunta cuáles son las razones del retraimiento progresivo de la interferencia entre las nociones de derecha y de izquierda, precisando que «desde luego que la derecha quiere un poco más de liberalismo y un poco menos de política social, mientras que la izquierda prefiere un poco más de política social y un poco menos de liberalismo, pero al final, entre el social-liberalismo y el liberalismo social, no podemos decir que la clase política esté verdaderamente dividida» Y citando a Grumberg: «El fuerte vínculo entre el liberalismo cultural y la orientación a la izquierda por un lado, y el liberalismo económico y la orientación a la derecha por otro, podrían llevar a preguntarnos si estos dos liberalismos no constituyen los dos polos opuestos de una única e igual dimensión, que no sería otra que la misma dimensión derecha-izquierda.»
Pero seguramente ha sido Ernst Jünger (“El Trabajador”) quien mejor ha descrito estos conceptos políticos. El conservador genuino –escribe Jünger- no quiere conservar éste o aquél orden, lo que quiere es restablecer la imagen del ser humano, que es la medida de las cosas. De esta forma, «se vuelven muy parecidos los conservadores y los revolucionarios, ya que se aproximan necesariamente al mismo fondo. De ahí que sea siempre posible demostrar la existencia de ambas cualidades en los grandes modificadores, en las que no sólo derrocan órdenes, sino que también los fundan». Jünger observaba cómo se fusionan de una manera extraña las diferencias entre la “reacción” y la “revolución”: «emergen teorías en las cuales los conceptos “conservador” y “revolucionario” quedan faltamente identificados …, ya que “derecha” e “izquierda” son conceptos que se bifurcan a partir de un eje común de simetría y tienen sentido únicamente si se los ve desde él. Tanto si cooperan como si lo hacen al mismo tiempo, la derecha y la izquierda dependen de un cuerpo cuya unidad tiene que hacerse visible cuando un movimiento pasa del marco del movimiento al marco del estado.» Sin comentarios.
Por todo ello, queremos subrayar aquí que, con la denominación de “Nueva Derecha” –aunque no nos agrade tal calificación y optemos por la de “Conservadurismo Revolucionario”--, se hace referencia a un estilo ético y estético de pensamiento político dirigido al repudio de los dogmatismos, la formulación antiigualitaria, el doble rechazo de los modelos capitalista y comunista, la defensa de los particularismos étnicos y regionales, la consideración de Europa como unidad, la lucha contra la amenaza planetaria frente a la vida, la racionalización de la técnica, la primacía de los valores espirituales sobre los materiales. El eje central de la crítica al sistema político “occidental” lo constituye la denuncia del cristianismo dogmático, el liberalismo y el marxismo, como elementos niveladores e igualadores de una civilización europea, perdida y desarraigada, que busca, sin encontrarla, la salida al laberinto de la “identidad específica”. En el núcleo de esta civilización europea destaca la existencia del “hombre europeo multidimensional”, tanto al nivel biológico, que en su concepción sociológica reafirma los valores innatos de la jerarquía y la territorialidad, como al específicamente humano, caracterizado por la cultura y la conciencia histórica. Constituye, en el fondo, una reivindicación de la “herencia” –tanto individual como comunitaria-, fenómeno conformador de la historia evolutiva del hombre y de los pueblos, que demuestra la caducidad de las ideologías de la nivelación y la actualidad de la rica diversidad de la condición humana. Un resumen incompleto y forzado por la tiranía del espacio digital, pero que sirve al objeto de efectuar comparaciones.
Entre tanto, el “Neoconservadurismo” contrarrevolucionario, partiendo del pensamiento del alemán emigrado a norteamérica Leo Strauss, no es sino una especie de “reacción” frente a la pérdida de unos valores que tienen fecha de caducidad (precisamente los suyos, propios de la burguesía angloamericana mercantilista e imperialista). Sus principios son el universalismo ideal y humanitario, el capitalismo salvaje, el tradicionalismo académico, el burocratismo totalitario y el imperialismo agresivo contra los fundamentalismos terroristas “anti-occidentales”. Para estos neconservadores, Estados Unidos aparece como la representación más perfecta de los valores de la libertad, la democracia y la felicidad fundada en el progreso material y en el regreso a la moral, siendo obligación de Europa el copiar este modelo triunfante. En definitiva, entre las ideologías popularizadas por los “neocons” (neoconservadores en la expresión vulgata de Irving Kristol) y los “recons” (revolucionarios-conservadores, de mi cosecha) existe un abismo insalvable. El tiempo dirá, como esperaban Jünger y Heidegger, cuál de las dos triunfa en el ámbito europeo de las ideas políticas. Entre tanto, seguiremos hablando de esta original “batalla de las ideologías” en futuras intervenciones.
[Publicado por "ElManifiesto.com" el  20/08/2010]

Evola & Spengler

Evola & Spengler

by Robert STEUCKERS

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

Translated by Greg Johnson

evola.jpg“I translated from German, at the request of the publisher Longanesi . . . Oswald Spengler’s vast and celebrated work The Decline of the West. That gave the opportunity to me to specify, in an introduction, the meaning and the limits of this work which, in its time, had been world-famous.” These words begin a series of critical paragraphs on Spengler in Julius Evola’s The Way of Cinnabar (p. 177).

Evola pays homage to the German philosopher for casting aside “progressivist and historicist fancies” by showing that the stage reached by our civilization shortly after the First World War was not an apex, but, on the contrary, a “twilight.” From this Evola recognized that Spengler, especially thanks to the success of his book, made it possible to go beyond the linear and evolutionary conception of history. Spengler describes the opposition between Kultur and Zivilisation, “the former term indicating, for him, the forms or phases of a civilization that is qualitative, organic, differentiated, and vital, the latter indicating the forms of a civilization that is rationalist, urban, mechanical, shapeless, soulless” (p. 178).

Evola admired the negative description that Spengler gives of Zivilisation but is critical of the absence of a coherent definition of Kultur, because, he says, the German philosopher remained the prisoner of certain intellectual schemes proper to modernity. “A sense of the metaphysical dimension or of transcendence, which represents the essence of all true Kultur, was completely lacking in him” (p. 179).

Evola also reproaches Spengler’s pluralism; for the author of The Decline of the West, civilizations are many, distinct, and discontinuous compared to one another, each one constituting a closed unit. For Evola, this conception is valid only for the exterior and episodic aspects of various civilizations. On the contrary, he continues, it is necessary to recognize, beyond the plurality of the forms of civilization, civilizations (or phases of civilization) of the “modern” type, as opposed to civilizations (or phases of civilization) of the “Traditional” type. There is plurality only on the surface; at bottom, there is a fundamental opposition between modernity and Tradition.

Then Evola reproaches Spengler for being influenced by German post-romantic vitalist and “irrationalist” strains of thought, which received their most comprehensive and radical expression in the work of Ludwig Klages. The valorization of life is vain, explains Evola, if life is not illuminated by an authentic comprehension of the world of origins. Thus the plunge into existentiality, into Life, required by Klages, Bäumler, or Krieck, can appear dangerous and initiate a regressive process (one will note that the Evolian critique distinguishes itself from German interpretations, according exactly to the same criteria that we put forward while speaking about the reception of the work of Bachofen).

Evola thinks this vitalism leads Spengler to say “things that make one blush” about Buddhism, Taoism, Stoicism, and Greco-Roman civilization (which, for Spengler, is merely a civilization of “corporeity”). Lastly, Evola does not accept Spengler’s valorization of “Faustian man,” a figure born in the Age of Discovery, the Renaissance and humanism; by this temporal determination, Faustian man is carried towards horizontality rather than towards verticality. Regarding Caesarism, a political phenomenon of the era of the masses, Evola shares the same negative judgment as Spengler.

spengler_oswald.jpgThe pages devoted to Spengler in The Path of Cinnabar are thus quite critical; Evola even concludes that the influence of Spengler on his thought was null. Such is not the opinion of an analyst of Spengler and Evola, Attilio Cucchi (in “Evola, Tradizione e Spengler,” Orion no. 89, 1992). For Cucchi, Spengler influenced Evola, particularly in his criticism of the concept of the “West”: by affirming that Western civilization is not the civilization, the only civilization there is, Spengler relativizes it, as Guénon charges. Evola, an attentive reader of Spengler and Guénon, would combine elements of the the Spenglerian and Guénonian critiques. Spengler affirms that Faustian Western culture, which began in the tenth century, has declined and fallen into Zivilisation, which has frozen, drained, and killed its inner energy. America is already at this final stage of de-ruralized and technological Zivilisation.

It is on the basis of the Spenglerian critique of Zivilisation that Evola later developed his critique of Bolshevism and Americanism: If Zivilisation is twilight for Spengler, America is the extreme-West for Guénon, i.e., irreligion pushed to its ultimate consequences. In Evola, undoubtedly, Spenglerian and Guénonian arguments combine, even if, at the end of the day, the Guénonian elements dominate, especially in 1957, when the edition of The Decline of the West was published by Longanesi with a Foreword by Evola. On the other hand, the Spenglerian criticism of political Caesarism is found, sometimes word for word, in Evola’s books Fascism Seen from the Right and the Men Among the Ruins.

Dr. H. T. Hansen, the author of the Introduction to the German edition of Men Among the Ruins (Menschen inmitten von Ruinen [Tübingen: Hohenrain, 1991]), confirms the sights of Cucchi: several Spenglerian ideas are found in outline in Men Among the Ruins, notably the idea that the state is the inner form, the “being-in-form” of the nation; the idea that decline is measured to the extent that Faustian man has become a slave of his creations; the machine forces him down a path from which he can never turn back, and which will never allow him any rest. Feverishness and flight into the future are characteristics of the modern world (“Faustian” for Spengler) which Guénon and Evola condemn with equal strength.

In The Hour of Decision (1933), Spengler criticizes the Caesarism (in truth, Hitlerian National Socialism) as a product of democratic titanism. Evola wrote the Preface of the Italian translation of this work, after a very attentive reading. Finally, the “Prussian style” exalted by Spengler corresponds, according to Hansen, with the Evolian idea of the “aristocratic order of life, arranged hierarchically according to service.” As for the necessary preeminence of Grand Politics over economics, the idea is found in both authors. Thus the influence of Spengler on Evola was not null, despite what Evola says in The Path of Cinnabar.

Source: Nouvelles de Synergies européennes no. 21, 1996.

Note: Evola’s The Path of Cinnabar is now available in English translation from Arktos Media.

dimanche, 26 septembre 2010

Carl Schmitt: The End of the Weimar Republic

Carl Schmitt (part III)

The End of the Weimar Republic

Ex: http://www.alternativeright.com/

Carl Schmitt (part III)  
 
 Adolf Hitler Accepts the Weimar Chancellorship From President Paul von Hindenburg, January 30, 1933

Carl Schmitt accepted a professorship at the University of Berlin in 1928, having left his previous position at the University of Bonn. At this point, he was still only a law professor and legal scholar, and while highly regarded in his fields of endeavor, he was not an actual participant in the affairs of state. In 1929, Schmitt became personally acquainted with an official in the finance ministry named Johannes Popitz, and with General Kurt von Schleicher, an advisor to President Paul von Hindenburg.

Schleicher shared Schmitt’s concerns that the lack of a stable government would lead to civil war or seizure of power by the Nazis or communists. These fears accelerated after the economic catastrophe of 1929 demonstrated once again the ineptness of Germany’s parliamentary system. Schleicher devised a plan for a presidential government comprised of a chancellor and cabinet ministers that combined with the power of the army and the provisions of Article 48 would be able to essentially bypass the incompetent parliament and more effectively address Germany’s severe economic distress and prevent civil disorder or overthrow of the republic by extremists.

Heinrich Bruning of the Catholic Center Party was appointed chancellor by Hindenburg. The Reichstag subsequently rejected Bruning’s proposed economic reforms so Bruning set about to implement them as an emergency measure under Article 48. The Reichstag then exercised its own powers under Article 48 and rescinded Bruning’s decrees, and Bruning then dissolved the parliament on the grounds that the Reichstag had been unable to form a majority government. Such was the prerogative of the executive under the Weimar constitution.

In the years between 1930 and 1933, Carl Schmitt’s legal writings expressed concern with two primary issues. The first of these dealt with legal matters pertaining to constitutional questions raised by the presidential government Schleicher had formulated. The latter focused on the question of constitutional issues raised by the existence of anti-constitutional parties functioning within the context of the constitutional system.

Schmitt’s subsequent reputation as a conservative revolutionary has been enhanced by his personal friendship or association with prominent radical nationalists like Ernst Jünger and the “National Bolshevist” Ernst Niekisch, as well as the publication of Schmitt’s articles in journals associated with the conservative revolutionary movement during the late Weimar period. However, Schmitt himself was never any kind of revolutionary. Indeed, he spoke out against changes in the constitution of Weimar during its final years, believing that tampering with the constitution during a time of crisis would undermine the legitimacy of the entire system and invite opportunistic exploitation of the constitutional processes by radicals. His continued defense of the presidential powers granted by Article 48 was always intended as an effort to preserve the existing constitutional order.

The 1930 election produced major victories for the extremist parties. The communists increased their representation in the Reichstag from 54 to 77 seats, and the Nazis from 12 to 107 seats. The left-of-center Social Democrats (SPD) retained 143 seats, meaning that avowedly revolutionary parties were now the second and third largest parties in terms of parliamentary representation. The extremist parties never took their parliamentary roles seriously, but instead engaged in endless obstructionist tactics designed to de-legitimize the republic itself with hopes of seizing power once it finally collapsed. Meanwhile, violent street fighting between Nazi and communist paramilitary groups emerged as the numbers of unemployed Germans soared well into the millions.

In the April 1932 presidential election, Hitler stood against Hindenburg, and while Hindenburg was the winner, Hitler received an impressive thirty-seven percent of the vote. Meanwhile, the Nazis had become the dominant party in several regional governments, and their private army, the SA, had grown to the point where it was four times larger than the German army itself.

Schmitt published Legality and Legitimacy in 1932 in response to the rise of the extremist parties. This work dealt with matters of constitutional interpretation, specifically the means by which the constitutional order itself might be overthrown through the abuse of ordinary legal and constitutional processes. Schmitt argued that political constitutions represent specific sets of political values. These might include republicanism, provisions for an electoral process, church/state separation, property rights, freedom of the press, and so forth. Schmitt warned against interpreting the constitution in ways that allowed laws to be passed through formalistic means whose essence contradicted the wider set of values represented by the constitution.

Most important, Schmitt opposed methods of constitutional interpretation that would serve to create the political conditions under which the constitution itself could be overthrown. The core issue raised by Schmitt was the question of whether or not anti-constitutional parties such as the NSDAP or KPD should have what he called the “equal chance” to assume power legally. If such a party were to be allowed to gain control of the apparatus of the state itself, it could then use its position to destroy the constitutional order.

Schmitt argued that a political constitution should be interpreted according to its internal essence rather than strict formalistic adherence to its technical provisions, and applied according to the conditions imposed by the “concrete situation” at hand. On July 19, 1932, Schmitt published an editorial in a conservative journal concerning the election that was to be held on July 31. The editorial read in part:

Whoever provides the National Socialists with the majority on July 31, acts foolishly. … He gives this still immature ideological and political movement the possibility to change the constitution, to establish a state church, to dissolve the labor unions, etc. He surrenders Germany completely to this group….It would be extremely dangerous … because 51% gives the NSDAP a “political premium of incalculable significance.”

The subsequent election was an extremely successful one for the NSDAP, as they gained 37.8 percent of the seats in the parliament, while the KPD achieved 14.6 percent. The effect of the election results was that the anti-constitutional parties were in control of a majority of the Reichstag seats.

On the advice of General Schleicher, President Hindenburg had replaced Bruning as chancellor with Franz von Papen on May 30. Papen subsequently took an action that would lead to Schmitt’s participation in a dramatic trial of genuine historic significance before the supreme court of Germany.

Invoking Article 48, the Papen government suspended the state government of Prussia and placed the state under martial law. The justification for this was the Prussian regional government’s inability to maintain order in the face of civil unrest. Prussia was the largest of the German states, containing two-thirds of Germany’s land mass and three-fifths of its population. Though the state government had been controlled by the Social Democrats, the Nazis had made significant gains in the April 1932 election. Along the way, the Social Democrats had made considerable effort to block the rise of the Nazis with legal restrictions on their activities and various parliamentary maneuvers. There was also much violent conflict in Prussia between the Nazis and the Communists.

Papen, himself an anti-Nazi rightist, regarded the imposition of martial law as having the multiple purposes of breaking the power of the Social Democrats in Prussia, controlling the Communists, placating the Nazis by removing their Social Democratic rivals, and simultaneously preventing the Nazis from becoming embedded in regional institutions, particularly Prussia’s huge police force.

The Prussian state government appealed Papen’s decision to the supreme court and a trial was held in October of 1932. Schmitt was among three jurists who defended the Papen government’s policy before the court. Schmitt’s arguments reflected the method of constitutional interpretation he had been developing since the time martial law had been imposed during the Great War by the Wilhelmine government. Schmitt likewise applied the approach to political theory he had presented in his previous writings to the situation in Prussia. He argued that the Prussian state government had failed in its foremost constitutional duty to preserve public order. He further argued that because Papen had acted under the authority of President Hindenburg, Papen’s actions had been legitimate under Article 48.

Schmitt regarded the conflict in Prussia as a conflict between rival political parties. The Social Democrats who controlled the state government were attempting to repress the Nazis by imposing legal restrictions on them. However, the Social Democrats had also been impotent in their efforts to control violence by the Nazis and the communists. Schmitt rejected the argument that the Social Democrats were constitutionally legitimate in their legal efforts against the Nazis, as this simply amounted to one political party attempting to repress another. While the “equal chance” may be constitutionally denied to an anti-constitutional party, such a decision must be made by a neutral force, such as the president.

As a crucial part of his argument, Schmitt insisted that the office of the President was sovereign over the political parties and was responsible for preserving the constitution, public order, and the security of the state itself. Schmitt argued that with the Prussian state’s failure to maintain basic order, the situation in Prussia had essentially become a civil war between the political parties. Therefore, imposition of martial law by the chancellor, as an agent of the president, was necessary for the restoration of order.

Schmitt further argued that it was the president rather than the court that possessed the ultimate authority and responsibility for upholding the constitution, as the court possessed no means of politically enforcing its decisions. Ultimately, the court decided that while it rather than the president held responsibility for legal defense of the constitution, the situation in Prussia was severe enough to justify the appointment of a commissarial government by Papen, though Papen had not been justified in outright suspension of the Prussian state government. Essentially, the Papen government had won, as martial law remained in Prussia, and the state government continued to exist in name only.

During the winter months of 1932-33, Germany entered into an increasingly perilous situation. Papen, who had pushed for altering the constitution along fairly strident reactionary conservative lines, proved to be an extraordinarily unpopular chancellor and was replaced by Schleicher on December 3, 1932. But by this time, Papen had achieved the confidence of President von Hindenburg, if not that of the German public, while Hindenburg’s faith in Schleicher had diminished considerably. Papen began talks with Hitler, and the possibility emerged that Hitler might ascend to the chancellorship.

Joseph Bendersky summarized the events that followed:

By late January, when it appeared that either Papen or Hitler might become chancellor, Schleicher concluded that exceptional measures were required as a last resort. He requested that the president declare a state of emergency, ban the Nazi and Communist parties, and dissolve the Reichstag until stability could be restored. During the interim Schleicher would govern by emergency decrees. …

This was preferable to the potentially calamitous return of Papen, with his dangerous reform plans and unpopularity. It would also preclude the possibility that as chancellor Hitler would eventually usurp all power and completely destroy the constitution, even the nature of the German state, in favor of the proclaimed Third Reich. Had Hindenburg complied with Schleicher’s request, the president would have denied the equal chance to an anti-constitutional party and thus, in Schmitt’s estimate, truly acted as the defender of the constitution. … Having lost faith in Schleicher, fearing civil war, and trying to avoid violating his oath to uphold the constitution, Hindenburg refused. At this point, Schleicher was the only leader in a position to prevent the Nazi acquisition of power, if the president had only granted him the authorization. Consequently, Hitler acquired power not through the use of Article 48, but because it was not used against him.

[emphasis added]

The Schleicher plan had the full support of Schmitt, and was based in part on Schmitt’s view that “a constitutional system could not remain neutral towards its own basic principles, nor provide the legal means for its own destruction.” Yet the liberal, Catholic, and socialist press received word of the plan and mercilessly attacked Schleicher’s plan specifically and Schmitt’s ideas generally as creating the foundation for a presidential dictatorship, while remaining myopically oblivious to the immediate danger posed by Nazi and Communist control over the Reichstag and the possibility of Hitler’s achievement of executive power.

On January 30, 1933, Hitler became chancellor. That evening, Schmitt received the conservative revolutionary Wilhelm Stapel as a guest in his home while the Nazis staged a torchlight parade in Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate in celebration of Hitler’s appointment. Schmitt and Stapel discussed their alarm at the prospect of an imminent Nazi dictatorship and Schmitt felt the Weimar Republic had essentially committed suicide. If President von Hindenburg had heeded the advice of Schleicher and Schmitt, the Hitler regime would likely have never come into existence.

Carl Schmitt: The Concept of the Political

Carl Schmitt (Part II)

The Concept of the Political

 
 
Carl Schmitt (Part II) Carl Schmitt, circa 1928

It was in the context of the extraordinarily difficult times of the Weimar period that Carl Schmitt produced what are widely regarded as his two most influential books. The first of these examined the failures of liberal democracy as it was being practiced in Germany at the time. Schmitt regarded these failures as rooted in the weaknesses of liberal democratic theory itself. In the second work, Schmitt attempted to define the very essence of politics.

Schmitt's The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy was first published in 1923.* In this work, Schmitt described the dysfunctional workings of the Weimar parliamentary system. He regarded this dysfunction as symptomatic of the inadequacies of the classical liberal theory of government. According to this theory as Schmitt interpreted it, the affairs of states are to be conducted on the basis of open discussion between proponents of competing ideas as a kind of empirical process. Schmitt contrasted this idealized view of parliamentarianism with the realities of its actual practice, such as cynical appeals by politicians to narrow self-interests on the part of constituents, bickering among narrow partisan forces, the use of propaganda and symbolism rather than rational discourse as a means of influencing public opinion, the binding of parliamentarians by party discipline, decisions made by means of backroom deals, rule by committee and so forth.

Schmitt recognized a fundamental distinction between liberalism, or "parliamentarianism," and democracy. Liberal theory advances the concept of a state where all retain equal political rights. Schmitt contrasted this with actual democratic practice as it has existed historically. Historic democracy rests on an "equality of equals," for instance, those holding a particular social position (as in ancient Greece), subscribing to particular religious beliefs or belonging to a specific national entity. Schmitt observed that democratic states have traditionally included a great deal of political and social inequality, from slavery to religious exclusionism to a stratified class hierarchy. Even modern democracies ostensibly organized on the principle of universal suffrage do not extend such democratic rights to residents of their colonial possessions. Beyond this level, states, even officially "democratic" ones, distinguish between their own citizens and those of other states.

At a fundamental level, there is an innate tension between liberalism and democracy. Liberalism is individualistic, whereas democracy sanctions the "general will" as the principle of political legitimacy. However, a consistent or coherent "general will" necessitates a level of homogeneity that by its very nature goes against the individualistic ethos of liberalism. This is the source of the "crisis of parliamentarianism" that Schmitt suggested. According to the democratic theory, rooted as it is in the ideas of Jean Jacques Rousseau, a legitimate state must reflect the "general will," but no general will can be discerned in a regime that simultaneously espouses liberalism. Lacking the homogeneity necessary for a democratic "general will," the state becomes fragmented into competing interests. Indeed, a liberal parliamentary state can actually act against the "peoples' will" and become undemocratic. By this same principle, anti-liberal states such as those organized according to the principles of fascism or Bolshevism can be democratic in so far as they reflect the "general will."

The Concept of the Political appeared in 1927. According to Schmitt, the irreducible minimum on which human political life is based.

The political must therefore rest on its own ultimate distinctions, to which all action with a specifically political meaning can be traced. Let us assume that in the realm of morality the final distinctions are between good and evil, in aesthetics beautiful and ugly, in economics profitable and unprofitable. […]

The specific political distinction to which political actions and motives can be reduced is that between friend and enemy. … In so far as it is not derived from other criteria, the antithesis of friend and enemy corresponds to the relatively independent criteria of other antitheses: good and evil in the moral sphere, beautiful and ugly in the aesthetic sphere, and so on. 

These categories need not be inclusive of one another. For instance, a political enemy need not be morally evil or aesthetically ugly. What is significant is that the enemy is the "other" and therefore a source of possible conflict.

The friend/enemy distinction is not dependent on the specific nature of the "enemy." It is merely enough that the enemy is a threat. The political enemy is also distinctive from personal enemies. Whatever one's personal thoughts about the political enemy, it remains true that the enemy is hostile to the collective to which one belongs. The first purpose of the state is to maintain its own existence as an organized collective prepared if necessary to do battle to the death with other organized collectives that pose an existential threat. This is the essential core of what is meant by the "political." Organized collectives within a particular state can also engage in such conflicts (i.e. civil war). Internal conflicts within a collective can threaten the survival of the collective as a whole. As long as existential threats to a collective remain, the friend/enemy concept that Schmitt considered to be the heart of politics will remain valid.

Schmitt has been accused by critics of attempting to drive a wedge between liberalism and democracy thereby contributing to the undermining of the Weimar regime's claims to legitimacy and helping to pave the way for a more overtly authoritarian or even totalitarian system of the kind that eventually emerged in the form of the Hitler dictatorship. He has also been accused of arguing for a more exclusionary form of the state, for instance, one that might practice exclusivity or even supremacy on ethnic or national grounds, and of attempting to sanction the use of war as a mere political instrument, independent of any normative considerations, perhaps even as an ideal unto itself. Implicit in these accusations is the idea that Schmitt’s works created a kind of intellectual framework that could later be used to justify at least some of the ideas of Nazism and even lead to an embrace of Nazism by Schmitt himself.

The expression "context is everything" becomes a quite relevant when examining these accusations regarding the work of Carl Schmitt. This important passage from the preface to the second edition of The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy sheds light on Schmitt’s actual motivations:

That the parliamentary enterprise today is the lesser evil, that it will continue to be preferable to Bolshevism and dictatorship, that it would have unforeseen consequences were it to be discarded, that it is 'socially and technically' a very practical thing-all these are interesting and in part also correct observations. But they do not constitute the intellectual foundations of a specifically intended institution. Parliamentarianism exists today as a method of government and a political system. Just as everything else that exists and functions tolerably, it is useful-no more and no less. It counts for a great deal that even today it functions better than other untried methods, and that a minimum of order that is today actually at hand would be endangered by frivolous experiments. Every reasonable person would concede such arguments. But they do not carry weight in an argument about principles. Certainly no one would be so un-demanding that he regarded an intellectual foundation or a moral truth as proven by the question, “What else?”

This passage indicates that Schmitt was in fact wary of undermining the authority of the republic for its own sake or for the sake of implementing a revolutionary regime. Clearly, it would be rather difficult to reconcile such an outlook with the political millenarianism of either Marxism or National Socialism. The "crisis of parliamentary democracy" that Schmitt was addressing was a crisis of legitimacy. On what political or ethical principles does a liberal democratic state of the type Weimar establish its own legitimacy? This was an immensely important question, given the gulf between liberal theory and parliamentary democracy as it was actually being practiced in Weimar, the conflicts between liberal practice and democratic theories of legitimacy as they had previously been laid out by Rousseau and others and, perhaps most importantly, the challenges to liberalism and claims to "democratic" legitimacy being made at the time by proponents of revolutionary ideologies of both the Left and the Right.

Schmitt observed that democracy, broadly defined, had triumphed over older systems, such as monarchy, aristocracy and theocracy, by trumpeting its principle of "popular sovereignty." However, the advent of democracy had also undermined older theories on the foundations of political legitimacy, such as those rooted in religion ("divine right of kings"), dynastic lineages or mere appeals to tradition. Further, the triumphs of both liberalism and democracy had brought into fuller view the innate conflicts between the two. There is also the additional matter of the gap between the practice of politics (such as parliamentary procedures) and the ends of politics (such as the "will of the people").

Schmitt observed how parliamentarianism as a procedural methodology had a wide assortment of critics, including those representing the forces of reaction (royalists and clerics, for instance) and radicalism (from Marxists to anarchists). Schmitt also pointed out that he was by no means the first thinker to recognize these issues, citing Mosca, Jacob Burckhardt, Hilaire Belloc, G. K. Chesterton, and Michels, among others.

A fundamental question that concerned Schmitt is the matter of what the democratic "will of the people" actually means, and he observed that an ostensibly democratic state could adopt virtually any set of policy positions, "whether militarist or pacifist, absolutist or liberal, centralized or decentralized, progressive or reactionary, and again at different times without ceasing to be a democracy." He also raised the question of the fate of democracy in a society where "the people" cease to favor democracy. Can democracy be formally renounced in the name of democracy? For instance, can "the people" embrace Bolshevism or a fascist dictatorship as an expression of their democratic "general will"?

The flip side of this question asks whether a political class committed in theory to democracy can act undemocratically (against "the will of the people"), if the people display an insufficient level of education in the ways of democracy. How is the will of the people to be identified in the first place? Is it not possible for rulers to construct a "will of the people" of their own through the use of propaganda?

For Schmitt, these questions were not simply a matter of intellectual hair-splitting but were of vital importance in a weak, politically paralyzed liberal democratic state where the commitment of significant sectors of both the political class and the public at large to the preservation of liberal democracy was questionable, and where the overthrow of liberal democracy by proponents of other ideologies was a very real possibility.

Schmitt examined the claims of parliamentarianism to democratic legitimacy. He describes the liberal ideology that underlies parliamentarianism as follows:

It is essential that liberalism be understood as a consistent, comprehensive metaphysical system. Normally one only discusses the economic line of reasoning that social harmony and the maximization of wealth follow from the free economic competition of individuals. ... But all this is only an application of a general liberal principle...: That truth can be found through an unrestrained clash of opinion and that competition will produce harmony.

For Schmitt, this view reduces truth to "a mere function of the eternal competition of opinions." After pointing out the startling contrast between the theory and practice of liberalism, Schmitt suggested that liberal parliamentarian claims to legitimacy are rather weak and examined the claims of rival ideologies. Marxism replaces the liberal emphasis on the competition between opinions with a focus on competition between economic classes and, more generally, differing modes of production that rise and fall as history unfolds. Marxism is the inverse of liberalism, in that it replaces the intellectual with the material. The competition of economic classes is also much more intensified than the competition between opinions and commercial interests under liberalism. The Marxist class struggle is violent and bloody. Belief in parliamentary debate is replaced with belief in "direct action." Drawing from the same rationalist intellectual tradition as the radical democrats, Marxism rejects parliamentarianism as a sham covering the dictatorship of a particular class, i.e. the bourgeoisie. “True” democracy is achieved through the reversal of class relations under a proletarian state that rules in the interest of the laboring majority. Such a state need not utilize formal democratic procedures, but may exist as an "educational dictatorship" that functions to enlighten the proletariat regarding its true class interests.

Schmitt contrasted the rationalism of both liberalism and Marxism with irrationalism. Central to irrationalism is the idea of a political myth, comparable to the religious mythology of previous belief systems, and originally developed by the radical left-wing but having since been appropriated in Schmitt’s time by revolutionary nationalists. It is myth that motivates people to action, whether individually or collectively. It matters less whether a particular myth is true than if people are inspired by it.

At the close of Crisis, Schmitt quotes from a speech by Benito Mussolini from October 1922, shortly before the March on Rome. Said the Duce:

 

We have created a myth, this myth is a belief, a noble enthusiasm; it does not need to be reality, it is a striving and a hope, a belief and courage. Our myth is the nation, the great nation which we want to make into a concrete reality for ourselves.

Whatever Schmitt might have thought of movements of the radical Right in the 1920s, it is clear enough that his criticisms of liberalism were intended not so much as an effort to undermine democratic legitimacy so much as an effort to confront its inherent weaknesses with candor and intellectual rigor.

Schmitt also had no illusions about the need for strong and decisive political authority capable of acting in the interests of the nation during perilous times. As he remarks,

If democratic identity is taken seriously, then in an emergency no other constitutional institution can withstand the sole criterion of the peoples' will, however it is expressed.

In other words, the state must first act to preserve itself and the general welfare and well-being of the people at large. If necessary, the state may override narrow partisan interests, parliamentary procedure or, presumably, routine electoral processes. Such actions by political leadership may be illiberal, but they are not necessarily undemocratic, as the democratic general will does not include national suicide. Schmitt outlined this theory of the survival of the state as the first priority of politics in The Concept of the Political. The essence of the "political" is the existence of organized collectives prepared to meet existential threats to themselves with lethal force if necessary. The "political" is different from the moral, the aesthetic, the economic, or the religious as it involves, first and foremost, the possibility of groups of human beings killing other human beings.

This does not mean that war is necessarily "good" or something to be desired or agitated for. Indeed, it may often be in the political interests of a state to avoid war. However, any state that wishes to survive must be prepared to meet challenges to its existence, whether from conquest or domination by external forces or revolution and chaos from internal forces. Additionally, a state must be capable of recognizing its own interests and assume sole responsibility for doing so. A state that cannot identify its enemies and counter enemy forces effectively is threatened existentially.

Schmitt's political ideas are, of course, more easily understood in the context of Weimar's political situation. He was considering the position of a defeated and demoralized German nation that was unable to defend itself against external threats, and threatened internally by weak, chaotic and unpopular political leadership, economic hardship, political and ideological polarization and growing revolutionary movements, sometimes exhibiting terrorist or fanatical characteristics.

Schmitt regarded Germany as desperately in need of some sort of foundation for the establishment of a recognized, legitimate political authority capable of upholding the interests and advancing the well-being of the nation in the face of foreign enemies and above domestic factional interests. This view is far removed from the Nazi ideas of revolution, crude racial determinism, the cult of the leader, and war as a value unto itself. Schmitt is clearly a much different thinker than the adherents of the quasi-mystical nationalism common to the radical right-wing of the era. Weimar's failure was due in part to the failure of the political leadership to effectively address the questions raised by Schmitt. 

______________

 

 

*The German title -- Die geistesgeschichtliche Lage des heutigen Parlamentarismus -- literally means “the historical-spiritual condition of contemporary parliamentarianism.” The common rendering, “The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy,” is certainly more euphonious, though it is problematic since one of Schmitt’s central points in the book is that parliamentarianism is not democratic.   

Carl Schmitt - Weimar: State of Exception

Carl Schmitt (Part I)

Weimar: State of Exception

 
 
 
Carl Schmitt (Part I) Carl Schmitt, the Return of the German Army Following World War I (photo: BBC)

Among the many fascinating figures that emerged from the intellectual culture of Germany’s interwar Weimar Republic, perhaps none is quite as significant or unique as Carl Schmitt. An eminent jurist and law professor during the Weimar era, Schmitt was arguably the greatest political theorist of the 20th century. He is also among the most widely misinterpreted or misunderstood.

The misconceptions regarding Schmitt are essentially traceable to two issues. The first of these is obvious enough: Schmitt’s collaboration with the Nazi regime during the early years of the Third Reich. The other reason why Schmitt’s ideas are so frequently misrepresented, if not reviled, in contemporary liberal intellectual circles may ultimately be the most important. Schmitt’s works in political and legal theory provide what is by far the most penetrating critique of the ideological and moral presumptions of modern liberal democracy and its institutional workings.

Like his friend and contemporary Ernst Junger, Schmitt lived to a very old age. His extraordinarily long life allowed him to witness many changes in the surrounding world that were as rapid as they were radical. He was born in 1888, the same year that Wilhelm II became the emperor of Germany, and died in 1985, the year Mikhail Gorbachev became the final General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Schmitt wrote on legal and political matters for nearly seven decades. His earliest published works appeared in 1910 and his last article was published in 1978. Yet it is his writings from the Weimar period that are by far the most well known and, aside from his works during his brief association with the Nazis, his works during the Weimar era are also his most controversial.

Not only is it grossly inaccurate to regard Schmitt merely as a theoretician of Nazism, but it is also problematical even to characterize him as a German nationalist. For one thing, Schmitt originated from the Rhineland and his religious upbringing was Catholic, which automatically set him at odds both regionally and religiously with Germany’s Protestant and Prussian-born elites. As his biographer Joseph Bendersky noted, Schmitt’s physical appearance was “far more Latin than Germanic” and he had French-speaking relatives. Schmitt once said to the National-Bolshevik leader Ernst Niekisch, “I am Roman by origin, tradition, and right.”

At age nineteen, Schmitt entered the prestigious University of Berlin, which was exceedingly rare for someone with his lower middle-class origins, and on the advice of his uncle chose law as his area of specialization. This choice seems to have initially been the result of ambition rather than specificity of interest. Schmitt received his law degree in 1910 and subsequently worked as a law clerk in the Prussian civil service before passing the German equivalent of the bar examination in 1915. By this time, he had already published three books and four articles, thereby foreshadowing a lifetime as a highly prolific writer.

Even in his earliest writings, Schmitt demonstrated himself as an anti-liberal thinker. Some of this may be attributable to his precarious position as a member of Germany’s Catholic religious minority. As Catholics were distrusted by the Protestant elites, they faced discrimination with regards to professional advancement. Schmitt may therefore have recognized the need for someone in his situation to indicate strong loyalty and deference to the authority of the state. As a Catholic, Schmitt originated from a religious tradition that emphasized hierarchical authority and obedience to institutional norms.

Additionally, the prevailing political culture of Wilhelmine Germany was one where the individualism of classical liberalism and its emphasis on natural law and “natural rights” was in retreat in favor of a more positivist conception of law as the product of the sovereign state. To be sure, German legal philosophers of the period did not necessarily accept the view that anything decreed by the state was “right” by definition. For instance, neo-Kantians argued that just law preceded rather than originated from the state with the state having the moral purpose of upholding just law. Yet German legal theory of the time clearly placed its emphasis on authority rather than liberty.

Schmitt’s most influential writings have as their principal focus the role of the state in society and his view of the state as the essential caretaker of civilization. Like Hobbes before him, Schmitt regarded order and security to be the primary political values and Schmitt has not without good reason been referred to as the Hobbes of the 20th century. His earliest writings indicate an acceptance of the neo-Kantian view regarding the moral purpose of the state. Yet these neo-Kantian influences diminished as Schmitt struggled to come to terms with the events of the Great War and the Weimar Republic that emerged at the war’s conclusion.

Schmitt himself did not actually experience combat during the First World War. He had initially volunteered for a reserve unit but an injury sustained during training rendered him unfit for battle; Schmitt spent much of the war in Munich in a non-combatant capacity. Additionally, Schmitt was granted an extended leave of absence to serve as a lecturer at the University of Strassburg.

As martial law had been imposed in Germany during the course of the war, Schmitt’s articles on legal questions during this time dealt with the implications of this for legal theory and constitutional matters. Schmitt argued that the assumption of extraordinary powers by military commanders was justified when necessary for the preservation of order and the security of the state. However, Schmitt took the carefully nuanced view that such powers are themselves limited and temporary in nature. For instance, ordinary constitutional laws may be temporarily suspended and temporary emergency decrees enacted in the face of crisis, but only until the crisis is resolved. Nor can the administrators of martial law legitimately replace the legislature or the legal system, and by no means can the constitutional order itself be suspended.

Carl Schmitt was thirty years old in November of 1918 when Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated and a republic was established. To understand the impact of these events on Schmitt’s life and the subsequent development of his thought, it is necessary to first understand the German political culture from which Schmitt originated and the profoundly destabilizing effect that the events of 1918 had on German political life.

Contemporary Westerners, particularly those in the English-speaking countries, are accustomed to thinking of politics in terms of elections and electoral cycles, parliamentary debates over controversial issues, judicial rulings, and so forth. Such was the habit of German thinkers in the Wilhelmine era as well, but with the key difference that politics was not specifically identified with the state apparatus itself.

German intellectuals customarily identified “politics” with the activities surrounding the German Reichstag, or parliament, which was subordinated to the wider institutional structures of German statecraft. These were the monarchy, the military, and the famous civil service bureaucracy, with the latter headed up primarily by appointees from the aristocracy. This machinery of state stood over and above the popular interests represented in the Reichstag, and pre-Weimar Germans had no tradition of parliamentary supremacy of the kind on which contemporary systems of liberal democracy are ostensibly based.

The state was regarded as a unifying force that provided stability and authority while upholding the interests of the German nation and keeping in check the fragmentation generated by quarrelling internal interests. This stability was eradicated by Germany’s military defeat, the imposition of the Treaty of Versailles, and the emergence of the republic.

The Weimar Republic was unstable from the beginning. The republican revolution that had culminated in the creation of a parliamentary democracy had been led by the more moderate social democrats, which were vigorously opposed by the more radical communists from the left and the monarchists from the right.

The Bolshevik Revolution had taken place in Russia in 1917, a short-lived communist regime took power in Hungary in 1919, and a series of communist uprisings in Germany naturally made upwardly mobile middle-class persons such as Schmitt fearful for their political and economic futures as well as their physical safety. During this time Schmitt published Political Romanticism where he attacked what he labeled as “subjective occasionalism.” This was a term Schmitt coined to describe the common outlook of German intellectuals who sought to remain apolitical in the pursuit of private interests or self-fulfillment. This perspective regarded politics as merely the prerogative of the state, and not as something the individual need directly engage himself with. Schmitt had come to regard this as an inadequate and outmoded outlook given the unavoidable challenges that Germany’s political situation had provided.

Schmitt published Dictatorship in 1921. This remains a highly controversial work and subsequent critics of Schmitt who dismiss him as an apologist for totalitarianism or who attack him for having created an intellectual framework conducive to the absolute rule of the Fuhrer during the Nazi period have often cited this particular work as evidence. However, Schmitt’s conception of “dictatorship” dealt with something considerably more expansive and abstract than what is implied by the term in present day popular (or often academic) discourse.

For Schmitt, a “dictatorship” is a situation where a particular constitutional order has either been abrogated or has fallen into what Schmitt referred to as a “state of exception.” As examples of the first kind of situation, Schmitt offered both the Leninist model of revolution and the National Assembly that had constructed the constitutional framework of Weimar. In both instances, a previously existing constitutional order had been dismissed as illegitimate, yet a new constitutional order had yet to be established. A sovereign dictatorship of this type functions to

represent the will of these formless and disorganized people, and to create the external conditions which permit the realization of the popular will in the form of a new political or constitutional system. Theoretically, a sovereign dictatorship is merely a transition, lasting only until the new order has been established.

By this definition, a “sovereign dictatorship” could include political forces as diverse as the Continental Congresses of the period of the American Revolution to the anarchist militias and workers councils that emerged in Catalonia during the Spanish civil war to guerrilla armies holding power in a particular region where the previously established government has retreated or collapsed during the course of an armed insurgency. Schmitt also advanced the concept of a “commissarial dictatorship” as opposed to a “sovereign dictatorship.”

Schmitt used as an illustration of this idea Article 48 from the Weimar constitution. This article allowed the German president to rule by decree in states of emergency where threats to the immediate security of the state or public order were involved. As he had initially suggested in his wartime articles concerning the administration of martial law, Schmitt regarded such powers as limited and temporary in nature and as rescinded by the wider constitutional order once the emergency situation has passed. Contrary to the image of Schmitt as a totalitarian apologist, Schmitt warned of the inherent dangers represented by the powers granted to the president under Article 48, noting that such powers could be used to attack and destroy the constitutional order itself.

The following year, in 1922, Schmitt published Political Theology. This work advanced two core arguments. The first of these was a challenge to the legal formalism represented by German jurists of the era such as Hans Kelsen. Kelsen’s outlook was not unlike that of contemporary American critics of “judicial activism” who regard law as normative unto itself and insist legal interpretation should be restricted to pure law as derived from constitutional texts and statutory legislation, irrespective of wider or related political, sociological or moral concerns. Schmitt considered this to be a naïve outlook that failed to consider two crucial and unavoidable matters: the reality and inevitability of political and social change, and exceptional cases. It was the latter of these that Schmitt was especially concerned with. It was the question of the “state of exception” that continued to be a preoccupation of Schmitt.

Exceptional cases involved situations where emergencies threatened the state itself. For Schmitt, the maintenance of basic order preceded constitutional norms and legal formalities. There is no constitution or law if there is chaos. The important question regarding exceptional cases was the matter of who decides when an emergency situation exists. Schmitt regarded this decision-making power as the prerogative of the sovereign. Within the constitutional framework of Weimar, sovereignty was held jointly by the Reich president and the Reichstag, meaning that the president could legitimately declare a state of emergency and temporarily rule by decree if the Reichstag agreed to grant him such powers.

While Schmitt was certainly a thinker of the Right, it is a mistake to group him together with proponents of the “conservative revolution” such as Moeller van den Bruck, Oswald Spengler, Edgar Jung, or Hugo von Hofmannsthal. There is no evidence of him having expressed affinity for the views of these thinkers or joining any of the organizations that emerged to promote their ideas. Schmitt’s conservatism was squarely within the Machiavellian tradition, and he counted Machiavelli, Hobbes, Jean Bodin and conservative counterrevolutionaries such as Joseph De Maistre and Juan Donoso Cortes as his influences.

During the Weimar era, Schmitt expressed no sympathy for the mystical nationalism of the radical Right, much less the vulgar racism and anti-Semitism of the Nazi movement. He was closer to the anti-liberal thinkers that James Burnham and others subsequently labeled as “the neo-Machiavellians.” These included Vilfredo Pareto, Robert Michels, Gaetano Mosca, and Georges Sorel along with aristocratic conservatives like Max Weber. These thinkers expressed skepticism regarding the prospects of liberalism and democracy and emphasized the role of elites, the irrational, and the power of myth with regards to the political. Though Schmitt never joined a political party during the Weimar era, within the spectrum of German politics of the time he can reasonably be categorized as something of a moderate. He had admirers on both the far Right and far Left, including sympathizers with the Conservative Revolution as well as prominent intellectuals associated with the Marxist Frankfurt School, such as Walter Benjamin, Franz Neumann, and Otto Kirchheimer.

Schmitt’s own natural affinities were mostly likely closest to the Catholic Center Party, which along with the Social Democrats who had led the revolution of 1918 were the most consistently supportive of the republic and the constitutional order, and which represented the broadest cross-section of economic, class, regional, and institutional interests of any of the major parties during Weimar.

Like Hobbes before him, Schmitt was intensely focused on how order might be maintained in a society prone to chaos. Both economic turmoil and political instability continually plagued the republic. Successive political coalitions failed in their efforts to create a durable government and chancellors came and went. The Reichstag was immobilized by the intractable nature of political parties representing narrow class, ideological, or economic interests and possessing irreconcilable differences with one another. Additionally, many of the political parties that formed during the Weimar era, including those with substantial representation in the Reichstag, possessed little or no genuine commitment to the preservation of the republican order itself. Extremist parties, most notably the German Communist Party (KPD) and the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP), or the Nazis, as they came to be called, openly advocated its overthrow. Terrorism was practiced by extremists from both the right and left. Crisis after crisis appeared during the Weimar period, and the parliament was each time unable to deal with the latest emergency situation effectively. The preservation of order subsequently fell to the president. Article 48 of the constitution stated in part:

If a state does not fulfill the duties imposed by the Reich constitution or the laws of the Reich, the Reich president may enforce such duties with the aid of the armed forces. In the event that public order and security are seriously disturbed or endangered, the Reich president may take the necessary measures in order to restore public security and order, intervening, if necessary, with the aid of the armed forces. To achieve this goal, he may temporarily suspend entirely or in part, the stipulated basic rights in articles 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124, and 153. All measures undertaken in accordance with sections 1 or 2 of this article must be immediately reported to the Reichstag by the Reich president. These measures are to be suspended if the Reichstag so demands.

As an indication of the unstable nature of the Weimar republic, Article 48 was invoked more than two hundred and fifty times by successive presidents during the republic’s fifteen years of existence.

mardi, 14 septembre 2010

Das Stierlein - Zum Tode von Liselotte Jünger

Das Stierlein

Zum Tode von Liselotte Jünger

Von Lutz Hagestedt

Ex: http://www.literaturkritik.de/

1963 wäre Ernst Jünger beinahe das Opfer der tückischen Strömung im Meer an dem sardinischen Badeort Villasimius geworden. Als er sich, quasi in letzter Minute und völlig entkräftet an den Strand retten kann, wirft sich seine Frau, liebevoll „Stierlein“ genannt, über ihn. Ernst und Liselotte Jünger sind auf diesen Schicksalstag des öfteren zu sprechen gekommen: Seit 1962 erst waren sie miteinander verheiratet, für beide war es die zweite Ehe.

Die im Sternbild des Stieres 1917 geborene Liselotte Bäuerle, verwitwete Lohrer, genoss allgemein Respekt. Von zierlicher Gestalt, dabei lebhaft und humorvoll, ertrug sie gefasst die immer wieder aufs Neue entfachten Debatten um das politisch Anstößige ihres Mannes. Der Schriftsteller hatte die promovierte Verlagshistorikerin zwei Jahre nach dem Tod von „Perpetua“ (Gretha von Jeinsen), seiner an Krebs gestorbenen ersten Frau, geheiratet.

Der Autor und sein Stierlein kannten sich schon vor ihrer Ehe, denn nach ihrer Promotion arbeitete Liselotte Lohrer in Marbach und lektorierte Jüngers Werke für den Klett Verlag. Sie war maßgeblich an der ersten und dann auch an der zweiten Werkausgabe beteiligt und fungierte als Herausgeberin des „Schlusssteins“ der „Sämtlichen Werke“.

Die gelernte Bibliothekarin, die mit einer Geschichte des Cotta Verlages promoviert wurde, hat sich um Jüngers Werk und Person verdient gemacht: Sie führte und ordnete seine Korrespondenz, begleitete Jünger auf seinen Reisen, versorgte seine Katzen, führte ihm den Haushalt, wachte über seine Arbeitsruhe, kutschierte ihn in ihrem PKW. Seine Gäste, Staatsgäste zumal, waren auch die ihren: Resolut wachte sie über die Oberförsterei im schwäbischen Wilflingen.

Sie gab einzelne Texte heraus (zum Beispiel Jüngers Fragment „Prinzessin Tarakanow“), betreute den Vorlass und später auch den Nachlass. Großzügig förderte sie die Forschung, und auf Tagungen gab sie unermüdlich Auskunft, so sehr hatte sie sich die Perspektive ihres Mannes zu eigen gemacht. Als bei der Enthüllung von Gerold Jäggles Jünger-Denkmal am Wilflinger Weiher ein Dummer-Jungen-Streich zum Vorschein kam, war sie es, die durch ein herzliches Lachen den Bann brach.

Oft ist in den Tagebüchern von ihr die Rede, zahllose Briefe in Jüngers Namen hat sie unterzeichnet. In der Nacht vom 31. August auf den 1. September ist sie 93-jährig in Überlingen gestorben.

 

mercredi, 08 septembre 2010

Armin Mohler: Réflexions sur les thèses de Zeev Sternhell

Archives de SYNERGIES EUROPEENNES - 1986

 

Armin MOHLER:

Réflexions sur les thèses de Zeev Sternhell

 

ZSnidroite.jpgUn livre, paru à Paris en 1983, a complètement bouleversé l'historiographie du fascisme. Ce livre porte le titre de: Ni droite ni gauche. L'idéologie du fascisme en France. Gros de 412 pages, il est publié par les éditions du Seuil, maison pourtant connue pour ses tendances de gauche.

 

L'auteur, Zeev Sternhell, professeur de politologie à l'Université Hébraïque de Jérusalem, est né en Pologne en 1935. Il est actuellement le Directeur du "Centre d'Etudes Européennes" et, peu avant la parution de Ni droite ni gauche, il avait fondé le Centre Interdisciplinaire de Recherche sur la Civilisation Française.

 

Son livre est très dense. Il abonde en outre de répétitions car, ce qui importe pour Sternhell, homme au tempérament fougueux, c'est d'inculquer au lecteur certains jugements  inhabituels. Mais il serait erroné de lui reprocher l'emploi de "concepts vagues". A l'opposé du spécialiste jusqu'ici accrédité de l'étude du fascisme, Ernst Nolte, Sternhell n'a pas reçu de formation philosophique. Il est un authentique historien qui se préoccupe de recenser le passé. Pour lui, chaque réalité historique est "irisable", on ne peut la ramener à un seul concept, il faut en considérer les diverses facettes. Dès lors, contrairement à Nolte, Sternhell ne construit pas un schéma abstrait du fascisme, dans lequel il conviendra d'enserrer ensuite les phénomènes concrets. Il renvoie de préférence ces phénomènes à toute une variété de concepts qu'il puise toutefois dans le vocabulaire politique traditionnel, afin de les cerner et de les localiser.

 

S'il entre dans notre propos de résumer ici un ouvrage aussi complexe, notre exposé ne pourra cependant pas remplacer la lecture de ce livre. Il en est plutôt l'introduction.

 

1. Qui est Zeev Sternhell?

 

1.1. Indubitablement, il est un authentique homme de gauche. Le journal Le Monde  (14.1.1983) déclare à son sujet: Sternhell entra en mai 1977, après la victoire électorale de Begin et la chute du Parti Travailliste, dans la vie politique israëlienne. Il créa le Club 77, un rassemblement d'intellectuels de l'aile d'extrême-gauche du Parti Travailliste. Ce Club s'engagea dans une politique de modération envers le monde arabe et milita pour l'évacuation de la Cisjordanie; en matière de politique interne, il chercha à favoriser une politique aussi "socialiste" que possible, c'est-à-dire accordant le maximum d'égalité. Au sein du Parti Travailliste, Sternhell fait partie d'une minorité, tout en étant membre du Comité Exécutif".

 

1.2. Sternhell est un "gramsciste". A l'instar de toute la gauche revendicatrice et contestatrice de sa génération, il s'est libéré de l'orthodoxie marxiste. Il rejette expressément la conception matérialiste de l'histoire (pp.18-19).

 

A la suite de Gramsci (et a fortiori de l'inspirateur de ce communiste italien, Georges Sorel), Sternhell se rallie à la conception historiographico-philosophique qui veut que les idées ne soient pas le reflet des réalités, mais l'inverse.

 

1.3. Le point de départ de la démarche de Sternhell: le révisionnisme. Le fait que Sternhell se soit consacré à l'étude du fascisme s'explique sans aucun doute par son intérêt pour la biographie des révisionnistes, ceux qui ont tenté de changer et de réformer le marxisme orthodoxe. De Ni droite ni gauche,  il ressort que le révisionnisme de "droite" (p.35) ou révisionnisme "libéral" (p.81), qui mène à des alliances et des compromissions avec le libéralisme bourgeois et qu'incarne un Eduard Bernstein (en France, Jaurès) fascine moins Sternhell que le révisionnisme de "gauche" (p.290), mouvement amorcé par Sorel et les syndicalistes révolutionnaires qui refusaient les "ramollissements" du socialisme et passèrent ultérieurement au fascisme. Sternhell s'intéresse en particulier à un nouveau courant socialiste d'alors qui, dépassant l'opposition Sorel/Bernstein, vit le jour au lendemain de la Grande Guerre: le révisionnisme "planiste" ou "technocratique" (p.36) du socialiste belge Henri De Man et du néo-socialiste français Marcel Déat. Ce révisionnisme-là aboutit directement au fascisme.

 

1.4. Sternhell contre le fascisme de salon. L'orientation "socialiste", qui sous-tend l'étude de Sternhell sur la problématique du fascisme, se traduit par le peu d'intérêt marqué pour les formes de fascismes philosophiques ou littéraires. Trait caractéristique: Sternhell ne mentionne nulle part les deux écrivains les plus importants appartenant au fascisme, Céline et Rebatet. Et Sternhell néglige encore d'autres aspects du fascisme de salon, du fascisme des penseurs "qui finissent leur vie en habit vert" (p.22). Vu les multiples facettes du fascisme français (et européen)(p.21), Sternhell s'adjuge le droit de poser une analyse pars pro toto: il prétend se consacrer en ordre principal à l'étude de secteurs négligés jusqu'ici (p.9).

 

2. La France, modèle du fascisme?

 

2.1. Pourquoi la France?  Le livre de Sternhell veut développer une définition du "fascisme" en se basant sur l'exemple français. Cette intention peut étonner. La France, en effet, si l'on excepte l'intermède de l'occupation allemande, n'a jamais connu un régime qualifiable de "fasciste". L'Italie, l'Allemagne voire l'Espagne seraient à cet égard de meilleurs exemples. Mais Sternhell, nous allons le voir, déploie de très sérieux arguments pour justifier son choix.

 

2.2. Les études antérieures de Sternhell. Ces arguments, pour nous, ne sauraient se déduire des travaux antérieurs de Sternhell, qui portaient tous sur la France. Dès le départ, il orienta son attention vers le fascisme, même s'il l'on peut supposer qu'un changement de perspective aurait pu se produire et lui faire choisir un autre territoire de recherches. Ce que Sternhell découvrit très tôt dans ces secteurs délaissés par la recherche qu'il se trouvait sur la bonne voie. Deux livres aussi copieux avait précédé Ni gauche ni droite. Le premier s'intitulait Maurice Barrès et le nationalisme français  (1972). Le second, La droite révolutionnaire 1885-1914. Les origines françaises du fascisme  (1978), traitait de la même époque historique, mais le grand thème de Sternhell, le fascisme, apparaissait pour la première fois dans le sous-titre. La recherche a imméditament considéré ces deux ouvrages comme des classiques. Les sujets de ces livres sont à la fois plus sectoriels et plus généraux que la thématique du troisième, que nous commentons ici. Dans Ni gauche ni droite, Sternhell cherche à forger un classification globale et détaillée du phénomène fasciste qu'il entend maîtriser conceptuellement.

 

2.3. La France a inventé le fascisme. Le premier argument de Sternhell, pour situer le champ de ses recherches en France, c'est que ce pays a vu naître le fascisme vingt ans avant les autres, notamment vers 1885 (p.41). Sternhell n'emploie qu'occasionnelle- ment le terme de "pré-fascisme" pour qualifier les événements entre 1885 et 1914 (p.21). Une figure comme celle de Maurice Barrès portait déjà en elle les germes de tout le fascisme ultérieur. Et quand j'ai énoncer la même hypothèse en 1958, je me suis heurté à une surprenante incompréhension de la part des experts français...

 

2.4. La France comme contre-modèle. Le second argument qu'avance Sternhell est plus complexe. Il contourne deux écueils. Parmi les grands pays de l'Europe continentale, la France est celui où la position dominante de l'idéologie et de la praxis politique du libéralisme a été la moins menacée, du moins jusqu'à la défaite militaire de 1940 (p.41). Sternhell souligne (p.42) le fait que la révolution libérale la plus importante et la plus exemplaire de l'histoire s'est déroulée dans ce pays et attire notre attention sur les phénomènes du "consensus républicain" (p.43) et du "consensus centriste" (p.52) qui sont les clés de voûte de l'histoire française contemporaine. C'est précisément à cause de ces inébranlables consensus que Sternhell opte pour la France comme champ d'investigation. Car le fascisme, en France, n'est jamais parvenu au pouvoir (p.293) et, écrit Sternhell, "le fascisme n'y a jamais dépassé le stade de la théorie et n'a jamais souffert des compromissions inévitables qui faussent toujours d'une façon ou d'une autre l'idéologie officielle d'un régime. Ainsi on pénètre sa signification profonde et, en saisissant l'idéologie fasciste à ses origines, dans son processus d'incubation, on aboutit à une perception plus fidèle des mentalités et des comportements. Et on comprend mieux, semble-t-il, la complexité des situations et l'ambiguïté des attitudes qui font le tissu des années trente". C'est là, de toute évidence, un principe heuristique, dérivé d'une option radicalement gramsciste qui pose le primat des idées et réfute celui des contraintes factuelles.

 

3. Les problèmes de "périodisation"

 

3.1. Impossibilité de poser des datations exactes. Comme doit le faire tout véritable historien, Sternhell fait varier légèrement les dates. Mis à part pour les événements ponctuels, il n'est pas aisé de fournir des dates précises, bien délimitées dans le temps, pour désigner l'émergeance ou l'assomption d'un courant d'idées politiques. C'est pourquoi Sternhell examine le phénomène "fasciste" dans l'espace d'un demi-siècle.

 

3.2. Continuité entre 1885 et 1940.  Fait essentiel pour Sternhell: cette période est "dans l'histoire de l'Europe, une période véritablement révolutionnai- re". Et il poursuit: "En moins d'un demi-siècle, les réalités sociales, le mode de vie, le niveau technologique et, à beaucoup d'égards, la vision que se font les hommes d'eux-mêmes changent plus profondément qu'à aucun autre moment de l'histoire moderne" (p.45). Dès lors, cette période forme une unité, si toutefois l'on met entre parenthèses les quatre années de la Grande Guerre (pp.19 et 290). Et Sternhell l'écrit expressément: "Au cours de ce demi-siècle, les problèmes de fond n'ont guère varié" (p.60).

 

3.3. Trois générations. Bien qu'il soit conscient de cette continuité, Sternhell procède cenpendant à des subdivisions dans le temps; ainsi, par exemple, quand il parle des "fascistes de 1913" comme des fascistes d'un type particulier. Il distingue trois générations de fascistes (cf. pp. 30, 52 et 60): d'abord les boulangistes et les anti-dreyfusards de la fin des années 80; ensuite, avant 1914, ceux de la "deuxième génération", celle du mouvement des "Jaunes" dans le monde ouvrier et de l'Action Française  de Maurras, qui atteint alors son apogée; en finale, il évoque, comme troisième génération, le "fascisme d'après-guerre".

 

3.4. Le poids d'une époque. Il est à remarquer que Sternhell accorde nettement plus de poids aux premières décennies de l'époque qu'il étudie. Pour lui, sur le plan qualitatif, les années qui précèdent la Grande Guerre revêtent davantage d'importance que les décennies qui les suivirent car, dans cette avant-guerre, tout ce qui est essentiel dans l'élaboration du fascisme doctrinal a été dit et mis en œuvre.

 

4. Prolégomènes du fascisme

 

4.1. Refus de prendre en considération les groupuscules excentriques. Sternhell s'intéresse aux "propagateurs d'idées". Il ne ressent aucune envie de perdre son temps à étudier ce fascisme folklorique de quelques illuminés qui jouent aux brigands, fascisme caricatural dont les médias font leurs choux gras. Il n'a que mépris pour ceux qui axent leurs recherches sur ce type de phénomènes marginaux (p.9): "A l'époque déjà, quand un groupe de la Solidarité française se fait photographier à l'entraînement au pistolet, toute la presse de gauche en parle pendant des semaines: un quelconque défilé de quelques dizaines de "chemises bleues" soulève alors beaucoup plus d'intérêt que le patient travail de sape d'un Thierry Maulnier ou d'un Bertrand de Jouvenel...".

 

4.2. Le fascisme, une idéologie comme les autres. Sternhell parle de la "banalité du fascisme" (p.296): "Dans les années trente, le fascisme constitue une idéologie politique comme les autres, une option politique légitime, un état d'esprit assez courant, bien au-delà des cercles restreints qui assument leur identité fasciste...". Selon Sternhell, le fascisme était "un phénomène possédant un degré propre d'autonomie, d'indépendance intellectuelle" (p.16). Il s'élève contre "le refus fondamental de voir dans le fascisme autre chose qu'un accident de l'histoire européenne" (p.18). Pour Sternhell donc, c'est une erreur de ne considérer le fascisme que comme "une simple aberration, un accident, sinon un accès de folie collective..." (p.18). A la fin de son ouvrage (p.296), Sternhell nous met en garde contre ceux qui propagent l'opinion que les fascistes n'étaient que des "marginaux". Nombreux sont les "fascistes" qui ont été jugés, par leurs contemporains, comme les "plus brillants représentants de leur génération" (Luchaire, Bergery, Marion, de Jouvenel).

 

4.3. Les courroies de transmission. "L'idéologie fasciste constitue, en France, un phénomène de loin plus diffus que le cadre restreint et finalement peu important des adhérents aux groupuscules qui s'affublent de ce titre" (p.310). Deux pages plus loin, Sternhell explique comment il s'est fait que "l'idée fasciste" ait pu se propager dans un milieu si prêt à recevoir son message: "Les fascistes purs furent toujours peu nombreux et leurs forces dispersées. Leur influence véritable s'exercera par une contribution continue à la cristallisation d'un certain climat intellectuel; par le jeu des courroies de transmissions secondaires: des hommes, des mouvements, des revues, des cercles d'études,..." (p.312).

 

4.4. Difficulté de situer sociologiquement le fascisme. Sternhell insiste sur le fait que le fascisme "prolifère aussi bien dans les grands centres industriels de l'Europe occidentale que dans les pays sous-développés d'Europe de l'Est" (p.17). Et il aime se moquer de ceux qui croient pouvoir ranger le fascisme dans des catégories sociales bien déterminées. Il est significatif que Sternhell attire notre attention sur une constante de l'histoire des fascismes: "le glissement à droite d'éléments socialement avancés mais fondamentalement opposés à la démocratie libérale" (p.29). Si cette remarque se vérifie, elle s'opposera à toutes les tentatives de rattacher l'idéologie fasciste à des groupes sociaux trop bien définis.

 

4.5. Pour expliquer le fascisme: ni crises économiques ni guerres. Ce qui m'a frappé aussi chez Sternhell, c'est l'insistance qu'il met à montrer la relative indépendance du fascisme vis-à-vis de la conjoncture (pp.18 et 290). Il ne croit pas que la naissance du fascisme soit due à la pression de crises économiques et, assez étonnamment, estime que la première Guerre mondiale (ou tout autre conflit) a eu peu d'influence sur l'émergence du phénomène. En ce sens, Sternhell s'oppose à la majorité des experts ès-fascisme (pp.96 et 101). C'est dans cette thèse, précisément, que se manifeste clairement l'option "gramsciste" de Sternhell, nonobstant le fait que jamais le nom de Gramsci n'apparaît dans l'œuvre du professeur israëlien. Sternhell ne prend les "crises" au sérieux que lorsqu'il s'agit de crises morales, de crises des valeurs ou de crise globale, affectant une civilisation dans son ensemble.

 

4.6. "Auschwitz" en tant qu'argument-massue n'apparaît nulle part. Sternhell fait preuve d'une étonnante objectivité, ce qui est particulièrement rare dans les études sur le fascisme. Mais une telle attitude semble apparemment plus facile à adopter en Israël qu'à New York ou à Zurich. Ainsi, Sternhell n'hésite pas à reconnaître au fascisme "une certaine fraîcheur contestataire, une certaine saveur de jeunesse" (p.80). Il renonce à toute pédagogie moralisatrice. Mais il est très conscient du "problème de la mémoire", mémoire réprimée et refoulée; il l'évoquera notamment à propos de certaines figures au passé fasciste ou fascisant qui, après 1945, ont opté pour la réinsertion en se faisant les porte-paroles du libéralisme: Bertrand de Jouvenel (p.11), Thierry Maulnier (p.12) et surtout le philosophe du personnalisme, fondateur de la revue Esprit , Emmanuel Mounier (pp 299 à 310).

 

5. La formule du fascisme chez Sternhell

 

5.1. Les carences du libéralisme et du marxisme. Après cette introduction, nous sommes désormais en mesure d'expliciter l'alchimie du fascisme selon Sternhell. Pour cet historien israëlien, le fascisme s'explique en fonction d'un préliminaire historique, sans lequel il serait incompréhensible: l'incapacité du libéralisme bourgeois et du marxisme à assumer les tâches imposées par le XXème siècle.Cette incapacité constitue une carence globale, affectant toute notre civilisation, notamment toutes les institutions, les idéologies, les convictions qu'elle doit au XVIIIème, siècle du rationalisme et du mécanicisme bourgeois. Libéralisme et marxisme sont pour Sternhell les deux faces d'une même médaille. Inlassablement, il souligne que la crise de l'ordre libéral a précédé le fascisme, que cette crise a créé un vide où le fascisme a pu se constituer. Fallait-il  nécessairement que ce fascisme advienne? Sternhell ne se prononce pas, mais toute sa démonstration suggère que cette nécessité était inéluctable.

 

5.2. Révisionnistes de gauche et nationalistes déçus. Généralement, pour expliquer la naissance du fascisme, on évoque la présence préalable d'un nationalisme particulièrement radical et exacerbé. Sternhell, lui, trouve cette explication absurde. D'après le modèle explicatif qu'il nous suggère, l'origine du fascisme s'explique bien davantage par le fait qu'aux extrémités, tant à gauche qu'à droite, du spectre politique, des éléments se sont détachés pour se retrouver en dehors de ce spectre et former un troisième et nouvel élément qui n'est plus ni de gauche ni de droite. Dans la genèse du fascisme, Sternhell n'aperçoit aucun apport appréciable en provenance du centre libéral. D'après lui, le fascisme résulte de la collusion de radicaux de gauche, qui n'admettent pas les compromis des modérés de leur univers politique avec le centre mou libéral, et de radicaux de droite. Le fascisme est, par suite, un amalgame de désillusionnés de gauche et de désillusionnés de droite, de "révisionnistes" de gauche et de droite. Ce qui paraît important aux yeux de Sternhell, c'est que le fascisme se situe hors du réseau traditionnel gauche/centre/droite. Dans l'optique des fascistes, le capitalisme libéral et le socialisme marxiste ne s'affrontent qu'en apparence. En réalité, ils sont les deux faces d'une même médaille. L'opposition entre la "gauche" et la "droite" doit disparaître, afin qu'hommes de gauche et hommes de droite ne soient plus exploités comme chiens de garde des intérêts de la bourgeoisie libérale (p.33). C'est pourquoi la fin du XIXème siècle voit apparaître de plus en plus de notions apparemment paradoxales qui indiquent une fusion des oppositions en vigueur jusqu'alors. L'exemple le plus connu de cette fusion est la formule interchangeable: nationalisme social / socialisme national. Sternhell (p.291) insiste sur la volonté d'aller "au-delà", comme caractéristique du climat fasciste. Le terme "au-delà" se retrouve dans les titres de nombreux manifestes fascistes ou préfascistes: "Au-delà du nationalisme" (Thierry Maulnier), "Au-delà du marxisme" (Henri De Man), "Au-delà du capitalisme et du socialisme" (Arturo Labriola), "Au-delà de la démocratie" (Hubert Lagardelle). Ce dernier titre nous rappelle que le concept de "démocratie" recouvrait le concept de "libéralisme" jusque tard dans le XXème siècle. Chez Sternhell également, le concept de "capitalisme libéral" alterne avec "démocratie capitaliste" (p.27).

 

5.3. L'anti-ploutocratisme. L'homme de gauche qu'est Sternhell prend les manifestations sociales-révolutionnaires du fascisme plus au sérieux que la plupart des autres analystes, historiens et sociologues de son camp. Si Sternhell avait entrepris une étude plus poussée des courants philosophiques et littéraires de la fin du XIXème, il aurait découvert que la haine envers la "domination de l'argent", envers la ploutocratie, participait d'un vaste courant à l'époque, courant qui débordait largement le camp socialiste. Cette répulsion à l'encontre de la ploutocratie a été, bien sûr, un ferment très actif dans la gestation du fascisme. De nombreux groupes fascistes s'aperçurent que l'antisémitisme constituait une vulgarisation de cette répugnance, apte à ébranler les masses. L'antisémitisme, ainsi, offrait la possibilité de fusionner le double front fasciste, dirigé simultanément contre le libéralisme bourgeois et le socialisme marxiste, en une unique représentation de l'ennemi. Parallèlement, cette hostilité envers la ploutocratie pré-programmait très naturellement le conflit qui allait opposer fascistes et conservateurs.

 

5.4. La longue lutte entre conservateurs et fascistes. Vu la définition du fascisme qu'esquisse Sternhell, il n'est guère étonnant qu'il parle d'une "longue lutte entre la droite et le fascisme" (p.20) comme d'une caractéristique bien distincte, quoiqu'aujourd'hui méconnue, de l'époque et des situations qu'il décrit. Et il remarque: "Il en est d'ailleurs ainsi partout en Europe: les fascistes ne parviennent jamais à ébranler véritablement les assises de l'ordre bourgeois. A Paris comme à Vichy, à Rome comme à Vienne, à Bucarest, à Londres, à Oslo ou à Madrid, les conservateurs savent parfaitement bien ce qui les sépare des fascistes et ils ne sont pas dupes d'une propagande visant à les assimiler" (p.20). Aussi Sternhell s'oppose-t-il (p.40) clairement à la classification conventionnelle de la droite française, opérée par René Rémond, qui l'avait répartie en trois camps: les ultras, les libéraux-conservateurs et les bonapartistes. Il n'y a, en fait, jamais eu que deux camps de droite, les libéraux et les conservateurs, auxquels se sont opposés les révolutionnaires, les dissidents et les contestataires.

 

5.5. A la fois révolutionnaires et modernes. Avec ces deux termes, utilisés par Sternhell pour désigner le fascisme, l'historien israëlien a choqué ses collègues politologues. Pour lui, en effet, le fascisme est un phénomène réellement révolutionnaire et résolument moderne. "Une idéologie conçue comme l'antithèse du libéralisme et de l'individualisme est une idéologie révolutionnaire". Plus loin (p.35), Sternhell expose l'idée, d'après lui typiquement fasciste, selon laquelle le facteur révolutionnaire qui, en finale, annihile la démocratie libérale est non pas le prolétariat, mais la nation. Et il ajoute: "C'est ainsi que la nation devient l'agent privilégié de la révolution" (p.35). Les passages évoquant le modernisme du fascisme sont tout aussi surprenants. A propos d'un de ces passages (p.294), on pourrait remarquer que cette attribution de modernisme ne concerne que les fascismes italien et français:"Car le fascisme possède un côté moderniste très développé qui contribue à creuser le fossé avec le vieux monde conservateur. Un poème de Marinetti, une œuvre de Le Corbusier sont immédiatement adoptés par les fascistes, car, mieux qu'une dissertation littéraire, ils symbolisent tout ce qui sépare l'avenir révolutionnaire du passé bourgeois". Un autre passage s'adresse clairement au fascisme dans son ensemble: "L'histoire du fascisme est donc à beaucoup d'égard l'histoire d'une volonté de modernisation, de rajeunissement et d'adaptation de systèmes et de théories politiques hérités du siècle précédent aux nécessités et impératifs du monde moderne. Conséquence d'une crise générale dont les symptômes apparaissent clairement dès la fin du siècle dernier, le fascisme se structure à travers toute l'Europe. Les fascistes sont tous parfaitement convaincus du caractère universel du courant qui les guide, et leur confiance dans l'avenir est dès lors inébranlable".

 

6. Eléments particuliers de l'idéologie fasciste

 

6.1. L'anti-matérialisme. Puisque, pour Zeev Sternhell, le fascisme n'est pas simplement le produit d'une mode politique, mais une doctrine, il va lui attribuer certains contenus intellectuels. Mais comme ces contenus intellectuels se retrouvent également en dehors du fascisme, ce qui constitue concrètement le fascisme, c'est une concentration d'éléments souvent très hétérogènes en une unité efficace. Citons les principaux éléments de cette synthèse. Sternhelle met principalement l'accent sur l'anti-matérialisme (pp. 291 & 293): "Cette idéologie constitue avant tout un refus du matérialisme, c'est-à-dire de l'essentiel de l'héritage intellectuel sur lequel vit l'Europe depuis le XVIIème siècle. C'est bien cette révolte contre le matérialisme qui permet la convergence du nationalisme antilibéral et antibourgeois et de cette variante du socialisme qui, tout en rejetant le marxisme, reste révolutionnaire...Tout anti-matérialisme n'est pas fascisme, mais le fascisme constitue une variété d'anti-matérialisme et canalise tous les courants essentiels de l'anti-matérialisme du XXème siècle...". Sternhell cite également les autres éléments de l'héritage auquel s'oppose le fascisme: le rationalisme, l'individualisme, l'utilitarisme, le positivisme (p.40). Cette opposition indique que cet anti-matérialisme est dirigé contre toute hypothèse qui voudrait que l'homme soit conditionné par des données économiques. C'est quand Sternhell parle de la psychologie que l'on aperçoit le plus clairement cette opposition. Ainsi, il relève (p. 294) que les "moralistes" Sorel, Berth et Michels "rejettent le matérialisme historique qu'ils remplacent par une explication d'ordre psychologique". "Finalement", poursuit Sternhell, "ils aboutissent à un socialisme dont les rapports avec le prolétariat cessent d'être essentiels".Et il insiste: "Le socialisme commence ainsi, dès le début du siècle, à s'élargir pour devenir un socialisme pour tous, un socialisme pour la collectivité dans son ensemble,..." (p. 295). Plus explicite encore est un passage relatif au révisionnisme de Henri De Man, qui, lui, cherche la cause première de la lutte des classes "moins dans des oppositions d'ordre économique que dans des oppositions d'ordre psychologique".

 

6.2. Les déterminations. Il serait pourtant faux d'affirmer que, pour le fascisme, l'homme ne subit aucune espèce de détermination. Pour les intellectuels fascistes, ces déterminations ne sont tout simplement pas de nature "mécanique"; entendons par là, de nature "économique". Comme l'indique Sternhell, le fasciste ne considère pas l'homme comme un individu isolé, mais comme un être soumis à des contraintes d'ordres historique, psychologique et biologique. De là, la vision fasciste de la nation et du socialisme. La nation ne peut dès lors qu'être comprise comme "la grande force montante, dans toutes ses classes rassemblées" (p. 32). Quant au socialisme, le fasciste ne peut se le représenter que comme un "socialisme pour tous", un "socialisme éternel", un "socialisme pédagogique", un "socialisme de toujours", bref un socialisme qui ne se trouve plus lié à une structure sociale déterminée (Cf. pp. 32 & 295).

 

6.3. Le pessimisme. Sternhell considère comme  traits les plus caractéristiques du fascisme "sa vision de l'homme comme mu par des forces inconscientes, sa conception pessimiste de l'immuabilité de la nature humaine, facteurs qui mènent à une saisie statique de l'histoire: étant donné que les motivations psychologiques restent les mêmes, la conduite de l'homme ne se modifie jamais". Pour appuyer cette considération, Sternhell cite la définition du pessimisme selon Sorel: "cette doctrine sans laquelle rien de très haut ne s'est fait dans le monde" (p. 93). Cette définition rappelle en quoi consiste le véritable paradoxe de l'existentialité selon les conservateurs: la perception qu'a l'homme de ses limites ne le paralyse pas, mais l'incite à l'action. L'optimisme, au contraire, en surestimant les potentialités de l'homme, semble laisser celui-ci s'enfoncer sans cesse dans l'apathie.

 

6.4. Volontarisme et décadence. Sternhell, qui n'est pas philosophe mais historien, n'est nullement conscient de ce "paradoxe du conservateur". Il constate simplement la présence, dans les fascismes, d'une "énergie tendue" (p. 50) et signale sans cesse cette volonté fasciste de dominer le destin (pp. 65 & 294). Sternhell constate que le problème de la décadence inquiète le fasciste au plus haut point. C'est la raison pour laquelle celui-ci veut créer un "homme nouveau", un homme porteur des vertus classiques anti-bourgeoises, des vertus héroïques, un homme à l'énergie toujours en éveil, qui a le sens du devoir et du sacrifice. Le souci de la décadence aboutit à l'acceptation de la primauté de la communauté sur l'individu. La qualité suprême, pour un fasciste, c'est d'avoir la foi dans la force de la volonté, d'une volonté capable de donner forme au monde de la matière et de briser sa résistance. Sternhell se livre à de pareilles constatations jusqu'à la dernière ligne de son ouvrage; ainsi, à la page 312: "Dans un monde en détresse, le fascisme apparaît aisément comme une volonté héroïque de dominer, une fois encore, la matière, de dompter, par un déploiement d'énergie, non seulement les forces de la nature, mais aussi celles de l'économie et de la société".

 

6.5. La question de la vérité. D'une part, le pessimisme; d'autre part, le volontarisme. Pour une pensée logique, ce ne pourrait être là qu'un paradoxe. Mais le fascisme se pose-t-il la question de la vérité? Voyons ce que Sternhell déclare à propos de l'un des "pères fondateurs" du fascisme: "Pour un Barrès par exemple, il ne s'agit plus de savoir quelle doctrine est juste, mais quelle force permet d'agir et de vaincre" (p. 50). Comme preuve du fait que le fascisme ne juge pas une doctrine selon sa "vérité", mais selon son utilité, Sternhell cite Sorel au sujet des "mythes" qui, pour l'auteur des Réflexions sur la violence, constituent le moteur de toute action: "...les mythes sont des "systèmes d'images" que l'on ne peut décomposer en leurs éléments, qu'il faut prendre en bloc comme des forces historiques... Quand on se place sur le terrain des mythes, on est à l'abri de toute réfutation..." (pp. 93 & 94).

 

En résumé...

 

Nous n'avons pu recenser le livre de Sternhell que dans ses lignes fondamentales. Nous avons dû négliger bien des points importants, tels son allusion à la "nouvelle liturgie" comme partie intégrante du fascisme (p. 51), à son anti-américanisme latent (même avant 1914) (p. 290); nous n'avons pas approfondi sa remarque signalant que, pour le fascisme, la lutte contre le libéralisme intérieur a toujours été plus importante que la lutte menée contre celui-ci pas certains dictateurs... (p. 34). En tant que recenseur, je me permets deux remarques, pouvant s'avérer utiles pour le lecteur allemand. D'abord, l'Allemagne n'est que peu évoquée chez Sternhell. En fait de bibliographie allemande, il ne cite que les livres de Nolte traduits en français; on peut dès lors supposer qu'il ne maîtrise pas la langue de Goethe. Ma seconde remarquer sera de rappeler au lecteur allemand ma tentative de redonner une consistance au concept de "fascisme", en le limitant à un certain nombre de phénomènes historiques (Cf. Der faschistische Stil, 1973; trad.franç.: Le "style" fasciste, in Nouvelle Ecole, n°42, été 1985). Sternhell, pour sa part, a donné au terme "fascisme" une ampleur énorme. Son effort est justifiable, dans la mesure où sa vaste définition du "fascisme", au fond, correspond à ce que je désignais sous l'étiquette de "révolution conservatrice". Bref, on peut dire du livre de Sternhell qu'il a envoyé au rebut la plupart des travaux consacrés jusqu'ici à l'étude du fascisme...

 

Armin MOHLER.

(recension tirée de la revue Criticón, Munich, n°76, mars-avril 1983; traduction française d'Elfrieda Popelier).     

 

vendredi, 27 août 2010

Right-Wing Anarchism

Right-Wing Anarchism

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

d-Louis-Ferdinand-Celine.jpgThe concept of right-wing anarchism seems paradoxical, indeed oxymoronic, starting from the assumption that all “right-wing” political viewpoints include a particularly high evaluation of the principle of order. . . . In fact right-wing anarchism occurs only in exceptional circumstances, when the hitherto veiled affinity between anarchism and conservatism may become apparent.

Ernst Jünger has characterised this peculiar connection in his book Der Weltstaat (1960): “The anarchist in his purest form is he, whose memory goes back the farthest: to pre-historical, even pre-mythical times; and who believes, that man at that time fulfilled his true purpose . . . In this sense the anarchist is the Ur-conservative, who traces the health and the disease of society back to the root.” Jünger later called this kind of “Prussian” . . . or “conservative anarchist” the “Anarch,” and referred his own “désinvolture” as agreeing therewith: an extreme aloofness, which nourishes itself and risks itself in the borderline situations, but only stands in an observational relationship to the world, as all instances of true order are dissolving and an “organic construction” is not yet, or no longer, possible.

Even though Jünger himself was immediately influenced by the reading of Max Stirner, the affinity of such a thought-complex to dandyism is particularly clear. In the dandy, the culture of decadence at the end of the 19th century brought forth a character, which on the one hand was nihilistic and ennuyé, on the other hand offered the cult of the heroic and vitalism as an alternative to progressive ideals.

The refusal of current ethical hierarchies, the readiness to be “unfit, in the deepest sense of the word, to live” (Flaubert), reveal the dandy’s common points of reference with anarchism; his studied emotional coldness, his pride, and his appreciation of fine tailoring and manners, as well as the claim to constitute “a new kind of aristocracy” (Charles Baudelaire), represent the proximity of the dandy to the political right. To this add the tendency of politically inclined dandies to declare a partiality to the Conservative Revolution or to its forerunners, as for instance Maurice Barrès in France, Gabriele d’Annunzio in Italy, Stefan George or Arthur Moeller van den Bruck in Germany. The Japanese author Yukio Mishima belongs to the later followers of this tendency.

Besides this tradition of right-wing anarchism, there has existed another, older and largely independent tendency, connected with specifically French circumstances. Here, at the end of the 18th century, in the later stages of the ancien régime, formed an anarchisme de droite, whose protagonists claimed for themselves a position “beyond good and evil,” a will to live “like the gods,” and who recognized no moral values beyond personal honor and courage. The world-view of these libertines was intimately connected with an aggressive atheism and a pessimistic philosophy of history. Men like Brantôme, Montluc, Béroalde de Verville, and Vauquelin de La Fresnaye held absolutism to be a commodity that regrettably opposed the principles of the old feudal system, and that only served the people’s desire for welfare. Attitudes, which in the 19th century were again to be found with Arthur de Gobineau and Léon Bloy, and also in the 20th century with Georges Bernanos, Henry de Montherlant, and Louis-Ferdinand Céline. This position also appeared in a specifically “traditionalist” version with Julius Evola, whose thinking revolved around the “absolute individual.”

In whichever form right-wing anarchism appears, it is always driven by a feeling of decadence, by a distaste for the age of masses and for intellectual conformism. The relation to the political is not uniform; however, not rarely does the aloofness revolve into activism. Any further unity is negated already by the highly desired individualism of right-wing anarchists. Nota bene, the term is sometimes adopted by men–for instance George Orwell (Tory anarchist) or Philippe Ariès–who do not exhibit relevant signs of a right-wing anarchist ideology; while others, who objectively exhibit these criteria–for instance Nicolás Gómez Dávila or Günter Maschke–do not make use of the concept.

Bibliography

Gruenter, Rainer. “Formen des Dandysmus: Eine problemgeschichtliche Studie über Ernst Jünger.” Euphorion 46 (1952) 3, pp. 170-201.
Kaltenbrunner, Gerd-Klaus, ed. Antichristliche Konservative: Religionskritik von rechts. Freiburg: Herder, 1982.
Kunnas, Tarmo. “Literatur und Faschismus.” Criticón 3 (1972) 14, pp. 269-74.
Mann, Otto. “Dandysmus als konservative Lebensform.” In Gerd-Klaus Kaltenbrunner, ed., Konservatismus international, Stuttgart, 1973, pp. 156-70.
Mohler, Armin. “Autorenporträt in memoriam: Henry de Montherlant und Lucien Rebatet.” Criticón 3 (1972) 14, pp. 240-42.
Richard, François. L’anarchisme de droite dans la littérature contemporaine. Paris: PUF, 1988.
______. Les anarchistes de droite. Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1997.
Schwarz, Hans Peter. Der konservative Anarchist: Politik und Zeitkritik Ernst Jüngers. Freiburg im Breisgan, 1962.
Sydow, Eckart von. Die Kultur der Dekadenz. Dresden, 1921.

Karlheinz Weißman, “Anarchismus von rechts,” Lexikon des Konservatismus, ed. Caspar von Schrenck-Notzing (Graz and Stuttgart: Leopold Stocker Verlag, 1996). Translator anonymous. From Attack the System, June 6, 2010, http://attackthesystem.com/2010/06/right-wing-anarchism/

mercredi, 25 août 2010

Spengler: Criticism & Tribute

Spengler: Criticism & Tribute

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

Editor’s Note:

Oswald Spengler’s Man and Technics and Revilo Oliver’s America’s Decline: The Education of a Conservative and The Origins of Christianity are available for purchase on this website.

RPO_63smism.jpgConceived before the First World War is Oswald Spengler’s magisterial work, Der Untergang des Abendlandes (Munich, 1918). Read in this country chiefly in the brilliantly faithful translation by Charles Francis Atkinson, The Decline of the West (New York, two volumes, 1926-28), Spengler’s morphology of history was the great intellectual achievement of our century. Whatever our opinion of his methods or conclusions, we cannot deny that he was the Copernicus of historionomy. All subsequent writings on the philosophy of history may fairly be described as criticism of the Decline of the West.

Spengler, having formulated a universal history, undertook an analysis of the forces operating in the immediately contemporary world. This he set forth in a masterly work, Die Jahre der Entscheidung, of which only the first volume could be published in Germany (Munich, 1933) and translated into English (The Hour of Decision, New York, 1934). One had only to read this brilliant work, with its lucid analysis of forces that even acute observers did not perceive until 25 or 30 years later, and with its prevision that subsequent events have now shown to have been absolutely correct, to recognize that its author was one of the great political and philosophical minds of the West. One should remember, however, that the amazing accuracy of his analysis of the contemporary situation does not necessarily prove the validity of his historical morphology.

The publication of Spengler’s first volume in 1918 released a spate of controversy that continues to the present day. Manfred Schroeter in Der Streit um Spengler (Munich, 1922) was able to give a précis of the critiques that had appeared in a little more than three years; today, a mere bibliography, if reasonably complete, would take years to compile and would probably run to eight hundred or a thousand printed pages.

Spengler naturally stirred up swarms of nit-wits, who were particularly incensed by his immoral and preposterous suggestion that there could be another war in Europe, when everybody knew that there just couldn’t be anything but World Peace after 1918, ’cause Santa had just brought a nice, new, shiny “League of Nations.” Such “liberal” chatterboxes are always making a noise, but no one with the slightest knowledge of human history pays any attention to them, except as symptoms.

Unfortunately, much more intelligent criticism of Spengler was motivated by emotional dissatisfaction with his conclusions. In an article in Antiquity for 1927, the learned R. G. Collingwood of Oxford went so far as to claim that Spengler’s two volumes had not given him “a single genuinely new idea,” and that he had “long ago carried out for himself” — and, of course, rejected — even Spengler’s detailed analyses of individual cultures. As a cursory glance at Spengler’s work will suffice to show, that assertion is less plausible than a claim to know everything contained in the Twelfth Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Collingwood, the author of the Speculum Mentis and other philosophical works, must have been bedeviled with emotional resentments so strong that he could not see how conceited, arrogant, and improbable his vaunt would seem to most readers.

It is now a truism that Spengler’s “pessimism” and “fatalism” was an unbearable shock to minds nurtured in the nineteenth-century illusion that everything would get better and better forever and ever. Spengler’s cyclic interpretation of history stated that a civilization was an organism having a definite and fixed life-span and moving from infancy to senescence and death by an internal necessity comparable to the biological necessity that decrees the development of the human organism from infantile imbecility to senile decrepitude. Napoleon, for example, was the counterpart of Alexander in the ancient world.

We were now, therefore, in a phase of civilizational life in which constitutional forms are supplanted by the prestige of individuals. By 2000, we shall be “contemporary” with the Rome of Sulla, the Egypt of the Eighteenth Dynasty, and China at the time when the “Contending States” were welded into an empire. That means that we face an age of world wars and what is worse, civil wars and proscriptions, and that around 2060 the West (if not destroyed by its alien enemies) will be united under the personal rule of a Caesar or Augustus. That is not a pleasant prospect.

Oswald Spengler, 1880 - 1936

The only question before us, however, is whether Spengler is correct in his analysis. Rational men will regard as irrelevant the fact that his conclusions are not charming. If a physician informs you that you have symptoms of arteriosclerosis, he may or may not be right in his diagnosis, but it is absolutely certain that you cannot rejuvenate yourself by slapping his face.

Every detached observer of our times, I think, will agree that Spengler’s “pessimism” aroused emotions that precluded rational consideration. I am inclined to believe that the moral level of his thinking was a greater obstacle. His “fatalism” was not the comforting kind that permits men to throw up their hands and eschew responsibilities. Consider, for example, the concluding lines of his Man and Technics (New York, 1932):

Already the danger is so great, for every individual, every class, every people, that to cherish any illusion whatever is deplorable. Time does not suffer itself to be halted; there is no question of prudent retreat or wise renunciation. Only dreamers believe that there is a way out. Optimism is cowardice.

We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who, during the eruption of Vesuvius, died at his post because they forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one thing that can not be taken from a man.

Now, whether or not the stern prognostication that lies back of that conclusion is correct, no man fit to live in the present can read those lines without feeling his heart lifted by the great ethos of a noble culture — the spiritual strength of the West that can know tragedy and be unafraid. And simultaneously, that pronouncement will affright to hysteria the epicene homunculi among us, the puling cowards who hope only to scuttle about safely in the darkness and to batten on the decay of a culture infinitely beyond their comprehension.

That contrast is in itself a very significant datum for an estimate of the present condition of our civilization …

Three Points of Criticism

Criticism of Spengler, therefore, if it is not to seem mere quibbling about details, must deal with major premises. Now, so far as I can see, Spengler’s thesis can be challenged at three really fundamental points, namely: (1) Spengler regards each civilization as a closed and isolated entity animated by a dominant idea, or Weltanschauung, that is its “soul.” Why should ideas, or concepts, the impalpable creations of the human mind, undergo an organic evolution as though they were living protoplasm, which, as a material substance, is understandably subject to chemical change and hence biological laws? This logical objection is not conclusive: Men may observe the tides, for example, and even predict them, without being able to explain what causes them. But when we must deduce historical laws from the four of five civilizations of which we have some fairly accurate knowledge, we do not have enough repetitions of a phenomenon to calculate its periodicity with assurance, if we do not know why it happens.

(2) A far graver difficulty arises from the historical fact that we have already mentioned. For five centuries, at least, the men of the West regarded modern civilization as a revival or prolongation of Graeco-Roman antiquity. Spengler, as the very basis of his hypothesis, regards the Classical world as a civilization distinct from, and alien to, our own — a civilization that, like the Egyptian, lived, died, and is now gone. It was dominated by an entirely different Weltanschauung, and consequently the educated men of Europe and America, who for five centuries believed in continuity, were merely suffering from an illusion or hallucination.

Even if we grant that, however, we are still confronted by a unique historical phenomenon. The Egyptian, Babylonian, Chinese, Hindu, and Arabian (“Magian”), civilizations are all regarded by Spengler (and other proponents of an organic structure of culture) as single and unrelated organisms: Each came into being without deriving its concepts from another civilization (or, alternatively, seeing its own concepts in the records of an earlier civilization), and each died leaving no offspring (or, alternatively, no subsequent civilization thought to see in them its own concepts). There is simply no parallel or precedent for the relationship (real or imaginary) which links Graeco-Roman culture to our own.

Since Spengler wrote, a great historical discovery has further complicated the question. We now know that the Mycenaean peoples were Greeks, and it is virtually certain that the essentials of their culture survived the disintegration caused by the Dorian invasion, and were the basis of later Greek culture. (For a good summary, see Leonard R. Palmer, Mycenaeans and Minoans, London, 1961). We therefore have a sequence that is, so far as we know, unique:

Mycenaean>Dark Ages>Graeco-Roman>Dark Ages>Modern.

If this is one civilization, it has had a creative life-span far longer than that of any other that has thus far appeared in the world. If it is more than one, the interrelations form an exception to Spengler’s general law, and suggest the possibility that a civilization, if it dies by some kind of quasi-biological process, may in some cases have a quasi-biological power of reproduction.

oswald_spengler_4.jpgThe exception becomes even more remarkable if we, unlike Spengler, regard as fundamentally important the concept of self-government, which may have been present even in Mycenaean times (see L. R. Palmer, Mycenaeans and Minoans, cited above, p. 97). Democracies and constitutional republics are found only in the Graeco-Roman world and our own; such institutions seem to have been incomprehensible to other cultures.

(3) For all practical purposes, Spengler ignores hereditary and racial differences. He even uses the word “race” to represent a qualitative difference between members of what we should call the same race, and he denies that that difference is to any significant extent caused by heredity. He regards biological races as plastic and mutable, even in their physical characteristics, under the influence of geographical factors (including the soil, which is said to affect the physical organism through food) and of what Spengler terms “a mysterious cosmic force” that has nothing to do with biology. The only real unity is cultural, that is, the fundamental ideas and beliefs shared by the peoples who form a civilization. Thus Spengler, who makes those ideas subject to quasi-biological growth and decay, oddly rejects as insignificant the findings of biological science concerning living organisms.

It is true, of course, that man is in part a spiritual being. Of that, persons who have a religious faith need no assurance. Others, unless they are determined blindly to deny the evidence before us, must admit the existence of phenomena of the kind described by Franz E. Winkler, M.D., in Man: The Bridge Between Two Worlds (New York, Harper, 1960), and, of course, by many other writers. And every historian knows that no one of the higher cultures could conceivably have come into being, if human beings are merely animals.

But it is also true that the science of genetics, founded by Father Mendel only a century ago and almost totally neglected down to the early years of the Twentieth Century, has ascertained biological laws that can be denied only by denying the reality of the physical world. Every educated person knows that the color of a man’s eyes, the shape of the lobes of his ears, and every one of his other physiological characteristics is determined by hereditary factors. It is virtually certain that intellectual capacity is likewise produced by inheritance, and there is a fair amount of evidence that indicated that even moral capacities are likewise innate.

Man’s power of intervention in the development of inherited qualities appears to be entirely negative, thus affording another melancholy proof that human ingenuity can easily destroy what it can never create. Any fool with a knife can in three minutes make the most beautiful woman forever hideous, and one of our “mental health experts,” even without using a knife, can as quickly and permanently destroy the finest intellect. And it appears that less drastic interventions, through education and other control of environment, may temporarily or even permanently pervert and deform, but are powerless to create capacities that an individual did not inherit from near or more remote ancestors.

The facts are beyond question, although the Secret Police in Soviet Russia and “liberal” spitting-squads in the United States have largely succeeded in keeping these facts from the general public in the areas they control. But no amount of terrorism can alter the laws of nature. For a readable exposition of genetics, see Garrett Hardin’s Nature and Man’s Fate (New York, Rinehart, 1959), which is subject only to the reservation that the laws of genetics, like the laws of chemistry, are verified by observation every day, whereas the doctrine of biological evolution is necessarily an hypothesis that cannot be verified by experiment.

The Race Factor

It is also beyond question that the races of mankind differ greatly in physical appearance, in susceptibility to specific diseases, and in average intellectual capacity. There are indications that they differ also in nervous organization, and possibly, in moral instincts. It would be a miracle if that were not so, for, as is well known, the three primary races were distinct and separate at the time that intelligent men first appeared on this planet, and have so remained ever since. The differences are so pronounced and stable that the proponents of biological evolution are finding it more and more necessary to postulate that the differences go back to species that preceded the appearance of the homo sapiens. (See the new and revised edition of Dr. Carleton S. Coon’s The Story of Man, New York, Knopf, 1962.)

That such differences exist is doubtless deplorable. It is certainly deplorable that all men must die, and there are persons who think it deplorable that there are differences, both anatomical and spiritual, between men and women. However, no amount of concerted lying by “liberals,” and no amount of decreeing by the Warren [Supreme Court] Gang, will in the least change the laws of nature.

Now there is a great deal that we do not know about genetics, both individual and racial, and these uncertainties permit widely differing estimates of the relative importance of biologically determined factors and cultural concepts in the development of a civilization. Our only point here is that it is highly improbable that biological factors have no influence at all on the origin and course of civilizations. And to the extent that they do have an influence, Spengler’s theory is defective and probably misleading.

Profound Insights

One could add a few minor points to the three objections stated above, but these will suffice to show that the Spenglerian historionomy cannot be accepted as a certainty. It is, however, a great philosophical formulation that poses questions of the utmost importance and deepens our perception of historical causality. No student of history needed Spengler to tell him that a decline of religious faith necessarily weakens the moral bonds that make civilized society possible. But Spengler’s showing that such a decline seems to have occurred at a definite point in the development of a number of fundamentally different civilizations with, of course, radically different religions provides us with data that we must take into account when we try to ascertain the true causes of the decline. And his further observation that the decline was eventually followed by a sweeping revival of religious belief is equally significant.

However wrong he may have been about some things, Spengler has given us profound insights into the nature of our own culture. But for him, we might have gone on believing that our great technology was merely a matter of economics — of trying to make more things more cheaply. But he has shown us, I think, that our technology has a deeper significance — that for us, the men of Western civilization, it answers a certain spiritual need inherent in us, and that we derive from its triumphs as satisfaction analogous to that which is derived from great music or great art.

And Spengler, above all, has forced us to inquire into the nature of civilization and to ask ourselves by what means — if any — we can repair and preserve the long and narrow dikes that alone protect us from the vast and turbulent ocean of eternal barbarism. For that, we must always honor him.

Journal of Historical Review, vol. 17, no. 2 (March-April 1998), 10-13.

 

dimanche, 22 août 2010

UN ouvrage fondamental sur la "révolution conservatrice"

bundieschejugend.jpg

 

 

Archives de SYNERGIES EUROPEENNES - 1999

Un ouvrage fondamental sur la révolution conservatrice

 

Richard FABER (Hrsg.), Konservatismus in Geschichte und Gegenwart, Königs­hau­sen & Neu­mann, Würzburg, 1991, ISBN 3-88479-592-9.

 

Deux contributions de cet ouvrage collectif intéressent directement notre propos: 1) Ri­chard FABER, «Differenzierungen im Be­griff Konservatismus. Ein religionssoziolo­gi­scher Versuch» et 2) Arno KLÖNNE, «"Rechts oder Links?". Zur Geschichte der Nationalrevolutionäre und Na­tionalbolsche­wisten». Richard Faber, dont nous connais­sons déjà la concision, résume en treize points les positions fondamentales du "con­servatisme" (entendu dans le sens alle­mand et non pas britannique):

◊1) le principe de "mortui plurimi", le culte des morts et des anciens, garant d'un ave­nir dans la conti­nui­té, de la durée.

 

◊2) Ce culte de la durée im­plique la no­stal­gie d'un ordre social stable, comme celui d'a­vant la révolution, la réfor­me et la re­nais­san­ce (Hugo von Hofmanns­thal).

 

◊3) Dans l'actualité, cette nostalgie doit con­duire l'homme politique à défendre un or­dre économique "sain", respectant la plu­ralité des forces sociales; à ce niveau, une con­tra­diction existe dans le conservatisme con­temporain, où Carl Schmitt, par exem­ple, dé­nonce ce néo-médiévisme social, com­me un "romantisme politique" inopé­rant, au nom d'un étatisme efficace, plus dur encore que le stato corporativo italien.

 

◊4) L'ordre social et politique dérive d'une re­­pré­sentation de l'empire (chinois, babylo­nien, perse, assyrien ou romain) comme un analogon du cosmos, comme un reflet mi­cro­cosmique du macrocosme. Le christia­nis­­me médiéval a retenu l'essentiel de ce cosmisme païen (urbs deis hominibusque com­munis). La querelle dans le camp con­ser­vateur, pour Faber, oppose ceux qui veu­­­lent un retour sans médiation aux sour­ces originales païen­­nes et ceux qui se con­tentent d'une ré­­pétition de la synthèse mé­dié­vale christia­ni­sée.

 

◊5) Les conservateurs perçoivent le fer­ment chrétien comme subversif: ils veu­lent une re­ligion qui ne soit pas opposée au fonction­nement du politique; à partir de là, se déve­loppe un anti-christia­nisme conservateur et néo-païen, ou on impose, à la suite de Jo­seph de Maistre, l'ex­pé­diant d'une infailli­bi­li­té pontificale pour bar­rer la route à l'impo­li­tis­me évangélique.

 

◊6) Les positivistes comtiens, puis les maur­ras­siens, partageant ce raisonnement, déjà présent chez Hegel, parient pour un catho­li­cis­me athée voire pour une théocratie a­thée.

 

◊7) Un certain post-fascisme (défini par Rü­diger Altmann), observable dans toutes les traditions politiques d'après 1945, vise l'in­té­gration de toutes les composantes de la so­ciété pour les soumettre à l'économie. Ainsi, le pluralisme, pourtant affiché en théo­rie, cè­­de le pas devant l'intégra­tion/ho­mo­loga­tion (option du conservatisme technocrate).

 

◊8) Dans ce contexte, se dé­ve­lop­pe un ca­tholicisme conservateur, hostile à l'auto­no­mie de l'économie et de la so­cié­té, les­quel­les doivent se soumettre à une "syn­thèse", celle de l'"organisme social" (suite p. 67).

 

◊9) Le contraire de cette synthèse est le néo-li­béralisme, expression d'un polythéis­me po­liti­que, d'après Faber. Les principaux re­pré­sentants de ce poly­théis­me libéral sont O­do Marquard et Hans Blumenberg.

 

◊10) Dans le cadre de la dialectique des Lu­mières, Locke estimait que l'individu devait se soumettre à la société civile et non plus à l'autorité po­litique absolue (Hobbes); l'exi­gence de soumission se mue en césarisme chez Schmitt. Dans les trois cas, il y a exi­gence de soumission, comme il y a exi­gen­ce de sou­mission à la sphère économique (Alt­mann). Le conservatisme peut s'en ré­jouir ou s'en insurger, selon les cas.

 

◊11) Pour Fa­ber, comme pour Walter Ben­jamin avant lui, le conservatisme représente une "tra­hi­son des clercs" (ou des intellec­tuels), où ceux-ci tentent de sortir du cul-de-sac des discussions sans fin pour débou­cher sur des décisions claires; la pensée de l'ur­gence est donc une caractéristique ma­jeu­re de la pensée conservatrice.

 

◊12) Faber cri­ti­que, à la suite d'Adorno, de Marcuse et de Ben­jamin, le "caractère affir­ma­teur de la cul­ture", propre du con­ser­va­tisme. Il re­mar­que que Maurras et Maulnier s'engagent dans le combat politique pour pré­server la culture, écornée et galvaudée par les idéo­logies de masse. Waldemar Gu­rian, disciple de Schmitt et historien de l'Ac­tion Fran­çai­se, constate que les sociétés ne peuvent sur­vivre si la Bildung disparaît, ce mé­lange de raffinement et d'éducation, pro­pre de l'é­li­te intellectuelle et créatrice d'une na­tion ou d'une civilisation.

 

◊13) Dans son dernier point, Faber revient sur la cosmologie du conservatisme. Celle-ci implique un temps cyclique, en appa­ren­ce différent du temps chrétien, mais un au­teur comme Erich Voe­gelin accepte explici­te­ment la "plus ancien­ne sagesse de l'hom­me", qui se soumet au rythme du devenir et de la finitude. Pour Voe­gelin, comme pour cer­tains conserva­teurs païens, c'est la pen­sée gnostique, an­cêtre directe de la moder­nité délétère, qui re­jette et nie "le destin cy­clique de toutes choses sous le soleil". La gnose christia­ni­sée ou non du Bas-Empire, cesse de per­ce­voir le monde comme un cos­mos bien or­don­né, où l'homme hellé­ni­que se sentait chez lui. Le gnostique de l'an­tiquité tardive, puis l'homme moderne qui veut tout mo­di­fier et tout dépasser, ne par­vient plus à re­gar­der le monde avec émerveillement. Le chré­tien catholique Voe­gelin, qui aime la cré­a­tion et en admire l'or­dre, rejoint ainsi le païen catholique Maur­ras. Albrecht Erich Günther, figure de la ré­vo­lution conserva­trice, définit le conserva­tis­me non comme une propension à tenir à ce qui nous vient d'hier, mais propose de vi­vre comme on a toujours vécu: quod sem­per, quod ubique, quod omnibus.      

 

Dans sa contribution, Arno Klönne évoque la démarche anti-système de personnalités comme Otto Strasser, Hans Ebeling, Ernst Niekisch, Beppo Römer, Karl O. Paetel, etc., et résume clairement cette démarche en­tre tous les fronts dominants de la pen­sée politique allemande des années 20 et 30.  Le refus de se laisser embrigader est une leçon de liberté, que semble reprendre la "Neue Rechte" allemande actuelle, sur­tout par les textes de Marcus Bauer, philo­so­phe et théologien de formation. Un ex­cel­lent résumé pour l'étudiant qui sou­hai­te s'i­ni­tier à cette matière hautement com­ple­xe (RS).